Archives for May 2009

A rhyme a day keeps the excess pounds away! by Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD

Beans, Greens, Eggs and Jeans?!

I’ve been helping people lose weight and get in shape for more than 22 years. I’ve seen clients who have spent hundreds and thousands of dollars on weight loss products, surgery and exercise equipment. But the things I advocate most for achieving a healthy weight are actually quite simple and inexpensive. The basic information for long term weight management is so simple that it reminds me of the lessons we get from children’s nursery rhymes. To help you remember the basic elements, I’ve written a rhyme of my own. And it goes a little something like this…

When you can no longer fit in your gold standard jeans it’s time to start eating beans, eggs and greens. Not Green Eggs and Ham as Doctor Seuss would propose. I mean after all, was he a qualified doctor as we all suppose? Perhaps not a doctor of medicine, but a PhD of prose. Who knows? While I am an expert of nutrition, weight control and fitness, but not of nursery rhymes, I’ll confess.

So, let’s get to the means.
Why “Beans, Greens, Eggs & Jeans?”

Why? Because there-in are the three most perfect foods you can eat.
Sweet, it’s finally complete.
And jeans are the gold standard for monitoring your weight.
Do something now before it’s too late.
If your jeans don’t fit, you can no longer sit.
You must get up, move your legs and choose to eat more beans, greens and eggs.
But you ask, “What makes Beans, Eggs and Greens so keen(s)?”

Well, I’ll tell you. First of all, they are cheap and easy. Not me. But the food? You bet.
Beans, greens, and eggs are the most nutrient dense bang-for-your-buck foods you can get.
They are also some of THE best sources of ‘Anti-ox-i-dants,’ the disease fighting properties developed by plants.
Developed to protect them from the el-ements; such as predators, wind, and sun
YOU make them too when you do things like RUN
But the plants give us more. So vegetables you can not abhor
The more you eat. The more the Antioxidant foes will retreat
When we eat the plants, they in-turn protect us from the ‘el-ements’
And also, more importantly, from ‘Free Radical’ harm.
They police our bodies just like the long arm.
They jump in the way, they save the day.
By giving up an electron or two, well, at least one.
Antioxidants allow us to enjoy life, live long and have fun.
They stop the ‘Free Radicals’ from a life of crime.
By donating an electron Antioxidants buy us time.
They slow the aging process. They prevent disease.
They can bring death defying Cancer right down to its knees.
They lessen the severity of a cold. They weaken the wheeze.
You know these products, Vitamin C and Cold-eeze.
When dosed really hard they halt the sneeze.
But more often than not, Antioxidants from food is what’s hot.

Anti-ox-i-dents are ‘non-essential’ nutri-ents.
Not all are needed for life. No, they’re not all necessary.
But without them all in your life you best be wary.
You’ll be more at risk for diseases gone awry and in no time life will just pass you by.
If quality of life is what you seek, then eat Antioxidant rich foods, eat tons every week.
They’re made by plants I hope this is clear.
They’re also made by our bodies. By our bodies, do you hear?
But how can that be? You ask this of me.
Wait. Don’t run away yet. I’ll answer. Don’t flee.

What causes our body’s Antioxidants to rise?
I’ll tell you, just listen. It’s called exercise.
I know you’re surprised. It’s what you despise.
But in the end you’ll see it’s worth the compromise.
Hip-hip hooray and “Yay!” You say.
As you wait to hear more. Provided I don’t bore
I will tell you the whole story. Don’t be afraid. It’s not gory.
I can sense that you are sitting on the edge of your seat.
But don’t sit, instead please jump to your feet.
You see, because exercise makes Antioxidants. Neat!
Yes, exercise can also enable you to make your own Antioxidant treat.
“Yuck,” you say. “I can’t exercise everyday.”
But one day you shall and you should.
If you would. If you could.
You’ll feel great, you’ll live longer, as your muscles grow and your body gets stronger.
Until you are able, get your ‘Antioxidants’ at the table.
So quit whining and start dining on the feast that is more plant and less beast.

Start your day with beans, eggs and greens.
Break your fast and fit into your jeans
Two pasture raised eggs
3 cups fresh spinach
1/4 cup salsa
1/2 cup black beans
Heat, eat and enjoy feeling replete!
That’s the end, and the means!
315 calories, 25g protein, 13g fiber

You Gotta Have Friends by Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD

Best Friends Forever

I have been on the East Coast for the past week visiting friends and family who I have not seen in several years. I’ve known most of my friends over 25 years. This is difficult to believe since I feel like I’m only 25 years old.

But it’s been fun to see familiar faces and talk about where all the time has gone.

I met some of my friends while working at a gym when I was 18. It was the same gym where Rocky Johnson and the Samoans trained. I remember joking with them about the fact that they were professional wrestlers. I would say, “You can’t make a living as a wrestler.” They were very nice men who loved to joke around.

I also remember meeting Rocky’s son, Dwayne Johnson (better known as “The Rock”), when he was in high school. He was very quiet and a little shy back then. He certainly proved that one can make a very good living as a professional wrestler.

Working as a personal trainer spawned my career in nutrition. I found that I could teach people how to move their bodies, but I didn’t know what to tell them to eat to fuel their bodies. So I elected to study Nutrition in college. I also became a Weight Management Specialist, a Diabetes Educator and attended a Holistic Culinary School.

I have lived on the East Coast, West Coast and the Gulf Coast. I worked with people from all over the world and have learned how food affects and shapes people’s lives. I have seen my friends and family change over the years as a natural part of the aging process and as a result of a stressful environment and lifestyle choices.

During my trip home, I’ve been trying to help those people I love most by sharing my recipes and nutrition knowledge but as most of you know, change doesn’t happen overnight. Change is a process that must be implemented one day, one recipe or one little piece of information at a time.

While flying from Atlanta to Allentown, I spoke with a gentleman who had been married for more than 40 years. He admitted that he is lost in the kitchen since his wife’s passing. I shared with him a very simple baked fish recipe.

At Mother’s Day dinner I talked to my family about the importance of omega-3 fats. With a strong history of heart disease and arthritis, they were all ready to take action to get more omega-3s each day.

I spent time with my friend Samina Wahhab, MD, a prominent plastic surgeon with two young children and an amazingly balanced life. We talked about how to get her children to eat more vegetables. Together we made spaghetti and meatballs with a hidden green vegetable for extra nutrition.

I made an orange arugula salad for my BFF Kara. And I’ll be taking a quinoa tabouli salad when we visit family in Delaware. I also helped a writer gather some simple fruit salad recipes for her article on healthy forth of July pic nic fair. A creamy fruit salad is always a hit. See her article at this link

Although no single recipe can erase a lifetime of less than perfect eating habits and lifestyle choices, at least we can all make some positive changes today. If someone had told me that I would make a living writing about my loved ones, I would have said, “You can’t make a living writing about your everyday life!” I was wrong.

How lucky am I?

Breaded and Baked White Fish
One pound thin white fish: sole, flounder or tilapia
2 cups brown rice or corn flour (Gluten-free) or whole grain flour of your choice
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat baking tray with canola oil. Combine flour and seasonings in a bowl. Beat egg in a separate bowl. Dip fish in egg one piece at a time. Dip in flour. Coat both sides evenly. Set on oiled tray. Bake 10 minutes then flip. Bake 10 more minutes, remove from oven. Serve with green salad.

Spaghetti & Meatballs
2 slices whole grain or brown rice bread (Gluten-free)
8 ounces lean beef
1/8 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh, chopped spinach
1 Tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch cayenne
1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 small onion, fine dice
2 red peppers, fine dice
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
6 ounce can tomato paste

Make by hand or use a processor. Crumble bread. Add meat and mix. Add onion, garlic, spinach, basil, oregano, nutmeg, cayenne and egg. Mix thoroughly and form into balls. Brown meatballs in canola oil. Remove meatballs. Set aside. Add broth to deglaze pan. Add onion, peppers, diced tomatoes and paste. Add meatballs. Simmer 30 minutes. Add more liquid as needed. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pasta.

Quinoa Tabouli Salad
3 cups quinoa
3 cups parsley, minced
1 cup mint, chopped
1 cup basil, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 T olive oil
Juice from one lemon, ~2 T
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt (~1/8 tsp) & pepper to taste

Cook grains as indicated & cool in the refrigerator while you prepare the other ingredients. Chop herbs & tomato. Add herbs & tomato to cooked cooled grain. Add Lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, sea salt & pepper. Toss, taste & adjust flavors as needed. Serve as a bed for steamed fish or poached poultry

Orange & Arugula Salad
2 oranges, any variety
4 cups arugula
2 Tbsp fresh herbs which compliment flavors: Optional (mint, rosemary or tarragon)
2 Tbsp lemon juice & zest of one lemon
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon flax oil
Sea salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp walnuts, chopped

Peel and section grapefruit and cut crosswise into small triangles. Wash and dry arugula and herbs using a salad spinner or colander to drain. In a mixing bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients: herbs, lemon juice & zest, honey, Dijon, olive oil, salt and ample black pepper. Divide arugula between two bowls. Toss with dressing to coat. Top with orange sections and walnuts. Eat & enjoy! To make this a more complete meal, top with your favorite protein source such as steamed white fish, tempeh or poached free-range chicken

Creamy Fruit Salad
2 cups fresh berries such as blueberries, blackberries and strawberries
2 cups chopped peaches, plums and nectarines
2 Tablespoons orange juice or cut open and orange or lemon to squeeze over fruit and prevent browning
1 cup plain, non-fat yogurt
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Chop peaches, plum and nectarines, any combination. Blend with juice to prevent browning. Add berries. Combine yogurt, honey and cinnamon. Pour over fruit mixture and enjoy!

Eat now, exercise later by Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD

Eat right after exercise for optimal energy

When you hear the theme song from Rocky what images does it conjure?

I see the Philadelphia art museum steps which I ran up at the beginning, but not at the end of the Philadelphia marathon. I see a thick grey sweat suit not ideal for exercise. And I see a glass full of raw eggs which are absolutely not the best pre or post workout meal. Eggs must be cooked to destroy harmful bacteria and to denature the protein so the essential amino acids can be used appropriately to build, replace and repair where needed.

You don’t have to train like Rocky to be an athlete although stair climbing is a great cardio workout.

Whether you’re preparing for your next fight, taking an exercise class or lifting weights at the gym, to perform your best you must fuel your body.

Eat five to six small meals per day as opposed to three squares.

Eat breakfast everyday! People who lose weight and keep it off eat breakfast.

If you’re not hungry in the morning, perhaps you ate too much the night before. In one study of subjects who needed about 2,000 calories per day to maintain their weight, the subjects lost weight when they moved all of their calories to their morning meal but gained weight if they ate the 2,000 calories all in the evening.

Some people claim that if they eat breakfast, then they are hungry all day. Since when is being hungry a crime? You should be hungry all day and not ravenous in the evening when you don’t need the calories. Think of eating breakfast as putting gas in your car to take you to a destination that ends when the sun goes down.

Break the fast, fuel your engine and you will have more energy throughout the day.

To snack or not to snack, that is the question. If you’re a morning exerciser who does not eat before exercise, then it’s imperative to eat breakfast followed by a substantial snack two hours later. The first two hours after exercise are the most critical for replenishing glycogen (stored carbohydrates.) If you don’t eat enough to adequately replace glycogen, your future performance will be affected. So snack your energy back today.

How much you eat truly depends on your exercise intensity, but as a general rule, consume 1 to 1.5 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight. An easy way to determine your grams of carbohydrates is to divide your weight by 2 to 1.5. A 120 pound woman should consume about 60 to 80 grams of carbohydrates immediately after exercise (120/2 = 60 and 120/1.5= 80.) You should also have about 0.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight combined with your carbohydrates. Simply divide your weight by 4 to 5 to give you a range. That same 120 pound woman should consume 24 to 30 grams of protein after exercise.

Now the fun part, putting these principles into practice.

To count your carbs you need to know the best sources and portion sizes. Fruits, whole grains, beans and starchy vegetables are the best whole food sources. In general, 1 slice whole grain bread, 2 corn tortillas, 1/2 cup of whole grains or starchy vegetables, 1 cup vegetable juice, 1/2 cup fruit juice, 1/4 cup dried fruit, 1 cup of fresh fruit and 3/4 cup dry cereal all contain about 12 to 20 grams of carbohydrates.

Simple sugars add carbs in compact ways when needed. Some even add essential nutrients. Black strap molasses is rich in iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium and even some selenium with 12 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon. Protein can be found in eggs, meat, fish and poultry, seven grams per ounce, about the size of your thumb or one egg. Tofu has 12 grams protein per 6 ounces, which is half of the shelf stable package. Yogurt and dairy or soy milk have 8 grams of protein and about 12 grams of carbohydrate per cup. Whole grains contain 3 grams of protein per serving and beans have 8 grams.

Combine carbs and protein at every meal along with healthy omega-3 fats. Here is one way to assemble the perfect post-workout meal.

1 cup cooked or soaked oats or Quinoa flakes or 2 slices whole grain bread = 25 grams carbs and six grams protein
1 Tablespoon black strap molasses = 12 grams carbs
1 cup berries = 12 grams carbs
1 cup organic milk, yogurt or fresh vegetable juice = 12 grams carbs and eight grams protein (from milk or yogurt)
6 ounces tofu or 2 omega-3 eggs (cooked) or one whole egg plus two whites = 12 to 14 grams protein
If you omit the omega-3 eggs, add one tablespoon ground flax to your meal

Total = 61 grams carbs and 26 to 28 grams of protein.

With these foods you can make a shake and have an egg or tofu sandwich for a quick, post workout meal-on-the-go.