Maintaining A Healthy Diet On Vacation

Italy is a beautiful country, and you want to take in all the sites and visit the museums, but you have to admit, when it comes to the attractions, food is probably at the top of your list. You’ve heard about the midday Italian soprano; the heaping mounds of spaghetti, the Sicilian pizzas, the succulent meals and tangy cheeses, the rich sauces mopped up with huge hunks of garlic bread, the decadent tiramisu cakes, the thick espresso; you’re already imagining the pictures you’re going to post on Instagram. What you’re not looking forward to is getting back into your skinny jeans when you get home. Here are a few ways of enjoying your vacation without blowing your diet.

Resist the Urge
A study led by Linda H. Clemens of the Consumer Science and Education Department found that women splurge when they eat out and eat normal amounts of other meals during the day. This means they end up taking in many more calories and fat than they need. Clemens advises women to stop thinking of eating out as a special treat which gives us a license to overindulge. She explains, “Many of us grew up thinking of eating out as an event that didn’t happen too often.” However, these days, eating out is much more common. Clemens and other researchers found out that the more women ate out, the higher their total calories, fat, and sodium levels were.

Researchers speculate that there are three main factors contributing to this caloric overabundance from restaurant meals;

  • We choose higher fat and higher calorie menu selections.
  •  Restaurants serve large portions.
  •  We eat all of it.

Melanie Polk, RD, recommends exercising portion control. She says, “Some Americans are now ordering half sized portions, sharing entrees, taking home leftovers, and ordering appetizers as meals,” she says.

Order Meals Your Way
Another thing customers can do to lower their calorie and fat intake while dining out is asking restaurants to customize menu items. According to a National Restaurant Association report, this is happening at 80% of restaurants with meals averaging $25 per person or over and 70% of restaurants with meals averaging under $25 per person. Customer are interesting items prepared in ways other than those that are listed on the menu, are requesting a range of portion sizes, and many are asking to have food “doggy bagged.”

Everything in Moderation
You don’t have to deprive yourself of food, just try to keep it in moderation. Try to sample foods, rather than feast on them.

Walk
While eating is a big part of the vacation, so is walking. Get in some sightseeing, take a stroll after dinner, swim in the hotel pool, or wake up for an early morning hike to burn some of those mealtime calories.

Make Better Choices
Make healthful choices when you find something that appeals to you. Don’t deprive yourself and then resent it. Swap out small things, that you don’t mind sacrificing, such as condiments, sauces, and dressings. Choose Dijon mustard rather than mayonnaise, or marinara instead of white sauce.

How did you do on your vacation calorie count this year? Let us know how you made better choices and came home at the same weight you were when you left.

healthy eating

Lifestyle Changes For Digestive Health

Let’s face it. Eating is one of the great pleasures of life. In fact, it may be safe to say that if most of us died in front of the television with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, we’d probably die happy. That’s why digestive problems stink. There are few enough pleasures in life; we need to make sure to completely enjoy each and every one without interference. If you are suffering from digestive problems, that means you’re not getting the full benefits of one of the life’s greatest pleasures, and that needs to be remedied. Here are a few lifestyle changes you can make to bring the fun back to your food.

Beat Stress
Butterflies in your tummy? Stress and anxiety can upset digestion and cause the stomach to become unsettled. While in some people, stress slows digestion, leading to pain, bloating and constipation, in others, stress causes metabolism to speed up, resulting in diarrhea and increased trips to the bathroom. Others completely lose their appetite. In addition, IBS and digestive conditions like stomach ulcers can become exacerbated in stressful situations.

What should you do? Try to avoid eating while you’re stressed and try to avoid getting stressed while you’re eating. Arguing over dinner is never good for digestion.

Stop Smoking
Smoking can weaken the muscles which control the lower part of the esophagus, allowing acid from the stomach to travel in the wrong direction. More commonly known as reflux, this condition can cause heartburn, and bring on or worsen inflammatory conditions and stomach ulcers. Smoking is also a big risk factor for stomach cancer.

healthy family

Eat Properly
High paced lifestyles often cause us to eat on the run, which can wreak havoc on our digestion. To avoid this:

  • Don’t eat too quickly. Concentrate on putting your fork down between bites and chewing each mouthful completely.
  • Don’t eat too much. Adjust your portions at mealtimes, or try to eat small meals frequently, rather than large ones occasionally.
  • Avoid eating a big meal before bedtime. Try to give your body at least two or three hours to digest before hitting the hay.
  • Eat on a regular basis, don’t skip meals, and get plenty to drink.

Lose Weight
Excess stomach weight puts pressure on your middle, which can cause heartburn. Weight loss may help to relieve digestive symptoms like heartburn and other stomach problems.

