Archive of ‘Nutrition’ category
If there is one aisle at the supermarket that seems to cause the most confusion, it’s probably the cereal one. With multiple health claims, weight loss promises, and scientific jargon, choosing the right cereal can seem like a tedious process. DK’s got you covered with this quick guide to selecting what matters.
Instead of putting percentage of whole grains most manufactures list grain amounts in grams, which takes a bit more decoding. The ingredient list is the first place you should look; 100% whole wheat, whole grain or bran should be the first ingredient. If it’s anything else, put it back.
First, check out serving size. While 1 cup is the standard portion of cereal, some servings vary from ¼ to 1 ¼ cups. Sneaky, huh? I recommend no more than 250 calories per cup, especially since most people eat more than that. Don’t forget about your choice of milk which adds an additional 30-50 calories per ½ cup. My favorite is unsweetened almond milk.
To get the “best of both worlds”, you want a cereal that contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps bind and reduce cholesterol, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to the digestive tract. The evidence that fiber helps prevent heart disease and diabetes comes when people eat fiber found in whole grains and bran. Most cereals with added fiber get it from “isolated fibers” like oat, corn, or inulin. The jury is still out on whether these fibers offer the same benefit as intact fibers. Unfortunately, you can’t tell on the label which fibers occur naturally and which ones have been added. Most of your >6g fiber per serving (unless it’s mostly bran) rely on these added fibers. Whatever you choose, look for at least 3g of fiber per serving, preferably from dried fruit, whole grains, and bran.
Just like fiber, it can be hard to determine between naturally occurring sugar in fruit and sugar which has been added like brown rice syrup, brown sugar, honey, molasses, etc. Look at the ingredient list to determine sugar amounts and frequency. If it’s listed in the first 3 ingredients, it’s probably high in sugar. Attune Foods brand Uncle Same cereal has less than 1g of sugar per serving; 100% all-bran, bran flakes do as well. You can sweeten them yourself with sugar or fruit. Remember, it’s cereal, not a donut or pastry.
My favorite cereals: 100% bran flakes, Kellogg’s All Bran, Kashi Go Lean, Kashi Heart to Heart, Trader Joes O’s, Post Grape Nut Flakes.
Which cereal is your favorite?
Think lunch meat sandwiches are healthy? Well, think again. Most people I work with think that their daily turkey sandwich is a ‘healthy’ choice for lunch. I, respectively disagree. For some reason, over the past decade or so, there has been more and more emphasis on the importance of protein. Oh, puh-lease, I rarely have a client who isn’t getting enough protein. Most people, depending on activity level and age, need 50-60g of protein per day (about 0.8-1.0g protein/kg). To put that in perspective, 3.5oz of cooked chicken breast contain ~30g of protein. Considering most Americans eat meat 2-3X a day you can see that protein isn’t something we are lacking in.
Another food that contains protein? Broccoli. Calorie for calorie, broccoli has more protein than a sirloin steak, but the steak also has 55 mg cholesterol and 1.7 grams of saturated fat. Plant foods can be great sources of protein, especially compared to meat sources which are often high in both cholesterol and saturated fat.
Processed meats, like salami, hotdogs, sausages, and lunch meats also contain nitrates. Try cutting back on your processed meat intake and try my “un-turkey” sandwich instead. Other “un-turkey” options: Tofu Salad, California Club, Better than Tuna Salad
The Un-Turkey Sandwich
My go-to sandwich for lunch and light dinners, this hearty sandwich is packed with protein and vegetables.
Ingredients: (makes 4 sandwiches)
Herbed Cashew Cheese (recipe from TheHealthSeeker’s Kitchen)
1 ripe avocado
1 heirloom tomato
1 cup spinach leaves
8 slices sprouted whole wheat bread
Make the cashew cheese.
Assemble sandwiches: Spread thin layer of cashew cheese onto bread slices. Top with 1/4 avocado, tomato slices, and spinach leaves. Repeat to make the rest of the sandwiches.
What’s your favorite un-turkey sandwich?
As I near the end of my challenge, I want to share what I’ve learned, gained, and let go from.
