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As I checked my luggage at the end of my trip to Italy, the airline attendant slapped a tag on my bag that read “heavy.” Rightfully so – I should have been wearing one, too.
When dining out at home, words like “dressing on the side,” “grilled instead of fried” and “appetizer instead of entrée size” flow as freely from my lips as the oil flowed in Florence. But when traveling, I gleefully delve into the cuisine of the region the way it’s meant to be – my foodie experiences are as important to me as the town I’m visiting. Local traditions and how families interacts when they sit at the table together say so much about a culture. We all raise our children based upon traditions that we grew up with or, in some cases, we take an opposite direction.
[Read: 10 Healthy Vacations.]
I always savor hearing about how a food is grown, how it’s prepared, how it’s served and, of course, how it looks, smells and tastes. And if you’re like me, I so enjoy sharing my foodie experiences (including lots of photos!) through social media interactions. According to the U.S. Travel Association, trip planning sources have shifted over the past few years, with social media and mobile devices being used more often. In 2012, 5 percent of users relied on electronic social sources (social media and mobile devices) to help them plan a trip, compared to 2 percent in 2009. And in 2012, two billion Americans took trips for business and leisure purposes, but how many packed on pounds after packing their bags? Weight gain while traveling is an issue addressed regularly in my office, and it’s a problem that has several different solutions.
To help travelers stay healthy and fit while on the road, I paired with the U.S. News travel team and Yahoo Travel for a Twitter chat that drew more than 6 million impressions. Here are some of my favorite tips to provide shortcuts for long-term health, whether you’re home or abroad. Continue reading
Imagine consuming as much as 58,000 calories in a day, weighing about 1,000 pounds, and losing hundreds of pounds over one season? Well if you were a grizzly bear — this scenario would not be unusual.
Bears have been known to gain an unimaginable amount of weight while maintaining normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Moreover, aside from not experiencing the negative side effects of putting on those pounds, they don’t seem to have a hard time ditching the weight during hibernation either.
Humans perform the opposite of hibernation. Like the bears, we do hang out in our dens, but unlike the grizzlies, instead of not eating or drinking for the winter months… we are usually in a sleep position, on a couch, surrounded by snacks. Hibernation is the time a bear can lose up to 40 percent of its body weight. But for us, between holiday celebrations and the lack of desire for salads, as the days get shorter, our clothes get tighter.
Perhaps we should take some of these bear-y important messages: Continue reading
Let’s get something straight: the Mediterraneans didn’t sit around and say, “Hey, let’s create a hot diet.” Their diet is not a fad plan that will be here today and gone tomorrow — it’s been around for centuries and it’s just as much about feelings as it is about food.
A few months ago the TODAY show called me and asked if they could come to my house to shoot a story on a “new” study about the Mediterranean Diet. I couldn’t have been happier if I was called and told I won a contest. The added bonus is that they wanted to film me cooking in my kitchen with my children — my favorite place to be. But the excitement of this assignment was not as much about the appearance as it was about the importance of this piece.
The benefits of the Mediterranean diet are experienced through a lifestyle of eating together with your family, cooking foods that are wholesome and real, and appreciating all that good health brings. A study released last week underscored how this diet could help you live longer and ward off chronic diseases, even if only followed later in life. The stars of the study were fresh produce, healthy fats (like nuts, seeds, and olive oil), whole grains, fish, lean dairy, and even red wine. Previous studies have shown that following the Mediterranean diet can lower your risk of heart disease, preserve brain health, and lower your overall risk of chronic diseases. Continue reading
We’ve been told that the more color a fruit or vegetable displays, the more nutrients you’ll find within. Although this may be true for some produce, “White Vegetables: A Forgotten Source of Nutrients” – published this month in the American Society for Nutrition’s journal Advances in Nutrition – reminds us that when it comes to veggies, we ought to pay attention to white.
The new research shows that there is not as strong a relationship between color and the vegetable’s nutrient and polyphenol composition as previously believed. Even colorless or white veggies, like potatoes, onions, turnips, parsnips, cauliflower and mushrooms, make a generous contribution to the many essential nutrients we lack in our diets – particularly fiber, potassium and magnesium. These also help improve overall veggie intake among children, teens and adults.
