Heels to Laces Menu

Viewing all items for tag whole grains

Permalink:

Surprise, surprise.

In my many discussions with clients over the past few months, I continue to find common misconceptions about certain foods. You may be surprised to hear the truth.

Let’s clear up some confusion:

Chocolate milk is the perfect post workout drink. The initial thought behind milk as a replenishing snack post workout is actually pretty solid. It’s a great source of natural carbs and proteins and can help build and repair muscles after you sweat it out. The “chocolate” part? Not so much. It’s just added, refined sugars that have no benefit. There is natural sugar in NesquikChocolateMilkmilk – there is no need to add more. Yes, cocoa has been called a powerful antioxidant – but most chocolate milks contain a minuscule amount. Common brands of chocolate milk (ie. “Nesquik” which I often see kids drinking) are full of artificial ingredients and chemicals: Reduced Fat Milk with Vitamin A Palmitate and Vitamin D3 Added, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Less Than 2% of Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Nonfat Milk, Sugar, Calcium Carbonate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Guar Gum, Salt, Carrageenan. This is not chocolate milk. You are much better off with just plain milk. And Nesquik went so far as to claim their chocolate milk beverage as the “official beverage of AYSO and USYS” soccer leagues. No wonder we have issues with the American diet and obesity with our children. Thank you, Big Food companies.

American cheese is good for you. As one of the most commonly used cheeses in food establishments, American cheese is actually not really cheese. It is a processed factory creation that includes milk fats, solids, whey, emulsifiers and food coloring and is high in fat. It was once made from a mixture of cheeses, but now that it is fully processed, it cannot be legally called “cheese” and has to be labeled as “processed cheese”, “cheese product“, etc. Sometimes, instead of the word cheese, it is called “American slices” or “American singles”. Check it out in the supermarket and notice it doesn’t say “cheese”. Under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, American cheese is a type of pasteurized processed cheese.

A food labeled “Natural” is better for you. The word “natural” is actually a marketing term and is not defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It can mean almost anything. Even products labeled “all natural” can be highly processed and contain high fructose corn syrup, pesticides, GMO’s, antibiotics, growth hormones and much more. Just because it sounds good – don’t buy into it. It’s all hype.

Wheat bread is always better for you. Next time you are in a supermarket, pick up a package of whole wheat rolls or breads and you are most likely to see ingredients like: Enriched Bleached Flour, Modified Wheat Starch, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Mono- and Diglycerides, Datem, Caramel Coloring, Guar Gum and Gum Arabic. Not so appetizing – especially when you can’t pronounce them. In actuality, healthy bread should say “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” on the package: that means the bread is made from unrefined wheat, which has more than double the fiber and is also higher in selenium, potassium, and magnesium. There are even healthier options available like sprouted bread. To really be safe, purchase bread that is organic and made with minimal ingredients. Your body will thank you.

Diets shakes are going to help me lose weight. Enter Isagenix, Special K and Shakeology. It’s the same story – once you go off of these shakes, your body will be unable to regulate itself and you will most likely gain the weight back. It is unsustainable. And the ingredient list is mile high and includes additives like guar gum and gum arabic. You are much better off eating real food vs. processed food shakes.

Microwave popcorn is healthy. Popcorn, maybe – microwave popcorn is a whole notha animal. Almost all microwave popcorn varieties come in a bag lined with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This chemical is the same toxic stuff found in teflon pots and pans. It can stay in the environment and in the human body for long periods of time. When heated, this chemical has been linked to infertility, cancer and other diseases in lab animals. No long term studies have been conducted on humans, but the EPA lists this substance as a carcinogen. Not to mention, most microwave popcorn brands include ingredients like hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors and added colors. Stick with organic popcorn in a bag or, better yet, make your own.

Yogurt is healthy. Well, yes, organic plain Greek yogurt is healthy for you. However, most of the yogurt consumed is flavored with sugar and come with toppings. For example, a Yoplait strawberry yogurt has 170 calories, 15 g fat, 33 grams carbs, and 27 grams of sugar. And the kid varieties of YoCrunch include options like m&ms, Crunch bar, Reeses Pieces and Oreos. Let’s call it what it is…dessert.

