Tag Archives: Best Life diet

8 Fad-Free Basics of Weight Loss from the Experts

weight loss

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., RD, Best Life lead nutritionist

Here’s a secret from a nutrition insider: Even experts find weight loss fraught and confusing. A recent paper by The Obesity Society, a scientific organization devoted to researching causes and treatments for obesity, says as much. In an attempt to provide clarity, the organization published core guidelines. Not earth-shattering by any stretch, they provide an un-faddist view of the basics of weight control.

BMI is just a screening tool, not a diagnosis of 25 to 29.9 is considered “overweight” and 30-plus is “obese.” If you’re at 25-plus, you don’t necessarily need to lose weight. But if you also have a waist circumference greater than 35 inches for women or greater than 40 inches for men, you likely do need to shed pounds.

Focus on percent of weight loss, not ideal BMI. Not everyone needs to drop below a BMI of 25 to be healthy, and some just cannot. Instead, if you have too much body fat, focus on losing at least three to five percent of your starting weight—it can significantly improve blood pressure and other aspects of your health. Losing more, like 10 percent, can be even more helpful. (more…)

6 Slim Summer Sips That Skip the Hips

drinks

By Team Best Life

Craving a nice cold beverage to quench your thirst and beat the heat? Be careful what you reach for—some beverages can pack a pretty big caloric punch. In fact, some drinks can end up costing you more than a meal!

Take a look below to figure out how many calories some of your favorite drinks will set you back. All calorie information is based on an eight-ounce serving, unless noted.

Lemonade (powder mixed with water) – 40 calories

Sports Drink – 60-80 calories

Soda – 65-95 calories

Iced Tea – 90 calories

Light Beer – 100 calories per 12 ounces

Regular Beer – 150 calories per 12 ounces

Frozen Margarita – 226 calories per 10 ounces

Strawberry Daquiri/Pina Colada – 250 calories for 4.5 ounces

See the Calories in 4 More Popular Summer Cocktails

Of course, calories shouldn’t be the only thing you pay attention to. You should be on the lookout for artificial sweeteners, which are used to sweeten a beverage without adding any (or many) calories. These can be problematic because they may increase your cravings for sweet foods and interfere with your ability to appreciate naturally sweet foods. (more…)

Meet the Dietitian Who Eats Butter, Sugar, and Carbs, and Says You Can, Too!

butter bread

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist

As I got the butter out from my fridge the other day, a friend of mine commented in surprise, “You eat butter?”.

She’s right to question. For years, there was no butter in my kitchen because it contains a lot of saturated fat, which nutrition scientists believed could lead to heart disease and possibly increase the risk for cancer and even dementia. But being a nutritionist, I keep up with the food research, and things change. I started thinking of how my diet has changed over the past decade, and here are the main shifts; the ways I changed my own diet for the better.

I ENJOY BUTTER. Even after margarine was exposed as a trans fat nightmare, I still avoided butter because 63 percent of the fat in butter is saturated. I went along with the scientific thinking: If you eat too much saturated fat, levels of LDL (“bad” cholesterol) rise, and people with higher LDL are more likely to develop heart disease. (more…)

6 Juicy Recipe Reasons to Pick Tomatoes This Summer

tomatoes

By Team Best Life

Tomatoes are in season and we can’t think of a more versatile fruit (that’s right—this produce poser is not a vegetable). You can toss them into green or pasta salads, add them to sandwiches or wraps, or simply snack on them raw. And there are so many tasty tomato varieties—whether you choose cherry, go for grape, or prefer plum. They complement just about any other healthy food, including basil, cucumber, summer squash, beans, grains and more!

Need more reason to pick tomatoes? They’re a nutritional powerhouse—they’re a super source of vitamin C and they also contain antioxidants like lycopene, which can help protect against a variety of diseases.

Just keep in mind that tossing tomatoes in the fridge can cause them to lose flavor and texture; instead, store them at room temperature.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy this tasty summer fruit. (more…)

4 Things Bob Greene Does Before Every Outdoor Summer Workout

summer run

By Bob Greene for TheBestLife.com

Planning on taking your workout outdoors this summer? Great idea! I’ve always been a big fan of exercising outdoors. The changing scenery can be stimulating, the breezes are refreshing and being out in nature is mood boosting.

But before you head outside, make sure to take the proper precautions so you don’t get burned. Here are four things I do before every outdoor workout:

Plan ahead. If I know it’s going to be a particularly hot or humid day, I plan my workouts for early morning or early evening. That way, I can avoid being outside during the warmest part of the day—between 10 am and 4 pm. If you can only exercise during these times you have a few options:

  • Do something in the shade, like a hike or bike ride on a tree-lined route.

