Dairy products can certainly be part of a clean diet. “The same nutrients are present in the milk of all species, although in different proportions”, Journal of the American Medical Association.
Dairy products are hands down the richest sources of calcium, are complete proteins, and come in a super wide variety of flavors. Dairy (along with weight bearing exercise!) is perfect for maintaining the strength of your bones. Drinking milk is recommended by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons to prevent bone loss and decrease the risk of fractures- especially in women. Current medical research shows that all adults need 1.000 IU of calcium daily to maintain strong bones.
While calcium can be found in non-dairy foods, the quantities are considerably lower. On average, dairy has 400 mg of calcium per serving, while dark leafy greens have less than 100. To get enough calcium from kale, you’d need to eat 2/3 of a gallon of cooked kale- every day! Of course it’s great to eat leafy greens, but most people just cannot get enough calcium from these sources.
If you do not like to drink milk, consider low-fat cottage cheese, non-fat Greek yogurt, or 1 oz servings park-skim cheeses (in general the lower the fat, the higher the calcium content). Yogurt can be used as the perfect base for preparing dressings to go on shrimp tacos/sandwiches, and is so easy to make into dipping sauces for veggies and whole grain crackers.
Here is a GoFor20.com favorite!
Shrimp Taco Greek Yogurt Sauce: In a food processor combine 1 C non-fat Greek yogurt with ¼ C diced roasted red pepper (jarred is fine, just drain/dry peppers before mixing into sauce) and 2 Tbsp diced jalapeño pepper (again, jarred is fine)- mix until smooth.
I choose to make ultra-filtered milk, such as Fairlife brand, a staple in my everyday diet. Compared to regularly filtered milk, it provides a 30% more calcium, is 50% lower in sugar, 50% higher in protein, and is lactose free. It makes my must-have morning coffee (well to be honest coffees) creamy and delicious while providing 13 grams of protein inside of 80 tiny calories.
While including dairy as a part of your regular diet, make sure to choose portion sizes carefully, especially when eating foods that are high in fats and carbs. For example; a serving of ice cream is not a bowl, but a single scoop- think of the size of a lightbulb.
Managing portion size is the key to getting an optimum amount of nutrition from your dairy intake without gaining un necessary weight, and it allows your bones to be GoFor20 strong!
To lose a pound of fat, one must burn 3,500 calories. If two women go on an exercise and eating plan so that they consume 3,500 fewer calories per week, then they could each lose about a lb a week. However, if one has five pounds to lose and the other has forty-five, by the end of that week, the leaner girl may have only lost about half a pound (and a third of the weight will be from muscle) while the obese girl could have lost more than three pounds, mostly from fat and water. The human body is crazy efficient, it gets rid of what is most readily available. Burning fat when you’re lean is like trying to light a stick of wet wood, but burning fat when your heavy can be like a forest fire. This is why you hear, “I lost 50 lbs but I can’t get my last 10 lbs off…”. When one gets closer to their ideal weight, their body holds on to fat stores and sacrifices muscle over fat. The body is built for self preservation and it is afraid that it will need the fat stores for survival. Unless muscle sustainability is encouraged, muscle will now become the fuel. At this point in the weight loss journey proper fuel and strength training is required for continued success. The girl with five pounds to lose will get here sooner than the girl with forty-five to lose.
Are you afraid of carbs? If so, you aren’t alone. However, Dr. Kiritsis gives his recommendation for healthy carbs to add to your diet that will still keep you on track.
Start your day off with a full glass of water. I drink 16 oz in the bathroom as soon as I wake up. During sleep, our bodies become dehydrated which slows your metabolism and, in turn, prevents your body from burning calories. Also, avoid quenching your thirst with high-calorie drinks like juices, smoothies and sodas. These types of drinks often contain a very high sugar content which are metabolized and stored as fat. If plain water doesn’t appeal to you try herbal teas, fruit-infused water or cucumber water!
