Josh Bowen: 10 Foods You Need in Your Diet

joshOf all the types of questions a fitness professional is asked, nutrition is the most common subject. Quite frankly people are clueless when it comes to what they eat. Conversely, that is not their fault. In this country we search for the quick fix, the easy way out and our media has done a great marketing job on “diets.” These diets usually consist of restriction some selection of food; fat, carbs, meat etc. So we are constantly told what we “shouldn’t” eat and rarely are we told what we should eat. So I wanted to put together a list of 10 foods that most everyone needs (barring food allergy, religious reasoning or preference). These 10 foods have various purposes that go beyond how many calories they consist of. These foods help the body ward off disease, decrease inflammation, and add vital vitamins and minerals to our body.

1. Eggs- Eggs are on this list for a variety of reasons; the whites are full of high biological value protein (that is a good thing), the yellow is full of leptin (which controls appetite) and they are extremely versatile (scrambled, poached, boiled etc.).  Eggs also have 12 vitamin and minerals, one of which (choline) is vital for brain development and increased memory. Eggs are nutrient dense only containing 75 calories per egg.

2. Nuts- If you only look at foods based upon their fat content and calorie count you would probably leave these section of food out. You would be missing the point of the article. Yes calories matter, however a twinkie may have less calories than a Big Mac that does not mean it is a good option. Most nuts are loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids that are good for the cardiovascular system and act as an anti-inflammatory warding off potential disease. Also nuts are considered an antioxidant which has the potential to decrease the potential for cancer. Because most nuts are high in fat, thus high in calories, use proper judgment and portion control and monitor the salt as well. Almonds, cashews, pistachios are all good choices.

3. Sweet Potato- One of my all-time favorite foods that packs a punch and is nutrient dense. Sweet potatoes are technically a vegetable, although we rarely think of them in that way. Their dark orange coloring makes them high in Vitamin A and C and an outstanding source of potassium. Diabetics can enjoy these foods because they are lower on the glycemic index than white potatoes, generally because of their high water content. Sweet potatoes also act as an anti-inflammatory.

4. Broccoli- Another one of my all-time favorite foods. Without the cheese, broccoli is a true super food that is packed with potassium a rich source of Vitamin A, C and K. It can be very beneficial for diabetics because of its high fiber content. Just remember, no chees

5. Apples- Not all fruits are created equal. Some are good and some are not. Apples however are unique, the skin is full of fiber (blunting the insulin effects of sugar) and they have high antioxidant content. Apples have been linked to prevent lung cancer, improve lung function and help prevent Type II diabetes.

6. Salmon- the American Heart Association recommends eating salmon twice per week because of the high Omega 3 content. It is low in calories, high in protein and low in saturated fats. If at all possible choose fresh salmon versus farm-raised.

7. Kiwis- They are a nutrient dense food that has an entire days requirement of Vitamin C in one large kiwi. Also high in fiber and potassium and a good source of Vitamin A and E. Great taste and texture makes this fruit a great super food.

8. Beans- Beans are loaded with insoluble fiber which is great for ridding the body of unwanted waste. These are heart healthy foods which are low fat good source of protein. Beans are versatile, they can be a good side dish, a great substitute for meat and chicken and can also be mixed in with other foods to make a great snack.

9. Quinoa- What? Yea Quinoa (pronounce keen-wa) is an ancient grain that is now readily available in health food stores and sections of your commercial grocery stores. Its high in protein and fiber and a good source of iron. It is as easy to prepare as rice and can be combined with nuts and beans as a good meal.

10. Berries- pack an incredible amount of nutritional goodness into a small package. They’re loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, low in calories, and high in water and fiber to help control blood sugar and keep you full longer. And their flavors satisfy sweets cravings for a fraction of the calories in baked goods. Blueberries lead the pack because they are among the best source of antioxidants and are widely available. Cranberries are also widely available fresh, frozen, or dried. All can add flavor and nutrition to numerous dishes, from salads and cereals to baked goods and yogurt.

So instead of focusing on foods you shouldn’t eat, concentrate on the foods you should. Start incorporating the above and watch your health increase dramatically which will vicariously help you reduce body fat, lower your blood sugar and help you build more muscle. Let me know if you have any good recipes!

