Clubfit Blog | Nutrition

Healthy Heart Nutrition Tips from Alicia

January 25, 2019 by karen

Club Fit Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Alicia Lusardi
Club Fit Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Alicia Lusardi

You may ask yourself, “What factors play a role in maintaining a healthy heart?” There are many, but the good news is, YOU have control over almost all of them! Aside from genetics, cardiovascular exercise, nutrition, alcohol consumption, and smoking/tobacco use are the main agents that influence your heart health. Specifically, staying active will help prevent obesity, decrease blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, raise HDL cholesterol, improve blood sugar control, and make that heart of yours nice and strong! Developing good eating habits such as avoiding processed foods, limiting sugar intake, and increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables will aid in sustaining adequate blood flow by decreasing the risk of hypertension and lowering LDL cholesterol.

Eating foods lower in sodium and limiting alcohol consumption to 1–2 drinks daily can help lower blood pressure as well. Finally, abstain from smoking or using tobacco and make an effort to spend time in smoke-free environments whenever possible. Consciously following these simple guidelines or making small changes to work towards them will ensure longevity and a thriving heart.

NEW: Come join Alicia in our JV café on April 28, 2019
for a pre-Mother’s Day Munch ‘n’ Brunch!

Special occasions can sometimes be difficult to navigate when trying to make healthier choices. Alicia has some tips and tricks to help!

She’ll cover healthy holiday eating topics including:

• Healthy Brunch Ideas
• How to Balance Your Plate at a Brunch
• Mindful Eating Techniques
• Balancing the Booze


Cooking Demo presented by Peter Pratt’s Inn

September 28, 2017 by karen

We enjoyed some food and fun last night in Jefferson Valley! Chef Jon Pratt of Peter Pratt’s Inn presented a free cooking demo to our members. We gathered in the Café to watch, listen, and — most importantly — taste! A vegetarian meal of soup and salad was taken to different level with the use of fresh, local ingredients and a variety of spices and seasonings. Jonathan gave us some useful tips and tricks along the way, including letting us in on a special “secret” ingredient.

John also shared his “Corn Chowda” recipe with us. Bear in mind, quantities will need to be reduced as this was made to fed a crowd! For best results, use fresh, local ingredients whenever possible. No time to shop for the best local produce? Join Field Goods and get your order dropped off weekly at our Jefferson Valley location. You can order produce, dairy products, spices and more.

We’ll be hosting another cooking demo next Week in Briarcliff, on Wednesday, October 4th. Hope to see you there!

Glazed & Confused Salad” Grain and Arugula Salad with Miso Glazed Sweet Potato.
“Glazed & Confused Salad”
Grain and Arugula Salad with Miso Glazed Sweet Potato.
Chef Jon and Club Fit Member Pete dishing it up at our cooking demo
Jon & Pete
Corn chowder prepared by Chef Jon Pratt at our cooking demo
“Corn Chowda” by Jon Prat of Peter Pratt’s Inn












“Corn Chowda”

1 case: sweet corn, raw, peeled and cut off the cob
2 lbs: butter
10 each: Spanish onions, small dice
12 each: red bell peppers, small dice
1 head: celery, small dice
2 heads: garlic, peeled and minced
3 each: jalapeños, seeded and minced
3 bunches: thyme, chopped fine
½ cup: smoked paprika
as needed: corn stock
2 quarts white wine
4 quarts heavy cream
6 bunches basil, coarsely chopped
to taste: sherry vinegar (secret ingredient!)

Make corn stock by simmering corn cobs in water just to cover for about 45 minutes. Try to yield as little as possible while still covering the cobs with water for full extraction. Strain and reserve.

Sweat down the onions and garlic in the butter with salt and pepper until slightly tender and translucent. Add the rest of the vegetables, the thyme and the smoked paprika. Sweat until tender, no color. Add the corn in stages, stirring well to coat with butter. Once the mixture comes back up to a simmer, add the white wine and reduce to sec. Add corn stock and reduce until very thick, then add all of the cream and reduce until thickened again. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and a little champagne vinegar if it’s too sweet. Remove from the heat, puree half of the mixture, and return it to the pot. Fold in the chopped basil, still off of the heat, and check the seasoning again. Yum!

“Glazed & Confused Salad”
Grain and Arugula Salad with Miso Glazed Sweet Potato

Peel and cut 3 sweet potatoes; toss with olive oil and s&p; set aside

Simmer 20 minutes: 1/2 cup white miso with 1/2 cup soy, 1/2 cup mirin, 1/2 cup sake, 2 tablespoon sesame oil, 1/2 cup brown sugar; set aside to just warm

Cook separately in lightly salted water:
1 cup quinoa
1 cup wheat berries
1 cup barley or faro or your favorite grain
1 cup French green lentils

Reserve to room temp:
1 cup avocado chunks
2 cups favorite mushroom sautéed

Roast sweet potatoes in 375 oven until caramelized on edges; toss with a few tablespoons of reserved dressing and set aside.

Assemble: Add greens to salad bowl and all above grains. Top with sweet potatoes, mushrooms and avocado. When ready to eat, drizzle the appropriate amount of sauce and a little olive oil and your favorite vinegar or lemon juice.



The importance of drinking water

April 13, 2016 by Liz

Chopped lemon in half
Lemon water is invigorating and detoxifying

Let’s talk about how good it is to stay hydrated! What does your body need? Water! After all, the adult human body is comprised of 60% water. More details about the water inside you can be found on the U.S. Geological Survey in this great article on water properties!

Did you know that you need different amounts of water depending on your lifestyle? The general recommendation for how much water an adult needs daily is 3 liters for men and 2.2 liters for women according to the Mayo Clinic. If you exercise you need more, if you are pregnant or nursing you need more. Consult a complete list of daily recommended amounts.

You should never be thirsty. If you are, you are not hydrating enough. If you prefer drinking beverages that have more flavor, try adding some lemon to your water! Not only does it taste refreshing, but there are added benefits. Some of which include, cleansing your system, helping to keep your skin blemish free, added vitamin c and even gives your immune system a boost! More great benefits of drinking lemon water are right here on Lifehack.

Get yourself a nice water bottle (glass or metal is preferable) and start drinking water throughout the day! Hydrate and stay happy!