Clear Labels and Realistic Serving Sizes are Part of the Change
Consumers may have noticed new nutrition labels on grocers’ shelves recently, and GoFor20.com is excited about the changes! The modified nutrition label will help consumers see how many calories they are actually eating, as well as the amount of added sugars in products. The FDA’s required changes will affect all food manufacturers with greater than ten million dollars in annual sales, and revised packaging is making its way to stores nationwide.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) feels the change is positive for helping shoppers reduce their risk of cancer. Research shows that consuming food and drinks high in sugar leads to obesity, which is a cause of eleven different types of cancer. AICR was one of many health organizations urging the FDA to make this change.
“The intention is not to tell consumers what to eat, but rather to make sure they have the tools and accurate information they need to choose foods that are right for themselves and their families,” – Susan Mayne, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
Among the most prominent changes for consumers may be the updates to serving sizes. According to the FDA website, package size affects what people eat. So for packages that are between one and two servings, such as a 20-ounce soda or a 15-ounce can of soup, the information will be required to be labeled as one serving, because people typically consume it in one sitting.
Consumers have long been confused about why a single muffin is two servings. By law, serving sizes must now be based on amounts of foods and beverages that people are actually eating, not what they should be eating. How much people eat and drink has changed since the previous serving size requirements were published in 1993. For example, the reference amount for a serving of ice cream was previously 1/2 C but that is now being increased.
Making it Easy to Make Good Diet Choices at the Supermarket
Buyers will no longer have to do as much math to understand how many calories they are consuming. The FDA is proposing to change the serving size for almost 20% of the 157 food types that are covered. David Kessler, the former FDA commissioner who fought for the law mandating the original labeling in 1990, said the announcement of the update was a major victory for public health. “It creates incentives for the industry to create better products,” he said. “No one wants their products to look bad on the labels.”
Findings from an FDA survey show that the majority of US adults are using the Nutrition Facts Label.
However, over half of the people who don’t use the Nutrition Label said the information is too hard to understand and takes too much time.
The hope is that the new label will be easier to understand, more accurately depict calories consumed, and therefore translate to healthier choices by consumers.
We have been trained to cringe as soon as we hear the words “processed foods”, (which in general is great!), but I think it is prudent to take a step back and examine the health benefits of semi-processed foods. A semi-processed food is one that has been subjected to partial processing to optimize ease of consumption. Frozen and canned options enable produce and grains to be added to meals quickly and cost effectively.
Canned or Frozen is Better than Fast Food
By including canned or frozen vegetables to meals, you are able to eat a larger amount of food without adding many calories. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends eating more high fiber/low-calorie foods. These foods, such as canned beans and frozen whole grain bread, control hunger while managing weight.
The Ezekiel brand of sprouted grain products, like these frozen blueberry waffles, allows you to get over 30% of the recommended daily fiber, with only 2g of sugar and 230 calories for two waffles!
Using ready-made frozen food for some meals helps you control your portions and calories and enjoy the convenience of fast food. This is particularly helpful for people who don’t have the time or the inclination to cook meals and would otherwise rely on a drive-thru. Mornings are especially hectic for many families, and frozen breakfast entrees are a great fix.
It isn’t necessary to subscribe to a costly meal delivery service if you want a time-saving way to eat well. You can easily select foods from the grocery store once you understand which semi-processed foods create a healthy diet.
- At least three of your 5 servings of produce should be vegetables. Great frozen and canned choices are: spinach, beans, corn, peas, tomatoes, riced cauliflower, broccoli, and sugar snap peas
- When choosing frozen meals, opt for those that contain less than 500 calories, less than 600 milligrams of sodium and less than 3 grams of saturated fat per serving. (As recommended by the American Diabetes Association)
- Look for selections that have a higher content of protein and/or fiber. If it is a meal replacement, choose one with a minimum of 15g of protein.
- Always rinse canned vegetables to lower the sodium intake.
Some of the best-canned vegetables and legumes are not just cheaper and more convenient, they may also be healthier than you think, says Gene Lester, Ph.D., a research plant physiologist at USDA’s Food Quality Lab. “While some vegetables and legumes lose nutrients in the canning process, others actually see their healthy compounds increase.”
