Almonds: The Perfect Snack
Healthy Snacking with Almonds: Why We Recommend them
Those who are currently enrolled in our AgeLess Weight Management Program already know that we like to recommend almonds as a snack in the morning between breakfast and lunch. Sometimes we’re asked why, and the short answer is that it’s important to have some protein in the morning to help keep hunger at bay until lunchtime. At around 6 grams per ounce (approximately 28 nuts) almonds are not only a great source of protein, which helps you feel full, they are also a good source of healthy fats. While they are in fact high in fat, 14g on average, 9g of those fats are monounsaturated or, “good” fats. We need fat in our diet, and if we didn’t add it to the menu, it could cause cravings for fat that may be satisfied with other foods that perhaps aren’t so healthy. So an ounce of almonds in the morning serves a dual purpose for those doing our diet.
That was the short answer. Now let’s take a closer look at almonds as a healthy snack.
What About All The Calories in Almonds?
Some people question almonds as a snack, citing the calorie count in one ounce, which is an average of 170 cal. However, a study done in 2012 determined that when eaten whole, we may not absorb all of those calories. This is due to the tough cell structure of the almond’s cell membrane, which is where the fiber is, keeping the body from absorbing all the fats. Researchers found the body was unable to digest the almonds completely until they reached the lower digestive tract. However that is past the point where the remaining calories and fats could be absorbed. So instead of 170 calories as previously thought, studies showed we probably only absorb about 129 calories.
The combination of being high in fiber and protein make almonds a great snack for those who are trying to lose weight with some studies suggesting they promote good metabolism. However there’s one caveat, and that is because they taste so good they can be a problem for those who are prone to mindlessly snacking. Even too much of a good thing such as almonds can be a problem, so be sure to measure out an ounce and jot just keep reaching into the bag.
Almonds Have Even More Benefits…
Not only are almonds good for those looking to lose weight, but they’re also beneficial for those just looking to improve their overall health. In addition to being a great source of anti-oxidants, almonds are high in magnesium which is considered beneficial in preventing health problems like high blood pressure and Type 2 Diabetes.
Want even more specifics? How about the fact that the Vitamin E content in almonds can help your overall skin health? The Probiotic properties of almonds can aid in your digestion as well. For another amazing, fact-filled article about the benefits of almonds, check out the Dr.Axe website and specifically the article: The 9 Amazing Benefits of Almond Nutrition.
What Varieties Of Almonds Are Best For Healthy Snacking?
Occasionally someone will ask what kind of almonds they can have, or if they can have cocoa dusted almonds. After being asked several times I decided to do a comparison between plain almonds and some of the more popular flavored almonds. For this comparison I used the Blue Diamond brand since I am familiar with their product and what I found was that there was very little difference in the varieties. Of course one should always look at the label, but for example here’s a comparison of a couple varieties:
Almond Varieties: A Nutritional Breakdown
Whole Natural Almonds:
160 cal., 6g carbs, 14g total fats
Roasted and Salted Almonds :
170 cal., 5g carbs, 16g total fats
170 cal., 5g carbs, 16g total fats
( Note, they are higher in sodium due to the smoke flavoring )
Dark Chocolate Dusted:
160 cal., 9g carbs, 13g total fats
There’s a large variety of flavorings with more coming out every day. This is a great way to give yourself a change of pace so long as you’re looking at the nutritional information to make sure it’s not loaded with added sugars and fats.
So if you’re on the go or maybe you feel a little hungry between meals be sure to keep a small bag with an ounce of almonds in it. It’s a healthy snack loaded with nutrition and will keep you going until your next meal !
The Importance of Keeping a Food Log
One of the most important measures you can take while attempting to lose weight while doing the AgeLess Weight management program is also one of the simplest: Keeping a detailed food log.
Keeping a food log – it’s not about someone looking over your shoulder
The goal when keeping a food log isn’t to have someone checking up on you when you come in for your follow up appointment. Instead it helps to keep you accountable to yourself and help you ensure you are mindful about what you eat. A study done a few years ago showed that women who kept a food log while attempting to lose weight lost an additional 10% more than those who did not. The reason is simply because those who wrote down what they ate were more mindful about what they ate and how much.
