Extreme Newsletter—Diet and fitness tips, recipes, and motivation

HEALTHY, BIG BREAKFASTS! Issue #072 03/15/11

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Big Breakfasts for Big Results

By Joe Wilkes

Breakfast. It seems like forever since Mom told us breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but one study shows it's actually true—she wasn't just nagging us. Breakfast is a key component of weight management: A study presented at the 90th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society showed that participants who consumed large breakfasts high in protein and carbohydrates followed by a low-carb, low-calorie diet for the rest of the day lost almost five times as much weight as the participants who followed a low-carb, high-protein diet throughout the day. So what's the big deal about breakfast? And what is a big breakfast anyway? It doesn't seem like the lumberjack special at the local diner would do much to get the pounds off, so what should we be eating?

Eggs and Toast

The study supported the idea that when we wake up in the morning, our bodies want food. You've burned through all the fuel from the previous day, and now your body's ready to burn anything—even muscle—to get a jump-start on the day. And if you skip breakfast, muscle is indeed what your body will burn. Later in the day, your brain is still in starvation mode from breakfast (or lack thereof), so your body will store all the calories you eat as adipose tissue, or fat, to save up for the next day when you try to starve it again. This study also found that levels of serotonin, the chemical responsible for controlling cravings, were much higher in the morning, which is why breakfast is the meal so many of us are willing to skip. But if our bodies are left unfed, our serotonin levels drop, and our bodies' craving for sweets begin to rise throughout the day.

But before you hit McDonald's® for their 800-calorie Big Breakfast, or worse, their 1,150-calorie Deluxe Breakfast, or you swing by Denny's® for a 740-calorie Grand Slam® or 950-calorie All-American Slam® with hash browns, keep in mind these weren't the breakfasts the study participants consumed. The big-breakfast group had a 610-calorie breakfast as part of a 1,240-calorie day. Breakfasts included milk, lean meat, cheese, whole grains, a serving of healthy fat, and one ounce of chocolate or candy to defray the craving for sweets. The other group's participants consumed 1,085 calories per day as part of a high-protein, low-carb diet; only 290 of their daily calories were consumed at breakfast. Both groups were on their respective diets for 8 months. The high-protein group lost an average of nine pounds, but the big-breakfast group lost an average of 40 pounds. And, perhaps not surprisingly, the big-breakfast group complained less about cravings and hunger.

The big-breakfast group's breakfast consisted of 58 grams of carbs, 47 grams of protein, and 22 grams of fat. Study reviewers attribute some of the success of the big-breakfast group to the fact that the protein and healthy fats eaten kept the participants full and reduced cravings. They also said that nutritional requirements were well met and that there weren't empty calories consumed, because the breakfasts included lots of whole grains, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy unsaturated fats. So bad news for the lumberjack-special devotees—a big plate of greasy hash browns, bacon, and biscuits with gravy isn't going to get the job done, unless the job we're discussing is clogging your arteries.

Here are some healthy big breakfasts, similar to the ones consumed by the study's participants.

Chicken and the Egg

Scrambled Eggs2 large eggs, scrambled
2 slices whole wheat toast
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled
1 grapefruit

Calories Carbs Protein Fat Saturated Fat Fiber
589 52 g 48 g 19 g 5.5 g 12 g

Oats 'n' Berries Breakfast

1 packet plain instant oatmeal, prepared, with 1 scoop Beachbody® Whey Protein Powder
1 cup fresh blueberries
3 oz. roasted turkey breast
1 large hard-boiled egg
1 oz. dark chocolate

Calories Carbs Protein Fat Saturated Fat Fiber
631 62 g 47 g 21 g 8 g 10 g

Two Egg Sandwiches

Egg Sandwich2 whole wheat English muffins, toasted
2 large poached eggs
2 slices low-fat Swiss cheese
2 slices Canadian bacon, grilled

Calories Carbs Protein Fat Saturated Fat Fiber
597 57 g 45 g 13 g 5 g 8 g

Vegetarian Breakfast

1 cup cottage cheese (2% milk fat)
1 cup sliced peaches, canned in juice, not syrup
1 slice whole wheat toast
1/2 avocado
2 vegetarian sausage links, cooked

Calories Carbs Protein Fat Saturated Fat Fiber
621 62.5 g 47 g 26.5 g 4.5 g 16.5 g