Your New Summer Favorite: Watermelon, Tomato, and Feta Salad

WatermelonSalad at Fountain

By Janis Jibrin, RD, Best Life lead nutritionist

Visiting Washington, D.C.? If so, you’ll inevitably wind up in the quaint neighborhood of Georgetown, which is also a bustling shopping mecca. My favorite place to have a bite is Kafe Leopold, a hidden oasis removed from the noise and crowds. The cuisine is loosely Austrian, and it happens to have some of the best salads in D.C. (Although, if you’re in a more decadent mood, the sausage, sauerkraut and spicy mustard is wonderful, as are the pastries).

I’d always loved Leopold’s Watermelon, Tomato, and Feta salad, but it just got even better—and more striking—after brand new executive chef Marcellus Coleman got ahold of it. He let me into the restaurant’s kitchen so I could watch him prepare the salad.

Chef Marcellus Finishing Touches

What to do with the rest of your watermelon? Turn in into yet another salad!

(more…)

The Freshest Produce Picks for Early Summer: Here’s What’s Ripe in June

By Team Best Life 

Nothing says summer like a garden full of fresh vegetables or a farmers market bursting with juicy, in-season fruit. It’s hard to beat the taste of a just-picked sweet tomato or a fragrant strawberry. Whether you eat them plain or toss them into a favorite dish, they’re sure to be a real crowd-pleaser.

Ready to kick off the summer? Try one of our four favorite June produce picks:

broccoli

Broccoli.  If you grow your own in a garden, you’ll likely start to see small heads soon. For a more tender and mild taste, try to harvest the heads and leaves before they grow too large. Don’t have a green thumb? Look for small heads of broccoli at your local farmers’ market early in the season. Use them to whip up this Fresh Broccoli Salad, which makes for a healthy barbecue side dish.

 

raspberries

Raspberries.  You can get most berries year-round, but early season raspberries are especially delicious. Look for black raspberries, which are available in many parts of the country in June. In this Raspberry Pistachio Chickenthey make a tasty topping. (more…)

Strength Training and Cardio Effective at Edging Out Stress

happy hiking

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist

If you’re like the majority of Americans—67 percent of them, to be exact—then you’re stressed out. And your stress may trigger physical symptoms, like fatigue or upset stomach, as it does in 72 percent of Americans, according to an American Psychological Association survey. These symptoms are bad enough, but stress can be even more destructive, causing chronic inflammation, depression, heart disease, and other conditions.

There are many ways to combat stress, including meditation, social support, building your confidence, and coping skills, but exercise is near the top of the list. Exercise primarily refers to aerobic exercise (cardio), but a few studies also indicate that strength training is a good stress-buster as well.

Getting sweaty is exceptionally effective because it attacks stress from so many angles. When you regularly work out, you’re:

  • Likely to have lower levels of substances that spike stress and depression, such as cortisol and other stress hormones, inflammatory compounds and free radicals.
  • Apt to have a tamer cardiovascular response to stress; your heart rate and blood pressure don’t rise as high, and come back down more quickly. (more…)

Season with Cilantro for an Extra Dose of Good Health

 

cilantro

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist

“Do you like cilantro?” was the subject line of an email I recently sent out to a few people coming to my home for dinner. A cilantro-hating ex-boyfriend taught me that when you dislike the herb, it’s with a passion. (To find out why, check out the “I hate cilantro” Facebook page with more than 13,000 likes, and the blog of the same name.)

If you fall into that camp, then you can stop reading now (or, continue, just to see what you’re missing). No matter how you feel about its taste, there’s no denying that nutritionally, it’s a bona fide super food. Here’s why:

  • It’s very rich in carotenoids. This group of antioxidant phytonutrients is important for the skin and eyes, as well as overall health. When tested along with other common herbs (basil, dill, mint, parsley, rosemary), cilantro was the richest in beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • It may fight cancer. In test tube research at University of Malaya, ground up stems, leaves, and roots help kill breast cancer cells, a benefit that can be chalked up to cilantro’s plentiful carotenoids and other antioxidants. (more…)

6 Ways to Makeover a Boring and Bland Salad

salad

By Team Best Life

As the weather warms up, you might be looking for easy meal solutions that don’t require turning on the oven. We’ve got a suggestion: Salad! Think your salad has to leave you hungry or dissatisfied? We can help! To create a full-meal salad that really fills you up, use the following tips:

Go green. You may be most familiar with iceberg and romaine lettuce, but why not experiment with other greens that offer different flavors and provide different nutrients? Give these greens a shot: arugula, butterhead, escarole, kale, mache, mizuna, spinach and watercress.

Choose a variety of veggies. The classics, like carrots, radishes and celery, are no-brainers. But if you want to be more adventurous, you can sprinkle on some roasted red peppers, canned artichoke hearts, or hearts of palm. Best Life lead nutritionist Janis JIbrin likes blueberries, beets, pomegranate seeds, butternut squash and fresh mint.

Get your fat fix. Stir in just one high-fat addition, such as 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese, 1 tablespoon of nuts, or ¼ cup of sliced avocado. That will help keep you satisfied without adding too many calories to your bowl and help you absorb some of the vitamins from the vegetables. (more…)