51 Reasons to Exercise

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Here at Healthy Steps we can’t stress enough the importance of exercise along with your healthy eating plan. Here are just a few, 51 to be exact, reasons why it’s a good idea to get going and get moving.

Reference: www.cancer.gov

  1. Improves quality of life
  2. Lower Alzheimer’s risk
  3. Lowers risk of metabolic syndrome and prediabetes
  4. Up to 80% lower risk of breast cancer
  5. Strengthens bones & lowers risk of osteoporosis
  6. Improves self-esteem
  7. Effectively relieves symptoms of mild depression
  8. Can decreased chronic joint or muscle pain
  9. Lowers risk of heart attack
  10. Improves cognitive function and creative problem solving
  11. Improves body composition (ratio of fat mass to lean mass)
  12. Boosts levels of “feel good” biochemicals like endorphins
  13. 30-40% lower risk of colon cancer
  14. Lowers blood levels of “bad cholesterol” (LDL)
  15. Lowers blood pressure
  16. Boosts your immune system
  17. Lowers risk of Type 2 Diabetes
  18. Improves body image, even without changes in appearance
  19. Strongly linked with better weight loss maintenance (staying at your new lower weight)
  20. Prevents short-term memory loss in the elderly
  21. Improves symptoms of anxiety
  22. 20-40% lower risk of endometrial cancer
  23. Raises blood levels of “good cholesterol” (HDL)
  24. Can decrease pain associated with osteoarthritis

25.Improves flexibility and relieves muscle tension

  1. Burns calories
  2. Provides stress relief
  3. 20% lower risk of lung cancer
  4. Supports other healthy behaviors like healthy eating
  5. Improves insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance
  6. Greater ease with activities of daily living
  7. Targets belly fat
  8. Lowers risk of injury (with stronger, more flexible muscles)
  9. Lowers risk of stroke
  10. Increases optimistic feelings and improves mood
  11. Lowers risk of getting a cold
  12. Kicks up metabolic rate (you burn more calories even at rest)
  13. Core strength can improve lower back pain
  14. Protects mobility
  15. Makes it easier to fall asleep
  16. Improves heart health
  17. Increases libido in both men and women
  18. Decreases the number of times you wake up during the night
  19. More toned and fit appearance
  20. Increases self-confidence
  21. Lower risk of esophageal cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer, kidney cancer, myeloid leukemia, multiple myeloma, and cancers of the head and neck, rectum, and bladder.
  22. Increases energy & vitality
  23. 40% Lower risk of Erectile dysfunction
  24. Increases pounds and inches lost during weight loss
  25. Lowers stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline
  26. Lowers all-cause mortality risk by 20-30%
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What to eat at the Fair 2016

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5 Tips for Weight Loss Maintenance

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What if I asked you to choose between two options: 

