Category: Nutrition

Nutrition of Beans and Greens

When I grew up in the Deep South, everyone that I knew cooked dried beans pretty often, some people as often as every day. My mother fixed them less than some people, but I still ate my share growing up because my grandmother, across the chirt road that we lived on, fixed them every day. Most of the time, most people fixed Pintos. “Big, white butter beans”, or large, limas were less common but still a part of our culture and black eyed peas were always showing up somewhere. I was taught that dried beans were a meat substitute and when my mother, and grandmother, cooked them they did not cook any meat. I did know of a few people who cooked meat with them. When I got to be an adult and did my own cooking, if I cooked dried beans, I did not cook meat. I cooked them on the stovetop and it took practically all day. After all that time, there was no way that I was cooking much of anything else. Nowadays most people cook them in the crock pot or the instant pot and it’s much easier. Regardless of how you cook them or how you serve them, beans and greens are always a nutritional goldmine. You get great nutrition that fills you up, that’s inexpensive and versatile when you eat beans. Paired with greens, the nutritional profile is unbeatable.

Pintos

Pintos are the most popular dried bean in the United States. (1) They are full of vitamins and minerals. One cup has 245 calories, 30 NET grams of carbs, (total carbs-fiber), 15 grams of fiber 28% of the DV of Thiamine, 20% of Iron, 21% Magnesium,20% Phosphorus and 16% of the DV for Potassium. They have other nutrients in smaller amounts and the Thiamine helps you metabolize your food into energy that you can use. Beans are considered a superfood because they are nutritionally dense.

Lima Beans

Large, white limas are usually called butter beans while the smaller, pale green beans are known as baby limas. One cup of lima beans contains about one quarter of the iron that you need in a day. Iron can help you avoid iron-deficiency anemia which is more of a risk for menstruating women. All legumes are low glycemic foods which make them an ideal choice for diabetics. They are rich in soluble fiber which allows you to absorb carbs more slowly and regulate your blood sugar more efficiently. Beans help you to feel full longer due to their high fiber content so they may help you with your weight loss efforts. Due to the presence of unsoluble fiber, or roughage, beans also help you avoid constipation. One cup of lima beans has 313% of the molybdenum, 49% of copper, 42% of manganese and 39% of folate for 209 calories, 31 grams of NET carbs and 11.6 grams of protein. If you choose to use canned beans be mindful of the sodium content. Canned beans can be a source of a lot of sodium in your diet. You can rinse them and that will alleviate a lot of this problem. If beans give you gas, you can soak dried beans overnight and then rinse them before cooking to remove some of the gas causing culprits.

Black-Eyed Peas

Contrary to their name, black-eyed peas are actually beans! They are nutritionally dense, rich in folate, copper, thiamine and iron. One cup has 194 calories, 13 grams of protein, 24 NET grams of carbs, 11 grams of fiber, a whopping 88% of the DV of folate, 50% copper 28% of thiamine, 21% of phosphorus, 21% of magnesium. Black-eyed peas are also high in antioxidants that help the body prevent cell damage.

Red Beans

I have discovered that small red beans give me less digestive upset than any other bean. They have 200 calories, 13.1 grams of NET carbs and 6 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. A 3.5 ounce serving contains 30% of the folate, 29% of the manganese and 17 % of the phosphorus needed according to the Daily Value standards. They contain a good supply of antioxidants also but like all beans contain “antinutrients” that make it hard to absorb the nutrition in the beans. Soaking, sprouting and fermenting all help to alleviate this problem. (2)

Greens

As a young child I thought that I was being tortured if I was asked to eat green, leafy vegetables until I was diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia at the age of four years. I clearly remember the doctor telling my mother and I that I had to eat liver and spinach. While I thought it would be a hard thing to do, I never balked. Even then, I wanted to be healthy and was willing to work for it. I swallowed spinach and gagged until I could swallow it without gagging. Now it is a favorite food. Health is not promised to us. We have to work for it. Dark Green leafy vegetables are one of the healthiest food groups in the world.

While many people love iceberg lettuce, it’s not the best choice. Spinach is a nutritional superstar and romaine is a real winner also. Some say that “Kale is king.” because it’s one of the most nutritionally dense foods on earth. It is a cruciferous cancer-fighter and contains 206% of the DV of vitamin A, 684% of the vitamin K, 134% of the vitamin C and 26% of the DV of manganese. It’s negligible calories and nutrient density make it a nutritional superstar. It contains large amounts of the cancer-fighter quercetin, (and other cancer-fighters), that also has good antiviral properties. It contains lutein and zeaxanthin which help protect the eyes. (3) Some people believe that kale should be a part of all healthy diets.

Italian Beans and Greens

This traditional Italian meal uses cannellini beans and the greens of your choice. White beans contain about 242 calories, 33 grams of NET carbs and 17 grams of protein per 1 cup serving. They also contain 55% of the DV of copper, 36% of the folate, 36% of the iron and 21% of the potassium.

Nutritional Info

Serves 4

Calories 250

Net Carbs 19.1 grams

Total Fat 10.1 grams

Protein 11.8 grams

Ingredients

2 large bunches of the greens of your choice with thick stems removed and greens cut into 1 inch pieces

3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive OIl

2 crushed garlic cloves

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 cups chicken broth

15.5 oz. can of cannellini beans

salt

black pepper

Directions

Saute garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil til garlic is golden and fragrant.

Stir in greens and broth and cover and cook together for about 15 minutes, til greens are tender and wilted.

Add beans to pan and stir and simmer together for about 2 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste.

(1) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pinto-beans-nutrition

(2) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/adzuki-beans#bottom-line

(3) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-benefits-of-kale

Should I Eat my Exercise Calories?

Photo by Nathan Cowley from Pexels

The question whether one should eat back their earned exercise calories is a topic that never seems to go away. If you read the forum content on the nations largest weight loss business that awards their members exercise points, this question can be found multiple times each and every day. Should I eat back my exercise calories or points?

This question can be kind of tough to address – if I tell you no, the next question will be an inquiry about why do fitness apps award them if they are not meant to be consumed.

Common  sense has to prevail!
Yes, technically you can eat these extra calories.
But, just because you can, it does not necessarily mean you should.

If you are going to eat back your exercise calories, or points, okay fine, but only on one condition. And this one condition would be that you are  first and foremost , 100% in synch with your daily and weekly caloric needs. If you do not have a good grasp on your caloric needs, then do not eat back your exercise calories or points. Odds are, if you have an issue with your weight, you do not have a good grasp on your nutritional needs yet, therefore you should not concern yourself with adding back more food to your daily routine. But if you insist…

Do you actually know how many calories you need per day in order to lose weight or to maintain your weight?

If you do not know how many calories per day you require in order to meet your goals, then by all means check our our Calorie Calculator Pro in order to find out exactly how many calories you do require. We recommend a 1 pound per week weight loss for most people, and no more than two pounds per week for anyone.

Why do you believe you should eat back those calories?

Maybe, just maybe, if you exercise until you drop and run your way straight into oblivion you can burn off those large fast food value meals, bowls of ice cream and bags upon bags of chips. Though the odds of you being able to do this are slim. It’s a nice thought—and people definitely try. But honestly, most of you will never be able to exercise off a poor diet. While we advocate the theory of “calories in, calories out” there is some fallacy to this when not approaching weight loss or maintenance with an ounce of common sense. If  you only think of your body as a bank where you just cash in and check out calories, you are neglecting the fact that your hormones matter most for lasting fat loss. What you eat signals hormones to store or burn fat, boost or crash metabolism, and build or break down muscle.

Calories are not created equally.

You’d never say the calories in spinach are the same as the ones in a pint of ice cream, right? The calories in spinach trigger different reactions in your body than whatever ice cream and sprinkles concoction you’re shoveling in by the spoonful. When eating back your exercise calories or points, have you ever sat down with a dish of healthy food choices, or did you rip open a package of cookies as a reward for the work you just put it? Your best bet is to stick strictly to a daily routine with your nutritional needs, whether you exercised or not. If you are going to eat a few more calories, then at least make them nutritionally sound in order to truly award yourself for your hard work.  Adding in foods that contribute to that pudge in the belly is not a reward.

Most of you do not need near the amount of calories you might believe you do.

If you are basing your daily caloric needs on what your fitness gadget is telling you,  you need to understand that while most calories burned calculators are  fairly accurate, they don’t give accurate results if you do not provide accurate information. You  have to be truthful with yourself when plugging numbers into your calculator. For example, if you planned to workout for 50 minutes today on the treadmill but only ended up being able to complete 35 minutes, do not still fill in that you worked out for 50 minutes. You also have to be careful of the intensity level at which you are logging your exercise. People are prone to over rating their level of intensity by logging an exercise session as being intense when the truth is, it was moderate at best. Intense exercise levels are when you can hardly breath or speak, while a moderate level is when you can have a labored conversation and your breathing has become a little labored. You only hurt yourself when you fudge your numbers!

