Sunday, December 27, 2015

Healthy Tips For Weight Loss in the New Year

It's that time of year again. The decorations are up, Santa is out, and holiday parties are in full swing. Unfortunately, holiday parties ultimately put us at risk to put on holiday pounds. You might be resolving to go on a diet pretty soon. If so, here are five essential principals that you can follow so you can get the most out of your New Years Resolution: 

1. Optimize

Before you start any diet, make sure that you optimize your nutrition. Ensure that you get all your essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fats. One way you can optimize your nutrition is to pay attention to Dr. Joel Furhman's Aggregate Nutrition Density Index (ANDI) score, which grades foods based on their nutrient density. Another simple way to optimize your nutrition is to avoid processed foods and eat exclusively non-starchy plants and protein, as I advise in The Ping Pong Diet approach to sustainable weight loss.   

2. Volumize 

Another sound principal for weight loss and healthy living is to purposefully eat satiating amounts of foods that are low in energy density, such as non-starchy vegetables. Dr. Barbara Rolls demonstrated that fullness is a function of food volume, not caloric density. In one study, women instructed to incorporate satisfying amounts of low energy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and soups, reported less hunger and lost 33% more weight at six months compared to women who were counseled only to reduce their fat intake. A large salad is a great way to fill up without filling out!

3. Harmonize

No diet will work in the long run if it makes you hungry. Starving yourself and skipping meals is a surefire way to get yourself into trouble. Instead of eating out of balance, harmonize your eating so it controls your hunger. A good strategy is to eat frequently enough to stay ahead of hunger rather than eating in response to hunger. Eating approximately five times per day was a successful strategy employed by weight loss maintainers in the National Weight Control Registry.

4. Liberalize

Your body weight is made up of both fat and lean body mass. Healthy weight loss gets rid of excess fat, while preserving lean body mass. Liberalizing protein intake is an important means of getting in essential amino acids and maintaining healthy muscle. In order to maintain weight, you need to eat 0.7-1 milligrams of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight per day. In order to promote weight loss and maintain muscle during the process of weight loss, you need to eat approximately 1.5-2 times that amount. Animal meat is a complete source of protein and a great source of essential vitamins and minerals, which is why I recommend five servings per day in The Ping Pong Diet

5. Minimize

While you can lose weight by reducing calories alone, most successful dietary strategies also minimize intake of high glycemic carbohydrates. Restricting carbohydrate intake to 100 grams and less has been shown to enhance weight loss, reduce hunger, improve adherence, and improve metabolic derangements. In The Ping Pong Diet, I recommend cutting out all sources of carbohydrates except non-starchy vegetables that contain five grams or less of carbohydrates per one cup serving.  

Try this recipe for cauliflower crust pizza. It will help you to optimize, volumize, harmonize, liberalize, and minimize, all in one tasty bite. Happy New Year!

Bell EA et al. Energy density of foods affects energy intake in normal-weight women. Am J Clin Nutr 1998;67:412-20.

Ello-Martin JA et al. Dietary energy density in the treatment of obesity: a year-long trial comparing 2 weight-loss diets. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:1465-77.

Klem ML, Wing RR, McGuire MT, Seagle HM, Hill JO. A descriptive study of individuals successful at long-term maintenance of substantial weight loss. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997;66:239–246

Steelman GM, Westman EC. Obesity: Evaluation and Treatment Essentials. 2010.

Hession M et al. Systematic review of randomized controlled trials of low-carbohydrate vs. low-fat/low-calorie diets in the management of obesity and its comorbidities. 2008. Obesity reviews 10:36-50.

Volek JS & Feinman RD. Carbohydrate restriction improves the features of metabolic syndrome. Nutr & Metab. 2005;2(31):1-17.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Wrap Rap : How to Make a Healthy Seaweed Hand Roll For Kids

My dad is one of the hardest guys to shop for. It isn't because he is picky or hard to please. He's simply much too practical to appreciate a gift for its sentimental value. Even when I try to get him very practical gifts, he doesn't seem to find a use for them. One year, we bought him a classic white tennis polo and matching shorts because he was such a tennis enthusiast. He failed to see the utility as he already owned several pairs of shirts and shorts. Another year, I bought him an electric telescoping chainsaw so he could electrically prune to his heart's content. He decided he already had a manual tree trimming device, so he suggested I keep the chainsaw for myself.

I've learned that it doesn't pay to try to surprise my dad with a gift. Rather than surprise my dad with an object, it is better to surprise him with experiences. For instance, I took my dad to his first Major League Baseball game when we watched the Washington Nationals play. Another great memory was going to watch the U.S. Open and Citi Open tennis tournament together.

This Christmas, I decided to treat my dad (and myself) to his first Redskins game. After living in DC for twenty-eight years, I figured it was about time he saw them in action. We went to their final home game of the regular season, where they matched up against the Buffalo Bills. Despite struggling with consistency all yearlong, I was really impressed with their performance against the Bills. Kirk cousins threw for four touchdowns and rushed for another. Each time they scored, I cheered along with my dad, slapped fives with the strangers seated next to us, and joined in singing their fight song. I was thrilled that the Skins one and kept their playoff hopes alive, but I was really happy that I could share a novel experience with my dad.

