Written on September 12, 2014 at 9:52 am , by Bethany Cianciolo
We all know by now that maintaining a healthy weight promotes heart health. But finding the golden path to get you there can be an everlasting challenge, which is why there’s been so much buzz around a recent study that found low-carb diets to be more effective in aiding with weight loss and cardiovascular health than low-fat diets.
But before you run to the grocery store and stock your cart with strictly carb-free foods, there are some important facts about the study to keep in mind. We spoke with cardiologist James Beckerman, M.D., FITNESS advisory board member, to get the deets.
1. While participants on the low-carb diet lost an average of 8 more pounds than those on the low-fat diet, the study only followed each participant for one year. “We don’t know beyond a year what happened to these people,” Beckerman says.
2. Close to 90 percent of the weight loss among the low-carb group occurred within the first three months of the diet. “I think at the end of the day, every diet has a honeymoon period,” he says. “It’s showing the benefits of each diet were more significant just in the first three months as compared to over the whole year.”
3. Within the first three months of the study, the low-carb group ate fewer calories than the low-fat group. However, by the end of the study, the low-carb group had upped their calorie intake by 15 percent, while the low-fat group only upped theirs by 7.5 percent. “That kind of speaks to the fact that perhaps the low-fat dieters were able to stick with their diet a little bit longer term than the low-carb people,” Beckerman points out.
While we still can’t say a golden one-size-fits-all diet exists (everything in moderation, people!), keep in mind that making small changes to the kinds of nom-noms you’re placing in your mouth can reduce your cardiovascular disease risk. Avoiding as many processed foods as possible—especially processed meats— and trans fats is key. And make sure to pack in extra fiber to keep your cholesterol low.
Photo by Sarah Kehoe
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Written on August 29, 2014 at 6:38 pm , by Samantha Shelton
It’s the unofficial bon voyage to summer and one of the final days off from work before hunkering down for the colder months. Invite your friends over, crank up the music and follow these tips to making the food at your bash the star of the show—and something to Instagram for weeks after.
Shop locally. Sure, a grocery store can be easier, but visiting the local farmer’s market is a guarantee for getting fresh, vibrant ingredients that’ll really make your guests’ taste buds (and Insta photos) pop. “The produce you’re going to get is from local farmers, which means it can be picked when it’s riper and ready because it’s not being shipped across the country,” says Gail Simmons, culinary expert and judge on Top Chef Duels. And the timing of Labor Day doesn’t get much better, thanks to the transition of seasons. “It’s the ultimate time to buy fresh fruits and vegetables; it’s when there are so many incredible things available, from the end-of-summer stone fruits to the early-fall apples.”
Chat up the sellers. Remember, the people you’re buying from at the farmer’s markets grew the products you’re after. Not only are they the prime source of information on how it was grown and which ones are the best to take home, but Simmons says they often have tons of ideas on how to cook with it, too. Hit them up when you’re lacking inspiration (or check out the recipes Simmons created below).
Douse your healthy eats with flavor. Many fruits and veggies have strong, robust flavors on their own, but adding an extra twist never hurt anyone. To give your guests a fresh spin on a summer salad—and an antioxidant boost—use tea. Simmons is a fan of the Pure Leaf brand because it’s brewed directly from tea leaves, and often uses it as a dressing for the summer salad recipe below. Otherwise, she suggests incorporating tea into meat marinades (try ginger and garlic brushed onto duck for a Chinese flavor palate) or using as a cocktail mixer with fresh fruits like watermelons and berries.
Turn off the oven. “The great thing about this time of year is that there’s so much great stuff available and you don’t have to do a lot of cooking to make it taste great,” says Simmons. For a no-cook option, toss a tomato salad with fresh herbs (think basil and mint), crumbled feta cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and salt to taste. Simmons also recommends firing up the grill for dessert—this how-to for peaches is a winner. Instead of a balsamic reduction, dilute honey with a little bit of Pure Leaf ice tea and whisk together to make the perfect caramel that you can drizzle over the fruit solo or pair with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Make a signature cocktail. Not only will you not have to play bartender all night, but friends will remember that one tasty drink you introduced them to long after the party is over. Make a big batch of whatever you’d like, or give Simmons’ recipes below a whirl.
Written on July 22, 2014 at 10:00 am , by Colleen Travers
We get all hyped up over the green stuff as much as the next gal, but we’ll admit it – those tiny bottles can make a big dent in our wallets. That’s why we’re pumped about the founders of Pressed Juicery‘s new book (on sale today!), Juice: Recipes for Juicing, Cleansing and Living Well. In addition to dishing out how juicing can have a place in a healthy diet, they’ve shared over 70 recipes from the shop’s most popular bottles. Below, a sneak peek into the book with three juice recipes you’ll be dying to make today. The best part? Each recipe is surprisingly simple (some require a juicer, others just steep and sip) – with ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen. Cheers!
