#327 Just Desserts

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Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who
waved off the dessert cart.

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5 Quick, Easy, and Healthy Desserts

By Cecilia H. Lee

As the days get longer, kids are back in school and autumn leaves start to show their colorful foliage. The last rays of summer are leaving us, but there's still time to take advantage of healthy summer fruits before they leave the produce shelves. We've assembled a bunch of quick and easy desserts using these summer fruits that you can whip up in no time. While they'll satisfy your sweet tooth, these desserts are actually good for you!

Girl Playing with Leaves and Kids Boarding a School Bus

  1. MelonMelon salad. Gone are the days of melon ballers and fruit drowned in whipped cream and (shudder) mayonnaise. Just get a couple of your favorite melons, such as honeydew, cantaloupe, or watermelon, and slice them up. Arrange them artfully on a serving platter, drizzle them with a bit of honey, and toss some chopped fresh mint leaves on top. Voilà! Not only do you have a beautiful presentation, but you have a healthy choice, too.

    Since melons have a high water content, they are low in calories and can be eaten as much as you like. They are also a good source of vitamin C and beta-carotene. They may also help lower your risk for developing cancer and heart disease.

  2. PeachesGrilled stone fruit. Fruit on the grill? That may sound like a bad idea, but stone fruits (like peaches, plums, apricots, and nectarines) are wonderful on the grill. Just cut each of the fruits in half, remove the pits, and skewer them with thick wooden skewers (it's best if you soak the skewers in water for a bit beforehand to prevent them from burning). Spray a grill rack with nonstick spray, and preheat the grill (to about medium-high heat). Just put the fruit on the grill (cut-side down) and grill until the fruit gets heated (about 5 minutes). Serve nice and hot off the grill, skewers or not.

    Generally, stone fruits are rich in iron and potassium. Peaches are low in calories and high in vitamin C. Plums have a high vitamin E content and are wonderful antioxidants. Apricots are rich in beta-carotene and help regulate blood pressure. Stone fruits also serve as gentle laxatives and help regulate your bowels.

  3. BananaChocolate-covered bananas. You can make a delicious and easy version of chocolate-covered bananas at home. Just take a handful of semisweet chocolate chips (the higher the cocoa content, the healthier) and melt them in a microwave. In the meantime, get a plate or shallow bowl and slice bananas into it. Drizzle the chocolate over the bananas, and sprinkle them with some toasted almonds, if you like.

    Bananas are a good way of getting potassium and vitamin B6. Chocolate has antioxidant effects and may help keep your blood pressure down. Almonds can help lower cholesterol levels and are high in protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin E. They actually serve as an appetite suppressant, so even just eating a handful of them makes for a healthy snack.

  4. Strawberries and BlueberriesMixed-berry frozen treats. Get some of your favorite nonfat sorbet (raspberry and lemon are delicious options). Top it with a mix of berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and/or sliced strawberries.

    Strawberries are low in calories, are a good source of vitamin C, and help raise antioxidant levels in your system. Blackberries are an excellent way for you to get vitamin E into your diet. They help fight off infections and contain vitamin C, folate, and phenolic acids. Rich in vitamin C, iron, potassium, and folate, raspberries also have wonderful antioxidant properties. Blueberries, of course, have some of the highest antioxidant properties of any fruit. They also have wonderful anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiaging properties.

  5. Raspberry YogurtYogurt and fruit. All you need is some nonfat yogurt and a variety of fruit to make this flavorful dessert (which you can enjoy any time of day!). Layer some unsweetened yogurt in a cup (sprinkle a bit of raw sugar or honey if you want it a little sweeter) and then add some cut fruit that you like. Good candidates are pineapples, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or bananas. Add another layer of yogurt and more fruit. If you want to go wild, sprinkle a bit of granola on top.

    We've already covered the benefits of fruit, but yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, protein, vitamin B12, and riboflavin. It's better for you than a glass of milk. We suggest nonfat yogurt because there's no need for the extra fat. For those of us who are lactose intolerant, yogurt cultures produce lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose.

These are just a few of the plethora of healthy options you have to satisfy your sweet tooth. You can come up with so many more; just visit your local farmers' market for ideas of your own. But get there soon—the last of the summer fruits may be leaving. However, there are so many wonderful fall vegetables to choose from, too. Happy hunting!

