Christmas Conundrum: Lose weight while still enjoying holiday parties

Traditional Danish Christmas dinner.

Image via Wikipedia

It’s December 1st and the inevitable time is upon us once again. It’s no surprise to us but each year we act like it’s something we didn’t see coming…What am I talking about? I’m referring to the office Christmas parties, family parties, parties with friends, random Christmas cookies brought into the office, the wine, the eggnog and so on and so forth. We knew this time of year was coming and just like the old tale of The Ant & The Grasshopper, each year we arrive at this point unprepared and ill equipped to face the next 30 days of foodie paradise.

This year, why not arm yourself with a few tools to help you keep that waistline trim and survive those Christmas parties without doing too much damage? Staying slim during the holiday season doesn’t mean you have to become an antisocial recluse, it simply means that you have to be smart about your choices.

The first step in surviving the holiday party is to make sure you attend the party after you’ve had a little food; preferably something high in fiber. Not only will this be slow digesting, keeping your insulin levels steady, but it will give you a slightly full feeling. By no means should you attend a Christmas party on an empty stomach unless you’re on a “Seefood Diet” and no I didn’t spell seafood wrong for all you nitpickers. My point is that when you have an empty stomach you’ll see food and most likely eat with your eyes.  Have you ever heard that phrase, “your eyes are too big for your stomach”? Well situations like these where you eat too much too fast, leave you feeling like a Burmese Python that just consumed a goat, barely able to move and needing a week to digest.

Ok so now that you’re at the party…”put down that massive plate”. Ok, so now that we’re at the party go for the small plate and don’t load it up. Sample a few items, but choose the healthier, lower calorie options first. Move around the party and talk with people. Stand as far away from the food table as possible. This means you have to break your conversation to head back to the food. You don’t want the person you’re talking with to feel like the food table is more important than they are do you? Obviously the food table might be a good out for those times where you’re cornered by someone in the office you can’t stand chatting with or even worse, by your boss, but when going back for seconds choose a few delectable desserts and enjoy (no seconds on these).

Steer clear of the alcohol. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Hey, if weight loss or fat loss is your goal then stop fooling yourself and just cut it out. It’s easier if you nominate yourself the designated driver.

At the end of the night, don’t take anything home except your secret Santa gift. No doggie bags…put the Tupperware down.

Now that you have a game plan, get out there and make it happen this holiday season. If you don’t manage to stick to the game plan this December, then tune in this January as I give you tips for shaking the holiday weight.

Last Minute Holiday Desserts Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Low Fat

Peanut Butter Swirl Banana Bread

We’re closing in on Thanksgiving and you’re still wondering what to prepare for your guests. With such a wide range of guests in attendance, how can we manage to please them all. Here are some simple solutions that will satisfy the sweet tooth of the majority, while catering to fitness junkies and those with diabetes and gluten sensitivities.

For the recipes below I would substitute synthetic sugars for agave or other natural alternatives. Also, you may want to consider quinoa flour instead of oats for a lower glycemic index, higher nutrient dense subsitute.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Ingredients

3 very ripe bananas

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup egg white

3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

3 tablespoons peanut butter

2 cups oats, blended to make it like a flour

3/4 cup Splenda sugar substitute

1 teaspoon baking soda

For the full recipe visit  Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Low Fat Peanut Butter Banana Bread Recipe – Food.com – 296040.

Low Carb Gluten Free Pecan Pie

  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened soy milk (or milk or cream – milk has more carbs, so adjust)
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1 C sugar equivalent from artificial sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon dark molasses (optional)
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon

Click here for the complete recipe


The Real Food Pyramid

Paleo Food Pyramid

Notice anything different about this food pyramid?  This is the Paleo food pyramid. There is a large population of people who believe in the “so called” paleo diet. That is, these people believe that man was not made to live on grains. Now I have a tendency to agree with this philosophy to a certain extent. One reason I agree is because grains were not a main source of food for early humans, especially not refined grains. The amount of refining of grains did not exist then as they do now. Claims of items being “whole grains” are just false half the time. They have been processed to some extent. Ok, why should grains be the base or foundation of a diet as the “so called” experts claim? Well, partially because they get paid to say so. The grain industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and guess what? Grains were great as filler foods, could store for long periods of time, kept people full during the harsh winters and are cheap enough to feed the masses. But why intake refined grains when you can get all the vitamins and nutrients you need from fruits and vegetables, which are REAL whole foods? Cut out the base of your normal pyramid…you’ll watch your body fat melt away…and don’t say but what should I do for carbs. What are fruits and vegetables?

