Should you try a detox?

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Written by The Nutrition Twins

As a present for our last birthday, a friend of ours treated us to a visit to a spa.  We arrived at the spa excited and eager for a girl’s day of pampering.  Soon we learned that our day of relaxation wasn’t exactly what we had in mind.  First up:  an intestinal “detox” including some kind of “irrigation” of the fecal canal.  Um,  , not exactly our idea of pampering.  Not being the birthday gift we were interested in, we immediately pulled the plug on the plan and swapped our “detox” for a massage (phew!).

However, “detoxing is a hot topic right now, and we always get lots of questions about it.  A “detox” can mean different things to different people, even to us, as dietitians.  The premise behind it is to clean out the toxins that accumulate in our bodies–for some, it means a colonic irrigation, which we would have had on our last birthday had we not been completely disgusted by the thought of injecting water (sometimes mixed with herbs or with other liquids) into the colon via the rectum to “remove feces” and had we not known that it could be dangerous.  To others, a detox involves drinking strictly juice, or some other beverage, without consuming any food.  For others, it’s eating only raw foods, or eating “clean,” and cutting out harmful, processed foods that don’t allow the body to function at its best. Whatever your idea of “detoxing” is, here is what you should know before beginning a detoxing regimen of your own.

People looking for a quick fix, and rapid weight loss often turn to the more extreme forms of detoxing to reach their goals.  The most drastic form of detoxing is through medical detoxing, using colonics (like at the spa that we went to) and laxatives.  Although some people claim to feel “lighter” immediately afterwards (who wouldn’t feel lighter after having fecal matter pulled out of their body?), many of those who try it tell us they aren’t the least bit tempted to try it again.   Obviously, it’s far from glamorous. It’s not only unhealthy, it can be dangerous too, especially colonics.  They can disrupt your body’s delicate fluid and electrolyte balances and cause dehydration, as well as anemia and malnutrition, among other health problems.  (Glad we dodged that bullet.)

People who detox consuming only liquids, abstain from consumption of food and either strictly drink juices made from fruits and vegetables or other beverages like spicy lemonade (i.e. in the “Master cleanse which gained attention when Beyonce tried it and lost close to 20 pounds in 14 days and reported being very cranky while on the diet and to quickly gaining back the weight afterwards).  Drinking a healthy juice made from vegetables and fruits can be very beneficial, but not as a substitution for all food.  Those who have “juiced,” reported very unpleasant side effects, such as grogginess, hunger and exhaustion, and if any weight is lost, it’s usually short-lived, and returns with normal eating.  )  Individuals that we know who tried to exercise while on The Master Cleanse found themselves in for a rude-awakening when having to leave the gym with feelings of dizziness even at the start of exercise. (Again, no thank you, we’ll pass on the liquid detox too.)

So if these detoxes have such draw-backs, what’s the secret to a great detox? The secret is that there is no secret! And what most people don’t know is that our body naturally detoxes itself.

A combination of clean eating and exercise is the best way to restart your system.  So the “detox” that we recommend is cutting out caffeine, sugar, processed foods, alcohol, and fried food, while increasing fruits and veggies– the safest way to get your body back on track, rid yourself of cravings (sweets after dinner, anyone?), and kick start a healthy way of life. Eat real foods at regular meals throughout the day, drink plenty of water, and exercise (a natural detoxifier, and a must for anyone who wants to get lean!) in order to maximize the benefits of this healthier approach to “detoxing.”  Meet ya for a banana and Greek yogurt after yoga tonight?

 

For more like this you may like…

For a Get Healthy Guide, delicious recipes and a 10-Day Weight Loss Jumpstart and Detox Plan, check out The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure!

 

Craving Comfort Foods Part 2

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Written by The Nutrition Twins

brownies

A few weeks ago we confessed that despite being registered dietitians who know all too well what regularly succumbing to comfort food cravings can do the waistline, the arteries, to blood sugar levels and mood, we too, aren’t immune to them.  Although we’re all for the occasional indulgence (after all, what would life be without a little bit of chocolate?) we still want to enter the holiday season without feeling like our best holiday dress option is a Mrs. Claus costume (check out these healthy comfort food craving swaps).  That’s why last time we shared a tip to help prevent overdoing it when indulging in comfort foods—fill up first on something low in calories like veggies or tea to take the edge off hunger before coming in contact with that food you crave.  Having a craving and being ravenous is a dangerous situation for your waistline as it will be very hard to be rationale and keep the portion size modest. Today, we’ll share a few more of our favorite calorie and fat-saving comfort food swaps.

