Nutritious Life

Brining Nutrition to Daily Life

Good Carbs vs Bad Cards September 8, 2010

Carbohydrates are sugars that are broken down quickly and efficiently, thus providing your body with the essential energy it needs.

“Good” carbs include those found in high-fiber fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, unrefined whole grain products and certain types of rice, such as brown and wild. In other words, foods still in their natural state or that are mostly similar to their natural state. 

 “Bad” carbs include those found in white pasta, white rice, candy, soda and many breads and other baked goods made with refined white flour. 

So, what makes bad carbs so bad? During food processing, fiber — which takes longer to digest and helps curb cravings — often is removed to produce a smoother texture and to extend the shelf life of a final product. And while you may consider that final product as “tastier,” all you’re consuming is a lot of refined sugar (empty calories!), and little to no nutritional value.  

The hard truth:
Eat too many bad carbs and you can almost guarantee weight gain
! 

**courtesy of Club Pilates San Diego**

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Carbohydrates and total energy in various foods March 28, 2009

Filed under: All,General,Nutritional Information — nutritiouslife12 @ 3:00 am
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Carbohydrate needs increase for active people. Athletes should consume 55-60% of their total energy as carbohydrates. Consuming carbohydrates with in the first few hours of recovery can maximize carbohydrate storage rates.

Good sources include: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, 100% fruit juices (with no added sugar) and whole grain cereals.

 

Here is a chart below that includes carbohydrates and their total energy:

 

Food Serving Size Carbohydrate (g) Energy from Carbohydrate (%) Total Energy (kcal)
apple sauce 1 cup 50 97% 207
large apple 1 each 50 82% 248
whole wheat bread 1 oz slice 50 71% 282
brown rice-cooked 1 cup 100 88% 450
spaghetti- cooked 1 cup 50 75% 268
grape nuts cereal 1/2 cup 100 84% 473
mixed vegetables 1/2 cup 100 88% 450
 

Breaking for Breakfast March 21, 2009

Found this interesting article on the WholeFoods website. Found it pretty interesting for those of you who skip breakfast! 🙂

Skipping breakfast — how bad can it be, really?

Pretty bad … for real. It turns out that skipping breakfast can make you gain weight because you end up snacking and eating larger meals later in the day. More than that, it can temporarily dumb you down. It’s true. A respected European study showed better performance and cognitive ability in people who ate carbohydrates with protein for breakfast. Other studies have shown that brain function in children who skip breakfast is drastically reduced by late morning.

And no, that muffin on the way out the door doesn’t count as breakfast. We’re talking a real breakfast here, with proteins and carbs, one that will stick to your ribs until lunch or later. So, like your mother said, breakfast really is important.

Think about it. When you get up in the morning, you’ve been fasting since the previous evening’s meal — up to ten or twelve hours. Breaking that fast with a cup of coffee and a donut doesn’t give you the nutrition and energy you need to make it all the way to lunch.

Skipping breakfast (or eating a poor one) can also lower your metabolic rate — your body has to compensate somehow for the lack of fuel, which means you will burn fewer calories throughout the day. Plus, children who eat breakfast are more likely to get the vitamins and minerals they need and be more emotionally stable and mentally alert.

Okay, so breakfast is important, but what kind of breakfast is best? One that’s balanced with good carbohydrates, good fats and protein. The ideal breakfast should have lots of fiber and whole grains, some protein and good fat, and as little added sugar as possible. Here’s a breakdown:

Carbohydrates

As much as you can, stick with foods that are low on the Glycemic Index. These are usually complex or unrefined carbohydrates that your body digests slowly, releasing a steady supply of energy over a longer period of time. Refined carbohydrates, like those donuts, are quickly digested and the energy they contain is rapidly dispersed, leaving you with less energy than you had before you ate them. Low glycemic foods also keep your blood-sugar levels on an even keel so you avoid those energy peaks and valleys that disrupt your day.

Good carbs include whole grain cereals, breads and pancakes topped with berries, fruit or nuts. Accompany them with a variety of non-sweetened fruit juices, naturally flavored, unsweetened milks and yogurts.

Bad carbs are foods such as donuts, white bread, sugary cereals, and high-sugar jams, jellies and syrups. Avoid sugary products in general along with those that contain high fructose corn syrup. After ten or twelve hours of fasting, the body is particularly sensitive to sugars, which is why they should be avoided at breakfast.

Fats

Everyone needs them and they make food taste good. The key is in knowing which fats are good and which are bad. For detailed information on fats, see the separate articles called The Facts on Fats and Guide to Cooking Oils.

Protein

Except for egg dishes, typical breakfasts are usually low in protein. Adding protein to your breakfast (and other meals) is a good way to lower your meal’s glycemic index and prevent spikes in blood sugar.

