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Whey protein

Muscle helps with stability and balance. Are you looking to increase your muscle? Many try whey protein.

When it comes to building muscle, the most important part of the diet is protein. It is a building block of muscle tissue. If you want to build strong and lasting muscle, consider the benefits of whey protein.

Whey protein pros and cons

Protein is one of the staples of a strong diet along with carbohydrates and fats. Eating them in the proper proportions will help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. As you get older, the body loses muscle mass. Building muscle becomes even more crucial for stability, longevity and proper body functioning.

Consider whey protein

Do you remember the Little Miss Muffet nursery rhyme? She sat on her tuffet eating curds and whey. Whey is produced when you are making cheese. It is the top layer that is separated out. This is a pure kind of protein that has many benefits to the body, especially for those who are trying to build muscle.

Now whey protein is not just for body builders. Muscle is important at all stages of life. To help muscles recover from a workout, whether cardio or a strength training routine, it needs protein for the repair and rebuild. Whey protein provides the most branched-chain amino acids for optimum return.

Well, you might be saying that protein is not hard to come by and you’d be right. Of all the nutrients in your diet, protein is the one that is most often not lacking. You find protein in many sources: meat, dairy, eggs, green leafy vegetables and seafood. But, the quality of protein is what differs. Animal protein contains a measure of fat as well as the protein.

What are some other benefits of whey? Think about how hard it is to lose weight. As you age, it doesn’t get any easier. Whey protein as a daily protein source can help with that.

Adding protein at every meal helps to balance your blood sugar. It eases those cravings for sweets and other unhealthy foods in the middle of the day. Your blood sugar is more even, just like eating complex carbs but without the added sugar intake. You can concentrate on eating healthier and getting the exercise you need to increase your weight loss.

Cons

There is a downside to just about everything. As far as whey protein goes, it may be the intake. The average intake is about 25 grams a day for the average athlete or person working out consistently who wants to lose weight and tone their muscles. Bodybuilders increase that six-fold to make great muscle gains in the least amount of time.

Consuming too much protein can cause problems with the liver. It will have a hard time breaking it down. If you use whey protein, use it wisely and compensate by lowering other protein sources in your diet.

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Volumetrics and Fat Resistance diets

Volumetrics, the diet of more food and more weight loss, which focuses on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and the Fat Resistance Diet, the diet of counting 1, 2, 3 to lose weight, which includes foods high in carotenoids, flavonoids, fresh herbs and spices. Weight loss does not mean to stop eating at all. It is more a change of habits and the food that encourages weight loss it is also healthy. There are different strategies to induce people to eat better and lose weight at the same time, both the Volumetrics and the Fat Resistance Diet seem to encourage good habits, so it could be worth to give one of them a try, if it suits your lifestyle.

Volumetrics, the diet of more food and more weight loss

The Volumetrics Eating Plan is based on the simple fact that people like to eat. And, if people are given the choice between eating more and eating less, they’ll take more almost every time. It has been burned into our society and culture. Just look at meal sizes over the last thirty years and you will notice that not only have the portions increased, the size of the plate has increased too.

Unlike diets that are based on deprivation, the Volumetrics diet doesn’t try to fight this natural preference. Its creator, nutritionist Barbara Rolls, PhD, argues that limiting your diet is not sustainable; you will just wind up hungry and unhappy and revert back to your original eating habits. Let’s take a look at the basics of the Volumetrics Eating Plan.

The Volumetrics approach

The approach Dr. Rolls takes is to help people find food they can eat lots of while still losing weight. The diet revolves around the feeling of fullness, or satiety. The theory is that people feel full based on the amount of food they eat, not the number of calories or nutrient density.

So, the trick is to fill up on foods that aren’t full of calories, which allows the dieter to stick to the main principle of calorie restriction. Dr. Rolls claims that in some cases, following a Volumetrics diet will allow you to eat more than you do now, while still slimming down.

Dr. Rolls has excellent credentials. She a professor of nutrition and director of the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at Penn State University. She is also the author of more than 200 research articles. Volumetrics is based, in large part, on the work done in her laboratory.

What you can eat on the Volumetrics Diet

Since the diet doesn’t revolve around differences in body types or “good” foods and “bad” foods, Dr. Rolls doesn’t ban food types as part of the Volumetrics diet. She does, however, urge people to evaluate foods based on their energy density which is a critical concept for the diet.

Energy density is the number of calories in a specified amount of food. Some foods are more energy dense than others, like fats, which have a lot of calories packed into a small size. Water, on the other hand, has an energy density of zero.

Basically, this diet is a game to see how you can eat more food while eating fewer calories. Here is a short break down to give you some idea of what Volumetrics is all about.

