Saturday, April 30, 2016

In The News: Is Dark Chocolate An Athletic Performance Booster?

Dark chocolate has been in the news for years now, often with respect to its affect on cardiovascular disease prevention and lowering body fat.  Now recent research shows it may even boost athletic performance! The study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, tested nine amateur cyclists with an initial fitness test, then divided them into two groups- one was instructed to replace one of their normal daily snacks with 40 grams of dark chocolate (dc) and the other ate 40 grams of white chocolate (wc). A randomized crossover design was used and the groups and the participants each had two week trials, each group either eating the dc or wc for one week and then switching. Oxygen consumption, RER, heart rate and blood lactate were measured during each trial during moderate exercise and in time trials at the end of each week. The researchers found that cyclists eating dark chocolate used less oxygen when cycling at a moderate pace and rode more distance in a two minute timed interval. Oxygen consumption was 6% higher following dark chocolate consumption vs. baseline measurements and gas exchange threshold (a marker of respiratory fitness and endurance) increased by 11% in the dc group comparison to the wc group and increased 21% overall in comparison to baseline.  Dark chocolate's beneficial effect on athletic performance is thought to be due to increasing the availability of nitric oxide in the blood, which may increase vasodilation, uptake of glucose and help with regulation of muscular contraction. This seems like more exciting preliminary news for dark chocolate lovers!!


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Recipe ReDux Post # 45 and Gabby's Eats: Ham Cheese and Tomato Pinwheels

April’s Recipe ReDux theme is “Limpin’ Along For Lunch” and we were encouraged to help break out of the lunch rut by coming up with some tasty new ideas.  Gabby and I have not cooked together in awhile since we finished our ecookbook and I this seemed like the perfect opportunity to jump right back into it! I wanted to come up with a quick and easy yet also yummy and creative recipe that she could make with my help. A few weeks ago, at Easter dinner, my father had introduced Gabby to the delicious combination of ham and tomato sandwiches and she really enjoyed it. We decided to put a new twist on this combo by making a pinwheel style sandwich incorporating those same ingredients.  Gabby enjoyed slicing the tomatoes and cutting the crusts off the bread. We used soft whole wheat bread, which easily rolled out flat with the rolling pin.  Soft cheese wedges made a perfect spread to go with the ham and tomato slices.  The roll ups came out great and Gabby really enjoyed making/eating them and was proud of her first recipe of 2016. So was I!! We hope you will try them out and check out some of the other great lunch ideas created by the talented Recipe ReDux group.


2 large slices of soft whole wheat bread
2 spreadable cheese wedges (we used Laughing Cow Light)
1 medium, roma tomato sliced thin
2 slices (2 ounces)  of lean ham (we used Trader Joes nitrate free ham)


Cut the crust off the bread slices and roll them out flat using a rolling pin. 

Spread each bread slice with a cheese wedge.  Layer the ham and then tomatoes on top. Roll up each sandwich and cut into 4-5 pieces. Serve immediately.

Makes  2 sandwiches, 2 servings

Serving size 1 sandwich Calories 193  Protein 14 g Carb  23 g Fiber 4 g Sugars 8 g Fat 4.5 g Saturated fat 1 g Sodium 657 mg
Gabby's Shot:


Sunday, April 10, 2016

In the News: Coffee Intake Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Type 2 Diabetics

Coffee is a "hot" topic with respect to its effect on health, namely its consumption decreasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes.  This particular article summarizes a recent study that actually revealed beneficial effects of drinking coffee in those already diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  The participants drinking coffee actually experienced lower blood sugars, uric acid levels, which together, helped improve insulin sensitivity! Click HERE and take a look!!


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