Keep it simple!

Adding in calories is not necessary for any reason in order to lose or maintain your weight when you know how many calories per day you require to achieve your goals.  You can have a little extra one day, and a little less another, but the main point is that however much you eat over the course of a week averages out to your daily needs. If you are honest and accurate when plugging your numbers into any calorie calculator, you might find that you are needing to actually eat more than you know. This is what happens when you drop simple carbs, added sugars and processed foods from your diet. For a good many people, if not most, when your foods are all nutritionally sound and void of simple carbs and sugars it can be difficult to even eat how much you need for the day, even with exercise added in. If you have figured out your caloric needs with our calculator, you will notice a weight loss right away the first week. If you are spot on with your nutrition and calories and you have not lost weight, then your caloric needs are off because of erroneous data you have entered. It is common that people will overestimate how active they are. If you have a weight problem, it can almost be guaranteed that you are less active than you may realize. If you have not lost weight after a week or two, try lowering your activity level in the calorie calculator and then move on and try again.

  • All calorie calculators provide only estimates of your intake. They give you a starting point and it may not be “right”. The only way you know if these numbers are right for you is if you adhere to the guidelines for a few weeks and see what happens.
  • Don’t drive yourself nuts trying to be perfect with your adherence, just do your best to get close most of the time and continuously work on improving your habits and lifestyle to support your nutrition.
  • Track all relevant data on what’s happening to your body.
  • Use that data to adjust your intake as you continue to work towards your goals.
Your body changes slowly and it doesn’t like to change.

So just following a calorie count for a couple of days isn’t going to give you the results you’re in search of. Stop looking for the quick and easy way. Whatever comes out of it usually isn’t worth a damn. Substantial body composition changes and actual fat/weight loss takes on the order of weeks not days. If you decide to use our Calorie Calculator Pro to figure out how much you need to eat, don’t even consider saying it doesn’t work unless you’ve been consistently sticking to it and recording results for at least two or three weeks.

Two to three weeks is generally enough time to observe changes or trends in the data you’re tracking. You can see if things are moving in the direction you want. If things aren’t moving in the right direction, then you know you need to change something about what you’re doing.

Save your hard earned money and follow us here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness.

We are free of charge to everyone as we truly want to help you to successfully lose those unwanted pounds and for you to keep them off. We can also now be found on Facebook @ David’s Way to Health and Fitness, Sugar Free Living!

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Benefits of Breakfast

Let’s GO!

I have a lifetime of experience in “dieting” and eventually, developing a healthy lifestyle. While dieting never worked in the long run, I could lose weight temporarily. The pounds always came back with a few extra. After many years of frustration, I finally discovered David’s Way and finally have  permanent weight management skills. One thing is common to both, however, I need to eat breakfast to lose pounds or maintain a healthy weight. Without breakfast, I struggle to make healthy choices all day and by nighttime, I’m grabbing every high-carb snack within reach.

Children Need Breakfast Too!

I was raised in a home where breakfast was non-negotiable. Every morning, my mom had a hot breakfast cooked for me on the table. Occasionally, she allowed me to have cold cereal, but that was not the normal routine in our home. I was more likely to have oats, eggs and bacon. I excelled at school from the beginning. On school days, I always had oats, eggs and bacon. I had fantastic focus and was relaxed and confident. I always noticed some of the children that struggled in school did not bring an apple at recess. Sometimes at lunch, they would forego the healthy offerings provided by our school lunch. They said that they “didn’t eat that stuff”. I ate it all because my mother had always taught me that nutrition was critical. I always believed that there was a correlation between my success in school and what I ate. Now, it’s accepted that children must eat a nutritious breakfast to do well in their studies.

The Facts

After several hours of resting, your metabolism gets a jump start from eating breakfast and burns more efficiently throughout the day. Breakfast helps us focus and organize our day and gives us the needed energy to work. Some studies indicate a link between eating breakfast and lower chances of getting diabetes, heart disease and excess pounds. It’s not known if the decrease in these diseases is due to eating breakfast or if people who have healthy habits that decrease the incidence of these diseases, simply include breakfast in an arsenal of healthy habits that tend to ward off disease. My experience of eating too much throughout the day if I didn’t eat breakfast  is now known to be a pitfall of skipping the morning meal. Without that initial surge of energy, you will grab high carb, usually high fat and high sugar to compensate. Skipping breakfast is an almost guaranteed way to fail at weight management.

Enough Is Enough!

We all tend to rationalize when we hear something that we like that is relevant to weight control. If a program allows sugar, then usually those who follow that program find every way in the world to eat as much sugar as possible and still lose weight. When I say you need to eat breakfast, proceed with caution! Breakfast is a time when we tend to crave carbs for quick energy. High carb sugary cereals, pastries, cake and cookies are not fit breakfast offerings. Whipping into a convenience store for a honeybun and coffee won’t do. That’s just junk food and will do you more harm than good. Breakfast buffets are mine fields. While there’s plenty of good, hearty protein to choose from, there’s also regular, high-carb pancakes, fruit in sugary syrups, mile-high white flour biscuits and waffles galore. It’s better to avoid buffets of any kind and breakfast is better prepared at home. It takes less time to cook eggs and oatmeal than it does to go to the drive-through window. How long are you willing to wait for that sugar-laden, extra-large, caramel mocha frappe coffee flavored thing topped with whipped cream that is sold for coffee? If you like your coffee flavored add a sprinkle of cinnamon and the zero calorie sweetener of your choice. If you like it watered down with creamers, you can do that too. You will save tons of money on “coffee” this way when you make a flavored coffee at home for pennies instead of the $3-6 that you may pay in-store while you’re desperately trying to avoid being late for work. If you like pancakes, we have reviewed two great protein pancakes here and here. Just click those links to read all about them. I make the Birch Bender’s frequently. My autistic son loves the chocolate chip variety. It ROCKS! I pair them with Maple Grove Farms Sugar Free Pancake Syrup for a delightful sensory experience all the way around while still packing in good nutrition. Make sure to get a good mix of complex carbs, protein and fiber at breakfast to give you an edge on hunger control throughout your day.

The Glorified Milkshake

While it is entirely possible to build a better smoothie, there are many that are as unhealthy as any other high-carb, high-sugar, high-calorie breakfast offering. I love a great protein shake that is made with protein powder, milk, PB2 and cinnamon and a 0 calorie sweetener. It gets my day off to a great start with controlled calories, high protein and low carbs with 0 added sugar. Some smoothies are made with wholesome ingredients in sane portions but many feature yogurt with added sugar, ice cream, peanut butter with added sugar, sweetened syrups or chocolate. Many have soaring calorie counts upwards of 1000 calories and massive carbohydrates. There are some people who think that fruit is “Free”. It’s not. A smoothie with 6 pieces of fruit has a lot of calories and the fruit is already processed to a point where it’s going to cause a significant surge of insulin when it all hits your bloodstream all at one time. Think about it. Would you eat 5 pieces of whole fruit? Probably not, but when you eat whole fruit, your body has to deal with metabolizing it from it’s whole state. It will be digested much slower, calling for a more gradual insulin release. When you eat anything that causes an insulin spike like pureed fruit, you’re setting yourself up for more intense hunger later. Your body will then try to balance that insulin with an increase in appetite and you will usually crave more simple carbs to balance the insulin quickly and a vicious cycle of overeating has begun. A piece of fruit with your breakfast is fine but please don’t buy into the mentality that a fruit bowl dumped into a blender is “Free”.

Recipes Galore!

If you like a little something sweet in the morning, we have many recipes for you. The recipe for the scrumptious bread pictured above is found here. If you would like to look at other breakfast recipes go to the Home Page and type “breakfast” into the search box and you will find many good recipes to help you get your day started with good nutrition and smiles. I promise, you won’t feel deprived or hungry. Just protect your stash, your co-workers may get curious. Especially if they skipped breakfast. 😉

 

 

 

What Can I Eat?

The Dilemma

I can remember when I was growing up with what would now be considered an anorexic mom, there was always my special “diet” food. My mother was trying to help me but that help translated into misery in so many ways. She might fix meat loaf, mashed potatoes, green peas and cornbread for my dad and herself and fix me a hamburger patty with a scoop of cottage cheese and green beans at the same meal. She never intended to make me unhappy but “diet” food was just awful. The worst of the worst was baked fish. While we know how to cook good baked fish here in the South now, when I was growing up, it seemed like a punishment. It was baked in a covered dish until it was too soft and it was flavorless, horrible stuff! The general consensus was that a squeeze of lemon juice would somehow work magic and this flavorless, colorless, mushy protein source would be transformed into something palatable…It didn’t work. As I grew up and mom paid for me to join a well-known weight loss group, I graduated to eating SIX (6) beef wieners in place of that horrible fish. I’m still amazed that the program that I was given actually allowed me to eat that many hotdogs, but it did. I’ve got to tell you, those six hotdogs were a certain upgrade from that dreadful fish but the sodium was exorbitant and the calories, about 780 were insane. Surely, there had to be something to eat that was pleasant AND healthy! It took me decades to discover the truth.

What’s for Breakfast?

So many people have told me that they want something sweet first thing in the morning. After fasting all night, our brains are starved for carbohydrates and we will naturally gravitate towards carbs. The problem is that so often we tend to reach for simple carbs like doughnuts, biscuits and bagels. We always teach you to avoid simple carbs. They quickly degrade into sugar in your bloodstream and cause an insulin spike which sets you up for more hunger and an insatiable appetite for the entire day. Get your carbohydrate fix from complex carbs like oats and other 100% whole grain cereals. A little fruit, not fruit juice, is good to satisfy that sweet tooth. The whole fruit has fiber which will slow the insulin release that accompanies carbohydrate metabolism.

Add some protein! The combination of fiber and protein is powerful. They bind together and keep you from being hungry for hours. Both complex carbs and protein are harder for the body to break down than simple carbs and while your body is working on that, you will stay satisfied. Eggs were demonized for years  but now the medical community has changed their stance on that. I love eggs and eat at least 4 every day.

Mid-Day Munchies

While an occasional burger and fries won’t ruin your weight management, a steady diet of this high calorie, high carb meal (that is quite often accompanied by a 1000 calorie, 100 grams of sugar milkshake or other fast food dessert) will add pounds to your frame and possibly take years off of your life. Explore other possibilities for lunch. I strongly encourage you to carry your lunch to work or school because then you have complete control over what you eat. Whatever you do, EAT! I have seen so many people show up to work, not having eaten breakfast and NOTHING with them to eat. What almost always happens is they grab any junk food that has been made available to staff and then go out at lunch and eat enough for a family. I am not exaggerating. I have seen a young woman order three entrees that were each meant for a family of five and then proceed to eat all of it. She thought that it was okay to do that because she had not eaten all day. The problem is, she ate much more than she would have eaten if she had just had a normal breakfast and lunch. When we deprive ourselves, we will always make up for it.

Carry lean protein in a salad or sandwich made with 100% whole grain bread. Hearty soups, stews and chili are great, made beforehand and heated up at work. You may carry them in a large mouth steel thermos to keep them hot and ready if you like. If you must eat out, find a healthy option. Burgers without the bun are common now. Go ahead and pair the patties with a small order of fries and a side salad or have the chili. You can’t go wrong with a good bowl of chili with meat and beans.

What’s for Dinner?

 Evening is when a lot of people lose the battle in the war against obesity. Quite often it’s because they have skimped on healthy food during the day and when they get home from work, tired, wired and hungry they feel entitled to eat anything that they want. I mean, after all, you haven’t eaten all day, right? You think that it won’t hurt because you’re so empty and hungry. When you get this kind of frazzled, you will almost always crave carbs so you reach for cake, cookies and chips. Munching away while you prepare dinner, you still think that you’re okay because you’re in a calorie deficit. Well, you were, but not anymore. By the time that dinner is ready, you have inhaled about a thousand calories of mostly simple carbohydrates and then, there’s dinner. While you have lost most of your appetite, you still eat out of habit. Although you eat, you really don’t eat enough real food to be satisfied throughout the night and so before bed you find yourself back in the kitchen eating ice cream out of the carton. Sound familiar? Believe me, it sounds familiar to me. That’s how I know how this happens, I have lived it. I also know how to fix it.

Sometime in the afternoon, have a protein/fiber snack. I like string cheese and an apple, plain full-fat Greek yogurt with nuts and Swerve or Splenda sweetener or a sugar-free protein shake between meals. Recently I have started eating celery that has been pre-packaged as a ready snack with peanut butter. You can also pair it with salsa and an ounce of nuts if savory sounds better than sweet. Keep healthy snacks with you all the time. My tote always has pouches of salmon and tuna and nuts and apples inside. I’m never caught “goin’ ’round hungry” as the candy bar commercial taunts. How fitting that a candy bar commercial would capitalize on the between meal munchies! It’s a terribly vulnerable time that leads to an evening of disaster unless it’s handled appropriately. Instead of hitting the drive-through on your way home, dig into your tote for healthy nutrition that will see you through dinner preparation without self-destruction.

For your dinner have a good portion of healthy protein and a complex carbohydrate and a fiber source. The steak dinner above is a perfect example. Save those calories that you might otherwise spend on chips and cookies due to poor planning and indulge in a decadent steak dinner with all the trimmings. If steak is not your thing, experiment with new fish or chicken recipes. Determine how many calories you should eat according to your doctor or you may choose to use the Calorie Counter Pro to determine how many calories you should eat to lose 1-2 pounds per week, maintain or gain weight. We strongly recommend no more than a 1 pound loss per week. It’s easier on you in every way and you have time to learn new habits along the road to a healthier you. If you want dessert, try one of our many recipes for sugar-free favorites such as No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies They are like the ones that you may have eaten as a child made from oats and chocolate. They’re wonderful!

Keep your fridge stocked with healthy snacks and get rid of the stuff that you know that you don’t need. If there are others in your home that insist on keeping the “trigger foods” in the house, put your healthy foods in front of them so that you have to see the good stuff first.

With determination and a little pre-planning, you can win this war. Make your health your number priority and plan your menus before you do anything else. Let’s face it, you’re going to eat. You might as well make it work in your favor. Decide what kind of body you want to live in and pursue it with your whole heart.

Life is better in a healthy body.

 

 

 

 

 

Are All Calories Created Equal?

When someone states that all calories are equal in the body no matter where they come from, they are technically correct, but this statement is also wildly inaccurate. Calories are only equal once the food you have consumed has been broken down into its simplest units, once they are ready to stoke your metabolic fire, and not until then. It is not rocket science to figure out that from getting your food off the grocery store shelves, to your stomach, and then ultimately your cells, not all food is created equally. It is not even arguable that some foods bring you great nutritional benefit while others only bring you empty calories that are devoid of any nutritional value.  Wholesome, unprocessed or minimally processed foods bring vitamins, phytochemicals, minerals and trace elements into your diet. These are nutritional components we all need in order to live healthy lives. On the other hand, junk foods and heavily processed, ready to eat meals often only provide us with a temporary relief from hunger pains. Soon after the consumption of poor quality foods, we easily find ourselves in search of a snack or two to fill the void until our next meal.

The overall quality of a given food you consume directly influences the balance of nutrients versus other bad ingredients that only lead us to poor health over a lifetime. Peanut butter can be a great source for protein, unsaturated fat, phytochemicals and even vitamins. But when you buy the cheapest peanut butter on the shelf, you will find they are often loaded with refined sugar and harmful trans-fats. While we might want to eat only the best foods available in our grocery stores, I understand this is not always economically feasible for many people. However, if you are a careful shopper, you can often find medium priced options that are also much healthier than the bargain basement foods.  Yes, you can still eat healthy while living on a budget, it just takes pre-planning and a little bit of label reading. This is still far less expensive than buying all kinds of sugar laden junk foods and then spending your grocery savings on medical bills later. Your focus should be on eating whole foods and avoiding processed carbohydrates — like crackers, cookies, or white breads.

Are fat and cholesterol the dietary “bad guys”?

A misleading study funded by the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) from the 1960s found that cholesterol and fat were the main contributors to weight gain, and  were also responsible for an increased risk for coronary heart disease. The results of this “study” jump-started America’s decades-long consumption of added sugar. With fat removed, food lost taste and appeal, so manufacturers added sugar to combat this. America’s intake of sugar and processed carbohydrates went up, while our intake of fat went down. As a result of this fraudulent study, our nation now has an obesity epidemic that did not exist prior to the 1960s. It cannot be denied, these highly processed carbohydrates are worse than the fats they replaced. Simply look at the size of all the people you see around you the next time you are out in public. Sadly, our children are also paying the price for this fallacy of replacing fats with sugar. We now have children in America who also have high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. I truly find this to be deplorable on many levels.

When you look at our obesity problem around the world, there should be charges brought against these so called researchers involved with this biased study, as they were in fact paid by the Sugar Research Foundation to arrive at their conclusions that favored sugar over healthy fats. It is more than obvious to me, their research was tainted due to a humongous conflict of interest. The SRF, and thus the researchers paid by the SRF — directly benefited from the results of this 1960s study, and they profited tremendously from the uptick in sugar sales, while consumers made health decisions on the basis of questionable information. (1)

Carbohydrate Calories

It is a simple and well known fact that more calories are found in fat than carbohydrates, including sugar. To one with little to no nutritional knowledge, it might appear that a sugary beverage is better for you calorically than a handful of nuts. But, that is just not how it works. If we look only at calories, we ignore the metabolic effects each calorie brings to us. The source of your calories absolutely changes how you digest it and how you retrieve energy from it.

For several years now, carbohydrates have been referred to as either complex or simple. Now days, you might hear more about a foods glycemic index than which type of carb they are. I personally like using the glycemic index, however, I find it might be a little bit too much for some who are new to losing weight, so I will stick to referring to carbs as either complex or simple in my articles. But here is a synopsis of  how the glycemic index works:

 An apple is a simple carbohydrate because it is digested quickly by the body, but fruit is better for you than other simple carbohydrates like chips or crackers because fruit has a fiber component that helps to control your blood sugar from spiking when you consume it. Apples have a fairly low glycemic index rating while watermelon is pretty high on the index because of their difference in fiber content. When a food is low on the glycemic index, it will raise your blood sugar levels slowly, while increasing your insulin levels gradually which is what we want to happen. Conversely, high-glycemic foods cause blood sugar to rise quickly, which prompts the overproduction of insulin and fat storage.  Once we have had too many insulin spikes over time, the result is your body becomes insulin resistant.  When your body stops responding to the insulin it is producing, we end up with type 2 diabetes.

By following the David’s Way Plan of quitting sugar and processed foods, you can and will, lose more weight, feel fuller longer, and remain healthier. Do not be afraid to go back to consuming fat in your diet, just make sure it’s the healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and nuts. Your body will thank you for this. And please, unless you really just like the flavor, quit buying the low fat and no fat products and begin enjoying your food again.

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(1) http://www.Harvard.Health.edu

Sugar Rush

To lose weight, it is not enough to think you can just cut back on the amount of foods you are consuming each day. It is foolhardy to believe you can also out exercise a bad diet. Face it, most of us who have ever had a weight problem also had a problem of craving simple carbs and sugar too. I would be willing to place a bet you never had the same type of cravings for broccoli or green beans, unless you are serving them up with a dose of sugar too. I recognize it is not enough to just say do not eat sugar to those who desire weight loss. We have written quite a bit about why we need to cut sugar out of our diet, but I truly feel we can not address this problem enough. You must also understand why we advocate a sugar free lifestyle in order to move forward with following our methodology here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness.

The Emotional Connection

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Very often, our appetite is triggered by emotions that coax us to wolf down every simple carb we can get our hands on.  While the emotional connection to obesity is not always understood, they are a huge reason why people tend to overeat. A part of your brain called the hypothalamus is where your brain and body connect. The hypothalamus works together with the pituitary gland which sends chemicals to the rest of the body.  This is one of the areas where your weight loss battle is either won or lost. This is where the psychological and physiological need for eating comes from.

You and I both know that when you are eating away your emotions, there is little chance that you are munching down stalks of celery. The reality is, you are far more likely to be snarfing down every cookie in the bag because they look good. When we get emotional, our cravings, almost without fail, will lead us to starchy, sugary, or salty foods loaded with fat. There are five different chemicals we produce naturally which influence our emotions, they are also the key reasons why we tend to eat junk foods.

Norepinephrine

This is our fight or flight chemical. It tells us to either high tail it from bad situations or to stand and fight.

Serotonin

This is a feel good chemical which is also the major target of antidepressant drugs.

Dopamine

This one drives our pleasure and reward system and is particularly sensitive to addictions. It also helps you to feel no pain.

GABA (gamma-aminobutryic acid)

This one can make you feel like a zombie and is one of the ways that anesthesia may work to reduce your responsiveness to the outside world.

Nitric Oxide

This chemical helps to calm you. This powerful neuropeptide is usually a very short lived gas that also relaxes your blood vessels.

How these chemicals affect you.

What do these chemicals have to do with whether you snack on a cupcake piled high with frosting or a brussels sprout?

Photo by Alex Boi, FLickr free stock photos

Picture your brain as an arcade game. You  have millions of neurotransmitters that are sending messages to and from each other. When your serotonin transmitters fire their signal, they send the message throughout your brain that you feel good. The more this signal is being triggered, the better you will feel. But when your game is lost, that “feel good sensation” is now lost too. Now you can either walk away feeling all bummed out, or you can feed some more coins into the game. We do this to our body by eating more junk foods in order to counteract the drop in our serotonin that we now feel. The temporary relief that sweets provide, can, and will make you more reliant on sugar, which raises your risk of obesity and its related diseases.

Playing another round of our arcade game is little different than how we also use junk foods to provide an immediate rush of serotonin. We can provide ourselves a good rush with a dose of sugar which releases our serotonin. Insulin facilitates serotonin production in the brain, which in turn gives us a boost in mood. It makes us feel better, it masks our stress, pain, boredom, anger or frustrations we may be feeling. However, serotonin is not at work by itself during this process, Those other four chemicals are also fighting to send your appetite and cravings into overdrive.

When our serotonin and dopamine levels are elevated, we feel good. But when these levels come down, we now find ourselves feeling bad. When this occurs,  we often go in search of sugary foods, or those high in simple carbohydrates in order to get back to feeling good. This is no different than how illegal drugs and alcohol work. The user keeps seeking out the high, not always to feel high, but just to get back to not feeling low. When you have no control over your appetite, you are constantly fighting to get back to your place of neurochemical comfort. When these chemicals are depleted, we tend to reach for bad foods to placate ourselves.

When you are knowledgeable of how your emotions can drive you to eat, you can learn to resist your cravings, and ideally avoid them altogether. By eliminating sugar from your diet, and eating healthy, whole foods only, you will find that your feel good hormones will level out so that you always feel more satisfied and never experience hormonal highs and lows that make you seek out those junk foods that only serve to expand your waistline.

Quitting processed sugar might not be as simple as you think.

Withdrawing from sugar can actually cause side effects, such as:

anxiety

irritability

confusion

fatigue

This has led experts to look at how the withdrawal symptoms from sugar can resemble those of certain addictive substances. When someone misuses a substance for a period of time, like cocaine, their body goes into a physiological state of withdrawal when they stop using it. People who consume high amounts of sugar in their diets can similarly experience the physiological sensation of withdrawal if they suddenly stop consuming sugar. Like alcoholics or drug addicts, there is no acceptable amount of the drug or drink of choice for the user. By having a little bit after recovery, this almost always results in the return of a full blown addiction. This is why I do not advocate any diet plan which tells you that you can continue to eat sugar so long as your track it. This is as nonsensical as giving an alcoholic a glass of beer, or an ex-smoker a cigarette and expecting them to stop at just one. If you had little control over sugar and simple carbs in your past, you are highly unlikely to control them in the future. This is just a simple fact of life my friends.

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Dietary Divas and Food Fascists!

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Losing weight is not an easy task for most people, it is said that 97 percent of “Dieters” regain everything they lost and then some within three years. Even half that number would be a staggering statistic, but just because you can read these statistics every day, it does not mean that losing weight for good is impossible.

You have to truly want to lose weight.

If we are being intellectually honest about this topic, losing weight for good, in a healthy manner, means that you have to be all in for a lifetime change to the better. You can not expect to go at this endeavor half heartedly and expect permanent results. You have to want it, but wanting it is not enough in itself.

Free image, Pexals.com

You have to believe in yourself, believe that you are indeed capable.

Belief in yourself is a critical component in successful weight loss strategies. adopting a new nutritional lifestyle to lose weight and being able to keep it off for the remainder of your life is not an easy task. You must have faith and confidence in your abilities to overcome. When you are struggling with getting that number on the scale to drop, you just have to have the confidence to dig in your heels and then make whatever adjustments you need to make in your life. Family and friends will be the first to sabotage you in this area by making you feel guilty about not enjoying unhealthy food and drink with them. Like consistent exercise makes the sport easier to participate in, the same is true in maintaining your resolve. The more you exercise your resolve with family and friends, you will become more confident in your ability to remain strong when temptations are at their worst.

And you must approach weight loss from a position of nutritional knowledge.

At David’s Way to Health and Fitness, we give you all the nutritional knowledge that you will need in order to lose weight in a healthy manner. And we do this as an act of love, therefore there will never be a charge for you to access our vast library of articles we have written specifically for you.

Be aware of the Dietary Diva’s, and the Food Fascist!

There is an abundance of advice you can find in regards to losing weight, and a good plenty of it you can, and should, discard right away.

