Archive for February, 2012

Food Frauds That Can Wreck Your Diet

February 28, 2012

You might think you’re eating healthy foods but are those foods really healthy?  Some of our favourite foods are full of hidden sugar & fat, have a look here at the “food fraudsters!”.    Such a shame as we LOVE Caesar salads but from this information only in moderation.

Close Up of Caesar Salad

Food Fraud: Caesar Salad

Some foods that we think are healthy can be sneaky little diet wreckers. University of Pittsburgh nutritionist Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, shares a few of these “food frauds,” starting with Caesar salad. Just a small bowl has 300-400 calories and 30 grams of fat, thanks to loads of dressing.

Food Fix: Use only 1 Tbs. dressing and 2 Tbs. tangy, Parmesan cheese.

Overhead View of Fruit Smoothie

Food Fraud: Fresh Smoothies

That “healthy” berry blend at a smoothie shop can have a whopping 80 grams of sugar, 350 calories or more, little protein, and often no fresh fruit. Fruit “concentrates” are often used instead of fresh fruit. And sorbet, ice cream, and sweeteners can make these no better than a milkshake.

Food Fix: Get the “small” cup. Ask for fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, milk, or protein powder to blend in protein and good nutrition.

Unwrapped Energy Bar

Food Fraud: Energy Bars

Many of these are simply enhanced candy bars with more calories (up to 500) and a higher price tag. Their compact size also leaves many people unsatisfied. “Three bites and it’s gone,” says Bonci, who advises hungry athletes and dancers.

Food Fix: Choose bars that have 200 calories or less, at least 5 grams of protein, and some fiber, which helps provide energy when the sugar rush fades.

Close Up of Chicken Burrito

Food Fraud: Chicken Burrito

With healthy beans and no red meat, what’s the problem? About 1,000 calories and plenty of saturated fat — cheese, sour cream, and the fat in the jumbo flour tortilla all contribute. And when the burrito is as big as your forearm, the serving is just too big.

Food Fix: Share one. Or try a soft taco with fajita-style grilled meats and veggies on a corn tortilla with tasty low-calorie salsa.

Diet Soda Lid on Cup

Food Fraud? A Sugar-Free Dilemma

Sugar-free foods sound like a no-brainer for weight loss. But a problem arises when we choose an artificially sweetened food or drink, then feel that we deserve a large order of fries or a jumbo dessert.  Upsizing the fries adds nearly 300 calories to your meal. If your calorie intake exceeds what you burn off, you’ll still gain weight — and you can’t blame the sugar-free foods.

Food Fix: Watch your total calorie intake..

Bottles of Vitamin Water

Food Fraud: Enhanced Water

Vitamins are commonly added to bottled water and advertised on the front label. But some brands also add sugar, taking water from zero calories to as much as 125. “Often the vitamins don’t contribute much,” Bonci says, “but the calories can contribute a lot.”

Food Fix: Refrigerating tap water may make it more appealing to family members. Or try packets of crystallized lemon to add flavor without calories.

Whole Milk and Skim Milk

Food Fraud: 2% Milk

Two percent milk sounds healthier than “whole” milk. But it still has more than half the saturated fat of whole milk. Here’s what’s in a cup of milk:

Whole Milk (3.25%) = 150 cal., 8g fat, 5g sat. fat
Reduced-fat (2%) = 130 cal., 5g fat, 3g sat. fat
Skim (nonfat) = 80 cal., 0g fat, 0g sat. fat

Food Fix: If you like whole milk, blend it with 2% for a while, then 1%, then skim, until you get used to the taste of nonfat milk.

2% Latte with Whipped Cream

Food Fraud: 2% Milk Latte

It’s tempting to choose “reduced-fat” milk in a latte and reward yourself with whipped cream on top. Sadly, this trade-off still adds up to 580 calories and 15 grams of saturated fat in a 20 ounce white chocolate mocha. That’s worse than a quarter-pound burger with cheese.

Food Fix: A sweetened, frothy beverage is a diet splurge. Limit the damage with nonfat (skim) milk and no whipped cream. You’ll avoid 130 calories and two-thirds of the bad fat.

Turkey Hot Dogs

Food Fraud: Turkey Hot Dogs

The nutritional content of turkey hot dogs varies from brand to brand — and some are real turkeys when it comes to health. It may say “less fat” on the front label, but when you check the fine print on the back, you find there’s still plenty of fat left in each sausage.

Food Fix: Compare nutrition labels for the lowest fat content; there are some really good choices now available. Or only eat them a few times a year.

Bran Muffins on Cooling Rack

Food Fraud: Breakfast Muffins

Muffins masquerade as a healthy choice for breakfast. They beat doughnuts, they’re still mainly sugary little cakes of refined flour. One store-bought muffin can hit 500 calories with 11 teaspoons of sugar.

Food Fix: Go no larger than 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Or look for 100-calorie muffins at the store. They limit calories, and some brands are a surprisingly good source of whole grains and fiber.

Regular Granola VS Low-Fat Granola

Food Fraud: Low-Fat Muesli

The low-fat version of this crunchy cereal has only 10% fewer calories and is still full of sugar. Plus, the low-fat label can easily lead you to overeat. A study at Cornell University found that people ate 49% more muesli when they thought it was low fat — easily blowing past the measly 10% calorie savings.

Food Fix: Look for low-sugar, whole-grain cereal, and sweeten it with fresh fruit.

Spoonful of Yogurt

Food Fraud: Low-Fat Yogurt

Too often this nutritional superstar — rich in protein and calcium — contains shocking amounts of added sugar. Some brands add 30 or more grams of fructose, sucrose, or other sweeteners Compare plain to fruited yogurts to see the difference between naturally-occurring milk sugar and added sugar listed on the nutrition facts panel.

Food Fix: Six ounces should be 90-130 calories and under 20 grams of sugar. Avoid sugary “fruit on the bottom,” or blend sweetened yogurt with plain, nonfat yogurt.

Close Up of  Multigrain Waffle

Food Fraud: Multigrain

When you see “multigrain” or “seven grain” on bread, pasta, or waffles, flip the package over and check the nutrition label. Even with more than one type of grain, the product could be made largely from refined grains — such as white flour — which have been stripped of fiber and many nutrients.

Food Fix: Look for “100% whole grain” (oats, wheat) as the first ingredient. Or choose the brand with more fiber.

Exrtra Virgin VS Light Olive Oil

Food Fraud: Light Olive Oil

Anything labeled “light” is enticing when you’re watching your weight. But often the food is not what you expect. Light olive oil, for instance, has the same calorie and fat content as other types — it’s just lighter in color and taste.

Food Fix: Some light foods do provide significant calorie savings. Compare the labels in the store.

Raw Egg in Carton

Food Fraud: Added Omega-3

Some yogurt, milk, eggs, cereal, and other foods boast of added omega-3. But most don’t contain the kinds of omega-3 best known to help your heart — EPA and DHA. Or there’s only a smidgen — about as much as in one bite of salmon. Instead, they contain ALA from vegetable sources. Vegetable sources of  omega-3 from ALA are not as potent or beneficial as DHA/EPA.

Food Fix: Try 6 ounces of salmon. It has 100 times more omega-3 than is in a serving of fortified yogurt. Vegetarians could consider algae-derived omega-3 supplements.

Row of Iced Tea Bottles

Food Fraud: Iced Tea

The antioxidants in iced tea don’t make it a health food. Too much added sugar can turn a tall glass into a health hazard. A 20-ounce bottle can have more than 200 calories and 59 grams of sugar.

Food Fix: Skip “sweet tea” in favor of unsweetened iced tea. Lemon or artificial sweeteners add zing without calories. Herbal and berry teas taste mildly sweet without sugar.

Bowl of Microwave Popcorn

Food Fraud: Microwave Popcorn

The word “snack” can be a little misleading on microwave popcorn. One popular brand packs 9 grams of bad fat, including 6 grams of trans fat, into each “snack size” bag.

Food Fix: Compare nutrition labels and get a lower-fat popcorn that has no trans fat at all. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese or low-salt spice blends for added flavor without a lot of fat.

Wedge of Iceberg Lettuce with Dressing

Food Fraud: Iceberg Lettuce

This popular lettuce is big on crunch but a big “zero” when it comes to vitamins and flavor. And its boring taste leads many people to overdo it on the dressing and toppings.

Food Fix: Add spinach or arugula to the mix. Crumble 2 tablespoons (100 calories) of blue cheese or feta on top. Then splash the salad with a little oil and vinegar to spread flavor without a lot of calories.

Salty Plate of Antipasto

Food Fraud: Salty Toppings

Processed artichoke hearts, chickpeas, and olives are just a few of the salt shockers lurking on the salad bar. To avoid an unhealthy amount of sodium, limit anything that comes out of a can. Also pass up cured meats. Choose beans or tuna, but not both.

Food Fix: Radishes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and other fresh vegetables are low in sodium. Rinse canned beans to remove a lot of the salt.

Spoonful of Cole Slaw

Food Fraud: Cole Slaw

Cabbage can be dandy for weight loss, but cole slaw can be a diet disaster. At one popular restaurant, a small cup (4.5 ounces) has 260 calories and 21 grams of fat — a third of most people’s daily limit — thanks to copious mayonnaise.

Food Fix: Some places make a healthier slaw, so ask for nutrition information. At home, try low-fat mayonnaise or mix with nonfat yogurt.

Tray of Cinnamon Rolls

Food Fraud: A Little Trans Fat

One cinnamon roll can have 2 grams of trans fat — hitting the daily limit for this unhealthy type of fat before you have the second one. Pastries, cookies, and crackers often contain trans fat — and have ridiculously small serving sizes. And in a trick of labeling, less than 0.5 grams per serving can be labeled “trans-fat free.” Eating too many servings may add up to too much trans fat when you think you’re not getting any.

Food Fix: Check the back label for trans fat per serving. Don’t eat out of the bag or box. Doing so leads to overeating.

Banana Chips on White Table

Food Fraud: Banana Chips

Deep-fried bananas are probably not what the doctor envisioned when she told you to eat more fruits and veggies. These don’t look greasy, but just one ounce has 145 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 8 grams of saturated fat — about the same as a fast food hamburger.

Food Fix: Try a fresh banana: four times more food, 0 grams of fat, all for about 100 calories.

