Food Vs. Supplements

Sticking-to-Whole-Foods-vs-Supplements-in-Your-Everyday-Diet-765x510

 

Commercials. If there’s one thing they are designed for it’s to sell you on the product at hand.  To convince you that your life will be better with it. They want to make you spend your money on it.

You name it, nothing seems to be off limits anymore. One has caught my eye several times for an anti-aging skin care product… not because I put much stock in products that promote that. The cream supposedly has blackberry extracts to contribute to keeping a young look.

Of course my first thought was… why not just eat those suckers instead of using a cream that may have a touch of blackberry extract in it? They are a staple in my food consumption almost every day… I think it’s better eating them than slathering them on my eyes…

Blackberries are loaded with Vitamin C with a serving at 3.5 oz, offering 35% of the daily allowance, that serving is only 43 calories, and they are an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber. A serving offers 5.3 grams of fiber. This humble fruit is also loaded with all kinds of vitamins and minerals and antioxidant properties. These antioxidant compounds protect against aging, inflammation, cancer and other neurological diseases…their dark color is a sign of their high antioxidant content.

Now back to the skin care with blackberries being marketed as an anti-aging cream.

If blackberries are loaded with so many good things in such a tiny package, and are a huge anti-aging food, you should be eating them up and not just slathering a bit of cream on your skin that may have miniscule amounts in it.

You’ve heard that saying you are what you eat? Nourish your body from the inside out.

There’s a huge market right now for supplements and health products on the market. They all offer a replacement option to the actual thing… real food.

Vitamins. Minerals. Health aids. Probiotics. Protein powders. Colorful drinks. Meal “replacements”.

That’s my favorite. I don’t want a meal “replacement”.

I want real food, thank you.

This, that and the other. So many things vying for your attention and your money… mainly…. your money.

A quick stroll down the health and supplement aisle will have you believing you need these products to be healthy because well, you know, eating balanced, nutritious food just isn’t enough to keep you healthy, vital and energetic. Certainly you are lacking something…so take a supplement. Use our drink. Take this pill.

We’ve had this pushed at us for so long, we’ve started to buy into it…literally.

One of the biggest markets right now has to be with protein/supplements/shakes/add in’s etc.

Often people purchase thinking they need it, especially if they are spending time in the gym. I mean, isn’t that just a part of it? Like lifting, sweating, making gains.. you MUST be chugging down protein?

OK first… a quick look at what whey protein is

Milk is made up of two proteins, casein and whey.

Whey protein can be separated from the casein in milk or formed as a by-product of cheese making. Whey protein is considered a complete protein as it contains all 9 essential amino acids. It is low in lactose content.

This is what you see mostly in the aisles of stores.

Whey protein is used for weight loss and to help protect and build muscles.

If you use it, it should in balance too. Over doing on protein supplements can cause health issues such as stomach pains, cramps, reduced appetite, nausea, headache and fatigue.

A friend recently sent me a story of a young woman who was training and working on building her body for fitness competitions.  She evidently lived on a pretty steady diet of protein supplements/drinks/high protein diet etc.

She was found unresponsive in her home and later died. Evidently she had a rare genetic disorder that stopped her body from breaking down protein properly. This caused ammonia to build up in her blood and an accumulation of fluid in her brain.  Unfortunately, this isn’t really tested for and only found after her death.

I know you’re sitting there thinking… “well, this is a rare thing so… people don’t need to really worry about this” …

the fact is, to much of anything isn’t good for us. Our body can only use and process so much protein at a time before the rest of it’s washed out. Excess protein will not make us have more muscles or achieve a better level of fitness.

I love protein and it definitely keeps me satisfied and from feeling hungry. I know it feeds my muscles and helps them to get stronger, and even grow a little. My protein comes from food sources, although, after long endurance workouts when my appetite is not there, I will use one for recovery just to get some carbs and protein in until my appetite returns.

People are “sold” on the idea that food isn’t enough. Or if a supplement/vitamin/ drink is good, more should be better.

We are bombarded with products in the store, online, and even what our neighbor is pedaling that is supposed to help us fix all of our ills ( which we don’t even know we have till we get the product to miraculously cure them all)  There are a few out there that are promising to “cure’ more and more things. Just note, I’ve seen new fine print that says it’s not FDA approved and that its not to prevent, cure or treat diseases)

Once again I’ll say this, our bodies are made in a beautiful balanced way, needing just a certain amount of vitamins and minerals for optimal health. To much of one thing could be enough to make you sick or throw off another vitamin or mineral in your body.

And don’t be lead astray by companies trying to sell you on the idea you’re “lacking” something and need to take their product. The only way you know you’re deficient in something is usually through the doctor after having lab work done. And if you are worried about something, talk to your health care professional!

Case in point… last year my husband had labs done and was found to be deficient in Vitamin D. Yes, he has been using a supplement with his nutrition to get his levels where they need to be.

Don’t be led astray that you “need” something without any evidence for it.

So here’s the deal…

good quality, nutritious food IS enough.

It is enough to give your body daily fuel, sustain it for workouts, your daily activities, and help you build a stronger more fit body if that’s your goal.

When you cut out non-essential foods that don’t contribute to your health and fitness goals and focus on eating nutritionally balanced foods, your body will respond, especially when you add in a good healthy dose of exercise.

So many of the problems we deal with today can be improved on with better nutrition, getting the non-essential foods and drinks out, exercising more and maintaining a healthy weight.

You don’t need supplements, shakes, drinks, potions or anything else to build a healthy body. We need to be careful about extra things we put in it lest we throw off the perfect, beautiful, balance that its naturally made to operate in.

Do you or have you used supplements ? Do you feel they helped you?  Have you ever felt like you just had to go along with what was currently popular?

The Athletes Body And Food

girl veggie runner

 

“With all of the exercise you do, I guess you can eat whatever you want?”

This is one of  several questions I  often get asked and the answer is, no, I don’t eat whatever I want.

I’ve tried these past few years to build a different relationship with food. Specifically, food in regards to exercise.  Maybe you need to build a different relationship too or maybe you’ve hit a balance with it.

The question I’m asked of course, is merely inquiring.

If I’m investing so much physical energy I should certainly be able to eat whatever I want. This naturally means freedom to eat all perceived “off limits” foods since I will burn them off.

Of course the game changer for me if you’ve read previous posts, is the fact I’ve set nothing “off limits” so I don’t necessarily feel the need to eat forbidden foods because I’m exercising.

I know it’s there, if I want it.

Since I started on my athletic journey a few years ago, I’ve made it a point to never treat exercise like a free card to eat poorly. I guess the idea of pouring myself out, working hard, and then coming in and wolfing down a donut and chocolate milk ( although chocolate milk can make a good recovery drink 😉 ) seemed rather, pointless and negating to all I had just done. Not only that, if I was training to get strong and healthy why wouldn’t I feed my body good stuff ?

So I learned to train my thinking, essentially reshape, another aspect of my relationship with food.

Our food relationship

I wrote about that in a post recently. Our relationship with food. We all have one. For many of us we will need to continue to define this relationship in regards to our athletic activities. We cannot treat it as a free card to eat extra or eat badly.

About eating extra…..

there’s a bit of a disclaimer to that. When my training has kicked up and I have days that I’m heavily invested on a physical level I know my calories will need to increase to support what I’m doing. This is where learning about my body, listening to it, and feeding it accordingly come into play. This isn’t eating extra just because I feel like it. Learning to support my body depending on my physical output that day is very different.

Same goes for you. If you are involved in physical activities, listen to your body, know your needs and eat to sustain your body for what you do. Eat accordingly on days you invest more physical energy and be more conservative on your non-exercise days or light training days.

Don’t use food as a reward for exercise

Yeah, I’m going there. I honestly cringe when I see posts or hear someone talk about getting to eat because they exercised.

Stop it.

Food and exercise both nurture your body. You don’t have to earn your food. On the flip side, you don’t have to abuse your body ’cause you had a burger and fries for lunch and feel you have to “work it off”.  As if.

Food isn’t a reward and you aren’t a dog being thrown a treat because you worked out.

