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Energy Yielding Nutrients/Carbohydrate, Fat, Protein (The Substrates)

Posted by Monica Monedero on April 1, 2017 at 3:00 AM Comments comments (5)

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Here is some basic 101 on nutrition about energy-yielding nutrients.


In the body, three organic nutrients can provide energy: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. The best fuels for workouts are carbohydrates. Although protein can be used as fuel, it is not a direct source. As a dietary source, it will be used to build muscle. Once in the body, if no carbs are available, your body must break down muscle to be used as a fuel source. This is where protein is stored, in the muscles. That is why you should use carbs to fuel your workouts and protein to repair your muscles. Eggs and greek yogurt are great recovery foods because of the protein they contain. Add a little whole fruit to replenish the loss of carbs.  Your body uses fat as energy during exercise that lasts for a long time, like during a long-distance run. However, most of the time your body can use the fat it has already stored and, therefore, you don't need to eat a high amount of fat unless you’re at your ideal weight or underweight, in which case fat is more important. Good fats (e.g., avocados) are also vital to helping your body use the nutrients you eat. Energy-yielding nutrients provide the following calories:

Carbohydrates: 4 calories per gram

Fat: 9 calories per gram

Protein: 4 calories per gram

*NOTE: Alcohol contributes 7 calories per gram that can be used for energy, but is not considered a nutrient because it interferes with the body's growth, maintenance, and repair. See the article here;


In contrast to these energy-yielding nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and water do not yield energy in the human body. Of course, this doesn't mean you don't need vitamins, minerals, and water every day! Quite the opposite! These are vital to your life force. Vitamins and minerals are even more important while dieting and exercising because these are what keep your physical energy levels high and help your body maintain and repair your muscles after your workout. Although vitamins and minerals are not a direct energy source, they assist the enzymes that release energy from carbs, fats, and proteins. This is a major reason why they are vital to life. Therefore, you should strive to make the calories you eat as nutritionally dense as possible!

Eat a little bit of good carbs, protein, vitamins, and minerals with each meal. For breakfast and preworkout, eat 100% juices, whole fruits, and whole grains. For lunch, eat whole proteins, like boiled eggs or tuna with spinach salad. For a snack, eat a handful of nuts with a little dried fruit to get your carbs, fat, and a little protein. Note that green, leafy vegetables will give you the highest yielding nutrients and thereby help sustain your body for workouts and high energy levels. They have small amounts of carbs and are packed full of those vitamins and minerals that will assist you in utilizing the energy-yielding nutrients.

To lose weight, be careful with the carbs. Eat small amounts of whole fruits, such as oranges and apples. Avoid white pasta. Eat carbs 1 to 2 hours before your workout for optimal performance. Then, immediately replace the carbs you burned with perhaps an orange or apple and some nuts, and protein such as greek yogurt or a boiled egg. If you are working out for longer than 1 hour a day, then you may need to increase the carbs, protein, and fat ratio, depending on your weight-loss goals. For thinner, leaner bodies, eat a little less protein. For a more muscular physique, eat a little more protein. (If you want more specific amounts, let me know and we can figure out requirements based on your own personal body specifications. The bottom line is all the nutrients work together, and we can customize a plan to suit your needs) 

Many of my clients will attest to my having them pay close attention to what is happening in their body as opposed to giving them some general menu plan that applies to everyone. Balancing the calories in, calories out, and overall weight loss is a difficult task. When you are working out every day, you must become familiar with your body’s needs by paying close attention to the scale, and even more, your waist size. This can take some careful planning in the beginning, but once you develop the habit, this will become second nature! Keep your "eye on the ball" and stay focused to achieve your goal! 



One thing to build a stronger immune system

Posted by Monica Monedero on March 9, 2017 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

What is one thing that helps build a stronger immune system?

1. Move, or better said, move your lymph fluid! The lymphatic system is activated by deep, diaphragmatic breathing--in addition to water--the best way to activate the lymph system movement is with deep breath. Moderate exercise can help to improve and exercise your lungs while simultaneously activating your body's natural filtration system. Don't overdo it by running a marathon, expecially if you are already sick, simply increase the circulation and breathing in your body, and this will work fine.


Alcohol in the Body

Posted by Monica Monedero on November 14, 2014 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

This article provides information on how drinking alcohol affects the body and dieting. The book Understanding Nutrition, eleventh edition, was used as a source for this information.



When alcohol enters the body, unlike food, the body does not require time to digest it. Alcohol is quickly absorbed across the wall of an empty stomach, reaching the brain within a few minutes. This explains why we all know we should consume food before drinking!



The stomach begins to break down alcohol using the alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme. The enzyme varies by person and by race depending on the genes each person has inherited. Women produce less of this stomach enzyme than men. Consequently, more alcohol reaches a woman’s intestine for absorption into the bloodstream, and thus women have a lower tolerance for alcohol than men.



Alcohol is metabolized primarily in the liver. If more alcohol arrives at the liver than the enzymes can handle, the extra alcohol travels to all parts of the body, circulating again and again until the liver enzymes are finally available to process it. If you are going to drink, a good tip to control your intake is to limit the number of drinks before you start and drink no more than one drink per hour. This gives the enzymes in your liver time to process the alcohol. Keep an eye on your watch!!



Alcohol alters both how the body synthesizes amino acid and protein. Synthesis of proteins important in the immune system slows down, weakening the body's defenses against infection. Eating well does not protect the drinker from protein depletion; a person must stop drinking alcohol before the body will resume its natural rate of protein synthesis.



Alcohol is rich in energy (7 calories per gram) (we are talking "calorie energy" here). As with pure sugar or fat, the calories are empty of nutrients. Alcohol's contribution to body fat is most evident in the central obesity that commonly accompanies alcohol consumption. In other words, it is a large contributor to belly fat! It displaces nutrients from the diet and interferes with the body's metabolism of nutrients.

"In general, alcohol intake is associated with bigger waists, because when you drink alcohol, the liver burns alcohol instead of fat," says Michael Jensen, MD, an endocrine expert and obesity researcher with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.


Those are a few of the facts. So how do we handle this sticky situation while trying to diet? Unfortunately, the best thing would be to stop drinking while dieting. Then, once the desired weight has been reached, slowly introduce it back into your diet on a moderate level and pay close attention to how it affects your weight and appetite.



The next best thing would be to limit drinking to no more than once or twice a week, or, even better, only on special occasions. Keep in mind that tip above about deciding how much you will drink during a certain occasion and limit drinks to no more than one per hour until you have reached that maximum number of drinks. Also, try not to drink sugary mixed drinks like the liqueurs used in, for example, restaurant Margaritas (try my Healthy Margarita recipe under the Vitamix blender tab), Lemon Drop and Apple Martinis, and Long Island Ice Teas. These just compound the dietary problem.



Other Tips:


Intersperse your wine, beer, or low-calorie drink with water or sparkling water between each drink.

Tell your friends and family you are trying to diet and seek their support of your limited drinking while trying to reach your desired weight.

