Thursday, November 20, 2008

Whole Wheat vs White

For any kid who grew up eating doughy, thick Wonder Bread for lunch, the encouragement by dietitians and nutritionists to switch to whole wheat bread can be a tough transition.

Bread, like any other part of our diet, is an acquired taste. Starting out early helps since children are much more adaptable to accepting foods than adults. This does not mean that children LIKE as many foods as adults - children are renowned picky eaters. But if you only expose them to healthy, whole grain foods they won't have the opportunity to develop a taste for white bread or other non-nutritious foods.

Adults, however, must learn to change their diet preferences because of knowledge. Understanding why whole wheat is superior to white bread can help you feel good about the compromise and encourage you to make it the standard for your children. Who knows - you may even like it!


The two biggest differences between white bread and whole wheat are the processing and the nutritional value.

Flour is made from wheat berries. The wheat berry is made up of the bran, the germ and the endosperm. All parts are filled with nutrients and are used in whole wheat flour.

White bread on the other hand, uses only the endosperm - the starchy inner layer. There is a total of 30 nutrients missing in white bread. The nutritional difference is immense and has measurable impact on our health.


The fiber content of whole wheat bread has several health benefits.

Fiber helps the digestive system. It also creates a 'full' sensation and thus can help with weight control. Research has been conducted by Harvard and other organizations that shows men and women who eat high-fiber foods have less heart attacks and strokes than those who don't.

There is also an increased risk of diabetes in children who eat refined white flour - a risk that has been proven by the increase in cases of childhood diabetes.


Watch out for words like 'wheat flour' or 'enriched wheat flour' as they can be mostly made from white flour with just a small amount of whole wheat added in.

Look for 'whole wheat' or other whole grains, like oat. And don't be mislead by the name of the product. Names like wheat, whole bran, stoned wheat, 12 grain and others are still mostly white flour. The only way to know for sure is to read the label.

On a side note, Whole grain and whole wheat is lower glycemic, which means that you will have a lot less chance of spiking your blood sugar and storing fat. -Jared

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Herb Roasted Turkey, Mmmmmm

Hey Everybody. I have had a lot of you ask me about Thanksgiving and what you are going to do to stay on track. Good news!!!!! There are lots of healthy choices on the table. Today, I thought I would start out with a great recipe for the main course. This makes my mouth water...;

This method produces all the good looks and moist flavor you dream of in a Thanksgiving turkey. Make sure you show this beauty off at the table before you carve it. Garnish your serving platter with fresh herb sprigs and citrus wedges.

Makes 12 servings, 3 ounces each, plus plenty of leftovers

ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 3 1/2 hours


1 10- to 12-pound turkey
1/4 cup minced fresh herbs plus 20 whole sprigs, such as thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano and/or marjoram, divided
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Aromatics: onion, apple, lemon and/or orange, cut into 2-inch pieces (1 1/2 cups)
3 cups water, plus more as needed

1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 475°F.
2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavities and reserve for making gravy. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan; pat dry with paper towels. Mix minced herbs, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the herb mixture all over the turkey, under the skin and onto the breast meat. Place aromatics and 10 of the herb sprigs in the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Add 3 cups water and the remaining 10 herb sprigs to the pan.
3. Roast the turkey until the skin is golden brown, 45 minutes.
Remove the turkey from the oven. If using a remote digital thermometer, insert it into the deepest part of the thigh, close to the joint. Cover the breast with a double layer of foil, cutting as necessary to conform to the breast. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue roasting for 11/4 to 13/4 hours more. If the pan dries out, tilt the turkey to let juices run out of the cavity into the pan and add 1 cup water. The turkey is done when the thermometer (or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone) registers 165°F.
4. Transfer the turkey to a serving platter and cover with foil. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes. Remove string and carve.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving (without skin): 155 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 63 mg cholesterol; 0 g carbohydrate; 25 g protein; 0 g fiber; 175 mg sodium; 258 mg potassium.

0 Carbohydrate Servings

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Equipment: Large roasting pan, roasting rack, kitchen string, thermometer

Friday, November 7, 2008


This article doesnt have much to do with health and fitness. But I find this totally interesting.

Bananapocalypse: a favorite fruit slips toward extinction
Scientists race to create a hybrid to take the place of the dwindling Cavendish banana
By Ben Whitford

Back in 2003, the magazine New Scientist ran a cover story declaring that the banana was on the brink of extinction. The problem, the article explained, was that commercial bananas were genetically bankrupt: sterile, seedless clones with no genetic diversity and no resistance to a new wave of virulent fungal diseases. “The banana business has reached crisis point,” the magazine gravely pronounced. “The world’s favorite fruit could disappear forever in 10 years’ time.”

The prediction sparked a media storm, with newspapers around the world warning their readers that the humble banana was heading for oblivion. Five years on, though, bananas are still being sliced into breakfast cereal across the country: Upwards of 100 million metric tons of bananas are being produced each year, feeding a $5 billion export market. The curved yellow fruit remains the fourth most important food crop in the world, and a dietary staple of some 600 million people across Latin American and sub-Saharan Africa. So has the world’s favorite fruit pulled back from the brink―or are we still en route for bananageddon?

In fact, scientists say, the outlook is still pretty bleak for the banana. Commercial growers remain wedded to a single variety known as the Cavendish, the bright yellow fruit found on US supermarket shelves; meanwhile, a lethal and fungicide-resistant infection called Panama Disease has decimated plantations across Southeast Asia and is widely expected to spread into plantations in Latin America and Africa. “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” says Randy Ploetz, a plant pathologist at the University of Florida. “These are serious problems that haven’t changed since the New Scientist article.”

Lest we underestimate the risk of a Cavendish catastrophe, it’s worth remembering that today’s top banana was itself introduced as a replacement for the bigger and tastier Gros Michel banana, which was all but wiped out by Panama Disease in the 1950s. By 1960, outbreaks had destroyed stock worth $400 million, equivalent to more than $2.9 billion at today’s prices; only the speedy introduction of the more resistant Cavendish saved banana giants like Chiquita and Dole from bankruptcy. Now, researchers say, a new strain of Panama Disease has adapted to target Cavendish bananas―and this time, there’s no replacement waiting in the wings.

That’s driven scientists at the non-profit Honduran Agricultural Research Foundation to try to create an understudy for the Cavendish by cross-breeding the plant with “heirloom” species gathered from around the world. But creating hybrids from sterile, slow-growing plants is a thankless task: each year researchers painstakingly cross-pollenate thousands of banana plants, then peel and examine millions of bananas in the hope of finding one or two seeds. Even then, there’s no telling whether the seed will germinate, let alone produce a palatable or disease-resistant fruit. “It takes about four years, if everything works,” says Adolfo Martinez, the foundation’s director. “The chances of success are very small.”

To make matters worse, the dominance of the Cavendish banana is leading to the erosion of banana diversity in the wild and on subsistence farms in India and Africa. “We’re losing those [wild] bananas, and with them the chance to strengthen the Cavendish,” says banana historian Dan Koeppel, author of Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World.

That’s led researchers at Belgium’s Catholic University of Leuven to begin cryogenically preserving bananas from around the world, in a last-ditch attempt to preserve their genetic patterns. The Leuven team is also working to sequence the banana’s genome, with a view to isolating the genes that regulate disease resistance; it’s still early days, but the group has already begun field trials of a Gros Michel banana patched with resistance-boosting genes from rice plants. “I don’t believe we’ll lose the banana in five years,” says Rony Swennen, director of Leuven’s Laboratory for Tropical Crop Improvement. “But it’ll happen in our lifetime, even if we can’t say exactly when. It’s our duty as scientists to try to be ready."

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fall Fun

Fall is a great time for exercise outdoors! Many people see the summer disappear, and think that its all over. Dont be one of the many. Grab a jacket, your bike and get outside. There are plenty of fall activities you can do when you are outside. If you are going to attain the body you have always wanted, then you need to change your attitude. There should never be a time in your life when you say....."There is nothing active that I can do right now because the weather isnt nice enough."

I have posted pieces from an article that I found and really liked. It gets straight to the point. It is targeted at an "older" population. But, we are only as old as we think we are.

" Attitude – The number one way you can improve the aging process is to take charge of your attitude. Your sense of hope, humor and confidence will determine the tone of your experience. You might be reading this thinking that having a good attitude is easier said than done. That would be true, but it is also true that your attitude is one thing you have full control over.

Nutrition – The importance of a balanced and healthy diet to healthy aging cannot be overstated. Eating well can make you feel and look better, help your body run more smoothly, ward off colds and sickness, and contribute to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels (which in turn help protect you against heart disease and stroke). On the most basic level, your eating habits should reflect a desire to give your body the fuel it needs to run efficiently. Fruit, vegetables, protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats should make up your meals. Shedding any extra weight is especially important as you get older, a result which should be achieved with a sensible, balanced diet and regular exercise. Changes to your diet should reflect the changing needs of your body as an older person. Your doctor should be able to help you identify how your nutritional needs are different and how you can account for them.

Exercise – Regular exercise is another cornerstone of healthy living as you age. As your body slows down, you might be tempted to skip the exercise because it is harder to do and you feel challenged physically. This is the wrong thing to do. The most important thing to remember about exercise as you get older is that it does not need to be strenuous, it just needs to be consistent. Regular physical activity will help your body function more effectively in many ways. It helps with weight loss and maintenance, combats anxiety and depression, keeps bones, muscles and joints working properly, relieves symptoms of arthritis and reduces the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and some types of cancer. As you age, you might need to change the types of exercise you do, but anything that gets you moving is good. Walking, housework, gardening and even babysitting the grandchildren can count as exercise.

Sleep – Achieving quality sleep becomes more difficult for many people as they get older. On average, people aged 50 to 85 sleep about 6 hours per day. Over 50% of men and women over age 65 complain of at least one chronic sleep problem. Many people accept sleep difficulties as a fact of aging. It is true that as we get older, our sleep patterns change, but it is equally true that good restorative sleep is essential to our physical health and emotional well-being. Possible causes of poor nighttime sleep for older people abound. Sleeping poorly might be the cause of big changes in life, health issues, medication, stress or anxiety. Getting a good night's rest becomes more difficult and can require you to be more conscious of your sleep environment and your sleep routine."

These are habits that we need to change for life. Our overall wellness depends on it. I promise you that you will notice a difference if you start today. Life is worth more than worrying about developing health problems. Its worth enjoying. So stop with the instant gratification, and get to work.

- Jared Hansen