- Beachbody® Restaurant Rescue: Japanese Edition
- Stuff Your Stockings with the Hottest Beachbody Products!
- Going Gaga for Yoga!
- Your Guide to Beachbody Yoga Workouts
- Test Your History of Self-Beautification through Body Alteration IQ!
In Mexico, we have a word for sushi: bait.
Beachbody® Restaurant Rescue: Japanese EditionBy Stephanie Saunders
Eating out is ingrained into the American lifestyle. According to Kiplinger's Magazine, the average American eats out 4.2 times a week. While that 0.2 meal might not have much impact, we all know what those other four meals can do to our waistlines and bank accounts, yet it's doubtful we'll alter this behavior in the near future, so how do we continue to enjoy a little fine dining without negating all of that fitness work? Maybe Beachbody can help. Over the next few weeks, we'll take a look at a few of the more popular cuisines around and figure out how to navigate through their menus. This week: Japanese food.
If we consumed Japanese food the way they do in Japan, with the focus on fish, lean meat, vegetables, and rice, we might actually decrease the number of cases of heart disease, colon cancer, and obesity that plague our country. Unfortunately, we've put a big American spin on this international cuisine. So how can we make it healthy again? Let's walk through the options from the beginning of the meal to the last bite.
The most common appetizer offered in a Japanese restaurant is edamame, or steamed soybeans, salted and left in the pod. Edamame is high in protein, low in calories, and very tasty. (Ten pods contain 29 calories, 1.4 grams of fat, 2.2 grams of carbs, 2.6 grams of protein, and 3 milligrams of sodium—before the chef salts them.)
Another common choice is yakatori, skewers of grilled, lean meat and vegetables. Again, they're high in protein, and in most cases, low in fat. Oftentimes, these tasty morsels are heavily salted, so if you're watching your sodium intake, beware. (One chicken skewer contains approximately 158 calories, 1 gram of fat, 11.6 grams of carbs, 20 grams of protein, and 1278 grams of sodium.)
A less nutritionally dense choice is the fried tofu pouch. The title alone should be an indication that these sweet little balls of tofu and rice, deep-fried twice, are not your wisest choice. You'll get most of your calories from fat, and there is not enough tofu to justify that. (One tofu pouch contains 80 calories, 6 grams of fat, 5.5 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of protein, and 10 milligrams of sodium.)
Miso soup is a favorite at most Japanese restaurants. It is a light broth created from a miso (soy) paste, often containing scallions and tofu. Many studies have shown that beginning a meal with a broth soup can help you consume less calories during the rest of the meal, so it's not a bad choice. (A cup of miso soup contains approximately 75 calories, 2 grams of fat, 9 grams of carbs, 4 grams of protein, and 721 grams of sodium.)
Another popular soup choice is Udon noodle soup, which can be a meal in itself. A light broth contains noodles, tofu, vegetables, and shiitake mushrooms; it's fairly healthy and extremely filling. (A 5.3-oz. serving of Udon noodle soup contains about 220 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs, 7 grams of protein, and 660 grams of sodium.)
Salads are offered at most Japanese restaurants, but they're often overlooked for the main course. And this would be one of the few times that skipping a salad would be an extremely wise idea. Ginger dressing—although sweet, tangy, and very yummy—isn't exactly the dream diet. Depending on the manufacturer, it can have up to 12 grams of fat in 2 tablespoons. If you can't live without a little iceberg lettuce, ask for the dressing on the side. (Two tablespoons of ginger dressing contain 200 calories, 12 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbs, 1 gram of protein, and 440 grams of sodium.)
A much-healthier, nutrient-rich, and adventuresome choice is seaweed salad. For those who have yet to try this delicacy, it consists of chopped seaweed, ginger, garlic, cilantro, soy sauce, rice vinegar, scallions, and sesame oil. Seaweed is a powerhouse of multivitamins, which makes this low-cal salad worth a try. (Two ounces of seaweed salad contain approximately 70 calories, 4 grams of fat, 10 grams of carbs, 7 grams of protein, and 660 grams of sodium.)
Sushi is often thought of as simply raw fish. The term sushi, in Japan, actually refers to the rice, which is white, with rice vinegar and a bit of sugar mixed in. What we think of as sushi is nigiri (fish draped over balls of rice), maki (fish wrapped in seaweed and rice, cut into pieces), temaki (fish and rice wrapped up in a seaweed cone), and sashimi (raw fish served without rice). Let's start with the least dangerous of options, and then move to the sushi pitfalls.
