Blog Posts by CSass

  • Coconut products are flooding the market - first there was coconut water, now coconut milk (in milk cartons in the dairy case next to the soy milk and organic milk), coconut milk yogurt, coconut kefir and coconut milk ice cream. This decadent nut used to be considered a major nutritional no-no but it now enjoys a serious health halo, touted for weight los benefits. So is this tropical treat really all it's cracked up to be? Here's my take on five popular products:

    Coconut Water
    Coconut water is the clear liquid that pools inside whole green coconuts. It's different from coconut milk, which is pressed from the fatty "meat" of the fruit. An 11 oz serving of pure coconut water contains about 60 calories, no fat, a gram of protein, and 15 grams of carbohydrate. It's often promoted as nature's sports drink because it's rich in the electrolyte potassium (lost in sweat), packing twice as much as a banana. It's not linked to weight control, but a recent study found that coconut water was

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  • Why Men Lose Weight Faster (unfair! but true)

    One thing I notice in my private practice is that women in relationships with men constantly complain that their hubby or boyfriend can eat more without gaining weight, or that he can drop pounds faster. It's unfair but definitely true. When it comes to nutrition and weight loss, men and women truly are like apples and oranges. Just how great is the divide? Here are four key differences and some tips designed to help you level the field:

    Men Burn More Calories Doing Nothing
    If a man and woman are the same height, he'll burn roughly 20% more calories per day. Because men have more muscle mass and less body fat (the minimum amount of body fat men need for health is 5% compared to 12% for women), they burn about 20% more calories doing nothing, even at the same height, and men are on average 5 inches taller than women, which further widens the calorie burning gap. Tip: if you "split" an appetizer, dessert or pizza, make it a 60/40 or 70/30 share rather than 50/50.

    Men Burn More

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  • 5 Superfoods to Always Keep on Hand & Fun, New Ways to Eat Them

    People often ask me for a "master" grocery list. But in my eyes that's a toughie because I believe variety is key to ensuring that your body receives a broad spectrum of nutrients. After all, the antioxidants and protective nutrients in asparagus are different from those in tomatoes or onion. That's why my grocery list varies by season, and I try to mix things up a lot - red quinoa and barley one week, wild rice and whole wheat penne the next… But there are some go-to ingredients I love to "keep in stock." Each offers important health benefits and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways:

    Frozen Spinach
    Most of the produce in your supermarket was harvested over 1,500 miles away and traveled by truck to get there. That's not so great because produce starts to lose nutrients the moment it's picked - in fact some vitamins can plummet by 50 percent in one week's time. But frozen veggies usually wind up on ice the same day they're harvested, which locks in the good stuff. That means

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  • 5 Ugly Foods With Awesome Health Benefits

    We eat with our eyes as well as our stomachs, so foods that are aesthetically appealing tend to be more satisfying. But for some foods the beauty lies in their uniqueness - both visually and nutritionally speaking. Here are five worth a closer look:

    Celery Root
    This root vegetable, pictured here, can be intimidating. It kind of looks like it belongs in outer space. But underneath its odd surface it's deliciously refreshing - and slimming. Celery root is very low in calories, just 40 per cup, and is full of potassium, a mineral that relieves water retention to "de-bloat" you from head to toe. All you need to do is chop off the top, remove the skin with a vegetable peeler, then slice. I love it raw as a cold vegetable side dish. Just whisk a little Dijon mustard with apple cider vinegar, lime juice and fresh cracked black pepper, add the slices, chill, and enjoy.

    Wood Ear Mushrooms
    Honestly the first time I encountered one of these (
    pic here) on my plate in

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  • How to Get Enough Iron Without Eating Meat

    Recently a client came to me after being diagnosed with anemia. A long time vegetarian she was worried that this meant she'd have to start eating meat again. The truth is you can get enough iron without eating meat - iron deficiency is actually no more common in vegetarians, but it's all about striking the right balance. But first, it's important to be sure that your diet is in fact the culprit. There are four main origins of anemia, so it's critical to have your doctor determine the true cause:

    Blood loss. This is the most common cause of iron deficiency anemia in the United States. The reason is that blood contains iron within red blood cells. So when you lose blood, you lose iron. Women with heavy periods are at risk of iron deficiency anemia because they lose a lot of blood during menstruation. Slow, chronic blood loss within the body - such as from an ulcer, tumor, colon polyp, or uterine fibroids - can also cause anemia, as can chronic use of aspirin or other pain