Option A- Lose weight and gain it all back within a year or two
Option B- Lose weight and keep it off for 5 or more years
At this point you may be rolling your eyes at the computer…who wouldn’t choose Option B, given the choice? Although we may all agree that logically there is little value (and indeed some health risks) associated with losing weight only to very quickly regain it,  we often behave as if Option A is good enough.  I challenge my patients to think about the big picture- not just weight loss, but weight loss maintenance (cue angels singing, because this is the holy grail when it comes to the field of weight management). 
Weight Loss Maintenance means maintaining your your new lower weight after weight loss. As many of you can attest, it’s actually more challenging to maintain a new lower weight than to lose that weight in the first place. Many of us have successfully lost weight in the past…few of us have successfully maintained that weight loss over the long-term.  
After many years working as a weight management dietitian, here are my top five tips for successful weight loss maintenance: 
5) Choose a weight loss meal plan that fits your palate and your lifestyle.
Don’t just “suffer through” a diet while hating every minute of it, even if the scale is moving in the right direction. Remember, there’s no point in losing if you’re going to regain it all back. And you will, if you end up daydreaming about getting to your goal weight just so you can eat your favorite foods again.  Before starting a meal plan, make sure it has room for your favorite flavors and that you can follow it while still doing other things you love (like traveling or hanging out with friends). If it doesn’t fit YOU, it’s not a maintenance plan. 
4) Re-brand exercise as a non-negotiable.
You know how you’d have to be practically on your deathbed before you’d skip a shower two days in a row? Make activity like that: It’s just what you do. I don’t skip brushing my teeth, I don’t skip sleeping, and I don’t skip exercise. Now before you stop reading this out of disgust with my idealism, know that I’m not suggesting we all spend hours at the gym every day. What about a ten minute walk after one meal a day? That’s doable for most of us. If walking’s not a possibility for you because of injuries or limitations, try chair aerobics like Sit & Be Fit, or check out local water aerobics classes. Our bodies are no more suited to being sedentary than they are suited to flying like a bird. To be healthy, you need to move. Beyond that, research indicates that exercise is even more important than eating choices when it comes to the maintenance phase. Without it, expect regain. 
3) Treat your metabolism with kid gloves. 
Don’t crash diet or severely restrict calories. Don’t follow any diet that expects you just to be hungry and live with it. Don’t skip meals. When we starve our cells, they fall back into an highly-evolved response designed to keep us alive during legitimate famine, by slowing down metabolic rate (the calories we burn each day) to the bare minimum. When we start eating again (how long can anyone tolerate cabbage soup anyway?!) our metabolic rate is slow to bounce back. Eating a normal amount with a slowed metabolism means weight regain, and usually we gain more than we lost in the first place. 
2) Preserve your muscle mass during weight loss.
Focus on adequate dietary protein and resistance training during weight loss and beyond, to preserve your skeletal muscle mass. Muscle burns calories at rest, meaning the more muscle mass, the higher the metabolic rate (calorie expenditure). This makes a huge difference in successful maintenance, because you get to eat more food and still maintain calorie balance. 
1) Don’t lose weight doing one thing and expect to maintain doing something else
Remember, weight loss maintenance is more challenging than weight loss itself. If you lose weight on a liquid diet, what do you think is going to happen when you reintroduce solid foods? Not only do you need to use the weight loss phase to practice healthy eating and exercise skills that you then use continuously in the maintenance phase, but it’s also magical thinking to imagine you can do something totally different to maintain that new lower weight (which is harder!) than what you did to lose it in the first place. So don’t choose a method of weight loss that is either 1) not safe and healthy to follow permanently or 2) not sustainable in your life permanently. When the news of the Biggest Loser contestant weight regain  came out in the news a few month ago, I was shocked to read that contestants exercised 7 hours per day while on the show. Geez, talk about unsustainable. Remember, hold up every weight loss behavior you’re considering to the litmus test of long-term sustainability. If you know no one could realistically keep up that lifestyle behavior for the long-term, then choosing it as a weight loss strategy is just opting for Option A. You’re worth more than that. 
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Lindsay Pasdera
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Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber

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You’ve probably heard that fiber is good for you, but are you eating enough? Research indicates that for optimum health, we should consume between 25-38 grams of fiber per day. The average consumption in America is around 15 grams per day, with many people taking in much less than that. Fiber is a carbohydrate but it’s a very special one. A molecule of dietary fiber is similar to a starch molecule in that they are both long chains of glucose molecules joined together. However, the type of bond that joins the glucose molecules together in fiber molecules is unique and indigestible for humans. This means we don’t absorb any of the calories from fiber, which makes unprocessed high fiber incredibly helpful for weight management. Secondly, eating a meal rich in fiber increases satiety (fullness) therefore you can understand why a recent study found that the most successful weight loss individuals eat about one-third more fiber than those struggling to lose weight even while dieting. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/apps/g/page/national/fiber-the-least-sexy-weight-loss-tool/1940/)