Pescetarian Breakfast

Tuna Sandwich1 6-oz. can light tuna, canned in water, drained
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (preferably olive oil or canola oil-based)
2 slices whole wheat toast
1 oz. dark chocolate

Calories Carbs Protein Fat Saturated Fat Fiber
592 45 g 51 g 22 g 7 g 10 g

Reference
http://www.endo-society.org/media/ENDO-08/research/New-weight-loss-diet-recommends-high-carb.cfm

Related Articles
"6 Ways to Fire Up Your Metabolism"
"Recipe Tips for the Lazy Chef"
"10 Reasons to Eat Organically—and Locally"

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, March 21st, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 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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6 Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Kitchen

By Joe Wilkes

It's almost springtime, which for a lot of us means it's time to do a deep-clean of our homes—throwing out the old, organizing the new, storing the winter clothes, and getting ready for warmer weather and a fresh start. For others, it's the beginning of another season of denial about how squalid our living conditions have become. Even more than New Year's, spring is a good time to make some new resolutions and create an environment that'll make us want to keep them. Here are some ideas for getting your kitchen into shape.

Woman Cleaning Kitchen

  1. Out with the old. I like to think of my refrigerator as a cabinet of hope. Most times, it's full of fruits and vegetables, purchased in a fit of confidence that I would steam and stir-fry my way to a slimmer me. Then I end up going out to restaurants with friends, and my Sunday produce ends up looking pretty bad by week's end. Yet, unbelievably, I leave it all in my refrigerator with the hope that it'll somehow return to a state of edibility. Similarly, expired dairy products and aging condiment bottles litter my shelves, the result of my misguided optimism that they too will come back in fashion—like my '80s wardrobe will, if I just wait long enough. I'm here to tell you, however, that there's been no grocery miracle in my refrigerator these many years. And now it's time to give the expired residents of this frosty food hinterland a proper burial.

