Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Experience the Willamette Valley! Review of Sweet Cheeks Winery

11 Dec

Did you know that there are over 16 wineries around the Eugene area? Over the summer I worked at King Estate Winery and was amazed that it took me three years to visit this gorgeous winery just 45 minutes from campus. On my way to work I’d pass signs for “Sweet Cheeks,” “Noble Estate,” and “Territorial” vineyards, all tucked away upon hilltops and at the end of winding driveways. For anyone 21 and older, wine-tasting is a great way to experience the beautiful Willamette valley and unique selections provided by our local winemakers. Because most of these wineries lie on narrow country roads far from Eugene, you must approach wine-tasting with caution, basking in the experience while being careful not to over-do it!

Recently, my whole team at Metabolic Research Center (all of us are “weight loss specialists”) went to Sweet Cheeks Winery for our Christmas work party. The great thing about Sweet Cheeks is that unlike most other wineries, they let you bring your own food free of charge. With most of my coworkers being extremely health conscious, we decided to each bring a different dish, sticking mostly to fruit, protein, vegetables, and healthy fats and carbs. Although our boss gave us each a bottle of wine to take home, we had three wine tastes while there, adding up to less than one glass of wine each (yet plenty satisfying!). Here’s a preview of our health-conscious, cheap, and fun work party pot luck:

Live music


Loading up on canteloupe, nuts, veggies, cheese and meat!

Overall the evening was a great success! Without spending any money we were able to bring our own home-cooked food, hear some great live music, enjoy the cozy atmosphere, and support this local family business. What a great way to get off the couch on a Saturday night and do something truly unique! Although you can definitely spend more money at the winery if you choose, or drink to much and have to find a way home, there are certainly some ways to avoid a wine-headache and save some calories while wine tasting. Read on for additional wine information, and learn how to make healthier choices while drinking:

–> On average, a glass of wine is about 90-110 calories, but can range up to 200 calories if over 14% alcohol content

–> It is important to know that alcohol contains almost as many calories as fat, and is almost twice as fattening as carbs and protein

–> The body processes alcohol first, thus slowing or postponing the body’s process of metabolizing fat stores (which can be something to think about if you are trying to watch your weight)

–> 1 glass of wine can replace a fruit serving for the day, or 1 starch serving in about a 40-60 calorie portion size. If you plan to wine-taste, about 3 tastes will equal a regular glass of wine (depending on the winery)

–> Because there are carbs in wine, you may start to crave carbs or fat-rich foods. Be cautious not to over-do it on cheese and bread, and bring plenty of veggies and protein to satisfy your cravings

–> Water is the best way to speed up the body’s process of alcohol, so drinking over 64 ounces of water a day (I’d suggest 96) is crucial when drinking alcohol

–> Studies show that wine contains ingredients that can prevent cancer and improve cardiovascular function, particularly red wine. Moderate wine consumption is considered one 4-ounce serving of wine a day for women, and two for men.

Plan your own trip to SweetCheeks!:


The Truth about Fast Food!

18 Nov

Of all of the Facebook statuses I’ve posted this year, I got the most responses to one I posted at the start of November asking my fellow students what their favorite fast food items were. Here’s a peek of the kinds of responses I got..(click on the picture to maximize the image).

Bottom line: College students love fast-food, and they also love talking about it! It seems that the price and convenience of fast food is what makes it so popular among the young adult crowd. However, its concerning that most students are unaware of what’s really in this food or how to make healthier choices when eating out. After researching the contents of several fast food and restaurant food items, here are some of the worst offenders:

** Scroll to the bottom to learn how to make sense of the nutrition facts**


Calories: 686 Total Fat: 23.5 g Cholesterol: 51mg Sodium: 229 mg Carbs: 105.9

To burn off these calories, you could walk for 190 minutes, jog for 78 minutes, swim for 57 minutes, or cycle for 105 minutes


Calories: 262 Total Fat: 1.1 g Cholesterol: 3mg Sodium: 37g Carbs:59.8 Protein: 2.1 g

