Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother’s Day Weekend Recap

Hello! I hope everyone had a nice weekend, especially those of you who celebrated Mother’s Day!

My Mother’s Day was really nice. I got to sleep in a little and then had breakfast and presents waiting for me when I woke up. Quinn was so excited about his present that he denied me a hug! Haha! When I came downstairs, I asked him for a hug, but he ran right by me, only to go get my present and come back to give it to me. He was just so excited! (After I opened his present, I got my hug!)

Mal and Murphy were also also pretty excited about their/Quinn’s present for me, which was a new cookbook. Mal actually heard an interview with the author on NPR, and he thought it sounded right up my alley… and it is! 🙂 I spent awhile flipping through it yesterday, and I’m so excited to make some recipes from it. It has so many easy ideas and techniques for everyday cooking + some awesome tips and tricks for entertaining and cocktails. It just makes everything seem so simple and do-able!

[rewind to Saturday morning]

My sister and her family came over on Saturday to spend the night. She brought the coolest Finding Dory bubble machine from Target and the kids went crazy over it!

It was bubble mania on our back porch!!

Then, the boys played in the dirt for a little while.

We spent all this money on creating an awesome play area and they chose the dirt next to it. Haha!

After playing outside for a bit, we came inside for lunch. On the menu: THE BEST WINGS EVER! And, of course, they were a huge hit with everyone. Even Cousin Matthew liked them!

Once we finished eating lunch, we did some arts & crafts before winding down for nap time.

Well, sorta. We had some fun with streamers first! 🙂

Once everyone was napping (Matthew rested and watched some TV on the couch), the adults (and Murphy) hung out on the porch and caught up.

We had some snacks and drinks, including FitVine Wine, which is lower in calories, sugar, and sulfites than regular wine. A friend from CrossFit told me about it (she actually orders it by the case), so I had to see what it was all about, especially since I’m trying to cut back on the sulfites in my diet.

FitVine isn’t sold at a ton of places near me, so I took an adventure one afternoon to buy a bottle, and I’m so glad that I did. The Sauvignon Blanc is really good! It’s dry and crisp – perfect for summer. Mal thinks it tastes watery, but I like it, especially for a low-sulfite wine. Have you guys ever tried organic wine? Uhhh, it’s disgusting. Save your money!! Anyway, I liked the FitVine Sauvignon Blanc so much, I bought a case myself! 🙂

After nap time, we headed out for a walk around the block. It was kind of chilly, but it was still nice to get outside and move around.

The boys had a blast playing together and exploring!

After our walk, we came home and ordered some pizzas for dinner. Dinner actually ended up taking longer than expected, so once everyone was finished eating, we got ready for bed and then enjoyed a movie night. We watch Moana, which is a favorite in both of our houses. I really enjoyed singing along with Qman. My gosh, he’s the sweetest kid. <3

Questions of the Day

Any Moana fans out there? (We’re obsessed lately.)

Moms, what was the best part of Mother’s Day for you?

 

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Dear Mark: Erythritol and Weight Gain, Chicken Liver and Arsenic, and Tips for Laptops in the Sun

Inline_DM_05.15.17For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from readers. First, is erythritol, one of the more common sugar alcohols, linked to weight gain? According to a new study, it is. What should we make of the research? Next, I talk a good game about chicken livers, but there’s a new study that seems to show they’re big repositories of arsenic. Should you stop eating chicken liver? And finally, I give a few tips for improving screen clarity when working outside on your laptop in full sun.

Let’s go:

Mark, what’s your take on this new report that erythritol is associated with weight gain? I’ve been eating chocolate sweetened with it but am unsure I should keep eating…

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It’s a confusing report that gives the impression the more erythritol a person eats, the more weight they gain. They refer to erythritol as a “common sweetener” used by people trying to lose weight. “may actually have the opposite effect.” They discuss how it’s naturally found in fruits like watermelon and pears, and is added to stevia in the product Truvia. All in all, the implication is that using erythritol “may actually have the opposite effect”—it might make you gain weight.

But then the real story comes out: Erythritol is just a biomarker associated with weight gain.

