Pumpkin season is in full effect—and we’re not just talking about jack-o-lanterns! Since we promote a low carb diet at our weight loss clinic, we like to help our members choose foods that are filling, packed with nutrients and low in carbs, calories and fat. Seasonal produce such as pumpkin fits all of our criteria and is an excellent choice for those striving for weight loss management.
Fall’s signature squash is loaded with antioxidants and essential nutrients that our bodies need to function properly. In coming weeks, we will share some delicious and nutritious recipes featuring pumpkin that are recommended by members of our weight loss clinic. Feel free to send us yours, whether they’re for dessert, an entrée or a snack. Read on to discover just a few of the healthy benefits of eating pumpkin.
1. Pumpkin curbs hunger pangs and a sweet tooth. Packed with dietary fiber and protein, pumpkin will fill you up for hours on end and boost your digestive system. Its unique taste is the perfect antidote for a sweet tooth, which can throw off even the best weight loss management program.
2. Pumpkins are antiaging. Pumpkins boast antioxidants such as carotenoids, which improves the body’s cell renewal process and helps fight off free radical damage, and ultimately, prevent wrinkles.
3. Pumpkins help prevent chronic diseases and illnesses. The carotenoids in pumpkins such as beta-carotene help reduce inflammation and the risk of many illnesses. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, beta-carotene has shown to play an important role in reducing the risk of several forms of cancer and other diseases.
4. Pumpkins help you lose weight. In addition to staving off hunger, pumpkin is naturally low in calories and fat. In one eight ounce serving, there are only 50 calories and no saturated fats.
When you’re striving to lose weight and achieve better health through nutrition, it’s critical to make good choices about what you eat. Our weight loss physician recommends a low carb diet with lots of lean protein—and chicken is an ideal source. Read on to learn about five of the important health benefits you can reap from eating chicken.
1. Chicken is a complete protein. Chicken is one of the few foods that contains all of the nine essential amino acids our body needs to function properly. Our weight loss physician suggests that clients eat a diet rich in lean protein because it helps us build lean muscle mass, which supports a healthy body weight and increases the number of calories we burn every day. Protein also helps promote healthy bones and will help seniors fight against bone loss.
2. Chicken promotes cardiovascular health. Eating lean chicken breast controls and suppresses levels of an amino acid called homocysteine that can cause cardiovascular disease if levels are in the body are too high—eating it is a perfect way to attain better health through nutrition.
3. It’s a natural mood booster. Remember how comforting a bowl of chicken soup was when you were sick as a child? Like its cousin, turkey, chicken is rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that boosts serotonin levels in your brain and therefore boosts your mood, reduces stress and helps you get a good night’s sleep.
4. Chicken is packed with minerals. Chicken is a great source of phosphorus, an essential mineral that promotes healthy teeth and bones, and supports liver, kidney and central nervous system function. In addition, it’s loaded with selenium, which supports a healthy metabolism, specifically hormone, thyroid and immune function. Chicken also provides iron, zinc, copper and magnesium.
5. Chicken aids weight loss. Chicken is also an excellent source of vitamin B6, which promotes enzymes and metabolic cellular reactions that keeps your energy levels high and metabolism burning calories so you can manage a healthy weight and activity level. Plus, it’s low in fat and calories.
Many members ask our weight loss doctor for recipes that are quick and easy to make, yet low carb and nutritious. While it may sound like a difficult bill to fill, it’s actually not, thanks to all of our wonderful members sharing their favorites with us on a regular basis.
This dish is extremely easy to prepare but packs a nutritious punch. One half cup of lean ground turkey is loaded with 32 grams of protein, which makes it an excellent source of essential amino acids. Turkey is also a dense source of B-complex vitamins, which promote healthy blood circulation, specifically vitamin B6, which protects against cardiovascular disease. Turkey is also an excellent source of selenium, which supports immunity and protects your body from free radical damage.
One important thing to note—it’s very important to choose lean ground turkey. Otherwise, it will have a higher fat content, which is something our weight loss doctor wants our members to avoid. If you prefer to use ground beef, again choose lean and opt for grass-fed beef, if possible. Ground beef is an excellent source of protein, iron, vitamin B-12 and zinc, which can boost immunity.
1 cup of lean ground turkey (or lean grass-fed beef)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup scallions, chopped
¼ cup spinach, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Warm the extra virgin olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Start by adding the chopped scallions to the pan—you can turn the heat up a little too. Stir the scallions for a minute or two before adding the lean ground turkey or beef. Stir while it cooks and season with the freshly ground pepper and Kosher salt. If there are other spices you like, add them in! When the turkey looks like it’s about halfway cooked, add the spinach and bell pepper. Stir fry until the mixture is cooked all the way through and enjoy!
Fall is here—and if you’re striving to achieve better health through nutrition, it’s important to incorporate some of the season’s delicious produce into your diet. Seasonal produce is rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, which are shown to help prevent a wide range of chronic diseases and illnesses, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and various forms of cancer. Loading up on fall produce is an essential step towards a healthier lifestyle and having success with weight loss management programs. Plus, eating seasonal produce ensures that your diet is varied and supports local farmers.
