Welcome to the SoCal Nutrition & Wellness Nutrition Info!
Here you will find science-based nutrition information about a variety of topics, such as diabetes, sports nutrition, healthy recipes, and more. Use the search bar to the left to locate a topic of interest or click on the topics tabs to peruse info within the same category. Check back regularly for new information. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook where we aim to create a daily conversation regarding nutrition, health and wellness. Let us know if there's something you'd like to see covered here.
I was recently asked to present to a group of 38 women at a conference hosted by their employer. During my presentation, I dedicated a chunk of time to a cooking demo in which I exposed the audience to some new foods. One of these new foods was quinoa (pronounced keen-wa). I love introducing people to this versatile whole grain and complete protein food! It's so easy to make (10-15 minutes on the stove) and can be used to make an entree, a side dish, a warm breakfast cereal, or can be added to salad greens. The options are truly endless! Here's the recipe for the salad I made for the conference attendees.
1 cup quinoa
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Rinse quinoa and then combine with 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and continue cooking until all water is absorbed.
In a medium bowl, combine cooked quinoa, dried cranberries, cucumber, walnuts, and green onions until well mixed. In a small bowl, whisk the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic until well blended. Pour over the quinoa mixture. Toss until well blended. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from original recipe by Juan-Carlos Cruz, The Food Network.
Even the most dedicated exercisers get bored with their workouts. And you can imagine that if your mind is getting bored with your workouts, so is your body. It is important to continue to mix things up by using different pieces of equipment, training techniques, tempos, sequences and more. Follow the ten suggestions below to maximize your workouts and keep your exercises fresh.
1. First and foremost: continually switch up your exercises. It's easy to get comfortable doing the exercises you are most familiar with but it's important to try new ones. After about four weeks of doing the same exercises your body adapts and you begin to plateau. Another option is to take your workouts outdoors. After all, we do live in sunny Southern California!
2. Second: try different equipment. Don't get in the rut of using exercise machines all the time. Try exercises using barbells, dumbbells, resistance bands, fitness balls, kettlebells and others. You may also want to try different equipment and exercises by attending group exercise classes such as spinning, Pilates, yoga, TRX/Kettlebells, and other resistance training classes.
3. If you’re accustomed to doing straight set training (doing one exercise for several repetitions, resting, and then doing another set of the same exercise) then try circuit training. Circuit training requires you to perform a series of exercise moves targeting different muscle groups one right after the other with little to no rest between exercises. Circuit training maximizes your workouts by allowing you to train another muscle group while you’re waiting for the others to recover instead of just sitting and waiting. Ultimately, it allows you to burn more calories, keep your heart rate elevated, and incorporate more exercises in a shorter amount of time.
4. For the more advanced, try a superset program. Supersetting is a workout technique in which you do two exercises, one after the other, with no rest in between. The exercises can be for the same muscle group or two different muscle groups, depending on your goals. They can even be completely different activities (e.g., a strength exercise followed by a cardio exercise). An example of this would be leg curls (for your hamstrings) followed by leg extensions (for your quadriceps) or doing chest presses followed by pushups (both work the chest). Supersetting can save time, add intensity, and help you bust through weight loss plateaus.
5. An additional option is altering the order of exercises. Simply changing which exercise you do first, last and in the middle can have big results on the effectiveness of your routine. Or you can combine different muscle groups that you usually don’t do together on the same days. For example, say you usually do agonist and antagonist (opposing muscle) workouts, meaning you work out your chest and back on the same day, you could switch to doing primary and secondary workouts. Primary and secondary workouts are when you work out the primary muscle. For example you can work out the chest and then do an exercise that would work out the chest’s secondary mover, your triceps. This way you give that secondary muscle an extra workout. You can also apply this to the back and biceps, where the back is the primary mover and the biceps are the secondary.
