White Wine Clams with Fennel, Shiitake Mushroom
“This dish has date night written all over it. Its flavors are rich yet bright, and has a comforting yet gourmet quality about it.
2 lbs of fresh clams
1 cup of sliced fennel
1/3 cup of sliced shallots
4 cloves of minced garlic
2 1/4 cups of sliced shiitake mushrooms
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp of red chili flakes
1 1/4 cup of dry white wine
4 tbsp of butter
1 cup clam juice
1 Tbsp Olive oil
Freshly chopped parsley (garnish)
1. Place clams in a bowl of cold, fresh water.
2. In olive oil sauté fennel, shallots, fennel seeds, and chili flakes to the pan, sauté for 5 minutes on med-high heat.
3. Add garlic and mushrooms, sauté for 5 minutes – Add white wine, bring to a boil, and stir continuously till it reduces (about 8 minutes).
4. Add butter and clam juice, bring to a boil. Add sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper (roughly a tbsp of each). Stir for 5 minutes.
5. Cover saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and turn heat down to a simmer. Let simmer for 15 minutes, or until all the clams have opened up. Squeeze 1 lemon over the top.
6. Serve in a bowl with the broth on the base, chopped parsley, on top. Enjoy!
To Your Health!
Pros and Cons
You’ve probably heard this term before…
The idea is that by allowing yourself to “cheat” on your diet one day a week… you’ll be more likely to stick to it.
The Word CHEAT itself is a negative… Lets talk in terms of “CHOICE”
This is thought to help you maintain your healthy diet long-term — and lose weight at a steady rate.
But do cheat days actually work?
Or is better to be consistent and stick to a healthy diet 24/7?
Well, the short answer is: It depends.
Many people find that a day of indulgence is essential to maintaining a healthy diet.
(In fact, you may remember a certain pro-wrestler who famously indulged in some ENORMOUS cheat meals every Sunday — after restricting himself all week, of course.)
But many people find that cheat days are merely an excuse to over-indulge…
And that they actually lead to weight GAIN in the long run.
So… how do you know if it’s right for you?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of cheat days — so you can decide for yourself whether it’s the right choice.
- Helps you stick with your diet, since you’re not fully restricting yourself
- Makes you more aware of the “CHOICES” you’re making
- Feels like a fun, rewarding way to treat yourself once a week
- Easy to over-indulge (and turn into a “cheat week” or a “cheat month”)
- Can be a “shock” to your digestive system — leading to discomfort and sluggishness
- May be difficult for you to get back on track
Remember though — when it comes to weight loss, everyone is different.
The most important thing is determining what works best for YOU. So be sure to ask yourself:
Will an occasional indulgence help me stay on track towards my health goals… or will it derail my goals completely?
If you find that an occasional splurge IS helpful… here’s a simple, sustainable way to stay on track:
Instead of having a cheat day… have a “Choice” meal.
Treat yourself to a scoop of ice cream after dinner on Friday nights… or have a slice of cheese pizza if you feel like ordering take-out.
And if you find that a “CHOICE” meal is a bit too much…
Make it a “Choice” ingredient!
Sprinkle a bit of Parmesan cheese over the top of your salad — or pour some flavored creamer into your morning coffee.
The key step here is that you do what’s best for YOU — so don’t be afraid to treat yourself every now and then. 🙂
Whatever you choose, know that I totally have your back…
And I’m here with you every step of the way!
To Your Health!
Have You Ever Heard of BROWN FAT?
Great news for coffee drinkers…
A study published last week in Scientific Reports found drinking coffee can help you burn fat!
Researchers found that a cup of coffee — or any other caffeinated drink — helps stimulate your body’s brown fat.
Brown fat is the kind your body likes to burn for heat. (This is different from white fat, which is your body’s storage of unused calories.)
By stimulating brown fat, your metabolism is naturally boosted.
This may actually explain why many people feel WARM after consuming caffeine. That’s your body’s fat-burning processes kicking into high gear!
According to the researchers behind the study, 3 cups a day is the most you should consume.
“Don’t do more,” said one researcher, Dr. Agus. “More isn’t better.”
And of course, I advise you to drink your coffee as plain as possible. Anything you add to your coffee adds calories, and undoes some of the benefits.
If you must drink your coffee sweet and light, I recommend unsweetened almond or coconut milk, and a touch of stevia. Definitely AVOID “dessert” drinks like Frappacinos — those pack on pounds like crazy!
