After working with The Berman Group, I am in control of my diabetes. My A1C went from 7.7 to 6.7 and my meds were cut in half.

Jackie, Age 62

How to focus on healthful eating and activity when fighting the winter blues?

March 5, 2015  |  Leave a Comment

It is really hard to focus on healthful eating and activity during this brutal winter. However I find shifting goals imperative to help conquer this perceived monumental task. With activity we experience a rush of endorphins and a rise in serotonin, moving our bodies is overtly a mood lifter. So how is this accomplished when we do not seem to be able to get to the gym as often as we like because of the weather? Turn up the radio, dance for 20 -25 minutes or purchase a DVD that only runs for 25 minutes but provides you with a great workout. You can also map out a course in your house and walk it while listening to music . Find something you like to do and aim to move your body at least 4 x a week.
Since we are stuck in more LETS COOK MORE, cook more weigh less. A recent study found that people who made dinner 6 or 7 nights a week ate an average of 137 fewer calories, 3 g less fat, and 16 g less sugar DAILY than those who cooked once weekly or not at all. This is not a shock, restaurant portions are supersized, carb packed, loaded with sodium and fat. Those who cook more often also ate fewer calories when they did dine out indicating healthy habits do carry over. The savings daily of calories adds up at the end of the week and Bam you have a weight loss. With healthful eating and activity the winter blues can be a distant memory and remember spring is around the corner :)

Holiday Tips

December 18, 2013  |  Leave a Comment

People who are trying to change their lifestyle may experience stress and anxiety about food during the holiday season.  By following these tips you can eliminate those nerve racking feelings and enjoy the time with family and friends.

If you are the host, reduce the fat and calories in recipes without anyone even knowing:

  • When using eggs, replace one whole egg with two egg whites.
  • For mashed potatoes use low-sodium fat-free chicken broth instead of butter or margarine.
  • If you’re making muffins or breads substitute applesauce for margarine, butter or oil. 
  • Use fat-free Greek yogurt for dips, sauces and pie toppings.
  • Choose reduced fat or low fat cheeses for salads and casseroles.

If you are a guest:

  • Offer to bring a dish.  Make this dish one that you will enjoy without having feelings of guilt. 
  • Eat throughout the day leading up to your party.  You don’t want to arrive to a party feeling ravenous. 
  • Don’t rush to eat once you get there.
  • Socialize and settle in.  Keep your socializing away from the food to minimize unconscious snacking. 
  • Eat slowly, enjoy what you are eating. 
  • Most importantly, do not think in the “all-or-nothing” mindset.  Depriving yourself of your favorite holiday food or feeling guilty when you do enjoy it, is not a healthful eating strategy.  Enjoy in moderation!

 

Incorporating Intuitive Eating in Holiday Festivities

November 27, 2013  |  Leave a Comment

With Thanksgiving around the corner, the holiday season is about to start with traditional food and celebrations. From homemade eggnog to sweet potato pie, everyone looks forward to seasonal specialties. The concepts of Intuitive Eating are useful throughout the year including the holidays.

Some guidelines to keep in mind while enjoying holiday foods this season:

  • Eat when you are hungry. Saving up all of your calories for your holiday meal leads to overeating once dinner hits the table. Before family and friends join, whip up a small snack, such as toasted pumpkin seeds. Boil the seeds in a pot of salted water for 10 minutes; drain, spread on a baking sheet, toss with 1 tsp. olive oil and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until the seeds are toasty brown and enjoy.
  • Eat what satisfies you. Incorporate your favorite foods in small but plentiful bites, making your plate colorful with what you enjoy. If you want to bring something new to the table, try a Ricotta and Butternut Squash dip with your choice of bread or veggies on the side. Mix ¾ cup of butternut squash puree into ¾ cup part-skim ricotta. Fry a handful of sage leaves in 2 tablespoons of margarine until it has browned, stir into mixture. Season with salt and a pinch of brown sugar and serve.
  • Stop when you are full. The common “food coma” after Thanksgiving does not have to take place at the dinner table. Listen to your body’s cues and take a relaxing break once you feel satisfied. On a scale of 1 to 10 in fullness, aim for about a 7. After that point, food does not taste as good and will not leave room for dessert.
  • Appreciate your body as it is now. Don’t take the holidays as an “all or nothing” approach if you do over-consume realize no one meal or snack will do you in. Good health is a lifelong process, and does not begin or end at special occasions. A good tip for the holidays is to not weigh or measure your food. Shift your focus to what the holiday is about, which is family and a meal that is truly satisfying. 

