Q: I am a vegetarian. Do I really need protein?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Absolutely. Protein is one of the basic building blocks of the body. Without it, you risk losing muscle integrity. Protein deficiency can also affect other systems. Thankfully, even if you don’t eat meat, you can still get protein from things like supplement milkshakes, peanut butter, and walnuts.
Q: What is the difference between cardiovascular activity and strength training?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Cardiovascular exercises are those that increase your heart rate. One example of a cardiovascular activity is running. For the most part, anything you do rapidly, such as jogging, jump roping, or dancing, is considered a cardiovascular exercise. Strength training, by contrast, is often stationary and involves lifting heavy weights or using resistance to increase muscle mass.
Q: Should I quit smoking or just cut back?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your lungs and body in general. When you inhale cigarette smoke, you are not only breathing in byproducts of the tobacco plant but also all of the chemicals used to turn it into a commercial product. Even if you only smoke one cigarette each day, that is one too many. The best advice any healthcare provider can offer is to quit completely.
Q: I’ve heard vegetable oil is really bad for you. Is that true?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Vegetable oil contains lots of trans fat. When used to keep food from sticking, you likely won’t experience any harmful side effects. However, overconsumption is a quick way to pack on the pounds and hurt your heart. Instead, switch your oil needs to extra-virgin olive oil, which contains antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, which are good for your cardiovascular system.