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  • 5 Tricks for Upping Your Fiber Intake

    Fiber is magical. It helps slow digestion and absorption to keep you fuller longer and delay the return of hunger, provides a slower, steadier rise in blood sugar and a lower insulin response, and keeps you "regular" by helping your digestive system stay in tip top shape. And if that's not enough it's also key to weight control. Research has shown that for every gram of fiber we eat, we eliminate about seven calories. That means if you eat 30 grams a day you'll essentially "cancel out" 210 calories, a savings that could result in a 20 pound weight loss in one year's time. Another study in Brazilian dieters found that over a 6 month period, each additional gram of fiber resulted in an extra quarter pound of weight loss. So how do you boost your intake without feeling like you're choking down cardboard? Check out these stealth strategies:

    Bake With Bean Flour
    The next time you whip up a batch of baked goods or coat chicken breasts before tossing in the oven, consider

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  • Yikes! Can Your Diet Create Brain Changes That Make You Fat?

    A new study supports what we've long suspected - your diet can impact how your brain functions, which in turn may up your obesity risk. The animal research conducted by scientists at the University of Washington in Seattle looked at the short and long term effects on the brains of rodents fed a typical American diet. Within the first three days the rats downed nearly double their usual daily calorie intakes and not only did the animals gain weight, they also developed inflammation in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates body weight. And they experienced changes typically associated with brain injuries, such as stroke and multiple sclerosis.

    Scientists say the study points to the notion that the overconsumption of a classic western diet can lead to brain changes that create a domino effect that may impact weight regulation. So how do you undo (or prevent) the damage? Ditch the processed stuff loaded with refined carbs, added sugar and salt, fried stuff and fatty animal

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  • How to Make Delicious Veggie Side Dishes (in minutes)

    Every nutritionist on the planet recommends eating more veggies, but only about a quarter of Americans down the recommended minimum three daily servings. It's no secret that filling the gap will boost your nutrient intake and slash the risk of nearly every major disease, including obesity. Trouble is, a lot of my clients tell me they just can't get veggies to taste as good as they do when they're out to dinner. I have three easy tricks for making fresh or frozen versions taste delicious, without dousing them with butter or tossing them in a deep fryer:

    Reach for A Jar
    After steaming fresh or frozen veggies, toss them with a jarred pesto, tapenade or all natural fruit butter: one level tbsp per cup cooked veggies is all you need. Some of my favorite combos include:

    •Broccoli with sundried tomato pesto

    •French cut green beans with black olive tapenade

    •Yellow wax beans with artichoke pesto

    •Spaghetti squash with apple butter or pumpkin butter


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  • I went a coffee shop in LA the other day and while I was waiting for my cup of Joe I spotted a fairly large sign about Prop 65, a "right to know" law that requires the State of California to maintain a list of chemicals that cause cancer or reproductive toxicity (such as birth defects or other reproductive harm). Businesses that knowingly expose patrons to such chemicals above certain levels are required by law to display warnings. In this case the sign was about acrylamide, a substance found in coffee and baked goods sold in the store.

    I watched as others scanned the sign and expressed brief looks of concern or confusion. While nobody opted to cancel their order those who took the time to read the warning did seem a bit unsettled. I imagine we'll be hearing a lot more about acrylamide in the near future, not just in the Golden State, but nationwide. Here's what you need to know:

    For some time the Food and Drug Administration has been considering issuing guidelines on the acrylamide

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  • Bite Into This to Torch Calories and Curb Cravings

    A new study from Purdue University brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'fire in your belly.' According to the researchers dousing your food with a little hot pepper can help you burn more calories and curb your cravings. Over a 6 week period the study tracked 25 adults who consumed either no pepper, their preferred amount (half liked spicy food and half did not), or a standardized amount, which was about a half tsp of cayenne. Overall both groups burned more calories when they down the firey meals, and those who were infrequent eaters of spicy food also felt less hungry afterward and experienced fewer cravings for salty, fatty and sweet foods.

    This isn't the first study of its kind, which is why I included hot peppers as one of the 5 types of SASS (Slimming and Satiating Seasonings) in the weight loss plan in my newest book. You'll find a little heat in meals like the Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro Jalapeno Guacamole, Shrimp Creole, and the Spicy Chipotle Truffles (yes, dark

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