Take Advantage Of Your Surroundings

So- it’s been too long since my last post and I owe you an explanation. No excuses. I love to write and whether I am insanely busy or not, I have to make time for what is important to me. I switched jobs- the non-profit world did not pan out as expected. A disappointment but it was time to move on. I’m back practicing law — it is a terrific opportunity and I feel refreshed and ready to take on a big job with a great deal of responsibility. I worked in this field for eight years and then left to pursue a non-legal career.

Sometimes, you don’t know the value of what you have until it’s gone. That’s very cliche – I know. Yet sometimes it really rings true. With that said, I started to think about what other things I have taken for granted in my life- or simply failed to realize the beauty in something right in front of my face.

Like the fantastic hike that Jay and I have been doing regularly which I wrote about in the Spring- the trail in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. Except we have been more than walking the trail- I’d say we’ve been going on trail runs – running about 85% of the trail each time. On one of our weekend trail runs, before all the snow started!! – I met a runner who said that the Caumsett Park hike in Lloyd Neck, New York can be challenging as well. She highly recommended it for a change of scenery.

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The following weekend, we hiked the Caumsett Park trail and although it was mainly flat terrain, there was one long, steep hill towards the end of the hike. We hiked about 4 miles in total- running about 2 flat miles on pavement and packed dirt. The run was peppered with things we have not seen on our usual trail run.

 

 

 

 

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Along the way we ran past the beach, penned horses and magnificent trees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Although different from our usual hike/run, it was a good, solid workout that I highly recommend……

 

 

 

 

Off to lunch!

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At our favorite Mexican lunch spot, Jay and I reminisced about how we used to take the kids all the time to Caumsett Park, first in their strollers and then with their bikes. We remembered all the fun we had picnicking in the park with friends and their kids. It’s unbelievable that we have not been back to this beautiful park in more than ten years.

It feels like I’m always so busy doing so many things at once – all the time – that I forget to look around and see where I am and what I am doing. Does anyone else feel this way?  Instead of always looking for the next best thing – what about going back to the things we loved years ago?

Eating the guacamole at lunch made me think about the avocado plant I grew with my father when I was a kid. Why haven’t I ever done that? Right then and there I decided that I’m going to buy an avocado and grow my own plant! The next day, I bought a ripe avocado at the farmer’s market.  I called my dad and got the instructions on how to turn my avocado pit into an avocado plant.

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I’ll take progress photos and include the benefits of avocados and my bruschetta recipe in my next post.

Adios, amigos! Ciao!

 

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Hot Food and Nutrition Trends for 2014

What’s hot and trending in the food and nutrition world for 2014? Here are some trends that you won’t want to miss:

1) Clean eating- Clean eating is about eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seeds and nuts and less processed foods, sugar and salt. Whether you follow the Paleo diet, the Zone diet, Gluten-free diet, Weight Watchers or your own combination of what works for you- I am certain everyone can agree that processed foods should be eaten sparingly if not eliminated. Hence the increase in farmer’s markets and farm-to-table restaurants.

2) Cauliflower- This low calorie, vitamin-C rich vegetable is still expected to be popular in 2014. Whether eaten mashed like potatoes or seasoned and burnt in the oven, cauliflower will continue to be enjoyed by many.

3) Kale will continue to be juiced into smoothies, baked into chips or eaten in salads. One cup of chopped Kale has only 33 calories and contains significant amounts of calcium, vitamins A, C and K. Kale is also rich in the types of anti-oxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits.

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4) Coconut oil- rich in plant-based saturated fats will remain wildly popular among dietary fanatics and nutritionists- is used in cooking; slathered on skin and swished in the mouth for “cleansing purposes.” Coconut oil is better than butter and trans fats, however it is not as good as liquid vegetable oils like soybean, canola or olive oil, according to Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, Penn State University cardiovascular nutrition researcher.

5) The low-fat trend is weakening. Finally! Studies have shown that low-fat does not always lead to less body fat. As a result, the low-fat trend is fading as people are consuming more olive oil, avocados and bacon.

What particular superfood (food with supposed health benefits) do I like the best? Honey! Honey contains certain antioxidants which help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease. Athletes claim that ingesting honey helps to maintain glycogen levels and improve recovery time more than other sweeteners. Honey contains simple sugars, yet it is not the same as white sugar or artificial sweeteners. The combination of fructose and glucose found in honey actually helps the body regulate blood sugar levels.  Additionally, honey helps to alleviate coughs and may help reduce ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders.