Top 5 Fat Loss Shopping Tips

Example of an American grocery store aisle.

Image via Wikipedia

Hey guys, I know shopping for groceries is difficult sometimes. What should you buy? What shouldn’t you buy? These questions always seem to plague us when grocery shopping. Here are 5 tips to help you better navigate the grocery store.

1. Have a Plan – that’s right. You should have a plan when you enter the grocer. Don’t just go in blindly and expect to come out with the right things. Remember, failure to plan is like planning to fail. You go into the store and forget what you came for. Some advert catches your attention and you get side tracked.  Have an idea of what you want to prepare for that week and write it down. It’s just like your workouts. Plan it…map your success!

2. Go on a Full Stomach – going to the grocery store on an empty stomach can be lethal. Studies have shown that people will buy more food when hungry. Also, we tend to make the wrong decisions on types of foods. This concept is the same for going out to eat. If you go out with some food already in your stomach, you’re less likely to pig out.

3. Take a basket not a cart – This is an important one. Unless you’re shopping for a large family there is no need for a cart. Filling your fridge is just a waist. You’ll end up throwing most things out. Save some cash and save your waste line.

4. Shop more frequently – go for fresher foods. If you shop more frequently you have less of a tendency to load up on packaged goods. Shop for fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. I shop 2 or 3 times per week. I pick up some things to last a week and others to last a day or 2. For example I buy enough apples to last a week whereas I buy enough vegetables for 2 days or so.

5. Shop around the outside – stay away from the middle. There’s nothing in there for you worth consuming. Ok, maybe a few things, but they are specific items and should be mapped out on your trusty plan. Browsing the aisles is what gets us into trouble. We’ll see something that looks like a winner, but really it’s not.

Well, those are my top 5 tips. Try them out…Happy Shopping!

Sugar is My Enemy

Krispy Kreme logo

Image via Wikipedia

How do you feel when you consume sugar? Usually people associate sugar with a feeling of comfort. People reach for some sweet snacks, pastries, etc when feeling down. Sometimes we don’t even realize when or why we reach for sweet foods anymore, we just do. Take a moment and think for a second the next time you reach for that simple sugar. I don’t only mean in the form of cakes, chocolates and candies. When do you crave breads? These are important things to know about your body. If you can start to identify the causes of your cravings then you can start to solve your conundrum of why you cannot lose your body fat. Eating carries a great deal of emotion and sometimes these emotions are buried deep within our brain in some unknown place. It may be as simple as your parents rewarding you with something sweet when you did well. Or this one is my favorite. The nurse or your parents give you something sweet after you got a shot at the hospital as a kid. Guilt by association. We have now associated sugar as a coping mechanism for stress whether it is pain or any form of suffering.

My recommendation is to start a food journal and write down what you eat, how you felt before eating it and how you felt afterwards. Then also how you felt an hour afterwards. This will tell you a lot about your food choices and your body’s reaction to the foods you choose. Sugar is the new crack and we’re all addicted to it. I’m not immune to it, but I have identified my reasons and provided solutions for my life. With Krispy Kreme managing to package fried sugar to all of you waiting in 3 hour lines in Bangkok for a box, I see the pharmaceutical companies rubbing their grubby mitts as they wait to sell you on the next diabetes drug to counter the effects. Nothing wrong with having a cheat day or Sunday Meal as we like to call them, but eat with intention and understand what you are ingesting.

Really fast food companies to sugar are what cigarettes are to nicotine…They are simply dispensaries. So, “now you know…and knowing is half the battle.” (GI Joe)

A Sugar Reading List My recent post on sugar got me thinking more seriously about the topic – just as I’ve noticed my stress-related consumption of the poison has taken an upward trend as of late (another topic actually, perhaps a post …). So I raided my local library’s shelves for all the books currently available on sugar (online holds are a great thing) that might help me with this series of posts. Here are a few of them for your consideration. In the coming wee … Read More

via Health Man Blog

Fat Loss Drugs more Harm than Good

OTC weight loss drugs

Another fat loss drug is taken off the shelves in the midst of possible deadly side effects. “Meridia pulled from shelves amidst serious health concerns”

On one hand they tell you that drugs are bad for you. On the other hand they say, well if we make them in our labs then they are good for you. In the red corner we’ve got all the banned and illegal substances and in the other corner we have the “ok” substances because they’ve been approved by the American FDA…at least temporarily. Read more of this post

Have Cake and Eat it too…Well Pie

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...

Image via CrunchBase

The New York times has been doing a series of what they call Recipes for Health in their Fitness & Nutrition section. I was first turned on to these links by a friend of mine in an email he called, “more of that quinoa stuff.” Hey the stuff is good, but apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so. Of course after finally finding it in Asia after years of complete inaccessibility I began to write about it and quite a stir has erupted. If your personal trainer or fitness professional or dietician is not talking to you about Quinoa or has no clue what it is, then you may want to reconsider their services.

Well I digressed a bit, but the point is the New York Times is going ballistic on Quinoa lately. I guess everything happens in cycles. The cool thing though is that they seem to have come up with a couple of gluten free, refined grain free and processed sugar free desserts. If only I had an oven I could get back to my days of baking.

Check  out “For Desserts Without Gluten, Crumbles Take the Cake” and “Peach or Nectarine and Blueberry Crumble, With Quinoa-Oat Topping”

Obesity in Asia Part II; Global Solutions

 

Obesity Campaign Poster

Image by Pressbound via Flickr

 

We all know that the globalization of food and general western ideas is spreading across the world from Africa to South America and Asia. Here in Asia I have watched as numerous fast food companies have developed strong footing in the region, the latest company being Krispy Kreme Donuts which just opened a brand new location in Bangkok’s most famous shopping mega-complex Siam Paragon. The march is on by the fast food giants and they are selling the world on early onset of diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.

The rapid growth of wealth and prosperity in this region coupled with a lack of health initiatives and educational programs has allowed the quick injection of these companies along with their marketing genius.  The kids are recognizably fatter than before. Many long term expatriates have said that they can clearly see the difference in size of Thai people today versus 10 years ago or even 20 years ago. In general the world as a whole lacks proper educational programs and funding to combat the spread of this global phenomenon. Read more of this post

What’s in Your Fridge Part II

We’re revisiting the refrigerator and asking you what else is in your fridge this month? In Bangkok it’s difficult to get Quinoa, but those of you in other regions have no excuse as it’s readily available. But what else should be in your fridge if you’re looking to shed some body fat and lose weight? We’ll take a look at five more items that you may want to consider stocking up on.

  1. Berries – Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are all packed with cancer fighting antioxidants. Not only that, but berries have a lower glycemic index than other fruits so they will not cause such a large spike in insulin levels. This is great for diabetics, but it’s also great for people trying to lose body fat as insulin is related to fat storage in the body. Berries are also packed with loads of fiber.  Fiber is great for intestinal health and helping lower cholesterol levels. Looking for fruit to fill your fridge with then berries is the way to go. Read more of this post

Four Unexpected Food Facts (via Healthy Benefits of Food)

Each day I designate about an hour to scour the web for useful information and research for personal growth as well as to share with others interested in health and fitness. There is a lot of crap out there these days and finding solid information can sometimes be difficult. Digging through all the garbage to come up with useful information can sometimes be a challenge, but in the end it’s well worth it.

There are some great pieces of information that can help you fine tune your workouts, nutrition and help you modify your lifestyle.

I came across this interesting article with four awesome food facts.

Four Unexpected Food Facts Eat fiber, avoid trans-fat, watch your glycemic load … you’ve got the basics down cold. But nutrition science can be wild and woolly, with more surprises than you might expect. Consider: 1. Mushrooms make vitamin D in sunlight. Most people are aware that the human body makes vitamin D in response to sunlight. Less known is the fact that mushrooms, even picked ones, can perform the same feat – which means that eating mushrooms that have been exp … Read More

via Healthy Benefits of Food

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