A delicious, health fitness shake recipe with skim milk, banana, yogurt, wheat germ, vanilla and sweetener to keep the sugar down. All nicely spiced with cinnamon. Bananas have lots of potassium and can give flagging energy levels a boost.
2 cups skim milk
2 medium-size ripe bananas, cut into l-inch pieces
1/2 cup fat-free plain or *banana yogurt
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/3 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 packets sweetener or 1/3-cup measurable sweetener of choice
Ground cinnamon (optional)
Process all ingredients, except cinnamon, in blender or food processor until smooth. Pour into glasses and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
Recipe makes four (8-ounce) servings.
Notes: *For a more intense banana flavor, go with the banana yogurt. To mute the banana flavor a bit, use the plain yogurt.
The ground cinnamon is optional, but recommended. It pairs tastefully with the banana flavor and adds a healthy sweet spice taste.
any severe restriction of food or calories that’s temporary.
Conventional diets usually call for low calorie consumption:
800 to 1200 or less for women.
1500 to 1800 or less for men.
The Foils of Starvation
When you starve your body, your body begins to fight back by conserving energy — it slows down your metabolic rate, which in turn slows down fat loss.
Starving also forces your body to start cannibalizing muscle tissue for use as an energy source. This leads to a loss of muscle tone and shape. After time on a starvation diet, you will also become irritable, reduce mental focus and grow tired and weak. Your health becomes compromised and your immune system will be impaired due to an inadequate amount of health-promoting nutrients in your system. After a time, you will most likely binge and end up gaining all the pounds back only this time it is all fat, and usually more of it, too. Every time you go through this process, your metabolism is slower than ever because during the last episode, muscle was burned for energy. Thus, you have to eat even fewer calories to reduce pounds — you see the pattern?
Of course, if you proceed to restrict calories, you will lose weight. So, on the surface, it may sound simple. Just enter starvation mode and you can lose weight! But no one likes to walk around with a rumbling tummy all day. There are other major problems with this simplistic approach.
When you lose weight from starvation you’re unlikely to keep the weight off over an extended period of time.
When you do lose weight this way, most of the weight lost is actually from your muscle mass, not fat.
When you re-gain weight, it’s highly likely to be gained as fat (unless you’re on a kick butt weight lifting regime), replacing the muscle you lost in point 1.
The National Institute of Health says there are over 100 million Americans over weight. That equates to over 55 percent of the population. The Center for Disease Control reports a steady increase through the years in people considered clinically obese. Clinically obese is defined at least 30 percent over ideal body weight). These stats tell us that dieting alone just isn’t working.
The good news for you today is, diets fail. The human body is created with defense mechanisms that protect you from starvation. It’s physiologically impossible to permanently lose body fat with a low calorie diet. When your wonderfully made human body senses a food shortage, your defense mechanisms kick in to protect it. This is good news because it means you can just kick calorie restricting diets to the curb.
At this point we must note that there are situations in which calorie restriction is necessary or helpful. Whether or not this would apply to you is something you would have to ask your physician about; we are not qualified to assess that on an individual basis. Also, one area being researched is in the elderly. Studies are suggesting that as we become senior citizens, some calorie restriction may prolong the aging process.
The Human Defense Mechanism
Our body’s weight-regulating mechanism recognizes starvation and decreases energy expenditure to protect you.Â This survival mechanism is known as the starvation response. In a nutshell, your body senses that it’s deprived of calories and consequently reacts as if to say, “It looks like this is all the food we’re going to be getting for a while, so we’d better stop burning so many calories and start saving energy“. Your body does this so it can survive longer on the smaller amount of food it’s being fed.
BUT – while starvation mode can save our lives, it wasn’t meant to be a permanent lifestyle. Our bodies let us know this if it continues too long.
Your body cannot tell the difference between dieting and starvation. Period.
Drastically cutting calories will ALWAYS send your body into the eventually dangerous starvation mode.
Why dangerous? There are many “side effects” of calorie restrictive dieting but the very first and very worst is that your metabolic rate will decline. Other repercussions on your body include:
Loss of muscle.
Increased fat storage.
Decrease in fat burning ability.
Decreased thyroid output.
Increased chance of gaining weight.
Fasting Can be Risky
Fasting could cause dehydration and dangerously low blood sugar levels, which can make you pass out. If you’re otherwise healthy and still drink water, 100 percent fruit juice, and no calorie beverages, you probably won’t suffer health consequences if you fast for only a day or two, or one day at a time every once in a while (not twice a week). But get your doctor’s OK first, and know that most of the weight lost will be water and muscle, not fat. Our advice: Forget fasting and make small changes you can live with for a lifetime.
Whatever choice you make in your journey to weight loss, always remember the good news – you not only need not, but should not starve yourself.
Want to lose weight but are confused by numerous books that promise the latest diet breakthroughs? Here are some tips from the American Heart Association (AHA) that can help you recognize a fad diet.
Say NO to a fad diet that advocates the following.
Magic or miracle foods. Foods don’t burn or melt fat away. There are no foods that can undo the long term effects of overeating and lack of activity.
Very Rapid weight loss. Sound weight loss plans aim for losing no more than one to two pounds per week. Studies show that gradual weight loss increases your success for keeping it off permanently. There is no fad diet that can accomplish this.
No exercise. Simple activities like walking or riding a bike are important tools to losing and maintaining weight loss. Yet a fad diet won’t emphasize these easy changes. An increase in any daily activities that fit your lifestyle will help you to burn more calories.
Bizarre quantities. Foods that are emphasized or others not allowed, such as unlimited amounts of cabbage soup or grapefruit.Â Avoiding dairy or carbohydrate rich foods, should raise concern. Forbidding certain foods or entire food groups, in addition to being unhealthy, may increase the likelihood that you will cheat, binge or just give up on the diet.
Specific food combinations – Eating the wrong combination of foods does not cause them to produce toxins or turn to fat. There is no scientific proof that combining specific foods enhances weight loss.
Rigid menus – Limiting food choices and adhering to specific eating times is a daunting, unpleasant task. Rather, look for a plan that you can realistically follow for a lifetime. One that emphasizes a variety of grain foods, vegetables, fruits, lean meats and low-fat dairy products.
Experts agree that a healthy diet involves eating a variety of foods and keeping your fat intake to 30-percent or less of your total calories. Easier said than done? We will take a look at how simple it really is. But first, a word about fat.
All fats contain nine calories per gram, more than twice the calories in proteins and carbohydrates. One teaspoon of fat contains about 45 calories.
But not all fats are created equal. Fats can come from both animals and plants. Animal sources of fat are found in meat, poultry, fish, whole-milk dairy products, egg yolks, butter and lard. Plant sources of fat are found in shortening, margarine, nuts and vegetable oils.
Hidden fats (fats you may not see) are found in meat, poultry, fish, nuts and whole-milk dairy products, as well as in prepared foods and bakery products.
Unsaturated fats primarily come from plant sources.
Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature (unlike saturated fats, which usually are hard).
Polyunsaturated fat is found in oils such as corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean and cottonseed. These oils, and foods made with them, tend to lower cholesterol levels when used in place of saturated fats in your diet.
Monounsaturated fat is found in oils such as canola, peanut and olive. Foods rich in monounsaturated fat also may promote heart health.
Trans Fatty Acids
Trans fatty acids may increase the risk of heart disease. Trans fat results when polyunsaturated oil is partially hydrogenated in order to make it into stick margarine or solid shortening in a can. The bulk of trans fatty acids in the typical American diet are found in hydrogenated oils (used in crackers, baked goods, cereals and breads); fast foods such as French fries, fried fish and onion rings and margarine, especially stick margarine.
Recently, some researchers have suggested that we should eat butter instead of margarine because butter does not contain trans fatty acids. However, butter is saturated fat and does contain cholesterol. Both may increase your risk of heart disease, but since butter is all natural, if you must indulge, do watch amounts and perhaps go with the butter. Most margarine is made from vegetable fat and provides no dietary cholesterol. The more liquid the margarine (tub or liquid forms) the less hydrogenated it is and the less trans fatty acids it contains. Some margarine’s contain no trans fatty acids.
