Monday, November 29, 2010

Veggies Super-Power Still ON!

No matter how much your mom has nagged about eating your veggies, well she wasn’t lying! Veggies still rank as top ONE! A new study released by the Archives of Internal Medicine reveals that people with high blood levels of the antioxidant alpha-carotene, found in lots a variety of vegetables, were less likely to die during a 14 year longitudinal study (cohort) study compared to people with low levels of carotenoids.

Based on the study, a major factor causing chronic illnesses like cancers and heart problems may be related to high amounts of free radical oxygen that damage your DNA, protein and fat cells. Now it’s important that you know that free radicals’ production is totally normal in your body but the damage they cause can be alleviated by antioxidants’ action, hence carotenoids such as beta carotene, alpha carotene and lycopene. These nutrients are mostly loaded in fruits and vegetables such as carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach.

What researchers did in this study was monitor alpha-carotene levels in the blood of 15,318 adults, age 20 or older, who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Follow-up Study between 1988 and 1994. In 2006, researchers surveyed how many of their sample had died and from what cause. They found that 3,810 had died, and that people with the highest levels of alpha-carotene in the blood were significantly less likely to die than those with lowest levels. In addition they found that a lower risk of cancer and heart disease in people with high levels of alpha-carotene.
So yes, yes having that extra bowl of salad every day in your plate will sure help in elongating your healthy life and in lowering heart and chronic illnesses risks.
Brought to you with the help of:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkeying - Does it Really Make You Sleepy?

"Every year at Thanksgiving, most of us engage in an annual rite of passage: stuffing ourselves mercilessly with turkey, cranberry sauce, and pie. But inevitably, in that hour between feeling so full you think you'll explode and gearing up for round two with the leftovers, your relatives can find you conked out on the couch."
Everybody blames the turkey because it's pumped up with L-tryptophan. Your aunt even insists that there could never be another reason. So is it true? Is the turkey really what we ought to point our fingers at? Is it the reason for Thanksgiving sleepiness? The experts helped WebMD sort out the facts at

L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid. The body can't make it, so diet must supply tryptophan. Amino acids are building blocks of proteins. Foods rich in tryptophan include, you guessed it, turkey. Tryptophan is also found in other poultry, meat, cheese, yogurt, fish, and eggs.

Tryptophan is used by the body to make niacin, a B vitamin that is important for digestion, skin and nerves, and serotonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical that plays a large role in mood and can help to create a feeling of well-being and relaxation. "When levels of serotonin are high, you're in a better mood, sleep better and have a higher pain tolerance," says Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD. Tryptophan is needed for the body to produce serotonin. Serotonin is used to make melatonin: a hormone that helps to control your sleep and wake cycles.

So is the turkey your sleep inducer?
As it turns out, turkey contains no more of the amino acid tryptophan than other kinds of poultry. In fact, turkey actually has slightly less tryptophan than chicken, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, LDN.
Jackson Blatner says that if we're sleepy on Thanksgiving as a direct result of eating turkey, then eating other foods rich in tryptophan should have the same effect.
"When is the last time someone ate a chicken breast at a summertime barbecue and thought they felt sluggish [because of it]?" she asks.
Turkey is, indeed, a good source of tryptophan. Still, it's a myth that eating foods high in tryptophan boosts brain levels of tryptophan and therefore brain levels of serotonin, Somer says.
Somer says that proteins like turkey, chicken, and fish, which are high in tryptophan, require assistance from foods high in carbohydrates to affect serotonin levels. Because protein foods are overloaded with many types of amino acids, these will compete to reach the bloodstream and then the brain. So, carbs in this case are there ticket to blood! Don't worry there's no way to have too much tryptophan in your body.
So if eating turkey isn't the reason, why the sudden grogginess as soon as our holiday feast is over?
Jackson explains that "When people overeat food, the digestion process takes a lot of energy. Don't incriminate the turkey that you ate," she says of post-Thanksgiving meal exhaustion, "incriminate the three plates of food that you piled high."
And let's not forget that the holidays generally mean time off from work and with family. Many people feel more relaxed to begin with. Add alcohol to the mix, and voila! Sleep!

NB: This is all from WebMD, I just found the article interesting since all the people I know blame it on the turkey! Well, not anymore :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's All About the Turkey!

During this time of year, all I hear about is turkey this, turkey that. Maybe it’s all in my head but I have a feeling that it’s all about the turkey! Now most of the recipes I have found are stuffed turkey or huge oven roasted turkeys for a huge amount of guests!

