Thursday, May 14, 2020

The Ardell REAL Wellness® Self-Assessment For Athleticism (Exercise And Nutrition)

By   

INTRODUCTION
This edition essay consists of a self-assessment designed to reflect your knowledge, satisfaction level and general experience of Athleticism, one of four REAL wellness dimensions.
The self-assessment protocols are copyrighted; all rights are reserved. Visit donardell.com for licensing information regarding educational, corporate, non-profit or other uses of one or more of the four REAL wellness self-assessments, as well as a separate self-assessment for stress management.
The purpose of all the self-assessments is to promote familiarity with and added commitment to REAL wellness mindsets and lifestyles. The overall goal is a philosophy guided by reason, inspired by exuberance, supported with athleticism and enriched by increased personal liberties.
ATHLETICISM
The Athleticism dimension of REAL wellness is about exercise and nutrition. These two domains have been treated as separate professions until recently. Degrees and certifications, professional societies, conferences and scholarly journals were and largely remain devoted to exercise and to nutrition, but not both as a single, integral element of the same topic (i.e., Athleticism). As far back as the mid-seventies, I insisted the two were intertwined and logically inseparable and should be addressed together, understood as one discipline of two integrated parts. Playfully, I insisted exercise and nutrition were inextricably intertwinked. I made this case in High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs and Disease, initially published by Rodale Press in 1977 and later by Bantam Books and Ten Speed Press.
For best results from exercise as well as from wise food choices, these two elements deserve equal attention. One contributes to the other; best results from exercise result from attention to complementary food patterns and vice-versa.
Four centuries ago, Joseph Addison (1672-1719) identified three grand essentials to happiness: 1) something to do, 2) someone to love and 3) something to hope for. There are probably many more essentials for some people, but there is absolutely one more for everyone--good health. You can manage a bit of happiness when in pain and otherwise severely distracted from things to do, someone to love and something to hope for, but after a while dreadful health will get in the way. Chronic ill health, distractions from doing what you desire, love and hope, is almost guaranteed without adequate exercise and sound diet.
Sufficient exercise and wise diet choices on a daily basis require mental toughness, a disciplined and unwavering commitment to regular body care involving both movement and nourishment. Only about ten percent of older adults (65 plus) in the Western world exercise at even minimal levels. While Americans spend a great deal more on fitness products and services than any other nation ($265 billion annually in 2018, according to the Global Wellness Institute), we rank 143rd globally for actual participation in physical activity.
Those who exercise regularly and sufficiently enjoy less stress, fewer illnesses and better reflexes, memories, balance and metabolic profiles. How much better? So much so that on these health measures, fit elders test at levels decades better than their sedentary peers. (Source: Ross D. Pollock et. al., An Investigation Into the Relationship Between Age and Physiological Function in Highly Active Older Adults, The Journal of Physiology, January 2015.)
To become and remain physically fit and to sustain yourself with foods that support good physical and mental health, knowledge and disciplined choices are required on a daily basis. The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) identifies poor nutrition and lack of physical activity as two of the four main risk factors causing preventable chronic diseases; the other two are tobacco use and excessive alcohol.
Vigorous daily exercise and nutritious, delicious and only occasional pernicious treats (e.g., pies, cakes, donuts) are foundation requirements for wellbeing. The mental and physical acuity gained from mastery of the Athleticism dimension will enable and support rational decision-making, exuberance and freedom from avoidable dysfunctions that otherwise inhibit thriving and flourishing.
SCORING
The Athleticism self-assessment contains ten statements. Each statement is prefaced by a background commentary that provides a context for a fuller understanding of the statement to follow.
Please choose a number from one to five that reflects the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement. If you strongly believe that your thinking or situation aligns with the statement, place the number 5 as your answer choice in the space provided. If you strongly disagree, enter the number 1. These are the two extreme positions.
The middle number 3 represents a neutral position, indicating that you are not sure which side of the continuum your situation merits. The numbers 2 and 4 express modest alignment with one side or the other along the continuum.
An interpretative commentary is provided based upon your cumulative score. In addition, a selection of ten Athleticism-focused books are included; five relate to exercise and five to nutrition.
A NOTE FOR BEST RESULTS
This instrument is not intended as a competition, but rather for personal self-assessment. Be scrupulously frank with your self-assessments.
The value of the assessment will be in the degree to which your score accurately represents your thinking and activity level in this dimension of REAL wellness. The cumulative score for the ten statements will determine the feedback. This should be helpful for making positive adjustments, if needed and desired.
Enjoy the process.
TEN STATEMENTS
I. Background
In 1912, the architect William Mitchell Kendall designed the General Post Office Building in Manhattan. Upon completion, Kendall had words inspired by the Greek scholar Herodotus (500 BC) inscribed on the grand entrance:
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
Though never officially adopted by the U.S. Postal Service, this motto has been associated with U.S. mail couriers ever since, which might explain why some people get cranky when the mail carrier does not arrive as expected.
Statement # 1
My commitment to vigorous exercise is such that I almost never miss a daily workout, come tornado, flood, earthquake, tsunami or pandemic. Well, maybe in the event of a tornado, flood, earthquake or tsunami,
but certainly not in case of a mere pandemic, or snow, rain, heat or gloom of night. _____
II. Background
The American people suffer from extraordinary levels of overweight and obesity, both considered preventable diseases. At least 52 percent of adults are in one of these two hazardous weight categories. Absent a strong conscious commitment to a lifestyle that includes dietary restraint and exercise sufficient in terms of duration, intensity and frequency, excess weight is inevitable.
Statement # 2
I exercise sufficiently in terms of duration, intensity and frequency and otherwise act so as to maintain the recommended standard of a BMI of 24 or less. _____
III. Background
There are unlimited excuses for not doing enough exercise, time pressures being at the top of most lists. Many people work multiple jobs and struggle to meet their basic needs. Exercise can seem like a luxury, an optional part of life. Even good reasons, however, do not affect the onset of adverse consequences of doing too little or no exercise at all.
Statement # 3
It's not always easy, convenient or fun, but I do manage to meet or exceed the global standard of 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense physical activity. _____
IV. Background
In time, we all lose a bit of speed, our endurance diminishes and recovery from exertion takes longer. In addition, injuries seem more frequent and the healing process is slower than in earlier life. Core muscles, the movers and stabilizers that support the spine and transfer force through the body, need extra attention in middle and later years. Specific exercises can be done to improve core strength and prevent or reduce the incidence of back, hip, knee and neck pain.
Statement # 4
I incorporate core exercise in my exercise routines. _____
V. Background
Stretching, balance and strength training are critical elements of physical fitness. Strength training is vital but rarely practiced sufficiently, as it is hard work and not as enjoyable as common endurance activities. What's more, it requires a gym membership for most people.
Bodyweight machines, and especially free weights, reinvigorate your neurotransmitters and aid in coordination and balance, back alignment and preventing muscle deterioration over time. Alas, endurance exercise does not provide these benefits, so endurance training should be supplemented with strength training. Strength training adds to the staying power of muscles and builds the power needed to coordinate movements with grace, balance and efficiency.
Statement # 5
I nearly always manage to get in at least two 30 minute or more workouts per week on bodyweight machines and/or free weights--and I know enough about such strength training to maximize benefits from such exertions without inviting related injuries, such as muscle strains or worse. _____
VI. Background
A sound diet, weighted in whole grains, fruits, legumes, vegetables and nuts will help you look your best and stay well. Most people follow a diet pattern more or less consistent with whatever was served on tables set by their parents and caregivers in their initial decades.
Statement # 6
I have learned from varied reliable sources and from trial and error over time to continually fine-tune my nutritional choices. My food selection and consumption patterns complement and contribute to my enjoyment of foods and positive health status. _____
VII. Background
Most adults have tried a variety of diet patterns, often based upon anecdotal accounts of a miracle weight-loss plan, foods that boost human performance or wild claims of panacea-like benefits from following a best-seller diet book.
There is no shortage of both genuine and bogus experts with meal plans, cookbooks, seminars and persuasive claims that scientific studies support their diet. It's between hard to impossible to be certain that any given approach represents the one true, best food plan. Well-meaning friends and money-grubbing mountebanks galore are willing and anxious to offer their food plans that will cure whatever ails you, but all have at least one conflict of interest. That is, their interests (profit) and yours (good health) may not align.
Statement # 7
For information about nutrition, I explore a wide range of sources, including diet books, weight loss plans and maybe occasionally even celebrity doctors, but largely for entertainment, not facts. For the most up-to-date findings and nutritional recommendations, I primarily rely upon independent studies, government reports and reputable experts. _____
VIII. Background
Junk food in America is cheap, omnipresent, overabundant and effectively promoted in massive marketing campaigns, most targeted to children. Tempting ads urge us to select and consume high fat sweets, which are ubiquitous and arrive under the radar of conscious choices, leading to passive over-consumption. Snacking almost anywhere is socially acceptable; vending machines and other sources of treats are omnipresent in school cafeterias, gas stations, worksites, shopping venues and so on. Other than at regular meal times, snack foods are ingested on four or five occasions daily. In the last decade, snacks and beverages accounted for twice the calories traced to increases in portion size of regular meals. (Source: Michael Greger, M.D., The Role of Personal Responsibility in the Obesity Epidemic, April 29th, 2020.)
Statement # 8
I'm well aware of the ubiquity of snack foods and their harmful effects if consumed other than occasionally. For that reason and possibly others, low nutrient junk foods are hardly ever among my food choices. _____
