Dr. KwaZ blog

Sharing The Tips And Tricks I Have Learned Through The Years

The Skinny:

Mason Jar Salads are super easy and super healthy. You can cut your meal prep time in half for those days you're in rush. 

 

How do the greens not get soggy?

The basic idea when packing salads in jars is to start with the heaviest and most non-absorbent ingredients with the dressing on the bottom of the jar and work your way up through the lighter ingredients until you end up with the salad greens themselves. As long as your jar doesn't accidentally tip over in your bag, the delicate greens will be well-protected from the dressing until you're ready to eat.

How does everything get mixed together?

When you're ready to eat your salad, just unscrew the cap and shake it into a bowl. Everything gets pretty compacted in the jar, so some vigorous shaking may be needed! This shaking also helps to toss the salad ingredients with the dressing. Once the salad is in the bowl, you can toss it some more with your fork to make sure everything is evenly coated.

What's the best jar to use?

Any canning jar can be used, but wide-mouthed jars are the easiest for both packing the salad into the jars and shaking them out again. Pint-sized jars are great for individual side salads of mostly greens with just a few "extra" salad toppings. Use quart-sized jars for larger lunch and dinner salads that have a lot of extra veggies and salad goodies. Two-quart jars (or larger) are great if you're taking the salad to a potluck or cookout.

How long will jars of salad keep in the fridge?

With the lid sealed tightly, these salads can last for several days in the fridge — up to five days or so. If you're making salads with soft ingredients or perishable proteins, like avocados, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, or cooked chicken breast, wait to add those ingredients until the day you plan to eat the salad. Also, if you have a vacuum-sealer attachment for your canning jars, vacuum-sealing the salads right after assembling them will keep your greens and veggies even crisper and fresher.

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What is the best source of carbs and nutrient timing post workout?

There are three things we look for in a post workout carbohydrate:
  

1: High on the glycemic index.   

2: High on insulin index.  

3: Low in fructose.  

You need to spike insulin post workout if you want to replenish your glycogen stores. Foods that you might think are good but are not will include: grapes, mango, banana. Which could have high as 4.9% for fructose content. Also, avocados would be a poor choice because they have a high-fat content. You should be looking for fruits like apricots, Kiwi's, pineapples, figs, white rice and rice cakes. You also must have fast acting protein like whey or iso whey which will increase the amount of glycogen stored by approximately 32%. Having said that, the anabolic window has recently been studied to be a lot larger than originally thought. So don't worry too much about trying to get the carbs in before the 30-minute mark. You have more like 2 hours. 

 

By: Today.com

Looking at Megan McGee today, it's hard to believe there was ever a time when she lacked confidence and felt bad about herself. But several years ago, McGee was in a bad place in her life and wound up gaining 75 pounds.

"I was 19 and I started dating someone — it was an unhealthy relationship," McGee, now 26, explained. "I stopped seeing my friends, stopped going to the gym, and started gaining weight."

The Ashford, Surrey, United Kingdom, resident felt like she lost herself. She couldn't look in the mirror without hating how she looked. One night, she was getting ready to go out and something snapped.

 "I couldn't find anything to wear. I was dreading going out because I didn't want to be the fat friend. I broke down and cried," McGee recounted. She didn't end up going out that night; instead, she decided she had to make a change.

"I looked at myself (in the mirror) and I said, 'The amount of energy you're spending hating yourself, you could use that time and energy for changing yourself into who you want to be.'"

This was three years ago and McGee hasn't looked back since. She joined the weight-loss program Slimming World and took control of her life.

"I was really excited to start. Joining the plan felt like a glimmer of hope, and like I would gain control of my life again," she said.

 Here are the five steps McGee took to start living a healthier lifestyle:

1. Plan your meals ahead of time.

"Back when I was heavier, I was eating less. I would skip breakfast, eat a sandwich for lunch, and then end up binge eating in the evening," McGee remembered. Now, she prepares for her day the night before.

"I learned how to portion my plate, to include veggies, carbs and proteins."