But what if you like small gatherings or you have just a few people over for a cozy Thanksgiving? After thorough research, I found a recipe that is just what you need. I got it from so it’s not actually mine: a perfect Grilled Herbed Turkey Breast recipe that combines the turkey with heart-healthy ingredients and way of cooking combined!

2.5 to 2.75-pound turkey breast (if bone is included), which is equal to around 71 to 78 g
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
1.5 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary leaves
5 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preparing this delicious meal
  1. Remove skin from turkey breast and discard. Cut the turkey breast away from the bone into two equal-sized fillets.
  2. Start preheating your indoor grill on high. Meanwhile, combine herb rub ingredients - parsley, sage, rosemary, garlic, and olive oil - in a processor bowl by pulsing for about 10 seconds.
  3. Use your hand or a spatula to spread the herb rub on both sides of each fillet (personally, I love to use my bare hands after washing them with warm water and soap for at least a 20 seconds scub, watch out not to have nail polish or any ring on your hands)
  4. When the grill is ready, arrange turkey fillets on it so that the grill top rests evenly on both pieces of turkey. Cook about 14 minutes (if fillet is 2 inches thick). Test the thickest part of the turkey fillet to make sure turkey is cooked throughout. You should be collecting some drippings in the tray of your grill.
  5. Remove turkey fillets to a serving platter and let them rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
Per serving, you have: 215 calories, 39 grams protein, 0.3 grams carbohydrate, 5.5 grams fat, 0.9 grams saturated fat, 3.6 grams monounsaturated fat, 0.8 grams polyunsaturated fat, 106 mg cholesterol, 0.1 gram fiber, 63 mg sodium.
If you noticed, no salt was added because adding this rich combination of herbs, garlic and olive oil will enhance the turkey’s taste while providing you with extra antioxidants on the side! You can even put green leafy vegetables or a rainbow of steamed vegetables!
You can check the NutritionData Widget on the right to assess the calories in your dish.
And look for more grilled turkey recipes on:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tabboule - the Lebanese Favorite Salad!

With a little experience, like my mom and most Lebanese cooks prepare it, you can estimate the quantities of ingredients by eye when making this delicious and healthy salad: tabbouleh.

Because it's Lebanon's Independence Day today, I decided to tell you more about our country's most delish and famous dish: our beloved tabboule! No doubt that every Lebanese person knows this salad for it's prepared every Sunday in almost every house in the country. After all, it has the same colors like our flag :)

  • 2 cups of finely choped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup bulgur, uncooked, fine cracked wheat
  • 1 medium tomato, washed and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped onions or scallions
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (or to your liking)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Fresh lettuce leaves or cabbage leaves on the side
How to prepare it? It needs a total of 45 minutes with chopping and all!

1. To chop parsley: Sharpen your knife well. Gather several stems of parsley in your hand and pull the stem ends down so that all the leaves are clustered evenly together on one side. Gather the leaves closely together and press against a cutting board. Holding the leaves in place with your left hand, use your right hand to very thinly slice the parsley leaves. Once you've chopped that bunch, you can go back and chop a few remaining big pieces, but avoid going back over the parsley, as further chopping will result in bruised leaves.
It's best if you don't chop them in any automatic appliance, they'll only get bruised and darken.
2. Chop your tomato, scallions and mint the same fine way. It's a good idea to wash all your vegetables before chopping them, this way you'll avoid losing water-soluble vitamins!
3. Put the fine (not coarse) bulgur in a small bucket and wash it for few seconds with water, then drain them. Some people prefer soaking them in warm water for an hour, but this is your personal call.
4. In a large bowl combine your parsley, scallions, tomatoes, mint and bulgur. Then pour in your lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss your mixture well.

It's most delicious served in or with cabbage/lettuce leaves. It is rich with antioxidants like quercetin, lycopene, allium and lutein. These all sound weird/fancy but I'm not trying to mislead you with any. Just know that there are hundreds of antioxidants, some which are still being discovered. The whole point behind them is their potential ability to fight cancer, diseases and aging, so no matter how weird they sound, they definitely are good for you! Moreover,tabboule also has a lot of fibers, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and monounsaturated fatty acids.

So you see, it looks mouth-watering, it tastes delicious and has such a nutritious value!
You can check the NutritionData Widget on the right to assess the calories in your dish.

Happy Independence Day!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Can Resistance Exercise Offer Different Cardio Benefits?

