Thursday, September 30, 2010

Today's Recipe Quickie- Fried Eggplant/Zucchini- and yes, it CAN be Healthy & Fried!

This is just a picture showing how it will look, not mine personally, but I remove the skin.

Hello Everybody! I really need to get back into the swing of things, but wow, i've been insanely busy with school and life in general. I had a few requests for my fried eggplant and/or zucchini so here it is. It's not a perfectly proportioned (1/4 tbsp of this that and bla bla bla). It's kind of more using your judgement, which makes it easier and faster!

What you need:

  • 1 lb Zucchini or Eggplant (Large or small)
  • About 3/4-1 cup flour
  • Progresso (or any other) Italian style bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • More ore less a quarter cup of olive oil (depends on how much you are cooking!)
  • Light/Fat Free Ranch Dressing OR heated Marinara sauce (for dipping of course)

What to do:

  • If using Large Eggplant- Peel the skin off, if using zucchini or small eggplant, I prefer to leave it on.
  • Cut ends off, and chop it into about 1/4" pieces
  • Toss zucchini/eggplant pieces un flour to evenly coat (not too thick)
  • Beat two eggs in bowl (salt and pepper for extra flavor)
  • Pour about 3/4 to 1 cup of bread crumbs in separate bowl

  • After evenly coated in flour, dip zucchini/eggplant in egg and then in bread crumbs put on plate until all are breaded.
  • Pour just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a skillet
  • Heat Olive Oil in skillet until hot, about 2-3 minutes (be careful for hot oil splattering)
  • Put zucchini/eggplant into oil and let sizzle until browned one each side (time varies for different sizes), use fork to flip, it won't be more than a minute or two on each side,  and when evenly browned and crispy, put onto plate with paper towel underneath (absorbs extra oil)
  • Continue this until all of yours is done, dip in ranch, and voila! I personally love it, and it is very healthy, here's why:

Some people might ask me..but olive oil is moderately high in calories why would I fry vegetables in it?
Well, it has  omega-3 fatty acids which are essential to your body. They help keep your skin, hair, nails, and all that good stuff healthy! The average recommendation for olive oil each day is about 1-2Tbsp but when you are using 1/8-1/4 cup to fry an entire pound, chances are you won't be eating it all yourself. We also use the paper towel to absorb the excess oil, and a lot will be left over in the pain, so don't panic! It has no trans fat and is (in my opinion) by far the healthiest and most beneficial oil to the human body that can be used in cooking.
So you are getting a vegetable (the zucchini/eggplant), protein (eggs)- Keep in mind eggs do have a significant amount of cholesterol, but you are dipping them, not eating them whole, and there will be some left over, and 330mg of cholesterol is recommended daily. Your body needs to consume 20% of it's cholesterol form the diet, just don't over do it, guys! You are getting some carbohydrates which i LOVE in the bread crumbs, and your omega-3's in the olive oil. You are also getting your dairy in the Ranch dressing you may use to dip it in. I haven't figured the calories but if I think about it in my head real quick, but if I think about it with oil and all, I would say (broken up into 4 servings), each serving would have about 300-350 calories (not including dipping sauce). Maybe I will figure that out one of these days. That is not a bad little snack or you could even make a meal out of the eggplant, with a side of veggies or rice, like I do. =]

Leftovers: If you microwave them, they will not be crispy, so the next night I will re-fry them up with about 2 to 3 Tbsp of olive oil so they can maintain their "crunch". Hope you guys enjoy, let me know what you think!

Off to school. <3

Monday, September 27, 2010

CALCIUM- Why is it so Important to your Body?

So where to begin? Calcium. You've all heard of it, and you all know it's supposed to help your bones, but what exactly does it do, why do you need it and what can you eat to get it? 

I will start with why I personally believe in spreading the word about Calcium. When I was 16, I was dropped when flying as a cheerleader in high school. I compression fractured a vertebrae in my thoracic spine. A Normal 16 year old might not have fractured it to begin with, and if they did, they would be able to heal in a few weeks. Unfortunately I wasn't "normal". I battled bulimia nervosa and later anorexia nervosa off and on from the time I was 15 to the time I was 21. My body did not have the proper nutrition and calcium to not only keep my bones strong enough from breaking, but it definitely didn't get the proper calcium to heal it and. I now am 23 years old and have the spine of close to a 55 year old women, and I have arthritis, not to mention all of the actual damage to the spine and discs themselves. I wish I could go back and time and have been healthy and done all I could to prevent what it's like now, but I can't. All I can do is tell people how important Calcium is to their bone health, so hopefully nobody ever has to go through what I am and will have to for the rest of my life.

