#400 3/16/2010 QUICK AND HEALTHY DESSERTS
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Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.

Ernestine Ulmer

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7 Days, 7 Desserts

By Joe Wilkes

In honor of the 400th issue of the Beachbody® newsletter, we thought we'd celebrate with some treats. For a lot of us, fighting our sweet tooth is the hardest part of staying healthy. Sugary treats and drinks are so prevalent in American society that it's a real challenge to kick the white stuff, not to mention the high fructose corn syrup stuff. However, that doesn't mean that we should totally abandon our sweet tooth. After all, how could something that tastes so good be that bad for us? Our palates are conditioned to enjoy sweets because, in nature, sweetness can attract us to some of the healthiest foods, like fruits and berries. The trick is in learning to enjoy sweet foods that are closer to their natural states before all the vitamins and fiber are extracted, and we're left with just the diabetes and tooth decay. Here are some ideas for desserts that could actually be the healthiest part of the meal.

Apple Crisp

Note: All nutritional information is for one serving.

Sunday: Giant Fruit Salad

Fruit SaladSunday is a great day to make giant bowls of stuff you can eat all week. I like to make big pots of soup or other big entrées for healthy leftovers throughout the week. Fruit salad is super-easy to make; it's just a hassle to chop everything. I find it can be a nice Zen-like activity while I'm watching the Sunday news programs or sports. The best fruit salads use fruits that are in season and contain a variety of colors. It's not just that the colors make for a lovely presentation, but the more colors you have, the bigger range of antioxidants you have. By tossing the fruit in lemon juice, you can prevent the fruit from turning brown, so it will still be appetizing later in the week. You can layer the fruit with yogurt for a delicious parfait, or add some granola or nuts for a little crunch, too.

  • 1 red apple, unpeeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 cup green grapes, seedless
  • 1 cup red grapes, seedless
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 2 cups cantaloupe, balled
  • 2 cups honeydew, balled
  • 2 cups pineapple, cut up
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • Lemon juice

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with lemon juice to lightly coat all fruit. Serves 6.

Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes, but it depends on how good a chopper you are!

Nutritional information (per serving):

Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein
187 <1 gram 48 grams �6 grams 2 grams

Monday: Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Chocolate Avocado MousseChocolate is full of great antioxidants and is actually pretty healthy in its unadulterated state. It's when we add cream, butter, and sugar that it starts to get unhealthy. It may not sound intuitive to add avocado, but it provides a delicious creamy texture, without all the saturated fat of actual cream. The flavor of avocado is usually mild enough that you won't even taste it with the chocolate, and you get all those heart-smart unsaturated fats with the antioxidants in your chocolate.

  • 2 ounces dark unsweetened chocolate (70% to 85% cacao solids)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp. agave nectar (could substitute maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Microwave chocolate in large mixing bowl until melted. Add remaining ingredients, and mix until smooth. For best results, use a hand mixer or food processor. Serves 2.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Nutritional information (per serving):

Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein
395 27 grams 39 grams 11 grams 5 grams

Tuesday: Apple Crisp

Apple CrispWhat's as American as apple pie? Well, the obesity rate for starters. Apples are certainly healthy, and apple pie flavorings like cinnamon are also healthy. In fact, some studies have shown that cinnamon may help stabilize blood sugar levels and even lower blood cholesterol. However, once you mix it all up in a shortening-laden crust with a cup or two of sugar, most of the health benefits go right out the window. Try this easy-to-make recipe for an apple crisp, and you'll get apple pie flavor without getting fat. For extra fiber, don't peel the apples. You can also experiment with other favorite fruits, like peaches or blueberries, instead of or in addition to the apples.

  • 4 cups apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. flour, whole wheat (or soy flour)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, organic, from grass-fed dairy cow

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium baking dish, combine apples, maple syrup, and 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon. In a separate mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Top mixture in baking dish with mixture from bowl. Bake for about 30 minutes or until apples are soft. Serves 4.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Nutritional information (per serving):

Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein
200 6 grams 31 grams 3 grams 3 grams

Wednesday: Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Chocolate-Covered StrawberryYou don't have to shell out the big bucks at Godiva® to make it a romantic evening with your sweetie. All you need is a microwave (or a double boiler), some dark chocolate (70% to 85% cacao solids), some strawberries, and some love. And if there's a better way to show your love than with these two great sources of antioxidants, I'd like to hear it. In fact, if you're single, this is a much better way to love yourself than with that pint of Ben and Jerry's® (4 servings, ha!)