Rich in vitamins C , K, and A, broccoli also has high levels of B vitamins and the minerals manganese and potassium. Broccoli is part of the cruciferous family, which is renowned for a laundry list of health benefits, most notably its anticancer properties. It also contains a key component that aids in hormone balance, specifically targeting harmful xenoestrogens found in substances such as plastics and conventional meat, dairy, and soy. Finally, it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and detoxifying agent, and it promotes colon and cardiovascular health. This recipe also includes alfalfa sprouts. We love sprouts for their concentrated vitamin content and increased enzyme count.
MAKES 1 TO 2 (8-OUNCE) SERVINGS
- Small handful of alfalfa sprouts
- 1 bunch watercress
- 6 sprigs fresh parsley
- 3 kale leaves
- 3 or 4 florets broccoli, to taste
- 1 Fuji apple
Lemon Ginger Mint Water
Crush the ginger and mint together with a mortar and pestle or a fork. Combine with the water and lemon slices and allow the mixture to steep for at least 45 minutes before drinking.
MAKES 2 (16-OUNCE) SERVINGS
- 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- 5 sprigs fresh mint
- 4 cups water
- 1⁄2 lemon, sliced
Vanilla Almond Milk
This is one of our most popular menu items. Remember to blend the almonds and water (see below on a quick how-to). Once the consistency is smooth, add the rest of the ingredients and blend again until smooth, then strain.
MAKES ABOUT 2 (8-OUNCE) SERVINGS
- 1 cup raw, organic almonds
- 2 cups purified water
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- Seeds from 1⁄2 fresh vanilla bean, or 1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 date, pitted (optional)
HOW TO BLEND ALMONDS
For Soaking the Nuts:
- 2 cups of water for every 1/2 cup of almonds
For Blending the Nut Milk
- 2 cups of water to every 1 cup of almonds
Nut Milk Yields
- 1 cup of almonds and 2 cups water = 2 cups of almond milk
- 2 cups of almonds and 4 cups of water = 2 cups of almond milk
Add the desired about of almonds to a container with the required amount of purified water for soaking. Cover and soak for 1 to 2 days, then drain the almonds, rinse them with fresh water, and drain again. Place the soaked almonds in your blender with the required amount of purified water. Pulse the blender at low speed, and then increase the speed to the highest setting and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. You know you’re on the right track when the almonds have formed a fine meal and the water is cloudy and white. (If you’re using a food processor, this step will take about twice as long.) Once the almonds and water are smooth, add sweeteners or other flavorings.
Reprinted with permission from Juice by Carly de Castro, Hedi Gores & Hayden Slater (Ten Speed Press, © 2014).
More from FITNESS: How to Juice for Your Health
Written on July 2, 2014 at 10:01 am , by Bethany Cianciolo
Slurping on cocktails and enjoying some mouth-watering grub with friends and family underneath the fireworks are our Independence Day musts. Throw in some bikini-approved nutrition facts and you’ve got a “flawless” Fourth of July bash. (We’re looking at you, Beyoncé.) We rounded up some super easy recipes that we know your taste buds will love and your body will appreciate, so go ahead and dig in.
Fourth of July Adult Snow Cone
Calories: 188 per serving
- 1 cup Clos du Bois Rouge
- 1 cup sugar
Mix 1 cup of Clos du Bois Rouge with 1 cup of sugar in a small saucepan over heat until the sugar has dissolved. Cool completely before pouring on crushed ice (your snow cone).
Recipe courtesy of Jung Lee
Photo courtesy of Clos du Bois Winery
Red Berry Sangria
Calories: 150 per serving
- 1 ounce CÎROC Red Berry
- 1 ounce rose wine
- 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 2 ounces berry tea
Combine all ingredients and stir over ice in wine glass.
Recipe courtesy of CÎROC
Written on June 10, 2014 at 10:46 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Severe acute malnutrition claims the lives of 2.6 million children each year (that’s one child every 12 seconds), but what if you could put a stop to that…by simply munching on your own afternoon snack? Now you can. This Bar Saves Lives has taken a bite out of Toms, Warby Parker and the like’s humanitarian business models to turn grub proceeds into good.
