New! Peanut Butter Crepes – Video Recipe

I’ve had some feedback on the other crepe recipe that I posted a while back.  Mostly good, but some people thought that they were a little too hardcore.  I’ll admit, that they were not as delicate as a traditional crepe, but I was trying to maximize the nutritional value while pretty much destroying the fat content.
So, after much thought, I decided to come up with an alternative recipe that would soothe the need for a more “delicate” crepe that could be eaten by itself or filled with whatever you like and STILL be very healthy, with a little more fat (still from healthy sources) that would appease even the most finnicky eater.

Ingredients:

1 whole egg
6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons Natural Peanut Butter, smooth
1 1/2 Tablespoons Splenda

That’s it!  Four ingredients that will yield 5-6 eight inch crepes.  I filled mine with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse that was my first recipe post, and they were delicious!

Give them a try and let me know what you think.  I hope you like them as much as I did.

Stay Fit Forever!

Tony

Tony’s Healthy Chili Recipe

 

chilibannerI’ve been wanting to put this one up for a while since it is what I eat for lunch just about EVERY day. I know that sounds boring, but I LOVE spicy stuff and I REALLY LOVE chili, especially when I know that the chili I’m eating is not only really tasty, but really good for me as well.

Ingredients:
ingredients

2 lbs. Extra lean ground beef (not pictured)
1 – 8oz. can tomato sauce (no salt added)
1 – 12oz. can Rotel Original
1 – 15oz. can Fire Roasted diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 – 15oz. cans black beans (no salt added)
2 – Tbsp. Olive Oil (not pictured)

Seasonings:

Garlic powder
Mrs. Dash (of course!)
Cajun seasoning
Chili Powder
Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

startbrown2Once it looks to be about half and half, add your tomato sauce and stir it in.

addsauce

This will help keep the meat moist instead of drying out by browning all the way through. Once it starts to come to a boil, add your Rotel and stir it in.
addrotelBy now, the meat is just about fully browned AND nice and juicy. Go ahead and add your fire roasted, diced tomatoes and stir them in.  While this is coming back to a boil, you can open the cans of black beans and drain off all the fluid.  Then, add them to the pot.  Stir them in evenly.  Now you’re ready to season.  I pretty much dust the garlic powder and cajun seasoning lightly on top.  I go a little heavier with the Mrs. Dash, because we got a “thing” going on… Then I add two heaping teaspoons of chili powder.  At this point, I sprinkle in a fair amount of red pepper flakes, but that’s optional.  If you like your food spicy hot, then by all means give it a try. If not, stick with just the above.
add_dicedtomatoesaddbeansGet it all stirred in evenly and bring back to a slow boil. Then reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer.  You’re going to want to stir it about every ten minutes or so. I usually let it simmer for about 45 minutes, and then I can’t take it anymore and have to have some.
simmer

Once it’s cooled some, you can either separate it into portions and refrigerate or freeze. I stick the whole saucepot in the fridge since I usually eat a double portion of this for lunch every day.

This will yield 8 servings that will each contain:

270 Calories
31.5 grams of protein
24 grams of carbohydrates
4.5 grams of fat

A great benefit of using the black beans is that each serving also contains 7 grams of dietary fiber!

I hope you try it! A lot of my clients that I’ve turned onto this swear by it. It’s easy to throw together, keeps for quite a while when either refrigerated or frozen, and it a fantastic source of good protein, moderate carbs with lots of dietary fiber and pretty low in fat too.

Stay Fit Forever!

Tony

 

 

Fit Forever Editorial – Where Do You Want To Sit?

where_r_u_sitting

Hey everybody,

I was sitting in church this morning listening to what turned out to be one of the more awesome messages from Jeff Harris, the Senior Pastor at Grace Point Church.  While I try to keep my religious and political beliefs out of my posts, I do want to thank God for leading me to Grace Point and the wonderful community that it is.

That being said, Jeff illustrated a point by using a metaphor that was SO good, I am going to borrow it for the purposes of our own health.  It deals with OWNERSHIP and CHOICE.

There are basically three chairs that people sit in when it comes to their personal health and fitness.  I’m not just talking about the aesthetics of it either.  I mean the whole ball of wax as it encompasses our lives and those lives around us.