Sashimi and nigiri are very similar; the difference being that nigiri has a small tuft of rice beneath it, adding about 24 calories and 5.5 grams of carbs to the option. The following nutritional breakdown is before rice balls and soy sauce are added, so take that into consideration. Here are a few of the most popular choices in the U.S., in 1-oz. increments:
- Salmon: 40 calories, 2 grams of fat, no carbs, 6 grams of protein
- Albacore: 49 calories, 2 grams of fat, no carbs, 7 grams of protein
- Bluefin tuna: 40 calories, 1 gram of fat, no carbs, 7 grams of protein
- King crab: 27 calories, no fat or carbs, 5 grams of protein
- Yellowtail: 31 calories, no fat or carbs, 7 grams of protein
Maki and temaki are the same, except one (maki) is cut into smaller pieces. This is where sushi can get tricky. A lot of extra ingredients can obviously add calories and fat, and make your healthy dining experience akin to a trip to a burger joint. Sauces are often mixed into the roll. This may add flavor, but it's not worth the price. Also, anything called "spicy" or "crunchy" usually means mayonnaise, cream cheese, and tempura batter—not what you would consider heart healthy alternatives. The following are a few roll options, in one-roll (6-piece) increments, from the healthiest to the least healthy. Remember that every sushi chef can add his or her own pizzazz to the dish, so these are approximate breakdowns:
- Avocado roll: 140 calories, 5.5 grams of fat, 28 grams of carbs, 2 grams of protein
- Tuna roll: 184 calories, 2 grams of fat, 27 grams of carbs, 24 grams of protein
- California roll: 255 calories, 7 grams of fat, 38 grams of carbs, 9 grams of protein
- Spicy tuna roll: 290 calories, 11 grams of fat, 26 grams of carbs, 24 grams of protein
- Rainbow roll: 476 calories, 16 grams of fat, 50 grams of carbs, 33 grams of protein
- Shrimp tempura roll: 508 calories, 21 grams of fat, 64 grams of carbs, 20 grams of protein
Teppanyaki was popular a couple of decades ago, with restaurants like Benihana® and Kabuki popping up all over the place. Skilled chefs cooked vegetables and meats on very hot surfaces in front of you, doing crazy knife tricks in the process. In Japan, they often make you cook your own meal on a small hot grill at your table. Luckily, they don't give you giant knives to work with, so the danger is lessened. As meat, vegetables, and even rice preparation would vary per location, it would be difficult to break this down calorically. Just remember to lean towards veggies, seafood, and chicken; ask the chefs to go very light on the oil; season with light soy sauce; and avoid the fried rice.
What happens when you take a perfectly innocent zucchini and fry it in oil? Well, besides losing a good portion of its nutrients, it becomes bad for you. Five small pieces of tempura can have up to 400 calories and 10 grams of fat. Yes, I get that tempura is extremely tasty, as are all things saturated in oil. Unfortunately, they also make your fitness goals that much harder to attain. Just say no to the tempura.
Sake and sushi seem to be like peanut butter and jelly for many people; and as they do complement one another, it makes perfect sense. The 16-percent alcohol content in sake makes it a very potent rice wine, so you don't need to consume a lot of it to feel the effect. There's also Japanese beer, which is similar in content to its European counterpart. Again, watching your intake can keep your calorie count down, so, perhaps, you can have one more piece of sushi. Some alcohol choices include:
- Sake, 1 oz.: 39 calories, no fat, 1.5 grams of carbs, 0.1 gram of protein
- Asahi® beer, 12 oz.: 146 calories, no fat, 12.6 grams of carbs, 1.6 grams of protein
- Sapporo® beer, 12 oz.: 140 calories, no fat, 10.3 grams of carbs, 1.4 grams of protein
In Japan, the variety of meal choices is endless. The Japanese tend to save restaurant dining and things like sushi and teppanyaki for very special occasions. Meals for the traditional Japanese tend to be miso soup, rice, pickled vegetables, and a piece of fish—at least until McDonald's® and KFC® invaded the lovely island. Japan still has the third highest life expectancy in the world, but as Western culture continues to impart its fried, fatty food eating habits, the youth of Japan seem to be facing a different kind of health in the future. If you lean toward simplicity with your Japanese meals, you will gain all of the added health benefits, and keep your waistline in check. Suki desu ka?
Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, December 7th, 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 email@example.com.