Suggestions for adding protein-rich foods:

  • Eggs, cooked any way you like them (hard-boiled eggs are easy to have around for a quick protein boost)
  • Unsweetened yogurt or cottage cheese with berries
  • Refried beans spread on whole grain toast or tortillas
  • Nut butters
  • Burritos with eggs or beans and cheese on whole grain tortillas
  • All types of natural meat, such as breakfast steaks, lean pork chops or turkey bacon
  • Bean soup
  • Hummus on whole grain or corn tortillas
  • Add nuts to oatmeal, yogurt and hot or cold cereal
  • Tempeh
  • Scrambled tofu
  • Unsweetened Kefir
  • Cheese sticks with fruit
  • Cream cheese on whole grain crackers

Making it happen

So, how do get yourself — not to mention your family — to actually eat a good breakfast? Time is the key here, because most people will eat well if offered nutritious food and the time to eat it, so start by making sure enough time is available. But what about those who don’t like traditional breakfast foods or are addicted to highly sweetened empty calories? To lure them over from the “dark side,” offer them foods they like that normally aren’t eaten for breakfast, such as pizza, smoothies, milkshakes and even leftovers. Homemade pizzas work well because they can be modified by substituting eggs or other breakfast fare and adding vegetables. Make the pizza the evening before and, come morning, reheat slices — they’ll think they’re getting away with something. To wean your family off sugary cereals, try mixing in gradually increasing amounts of unsweetened cereals until their taste buds have adjusted. A gradual change in breakfast fare from sweet to savory will do wonders for your family’s health and well-being.

Variety is always good but it may have a special appeal at breakfast. One interesting study showed that people of normal weight tended to eat more varied breakfasts than people who were obese. No one likes to eat the same thing day in and day out, so create a little excitement and a sense of adventure to breakfast by thinking outside the cereal box.

Breakfast, like all meals, should be about wholesome food, not empty calories. Give yourself and your family a daily gift that keeps on giving all morning long — a good, nutritious breakfast. It will definitely make them healthier and probably smarter too.

 

Easy Energy Article February 27, 2009

I found this article and really liked it and wanted to share (espeically to those who run long distance):

http://www.active.com/nutrition/Articles/Easy_Energy.htm?act=EMC-Active&Vehicle=Running&Date=2_25_09&Edition=2&Sections=Articles&Creative=Easy_Energy&TextName=More&ArtText=Txt&Placement=3&Dy=Thu

 

Here are a few key points that I thought were important:

– re-fueled with orange slices, LifeSavers, and Fig Newtons (I recommend whole wheat fig newtons)

-recommends snacks that are as close to whole foods as possible

– avoid ingredients such as partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial dyes

– “Sucking on hard candy during a long run or marathon can be a nice alternative to energy gels”

– suggests adding one half cup of orange juice (which contains the electrolyte potassium) and a pinch of salt (sodium) to four cups of water

 

Cookies vs. Bananas and Strawberries February 19, 2009

When we eat, we want to choose foods that are high in nutrient density. This means eating the foods that give you the highest amount of nutrients for the least amount of energy (calories). Assume we had 3 cookies in one cookiesbananas-and-strawberriesbowl and a banana and strawberries in another bowl and each bowl consisted of 150 calories. As you might conclude the bananas and strawberries are far more nutrient dense and supplies us with more nourishment per calorie.

 I believe eating more nutrient dense foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, brown rice…) is a better way to live. If we were to eat 2000 calories a day and it was filled with fast food, soda and candy we are going to be overweight and unhealthy. If we were to eat 2000 calories consisting of whole grains, fruits and vegetable, we would be healthier and have more energy. Some might think calories are just calories, but they aren’t. Sugar, fast food and processed products don’t offer any real nutrition leaving us tired and hungry for more. Eating fruits, vegetable and whole grains we are more likely to have more energy and feel fuller longer.

I challenge you for one week to take all the processed foods out of your life and eat more nutrient dense foods. Take note of how you feel and how much energy you have.

 

Nutrition… Before You Exercise February 17, 2009

running-pic

Do you often wonder what you should eat before a workout? It isn’t necessarily what you eat before a workout that is so important rather than what you ate the few days prior to working out. It is important to keep your body fueled on an on going basis. Therefore, what you eat just before a workout isn’t as important as what you ate the few days prior to a long run, bike ride or hike, but is still important.

 

With all that said, there are three levels of intensity:

         High intensity, shorter time; activity usually lasts an hour or less (2-5 mile run, intense workout at the gym, tennis, hockey)

         Moderate intensity, moderate time; any activity that last between 1-3 hours long (half marathon, marathon, intense cycling or hiking)

         Low intensity, longer time; anything that last longer than 3 hours (long walk, bike ride, ironman events)

 

The most important factor in eating before exercise is to make sure what you are eating is easily digestible.

For a high intensity workout it is best to fuel your body with simple carbohydrate (fruits, dates) because once you eat them they go straight to the liver for immediate energy.

For a moderate workout it is good to fuel your body with about 5% protein, 35% fat and 60% carbohydrate. A good example would be a lara bar and some apple sauce.

For a low intensity workout it is important to be more balanced and eat something that is more along the range of 10% protein, 70% fat and 20% carbohydrates. An example would be 100% whole wheat pancakes with flax seed old and a banana.

 

As you can see the first thing our body wants during an intense work out is simple carbohydrates and once that is depleted, it moves on to complex carbohydrates.

A lil note on protein:

Some people think protein is good just before a intense work out, but what they don’t know is that too much protein requires more fluid to be metabolized than carbohydrates or fat, therefore, many people suffer from muscle cramping. More so if they aren’t hydrating daily. Protein is also meant for building muscle rather than fueling it. CB061652

Keeping hydrated daily will also decrease the amount of stress that is placed on the body, which will allow the body to work harder and perform better and usually requires less recovery time.

 

Side Note: I usually try to keep these posts short and sweet and this one just got out of hand. I hope it kept your interest and maybe you learned a thing or two. Again, you have to find what works for you, but hopefully you can use this as a mini guideline.

 

 
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