2. Find an activity you enjoy doing.

McGee started by walking more with her dog, then she got a bike and started cycling a lot. But what really worked was finding a fitness class she loved.

"I started taking Zumba classes, and I really enjoyed it!" McGee said. "When you enjoy something, you want to do it more."

3. Realize you're not alone.

"I've had weeks where I cried, but the support network provided by Slimming World gave me a safe place where I could cry, but they would still help me focus on the positives," she said. "They helped me celebrate, even on the weeks that I had gained (weight)."

4. Have hope.

"There are millions of people who struggle to lose weight, if we're all in it together, it makes it less scary," McGee explained. "You should never feel ashamed of where you're at."

5. Continue to live your life.

McGee isn't a slave to the number on the scale.

"I've gone on holidays where I expect to gain weight, and when I return and get back in my routine, it's off again," she explained. "I'm living life in the healthiest way possible — physically and mentally."

                          

By: Erin Brodwin

Every year, supplements send roughly 20,000 people to the emergency room.

Last year, the world's largest dietary supplement maker, GNC Holdings Inc, agreed to pay $2.25 million to avoid federal prosecution over its alleged sale of illegal pills and powders.

And the Food and Drug Administration has ordered the makers of several supplements to recall their products after scientists found traces of illegal and potentially dangerous molecules in their formulas.

Still, while many supplements are useless, there are others that we can't enough of simply by eating a healthy diet.

So here are the supplements you should take — and the ones to avoid.

 Protein powder: Get it — eat beans, tofu, nuts, fish, or meat instead.Marketed as necessary for weight gain and muscle building, protein is one of the best-selling supplements in the US.

Protein is good for you — it helps build muscles — but most Americans get plenty in their diets. In fact, most of us get too much. Meat, fish, beans, tofu, and nuts are rich in protein. Plus, numerous companies have been accused of spiking their protein powders with cheap fillers — another reason to avoid the powdered stuff.

Homeopathic remedies: Skip them — they don't work.

 Advocates of homeopathy — which involves diluting an active ingredient until there's no measurable quantity left — claim that the treatments can do everything from relieving colds to calm anxious pets.

But homeopathy has repeatedly been shown to be ineffective. A 2005 study published in the medical journal The Lancet found the approach was roughly as effective as a placebo.

Workout boosters like Jack3d or OxyElite Pro: Skip them — they've been linked to illness and at least one death.

For years, the makers of these supplements, whose active ingredient is dimethylamylamine (DMAA), claimed that they increased speed, strength, and endurance.

But in 2011, after two soldiers who used Jack3d died, the US Department of Defense removed all products containing DMAA from stores on military bases. A 2015 indictment against Dallas company USPlabs, which makes OxyElite Pro, accused the company of falsely claiming that its product was made of natural plant extracts. In reality, it contained synthetic stimulants made in China. The indictment also claimed that the use of OxyElite led to several liver injuries and at least one death.

 Zinc: Take it — it's one of the only ingredients shown to shorten colds.

Zinc seems to interfere with the replication of rhinoviruses, the bugs that cause the common cold.

In a 2011 review that looked at studies of people who'd recently gotten sick, researchers compared those who'd started taking zinc with those who just took a placebo. The ones on zinc had shorter colds and less severe symptoms.

Creatine: Get it — Unless you eat red meat instead.

We all produce natural, low-level amounts of creatine, a compound that helps our muscles release energy. Studies show that we produce more of it when we eat meat regularly.

Research suggests that taking creatine supplements could have moderate benefits on specific kinds of short-intensity workouts. It appears to help muscles make more adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a chemical-energy transporter. But unsurprisingly, there's no evidence that it's beneficial for other types of exercise involving endurance or aerobics.

 Weight-loss pills like "Hydroxycut": Skip them — their claims are dubious.

Weight-loss supplements like Hydroxycut claim that they can help you slim down with a boost of "pro clinical" ingredients. The formula once contained Ephedra, a powerful stimulant linked to 155 deaths that was banned by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2003.