The American Heart Association recommends that consumers follow these tips:
Use naturally occurring, non-hydrogenated oil such as canola or olive oil when possible.
Look for processed foods made with non-hydrogenated oil rather than hydrogenated or saturated fat.
If using margarine as a substitute for butter, choose soft margarine’s (liquid or tub varieties) over harder, stick forms. Shop for margarine with no trans fatty acids, no more than two grams of saturated fat per tablespoon and with water or liquid vegetable oil as the first ingredient.
French fries, donuts, cookies and crackers are examples of foods that usually are high in trans fatty acids.
Saturated fat comes from animal sources, such as fatty red meats. It also can be found in plant sources.
Tropical oils such as palm, coconut and palm-kernel oils are vegetable-derived and found in many processed foods, especially commercially baked cookies, crackers and snack items. These oils are more saturated than lard.
High consumption of saturated fat is a major risk factor for the development of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
What About Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is not the same as fat. Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by animals that is found only in foods that come from animals. Sources of cholesterol include whole milk, dairy products, fatty meat, poultry, fish, butter, and lard and egg yolks.
Eating dietary cholesterol may raise blood cholesterol levels. However, the body also makes cholesterol when a person eats foods that are high in saturated fat. Saturated fat often is found in the very same foods as cholesterol. Remember that a diet high in saturated fats leads to high blood cholesterol, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and some cancers.
To control your cholesterol, get a cholesterol screening, eat foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly and follow all your healthcare professional’s recommendations.
Desirable — Less than 200 mg/dL
Borderline high risk — 200 to 239 mg/dL
High risk — 240 mg/dL and over
How Much Fat Do I Need?
It is neither possible nor desirable to eliminate all fat from your diet. Fat helps maintain healthy skin and hair. It helps your body digest and absorb fat-soluble vitamins (such as A, D, K and E). It also regulates cholesterol levels and stores the body’s excess calories.
Eating too much fat, especially saturated fat, can be a health problem. But how much fat is too much? Fat requirements are based on calorie needs. It is recommended that you get no more than 30-percent of your daily calories from fat. You can determine your calorie needs by multiplying your desired weight by 12 (multiply by 10 if you are trying to lose weight). Most moderately active women need between 1,800 and 2,000 calories. Most average men between 2,200 and 2,400 calories.
Your calorie needs depend on your age, sex, and overall body size and activity level. You will know that you are taking in the right amount of calories to match your current amount of activity when your weight is being maintained at a healthy level. Consuming too many calories or getting too little physical activity will cause weight gain. You may become overweight.
Determine Your Fat Intake
To determine your desired fat intake, drop the last “0” from your calorie intake and divide by three. For example, if you determine your calorie needs to be 1,800, dropping the last “0” gives you 180. 180 divided by 3 = 60. A person eating 1,800 calories a day needs no more than 60 grams of fat to stay healthy.
The American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee recommends that healthy Americans over age two limit their daily intake of saturated fat to less than 10-percent of total calories and total fat intake to no more than 30-percent of calories. This recommendation equals a daily intake of fats and oils of about five to eight teaspoons.
Health experts proclaim the average American eats about 156 pounds of sugar a year – at least double what health experts recommend.
Did you know…
A 20-ounce bottle of regular Coke contains the equivalent of 17 teaspoons?
Can you imagine going to your bowl or canister and eating 17 teaspoons at one sitting?
Do you check the content on food and nutrition labels?
To convert the grams listed on the food label into teaspoons, simply divide the grams of sugar by 4.2 to get the number of teaspoons.
For example, an 8-ounce container of fat free fruit yogurt has 43.1 grams, or 10.3 teaspoons. (43.1 divided by 4.2 equals 10.3).
The USDA recommends that the average person eat no more than 10 teaspoons per day.
But sugar isn’t all bad! We simply cannot leave out its good points.
In small amounts, it helps yeast begin producing gas for raising yeast dough.