Food is fuel for your activities

When our relationship with food is in a place of understanding that it not only nurtures us, but fuels our activities we can look at it in a different way. If we want to perform well we can’t expect our bodies to operate on food that isn’t optimal. It can shift from a mentality of  ” eating what you want” to “eating food that rebuilds your body and gives you energy”.

By all means, eat enough

Long endurance training sessions can seemingly kick my appetite in over drive for not only that day, but sometimes the next as well. I’ve learned to eat healthy foods to satisfy my appetite. Again, I listen to my body and feed it as needed. I try and eat enough, but not to much.

Listen to your body. Learn to feed it what it needs after your training. Focus on healthy foods to support recovery.

I will admit after heavy endurance sessions, food is often not on my mind as those workouts tend to kill my appetite for awhile. Intellectually, I know I need to get something in me.  I’ve learned I can at least get some protein and carbs in with milk in a protein drink, I also add a banana as well, this gives me a good blend of carbs and protein for recovery.

Eat what you like that satisfies you and gives your body what it needs for repair and restoration post workout.

Keep in mind that the goal is about caring for yourself, before and after exercise. Food should be used to maintain your health and wellness, but hey, if you need some chocolate in there at some point, go for that too 😉

How have you viewed exercise and food? Do you or have you, used it as a reason to eat more or eat lesser quality food? Do you think exercise is a reason to eat “whatever” you want? Have you changed your thinking on that? How did it help you?

 

Goldilocks And Oatmeal

I thought we’d talk about food today.  I like eating it and I’m fairly sure you do too 😉 last week I did a blog on veggies so if you missed it check it out before you go ( Veggie Tales).

Like veggies, this other food gets a bad rap and many people don’t like it or have horrible childhood memories of  their mother forcing them to eat it.

This particular food  has interested me for awhile but I haven’t really investigated it much until recently.

Ok I know you’re sitting on the edge of your chair in eager anticipation wondering what it is…..

Oatmeal my friends. Oatmeal.

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This may or may not be my childhood picture 😉

 

Now stay with me… don’t get out of that chair and leave just yet. There’s a new kid on the oatmeal block called steel cut oats, and maybe like Goldilocks from the Three Bears story,  I’m in pursuit of the oatmeal ( or porridge 😉 that’s “just right”.

This isn’t your moms oatmeal you could paste walls with. I can say that ’cause I’ve had it too. Often it comes in little packages already loaded with sugar and you add hot water and stir till mush.  Oh I know they’ve upgraded to little cute containers now but the operations are still the same. Maybe you like the idea of oatmeal but you just can’t get past the gooey consistency of it.

Let’s talk about steel cut oats and the difference between them and rolled oats.

The difference between rolled and steel cut oats is that while both contain whole grain oats, they are processed differently. Rolled oats are steamed, rolled, steamed again and toasted, ending up as thin flakes. Steel cut oats are made from oat kernels that have been chopped into thick pieces.

Quick or instant oats are the most processed of the varieties. They are pre-cooked, dried, then rolled and pressed slightly thinner than rolled oats. They cook more quickly than rolled or steel cut but retain less of their texture and can cook up mushy.

Steel cut oats are oat groats that have been cut into 2 or 3 pieces for a relatively unprocessed product.

Nutritionally, steel cut oats are almost identical to old fashioned oats.  Regularly eating steel cut oats gives you the same health benefits as eating rolled oats.  A diet that includes oats may decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.

So if all varieties offer up very close, similar nutrition, why eat steel cut oats?

What sets steel cut apart is how they compare on the glycemic index. ( this is how slow or fast foods process in the body which can cause blood sugar up’s and downs)

The less-processed steel-cut oats have a much lower glycemic load than higher-processed quick oats. Low-GI foods slow down the rate that glucose (sugar) gets introduced into your body, and in contrast, high-GI foods cause a spike in your blood sugar as well as insulin, causing you to crave more sugary foods when your glucose levels drop. The best option then are the steel-cut oats, with rolled oats a great second choice. They’ll keep you feeling fuller longer, which will keep your energy levels up and help you lose weight.

This also makes it great for diabetics who need to monitor their foods more closely.