Canning requires heating, which causes certain raw vegetables, such as corn and tomatoes, to release antioxidants which makes them more available for the body to absorb. A recent report in the journal Nutrition & Food Sciences found that some semi-processed produce actually trumps fresh produce in terms of price, prep time and food waste.
The GoFor20.com meal plan utilizes both canned and frozen produce regularly in order to create an easy to manage, cost-effective way of healthy eating. You can try out some of our recipes and meal-planning tools with a 30 day free trial.
Why Squats are the Best Exercise
The squat is a workhorse exercise for the body. The primary muscles used in squatting are the quadriceps and hamstrings, the two large muscle groups located in the thigh. There are four muscles that comprise the quadriceps (quads) which are located in the front, and three muscles running up the back (hamstrings). Quads and hamstrings allow for flexion and extension of the leg. Additional muscle groups are targeted in squatting (the glutes); however, it should be recognized that squats provide whole body benefits and engage the torso, calves, and heart. Working large muscle groups demands more oxygen, which in turn raises the heart rate, therefore squatting in a continued sequence has a cardiovascular benefit as well.
Squats are frequently criticized for being too strenuous on the knee joint. Most people don’t realize that proper squatting can actually improve joint health through muscle strengthening. The most important thing to keep in mind about squatting is form. While it is true that advanced exercisers can effectively vary their squat form to generate greater demands on their muscles, it is best for novice and intermediate exercisers to master the basics first.
How to Squat with Proper Form:
1) During the entire exercise, keep your spine neutral (not arched in or out, imagine a rod being tapped down your spine to keep in straight), and your abs tight to avoid straining (hyperextending) your back. Make your movements slow and deliberate, never sacrifice form for speed. Stand comfortably, with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart.
2) Initiate the squat by first driving the hips backward (think butt out). This hinging at the hips helps eccentrically load the glutes and initiate a contraction of the hamstrings that help unload the knee.
3) Keep your knees from advancing in front of your toes when in the lowest position of the squat. I like to think of holding a yardstick up from the ball of the foot and aiming not to cross over that plane. It is difficult because the knee will begin to translate forward at about 15 – 30° of hip flexion. Do not focus so heavily on how low you are getting at first, simply aim to keep your weight from coming forward (hold your body weight in your heels, not your toes). When you start to lean forward to compensate for depth, then stop and come back up- you will progress as you get stronger.
4) Knees should stay in line with your ankles or the center of your foot. If your knees want to fold in (come closer together as you lower), then come back up at that point.
5) If you are able to safely lower all the way down until your quads are parallel to the floor, then stop there and return to standing. Aim to increase your number of reps prior to dropping your hips lower than your knees.
Variations of Squat Exercises
There are variations of the squat that are safe for all levels of fitness to utilize. Foot positioning can drastically affect which muscles are responsible for the work, and consequently which muscles will benefit.
Narrow stance squats are generally considered to be when the feet are no wider than 120 % of shoulder width apart (just barely wider than shoulder width). This position loads more into the anterior muscles, therefore focusing more on the quads. This also increases the potential for the knees to move forward more, and come in front of the toes, therefore extra care must be taken to keep bodyweight back (in the heels). It is likely that these squats will not be as deep as standard width stance.
Wide stance squats are done with 15° – 30° of outward foot rotation (easier to think of pointing toes to the corners of the room). This demands greater engagement from the adductors (inner thighs). A possible concern during the deep phase of this squat is valgus knee collapse (knees falling inward to compensate). If this begins to happen, return to standing.
GoFor20.com frequently utilizes all three variations of these squats in the compact 20-minute workouts. If you have any questions about your form, email me a video at Emilie@GoFor20.com.
How Far is 10,000 Steps?
How far is 10,000 steps? 10,000 steps would be almost 5 miles for the average person with a stride of 2.1 to 2.5 feet, or about 2,000 steps per mile. A sedentary person may reach only 1,000 to 3,000 steps a day. The average American clocks only 3,000-4,000. As you can see, understanding both how much you move currently and how to build to 10,000 is important.
How Do I Walk 10,000 Steps Every Day?