Fueling Your Workout

June 16, 2015 by Liz

by Registered Dietitian, Kristen Klewen Phot of the Dietitian, Kristen Klewen

As a Registered Dietitan at Club Fit, I frequently get asked, “What should I eat before and after a workout?” This question depends on the client, but there is some common knowledge I can share that apply pre- and post-workout nutrition when it comes to fueling your workout!

1. Don’t skip the carbohydrates!
• Carbohydrates are known as fuel for your “engine” (ex. Muscles). The harder you work your engine, the more carbohydrates you need.

2. How soon should you be eating before a workout?
As a general rule of thumb, it is best to not eat immediately before you workout, because while your muscles are trying to function, your stomach is simultaneously trying to digest the food. This competition of demands is a challenge for optimal performance. Eating too close to a workout may cause you to experience some GI discomfort while you train or play. Ideally, you should fuel your body about 1 to 3 hours pre-workout, depending on how your body tolerates food. Experiment and see what time frame works best for your body. If you’re a competitive athlete, this is something you need to explore during your training days and not during game day. Notice that each of the suggestions below includes protein and carbohydrate. We know that carbohydrates are fuel, and are a necessary part of our diet. Protein is what rebuilds and repairs, but also “primes the pump” to make the right amino acids available for your muscles. Getting protein and carbohydrates into your system is even more vital post workout.
• Below are some suggestions for pre-workout fuel:
– A peanut butter and banana or PBJ sandwich
– Greek yogurt with berries
– Oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit
– Apple and peanut or almond butter
– Handful of nuts and raisins (two parts raisins: one part nuts)

3. Post Workout Nutrition:
Your body uses stored energy (glycogen) in your muscles to power through your workout or game, but after that workout, you need to replenish the nutrients lost. What to do?
• As soon as possible post workout, get carbs and protein immediately into your body. This gives your muscles the ability to replenish the glycogen they just lost through training and helps your tired muscles rebuild and repair with the available protein and amino acids.
• I suggest fueling within 15 to 20 minutes post training with a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrate and protein for optimal muscle repair and recovery, eating a regular mixed meal 3 to 4 hours after.
• Post-workout meals include:
– Post-workout recovery smoothie (or post-workout smoothie made with low-fat milk and fruit)
– Low-fat chocolate milk
– Turkey on a whole-grain wrap with veggies
– Yogurt with berries

4. Take Home Points
• Your body needs carbohydrates to fuel your working muscles.
• Protein is there to help build and repair.
• Get a combination of the two in your body 1 to 3 hours pre-workout and within 20 minutes or so post-workout.
• Never try anything new on race or game day!! It’s always best to experiment during training to learn what works best for your body.

High-Protein Snacking

June 9, 2015 by Liz

A young woman named KristinBy Kristin Klewan, B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics

Studies show high-quality protein can improve satiety, help manage weight, and prevent chronic disease.

It seems as though snacking may have replaced baseball as America’s favorite pastime. National dietary surveys have found that about 90% of adults, 83% of adolescents, and 97% of children snack every day, sometimes several times per day. Whether or not that’s a good thing largely depends on the quality and quantity of the snacks being consumed. Many of the most common snacks, such as chips and soda, are high in both salt and sugar. It’s no coincidence then that increased snacking is associated with decreased protein intake. However, there’s much research to suggest that choosing snacks high in protein, rather than high in salt and sugar, could provide a host of health benefits.

Satiety and Weight Management
High-protein snacks, as well as balanced meals, have been linked to increased satiety. Protein-rich snacking may boost satiety and facilitate weight loss. In a longitudinal study, researchers gave 17 men and women with type 2 diabetes moderately high-protein morning and afternoon snacks (7 g to 12 g of protein) for four weeks, and compared the results with their normal eating habits for four weeks. The subjects who ate the two high-protein snacks lost a modest but significant amount of weight (1 kg) during the four-week period. Researchers noted that the subjects’ weight reduction occurred without changes in total energy intake.

In a study that examined the effect of high-protein snacking on satiety and appetite control, researchers found that healthy women who ate a high-protein yogurt snack (14 g of protein) in the afternoon experienced improved appetite control, satiety, and reduced subsequent food intake compared with eating other common, energy-dense, high-fat snacks.

Blood Glucose
High-protein snacks also can help maintain normal blood glucose levels. In a study of 20 healthy males, who were given a variety of mid-morning snacks, those given the snacks with the greatest protein-to-carbohydrate ratio, including plain yogurt and skim milk, had the lowest blood sugar levels. Researchers determined that the improvement in blood sugar was due to improved insulin action, rather than to increased concentrations of insulin.

Blood Pressure
A high-protein diet also may help lower the risk of developing hypertension. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that participants consuming the highest amount of protein (an average of 100 g per day) had a 40% lower risk of high blood pressure compared with those consuming the least. Adults who consumed the most protein, whether from animal or plant sources, had significantly lower systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure levels after four years of follow-up. Because high-protein snacks contribute to overall protein intake, based on the findings of this study, it would appear that high-protein snacks could aid in lowering blood pressure.

Athletic Performance
For athletes, protein powders and high-protein snacks are easy to find. But how necessary are they, and can they really improve performance? The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends consuming high-quality protein, and singles out milk-derived whey protein isolate and casein, egg white powder, and soy protein isolate as proteins that provide essential amino acids that readily aid in muscle tissue synthesis.

Athletes should include protein at all meals and snacks, especially post workout. Ideally, 20 g of high-quality protein should be consumed within 45 minutes after exercise to promote the recovery process. Athletes demand a higher level of protein intake (1.2 to 1.4 g/kg for endurance athletes and 1.6 to 2 g/kg for strength athletes), and they have to work harder to obtain it, because of the larger quantities of high-protein foods they must consume, she adds. High-protein snacks, such as low-fat dairy foods or protein bars, are a good way to work more protein into the diet.

While dietary protein is important, research suggests that the combination of physical activity (eg, resistance, interval, stretching, and endurance) and 20 g of whey protein may be particularly beneficial for weight loss, fat loss, increasing lean body mass, and improving insulin resistance.

Protein Distribution
Just as important as consuming high-quality protein, is the time of day when it’s consumed. The typical American dietary pattern is a consumption of about three times more protein at dinner than at breakfast. Most Americans don’t eat an adequate amount of protein in the morning, which may cause decreased performance, hunger, and poor eating habits throughout the day.
Evenly distributing protein intake throughout the day has been found to be optimal.