“The solution exists,” co-founder Ravi Patel told us during a recent FITNESS office pow-wow. “There’s just not enough of the life-saving food, Plumpy’Nut®, to go around.” So after returning from a trip to Africa where they witnessed childhood hunger first-hand, founders (and actors) Patel, Ryan Devlin and Todd Grinnell pledged to put an end to childhood hunger and started a movement with tasty treats of their own. And they started out by taste testing in their own kitchens. Don’t you just love that!?
For each purchased bar, This Bar Saves Lives’ non-profit partner makes one portion of Plumpy’Nut®, which is then sent to areas in the world where it’s needed most (primarily Africa, India and Haiti). And not only are you giving others the nutrition they need, you’re also receiving quality energy with natural, locally-sourced and non-GMO ingredients. Double-whammy! The clover honey in my fave Madagascar Vanilla Almond & Honey comes from Wisconsin, for example. And the roasted pistachios in the Wild Blueberry Pistachio? Californian, born and raised. Everything from the ingredients to the packaging (the pattern on the wrappers are from African textiles, which also have a feel-good, giving-back tie) is mission-based, something we at FITNESS truly stand by.
So what are you waiting for? Fuel up to put an end to childhood hunger. Place your order on their site and be sure to keep an eye out for new varieties in select stores and boutique gyms nationwide (another reason to hit up Whole Foods? See you never, paycheck). They’ll also be offering some pretty cool initiatives in 2015, so follow their social media platforms ASAP for the skinny!
Photo courtesy of This Bar Saves Lives
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Written on June 9, 2014 at 10:18 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern
Dining out, while following a balanced diet, is hardly ever as simple as it seems—especially when the seemingly “healthy” restaurants have packed their meals with artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors and preservatives. So we couldn’t help but give three major cheers when Panera Bread announced that it will swear off all artificial ingredients and preservatives by 2016.
Founded on the belief that “quick food could also be quality food,” Panera plans to further its mission by retiring artificial ingredients, such as MSG and artificial trans fats. Instead, the company has built a comprehensive plan that will have all locations using clean ingredients, along with a transparent menu. Translation: customers are gaining more control over what they eat, even when they’re not cooking it themselves. Everybody now: big sigh of relief!
So what specific changes can you expect when you visit a Panera? First, all of those delish dressings and sauces can be served guilt-free, because there won’t be any artificial preservatives. And the bakery items (mmm…bear claws)—actually, everything on the menu—will no longer contain high-fructose corn syrup, and natural alternatives will replace artificial coloring in icing. Panera is even looking into different options for traditional deli meats, since those often have nitrites and artificial preservatives hanging around.
The problem with all of these artificial ingredients lies in what Panera is calling “a broken food system.” Even though many of us are health-conscious, the status quo over the past few decades has been to include artificial additives in pretty much everything—from snacks to fast foods and pantry ingredients. While choosing foods wisely can be somewhat of a chore, efforts like this will become a restaurant trend, improving the dining-out experience for those of us who are constantly on the go. Fingers crossed!
Photo courtesy of Panera
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Written on June 6, 2014 at 6:40 pm , by Samantha Shelton
Orange is the New Black is officially back for season two and I could not be more excited. And since I know I’m not the only one who will be glued to their television this weekend (because let’s be real, you can’t watch just one episode at a time), I knew we’d need a little sustenance to get us through Piper’s latest escapades. Enter celeb trainer Harley Pasternak, FITNESS’ go-to guy for healthy smoothie recipes. He’s whipped up an OITNB smoothie in honor of this momentous day, so we can quench our thirst and curb our appetites without diving straight into a bag of chips—while hopefully watching Red reclaim her kitchen. Bust your blender out, press play and happily sip away, friends.
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 large orange, peeled and seeded
- 1/2 medium frozen banana, chopped
- 1/2 serving unsweetened protein powder
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 ice cubes
Place ingredients in a blender in the order listed; add ice if preferred. Blend until desired consistency, adding water to thin out if necessary.
Oh, and if working out while you watch is more your thing, you’re in luck—you could win a trip to LA to workout with Harley! Simply snap a photo of you working out during your fave show, and send it to us on Twitter or Instagram using #tvworkout to enter. Check out the rules here, and get more details in our June issue, on newsstands now!
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Written on May 29, 2014 at 1:24 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
Orange is the new black for Lo Bosworth. The Laguna Beach star-turned-chef is reinventing the face of LIBBY’S canned pumpkin because, let’s be real, the vitamin A powerhouse isn’t just for rich, Thanksgiving pies anymore. “I didn’t know that pumpkin was a superfood when I first started,” she recently admitted to us. “There is no added sugar or salt in LIBBY’S—just a simple, whole product, which is what I look for whenever I cook.”
