Thursday, April 26, 2012

Trail Mix Fanatic!

Everyone says that I eat like a bird. Probably because I do. I have a snack here, a bite there...and honestly, I contribute part of my "thinness" to the fact that I keep my metabolism up by snacking a little throughout the day. The trick to this though, is healthy snacking! Personally, I am obsessed with two things: trail mix and bananas. Weird, right? I like banana-flavored anything...but that's not the topic today! :)

The problem with trail mix is you have to be careful because is can be FULL of calories. Remember, nuts, although good for you have lots of fat and calories. So, eat the trail mix, but don't take a "ginormous" bag with you to school/work because you will eat the whole bag, and ruin all your hard work!

Here is one of my favorite recipes...and I found it on the American Heart Association definitely heart healthy!

Cooking Spray
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tsp water
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups whole-grain oat cereal with yogurt-flavored coating
2 cups whole-grain wheat and bran flakes with raisins
1/2 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
1/2 cup dried unsweetened blueberries

(I always add some dried, unsweetened banana chips too!)
Cooking Instructions
Put a piece of aluminum foil about 12 inches square on a platter or baking sheet. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a small nonstick skillet, dry-roast the almonds over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly golden brown, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the brown sugar, water, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated and the almonds are coated with the mixture, stirring constantly. Transfer to the foil. Let cool completely, 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients.
Add the cooled almonds to the cereal mixture, stirring to combine. Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

What is your heart healthy snack? Please, share it with us!


Monday, April 23, 2012


Until recently, there was an idea in medicine that tooth and gum disease may lead to heart disease. I'm sure most people have heard this at one time or another. Last week, a new consensus was released that stated that gum disease has NOT been proven to cause heart disease or stroke, and thus, treating gum disease will not help to prevent heart disease or stroke.

The research assumes that there was a correlation in people who had gum disease and heart disease because this population of people tend to not take care of their health overall. In other words, those people who do not pay attention to well-known prevention methods, like not smoking, correct diet, exercise and diabetes prevention, are also less likely to have good oral hygiene.

This paper goes on to say that the previous work showing a relation between gum disease and cardiovascular disease is "unwarranted", and that long-term trials are needed to make a final conclusion.

So, keep those pearly whites clean and pretty because a healthy smile is a pretty smile, but unfortunately, we cannot assume that it is helping your heart.

Keep on shining!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Menu De-Construction...SUBWAY!

Who doesn't love sandwiches? No one. Everyone's go-to sandwich/sub restaurant, Subway, advertises how people lose weight eating JUST their subs, and advertise with commercial jingles that get stuck in your head all day! ♪ 5...5 dollar...5 dollar foot lonnngg! ♪  So, let's see if subway lives up to its "healthy" attraction!

Veggie Delight
BEST Sandwiches (ALL are 6"...really, a foot long sandwich is ridiculous!)
1. Veggie Delight- 230 calories
2. Turkey Breast- 280 calories
3. Turkey Breast and Ham- 280 calories
4. (splurge item..for those who need a little more flavor)- Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki- 380 calories

WORST Sandwiches (again, all 6")
Meatball Pepperoni...avoid!
1. Chicken and Bacon Ranch Melt- 570 calories & 28 gm of fat
2. Spicy Italian -480 calories & 24 gm of fat!
3. Tuna- 420 calories (I presume this is because they make the tuna salad with mayo
4. Meatball Pepperoni Melt- (the worst on menu at 620 calories!) & 29 gm of fat!
5. Big Philly Cheesesteak- 500 calories & 17 gm of fat

So, it seems as though the "catch" with subway are the variety of condiments and extras one could add to the sandwich. ALL of the above sandwiches include 9-grain wheat bread (yay!), lettuce, onions, green peppers and cucumbers. NO CHEESE is listed above unless the sandwich has it in it already (like the cheesesteak).

Salads: Pretty good here. All salads have less than 400 calories. But be careful on the amount of dressing you use! Dressing tacks on a little over 50 cal per serving.

So, adding in extras:

EVERY SOUP has 310 calories. Every one.
Cheese (2 pieces) adds approx 20 calories to the sandwich.
Mayo adds 15 calories (this is for a teaspoon and we all know they lather way more than a teaspoon on there). Go for the light mayo..even though it has the same number of calories, it has over half the fat.
Tomato- 34 calories (but I like this one because of the nutritional value)
Pickles- 3 calories PER SLICE!

Overall, I gotta hand it to Subway. They have done a good job of keeping the majority of the menu heart healthy. Remember---Multigrain bread (unless you have an allergy, of course!), and keep the condiments to a minimum!

Congrats, Subway! You passed!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Keep the wisdom flowing!

Beautiful Venue for Citi Bank South Florida
International Women's Day Brunch
I was honored last month to speak for Citi Bank on International Women's Day, March 8th. Citi invited me to speak to a large group of women about women's health issues. After reading my blog, one of the employees suggested that I speak about my best and most read blog post yet, Top 10 Things to Live by.
The talk was a success. I had women asking all kinds of questions in regards to their physical health, cancer screening and different diets. I was so happy to be able to speak to such a large group of women, one for their awareness, but also for the motivation I may have added.