1. Daily Yoga rocks. This challenge idea first popped into my head when the yoga studio I belong to started offering their “40 Day Challenge.” Somewhat similar to mine, it’s a daily yoga, meditation, nutrition practice that I wanted to copy. I wasn’t a huge fan of their “food rules” and so I came up with my own. Plus, their challenge conflicted with my kickball league and I wasn’t giving that up!
I have reaffirmed my yoga practice many times over. I have enjoyed this part of the challenge much more than the food part, a suprise even to me. While I don’t know if I will continue with daily yoga, I hope to keep going as much as I can. I also learned to take more rest, a 4 letter word to me in my usual practice. I hurt my wrist AND my knee at two different times during this challange and learned that “yoga practice” can be as simple as meditating in Savasana. Perfect for days when my mind needs the practice more than my body.
On the vainer side of things, I am loving my more toned body. I don’t think I lost any weight during this challenge (I don’t ever weigh myself) but I have noticed much more definition in my abdomen and arms. No complaints here…
2. Thank god for technology. When I first started this challenge, I thought I would have a whole slew of recipes afterwards to share with you. However, we ate much simpler than we normally do: roasted or steamed vegetables, rice, beans, or salad was dinner most nights and I really enjoyed the no-fuss cooking process.
3. I prefer store bought bread. Sure, my farmer wife days of getting up early and making bread were fun some of the time but not realistic in everyday life. I might do this more once I have a larger family, but a loaf of bread every few days for me and BL is way too much. I found myself eating more bread than I usually do, mostly because I knew it only had a few days of shelf life. Well, that and fresh bread topped with avocado or almond butter might be the greatest thing on earth. Delicious, but not practical. Ezekiel bread, you’re back on!
Here are my favorite recipes:
Whole Wheat Bread- basic recipe
Whole Wheat No-Knead Bread
Great with Italian Food, Paninis and my La Clouche Bread Baker, no-knead bread
4. Be honest. As I mentioned yesterday, I didn’t follow this 100% to the T and I am OK with that. I enjoyed the nights I went out to dinner with friends, BL, and the various parties/vacations we took. You might not agree with that but I think that enjoying life means more than trying to prove a challenge to myself.
I have 5 days left and am looking forward to finishing them. Between this and my sugar-free challenge last year, I think I have found a new fun ritual. Not sure what next year will be, maybe gluten-free?
If you’ve been reading my scattered posts this month, you know I’ve been embarking on a 40 day processed free/daily yoga challenge. As the challenge comes to a close, I want to share my thoughts and where I will be going from here.
If your only just hearing about my challenge well, it’s probably because I’ve been either working, cooking, or down-dogging and therefore have not had much time to post, or sleep. The idea from this challenge came from all the recent articles of food additives (pink slime anyone?) and me wanting to get back to a cleaner way of eating. Sure, I don’t eat pink slime but there are lots of funky ingrediants in processed foods that I was excited to get away from.
When I first started this challenge I was more nervous about the yoga than the eating part. I felt like I already ate mostly whole foods so this should have been a mild challenge. Well, let’s just say my ego was proven wrong.
First up, my “guidelines”: The fun part about making up your own challenge is that you also get to make up your own rules!
1. Processed free from most things: I made my own bread, granola, bars, tempeh, and the like. I also got to be discrentionary where I wanted to be. Like pasta. I do have a full-time job, and pasta made it onto the short list of processed foods I am ok with.
2. Daily yoga- I tried to make it to my favorite studio- Zuda in Sacramento as much as possible. If I didn’t make it to actual class, I had to practice on my own.
3. Eating a lot cleaner. Mostly fruits, vegetables, beans, tofu, tempeh, nuts, grains. You know, the way I pretend to eat the rest of the year.
4. Allowing breaks. Yes, this is a challenge but it’s MY challenge and I knew there would be days when this wasn’t going to happen. We took a few weekend trips during this time and I also hosted a birthday weekend, sometimes there is not enough time to get it all done.
What do you think? Would you ever try to give up processed foods? What processed food could you not give up?
I will post my concluding thoughts tomorrow and a easy bread recipe to go with it!