IX. Background
Many people abstain completely or in good part from animal products. Reasons for doing so include the following:
  • They consider factory farming cruel and inhumane.
  • They know animal agriculture is environmentally destructive.
  • Health reasons--vegan/vegetarian diets are low in fat, calories and cholesterol and high in fiber and vitamins.
  • Ethical factors--while we are acclimated to animal slaughter, most people realize, when they reluctantly think of it, that factory-farmed, egg-laying chickens and dairy cows lead unnecessarily miserable and brief lives.
  • Animal agriculture consumes vast amounts of land and water to support livestock and grow feed which entails deforestation, soil degradation, a decline in biodiversity and irrigation usage amounting to eight percent of global human water use (Source: LEAD--Livestock, Environment and Development Initiative, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.)
Statement # 9
I'm aware of the above described facts and, to the extent that I can do so given my current circumstances, I restrict or eliminate animal protein in my daily diet. _____
X. Background
The majority of vegans get their required nutrients despite not consuming animal products, though many take vitamins B12 and D in supplement form. In addition, some experts recommend occasional blood testing to discover if supplemental iron, zinc, iodine, calcium or long-chain omega-3s are indicated. The mainstay vegan diets consist of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes--all of which are naturally low in fat and cholesterol but rich in fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate and vitamins C and E.
The American Dietetic Association reports that vegetarians and vegans have lower body mass indexes, blood pressure and cholesterol levels than nonvegetarians. The ADA also reports that vegans have lower rates of type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, prostate cancer, hypertension and heart disease (Source: ADA.)
(On a personal note, I might add that my own observations suggest that vegans have higher morale, superior bowel movements, whiter teeth, enviable sex lives and more antibodies to ward off pandemics. However, these claims are anecdotal, unsupported by double- blind randomized longitudinal research. I mention this here only to suggest, subliminally, that I'm a good person, more or less.)
Statement # 10
I'm either a vegetarian or vegan now or, there's a good possibility I might become one, most of the time, someday. _____
INTERPRETATION OF SCORE
Please add the total count for each of your responses to the ten statements. The range will be from ten to 50.
The following commentary is impressionistic, subjective and approximate; it is not based upon robust randomized clinical trials, nor does the author proclaim nor imply magisterium via ex cathedra sources of inspiration or certainty. Rather, the interpretation will only approximate the extent of your familiarity with the nature of Athleticism and mastery of this REAL wellness dimension.
And now, the interpretation of your Athleticism score.
10 to 20
At present, REAL wellness attitudes, behaviors, skills and priorities associated with Athleticism have not been well developed. However, the simple fact of exposure to the elements of Athleticism in this self-assessment might prove to be a fortuitous encounter that opens new possibilities for you.
Your score is as low as it could be in both the exercise and nutrition categories. The good news is you can only move forward in positive directions; even moderate initiatives to exert more and dine better will result in meaningful gains. Here are a few simple suggestions:
  • Join a group -- doing something new is easier and more enjoyable if it entails connections with others.
  • Make a plan--and write it out. Identify a goal, a timetable and someone or several who will work with you, offering mutual support and encouragement. Be specific and note obstacles you'll have to overcome and payoffs you expect along the way to reaching the goal.
  • Choose a book to read, a program to follow and/or an app to use for the goal (s) you set.
  • Attend events that might add excitement and give you ideas about activities you might enjoy, such as a charity walk or run, or just watching people like yourself play games in local leagues. You may decide, I can do that, and add another outlet to your plan.
  • Watch Brian Wendel's 2006 classic video Forks Over Knives to appreciate the case for eating less meat products.
  • Add extra steps and movements of varied kinds into everyday routines. Find a few steps to climb, stretch during TV commercials, get a dog that will insist you walk with it throughout the day and make a log of your daily movements. There are plenty of apps that will make doing this easy--and provide motivating in the process.
  • Keep plenty of fruits around the house, add them to meals and snack on them throughout the day.
  • Start each day with a healthy breakfast high in fibre and low in fat, sugar and salt.
You may have been discouraged about exercise by certain basic issues, such as what others might think, who to trust for sound advice, how to get started and/or similar hesitations about the choices for exercise and better diet patterns. There is no one, guaranteed way to optimal exercise or a one-true diet for all, given the extraordinary variety in a country with 330 million people. However, as suggested in the above listing, there are things you can do to make changes easier and boost chances you'll stay with good intentions.
21 to 30
You are quite aware of the importance of exercise and sound nutrition. You're somewhere in the middle range of folks who ignore these two parts of Athleticism and those who go all out, that is, the superstars of fitness and healthy food practices. You might consider jump-starting new initiatives to boost your Athleticism by joining a gym, if not already a member of one.
Gyms come in many forms and cater to different athletic interests, with price structures from bare bones to haute couture. Visit several close to your home or place of work before choosing one--there are dramatic differences.
If you are old enough for Medicare (65), your insurer's Advantage Plan probably offers free gym memberships, a splendid benefit not to be ignored if you want to make the most of your insurance plan--and who does not? A gym workout can and should include not just endurance exercise on varied cardio and strength machines, but also opportunities for assistance in improving balance, flexibility and core muscles. Besides personal training for a fee, gyms also offer free classes, which can be valuable additions to the work you do on your own.
31 to 40
Well done -- you are on the right track.
Your score indicates that you have a solid knowledge base about exercise and nutrition and that you're reasonably satisfied with your practices of both elements of Athleticism. By attending to just a few areas, you will advance into the highest lifestyle skill category in this REAL wellness dimension.
Review your responses to each of the following questions on a summary check list. To pinpoint the few issues needing attention based upon your self-score, scan the following list and ask yourself: Would I benefit from:
Greater focus on meal planning?
Yes ___
No ___
Weight loss (or gain)?
Yes ___
No ___
Blood work to see if I need a supplement?
Yes ___
No ___
Strength training?
Yes ___
No ___
More intense, interval style training?
Yes ___
No ___
Longer or more frequent exercise?
Yes ___
No ___
Fewer excuses?
Yes ___
No ___
Attention to core muscles?
Yes ___
No ___
Additional stretching/balance work?
Yes ___
No ___
Work with free weights?
Yes ___
No ___
Joining a gym--and visiting it regularly?
Yes ___
No ___
Eating less meat and less snack foods?
Yes ___
No ___
Taking health-oriented cooking classes?
Yes ___
No ___
Consuming less alcohol or sugary drinks?
Yes ___
No ___
Getting involved in environmental issues?
Yes ___
No ___
As you move forward to the next and highest level of Athleticism, I wish you continued fulfillment and happiness. Congratulations.
41 to 50
Bravo. Whoop whoop. Well done. You are a maestro of movement and a judicious consumer who dines for wellbeing as well as taste. You successfully balance two separate but interconnected disciplines that enable best results in the Athleticism skill set of REAL wellness. You deserve kudos for living and modeling a passion for fitness supported by nutritious dining preferences.
Your score suggests you've maintained a commitment to lifelong learning, critical factors in your exercise and dining habits. This hospitality and openness to trusted sources of information expands your capacity for new opportunities. You have positioned yourself to manage, if not foresee, the unexpected.
Life is, without doubt, maddingly unfair. Those like yourself who rank at the high end of Athleticism remain vulnerable. Athleticism only takes you so far--the wellest of the well also experience life's hard turns. Initiatives and commitments to wise habits are but stop gaps, not solutions. Let's always be mindful of and grateful to those who contribute to our tenuous good fortune. Let's do what little we can to lift others, those for whom habitual routines of healthy choices that we enjoy seem out of reach, unaffordable luxuries.
The good doctor Anthony Fauci, keeper of reality checks at the White House during the COVID-19 pandemic, offered this advice to graduates of the Ohio State University in a commencement address in 2016:
Allow yourselves to cultivate the joyousness of life as much as you do your professional accomplishments. You have so many other things to live for and to be happy about.Reach for them and keep the sounds of your laughter alive.
You are fortunate to appreciate that Athleticism, vital as it is to a good life, is but one aspect of many that you have to live for and be happy about. All the rest that you do deserves to be approached in the same spirit--and made as much fun as you can introduce. Hopefully, you can even manage plateaus of laughter and joy on occasions, perhaps nearly every day. So, as Robert Green Ingersoll signed off in a letter dated February 23, 1893 to his dear friend B. N. Goodsell, Good luck and long life, and music enough to last you through.
RECOMMENDED READINGS
Baechle, Thomas R. and Westcott, Wayne L. Fitness Professional's Guide to Strength Training. Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL. 2010.
Benardot, Dan. Advanced Sports Nutrition, Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL. 2006
Buettner, Dan. The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest. National Geographic, Washington, D.C. 2015.
Broussal-Derval, Aurelien and Ganneau, Stephane. The Modern Art and Science of Mobility. Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL. 2019.
Campbell, T. Colin and Campbell, Thomas. The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health. Ben Bella Books, Dallas, TX. 2004.
Cardwell, Glenn. Gold Medal Nutrition (5th Edition) Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL. 1996.
Case, Chris and Mandrola, John and Zinn, Lennard. The Haywire Heart: How Too Much Exercise Can Kill You, and What You Can Do to Protect Your Heart. Velo Press, Boulder, CO, 2017.
Clark, Nancy, Sports Nutrition Guidebook (6th Edition). Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL. 2013
Crowley, Chris and Lodge, Henry S. Younger Next Year. Workman Publishing, New York. 2007.
Esselstyn, Caldwell B. Prevent And Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure. Penguin, New York. 2007.
Esselstyn, Rip. The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan That Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds. Grand Central Life & Style, New York. 2009.
Greger, Michael. How Not to Die. Flatiron Books, New York, 2015.
Jonas, Steve. Triathloning for Ordinary Mortals. W. W. Norton & Co., New York. 2006.
Weil, Andrew. Eight Weeks to Optimum Health (Revised Edition). Knopf, Borzoi Books, New York. 2006.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/10291936