  • 1 dark chocolate bar (3 oz.), 70% to 85% cacao solids
  • 1 pint large strawberries (about a dozen)

Microwave chocolate in microwave-safe bowl, or melt in double boiler on stove. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip in melted chocolate to lightly coat. Set aside on plate or wax paper to cool. When chocolate has hardened, serve (or if you can't wait, dip and eat, and call it chocolate fondue!). Serves 2.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Nutritional information (per serving):

Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein
360 22 grams 36 grams 9 grams 5 grams

Thursday: Black Bean Brownies

BrowniesWell, if you didn't stop reading this article after the chocolate avocado mousse, you may be adventurous enough to try this next recipe. This is super-easy to make and actually delicious. For Christmas one year, my mother found a box of brownie mix of indeterminate origin in her pantry, and we decided to experiment with something we saw on one of the morning shows. Basically, instead of adding eggs and oil to the mix as directed on the box, you food-process a can of black beans (unseasoned, of course) and 1/4 cup of water. Add the mix and bake according to the directions on the box, and voilà! You have delicious chewy brownies—now with more fiber than fat. In fact, we even served them to my finicky nephews who declared them edible until my mom revealed the secret ingredient and ruined Christmas.

  • 1 15-oz. can unseasoned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 package brownie mix (12 to 14 oz.—we recommend a healthy one with whole-grain ingredients)

Puree beans and water in food processor or blender. Add beans to brownie mix, and bake according to package instructions. Do not add any other ingredients. Serves 16.

Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus baking time

Nutritional information (per serving; will vary depending on brownie mix used):

Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein
80 3 grams 8 grams 2 grams 5 grams

Friday: Fruit Kabobs

Fruit KabobsAs fans of Strangers with Candy know, nothing makes a party like hot fruit! Grilling or broiling fruit can make the fruit taste sweeter without adding sugar. It's easy to prepare and makes for a dramatic presentation. You can experiment with different kinds of fruit, but the best ones are the ones that are a little firm and juicy, like pineapples, apples, and pears; or stone fruits, like peaches, nectarines, plums, and mangoes. You can serve with a spiced yogurt dipping sauce or just a sprinkle of cinnamon.

  • 1/2 pineapple
  • 2 mangoes
  • 3 nectarines
  • 3 peaches
  • 3 pears
  • 2 apples

Cut all fruit into chunks and thread onto water-soaked bamboo skewers. On hot grill or under the broiler, cook kabobs, turning often for about 5 to 7 minutes, being careful not to burn them.

Preparation time: 10 minutes (not counting chopping time)

Nutritional information (per serving):

Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein
226 <1 gram 59 grams 9 grams 2 grams

Saturday: Chocolate Shakeology® Pie

Chocolate Shakeology® PieSo we've seen some pretty healthy desserts, but could dessert be the Healthiest Meal of the Day®? If it's made with Shakeology, it could be. The Team Beachbody® Message Boards are full of great recipe ideas. This one was found by juliefit, a Team Beachbody Coach. No one knows where the original recipe came from, but it tastes delicious and gives you a protein punch from the tofu—in addition to the more than 70 healthy ingredients in Shakeology.

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1 container silken tofu (12 oz.)
  • 1-1/2 scoops Chocolate Shakeology
  • 2 Tbsp. soy milk
  • 2 Tbsp. agave nectar (or maple syrup)
  • 1 whole-grain graham cracker pie crust

Blend or food-process peanut butter, tofu, Shakeology, soy milk, and agave nectar until smooth and creamy, adding more soy milk if necessary. Pour into pie crust, and refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour). Serves 6.

Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus 60 minutes in fridge

Nutritional information (per serving):

Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein
307 17 grams 19 grams 3 grams 13 grams

Of course, you should feel free to eat any of these desserts on any day of the week. And repeat your favorites. Most of these can be integrated into your favorite Beachbody meal plan. If you missed parts one through four of the series, see the Related Articles section below. Bon appétit!

Click here to get more healthy recipes, personalized meal plans, and diet advice when you sign up for Team Beachbody.

Get online diet support at Team Beachbody®

Related Articles
"7 Days, 7 Breakfasts"
"7 Days, 7 Lunches"
"7 Days, 7 Dinners"
"7 Days, 7 Snacks"

Joe WilkesGot something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, March 22nd, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room!

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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Finding Motivation

By Carl Daikeler, Beachbody CEO

(Editor's Note: In honor of the 400th issue of the Beachbody newsletter, we thought we'd look back at our very first issue, in which this article appeared.)

Carl Daikeler

Contrary to what we are taught, motivation is a very personal thing. No one can motivate you to do anything that you really don't want to do. This is why most diets and fitness programs fail. After a while, if you are doing something you don't want to do, you will quit. To successfully motivate yourself, we recommend that you:

  1. Get a journal or notebook and write what you would like to be. Make a long list if you like. You would be surprised at how many successful people have such a "dream list."
  2. Find a picture of yourself that you are proud of (don't worry about how old it is), and look into your younger eyes. Can you see a glimmer of enthusiasm, hope, and expectation?
  3. Look for inspiring stories that you can relate to, that you understand, and that can make you want to take action.
  4. Find others who are doing the things you want to do and try to spend more time with them. Do you admire people who are walking, running, rollerblading, or painting? If so, go to where they are and watch, listen, and even engage them in conversation if you can.
  5. Try to routinely write in your journal.

