Life On Purpose

Day 25 : Happy Calories July 31, 2013

I believe food was meant to be enjoyed. Real, nourishing, whole foods. Our culture is so accomplishment driven that we could probably count the number of meals we shared at the table with our families in a given week on one hand. When we count calories, I think it robs us of the joy and pleasure of eating. I encourage you to shift the focus from how much you are consuming to how nourishing it is for your body: the scientific term for this is “nutrient-dense.” Think about how many bowls of sugary cereal you have to eat to feel satisfied. What if you ate an egg and 2 slices of bacon? The feel of satisfaction is completely different. Real food fills you and satisfies you. Now think about what time you’d be hungry after these two meals…I’d say you’ll be hungry in 90 minutes after the cereal or in 2.5 hours after the egg and bacon.

Here are some tips for simplifying and enjoying food:

1. Stop counting calories. Pay attention to your natural hunger signals.
2. Make food choices that are whole and nourishing.
3. Sit down to eat…I’m so guilty:(
4. Try to eat with family and/or friends as often as possible.
5. Allow your palate time to adjust. You aren’t going to automatically love whole foods. But give them a chance. Don’t pass judgment until you’ve given them a fair chance (at least 3 months).
6. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Your taste buds change. (I speak from experience!)

 

Day 24 : Hunger or Craving? July 30, 2013

Most of us, myself included, eat for more than one reason. Not just because we are hungry, but because we are empty, lonely, sad, tired, bored, or craving something. We don’t do quiet well. It is hard to be alone with your emotions because they are raw and powerful. But here’s the thing: emotions are a gift from God meant to give life passion and excitement. However, negative emotions can be so very strong and controlling when we don’t consciously make them work for our benefit. Practice acknowledging how you feel in a moment when you are next tempted to eat something you will later regret. Acknowledge it, let your soul sit with it a moment. Put it into a sentence in your mind. “I feel lonely.” Okay. So now how will eating cookies help you deal with it? It won’t. It will make you feel like a failure. What you really need are coping skills. Some people journal, others exercise, or even read books. Find a coping skill that relieves your stress and practice it regularly.

I encourage you to find some Scripture that speaks to your weaknesses and emotions that you dislike. Memorize them. When you are tempted, recall your verses and ask God to help you accept the negative emotions and ask Him to lead you to a way of handling them that honors Him. He has all the answers even when you do not.

Not everyone struggles with emotional eating. However, I think everyone knows how it feels to crave something. Sugar, chocolate, cookies, etc. Learn to listen to your body to decipher whether you are truly hungry or just craving something.

1. If you are irritable, shaky, dizzy or lightheaded, you are way past hunger. Your blood sugar is too low and you should have a meal.
2. If your stomach is aching and you have “hunger pangs” it means you need a meal.
3. If you are thinking about a certain food or see a food that looks appealing and then want to consume it, you are experiencing a craving. Train yourself to recognize this and do not allow it to control when you eat.
4. If you just ate a meal and still feel hungry, try waiting 10 minutes. Then, if you still FEEL hungry, you need more food. Sometimes, you don’t really need more, but your satiety is trained to eating too much and tricks you into thinking you want more.

Take control of your emotions and cravings. You are in control of what goes into your mouth!

 

Day 22 : Becoming a (Food) Snob July 23, 2013

We have covered a lot of foundational nutrition ground. You should now be able to make informed choices by reading labels at the grocery store. Life often gets so busy that eating out is a necessity at times.

If you must eat fast food, limit it to one meal per week. Make choices that are as nutritious as possible at these joints. Oatmeal is often an option, and though there is usually sugar added-it’s almost always one of your best options. Salads with grilled chicken are also usually readily available. Choose a vinaigrette and try not to eat any junky toppings (ie chip pieces or crispy items). Many places now offer fruit as a side option which is always better than fries or chips. You could also order a grilled chicken sandwich without a bun or take it off the by and have a side salad. Be mindful not to use more than 2 Tbs of dressing. Even better-pour your own dressing into a leakproof container, put into ziploc bag and toss into your bag to take on the road. Always order water instead of soda or tea (or frappes!). If you want coffee, opt for the real thing with cream and sugar instead of the HFCS laden “frappe” versions. As a side note-Starbucks uses higher quality ingredients than mcD’s in their cold coffee drinks as a general rule. Another thing to keep in mind when eating out is that the ketchup at restaurants is most likely the HFCS variety. Stay away from it if you can.

