Archive for the ‘Nutrition and Fitness’ Category

Strawberry-Cheesecake Yogurt? That Can’t Be Good (for You).

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

by Leigh Ann Otte

Mmmm. Key lime pie, orange crème, vanilla. Can’t you just taste the rich, creamy flavors? Now mix a little yogurt in. No, really!

Have you tried dessert-flavored yogurts? I like them. I guess not everyone does. That commercial comes to mind—the one where the husband searches the fridge for the decadence he hears his wife talking about. All the while, he overlooks the healthy yogurts.

But did you catch that? I just called them healthy. Are they really? I mean, strawberry yogurt has strawberries in it. What does strawberry-cheesecake yogurt have except sugar?

We asked Mindy Podolsky Owens, a registered dietitian in Los Angeles, for the hard, harsh truth. She dishes it out in this week’s featured article.

Here’s a hint at what she says: I went to the Dannon Light & Fit website and compared the nutritional information for the strawberry and strawberry cheesecake flavors, both fat-free. Guess which flavor fits which profile below.

Flavor 1

  • Calories: 80
  • Sodium: 75 mg
  • Sugars: 9 g
  • Protein: 5 g


Flavor 2

  • Calories: 80
  • Sodium: 80 mg
  • Sugars: 11 g
  • Protein: 5 g

Both flavors have the same percentage of listed vitamins and minerals.

Have you guessed? Here’s the answer …

Flavor 1 is the strawberry cheesecake.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Full disclosure: We’re not connected with Dannon or any other yogurt company, and we do not receive compensation for this article or the links in it.

Bad Nutrition Tips for 2012

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

by Leigh Ann Otte

Happy New Year!

Did you make a resolution to get healthier this year? Well, we could support you in your admirable vow by giving some healthy nutrition tips. But nah. How ’bout busting some bad ones?

That sounded like fun, so we expanded our nutrition myths-and-facts article for 2012, adding even more questionable claims. Here’s a teaser: Of the following, which is the one true claim?

  1. Bottled water better is for you than tap.
  2. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables have more vitamins than those that aren’t as colorful.
  3. The more sugar you eat, the more you crave.
  4. Even if you’re not on a low-carb diet, you should keep your carb intake low.

Do you know the answer? Check your work here. If you’re brave, post how you did below!

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

5 Tips for Serving a Healthy Christmas Meal Everyone Will Enjoy

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Merry Christmas!

Looking for some healthy twists to dish out this year? Here are five tips, based on advice from registered dietitians Jill Weisenberger and Sarah-Jane Bedwell in this week’s featured article, “Healthy Christmas Tips: Meals, Eggnog and Parties“:

  1. For every calorie-rich dish, serve two vegetable dishes or something else that’s healthy.
  2. Dairy free Silk Nog saves you almost half the calories of eggnog and all the saturated fat. (It’s in the dairy-free milk-alternatives section of your grocery store. It’s made of soymilk.)
  3. If anyone balks at the idea of a healthier Christmas, invite the person to bring a traditional dish he or she would enjoy. It’s OK to have options.
  4. If you can find it, serve festive-looking star fruit (pictured right) with the Christmas cookies.
  5. Serve crustless pie.

After a wonderful meal, go for a wonderful walk! Above all, enjoy the weekend. Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Calling All Nuts! How Well Do You Know Yourself?

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Are you a complete and utter nut? Do friends tell you, “You’re crazy!” Whether it’s holiday madness or a lifetime fling with your own drummer beat, this month’s quiz is for you.

“Mixed-Nuts Quiz: How Nutty Are You?” tests your knowledge about chestnuts, pine nuts, CornNuts and more. (One of these things is not like the other ….) Find out whether you’re nutrageously bad or a nutty professor! (Really. You get a score at the end.)

On another, perfectly non-nutty note: The editors over at Healthline.com nominated us as one of the best health blogs of 2011! Woo-hoo! Won’t you jog on over there and vote for us? It’s easy. Just search “My Family Doctor.” Thank you in advance.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Thanksgiving Recipes From Today and Yesteryear

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Happy Thanksgiving week!

As we prepare to stuff ourselves and reflect on our nation’s history, how about taking a quick hop back to the first American cookbook? At the Library of Congress website, you can see a recipe for the original American pumpkin pie.

It calls for a quart of milk, a pint of pumpkin and four eggs. Spice it up with molasses, allspice and ginger, and pop it in the oven for an hour. Yum.

Jet-setting back to today, we’ve got some modern-day Thanksgiving recipes for you, with a healthy slant. To start, we just added these two scrumptious delights to our holiday collection:

And here are three more for your palate’s pleasure:

Plus, a bonus: A colleague of mine, Piper Evans, sent me one of her favorite easy Thanksgiving recipes. She’s  a consultant for the Silver Century Foundation, an organization that promotes positive, proactive aging.

To add a little nutrition to a devil’s food cake, mix in a can of pure pumpkin. “Nothing else! Really!” she says. Bake the batter in oil-sprayed muffin tins at 400 F until done, 20 to 25 minutes.

What’s your favorite quick Thanksgiving recipe?

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

A Pumpkin Recipe a Day Till Thanksgiving–and Beyond!

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

If you didn’t get your fill of pumpkin last month, now’s your chance.

We’ve found 19 yummy, fun and healthy pumpkin recipes. There are 16 days until Thanksgiving. That means, you can chow down on a different preparation of this sweet, meaty delight through Thanksgiving, Black Friday and even I can’t-eat-one-more-bite-of-turkey day.