All organic foods are healthy. Organic foods have to adhere to strict regulations by the USDA on how foods are produced to earn the organic seal of approval. However, you still have to watch the ingredients and read the nutritional facts. For example, Nature’s Path Organic Frosted Cherry Pomegranate Toaster Pastries are a glorified organic Pop Tart with 200 poptart2calories per pastry, 3 grams of saturated fat, 37 grams of carbs and 17 grams of sugar. The ingredient list is also a mile high. Be sure to read the labels.

Gluten free foods are better for you. “Gluten free” is the latest buzz word in the food industry. Gluten free does not necessarily mean healthier. Gluten free products are often made with white rice flour, milled corn flour, even potato or corn starch and typically include carbs with less fiber and higher glycemic indices than the original foods people are trying to avoid. There is a small percentage of people that it is a medical necessity to eat gluten free as they have celiac disease – an autoimmune disorder that damages the small intestine. Millions of others may have a diagnosed gluten sensitivity that causes inflammation throughout the body. Research suggests the epidemic of sensitivities is a result of the refined, GMO processed foods that our bodies are unable to digest. Gluten free is not necessarily a solution to a healthier diet or weight loss.

Foods marked “Whole Grain” are healthy. Companies actually pay fees to belong to the Whole Grains Council, which administers the program.  A food only has to have 8 grams of whole grains to bear this stamp. For example, a 2 oz serving of pasta (56 grams) with 8 grams of whole wheat could actually come with 48 grams of white refined flour. You will commonly find the whole grain stamp on sugary cereals like Lucky Charms – giving a false sense of what is healthy.

The best thing you can do for yourself is learn to read food labels and nutrition facts. They often give all the insight you need into making healthy choices.

To leave a comment on this article or any other blog entry, please fill in the “Leave a Comment” box under each blog entry on our site: Heels to Laces.

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

    Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Permalink:

Grass Is Good

No, I’m not referring to recent legalized medical marijuana, but I do hear there are some great benefits to using it 😉 I am talking about grass fed animals vs. grain fed. With all of the new labeling in the market: GMO, “responsible sourced”, antibiotic free, wild vs. farm caught, there seems to be a lot of confusion about what is safe to eat and what foods are ok to ingest.

Let’s try to clear up some of the confusion:

GMO
We’ve covered this once before in a blog entry titled “What’s In A Label”.

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. The genetic material of food organisms have been altered using genetic engineering techniques, creating unstable genes that do not naturally occur. In the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food. Most of which, are unlabeled in America.

GMOs are deemed bad for your body & environment as the health consequences of ingesting them are unknown and potentially dangerous. Controversy stems over whether or not GMOs are Organic-vs-Naturalrendered toxic when ingested as they require massive amounts of pesticides.

The best way to avoid GMOs is to buy organic.

Organic
A food labeled “organic” has specific guidelines defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program.

The guidelines state:

  • Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that are not given antibiotics or growth hormones.
  • Organic plant foods are produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineering or ionizing radiation.
  • A government-approved certifier must inspect the farm to ensure these standards are met. In addition to organic farming, there are USDA standards for organic handling and processing. There are three levels of organic claims on food labels:

o   “100% Organic”: these products are completely organic or made of only organic ingredients and qualify for a USDA Organic seal.

o   “Organic”: products in which at least 95% of its ingredients are organic and qualify for a USDA Organic seal.

o   “Made with organic ingredients”: Products in which at least 70% of the ingredients are certified organic. The USDA organic seal cannot be used but “made with organic ingredients” may appear on its packaging.

FYI – did you know the little stickers on produce either come with 4 or 5 digits? Only produce with 5 digits and the number “9” in front of it are organic. Check out the labels on fruit next time you shop.

Natural
Take a walk down a supermarket aisle and you will see a flood of products labeled “natural”. This is basically marketing fluff.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration nor the U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a formal definition for the use of “natural” on food labels. The FDA follows policy from as far back as 1993. The USDA allows the use of the term “natural” to be used in meat and poultry labeling on products that contain no artificial ingredients or added color and is only minimally processed. The label must explain the use of the term natural. For example: “no added coloring” or “minimally processed”.

As good as the word “natural” sounds…it really doesn’t mean much.

Grass Fed vs. Grain Fed
This mostly pertains to the beef that we eat. There is a pretty significant difference in meat quality, based on the diet of the cows. Most cows do graze on a grass pasture; however, some cows are transitioned to a concentrated feed mix of corn, soy, grains, supplements, hormones and antibiotics to facilitate an advanced, unnatural growth spurt in the cows for the US beef industry to sell larger volumes, quicker. Basically, conventional factory meat is cheaper since they have sped up the growth while lowering the cost of the feed.

Bottom line – solely grass fed beef is said to be lower in calories, contains more healthy omega-3 fats, more vitamins, higher levels of antioxidants and 7x’s the amount of beta-carotene. Grass-fed beef is believed to have less health concerns than cows raised by unnatural means with added hormones and antibiotics.

Free-Range
Free-range refers to food (ie. meat or eggs) that are produced from animals that have access to outdoor spaces or are free to graze or forage for food. It does not mean organic.

Free-range, unlike organic, is not a certification. Organically raised food is free-range, meaning animals must have access to pasture, but to be certified organic, food must meet very strict criteria.

Free range food doesn’t have to meet any particularly stringent or even legal requirements. Access to outdoor spaces can mean as little as 15 minutes a day, which is why “organic” means so much more than free-range.

Wild vs. Farm Caught
Wild caught fish eat food from their natural environment including kelp, algae, seaweed and other fish, which gives them higher levels of vitamins and minerals.

Diets of farm raised fish often include genetically modified crops that are unnatural and nutrient-poor. Farm raised fish with industrial farming methods often include antibiotics, hormones, PCBs (potentially carcinogenic chemical), pesticides and toxins – causing fish to index high in mercury and other industrial toxins. Some farms (as in a video I recently watched) feed fish the feces of other animals and inject them with antibiotics to keep them alive. Just sayin’.

Gluten Free
The recent flood of “gluten free” products on the market has led to the belief that these products are healthier choices. This is not necessarily true. Gluten-free substitutes are often made with ingredients such as white rice flour, milled corn flour, even potato or corn starch – carbs with less fiber and higher glycemic indices than the original foods people are trying to avoid.

For some, gluten-free is a medical necessity including the 1% of the population who has celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that damages the small intestine. Or, like millions of others, they may have a diagnosed gluten sensitivity that causes inflammation throughout the body. Research suggests the epidemic of sensitivities is a result of the refined, GMO processed foods that our bodies are unable to digest.

Unless it’s a necessity, gluten-free foods are not a solution to a healthier diet or weight loss. It’s important to read the labels to see what is substituted for gluten.

Made With Whole Grains
The “whole grain” stamp which appears on some food labels is misleading. Companies pay fees to belong to the Whole Grains Council, which administers the program. Qualifying products need only have eight grams of whole grains to bear this stamp on labels. So, a 2-ounce serving of pasta (56 grams) with 8 grams of whole wheat could actually come with 48 grams of white refined flour.

You will find the whole grain stamp on sugary cereals like Lucky Charms – giving a false sense of what is “healthy”.  Food manufacturers making whole grain claims or using words like “multigrain” on labels are just hiding the fact these products are mostly made with highly refined white flour.

Don’t believe the hype.

“FED UP”, a recent movie release discussing the food industry and what it doesn’t want you to know, is playing at MONDO in Summit on October 17thClick here for details. I’ll be there. Join me.