Wearing a pedometer or fitness tracker is the easiest way to track your steps each day. It is a minimal investment in an otherwise low-cost activity. Start by wearing the pedometer every day for one week. Put it on as soon as you get up in the morning, and wear it until bedtime. Record your daily steps in a log, and by the end of the week, you will be able to determine your average daily steps. A reasonable goal is a weekly increase of 500 steps per day until you can reach 10,000 per day.
“Walking increases HDL (good) cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, assists with weight control, and is easy on joints while strengthening the bones and muscles,” says Dr. Paul Kiritsis of GoFor20.com. “Just avoid the urge to carry dumbbells or wear ankle weights.” A study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston reported that brisk walking for three or more hours a week could reduce the risk of heart attacks and heart disease-related deaths in women by an astounding 35%.
Physical activity doesn’t need to be complicated. The faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. It can be throughout the whole week and should include strength-training exercises of all major muscle groups. The GoFor20.com 20 minute workouts and walking is the perfect combination.
Do I have to Run for it to Count as Exercise?
Some people believe they must run in order to capture the full health benefit of aerobic exercise, but this is not the case as long as the same calories are expended.Regardless of whether individuals walk or run, studies saw a reduced risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and cardiovascular health. Intensity, however, is critical. A healthy individual’s, heart rate should reach moderate intensity or 60%to 70% of maximum heart rate.
Moderate intensity exercise should require you to breathe heavier but still allow for speaking in short sentences. You should be able to talk, but not sing. Vigorous intensity, 70 to 80% of your maximum heart rate, is acceptable, but not required. Vigorous intensity breathing is very hard and only allows for speaking in short phrases. For fitness enthusiasts, walking can be made more vigorous by adding incline, using walking poles, or wearing a weighted vest.
The bottom line is that, to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn each day. One candy bar takes three to five miles of walking to burn off, so awareness is critical. Keep in mind that a pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. To lose one pound a week, you will need to burn about 500 more calories per day than you consume. You can achieve this by combining calorie-burning activity with a healthy diet. Exercising enough each day to burn 300 to 400 calories is a good goal for the exercise portion of your weight loss plan. Use these charts in conjunction with the GoFor20.com meal planner to reach your goals.
My personal opinion is, which is worse. Sugar is the new food villain and with good reason. There’s strong medical evidence unveiling its negative impact on health. The World Health Organization and the American Heart Association have reduced the recommendation for sugar intake to no more than 6 teaspoons (or 25 grams) of sugar per day.
When you eat real sugar, it’s either turned into energy or packed on as storage. The average American consumes 96 grams of sugar a day, this alone amounts to 372 calories. And don’t be fooled – your body metabolizes all added sugars the same way; it doesn’t distinguish between brown sugar or honey or organic. That is why you should always count the total grams of sugar.
As always, read labels, and make sure you pay attention to the amount of sugar you are consuming.
How Do We Eat So Much Sugar?
While we sometimes sprinkle sugar on food, the majority of what we consume is in processed and prepared foods. The easiest way to control what you are consuming is to eat foods prepared at home. The GoFor20.com meal plan provides five new dinner ideas each week, all created with the concern about sugar in mind.
In the Middle Ages sugar was considered a spice, not a staple nor a food group eaten regularly like produce or meats.
The GoFor20.com meal plan often uses artificial sweetener in recipes. Readers often ask about a “natural low-calorie sweetener,” with the taste of sugar but without any artificial chemicals. Unfortunately, there is no such thing.
What Is In Artificial Sweeteners?
Stevia (the plant) is native to South America, although most of it is grown in China for commercial use. The food additive known as stevia is a sweetener.
Stevia, the sweetener, is either stevioside or rebaudioside, both highly refined, purified extracts of the stevia leaf. These chemically modified versions of stevia extract, such as Truvia, are made from components of stevia combined with processed fillers. Truvia’s manufacturer was sued for false advertising regarding being natural, and has since changed its slogan to “from the Stevia leaf.” According to the manufacturer, the sweetener contains less than 1% of leaf extract.
My personal favorite, Splenda, ran into the same trouble when it first hit the market; “made from Sugar” was its original slogan.
