Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Menu round ???

Another day another meal.  Another week another menu.  Each time I cook for my clients I not only decrease how long it actually takes me to cook but my productivity increases! For instance, I even make  food for myself! Crazy idea, I know!  Due to deadlines and work, and life happening I tend to stay very busy with only a few days that are my cooking days.  I cook for hours on end. Every pot, every pan, every tupperware container is used.  Every knife, fork and spoon are also used....partly for taste testing of course.  Due to tasting some of my meals, especially the ones that I am newly creating, I am always tasting them to make sure its just right. Due to cooking and tasting my desire to cook for myself goes down.  Even though I may not always make the meals shown below for myself I never sacrifice having a good, healthy meal at the end of eat day and neither should you.

Latest Dishes

Tortilla Soups

Grilled Southwest Pasta Salad

Chicken Breast with Spicy Peach Glaze and Garlic Rosemary Potatoes 

Vegetable Lasagna

Spicy Turkey Burger with Grilled Vegetable Medley 


Friday, July 12, 2013

The "SKINNY" on FAT!


Overweight and obesity = Unhealthy 

Normal body weight = Healthy 

However, research in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)has shown that an individual can be overweight and fit or thin and fat.  What this means is that an individual who caries more weight around their mid section but workouts out regularly may actually have a higher percentage of muscle mass and lower percentage of fat mass compared to an individual who is by definition, normal body weight per body mass index (weight in kilograms over heigh in inches squared)  of <24.9.

The medical term for being "skinny fat" --under lean but over fat -- is called Metabolically Obese Normal Weight (MONW).  Thereby, research has found that it is actually better to be fat and fit than thin and out of shape.

As for 2012, 68% of the American population is overweight where most have pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes already. It is also known that nearly 1 in 4 skinny people also have pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes.  The problem with being "Skinny Fat" is that once a skinny person becomes diagnosed with diabetes, they have twice the risk of death than if they were overweight when diagnosed with diabetes. In the study published in JAMA it was shown that those individuals who were diagnosed as "Skinny Fat" had a higher mortality rate for cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular deaths.   The thought is that individuals who are overweight have a greater percentage of muscle mass even if they do not regularly workout as the muscle mass they have to help carry their extra pounds may actually have a protective effect.

Signs of pre-diabetes include:  
  •      High Blood Pressure
  •      High Blood Sugar
  •      High Cholesterol

Insulin is also a main factor when learning if someone is diabetic or not.  Insulin is a fat storage hormone where it stores belly fat and leads to hormonal and metabolic changes that cause muscle loss and inflammation. 
So now what? 
Now it is time start preventing yourself from becoming "Skinny Fat".  To begin, start by seeing your doctor and asking for a blood test to test:
  • Fasting blood sugar (normal less than 90 mg/dl)
  • Triglycerides (normal less than 100 mg/dl)
  • HDL (good cholesterol (normal >60mg/dl))
  • Blood Pressure (normal less than 120/80)
  • Insulin Response Test (needs to be requested) 

What YOU can do....TODAY? 

 1) Make 1/2 your carbohydrates Whole Wheat --> Whole wheat should be the first ingredient listed on the nutritional facts label

2) Power up with Protein --> Make sure each meal and snack has a source of protein such as nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy, etc. 

3)  Don't drink your calories --> Avoid juices, sodas, and only occasional alcohol. 

4) Avoid added sugars --> Start reading the nutrition facts label to see if and where sugar is added to a product. If sugar is listed toward the top in the list of ingredients, it is made with a lot of added sugar and should be put back on the shelf.

5) Avoid highly processed foods --> Highly processed foods are high in fat, sodium, and sugar and should be avoided when at all possible. 

6) Eat an array of colors from fruits and vegetables --> Colorful fruits and vegetables provide an array of needed vitamins and minerals. 

7) Include omega-3's --> Consume oily fish such as Salmon, walnut, and olive oil. 

8) Start moving --> Start a workout plan that not only includes cardio but weights as well to help increase muscle mass. 

9) Take supplements --> Take a multivitamin to help maintain proper nutrition as nobody eats the same and receives all their daily requirements of vitamins and minerals every day. 

10)  Sleep --> Sleeping 7-8 hours per night can help people lose weight as it restores your metabolism by decreasing cravings for carbohydrates.

Huffington Post

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

To salt or not to salt....that is the question!

High salt (sodium) diets have been linked to a number of health risks, such as hypertension. 

However, individuals who are avid exercisers that not only exercise at a high intensity but also in the heat may actually need salt in their diet.  Heavy sweating during exercise combined with heat exposure commonly produces fluid deficits corresponding to 1-8% loss in body mass. 

Two things can happen to athletes under such conditions of high heat and heavy sweating. 
    1) Hyponatremia (decreased sodium in the blood)
    2) Lack of proper hydration

Over the last 20 years, it was recommended for endurance athletes to consume as much fluid as possible before, during, and after exercise.  Unfortunately, these recommendations caused many athletes to become hyponatremic.  Hyponatremia is caused when individuals over-ingest water during exercise lasting more than 4 hours. It is not likely to be a major risk factor for the general population.  However, precaution should be taken for those individuals that are ultra-endurance athletes, people with occupational physically active jobs, and prolonged heat exposure while being physically active. 

