#379 (10/20/2009) HEALTHY SNACKING!
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10 Healthy Snacks for Couch Time

By Joe Wilkes

Fall is upon us, which means that the new TV season has begun, baseball is heading into the postseason, and football is starting up. The weather's getting cooler, and the couch will soon call for you to lie down in it with a warm blanket. Now keep in mind, we're not encouraging any couch potato behavior. We'd prefer that you pop in a 10-Minute Trainer® video and use the couch as a towel rack. But we're all human, and it's almost impossible to resist the siren song of a playoff game or the return of Dancing with the Stars or Grey's Anatomy. Just because you're taking a couple of hours off to flatten your gluteal muscles and sofa cushions doesn't mean you have to stuff yourself with chips and cookies or other bagged diet killers. Here are 10 tasty and healthy snacks that are great for TV downtime.

Woman Looking at Bowl of Popcorn

  1. Popcorn. It's not just for the movie theater anymore. In fact, you're better off skipping it at the movie theater. A bucket of oil-popped movie theater popcorn can contain as much fat as three to five double cheeseburgers. But air-popped popcorn is a pretty benign treat. Three cups of popcorn have just 93 calories and 1.5 grams of fat. Air-popped popcorn doesn't have much nutritive value outside of the energy you may get from the calories and some dietary fiber, but it can satisfy your munchies without getting you too far off the diet path. The best popcorn comes from your own hot-air popper—and with no additional fat or salt, unless you add it later. If you're going for microwave convenience, make sure you read the label carefully. Even some of the "healthy" brands contain a fair amount of fat and salt. And many microwave brands contain perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been linked to cancer. You might be better off making your own microwave popcorn. Just put 1/4 cup of popcorn into a brown lunch bag, fold the top over tightly, and microwave at your usual popcorn setting. Try to avoid salt and butter. Instead, enjoy your favorite herbs or a squeeze of lemon juice with some garlic powder or cayenne pepper.

  2. Bean dip. Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, and they don't have tons of calories. One cup of canned pintos only has 206 calories; it also has 12 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber—almost half of your recommended daily allowance. And beans are incredibly filling. Even prepackaged bean dips are pretty decent (of course, always check the label for the fat and sodium contents). You can make your own dips, hot or cold, by food-processing canned black or pinto beans (my favorites are the ones canned with jalapeños) and adding water to create your desired consistency. You can also use fat-free refried beans. You could add some chopped bell or jalapeño peppers, green onions, or canned corn to add a crunchy texture or some chopped tomatoes for a little extra flavor and vitamins. Instead of fatty tortilla chips, use baked chips or, better yet, some raw, crunchy veggies like carrots, celery, sliced bell peppers, broccoli, or cauliflower.

  3. Salsa. This is the perfect mix of tomatoes, onions, and peppers—all members of the top tier of Michi's Ladder. And the great thing is that salsa is so low in calories and so high in fiber, you can basically eat it by the cupful and not gain weight. If you buy it at the store though, watch out for the salt content—that's the secret ingredient in most canned and jarred salsas. You're much better off making your own pico de gallo. Just dice tomatoes and onions and mix with as much minced jalapeño and/or garlic as you can stand. Add fresh cilantro, salt, and pepper to taste and toss the veggies in the juice of two limes. Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. You can eat it with baked chips or the crunchy veggies that also go great with the bean dip. The salsa and the bean dip also complement each other well, for the double dippers among us.

  4. CrispbreadCrispbread crackers. These crunchy treats (including Wasa® and Rykrisp® brands) have around 30 calories a cracker (depending on the brand, flavor, and style) and a couple of grams of fiber in each one. For the Top Chef in you, they make great bases for some healthy ingredients from your refrigerator. Try a dollop of fat-free cottage cheese with a dash of hot sauce; a slice of turkey breast and roasted red pepper; a "schmear" of hummus and a couple of pitted olives; or a slice of tomato and a fresh basil leaf with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Even the pico de gallo recipe above with some shredded nonfat cheddar will make a tasty treat. By being creative with some wholesome ingredients, you'll forget all about the halcyon days of eating Ritz crackers washed down with aerosol cheese right from the can (sigh).