Resistance exercise such as weight training affects blood vessels differently than aerobic exercise and offers other cardiovascular benefits, finds a new study.
Researchers compared blood vessel (vascular) responses to two types of moderate-intensity workouts: three sets of 10 repetitions of eight resistance exercises and 30 minutes of aerobic cycling.

There were significant differences in the vascular responses to the two types of exercises!
>> Resistance exercise produced greater increases in blood flow to the limbs and
led to a longer-lasting decrease in blood pressure after exercise, while
>> Aerobic exercise reduced arterial stiffness, but without an increase in blood flow.

"Resistance exercise may offer greater benefits from the increases in blood flow to active muscles and could be implemented as a companion to an aerobic training program."
They said their findings support previous research showing that resistance exercise has unique effects on blood pressure and limb blood flow.

This study shows that resistance exercise has many benefits that are unique when it comes to your cardiovascular system. Not only does it increase blood flow to your limbs, but it also helps in strengthening muscles, bones and surrounding soft tissues and burns fat! When I hit the gym, I usually see people on the treadmill or bicycling, but few put an effort to make few bouts of resistance exercise.
My recommendation: combine resistance training and aerobics in your daily exercise training program, you'll benefit from any angle possible!

The study appears in the November issue of Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research

Black Rice - Intriguing?

We've all heard of white rice and brown rice but what about Black rice?

This rice is originally from Asia yet not really black but more of a deep purplish color, giving a dark shade. It has been commonly used as a condiments or as decoration for meals and desserts.
Black rice is rich in iron and fiber, but what is more important is its richness with antioxidants that fight free radicals, helping your body stay young, healthy and disease free! According to a study presented at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), “one spoonful of black rice bran contains more antioxidants than a spoonful of blueberries." And knowing that blueberries has been the talk of antioxidant-interest communities, this is quite the break through! "Black rice offers more fibers and vitamin E antioxidants, but less sugar than blueberries.” I love it already!

Here are some more facts about black rice brought from
  • One serving of Black rice (1/4 c.) provides 1.5 g of fat, 2 g of fiber and 34 g of carbohydrate and 160 calories.
  • Black rice takes slightly longer time to cook than white rice and needs two cups of water of each cup of rice. It will take around 25-30 minutes to completely cook.
  • Most grocery stores do not yet carry black rice, but you may find it at an Asian market. It can also be ordered online.
  • Black rice is used in a number of products ranging from flour, black rice chocolate, noodles, tea, milk and soaps and skin creams.
  • In ancient times, black rice was considered a rare commodity and only reserved for royalty, in fact even stealing a handful of black rice was punishable by death.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chicken Caesar Salad - How Nutritious is it?

Chicken Caesar salads are commonly thought to be a fairly healthy food, I mean they're called salads for a reason! However, it is quite important to know that certain components of this salad are considered healthy, but there are other parts you should watch out for in your diet.

Some common ingredients in a chicken Caesar salad include chicken, romaine lettuce, oil, Parmesan cheese, anchovies, garlic, lemon juice and eggs.
So depending on the amounts of each of these ingredients, a chicken Caesar salad can be considered as a healthy option or a caloric nightmare.
Restaurant Nutrition Facts
The calorie count for a chicken Caesar salad depends on where you actually have it. The chicken Caesar salad at Chili's for example contains around 1010 calories and 76 grams of fat! Now that's too much! However, in other restaurants, its caloric content could go down to just 250 calories and 14 g of fat, which is more acceptable for a salad. Be sure to check the restaurant's nutrition facts, if any - in Lebanon, before you order your salad.

Healthy Components
  • Lettuce is a low calorie, nutrient dense food. Many Caesar salads contain romaine lettuce, which is a very healthy type of lettuce. On another hand, if your salad contain Iceberg lettuce, well this type of lettuce has less antioxidant and phytochemicals. Just know that the deeper the color of your vegetables, the more rich in nutrients it is.
  • Chicken breast, which is often used in this salad, is a lean protein source, and grilled chicken options are healthy.
  • Anchovies contain heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids and are a healthy part of Caesar dressing.
  • Also, look for dressings made with olive oil, which includes healthy monounsaturated fats, that can lower your risk of heart disease. Garlic and lemon are also part of you dressin. They are low in calories, thus they are healthy ingredients in many Caesar salads.