The soon-to-be International Culinary Center grad has been incorporating lots of pumpkin into her meals and entertaining menus since her revelation. “It’s a really interesting addition to desserts,” Lo dished. “What’s cool is that you can substitute it for an egg or butter!” The result: spongy cakes, decadent cookies and very little guilt. Win. Lo also loves using pumpkin to cut fat in savory snacks like hummus, smoothies and peanut butter on toast. “It doesn’t taste like pumpkin!” she swears.
With all that food prep and casual sampling (which goes hand-in-hand with culinary school, right?), it must be tough to keep a svelte figure, right? But according to Lo, it’s all about control. “It’s really about tasting the food so that the seasoning and texture is appropriate, but I don’t actually eat much of the food I’m making at school. If I did, I think I would put on 25 pounds,” she joked. In fact, Lo has lost weight since starting her program—partly due to her SoulCycle obsession (she gets in the saddle four days a week) alongside being on her feet all day; running around the kitchen. “I also go to a great cardio dance class called 305 Fitness! It’s so fun because they have a live DJ every class,” she said. And since the FITNESS staff has hit up a 305 class before, we know she’s totally right.
So what’s next for Lo? “Right now, I’m working quite a bit on my blog and YouTube channel but long term, I would love to have my own lifestyle show with cooking as an element,” she said. Um, we’d watch it! As for her partner-in-crime LC’s upcoming wedding, Lo will definitely be in attendance (“I’m very excited. Her wedding will be beautiful, I’m sure!”) and who knows, maybe she’ll even bake some treats for the bachelorette party. Oh, come on. This fan girl simply had to ask…
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Written on May 26, 2014 at 9:37 am , by Guest Blogger
By Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D.
It’s the final week of National Salad Month and I’m super pumped about sharing this week’s post. All month long I’ve posted smoothie and salad recipes and now I’m putting it all together in one awesome meal plan. I’ve personally tested it and I love how simple, filling and nourishing it is!
Drumroll please….meet the “Eat More Salad! 5-Day Meal Plan.”
This plan has a complete grocery list to make shopping simple, an FAQ section and 5 days of menus. Each day has 3 meals + 2 snacks, totaling 1,400 calories, which is enough to fuel an active lifestyle without weighing you down. Oh, and this plan is super-charged with nutrition—each day averages more than 7 cups of vegetables!
Hopefully my posts have inspired you to eat salad more creatively all through the year. If you are looking for even more ideas, DOLE Salads’ online recipe libraryoffers more fun ways to enjoy your greens.
TAKE ACTION: Click here to get your Eat More Salad! 5-Day Meal Plan. I hope you love it as much as I do!
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Written on May 20, 2014 at 4:21 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
Memorial Day weekend is just a few days away (who’s ready for a long weekend?). Kick summer off on the right sandal-sportin’ foot by snacking smart. We rounded up three bikini-friendly recipes to dip into without the guilt—or bloat. The secret ingredient? Avocado, which research has linked to lower BMI and waist circumference, among a laundry list of other health benefits. Um, win! And forget the greasy munchie pairings. Late July Organics’ new SubLime will rock your socks off.
Blue Cheese Avocado Dip
4 ripe avocados
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup Stonyfield Organic Greek Plain Nonfat Yogurt (or their Fat Free Plain works, too!)
½ cup blue cheese (crumbled)
Peel, seed and coarsely mash avocados. Chop the green part of the scallions. Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Nutrition Info: 420 calories, 26g total fat, 65mg cholesterol, 890mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 3g sugar, 25g protein
Wholly Guacamole Chicken Salad
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 limes, juiced (and zest from one)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup Wholly Guacamole dip
Mix oil, salt, black pepper, cumin, sugar, chili powder, lime zest and juice of 1 1/2 limes. Combine with chicken to marinate for 20 to 30 minutes. Grill chicken on each side for 2 minutes. Finish cooking in 400°F oven for 8 minutes and allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes before dicing. Once cool, fold chicken in with bell peppers, onion, cilantro, Wholly Guacamole dip, the rest of the lime juiced and the remaining salt.
Nutrition Info: 340 calories, 17g total fat, 90mg cholesterol, 570mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 2g sugar, 35g protein
In a blender, blend the tofu, avocado, lemon juice, garlic, salt and cilantro until smooth. Place mixture in bowl and stir in onions. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve chilled.
Nutrition Info: 110 calories, 9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 4g protein
Photo courtesy of Late July
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