Get in the habit of packing your own snacks when you know you’re going to have a busy day. Here are some ideas for easy to carry snacks:

Nuts
Bananas
Apples
Organic string cheese
Larabars
Homemade nutritious muffins or granola bars
Homemade dried fruit
Homemade fruit or kale chips

It’s cheaper and better for your health to take the time to plan ahead, and make your own pack-ahead meals and snacks. Fast food should be a once-in-a-while occurrence in your life.

Of course the exception to the above is your cheat meal;)! In that case, enjoy the heck out of it!

 

Day 21 : Carbs Kill July 22, 2013

By now we have eliminated the worst nutritional offenders: high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. It’s time to tackle another painful truth: carbs are making you fat and sick. I’m not just talking about bread, I’m talking about all the pasta, juice, and sugary sweets we love as well.

The worst carb offenders are:
Bread
Corn
Rice
Juice
Sweets
Alcohol
Soda
Pasta
Cereal

Here’s how it goes:
1. You think about carbs>
2. You make insulin>
3. You get hungry>
4. Your blood sugar gets higher>
5. Digested carbs enter your blood stream as glucose (sugar)>
6. You make more insulin>
7. You eat>
8. You make more insulin>
9. The fat in your meal stays in your cells in the form of triglycides>
10. Fat cells get fatter>
11. You get fatter

When insulin levels rise we get fatter. When insulin levels drop, we use excess fat for energy. Carbohydrates drive insulin levels. The quantity and the quality of carbs you eat determines how much fat you store and burn. A study comparing a high fat/high protein diet low in carbs (Atkins) to a calorie restrictive/low fat diet. The participants on Atkins lost an average of twice as much weight, decreased their triglyceride levels by twice as much and decreased their diastolic blood pressure by twice as much.

What I think we should glean from this is NOT that the Atkins diet is the way to go, but rather a more conceptual lesson that carbohydrates are dangerous when consumed too often and in poor quality forms. They make our blood pressure high, our waist big and our cholesterol panels dangerous.

Focus on eating high quality protein and fat for most of your calories. You will find your self satiated for longer periods of time and more full of energy than ever. Insert disclaimer here: if you are used to eating a high carb diet, you will feel like crap for several days when you quit carbs. Tis is normal and will pass. Flush your body with water to aid the process.

The challenge for today: let your plate be high in protein, veggies and fat. Let carbs be your afterthought. Your body will thank you.

Creative carb alternatives coming soon!

20130722-114008.jpg

Credit to the info graphic pictured and its cited sources at the bottom.

 

Day 19 : Overcoming Plateaus July 17, 2013

We all reach plateaus in our journey when we experience boredom, stagnation or stop getting results. I want to give you some ideas for breaking through these challenges.

1. Re-evaluate your fitness routine. Are you exercising too much and not nourishing your body enough to repair itself? Or maybe you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough during your workouts. Could you benefit from a new goal, a personal trainer or a new workout video?

2. Journal your diet. Every bite that goes into your mouth on paper or in an app. Then after a week, re-evaluate your nutrition habits. Are you eating late at night or skipping meals? Are you cheating more than you thought?

3. Drink two unprocessed, homemade protein shakes a day for 4 weeks as meal replacements. Over two or three weeks go back to solids but with a renewed focus on whole foods. This often jump starts weight loss.

4. Get an accountability partner or renew your commitment with the one you already have and establish weekly check ins for exercise and diet.

5. Revisit your understanding of “eating healthy”. You can’t expect to skip meals and gorge yourself with a big healthy dinner every night and see results. You MUST be consistent. Eat regularly, eat real food and have reasonable portions. Every day.

