Supply Side West Conference Showcases Health and Wellness Products

When we purchase supplements we are looking for benefits not brands. Now the food and supplement industry is finding there has been a shift in consumer mentality from supplements to functional foods. In other words, instead of popping a pill for specific vitamins and minerals, we are now looking for all of those benefits in real foods like healthy bars, shakes, cereals, orange juice, etc. Members of Generation Y have been found to want sustainable, food-on the go that is fortified. Those of Generation X also want foods to be convenient, but they are also looking for a low calorie, tasteful variety of fortified food.  And as the last of the Baby Boomer Generation are entering their late 40’s, they have the desire to look and feel younger again with anti-aging and anti-inflammatory products that are also going to help with their blood sugar.

As a population, we are starting to see that the world’s health cannot be saved with a pill; but rather with a lifestyle. If you are like me, it is a difficult pill to swallow when it is merely a nutrient or two. We have been made aware of the health benefits of omega fatty acids, soy, tomatoes, and ginseng. I want all those benefits, but with my meal or snack. We are now flocking to salmon, chia and flax seed for our omegas. We gobble up soy in pods of an edamame appetizer at a restaurant. The benefits of cooked tomatoes and lycopene convince us that pasta is now healthier than we thought. What if you are having a slow-brain day? Where can you find caffeine and ginseng in one tight package?

The Supply Side West conference was at the Sands Convention Center this past week. Supply Side brings together developers of health and wellness products, suppliers of raw product, and the scientists behind it all.  I had the distinct pleasure of attending the Editor’s Choice Awards 2012. Winners are chosen from each category based on innovation in the market they serve.  And the winners are, drum roll please:

Category Winner Produced by
Animal Nutrition SuperGravy Clear Conscience Pet
Anti-Aging Anti-Aging SPF Moisturizer Twinluxe
Beverages Original Elixir Turmeric Alive
Functional Food Superbiotic Pizza Frozen Naked Pizza
Multivitamin & Mineral alternaVites Kids Rich Vitamins
Nutricosmetics Intellimune Tables Intelligent Nutrients
Organic OM Cocktails Organic Mixology
Packaging Design West Coast Chill Joseph Company International
Skin Care Stem Cell Repair Booster Serum Juice Beauty
Specialty Dietary Supplement Vegan-Ease MegaFood

Awards

With the non-passing of Prop 37 in California, I was encouraged by the future of food at this conference.  The vendors know we are looking for clean labels: no chemicals or GMO. As the basic theory of supply and demand states, we demand and they will create. This group of inventors and scientists has a great pulse on our wants and desires.  One thing I suspect we will be seeing more of is extracts from fruits and vegetables.  They will be used to give taste and color while passing on vitamins minerals and phytochemicals to the consumer. In the end, the list of winners and even the products nominated give me hope that the future of health, wellness, and food science will improve our lives and reduce our dependence on medical care.

Article originally publish with Las Vegas Informer 11/11/2012 (http://lasvegas.informermg.com/2012/11/11/supply-side-west-conference-showcases-health-and-wellness-products/)

Sauced: The New Food Truck In Town

 

There is a new food truck in town! I attended the Vegas StrEATs event last weekend and enjoyed some grub. I am fortunate enough to live a small burger’s throw from Slidn’ Thru’s restaurant, so I decided to branch out. A new truck rolled into the festival; Sauced.

Last week’s event was their grand debut. They offer sliders, tacos and deep-fried balls-o-deliciousness. For the meat eater, the Buffalo Chicken and the Big Easy balls are killer finger food. And just as their name implies, they are served with delicious sauces. The Big Easy balls are sweet with a creamy risotto, Cajun chicken, and andouille sausage filling that fire up the taste buds with the Sriracha Ranch sauce. The Buffalo Chicken balls will get your buds on all cylinders. The pepper jack cheese and spicy buffalo sauce covers chunks of chicken. The whole mass is then breaded and deep fried. Cool down the tongue and enhance the flavor with the Smoky Blue Cheese sauce. Lastly, and my personal favorite, is the Jerk Pork Taco. This gluten and dairy free delight is a corn tortilla filled with Jamaican jerk pork, pickled vegetables, and Grilled pineapple sauce. All of this perfectly gives the umami us foodies long to hit the buds. Finish up your meal with a sopapilla with strawberry coulis. Dip this dessert in the Chunky Peanut butter and Nutella sauce. Drooling yet?

Find out where the black Sauced food truck will be next at their website. Oh and as their site states, recommend a location for them to visit and if they choose your recommendation they will treat you to lunch!