The idea of 30% of daily protein intake at each meal is being promoted, with some protein snacks between meals.
Maintaining muscle mass is important for overall health, especially in older individuals. Research shows that proper protein distribution also may help prevent age-related sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass with age. To lower the risk, research suggests 25 g to 30 g of protein per meal in older people. Protein synthesis response is blunted in older adults when protein is less than 20 g per meal or snack, research suggests, so getting enough protein becomes even more important with age, she says.

Counseling Clients
Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a “macronutrient,” meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. Vitamins and minerals, which are needed in only small quantities, are called micronutrients. But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein, and therefore has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply. Find sources of protein in Fish, Lean meats, beans, nuts, and whole grains.

I personally recommend to clients and patients to snack on foods that provide a good supply of protein compared with fat and carbohydrate, both for possible appetite and blood sugar control. Mix up your proteins throughout your meals, and make sure the rest of your meal is colorful (the more color in fruits and vegetables, the more nutrient dense).

If you have medical conditions or concerns, please consult your Club Fit Registered Dietitian, or your MD for further information. It is always recommended to consult an RD or MD before making any dramatic changes to your diet.

Learn more about Kristin, schedule an appointment and see what else is happening at the club!

Healthy advice from Dietitian Cathy DiSomma

September 30, 2014 by karen

old woman smiling
Cathy DiSomma, Registered Dietitian and Health Specialist at Club Fit Jefferson Valley

We often pick one approach over the other… exercise more so you can eat more, or eat less so you can exercise less. But a healthier approach, especially with the calorie-heavy, time-consuming holidays around the corner, is to balance your exercise and nutrition. They work together to get you optimal results, whether you are trying to lose weight or just maintain.

Just ask Cathy DiSomma, who joined the Club Fit Jefferson Valley staff this summer. Cathy, a Registered Dietitian, certified Dietitian-Nutritionist and American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health (ACSM) Fitness Specialist, is very excited to help our members out. She has an undergraduate degree in Food & Nutrition from Fordham University, and earned her Master’s degree in the same at Lehman College. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Westchester Community College.

Cathy will be playing an integral part in the club’s Healthy Holidays program, a new version of our popular Merry Maintenance program from past years. “I’ve already gotten very good input from the Club Fit members on what they are interested in, from a survey I put out for possible presentation topics, and interaction at informational tables and presentations,” says Cathy. “The topics we’ve come up with are very diverse, from food allergies to proper diet for athletes, healthy lunches, and post-cancer nutrition.”

Healthy Holidays will be a bit different from Merry Maintenance. There is no weigh-in or weigh-out, just a focus on maintaining healthy habits and keeping members moving during the holiday season. Cathy is working closely with Fitness Director Joelle Letta on weekly emails that will be sent to participants on topics such as maintaining a fitness routine, better food and drink choices, low calorie recipes, reducing holiday stress, and keeping up the motivation to stay on track.

According to Cathy, statistics show an average 5- to 6-pound weight gain through the holiday season. It starts with munching on Halloween candy, then Thanksgiving feasts, followed by Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan, Christmas, then the big finale, New Year’s. Some helpful topics Cathy wants to cover include how to approach holiday party food and drinks as a guest, how to offer healthy options if you are hosting, alternate recipes for high-calorie or high-fat dishes, and portion control. “People are very interested in portion control at this time of year. You don’t want to skip your favorites, but you don’t want to overdo it, either,” says Cathy.

“We felt the weigh-in and weigh-out process may have intimidated some people who were just interested in maintaining their weight through the holidays. What makes this program fun is that you can earn points for activities throughout the club, and for each 100 points you are entered into a raffle for great prizes rewarding your efforts,” says Cathy. No limit on entries!

Beyond Healthy Holidays, Cathy is enjoying working with the entire population at Club Fit. Even the staff members are using her as a resource. “Instructors and trainers have many questions that come to them from their clients,” says Cathy. “They want to be in the know on nutrition, so they can help our members separate fact from fallacy.” There is so much information out there that it can be confusing for everyone, even the professionals! “We can give them the real story.”

Outside of Club Fit, Cathy is also Fitness Director at Kendal on Hudson, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Sleepy Hollow, on the campus of Phelps Memorial Hospital. Her schedule is flexible, allowing her to also serve our Club Fit members, and she loves the combination of jobs because it allows her to work with people of all ages with a variety of needs. “I so enjoy working with the seniors at Kendal, but then I can mix up my day at Club Fit working with kids, athletes, and other seniors with other issues and questions.” She also notes that Kendal and Club Fit share many of the same values and practices, and Club Fit Briarcliff has shared space in the past with Kendal residents when they are in need of the pool. “Both are very community-oriented, and I’m proud to be a part of organizations that have that focus.”

Cathy, a resident of Ossining, loves the outdoors, and is an avid hiker and cyclist. She also loves Pilates, and is certified to teach but that has taken a back seat to her work helping others with fitness and nutrition. She is available evenings and weekends, but her schedule is flexible if those hours don’t suit your schedule. Cathy looks forward to hearing from you, and can be reached 914-245-4040, ext. 1214 or if you would like to set up a consult or would like more information on Healthy Holidays. “It’s great that the fitness and nutrition connection is finally coming full circle,” says Cathy. “Our goal at Club Fit is to help our members reach their goals, and by incorporating knowledge from both areas, we can do that!”



Five things you can do to help prevent childhood obesity

August 14, 2014 by Liz

A mom giving the baby food.
habits begin early

Did you know that one in five children is overweight or obese by age 6?
You can help.

As parents, your role as a mentor and educator for your child are essential influencers in their lives. Help them learn habits that prevent childhood obesity and can keep them healthy for life.

Focus on a few goals:

1. Physical Activity: Provide 1-2 hours of physical activity throughout the day, including outside play when possible.
2. Screen Time: Try and limit screen time to no more than 30 minutes per day.
3. Food: Incorporate fruits or vegetables at every meal and eat foods closest to the original form
Ex> potato instead of mashed potatoes, or potato chips.
4. Beverages: Provide access to water during meals and throughout the day, and don’t serve sugary drinks. For children age 2 and older, serve low-fat (1%) or non-fat milk, and no more than one 4- to 6-ounce serving of 100% juice per day.
5). Sleep: Be sure children get adequate sleep. It is essential for proper functioning. At least 8 hrs. Per night.

If you are looking to get your children involved in sports, fitness and other great activities that will keep them active, visit Programs for infants, kids and teens at Club Fit Jefferson Valley and Programs for infants, kids and teens at Club Fit Briarcliff for information on some of the things we offer.

Just how important are our habits?

August 14, 2014 by Liz

A recent viral video, “Rewind the Future”, has inspired us to write about the importance of healthy habits from the beginning of life.
We asked Fitness Director, Susie Reiner to share some thoughts with us and this is what she had to say . . .

“This video is a stark reminder of the importance of embracing a healthy lifestyle not just for ourselves but for the people we care for in our day to day life. Wellness is a lifelong commitment to maintaining and improving the human body and in essence, its resilience to aging. In most instances, we are responsible for our own health and sooner or later succumb to the facts that a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity enhances our lives more than indulgent food and sedentary habits. When bringing children into the world, as this video depicts, it is a slippery slope to letting unhealthy habits reign supreme in a child’s life. It is the parent, guardian, schools, community, and youth programs’ responsibility to establish a healthy environment for children to flourish in. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than one third of the United States’ population is obese and the chances of an adult being overweight or obese is greatly influenced by the behavioral habits instilled with them as a child and adolescent. We have the power in our own lifetime to change the quality of life for the next generation through consistent efforts to support a healthy lifestyle. Including fitness and lifestyle activities in a child’s life and developing a healthy relationship with wholesome food is crucial at an early age. And remember, it is never too late to make a change; health complications can be prevented by taking small steps to a longer future.”

Bill Pagel’s tale of training . . . The Spartan Race

May 1, 2014 by Liz

A man smiling with the club fit logo
Well, it’s 6 weeks to go until my first Spartan Race in Tuxedo, NY. The butterflies started kicking in this week with anticipation of the unknown challenges and the excitement of competing with a team of well-conditioned Club Fit members.

I know my team will be ready because I see how hard they work every day in one of our CFX classes or in the Extreme Endurance class. I also know there will be a group that will be supremely prepared after going through the Obstacle Race Training with Jane and Brian. I just hope I’m ready!

The good news is that I still have some time to train and I’ll be kicking it up a notch to make sure I can keep up with the team. Things I’ve found helpful in preparing for the race are the support form staff and members, the daily Spartan WODs and the great Spartan recipes that I’ve been trying. My favorite recipe so far is the scrambled eggs with avocado and salsa. I have that for breakfast almost every morning in the café. Love it!

I’d love to find out what your favorite recipe is to fuel your training and any other insights on preparing for a Spartan race. I’ll continue to share my journey over the next several weeks and maybe have a post race video to share.

Happy Trails!


Skipping Out on Sugars

July 19, 2013 by Liz

By: Kimberly Stein, RD, CDNA woman smiling named Kim Cropped

The amount of sugars being added to the foods we consume on a daily basis has been on a steady rise. Not only is this making all of our foods increasingly sweet but it is also adding to the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Learn just how harmful these added sugars are and some simple tips to help curb your daily consumption!

Where exactly are the added sugars?

Added sugars are exactly that- sugars added to foods that aren’t naturally sweet. Foods that contain natural sugars, such as fruit, are accompanied with a boatload of other nutrients making them healthier alternatives. Added sugars can be found in a variety of items such as soft drinks, energy/sports drinks, cakes, candies, ice cream, pastries and even breakfast cereals! Added sugars provide absolutely no nutrition making them completely void of any health benefit. Be sure to read the ingredient labels of processed foods to be able to identify the source of added sugars. Sugar might be disguised under names such as: cane juice, corn syrup, dextrose, evaporated corn sweetener, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, maltose, and sucrose—just to name a few!

How will cutting out added sugars benefit me?

For starters, you will be cutting out an enormous amount of calories which can be used towards nutrient-packed foods. This will start to help you shed the pounds and inches off your waistline. Filling up on foods packed with sugar is only providing extra calories with no other nutritional value. By cutting out added sugars, you will be able to have better control of your own blood sugar and triglyceride levels. Controlled blood sugar levels prevent risk of diabetes whereas lowering triglyceride levels will decrease your risk of heart disease. The current USDA guidelines recommend no more than 100 calories per day come from added sugars for women and no more than 150 calories per day for men. That is equivalent of 6 – 9 teaspoons per day. The typical daily intake for Americans is greater than 22 teaspoons, which is a whopping 365 calories!!

What are some simple changes I can make to cut out added sugars?

To reduce the amount of added sugars in your day, try some of these tips:
• Opt for water or calorie-free drinks instead of sugary, non-diet sodas or sports drinks
• Cut back on the amount of sugar you put in your coffee. Slowly downgrading the amount will give your taste buds a chance to adjust to the flavor changes
• Try to choose a breakfast cereal that does not have a sugar listed as the top 3 ingredients. Ingredients are listed in order by weight so having sugar lower on the list will ensure more nutritional benefit
• Choose fresh fruit for dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth instead of high-calorie cakes, cookies, and other treats
• Buy canned fruit packed in water or its own juice, not syrup
• Stock your fridge and pantry with vegetables, low-fat cheeses, whole-grain crackers, and low-fat yogurts as snacks instead of processed products

So, tell me: what are some changes you can make to cut out added sugars?

Eat your Fruits and Vegetables!

June 7, 2013 by Liz

By: Kimberly Stein, RD, CDN
A woman smiling

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Month

“Eat your fruits and vegetables” is the age-old saying we have repeatedly heard. We all know fruits and vegetables are good for us, but, what do they really do? There is tons of evidence that shows those who have an increased intake of fruits and veggies are less likely to develop chronic diseases. The current 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest having 2 – 2 ½ cups of fresh fruits and vegetables per day. Having a colorful array added into your day will bump up your vitamin, mineral, and fiber intake! Not only are fruits and veggies chock full of nutrients, but they are super low in calories—talk about guilt-free snacking!! June marks the beginning of National Fruit & Vegetable Month so it is a perfect time to start taking advantage of summer’s bounty!

Many people are concerned regarding the difference between organic versus non-organic fruits and vegetables. To date, there is no conclusive evidence that suggests organic is healthier or more nutritious. The true definition of organic per the USDA is that which use renewable resources and grown without the use of antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, fertilizers or other synthetic methods. To guarantee something is 100% organic, the USDA needs to have its seal of approval label on the product. Keep in mind; organic foods are more expensive so it is truly up to your personal preferences!

So, how exactly can you bulk up your intake with fruits and vegetables this month? Try some of these ideas to jump-start your creativity!

1. It’s BBQ season! Fire up the grill for your favorite vegetables as well as fruits! Try grilling peaches, pineapples or bananas for a super sweet treat.
2. Add extra vegetables to your favorite casserole, stir-fry, or dinner entrée. The more the merrier and these low-cal sides will keep you feeling full.
3. Be creative with your salads. Toss in some sliced strawberries or fresh berries for a satisfying taste treat.
4. Having an omelet for breakfast? Add in some extra veggies or try some new combos. Are you a daily cereal/oatmeal lover? Fresh berries will be a great addition to this meal!
5. Choose sweet fruits for your snacks and desserts. Fruit is full of its own sugars making it nature’s natural candy. Having a sweet treat that is full of vitamins and fiber is doubling the nutritional bang for your buck.

Summer is the perfect season to take advantage of your local farmer’s markets. Choosing locally grown produce reduces the carbon footprint your food has to travel making it an economically and environmentally better choice!

There are an endless variety of ways to incorporate the rainbow of fruits and vegetables that are available!
What are some ways YOU will enjoy fruits and veggies this month?
Vegetables image with egg plants and grape tomatoes

Building Better Bones

May 17, 2013 by Liz

By: Kimberly Stein, RD, CDN
A woman named kim

In honor of Women’s Health Week (May 12- 18), this post is for all us gals! Depending on where we are in our life cycle, our needs for certain vitamins and minerals will vary. One particular mineral, calcium, has been the center of attention for quite awhile- and rightly so! Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our body and it is utilized to maintain strong bones and teeth. In fact, 99% of our total body calcium is found in these two locales. When calcium levels become too low, the body starts depleting calcium from the bones, which increases the risk of developing osteoporosis. Since we do lose trace amounts of calcium daily, it is essential to consume a balanced diet with calcium rich sources to replete our bodily stores.

How much calcium do I need?
Since the body cannot make calcium, it is important to obtain it from dietary sources. As with any vitamin or mineral, the body can utilize it better from its food form rather than a supplement. Speak with your doctor if you are thinking of taking a calcium supplement. Here are the daily recommendations for calcium intake:
Table with daily recommendations for calcium intake

What are some calcium – rich foods?
I’m sure we are all well aware of dairy being chock-full of calcium. This includes the gamut of milk, yogurt, cheese, and all of the above. Not everyone likes dairy foods, and luckily there are other sources to pick from. Consider some of these options:
1. Fortified cereals/ juices (almost all fortified foods are a good source of calcium)
2. Soy products- soybeans, tofu
3. Almonds/almond milk
4. Dark leafy greens- Chinese cabbage, kale, spinach, bok choy, turnip greens
5. Broccoli
6. Beans
7. Seeds
8. Fish, canned with the bones

MyPlate: The New Food Icon

May 8, 2013 by Liz

By Kimberly Stein, RD, CDN
A woman smiling

Do you remember the food pyramid? Chances are you do….and that it also probably confused you. Don’t fret- you weren’t alone. In case you lost all hope for how to manage your meals, hope has been restored! There is a new icon in town and it is here to stay!
Welcome to the era of MyPlate! Born in 2011, this extremely visual guide is a clear reminder of how our plates should look at our main meals. Super easy to understand, MyPlate takes the guesswork out of mealtimes. But…wait! There are only THREE simple rules MyPlate emphasizes! These are: 1) enjoy your food, but eat less of it, 2) avoid oversized portions, and 3) balance your calories. Think you can do that? You sure can!

So how exactly should your plate look?

Proportions of types of meals on a plate

But, wait…..what is this telling me? Well…..

1) Make half your plate fruits and vegetables—whatever you like!
2) Make half your grains whole grains
3) Vary your protein—switch it up during the week and try those new recipes you’ve stashed away
4) Switch to non-fat or 1% dairy—same nutrient content, just less fat and calories!

Congratulations, now you are well versed with the ideology of MyPlate! Go forth and have fun planning your meals around these easy, healthful tips. Remember to include your daily dose of physical activity and you will be on the right path to staying healthy!

Baby Steps

March 10, 2013 by admin

When I gave up meat and dairy 13 months ago, my advisors – my wife Louise and my cardiologist Dr. Ostfeld at Montefiore – assured me that those cravings for steak, chicken skin, and butter-soaked lobster would diminish. That hasn’t entirely happened. The aroma of roasting salty chicken regularly seeping through the floorboards of my workshop from the downstairs deli often calls the question: now why am I doing this again? Oh yeah. Trying to postpone death. Shit.

And my fitness friends assure me that once I start to work out, I will begin to crave it. I won’t feel satisfied until those endorphins are coursing through my quivering, expanding muscle fibers. After 2 weeks, I would have to say that hasn’t happened yet either.

But the positive news is that it’s not quite a living hell.

My first contact at CF, the person who would orient me, was Liz Swan, schooled in England, a social media specialist, who, in addition to her patience and kindness to weenies like me, was known as Slash Borden in Westchester’s Suburbia Roller Derby, a flat track roller derby league. ( That I have watched it many times while channel-surfing tells you something about me, and that she was a touring athlete in that tough league tells you something about her. ) She’s impressive.

She sent me on to Ted Gilsinger, the Fitness Director of CF, who used to train cadets in their workouts at West Point. Not weenies. He debriefed me on my general health and skinny-ass physique and plotted a workout plan of attack. I told him that if he made it too onerous, I would just stop coming, blame him, and choose the heart-attack option. He said not in this man’s army.

So I’ve been showing up to CF on snowy days in my Nike shorts and T-shirt, trying to look nonchalant, like I know what I’m doing. I come dressed because, unlike you endorphin guys, I’m still a little shy about the locker room, and every time I go, it takes me extra time to figure out which way to insert the card in the locker to get the key.

My routine – yeah, I guess that’s what I call it – is to bike a while, do the Circuit, and then run uphill on the treadmill for literally minutes. I’ve been at it for a couple of weeks now, three times a week. No endorphins yet. No muscles either. But it’s getting easier and even, occasionally, fun. I need to find ear buds that stay in place while I run. So much to know.

In the days of Michael Jordan I wanted to “Be Like Mike”. To all of you spinners, runners and weightlifters around me at CF- I just want to be like you.

A Message From the Cafe Corner and JV Cafe Manager, Diane Rich

February 25, 2013 by Liz

a woman smiling
Diane’s Café Corner Don’t forget, if you don’t see it, ask for it. If we have it, we will make it. Our food is made fresh daily with love. Nothing is pre-made. Look for lunch specials during the week. Check out our menu online!

Foodie News:
I love this! After working in big box retail, I know these are true statements . . .

Check out this great article by Rosalyn Hoffman:

Want to eat a healthy diet but are worried about the cost? Here are ten simple — and coupon-free — tips to saving at the supermarket. Use the money you save to bulk up on whole grains, fresh fruits and legumes.

1. Look for sale items on end-caps — they’ve been purchased at an advantageous price from the supplier; the savings are then passed on to you.
2. Seasonal fruits and vegetables as they come to harvest offer the best value; markets cut deals with suppliers. You may find great prices on brussels sprouts and pears one week, on string beans and strawberries the next.
3. Avoid large feature presentations not on sale since they are probably precursors to sale events, and the retailer is trying to get as much full-priced business before the sale event
4. Use the unit pricing as a guide to find the best buy. Just make sure the basis for the unit pricing is comparing apples to apples. For example, you can buy tea either loose or in bags. The loose tea will be measured by ounce, the bagged tea by quantity.
5. The house brands lowest priced products are often the cheapest available in a category.
6. Pay attention to expiration dates. Unless you are going to be using it right away, a bargain with a short shelf life is no bargain.
7. Most retailers want to get you in the door with highly recognizable items, such as lettuce, ketchup or cans of tomatoes either on sale or at an everyday low price — check circulars.
8. Cut down your portion sizes. When you do buy meat, fish or chicken, this will allow you to buy healthier hormone- and antibiotic-free product. (We are a nation consumed with big things, but bigger is not always better — you already know quality trumps size any day!)
9. Do NOT buy health and beauty aids at the grocery store; they are sold as a convenience to the shopper and you will likely pay full margin unless they are on sale.
10. Finally, be flexible. I know it’s hard, but think of your recipe or shopping list as an outline. If thighs are on sale, sub them in for breasts, green beans for broccoli, Chobani for Fage. For the original article posted on Huffington Post
A market with organic products


January 30, 2013 by Mark Cuatt

Photo of a man



“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is



The adage goes “ You Are What You Eat”, but have you ever really thought about that. Many times this is quoted without a full understanding of how true it is. This saying is truly the foundation of who you are. By now, you have a general understanding of the impact nutrition has on your body physically, so now I will open your understanding of how nutrition can impact your mind.

The human brain is a fascinating organ that is studied in depth by scientist and people in the medical field, but it still remains a mystery. It is the organ in the body that has the most demand for energy and nutrients. It consumes twenty – thirty percent of the Calories of your basal metabolic rate but cannot store energy so it must be supplied by glucose. It is also the “main frame” that controls your desire to eat, and also to stop eating, by regulating certain physiological metabolic factors and substances.

Besides the physical attributes, there are also debates regarding the notion if the brain and intelligence are the same. One side believes they are, while the other believes the brain is merely a physical organ and intelligence is something science may never understand. Sure intelligence can be measured, but by tests that have been developed by us. Therefore, philosophically speaking, what are we measuring?

Why can some people analyze in depth concepts to their finite details, while others cannot? How can some people visualize something in their mind and replicate it in writing, a painting, or a song, while others cannot?  Can some people truly hear an inner voice and be more attuned to a different plain of existence? Why can some people see a vision or set a goal and never lose sight of it, while others give up quickly? Why are you sometimes in a good mood, and sometimes you are not? Are you happy, sad or angry? Can you remember things easily, or do you forget often? This area of wonder is fascinating to me, but is it to you?

The brain can be looked at as three separate areas of function: reflexive, skilled, and emotional/instinct. Different sections of the brain deal more specifically with each of these functions.

Fundamental units of the brain are the billions of neurons (nerve cells), which conduct actions for your thoughts, movements, feelings, and all the physical process that takes place in your body. These actions are a combination of electrical impulses or chemical transmission by substances called neurotransmitters. It is these neurotransmitters that interest me from a nutritional point of view.

Neurotransmitters are found in the synaptic vesicles (sacs) on the axon terminal section of the neuron. There have been hundreds of neurotransmitters identified each having different functions and tailored to fit at a receptor site of specific cells that are to receive their information or designated excitatory or inhibitory actions.

Answers to the questions posed above can be directly linked into specific neurotransmitter and hormonal substances, or the imbalances of them. Imbalances can occur from several different factors such as genetics, disease or illnesses, stress, drugs, alcoholism, or smoking.  But most often overlooked is nutritionally.  Poor nutrition can have a direct impact on many of the neurotransmitters because they are formed from their respective precursors, which are often amino acids. If you are not eating correctly, you can cause a mild or severe imbalance.

Have you ever gone more than a few hours without eating, and notice some irritability, mood change or difficulty in concentrating? This is a temporary mild imbalance. If poor nutrition habits are prolonged, it can lead to other deeper, more severe imbalances. This is why the brain has several mechanisms to get you to eat. Although I am discussing it from a nutritional perspective, please keep in mind that there are several major disorders which etiology is unknown.  Don’t falsely think they’re all nutrition related or corrected through improving dietary intake.

I will be discussing these key neurotransmitters in future blogs

Understanding Nutrition – The Flu

January 11, 2013 by Mark Cuatt

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Well it’s the time of year when we need to proactively address the flu. To begin, the flu (influenza virus) is a contagious respiratory illness. Symptomatically, the risk of dehydration exists and your immune system becomes compromised which for some people can become very dangerous. Bottom line….you feel like crap

Here are some tips from a nutrition standpoint:

Should you eat or not eat…that is the question?

This question is usually the first to come up. Be sure not to starve yourself! At the least eat a light diet such as soups or broths along with liquids to keep you hydrated and provide your body the energy it needs to fight the infection.