Unhealthy Components
  • If your chicken is fried, well, I have bad news. Fried chicken can add loads of calories and fat to chicken Caesar salads, so it's best if you ask for your chicken breast to be grilled! And yes, you can actually do that: amend their chicken Caesar recipe.
  • Cheese, like Parmesan, is also a prime culprit that adds calories and fat to your salad. If you want, you can ask for your cheese to come on the side, this way you can choose how much of that cheese you want in your meal.
  • Last but no least, be sure to order your salad without croutons, that are often fried in oil or butter.
Healthy Caesar Salad Recipe - Now this one, I love!
Making your own healthy chicken Caesar salad can save you hundreds of calories. Combine fresh romaine lettuce with grilled chicken breast, and add the following ingredients to make a healthy Caesar dressing: 2 tsp reduced fat mayo, 1/4 tsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp red wine vinegar, 1/8 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tsp lemon juice, garlic powder to taste and fresh black pepper. Add 1 tbsp of Parmesan cheese on top of the salad, and you have yourself a healthy chicken Caesar salad with 220 calories, 7 grams of fat and 25 grams of protein! Yum!
Brought to you from: E how facts!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cholesterol on Eyelids Might Point to Heart Risk

Could cholesterol deposits on or around people's eyelids help doctors assess cardiovascular risk?

A preliminary Danish study suggests that the deposits could point to an increased risk for heart attack, arterial disease and early death.
Half of patients with such deposits, a condition called xanthelasmata, actually have normal cholesterol levels!!

The research team therefore believes that buildup of cholesterol on the eyelid is perhaps a marker for cardiac risk, regardless of a patient's cholesterol profile.
"In societies where other cardiovascular disease risk factors can't be readily measured, presence of xanthelasmata may be a useful predictor of underlying atherosclerotic disease [hardening of the arteries]

In their study, the team tracked the health of nearly 13,000 patients who were examined for the presence of such eyelid deposits.

The researchers found that those with the condition had a higher rate of heart disease and heart attack as they got older, and a poorer survival rate as compared with those who did not have the condition.
Specifically, xanthelasmata was linked to a 51 % bump in the risk for a heart attack and a 40 % rise in the risk for ischemic heart disease. The risk for death rose by 17 % among such patients.

Reference: The American Heart Association annual meeting, Nov. 14, 2010, news release

Saturday, November 13, 2010

World Diabetes Day - 14 November 2010

World Diabetes Day raises global awareness of diabetes - its escalating rates around the world and how to prevent the illness in most cases. Started by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and WHO, the Day is celebrated on 14 November to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, was instrumental in the discovery of insulin in 1922, a life-saving treatment for diabetes patients.

World Diabetes Day is the primary global awareness campaign of the diabetes mellitus world and is held on November 14 of each year. It was introduced in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the WHO, World Health Organization in response to the alarming rise of diabetes around the world. World Diabetes Day is a campaign that features a new theme chosen by the International Diabetes Federation each year to address issues facing the global diabetes community. While the campaigns last the whole year, the day itself marks the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Chrales Best, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insultin in 1922.

Each year, World Diabetes Day is centred on a theme related to diabetes. Topics covered have included diabetes and human rights, diabetes and lifestyle, diabetes and obesity, diabetes in the disadvantaged and the vulnerable, and diabetes in children and adolescents.
For 2009–2013, the theme is Diabetes Education and Prevention
WHO estimates that more than 220 million people worldwide have diabetes. This number is likely to more than double by 2030 without intervention. Almost 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries.

So spread the word about the importance of prevention!
Once identified, people at high risk of diabetes should have their plasma glucose levels measured by a health professional to detect Impaired Fasting Glucose or Impaired Glucose Tolerance, both of which indicate an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Prevention efforts should target those at risk in order to delay or avoid the onset of type 2 diabetes.

There is substantial evidence that achieving a healthy body weight and moderate physical activity can help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. In primary prevention there is an important role for the diabetes educator to help people understand the risks and set realistic goals to improve health. IDF recommends a goal of at least 30 minutes of daily exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, cycling or dancing. Regular walking for at least 30 minutes per day, for example, has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 35-40%.

World Diabetes Day will promote greater awareness of the risk factors for diabetes and encourage best-practice sharing in diabetes prevention. The campaign will ask diabetes stakeholders to call on UN Member States to follow through on the promise of the UN Resolution on diabetes and develop national policies for the prevention, treatment and care of diabetes in line with the sustainable development of their healthcare systems.