Today's ingredients are simply caffeine and four herbal extracts: Lady's mantle, wild olive, komijn, and wild mint. Several studies show caffeine can help boost metabolism and encourage moderate, short-term fat burning. But no long-term studies show caffeine helps with sustained weight loss.

 Folic acid: Take it if you're pregnant or want to get pregnant.

Our bodies use folic acid to make new cells. The National Institutes of Health recommends that women who are currently pregnant or who want to get pregnant take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily since their bodies demand more of this nutrient when carrying a growing fetus.

Several large studies have also linked folic acid supplementation before and during pregnancy with decreased rates of neural-tube defects, which are serious and life-threatening defects of a baby's brain, spine, or spinal cord.

Green-coffee extract: Skip it — the only study backing it was pulled.

"You may think magic is make-believe, but this little bean has scientists saying they've found the magic weight-loss cure for every body type," Dr. Oz said of green-coffee extract on his show in 2012.

Unfortunately, there was only one study backing green coffee's alleged weight-loss capabilities, and it was funded by the extract's manufacturer. The study was retracted a few months later.

Green-tea extract: Try it — it's been linked with some health benefits, and is generally considered safe.

A series of preliminary Mayo Clinic studies conducted in 2010 showed promise for the potential use of a chemical component of green tea (epigallocatechin gallate) in reducing the number of cancer cells in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Research on green tea consumption in people with other forms of cancer has been too limited to say whether it's beneficial.

Brewing and drinking green tea is the easiest way to get the extract, but it's also added to foods like yogurt and other beverages, or available in pill form.

 Gingko Biloba: Skip it — the studies don't prove it helps.

Ginkgo biloba, which comes from the maidenhair tree, is one of the best-selling products in the US for memory loss and is often marketed as a "brain booster."

But the evidence is inconsistent. A small 2006 study found ginkgo was as effective as the drug donepezil for boosting attention and memory in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's. But a large 2008 study of healthy older people found no evidence that ginkgo helped to prevent dementia, including Alzheimer's. A 2009 follow-up study also found no evidence that gingko slowed cognitive decline or memory loss.

Fluoride, it's about time we discuss. This is a naturally occurring mineral which is said to help prevent tooth decay. The forms of fluoride added to our water are not natural forms.

Fluoridation began over 55 years ago with the belief it will decrease tooth decay. As of 2014, 66.3% of the U.S received fluoridated water. We are 1/8 countries in the world that supplies over 50% fluoridation. By contrast, 98% of Europe as well as China, Japan and India do not fluoridate, citing health, ethical, and ecological concerns.

Two of the forms of fluoride (fluorosilicic acid/ sodium fluorosilicate) are bi-products of fertilizer and refining industries respectively. Both the CDC and Pesticide Action Network databases clearly define these substances as extremely toxic in high amounts to humans and animals...but it's in our water.

The prestigious Lancet journal has classified fluoride as a neurotoxin and raised concern over developmental disabilities as it has been connected to lower IQ levels in multiple studies.

We excrete 50-60% of fluoride per day and the rest builds up in bones and the brain's pineal gland (extremely important release of antioxidant, anticancer, and sleep regulating melatonin).

There are multiple animal and human studies that suggest fluoride is directly implicated in the development of osteosarcoma cancers. Dr. Elise Bassin found a 5-7 fold increase in osteosarcoma in boys by age 20 when ingesting fluoridated water mid-childhood. The study that followed and disproved this finding was very poorly designed and lead by (not coincidentally) a long time Colgate editor and chief and paid consultant.

Do we need it? The answer is a resounding NO. Particularly because both countries that fluoridate and those that do not have seen very similar drops in decay since the 70's according to the W.H.O. We are adding a proven poison in low doses to everyday drinking water. Think about this...a pea sized amount of toothpaste has 0.3mg of fluoride whereas a 16 oz glass of water has 0.5mg...Why is there a warning saying to call poison control if we swallow more than we use to brush? Tag others and spread this to all 🏽.