Nutritional Guidelines to Prevent Breast Cancer

October 10, 2013  |  Leave a Comment

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  In order to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer it’s important to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.  Excess weight may lead to elevated levels of estrogen which is stored in body fat and may be involved in the development of breast cancer. 

Exercise regularly.  Aim for 45 minutes of exercise 3 times a week. 

Watch the amount and type of fat you eat.  Try to limit total fat intake to less than 30% of daily calories in order to help prevent breast cancer.  Limit saturated fat, found in marbled meat, margarine and high fat dairy products.  Choose unsaturated fats such as nuts, seed, avocados, and olive oil. 

Incorporate 5 fruits and vegetables a day.  Fruits and veggies provide phytonutrients and antioxidants which help prevent cellular damage throughout the body.  Try cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.  Studies show these vegetables inhibit growth of breast cancer cells.

Limit alcohol to 3 drinks per week.  Alcohol may raise estrogen levels and decrease the body’s ability to use folic acid. 

Keep hydrated.  Consume a minimum of 64oz of water or clear liquids a day.  Stick to bottled or filtered water, no tap water.

Limit meats cooked at high temperatures.  Cooking meats at high temperatures produces chemicals called heterocyclic amines, which have been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers.  Marinate your meat before cooking it, it helps to lessen heterocyclic amines formation.   It is recommended to limit your intake of red meat all together, no more than once a week. 

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to several cancers.  It is recommended to eat plenty of vitamin D rich foods such as salmon, sardines, fortified milk, yogurt and cheese.  A supplement may be necessary. 

Phytoestrogens are similar to the hormone estrogen found in our bodies.  The most widely studied group of phytoestrogens are isoflavones, present in high concentrations in soy products such as soy beans, tofu, tempeh and soy milk.  A moderate amount of soy can be part of a healthy diet, particularly in premenopausal women.  After menopause, when estrogen levels are low, phytoestrogens may boost estrogen and be harmful to women.  The topic of phytoestrogens remains controversial.

Do your part and spread the word on how to promote breast health!

School lunches

September 17, 2013  |  Leave a Comment

School is here. Mornings may have become more hectic so it’s important to plan ahead when it comes to packing lunch.  Keep in mind that many students don’t have access to refrigeration so it’s important to keep your child’s lunch packed safely so food does not spoil.  Pack lunch in an insulated bag with an ice pack.  If you are unable to pack perishable items safely, be sure to pack foods that do not require a refrigerator such as trail mix, granola bars, carrot and celery sticks, whole fruit, dried fruit, applesauce and whole-grain crackers with peanut butter.  Include whole grain breads, low-fat or fat-free dairy options, lean meats and proteins, fruits and vegetables for balanced meals. 

 

10 tips to boost fitness motivation

September 17, 2013  |  Leave a Comment

It is hard to build up the motivation to exercise first thing in the morning or after a long day of work. Check out these tips to help motivate yourself to get active.

 Watch an inspirational movie– Who doesn’t love Rocky? These types of movies have scenes that are guaranteed to give you that extra dose of encouragement.

Read some inspirational quotes– To get the most out of this technique write down your favorite citation and constantly add to the list as you find new ones. When you are in need for some fitness motivation, reference the list and let them fire you up.

Ignore setbacks– One bad habit that decreases motivation is focusing on setbacks.  For example completing 4 perfect workouts during the week and one poor or missed workout and the focus becomes that one day.  Instead of doing this  move on , don’t let off days  drag you down. The body bounces back great from a break!

Focus on Success– Celebrate what you have accomplished, by doing this you will develop a more positive mindset and you will find that your fitness drive will be huge.