Brought to you from:

7 Patties in One Whopper - I mean Really?

In what may be the strangest and totally terrible for any weight loss plan, well actually not weight loss, any "life" plan, Burger King and Microsoft teamed up to create a seven-patty Whopper to mark the release of its new Windows 7 operating system!

This mammoth burger contains more than 2200 calories and went on sale in Japan outlets. The hamburger contains SEVEN patties and measure 13 cm in height! It was originally planned to be available for only 7 days but due to its success in selling 6000 sandwiches within the first 4 days, BK decided to extend the promotion.
“I need to shower after holding it in my hands,” said one customer, Kyoko Yamamoto, after merely trying to get a grip on the sandwich. “Grease is running down my arms,” she added. “There is no way you could eat that!”
This is by far the worst promotional idea. Let's hope BK is not crazy enough to bring it here - I mean really, we already have enough junk food in town!

Exercise Duration Vs. Weight Loss

Many people ask me how much time do they need to exercise every other day in order to lose weight! Well, the answer in the weight loss factor is total number of calories you consume vs the number of calories you burn.
So at the end of the day, if you've burned 2000 and consumed 1500 then you are in 500 calorie deficit. If you do this for 7 days then you are in 3500 calorie deficit and that is one pound or around 1/2 a kilogram (figure that 3500 calories = one pound). If you burn 500 calories with your exercise, another 300 through the rest of your activities of daily living, and then 1200 for metabolic processes to keep your heart beating, organs working, digesting food, and other essential functions to stay alive, you have burned 2000 calories in one day. If you consumed 1500 calories that day you are in 500 calorie deficit.

As for exercise, for the same period of time and activity, you will burn more at a higher intensity. If you walk on the treadmill at 4 mph for 30 minutes you will burn more than if you walk for 30 minutes at 3 mph.

I suggest working as hard as is comfortable without risking injury. This will get you as aerobically fit as possible, and being as fit as you can has advantages for weight loss because you probably will be able to do more activity (exercise and activities of daily living), and that will contribute to how many calories you burn all day. But keep in mind that no matter how many calories you burn with exercise you still will not lose weight if you consume more calories than you burn. If you burn 2000 calories all day with exercise and all other activities, but you consume 2500, you won't lose weight. And keep resistance exercise like weightlifting in mind since it helps you build muscle, and muscle helps set your metabolic rate, so you want as much muscle as possible!

Is Stretching an Option?

We’ve all heard that stretching should be incorporated before and after exercising, but why all that fuss about it? Simply it's because you can benefit from it for various reasons.

Stretching improves your circulation, prevent soreness and injury and help in elongating your muscles if you are lifting weights. For stretches between exercises, holding a mere of 15 to 20 seconds is actually enough, this is called stretching for recovery. Now after cardio or at the end of a lifting session, a more complete stretching routine is necessary in order to improve our flexibility. Thus, stretching is appropriate between exercises as well as after exercising. Stretching also protects your joints and allow for full range of motion by loosening stiff muscles.

You should note that stretching before at least warming up is not something you want to do. Wait at least 3 to 5 minutes after you begin warming up or working out before you stretch because stretching a cold muscle can actually increase your risk of injury.

So you see, don't ever tell me that you don't have time to stretch before and after workouts, it’s not that stretching is optional, it should actually fit in perfectly in your work out!

Check this photo below and get a small idea of many ways to stretch, each for different part of your body.
Click here for more stretching ideas!

Reference Bachir Mickael.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Morning Sickness - All Day?

If morning sickness truly happened only in the morning, millions of pregnant women would probably be more than grateful! Morning sickness, technically termed as “nausea and vomiting of pregnancy”, can occur any time of the day and night. Although it typically begins around the 6th week of pregnancy, this queasiness can begin as soon as 2 weeks after conception. And surprisingly, for more than 50 % of women, morning sickness is one of the 1st signs they are going to be a mother.
The nauseas and/or vomiting are usually worst in the morning and tend to ease up throughout the day but that’s not quite the rule.
However, by the 14th week, more than half pregnant women say that their symptoms disappear while it might stick around for another month or more with the rest of the women.

Now why does this very uncomfortable feeling stick with you in the morning and even possibly all day when you are pregnant??
Morning sickness can be caused by changes that occur in the body in the early stages of pregnancy.
Hormones in your body change. One hormone is the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone, secreted by the fetus, increases during early pregnancy. The rapidly rising levels of estrogen can also cause the stomach to empty its content more slowly which in return can cause nausea. Moreover, progesterone increases to prevent uterus’ muscles from early childbirth but they relax the stomach and the intestines in the same time causing the gastrointestinal tract to become very sensitive and which lead to excess secretion of stomach acids and gastro-esophageal reflux disease.
Pregnant women are often extremely sensitive to smells and certain odors such as perfume, cooking foods or cigarette smoke.

Who’s more likely to experience morning sickness?
Pregnant women who:
  • Have a history of motion sickness
  • Having a history of migraine
  • Have had morning sickness in previous pregnancies
  • Have thyroid disorders
  • Are carrying more than one child.
 So…how can we prevent and treat morning sickness?
No one has actually found a way to completely prevent morning sickness, but there are steps and tips you can take that can reduce its impact.
  • Avoiding the specific foods and smells that trigger your nausea
  • Eating 5 to 6 small frequent meals instead of 3 huge meals throughout the day
  • Don’t drink fluids along with foods but rather before 30 to 45 minutes before eating
  • Consuming foods that are cold or at room temperature because they tend to have less odor than hot foods
  • Cold fresh lemons
  • Nibbling on plain crackers or plain kaak before you get out of bed in the morning
  • Adding ginger to foods
  • Trying a cup of peppermint tea in the morning
  • Taking Vitamin B 6 can significantly reduce morning sickness; 10 to 25 mg three times a day could be helpful
  • Studies show that taking multivitamin can decrease nausea and vomiting more than a placebo, but either way, it is important to talk to your health care provider before taking any supplements
  • Asking someone to cook for you, if possible, is also helpful, this way odors from cooking won’t disturb you before eating.
  • Avoiding greasy foods
  • Don’t cook or eat spicy food which might irritate the stomach and loosen its muscles which may lead to vomiting
  • Don’t lie down or sleep directly after eating, wait around 30 minutes
  • And try your best not to skip meals because empty stomach may trigger sickness feelings
It’s important to note that in rare cases, 1% of women, morning sickness can aggravate into what is called hyperemesis gravidarum: severe nausea and vomiting. This can harm the mother and the baby and can result in dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, dizziness, weight loss and fainting. So it’s not Ok if you are experiencing severe discomfort and if it persists for more than 24 hours, contacting your doctor is a must.
Keep in mind that morning sickness does not mean your baby is sick.

Brought to you by Paty M; you can also find this published in Moms and to Be Magazine!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New Moms' Nutritional Counseling

Nutritional counseling for new mothers can help reduce their child's risk of obesity, a new study suggests.
American and Brazilian researchers looked at 345 low-income mother-child pairs in Brazil who were randomly assigned to either an intervention or control group.

The mothers in the intervention group received 10 in-home counseling sessions in the year after they gave birth. During the visits, the mothers were given advice about breast-feeding and proper introduction of complementary foods. They were also advised to avoid energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods such as soft drinks, sweets, salty snacks and fried foods.

The children were assessed when they were 6 months, 12 to 16 months, and 3 to 4 years old. By the end of the study, only 10 percent of all the children in the study had healthy dietary habits.
However, those in the intervention group ate more fruits and vegetables and had a more varied diet. They also consumed lower amounts of high-cholesterol foods.

Children who consumed the worst diets were more likely to be overweight than those with the healthiest diets -- 34 percent vs. 20 percent.
The researchers concluded that nutritional counseling for mothers during their child's first year of life can strongly influence the child's eating habits. These findings may have important implications for public health policy.

The study appears in the November issue of The Journal of Nutrition.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Oats - Newest Trend in Town?

Traditionally used in some countries in Central Europe for nervousness or insomnia as a sleeping mattress, it might not be a total coincidence!

Oats are among the most nutrient rich grains for they have more fat, more proteins and more carbohydrates compared to wheat. They are very rich in phosphorus, iron, folate, magnesium and zinc.
Oats is considered to be in the category of carbohydrates such as breads, pasta, legumes, rice, wheat, etc. Now due to its particular structure, these complex carbohydrates in this grain are easily assimilated and absorbed slowly. For this reason, oats provide energy for several hours. Eating oats as whole grains is perfect. They contain soluble and insoluble fibers that enable this grain to:
- Add bulk in your diet so that you would feel fuller for longer
- Retain water, making oats a lubricant and softener of stools in the lower digestive
- Speed the passage of foods thus reducing the transient time of foods traveling in your intestines
- Help in reducing cholesterol levels since it absorbs and removes bile acids that are used to manufacture cholesterol. Yes, but know that they are not your medicine, so don’t fall for such super claims and expect your cholesterol to suddenly drop down when you have some oats. They are of benefit as much as you change your lifestyle to a healthy one and combine it with exercise.