Covid-19: The Elephant in the Room

By 

There's little doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed the way you live and the way you think about things that you previously took for granted. For most, becoming infected will result in symptoms similar to a bad case of the flu, while some may have no noticeable symptoms. However, a small percentage of folks who become infected will suffer tremendously, and some will die. Early in the year, as the virus was just reaching our shores, we observed other countries as they were further along the "curve." We were told that this virus could be fatal, but mostly to the elderly who were already suffering from other chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and COPD. It became critically important to protect our vulnerable seniors, particularly those in community living housing or nursing homes. We scolded the young who partied on beaches over spring break, bringing the coronavirus back to their homes, family, and grandparents.
Then the other shoe dropped when we learned of young Americans becoming hospitalized and even dying from this "old person" illness. Why are young people dying in the U.S. yet other countries don't report the same statistics that we're seeing here? Are other countries not reporting accurately, or is there something different about the virus when it arrived in the U.S.? Why do we see such high death rates, (Coronavirus deaths as a percentage of population) in our large cities that exceed the rates of other countries?
While we in the United States may choose to ignore the elephant in the room, other countries warned of our vulnerability.

Being overweight is a major risk for people infected with the new coronavirus and the United States is particularly vulnerable because of high obesity levels there, France's chief epidemiologist said on Wednesday.

World News
April 8, 2020

Americans are among the world's most vulnerable to coronavirus because of their rising rates of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure
Dailymail.com

Published: 18:58 EDT, 30 March 2020

Other countries talk about America's obesity problem, but here in the U.S., we blame the bad outcomes of the virus on high blood pressure, diabetes and pre-diabetes, race, poverty, etc. However, it's rare to hear that being overweight is an independent risk factor even though it underlies almost all of the chronic illnesses that make us vulnerable.

Dr. Robert Eckel, president of medicine and science for the American Diabetes Association, told Business Insider that a "sophisticated internist" in New York City told him at least 90% of the people under age 50 he's seen ventilated due to COVID-19 were obese.
Business Insider 4/11/2020
Yes, America, we're fat and we don't want to talk about it. But there's good news amidst the bad... We can learn from this pandemic and change our habits and lifestyle to become healthier and boost our immunity at the same time. Amazingly, often losing just 10 pounds can reverse type 2 diabetes and improve most other chronic illnesses. And maintaining a healthy weight is not only protective for Covid-19, but also for other viruses and influenza infections.
So let's not waste any more time America! You can get on the path to health right now by scheduling a free health consultation to learn the steps you can immediately take to improve your resistance to this and future viruses.
Pat Redmond is a functional nutritionist, food chemist and recipe hacker who helps her clients with health and weight struggles regain their "prime body" without starving, sweating or becoming a slave to their diet.
Pat's clients continue to enjoy "hacked" versions of their favorite foods and never count calories or feel deprived.
Pat is from Michigan but escapes the cold and snow in her motorhome with her husband and fur babies.
To contact Pat for copies of her cookbooks, "Healthy on the Road" and "Hacked and Healthy" or for private coaching, email: coach@myhealthcoachlive.com.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/10284424