Create a motivational workout playlist– Music is a powerful motivator. By creating a list of songs that you love it will give you an instant boost of encouragement wherever you are.

Get a workout partner–  If you find it difficult to motivate yourself , find a partner to do it with you. Research shows that exercising with a partner or friend guarantees you will stick with it longer and are less likely to skip a workout.

Choose exercises you enjoy– If you don’t enjoy the exercise you are doing you are less likely to stick with it.  So instead of choosing exercises you think you should be doing, choose ones you find fun and when it’s time to exercise you will find it comes naturally.

Make time to rest and relax– If you are working out to the point of exhaustion, you will find that you will become physically and mentally drained and this has a negative effect on your body. By finding the time to rest and relax you will become more energized.

Reward yourself– Rewards are excellent incentives. Simply rewarding yourself for reaching certain fitness goals is a great way to double your motivation. Take yourself shopping for that dress you always wanted!

Set yourself realistic fitness goals- If your goals are completely unrealistic it is hard to motivate yourself. So when setting your goals make sure you are confident you can achieve them and give yourself a realistic but challenging timeframe . By creating fitness goals this way, you will be geared up to achieve them,  and find it increasingly motivating  as you achieve one at a time.

 

 

 

Fall Recipe

September 17, 2013  |  Leave a Comment

Fall is rapidly approaching and with this season comes all the delicious fall veggies!  Try this recipe for Roasted Fall Vegetables with Lentils…

Ingredients:
•1/2 pound carrots, halved lengthwise
•1 red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
•1 small acorn squash, halved, seeds removed, cut into 1/2-inch slices…
•5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
•Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
•1/2 cup dried French green lentils, rinsed
•1 shallot, halved
•4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
•1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
•1 stalk celery, thinly sliced, plus leaves

Directions:
Heat oven to 425 degrees. On two baking sheets, arrange carrots, onion, and squash; drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast, turning once, until caramelized and tender, about 30 minutes.

Place lentils and shallot in a medium saucepan and cover with water by two inches. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain; discard shallot. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine vinegar and mustard. Pour remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly. Toss lentils and celery with vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Spoon over roasted vegetables. Garnish with celery leaves.

Healthy Detoxing

July 17, 2013  |  Leave a Comment

Don’t resort to quick fix detox programs that can be detrimental to your health. Eliminate some of these common bad habits from your daily life and get on the path to a healthier you:

  • Artificial sweeteners-Studies suggest that regular consumption of artificial sweeteners like aspartame (found in diet sodas) may actually lead to weight gain. Try a sweetener such as Stevia or coconut crystals or agave
  • Skipping Meals- Skipping meals is a major cause of weight gain because it slows your metabolism down. At the end of the day, you will end up consuming way more calories than you would have because ultimately ravenous hunger leads to over eating. Eating every 3-4  hours and packing plenty of snacks with you in case you are on the go will solve this problem.
  • Skimping on Sleep-In our non-stop productive society, sleep often gets shorted. Lack of sleep is a big cause of poor health in our society. Try to eliminate caffeine and alcohol hours before your go to bed, have a regular bed time, avoid large late night meals and ban any electronic devices 2 hours before sleep.
  • Mindless Snacking- Whether it’s at your office desk, in your kitchen with the fridge open, or in front of the TV, chances are you’re in the habit of thinking that those random, unplanned mouthfuls don’t really count. Be sure to have prepackaged or planned out snacks to ensure you aren’t consuming too many calories.
  • Relying on Supplements- Don’t rely on supplements for the nutrients you need, eat whole food such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts to ensure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
  • Slacking on exercise- Exercise can be overwhelming at first, but start with something easy and something that interests you. You’ll have a lot more success planning movement into your current lifestyle rather than trying to totally reformat your day-to-day.
  • Eating too much fast food- Take the time to look around for real food, and you’ll find lots of cheap ways to eat well on the run. There is no need to settle for those calorie dense add ons at fast food restaurants.
  • Slurping Soda- By just eliminating soda from your diet, you will not only eliminate calories and sugar, but additives too. If you need something with a bubble, try seltzer with fruit in it.