Saul Kaplan: 100 Calorie Bite Size Snacks

Saul KaplanOne of the great things about having the kids around the house this summer is the temporary return of snack food.  But this summer is different; the snacks are all lined up in the cupboard in 100-calorie bite size packages.  As if the packaging alone will ensure portion control and make snacking consistent with our attempts at healthy living.  Of course it only works if you stop with one 100-calorie package, which I seldom do.  While snacking I have been thinking about the idea of bite size packaging and wondering if breaking up big hairy social goals into 100-calorie bite size packages of work tasks would better enable us to harness the power of social media to get more stuff done.  

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are incredible at stirring up the pot but not as good at serving the meal.  I have been amazed at the way social media enables the exchange of ideas.  The school doors are open 24/7 for life long learning.  Diverse communities of interest arise spontaneously reacting to world events, spectacles, and provocative ideas. But how do we translate interest and commentary into action?

I am fortunate to interact every day with passionate and motivated innovators who agree that we must transform our health care, education, and energy systems.  We also agree that the technology we need is available today to enable transformative change. This is our window of opportunity. Tweaking the current systems won’t work.  We need real systems change and the key will be to unleash the power of social media beyond exchanging ideas to taking meaningful action.  What if we could make it as easy to take an action step, as it is today to contribute and react to ideas?  The way forward is to break these seemingly overwhelming social tasks down in to bite size 100-calorie packages so that social media enabled communities can engage by rolling up their sleeves and contributing deliverables that will advance these important causes.

We have to get better at asks.  Asks have to be simple.  Asks must be accessible at the point of interest.  Asks should not require more than 140 characters.  It has to be easy to say yes and to accomplish the bite size task.  There should be immediate feedback on all completed tasks and it must be clear how the task fits into the bigger picture contributing to the overall social objective and systems change.

Social media platforms have the potential to move beyond talking about changing the world to actually enabling us to change it.  We can accelerate progress by breaking down wicked goals in to 100-calorie bite size packages that are easier to snack on.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Diet Update

jyb_musingsDone! 

Almost…

A little over six months ago I saw a friend, Kent Oyler, and told him I had just started a diet. He asked me my weight goal and I said I didn’t have one yet and he thought that was a mistake. I agreed and then asked Kent, since he was my height and in great shape, what he weighed. He told me and I said that was my weight goal. It was 27 lbs for me to lose. 

Last night I reported to Kent that I was actually only 3 lbs away from my goal of reaching his his weight. But Kent then reported that he had actually gained 3 lbs this summer and we were now at the exact weight.

I raised me arms in exultation….feeling, for a moment, like I had achieved my goal of attaining Kent’s weight. But being honest with myself my real goal is still about 3 lbs away and I’m hanging in until I reach, well, both goals!

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Tooting my Own Horn

jyb_musingsThere’s nothing wrong with tooting your own horn from time to time. If you don’t, who will? Right?

As baseball legend Dizzy Dean famously said, “It ain’t braggin’ if you’ve done it.”

Well, this morning it finally happened for me. I was the very first customer of the day at the Springhurst Starbucks in The Summit (or whatever they are calling it now).

I didn’t win a prize of any kind and the Barista wasn’t even going to tell me until I asked solicitously if I was, in fact, today’s first customer. After a brief pause while she fished through the cash register for my change, she looked up and without making eye contact, sighed and said, “Yep. You are.”

Those words, “Yep. You are,” were just what I was hoping to hear after so many mornings asking that same question and getting a “Not quite,” or “Almost,” or “No,” or “Are you serious?” (Followed by whispers to a fellow Barista.)

Finally, today is the day, fittingly on the day we celebrate our nation’s birthday, that I finally made it as Starbucks “First Customer of the Day.”

Dizzy Dean was right.

In fact, I’m thinking of taking the rest of the day off. But only until tomorrow morning.

Erica and Matt Chua: He Said-She Said: Missing the Holidays

Most of the year being away from home is just fine.  Daily life doesn’t give us much to miss, but the holidays are a different story.  Do we want to be at an ugly sweater party?  Yeah, you betcha!  Do we want to be feasting on unhealthy food just because it’s a holiday?  Of course!  Here are the key things about the holidays we miss.

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HE SAID…

December is a deceptively good month at home.  The fun of the holidays outweighs the fact that in Minnesota the temperature drops below freezing; a mark it won’t rise above until sometime in May.  While the air outside becomes frosty, inside it’s a different story, the warmth of people abounds.  Everywhere becomes festive, downtown Minneapolis hosts a nightly parade, stores that seem barren in the summer are wrapped in decorations, and people open their homes to share great food, catch up, and drink a little too much eggnog.  Overall, December is a month that I wish were longer.

Ever seen The Hangover?  At the end they find a digital camera with photos of the night before that show scenes that are unbelievable for even those that were there.  Our friend’s holiday party is like that.  Part of you wishes there were no digital cameras and facebook, but you also realize that’s a big part of the fun.  The party doesn’t really celebrate the holidays, rather it uses the holidays as a reason to party, in costume.  This year’s theme, Punk Rock Christmas, will celebrate the decade we were born in, but too young to rock mohawks and leather jackets without our parents’ agreeing to pay for them.  Being the season of giving, there is a gift exchange where you can expect to walkaway with household essentials such as stuffed bobcats and profane inflatable objects. This is one holiday party that is a shame to miss.

Stuffed bobcat!?  You know you want one and the gift exchange is a great place to get it.

A close second to missing Punk Rock Christmas is being able to indulge in eating without shame.  The holidays are a time when it’s seemingly OK to catch up with family while holding a plate that only contains prime rib, lamb, and turkey.Sure, there are plenty of other things I could put on my plate, some carbs for example, but why?  Spending time with loved ones and a plate of meat is what makes December different from Thanksgiving when people will plop sweet potatoes onto your plate against your will.  The holidays are all about food, family and friends, which makes December a great month.
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SHE SAID…

I have always had a white Christmas, being from Minnesota having snow on the ground is a sign that the holidays are just around the corner.  While we have chased summer weather around the world, I miss the snow that tells me it’s time for holiday parties, ice sculptures and long standing family traditions.  Sure I wish I could attend friend’s ugly sweater parties and play secret santa, but what I miss most is our traditional  Christmas Eve meal and our eclectic Christmas Day gathering of friends and family.

My plate of food with Swedish meatballs, Swedish sausage, lefse and a tiny bit of obligatory lutefisk.

Read the rest of…
Erica and Matt Chua: He Said-She Said: Missing the Holidays

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Dear God

jyb_musingsDear God, 

Don’t get me wrong and please know I am just trying to help.

I appreciate you keeping up the regular supply of much needed water to us. But splashing us every few days with water everywhere with these rain storms just makes it seem like you aren’t keeping up with the times. Nobody down here is saying anything yet about your old fashioned water deliver methods but I worry they eventually will–you know how we are. And who needs that?

For example, I was at a Thornton’s early this morning (the one off Shelbyville road in Louisville, KY across from the Starbucks) and out in front there are, like, 50 cases of bottled water all lined up in neat rows. (I think it’s that fancy water that comes from the French Alps. And if the French can transport tons of water in neat little bottles, I know you can come up with something even better than that!!)

Look, it’s 2014 and there are all kinds of ways to deliver water to us that are way more efficient than the old way of just raining it down on us every few days without notice.

If you want me to ask the bottled water guy at Thorntons for some ideas for you, I will but won’t tell him I’m asking for you. We can keep it between us.

Just trying to help,

John

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Facebook Diet Update

 

10422129_10154374013165515_2145931767846929601_n10338713_10154374013220515_5125868687903418794_nSo, I got a haircut.

And I lost 23 lbs.

(Jan 2nd 2014 vs July 2nd 2014)

I’m calling it the “Facebook Diet” because a key motivator is regular Facebook updates on my progress.

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Out with the old –and too big.


21 months ago I bought a pair of jeans that are 34w as an incentive to fit into them 2 months later. 

21 months –and 21 lbs– later I fit into them. Not what I would call “a comfortable fit” but I am wearing them anyway.

And got rid of all my 38w pants today along with a few other (now) oversized clothes.

jyb_musingsOff to Evolve consignment store and Goodwill.

