Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stay Grounded for Building Strength

Exercising on stable ground builds core stability andincreases lower- and upper-body strength. No study has found that exercising on unstable surfaces improves athletic performance or builds significant strength in major muscle groups better than training on firm ground.An Appalachian State University study led by Jeffrey McBride found stable squatting was superior to unstable squatting for overloading the lower-body muscles. The best total-body strength exercises include kettlebell swings and snatches, squats, deadlifts, standing overhead presses, and plyometrics. These exercises use heavier loads, shorter tension time, and higher speeds than exercises on unstable surfaces. Ground-base exercises have the same force, velocity, and core-stabilizing elements required in most sports and movement skills. The take-home message is to stay grounded for strong muscles.

(International Journal Sports Physiology Performance, 5: 177-183, 2010)

Zippy Cranberry Appetizer

Tart cranberry flavor blends nicely with mustard and horseradish in this out-of-the-ordinary cracker spread. It's quick to fix, too.
Servings: 10
Prep: 20min.+ chilling

-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 cup pack
ed brown sugar
-1 cup water-1 package (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
-1 to 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
-1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
-1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
-Assorted crackers

-In a large saucepan, bring sugars and water to a boil over medium heat. Stir in cranberries; return to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Cool.
-Stir in horseradish and mustard. Transfer to a large bowl; refrigerate until chilled. Just before serving, spread cream cheese over crackers; top with cranberry mixture. Yield: 2-1/2 cups.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1/4 cup) equals 178 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 25 mg cholesterol, 114 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein.

(Zippy Cranberry Appetizer published in Taste of Home October/November 2005, p13)

Question of the Week:

Q: Does aerobic exercise suppress a person's appetite? Some experts say it does, others say it doesn't. Who's right?

A: The vast majority of studies have demonstrated that caloric intake is usually unchanged or slightly increased in response to long-term aerobic exercise training.
Energy intake is, however, usually increased below the level of the increase in energy expenditure. This situation results in a negative energy balance (i.e., energy expenditure > energy intake) and, concomitantly, a loss of body weight and body fat.
Some evidence exists, however, that if you vigorously exercise before you eat, you will actually eat less because of an increase in your body temperature and an alteration in your hormone levels.

Keep in mind that the centers for the thermoregulatory system, appetite, and sleep lie right next to each other in the brain stem. When you affect one, you will likely affect the others.

Cedric Bryant

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Poor Sleep Patterns Promote Weight Gain

America is a high-stress society in which most people don't get enough sleep. We could be paying for it with our health. Sleep deprivation is linked to obesity, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.

A seven year Finnish study of nearly 9,000 people, led by Peppi Lyytikäinen, found that people who develop sleep problems during the experiment gained more weight than those with normal sleeping patterns. Trouble falling asleep, walking during the night, or trouble staying asleep increased the risk of weight gain by more than 50 percent. Nighttime snacking is common in overweight people with sleeping disorders. The body produces powerful signaling chemicals during sleep deprivation that promote over eating. Chronically sleeping less than six hours per night is linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
(International Journal of Obesity, published online June 8, 2010)

Makeover Crunchy Sweet Potato Casserole

This makeover version of sweet potato casserole still has its comforting flavor and sweet topping, but it boasts half the fat of the original. It also has fewer calories and contains 46% less cholesterol.
Servings: 6

Prep: 20 min. Bake: 35 min


  • 1-3/4 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon Spice Islands®, All Natural, No Corn Syrup Added, Pure Vanilla Extract


  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour-1 tablespoon cold butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Directions: Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain and place in a food processor. Add the milk, egg substitute, egg, butter and extracts; cover and process until smooth. Pour into a 1-1/2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray.

-In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and flour. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture; sprinkle with pecans. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160°.

Nutritional Analysis: 1/2 cup equals 331 calories, 10g fat (4 g saturated fat), 48 mg cholesterol, 113mg sodium, 55 g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 6g protein.

(Makeover Crunchy Sweet Potato Casserole published in Light & Tasty October 2005, p10)

Question of the Week

Q: What is a ''second wind''?

A: No matter how fit you are, the first few
minutes into vigorous exercise you'll feel somewhat out of breath, and your
muscles may ache. Your body isn't able to transport oxygen to the active muscles
quickly enough. As a result, your muscles burn carbohydrates anaerobically,
causing an increase in lactic acid production.

Gradually, your body makes the transition to aerobic metabolism
and begins to burn nutrients (carbohydrates and fats) aerobically. This shift
over to aerobic metabolism coincides with your getting ''back in stride''
(a.k.a. the ''second wind'').

The more you train and the more fit you become, the sooner you
will get your ''breath'' back and reach an aerobic steady state that you can
maintain for a relatively extended duration.

Cedric Bryant