Published at Las Vegas Informer - http://lasvegas.informermg.com/2012/07/20/sauced-the-new-food-truck-in-town/

Food Geek is the Ultimate Foodie

This week, Las Vegas is taking the term “Foodie” to the next level at the Institute Food Technologists (IFT) Expo. I am a “Food Geek”. IFT’s Student Association was giving out name tag flags if you expressed your true “food-geek-ness.” Boy, did I meet their criteria: product and recipe creator, food writer, expert in nutrition (dietitian), expert in food security (masters degree), food spokesperson, and overall Foodie (love to eat good food). My life truly revolves around food and I love my food like a kid loves cake.

Even with all of the amazing culinary creations and food science developments on display, I was reminded that the IFT Expo celebrates much more than the creation of good tasting food. With more than 80 countries represented, it truly takes an army of food geeks to ensure food security, safety, and supply to the masses. This is best explained by the new video that IFT has recently released: World without Food Science. Please view and share your thoughts!

World Without Food Science

(http://youtu.be/yhuaXO2A3Tk)

Health and Wellness Tips for Living in Las Vegas (with the Las Vegas Informer)

(Free images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

As you head to the pool this morning, check out my latest in the Las Vegas Informer:

Health and Wellness Tips for Living in Las Vegas

I’ve been living in Las Vegas for a little over two years now, and what a whirlwind it has been! Adopting the “Vegas lifestyle” has been exciting, expensive and exhausting. While the dust settles on my sundrenched Scandinavian skin, I have learned how to both thrive and save in this 24-hour city. As a Dietitian, my main focus is with our health and wellness. As the Informer embarks on another year of UFC fights, big-time galas and networking events, so shall I. Here are my main health and wellness points about living in the Vegas Valley with vitality and vibrancy so others will want to live vicariously through you:

1) Alcohol

2) Sleep

3) Fluids

4) Exercise

5) Sun and Fun

6) Allergies

7) Karma and Tipping

Alcohol: I have found that my alcohol intake has increased while living here. My gaming has also increased. For me, the two came hand in hand. Just because the cocktail waitresses seem to come to the table faster and faster doesn’t mean you need to order a drink every time! Sip and savor the complimentary cocktails. Try alternating your drinks with a bottle of water or seltzer. And don’t forget to tip!

Sleep: Living in a 24-hour city doesn’t mean you need to adopt a party-all-the-time lifestyle. It doesn’t matter how you do it, you need to get your sleep. Put up “blackout” curtains in your bedroom to keep your sleep environment darker for longer. Like a true Las Vegan’ I seem to sleep best after arriving home while the sun is coming up!

Fluids: Drink water! Lots of water! I have had many clients tell me they are sick of water. If you feel the same, I recommend making your own caffeine-free iced-tea. Purchase some loose-leaf tea (I have found that Tevana at Town Square and/or Fashion Show Mall have the best variety), boil water, add the tea to steep, remove leaves, and cool the pitcher in the fridge. Try adding a little pinch of Stevia or sugar to sweeten up your glass.

Exercise: Find your favorite physical activities that are within your time and financial budget. Lifting weights and cardio machines can do the trick; but, you don’t necessarily need a gym membership! Try hiking at Red Rock, climbing Lone Mountain, or just running down the Strip a few days a week. Just get your body moving! The extra physical exertion throughout the week will build your stamina to allow you to dance longer on the weekends.

Sun and Fun: We Las Vegans love a pool, sun, liquor, and bare skin. I have learned that floppy hats and cabanas can be good for your health! Take breaks from the sun to recycle yourself. It’s so easy to dehydrate while in the sun with an alcoholic beverage. Take the downtime to refresh yourself, rehydrate with water, and reapply the SPF. Facials are expensive and skin cancer is no joke. Take care of yourself while you have fun!

Allergies: I thought my allergies were bad while living in the Midwest! Here in Vegas they are 10-times worse! I have adapted through a method I never realized would be as effective as it has been. One trip to an aroma therapist for a Raindrop session has stopped my allergy-induced asthma in its tracks. This has truly changed my life! I still carry antihistamines in my purse at all times in case other issues occur, but no more breathing treatments 1-3 times a day!

Tipping: We live in a city where the main industry is service oriented. Please tip. Over tip! Leaving 15% on a food bill isn’t the standard anymore (20% is the new average). There’s a big difference between pouring a regular coffee and concocting a double-decaffeinated mocha latte, extra hot, with extra whip and sprinkles. Sure, the latter might cost more, but the barista didn’t set the prices. They sure worked a lot harder to make the drink though! If you can’t tip more out of compassion for others, then think of it as you personally helping boost our local economy. Just remember, what goes around comes around (i.e. dont piss Karma off!).