Let's start with the benefits: Everybody knows that Calcium is for bone strength, but what exactly does that mean? It means that without Calcium your bones will weaken and eventually begin to break, even without major trauma. Osteoporosis, and low bone density will all cause your bones to be weak and fracture more easily. Calcium is also responsible for your nails and teeth. Without Calcium, your nails would turn white and your teeth would become brittle and easily break as well. Many people you see in third world countries often have a lot of missing teeth, not only from lack of dental care, but a lot of people are not getting adequate nutrition and calcium to support the health of their teeth. 

It's not as simple as simply eating calcium-rich foods. Vitamin D is something we all need to absorb Calcium and help the body retain it and keep it's levels at a healthy balance. Vitamin D rich foods include many breakfast cereals, soy milk, regular milk does have some, fish, etc. The RDA (Recommended dietary Allowance) for Vitamin D is about 800 IU (International Units), if you take supplements, most supplements contain about 400 IU, so you would only need to obtain about 400 from your diet

As Americans, many of us do not get the amount of Calcium we need, because most people are not eating healthy. Fast food, eating out, and frozen dinner don't always cut it when it comes to what you really need. So ask for a nutrition fact sheet and/or check the box. Women on average only get about 744mg calcium each day which falls short of the recommended 800-1000mg. If you are vegan you do need to find healthy substitutes to assure you are getting proper calcium. Spinach, and many other dark leafy greens do offer a fair amount of Calcium. 1.5% of our body is made of Calcium (Ca). When put into perspective that is a lot, so let's see how we can achieve this?

Recommended Daily Intake: (They slightly vary depending on where you look, but this is the standard)
Children: Ages: 1-3:    700mg
                         4-11:  800 mg
Girls/Women:   12-15: 1000 mg
                        16-menopause: 800-1000mg
                         Pregnant:         1100mg
                         Breastfeeding:  1200mg
                         After menopause:1000mg
Men:                  12-15:  1200mg
                          16-18: 1000 mg
                          18 and up: 800mg

Note: Do not exceed the maximum tolerable limit of Calcium, which is 2500mg.

What foods can I get Calcium from?
Milk (8 oz glass of 2% milk has about 35% of your daily calcium needs)
Leafy Greens
Fortified foods: (Orange juice, breakfast cereals, etc.)
...and many others. Those are just a few of my favorite ways to get it in. I take in a lot of calcium now in hopes of stopping the problems where I'm at, but once you get to the calcium-depleted state, your body cannot reverse the damage, so be smart and get your calcium now, before it's too late!

Friday, September 17, 2010


This makes me SICK.
I got this in the mail yesterday.
Hey everyone!

Sorry i've been MIA a good portion of this week, but I have been beyond overwhelmed. But don't worry, I'm back! Glad to say I'm up to almost 20 followers! Exciting, right!?

So let's get down to business..Today I just need to vent on a subject I am EXTREMELY passionate about. I am not trying to offend anyone that has got any of these procedures done, but I am hoping to SAVE people from going this route or letting their loved ones go there in the future. It is UNNECESSARY. As you now I am pro-health and fitness. I am all about healthy living, exercise, and all that good stuff in between. You know from past posts I don't believe in starving yourself temporarily and dieting for weight loss. I believe in long term life-time change and eating what you want, when you want it in moderation, while incorporating the good healthy tips I give on here.

Lap Band is one of the most irritating things to me. I get so frustrating with their billboards, their commercials, and NOW, they're even sending flyers (see picture above of flyer i got yesterday) in the mail. Their slogan is "Diets Fail, Lap-band Works". This is the most naive and sickening statement known to man. Diets do "fail" when people eat well for a month and go back to stuffing their faces like they did before, OF COURSE IT WILL FAIL. Any logical person can tell you that. If you slowly cut out some of the high fatty and high sugar foods you are eating in mass quantities and eat them only in moderation, you will see results, but you know you need to stay with it and exercise. This is an unnecessary procedure for 80% of those who get it, in my opinion. I don't care who you are, if you are overweight (not counting those that are in the 500+ weight range that immediately have to lose weight or their health is going to fail) you CAN do this on your own. In some cases, I agree that weight loss surgeries are necessary for those that have health issues that are going to take your life before you have time to lose it. (See I'm not that bad, right?).

There are people that are like 180 pounds and 220 and whatever else getting this procedure and in my opinion that is WRONG. I truly believe that people taking this route want to take the easy way out and just don't want to work hard for weight loss. I can also guarantee you that it is much more rewarding knowing you lost that weight yourself. Lap band is the process in which a ring is placed around the opening to your stomach slightly down below the esophagus that will block the entrance of more than a very tiny amount of food at a time. Although adjustable, I still don't see anything healthy about this. People all over are definitely getting the idea from all of these billboards and messages all over that it is the easy way out of being overweight..and that you SHOULD do it. NO NO NO! Lap-Band's REAL message is that "you don't need to eat healthy and work hard, just come give us your money and get surgery and you can continue to be lazy, AND you'll lose weight!" Do they tell you that you're also extremely likely to become nutrient deficient in many areas later and the long term negative affects on you body (your heart, muscles, organs, etc.) I have seen people that have had this surgery and gastric-bypass. Some of these people do NOT look healthy after a long period of time. I argue every day with people that want to get these procedures and hopefully I talk them out of it. I believe that with some hard work and calorie management and consistency in your diet and exercise, you can avoid these procedures.

