Friday, January 30, 2009

How Healthy Is Soy?

Researchers have been debating this question for years. This article may shed some light on specific concerns you may have...

Soy is the epitome of health food: Perhaps only yogurt has a stronger reputation as a food that Americans eat primarily "because it's good for you." Touted as being a heart protector, cancer fighter and a safer alternative to hormones during menopause, soy has long been seen as a miracle food.

Yet the soybean has gotten a bit of a bad rap, thanks to studies linking soy's estrogen-like chemicals with breast cancer. As a result, many women now shun the food and some men believe tofu will make them less manly.

No need to panic. The research linking animal fat to heart disease and cancer are far stronger than those connecting soy to any health problems. So, if you are considering substituting soy for meat or milk, the soybean still shines in comparison, according to Ethan Balk, associate director of the Tufts-New England Medical Center's Evidence-Based Practice Center, who reviewed the studies in 2005.

But if the question is whether to eat large amounts of soy or take supplements, the answer is far more elusive. Here's what the latest findings suggest:

Heart - The most solid evidence on soy credits it with reducing levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol. Balk's review found that eating large amounts of soy foods or taking supplements was linked to a small, but measurable, positive effect. For every 1 percent reduction in LDL levels, there is a corresponding 1 percent reduction in the risk of heart attack or stroke. Additionally, the studies found that the higher a person's LDL levels, the more soy can help.

However, soy's impact on cholesterol wasn't large enough for the American Heart Association, which reversed its position favoring soy supplements, saying that their effects were too small to warrant recommendation.

Bottom Line: It's worth a shot.

Menopausal Symptoms - Because of soy's estrogen-like effects, it has been promoted as an alternative to hormone-replacement for the relief of menopausal symptoms. But Balk's research has found little agreement among the findings. Some studies found large effects, some small, some found none at all.

Bottom Line: Inconclusive.

Breast Cancer - Certain types of breast cancer are fueled by estrogen, so there has been concern that soy might be harmful to women with a genetic predisposition to this disease. Studies in cell culture and in mice found that soy increased the growth of breast cancer cells. On the other hand, Asian women, who tend to eat a soy-based diet, have a threefold lower risk of breast cancer than Western women do—and their risk increases if they immigrate and switch to a Westernized diet. Further, a study found that soy blocked estrogen receptors in monkeys at risk for breast cancer due to high estrogen levels. This suggests soy might be protective for women at high risk.

Bottom Line: Wait and see.

The Upshot -Soy is a great form of low-fat protein, especially for people seeking to cut down on the saturated fat from meat. However, until scientists determine whether large quantities of soy are helpful or harmful to people at risk for breast cancer, moderation is best. As an alternative to fattier animal proteins, it still deserves health-food status.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Recipe Day!

Okra Breakfast Delight


1 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup fresh, tender okra; thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. chopped sweet onion
1 scallion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 turkey sausage – cooked/chopped (7g protein)
½ cup chopped tomato
½ - 1 pickeled jalapeno halves, Faro brand
1 Tbsp. tomato sauce
½ cup water (do not add all at once)
½ cup Egg Beaters
Piece of fruit – orange, apple, pear, grapefruit, 1 cup mixed berries


Saute garlic, onion, scallion, turkey in olive oil over medium heat for approximately 2 minutes. Add chopped tomato, jalpenos and saute for 3 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add okra and saute for another minute. (Okra is better if a bit crisp). Add tomato sauce and about ¼ cup water. Stir to make a sauce. Add ½ content of eggbeater container and let set before mixing. Add more water if you like it saucy. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Eating Right Gives You A Natural High

Statistics show that most of us are exhausted, stressed and depressed. To combat this we turn to a variety of boosters to get us through the day (and night). We gobble a muffin with coffee in the morning to get a rush, sip a soda or have a cookie to overcome the afternoon slump and wind down at night with a cocktail. This often adds up to excess calories, weight gain and feelings of hopelessness.

So, what is the solution, according to nutition experts Hyla Cass, M.D., and Patrick Holford, coauthors of the book Natural Highs: Supplements, Nutrition and Mind/Body Techniques To Help You Feel Good All the Time (Penguin Putnam). They have offered up a brain-food diet based on extensive research in the areas of nutrition, psychology, and neuroscience.
  • Eat a serving of high-quality protein at least three times a day. Higher quality protein is better absorbed and more efficiently utilized, so you will need to eat less of it. Adequate protein promotes good moods. Good examples of high-quality protein foods are some seafoods, poultry, lean red meat, soy, lowfat yogurt, rice with beans, rice with lentils.

