Archive for January, 2011

Big Inspiration

January 22, 2011

This is a public service post for those of you who are falling off the New Year’s Resolution diet and fitness bandwagon….a photo of the heaviest man in the world. Weighing in at 1225 pounds, Manuel Uribe has recently dropped to 900 pounds, and plans to get down to a respectable 200 pounds.If he can do it, so can you!
Make health a priority and exercise a habit. You will love how good you feel!

Sounds of Silence

January 18, 2011

I love to cook. Sometimes, I put on some music, and enter into what I call my “cooking Zen”, a calm, focused and quiet state where the chopping and blending is almost meditative.

Enter Alan Abrams, a deaf chef who has not let his disability stand in the way of his success.

Sharing his own mother’s love of cooking, he embarked on a career in food management, but soon realized that the communication skills necessary for this type of work would be difficult for him. He looked into culinary schools and enrolled at Newbury Culinary Arts, where the small intimate class size was a perfect match for his needs.
After apprenticing with renowned chefs Jonathan Waxman and Sarabeth Levine, he started his own catering company, called A’Table, specializing in corporate and private events.

According to Abrams, “Communication is more than just verbal words or writing. The combination of facial expressions, hand movements and sounds results in communication.”

Using this concept, Abrams has started hosting cooking classes for the hearing impaired. Although anyone can join, an advanced knowledge of sign language is advised. The noise of utensils at work and laughter is encouraged, but TALKING IS NOT PERMITTED!

The next class will be held at the Sign Language Center in New York City, and features a Valentine’s Day themed fondue menu. For the hearing impaired, or those who want to get their cooking Zen on, check out the website for more information.

Bon Appetit!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Salad Daze

January 12, 2011


We made it through the holidays, and “eating season” is officially over. For many of us, it’s “out with the bad and in with the good” habits time.

Many of us will opt out of what we know will be a fattening meal choice, and select what we think will be more virtuous; a salad!

Inspired by David Zincenko’s “Eat This, Not That” blog post, I researched some salads at popular chain restaurants, with shocking results.

Cosi’s Signature Salad, features red grapes, pears, pistachio nuts, dried cranberries, Gorgonzola cheese, and sherry shallot vinaigrette. It comes with warm baked- on- the premises flatbread.

It also features 825 calories, and 67% of your daily fat intake.

Opt for the lighter version, which has a low fat dressing and ½ the cheese and is only 371 calories. Leave the flatbread at the counter to avoid temptation and another 214 calories.

California Pizza Kitchen has some of the highest calorie items around. How could a seemingly benign Field Greens Salad pack 998 calories? And that is without the addition of Gorgonzola cheese, shrimp, or salmon! There must be something in the dressing, because the greens and pears don’t add up. The candied walnuts are a bit of a clue, but you would need quite a few to get that number. Not the best choice, since it lacks protein, other than the sugar coated nuts.

Look into a half portion of the Classic Caesar with Shrimp for 372 calories, or the half order of Chinese Chicken Salad, for 376 calories.

Going to a made to order salad bar? Avoid the fat traps and make a healthy, filling and delicious salad.

Pile on the greens and any vegetables that are not grilled, marinated or otherwise swimming in oil. That includes tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, roasted beets, asparagus, green beans and many others. Avocado is a great source of healthy fat; but beware that each one contains over 300 calories. A cup of lettuce is only 8 calories!

Add some protein. Egg whites at 17 calories each are a great choice, as is plain chicken breast (100 calories), or steamed shrimp (5 each). Anything breaded or drenched in oil is to be avoided. Beans, such as chickpeas, kidney or cannellini beans are also great sources of protein for about 100 calories per ½ cup.  The addition of protein will help you feel full longer, keep your blood sugar in check, and help you build muscle if you are working out.

Nuts are high in protein and very good for you, but also pack about 170 calories per handful.  Eat them judiciously.

Go easy on the cheese. The sprinkling of blue cheese adds about 119 calories to the equation. Bacon bits are a huge fat and calorie trap at about 145 calories per serving, and sugar packed items such as dried fruit and candied nuts are also bad choices, adding 100 and 260 calories respectively. A crouton is only about 6 calories each, but really, who eats one crouton?

If the dressing is thick and creamy, pass it by.

Opt for a little vinaigrette, or a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice. Start making your own dressing, with only one tablespoon of olive oil, to 2 or 3 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice. A little Dijon mustard adds zing. Olive oil packs about 120 calories per tablespoon, so use it sparingly.

Remember, that the freshest, best quality ingredients need very little to enhance their flavor. Step away from the box, and enjoy more produce and non-processed foods. Your waistline (and your digestive system) will thank you for it.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Calculated Success

January 3, 2011

The end of the year often signals the start of a diet and fitness plan. I absolutely dread going to the gym tomorrow, which will be swarming with the New Year’s resolution people, anxious to get in shape. They don’t know how to use the equipment, clog up classes and locker rooms, and generally lack the basics in gym etiquette. Thankfully, most are gone by the end of the month, having failed to achieve success.

One problem is that they lack realistic goals, leading to frustration when the weight doesn’t just fall off. Knowing how much you really need to eat and exercise is key to getting off on the right foot.

An easy way to calculate just how much food you need is to take your ideal weight and multiply it by 10. That means if you want to weigh 140 pounds, you should eat 1400 calories per day. If you are working out, add back ½ of what you burn. Therefore, if you burn off 300 calories at the gym, add back 150 of them, making your daily intake 1550 calories.
It is important to note that it is considered unsafe to drop below 1200 calories per day, regardless of your current weight.

Next, be aware that it takes 3500 calories to make or break a pound. If you eliminate 500 calories per day through dietary changes and /or exercise, you will lose 1 pound per week.  Yes, I know they lose 15 pounds per week on The Biggest Loser, but that is a reality show, not reality.

Good luck embarking on your new healthy regimen. And by the way, if you see me at Equinox, please wipe off the equipment after you use it, throw your towel in the bin and let me work in if you are resting between sets. Thanks.

photo: glasshouse images

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