The potassium content of a potato is especially attractive, since 97 percent of Americans don’t get enough of this important nutrient, which plays a key role in managing blood pressure. We often rely on the banana’s reputation as the potassium king, but actually, a small, plain baked potato with skin (138 grams) provides 738 milligrams of potassium and only 128 calories. A large banana (136 grams) provides a similar number of calories, but considerably less potassium: 487 milligrams.
A medium potato with skin also provides nearly 4 grams of fiber, another nutrient we’re often short in. That’s equivalent to the amount of fiber in half a cup of broccoli. Potatoes also contain vitamin C, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, thiamin, riboflavin, zinc, boron, copper and folate, which make it a great gateway veggie. It’s well-liked by all age groups and is easy on your wallet. Here’s how you can bring out the best in your spuds: Continue reading
In the 1980s, people treated foods that contained cholesterol as if they carried a disease, not realizing that trans and saturated fats were more harmful to their bodies than cholesterol itself. Eggs are one of the best and most affordable sources of high quality protein available to us. This protein-rich, satisfying food can also help you lose weight by keeping you full at only 70 calories per egg. Continue reading
Let’s face it: Sometimes it’s how much, not what, you eat that causes you to blame the dry cleaner for shrinking your clothing. So often clients come to me frustrated and puzzled about why their pounds aren’t pouring off, even though they’ve slashed carbs and ditched fats. What they don’t realize is that even healthy foods have calories. A piece of fish the size of your plate and a mountain of edamame is not going to lead to that svelte silhouette. Keeping an eye on portion sizes and eating with your stomach instead of your eyes, mouth, or wallet is a surefire way to help you get where you want to go.
Here are five important tips that will help keep you from tipping the scale: Continue reading
The story of Chanukah describes how only one day’s worth of oil, used to light the candelabra in the ancient Jewish Temple, miraculously burned for eight days. (For a bit more background, the Temple had been ransacked by the Greeks, who had tried to conquer Israel; the Maccabees, the Jewish army that successfully revolted against the Greeks, returned to the Temple and lit the lamp, or menorah, with the oil they found.)
Considering the cooking practices of today’s chefs, it truly would be a miracle to make that amount of oil last so long! In fact, although it wears a heart-healthy halo, oil is highly caloric, and most people don’t realize that they could be carrying extra pounds because of the quantity of oil they consume. It’s hard to believe that one cup of oil (even clear, extra virgin olive oil) contains about 2,000 calories!
Although oil is a beneficial fat, along with nuts, seeds, and avocados, you might want to go easy on the grease if you’re watching your weight. For sustained health and well-being, especially during the celebrations of the holiday season, try not to overindulge. That way, you won’t have to work so hard to reverse any weight gain once the new year arrives.
So, on this Festival of Lights, here are a few tips to help you lighten up your intake: Continue reading
You may have heard of the “Freshman 15,” a reference to the amount of weight some students seem to gain during their first year of college. But what about the “Recession 15″? That’s right. If we’re not careful, thinner paychecks could lead to heftier waistlines. But you can eat healthy on a budget.
Here are some tips to help you get the biggest bang for your buck without blowing your calorie allowance: Continue reading
We’re all big salad eaters in my home … except for one of my sons. He would turn his nose up at any colorful creation I tossed together—until I realized the right tactic. I knew that he adored mangoes, so I considered his preference to craft the bridge between his plate and the salad bowl. I prepared a separate dish for him: a few chopped lettuce leaves topped with a whole, diced mango. While the rest of the family ate salad, he had his own special appetizer. This practice was repeated on other nights, except the lettuce-to-mango ratio increased regularly. Other ingredients were gradually added, and today, my 6-foot, 4-inch young man is making his own fruit and veggie medleys.
It’s not just kids that shun salads. Adults often opt for less nutrient-rich, calorie-laden appetizers and miss out on these satisfying dishes. Whether served as a side or a main, here are some helpful hints to get you psyched for salads: Continue reading