Simple Ways to Start Eating Healthy

What is healthy eating? There are articles online, blogs, magazines, and even posts from people you follow on social media. Some say you have to eat organic, non-GMO (genetically modified organism) foods. It has to be “grass-fed” beef or even local.

You know what? That apple you’re eating does not have to be organic. That beef you’re eating does not have to be grass-fed. And you know what? Bananas are already genetically modified. You can think of genetically modified organism  as selective breeding. It’s called choosing certain characteristics of an organism and breeding it together.  Let’s take that banana for example. They used to be small, weird shaped, and had hard seeds in them. Now, they have much smaller seeds, easy to hold, and very tasty!

Anyway, I’m getting side-tracked. My point is, you can go ahead and eat the regular apple that’s not organic. You can eat that GMO banana. It’s hard for some people to eat healthy and seeing these labels such as “organic” and “non-GMO” can steer people away from eating healthy, especially since these products also tend to cost more than regular food.

To start eating healthy, here are some tips:

  1. Start incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet.  For example, instead of snacking on chips and soda, try snacking on grapes, apples, carrots, red bell peppers, nuts, or roasted seasoned chickpeas.
    • Pro tip if you have children: Have your children pick a new fruit and vegetable to try each week. They are more likely to eat it when they choose it.
  2. Meatless Mondays!
  3. Start making half of your grains whole grains (if you haven’t been eating whole grain). For example, if you have regular toast as part of your breakfast, you can use whole wheat bread for your sandwich or use brown rice instead of white rice for lunch.
  4. Use smaller plates/bowls to reduce portion sizes without feeling like you’re eating less.
  5. Bring lunch to work everyday (this also saves money!). One easy way is to cook an extra portion when you cook dinner and bring the leftovers for lunch.
  6. Make a meal plan for the week. This advice is something I am hesitant to give since I like to eat something different everyday. However, having a plan can help you save money and reduce food waste. You know what you’ll be eating so you won’t be buying extra groceries and you won’t be wasting extra food if it doesn’t get eaten.
  7. Eat until you are 80% full. The Japanese call it “hara hachi bu”. There will be a separate post about this since I feel like this is important!

As you can see, you don’t have to go on a “Whole 30 Diet” or go to any extremes to eat healthy. Small things you do everyday will add up.

I hope this post steers you in the right direction into eating healthy.

What type of nutrition posts would you guys want to read about? 

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Vegetarian Health

More and more people are becoming vegetarian. Whether it be for health reasons or personal beliefs, it’s not a terrible thing. It’s a health trend and people wonder, is eating vegetarian healthy? To answer your question, yes, eating vegetarian can be healthy as long as you are eating a balanced diet and getting the nutrients you need.

To explain this, here are two examples of eating a vegetarian diet: one, which is healthy, and the other, not so healthy.

Example 1: Samantha decided to go vegetarian because she loves animals. Her diet consists of waffles or cereal with soymilk in the morning, snacking on chips during the day, and eating a frozen cheese pizza for some of her meals. She also eats a lot of frozen vegan products.

Example 2: Mikayla decided to go vegetarian for health reasons. She was never fond of the texture of meat, so it’s something she won’t miss. Her diet consists of eggs, avocado, and whole wheat toast in the morning along with soymilk in her coffee; tofu or beans (pinto or black) with vegetables and brown rice, or whole wheat pasta with roasted veggies for lunch/dinner; and snacks on nuts and fruits or fruit/veggie (from the spinach) smoothies with protein powder when she’s hungry.

Which diet is healthier?…… Example 2!

  • Mikayla is eating a variety of foods that are fresh and NOT processed and is getting a lot of nutrients from eating those foods.
  • Samantha is eating a lot of processed foods that may be high in sodium. The frozen vegan products she consumes could be ready to go frozen meals, which include vegetables, but it looks like she is not consuming a variety of foods to get the nutrients she needs.

There are a few concerns when it comes to going vegetarian.

  1. If the diet is not balanced or the person is not eating the right foods, they could become deficient in some nutrients, including: protein, vitamin B12, vitamin D, ω-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, and zinc. These nutrients are high in meat products but not in fruits and vegetables.
  2. Some people use a vegetarian diet to mask disordered eating to limit the foods they eat (I was guilty of doing this for a period of time in high school. My diet is 100% different than what it was in high school. I’ll write about that in another post).

So, what can you do to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need if you decide to go vegetarian? Here are a few foods that can help address some of the nutrient concerns:

  • Protein: tofu, soy products such as soy burgers/sausages, beans (pinto, black, garbanzo, etc.), nuts, seeds, and whole grains. You can make black bean burgers or falafels if you want to change it up!
  • Vitamin B12: This is only found in animal products. If you are vegan, you may want to consider consuming fortified products or taking supplements.
  • Vitamin D: egg yolks, cheese, fortified orange juice/soy milk, mushrooms treated with UV light (look for vitamin D on the mushroom packaging), and of course, being out in the SUN!
  • ω-3 fatty acids: eggs, canola oil, soy oil, walnuts, ground flaxseed and soybeans. You may want to eat foods fortified with the omega-3 fatty acids as plant based ones are not readily available to use in the human body.
  • Calcium: milk and dairy products (if you choose to consume dairy), dark greens (broccoli, spinach), tofu, calcium enriched/fortified food products (cereal, soy milk/yogurt, etc.)
  • Iron: Not easily absorbed from plant sources. Some foods include beans, lentils, iron fortified foods, and darky leafy green vegetables. Eat vitamin C rich foods with these iron sources as vitamin C helps the body absorb the iron. Think strawberries and oranges.
  • Zinc: Not easily absorbed from plant sources. Cheese is a good option if you eat dairy products. Plant sources of zinc include whole grains, soy products, legumes, nuts and wheat germ.

