Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No More Excuses!

Screen shot

Thanks to one of my very good friends over at ThinkHautePink, I have discovered a workout that anyone with a little will power and an iPhone can do. The app is from Nike and is called Nike Training. It is safe to say that I just got my butt handed to me...on a silver platter.

This app is FANTASTIC for anyone who is 1. Lazy, 2. doesn't want to go to the gym, or 3. finds every excuse in the world NOT to work out. The workouts are designed to be able to be done in a small space (like your home) with either no or very little equipment (barbells and medicine ball). Going from beginner to advanced, you can pick what your goals are: leaner, stronger or toned.

15min of a 45 min workout.
I'm exhausted!
I made the HUGE mistake of picking "advanced" as I typically workout at least 4 days a week. Um. No. I thought I was going to die. I think next time I will tone it down to intermediate. Even better, there are videos of the different techniques, and you can play your own library music while doing the exercises. The integration between the videos, the voice commands and your own music is amazing, and seamless. And the "super in-shape" girls in the videos provide a little extra visual motivation, for those who need it.
What was left of my workout..;-/
This app does not allow for any excuses from anyone about not being able to workout. Basically, you need your body, a house, and the will power to get healthy...heart healthy!

Now..get to work!

Monday, March 26, 2012

What's Your Poo Telling You?

That's right ladies, I'm going there!! Let's all get down to the nitty gritty and admit it. We all poo. I know that our significant others assume that we "poo" roses, but unfortunately that is not the case.  Seeing that March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, I decided to do a little post about poo...what is normal and when to be concerned!

.....ps I have spared you all...no **graphic** photos!

To start, lets talk about normal poo. First, everyone's poo is different. Some people go three times a day (yes, not kidding) and some every three days. Chances are, you know your "normal". As long as your are consistent, there is usually nothing to worry about. Now, if you typically go 2 times a day like clockwork, and haven't been in 3 days, that is probably abnormal for you. Normal consistency is soft (but still "formed") and should come out with relative ease. Color should be pale brown to dark brown.

Okay, now that we have the basics down..lets get dirty.

Hard, lumpy poo typically means that you may not be drinking enough fluids (dehydrated) or eating enough fiber, or both. Also, hard lumpy poo is usually harder to come out, making you strain (which can cause hemorrhoids). If you notice this, try increasing the fiber in your diet (whole grains, raisins, fruits) and drinking more water. Normally, you should be able to sit down, and have the poo come right out, without any problem.

As far as the "sinkers" and the "floaters" debate, more often than not, if your poo is floating, you are eating too much fat. Sometimes the floaters are causes by A LOT of fiber or gas. Usually, if its floating, you can trace back what you ate and find the reason. There is still a lot of debate on this ....very interesting topic. :)

Things that ALWAYS need to be checked by a doctor:

1. Blood in the stool. This comes in a few different forms. Bright red blood is obvious. Also, black, tarry stool is typically blood from higher up in the intestines that has been digested. This is just as important as bright red blood. (NOTE! Pepto Bismol, iron pills, and licorice causes black poo, so be on the lookout!)

It was this flavor, in particular. 
2. Really foul smelling greenish or mucous-y stool. This may be a serious infection. Mucous in the stool is usually never normal. Greenish stool may be a sign that the food is getting digested too quickly, as in the cases of some diarrhea. You know what I discovered by accident? The food coloring in purple gatorade causes green poo. For a while there I thought I had a serious problem...nope, just the gatorade!

3. VERY pale/ almost white poo. Unless you just drank barium for a CT scan, this is not normal and may be because of a lack of bile, possibly from an obstruction higher up in the intestines.

4. Pencil-thin stools. I'm talking REALLY skinny stools. This is *usually* not normal. Sometimes, this can signify a lesion in the colon that is not allowing a lot of poo to "pass through" at once.

So what can you do to keep your colon healthy? First, be aware of YOUR "normals". Two, if you have any concerns at all, talk to your doctor. Finally, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get a screening colonoscopy at 50 (or sooner if need be because of family history).