So, what? You may be thinking...this post is a little out of my nature, but something that we all need to remember to do every day...motivate, cultivate and support. I really feel as though my talk to 200 women reached far beyond them. They may have told their friends, mothers, which case my words of wisdom in regards to women's health reached far beyond the room we were in. Each day we should all try and motivate and support each other with whatever goals we have. Studies have proven that people are more likely to meet a weight loss goal if they have a workout buddy to motivate them, and have a little constructive competition. This rule does not just apply to workouts, but any goal!

Speaking to the women on
International Women's Day
Also, we need to cultivate growth and new experiences and ideas. You may have a great workout regimen that you could share, or a fantastic recipe for salmon. Finally, let's all do our part to support not only our friends and family, but also our community and ourselves. Reward yourself for a job well done. Give yourself the tools that you may need to accomplish your goals. For me, it is about supporting and educating my community, and on a larger scale, women. I feel that if I have made an impact on ONE woman, that woman could spread the word to others much better than I ever could.
The Women of Citi Bank South Florida
(What a wonderful company to work with!)

 I look forward to continuing this journey with my readers. My hours are rough and nights are long...but in the long run, if I can impart just a little of the knowledge that I gain to you all, my audience, then my job is done!
Thank you all for walking this road for me, and I am so honored to help to make us a healthier woman's world!


Saturday, April 14, 2012

To Gluten or Not to Gluten...

Lots of gluten...and nutrition!
Wow. I get a crazy number of questions each week regarding this "gluten-free" diet craze. I'm not sure why some diets become a "fad" and some don't, but because so many patients ask me about them, I have to stay up to date to be able to properly inform them. So, here is my take on the dieting fad of 2012, the Gluten-free diet.

First, let's talk about what gluten is. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and a few other grains.  It is found naturally in these grains, and is what gives bread structure, strength and the "chewy" property. Because of this, gluten is also used as an additive to make other items thicker, for instance "fake" meats that vegetarians eat a lot of the time. Gluten is also the item in bread that makes it rise, as gluten retains gas when baked, thus causing the "fluffiness".

So, what's with the gluten-free diet? So, because of these chewy and thickening properties, some people have a difficult time digesting gluten. There are some people who have an allergy to gliadin (Celiac Disease), which helps to form gluten. These people have a MEDICAL reason not to eat gluten, simply because they have an allergy to it. When these particular people eat a food with gluten, they produce an immune response which interfreres with the absorption of food. They may have diarrhea, weight loss, and lack of ability to absorb vitamins and minerals in the intestines, causing anemia and some vitamin deficiencies. Also, some people have a gluten allergy and most patients with a skin condition known as dermatitis herpetiformis are told to remain gluten-free as it is known to trigger the skin condition.

From a nutritional and medical standpoint, I do not see a reason to avoid gluten unless you are told to do so by a physician. Gluten, and wheat provide a major source of vitamins and minerals to a balancesd diet.  Many gluten-free diets do not have the same amount of nutrients such as folate, iron, calcium and fiber than other foods.  Gluten is found in a lot of processed foods because it is used as a thickening agent. So, going "gluten-free" to avoid processed foods is great. BUT, going gluten free also deprives people of whole-grains like wheat bread and pasta which are full of vitamins, minerals and proteins.

So, lets stick to "processed- food free" and not "gluten-free". I do not agree with a strict gluten-free diet for reasons stated above, but I am a HUGE fan of fresh, whole foods and not processed foods.

Once again...a well-balanced diet is typically better than any fad diet out there!


P.S. Don't year I will discuss the fad diet of 2013!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Fitness Frenzy!

One of the questions I get asked the most by my female patients in regard to weight loss is what I do during my daily workouts. To get in my required 30 minutes a day -5 days a week of aerobic exercise, I use the elliptical machine. I like how I can control what muscle groups are being worked and how I can control the resistance. I am not a fan of running myself, because I don't like the "pounding" sensation on my knees when my foot hits the ground.

In addition to the aerobic exercise, I also have a few moves that I do daily, regardless of what "area" I may be working on that particular day. I decided to take some photos of ME doing these exercises to show you how I do it...(and please excuse the scrubs...I usually dress like a normal person at the gym..I swear!)

Girly Push-ups

(Top Left) My favorite tricep exercise. Super easy, and keeps the "flabby" arm gone. I use a 12-lb weight, but you may need to work up to that, or you may even need more. Hold the weight with both hands behind your head, and lift up to the ceiling. I do 3 sets of fifteen.

(Top Right) Girly push-ups. My little arms can't take the weight of my whole body, so I modify it. The key here is to keep your back straight and butt down. I see girls in the gym with their butts in the air, doesn't work that way! I try and do 45 of's hard!