It tenderizes dough’s and batters for baked goods.
It helps brown baked goods.
It makes the crumb of baked goods moist.
It aids in the structure of cakes.
It is the white sugar in cookie dough that helps spreading to occur during baking.
The “sweet stuff” is such an integral part of our lives that to cut it out would be to remove much of the pleasure of eating. But, it does not have to be that way.
A Bit of History
In 1807, brothers William and Frederick Havemeyer immigrated to the United States from England to start a cane sugar refinery in lower Manhattan.
Five generations of Havemeyers supervised the company’s growth and expansion throughout the nineteenth century, adopting the most progressive methods in the industry.
In 1809, Henry Havemeyer organized the American Sugar Refining Company, which produced nearly all of the sugar in the United States at that time. The company, renamed Amstar Corporation, eventually became Tate and Lyle North American Sugars, Inc., which today owns the Domino brand.
Did you know?
During World War II, GIs called a letter from one’s sweetheart a “sugar report“.
Brown sugar won’t harden if you store it in the freezer.
Do we consume too much salt in America? Yes, in fact, we eat ten times the amount of salt and/or sodium than our ancestors and the dangers of doing so are multiplying. Salt and sodium are pretty much the same thing.
Many think the danger in high salt/sodium consumption is only in those with high blood pressure, but this is not necessarily so. Too much salt can harm healthy people’s hearts, lungs and can shorten the duration of their lives. Salt overload increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, diabetes, cataracts, brittle bones, asthma, dementia and early death.
Back in 2001, a news release came out regarding what is called “Salt Sensitivity“. This is considered a genetic condition that causes an abnormal reaction to sodium that is aggravated by salt overload.
Salt sensitivity with or without high blood pressure, can reduce your survival odds as much as high blood pressure does. This doubles your chances of early death from cardiovascular disease. Too much salt can enlarge the heart’s left ventricle, even if one doesn’t suffer from high blood pressure. Too much salt can also make tiny blood vessels in the brain more likely to leak, raising the risk of what is known as bleeding strokes.
There are some doctors in doubt of these new-found facts and not all researchers are in agreement. Many feel that those who eat a lot of vegetables and fruits and get enough calcium are not in any danger from too much salt consumption. If you are in any doubt or are a bit concerned about your salt intake, or are on a blood pressure medication, by all means, discuss this with your doctor.
How much sodium is safe?
Most researchers say no more than 1,500 milligrams a day, but while the American Heart Association used to say 2,500 milligrams a day is all right, they have now changed their stance to 1,500mg, as well. Even at this new amount, the average American is still consuming too much salt. Americans are consuming 3,500 to 4,000 milligrams daily with some eating four times that amount.
Where is all this salt/sodium coming from? A lot is hidden in food and we aren’t even aware we are ingesting so much. Therefore, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on food containing excessive amounts.
Here is a breakdown of where all this salt is coming from:
10 percent from a natural part of healthful foods.
15 percent from a salt shaker.
75 percent that is hidden in processed and restaurant foods.
Here are some tips on how you can cut back:
Remove the salt shaker from the table.
Check labels; sodium varies greatly by brand and many sodium-packed foods don’t taste salty at all. Here’s an example; Cheerios have more sodium per serving than potato chips. The top salt offenders are frozen dinners, pizza, lunch meat, processed cheese, and canned soup and ramen soup.
Expect at least 1,000 milligrams of sodium in a simple restaurant meal.
Asian and Mexican foods contain, on average, 2,000 milligrams per meal.
People whose diets are high in whole foods have a lower risk of depression than people who eat more processed foods. Researchers analyzed data from more than 3,000 participants with a mean age of 55.6 years. Two dietary patterns were identified:
The “processed food” pattern, which includes fried foods, processed meats, high fat dairy products, foods made with refined grain and added sugars. Study participants who at more processed foods had a higher incidence of depression than participants whose diets included a higher proportion of whole foods.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College
Healthiest Whole Foods
The healthiest foods are common “everyday” whole foods. These include the fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean meats, fish, olive oil, herbs and spices that are familiar to most people.