Tag Archives: snacking

Is your office bad for your health?

Okay, nobody is saying that working in an office is as dangerous as doing construction or working in a mine, but health hazards exist in offices, too. It’s easy to grow complacent about it.

Desk jobs can pose dangers to your health. Rush family medicine physician Gabriela Baeza, MD, recently discussed some of the most common hazards — and how to avoid them.

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A growing body of research suggests that simply sitting too much can endanger your health — regardless of whether you get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week.

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Researchers have found that too much sitting might make you less sensitive to insulin (a hormone that helps your body process and use energy from food). It also might lead to higher levels of triglycerides, or fats, in your blood. Such effects could, in turn, make you more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease or even cancer. Continue reading

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Tricking Your Brain Into Helping You Lose Weight

If, like many folks, you overindulged during the recent holidays, perhaps this item I wrote back when the blog was still in diapers might be of help.

Besides, I think the brain is amazing and we can’t know too much about it.

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Regular readers know that I am retired and have been taking courses from The Great Courses for some time. Lately, I have become fascinated with the brain and how it functions.

The latest class I am studying is “The Neuroscience of Everyday Life” taught by Sam Wang, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Neuroscience at Princeton University. Additionally, Professor Wang is the co-author of the best-selling book Welcome to Your Brain which has been translated into 20 languages.

Here is the best-selling book Professor Wang co-wrote

I have only just begun reading the book, but I ran across a passage on page 36 that I thought would interest and benefit readers of the blog. The following is from a two-page write-up titled Tricking Your Brain Into Helping You Lose Weight.

This is the conclusion of those two pages:
“Early food exposure influences dietary preferences in adulthood, and eating habits…

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Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays

I think it is always a good idea to have a game plan. Hopefully, this will help you to enjoy your holiday eating more. This is a reblog from a previous holiday season, but I think the ideas are still worth reading.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Eat less; move more; live longer. Those words are the mantra of this blog. I realize that they are also easier said than done especially at this time of year – holiday season.
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We seem to be hard-wired to celebrate by eating. Maybe it goes back to the time we had to hunt for  our food. When we managed to kill something edible that was reason for celebration and we did. We ate our fill because we didn’t know when our next meal would be. But, times have changed and a trip to a supermarket is enough to feed an entire family for a week. So there is no need to eat till we are bursting at any single meal or event.

The holidays are a particularly trying time. There are various family celebrations along with parties at friends and neighbors. Each is a special form of temptation…

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Harvard study sheds light on dairy fat cardiovascular disease risk

Because  low fat diets were the rage for a while, people have become confused about the value and necessity of including fats in their diets. I love coconut oil, a saturated fat. I eat it every day and have a Page of information – Coconut Oil – Why you should include it in your diet on it.

Until recently, when you visited the dairy aisle, chances are you headed straight for the blue carton of milk—the skim milk that is. But recent buzz about dairy fat may cause shoppers to pause in front of the oft-shunned red carton of whole milk or other full-fat dairy products, as research suggests that their relationship to heart health is more complex than was once believed. While most studies to date have focused on the association between dairy fat and cardiovascular risk factors, few have examined the relationship to actual onset of cardiovascular disease.

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I Changed My Fuel And It Changed My Health’s Trajectory

Lots of good straight information here. So much of weight control has to do with making good decisions, like having small meals, choosing good snacks, etc. As a snacker, that one resonated with me. Check out my Page – Snacking – the good, the bad and the ugly for more details. probiotics yogurt

Tony

Our Better Health

All calories are not equal. Yet we continue to count them in hopes of managing weight and health. Correcting this flawed thinking will forever change your relationship with food, calories and your weight. Changing your fuel just may change your health trajectory.

Consider the significance of changing the fuel you use in your body. It could make the difference between getting promoted, being injury and illness free, lean and healthy, and even finding romance (or not). It can, and I am living proof. When I began to think of calories as more than just a number, I lost 84 pounds, reclaimed my health and looked years younger. When I only counted calories, not considering their source, I was obese and unwell.

Many know the value of this truth about calories. Professional athletes serve as ideal evidence for this argument. The difference between first and last place is often seconds of…

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5 Clean and healthy snack ideas – Infographic

I am convinced that portion control and serving size are the keys to controlling our weight and living a healthy (and long) life. Of course, we need to integrate regular exercise into the mix, too.

Also, must confess that I am an inveterate snacker. It was one of the reasons that I lost the battle of the bulge for so many years. Check out my Page – Snacking – the good, the bad and the ugly to read more on it. 

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Regarding the air-popped popcorn, I personally prefer regular popped corn using coconut oil. Just don’t go crazy on the quantity. Check out my post – How healthy is popcorn(?) for the details.

I posted on hummus a while back : Is hummus good for you?

Finally, check out Healthy snacking as an act of kindness.

Eat less; move more; live longer.

Tony

 

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Bored People Reach for Snacks – Study

The principle use it or lose it is a valuable one when it comes to health. It applies to all our muscles because we are just organic machines after all. Turns out that when we are bored, our minds are not stimulated and bad food cravings arise. So we need to exercise our brains, too.

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Nuts to you is a good thing …

People crave fatty and sugary foods when they are bored.

That is the conclusion of research being presented this week at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society by Dr. Sandi Mann from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Dr. Mann and her fellow authors, Faye Ibbitson and Ben Edwards, also from UCLan, conducted two studies of boredom and food choices.

In the first study the researchers asked 52 participants to complete a questionnaire on their food preferences before and after completing the boredom-inducing task of repeatedly copying the same group of letters.

In the second study they asked 45 participants to watch either a boring or a funny video, during which a range of healthy and unhealthy snacks were available. The bowls were weighed before and after each trial to how much of each snack had been eaten.

The results from the first study showed people were more likely to express a preference for unhealthy foods like potato chips, sweets and fast food after completing the boring task.

The results from the second study showed that the participants who had watched the boring video ate significantly more unhealthy food.

Dr Mann said: “These results are in line with previous research suggesting that we crave fatty and sugary foods when we are bored. This strengthens the theory that boredom is related to low levels of the stimulating brain chemical dopamine and that people try to boost this by eating fat and sugar if they cannot alleviate their boredom in some other way.

“People designing health education campaigns to encourage us to make healthier food choices need to take boredom, including boredom in the workplace, into account. Bored people do not eat nuts.”

In this instance, the expression nuts to you is a good thing.

Please check out my Page – Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly for more.

Tony

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Top 10 Foods for a Better Mood

Lots of good suggestions here. I think this follows nicely on yesterday’s post about whether food can be both delicious and nutritious.

A couple of my personal favorites here include nuts and pumpkin seeds and cocoa nibs.

 

If it helps your mood it helps your brain.salmon

 

Tony

Our Better Health

Eat these “brain-healthy” foods to keep a positive mood and healthy mind.

Sep 15, 2015   Marlynn Wei, MD, PLLC

When was the last time your therapist or doctor asked you what you’re eating?

Food is important, not just for our physical health but also for our mind. It can be an excellent source of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. Growing research supports the theory that what we eat everyday can improve our mood and help with treating depression and anxiety. Nutritional psychiatry (or “food psychiatry”) is a new but growing field that is becoming mainstream.

Our Westernized, so-called “cafeteria” diet is calorie-loaded, nutrient-poor, and highly processed, resulting in extra calories without real nutrition. Animal studies have found that this type of food leads to higher anxiety and depression. Foods high in sugar, fat, and sodium are very addictive and especially comforting. In fact, evolution has probably set us up this…

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Can Food Be Both Delicious and Nutritious?

On its face the answer appears to be affirmative. Of course there is delicious and nutritious food. But not all food. I think food both delicious and nutritious is in the minority. For the most part food is a greater or lesser amount of either quality.

For me, a good example is apples. A while back I posted a suggestion to add blue cheese crumbles to a fresh apple to really spark up the taste. Delicious and nutritious. The cheese makes it more so, but the apples taste great on their own.

The dark side of apples that is, apple pastries, like apple turnovers, apple pie and apple cobbler are also delicious, but not very nutritious. They are packed with a lot of empty calories and bad fats for those few seconds of taste delight.

On a personal basis, I eat apples every day, but I don’t have an apple turnover every day. If I haven’t ridden my bike 20 miles, I don’t even consider eating an apple turnover. That way, at least I have put some calories ‘in the bank’ so I don’t exceed my calorie budget for the day. I also limit myself to half an apple turnover.

But what about other popular taste treats like cheeseburgers, french fries and pizza, that are also delicious, but not nearly as nutritious as other foods less tasty.

I think it is a balancing act. I indulge in all of the above foods, but sparingly. I try for the most part to get my protein from nuts and seeds rather than animal sources. This slashes the amount of bad fats going into my blood stream.

I can give you an example from my own experience. Normally, I start the day with a smoothie from my Vita-Mix machine. But sometimes, I will buy a scone and consume it instead for my breakfast. The smoothie is around 400 calories, but mostly carbs with a lot of protein. The scone has only 190 calories, but they are empty ones compared with the smoothie. One morning that I had a scone instead of a smoothie, I took the bike out for a ride. I managed 20 miles, but found that I was wiped out at the end. I often ride 20 miles after a smoothie breakfast and feel fine. I attribute my lack of energy to having put bad fuel in my tank in the form of the scone. I chose delicious over nutritious.

I have posted a number of my ‘Mr. Lazy Cook’ recipes that are very simply prepared, but offer good nutrients along with the calories. You can click on the lazy cook tags at the right or just search lazy cook and you will find a number of tasty and nutritious items.