1.  Comfort food Pasta—with cheese, with butter, you name it, it’s calling you

What to go For:  Last time we gave you spaghetti squash as a sub for all things pasta.  If that didn’t do it for you, try shirataki noodles.  There are several varieties of these, all containing ten calories or less in a serving (about a cup!).  They come in spaghetti, fettuccini, angel hair and more and you can find them in most supermarkets near the tofu.  We just received a sample of Skinny Shirataki Noodles that were fantastic and that did the trick for us, but any should work and hit the spot.

2.  Comfort Food:  Twice Baked Potatoes (see simple recipe below)

What to Go for: Twice-Baked Fingerling Bites.   Instead of using butter, this easy recipe uses I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, a vegetable oil spread instead of butter so it saves your arteries from butter’s artery clogging fat.  It also uses less so it lightens the potatoes from the original comfort food.  Wrap them in portions of 3 so you can get 100 calorie, portion-controlled comfort-food treat.

Twice Baked Fingerling Potatoes

Makes About 20 potato bites

  • 1 package (12 oz.) fingerling potatoes or small red new potatoes
  • 3 Tbsp. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® Spread
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 oz.)
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives (optional)

Pierce potatoes with fork or knife, then arrange in microwave-safe casserole dish. Cover with paper towel and microwave at HIGH 4 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Let cool slightly.

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Gently scoop some pulp from shells, reserving shells. Combine potato pulp, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® Spread, cheese and chives in small bowl. Carefully spread mixture into potato shells with knife, then arrange on baking sheet*. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish, if desired, with a mini dollop of sour cream and additional snipped chives.

*TIP: Can be made ahead up to this point. Cover and refrigerate, or freeze, until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before broiling.

Nutrition Information per potato bite: Calories 30, Calories From Fat 15, Saturated Fat 0.5g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 1.5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 25mg, Total Carbohydrate 3g, Sugars 0g, Dietary Fiber 0g, Protein 1g, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 2%, Iron 0%

3.  Comfort Food: Apple Pie

What to go For:  Baked Apple Graham.  Simply slice an apple into 1/4-1/2 inch-thick slices, sprinkle with 1-1/2 teaspoons  pumpkin pie spice and microwave on high for 5 minutes.  When you remove it from the microwave there will be a sweet syrup from the apple and spice on the plate, put that and the warm apple on a graham cracker with 1 tablespoon Fat Free Redi whip and enjoy!   This treat is 140 calories while a slice of apple pie will set you back about 450 calories.  Holy Apple!

4.  Comfort Food:  Brownies

What to go for:  Pumpkin brownies. Add a can of pumpkin to Devil’s Food Cake and make your brownies in mini muffin tins.  Not only will your brownies be portioned controlled so you don’t even have to cut them, but they’ll pack in fiber and beta carotene for much fewer calories than the real deal and will taste the same!

 

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Chicken Fried Rice Done Healthy

Homemade Pancakes only 56 Calories each

Skinny, Speedy Walnut Oatmeal Cookies, only 3 ingredients!

 

For a Get Healthy Guide, Check out The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure

 

Snack Attack – Satisfy the Healthy Way

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Written by The Nutrition Twins

It’s three o’clock in the afternoon, your stomach is grumbling, and your energy is starting to plunge. You’ve had lunch yet dinner is at least three to four hours away.  Do you give in to your hunger signals and have a snack? Or do you ignore your stomach and go on with your day?

The good news is that having a small amount of food in between lunch and dinner is a perfect way to curb your hunger and sneak some extra nutrients into your day. Eating something every four hours keeps your blood sugar, or glucose levels more stable. This lends to feeling more energized and alert, since glucose is your brain’s main source of fuel.

