New Study Reveals a Half-Day Window for Healthy Eating Habits

For quite a while, health experts have suspected that late night snacking may be particularly unhealthy. However, little scientific proof supported this inkling until recently.  A study that was published recently by Researchers at San Diego’s Salk Institute for Biological studies corroborates these claims. In their study, mice who were not allowed to eat all hours were more likely to avoid metabolic problems and obesity more than mice who snacked at all times.

In particular the researches organized the study so that some of the mice were allowed to eat high-fat food at any time, while others were allowed the same diet, but only during an eight hour time span. Additionally, none of the animals were permitted to exercise. The researchers discovered that the mice who were consuming food at all hours gained weight, and became generally unhealthy as they exhibited common symptoms of diabetes. However the mice who only ate on the eight hour schedule did not gain much weight, and did not develop any other medical conditions. This study was conducted in 2012.

Carl Koenemann examines a new study from the Salk Institute that reveals that one's eating over the day should be limited to a 12 hour window

Carl Koenemann examines a new study from the Salk Institute that reveals that one’s eating over the day should be limited to a 12 hour window

In a new study which was published in December, Salk researchers gave a group of mice four different diets including regular mouse kibble, high-fat, high-sucrose, and high-fructose.  Within each  group, some mice were allowed to snack whenever they chose while others were restricted to feeding times of 15, 12, or 9 hours.  Furthermore, the calories consumed for each mice was the same.

At the end of the 8 month long study, the mice who could eat whenever they chose became medically obese, and experienced general metabolic health issues.  However, their counterparts who were only allowed to consume food on restricted schedules remained skinny and healthy.

The exact reasons why this time-based eating pattern can prevent illness and obesity is not completely understood currently. However, the Salk scientists believe that the hour at which food is consumed somehow affects the body’s internal clock.  Dr. Panda reports that meal time greatly influences the circadian rhythm, and this, in turn, influences the functions of some metabolic genes.

Although the studies have so far been limited to mice, the researches believe the effects to extend to humans as well. The main take away is to be cognizant of the time frame of your eating habits. Try to limit your eating for a day to 12 hours or less. The clock begins to tick from the first bite you take of your daily breakfast.

Three Apps for Making Healthy Food Choices

The holiday season every winter presents one of the most difficult periods to make the healthy lifestyle decisions. The giant suppers and ample desserts feature an array of dishes that are as unhealthy as they are delicious. It is especially tempting to splurge given the sweaters, and baggy winter clothing that can easily hide your body. Here are some useful applications that will help you avoid the temptation, and continue upon your course of healthy lifestyle choices.

Fooducate

Fooducate

Fooducate

Fooducate is a great app to use next time you are perusing the nutritional facts of items at the grocery store. This app utilizes your phone’s camera to scan said item, and provides a grade about the nutritional value of the item, ranging from A to D. Fooducate also provides more healthy alternatives for which you should opt. It is quite useful if you’re looking for a delicious snack that has better nutritional value than the comfort food you enjoy. It also provides helpful features that keep allergies in mind. Fooducate exists on both Android and iPhone platforms, and is sans charge.

Meal Snap

As with Fooducate, Meal Snap also uses your phone’s camera. Simply snap a picture of your meal on a plate (as the name would indicate), and the app will estimate of number of calories. You can then label the meal as your breakfast, afternoon snack, or dinner to keep track of your meals. If you desire, you can seamlessly share your meal pics across twitter, facebook, and other social media sites. Meal snap goes for $.99 on the apple store.

Pic Healthy

GE and MedHelp partnered to create this app which allows you to take and then upload pictures of your meals. These pics are shared with your friends, family, or whoever you choose. The app allows you, and your friends to rate your eating choice. Furthermore, you can earn points when your followers indicate that your meal was healthy. Additionally, you can score honesty points for posting a unhealthy meal and giving yourself a bad rating. It’s a great tool for a group of friends to try to stick to their healthy lifestyle choices together!

Chipotle Chicken Recipe

Chipotle restaurants have become a favorite around the country. Not only is it very delicious – it’s also very fast. On top of that, the portions are very generous; all-in-all, it’s a great experience.

The marinade on the Chipotle Chicken is phenomenal; it’s spicy yet smoky. This is due to both the wide array of peppers and the adobo sauce that is used.

As for the chicken itself, Chipotle uses boneless skinless chicken thighs (this is what makes them tender and juicy).

This recipe will produce approximately 2 cups of marinade – enough to flavor up to 10 pounds of chicken! Try out this marinade and let me know what you think.

