How to Eat Right While Traveling

How to Eat Right While Traveling

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…..about Eating Right While Traveling

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, our holiday travels will involve lots of meals in restaurants.  Do you have any advice on how to “eat right” under those conditions?

A: First of all, I wish you a safe journey, with lots of fun included. It is much harder to “eat right” when away from home.  As you probably have noticed, many restaurants serve very large portions.  If you will be staying places where you can refrigerate leftovers and microwave them for later snacking, you can ask your server for “half to go,” dividing and packaging half your meal before it reaches you, with all that temptation to clean your entire plate.

However, your travels might make it impractical to take away leftovers. Ask your travel companions if they would like to share an entree. Many restaurants will accommodate this request.

While planning your travel, plan to pack some snacks so that you won’t be extremely hungry when you sit down to your restaurant meal.  Almonds are a good choice – easy to pack and healthy, too. Raisins are another option, especially because they come in tiny boxes for those on the go.  Fruit is healthy, but sometimes a bit messier. Snacking every three hours may help you eat right and avoid filling up on bread before your meal arrives at your table in the restaurant.

Nutritionists tell us that the “ideal meal” would be a plate filled halfway Pedometer.Com Eat Right while traveling Portion Platewith fruits and/or vegetables, with the other half divided between protein (meat, poultry, fish) and starches (potatoes, rice, noodles).  Avoid fried foods as much as possible. Drink water rather than caloric soft drinks.  If you are at a restaurant buffet, take small samples of the foods you like the most.  Consider making a lighter meal out of just appetizers. You can eat right in restaurants if you plan ahead.

You may have heard me say, “You cannot exercise your way out of a poor diet.” However, do plan to “move more” even while traveling.  If traveling by car, stop at highway rest stops and walk around a bit, and do the same after restaurant meals.  You will feel better (and be a safer driver).  Traveling by airplane makes it more difficult to safely get up and move around, but it’s possible.

Save calorie splurges until you reach your destination and may want to indulge in homemade, once-a-year food specialties.



Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…About Diabetes Symptoms


Q:  Mr. Pedometer, how is it possible that a person could have Type 2 diabetes and not be aware of it?

A: Good question, particularly since November is Diabetes Awareness Month.  Here’s what Everyday Health has to say about how Type 2 diabetes symptoms may be hard to recognize:

“Signs of diabetes include frequent urination, fatigue, and sudden weight loss….  It’s not always easy to recognize signs of Type 2 Diabetes, especially because symptoms can develop slowly — or be mistaken for something else.

“For example, increased thirst may be chalked up to a hot summer, or fatigue may be interpreted as a sign of aging or stress. This is unfortunate, as even short-term high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) diminishes your quality of life.

“’High blood sugar means that there is an accumulation of glucose in Diabetes blood Glucose testthe blood that is not reaching its given destination in the body,’ says Monet Bland, CDE, at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. ‘Untreated hyperglycemia can lead to skin problems, gynecological problems, impotence, fatigue, and blurred vision.’

“And if high blood sugar stemming from diabetes persists for a long time, you may eventually develop complications, such as vision problems (diabetic retinopathy), nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy), or kidney disease (diabetic nephropathy) that cannot be completely reversed with improved blood sugar control.

“’It is important to note that often times the complications of diabetes can be worse than the diabetes itself,” Bland says.  To help prevent high blood sugar, Bland says, you can monitor your food intake by:


Keeping portion sizes in mind – Limit food portions and track your caloric intake to make sure you are not consuming too many calories for your energy needs.

  • Considering your diet choices – Carbohydrates have the largest effect on blood glucose, so you should track your intake and reach for complex carbs that are lower on the glycemic index, Bland says.
  • Incorporating exercise – Exercise is known to lower blood glucose.

 “Type 2 diabetes can cause a wide range of signs and symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue even when you’ve slept well
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme thirst
  • Cloudy thinking
  • Irritability
  • Wounds that won’t heal
  • Frequent yeast infections
  • Blurry vision
  • Sleeping troubles
  • Excessive urination
  • Sexual problems
  • Sudden and unexpected weight loss

(Source: )


These are good reasons why Mr. Pedometer always signs off by saying…


Plant Proteins are Better for Your Health

Plant Proteins are Better for Your Health

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

August 21, 2019

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, what do you think about a meatless diet?  I have heard that plant proteins are better for your health and provide nutrients lacking from our normal diets but should we eliminate meat?