Gastric Bypass. I don't even know where to begin with my hatred toward this irreversible procedure.  I know a few people that have gotten this, and some do look good (although I believe they could have lost the weight on their own, with a little hard work at time), and some just don't. They are stapling your stomach so that your entire stomach can only hold a such little amount of food, you can't even drink with your meals because it will fill up so fast. Your stomach is reduced to the size of a walnut or small egg. If you eat more than a handful full at one time, you will likely throw up because your stomach will reject the excess food. I'm sorry, but your stomach is made to expand, absorb and consume vital nutrients necessary to the functioning of the human body. A majority of those individuals who receive this procedure will have to be on nutritional supplements the rest of their lives, because without them their body's will be in a state of mal-nutrition. And nutritional supplements (which are a good topic for another day) are not like the real nutrients that our bodies get from real food. Your body is not made to consume that little food. No matter what size you are/were.

If you are considering this surgery and are not near or over that 500 lb mark and have health issued related to your obesity, PLEASE take the healthy and rewarding route. EAT HEALTHY, EXERCISE, and take pride in your weight loss that you are doing on your own. The unhealthiness and procedural risks in these procedures are just not worth it. Take some initiative and do a little work. Don't take the easy way out that will ultimately have a chance of taking your life SOONER from the malnutrition and the stress on your body and heart from these procedures. I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I just give you the facts when it comes to food and exercise. Always consult your physician before beginning any major diet changes or exercise routine. <3

Monday, September 13, 2010

Weight Fluctuation? Why do I weigh more sometimes? The answers are here!

Did you know it is 100% normal to fluctuate up to 5 pounds a day? From the time you wake up in the morning to the time you go to sleep your body has done so many different things, that it makes this process normal. If you weight yourself after you eat, before you go to the bathroom, after you drink, after working out, all of these weight will vary, and sometimes significantly. Now sometimes you even fluctuate from day to day (I have this problem). One morning I will wake up, my tummy will feel all flat and I'll weigh myself, and be like OH, that's not so bad! And have a good day, right? The next morning I weight myself, I'm 2-3 pounds heavier, are you serious? It takes 3500 EXTRA calories a week to gain 1 lb, and I sure as heck know I didn't eat 7,000-10,500 extra calories. I also notice i'm a little bit "bloated" around the middle. What is this from? You better believe it, WATER WEIGHT! Also known as edema, or fluid retention, it is normally a very common problem, especially in women. Now let me say this first, if your fluid retention is way out of the normal range, as in it is completely noticeable and you have notices a significant weight change, please consult your physician, because sometimes that is your body's way of something somethings wrong, and those issues can go on and on. It is always best to consult your physician if you notice things are more out of wack than usual, just fyi. So now you are wondinering, what can I do to get rid on it? Here a few healthy tips to help get rid of that excess fluid in your body. 
1. Stay hydrated. I know, you are thinking "What, drink more water?!" yes. Believe it or not, sometimes you body can be bloated because it is dehydrated and holding onto the fluid you have because it needs it. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. It WILL help.
2. Lower your sodium intake. Unfortunately Americans eat 2 to 3x the recommended daily intake for sodium. Most Americans consume about 5,000mg to 6,000mg daily, when doctors recommend no more than 2,400mg. If you are sodium sensitive, 1,000 is normally the recommended amount. High sodium food comes from canned foods, processesed meats, fast foods, fried foods, etc. You know that when you taste something and it's salty, it is probably high in sodium. So those potato chips you like to eat a whole bag of in one sitting? Cut it out. They are not only a waste of calories, but they are swamping your poor insides with sodium and you will be irritated the next few days when you are bloated because of it.
3. FIBER! We have talked a little bit about fiber in my whole wheat bread topic. A diet rich in Fiber and Potassium can believe it or not clear out all excess junk, including the excess fluid and sodium. 

4. for WOMEN only- Your bodies retain fluid starting up to 5 days before your menstrual cycle. So  if you are a regular "weigher", you may want to skip the scale until a few days after it has ended, because it can and most of the time WILL give a false reading. 

