Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mimosa Sangria


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Wasabi Caesar Salad


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Kiwi juice with frui


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#Homemade V8 Tomato


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Screw-dged Cocktail


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This Aromatic Drink


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This Strawberry Pine


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The First Lady Unveils Revamped Food Nutrition Label

Last week at the Partnership for a Healthier America Building a Healthier Future Summit in Washington, D.C., first lady (and PHA honorary chair) Michelle Obama unveiled the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s refreshed Nutrition Facts label. And while a label redesign may not seem like big news, it is. First, because this is the only time the label has significantly changed since it debuted 20 years ago. And second, because the FDA has been under mounting pressure from food manufacturers and consumers alike to re-evaluate what was criticized as an out-of-date tool for determining the nutritional value of packaged foods.

It’s also a big victory for the first lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, which aims to raise a healthier generation of kids. “I am thrilled that the FDA has finalized a new and improved Nutrition Facts label that will be on food products nationwide,” she said. “This is going to make a real difference in providing families across the country the information they need to make healthy choices.”

n f l

So what are the most-important changes?

  • The revamped format makes key information such as “calories” and “servings per container” easier to see at a glance.
  • In addition to the existing “total sugars” information, “added sugars” must now be declared to show consumers how much sugar is added to the product during processing.
  • Out-of-date serving sizes have been revised to better reflect the portions consumers actually eat.

 

Whether you’re watching your sodium, teaching your kids how to keep sugar, fat and calories in check, or trying to avoid that moment when you realize the seemingly healthy snack you just ate was meant to be four servings — not one — the label is your best tool for making informed food choices. But while the more user-friendly label will make it easier for consumers to navigate what foods they put in their grocery carts, don’t expect to see it overnight; manufacturers have two to three years to implement the change.

Photographs courtesy of Partnership for a Healthier America and the Federal Drug Administration



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Asian Citrus Rice Salad

I love rice! I also love combining cooked food with raw food to make a very nutritious meal. This Asian Citrus Rice Salad does just that and is a delicious dish to make for lunch on the go or for a … Continued

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8 Essential Tips for Primal Men

8 Essential Tips for Primal Men FinalMen I know. I am one, after all. Have been for many years. For the most part, I enjoy it. It’s worked out really well for me. I don’t find it particularly difficult to be a man. Once I dialed in the basics of this Primal stuff, my health improved and my fitness became more well-rounded and applicable to the things I enjoyed doing. I haven’t struggled much. But many people do. And while the majority of Primal advice is geared toward humans in general, I’ll just get this out of the way early: These “men’s tips” all apply to many women, too. And many of the “women’s tips” from last week’s post also apply to men. But ignoring the gender-specificity of general trends serves no one. Everyone has the capacity for competitiveness; men tend to have more. Both genders can benefit from fasting, but women are more likely to have negative responses. Men and women both need sleep; lack of it hits women harder. That’s all. As always, if you recognize yourself in these tips, go for it!

1. Skip a meal every now and then

As you recall from the women’s tips post, women have a lower tolerance for meal skipping. Men have a better chance of thriving on it. I suspect they should try. A good rubric is “eat as infrequently as you can without negative effects.” If you can eat twice a day without getting irritable, experiencing metabolic slowdown or fat gain, or feeling stressed, eat twice a day. The longer you can go in between meals, the better you’ll get at burning fat and, I’d predict, the longer you’ll live.

Don’t graze. Eat meals (not every one).

2. Mind your iron

Excess iron is inflammatory and a potential oxidant, and male bodies have no system for shedding it. If we want to limit iron, we either have to bleed, destroy our red blood cells with lots of exercise, or reduce our absorption of it. Studies indicate that a modest reduction of iron is a smart health strategy for most men who want to live long and well and enjoy better insulin sensitivity.

Don’t get crazy about it, now. You still need iron. Be sure to get a full blood count to confirm you actually need to do anything. But keep it in mind, especially as you age.

3. Lift your iron

Everyone—man, woman, teen, seniors—needs to lift heavy things, if only for health and fitness reasons. But there’s also another component: aesthetics. The “ideal” male physiques (and there are many) depend heavily on strength training. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or squat heavy or even use weights at all. You do have to manipulate weight in the face of gravity on a regular basis, though, even if it’s your own.