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Simply stated, I love honey because it is sweet. My unparalleled sweet tooth consists of a constant yen for chocolate. As I continue my quest to eat cleaner and healthier, I try to substitute honey as a sweetener whenever possible.

I have included one of my favorite honey recipes. This delicious honey baked chicken recipe has only 6 ingredients and is so easy to make.

Baked Honey Chicken

Ingredients

1 three (3) pound whole chicken cut into pieces or 4-6 thick, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup butter or margarine- melted
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup mustard (I used deli mustard)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a shallow baking pan, skin side up if using a whole chicken. In a bowl, combine (with a spoon or whisk) the melted butter or margarine, honey, mustard, salt and cumin and pour the mixture over the chicken. Bake for 65-75 minutes, basting once after 15 minutes with the sauce in the pan. Bake until the chicken is browned on top and tender and the juices run clear when the chicken is cut open.

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Honey Mask for Dry Skin

1 teaspoon raw honey
1 teaspoon mashed avocado
1 teaspoon plain whole milk yogurt

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Spread the mixture on your face and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Wash off, carefully avoiding your eyes. The fats in the avocado and the yogurt will moisturize your skin. The lactic acid in the yogurt smooths your skin, stimulates collagen production and refines the pores.

Honey Mask For Sensitive Skin

2 teaspoons raw honey
1 teaspoon aloe vera gel

Combine the ingredients in a bowl and smooth on your face. Leave on for about 10-20 minutes, then wash off. The aloe soothes inflammation and rejuvenates sensitive skin.

Enjoy! And remember, “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” Translation: You will be more successful in life being sweeter or nice, rather than being mean or hurtful to people.

 

What’s For Dinner?

We have all uttered those words, “what’s for dinner?” or “what’s for lunch?” at some time. And we all know what healthy foods to eat when we go out for lunch or dinner. By now, you probably even know the healthy choices to eat at fast-food places. Yet sometimes the healthy food choice is not staring at us in the face. Or maybe we are bored of the traditional healthy choices. Sometimes we are short on time or cash. I have compiled a few healthy food options that I turn to when I am short on time or money. Maybe when you are stuck somewhere without the typical healthy food choices, you will remember this post.

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When I eat a hamburger, I order a whole wheat or whole grain bun because I must eat half a bun with my burger. It’s strange because I eat meatballs and steak without bread but I can’t go bun-less with a hamburger. However, for the carb-free eaters, two new (new to my area) hamburger fast-ish food places; Dirty Burger and BurgerFi offer hamburgers wrapped in lettuce. My husband loves the burger-wrapped in lettuce alternative. Occasionally, after I eat a hamburger at these places I find that I am still hungry. Sometimes I order another hamburger but other times, instead of eating french fries or onion rings, I order a hot dog (without the bun). I know I may get negative feedback about this but I have spoken with two nutritionists who said that if its a choice between french fries, onion rings or a hot dog, at least the hot dog provides protein.

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Sometimes I find myself near a pizza place and although I really want the slice of pizza (my favorite food ever!), instead, I order a side of meatballs.  A side of meatballs is usually two or three meatballs and at times I order it with a little bit of melted mozzarella cheese. I find that the protein in the meatballs keeps me satisfied for hours. Again, a better alternative than eating two slices of pizza.

For many reasons, it’s always better to plan meals ahead of time. However, sometimes life gets in the way; maybe you had to work late, or an unexpected deadline came up or you were stuck in a last-minute meeting at work and there’s no way you want to start grilling chicken after the day you’ve had. It’s times like that when I pick up a cooked, rotisserie chicken at my local supermarket or prepared foods store. In my area, I can buy a whole chicken for less than $7.00 at Shoprite super market or Iavarone specialty foods store. I ask the person in the meat department to please cut the chicken up for me and it lasts for days. If you do not eat the skin, it is a very healthy, cheap option for dinner and the next day’s breakfast, lunch or dinner.