We may only have one life to party hard, but we also only have one body to make the journey. Party in moderation and enjoy it all to the fullest!

(http://lasvegas.informermg.com/2012/06/02/health-and-wellness-tips-for-living-in-las-vegas/)

Food and Blood Pressure Also known as, how salt effects Hypertension

The lower your salt (also known as sodium) intake, the better it is for your blood pressure. According to the Institute of Medicine and Cleveland Clinic , a healthy amount of sodium for body function is 1,500-2,000 mg a day. Putting this into perspective, one slice of regular cheese pizzahas about 500 mg of sodium.  With that in mind, we have to make it an active goal to decrease sodium in our diet. As a general guideline, if it came from a living animal (ex: dairy), or it was in a package when you bought it, then it contains sodium. If it is fresh when you buy it, and you have to put it in a bag yourself in, say, the produce aisle, then it probably does not contain sodium. The most common reason we use so much sodium is because it is a cheap preservative and it typically makes things taste better. There are alternatives to salt when trying to add flavor. See R#3 below.

To decrease blood pressure by limiting your sodium intake, just remember the 4 R’s:

1. Restrict- Use less salt or none while cooking. Our taste buds acclimate to the amount of salt we eat. As we slowly remove salt from our diet the more sensitive we get to the taste. Thus, less salt will help our blood pressure and taste stronger.
2. Remove– Salt is not meant to be a center piece at the dinner table. The closer you have it to the food the more likely you are to use it. It is like having cookies on your night stand while trying to lose weight.
3. Replace- Use fresh herbs or salt-free dry herb/spice mixes such as Mrs. Dash. The fresh herbs add flavor and healthy antioxidants. The dry mixes are shelf stable. Both are easy to use. Check out these sites on tips for using:

Herbs

Mrs. Dash   -   My personal favorite: Southwest Chipotle.

4. Rinse – I love canned vegetables, especially beans. When I was a kid, my parents would always have the frozen green beans, and for some reason, I never liked them. The canned green beans; however, were a true delight to me. I can still easily shovel an entire can in my belly. Unfortunately, canned foods have sodium in them as part of the preserving process. That does not mean they are bad for you. You just need to add a step in the preparation process. It’s a VERY simple step: just rinse the contents in fresh water. Put canned vegetables in a colander and rinse off the sodium liquid. If heating on the stove top, add a little bit of fresh water to the pot. If heating in microwave, no additional water is required.

Learning how to read food labels will also help to decrease sodium. 
For items that generally do not have a label, see the list developed by the Cleveland Clinic of the average sodium content in common foods below. Please note, the vegetarian options of beans, lentils, and fresh produce have negligible amounts of protein.  This is an abbreviated list; please go to the Cleveland Clinic website for a detailed list.
Comparison of Sodium in Foods

Protein

Food Serving Size Milligrams/Sodium
Bacon 1 medium slice 155
Chicken 3.5 oz roasted 77-87
Egg, scrambled with milk 1 medium slice 171
Dried beans, peas or lentils 1 cup 4
Fish 3 oz cooked 50-59
Ham (roasted) 3.5 oz 1300-1500
Hamburger (lean) 3.5 oz broiled medium 77
Hot dog (beef) 1 medium 585
Pork loin, roasted 3.5 oz 65
Shrimp 3 oz 190
Tuna, canned in spring water 3 oz chunk 300
Turkey 3.5 roasted 63-79

Dairy Products

Food Serving Size Milligrams/Sodium
American Cheese 1 oz 443
Cheddar cheese 1 oz 175
Cottage cheese, low fat 1 cup 918
Milk, whole, skim or 1% 1 cup 120
Yogurt, plain 1 cup 115

Vegetables and Vegetable Juice

Food Serving Size Milligrams/Sodium
Asparagus 6 spears 10
Avocado 1/2 medium 10
Beans, white, cooked 1 cup 4
Beans, green 1 cup 4
Broccoli, raw 1/2 cup 12
Broccoli, cooked 1/2 cup 20
Carrot, raw 1 medium 25
Celery 1 stalk raw 35
Corn boiled, (sweet, no butter/salt) 1/2 cup 14
Cucumber 1/2 sliced 1
Eggplant, raw 1 cup 2
Eggplant, cooked 1 cup 4
Lettuce 1 leaf 2
Lima beans 1 cup 5
Mushrooms 1/2 cup (raw or cooked) 1-2
Mustard greens 1/2 chopped 12
Onions, chopped 1/2 cup (raw or cooked) 2-3
Peas 1 cup 4
Potato 1 baked 7
Radishes 10 11
Spinach, raw 1/2 cup 22
Squash, acorn 1/2 cup 4
Sweet potato 1 small 12
Tomato 1 small 11

Please note: These are sodium content ranges—the sodium content in certain food items may vary. Please contact your dietitian for specific product information.

