11/19/07 - 11/23/07

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 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

 [ Post a comment ]

Our thanksgiving holiday offers a chance to stop and reunite with family to express our thankfulness for the many blessings. Our tables will be spread with an abundance of wonderful foods. Over a meal (meals) we can catch up with family members and friends we haven’t seen in some time, relax without having to rush off to work and meet other obligations, and simply pause to reflect. As good as it is for many of us, we are surrounded with less fortunate fellow citizens who could benefit from our abundance and excesses. I ask that each of you as you enjoy the time off find a way to share with the less fortunate. I plan to and ask that you follow suit.

We will take a two-day holiday break from the blog. I thank all of you who have read these ramblings and especially to those of you who have written in to express support. I thank all of you who have stopped me and told me your story as you move into a world of a healthier life style. I am thankful this time of the year for so many things.

One final testimony before the onslaught of the endless opportunity to consume: moderation, moderation and moderation! Follow with exercise, exercise and exercise.

Have a wonderful holiday and log in on Monday. I will tell you about my challenges with camp food. Duck and deer season is here. And, oh my, how we eat at the camp.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

In addition to commemorating Thanksgiving Day, each of us can continue the thankfulness tradition by becoming aware of and helping to alleviate domestic and world hunger.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has found that more than a quarter of all the food produced for human consumption in America is discarded. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that discarded food is either the largest or the next single largest component (depending on classification) of America’s solid waste.

Read “Waste Not, Want Not” from the EPA.

While not all excess food is edible for humans, much of it is – if recovered properly. Nonperishable food and wholesome, unspoiled, perishable food can be donated to local

food banks, soup kitchens and shelters. Local and national food recovery programs frequently offer free pick-up and provide reusable containers to donors.

Food donations help to feed the hungry. The Louisiana Food Bank Association plays a critical role in addressing the problem of hunger in Louisiana by distributing donated food and grocery products to people in need. The Louisiana Food Bank Association includes the following food banks:

  • Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana
  • Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank
  • The Food Bank of Central Louisiana
  • Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana
  • Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana

Monetary donations to a food bank are accepted and appreciated and allow the food bank to purchase more food per dollar than retail shoppers are able to buy. The food banks also accept food donations.

Donating food can be as easy as cleaning out your pantry or freezer. Acceptable items for food donations usually include: canned, bagged or boxed nonperishable food items; health and hygiene products; baby products (formula, diapers, wipes, etc.); nutritional supplements including vitamins; first-aid products; and perishable items.

Nonperishable items may be dropped off at the food bank or other specified locations, such as barrels in grocery stores. Perishable items must be taken to the food bank. Pick-up of both perishable and nonperishable items usually is available and can be arranged by contacting the food bank office.

Food banks have a continual need for volunteers. Food bank volunteers may help to sort food for distribution, box pre-selected food items, help with special events such as food drives, make flyers for fundraising and food drive projects or do office work. Volunteers often are needed to serve meals – especially on holidays – at soup kitchens, homeless shelters or other meal sites.

For additional information about how you can help, contact the food bank in your area or a local community service agency.

Beth Reames


November 20, 2007

Work It Out

 [ Post a comment ]

I am enjoying my commitment to the 4-4-4 plan. For those of you just reading the blog, the 4-4-4 plan was given to me by my doctor. His advice was to get on the treadmill four times per week at level 4 (15-minute miles) for 40 minutes. Hence, the 4-4-4 plan. I found that it took a few weeks to work up to forty minutes at level 4. But I did it, and I’m seeing signs that the exercise is working. My clothes are fitting better, my energy level seems to be high, and I just feel better. I haven’t even had the urge to talk myself out of working out.

I also believe strongly in proper hydration before, during and after exercise. Good old-fashioned water is hard to beat. Quit fighting it and drink your water.

If you haven’t committed to an exercise program, I strongly urge you to do so. But first, see your doctor. Forty minutes on a treadmill is not an easy feat, especially at level 4. Make sure you are ready for exercise, and work up to the exercise level that fits your lifestyle. I also encourage you to keep an exercise log. I religiously keep track of date, time, place, level of exercise, daily weight, etc. This helps me look back over the week or month and see my progress toward the commitment to four times a week. I use the cool-down time after working out to write the summary of the workout in my log and enjoy the sense of accomplishment at having completed that experience for the day.

You may not have access to a treadmill or a club that has one. And walking is not the only form of exercise. It is what I enjoy. The key is to find a form of exercise that you enjoy and that, if done consistently, will help you reach your fitness and lifestyle goals. The most difficult step is the first one out the door.

Tomorrow I’ll have some final Thanksgiving thoughts for you.

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

To help you figure out the amount of energy expended in various activities, researchers have developed a coding scheme. There are 605 codes for specific activities listed in a table called the Compendium of Physical Activities. Physical activities are defined in METs or metabolic equivalents. 1 MET is considered a resting metabolic rate during quiet sitting. Defining activities in METs allows for a comparison of intensity of a variety of physical activities, ranging from sleeping (0.9 MET) to running at 10.9 miles per hour (18 METs).

Moderate-intensity activities include housework, child-care activities, occupational activity or walking for transportation. So light-intensity = less than 3 METs; moderate-intensity = 3-6 METs; and vigorous-intensity = greater than 6 METs.