Keep your poo happy and healthy!
xo.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Panera....the Healthiest Fast Food?

Panera bread boasts that it is the "healthiest fast food restaurant". I would tend to agree, IF you pick the right items off of the menu. I'd like to note that I typically have the "you pick two" with the Tuna Salad Sandwich and the Chicken Noodle Soup. I usually substitute bread for an apple, and have it for a snack later.

Lets see how I fare... Panera Bread Menu De-Construction!

There are so many options and combinations to choose from, I think its best if I just give you the best and worst options.


                                                      BEST Breakfast Options:

1. Power Breakfast Sandwich- 340 calories (My FAVORITE!)
2. Whole Grain or Blueberry Bagel either plain or with Lite Cream Cheese..and there is no need to use the entire container of creme cheese...it's way more than what is necessary! (Plain Bagel=340 calories; with light cream cheese= 450)

WORST: Any bagel with regular cream cheese. Also, the soufflés are pretty bad..they average over 500 calories!

Lunch/Dinner: BEST Options:

1. Vegetarian Black Bean Soup- 240 calories
2. Chicken Noodle Soup- 120 Calories (good option...and yummy!)
3. Garden Vegetable Soup with Pesto- 150 calories
4. Greek Salad- 370 Calories
5. Asian Sesame Chicken Salad- 450 Calories
6. Tuna Salad on Honey Wheat- 510 calories (woo hoo!!)

Mac and Cheesey badness!
 WORST Options:
1. New England Clam Chowder- eeek! 630 calories
2. Steak and Blue Cheese Chopped Salad- 790 calories! Holy Moly!
3. Italian Combo with Ham Sandwich- 980 calories
4. Bacon Turkey Bravo- 800 calories
5. Sierra Turkey on Asiago Cheese- 920 calories
6. **ALL of the HOT sandwiches/paninis are BAD!**--average over 700 calories..avoid!
7. Mac and Cheese- 980 calories...oh my!

 ...and you knew this was coming..you have to avoid all of those yummy pastries. So good, but SO bad for you!
So, looks like my "you pick two" is pretty darn good! Remember, the you pick two is HALF of each item..so cut the above calories in half for each item!
And once again...no soda please!

Happy Weekend Everyone!
xo

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Superfood....to the rescue!

Is it me or is this whole "superfood" idea everywhere? What the heck IS a superfood?

Well, to start, there is no set "definition" of a superfood. It is basically catch-all term for a food product that may have a very high nutritious or anti-oxidant content which may provide health benefits. So after searching and researching high and low, I have coupled a list of MY "super foods"!

1. Salmon. How many times has salmon come up on my blog? I may just have to do a blog of salmon recipes. My husband HATES salmon, yet somehow loves my salmon burgers..go figure. Anyway, salmon is FULL of protein, omega-3's (helps with cholesterol!), has lots of iron and low in calories and saturated fat. LOVE!

2. Blueberries. Out of all of the "berries" these are probably the best. They are low in calories, sweet (so they can satisfy your sweet tooth), full of water and fiber to help you stay full longer, and have LOTS of antioxidants to help protect your body from "bad stuff".

3. Low Fat Yogurt. The key to this is finding the yogurt that has the active bacterial cultures (this is in most yogurts now). Yogurt is great because it is full of protein and calcium. Also, the live bacterial cultures help to regulate the causes of yeast infections and irregular bowel issues. Try and have low fat yogurt 2-3 times a week as part of your breakfast.
Açaí berries


4. Açaí. These ranked below blueberries only because of their price, otherwise they would be the best "berry". These little blue Brazilian beauties have gained a ton of popularity lately, and with good cause. They are known to have a lot of omega-3 fatty acids (like the salmon), antioxidants, a lot of plant sterols (which help to absorb cholesterol) and fiber to help keep you full. Any way to incorporate these into your diet is fine. Most people go for the juice form. If the juice is too strong, you can cut it with water.