Vitamin A & Your Immune System

By  

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become a global pandemic and severely affected our everyday life. At this time, there is yet any clinically proven drugs or treatments to prevent or cure COVID-19.
With the novel coronavirus, about 80% of the infected had mild to moderate symptoms (mild symptoms up to mild pneumonia), about 15% developed severe disease (shortness of breath, low blood oxygen, or >50% lung involvement), and 5% became critically ill (respiratory failure, shock, or multi organ dysfunction).
Patients with severe COVID-19 illness and adverse outcome are mostly older, have diabetes, heart disease, prior stroke, hypertension, chronic respiratory disease, and/or chronic lung disease. In many cases, these patients' immune system, in an attempt to fight the virus, becomes dysfunctional and go into overdrive, resulting in a deadly effect known as a "cytokine storm".
Cytokines are an important part of your immune response. Your body release them as a response to an infection to trigger inflammation for your protection. A cytokine storm happens when the body releases excessive or uncontrolled levels of cytokines, causing hyper inflammation, which may lead to serious complications and even death.
Why does the immune system go haywire? How come it occurs more in patients who are immunocompromised or with preexisting conditions? How can we have a stronger, better functioning immune system?
By now, most of us are well aware of the important role nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, and probiotics play in regulating the immune system and keeping us healthy. Not enough has been said about vitamin A though.
For the past several decades, scientists have been studying the impact of dietary vitamin A on human health. It is well established that vitamin A is an essential nutrient and is responsible for many vital functions in the body:
  1. It protects the eyes from night blindness and age-related decline.
  2. It reduces the risk of certain cancers.
  3. It supports a healthy immune system.
  4. It reduces the risk of skin problems like eczema and acne.
  5. It supports bone health.
  6. It promotes healthy growth and reproduction.
In the following, we will look at how vitamin A can help reduce the incidence and severity of infectious diseases, how the immune system works against infectious agents like viruses, and the role vitamin A plays in regulating a healthy immune response. Lastly, we will discuss how you can get enough vitamin A to complement your immune protocol.
Understanding Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a group of compounds found in both animal and plant foods. It comes in two forms: preformed vitamin A and provitamin A carotenoids.
  • Preformed vitamin A is known as the active form of the vitamin, which the body can readily use. It is fat-soluble and found in animal foods, like liver and eggs, and includes retinoid compounds like retinol, retinal, and retinoid acid.
  • Provitamin A carotenoids include carotenes (like alpha-carotene and beta-carotene) and xanthophyll (like astaxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin). These are the inactive form or precursors of the vitamin found in plants such as sweet potatoes and carrots. These compounds are water-soluble and have to be converted to the active form before the body can use it. For example, beta-carotene is converted to retinol in the small intestine. However, the ability to convert provitamin A into the active form is impaired in many people. More on this later.
Vitamin A Reduces Incidence And Severity Of Infectious Diseases
Research studies over the past several decades have well established the beneficial effect of vitamin A on infectious diseases.
  • It was dated back to the ancient Egyptians that vitamin deficiency and disease were first correlated. They applied liver (which is rich in vitamin A) extracts to the eyes of people affected by nutritional night blindness.
  • In 1892, it was suggested that diet could have an impact on susceptibility to infectious diseases based on the observation that children suffering from measles or whooping cough also developed blindness produced by vitamin A deficiency.
  • Later studies indicated that supplements with carrots (which are rich in beta-carotene) could reduce the number and severity of respiratory infections.
  • More recent studies have shown that deficiency of vitamin A is associated with heightened incidence of infectious diseases, including respiratory diseases, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and others.
  • Studies showed that high dose vitamin A supplementation in children with measles increased the number of circulating T cells (a type of immune cells), and also that vitamin A supplementation could reduce the incidence of respiratory infections in children.
How The Immune System Works
Our immune system can be broken down into the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system.
Innate immune system
This is the dominant defense system in the body and it relies on the use of physical barriers like the skin and mucous membranes, coupled with first responder defenders called leukocytes (white blood cells). Leukocytes include phagocytes (which engulf foreign invaders) and natural killer cells.
The innate immune system response is why you get a stuffy nose and sneeze when you have a cold, or why a scrapped knee gets red, hot, and inflamed, or filled with pus. For people who contract COVID-19 and have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, their innate immune system is effective and working well against the coronavirus.
Adaptive immune system
When the innate immune system is not strong enough to combat the foreign invaders, it sends out signals called antigens to call on the second line of defense - the adaptive immune system. This system uses special types of leukocytes called lymphocytes, namely the B-cells and T-cells.
This is typically when the inflammatory response gets kicked into a higher gear and you develop a fever and body aches. The adaptive immune response not only identifies and fights off viruses, it also remembers them so it can quickly and effectively combat and neutralize them in the future, thus creating immunity. This is also how vaccines work.
COVID-19 And Cytokine Storms
The coronavirus tends to target the respiratory system by attaching and infiltrating the lung cells where it can more effectively hide from the immune system and reproduce. The infected cell will then produce more of the coronavirus and the process repeats itself.
When the immune system detects this, it kicks off its response. The T-cells are then activated and they release cytokines. A cytokine is a hormone of the immune system. The body produces cytokines to help fight bacteria, viruses, and other invading organisms. Cytokines can be pro-inflammatory when they attract white blood cells to the site of an infection. Cytokines can also be anti-inflammatory when they try to ramp down an immune response once the threat has been neutralized.
The release of cytokines triggers additional T-cells to be made, which then release even more cytokines. One type of T-cells called cytotoxic T-cells roam the body and kill infected cells. When the immune system is working well, the cytotoxic T-cells only target infected cells to be killed and move along.
A cytokine storm happens when the immune system goes haywire. This is when the body's immune response gets so amped up that it stops differentiating between infected and healthy cells. In other words, the lung cells are now attacked by both the coronavirus as well as the immune system.
With COVID-19, the cytokine storm focuses on the lungs, causing acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and damage to the walls and lining cells of the alveoli (air sacs) in the lungs.
