Is Canned Tuna Good For You?

Looking at the problem with Ramen, I was worried that canned tuna fish – my next favorite for a quick and easy meal – may not be healthy for me either.  Happily, it looks like tuna fish is still good for you.  One article on Healthy Eating SFGate listed all sorts of happy news:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The small amount of fat present in canned light tuna is mostly the healthy unsaturated kind, including omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids support a healthy brain and promote proper growth and development. These essential fatty acids reduce inflammation in your body, which can reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and arthritis.
  • Niacin: A 3-ounce serving of canned light tuna contains 11.3 milligrams of niacin toward the 14 milligrams women need each day and the 16 milligrams that men need. Niacin is a B-vitamin that helps keep your digestive system, skin and nerves healthy.
  • Vitamin B12: You need 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 each day, and a 3-ounce serving of canned light tuna supplies 2.5 micrograms. Vitamin B12 supports the normal function of your brain and also aids in the formation of red blood cells.
  • Mercury: You can safely eat a serving of canned light tuna every three or four days and a serving of canned albacore tuna every nine-to-14 days, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

There’s only 179 calories in a can of tuna fish so it sounds like I may be eating a lot more of it at lunch.

Just as a side note, there was a recall of Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea cannd tuna fish in 2013.  “There have been no consumer reports of illnesses attributed to these products,” Steve Mavity, Bumble Bee’s senior vice president of technical services and corporate quality assurance, said in a statement. “But because we’ve identified an issue with seal tightness, we’re voluntarily recalling products to ensure the highest margin of safety and quality.” Loose seals and seams can lead to bacterial contamination, which can cause food poisoning, according to the FDA.

Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee, two of the major tuna brands that you’re likely to see on the shelf at your local grocery store, will combine into one as the owner of Chicken of the Sea.  The merger, if approved, would probably happen in the second half of 2015.

Greenpeace has posted notes that Bumble Bee and companies like it, continue to rely on fishing practices that kill millions of marine animals every year, including sharks, turtles, rays and juvenile fish of all kinds. These practices threaten the very ecosystems that will keep our oceans healthy for generations to come.

How Bad is Ramen Anyway?

marruchan ramenI love Maruchan Ramen noodles. Unabashedly.  I ate them a lot in high school and I still order them in large batches from Amazon.com.  They are fast and filling and warm during the winter months. I figured I was making Ramen more healthy by adding peas and/or carrots and, occasionally, chicken. Ingredients: Ramen Noodle: Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Oil (Contains One Or More of The Following: Canola, Cottonseed, Palm) Preserved By Tbhq, Salt, Soy Sauce (Water, Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), Potassium Carbonate, Sodium (Mono, Hexameta, and/Or Tripoly) Phosphate, Sodium Carbonate, Turmeric. Soup Base: Salt, Monosodium Glutamate “MSG”, Sugar, Hydrolyzed Corn, Wheat and Soy Protein

More recently, I thought I was really getting ahead of the cnonggshim noodleurve by purchasing Nongshim Spicy Chicken Noodle Bowls.  The label says there is no MSG added, and 0 g trans fat (although the Maruchan Ramen does not contain trans fat either.)  The Nonghim Noodles have an endorsement by Professional Chefs (a 2011 Chef’s Best Award)  and there’s 30% less sodium than their regular product.  They come in their individual bowls (yes, each bowl is 2 servings, go figure.) Ingredients: Wheat flour, palm oil, potato starch, modified potato starch, salt,contains less than 2% of each of the following: artificial flavor, beef extract*, beef fat*, beef stock*, black pepper*, calcium phosphate, chicken broth*, corn syrup*, dextrose, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, disodium succinate,dehydrated vegetables (carrot, green onion), garlic*, ginger*, gum arabic, hydrolyzed soy protein, lecithin (soy), malic acid, maltodextrin, modified corn starch, mushroom extract*, natural flavors, onion*, potassium carbonate, red chili pepper*, riboflavin (color), rice*, sand lance concentrate*, seaweed extract*, sodium carbonate, sodium phosphates, soybeans*, spices, sugar, tapioca starch, textured soy protein (soy flour, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, yeast extract), tocopherols (antioxidant), yeast extract, yellow corn flour. *powdered contains wheat, soy, and sand lance. Manufactured in a facility that also processes crustacean shellfish and milk.