Okay, that’s all the news for today…
In an upcoming newsletter, I’ll reveal another one of my most effective (and easiest) tips to help you reach your goals.
People LOVE this one, so stay tuned!
To Your Health!
The New, Meatier, Beyond Burger
Heads to Grocery Stores Nationwide
The new, MEATIER Beyond Burger With mouthwatering marbling, a meatier taste and texture, and all the juicy, GMO-free deliciousness you loved in the original, this new burger is closer to beef than ever before.
So What’s Different?
Meatier taste and texture that mimics the chew and juiciness of beef
Visible white marbling made from cocoa butter and coconut oil
Combination of pea, mung bean, and rice delivers a complete protein – 20g of protein/patty
As always – made without GMOs, soy, or gluten
Simplified ingredient list
OK Kosher Certified
Cook time has increased to four minutes per side (or until it reaches an internal temp of 165°)
The Washington Post said this about the new Beyond Burger – “[it’s] meatier, juicier, and a big step closer to beef.” Fans should look for the red “Now Even Meatier” tab on the packaging to know the new Beyond Burger has arrived in store near them. The full rollout of the new, meatier Beyond Burger in retail may take a few weeks, so we appreciate your patience!
Beyond Beef is the first plant-based ground meat made without GMOs, soy or gluten to deliver the same culinary versatility, meaty texture and juiciness of traditional ground beef but with 25% less sat fat!
Here’s Buzzfeed thinks… “If you blindfolded me and gave me a taste of real ground beef and the Beyond Meat version, I really don’t think I would have known the difference.”
See below to see the full list of retailers who will be carrying Beyond Beef.
Beyond Elote Burger
Add a burst of flavor to your burger with this season’s hottest ingredient! Recipe here.
Something surprising can happen with your weight during the summer,
since you’re usually more active this time of year —
You’d think you’d be burning more calories — and maintaining or even losing weight.
The truth is, our eating habits change during the summer.
There are more cookouts, picnics, family get-togethers, trips to amusement parks…
Even though you’re burning more calories… you might be shoveling more “coal on the fire” faster than you can burn it off.
So here’s a few simple and helpful hints you can use to stay “food balanced” this summer.
So whenever you get in one of those SITUATIONS, you’ll have a few tricks up your sleeve to help you stay on a healthier track.
- Eat a healthy, light snack before heading to that backyard food-fest. For example, have a hard-boiled egg or some celery sticks and hummus. Yes, I know your aunt’s potato salad recipe is to die for… and your friend’s fried chicken is the best you’ve ever had.
- You’ll be much less likely to go hog-wild at the food table if you’ve already put a little something filling (and healthy) in your belly
- Put your food on a Smaller plate instead of on a dinner plate. That way, it will look like you’ve got a heaping pile of food… without it actually being a heaping pile of calories. And you might be able to sample a little bit of everything — without overdoing anything
- Use mealtime as “chat-up time.” Be an active participant in conversations, you’re eating less! Eating more slowly also allows you to realize you’re full BEFORE you’ve hit the “ready to explode” level. (That’s because it takes up to 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is full.)
- Put down your eating utensils (or that chicken leg) between bites. That can lead to eating faster — and eating more. When you empty your hands between bites, you’re more aware of how much and how fast you’re eating.
- Chew every bite at least 30 times. It will help slow you down so you don’t overeat. And since digestion begins in your mouth, it also eases the load on the rest of your digestive system — and can help you avoid tummy distress later on.
Now, if you keep these simple tricks in mind at your next picnic, backyard barbecue, or day at the beach… you can still enjoy some of your favorite summer treats…
Without coming home with a “souvenir” around your waist.
Go have a great summer!
To Your Health!
HOW TO READ LABELS
Counting calories, macros, carbs etc. can be overwhelming. Learn what to look out for at the supermarket to make the best choices for you and your family.
Decoding the Nutrition Facts panel
Overwhelmed by all those grams, percentages, and hard-to-pronounce words on the ingredient list? You’re not alone. “The Nutrition Facts panel is experts-only stuff, useful just for those who have a degree in nutrition,” observes Adam Drewnowski, PhD. But a few key details are all you need to decide if a food aligns with your healthy eating goals.
Nutrition counselor Caroline Kaufman, RDN, recommends going into the grocery store with a game plan: “Know what you are looking for, so you can quickly scan the label for the most important information,” she says.
We’ll show you what to zero in on.
The serving size listed at the top affects the calories and all the nutrient amounts below. If you tend to eat more than the listed serving size in a single sitting, make sure you do the math to get the right info.
If most of the fat content comes from healthy unsaturated fat, you’re probably good to go. If the fat is mainly saturated and/or the product has any trans fat, put it back on the shelf. Trans fat has been shown to increase levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol while decreasing levels of “good” HDL cholesterol—a double whammy.
Manufacturers are no longer allowed to put trans fats in their products as of June 2018. But foods produced prior to that date are still permitted on store shelves until January 2020.
Don’t be fooled by a label that lists 0 grams (g) trans fat. Because of a labeling loophole, a product can contain up to 0.5g trans fat per serving and say it has none. Check the ingredient list: If it includes partially hydrogenated oil, then there is trans fat in there. Shortening is another source of trans fat.
For many people, this is the first and most important stop on the label. But a higher-calorie food might be worth eating if it also contains lots of nutrients. (More on that to come!)
Vitamins and minerals
The Daily Value is the amount of each nutrient that’s considered sufficient for most healthy adults. A food that contains anywhere from 10% to 19% of the DV is considered a good source of a nutrient.
Excess sodium can raise blood pressure, which increases heart disease risk. A high amount of sodium on a nutrition label may be a sign of a more highly-processed (read: not-so-good-for-you) food, Kaufman says.
Plus, most of us are eating too much sodium. The Daily Value is 2,300 mg, which is equivalent to about 1 teaspoon of salt; and the American Heart Association recommends a limit of just 1,500 mg for most adults. But the average American consumes more than 3,400 mg of sodium a day.
This general guide is helpful for reading nutrition labels: 5% DV for sodium is considered low, while 20% DV or more is considered high.
On many nutrition labels, this number doesn’t distinguish between naturally-occurring sugars (like lactose in milk and fructose in fruit) and added sugar (like high-fructose corn syrup and brown rice syrup). To figure out how much added sugar is in the product, you need to look at the ingredients (see next picture). But fortunately that’s changing: By January 1, 2021, all manufacturers must switch to a new nutrition label that specifically lists grams of sugar added. Large manufacturers must comply by January 1, 2020. And the label is already appearing on many packaged foods.
If added sugar isn’t listed in the nutrition facts, you can look for it in the ingredient list, where it often hides under sneaky aliases. Scan for the words “sweetener,” as in corn sweetener; and “syrup,” as in brown rice syrup or malt syrup. Also watch for words ending in -ose, like “glucose.”
If added sugar is one of the first two ingredients in a product, think twice about bringing it home. Ingredients are ordered by volume, so the higher up on the list an ingredient is, the more of it a product contains. This is an easy way to spot foods that include a lot of added sugar. (Naturally-occurring sugar won’t be listed in the ingredients.)
But this method isn’t foolproof. “Sometimes, manufacturers split up sugar into dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, cane crystals and so on, so none of them are the first ingredient, even though if you added them up, they would be,” explains Walter Willett, MD. “You might consider avoiding any product if there is sugar in more than one form.”
To ID heart-healthy and fiber-rich whole grains, look for the word “whole” before the name of any grain, as in whole wheat. Popcorn, oatmeal, and quinoa are also considered whole grains.
If you see the word “enriched” before a grain, it’s a sign that the grain has been refined, meaning it has been stripped of the germ and bran, which pack most of the grain’s nutrients including fiber.
Look for at least 3g of fiber per serving in any product that contains grains, including bread, crackers, pasta, and even some soups.
True/False question for you:
Q: When it comes to losing weight, all calories are the same.
So, what do YOU think?
Well, it turns out the answer is…FALSE!
That’s because of something called the thermal effect of food, or TEF.
You see, your body uses energy for everything that it does… including breaking down your food.
And some foods are much more difficult to digest…
So your body has to work a lot harder to get the job done — which is great if you’re trying to watch your weight.
Because “working harder” means your basal metabolic rate (BMR) increases — and you burn more calories!
I always recommend you get plenty of protein and fiber.
They’re not just good for you, they help you feel full longer — so you eat less.
Well, guess what:
Researchers have found that whole foods that are high in protein and fiber give you the biggest BMR boost…
And that’s because they make your body work a lot harder to process them — especially compared to processed foods and simple carbs.