Being and looking strong helps you make your way through life, get out of sticky situations, boosts confidence, and makes you better at everything.

4. Inject intermittent intensity

Whether it’s running sprints once or twice a week, going really hard in the weight room, climbing a tree until your heart pounds against your breastplate, going bouldering, approaching the beautiful woman, starting that business you’ve always dreamed about, surfing a big wave, or practicing holding your breath underwater, there are real benefits to punctuating your comfortable life with intermittent bouts of physical, mental, and psychological intensity. Even though most of us no longer have to practice these behaviors for sustenance and survival, learning a martial art or hunting may also be worthy pursuits that inject intensity.

Put something on the line. Get a little scared. Get uncomfortable.

5. Mind your testosterone

Testosterone is perhaps the primary determinant of a man’s sexual function, muscle protein synthesis, physical strength, bone health, psychological health, cognitive function, energy level, confidence, and risk of getting diabetes. In short, every male should strive to optimize their testosterone levels if they care at all about quality of life. How?

  • Eat adequate amounts of saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and cholesterol. We use fat and cholesterol to make sex hormones, so a deficiency in either can depress testosterone levels.
  • Lift heavy things. The resultant increase in T doesn’t seem to change the effect of the training, but the benefits persist into other areas of our lives.
  • Get some sun exposure every day. Be smart about it, though. Avoid burning. Frequent bouts of low volume sunning are better than infrequent bouts of heavy sun. Failing that, take vitamin D.
  • Get lots of sleep. Optimize your sleep hygiene.
  • Eat zinc, found in red meat and oysters. It’s one of the building blocks of testosterone.
  • Lose weight, as excess body fat can depress testosterone and losing weight restores it.
  • Don’t eat too little. Excessive calorie restriction can be as bad as excess body fat.

That’s the low hanging fruit.

6. Compete, but not too much

Most men have a competitive streak. This is mostly due to biology; while the hormone oxytocin promotes altruism and cooperation in women, it promotes competitiveness in men. Don’t suppress this. Suppressing innate characteristics rarely works. Embrace it. Steer it.

This may mean joining an adult sports league or being the guy to take initiative and set up a recurring pickup game of something each weekend with your friends. It may mean standing up for yourself at work, asking for that raise, or starting your own business.

Balance your competitive streak with appreciation for the fruits of your drive. Win the game, but enjoy playing it. Make the money, then use it to improve the quality of your daily existence and those you care about.

7. Embrace your body (type)

It’s usually women receiving this message, but it’s also important for men. Maybe more so since they don’t receive the message much. Well, here it is:

Not everyone has the capacity to pack on 30 pounds of muscle. For some people, it’s a real struggle just to keep weight on. That’s me. While I can maintain a fairly good physique with decent muscle mass, I remember pushing myself about six years ago to pack on even more muscle. I did, but I had to eat more than I was comfortable eating and train more than I wanted. In the end, I hurt my shoulder bench pressing too much, was sidelined for a few weeks, and lost most of my gains.

Not everyone can get to Men’s Health model levels of leanness and vascularity. Heck, even those models are rarely walking around like that year round. If it’s not your job, you don’t need to kill yourself, depress your testosterone, and ruin your libido trying to maintain sub 10% levels of body fat.

This doesn’t mean you give up trying to improve your body composition. Keep strength training and sprinting. Keep moving. Keep eating right. You can still get stronger, faster, fitter, and leaner. You will improve, and that’s good enough.

8. Learn from morning wood

Waking up with morning wood is a decent barometer for testosterone function, sexual health, and overall robustness. You’re quite literally raring to go.

If you used to get it but don’t anymore, something’s up. Frequency of morning erections is a reliable measure of andropause, the male version of menopause characterized by a reduction in free testosterone.

If you never used to have it but get it every morning, you’re doing things right. You’re getting good sleep, your sex hormones are functioning, you’re recovering from your workouts, you’re eating well. In men, virility and health go hand in hand (similar to fertility corresponding to health in women).

I’ll just say this again so you don’t mistake me: if you’re a woman and you feel driven to compete, or you absolutely love intensity in your life, do it. These tips are more likely to be critical for the average man, but they potentially apply to anyone.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Now, I’d love to hear from you.

