An onion can make people cry, but there has never been
a vegetable invented to make them laugh.
4 Easy Steps for Healthy Salsa!
By Denis Faye
One of my biggest vices is probably corn chips. I love them. I love their salty corn goodness. What I don't love, however, is the fatty, carb-filled relative nutritionlessness that comes with every bite.
Sure, I dig all the great substitutes out there. Baked chips cut down the fat content, and the latest trend, corn chips flecked with flaxseed, adds omega fatty acids and fiber to my diet. These options are great, but ultimately, nothing can truly replace my greasy, little, yellow, triangular friends.
So I scoured the four corners of my brain searching for a way that I could enjoy corn chips without dealing with the guilt that comes with eating them. And I think I've found the solution: it's all in the salsa that you eat with them. Not just the ingredients in the salsa, mind you, but the creation of the salsa, from the dirt the ingredients grow in to the way I get them from the store to the way I chop them up.
Now I'm sharing the secret with you. Prepare yourself for guilt-free, though not grease-free, corn chips.
Step 1: What you'll need
A bag of your favorite corn chips
One small yellow onion
A handful of cilantro
One hot chili pepper (optional)
One bike or a good pair of walking shoes
One good, sharp knife
Some free time
Step 2: Hunting and gathering
First, you'll need to collect your tomatoes, cilantro, chili, chips, and onions. This is where the good pair of walking shoes or bike comes in. Whether you shop at your local farmers' market or your local Safeway, getting there using your own propulsion is key from a calorie perspective. A brisk, 30-minute, four-mile-per-hour walk to the store and a 30-minute walk back home will burn you somewhere between 250 and 400 calories, depending on your size. A twelve-mile-per-hour bike ride to the store, 15 minutes each way, will burn you somewhere between 250 and 350 calories.
If you have a local farmers' market, this will be your best option, because it's easy to find locally grown and organic produce there. Besides the obvious "green" benefits, buying organic assures you more nutrition bang for your buck. A 2007 European Union study out of Newcastle University in England showed that organic fruits and veggies contain 40 percent more antioxidants than their non-organic counterparts. Buying local also helps guarantee that your salsa will be better for you because older fruits and veggies lose nutrients. For example, spinach retains only 53 percent of its folate and 54 percent of its carotene after eight days in the fridge. Imagine what it loses traveling around the world in trucks and boats!
As for your chips, don't worry about nutrition here. Buy your favorites. And given that most farmers' markets don't carry corn chips, that means two trips—one to the grocery store and one to the farmers' market. All the better for you!
Step 3: Bringing it all together
Salsa is pretty easy to make. Just chop everything up and mix it together.
Wait, wait, wait! What do you think you're doing? Put that food processor away! Instead, get out the knife and cutting block. We're going to burn some calories while we're slicing and dicing. It's going to take about 20 or 30 minutes to chop all this stuff up, which will burn you about 100 calories. Of course, the ingredients in salsa are among the most difficult to chop. Here are a few hints.
Tomatoes. If you have a really sharp knife, tomatoes aren't an issue; otherwise, the tough skin of a tomato can turn chopping them into a gooey mess. The trick is to cut your tomato in half, and then do the rest of the cutting from the inside out. That way, you don't need to deal with the skin.
Onions. People don't cry when they cut onions because they're sad. They cry because onions squirt out a volatile gas called syn-propanethial-S-oxide. The gas reacts with the water in your eyes, creating sulfuric acid and, well, boo-hoo.
There are a million tricks to prevent this, from using a sharp knife to burning a candle to attract the gas, but there's only one surefire way to avoid the tears. Wear airtight goggles, such as swimming or diving goggles. Yes, you'll look like a buffoon, but you won't cry. Just ask yourself which matters more.
Chilies. If you're going the super-spicy route, make sure to get rid of the seeds. The flesh of a spicy chili is filled with delicious zing. The seeds just hurt your mouth. Many people also use rubber gloves when chopping hot chilies. Anyone who has ever gotten chili juice into a paper cut knows that it makes lemon juice feel like a soothing balm.
Once you're done chopping the tomatoes, onions, and chili, combine these three ingredients in a bowl. Remove the stems from the cilantro, chop up the leaves, and add them to the other ingredients. Next, squeeze the lime in and add a couple dashes of salt. Refrigerate the salsa for at least an hour to allow the flavors to mingle. If you can wait overnight, the flavors will be blended even better.