Ingredients

  • 1 (2 oz.) package of dried ancho chiles. These chiles should be soaked for at least 12 hours.
  • 1 red onion. Coarsely chopped.
  • 1 (7 oz.) can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of canola oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Trim the thighs before using.

Cooking Instructions

  1. After soaking your ancho chiles for 12+ hours, split them open and rinse the inside. Get rid of all the stem and seeds. Place the chiles inside a blender. (I recommend wearing gloves for this part)
  2. Strain the adobo sauce into a small bowl. You can either discard the peppers or use them for another dish. However, there is still a lot of juice / sauce in each pepper; squeeze them to extract all of the liquid. If you want the chicken to be spicy, crack the peppers open and add the seeds to the blender.
  3. Throw your onions, garlic, oregano, cumin, 2 teaspoons of pepper and 5 teaspoons of salt into the blender. Give the blender a few quick pulses, turning the concoction into a coarse paste.
  4. Keep the motor running and pour 1/4 cup of the canola oil into the blender. Continue blending. Once smooth, you should have approximately 2 cups of marinade; throw one cup in a freezer-safe plastic bag and save it for later.
  5. Take your five pounds of chicken and throw it in another freezer-safe plastic bag. Add in the remaining cup of marinade, close the bag and toss it around until the chicken is evenly coated. Place the bag in a bowl and place it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
  6. When you’re ready to cook, preheat a cast iron skilled to medium-high heat. Coat the skillet with 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Cook the chicken in batches, reaching an internal temperature of 160 degrees. You should see caramelized fond on the outside of the chicken after about 12 minutes. Make sure you add a tablespoon of canola oil between batches.
  7. Remove from grill and place on a cutting board. Chop the chicken into small pieces and add them to the dish of your liking.
  8. Enjoy!

Honey Beer Chicken

Below is a recipe for my Honey Beer Chicken – one of my favorites that I came up with during my college days. This recipe is great if you’re working on a low-carb or no-carb diet. Let me know what you think!

Ingredients

  • 1Tbl spoon Avocado oil (or other high smoke point oil)
  • 1lb Boneless chicken tenders
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3  thinly sliced shallots
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce – low sodium
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoon honey
  • 1/8 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
This honey beer chicken recipe is great if you're on a low-carb or no-carb diet.

This honey beer chicken recipe is great if you’re on a low-carb or no-carb diet.

Directions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan.
  • Sprinkle chicken with pepper and salt.
  • Add chicken to pan; sauté 6 minutes on each side or until done.
  •  Remove chicken from pan; keep on plate covered with foil or paper towel
  •  Add shallots to pan; cook 1 minute or until translucent.
  •  Combine beer and next 3 ingredients (through honey) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add beer mixture to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
  • Cook 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup.
  • Return chicken to pan; turn to coat with sauce. Sprinkle evenly with parsley.

Steps Towards Healthy Living

When people think about living healthy, two things come to mind: diet and exercise. But the reality of the situation is that this is far from enough to keep you healthy. First, this isn’t focusing on your mental health – a very important aspect of healthy living. Exercising and dieting in a certain way can keep you healthy and happy.

Drink water

You’ve heard it before, but it actually works. Drinking lots of water is the first step to being healthy. Sugary liquids have a huge impact on body weight. Drinking water ensures that you are getting all of the nutrients necessary to keep your body functioning properly while also helping you to lose weight.

First, water helps fill your stomach – preventing you from overeating. On top of that, water gives you more energy – allowing you to get up and exercise. Generally, you need anywhere between 8-10 cups of water on a given day. Keep a water bottle on you and fill it up whenever you see a water fountain.

Meditate and change your mentality

Meditation keeps your mind healthy and happy. Happiness impacts a bunch of aspects of your life besides just your mental health. For starters, it gives you more energy.

Meditating is an easy way to get your mind back into gear.

Meditating is an easy way to get your mind back into gear.

It is also important, however, to change your overall mentality when it comes to life. First off, love yourself. Next, push negative people out of your life – there’s no reason to be upset all the time. Finally, keep a journal. This allows you to put your thoughts on paper – getting them out of your head.

Exercise – the fun way

A lot of people say they don’t go to the gym because they “don’t enjoy going.” The solution is simple: find something you enjoy doing that also incorporates exercise. Surely you enjoy playing basketball, football, or soccer? If not, do you enjoy the outdoors? Consider going on a hike or walking through the park. Not only will these get you out of the house – they’ll also help you exercise different parts of your body.

Pick bright-colored foods and stick to brown carbs

Foods that are bright in color are usually high in antioxidants. These antioxidants remove radicals in our body that destroy our cells. Fruits and vegetables that are bright colored will help you feel better in the morning.

