Let’s Talk About Sugar

What is it about sugar that makes the majority of us weak in the knees? ( I’m talking about myself, of course.)  It just can’t be that it tastes good.  A lot of foods taste good.

If you are at all interested in nutrition then you know by now that sugar is just plain ole bad for you.  Excessive consumption of it causes belly fat, mood swings and elevated blood sugar.  It feeds tumors,  encourages wrinkles, etc. etc. etc.  Not good!

Food companies have perfected ways of hiding it in the ingredient list of processed foods.   Sugar is called maltodextrin, glucose, fructose, ethyl maltol, dextrin, carob syrup, lactose, rice syrup, barley malt and of course high fructose corn syrup.  These are just a few of the many names.  Companies are well versed at using the different names of sugar in the same ingredient list.   When it is listed as the 15th, 16th or 17th ingredient then it doesn’t  sound like the food contains much sugar but when you count up all the different kinds of sugars the amount quickly adds up.  As a result if you aren’t looking at the label and checking the ingredients, sugar grams and portion sizes, then eating processed foods often means eating a lot of hidden sugar.  (Plenty of times the food isn’t even that sweet tasting and it sure doesn’t satisfy a sweet tooth.)

Most nutritionists say your goal should be eating no more than 15 to 35 grams of sugar per day.   When you start counting that isn’t much.

Whatever it is we think about sugar most of us probably need to spend some time considering how much we consume.   We will probably find out we are eating an excessive amount.  You may need to cut out sugar completely for a period of time in order to “reset” your taste buds.  Some can just cut back and learn how to eat it in moderation.

But, the bottom line for the majority of us is,  “Yikes! it tastes great,  it’s how my mom rewarded me when I ate my peas, it’s how I reward myself when I do a good job and it’s how I make myself feel better when I feel sad.”

That’s a lot of power to give one food ingredient.   Let’s take control!

Lisa

 

 

 

 

Let’s Talk Protein

Proteins are the main building blocks of the body. They are made up of amino acids that are linked together to make long protein chains. Easy enough, but here’s the interesting part. Some amino acids are produced by the body but some must be gotten from the food we eat. The ones that we we cannot make and must be gotten from our diets are called essential amino acids.

For meat eaters, animal protein provides all the essential amino acids, in the correct ratio, that allows our bodies to make full use of them.   Vegetarians also get “this ratio” by combining certain foods to make up a complete protein.

Adding more protein to your diet is essential to regular folks, body builders and growing children. It helps to boost your metabolic rate,  it builds muscle (with exercise) and it reduces your appetite much more than carbs and fats. (Do you notice that when you’re eating chips and cookies for snacks you have to eat a lot in order to get and stay full?)

So how much protein do I need?  If you are an inactive person get 60 grams a day.  Moderately active people need 80 – 100 grams and active people need 1 gram per pound of  body weight. There is a lot of info on the internet concerning the amounts of protein needed each day.  Some info states higher amounts and some lower, but this is a good rule of thumb.

As  a quick reference:

Chicken, pork and beef all contain approx. 22 grams per 3 oz serving **Best choice: eat organic chicken and pork, and organic grass fed beef.

3.5 oz fish fillet or fish steak=  22 grams/ 6 oz can of tuna= 40 grams
1 egg = 7 grams
1 oz. cheese = 7 grams
1/2 cup beans = 7 grams
1 oz. nuts = 6 grams
Protein shakes are a great way to get your protein fix. (Check the ingredient list and be aware of the added sugar grams.)

Shoot for 15 – 20 grams of protein at each meal and 6 – 10 grams for your snacks.

Last thing, especially for women, as we age we begin to lose muscle mass. (The very last thing that we need to happen.) You must consume protein and exercise in order to hold onto the muscle that you have. Eating one meal a day, living on carrots, or working on a computer all day will not get us the results that we want or need.

So get out there.  Lift some weights, dig in the dirt, and for goodness sake, eat plenty of protein!! Whether it be red meat, white meat, fish, cheese, eggs , or vegan combinations,   you’ll be glad you did.

-Lisa

Accountability

From part 2 of B- New held on Saturday, April 16th- Yesterday, during our health talk, someone asked if I cooked two separate meals for those in the family that ate “right” and for those that weren’t quite as concerned with their eating habits.  It was interesting  to hear the opinions on that subject.  Some said that they did cook two separate meals, some said that they did not.

I am not going to debate the right or wrong of that question.  Folks have to make their own decision concerning that topic. But the bottom line is that if you want to get healthy, lose weight, or start exercising,  it really is up to you. Making those needed changes will not always be convenient and often circumstances can feel like they are “against” us. (“My kids have cookies in the pantry, that fried chicken just looks too good,  I’m too tired to exercise tonight”).

Some people have great self control and can overcome these temptations.  Some of us find it harder to resist. But, most all of us need some kind of accountability when we are trying to make big changes. Find a friend that you can call or text when you need support.  Run with other like minded people. Share healthy recipes!

Not everyone will support you but just don’t look back in 5 years and say, “I wish I would have done this or that but it was just too hard.” We are responsible for our own health and the fact that others around us don’t hold to that same notion does not excuse us. So get out there and get healthy! You can do it!

-Lisa

Setting Goals Without Guilt

From our B-New talk on 3/22/16- Making changes, setting goals, starting something new…  How do I do that?  How do I make changes permanent, or at least have them last longer than a month or so? I have found that I have to spend time thinking about my goals.  Are they something that I really want?  Am I willing to take the steps that need to be taken in order to get to where I say I want to be?  That’s the best working definition of discipline that I know.

If my goals are not realistic, if they are not attainable, or if I really am not inspired to do the work that is needed, then  my resolve will quickly fade.    I might say I want to run a half marathon, but I need to know what it REALLY takes in order to accomplish that.   If I don’t have time to train, don’t have the will to eat correctly, or just don’t really like to run, then I need to admit that to myself and move on to something else.

Nobody wants to feel guilty all the time about not meeting their goals!  Sometimes we can prevent that by just simply being honest with ourselves and admitting what we are willing to do. A lot of times, once we get started on that road to change, we find that we are willing to do even more than we dreamed we would or could do!

-Lisa

Embrace the Daily Grind

I love college football!  I’m a southerner, and a UT and Crimson Tide fan.  (I know those last two things don’t go together but that’s another story). I watch the SEC Channel and listen to all the sports stations on Sirius XM radio.  I just can’t help myself!  Therefore, I am never caught unaware as to who’s the top running back, who’s the #1 team in Week #3 of the season, or what coach said what.

As I listened to the coaches and players talk, especially during the “practice” portion of this past season, I heard several different themes develop.   But every team seemed to be focusing on some version of the phrase, “Embrace the Daily Grind”. This idea strikes me as a mantra that can be applied to any area of our lives whether sports, studying, eating or learning a new skill. The Daily Grind gets me to where I say I want to be:  “I’d like to lose weight”, so there will be days of denying my “wanter”. “I want to lift 100 lbs”. There will be many days of lifting 25, 50, and then 75 lbs. “I want to score a 1700 on my SAT”.   You can be sure that every night I won’t be able to stay up until midnight texting my friends.

Some days are hard and some days are just tedious tasks performed over and over again. But, if I “Embrace the Daily Grind”, I will eventually see my goal getting closer and closer.  I realize that it won’t always be comfortable and it won’t always be what I really want to do.  But, it is required! No magic formulas and no quick fixes.  (Unless you win a big Powerball lottery.)