Step 4: The fun part
Okay, I'm going to pull a fast one on you here. I didn't mention this before, but you'll need to limit your corn chip consumption to one serving, about 18 chips, which works out to about 160 calories. But don't get too bent out of shape. If you pile on that healthy salsa you just made, you should get full.
Enjoy those 160 calories because you've just worked out way more than that with low-impact exercise. Also, that low-impact workout won't cause overtraining and won't get in the way of your daily Hip Hop Abs®, P90X®, or Slim in 6® habit.
Generally, the whole exercise-extra-so-you-can-eat-junk formula doesn't work, but we're not talking about a 600-calorie mud pie here. You'd have to seriously overtrain and cut into recovery time to work off 600 calories. Furthermore, you're piling each chip with a mound of nutritious fruits and veggies that further dilutes the sinfulness of the snack. Just get a load of the nutrition facts.
Suggested serving size: one third of salsa recipe (not counting chips)
Fat Total: 0 g
Carbs: 10 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 2 g
Plus, it's loaded with vitamins B6 and C as well as folate, copper, manganese, and thiamin.
And remember, you don't need to eat those chips to enjoy this salsa. It'll work as a great dip or spread for just about anything. Enjoy!
"4 Hearty and Healthy Dips"
"Onions, Garlic, and Leeks: Our Stinky Friends!"
"10 Reasons to Eat Organic—and Local"
"15 Easy Food Substitutions for Big-Time Calorie Savings"
If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, just email us at email@example.com.
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Renew Your Resolution
By Joe Wilkes
Here we are in the middle of January, and according to some surveys, almost a third of us have abandoned our New Year's resolutions. And within the next six months, that number could climb up to about 80 percent. But even if you've already fallen off the wagon, you don't have to wait eleven and a half months to get back on. Besides, who came up with the notion that you have to stay up all night December 31st partying and swilling champagne and then have to deny yourself a restorative greasy cheeseburger on January 1st?
Like the addiction specialists say, relapse is part of recovery. And facing January, with the post-holiday letdown, the closing of the books, year-end evaluations, and all the other pressures at work, it's easy to understand how a little stress eating could come into play. Not to mention that football playoff season is upon us. This could mean that for the next three Sundays, we may be spending more time on the couch with a bowl of potato chips, a pizza, and a plate of wings, instead of doing whatever weekend-warrior activity we had promised we were going to start doing this year.
If you've managed to stick to your resolutions so far, congratulations. If you haven't, don't despair; there's still plenty of time to regroup, repair, and re-resolve. Many experts even advise against making year-long resolutions, as they may seem impossible to keep, and the rewards are so far in the future, it's hard to stay motivated for such a long time. Instead, think about shorter-term plans. Maybe commit to a brisk 30-minute walk, five times a week, for the next four weeks. Or cut out a guilty diet pleasure, like ice cream or potato chips for two weeks. Instead of having to face an interminable amount of time without your favorite nosh, you only have to wait two weeks. We can live without anything for two weeks, right? And when the two weeks are up, you might find that you're ready to go another two weeks and so on, and so on.
National "Before" Day
At Beachbody, we'd like to challenge you to recommit to a healthy lifestyle this February 4th. Why February 4th? Because it's the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday, the last big pigout of the season. The stresses of the holidays will be a distant memory, and there's still plenty of time to get in shape before swimsuit season is upon us. We're calling it National "Before" Day—the day you take your "before" picture and begin the journey to a healthy, happy "after."
We're challenging all Beachbody members to control their portions and commit to working out for 20 of the 30 days between February 4th and March 6th. Choose a workout program to start on February 4th, and log on to WOWY® (Work Out With You), our online virtual gym, to plan your workout schedule and track your progress. You'll have a chance to win up to $1,000 every time you work out in WOWY!*
Click here to read all the details.
While you're waiting for National "Before" Day to roll around, start planning for success. That means getting rid of all the junk food in the house. All of it. Throw it away. Start building "buy-in" to your plan from your family and friends, so you have a support system in place. Figure out where your workout is going to take place. Start clearing your schedule to make room for an hour-long workout five times a week. And even plan for failure. The most successful plans include steps for recovering from slipups and getting back on track. Start thinking about strategies for how to handle Valentine's Day sweets or how you're going to make it through the Oscar party without winning Best Overeater. Decide how you can celebrate any birthdays or anniversaries in that 30-day period without blowing the progress you made the other 29 days. As we like to say at Beachbody, it's time to Decide, Commit, and Succeed. National "Before" Day will be here before you know it.