(Citation)

Caution: Salt Substitutes

Sodium chloride is the chemical makeup of the salt we eat.  Salt substitutes, on the other hand, are composed of potassium chloride. Although this may sound like a good idea, always ask your doctor before you try to use these. It may interact with any medication you may be taking.

Herb and Seasoning Recipes

(Citation)

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and blend well. Spoon into shaker. Store in a cool, dark place.

Spicy blend

2 tbsp dried savory, crumbled

1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper

1 tbsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp ground cumin

2-1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp curry powder

Salt less Surprise

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp basil

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp powdered lemon rind or dehydrated lemon juice

Spicy seasoning

1 tsp cloves

1 tsp pepper

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp coriander seed (crushed)

1 tbsp rosemary

Mixed Herb

2 tbsp dried dill weed or basil leaves, crumbled

1 tsp celery seed

2 tbsp onion powder

1/4 tsp (pinch) dried oregano leaves, crumbled freshly ground pepper

Emerils Essence Sans Sodium

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Make your own: 
Combine some or all of the following:

garlic powder

onion powder

sweet paprika

smoked paprika

chili powder (mild, medium, or hot)

celery salt

black pepper

sage

cumin

cayenne

allspice

cloves

mace

For more information check out the

Dash Diet  

and the

Guide to Lowering BP  

Blood Pressure Rinsing!

My heart is pounding!!! Both of my Alma Maters, Ohio University (MS) and The Ohio State University (BS) have made it to the Sweet 16! This is a perfect time to talk about blood pressure rising!!

Why is blood pressure (BP) important? This number is the pressure that the blood moving through your body puts on your blood vessels. Hence, the name blood pressure. We say that our “blood pressure is rising” when we are mad, stressed, anxious, or EXCITED (as I am right now). No matter which emotion we are experiencing, the rising blood pressure causes our vessels to be stressed. Just as a wellness professional would tell you to decrease the stress in your life, we also need to decrease the stress on our bodies for overall wellness.

High BP


(Citation)

Blood pressure is the amount of stress on the plumbing (vessels) for our blood. So, one can only imagine what happens when the plumbing bursts or gets clogged. Cardiac Ischemia occurs when the fatty matter in our arteries narrows the passageway to a point where it cannot supply enough oxygen-rich blood to meet your heart’s needs. Thus, clogged arteries cause Angina. To some, it may feel like heart burn or chest pain. Angina can be described as a heaviness/pressure, aching, burning, numbness, squeezing or just plain painful. Angina can be felt in the chest, left shoulder, arms, neck, back, or jaw.  High blood pressure (hypertension) speeds up damage to blood vessel walls and can cause aneurysm (when a blood vessel bursts). Can you see how high cholesterol and hypertension work together against your heart? Fat and cholesterol narrow the plumbing passage way, but the blood still needs to get though. Pressure is put on the arteries (pipes), and eventually they will either burst or insufficient amounts of blood will cause your body to malfunction.

Consistently high blood pressure is one of the risk factors for stroke, heart attack and failure, along with aneurysm. Think these issues are confined to the heart? No! Hypertension is the leading cause of renal failure. Both high systolic pressure and high blood pressure (the numerical difference between systolic and diastolic pressures) are risk factors for complications.

Summary of BP numbers

Category

Systolic

Diastolic

Desirable

90–119

60–79

Prehypertension

120–139

or 80–89

Stage 1

Hypertension

140–159

or 90–99

Stage 2 Hypertension

160–179

or 100–119

Hypertensive Crisis

≥ 180

or ≥ 120

(Citation)

For an overall  summary and what to look forward to, check out this Video.

Tomorrow we will talk about  how food affects blood pressure.

Also known as, how salt effects hypertension.

Sports, Food and Gambling in the LV

The NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway  for the Kolbalt 400  this past weekend got me thinking. What sporting events have signature foods and beverages surrounding the event? With my research and overwhelming response from Facebook friends this is worth more than one post! Welcome to another series in the 2012 year in Vegas! Three things surround sports in Las Vegas: Gambling, Food, and Alcohol. Over the year Vegas Vitality Nutrition will discuss the lifestyle that surrounds sports and gambling here and abroad. This of course will include recipes!