What other tips do you suggest for men? Lemme know and I may throw another post together.

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5-Ingredient Shrimp & Avocado Stir-Fry with Lemon

We’re entering that exciting time of year when spring produce is in full gear and summer produce begins to surface. At this moment, avocado groves are brimming with luscious, creamy avocados, which can be used in all sorts of ways. Besides mashing avocados on toast and into guacamole, you can mix them into stir-fries, where they pair perfectly with a light, low-fat protein like shrimp. Avocados count toward your fruit intake, so you can feel good about that, too.

I’m a hungry gal, so I like to serve this dish over brown rice prepared with vegetable broth instead of water, for extra flavor. But feel free to break out your spiralizer to make zoodles (zucchini noodles) or serve the stir-fry in lettuce wraps for the ultimate low-carb meal that will fill you up while boosting your vegetable intake.

 

5-Ingredient Shrimp & Avocado Stir-Fry with Lemon

Serves 4

 

Ingredients:

1 pound medium-small peeled and deveined shrimp with tails removed

3 scallions, white parts chopped, green parts cut into strips

1 lemon, zest finely grated, pulp juiced into 2 teaspoons

1 large avocado, diced

2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

 

Directions:

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons high-heat oil, like canola, grapeseed or rice bran. Add the shrimp to the shimmering oil in a single layer and cook until the shrimp turn white halfway through, about 4 minutes. Turn the shrimp and sprinkle in the lemon zest and white scallions, cooking until the shrimp is done, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and gently stir in the avocado and soy sauce. Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve with additional lemon wedges.

 

Note:

This dish cooks quickly, so I recommend having all of your mis en place (i.e., food prep) finished before you start cooking, for optimal execution.

 

Per serving: Calories 160; Fat 8 g (Saturated 1 g); Cholesterol 137 mg; Sodium 250 mg; Carbohydrate 6 g; Fiber 4 g; Protein 16 g; Vitamin A 8% DV; Calcium 4% DV; Vitamin C 20% DV; Iron 15% DV

 

Michelle Dudash is a registered dietitian nutritionist, Cordon Bleu-certified chef consultant and the creator of Clean Eating Cooking School: Monthly Meal Plans Made Simple.



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Lately

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Hey hey hey!! Put yo’ sunglasses ON! Summer has arrived in Charlottesville.

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Breakfast fun: grapefruit, eggs and a mountain of frothed milk!

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The following breakfast was hot oats (on one of our recent cold days) topped with almond butter and Super Toppers.

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Berries, toast, and a Mazen yogurt that needed to be eaten.

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And then the most delicious parfait! Layers of fresh strawberries, blueberries, Greek yogurt, honey, and Quaker Breakfast Flats. I’m really digging the breakfast flats – especially crumbled up and mixed in!

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On the lunch front, we tried out The Juice Place downtown! It just opened last week. We give a HUGE thumbs up to the customizable juices (M loved his carrot, cucumber, parsley, and apple juice) and all the smoothie options. Mine was the Rich Green with avocado, kefir, and all sorts of other healthy things that I can’t remember :).  They also have rice bowls and a small selection of salady things.

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Next up: a soft boiled egg over greens with Whole Foods creamy herb dressing (which is pretty decent for a bottled dressing), and cheese. Plus, lots of my favorite chips!

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Then a pesto kale salad with smoked trout and blue cheese:

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And frittata, avocado, and chips.

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Dinners were a mix of in and out.

Out at Fridays After Five with Mazen. I have figured out the key to the ideal all-in-one pizza dinner is to get a slice of cheese and have them put spinach and pepperoni on top when they heat it up. This beats getting the pre-made salady pizzas, which just seem to lack flavor to me. I need that base layer of sauce and cheese to satisfy the pizza craving! Mazen loves “salad pizza” too, and it’s a great way to get some greens in him.

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Dinner in: open-faced quesadilla with a big salad. Simple dinners have been my go-to of late.

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I took Sarah out for a drink, and we had some of the baked oysters at Rock Salt.

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I made a small salad when I got home to fill me up!

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And finally, my little Pea Pod Player! Mazen was in his theater group’s spring performance of Tikki Tikki Tembo. The cutest!!

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