Add water, ice, or club soda to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed.


A year with Laura! (scroll down for other news)

Posted by Monica Monedero on October 12, 2013 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

A little over a year ago, my client, Laura Meidinger, contacted me about fitness training.  She is 51 years old, 5'2, and a year ago, weighed about 190 lbs.  She had just quit smoking a few weeks before, and decided it was time to change her life.  She wanted me to help.


Laura had never really focused on exercise or diet.  Like many people close to her age, she ate and drank what she wanted.  As with most people, it finally caught up with her.

As part of her plan, we started with her diet. To change her old habits, we decided she should try the juice fast I recommend on my juice fast page.  Neither Laura nor I had any idea how long she would last on the fast, but her intention was to go at 30 days.  She made it an amazing 24 days!  During the fast, she lost just over 16 lbs.  More importantly, it helped her to reset her eating habits away from processed foods and too much meat.  

When she was getting ready to end her fast, I came to her house and we fixed some meals from my website that would insure that she transitioned smoothly to a whole food, plant based diet.  She had decided to follow my recommendations completely and see how she felt. 

I never expected what happened next!  She felt so much better as a result of changing her diet, she eventually decided that she would remain a vegan!  I am not even completely vegan! 



For her exercise program, we did cardio/respiratory stuff like biking and running.  Mostly running, and not necessarily by choice in Laura's book! But she could see that it was helping so she pressed on with my encouragement!!

You could hear Laura coming for a long time before you saw her as she ran on the American River Bike Trail. Sometimes it was her laughter at herself you heard; sometimes it was her telling me how much she "loved" me as I made her run for the very first time in her life; and, sometimes, it was her "smoker's wheezing" breath you heard as she tried to run a few hundred feet.

After a few weeks of running we clocked her time at the American River College track at 12:20 mile.  Not bad for a beginner! 

After a year of training how is she doing?


  • Last timed mile was 7:54
  • Completed the Reno/Tahoe Odyssey, a 178 mile relay race with me and  a group of friends 
  • Santa Rosa Half Marathon completed in 2:06 hours
  • 8 mile, Rock the Eighties run

Laura's medals so far...



 Laura after the Santa Rosa Half Marathon...   


Laura still wants to lose about another 10 or 12 lbs, but I wanted to share her inspiring story after 1 year to show it is possible to transform your life at any age or weight!  

Don't worry...she will do it!! 

I will keep you up to date with her story (and others) on my commercial Facebook page, Find me on Facebook, Get Fit with Monica!   

Terry's Transformation

Posted by Monica Monedero on September 1, 2012 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (3)

Terry on a search and rescue mission before weight loss

*Note: The positive results that Terry experienced were not simply due to his weight loss, but also because he chose a nutrient rich, plant based diet. Doing this gives him the fuel he needs to sustain a vigorous work-out routine.


My client, Terry, loved red meat. In fact, any kind of meat was good with him. If you said, "Terry, would you ever become a vegan?" he would laugh at the idea! Terry's typical day consisted of the following meals:


Breakfast: Three fried eggs, bacon, and toast with butter and jelly, or doughnuts (and he always had seconds).


Lunch: Sandwich or leftovers from his previous dinner until he was full.


Dinner: A big steak, chicken, or pork; a loaded potato or other starch and bread; and very small portion of vegetables (he hated vegetables.). He rarely ate fruit—maybe an apple a week.


Evening: Lots of red wine (on weekends, any type of alcohol) and ice cream or yogurt.


Not surprisingly, at 62 and after years of eating this way, Terry weighed 231 pounds, had an overall cholesterol reading of 249, and was on several medications for both blood pressure and heartburn. As for exercise, Terry had been active in the past, but was not doing much now. His poor diet had pretty much taken over his body, and he certainly did not have the strength to exercise. But the defining moment came for Terry when he was diagnosed with gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis, in his big toe. Apparently this can be quite painful, and Terry found himself essentially crippled by the gout and unable to go to work.

This down time, and the subsequent loss of work, afforded him the time to research his gout problem. The advice that kept coming up in his research was to change his diet to plant-based foods and stop eating red meat and alcohol, especially red wine.

Terry, being a strong-willed individual, decided to commit to a purely plant-based diet. That meant no meat, dairy, eggs, or cheese. He also decided to quit drinking alcohol for health reasons.

Terry and his girlfriend, Brenda before weight loss. BTW...Brenda later lost 7lbs (on a 4'11 frame) just by participating indirectly with Terry's new eating habits!


Terry was also inspired by the health results of another client of mine, Bob Browning, Terry's boss, who was achieving improvements to his health through diet and exercise. Terry and Bob would swap stories about the changes in their diets and lifestyles and tease each other when they caught each other eating cake or candy. (In fact, Bob was starting to see changes in the health of the employees throughout his company, and these employees attributed some of their changes to his example.)

Terry (after weight loss) and Bob. Terry's boss, Bob, was one of many inspirations along the way for Terry's transformation. (See Bob's Juice Journal on my Client Juice Journal page)

Now Terry's typical day consists of the following meals:


Breakfast: An apple, banana, grapes, and nuts or a cup of oatmeal or quinoa.


Lunch: Nuts, fruit, and a salad maybe consisting of spinach with seeds, tomatoes, avocado, onion, garlic, and balsamic vinegar half mixed with a store-bought vegan dressing.


Snack: Nuts and/or fruit


Dinner: A couple of vegan tacos made from plant-based ingredients or a portabella mushroom burger with sweet potato fries, almost always accompanied by another salad and some fruit.


The real kicker to Terry's story is not just the drastic change in his lifestyle, but how in an amazingly short time period Terry saw results. Terry changed his lifestyle in April 2012, when he weighed 231 pounds and had gout. Now, as of August 28, 2012, he weighs 189 pounds. His gout symptoms have almost disappeared, his cholesterol is now in the healthy range of 181 (tested July 31, 2012), and he is completely off all medications!


What about exercise? Terry started walking to work in April 2012, after he changed his diet. Then, inspired by my client, Bob, and our workouts at American River College, he began to run the track instead of simply walking the track. He could barely make it around one-quarter of the track without stopping when he ran instead of walking. However, he kept pushing and soon was running a consistent 14-minute mile. He kept plugging away at his running and now? He can run 7.3 miles in about 1 hour and 12 minutes! He recorded a 9:22 mile during our last run, and an average of 10:07 overall on a 7.3 mile run!

Terry after his weight loss giving my business a plug!

Terry often complains to me that he can't do something, but he pushes through somehow. He has not been without pain; changing this fast does not come without a few problems. For example, he had a calve problem, and it cut into his running. However, I got him to slow down a bit, do some yoga, and incorporate other therapeutic remedies into his routine, and then he achieved the 10:07 time on the 7.3 mile run—his best ever run time! And, just a few days ago we recorded a 8:55 mile! Not bad for a man who could barely run a ¼ of the ARC track a few months ago!


