Posts tagged ‘food’

January 26, 2013

The Paleo Diet: Some Thoughts & Information

There is no question that the Paleo way of eating has spread, and I want to take a moment to discuss my views on it, and perhaps answer some questions that might be out there.

The idea behind the Paleo way of eating is to eat the way our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate, before there was agriculture to provide grains, etc. It’s a meat (grass-fed, of course, since there was no agriculture), vegetable, fruit, nut, and seafood based diet, and processed foods, grains, refined sugars, and dairy products are avoided. While I had previously heard of this eating plan, I wasn’t really exposed to it until I got a paleo roommate (he’s also in my school), and saw the food he eats, and heard about the journal articles he reads, explaining why sugar and grain products are the reason that everyone except Paleo-ers is going to die a slow and painful early death in a fiery pit full of sharks and monsters and zombies, etc.  I have worked hard not to let my wonderful roommate brainwash me Paleo, as he hopes to do to everyone (every time he hears of someone else on Paleo, he squeals, “it’s spreading!”), but I have to admit that I am starting to believe in its benefits. That said, I don’t think it’s something that we should all take on, for a number of reasons.

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January 17, 2013

Brain Window on Stress & Eating

plannerAs I was starting to write my assignments in my planner (all color coded) and was thinking, “oh, this might be another challenging semester–hope I can keep my food consumption under control,” I had a bit of a brain awakening: I might not be able to control my assignments or how much time I have to spend on school, but if I control my food and eat the quality things all of the time, I will feel way better, physically and mentally, and be able to better tackle the semester.

This seems very straight forward, I know. As I wrote in an earlier post, this is the first time I have been a student and also been a healthy person. I had 22 years of conditioning myself this way: lots of school work, lots of stress, eat ice cream and cereal and you’ll be able to escape from the stressful world for just a few moments. Whenever I’ve been in school, school has come first, so now prioritizing my health above my school work doesn’t come as naturally as I wish it did.

Don’t get me wrong: I wasn’t eating total crap all of last semester, but I also wasn’t eating totally perfectly. Not that total perfection is the goal, but I know I can do much better than I did last semester. On weeks when I hardly had time to sleep or get to the gym, I didn’t eat as well as I would have liked. Then, since I had already “messed up” my eating plan, I just continued down that path until there was a clear re-start (i.e. new day or new week). If I had eaten well, I would have been more energized and probably been able to get to the gym and sleep, too. When I eat stupid foods, I am sluggish, grumpy, self-doubting, and constantly thinking “how and when will I knock this stupid binge eating thing?” and am therefore not able to perform at my best level. I’ve gotta eat smart so I can get the most out of every day and enjoy every day. 

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January 7, 2013

Multivitamins: Are They Necessary?

People often ask, “should I take a multivitamin?” and after a semester of Nutrition Science, I can finally answer this question a bit more thoroughly than before, but my response remains somewhat vague: Sorta. Why not? Can’t hurt.

Our bodies require a whole pile vitamins and minerals to be present in our diets. If any of these are missing in an extreme way, something negative will happen, and that negative thing can usually be reversed if the nutrient is added to the diet. Yes, our bodies can operate with low levels of some of these vitamins and minerals, but in order for it to really thrive, it needs all this stuff.

Let’s see if I can still list them all off:

DSC03543

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Biotin
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Chloride
  • Sulfur
  • Sodium
  • Selenium
  • Iodine
  • Fluoride
  • Chromium
  • Molybdenum
  • Manganese

I admit that I had to go back to old notes to get all of those.

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December 29, 2012

3 Dietary Changes Inspired by 1 Nutrition School Semester

People often ask nutrition students what they should eat. I usually answer “eat real food” and then follow up that I have changed 3 things about my standard healthy diet since gaining 1 semesters worth of knowledge.

1. Milk Twice A Daymilk

How: While my roommate bet that I wouldn’t drink the first gallon of milk I bought before it went bad, I did. Challenge accepted. I just have a glass of milk with breakfast (or in cereal) and at some point later in the day, ideally after a workout. I prefer the taste and morals, etc, behind organic milk, but prefer the price behind regular milk, so I flip-flop.

