8 Healthy Condiments

Condiments
Rice cakes. Cottage cheese. Melba toast. Diet staples bland enough to send you down to Staples to buy some Styrofoam peanuts to add a little flavor to your eating plan. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Sure, if you really want to move the needle on the scale, you’re going to have to cut out a lot of fat, sugar, and sodium, but that doesn’t mean your new regimen of steaming, blanching, and boiling has to condemn you to a life of bland eating. Many condiments can spice up your cuisine without adding any calories, and in some cases, they can even accelerate your weight loss! Here are eight of our favorites.

1. Ketchup
Until recently, ketchup had been the king of the condiments. Americans have found very few meals that couldn’t be improved by being drenched in tomato-ey goodness. And ketchup has quite a number of healthy properties. Remember when the Reagan administration famously classified it as a vegetable in school lunches? OK, maybe that went too far . . . but it is chock-full of lycopene, one of the most potent antioxidants around. The only problem is that most brands are also chock-full of sodium, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and sugar, which substantially defrays the health benefits of the tomatoes. But more and more ketchup manufacturers are offering low-salt, low-HFCS brands; and if you can get your hands on them, you can drench your favorite meals with nutritional impunity. Or for the culinarily inclined, you can make your own ketchup and add the amount of sugar and salt that is right for you.

2. Mustard
This sharp paste made from the crushed seeds of the mustard plant comes in colors ranging from yellow to brown and in sharpness ranging from tangy to eye-watering. Mustard has practically no calories or fat to speak of, and even if it did, a little goes a long way. After all, it is one of the only condiments to be weaponized. It is worth checking the labels as some are high in sodium and others can add sugar or oil for flavor and texture, but generally, mustard can be consumed guilt free—as much as your palate can handle. There are lots of gourmet varieties with ingredients like horseradish, white wine, or jalapeños added for extra zest.

3. Salsa
In the last decade or so, salsa has overtaken ketchup as the number-one condiment in America. There are literally thousands of different kinds of salsas, though most contain tomatoes, onions, and peppers as their base. Very low in calories and high in flavor, salsas are a great accent to any dish, but as with all commercially prepared items, attention should be paid to the levels of sodium and high-fructose corn syrup. It’s a pretty easy thing to make yourself. A simple pico de gallo can be made by combining diced tomatoes and onions with minced cilantro and jalapeño and marinating those ingredients in lime juice. Make a big bowl on Sunday and have a healthy snack or sauce all week long!

4. Hot sauce I can go through two or three bottles of hot sauce a week. My refrigerator door rattles with tall skinny bottles of the stuff and I have been known to excuse myself from the dinner table in order to towel off my face. While many have said that the high levels of capsaicin (the “burning” component in chili peppers) I consume have deadened my taste buds to subtle flavors, I would argue that the hot sauce has opened my palate wide. I pity those who don’t have the iron stomach to withstand the delights offered by habanero, chipotle, and cayenne peppers. A little bit of hot sauce gives a ton of flavor with practically no calories, and the capsaicin is even believed to boost your metabolism. As always, keeping an eye on the sodium content is advisable.

5. Soy sauce
Needless to say, this isn’t a very good part of a low-sodium diet, but there are low-sodium versions available (although low-sodium soy sauce has through-the-roof levels of sodium compared to most other foods). Some studies have shown that soy sauce contains even more antioxidants than red wine and, as a result of the fermentation process used to make it, high levels of probiotics. It doesn’t have all the health benefits found in other soy products like edamame or tofu, but as a substitute for salt as a seasoning, you get a lot more nutritional bang for your buck.

6. Vinegar
Vinegar comes in many different varieties—malt, wine, rice, cider, sherry, balsamic, and on and on. The word itself comes from the French vin aigre, or “sour wine.” But unlike wine, vinegar has no alcohol and, depending on the variety, very few or zero calories. But it does have plenty of zip and tang. I find that a dash to my favorite soup or a sprinkle on my sandwich or salad adds lots of flavor without adding salt, fat, or sugar. In fact, studies have shown that vinegar helps stabilize blood sugar levels, and in one study, a test group of people who drank two tablespoons of vinegar before meals showed more weight loss than the group who didn’t.

