DAIRY SUBSTITUTES AND SUMMER SPORTS #456 04/20/2011
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My illness is due to my doctor's insistence that I drink milk, a whitish fluid they force down helpless babies.

W.C. Fields

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Sour on Milk? 5 Healthy Dairy Substitutes

By Jeanine Natale

So you've made the decision to go dairy free for health, diet, and/or allergy reasons. Maybe you're trying to avoid lactose. Maybe you just don't like the way the dairy industry tends to treat cows. But here's the rub: You love milk! So what are you going to do? Fear not, it's easy to avoid lactose and still get your fill of milk-like liquids. Soy, rice, coconut, almond, and even hemp "milks" have all found their way into the diets, hearts, and grocers' shelves of health-conscious people everywhere. Some, like coconut and rice milk, have been around for hundreds of years as dietary staples in many cultures around the world.

Milk

We're going to take a look at the five most widely available—and very diverse—milk substitutes, but before we start, let's quickly look at what you're leaving behind when you give up dairy. A 1-cup serving of regular skim milk has 90 calories, 125 milligrams of sodium, 8 grams of protein, 30 percent of your recommended daily allowance (RDA)* of calcium, 25 percent of your RDA of vitamin D, phosphorus, and riboflavin, and 16 percent of your RDA for vitamin B12. That same cup of skim milk also contains 12 grams of carbohydrates, 11 of which are sugar.

Now let's compare the rest. Keep in mind that these are all vegetarian/vegan-friendly, gluten-free alternatives.

  1. Soy Milk. Soy milk is probably the best-known milk alternative in the Western world. It's easy to find it in a variety of flavors and options at just about any market. So how does soy milk stack up nutritionally compared to skim milk? A typical 1-cup serving has about 100 calories—slightly more than skim milk—with 7 grams of protein, 29 milligrams of sodium, 25 percent of your RDA of thiamin, 9 percent of your RDA of riboflavin, 8 percent of your RDA of iron, 15 percent of your RDA of copper, 20 percent of your RDA of manganese, and just about 35 percent of your RDA of calcium.

    SoybeansDespite soy milk's popularity, there is some controversy surrounding it. The trend toward foods that are or contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms) is currently a cause for great concern, and more than 90 percent of all soybeans sold in the U.S. are GMOs, making it pretty difficult to find truly natural, organic soybeans or soybean milk products.

    Also, unfermented soy products like soy milk naturally contain what are known as phytoestrogens—chemicals that when introduced to the human body tend to act like estrogen. There are many studies on this subject, but unfortunately most of them tend to contradict each other: Do phytoestrogens cause or prevent cancer? Are there negative side effects to ingesting too much of the stuff if you're male? Should infants be given soy products at all? The best way to deal with the soy debate and its consequences, aside from doing a bunch of research yourself, is simply to remember the age-old adage, "All things in moderation." If you aren't going to be consuming gallons of soy milk per day, you should be just fine.

    Bottom Line: You might want to explore other choices before settling for this somewhat controversial and overprocessed milk alternative.
  2. RiceRice milk. If you've ever had the popular Mexican drink horchata, you've had rice milk. The popular commercial brands are enriched with calcium and other nutrients found in dairy milk, but they also (like commercial soy milk) have a variety of additives, sweeteners, and flavorings, many of which can't be considered either organic or natural.

    So how does rice milk add up nutritionally? A 1-cup serving has approximately 80 to 90 calories, but they come mostly from sugar, which you probably already get plenty of, and which you're probably trying to avoid if you're trying to consume a healthy diet. If you're a rice milk or horchata fan, great—you can mix it with all kinds of things to make it a fun, refreshing treat. But realistically speaking, rice milk doesn't have much else going for it.

    Bottom Line: Although it's relatively popular, I wouldn't settle on rice milk as a truly complete and healthy alternative to regular milk, unless I was mixing it with Shakeology®. Store-bought brands will be more nutritious, but will contain a lot of sugar.
  3. CoconutCoconut milk. Thai food, anyone? How about a piña colada? If you're a fan of either, chances are, you've had plenty of coconut milk in your lifetime. Now, don't mistake coconut milk for the watery liquid found in the center of the coconut, which is known as coconut water (the stuff you hear sloshing around inside when you shake one). Rather, we're talking about the rich, creamy stuff that's extracted from the white coconut flesh nutmeat itself. Want to do it yourself at home? You're looking at some pretty intensive labor.

    Until recently, a cup of coconut milk contained at least 500 calories, most of which was saturated fat, but now low-calorie coconut milk has begun finding its way onto grocers' shelves. A typical 1-cup serving has about 150 calories, most of which is still saturated fat. It has 3 grams of protein, 45 milligrams of sodium, 50 percent of the RDA of vitamin B12, 30 percent of the RDA of vitamin D, and 10 percent of the RDA of calcium and magnesium. If you're a vegan looking to get more vitamin D in your diet, this stuff might help, but keep in mind that you won't be getting any protein from it and you'll be getting a lot of fat.

