February 10, 2009

Do you get enough fruit and vegetables in your diet?

Filed under: By Tamra Rosenfeld — Administrator @ 4:47 pm

 Tamra Rosenfeld

Despite studies showing that getting enough fruit and vegetables in your diet can reduce the risk of some cancers, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, most Americans still do not eat the amount that they need.  Recent studies show that less than 1% of adolescents, less than 2% of men, and less than 3.5% of women are eating the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables.  The most common fruit consumed is from orange juice and the most common vegetable is potatoes – often consumed as French fries

How many servings of fruits and vegetables do I need per day?

Current guidelines recommend 4-6 servings of vegetables per day and 3-4 servings of fruit per day based on age, weight, and activity level.  To determine how many servings you need you can reference

1 serving of vegetables is ½ cup cooked vegetables or 1 cup of leafy green vegetables.  1 serving of fruit is 1 small fruit, ½ cup fruit juice, or ¼ cup dried fruit.   

How can I get more fruit and vegetables in my diet?

·        Buy fruit and vegetables in season – they will often be less costly and they will taste better.  

·        Store fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator to keep them fresh for longer (with the exception of tomatoes, potatoes, and onions which have more health benefits non-refrigerated).

·        Have cut up fruits and vegetables easy to grab as snacks – pre-washed baby carrots and dried fruit can be easy to grab on the go.

·        Buy frozen or canned fruit and vegetables if you will not have time to get to the supermarket.

·        Add fruit to cereals or blend fruit with yogurt to make a smoothie.

·        Add fruit or vegetables to muffins or breads – banana bread, zucchini bread, bran apple muffins, etc.

 ·        For desserts try baking apples or pears or eat a bowl of fruit salad or berries.

·        Incorporate fruit or vegetables in your recipes – stir fry’s, meatloaf can be blended with pureed vegetables, add vegetables to pizza, fruit chutneys can be used in recipes.

You can e-mail Tamra Rosenfeld, MS, RD:    




Filed under: By Paul Jason — Administrator @ 4:05 pm
  Paul Jason




The Recovery, Part III.      


Eight weeks after my quadruple by-pass surgery I had to make another critical decision. Slowly but surely during the eight-week recuperation period my body hair had re-grown. I no longer felt like a naked ape. And the issue of my missing moustache and goatee had been overshadowed by more pressing concerns. 

However, as the day approached for my anticipated return to work I had to make a decision as to whether or not I would re-grow my moustache and goatee. My return to the workplace was actually going to present an image dilemma for me.. For the past thirteen years I had worn a full beard and/or a mustache and goatee.  This facial hair had become part of my personae. My family, my friends, my clients, my employees, my neighbors, as well as acquaintances large and small, important and insignificant, had come to recognize me by my facial hair (and my sparkling personality, I suppose). Could I now face them (no pun intended) without these accustomed accessories?  The prospect made me uneasy.

I finally decided to let the reactions of these aforementioned people constitute the unscientific survey by which the final decision would be determined. At first, some people in the neighborhood, shopkeepers and the like, didn’t recognize me. Some walked past me in the street as though I were a stranger.  But slowly the opinions started to emerge and, surprisingly, they were impressively in favor of my remaining clean-shaven.  Many people expressed the opinion that I looked ten years younger without the beard.  I soon began to wonder why, if the beard had made me look ten years older, they hadn’t said anything to me years before.

Well, vanity beating out sanity, I have clung to my newly-acquired clean-shaven image to this day, taking some satisfaction in knowing that my grandchildren can see my face.
In addition to conquering the facial hair challenge, exactly seventy-one days after my surgery I began a cardiac rehabilitation program approved by my cardiologist.  For the next twelve weeks, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I left my office at 3:30, retrieved my gym attire, drove to the rehab center, and began an exercise regimen.  I had never before (school physical education classes excepted) worked out in a health club or gym and this was going to be a totally new experience for me. But, as far as I was concerned, exercising at least three times a week for the rest of my life amounted to a life sentence, and I figured that I might as well make the best of it.

The particular rehab program I enrolled in was recommended to me by two local merchants and choosing it turned out to be the best decision I made . . . next only to the choice of my surgeon, I suppose.  It was the best decision, I think, because the facility had more than just adequate equipment; more importantly,  it was staffed at that time by a well-qualified and dedicated staff.  It was in existence for about twenty years and, as I learned later, some of the “patients” had already been coming there for almost all of those years.

The Program Director was a gentleman in his fifties with a Doctor of Education Degree in Applied Physiology from Columbia University.  He was a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a Fellow of the American Association for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation and had taught college courses in exercise physiology, kinesiology, cardiovascular fitness and cardiovascular health and nutrition, amongst others.

