Tag Archives: oatmeal

All About Oats and Oatmeal

The Victor Crew wanted to find out more about the different kinds of oatmeal out there. Here is what we found out from the Whole Grains Council.

Raw Oats
These are the newly harvested oats. They still have their hulls and stalks attached.

Whole Oats
These are just separated from the hulls and stems and are called groats. This is the whole grain kernel of the oat. You can most likely find these in a health food store and they take a long time to cook.

Steel Cut Oats
These are simply groats cut into two or three pieces by a sharp metal steel blade. These cook a little faster than whole groats. They are also known as Irish oatmeal.

Scottish Oatmeal
The Scottish folk stone-grind these oats making them into various sizes of broken bits. This is said to be a creamier oatmeal than steel cut oats.

Rolled Oats (regular)
Rolled oats are sometimes called old-fashioned oats. They are made by steaming and then rolling the groats into flakes. This stabilizes their healthy oils so they can stay fresh longer. It also creates a larger surface area so the oats cook faster than the above styles.

Rolled Oats (quick or instant)
These are simply the above rolled oats only they are rolled thinner and/or steamed longer. The nutrition does not vary but the texture does. Some people may say these are too mushy.

Oat Flour
A whole-grain flour used for cooking, baking, thickening.

Oat Bran
This is not a whole grain as it doesn’t contain the germ or endosperm of the oat.

How much sugar are you really eating?

A new study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found that some breakfast cereals by weight are 50% sugar. Only 12 children’s cereals contained a teaspoon or less (4 g). Many cereals will distract you by putting “Good source of fiber” or “Excellent source of vitamin D” on the package. Of the over 1550 cereals studied, a mere 47 cold cereals did not contain sugar. There were 155 hot cereals that contained no sugar. Instant oatmeal contains 75% more sugar than regular oatmeal.

A child eating cereal every morning would consume 10 pounds of sugar in a year just from cereal alone.

So what can you do? Read food labels. Look at EWG’s healthy breakfast tips.

Steve Victor

Superfoods for your heart from Health.com

Healthy eating and exercise can lead to a healthier heart. The Victor crew found some tips from Health.com to help prevent heart attacks, like avoiding unhealthy food and eating foods rich in nutrients, fiber, and healthy fats.

  1. Salmon and other fatty fish (like sardines and mackerel) – they contain omega-3 fatty acids
  2. Oatmeal (and other whole grains) – high in soluble fiber
  3. Blueberries – antioxidants, flavonoids
  4. Dark chocolate (yum!) – flavonoids (make sure it’s 60-70% cocoa)
  5. Citrus fruits – flavonoids, vitamin C
  6. Soy – protein without unhealthy fats and cholesterol
  7. Potatoes (not fried) – potassium
  8. Tomatoes – potassium, antioxidants
  9. Nuts – fiber, vitamin E
  10. Legumes – protein without unhealthy fats
  11. Extra-virgin olive oil – monosaturated fats
  12. Red wine – (only one per day) resveratrol (you can also get this from peanut butter and grapes)
  13. Green tea – antioxidants
  14. Broccoli, spinach, kale – antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals
  15. Coffee
  16. Flax or chia seeds – omega-3 fatty acids
  17. Avocado – monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, potassium
  18. Pomegranate – antioxidants

~ Steve Victor

Making the Most of Your Metabolism

Metabolism is the rate at which you burn fat and the calories you consume. When you’re young and active the calories burn away easily. I asked Jody Victor® to tell us what happens after that.

Jody Victor®: Well Steve, starting around the age of 25 your metabolism starts to slow down and your body begins to burn fewer calories. The typical American will lose between 20 and 40 percent of their metabolic power over the course of his/her adult life. Starting around the age of 40 your body requires fewer calories due partly to a slower lifestyle. To complicate matters you also experience an increasing amount of muscle loss due to the natural aging process. Genetics, physical inactivity, certain medications, and hormonal changes (especially menopause in women) also add to the slowing of your metabolism.

“A vastly slowed down metabolism isn’t inevitable”, says Dr. John Berardi, president of Precision Nutrition. If you maintain your physical activity levels as you age you will see only a 0.3 percent metabolic decline per decade, a 1 to 2 percent total drop over your lifetime. There are a number of ways you can make the most of your metabolism and fight nature’s aging processes.

DIET Maintain a healthy diet. As you reduce your calorie intake to avoid weight gain, make up the difference by eating more nutritious foods. Cut back on empty calories and choose nutrient-dense foods. Eat breakfast. Starting your day with a healthy meal gets your metabolism out of its resting state and into burning mode. When you skip breakfast it forces your body to endure a longer period of fasting, which leaves you excessively hungry and tempts you to overeat at your next meal. Keep your metabolism on a consistent slow burn by eating smaller more frequent meals. Instead of two or three large meals per day, eat 4 to 6 small meals every three to four hours. Here are some foods that will help boost your metabolism:

  1. LEAN MEATS and POULTRY Your body burns more calories when digesting proteins as opposed to carbs and fats.
  2. LOW-FAT/NO-FAT DAIRY Vitamin D found in fortified milk is essential for preserving metabolism-revving muscle tissue.  According to study results, people on a reduced-calorie diet who included 3 to 4 servings of dairy foods lost significantly more weight than people who ate a low-dairy diet containing the same amount of calories. Low-fat yogurt is the best source of weight-loss-friendly dairy products. Yogurt contains calcium, protein, and a lot of other healthy nutrients.
  3. SOUP According to a study at Penn State University, soup is a great appetite suppressant because it consists of a hunger-satisfying combination of liquids and solids.
  4. GRAPEFRUIT One study found that the unique chemical properties of grapefruit reduce insulin levels, which promotes weight loss and boosts metabolism. Grapefruit is packed with Vitamin C as a bonus. Vitamin C boosts calcium absorption. Calcium boosts your metabolism.
  5. APPLES and PEARS These fruits are great low-calorie, high fiber snacks that satisfy your sugar cravings. Their healthy nutrients also keep you feeling full longer.
  6. BROCCOLI Study after study has linked calcium with weight loss. Broccoli is loaded with calcium and Vitamin C. It contains lots of Vitamin A, folate, and fiber. At just 20 calories per cup, broccoli not only fights fat but also contains powerful phytochemicals that boost your immunity and protect you from disease.
  7. OATMEAL Oatmeal ranks high on the good carb and high fiber lists. Oatmeal keeps you full and is the best choice for starting your day. Choose steel-cut or rolled oats, not instant, to get your full dose of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  8. HOT PEPPERS The chemical capsaicin found in hot peppers temporarily stimulates your body to release more stress hormones, which speeds up your metabolism and helps you burn more calories.
  9. WATERMELON Watermelon is loaded with the amino acid arginine. Arginine has been shown to enhance the oxidation of fat and glucose. Other arginine sources include seafood, nuts, and seeds.

DRINK – Every chemical reaction in your body, including your metabolism, depends on water. Staying hydrated helps keep you from mistaking thirst for hunger. When you are dehydrated, you burn up to 2 percent fewer calories. In one study, people who drank 8 to 12 glasses of water a day had higher metabolic rates than the people who had four glasses a day. In another study researchers found that people increased their metabolic rates by thirty percent after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water. Drinking green tea also boosts your metabolism and helps you lose weight while providing you with great antioxidants and plant-based nutrients. Always drink your tea unsweetened to avoid the empty calories.

EXERCISE – As your body ages and begins to experience slower metabolism rates it’s essential that you maintain a high activity level. In order to maintain a healthy weight you not only need to eat less you need to exercise more. Age-appropriate aerobic exercise and resistance training is recommended. Weight training is a great way to keep your metabolic furnace burning.

SLEEP – A necessary end to your day of eating less and exercising more to keep up your metabolism is to get a good night’s sleep. Many Americans are sleep-deprived. Studies show that lack of sleep leads to unhealthy eating habits.

 All the Best!

Steve Victor

Food For Sleep

We all have a sleepless night from time to time. I asked Jody Victor® to tell us about some natural foods we can use to help lull us to sleep.

Jody Victor®: Hey, Steve, you are right. Some of us need more help getting to sleep than others. For a better night’s rest, try any of these easy, healthy foods right out of your kitchen cupboard.

1. ALMONDS are rich in magnesium, which is helpful in muscle relaxation. They are rich in protein, which is helpful in keeping your blood sugar level steady. Almonds convert your alert adrenaline cycle with your rest and digestive cycle.

2. BANANAS supply you with potassium and magnesium, which relieve stressed muscles. Bananas also contain tryptophan, which aids in the production of the natural hormone melatonin.

3. CEREAL (whole grain) is a complex carb, which can enhance the access of tryptophan in your bloodstream.

4. CHAMOMILE TEA is good for relaxing muscles and has a mild sedative effect. Decaf green tea is helpful as well as it is rich in theanine, which helps boost sleep. Other herbal and decaf teas can be helpful, too.

5. CHERRY JUICE (especially tart cherries) has been shown to help people suffering from insomnia.

6. DAIRY products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are high in calcium. Calcium has been found to be helpful in lowering your stress level and stabilizing nerve fibers. Milk also contains tryptophan.

7. HONEY helps stimulate your brain to turn off a chemical substance known as orexin. Orexin is an excitatory neuropeptide hormone. A spoonful of honey in your warm milk or decaf tea prior to sleeping can reduce the effect of this hormone and help you sleep.

8. EGGS are rich suppliers of protein and help keep your blood sugar level steady.

9. MISO SOUP is a good choice when you are suffering from insufficient sleep. It is a rich supplier of amino acid, which enhances the production of melatonin.

10. HOT OATMEAL is believed to give you a good night’s sleep. It is a rich supplier of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium, which will fulfill your nutritional desire. It is rich in melatonin. Stay away from sweetened/flavored oatmeal. Instead of adding sugar to plain oatmeal, try fruits for toppings.

11. WHOLE BREADS, like oatmeal and other whole grain cereals, are rich in melatonin. They are healthy carbs that help your body release insulin, which is essential for assimilation and blood clearance of amino acids.

All the Best!

Steve Victor