Okay, so maybe high erythritol levels indicate an increased intake of diet foods, and these are just people trying and failing to lose weight. Then you look at the actual paper, and you realize that the authors have identified a previously-unknown pathway for endogenous synthesis of erythritol in humans. This is truly landmark. The prior consensus was that humans don’t make erythritol in the body.

Well, the pathway they identified is a glucose-to-erythritol conversion. That’s all we know. The people who gained the most weight were converting glucose to erythritol more than anyone else.

My guess—and it’s just that, a guess—is that these people were also eating the most glucose. I mean, glucose consumption is a fairly well-established risk factor for weight gain in the average sedentary human. It wouldn’t surprise me if college freshman who ate the most glucose also gained the most weight. It’s not like college freshman don’t gain weight. Most do, and those who do gain almost 8 pounds.

Another piece of evidence in favor of carbs and carb intolerance being the issue is that the students with the highest erythritol levels also had higher blood glucose levels at the start of the study.

I just saw this study about arsenic in chicken livers. Since you seem to be a big fan of chicken liver, I thought I’d ask your opinion. Should we stop eating them?

Great question. Thanks.

Yes, I am a fan of chicken liver. They’re mild (especially the pastured ones). They’re lower in vitamin A than ruminant liver, so you can eat them more often without overdoing it. They’re higher in iron, if that’s a problem for you. They’re also a rich source of folate, perhaps the richest. Chicken liver is a good introductory organ meat.

I am not a fan of arsenic.

The arsenic in these chicken livers was actually an arsenic metabolite—something that the body converts arsenic into. They were getting it from an infamous growth promoter called 3-nitro-4-hydroxyphenylarsonic acid, or roxarsone, which is an organoarsenic compound. The chicken eats roxarsone, it gains weight more efficiently, but it also produces a ton of arsenic metabolites and lodges them in its liver.

I have good news for people who eat chicken raised in the European Union (as of 1999) or North America (as of 2013): chickens raised in those countries aren’t allowed to eat roxarsone. The chicken livers in the study came from chickens raised in China, where roxarsone is still used. Good quality pastured chicken from the EU or NA should be completely safe.

The Wiley press release about the study has a hilarious title, by the way: “Poultry Feed with Arsenic More Problematic Than Assumed?”

I’d say so, yeah.

Anyone have solutions for laptop work outside? I’d love to work outside more, but the sunlight makes screens impossible to read.

Make shade. A beach umbrella is an easy option. Or even a regular rain umbrella held up between a couple rocks, positioned just so. Costco sells a good pop-up tent for a reasonable price, although you couldn’t stand and work under it. There’s also the laptop hood.

Find shade. I do most of my outside work under cover. Usually in my backyard with a canopy, but occasionally out in a park or forest under trees. For one it keeps the heat off you and your computer, thus extending the time you can spend working. If you’ve got any kind of tree cover nearby, go for that. You might have to drive an extra 10-15 minutes to get there, but that’s a small price to pay for the comfort and stimulation of working outside with perfect clarity.

Use an anti-glare screen protector. There are several available on Amazon. Read the reviews, as they seem mixed.

Invert colors. If you’re working only with text, inverting the colors—white text on black background—can help you see more clearly in sunlight. This obviously won’t work for graphic designers or anyone requiring full visual fidelity.

Increase contrast. Increasing the contrast on your monitor can also improve clarity in full sun.

Become one with your laptop. Eventually, we’ll all enjoy (or “enjoy”) direct neural links to our devices without physical interaction. We’ll “type” emails or “write” code without lifting a finger. A thought is all we’ll need. Everything will take place in our heads and, maybe, behind our eyes. Hell, if they can connect directly to our visual cortex, maybe our eyes will become vestigial organs. One can only hope!

Until that day comes, you can wear the laptop compubody sock. Just try not to do so within 500 meters of a school.

For anyone intrigued by outdoor laptop work but unsure of the benefits, check out this older post I wrote on the topic. Long story short is that it’s really, really beneficial for you. I may write more on this in the future.

That’s it for this week, folks. Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear your take on the questions and answers in today’s Dear Mark. Take care!