Wheat and Cheese Crackers
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5 Food Lessons From Japan for a Healthier Life

February 26, 2012
 Slow down, sit down, eat at the table and not with the television on.  These are few tips to follow when it comes to eating.     Many of us grew up with this framework for eating. And sadly, it has led to many problems. We’ve learned to ignore our bodies’ signals. We eat when we’re not hungry, and we don’t stop until we’re completely and unpleasantly stuffed. Or, we wait to eat until we’re so hungry that we could (and frequently do) eat everything in sight. So, how do we break this habit? Re-learn what hunger feels like, and understand the difference between being satisfied (satiety) and being full.
On the island of Okinawa in Japan, longevity is the norm. Many people live healthy lives well into their 90s and early 100s. This could partly be attributed to their admirable eating habits, an important one being “hara hachi bu”, or eating only until they feel 80% full.
These people eat slowly, taking their time, enjoying their meals. By consuming their food more slowly, their stomachs are able to register the volume of food they have eaten, and send their brains the signal that it’s time to stop. When you gulp your food down, your stomach fills up so fast your brain hasn’t yet gotten the message that you’re full – by the time you feel full, you’ve already completely stuffed yourself.
There is no guarantee you’ll live as long as an Okinawan, but if you follow the tips below, you’ll be on your way to living a healthier life:
1. Before you sit down to eat, rate your level of hunger on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being starving, and 10 being absolutely stuffed). You want to start eating when you’re about a 3 (slightly hungry). Hopefully, you’re eating something every 2 to 3 hours. As long as you’re not eating especially large portions, you’ll find yourself slightly hungry when it’s time for your next snack or meal. The wonderful thing about eating frequently is that you shouldn’t find yourself “starving” and wanting to eat everything in sight.
2. As you eat, be aware of how you feel. Appreciate the subtlety of your body’s signals. Are you satisfied but not yet full?  Feeling full is a very obvious, noticeable sensation, but feeling satisfied is rather subtle. You want to stop when you’re at about a 7 on the hunger scale (satisfied, not full). Put the fork down and move away. It may be necessary for you to learn the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger. Emotional hunger is hard to satisfy, and it often accompanies feelings of sadness or anxiety.
3. Slow down. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to receive the message that your stomach is full. The more slowly you eat, the sooner you’ll recognize the message to stop eating before overdoing it. If you wolf your food down, you run the risk of eating too much and stopping too late.
4. Wait at least 10 minutes before going back for seconds. This gives your body time to process how full you are and allows your brain to send the “I’ve had enough” signal. More times than not, you’ll realize you really don’t want or need that second portion after the wait, thus saving you calories.
5. Limit distractions when you’re eating. Create a soothing environment and be mindful of what you’re doing and feeling. Mealtime should be pleasurable!
By Michelle Belill

How Do Soft Drinks Impact Your Health?

February 23, 2012

How drinking soft drinks impacts your healthSoft drinks are a popular beverage with some horrible side affects. In addition to being very high in sugar soft drinks are also loaded with high fructose corn syrup which has been associated with an increased risk in metabolic syndrome. This infographic looks at some of the common health conditions associated with soft drink consumption such as obesity, osteoporosis, and more.

Taking soft drinks have become our daily routine without considering the side effects of cold drinks. Carbonated or soft drinks have become a part of our diet to such an extent that for many, a meal or a snack without a soft drink is unthinkable. Although soft drinks may provide instant refreshment, they are very harmful to our bodies.

A carbonated drink is nothing more than a toxic brew of colouring agents and chemicals with no nutritive value. A regular bottle contains an equivalent of 11 teaspoons of sugar and excessive consumption can lead to increased triglyceride (fat) formation and decreased glucose tolerance, either of which may cause diabetes. A regular can of a soft drink contains 45 milligrams of caffeine and can lead to a dependence on the substance. These drinks have a pH of 3,4 (acidic), which is strong enough to dissolve your teeth and intestinal linings. For habitual drinkers, the risk of bone fractures increases by three to four times and in the long run may even cause osteoporosis. Probably the most disturbing fact about soft drinks is that the zing, which makes them so appealing, comes from a combination of phosphoric acid and an anti-freeze compound, ethylene glycol (a poison).

Carbonated drinks are aerated with carbon dioxide—the same substance which is the waste product of our respiratory process and would otherwise cause suffocation if left in the lungs.

Soft drinks can also be used for other tasks such as cleaning toilet bowls, loosening rusted bolts or to get rid of corrosion on battery terminals. This highlights the true poisonous natural of all such drinks.

Considering all the harmful effects of soft drinks, it only makes sense to switch over to healthier substitutes such as water, fresh juices, flavoured milk, milk shakes or green tea. Considering the side effects of soft drinks, it is better to take natural drinks rather artificial ones.  Here are a few recipes that are easy to make & delicious to drink.  Enjoy

Lemon Verbena Lemonade

On a steamy afternoon, why settle for the familiar? Instead, grab a cool glass of something less familiar, with inspiration plucked from the garden.

 

  • Yield Makes 7 cups
    Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup lemon verbena leaves
  • 5 cups fresh lemon juice, strained (from about 24 lemons)
  • Lemon Verbena Ice Cubes, for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, and add lemon verbena. Cover, and steep for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, and let cool completely.
  2. Combine lemon juice and lemon verbena syrup in a pitcher. Fill glasses with lemon verbena ice, and divide lemonade among glasses.

Cook’s Note

Play around with different herbs, substituting whatever is available for the lemon verbena leaves. Basil, tarragon, and bay make for inspired sips.

Tropical Ginger Punch

Pass a pitcher of this punch at a party, at dinner or an afternoon get together

  • Yield Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 3 cups orange juice
  • 3 cups pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) sparkling mineral water or club soda
  • Orange wedges, for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large pitcher, stir together orange juice, pineapple juice & ginger.  Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour (and up to 1 week). Just before serving, stir in sparkling mineral water. Serve over ice, garnished with orange wedges, if desired.

Diagram sourced from Life Insurance USA,   information sourced from http://visual.ly/how-soft-drinks-impact-your-health & http://www.marthastewart.com

How to Gain Flexibility & Strength With Body Balance

February 21, 2012

How to Gain Flexibility With Power Yogathumbnail 

Body Balance can improve breath awareness, posture, flexibility, balance and reduce stress.

Breath Awareness

  • Central to Body Balance is awareness of the breath. There are breathing exercises that help you improve your oxygen intake. There are some that help remind you to be in the present by controlling how you intake and exhale your breath and there are some that help you stay in more difficult positions.

Improving Posture

  • Body Balance emphasizes a neutral spine. That means, if you are lying down, the majority of your back is on your mat but there is a little hollow where your lower back doesn’t touch. In standing poses, the emphasis is on feeling centered as if you had a string from the ceiling through your head to the ground running along your spine.

Improve Flexibility

  • Flexibility is key to many of the balance poses. Starting simple and building up to harder positions will keep you from getting discouraged.

Improve Balance

  • Not only do the standing positions of yoga require balance, many of the floor exercises do too. As you master these positions, you will improve your balance, adding grace to your everyday movements.

Reduce Stress

  • Because balance  is about being in the present, it can help reduce stress through breathing exercises and muscle tension release. Body Balance can also help you take a longer view of situations by remembering that everything is possible if you take things in manageable steps.

Body Balance at Coffs Coast Health Club every Monday – 6:30 pm, Tuesday – 9:30 am, Thursday – 6:30 pm & Saturday mornings @ 8:30.  Try to attend at least two balance classes per week, you will find the flexibility & strength created will compliment everything you do both at the Coffs Coast Health Club & in your everyday walk.  Talk to your instructor before class if you have any health issues & they will advice on options available to you.

Information sourced from Kate Russell

You’re Good and I’m Good, Unless I’m Obese?

February 19, 2012
By Michael Taylor
Curvy is good, thin is good. Obese and anorexic, not so good. What do you think?
This isn’t simple. People are hurting here. We’re at war with our selves and each other. Our doctors, our friends, our advertising, and our own thoughts are hitting us from every corner. This is important, we need to set this right.
We know if we’re too underweight, we’re killing ourselves. We know the same if we’re too overweight.  And in the middle, we’re fighting.  It’s now normal to be overweight — each day dragged down by our health, how we feel, and even how we feel about our health. And if we’re not obese ourselves, we have friends close to us who are. Is it our metabolism? Our genetics? Our genetics haven’t changed as Americans in the last 30 years, that’s not how evolution works (I remember a few things from looking at snails with Dr. Stephen J. Gould at the Museum of Comparative Zoology many years ago; will save you from those stories). But as Americans & Australians we’re getting much bigger. Is that ok? It doesn’t seem like it. We’re good at fixing broken bones and fighting infections, but health is getting worse. We may be living longer, but we’re in a lot of emotional and physical pain. We’re in dis-ease. What has changed is our food, how we eat. It’s killing a lot of us in our bodies. For even more of us, it’s killing us in our minds.
What is “too fat” for me? Who gets to say? We’re getting fatter, so is too fat today different from too fat 30 years ago? Forgetting what other people think, let’s look just inside. If I’m tired, sick, or purely sad about my body, but nothing seems to change it, what do I do? Does the life I want come from me now, or from some other place? Do I believe in my ability to create the life I want, or has that belief been proven wrong by my experience? Have I lost faith in my self?
If I feel disempowered, if I don’t believe in myself, in my ability to be healthy, we have a much bigger problem.  When I give up, and retreat behind thoughts like
I’m not my body
or
Every body is great, no matter how big
Are these things true? Well, we know that we are our bodies. Our bodies, minds, and spirits don’t simply reflect each other: they’re all the same thing. We’re just one whole connected holistic being. So what do we do? How do we move from dis-ease to ease? How do we go from battling on the outside, because our inside battles have proven insurmountable?
Who you are is perfect. There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s everything right with you.
I make a big fuss about yoga not being about poses. That “How” we are is more important here than “What” we are. When we drop the struggle, the forcefulness of pushing to be somewhere other than where we are, in some picture that’s not what we are… we find ease right here, in who we are right now. We connect. We get intuitive and creative. We get powerful.
In the same way, health isn’t about looking or being like someone else. It’s about you connecting to you. About us hearing, understanding, and responding to ourselves. We discover we have far more power than we ever imagined. It’s been clouded, sometimes. And when it’s cloudy, ad campaigns — whether they’re on TV, in our office, or in our thoughts — can get pretty loud. They drive anxiety, fear, lack of confidence in our ability to be the best director of our own lives. We tune out. But our power is still there.
Everything we need to be healthy and happy is right here, inside us. It’s not up to anyone else to tell me that I’m too big or too small.
Of course there will be helpful and not so helpful friends along the way. But that listening power is all mine. If I’m listening, I know if I’m hiding behind a loss of faith in myself — that has me saying “I’m not my body” or “My body at any size is exactly as it should be, is exactly me.” I know if I’m tuning out because tuning in has hurt too much.  I also know when what I am really is exactly me; I know what “exactly me” feels like. Do I feel healthy? What life do I want to create?
For many of us, we don’t feel healthy, we feel sick. So we turn off feeling. For many of us, we don’t believe we can create, so we turn off creating. We know really well the destructive avalanche that comes from turning off. Switch it back on. We can do it. We can get to know just as well the creative life that comes from tuning in.
It’s not about a doctor, a friend, or a company telling us what we can or should be. When we’re not creating, those things can all be pretty noisy. When we are creating, the noise dissolves; our own signal is our greatest and most natural guide. We know what to eat. We know how to live. Suddenly, inevitably, we’re happy. We’re who we are. Nothing takes away from that. When I’m me, and you’re you, and we’re creating what we want…  no ad campaign in the world can touch us. We just feel good. We create the life we want, because we can.
Published January 17, 2012 at 4:15 PM
About Michael Taylor
Michael Taylor is a yoga guide at Strala Yoga in New York City. (Michael prefers “guide” to “instructor”.) He’s practiced Eastern movement and healing techniques for more than two decades. He holds a degree in mind-body medicine from Harvard, and studied alternative medicine and psychology at Oxford.

Seared Salmon with Potato-and-Bean Salad … that’s quick & easy to prepare!

February 16, 2012

A delicious, restaurant-quality dish that takes less than 20 minutes to cook!

  • Preparation time:  15 mins
  • Cooking time: 20 mins
  • Servings: 2

That’s how we like it a Coffs Coast Health Club, quick, easy & healthy for you.  Try this delicious  & simple recipe for dinner tonight…then tell your friends about it tomorrow.

Ingredients

320 g kipfler potatoes, skin on
2 x 160 g salmon fillets
1 1/2 tbs olive oil, divided
1 cup sugar-snap peas, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal
1 cup green beans, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal
1 x 2-cm piece preserved lemon, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tbs lemon juice
Cracked black pepper

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; add to saucepan of water, bring to the boil and boil for 15 minutes until tender. Meanwhile,
3. Heat grill pan to hot. Brush salmon on both sides with ½ tbs of the olive oil.
4. Sear salmon, skin-side down, for 2 minutes. Flip and grill for another minute.
5. Transfer fish to a baking tray lined with baking paper; cook in oven for 8 more minutes.
6. Steam peas and beans together during final 4 minutes of potatoes’ cooking.
7. Combine potatoes and green vegies in a large bowl and toss through remaining olive oil, preserved lemon, garlic and lemon juice.
8. Serve salmon on bed of vegies and season with black pepper.

Notes

Nutritional info per serving
2,314 kJ (553 cal), 42 g protein, 33 g carbs, 10 g fibre, 26 g fat (5 g sat fat), 711 mg sodium

Source: Prevention
Author: Judy Davie

Exercise at Coffs Coast Health Club & get a better “sex” life!

February 14, 2012

We all know that exercise is good for you — it keeps your heart healthy and adds years to your life. But exercise does something else — it makes your sex life better. By exercising several times a week, you’ll not only be increasing your health but improving your sex life. Sound good? Find out more.

Exercise Makes You Feel Sexy

A big part of sex is feeling sexy. People who exercise have an improved body image over people who do not exercise. Being more comfortable with your body leads to better and more relaxed sex. Studies show that more physically fit men and women rated their own sexual desirability higher than less active men and women the same age. Eighty percent of men and 60% of females who exercised two to three times weekly rated their own sexual desirability as above average. As the number of days of exercise per week increased, so did the ratings of sexual desirability.

Exercise Improves Sexual Performance

Another study showed that men and women who were more physically fit rated their own sexual performance higher. Among people who exercised four to five days per week, 88% of the women and 69% of the men reported their own sexual performance as above average or much above average. The reason for this could simply be an increase in confidence because of an improved body image, or a physiological reason (such as better circulation and blood flow).

Exercise Means More Sex

People who exercise more have more sex. The reason for this is complicated. People who exercise more are generally healthier, younger and have more attractive bodies than the non-exercisers. Frequent exercisers may also be more physically-oriented people who seek out activities and sensations. Whatever the case, research does show that the more a person exercises, the more sex he or she tends to have.

Exercise Helps Sexual Aging

Sixty-year-olds who exercise frequently report having the same amount of sex and sexual pleasure as people decades younger. One study examined the sexual frequency and satisfaction ratings of swimmers aged 60 and found that they were the same as those 20 years younger. If you exercise a lot, your “sexual age” will be years younger than your chronological age.

Reduces Erectile Dysfunction

There is a saying in the erectile dysfunction world that “penis health is heart health.” Erectile dysfunction is often caused by circulatory problems. In order to have an erection, the penis must swell with blood. Blocked arteries, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues can interfere with that process. Exercise keeps the heart and arteries healthy, reducing the risk of erectile dysfunction. Researchers looked at men over the age of 50 and found that those who were physically active reported better erections and a 30% lower risk of impotence than men who were inactive.

Endorphin Release

Exercise releases endorphins that give a feeling of pleasure. The classic “runner’s high” is an example. In a “runner’s high,” a seasoned runner may experience a feeling of bliss and contentment during exercise caused by a release of endorphins. Your sex drive and feelings of sexual pleasure also use an endorphin release system. Each time you exercise (or have sex), your body releases these endorphins. The more frequent and intense the releases, the easier it is for sexual arousal and pleasure in the future. In fact, studies have shown that women who frequently exercise become aroused more quickly and are able to reach an orgasm faster and more intensely.

Exercise Adds Options

If you are physically fit, you may have more options for sex. Sex itself is an intense physical activity requiring strength and endurance. As you exercise, both your strength and endurance will increase, opening the possibility for more varied sexual positions that require greater physical control.

The Bottom Line

If better health isn’t enough motivation to get you into the gym or out for a run, maybe better sex will be. Use the information here to inspire yourself to increase your fitness and just watch what may happen to your sex life.

http://longevity.about.com/od/lifelongfitness/a/exercise_sex.htm

The “History of Chocolate” just in time for this Tuesday, the day of LOVE!