Why does is matter what types of foods you choose when snacking? If you reach for less nutrient-rich foods, such as regular potato chips, soda, or candy, a few things may happen. You risk overeating because these items don’t have much “staying power”, since they’re mostly calories without any fiber, protein or nutrients to keep you feeling satisfied. You’ll tend to require more of the food to satisfy your hunger. Also, you miss the opportunity to add energizing and skin-glowing nutrients- to your diet.

Use your afternoon snack as a chance to take in some extra vitamins, minerals, and fiber from wholesome food. Your healthy snack option should be between 100 – 200 calories.  You may need the higher amount to tide you over to prevent overeating at dinner if you’ll be going for hours before mealtime.  (You can test this to see if the higher calorie snack helps).  Go for fewer calories if you’re simply satisfying a craving. Before you run for the bag of potato chips or box of cookies, here are a handful of healthier, satisfying snack options:

  • Baby carrots and hummus (2 tablespoons worth is about 50 calories)
  • An apple with a level tablespoon of peanut butter (or other nut butter), sprinkled with cinnamon
  • Non-fat yogurt topped with one tablespoon of granola
  • Edamame (We love it plain, but you can dip in mustard or low-fat ranch dressing if you wish!)
  • Cucumber with low-fat cottage cheese
  • Several whole-grain crackers with black bean dip and salsa (We like Ry-Krisp crackers-30 to 50 calories a sheet)

If salty and crunchy is what you’re craving, there are healthier alternatives to greasy chips.  Pirate’s Booty is all-natural and has half the fat and fewer calories than regular fried potato chips. Their products are delish—and we were just alerted that they now have half-ounce, 65-calorie multipacks, which are great for an office snack.

We always tell our clients that having a reasonably portioned, nutritious snack is a smart way to keep your energy levels up in the afternoon. They also see that whether they want to perform at their best, stay focused or lose weight and fight cravings, it’s critical for their success.  Make a handful of these healthy snacks readily available so you’ll always be prepared when that craving comes. Choosing a healthy snack is a win-win – you satisfy your craving while filling in the nutrient gaps!

We work with Pirate’s Booty to help them spread the word about their loot.

Lyssie and Tammy

 

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For a Get Healthy Guide, Check out The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure!

 

5 Power Snacks to Get You through the Holidays

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Written by The Nutrition Twins

The holidays are quickly approaching and we can already feel the excitement in the air—people are bustling to buy gifts and busy preparing for holiday parties and family gatherings. As much as we love the holiday time, it can be downright exhausting.  And if you choose sugary snacks or those that lack fiber and protein that seem to be everywhere especially this time of year, you’ll find yourself crashing before you get to your celebration.  Admittedly, we’ve been there more than once, thanks to overdoing it on poor choices ranging from a pumpkin pie sampling to Williams-Sonoma’s peppermint bark, and we don’t recommend it.  After all, choose the wrong snacks and you’ll feel like you woke up in a daze after being been dragged through the snow for miles on the back of Santa’s sled.

The good news is that by choosing the right snacks that contain both satisfying protein and fiber (which usually comes bundled with energy- revving quality carbohydrates), you’ll have the energy to power right through the holidays.  Choose these snacks and those toy-delivering energizer bunnies (a.k.a. Mr. and Mrs. Claus) will have nothing on you.  Pssst… in fact, you’ll have something on the Claus’s since you won’t have their big bellies—these snacks are all under 200 calories!

