50+ Fitness and Fat-Burning Foods

This time of year we are hammered extra heavily with advertisements and claims of the best diet plan. How do you choose the real sound and factual information and skip the hype? Bob and Ron are offering up advice that’s scientific-based and free for the taking.

Bob’s Experience:

I often read articles, actually mostly ads for the newest weight loss diet plan that includes the magic formula of fat burning foods. Fat burning foods… are there such things? The storyline for these diet plans always seems to suggest that specific foods will actually trigger some physical reaction in our body, or metabolism that causes the burning of body fat. Well, I’m suspect of these claims.

One of the reasons I’m suspect is that as an adult with a history of childhood obesity, and a lifelong propensity to pack on the pounds, I have tried most all of these fat burning food plans. Remember the grapefruit diet? I did it. That one was in college, and BTW, I HATE grapefruit! Did I lose some weight? Yes I did, for a few days, but the balance of the diet plan was so restrictive that I gave up out of sheer boredom. And frankly, now that I’m 50 plus, I have learned to enjoy an even greater variety of foods and variety is something that I don’t feel I should have to give up.

I’ve also tried other combinations of foods that were all promoted as the sure-fire way to burn extra body fat. I didn’t see results. But I have often wondered about the reverse of the fat burning food premise, meaning are there foods that actually promote more fat storage? I have to think there are such foods; fatty meats come to mind. But what about carbohydrates and sugars, do they promote fat storage? What about protein?

My feeling is that carbohydrates get a bad rap, and over fatty foods have been given a pass by such popular and heavily promoted diet plans as Atkins. Personally, I always have said “carbohydrates are your friend”! Granted I have mixed reasons for this:

1) I truly feel that I have more workout energy if I eat sufficient carbs and

2) I absolutely love pasta. But there are other good sources of carbs that are non-starchy, broccoli for example, and even blueberries, both foods packed with other important nutrients.

Likewise there are alternative sources of protein beyond fatty meats that contain healthy fat sources, like nuts, egg white omelets, fat free organic milk and others. And don’t forget that our bodies do need some fat in the diet; just choose the healthy fat sources like olive oil, avocado and almonds, etc.

And as for foods that promote fat storage (or are more prone to pack on the pounds), the guy with the expertise in this area is our friend Ron the Trainer. Listen to what he has to say and then refer to our jointly compiled list of favorite foods for staying lean (or reducing body fat) and building and maintaining your muscle.

Ron’s Expertise:

I constantly hear people say that now that they are getting “older” they find it harder to lose weight or maintain the body weight they desire. Unfortunately, many people 50 plus will throw in their age as the reason their body weight isn’t where it should be. But, I suspect that IF they hear all of the good advice on weight control AND really, really, really take a hard look at their lifestyle, age isn’t the factor in being overweight.

But most people like, even crave a variety of good foods. And for many fitness enthusiast the idea of good food is very different from the average American who struggles with the bathroom scale. I suspect the average American is overeating and more sedentary than the fitness industry and US Government recommends.

Now, onto “fat-burning” foods… well, these are actually natural foods that are lower in fat and will help to contribute to weight control and, in some cases, help to lower cholesterol. The fitness industry recommends:

Natural starchy carbs and whole grains include:

  • Wheat Bread
  • Brown Rice
  • All Varieties of Beans – except refried!
  • Hot cereals such as oatmeal, cream of rice, and others which contain barley, rye or oats
  • Sweet Potatoes and Yams – there is a slight difference
  • White Potatoes – just not French fries!
  • Wheat Pasta

Best vegetable choices are:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Peppers – all colors
  • Spinach
  • Salad greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

Lean protein selections:

  • Buffalo
  • Egg Whites (the yolks in eggs are where fat is found)
  • Whey Protein (protein powder supplements)
  • Skinless White Chicken (especially breast meat)
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Lean Ground Turkey
  • Turkey Breast
  • Top Round Steak
  • Flank Steak

Best Fruit Choices:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries

Of course, all of these great food choices are of no value if you prepare them poorly. I interjected a couple of choice “not” directives, but making good food choices and preparing them well (fruit and vegetables in their natural, uncooked state is best) makes all the difference between struggling with the bathroom scale and succeeding. Meat, poultry and fish should be baked, broiled, etc. to bring out the most flavor and be healthiest.

When choosing healthy, non-processed foods, be sure to include those with the healthy fats included, such as almonds, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil supplement, walnuts.

Some of the best advice ever regarding food choices is to limit your grocery shopping to the perimeters of the grocery store – fresh, produce, dairy, meats. The lists here may seem as though you are being limited in your choices but really, when eating fresh and healthy, you don’t have to eat the same things over and over.

So, 50+ or not, don’t throw in the towel when it comes to weight control but also be wary of amazing fat-burning food claims. Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels – so, stay focused on your weight goals, monitor food choices and portions for your 50+/+Fit Quality of LifeStyle!

The 3 Most Important Considerations When Choosing Your Foods

Make no mistake about it, food is the most powerful medicine you’ll ever take.

Why? No matter what other medicine you take (prescriptions, herbs, vitamins, etc.), your food has a greater impact. A plate full of food wins over a handful of pills every time because there’s so much more of it.

So choosing your food shouldn’t be just a casual matter. But it also doesn’t have to be difficult. By paying a bit of attention to just three qualities of the foods you eat, you’ll automatically start feeling better.

1) Eat Whole Food:

This means unprocessed. A piece of fruit is far better than a glass of fruit juice, even if the juice is freshly squeezed. This is because juice has 3 to 5 times more sugar per volume than fresh fruit. And since most people already get too much sugar, less fruit juice is better.

Of course if the juice is homogenized, pasteurized or bottled in a way that requires heat, it’s even worse.

This doesn’t apply only to juices either. Each step of processing removes nutrients and alters the original nature of any food that’s processed.

This means that processed grains (bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, muffins, etc.), any kind of snack food (chips, pretzels, popcorn, etc.) and anything else you might eat that’s been processed before you buy it will be less nutritious than the whole food version of the same exact ingredient.

In addition, if you eat these processed foods you must become a ‘label detective’ to make absolutely sure what has or hasn’t been added to the end result. Most food additives are there to improve color or shelf-life, not to improve your health. The bottom line is, if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.

2) Eat Fresh Food:

This one is obvious, but there’s a hidden message here as well. When we pick out produce, dairy or meat, we typically choose those that are fresher.

For example you’d never pick out a soggy tomato with mold on it from the tomato bin. You’d go for the one that is firm, fresh and smells good. The same goes for any other food you buy that you can see in its normal state.

But when foods are processed, we have no idea what the original state of the food was.

A recent NY Times article drives this particular point home. The article details how a group of purchasing managers from well-known companies such as Kraft Foods, Frito-Lay and Safeway took bribes for buying substandard crops as ingredients for their processed foods.

The substandard crops included millions of pounds of tomato paste and puree with mold counts far above safe limits. The produce got by regulators due to falsified documentation about the quality, acidity and age of the product.

That’s not to say that every processed food suffers from these problems. However it does point out that if food comes in a box, a jar, a can, a bottle or a package, you can’t tell what condition it was in before processing.

To be safe, fresh is always better.

3) Eat Food In Its Natural State:

This one is simple.

Ever seen a bread tree? How about a pasta bush?

Nope. Neither have I.

The point here is that if you’re eating food in a form that you can’t find in nature, it’s, um… not natural. The closer to its natural state a food is, the more likely it is to have all of the vitamins, minerals and other nutritional factors nature intended.

In summary, by eating primarily foods that meet the above three criteria, you can be reassured that you’re actually getting what you pay for. And you’ll be getting your food with the maximum nutritional value possible.

Food Saver Bags

If you have ever cooked too much food at one meal, you may be looking for a way to save this food. No one likes throwing out perfectly good food, but sometimes recipes create a little too much for your family to consume. This is the primary reason why food saver bags were invented. People needed an easy way to store leftovers that would allow them to stay fresh until they could be eaten. Not only does this give you another meal to eat, but it also saves money in the long run.

There are many different types of bags used for storing food via vacuum sealing. The various kinds are based on the specific needs of those using them. The main factor you should consider when buying your sealer bags is quality. You will want durable bags that are not prone to leaking, as this can create a mess in your refrigerator and make food storage a huge hassle. These tiny holes would also allow air to reach the food inside, shortening the time it stays good while being stored.

The best food saver bags should be made with multiple layers. This will help to prevent tears that could cause food to spoil or make a mess. This will also keep the food from receiving freezer burn, a condition which makes people want to just throw out the leftovers rather than try to reheat and eat them. No one wants to pull out stored food to see that it has changed colors and is now covered in frost. This is not only a waste of money because of the sealer bags and the food, but is also a waste of time storing the food.

It is good to choose food saver bags that are designed specifically for the purpose of storing food for a few days. There are other storage methods out there, but vacuum sealing your leftovers will keep them good much longer than most other strategies. It is also beneficial to purchase sealer bags that are reusable. These may cost a bit more than one time use bags, but they will save you in the long run because you will not have to replace them after each use.

Most of these vacuum sealer bags are very versatile and durable when it comes to reheating the food. The leftovers can be thawed in the bag, and the higher quality bags allow you to also boil the contents before removing it. Many of them are also microwave safe, saving you from having extra dishes to wash when you want to reheat stored food. Remember that there are several methods you can use to store your foods, but vacuum packing tends to make them last longer and continue to taste fresh days after they have been stored.