When I was writing the blog items on the brain I was particularly impressed with the function of the frontal lobes. They make up our conscience – our director – our impulse control. We need to exercise our frontal lobes when confronted with these tasty treats that are just empty calories. French fries is a good example. They taste great, but are cooked in fat and have lots of empty calories. A small handful of peanuts is a healthier snack.

I talk a lot about exercise here in the blog. I think exercising the frontal lobes is an especially good one. Decide in favor of nutritious over delicious even if you have to give up something in terms of taste. At least you can feel good about the fact that the food isn’t going to waist (yours).

Tony

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Peanuts, Peanut Butter May be Key to Preventing Obesity

I have written about it previously, but in case you missed it, I start every morning of my life with a spoon full of peanut butter dipped in coconut oil. This is my sole source of energy for my first dog walk and bike ride of the day. I love peanut butter and often find excuses for eating more out of the jar. One of my favorite lunches which I also wrote about is My guilty pleasure.

So, you can imagine how pleased I was to read about this experiment at the University of Houston.

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Hispanic middle school children, at high risk for being overweight or obese, reduced their Body Mass Index (BMI) when they adhered to a nutrition intervention that included a snack of peanuts and peanut butter, compared to those children who did not.

The 12-week study was conducted by researchers at the University of Houston Department of Health and Human Performance (HHP), Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Woman’s University.  Their findings are published in the Journal of Applied Research on Children.

“Obesity is the most pressing health issue facing us today,” said Craig Johnston, HHP assistant professor. “We’d like to think it’s preventable, but from where I sit right now, there hasn’t been a lot shown to be very effective on a large scale.”

The study acknowledged that snacking is more common during the adolescent years and that the unhealthy eating habit can lead to an unhealthy weight. This is especially true if a student doesn’t have access to other meals during the school day. Continue reading

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How I Gained More Than 2 Pounds Watching the Super Bowl

This is a blast from the past. It happened to me a couple of years ago, but I thought it might make for a good warning for you ahead of Super Bowl 50 this weekend

I knew I was going to be snacking watching the game, so I went to the health club that morning and did 30 minutes on the rower to put an extra 300 calories into the bank. I also had a small but reasonable lunch to leave room for snacks. As it turned out that wasn’t even close to enough.

So, what went wrong?

Well, I went to a Super Bowl party. There was good company, good conversation, a good ball game and really good snacks.

To start with, because I was enjoying everything mentioned above, I got carried away with the salty snacks. Rippled potato chips and a bowlful of delicate savory potato crisps. There were also some wonderful little hot dogs called Lil Smokies. Enjoying these savory snacks, of course, I had to wash them down with a beer and glass after glass of soda. I remember thinking the soda glass didn’t hold very much because I had to keep refilling it.

The fact is, I completely lost my focus. I was so into the experience of the afternoon, I didn’t pay attention to how much I was eating and drinking. Mindful eating, anyone? I certainly wasn’t practicing it. This carrot sticks not pretzel sticks or potato chips.

It began to dawn on me when dinner was served and I filled up my plate with Italian sausage, meatballs and stuffed shells (a variation on lasagna). I actually felt so full that I had trouble finishing my dinner. I never feel that way.

My overindulgence was twofold. Because I ate all those salty snacks, I had to drink a ton of soda. Not smart and more not smart.

The next morning I tipped the scale at 154.9 lbs, that is 2.8 lbs more than on Super Bowl morning. Because I weigh myself daily, I knew that while I had eaten a lot, I hadn’t eaten that much more. Remember, fluctuations in daily body weight can also reflect elimination and water retention. I am sure I had retained water with all that salt and diet soda.

Two days later, I was back down to 152.5 lbs, a much more reasonable number.

Tony

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Are Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas) Good For You?

As a person with both sweet tooth and a salty tooth, there is a wide variety of snacks that appeal to me. Of course, many of them are empty calorie ones that taste great but don’t give my body very good nutrients. That’s why tamari-roasted pepitas have become one of my favorites. Last year as I increased my calorie burn through active bicycle riding, pepitas have been a tasty and welcome snack for energy replenishment.

Pepitas are shelled pumpkin seeds. Some consider them a seasonal snack following the pumpkin carving of late fall. However, pepitas have a strong ethnic year ’round appeal also. The word itself is from Mexican Spanish. Lightly roasted, salted and unhulled pumpkin seeds are popular in Greece, too. The leading commercial producers of pumpkins include the U.S., Mexico, India and China.

They were a celebrated food of the Native American Indians who treasured them both for their dietary and medicinal properties. The cultivation of pumpkins spread throughout the world when the European explorers brought back many of the agricultural treasures of the New World.

In my experience pumpkin seeds come roasted and/or salted and remain in their hulls. The pepitas I have found are always already shelled.
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How Does Your Money Management Compare with Your Weight Management?

Are you overweight, but manage your money well? Gee, if you could only handle your diet as well as you handle your money. What has one got to do with the other? Perhaps more than you think. Wouldn’t it be nice to transfer your financial skills to your eating habits?

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Do you have financial discipline? You want the new iPad, but it costs at least $499. It would be great fun to play with and explore all the fun stuff that you have seen demonstrated on TV. But, if you buy it, you will fall short of the rent money this month. And it would be dangerous to push your plastic at this time. So, no can do. That’s good fiscal discipline.

How about indulging in some delicious chocolate tonight while watching the tube? Nothing helps mellow you out so much as some nice chocolate. Somehow romantic movies are even moreso when you are enjoying some nice chocolate. Why not?

Are you a person who passes on the iPad, but eats the chocolate? Sure, it tastes great. But, the principle is the same. You need to be able to ‘afford’ the chocolate just as you need the $499 to buy the iPad. Good physical discipline works just like good fiscal discipline.

Keeping track of your calories is the first step. You keep track of your income vs your expenses. It’s the same principle. Don’t eat what you can’t pay for either in abstinence elsewhere or burning off in the gym or the health club.

In each instance, it is your call. Use that same clear mental focus that you do in money matters to assist you in your eating.

Last, but not least, make sure you get your body moving. too. Eating intelligently is half the battle of weight control. You need to exercise regularly to keep your body healthy. Eat less; move more; live longer. Words to live by.

Tony

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Late Night Snacking Affects Brain Functioning: Why Going to Bed on Time is Important

Really useful info here. I hope you will take the time to read it. I have posted several times previously on the Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep. Also, see my Page on Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

salty-snacks

Tony

STAYING HEALTHY WITH AYURVEDA

I am always interested in research that gives a fuller understanding to the basic principles of Ayurveda. Over the holidays I read about a study from the University of California that concluded that late-night snacks could negatively impact brain functioning. In the study, mice that were fed during their normal sleeping times experienced a decline in both short-term and long-term memory. The study suggested that digesting food at a time we are supposed to be asleep causes distress in the hippocampus, the area of the brain where memories are formed.

There is already evidence that eating when we normally should be sleeping can cause an increase in blood sugar levels — which can lead to diabetes and heart problems. Now we find that irregular eating habits can impact mental cognition. The University of California study revealed that the mice that were given food when they should have been sleeping had…

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Tips on How to Eat at a Buffet

There is a buffet at a riverboat not far from where I live and I stopped by for lunch today after playing. I am always fascinated at the way folks at a buffet not only fill their plates, but stack the food on top as if they won’t be allowed to take more than one helping.

As it is ‘all you can eat‘ I always have to fight temptation to eat ‘all I can.’

You really need to engage your decision-making faculties at a buffet or you can go overboard very easily by overeating

Here is how today’s battle went. A bowl of oatmeal to start. Not fancy but very tasty the way they make it. Also, nutritious and slightly filling to take the edge off my appetite. No sense handicapping myself further.
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How Do I Handle a Bad Eating Habit?

For much of my life, I have had eating habits which were not healthy. I love pastries. Back before I ‘got religion’ writing this blog I would think nothing of eating a scone for dessert. This was following a meal of 1500 or more calories. It is no surprise that I ballooned up at my worst to the 220 pound area with a plus 40 inch waist. You can read about How I lost 50 pounds in 52 weeks.

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These days I clock-in around 150 pounds and sport a waistline in the low 30 inch range. But I still love pastries in general and scones in particular. The difference is that I don’t eat one for dessert after a big meal. However, I still eat them and maintain my girlish figure.

What’s the trick? The photograph is one of my scones. It comes from a little coffee house in Chicago called The 3rd Coast. They make them there, so it is impossible to get a good calorie count. The scone weighs more than 8 ounces and is loaded with scrumptious dark chocolate chips. I am guessing that a single scone must total close to 500 calories. The Lose it! app puts the Jamba Juice Orange Chocolate scone at 380 calories.

So, how can I enjoy eating a sinful delight like this and still maintain my weight? Well, I have altered my eating habit as follows. I take the scones home and cut each one into at least quarters or fifths. I take one section and put it in the toaster oven while wrapping up the remainder for another day. It toasts up lovely and I am able to enjoy several luscious bites every day without packing on a lot of empty calories or fats or feeling bloated and overfed afterward. I figure I am getting around 100 to 125 calories instead of the 500 I used to consume.

You might consider something like this yourself with a particularly tasty, but empty-calorie-dense, treat that you enjoy. That way, you don’t have to white knuckle it by abstaining completely. You simply have to learn to savor it and be satisfied with some but not all of it.

So now you know a way to halve your cake and eat it too.

Tony

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