Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews

Posts in the Wellness category

Spinach-Ricotta Portobellos

by Suzanne Andrews

This vegetarian treat goes great with whole wheat pasta and a side salad. As an added bonus, each stuffed mushroom cap serves up a healthy dose of calcium and protein!

  What You'll Need:

  •    4 large Portobello mushrooms (caps)
  •    1/4 tsp sea salt
  •    1/4 tsp black pepper, divided
  •    1 cup reduced fat ricotta cheese
  •    1 cup fresh spinach leaves, chopped
  •    1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided
  •    2 tbsp kalamata olives,diced
  •    1/2 tsp Italian herb seasoning
  •    3/4 cup marinara sauce  

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Coat a baking sheet with no-calorie cooking spray and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place Portobello caps on baking sheet, gills facing up.
  3. Sprinkle with sea salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Cook until tender (about 20 minutes).
  4.  While caps are cooking, mix ricotta cheese, spinach leaves, 1/4  cup Parmesan cheese, diced olives, Italian seasoning, and remaining pepper in a bowl.
  5.  Pour marinara sauce into a separate bowl and cook or microwave until hot.
  6. Remove caps from oven and drain them. Place them back on the baking sheet and spread 1 tbsp marinara sauce on each.
  7. Heap each cap with 1/3 cup ricotta spinach filling. Sprinkle all caps with remaining Parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, and serve with remaining warm marinara sauce.

 More Tips

  Here are some more tips for putting together exciting and healthy recipes:

    * Try new meats. Veal, lamb, and bison are ultra-lean and full of flavor.

   * Add color to your recipes. A balanced diet should contain plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables. Take this opportunity to try new varieties of produce.

   * Use whole-grain rice and pasta. Whole grain products provide plenty of fiber and keep blood sugar spikes to a minimum. Many dieters also find them to be heartier and more satisfying than regular white flour products.

    Remember that with "Eating for Energy" you can fall in love with beautiful, healthy foods you never knew existed and be on your way to a slimmer, healthier you.

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Tangy "Fried" Chicken

by Suzanne Andrews

This recipe puts a healthy spin on a Southern favorite. It's also packed with selenium, a vitamin that boosts the production of disease-fighting antioxidants.

 What You'll Need:
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard    
  • 2 tbsp grade B maple syrup    
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil, divided    
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped    
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper    
  • 1/2 tsp salt, optional    
  • 4 lb bone-in chicken pieces, skinless and fat-trimmed    
  • 1 1/2 cups whole grain breadcrumbs    
   Cooking Instructions:
  1. In a large bowl, mix Dijon mustard, maple syrup, 1 tbsp peanut oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Whisk until well-blended.
  2. Dip chicken pieces in mixture until evenly coated on all sides.
  3. Cover chicken and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (up to 6 hours). 
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a wire rack over a large baking sheet to cook chicken. 
  5. Mix breadcrumbs and remaining peanut oil on the surface of a large plate. Dredge the meatier side of each chicken piece through the breadcrumb mixture. 
  6. Arrange pieces on wire rack, dredged side up. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot and enjoy! 

 More Tips:
Here are some more tips for putting together exciting and healthy recipes:
* Try new meats. Veal, lamb, and bison are ultra-lean and full of flavor.
* Add color to your recipes. A balanced diet should contain plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables. Take this opportunity to try new varieties of produce.
* Use whole-grain rice and pasta. Whole grain products provide plenty of fiber
keep blood sugar spikes to a minimum. Many dieters also find them to be heartier and more satisfying than regular white flour products. Remember that with "Eating for Energy" you can fall in love with beautiful, healthy foods you never knew existed and be on your way to a slimmer, healthier you.

 

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Orange-Tamari Salmon

by Suzanne Andrews

This recipe features an exotic blend of citrus and tamari, with all the nutritional benefits of omega-3s!  

   

What You'll Need:
  • 1  1/2  lb salmon fillets (4 equal portions)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium tamari
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tbsp ginger (peeled and grated)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/2  tsp olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 tsp raw honey 
Cooking Instructions: 
  1. Rinse fillets and pat them dry. 
  2. Combine white wine, tamari, orange juice, green onions, honey, and ginger in a bowl and whisk them until they form a well-blended marinade. 
  3. Place fillets in a baking pan with the pink flesh facing up. Pour the marinade evenly over all fillets. Cover pan with foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 4-6 hours. 
  4. When you're ready to cook, remove fillets from refrigerator while you preheat your broiler. 
  5. Remove excess scallions and ginger from the fillets, and brush the scaled side of each fillet with extra virgin olive oil. 
  6. Place fillets, skin down, on broiling pan. 
  7. Broil fillets on high heat for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. The flesh should be slightly brown on top, and firm, flaky, and light pink throughout. 