Let’s be clear, anything white and powdery mimicking sugar is as natural as high fructose corn syrup (which is derived from corn). However, I personally use artificial sweetener daily.
Experts and regulatory agencies around the globe agree that most low-calorie sweeteners are fine in moderation. The quantities that produce harmful effects are far beyond what any person should be consuming. All sweetener, real sugar and artificial, should be consumed minimally. It is my belief that the benefits of artificial sweetener outweigh the risks.
Benefits of Artificial Sweeteners:
- Calorie control: Sugar substitutes have significantly fewer calories than real sugar. Most don’t actually contain zero calories, but they contain such a small amount that manufacturers are able to write “No Calories” on the label.
- Weight-loss: Prior to beginning a weight-loss diet, a person may be accustomed to sugary beverages and foods. Artificial sweeteners can provide a bridge for a person who’s changing their eating habits. It can allow for a slow weaning off of real sugar, with hopes of cutting down on sweetened foods and beverages.
- Diabetics/pre-diabetics: Artificial sweeteners don’t affect blood sugar the same way that real sugar does, making it very useful for people managing diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Regardless of your decision on artificial sweeteners, the most important thing is to taper yourself off of sugar. When you consume sweet things, you crave sweet things, and satisfying the craving often leads to overeating. Cutting your sugar intake from the average 97 grams per day, to the recommended 24 grams per day, would in itself lead to 1 lb of weight loss every 2 weeks, or 26 lbs a year. To be successful, read labels, eat at home, and count your grams of sugar intake!
Have you found a healthy way to reduce your sugar intake? Join the discussion on our Facebook page.
Joints are places in the body where connections of bones come together. They play a vital role in allowing us to move freely, so when joints become damaged or diseased, daily life becomes painful and challenging. Joint pain a number of other possible health issues like inactivity, pain medication use, frequent hospital visits, and more.
Cartilage is the connective tissue that covers the ends of bones at the joints. When there is a breakdown of the cartilage, osteoarthritis (OA) develops. OA has a logical link to obesity; the more weight that is placed on a joint, the more stressed the area becomes, and the more likely the joint will be damaged. A person with obesity is around 60% more likely to develop arthritis than someone of normal body weight.
The impact of obesity is especially felt in osteoarthritis of the hip and knee joints. Individuals with obesity are 20 times more likely to need a knee replacement than those who are not overweight.
Every pound of excess body weight exerts about 5 pounds of extra pressure on the knees, so the stress felt by the joint is that of the excess weight multiplied by five. A person who is 10 pounds overweight has 50 pounds of extra pressure on their knees; if a person is 100 pounds overweight, that is 500 pounds of extra pressure on his knees. “If you think about all the steps you take in a day, you can see why it would lead to premature damage in weight-bearing joints,” says Dr. Eric Matteson, MD, of the Mayo Clinic.
Joint Pain Treatment Includes Losing Fat in the Joints
However, it’s not just the extra weight on a joint that is causing the damage. Most people don’t realize that fat itself is active tissue that creates and releases chemicals. Some of these chemicals, called cytokines, promote inflammation. “These chemicals can influence the development of OA,” explains Jeffrey N. Katz, MD, a professor of medicine and orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School. For both of these reasons, excess joint stress, and inflammatory chemicals, body fat should be minimized.
While we know that weight gain has a negative impact on joint health and function, we also know the reverse to be true. In fact, combining weight loss with exercise can have a very positive impact. Strengthening the muscles that surround a joint through exercise can help support that joint by taking over some of its responsibilities. For example, a strong quadriceps can take over the shock-absorbing role usually played by the meniscus or cartilage in the knee. Exclusively using low-impact exercises allows GoFor20.com workouts to build strength while minimizing risk.
Strength is critical; however, lessening the 5-fold stress felt by the joint is imperative. A successful weight loss plan must include a healthful eating. The GoFor20.com meal planner allows you to build filling and nutritious meals that fuel your body while supporting a healthy body weight.
What is Your Arthritis Pain Risk?
Physicians determine your weight-related risk through the use of two measurements, BMI (body mass index) and WHtR (Waist-to-Height ratio). The following charts will allow you to calculate your classification for both types of test.