 

Fruit Grilling

July 17, 2013  |  Leave a Comment

Grilling in the summer time can be an easy healthy method of cooking. Most people associate barbecues with meats sometimes veggies try grilling  fruit!

Here are some fruit grilling tips to try with your family:

  • Lightly brush fruit with olive or avocado oil to prevent sticking to grill
  • Cut fruit uniformly so all sides cook at the same rate
  • Be careful with soft fruits as they heat up more fast, requiring less cook time.
  • For added favor, brush them with a little sugar and cinnamon for dessert

Happy Grilling!!

Try  this dessert recipe for grilled peaches:

Makes 8 to 16 Servings
Per serving (2 peach halves plus 2 tablespoons yogurt mixture

Ingredients

8 peaches, 2-2/3 inches in diameter
8 ounces plain non-fat yogurt
2 teaspoons honey
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Preparation

Preheat grill or grill pan.

  1. Combine yogurt, honey and cinnamon in a bowl; stir      well. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Cut peaches in half and remove pits.
  3. Place peaches cut side down on grill.
  4. Grill peaches about five minutes (until marks appear      and peaches begin to caramelize). Remove from grill, and cool slightly.
  5. Dip in yogurt mixture.

What’s all the hype about greek yogurt?

July 17, 2013  |  Leave a Comment

What’s all the hype about greek yogurt these days? Greek yogurt has twice the amount of protein as regular light yogurt and packed with probiotics which are great for digestive health. Yogurt and granola has been a staple breakfast food for years, but here are some recipes using greek yogurt that are delicious and out of the ordinary.

Greek Yogurt Pancakes

Yield: Five 4-inch pancakes

Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time :5 Min

Ingredients:

One 5.3-ounce container nonfat Greek Yogurt (any flavor- see *Tips)
1 large egg (or 2 large egg whites)
1/2 cup Gold Medal® All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup fresh blueberries (or 1/2 large banana)

Directions:

1. Mix yogurt and egg in a medium bowl until blended and smooth. Add flour and baking soda and stir until the dry ingredients are mixed in. The batter will be thick.

2. Preheat a griddle or large pan to medium heat. Spray with nonstick spray. Use an ice cream scoop or 1/4 to 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop the batter into the pan. Spread each of the batter scoops into an even circle. Dot blueberries or bananas on top of each pancake. Cook for about 3 minutes or until golden brown, then flip and cook the other side for about 2 minutes, until it is golden brown too. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve with additional fruit and/or syrup.

Tips:

*For blueberry pancakes, use blueberry Greek yogurt and fresh blueberries.
*For banana pancakes, use vanilla or vanilla-honey yogurt and fresh banana.

 

 

Skinny Greek Yogurt Chicken

Ingredients:

4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 cup plain greek yogurt (I used Oikos)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese – grated
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Combine greek yogurt, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, seasoned salt, and pepper in a bowl.
3) Line baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
4) Coat each chicken breast in greek yogurt mixture and place on foiled baking sheet.
5) Bake for 45 minutes.

 

 Pasta with Zucchini, Tomatoes and Creamy Lemon-Yogurt Sauce

Serves 4

8 ounces whole wheat linguine (or your pasta of choice)

1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 medium (8-ounce) zucchini, cut into thin strips (3 inches long and 3/4 inch wide, like a big stick of gum)

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook about 9 minutes, or according to the package directions. Remove 1/4 cup of the cooking water, and set it aside. Drain the pasta. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, Parmesan, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, and cook just until wilted, flipping them over occasionally with a spatula. (The zucchini will be soft and somewhat see-through.)
  4. Use a spoon or spatula to push the zucchini aside so a space on the bottom of the pan is clear. Add the garlic, and cook for 15 to 30 seconds, until golden but not really brown.
  5. Mix the garlic into the zucchini.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
  7. Transfer the zucchini mixture to the yogurt mixture, and stir to combine. Add the drained linguine, and toss gently to combine. Add the reserved pasta cooking water a tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to thin it. Divide among four bowls and serve.