Very low-density foods include: Non-starchy vegetables – Nonfat milk – Soup broths

Very high-density foods include: Crackers – Chips – Cookies – Chocolate and Candies – Nuts – Butter and Oils

Since water is the ultimate zero-density food, Volumetrics relies heavily on foods with a high water content, such as many vegetables and fruits, which are 80 to 95 percent water. These will fill you up without adding a lot of calories. Dr. Rolls also suggests eating lots of foods with filling fiber, along with adequate portions of lean protein and healthy fats from fish and other sources. Of course, energy-dense foods, like sweets, fats, and alcohol, are still allowed, but only in moderation.

Is Volumetrics the diet for you?

Anyone who loves lots and lots of food, will enjoy the Volumetrics diet. You will still have to do some simple math to calculate the energy density of foods, but at least you don’t have to track calories or deny yourself a small bite of that delicious chocolate mousse. If endless bowls of soup and piles of veggies and fruit appeal to you, dig into Volumetrics and watch the weight come off.

The Fat Resistance Diet, count 1 2 3 to weight loss

The Fat Resistance Diet was developed by Dr.Leo Galland who is recognized as an expert in the field of nutritional medicine. It is based on the concept that hormones, which include leptin and adiponectin, control the appetite and body fat levels in the body. When fat levels become too high in the body, inflammation occurs that subsequently alters the body chemistry and balance of these hormones. The idea behind the diet is to reduce inflammation which restores the body’s chemistry, reducing cravings, promoting fat burning, and helping the dieter to achieve a healthy weight.

3 stages of weight loss and control

There are three stages to the Fat Resistance Diet. In the initial stages carbohydrates such as grains and starchy vegetables are avoided, but as the dieter progresses through the three stages the amount of carbohydrates is gradually reintroduced.

Stage 1 concentrates on reducing inflammation and restoring blood sugar levels. This is achieved by an abundance of super foods and nine to ten servings of fruit and vegetables every day along with a relatively high intake of quality protein. The high nutritional quality of the this phase will help to re-balance body chemistry and cut your cravings for carbohydrates. This stage also provides a jump-start to the fat loss process.

Stage 2 increases your choice of foods so that the diet is suitable for long-term fat loss. After completing Stage 1, the insulin levels in the body should have decreased which allows for tolerance of more complex carbohydrates in the diet. Stage 2 allows for reintroduction of legumes as well as some whole grains such as oatmeal and brown rice.

Stage 3 is the maintenance stage. In this stage the variety of foods increase further to include healthy grain-based meals like carrot raisin muffins, blueberry flax pancakes, and even whole grain pasta. The inflammation reducing foods are still emphasized while the caloric content of the diet is slightly higher to allow for maintenance of weight loss.

Recommended foods

The foundation of the diet is fresh fruit and vegetables in abundance, as these contain phytonutrients such as carotenoids and flavonoids which act as anti-inflammatories.

Foods which are high in carotenoids include: carrots, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, pumpkin, papaya

Foods which are high in flavonoids include: blueberries, cherries, pomegranate, citrus fruit, dark grapes, green tea, onions, dark chocolate

Fresh herbs and spices can also be used during the diet because they have important nutritional factors which reduce inflammation and improve the taste of foods without adding calories.

The diet also emphasizes increasing the intake of foods that are high in good fats like the Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish, walnuts, flaxseeds and dark green leafy vegetables. These fats play an important role in reducing inflammation as well as improving general health.

Is this the diet for you?

The Fat Resistance Diet is a solid weight loss plan based on nutritional science. Besides losing weight, this diet has an added bonus of helping to reduce inflammation within the body and supplying high levels of antioxidants to help control hormones and keep your body healthy and happy. If you like the idea of a diet plan based on scientific study, you might want to give the Fat Resistance Diet a try.

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Are you an emotional overeater?

By Andrea Metcalf, nationally renowned exercise expert, Certified Personal Trainer, and Author of Naked Fitness: The Proven 28 Day Lifestyle Program for a Slimmer, Fitter, Pain Free Body.

Take this short quiz to find out. Tick on Yes or No.

I turn to food when I’m sad, disappointed, or lonely.    
I often eat past the point of fullness.    
When I’m upset, I crave sweets or salty snack foods.    
When I go to parties or dine out with friends, I tend to overeat.    
If I eat too much, I feel guilty afterwards.    
I eat more than I should when I’m home alone or bored.    
My moods have the biggest influence on when and how I eat.    
I like to nurture family and friends with food.    
I think about food a lot.    
I am unhappy with my weight, but I overeat anyway.    
Eating is my favorite activity.    
I tend to clean my plate; I don’t like to waste food.    
I binge habitually.    
The large amount of food I eat embarrasses me.    
Sugary foods tend to calm me down.    