Why: Most people have low calcium intake, and we really don’t want to be because after 30 our bone mass will start deteriorating, and if it deteriorates enough, SMASH, osteoporosis at an old age. And if it’s not osteoporosis, I mean. It’s not good–we want our old bones to still be strong bones. With menopause and decreased estrogen production, this is an even greater issue for women (estrogen helps calcium get where it needs to go in the bones). By ensuring adequate calcium intake we’ll have the strongest bones possible, and then it’ll be fine when they start deteriorating.

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February 9, 2012

Lentil Soup

I think it’s challenging to find a more comforting, hearty, soul-warming, healthy, and simple wintertime dinner than lentil soup.Like most things I cook, lentil soup can take on whatever flavors you want, and you can pretty much put anything that grows in the ground into your soup. I made this when I had a yucky cold a few weeks ago, so I wanted to load it up with sinus-clearing and nutritious things. I made it up as I went along, but this is definitely a lentil soup recipe worth repeating. So give it a try!

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February 6, 2012

Why Calorie Counting & “Diet” Foods Aren’t Ideal

The breakfast I’m enjoying as I write this has around 250 calories.

This could mean that I’m eating a poptart and some orange juice, 1 serving of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, a donut, or a bowl of oatmeal made with milk.

Calories don’t mean anything.

“250 calories” does not thoroughly explain how my body will respond to the food I’m giving it, yet for so many people, calories are the focus.

Calories are simply a measure of energy, and when we’re talking about food, they represent the amount of energy stored in a food.  Calorie counting as a meal plan suggests that all calories are equal, but our bodies do not at all think that. Our bodies are much more concerned about the nutrients and carb/protein/fat ratios in food, so perhaps we should be, too. It just makes sense to fuel our bodies with attention to how they react to fuel, don’t you think?

Most sources say that our bodies require around 25% of our calories to come from fat, 45% from carbohydrates, and 30% from protein (or close to these ranges). But that’s still “calories from,” as opposed to “grams of”. That’s almost like saying, “to build this house, I need 500 pounds of wood, 30 pounds of nails, and 3 pounds of hammers.” Yes, those items can be measured by their weight, but that’s not really how their measurements are best understood.  I suppose it’s easier to talk about calories since we’re all used to it, but I just think that talking about calories is keeping us from understanding food. 

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January 20, 2012

Why I Was Vegan and Why Now I’m Not.

As some of you know, I was vegan from May-ish until October-ish. While I ultimately decided that I enjoy turkey sandwiches and easy healthy food options too much to be vegan, I learned a lot from those 5 months.

For those of you who might not know, vegans avoid animal products, which, in addition to meat, include milk, cheese, butter, eggs, and for some folks, honey. Basically, vegans only eat the plant-life that the earth produces (or things that are made only from that plant life). The fact that I live in a Vegan-friendly area made this whole experiment a lot easier, too.

I’ll try to keep the hippie bullshit to a minimum, but I’m a little bit of a hippie sometimes, so it’s challenging. Also, standard “I just Google Things” disclaimer.

Why I Was Vegan Once And What I Learned

The theory behind Veganism & clean eating intrigues me for a number of reasons, mostly because a ton of cultures survived healthfully off the land without using animal products (or by using animal products sparsely). The earth provides what humans need in order to live; if it didn’t, we wouldn’t still be around. I appreciate the “back to our roots” approach to food. Eating vegan made me feel more like I was fueling & nourishing myself than just eating. It was kind of neat.

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January 10, 2012

Chick Pea, Goat Cheese, Beet, etc Pizza

This pizza was initially inspired by my friend’s overly beety CSA load. Well, that and the fact that we wanted to make dinner together, but we didn’t want to grocery shop. This pizza came together based on the items in my fridge.

We’ve made this twice now, so clearly we are quite pleased with the concoction, and unfortunately I didn’t take phenomenal pictures either time (it’s hard to cook, chat, AND shoot pictures at the same time, especially when you’re not in the blogging mindset (yet!)).

Yes, if it was whole wheat dough it would be more nutritious, but we didn’t go that route (it’s harder, we were lazy).

Ingredients:

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