  • Some foods such as dairy products could make you feel worse if your stomach is upset. Dairy products also tend to thicken the mucus in your airways, making it harder for you to breathe. It’s a good idea to stay away from milk products until you’re feeling better. Instead, you should consume clear fluids that will settle your stomach such as ginger ale, clear broth and liquid gelatin that has not congealed. If you cannot tolerate any liquids, suck on chips of ice or fruit pops. It is important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re vomiting or have diarrhea.
  • When you start feeling better, begin with what is called the BRAT diet of bananas, rice, applesauce and dry toast. These foods are easy to digest and will help you get used to tolerating solid foods once again.
  • Warm decaffeinated drinks, such as herbal tea with honey, will help to open your nasal passages and soothe a sore throat. And chicken soup is a soother for those symptoms such as those of an upper-respiratory tract infection.
  • Once you’re feeling better, you should be able to go back to the way you were eating. Remember to eat a balanced, nourishing diet rich in vitamins, nutrients and anti-oxidants. Eat a variety of colored fruits and vegetables, lean protein and complex carbohydrates to get your immune system back to health. Be sure to get some exercise every day and eight to nine hours of sleep each night. A strong immune system will help you fight off future infections


To Exercise or Not to Exercise

According to the National Institutes of Health, exercise has not been shown in research to prevent colds or the flu. However, exercise, along with a proper diet, can improve the immune system by helping the disease-fighting white blood cells in the body move from the organs into the bloodstream. This helps decrease your chances of getting a cold or the flu.

If you happen to get any sort of seasonal illness, whether it’s a cold or flu, you should not exercise if you have chest congestion, hacking cough, upset stomach, body aches, fatigue, or widespread muscle aches. However, if you have only mild symptoms, such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, or sneezing, exercise could help by opening nasal passages. During this time, however, you should reduce the intensity and length of your exercise.

IMPORTANT: Remember to wipe down any machines or areas that you use…before and after your exercise

Understanding Nutrition

January 6, 2013 by Mark Cuatt

A photo of a man

Mrs. Jones is a 35-year-old woman, 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 150 pounds with a body fat percentage of 26%.

Her goal is to lose some weight and get into better shape.


  • How many total Kcal per day should she consume?


  • How many Grams of Carbohydrates?


  • How Many Grams of Protein?


  • How Many Grams of Fat?

After setting a Nutrition plan, she incorporates an exercise program for additional Kcal expenditure,

During her session , she walks on a treadmill at 3.8 mph with a 4.5 % grade for 45 minutes. What is her extra energy expenditure?

What MET level was she working at?

The first person to Answer this correctly…email me @ and win a $20 gift card to use within the club.

Understanding Nutrition

October 9, 2012 by Mark Cuatt

Photo Mark

F  A  T  S :

When the word fat is used, it is actually referring to a class of compounds called lipids. The lipids include triglycerides (fats, and oils), phospholipids and sterols. Triglycerides are the predominant fats in both food, and the body, but all play an important role in the body.

While it is beneficial to consume a low fat diet, don’t falsely think you should consume very little or no fat. Fats are an important nutrient, and should be supplied in the diet, however in the appropriate quantity.

There are several functions of fats in the diet. Fat is a concentrated source of energy, providing nine Kcal/gm. As a source of energy, fat is crucial to prevent protein from being used as a fuel.

Fats are also important for the high satiety value. They delay the rapid development of hunger and keep you feeling full a little longer. If you have ever eaten a mostly carbohydrate food, you know you feel full for about an hour only to be hungry again. By having a little fat with meals you are satisfied longer. Fat also contributes to the palatability, flavor, and texture of foods.

The fats that are consumed in the diet can be found in several different forms. Dietary fats and oils contain a mixture of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The type of fatty acid in abundance determines if the mixture is solid or liquid. Once again, without going to in depth with chemistry, the chemical composition of a fatty acid contains chains of carbon atoms to which hydrogen atoms are attached. These attach to a glycerol structure and are what forms triglycerides. If the

Carbon atoms are filled with hydrogen atoms this is classified as “saturated”. If the carbon atoms are not completely filled with hydrogen atoms, they are “unsaturated”

Saturated Fatty Acids are the type of fats that are usually linked with many health concerns such as coronary heart disease. Saturated fats can increase blood cholesterol levels, and also be very easily stored as body fat because your body really doesn’t need them. The characteristics of dietary fats that are abundant with saturated fatty acids are solid at room temperature. This includes the fats found in animal products such as beef, poultry, fish, lard and butter. They are also found in some plant sources such as cocoa butter, coconut oil and palm oil. You may be thinking you don’t eat these sources, however look at some of the first ingredients in cake, cookies, pies, etc. you will realize you do. The saturated fats are the type of fats that should be limited in your diet.

Unsaturated Fatty Acids are known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. These are usually liquid at room temperature, and are the fats that come from certain plant sources. Corn, Safflower, and Sunflower oils, contain higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids. In the body, polyunsaturated fats have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels when substituted for saturated fatty acids. Olive oil and canola oils contain higher levels of monounsaturated fatty acids. Oleic acid, the predominate monounsaturated fatty acid has also been shown to reduce lower total blood cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol when substituted for fatty acids.

A question that I am often asked is “Is it better to use olive oil, butter, or margarine”. My answer is that if it is used in moderation, you may use whichever you like, however if you use it often, and in substantial amounts, you may be better off using the olive oil (or canola) as part of your diet. It is important that I define what is considered moderation here. Do you know the pat sizes of butter that you get in a restaurant? If you have one or two of that size amount of butter or margarine per day, that is moderation

Essential Fatty Acids are polyunsaturated fats that your body needs to maintain optimal health, healthy skin, produce hormone like substances, and for normal growth, but cannot make them. We need to get them from the foods we eat. These essential fatty acids are called Linoleic and Linolenic Acids.

The other polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are also important, are known as Omega 3 fatty acids. Research suggests that they may help prevent blood clots that lead to heart attack or stroke. The Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in cold-water fish such as mackerel, albacore tuna, and salmon, sardines, and lake trout.

I have recently reviewed two older articles about fish oil supplements that I found interesting, and was unaware of the claims. The first, which was in a November 1996 Pufa News issue, states “Fish Oil Supplements Used Successfully In The Treatment Of Schizophrenia”. This article is based on a six-week study done by Jan Mellor and colleagues at the Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, UK on 20 psychotic patients, all suffering from chronic schizophrenia and receiving neuroleptic medication that was not adjusted or discontinued during the study. The results of the study indicated a reduction in the severity of their symptoms, particularly tardive dyskenisia (lip smacking), interest and motivation. However these conclusions are based on a single study that only involved 20 people for a short time. In my opinion, there is not enough evidence to support the claim.