  5. Pistachios. Pistachios are a great heart-healthy snack full of antioxidants, fiber, and unsaturated fats (the good kind). A 1/2-cup serving (with the shells, assuming you don't eat them) only has 170 calories, with 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber; however, that serving also has 14 grams of fat, so don't go nuts chowing down on a whole bag. Walnuts, peanuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, and other nuts all have their nutritional upsides, too, but the reason I think pistachios make great snacks are the shells. PistachiosThe shells are difficult to open, so rather than shoveling handfuls of pre-shelled nuts down your throat, eat shelled pistachios so that you're forced to slow down. Keep an eye on the sodium content when you buy the nuts. Either buy unsalted or low-salt versions. And forget those disgusting pink ones that taste like lipstick. Who needs to leave hot-pink fingerprints all over the couch? A lot of stores also sell flavored versions that aren't too salty. Chili-lime is one of my favorite flavors.

  6. Edamame. The Japanese have one of the healthiest diets in the world, and soybeans are a great staple of that diet. Edamame, the steamed or boiled soybean pods, contain all the essential amino acids, many essential fatty acids, and soy isoflavones. And 1/2 cup of beans only contains 100 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 9 grams of carbs, with 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Truly one of nature's perfect foods. And like pistachios, you can serve them in their shells, which slows down your face stuffing, giving you time to feel full before you've overeaten.

  7. Mini-pizzas. Forget the frozen food section. Anyone with a toaster oven or a broiler pan can be his or her own Mama Celeste or Chef Boy-ar-dee®. Just take half of a whole wheat English muffin (67 calories; 2 grams of fiber), add a little tomato sauce or low-sodium pizza or spaghetti sauce and a sprinkle of low-fat or nonfat mozzarella cheese, and voilà—tasty and healthy pizza! As with the crispbread crackers, your imagination's the only limit for toppings. Fresh herbs like basil and oregano are delicious. Peppers, mushrooms, and anchovies are popular and fairly healthy. Just stay away from processed meats like pepperoni, which are often loaded with saturated fat, carcinogenic nitrates, and sodium.

  8. Pita chips and hummus. Now you can open a Greek taverna in your living room. While some stores sell pita chips now, you can easily make your own with very little fuss and muss (and usually with much less fat and salt). A large whole wheat pita has 170 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and less than 2 grams of fat. To make chips, cut around the edge of the pita with a small paring knife, so you have two discs. Then with a knife or pizza cutter, cut the discs into eighths or smaller chip-size pieces. Arrange the pieces on an aluminum-foil-covered cookie sheet, lightly spray with some olive oil cooking spray, and sprinkle with a little salt or low-fat Parmesan cheese or your favorite dried herbs. Cook in the oven or toaster oven until lightly browned and crispy, and serve with your favorite hummus or dip recipe.

  9. Relish tray. Some of my favorite snacks are pickled or brined anything—cucumbers, cauliflower, peppers, artichoke hearts, carrots, okra, baby corn, cornichons, cocktail onions, olives, sauerkraut, kimchi . . . even herring and hard-boiled eggs! Extremely low in calories, a plate full of pickled veggies on the coffee table is great for snacking. But watch out for the sodium! Certain store brands have more than others. The more ambitious might try marinating their fresh veggies in vinegar and a little heart-healthy olive oil, to control the amount of salt involved. If you use salty brands, you might consider rinsing them to get rid of some of the salt or mixing them on a plate with some fresh, unpickled vegetables to mitigate the salt intake.

  10. Deviled eggs. Eggs, having once been considered a scourge of the heart-healthy diet, are now getting a better rap. What's indisputable is the health value of the whites. If you take the yolks out of the equation, the egg whites can prove to be small, healthy, high-protein delivery systems suitable for all kinds of nutritious creamy fillings. Cut a bunch of hard-boiled eggs in half, lengthwise, and scoop out and discard the yolks. Try mixing some nonfat cottage cheese with your favorite mix of mustard, curry powder, garlic, paprika, pepper, salt, or other spices, and blending or food-processing it until it's creamy. Spoon or pipe the mixture into the egg whites where the yolks used to be, and you'll have a high-protein snack without the fat and cholesterol. You can also use the empty egg whites as scoops for your favorite healthy dip or salsa.

