Healthy For Life - Blog Roll
Don’t skip out on the Easter Egg hunt this year, because those babies are an essential part of a healthy diet. In the past, eggs got a bit of a raw deal—and we’re not talking about getting whipped or cracked. Eggs were at one time thought to raise LDL cholesterol levels, but research has in fact proven their incredible health benefits instead. Our weight loss physician gives them a thumbs-up as a part of a healthy, low-carb diet.
Read on for five reasons why eggs truly rock.
1. They satiate our appetites. Eggs contain high levels of protein, which helps fill us up for longer periods of time than other foods and staves off those diet-busting cravings. Their whites are a low-fat, low-calorie source of protein and considered one of the best due to their high levels of amino acids. Research finds that eggs are more satisfying than carbs, which according to our weight loss physician, make them an ideal food for weight loss.
2. The nutrients in eggs promote healthy nails, shiny hair and glowing skin. Eggs are loaded with sulfur, which boosts our system with everything from vitamin B absorption and liver function to collagen and keratin production, which results in healthier hair, skin and nails.
3. Eating eggs make us feel happier. Eggs are rich in the B-complex vitamin choline, found in the yoplk, which transforms into bethane in our bodies to help produce hormones that elevate our moods, such as serotonin, norephinephrine and dopamine.
4. They promote healthy peepers. Eggs are packed with two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, that promote eye health, stave off macular degeneration and help prevent the loss of eyesight.
5. Eggs may reduce your risk of cancer. Studied have found that choline, the B-complex vitamin mentioned above, may reduce the risk of breast cancer.
This week, we tested the “Original” Klondike bar. Of course, this is not a low carb or sugar-free food, but I wanted to see how the two varieties of Klondike bar compared. Let me start by saying I would commit any number of crimes for a Klondike bar. It was a taste sensation like no other. There’s a noticeable difference between the No Sugar Added variety and the Original. The ice cream was creamier and the chocolate shell was thicker and more durable. That being said, I still liked the No Sugar Added bar.
I think the food companies have really perfected the taste of the Klondike bar. You hear and read stories about these food companies using flavor scientists to enhance the flavor of their foods, in hopes of selling more products. I have no doubt there was some food voodoo-ism going on with this bar. It really pushed all the right buttons in my brain. I’m sure my reaction to the bar had something to do with the strange list of ingredients found on the box.
For a very simple looking treat (ice cream in a hard chocolate shell), the list of ingredients is a who’s who of polysyllabic compounds. Do I really want propylene glycol monoesters in my ice cream? (This ingredient sounds like a gasoline additive). It’s also reassuring to know that one of the ingredients is “NOT IN REGULAR ICE CREAM.”
Getting back to the original point of food testing. You can see that the blood sugar rise for this ice cream bar was more dramatic than the no sugar added bar. The average blood sugar rose 46mg/dL. It appears that the rise in blood sugar may also have been slower to come down, thus adding to the area under the curve.
You can also see the drop in my ketone levels was much more dramatic. Just out of curiosity, I extended my ketone testing for an additional half hour and the number rebounded to 0.9. I think when you’re in nutritional ketosism it’s fairly easy to rebound after one nutritional “insult.” But if you are much lower on the scale, I’m sure the rebound would take much longer.
Next week, we’ll test the Atkins Chocolate Shake.
Our weight loss physician recommends increasing consumption of vegetables, especially the green leafy type, when you’re trying to lose weight. Spinach is an ideal choice because it has more nutrients per calorie than any other food. It’s loaded with vitamins A, K, D and E, as well as a bevy of trace minerals including calcium and magnesium, which are essential for healthy bones. It’s an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, which helps satiate hunger, and more than a dozen flavonoid compounds that have significant anti-inflammatory properties—in fact, research shows spinach boasts anti-cancer agents. The carotenoids in spinach promote eyesight health, protecting against cataracts and macular degeneration.
This recipe for spinach casserole is an excellent way to incorporate this green leafy nutritional powerhouse into your diet. It’s easy to prepare and packed with flavor. Our weight loss physician recommends including your favorite spices to season it to your liking and to boost the dish’s antioxidant content. Enjoy!
1 10 oz. box of frozen chopped spinach
¼ chopped onion
1 tpsp extra virgin olive oil
4-oz package of low-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg white
½ tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt or other spice mixture to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Defrost the spinach and preheat oven to 350° F. Saute the onions in the extra virgin olive oil until they softens slightly. Mix all the other ingredients with the spinach, except for the Parmesan cheese, in a 2-quart casserole dish. Add spices of your choice—some good ones to try are red pepper flakes, thyme, marjoram, sage or oregano.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the cheese on top browns slightly. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the entire casserole. Makes approximately four servings.
Spring is officially here, which means we can start wearing less clothing and preparing for a fun, active summer. If you’re currently working with our weight loss center and have a spring trip coming up, it doesn’t have to mean the end to your diet. While it’s okay to have a treat every so often on your vacation, you don’t have to throw caution to the wind and overeat. Spring break doesn’t mean spring binge!
An ideal snack contains a combo of nutrients, including protein and fiber, to stave off hunger and provide energy. Below are some great healthy snack ideas for when you’re on the go or on the road that are favorites of members of our weight loss center.
Veggies and dip. When you have that craving for chips and dips, instead try some of your favorite veggies with guacamole or a low-fat Greek yogurt dip. The avocados used in guacamole are packed with hunger satiating omega-3 fatty acids and an array of vitamins and minerals, and Greek yogurt is packed with protein. Choose a wide-range of colorful veggies to pack a serious antioxidant punch—try tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, carrots, jicama, broccoli and any other of your favorites.
A protein bar. Here’s the catch—don’t just choose any protein bar as many of them contain a ton of sugar, which defeats the purpose of having a healthy snack. Look for those that help regulate your blood sugar, such as the ones sold at our weight loss center, so that you avoid those dangerous sugar spikes and crashes that ultimately lead to overeating.
Frozen Greek Yogurt. If you have a craving for ice cream or something cold, opt for frozen Greek yogurt. Your best choice would be to pop a container into your freezer for a couple of hours, though you can buy containers of frozen Greek yogurt at the grocery store. Greek yogurt contains high levels of hunger-satisfying protein, as well as calcium, probiotics, vitamins and minerals.
This week, both of my medical assistants, Chris and Lili, offered to join in with the glucose monitoring. I decided to start the process of food testing with an easy one—a No Sugar Added Klondike bar (I do it all for the sake of science).
There are a number of different ice cream products on the market, but none as iconic as the Klondike bar. I have to admit, I was a bit giddy about testing this food. My favorite dessert has always been ice cream and since going low carb years ago, I’ve only had it on rare occasions. The great thing about eating something you love so infrequently is that it tastes like the best thing in the world. I appreciate those moments all the more.
This No Sugar Added Klondike bar was no exception. At 8 in the morning, it was amazing! I’m sure if I tasted it right next to a “real” Klondike bar, it would be a noticeable disappointment, but by itself, it was fantastic.
As you can see, the No Sugar Added Klondike bar did cause a noticeable rise in our respective blood sugar levels. The average blood sugar rise after the initial fasting measurement was 32 mg/dL, which I believe is fairly sizable. I was, however, able to maintain my state of nutritional ketosis.
Next week: Stay tuned as we compare the No Sugar Added Klondike bar to the Original Klondike bar.