A: We have all heard the warnings to eat less red meat. Many people have gone farther than that and get some or all of their protein from plant proteins because they are better for your health.  Consumer Reports on Health ( reports in their September edition that “only 5 percent of Americans call themselves vegetarians.”  However, more and more of people are shifting to getting at least some of our protein from plants.  Here’s why:

EVEN SMALL CHANGES HELP – “Replacing even just a few meaty meals with meatless ones Plant based protiens that are better for your health at World Walk to Wellness Blogcan lead to improvements in health, such as lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels and less fat around your middle.  (Large waistlines are associated with a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease.)  A 2016 study of 131,342 people found that trading just 3 percent of calories for an equivalent amount of plant protein resulted in a 12 percent lower risk of dying from any cause.  If plant protein replaced processed red meat – such as deli meat or hot dogs – it equated to a 34 percent lower risk of death.”

PLANTS CAN PROVIDE ADEQUATE PROTEIN – Foods like beans, nuts, and soy are the most concentrated protein sources, according to Dana Hunnes, Ph.D., senior dietitian at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. “Protein is essential for keeping your muscles strong – something that becomes even more important as you get older, because we do tend to lose some muscle mass as we age,” Hunnes says.  And a 2019 study found that protein – especially from plants – helps control the low-level inflammation that increases with age and contributes to disease.  Older people should aim for at least 0.6 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day – about 90 grams for someone who weighs 150 pounds.  (Exercise is also key for maintaining muscle).”

PLANT PROTEINS PROVIDE EVEN MORE –  Fiber from plant protein “can help to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, lower your risk of colorectal cancer, and prevent weight gain….Plant-based diets are also rich in potassium and antioxidants….Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure – something that becomes increasingly important with age. (More than 60 percent of people 60 and older have high blood pressure, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.)” Antioxidants may help prevent cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. “A diet rich in plant-based foods helps provide a number of important nutrients that are lacking in the typical American diet,” says Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania.

WHERE TO START? – Eliminating processed meat and limiting red meat is a good goal, the article suggests: Try to go meatless one or two days a week.    “The key is to experiment until you find healthy plant-based foods you love,” says Kris-Etherton.  “Then it won’t feel like a sacrifice to skip the meat.”

Next time you share a meal out with your vegetarian friends, why not try what they order?  You may discover that limiting red meat intake is not necessarily a burden. If you find you enjoy foods that provide plant-based proteins that are better for your health, you see timproved health at your check ups with your doctor.


Creative Ways to Stay Hydrated

Creative Ways to Stay Hydrated

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…


July 31 2019

Q: Mr. Pedometer, what are some good ways to stay hydrated in the hot summer weather other than drinking water?

A: Drinking plain water does get old – but there are ways you can still focus on staying hydrated. Last month’s Consumer Reports on Health ( offered the following tips:

  • MAKE WATER TASTIER Ways to stay hydrated in the hot weather with fruit infused water“Fill a pitcher or large water bottle with water each morning and aim to finish it off by bedtime will help you stay hydrated. If plain water is unappealing,“Add a splash of 100 percent fruit juice to a glassful” “Or chop up strawberries, melon, cucumber and orange, mint or other flavorful items and mix into a pitcher of water.

  • CHOOSE FRUITS AND VEGGIES – “Watermelon is a great choice during the summer months, but so are strawberries, lettuce, celery, spinach, tomatoes, and cooked squash – because they all contain 90 percent water or more.”

  • WHIP UP A SMOOTHIE – “In some cases, a smoothie you buy at a smoothie shop may have some of the same disadvantages as sports drinks and sodas: too much sugar. But if you make a smoothie at home, you can skip the sugar and pack your drink with other healthy ingredients, such a leafy greens, grains, or protein sources like silken tofu. For one of our favorite frappes, first blend ¼ cup oats until powdery. Add 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries, ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt, ¼ cup orange juice, and 1 teaspoon orange zest. Blend until smooth.”

I hope that some or all of these ideas will help you stay hydrated, despite not liking to drink plain old water.


How to Reduce Belly Fat

How to Reduce Belly Fat

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

July 2019


Q:  Mr. Pedometer, with each passing year, I seem to be adding to my padding…particularly in my middle.  Do you have suggestions for how to reduce belly fat?

A: You certainly are not alone in the so-called “battle of the bulge!”  Extra padding around your midsection could increase your risk of health problems, including heart disease and diabetes.

As you undoubtedly know, all physical activity will burn fuel in the muscles. Sometimes that fuel is converted fat, which will result in fat and weight loss, if not replaced in our nutrition plans. Remember, Energy Balance means consumption and use of calories are equal. To lose fat, Energy Balance has to be negative (more activity than eating, to simplify it).

The caveat:  When Energy Balance is negative and we burn fat in the muscles, we can’t direct where that fat comes from. If we have enough negative energy balance days that significant fat is burned as fuel, belly fat should be reduced, also.

 A recent article in had the following suggestions for winning the “battle of the bulge”:

  • TAKE A NATURE BREAK – “According to a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, strolling or sitting for 20 minutes in nature significantly lowers cortisol levels and help reduce belly fat. High levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, stimulate production of glucose, which – if it’s not used as energy – is converted into fat that’s stored in your midsection.”

  • STAND UP – “The more time people spend sitting down during the day, the more abdominal fat they had, according to a recent study published in the journal Obesity….The link was strongest for those who didn’t get the recommended weekly 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity.” Standing while working for part of your day will help reduce belly fat.

  • EXERCISE IN INTERVALS – “While any type of Goup of people out for a brisk walk to reduce belly fat and improve healthcardio will burn fat, research shows you’re more likely to trim your tummy doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT), a type of workout where you alternate exerting maximum effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise with short, active recovery periods, says Wayne Westcott, PhD, professor of exercise science at Quincy College in Quincy, Massachusetts. In one study, people who did two traditional ‘steady-state’ workouts and two HIIT workouts a week lost more weight overall and significantly more inches from their waistline, compared to the group that did only steady-state routines.”

  • EAT MORE PULSES – “The umbrella term for beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas, pulses have been shown to reduce body fat. Regular eaters have smaller waist measurements and overall 20 percent lower risk of obesity, says Cynthia Sass, RD.”

  • START STRENGTH TRAINING – At any age, adding weights to your workout can help you manage (and reduce belly fat) your middle, Westcott reports…To gain muscle, Westcott recommends strength training at least twice a week.”

  • CHECK YOUR VITAMIN D LEVELS – “Higher levels of body fat are associated with lower vitamin D levels in people who are overweight, according to a recent study in the Netherlands….You can boost levels naturally by eating more fatty fish like salmon and eating D-fortified dairy products, orange juice or cereal.”

Try any or all of these techniques to keep help to reduce belly fat and “adding to your padding.”


Eating Fruit has Many Health Benefits

Eating Fruit has Many Health Benefits

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

June 2019

Q: Mr. Pedometer, what are the health benefits of eating fruit?

A: According to Consumer Reports on Health, we should be eating 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruit daily. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that only 12 percent of Americans meet that goal. Here are some reasons why we should strive to become part of that 12%:

BOOST ANTIOXIDANTS – “An antioxidant is a substance that protects cells from plate of fruit with health benefitsdamage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules created during the process of oxidation during normal metabolism. Free radicals may play a role in the development of stroke, heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.” One form of prevention seems to be eating brightly colored fruit, especially those that are red and purple. Think berries, plums, and cherries. These will give you “the biggest antioxidant bang for the bite.” Citrus fruits, apricots, cantaloupe, and apples have different antioxidants, so eating several varieties is a good strategy, according to Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., a research professor at Tufts University in Boston.

RAISE YOUR POTASSIUM – “Potassium helps your body’s nerves and muscles, including your heart, work properly.… Eating foods that contain more potassium and less salt can help control high blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.” Bananas, cantaloupe, and peaches are very good sources of potassium.

FIGHT DISEASE – “Adding a small apple a day to your diet…may reduce the risk of stroke by about 42 percent, according to a study published in the journal Stroke…. “Tart and sweet cherries can decrease oxidative stress and inflammation, potentially benefiting people with diabetes, arthritis, and other conditions.”

INCREASE FIBER – “Fiber is linked to improved digestion as well as reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and even certain cancers. It also can help you eat less.” High fiber fruits include guava, blackberries, raspberries, pears, and kiwifruit. (By contrast, fruit juice has very little or none.)

CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR – “When health experts say to eat less sugar, they’re talking about added sugars like those found in cakes, cookies, and soft drinks. But some people [mistakenly] think that the ‘eat less sugar’ directive applies to fruit, too.” The fiber contained in fruit “minimizes the effect that fruit’s natural sugars have on blood sugar levels.” A 2016 report “found that eating fruit, especially berries, lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes.” low-sugar fruits include raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, watermelon, grapefruit, and starfruit.

The article makes clear that enjoying a variety of fruit may be very good for one’s health. Fruit is a healthy way to satisfy a craving for something sweet. Take advantage of the fresh fruit you admire at the farmers’ markets and invest in their health benefits.