So bottom line, don't freak out if your weight jumps a little. It is perfectly normal, in most cases. But those 3 tips above will help flatten out that middle section a little bit if you are retaining water. Summary: Limit sodium, stay hydrated, eat plently of fiber and potassion (i'm not saying to overdo it! Just incorporate more into your diet). You will probably take a few days but you should notice a difference in the way your jeans fit, your stomach pooches and the number on the  scale. With that, it's time for me to get going! Any questions? Leave a comment and I will do my best to answer them asap. Things have been a little hectic with school lately so I haven't had time everyday for my blog, but hang tough!! <3

Friday, September 10, 2010

PORTION CONTROL- Eat what you want, when you want!

It is a comment thought process for people trying to lose weight or eat healthier that you can't have the good stuff! WRONG. I'm going to talk about how you can eat what you want, when you want to, and how to stay slim or still shed pounds! Let's begin with the first fault of many (what I like to call) "chronic dieters"."Dieting" is where people make the first wrong decision. You are setting yourself up for failure. Why? Because you are telling yourself that you only need to "eat right" or  limit your food intake for a certain amount of time and when you either: A. Get discouraged because you're not losing weight fast enough and quit  or B. Lose a few pounds and go back to eating like a slob, it just doesn't work for the long run. It frustrates me when people think that "diets" and "temporary restriction" are the thing to do. I disagree with the process of "dieting" and "fasting.. I believe that an entire lifestyle change needs to take place to be healthy, stay healthy, and obtain PERMANENT weight loss goals. During this process of a lifestyle change, there is no need to cut out the things you enjoy, it's about eating them in smaller portions, and not going overboard.

Let's start with why diet's fail: First off, diets fail because most people get impatient with the fact that they are not losing weight fast enough for their expectations. Let me say this: Medically (per doctors and professional opinions) and nutritionally speaking, it is NEVER healthier to lose more than 2 pounds of fat a week. Period. Fluid is different (we can get to that another time). People feel that if they haven't lost twenty pounds in a week or two that their "diet" isn't working and they say "screw it!" Now that your body has pretty much been deprived of the good stuff for the interim of this "diet" phase, you are going to not only go back to eating normally the way you did before, but you will binge on the things that you didn't allow yourself during that period of time. Between that and the messing  with your metabolism during your temporary period of not eating very much, you will gain more weight than you initially lost. This is why people get frustrated. It doesn't have to be this way, next topic, how to make that lifestyle change work for you!

So how do you really make a long term change that will work for you? Simple. Setting small goals and obtaining them one at a time. You can't set yourself up and say "I want to lose thirty pounds in one month" and then when it obviously doesn't happen give up. You need to set small goals first and once you achieve those, go on to bigger ones. When you achieve the small ones, you will easily see that you are capable of following through and you will be more motivated to continue. It's not about cutting out the "junk food". It is about limiting your portions of it so that you can still have it, and enjoy it. I'm going to start with some examples.

An example of what you would eat now:
3 pieces of fried chicken, a large side of mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and for dessert, a large slice of chocolate cake. (yes I am referring to the typical KFC meal).

Instead, you should eat:
A 5 oz piece of grilled chicken breast, a small portion of roasted potatoes, and a vegetable of your choice, and for dessert, 2 chocolate chips cookies OR a small brownie.

Now that is just a very specific example, but there are so many simple ways to change your diet permanently that will benefit you in more ways that you can imagine in the long run. Here is a list of small things you can do to change your eating habits and lifestyle, long term. 

1. MY NUMBER ONE RULE: Eat small portions all day long. Instead of having 2 or 3 massive meals, eat small meals and have healthy snacks all day! Have a healthy breakfast, a balances lunch and dinner, and incorporate a healthful snack in between each meal. Not only will this satisfy cravings, but it will keep your metabolism constantly on the move! I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but small meals. I snack on granola bars, trail mix, fruit, veggies, all day long! My metabolism is constantly moving, and yours can too if you do the same! Not to mention, your blood sugar stays stable which will help you stay more alert throughout the day!
2. Don't let any of your food portions on the plate touch each other. This will serve the purpose of smaller portion sizes.
3. Limit your foods to one lean protein (meat, fish, tofu, etc.), one starch/carb (whole wheat rice/pasta, etc), and one green veggie (broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, etc).
4. Avoid fried foods, ESPECIALLY when you're not frying them yourself. In restaurants and fast food chains, foods are normally fried in animal fat and icky oils that contain trans fat and all sorts of gross stuff! If you do enjoy the occasionally fried food, fry it in olive oil. I LOVE fried zucchini and fried eggplant, I bread them with breadcrumbs and fry them in olive oil, it is a much healthier alternative to other fried foods when you have the craving for something fried.
5. Again, avoid red meat. No more than once or twice a week TOTAL. Switch to lean proteins, such as chicken and turkey BREAST, lean pork, and tofu.
6. Cut out sodas. And I don't even mean replace them with diet soda, they aren't that great either (that's another topic). If you are one of those people that is always craving something fizzy, try carbonated flavored waters and mineral waters. NOTE: You CAN occasionally have  a soda (limit to one or two cans a week), there is nothing wrong with that, the point of this is for people that drink soda on a regular basis, those calories really add up and CAN be avoided!
7. Incorporate more water into your diet. That will just benefit anyone in general. Note: do not OVER hydrate, this can deplete your body of vital vitamins and minerals.
8. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables. Instead of eating snacks that are rich in sugar and starches, grab a banana or some grapes. People that eat the recommended amount of fruits and veggies naturally have a lower body weight than those who don't. (Just fyi). Great snacks: Carrots and light ranch, apples and light caramel, celery and PB, etc.
9. If you normally eat a whole bag of cookies or potato chips in a night or two, ration them. Limit yourself to say, 3 cookies or 20 chips a day, with a small glass of milk or some salsa. If you like Ice cream, have a small cup full instead of an entire bowl. If you like Brownies, have ONE, no larger than size of your palm. Have these goodies a few nights a week (even every night wouldn't hurt in SMALL amounts). So you aren't feeling deprived of the good stuff. On the opposite nights (or to substitute for the sweets), have a bowl of fruit with fat free whipped cream, so you can still have you "sweets. 
9. Limit alcohol consumption. Those calories will definitely add up and bloat you!