Keeping a food log is about the creation of good habits
In addition to being a valuable tool when losing weight, keeping a food log is important when you’ve reached your goal to help maintain that weight loss. Truth is, it’s probably more important because once follow up appointments and weigh ins are no longer on the forefront of our minds, it’s all too easy to become complacent. Sure, keeping a food log may feel like a burden at times, and will almost certainly seem redundant, especially while you’re pretty much eating the same things as part of a regimented diet. However studies show it takes an average of 66 days to develop a good habit to the point it becomes automatic. So why not start now when you’re focused on developing better habits ?
Keeping a food log doesn’t have to be a chore. Honestly, it’s now easier than ever to do so and there’s a couple different options available to help you get started.
Here at AgeLess, we include a 12 week food log with your program booklet when you get started. We also condensed it so it will fit in your purse or briefcase for the sake of convenience. This is a bare bones approach for those who want to just write down what they ate and not count calories ( although that is something that will be helpful down the road as I’ll discuss in just a bit ).
Smart Phone Apps make keeping a food log easier
Another way to keep a food log is one that many people find the best for their busy lifestyles, and that’s a smartphone app. There are several available, but the one I like and we most commonly recommend to people is MyFitnessPal. It is a free app and is very easy to use. Once downloaded you can set your parameters to tell the app what you weigh and what your goal is. The app then gives you a recommended calorie amount to eat. Keep in mind that the company that provides the app has to avoid liability so the calorie amounts it will give you to eat are very generous. Fortunately you can adjust these to suit what your daily caloric goals are and the worst that will happen is a warning that it’s not enough will show up. Don’t worry though, very low calorie diets are safe so long as you are under medical supervision.
The app also has a large database of foods including those from most, if not all, major brands and chain restaurants. This is especially helpful for those who find themselves having no choice but to dine out decide the healthiest options. Another advantage to using this app is that it will keep a personal database of the foods you commonly eat so once you’ve added something it gets added to that list. This allows you to log your foods even faster as it’s as simple as clicking on a box and adjusting portion sizes if necessary.
The only real disadvantage that I have found with this app is when it comes to logging exercise. While it’s good you can log your exercise, the app adds calories to your total number of calories allowed for that day. For example, if your goal is 1400 calories and you burn 200 calories walking, the app adds that 200 calories to your goal, which would then be 1420. I tell people to ignore that and just focus on the target calorie number, and it seems to work fine.
Don’t have a smartphone ? No problem, you can also go to www.myfitnesspal.com and get the same calorie counter there.
Keeping a food log – the old fashioned way!
For those who eschew computer technology but want to keep a detailed count of caloric intake, there is still the option of keeping a food log with paper and pen along with a book that lists common foods and the calories they contain. You can usually find these at the checkout line of any grocery store, but the one I think is best is the Calorie King Calorie, Fat and Carb Counter available at http://www.calorieking.com/products/books as well as most major book retailers.
This book also has a large listing of nutritional information for the most common foods ( and some uncommon ) as well as menu items from 200 major chain restaurants. This serves the same purpose as using a computer or phone app, it’s just a little more work.
Whichever method you prefer, it is important to bring your food log with you to your weigh in. Again, the idea isn’t to have someone checking up on you, but if you’re having trouble losing weight it is a helpful tool. Together we can review the information and come up with alternative foods where necessary to help you reach your goals.
The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.”, and you’ve already taken the most important step: taking control of your health. A food log is a simple tool to help you along your journey. So why wait ?
The New Year And Your Weight Loss Resolution
The New Year is here, and with it, your weight loss resolution and resolutions for self improvement. For many, the chief resolution being to lose weight is soon followed by the resolution that it can’t be done.
At AgeLess we’ll tell you it can be done.
There is only ONE WAY to lose weight….YOUR WAY!
What does that mean? It means that the primary reasons for being overweight are not related to self control and overeating and calories!
It’s about GENETICS
And its about METABOLISM.
Genetics we can’t help you with, you’re already born.
Metabolism is a different story. We can measure it carefully, and check out the hormonal values that affect it (things like thyroid hormone, vitamin D, and insulin levels) and then we can help you OPTIMIZE it.
Do you have to eat differently? Sure you do, while you’re trying to lose weight.
Do you have to be hungry all the time? Not at all, in fact that is extremely counterproductive.
Do you have to take pills? No, and probably you should take FEWER pills.
Instead, we’ll focus on 3 simple tasks:
- Measure and help optimize your metabolism
Advise you on food choices and patterns (Eat ‘Human Foods’… meat, green vegetables growing above the ground, fruits, nuts and water)
Appetite control, primarily from the types of foods and patterns of eating, but with supplements like green tea (the most widely studied appetite suppressant), or gymnema, or garcinia cambogia, and if needed, medical appetite suppressants.
