Vitamin D and Weight Loss

Sandbridge

Anyone out there need to shed a few winter pounds with swimsuit season upon us?

Did you know that combining vitamin D and calcium helps your body to maintain and regulate your blood sugar levels, feel full faster, burn fat, and store less fat, which in turn helps you lose weight? Of course you can get vitamin D from both the sun and in supplement form, but the best ways are to eat foods high in vitamin D.  The following foods provide excellent sources of vitamin D:

Fish – Raw fish typically contains more vitamin D than cooked fish. Look for fattier cuts. Also canned fish packed in oil will contain more than when packed in water.  Examples of fish high in vitamin D include raw or cooked Atlantic herring, pickled herring, canned or fresh salmon (raw or baked), raw or canned mackerel, canned sardines, oil-packed canned or fresh tuna, sushi, red and black caviar, oysters, and shrimp.

Fortified Cereals – Read labels to make sure there are no refined sugars or partially hydrogenated oils  included in the ingredients.

Fortified Soy Products – A double bonus – these foods are often fortified with calcium too. Look for fortified tofu and fortified soy milk.

Salami, Ham, Sausages, Bologna, Pork, and Bratwurst are also high in vitamin D. Be careful not to eat too much, as many are high in cholesterol and sodium.

Fortified Dairy Products – Not only are they high in vitamin D, but also calcium. Milk, cheese, and butter are foods to look for.

Eggs and Mushrooms – Slightly cooked white button mushrooms contain the greatest amount of vitamin D.

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Reducing Your Sodium, Part 2 (Homemade Vinaigrette Salad Dressing)

Last time, we examined the effects of consuming too much sodium in the body. Let’s dig a little deeper. Having salt in our diets is not a bad thing and is also unavoidable.  Rather, it is the amount of salt people eat in a day that is unhealthy. Many people think that cooking without salt will result in bland food.  Yet, I rarely cook with salt and my foods offer incredible flavor.  I use many herbs and spices to add that punch, making salt unnecessary and my body fitting in my clothes without that bloated feeling.

Several store-bought foods contain more than enough salt already, prior to preparation,  including smoked or cured meats, cheeses, and pastas, to name a few. When cooking with foods high in sodium, such as these, try flavoring with herbs and spices instead of adding extra salt. Trust me, you won’t even miss the salt!

If you do happen to eat a meal high in sodium, you will retain water and likely be very thirsty. Eat a banana or drink milk to counteract the sodium. Also, eating parsley or drinking tea acts as a natural diuretic to rid the body of excess sodium.

Additionally, most would think that store-bought dressings are good for you, especially if the bottle says “fat free” on them.  Wrong!!!! They are loaded with salt, sugar, and other ingredients that we do not need. All “fat free” products strip the fats and replace them with sugars. Why not make your own homemade salad dressings instead? Not only will you know what you’re putting in them, it will save you money as well! If you are unable to make an item at home, the “light” and  “reduced fat” options are the healthier way to go.

Homemade Vinaigrette Dressing

Ingredients

1-2 cloves grated/finely chopped garlic

1-2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

¼ cup soy sauce (low sodium)

¼ cup vinegar

1 finely chopped/grated shallot (optional)

½ lemon

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

ground black pepper to taste

 

Preparation

  1. Whisk garlic, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, vinegar, shallot (optional), lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper in a bowl. Makes roughly 1 cup.

 

Alternatives

Original Ingredient:

Replace With:

garlic cloves

⅛ – ¼ tsp garlic powder or ½ tsp minced garlic

soy sauce

gluten- free soy sauce, tamari sauce, teriyaki sauce, or nama shoyu

vinegar

balsamic vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, rice wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or any type of vinegar

shallot

¼ onion

lemon

lime

 

Tips

– Simply grate garlic with a zester/grater to make garlic paste.

– For an alternate way to make garlic paste, peel and finely chop garlic.  Add a pinch or two of salt on top of garlic and rub garlic repeatedly with sides of knife.

– Rub fingers on stainless steel underneath water to remove garlic smell from hands.

– Mashing/cracking garlic first allows for easier peeling

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Reducing Your Sodium, Part 1 (Homemade BBQ Sauce)

Today, too many people are suffering from the consequences of high sodium diets.  According to the Mayo Clinic, “The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day — or 1,500 mg if you’re age 51 or older, or if you are black, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.” According to the same article, most Americans far exceed the recommended amounts, averaging 3400 mg per day. Eating too much sodium can cause many health problems that can easily be avoided by swapping out salt for herbs and spices.  Many of the health problems that are associated with high sodium intake are high blood pressure, water retention, heart disease, kidney problems, and strokes, to name a few.

In some food, salt is naturally found in them, such as in vegetables, shellfish, and dairy products. These cannot be avoided. In other areas of our diets, we can control how much we consume.  Canned foods are very high in sodium because they use the salt to preserve the foods.  If you choose to eat canned foods, one way to lessen the amount of salt intake is to rinse off the food before cooking and cook without adding additional salt.

Another source of high sodium is in our sauces and condiments.  Examples include soy sauce, steak sauce, bouillon cubes, garlic and onion salt, ketchup, and BBQ sauce, to name a few.  If you choose to use sauces, read the labels to find the “low sodium” options.  Better yet, make your own sauces from scratch to control the salt content.  For starters, try out this fresh, Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe:

 


Homemade BBQ Sauce

 Ingredients

1- 15 oz can tomato sauce (no salt added)

½ – 1 small grated onion

2-3 cloves grated/chopped garlic

1-2 tsp Liquid Smoke

1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1-2 Tbsp brown sugar

¼ – ½ tsp ground black pepper

 

Preparation

  1. Place saucepot on stove set to medium heat.  Then add tomato sauce, onion, garlic, Liquid Smoke, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and pepper.
  2. Mix thoroughly.  Serve with meatballs, chicken, ribs, brisket, pork, beef and more.  Makes roughly 2 cups.

 

Tips

– Grate onion over zester/grater to make onion paste.

– Simply grate garlic with a zester/grater to make garlic paste.

– For an alternate way to make garlic paste, peel and finely chop garlic.  Add a pinch or two of salt on top of garlic and rub garlic repeatedly with sides of knife.

– Rub fingers on stainless steel underneath water to remove garlic smell from hands.

– Mashing/cracking garlic first allows for easier peeling.

– Using agave nectar in place of brown sugar won’t cause a drastic change in insulin levels.

– Prevent brown sugar from hardening by storing it with a terracotta disc that has been soaked in water for 15 minutes and dried off.  If hardened, place a damp paper towel or apple slice in airtight container for several hours to make soft again.

Alternatives

Original Ingredient:

Replace With:

tomato sauce

ketchup

onion

½ -1 tsp onion powder

garlic cloves

¼ – ½ tsp garlic powder or ½ – 1 tsp minced garlic

Liquid Smoke

Worcestershire sauce

balsamic vinegar

white balsamic vinegar, rice wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or any type of vinegar

brown sugar

agave nectar

 

 

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