There are so many ways to enjoy your food and not over do it. Remember. It's not about a temporary diet, it's about a permanent lifestyle change and allowing yourself a little bit of EVERYTHING. 


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cellulite- What is it and can I get rid of it?

Good Morning Everyone!

Well I wish there was a more simple yes or no answer to this topic. An estimated 90% of women have cellulite (say statistics) at some point in their lives. And I know some of you do too. I feel by bringing up this topic and explaining it more, maybe people won't beat themselves up so much! I know that as a primarily European woman (yes race and heredity have a LOT to do with it), unfortunately I do battle this issue. Cellulite is not limited to, but primarily seen in, white women of European decent. It is also seen in hispanics, but seen less frequently in Asian and African American women (of normal, healthy weights). Most people wouldn't talk about it openly, but Tyra did, so why shouldn't I? Ha ha. The fact is that celebrities and people all over the world spend millions of dollars each year on cellulite treatments that just DO NOT work. The women you see in magazine that you look at and say "wow that is what I want to look like!" really don't look like that. I have seen untouched and then retouched pictures, and let me tell you, all of us could look like supermodels if we had a great photographer and someone to touch up our pictures. Celebrities that have openly discussed their battle with this icky problem include Kim Kardashian, Mischa Barton, Tyra Banks, and more, but a majority of celebrity women have been photographed un-touched and have it too! I find it interesting that the people we idolize are just like us. I am here to explain that it is normal, that no matter what you do, you can't get rid of it all the way, and to accept it! I will tell you how to IMPROVE it and how to understand it. So here we go..

What is cellulite? Cellulite is a term used to describe the dimpled appearance of skin caused by fat deposits that are just below the surface of the skin. ( So people say, if it's just fat deposits, if I lose weight won't it go away? The answer is no. I have been twenty pounds lighter than I am now and guess what..I STILL had it. So I started to research it. I was determined to understand it, and try whatever I could to get rid of it! I have tried the creams, the gels, the brushes, and every "butt" machine at the gym. All of the products don't work, but I can say with the exercise and workout routines I do (focused on the gluteal muscles), it has definitely got better. Maybe 40%? But the more I read on it and understand it, there is not much more you can do. 

Why do I have it? My breakdown of it would be 40% lifestyle (food, exercise, etc), and 60% genetics. This is only a number I have come up with, this is not FACT. Genetically, this is one of those things you don't want to get from mom and grandma, but you just do. (Most of the time). Nor everybody is the same. So your mom might have it and you don't, you could've got your dad's gene pool and it may have worked more in your favor.

So how can I Improve it? Number one, you need to reduce the amount of saturated fats in your diet. (Saturated=Animal-based fats). Drink plenty of water, and yep, EXERCISE. Squats, lunges, stair master, all of these done appropriately can definitely visibly reduce the appearance of cellulite. That is the only way you will be able to improve it. There is no such thing as a complete cure (for most people). It is a genetic disorder and definitely hereditary. Just stay as healthy as you can be and accept that if you are in this 90%, you need to learn to be okay with it, accept, it, and one day embrace it. And believe it or not, it's probably not as bad as you think. I know that when I look at myself in the mirror, I pick myself apart more than anyone else, we are our own worst critics. Love yourself Look in the mirror and tell yourself everyday that you love yourself. :) I leave you with that. Have a great day everyone!

<3 Jillian

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Exercise- The Importance and Benefits!

So this is my first of what will be many posts on physical activity. I am an avid believer in exercise. Keep in mind this is for people that are healthy and have consulted a physician regarding exercise. Now, I'm not saying you need to be an olympic athlete, but EVERY healthy person needs (and I like to say deserves) to exercise. It is crucial to the mind and body. Not only will it keep you/get you in shape, but it does so much more for the body and mind than you realize.