Pumpkin CookiesLow-fat pumpkin cookies

And since fall is coming, think about making cookies with some of the seasonal ingredients coming around the bend, like this recipe from the Team Beachbody™ recipe archive for low-fat pumpkin cookies:

1/2 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. ginger
1 cup rolled oats
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup raisins or dates
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, blend together first five ingredients. Mix in spices, oats, and baking powder; then fold in flour, raisins or dates, and nuts. Drop cookie dough by tablespoons onto a nonstick cookie sheet, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Yields 2-1/2 dozen cookies.

Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-12 minutes

Nutritional Information: (per serving)
Calories: 67    Protein: 2 g      Fiber: 1 g
Carbs: 12 g    Fat Total: 2 g    Saturated Fat: < 0.5 g

Related Articles
"5 Tips for Getting More Whole Fruit in Your Diet"
"9 Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids"
"15 Easy Food Substitutions for Big-Time Calorie Savings"

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this Thursday, October 9th, at 7:00 PM ET, 4:00 PM PT in the Beachbody Chatroom!

Cecilia H. LeeIf 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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P90X® Results and Recovery Formula: Not Just for After Exercise

By Aaron Lowe

Let's talk about everyone's favorite topic: P90X. Well, maybe, everyone's second favorite topic: P90X Results and Recovery Formula. Before we dive into the meat of this article, let's clear up one major misconception about our P90X line of nutritional products: you don't have to be following our P90X training program to enjoy all the benefits they provide. For example, P90X Results and Recovery Formula can be used by anyone following a workout program, especially any of our programs; by individuals with physically demanding jobs; and even as a replacement for sports drinks. Sure, if you "Bring It," these products will support the P90X system of intense training. But, for those who simply want to maximize their results from their weight loss and fitness program, don't overlook what these products can do for you.

Tony Horton, P90X® Results and Recovery Formula, and Debbie Siebers

One of the main misconceptions about P90X Results and Recovery Formula is that "it contains too many carbohydrates" or "too much sugar." In our carb- and calorie-conscious culture, it's understandable to be concerned about carbs and sugar; however, there are many myths out there that we need to clear up so you can make an informed decision.

The confusion on carbohydrates

BreadCarbohydrates are absolutely essential for you to function. They are classified as a "macronutrient," as are protein and fats. The problem is that "carbs" have been vilified over the last few years, and the no-/low-carb diet trend is still fairly popular. The fact of the matter is we do need carbohydrates in our diets for energy, especially for the brain and central nervous system to function. In fact, I've always made it a challenge to find a competitive, world-class endurance athlete who does not ingest a tremendous amount of carbohydrates every single day to get through his or her training and competition. To date, I've yet to hear of an athlete who eschews carbohydrates as a mainstay in his or her diet.

Where the problem lies is in the total amount and the type of carbs we eat every day. We tend to overeat way too many processed carbohydrates: white-flour-based foods and products sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Excess consumption of these types of carbs is a double-edged sword—they are sources of empty calories and they tend to cause an insulin response that removes excess sugar from the blood but tends to store it as fat rather than using it for energy. The hormonal feedback mechanism also causes one to crave carbohydrates after the insulin release, so you repeat the process over and over. For many of us, this roller coaster of excess blood sugar, and the corresponding insulin response, is a constant occurrence during our waking hours.

What this all adds up to is that this excess sugar that's removed from the blood isn't used for energy; it's either stored as glycogen for later use as blood sugar (unlikely, since most of us hardly ever tap into our glycogen stores, so they don't need refilling), or, more than likely, it's stored as fat.

The problem with most sports drinks

Sports DrinksThe sports beverage industry is a multibillion-dollar business, and there is no end in sight for sales slowing down. Where most sports beverages miss the boat is in their ability to provide all the nutrients needed during exercise. What science has learned over the last 10 years is that sports drinks are more effective if they include some protein along with water and carbohydrates. The currently accepted ratio is four parts carbohydrates to one part protein. The protein and carbohydrates combination allows one to exercise at a higher level for a longer time. Unfortunately, most sports drinks on the market still adhere to a carbohydrate-only approach to energy replacement.