Ok and another selling point ? As mentioned above, quick oats can be very mushy which causes many people to stay away or remember bad childhood experiences with them.

Steel cut oats look like chopped up rice, take the longest to cook, yet maintain a slightly chewy consistency, which I found out I really like. Once it’s cooked it still has shape to it.

I decided to try these oats in a quest for a food that would give me long lasting energy and not bother my tummy when I took off for long endurance workouts.

Anytime I’m going to be on the road for over an hour, especially an hour and a half or more, I know I need to get a “mini” meal in. I used to feel like I shouldn’t do that… like have a pre-meal and then come in hours later and eat… eat twice?!

Sigh. How crazy my thinking used to be.  Much like taking off on a trip in your car with almost no gas, it’s as crazy to think of hitting the road for miles on foot or bike and not be properly fueled.

A pre-meal is usually a couple hundred calories. My usual choice for breakfast involves plenty of protein and veggies. However, I need some solid carbs in my system more than protein before I do long endurance workouts ( remember boys and girls, carbs, are energy 😉 ) so I save the eggs for after my workouts.

I had tried a half a bagel but after I had been out for awhile felt like it was expanding  in my tummy. I tried various cereals. Some things worked better than others. I tried the standard banana but that was just teasing my stomach after it had been fasting all night.

I got quite good at going on empty but that only works so well before my performance starts to suffer.

I know my limits of what workout/distance  I can go empty on and what distance/workout I need a pre-meal.

Traditional steel cut oats take a long time to cook and there are lots of slow cooker recipes and tips to cook them. However, I found a faster cooking one in the store. These take about 4-5 minutes to cook.

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They have no added sugars so I can add what I want. Typically, it’s some dried low sugar Craisins, a few raw nuts (almonds or walnuts) a dusting of brown sugar for a bit of sweet, and some milk to blend it together.

It makes for a solid, hearty pre-breakfast for me before running or cycling…or both 😛

 

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I love the consistency as it definitely retains its shape and the texture is a bit chewy but it definitely takes it away from the mushy category.  Steel cut oats definitely shine in the texture and flavor departments.

One tip I’ve read to enhance the flavor is lightly toasting them before you cook. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to try that 😉

Once you cook your steel cut oats, the topping ideas are endless and you can be as creative or basic as you want.

Consider some of these choices:

Peanut butter, or almond butter.

Jelly, jam or apple sauce.

Yogurt or a splash of cream

Fresh or frozen blueberries, blackberries or raspberries.

Dried fruit like craisins, cherries, blueberries etc

Toasted chopped nuts like almonds, walnuts, or pecans

Flax seed or chia seeds

Toasted or raw coconut

The ideas are endless. Adding in healthy combinations gives you a solid meal to start your day and give you energy.

If you need a good energy source before a hard workout, this is a great source of long lasting carbs.

Now… I hope I’ve sold you on the idea of steel cut oats… forget the old mushy oatmeal idea and  be like Goldilocks and go experiment with the new kid on the block. You might find steel cut oats are “just right”.

You can thank me later 😉

 

Healthy Eating Habits

Healthy Habits

So it’s afternoon coffee time and I’m ready to kick back and write for awhile. This morning was my “brick” training session… meaning I run, bike, then run again. Today I increased my miles on foot to a full 5K.  I’ve been gradually moving it up as I’ve adjusted to this activity.  I really do love it. It’s different and it’s challenging.

Oh. And I want to do a duathlon at the end of the year so I do have some extra motivation 😉 It involves a 5k run, 22 mile ride, and a 5K run… on some crazy hills as well.

The weather was on the hideous side. Foggy, misty rain, poor visibility, cool, but not cool once I warmed up. I gave up on wearing my glasses as I couldn’t keep them cleared off ( any tips or ideas on that faithful readers?) once I was on the bike I was chilled from being wet and now flying down the road, water running off my helmet into my face, my gloves wet and the roads somewhat tricky in some places.

Good times.

I believe if I’m training for something, I need to do it in all weather ’cause I never know what race day will deal up.

Anyway, it’s a rather strong way to start my day. I’m really loving multi sport days. As time moves along I will most likely increase my training to two days a week doing it.

