Tag Archives: healthy snacks

THE MENOPAUSE WEIGHT GAIN MYTH?

Women complain to me about their menopause middle and ask how to get rid of it.  Exercise, good nutrition and sound sleep –  the traits of a healthy lifestyle at any age, are ever more important at middle age.  According to Nancy Clark, author of the upcoming new edition of the best-selling Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook (Human Kinetics, November 2013), women do not always gain weight during menopause. “Yes, women aged 45 to 50 commonly gain weight as fat settles in and around the abdominal area,” Clark says. “But, these changes are due more to lack of exercise and a surplus of calories than to a reduction of hormones.”

STAY ACTIVEPilates ball exercise
In a three-year study of more than 3,000 women (initial age 42 to 52 years), the average weight gain was 4.6 pounds. The weight gain occurred in all women, regardless of their menopause status. According to Clark, weight gain is not caused by the hormonal shifts of menopause, but by other culprits associated with midlife. That is lack of exercise and excess calories.

Middle age women (and men) tend to be less active which is especially unhealthful as we age.  We need to keep our muscles strong and flexible for many reasons: better balance, good bone mass, and for weight control.

more muscle = faster metabolism = increased calorie burn

FORGET DIETS AND EXTREME EXERCISE – GO FOR JOY
You’ve probably dieted a gazillion times by now, has it led to permanent weight loss or are you dieting several times year?  That ought to tell you something about how effective that approach is.  There is no magic bullet when it comes to food or fitness.

What does work is eating fresh, whole foods that are nutrient dense. That is foods that pack a lot nutrition for the amount of calories – think apple vs pretzels.  They may have the same calories but your body gets more satisfaction out of that apple.

Choose movement that you enjoy.  If you like boxing – great! Weight-lifting, Pilates?  Perfer bike riding to dancing?  Do what feels good.  Mix up some resistance training with activities that increase your heart rate enough so that you can talk but not sing while you are doing it and you’ve got a good aerobic pace.

exercise 3 – 5x/wk for at least 30-minutes.

Once you experience how good it feels to live in a strong, fit and healthy body, you’ll want to keep it that way.  You only have one body, one life.  It is mostly up to you how you’re going to feel in it.  Of course, you’ll probably reduce or get rid of the menopause middle too.  That’s just the bonus.  Feeling great in your own skin is the real prize.

Love,
JoAnn

THE MIGHTY MUSHROOM

There has been much ado about eating colorful produce for health.  While it’s true that deep color is an indicator of phytonutrients; that might lead you to believe mushrooms, especially the white button variety, may pale in nutritional comparison.  Not so. Turns out mushrooms are a very good source of a number of nutrients for example, selenium. They contain more of this immune-enhancing mineral than any other form of produce. They are also a good source of B vitamins, including riboflavin and pantothenic acid.

Read more about how vitamins and minerals perform mini miracles in your body in The Essential Guide to  Healthy and Healing Foods, a book I co-authored with R.D. Victoria Shanta Retelny. 

WHAT’S INSIDE THE WHITE
The button is the most widely available and least expensive mushroom variety.  Research published in the Society of Chemical Industry’s Journal of Food and Agriculture cites that the humble white has as much anti-oxidant properties as its more expensive rivals, the maitake and the matsutake mushrooms – both of which are highly prized in Japanese cuisine for their healthful benefits including lowering blood pressure and their suggested ability to fight cancer. Mushrooms are also the only veggie with vitamin D.  About five white button mushrooms provides 15 IU of D (or 4% of the daily recommended value).

Check out this cast-iron mushroom recipe to get all the mushroom benefits plus iron!

Farmers markets and produce aisles will soon be bursting with blueberries, tomatoes and the ubiquitous white mushroom.  Eat to your heart’s content. Then freeze some to enjoy in smoothies and stir-fry.

For more information on how to freeze food, check out the recipe section of The Green City Market.   In Chicago, this market dedicated to local and organic farmers is now open.

Enjoy!

JoAnn

Have Your Chips and Eat Them Too!

Want to satisfy that craving for salty crunchy snacking without eating oil laden, high fat, calorie-rich potato chips?  Well, if you tried rice cakes and felt like you were eating puffed air,  have I got a tip for you:

shop for snacks in the diabetic aisle

Don’t have diabetes you say?  Doesn’t mean you can’t gain the benefits of specially formulated snacks that are designed to be low calorie and nutrient dense (meaning you get high nutrition for relatively low calories).

Extend Crisps for example are:

  • high in fiber – so they break down more slowly in your body and help control hunger
  • high in protein – 7 grams in most single packs,  giving you more sustained energy
  • no cholesterol, no transfats, little to no sugar and gluten-free
  • low in glycemic index and load – again helping to stabilize blood sugar and keep your energy even keel
  • low calorie – about 130 per bag
  • great taste – REALLY chose from BBQ honey, white cheddar and zesty ranch

I stumbled upon these at the local Walgreens for $1.59.  I was surprised at how good they tasted.  The protein comes from mainly from soy.  And I’ve got to say, they really did satisfy my snack attack and my hunger.  Give ‘um a try and let me know what you think!

Snack Happy!

JoAnn

www.joannmilpilates.com