Normally, the wall of the alveolus is super thin, so oxygen can easily get from the air space in between into the red blood cells. In this case, both the wall and lining cells as well as the capillaries are destroyed. The debris that accumulates from all that damage lines the wall of the alveolus. The damage to the capillaries also causes them to leak plasma proteins that add to the wall's thickness. Eventually the wall becomes so thick that it is hard to transfer oxygen, hence, the feeling of shortness of breath.
Many people who get ADRS need help breathing from a ventilator. As fluid collects in the lungs, they carry less oxygen to the blood. That means your blood may not supply your organs with enough oxygen to survive, resulting in the lungs, liver, and kidneys to shut down and stop working.
Additionally, doctors found that once the coronavirus gets to the lungs, it may travel to the bloodstream and infect the endothelium, lining of the blood vessels, causing endotheliitis. It is, therefore, no surprise that people who have conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease that put a lot of stress on the endothelium are also the ones who get the sickest when they catch the coronavirus.
COVID-19 does not merely cause lung problems. Many severe patients also develop widespread blood clots as a result of the hyper-inflamed state of cytokine storm, leading to strokes, heart attacks, and organ failure. What's more, doctors have noted an alarming trend as they treat more and more COVID-19 stroke patients who are in their 30s and 40s without risk factors. These people are at least 15 years younger than usual stroke patients without the virus.
Vitamin A Regulates Immune Responses
The effect of vitamin A on immune function is wide-reaching:
  • It promotes and regulates both the innate and adaptive immune systems and the development of healthy immune responses.
  • It plays an important role in the regulation of different white blood cells (neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages, natural killer cells, and lymphocytes) and influence the generation of cytokines by the immune cells.
  • Deficiency of vitamin A favors the production of more pro-inflammatory cytokines.
  • Research on vitamin A deficiency in children found that it damages the mucosal barrier, which is the natural defense of the respiratory tract, allowing bacteria and viruses to proliferate.
Are You At Risk For Vitamin A Deficiency?
Vitamin A deficiency may lower your immune function, thereby raising your risk of complications from infectious diseases.
Testing
A blood test can determine if you are severely vitamin A deficient. Vitamin A is stored in the liver. Normally, the body will always try to maintain a healthy blood vitamin A concentration (a process called homeostatic regulation). However, when the body's reserves of vitamin A are significantly compromised, vitamin A concentration in the blood can drop below normal range.
Signs of mild deficiency
  • dry eyes
  • poor night vision
  • hormonal imbalances
  • irregular periods
  • vaginal dryness
  • infertility
  • low energy and fatigue
  • mood disorders
  • frequent throat and chest infections
  • bumpy skin
  • eczema and acne
  • thyroid dysfunction
Strict vegans who avoid all animal-based foods and alcoholics are more prone to vitamin A deficiency.
Since vitamin A is stored in the liver, and alcoholics may have existing liver damage, they may be more susceptible to deficiency.
Vegans who rely entirely on plant sources of the precursor to vitamin A need to have the carotenoids converted to retinol, the active form of Vitamin A. However, in a majority of people, the carotene-to-retinol conversion is severely compromised, and in some it may even be as low as 10%.
Factors that inhibit the conversion include:
  • genetic variants in the BCO1 gene that impact the conversion of beta carotene
  • diabetes
  • alcohol use
  • certain medications
  • toxic exposures
  • medical conditions that interfere with the digestion of fat (including Crohn's disease, Celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, pancreatic enzyme deficiency, and gallbladder and liver disease)
  • a low-fat diet - as healthy fats are needed for the efficient conversion of carotenoids to retinol
Sources Of Dietary Vitamin A
From animals (preformed vitamin A):
  • Pastured animal liver (liver is an organ that processes toxins, toxins are not stored in the liver but in fats in the body)
  • Pastured poultry giblets
  • Cod liver oil
  • Grass fed ghee and butter
  • Grass fed cream and cheese
  • Pastured egg yolks
  • Sockeye salmon
From plants (provitamin A carotenoids):
  • Sweet potato
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Winter squash
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables
  • Broccoli
  • Cantaloupe
  • Red bell peppers
  • Mangos
  • Apricots
Vitamin A Supplementation
Ideally, it is best to eat vitamin A-rich animal foods regularly. There is no risk of excessive intake through food. The risk lies in taking mega dose supplements. Symptoms of vitamin A toxicity include changes to vision, bone pain, and skin changes. Chronic toxicity can lead to osteoporosis and liver damage.
Do note that blood vitamin A levels (as indicated in a blood test) may not indicate changes in supplementation because for healthy people blood vitamin A concentrations are always under homeostatic regulation and will stay within normal range. At present, there are no non-invasive ways (requires liver biopsies) to accurately measure the amount of vitamin A stored in the body.
For people who would like to take vitamin A supplements, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for adult male is 3,000 I.U. (or 900 mcg) and adult female is 2,300 I.U. (or 700 mcg).
The Upper Tolerable Intake Level (UL) is 10,000 I.U. (or 3,000 mcg) daily.
Always take it with food containing fats for optimal absorption.
Remember that vitamin A is available in two different forms: preformed vitamin A and provitamin A carotenoids. The maximum daily dose of 10,000 I.U. per day relates to only preformed vitamin A.
Some supplements contain vitamin A in both preformed and provitamin A carotenoids forms. For these supplements, the amount of preformed vitamin A should be used to determine if the amount of vitamin A is safe.
In some cases, a vitamin A supplement with vitamin A in amounts greater than 10,000 I.U. may still be safe if a portion of the vitamin A is in the provitamin A carotenoids. For example, a supplement containing 23,000 I.U. of vitamin A, of which 60% is provitamin A carotenoids, will still be safe. This is because only 40% of the vitamin A content, or 9,200 I.U., is preformed vitamin A.
Preformed vitamin A may come in two forms - from retinyl palmitate (in tablets) and/or from cod or other fish liver oil (in soft gels). Check the ingredients if you have allergies towards fish or soy.
  • If you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or breastfeeding, keep the daily limit to 5,000 I.U.
  • If you have a disorder that affects fat absorption, you may not be able to absorb vitamin A properly.
  • Do not take vitamin A if you have a type of high cholesterol called Type V Hyperlipoproteinemia.
  • Do not take vitamin A if you have liver disease.
  • Iron deficiency may affect the body's ability to breakdown and use vitamin A.
  • People with severe protein malnutrition may end up with too much vitamin A in the body.
  • People with zinc deficiency may need to take both vitamin A and zinc to improve the condition.
  • Use caution if you are taking medications for skin conditions (Retinoids) as they may interact with vitamin A.
  • If you are taking antibiotics, do not take a high dosage of vitamin A.
  • Medications that harm the liver (hepatotoxic drugs) interacts with vitamin A.
  • Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with vitamin A.
Disclaimer
Although nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, and probiotics have been shown to strengthen the immune system, at present, there is no research or study on their efficacy towards preventing and curing COVID-19.
Carol Chuang is a Certified Nutrition Specialist. She has a Masters degree in Nutrition and is a Certified Gluten Practitioner. She specializes in Metabolic Typing and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/10285165