Binge Drinking
While drinking in moderation should not harm digestion, binge drinking can increase the production of acid in your stomach and cause digestive complaints. Binge drinking means drinking eight to more units of alcohol in a session for men, and six for women.

Are you suffering from digestive issues? Let us know what lifestyle changes you made to help you. We want to know.

Woman eating a snack at night.

The Science Behind Midnight Snacking

You, and probably everyone you know, have enjoyed a treat at night. It’s a totally normal, though not super healthy, habit among many. However, midnight snacking can become a big problem and lead to excessive weight gain. The tendency to graze is a contributing factor to evening snacks, and often the amount of food you consume at night is far greater than the snacks you chow down on during the day. Why do you eat more at night?  Resveralife came across a recent study offers scientific research that help explain why you seem to inhale your nighttime snack.

The Study
A study conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University delves into why you are more prone to consuming more food at night than when you snack during the day. Researchers at BYU monitored participants’ brain activity in the morning and again at night. Each participant was shown the same 360 images of food and they used MRI scans to visualize the results. The pictures of food were split into two categories:  healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains and junk foods like ice cream, potato chips and brownies. During the course of the day researchers noted that the brain activity of participants did spike when pictures of food were shown. It isn’t surprising that seeing food stimulates a response in your brain, but what is interesting is that when viewed at night, the brain was less stimulated. At both times of day, there was a higher neural response when participants viewed pictures of foods with a higher  calorie count.

When you eat a great meal or one of your favorite foods you get a high from that food. At night, the drop in brain activity can leave you scarfing down way more chocolate or potato chips than you meant to. During the evening, our brain does not get the level of reward or “high” that it does when snacking during the day. Because you don’t get the high, you continue to eat well past what you intended to. According to Travis Masteson, the researcher and lead study author, people may over-consume food at night because it is not as rewarding, at least visually, at that time of day. As a result, one needs to eat more to try to get satisfied.”

Girl sneaking into the kitchen to eat a midnight snack.

How to Control Midnight Snacking
The researchers at Brigham Young University are not sure why food is less rewarding at night but believe that the body’s circadian rhythyms may be involved. Your circadian rhythyms dictate your natural patterns during rest and activity.

Even if the reason is not completely known at this point, you can rest assured that you are not the only having difficulty curbing your snacks at night. What do the experts suggest? Masterson says that “[b]eing aware that you are being more influenced visually in the morning and perhaps are being less satisfied by food at night may help you make small but meaningful changes in your eating habits.”

When snacking at night, take a moment to truly taste the food that you’re eating. Ask yourself if you are actually receiving satisfaction or pleasure from the snack you are consuming. If not, put the food down and drink a tall glass of water instead.

Woman with an apple in hand lying on hay.

Resveralife Eat Well: The Hay Diet (Your Guide to Food Combination)

Sometimes necessity really is the mother of invention. William Howard Hay, a New York physician, began developing what later became known as the Hay Diet in 1904. Hay was suffering from numerous medical issues including a dilated heart. Determined to improve his health and extend his life, Hay began researching the impact of diet on overall health. Through his research he created a diet plan meant to remedy his health conditions. In a period of about three months, Hay dropped 50 pounds and was free from his medical problems. Sound intriguing?

Potatoes with a meat dish on a serving plate.

What is the Hay Diet?
To combat his medical issues, a kidney disease, dilated heart and high blood pressure. Hay’s diet consisted largely of meat and potatoes, a staple at dinnertime for many families not only in the past. Many of us still prepare dinner with meat as the protein and some form of carbohydrate as a side dish. Hay decided to go vegetarian as his first plan of attack. He eliminated two meals from his day and only ate vegetables for the third. When Hay reached a weight he considered appropriate, he did not stop the diet. Rather, he continued working on it and researching the link between diet and health.

All of his research and personal experience lead to the conclusion that health is impacted based on the body’s natural chemical process, digestion. The Hay diet claims to work by separating food into three categories:  acid, alkaline and neutral. The body uses an alkaline digestive process for carbohydrates, The digestion of protein is an acidic digestive process. Hay suggested that if alkaline food and acidic food was consumed at the same time, the acid process interrupted the alkaline process. Hay presumed that the combination of incorrect foods caused people to retain excess fluids, gain weight and “drain vitality.” Thus, the Hay diet relies largely on eating according to what type of food you are ingesting.

Fresh vegetables overflowing from a basket.