I wanted to write this story about Terry because it so clearly demonstrates the power of how a person can transform their life when committed to exercise coupled with a healthy, plant-based diet. Many people question whether they will feel healthy, and strong if they eat nothing but plant based foods. Terry is a good example of someone who made the change and achieved phenomenal results. He now says, “I feel grateful for getting the gout because it lead me to change my lifestyle.”


Not everyone will see results this quickly, or choose to eat only plant-based foods, but the main objective is to move yourself toward a healthier lifestyle in a manner that you know will work for you on a permanent basis.




Two of my star clients!

Kris' Story; The Key to success!

Posted by Monica Monedero on February 22, 2012 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (0)






The new and improved Kris above!

Kris has been my client since last November.  She started just before the holidays.  What a time to start in with a personal trainer!  She was determined to lose weight, and decided to give me a call after coming across my business card.  We met, she paid the money, and now, there was no turning back!

She tried Nutrisystems, calorie counting, and even lost 20 lbs on her own.  The problem was, it did not stay off, and she didn't feel that she looked, or felt,  as good as she does now.  So far she has lost approximately 35 lbs (and counting) even with the muscle gain!  The difference now?  Muscular, cardio development and an overall balance of proper nutrition, and  a well rounded work-out routine.  AND, last but not least, a desire to achieve specific goals!

Kris did have a weight loss goal, but in addition to that, she wanted to be able to feel good when taking a picture; go on vacation, and not have to diet before going on vacation, but instead, enjoy her vacations in a healthy and fit body.  I found out what her goals were, set up a plan to get there, and made sure she knew that canceling was not an option.  In other words, she had to make this one of her first priorities.  And that meant not just working out when she was with me, but doing it on her own, and using my website to help with nutrition ideas.

When we first started there were quite a few obstacles for Kris, but nothing more than what most of my clients experience.  For instance, many clients experience nausea when they reach their physical threshold.  In the beginning, she experienced this right away during our plyometrics portion of the workout. NOW? It is rare for her to experience nausea during a workout!  And believe me, I push her hard!

Another example was her running ability.  One of her goals was to become a better runner (she was a good runner before she had children several years ago).  She could not even run a mile without stopping. NOW?  She can run 10 miles!  And, her best time (so far) 8:16 mile!

In approximately 8 months, Kris has accomplished the following;

- Loss of 35 lbs (and still going)

- She is now a good runner, and hill climber.  She actually increases her speed on the hills (and working on becoming a phenomenal runner for a 41 year old)!

- She is developing beautiful muscle tone (I can see it moving when she is doing those push-ups!)

What makes Kris a great client for me? As a trainer, it can be almost as discouraging for us as it is for the client when they don't succeed. 

It is pretty obvious personal training is not one of the highest paid industries, and most trainers are doing it because they really want to help people (at least the good ones).  Usually because we ourselves have experienced some type of life changing event that was the result of physical fitness improvement.

So when our clients actually apply our methods and succeed, it can be almost as gratifying to us as it is to our clients.  We are working toward the same goal.

The keys to Kris' success;

-Once Kris wrote the check she said to herself, "I am not going to just throw this money away, I am going to use it to my best advantage!"

-She set up an appointed time 3x per week, and stuck to it.  I can count on one hand how many times she has had to miss an appointment, and usually she lets me know days or even weeks in advance if she is going to have to miss.

-She does her "fitness" homework

-She does her "diet" homework (This means following my suggestions:) and figuring out which ones work for her lifestyle)

-She does not let a "plateau" get her down.  Sure, she feels bad when she does not make a set target or goal when she wants to, but she gets over it, and we work on ways to get her through the inevitable plateau.  Patience and steadfast determination is the key!

-She gave herself enough time to do it in a healthy and safe way to avoid overdoing it too soon, or risk getting injured, and as a result, have to quit.

I thank Kris for letting me share her story as I truly believe it can help others who face the same challenges Kris has faced.  You may contact Kris @[email protected] Or, post a comment below, and I will make sure Kris reads it.

Mental Skills for a Better Body

Posted by Monica Monedero on January 7, 2012 at 2:25 AM Comments comments (1)

Doing some mental and emotional exercise before you start an exercise program will help to insure success with your exercise program. It can be as simple as committing to reading something inspirational everyday then trying to acquire a deeper understanding of your weaknesses and strengths.


For a deeper understanding of what may or may not be holding you back, it is a good idea to pay attention to your body. Being physically fit depends on listening to your body, and sometimes we do not realize how much we internalize our emotional and mental anguish which externalizes itself in our bodies. Sometimes, but not always, it is through weight gain or simply weakness in the body.


You can feel all things internalized if you pay attention to your body. When you experience upset of any kind, where do you feel your pain? Is it in the so called "pit of your stomach"? Is it the pervasive "pain in the neck"? Is it that inescapable "lump in your throat"? If you pay attention, you will notice that most of the time it appears in certain places in your body.


THIS is your internal gauge; the feeling in your body. It can be your friend or foe. If it is your foe, and you ignore the internal gauge, it can manifest in various forms. Eating to placate the "pit in the stomach" possibly resulting in weight gain or other stomach problems. The "pain in the neck" could result in neck and shoulder injuries, stiffness, hunching of shoulders etc... . The "lump in the throat" leads to sore throats which can sometimes translate to a decreased immune system, or other throat  related disorders. 


Ultimately, most doctors don't know exactly what causes many of the conditions that affect people.  However, someone who is in touch with their body may have a good idea that internalizing emotions does affect the body.


Your internal gauge can also be your friend. Once you have decided where your internalized pain manifests in your body, start to notice whenever you feel it. If possible, try to take a few moments to yourself even if you have to excuse yourself to the bathroom. Sit in repose for a few moments and concentrate on the place where the pain is manifesting.


First, take some deep, diaphragmatic breaths. Second, visualize light and energy toward that area. Then begin to see solutions to whatever it is that caused the upset. They can be complete fantasies; something that could never happen! The most important thing is that you feel the weight of the problem disappear with that solution/fantasy and a lifting of the pain. Even if it is only for 5 minutes, make yourself believe the problem has been solved. This feeling that comes with that fantasy is what you want to try and cultivate in your body. It is not really whatever you are thinking about, but the "feeling" that comes with what you are thinking about and aligning yourself with this feeling.


Do not be mistaken; this is not an easy mental exercise! You may have to practice this exercise 100 times more than it would take you to get good at push-ups! Be vigilant! In fact, probably the best test for this exercise IS when you are in the midst of turmoil. If you can feel good for five minutes in the midst of the problem, you are on the right track! 


For example, my own personal internal gauge is the "lump in the throat" scenario. Long before my marriage failed, I felt a lingering pain in my throat. I even told my best friend that I seemed to have a pain in my throat all the time! There were many things in my life that were going on, but I was ignoring them and it manifested itself in my throat. It took me years to make this connection!


This lump still appears whenever turmoil happens. It usually appears even before I know something is wrong. However, now, once I feel this, I start to pay attention, and usually find the source by paying attention to what I am thinking about when I feel the pain. I don't always correct whatever it is right away, but at least I know I am on the road to fixing it.  When I am on the right track, I feel this beautiful clearing in my throat that comes from a force greater than myself.


The more you cultivate how your body responds to emotional turmoil, the better your understanding of your body. With this understanding comes the aid of forces that cannot be comprehended.


When it comes to your body, it is of the utmost importance that you keep your mental and emotional well being in tact. Stabilize the events and foundation of your life so that you can build the body that will become your vehicle for change in whatever you choose to do with your life!

Moods and emotional well being; why exercise can help!

Posted by Monica Monedero on July 6, 2011 at 11:53 PM Comments comments (2)

I believe most people know that regular exercise will improve their mood.  As a personal trainer, this is something I strongly believe!  However, I also believe that getting outside and experiencing nature can also create many of these positive effects.


A good example of this is related to my son, Antonio. When he was about 6 months old, I started jogging and rollerblading with him (in a stroller jogger) on the American River Bike Trail in the evening after work. Sometimes I simply would not feel like doing it. After all, I had to pack up the stroller, get water for him and me, then drive the short drive to the bike trail. However, after I got used to the routine, it was no big deal. In fact, I found that if I did not take him for our nightly run, not only would I be in a bad mood, but so would he! After missing a few nights, then going out again, then missing a few again, I made the connection. When we did not go out, he was cranky and upset most of the night and would not go to bed easily. On the nights when we exercised he had a better overall mood for the evening and then went to sleep more easily. Of course, Antonio's mood could have been responding to my good mood, having had my exercise. Whatever the case, I truly believe that exercising outdoors is great for a parent and child's emotional and physical well-being. 


To read further about the connection between moods and exercise, read this link to a recent NY Times article about how exercise boosts mood.







Raw Foods/And Warm Foods

Posted by Monica Monedero on June 13, 2011 at 12:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Recently I was chatting with a friend who was eating a raw diet to help cure a parasite he believed he had acquired while he was in Mexico. Because of the affects of his illness, he has been extremely motivated to rid himself of the parasite, and was advised to begin eating a raw diet.  Just one of the side affects has been weight loss.

Once he began this type of eating, the weight began to peal off of him! I mostly advocate a plant-based diet with an emphasis on raw, organic foods, if possible. However, I don't believe that cooking foods is always wrong.

For instance, in traditional chinese medicine, raw fruits are usually considered beneficial, but eating too many can cause imbalances in the body. 

Raw fruits and vegetables are thought to possess cool energy, and should be eaten when you want to maintain  cooler body temperatures.  In this tradition it is also believed that those who eat meat should eat more of the raw fruits and vegetables since animal protein is very warming.  If a person is vegetarian then they should vary their diet to include both cooked, and raw fruits and vegetables.  Roasting, steaming and olive oil stir frys are all good ways to prepare your vegetables (and even fruits). Although, cooking with oils can sometimes reduce the nutrient value of the fat soluable vitamins like A, E and D.

So to insure getting the most from your fruits and vegetables, raw and whole (whole insures that you don't lose the fiber which nature provides in the whole produce. This will be lost when using a juicer) are the optimal sources. This will be the best method of insuring the absorbtion of most of the nutrients along with a natural "time release"  that the fiber content of the whole produce provides.

You can also prepare soups in the Vita-Mix blender to receive the warming properties, but not kill the valuable enzymes that are associated with raw fruits and vegetables.  The process in the blender is to add whatever vegetables and seasoning you desire with some water then let it blend for several minutes until the blender becomes hot and the mixture starts to steam.  It uses the high speed to create friction and heats the soup, but not to temperatures that will kill the enzymes as it does with regular stove top or crock pot methods.

In some cases, vitamins may actually be more beneficial when cooked as with vitamin K.  From a USDA study, cooking actually appears to increase the measurable amount of vitamin K. Researchers have speculated that this increase in vitamin K following heating may be due to the location of the vitamin K in the vegetables. Because the phylloquinone forms of vitamin K are located in the chloroplast components of the plant cells, cooking might be able to disrupt the plant cell walls and release some of the vitamin K, which then would get measured in the laboratory where it would otherwise go undetected. Whether this release of vitamin K from the chloroplasts improves the availability of vitamin K in our body has not been determined. But in any event, the cooking of vegetables does not appear to affect their vitamin K content in a negative way.

Almost anyone who has committed to a raw foods/plant based diet can attest to the increase in energy levels and medicinal affects to over-all health, balance and weight maintenance. But remember, we should also enjoy our foods; celebrate color and beauty of the plant; preparation; and not be limited to only one way of eating! Moderation is the key!

Alchohol in the body

Posted by Monica Monedero on February 28, 2011 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (4)


This article provides information on how drinking alcohol affects the body and dieting. The book Understanding Nutrition, eleventh edition, was used as a source for this information.


 When alcohol enters the body, unlike food, the body does not require time to digest it. Alcohol is quickly absorbed across the wall of an empty stomach, reaching the brain within a few minutes. This explains why we all know we should consume food before drinking!


The stomach begins to break down alcohol using the alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme. The enzyme varies by person and by race depending on the genes each person has inherited. Women produce less of this stomach enzyme than men. Consequently, more alcohol reaches a woman’s intestine for absorption into the bloodstream, and thus women have a lower tolerance for alcohol than men.


Alcohol is metabolized primarily in the liver. If more alcohol arrives at the liver than the enzymes can handle, the extra alcohol travels to all parts of the body, circulating again and again until the liver enzymes are finally available to process it. If you are going to drink, a good tip to control your intake is to limit the number of drinks before you start and drink no more than one drink per hour. This gives the enzymes in your liver time to process the alcohol. Keep an eye on your watch!!


Alcohol alters both how the body synthesizes amino acid and protein. Synthesis of proteins important in the immune system slows down, weakening the body's defenses against infection. Eating well does not protect the drinker from protein depletion; a person must stop drinking alcohol before the body will resume its natural rate of protein synthesis.


Alcohol is rich in energy (7 calories per gram) (we are talking "calorie energy" here). As with pure sugar or fat, the calories are empty of nutrients. Alcohol's contribution to body fat is most evident in the central obesity that commonly accompanies alcohol consumption. In other words, it is a large contributor to belly fat! It displaces nutrients from the diet and interferes with the body's metabolism of nutrients.


Those are a few of the facts. So how do we handle this sticky situation while trying to diet? Unfortunately, the best thing would be to stop drinking while dieting. Then, once the desired weight has been reached, slowly introduce it back into your diet on a moderate level and pay close attention to how it affects your weight and appetite.


The next best thing would be to limit drinking to no more than once or twice a week, or, even better, only on special occasions. Keep in mind that tip above about deciding how much you will drink during a certain occasion and limit drinks to no more than one per hour until you have reached that maximum number of drinks. Also, try not to drink sugary mixed drinks like the liqueurs used in, for example, restaurant Margaritas (try my Healthy Margarita recipe under the Vitamix blender tab), Lemon Drop and Apple Martinis, and Long Island Ice Teas. These just compound the dietary problem.