But goodness… it can fire up my metabolism all day long!

Ok enough of that.. on with the show!

I thought since I talked about building new habits yesterday I’d focus on a couple specific to eating.

One should be obvious but often it’s one we ignore or sadly, we never experience it anymore.

Let yourself get hungry and experience those hunger signals.

To often in our world, we are programmed to eat “because it’s time”.   As if we experience those growly, hungry feelings we might not survive.  It might take some practice, but learn to experience hunger 30-60 minutes before a meal time.  It is one thing I began doing years ago, learning to eat when I had true hunger.  Not because the clock said I should eat. It’s amazing how good food really tastes when you have true, real hunger.

( and hunger after a hard workout?? eek.. food has never tasted better haha)

Seriously, though. Get back in touch with your body if you can’t remember those feelings or overlook them.

Again you will have to work at it. It might be a new habit for you to work on if you don’t currently practice it.

Once you start getting in touch with your bodies natural signals again, you might want to practice this next step, or new habit.

They kinda tie in together…. which is…

Learn to eat just enough food to satisfy your appetite, but not over eat.

This might be tricky in the beginning for you. We are often conditioned to eat what’s on our plate, or eat because it just tastes good. We can eat well beyond what we need to be comfortable and satisfied.  Allowing yourself to eat slowly and really savor your food gives your body and mind time to be in sync. You will be surprised that a lot less food will handle your hunger.  Again, it’s a practice, a discipline, you will have to work on to build this as a new habit.

And a final new habit you might consider….

Learn to eat 3-4 healthy balanced meals in your day.

Unfortunately so many of us have been conditioned to skip breakfast or lunch and then go crazy at dinner like it’s our last meal or something. We practice a weird form of starvation all day and gorge in the evening.  When you learn to eat real meals, at regular times, and satisfy your natural hunger you don’t spend all day thinking about when you can eat.

Crazy, I know.

Somehow we’ve accepted a thought that eating breakfast is a good way to lose weight or that we don’t have time for it.  Or if we skip lunch we can have a bigger dinner.

But what if you had satisfying meals, staged at regular times, and got hungry for each one? You’d be less likely to snack or be thinking about when you could get your hands on food again.

The “4th” meal would be if you workout heavily, you might need extra calories somewhere between your meals.  Some days I need more, some days I need less depending on how hard I workout.

As in any other habit, you will have to be intentional about what you do. It wont come easy or over night, but with practice you’ll master these new habits. New habits lead to a lifestyle change and steady sustainable weight loss.

 

 

 

Carbs Are Not The Enemy

Say that with me boys and girls…. “carbs are not the enemy”.

Ah, you don’t have to look to far now days to find some diet hype, “health” company or  other nonsense touting the evilness of carbs and some diet dogma that says they should be avoided like the plaque.

“Cut carbs!”  “Low carbs!”  “No carbs!”

Listen up. Carbs don’t make you fat. Eating to much makes you fat. You can gain weight with to much protein and healthy fats.

Bottom line, take in to many calories from anything and at the end of the day if you’ve taken in more than you use, you won’t lose and will eventually gain if it’s a consistent thing.

Carbohydrates provide our body with energy.  Glucose is the form of sugar our brain uses. We need a certain amount of it to fuel all of our metabolic processes so we have energy to do everything from breathe to run.

Pretty much anything we do in our day.

Cut out enough of carbs in your day and you’ll be the lucky recipient of brain fog and feeling off and lethargic.

I’ve pushed myself that hard before ( not on purpose) but yikes, it’s amazing how awesome I feel when I get some good carbs on board!

But first…before we go any further… a brief science explanation on carbs. You see not all carbs are created equal, by any means.

There are two types actually.  Are you ready to learn ?

cake pastries in bakery typical from Spain

Simple Carbs. These really are the ones you should strive to “cut out” or at least really minimize them in your daily nutrition plan.  Simple carbs are found in things like cookies, pastries, candies, breads, muffins, sweet drinks, white bread, sugary cereals, chips, sodas, donuts, etc

Simple carbohydrates are made up of a short chain of molecules that require little breakdown and go directly into the blood stream ( this will cause a blood sugar spike)

This is why you can feel that slump or let down after having that afternoon snack from a vending machine.

