Recently Dr. Mehmet Oz spoke was the keynote speaker at a conference I attended. He spoke to the men in his audience about those food and healthy living habits he felt were particularly important for men. This got me thinking.
Here are the main points he made and some healthy living habits that occurred to me when I heard him speak:
~ Our bodies release inflammatory compounds to heal wounds and fight infections. That’s a good thing. However, the bad news is that with the release of inflammatory compounds come the risk of such conditions as heart disease, stroke and some cancers. Dr. Oz advised men to eat foods that fight inflammation. These include: salmon, trout, mackerel which provide Omega 3 fats, fruit and vegetables (especially richly colored ones), nuts (especially walnuts and almonds).
~Daily physical activity that you can incorporate into your everyday life is a must for a health heart, stress reduction, weight control and to maintain muscle mass. If you cannot incorporate exercise, it is the first thing that will go when work and family obligations increase. Pick something you enjoy! Walking, biking, roller blading, in-line skating, and swimming are all good exercise and fun to do.
~Develop automatic habits that will help you make good food choices. For instance: instead of hitting the vending machine or the corner convenience store for a sweet, salty or fat snack, when the ten-o’clock munchies hit you, carry healthy snacks you can grab without thinking. Among the healthy at-hand snacks Dr. Oz suggests are nuts, fruit, vegetables, low-fat and low-sugar snack foods like popcorn, pretzels, melba toast, and rice crackers. There are lots of healthy snacks available. Better yet, make your own! (See recipes.)
~Spice up your life. Spices are an excellent alternative to salts and sugars. Instead of adding things that are poison to your system, spice up your food with cinnamon, garlic, herbs, and just about any spices!
~Thirsty? Reach for water! Our bodies can never get enough water. Most of us are dehydrated and don’t know it. Water will boost energy, dispel headaches, aid in weight loss and ensured our organs are working well. Muscles need fluids to work properly. Beat the summer heat by drinking water before thirst sets in. Often when your brain says it’s hungry it is really thirsty. Drink water before deciding if you really are hungry. You need least 64 ounces of every day. Keep it handy and drink every time you think of it!|
~ Aim at having nine servings a day. That’s right, guys! The American Cancer Institute recommends nine servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Stats show most men don’t even come close. They eat only one-third of recommended fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are full of antioxidants. In case you forgot antioxidants fight many cancers, diabetes high blood pressure and heart disease. Tomatoes have been proven to be particularly helpful in fighting prostate cancer. Aim for a serving of them every day.
~Banish the sweet stuff. You’re sweet enough. World Health Organization suggests a maximum of 10% sweet in your diet and preferably natural sweets like fruits and honey. So pass up breads, white pastas, white rice, desserts, candy, cookies, pop, beer, and alcohol. They are pure sugar!
~ Instead of eating processed foods, fill up on fiber. That includes: whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice, and whole wheat bread. Fiber is good for your body. It boosts energy, aids in elimination, reduces cholesterol and fills you up. Always choose whole grains!
~Develop the “push away” exercise. Our society is in an obesity crisis because we supersize portions. Instead, try measuring your portions. Eat slowly. Your brain doesn’t register “full” until after you already are. Drink a big glass of water before you eat. Chew each portion slowly and when you feel satisfied—not stuffed!—push away from the table. Forget your mother’s voice telling you to clean off your plate!
~Get milk. Research shows that most guys get less than half their recommended dairy RDA. Choose low-fat products but be sure to get milk. Your body needs the calcium Low fat dairy products build healthy bones and aid in weight loss.
~For decades eggs got a bad rep. No more! Eggs are a cheap source of protein, and 13 essential vitamins and minerals. You can have them for any meal and they are easy and fast to prepare. Add vegetables and some protein and you’ve got a nutritious and inexpensive meal.
~ Get the drop on weight. Research shows we gain a pound or two over holidays—and never lose it. That is the number one way guys pack on the pounds. So, get a head start during summer and off-holiday times by losing five pounds now. That way you can head off those extra pounds and still enjoy the holidays!
So here is a start on those healthy living habits.
Cereal Almond Brittle
2 cups non-sweetened Cheerios
2 cups cinnamon toast crunch cereal
2 cups oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup butter or Becel
½ cup natural honey
• Heat oven to 300. Line one large cookie sheet with foil; spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.
• In large bowl, mix cereals, the oats and almonds; set aside.
• Melt butter and honey over medium heat or in microwave. Pour over cereal mixture. Stir to coat. Spread mixture evenly on cookie sheet.
• Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until almonds are golden brown. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Break into pieces with fingers. Store in tightly covered container.
You can carry this as a snack in tin foil or plastic bags for a quick pick-me-up to combat the munchies.
Smoothie in a Thermos
This is simple and portable and can pick up your energy. It’s full of those much-needed fruits and protein.
• 1 cup(s) frozen mixed berries (your choice—whatever is in season)
• 1/2 banana
• 1/2 cup(s) apple juice
• 1/4 cup(s) silken tofu
Combine berries, banana, apple juice and tofu in a blender; blend until smooth. Pour into a thermos and you’re good to go!
Let’s have a mid-afternoon picnic!
Carry Sweet tomatoes, salty olives, and tangy low-fat cheese. It’s the perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
Healthy Coconut Bars
Coconut is a healthy snack and satisfies your sweetness craving.
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
14 tsp. baking powder
12 tsp. baking soda
12 tsp. ground cinnamon
14 tsp. ground nutmeg
34 oz. coconut (desiccated)
2 oz. rolled oats
4 oz. chopped (coarsely) walnuts
4 oz. safflower oil
6 oz. unpasteurized (raw) honey
2 tsps. vanilla
Pre-heat oven to 375. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan. Mix flour, soda, spices, coconut, oats and nuts. Add eggs, oil, honey and vanilla. Mix. Spread in coated pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden. Cool. Cut into wedges. Store in airtight container for up to 5 days. Take to work wrapped in tin foil as a quick-to-grab snack.