The recipes include Pumpkin Spice Granola, Colonial Stewed Pumpkin, Baked Pumpkin Pasta and a couple of somewhat lightened-up pumpkin cheesecake recipes. Yum.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

What NOT to Do When Making Your Own Peanut Butter

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Have you ever made your own peanut butter? I just did. That’s because we’re featuring a nut-butter recipe this week. And, after slaving over the hot food processor for five minutes (it’s really easy), I’ve come up with some don’ts for you. I’m no gourmet cook, you see. I’m more of a, um, kitchen experimenter.

Keeping that in mind, when making your own peanut butter:

DON’T:

  • Use the last of the peanuts if you’re using the preroasted, salted kind. Or at least make sure you don’t get all that salt from the bottom of the can. Your tongue will shrivel up. (Next time, I’m getting the raw kind and baking them in the oven as directed. I just happened to have some roasted ones on hand, OK? Don’t judge.)
  • Put sugar in it.  Sure, the recipe doesn’t call for it, but I wanted to try it since most people are used to sweetened peanut butter. The sugar cut the rich nutty taste. The result was more bland and not as satisfying or mouth-watering. This coming from a sugar fiend.
  • Expect a completely creamy texture. I think the best way to describe mine is grainy. It’s still delicious, but if you get it creamy, I’d love to hear how.
  • Be afraid of putting olive oil in it. The recipe calls for olive or vegetable oil. I went with extra-virgin olive oil, and it didn’t affect the taste—at least from what I could tell. It only took a couple of teaspoons.

Finally, one do: Expect a savory, scrumptious result. (My results are pictured at the top.) Man, it’s good.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a professional writer. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Muscle Multitasking: Get in a Chores Workout

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

A watched pot never boils. So drop and give me 10!

To burn a few calories and build a little muscle, Fitcorp, a company with gyms in the Boston area, recommends making chores do double duty. Cooking a batch of scrumptious pasta for dinner (whole grain, of course)? Do push-ups and lunges while waiting for the water to boil. Are your outdoor flowers wilting in the heat? Water them the old-fashioned way, with a watering can or hose. Basically, find more ways to move.

Do you make your chores work for you? What do you do? Me, I like to squat instead of bending over for stuff. Seems like a little thing, but I never have trouble getting up off the floor, so I figure it must be doing something, right?

In this week’s featured article, “How to Burn More Calories,” you can read Fitcorp’s tips, plus tips from other experts on how to burn more calories while exercising. You can stop those push-ups now. It’s time for crunches!

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a professional writer. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Put Down That Sports Drink! 4 Beverage Myths–Busted

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

drinks-research

by Leigh Ann Otte

If I were to estimate how many news stories I’ve heard about coffee research over the years, I’d say it’d be somewhere close to a billion. Give or take. But I’m betting most of us still can’t say whether it’s healthy.

How about black tea? Diet soda? Sports drinks?

Well, we’ve got the rundown for you. In this week’s featured article, “8 Drinks and Your Health: Clearing Up Confusing Research,” registered dietitian Jill Weisenberger sums up the research on eight beverages. Here are four myths she debunks:

  1. “Black tea doesn’t have health benefits.” Wrong. Like green tea, it has antioxidants (though not as much). It may also have other benefits.
  2. “Fruit juice is the same as fruit.” Nope. It doesn’t have the fiber, doesn’t satisfy hunger and has more calories. (That’s not to say it’s not good for you.)
  3. “I should drink sports drinks when exercising.” If you’re exercising intensely for more than an hour or sweating a lot, go for it. Otherwise, go for water. It doesn’t have the calories.
  4. “You need eight glasses of water a day.” Nah. Just drink when you’re thirsty.

Jill also answers which is the best milk substitute: soymilk or rice milk. One has more protein. Do you know which?

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a professional health writer. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

7 Creative Ideas to Pack in Fruits and Veggies

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Is half your plate fruits and vegetables?

That’s what the government’s emphasizing now, with the release of the new MyPlate icon. (Bye-bye, food pyramid, old buddy, old pal.) Since many of us tend to bulk up on meat and carbs, that amount of fruits and vegetables may seem dramatic. But actually, packing ‘em in may be easier than you think.

For one thing, you can throw them in with your main dishes. Or pile more on when you’re eating them anyway. Here are five of my favorite simple ideas we’ve featured in various articles:

  1. Toss green beans, eggplant or zucchini into spaghetti sauce or stews.
  2. Add broccoli florets, carrot slices, red pepper strips or chopped cucumber to pasta and potato salads. Do the same with casseroles and lasagnas, while decreasing the amount of cheese.
  3. Keep small plastic bags filled with single servings of cherries or grapes in your refrigerator to make fruit as easy to grab as a bag of chips.
  4. Kids will reach for what they see, so place a bowl of grapes, cherries or clementines on their homework table.
  5. Frozen grapes and bananas make sweet, cool treats in the summer.
  6. Use spaghetti squash instead of pasta.
  7. Rather than serve dessert in little bowls, try hollowing out halved citrus fruit or melon for some added nutrition and color.

The above tips come from these articles:

Want to add a little excitement? How about having a tasting party with exotic fruits and vegetables? In this week’s featured article, we talk about the passion fruit, with its fun edible seeds.

When you add more fruits and vegetables, you might find yourself dropping pounds too. Tasty and rewarding! Pass me a plate. I’m ready to start piling.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter!

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance health writer. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

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