June 20, 2007
Alli - A Friend or Foe?
Last week, the first FDA-approved weight-loss drug, Alli ( pronounced al-eye), once sold by prescription as Xenical (orlistat), hit store shelves. Until then, the options for dieters looking for that over-the-counter quick fix were limited to dietary supplements like CortiSlim and Trimspa, which aren't required by the government to prove they're either safe or effective.
Enter Alli — a drug that acts on the gut, not the brain, binding an enzyme called lipase to block about 25 percent of fat eaten in a meal. For every 10 pounds you could lose with diet and exercise, you can lose an additional 5 pounds using this drug.
But here's the catch: As the manufacturer of the drug clearly states, "Alli is not for everyone. It's for the consumer who can follow a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet for weight loss."
The key to using this drug successfully is to keep your intake of fat grams to no more than 15 to 20 per meal. Go over that limit, and you could find yourself having to heed nature's call at the most inopportune moments. Another side effect is decreased absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and other nutrients, so Alli users should take a multivitamin-mineral supplement before bedtime.
One more tip: Remember that calories still count. The focus of the meal plan is on counting fat grams, but we don't want a repeat of the last low-fat dieting craze when dieters loaded up on fat-free snacks that were loaded with sugar and calories.
Whether this drug is right for you is a decision you should make with your physician. (For more information on the drug and the weight-loss plan, visit www.myalli.com.)
Here's a suggestion: Before you try the drug, why not first see if you can follow the dietary recommendations that go with it?
Stick to it and chances are good you won't need a magic pill to reach your weight-loss goal after all.
8 ounces low-fat Stonyfield Farm vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup Back to Nature Classic Granola
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
(Total = 5 grams of fat)
Subway 6-inch turkey breast sub (lettuce, tomato, mustard
1 cup Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup
Small bag baked potato chips (1 ounce)
(Total = 12 grams of fat)
3 ounces chicken breast strips
and 1 cup snow peas stir-fried
with 1 teaspoon peanut oil
1 cup whole-grain instant brown rice
1 cup won-ton soup
Calorie-free sparkling flavored water
(Total = 14 grams of fat)
1 hard-cooked egg
1 slice whole-wheat toast
soft tub margarine
1 teaspoon strawberry jam
6 ounces orange juice
Coffee with 2 teaspoons
(Total = 12 grams of fat)
1 cup Progresso chicken noodle soup
4 RyKrisp crackers
4 wedges Laughing Cow Light Garlic & Herb cheese
(Total = 12 grams of fat)
3 ounces farmed Atlantic salmon
Medium baked potato with fat-free sour cream
Steamed broccoli and cauliflower
2 Fig Newtons
(Total = 15 grams of fat)
June 15, 2007
Nuts - An accent, not an ingredient
Nuts are high in fat and calories, which has led many Americans to shun them, but they are "good" fats -- monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, not artery-clogging saturated fat. The key to incorporating nuts into a healthful diet is moderation and portion size. A serving of 1 ounce equals 157 pine nuts; 49 pistachios; 24 almonds; 20 hazelnuts; 20 pecan halves; 18 cashews; 14 walnut halves; and 10-12 macadamias. Brazil nut fans get the fewest per serving, six to eight.
Smoked Turkey, Grape & Pecan Salad
This recipe is from "Sensational Salads" by Barbara Scott-Goodman (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $22.50). Smoked ham or chicken can substitute for the turkey.
* 3/4 pound smoked turkey, about 1/2-inch thick, cut into 2-inch julienne
* 1 cup green seedless grapes, halved
* 1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
* 1/2 cup toasted pecans
* 6 cups mixed salad greens
For the vinaigrette:
* 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
* 2 tablespoons premium sherry vinegar
* 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Put the turkey, grapes and half of the pecans in a large bowl and gently toss. Put the greens in a separate large bowl.
To make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard and vinegar. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking constantly, until combined. Season with pepper.
Pour half of the vinaigrette over the turkey mixture and toss gently to mix well. The mixture can be prepared and chilled up to this point for a few hours.
At serving time, pour the remaining vinaigrette over the salad greens and toss. Arrange the greens on a large platter or 6 individual plates and top with the turkey mixture. Garnish with the remaining pecans.
Makes 6 servings.
Baby Greens with Tiny Tomatoes,
Fresh Herbs and Toasted Pistachios
This recipe is from "The South Beach Diet Taste of Summer Cookbook" by Arthur Agatston, M.D. (Rodale, $28.95).
* 1/2 cup unsalted shelled pistachios, toasted
* 6 ounces mixed baby greens (6 cups)
* 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
* 1 medium-size cucumber, thinly sliced
* 1/4 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
* 1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Chop the toasted pistachios.
In a large bowl, combine the greens, tomatoes, cucumber, basil and mint. Add the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Divide the salad among 4 plates, sprinkle with the pistachios, and serve.
Makes 4 servings, 2 cups each.
