Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Five Yummy Diet Food Tricks

Think Outside the Recipe Box to Lose Weight



When you need to drop a few pounds, the first vision that comes into your head is probably boring salads and celery sticks. With just a little research and creativity, however, losing five pounds or even twenty-five pounds won't seem so boring. Here are five tips to try.

1. Use Lettuce Leaves in place of bread or tortillas. Use the outer leaves of a head of lettuce for more than salad! The larger leaves of iceberg, romaine or butter lettuce work great in creating tasty lunch wraps and "boats". Wash, rinse and pat dry and use them in place of a taco shell, tortilla or bread. Fill with:

-Chicken fajita mixture

-Ground turkey taco meat, salsa and low-fat cheese

- Sliced turkey, chopped cucumber, low-fat cheese and season with a salad spritzer.

2. Use cucumbers like crackers or chips. If your diet program is low to moderately low in carbs, such as Atkins, or the 17-day diet, you will miss the crunch of chips and crackers. Peel and slice a cucumber in a small bowl, cover with water and chill. Make your favorite chicken or tuna salad and use the cucumbers like crackers. Mix Ranch dressing into fat-free dressing and use cucumbers like a chip. The more you use them, the more snacky ideas you'll come up with. For a quick tuna salad recipe, click here

For more ideas, continue reading, "Five Yummy Diet Food Tricks"

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What About Losing Weight in the Bedroom?

Once the weight starts to come off we all feel a little sexier, right?  That's a really good thing, too, because that equates to more activity of a different type.  Here's an article of mine that might be incentive for putting the kids to bed a little earlier each night.

Image in the public domain/wikimedia commons
Have Sex and Lose Weight

Everyone knows that losing weight requires eating less and exercising more. So, can sex help a woman in regard to both? The answer appears to be yes!

Almost every woman has experienced losing weight after beginning a torrid love affair, right? The reason for this involves three things: the euphoric high that a new passionate relationship creates, a busier schedule that leaves little time for eating, and the thermogenic energy of all that body heat!

More Sex, Less Food?
Often the start of a new love affair involves fitting a relationship into an already hectic schedule. Somewhere between homework and laundry, kid's soccer practice and teacher nights, a 50-hour workweek and yard work, lovers must carve time for a budding romance and steamy trysts!


Often this busier schedule diverts attention away from the refrigerator, and toward preparation for a date or cuddling on the couch with that new love interest. Attention quickly shifts from boredom-filling activities like nibbling on popcorn, with more time spent on personal hygiene, changing the sheets and shopping for that perfect outfit!

Oprah.com's May 2009 article, "The Easier Way to Diet" by Martha Beck, supports this sex-over-food theory. Beck says, "If you've ever fallen in love, you probably did this (lose weight) by accident. In the throes of new romance, our beastie brain is focused on bonding and mating, not food. Emotional eating? Who needs it? Staying active? No problem! 'The pounds just melted off,' people say of their falling-in-love phase."

Is 'Sexercise' a Good Workout?

Keep reading to find out: "Have Sex and Lose Weight?

How to Burn 200 Extra Calories a Day

Image courtesy of Alvimann/morguefile.com


I think by now that most of us who have ever been on a diet know that in order to lose a pound we must have a deficit of 1500 calories, whether it be from eating less or exercising more. If you are following the 17 Day Diet, your food intake should be reduced sufficiently to drop a pound a week, and if you want to make that number on the scale drop faster, exercising those 17 minutes a day will definitely help.

But what about the other part of your life?  Should your quest for fitness be limited to food intake and 17 minutes of exercise?  I'm thinking NOT! Here is an article from Self.com that gives you twenty additional ways to burn off 200 calories, which could shave off almost an additional pound each week if you pick one activity each day.

Come on! Life is about the whole day, right?  Check out these activities and work a few into your week.  Losing weight isn't rocket science.  It's about eating less and moving more!

Read the article here:  "20 Ways to Burn 200 calories"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Homemade Kefir - Why and How


If you have tried the Kefir shakes on the 17 Day Diet, you have probably bit the bullet and paid the grocery store price for a small bottle of this cultured milk.  But did you know you can make it yourself? Read on...