 

 

Planning a meatless menu for the week has its pluses and minuses. On one hand, you don’t need to worry about using up chicken breast or ground beef before it gets wonky on you. On the other, it can be dangerously easy to buy way more produce than you can finish in five days, skimp on protein, or find yourself in a recipe rut when you’re trying to stick to affordable, veggie-based meals.

Not anymore, friends. With this meat-free meal-prep plan that calls for just eight ingredients and some weekend prep, we'll show you how to get inexpensive and well-balanced meals from Sunday through Thursday without getting bored with what's on your plate.

STEP 1:
Head to the grocery store.

Take, oh, about 45 seconds to write down your list—or simply screenshot this list to bring with you to the supermarket (because we know you never forget your phone).  

 Storage Containers:

  • 4 airtight containers (1 for cooked brown rice, 1 for cooked spaghetti squash, 1 for roasted broccoli, 1 for chickpeas)

  • Plastic wrap for the avocado (or an avocado saver)

STEP 2:
Prep everything in 30 minutes.

Devoting a bit of extra time on Sunday will make for effortless eats all week.

1. Cook brown rice.
If you’ve got a rice cooker, simply follow the instructions. For the stovetop method, combine rinsed rice with about 3/4 cup water and a pinch of sea salt in a pot, then bring to a boil over high heat. Turn off the heat, place a lid on the pot, and let it hang out for about 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, cool, and then store the rice in an airtight container.
2. Cook the spaghetti squash. 
Check out our foolproof, step-by-step guide to get it justttt right. Store in an airtight container once cooled.
3. Roast the broccoli.
If your oven is big enough, you can save some time and roast your broccoli alongside the squash. Break off florets from the head; place on a baking sheet; and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Roast in a 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes or until you see the tops getting slightly brown. Once cooled, store in an airtight container. Fast alternative: Broil the broccoli on high for 10 minutes for extra crispy florets.
4. Rinse chickpeas.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas from the can and store them in an airtight container.
5. Spinach, avocado, and feta can stay as is until you need them. Bagged spinach is usually pre-rinsed, so you’re all set there. Cut into the avocado and open the box of crumbled feta only right before you use them. Rub a dab of olive oil on the avocado flesh you're not using and wrap in plastic to prevent it from going brown on ya.
6. Store tahini.
Tahini can last up to six months, so even though you only need three tablespoons this week, you can look forward to using this flavorful sesame seed butter for as long as it will last (which we don't predict will be very long since you'll want to just stick a spoon in it). Check the instructions on the bottle to see if it needs to be refrigerated.

STEP 3:
Celebrate the fact that 5 vegetarian dinners are ready for the week.

Enjoy the delicious rewards of your Sunday labor with easy dinners through Thursday night (and then get a well-deserved night out on Friday).

Satisfying Sunday
  • 1/2 cup brown rice

  • 1/4 cup feta

  • 1/2 cup chopped baby spinach

  • 1/2 cup roasted broccoli

  • 1 tablespoon tahini

How to eat: Nuke the rice to get it warm (drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of water to keep it from going dry in the microwave), then stir in the chopped spinach and feta. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Serve with broccoli on the side, drizzled with tahini for extra flavor.  

Meatless Monday
  • 1/2 spaghetti squash

  • 1/2 avocado, diced

  • 1/4 cup chickpeas

How to eat: Reheat the spaghetti squash on the stove or in the microwave with a drizzle of olive oil. Toss avocado and chickpeas with salt and pepper, and add to the bed of spaghetti squash. 

Tahini Grain-Bowl Tuesday
  • 1/2 cup brown rice

  • 1 cup roasted broccoli

  • 1/4 cup chickpeas

  • 2 tablespoons tahini

How to eat: Combine brown rice, broccoli, and chickpeas in a bowl; season with salt and pepper; and drizzle with (a ton of) tahini.

White Wine Wednesday
  • 1/2 spaghetti squash

  • 1/2 cup feta

  • 1 cup spinach

How to eat: This recipe needs about a minute on the stove as you heat up your spaghetti squash in some olive oil; throw in the spinach for the last 30 seconds to get it wilted. Take it off the stove and stir in the feta. Season with pepper to taste. And then pour yourself a glass of white wine, since you're halfway done the work week.

Throw-It-All-In Thursday
  • 1/2 cup spinach

  • 1/2 avocado

  • 1/2 cup chickpeas

  • 1/2 cup roasted broccoli

  • 1/4 cup feta

How to eat: Top a bed of spinach with the rest of the ingredients, then drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. It’s filling enough to hold you over during happy hour, but light enough so that you can still partake in midnight munchies (if that's your thing).  

Let’s be real. Sometimes a hot meal is just out of the question, especially when road trips, late-night work shifts, and nasty office microwaves get in the way.

But hey, that’s not so bad. You can still enjoy plenty of good food, and we aren’t talking about settling for cheeseburgers and curly fries on your next lunch break. These healthy, portable foods are ones you can prep ahead of time so you can easily toss them in your bag before rushing out the door. Stocking your kitchen with them is one of the easiest ways to stick to your healthyish eating plan (that one you promised yourself on Sunday morning). Enjoy them all week... no zapping necessary.

Breakfast

 

1. Eggs

Meal-Prep: Hard-boil 10 eggs on Sunday, purchase a couple of avocados, and your breakfast is ready all week long. Not a fan of boiled eggs? Put a tiny bit more effort into your prep and make these super-easy tomato egg cups or bacon egg muffins instead.

Bonus Tip: They (boiled eggs and egg muffins) last in the fridge Monday through Friday and are just as good cold or at room temp as they are warm.

2. Sausage

Meal-Prep: All sausage types can work here, but our favorite is chicken sausage. There are so many varieties (apple! spinach feta! spicy pepper!) that our taste buds never get bored. They typically come precooked, so all it takes is a quick sauté in a pan (about 8 minutes) to get them a little crispy.

Bonus Tip: With just a few veggies, you can create one-pan sausage meal-prep recipes or stir-fries that make for quick, healthy breakfasts all week. Change it up each day by enjoying one as a full link, slicing another into circles and adding to your egg scramble, and chopping up one into bite-size pieces and sprinkling over oatmeal for a savory touch (don't knock it 'til you try it).

3. Oatmeal

Meal-Prep: There's so much to love about oats. Not only can you purchase a massive bag of them for under $5, but they're loaded with fiber and are one of those foods that will last you all week. From overnight oats in a jar to baked oatmeal recipes, you're ready for a run-out-the-door breakfast that doesn't need to be reheated.

Bonus Tip: These meal-prep overnight oats might be our favorite breakfast ever. See ya, microwaved oats that always explode in the nuker.

4. Bacon

Meal-Prep: There's *always* room for bacon. Instead of creating a hot mess on the stovetop, cook the strips in the microwave with paper towels covering each layer. This is the only nuking you'll do all week, because they last in the fridge for five days.

Bonus Tip: Our favorite thing to do with bacon is make a BLAT: bacon, lettuce, avocado, and tomato. It takes two minutes to throw together. Just be sure it's cool to use your coworker's mayo. And don't forget that you can add bacon to your egg muffins or crumble it up over the top of a salad.

 
Carbs

 

5. Sweet Potatoes

Meal-Prep: When it comes to vegetables, some last longer than others. Kale? Not so much. Leftovers are usually wilty by morning. But sweet potatoes? Man, we could eat those babies all week... at any temperature. Meal-prep sweet potatoes by starting with three on Sunday: In a 425-degree oven, bake one whole and cut another into cubes.

Bonus Tip: You'll be able to eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner... and dessert (I mean, how good are sweet potatoes?!). Want a new sweet potato recipe that you've probably never tried? Make these breakfast baked sweet potatoes stuffed with peanut butter and banana (!!!).

6. Quinoa

Meal-Prep: Just like oats, quinoa can be batch-prepped for an easy breakfast, lunch, or dinner throughout the week. These hearty seeds can be used a million different ways, but our favorite trick? Just make a ton on Sunday and you can enjoy it for breakfast (just like oatmeal) with a dash of almond milk and your favorite toppings, or add spinach, veggies, and goat cheese for a way to round out your meal.

Bonus Tip: TBH, we like quinoa best at room temp or right out of the fridge anyway. If it's clumping together, just add a splash of water or milk and fluff with a fork.

7. Pasta

Meal-Prep: Who doesn’t love a big, hearty bowl of pasta? And it doesn't always have to be a warm Italian meal. Pasta is one of the best foods to eat cold too. It lasts 3-5 days in the fridge, and your mix-in options are limitless. From summer pasta salads to vegan lasagnas, we think cold pasta is just as good as cold pizza.

Bonus Tip: Need more inspo than just spaghetti and red sauce? Check out this visual guide to the most common pasta types and how to cook them. Every single one is delicious right out of the fridge.

8. Lentils

Meal-Prep: We know what you're thinking.... But I have to heat lentil soup! It's soup! We agree, but soup isn't the only thing lentils are good for. If you cook a few large servings of lentils on Sunday, they will last you all week long. To cook, bring 1 cup lentils in 3 cups water to a boil, cover, and reduce to simmer until water is evaporated, about 15-20 minutes.

Bonus Tip: Not sure what to do with all of those beans if they're not going into a soup? Create a filling hummus to use on eggs in the morning or with your chicken at dinner.

9. Chickpeas

Meal-Prep: Chickpeas (some call them garbanzo beans) are underrated. While you might only think of draining them from a can and adding to a salad for that soft texture, we say give them a roast on Sunday. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, add chickpeas to a roasting pan, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake for 10 minutes. When a salty-snack craving hits, eat them right from a baggie or add to salads for a crunch.

Bonus Tip: If you don't feel like cooking the chickpeas, they're just as good right out of the can. Even better? Use them as a base in brownies... because we could all use a little more chocolate in our lives.

 
 
Protein

 

10. Tofu

Meal-Prep Tip: The beauty of tofu is it picks up the flavors you cook it with. So no, you don't have to cook it, but it's a hell of a lot tastier when you add some sauces and spices. We think it's best tossed in a wok with bell peppers and onions, and a splash of soy sauce and olive oil.

Bonus Tip: If you're totally fine with eating tofu right out of the package, just be sure to store it in water in the fridge to prevent it from drying out. If you think tofu is boring and can't imagine not adding more flavor to it, this banh mi sticky tofu bowl will change your mind.

11. Tuna

Meal-Prep: Whoever created canned tuna must have been a meal-prep master. Canned tuna is one of those ingredients you can bring everywhere, and you don't even need a fridge (as long as it's still in the can). You can toss a can in your gym bag for a portable protein source, but if you like to be a little more prepared, meal-prep it in advance by making a tuna salad with a touch of mayo, peppers, walnuts, and grapes.

Bonus Tip: Don't think canned tuna can make a good meal? Here are nine ways you can turn the chicken of the sea into a delicious meal. Warning: If you plan to eat it at work, you may get some stink eyes.

12. Salmon

Meal-Prep: If you're cooking salmon for dinner, add a few more fillets to the pan, because this fish can last you for the next few days. Rather than heating it up in a microwave and making the entire office smell like a fish market, just eat it cold over a bed of lettuce with some sliced veggies and avocado. We also love adding it to an egg scramble. You don't have to have smoked salmon.

Bonus Tip: If you don't feel like spending last week's paycheck on salmon fillets, look for a frozen version that will be significantly cheaper per pound. Want to spend even less? Salmon comes in a can too.

13. Chicken

Meal-Prep: It's not meal-prepping without chicken! Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with oil. Add chicken breasts, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until opaque on the inside. Let them cool and divide up into containers, so you can bring them to work all week.

Bonus Tip: Don't get bored with the same chicken every day. One day, add bite-size chunks to this cranberry walnut salad; the next, shred a breast and toss with buffalo sauce and chopped-up celery and carrots. Then get really crazy and roll them up in a corn tortilla with avocado and hot sauce for an easy take on chicken tacos.