Once YOU are in the drivers seat, once YOU are in control, you’ll see exactly what we mean at AgeLess when we say…
There’s only ONE WAY to lose weight…YOUR WAY!
Have a look at our Weight Management Page, or give us a call at 607-846-3960.
It’s 2016. This is YOUR year.
Metabolic Testing for our Weight Management Program
As part of the medically supervised AgeLess Integrative Medical Spa Weight Management Program, we offer the latest in metabolic testing technology using the Korr Revue Metabolic Analyzer (for an overview of Korr and Korr products, check out their website at Korr.com).This machine uses a time tested medical procedure known as capnography, or the measurement of exhaled carbon dioxide. This technology is also used in the care of critical care patients who are on a ventilator in hospitals.
How Metabolic Testing Works
How it works is simple. You see, it takes oxygen to burn energy, and energy in this case is simply calories. So by measuring the output of carbon dioxide the machine measures how much oxygen your body uses at rest, thus the amount of calories your body burns at rest. Sitting in a big comfortable chair, we have you breathe through a tube (with your nose plugged to ensure all the air you breathe goes through the machine) for 10 minutes, after which we get your “resting metabolic rate”, which is simply how many calories your body needs to function at rest for a day.
From there, the machine does projections based on your height and weight to tell us how many calories your body needs for day to day activity, to and from work, up and down stairs, etc. It also tells us, again based on your height and weight, how many calories your body needs for 1/2 hour of exercise…nothing crazy, a good brisk walk perhaps. The total of those two figures combined with your resting metabolic rate gives us the estimated amount of calories you need on a daily basis.
From there the machine will give projections that tell us what calorie level you need to eat to maintain your current weight, the manufacturer’s “weight loss zone”- how many calories to eat with exercise as well as what is known as the “medically supervised zone” for those looking to lose the most weight in the shortest amount of time.
The machine also will tell us on a simple graph what your current metabolic rate is. This is important because your metabolic rate is simply how fast your body is burning energy ( calories ) and we want to ensure we keep that metabolism working at peak performance to ensure body fat is being burned. Many people are surprised to find that despite conventional wisdom saying the opposite, most people who are overweight have good metabolisms as the more we weight the more energy our body needs to take in and burn to carry that weight. Those who do have low metabolisms do so due to a handful of reasons- low thyroid function, skipping meals, or over exercising just to name a few, and we’ll address those things should that prove to be the case.
The advantage of this metabolic testing is we can see what your body’s caloric needs are and in turn can tailor a diet to fit your individual needs. If you find you need more food, we will know how many more calories you can take in and still lose weight. Yes you read that right, you can eat more and still lose weight!
Not bad for 10 minutes of breathing!
Give us a call at 607.846.3960 for any questions or to schedule an appointment and get back on track with your weight!
Nutritional Breakdown of the egg
Many people ask me why they can’t have eggs when doing the AgeLess Weight Management Program in place of Eggbeaters or just egg whites. The answer is pretty simple- they are more calories. For instance, the breakdown of 1/2 cup scrambled eggs ( not factoring any milk or other ingredients ) is:
183 cal., 12.2 g protein, and 13.4 g of fat
Now let’s look at the same amount of egg whites : 63 cal., 13 g protein, and < 1g fat.
So you’re getting the same amount of protein in a 1/2 cup of egg whites, and a fraction of the calories and fat ! Have you ever wondered why ?
Well to find out we have to have a look inside the egg itself.
Okay, that didn’t help much did it ? Let’s try again.
The Anatomy of the Egg
When you look at this picture, you have to remember is that the eggs isn’t intended by Nature to be food for us, but food as well as a life support system for a baby bird.
The yolk of an egg is meant to be not only the place where the embryo germinates but also is a food source for the chick. Just prior to hatching, the chick will draw in the yolk and the nutrition it provides through the umbilicus for the difficult task that is involved in breaking out of the eggshell. Actually, the nutrition provided by the egg yolk can sustain the newly hatched fuzzball for up to 72 hours after hatching. This is how hatcheries are able to ship day old chicks across the country with no food or water.
( Feeling guilty about eating eggs ? Don’t. Eggs you buy in the stores are infertile. )
So think about how much energy would be required to do all that hard work and then still have enough to sustain yourself for a couple days beyond that. That’s how much fat and how many calories the yolk of the egg provides. However for us humans, especially those of us who are trying to lose a few pounds all that fat and calories is unnecessary.
The egg white ( albumen ) however is simply there to protect the yolk and embryo when necessary. Sort of like Nature’s bubble wrap only not as much fun to play with. It doesn’t need to provide much in the way of nutrition to the baby bird, but for us humans it is a good, low calorie source of protein.
All those other parts of the egg are pretty cool and serve a function as well, but nothing that has to do with dietary uses for eggs, instead all designed for a specific function in the development of a new chicken. Ask me about it sometime if you want to see how big a nerd I am.
Some people don’t care for the taste of egg substitutes or find the egg white to be rather bland or tedious to separate from the yolk. There are ways to liven things up a little bit for your taste buds, mainly through the use of herbs and spices or adding some vegetables to them for a healthy, low cal omelette. A tablespoon of fresh salsa or two could go a long way as well.
So there you have it, a little biology with your breakfast. But part of healthy eating is to be informed about what exactly is it you’re eating; and while we won’t do columns on things like oatmeal ( man, I’d fall asleep writing it ) I think the egg is a pretty interesting piece of evolutionary engineering worth looking into a little more.
Eating Healthfully on the Road
Many of our weight loss clients are busy people. Whether it’s work related travel or extra curricular activity the kids are involved in, folks spend a lot of time on the go nowadays. So while sitting down as a family to a home cooked meal may be the ideal scenario, it certainly isn’t always realistic. So the question many people ask is, “How do I stick to the diet yet be able to eat on the go ?”
It’s actually pretty simple when you think about it.
One of the first things I recommend to people is to find a restaurant that has a pretty good salad bar. The reason I say this is because there you will be able to better manage what goes on your plate. By the first week or so you should be able to “eyeball” how much salad/ veggies 12 oz is so you will be able to load your plate up with lots of that at an average salad bar and walk away sated. Remember to try to stick to the leaner protein options available- often there will at least be some form of turkey or cottage cheese on hand. From there, be sure to avoid “diet killers” like chickpeas, cheese, croutons, bacon bits…you know, the “good” stuff !
If you find yourself in one of the many chain restaurants, be very careful what you order. Many people will order what they believe is a healthy, low calorie salad but in fact be getting something that is well over 1,000 calories ! For example:
Chili’s Asian Salad with Grilled Chicken – 930 cal. and 50 grams of fat
Appleby’s Oriental Grilled Chicken Salad – 1240 cal. and 54 grams of fat
Outback’s Queensland Salad (without dressing ) – 840 cal. and 59 grams of fat
And that’s just one meal !
When you find yourself in a situation where you are eating in a chain restaurant, the best thing to do is find the “low cal” menu many of them have, often around 500 calories or less. Also, simply substituting things like French Fries for healthier options such as steamed or grilled vegetables will cut down on the calories in your meal. Most waitstaff are able to accommodate this rather easily.
If there’s not even time for sitting down or the kids want a Happy Meal, it is possible to eat at fast food joints. For example:
McDonald’s Southwest Salad w/ grilled chicken – 320 calories
Burger King Garden Salad w/.Tender Grill chicken– 230 calories
Arby’s Turkey Club Salad – 250 calories
When ordering salads like the ones listed above, simply get them with low calorie dressing which averages around 40 calories per packet. Also, removing cheese and croutons if already on the salad will lower the calories more.
There are many resources available to consumers to find nutrition information about the food offered in most restaurants. Those with “smart phones” such as Droid or iPhone can find many useful apps to assist. For those still stuck in the 20th century ( like myself ) there is an outstanding book available,“The Calorie King Calorie, Fat and Carbohydrate Counter” which lists just about any food you can think of, both in the supermarket and in restaurants.
For those who are on vacation, you may ultimately decide to throw caution to the wind and have whatever you want. After all you’re taking in the sights of a new place, you may as well have the local fare as well, right ? In cases like this I tell people, “Do your best.” but above all else enjoy your vacation, don’t cause yourself more stress by feeling guilty about that Texas BBQ you had while visiting Texas. Do your best, and when you return home return to a healthier eating plan, maybe using the AgeLess Weight Management menu to help get you back on track. Don’t stress, and don’t give up.
Travelling certainly can make sticking to a diet plan a challenge, but it’s not impossible. With a little planning and education it can be relatively simple to stay close to your ideal calorie range so you can still lose weight while dining with family, friends or co-workers while on the road.
Have YOU found a workable system of eating healthfully on the road? We’d love to hear from you.