This week, a little 411 on salad dressings (and share this with any friends in the restaurant business).
Ahhh, salad. Low calorie roughage, healthy veggies … sounds healthy. Intentions are great, but guess what? If you add “regular” salad dressing, you might as well skip the salad and just eat the burger you really wanted. Salad dressings are a real nutritional trap.
Let’s look at restaurants. A typical salad dressing ladle holds 2 ounces, or 4 tablespoons of dressing. The average restaurant uses two ladles, or eight tablespoons of dressing on your salad.
I normally recommend only 2 tablespoons of dressing, which would be one half of one ladle. Remember, a typical restaurant is giving you FOUR TIMES as much. You’ll see, by the chart below, that the low-cal or fat-free dressings make a measurable difference in how your week stacks up, nutritionally.
Keep in mind that an average woman needs to hold her daily fat intake to less than 60 grams of fat, and a man, to less than 80 grams.
2 tablespoons of salad dressing (my recommended portion)
• Ranch Regular -148 calories, 15.6 g fat (4x = over 60 g of fat in 2 ladles)
• Ranch Lite (low-fat) – 80 calories, 6 g fat
• Ranch Fat-Free – 48 calories, 0.3 g fat
• Creamy Italian – 110 calories, 12 g fat (4x = 48 g of fat in 2 ladles)
• Lite Italian – 50 calories, 5g fat
• Fat-free Italian – 20 calories, 0.3 g fat
• Balsamic Vinaigrette – 90 calories, 8 g fat (a better choice)
• Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette – 45 calories, 3.5 g fat
Bottom line: one salad, with two ladles of dressing, once a week, can easily be the equivalent of a whole day’s worth of fat intake. Ingest a little fat at breakfast and from your other meal, and that salad dressing can take you over your daily allotment – the exact opposite of your intentions.
Instead, ask for salad dressings “on the side” and order the “low-fat” version. Then either dip your fork or salad in the dressing rather than pouring it on. You’ll save hundreds – or thousands – of fat grams in a year.
How can you guesstimate the 2-tablespoon serving size I’m recommending? The top of your thumb is equal to about 1 tablespoon. A ping-pong ball or shot glass or an Oreo cookie is about 2 tablespoons. At that quantity, even the biggest offender – regular ranch – is only one fourth or less of your daily recommended fat allotment.
Restaurants average 10 cents in cost per 2 tablespoons of regular dressing. Two ladles is thus .40 cents worth; a 2-tablespoon serving on the side would save .30 per salad (and 45 g of fat, per salad, per customer).
If, for example, 94 restaurants implemented salad dressing awareness they could save customers 38,070,000 grams of FAT and $296,100.00 in just 30 days. One restaurant has potential quarterly savings of $9,450 (and saves its customers 1,215,000 grams of fat).
I declare August, not only back to school month, but Salad Dressing Awareness month!
What, exactly, are people trying to attain with ozone therapy, and does it actually work? This is a topic of great controversy.
Don’t confuse ozone with oxygen. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers, like the one Michael Jackson allegedly slept in, are normally used to treat decompression sickness and air embolisms. (Think “scuba divers”).
Then there’s the relatively new trend of using “recreational” oxygen – in Oxygen bars, spas and such. Advocates say oxygen can provide a boost before exercise, a quicker recovery afterward, relaxation after a stressful day, or mental clarity. Recreational oxygen is considered helpful for hangovers, headaches, and afternoon slumps.
Athletes often like it, and in fact, public records related to Tiger Woods’ new home in Jupiter, Florida, refer to an oxygen therapy room being built into his home gym. It’s easy to understand why athletes gravitate toward a health trend like simple oxygen. There are theories that recreational oxygen can also oxidize lactic acid (preventing sore muscles), reduce swelling and bruising, reduce pain from injuries, and speed up healing. That’s a pretty tempting list if you play sports.
Controlled research studies, however, have shown that many athletes aren’t actually able to distinguish the difference between pure oxygen and regular air. It’s only their belief that they can which convinces them they feel better after using oxygen.
Ozone, however, is made up of three molecules of oxygen (O3), is much less stable than O2, and is used for entirely different purposes. In contrast to hyperbaric oxygen and recreational oxygen, ozone therapy is used – by those who believe in it – to cleanse the skin and pores, and the lymphatic system; to naturally detoxify the body of bacteria, viruses and fungus; boost the immune system; oxygenate major organs and tissues; increase circulation of blood and oxygen delivery; and even stimulate an anti-cancer response in the body. Proponents also claim that ozone therapy is deeply relaxing.
Before you plunge headfirst into trying ozone therapy, however, you’ll need to do some homework and decide if you still feel gung-ho. Although it’s been used since the mid 1800s, there’s a lot of resistance to the practice within the medical community. Many medical experts feel that not only is it not helpful, but that ozone therapy could be dangerous if you have any underlying respiratory conditions.
When the body is infused with ozone gas, its molecules react with water in the blood. The resulting hydrogen peroxide is what supposedly neutralizes infections and bacteria. Many medical experts feel ozone gas can harm lung function and irritate the human respiratory system. This could be why the FDA states that ozone is a toxic gas with no known useful medical application or preventive therapy.
Every authority has there own bias and the jury is still out on this controversial treatment. I personally know many individuals and athletes that have enjoyed benefits from ozone therapy with no negative side affects. You will have to be the judge on this one!
Most people hear the term “heavy metal” and think of the music a 19-year-old boy prefers. But in fact, there are 35 metals that cause concern, nutritionally, and 23 of these elements are the “heavy” metals, meaning they have at least five times the gravity of water.
Some of them, in small amounts, are an essential component of good nutritional health. Those metals called “the trace elements” – iron, copper, manganese, and zinc – naturally occur in our vegetables and fruit, and are always included in common multivitamins.
Zinc is widely marketed as a way to reduce the severity of a head cold, and you’ll find it in many a popular lozenge.
Here’s the weird part of the story though: while a few are beneficial in small quantities, many can do irreparable harm in large quantity.
Toxic doses of heavy metals can result in damage to one’s mental capacity, organs and nervous system.
Prolonged exposure to large amounts creates an even worse scenario: that of severe debilitation.
We’ve all heard the jokes about arsenic poisoning, but it’s no laughing matter if it gets into your system. We know that uranium kills, and we’re glued to shows like “24″ when uranium rods for nuclear reactors go missing.
Another well-known danger is mercury. Word is finally getting around about the danger of mercury fillings in our teeth, as well as that of mercury in fish; I’ve written a column on that very topic earlier this year (see my blog to read it).
In children, ingestion is the most common cause of toxicity; in adults, the culprit is environmental exposure. Toxicity occurs when the body doesn’t metabolize the heavy metal; instead, it builds up in soft tissues. Food, water and even air (fumes) can all be delivery vehicles.
The skin is another critical way these dangers can enter the body, and the manufacturing, agriculture, and pharmaceutical industries present more risk than others. But toxic heavy metals can be present in industrial and residential settings.
Testing for heavy metal toxicity starts with hair analysis. Once toxicity is established, a regimen of chelation therapy is begun, via drugs or intravenously. A high-fat diet during this time will facilitate the excretion of heavy metals. Symptoms will improve quite soon, but treatment can last up to two years.
Beware of detoxing with algae supplements like spirulina and chlorella, however; they work by absorbing heavy metals, so can backfire. Dr. Gary Pynckel in Fort Myers is a super resource, should you or someone you know need heavy metal therapy. Visit drpynckel.com for more information.
So how does one avoid excessive heavy metal intake?
Eating organic foods spares the body heavy metals used in farming and storage.
A high-fiber diet can also help. And amazingly, the herb cilantro – often used in Mexican food – has, in clinical trials and research, quickly moved toxic metals out of brain and spinal cord tissue.
Pass the guacamole.
Ever heard the term “Weekend Warriors?” These fun-loving, sports-minded folks work hard then occasionally decide to have some fun by participating in an activity that’s new (or old and dear). The problem is, their body isn’t conditioned through diet and exercise for what’s about to happen, and the result is often an injury … sometimes a bad injury.
Common catalysts for weekend warrior syndrome are spring thaw, reunions, holidays, turning 40, turning 50, New Year’s resolutions and your teen’s friends playing ball in the lot next door. There are abundant opportunities to “jump right in” and although your heart’s in the right place, you could pay a big price later.
I’ve fallen victim to this scenario myself. I work out on a regular basis and eat well, but recently I played a charity softball game, a sport that I used to play in my younger years … and I could not get out of bed on Monday. I also could not use my Blackberry because my hands hurt so bad.
Had I at least been doing some type of similar activity before that game, or stretching the body parts I knew I’d be using, I might have had a fighting chance. Changing from a flat gym floor to uneven earth or rolling trails or sloped beaches can also cause issues. Imagine what the 50th-birthday-but-20-mile-bike-ride might do to an office worker.
If we’re not used to using certain muscles, we make ourselves prime candidates for debilitating or highly irritating injuries. I was thinking about the various ways to keep the body prepared for the occasional odd activity, and came across a great quote on the Internet: “Men over 40 should be fit for their sport rather than using their sport to get fit,” it said. This surely applies to everyone contemplating a sudden, big burst of athleticism.
The easiest way to avoid injury is the one requiring the most discipline: don’t do too much of anything that’s new. Start out in moderation, play part of the game, do 5 miles instead of 20. You could save yourself a stress fracture or a couple of very uncomfortable weeks.
Flexibility and stretching are key, too, so if you know you have a new sport ahead, start working that part of the body, stretching daily, and always stretch after a workout to gain flexibility. A balanced diet and proper weight is always a good idea. Hauling an extra 30 pounds around a make-believe football field is tough.
Here’s another tip: A lack of magnesium can lead to muscle weakness and cramps. Magnesium is lost via sweat, so regular exercisers and even saunagoers need to take in enough magnesium rich foods or supplement magnesium. But after a spontaneous workout, you’d do well to have some on hand.
Weekend warriors can benefit from maintaining a healthy mineral balance. Think of magnesium as your “muscle mineral.” The FDA recommends 310-420 mg daily for most adults.
Here are a few magnesium-rich foods if, like me, you prefer a healthy diet to taking lots of supplements: 3 ounces of halibut, 90 gm; 1 ounce dry roasted almonds, 80 gm; 1 ounce dry roasted cashews, 75 gm; 1/2 cup cooked soybeans, 75 gm; 1/2 cup frozen spinach, 75 gm; 1 ounce mixed dry roasted nuts, 65 gm; 2 biscuits of Shredded Wheat cereal 55 gm; 1 cup instant fortified oatmeal, 55 gm.
I also like to keep resistance bands all around me: tied to doors, in my travel bag, in front of the TV, wrapped around the legs and arms of my chairs. A good 10-minute workout with bands can be great if done right.
So if your college roomie has challenged you to a tennis rematch from days gone by … start working the “pushing” muscles on your chest wall, and get your shoulder primed for action. Do some sideways motion drills, and start taking magnesium. If it’s been a while, you’re going to need it!