To burn off these calories, you could walk for 73 minutes, jog for 30 minutes, swim for 22 minutes, or cycle for 40 minutes


Calories: 871 Total Fat: 36.1 g Sodium: 4727 g Carbs: 63.1

To burn off these calories, you could walk for 242 minutes, jog for 100 minutes, swim for 72 minutes, or cycle for 133 minutes


Calories: 650 Total Fat: 24g Cholesterol: 70mg Sodium: 2180mg Carbs: 77g  Protein: 34g

To burn these calories you could walk for 180 minutes, jog for 74 minutes, swim for 54 minutes, or cycle for 99 minutes


Calories: 1112 Fat: 62g Carbs: 84g Protein: 51g

To burn these calories you would need to walk for 308 minutes, jog for 127 minutes, swim for 93 minutes, or cycle for 170 minutes.


Calories: The amount of calories men and women need are dependent on many factors including weight, age, and amount of weekly exercise. Typically, one should consume under or around 2,000 calories a day, but this calorie calculator tool will tell you exactly how many calories you need based on your personal information:

Total Fat: The United States Health Department suggests that your daily intake of total fat grams is based on your caloric intake: A 1,600 calorie per day diet: 18 grams of saturated fat or less, 53 grams of fat or less. A 2,000 calorie per day diet: 20 grams of saturated fat or less, 65 grams of fat or less. A 2,200 calorie per day diet: 24 grams of saturated fat or less, 73 grams of fat or less. A 2,500 calorie per day diet: 25 grams of saturated fat or less, 80 grams of fat or less . A 2,800 calorie per day diet: 31 grams of saturated fat or less, 93 grams of fat or less.

Protein: In general, an easy way to figure out how much protein to get per day is to take your weight, divide it in half and subtract 10. For example, if you are 140 pounds, you should get 80 grams of protein per day.

Sodium: The American Heart Association says that the average American consumes 3, 436mg of sodium daily, but to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, one should eat less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

Carbs: Dietary Guidelines for Americans say that about half of your daily calories come from carbohydrates. To calculate how many you need per day, take the amount of calories suggested for you to consume daily, and multiply by .5. For example, a person following a daily diet of 1,200 calories should take in 600 calories from carbs. Because there are 4 calories in a carbohydrate gram, a person on a 1,200 calorie diet would divide 600 by 4  to find that they need of 150 grams of carbs per day

Cholesterol: The American Heart Association and the USDA’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans says we should limit dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day.

Want to find out for yourself what’s in your favorite fast food or restaurant items? Check out:

Here is a link to a Men’s Health article warning about America’s worst chinese meals (NOTE: many of them come from PF Changs!):

Here is a link to a Glamour magazine article that warns about which dips, drinks, and desserts to chose, and which to stay away from:

Where to go for a Sober Night Out in Eugene!

12 Nov

There’s no reason to feel like you have to drink just because it’s the end of the week and everyone you know is celebrating with a round of shots. It can be hard to turn down alcohol and parties on a Friday night, but there are so many unique ways to have fun in Eugene that are more rewarding than going to the bars, and will leave you without that morning-after headache and side of regret!

Eugene Weekly recently held their 2009-2010 “Best of Eugene” show where they featured awards such as “best live music venue,” “best place to go dancing,” ” best place for a date night,” “best late night dining,” as well as spotlighting numerous other  local venues. Check out a summary of the awards and find your inspiration for a great night out at:

I’ll be visiting some of these featured venues and reporting on my experiences within the coming week! Keep checking RyesBlog for updates 🙂

Tis the Season for Pumpkin! (Warning: for Pumpkin Lovers Only)

5 Nov

What is it that I love most about fall season? Yes, it’s great dressing up for Halloween, spending quality time with family over Thanksgiving, and cheering on our #1 DUCKS football team…But I have to admit, I get the most excited getting to try all the pumpkin flavored food and drinks offered in restaurants this season. Although not everything I’ve tried has been  perfectly health-conscious, there are certainly some great ways to get your pumpkin fix without feeling guilty and overly stuffed!