The thought use to be that exercise leads to sodium losses and heat cramps.  Research, however, refuted this argument to find that the main nutrient lost during heavy sweating is WATER.  Sweating during high intensity athletic events may cause an individual to lose up to 3 liters per hour under hot and humid conditions. In knowing this, recent studies have shown that when water is consumed, the volume ingested needs to exceed the fluid deficit by approximately 150%. This means an individual needs to drink 4.5 liters of water per hour of exercise done needs to help compensate for sweat and uninary losses.  

When it comes to the consumption of Sports Drinks, its best to avoid when exercise lasts less than an hour and is not continuous exercise in a hot and humid environment.  Reason for this is that nobody needs the extra calories from the sugar put into these drinks.  Additionally, if an individual consumes a well balanced diet, the added electrolytes may not entirely help you but rather, you will dispose of the electrolytes through your urine.

However, inclusion of sodium and other electrolytes in the form of sports drink, may be consumed when an individual is doing continuous, high intense exercise for over an hour.  The purpose of Sports Drinks are to help rehydrate an individuals body quickly and help to improve performance and productivity.  This is accomplished through a well balanced mix of water, sugar (carbohydrates), and salts (electrolytes). 

To recap: Drink water first, and sports drinks second!  

Sodium-Salt-Needed for Ultra-Endurance Athletes
By Elizabeth Quinn

Role of Sodium in Fluid Homeostasis 
By: Rick L. Sharp
J Am Coll Nutrvol. 25 no. suppl 3 231S-239S

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Baby, Lets Move!

Put your feet up, relax, don't move a muscle.  No, not you........ but rather, the one who is "eating for two."

"Eating for two" and not being physically active while pregnant is a thing of the past.  New research has shown that exercising is healthy and benefitical to both the mother and the child, especially when it come to cardiovascular health.

During pregnancy, exercise can:
     -Ease or prevent back pain and other discomforts
     -Boost your energy level
     -Prevent excess weight gain
     -Reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, pregnancy-related high blood pressure and postpartum
     -Increase stamina and muscle strength, which helps prepare for labor
     -Increase cardiovascular health in both baby and mother by having a lower heart rate

What exercises should and can be done: 
     -30 minutes of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days of the week
     -Walking (beginners)
     -Jogging (if already a runner)
     -Weight training as along as heavy lifting is avoided


Myth: Never Get your heart rate above 130 beats per minute. 
Fact: There is no target heart rate for women while pregnant. Best way to determine if you are working too hard or not hard enough is that you should be able to talk while exercising.  If you can't make a full sentence without catching your breath, its okay as long as you are not over exerting yourself.

Myth: It is not safe to do abdominal work while pregnant. 
Fact: Working your abdominals may actually help strengthen the pelvic floor but also help with the pregnancy, labor, delivery, and recovery. However, exercises on your back should be avoided after the first trimester.

Myth: Pregnancy can make you more prone to injury. 
Fact: During pregnancy the body produces a hormone called relaxin which is made to lubricate joints.  Therefore, it is best to avoid deep muscle or joint movements such as: heavy lunges and squats.

Myth: If you exercises too much during pregnancy, it will pull nutrients from the baby. 
Fact: The reality is that the baby is going to get what it needs.  When exercising hard you will dip into your own nutrients stores without hurting the babies growth. Rather, babies of mothers who exercise during pregnancy are born learner with a better cardiovascular system.

Myth: If you have never exercises before, now is not the time to start. 
Fact: It is better to start now than to never start at all.  Start exercising by doing something small, 10 minutes a day, such as going on a walk.  Once you build up your stamina you can start walking for longer durations at a higher intensity and frequency. By exercising it will not only help combat fatigue of pregnancy but it will also help you sleep better at time.

In the end, get moving and stay moving.....your body, baby and husband will thank you! 

Dedicated to my clients who are expecting their first child!  Congratulations L.O. and K.M.! 

   The New York Times

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Menu design is hard.  Our nature is to eat the same thing most days of the week.
My menu tends to include:

Breakfast: Greek Yogurt, Berries, Granola
Snack: Apple with PB2 peanut butter
Lunch: Tuna or Turkey Sandwich with raw veggies
Dinner: Fish taco's or Salmon Salad

One of the hardest things I have learned from being a personal chef is how to make different dishes or creative ways to make an ordinary dish into something new. On my quest to recipe perfection, here are my latest creations.

Grilled Curry Shrimp with Mango Couscous

Pan Seared Scallops with Cucumber Salad

Pork Chili with Red Garlic Potatoes

Panko Parmesan Crusted Tilapia with Rice Pilaf

 Tikka Masala with Rice

Enjoy and feel free to share other recipes or ideas that you, your friends, and your family enjoy!