  • Low-fat Cheese and Tomato Toast.  When it’s cold outside, this is the perfect, energizing snack.  Our Mom made this frequently when we were growing up.  Simply take a slice of whole wheat bread (fiber-filled, energy-providing carbohydrates) and top it with a slice of tomato and a slice of low-fat mozzarella (for satisfying protein and bone-building calcium) and pop it in the toaster. Voila!
  • Pistachios. Whether you’re shopping for gifts at the mall or in the comfort of your own home, pistachios are the perfect snack, since they’ve got that winning combination of both fiber and protein to keep you feeling satiated.  Plus, they’re portable!  This is one of our faves and we’ve been using it for an afternoon snack to boost us for as long as we can remember.  In fact, pistachios are such a staple in our energizing diet that we now work with Wonderful Pistachios to help others to benefit from their nutritious benefits.
  • Red Peppers and Black Bean Dip.  Red peppers are loaded not only with anti-oxidants, but with fiber too.  They’ll give you a quick burst of energy while the beans in the bean dip will extend that energy boost with fiber and protein.  Red peppers are a staple in our house, and we love combining them with black bean dip, hummus or low-fat yogurt dip—all give us protein to fuel us even longer.
  • Whey Chocolate Covered Popcorn. Make a small bag of fat free popcorn and add 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder. Shake until the powder covers the popcorn.  We love this snack because it instantly quenches our sweet tooth craving and our desire to crunch. Plus the popcorn is packed with energy-providing carbohydrates and fiber and the protein powder gives you that staying power.
  • Non-fat Greek Yogurt with Apples and Cinnamon.  We like to cut an apple into little chunks and stir them right into the yogurt, and then we add a dash of cinnamon.   Our clients tend to like their yogurt with cinnamon as a dip for the apples. Whichever you prefer, rest assured you will be getting an energy surge from the apple’s fiber- packed carbohydrates.  The creamy, satisfying, protein-filled yogurt will prevent energy crashes and keep you powering through.

What is your favorite snack to help you get through the holidays?

 

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For a Get Healthy Guide Check out The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure!

 

3 Calorie-Saving Cocktail Strategies

As seen on December 9th, 2013 on:

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written by The Nutrition Twins,

 

Cookies get all the attention when it comes to holiday gluttony, but there’s another festive treat that can lead to unwanted winter padding: the cocktail. It’s officially party season, and if you’re trying to keep it healthy—or at least healthier—while you celebrate, selecting holiday cocktails can be stressful. In fact, cocktail confusion is one of our clients’ biggest complaints: They tell us that they know to stay away from those fruity, sugary mixed drinks, but other alcoholic options trip them up.

Follow these tips to get in the, um, spirit without undoing all those reps and runs:

Have a pre party. Whether this first “party” is at your house, the office, or in the car on the way to your seasonal soiree, its purpose is the same: to fuel up for the main event. If you show up to a party with an empty stomach, you’ll feel the alcohol faster, which means you’ll end up drinking more and likely eating more as well—thank you, missing inhibitions! Our favorite pre-party options: veggies and tea. Tea is warm and soothing, and will take the edge off your hunger. It also contains an amino acid called theanine, which has been shown to produce a mental calmness and alertness that can help you make rational decisions (like declining your fourth pig in a blanket) at the party. Meanwhile, munching on veggies will fill you up with fiber, so the cocktails won’t hit your system as quickly.

Know your mixers. Classic cocktails like Rum and Coke, Gin and Tonic, and Vodka Cranberry may seem harmless, but they all have one problem in common: their mixers are comprised mostly of sugar. Most of the calories in alcoholic beverages come from the alcohol itself, so no need to jack up your drink’s calorie count with added sugars. Try these solutions for smarter spirits:

  • Use seltzer, not tonic, as a base for your low-cal cocktail. It’s calorie-free and the bubbles make for a fun, festive drink. You can also add healthy garnishes so you don’t miss out on flavor. Try fresh mint leaves or wedges of orange, lemon, or lime.
  • Opt for light cranberry juice, which is usually just a watered-down version of the classic, to get a similar flavor with fewer calories.
  • Order your drink on the rocks. The ice takes up space that would otherwise be filled with liquid calories.
  • If you prefer standard fruit juice, request just a small splash of your favorite variety along with some seltzer.

Be aware of portion inflation. Gone are the days when bartenders served a standard 5-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce beer, or a mere 1.5 ounces (a shot) of liquor. Today’s glasses are often super-sized, which means two goblets of vino may equal nearly half a bottle! Bartenders can also be heavy handed, serving you up to 3 ounces of alcohol in your mixed drink, which means you’re downing about 200 calories of booze instead of 100. Your calorie-saving solution? Count each alcoholic drink as two servings. So, if you’re allowing yourself to splurge one night with four cocktails, you’d be wise to draw the line at two.