Trying to decide which pumpkin flavored desert to go for? Put down the pumpkin blizzard and go for pumpkin frozen yogurt! Fat free and just 110 calories a serving, this delectable treat can be found at the local Campus Sub Shop on 13th and Alder. The Sub-Shop’s service allows you to pick your own toppings and chose your own serving-size, so if you’re looking for a cheap and healthy treat, go for 1/2 cup (4 oz) serving size, and fruit or sprinkles instead of carb-filled candy. MMmmmmMM!

Another local spot that offers a great pumpkin fix, is Barry’s Deli, just a couple shops down from the Campus Sub Shop. Barry’s Deli offers a delicious pumpkin-and-rice soup that is low-fat and made with completely vegan ingredients. It is the perfect soup to keep you warm on a brisk fall day, without leaving you sick to your stomach. Skip the challah bread that comes on the side to keep the meal truly lo-cal.

Who doesn’t love when Starbucks brings out the pumpkin spice latte? This seasonal drink is hard to skip, but there’s a couple ways you can customize it to satisfy your sweet tooth with half the calories. Ordering a 20 oz., pumpkin spice latte with non-fat milk and whipped cream might sound like a typical drink for a Starbucks regular, but it’ll add up to a whopping 400 calories. By switching to a tall pumpkin spice latte with non-fat milk and zero whipped creme, you can come away with the same sweet treat for just 200 calories per cup. An even smarter way to order would be to get a 16 oz. coffee with 1 pump pumpkin syrup (30 calories), no milk, and no whipped creme. Add some non-fat milk at the side-bar with 1 packet of Splenda, and you can enjoy the same flavor for  less money and calories.

While on the topic of saving money, why not brainstorm the best ways to enjoy this seasonal vegetable from home, without having to fork over much cash? Purchase a pumpkin from your local grocer (I got mine at Safeway for $5), scoop out the insides and separate out the pumpkin seeds into a bowl. Preheat oven to 300 degrees, and scatter seeds onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle seeds with Molly McButter Buds (5 cals per serv.), cinnamon and some sea-salt, and bake for 45 minutes or until golden-brown. This is a great home-made snack that is loaded with health benefits! Read the attached link to learn about the 10 health benefits of pumpking seeds:

What are you waiting for? Run, bike, drive–get your pumpkin fix without the guilt!

How to Grocery-Shop Smart!

29 Oct

There are some very simple rules to shopping in grocery stores that will help you come away with the best-possible products for your health. The trick is to be aware of why products are positioned in particular places, what different kinds of packaging can do to your foods, how to read labels, and the best seasonings and spices to flavor your foods. The following information was collected by my coworker, Bethany’s Howard, who researched easy tricks to “Master your Market.”

Five Rules to Live By at the Supermarket:

Rule #1: Work the edges, healthier food is found along the walls: dairy, product, meats, and seafood

Rule #2: Look high and low—big food  conglomerates pay higher slotting fees for food at eye level

Rule #3: More packaging = less nutrition, the closer to the earth the better. More packaging, shipping, cooking, refining strips essential nutrients= empty calories

Rule #4: Learn the lingo. Whole grain means entire grain kernal; multi-grain means more than one type of grain, and possibly refined

Rule #5: Make sure to read labels, the fewer ingredients, the better!

How to Read Labels:

Reduced Calories: This means the product has 1/3rd fewer calories than the original and should include a comparison of the original product and the reduced calorie version.

Diet or Dietetic: May be reduced in calories, sodium or sugar

Zero % Cholesterol: Contains no cholesterol, but may contain saturated fats

Sugar Free or Sugarless: Contains no table sugar, but may contain other ingredients that have the same amount of calories: honey, fructose, corn syrup, sorbitol. Product may be high in fat and calories.

Natural: Very unspecific, the product could still contain additives.