June 12, 2007
National Dairy Month
June is National Dairy Month, a 30-day reminder to make sure you're eating and drinking the dairy products you need.
MyPyramid.gov recommends consuming 3 cups of milk per day for calcium and vitamin D to build strong, healthy bones and help prevent a decrease in bone mass. Milk keeps your tooth enamel strong, too.
Be creative. You don't have to just drink milk. Eat products that are made with milk to get the same benefits. Incorporate low-fat dairy products into every meal and you'll see it's not hard to reach your recommended amount.
For example, you can add cheese to your morning omelet or low-fat milk to oatmeal. Try cottage cheese or plain yogurt with fruit for a snack with lunch. Look to ethnic cuisines for recipes with different cheeses than you're used to, such as queso blanco in Mexican food.
June 7, 2007
The high heat used in grilling quickly caramelizes the natural sugars, producing slightly charred, juicy tomatoes with rich flavor.
1. Place tomato halves, cut sides down, on paper towels. Let stand 30 minutes.
2. Heat a grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Place tomato halves, cut sides down, in pan; grill 5 minutes. Turn tomato halves; grill 1 minute or until the skin is blackened. Remove from pan; cool 5 minutes.
Or try this...
4 ripe red tomatoes
sprinkle of salt, pepper, garlic powder
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook until just starting to turn golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the garlic and oil into a heatproof bowl.
Oil the grill and set for high heat. Place the tomatoes cut side down and grill for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn over, top with the garlic oil mixture and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from grill and top with thyme, House Seasoning and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve immediately.
June 3, 2007
Easy Grilled Salmon
I'm always looking for new salmon recipes...I saw this on the Food Network one morning as I was running on the treadmill. A great way to get 2 fish meals in a week!
Grilled Salmon Steaks with Chipotle-Ponzu Sauce and Grilled Green Beans
6 (5-ounce) salmon steaks
Salt and ground black pepper
2 cups fresh green beans
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 clove garlic
Coat an outdoor grill or stovetop grill pan with cooking spray and preheat to medium-high.
Season both sides of salmon with salt and black pepper. Grill salmon steaks 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Arrange green beans on grill alongside salmon. Grill 10 minutes, until crisp-tender, turning frequently.
Meanwhile, in a blender, combine remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. Serve 4 of the salmon steaks with green beans on the side and ponzu sauce drizzled over top. Reserve remaining salmon steaks for another recipe like...
Bowties with Pancetta, Grilled Salmon and Artichokes
1 pound bowtie (farfalle) pasta
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced pancetta
1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 reserved grilled salmon steaks, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup quartered oil-packed artichoke hearts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook 3 minutes, until golden and crisp. Stir in broth, salmon and artichokes and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Stir mixture into bowties. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.
In Season: Strawberries
Buying tips: Purchase strawberries that are shiny, firm and very fragrant. A strawberry should be almost completely red, though some whiteness near the leafy cap is acceptable.
Storage tips: Refrigerate unwashed strawberries with the caps on until ready to use. Just before using, wash and hull.
Watermelon-and-Kiwi Skewers with Starry Strawberry Cream
The watermelon and kiwifruit can be cut up one day in advance. Thread the fruit onto skewers a few hours before the party. The strawberry cream is best when prepared only a few hours prior to serving.
3/4 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar
24 (1/2-inch) watermelon balls
2 kiwifruit, each peeled and cut into 12 pieces
Place first 5 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Cover and chill.
Thread 1 watermelon piece and 1 kiwi-fruit piece onto each of 24 skewers. Serve with sauce.
Note: To shape the kiwifruit as in the photo, cut a thin vertical slice off both ends of fruit, revealing the flesh. Peel by cutting vertical strips from one end to the other. Cut each kiwifruit lengthwise into quarters. Cut each quarter crosswise into thirds.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 3 skewers and 2 tablespoons sauce)
CALORIES 40 (18% from fat); FAT 0.8g (sat 0.4g,mono 0.2g,poly 0.1g); PROTEIN 1.3g; CHOLESTEROL 2mg; CALCIUM 34mg; SODIUM 18mg; FIBER 1.1g; IRON 0.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 7.6g
Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Crisps
1 pint fresh strawberries, chopped
1 large banana, chopped
1 Red Delicious apple, chopped
1 kiwifruit, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
4 (7 1/2-inch) flour tortillas
Vegetable cooking spray
2 tablespoons sugar
Combine first 4 ingredients. Stir together lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; toss with fruit. Chill.
Cut each tortilla into eighths. Arrange pieces on baking sheets. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Combine remaining 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Sprinkle over tortilla chips.
Bake at 350° for 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve with fruit salsa.
Yield: 4 servings
CALORIES 310 (11% from fat); FAT 3.8g (sat 0.8g,mono 1.5g,poly 0.7g); PROTEIN 5.6g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 122mg; SODIUM 168mg; FIBER 4g; IRON 1.6mg; CARBOHYDRATE 67g