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Happy Thanksgiving from Elite MMA!

How To Eat Healthy During The Holidays



During Thanksgiving, it's easy to go overboard with the calories and consumption. Temptations of gooey pecan pie and dense sweet potatoes topped with crackly marshmallows make it seem impossible to be disciplined.

But eating healthfully on Thanksgiving doesn't mean you have to forgo all your favorite foods, said Jennifer K. Nelson, a registered dietitian and director of clinical dietetics at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

"If you've got your eating under control for the majority of the time, go ahead and have a piece of pie — just don't lose control entirely," Nelson told MyHealthNewsDaily. "Keep your willpower and your wits about you." 

Here are five ways experts recommend you can avoid overdoing it on one of the greatest food days of the year – while still leaving room for dessert.

1. Stick to healthy portions.
Just one plate of Thanksgiving food is all you get, Nelson said. Fill up half your plate with vegetables, fruit and a whole wheat roll, a quarter of it with mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, and a quarter of  it with turkey or ham. And, the more colorful your plate, the better – so get lots of leafy greens, carrots, bell peppers and beets in your veggie spread, Nelson said.

"If you fill up on those lower caloric density and higher nutrition things, you're going to feel full, but not bloated and tired, because it's a lighter fare," she said.

It's a holiday, so indulge a bit if your diet allows it. But if you're going to eat dessert, make sure you allot for the calories elsewhere – don't go back for that second helping of marshmallow sweet potatoes, and instead opt for the cranberry salad, said American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Dee Sandquist.

If you're going for the pie, pick fruit or pumpkin pies because they tend to have fewer calories than chocolate or pecan pies, Sandquist said.

Try also to stick to single servings of the more unhealthy foods, she said. Aim to have a half-cup of mashed potatoes — about the size of a regular-sized cupcake wrapped — and a 3-ounce serving of turkey – about the size of a checkbook.

2. Eat before you indulge.
Don't starve yourself during the early part of Thanksgiving Day, with the idea that you're just "saving room" for all the food, or that this will make it okay for you to overeat later. It's a recipe for overeating, Sandquist said.

If you're going to a Thanksgiving lunch, be sure you eat breakfast before. If you're going to a dinner, be sure you eat lunch or have a snack in the afternoon.

"You definitely want to have your normal meals because otherwise, whenever we get over-hungry, we overeat," she said.

3. Substitute healthy ingredients for unhealthy ones.
There are plenty of ways to make Thanksgiving fare healthier. For mashed potatoes, Nelson suggested mixing in chicken broth, herbs or roasted garlic to perk up the flavor instead of adding in butter.

For green bean casserole, swap out fried onions with toasted almonds for a less-oily alternative, and instead of having cranberry sauce, opt instead to make a cranberry salad, Sandquist said. And for dips, use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream — the consistency is similar, but yogurt has less fat and more protein, she said.

Another easy way to cut fat out of your meal is to avoid eating the skin on the turkey. Dark meat has a little more fat than white meat, but limiting your helpings of unhealthy sides or dessert will have a much bigger impact than just eating white meat instead of dark, Sandquist said.

If you're baking homemade pie, opt for whole wheat pie crusts and substitute low-fat or skim milk for evaporated milk, she said.

4. Drink lots of water and take a walk after eating.
Many times when people think they are hungry, they are actually just thirsty, Sandquist said. By drinking lots of water throughout the day, you'll lower the risk of overeating.

It's also a good idea to take a walk after eating to get your metabolism going instead of laying on the couch, she said.

5. Avoid snacking throughout the day.
Abide by the "out of sight, out of mind" mantra, Sandquist said: Once you've filled your plate with food, cover up the food and put it away.

"It'll help you avoid mindless munching," she said. When you snack throughout the day, it's easy to lose track of how much you've eaten.

Amanda Chan  - http://www.livescience.com/10284-healthy-thanksgiving-5-tips-avoid-overindulging.html


What’s stopping you from performing your best? 


Last month I talked about the nutritional needs of all athletes (October 2015 Newsletter) and like I said last month no 2 athletes are the same. The athlete’s need for micronutrients may fluctuate wildly depending on the intensity and duration of training. Even with a superb diet, deficiencies often exist. For example, higher levels of folate and vitamin B12 are needed to repair damaged cells as well as to synthesize new ones, especially red blood cells. Mineral depletion is common after strenuous activity.

Plus, micronutrients work synergistically – the status of one affects the function of another. Vitamin C replenishes the antioxidant glutathione. Vitamin A is better absorbed in the presence of oleic acid. Vitamin D and calcium only protect bones when both are present. And although athletes may have higher requirements for some nutrients, a “more is better” approach can be dangerous when applied indiscriminately. Too much zinc ingestion can induce a copper deficiency, for example. Over-supplementation with antioxidants can actually have a pro-oxidant (harmful) effect. Nutrients need to be balanced. Targeted supplementation and personalized nutrition is key.

You can try to navigate this whole world on your own or you can get a coach, just like everything in life, having a coach will get you to your goals faster than on your own.  I’m here to guide you to having it all in life.

Ashley Nguyen, PharmD

Zoetic Compounding Pharmacy


Ashley has been a student at Elite MMA since 2005.  She is currently a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  She founded Girls in Gi’s in 2009, which was a project she took on to empower and enroll women mentally and physically and by using BJJ as the platform for that. She is also a wife, mother, and a pharmacist that loves helping people to feel better, perform better, or just feel as normal as possible.

Kingwood Instructor Highlight: Jordan Rivas


What is your martial arts teaching history and where do you currently teach?

I was the head instructor at the Baytown location for 5 years and now I am the head instructor and general manager at Elite MMA Kingwood. 

What is your rank in martial arts?

I am a black belt in BJJ

What caused you to start practicing martial arts?

When I first started Jiu Jitsu I was about 30 lbs heavier so I really wanted to lose weight, get back in shape, and learn how to defend myself. I am a competitive person so I needed a way to challenge myself.

What is your educational background?

I have a bachelors degree in accounting from the University of Houston.

Do you have a competitive history in martial arts? 

I earned a silver medal at the Pan Ams as a purple belt and the same year I won bronze medal at The World Championship of Jiu Jitsu. I am currently 5-0 as a mixed martial artist and I was the 170 lb amateur title holder for Legacy Fighting Championships.

What do you see is the main benefit the average individual can receive from martial arts? 

I see martial arts as the vehicle to help individuals achieve their personal potential.  It is a way to better yourself in all areas of your life.

What is your favorite part about practicing martial arts?

Its a great stress reliever! I also love that Jiu Jitsu challenges me physically and mentally.

Where do you hope martial arts will take you later in your life?

I am at home on the mat teaching Jiu Jitsu and that is exactly where I want to be. I hope to teach classes at the Kingwood location until my son is old enough to start helping me teach classes as well.

Westheimer Student Highlight— James Rudolph

What is your name and age?

James Rudolph.  44 years of age 

When did you join Elite MMA?

April of 2014

Why did you decide to start taking martial arts?

I decided to start training for the health benefits as well as self confidence you get from training hard and accomplishing goals.

In the past what had caused you not to take martial arts?

Other things in life had taken a priority.  I kept telling myself I would return to the gym eventually.  Eventually turned into more than 10 years of no training.

Is this your first time taking martial arts and what classes do you take?

This is not my first time taking martial arts.  I had trained years ago in JKD, Thai boxing, submission wrestling and Kali.   Now I take BJJ, Kardio Kickboxing and Fight Fit.

If you had any concerns about joining Elite MMA, what helped you with your decision?

I didn’t really have any concerns and if I had they were easily put aside by the competent instructors.  The staff at Elite is relaxed and attentive to individual’s needs and willing to work with you to accomplish your goals.

Since you have been part of Elite, please share what you have been able to accomplish?

 Since I’ve been at Elite I’ve definitely improved my cardio and endurance.  I’ve lost 6-7% BF.  I’m surrounded with amazing instructor’s and amazing class members who are more than willing to help me achieve my goals in and out of the gym.   Also anyone who has done any type of hard physical combat training will tell you that you deal with real world stress better after training for a consistent period of time . 

Anything else you want to share with someone who is looking to get involved with martial arts or looking to change their current lifestyle?

Just jump in and do it.   Don’t be shy about asking questions.   Don’t be shy about pulling an Instructor aside and voice questions and concerns about your goals and progress.   Talk with more experienced classmates about questions you may have. 

If you want to excel in class at some point your lifestyle outside of class has to coincide with the goals you’ve set in the gym whether it’s Kickboxing or Jiu Jitsu.


Baytown Student Highlight— Martina Bellamy


What is your name and age?

Martina Bellamy and I’m 32

When did you join Elite MMA?

April 2015 

Why did you decide to start taking martial arts?

I want to build my stamina and improve my health.

In the past what had caused you not to take martial arts?

I was embarrassed of being overweight and thought that attempting and intense activity would be too hard.  I was also afraid that I would be the oldest and heaviest in class. I figure that everyone would be at the height of physical perfection in class. 

Is this your first time taking martial arts and what classes do you take?

I take the Cardio Kickboxing classes and this actually the first time in my life where it does not feel like I am exercising but having fun. 

If you had any concerns about joining elite MMA, What helped you with your decision?

 My main concern was I’m going look ridiculous doing this. When I went to class I noticed everyone in class were at different physical levels. . What helped was all the staff. They were very patient in showing me the ropes and the moves for class. They are also very encouraging toward me in helping with my workout goals.

Since you have been part of Elite, please share what you have been able to accomplish.

Since I joined Elite, I can feel myself getting stronger and my overall health has improved dramatically.  Since joining Elite, I am able to move faster and kick higher.

Anything else you want to share with someone who is looking to get involved with martial arts or looking to change their current lifestyle?

If you are looking to get involved with martial arts I say try it and stick with it. It doesn’t matter your age or physical level as long as you try. Do not get discouraged if you progress is not as fast as someone else.



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