    Bottom Line: Regular coconut milk has traditionally been intended to be used in small amounts, mainly for cooking, not as a milk substitute for drinking a glass at a time. Although it's delicious and has lots of healthful benefits, it's way too rich to have as a drink by itself. And while light coconut milks may not pack the same caloric punch, they're still essentially just fat.
  4. AlmondsAlmond milk. This is one I can live with. Nutritionally, a 1-cup serving will have anywhere from 50 to 80 calories, depending on how much water has been added. Although it has minimal protein, it does have 25 percent of the RDA of vitamin D, 50 percent of the RDA of vitamin E, and 150 milligrams of potassium, along with some manganese, selenium, and many other trace elements.

    There are a wide variety of fortified store-bought brands that all taste pretty darn good—sweetened, unflavored, or otherwise. Along with the more mainstream commercial brands, it's also easy to find almond milk products that are raw and organic.

    Bottom Line: Almond milk is a personal favorite and quite versatile too, although keep in mind it's still low in protein. On a side note, it's fun to make from scratch. A 1-pound bag of raw almonds can get a little pricey at around $12.00, but the investment is worth it. Make your own—it's delicious!
  5. HempseedsHemp milk. Places like Trader Joe's® or Whole Foods Market® are your best bet for hemp milk. There are a couple of different brands, again, all fortified and sweetened to taste more like regular milk. And no, it doesn't get you high. Interestingly though, the U.S. is pretty much the only country in the world that doesn't allow hempseed cultivation, even though there's no drug content in it. All hempseed in the U.S. is from Canada; it's guaranteed to be organic and pesticide-free.

    Hemp milk could be a real find. Hempseeds are pretty much considered a superfood, meaning that even in very small amounts, like an ounce or two, they pack a wallop nutritionally. A 1-cup serving of hemp milk has approximately 110 calories and has 24 percent of the RDA of iron, 72 percent of the RDA of magnesium and phosphorus, 35 percent of the RDA of zinc, plus 11 grams of omega-6 fatty acids, 4.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, and 16 grams of protein. Wow.

    Bottom Line: A milk alternative that's naturally packed with nutrients. Definitely worth checking out.

If or when you decide to go with one or more of these alternatives to milk, also know that you can use them in most recipes just like regular milk. There are literally hundreds of recipes available free online, and dozens of well-informed cookbooks on the market. So experiment a little, and find out which milk substitute works best for you.

Related Articles
"The Down-Low on Dairy"
"6 Simple Rules for Eating Sugar"
"Vegetarianism: An Easy Guide to Meat-Free Eating"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, April 25th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

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, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

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5 Fun Summer Beach and Water Sports for Fitness

By Andrew Rice

Summer's just around the corner. Soon it'll be time to take advantage of the long days and warm temperatures to break out of your winter workout habits and take it to the lake, river, or sandy beach of your choice. Summer is, after all, about having fun and enjoying time with your family and friends. But there's no reason that has to mean spending all day in a lawn chair eating barbecued pork and drinking Bud Light®. Why not cut loose and try one of these outdoor activities? They're all excellent workouts, and great fun to share with other people. Just keep in mind that whenever you're planning on spending time in both sun and water, a good waterproof sunblock is a must.

Summer Beach

Water World

Whether you have access to an ocean, a lake, or a pool, water exercise is easy on your joints and bones while still excellent for muscle tone and aerobic conditioning. Water offers a whole different kind of resistance to a body that's accustomed to moving on land. While impact is pretty much nonexistent with water exercise, every move takes a lot more energy, and consequently burns a lot more calories. Even at a leisurely pace, you use twice as many calories swimming as you do walking.

  1. Woman SwimmingSwimming. Swimming is fun and a great workout. At ocean or lake beaches with swim buoys, try swimming out to the buoy line, then following it parallel to the beach. Alternate your pace, switching from fast to slow every other buoy. After you've swum far enough, swim back in and jog back up the beach to your towel. It's also really fun to pick a challenging distance swim and do it with a group of friends. When I was a kid, we used to swim from my grandparents' pier to an island about a quarter of a mile away. All of us, from Grandma to little kids, would take our time swimming across, then rest on the island before swimming back. You can do this at an ocean beach by swimming out to a distant buoy, around a pier, or any other point that's a workable distance away. For safety, I recommend having a friend paddle along with you on a kayak or paddleboard, both to be there if anyone poops out, and also to make your presence more obvious to boat traffic.
  2. Bodysurfing. I do a lot of ocean sports, including surfing, but bodysurfing brings me closer to my amphibious ideal than any other activity. Bodysurfing is also great because it's got a low learning curve but never ceases to be fun. There's always some new or challenging variation to enjoy. Choose a stretch of beach with waves that break cleanly, and without any big rocks or other hazards. You'll want a good pair of bodysurfing fins (most snorkeling fins are too big and tend to come off) to give you the acceleration and power to get into the waves. If you've never done it before, here are the basics:

    • Swim out to the peak—the area where the waves stand up and break.
    • Tread water to get a good view of what's coming and choose a wave that's about to break, not one that already has.
    • As it begins to roll under you, put your head down, kick like crazy and do a few crawl strokes with your arms. You'll feel your body begin to accelerate until suddenly you're flying through the water.
    • At this point, you can use your palms as a planing surface and get your head up to see where you're going. The wave will either poop out or spit you out.
    • Repeat until you've had enough fun.
  3. Water PoloBackyard water polo. Next time you're at a pool party, organize a casual game of backyard water polo between friends. If you don't have an actual water polo ball, and most of us don't, a kids' rubber foursquare ball is the next best thing, or a slightly deflated volleyball. Set up goals at both ends of the pool, using patio chairs or a couple of empty coolers tipped sideways. The rules of real water polo are overly complicated, but for our purposes just think soccer in the water. You're not allowed to stand on the bottom, and once you pick up the ball with a hand you have to either pass or shoot. Between treading water and sprinting up and down the pool, your muscles and aerobic capacity will get worked much harder than just swimming a few laps. Play to 20 and switch ends when the first team gets to 10.

Sandy Land

Let's go back to the beach and look at another unfamiliar environment that offers a great workout opportunity: deep, soft sand. Whether you run, walk, or play soccer, doing any athletic activity in deep sand enormously increases your level of exertion. If you normally run 4 miles on hard ground, 2 miles of soft sand will have you panting. At my local beach in California, I work out by doing an alternating interval jog/sprint at each lifeguard tower. On this beach, they're spaced about every 200 yards. Each soft sand sprint gets my heart rate and breathing way up. The next 200-yard easy segment cools me off a bit, and my heart rate slows back down. My usual course is about a 2-mile round trip.

  1. Beach VolleyballBeach volleyball. Professional beach volleyball players all seem to be ripped, tan, and about 7 feet tall. Now I can't help you with the tall part, but play beach volleyball regularly and the ripped and tan part comes with the territory. The key here is constant dynamic motion, which builds balance and core strength, combined with vertical jumps and leaps that give your legs and glutes explosive strength. If you don't have a net handy, just volley with a friend for 15 or 20 minutes, trying to keep the ball in the air as long as possible while constantly increasing the distance between the two of you. When the ball falls, step closer together and start over again.
  2. Dune running. About 40 minutes from my house is a gorgeous sand dune that rises at least 250 feet in a steep incline behind the beach. Every time we're near it, my 5-year-old daughter insists we stop and do a little dune running. She sprints straight up the thing and waits for me at the top. Then she turns around and goes first, running down the dune at warp speed, taking giant leaping steps. It feels like flying, or like what running on the moon would feel like if you could wear surf trunks on the moon and survive. With the muscle and aerobic workout going up and the sheer joy of bounding down, there's just nothing better. We've also been known to somersault the whole way down, but for a few days afterward, you'd better be prepared to find sand in places you never imagined it would go. Oh, and you'll feel like you just rode the Scrambler® 10 times back to back. My daughter usually does about five circuits up and down. I'm only good for maybe three. What can I say? She's a lot tougher than me. Want to see how you stack up? There are dunes all over the world's coastlines and deserts—what are you waiting for?

Related Articles
"6 Ways to Fire Up Your Metabolism"
"4 Great Winter Sports Workouts"
"Beat the Winter 'Blahs' with Exercise"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, April 25th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

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, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

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Milkology 101

If you're adding milk to your daily dose of Shakeology, you might be aware of milk's benefits, but unaware of the added fat and calories. We'll give you the skinny on all things milk.

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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Recipe: Quinoa Salad

(from INSANITY: THE ASYLUM)
Quinoa Salad

Here's one of Shaun T's favorites from his brand-new workout program, INSANITY: THE ASYLUM. Healthy and filling, this salad can help get you through your most extreme workouts. Did you know that quinoa contains all the amino acids needed to make a complete protein? It's pretty rare to see that kind of nutrient profile in a single plant-based food.

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water or broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 1/4 cup sliced cucumber
  • 1 Tbsp. diced onion
  • 1 tsp. grated raw ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. julienned mint
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped pistachio nuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped romaine lettuce

Combine quinoa, water or broth, salt, and turmeric in a medium saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat until about half the liquid is absorbed and quinoa begins to soften, about 15 minutes. Strain quinoa in a mesh strainer, then place in a bowl. Squeeze lemon and lime over quinoa and place in refrigerator to cool. When cool, toss with remaining ingredients. Makes 1 serving.

Preparation Time: 40 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving, prepared with water)
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
383 14 grams 7 grams 64 grams 9 grams 1 gram

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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