Other Tips:

  • Intersperse your wine, beer, or low-calorie drink with water or sparkling water between each drink.
  • Tell your friends and family you are trying to diet and seek their support of your limited drinking while trying to reach your desired weight.
  • Add water, ice, or club soda to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed.

Teaching Doctors About Nutrition

Posted by Monica Monedero on January 25, 2011 at 10:02 PM Comments comments (0)

From the New York Times, Sept 19, 2010


Teaching Doctors About Nutrition and Diet



More Doctor and Patient Columns“Should I take vitamins?”

“What do you think of this diet?”

“Is yogurt good for me or not?”

Each and every time someone posed such a query, I became immediately cognizant of one thing: the big blank space in my brain. After all, even with medical school acceptance in hand, I was no more a doctor than they were.

But I also soon realized that many of their questions had nothing to do with medications or operations, or even diseases. With all the newspaper and television reports about newly discovered carcinogens and the latest diets and miracle nutrients, what my friends and acquaintances really wanted to know was just what they should or should not eat.

Years later, as a newly minted doctor on the wards seeing real patients, I found myself in the same position. I was still getting a lot of questions about food and diet. And I was still hesitating when answering. I wasn’t sure I knew that much more after medical school than I did before.

One day I mentioned this uncomfortable situation to another young doctor. “Just consult the dietitians if you have a problem,” she said after listening to my confession. “They’ll take care of it.” She paused for a moment, looked suspiciously around the nursing station, then leaned over and whispered, “I know we’re supposed to know about nutrition and diet, but none of us really does.”

She was right. And nearly 20 years later, she may still be.

Research has increasingly pointed to a link between the nutritional status of Americans and the chronic diseases that plague them. Between the growing list of diet-related diseases and a burgeoning obesity epidemic, the most important public health measure for any of us to take may well be watching what we eat.

But few doctors are prepared to effectively spearhead or even help in those efforts. In the mid-1980s, the National Academy of Sciences published a landmark report highlighting the lack of adequate nutrition education in medical schools; the writers recommended a minimum of 25 hours of nutrition instruction. Now, in a study published this month, it appears that even two and a half decades later a vast majority of medical schools still fail to meet the minimum recommended 25 hours of instruction.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill asked nutrition educators from more than 100 medical schools to describe the nutrition instruction offered to their students. While the researchers learned that almost all schools require exposure to nutrition, only about a quarter offered the recommended 25 hours of instruction, a decrease from six years earlier, when almost 40 percent of schools met the minimum recommendations. In addition, four schools offered nutrition optionally, and one school offered nothing at all. And while a majority of medical schools tended to intersperse lectures on nutrition in standard, required courses, like biochemistry or physiology, only a quarter of the schools managed to have a single course dedicated to the topic.

“Nutrition is really a core component of modern medical practice,” said Kelly M. Adams, the lead author and a registered dietitian who is a research associate in the department of nutrition at the university. “There may be some pathologists or other kinds of doctors who don’t encounter these issues later, but many will, and they aren’t getting enough instruction while in medical school.”

For the last 15 years, to help schools with their nutrition curriculum, the University of North Carolina has offered a series of instruction modules free of charge. Initially delivered by CD-ROM and now online, the program, Nutrition in Medicine, is an interactive multimedia series of courses covering topics like the molecular mechanism of cancer nutrition, pediatric obesity, dietary supplements and nutrition in the elderly.

“Physicians have enough barriers trying to provide their patients with nutritional counseling,” Ms. Adams said. “Inadequate nutritional education does not need to be one of them.”

Ms. Adams and her colleagues believe that the fully developed online curriculum helps address two issues that frequently arise: the relative dearth of faculty in a medical school with appropriate expertise and the lack of time in an already packed course of study.

The flexibility of the online program has already helped students at the Texas Tech School of Medicine in Lubbock. Medical school teachers at Texas Tech, which has one of the best nutrition education programs in the country, were finding that they had difficulty maintaining the intensity and quality of instruction once more senior medical students began working in hospitals scattered across the school’s widely dispersed campuses. Students at a hospital that had the luxury of a trained faculty member, for example, would be immersed in a diabetes workshop that involved “becoming diabetic” for a week and regularly checking blood sugar readings and self-administering “insulin” through a needle and syringe, while students at another hospital would be left with no instruction at all. The online Nutrition in Medicine course allowed all the students to continue learning about diet and counseling patients despite their disparate locations and resources.

“We didn’t have to reinvent the wheel at other campuses when we already had these online courses that are so well done,” said Katherine Chauncey, a registered dietitian and a professor of clinical family medicine at Texas Tech.

More recently, Ms. Adams and her colleagues have begun working on online nutrition education programs geared toward practicing physicians. “Many of them are realizing that their training wasn’t adequate enough to make them feel comfortable counseling patients,” Ms. Adams said. Short, focused and relatively easy to navigate, these courses are meant to help fill in those gaps in knowledge for older doctors. Eventually, practicing physicians may even be able to earn continuing medical education credits, a requirement of many hospitals, state licensing boards and specialty boards.

“It’s extremely difficult to get people to change their diets and their habits around food,” Ms. Adams said. “Anything that improves a doctor’s confidence and skill set will go a long way in helping patients.”

Added Dr. Chauncey: “You can’t just keep writing out script after script after script of new medications when diet is just as important as drugs or any other treatment a patient may be using.”


Fly Fishing? Exercise from an unlikely source!

Posted by Monica Monedero on January 20, 2011 at 2:17 PM Comments comments (0)

By Frank Siefert

Owner of Off the Hook Fly Shop (offthehookflyshop.com)

The ways we can get exercise without even trying is amazing. Sometimes a fun hobby can lead to a great form of exercise. I started fly fishing several years ago and I fly fish out of a float tube. Not only am I having a blast doing it, but it is a fun and exciting way to get some exercise.

A float tube, also known as a belly boat or kick boat, is an inflatable boat that is human powered. You sit above the water, with your feet hanging into the water, and use a set of fins attached to your feet to propel yourself around the lake, similar to what a scuba diver uses. You also wear waders and stay completely dry. The boats are so quiet and smooth that you create a stealthy approach to the fish. I always knew that float tubes were a great way to catch fish, but I never considered the exercise benefit until I introduced it to a few of my older friends. These gentlemen had given up on fly fishing completely. The local streams and rivers had become too tough for them to hike. They had been fly fishing their whole lives and the fact that the fishing years were over was depressing to them. One morning in the shop, one of the older gents overheard me discussing how much fun float tubing could be and asked if someone his age could do it. I said, “It doesn’t matter how old you are, and for that matter, you might get some exercise.” I agreed to take him out the next week.

