Written by Lauren Cardarelli, editorial intern
We often hear that probiotics are important to maintain healthy digestion, but what exactly do they do? FITNESS recently learned all about the friendly bacteria from Dr. Melina B. Jampolis, M.D., who we met with at an Activia event. We asked her about the digestive system, the role of probiotics in overall health and how to incorporate the live microorganisms in our diets. Here’s what she had to say:
How do probiotics help regulate our digestive system?
Probiotics are friendly bacteria that live in our intestines. The gut contains 70 percent of our body’s immune tissue so a healthy gut is important for healthy immune function. Probiotics help keep the cells of the colon healthy, promoting good digestion. Things like stress, lack of sleep, medication and infection can throw off the ratio of good to bad bacteria in the intestines which can lead to overall health and digestive problems. This bacteria keeps the cells that line the gut healthy, they produce vitamins and produce lactase, an enzyme that helps break down milk.
Can you get probiotics from frozen yogurt?
It depends on the preparation of the frozen yogurt and if probiotics are added. Although yogurt contains live cultures, it does not contain probiotics unless they are added. If it is frozen slowly the probiotics can survive but if it’s just placed in the freezer they will not.
How can those who don’t like yogurt incorporate probiotics into their diet?
Probiotic supplements, both refrigerated and shelf stable, are available. You can also find different strains in chocolate bars and juices but the benefits of probiotics are strain specific so if you are looking for a specific benefit, such as supporting a healthy digestive system, it is important to choose a clinically validated product.
Pastry Chef and Bravo’s Top Chef Just Desserts judge, Johnny Iuzzini, showed us how easy (and delicious!) incorporating probiotics into your diet can be. Check out his sweet recipe!
Yogurt-Orange Blossom Panna Cotta
- 2 1/4 cups Activia Vanilla Yogurt
- 1/3 cup skim milk
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 4 gelatin sheets or 1 tablespoon gelatin powder
- Lime zest
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
- Heat sugar and milk until hot.
- Soak the gelatin in ice water for 10 minutes then squeeze out excess water and add to the hot milk. Allow milk to cool to room temperature.
- Stir in the vanilla yogurt, lime zest and orange blossom water and pour into a 4-ounce ramekin or a mold and allow to set in the refrigerator.
- Once set, carefully unmold into the serving bowl by inverting and releasing one edge.
In our November/December issue, four game readers each tried out different popular diets (see page 132 for the full story!). A Paleo diet—which promotes eating a whole-foods diet like our early ancestors—was one of the more successful options, but our tester was bummed that she couldn’t find desserts to fit her eating plan.
Enter Make It Paleo, a book we just stumbled upon that offers Paleo twists on traditional dishes. Bloggers Bill Staley and Hayley Mason of The Food Lover’s Primal Palate share recipes like huevos rancheros, portobello turkey burgers and chocolate mocha cupcakes with their Paleo spin.
Since our tester had trouble satisfying her sweet tooth, we were instantly drawn to the dessert section. Interested in giving a caveman-style cookie a try yourself? Here’s the Make It Paleo version of the traditional holiday favorite: gingerbread!
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons palm shortening
- 1 tablespoon coconut milk
- 3 cups blanched almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda’
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a sauce pan, heat molasses to a boil. Add maple syrup, palm shortening and coconut milk to sauce pan. Stir ingredients until combined, then remove from heat.
- In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Pour dry ingredients into wet, and stir until batter is fully blended.
- Refrigerate dough for 20 minutes.
- Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper, until about 1/4 inch thick. Cut batter with cookie cutters of choice.
- Bake for 10 minutes on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Let cool, decorate as desired, and enjoy.
Now tell us: Have you or would you be willing to try a primal diet?
Written by Lauren Cardarelli, editorial intern
With a hint of Southern twang and a whole lot of the hospitality, the host of Food Network’s 5 Ingredient Fix, Claire Robinson, demonstrates that time in the kitchen doesn’t have to be a chore. By simplifying recipes down to just a few, fresh ingredients (yep, you guessed it: five!), Claire makes preparing a delicious meal easier than ever.
“Turn over your packages! Know what you’re putting in your body,” advised the charismatic food enthusiast and adventure sport extraordinaire as she whipped up French Toast with Strawberries and Cream (keep reading for the recipe). “If you can’t pronounce what’s on the back, most likely it’s not good for you.”
After the cooking demonstration at the Coffee-mate Natural Bliss event last week, we sat down with Claire and asked her about her workout regimen, kitchen pantry staples and a whole lot more! Here’s what we learned:
- Coffee pairs great with red meats and chocolate. Claire loves using espresso powder or a strong coffee to bring out the flavors in her savory desserts and beef dishes. Try this technique yourself with this unique dry-rubbed beef brisket recipe.
