The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Mystery

Before I talk about everyone’s favorite seasonal beverage from everyone’s favorite coffee shop, let’s learn more about the pumpkin.

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The pumpkin is a fall favorite that is grown for ornamentation and savory dishes. What other vegetable can decorate your porch and plate?

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One cup of mashed pumpkin has 49 calories, is low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol and sodium, a good source of fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C. It also doesn’t have much taste (in my opinion. I’m more of a sweet potato gal myself, especially in pie). I think that the flavors people love is the combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and let’s face it folks….. sugar.

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Think about it: do you think customers would be frothing at the mouth for a piping hot beverage that tastes like vegetable soup? Doubt it.

A buddy of mine LOVES the Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) from Starbucks.

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At least she did until she read an expose by a healthy food blogger this summer. By now she would have had at least 50 PSLs, but has only consumed one this season.

The blogger revealed what was within the mega franchise’s signature white cup: NO REAL PUMPKIN!!! I was not shocked. Nor was I surprised to learn of the artificial colors, additives, etc. Did people think their Grandmother was in the back of the store whipping up homemade elixirs from her secret recipe box?

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By now I think that all of the PSL fans have forgotten about the nutritional controversy, or figured out how to recreate a more natural recipe at home!

Have you ever stopped eating/drinking something once you learned the caloric or nutritional value? Share your experiences with us in the comments!

Ask Dr. Everett: Paleo Diet vs. South Beach Diet

Remember The South Beach Diet?

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The popular weight loss plan was the brainchild of Dr. Arthur Agaston and named for South Beach, a hip and trendy area of Miami, Florida. The plan is lower in carbohydrates and higher in heart healthy fats (Dr. Agaston is a cardiologist) and protein than other lower calorie diets. The balance of the latter plus carbohydrates that have a lower glycemic index (foods that do not cause a dramatic spike to your blood sugar) is purported to be a plan that you can realistically follow for weight loss and to maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime.

The South Beach Diet debuted in 2003. In 2014, we have the Paleo Diet. This eating plan is inspired by prehistoric eating habits.

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A Paleo eating plan includes lean organic meats, vegetables and fruits, omega-rich fish, nuts and seeds and oils from nuts and seeds. Paleo enthusiasts do not consume dairy products, grains, legumes, sugar, salt potatoes and generally eschew all processed foods. The theory is that our bodies did not completely adapt to the modern diet which was created by farming, and that the “caveman menu” is better for preventing disease and obesity.

I asked Dr. Linda Everett of Everett Medical her opinion of the two diets.

The South Beach Diet

Dr. Everett likes the flexibility of the tropical inspired diet. “This plan offers more choices which makes it ideal for carnivores and vegetarians alike. Observational studies have shown that lower fat dairy products can help people lose weight and maintain weight loss. When people learn how replace high glycemic foods with lower glycemic ones, they are able to have more success dieting due to fewer cravings.”

The Paleo Diet

Dr. Everett feels the Paleo Diet has merit as well. “Some individuals have food allergies such as lactose-intolerance and gluten sensitivity, so eliminating dairy and grains from their diet can provide welcome relief from any negative symptoms from consuming those foods. However, the Paleo diet may be too restricting for some. Personally, I like to alternate between the South Beach and Paleo Diets. I may have a chicken breast with mango jalapeño salsa for breakfast, a whole wheat pita with hummus, sprouts, tomato and spinach for lunch and salmon with roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner. A piece of extra dark chocolate satisfies my sweet tooth.”

If thats’s what the doctor ordered, I will take two!

Benefits of Fall Exercise Programs

Happy Fall everyone!

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The Autumnal season brings cooler temperatures and shorter days. Shorter days means fewer hours of sunlight, which may have an effect on your mood. To beat the Fall “blues”, try exercising outdoors. If it was too hot during the summer to walk, cycle or play a team sport, the weather is perfect now. If you are new to exercise or trying a new activity, please consult your physician first.

Fall Into an Exercise Routine

According to a recent article on the Huffington Post, exercise can boost your endorphins, making you feel good, relieve stress and help you get a good night’s sleep.

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How to Get Started With a New Exercise Routine

After you have obtained your physician’s clearance, set short and long term goals. Long time goals are usually accomplished by working on the short term goals. For example, if your long term goal is to increase your flexibility and core strength, your short term goal could be to do yoga and Pilates at least once or twice a week.

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Be Smart About Exercise

Remember, when you are planning your Fall exercise routine, be SMART:

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Specific: Is running or walking a 5K your goal? Then you should walk or run.
Measureable: To keep track of your progress, use a pedometer or activity tracker to measure how far you walk or run each session. Record your time and distance in a journal.
Attainable: Many times people set unrealistic goals, i.e. “I want to run/walk a 5K in 30 days.” Set yourself up for success with a goal that is reasonably challenging yet doable.
Relevant: A new walker or runner needs to train at least three times a week for two months to be able to do a 5K. Make sure you are willing to invest that amount of time.
Time limited goals: If you don’t create a sense of urgency, you won’t be motivated to achieve your goal. Sign up for a 5K three months before you begin your program.