Going Gaga for Yoga!By Denis Faye
"Basketball is an endurance sport, and you have to learn to control your breath; that's the essence of yoga, too. So, I consciously began using yoga techniques in my practice and playing. I think yoga helped reduce the number and severity of injuries I suffered. As preventative medicine, it's unequaled." —Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
"Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape." —Author Unknown
Face it, nonbelievers; you're losing the war against yoga. Once the province of hippies and Beverly Hills housewives, the practice has now become a go-to activity for increased athletic performance, stress relief, physical therapy, and just plain feeling good. Yoga studios continue to pop up around the country, which isn't surprising given the practice has made it into the American College of Sports Medicine's top 20 worldwide fitness trends list for 4 years running.
True, there are still forms of yoga validating that old cliché that it'll bend you into a pretzel and send the uninitiated to the ER, but that's just a small segment of what's available. Today's practitioner can choose from dozens of forms for every need and skill level.
So let's take a look at the different forms of yoga and figure out which one—or ones—will work for you because, as Tony Horton puts it, "If more and more people are involved in yoga, then more and more people are being helped. It doesn't matter what kind it is."
Yoga originated in India, approximately 5,000 years ago. And just so we can get it out of the way, yes, it's associated with Hinduism and Buddhism, and, yes, it can have a strong spiritual aspect. That said, as yoga becomes Westernized, many of the resulting forms heavily downplay that component. You're just not going to reach divine enlightenment sweating through a Bikram yoga class or session of ChaLEAN Extreme Dynamic Flow Yoga.
And in the event that you are looking for a little spirituality, it's important to remember there's a difference between "spirituality" and "religion." As the yogi Swami Chidananda Saraswati explained, yoga has transcended Hinduism to become a science that works with any religious dogma. "Yoga comes as life-giving waters, the living waters to revive that withering, languishing inner spiritual core," he explains. "It can make religion alive for anyone, be he a Christian or a Muslim, and it gives back to you the life within your religion."
Or you can remove the religious aspect entirely and just use it to help with your own self-awareness. "Even if it's really athletic, it's a mindful type of exercise so I think you still get the spiritual benefit," explains Yoga Booty Ballet® cocreator Teigh McDonough, whose workouts, including Yoga Core, feature a strong mind-body-spirit connection. "I think that's a big reason why it's popular. It benefits you more than just exercise."
That said, spirituality isn't the primary reason many of us do yoga. Some Western practitioners prefer to think of it simply as a series of asanas, or positions, that bring with them a wide assortment of physical fitness benefits. Yoga increases flexibility and balance. It also increases stamina given, to hold some of the more stressful poses, you need to learn how to breathe through the stress. It also strengthens muscles. Some forms will help the crowd pleasers like biceps and abs, but all forms work your stabilizer muscles, the ones that keep your joints safe and allow you to push your other workouts harder.
Another nice thing about yoga is that it's not about perfect form; it's about the journey to perfect form. Many sports and activities require you get things just right to reap the most benefit from them. If you don't know how to shoot a basketball, you won't make a basket. If you don't know how to dead lift, you'll throw out your back. With yoga, the fact that your heels can't touch the ground during downward-facing dog is irrelevant; you're already getting the benefit just by trying.
Most forms of yoga that Westerners are familiar with derive from Hatha yoga, which was developed in India in the 15th century. Essentially, it's a series of asanas combined with pranayama, the specialized form of breathing that brings a good yoga session together. "Hatha yoga is a practice in which you're giving your mind and body an opportunity to work synergistically," says Tony, who includes yoga workouts in P90X as well as his One on One with Tony Horton series. "It gives flexibility, strength, and balance—all through the physically difficult asanas."
From there, the form can go several different directions. Here are a few examples.
Anusara yoga. Founded by John Friend in 1997, Anusara yoga is one of the bases for Yoga Booty Ballet. It challenges physically while allowing for positive self-reflection, or "flowing with Grace" as they call it. "Anusara's alignment system is just so sophisticated," says Yoga Booty Ballet cocreator Gillian Marloth Clark. "I love it because it's so biomechanically advanced, and it interweaves the spiritual practice. But that's just an undercurrent; it's not right out in front of you. So if you're solely searching for a physical workout, it's got the whole thing covered."
Gillian adds that it's also a great workout for rehab. "It's got strength and flexibility," she says, "but the biomechanics and the alignment really do rehabilitate injury and prevent injury, which is so important."
Iyengar yoga. If you're looking for rehabilitative work, Iyengar is excellent as well. Developed by B.K.S. Iyengar in India, it's a very prop-heavy practice, requiring an array of belts, blocks, blankets, and pillows. The point of Iyengar is to bring the body into alignment—the idea being that this will speed recovery of injuries and address chronic pain.
Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. A vinyasa is a dynamic flowing posture that connects asanas. It literally means "breathing synchronized movement." These movements figure prominently through the practice, making this a more physically demanding form. Although Ashtanga features sets of specific sequences, the vinyasa technique is used in a looser form known as flow yoga, which ChaLEAN Extreme creator Chalene Johnson uses in her yoga-based workouts.
Kundalini yoga. This is one of the most spiritual forms, as well as another basis for Yoga Booty Ballet. Kundalini yoga focuses on tapping energy, or prana, from the base of the spine. While it includes asanas, chanting and meditation also play a big role. But before you hit the hippie alert alarm, keep in mind that getting into this space can empty your brain of the day's issues so you can focus on exercise. "I choose it because it's a great way to give into a meditative state at the beginning of a workout," says YBB's Teigh McDonough. "It helps people to warm up physically, mentally, and spiritually—and very quickly, too. It helps people get out of their busy minds."
Power yoga. On the other end of the scale, there's what Tony Horton describes as "the gym class of yoga." Derived from Ashtanga yoga, the spirituality is downplayed in power yoga. Instead, focus is put on the physical aspect and really pushing those postures hard. "It's more of a workout and less of a mind-body-spirit thing," says Tony. "I find nothing wrong with power yoga if that's going to get you off the couch, but there are plenty of other kinds of exercises that are going to do that. So why not take the opportunity to do something that is the antithesis of what you're doing?"
Bikram yoga. Another "extreme" practice, Bikram yoga is also known as hot yoga. Classes take place in a 105-degree, 40-percent humidity room. The idea behind this blistering heat is that it deepens stretching and relieves injuries, stress, and tension. "The system is great," says Gillian. "It's an excellent workout, if taught properly. It's a great physical workout, and it's an excellent way to get long and flexible."
Unfortunately, the unique environment means that you can only really do it at a Bikram yoga studio, and only after plunking down $20.00.
Forrest yoga. A physically challenging practice founded by Ana Forrest, Forrest yoga incorporates Native American elements and often focuses on everyone's favorite muscle group, the abs. This vinyasa-heavy practice is intended to promote emotional healing and the release of toxins.
You probably noticed how much the various practices overlap. As Tony notes, "Different types of yoga have converged, just like with rock and roll." And to further complicate things, teaching style heavily influences a practice. For example, a Hatha yoga class can be a gentle opportunity to learn the various asanas, or, as is the case with P90X's Yoga X, a first-class, spine-twisting challenge. So if your first session is a disaster, try a few more with different instructors before throwing in the sweat-drenched towel.
If this article has helped you make your yoga choice, fantastic, but even if you're as confused as ever, that's not such a bad thing. Now that you at least know that all these forms exist, you can get out there and figure out firsthand which one is right for you. Just as is the case with those stubborn heels during downward-facing dog, the journey to finding the right practice is half the fun.
Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, December 7th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!
Your Guide to Beachbody Yoga WorkoutsBy Denis Faye
Yoga Booty Ballet Pure & Simple Yoga - YBB's Gillian Marloth Clark leads you through a straightforward, meditative 30-minute session that's great whether you want to chill out or ramp up. The focus is on arm work, so prepare for a lot of plank.
Ideal for: Those open to the complete yoga experience, yet who want to sweat a little while they're at it.
Yoga Booty Ballet Master Series Yoga Core - Pure & Simple's more abdominal-intensive cousin features both Gillian and fellow YBB creator Teigh McDonough melding yoga with Pilates. It's also about 30 minutes.
Ideal for: The same folks who might dig Pure & Simple, except that they want a little more core work.
Yoga Booty Ballet Master Series Pajama Time - Relaxation is the emphasis of this prop-intensive program that stretches you out and winds you down for a good night's sleep. Again with the 30 minutes.
Ideal for: Those who find a little movement helps them relax in the evening.
P90X Yoga X - A big part of Tony's philosophy is breathing through difficult (read: painful) postures, so this one is intense, and, at 92 minutes, the longest yoga workout Beachbody has to offer.
Ideal for: A hardcore workout enthusiast with a little patience and looking for a challenge.
One on One with Tony Horton Fountain of Youth - This is simply Yoga X cut down to 45 minutes. Tony's style isn't as meditative and calming as the YBB girls, but this sweaty workout has its own spiritual dividends.
Ideal for: Hardcore workout enthusiasts without the aforementioned patience.
One on One with Tony Horton Patience "Hummingbird" - This straightforward Hatha yoga session with an emphasis on holding postures checks in at a smidge over 30 minutes.