The Dietary Diva

This individual can be a man or a woman that can often be found in places such as Instagram. You will know the type when you see them as they will always be super ripped and cut and most often will offer up vague methods of losing weight that just do not work for those with a significant weight issue. These types are the easiest to avoid, but they can plant seeds in your mind that may lead to unhealthy attempts at trying what they proclaim to do. Most often, you are going to be tempted by fad diet schemes that promise quick and rapid weight loss. If you are a competing bodybuilder or model, some of these tips can be handy if you are already super lean. But if you are more than a few pounds over your ideal weight or body fat percentage, then their advice is going to be worthless for you. What you need is something realistic that you can do for the rest of your life without the concerns of risking your health. The reality is, these quick weight loss schemes offered up by the Dietary Diva’s are not healthy for the long term, please, just avoid them altogether.

The Food Fascists

Good lord avoid these types at all costs. They usually have an agenda where your best interest is not in their heart. These types might come across as caring individuals, but they can become militant about anything and everything that is not in lockstep with their beliefs which are often wrong, or based on cherry picked scientific studies. Brenda Sue and I recently experienced this type on a social media page where we were attacked and then blocked simply because our well researched ideas were different than those of a couple of other people who were not the page creators or even moderators for that matter. If anyone ever gets mad because you counter their nutrition advice with a question or you give them a contrary point on the subject, get them out of your life. They do not have your best interest at heart!

Some of the topics the Food Fascist are militant about include:

Artificial sweeteners: I am not a fan of too many artificial sweeteners simply because I do not like what they do to the flavor of most foods. I have been entirely sugar free long enough now, that sweetness is a turn off for my taste. But, that being said, I would rather see people use these non-calorie sweeteners over using sugar any day. Although there is plenty of controversy to be found in regards to artificial sweeteners, most health authorities consider them safe, and many people use them to reduce their sugar intake and lose weight.

Those with diabetes may benefit from choosing artificial sweeteners, as they offer a sweet taste without the accompanying rise in blood sugar levels. However, some studies report that drinking diet soda is associated with a 6–121% greater risk of developing diabetes. This may seem contradictory, but it’s important to note that all of the studies were observational. They didn’t prove that artificial sweeteners cause diabetes, only that people likely to develop type 2 diabetes also like to drink diet soda.

Since the 1970s, debate about whether there is a link between artificial sweeteners and cancer risk has raged. It was ignited when animal studies found an increased risk of bladder cancer in mice fed extremely high amounts of saccharin and cyclamate. However, it needs to be noted that mice actually metabolize saccharin differently than humans.

Overall, the use of artificial sweeteners poses few risks and may even have benefits for weight loss, blood sugar control, and dental health. These sweeteners are especially beneficial if you use them to decrease the amount of added sugar in your diet. That said, the likelihood of negative effects can vary by individual and depend on the type of artificial sweetener consumed. Some people may feel bad or experience negative effects after consuming artificial sweeteners, even though they are safe and well-tolerated by most people. These products have been around several decades now and are carefully tested and regulated by U.S. and international authorities to make sure they are safe to eat and drink.

Flour: One point of contention we recently encountered was over the use of almond and coconut flours. The individuals were against the use of all flours, but could only give vague reasons why nut based flours are just as bad as refined white flour. Giving up white flour does not mean you should also give up other types of flour. If you are going to give up a food group or ingredient, then do so on sound reasons and not the rhetoric coming from an ill informed Food Fascist.

We can agree that white flour is not a healthy choice for us. When grains are refined, almost all the fiber, vitamins and minerals are removed from them, thus we are provided with calories that are devoid of any nutritional value. Refined flour contributes to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, and only make you feel full for a short time. This is followed by a drop in blood sugar, hunger and cravings. We want to avoid this at all costs, but this does not mean we have to quit enjoying all flours!

In my article No Sugar, No Flour, Now What? I lay out healthy flours you can and should try as substitutes for white refined flours. You will find these flours to impart excellent flavors to some of your favorite recipes.

Dairy products: Dairy is either good or bad for you depending on the latest diet trend or recent study. So what is the truth — is dairy healthy, or a health risk?

While dairy isn’t actually necessary in our diets for optimal health, it is the easiest way to get the calcium, vitamin D, and protein we require in order to keep our heart, muscles, and bones healthy and functioning properly. Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese, are good sources of calcium, which helps maintain bone density and reduces the risk of fractures. Adults up to age 50 need 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day. Women older than 50 and men older than 70 need 1,200 mg. (For comparison, a cup of milk has 250 mg to 350 mg of calcium, depending on the brand and whether it’s whole, low-fat, or nonfat. A typical serving of yogurt has about 187 mg of calcium.) Milk is also fortified with vitamin D, which bones need to maintain bone mass.

Older adults also need protein to protect against sarcopenia, the natural age-related loss of muscle mass and strength, and dairy can be an inexpensive and healthy source. The recommended amount for older adults is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. A 180-pound man would need about 65 grams of protein per day, and a 140-pound woman would need about 50 grams.

The bottom line is that when it comes to overall health benefits, dairy is neither a hero nor a villain. As a part of a well balanced diet, there is plenty of good benefit by adding some dairy to your daily diet — a splash of milk in your coffee or a cup poured over your breakfast cereal, or a slice of cheese on a sandwich — can help you get some of the vital nutrients you need. If you are lactose intolerant and prefer some of the nut milks, then that is perfectly fine too. Just avoid those who are militant in their beliefs when it comes to dairy products.

Veganism and Keto: Okay, adherents to these strict dietary practices are quite passionate about how they eat. While there is nothing wrong with passion, it does become wrong when they become militant about their beliefs. Food is a personal subject. We all have strong opinions of what we eat and how we eat it. It’s easy to become wrapped up in the lifestyle and leave behind the fact that food is a necessity for living, but this does not mean we are always correct. Sometimes, if you are not armed with good nutritional knowledge, some of these dietary practices will actually make you sick instead of healthy. It’s only a smart move to consult with a medical or nutritional professional when making the choice to omit meat. Meat is some of the most nutrient dense food on the planet. It contains essential aminos acids that most plants cannot provide. You must be up on your body’s inner workings before you toss meat to the curb. You have to ensure that your diet is providing you with all the macro and micro nutrients your body requires.

Restrictive eating patterns can and will result in nutritional deficiencies which is also a problem when it comes to Keto.

Keto: Yes, Keto has been used for successful weight loss by many around the world. But is it always good for weight maintenance or health?

Maybe, maybe not.

Adherents will tell you about all of the great benefits of Keto, but if you are going to follow this plan your future health will depend on your nutritional knowledge. The Keto diet is simple in concept. It eliminates almost all carbohydrates from your diet which is supposed to make it easier for people to follow. The reality is, this diet makes people feel full despite having fewer calories and it gives them more energy. That’s because people are giving up their diet of processed foods which can make you feel sluggish after consuming them. The Keto diet will keep blood sugar levels stable, which produces a more stable flow of energy, but you need to also know the downsides of Keto. In the beginning, as with all diets, most of the lost weight is water weight which gives a false sense of security that you are on the right path.

Keto is not optimal for someone trying to gain muscle. Once your body enters ketosis, you  can also begin to lose muscle, become extremely fatigued, and eventually enter starvation mode. While this is going to take weight off your body, some of this is going to be from a loss of lean muscle which will lower your metabolism. When this happens, it actually becomes even harder to lose weight.

We have encountered some who are quite adamant and militant in their beliefs about Keto, and to me it is often obvious they have only researched what they want to believe and have not read up on the bad side of Keto. The Keto diet has been known to cause low blood pressure, kidney stones, constipation, nutrient deficiencies and an increased risk of heart disease. Strict diets like keto can also cause social isolation or disordered eating. Keto is not safe for those with any conditions involving their pancreas, liver, thyroid or gallbladder. The diet restricts fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and dairy which can help with long term weight loss and overall health. Keto is ultimately not realistic or sustainable.

Note, always consult with your physician before beginning any new dietary program, including mine.  While we advocate 16:8 Intermittent Fasting, there are some who might want to avoid it such as those who are diabetic.

David’s Way to Health and Fitness Methodology

At David’s Way we don’t tell you what to eat so much as we tell you what not to eat.

No sugar, simple carbs and most processed foods!

This is no weight loss gimmick, this simple plan is how our mothers, grandmothers and generations past used to feed us. It is simply a matter of using portion control when consuming healthy, whole foods, while avoiding foods that are not nutritionally sound. In other words, do not consume anything that does not provide you a nutritional benefit.

We advocate Intermittent Fasting on the 16:8 protocol. While there is a lot of information which can be found all over the internet regarding Intermittent Fasting as if it is a new found weight loss gimmick, it is really nothing new. Intermittent Fasting used to be the norm in America even though it did not have a name. For example, when I was a child we used to get up in the morning and have breakfast, lunch and then dinner. Once the dinner dishes were cleaned up and put away, we did not eat again until the next morning’s breakfast. If your mother caught you eating after the dinner dishes had been put away, you might get a little reprimanding for not eating either all of your dinner, or not enough. Intermittent Fasting was just a normal part of American life before this era of our obesity epidemic.