Let’s look at the First Chair:

nicearmchair

The fancy, comfortable, first chair is where most of us would prefer sitting.  This is the chair where everything is going right.  We are highly aware of our physical, mental, and emotional health and well being and we are doing all the right things to keep them all operating at their peak levels.  That means we are doing the following things:

Exercising regularly and consistently.

Eating healthy foods in the proper amounts and avoiding foods or habits that can hurt us.

Taking time out for healthy, fun activities so that we can enjoy ourselves and the people around us as well.  Basically, balancing our work/play time.

Communicating openly and honestly with others, in constructive ways so that we don’t expend valuable time and energy stressing out about what the important people in our lives are thinking or feeling and doing them the same service.

Getting adequate rest and recuperation so that we can keep this cycle going.

Now in all honesty, I really don’t know many people who are sitting in that chair, present company included.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for it though!  Sure, we’re all going to stumble, but how often and how badly we do is completely up to us.

OK, now let’s look at the Middle Chair.

regularchair

This is probably the most occupied chair in the house.  This chair is the one that you sit in when you:

Exercise sporadically or without any real intent.  It’s easy to skip workouts or find excuses to do something else that feels “better” when it comes along.

Knowing the difference between healthy and bad food choices and more often than not settling on a “quicker” or “more convenient” choice rather than the one that would do you the most good. Partying a little too often and a little too hard, or even “medicinally” using alcohol or prescription drugs to reduce stress and anxiety without a doctors knowledge.

Spending too much time either working, internet surfing, texting, or game thrashing on your iPad rather than seeking out activities that challenge you physically, mentally and that allow you to interact with your family and friends.

Keeping the things that are concerning to you about your boyfriend/girlfriend, wife/husband, son/daughter, father/mother, friend/coworker… you fill in the blank…buzzing around inside your head, rather than finding the courage to bring it out and talk about it.

Knowing when it’s time to put down the book, remote, keyboard, phone, camera so that you can crawl into bed and get the rest you need to stay productive and healthy (this one is me, BIG TIME…)

The sad part about sitting in this chair is that it’s not one that is blessed with ignorance.  The people that slap their fanny down in this chair are making very real CHOICES about their actions because they are usually blessed with either the availability of the knowledge or how to find out if they don’t!

Then there’s the Little Old Chair.

oldchair

This is a smaller but growing population of people who don’t have a clue about being healthy.  They’ve never been active. Nutrition is a foreign language.  “Why cook when you can get it out of a machine or in a bag, right?” or, “Exercise? Why should I exercise, I feel fine!”

Unfortunately, as this population gets older and even more sedentary, the load they place on themselves, their families, and the healthcare system is mind boggling.  By the time it might get pointed out to them, in most cases irreversible damage has already been done.

There.  I got my feelings out and that’s one step towards meeting my goals to creating a healthier, happier me.  What chair do you see yourself sitting in, and are you happy with where you’re at?  Personally, I’d like to be sitting in a circle of the biggest, softest, and most comfortable chairs surrounded by all of you…

…and in MY circle we’d be watching a Quentin Tarantino movie….. !!

Stay Fit Forever!

Tony

 

 

 

Healthy Fats VS Bad Fats – Do YOU know the difference?

healthyfats_banner

So today, I was training one of my clients and he said to me, “Hey, I saw your recipe for the Avocado Tuna Lime Spread and I was so excited!”

So naturally, I asked him, “Why?”

He responded, “Avocados are like my favorite ‘sinful’ food, but you said they were healthy fats, what did you mean by that?”

For a moment in my brain,  I was like, “Really??!”

I guess with the advent of the internet and all the health conscious information being thrown about, I was surprised to find that it was still such a mystery to some folks.  I then started to explain to my client about the different types of fats, and what constituted a “healthy” fat as opposed to a “bad” fat.

So, rather than re-invent the wheel, I decided to use the power of the internet to find a definitive explanation of dietary fats and how they impact your body and health. The following information is from Helpguide.org, a non profit organization that provides reliable information to those seeking it.  It’s a little lengthy, but it does a GREAT job at explaining the differences between good and bad fat, where to find both, and guidelines as to what a healthy consumption would be.  So, here goes:

———————————————————————————————————-

Despite what you may have been told, fat isn’t always the bad guy in the waistline wars. Bad fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats, are guilty of the unhealthy things all fats have been blamed for—weight gain, clogged arteries, and so forth. But good fats such as the monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3s have the opposite effect.

As a matter of fact, healthy fats play a huge role in helping you manage your moods, stay on top of your mental game, fight fatigue, and even control your weight.

The answer isn’t cutting out the fat—it’s learning to make healthy choices and to replace bad fats with good ones that promote health and well-being.

Myth: All fats are equal—and equally bad for you.

Fact: Saturated fats and trans fats are bad for you because they raise your cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease. But monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease.

Myth: Lowering the amount of fat you eat is what matters the most.

Fact: The mix of fats that you eat, rather than the total amount in your diet, is what matters most when it comes to your cholesterol and health. The key is to eat more good fats and less bad fats.

Myth: Fat-free means healthy.

Fact: A “fat-free” label doesn’t mean you can eat all you want without consequences to your waistline. Many fat-free foods are high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and calories.

Myth: Eating a low-fat diet is the key to weight loss.

Fact: The obesity rates for Americans have doubled in the last 20 years, coinciding with the low-fat revolution. Cutting calories is the key to weight loss, and since fats are filling, they can help curb overeating.

Myth: All body fat is the same.

Fact: Where you carry your fat matters. The health risks are greater if you tend to carry your weight around your abdomen, as opposed to your hips and thighs. A lot of belly fat is stored deep below the skin surrounding the abdominal organs and liver, and is closely linked to insulin resistance and diabetes.

Types of dietary fat: Good fats vs. bad fats

To understand good and bad fats, you need to know the names of the players and some information about them. There are four major types of fats:

  • monounsaturated fats
  • polyunsaturated fats
  • saturated fats
  • trans fats

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as the “good fats” because they are good for your heart, your cholesterol, and your overall health.

GOOD FATS
Monounsaturated fat Polyunsaturated fat
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Peanut butter
  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
    Flaxseed
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
  • Soymilk
  • Tofu

Saturated fats and trans fats are known as the “bad fats” because they increase your risk of disease and elevate cholesterol.

Appearance-wise, saturated fats and trans fats tend to be solid at room temperature (think of butter or traditional stick margarine), while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to be liquid (think of olive or corn oil).

BAD FATS
Saturated fat Trans fat
  • High-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Chicken with the skin
  • Whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream)
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Palm and coconut oil
  • Lard
  • Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough
  • Packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips)
  • Stick margarine
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish)
  • Candy bars

General guidelines for choosing healthy fats

With so many different sources of dietary fat—some good and some bad—the choices can get confusing. But the bottom line is simple: don’t go no-fat, go good fat.

If you are concerned about your weight or heart health, rather than avoiding fat in your diet, try replacing saturated fats and trans fats with good fats. This might mean replacing some of the meat you eat with beans and legumes, or using olive oil rather than butter.

  • Try to eliminate trans fats from your diet. Check food labels for trans fats. Avoiding commercially-baked goods goes a long way. Also limit fast food.
  • Limit your intake of saturated fats by cutting back on red meat and full-fat dairy foods. Try replacing red meat with beans, nuts, poultry, and fish whenever possible, and switching from whole milk and other full-fat dairy foods to lower fat versions.
  • Eat omega-3 fats every day. Good sources include fish, walnuts, ground flax seeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil.

How much fat is too much?

How much fat is too much depends on your lifestyle, your weight, your age and most importantly the state of your health. The USDA recommends that the average individual:

  • Keep total fat intake to 20-35% of calories
  • Limit saturated fats to less than 10% of your calories (200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet)
  • Limit trans fats to 1% of calories (2 grams per day for a 2000 calorie diet)

Saturated fats: Reduce this bad fat

When focusing on healthy fats, a good place to start is reducing your consumption of saturated fats. Saturated fats are mainly found in animal products such as red meat and whole milk dairy products. Poultry and fish also contain saturated fat, but less than red meat.

Simple ways to reduce saturated fat

  • Eat less red meat (beef, pork, or lamb) and more fish and chicken
  • Go for lean cuts of meat, and stick to white meat, which has less saturated fat.
  • Bake, broil, or grill instead of frying.
  • Remove the skin from chicken and trim as much fat off of meat as possible before cooking.
  • Avoid breaded meats and vegetables and deep-fried foods.
  • Choose low-fat milk and lower-fat cheeses like mozzarella whenever possible; enjoy full-fat dairy in moderation.
  • Use liquid vegetable oils such as olive oil or canola oil instead of lard, shortening, or butter.
  • Avoid cream and cheese sauces, or have them served on the side.
Sources of Saturated Fats Healthier Options
Butter Olive oil
Cheese Low-fat or reduced-fat cheese
Red meat White meat chicken or turkey
Cream Low-fat milk or fat-free creamer
Eggs Egg whites, an egg substitute (e.g. Eggbeaters), or tofu
Ice cream Frozen yogurt or reduced fat ice cream
Whole milk Skim or 1% milk
Sour cream Plain, non-fat yogurt

Eliminate trans fats from your diet

A trans fat is a normal fat molecule that has been twisted and deformed during a process called hydrogenation. During this process, liquid vegetable oil is heated and combined with hydrogen gas. Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils makes them more stable and less likely to spoil, which is very good for food manufacturers—and very bad for you.

No amount of trans fats is healthy. Trans fats contribute to major health problems, from heart disease to cancer.

Sources of trans fats

Many people think of margarine when they picture trans fats, and it’s true that some margarines are loaded with them. However, the primary source of trans fats in the Western diet comes from commercially-prepared baked goods and snack foods:

  • Baked goods – cookies, crackers, cakes, muffins, pie crusts, pizza dough, and some breads like hamburger buns
  • Fried foods – doughnuts, French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, and hard taco shells
  • Snack foods – potato, corn, and tortilla chips; candy; packaged or microwave popcorn
  • Solid fats – stick margarine and semi-solid vegetable shortening
  • Pre-mixed products – cake mix, pancake mix, and chocolate drink mix

Be a trans fat detective

  • When shopping, read the labels and watch out for “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredients. Even if the food claims to be trans fat free, this ingredient makes it suspect.
  • With margarine, choose the soft-tub versions, and make sure the product has zero grams of trans fat and no partially hydrogenated oils.
  • When eating out, put fried foods, biscuits, and other baked goods on your “skip” list. Avoid these products unless you know that the restaurant has eliminated trans fat.
  • Avoid fast food. Most states have no labeling regulations for fast food, and it can even be advertised as cholesterol-free when cooked in vegetable oil.
  • When eating out, ask your server or counter person what type of oil your food will be cooked in. If it’s partially hydrogenated oil, run the other way or ask if your food can be prepared using olive oil, which most restaurants have in stock.

Getting more good, unsaturated fats in your diet

Okay, so you realize you need to avoid saturated fat and trans fat… but how do you get the healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats everyone keeps talking about?

The best sources of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and fish.

  • Cook with olive oil. Use olive oil for stovetop cooking, rather than butter, stick margarine, or lard. For baking, try canola or vegetable oil.
  • Eat more avocados. Try them in sandwiches or salads or make guacamole. Along with being loaded with heart and brain-healthy fats, they make for a filling and satisfying meal.
  • Reach for the nuts. You can also add nuts to vegetable dishes or use them instead of breadcrumbs on chicken or fish.
  • Snack on olives. Olives are high in healthy monounsaturated fats. But unlike most other high-fat foods, they make for a low-calorie snack when eaten on their own. Try them plain or make a tapenade for dipping.
  • Dress your own salad. Commercial salad dressings are often high in saturated fat or made with damaged trans fat oils. Create your own healthy dressings with high-quality, cold-pressed olive oil, flaxseed oil, or sesame oil.

Damaged fat: When good fats go bad

A good fat can become bad if heat, light, or oxygen damages it. Polyunsaturated fats are the most fragile. Oils that are high in polyunsaturated fats (such as flaxseed oil) must be refrigerated and kept in an opaque container. Cooking with these oils also damages the fats. Never use oils, seeds, or nuts after they begin to smell or taste rank or bitter.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Superfats for the brain and heart

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat. While all types of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, omega-3 fats are proving to be especially beneficial.

We’re still learning about the many benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, but research has shown that they can:

  • Prevent and reduce the symptoms of depression
  • Protect against memory loss and dementia
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer
  • Ease arthritis, joint pain, and inflammatory skin conditions
  • Support a healthy pregnancy

Omega-3 fatty acids and mental health

Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain. Research indicates that they play a vital role in cognitive function (memory, problem-solving abilities, etc.) as well as emotional health.

Getting more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can help you battle fatigue, sharpen your memory, and balance your mood. Studies have shown that omega-3s can be helpful in the treatment of depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and bipolar disorder.

There are several different types of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • EPA and DHA – Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have the most research to back up their health benefits. Both are found in abundance in cold-water fatty fish.
  • ALA – Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) comes from plants. Studies suggest that it’s a less potent form of omega-3 than EPA and DHA. The best sources include flaxseed, walnuts, and canola oil.

Fish: The best food source of omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fats are a type of essential fatty acid, meaning they are essential to health, but your body can’t make them. You can only get omega-3 fats from food.

The best sources are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, or sardines, or high-quality cold-water fish oil supplements. Canned albacore tuna and lake trout can also be good sources, depending on how the fish were raised and processed.

Some people avoid seafood because they worry about mercury or other possible toxins in fish. However, most experts agree that the benefits of eating two servings a week of these cold-water fatty fish outweigh the risks.

If you’re a vegetarian or you don’t like fish, you can still get your omega-3 fix by eating algae (which is high in DHA) or taking a fish oil or algae supplement.

Choosing the best omega-3 supplement

With so many omega-3 and fish oil supplements and fortified foods, making the right choice can be tricky. These guidelines can help.

  • Avoid products that don’t list the source of their omega-3s. Does the package list the source of omega-3 fatty acids? If not, chances are it’s ALA (sometimes from plain old canola or soybean oil), which most Westerners already get plenty of.
  • Don’t fall for fortified foods. Many fortified foods (such as margarine, eggs, and milk) claim to be high in omega-3 fatty acids, but often, the real amount of omega-3 is miniscule.
  • Look for the total amount of EPA and DHA on the label. The bottle may say 1,000 milligrams of fish oil, but it’s the amount of omega-3 that matters. Read the small print. It may show only 300 mg of EPA and DHA (sometimes listed as “omega-3 fatty acids”), which means you’d have to take three capsules to get close to 1,000 milligrams of omega-3.
  • Choose supplements that are mercury-free, pharmaceutical grade and molecularly distilled. Make sure the supplement contains both DHA and EPA. They may be hard to find, but supplements with higher concentrations of EPA are better.

Fish oil supplements can cause stomach upset and belching, especially when you first start taking them. To reduce these side effects, take them with food. You may also want to start with a low dose and gradually increase it, or divide the dose among your three meals.

How much omega-3 do I need?

The American Heart Association recommends consuming 1–3 grams per day of EPA and DHA (1 gram = 1,000 milligrams). For the treatment of mental health issues, including depression and ADHD, look for supplements that are high in EPA, which has been shown to elevate and stabilize mood. Aim for at least 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per day.

The truth about dietary fat and cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty, wax-like substance that your body needs to function properly. In and of itself, cholesterol isn’t bad. But when you get too much of it, it can have a negative impact on your health.

Cholesterol comes from two sources: your body and food. Your body (specifically, the liver) produces some of the cholesterol you need naturally. But you also get cholesterol directly from any animal products you eat, such as eggs, meat, and dairy. Together, these two sources contribute to your blood cholesterol level.

Good vs. bad cholesterol

As with dietary fat, there are good and bad types of cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is the “good” kind of cholesterol found in your blood. LDL cholesterol is the “bad” kind. The key is to keep HDL levels high and LDL levels low. High levels of HDL cholesterol help protect against heart disease and stroke, while high levels of LDL cholesterol can clog arteries, increasing your risk.

Research shows that there is only a weak link between the amount of cholesterol you eat and your blood cholesterol levels. The biggest influence on your total and LDL cholesterol is the type of fats you eat—not your dietary cholesterol. So instead of counting cholesterol, simply focus on replacing bad fats with good fats.

  • Monounsaturated fats lower total and bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, while increasing good cholesterol (HDL).
  • Polyunsaturated fats lower triglycerides and fight inflammation.
  • Saturated fats raise your blood cholesterol.
  • Trans fats are even worse than saturated fats, since they not only raise your bad LDL cholesterol, but also lower the good HDL cholesterol.