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Mother’s Day, With Love

Hope you guys had wonderful weekends! Mine was great : ) My mom is back from a trip to Italy, so I was able to wish her a happy MD in the same country, and my sister celebrated her first MD with Miss Emmie!

–> Top right was Larbs’s most awkward year, and I think bottom right definitely wins for mine!! LOL!

Our house started off the day with pancakes!! Sprinkles for a bit more excitement.

Thomas owns this big double-burner griddle, and I used it for the first time. It sure made pancake cooking so much easier! One batch and done.

My women’s soccer league invited me to join them for their spring tournament, and we had two games scheduled for Sunday. I couldn’t wait to play with just women again! It’s still very competitive, but the intensity is down a notch from co-ed with the guys.

Game #1 vibes:

I had an hour break in between games, so I went home just so I could sit down and have a snack. Peanut butter pretzels and a banana! #carbs

After game #2, I was exhausted! I drank a bottle of Gatorade and a whole Hydroflask of water but still felt dehydrated and headachey. Game two was hotter and tougher!

Snack on the ride home:

I took a much-needed shower and then Thomas and I got the house ready for his mom to visit for dinner. Mazen helped set the table. He is such a good helper boy!

Eileen brought these beautiful flowers from her garden <3

Thomas surprised us with the dinner menu, and put out my favorite appetizer – Saint Angel triple creme brie, fig spread and crostini. Plus olives and chips and red wine for the moms!

He grilled lamb and made risotto and asparagus. Delicious meal!

Mr. Mazen couldn’t wait for dessert because he and Matt made me this beautiful cake!

They are quite the cooking duo, and I couldn’t think of a more delicious Mother’s Day gift : )

Thomas and I finished Westworld last night. I’m not sure I really liked the ending all that much :/  Is there a season 2 in the making?

These next two weeks are going to be quite crazy for me – I am traveling to four different overnight locations! Three for work and one for pleasure, although all of them will be fun! I’m going to try to keep live blogging during my travels, but that might mean I skip a day or a post goes up at midnight eastern time. Guess you’ll be in for some surprises!

xoxo

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Nutritionist-Approved Favorites From Food Network Chefs

 

The nutrition experts at FoodNetwork.com have the inside scoop on the healthiest and most delicious recipes. The chefs at Food Network are renowned for their culinary creations, but what many folks don’t realize is that many of their recipes are nutrition powerhouses. Here are five recipes from Food Network stars that get rave reviews for both taste and nutrition.

 

Ina’s Guacamole Salad (pictured above)

This may be the most flavorful, colorful and nutrient-filled salad in the Hamptons. This dish features antioxidant rich veggies, plus healthy fats from avocado, protein from beans and 9 grams of hunger-fighting fiber per serving. Serve it as a side dish with grilled meat or fish, or with tortilla chips as an appetizer.

Bobby’s Miso Ginger Marinated Grilled Salmon

Make this 5-star rated recipe for a quick and easy weeknight main course. A 30-minute dunk in a flavorful marinade followed by a sizzle on the grill, and an omega-3 rich meal is ready for the simplest of weeknight dinners.

 

Giada’s Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

Protein-rich ricotta cheese is the secret ingredient in these light and lemony cookies. This fan-favorite recipe has more than 1000 reviews: try them, and you’ll see why.

 

Alton’s Crepes

Food science guru Alton Brown has crafted the ultimate crepe recipe using simple, whole food ingredients. The step-by-step instructions make this seemingly complicated dish incredibly simple, plus the batter can be made up to 2 days in advance. Fill these scrumptious crepes with fresh fruit for breakfast or make a healthy savory version with scrambled eggs, veggies and a sprinkle of cheese.

 

Food Network Kitchen’s Shrimp Tacos with Mango Slaw

Don’t count out the brilliant Food Network Kitchens chefs for healthy and yummy options. These tacos are filled with lean protein, fresh fruits and veggies, and whole grain tortilla shells for only 435 calories per serving. They’re bursting with colorful nutrients and ready to serve in 30 minutes.

 

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.



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