DEXA Scan Body Composition (review)

I was recently approached with the opportunity to get a free DEXA body composition test from DEXA SCAN. A DEXA (Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry) is the gold standard for body composition testing. I’ve actually been very curious to get this done ever since I learned about it in my nutrition classes. I consider myself to be a healthy weight, but the idea of getting my entire body slowly scanned like a giant piece of paper, and then sharing that information on the internet was a little daunting. I can’t say I’ve ever cared to know what my skeletal system looks like, but at least now I know I could have a thigh gap if I had zero body fat (joking, don’t ever make that a goal).

 

What DEXA measures:

  • Weight
  • Muscle
  • Fat (and how you carry it)
  • Bone Density

 

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This handy chart from ACE fitness shows body fat % ranges for men and women. I measured 24.3% body fat (region %fat), which just barely slides me into the “fitness” range. To get that body fat % number, you take the measured fat (lbs) divided by total mass (lbs) 32.68#fat/134.2#total=24.3% body fat. The sheet also shows my (tissue %fat) as 25.3%, which is my body fat % if you subtracted out the weight of my bones, but that’s not what body fat % charts are giving ranges for–it’s region %fat. Essential fat for women is 10-13%, and 2-5% for men, so when evaluating yourself make sure you remember that some fat is essential for life and proper hormone production. I would love to shave off a few lbs of fat this marathon training and get re-tested lower in the “athlete” range around 20% body fat, roughly 7# lost, while still maintaining my 97 lbs of lean mass. The goal with weight loss should be fat loss, not just dropping numbers on the scale. A diet containing adequate calories, protein, and the addition of strength training is key for maintaining lean mass with weight loss, especially if your goal is to decrease body fat.

 

I have a handheld BIA (bio-electric impedance analysis) body fat testing device, but it’s typically +/- 3% off in accuracy, which is identical to the body fat testing a lot of home scales have built-in now. A BIA device sends a faint electrical signal into your body and uses an equation based on how much resistance it detects. Electricity readily flows through muscle, but not fat, so hydration levels can be an accuracy factor with BIA. The BIA cannot detect internal fat around your organs, so it tends to measure body fat % lower than a DEXA. I tested my body fat % with the BIA device immediately after getting the DEXA, and I was 1.5% lower body fat with the BIA, which was expected. In general BIA devices work fine for tracking long term changes in body fat, but they won’t be able to tell you specific information like where you carry your fat, or bone density. If you care about knowing EXACTLY what your muscle mass, fat mass, and bone density are, a DEXA scan will show you all of that in detail.

 

The scan will also show whether you carry fat more around your midsection (android fat) or around your hips/butt (gynoid fat)–the classic apple or pear shape. Carrying higher amounts of android fat increases your risk for metabolic diseases like diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. I do own a mirror, so I already knew that I carry more weight in my hips than my midsection, but the DEXA confirmed it. You want your android/gynoid fat ratio to be less than 1, and mine is 0.73, so I’m in the target range.

 

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The DEXA also shows your bone density; I was a slightly above normal. I guess I can thank running and strength training for keeping my bones strong. I was surprised my skeleton only weighs 4.89 lbs, with my skull being the most dense (gotta protect that huge brain, right).

 

So overall, it was fun to see my numbers, and I would get another one if I felt like I had significant body composition changes. The Lamkin Clinic in Edmond runs $175 where I had mine done, so it’s not something you would pay to have done very often. I would not say it’s not something you absolutely HAVE to get done to track weight loss or body fat lost. How your clothes fit, how you look in the mirror, and how you feel about your fitness level, are terrific indicators of your progress. But, if you want to get into the fine details of your body composition, then the DEXA scan will show you that.

 

So what do you think, would you get a DEXA scan?

 

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this review, but I was given a free DEXA in exchange for reviewing my experience on the blog. The opinions are all my own. 

 

Smoky Chipotle Black Bean Burgers

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I know that beans as a whole may not generate a ton of initial foodie excitement, but they really should. Beans are versatile, cheap, and you can add them to a ton of dishes to boost the nutritional value. Per 1/2 cup serving most beans pack in around 7 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein, as well as lots of nutrients like iron, potassium, and magnesium–which all runners need to get in their diet!

One of my go-to lunches at home, or after the gym when I don’t feel like cooking, are the Morningstar spicy black bean burgers; they are easy to throw in the oven with zero thinking required. But, I hate that they cost almost $1 per burger, and since beans are one of the cheapest foods out there I knew I could probably make my own for half the cost. The recipe is pretty simple, and doesn’t take a lot of prep work in the kitchen. My version also contains significantly less additive ingredients. Cheap, simple, and delicious, you can’t go wrong.

My smoky chipotle black bean burgers would be a great recipe to prepare on the weekend to have during the week. The recipe makes 8 burgers that get frozen immediately until you are ready to throw them in the oven. So anytime you need a quick meal, just pull one or two out of the freezer and pop them under the broiler in your oven. You could serve them on a wheat bun with avocado and tomato for a veggie-packed meal, or eat them plain with ketchup or BBQ sauce on top (my preferred way). Either way, they are delicious and packed full of good-for-you ingredients. I also added some great smoky flavor with liquid smoke and chipotle seasoning, because lets be honest, plain black beans are boring.

 

 

{Smoky Chipotle Black Bean Burgers}

Black beans are a versatile meat-free plant protein that also packs some serious fiber and antioxidants. Each vegetarian black bean burger has 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. PLUS beans count towards your daily 2.5-3 cups per day vegetable requirement. You can use instant brown rice, or cook up some brown rice in a rice cooker before assembling the burgers.

 

  • Processed with VSCO with g3 preset2 15oz cans black beans
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup canned corn, drained
  • 1 green pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup oat flour*
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chipotle seasoning
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

 

Directions:

  • Rinse black beans in a colander and pat dry on some paper towels. The goal is to remove as much extra moisture from the beans as possible.
  • In a food processor, blend 3/4 of the black beans until no whole beans remain.
  • In a large bowl combine the blended beans with the 1/4 remaining whole beans, cooked rice, corn, diced pepper, oat flour, egg whites, olive oil, and all the spices. Stir together until combined.
  • Form into 8 patties about 1/2 inch thick, and freeze in a single layer on parchment paper for at least two hours before baking. Once frozen solid, you can stack frozen burgers between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a ziploc until ready to use.
  • To bake: turn oven broiler on 500 degrees, and line a pan with aluminum foil. Broil 7 min on one side, carefully flip, and broil 5 min on the other side. The edges should darken and get crispy!

*You can make oat flour by adding regular rolled oats into a blender and blending until it looks like flour. Then simply measure out 1/2 a cup after blending.

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Nutrition info per burger: 155 calories, 26 g carb, 8 g pro, 2 g fat, 5 g fiber

Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash with Chicken & Feta

Mediterranean spaghetti squash

 

Sometimes I get into a food funk and find myself not eating enough vegetables for a week or two (maybe that’s you all the time). It’s really easy to get out of the vegetable eating routine–you eat sandwiches instead of salads for lunch, and hit up one of your go-to quick meals of macaroni and cheese or pizza a few too many times in a week. Then you make excuses about how you usually eat healthy, and it’s no big deal. Well, not getting in your veggies is a big deal! And it’s never too late to make a few simple swaps to bump up your veggie intake. What helps is having some tasty vegetable-packed recipes that are simple to prepare. I love this Mediterranean spaghetti squash recipe. Normally I would prepare it with whole wheat orzo instead of the spaghetti squash, but like I mentioned before, I was seriously lacking my vegetables. The spaghetti squash instead of pasta was actually a really tasty trade-off, and I ate a bowl full of delicious vegetables!

 

This meal keeps things simple–you can chop up your vegetables while your chicken and squash cook. There is no sauce or dressing to prepare; all the flavor comes from mixing in a few spices. Top the meal off with some feta, and voila, you are done. So no excuses this coming week–eat your vegetables!

 

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{Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash with Chicken & Feta}

A delicious vegetable packed meal. It’s naturally low in carbohydrates, and high in flavor. The spices combine with the olive oil from the squash and chicken to make a super light but flavorful dressing.

 

Servings: 3

 

Ingredients

2 lb spaghetti squash

1 lb chicken breast

1 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes

1 cucumber

1 medium avocado

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

dash pepper

 

Directions

 

Mediterranean roasted spaghetti squashCut the spaghetti squash in half, remove seeds, and place cut side up on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Rub 1 tsp of olive oil onto the cut sides and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper for flavor. Bake for 30 minutes at 450 F.  The squash is done when the surface is easily pierced with a fork.

 

 

Meanwhile, cut chicken into 1 in cubes. Heat a skillet over medium high heat with remaining olive oil and cook chicken until done. I like to let the skillet get nice and hot, and then I resist the urge to stir the chicken for about 3-5 minutes until it gets nice and brown on one side, then flip the chicken and let the other side brown. 

 

Halve the tomatoes, dice the cucumber and avocado, and then combine in a big bowl with the feta, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir in cooked chicken. Once your spaghetti squash is done run a fork along the surface to form your “spaghetti” noodles and combine with vegetable and chicken mixture. Plate and eat!

 

Nutrition info per serving: 444 cal,  22 g fat, 21 g carb,  43 g protein, 7 g fiber

 

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No-Bake Cookie Protein Bites

No Bake Cookie Protein Bites

 

It’s a few weeks into the new year, and I’m sure everyone is currently massaging their sore muscles from their new super regiment fitness plan, or if you are me, a “completely doable” marathon training program. Because why shouldn’t I be able to do nothing for two months, and then jump into a rigorous 6 day a week running and cross-training plan and be pain free. Do you want to know what makes my aching muscles feel better? Cookies, delicious chocolatey cookies (and a love/hate relationship with my foam roller). But what goes along with a super lofty new year new you training plan, an equally rigorous and strict diet plan that says NO to all things sweet and delicious. Thankfully, I’m actually pro cookie, and completely against saying no to foods you love. Just because a cookie isn’t kale doesn’t mean you can’t have one!