Three young people with college and post-graduate degrees in exercise science and cardiac rehabilitation manned the place at that time.  I learned that they had Masters of Science Degrees and had taken graduate courses in subjects such as aerobic fitness, the physiology of human performance, electrocardiography and non-invasive evaluations, cardiac pathophysiology exercise and pharmacology, testing evaluation and exercise prescription. They had also participated in clinical laboratories  emphasizing diagnostic stress testing, echocardiography stress testing, telemetry monitored exercise, geriatric fitness, diet analysis and pulmonary rehabilitation.  Aside from their college degrees, these exercise physiologists are independently certified as exercise, strength and conditioning specialists.

This was no commercial health club or gym operation populated by body builders or weight lifters. Rather, it was a place where victims of coronary disease were rejuvenated in a stress-free and protected environment. There was no endless waiting for the availability of exercise equipment (a common complaint of many health club members).  No conflicts between uptight yuppies and the slower-moving geriatric crowd here.
Also present during the three days a week that I attended were one or the other of two physicians in charge of monitoring people like me.  During the first  twelve weeks my exercise program was carefully structured, and reports of my progress were forwarded to my cardiologist. Each time I came to exercise I was obligated to attach three electrodes to my chest so that the staff cardiologist could follow my activities through telemetry. The physician on duty sat behind a desk at the front of the exercise room.  On that desk was a bank of computers and screens gathering information on each monitored person in the room. The physician continuously printed out electrocardiograms and other data.  Additionally, he could visually see everyone in the room and observe their physical exertions.

The twelve-week monitored program was strictly regimented.  The Program Director had devised a system of six-minute stints on various pieces of aerobic equipment, punctuated by one-minute interludes.  Each patient was given a chart to track his/her exercise record. On the chart were notations indicating the level of difficulty to be undertaken on each piece of equipment. Periodically the exercise physiologists would upgrade the exercise levels. After each exercise, the patient noted his/her perceived level of exertion on the chart.  Exertion levels are assigned numerical valuations, and range from “very, very light” to “very, very hard”.  In this manner a continuous record of progress is established.

Additionally, at least once a week the patient’s blood pressure was taken before, during and after the exercise program to measure the relative effects of the exercise performed.

To make sure that there was a continuous physical flow in these workouts, the aerobic exercise equipment was arranged in five rows, each consisting of seven pieces of apparatus: a stationary bicycle, a treadmill, a rowing machine, a Stairmaster, an arm-leg bike (like a stationary bike, but with poles that you move back and forth), a recumbent bike (the leg motion is circular like the stationary bike, but your legs are out in front of you instead of below you) and a recumbent stepper bike (like a recumbent bike, except the leg motion is back and forth instead of circular, and there are poles like the arm-leg bike).  The general rule was that each participant started on the first piece of equipment in any row and moved progressively up the row.  Since there were thirty-five exercise machines and rarely more than twenty-five people in attendance at one time, the ability to move from one piece of equipment to another was unimpeded. After I had been there about a year and a half, an elliptical trainer apparatus was added.

Every session began with a six-minute warm-up exercise on the first piece of equipment.  For obvious reasons, this was performed at a lower level of exertion than the balance of the routine and was designed to gradually get the muscles moving, to elevate the heart rate and to increase the blood flow.  This was followed, at first, by three other exercises, and concluded by a cool-down exercise, similar to the warm-up exercise in intensity, but designed to gradually reduce the heart rate.  Over the weeks the number of intervening exercises was increased from three to five.

A session consisting of a warm-up, five exercises, a cool-down and six one-minute interludes took forty-eight minutes to complete.  This was followed by a few stretching exercises while the muscles were warm and pliable.  Emphasis was on the hamstring, thigh and calf muscles.

There were also twelve strength resistance training pieces of equipment: two pullover apparatuses for the latissimus dorsi (back) muscles; two leg extension apparatuses for the quadriceps; two leg curl apparatuses for the hamstrings; two arm curl apparatuses for the biceps; two chest press apparatuses for the pectoral muscles; one back extension apparatus for the erector spinae, the glutimous maximus and the hamstrings; and one cable column apparatus, which can be used to do a wide variety of exercises benefitting a whole bunch of muscles.  There were also barbells of various weights, the heaviest of which was forty pounds.

However, the most important element of this rehab center, as far as I was concerned, was the personnel. I found them to be encouraging and challenging, especially a young man with a strange accent named Vadim Vilensky. I began the rehab program full of trepidation and definitely not feeling like my old self. My legs still felt weak, I was hunched over a bit (from the chest incision) and I still had a dull pain in my back (near the shoulder blade).  However, after two or three weeks, my mobility began to return to normal and my posture improved as well.  The exercise physiologists constantly assured me that I could not only return to my former physical condition, but I could surpass it.  And I believe that Vadim set out on a mission to prove it to me.
The intensity level of my workouts began to increase.  And, with each improvement, I began to believe that I could come all the way back . . . and, maybe more.

To be continued…















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