I’ve heard a lot of bad things about animal protein, such as beef, chicken and turkey. Can I eat these meats safely or am I doomed to just eating vegetables and fruits?

Jo Ann,

Philadelphia

 

Three ounces of cooked lean meat contains one quarter of your daily requirements for iron and is a good source for zinc and B vitamins. That same three ounces contain 24 grams of protein, which is half your daily protein requirement for most people.

When cooking any type of meat that includes chicken, beef, fish and turkey you should take some precautions. Washing, meat will not remove enough bacteria to make a difference. Only cooking will kill the bacteria. After you wash your meat make sure you clean up the counter space and all the cooking utensils thoroughly with soap and warm water. If you don’t the bacteria can spread on your hands, sink and nearby surfaces. When cooking meat you shouldn’t use the same utensils to handle cooked and raw meats. All meats should be cooked thoroughly or until its internal temperature is 160 degrees or higher. The oven temperature should be at lest 325 degrees to thoroughly cook meat. When you’re cooking meat don’t place raw meats near cooked meats. To store meat before cooking, you should remove it from the store wrapping. Clean your meat and remove as much of the excess fat as you can. Removing the skin from most foods will reduce the fat content. If you’re planning to cook your meat within the next 48 hours you can store it in the refrigerator. If you plan to keep it longer than 48 hours you should freeze it. To freeze your meat you need to seal it in an airtight heavy freezer bag. Frozen meat will last for about three months if stored properly. Cooked meats should be stored within two hours after cooking.

Eat meat alone or with a salad. You should skip the potatoes, bread and the pasta, because these foods will slow down the digestion of meat. You can eat starchy foods later with a non-protein meal.

If you follow these few tips you can enjoy any meat without fear. So, don’t give up lean meats, They’re a good source of protein, the only source of B12 and the best source of usable iron.

 

Eggs

“I like eggs. Do I have to give up eggs because they have a lot of the cholesterol and fat?

Jan,

Bensalem

 

Eggs are an economical form of protein and they’re not only for breakfast. They can be part of a great low fat, low cholesterol protein meal. Eggs have two edible parts, the yolk, which has almost all the fat and cholesterol, and the whites which have 3/4 of the protein, and only a trace of fat and no cholesterol. Eggs also contain the vitamins and minerals A, B2, D, E niacin, copper, iron, phosphorus and unsaturated fats.

If you eat eggs, limit your intake of cholesterol by having one yolk for every 6 to 8 whites. This combination contains about 25 grams of protein and 300 mg. of cholesterol. This will also give you 160 to 200 calories per serving. Add diced green peppers, onions and a little Italian seasoning, for a high protein, low fat dish that taste good and is good for you.

Eggs should be kept refrigerated until you use them. The internal temperature of your refrigerator should be no less than 45 degrees. Big temperature changes can cause the whites of the egg to thin. Eggs retain their freshness and quality best if they are stored with the large end up in the original carton.

Raw eggs should not be consumed because the whites contain a protein called avidin, which can be harmful to the body and inhibit the absorption of nutrients if ingested over a long period of time. Avidin can be deactivated by heat. This will also allow for the absorption of all the nutrients found in eggs.

If you want a quick nutritious egg dish, try this microwave recipe. Mix 5 egg whites with one yolk. Add a mixture of chopped onion, green pepper and Italian seasoning. Cook in a microwave on high for one minute, stir the mixture, then cook on high for another 60 seconds or until it’s cooked to your taste. You can add cheese, but you increase the fat and cholesterol if you do.

Be creative, come up with your own egg dish, and let us know how they turn out.

Shape up your waist

I work out and have a pretty good body overall but my midsection is really getting flabby. What can I do to shape up my waist?

Tia B.

Glassboro, N.J.

 

The stomach area is a troublesome part of the body to get into shape. Hundreds of gadgets, mixes, diets, books and rubbing ointments are sold to get rid of the bulge in the midsection. Most of them don’t work. The only way to get rid of the bulge in the midsection is to do toning and aerobic exercises and eat a healthy low-fat diet.

The abdominal area consists of different muscles that have to be worked separately. You should start with your lower abs. If you’re already conditioned try doing hanging leg raises. Hang from a bar with your knees slightly bent and lift your legs to your chest slowly and deliberately. If you’re a beginner you can start with a simple leg raise. Lye on your back with hands under your hips and your knees bent. Curl your bent legs to your chest slowly and deliberately. Bring them as close to your chest as you can. Then lower your legs slowly to the floor.

Suck in your abdominals each time you raise your legs and exhale as you lower your legs. Do up to 20 repetitions for 3 to 4 sets. Make sure you keep your abs flat when you exercise your abdominals. If you don’t keep them flat you’ll develop a hard round muscle instead of a flat one.

The abdominal crunch is a safe and effective abdominal exercise. To do this exercise lye flat on your back and place your hands across your chest. Bend your knees so your heels are on the floor and your toes are pointed toward the ceiling. Pull your abs in, as though you’re trying to fit into a pair of jeans 2 sizes too small while lifting your upper body a few inches off the floor. The small of your back should stay on the floor. Exhale as you lift your body and inhale as you lower it. You can also twist up when you do this exercise to work the waistline. You can make this exercise work different parts of your abdominal muscles by changing the position of your legs. Add variety to this exercise by lifting your feet off the floor until calves (lower legs) are parallel with the floor. Try it with your legs raised and your feet pointed toward the ceiling or with your legs raised and feet crossed at the ankles. Do 12 to 15 repetitions for 4 to 6 sets.

Working your abdomen every other day can help you develop a trim waistline. But, you can do sit-ups and crunches all day long and still not see that hard-earned muscle if your body is carrying excess body fat. When it comes to developing a flat stomach, diet is just as important as your workout. You have to eliminate rich fatty, high-sodium foods from your diet.

Aerobics is the next component you have to incorporate to get that midsection flat. Aerobics include walking, jogging, stair climbing, bike ridding, dancing and swimming. Aerobic exercise is the only way to effectively burn body fat. You must spend at least 30 minutes doing aerobics to burn fat effectively. The average person can comfortably start with 10 to 15 minutes of aerobic exercise. Gradually build your aerobic exercise time to 45 minutes for the best results.

If you want great abs remember you have to exercise them every other day, eat low fat foods, do aerobic exercises 3 to 5 times a week and keep that rib cage lifted and tight by pulling in your stomach or abdomen all day.

Before starting your fitness program, consult your physician.

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