Here’s a list of some specific activities and their corresponding MET levels:

  • Sleeping 0.9
  • Watching TV, sitting quietly, reading 1.0
  • Typing on a computer 1.5
  • Food shopping 2.3
  • Watering plants, mild stretching 2.5
  • Walking the dog, fishing, general weight-lifting, light-to-moderate effort 3.0
  • Bathing the dog, vacuuming 3.5
  • Gardening, general 4.0
  • Golf, general 4.5
  • Walking at 4 mph on a level firm surface, hunting, general 5.0
  • Mowing the lawn 5.5
  • Weight-lifting, vigorous effort 6.0
  • Walking 4.5 mph 6.3
  • Walking/running 5 mph, bicycling, general 8.0

To calculate how many calories are burned in one hour, you multiply the MET value by your weight in kilograms (pounds / 2.2 = kilograms).

Here’s a sample calculation:

At the chancellor’s last checkup, he weighed 232 pounds or 106 kg (232 / 22). If you look at the list of activities above, you’ll see that walking at a 15-minute-per-mile pace, or 4 miles per hour, is equivalent to 5 METs. That times kilograms equals the energy expended (5 METs X 106 kg = 530 calories per hour). Since he’s walking for 40 minutes, he’s burning two-thirds of 530, or about 350 calories.

From the list, you can see that you don’t have to walk to burn calories. For example, vacuuming and bathing the dog are considered moderate-intensity activities. The key is to find things that you like to do and stick with it.

You should also remember to drink plenty of water before, during and after being physically active.

For more information, check out some recommendations from our Smart Choices curriculum developed by our LSU AgCenter nutrition specialists. Read “Smart Choices: Eating and Exercising for Good Health.”

Michael Zanovec


November 19, 2007

Proper Perspective

 [ Post a comment ]

This week marks one of the most food-oriented holidays in our yearlong array of celebrations. We celebrate the harvest – that time of year when families come together and see how much food they can put on one table and then attempt to eat it all. I have tried several times and felt bloated for several days afterwards. We in agriculture produce some of the best food anywhere in the world, and our South Louisiana culture has refined the preparation of that food to a level not found anywhere. But how do we enjoy that wonderful food and stay with the healthy lifestyle? It’s difficult but not impossible.

To repeat a theme from previous blogs – portion size and control. How much turkey, ham or lean beef makes up 6 ounces? Eat a variety of the foods and focus on the whole grains (rice) and vegetables. And, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a slice of grandma’s pecan pie. Just don’t eat the whole pie. Enjoy the bountiful food. Remember our quest for a healthy lifestyle is a journey. What I have outlined in this blog deals with the changes we make. There will be times when we are diverted (remember the Tres Leche Cake I had in Honduras). We can enjoy our food – just keep it in perspective. Watch the portion sizes! Our lifestyle plan is long-term.

Another thought – I plan to go to the Thanksgiving celebration with a game plan. (Like Miles might have for Arkansas.) I will enjoy myself with the family and friends present. I will try the variety of foods in moderation with portion control. I will not go back for seconds. I will have one dessert as a reward for the commitment to the healthy life style (nutritional situational ethics).

Have fun and enjoy the time away from the grind.

How is your exercise program coming? Tomorrow I’ll give you an update on how I’m doing.

Bill Richardson

Nutritionist’s Response

Any food – even traditional holiday fare – can fit into a healthful eating plan. Depriving yourself of special holiday foods, or feeling guilty when you do enjoy them, isn’t a healthful eating strategy. The secret is moderation and balance.

A few tips for a healthy Thanksgiving feast include:

  • Be selective. Think about what foods you really want to eat, which ones you will just sample and which ones you will skip.
  • Watch portion sizes. 3 ounces lean meat, chicken or fish measure up to a deck of cards or a checkbook. Check the cooked weight of your turkey portion with a food scale if you have one. A teaspoon of margarine is the size of the tip of your thumb to the first joint. 1 cup of mashed potatoes is a tennis ball. One-half cup of vegetables is the size of a light bulb.
  • Don’t eat the skin on the turkey and go light on the gravy (or without).
  • Enjoy a large salad or fresh vegetable appetizers before filling your plate with Thanksgiving favorites.
  • Aim for making vegetables take up half the room on your plate. Go easy on those topped with rich sauces.
  • Don't deprive yourself of your favorites. Make it a balancing act. Cut the salad dressing and the roll and go for a small slice of pecan pie.
  • Eat slowly and savor each delicious bite of food. This will help prevent overeating.
  • If you're in charge of the menu or preparing items for the meal, make it healthfully delicious – and low-calorie, too.

Read this from the Mayo Clinic: Thanksgiving recipes: Delicious options for healthy eating.

Don’t forget physical activity. This is especially helpful during the holidays when you may be eating more than usual. Take a walk with friends and family after holiday meals or organize a game of flag football. You can burn as many as 140 calories for every 15 minutes of play and only 71 calories for each hour of TV game watching.

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season, which many people face with some fear of gaining weight. The good news is that although many people gain weight from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day, research suggests that the gain will probably be only one pound, not five. The bad news is that most people likely will keep that pound during the coming year.

Beth Reames

2/10/2009 1:16:40 AM
Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture