Posts tagged ‘nutrition’

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 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 4, 2012

Thoughts on An Atlanta Childhood Obesity Awareness Campaign

I believe that obese children (word up to my people) are a very unfortunate by-product of a society that is totally uneducated as to how to take care of the human body, and that, without question, our society needs to be shaken in order to do SOMETHING big to counteract childhood obesity so that each consecutive generation isn’t more removed from their health than the previous one.

Standard disclaimer sentence that I have no relevant degrees or letters after my name–I just google things & think about them.

Check this out: Grim Childhood Obesity Ads Stir Critics (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Or, if you don’t want to (you should), here’s a taste of the Ad Campaign (I have a hard time calling it an “Ad”) that Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta:

This is why I find childhood obesity incredibly frightening & concerning:

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May 16, 2011

Brain Window on the Importance of Moderate Self Elevation

My head’s been in a funny place re: food relations recently, so it’s time for a brainwindow.

More pints of frozen yogurt, cookies, cereal, and candy have made their way into my body recently than are completely necessary. I used to not have a tough time turning down these foods at all, but recently there’s been a lot of, “well, Sarah, if you eat it now, you won’t continue to crave it and eat more crap later. Might as well eat that and get it out of your system!”

Now, at first that makes sense, right? But it’s actually complete bullshit. As a fat person, I have a history of being excellent at justifying things, and as an english major, I have a history of being excellent at convincing myself that if something is justifiable, it’s probably the best path to take. But that’s another issue.

On the side of my fridge, I keep a (quite neglected) list of potential future blog posts, and “Brain Window” has been on it for a while now. Whenever “Brain Window” appears on that list, it’s because I know my head needs a bit more attention to that I normally grant it. This time, I wrote “Brain Window” down intending to uncover the reasons that I haven’t been so consistent at tracking my food or miles moved for the last, oh, month or so. Tracking foods & keeping track of what you put in your body is weight watchers rule #1. In addition to not being consistent about tracking (i have been tracking good days, but the second I think about beer of frozen yogurt, I stop), I haven’t gotten on a scale in quite some time (and I’m probably up about 5 pounds from the all time low). That, I don’t have a problem with. That is fine–I can live a healthy life without the scale, but I can’t live a healthy life feeling like I need to wear blinders whenever I go to the grocery store. The scale will start to move in the right direction when my head starts to move in the right direction. It all comes back to headstuff. All of it.

Last night, when catching up on the Biggest Loser (a show which I enjoy a lot more now that it’s giving a more realistic portrayal of the mental stuff that goes behind losing a freak ton of weight, despite the INCREDIBLY unrealistic (and I’d potentially argue unhealthy) viewpoint of weight loss that the show presents to America), I realized that moving forward will require my headspace to actually move backwards. The size 12/14 Sarah has been around long enough that she’s forgotten about the size 24/26 Sarah and the pride that all of those in-between-sized-Sarahs felt about the shrinking/healthitizing process.

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March 12, 2011

Calories, Carbohydrates, Protein, Fat, and What They Do For You

I think it’s totally cool that our bodies just take food that we give it, whatever that food might be, and sort it out, sending different bits to different places in order to power our bodies.  As I continue to learn more about what to eat before/during/after exercising, I wanted to take the time to really understand what calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat are and what they do for my body, hence this post, which I hope you will find illuminating.

what occupied my brain when I first learned all of this stuff

Some of this might be 3rd grade science type stuff, but you know what? 3rd grade science was a long time ago and I was too busy deciding how I wanted to write my name to remember what Mrs. Mason said about proteins.

What I seek to do through this post is talk about food as fuel and what it does for our bodies. First off, I’ll write about calories and what they mean when we’re talking about nutrition. Then I’ll write a bit about Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats, what they do, and why you need them.

As always, this is Googled Science – I think it’s all correct, and wouldn’t post it otherwise, but would like to remind you that I am an English major and not a Blogger MD.

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