In my next post, I will be posting some meal ideas that you can incorporate into a vegetarian diet. I will also include vegan options! And remember, always consult with your physician or a Registered Dietitian.

What are some of your favorite vegetarian foods? 

2017 – Fitness Friday 37 (on a Saturday)

Happy Saturday everyone. How are you guys doing today? I hope you guys are doing well! Anyway, this week has been crazy busy for me and I didn’t have a chance to write a post not is not about my workouts. I really want to start writing more nutrition posts. My goal is to post one once a week. We’ll see how that goes!

Anyway, my workouts was pretty much the same as last week’s workouts. The only thing different about this week was that I upped the intensity of the elliptical and lifted heavier this week. I’m getting stronger!

Fitness Friday 10-27-17

Lifting weights was something that I thought I would never do when I was younger since I thought it was a “guy” thing. However, that is not that case. It is something that is good for your body! If anything, body weight exercises is the least you can do for weight training. You need to maintain your muscle mass if you want to keep your metabolism running. I used to be the cardio queen but now, I try to balance weight lifting and cardio.

So, that’s it for this post. What type of general nutrition posts would you guys like to read about?

How were your workouts this week? 

Pre-Run Nutrition

I talked about writing a nutrition post for running. So, here it part 1 of my nutrition series for running. I probably should have posted this earlier but better late than never.

So, nutrition is important when running. This post will be about nutrition before running. The topics I will cover are:

  • Why is eating before running important?
  • What should I eat before a workout?

I hope that you guys will find this post helpful. The one thing I want to point out is that distance runners should have a diet that is higher in carbohydrates than the average person. They need the carbohydrates to fuel their running. To take this into perspective, the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) for carbohydrates is 45-65% of total caloric intake. However, distance runners should be at the higher end of the percentage than the average person.

Why should I eat before running? 

To answer your question simply, would you drive your car with an empty tank of gas? I don’t think many of us would want to. Your car wouldn’t move and even if it did, it wouldn’t get very far. That is how it’s like with food and running. You want to provide energy for your workout. If not, you’ll not perform well and fatigue will come. Eating something before running, even if it’s just a small snack, will help delay fatigue during your run.

Some of you guys may have the question, “I run early in the morning before work. I don’t have time to eat something before I exercise. It’ll make my stomach upset while running. Do I still have to eat?” 

Yes, it is best to eat before you run. However, I know that gastrointestinal discomfort (upset stomach) can happen. It had happened to me when I trained for my first half marathon but I learned what my body can tolerate after that. The best advice to give is to eat something small, like a handful of low-fiber cereal or half a banana. Test and see what works best for you while you are training for your race, not on race day. Eating something is better than nothing. If your body absolutely cannot tolerate any food, eat your breakfast right before bed the night before.

What should I eat before a workout?

The best thing to eat is something high in carbohydrates AND low in fat and protein. The reason why you should eat something high in carbohydrates is that it is your body’s main source of energy. It gets broken down into glucose, which your body uses as fuel immediately or is stored as glycogen in your muscle and liver cells. Fat and protein tend to sit in your stomach longer, which may make you feel uncomfortable while running. However, some protein is needed to help sustain your energy and maintain your muscles.

Some examples of pre-workout meals or snacks include:

  • Whole Wheat Toast with a Nut Butter and Banana
  • Nonfat Yogurt with a banana
  • Turkey Sandwich on Whole Wheat Bread
  • Trail Mix (with dried fruit and nuts)
  • Granola Bar
  • Bagel with nonfat cream cheese

I hope this helps you guys out and was informative. Just a disclaimer that every individual is different and it is best to talk to a health care professional or Registered Dietitian.

2017 – Fitness Friday 14

So, I should really stop calling this post Fitness Friday. I should really be calling it “Workouts of the Week”. However, I like the sound of Fitness Friday. I’ll decide later on how I want to proceed with naming this post.

Anyway, I have been busy lately that I haven’t posted. I really do want to start posting more nutrition related posts and I will do my best to do it.

Before I get into what I have been up to, here were my workouts last week.

Fitness Friday 4-21-17

I really need to start training for my 10k that is coming up in early June. I don’t think it’ll be too much of an issue but I at least I did work on some speed work. I did one mile sprints today as well. Hopefully, it’ll help with my speed.

In other news, I have been busy. This past weekend, I worked out and went shopping at the mall with mi novio. I also met up with some friends, played video games, drank beer and had fun. It was pretty nice. I even had time to do some grocery shopping. I bought the Trader Joe’s marinated Pollo Asado and it tastes pretty good. I am eating that along with brown rice and fajita veggies I made for lunches this week.

So, as I have mentioned in a previous post, I have been reading and following dietitians that have a realist approach to nutrition as well as focusing more on being more body positive. Below are two links to two blog posts that I enjoyed reading.

Hummusapien – Alexis writes about how ridiculous articles are about how the new Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino can kill you (seriously, it won’t kill you). Mainly, it’s about food shaming and how it shouldn’t happen.

Immeatthat – Kylie posts a few random thoughts in regards to nutrition, weight, and “meal prepping” (cooking).

I hope you guys enjoy reading their posts. I love the work that they are doing!

So, how was your weekend? 

Have you tried the Unicorn Frappuccino yet?