Fitting in P90X Results and Recovery

Now that we understand the facts about the importance of carbohydrates and which ones to avoid, we can see how we can incorporate P90X Results and Recovery Formula into our fitness and healthy lifestyle. Rule number one is that this product has to be counted in as part of your overall nutrition program. If you are following a diet that limits your daily calories (and we all should be), then the calories in P90X Results and Recovery Formula have to be factored into your total daily intake. If you are on a 1,200-calorie-per-day nutrition program, then 1,000 calories should come from your meals and 200 calories from P90X Results and Recovery Formula.

Lifting WeightsSecondly, the amount of carbohydrates (CHO) in the product is there for several reasons. Activity requires energy, and energy for your body primarily comes in the form of CHO. Carbohydrates convert to blood sugar, which is the fuel for hungry muscles. As you exercise, your body will use its circulating blood sugar and tap into its glycogen stores. This is all for providing energy to your muscles. The longer the duration of exercise, the more you tap into your storage facilities and the more CHO you burn.

Remember the insulin response we discussed earlier? One little known secret is that this response is greatly minimized during exercise. That means that your body is pretty smart—it understands that it wouldn't be smart to remove energy-providing blood sugar while exerting high amounts of energy, so it allows the extra blood sugar to remain in circulation so it can be burned as energy.

P90X Results and Recovery Formula is an excellent fluid-replacement and energy drink to use before and while you work out. If you mix a serving and start using it before your workout, you will ensure that your muscles have optimal amounts of CHO to get you through a grueling workout session AND that you get a jump start on recovery. What's even more cool about the product is that it has the 4-to-1 ratio of carbs to protein that scientists agree is optimal for energy replacement. (Hint, if your workout is short, mix it half-strength.)

SugarFinally, when you cease exercising, your body immediately begins its recovery phase and wants to replenish those nutrients used during exercise. First, it wants to replenish used CHO to keep its storage mechanisms topped off. Second, it wants to repair cellular damage—via amino acids. We've formulated P90X Results and Recovery Formula with 39 grams of CHO and 10 grams of protein specifically for this purpose. It also contains a combination of antioxidants, like vitamins E and C, to support repair of the oxidative damage done during exercise.

Yeah, I know this article sounded like a blatant advertisement for P90X Results and Recovery Formula, but its benefits are so great that I wanted to share them with all of you. Instead of reaching for one of those "'ade" drinks the next time you are working out, reach for P90X Results and Recovery Formula and give your body what it really needs!

Related Articles
"Energy Drinks: Do They Really Give You Wings?"
"Sugar vs. Fat: Which Is Worse?"
"Ode to Recovery Formula"

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this Thursday, October 9th, at 7:00 PM ET, 4:00 PM PT in the Beachbody Chatroom! Aaron Lowe

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 Death by Dessert IQ!

By Joe Wilkes

We all like to splurge on a decadent dessert every now and again. But do you know how decadent you're actually being? See if you can guess how many calories are in these restaurant favorites and rank them from lowest to highest.

  1. TiramisuTiramisu, Au Bon Pain (one slice) - 310 calories. This Italian favorite was the best choice. It also has 15 grams of fat (8 saturated), 39 carbohydrate grams, and 7 protein grams.

  2. Apple Pie, Denny's (one slice) - 470 calories. It's as American as the obesity crisis! It also has 24 grams of fat (6 saturated), 64 grams of carbs, and 6 protein grams. Not bad, but once you add that scoop of vanilla ice cream, you're moving into the danger zone.

  3. CheesecakeOriginal Cheesecake, The Cheesecake Factory (one slice) - 500 calories. Its calorie count is up there, but check out the fat content: 36 grams (16 saturated). You won't be posing for any cheesecake photos if you top off your meal with this. It also gives you 42 carb grams and 9 grams of protein.

  4. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blizzard, Dairy Queen (large) - 1,320 calories. Now we're talking some serious diet damage. With 52 grams of fat (26 saturated), 193 grams of carbs, and 21 grams of protein, you've pretty much wrecked your diet—especially if you're using the shake to wash down your burger and fries.

  5. Chocolate Mother Lode CakeChocolate Mother Lode Cake, Claim Jumper (1 slice) - 3,120 calories. This truly is the mother of all loads. This six-layer masterpiece of artery-clogging mayhem weighs almost 3 pounds, and also has 162 grams of fat (almost 3 days' worth), 42 grams of which are saturated and 18 grams of which are trans. It also has 438 grams of carbs and 48 grams of protein. If you're seriously considering "death by chocolate," this is a good place to start.

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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