February 12, 2012

With Valentines just around the corner we thought we might have a look at “the history of chocolate”.  At Coffs Coast Health Club we believe that you really can have it all…in moderation that is.  So get fit & healthy plus have the things you love.  Enjoy this Valentine’s Day with the people you adore.

chocolate

Chocolate Is Today’s Healthy Treat

Chocolate. There are few foods that evoke as much passion as this decadent treat. Folklore from many cultures claimed that consuming chocolate instilled faith, health, strength, and sexual passion. Once an indulgence of royalty, it is now a treasured and accessible – and yes, even healthy – treat. So where did our infatuation with chocolate begin?

Ripe cacao seed pods before they’ve been picked.

chocolate

Where Does Chocolate Come From?

The cacao tree, whose pods contain seeds that can be processed into chocolate, was discovered 2,000 years ago in the tropical rainforests of the Americas. The first people known to have consumed cacao were the Classic Period Maya (250-900 A.D.). They mixed ground cacao (cocoa) seeds with seasonings to make a bitter, spicy drink that was believed to be a health elixir.

Mexican hot chocolate is the descendant of a sacred drink called “xocoatl”.

chocolate

What Was Chocolate’s Great Allure?

To the Mayans, cocoa pods symbolized life and fertility. The pod was often represented in religious rituals, including marriage ceremonies, and was referred to as food of the gods. In central Mexico, the Aztecs believed that wisdom and power came from eating the fruit of the cocoa tree, and that it had nourishing, fortifying, and even aphrodisiac qualities.

Explorer Hernan Cortés meets Emperor Montezuma II of Mexico.

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Europeans Are Charmed by Chocolate

Europeans got their first taste of chocolate in 1519, when Montezuma offered the spicy drink to Spanish explorer Cortés and his army. The Spanish conquistadors brought cocoa seeds back to Spain, where they introduced new spices and sugar to the liquid concoction. The fad drink spread throughout Europe, where it remained a beverage of the elite for centuries.

The famed Italian lover Giacomo Casanova.

chocolate

Chocolate’s Seductive Reputation

Chocolate’s reputation as an aphrodisiac flourished in the French royal court. Erotic art and literature were inspired by the seductive substance. Casanova, the infamous womanizer, made a habit of drinking chocolate before his romantic escapades. Even today, romantic lore commonly identifies chocolate as an aphrodisiac.

chocolate

Chocolate Goes Global

The first machine-made chocolate was produced in Barcelona in 1780, paving the way for the mass production of chocolate. Later, mechanical inventions made it possible to produce smooth, creamy, solid chocolate for eating — not just the liquid for drinking. The first solid chocolate bar was developed by British chocolate maker Fry & Sons in the early 1800s.

chocolate

Chocolate Gifts on Valentine’s Day

“It’s believed that during the 17th century, lovers began exchanging mementos on Valentine’s Day – sweet treats were one of them. In 1868, the first Valentine’s Day box of chocolates was introduced [by Richard Cadbury],” says Susan L. Fussell, senior director of communications for the National Confectioners Association.

Soldiers hand out chocolate to French children during WWII.

chocolate

Three Cheers for Chocolate!

In 1875, the first milk chocolate was introduced to the market by Daniel Peter of Switzerland.  Chocolate became so popular around the world that even during World War II the U.S. government shipped cocoa beans to the troops. Today, the U.S. Army includes chocolate bars in their rations. Chocolate has even been taken into space as part of the diet of U.S. astronauts.

chocolate

Is Chocolate Really an Aphrodisiac?

Not really, even though throughout its history, chocolate has been purported as one. Chocolate contains small amounts of a chemical called phenylethylamine (PEA), a.k.a. the “love drug,” and it’s been linked to the regulation of physical energy, mood, and attention. A tiny amount of PEA is released at moments of emotional euphoria, elevating blood pressure and heart rate. There is no evidence that PEA found in foods increases PEA in the brain – although many chocolate lovers may beg to differ!

chocolate

Chocolate Makes Health Headlines

Dark chocolate (as opposed to milk or white chocolate) contains healthful flavonoids similar to those found in tea, red wine, fruits, and vegetables. Studies have shown that dark chocolate can improve blood vessel flow and may improve blood sugar and insulin sensitivity to help reduce the risk of diabetes. But beware, chocolate candy has plenty of saturated fat and sugar, so enjoy small portions of as part of a healthy diet.

 

Coffs Coast Health Club love to eat yummy things.  Why not try these macaroons?

Dark Chocolate Dipped Macaroons

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Picture of Dark Chocolate Dipped Macaroons

The cookie (if it can be called a cookie?) is typically composed of coconut, egg whites, sugar, and vanilla, and you will find recipes made of differing proportions of the former, plus or minus an ingredient or two. I’ve had ones made with sweetened condensed milk and do like the moisture it contributes, but it makes the lighter treat a tad too heavy. Though it does sound like a lot of sugar, we didn’t find this version to be overly sweet at all. If you scale it back too much, it tastes like a coconut omelet. Coconut is wonderful, but the contrast of the dark chocolate makes these babies exceptional.

I encourage you to experiment with natural sweeteners here, as I think it would only slightly change the flavor. You can find natural sweeteners at natural foods stores or online. Evaporated palm sugar is a great alternative, or you could use regular granulated sugar if you prefer.

Ingredients

3 Egg Whites
1 Cup Organic Sucanat (Whole Cane Sugar)
3 Tbsp. Honey
2 tsp. Real Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 3/4 Cups Unsweetened Coconut
1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour/Brown Rice Flour*
340 grams Semi-Sweet/Dark Good Quality Chocolate Chips

Instructions

Heat oven to 190 C degrees.

Beat the egg whites with a whisk until they are loose and frothy. Add the salt, vanilla, sugar, and honey and combine. Add the coconut and stir. See starred note for consistency advice.

