The 5 Superfoods of Sushi Restaurants

Iodine rich foods, like fishJapanese traditional cuisine is based on seafood and fresh vegetables and is packed with superfoods! So you’d think going out for sushi would be incredibly healthy for you – right? Well, it can be. But the first step towards making your Sushi night a healthful success is ditching one ingredient: White rice.

White rice is high on the glycemic index and low in vitamins and minerals compared with unprocessed grains. It’s calorie-dense and will boost your insulin levels to make you feel hungrier – Sumo wrestlers eat it all the time!

But what is sushi without the rice?

  1. It’s called sashimi. Seriously. Order sashimi and you’ll enjoy a plate of delicious fresh raw fish, minus the calorie-dense, vitamin-deficient processed white rice. My favorites are fatty tuna and salmon, both rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
  2. Hand rolls, seaweed wrappers packed with raw fish and fresh vegetables, are another superfood staple. Seaweed is one of nature’s best sources of iodine, which improves your skin and helps your metabolism for faster, easier weight loss.
  3. Green tea is rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants and has even been shown to reduce anxiety – which means it’s good for the body and the mind! Green tea also has small amounts of flouride, making it excellent for strengthening teeth (in  moderation).
  4. Miso soup comes with nearly every sushi dinner. It contains kojic acid, which reduces age spots and brightens skin.
  5. Edamame, soy beans, reduces symptoms of menopause and help women maintain balanced hormone levels. Even for younger women, soy helps skin stay plump and elastic.

Of course, you’ll also want to avoid the tempura and sushi rolls with crazy names, like “crunchy rainbow volcano roll.” Not only do these rolls all include white rice, they also often rely on mayonnaise and fried ingredients. These rolls are made to please Western palates – you’d never find them in a sushi restaurant in Japan (unless they cater to tourists!).

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The Best Diet & Fitness Regimen for Happiness

Feeling out of sorts? Unfulfilled? Blasé? Bored? Depressed? Anxious? Frazzled? Sad?

Sure, you could take a pill for that and feel a little better – maybe – but I’ve got a better answer for you: Diet and exercise. Change your eating habits and your physical lifestyle, and you can completely change your outlook and your life! Mind and body work together to produce your emotions, and how you treat your body fuels everything that happens inside it. Don’t believe me? Try this for one week and report back:

Crunchy Chicken Tacos

Eating (and Drinking) for Happiness

Green tea is my coffee substitute of choice because, while caffeine can cause anxiety and jitteriness, green tea works as a stimulant and calms you down with an amino acid called L-theanine. One study showed that taking L-theanine before a test helped students stay calm.

Salmon, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and flax seeds have some of the highest levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s help brain function, and as you know, your brain controls nearly everything. One study from Ohio State University found that students who increased their intake of Omega-3 fatty acids experienced a 20 percent reduction in anxiety.

Eggs, shellfish, tuna, and grass-fed lean beef are high in Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins. We need a wide range of B vitamins for our brains to function best, and when we’re not getting them, our brains can make us feel depressed, anxious, and irritable.

Avocados, legumes, bananas, fish and dark green leafy vegetables hare rich in vitamin B6, another B vitamin associated with improving mood and reducing anxiety and depression.

Yogurt and probiotics have been shown to reduce “behaviors associated with stress, anxiety and depression” in mice, according to a 2011 study published in Discover magazine.

For more tips on what to eat to improve your mood, click here! 

The thing about running quote

Exercising for Enthusiasm!

My favorite study reports that aerobic exercise is an effective treatment for many forms of depression. It’s not news – this study came out in 1999. Depressed adults who engaged in aerobic exercise actually improved as much as those on Zoloft. In 2006, another study was conducted that found that exercise led to a 30 percent rate of remission (which is as good, or better than, drugs).

You don’t have to take up one specific exercise – just pick one you enjoy. Jogging, swimming, long walks on the beach, hiking, tennis – anything that gets you moving!

For the best results, you need 3-5 workout sessions per week that last 45 to 60 minutes. Ideally, you should reach 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

Cut Out Sugar, or Cut Out Fat – Turns Out, Both Approaches Are Wrong

Dangers of Non-Fat diets

Researchers love twin experiments because health is so heavily determined by genetics. However, nutrition and exercise also significantly affect health, which is why this recent month-long twin experiment in Britain is so interesting.

Two brothers, twins Chris and Xand, who are both physicians with similar lifestyles and identical fitness regimens, decided to test which nutrient was worse for you: Sugar or fat. The no-sugar, or ultra-low-fat diets are fairly common approaches to weight loss, but it turns out neither are the best method for pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Well I could have told them that!

Low-Fat

Chris adopted the low-fat diet, allocating the bare minimum of 2 percent of his daily total intake to fat. Essentially, he mimicked the “Non-Fat” craze that took over much of the diet market in the 1990’s. Interestingly, in the late 1980’s, two major reports came out identifying dietary fat as the most important change to improving health, which resulted in food manufacturers substituting sugar for fat (ie. Snackwell cookies).

As many 90’s dieters (and Chris) discovered, severely reducing fat does not lead to losing weight. The Low-fat dieting twin experienced constant feelings of hunger, which made him eat more in calories despite the low fat count.

Sugar-Free

Xand, the other twin, went for a high protein diet that eliminated carbohydrates – not just table sugar, but also flour and fruit which convert to sugar – similar to the Atkins diet. When the Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution was first published in 1972, the President of the American College of Nutrition was quoted as saying “Of all the bizarre diets that have been proposed in the last 50 years, this is the most dangerous to the public if followed for any length of time.”

Xand discovered that eliminating all sugar had some nasty side effects, including less energy and stamina, bad breath, constipation, and fatigue. He did lose more weight (a total of 9 pounds in the course of the month), but he said the low-carb, high-protein diet caused his body to go into ketosis (the body burns fat, but doesn’t provide enough glucose to the brain). Ketosis can also lead to kidney failure.

And The Winner Is?

So which is better: No sugar, or Low-fat? It turns out, both are “pretty miserable” in the words of the brothers.

Their conclusion, according to Chris, was “We should not vilify a single nutrient.” The twin doctors reportedly decided that it’s the combination of sugar and fat found in many processed foods that is the real source of diet-related problems. They recommend watching calories and portion size while eating mostly whole foods. The experiment might be news, but the conclusion sounds like common sense to me!

A Healthy St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

Healthy St. Patrick's Day Dinner Ideas

The Irish aren’t known for their healthy eating – corned beef and hash is ideal for keeping you warm on a chilly, damp Irish evening, but I don’t think any of us here in Florida need all those calories (better to save the calories for all the Guinness you’ll be drinking). So I’ve come up with a healthy version of a St. Patrick’s Day dinner: Sausage & Colcannon.

Normally, Colcannon is made with fluffy mashed potatoes and cabbage. But, to cut down on the carbs and to increase the health benefits tremendously, substitute cauliflower for potatoes, and use your favorite chicken or veggie sausage.

Healthy Colcannon with Guinness Gravy

Combine:

Mashed Cauliflower: 1 head of cauliflower serves 3 generously. Chop your cauliflower into quarters and steam until tender. Puree with an immersion blender or food processor, adding salt and pepper to taste. If you want it creamier, add your favorite healthy “butter” or milk.

Onions & Sausage: Saute 1/2 onion, chopped, until caramelized. Add your favorite chicken-apple sausage, or veggie sausage, and cook until done. Set sausage aside, leaving the onions in the pan.

Kale or Cabbage: Add kale or 1/4th  of a head of cabbage to the onions and saute until tender.

Combine mashed cauliflower with onions and kale/cabbage. Serve with sausages over the top or on the side – with optional Guinness Gravy.

Guinness Gravy:

  • 1 can Guinness
  • 2 Tb Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tb Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tb Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tb Flour

Whisk flour with half of the bottle of Guinness and pour into the skillet you used to cook the onions. Add the rest of the Guinness, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer until thickened.