We advise you to maintain a regular exercise regimen, and to count and track your calories and macro-nutrients in order to ensure you are eating enough, or that you are not eating too little which is detrimental to your metabolism. For your personal caloric needs, simply go to our menu and click on Calorie Counter Pro and enter your information and get a customized calorie count to suit your individual needs. Your personal information is only visible to you, as we respect and follow all HIPPA privacy laws. We advise entering your information to lose one pound per week in order to ensure that you have plenty to eat and still manage to lose body fat in a healthy manner and comfortably.

David’s Way

  • Do not consume sugar or simple carbs such as refined sugar, pasta and breads made of refined white flour. Avoid sugar sweetened drinks and alcoholic beverages as they are loaded in simple carbohydrates.
    1. Foods containing added sugar and simple carbohydrates will spike your blood sugar and insulin which will drive your cravings for more. If you have not had control over sugar and simple carbohydrates in the past, it is unlikely you will keep them under control in the future if you have been prone to binge eating. If you are addicted to simple carbs you will almost certainly have the same issues as an alcoholic who thinks he can enjoy just one drink. This might work occasionally, but will usually derail the individual entirely.
    2. The only caveat to not consuming simple carbs is fruit. The fiber in fruit acts to buffer the simple carbohydrates in them from just dumping into your blood stream like happens when you eat sugar and other simple carbohydrates.
    3. In our recipe category, we have subcategories with plenty of sugar free dessert recipes that are delicious, and can be eaten by anyone including diabetics, while not having to concern yourself with the health issues and cravings which come from sugar.
  •  No processed foods as they are almost always high in sugar, sodium, unhealthy fats and    preservatives.
    1. While there are some processed foods that are nutritionally sound, most are not. If you are going to consume processed foods because of the convenience factor, be sure to read the label first. For example, if you purchase a sauce, read the label to identify whether the product contains added sugar, unhealthy fats, high amounts of sodium and any other ingredients which you might have to do a Google search of in order to even know what it might be.
  • Simply put, we encourage you to eat whole food’s such as meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits and dairy products that are easily prepared at home. Skip restaurants and fast food’s unless you know that you are able to make healthy choices from their menu.
    1. An example of a healthy choice in a restaurant would be meat and vegetable fajitas in a Mexican restaurant. You could enjoy this while skipping the flour tortillas and the corn tortillas and salsa that is usually served. Have a unsweetened drink with your meal instead of a soda pop or alcoholic beverage.
  • Be sure to track how many calories a day you consume and do not exceed the amount your body requires. Just as important, you want to ensure you are not under eating.
    1. If you find yourself going over on one day, simply eat lighter the next day and do not stress over it. One day is not going to derail your weight loss, especially if you are eating healthy, whole foods only. You can do an average of your daily caloric intake for the week, and if your average does not exceed what it would be if your calories were spot on each day, there is no need for worry about weight gain.
    2. If you have an exercise regimen, you will especially want to track your caloric intake in order to ensure you are consuming enough calories to fuel your physical activities. Too large a caloric deficit will cause you to lose lean muscle mass along with body fat. This will only serve to slow down your metabolism.
  • Be sure during your weight loss mode to eat a diet that is high in protein and lower in carbs, Do not skip out on healthy fats either as they are essential for good health and proper absorption of nutrients from the foods you eat.
    1. A diet that is higher in protein and which includes healthy fats will keep you satiated between meals far better than a diet that is higher in carbohydrates than protein.
    2. During your weight loss, try to consume no less than 35% and up to 50% of your calories from a variety of protein sources. Meats, seafood, dairy, eggs and even protein shakes that do not contain sugar. Once you are maintaining your weight, try to eat at least 35% of your calories from protein sources. Track your macronutrients!
    3. If you have a vigorous exercise regimen such as strength training and or running, be sure to eat from .8 grams to 1 gram per pound of body weight if you are female. And 1 gram to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight if you are male. Protein is a must in order to maintain, build and repair your lean muscle tissue which gets broken down during vigorous exercise.
  • Be accountable to yourself! Besides tracking your calories and macro-nutrients, weigh yourself no more than once per week, and aim for only a 1 pound per week weight loss, and no more than 2 pounds per week. 
    1. Be consistent in your weigh in. Do it on the same day each week, at the same time of day and in the same clothing or lack thereof. We recommend weighing yourself before you even get dressed, and before you have anything to eat and drink.
  • Practice Intermittent Fasting on the 16:8 protocol. This means to fast for 16 hours and then eat all of your allotted calories for the day during your 8 hour eating window.
    1. You can build yourself up to 16:8 by first starting with 12:12 then 14:10 before going 16:8. By consuming enough protein along with healthy fats, you will find this much easier than you might think. With the elimination of added sugar and simple carbohydrates, you will feel hungry, but the hunger will not be unbearable as when you are craving simple carbs.
  • Aim for a healthy body fat percentage as an ultimate goal over a specific number on the scale.
    1. Everyone has fluctuations in their body weight from day to day, and from morning to night. These fluctuations are from water weight. If you are aiming for a healthy body fat over a specific number, you will find weight loss to be less stressful. Your weight can fluctuate by 5 pounds or more with no impact on your level of body fat.

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To Snack or Not Snack

                                                                                          Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Friday night, I posed a question on social media about favorite snacks only to have one individual respond “I do not snack, I eat 3 meals a day”. Now, with social media conversations too much is left out of context to where you do not always know if the person is just being concise in their statement because that is how they write, or possibly their shortness is just them being a tad bit snarky. We just do not know when there is no tone of voice to be heard, or body and facial expressions to be seen. Unless I am given reason to believe otherwise, I will always assume they are just concise in how they write, and that is no problem with me.

So, should I snack or not?

My question to you would be – what are you trying to accomplish with a snack?

Well dummy, I’m trying to quell my hunger, DUH!

Okay, now for me to be serious about my question of what are you trying to accomplish. If you are snacking purely out of boredom as we can be prone to do, I would say not to snack. If you are working at maintaining your metabolism, by controlling your blood sugar and insulin levels, then by all means enjoy a couple healthy snacks during the day. There is no hard and fast rules written anywhere dictating if it is alright for you to snack or not, Nor should there ever be as long as what you are consuming is providing benefit to your body as a whole.

If you are going to eat junk foods that are full of sugar, simple carbs and unhealthy fats and excessive sodium, just say NO to yourself.

If your snack is something good for your body, GO FOR IT!

Me personally, I snack almost all day on most days of the week. I have a certain amount of calories and macronutrients as a goal to consume each and every day. For me, by spreading my consumption of foods out during the course of the day, it is a better method for managing my blood sugar levels. It keeps me on an even keel to enjoy an ounce of almonds, maybe a couple boiled eggs, whole fat Greek yogurt, and fruit during the day, These are all healthy snacks that provide my body with the nourishment of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats which keep my body fit, trim and healthy. These snacks help give me the energy to perform my physically demanding job and to keep up with my hard core weight training regimen that I work at 4 days per week. If this is more than your body needs, then you do not need to do it. But, if it helps to keep you well mentally and physically, then by all means snack away on healthy foods.

A snack does not necessarily have to be junk food.

Create your snack to be a small, but well composed meal instead.

Losing weight is about more than just cutting calories. It is about managing your metabolism, and even if yours is slow, you can still learn to manage it.

The bottom line of controlling your metabolism lies in controlling the metabolic hormones in your body, insulin and glucagon specifically. When you consume a meal, or snack comprised of  a good blend of the macronutrients you need for optimal health, you set the hormonal tone in your body for the next several hours.

Your body needs protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats!

At some point in time, you will need to recharge with more macronutrients to fine tune the metabolic system again. How often you need to do this is all unique to each individual, considering how active you may be, or the physical condition of your body. In other words, if you carry too much body fat, it may be better for you to eat up to 6 small meals per day instead of 3. This is just one of those things you have to figure out, as your needs can, and will change as your body composition changes. What you need one year from today may be entirely different than what you need today, and that is a natural part of achieving a healthy body through weight loss.

Snacks while on the run should provide you with protein and complex carbohydrates. I deliver construction and industrial supplies from a semi during the week and with a 60 hour work week, I am always on the go. Yet, I pre-plan my road food and carry premeasured almonds, a couple boiled eggs, an apple, and yogurt along with a lean deli meat wrapped in a high fiber tortilla which I wash down with a protein shake. I also carry plenty of bottled water in order to remain well hydrated while on the road.

If you find yourself having to buy food while on the go, with a little bit of planning you can always find something healthy to carry you over until you can have a proper meal. It may take a little bit of work to find commercially available snack foods that are not full of sugar or refined carbohydrates, but it is not impossible. Just do not convince yourself that any of the fat free versions of any junk food are any better than the types full of fat. Usually fat free foods have more sugar added to them to improve the taste that is lost when the fat is removed. If you are going to succumb to a junk food snack, you might as well go ahead and get the ones with fat since fat is actually more satiating than non-fat.