  • Eat cold-water fish at least three times a week. This is one of the best sources of omega-3, an essential fatty acid crucial to optimal brain function. Omega-3s are found in salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines and cod.

  • Eat two eggs a week, or sprinkle lecithin granules on your cereal, salads or vegetables. These are the best sources of phospholipids, which help you metabolize fat and enhance your mood and mental performance.

  • Eat one serving of low Glycemic Index (low-GI) complex carbohydrates at every meal. Complex carbohydrates are long chains of sugar molecules strung together that are digested slowly and help prevent fluctuations in blood sugar levels that can cause depression as well as cravings for sugar and alcohol. Complex carbohydrates also help raise serotonin levels, which calm you down and lift your mood. Good examples of low-GI foods are whole grains, bran, beans, apples, cherries, dried apricots, plums and pears.

  • Eat one or two servings of antioxidant fruits and vegetables with every meal. These replenish the body and brain with oxygen, giving you energy and combating illness. Antioxidant-rich foods include prunes, berries, kale, spinach, broccoli, and alfalfa sprouts.

  • Have a heaping tablespoon of ground seeds a day. These provide you with the needed energy and essential fat to keep your body and brain churning out maximum energy. In a blender or coffee grinder, grind half flaxseeds and half sesame, sunflower, hemp and pumpkin seeds. Keep in a sealed glass jar in refrigerator, and add to your salads, sprinkle over vegetables or cereal, or have in a shake.

Most of you already know these things, especially if you are following the Rialto Maximize Your Metabolism Program. It's important to see how what you put in your body affects its functioning in so many ways.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What Are You Eating?

You have now made it through two or three weeks of boot camp and hopefully ventured out for a walk or extra activity once or twice. It has been a tough and relatively warm month and you all have been putting forth so much effort. Keep it up for one more week and you will be pleasantly surprised next Friday.

We are sure you have realized this by now, but exercise is only part of the equation. We hope that throughout the month, you have started eating 4 – 5 small meals a day, adding high quality protein to every meal, and leaning away from fried foods, sugars and starches…right?!. If you haven’t made these changes…then we are sure you have become well acquainted with methods to begin!

The instructors try to make suggestions and offer up ways to change your eating habits, but if you don’t mix up what you are eating, you may go back to some of your old habits. For most people, eating the same thing every day causes them to get bored and they become less conscientious of what they are eating.

Your food choices throughout the day really do affect how you feel during exercise. So make sure you are using your log book and are bringing it to camp for the instructors to check.

If you need some more suggestions as to what to eat, here is a Rialto Wellness approved meal plan.

Breakfast – Oatmeal with blueberries or Your favorite fruit for extra protein

Snack – Apple & string cheese

Lunch – Salad with grilled chicken

Snack – Carrots and almonds or hummus or Cravers Bar

Dinner – Small steak, green beans and Spinach

You don’t have to stop going to restaurants or picking up something quick and easy.

Just be aware of what you are eating and plan ahead so you can start making changes. Are you in the car a lot? Grab a Cravers bar or yogurt parfait instead of a burger and fries from a fast food restaurant. Or carry a cooler with you.

Just like on the boot camp blog, a nutrition blog is posted. You can get some great ideas for different meals so you’re not stuck eating the same thing every day. Do you already have a favorite snack or meal? Post it to the comments. We all like suggestions for new things to try!

Have A Fit Day!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sage Advice

If you're looking to consume more "superfoods" - those edibles with nutritional and functional riches at little caloric cost - search no further than your spice rack! A pinch here, a dash there and you not only add taste and aroma, you wind up cutting down on iffy ingredients such as salt, sugar and butter. You also do your body and brain multiple favors, as the antioxidants in many spices curb inflammation - widely recognized as an early step in vascular disease, cancer, diabetes and other chronic conditions.

Enhance sweetness with the following: allspice, cinnamon, cloves or ginger. To enhance savory flavors or substitute for salt, use basil, cumin, mustard, oregano, pepper, rosemary or sage. Or, try a combination of them. Start your spice odyssey by taking a trusted recipe and adding just one seasoning each time you make it, allowing about one quarter of a teaspoon (the official definition of a pinch) per pound of meat or pint of liquid.

Just a few interesting spice tidbits...

Allspice: Contains more than a dozen antioxidants, including eugenol, quercetin, ellagic and gallic acids. Ellagic acid has anticancer effects, decreases proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells.