From the start of the float tube trip, I could tell he was going to enjoy this new way of fishing. All day I heard screams of joy as he caught fish after fish. It had never been so easy for him. We were able to sneak up on the fish, and we even saw them swimming under the float tube. When the day came to an end, my friend gave me a big hug and said that he felt great and that I had added years to his fishing. At the same time, the exercise from paddling around the lake made him feel great. My friend is now float tubing two to three days a week and his family says he hasn’t looked this good in years. We have added several more older people to our group of float tubers and I know for a fact it has helped them stay healthy. One gentleman is approaching 90 years of age. 

If you enjoy fishing (or want to learn) and could use a little extra exercise, I would give float tubing a try. You’ll be happy you did.

Frank Seifert owns Off the Hook Fly Shop (offthehookflyshop.com) and is one of two people (Frank and his cousin) to complete the California Department of Fish and Game’s California Heritage Trout Challenge completely out of a float tube (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/fish/Fishing/Recognition/HTC/).


"About The Soil" by Lee Duncan

Posted by Monica Monedero on December 1, 2010 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Have you ever wondered what is required to become a Certified Organic Grower?  And, why should you eat organic?  It is not just to avoid unhealthy chemicals!

The following article was written by my mother, Lee Duncan.  She and her husband, David Duncan, spent many years as certified organic growers of apples, as well as producing many other nuts, herbs, range free chickens, and vegetables.  She has a degree in Agricultural Public Relations from Fresno State University.


“You Are What You Eat” was the name of a book by

Nutritionist, Adele Davis in the 1950s. She was

right! And the food you eat is as nutritious as the

soil it is grown in.


The Organic Farming movement is an attempt to

encourage farmers to use natural methods to grow our

food and to use less harmful chemicals in the soil

that grows our food.


When we grew organic apples for sale the organic

farmers’ certification group sent out inspectors each

year to verify that we didn’t spray with chemicals.

They did a physical inspection of our farm land,

and relied on our financial records to check what we

put into the soil.


For a food to be labeled “organic” it must be

certified by an organic group that it actually was

grown in an organic manner and not with harmful

chemicals. Organic matter added to the soil acts as

a buffer between soil microorganisms and the toxic

chemicals that some farmers put into their soil.

Plants will continue to grow in soil that is depleted

but the plant will lack nutrients. It is similar to

when a young child does not eat a nutritious diet but

only eats “junk food”. He will continue to grow. He

will also experience lots of health problems as he

gets older.


Organic matter is central to the organic method. The

main point of composting, mulching and applying

animal and green manure is to build and maintain the

organic matter in soil. The microbiological activity

is vital to the soil’s health. Manure, compost, and

other organic matter are food for the soil

microorganisms which increases the numbers of

microorganisms and prevents disease. When beneficial

microflora are in the soil this prevents disease

organisms from growing.


When commercial agriculture applies chemicals to

control plant diseases the chemicals also kill the

good microorganisms. When workers spray chemicals on

fields they wear protective clothing. These

chemicals are also harmful to the soil. Organic

methods encourage good soil microorganisms and

prevent the bad ones from growing.


Today most of our food is raised on large farms.

Most farmers take care of their land. After all, it

is their largest asset. But in an effort to produce

as much as possible for the least amount of money,

some farmers take shortcuts by using harmful chemicals.

Soil is the loose top layer of the earth’s surface

which supplies plants with nutrients and minerals and

which serves as a medium for the roots to develop.

It is composed of several different components.

Organic matter, minerals, and other solid materials

form a base for the soil. Water and air fill the

gaps between the soil solids. Minerals in the soil

vary. The size of the mineral particles is very

important. This affects the ability of the soil to

absorb water, etc.


Sand, silt and clay make up the texture of the soil.

Texture of soil can be determined by taking a pinch

of soil between your fingers and rubbing your fingers

together. Sandy soil feels gritty. Silt is powdery.

Clay is hard when dry, slippery when wet and rubbery

when moist. Clay and humus are the storehouse of

soil nutrients.


Organic matter contributes to the formation of good

soil structure and good structure is essential for

healthy crops.


Traditionally many farmers worked a piece of ground

until it was worn out and unproductive then moved

onto other fertile land. Today that is not possible.

Most farmers are practicing methods to improve their

soil. This includes building up the amount of

organic matter in the soil.


Gardeners and farmers can have their soil tested

annually and fertilize in accordance or they can heap

on the mulch and compost without testing and not find

deficiencies. Most of the time it is easier to add

mulch and compost than to purchase and apply chemicals.


Plants need at least sixteen chemical elements from

the soil. Deficient soils lack one or more of these

elements. Poor plant growth is a sign of deficient soil.

It is important for consumers to read the labels and

to buy locally when possible. Try to find out where

the fresh produce and fish comes from. In the recent

past there have been problems with produce from

China, Mexico, and some South American countries.

They use lots of chemicals. Most fish are grown in

disease infested fish ponds and can be harmful. The

fish from the wild is probably still safe.


In grocery stores, shop in the outer isles and skip

the precooked and premixed food in the center of the

stores. Read labels. If you can’t understand what

is in the food, don’t buy it. It is probably not

good for you.


There are some government regulations on food grown

in the U. S. There is not much regulations on food

coming from foreign countries.


It is always safer to buy locally. It will also be

fresher. In California we are able to buy directly

from farms from roadside stands and in most cities

there is a Farmer’s Market.


• Buy locally.

• Buy organic when possible.

• Grow your own food if you can.

• Shop the outside isles in grocery stores.

• Read labels.

• Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and not too

much meats or sweets.

• Don’t drink soft drinks. Instead drink lots of water.

• Do some exercise every day.

• Have a healthy mental attitude.

Do Marathons Hurt Your Knees?

Posted by Monica Monedero on October 13, 2010 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Below is an article about bone/knee health and running.  The article concludes with the idea that the knee adapts to the conditions imposed.  There is a possibility your knees could get stronger. Most of the runners studied, showed more cartilage than sedantary people.  Whether it was growth or simply bone preservation is still unclear.


In kinesiology, we learn that when you give impact (or loading)  to your bones, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger to resist that particular type of loading.   The opposite is also true; when the loading on a bone decreases, the bone will become weaker.


Here is a good article from the New York Times that discusses the study.


Do Marathons Hurt Your knees?


NY Times

October 13, 2010


About this time every year, with the fall marathon season at its zenith, racers in training begin to hear the refrain, ‘‘You are going to ruin your knees.’’ The idea that distance running inexorably leads to arthritis is deeply entrenched, despite the publication of a number of recent studies (detailed in a Phys Ed column last year) that have found otherwise. In one representative experiment, the knees of experienced marathoners, with multiple races behind them, were scanned with magnetic resonance imaging technology, and then scanned again 10 years later. The runners’ knees were and remained robust throughout that time, with few significant cartilage abnormalities. The only truly unhealthy knee in the study belonged to a former marathoner, who had quit the sport. In the years since he stopped running, his joint had deteriorated badly.