Of course, you can enjoy even more snack food if you can work some exercise into your TV watching. During playoff season, don't just save the stretching for the seventh inning. Try some exercises like Debbie Siebers' Slim in 6® Slim and Limber throughout the game. Or if you're settling in for a night in front of the tube, make a deal with yourself—you can veg out and watch The Office and 30 Rock if you turn off Jay Leno. If you watch a show like Heroes that motivates you to kick some butt, schedule some Turbo Jam® time immediately after the show while your adrenaline's still pumping. Or if, like me, you've become enslaved to your DVR or TiVo®, use it to your advantage and do a cooldown stretch to your favorite show as a reward for a well-done workout.

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Joe WilkesGot something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, October 26th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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The Birth of Shakeology®

By Darin Olien, The Ingredient Hunter

Sometime in the middle of 2006, I was well into traveling, hunting, and discovering many plants, nuts, fruits, and other superfoods around the planet. I was heading to the source and meeting the people in the fields, rainforests, and mountaintops of places like Peru, Costa Rica, Bhutan, Australia, Tahiti, and places in between-drawn by an insatiable curiosity of what is out there. The places I have been are some of the most abundant and ecologically diverse places in the world and home to an amazing display of vibrant, health-filled plants. With the herbal discoveries I was making, I was passionately formulating many concoctions—testing, eating, experimenting, importing these miracles of earth. I fueled myself as well as friends and some extreme athletes and celebrity peeps.

Shakeology®

One day in 2006, I got a call from my Argentine friend, Miguel, who had met a woman at our local vitamin shop who was doing some similar things on the nutrition front. I met and had an amazing, synchronistic conversation with the vibrant and brilliant Isabelle Daikeler! We had very similar points of view and many synergies on nutrition, wellness, and life, really. It is rare that I find someone who is living, demonstrating, and traveling on a path of true commitment to vibrant living like Isabelle is. She told me she had heard of and even tried some of my formulas and thought there might be an opportunity for me to work with her husband's company. A week or so later, I was back at their home, out by the pool, and met Carl Daikeler for the first time.

Shakeology®Carl, too, was very open, caring, and willing to share where he was coming from. He shared with me his vision of the company, where they are now and where he really would like to go and his desire to impact the lives of millions of people and crank up the company's nutritional division! He said he was thinking about a meal replacement called "The Healthiest Meal of the Day." He says to me, "I know you have formulated these other things but could you take us in this direction and formulate a top-notch, incredibly nutritious, yummy meal replacement?" The first thought was: Of course I could do that, it's what I love to do! You see, I have so many ideas in my head for developing avant-garde formulas and using exotic ingredients that of course I want to get them out there to people, millions of people. And here is this guy, giving me an opportunity to do my thing—to take the ball and run with this vision—well, I am in! And I know without a doubt nothing would have happened if it hadn't been for Isabelle trailblazing her knowledge and understanding to Carl, slowly downloading him information about this world of Super-Functional nutrition! And she was such a blessing and hugely instrumental for me then and now, even being able to have this groundbreaking opportunity by the ground she forged with the company well before I arrived. And I have to tell ya, the thing that sealed the deal for me was who Carl and Isabelle were as people, the caring they had and the large vision, rooted in creating a rewarding impact for millions of people.