Sage: Contains antioxidants thymol and eugenol. Aptly named, sage extracts have been found to boost cognitive function among those with Alzheimer's disease.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Beware of the Weekend Waistline

If you're serious about cutting calories, perhaps you should start your nutrition plan - preferably the Rialto Maximize Your Metabolism Plan - this weekend. A study found that Americans tuck away an average of 82 extra calories each Friday, Saturday and Sunday compared with other days of the week. Adults between the ages of 19 and 50 were especially prone to indulging on their days off, eating an average of 115 extra calories per weekend day.

Although most people in the study got fewer calories from protein and carbohydrates on the weekend, they made up the deficit with large increases in fat and alcohol consumption, says Pamela Haines, associate professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina and an author of the study. Over the course of the year, weekend splurging could result in weight gain of almost five pounds.

That may not seem like a lot, and - of course - everyone needs a break (and needs to reward themselves) every once in a while. But keep in mind that it can add up quickly, so just always try to be mindful of what you're putting in your body.


Also, if you're wondering what types of meals and snacks a fellow bootcamper is eating, below is a sample day for her. It's interesting to see what other people eat, especially if they are as passionate about the Rialto Maximize Your Metabolism Program. (She journals:-))

Today I've had very a hectic day with a strenuous yoga class first thing in the morning, work (I work from home), an afternoon appointment, more work, and next will be an aerobic workout. Tonight I'll be watching the Biggest Loser. :-) Here's what I've been eating today:

Breakfast: 1/2 Cocoa Crisp, Prograde Cravers bar and a Brownie Batter Smoothie

Snack after yoga: 1/2 Almond Butter Prograde Cravers bar

Lunch: turkey burger (made with almost fat free ground turkey, Tex-Mex spices, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and 1/4 cup hot salsa) topped with hot salsa, a little bit of shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese, a spoonful of yogurt, a couple crumbled corn chips and lots of jalapeno pepper slices (the very HOT kind in vinegar, from a jar); raspberries for dessert

Afternoon snack/pre aerobic workout snack: I just ate 1/2 of a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cravers bar (I loooove these!)

Dinner: (will be) stir fry of tofu, bean sprouts, celery, baby bok choi, onions, carrots, oil, garlic, ginger, scallions and Bragg's

Bedtime snack: undecided

Boot campers! Congrats on making it through Weeks 1 & 2! Be sure to eat well this weekend. Lots of good quality protein combined with low glycemic carbs. See you Tuesday!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sticking to it in 2009

As 2009 begins, many of us will set out determined to follow our new nutrition and fitness goals. A recent survey conducted by Zone Diet found that more than 55 percent of Americans have made New Year’s diet resolutions in the past, but nearly 6 in 10 (58 percent) said their resolution lasted less than a month with most (76 percent) blaming their failures on a lack of willpower. Additionally, the survey found that more than 66 percent of Americans are open to dieting with a friend, family member or social group, but nearly the same amount (67 percent), think their dieting partner is dishonest about their eating habits.

Here are some New Year’s Resolution Tips for a happy, healthy 2009:

Make a Resolution to be Healthy
Instead of focusing solely on weight loss this New Year, proclaim to live better and healthier in 2009. Simplify the process by choosing a lifestyle program, rather than a diet plan. Find a wellness program that applies a healthy balance of carbs, fats and proteins with exercise and supplements. Many of you are on The Rialto Wellness Maximize Your Metabolism Program, which is a great example of this type of wellness program.

Get Started in a Proven Program
Everyone wants to lose weight quickly. But a smart plan focuses on safety first. Take time to research nutrition programs that are clinically-tested by reputable organizations and medical experts.

Use a 15-Second Solution
Omega-3 fish oil is a wonder supplement and a 15-second solution to support optimal heart, brain, joint and immune function. Taking a daily dose of fish oil can help make up for many dietary “mistakes” that we all make, as well as enhance mental abilities and keep your emotions on an even keel.

Share Recipes and Meals with a Friend
Studies show that nearly 66 percent of Americans are open to dieting with a friend, family member or social group. As you embark on your new healthy lifestyle, it’s important to establish a support system to help you succeed. So why not have some fun and make meals and recipes with your friends and family.

Resolve to Keep Exercising
Make a commitment to yourself and hold yourself accountable to it. Tell friends, family members or co-workers. Affirmations are also a powerful tool to help you remember why you started exercising in the first place and how good you feel about it. Make a list of what you've achieved, whether it's weight loss, increased strength and endurance, or more energy.

Arrive at Restaurants with a Game Plan
Navigating a restaurant menu can be difficult, but there’s no need to deprive yourself. For example, if you want dessert, don’t eat any carbohydrates during the meal and replace any starches or grains with extra vegetables.

Make it a fine 09!