Aug 31, 2009

Passion for Paws

Whether you have a passion for diabetes prevention or protecting our four-legged friends, we celebrate whatever it is that inspires you to get out and live life.

We are proud to support one of our Skinny Gene members, Michelle, as she runs the Chicago Marathon in memory of Winston, her 2 1/2 year old Weimaraner that passed away due to heart failure last year on October 12, 2008.

Winston's Story- By Michelle C (Skinny Gene Project, Chicago)

Winston was a blue Weimaraner that I purchased from a breeder in May of 2006. I had been living in Chicago, IL for approximately 6 years before I even thought about taking on the responsibility of such a large and energetic dog. I also was an avid runner with multiple running partners that helped motivate me to run on not so nice days and for safety reasons while living in such a big city. As my life, career, and responsibilities started changing so did my running partners and my desire to run. That is when I decided it was time to get a dog that was able to run with me to keep me safe and to get me out running regularly again.

I had done my research, found a breeder in Iowa, and put down a deposit to secure the pick of the litter.

When the puppies were six weeks old I went to Iowa to pick out which puppy would be mine and I instantly fell in love with the little pudgy, laid back Weimaraner with the blue collar.

When I picked him up at 8 weeks old the breeder had told me that at his last vet appointment they had found that he had a heart murmur and that there was a 95% chance he would grow out of it. At that point I had an opportunity to take a different puppy, but I refused and went with my first instinct and in fear that he may not have a chance at a good home if I didn’t take him.

Over the next 2 years, Winston’s heart disease progressed which made it difficult for him to be in the heat or to express his puppy spirit. At any chance he pushed the limits and loved every minute of it. Needless to say he didn’t have the chance to be my running partner, but he was my best friend. I lost Winston to heart failure on the evening of October 11, 2008 at 2 ½ years old.

The 2009 Chicago Marathon is on October 11, 2009 which is the year anniversary of Winston’s death.

Therefore, I thought it was fitting to run in his name for PAWS Chicago (Pets Are Worth Saving), which is the city's largest No Kill humane organization, focused on alleviating Chicago's tragic pet homelessness problem. Since PAWS Chicago's founding, the number of homeless pets killed in the city has been reduced by more than half ―from 42,561 pets killed in 1997 to 19,288 in 2008.

I believe all dogs and cats deserve a second chance at life and love!

Please support my efforts at or at a shelter near you!

Aug 25, 2009

A True Inspiration

Annie’s Journey to the Finish Line (Skinny Gene Project San Diego)

Saving my life-One step at a time

I DON'T WANT TO DIE and I'm dying. I am this reality. I WANT TO LIVE and I'm living. I am creating this reality.”

Like millions of other Americans, like YOU, I have faced adversity and been forced to hurdle obstacles more times than I can count. Despite every effort to fight, a series of medical conditions overcame my body. Before they were able to diagnose and stop the problem, the damage had been done.

I had to walk away from 10 years of service to the Navy. Images of my shipmates were replaced by the reflection of the overweight woman in the mirror that stared back me, suffocating my spirit and determination until nothing was left.

Alone without my Navy family and without my own family I sank into depression and my health spiraled further out of control. Before I knew it, my mortality became a reality.

The Skinny Gene Project taught me that it is never too late to regain control of my life. Not only am I receiving the tools and resources I need to be successful, this organization gives me tremendous hope and I know I don't have to struggle alone. They support and believe in me, even when I start to lose faith in myself. - Annie


After becoming a member of the Skinny Gene Project, Annie began working with our Registered Dietitian (Emily) and a physical trainer from Tru Health and Wellness (Craig). With less than 30 pounds to go in losing her first 100 pounds, Annie set her sights on walking in the San Diego Rock n' Roll Marathon.

She trained vigorously for weeks. Then, a few weeks before the event, she fell. Annie injured her knee and was no longer able to compete. This was a devestating blow to Annie. It was happening again!

Several years ago, while in the Navy, Annie was training for the San Diego Marathon and had a horrible bike riding accident. She was immoble for months. This marked the beginning of her weight gain. This time however, Annie was determined to have a different outcome.

Although her knee injury prevented her from participating in any physical activity, she continued to lose weight. She focused on regaining her health ...


Finally, on August 16th, Annie completed her first 5K.

Congratulations Annie! We are so very proud of you!

Skinny Gene Project's September Shopping Cart

Making healthier choices begins with what you decide to put into your grocery cart.

Try to find a way to incorporate each of these items into your meals.

Avocados – The only fruit that is a great source of monounsaturated fats and are sodium and cholesterol free, essential for a heart healthy diet.

Garlic – Adding garlic to season your meal not only increases the flavor, it reduces your risk of heart disease and cancer. Try to make garlic a daily flavor: fresh, dry, or powder.

Fiber One - Super start to your day and not to mention the added benefit of lowering cholesterol, managing your blood sugar, and satisfying your appetite. A ½ cup serving of Fiber One has 14 grams of fiber, meeting ~50% of your daily need and 1 gram of cholesterol lowering soluble fiber. Try a bowl for breakfast or stir a Tablespoon or two into your yogurt.

Tuna - Two servings of fish a week will provide you the essential fatty acids that will help lower your triglycerides and lower risks of cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attack or stroke). Canned white tuna is a great source of the Omega-3 essential fatty acid and quick fix for dinner on the weeknights!

Green Beans - A great source of antioxidant rich vitamins and fiber that will help keep your blood sugar from spiking and your heart healthy. Buy fresh, frozen, or canned.

Whole grain pasta – Try Barilla Plus Pasta, made of 50% whole wheat and provides 7 grams of fiber per serving versus the regular white pasta’s 2 grams fiber per serving. Barilla Plus Pasta provides a rich source of protein and Omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Tomato - One of the super vegetables containing phytochemicals that help protect you against cancer. Buy fresh year round, although best July through September!

Grapes – The rich purple color provided by the phytonutrients in grapes protects against heart disease.

Yogurt - Eat 3+ servings low fat or fat free dairy daily can help reduce the belly fat! Yogurt provides friendly bacteria that strengthens your immune system and keeps your gastrointestinal tract healthy from harmful bacteria.

Did you miss the August Shopping List? If so, click here!

By Emily Barr, MS, RD, CNSC

Not All Carbs Are Created Equal

Chosing carbohydrates can be very confusing.

Eating the right type of carbohydrate can be the difference between substantial weight gain and weight loss.
Eating bad carbs can cause heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, hunger pangs, and can even trigger overeating. Good carbs are needed for proper brain function, helps your body burn more body fat, fills you up and keeps you from getting hungry.

So don’t cut carbs; make better choices.

Using a simple ranking system known as a Glycemic Index (GI), we can clearly identify good and bad carbs. The GI indicates how much sugar is in a particular food, and how quickly that food will affect your blood sugar.

“The whiter the bread, the quicker you’re dead”

White bread, potatoes, refined cereals, and several other high GI foods are quickly digested and cause sugar to pour into the blood stream. This surge of sugar causes the blood sugar to spike. Along with these spikes come severe drops in blood sugar, which causes excessive snacking and sugar cravings. These spikes also negatively affect the elasticity of the arteries and can lead to heart disease or sudden death.[1]

Fight the Fat.

Foods with a low GI are usually high in fiber and are digested slowly. This creates an opportunity for the calories from the food to be burned throughout the day as energy, instead of being stored as fat. Since there aren’t any high and lows, as there are with high GI foods, there aren’t the associated excessive snacking and sugar cravings.

Low GI foods, such as vegetables, whole grain products and beans, expand in your stomach and make you feel full longer.

Benefits of eating a low GI diet

The following are clinically-proven benefits of eating Low GI foods:
Lose and control weight
Increase the body's sensitivity to insulin
Improve diabetes control
Reduce the risk of heart disease
Reduce blood cholesterol levels
Help you manage the symptoms of PCOS
Reduce hunger and keep you fuller for longer
Prolong physical endurance

Better life through better choices.

To assign a GI ranking, each food was individually tested in a clinically controlled setting. It can’t be determined by simply reading the nutritional information.

LOW- GI is 55 or under
MED- GI is 56-69
HIGH- GI is 70 and above

Below are a few popular low GI foods. A complete listing of foods, including 1,300 foods (750 food groups) and corresponding GI ranking is available on our Skinny Gene Member’s Only Section.