6. Drink 4 liters of water every day. Do NOT drink calories or even “diet” calories. It will sabotage your journey.

7. Stop weighing and measuring for 4 weeks. Maybe it’s in your head.

I hope this will help you when you are struggling! File this post for later or use it now if you need it.

 

Day 17 : Pantry Raid July 12, 2013

I saved this for a Friday because you will need time for this. It’s also likely going to require you to go to the grocery store to restock with whole foods. I’ll be extra nice on Monday-I promise!

I’ll make this short and sweet. Today’s challenge is going to be painful for many of you. This is a huge step to healthy living. It’s time to reject the SAD diet. Raid your pantry. Let’s keep this simple. We are going to focus on the two ingredients that I believe are probably the worst offenders of health: high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil.

Read each label in your pantry and fridge and throw out any item containing “high fructose corn syrup” or “hydrogenated” anywhere in the ingredient list. Hear your body shout for joy as it hits the trash! That’s where it belongs! Let yourself enjoy the excitement of a new beginning!

 

Day 16 : Back to Basics July 11, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — zoecline @ 8:35 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

The sad thing about the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) is it has robbed us if the knowledge and experience of cooking. It has effectively reduced “cooking” to adding water and a few processed ingredients and microwaving. We are losing the art of both cooking and the family table. Food has become about instant gratification and pleasure instead of true nourishment and fellowship.

Cooking can be made fairly simple and much less intimidating if you consider this: most cooking methods are the same every time you employ them no matter what food you are cooking. The variation will come were time and temperature are concerned (and in the Google age, no need to panic!). Here are some basic cooking methods to begin trying at home:

Pan sauté: use a healthy cooking fat in a pan on the stovetop, melt it usually over medium heat for produce or medium high for meat, add ingredient and cook to desired doneness. Stir any produce frequently to prevent burning and make sure to turn meat halfway through cooking. Stainless steel dishes are ideal for this type of cooking and always come clean-salt, baking soda @ blue dawn make a great cleaning agent for anything stuck on!

Steam: use a metal colander over a pot with two or so inches of water in the bottom of the pot (you don’t want the water touching the bottom of the colander) and put any veggie or fish down into the colander over the water, cover, bring water to boil and let steam to desired doneness. I did green beans yesterday and they took 20 minutes. Google your veggie for cooking time estimates.

Roast: line a baking sheet with foil or parchment, heat your oven to 350-400 degrees depending on your ingredient, melt butter or coconut oil and toss with ingredient and add seasoning according to your recipe or desired flavor. For example, I do this with asparagus using 1-2 TBS coconut oil and add salt and pepper. Spread ingredient on baking sheet and roast 15-30 minutes depending on desired doneness (remember your cooking assistant, Google!)

Grill: wet skewers and cut up fruits and veggies. Skewer them and grill them until just marked.

When cooking whole grains like rice or quinoa, use about 1 cup of uncooked grain to 2 cups water or liquid of your choice (try free range chicken stock -yum!). Bring liquid to boil, stir in grain, cover and reduce heat to low. Do not remove lid until liquid has been mostly absorbed. Then season to taste or recipe.

Each of these methods can be applied to whole foods like broccoli, greens of any kind, bell peppers, asparagus, green beans, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and on and on. You will want to invest in a cutting board for produce that is sturdy and a high quality chef’s knife. These will be your best friend as you prep whole foods. If your meals don’t require any washing or chopping, chances are you aren’t consuming whole foods. If you are intimidated by not knowing what temps and times to use, remember, your eyes and your mouth are a great tool for testing doneness.

For some of you this is nothing new. For others, this is scary new territory. These are just a few basics to get you started. Cooking cannot by any means be condensed into one blog post.

I challenge you to try to make food that must be washed and chopped. Just TRY. If you fail, I promise you will learn and the next time it will be easier. Pinterest and Google are the two best resources in my home for getting new ideas, tasty recipes and proper cooking times and temps. Get out of your cooking comfort zone and do your palate a favor: make something new!