Men and women a-like sports bet in Las Vegas. People move here never placing a sports bet in their life and realize the thrill of the parlay bet. For some placing a bet, no matter the sum of money, is addicting and the thrill is lost. It is a nervous addiction. Please, if you EVER even have an inkling of the idea you (or a friend) have a problem there are resources to help you! Do not let a fun pass-time ruin your finances, family, marriage, or more.  A local non-profit is Lanie’s Hope with founder Bea Aikens. She is a wonderful person with an amazing organization. Other resources are the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG)  that just closed out its 10th Annual Problem Gambling Awareness Week campaign, a grassroots public awareness and outreach campaign (March 4-10, 2012).

Now let’s get onto sports! Let’s get ready to…..rumm-™

Car Racing

One of my favorite trivia questions is: What beverage does the winner of the Indianapolis 500 Formula One race drink in Victory Lane?

A. Gatorade

B. Champaign

C. Milk

D. Tea

Continue to reading to find out the answer.

Martinsville Motor Speedway

March 30th, 2012

Martinsville, Virginia

Famous Martinsville Speedway Hot Dog 

You feel your heart pounding as the master of events tells “your” driver to start their engine. The engines revved, your driver breaks out the pack and then….the caution! You have time… so you rush down to the concessions to get a “sponsors your driver” beer and a hot dog. But not just any hotdog, the official Famous Martinsville Speedway Hot Dog .

This dog is packed with cheese and topped with onions and chili. On NASCAR weekend the track will sell 50,000 of these heart pounding delights. It is known for its distinct pink meat from the Red 40 dye. Besides the coloring, here is what it is composed of: pork, mechanically separated chicken, water, salt, as well as 2 percent or less of corn syrup, extrose, beef, flavorings, potassium lactate, sodium phosphates, sodium diacetate, sodium erythrobate, and sodium nitrite.

Although there are nitrites and calories from the fixings health nut Mark Martin will even indulge in this dog during the weekend. As will all indulgences, enjoy in moderation. So, one time a year is fun. Five hot dogs in the weekend might not be your best choice. But, did I mention it only cost $2 a dog! More beer money!

The dog is obviously not something you are going to whip-up in the kitchen. But, maybe try the fixings with your favorite nitrate-free dog. Here is a recipe I found int he Martinsville Bulletin that attempts to re-create the chili topping.

Indianapolis 500 aka Indy 500 

Indianapolis, Indiana

May 27th, 2012

Milk in Victory Lane 

The answer is MILK !  I agree with you that milk, especially the traditional buttermilk, on a hot and sticky Midwest Memorial weekend sounds stomach curdling. Mother advised, the first sip-of-milk came from winner Louis Meyer in 1936.  Consider it the first race car sponsorship idea as by 1956, dairy companies were paying the victor to drink their milk. Now the American Dairy Association pays the winner.  And don’t mess with traditions and sponsorships; in 1993 the Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi drank orange juice and then milk. When he got to the heart of America’s dairy industry that season, Wisconsin, he was booed in driver’s introductions.

Peanuts

In gambling we can be superstitious as with sports. Peanuts are considered bad luck in Indy.  As legend has it there was a car that wrecked at the track. Peanut shells were found in the cockpit of the car.

Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

A traditional food of choice at the speedway is the pork tenderloin sandwich. Deep fried pork tenderloin on a bun. I like mine with tomato and mayo. I miss the Culver’s of the mid-west….but I love my Vegas! Check out these recipes:

Hoosier Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Indy 500 Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Have fun! Eat, drink, be merry, and gamble responsibly.

Heart Health and the anxiety of the Tables (Part 1 of 4)

No you are not having a heart attack….you just put down much more than comfortable on that hand of Black Jack!

That is called anxiety.

Above is the picture of Matt and I at his weigh-in. As part of Heart Attack Grill policy we had to put on the hospital garb. Good-ol Vegas and the gimmicks. No, we did not eat there.  See our video of the weigh-in.