When it comes to carbs, stick to the brown carbs. White carbs are refined grains (such as white rice, pasta and white bread) that have nutrients removed in the production process. Brown carbs still have the nutrients and vitamins intact.

Cut out caffeine

Some people claim that they need caffeine for the energy – this is false. Caffeine is a short-term fix that will make you feel energized at the time but leaves your body exhausted in the long run. Instead, use the tips that I have included above. They will give you more energy than caffeine can provide.

Hang out with healthy people

If your best friends live healthy, it will help make healthy living a lifestyle instead of a chore. Your friends will push you to exercise, will take you out to healthy eating spots and keep you happy.

Increasing Your Metabolism… By Eating!

There are a bunch of ways to increase your metabolism. And a faster metabolism isn’t something to just brag about – it will trim your waistline and make you feel better each day. Most of the ways to increase your metabolism involve exercising… however, I’m going to give you some tips on how to increase your metabolism just by eating properly.

What is your metabolism?

It’s the process of breaking down fats, proteins and carbs to produce energy. Your metabolism depends on a variety of things – including (unfortunately for most) your genetic makeup. The number of calories you consume and the number of calories you burn while eating and exercising are a large portion of it.

Change in age = change in metabolism

As you age, your metabolism begins to slow down. Around age 25, your metabolism will begin to decline. Each decade, it will decrease by about 5 to 10 percent – meaning that by age 65, your metabolism could have slowed by 40 percent.

This is why it is important to start exercising now. Or, you could simple eat right!

Eating to burn your metabolism

Below I’ve included five ways that you can eat your way to a slimmer body. Start putting them to use today and see the payoff in the near future.

Eat more vitamins

Niacin is one vitamin that can really increase your energy production (that’s why it’s in a variety of energy drinks). Make sure that you are getting a lot of B vitamins throughout the day. These vitamins can be found in dairy products, whole grains, eggs and produce.

Some specifics to try: Quinoa is a rich grain. Eating just a little bit will get your metabolism going. Also, try making an omelet in the morning with a bunch of bell peppers and low-fat cheese.

Start drinking green tea

While it’s not good to get in the habit of relying on caffeine, green tea contains enough to jumpstart your metabolism without making you feel the jittery effects. Also, it contains the antioxidant EGCG, one that will increase the calories you burn throughout the day. If you really don’t want the caffeine, you can find decaf green tea that still contains EGCG – just know that it will not be as potent.

Drinking one cup of green tea can help you burn over 100 calories without doing anything else. What if you only drank green tea throughout the day? The results will skyrocket.

Get some protein in

Protein takes a lot of energy to digest. By eating protein, you are burning more than double the calories burned when eating carbohydrates or fat. Protein is also a key ingredient in building muscle – efficiency of calorie-burning in your body is increased by more muscle mass.

One thing you can try is peanut butter with celery stalks and skim milk. This will give you a jolt of protein will staying low in the carbs and fat department.

Relish in the spices

There have been numerous studies that have shown spicy foods increase your metabolism. For instance, Capsaicin (found in chili peppers) is shown to increase your metabolism by 5 percent. Also, spicy mustard has shown temporary bumps in metabolism activity.

Think of all the condiments that you put on sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs. Instead of using ketchup or mayonnaise, exchange them for spicy mustard. Or, consider sprinkling chili powder into your spaghetti sauce.

Eat breakfast

Don’t send your body into starvation mode: eat breakfast to keep your body constantly supplied with the energy it needs. When you have an empty stomach, your cells begin to conserve energy. Eat within an hour of waking up to get your body started.

Carl Koenemann’s Baked Ziti

  • 1 tub (15 Ounce) Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pound Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon of Butter
  • 6 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage ( I like going with the hot Italian)
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 large can whole tomoatos
  • 2 Jars Marinara Sauce or mix things up and try 1 vodka
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes
  •  Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces, of Ziti ~ or any noodles you have handy
  •  Fresh minced Basil

 

  1. Heat olive oil and butter a skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add garlic and onion and sauté for 6 minutes, or until starting to soften
  3. Add Italian sausage and ground beef and cook until browned.
  4. Drain off fat, leaving a few drops behind to add some extra flavor and keep the dish moist.
  5. Add tomatoes, marinara, salt, pepper, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  7. Add ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir together.
  8. Drain the pasta
  9. Add half the pasta to a large casserole dish and layer sauce over the top and a layer of mozzarella cheese.
  10. Repeat
  11. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until cheese is becoming slightly brown.
  12. Let dish sit for 10 minutes and top with fresh basil and more cheese if desired.