Ideal for: Those looking for a Tony Horton-led recovery workout.
10-Minute Trainer® Yoga Flex - This is actually more of a stretching routine that borrows a few yoga postures to get you limber.
Ideal for: Anyone with 10 minutes to spare who needs a little stretch.
ChaLEAN Extreme Dynamic Flow Yoga - Chalene mixes yoga with Pilates for an upbeat, 40-minute session that doesn't give you much chance to hold still. When she says flow, she means flow. This one is great for your core and back.
Ideal for: Potential yoga enthusiasts who need to keep moving to feel they've gotten a workout.
Kathy Smith's Project:YOU! Type 2® Yoga Flex - Twenty minutes of classic Hatha yoga interlaced with a few standard stretches.
Ideal for: Those thoroughly intimidated by yoga who know that they need to start somewhere.
Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, December 7th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!
Test Your History of Self-Beautification through Body Alteration IQ!By Valerie Watson
Here at Beachbody, we encourage self-beautification that starts on the inside and shines through to the outside, achieved through healthy diet and exercise. Throughout history, however, the human race has made a variety of attempts at self-beautification by performing physical modifications on the body itself. Try to match the form of body alteration with the geographic location and time period where and when it first began.
- Foot-binding - China, ca. 900 A.D. From the 10th century to as recently as the early 20th century, many Chinese girls’ feet were broken, then tightly wrapped with cloth in an effort to achieve a tiny, bowed shape. The practice was most common among the upper classes, but by the 17th century, foot-binding was widespread among many women from peasants to the upper classes. Chinese women who lived in provinces where local laws prohibited the practice often chose to wear high-heeled shoes that allowed them to simulate the precarious, swaying gait produced by bound feet—as do countless micro-miniskirt-clad girls at dance clubs the world over today.
- Neck-stretching rings - Myanmar (formerly Burma), ca. 1100 A.D. Kayan women of Myanmar have a cultural tradition that involves wearing a series of brass rings that effectively elongate their necks by pushing their shoulders down and away from their heads. This form of body modification was first described for Westerners by Marco Polo sometime around the year 1300 A.D., but is said to have been a Kayan tradition for more than a thousand years. What, you may wonder, might be one of the more annoying consequences of emulating this form of body modification today? Well, for one, your head would be so much higher than your arms and shoulders, you’d be able to see stuff on upper kitchen or supermarket shelves, but you wouldn’t be able to reach it.
- Tattooing - Italian Alps, ca. 3300 B.C. The earliest known instance of the insertion of indelible ink beneath a human’s skin occurred in a mummy known as Otzi the Iceman (or Similaun Man), found in the Italian Alps in 1991. His tattoos are just simple carbon dots, but since then, tattooing as a far more complex form of artistic body modification has expanded exponentially from Eurasia throughout the world. The history of regret-based tattoo alteration and removal is less well-documented, although often far more amusing (as with Johnny Depp’s choice of changing one of his more prominent tats from “Winona Forever” to “Wino Forever”—ah, failed romance).
- Lip plates - Kamchatka, ca. 8750 B.C. Lip plates, or labrets, are discs made of clay or wood that are inserted into a hole in the upper or lower lip (or both), causing it to stretch. Although the earliest fossilized evidence of the use of lip plates was found on the Kamchatka Peninsula, the practice has been most commonly associated with African peoples, including the Sara, Lobi, Surma, and Mursi, some of whom continue to wear lip plates today. The villages of tribes who wear lip plates, like those who wear neck rings, have proven to be popular destinations for tourists, many of whom have asked, “How can they do that?” while themselves being willing to appear in public in oversized Hawaiian shirts, too-tight capri pants, front-mounted fanny packs, mullet hairstyles, and eyeglass frames from the ‘70s without perceiving the slightest degree of irony.
- Breast augmentation - Austria, ca. 1890 A.D. The first records of foreign substances being either injected or inserted into the human breast to increase its size and fullness come from Austria, where Dr. Robert Gersuny injected paraffin into women’s breast tissue, a less-than-satisfactory process that resulted in the parrafin’s hardening and shifting. Since then, both man-made substances (including glass balls, sponge rubber, plastic, polyester, and both silicone and saline implants) and human and animal bodily substances (including benign human growths and other fatty tissues, ox cartilage, ivory, and wool) have been either injected or surgically placed in the breast to augment its size. The practice has become so de rigueur in modern-day Hollywood that thumbing through any current movie magazine’s red-carpet photos is a virtual Where’s Waldo? of odd cleavage spacing and chin-grazing mounds of waaaaay-too-spherical flesh.
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