    First thing to do: Get rid of everything that even looks old. Be merciless. If it's past the expiration date, throw it out. If it doesn't have an expiration date, throw it out. Another scourge in my fridge is the many plastic containers filled with leftovers. I don't remember exactly what meal they are left over from, but I can't recall anything that included frizzy mold as an ingredient. Much of the reason the containers languish in the back of the fridge is because I'm avoiding the horror of having to wash out the science experiment they've become. This year, I'm going to throw money at the problem, and throw out the leftovers in their containers without ever lifting the lid. Then I will treat myself to shiny, new plastic containers as a reward for my new hygienic lifestyle. Additionally, if my plastic cutting boards are beyond bleaching, it's a good annual tradition to replace them.
  2. Woman Cleaning KitchenOut with the bad. While I'm gripped in the mania of throwing away all the food that has literally turned to garbage, I'm also going to throw away the food that's metaphorically garbage too. All the unhealthy snack foods that lure me away from my healthy eating plan are going to have to go. I'm evicting the half-full bags of tortilla and potato chips from my cupboards. Ben and Jerry® are moving from the freezer to the dumpster. Any empty-calorie snacks I can steal a spoonful or handful of and pretend they don't count have to hit the road. Once I clear the cupboards and refrigerator, I can go to the store and load up on healthy staples whose temptations I won't have to resist.
  3. In with the new. Now that the refrigerator's clean and the cupboards are bare, it's time to shop. Stock up the larder with delicious, healthy foods from the first two tiers of Michi's Ladder. And make sure to get lots of easy-to-prepare snacks to keep within easy reach when hunger pangs hit. Great snacks include cottage cheese, nonfat yogurt, hummus, salsa, and raisins. Instant oatmeal, whole-grain cereals, and egg whites are good to have on hand for breakfast. And foods like brown rice, dried beans, canned broths, water-packed tuna, and frozen fruits and vegetables are good staples to always keep in supply for mealtime. Of course, you should also try eating plenty of fresh produce, seafood, and lean meats. Just don't be like me and go crazy at the Sunday farmers' market only to have to throw food away at the end of the week. Buy enough perishable items to last a couple of days, then make short trips to the supermarket or farmers' market during the week. Your food will taste better and fresher, and you won't have a CSI episode in the crisper drawer at the end of the week.
  4. Lemon JuiceWhen life gives you lemons . . . I know I've talked a lot about throwing all your produce away. But some of it can do a little cleaning work for you before it hits the compost bin. Lemons are very acidic, and their juice is naturally antibacterial and antiseptic. You can use lemon juice to bleach countertop stains and shine up metal. And it makes your kitchen smell lemony fresh to boot! Instead of throwing those lemons in the trash, throw one or two in the garbage disposal and grind away. It'll help get rid of food dried on to the blades while filling your kitchen with the smell of lemons. (If the lemons are really old and the rinds have turned hard and leathery, don't try this. The disposal blades might not be able to chop them, and they'll just rattle around in your disposal forever. Trust me, I know.) Another great tip a friend gave me is to cut a bunch of lemons in half and put them in a big microwave-safe bowl filled with water. Then microwave the bowl of lemons on high for a few minutes, until the water steams. Keep the microwave closed. The lemon-juice-infused steam will permeate all the stuff cooked onto the microwave walls from various exploding culinary attempts. The crud will wipe off easily and your microwave will smell great. Best of all, no toxic cleaners will accidentally find their way into your meals!
  5. Vinegar—not just for salad. While you're cleaning and staying nontoxic, try using the Michi's Ladder top-tier favorite vinegar to spruce up your kitchen. Diluted with water, white vinegar can be used to clean windows, wash floors, and wipe countertops. It cuts grease and removes stains from cookware, and if you run a pot full of the vinegar and water solution through your coffeemaker, you'll be amazed at the kind of hard-water deposits it removes. It's also good for removing hard-water stains on your glassware. It even cuts soap scum and kills mildew, so you might give good, old-fashioned, cheap white vinegar a try before investing in expensive cleaners that can introduce toxins into your kitchen.
  6. Baking SodaBaking soda—not just for baking. Here's a fun fact. Did you know that baking soda mixed with grease makes soap? It's true. It's a great, cheap, nontoxic way to wipe off your stovetop and the surrounding areas that have been spattered by a season's worth of stir-frys. An open box can absorb odors in the refrigerator, and a little sprinkled in your garbage can will do likewise. If you have a grease fire, you can put it out with baking soda. If you have pots with burned-on food, let them soak in baking soda and water overnight. Also, if you have plastic storage containers that are a bit stinky from their previous occupants, try soaking them overnight in baking soda and water. You can make a baking soda paste with water and polish your silver. It's a miracle product—nontoxic and cheap!

Related Articles
"4 Down and Dirty One-Pot Meals"
"5 Tips for Getting More Whole Fruit in Your Diet"
"12 Ways to (Painlessly) Go Green in 1 Year"

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, March 21st, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 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.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

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Recession-Proof Ingredients

In today's uncertain economic times, everyone's looking for ways to save money while staying healthy. What's one of the best ways? Stock your kitchen with recession-proof ingredients that are both healthy and easy on your wallet. Click below to learn more.

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Recipe: Mexi-Cal Breakfast Tacos

Mexi-Cal Breakfast TacosIt may say "breakfast" in the name, but these tasty tacos are great for lunch or dinner too! Tofu and fresh vegetables mingle with savory Mexican spices for a treat that's delectable no matter what time of day you decide to enjoy them.

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbsp. crushed garlic
  • 4 stalks green onion, ends trimmed and diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms (may substitute marinated cactus)
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper (may substitute chopped spinach)
  • 1 14-oz. package firm tofu, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted Mexican spices (one or all of the following: cumin, chili powder, chipotle seasoning, habañero seasoning, cayenne pepper)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 small avocado, cut in 1/2-inch slices

Place olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion, garlic, and green onions and sauté until onion is clear and caramelized. Add mushrooms and pepper and sauté until tender. Stir in crumbled tofu, cilantro, sesame seeds, Mexican spices, salt, and pepper and continue to sauté until tofu is lightly browned. Add lime juice, mix well, and reduce heat to a simmer. Gently heat corn tortillas either in microwave (about 30 seconds), or in pan on stovetop (1 or 2 minutes). Garnish four plates with diced tomato and sliced avocado; place two tortillas on each plate. Remove tofu mixture from heat, divide evenly among tortillas, and fold over to make tacos. Serve with salsa or hot sauce, and enjoy! Serves 4.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
302 12 g 8 g 34 g 16 g 2 g

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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