I have never set out to work for a big company or a corporation or other people, for that matter. I have always been an entrepreneur, doing my own thing . . . traveling around, formulating, discovering, adventuring, answering to no one . . . doing exactly what I wanted to do. So, to even consider working with a big company was a big deal for me . . . probably because I am a control freak and didn't want to have to compromise or cut corners like so many companies end up doing. I have had my experiences with other very large nutrition companies saying they wanted the latest and the greatest, and when it came down to it they were not really willing to do what it takes, not willing to take the risk of giving the customer something extraordinary without cutting corners. That is gonna be a deal breaker for me because I don't cut corners so I naturally turned away from them and continued to do my own thing. It always came down to $$, margins, and their lack of vision from my point of view. It's like when Ferrari made their car . . . they put the very best parts in it and said, "We are not skimping on quality and if people want the best they will pay for it," so they did it! Well, I knew I wasn't gonna skimp and Carl proved he wasn't gonna either, so we were able to put the Ferrari of shakes together in Shakeology®. Now, Carl knows better than me, but I remember the tension in those meetings at Beachbody when I told them how much it would cost to put something like this together and there were more than a few business dudes in that room who thought I was nuts and it probably couldn't and wouldn't work! Well, the big boss man, Carl, always pulled through and saw it and believed in it even when others didn't . . . he knew we had to do it no matter what it takes, even if it was more expensive than the average swag product on market. All of that and the invitation from Carl and Isabelle made the difference for me. And from my point of view, Carl basically said in the beginning, "I trust you can do this, so go do your thing!" He supported me in being me and gave me the freedom to create what is best for the product and people. So we had a deal, and with a smile and a handshake we started rollin'!

Shakeology® IngredientsHow do I put a formula—this formula—together? I first had to start from scratch, a clean slate! I didn't want to start with a point of view of something or someone else's ideas. My first question was . . . what is "Shakeology"? (Of course, we were not calling it that at the time. Carl came up with that brilliant name later.) When Carl asked me to create "The Healthiest Meal of the Day," I was beyond stoked! Because I have seen, smelled, tasted, discovered, and experienced some very amazing superfoods in my life and in my travels, the opportunity to start getting that potency and vibrant nutrition into as many BODIES as possible was and is exciting. And given where some of the plants are from and how they are grown, there is no way most people would be able to experience these superfoods otherwise.

It can be quite a daunting task to formulate something that is for everybody when every body is different! However, there are things that are universal when you start to look at what is missing in most people's diets in our society today. That is where I started to formulate from—by filling in the gaps of what people's bodies require, what the typical Beachbody customer's body requires. I asked myself, what are the nutrients that are not being delivered in "normal" eating conditions today? In addition, one of the biggest keys was using ingredients that are as close to their natural, whole-food state as possible. And last, I know firsthand that it doesn't matter how good it is nutritionally if it doesn't taste good. If it's not convenient and good-tasting, it will not work and no one is going to consume it. But, I knew it was possible to make it taste good . . . it hadn't been done before, but I knew I could do it while not making the fatal mistakes others make, like cutting corners and using synthetic, artificial sweeteners and lower-quality ingredients . . . not this one, not a chance! With all those potent herbs, grasses, and exotics in there . . . whew, it took some time but we pulled it off! Hats off to all the guys in the lab . . . we spent many hours, days, and months playing with the formula and ingredients to get it to not only deliver super nutrition but to taste delicious!

VegetablesIt is an exciting thing because even though there are thousands upon thousands of supplements, foods, herbs, and perceived miracles out there, there are so very few that are any good. One of my philosophies when I put formulas together (and, really, how I approach all of life) is to treat others as if they already KNOW even if they don't know! So, even if they don't know cognitively on some level their body does! Meaning, I put the best product together I can at the time with the highest-quality ingredients, testing, sourcing, using sustainable means, period. The selling will come from that integrity, quality, and nurturing we put into the entire process and product. People know when they are being told the truth or a lie. Long story short, that golden rule thing is something that naturally comes out in what I do and formulate . . . because for me, that's what I would want in a supplement, myself. Have I told you that I am selfish? I don't do anything I don't want to do especially when it comes to quality eating and supplementation. My friends certainly know this! I think of myself when putting together supplements and I only put the things in that I would myself consume. I have never understood why people would do things or promote things that they do not do or believe in themselves. So, of all formulas I produce, foods I consume, recommendations I give, chances are I have lived it and am living it! I certainly did with Shakeology. (And, by the way, I drink it every day!)

Next time, the discovery (or hunting) of ingredients for Shakeology . . . the search begins!

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Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, October 26th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!

Darin OlienIf you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Demystifying RevAbs™

By Steve Edwards

Today, we sit down with RevAbs™ creator Brett Hoebel to discuss Beachbody's latest program. The name implies that it's an ab program, but it's much more than that. It's a full-body conditioning program. Sure, you'll get a six-pack, but the philosophy behind the program's creation goes a lot deeper than slimming down your midsection.