Now what about oat proteins?
Proteins in oats consist of 16.9% and they are easily digested. They contain essential amino acids but not all of them in optimal portions. They are rich in an amino acid called methionine but poor in others called lysine and threonine. Now, don’t strain your head with these names, just know that legumes like chickpeas, lentils or beans are, on the other hand, are rich in methionine and poor in lysine and threonine. So eating oats with legumes make them such a complete meal!

Oats also contain fat in small amounts; mainly unsaturated ones such as omega 6. They also contain lecithin and avenasterol, a vegetable substance similar to cholesterol, that both interestingly interfere with the absorption of cholesterol and thus help in reducing its blood levels.

Last but not least, not that I am considering oats as therapy, but yes, oats can help the digestive tract, constipation and the cholesterol levels like we already mentioned. It also aids the nervous system to stabilize especially that it contains small amounts of non-toxic alkaloid avenine that has mild sedative effects on the nervous system. Moreover, oats are well tolerated by diabetic especially if they are eaten as whole flakes including the bran in moderate amounts.
Oats are becoming more popular in Lebanon especially as breakfast ingredient in “muesli” that comes in packs such as cornflakes containing oats in addition to almonds, other grains, raisins and hazelnuts. They can also be part of granola bars or they can be boiled and used instead of rice or wheat.
Either way, oats are new for us, they are getting trendier and the best thing is that they are as nutritious as can be!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Judge Orders McDonald's to Pay $17,500 to Worker Who Gained 30 kg!

A Brazilian court ruled during the last week of October that McDonald's must pay a former franchise manager $17,500 because he gained 65 pounds (that is around 30 kg) while working there for 12 years.

The 32-year-old man said he felt forced to sample the  food each day to ensure quality standards remained high, because McDonald's hired "mystery clients" to randomly visit restaurants and report on the food, service and cleanliness.

The man also said the company offered free lunches to employees, adding to his caloric intake while on the job. His identity was not released.

The ruling was signed Tuesday by Judge Joao Ghisleni Filho in Porto Alegre.
Ghisleni said McDonald's could appeal the case, and the Brazilian headquarters of the chain said in an e-mailed statement Thursday it was weighing its legal options.
McDonald's also noted that it offers healthier food choices.
"The chain offers a large variety of options and balanced menus to cater (to) the daily dietary needs of its employees," the company said in the statement.

This Winter - How to Lower Your Risk of Catching a Cold

Work out, simply!
Have you noticed that the most physically active and fit people you know never seem to get sick? They appear to breeze healthily through cough and cold season with nary a sniffle, and what's worse, they tell you it's because they're so darn fit.
And as much as you'll hate to admit it, you're going to have to give them that. It turns out that better physical fitness does actually lower the number and severity of colds, according to a recent study. Dr. David Nieman, director of the human performance laboratory at Appalachian State University, and his team studied 1,000 adults for 12 weeks during the 2008 winter season, and found that those who exercised more than five times a week had 43% fewer upper respiratory infections than those who were more sedentary. But even more important, says Nieman, is that those who reported being more fit than others of their age had 46% fewer infections than those who admitted they weren't in great shape. “Of all the factors we looked at, including age, gender, education level, body weight, diet, mental stress and others, physical activity and fitness ended up being the most powerful predictor of sick days,” says Nieman.
Why? While the study itself didn't investigate the metabolic reasons for the association, previous work hints that exercise, especially moderate exercise, can increase circulation of the body's sentry immune cells whose job is to patrol the body and nab any potential viral or bacterial invaders. Thus having the most efficient immune systems that were able to effectively recognize and eliminate viruses and bacteria.
So if you want to avoid a cold this season, you're going to have to work for it.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All in One - The Big Menu Book

If your restaurant menus are piling up in your drawer at work or if it takes you a lifetime to find the menu you have in mind, well check!

I mean we use it the office whenever we want to order anything! It’s an “All in One” menu that you can find online for a long list of restaurants in Lebanon. It’s user friendly whether you are craving for Lebanese cuisine, Italian, Asian, American or International.

You can also find that “light” section you’re looking for!

The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook

The new Mayo Clinic cookbook is divided into different sections like vegetables, fruits, salads, soups, pasta, grains, beans, legumes, fish, shellfish, poultry, meat, desserts and drinks. But that’s not new for a cookbook, right?