Control your hunger instead of letting your hunger control you!

You DO have the power to do so!

No Sugar, No Flour, Now What?

In the journey of becoming a healthier individual, people will correctly quit eating certain foods. It is a wise decision to give up sugar and refined flours as a part of a healthy nutritional lifestyle.

But, do we actually know why these are good decisions?

Have you really thought this through?

Have you considered what to use as healthy alternatives?

At David’s Way to Health and Fitness, we have advocated from the beginning that people quit consuming sugar, and foods that contain added sugars, and simple carbohydrates in general. Table sugar  and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are the two main types of added sugar in the Western diet. Sugar is 50% glucose and 50% fructose, while high fructose corn syrup is about 45% glucose and 55% fructose. One of the reasons that added sugars are harmful is that they can increase inflammation, which can lead to diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, obesity and more. Sugar is as harmful within our body as it is delicious to the palate, yet most people will not give it up and will therefore eventually suffer the consequences of consuming too much of this white crystalline goodness over the years. Sugar is known to trigger the same receptors in the brain as cocaine, and it is processed by the body in an almost identical manner as alcohol. Your feeling of addiction to sugar and simple carbs is a real thing, it is not a figment of your imagination.

Why give up refined flour?

In the case of refined wheat flour you are getting too many grams of carbohydrates and an abundance of empty calories that provide your body with very minimal nutrition. These carbs then contribute to an increase of blood sugar and insulin. If you consume too much on a daily basis, then your hormonal response is always going to be out of balance the same as if you were eating actual sugar. When you consume refined white flour, all of the nutrients and fiber have been removed, it is just another refined, simple carbohydrate.  is linked to drastically increased risk of many diseases, including obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Almost every nutrition expert agrees that refined carbs should be limited if not entirely eliminated.

 Because many people do not want to give up baked goods entirely when they set off on a mission to discover good health,  many people become interested in replacing white flour with more wholesome options for baking and cooking. And there are indeed a few healthy alternatives you can turn to such as:

Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is a grain- and gluten-free flour made by grinding dried coconut meat into a soft, fine powder.It’s more calorie-dense than traditional grain-based flours and a good source of protein, fat, fiber, and minerals like iron and potassium. Unlike grain flours, coconut flour contains a substantial amount of fat. This fat is primarily saturated and largely comprised of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which may reduce inflammation and support healthy metabolism. Although it’s controversial, saturated fat from coconut likely affects your  health differently than fast food, fried foods, and processed meats — and may even offer benefits. Coconut flour is also rich in antioxidants and appears to have antimicrobial properties.

A 1/2-cup (64-gram) serving provides:

  • Calories: 210
  • Protein: 8.5 grams
  • Fat: 13 grams
  • Carbs: 34 grams
  • Fiber: 25 grams
  • Iron: 22% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Potassium: 18% of the DV

Coconut flour has a mildly sweet flavor that lends itself to cakes, cookies, breads, and other baked goods. It tends to have a gritty texture and absorb a lot of liquid, which may dry out some baked goods. Thus, it works best in dishes that use eggs to maintain moisture and structure, such as muffins. When substituting coconut flour for wheat flour, use about 1/4 of what the recipe calls for, then replace the remaining 3/4 with another type of flour. Additionally, because it needs more liquid than other flours, add 1 egg per 1/4 cup (32 grams) of coconut flour in baked goods. (1)

Almond Flour

Almond flour is made by grinding blanched almonds into a fine powder. As it doesn’t contain grains, it’s naturally gluten-free. Note that almond flour is different than almond meal, which is a coarser ingredient made by grinding almonds with their skins still intact. Almond flour is a good source of magnesium, omega-3 unsaturated fats, plant protein, and vitamin E — a powerful antioxidant. Keep in mind that almonds, like other nuts and seeds, are high in calories.

The nutrients in this flour offer several benefits, such as improved insulin resistance, as well as lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure. Almonds may also protect brain health, as vitamin E may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.

A 1/2-cup (56-gram) serving of almond flour offers :

  • Calories: 340
  • Protein: 12 grams
  • Fat: 30 grams
  • Carbs: 12 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Calcium: 5% of the DV
  • Iron: 6% of the DV
  • Potassium: 8% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 65% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 100% of the DV

Almond flour has a nutty flavor and is easy to use. In most recipes, you can simply substitute almond flour for wheat flour at an equal ratio. It works well in baked goods like pancakes, cookies, scones, and biscuits, plus certain savory foods like homemade pasta and meatballs. (1)

Quinoa Flour

Quinoa flour is made by grinding quinoa to make a fine powder. This gluten-free pseudocereal is widely considered a whole grain, which means that it hasn’t been processed and refined, leaving its original nutrients intact. Notably, it’s a good source of protein, fiber, iron, and unsaturated fats. Furthermore, it boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that may benefit digestive health, inhibit tumor growth, and lower overall disease risk.

A 1/2-cup (56-gram) serving of quinoa flour provides:

  • Calories: 200
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Fat: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 38 grams
  • Fiber: 6 grams
  • Iron: 33% of the DV
  • Potassium: 4% of the DV

Quinoa flour lends a moist, tender texture to baked goods. Substitute it for half the amount of wheat flour in most recipes. Some people find this flour bitter, but you can diminish the aftertaste by toasting it on a dry skillet over medium heat for 5–10 minutes, stirring gently, before adding it to your recipe. Quinoa flour is great for pancakes, muffins, and pizza and pie crusts. You can also use it to thicken soups and sauces. (1)

Buckwheat

Buckwheat flour is made from ground buckwheat, a plant known for its grain-like seeds. Despite its name, buckwheat is unrelated to wheat and therefore gluten-free. Buckwheat flour has an earthy flavor and is used to make traditional Japanese soba noodles. It’s a good source of fiber, protein, and micronutrients like manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, and phosphorus. Research shows that this flour may reduce blood sugar in people with diabetes and improve biomarkers of heart health. It may also have anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and prebiotic properties. Prebiotics are a type of fiber that feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut, which support digestive health.

A 1/2-cup (60-gram) serving of buckwheat flour offers:

  • Calories: 200
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 44 grams
  • Fiber: 6 grams
  • Iron: 17% of the DV
  • Manganese: 34% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 33% of the DV
  • Copper: 73% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 17% of the DV

For best results, buckwheat flour should be used in combination with other whole grain flours, comprising 25–50% of the total flour in a recipe. It works well in pancakes and quick breads and makes a delectable crumb coating for meat or other proteins. (1)

Whole Wheat Flour

Wheat flour is in most baked goods you’ll find at bakeries and supermarkets. Yet, whole wheat and white flour are vastly different. Whereas the whole wheat version is made by grinding entire wheat kernels into a powder, white flour removes the most nutrient-rich parts — the bran and germ. Thus, whole wheat flour is widely considered healthier.

It’s a good source of protein, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. As it contains gluten, it isn’t appropriate for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

A 1/2-cup (60-gram) serving of 100% whole wheat flour provides:

  • Calories: 200
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 42 grams
  • Fiber: 8 grams
  • Iron: 11% of the DV
  • Potassium: 5% of the DV

Whole wheat flour can be used in equal amounts as white or all-purpose flour in any recipe. Bear in mind that it gives a less fluffy texture than white flour because it’s unrefined. You can enjoy it in homemade breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, rolls, pizza dough, pancakes, and waffles. (1)

Summary

Some of these flours might fit into your nutritional needs, and some may not. It is up to you to decide what you want to consume, but at least this gives you an idea of healthier alternatives than simple refined white flour, and the reasons why they are healthier alternatives.

 

(1) Healthline.com

Common Sense Eating

Let me tell you a straightforward and  blunt fact of life that I cannot in good conscious sugarcoat for you. I am not one who is into hurting feelings, but to get my message through to you, I will not wrap it up in a pretty little package and top it with a ribbon and bow to make you feel good.

My mission is first and foremost to help you.

Do you know why every diet plan you have tried has always failed you?

It is because it lacked COMMON SENSE!

If your nutritional habits are not based in common sense, you are doomed to a life of being overweight or obese. It is as simple as that.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Which food group looks most like what you eat on a regular basis?

Photo by Caleb Oquendo from Pexels

Be real with yourself if your meals are more like the lower picture than the one above.

Are the nutritional values of these two pictures even remotely close to being the same?

Common sense dictates that we need to fuel our bodies with good fuel if we want to be at our best level of health and fitness. Yet, fast food has become a daily staple for far too many in western society.

From US Center for Disease Control:

34% of children eat fast food on any given day.

Regular fast food consumption increases your risks for obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes & depression.

Fast food consumption increases 2.2% every year.