More Tips

Here are some more tips for putting together exciting and healthy recipes:
* Try new meats. Veal, lamb, and bison are ultra-lean and full of flavor.
* Add color to your recipes. A balanced diet should contain plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables. Take this opportunity to try new varieties of produce.
* Use whole-grain rice and pasta. Whole grain products provide plenty of fiber and keep blood sugar spikes to a minimum. Many dieters also find them to be heartier and more satisfying than regular white flour products.

Remember that with "Eating for Energy" you can fall in love with beautiful, healthy foods you never knew existed and be on your way to a slimmer, healthier you.

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Evening snacking stopping you from losing weight?

by Suzanne Andrews

4 Steps to STOP Evening Snacking

    You may have heard the old wives tale about eating after 8pm: Don't do it, they say, because the food you eat will be stored as fat. While that's not true, night time eating is a real problem for millions of people who just can't seem to stop bingeing before bedtime.

 I’ve often asked myself why do I start the day with such resolve and by evening it’s gone?

    People who suffer from Night-Eating Syndrome (NES) feel especially compelled to eat a lot of high-carb, high-fat foods at night. They might even eat more food after dinner than during dinner. Many eat very sparingly throughout the day, but eat a lot at night.

    Some sufferers find themselves unable to sleep because they cannot stop thinking about food. Afterward, they may feel guilty and disgusted, fearful that another binge will soon occur.

   NES was studied in 2009 by a team at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. Their findings, published in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, linked this newly designated eating disorder to stress, low levels of melatonin, and elevated levels of cortisol throughout the night.

    Sufferers were also more likely to have other eating disorders, sleep disorders, and mood disorders such as depression.

    If you suspect that you might be suffering from Night-Eating Disorder, speak to your doctor about available treatments. In the meantime, here are four effective steps you can take to get your night time binge eating under control.

    Step 1: Eat a late dinner.

    Sometimes real hunger exacerbates the symptoms of NES. Make sure you never go more than three hours without a small meal or snack. This might require you to move your dinner to a later time, especially if you tend to stay up late at night.

    If you eat dinner at 6pm but don't go to bed until midnight, you've gone six hours without eating anything. This long stretch without food can make you more susceptible to bingeing.

   Step 2: Get rid of temptation.

    People who binge at night almost exclusively crave foods that are high in sugar and fat. These "comfort foods" cause the brain to release serotonin, a chemical which improves the mood and makes it easier to fall asleep. This is especially tempting for those who struggle with insomnia resulting from obsessive thoughts of food or stress.

    To reduce temptation, get rid of all the foods you commonly binge on: cookies, baked goods, ice cream, or any other foods you feel compelled to eat at night. Don't keep these foods in your house. You're far more likely to binge on readily accessible foods than to drive to the store and purchase them.

    Step 3: Exercise at night.

    Some people avoid exercising at night because it makes them feel too energetic before bed. But if you time it right, you can reap the appetite-suppressing effect of exercise and still get a good night's sleep.

    When we exercise, our bodies produce endorphins which give us a general sense of contentment and well-being. Try ending your workout one hour before bedtime, and follow it up with a warm, relaxing shower. This could leave you feeling too content to succumb to a nighttime binge.

    Step 4: Trick your body into feeling full.

    There are other ways to trick your body into forgetting about food. Sometimes a warm drink will leave your stomach full and satisfied. Try drinking low-fat, caffeine-free hot chocolate before bed. Hot herbal teas are another good choice. If you must snack, choose high-fiber foods such as raw fruits or vegetables.

    Other night time eaters brush their teeth when they feel a binge coming on.

    Try brushing your teeth with a strong, minty toothpaste. Then follow it up with some equally strong mouthwash. Your teeth will feel so clean that you won't want to dirty them again. Plus, the Sodium Laureth Sulfate in toothpaste makes food taste less appealing by suppressing the taste buds that detect sweetness.

    If you've ever tried to drink orange juice after brushing your teeth, you're familiar with this effect.

    Note that some over-the-counter sleep aids, such as diphenhydramine, have been linked to increased hunger and cravings. If your nighttime eating is interfering with your sleep, let your doctor know. They may be able to prescribe medications that don't have this side effect.