6. Next, change the intensity. If you normally push yourself to lift weights that fatigue you quickly (less than 8 reps), try lowering the weight size and increase the number of reps. Every four weeks you can switch your intensity level back and forth, going from heavy weight and less reps to lighter weight and more reps. However, always keep in mind you should be selecting the correct amount of weight so that you are barely able to finish your last two reps of whatever your rep goal is without breaking form.
7. Alter the speed of your training technique. A typical exercise might require 8 seconds to perform a rep. To change that up you may try 15 seconds per exercise. By changing the tempo you allow your muscles to focus on different stages of contraction, concentric, isometric, and eccentric. Concentric, when the muscle shortens and contracts, isometric, the peak of the contraction where you hold stable, and eccentric, decelerating a weight, or lowering a load gently rather than letting it drop.
8. Change up your workout frequency. Try increasing from 2 to 3 days per week or even the days and times you do your workouts. It may sound strange, but your body will respond to a change in the time of day or day of the week. Overall, it's about constantly confusing our bodies so we never hit that plateau we all hate so much, this is also known as muscle confusion. If that means switching the days and times you do your workouts then try it.
9. Don't ignore your rest and recovery time. Sometimes you'll want to keep your rest time between sets to a minimum and other times you may want it to be as much as 1-2 minutes. Also, some weeks you may want to allow for several days of recovery between workout sessions and others may only need 48 hours.
10. Most importantly, ask for help. To push yourself to your potential, you may want to occasionally try the assisted training technique. This requires you have a spotter who assists you to perform an additional 2-4 reps when you think you have reached your limit. Feel free to ask any personal trainers or weight room attendants if you need a spotter, that’s what they are there for.
If you are unsure of what exercises you should be doing to continually challenge your muscles and reach your maximum potential I encourage you to enlist the help of your local gym.
~Written by Personal Trainer Jacque Scaramella
Intuitive Eater's Holiday Bill of Rights -- by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD
What if peace on earth could begin at the dinner table? Imagine experiencing an inner peace, free from incessant worry about what to eat. It's hard to enjoy the holidays when you are preoccupied with eating or worried about what to say to relatives who have an annual tradition of telling you what and how to eat.
Consider your Intuitive Eating Bill of Rights, as we enter the holiday season, to help you foster inner peace with food, mind and body.
1. You have the right to savor your meal, without cajoling or judgment, and without discussion of calories eaten or the amount of exercise needed to burn off said calories.
2. You have the right to enjoy second servings without apology.
3. You have the right to honor your fullness, even if that means saying "no thank you" to dessert or a second helping of food.
4. It is not your responsibility to make someone happy by overeating, even if it took hours to prepare a specialty holiday dish.
5. You have the right to say, "No thank you," without explanation, when offered more food.
6. You have the right to stick to your original answer of "no", even if you are asked multiple times. Just calmly and politely repeat "No, thank you, really."
7. You have the right to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast.
Remember, no one, except for you, knows how you feel, both emotionally and physically. Only you can be the expert of your body, which requires inner attunement, rather than the external, well-meaning, suggestions from family.
Copyright © 2010 by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD Published at www.IntuitiveEating.org
DISCLAIMER: The information is intended to inform readers and is not intended to replace specific advice from a health care professional.
The "Joy Cocktail"
Laughter is used as a form of expression to show the happiness you are feeling to those around you, but there may be more to laughing than simply displaying an emotion.
Laughter Yoga is rapidly sweeping our nation as a popular exercise routine. Why are so many people choosing to laugh their way through thirty minutes or more of heart pumping activity? Because it feels good! Laughter Yoga incorporates laughter (of course) with the traditional breathing techniques practiced in yoga generating an overwhelming feeling of energy to its participants. Dr Kataria, founder of the first Laughter Club in India claims that Laughter Yoga does much more than just make you feel good. Laughter Yoga:
- Reduces Stress. Laughter is expected to reduce the level or cortisol (a hormone released during times of stress).
- Improves Moods. After just minutes of practicing Laughter Yoga, the body releases endorphins or "feel good" hormones.
