10/29/07 - 11/2/07

Chancellor's Challenge. Chancellor Bill Richardson has made the decision to change to a healthierlifestyle. Follow his daily accounts and remarks from nutritionists to help him stay on course.

November 2, 2007

Farmer's Market Fare

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I grew up on a farm where fresh vegetables are always growing. I still remember coming home after a long day to the smell of fresh-picked vegetables, sliced tomatoes and chicken. I remain convinced that fruits and vegetables taste better when they are fresh and home-grown.

These days, not many of us have vegetable gardens. Thank goodness that home-grown produce is available at our local farmer's market. There are about 20 such markets operating in Louisiana today. Since the farmers sell directly to the public, you can often get a quality product at a competitive price.

You might find that a little patronage will yield information on the availability of certain products. Armed which such secrets, you can beat your neighbors to the punch!

A real treat, and a great option for a healthy life style, is the satsuma. Despite the damage done by Hurricane Katrina, we will still have a respectable amount of fruit available this season.

Remember, fruits and vegetables are a smart choice.

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

The vast majority of farmer’s markets have opened over the past 10 years. This is partly due to the increased interest in healthy eating.

The other factor contributing to the rise of the markets is the closure of several grocery store warehouses. These warehouses provided a market for our growers. When they closed, growers turned to the markets.

The mild, cool weather of November allows the farmer’s markets to sell the best of the warm and cool season vegetable crops. It is not unusual for consumers to buy tomatoes, snap beans, cucumbers and squash along with cool season vegetables like cabbage and broccoli.

November also marks the start of the Louisiana citrus harvest. Satsumas should reach their peak by Thanksgiving. The Louisiana Navel Orange, the best in the world, will arrive at the end of November. The pecan harvest, currently underway, will conclude in time for the holiday baking.

Many of the markets offer other foodstuffs, like:

  • Prepared food.
  • Locally-grown cut flowers.
  • Baked bread.
  • Homemade pies.
  • Grass-fed beef and lamb.
  • Free-range chicken.
  • Fresh eggs.
  • Fresh seafood.

Click here to find a farmer’s market in your area.

James Boudreaux & Denise Holston


November 1, 2007

Progress Report

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The results are in.

The good news: I lost 12 POUNDS during the first month. Furthermore, I lost 2.5 inches from my waist and reduced the BMI from 32.4 to 30.7. The weight loss included 5.8 pounds of fat.

The bad news: The BMI reading still places me in the obese category. I need to lose another few inches off the waist and get the BMI down below 25.

I will have blood test results to report soon.

The combination of the 2,200 calorie nutrition plan coupled with the 4-4-4 exercise regime worked well. I will maintain that approach in November. It would be nice to lose another 12 pounds, but I know things will slow a bit.

While I am excited about the results after one month, it is important to remember we are discussing a long-term lifestyle change in this blog. My results are one step in a long-term process. We will revisit this baseline data on December 1st to see what changes have occurred in month two.

I want to thank everyone who follows this blog. My IT folks indicate that we have had 1,650 unique visitors and 2,157 hits. Over time I hope to reach even a wider audience. If you have suggestions, please let me know.

Here are December 1st goals:

  • Waist below 40 inches.
  • BMI below 30.
  • Meet or exceed the 4-4-4 plan.

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

An examination of the chancellor's exercise log shows that his workouts are becoming more frequent and more intense. Chancellor Richardson, keep up the walking for a minimum of 30 minutes. Try to gradually increase your walking to one hour a day, five days a week. In addition, continue resistance training two days per week. Lots of repetitions with low weight will maintain your lean tissue mass. Most importantly, make sure you are drinking plenty of water every day.

Michael Zanovec


October 31, 2007

Body Work

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I keep an exercise log. I write down the date, type of exercise, and any relevant details. It helps me document the progress I make. The log also helps me correlate weight gains with my exercise habits. Over the years, I found that weight gain is directly linked to over-eating and lack of exercise.