The second study in March 1998 Pufa News issue states “Fish Oil Reduces Body Fat Mass”. This study by Covet C. Delarve, J. Ritz P. et al at Bretonneu Hospital in France, was a short three week study done on a group of six healthy volunteers (five men and one woman) They were given tests with two types of diet. First was a conventional French diet with no restriction on quantity, consisting of 52% carbohydrates, 15 % protein, and 32 % fat. The second, was the same diet, except 6 grams of fat was replaced with 6 grams of fish oil each day. The results indicated that while eating the fish oil, subjects showed a 0.88 kg reduction in body fat, as opposed to .30kg in the control diet. However, there was no change in body weight. In conclusion and my opinion, the test was too small and too short in duration to draw any concrete results. There are however many more recent studies that indicate these same results of omega 3 fish oil supplementation decreasing body fat.


Glycerol is backbone structure and important component of triglycerides and of phospholipids.  When the body uses stored fat as a source of energy, glycerol and fatty acids are released into the bloodstream. The glycerol component can be converted to glucose by the liver and provide energy for cellular metabolism.

Glycerol can also be seperated as an individual molecule, and is used in many healthcare produts such as soap, cosmetics products, creams and foods. One unique property of glycerol is that it absorbs water.  More recently, Glycerol has been used in most of the high protein bars on the market. Why you ask? Because although glycerol is technically a compound within the lipid classification, it has the Caloric equivelent of a Carbohydrate (4 Kcal) and Glycerol is about 60% as sweet as sucrose and is used to sweeten as well as to add a chewy texture or “mouth feel” to foods. Also, manufactures of these bars realized that since it is not a carbohydrate, it did not have to be listed in the nutritional information panel. Therefore, a bar’s nutrition label may indicate that there are only eight or ten grams of carbohydrates. This would deceptively be true. However the other thirty grams, would be glycerol.

Most bars on the market no longer deceptively do this. Many people have realized it, and the change has been made. There is now a listing stating that the product contains glycerol. If it is not listed how much is in the product, just add up the ingredients:


280 Kcal : 30 g Protein, 9 g Carbs, 8g Fat.

30 g protein = 120 Calories, 9 g Carbs = 36 Calories, 8 g Fat = 72 Calories =  228 Calories. Therefore, there is a 52 Calorie difference of what is indicated. As I have stated, Glycerol contains four Calories per Gram like Carbs and Protein. This product would essentially have 13 grams of glycerol.

I hope this illustration makes fats easier to understand:


Triglycerides  (Fats and oils)

  • Glycerol
  • Fatty Acids
  • Saturated
  • Monounsaturated
  • Polyunsaturated
    • Omega-6
    • Omega-3

Phospholipids  Sterols (Cholesterol)


Because sometimes no matter how much will power you may have, you may  want those tempting snack foods such as chips, ice cream, and other desserts, there has been a golden opportunity for companies to develop fat substitutes.  How attractive would this be to you to be able to eat these foods without consuming all the fat that is with them?

The idea behind these products is to reduce the fat and calories while maintaining the texture and taste. As promising as that may sound, it is not without controversy and concern. Is anything in this world ever?  The question is what effect can these products have on the gastrointestinal tract and can they interfere with the absorption of vital nutrients.

One fat substitute that is used in many products is called Olestra. Olestra is a synthetic chemical combination of sucrose and fatty acids that provides no calories or fat because it is indigestible by the body. The sucrose replaces the Glycerol portion of the fatty acid.

Whenever fat substitutes are used in a product, there is usually a caution that reads,” may cause abdominal cramping, or possible anal leakage”. Hmmm, this sounds intriguing huh?  What is messy underwear for five hundred Alex? I have a friend that would eat these products all the time, and it never seemed to bother him. A bunch of us that would hang out together even dared him to eat a whole bag of chips containing Olestra, but still he handled it well. I also know other people who were extremely sensitive to these products and it bothers their stomach to eat even a small amount.


August 10, 2012 by Mark Cuatt

Photo of a man


What is Cholesterol ? Cholesterol is categorized in the fats group as a Sterol. It is fatty, waxy like substance that is produce in the liver, and is found in all animal products or any foods that come from an animal. (All animals have a liver). The foods that contain the highest amount of cholesterol are organ meats such as liver (no surprise) and kidney, as well as egg yolks.

In the body, cholesterol is vital for optimum health. It is part of all cells and is very important in the formation of brain and nerve tissue, and it is a precursor for vitamin D, and some important hormones such as testosterone.

We do not need to consume cholesterol in our diet (Since we also have a liver). We produce our own cholesterol. Unfortunately, due to hereditary factors, some people may produce too much. Contrary to popular belief, the level of blood cholesterol has little to do with the amount we obtain from food. Although consuming a diet high in cholesterol and saturated fat can lead to health risks. Consuming less than 300mg per day is recommended.

A high level of blood cholesterol is considered a risk factor for atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.


Standards for risk factors:


Below 200 mg/dl             = desirable

200 to 239 mg/dl             = borderline high

240 mg/dl and above       = high


LDL:                                                                                                                                    Above 140mg/dl

HDL:   below 35mg/dl


O.K., so what is considered “good cholesterol, and “bad cholesterol”? Also, can you eat” good cholesterol” or ”bad cholesterol”? Stay with me here, I will make it easy to understand, and this will be beneficial when you get a physical and your physician discusses cholesterol levels with you. Once again, cholesterol has important functions in the body, and we need a certain amount. However because it is a fatty substance, it has difficulty moving through water. Fat and water do not mix well. Our blood is 92% water. Therefore, in order for cholesterol to travel through the blood stream and get to the places where it is needed, something needs to take place.

Here is a non-technical way to associate what happens. A protein “coats” the cholesterol along with some other Phospholipids to enable the molecule to travel through the blood stream. As the cholesterol is used, what is left is a molecule that is more protein then cholesterol. This is called a High Density Lipo Protein (HDL). This type is considered to be the “good” cholesterol because of this ratio. Once the body has enough cholesterol to fulfill its needs, the protein coated molecule remains filled with the unused cholesterol. These are considered the “bad” cholesterol and are known as Low Density Lipo Proteins (LDL). These are the type that can build up in the blood stream and clog arteries leading to atherosclerosis, which is the most common form of artery disease and can lead to cardio vascular disease (CVD).

If you are unfortunate and are someone that has a liver that over produces cholesterol, you may want to speak with your physician about certain cholesterol lowering medications, because research has shown that a strict low cholesterol diet does not necessarily have a significant impact in lowering cholesterol. However, fiber does play a role in helping to lower cholesterol. Also exercise especially aerobic can have extremely beneficial results. In fact this may help to reverse atherosclerosis.