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Be Well.

Be Orange.

Stay Fit Tips for the Holiday Season

November 24th, 2014

Most people (myself included) have a very hard time saying ‘no’ to all of the delicious treats that are offered during the Holidays. I know they’re not healthy, but there is something comforting about baking cookies at home with the family, or sipping on egg nog while listening to your favorite Christmas carols. While I realize not everyone is as nostalgic about this season as I am, it still might be helpful to learn some tricks to avoid unnecessary snacking at gatherings over the next 6 weeks.

Eat Smart

o   It’s totally fine to cave into cravings once in a while, and in fact, that may help you avoid bingeing later on. Allow yourself to indulge in a slice of pie, or your other favorite treats from time to time, and you won’t feel deprived later on.

o   If you have already eaten lots of junk, know that’s it is acceptable to pass on seconds. Even if someone offers, they probably won’t be too upset if you turn down that extra helping of buttery mashed potatoes.

o   It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to send out signals of fullness from the time you start eating. Eat slowly and mindfully to prevent overeating.

  • Having conversations can be a great way to not only catch up with people you haven’t seen in a while, but will help prevent mindless snacking.

o   Fill up on the right stuff. Protein and fiber will keep you feeling fuller for longer than empty calorie foods.

  • For protein: nuts, hummus (doubles as a fiber source!), eggs, meat and cheese (in moderation)
  • For fiber: legumes, beans, brussels sprouts, broccoli, raspberries, avocados, sweet potatoes and whole wheat pasta
  • Try to limit: white potatoes, white pasta or bread, cranberry sauce, spinach and artichoke dip (creaminess comes from mayo, cream cheese and sour cream)

Watch what you drink

o   When you’re at a social gathering, it’s natural to want to hold a drink. That doesn’t mean it has to be eggnog (which packs about 230 calories per cup). Try drinking water or hot herbal tea instead.

o   If you do want to indulge (‘tis the season, right?), make a drink in a tall, skinny glass. Studies show that people drink slower, and fill their glasses up less than in short and stout cups!

Stay active!

o   I know it’s cold outside, but there are still plenty of ways to stay active! Get a group together to take a walk after a large meal to avoid getting so sleepy.

o   Go ice skating, snow shoeing, or tubing. Check your local area for places to do so, but this is a fun way to get people together that doesn’t involve zoning out in front of the TV for hours on end.

  • You can rent TONS of equipment from Dixon Rec Center for practically nothing: http://oregonstate.edu/recsports/ALI/equipment-rental-bike-shop

o   If you MUST watch football (or the 24 hour marathon of A Christmas Story) all day, try these workout tips during commercial breaks:

  • 50 crunches
  • 30 squats
  • 20 push-ups
  • 20 lunges
  • Add any other workout moves you like!

 

Happy Holidays, and Be Well!

Why Are You So Tired On Monday Mornings

November 17th, 2014

If you normally sleep 11pm to 7 am on weekdays but 1 am to 11 am on weekends, you are essentially putting your brain through jetlag. It is the equivalent of shuttling back and forth between New York and California. And it’s one reason why so many people end up feeling terrible on Monday mornings.

Sleep researchers refer to this phenomenon as “social jetlag”-when work, school, or social obligations force your body away from its normal sleep patterns. Not only can it explain why so many people feel awful on Monday mornings, but social jetlag seems to also have real health consequences.

Recently, researchers have been discovered that when you sleep can be as important as how much you sleep. Even if you get your recommended eight hours a night, you can still feel terrible if you are going to sleep and waking up at different times over the course of a week.

Everyone is wired to sleep at very specific times

There are a few things that determine when your body should go to sleep. One is exposure to light, which reduces your body’s production of melatonin (the hormone that makes you sleepy). But the other major factor is determined by your own particular biology. Some people are naturally early risers, and some people are night owls; and unfortunately you can’t really choose to be one or the other-your body chooses this.

But social norms often clash with your body’s sleep needs

Of course, not everyone gets to go to sleep and wake up whenever their body tells them to. Night owls often have to wake up early to go to school or work. And early risers often have to stay up at night if they want to hang out with their night owl friends. And this can create real problems. Not only is being groggy on Monday mornings a pain, but researchers have been beginning to compile evidence that shifts in when people are sleeping affects their overall health.

In 2012, German research Till Roenneberg found that even the modest social jetlag that occurs between weekdays and weekends was correlated with increases body-mass index for overweight people. A lag of just one hour increases the likelihood of obesity by about a third.

People who are naturally night owls seem to be particularly affected, perhaps because their natural need are at odds with our 9-5 workdays, which is geared towards early risers’ needs. Some studies have concluded that night owls are more prone to depression and that obese night owls are more likely to have sleep apnea.

So how can we defeat social jetlag and wake up feeling great come Monday morning?

  1. Get more sleep during the week. If you are under sleeping during the week, you are probably trying to catch up on weekends. However, that catch-up sleeping in on weekends just sets you up for terrible Monday mornings.
  2. Wake up earlier on the weekends. Yes we are aware how painful this sounds, but just try it out for a weekend and see how you do on Monday.
  3. Take smart weekend naps. If you need a nap, do it between noon and 4pm for 30 minutes or less, to avoid interfering with your sleep pattern at night.
  4. Get sunlight on Monday. If you are tired on Monday morning, get outside and get some sunlight. Remember, your circadian rhythm is set by your eyes’ exposure to light, which directly sends signals to your brain to wake up. Before all you Oregonians shoot down this idea just remember that even a cloudy day outdoors can be several times brighter than the average lighted room.
  5. If all else fails, get some blue light. If you absolutely can’t get outside or have been plagued with school that requires you to get up before the sun rises, then crank up those light bulbs indoors. Because the circadian rhythm is specifically responsive to blue light. CAPS (which is located on the fifth floor of Snell) offers two different styles of bright lights that are available to OSU students for a two week loan. Please call CAPS at 541-737-2131 for more information.

Everything you need to know about yogurt (via Moore Family Center)

November 10th, 2014

For a long time, yogurt has been touted for its health benefits, ranging from gut health to possibly contributing to weight loss.1 Did you know yogurt is full of probiotics, calcium, protein and many other healthful nutrients? However, yogurt can be chock-full of sugar. Many single-serving yogurts contain as much sugar as a Snickers candy bar! But yogurt can be part of a healthy balanced diet. Knowing how to read the label can help you decide which ones to buy and which ones to leave out of your shopping basket.

What makes yogurt healthy?

yogurtYogurt is a great source of protein, especially the Greek varieties. Protein is digested more slowly giving you energy from your food over a longer period of time, and may keep you satiated longer than carbohydrate-rich foods.1 This is why having yogurt at meal or snack times can help stave off the munchies later.

The vitamins in yogurt can vary depending on the brand and whether it is fortified, but vitamins that are common in most yogurts include thiamin, riboflavin, B12 and folate. Other vitamins include vitamin A and C in lesser amounts.2

Yogurt is bursting with minerals including calcium, phosphorus, and potassium.2 Calcium in yogurt is more easily absorbed in the body compared to non-dairy calcium sources such as green leafy vegetables or soy milk. Calcium and phosphorus are especially important for building strong healthy bones.

Probiotics are organisms that help establish the healthy bacteria found inside your gut. These healthy bacteria may help boost immunity, crowd out bad bacteria, produce B-vitamins important in metabolism, as well as many other benefits.3 Not all yogurts have active probiotic cultures but you can check the packaging for the Live and Active Cultures stamp to guarantee that it does. This stamp is voluntary so not all yogurts will have it.4Another way to check is to look at the ingredients to see if it says whether it contains live or active cultures. Foods such as yogurt covered pretzels or candies do not have active probiotic cultures.4

True or false?

I’m lactose intolerant so I can’t eat yogurt.

False! Some people have difficulty digesting lactose, naturally occurring milk sugar. Lactose intolerance can cause intestinal discomfort when food or beverages containing lactose are consumed. When milk is cultured to make yogurt, lactose is changed to lactic acid which reduces the lactose content considerably. Yogurt also has probiotics that help in the digestion of lactose, making yogurt an option for those with lactose intolerance.5

 

I don’t eat dairy so I can’t eat yogurt.

False! Vegans are individuals who don’t eat any animal products and may avoid dairy for a number of reasons. If this is true for you, finding a dairy-free yogurt alternative can help you still enjoy the taste and texture of yogurt. Alternative options include soy, coconut or almond milk based yogurts. Look for varieties that are lower in sugar, particularly those that are unsweetened, have probiotics added and are fortified with calcium.

 

All yogurts are high in sugar.

False! Sugar levels vary between types and flavors of yogurt. There is about 12 grams of naturally-occurring sugar in a plain 6 ounce container of yogurt (this may vary). 6 Higher levels on the label suggest that extra sugar was added from fruit or added sweeteners, such as dried cane syrup, agave, and honey. It is important to read the ingredients and nutrition facts label to find yogurts with lower added sugars. If you prefer the taste of sweetened yogurt, try balancing out your sugar intake over the day. For example, instead of having yogurt during the day and a helping of dessert in the evening, swap out the dessert and have the yogurt instead. You can also try sweetening plain yogurt by adding fruit. Being mindful of how much sugar you’ve had each day will allow you to maintain a balanced diet while still enjoying some of your favorite foods.

 

What to look for on the nutrition facts label

*This flavored traditional yogurt has 26 grams of sugar, about half in the form of naturally occurring lactose and the rest from added sugar and strawberries.

*Also notice the amount of protein: 5 grams.

traditional_yogurt_nutrition_label

*This plain Greek yogurt has 9 grams of naturally occurring lactose and no added sugars. Notice the only ingredient is milk.

*Also notice the amount of protein: 22 grams.

greek_yogurt_nutrition_facts_label

Traditional vs. greek yogurt

Greek yogurt has been under the media spotlight recently and for good reason. As you can see from the nutrition facts label above, the Greek compared to the traditional yogurt has less sugar and more protein, but there are a couple things you need to know before you start stocking your fridge with only Greek varieties. Greek yogurt is strained, which is why it has more protein and less sugar than traditional yogurt. Straining can also remove some of the sodium, whey and calcium content. Some Greek yogurt varieties are high in fat and can be very costly. Look for low-fat varieties and if your grocery budget is tight, purchase Greek yogurt when it’s on sale or stick to the traditional yogurts. Just make sure to check for low added sugar content when purchasing traditional yogurt.

How to incorporate yogurt into your diet

  • Top yogurt with berries and granola to eat as a snack or for breakfast.
  • Add to smoothies.
  • Substitute Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.
  • Freeze and enjoy as frozen yogurt.
  • Plain and unsweetened yogurt makes a great addition to not only sweet, but savory recipes, too! Create yogurt-based salad dressings such as cilantro-lime dressing (see recipe below). The addition of plain yogurt provides protein and flavor without adding added sugar.
  • Substitute yogurt for butter or oil in baked recipes:
    • Replace half the butter with half that amount of yogurt.
    • Replace half the oil with ¾ that amount of yogurt.
    • For example, recipes calling for 1 cup of butter or oil: replace ½ cup of the butter with ¼ cup of yogurt; replace ½ cup of oil with 6 tablespoons of yogurt.7
  • Go Greek! Greek-yogurt is higher in protein and usually lower in sugar.

Cilantro-lime salad dressing

Ingredients:Cilantro-lime salad dressing

  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup plain Greek-yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider or white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Serve on any salad of your choosing. Keep refrigerated.

References

  1. Halton LT, Hu FB. The Effects of High Protein Diets on Thermogenesis, Satiety and Weight Loss: A Critical Review. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2004; 23(5):373-385. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2004.10719381.
  2. Dairy Council of California. Yogurt Nutrition. Accessed October 3, 2014.
  3. American Gastroenterological Association. Probiotics: What They Are and What They Can Do For You. May 2013. Accessed September 25, 2014.
  4. National Yogurt Association. Don’t Be Fooled: Not All Yogurts Are Created Equally. Accessed October 23, 2014.
  5. Savaiano DA. Lactose Digestion from Yogurt: Mechanism and Relevance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014; 99(5):1251S-1255S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.073023.
  6. Eat Right. Why Does Yogurt Have So Much Sugar? Accessed September 25, 2014.
  7. Taste of Home. Yogurt for Lower-Fat Baking. Accessed September 29, 2014.
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