Thursday, March 29, 2012

Oranges help prevent stroke

If you are in favor of helping promote food that is worth eating, pass along this little "commercial" for the wonderful, edible orange.  It's from the HHS Healthbeat (a daily tip from US Department of Health & Human Services) :

Oranges help prevent the risk of stroke

People generally should eat more fruits and vegetables, and one study suggests a possible reason to have citrus on that menu. In collaboration with Harvard University, Aedin Cassidy at the University of East Anglia in England examined data on the risk of stroke in almost 70,000 U.S. nurses. She looked at what the women ate, especially forms of flavonoids, found in plants [and said that],

“Citrus flavonoids, called flavanones, seemed to be associated with a reduction in risk. So our data suggests that if you eat more citrus fruits, it may modestly reduce your risk of stroke.” 

Cassidy says more research is needed. But she does not recommend supplements, and she says whole fruits are best.

The study in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Some notes from me:  Many healthy-eating advocates believe that one reason more people don't eat fruits and vegetables is because there is no advertising campaign behind the humble, but genuine, food grown but not processed.

By and large, it's the pre-packaged and processed food that have advertising budgets and so that's what's top of mind for most people.  But if each of us would create our own "ad" campaign for real foods, maybe we could make a difference.  Maybe not. But really, does it hurt to try?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Follow That Chef Series launches at Santa Monica Place

Chef and Restaurateur Clementine Annie Miller Photo: Mary Grey
The Bay Area, for all its claim on culinary innovation, is missing out big time. Check out the Follow that Chef series being held at Santa Monica Place.  With all our local fruits and veggies, and the prominence of healthy, fresh food as a major fitness trend, it would be great to see a similar program here in Silicon Valley. Hey Santana Row, are you listening??

Annie Miller at Santa Monica Place

On Wednesday, March 28, 2012 The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories at Santa Monica Place held its  Follow That Chef Series.  The series is a  lineup of recognizable chefs and authors who will lead class attendees on a tour of the Santa Monica Farmers Market and then showcase cooking techniques. 

First up: Clementine chef Annie Miller who led a shopping tour at the Wednesday Farmers Market followed by a cooking demonstration and tasting.  Even without being there you can tell her menu is wonderful from how she describes her cooking.  “The best compliment I get is when someone tells me that something we make reminds them of how their grandmas used to make it — I love that.

Next up:  Chef Paul Osher Saturday April 14.  Registrations fill fast. 

The Follow That Chef events are partnerships between the City of Santa Monica and The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories. The events are FREE to the public and require registration at The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories.

Inside the Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories at Santa Monica Place  Photo: Mary Grey

Read more about Chef Miller's Grilled Cheese Insanity at EaterLA

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Maria Menounos fuels up before Dancing With the Stars rehearsal

Maria Menounos shows off her abs before heading into Dancing With the Stars rehearsals

Maria Menounos fueled up on Muscle Milk Light before heading into Dancing with the Stars rehearsals.  After a long morning shooting for EXTRA, the TV host needed to recharge before going into the studio with Derek Hough.  Maria showed off her six-pack abs to her dancing partner…The Situation may have some competition here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Getting to know Katie Boyd

Katie Boyd
Katie Boyd, and her hit show on Style Network, "Wicked Fit," is a person/trend I was slow to catch onto.  The show takes place in Boyd's Wellesley, MA  gym, The Miss Fit Club. (Also read: Katie Boyd's meal plan to rev up your weight loss)
In any case, people really like her and there's a clue why in the blog post about her when she got engaged.  Seriously, how can you NOT love a woman who is quoted as saying,  "I was surprised and over joyed to the point that I crapped a purple Twinkie!"
She is my kind of girl. (Also read: Katie Boyd's tips to shape up for Spring)

Anyway, Boyd is a specialist in pageant preparation - she's a trainer and a certified nutritionist - and the official trainer of Miss Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut Teen and Miss in the Miss USA System. Whew. That's a mouthful.  Still, pageant contestants put their bodies out there for the world to see, and the training for these bodies is significant.

As if the pageant hopefuls weren't enough her famous clientele also includes members of the New England Patriots and Patriots' Cheerleaders.

(I come from Texas, as many of you know, where both pageants contestants and cheerleaders are highly regarded, so even if she didn't have a hit tv show, Katie Boyd would have my attention.)

So what about the rest of us? Boyd's advice is,  “You can go out and have a life and still be fit for Spring. It’s about getting your thinking in shape for success and  choosing  in favor of being healthy and happy with yourself.

You can find her tips for getting in shape this spring on this post.  Enjoy! 

Style Network is available in Silicon Valley on UVerse channel 380 or in HD on channel 1380. 

Katie Boyd's top tips to get in shape this spring

Katie Boyd,  certified trainer and nutritionist, specializes in getting beauty pageant hopefuls in shape. She also works with cheerleaders.  These are two categories of women whose bodies are on display every minute do training them is no small task. Boyd is also host of Style Network's Wicked Fit, a popular show set in her Wellesley, MA gym, The Miss Fit Club.