Scoring

Count up your yeses and your noes.

If you answered yes to eight or more questions: Your feelings of anger, frustration, loneliness, sadness, boredom, or even happiness might be causing you to overeat. And you are probably an emotional overeater. You may be eating too much or eating chaotically, but what you are really feeding is something in your life: relationship problems, broken dreams, financial worries, or problems at work. Try the strategies in this chapter, but don’t be afraid to seek professional help.

If you answered yes to four to seven questions: You may be struggling with some emotions from time to time. You are a borderline emotional overeater. At this point, it will be easier to get your eating habits under control by applying some of the strategies in this chapter.

If you circled three or fewer yeses:

The above is an excerpt from the book Naked Fitness: The Proven 28 Day Lifestyle Program for a Slimmer, Fitter, Pain Free Body by Andrea Metcalf. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

© 2010 Andrea Metcalf, author of Naked Fitness: The Proven 28 Days Lifestyle Program for a Slimmer, Fitter, Pain Free Body.

A simple quizz.

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Vacuum sealers

Many people swear by vacuum sealers while others detest them to the utmost degree.

The question arises…

Are vacuum sealers worth it?

From the infomercials seen on TV, to the shelves of clearance items at your local general store, vacuum sealers are all over the place declaring their superiority over simple human packaging. Has the thought ever crossed your mind; “Are vacuum sealers really worth their high price and cheep looking design?” Well, if it has, you are in luck because we are going to take a look at what makes a good vacuum sealer and if they are really worth all of the hype.

Sealing mechanism

It doesn’t matter how much air a vacuum sealer can suck out of a package. If the mechanism used to seal the package does not work properly or leaves holes in the seal, you might as well have thrown your money into a fire. Some vacuum sealers have specialized bags that work specifically with the sealer to make sure the sealing mechanism doesn’t cause holes or tares.

The sealer works by slightly heating up the sides of the bag and pressing them together in order to melt the plastic to a point where no holes occur. Some sealers get too hot and end up burning through the plastic, creating possible entry points for air. When choosing a vacuum sealer, usually the ones with specifically designed bags work best because the plastic is composed of the exact make-up needed to prevent melting or holes.

Suction

Just like melted bags, a vacuum sealer is completely pointless if it doesn’t do what it says it will do; vacuum. Some of the sealers on the market today, either because they are poorly powered or do not have the best hardware, have extremely low amounts of suction for their intended use.

There is, of course, a flip side to this situation, which is a vacuum sealer with too much power behind the vacuum. When there is too much suction, the food inside the pouch can actually become crushed. Another problem with a lot of suction is that food can become partially dehydrated, which we discussed, leads to an increased chance for freezer burn. It is important to look for a vacuum sealer, which can control the amount of suction it puts on a piece of food as to not demolish it.

Worth it?

As many variables as vacuum sealers can have, it is not worth investing the money unless you do some serious research first and are willing to give up a few green ones in place of the Ziploc and straw method. If you have the time and patience, you could try numerous ones out to see if the work well, but you can get the same freezer results if you take the time to correctly package your foods.

In the end, it is eventually up to you alone whether you want to spend the money on the vacuum sealer, just remember to check for holes in your bags and also to initially freeze your bagged food to keep it from getting destroyed and helping to prevent freezer burn.

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The Sneaky Chef’s Earth Day recipes

The Sneaky Chef workshops, promoted by Missy Chase Lapine, is a program of recipes, cooking classes and demonstrations that teach families how to eat healthier.


Sneaky Chef brainy brownies 
Makes about 30 kid-sized brownies

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Purple Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe below)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Flour Blend (equal parts white flour, whole grain flour, and wheat germ)
1/4 cup rolled oats, ground in a food processor
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Butter or non-stick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter or spray only the bottom, not the sides, of a 13-by-9-inch or 9-inch square baking pan.

Melt the butter and chocolate chips together in a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water (or in a microwave, checking every 15 seconds). Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool a bit. Meanwhile, in another bowl, stir together the eggs, vanilla, sugar, and Purple Puree. Combine this purple egg mixture with the cooled chocolate mixture. In a mixing bowl, stir together Flour Blend, cocoa powder, oats, and salt. Add this to the chocolate mixture and blend thoroughly. Mix in the chopped walnuts, if using, then pour the entire mixture into the baking pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in pan before cutting the brownies and use a plastic or butter knife. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Keeps for a week in the refrigerator, covered tightly.