5. Green Tea. AGAIN. and AGAIN. how many times do I write about this? Okay, I will just tell you MY favorites, since I should have beaten this into the heads of everyone by now. My favorites are the Zen and Orange Blossom Tazo Starbucks Tea and the Harney and Sons Green Tea with Thai flavors..mmmm!! Also, I kid you not...I am drinking green tea right now as I write this!





Rabbit-worthy greens!
6. Leafy Green Veggies. Here I'm talking kale, collards, spinach, swiss chard. These little suckers are full of Vitamins A, C and K as well as folate, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, lutein and fiber! There are tons of ways to cook these is a healthy way. I love just sautéing spinach with olive oil and fresh chopped garlic. Yum!

For me, this blog was about realistic "superfood" goals. I see a lot of TV personalities and advertisements for "super foods" that I am sure are wonderful, but are far from attainable. These are all foods that should be in your local supermarket and everyone should be able to add into their diet.
If you have any great recipes for any "superfood" here, please be sure to e-mail it to me, or add a comment and I will make sure to get it on the blog!

Keep on doing the right things...have a great week everyone!


Friday, March 16, 2012

Vacay

Something much needed every once in a while...a vacation! I do not want anyone to think I forgot about them or the blog! I am taking a little hiatus this weekend for a quick get away with my husband in Key West. Luckily for us we have a wonderful friend who has a house down here that we are able to stay at.
Thank you all for your continued support, and I'll be back with more posts on Monday! Have a safe St. Patty's Day!




P.S. Don't fret...I have my SPF 50 in my purse! ;)

Location:Key West,United States

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Ba-jillion Dollar Industry...Diet Books!

My Skinny Caramel Latte in hand!...see? I'm
really really white...sunscreen people!!
So, seeing that I got out of work today a little earlier than expected, I had a few errands to run. After returning a nail polish I already had (see, I'm a normal girl..) a decided to wander by the local bookstore for a nice little latte (Caramel Skinny Latte- tall, only drank half=40 calories). While wandering around the bookstore, I couldn't help but see the hundreds upon hundreds of diet books. I felt like I was in a scary movie, and I couldn't get away from them. Honestly, it's crazy. "The 3 Hour Diet", "The Diabetic Diet", "The Ultimate Weight Loss Solution", "The I Diet", "The Dukan Diet". Oh My Gosh. Stop the madness!

Since when did dieting become a fad or trend? When did we get away from understanding the basics of food to understand how it affects our health? More importantly, how have physicians gotten away with not counseling their patients on this SUPER important subject?

There is no trend or "secret" to dieting. It is all common sense. For one, if you so much as think something is "bad" for you, it likely is. There is no magical food that tastes like a damn cupcake and is great for you...if you have found this..please let me know.

Stop the Diet Book Madness!
Everyone has access to the internet nowadays and there is no reason that YOU cannot google the amount of calories in what you are about to eat...at home..at work...or in a restaurant. It is time that we all take responsibility for our health in order to get it under control! Ladies, I want you to be able to wear your favorite little black dress with confidence, but more importantly, I want your heart to be healthy while you are wearing it!

I'll say it...(err, type it) again. No soda, avoid the sweets as much as possible, lots of fruits and veggies, chicken and fish are your friends. And MOST importantly, PORTION CONTROL!!! You can eat all the blueberries in the world, but if you eat 5 servings at a time, you might as well have had a snickers. You HAVE to learn to control your portion sizes, or the "diet" will never work.

....crap, maybe I should write a book!

P.S. Incase you are not my Facebook "fan", well, you should be...and..see above the photo I posted yesterday of my grocery cart. We have every "berry" you can find, whole wheat bread, chicken deli meat, low-fat greek yogurt, the most fantastic-looking raspberry marinated hard cheese, and celery peeking from behind. THIS is what we need to be buying!
(Become a Facebook fan by clicking the icon on the right side of the page!)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Menu De-Construction....Outback!

A post about two things I always tell people not to eat...red meat and simple carbohydrates (potatoes).
So today....Outback Steakhouse...Let's do this!