Enriched or Fortified: Has added vitamins, minerals or proteins

Eight Secrets the Food Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know:

1. Numbers can be deceiving; less fat= more carbs.

2. Food can legally contain maggots

3. Truth about corn flakes: raises blood sugar faster than table sugar

4. Quaker Heart Healthy hot cereal has more sugar than Fruitloops

5. Food additives may make kids misbehave, artificial coloring and sodium bezoate are directly linked to hyperactivity in children

6. Land of Lakes doesn’t want you to know there’s no such thing as fat-free half and half

7. Meat Industry doesn’t want you to know the leanest cuts of meat have the highest sodium levels (added salt)

8. Calorie counts may be wrong on product labels
Healthiest Seasonings and Spices:

  • allspice
  • cinnamon
  • curry powder
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • parsley
  • Tarragon
  • Pizza seasoning
  • Creole-Lite
  • Basil
  • Chili powder
  • Mrs. Dash spice
  • Sea salt in place of table salt
  • Bay leaves
  • Cumin
  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika
  • Mccormick’s Montreal Steak and Pultry seasonings
  • Braggs Liquid Aminos Acids (0 cal, no gluten soy sauce alternative)
  • Walden Farms Dressings/Sauces (0 cal, fat free, gluten free line)

Breast Cancer-Fighting Foods

25 Oct

It’s almost the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Although most of you haven’t had to worry about your risks for Breast Cancer, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about ways to prevent it. At Metabolic Research Center, many of our clients have suffered from Breast Cancer or are running high risks for developing cancer due to life-long habits of poor nutrition and inactivity.
Check out Metabolic’s October Newsletter to read more about preventing Breast Cancer.

**Scroll down to the middle of the newsletter to read specifically about cancer-fighting foods!**

Why H20 is the “magic potion” for weight loss, muscle tone, and healthy skin

23 Oct

We all know the role that water plays in hydrating our bodies and keeping us well, yet drinking the suggested eight glasses of water a day may often seem like a daunting task. Well, let me renew your belief in the importance of water by discussing the role that it plays in keeping weight off, maintaining a healthy body fat, remaining hydrated and keeping skin healthy and muscles toned.

How much water should I drink?: The average person needs at least 64 ounces of water a day in order to to rid the body of waste and excess fat stores. For every 25 pounds of excess weight that a person is carrying around (if you are above a BMI of 25), one more glass of water is needed. It is believed that 96 ounces of water is an ideal amount of water for weight loss or weight-maintenance, and to attain proper hydration levels of 45-50%.

How will not drinking enough water affect my body?: The body relies on the liver to metabolize stored fat into energy to fuel the body, but without enough water, the kidneys cannot properly function and part of their load gets dumped into  the liver, thus slowing down its ability to metabolize fat stores. When the body perceives that it is not getting enough water, it goes into survival mode, storing the water that it does receive within extra-cellular spaces. This causes water retention which can result in constipation, bloating, and swollen feet, legs, and hands.

What do I do if I’m retaining water?: Ironically, the best way to overcome water retention is by drinking more water! Giving your body more water will take it out of survival mode, so that it will release the stored water and enable the liver and kidneys to do their jobs. Natural diuretics are also helpful, such as B6 to force out stored water and give your body additional nutrients.

What could be the problem if I’m experiencing chronic water retention?: Typically, salt is the culprit. Many restaurants prepare food with an overload of salt, which requires excess water to flush out of your system. A way to avoid this problem is to use sea salt at home, and to ask for restaurants to hold heavy sauces or spices when preparing your food.

How does water help keep my skin healthy?: Our cells can shrink during weight-loss and aging, so it is important to give our bodies enough water to plump up fat cells and keep skin healthy and firm. In addition, muscles need water in order to contract properly and stay hydrated, so an increase in water will help keep muscles toned and defined.

When will I know that I am properly hydrated?: Signs include increased thirst, loss of hunger and cravings, more energy, and regular bowel movements.

Extra tips: Try putting rubber bands around your water bottle to remind you of how many glasses you need to reach 68+ ounces of water. For example, I put 3 bands around my 33-ounce bottle to make sure i get in over 100 ounces of water a day. Try drinking cold water because it is absorbed much more quickly than warm water.

Research from Donald S. Robertson, M.D.,  M.Sc.