To leave a comment on this article or any other blog entry, please fill in the “Leave a Comment” box under each blog entry on our site: Heels to Laces

 

 

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

    Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Permalink:

Oatmeal Might Be A Superfood After All

We all know that oatmeal is good for you and can be a great way to start the day.  But it wasn’t until my daughter started eating it and then got her younger brothers to eat it, that I took a second look.  I was aware, like most of us, that oatmeal had fiber, and I had seen all those commercials about it lowering your cholesterol.  But I thought a lot of this was just overblown advertising.  However, when my kids started asking for it as a snack after school, I decided it was time to do a little more research.oatmeal

As a child, I ate the instant maple brown sugar kind in those little brown packets. At the time, I thought it was tasty and sweet.  But as I got older, it was too sweet and uninspiring for me to keep eating it.  It wasn’t until recently that I had the ‘real stuff’ – the slow cook rolled oats or the steel cut version.  What a difference!  Before trying it, I was under the impression that the ‘real’ oatmeal took forever to cook.  But it takes maybe 10 to 15 minutes – quick enough for most crazy rushed mornings.

I listed many of the nutritional information and health benefits of slow cooked oatmeal below. One half cup of oatmeal uncooked (which about doubles after cooking) has the following nutritional content.

Protein: 5 to 6 grams of protein depending on the type.  Oats have one of the highest protein levels of any grain, even beating out today’s favorite, quinoa.  Oats, like many other whole grains, is a complete protein – meaning it contains all 10 essential amino acids. Oats have a one of the highest levels of these amino acids, again, beating our other whole grains like quinoa and brown rice.

Fiber:  4 grams of fiber.  Women need between 21 and 25 grams of fiber per day and studies show that the majority of Americans get only about 15 grams a day.  If you add fruit, such as bananas or apples, to your oatmeal, you will pump your fiber intake up to by an additional 3-5 grams of fiber.  This one meal will meet 1/3 of your recommended daily fiber needs.

Beta glucan:  This is a type of fiber that appears to be the all-star compound in oatmeal. There have been hundreds of studies published on beta-glucan and how it naturally boosts your immune system. Beta-glucan stimulates immune cells that ingest and demolish invading pathogens and stimulates other immune cells to attack. In addition, beta glucans stimulate lethal white blood cells (lymphocytes) that bind to tumors or viruses, and release chemicals to destroy it.  And to top it off, our bodies do not produce beta-glucan, so you have to ingest it to get it.  Hello oatmeal!

Low in fat and calories: Approximately 3 grams of fat and 150 calories per serving.

Whole Grains: Oatmeal is a whole grain, and eating whole grains can lower your risk for several diseases, including high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Oatmeal also contains lignans, a plant chemical that has been found to prevent heart disease.

Low Glycemic Index (GI):  Oatmeal has a low glycemic index (Steel Cut have an index of 42, standard rolled oats have an index of 55.). (Instant has 83 – NOT a low GI food.)  GI measures the actual impact that a carbohydrate food has on blood sugar.  Foods with low GIs provide sustained energy and do not spike insulin levels.  As such, we feel full longer which can aid in dieting and fat loss.  In addition, low GI diets are associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stoke, depression and certain cancers, to just name a few.

Lower Cholesterol: Since 1963, study after study has proven the beneficial effects of oatmeal on cholesterol levels.  Yes, the commercials are actually true!  Studies show that in individuals with high cholesterol (above 220 mg/dl), consuming just 3 grams of soluble oat fiber per day (an amount found in one bowl of oatmeal) typically lowers total cholesterol by 8-23%. This is highly significant since each 1% drop in serum cholesterol translates to a 2% decrease in the risk of developing heart disease.

Iron:  10% of recommended daily amount

There are so many ways to dress up oatmeal and add variety and nutrients.  Our favorite way is to add peanut butter, banana and a teaspoon of honey.  We eat the natural peanut butter so the honey gives us a little sweetness.  You can also add any kind of nuts or seeds to get a little crunch.  Another favorite is to add nonfat Greek yogurt – it adds a little creaminess and pumps up the protein.  Fruit is also a popular option – we usually use bananas at this time of year, but any fruit works beautifully.  Cinnamon and flax seeds are other options to jazz up your oatmeal.  The possibilities are bountiful and each one only increases the healthfulness of the meal.  If you had relegated oatmeal to the back shelf, it may be time to give it a second look.

To leave a comment on this article or any other blog entry, please fill in the “Leave a comment” box under each blog entry on our site: Heels to Laces

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

    Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

close
Facebook IconTwitter Icon