July 2011

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2011.

Pile your plate with these nutrition superstars

The Superfoods You Need

The following power foods can claim big bragging rights: They can fend off serious diseases like diabetes and cancer and heart problems; fortify your immune system; protect and smooth your skin; and help you lose weight or stay slim.

If you’re eating most of them already, good for you! If not, now’s the time to load up your shopping cart and supercharge your health!

1. Eggs

Egg yolks are home to tons of essential but hard-to-get nutrients, including choline, which is linked to lower rates of breast cancer (one yolk supplies 25% of your daily need) and antioxidants that may help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Though many of us have shunned whole eggs because of their link to heart disease risk, there’s actually substantial evidence that for most of us, eggs are not harmful but healthy.

People with heart disease should limit egg yolks to two a week, but the rest of us can have one whole egg daily; research shows it won’t raise your risk of heart attack or stroke. Make omelets with one whole egg and two whites, and watch cholesterol at other meals.

2. Greek Yogurt

Yogurt is a great way to get calcium, and it’s also rich in immune-boosting bacteria. But next time you hit the yogurt aisle, pick up the Greek kind—compared with regular yogurt, it has twice the protein (and 25% of women over 40 don’t get enough). Look for fat-free varieties like Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt (90 calories and 15 g of protein per 5.3-ounce serving).

3. Fat-Free Milk

Yes, it does a body good: Studies show that calcium isn’t just a bone booster but a fat fighter too. Recent research from the University of Tennessee found that obese people who went on a low-calorie, calcium-rich diet lost 70% more weight than those who ate the least. Vitamin D not only allows your body to absorb calcium, it’s also a super nutrient in its own right. Recent research found that adequate D levels can reduce heart disease risk, ward off certain types of cancer, relieve back pain, and even help prevent depression, but most of us don’t get nearly enough of the 1,000+ IU daily that most experts recommend.

A splash of milk in your morning coffee isn’t enough to provide the calcium and vitamin D you need. Use milk instead of water to make your oatmeal, have a glass with breakfast, or stir some chocolate syrup into it for an after-dinner treat.

4. Salmon

Salmon is a rich source of vitamin D and one of the best sources of omega-3s you can find. These essential fatty acids have a wide range of impressive health benefits—from preventing heart disease to smoothing your skin and aiding weight loss to boosting your mood and minimizing the effects of arthritis. Unfortunately, many Americans aren’t reaping these perks because we’re deficient, which some experts believe may be at the root of many of the big health problems today, like obesity, heart disease, and cancer.

Omega-3s also slow the rate of digestion, which makes you feel fuller longer, so you eat fewer calories throughout the day.

5. Lean Beef

Lean beef is one of the best-absorbed sources of iron there is. (Too-little iron can cause anemia.) Adding as little as 1 ounce of beef per day can make a big difference in the body’s ability to absorb iron from other sources, says Mary J. Kretsch, PhD, a researcher at the USDA-ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, CA. Beef also packs plenty of zinc (even minor deficiencies may impair memory) and B vitamins, which help your body turn food into energy.

If you can, splurge on grass-fed. Compared with grain-fed beef, it has twice the concentration of vitamin E, a powerful brain-boosting antioxidant. It’s also high in omega-3 fatty acids. Because this type of beef tends to be lower in overall fat, it can be tough—so marinate it, and use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking.

6. Beans

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect food than beans. One cooked cupful can provide as much as 17 g fiber. They’re also loaded with protein and dozens of key nutrients, including a few most women fall short on—calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Studies tie beans to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast and colon cancers.

The latest dietary guidelines recommend consuming at least 3 cups of beans a week—3 times the measly 1 cup we usually get. Keep your cupboards stocked with all kinds: black, white, kidney, fat-free refried, etc. Use them in salads, stuffed baked potatoes, and veggie chili or pureed for sandwich spreads.

7. Nuts

In a nutshell: USDA researchers say that eating 1½ ounces of tree nuts daily can reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Walnuts are rich in omega-3s. Hazelnuts contain arginine, an amino acid that may lower blood pressure. An ounce of almonds has as many heart-healthy polyphenols as a cup of green tea and 1/2 cup of steamed broccoli combined; they may help lower LDL cholesterol as well.

The key is moderation, since nuts are high in calories. Keep a jar of chopped nuts in your fridge, and sprinkle a tablespoon on cereal, salads, stir-fries, or yogurt. Or have an ounce as a snack most days of the week.

8. Edamame and Tofu

Soy’s days as a cure-all may be over—some claims, such as help for hot flashes, don’t seem to be panning out—but edamame still has an important place on your plate. Foods such as tofu, soy milk, and edamame help fight heart disease when they replace fatty meats and cheeses, slashing saturated fat intake. Soy also contains heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats, a good amount of fiber, and some important vitamins.

Soy’s isoflavones, or plant estrogens, may also help prevent breast cancer. Some researchers believe these bind with estrogen receptors, reducing your exposure to the more powerful effects of your own estrogen, says Prevention advisor Andrew Weil, MD. But stick with whole soy foods rather than processed foods, like patties or chips, made with soy powder. Don’t take soy supplements, which contain high and possibly dangerous amounts of isoflavones.

9. Oatmeal

Fiber-rich oats are even healthier than the FDA thought when it first stamped them with a heart disease–reducing seal 10 years ago. According to new research, they can also cut your risk of type 2 diabetes. When Finnish researchers tracked 4,316 men and women over the course of 10 years, they found that people who ate the highest percentage of cereal fiber were 61% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

To reap the benefits, eat 1/2 cup daily—preferably unsweetened. For a versatile breakfast, top with different combinations of fruit, yogurt, and nuts. You can also use oats to coat fish or chicken or add texture to meatballs.

10. Flaxseed

Flaxseed is the most potent plant source of omega-3 fats. Studies indicate that adding flaxseed to your diet can reduce the development of heart disease by 46%—it helps keep red blood cells from clumping together and forming clots that can block arteries. It may also reduce breast cancer odds. In one study, women who ate 10 g of flaxseed (about 1 rounded tablespoon) every day for 2 months had a 25% improvement in the ratio of breast cancer–protective to breast cancer–promoting chemicals in their blood.

Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of flaxseed a day on your cereal, salad, or yogurt. Buy it preground, and keep it refrigerated.

11. Olive Oil

Olive oil is full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), which lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise “good” HDL cholesterol. It’s rich in antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, like Alzheimer’s.

Look for extra virgin oils for the most antioxidants and flavor. Drizzle small amounts on veggies before roasting; use it to sauté or stir-fry, in dressings and marinades, and to flavor bread at dinner in lieu of a layer of butter or margarine.

12. Avocado

These smooth, buttery fruits are a great source of not only MUFAs but other key nutrients as well. One Ohio State University study found that when avocado was added to salads and salsa, it helped increase the absorption of specific carotenoids, plant compounds linked to lower risk of heart disease and macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. “Avocados are packed with heart-protective compounds, such as soluble fiber, vitamin E, folate, and potassium,” says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman’s Diet.

13. Broccoli

Pick any life-threatening disease—cancer, heart disease, you name it—and eating more broccoli and its cruciferous cousins may help you beat it, Johns Hopkins research suggests. Averaging just four weekly servings of veggies like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower slashed the risk of dying from any disease by 26% among 6,100 people studied for 28 years.

For maximum disease-fighting benefits, whip out your old veggie steamer. It turns out that steaming broccoli lightly releases the maximum amount of sulforaphane.


But they are a bit high in calories. To avoid weight gain, use avocado in place of another high-fat food or condiment, such as cheese or mayo.

14. Spinach

We’ll spare you the Popeye jokes, but spinach has serious health muscles. For one thing, it contains lots of lutein, the sunshine-yellow pigment found in egg yolks. Aside from guarding against age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness, lutein may prevent heart attacks by keeping artery walls clear of cholesterol.

Spinach is also rich in iron, which helps deliver oxygen to your cells for energy, and folate, a B vitamin that prevents birth defects. Cook frozen spinach leaves (they provide more iron when cooked than raw) and serve as a side dish with dinner a few times a week.

15. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are our most common source of lycopene, an antioxidant that may protect against heart disease and breast cancer. The only problem with tomatoes is that we generally eat them in the form of sugar-loaded jarred spaghetti sauce or as a thin slice in a sandwich. For a healthier side dish idea, quarter plum tomatoes and coat with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Roast in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes, and serve with chicken.

16. Sweet Potatoes

One of the best ways to get vitamin A—an essential nutrient that protects and maintains eyes, skin, and the linings of our respiratory, urinary, and intestinal tracts—is from foods containing beta-carotene, which your body converts into the vitamin. Beta carotene–rich foods include carrots, squash, kale, and cantaloupe, but sweet potatoes have among the most. A half-cup serving of these sweet spuds delivers only 130 calories but 80% of the DV of vitamin A. Replace tonight’s fries with one medium baked sweet potato (1,096 mcg) and you’re good to go—and then some.

17. Garlic

Garlic is a flavor essential and a health superstar in its own right. The onion relative contains more than 70 active phytochemicals, including allicin, which studies show may decrease high blood pressure by as much as 30 points. High consumption of garlic lowered rates of ovarian, colorectal, and other cancers, according to a research review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Allicin also fights infection and bacteria. British researchers gave 146 people either a placebo or a garlic extract for 12 weeks; garlic takers were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold.

18. Red Peppers

Citrus fruits get all the credit for vitamin C, but red peppers are actually the best source. Vitamin C may be best known for skin and immunity benefits. Researchers in the United Kingdom looked at vitamin C intake in 4,025 women and found that those who ate more had less wrinkling and dryness. And although getting enough vitamin C won’t prevent you from catching a cold or flu, studies show that it could help you recover faster.

Vitamin C has other important credentials too. Finnish researchers found that men with low levels were 2.4 times likelier to have a stroke, and Australian scientists recently discovered that the antioxidant reduces knee pain by protecting your knees against arthritis.

The key to healthier garlic: Crush the cloves, and let them stand for up to 30 minutes before heating them, which activates and preserves the heart-protecting compounds, according to a 2007 study from Argentina.

19. Figs

When you think of potassium-rich produce, figs probably don’t come to mind, but you may be surprised to learn that six fresh figs have 891 mg of the blood pressure-lowering mineral, nearly 20% of your daily need—and about double what you’d find in one large banana. In a recent 5-year study from the Netherlands, high-potassium diets were linked with lower rates of death from all causes in healthy adults age 55 and older. Figs are one of the best fruit sources of calcium, with nearly as much per serving (six figs) as 1/2 cup of fat-free milk.

Serve by chopping and adding to yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal, or green salads. Or enjoy them as a savory snack: Cut a slit in the side and stuff with 1/2 teaspoon of a low-fat version of a soft cheese such as chèvre or Brie.

20. Blueberries

Blueberries may very well be the most potent age-defying food—they’re jam-packed with antioxidants. When researchers at Cornell University tested 25 fruits for these potent compounds, they found that tangy-sweet wild blueberries (which are smaller than their cultivated cousins) packed the most absorbable antioxidants. Research shows a diet rich in blueberries can help with memory loss, prevent urinary tract infections, and relieve eyestrain.

Add up to 1/2 cup of blueberries to your diet a day for maximum health benefits, recommends Ronald Prior, PhD, adjunct professor of food science at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. This alone provides just about double the amount of antioxidants most Americans get in 1 day.

21. Asian Pears

One large Asian pear has a whopping 10 g of cholesterol-lowering fiber, about 40% of your daily need. People who ate the most fiber had the lowest total and LDL cholesterol levels, according to a recent study of Baltimore adults. The same researchers found that people who ate the most fiber also weighed the least and had the lowest body mass index and waist circumference.

Serve by dicing it into a salad of Boston lettuce, crumbled goat cheese, walnuts, and mandarin oranges. Or make it a dessert: Add peeled and cored pears to a saucepan with 1 cup white wine, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, and enough water to cover the pears. Cover and simmer 40 minutes or until pears are soft.

22. Lychee

A French study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that lychee has the second-highest level of heart-healthy polyphenols of all fruits tested—nearly 15% more than the amount found in grapes (cited by many as polyphenol powerhouses). The compounds may also play an important role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer.

Serve by peeling or breaking the outer covering just below the stem; use a knife to remove the black pit. Add to stir-fries or skewer onto chicken kebabs to add a sweet, grapelike flavor.

23. Apples

One of the healthiest fruits you should be eating is one you probably already are: the apple. The Iowa Women’s Health Study, which has been investigating the health habits of 34,000 women for nearly 20 years, named apples as one of only three foods (along with pears and red wine) that are most effective at reducing the risk of death from heart disease among postmenopausal women. Other massive studies have found the fruit to lower risk of lung cancer and type 2 diabetes—and even help women lose weight.

In fact, one of the only things that could make an apple unhealthy is mixing it with sugar, flour, and butter and stuffing it into a mile-high pie. Instead, have one as an afternoon snack with a tablespoon of peanut butter, or add slices to sandwiches or salads.

24. Guava

Native to South America, this tropical fruit is an excellent source of skin-healing vitamin C, with 250% of your RDA per serving. One cup of guava has nearly 5 times as much C as a medium orange (377 mg versus 83 mg)—that’s more than 5 times your daily need. It’s also loaded with lycopene (26% more than a tomato), which may help lower your risk of heart disease. And according to research by microbiologists in Bangladesh, guava can even protect against foodborne pathogens such as Listeria and staph.

You can buy guava juice, or simmer chunks in water as you would to make applesauce. Guava also makes a super smoothie: Blend 1/2 banana, 1/2 ripe guava, a handful of strawberries, 1/2 cup soy milk, and a few ice cubes.

25. Dark Chocolate

Thank you, dark chocolate, for making us feel good—not guilty—about dessert. Dark chocolate is filled with flavonoid antioxidants (more than 3 times the amount in milk chocolate) that keep blood platelets from sticking together and may even unclog your arteries.It may also help with weight loss by keeping you feeling full, according to a study from Denmark. Researchers gave 16 participants 100 g of either dark or milk chocolate and 2 hours later offered them pizza. Those who consumed the dark chocolate ate 15% fewer calories than those who had milk chocolate, and they were less interested in fatty, salty, and sugary foods.

Try a chocolate with 70% or more cocoa. Two tablespoons of dark chocolate chips with fresh berries as a midafternoon snack or after-dinner dessert should give you some of the heart-healthy benefits without busting your calorie budget.

Share This Post
Share
Build Your Base
Start with 1 1/2 scoops of protein powder (about 30 grams) and 12 ounces of nonfat milk instead of water. This yields roughly 240 calories, 40 grams of protein, 16 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of fat. Toss in some fruit for flavor, or a tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter for a creamier shake. These will boost calories, carbs, and fat, but they’re good for your overall diet.
Keep It Smooth
Buzz the concoction in a blender. Add ice if you like your shakes thicker. If you’re using a shaker bottle, prevent clumping by pouring about a cup of the milk into the bottle before adding the powder. Shake it up until the powder is well incorporated, add the rest of the milk, and shake again until smooth.
Time It Right
Drink your shake within the hour prior to your workout. This is the best time to fuel your muscles for high-intensity training.
(Source: Alan Aragon, M.S., a nutritionist in Thousand Oaks, California, and a Men’s Health advisor)
Share This Post
Share

by Kari Hartel, RD, LD

When life gets busy, eating right can be hard to do. Our increasingly chaotic lifestyles are jam-packed with so many long hours working, taking care of families, trying to maintain healthy relationships, and many other
responsibilities that it’s often difficult to find the time to take care of ourselves. One of the first things that gets put on the back-burner is eating healthy and getting enough physical activity. However, health should be a
priority in all of our lives. With a little planning and self-discipline, making quick but healthy lunches and snacks can be as easy as pie (but I’m not suggesting you choose pie). Consider the easy options below the next time you pack a lunch to take to work or know you have a long busy day ahead of you.

Wraps and sandwiches are great because they take little time to prepare and are travel-friendly. They also allow you to incorporate some of your favorite vegetables and can contain a mixture of fuels (carbohydrates, protein, and fat). Use whole-wheat bread or a whole-grain tortilla or wrap (Flat-Out wraps work wonderfully) and add a lean meat or protein such a sliced turkey or chicken (or beans or tofu if you’re a vegetarian). Throw in a slice of reduced-free cheese, an abundance of veggies, and some mustard or light mayonnaise.

Tuna, salmon, chicken, and crab salads make for quick, simple, tasty lunches. Prepare with low-fat mayonnaise (try the kind made with olive oil) or nonfat Greek yogurt, your favorite chopped vegetables (green onions, pickles, radishes, bell peppers, celery and carrots work well and provide some crunch). Adding chopped nuts to these salads will provide a dose of heart-healthy fats, fiber, protein and minerals. Eat the salad between two slices of whole-wheat bread, in a whole-grain wrap or pita pocket, or with some whole-grain crackers. Add a piece of fruit and a glass of skim milk or non-fat yogurt and you’ve got a complete, well-balanced, healthy meal.

Another quick, easy lunch option that requires no refrigeration is a microwavable pouch of whole-grain brown rice. Uncle Ben’s “Ready Rice” pouches, which you microwave in the pouch for just 90 seconds, are a great start to a fast, healthy, delicious meal. You can add your own seasonings, or if you are really strapped for time, pick one that is already flavored. Just be sure to choose a whole-grain variety over the white rice varieties (which usually come in more flavors). Some of the whole-grain varieties come in chicken-flavored or Santa-Fe-flavored packs. There are similar microwavable pouches sold by other brands, so check what’s available wherever you buy groceries. A 1-cup serving of these types of microwavable rice pouches has about 190-220 calories and serves as a healthy vehicle for a well-balanced meal. Add plenty of chopped veggies, cooked chicken breast, tofu, tuna or other lean protein source, and top with reduced-fat shredded cheese for a complete meal.

Additionally, be sure to always plan ahead for a sneak snack-attack. Hunger pangs tend to strike mid- to late-afternoon as our blood sugar and serotonin levels drop, causing us to crave carbohydrates to refuel. If
you’re not prepared, you may find yourself reaching for whatever fat- and calorie-laden leftovers are sitting in the office break-room. Ideally, your meals and snacks should contain a mixture of complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and a little healthy fat.

Quick, Healthy Snacks and
Lunches-to-Go

Try A Variety Of Flavors Made With
8g Of Whole Grain! Explore Newtons.

NabiscoWorld. com/
NewtonsFruitThins

Find Info On HCG Diet Menu Online.
Achieve Your Desired Figure Now!

dailybody.com

Power-Boost Your Metabolism With A
A Simple Thyroid Fix! Learn More.

Thyroid-Weight-Loss. com

When life gets busy, eating right can be hard to do. Our
increasingly chaotic lifestyles are jam-packed with so many long hours working,
taking care of families, trying to maintain healthy relationships, and many
other responsibilities that it’s often difficult to find the time to take care
of ourselves. One of the first things that gets put on the back-burner is eating
healthy and getting enough physical activity. However, health should be a
priority in all of our lives. With a little planning and self-discipline, making
quick but healthy lunches and snacks can be as easy as pie (but I’m not
suggesting you choose pie). Consider the easy options below the next time you
pack a lunch to take to work or know you have a long busy day ahead of
you.

Wraps and sandwiches are great because they take little time to
prepare and are travel-friendly. They also allow you to incorporate some of your
favorite vegetables and can contain a mixture of fuels (carbohydrates, protein,
and fat). Use whole-wheat bread or a whole-grain tortilla or wrap (Flat-Out
wraps work wonderfully) and add a lean meat or protein such a sliced turkey or
chicken (or beans or tofu if you’re a vegetarian). Throw in a slice of
reduced-free cheese, an abundance of veggies, and some mustard or light
mayonnaise.

iStock_000014162714XSmall.jpg Tuna, salmon, chicken, and crab salads make for quick,
simple, tasty lunches. Prepare with low-fat mayonnaise (try the kind made with
olive oil) or nonfat Greek yogurt, your favorite chopped vegetables (green
onions, pickles, radishes, bell peppers, celery and carrots work well and
provide some crunch). Adding chopped nuts to these salads will provide a dose of
heart-healthy fats, fiber, protein and minerals. Eat the salad between two
slices of whole-wheat bread, in a whole-grain wrap or pita pocket, or with some
whole-grain crackers. Add a piece of fruit and a glass of skim milk or non-fat
yogurt and you’ve got a complete, well-balanced, healthy meal.

Another
quick, easy lunch option that requires no refrigeration is a microwavable pouch
of whole-grain brown rice. Uncle Ben’s “Ready Rice” pouches, which you microwave
in the pouch for just 90 seconds, are a great start to a fast, healthy,
delicious meal. You can add your own seasonings, or if you are really strapped
for time, pick one that is already flavored. Just be sure to choose a
whole-grain variety over the white rice varieties (which usually come in more
flavors). Some of the whole-grain varieties come in chicken-flavored or
Santa-Fe-flavored packs. There are similar microwavable pouches sold by other
brands, so check what’s available wherever you buy groceries. A 1-cup serving of
these types of microwavable rice pouches has about 190-220 calories and serves
as a healthy vehicle for a well-balanced meal. Add plenty of chopped veggies,
cooked chicken breast, tofu, tuna or other lean protein source, and top with
reduced-fat shredded cheese for a complete meal.

Additionally, be sure
to always plan ahead for a sneak snack-attack. Hunger pangs tend to strike mid-
to late-afternoon as our blood sugar and serotonin levels drop, causing us to
crave carbohydrates to refuel. If you’re not prepared, you may find yourself
reaching for whatever fat- and calorie-laden leftovers are sitting in the office
break-room. Ideally, your meals and snacks should contain a mixture of complex
carbohydrates, lean protein, and a little healthy fat.

iStock_000003888693XSmall.jpg

Here are few quick, easy, healthy snack items to have on hand. You may need to store some in your office’s break-room fridge,but you can stash other shelf-stable options in your purse, car, desk, or locker at work.
Reach for these when a snack-attack sneaks up on you:
  • Light string cheese and a piece of fruit
  • Peanut butter paired with whole-grain crackers or an apple
  • Beef jerky and whole-grain cereal
  • Sliced turkey with reduced-fat cheese and mustard and a handful of baby carrots
  • Trail mix made w/whole-grain cereal or crackers, dried fruit, and nuts
  • Instant packs of plain oatmeal, topped with nuts and a dash of cinnamon
  • Canned soups (look for light versions and those with lower sodium)
  • Nonfat yogurt topped w/ granola or pretzels
  • Granola bars (choose those that are high in fiber and have less sugar)
  • Hummus with whole-grain crackers or pita bread, or cut-up vegetables
  • Pouches of tuna or salmon with whole-grain crackers or rice cakes
  • A couple of hard-boiled eggs and a whole-wheat toast
  • Low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese topped with sliced pineapple or cucumber
A snack in the mid- to late-afternoon can help stave off hunger and provide you with a much-needed energy boost. Healthy snacking has also been proven to prevent overeating later in the day, which tends to happen when you eat too few calories throughout the day and overcompensate by binging in the evening.
Share This Post
Share

Want to know the secret to losing weight? Eat more.

We don’t mean eat more food, period. We mean eat more often. The ideal diet would consist of about 6 tiny meals eaten throughout the day. But no one can keep that kind of schedule, which is why three solid meals and two small snacks is a good way to go. See, the reason to snack in general is that it’ll keep you from over-indulging come meal time. The reason to snack SMART is to keep yourself full and energized consistently throughout the day – which also keeps you from stuffing your face when it’s time for dinner.

These 12 simple snacks are super easy to whip up, and will keep your belly filled with hunger-squashing protein and fiber. They’re from the newest book in our best-selling series: Cook This, Not That: 350 Calorie Meals. Get the book today for hundreds more delicious weight-loss recipes like these.

Hunger-Squashing
Snack #1

Warm toasted nuts: Toss a combination of nuts – pecans, almonds, peanuts, cashes – with chili powder, black pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. Roast in a 400 degree F oven for 10 minutes, until warm and toasty.

Hunger-Squashing
Snack #2

Ants on a Log: Slather celery with smooth or chunky peanut butter. Dot with raisins.

Hunger-Squashing
Snack #3

Boil a few cups of frozen edamame until tender. Drain and toss with a light coasting of sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and kosher salt.

Hunger-Squashing
Snack #4

Make your own souped-up trail mix: Combine 1 cup almonds, walnuts, or cashews (or a mix of all three) with 1/2 cup sunflower seeds and 1 1/2 cups dried fruit: raisins, apricots, apples, prunes, and/or banana chips.

Hunger-Squashing
Snack #5

Spread the inside of a pita half with plenty of hummus and top with sliced tomato, onion, and lettuce.

Hunger-Squashing
Snack #6

Stuff cherry peppers or bottled Peppadew peppers with soft goat cheese or mini balls of fresh mozzarella.

Hunger-Squashing
Snack #7

Lay a slice of swiss cheese on a cutting board. Top with a slice of deli turkey and a spoonful of hummus or guacamole. Wrap like a jelly roll and eat.

Hunger-Squashing
Snack #8

Cut fresh mozzarella into 1/2-inch cubes. Skewer on toothpicks with pitted green olives and sundried tomatoes.

Hunger-Squashing
Snack #9

Pop a bag of popcorn. While it’s still hot, toss the popcornwith a half cup grated Parmesan and a good amount of chopped fresh rosemary.

Hunger-Squashing
Snack #10

Combine a can of tuna with your favorite salsa. Use Triscuits for scooping.

Hunger-Squashing
Snack #11

Pop a bag of popcorn. While it’s still hot, toss with a tablespoon of melted butter, then 2 tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon.

Hunger-Squashing
Snack #12

Pave a slice of toasted wheat bread with peanut butter and banana slices. Top with a drizzel of honey.

Share This Post
Share

by Willie Johnson and Nancy Musick

The martial arts were created as a means of weaponless self-defense. That’s why almost every art has sparring at its core. By taking the basic martial arts techniques you learn in class and applying them in controlled fighting situations, you’ll learn how you react under pressure.

Unfortunately, many students are afraid to engage in uncontrolled sparring with another student. They don’t want to get hit, and they don’t want to do what it takes to learn how to counter and defend themselves. The following drills were designed to help reluctant students work their way up to free sparring and thus enhance their performance in combat and competition.

Martial
Arts Training Drill No.1: Focus Sparring

Find a partner to hold and move the focus mitt as you strike it with two- and three-punch combinations. It’s important that he orient the mitt in the guard position and not show you the surface until he’s ready for you to strike it. Note that this drill also works with kicks, but your training techniques will need to be precise or you’ll miss the target.

Martial
Arts Training Drill No. 2: Shadow Sparring

This is a form of shadowboxing that’s performed in front of a mirror. Throw kicks, punches, elbows and knees and use proper footwork while you study your reflection. Try to maintain a flowing motion as you determine which parts of your repertoire need to be corrected. Caution: If you spar with another person in front of a mirror and attempt to watch yourself, you will get hit.

Martial
Arts Training Drill No. 3: Heavy-Bag Sparring

Striking a heavy bag gives you an idea of the force and speed you’ll need when you face an actual opponent. Standing in front of the bag, freely throw kicks, punches, elbows and hand strikes. When the bag starts swinging back toward you after a strike, you know you’re making progress. For more fun, pretend the moving bag is an angry opponent trying to smack you and take evasive action.

Martial
Arts Training Drill No. 4: Dummy Sparring

When you’re trying to develop trapping, parrying and centerline-defense skills, a wooden dummy from wing chun kung fu can be useful. It teaches you how to create free-flowing offensive and defensive combinations and how to use both hands at the same time.

Martial
Arts Training Drill No. 5: Point Sparring

In the early days of point sparring, the action was limited to punching, kicking and sweeping. Now martial artists frequently add trapping, grappling and throwing. No matter which techniques you choose to include in your workouts, use mats and protective gear.

Martial
Arts Training Drill No. 6: Circle Sparring

This drill encourages you to remain aware of your surroundings. Three to six people form a circle around you and attack one by one. You have no time to think about the attack; you simply react. If your skills are sufficiently advanced, you can have more than one person charge you at the same time.

What’s your favorite way to spar?
Let us know what you think in the comments section.

Share This Post
Share

It’s been called the edge-of-the-hand strike, the ax hand, the shuto, the thousand-hand strike and the judo chop. It can be found in virtually every martial art from karate to kung fu and in every kata from those practiced at the Kodokan to those done at Kukkiwon. So how did this time-honored karate technique go from martial arts mainstream to martial arts punch line? How did the only strike found in almost every established style go from secret technique to something your grandfather did?

The fate of the technique was sealed in 2002 when Austin Powers executed his patented “judo chop” in Goldmember. Since then, it’s been called outdated, labeled ineffective or simply ignored. While most martial artists and self-defense enthusiasts have abandoned the move for Western-style closed-fist strikes, there’s still a group of steadfast practitioners who know the full story and understand how to correctly apply the technique that was described as “the most deadly blow without the aid of a weapon” by American close-combat pioneer Col. Rex Applegate.

Col. Rex Applegate and other close-quarters-combat experts in the early 1900s realized how effective the karate chop could be, and they proved it time and time again in real-world situations. However, because of the rise of boxing, kickboxing and now the mixed martial arts, it’s been put on the back burner. While the knife-hand strike has little application in the ring, it’s still effective for what it was designed for: up-close combat and self-defense. In fact, it’s the most versatile method of striking and, even better, it can be mastered relatively easily.

The Knife-Hand Strike: Tough

Despite the delicate bone structure of the appendage, the edge and heel of the hand are the only two places that can naturally take a lot of punishment while suffering a minimal amount of damage. That’s in stark contrast to the punch, which may appear formidable in the ring but, when delivered without the protection of hand wraps and gloves, frequently leads to shattered knuckles or dislocated fingers if a skull or elbow is hit.

To be effective with a punch, you must condition your hands—which can take months or even years. To be effective with the karate chop, however, you need only invest in a few weeks of training, after which you’ll be able to hit any target on your opponent’s body and inflict maximum damage with little or no injury to yourself.

The Knife-Hand Strike: Versatile

The blow can be used from any angle or position. On your feet, it enables you to protect the vital areas of your head and neck while you advance, keep your target off-balance and deliver a barrage of strikes.

From a rear-body grab or bear-hug position, the technique can be delivered as an elbow at extreme close range. As you create space using it in conjunction with head butts and stomps, you can inflict more damage with the edge of the hand.

On the ground, it’s also useful. From a dominant position—for example, the mount or guard—the edge of the hand is incredibly effective. If you try to punch a constantly moving target, you stand a good chance of shattering your knuckles on the ground if you miss. You also run the risk of breaking bones in your hand if you hit an elbow or head. Because the karate chop is delivered along an arcing path, it minimizes the chance of making contact with the ground. That empowers you to deliver a series of hard, fast strikes without the risk of sustaining an injury that might render you incapable of continuing.

The Knife-Hand Strike: Effective

Experts agree that when it comes to survival, you need to cause as much damage to your target as rapidly as possible while maintaining the integrity of your bone structure. The karate chop is the keystone of this concept. It enables you to strike anywhere with a sharp, powerful blow, the results of which can range from a stunning strike to a fight-ender. With a little training, an average person can develop good technique; that same amount of training will enable a martial artist to create an awesome strike that works in a variety of situations.
With the rise of reality-based fighting, the karate chop is making a comeback as more and more people are recognizing their need for no-nonsense self-defense techniques. It proved itself on the streets of Shanghai in 1910, and it’s every bit as effective in the deserts of Iraq—or the small towns of America—in 2011.

Share This Post
Share

By: Mark Bittman; Photographs by: Kang Kim

20-pork-red-onion.jpg

From the molten yolk and bacon crunch of a hand-held breakfast, to the gooey charm of grilled cheese for lunch, nothing matches the simple pleasures of well-made sandwiches. They’re quick to assemble, infinitely adaptable, easy to eat, and immediately satisfying—the very definition of good food.

The 25 sandwiches you’re about to meet can be thrown together during the average basketball halftime or, with practice, during the seventh-inning stretch. (Who needs hot dogs, anyway?) Use each recipe as a basic road map, but bring your talent for finding creative routes. You’ll easily reach your final destination: a full belly and a satisfied smile.

1-balt.jpg

1. B. A. L. T.

Think BLT, but better. Smear sandwich bread with some mayo thinned with a bit of lemon juice. Layer on a couple of pieces of good bacon—cooked not too crisp—avocado, lettuce, and tomato.

2-fig-proscuitto.jpg

2. Fig and Prosciutto

Layer pieces of ciabatta or a sturdy sandwich roll with grated fontina or mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced prosciutto, sliced figs, and arugula. If you have a panini maker, grill the sandwich until it’s hot and crispy. Otherwise, cook it on a grill pan or skillet until the cheese melts.

3-sausage-peppers.jpg

3. Sausage and Peppers

In a bit of olive oil, fry a good-quality sweet Italian sausage until it’s crisp and brown. Remove it, and cook sliced red, yellow, or green peppers in the fat, along with some sliced onion. Pile everything onto a roll or a split loaf of French or Italian bread.

4-fish-chili-lime-dressing.jpg

4. Fish Sandwich with Chili-Lime Dressing

Dredge a fish fillet in cornmeal and then pan-fry it until it’s crisp. Serve on a crusty roll with shredded cabbage or lettuce, chopped cilantro, and sliced tomatoes. Thin some mayo with lime juice, add chili powder and minced garlic, and slather the dressing on the bun before serving.

More on MensHealth.com: The 100 Best Fitness Tips

5-toasted-almond.jpg

5. Open-Faced Toasted Almond Sandwich

Use a blender or food processor to puree shelled toasted almonds with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, lemon rind, and fresh sage. Spread the puree on crusty bread and layer it with pecorino or Parmesan cheese. Broil it just until the cheese melts, and you’re good to go.

More on MensHealth.com: Dr. Oz’s 25 Greatest Health Tips

6-grilled-cheese-pears.jpg

6. Grilled Cheese with Pears

Thickly butter (or brush with good olive oil) both sides of two pieces of sandwich bread. Layer the insides with sharp cheddar cheese or fontina, and thinly sliced, fully ripe pears. Pan-grill (use a panini maker if you have one) until the bread is golden and the cheese has melted.

7-croque-monsieur.jpg

7. Croque Monsieur

Thickly butter (or brush with good olive oil) both sides of two pieces of sandwich bread. Layer with ham (not prosciutto), Gruyere or Comte cheese, and Dijon mustard. Pangrill (use a panini maker if you have one) until the bread is golden and the cheese has melted.

8-eggplant-parmesan.jpg

8. Eggplant Parm Sandwich

Toss eggplant slices in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and grill or sauté on both sides until tender. While they’re still hot, top them with thinly sliced mozzarella and let it melt. Serve on crusty bread with fresh tomatoes, basil, and grated Parmesan.

9-lyonnaise.jpg

9. Lyonnaise Sandwich

Top a piece of crusty bread with a pile of frisée (or other bitter greens). Cover it with a slab of crisp-cooked pancetta or bacon, and lay a poached or fried egg on top. Drizzle it, if you like, with a tiny bit of olive oil mixed with wine vinegar and Dijon mustard. You’ll never eat another Egg McMuffin.

10-asian-shrimp-veg-wrap.jpg

10. Asian Shrimp and Vegetable Wrap

Slice cooked shrimp in half the long way, and toss them with some sesame oil and soy sauce. On a piece of lavash or other flatbread, layer some chopped baby bok choy or cabbage, mung beans, crisp sautéed shiitake mushrooms, and the shrimp. Add a little more soy sauce (or, better, soy-laced mayo), and wrap it up.

11-turkey-apple-burger.jpg

11. Turkey Apple Burger

Combine ground turkey with finely chopped onion, diced tart apples, salt and pepper, and a few leaves of chopped fresh tarragon or sage; grill or pan-cook. Serve on a hamburger bun with arugula or other salad green and a smear of Dijon mustard to amp up the flavor even further.

12-proscuitto-asparagus.jpg

12. Open-Faced Prosciutto and Asparagus

Lay thinly sliced prosciutto on half a baguette. Top it with asparagus spears that’ve been steamed or grilled until quite tender. Toss some arugula with olive oil and lemon, and lay that on top of the asparagus. A little Dijon wouldn’t hurt. Eat it open-faced to halve the carb load.

More on MensHealth.com: The 10 Dirtiest Foods You’re Eating

13-nut-wich.jpg

13. Nut-Wich

Start with a combination you like, such as banana, honey, and almonds; avocado and peanuts; cooked sweet potatoes and hazelnuts; apricots and almonds; peaches and pistachios; or roasted beets and walnuts. Lightly mash and then smear the spread on toasted bread, and sprinkle on some more chopped nuts.

14-spicy-crab-salad.jpg

14. Spicy Crab-Salad Sandwich

Mix lump crabmeat with a bit of sesame oil, a chopped Thai (or other) chili, scallion, garlic, and salt. Mound it all on a roll with shredded napa or Savoy cabbage, and squeeze lime juice over everything.

15-goat-cheese-spinach.jpg

15. Croissant with Herbed Goat Cheese and Spinach

Mix goat cheese with freshly chopped oregano and thyme, and spread it on a split croissant. Add spinach or arugula, and chopped olives or roasted red peppers. (Sliced turkey or ham is optional.)

More on MensHealth.com: The 36 Best Grooming Products for Men

16-thanksgiving-sandwich.jpg

16. Thanksgiving Sandwich

Spread whole-wheat toast with goat cheese or cream cheese. Top with cranberry sauce and cooked turkey, and add avocado slices, along with some cooked and crumbled bacon.

17-turkish-lamb-pocket.jpg

17. Turkish Lamb Pocket

Sauté ground lamb with chopped onions, minced garlic, ground cinnamon (along with a little ground cumin and coriander if you like), and salt and pepper. Stuff into a pita with freshly chopped tomatoes and shredded romaine lettuce. Top with a dollop of yogurt (Greek-style is best), a squeeze of lemon, and, if you like, a bit of minced onion.

18-chicken-pepper-pesto.jpg

18. Chicken Red-Pepper Pesto Panini

Purée roasted red peppers with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Smear the mix on split ciabatta or similar bread. Top with grilled chicken and chopped arugula or other spicy greens that are drizzled with a little more balsamic vinegar.

19-nicose-hero.jpg

19. Niçoise Hero

Mash good-quality tuna (canned in olive oil) with some pitted black oil-cured olives and drained capers. Spread it into a scooped-out roll with lettuce, tomatoes, raw or steamed green beans, and a squeeze of lemon. Sliced hard-boiled egg is good in here, too.

20-pork-red-onion_1.jpg

20. Pork Sandwich with Red-Onion Relish

Sauté red onion slices in olive oil until soft, adding a splash of red-wine vinegar as they cook. Slice roasted pork thinly, layer it on sourdough bread, and top the pork with the onion relish. A little ketchup would help.

21-pb-banana-bacon.jpg

21. PB, B & B (or, the Elvis Alternative)

Toast two slabs of crusty white bread, and slather them with peanut butter. Build layers of bacon and banana until the sandwich is a hunka burnin’ peanut-butter love. Then hit the gym. You’ll need to work this one off.

22-sushi-sandwich.jpg

22. Sushi Sandwich

Cover a rice cake or rice cracker with thin slices of sushi-grade tuna. (The tuna is easier to slice thin if you freeze it for half an hour or so.) Smear lightly with wasabi paste and then drizzle it with good soy sauce. Optional toppings include chopped pickled ginger or lightly toasted and crumbled nori seaweed.

23-salmon-dill-pumpernickel.jpg

23. Smoked Salmon and Dill on Pumpernickel

Spread cream cheese or plain yogurt thinly on slices of pumpernickel bread; top with smoked salmon and fresh dill. Very thinly sliced lemon works magic here, too. Ditch the rind before adding.

24-bistro-baguette.jpg

24. Bistro Baguette

Grill a skirt steak (few foods are faster to prepare), while you caramelize (slowly sauté) some onions in olive oil. Layer the steak and onions on a baguette with watercress, sliced tomatoes, and mustard.

25-roast-beef-horseradish-cucumbers.jpg

25. Roast Beef with Horseradish and Cucumbers

Mix horseradish with enough mayo to make it spreadable, and smear it on whole-grain bread. Top with thinly sliced roast beef, thinly sliced cucumbers, thinly sliced onion rings (optional), and arugula or another spicy green to complete the effect.

Share This Post
Share

Maximize gym time with a smart dumbbell routine like this one from Patrick Striet, C.S.C.S., owner of Force Fitness and Performance in Cincinnati. “Dumbbell complexes that target large muscle groups can stimulate more muscle fibers and speed up fat loss,” he says.

The Workout

Do this: Perform the circuit four times. For the first circuit, do 12 reps of each exercise. Then do 10 reps for the second, 8 for the third, and 6 for the fourth. Rest only after each circuit; select weight and rest time by your experience level.

Beginner: 20-30 pounds, rest 60-90 seconds

Intermediate: 30-40 pounds, rest 45-60 seconds

Advanced: 40-50 pounds, rest 30-45 seconds

Straight-Leg Deadlift

Using an overhand grip, hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Bend at your hips to lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Pause, and raise back up.

Thrusters

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells next to your shoulders. Squat so your thighs are parallel to the floor. As you stand up, press the dumbbells up. Then lower them back down to your shoulders.

Bent-Over Row

Holding a pair of dumbbells, bend at your hips and knees and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Bend your elbows and pull the dumbbells to the sides of your torso. Pause, and then slowly lower them.

Squat Thrust

Stand holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides. Squat and kick your legs backward into a pushup position. Then quickly return your legs to a squat, stand up, and jump.

Share This Post
Share

Share This Post
Share
Get Adobe Flash player