Do you have someone who is hard to surprise? Instead of gifting a gift, consider gifting an experience. Try making them a spicy shrimp nori hand roll. I'm sure they'll find it a surprisingly tasty experience!


Sunday, December 13, 2015

How to Cook Healthy Cocoa Rubbed Sous Vide Pork Loin For Kids

One of my earliest movie memories is watching Star Wars with my family. The basic theme of good versus evil is an easy theme to get behind whether you are an adult or a child. I remember cheering along with my dad when the rebels blew up the death star and saved the day. 

I really liked the hidden surprises within the Star Wars series as well. Despite his diminutive stature, Yoda exhibited impressive command of the force. I was in complete shock when I learned that Leia was Luke's twin sister. And of course, the biggest surprise was learning that Darth Vader was Luke's father. 

One of the fun things about cooking is discovering surprising ways to use old ingredients. For instance, in American cooking, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg are commonly served up in sweet dishes like chocolate cake or pumpkin pie. However, some ethnic cuisines make use of these flavor profiles in savory dishes like Moroccan Carrot sticks

Recently, my friend Julian, introduced me to a novel way to use cocoa powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a dry rub to make cocoa rubbed sous vide pork loin. If you don't have a sous vide machine, you could rub the spices onto the pork loin, pan-sear it, then roast it instead. Give it a try. And may the force be with you!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

How to Motivate Kids to Eat Healthy - Make Motivational Moroccan Carrot Sticks

My mother never spanked me. Not once. She did however, hit me once. Well, it was really more of a slap on the wrist. After I had misbehaved yet again, she screamed at me and told me to hold my hands out, with my palms faced downward. Sullen and confused, I obeyed. Then, with one swift strike, she slapped me on the back of my outstretched hands.

Raising kids is tough work. You have to be a parent, friend, consultant, disciplinarian, psychologist, and behaviorist all in one. No one really teaches you how to be a good parent, so you end up recalling a lot of what your own parents did. 

Certainly, you can motivate your kids through negative reinforcement. But punishing them by taking food away or using food in a punitive way can set up unhealthy associations with food. Negative reinforcement, while initially effective, also tends to be less and less effective with time.

Rather than carrying a big stick, I advocate using the power of positive reinforcement to help your kids develop healthy eating habits. Using carrots to incentivize your kids builds self esteem and healthful eating habits at the same time. A popular message for childhood obesity prevention is the 5-2-1-0 campaign, which advocates five servings of fruits and vegetables, two hours or less of screen time, one hour or more of physical activity, and zero sugary beverages per day. 

The 5-2-1-0 campaign is a great foundation for obesity prevention. However, it doesn't go far enough to treat our existing child obesity crisis. In order to actively treat our obese kids and help them develop the kinds of behaviors that effectively induce weight loss, I created my own 5-2-1-0 rule for obesity treatment:

5 Servings of Protein

Children afflicted with obesity should strive for five servings of protein per day. In order to maintain weight, we need to eat 0.7-1 mg of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight per day. In order to promote weight loss and maintain muscle during the process of weight loss, we need to eat approximately 1.5-2 times that amount. Good sources of protein include animal meat, eggs, plain greek yogurt, cheese, peanut butter, and nuts. 

2 Weeks of Exposure

Helping your kids adopt healthy eating patterns takes time. It may take two weeks of exposure to a new food before a child eventually accepts it. Additionally, it may take up to one month of reinforcement to adopt a new habit altogether. For instance, one study demonstrated that repeated dietary exposure to green beans in infants ultimately resulted in greater consumption of green beans. 

1 Big Reward

Kids and adults alike need to be motivated to change their behavior. It can be helpful to set up a reward system. Create a sticker chart that helps your child keep track of their daily protein intake over the course of two weeks. At the end of the two week period, reward your child with a non-food based incentive such as a new toy or a fun activity. 

0 Added Sugar

In addition to setting up daily protein goals for your child, it is critical to teach them the harms of added sugar. Foods with added sugar, such as processed food and sugary beverages,  are particularly high in glycemic index and have a strong association with obesity. One study found that the risk of childhood obesity increases by sixty percent for each additional daily serving of sugary beverages in middle-school children. Teach your children to look for added sugar like high fructose corn syrup on nutrition labels and make your household a zero added sugar domicile.  

I never resented my mom for that slap on my wrist. Perhaps it's because I knew I deserved to be punished for being such a brat. Or perhaps it's because a slap on the wrist doesn't hurt all that much. Mainly, it's because that one incident paled in comparison to the overwhelming majority of acts of love my mom showered me with. But you don't' have to choose between a carrot and a stick. Try this recipe for motivational 
Moroccan Carrot SticksThese healthful sticks are both the incentive and the reward!


Steeelman GM, Westman EC. Obesity: Evaluation and Treatment Essentials. 2010.

Ludwig DS, Peterson KE, Gortmaker SL. Relation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity: a prospective, observational analysis. Lancet 2001; 357:505–08.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...