Saturday, March 14, 2020

How to Buy Chocolate Then Forget to Eat It

By             Expert Author Kathryn Martyn, M.NLP    

Some Say I'm Strange. I Prefer to Think of Myself as Resourceful
If you'd like to learn how to obtain quality chocolate, put it in a drawer and forget it's there, learn to use EFT and NLP techniques to conquer your emotional eating. That's what I've done, and it's such a freeing thing to be able to feel right with the world, be happy with myself, my shape, and not feel controlled by something like food. I eat what I want, but I do make an effort to make good choices (usually). For example, last night I baked a cake I made on Easter and totally loved (Better than Sex cake). This thing is nothing more than yellow cake, vanilla pudding and tons of whipped cream - not exactly diet fare, but when I can't get a certain food out of my head, I usually either make it or go and get it, and then totally enjoy it. That's what I mean when I said I eat what I want. So today, I have an entire cake in my refrigerator.
Did I have a piece of cake for breakfast? No. My husband bought me some fresh local raspberries at the Farmer's Market yesterday, and I wanted them so I had some on my cereal this morning. The cake sits and waits. When I was in the kitchen I noted the remnants of last night's grocery shopping. I saw a huge, individually wrapped cinnamon roll on the counter. I just "knew" I was going to want to eat something sweet last night since baking the cake was bound to make me crazy so I'd in anticipation of future hunger I bought the following:
  1. One Giant cinnamon roll from Sarah's Bakery. (Oops, I weighed this bad boy and it's 15.5 Oz! Almost a pound of dough and sugar - oh my).
  2. Small container of Scharffen Berger chocolates. This little clear box comes with 12 squares equalling 2.1 Oz. Individually wrapped. I put them in the drawer.
  3. A dozen of my favorite shortbread cookies which I put in a drawer in the kitchen. My husband will eat them if he sees them, so unless he says something about "wanting something sweet" I wait to let him know they are there.
While watching a movie last night (Friday night ritual) I did start to get sort of hungry so I thought about what to do about it. I recalled how I'm feeling much better lately, getting back to a regular routine of exercise, and I just didn't feel like eating a lot of cookies. Yes, they were there, but I just wasn't in the mood to eat them. I had a pang of hunger, but I wasn't really hungry, it was nearly midnight for crying out loud!
So, I ate one of those chocolate squares - remember, they're pretty small right? Well I ate it in four bites, letting the chocolate melt in my mouth. I take my time with chocolates and they satisfy me so much more than just popping it in my mouth, chewing twice and swallowing. I'm not in a hurry to get it over with.
Discovering Lost Candy
This morning I checked my body fat and it just happens I keep my Omron Body Fat Analyzer in the closet on top of a leftover chocolates box from last Christmas. I decided to look inside the box since I thought there was one of those chocolates still leftover and I was surprised to find two of those Christmas chocolates in there (Joseph Schmidt truffles - some of my favorites) and about eight squares of that very same chocolate I bought yesterday (Scharffen Berger). I forgot they were there.
So, you see, I handle my cravings by buying the foods I want, then putting them away and maybe eating them, maybe not. For me it's the need to know I can have what I want - and keeping something nearby in case of emergencies. I also know if I leave things out where I'll see them, I'm much more likely to decide to have some, so I put them away. For you it may be different. Some of you won't want anything tempting in the house. That's okay too. We're all different. The only way you'll discover how you are is to tackle those emotional issues - the reasons you think you can't stop eating after a handful or two; the reasons you feel like it's out of your control, or not your decision how much you eat, when you eat or what you eat.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to buy your favorite food and leave it in a drawer long enough to forget it's even there? That's what it's like to not have an eating problem, and that comes from giving yourself permission to enjoy food. You are worthy, you do deserve to be happy.
My methods can help - I know because they've worked for me, and I truly have had a sweet tooth since I was a kid. I used to eat bag after bag of candy - I once had 11 cavities in one dentist visit!
Kathryn Martyn, Master NLP Practitioner, EFT counselor, author of Changing Beliefs, Your First Step to Permanent Weight Loss, and owner of OneMoreBite-Weightloss.com
Get the Daily Bites: Inspirational Mini Lessons Using EFT and NLP for Ending the Struggle with Weight Loss.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/1978