With all this under her belt, she's got great perspective on how to get the rest of us ready for spring. So here are Katie Boyd's four tips to get in shape this spring (Also Read: Katie Boyd shares a meal plan to rev up your weight loss.)
Rule one: shock your body
The biggest lesson I have ever learned in my life: Your best bet to shock your body into change is to do an 8 week stint of High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT training consists of upper and lower body movements at the same time with Isometric or holding contractions in static electricity in the muscle fiber and Plyometric exercises which are explosive movements in between every two exercise combos. 
For example: Bicep Hammer Curl with Plie Squats then Alternating Side to Side Lunges with Upright Rows then a Plyometric Jump Squat. A workout like this should be done 4-6 days a week depending on how much body fat you are looking/needing to lose. 45 minutes tops! Workouts that are hyperexplosive get the job done.
Rule two: never say diet
Eat six small meals a day! Never say the word DIET. Food is nourishment and fuel for an active lifestyle and if you follow the 80/20 rule meaning 80% of the time eat what I am going to show you and then 20 % eat some nachos or have a not  beat yourself up over it. Eating every three hours makes sure your body is always working to metabolize. Thus burning calories. I like to use the analogy of making a fire. If you are making a fire you feed the fire kindling and some news paper or brush and that usually ensures a bright burning fire that you can add larger items to like the occasional log.  It is the same with your body. 
Most people starve themselves until dinner time and drink coffee to keep themselves going until the eat a dinner the size of Manhattan, then go to bed with all that junk just waiting to be stored as body fat. How is that ever going to work for you? never will! Adapting the twigs and newspaper idea for your body as you would starting a fire is the way to go. Always have some kind of a protein at every meal. It doesn't always have to be food you can be a shake. You can also get protein from legumes like hummus or nut protein like raw almonds or all natural peanut butter as well. Tapering your starchy carbs off as the day comes to an end is also going to really help you shed that body fat because your body does not need carbs at night for energy. Just protein for repairing muscles and fibrous carbs like green veggies. 
Rule three: HIIT the treadmill
That's High Intensity Interval Training for your cardio, so head to the gym for this one.
Warm up for 5 minutes on the treadmill at 3.0 MPH at a 0 Incline. Then 3.5 MPH at a 15 Incline...hold on for dear life it's going to get really real right now! Do this for 2 minutes. Recover at 3.0 MPH at a 0 Incline for 1 minute 

Then walk side to side first starting on your less dominant side step together step together at 1.8 MPH at a 5 Incline. 1 minute on each side. Then recover at 3.0 MPH at a 0 Incline. Sprint at 6.0 MPH at a 5 Incline for 2 minutes then recover at 3.0MPH at 0 Incline...that is always going to be your recovery zone. Then to finish the round you will walk backwards at 2.0 MPH at a 7 Incline for 2 minutes. 

You will repeat this for either a half an hour 45 minutes or an entire hour depending on what your goals are for body fat burn. You are getting a full blown all around leg workout without the boredom of just blankly staring into space.
Whew!  Take a break and pat yourself on the back.  You've done a great workout.

Katie Boyd of Wicked Fit shares a meal plan to rev up your weight loss

Katie Boyd, star of Style Network's Wicked Fit tells people, "never diet."  Instead, she promotes healthy eating six times a day.  Here's her sample menu.  For recipes check out her Miss Fit Club website.

Also read: Katie Boyd's Spring fitness workout
Meal One at 7 am:  Greek Fritata with an Ezekiel Bread English Muffin with coffee with 2 Truvia and a splash of So Delicous Coconut Creamer (comes in three flavors, Hazlenut, French Vanilla and Regular)
Meal Two at 10 am: 1 cup of berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, black berries, one or combo of all) with Muscle Milk Lite Vanilla Latte . It is tasty, has mono and poly saturated fat which studies have shown help burn fat and is lactose free for those who have milk issues.
Meal Three at noon to 1 pm:  1/2 of a cup (cooked) of Tricolor Quinoa, 1 cup of greens (broccoli, asparagus, or my favorite recipe right now, green beans, I love haricovert ...the baby string beans with pine nuts and dill with some type of protein whether it is chicken, steak or fish, or if you are a vegetarian Veggie Patch Makes wonderful meatless meatballs and veggie burgers.
Meal Four at 4 pm:  2 tablespoons of Tribe Hummus, they have a plethora of amazing flavors from Mediterranean style to Cilantro Chimmichurri with 1 cup of green veggies. My fave mix is broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, cucumbers, celery. No carrots and no tomatoes...too sugary for that time of day.
Meal Five at 6 pm to 7 pm: baked haddock or cod fish around 4-6 oz with 2 cups of KB's green beans. No starches at pasta, bread rice potatoes of any kind and certainly not fruit.
Meal Six at 9 pm:  Some  type of protein. I love Muscle Milk Lite Cookies N Cream Ice Cream.

Thanks again to Katie for her great suggestions.  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Behind the Brandi Chastain interview

I just posted an interview with Brandi Chastain, "Tips on how to be a great soccer mom" and found it to be a very fun project. I hope you'll read the article, share it, tweet it, and find her to be as charming as I did.

In general, I shy away from interviews with stars and athletes who are representing a commercial product (in this case Chastain is working with Electrolux in their Kicking and Cleaning campaign). In some cases, celebrities just go on auto-pilot, spouting the talking points given to them and unwilling to interact like a genuine human.  Ugh.  What makes a worse interview?
Brandi Chastain

But Chastain is a San Jose resident and the people I know who have met her describe her as genuine, smart and warm.  The PR team at Sullivan and Partners LLC (with whom I was working) were incredible, hard-working and personable. When I couldn't make the audio portion of the interview work they put together a way I could do a video interview with my questions showing up as slides. 

Anyway, all that is a long way of saying that my respect for Chastain and the PR team was very high, but still, I  half-dreaded the prospect of getting canned answers.

Instead, I found her to have a disarming charm.  Yes, she promoted Electrolux (a lot and well) but she did it in context, and she gave a lot of herself to the interview. She talked like a real person, she had interesting insights, and though she's probably been asked these same questions 1000 times, she answered with a freshness that made the video fly by.

The other reason I'm happy it worked out is because the Electrolux campaign invites parents to go to and share a proud parent moment which will benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.  My eldest sister died from Ovarian cancer, so the cause is near and dear to my heart.  I hope if you know a soccer mom, you'll send the article to her so that we can have millions of responses to the proud parent moment.