Meatless Monday :: FIT4U Challenge Week 4

Meatless Monday :: FIT4U Challenge Week 4

Most people have heard of the Meatless Monday trend, so for this week’s FIT4U Fitness Challenge, we wanted to see if our team could have at least 1 meatless meal this week. Seems easy enough, right? This week we’re taking closer look at the meatless trend to see if it really is healthier.
*For the purposes of this challenge, “meat” is referencing various types of beef, chicken, pork, and turkey. Fish was considered an acceptable meat to consume.

Health Benefits
You may have heard the news trends indicating that you should eat less red meat and more chicken and fish. But what happens when you eliminate meat from just one meal each week?
– When you eliminate foods rich in saturated fats (animal-based products such as fatty beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin) for foods rich in polyunsaturated fats (plant-based oils, including soybean oil, corn oil, and sunflower oil; fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and trout), this reduces the risk of heart disease by 19% and your risk of a stroke by 6%.
– Some studies have link processed meat and red meat consumption to the increased risk of colorectal, gastric, prostate, and breast cancer.
– Recent studies have proven that reducing intake of meat can prevent long-term weight gain.
– Increased life expectancy is seen in those who consume less meat.
– Plant-based proteins have less fat and no cholesterol.
Meatless Monday :: FIT4U Challenge Week 4
How Do Asian Countries Compare?
In many Asian countries, fish and beans are seen as the main source of protein rather than beef or chicken (as seen here in the United States). Most Asian countries consume almost twice as much fish as Americans do. Eating certain kinds of fish can help boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce the risk of some cancers and help lower your risk of heart disease. In this diet, fish and meat are seen higher up on a food pyramid (pictured), while having an emphasis on rice, vegetables, and fruits. While rice may be high in carbs, it provides more than 15 vitamins and minerals. Rice is also glucose-, sodium- and cholesterol-free, making it an excellent heart-healthy choice. The American or “Western diet” however is based more around animal products and processed food. The typical American diet includes a large amount of red meat. Red meats are high in saturated fat, and eating them has been linked to the risk of developing heart disease, colon cancer and diabetes.
Meatless Monday :: FIT4U Challenge Week 4
So how does their health compare to ours?  The prevalence of obesity in the United States has doubled among adults, due to the high-calorie, nutritionally-empty American/Western diet in combination with a sedentary lifestyle. While Americans do in fact consume moderate amounts of fruits and vegetables, such foods aren’t always in the foundation of our diet. Vegetables in the standard American diet are often not included in meals or are served as a side dish. Some could argue that this has led to Americans’ having a higher incidence of obesity, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders and high cholesterol and blood pressure. Conversely, populations that have plant-based diets, which emphasize fish and keep dairy and meat consumption to a minimum, have a significantly lower incidence of these chronic diseases and conditions.
Meatless Monday :: FIT4U Challenge Week 4
What about Protein?
One of the biggest concerns people have in regards to reducing their meat intake is getting enough protein. This is really not an issue of protein, but rather a subject that most people aren’t as familiar with. Greek yogurt, tofu, beans, eggs, almonds, oats, seeds, cottage cheese, broccoli, and quinoa are all full of protein, and in some cases they have more protein than a serving of red meat. Spinach is a great source of protein, so throw a handful in a smoothie or eat some more lentils at dinner. There are so many ways to get your protein in without the meat.
Meatless Monday :: FIT4U Challenge Week 4
Here’s a fun recipe to try :: Sweet Potato Tacos with Black Beans
– Sweet Potatoes
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– ½ medium red onion, diced
– 1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1/4″ cubes
– ½ cup black beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 chipotle in adobo sauce
– 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
– 1 tablespoon honey
– Juice from one lime
– 4 taco shells (hard or soft)
– extra cilantro, for topping

– Heat olive oil over medium heat in skillet
– Add onions and let cook until onions begin to soften, 3-4 minutes
– Stir in sweet potatoes and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes
– In a separate bowl, combine the chipotle, adobo sauce, honey, and lime juice
– Break apart the chipotle into small pieces
– Pour the mixture into the pan with the sweet potatoes and reduce the heat to medium-low
– Add beans and continue to cook until sweet potatoes have softened, 10-15 minutes
– Serve and add desired toppings like sour cream, avocados, and fresh salsa

See our previous FIT4U Fitness Challenges where we challenged our team to drink more water and eat more veggies, and reduce their sugar intake.

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Meatless Monday :: FIT4U Challenge Week 4

Weight Loss with Physical Therapy and WZZM

Weight Loss with Physical Therapy and WZZM

If you’ve ever struggled with weight loss or gain, you know what a difficult journey it can be. We were delighted to welcome WZZM, Catherine Behrendt and the crew from My West Michigan to our Grant clinic to talk about how physical therapy can help people who are struggling with weight loss. We not only showed them a bit of our clinic, but also our state-of-the-art pool, which we use for Aquatic Therapy and pool classes.