 Healthiest blessings,

Suzanne Andrews

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Functional Fitness Tips & Motivations Now Posted!

Check out this week's Functional Fitness Motivational Moment!
Learn more Age Reversing & Weight Loss Tips every Thursday
here by Suzanne Andrews.

7 Weight Loss Mistakes that Stop You from Losing Weight

by Suzanne Andrews


 As any dieter knows, there is a lot of information floating around about diet and exercise - not all of it
good. The worst part is that some of the 'tips' you read can actually sabotage your weight loss and make you fatter!
 Let's separate fact from fiction and look at seven of the most common mistakes dieters make.

 

 

   Mistake #1: Cutting too much fat.

   Many dieters believe that the less fat they eat, the better. What they don't realize is that fats are important because they make us feel satiated. Fat is also digested rather slowly, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Eat too little of it, and you could find yourself snacking more frequently but feeling less satisfied.

   Plus, many fat-free foods contain a surprising amount of sugar to improve their flavor, and sugar can lead to even stronger cravings and weight gain.

   Instead of cutting all fat from your diet, try consuming moderate portions of heart-healthy fats like avocados, nuts, olive oil, reduced-fat dairy products, and salmon. These will fill you up without harming your health.

   Mistake #2: Cutting too many carbs.

   Like fats, carbs have a place in a healthy diet. If you dramatically cut your carb intake, you might notice a quick initial weight loss. This is water weight.    When your muscles store carbohydrates, they also store water. When you burn through these carbohydrate stores, you also secrete the extra water. The pounds you lose in this fashion will be quickly regained when you start eating carbohydrates again.

   Carbs are an important energy source. They also promote a sense of well-being. The secret is to eat a reasonable amount of complex carbohydrates like those found in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and beans.

   Avoid simple sugars like soda and candy. They are a source of empty calories and will only increase your cravings for more sweets.

   Mistake #3: Cutting too many calories.

   All weight loss boils down to one simple rule: you must burn more calories than you consume. You shouldn't overdo it, though. If you eat too little, your body will rebel by slowing down its metabolism and losing lean muscle mass.

   You can avoid this by eating a minimum of 1,200 calories each day. A weekly caloric deficit of 3,500 calories will result in the loss of one pound. If you don't eat enough, you risk setting yourself up for a hunger-induced binge.

Mistake #4: Avoiding dairy products.

   Dairy products have a bad reputation among dieters who consider them to be too high in fat and lactose. While it's true that too much whole milk and rich cheese can contribute to weight gain, there is ample evidence that low-fat dairy products are an excellent choice for dieters.

   Dairy products contain a hormone called calcitriol. This hormone tells your body to burn more fat and to convert less sugar to fat. Plus, the protein in dairy products helps you feel fuller longer. Try to consume three servings of low-fat dairy each day.

   Mistake #5: Following the latest fad.

   Nobody likes to fail at their diet, but some of the popular diet plans you read about in the headlines are simply unrealistic and unhealthy. I tried them ALL.  They are set up to fail.

   Who can live on a diet of lemonade and maple syrup? Who can be happy eating nothing but cabbage soup? Nobody, that's who. Stay away from diets that promote fast weight loss through radical means.

   The very best diet is a well-balanced eating plan that you can comfortably stick with for the rest of your life. If a diet is too drastic or unnatural, it's not a viable lifestyle choice. And if a diet says you will not have to exercise, that is simply not true.  Especially if you are over 40.  The metabolism slows down during the middle age to senior years and you must exercise to get your metabolism in the fat burning mode.

   Mistake #6: Using stimulants.

   Caffeine and ephedra are often touted as natural weight loss aids and hunger reducers. While these stimulants can make you feel less hungry, they can also cause high blood pressure, heart palpitations, and stress.

   When your body is stressed, it produces too much of the hormone cortisol, which causes your body to go into survival mode. While in this mode, your body sends out signals for you to eat more food, which it then stores as extra fat.

   Nobody needs stimulants to help them lose weight. Reduce your hunger by reducing the stress in your life and eating small, frequent, nutritious meals. That being said, I’m not saying to stop drinking coffee if you feel you must.  I admit, I have one cup every morning.  Everything in moderation, unless your doctor says otherwise. 

   Mistake #7: Avoiding strength-training exercises.

   Some dieters, particularly women, avoid strength-training because they don't want to "bulk up" and gain weight. This is unfortunate, because muscles speed up your metabolism. Strength training actually promotes fat loss and, like all exercise, helps your body release feel-good endorphins.