Only a few days after our weigh-in a man had a heart attack while eating at the Heart Attack Grill. It got me thinking that we are at the tail end of Heart Month; I suppose I should talk about heart health! This post is one of 4 for the Heart Health series.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Let’s start off talking about numbers and then progress into the foods that will help our numbers. Numbers for heart health refer to those delightful labs that we get drawn by the doctor while starving, aka fasting. We need to fast for the 12 hours prior to the test for the most accurate results. I don’t know about anyone else but the pain of the phlebotomists needle seems more intense while hungry, but it has to be done. (I always treat myself to some Sambalatte afterwards). Why is it so important to go through the pain of finding out our numbers? Bottom line is that they tell us our current health and heart disease risk. It can also tell us our diagnosis: hypertension, high cholesterol, and overall heart disease.

Might I also throw in here, sometimes heart disease cannot be completely healed with nutritional therapy. This is because heart disease is caused by 2 components: genetics and personal choices. If heart disease runs in your family you can do your very best to fix your diet and lifestyle but still may have to take medications. That is ok and you are not a failure, please take them if you doctor prescribes. But, it is ok to make the goal to take less medication if you have the lifestyle part under control. NEVER stop taking or change your dosage of medications without consulting your physician! It can be detrimental.
So, let’s break these numbers down and tell you what they mean from a nutritional point of view.

Cholesterol

Total Cholesterol
This number is the accumulation of the various cholesterol components: LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. Total cholesterol (TC) gives us the overall picture of our heart health. It includes the good and bad cholesterol. TC is like the law of averages; whether it is composed of more good (HDL) or bad (LDL) cholesterol does not matter it is what the sum of the parts. So you could have high cholesterol because your good cholesterol is high. This is unlikely, but possible.  For those mathematicians out there this is how the lab figures TC:

   HDL + LDL + (Triglycerides/ 5) = Total Cholesterol

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)
High LDL is a major risk factor for heart disease. The way I remember this is the bad cholesterol is “L” as in lousy cholesterol. This number is increased by too many saturated and trans fat in your diet. A good goal is to decrease the saturated fat in your diet to less than 10 percent (10%) of your total calories a day. This is 17- 20 grams of saturated fat a day for those eating 1,500-2,000 calories a day. So, whether you are trying to maintain or lose weight a diet lower in saturated fats may drastically change your diet.

Very Low Density Lipoprotein (VLDL)

This is another lousy cholesterol except it is VERY lousy. A high amount of VLDL is an indication of a higher risk of coronary artery disease. Thus, higher risk of heart attack or stroke. Like TC, VLDL is an estimated from your triglyceride value.

Triglycerides 

Triglycerides are a type of fat in our blood that is increase with sweets and alcohol. Thus, this lab has less to do with the butter and is more to do with the sugar in your pastry. Drinking alcohols in moderation and eating healthy carbohydrates (less sweets and more whole grains) will help us with this number. Think about how much soda your drink…..

High Density Lipoprotein (HDL)

Now to the good news! Our bodies use HDL to protect us. Think of HDL as the garbage truck removing all the bad (LDL) cholesterol. We want this number to be high. Think of it has having more trucks in Las Vegas removing our junk…the more the merrier! This number is lowered by too much trans fat. A good replacement for saturated fat is healthy vegetable based fats that are unsaturated. Saturated fat is solid at room temperature such as butter and unsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature.

Eating for BETTER numbers

Alcohol in moderation. Las Vegans, you heard me, moderation. This is one drink (6oz) for women and two for men. Not that you can’t handle the alcohol, you lush, but your heart doesn’t want to!

Fat that is unsaturated. Replace your saturated fat with healthier options. Less fried foods and more fresh vegetables drizzled with olive oil. I LOVE the store Cucina Olive Oil at Tivoli Village. They have an olive oil that tastes like butter! Tell them I sent you!

Omega’s from fish and vegetarian options.

Fiber and lots of it! Fiber and HDL work together to scrub down the pipes (your blood vessels) and prevent heart disease.

Overall you need to LOSE weight

Summary of Cholesterol numbers

This video is super medical, but a really great visual of cholesterol in the body.

Video

(Disclaimer: I do not receive funds or backing from AstraZeneca for using this video)

 Quick Reference of Numbers

Total Cholesterol

Below 200 mg/dL

Desirable

200-239 mg/dL

Borderline high

240 mg/dL and above

High

HDL cholesterol

Below 40 mg/dL

(men)
Below 50 mg/dL (women)

Poor

50-59 mg/dL

Better

60 mg/dL and above

Best

Triglycerides

Below 150 mg/dL

Desirable

150-199 mg/dL

Borderline high

200-499 mg/dL

High

500 mg/dL and above

Very high

LDL cholesterol

Below 70 mg/dL

Ideal for people at very high risk of heart disease

Below 100 mg/dL

Ideal for people at risk of heart disease

100-129 mg/dL

Near ideal

130-159 mg/dL

Borderline high

160-189 mg/dL

High

190 mg/dL and above

Very high

(http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol-levels/CL00001)