- Strengthens Immune System. Laughter may increase the number of cells that help fight viruses.
- Is a great cardio workout. One minute of laughter is equivalent to the cardiopulmonary effects of 10 minutes of jogging.
- Increases Oxygen Supply. Laughing combined with the deep breathing practiced in yoga brings more oxygen into your lungs.
Whether or not Laughter Yoga is the new defense against poor health, laughing feels good! So put on your tracksuit, breath in deep and laugh out loud!
Click here to find a laughter yoga practice near you!
Reference: Kataria, Madan. Received 2011. Laughter Yoga.
1 in 5 women will eventually suffer from Osteoporosis. Over time the body loses it's ability to replace bone, causing bones to become weak and brittle. While osteoporosis can be genetic, there are a number of dietary and lifestyle factors that can effect the rate of bone loss. Here's what can help:
- 30 minutes of exercise each day. Be sure to include weight-bearing exercise to help stimulate the body to make new bone. Weight bearing exercise includes aerobics, climbing stairs, dancing, jogging, running, tai chi, or yoga.
- Consume plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium deficiency may cause your body to break down bone, increasing bone loss, in order to obtain this necessary nutrient. Vitamin D affects calcium's ability to travel throughout the body.
- To obtain more calcium, try eating low-fat or fat-free dairy products, calcium fortified juices and soy products. Just 3 servings of dairy daily will help you meet the daily 1000 - 1200 mg calcium requirement.
- Getting enough Vitamin D is easy; just sit outside for 10-20 minutes each day! However, if you are deficient in vitamin D your needs will be much higher. See this blog post on vitamin D for more for more information on this crucial nutrient.
- Avoid alcohol, soda and smoking. All of these have been linked to increased bone loss and bone brittleness.
Worried you might be at risk for osteoporosis? Doctors can easily test bone density and potential risk by measuring a small part of one or more bones via x-ray (DEXA scan). Early detection allows for time to slow down the effects of bone loss.
Blog Post Written by: Marguerite Jones, Cal State Fullerton, Health Science Intern
Nutrition and the Fight for the Cure
There is no miracle food, treatment, or supplement on the market that will prevent cancer. However, regular exercise combined with a healthy diet low in fats and high in vegetables and fiber is suggested to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Healthy eating boosts the immune system, helps control side effects from cancer treatments and even aids in the treatments' effectiveness. Here is what we know to be beneficial for breast cancer prevention:
- Maintain a healthy body weight. In addition to aiding in breast cancer prevention, research has shown that women with breast cancer who maintain a healthy body weight have a better chance of survival.
- Eat 5 or more cups of fruits and vegetables a day. Fruits and vegetables provide essential nutrients and phytochemicals which protect the body from cancer-causing free radicals.
- Limit your fat intake to less than 30% of your total daily calorie intake. Choose heart healthy fats such as olive oil, canola oil, and avocado when consuming fat.
- Consume foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. Good sources of omega-3 include fatty fish such as salmon, walnuts, canola oil, and flaxseed.
- Avoid trans fats and limit red meats and smoked foods.
- Eat a balanced diet including whole grains, nuts and beans. Make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian to find out what a healthy diet looks like for you.
- Stay active. This will help in maintaining proper body weight and a strong immune system.
Blog Post Written by: Marguerite Jones, Cal State Fullerton Health Science Intern
If you think Brussels sprouts look like mini cabbages, that's because they are from the same family! Originating in Belgium, these little veggies pack a healthy punch by providing antioxidants, fiber and key nutrients like Vitamins C, A, E and K.
Brussels sprouts are available year-round, but peak season is from September to mid-February. There are a number of ways these nutritious veggies can be prepared to create a tasty side dish for any meal. Try this recipe (one of my personal favorites, from the Food Network):
- 1 lb brussel sprouts
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp dry mustard (Any mustard works here. Just mix it in with the olive oil before adding to the sprouts)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
Blog Post Written by: Marguerite Jones, Cal State Fullerton Health Science Intern