Occam's Razor: Cutting Sugar Down to Size

By                  Expert Author Joan Kent

I look at sugar addiction through a brain chemistry filter - which brain chemicals are triggered by sugar and how those chemicals affect behavior, appetite, emotions, and mental state.
I've been doing it for a long time - over 20 years.
Yet I frequently come in contact with "big" theories:
• that we crave sugar because we want to fill ourselves with sweetness, since we have none in our lives
• that attachment to sugar goes back to childhood traumas
• that we reach for sugar when we're really reaching for love
• that we need to dig deep to find the root of the sugar problem and clear it before we can quit successfully.
It exhausts me, and makes me doubt those explanations.
I confess that it also makes me doubt myself and my methods. Why? Because most of the explanations I find for sugar addiction run in these emotional directions.
What's Occam's Razor - and What's It Got to Do with Sugar?
As a principle for problem-solving, Occam's Razor advises us to select the simplest solution, the one with the fewest assumptions, the fewest "mini-theories" to complicate things.
In my experience, the brain chemical explanation for sugar tends to be neat. "This is your brain on drugs" kind of neat.
No analysis of personalities, past lives, traumas, why your cousin was mean to you at the last family gathering and why that made you binge on brownies. No self-improvement programs. No emotional baggage.
Just "here's what sugar is doing to you" and "here's what you can do about it."
Without the brain chemistry piece, even the methods for getting rid of sugar cravings tend to be convoluted. Or at least ineffective.
• Take deep breaths.
• Ask yourself what you really want.
• Eat some sugar slowly and savor it.
• Eat some sugar, then have something that's good for you. (Really? Chocolate, then broccoli?)
• Find healthy substitutes.
That last one bothers me most because it keeps people in the sugar trap. Making foods taste sweet by using "better" sugars isn't really the solution to a sugar addiction.
I've ranted against trending sugars - agave syrup, coconut sugar, dates, maple syrup, monukka honey and others - but most nutritionists give in to the popular view. They offer recipes for brownies, cookies, cakes made with these various "healthful" sugars.
I recently reacted strongly to an article that stated, "Those sugar cravings never really go away, do they?"
Yikes. Of course, they do! Completely.
But they won't (and can't) go away when you're always eating - and constantly looking for - the latest so-called healthful alternative to sugar instead of just... getting over it.
Occam's Razor for Sugar Addiction: Simpler Than Psychoanalysis and New Sugar Obsessions?
It IS simple. Fix the brain chem thing. Get past your sugar addiction, don't turn it into a different addiction. Eat to stay healthy. Your cravings go away. You feel fantastic.
From there, you can analyze your emotions and behavior patterns to your heart's content. It will amaze you, however, how many of those things clear up when you simply loosen the grip of sugar on your brain. Seriously.
Occam's Razor slices through the complicated nonsense and leaves an effective answer.
It works for sugar addiction, too.
In this case, the simplest solution lies in brain chem. The complex emotional layers become secondary. Not unimportant, mind you, but not necessary to analyze and re-hash before fixing the sugar problem.
And that's why I love working with foods and brain chemistry. It's Occam's Razor at work.
Health problems, anxiety, resistant weight issues? Stuck on sugar? I have a simple, repeatable, highly effective method for quitting. No judgment, no confusion, just a simple solution for what has been made a convoluted emotional problem. Visit http://www.LastResortNutrition.com and grab your free Empowered Eating Consult. Find out how easy it can be to escape sugar's grip and potentially reverse your health problems for good.
Brought to you by Dr. Joan Kent, speaker, best-selling author, world's foremost recovered sugar addict!