Not exactly a startling revelation, is it?

During the month of October, I completed 15 high-intensity workouts. This does not match up with the 4-4-4 plan, which would yield 16 or 17 such workouts over the same time. After starting slow during the first week, I have maintained the frequency and consistency of my workouts. My goal is to reach the point where the four workouts a week are ingrained into my daily life. My commitment is for 160 minutes each week.

Also, remember that I consulted my doctor before starting the exercise program. If you have not included exercise in your routine, see your doctor and get your plan in place.

After one month the intensified workouts and nutrition planning, I see signs of movement toward a healthier body. The BMI scheduled for today will tell for sure.

I will give a one-month progress report tomorrow. We will see then how the plan is working.

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

Self-monitoring strategies, such as keeping an exercise log, help maintain long-term weight loss. In addition to logging the frequency, duration, intensity, and mode of physical activity, you should include any factoring information, like:

  • How you felt that day.
  • What the weather was like.
  • Any pain or discomfort you experienced.

You can keep track of your daily activities by going to the USDA’s MyPyramid website.

Physical fitness and physical activity are two related but distinct concepts.

  • Physical activity -- Any movement produced by the skeletal muscles which results in energy expenditure.

  • Physical fitness -- a state in which a person is able to fulfill all their daily tasks and still have sufficient amount of energy left over at the end of the day.

The American College of Sports Medicine makes the following recommendations for adults:

Moderate-intensity activity five days a week for at least of 30 minutes.
-or -
Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity three days a week for 20 minutes.

Based on his exercise log, Chancellor Richardson average weekly energy expenditure was about 1500 calories. A minimum of 700 calories per week are recommended. What an excellent job!

Michael Zanovec


My oldest son plays high school football. His coach told him to stop drinking Coke because it causes dehydration. Unbelievably, my son quit drinking Coke, tea and anything else with caffeine. Is drinking a caffeine-free Coke okay? Does the sugar or carbonation hurt you? I drink A LOT of sweet tea – I an sure that cannot be good either!

Donna Morgan

Nutritionist’s Response

  • Soft drinks provide hefty amounts of refined sugars that contribute few nutrients. Diet sodas do not have the sugars, but they also have little nutritional value. Adolescents and children need nutrient-rich foods and beverages for growth and activity. Athletes need adequate fluids for optimal physical performance.

  • Carbonated beverages may create a full feeling, which decreases the desire to drink fluids.

  • Some studies show that caffeinated beverages have diuretic effects, which can lead to dehydration in athletes. Coaches often ask their players to stop drinking Coke because it contains caffeine.

  • The Food and Drug Administration considers moderate caffeine consumption safe for children and youth. The current dietary recommendations indicate that such beverages can be used to meet total water intake requirements.

Your sweetened tea sounds like discretionary calories. Discretionary calories are the extras that can be used on luxuries like sugars, solid fat, and alcohol. However, many people use up this allowance before lunchtime!

Beth Reames


October 30, 2007

Travel Challenges

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I just returned last night from a business trip to Honduras. International travel posed many challenges. I do not have to tell any of you who travel about the quality of airplane food.

However, the quality of fresh agricultural products in Honduras was exceptional. My biggest gaffe occurred while having dinner with a Honduran family. One cannot disappoint one’s host, so I indulged in enchiladas, grilled meat and many other wonderful dishes. The biggest sin was the tres leche (three milk) cake. Oh My! Cake is not one of my favorite sweets, but this was homemade and very delicious.

When the nutritionists suggested I add more dairy to the diet, I do not think they have tres leche cake in mind.

I will not tempt you further by discussing the mango ice cream I was forced to taste at an agricultural university. The director of the food technology program was a LSU Dairy Science graduate, so I felt justified eating the ice cream.

On the positive side, I found plenty of high-quality fresh fruit and vegetables. Grilled chicken and fish were also on most of the menus. The hotel had a treadmill, so I stuck with the 4-4-4 plan. Actually, I tried to do more than forty minutes to make up for the tres leche cake.

