Archive for the ‘Food’ Category
As loyal readers of this blog know, during the time that I weighed over 450 pounds, I was Diet Coke’s best customer. I needed 3 to 4 cans of it just to begin my day (to help quench my food hangover from the night before) and then would continue to drink it throughout the day. I would always have several with each meal, convinced that the bubbles were helping me digest my gargantuan-sized meals. “At least I have one aspect of my eating life in check,” I would gloat to myself — not realizing that the 144+ ounces (approximately 12 cans) of Diet Coke I was drinking a day was doing me more harm than good. Wait… Make that all harm, no good.
Back in the day, my reason for getting off the stuff was because I was finally trying to ingest all-natural products into my system — including any and all beverages I consumed (meaning I switched to mostly water — both plain and sparkling for a little variety). Although I realized then that the many ingredients in Diet Coke couldn’t be good for me, today there’s even more evidence that this stuff is potential poison for our systems.
Wondering what’s really in your Diet Coke? Check out this interesting article from Men’s Health, which dissects what Diet Coke’s Caramel Color, Aspartame, Phosphoric Acid and “Natural flavors [that] are derived from the essential oils or extracts of spices, fruits, vegetables and herbs” (according to Coca-Cola) are all about.
And speaking of the ingredients, a recent study published by General Dentistry states that constant exposure to the citric and phosphoric acid in soda (without proper dental hygiene) can be just as damaging to teeth methamphetamine or crack cocaine.
Fox News reported on the study’s findings, in which a woman in her 30s who drank 2 liters of diet soda every day for 3 to 5 years. When her teeth were compared to a 29-year old methamphetamine addict and a 51-year old crack cocaine user, the levels of tooth rot and decay were very similar.
Sure, the woman admitted she hadn’t seen a dentist in years, but still — why would we continue to put this stuff into our mouth? Much less ingest it? And since we know it’s virtually just as addictive as hardcore drugs — why would we be surprised at these findings?
Men’s Health also reports that when researchers from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio compared the waistlines of diet soda drinkers against a group of non-diet drinkers, the diet soda drinkers had 70 percent greater increases in belly bulge over the course of the 9.5-year study. You can read more reasons why diet soda makes you fat by clicking here.
So I ask you… Have you canned the diet soda habit yet?
I have heard from many of you in regard to having an addiction to diet soda. And believe me, I understand. But there’s really no better gift you can give yourself than to give up diet soda cold turkey — 100% — starting now. If you’re addicted to the caffeine, try some black coffee instead (just enough to avoid headaches — and be sure rinse and brush your teeth after, since coffee does your teeth no favors, stain-wise).
I’ve always said that the three major components of successful weight loss include a 1) healthy, balanced and moderate diet, 2) exercise and 3) lots of water. So why not give up the diet soda and start that “Lots of water” thing today? You just might find that you not only feel and sleep better, but also that you’ll lose weight faster — perhaps because your body is no longer having to sort through and process the many artificial ingredients found in diet soda.
The makers of diet soda may have taken the calories out, but they’ve put other things in to replace those calories. Perhaps it’s time for you to cut the ingredient of diet soda out of your life once and for all.
Photo Source: Wellsphere.com
Living in Los Angeles certainly has its distractions. And I’m not talking about the occasional star sighting. Just going for frozen yogurt can present an afternoon of entertainment with all the people you see who obviously treat it as the holy grail of snack foods when on a diet or when watching one’s weight. And who can blame them? It’s creamy deliciousness virtually matches ice cream’s merits. Add some favorite toppings and the experience can be downright orgasmic. (Yeah, I went there.)
But lately, I’ve noticed that many who are ordering at my fro-yo shop of choice treat this snack as if it’s completely healthy and calorie free. Fact is, frozen yogurt is as much of a treat as ice cream (or any other decadent snack) and should be treated as such. Too often I see people ordering it as a daily meal (I can tell they’re regulars by their interaction with the staff). There are others who look so thin that the fro-yo may be all their ingesting in a 24-hour period. Then there are the customers who obviously think of fro-yo as completely non caloric (no matter how many Reeses Pieces they add to the top of it).
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against treating fro-yo as a meal replacement. Why? Because it’s caloric. But this should be done only once a week or so — mainly because it doesn’t contain the necessary nutrients that a normal lunch or dinner should.
Recently, I saw a larger gal ordering in front of me. She announced to the worker that she was on a diet and wanted to be very careful with her choices. She then proceeded to request a sample of every flavor of frozen yogurt (all 10) before finally ordering a large dairy free and super low calorie version. I wanted to tap her on the shoulder and ask her if she knew the amount of artificial ingredients would have to be used in a frozen yogurt that had almost no calories and no dairy.
I guarantee you that her large-sized yogurt (ordered after she’d sampled enough yogurt to equal a medium-size) wasn’t nearly as satisfying as my “regular” peanut butter yogurt, which not only had dairy but also a fair amount of calories. But here’s the thing — my fro yo was all-natural (a choice the shop thankfully provides along with all their fat-free varieties). I ordered a medium and even added some decadent chocolate toppings to it. Caloric? Sure. Satisfying? Absolutely. Satisfying enough to quench my fro-yo addiction for a week. I wanted it. I enjoyed it. I moved on. And mind you, later that day I had a delicious and healthy salad for dinner. (Now that’s balance!)
As dieters, we’re too often misled by media-induced messages as to what’s “healthy” and what’s not for our bodies (especially when trying to lose weight). The 10 different samples aside, the reason this woman wasn’t feeling satisfied is that she wasn’t indulging in what she really wanted. Eating overprocessed, chemical-infused snacks is not something our body (or even our minds) really want. Instead, go for the treat, take a walk to help metabolize it and move on. It’s these very acts of denial that lead us to believe that all the sampling “Doesn’t count” and that a dairy/calorie free snack is good for us.
P.S. It isn’t.
Have the treat. Enjoy the treat. Then do it again a week or two later (not before) — depending on how much weight you want to lose. The less we obsess and the more we enjoy, the more we’re acting — and eating — like a thin person. And that’s the real trick to not only taking the weight off, but keeping it off. Even with a topping or two.
Photo Source: playa.info
One recent morning I was up early, finished with the gym and running a few errands. While in my car and stopped at a red light, I saw a man on the crosswalk, consuming a large bag of barbecue potato chips. I checked the clock in my car (still before 9am) and did a doubletake, surprised that this person apparently could not begin his morning without the chemical-y goodness of artificially-flavored chips (yes, I checked the brand on the bag to see if they were all-natural or not).
Then, as if to emphasize a point, I saw another man nearby — this one sucking on a cigarette as if he were in outer space and needed it for oxygen. I must admit that I was in awe — so much so that a honk behind my car made me snap to and realize the light had turned green.
As I drove on, I thought about these two people. If you had been with me, you would have seen that the looks on their faces indicated their chosen substances were life giving forces that they needed to begin (or even get through) their respective days. But I assure you I wasn’t judging these folks. Instead, I was shuddering — reminded of a time in my life when I needed my own unhealthy substance to begin my day.
When I weighed over 450 pounds, I would wake up with a serious food hangover. And I assure you that “food hangover” is no catchphrase. Back when I weighed more than my scale would even register, I would eat at night until I was literally stuffed and in physical pain. I would then toss, turn and sweat all night long — until finally rising in the morning, barely able to stumble to the bathroom due to being in such anguish.
This is when I would grab for my life giving force of diet soda. That’s right. I would have to consume 3 to 4 cans first thing in the morning in order to be able to start my day and actually function. Along with the artificial ingredients (that I’m sure my body mistook for sustenance) and the caffeine, I think that the carbonation somehow helped digest the leftover food from the night before. I truly was unable to function before having multiple cans of diet soda. I was addicted — to this (and so much more).
I’m not proud of this confession — but I make it as a reminder to myself that I never want to go back to a time in my life when, to function, I felt like I had to remain on a cycle of self-abuse (in this case delivered by consuming the wrong foods and/or beverages simply to begin my day). Whether barbecue chips, cigarettes or diet soda, these are not the kinds offood groups recommended to start our day – food groups that can give us a positive (and healthy) outlook.
Letting go of what doesn’t really serve us means making a commitment to getting back to paying attention to how our bodies feel when consuming such substances. Today the thought of ingesting diet soda makes me want to barf. Don’t get me wrong. I’m human. I want my big cup of black coffee along with my all-natural cereal and fresh sliced fruit. But all of these things work together to add some pep to my step — rather than clogging my body, mind or organs with unnecessary ingredients that my body cannot process (and that might even cause harm in the long run).
Was this you, too? Or is it you? What do you feel like you have to have first thing in the morning that might give a nutritionist a panic attack? By paying attention to how you feel (how you really feel), you might just realize these substances aren’t what you’re craving after all. And as our tastes change, our bodies, minds and health can change — for the better. So tomorrow morning, why not rise, shine and dine — on a healthier, happier (and ultimately more delicious) choice than chips, cigarettes or diet soda? The life you save may be your own.
Photo Source: eatyourbooks.com
A special guest post from Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RD, LD
Recently, I read a story by Gregg about his struggle to tame his desire for one of my favorite foods, peanut butter. As is his style, he shared with great honesty the challenge it was for him to control his eating of the sticky delicious spread. It made me want to share some ideas for controlling portions and tips on how reframing how we think about a food can change how we treat it. I hope these tips will provide you with some tools for your toolbox in maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy life.
It’s just food. Remember, food isn’t “good” or “bad.” You may feel like they are out to get you, but the truth is that feelings aren’t facts. You are in charge and have the ability to control what you put in your body. Yet, there’s no need to carry around shame about what you’ve already eaten. Take each eating opportunity as a fresh start to do it right-er.
Know how to spot a single-serve portion. If you buy tempting foods in larger containers, separate them into smaller ones. Measure or weigh out the portions, since sometimes what we think is a serving, really isn’t. Alternatively, buy single-serve or pre-packaged foods that can help make it easier to control the amount you eat. For instance, peanut butter can be purchased in single-serve to-go style squeeze packets – perfect for tossing in your bag with some rice cakes for an afternoon snack, squeezing right onto an apple, or making that perfectly portioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Save that food for eating out or special occasions and get the smallest size offered. My treat food is fried potatoes. Seriously. I love really good French fries, crispy hashbrowns and potato chips. I almost never have these at home, where I eat >70% of my meals. Instead, these are a treat food that I have occasionally when I eat out with friends or for date night. By enjoying this food outside the house, I’m not tempted to eat it more often than I should.
Do distraction. When you’re feeling the tug, it’s time to do something else. Try drinking a glass of water, taking a walk, or calling a friend. Taking your mind off of the food and nourishing some other part of you – thirst, physical activity, or connection – may be just enough space to reduce the temptation or eliminate it completely.
Pay attention. When you do eat the foods you love, be present. Usually, the first few bites are the best. Take time to savor them and enjoy them. Don’t eat (at all if possible, but especially special foods) when you’re doing something else, such as typing at your desk, driving your car, or anything else that requires most of your attention. When you are more mindful of the food you eat, you eat much less.
Now, as far as the peanut butter goes, I can’t leave you without some thoughts on that one. Peanut butter is a wonderfully versatile and flavorful food. It’s also nutritious! Unlike my fried potatoes, which have far less to offer in that area, peanut butter provides protein, fiber, mostly good fats, and 30 vitamins and nutrients. It can be used in everything from my favorite PB&B (banana) sandwich to homemade breakfast peanut crunch bars, or a spicy peanut dipping sauce for lean grilled chicken skewers. Peanuts have more protein than any nut and are a deliciously satisfying food to enjoy. Check out our website at www.nationalpeanutboard.org for more ideas.
About the Author: Sherry Coleman Collins is a registered and licensed dietitian practicing in the Atlanta, GA area. Her love of food and nutrition has allowed her to work with individuals and groups, children and adults of all ages, and in a variety of settings from clinical to foodservice to communications. She currently serves as senior manager, marketing and communications for the National Peanut Board. Connect with America’s peanut farmers via Facebook and Twitter. Follow Sherry on Twitter at @PeanutRD.