Are you SMART about your fitness routine?

Healthy Fall Recipes

Tomorrow, September 23 is the first official day of winter fall!

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Do not despair, we still have plenty of reasons to smile.

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The Autumnal season means we can go on hay rides, wear cute cozy sweaters and enjoy healthy, savory fall dishes such as this one:

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Photo: Johnny Autry, Styling: Mary Clayton Carl

This recipe for Bacon and Butternut Squash Pasta calls for
crème fraîche, but you can use Greek yogurt instead to reduce calories and fat. Greek yogurt curdles with high temperatures, so make sure you do not overheat while preparing and avoid using aluminum cookware.

Doesn’t this look divine?

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Photo: Johnny Autry

Add a fresh salad with kale and white beans to this chicken and roasted brussels sprouts dish for a nutrient and protein packed meal.

What is your favorite dish to eat in the Fall?

This Week’s Top Health and Fitness Topic

When is the last time you took your measurements?

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According to the BBC, waistlines in the United States are expanding.

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Shocker.

Starting today, take all of your measurements on the right side of your body:

Chest (men)
High waist (women)
Upper arm (middle)
Forearm (middle)
Waistline (right across the navel)
Hip (women)
Thigh (middle)
Calf (middle)

Check them again at the same time next month.

Remember:

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Foam Roller Exercises

What is Foam Rolling?

The foam roller is used to perform self myofascial release (SFM) or self massage to help relieve muscle soreness and enhance flexibility. The roller can be used as a dynamic warm-up that incorporates SFM, balance training and core training.
Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.

Hip Self Myofascial Rolling

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Hip SFM stretches and releases tension from the hip muscles.
Sit on top of roller, both feet on floor.
Place right ankle on left thigh (or lower if uncomfortable) then shift weight towards right hip, right hand on floor.
Roll up and down the hip for 30 to 60 seconds.
Repeat on the other side.

Bridge on Foam Roller

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Bridging on the foam roller strengthens the core and activates your hamstrings and glutes. The slightly unstable surface adds more intensity to a basic exercise.
In a supine position, place heels on roller hip width apart.
Engage core and glutes, exhale as you lift hips up.
Hold for 2 to 3 seconds, slowly return to starting position. Continue for 60 to 90 seconds.
For more intensity, perform the bridge with one foot on the roller.

Quadriceps Self Myofascial Rolling to Push up Position

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This exercise combines SFM for your quadriceps and hip flexors with upper body and core training.
Begin in prone position on forearms, top of thighs on roller, feet off floor.
Engage core, move forward using upper body until roller is right above the knees.
Press up to pushup position leading with right arm and place balls of feet on floor. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds, (more advanced exercisers can add a push-up) then come back down to roller and forearms.
Roll back to starting position. Repeat leading with the left arm. Continue for 60 to 90 seconds.
To modify, move forward using your upper body until roller is above the knees, then place your feet on the floor and lift the thighs off the roller to a plank for five seconds, then return to the starting position.

Hip Extension on Foam Roller

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The hip extension strengthens the core and glutes. The roller adds balance and intensity to this basic exercise.
Kneel on roller, place hands on floor, hands underneath the chest. You also do this exercise on the forearms. Feet are off the floor.
Extend right leg in back of you, foot flexed.
Contract the abs and glutes, lift the leg straight up.
Slowly lower the leg down without touching the floor. Complete 30 to 60 seconds on right leg before repeating with the left leg. To modify, keep one foot one the floor as the other leg is in motion.

Walkout with Push up on Foam Roller

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The walkout with push up on the foam roller dynamically stretches hamstrings, strengthens upper body and core. This is an advanced exercise!
Stand in back of roller, feet hip width apart. Hinge at hip, placing hands on roller shoulder width apart.
Engage core, roll roller forward until in push up position. You can adjust your feet if you need to.
Perform a push-up
Walk feet in towards roller. Stand up, repeat for 60 to 90 seconds.
To modify, roll the roller forward until you feel a slight stretch in the hamstrings, then roll back to starting position and stand up. The feet do not move during the modified exercise.

Ready to Go!

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After completing the warm up your body will be ready for step sprints, hiking, a kettle bell routine or any activity that you love!

Photography by Sam Melendez

How to Achieve Permanent Weight Loss

A common question about Everett Medical’s weight loss programs is how Dr. Everett helps people lose weight. The programs range from weekly weigh ins and calorie counting to full liquid replacement plans. Dr. Everett counsels patients with some of the concepts in the book below to help them achieve permanent weight loss.

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Most people can lose weight by reducing calories. Once you reach your goal weight, you have to continue to eat less (or exercise more) to maintain your weight loss. This is the tough part! Dr. Everett uses Dr. Beck’s method of cognitive therapy to help her patients learn how to be satisfied with less food, or how to:

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Pho. Yum. Low calorie, (with chicken and no noodles) filling and nutritious!

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Click on the book image to order a copy and plan to win the weight loss battle.