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Monday, April 12, 2010

The Svelte Gourmet is expanding...and not in a good way!

I'm back from vacation! And I feel awful. Really, really awful. Don't get me wrong, my trip with Keith and the kids was fantastic -- we left Charleston for a week-long roadtrip to stay with my parents in beautiful Lancaster, Pennsylvania. We did day trips from there, visiting Washington DC, New York City and Williamsburg, hitting up Hersheypark, showing the kids Amish country and hiking my old camping spot. We really had a wonderful time, we got a ton of exercise, and we feel truly refreshed. We shook off the winter cobwebs (it was an unseasonably warm 90 degrees in Pennsylvania!) and we're ready for spring. So why do I feel so terrible?

Well, I figured that just for a week, I could give everyone a break from The Svelte Gourmet kitchen. I admit, I have a tendency to get a little preachy! But this was vacation. No restrictions! My mom has the same svelte mentality that I do, but unfortunately, we only ate a couple meals at home. So theme park food plus roadtrip stops plus drive-thrus plus Easter candy plus nary a chicken breast equals what? Lethargic, puffy and miserable! I feel like I did my own "supersize me" experiment. I did a quick mental recap of our diet last week, and I realized that we ate mostly high fat meats (if you can call a hot dog meat!), fried madness (more than one funnel cake...seriously?!), and an unreal amount of sodium. And virtually no fiber at all!

Has this happened to you on vacation? Or worse, does this resemble your everyday diet? Here's how to get back on track or kickstart your summer-ready fitness plan:

1. Back to basics! Lean proteins, lots of veggies and whole grains. And a TON of water. The Svelte Gourmet basics!

2. Lay off the salt. As you know, too much salt makes me puffy, and isn't good for me internally, either. And the amount in processed foods is sickening. So no more fast food or popcorn for me!

3. Fiber, fiber and more fiber. Fiber is something I've been wanting to cover for a while now, and this seems like the perfect time to do it! Dietary fiber has so many health benefits, and is absolutely imperative to keep things...uhhh..."moving." But we all know that, right? What you may not know, however, is that dietary fiber has some amazing health benefits and may actually help you lose weight!

How? Well, there are two kinds of fiber -- insoluble and soluble. Insoluble doesn't dissolve in water and is really what helps keep things moving. It also comes with the added benefit of making you feel fuller, longer. Soluble fiber does dissolve in water, and forms a gel-like material that, according to our friends at the Mayo Clinic, can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels! Foods that are high in fiber also tend to be less dense, meaning they have fewer calories in the same volume of food (as, say, proteins and fats).

Now I'm not suggesting you go buy a canister of fiber powder to add to your food. Yuck. Both soluble and insoluble fiber can be found in many of The Svelte Gourmet basics -- whole grains, fruit, veggies and legumes. If you can, keep the skin on your fruit and veggies, as that's where a lot of the fiber is!

So how much do we need? The Mayo Clinic suggests:
- Women - 25 grams per day (under 50 years old); 21 grams per day (51 and older)
- Men - 38 grams per day (under 50 years old); 30 grams per day (51 and older)

Here are two high fiber recipes from The Svelte Gourmet to get you started. Yay fiber!

Raisin Honey Bran Muffins
Creamy Broccoli Soup

The Svelte Gourmet: A Month of Main Courses cookbook is available at www.thesveltegourmet.com/products.html.

Enjoy and thanks for reading! It's great to be back!

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