But then came the latest study on the issue, this one from researchers at the University of California at San Francisco, using a more sensitive type of M.R.I. technology than had been available in the past. For this study, the researchers recruited a group of beginner marathon runners. The runners were 40 and younger and had completed fewer than three marathons in their lifetimes. Some were training for their first. At the time they enrolled in the study, none of the runners reported knee problems. ‘‘They had virgin knees,’’ said Anthony Luke, M.D., director of primary care sports medicine at U.C.S.F. and the study’s lead investigator. In the days before the runners’ marathons (either the San Francisco or Nike women’s marathon), they scanned the racers’ knees, employing a type of M.R.I. technology that evaluates the metabolic activity and health of the cartilage at a cellular level. They repeated the scans within 48 hours after the event and again about three months later.


The results, published earlier this year in The American Journal of Sports Medicine, are eye-opening. On these more-sensitive M.R.I. scans, the researchers found evidence of significant biochemical changes in the runners’ knee cartilage, particularly in the days immediately after the race. According to their postrace scans, the racers had elevated values for two technical measures of the health of their cartilage matrix. Elevations in these measures, known as T2 and T1rho values, have been linked to cartilage degeneration and incipient arthritis in other studies of the knee.

Three months after the race, the runners’ T2 values had returned to normal, but their T1rho values remained elevated, although they were declining. Whether the remaining increase was permanent and whether it indicated that, at some deep, molecular level the marathon had changed the runners’ knee cartilage, ‘‘is simply unclear at this point,’’ Dr. Luke said.

In other words, the issue of whether distance running does or does not harm your knees would appear still to be open (to the considerable satisfaction of some of my nonrunning friends).


Yet another new study, however, offers some additional and consequential evidence. For that study, published in July in The Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, compiled and reviewed several decades’ worth of studies about activity and knee health. The reviewed studies involved a variety of sports, not just distance running. But those other sports, notably basketball and soccer, demand a considerable amount of running.


What the researchers found was that, at first blush, strenuous physical activity does seem to damage knees. Activity, especially lots of it, was ‘‘associated with an increase in radiographic osteophytes,’’ or bone spurs, the authors wrote, a condition that long has been accepted as an early indication of knee arthritis. Some of the studies under review had, in fact, concluded that activity must eventually end in arthritis, since the examined knees appeared to be imperiled.

But as the Australian researchers pointed out, some of those same studies, as well as others, did not find other characteristic changes in the knee that indicate damage. There was, for instance, almost no joint-space narrowing in active people. Joint-space narrowing is a necessary if unwelcome step on the way to full, bone-on-bone knee arthritis. The shock-absorbing cartilage in the joint wears away, the bones move closer together, and the space between tapers. Active people did not display this narrowing. In fact, according to a number of the studies reviewed, active people had greater cartilage volume than sedentary people. They weren’t losing the tissue; they were vigorously maintaining it.

Why, then, were their knees so often sprouting bone spurs, supposedly a marker of damage? The answer may be that in an active person’s otherwise uninjured knees, spurs are healthy, said Flavia Cicuttini, Ph.D., a professor in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. The spurs, she said, ‘‘may simply be a way that the bones adapt to forces pulling on the joint.’’

Similarly, adaptive transformations may underlie the cartilage changes visible in the U.C.S.F. marathon study, Dr. Luke said. ‘‘Running a marathon involves a lot of repetitive forces moving through the knee,’’ he said. ‘‘That kind of force is bound to have consequences’’ within the knee joint. ‘‘But that doesn’t mean,’’ he continued, that the molecular changes necessarily are destructive. ‘‘It’s my personal opinion,’’ he said, that the same signals on an M.R.I. that would suggest incipient arthritis in a sedentary person’s knee ‘‘may indicate some kind of necessary adaptation’’ in the knees of a marathoner.


There remains ‘‘a lot of research to be done,’’ though, he cautioned, before that theory can be proved. ‘‘The main thing we’re learning at the moment is that cartilage’’ and knees are ‘‘far more complex than we once thought.’’ Still, the bottom line, based on the current science, is cheering. ‘‘There’s no strong evidence,’’ he said, that, if your knees are healthy to start with, ‘‘running a marathon will hurt them.’’


Posted by Monica Monedero on October 7, 2010 at 4:32 PM Comments comments (0)

Blueberries are rich in Vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene as well as rich in the minerals potassium, manganese, magnesium. They are very high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. But this is just the tip of the nutritional iceberg, for recent studies tell us that of all fresh fruits and vegetables, blueberries provide the most health-protecting antioxidants, those valuable elements which prevent cancer-causing cell damage and may limit the changes wrought by age related diseases.


The properties of blueberries cross the blood brain barrier to effect these benefits. Antioxidants help to stop the production of free radicals. Free radicals are groups of atoms that impair the cells and the immune system which leads to disease. Anti-oxidants bind the the free electrons in free radicals.

Anthocyanins create the blue color in blueberries. They are water-soluble and will bleed into water (or on mouths and clothes). Anthocyanins are antioxidants, known to reduce heart disease and cancer in humans. They are found throughout the plant world, but blueberries are the highest of any fruit or vegetable. This substance is believed to combat E. Coli.



Oxalates are the one possible negative aspect of blueberries. Oxalates should not be eaten in high concentration as they can crystallize and cause kidney or gallbladder problems. Oxalates also slow the absorption of calcium into the system. Eat blueberries separately from calcium-rich foods. A two to three hour wait is sufficient.


The nutritional value of blueberries makes them one of the best foods we can eat. And if you live near a blueberry patch and have any ordinary bucket, gathering this humble berry is one of life's joys. Anyone who has gone blueberry picking as a child will carry the memory for life.

Most current studies have been limited to animals, but the findings would appear to be significant. Animals fed a diet of blueberry extract showed fewer changes in age related brain function which may mean better cognitive and motor skills. Yes, this means that blueberries may help the brain ward off dementia. There are current studies world-wide to determine further effects on health and many believe that blueberries help the eyes, prevent urinary tract infections, lower cholesterol, protect against macular degeneration, and aid the cardiovascular system. These are significant health benefits and rank blueberries as one of the top foods to eat. Many of these studies have not arrived at a conclusion, and no single food is a cure-all, but looking at the list of phytochemicals in the blueberry, we are eager to eat them for health as well as pleasure.


Eat Walnuts!

Posted by Monica Monedero on October 7, 2010 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Walnuts...one more reason to eat them!


(From AOLHealth.com)


Incorporating walnuts into your diet may help you handle stress better, new research suggests.

Walnuts and walnut oil help reduce blood pressure during stressful situations because of the omega-3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory compounds they contain, according to a study by a team of scientists at Penn State University.

Researchers looked at 22 healthy adult participants who had high levels of "bad" cholesterol -- known as LDL, or low density lipoproteins. They provided them with all their meals and snacks over the course of three different diet periods lasting six weeks each.

Some of the subjects were put on diets that included walnuts and walnut oil, and others were not. The study authors found that eating the nuts lowered both their resting blood pressure and their blood pressure responses to stressors they were exposed to in the lab -- giving a speech and soaking their feet in a tub of ice-cold water.