Fast food is high in calories and loaded with fat, sugar & salt. Most of the nutrition that would be present has been stripped away due to processing, so those things are added in order to make the food taste good. Combine that with a caffeine & sugar laden soft drink and it’s no wonder we all hit that work day slump around 3 pm. Fast food might taste good – but common sense should tell us, it’s not good for our body. Fueling our body with fast food is like knowingly putting bad fuel in our car.

It just does not make sense!

Now, let’s move on to commercial weight loss diet plans and why they fail you.

Photo by Vickie Intili from Pexels

Common sense dictates that to lose weight, and keep it off, your nutritional habits have to become your lifestyle and not something temporary with an endpoint. The problem with every diet is there will always be an endpoint at some time in the future. 

One of the top weight loss companies in America, if not the top, has a convoluted diet plan that can, and does work for some. But, it leaves too much wiggle room for those who do not apply common sense. In their plan, which you pay good money for, foods are given an assigned number of points while healthier choices are not given any points at all. What happens, and why people fail at this plan is, they will eat all their points in poor nutritional choices and then fill up for the rest of the day on foods that do not have any points. The problem is the foods  that are not assigned points still have calories that add up. If you eat 500 calories per day over your caloric needs, common sense dictates you are going to still gain 1 pound per week no matter the foods that put you over are zero point foods. Common sense can, and does fly right out the window when you allow people wiggle room with their nutrition.

Diet Foods/Plans Sent to Your Home

There are more than a couple companies that will promise you weight loss by eating their foods and following their simple plans for an expensive fee. They entice you with menu pictures that look like the picture above,but what you receive is pictured below.

I have to tell you, my wife tried the Nutrisystem once a few years back. The food was simply awful, and was not satisfying at all. If I had a choice between eating these prepackaged foods or the MRE (Meals Ready To Eat) that we ate while in the field when I was in the military, I would go for the MRE.

But here is the larger problem with these prepackaged diet meals.

These programs really do not teach you anything about good nutrition, and you are not learning how to prepare healthy foods for yourself at home. For permanent weight loss, and successful management of your body fat levels, you have to learn to cook foods for yourself that are nutritionally sound and which are not full of empty calories that provide you no health benefit.

Ordering a month’s worth of food is easy, and the items are already made for you. But you won’t have your usual degree of control over what foods you choose to eat.  You can  expect to pay from about $230 to the mid $300s a month for the Nutrisystem foods, plus whatever you buy from the grocery store. The real question is whether you can continue to lose weight or maintain your weight when you are no longer relying on these prepackaged foods.

Common sense should tell you the odds are stacked against you.

Meal Replacement Drinks

While there may be some valid reasons to use meal replacement drinks on occasion, it does not make sense to believe you can or should use these for the long term. The smart money is once again, on preparing healthy and nutritional whole foods to nourish your body with.

It’s just good old fashioned common sense to do so!

In most cases, these products are designed to be bought and sold in bulk and do NOT contain fresh ingredients. Grocery stores keep them stocked on shelves for months. And they’re often kept in vending machines where they must be shelf-stable. These meal replacement drinks must have a long shelf-life, and they have be safe to consume without refrigeration. When both of these features go into any food, it can be an unhealthy combination. In most cases, the ingredients need to be heavily processed. And as a direct result of all that processing, there’s little whole-food nutrition or nutrients left over in the meal replacement itself. That means many of the necessary ingredients for healthy digestion, food absorption and a nutritionally sound diet are greatly reduced.

For anyone who wants to lose unwanted weight, it can be mighty tempting to skip real food and consume meal replacement drinks. However,  there’s one major problem with this strategy – meal replacement drinks for weight loss do not work over the long-term. While you might drop a few pounds quickly, you’re more likely to end up feeling deprived, restricted, low in energy and full of cravings for the foods you actually enjoy.

At David’s Way, we take a holistic, whole body approach to weight loss and management!

David’s Way is a healthy nutrition and active lifestyle based on years of personal experience and scientific research. Our methodology involves the consumption of a high protein, low carbohydrate, nutritionally sound and diabetic friendly diet. At David’s Way we don’t tell you what to eat so much as we tell you what not to eat. This is no weight loss gimmick, this simple plan is how our mothers, grandmothers and generations past used to feed us. It is simply a matter of using portion control when consuming healthy, whole foods, while avoiding foods that are not nutritionally sound. In other words, do not consume anything that does not provide you a nutritional benefit.

  • Do not consume sugar or simple carbs such as refined sugar, pasta and breads made of refined white flour. Avoid sugar sweetened drinks and alcoholic beverages as they are loaded in simple carbohydrates.
      1. Foods containing added sugar and simple carbohydrates will spike your blood sugar and insulin which will drive your cravings for more. If you have not had control over sugar and simple carbohydrates in the past, it is unlikely you will keep them under control in the future if you have been prone to binge eating. If you are addicted to simple carbs you will almost certainly have the same issues as an alcoholic who thinks he can enjoy just one drink. This might work occasionally, but will usually derail the individual entirely.
      2. The only caveat to not consuming simple carbs is fruit. The fiber in fruit acts to buffer the simple carbohydrates in them from just dumping into your bloodstream like happens when you eat sugar and other simple carbohydrates.
      3. In our recipe category, we have subcategories with plenty of sugar free dessert recipes that are delicious, and can be eaten by anyone including diabetics, while not having to concern yourself with the health issues and cravings which come from sugar.
  •  No processed foods as they are almost always high in sugar, sodium, unhealthy fats and          preservatives.
    1. While there are some processed foods that are nutritionally sound, most are not. If you are going to consume processed foods because of the convenience factor, be sure to read the label first. For example, if you purchase a sauce, read the label to identify whether the product contains added sugar, unhealthy fats, high amounts of sodium and any other ingredients which you might have to do a Google search of in order to even know what it might be.
  • Simply put, we encourage you to eat whole foods such as meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits and dairy products that are easily prepared at home. Skip restaurants and fast food’s unless you know that you are able to make healthy choices from their menu.
    1. An example of a healthy choice in a restaurant would be meat and vegetable fajitas in a Mexican restaurant. You could enjoy this while skipping the flour tortillas and the corn tortillas and salsa that is usually served. Have a unsweetened drink with your meal instead of a soda pop or alcoholic beverage.
  • Be sure to track how many calories a day you consume and do not exceed the amount your body requires. Just as important, you want to ensure you are not under eating.
    1. If you find yourself going over on one day, simply eat lighter the next day and do not stress over it. One day is not going to derail your weight loss, especially if you are eating healthy, whole foods only. You can do an average of your daily caloric intake for the week, and if your average does not exceed what it would be if your calories were spot on each day, there is no need for worry about weight gain.
    2. If you have an exercise regimen, you will especially want to track your caloric intake in order to ensure you are consuming enough calories to fuel your physical activities. Too large a caloric deficit will cause you to lose lean muscle mass along with body fat. This will only serve to slow down your metabolism.
  • Be sure during your weight loss mode to eat a diet that is high in protein and lower in carbs, Do not skip out on healthy fats either as they are essential for good health and proper absorption of nutrients from the foods you eat.
    1. A diet that is higher in protein and which includes healthy fats will keep you satiated between meals far better than a diet that is higher in carbohydrates than protein.
    2. During your weight loss, try to consume no less than 35% and up to 50% of your calories from a variety of protein sources. Meats, seafood, dairy, eggs and even protein shakes that do not contain sugar. Once you are maintaining your weight, try to eat at least 35% of your calories from protein sources. Track your macro-nutrients!
    3. If you have a vigorous exercise regimen such as strength training and or running, be sure to eat from .8 grams to 1 gram per pound of body weight if you are female. And 1 gram to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight if you are male. Protein is a must in order to maintain, build and repair your lean muscle tissue which gets broken down during vigorous exercise.
  • Be accountable to yourself! Besides tracking your calories and macro-nutrients, weigh yourself no more than once per week, and aim for only a 1 pound per week weight loss, and no more than 2 pounds per week.
    1. Be consistent in your weigh in. Do it on the same day each week, at the same time of day and in the same clothing or lack thereof. We recommend weighing yourself before you even get dressed, and before you have anything to eat and drink.

Common Sense Approach!

David’s Way to Health and Fitness is about living a healthy lifestyle over living on a diet. We believe it keeping it simple, thereby reducing the level of stress which can come when on a weight loss mindset. What we advocate is nothing new under the sun, this lifestyle is just how life used to be lived before the epidemic of rampant obesity in America. It is about personal responsibility and accountability to self and loved ones as your health will always become a burden on others should you allow it to. Someone will always have to pick up the broken pieces behind you should you live a unhealthy lifestyle. Do not allow yourself to become a burden to your loved ones simply because of a lack of dietary control or discipline. You are better than this, and your loved ones deserve better.