 

I’ve remedied the cookie isn’t kale dilemma by adapting the basic sugary no bake cookies recipe into one that works as a pre or post workout snack.  It’s higher in protein and healthy fat, and contains just the right amount of carbs to help fuel a workout or recover from one–the magical 3:1 carb to protein ratio. My husband loves to eat a few of these no-bake cookie protein bites before his 5 am exercise sessions. I love to eat 2 or 3 (or 4) after an hour plus run. Feel free to switch up the whey protein powder to a single ingredient vegan protein if you are into that. You could also use agave instead of honey if you want a completely vegan option. Just don’t omit some form chocolate chips, because that would be silly.

 

Enjoy!

 

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{No-Bake Cookie Workout Bites}

Eat these chocolatey delights before or after you work out.

 

Servings: 48

 

Ingredients

1 cup natural salted peanut butter

3/4 cup honey

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup whey protein isolate

1/4 cup cocoa

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/4 cup flax seeds

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

 

Directions

In a large bowl stir together peanut butter and honey (you can microwave your peanut  butter to soften before stirring). Stir in oats, protein powder, cocoa, chia seeds, and flax seeds until thoroughly combined. Stir in chocolate chips (use your hands if you need to get everything really mixed in). Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Roll into 48 balls and store in refrigerator or freezer.

 

no bake cookie proteinbites_dough

 

 

 

I find it easier to roll into 48 balls if I score the dough in 8 sections like a pie, and roll each section into 6 balls. I’m a perfectionist, don’t judge me.

 

 

 

 

Nutrition info per bite: 90 cal,  4 g fat, 10 g carb,  3 g protein, 2 g fiber

 

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Overnight High Protein Oatmeal

overnight oats

 

I feel like the only meals I make now that I have a baby are the ones I can make in bulk or in advance (both if I’m lucky). Overnight oats are a super easy breakfast for anyone who loves oatmeal like I do. I love that I can put together my breakfast the night before, and eat it while the baby plays under her activity mat. This recipe would also be great for mornings when you are on the go. You can easily grab and eat them before work, or take them and eat breakfast at your desk. Overnight oats will keep for several days in the fridge, so sometimes I’ll make a couple days worth at once!

 

There are tons of overnight oatmeal recipes out there, and the only thing I tweaked from this basic overnight oats recipe was increasing the protein content. Instead of using a milk or water as the liquid, I used liquid pasteurized egg whites. I’ve really been on a pasteurized egg white kick lately; they are a great flavorless way to increase the protein content of my smoothies, and now my oatmeal. I even found a cage-free egg whites brand! The egg whites combined with plain Greek yogurt bump up the protein content from a meager 3 grams to 20! And like all oatmeal recipes, there are a ton of flavor combos, so you never will get bored.

 

This has been my go-to summer breakfast before or after a run. I’m training for an extended sprint triathlon (great way to lose baby weight), and I’ve eaten this 30 minutes before a run in the heat with zero stomach issues. Plus, cold oatmeal in the summer is super satisfying. I was a little skeptical of eating it cold, but it’s delicious!

 

overnight oats2

 

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{Overnight High Protein Oatmeal}

Bump up the protein of your basic oatmeal with liquid pasteurized egg whites and plain Greek yogurt. Fresh or frozen fruit works great!

 

Lightly adapted from: Kath Eats Real Food–Overnight Oats

 

Servings: 1

 

Base Ingredients:

1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/3 cup liquid pasteurized egg whites

1 tsp chia seeds

1-2 tsp sweetener of choice (I like real maple syrup or agave syrup)

 

Overnight oat variations–combine with base ingredients:

Peanut butter & banana: add 1 tbsp natural peanut butter + 1 medium sliced banana + 1/2 tbsp of cocoa (if you want it chocolatey!)

Peach pecan: add 1 small sliced peach + 2 tbsp pecans

Strawberry almond: add 1 cup strawberries + 1 tbsp almond butter + 1 tbsp slivered almonds

Blueberry coconut: add 3/4 cup blueberries + 2 tbsp dried unsweetened coconut

 

Feel free to use fresh or frozen fruit! Either works great! If using frozen fruit, I recommend using 2 tsp chia seeds. The extra chia seeds will absorb the extra liquid from the thawed berries and keep your oatmeal nice and thick.

 

Directions

Combine all the base ingredients, plus all flavor variation ingredients. Store in a pint-size wide-mouth mason jar, or any Tupperware container overnight. Eat cold in the morning!

 

 

Nutrition info per serving (base only): 208 cal, 3 g fat, 23 g carb, 20 g protein, 5 g fiber

 

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