Following the Hay Diet
This Resveralife Eat Well Guide shows you how to follow the Hay diet. To follow the Hay diet, you must learn which foods are acidic, alkaline or neutral. Hay classified starchy foods and sweets as carbohydrates while fruits were classified as acidic. Vegetables were classified as neutral foods which meant that they could be eaten at the same time as both alkaline and acidic foods. When following the Hay diet, it is no longer advised that you skip two meals per day. We know that food fuels our bodies and as such, we need to feed it. You can still use the Hay diet to your advantage by following the basic tenants of the diet.

  • No meat. The Hay diet as it originally existed when introduced in 1911 forbade meat. You can find protein from other sources such as tempeh, quinoa or in a smoothie by using pea protein powder. Alternatively, if you aren’t willing to forgo meats,  modern applications of the diet allow for lean meats consumed sparingly.
  • Know your food types. Acidic foods (fruits) are divided up into acidic fruits, sub-acid fruit and sweet fruits. Further, melons such as honeydew and cantaloupe are in their own category.
  • As with the acidic foods, alkaline foods are split into separate categories. There are low and non-starchy vegetables and carbohydrates/starches.
  • Identify fats and use sparingly within your diet.
  • Never mix alkaline foods with acidic foods. Ever.
  • Vegetables are neutral and you are free to, and encouraged, to eat them with all meals.

The Hay diet, like any eating plan, has it’s critics. Still, there are numerous advocates for learning what foods alkalize your body and what foods produce an acidic response. Is it really possible to eat yourself thin? Give it a try and find out.

Fruit and cheese skewers

Resveralife Eat Well: Healthy Hors D'oeurves

During the holiday season, providing healthy food options isn’t typically something many of us focus on. We tend to want to provide or offer something to our guests that tastes fabulous without focusing on calorie content. What if there was a way to incorporate healthy with great taste? Resveralife brings you a few hors d’oeuvres that give you the best of both worlds. The best part is, your guests will love them and never be able to tell they are less fat and less calories as they don’t lack in flavor or taste.

Fruit and cheese skewers

Cheese and Fruit Bites

The accompaniment of fruit and cheese is a timeless classic. Serve with wine for the perfect touch. Super easy and quick to make, you can make a couple of trays in no time. With only 26 calories and 1 gram of fat, you simply cannot go wrong with this delicious concoction.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Lb. Red seedless grape
  • Reggiano Parmigiano cheese wedge
  • Festive foil tin cups (think baking cups)

Directions:

1. Halve all of the grapes.

2. Break cheese wedge into small chunks

3. Place two grape halves and a small chunk of cheese into the foil cups and place on a festive tray for serving.

Grapes are a healthy fruit which contain resveratrol, which contains anti-aging properties that benefit the skin. There are also as many vitamins and minerals which are easily absorbed as well as a high fiber content. Reggiano Parmigiano cheese is also low in fat and calories. This is a great finger food for your guests, and will disappear quickly.

Phyllo dough crab cups

Crabmeat Cups

Crab meat is a delicious and protein filled shellfish which is enjoyed by many people. Be sure to make sure none of your guests have any shellfish allergies before incorporating this into the menu. These delicate crab meat cups offer a delicious taste of something elegant with only 46 calories per cup.

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb jumbo lump crab meat
  • 1 container of phyllo dough shells
  • Lemon mayonnaise
  • 1 avocado
  • Watercress leaves for garnish

Directions:

  1. Divide the crab meat between all of the phyllo shells.
  2. Add ½ teaspoon of the lemon mayonnaise as a topper to the crabmeat in all shells.
  3. Place a small cube of avocado into each shell, and top with a small watercress leaf.

Simple and easy to make in three steps, these crabmeat cups are a surefire way to impress your guests and keep them talking.

Crostini with pea puree,radish,rocket and cheese

Pea Crostini

While not everyone is a fan of peas, this pea crostini is sure to change their minds. Delicious and hearty with only a few minimal ingredients, these are sure to fly off the serving trays – and the best part? They contain a minimal 35 calories and 3 grams of fat. You can double the recipe to feed more people.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ Cups Frozen Peas (thawed)
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 30 Crostini
  • Goat Cheese

Directions:

  1. Blend first 3 ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Spread 8 oz. of goat cheese on crostini, followed by a spoonful of the pea mixture. Top off with a small slice of watermelon or beets for a pop of flavor.

Peas, although small in size, pack a major punch in terms of protein, fiber, and micronutrients. They also contain polyphenols, which aid in the prevention of certain types of cancer. Extra virgin olive oil, and any olive oil for that matter, is good for moisturizing and hydrating the skin. This is a great accompaniment to your Hors D’oeurves spread.

 

Try one of these simple, healthy, and delicious recipes for your next gathering or party, and you’re sure to please.