Sneaky Chef make-ahead recipe: Purple puree

3 cups raw baby spinach leaves (or 2 cups frozen chopped spinach, or frozen chopped collard greens)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (no syrup or sugar added)
1/2  teaspoon lemon juice
1-2  tablespoons water

If using raw spinach, thoroughly wash it, even if the package says “prewashed.” Bring spinach or collards and water to boil in a medium pot. Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. If using frozen blueberries, quickly rinse them under cold water to thaw a little, and then drain.

Fill the bowl of your food processor with the blueberries and cooked spinach, (or collards) along with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of water, and puree on high until as smooth as possible. Stop occasionally to push top contents to bottom. If necessary, use a second tablespoon of water to make a fairly smooth puree.

This amount of spinach and blueberries makes only about 1 cup of puree. Double the recipe if you want to store another cup of the puree. It will store in the refrigerator up to 2 days, or you can freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.


You find a few sample recipes from the cookbook The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals by Missy Chase Lapine, former publisher of Eating Well magazine and the founder of a natural baby product line Baby Spa®. We thought they might be of some interest to you.

From the author of The Sneaky Chef

© Missy Chase Lapine


Earth Day milk shake
Makes 2 servings

2 cups vanilla low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt
4 to 6 tablespoons Green Juice (See Make-Ahead Recipe below)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Serve in tall glasses with a quick squirt of whipped cream and a straw.

Sneaky Chef make-ahead recipe: Green juice

3 cups raw baby spinach leaves (or 2 cups frozen chopped spinach, or frozen chopped collard greens)
1 cup water

If using raw spinach, thoroughly wash it, even if package says “prewashed.” Bring spinach or collards and water to boil in a medium pot. Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into a fine mesh strainer over a container or bowl, pressing the green “pulp” with the back of a spoon until all the liquid is released.

Store in refrigerator up to 3 days, or freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers. This makes about 1 cup of Green juice. Double the recipe if you want to store another cup of juice.

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Buying a spice rack

Spice racks are an integral part of keeping the kitchen organized.

If you’re unhappy with the current way you store spices, consider what to look for when buying a spice rack. These tips will help you find the best spice rack for your kitchen and your budget.

What to look for when buying a spice rack

Three of the most important things to look for when considering spice racks are what types are best for your home, how much space do they require and how much will they cost you

There are a variety of types of spice racks. You can get some that are magnetic. They can be hung on any metal surface which will keep them handy while you cook. Carousel spice racks require more space than the magnetic kind, but they often hold more of the spice for the amount of space it needs. Hanging spice racks will keep spices up off your cabinet but they often don’t hold the amount of spices as other types.

Next you’ll want to consider how much space you have in your kitchen. If you have plenty of counter space, a carousel rack might be the perfect choice. However, if your kitchen is smaller than you would like with minimal counters, one of the other types would be a better choice.

Finally, you’ll want to consider the price of spice racks. There are so many to choose from and they range in price from under $25 to well over $100. Of course, only you know how much you can afford to spend.  You can find some relatively inexpensive spice racks at local department stores or larger malls. They can also be found online at a variety of locations. Consider how much you are willing to spend and then find the best rack to meet your budget.

Features to consider when shopping for a spice rack

  • Number of jars – Spice racks will have a different number of filled and sealed spice jars included. Look at the pre-filled spices and think about foods you normally prepare. This will help you decide which spice rack is going to suit your needs best.
  • Easily identifiable – You’ll want to find a spice rack that makes it easy to identify which spice is which since so many look similar. This may be possible either by a label on the cap or around the jar itself.
  • Amount of spices – Most spice racks provide some spices in the jars or containers. The better spice racks will have more jars of pre-filled spices. They range in number from four to 48.
  • Construction – Spice racks can be made from anything from plastic to metal and nearly everything in between. Consider the décor of your kitchen to help you decide which spice rack is best for your kitchen.
  • Size – Overall, how much space does it take up on your countertop or in your cabinet? Or does it use non-traditional means to store your spices such as magnets or a hanging rack which can be placed under a cabinet?
  • Rotates – Some spice racks will revolve or rotate to make finding the right spice easier.
  • Easy cleaning – Depending of the construction materials, the spice rack can clean easily.

Making a comparison table is always a good idea when there are many options to choose from.

BrandSpice Stack Super SpicestackKitchenArt Pro Auto-Measure Spice CarouselKamenstein 16-Jar Beechwood
Jar count271216 jars
ConstructionPlasticStainless SteelWooden
RotatesNoYesYes
Size8.5″H x 11″W x 10.75″D9.6 x 9.6 x 7 inches6.6 x 6.6 x 10.9 inches
Spice labelsNoYesYes/Pre-filled

Now that you have seen some of the types of spice racks available, determined how much you’re willing to spend and how much space it will take in your kitchen, you have the tools you need to choose the best spice rack to suit your needs.