Here’s the bad news.  Apparently, Ramen isn’t bad for you just because of the sodium. There are a number of articles that noting just how bad Ramen noodles are and how they will kill you. What can you do if you still want Ramen?  Most recommendations to make Ramen healthier is to add vegetables, as I have done.  One site recommends that once your noodles are a little over halfway cooked, (still al-dente) dump the cooking water out and drain the noodles. Put another 2 cups of water on the stove.  (Hey you just discarded a lot of gross starch and a fair amount of fat!).

If you want to read more, here is a good article:

The Street.com – Ramen Noodles May Lead to Chronic Illness: The article uses data from WebMD and, most importantly, findings from a new study by Baylor University. The study was published in The Journal of Nutrition and shows that consumption of instant noodles significantly ups the risk of a scary condition for certain groups of people.

  • Cardiometabolic Syndrome – Cardiometabolic syndrome is a scary condition ; a Baylor study found that eating instant noodles two or more times a week was associated with the syndrome, which raises a person’s likelihood of developing heart disease and other conditions, such as diabetes and stroke.  Ladies, pay attention to this: Women (specifically South Korean), not men, who ate instant noodles at least twice a week showed a 68% higher risk of metabolic syndrome.
  • Noodles: In order to create a long keeping noodle that can be on store shelves or in your kitchen cupboard for 4 to 12 months, it’s deep fried in oil. That’s right, they are fried noodles.
  • BPA Chemicals: Bisphenol A (BPA), is used for packaging the noodles in polystyrene foam containers. Studies have shown that BPA can affect the way hormones send messages throughout our body, specifically the primary female sex hormone, estrogen.
  • Salt: Ramen is high in sodium, packed with 41% of your daily allowance with each package. Most of this sodium is in the flavoring packet. Using less flavoring, which is mostly salt, will reduce the sodium content. Also remember that eating too much sodium can increase a person’s risk of heart failure, osteoporosis, stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • Flavoring Packet: The flavoring powder is made of salt, monosodium glutamate, seasoning, and sugar. The worst ingredient is the MSG, or monosodium glutamate. That’s the “flavor enhancer” used to improve all kinds of tastes. Instant noodle makers use it to make their shrimp flavors taste more like shrimp, and beef flavors more like beef.
  • Fat: One 85 gram package of ramen noodles has 14.5 grams of fat. The unhealthy saturated fats make up 6.5 grams, which is about one third of your daily allowance. The remainder of the fats are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

Another issue is that Ramen noodles contain Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), which is a byproduct of the petroleum industry and food additive frequently to preserve cheap processed foods. In processed foods, it’s sprayed on the food or on its packaging to prevent discoloration and changes to flavor and odor. Others products, such as cosmetics, perfumes, varnishes and lacquers, contain TBHQ to maintain stability.

Small amounts of TBHQ may not kill you (although death has occurred) or even make you feel immediately sick, but it can have a long term effect on your health such as weakening of organs and contributing to the onset of cancers and tumors.

 

Light Kickboxing and Strength Session with John Salgado

Sadly, I weighed in this morning a half pound heavier than yesterday.  Yes, I know I’ve already written that a person should not weigh herself on a daily basis but I can’t help myself.  I’m not sure why it happened but I think it may relate to under-eating again.  The Fat2FitRadio.com pod casts repeated noted that under-eating would result in the body going into starvation mode and holding on to calories.   For the second time this week, I dropped under the calorie limits suggested by the Calories and Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculator.  I ate a little over 1600 calories yesterday, so I consumed at least my BMR of 1430 calories.  However, I didn’t eat enough.  🙁  According to the calculator, I should eat between 1907 calories for a Lightly Active woman (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/wk) to 2150 calories for a Moderately Active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/wk).

Today’s workout with John was lighter in deference to my knee and because I am fighting off a flu.  We spent a lot of time doing kickboxing strength exercises and drills.  I was still soaked in sweat but happy.

 I found this video on how to do a Back Leg Roundhouse Kick on the ehow.com site.

Another Excellent Kickboxing Workout

Despite coming down with a bug, I worked out with John Salgado today and did pretty well.  Because we’re still working around my cranky knee, we started out doing some drill on the Bosu Ball: jogging on it, Dome Toe Taps [you can watch the video below but I can say she’s a lot better at it than I am LOL],  side squats [again, very small movements because of my knee], and squat thrusts.

Other exercises for today included wall squats with a stability ball and a 10 lb ball.  A new item for today was assisted dips.  We rounded out the work out with punching and kicking combinations on the bag.