And if you do end up overdoing the beverages (or the food!) this season, check out The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure which contains a 10-Day Weight Loss Jumpstart and Detox Plan to flush toxins, halt holiday overeating, and get you back on your healthy track fast.

Tammy Lakatos Shames and Elysse “Lyssie” Lakatos—otherwise known as the Nutrition Twins—are registered dietitians, certified personal trainers, and authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure: Expert Advice and Tantalizing Recipes for Health, Energy and Beauty.

For more healthy eating tips, visit nutritiontwins.com.

Edamame Hummus

For more nutrition guidance and a ‘get healthy’ plan, please check out the “The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure

Published on Fitbie on December 9, 2013

 

Are You Eating Enough Protein?

As seen on December 3rd, 2013 on:

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written by The Nutrition Twins,

 

If you’re like many women, your breakfast and lunch tend to be light and you rake in most of your protein at dinner via lean options like chicken or fish. On paper that sounds like a healthy diet plan, but it turns out that loading most of your protein into one sitting may not be getting you the results you’re after.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that the ideal protein intake for building lean muscle is about 30 grams per meal. Translation: If you aspire to a svelte body like, say, Jessica Biel’s, but feel like your hard work isn’t yielding the sculpted muscle tone you deserve, you may need to amp up your protein throughout the day.

If any of these typical breakfasts and lunches resemble yours, you’re clocking in at anywhere from 12-20 grams of protein per meal and selling your muscles short:

Breakfast

  • A bowl of oatmeal (1 cup), made with skim milk (1/2 cup), a handful of blueberries, and slivered almonds (4 Tbsp) = 12 grams
  • Nonfat Latte (Starbuck’s Tall) and a fruit parfait = 13 grams

Lunch

  • A salad with corn, artichokes, beets, feta cheese (1/4 cup) and chickpeas (1/4 cup) = 14 grams of protein
  • A peanut butter (2 Tbsp) & jelly sandwich = 12 grams
  • A bowl of minestrone (2 cups) and a slice of grain bread = 20 grams
  • A veggie burger on a whole grain bun and a side salad = 15 grams
  • A California roll (8 pieces), salad with ginger dressing, and 2 steamed shrimp dumplings = 18 grams

So, how can you bump up your protein without necessarily having to swallow more meat? Just add any of the options below to each of your meals, and you’ll increase your plate’s protein content by as many as 10-20 grams.

Greek Yogurt. It packs nearly twice the protein as regular yogurt, so just 5 ounces will boost your intake by 13-18 grams. Just pop open the container and enjoy the creamy snack right along with any of your favorite breakfast or lunch options.

Eggs. They’re one of the simplest ways to pack in protein in the morning. Any style will do, but scrambled and hardboiled are especially quick and easy. Two whole eggs have 150 calories and 14 grams of protein; 4 egg whites have 60 calories and the same 14 grams protein.

Tofu, chicken, and beans. Most salad shops dole out quarter-cup scoops of their ingredients, making it tough to get adequate protein, so just ask for more than one scoop of your favorite protein sources. And don’t assume that cheese will do the job! The majority of the calories in most full-fat cheeses come from fat, not protein.

Protein shakes. They’re tasty and deliver sustained nutrition and energy, making them an ideal on-the-go snack or light meal. You can make your own blend  or buy a healthy ready-made option like Svelte. All the flavors pack 11 grams of protein and 5 grams of belly-filling fiber, plus they’re gluten-free and use non-GMO soymilk.*

Roasted soy nuts. Munch on 1/2 cup for a snack or toss them on your salad and you’ll boost your protein intake by 17 grams with just 200 calories.

Tammy Lakatos Shames and Elysse “Lyssie” Lakatos—otherwise known as the Nutrition Twins—are registered dietitians, certified personal trainers, and authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure: Expert Advice and Tantalizing Recipes for Health, Energy and Beauty.

*The Nutrition Twins work with Svelte to help people get more protein in their diet.

For more healthy eating tips, visit nutritiontwins.com.

Edamame Hummus

For more nutrition guidance and a ‘get healthy’ plan, please check out the “The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure

Published on Fitbie on December 3, 2013