Any simple carb/ sugar has no redeeming quality or nutritional value. If you’re going to “cut carbs” these are the ones you should be chopping away at.

 

complex pic

Complex Carbs.

Complex carbs have a longer chains of carbon molecules so it takes longer for your body to break them down.  This means sugar isn’t dumped into our blood steam keeping us from having those “crashing” moments we get from simple carbs. This means we get a steady state of sugar into our blood stream for more longer lasting ( steady) energy.

Complex carbs are found in tons of foods we need and that are GOOD for us.

complex carbs
This isn’t a complete list but it gives you some good ideas!

 

Remember simple carbs wont fill you up and are easy to over eat on.

Complex carbs fill you up and hang out in your body longer.  With your good carbs you should also make sure you have protein and healthy fats alongside it for a solid meal so your body can function at a high level.

“Cutting carbs” can be a good thing if it means you’re not drinking soda or snacking on cookies and donuts.

Many forget that food items like milk, dairy, fruits, veggies, whole grains,  all have carbs and are loaded with vitamins, minerals and nutrients we need for good health.

For a reference point, over half your daily calories should come from good quality complex carbs. This will ensure your brain and body have the good energy they need to get you through the day 🙂

The Smoothie Lowdown

Strawberry smoothies

 

On my fitness journey the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to see, or should I say, observe a lot of food trends, diets and otherwise various health fads and foods.

There was the era of everything being “fat-free”. Fat was demonized and no one wanted it to cross their lips.  There was no teaching or awareness of “good” fats and how they are essential to your body. Nor, was anyone realizing that in removing the fat lots of extra sugar was put in to keep it from tasting like a piece of… well… your coffee table.

Then there were all the “sugar-free” options. These might serve a small market of people who need a different alternative but again, people jumped on the wagon riding along  munching their sugar free treats while the manufactures happily went to the bank on consumers ignorance and lack of knowledge.

What no one stopped to ponder was the fact these products did say…maybe perhaps in tiny  print somewhere on the bottom …. “not a calorie free food” or “not a low calorie food”

As people happily consumed their fat free cookies, maybe a bit more in excess because they were you know, fat free, they never lost weight. I’m beating up on cookies here but the fat free thing was on almost every product you put your hands on several years back.

And I mean everything. It was the newest marketing food gimmick.

I’ll tell you this… now with what I know.. I’d rather have a little bit of the real honest thing than something manipulated and over processed that doesn’t satisfy me anyway.

Well there’s a new food trend in town and it’s been around for awhile and it seems like all the cool kids are trying it…again there’s a big focus on how healthy it is…

Know what it is?

Smoothies.

Now… hold on… I have no intention of ruffling feathers or stomping toes here… it’s ok if you love smoothies.. really.

My point is to educate. I’m blown away that so many people buy them but are clueless to how calorie laden they are and they genuinely think they are making a good choice.

Now if you’re whipping them up at home you know exactly what you’re tossing in and have control over sugars and contents of your final product.  And there’s nothing wrong with a cool fruity drink you’ve put together with love 😉

We had a new place show up in town that people are excited over that just make smoothies. I hadn’t been in yet and my son asked me to stop one day and grab him one to bring over to work.

A perfect field trip for me to gain some first hand info on topic…so I picked up their drink menu which features sizes and calories per each size.

As I scanned it I was …shocked… that the one I was purchasing for him… in a medium size….which  I think was 32oz. packed a whopping almost 1500 calories… and I coughed up almost 9.00 for it too.

The first ingredient listed… was ice cream 😛

Of course, I shared all this with him and he was horrified…

It should be noted that some smoothies were listed as “meal replacements” although I find 1400-1500 calories or more a pretty hefty meal “replacement”.

Now on the menu there are options that are “lighter” in calories. They offer 25 that are under 300 calories… not bad if you’re wanting a cool, healthy on the go drink.

You just need to have an awareness of what goes into it and know what you’re consuming. If you’re concerned about calories and working to lose weight not knowing what you’re consuming can subtly sabatoge your weight loss efforts.