7. Yogurt
Yogurt has the most calories and potentially the most fat of any of the condiments on this list. Full-fat yogurt, in fact, can have milkfat levels as high as ice cream. But low-fat and nonfat varieties serve as great substitutes for mayonnaise or a creamy dressing without adding too many calories to your dish. And with high levels of L. acidophilus and other probiotics, yogurt can also be very beneficial to your digestive system. Try mixing some plain nonfat yogurt with your favorite herbs or a little mustard or curry as a salad dressing or dipping sauce. Or try goat’s-milk yogurt for some flavor variety.

8. Curry
In different parts of the world curry can mean almost any number of combinations of savory spices. Besides the powder derived from the curry plant, curry powders and paste can contain many spices, including turmeric, coriander, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, and fenugreek. There are commercially prepared curries from all over the world, from India to Thailand to the Caribbean. Keep an eye out for salt and fat content, and you’ll be on your way to giving your sauces, meats, fish, and vegetables a hit of amazing flavor without adding calories.

9 Ways to Get Motivated to Run

Running
Running grows more and more popular every year with good reasons: You can get involved in this fun and affordable sport with just a pair of running shoes, shirts and a T-shirt. You can run on sidewalks, a track or trail and no matter where you live, you can run. Running is one of the best things you can do for your body and spirit.

If you’ve never run before, turning off the TV and getting of the couch might be challenging. These tips will help get you motivated and progress from a couch potato to a race runner in no time while having fun.

Know Your Objective

If you don’t know why you are doing it, you are likely to give up too soon. You may want to lose weight, lower blood sugar, get healthy, spend more time outdoors, fight depression or embrace the activity a friend or loved one is doing so you can spend more time with him or her. No matter what the reason is, make sure you know why you want to run.

Set a Goal

It is much easier to stay motivated if you have a concrete, measurable goal. If you are new to running, sign up for a race. Registering for a race can perform miracles for your motivation—you’ll have to work hard to have your money pay off. Participation in a race is also a great way for a beginner to get involved with the running community. Once you cross the finish line, you’ll be hooked forever.

Find Partners in Crime

Everything is easier and much more fun when you have someone to share it with. Running is a great way of spending time with people you care about or making new friends. Schedule runs with your spouse, kids or friends, and you’ll run out of excuses not to run when someone asks, “Are we running today?” Can’t encourage your close ones to run with you? Sign up for a local running club. You will make new friends and get lots of support.

Follow a Training Plan

Many beginners make the same mistake. They just put on their shoes and try to run for as long as they can. In five minutes or less, they run out of breath, switch to walking and swear not to do it again. Following a training plan will make it easy for you to ease into running and progress safely. Programs like the popular C25K are designed just for beginners and bring you, step-by-step, from 60 seconds of running to a 5K race. Plus, they are a great motivation: Once you start week one, you can’t wait to graduate.

Track Your Progress

As you go through your training plan, mark milestones: your first mile, your first run without walk breaks. Write everything down—record not only time and distance but also your feelings and emotions. Get a nice notebook or go digital and start a blog. Who knows, you may become the next popular run blogger.

Educate Yourself

Try to learn as much as you can about running. Subscribe to magazines, read websites and blogs, participate in forums. It will keep you interested, give you useful information, and make you feel part of the running community. Check out books and movies about runners—they’re fun motivational tools.

Reward Yourself

Training might be tough at times but it doesn’t mean hard work leaves no room for a little treat. You run because you love yourself, not because you want to torture yourself. Halfway done with your training program and didn’t miss a day? Did you better your race time? Celebrate success. This doesn’t necessarily mean throwing a pizza party or indulging in sweets and fast food. Buy something that will help you with your new hobby: a new running shirt, a pair of new shoes, a water bottle or a runner’s watch.

