Wednesday, June 16, 2010

veggie quesadillas

remember those tortillas i told you about? here is another recipe you can use with these yummy tortillas or another tortilla you like. i LOVE this recipe and got it from my older sister a while back. i make it often and think it's delish!

1/2 green pepper (diced)
1 onion (diced)
2 TB olive oil
1/2 c. salsa
2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can corn (drained)
1 tsp. chili powder
mozzarella cheese (although i've never had it with the cheese, i'm sure it's good)

saute the first three ingredients until soft and tender. add rest of ingredients (except cheese) and heat through. top with cheese and avocado or any other toppings you'd like. just keep in mind, they are delicious without the toppings. and the toppings generally add lots of empty calories (except avocado. it's a great fat. just don't use too much). you can do without all the extra toppings!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Does eating fat make you fat?

From ages 13 to 20, I followed most fad diets out there.  One that I stuck with for a while was the 'fat free' craze.  My mom picked up Snackwells fat free cookies, fat free cheese slices, fat free hot name it.  In the long run, I think my weight stayed exactly the same.  In hindsight, I realize if I don't eat fat, why would my body let go of the excess it was storing?

Fats are an important component of the diet.  Gram for gram they are highest in calories--9 calories per gram of fat.  Here's a few reasons why you should consider consuming more HEALTHY fats to help you lose weight.  It sounds backward, but hear me out.

Fat that Burns Calories
Udo Erasmus, author of "Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill" is a proponent of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs).  He has done a ton of research to back his claims about healthy fats.  He says that "EFAs, in a ratio of two (omega 3) to one (omega 6) and at levels of about twelve to fifteen percent of total caloric intake, increase the rate of metabolic reaction in the body. This increased rate burns more fat into carbon dioxide, water and energy (heat), which results in fat burn-off and a loss of excess weight."

EFAs don't necessarily 'count' as fat calories, because they increase calorie burning. "And, instead of being used as fuel, they play a role in cell membranes, and are converted into hormone-like prostaglandins. And yes, these fats do keep us slim. Fats that help heal your body also help you stay slim, and the "bad" fats, the fats that kill, make and keep you fat."

Fat that Increases Energy
When you eat essential fatty acids in the form of pure, unadulterated fats and oils, your energy levels and stamina increase. This is especially obvious to the overweight, the elderly and athletes.

One of Erasmus' studies involved athletes who added 1 tablespoon per 50 lbs of body weight of essential fatty acids to their diet. It found that these athletes gained increased strength and endurance, could lift heavier weights, do more reps and recovered from fatigue faster. Some also reported weight loss with the increased fat intake! Those who consume fresh EFA's find their energy levels pick up, they feel like being physically active and they stay alert later into the evening. When they stopped taking the EFA's this increased stamina was back down to normal within two weeks.

I took EFA's by the tablespoon in my green smoothie during my pregnancy with my twins to make sure I had enough for their developing brains.  Studies show that lack of EFA's in the diet has been linked to postpartum depression because the mom gives her own to the developing baby.  I felt great and gained weight right on schedule.  I took Udo's Oil because there is no fish oil in it and no fishy taste. Not particular on the brand, just that I get the right amount of healthy fats in my diet.  Udo's oil is a blend of flax, sunflower, sesame, coconut, evening primrose oils, and a few others.

Don't get stuck in the 'avoiding fat' trap.  Monitor your fat intake and look for healthy oils.  The key here is the right kind of fat.