   Don't let the scale be your only measure of dieting success. Get a tape measure and keep track of the inches you lose when you add strength-training to your workouts.

Own Total Strength & Conditioning Workout

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

How Often Should You Exercise to Lose Weight?

by Suzanne Andrews

 How would you like to transform your body and lose weight without living at the gym?

 When paired with a healthy diet, exercise is a crucial part of a successful weight loss regimen.

In fact, though diet is important, some experts believe that exercise is even more important when it comes to losing weight and warding off disease. The two main reasons being, when you exercise, the perspiration you produce cleanses toxins from your body. Second, your muscles continue to consume fat molecules (calories, fuel) well after you’ve stopped exercising.

So how much should a person exercise each day? Health benefits can be achieved with 20 to 30 minutes of low-impact cardio exercise, five times a week.

It’s a simple concept, you must consistently exercise every day because you eat every day. If you eat and don’t exercise, fat builds up and…you know the rest.

Just think, Michael Phelps the Olympic swimmer, would consume 12,000 calories a day during training. That’s 6 times more than our recommended daily intake which is about 1800 to 2000 calories. But look how thin he is. He torched nearly all fat content in his body from swimming literally miles a day. Exercising.

 But while some people exercise to lose weight, others simply want to improve their health and keep their joints flexible. Others want to get in peak condition for sports.

 In short, the amount of daily exercise you need depends on what your goals are.

 Exercising for weight loss

If you're exercising to lose weight, you might have to work up your daily activity to 45 minutes or even an hour.

 An example of a good weight loss routine would be 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio, like speed-walking integrated with strength training as shown here in Suzanne Andrews Arthritis Walking Workout DVD.

Full workout available HERE!

When you do strength-training, be sure to work different muscle groups each day so that each group has time to recover before you push it again. Example, groups from the waist-up one day, groups from the waist-down the next.

 Use lighter weights and more reps to develop lean, toned muscles and maintain a slender look. Use higher weights and fewer reps to build bulkier muscles for a thicker look. Ladies, no need to worry about getting bulging muscles, you don’t have the amount of testosterone in your body to develop the large muscles you see in body building competitions.

    Exercising for health.

Experts agree that just thirty minutes of low or medium impact aerobics five times a week is all that's needed to reduce the risk of certain diseases and promote longevity.

This can easily be obtained by going for walks after dinner, or riding a bicycle instead of driving your car for some of your daily errands.

If you're new to exercise, it's okay to start slow. Studies have shown that your body will benefit even if you have to break up the thirty minutes into smaller chunks throughout the day. Be sure to allow yourself time to achieve results. You didn’t fall into weakness and excess weight overnight so it won’t be overnight to get back to where you want to be.

The key is to get your heart rate up to a level that will strengthen your cardiovascular system. Again start slow and work your way up. It’s called exercise, not torture.

 A good rate of maximum heart rate is 70% for beginners, 80% for moderate and 85% for advanced. As a general rule, you can determine your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220.

For example, a 40-year-old would have a maximum heart rate of 180. They would get the most benefit from maintaining a heart rate of 90 – 126 BPM while exercising. Walking is great, but it needs to be a brisk pace to induce increased heart rate and deeper breathing. A stroll through the mall is not going to  qualify.

Exception: If you’re on blood pressure medications, you need to check with your doctor what your target heart rate should be.

    Exercising for extreme fitness

    Some people train for two or more hours each day. These are typically experienced athletes who are already in good condition, but who want to shape their bodies into peak performance machines.

   This level of training is usually done for a few months and takes real dedication leading up to an athletic event. After the event, the athlete returns to a more normal workout routine.

   Before you start an extreme fitness regimen, speak with your doctor to make sure there are no underlying health concerns that could be made worse by such a routine. You’ve likely heard the stories of guys who went full blast their first day out after little or no exercise for months or years. Ambulance rides are not cool.

   Also, extreme fitness regimens are typically a combination of cardio and strength-building exercises.

   When you're starting out, get guidance from a trainer or someone else who has experience with the program to make sure you maintain proper form and minimize the risk of injury.

    Exercising for older adults

   It's important to stay active at any age. Older adults benefit greatly from regular exercise. Your muscles don’t know how old you are. They simply react to whatever forces are placed on them by getting stronger and more durable. Period.

   The US Department of Health & Human Services advises older adults to get 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate to vigorous exercise each week.

   If health conditions make this difficult, the person should get as much exercise as possible.