Brett Hoebel

"The two most popular body parts clients want to work on are their abs and their booty," says Hoebel. "Over the years, I've worked hard at coming up with the best training techniques, including weight training, bodyweight training, martial arts, and interval training, to transform these traditionally problematic areas. I've trained a lot of models and actors that always had a movie, photo shoot, or event to get ready for in a short period of time. This led me to refine my training methodologies to be able to accomplish great results in less time, which was a huge help in creating a training system like reVamp® and RevAbs."

ReVamp is Hoebel's time-tested personal training and nutrition program. It's what all of his private clients go through and what RevAbs is based on. As reVamp has evolved over the years, one of Hoebel's major influences has been Capoeira, a Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, dance, and music.

Brett Doing Capoeira"One of my passions is Capoeira," states Hoebel enthusiastically. "I first saw Capoeira in the '90s and started training seriously in it in 2005. Our school is A.B.A.D.A. Capoeira, and the headquarters is in Rio de Janeiro. I go there two or three times a year to train with the mestres (teachers) there. I think Capoeira is a very well-rounded form of fitness and is one of the greatest tools I've found to getting people cardio, core, strength, and stretch [exercises] all in one in a very fun environment. I also like the fact it's your own bodyweight, and [you] can do it anywhere, anytime. Besides the physicality of Capoeira, there is also the martial art, the Portuguese language, the African and Brazilian heritage it has with slavery, the different instruments you learn to play, the Portuguese songs you learn to sing, and much more. I've been integrating Capoeira with traditional forms of fitness since the '90s."

Thus RevAbs is more than just your regular workout. Hoebel's background is extensive, and he's certainly one of Beachbody's most credentialed trainers. "I was a premed in college and have always been a competitive athlete and martial artist," he adds. "This science/athlete/martial arts background gave me the right tools to study and create the training techniques of reVamp. I've also been fortunate to study under some very knowledgeable and talented fitness professionals [and organizations], including Paul Chek and the Chek Institute, Charles Poliquin, Terry Kerrigan, Metabolic Typing Institute, NASM, and the NSCA. Over the years, I have consistently evolved the methodology and concepts behind reVamp, based on new research and training techniques that worked with clients and myself (I always use myself as a test subject)."

Beachbody has allowed Hoebel to seek an entirely new audience. Instead of working with clients one on one, he's had to develop a program that works for everyone. "Developing RevAbs transformed my life as well," he says. "Working with the test group helped me really understand, appreciate, and respect being a role model and made me strive even harder to perfect the program. Morphing reVamp into a more ab-focused program, RevAbs, pushed my creative side and knowledge I had to bring to the table."

Ultimately, however, what inspired RevAbs is doing what you love. "I really enjoy and am passionate about being a fitness professional," Hoebel says, "and helping others reach their goals."

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"Introducing RevAbs™!"
"5 Ways to Speed Up Your Six-Pack"
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Steve EdwardsGot something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, October 26th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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Test Your Fruit 'n' Vegetable Rainbow IQ!

By Valerie Watson

Fruit 'n' Vegetable RainbowWe used to think a healthy diet was all about the "Big Three" food groups: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Today, we know there are a lot more factors involved—one of the most important being color. Making sure you get a rainbow's worth of colors in the fruits and vegetables you eat can make a world of difference in your health, vitality, and immune system. Match the colors of fruits and vegetables below with the selected beneficial nutrient or nutrients contained in that color group.

  1. Red (tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit): Lycopene. To help protect against cancer, heart disease, and neurological diseases.
  2. Orange/yellow (carrots, cantaloupe, peaches): Carotenoids. To help fight cancer, slow aging, and keep eyes healthy.
  3. Green (peas, spinach, asparagus): Chlorophyll and/or lutein. To help prevent cancer and heart disease and keep bones, teeth, and the immune system strong.
  4. Blue/purple (blueberries, eggplant, figs): Anthocyanins and flavonoids. To help fight cancer, memory loss, and strokes, and boost urinary tract and immune system health.
  5. White (bananas, cauliflower, potatoes): Anthoxanthins and/or potassium. To help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the risk of stomach cancer and heart disease.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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