 _____________________________________________________________________

Spring Fling Health Fair

@

Spring Valley Hospital

March 31, 2012

(for those over 55 years old)

http://www.valleyhealthsys.com/Home/Spring-Fling-Health-Fair

Vegas Tea Party

January is National Hot Tea Month. That’s very befitting since there are blizzards hitting the mid-west and the temperature was actually below 35 degrees in Las Vegas this morning. Tea is the 6th most popular beverage in America and 80% of the tea we drink is iced. Iced tea was actually invented in the US in the 1800’s. Unfortunately, iced tea does not have the same healthful properties as hot tea.

The worlds’ largest producer of tea is India.  So, it is no wonder my first true experience with tea was when I traveled to India. I fell in love with the people, the art, and the socialization that surrounded tea in India. Drinking tea, specifically Chai tea during my experience, was a social event. And wow it was tasty; milk, sugar, spices, and black tea in the perfect combination made for a delightful cup of chai. Another one of my favorite tea serves is the Morocco Mint Tea. I had this for the first time, in all it presentation glory, at the Marrakesh restaurant in Washington D.C.


All teas, except herbal, are from the Camellia Sinensis (CS) plant. What differentiates the type of teas is the harvesting and processing of leaves.

A young plant has buds covered with silver hairs by which it was given the name “White Tea.” Upon harvest, these buds are steamed and dried. This increases the amount of catechins preserved for consumption. Catechins are the cancer fighting antioxidants found in chocolate, wine, and berries. Green and black teas are both made of mature CS leaves. Black tea is crushed and fermented where as green tea is withered and steamed. They both contain the same amount and types of antioxidants: thearubigins, epicatechins, and catechins.  Oolong tea us the most difficult tea to process. The protection of the tea leaf is paramount so it only partially ferments, then is steamed and dried.

Lastly, herbal teas do not contain caffeine and are not of the CS plant; Herbal infusions, Rooibos, and Matte. Herbal infusions are a combination of leaves, flowers, roots, bark, and seeds of various types of plants. Rooibos tea, translated to Red tea, is made of the Aspalathus Linearis plant originally from the Cape of Good Hope. Americans originally received this tea due to the cost of black tea. In comparison, Red Tea was less expensive; but, what a wonderful health discovery it has been! Red tea’s flavor improves the longer it steeps, unlike teas of the CS plant. This is because it has a low amount of tannins. Drinking too much black or green tea can lead to the development of anemia. Thus, if you are prone to anemia, drink Roobios instead of black or green tea.  There is also no oxalic acid in Rooibos tea. This will decrease your chance of kidney stones when compared to black/green tea.  Red tea is sounding better and better as we now know it has 50% MORE antioxidants than green tea! Lastly, my favorite, Roobios contains vitamin C, zinc, and alpha-hydroxy acid which are all great for your skin.

Matte is of the yerba mate plant, Ilex Paraguariensis. This plant is found in the South American rainforest. It has twice the amount of antioxidants as CS teas, but has been linked to certain cancers. Namely, it has been linked to esophageal cancer; however, the development of esophageal cancer could be due to the intense temperature the beverage is traditionally consumed and the resulting tissue damage of the esophagus and not the tea itself. The International Agency for Research of Cancer (IARC) place Yerba Mate as having a moderate level of evidence posing cancer risk to humans. If you do indulge in a cup of Yerba Mate, do so in moderation.

Tea Houses/Café in Las Vegas

Now that we know about teas let’s talk about where to enjoy tea in Las Vegas and how to purchase and prepare it yourself.  In America, our tea customs are certainly no Tea Ceremony. Most of us who have drunk tea in the past dropped a bag into a hot cup of water. While this is the easiest and most common way to drink tea, there are several cafes in Vegas that have harnessed the art of mindful drinking with loose leaf teas. I have sampled only a couple of cafes (so far) in Vegas and here is my review.

  • Sambalatte  is known by its artful upbeat vibe and coffee presentation. But the tea presentation is paired with a wide selection of lose leaf teas from white to herbal. The Silver Leaf tea I ordered was served in a French Press. The tea is placed in the hot water where then the leaves are pressed to the bottom of the pot with a plunger. Thus, I do not drink the leaves only the delicate flavor of the tea.
  • Petrossian Bar and Lounge at Bellagio is located in the main lobby. I enjoyed loose leaf Jasmine Tea and macaroons while listening to live piano. I people-watched as the lobby was buzzing with excitement as tourists checked into the hotel.  The presentation of tea was beautiful.  I loved the macaroons but learned I do not like Jasmine tea.

Other places to which I have yet to venture are:

The Strip

Sky Lobby at the Mandarin Oriental 590-8888

Summerlin

Special Tea Shoppe  2620 Regatta (Buffalo and W. Cheyenne) 233-3795

Azuza Hookah and Fine Teas  6340 W. Charleston 258-BOBA

Henderson

Market Tea Room  6665 S. Eastern Ave 362-4832

Tea Preparation

Currently, my favorite place to buy loose leaf tea is Teavana at Town Square. There is also a shop located on The Strip at Fashion Show Mall.  While there, the staff will let you smell the different teas and offer suggestions for tasty blends. Once you return home with your new wholesome finds, store your tea in a cool, dark, dry place away from strong odors. Thus, do not store tea in a glass jar on the kitchen counter, on a windowsill in the Vegas sunlight, or in a porous vessel next to your onions. For the best instruction on how to prepare your tea, seeping times, and water temperature check out Tevana’s website.

Recipes

As mentioned previously, my favorite way to prepare tea is Chai and Moroccan Mint. Please enjoy these recipes:

Mint Tea 

This video is a great way to see the creation and service of the tea: Moroccan Mint Tea

Chai tea: Bring mixture of 3 parts water and 1 part milk, 2 heaping spoons of sugar, a hunk of fresh ginger, and 1 tsp of tea per cup of liquid to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove tea leaves and ginger with a small strainer. Serve hot!

Tea Trivia

Did you know that Orange Pekoe (Peck-o) tea does not contain any citrus? Orange connotes the size of the tea leaf. Orange size is the largest possible of tea leaf sizes.  If you are a trivia lover, check out the quiz at TeaUSA. And if you are especially interested in tea, go to Republic of Tea website  and sign up for their 5-part education series.

Viva Vegas Vitality Nutrition

What a year 2011 was! Speaking for the Narcolepsy Network and living in our diverse Las Vegas Valley spurred my idea for this blog. In a 24-hour city, we have people that work all hours of the day. Their lunch is at midnight while their significant other’s is at noon. We have children and still work 12 hour days. We are busy.

Whether you work in “the Industry” or at a hospital, we take care of others all day. When we clock-out, we check-out, and we tend to have no drive or energy to care for ourselves outside of the workplace. For those non-Las Vegans’, working in “the Industry” means anything having to do with The Strip. These are the people that make you feel better about your trip to Las Vegas, no matter what your actions were! Those who work for in the industry are those who check you in at the beginning of your magical weekend, those who serve you your $15 Cosmo, and the unseen that clean up your vomit from the tram.  Not only do we work all odd hours, but we are expected to be more attractive than the people you are used to seeing every day. I am not talking mascara and showered attractive. I mean fake eyelashes and extensions…for lack of a better term, “Porn Star hot.”  With these unrealistic expectations, it is ironic that various polls have found Las Vegas to be one of the fattest cities or the most gluttonous. Yes, we have a lot of restaurants, but like any major city in the US, we are unhealthy!

What do we need? A reality check! We need to look at our lives and figure out how we can feel better and eat better. We need to feel better in our skin by taking care of ourselves from the inside out. No matter your work hours, no matter your career goals, no matter your current weight, we all needs this. Vegas Vitality Nutrition will be a year long journey through Las Vegas lifestyle, food, and nightlife while eating well and feeling refreshed.

To show that significant weight loss can happen in the city of gluttony and sin, we will follow Matt throughout these blog entries. Matt is a 500 pound Las Vegan. He has about $40 a week for groceries and utilizes food pantries to fill the calorie gap.  He works two jobs, both at odd hours. He does not qualify for food stamps.  Unfortunately, he does not have health insurance. Iyan Breese and I will be helping Matt lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle within his situation. Iyan owns IBTraining and is a personal trainer.  Matt trains with him several days a week. You can see his training videos https://www.facebook.com/IBTraininglv. I meet with Matt once a month to help him with his nutrition and grocery shopping habits. I am available to him for phone and text questions as needed. For a little extra motivation, I have Matt share with me a motivational quote once a week.

Throughout the coming entries, I will detail my sessions with Matt, methods of finding your fitness personality, and most important of all, my experiences with nutrition in the Entertainment Capitol of the World, my home, Las Vegas.

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