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When dining out, if you are craving something other than the typical salad with grilled chicken or broiled fish, I have a suggestion for you. I found a wonderful restaurant, Hill Country in New York City. This meat-intensive, Paleo-friendly, barbecue restaurant has locations in New York City, Brooklyn, N.Y. and Washington, D.C. Their dry-rub style ribs, sausage, brisket and other meats are slow-cooked and served on butcher-paper, counter-style by the pound. Yes- you order and pay by the pound! Portions are ginormous. Their spare ribs are like the brontosaurus ribs Fred Flintstone ate. I’ve been to the New York City location many times and I’ve ordered one rib and a piece of brisket and then went back up to the counter and ordered more ribs. Their chicken and side dishes are also excellent but truthfully, I go there for the meats. Vegetarians will like the mac n’ cheese, green bean casserole and white shoe peg corn pudding.

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Be creative with your food choices. It’s fun to come up with fresh ideas for eating healthy. Honestly, I have a limited palate and I tend to get bored eating “salad with grilled chicken.” If anyone has any healthy eating ideas they would like to share, feel free to comment on this post.

What Happened To Good Ole Peanut Butter?

When I was a kid, the choice of peanut butter was between Skippy or Jif and maybe some supermarket brand that no one ever bought. Then years later I remember going to a health food store in my neighborhood where you could watch your own peanut butter being made fresh. You would scoop the peanuts and then pour them into a gargantuan machine where the peanuts would be pulverized right before your eyes. No additives, no sugar. Yummm fresh peanut butter- what could be better? Other than the fact that it didn’t last more than a few days?

Fast forward to the present day and there are apparently a plethora of peanut butter options that are a heck of a lot healthier than what we ate growing up. A walk down the aisle of a regular super market will give you the old standards like Skippy and Jif, yet these days you will find low fat and chocolate flavored options along with Smuckers “natural” peanut butter. Some supermarkets carry almond butter- peanut butter made with almonds, not peanuts.

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Health food stores and stores such as Whole foods or Trader Joes stock a variety of these new and improved, healthier peanut butter alternatives. My local Whole Foods sells almond butter, sunbutter, cashew butter, soynut butter and even powdered peanut butter.  “Just Great Stuff” is powdered organic peanut butter which when mixed with water has a smooth consistency and contains a fraction of the fat than in all of the butters just listed. And it is very tasty!

So what’s all the fuss about these new “alternative” peanut butters? Are they really healthier than our old peanut butter? What about the taste? What do the critics say?

Most of the consumer brands consist of Hydrogenated vegetable oil (to prevent oil separation), salt (to avoid spoiling), Dextros and artificial sweeteners (for taste). As an alternative to making your own nut butter (see my recipe below), I found a few healthy and delicious peanut butter alternatives in my local stores.

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Almond butter is made by grinding and smoothing almonds into a paste. By eating almonds or almond butter, you get fiber, protein, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus.  Both almond butter and peanut butter are high in monounsaturated fats, however, almond butter is a slightly better nutritional choice with 5 grams per tablespoon versus 3.3 grams per tablespoon in peanut butter. Foods rich in monounsaturated fats may help to lower cholesterol. Almond butter is also a slightly better source of fiber and has four times more vitamin E than peanut butter. Vitamin E is known for its anti-oxidant properties and may help to prevent heart disease and cancer.

Soynut butter is made from roasted soybeans. Soynut butter is ideal for people with allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. Soynut butter is also gluten-free and dairy-free. Nutritionally, soynut butter is slightly better for you than peanut butter. In a 2 tablespoon serving, soynut butter contains 170 calories per serving, while peanut butter has 190 calories. Soynut butter has 100 calories from fat while peanut butter has 130. Both soynut butter and peanut butter are high in protein. Yet peanut butter contains more vitamins and minerals than soynut butter.

Unlike many other nuts, cashews and cashew butter do not contain omega-3 fatty acids which may reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent high blood pressure. However, cashew butter does contain high amounts of other heart-healthy fats and essential minerals and is a good low-carbohydrate, high protein option.

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Sunbutter or sunflower seed butter is peanut-free, tree-nut free and gluten-free. Followers of the Paleo diet usually opt for almond or sunflower butter. Sunflower seeds contain a number of essential vitamins and minerals. They supply B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, A, D, E and K and minerals such as calcium, potassium, zinc phosphorus, magnesium and selenium. Sunbutter is low in saturated fats, high in protein and low in sodium and has no cholesterol.