So when you eat those protein- and fiber-rich foods, your body burns more calories trying to digest them.
That’s the conclusion reached by researchers in one “sandwich” study.
They began by determining the BMR of a group of volunteers.Then they divided the volunteers into two groups and gave them cheese sandwiches.
The “processed” group got sandwiches made with white bread and processed cheese product…
And the “whole” group got sandwiches made with multigrain bread and cheddar cheese.
The researchers then measured the BMRs of both groups for 6 hours.
A few days later they repeated the experiment, with the groups “switching” sandwiches.
And when the numbers were compared, the results were pretty incredible:
Even though the “processed” and “whole” sandwiches both had 800 calories…
The BMR of the people eating the “whole” food sandwiches was dramatically higher.
In fact, they used up almost 47% MORE energy to digest the “whole” sandwiches!
That means that the NET calories (the sandwich calories that weren’t burned off digesting the sandwich) for the “whole” food were much less than for the “processed” food.
Here’s what that means for YOU:
You can reduce your calories and lose weight — while still enjoying the same foods!
Simply choose whole, fresh foods filled with plenty of protein and fiber…
Instead of processed foods that break down easily — and can end up stored as fat.
When it comes to calories, sometimes 1 does NOT equal 1.
To your Health!
Let me ask you a question: What’s the point of eating? To fill you up and satisfy hunger, right? In other words, the point of eating is to be able to STOP eating.
However, if the food you eat has any of the three items on this checklist, it will have the opposite effect: You’ll eat uncontrollably. And most popular foods out there — including diet foods — have at least two of these damaging items:
Salt makes you ignore fullness and keep eating.
1) Excessive Sodium (Salt)
Want to know how powerful an appetite-booster salty flavor is?
Two hundred years ago, during the Napoleonic Wars, the food supply ran dangerously low for Napoleon’s army. So, the troops were forced to eat horse meat soup… all the time.
To get them to start eating it, the army officers used gunpowder to make it taste salty… and it worked. Before you could say bon appétit, troops were scarfing down gunpowder horse meat soup!
The point is, salt (or salty taste) will make you
eat when you’d normally push the plate away.
That’s why I recommend avoiding a ton of salt in your food. Check your ingredient labels and be mindful of the sodium levels. Some foods have over 800 milligrams!
However, as bad as sodium is, the next item on this checklist is far worse…
Food companies hide hunger-spiking fructose in almost everything you see.
If there’s anything that’ll screw up your body chemistry and make you fat, it’s fructose — the sweet part of sugar.
This nasty compound triggers a reward signal in your brain that tells you, “Keep eating that! MORE MORE MORE!” And then, fructose messes up your hormones so you STAY that hungry all the time.
So, check the ingredients list on your food for any of these words:
- Cane Juice
If you see any of these on the food label, you’re seeing fructose. RUN…
But don’t run to diet foods! They contain something that might be even worse than fructose…
Artificial sweeteners might be even worse than the real thing.
3) Artificial Sweeteners
Common artificial sweeteners include sucralose (Splenda), aspartame (NutraSweet), and saccharin (Sweet ‘n’ Low).
These chemicals trigger the same addictive sweet reward as sugar… PLUS they confuse your body into making you eat more. And that’s only the beginning…
They also screw up a special slimming mechanism in your body that’s supposed to manage your weight for you. (Fructose does this, too, by the way.)
And it’s about time I told you what this mechanism is… and how you can fix it so it starts working overtime to slim your body down fast! It’s called…
Your microbiome is the collection of trillions of microbes — mostly bacteria in your gut — that keep your body healthy.
And these gut bacteria play a key role in your weight: They determine how you process the food that either fuels your body… or makes it fat.
Your gut bacteria help determine your body type. Change them to change your body.
And some bacteria tend to make you skinny… while others tend to make you fat! This was shown in a now-famous study involving multiple pairs of “discordant” human twins — one fat twin, one thin twin.
Scientists took the gut bacteria of the fat twins and those of the thin twins… and implanted them in different sets of microbe-free mice. And guess what happened?
The mice with “thin twin” bacteria stayed thin… and the mice with “fat twin” bacteria got fat!
AND THEN… when they let the “fat twin” mice get a few of the “thin twin” bacteria… those mice became less fat!
