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Holiday Survival: Thanksgiving Edition

Thanksgiving; a time for gratitude, spending time with loved ones, and large amounts of delicious foods! If not careful, Thanksgiving has the potential to undo all of your hard work!

The average Thanksgiving Day plate has upwards of 3,000 calories on it- that’s 500 calories shy of an entire pound of fat! Once you add in seconds, desserts- you’ve just gained an entire pound in one festive meal. It would take about 6 hours of jogging or almost 10 hours of brisk walking to burn these calories off. Don’t let this make you nervous! Follow these tips during this holiday and you will be able to enjoy your meal without the guilt or the weight gain!

1. Get Active!
Burn some calories before the thanksgiving festivities begin: Engage in a local 5k turkey trot or a high intensity gym session. If not, make Thanksgiving a family fitness adventure! Take a walk after dinner and before dessert with the family. It is a wonderful way for families to get physical activity and enjoy the holiday together.

2. Don’t Skip Breakfast!
Many fall under the trap of skipping breakfast to save calories for the thanksgiving feast. Missing out on the first meal of the day slows down your metabolism which causes your body to store more calories later. A high protein breakfast will not only give you boosts of energy, but will also help you cut calories later on in the day by gorging on anything that comes into sight.

3. Lighten Up Your Meal!
Whether you are the one preparing the meal, or bringing a dish, use healthier substitutes to make it a healthier meal with less fat, sugar, and calories. Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy. Try plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles. Use sugar substitutes in place of sugar and/ or fruit purees instead of oil baked goods.

4. Watch Your Portions!
This might be the most important tip of all. Your plate should be mostly lean meat and vegetables. If you need additional help controlling your portion sizes, use a smaller plate. It will make your portions look larger and create the illusion that you are eating more. Skip the seconds and enjoy the leftovers the next day.

5. Eat Slowly!
Make sure to put your fork down between bites of thanksgiving goodness. By putting your fork down between bites and savoring every mouthful, you will not only enjoy your meal but will feel more satisfied with less food.

6. Easy On the Alcohol!
Don’t forget about those liquid calories! After a couple of glasses, they can quickly add up. Don’t fall victim to this calorie trap during Thanksgiving. Have a glass of wine or a wine spritzer for fewer calories. Make sure to stay hydrated with water between alcoholic drinks.

Follow these steps and you will be on track to a thinner thanksgiving! Click here to register for one of our in-person or online support groups to meet with fellow post-operative patients and learn about their successful thanksgiving!


What Organic Means for your Diet

As you peruse your local grocery’s produce aisle you may notice signs indicating which items are “certified organic.” You may also notice that these organic items come with a rather hefty price tag in comparison to their conventional counterparts, or don’t look quite as large or vibrant as the genetically modified produce in the next bin.After weight loss surgery, fruits and vegetables will likely become a more regular component of your diet. When you head to the store, you should know what you are looking for and why you should buy it. There are arguments both for and against organic foods.Once you understand what they are, and how they are different from conventional and genetically modified foods, you can make an educated decision about what produce you are going to feed yourself and your family. What does “organic” mean?

Organic refers to a growing method. When a product is grown organically, no chemicals, pesticides or other modifications were done to the plant to enhance its growth. The result is all-natural produce that develops just the way Mother Nature intended.

The label organic is highly regulated. No food can be labeled as certified organic without first meeting certain stipulations from the FDA. When you purchase an organic product you can know that your produce has not come into contact with anything out of the norm. This cannot be said for conventional or genetically modified produce:

Conventional produce: Chemicals like pesticides and herbicides are often used in conventional growing practices. While the foods themselves are not altered in any way, it is possible that chemicals could seep into the skin of the fruit or vegetable.

Genetically modified organisms: GMOs are fundamentally altered at the molecular level to change the way a fruit or vegetable is shaped, tastes or stands up to weather and bugs. GMOs are relatively new, and research is still being done to determine the long term effects of these foods in our diet.

Are organic foods more nutritious?

The nutrient value of fruits and vegetables does not change across organic, conventional and genetically modified produce. There have been health advocates for organic foods who have believed organic produce holds a higher nutrient content, but this has not proven true through research. A 2012 study from Stanford University found that organic produce boasts no nutritional benefit over other forms of produce.

However, the same study did find that organic produce is close to 30 percent less likely to have pesticide contamination, and consuming chemicals used in pesticides could have dangerous consequences for your health.

Eating any form of fruit or vegetable is a healthier choice than eating highly processed, fattening foods. If you aren’t sure which is best for you and your family, then consider conducting a brief taste test to gauge the flavor difference between conventional, GMO and organic produce. Whatever you decide on, keep up the healthy eating!


5 Fun Runs for 2014: You Will Forget You’re Exercising!

Have you ever considered running a 5K, but the idea of running or walking can’t motivate you to get off the couch? Nowadays there are a wide variety of races to participate in. Fun runs can break up the monotony of traditional races and motivate you to pick up a running habit.

1. Color Run
The Color Run is a 5K race in which participates are doused from head to two in different colors at each kilometer. The finish line keeps the party going by participating in a color throw. All ages and runners/walkers are welcomed to attend! The event stresses the idea of health, happiness and individuality.

2. Zombie Run
The Zombie Run is a 5K race in which participants run through 5 zones with zombies chasing them! All of the zombies are dressed in costume and full makeup. Participants can also choose to wear a life balloon, which zombies will try to pop. If haunted houses and scary movies are your thing, the zombie run might be just right for you!

3. Electric Run
The Electric Run is a 5K nighttime race with electric music and lights along the entire route! Participants run through distinct lands with lights and music custom mixed to match the mood of the lighting elements. Run /walk through glowing neon trees, tunnels of light, colored fountains an glowing arches and columns. Participants are encouraged to dress in glow in the dark colors, LED lights and glow sticks.

4. Mud Run
Mud runs have exploded in popularity all across the country in the last couple of weeks. Most mud runs contain obstacles designated to be challenging and dirty. Some obstacles include rope pulls up muddy hills, swinging across monkey bars, or crawling under cargo nets through muddy water. Make sure to do your homework before signing up for a mud run, so you can train to complete all of the obstacles.

5. Foam Fest
The Foam Fest 5K is cleaner version of the mud run. This event includes a variety of obstacles such as mud pits, and foamy sudsy slides. You will finish off the race in a Foam Festival to make sure you are squeaky clean for your ride home.

If these races sound fun to you, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new! Recruit a family member or a friend to join you for a unique and unforgettable experience. Check out www.Active.com to search for additional races in your area.


Monthly Recipe: Beef Stew

Ingredients

1 pound beef cut for stew
2 cups carrots, I used baby cut
half of an onion, finely diced
2 cups cauliflower (I used frozen, there were no good heads fresh that day)
1 packet of Knorr beef homestyle stock
couple tablespoons corn starch
salt and pepper to taste
4-6 cups water
tiny amount of oil to coat the pan

Directions

1. Take the cornstarch, salt and pepper, and place in a ziplock bag. Add the meat and shake to coat.
2. In a medium/large pot, heat some oil, just enough to keep the meat from sticking. Quickly brown the outside of the meat, do not fully cook. Add the diced onion, stir for a few moments until you start to smell it cooking, then add the carrots, the water, the Knorr and the cauliflower.
3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer on very low for about 2 hours.

Enjoy! Makes roughly 6 servings.

Calories: 177.1
Total Fat: 6.9 g
Saturated Fat: 1.9g
Cholesterol: 50.0mg
Sodium: 209.8mg
Potassium 100.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 10.3g
Dietary Fiber 2.6g
Sugars: 3.8g
Protein: 18.4g

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