Using a small spoon, dollop about 2 Tbsp. of the mix 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with either parchment paper or a non-stick cooking mat.

Bake in the oven for 14-16 minutes on the middle rack. Remove and cool completely. While the macaroons are cooling, heat the chocolate chips over a double-broiler, or glass bowl over simmering water. Be sure to not let the glass touch the water to avoid scorching. Continue to stir until chocolate is melted.

Lay out a new piece of parchment paper. Take a cooled macaroon, and generously dip half into the melted chocolate. Lay on the parchment for chocolate to harden. This time could be expedited in the fridge or freezer.

* The consistency of the mix will vary depending on the size of your egg whites and also how your coconut is shredded. When the mix sits in the bowl, you don’t want it to be weeping any liquid, it should hold itself together while still being moist. If anything is puddling at the bottom, add a bit of flour or GF flour to help dry things up. Add little by little, you may not need all of it. I needed to use the flour, as my eggs were large. Use your discretion and look for consistency before sticking to the measurements.

Total Servings: 24

Nutritional Information Per Serving

Calories: 155
Carbohydrates: 22.3g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Fat: 6.9g
Saturated Fat: 4.6g
Fiber: 1.9g
Sodium: 69mg
Protein: 1.8g

Coffs Coast Health Club talks about Lunch Box Nutrition

February 9, 2012
Lunch box nutritionHealthy, no-fuss lunches

Lunch box nutrition

Pack a school lunch with a healthy punch for your kids with these healthy lunch box tips and lunch recipes that beat cheese and vegemite sandwiches any day.

Making lunch every day of the school year can be tiresome for mothers (and kids) so remember to mix up your menus and keep trying out fresh ideas to keep your child interested in the healthy treats you’re tucking inside their lunch box.

Sandwiches can get very boring, but you can mix things up by using lebanese bread, wraps, rice cakes, English muffins, crispbreads and cracker biscuits with a mix of nutritious fillings. Why not try:

  • A sliced boiled egg wrapped in cling wrap along with some lettuce leaves to build your sandwich when you are ready to eat it
  • Leftover roast meat with grated carrot, chopped lettuce and chutney or tomato sauce
  • Grated cheese and chopped celery, or carrot
  • Cream cheese and sultanas

 

Healthy lunch box idea: Corn pikelets recipe

These wholemeal corn pikelets will jazz up any lunch box.  Whether they’re for recess or the main event, these fibre-rich pikelets taste great, and give children the energy they need to power through the school day.

These corn pikelets are great for breakfast or just anytime you need a nutritious snack. You can triple the batch and freeze some for later.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • butter to fry and spread

Method:

In a bowl, whisk together flour, egg and milk to make a batter.

Stir in corn kernels.

Heat frying pan and add 2 teaspoons of butter. When sizzling, drop in tablespoons of mixture.

Turn over and cook the other side.

Spread with butter.

Notes

  • This batter is best used straight away.
  • You can make a larger batch of these and freeze them for later.
  • I tried using margarine to spread on these and I have to say that the butter tasted so much better.
  • For a sweeter taste add 2 tsp of honey. Reduce the milk a touch to compensate for the extra liquid.
  • This recipe was created by Jennifer Cheung for Kidspot, Australia’s best recipe finder.

Healthy lunch box idea: Mini quiches with hidden veg recipe

Do your kids love quiche in their lunch box, but you shudder at the fat levels? These cute mini quiches are fast, full of protein and bursting with (sneakily hidden) veggies. Even better, you can use last night’s leftover vegetables to fill them.

These cheesy mini quiches will be popular with your kids – and they need never know that they are packed full of healthy vegetables that have been pureed and sneakily hidden in the egg and cheese mixture. Yum!

Serving Size:

Makes 24 mini quiches

Special Info:

Nut free

Ingredients:

  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup mashed potato
  • ½ cup mashed or pureed carrot
  • 1 cup grated tasty cheese

Method:

Place pastry sheets on a work surface to defrost for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C.

Select a 24 small hole cup cake pan or 2 x 12 hole pan. Cut 12 holes from each pastry sheet with a scone cutter that is slightly larger than the holes. Carefully push pastry circles into pan (no need to grease). Divide cheese between pastry cases. Whisk eggs and milk together in a jug, then whisk in the mashed vegetables. Pour egg mixture into pastry cases to just below the top. Keep whisking the mixture to make sure the vegies are evenly distributed. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden.

Notes

  • These are a version of Messy cheese pies with the added bonus of hidden leftover mashed vegetables. I had potato and carrot in the fridge, but you could use other yellow/orange vegetables (pureed pumpkin, sweet potato, corn, yellow zucchini)
  • Mini quiches freeze well; just reheat in the oven to make sure the pastry is crisp.
  • Recipe created by Melissa Hughes for Kidspot.

Healthy lunch box idea: Vegetable and chicken sausage rolls recipe

 

Hot or cold, these chicken and vegetable sausage rolls will disappear out of the lunch box in minutes. Deceptively nutritious, these sausage rolls combine kid-friendly flavours with hidden vegetables, protein, fibre – and even omega-3. Beat that for a healthy school lunch.

Ingredients:

  • 8 Pre-prepared frozen puff pastry sheets
  • 1kg chicken mince
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons LSA, (a mix of ground linseed, sunflower and almond kernels), optional
  • 1 cup flaked quinoa or amaranth, optional
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1kg vegetables
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 egg for brushing pastry, cracked and mixed lightly

Method:

Pre-heat your oven on high (around 210°C).

Chop up all the vegetables as small and fine as you can.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except for the puff pastry and the extra egg (which will be used to brush the pastry). Massaging all of the ingredients together can be the best way to make sure they are well combined.

After the puff pastry is defrosted, cut a sheet in half and lay in front of you as a long rectangle.

Using a tablespoon lay out the sausage roll mix in a long line at the bottom of the sheet, just remembering not to make it too thick. Keep in mind you will need to roll the puff pastry over the sausage roll mix so that there are two layers of pastry overlapping by at least 1cm.

Before rolling up the mix in the pastry, brush some egg as ‘glue’.  Keep the roll whole, brush with more egg on top and place on a tray with baking paper.  Keep in the fridge.  Repeat this process until all of the mix is used up.

With a sharp, thin bladed knife, cut the logs of sausage rolls into smaller pieces. Each roll makes 7 or 8 bite sized sausage rolls.

Lay each piece 2cm apart on a tray lined with baking paper.  Don’t try and squeeze too many on one tray as they will steam rather than bake and you won’t get a golden colour from the pastry.

Bake on high for 15min, until the pastry starts to golden then turn the oven down to 180°C.

Depending on the strength of your oven, you may need to move trays around from top to bottom and keep an eye on the bottom of the sausage rolls that they don’t become too dark.

Notes:

  • The trick is to keep the size of the vegetables in the sausage rolls as small as possible – bring out the food processor from the cupboard if need be!
  • Adding LSA (a mix of ground linseed, sunflower and almond kernels) which is high in fibre, protein and Omega 3 makes these far healthier than most sausage rolls, along with adding quinoa flakes rather than just breadcrumbs which is high in fibre and protein.
  • The following vegetables work well in these sausage rolls: onions, garlic, carrots, celery, zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli, eggplant, corn, peas, leek amd spinach.
  • You can also use the following but they will need to be boiled first so they are soft – sweet potato, celeriac and pumpkin.
  • This makes a big batch (over 100 small pieces) so you can freeze them and bring them out at times when you don’t feel like cooking but want your kids to have vegetables.
  • This recipe was created by Sonia Anthony from Chef Sonia & You for Kidspot, Australia’s best recipe finder.

What it takes to be as fit as Madonna is at 53

February 4, 2012

Wow who wouldn’t want to look like Madonna at 53?  At Coffs Coast Health Club we cater to fitness of all ages.  Monday – Friday @ 8 am we have classes for boomers & seniors.  Add to that some PUMP, yoga, Pilates, punch, RMP, Zumba & other classes plus healthy eating  and you too will remain strong and fit well into your 50’s +.

Madonna, is always fabulously fit. How does she do it, and what does it take to be so fit after 50?

WebMD asked celebrity fitness trainer Gunnar Peterson. He hasn’t trained Madonna, but he has worked with over-50 and under-50 stars, including Jennifer Lopez, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Q: What does it take to be as fit as Madonna is, at Madonna’s age?

A: A level of commitment that most people can’t even imagine. It takes dedication to exercise and dedication to nutrition, [and] a dedication to sleep. And the minute you fall off in one of those categories, you will notice it in the physique when you are at that level.

Q: Is she just somehow blessed? Genetically predisposed to have a great, fit body?

A: No way. Madonna earned that.

Q: When you’re training someone to do an act as demanding as Madonna’s — singing, dancing, entertaining millions — what do you focus on? Cardio, strength, flexibility?

A: I focus on strength at a cardio pace. We move through a lot of strength movements at a steady, unforgiving pace.

Q: Can you give us some details? What kind of hours in the gym would it take to get ready?

A: It’s going to depend on how physical her show is… It could be ridiculously demanding…  It’s a big demand for them to be doing what they are doing physically and holding a tune. So they have to be in great shape to be able to do that. Luckily, someone like Madonna doesn’t get out of shape.

Q: Based on her previous shows, which are always high energy, what would you guess her daily preparation for this one might be?

A: She could be doing anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes of strength training, 30 to 60 minutes of movement — Pilates or yoga — and then add on to that four to eight hours a day of rehearsal.

Q: Whew. What about rest days? One day a week?

A: I’ve done that and I know it can work. But everybody’s different. Sometimes that doesn’t work for everyone. I tell them to try to build in a rest day or at least a rest period. When you finish [a workout] one day early, try to start the next day late just to give yourself a little bit longer downtime.

Q: What about diet? What nutrition tips would you give? Other tips?

A: I tell people, try to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible: fruits and vegetables, high-quality protein. They are going to need complex carbohydrates [such as whole-grain breads and cereals] for long-term energy.

I also tell them to be conscious of their daily sleep, as opposed to playing catch-up on a random Sunday. [It’s not good] if your sleep is shortened and your nutrition [is] compromised.

Q: How much harder does it get to stay in shape when you’re older, say 50-plus?

A: It’s easier as you age if you did more in your youth. But the good news is you can still do it. It’s never too late. That’s not me being a cheerleader; it’s scientific. [Studies] have shown gains in lean muscle tissue and production of new tissue in people… one study was in octogenarians. That should be a huge banner of encouragement.

Q: Are older people more capable of getting and staying fit than they think?

A: Not only are people more capable than they think they are, but your body is way more able than you think it is.

Q: How hard can older people push themselves?

A: The smarter you are about exercise, the harder you can push. It’s a mindset.

Don’t always go for a record. Don’t neglect your warm-up. Remember that your warm-up is your friend. I’d rather have you shave 10 minutes off your workout time and put it toward the warm-up than for you to skip the warm-up and get a 10-minute longer workout, as you get older.

By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD