Whole Grain Belly Blasters


In my continuing quest to get the belly fat down, it is working by the way, I continually strive to ensure I also maintain a well-balanced diet. Studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have shown that people who followed a weight loss program incorporating whole-grain breads, cereals, and other foods lost more body fat from the troubling mid-drift than those who ate only refined grains like white bread and rice. The study also showed that those who ate whole-grains had more protection against heart disease.

While a diet of either whole grains or more processed foods can lead to weight loss, sticking with whole grains does significantly increase the amount of body fat lost. This is important when one considers weight loss is more about health than looks. Yes, I really do want to drop a dress size, but I want to be able to play with my kids and watch them go through life much more!

Sources of Whole Grain

Whole wheat
Whole oats/oatmeal
Whole-grain corn
Brown rice
Whole rye
Whole-grain barley
Wild rice
Bulgur (cracked wheat)

Look for these ingredients at the top of an ingredient list when buying foods:

Brown rice
Whole-grain corn
Whole oats
Whole rye
Whole wheat
Wild rice

Foods labeled with the words “multi-grain,” “stone-ground,” “100% wheat,” “cracked wheat,” “seven-grain,” or “bran” are usually not whole-grain products.

A really great, and often overlooked whole grain is barley. Packed with beta-gluten, barley is great at cutting down our bad LDL cholesterol and helps to maintain a good blood pressure. Barley makes you feel full…read need to eat less! And this wonderful food also controls blood sugar and helps fight diabetes. I tend to get a lot of my barley intake from tabbouleh or couscous.


1 cup pearl barley
5 cups fat-free vegetables or 5 cups chicken broth or 5 cups water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup vine-ripened tomato, diced
1 cup cucumber, skin on, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
salt and pepper


1. Combine barley and broth in a large saucepan. Set pain over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 45 minutes, until barley is tender.

2. Drain any excess water and transfer barley to a large bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil, and oregano. Toss to combine. Add vegetables and parsley; toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or chilled.

Recipe from Food.com

Heart Health: Finding Time

Working full-time means the late afternoons and evenings are taken up with homework, diner and housework.  Heading off to the gym is a thing of the past, although I dance once a week (usually) as my ‘escape’.  I am, unfortunately, gaining a few pounds lately.  The clothes I have managed to somewhat organize in my closet are a little tight.  My boobs walk into a room a few seconds before the rest of me.  My chin has a twin!  You get the idea.

February is also Heart-Health month and my son, Peanut, had been training for Jump-Rope For Heart at school (children asked to be sponsored to jump-rope to raise money for heart disease).  He had been jumping rope and was getting quite good. Heart-health is something I take very seriously; my grandfather passed away after a heart-attack and I have a slight murmur.  I also know that children are generally not getting the exercise they should in the modern world of driving to school, shortened recess, technological toys and over-scheduled lives.   But how could I fit in some more exercise without giving up other things such as time with the family?

Peanut actually came up with a great idea to tackle my desire to exercise more and my need to spend time with him.  We would exercise together.   He was also learning how to do circuit training in his the Phys. Ed. lessons in fourth grade.  Armed with some great exercises, Peanut put together a plan for the pair of us.  We started today…gently for Mom…and spent a wonderful  hour together.  And I really worked up a sweat!

The Plan:

  • Warm-up by walking the dog briskly around the block (extra points for getting yet another ‘got to do’ accomplished)
  • Stretches
  • Jog to end of cul-de-sac and back
  • Walk dog again (extra points racking up!)
  • Jump-rope for tem minutes (this nearly killed me)
  • Crunches
  • Push-ups (I used the modified version)
  • lunges
  • Cool-down walk

I have to say it was so much fun!  I worked on Peanut’s form with some of the movements, and he encouraged me to keep up when I was flagging.  The dog thought he was in heaven getting walked so much, although he did want to stop and sniff around which, much to his chagrin, he was was not allowed to do as we were on a mission.

Peanut and I had a bonding session which meant the world to me.  Even if we manage to squeeze in a condensed session during the school week, it will give us something to do together which is just for us and helps keep us fit.  I am always looking for ways to spend quality time with my sons.  Now I can take some pressure off myself as I am also taking care of our health at the same time.

How do you squeeze in time with your children and exercise?  Are your schedules as deranged as mine and how do you deal with it all?