"This is the first study to show that walnuts and walnut oil reduce blood pressure during stress," author Sheila G. West, an associate professor of biobehavioral health, said in a statement. "This is important because we can't avoid all of the stressors in our daily lives. This study shows that a dietary change could help our bodies better respond to stress."

Walnuts contain a type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic acid, which is also found in flax seeds. Prior research has shown that those omega-3s can reduce LDL cholesterol and inflammation markers including C-reactive proteins.

Strong reactions to stress can trigger a host of health problems including cardiovascular disease, according to the study, published in the current issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

"People who show an exaggerated biological response to stress are at higher risk of heart disease," West said. "We wanted to find out if omega 3-fatty acids from plant sources would blunt cardiovascular responses to stress."

The blood pressure of participants on the walnut diet did not drop lower when flax seed oil was added, the authors found. But flax seed extract did seem to improve their vascular health -- gauged using a vascular ultrasound that measured the dilation of the arteries -- and reduce their C-reactive protein levels, causing a greater anti-inflammatory effect.

"Inflammation is a known factor in cardiovascular disease, stroke, et cetera," nutritionist Douglas Husbands told AOL Health. "To have a beneficial effect on inflammation, which those substances in walnuts and other nuts have, can be very powerful."

Each of the study participants followed each of the three diets in random order, taking a one-week break in between. They were tested at the end of every six-week interval.

One of the diets mimicked an "average" American diet without nuts. A second incorporated 1.3 ounces of walnuts -- which amounts to about nine of the nuts -- and a tablespoon of walnut oil in place of some of the fat and protein sources in the typical diet. The third included the walnuts and walnut oil with the addition of 1.5 tablespoons of flax seed oil. All three had an equal number of calories and didn't cause any weight changes in the subjects.

Once they'd completed each diet, the participants were given two different stress tests. For one, they were given a topic and two minutes to prepare a three-minute speech on it, which was videotaped. For the other, they had to immerse one foot in frigid water. Researchers took their blood pressure during the stress tests.

The subjects' average diastolic blood pressure was substantially lower when they were on the walnut-rich diets, according to the findings.

"These results are in agreement with several recent studies showing that walnuts can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure," said West. "This work suggests that blood pressure is also reduced when a person is exposed to stress in their daily life."

Husbands said the fat in walnuts helps ensure a beneficial proportion of hormones, which are derived from cholesterol, and the nuts' pH balance contributes to their anti-inflammatory effects.

"You don't want a low-fat diet -- you want a healthy-fat diet," he said.

The research was supported by The California Walnut Commission, the National Institutes of Health, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation in Canada.

BMI calculator...link

Posted by Monica Monedero on September 18, 2010 at 7:48 PM Comments comments (0)

This is a good link to calculate your BMI.  What I like about this calculator is that it does not just take your weight and height, but also includes your waist size which is an excellent indicator for health risk.


Click on the link below and fill in the information requested to receive your BMI and Waist to height ratio.




Standards for BMI are the following;

<18.5 is considered underweight

18.5-24.9 is normal

25.0 to 29.9 is considered to be overweight,

and a BMI of 30.0 or higher is considered obese.



Menopausal Weight Gain: Is it Really Inevitable?

Posted by Monica Monedero on September 18, 2010 at 5:26 PM Comments comments (0)

Excerpts from American College of Sports medicine CEU training;


Menopause is a transition period in many aspects.  It is associated by many women with an undesirable change in body composition, as well as a redistribution of fat from the periphery to the center (particularly abdominal fat which is considered the most unhealthy); In general, body composition shifts include greater fat mass and less lean tissue for postmenopausal women. 


Menopause of course really does mean the decline of estrogen levels.  But does it really mean weight gain?  Not necessarily according to studies from the American College of Sports Medicine.


It may have more to do with aging than menopause.


Energy Balance;

Energy balance is simply how body weight is related to the difference between energy intake and energy expenditure.  Bottom line; calories in=calories out!


But guess what? BMR (basal metobolic rate-; the energy expended for basic body functions, and the thermic effect for food) declines approximately 2% to 3% per decade. 


It is not clear if menopause specifically influences this rate of decline.  One factor influencing the BMR is the amount of fat-free mass.  Muscle tissue has somewhat higher energy requirement than fat tissue.  Unfortunately, losses in muscle mass are the norm with aging, as body composition shifts to a higher percentage of fat. 


Since the thermic effect of food is part of the BMR, your diet requirements also decline with age.  In general, meals with more carbohydrates and protein elevate energy expenditure following the meal to a greater extent than a high fat meal.


Although the BMR and the thermic effect of food can differ over time, the energy expenditure due to physical activity can vary widely and potentially be a major factor related to the total daily energy expenditure.  Sedantary individuals may expend as little as 15% of calories in physical activity (daily activites etc..).  In contrast, highly active individuals may expend up to 50% to 60% of calories taken in on a daily basis to fuel their activities!  Good reason to get active...NOW!

How much exercise is needed? The amount of physical activity needed to prevent weight gain in adults seems to be between 150 and 250 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity.  I.e. brisk walking.  Thus, if a person planned a walking program 5 days per week, the goal time would be 30 to 50 minutes per day.


To actually promote weight loss?  ACSM suggests that higher amounts of physical activity (moderate to vigorous) may  be necessary.  (>250 minutes per week)  Higher amounts may be necessary to maintain weight loss (not regain the weight). Translation=spend everyday getting some type of exercise...i.e. walking etc..Then, spend a minimum of 4x per week doing a vigorous exercise that includes some type of strength/resistance training (to make up for the loss of muscle due to natural age related decline, and thereby help better metabolize fat).


And finally, although menopause may not be a direct reason for weight gain, we all know how hormornes can affect our moods.  And what do some of us do to help with mood swings?  Eat and drink of course!


Try this; find some transitional foods, drinks and behaviors that will help you get through these times until you are able to better control your appetite by finding alternative, healthy behaviors to combat these times. 




instead of; going through the drive through...have an ice chest ready with your favorite fruit, nuts or low calorie snack ready and waiting knowing that you will be hungry on your way home from work


instead of; meeting at a bar with your friends...suggest you all go on a bike ride, play a game of volleyball at a park, or take laps around the mall for a set number of times with the first one to finish (the winner!) getting everyone to chip in for their low-cal, no sugar added smoothie. Did you know Jamba Juice has a happy hour at many of their locations?  And, make sure you order from their low-cal or all fruit menu!


It is encouraging to consider that small and sustained changes in modifiable behaviors could prevent further weight gain, including adjustments in dietary intake, increased physical acivity, and decreased sitting time. 


Is weight gain at menopause inevitable? The answer clearly is no!

Source; American College of Sports Medicine...CEUs training. Author; Barbara Bushman, Ph.D, FACSM who is a professor at Missouri State University where her research focuses on the role of exercise for women throughout the life span., particularly the benefit of exercise at menopause.