Personally, I think sunbutter is tastier than almond butter and soynut butter leaves me with a strange aftertaste. I also enjoy the taste of cashew butter, especially when it is homemade. This recipe for cashew butter is very easy to make and tastes delicious.

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Homemade Cashew Butter

Ingredients

2 cups unsalted roasted cashews
2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

optional 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

In a food processor or blender, combine cashews and 2 tablespoons of the oil (and salt and sugar, if desired). Process on high speed for 30 seconds and then scrape down the sides with a spatula. Continue to process until you reach desired smoothness, adding 1 teaspoon of oil at a time, depending on how smooth you want the cashew butter. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Why Should We Eat Fruit?

I was talking to a friend recently about new food ideas as we are both sometimes bored with our food choices. I mentioned that sometimes I eat breakfast for dinner- healthy french toast made with whole wheat bread dipped in egg whites with fresh fruit. She was amazed at the notion, never having thought of eating sweet potato pancakes for dinner. We discussed how fruit can be eaten as a snack or as an accompaniment to any meal and how sometimes its health benefits are underrated.

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Eating fruit provides many health benefits, including potassium, fiber, vitamin C and folic acid. Most fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium and calories. Fruits do not contain cholesterol. Fruits that are rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Fruits sources of potassium include bananas, prunes, cantaloupe and honeydew melon. Dietary fiber from fruits helps reduce cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber-containing fruits help provide a feeling of fullness which can help reduce calorie intake. Vitamin C is important for repair and growth of all body tissues, it helps heal cuts and keeps teeth and gums looking and feeling healthy. Folic acid helps the body form red blood cells.  Folic acid is especially important for pregnant women because it reduces the risk of birth defects and aids in fetal development.

The Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health recommends eating least 2-3 servings of fresh fruit every day. Eating fruits rich in blue pigment have anti-oxidant properties, remove free radicals from the body and offer many health benefits, including protection against cancers, aging and infections. These blue fruits include purple grapes, acai berry, blueberries and blackberries.

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So who thinks fruit is unhealthy? People who follow a low carb diet tend to shy away from fruit or limit their fruit intake. Fruit tends to be fairly rich in carbohydrates, primarily the simple sugars- glucose and fructose. Consuming a lot of fructose may be unhealthy for people who are inactive and eat a high-carb diet. However, those who are healthy, lean and active can afford to eat some fructose. Instead of being turned into fat, the fructose will go towards replenishing glycogen stores in the liver.

The bottom line is that fruits are healthy, unprocessed foods with fiber, vitamins and minerals. However, fruit juice is a totally different story. There is no fiber in fruit juice and it usually contains the same amount of sugar as soda. Avoid it!

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For a little variety, try these sweet, delectable recipes.

Pan Seared Banana with Maple Syrup

1 banana
1 teaspoon maple syrup
cinnamon to taste
canola or any type of oil for pan

Peel banana and cut lengthwise into two pieces. Heat frying pan on medium heat and add canola oil. Drizzle maple syrup on cut side of bananas and sprinkle cinnamon to taste. When oil is hot, place bananas cut side down. Turn the bananas once every 2-3 minutes until each side starts to brown. Enjoy warm with fat-free whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or fresh berries.

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Baked Peaches

1 peach, cut into 8 pieces
2+ tablespoons of maple syrup
cinnamon to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place peaches in a ziploc bag add maple syrup and sprinkle cinnamon. Mix well. Place peaches on aluminum lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until peaches are tender. Enjoy!

Experiment with fruit in your cooking. I found a recipe for pork chops with sautéed apples that looks delicious. Mix things up, don’t think outside the box, think like there is no box.

Is CrossFit Really Dangerous??

ABSOLUTELY NOT! CrossFit is defined as “constantly varied, functional movements performed at relatively high intensity .”CrossFit is one of the fastest growing strength and conditioning programs around today. CrossFitters are trained in explosive plyometrics, speed training and gymnastics movements while maximizing strength to weight ratio and flexibility. A heavy emphasis is also placed on Olympic and power-style weightlifting.

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Training the CrossFit way encourages you to work out 3 to 5 days a week. The workouts are highly intense and short, taking about 5 to 15 minutes to complete. In total, each workout lasts about an hour- including stretching, warm-up and the WOD (workout of the day). People joke that the CrossFit warm-up exercises are tougher than the workouts at a “regular” gym- that’s not a joke. With regard to healthy eating, CrossFit recommends a daily eating plan of meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, seeds and some fruit. little starch and no sugar. This diet is similar to the popular Paleo and Zone nutrition plans.

CrossFit may be one of the most extreme exercise workouts around these days but in my opinion and from the research I have done, I do not believe that CrossFit is inherently dangerous. The CrossFit I belong to, CrossFit Central LI located in Syosset, NY was established in 2007 and was the first CrossFit certified gym on Long Island. It’s owner, Chris Isernio is also the hands-on manager and a certified trainer of the CrossFit gym. We spoke about all the negative publicity and criticism that has plagued CrossFit recently. According to Chris, “the negative feedback stems from people training with inexperienced coaches. Maybe there is a great athlete who gets his Level 1 coaches’ certification and then without much other training opens a CrossFit gym.” In addition to the inexperienced CrossFit coaches, Chris said that another problem is overzealous coaches. According to Chris, he has heard of incidents where certain coaches just want to work the CrossFitters to the bone, “they keep pushing and pushing- it’s unhealthy.” According to Chris, “overstraining is a real problem and experienced coaches know this. Experienced coaches advise their athletes to work out hard (if they want to and are able to) 3-4 times per week not 7 days per week.”

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So why has CrossFit’s safety been and continues to be a hotly debated topic? Here are some points to consider:

1) Rhabdomylosis- In a recent HuffPost article, Eric Robertson, an assistant professor of physical therapy at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, wrote about the dangers of Rhabdomylolysis (Rhabdo), a potentially fatal condition that can be caused by severe exertion, among other things. Rhabdo occurs when skeletal muscle is damaged causing proteins to be rapidly released into the blood. This results in harm to the kidneys and can ultimately lead to kidney failure. Rhabdo is not a common condition and not unique to CrossFit. There have been cases of Rhabdo in football players, triathletes, marathon runners and body builders. In the same article, to prevent Rhabdo, Dr. Richard Besser, chief health and medical editor for ABC News, recommends staying hydrated both before and during exercise, taking breaks during workouts and listening to your body.

2) The possibility of injury is increased with participation in ANY high-intense fitness regimen. This is especially true if you are new to Olympic-style weightlifting and plyometric workouts or if you have a previous injury. Performing exercises when you are in a fatigued state increases the risk of injury. Listen to your body. In other words- if you are tired- REST!

3) Not all CrossFit coaches are created equal. Before you join a CrossFit gym, make sure that the coaches have the appropriate certified CrossFit training. Make sure you ask about credentials for any coach who is responsible for teaching you proper lifting technique. CrossFit is dangerous when done improperly or without a well-trained coach.

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4) CrossFit is mostly geared towards healthy people who enjoy vigorous exercise. If you have an injury or weakness, tell your CrossFit coach. They will work with you to tailor the specific exercise to your needs and limitations. A year after my hernia surgery, I was skittish about the GHD machine ( Glute-Ham developer torture contraption, seriously- google it). I felt the machine was straining my abdominal muscles at the hernia scar site. My coach immediately told me to stop what I was doing and to lay off abdominal workouts for a few days or until I felt comfortable. He then showed me other abdominal exercises to do instead of the GHD machine if I thought that it may bother me again.

5) Know your body. This cannot be emphasized enough. Injuries usually occur when someone is making poor decisions about their body or doing too much too soon. Athletes get caught up in the competition of the classes and push themselves too far. No pain, no gain should NOT be your mantra.

6) CrossFit is challenging. The workouts are fast-paced, constantly varied and grueling. Crossfit is hard. It`s always hard! Crossfit never gets easier, you just get faster. I have done half-marathons, triathlons, kayaking, rollerblading, Spin, hot yoga, rock-climbing, yet nothing challenges me on a daily basis as CrossFit does. Working hard at CrossFit this past year has given me the confidence to enter an Olympic length triathlon this summer. My husband is the one who got me interested in CrossFit and we constantly challenge each other. I hope to always push myself to do more, to be more and to achieve more.

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People joke that CrossFit embodies a cult-like mentality. I think this is because CrossFitters feel a sense of camaraderie with others who CrossFit. Why? Because after a particularly grueling workout when your body is drenched in sweat, your breathing is labored, your heart is racing, when you collapse on the floor, only the person laying next to you can appreciate the effort it takes to lift your arm for a congratulatory fist-pump.