Click here to become a Member Today and see the GI (and Glycemic Load) on all the food tested to date. (see additional benefits of becoming a member)


All-bran cereal (42)
Apples (38)
Apple juice (40)
Bananas (52)
Brown Rice (55)
Buckwheat (54)
Carrot (47)
Chick peas (28)
Fettuccine (40)
Grapes (46)
Green peas (48)
Honey (55)
Kidney Beans (28)
Long grain white rice (52)
9-grain, multi-grain bread (43)
Oranges (42)
Peaches (42)
Peanuts (14)
Pears (38)
Sourdough wheat bread (54)
Whole Grain (100%)- (51)


Beets (64)
Cantaloupe (65)
Coca Cola (63)
Life cereal (66)
Pineapple (59)
Sugar (table) (68)
Sweet potatoes (61)
White Rice (64)
Wild Rice (57)


Baked potatoes (85)
Cheerios (74)
Cornflakes (81)
English Muffin (77)
French Fries (75)
Grape Nuts Flakes (80)
Popcorn (72)
Shredded Wheat (75)
Watermelon (72)
Whole-wheat flour bread (71)
White flour bread (100)

[1] TAU study shows why simple carbs are bad for you by JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH

Aug 6, 2009

Focus on Fiber- Artichokes

DID YOU KNOW: If Americans doubled their intake for fiber, they could cut 100 calories from their daily diet - which could shave off 10 pounds of weight gain each year.

Only 10 percent of Americans are getting the recommended amount of fiber in their diets. Are you getting 32 grams of fiber?

Here are many other benefits of eating a high-fiber diet:

· Fiber promotes general wellness and intestinal health. It lowers the risk of developing heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, and certain cancers.

· Fiber slows the rate of digestion, resulting in better blood sugar control.

· Diets high in fiber and low in saturated fats have been proven to lower LDL cholesterol.

· Diets adequate in fiber are linked with weight loss success due to its ability to satisfy the appetite by helping you feel fuller longer. This will prevent you from over-eating.

· For the most part, foods high in fiber are usually lower in calories, therefore increasing intakes result in lower calorie consumption.

Try Artichokes! They have 6.5 grams of fiber?

Here are 5 easy recipes to incorporate Artichokes in your diet...

Watch Video on how to prepare an Artichoke. Click here

  1. Broiled Chicken and Artichokes Source :Gourmet

  2. Artichoke, Cherry Tomato, and Feta Salad with Artichoke-Pesto Crostini [SGP tip- use a whole grain baguette] Source Bon App├ętit

  3. Grilled Baby Artichokes with Caper-Mint Sauce Source: Gourmet

  4. Lemon Mint Braised Artichokes Source: Gourmet

  5. Artichoke Pesto on Ciabatta Source: Food Network [SGP tip- use a whole grain baguette]

Helpful Hint: Don't Eat the Worms!

We promised to provide a newsletter with helpful tips to living a healthy lifestyle. Well, here’s a suggestion…

Helpful Hint #1: Don’t eat the worms!

Weight loss is a challenge of endurance, not speed. Sometimes we can be in such a hurry to lose weight that we will try any fad diet that promises to deliver results, no matter how unusual, daring or harmful it may be.

Some people will go to any lengths to lose weight, including eating worms. That’s right, worms! On the once popular Tapeworm Diet, people would swallow a worm-laced pill and let the worms dine off any leftover food in the body. Did it work? Maybe, but at what cost?

The great news is that you don’t have to eat worms, live on grapefruit or cabbage alone, or cut out all carbohydrates to drop a few pounds. Fad diets are designed for quick weight loss but not long-term success. The true question isn’t if they work. It’s if, and how long, you are able to do it

Instead of a quick fix, try making small changes that will lead to achieving long-term success.

Filling Up Without Adding the Calories

One of the most common complaints when trying to lose weight is feeling hungry all the time. Here are Skinny Gene’s tips or tricks to keep yourself feeling full and your weight on track! Our focus is maximizing the mealtimes and the foods you eat, while minimizing the calories by including fulfilling foods high in fiber. Give a few of these tips are try!


· Try rating your hunger – 1 not too hungry to 5 extremely hungry. Your goal is to never let yourself get to a rating of 5. Keep snacks with you or at work, in the car, etc for unplanned events. Chances are that if you go into a meal extremely hungry you will overeat.