Medicine Ball Twists
Weighted Lunges
(Left) BEST AB EXERCISE OF ALL TIME! Get an 8 lb medicine ball , balance on your butt with legs in the air (see photo). Twist from side to side with the medicine ball in hand. The key here is to twist your ENTIRE torso from left to right. My abs shaped up immediately after doing this!

(Above Right)  Want a nice tush? You have to do lunges. I usually use 10-lb weights on each arm. I don't even count the lunges any more, I usually go from one side of the gym to the other. Here, keeping your balance is key. Keep your back straight, and try not to let your front knee go over the ankle. The back knee should come about 2 inches from the ground. Sometimes I nix the weights (about 2x a week) because I don't want bulky legs, but that's my personal preference. :)            

I hope you all enjoyed this! Exercise should be a part of your daily routine, along with a good diet. I would LOVE to hear what your daily exercise regimen is, or if you try any of these moves and have good results. Ohh! Photos are even better!                                    

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Count those sheep! BaaBaa

There was a recent study published out of San Diego that is VERY important for my ladies who are trying to lose weight. The researchers took 17 people and had half sleep their normal amount of time and half sleep only 2/3 their normal amount of time.

Believe it or not, the group that slept less consumed over 500 calories more each day than the group who slept more. (Also, each group had about the same activity level, so they were not burning calories a different way). 

Although this study was very small and was conducted only at one clinic, it brings up a great topic. We are all so busy with school, work, families and who-knows-what-else, that we sometimes deprive ourselves of the one thing that we need the most- SLEEP! Adults should be sleeping on average 7-9 hours a night. 

As well as helping to maintain a healthy weight, sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory, maintain a good mood, decrease incidence of high blood pressure and irregular heart beats, and keep immune status intact (less colds and flu!).

Try and form a routine, going to sleep and waking up at the same time everyday. A good sleep routine will help to keep you healthy (oh! and keep your skin beautiful too!).

Goodnight... go count those sheep!


Monday, April 2, 2012

McDonald's De-Construction!

You asked and I answered! Although everyone should know by now that I am FAR from a fast-food fan, I am also realistic in the fact that a lot of people in this world eat it, and eat it more often then they should. I myself am guilty of the fast-food frenzy at times when I am running late for something and absolutely STARVING. So, what's the most popular fast food joint in the world...? McDonald's! And I was pleasantly surprised that there are some decent options. Let's get to it!

                                                         To start...breakfast!
Oatmeal...and is REALLY good!
Best Options:
Apple Walnut Oatmeal- 270 calories; Fruit and Maple Oatmeal- 290 calories
Egg McMuffin- 300 calories, 12 gm of fat and a whopping 18 g of protein to keep you full! ( NO SAUSAGE OR HAM!!!)
Sausage Burrito- 300 calories (but, unfortunately a lot of fat). But IF you are craving...meat...then pick this.

Worst Options:
Big Breakfast with Hotcakes- wow. No Bueno. 1090 calories. 56 GM OF FAT! Ah!! These "hot cakes" won't make your cakes hot. Believe me.
ANY of the McGriddles. Really? All hover around 400-600 calories, have a ton of fat and sugar. Avoid.

Angus Chipolte...I don't even know what else. Gross.
Best option: The good ol' hamburger. 250 calories and the cheeseburger is 300 calories. Here, if you can JUST eat the burger and no fries, you are golden. Problem is that they are not very filling, and most people end up eating 3 of them +/- fries too.

Worst Option: Angus Chipolte BBQ Bacon. Holy Moly. 800 calories and 39 grams of fat. Crazy.
 As a matter of fact avoid anything that says "angus" or "Big N' Tasty".
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the McRib has 500 calories. Really? A RIB sandwich? Gross.

Best...and actually the BEST item on the menu.. the Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich. 350 calories and 9 gm of fat and 28 gm of protein to keep you full. I was pleasantly surprised by this and its my STAR item. Go for this!
Also, the grilled snack wraps are generally okay as well, but again, they are small and may not satisfy. And I do not consider 250 calories a "snack".

Worst: Any of the fried sandwiches. The Crispy Chicken Club Sandwich runs 620 calories. Craziness! Just get the grilled and save yourself the regret later!

Again, stick with GRILLED chicken. The grilled chicken salads have between 190-290 calories, where the fried chicken salads have between 450-600 calories. Also, in general, try to use as LITTLE dressing as possible as this has a lot of "unsuspecting" calories.

Unless you are going to McDonald's to get apples (yes, they have them at only 15 calories!) avoid side items. The fries have anywhere from 250-500 calories (small-large).
Milkshakes are insane! They have 580-880 calories (small-large). WHAT?! PLEASE. No.


So, putting it all together. The best lunch meal would be:

Grilled Chicken Sandwich with a side of apple slices, with a diet soda or water. Total? 375 calories and keeps you full until dinner!

Until Next Time..xo!