All this means is… the more of the “skinny” bacteria you have in your gut, the more likely you’ll have a sleek, slender body. And the more of the “fat” bacteria you have, the more likely you’ll get fat.
And do you know what the “fat” bacteria feed on? Sugar and artificial sweeteners. Eating this stuff makes the fat bacteria take over, stopping you from getting the lean body you want.
That’s why you need to feed your “skinny” bacteria and help them take your gut back from the fat bacteria. Once this “power shift” happens inside you… you’ll most likely be looking at a much slimmer body in the mirror!
To Your Health!
Healthy Salad Tips
If you’ve made a vow to add more veggies to your diet, you might be perusing the salad options at your local salad bar, lunch joint, or restaurant more often than usual. And you’d be smart to do so—salads are exceptional vehicles for adding more protein, fiber, healthy fats, and other nutrients and minerals into your daily fare.
But Beware: Calories can add up quickly if you’re not careful—even if you fix a salad yourself. For example, a salad made with 2 cups kale, 1⁄2 cup quinoa, 3 ounces shredded chicken breast, half an avocado, a large hardboiled egg, 3 tablespoons bacon bits, 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons Caesar dressing can pack nearly 900 calories.
The Trick: Be mindful of ingredients—and portions —that go into your salad. To get the most nutritious mix, start with a base of dark leafy greens, like kale, spinach, or arugula, then load up on other veggies, the more colorful the better. With the exception of a few high-calorie items—such as olives, avocado, and potatoes, for example—you can add as much or as many types of undressed produce as you like without adding too many calories.
Most vegetables are so low in calories and high in fiber and other nutrients that you can really eat as much as you want. For example, there’s less than 25 calories in a half cup of shredded carrots, chopped red pepper, or cherry tomatoes.
Next: Pick a lean protein—such as chicken breast, tofu, chickpeas, a hardboiled egg, or a grilled piece of fish to increase satiety.
When you hit the Maintenance Phase a little fat in your salad is good—your body has an easier time absorbing some of the nutrients in vegetables when they’re eaten with oil, avocado, nuts, or some other type of healthy fat. Still, go easy on the dressing, aiming for no more than about 2 tablespoons—oil and vinegar is better than something creamy. What most people don’t realize is the dressing is often the biggest contributor of calories, sodium, and fats in a salad.
And if you’re craving a treat, such as bacon bits, croutons, or cheese, which tend to be higher in calories and sodium than veggies, pick one and sprinkle lightly.
These tips are easy to forget, though, when you’re faced with endless options at a restaurant, salad bar, or even at home. To keep the nutrition numbers in check, we created this handy visual guide to help you see how much of some favorite salad ingredients you can have for 100 calories. If you’re following a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet and are enjoying the salad as a meal, aim for no more than 500 to 600 calories per serving.
How many times do you chew your food?
Maybe you’ve never actually counted… but you should.
You see, it’s a common ‘eating mistake’ to chew your food too little when you eat.
And I do mean MISTAKE — for several reasons.
First of all, chewing is the first step of the digestive process.
Before you even swallow, powerful digestive enzymes in your saliva start breaking down your food into smaller, more usable compounds.
And chewing your food thoroughly makes it easier for your body to finish this breakdown process after you swallow — when digestive enzymes in your stomach take over.
Chewing also sends messages to the rest of your digestive system so it’s ready for the incoming food.
This helps your body digest your food more easily and use more of the nutrients in it.
Also, as you get older, your body produces less of these enzymes.
This makes it even more important to fully chew your food! Otherwise, you’ll wind up with more digestive problems and less energy from your food.
Now, there’s another important reason to chew your food thoroughly. And I think you’ll find this reason particularly exciting…
It helps keep pounds off!
This is due to something I call ‘the 30-minute rule’:
Your tummy takes up to 30 minutes to tell your brain that you’re full.
So, the longer you chew your food, the fewer bites you’ll take before you feel full.
But how many ‘chews’ are enough?
Well, that depends on what you’re eating.
If you’re eating soft food, like bananas, peaches, fish, or cooked veggies, 5 to 10 chews should be enough.
Meanwhile, if you’re eating more solid foods — like meats, poultry, raw veggies, or nuts — you should give them at least 20-30 chews before swallowing.
So, when you’re eating your next meal today, try to be mindful of how many times you chew different foods.
You might even find that you enjoy your food more when you take your time.
And after all, what’s your hurry? 🙂