Wall Squat with Stability Ball by http://www.workoutz.com

The good news on weight loss and nutrition is that I am still within my recommended calorie intake for my BMR.  I must confess that I had vanilla ice cream with blueberries last night [yes, I entered it into the SparkPeople.com Nutrition Tracker and I remain in calorie range :-)]  I’m down another half pound but that could be just water weight.

Light Strength Training at Crunch Gym

It’s been raining but I still made it to Crunch to work out with Frank.  We had another light strength workout in deference to my bad knee.  My warm ups comprised running sideways back and forth.  We then did a series of modified inchworms; modified planks, leg extensions [using the wall]; and standing abductions.  As I enter my workouts into the SparkPeople.com fitness tracker, I can see how much less I do at Crunch but I don’t mind as I’m feeling really tired and it’s about as much as I want to do today.  It’s still 100 percent more than I would do without Frank. 🙂

Nutritionally, I am staying within the recommended calorie range for my BMR.  Breakfast included my favorite fruit protein shake.  Dinner included a lovely spinach and feta cheese salad.  My weight continues to creep down.  Hooray! 

 

Kickboxing with John Salgado

Despite the rain, I made it to the gym this afternoon. My knee was especially creaky today so we tried some modified one-leg-squat exercises. I did the easiest variation:  John had me sit on a chair, extend one leg and arms in front and stand up on one leg.  I then sat down on the chair while standing on one leg.  I still had to support the weak knee but it’s a start to try to rebuild leg strength.

Here’s a video link demonstrating the modified one-leg-squat exercises from eHow.com:

 
 

Other exercises with the resistance bands for today included:

You can find other Resistance Band exercise suggestions at:

We rounded out today with punching and kicking combos on the bag.

I’ve tried to continue eating healthily- breakfast included a fruit protein shake so I had a kick start with protein and fiber;  other meals included vegetables.

Weighing In

I took the day off from exercise today. 🙂  I checked my weight this morning directly after waking up.  Although most sites discourage you from weighing yourself every day, I find I cannot help myself when I am trying to get fit.

I liked the tips provided in the Medicinenet.com article To Weigh, Or Not To Weigh…That Is The Question [Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD,  Medical Editor: William C. Shiel, Jr., MD, FACP, FACR]

Whatever weigh-in frequency you choose, keep these tips in mind when stepping on the scale:
1. Weighing yourself first thing in the morning is usually best. Because of variations in food and fluid consumption, we often “gain” different amounts of weight throughout the day.
2. If you’re weighing frequently, remember that daily fluctuations in weight are common. Just because you’re heavier today than yesterday doesn’t mean your weight control program isn’t working. Don’t become a slave to the numbers.
3. Monthly variations in weight are also common in menstruating women.
4. “Plateaus” in weight loss aren’t necessarily bad. If you’re exercising a lot, your weight may remain constant for a time even though you’re still decreasing your body fat content and getting healthier.
5. Finally, cues other than the numbers on the scale are equally important. How do you feel? Are your clothes getting looser or tighter? Do you feel stronger, healthier, leaner? Your own perceptions can be the most valuable tools to help you track your weight control progress.

Healthy Eating and Walking

So the thought for today is to eat better and continue exercising.  It’s a lovely day so I did a 3.7 mile loop of the park this afternoon.  As for healthy eating, I like the advice of: Prospect Park Preserve

  • cutting out junk food, processed foods, sugars…[including the dreaded High Fructose Corn Syrup]
  • eating more colorful and fresh foods
  • eating in moderation [drinking more water as I might be thirsty rather than hungry]

I found a nice web page called Healthy Eating Easy Tips for Planning a Healthy Diet and Sticking To It from Helpguide.com that provides some common sense advice.

I had a weird diet day today.  I slept in this morning so ate fewer meals.  I’m not sure how that ranks in the BMR [Basal Metabolic Rate] calculation.  Given my 3-5 days/week of moderate exercise activity, I can eat about 2150 calories each day.  The Fat2FitRadio.com calculation is described as:

The chart shows the number of calories that you should eat on a daily basis to reach your goal weight. At Fat 2 Fit Radio we advocate eating like the thin, healthy person that you want to become. The calorie levels …create that all important caloric deficit that is required to get you to your goal weight in a safe manner. Once you reach your goal weight, you will continue eating the same number of calories for the rest of your life to maintain that weight. You’ll never be on a diet again.