I did not fall off the wagon, but I did drag my heels a little (OK, maybe a lot that one day). It was back to my cereal and milk this morning.

My travels did results in a weight gain of less than one pound. I feel comfortable with that given the circumstances.

I have a BMI and blood work scheduled tomorrow. I will report on the results in Thursday’s blog.

In the meantime, if someone offers you tres leche cake, be careful!


Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

It is hard to stick with healthy eating pattern when traveling. An old adage in dietetics is that nothing is off limits. However, when faced with unusual foods, remember the suggestions for portion sizes:

  • Choose a protein course -- meat, fish or poultry -- about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand.

  • Think about a baseball or the size of your fist when choosing vegetables or fruit.

  • When choosing raw veggies, cut-up fruit, starches, snack foods, think about a rounded handful of the food. That would be a piece of fruit or ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta, chips or pretzels.

  • One quarter cup of dried fruit or nuts is about the same size as a golf ball or large egg.

  • A serving of ice cream (½  cup) is about or the size of a tennis ball.

  • Starchy vegetables such as potatoes and sweet potatoes can be the size of a computer mouse.

  • A compact disc can serve as a guide for a serving of pancakes or waffles.

  • Think about the tip of your thumb when making a peanut butter sandwich. That is a serving of peanut butter.

  • Six dice can serve as a model for a serving of cheese cubes.

  • A serving of fish should equal about the size of a checkbook.

Try to learn to see what the above amounts look on a plate before you travel so that you can build a meal anywhere.

Stick to eating three evenly-spaced meals and one or two snacks. Allowing too much time between meals promotes overeating.

When traveling on a plane or a train, bring healthy snacks if possible. Fresh fruits, which are especially hard to come by when traveling, can be a treat. Other snack options to consider: Nuts, dried fruits, crackers and pretzels.

Do not forget to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

By incorporating some kind of exercise during trip activities, travelers can:

  • maintain weight.
  • reduce stress.
  • reduce fatigue.

Heli Roy 


October 29, 2007

Candied Consequences

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I admit, as many of you should, that candy is one of the best things about Halloween. After the kids come home from trick-or-treating, you confiscate some particular items because they are not good for them.

Smile, because you know you do it.

The guilty ones, who have eating themselves sick, often bring leftovers to work. They know fat boys like me will come by and tank up on the stuff that we do not want our kids to eat.

It is like I discussed with you recently about ice cream. A little ice cream is fine. However, many adults cannot control the amount of ice cream or candy they eat. There is a wonderful commercial on TV showing some kids beating a piñata. When it breaks open, the excited partygoers showered with celery. I cannot remember the product being advertized, but there is a message adults should heed. We consider candy to be a reward for doing something right. If we expect to see our kids change, perhaps we adults might want to look in the mirror. Maybe we should pass out healthy snacks at Halloween and use healthy snack as rewards.

In order for us to address Louisiana’s obesity problem, adults have to set a good example for our children.


Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

Halloween can be tricky for many people. However, there are ways to avoid overindulging.

  • Consider handing out non-food items to trick-or-treaters rather than traditional Halloween candy. Alternatives to candy include: Halloween-themed balloons, stickers, and pencils, trading cards and rubber spiders/characters. Handing out these non-food treats not only benefits the trick-or-treaters, but it also benefits you. There will not be any leftover candy to tempt you later.

  • Still want to stick to edible Halloween treats? Try individually-wrapped or boxed items like pretzels, nuts, sugar-free gum and raisins.

Bringing leftover candy to work is one way many people try to avoid overindulging. If you tend ot hover around the candy jar, try these tips:

  1. Have a piece of candy and savor it! By allowing yourself to indulge just a bit, you will avoid binging later.

  2. Ask your coworkers to move the candy jar. Out of sight... out of mind.

Denise Holston 

2/10/2009 1:16:30 AM
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