   Muscle-building exercises are helpful for older adults, as are exercises which improve flexibility and balance.  A regular stretching routine is fantastic for increasing flexibility and injury protection.

 

FUNCTIONAL FITNESS: ARTHRITIS RELIEF WALKING WORKOUT 

Suzanne Andrews Arthritis Walking Workout DVD transforms your body without living at the gym.

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Stress Relief...

by Suzanne Andrews

BEGINNER'S DYNAMIC YOGA: RELEASE STRESS & LOSE WEIGHT WITH SUZANNE ANDREWS

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

How to Burn Fat by Losing Calories

by Suzanne Andrews

 

Losing weight is very difficult for many of us, but it ultimately boils down to numbers: Eat fewer calories to lose more pounds. If we could figure out how to lose calories, the pounds would quickly follow.
It's easy to reduce your calorie intake when you know how to do it right. You don't have to feel deprived, and you don't have to starve yourself. In fact, you can cut your calories easily and painlessly. These helpful tips will teach you how to lose calories - and weight - starting now.

Lose Calories with Healthy Substitutions
You don't have to give up your favorite flavors, you just have to make healthier substitutions. Let's say you're having a craving for something rich and chocolaty. If you satisfy your craving by downing a pint of chocolate ice cream, you will have added several hundred calories to your daily intake.
But if you pick up a healthier alternative, like a sugar-free fudge pop or some reduced fat chocolate pudding, you will get the chocolate flavor you crave at a low caloric cost.
Other good substitutions include low-fat dairy products instead of whole milk products; lean cuts of meat instead of fattier cuts; air-popped popcorn or rice cakes instead of chips; trans-fat-free margarine instead of butter; and whole fruit instead of fruit juice.

Lose Calories by Eating More
Yes, you read that right! When you consider how to lose calories, eating more isn't the first strategy that comes to mind. But studies have shown time and again that you can control your appetite by eating smaller, more frequent meals.
This approach reduces your calories in two ways. First, it keeps you from getting too hungry. Excess hunger is the number one reason why people stop dieting, and it is also a leading cause of binging. When you control your hunger, you can control your calorie intake.
Second, small meals keep your metabolism active. You will lose calories as your body burns through them faster. This is a near-effortless way to reduce the number of calories you eat, and burn the rest!

Lose Weight & Relieve Stress

Lose Calories with Daily Tasks
Ever wondered how to lose calories while being productive? Many of us don't have time to devote to long workouts, but you can burn off extra calories while you run errands and do chores or do a quick conditioning workout in the morning to speed your metabolism for the rest of the day.
Lawn work and gardening burn a surprising number of calories each hour. Depending on what you do and how much you weigh, you could burn up to 700 calories an hour just by working in your yard.
If you have kids or pets, take them to the park! An hour of swinging, sliding, and Frisbee catching will get rid of 300 calories or more.
When you run errands, use the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the far end of the parking lot when you visit stores. These are small changes that add up to big rewards.

Lose Calories with Yoga
Yoga is a great exercise for beginners. It builds strength, increases flexibility, and helps prevent heart and metabolic diseases. People often ask me how I lost 60 pounds. My first step was incorporating yoga into my routine and that's why Beginners Dynamic Yoga was my first PBS TV special.
Yoga is also a fantastic stress reducer and I'm living proof as it helped me get through a divorce after a 15-year marriage. (Happily, remarried now). It encourages our bodies to stop hanging on to excess calories in the form of fat. If you make yoga a part of your daily routine, you will notice physical and emotional benefits right away.
Start by doing 15 - 30 minutes of yoga each day. Don't let the more advanced poses scare you off; even yoga masters had to start somewhere!
Now that you've learned how to lose calories without depriving yourself, it's time to put these ideas into practice. Try to make one small change per week until you've grown accustomed to your new lifestyle. After a few weeks, losing calories will be a piece of (low-fat) cake!
Love and healthiest blessings,

Suzanne Andrews, Occupational Therapy Practitioner

Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

Avoid These Carbs

by Suzanne Andrews

4 Carbs to Lose Fat and 4 Carbs to AVOID
Carbohydrates have become a controversial issue in weight loss circles. Some diet gurus advocate diets high in carbohydrates, while others caution dieters to avoid them like the plague.
Weight loss studies have shown that dieters tend to lose weight on both high-carb and low-carb diets. With so much conflicting information, how can you determine what role carbs should play in your personal weight loss plan?
Fortunately, carbohydrates are not an all or nothing proposition. It's just a matter of choosing the right ones.