Let's start with the "ticker" a.k.a your heart. Research shows that women who exercise are 40% less likely to have a heart attack and men that exercise are 60% less likely to have a heart attack than those who don't. If you take the average of men and women, that is a 50% decrease in risk for heart attack just from getting your butt off the couch and moving around a little bit. It is proven to reduce cholesterol, blood sugar, and the big one, BLOOD PRESSURE. The minimum amount of recommended physical activity for a normal, healthy adult is 30 minutes, 5 times a week. (Ideally, the new recommended amount is 1 hour a day, 5x a week), but 30 minutes a day is a good start and sufficient! If you do the math, that is only 2.5 hours a week for 30 minutes, an 5 hours a week for 1 hour...I don't care who you are and what excuses you may have, you can make time. There are 168 hours in a week. You are devoting between 3 and 5 of those hours to keep your body healthy and getting/staying in shape! I am in school full time, work part time, and have a ton of stuff to do (homework, studying, cooking, cleaning, etc.), but I MAKE the time for exercise, because I know the consequences when you don't.

Exercise is also proven to reduce stress. So many people are under stress and overwhelmed (between work, school, the economy, kids, etc.), but including more physical activity in your daily lives is proven to reduce this and the high blood pressure that is associated with stress. 

Make your kids exercise. Staying inside and playing video games and going online/watching TV all day is not exercising, despite popular belief. If you have a dog, get some air, take your child and your pet on a walk. Make working out fun for you and them. Not to mention, it is also a great way to spend more time and get to know your children. Did you know 1 in 3 children are classified as overweight? And the same statistic applies for American adults (34%). Don't let yourself be the "typical", overweight American. You CAN do something about it. Eating right and getting out and working out can benefit your life in so many ways.

"But I can't afford a gym membership"...AND? Go for a walk around your neighborhood, walk the kids to the park, do work out videos at home, there are SO many free options. If you have Time Warner cable, if you go to "On Demand" -- "Sports and Fitness" -- "Exercise TV", there are a HUGE variety of FREE workout videos ranging from 10 minutes to 60 minutes. The key is cardiovascular exercise. Start with a warm up, get that heart rate moving, and cool down. It will boost your metabolism, burn calories, tone the booty, and so much more!

"I work late and then I have to take care of the kids"...So when the children are doing their homework or in bed, get one of those free work out videos on demand (or download for free online) and take 30 minutes for YOU. Or, like I said before, take the kids with you and go for a walk.

Final note:
I'm not perfect. There's days I am tired too and I just don't go. That's okay. I'm not saying if you don't make five days a week you're going to die of a heart attack, I'm just setting the goals and giving you the facts so you can build your way up to your goal weight/healthy lifestyle and hopefully keep up with it as much as your life/schedule allow. 

So go for a walk, jog, hike, and get that body moving, everybody! Don't be afraid to sweat! You know you want to! 


Warning: Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise routine.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Today's FYI: Carbs are NOT taboo and Atkins is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!

Okay, I'm not quite sure where to begin, because I am so overly passionate on this subject (so you will probably see me write about it more than once). First I will start with WHY the Atkins Diet (and any similar low carb-high protein diets) are horrible for you.

For those that may not quite be familiar with the Atkins diet, it is a diet of virtually no carbohydrates (no breads, starches, nada..), and high amounts of protein (meat, cheese, eggs, etc). Some people may ask "So why did I lose weight when I did Atkins?" Well, because naturally, many foods that are lower in carbohydrates are lower in calories, hence you were eating too many of them before. So the next question is.."Well, if I lost weight, how could it be THAT bad?"...This is the good part..Cholesterol is a whole different topic to get me started on, and one of my specialties at that..but the majority of high protein foods that are OK to eat while on this ridiculous diet are so high in cholesterol, that after a few months on this, your cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL(low-density lipoprotein), and all other blood tests related to the fat in your blood will be through the roof. Now, I'm sure most of you know the high cholesterol increases plaque in the arteries, slows down the movement of blood through them, and will eventually after a long enough period cause a heart attack or heart disease in general.
Let me state this really quick..your body naturally produces 85% of it's cholesterol and only 15% should come from your diet. The recommended daily intake (RDI) for cholesterol consumption (you can see how many mg of cholesterol on the back of almost everything you eat-make sure you're looking PER SERVING), is 330mg/day. (Some experts vary this number, but this is a general number used in the nutrition field for how much you should consume from your diet daily). So for those of you who aren't too familiar with this, cholesterol comes from animal products. (Dairy, meat, eggs, etc.)
Back to the subject. One egg has how much cholesterol? Go ahead..guess...I'm waiting...240mg PER EGG! How many people do you know eat just ONE egg? That's what I thought. And then they are being told that eggs are GOOD to eat while on this diet? So now people are going to eat more than usual. Wow. An average 5 oz portion of red meat (which is also "allowed") in this low carb-high protein diet, has an average of 110 mg many people eat red meat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner because "it's okay, I'm following my diet". (Don't forget about my BBQ post- red meat is never okay more than once or twice per WEEK). Cheese..ohhh cheese..cheese is not that innocent either. ONE slice of deli cheese has 20mg (average) of cholesterol. So if you are trying not to eat carbs and filling yourself up and eat 5 slices of cheese, there is 100mg, your already at 1/3 of your daily allowed intake for the day..and all you've eaten is cheese! Is this making sense to you? I hope so! Now on to the other half of today's topic..CARBOHYDRATES!

I am not going to lie, I LOVE carbohydrates. I probably eat more than recommended for the normal person, but I am also more physically active than a person that lives a sedentary lifestyle. (Don't worry, exercise topics are coming soon). This is NOT, I repeat..NOT telling you to go binge on carbohydrates, you WILL gain weight, that is not what this is about. If you go out and eat a loaf of bread and a bag of cookies right now, I am not responsible, because I am telling you that's not what this is about, ok? Here we go. The recommended daily intake (RDI) for carbohydrates is about 250 for someone that typically consumes 2,000 calories a day. More if your diet requires more. Without carbohydrates, our bodies cannot function normally. We will have no energy for simples tasks, our brains will not function normally, and our bodily processes can't do all they need to do. Keeping this short and sweet, carbohydrates are not the enemy. Everybody needs them, overweight, thin, in between, everybody. Now I have been asked the question: "Carbohydrates raise blood sugar what should diabetics do?" I don't claim to know much about diabetes, but I have done some research. Not all carbohydrates will cause a "spike" in blood sugar. There is a very good website to go to if you are diabetic and have questions about how carbs interact with glucose levels, but the bottom line is, if it has carbohydrates and a lower glycemic index, the spike in blood sugar will not be nearly as drastic as something made with sugary carbs and a high glycemic index.

"Not all carbohydrates cause a "spike" or rapid rise in blood sugar. Only carbs with a high glycemic value do this. Some diet "experts" imply that all carbs are bad for our blood-sugar levels. This is not true. Indeed, even the effect of higher glycemic index carbs can be mitigated by combining them with lower glycemic value foods." 

This was obtained off of

Bottom line, everyone, unless you are on a restricted diet of carbohydrates or certain foods, my advice is for the average person who is not on a special diet. To sum up everything that I've put, the Atkins diet is very dangerous, your body NEEDS carbohydrates to function, and the high protein foods that are "good" to eat while on the low carb diets are high in saturated fats and cholesterol and after a period of time ultimately clog your arteries and lead to heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and so much more. Go have a bagel everyone, Carbs are your friend, not enemy. Once I am an RD I plan on writing a book on this subject! Have a great day! <3

If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will answer everything to the best of my ability. If I can't answer it, I will find the answer :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Whole Wheat/Grain? Is it really THAT much better, why?

Well the most simple answer I can say is YES. But there is so much about whole wheat and whole grain products that can be explained to help you understand why it is so crucial to choose whole grains (and real ones at that). 

Bread: Number one rule: Just because it is brown, does not mean it is whole wheat. Many bread manufacturers use caramel coloring to enhance the appearance of regular bread to make it look "healthier" and like real wheat. There are a significant amount of fake wheat products in existence.  Unfortunately the words "whole wheat" or "whole grain" on the front isn't sufficient. You want to see the words "100% whole wheat" or "100% whole grain" and "Natural" helps also.  Now turn it over and look at the ingredients. You want the first ingredient to read either "whole wheat flour" or "whole grain flour". After that, if this is determined, you want to make sure there are not too many ingredients following.  5 Ingredients or less is ideal. If you are buying the fake wheat bread, the ingredients will start with "bleached enriched..bla bla bla". So now that you know how to decipher between fake wheat vs. real wheat, I am ready to explain the health benefits of them.

Ok, most white breads tend to be forms of simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates tend to be less filling, more fattening, and just in general, not as healthy. So what is the difference? Whole grains and whole wheats often include a good amount of fiber. Many include about 3 grams of fiber per slice. What is fiber? Fiber is a virtually indigestible substance, so why would you want it in your diet? Because it helps bind to the intestines, carry out waste, and it also keeps you fuller, longer. Who wouldn't want fiber?

Whole grains and whole wheat are not only for your bread. I, personally, have switched to whole grain pastas and whole grain brown rice in my house. Your HDL(high density lipoprotein) level (a.k.a your "good cholesterol"), is a number that is good to be higher, and sadly, Americans average HDL is between 30 and 40, and ideal is 45 and above. The more whole grains incorporated into the diet will help raise this good cholesterol and is heart healthy in general! After I switched to whole grains in a matter of 6 months my HDL went from 58 to 66, but we will get into cholesterol another day. 
So go get yourself some 100% whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta, and brown rice! And enjoy it! 

Don't forget, if you have any questions, leave a comment and I will answer them in my next blog! Please follow me and tell your friends too!

Thanks! <3

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Reminders for your Labor Day Weekend!

Most people will be BBQing for the Labor Day weekend! Don't forget that it is not healthier to eat red meat more than once or twice per week, no matter what! Most people will hate me for this piece of advice, but your cholesterol and heart will thank me in the long run, I promise! That doesn't mean NO meat, so here are some great and healthier alternatives for your BBQs and carnivorous habits in general! 

Making hamburgers? How about substitute that ground beef with ground turkey. Same seasonings, but ground turkey OR (even healthier) ground turkey BREAST will offer a more nutritious approach to satisfying your burger-loving taste buds.

Steak? It is a little more expensive, but filet mignon is a much leaner and healthier alternative to regular fatty steaks. They are smaller (on average about 5 oz., which is an appropriate serving of meat!) You are getting your red meat in a way that is healthier and doesn't contain nearly the fat content or cholesterol of, let's say, a Rib-Eye or T-bone.

Now, I don't eat red meat period. Just my preference. I manage to substitute a majority of my meals that require beef, with turkey or chicken, or even turkey sausage. 

I'm not saying it's a crime and that you can never have another big, fat steak again, but just remember the key word "Moderation". Switch to some chicken breast for your BBQ, a much healthier and (even more cost effective) alternative. Turkey hotdogs, chicken breast, turkey burgers, there are so many other options and alternatives to red meat. (Keep in mind, this doesn't mean chicken or turkey in general, legs, thighs, and dark meat have just as much of the unhealthy stuff as red meat, but we will get into that another day) Look on the label of any frozen chicken dishes or (hot dog) and any other forms of turkey or chicken products you buy that are pre-made. The first ingredient will either say (dark meat OR white meat chicken), stick with the white meat! That's enough rambling on for this morning! Have a fun, safe Holiday weekend!

Keep in mind, if you leave comments with any questions, I will answer them in my next blog. 


Here is great and simple BBQ chicken recipe to get you started!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Today's Rant: Iceberg Lettuce- JUST SAY NO!

  So, people automatically assume that if they order a salad or include iceberg lettuce into a meal, that they are automatically being "healthy". Well..not true. Unfortunately, iceberg offers no nutritional value. It is pretty much like eating a crunchy form of water. There are much healthier options, and here are some tips:

I LOVE to use raw spinach or mixed baby greens in my homemade salads. Throw in some dried cranberries, almonds or pecans, some light balsamic vinagrette dressing, and there you have it! A super delicious, nutrient rich, quick and easy homemade salad! 

  I do have one dilemma when I'm making salads for others besides myself.. My fiance (and a lot of men in general) hate that there is no "crunch" in spinach and baby greens. I thought..hmm..what can I do to keep the salad nutrient rich and still have some crunch? The answer..Romaine! Romaine lettuce is healthy AND "crunchy".
  Unlike Iceberg's lack of nutritional value, Romaine offers 50% of your daily recommended amount of Vitamin A in 2 cups, and 30% of your Vitamin C. Spinach is still my favorite (It offers a good amount of Calcium), but for those that like a "crunch" to your salad, there you go! I still add the dried cranberries and nuts for flavor and variety. 

Dilemma: Most restaurants automatically put iceberg in their salads because it is more cost effective for them. Chinese chicken salads (one of my personal favorites), are often made with iceberg, so everywhere I go, I personally request romaine in my salads. Don't be afraid to ask! If they don't have it, at least you know you tried, but 99% of restaurants do, they are just shy using it when unnecessary. So do what's right for your body and make sure you request a healthy alternative to iceberg lettuce. 


Up and Running!

So, after much talk about how I was going to one day get my blog up and running, here it is!
A little background:
My name is Jillian Katnic. I am currently a nutrition major and have been interested in and educating myself about food for a long time. In a little over two years I will graduate with the title "Registered Dietitian" and can't wait! Throughout my life I have battled eating disorders and food related issues for many years and have reached a place today where I know it is possible to be comfortable with myself AND be healthy. I believe that by eating healthy, participating in physical activity and NOT depriving yourself, your weight loss goals can be attainable and done in a healthy manner. My dietician once told me, "Everything is good in Modertation" and that is the slogan I use today. You don't have to give up the "good stuff" to look great and feel healthy. I will be updated this blog as often as I can (hopefully starting a few times a week). I will post recipes, nutrition and fitness tips, ways to eat healthy 'on the go', and much, MUCH more! Enjoy!