· Enjoy your mealtimes, cut out the distractions (i.e. TV) and savor your food. Enjoy conversation! A mealtime should last 20-30 minutes, so be sure to eat slowly and try setting your fork down between bites.

· Eat the low calorie and high fiber foods first, such as vegetables, salads, beans and fruits. These will help you feel full.

· Wait 15-20 minutes before dishing up 2nd helpings.

· Drink a glass of water prior to meals.

· Watch the alcohol intake; it can lead to uninhibited eating and extra calories.

When Eating Out!

· Substitute vegetables (not fried) for other side items.

· Start with a clear soup or salad.

· Lay off the bread or chips prior to a meal.

· Eat slowly!

· Share a meal with someone or plan on taking at least half of the dish home.

When at Social Outings!

· Load your plate up with high fiber foods, such as raw vegetables and salad. Try small spoonfuls of the other higher calorie foods. Be sure to savor you food!

· Focus on being social at parties. Position yourself out of arm’s reach of appetizers.

· Be sure to bring a healthy dish to the party.

· Make only one trip to the buffet.

· Have a high fiber snack and some water prior to the event so you aren’t starving!

By Emily Barr, MS, RD, CNS

What Should be in Your Skinny Gene Shopping Cart

What’s in this month’s Grocery Cart?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Great source of essential fatty acids with unbelievable health benefits including raising HDL (“good cholesterol“) and lowering LDL (“bad” cholesterol)

Mrs. Dash - Delicious salt free seasoning, helps keep your blood pressure low. Add to steamed vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, etc.

Oatmeal - Super start to your day and not to mention the added benefit of lowering cholesterol. Try a bowl for breakfast or stir a scoop or two into your yogurt.

Salmon - Two servings of fish a week will provide you the essential fatty acids that will help lower your triglycerides and lower risks of cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attack or stroke).

Black Beans - A great source of fiber that will help keep your blood sugar from spiking. Buy in a can or in a bag, black beans are cheap too!

Whole grain bread - Choose a bread with 3 grams of fiber per slice or more. The more fiber in your bread the better for your blood sugar control.

Broccoli - One of the super vegetables that contains phytochemicals that help protect you against cancer. Buy fresh or frozen and enjoy!

Blueberries - Either fresh or frozen, blueberries’ rich blue color provides hard to find antioxidants that protect you against cancer, acts as anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging.

Milk - Eat 3+ servings low fat or fat free dairy daily can help reduce the belly fat! Don’t hesitate to add low sugar chocolate syrup for a treat, the bonus vitamins and minerals in milk out weigh the few drops of chocolate syrup!

By Emily Barr, MS, RD, CNSC

Aug 4, 2009

An Unlikely Story

When you think of a person with prediabetes, do you picture an outdoorsy, 32-yr old marathon runner, ex-high school wrestler, father of 2 children (ages 2 and 4), and entrepreneur?

Probably not, but you should.

A true family man and loyal friend to many, Jarod focused his attention on other people and began to neglect his own needs. He found himself to be 30 years old and 60 pounds overweight, so he decided to do something about it.

Jarod used a fad diet program, kettle ball training, and even ran his first marathon in 2008. He lost some weight, but was unable to reach his weight loss goals. Frusterated, he came to the Skinny Gene Project for help. Not only did Jarod have extra weight to lose, but he also found out that he had prediabetes.

Jarod’s Goals: within 90 days

1.) Prevent diabetes- Bring his blood sugar from a prediabetic to a healthy range
2.) Lose weight- 7 % of his body mass or more
3.) Improve Running- Shave time off his 5ks, ½ marathons and marathons

Jarod’s Skinny Gene Program

1.) HbA1c test- Assess his risk for diabetes and heart disease
2.) 7-Day Food Analysis- Determine what foods and behaviors were slowing down his metabolism
3.) Ignite Your Skinny Gene- Personal, 1-on-1 consultation with a Registered Dietitian to teach him how to boost his metabolism
4.) 90-day Accountability- Continue the discussion with the dietitian to implement the program into his lifestyle

Jarod’s Success- After 90 days
1.) Fought off prediabetes- A new HbA1c test showed that his blood sugar was in a normal range
2.) Lost 7.8% of his body weight
3.) Shed 17 minutes off a ½ marathon, and 30 minutes off the 2009 Rock n’ Roll Marathon
4.) Shared a moment of glory with his son