And 19 months late is still better than never. Or even 20 months later.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Forrest Gump

jyb_musingsGuess what? 

If you are simple and from the South one day you will grow up. Maybe you are 51, like me, when it happens. Maybe younger; maybe older. 

But one day you come to realize that life really isn’t like a box chocolates.

It’s a painful realization at first. But you will just have to deal with it.

Even Forrest Gump, at age 51, would probably say life is really more like eating a piece of Peanut Brittle with sensitive teeth.

Don’t get me wrong. Life is still good. But we have to learn, even here in the South, life is more complicated than we thought—and that we can’t chew if we want to enjoy life and have it last a long time. Especially with sensitive teeth.

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Thought for the day

Today I will go slower to go farther.

And if I get too far ahead of myself, I will speed up.

Josh Bowen: Living to Die or Dying to Live: 5 Steps to Being You

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else, is the greatest accomplishment.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

joshRecently I was reading an article I found on Facebook called 5 Regrets of Dying,” and the first regret was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” This got me thinking about life in general and how I see people who live their lives for someone else and not for themselves.

I can be accused, justifiably so, for being a workaholic and someone who is passionate and borderline obsessed with his work and craft. But I will say for all that I sacrifice; personal time, vacations, time with friends and family, I do my work, not because I have to but because I want too. I lead this life the way I want. Everything is my choice. Some people will love me and some won’t. That is the nature of life.

So putting fitness aside, I thought I would write about life in general. And pose the question to everyone; “Are you living to die or dying to live?” Here are five steps to separate yourself from everyone else and be who you are suppose to be:

1. Radical Self-Responsibility

We have become people who always point the finger at others. As to say it is always someone else’s fault or problem why we are where we are. At the end of the day, the responsibility falls on our shoulders. If you didn’t workout today, that is your fault. Manage your time better. In order to get out of the usual and become someone of distinct characteristics, we must take full responsibility for everything.

2. Stop Caring What People Think

Right or wrong we all care what people think of us…to a degree. I care what my family thinks of me. However, I do not let them sway me one bit. Some people will love you, others will not, stop caring what those who only want the worst for you, think. “Wolves do not fret over the onions of sheep.” Are you a wolf or a sheep? You pick?

3. Stop Being So Superficial

At the end of the day, we will all die and the way we looked or the things we had will not matter. What will matter most is the impact we had on the people we leave behind. Treat your body right but don’t obsess. Have nice things but realize they are only just that, things.

4. State Your Opinion

This is a difficult one. In today’s landscape, having an opinion can be looked at as a hindrance more than a benefit. However, I was always taught to stand up for your beliefs and to give your opinion if asked. To this day I do not shy from stating my opinion no matter how unpopular it is.

5. Realize Life Will be Over Soon

To quote a phrase, “I’m not here for a long time, I’m here for a good time.” None of us are here for a long time. We are given a certain amount of time on this earth and we must make the most of it. If you want to try something, go try it. You want to start your own business, go start it. Fear absolutely nothing and careless what anyone has to say about it. Leave a legacy someone could be proud of. It will make a vast difference in the world, trust me.

We were all meant to be extra-ordinary in our lives. But you can’t do this from your desk or your couch at home. You must get off your ass and change your mindset on being you, the real you. Show people who you are. It will make a world of difference.

 

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Dreaming

jyb_musingsToday I learned that if you wake up from a dream in which you drank down 3 full glasses of water and 3 bottles of water and were looking for another cup of water to guzzle when you awoke, chances are high that when you wake up you will discover that you feel thirsty.

And it is likely you will get out of bed and stumble sleepily into the kitchen and quickly drink one and a half glasses of water and half a glass of lemonade. And then go back to bed and turn off the light.

Turn on the light again after 2 minutes. Stumble back into the kitchen and drink down another half a cup of really cold ice water. Then post about the experience on Facebook. And calculate that in the past 20 minutes you have drank a total of 8 and a half glasses of liquids, real and imaginary. You then make a mental note to yourself that it isn’t as difficult as you had thought to drink 8 glasses of water a day, as everyone seems to recommend — although admittedly 6 of your glasses of water were drunk during a dream and shouldn’t really count.

You will then get back in bed and turn out the light.

And still feel thirsty.

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