There are two types of dietary fiber, both of which support weight management. Most dietary fiber is insoluble fiber. This type of fiber is found in vegetables, whole grains, nuts and the edible skin of fruit (for example the peach skin or apple peel).  Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool and speeds intestinal transit time, preventing constipation and lowering the risk of digestive troubles like hemorrhoids, diverticulitis and importantly, colon cancer. Soluble fiber, so called because it is soluble in water, is the type of fiber that absorbs water and thickens. For example, pectin, a soluble fiber from apples, is used to thicken jams.  Soluble fiber is found in the flesh of fruit, legumes (beans and dried peas), oats, barley, peanuts and ground flax. The health benefits of soluble fiber include lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol, improving blood sugars, lowering risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. At Healthy Steps, our Mediterranean meal plans are packed with both soluble and insoluble fiber, around 40 grams per day, helping you improve your health and lose weight without feeling hungry.

Call us to schedule an appointment today!

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Lindsay Pasdera

 

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Eat Like a Mediterranean – Article

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Did you see the headlines yesterday regarding the effectiveness of Mediterranean eating plans compared to low-fat ones? The news is based on a research study published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology which compared weight loss results in thousands of individuals, randomly assigned to either a Mediterranean meal plan or a low-fat diet. Despite the higher fat intake in the Mediterranean group, they lost significantly more weight. At Healthy Steps, we’ve been educating our patients on Mediterranean-style eating since our inception. Call us today if you’d like to schedule an appointment with one of our Nutritionists to learn how to follow a Mediterranean eating plan in your home.

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Lindsay Pasdera

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Meal Delivery Box — Review

Have you heard of all these cook-at-home delivery boxes? Companies like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Sun Basket will ship an insulated box to your door with the all ingredients needed to make three home cooked meals for your family, along with step-by-step instructions. I tried one out this week…here’s my take on the experience.

I chose Sun Basket, mainly because it offers organic ingredients, lower carbohydrate options, and is local (San Francisco based).  I also love that you can return all the packing materials so Sun Basket can reuse and recycle for you.   I choose three dinners for two people. The cost is normally around $68, but since it was my first week, I took advantage of their “3 meals free” promotion and paid around $34.

Sun Basket has paleo, vegetarian, gluten-free and pescetarian options each week. I had seven dinner options to choose from. I selected Pork loin with caramelized onions and honey-glazed root vegetables, Moroccan salmon in chraime with mint couscous, and low-carbohydrate steak with roast broccolini and tomatoes.

Here’s everything laid out for the first meal:

I felt very spoiled to have the ingredients measured out for me. I washed, peeled, and chopped everything myself, but it felt easier since things were portioned out for me already. I also think for someone with limited cooking experience, that the recipes would be a simple and straightforward way to practice cooking skills. The only problem was that in a few of the meals, I felt like there wasn’t enough non-starchy vegetables, so I did add my own. In the two pictures below, you can see how I added a romaine and tomato salad to the pork loin meal. Even so, the meal was incredibly delicious, totally worth a few additions!

I felt very spoiled to have the ingredients measured out for me. I washed, peeled, and chopped everything myself, but it felt easier since things were portioned out for me already. I also think for someone with limited cooking experience, that the recipes would be a simple and straightforward way to practice cooking skills.
The only problem was that in a few of the meals, I felt like there wasn’t enough non-starchy vegetables, so I did add my own. In the two pictures below, you can see how I added a romaine and tomato salad to the pork loin meal. Even so, the meal was incredibly delicious, totally worth a few additions!

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The next meal was the wild salmon, Moroccan style. I wish the grain had been whole grain (maybe bulgur) instead of couscous, but the meal was also delicious. Again, I felt like there wasn’t quite enough vegetables, so I added some leftover steamed broccoli from my fridge.

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The next meal was the wild salmon, Moroccan style. I wish the grain had been whole grain (maybe bulgur) instead of couscous, but the meal was also delicious. Again, I felt like there wasn’t quite enough vegetables, so I added some leftover steamed broccoli from my fridge.

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The last meal was low-carbohydrate with plenty of vegetables. The roasted vegetables were tossed with a walnut pesto and there was a fresh herb sauce for the steak too.

The last meal was low-carbohydrate with plenty of vegetables. The roasted vegetables were tossed with a walnut pesto and there was a fresh herb sauce for the steak too.

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The best part of the experience was cooking with ingredients I’ve never used before. I had to look up Sumac after the salmon meal, I’d never even heard of it! The recipe cards come with calorie information, and they have meal plans for different eating goals. I enjoyed it and look forward to using Sun Basket again in the future, even if I do have to tweak the vegetable portions!
Lindsay Pasdera, MS RDN
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Grain-Free Waffle Recipe

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You may have heard how good legumes (dried beans and peas) are for you and how the protein and fiber in them can support weight management. Still, many people have a hard time eating a serving of legumes each day. Why not try out these delicious Grain-Free Waffles made with garbanzo bean or chickpea flour instead of refined wheat flour?  They have less carbohydrate, less saturated fat, and less sugar, along with 7 times more fiber and almost 3 times as much protein as typical Bisquick waffles. I think they’re delicious! I top mine with homemade Cherry Vanilla Sauce (recipe also below) and maybe a little bit of whipped cream. Store any leftover waffles in the freezer (I microwave them for 15 seconds and then pop them in my toaster for a quick breakfast treat).

 

Grain-free Waffles  (Makes 6 servings)

 

Ingredients:
1 cup garbanzo bean or chickpea flour 
1/8 tsp salt 
3/4 tsp baking soda 
1 egg, separated 
5-6 oz plain or vanilla Greek yogurt 
1/4c milk of your choice 
1/4c canola oil 
1/2 tsp vanilla 
Non-stick cooking spray 

 

Instructions:
1. Preheat your waffle iron.

2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. 

3. In a medium bowl, mix the egg yolk, yogurt, milk, oil & vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well combined (batter will be very thick). 

 

4. In a different bowl, beat the egg white with a whisk until it forms soft peaks. Gently fold the egg white into the batter. 

5. Spray the waffle iron with the cooking spray and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for making waffles. 

Cherry Vanilla Sauce

Ingredients:
1 (12 oz) bag frozen unsweetened cherries
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla
5 drops liquid stevia
Instructions:
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the cherries and water together until warm throughout.
2.Take the pan off the heat, and use an immersion blender to puree the warm cherry mixture. Add vanilla and stevia and serve. Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
–Lindsay Pasdera Registered Dietitian
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Back On Track – May 2016

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Your health is not just about BMI, it’s also fat and muscle – Article Review

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Did you see USA Today’s article, “Want a healthy body? It’s all about that fat and muscle, not your BMI”? It’s based on recent research out of the University of Florida, explaining how important body composition is to health? Body composition is so much more than a number on the scale: it includes your percentage of body fat, lean mass and fluid status. Read up to see how body composition predicts health outcomes, and then come in to our office for a personalized body composition test through Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) today!

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New York Times and Healthy Fats

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Did you see this great article in the Science section of yesterday’s New York Times? In it, Dr. Richard Isaacson, the director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian, answers the question, “Could a low-fat diet contribute to memory problems?” His dietary recommendations sound a lot like what we’ve been saying here at Healthy Steps for years! Our program emphasizes the brain- and heart-healthy DHA & EPA omega-3 fats and the monounsaturated fats quintessential to the Mediterranean diet. We also guide our patients to limit consumption of pro-inflammatory omega-6s and dangerous trans fats. Want to understand more about how omega-3s and omega-6s impact inflammation (and therefore, risk of obesity, heart disease and even alzheimer’s)? Check out this video by our Medical Director Dr. Robert Woodbury. 

Lindsay Pasdera, MS RDN

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