Based on how much activity you do on an average day, the [calculation provides] the number of calories that you will be able to eat at your goal weight. If you start eating those calories right now (eating like the thinner you), you will eventually become that thinner person.

Given that I woke up late today, I only ate 2 meals and consumed approximately 650  calories today….. is that bad? I don’t know….

Optimum Nutrition - 100% Nat Oats & Whey ChocolateAlso,  the Helpguide.com article mentioned that we should avoid sugars in any form.  My breakfast this morning comprised a fruit shake made from frozen mangoes, Zico Coconut Water, and Optimum Nutrition – 100% Natural Oats & Whey Chocolate.  The Optimum Nutrition protein drink is very tasty.  The label says, however, that it contains 8 g of Sugars in the form of honey powder and evaporated cane juice powder.  I’m guessing that is not good news but I’m very fond of it.  The Livestrong.com site has an article titled Health Risks of High Fructose Corn Syrup that sums up many of the concerns about High Fructose Corn Syrup [HFCS].  Among other things, it notes that the human body process regular sugars differently than HFCS.

A couple of excerpts from the Health Risks of High Fructose Corn Syrup article:

The human body does not process HFCS the same way it processes sugar. Fructose requires a different metabolic pathway than other carbohydrates because it skips glycolysis, or normal carbohydrate metabolism. Because of this, fructose is an unregulated source of “acetyl CoA,” or the starting material for fatty acid synthesis. Furthermore, by ingesting HFCS, a vicious cycle can ensue. This is because eating HFCS can increase the feelings of hunger.

Liver Disease & Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Metabolic syndrome includes elevated insulin levels, excess body fat, abnormal cholesterol levels and increased blood pressure. The journal, “Hepatology” noted in June 2010, “The rising incidence of obesity and diabetes coincides with a marked increase in fructose consumption and is higher in individuals with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.” Furthermore, fructose consumption is a contributing environmental risk factor for increased fibrosis of the liver.

Read the entire article at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/259181-heath-risks-of-high-fructose-corn-syrup/?utm_source=popslideshow&utm_medium=a1

..and, yes, I remembered to log my nutrition and exercise into SparkPeople.com site .  I’ve been less consistent about logging into the Self.com Diet Club as it’s more cumbersome.

 

Finishing the Week with Core Exercises and Kick Boxing

I’ve gone to the gym 5 days in a row!!! It’s been years since that’s happened [as I’ve explained to my husband, I’m much better about researching exercise than doing exercise.]

Lots of stability ball exercises today, including:

  1. Crunches with Stability Ball
  2. Bridges on Stability Ball
  3. Push Ups on the Stability Ball
  4. Back Extension with Stability Ball
  5. Pendulum with Stability Ball
  6. Crunches on Stability Ball While Tossing Medicine Ball
  7. Superman on the Stability Ball

We finished up with:

  1. Punching Drills on the Bag
  2. Stretching After Strength Training

You can find descriptions of the Stability Ball exercises on SparkPeople.com’s Fitness Pages.

So, it’s the end of a successful week. Where does that leave us?  I want to go back to basics.  The pod-casts [see my Nutrition and Weight Loss Guidance page] that I enjoy so much and SparkPeople.com agree that setting real and measurable goals is very important to losing weight.  Both advise that you write down why you want to lose weight or get fit, and why the hard work and effort to accomplish your goal is worth it. Fat2FitRadio.com especially stress coming up with realistic weight loss goals.

Here’s an excerpt from the Fat2FitRadio.com Goal Setting Page:

Here are some ballpark figures that I worked out for a weight loss of 50 lbs.

5’5″ woman, 30 years old who exercises lightly (BMR x 1.375)

175 lbs – 2165 calories per day
125 lbs – 1850 calories per day

5’10″ man, 30 years old who exercises lightly (BMR x 1.375)

225 lbs – 2950 calories per day
175 lbs – 2550 calories per day

 

It is clear that diets don’t work because as soon as people go off of a diet, they start eating like they did before the diet. The best approach is to know your goal weight and then figure out how many calories per day you will need to eat to maintain that goal weight.

Start to eat your “maintenance” calories at the start of your weight loss. If you eat like a thinner person, you become that thinner person. You will gradually lose the weight and never feel deprived along the way. It’s not a sexy weight loss plan, but it works in the long term.