Appetizers
Best- in order from best to worst
1. Grilled Shrimp "on the Barbie"- 295 calories (2 servings!)
2. Ahi Seared Tuna- 363 calories (2 servings!)
3. Coconut Shrimp- 414 calories (2 servings!)


           Worst
1. Spinach Artichoke Dip- 1127 calories (serves 4)
2. Bloomin Onion (spoken in an Australian accent, of course)- 1949 calories..ehhh! (serves 6)
** Remember...how many times do you do out and actually share the appetizer between 4 or 6 people?? Rarely. So then, you end up eating the WHOLE thing between 2 people...so many calories!)

Dinner
YUM!
Best
1. 6 oz Victoria's filet with Asparagus & house salad with Tangy Tomato Dressing- ONLY 498 calories! (You all know I am not a big fan of red meat for anyone, but if you HAVE to have, then this is what to choose!)
2. Grilled Chicken on the Barbie with Fresh Mixed Seasonal Veggies- 401 calories ..and SO healthy!
3. Norwegian Salmon with Fresh mixed Seasonal Veggies- 484 calories (so good with all this Omega-3's and Vitamin D!)


AVOID AVOID AVOID!!!
Worst- Here, I will just tell you what to stay away from. Here, if you get a steak, you need to stick with the filets. Also, obviously, the bigger the steak, the more calories, so try and stay with the smaller, leaner cuts. Also, avoid the potatoes, but if you MUST have one, the sweet potato (without the butter and brown sugar!) is better than the regular baked potato.
Just like every other menu de-construction, we should know by now to avoid the hamburgers, right?! The hamburgers alone are over 1000 calories here! Also...remember people! Be CAREFUL of salad dressing!! Typically, the thinner it is, and if you can see through it, the better the dressing is for you.

Dessert (I am putting this just in case you make the bad decision to have it...but try try try to avoid!)

Best- Cheesecake- I'm seeing a trend here! 337 calories- and serves two!
Worst- The sampler Trio. Okay, another trend. Just avoid "trios" or "samplers" at all costs, always. 1776 calories.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What IS a Heart Attack?

Time to do some education!

So, what exactly IS a "heart attack"? Is it when your heart jumps out of your body and punches you in the face? No, but sometimes it can feel like that!

A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction (MI), happens when one (or more than one) of the arteries that supply the heart with blood, and thus, oxygen, gets blocked. This blockage is what causes the heart attack, and its symptoms (chest pain, nausea, vomiting, arm pain, jaw pain, or stomach pain).

(Quick background here...blood carries oxygen, oxygen gives our muscles the ability to function. If there is lack of blood, there is lack of oxygen, and thus, the muscle cannot work..or even die).

Now, the next logical question is what causes the blockage? Remember all of the posts I have about diet, exercise and "knowing your numbers"? This is why... The blockage from the arteries is getting thicker and harder from a buildup of fat and cholesterol (plaque) over time. This plaque can then rupture, causing a clot, and then occluding blood flow to part of the heart.

Usually, when a heart attack happens, it makes the person more vulnerable to arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeat, which can be life-threatening also. (You know the thing you see on TV when they put the "shocker" things (defibrillator pads) on the persons chest and say "CLEAR!"...yeah..that). This is bad. Really bad. There is a statistic that says 90% of patients who have a heart attack will suffer from some sort of arrhythmia during or soon after the attack, although not all of these are potentially fatal.










So, whats the point? One, for education. Two, to make you think about reading all of the tiresome posts I write about diet, exercise, and weight loss. You're heart is my #1 priority, and I will keep doing any thing I can to educate everyone and offer some form of (fun) guidance.

Coming soon....what WE do for a Heart Attack...(and the whole reason I became a doc!)


Friday, March 2, 2012

Menu De-Construction....Chipotle!

Ohh...everyone's favorite Mexican restaurant. What I have yet to figure out is how people assume just because food is "organic" that it is good for you. Well, it may be pesticide and antibiotic free, but it is definitely NOT calorie free!
Here we go again....