"10 Healthy Snacks for Couch Time"
"10 Tips on Home Workout Gear"
"Can Your Friends Make You Fat?"
"4 Ways Exercise Boosts Your Brain"
If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Note: The Team Beachbody contest, sweepstakes, and Coach business opportunity are currently available only to U.S. residents. Certain limitations and restrictions apply. Please review the daily sweepstakes and monthly contest rules posted on TeamBeachbody.com for details. Charges may appear on your bill as Beachbody or Team Beachbody.
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Test Your Dip IQ!
By Monica Gomez
Rank these dips from highest to lowest fat content (all based on a two-tablespoon serving).
- Blue cheese (Domino's Pizza dipping sauce). Fat total: 16 grams. All right. So I thought I'd throw in a fairly easy, and scary, dip into the mix. Unfortunately, it's one of my favorites. Sixteen grams is approximately 25 percent of the recommended daily value. This serving will yield you 2.9 grams of saturated fat (15 percent of the recommended daily value). You also get 15 milligrams of cholesterol. The highest of the dips mentioned below, two tablespoons contain 283 milligrams of sodium (can you stop at two tablespoons?). I'm not exactly comforted by the 14.5 milligrams of calcium (I'd rather consume something healthier to satisfy my calcium needs). If you stop at one serving, you'll have consumed 153 calories.
- Guacamole (Kraft brand). Fat total: 4.5 grams. That's about 7 percent of the recommended daily value. If you are extremely disciplined, and only eat two tablespoons of this delicious dip, you also consume 2.5 grams of saturated fat—approximately 13 percent of the recommended daily value. The Kraft version has fairly high sodium content at 240 milligrams (remember, that's per two tablespoons or about 1.1 ounces). However, two tablespoons only set you back about 50 calories. There is a trace amount of protein at 1 gram. For a better tasting guacamole dip, make your own (versus buying a package of guacamole mix or even a premade version). Also, use ripe avocados for a richer, deeper avocado flavor. If you prepare your own, you can control and reduce the sodium content.
- Spinach, cheese, and artichoke (TGI Friday's, frozen). Fat total: 3.5 grams. At 3.5 grams of total fat, this dip only contains slightly more fat grams than the hummus (see below). Of that total fat, 1.5 grams are saturated. You do get a small amount of cholesterol in this serving (10 milligrams or 3 percent of the recommended daily value). Total sodium stands at 115 milligrams. While that's 125 milligrams less than the Kraft guacamole, it's still a pretty high number for two-tablespoons' worth. You get 2 grams of total carbs, including 0.5 grams of dietary fiber and 0.5 grams of sugar. You also get some protein (2 grams) and a notable amount of calcium (60 milligrams). Calorie content for this dip stands at 45. Again, it's probably preferable to make your own versus buying a frozen or premade version—for a better taste and less sodium.
- Hummus (Daphne's Greek Cafe). Fat total: 3 grams. Or 5 percent of the recommended daily value. There is no saturated fat or cholesterol in this serving. The hummus does have significantly less sodium than the Kraft guacamole—80 milligrams (3 percent of the recommended daily value) in the hummus versus 240 milligrams in the guacamole. Total carb content is 7 grams (including 2 grams of dietary fiber). At 60 calories per two tablespoons, you only consume a few more calories than in the serving of guacamole. This brand of hummus will provide you with 20 grams of protein (other varieties will vary). Hummus is a versatile dip—you can use it as a dip for vegetables, tortilla chips, or flatbread. Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans, and used to make hummus) are a great source of cholesterol-lowering fiber.
- Bean dip (Fritos brand). Fat total: 1 gram. No saturated fat or cholesterol in this bean dip serving. At 170 milligrams (7 percent of the recommended daily value), you do consume a fairly high amount of sodium, though. This serving also has 5 grams of total carbs—with 1 gram of dietary fiber. Protein content is 2 grams. One serving yields you 40 calories. Tip: prepare your own dip (sounding familiar?). You can make several varieties, from warm to cold to black bean to pinto bean. Beans are good sources of soluble fiber (promoting a healthy digestive tract), protein, and "good fat." And their low glycemic index means that they provide you with energy over a sustained period of time.
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