- Swap your extra virgin for plain olive oil when cooking. You lose the flavoring of the extra virgin olive oil’s raw form when cooking with it over heat. Save some extra cash by buying the cheaper, regular olive oil for cooking purposes and keep the good stuff for drizzling over your meal before serving.<
So when I met with the Whole Foods Market “Health Starts Here” team last week and heard about their oil-free dressings, I of course had to ask for a recipe or two to try—and share with all of you!
Strawberries are in season and tasting great. Add them to your salad, then drizzle some of this on top for additional berry flavor!
- 2/3 cup sliced strawberries
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 shallot, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 1/4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a blender with 1/4 cup water. Mix until smooth.
Nutrition facts per serving (about 2 tablespoons): 15 calories, 0 g. fat
One serving of the average Caesar dressing has at least 150 calories and 15 grams of fat per serving. Swapping this salad dressing for the typical one everyday for a month? A simple way to drop a full pound.
- 2/3 cup (about 5 oz.) firm silken tofu
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons light soy or chickpea miso
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic
- Ground black pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Mix until smooth.
Nutrition facts per serving (about 2 tablespoons): 25 calories, 0.5 g. fat (0 g. saturated fat)
Now tell us: What salad ingredients do you love to add to your bowl to fill you up without filling you out?
The first and only female Iron Chef won’t be hitting Kitchen Stadium for her next big meal, but she will certainly be serving some VIPs. Cat Cora is hosting the official CMT Music Awards after party this year, and will no doubt be offering a spread that even the harshest critics would love.
We spoke with Cat to get the inside scoop about the how she stays in such great shape (did you know she also has a degree in exercise physiology?) and what the CMT menu will offer. And don’t worry, we managed to steal one of the recipes that will be offered so you can host your own all-star viewing party at home!
Are you a fan of country music yourself?
I grew up in Mississippi, surrounded by country and Southern rock music and continue to love it.
So if you could pick the after party playlist, what would be included?
I love all genres of music, so I’d mix it up. Everything from my friend Zac Brown to the Black Eyed Peas, Mary J. Blige, Kid Rock and Beyonce.
Sounds like a great soundtrack for a gym trip too! What are your favorite ways to stay fit?
Exercise is something I do every day, whether it’s running, cycling or the elliptical machine.
Keep reading to find out what the stars of country music will be munching on at the after party and get an Iron Chef-worthy recipe to try yourself!
The New York International Auto Show just wrapped up, and among the cars and new technology, wellness was on display. Porsche and one of their race car drivers, Patrick Long, hosted the Healthy Intelligent Performance event, which discussed how to kick your health into high gear. Apparently, there’s a lot more than sitting and steering that go into being a good race car driver!
Patrick stays fit with a mix of cardio (running, cycling, kayaking), strength (core work with a stability ball and resistance band) and balance (single leg exercises). He fuels up with well-balanced meals like oven baked cod and chilled ramen with wasabi and citrus. When he wants a sweet treat, he grabs one of these delicious beverages, created by Top Chef veteran and Social Eatz owner Angelo Sosa.
High-Performer’s Milkshake (Serves 4)
- 5 oz. Wheaties (about 5 cups)
- 3 pieces cardamom
- 1 piece star anise
- 2 cups non-fat soy milk
- 2 tbsp. agave nectar
Bring the milk to a simmer in a pot and add all other ingredients to let them steep, like a tea. Remove the spices and blend the liquid mixture, chill and serve.
Nutrition facts per serving: 200 calories, 1 g. fat
Pineapple & Mango Lassi
- 1 lb. pineapple, diced in large cubes
- 8 oz. mango (about 1 1/3 cups)
- 6 oz. non-fat Greek yogurt (one small container)
- 1/4 cup sugar
Toss all ingredients into a blender, mix until smooth and serve.
Nutrition facts per serving: 147 calories, 0.25 g. fat
Now tell us: What foods or drinks help power you through challenging workouts?
In honor of Heart Health Month, let’s talk about taking care of our tickers! We spoke to Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic (and cocreator of the Real Age test with Dr. Oz), who shared a few of his Heart Smart Smoothie recipes that make it easy to whip up a healthy breakfast on even your busiest mornings.
“The ingredients [in these smoothies], including psyllium husks and fruit, help lower lousy (LDL) cholesterol while tasting great,” says Dr. Roizen. “Most Americans are only getting about half the fiber they should, and these smoothies, enjoyed every day, are a good start to help you reach the goal of 20-35mg of fiber a day.”
Dr. Roizen’s Heart Smart Smoothie
- 1/3 cup soy protein powder
- 1/2 tablespoon flaxseed oil
- 1/4 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
- 1/2 large ripe banana (or berries of your choice)
- 1/2 tablespoon apple juice
- 2 tablespoons psyllium fiber (sugar-free Metamucil)
Peel banana; break into chunks. Put all ingredients in a blender. Add 16 ounces of water with ice. Cover, blend until fairly smooth. Enjoy! Read more