As I read through menu almost all of them contained “turbinado” which is a fancy word for natural, raw sugar, but sugar none the less.  They give you the option to not have it used which saves you around… 100 calories… in your smoothie.

Of course there are also “add ins” and these are called enhancers which are supposed to give an extra nutritional kick to your smoothie.  The fine print at the bottom lets you know the statements for enhancers have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  The small print also tells you that the  nutritional and caloric info largely depends on the ingredients you choose to put into it.

The bottom line on your bottom line? Know the contents of your smoothies… be educated.

Don’t just assume because it sports the name “smoothie” it’s a low calorie, off the charts healthy drink for you.

Depending on what’s in it…. you could eat a nice meal for the calories.

And keep in mind as well, liquids calories are mentally easy to dismiss, but do add up if a consistent habit.

With an awareness you can enjoy a healthy and flavorful smoothie that won’t destroy your efforts to getting lean.

Do you make smoothies? Buy them? What is your favorite?

Navigating The Grocery Store

groceryfail1

 

As I have learned to navigate through my own health and fitness journey I’ve obviously figured out for myself what works and what doesn’t work.

One of the things I hear from you is how hard it can be to eat well and nutritionally balanced in todays world.

I hear you.

There’s a lot of crazy ideas out there.

“Eat this, don’t eat that!”

“These foods are “bad” don’t eat them”

“Eat carbs, don’t eat carbs”

“Sugar is really bad don’t eat it”

Ah! The crazy stuff can go on and on.

Often when I’m at the store I’m blown away by the vast amounts of food and the choices that are available to us.

Where does one start? How do you get through things like the bakery, or cookie aisle?

I’ll remind you again, it all comes down to our choices we make.  There are LOTS of things that need never come home.  If you’re trying to make good choices then leave those things at the store if you know it will only tempt you.

If it’s not in your kitchen, you can’t eat it, bottom line.

You might intellectually know buying fruits are better for you than a bag of cookies, but those cookies might have a stronger pull on you. Worse yet, if they come home, you’re gonna eat them.

If you want to shop well I’ve always been told to shop the perimeter of the store since that’s where all the fresh foods are. And it’s true….

Although, you can’t dismiss the canned food aisle which offers good choices like tomatoes, beans,  and fruits ( always buy these in natural juice…read labels to make sure there’s no added sugar)  or the bread aisle where you can pick up whole grain breads or buns. Raw nuts are of all things, on the chip aisle in my store.

If it’s a new idea to you to focus on just healthy shopping, write out a game plan before you head to the store.

Be willing to try a few new things and experiment. You never know what you might find that you like 🙂

Alright, so a plan.

Start with produce. Look for seasonal produce, it’s often cheaper. Buy a variety of bright colors. Be cautious and buy amounts you will realistically eat before it might go bad. Honestly, I’m at the store several times a week for fresh produce.

Meat. Buy lean cuts and obviously, check your local sales. I also love getting frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts. These can be pulled out as needed and used in a variety of ways. Ground beef can be purchased in larger packs and then you can separate into meals portions at home to freeze.

In the dairy section of course would be cheeses, milk, yogurts, eggs etc

After loading up on fresh foods, consider various canned foods like beans, tomatoes, sauce, tuna etc.

Pasta, brown rice, or whole grain pastas.

Shopping the bread aisle look for products that are whole grain or whole wheat as the first ingredients.

When shopping keep in mind you should strive for foods with five ingredients or less ( on a healthy level, the less stuff, the better)

Now… treats…. life is to short to not enjoy some things we love. I’m certainly not against those but be aware more “empty calorie” foods contribute to weight gain

Keep in mind balance and moderation. Know your limits and know what will tempt you and keep you from your health goals.

Making informed and careful decisions as you shop will lead you to nutritional success in the long run.

In summary :

  • Plan Ahead. …
  • Choose Real Foods. …
  • Avoid Processed Foods. …
  • Read Ingredient Lists. …
  • Stay on the Perimeter.

 

Happy shopping!

Do you have a healthy shopping plan when you go to the store? Do you have tricks or tips that help you?