Julie Blodgett and Janis Kemper and pictured with Catherine Behrendt of WZZM’s My West Michigan

Janis shared part of her weight loss journey and touched on how physical therapy has helped her along the way. She explained that it can be difficult to exercise when you’re overweight because you tend to feel pain in your joints. There are ways to alleviate that pain and some certain exercises that are more beneficial than others. Physical therapy can help with those concerns.
Weight Loss with Physical Therapy and WZZM
See the entire weight loss segment below. If you have questions for Janis, she’ll be the featured speaker at our weight loss support group on March 29 at 6pm in our Grant clinic. If you’re interested in learning more about how physical therapy can help you on your weight loss journey, feel free to contact any of our clinics for more information.

Check out our previous segments on My West Michigan where we talked about using an exercise ball, the 3 minute exercise routine, concussions in student athletes and senior health.

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Weight Loss with Physical Therapy and WZZM

Sugar is the “New Fat” :: FIT4U Challenge Week 3

Sugar is the “New Fat” :: FIT4U Challenge Week 3

After challenging our team to drink more water and eat more veggies, this week our FIT4U challenge involved cutting out sugar. Think you could go an entire week with no sugar? It wasn’t easy. Everyone loves to grab a cookie at the bake sale or a donut in the breakroom, however, sugar has some dangerous side effects when you consume too much. Sugar is seen in a lot of products these days like pop, cereals, granolas, yogurt, candy, and other sweets. Since sugar is the main ingredient in so many products we consume, we’ve challenged our team to cut out sugary treats!

How much sugar is in your favorite food?

What are some dangers of sugar?

– Sugar can be harmful to your heart. Studies have shown an increase in heart disease among people who’s diets contain more than 25% sugar.
– Sugar can cause weight gain, especially around the belly. The excess calories are converted into fat and stored for later use.
– Sugar is addictive. Much like alcohol and smoking, people have been known to become addicted to sugar. One soda each day seems harmless but it could lead to an addiction without you even knowing.
– There’s an increased risk of diabetes. Insulin is sugar’s little chaperone to the cells, and when too much is consumed, or our insulin doesn’t work, our body revolts.
– You can have tooth decay due to the increase in sugar resting on your teeth for long periods of time.

Not All Sugar is Created Equal

Can sugar be good? Well, natural sugars are better for us than processed sugars, but what is a natural sugar? Natural sugars are found in fruits, honey and vegetables because they’re bundled with fluid, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. For example, one cup of cherries contains about 17 grams of sugar and a cup of chopped carrots has 6 grams, but both are so full of good stuff that it would be practicing bad nutrition to banish them. “Bad” sugar, on the other hand, is the type not added by Mother Nature, the refined stuff that sweetens sodas, candy, and baked goods. The average American eats 22 teaspoons of “bad” sugar each day, which is the equivalent of a 4-pound sack every 20 days!

Artificial sweeteners are substances that are used instead of table sugar to sweeten foods and beverages. Since artificial sweeteners are sweeter than table sugar, smaller amounts are needed to create the same level of sweetness. The problem is that artificial sweeteners can trick your body into thinking that it’s going to receive sugar (calories), but when the sugar doesn’t come, your body continues to signal that it needs more, which results in carb cravings and over eating. Research has shown that artificial sweeteners stimulate appetite, increase cravings for carbs, and produce a variety of metabolic dysfunctions that promote fat storage and weight gain.
Sugar is the “New Fat” :: FIT4U Challenge Week 3
How to Cut Back On Sugar
The best way to cut back on sugar is to do it gradually. Try a few days with no sweets. Then try a few more days, and work your way up to an entire week. This is difficult for most people so you can try substituting your sweet cravings for other things.
– Avoid sugary drinks.
– Read labels. Sugar has some alternative names so watch out for those (dextrose, cane juice, corn sweetener, fructose). The grams listed don’t distinguish between naturally occurring (“good”) and added (“bad”) sugar.
– Avoid low-fat items because the fat is usually replaced with sugar and salt.
– Replace sugary candies and sweets with fruits.
– Eat more fiber rich foods to keep you fuller longer and keep those cravings in check.
– Exercise. Even a 20 minute walk each day can help reduce the stress and cravings you may have.

Here are some table sugar substitutes
Sugar is the “New Fat” :: FIT4U Challenge Week 3

Congratulations to this week’s winners!
Sugar is the “New Fat” :: FIT4U Challenge Week 3

The week 2 drawing winner was Lindsay.

The week 1 secret challenge winner was Terri, and she won a jeans day for the Coopersville staff.

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Sugar is the “New Fat” :: FIT4U Challenge Week 3