What I loved about it was the Mayo Clinic new philosophy of cooking that stresses on vegetables and fruits in our daily life. As you notice in the pyramid here, they form the basis of the pyramid, unlike other nutritional pyramids. This way emphasis is put to increase a person's intake of fiber, antioxidants and numerous vitamins & minerals.

They continue to explain how this pyramid could help you stay healthy, how to use this book, how to choose right portion sizes, what a serving exactly is and how to know how much you should eat.
It also shows the nutritional value of each recipe shown and elaborates to explain more about carbs, proteins, dairy and fats’ nutritional facts in ways anyone could grasp and pass on to others.
There’s also the “are you eating well” section and how to plan a menu!

So, not only do you get healthy and delicious recipes, you also get a simple yet comprehensive view on nutrition and how to use it in order to stay in good health!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Maths Your Diet Out!

Maths is complex with all its arithmetic calculations. Well, what if you ought to calculate your diet? 
We will start by the basic rule:
Each 3500 Kcal of food would increase your weight by 0.5 kg.
So if we eat extra 100 Kcal/day à this would lead to increase of 4 ½ kg per year!

All of these are numbers and numbers that are making your head spin.
But what if you wanted to know what these really meant??
Convert them to food.
In other meaning, in order not to gain weight, “calories in” should equal “calories out”; that is what you eat should be burned.
But what is this 100 Kcal I am talking about? It could be from:
  • The extra cheese you add in your sandwich
  • A cocktail sauce you put on your salad or dip your shrimps in
  • Frying lean meat instead of grilling
  • Frost topping on your cake
  • Choosing whole fat milk instead of skimmed
  • Adding alcohol to a juice drink
  • Mayonnaise dip with chicken or fish

These might seem tiny decisions that you say “What the heck, let’s go for it!”
Well no, they all build up and accumulate and suddenly, all you see if that extra kilogram you just earned around your belly.
So as a start, choose simple yet very effective ways to decrease extra unneeded calories in your diet and 2nd, you can begin light consistent exercise. You can increase physical activity gradually; it will sure help you burn calories, stay healthy, fresh, alert and even happy.
So mathematically, we can conclude that:
[Physical activity] x [healthy diet] = maintenance of good weight & great health!

Mother & Child - Health, Connection & Beyond Conference

So if you're in Lebanon around mid-November, it's a good idea to join this conference, where nutrition meets psychology!

Carbs Are Evil!

Fun Food Facts

  • Ice cream is a Chinese Food! When Marco Polo returned from China, he brought along a recipe of a Chinese dessert called “milk ice” which was made from rice and milk!
  • Coconut water (found inside coconuts not coconut milk) can be used in emergencies as a substitute for blood plasma because it’s sterile and has an ideal pH!
  • In the pre-Columbian era, cocoa beans were used as a currency!à100 beans were equal to one whole turkey.
  • The most expensive coffee in the world comes from Civet poop..and Civets are cat sized mammals! These cats only ingest fine ripe berries and excrete them partially digested. 1 pound sells between 120 and 600 $!
  • Cherries are part of the rose family.
  • The word “salary” comes from Salt! In the Roman times, salt was used as salary because it was very rare.
  • Cold temperature may affect your appetite and increase it.
  • It’s a tradition to serve slices of lemon with fish because people used to believe that the acid in the lemon would dissolve any bone swallowed by accident.
  • The earliest soup made dates back to 6000 BC and was made from hippopotamus!
  • Fortune cookies are not Chinese; they are invented by a LA noodle maker.
  • The color of a chili is not an indication of its spiciness. It’s actually the size >> the smaller the pepper, the hotter it is.
  • Lemons contain more sugar and less Vitamin C than strawberries.
  • American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad in first class.
  • You burn more calories sleeping than watching TV.
  • Consuming chocolate was considered to be a sin during the 16th and 17th century.
  • Chocolate contains the same chemical phenyl ethylamine that your brain produces when you fall in love.
  • Seaweed could be used to thicken ice cream.
  • Orange does not rhyme with any word.
  • Without food colorings, Coke’s original color is simply green.
  • While licking a stamp, you consume 1/10 calories.
  • The top 4 ice cream flavors in Japan are vanilla, strawberry, chocolate and.. green tea!
  • Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.
  • French fries are originally from Belgium and not France.
  • The only food that doesn’t spoil is honey!