Here are a few types of fall produce to get into the mix.
Apples. Apples are packed with soluble fiber, which has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and is ideal for curbing your appetite—and even your sweet tooth. In addition, apples are rich in antioxidants, phenolics and flavonoids.
Cranberries. These tart and festive berries are an excellent source of fiber, and vitamins C and E, both of which boost immunity and may help prevent free radical damage. Cranberries are also a food course of vitamin K, manganese and a bevy of important phytonutrients that have anti-inflammatory properties and help protect the body from harmful free radicals.
Beets. These delicious and colorful babies are packed with nitrate, which helps boost blood flow to the brain and may decrease the risk of dementia. Beets are also an excellent source of betaine, a compound that fights inflammation, enhances performance and helps protects cells, enzymes and proteins from environmental stress. Research has shown that betaine ultimately may help prevent cardiovascular and liver disease.
Brussel Sprouts. Packed with distinct flavor, Brussel sprouts offer the highest concentration of glucosinates, which help fight cancer. While one cup of Brussel sprouts only yields around 50 calories, they boast between three and five grams of fiber, which makes them an excellent choice for weight loss management programs. Brussel sprouts are also a good source of protein, calcium, folacin, potassium, and vitamins A and C.
When you’re striving to lose weight and get healthy for life, it helps to have an arsenal of low-carb recipes at your disposal. Many of the members of our weight loss clinic suffer from a sweet tooth from time to time, so we collected some of their favorite low-carb dessert recipes. Since fall is officially here, this recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake is the perfect way to satisfy a sweet tooth while staying on track with diets and weight management programs.
Pumpkin is an excellent choice and a favorite of members of our weight loss clinic because it is low in fat and calories, but packed with fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. It is an excellent source of betacarotene, lutein, cryptoxanthin and zea-xanthin, as well as B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folates, niacin, thiamin, vitamin B-6 and pantothenic acid.
2 cups fresh pumpkin purée
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 cups low-fat cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups pecans, finely chopped
8 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 egg white
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
To make the crust, pre-heat oven to 350°F. Combine the pecans, one tbsp. brown sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and process until finely ground. Mix the butter and egg white together and then combine with the pecan mixture. Press the mixture into a nine-inch pan. Bake approximately 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the filling, set the oven to 325°F. Mix the cream, remaining brown sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla while mixing. Then beat in the eggs one at a time.
Pour the mixture over the crust and bake approximately 48 to 50 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake stand for 10 to 15 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool. Once cool, cover and refrigerate for six hours or longer—overnight is ideal.
Next to a Payday bar, Peanut M&Ms are my favorite candies. Or at least they were. Now I just find them too sweet and they’re not ideal when you’re striving for weight loss management. A few months ago, I was lured into eating a few. The memory of that taste was just too strong and I couldn’t resist. But after I had a couple, I couldn’t eat anymore because they were so much sweeter than I remembered.
The Atkins peanut candies aren’t as sweet. They also lack the same creaminess that you get from real chocolate, but I found it still very tasty. The candy shell had that same crunch that you get from all M&M chocolates. Taste wise, I would say it’s a pretty good substitute.
The blood sugar measurements were interesting. My blood sugar deviated quite a bit. A 37 point deviation is fairly significant and pretty surprising given that the other Atkins food products hadn’t really affected my blood sugar measurements. As a means of comparison, the Atkins Peanut Caramel Cluster Bar only caused a 7 point deviation in my blood sugar level. That being said, Chris and Lili experienced much smaller changes in their sugar levels, demonstrating the importance of doing these tests on multiple people.
Given the blood sugar level changes, I recommend the Peanut Caramel Cluster Bar over these chocolate candies and caution people to limit their consumption of the chocolates if they’re really looking to manage their blood sugar levels and achieve weight loss management.
When you’re following one of our low carb diets or weight management programs, it’s important to consume lots of protein, preferably the lean kind. It’s essential for building lean muscle mass, repairing muscles after exercise and promoting healthy digestion.
While lean chicken, pork and grass-fed beef are good mainstays, there are also plenty of other sources that are perfect for those following low carb diets or weight management programs. The following foods are packed with protein as well as some of the essential nutrients our bodies need to function properly.
1. Chia seeds. One eight-ounce serving contains a whopping 4.4 grams of protein. More importantly, these tiny little seeds are considered a “complete protein,” which means they contain all of the nine essential amino acids our bodies need. In addition, they’re packed with fiber, calcium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, among other nutrients.
2. Pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein—there are 14 grams in a half cup serving. They are also an excellent source of magnesium, zinc and plant-based omega-3s. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of tryptophan.
3. Lentils. These tiny beans boast 22 grams of protein per eight ounce serving. Legumes are also loaded with fiber, copper, phosphorus, manganese, folate and iron. Their rich nutrient content makes them an excellent option for vegetarians and vegans.
4. Flax seeds. In addition to being a complete protein, flax seeds are packed with omega-3 essential fatty acids, the healthy fats that promote cardiovascular health. They are also a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber and lignans, which boast plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities.
5. Kefir. This yogurt-like drink is packed with both protein and probiotics, the live, good bacteria cultures that promote healthy digestion and are very beneficial to our systems. Kefir is also a good source of calcium, tryptophan and several B vitamins.
This Asian-inspired low carb ahi salad is super popular among members of our weight loss clinic because it’s refreshing and delicious yet perfect for diets and weight management programs. It’s fast and easy to make but packed with taste—the whole family will enjoy it, whether or not they’re watching their weight.
Ahi tuna is an ideal food for a high-protein, low diet. In addition to its high protein content, ahi is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are excellent for a healthy heart, as they are linked to a lower risk of atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia and cardiovascular disease. Ahi is also packed with B vitamins that are essential for appetite control, healthy digestion, neurological function and a good metabolism. It contains vitamin D and an array of important minerals, such as phosphorus, magnesium and potassium, as well as other trace minerals. Ahi is a also a good source of a unique form of selenium called selenoneine, which is a powerful antioxidant that combats free radical damage.
The zesty flavors in this recipe make it a favorite at our weight loss clinic because the spices also boost our metabolism and boast a variety of antioxidant benefits. Who knew that a meal could taste this good and be a part of low carb diets and weight management programs?
32 ounces of sushi grade ahi tuna
4 cups baby spinach
Zest of 1 lime
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup red bell pepper
½ cup freshly grated ginger
½ cup scallions, diced
1 tsp Wasabi powder
2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
Himalayan sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Boil a pot of water with a dash of salt. Add ahi to the water and reduce the heat to medium or medium low. Cook for approximately 12 minutes. When the ahi is done, put it on a cutting board and let it cool for approximately five minutes. Slice it into bite size pieces. Put the baby green spinach in a bowl and add the ahi, scallions, red bell pepper and ginger.
Combine the lime juice, lime zest, wasabi powder and low-sodium soy sauce in a dressing bowl and season with Himalayan sea salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the top and enjoy!
Labor Day is here—and if you’re heading to a holiday party or barbecue today, you can still stay on track with your diet and enjoy yourself. Here are a few tips that our weight loss physician recommends for enjoying your holiday without overdoing it.
1. Hydrate like crazy. If you’re a member of our weight loss center, this is a tip you probably hear often. That’s because hydration is a critical part of weight loss. Often times, we mistake thirst for hunger, so if you stay hydrated, you’re not going to eat mindlessly because you think you’re hungry when you’re not. Water helps fill you up and flushes the toxins from your system, so drink lots today to help you stay on track.
2. Get moving. Are any of the guests playing a sport at your event? If so, join in and burn some extra calories. If you’re hitting a more formal event, take a walk before you get ready or even hit the gym if possible.
3. Make a contribution. Bring a healthy, low-carb item to contribute to the spread. That way, you’ll know there is at least one thing on the table you can eat without sabotaging your diet. If you don’t have any ideas, check out some of the delicious low carb recipes on our blog that our weight loss physician and members have shared.
4. Hit the grill. Grilling is one of your healthiest options when it comes to barbecues, as it keeps fat to a minimum without sacrificing taste. Look for lean protein sources such as skinless chicken breasts, vegetable skewers and lean turkey burgers.
5. Avoid mayo and fattening sauces. Pass on the fattening potato salad made with mayo and other fattening sauces and condiments. You’ll save so many calories and won’t miss much.
This delicious and refreshing low carb salad is perfect for summer and very popular among members of our weight loss center. It can be served as an appetizer or entrée for lunch or dinner—either way, it’s extremely satisfying and will keep your appetite in check.
Shrimp is an excellent source of lean protein, which is critical to the success of diets and weight management programs. We always recommend lean protein to members of our weight loss center because it satiates the appetite and promotes healthy digestion. In addition, shrimp is rich in zinc, which boosts levels of leptin, a hormone that affects appetite, fat storage and energy expenditure. Shrimp is also loaded with vitamins D and B3.
Avocados are considered a superfood because they are packed with fiber and more than 25 essential nutrients, including potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and protein, as well as vitamins A, B, C, E and K. In addition, they contain several important phytochemicals such as glutathione and lutein. Spinach is also fiber-rich and loaded with an array of beneficial nutrients, making this dish a true nutritional powerhouse.
2 ripe Haas avocados
1 lb cooked shrimp, deveined and tail removed
4 cups baby spinach
4 Tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Himalayan sea salt to taste
Mix all the marinade/dressing ingredients in a bowl. Set ¼ of the marinade aside and pour the other ¾ over the shrimp in a container that can be sealed. Stir to make sure that all the shrimp are fully coated. Seal the container and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour, preferably three or four.
When you’re ready to prepare the recipe, wash and dry the spinach and divide among four plates. Cut the avocado into small, bite-size chunks and add to the spinach. Top with the shrimp. Drizzle the leftover dressing over each plate and enjoy!