A special thank you to Jay Hoffman for the awesome pictures in this post and for all the terrific photographs in all my posts.

The Diet Dilemma- Mediterranean, Zone, Paleo- Which To Choose?

There has been so much talk lately about all the different diets out there. Years ago, it seems that the talk used to be mainly about Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and the Atkins diet. Now people are talking about the Paleo diet, the Zone diet and the Mediterranean diet, just to name a few.

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I hear these diet or “lifestyle” discussions everywhere; at my gym, at work and at the supermarket. Okay, maybe not the supermarket- but you get the idea. Why are we so obsessed with following a specific “diet?” Why can`t we just eat the foods that work for our bodies and for our individual lifestyle? Is it so difficult to pick and choose what food groups we want to limit, which foods we want to eat more of and how we want to cook our food? I guess the specifics of our food consumption is indeed difficult to handle on our own that we feel compelled to proclaim, “I am now following the Mediterranean diet.” “For the next three months (if I can follow it that long), I will eat an abundance of olive oil, fish, beans (yikes- I know- beans are regarded as “poison” in some circles) and red wine- opa!”  So what are these latest diet crazes? Admittedly, these diets have been around for years and although I have not been living under a rock, these diets have only recently gained in popularity.  What exactly is the Mediterranean diet and must I travel to Greece to get started?

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The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy eating plan. As opposed to the eating plan that wreaks havoc on your heart. The Mediterranean diet incorporates the basics of healthy eating, with a splash of olive oil and red wine. So far, so good. Any diet that condones the drinking of red wine on a regular basis is a candidate for further investigation. This diet favors the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the Mediterranean diet as an eating plan that can help prevent disease and promote good health.  Studies have shown that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson`s and Alzheimer`s diseases.

The Mediterranean diet stresses: eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. It emphasizes healthy fats, such as olive oil as opposed to butter and using herbs and spices to flavor foods instead of salt. This diet encourages the eating of fish and poultry at least twice a week and limits red meat to no more than a few times a month. Dairy is permitted on the Mediterranean diet but it emphasizes low-dairy such as skim milk, fat-free yogurt and low fat cheese. And finally- it permits the drinking of red wine, in moderation (about a glass a day). This diet also recognizes the importance of being physically active everyday and enjoying meals with family and friends.

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A gluten-free diet is a diet is a diet that excludes foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat, barley and rye. Following a gluten-free diet may be a lifestyle choice or a choice that may be necessitated by medical reasons.

The Paleo diet is based on the presumed diet of Paleolithic humans (cavemen). The Paleo diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits and nuts. This diet excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt and sugar and processed oils. The Paleo diet is similar to the Zone diet.

The Zone diet is balanced in lean and natural meats, low glycemic fruits and vegetables and fat. The Zone philosophy is that with the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats, you can control three major hormones generated by our diet- insulin( a storage hormone), glucagon (a mobilization hormone that stabilizes blood sugar) and eicosanoids (a hormone that controls silent inflammation).

Personally, I believe in any diet that works for you. I do not judge what diets other people follow and I don’t offer my opinion unless I am asked. Some people eat foods from one diet and follow certain beliefs from an entirely different diet. I recommend that everyone should do their own research and not just from the internet- before they embark on a new diet. Remember those free-standing buildings called, “libraries” that we visited as kids? Where we could borrow books for free? What a concept. And it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning any diet.

I have included a delicious carb-free Crab Cake recipe. It is easy to make and great for any time of day. I believe that this recipe can be eaten if you follow any of the diets discussed above. However, Paleo followers may want to substitute another ingredient for Worcestershire sauce since it contains sugar.

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Carb-free Crab Cakes

Ingredients

1 container of Chicken of the Sea real crab meat (8 oz.) or 8 oz. of fresh crab meat
1 egg
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning or Mrs. Dash extra spicy, salt-free, seasoning blend
salt and pepper to taste
Hot sauce -optional

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Prepare a fry pan with olive oil or any oil you choose. Use a tablespoon to form heaping spoonfuls. Press down lightly so they look like mini pancakes. Pan fry until golden brown on each side. I made 7 pancakes. Enjoy!

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