Take these simple steps, and you will feel a rustling deep inside that will provide the fuel of motivation.

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, March 22nd, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room!

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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Climbing Michi's Ladder: Spelt

By Denis Faye

One of the few foods in tier one not related to spinach, spelt is instead a grain related to wheat, but with a nuttier, sweeter flavor. It also tends to be much more nutritious. Yes, it does contain gluten, so if you have a serious condition, you might want to bump it off your personal tier one, but many people with wheat allergies or intolerance are fine with spelt.

Spelt

The nutrition facts

Half a cup of cooked spelt is 123 calories, 1 gram of fat, 25 grams of carbs, 6 grams of protein (far more than wheat), and 4 grams of fiber.

You'll find a handsome 13 percent of your recommended daily allowance (RDA)* for niacin, as well as some vitamin E, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6, and folate. The mineral side of things is much more impressive, with 12 percent of the RDA for magnesium, 15 percent for phosphorus, 11 percent for copper, and 56 percent for manganese. You'll also find calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and selenium.

Spelt is the poster child for whole grains as a viable source of carbohydrates. It has minerals and protein you won't find in fruits and veggies. Also, spelt and other whole grains contain their own unique set of phytonutrients, which early research indicates can take on issues such as cancer and heart disease.

How do you eat this stuff?

Spelt works exactly like wheat, so if you're a baker, cut your flour with spelt flour or replace it entirely. If you're not a baker, there are plenty of great commercial breads and pastas out there for all your "spelty" desires.

1 cup of spelt, cooked (194 g)
Calories Fat Carbs Fiber Protein
246 2 grams 51 grams 8 grams 11 grams

Michi's Ladder is Beachbody's guide to nutritious eating. If you only ate from Tiers 1 and 2, you would have a near-perfect diet!

Related Articles
"Climbing Michi's Ladder: Barley"
"Climbing Michi's Ladder: Arugula"
"Climbing Michi's Ladder: Quinoa"

Denis FayeGot something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, March 22nd, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room!

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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How to Prevent Wrinkles

Woman Touching Her Face

Wrinkles—the eight-letter word we've grown to loathe. We've surveyed thousands of women, and wrinkles are their number one skin concern. These first signs of aging are easy to spot. Ever wonder how we get them? We'll let you in on why we get wrinkles and what we can do to get rid of those suckers.

Click here to view the full article!

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, March 22nd, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room!

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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Test Your Healthy Fats IQ!

By Elizabeth Brion

Olive OilI'm sure you're all too young to remember the 1980s; it's OK, I'll do it for you. One thing I remember is going to the gym and seeing a lot of thin, fit-looking people with dull skin and straw-like, broken-off hair. This was the byproduct of the fat-free craze; some people subsisted only on foods that were engineered to have any naturally occurring fat obliterated. Hard to see how that could go wrong. Eliminating an entire nutrient class will almost always help you lose pounds; it will also, over time, lead to a pretty major nutritional deficit. While it turned out that eating some fat was a good thing, much of the fat in the typical American diet is the wrong kind. Your best bet is to keep your fat intake reasonable and to ingest mostly healthy fats. Which fats are healthy, you ask? Let's find out!

True or false?

  1. False: To reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, you should increase your consumption of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. While you do need to monitor your omega-3 intake, omega-6 is probably plentiful in your diet already. An omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 4:1 to 1:1 reduces cardiovascular disease risk. The typical American diet provides a ratio of 11:1 to 30:1.
  2. True: Peanut oil, canola oil, olive oil, and trans-fat-free margarines are excellent candidates for your healthy-fat-rich lifestyle. Consuming a variety of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils or fat spreads will provide the variety of fatty acids, antioxidants, and nutrients that your body requires.
  3. False: Canned and fresh salmon are similarly high-quality sources of omega-3. While 3 ounces of fresh salmon provides 1.9 grams of omega-3, 3 ounces of canned salmon contains only 1 gram.
  4. True: Walnuts, kale, flaxseed, and tofu are excellent vegetarian sources of omega-3. If you're a meat-eater, increasing your omega-3 intake can be as simple as eating more salmon or herring. While these veggie-friendly options may not be as widely touted as our fish friends are for this purpose, they'll do the trick.
  5. True: The risks of a diet too low in fat include hair loss; hard, curly fingernails; and dull, dry skin. If you're thinking you can rock that look, though, here are a few more potential consequences: You can lose cushioning around your internal organs; your body may lose its ability to regulate temperature; and you may find yourself hungry more often because you're missing the fats that typically slow the absorption of nutrients into your system. You'll also lose out if you suffer from depression, arthritis, or certain autoimmune diseases; essential fatty acids help with all of these conditions. I'm guessing that if you've adopted an extremely low-fat diet, these were not among your goals. Let's all pour a tiny cup of fish or flaxseed oil and toast to new, healthy habits!

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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