First of all, why do we want to drink Kefir? 
As explained in Dr. Moreno's book, kefir contains beneficial yeast and friendly ‘probiotic’ bacteria. While looking for additional Kefir resources online that might corroborate its health benefits, I ran across Kefir.net, which also claims, "The naturally occurring bacteria and yeast in kefir combine symbiotically to give superior health benefits when consumed regularly. It is loaded with valuable vitamins and minerals and contains easily digestible complete proteins." They also explain that its abundance of beneficial yeast and bacteria provide the enzyme, lactase, a benefit to lactose intolerant individuals.

Kefir is touted as being a balanced and nourishing food, and kefir supporters tout that kefir contributes to a healthy immune system. While not all medical experts agree on its medicinal value, the Kefir website claim that it has been used "to help patients suffering from AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, and cancer." They also state that, "Its tranquilizing effect on the nervous system has benefited many who suffer from sleep disorders, depression, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)."
 
I LOVE the kefir smoothies, as my readers already know. What's not to love? In addition to being healthy, they are easy and delicious! In her WebMD blog, Chef Domenica Catelli, recommends a kefir smoothie in the morning, entitling her post as "Great Way to Jumpstart the Day".  She even provides a kefir smoothie recipe in the post that is very similar to Dr. Moreno's version and the ones I make.

Making Kefir Yourself
This is all new to me, since I just discovered kefir could be made at home. I've learned that to get started, you need to buy kefir grains, which is a weird name for them since they look more like curds. There are lots of resources online that sell these "grains," and many videos that demonstrate how to culture them.

I will be experimenting with making my own kefir as soon as I get the grains, but I wanted to share this discovery with my readers now, so you could check it out as well.  As far as I can tell, the health benefits are no different in homemade than store bought, just the cost and convenience. In researching, I also discovered that you make kefir from grains or kefir starter, which are different from one another.  I've decided to use kefir grains since this method appears to have more health benefits and the grains don't have a lifespan like the starter culture does. (See article below for more info on this.)

To help you get started, I've included some online resources  as well as these two YouTube videos. The first video outlines the process for making homemade kefir and I've included a mesh strainer in my Amazon favorites similar to the kind used in this video. The second video explains more about kefir grains and how to store them. After you watch the videos, I think you might be interested in tackling this too, because it sounds easy-peasy! I'll let you know how it goes for me if you will too....






More Kefir Resources:
Healing with Food: Kefir
Kefir.net
WebMD: Kefir (Uses, Side Effects, Interactions)
Cultures for Health

Kefir Grains vs. Kefir Starter Culture

Coverage of the 17 Day Diet on WebMD



Think Skinny!!  Image courtesy of xenia/morguefile

I've mentioned previously that I like to read as much as I can about diets and losing weight, and I pay special attention now when the 17 Day Diet is the topic.

WebMD Expert,  reviewed the diet in her article: "17 Day Diet: Diet Review."  In her article, she recaps the phases of the diet and explains the basic concepts. While she agrees with some of the diet's concepts, she also disagrees on others.

She says, "Experts give thumbs-up for the food choices, overall message of clean eating, avoiding unhealthy carbs, enjoying foods that you love, and regular exercise. But thumbs-down on the weight loss theory and restriction of healthy foods like fruits and low-fat dairy."

Her opinion is that the calorie cutting may not be terribly different than what you might do on your own, and quotes the opinions of American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Keri Gans, by saying, "Gans cautions that the weight loss is not because of metabolism confusion but primarily due to cutting calories, and that the initial water weight loss may be short-lived and not sustainable once you bring carbs back into your diet."

Dr. Zelman provides a few tweaks that make some sense to me, like tossing out the time restriction regarding fruit (I have a problem getting mine in before the cut-off, and can an apple at 9:00 in the evening really be a bad thing?). I guess the proof is in the pudding, or in the case of the 17 Day Diet, in the Kefir shake?  I think it's important to consider all opinions, and then do what works for you in getting healthy.  Posting a picture like the one above on the fridge doesn't hurt either!

You can read Dr. Zelman's article on WebMD here.