Enjoy It

We all prefer to do things we enjoy. If you like something, you keep doing it. Think about running not as an activity you have to do, but as a way to unlock your physical and spiritual potential. Every time you run, you learn something new about yourself, and this is priceless.

Smile

It may sound silly, but it works. Smile when you run—it tells your brain you are happy, and you should be. Think about all those people who would love to do what you are doing. As your body gets stronger, fitter and healthier, your life will get better. Isn’t that reason enough to smile?

How to Lose Weight on Any Diet

Lose WeightWhen it comes to losing weight, everyone has an opinion about what works best. Low fat, low carb, or Mediterranean style—you’ve probably heard stories of people dropping major pounds by following one of these diets. The truth is you’ll lose weight on any diet as long as you take in fewer calories than you burn. Keep reading to find out which diet is best for you.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health studied more than 800 overweight adults over 2 years, and researchers found that as long as people made healthy choices, the percentage of protein, carbs, and fat consumed didn’t really matter. All the study participants (divided into groups eating low fat, high fat, high carb, or high protein) lost about the same amount of weight when they ate fewer calories than they burned.

The bottom line: The diet you choose should make you feel good, keep you satisfied, and limit your cravings for unhealthy foods. So how do you decide what plan will work for you?

• Try balancing various amounts of lean protein (poultry, fish, and lean beef), complex carbs (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains), and healthy fat (nuts, olive oil, and seeds). Find the combination that makes you full and energetic.

• Keep a food journal of what you eat and how you feel. Over time, you’ll start to see patterns emerge.

• Visit the Eat Smart section of Team Beachbody and choose from three different pre-populated meal plans (Balanced, Low Carb, and Active Lifestyle), or custom design your own according to your preferences.

When you decide what kind of diet to follow, here’s how to get the most out of it:
Low-fat diet
The amount of fat you eat varies according to the diet’s creator. The Ornish Diet, designed by cardiologist Dean Ornish to help people reverse heart disease, recommends that you eat 10 percent of your calories from fat. The American Heart Association, on the other hand, considers low fat to be up to 35 percent from fat. A low-fat diet should consist of lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans and legumes, and little meat. It is not an excuse to eat mountains of pasta or processed carbs (like fat-free cookies or crackers), as these will spike your blood sugar, make you hungrier, and add a lot of unnecessary calories.

Low-carb diet
Plans like Atkins, South Beach, and the “Paleo” diet claim that by cutting carbohydrates your body will have to dig into its fat stores for energy. That is often true, at least at first, until your body adapts to the decreased energy from carbs and rapid weight loss slows. Plus, if you chow down on artery-clogging bacon, butter, and steak every day and don’t choose heart-healthy protein and fat sources (like lean meats, nuts, and olive oil), you can develop other health problems and nutrient deficiencies. Watch out for saturated fat in foods like whole milk, butter, and meat, and be mindful of portion sizes when you’re following a low-carb diet. You might find it hard to sustain a low-carb diet over the long term because you have less energy and feel tired a lot. If that happens, just switch to another diet plan.

Mediterranean-style diet
This has gained popularity over the last few years as a healthy, balanced approach to eating. It emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, unsaturated fats from nuts and olive oil, and lean protein like fish and chicken. You don’t want to overdo the pasta, cheese, and alcohol on this diet because these calories add up quickly. This is a moderate-fat diet that offers a variety of choices and will suit many different tastes. You’ll find that most Beachbody® nutrition plans follow guidelines that are similar to a Mediterranean-style diet. It’s easy to get all the nutrients you need to sustain a healthy, energetic lifestyle with this method of eating.

When you’ve found the diet that suits you, you may notice that your weight starts to drop without a lot of effort. You’ll be more satisfied and less prone to cravings, which will help you be consistent with your plan. As long as you stick to your diet and combine it with a workout program that also fits your preferences—Slim in 6®, ChaLEAN Extreme®, or whatever you choose—you will be able to lose weight and keep it off.

7 Common Factors of Successful Weight Management

Weight Management
These days, the topic of what’s in food is probably less important than what youYou’re working hard to lose the weight and get in shape. You bought a Beachbody® workout program. For some people, the results they’ve worked so hard for slowly disappear as bad habits return. Some wonder how “those thin people” can stay that way all the time.

In 1993, the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) was founded to study the behaviors of “successful losers.” Those studied lost an average of 72 pounds, with a minimum weight loss of 30 pounds, and were able to keep the weight off for at least 5 years. Looking at various studies on obesity, the researchers found 7 common factors among those who were successful in maintaining their weight loss.

1. Eating a low-calorie, low-fat diet
Those studied ate an average of 1,385 calories per day (plus or minus 557), with an average of 26.6 percent coming from fat. Although 26.6 percent from fat may seem high to you, it is lower than the typical American’s diet, which consists of simple carbs and ready-to-eat, low-cost processed food. Also, the researchers found that fast food visits were limited to less than ONE per month (step away from the fries!).

2. Participating in a high level of physical activity
Those studied burned an average of over 2,600 calories per day. This calorie burn came from doing normal, everyday physical activity, including a lot of walking. In fact, over 75 percent of the participants included walking as a form of exercise, with 48 percent of the total participants adding walking to other forms of exercise. Think it can’t be done? The next time you go somewhere, try parking a little farther away and walking, take the stairs instead of the elevator, get off the bus or subway one stop sooner, or walk the dog around the block the next time you want to reach for a snack. It’s a great way to get in a little more exercise time.

3. Limiting TV viewing
I heard something great the other day. Someone said that they had always made excuses about not having enough time to exercise. Yet, they always fit in 3 hours of TV viewing every night. Instead of plopping down in front of the TV at night, try to find other things to do. Why not take this time to pop in your favorite exercise DVD? Take a walk with your kids, read a book, or take a class. Not only will it get you moving, it also stimulates your brain in a way that TV viewing can’t. It can also kill that urge for mindless snacking while watching TV.

4. Eating breakfast
Those studied rarely skipped breakfast. After “fasting” all night, your body actually needs the energy that a healthy breakfast can provide. Eating breakfast makes you less likely to grab that pastry in the kitchen at work or run out for fast food at lunchtime. It also keeps your metabolism going, so that your body doesn’t shift into the “protect and conserve all fat” mode.

5. Maintaining dietary consistency
To the successful weight losers (or winners!), “diet” is not a bad word. They are always consistent with how many calories they are eating. There is no “cheat” day or falling off of the wagon during holidays or vacations.

6. Maintaining a high level of dietary restraint
This goes along with factor #5. Those who are successful at weight loss are always conscious about the types of foods that go in their mouths. When you are trying to maintain your hard-deserved weight loss, be conscious of the types of foods you are eating. One hundred calories of your favorite candy treat are not the same as 100 calories of a protein shake. But, if you “mess up,” don’t beat yourself up. Those who are successful at keeping the weight off jump right back in where they left off, which leads us to the last common factor . . .

7. Frequent self-weighing
Seventy-five percent of those looked at by the NWCR weighed themselves at least once a week, with almost half (44 percent) weighing in every day. This allowed them to keep track of any weight gain (or loss) and to address it before it became a “big” problem. Also included in this self-monitoring behavior was the continued counting of calories and fat grams. This continued “reinforcement” goes a long way toward keeping you on track for a slimmer today and healthier tomorrow.

April 2012 Beachbody Challenge Winner, Barry

Barry won a cool $1,000 for his Power90, P90X Transformation Story
Barry Crawford, Before and After
Tell us about your life before you started the program. How did you feel about yourself and your body?
It’s embarrassing really,…I can blame my weight on my back/neck injury ? Which limited me and thus I ballooned in weight ? Yeah an excuse, I liked to eat, and I liked to sit around and not do much prior to starting the program. let’s be honest with each other the weight I carried wasn’t gained in a year or two,.. I was always “a little over weight”. it isn’t a good feeling when someone walks up to you and rubs your belly and you ask what they were doing, they joke “Rubbing the Buddha belly buddy, your fat !” The constant jokes about weight,..they can hurt,people think they are funny,some think they are encouraging you to lose weight,..no it hurts ! I felt like an embarrassment to myself and my family,..not a good feeling being called the “fat one” in the family.

What inspired you to change your life and begin your transformation journey?
The desire to play with my granddaughter , who loves to run, jump and play. She inspired me to say I can do this ! I was a walking heart attack, I want to live to see her graduate from high school, maybe even get married.My tai chi coach taught me about healthy food choices,told me I should do a basic dumbbell exercise program every night prior to being able to eat dinner. I went from 224 to 210, I said wo what results could I see if i had a regular routine/program..ENTER the Power 90 and a transformational life style.

What is the greatest challenge you faced before beginning the program? How did the program and Beachbody® help you overcome that challenge?
The greatest challenge I faced was my spine ! I had been injured in an accident, and my neck and back were in constant pain and agony ! I would sleep maybe a max of 2 hours a night due to pain ! Eventually I was able to get more sleep here and there, but the pain was constant.Part of the cause tho was the large amount of weight that I was carrying on my person.I had a choice to make to be a victim or a victor,..I choose to be a victor ! The program reduced the weight, which has reduced the pain ! The program strengthened my core even doing more reduction in pain !The program was literally a life saver ! Through modifications I strengthened my core so much ..back pain ? Ha ! the pain is virtually eliminated ! i didn’t need to modify by the end of the challenge,I’m actually LIVING again !

Why did you choose this particular program?
While doing research on the P90X, so many regretted not starting with the Power 90,the P90X would have been too extreme for me at that point in time. All the reviews for Power 90 were positive for those that worked the program.clearly it worked for them,it could/did work for me too ! The thought and research that Team Beach Body placed into this program is AMAZING ! How it builds you right up to the P90X and beyond if you chose to go that route. I have had friends and family start the program now seeing the results I had,I’d suggest this as a way to start a new life style anyday of the week and twice on Sundays !

What in particular did you like about the program you chose?
The progressive way that Tony builds you up in the Power 90. First he increases your self confidence. Once that is built up and you say wow I can do this ! You start to realize he is also building up your physical capabilities to achieve even more ! And before the program ends where I would have never considered myself capable of doing P90X, I cant wait to start it now ! The Power 90 program has my self confidence up, and my physical ability to do the program is there now. It challenges you in such a progressive nature that is achievable, but yet a challenge. And once achieved, it feels so good to say ‘I decided, I committed and I succeed!”

Describe the results you achieved with your Beachbody program. Which achievements are you proud of?
My body weight DROPPED !, i feel 120% better ! I feel comfortable in my own skin ! I feel healthy ! I look healthy ! I’m so much stronger then before. My cardio stamina is baffling to me ! THANK YOU Tony H ! WoW I never ever thought I would have cardio stamina ! I think that the cardio stamina that I had (nothing) and what i have now wasn’t even a thought, wasn’t a consideration at all. I thought i’d get toned, lose weight,..but the cardio never dreamt I ‘d consider going running in this lifetime EVER ! And now i have this new found cardio stamina, I’m actually going shopping for running shoes. SAY WHAT !? Yes from being lazy sitting on the couch making excuses to going for a jog…… WoW ! That impresses me the most !

How has your life changed since completing your Beachbody program?
I find that my lifestyle changed by now actually living life ! Getting up from the sofa and doing things you see people do on TV. Guess what there is a huge world out there ready to be explored ! If you get up and go for a walk, WoW , go to the park, walk by a stream,..stroll alongside a lake,..now that’s relaxing, not sitting on the sofa. I have energy to do so much more now. I’m not making excuses to go sit down, I like doing things now and look for activities to do. Ok here’s one for ya, I’m looking forward to going by the river this summer to work on my yoga, last year I’d be looking to find a way to nap.

Coach Prize!April 2012 Beachbody Challenge Winner