Carbs to Eat

Beans and Nuts: Most Westernized cultures don't eat enough fiber. The American Dietetic Association recommends 25-35 grams daily, but the American Heart Association estimates that the typical American eats only 15 grams of fiber each day.

This is unfortunate, because fiber has many health benefits. It helps regulate bowel movements, prevents blood sugar spikes and crashes, and keeps your digestive system in good shape.
You can easily increase your fiber intake by adding beans to your diet. Nuts are another good choice. The protein in these foods will help control your hunger, and
the fiber will help promote efficient digestion.
Start by eating a half-cup of beans with your meal, and a handful of nuts as a between-meal snack.

Whole Grains: To avoid blood sugar peaks and valleys, switch from refined bread products to whole grains. Your body has to work longer and harder to digest whole grain foods and convert them into energy, thus you avoid the quick peaks and crashes you get from refined carboydrates.
High-fiber whole grains also tend to satisfy your hunger for longer periods of time, helping you avoid between-meal cravings. Start your day with a cup of
whole-grain oatmeal sprinkled with flax seeds for added fiber.

Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are some of the healthiest foods you can consume. Not only are they nutrient-dense, they also contain a significant amount of fiber and water.
In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture recommends 2-4 servings of fruit and 3-5 servings of vegetables each day. The Center for Disease Control also reports that diets rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent diabetes, cancer, and other diseases.
Try to incorporate a variety of colorful vegetables into your diet. If you're concerned about eating too much fructose (natural fruit sugar), stick to low-glycemic
fruits such as berries, cherries, apricots, grapefruit, and apples.

Dairy Products: Dairy products are a good source of calcium and Vitamin D. Unfortunately, they can also contain a lot of fat and lactose (milk sugar). Control your fat intake by switching to 2% cheese and 1% milk. Low-fat yogurts and string cheese snacks are other tasty dairy choices.
If lactose upsets your stomach, or if you just want to consume less of it, look for lactose-free dairy products instead. They contain all the calcium and vitamins with
less of the sugar.

Own it on DVD here!!!

Carbs to Avoid

Sugar: Ah, the dreaded s-word. What's so bad about sugar anyway? It contains empty calories, but it's not so terrible when consumed in moderation. Sadly, the modern Western diet approaches sugar with anything but moderation. Many processed foods are full of added sugar.
Even foods that don't taste particularly sweet might contain sugar as a flavor enhancer. Sugar is also used to improve the flavor of many low-fat foods. With so much sugar in our diets, is it any wonder so many dieters suffer from unstable glucose and constant carb cravings?
When it comes to avoiding sugar, do the best you can. Save sweet treats for special occasions, and practice portion control. Don't rely on artificial sweeteners, as these have been proven to increase sugar cravings in some individuals.
Also, remember to watch out for hidden sugar in your foods. On an ingredient list, sugar can masquerade as high fructose corn syrup, sugar alcohol, sucrose, dextrose, and lactose.

White Flour: Like sugar, simple carbohydrates like white flour are quickly processed by your body, leading to rapid rises and falls in your energy level. Worse, highly refined flour products have very little of the fiber or vitamins your body so desperately needs.
You can add more fiber and nutrition to your diet by trading white bread, rice, and pasta for their whole-grain counterparts.
Also, try eating yams, skins and all, instead of starchy baking potatoes. You will find that these healthier choices leave you more satisfied and less likely
to keep eating past the point of satiation.

Fruit Juice: Fruit juices are high in sugar and calories, but low in fiber. It's much healthier to eat the fruit than to drink only its juice. Plus, many juices are made from "fruit juice concentrate" - another misleading term for added sugar.
After you exercise, try rehydrating with a bottle of water and a piece of fruit. This will give your muscles the quick energy they need to recover, but with the added
bonus of fiber.

Alcohol: Unlike food, alcohol is quickly absorbed by the body, passed through the liver, and distributed into the bloodstream. Spikes in blood glucose, and the
corresponding crashes, are very common when alcohol is consumed.
Also, alcohol is full of calories that don't benefit your body. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol can also hinder your body's ability to absorb nutrients, and can leave you dehydrated.
If you wish to drink alcohol at a special event, forget about sugary mixed drinks and wine coolers. Opt instead for a diet-friendly white wine spritzer, a lite beer, or a
shot of rum in a Diet Coke. Be sure not to overindulge; alcohol is notorious for lowering inhibitions, and might make it harder to say no to unhealthy food choices.
           

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Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

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