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/10002968


15 Power Meals: Eat Like A Pro!

By                 Expert Author Andy G

Staying In Shape Doesn't Mean You Have To Give Up The Spice In Your Life!
It's a common myth. Everyone assumes that if you're going to commit to staying in shape, you have to sacrifice all the flavour in your diet and eat nothing but white rice, protein powder and chicken breasts day in and day out.
That's simply not true! We asked some of the top athletes to help explode that myth, and they were delighted to provide us with some of their favourite recipes. Here you'll find menus for every meal of the day - even dessert and late-night snacks.
Wait until you sink your teeth into these flavourful creations - you'll be amazed that something that tastes so good can be so good for you!
1. FRENCH CREPES
2 cups flour
2 large eggs
2 Tbs sugar
2 cups milk
2 Tbs Cooking oil
Combine the flour, sugar, eggs and milk and beat until smooth. The resulting batter should be the consistency of thick cream. Add oil to the batter and mix lightly. Spray an 8-inch crepe pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Ladle about ½ cup of the batter into the pan and rotate the pan to spread the mixture evenly. Cook the crepe until it looks firm and is lightly browned at the edges (about one minute). Turn the crepe over with a thin spatula and cook the other side about 30 seconds. Re-coat pan with non-stick cooking spray about every other crepe, or when crepes begin to stick.
Add your favourite sugar-free fruit filling to top off these thin, delicious breakfast favourites.
(* Standard Cup Measurement: 1 cup = 250ml)
2. FRUIT FLAVOURED OATMEAL
1 cup one-minute oatmeal
½ cup raisins
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
1 banana, sliced
¼ cup skimmed milk
1 tsp artificial sweetener
Cook the oatmeal and place in a bowl. Add fruit and walnuts; mix in milk and sweetener and enjoy! Add cinnamon if desired.
3. BLUEBERRY PROTEIN PANCAKES
1 cup oatmeal
8 egg whites
¾ cup blueberries (frozen or tinned if not in season)
6 tsp sweetener
Mix all ingredients in a blender until consistency is smooth. Cook in pan coated with non-fat cooking spray; turn once to cook both sides. Makes one serving. Each serving consists of: protein 50g, carbohydrates 60g, and calories 440.
This recipe really packs the protein and carbs to give you energy for your morning workout.
4. EGG WHITE OATMEAL PANCAKES
8 egg whites
1½ cup Quaker Oats
2 tsp sweetener
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Blend all ingredients in a large bowl until mixture resembles pancake mix. Use a quarter of a cup for each pancake, pouring the mixture onto a hot frying pan. Cook until golden brown on each side and serve. This recipe delivers 30 grams of protein and 78 grams of carbohydrates.
These pancakes are great for dieting or anytime at all. Eat them plain or add your favourite jam or syrup.
5. OATMEAL PANCAKES OR WAFFLES
2-3 cups oatmeal (quick or old fashioned) or oatmeal flour
5 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 large apples
2 bananas
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp sweetener
Grate the apples and mash the bananas. Mix the oats with egg whites and stir until well mixed and add sweetener and cinnamon. Preheat frying pan (for pancakes) or waffle iron (for waffles) to 375°F/190°C. Add the apples and bananas to the mix and stir well.
For Pancakes: Pour slightly less than ¼ cup batter for each pancake onto hot frying pan (lightly greased with non-stick cooking spray if necessary). Turn pancakes when top and edges look dry.
For Waffles: Cook in hot waffle iron (lightly greased with non-stick cooking spray) until steaming stops and the waffles look brown and dry.
Start your day right with this sweetener!
6. BEST-EVER PANCAKES
1½ cup porridge oats
8-10 egg whites
1 egg yolk
1 cup raisins
1banana (sliced)
1 cup strawberries (sliced)
½ cup almonds (slivered)
½ cup sodium free baby food (pear, apple sauce, banana or peach cobbler flavour).
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp sweetener
Mix oats in large bowl with egg whites and yolk. Pour into frying pan coated with non-fat cooking spray. Cook like a pancake, turning once to cook both sides. Transfer from pan to plate. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sweetener, and then spread other ingredients over the top.
7. MARINATED STEAK WITH HONEY-PINEAPPLE SAUCE
1 small onion, chopped
1 green pepper sliced
½ cup white wine
½ cup apple juice
½ cup teriyaki sauce
2 tap soy sauce
1 clove fresh garlic, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
¼ tsp ginger
16 oz very lean steak, cut into strips
½ cup tinned crushed pineapple (unsweetened)
2 tsp cornflour
2 tsp honey
Non-stick cooking spray
In a medium mixing bowl combine onion, pepper, wine, apple juice, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Add steak, marinate in refrigerator for three hours or overnight for incredibly flavoured meat. Remove steak from marinade. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side on a foil-covered grill pan coated with non-stick cooking spray. Meanwhile, pour remaining marinade into a saucepan. Add pineapple, cornflour and honey. Mix while heating over a low heat for three minutes. Pour sauce over steak and serve with rice.
Makes four servings. Each serving contains: protein 24g, carbohydrates 27g, fat 11g, fibre 1.5g, calories 303.
8. MEAL-IN-A-POTATO
2 large russet potatoes
1/3 cup skimmed-milk
¼ cup reduced-calorie margarine
½ cup grated low-fat mature cheddar cheese
1 Tbs chopped chives
Pinch salt (if desired)
Pinch black pepper
½ cup tinned black beans
½ cup low-fat cottage cheese
Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C/Gas Mark 7. Scrub potatoes, then prick skins thoroughly with a fork. Place them on the middle shelf in the oven and bake for about one hour (they are done when you can easily pierce them with a fork). Cool for 10 minutes. Slit the tops and scoop out the insides into a medium mixing bowl, leaving the skins intact. Add milk, margarine, cheese and chives to the bowl and mash with a fork. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Stuff each potato skin with filling, place on a non-stick baking sheet and return potatoes to the oven for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat black beans in microwave. When potatoes are done, top each with half the beans and cottage cheese.
This souped-up potato is perfect for lunch, dinner or a post workout treat.
9. FRESH FISH SALAD
1 cup fresh tuna fillet
1½ cups fresh salmon fillet
1 cup iceberg lettuce
½ cup red pepper
1 cup asparagus
Grill the tuna and salmon, adding some natural salt-free seasoning to taste. Chop the lettuce, red pepper and asparagus, and place in a bowl. When fish is ready, cut into small pieces and toss with salad. Add your favourite low-fat salad dressing or balsamic vinegar, and some walnuts for healthy fat.
If fish isn't your game, try this recipe with chicken breast instead!
10. BLUEBERRY APPLE FILLET SALAD
3 oz of fillet of beef
4 cups of fresh spinach - discard the stems
2 oz blueberries (fresh if in season, if not use frozen or tinned)
1 large apple (sliced)
1 large tomato (sliced)
1 large onion (sliced)
1 oz oatmeal (uncooked)
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Balsamic Dressing:
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sweetener
1 cup water
Grill the fillet to your liking (rare, medium, etc). in a frying pan add a few drops of olive oil and then add the oatmeal and sliced onion. Stir until golden brown. In a medium bowl, toss the spinach with the balsamic dressing and add the blueberries, sliced apple and tomato. Sprinkle the roasted oatmeal over the top and slice the fillet of beef over the salad.
Makes one serving. Each serving consists of: protein 17g, carbohydrate 48g, fat 12g, calories 359.
11. YUGOSLAVIAN CHICKEN
8-10 oz of skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
3 cups green pepper strips
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup mushrooms
2 tsp extra virgin oil
1 tsp crushed garlic
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add pieces of chicken breast; add salt and pepper. Sauté chicken lightly. As it browns, add one teaspoon olive oil, vegetables and spices into a second frying pan and cook for about five minutes. Pour vegetable mixture over chicken and serve.
Makes 4 servings. Each serving contains: protein 50-65g, carbohydrates 44-55g, calories 800.
12. HONEY-BOURBON PORK TENDERLOIN
3 X ¾ lb pork tenderloins
½ cup diced onions
1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
½ cup lemon juice
2 Tbs olive oil
½ cup bourbon
4 cloves garlic minced
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
½ cup honey
½ tsp salt-free seasoning
¼ tsp black pepper
Cooking spray
Trim the fat from the pork. Combine onion and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Add pork to bowl and cover with cling film. Marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove pork from bowl, reserving marinade. Sprinkle salt-free seasoning and pepper over pork. Spray grill with non-stick cooking spray. Place pork on grill under a medium-low heat. Cover with foil and grill for 30 minutes or until the meat is just slightly pink in the middle. Turn and baste the pork occasionally with the remaining marinade. (If you have a meat thermometer, use this to test the temperature of the meat: it should be a constant 160°F/71°C).
When cooked, cut tenderloins into ¼ inch thick slices. Serve and enjoy.
13. FRUITY CARROT CAKE
2 cups wholemeal flour
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
1¼ cup finely grated carrots
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup vanilla fat-free yogurt
½ cup diced dried fruit and raisin mixture
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar-free apricot jam
3 egg whites
¼ cup crushed pineapple
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°CGas Mark 4. Spray a cake tin 9''x3'' with non-stick cooking spray. Mix flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cloves in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients, mix until well-blended. Pour into cake tin. Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool cake in tin for 10 minutes. Run knife around edges of tin to loosen and turn out.
14. STRAWBERRY BANANA LOAF
2 eggs
¼ cup oil
1 cup sugar
½ cup mashed strawberries
½ cup mashed bananas
1¾ cups flour
½ cup rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
In a bowl, beat eggs until frothy, stir in cooking oil, sugar, strawberries and bananas. In a separate bowl, combine flour, rolled oats, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Stir to distribute evenly, then add to first bowl, stirring lightly. Spoon into a greased loaf tin. Bake in oven at 350°F/180°C/Gas Mark 4 for about an hour or until skewer placed in centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for about ten minutes, and then remove from the tin to finish cooling on a rack.
15. BEEF STROGANOFF
16 oz lean sirloin cut into cubes
2 oz sweet and sour pickles
2 oz onions
2 oz chopped tomatoes
1 cup soya milk
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
8 oz cooked rice
1 Tbs olive oil
¼ tsp crushed pepper
¼ tsp paprika
1tsp garlic salt
Pour the olive oil into a frying pan; heat on high. Add the beef and seasoning with half the garlic and salt; stir until medium rare. Add the onions and pickles (and cayenne pepper if you desire a spicier stroganoff). Stir-fry for one minute, then add the tomatoes. Continue to stir and add the rest of the seasoning except the soya milk. Turn down the heat and allow to simmer. Add the soya milk, continue to stir. Remove the pan from the heat before the soya milk begins to coagulate. Serve over the rice.
Makes 4 servings. Each serving contains: protein 24.7g, carbohydrates 20g, fibre 1.6g, fat 9g, calories 258.
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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/10040246