Veggie Bowl
BEST Meal- Either a Veggie or Chicken Bowl.
The Veggie Bowl (with guacamole) AND cheese AND sour cream with either pinto or black beans and rice with tomatoes is 650 calories. (subtract 100 calories each if you hold the cheese or sour cream).
The Chicken Bowl with all of the above ingredients except the guacamole is 740 calories (I suggest holding the sour cream or cheese on this one).





WORST Meal-  Loaded Steak/Chicken/Barbacoa Burrito (steak, sour cream, cheese, fajitas, rice, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, corn) is 1100 calories.

Here's the deal with chipotle. You have to stay away from the burritos and tacos (in other words, stick with the bowls). The carbohydrates in the tortillas increase the calorie count by almost 300 calories...just for a practically taste-less way of "holding everything together".
Your best bet here is to stick with the bowl and either eliminate or go light on the sour cream and cheese.


Oh. And avoid the chips...550 calories! (and NO SODA!) :)))

"Life is like a burrito, a well-hidden mess"

Happy Friday...and healthy eating!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vaccination Disaster.

I typically try to focus on cardiovascular issues in my posts, but when I come across something that I think is worth sharing, well...I'm going to share it. This post is much longer than usual but PLEASE read it all! Far be it from me to try and argue against a celebrity such as Jenny McCarthy, but it's time to get out the real facts about immunization and the LACK of a link between them and autism.

Let's start at the beginning, when a British physician and researcher, Dr. Andrew Wakefield acted completely unethically putting many children through colonoscopies, MRI's, lumbar punctures (spinal tap) and even paying them to get their blood drawn, without passing any of this through an institutional review board first. (Yes, this is all REAL). Then, this guy (sorry, I can't even call him a physician..it disturbs me) publishes an article in Lancet, a very highly acclaimed medical journal, that the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine (MMR) caused gastrointestinal problems and that those GI problems led to autism. ..read more here. PS..his study had like 12 children in it..TWELVE. I really bet 12 children are representative of the entire world....

Here's the best part. Wakefield altered the facts about the patients in the study, and even "picked" the patients that would make it seem as though his study was valid. The study said that 12 children were "normal" before they had the MMR when, after a thorough review of the publication, that number was only really 5. Oh! And 5 of the children's parents were recruited by a law firm that were preparing a law suit against the MMR manufacturers. So, what happened?

In January 2010, the British General Medical Council found three dozen charges proved, including four counts of dishonesty and 12 counts involving the abuse of developmentally challenged children. The panel ruled that Wakefield had acted both against the interests of his patients, and "dishonestly and irresponsibly" in his published research. The Lancet then immediately and fully retracted the publication on the basis of the GMC’s findings, noting that elements of the manuscript had been falsified. 10 of the 12 co-authors also retracted their support of the article. Wakefield had his medical license revoked in May 2010, with a statement identifying dishonest falsification in the Lancet research, and is barred from practicing medicine in the UK. Luckily for us, Wakefield now lives in Texas. Great.

Here's the worst part. Now, because of this man's blatant lack of empathy and ethic, some children did not get vaccinated (because he scared the crap out of parents) and some children have actually gotten sick and died of measles. And, you have celebrities like Jenny McCarthy jumping on a band wagon without even having the facts...or should I say ALL of the facts.. just because she thought her son may have had autism, so the MMR "must have been why.."..right? WRONG. 

I had a young boy in an urgent care center in Miami with chicken pox, with bleeding scratches from the severe itchiness, accompanied by his mom. His mother had decided not to vaccinate him as a child, because "it causes autism" (It was all I could do to keep my mouth closed). Now, as a single mom, she had to take off work, so she could sit with him at home, while he tried to rip his skin off in-between the oatmeal baths and calamine lotion. I bet that little boy wished that he had been vaccinated. Poor kid was miserable.

So, my point through all of this is the following: Only you can make the best medical decisions about yourself and your family. PLEASE do your research and speak with your doctors thoroughly before making any decisions that could be harmful. We should all be a little weary of celebrities making claims, running around waving their arms in the air, assuming that they know what is best for you..or me. It is easy to give into the hype, but is it what is best for you? Likely no.