To keep in theme with my past two blog posts which touched on processed and unprocessed foods, today we’ll be learning about different types of fats and why some fats have been deemed “good” or “bad.” In terms of calories, fat is fat – each gram of fat provides 9 calories. The chemical composition (saturated or unsaturated) of the fat is how we distinguish fats and determines what they do in our bodies. Along with lean protein and veggies, you should try to include fat from a healthy source at every meal, every day. One serving size of fat is one thumb for women and two thumbs for men.
Three types of fats are commonly found in the diet: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated (omega-3 and omega-6). You will find these fats in processed and unprocessed foods. As you can guess, it is recommended that most of your dietary fat come from whole, unprocessed foods. Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition recommends consuming a third of your total daily fat from each of these three types of fats: 1/3 saturated fat, 1/3 monounsaturated fat, 1/3 polyunsaturated fat (mostly omega-3). There are, of course, trans fats, which for the most part (with the exception of some meats and butterfat) do not occur in nature.
For years saturated fat has been deemed “bad” by scientists and doctors, however it has recently been discovered that saturated fats aren’t all that “bad” – if they’re consumed as whole, natural (not man-made) foods. Saturated fats come from animal fats (meat, eggs, and dairy) as well as tropical oils like coconut, and these fats are solid at room temperature. Saturated fats are also found in TONS of processed foods, and that is when saturated fats become “bad.” I can’t say it enough – LIMIT PROCESSED FOODS!
Monounsaturated fats are often referred to as “healthy” or “good” fats. This is because they help protect against heart disease, improve insulin sensitivity, improves mood, and strengthens bones. Monounsaturated fats can be found in nuts and nut butters, avocados, olives, and olive and peanut oils. When cooking with oils, it is important to be aware of their smoke points, as using very high heat with an oil that has a low smoke point will burn the oil, causing toxic compounds and, if it is an omega-3 oil, break down into trans fat. The best oils for cooking at high heat (heat-frying and stir-frying) are sesame and peanut, while olive oil is ideal for sautéing over medium heat.
Polyunsaturated fats are found in most plant-based oils (soybean, corn) and some fish like salmon and albacore tuna. The majority of polyunsaturated fats consumed should be from omega-3 fats rather than omega-6 fats, as it has been discovered that too much omega-6 (a polyunsaturated fat) may be a contributor to coronary heart disease. While TOO MUCH omega-6 fats may cause health problems, we still need it in moderation.
To sum it up, fats are, in fact, not bad – our brains and bodies need them! Healthy nutrition is always about moderation and eating whole, unprocessed foods when possible. If you’ve shied away from fats in the past, hopefully this blog post has made nutritional fat less scary for you!
#eatwholefood #eatrealfood #fats #healthyfats #moderation #wellness #nutrition #nutritioncoach #werresnutrition
This blog posts pulls from the idea from author Michael Pollan that we shouldn’t “eat anything that doesn’t rot,” and I couldn’t agree more. I touched on processed foods in a post from February 26, 2017, and, as Pollan also stated, it seems that most of the “foods” Americans are consuming are processed to some degree.
This post goes hand in hand with a recent blog post of mine about shopping the perimeter of the grocery store where I stated that the majority of unprocessed and minimally processed foods are located along the perimeter of the store. The idea of “if it doesn’t rot, don’t eat it” is similar to that of not eating foods that didn’t exist when our grandparents or great-grandparents were growing up. The premise of both suggestions is that whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, and meats will rot or spoil if not eaten over a period of time, even when refrigerated.
In the past fats, cholesterol, salt, and sugar have all been blamed as culprits of chronic disease and obesity, and while full blame cannot be placed on any one substance, most or all of these “culprits” can be found in processed foods – and in high levels at that. While consuming too much of any one food, even healthy foods, can cause adverse side effects, processed foods quickly add up – meaning the average American would have to eat 7.5 bananas in one sitting to reach a dangerous level of potassium intake, while eating one can of chicken noodle soup almost meets the recommended daily allowance of sodium.
The theory is that if we change our diets to only eat foods that don’t rot – foods that haven’t been processed at all or have been minimally processed – our health should improve because we will be consuming fewer preservatives, smaller amounts of “unhealthy” fats, less added sugar, and lower amounts of salt/sodium. You can’t really argue with this theory, and unlike dietary guidelines and suggestions that are conflicting and constantly changing, this theory holds true across the board.
I know the idea of giving up processed foods can be scary, especially because processed foods provide us with quick meals and snacks. Meal planning and using crock pots and pressure cookers can be very beneficial in terms of preparing meals, and cleaning and chopping fresh fruits and vegetables to pair with a nut butter, a slice of cheese, or a handful of unsalted nuts make for a great snack. Another tasty, protein filled snack idea that is minimally processed is to make your own protein bars or balls. I made these lemon date balls about six months ago, and they made a great snack when I needed to run errands after the gym or needed a quick breakfast and hadn’t prepared anything. There are tons of recipes for protein bars/balls on Pinterest, or if you’re short on time like many of us are, I’ve found that Lara Bars and Thunderbird Bars (there are many more, but I’ve only tried these two brands) are made from real ingredients, are vegan, non-GMO, have no added sugar, and are a great option when you’re short on time.
Eating “food that doesn’t rot” will not only decrease your intake of empty calories, preservatives, sugar, and salt, it will also increase your intake of fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that our bodies need. Making the switch from processed to real foods is an adjustment and can take some time and getting used to. Start slowly, and don’t make it a huge focus – just remember that shopping the perimeter of the grocery store and cooking from scratch will be a huge help in the process.
Think positive, stay active, and smile. -A
#eatrealfood #mealprep #ifitdoesntrotdonteatit #nutrition #wellness #wholefood #werresnutrition #nutritioncoach
Drinking enough water can be challenging for most people and can become even more of a challenge during the cooler months. When the outside temperature is cooler and we’re not sweating as much, we don’t feel “parched” or the need to drink as much water as we might when it is warmer outside.
Our hydration needs are dependent on our height and weight and change with age, activity level, and diet. Because there are so many factors that play into hydration needs, it can be hard to determine exactly how much water you need, but is important to have an idea of how much water is right for you. To determine this you can go online and use a “water calculator,” and there are many calculations you can find online as well. Here is one of the easier to use formulas I found:
your weight in pounds x 2/3 (or 67%) = ounces of water you need per day
120 pounds x .67 = 80.4 ounces (just over ten cups) of water per day
This formula, from slenderkitchen.com, advises that for every 30 minutes you work out, you should add 12 ounces to your basic water needs. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I work out intensely for an hour and a half, so according to this formula, on those days I should add 36 ounces to my total water intake.
Using the above formula, I should be drinking 80 ounces of water a day when I don’t work out, but using two other formulas I found, I should be drinking between 60 to 68 ounces a day when I don’t work out. The only consistent information I’ve found is that for every 30 minutes you work out, you should add 12 ounces of water to your total daily intake.
As you can see, there is some discrepancy with these calculations. You can typically tell if you need to drink more water by paying attention to your bathroom habits. If you are urinating infrequently and have dark colored urine, you are likely dehydrated. Although it is important that you stay hydrated, it is possible to drink TOO much water. If your urine is very pale yellow to clear throughout the day and you find yourself urinating frequently, you may need to cut back on your water intake. Some other telltale signs that you might be on the verge of dehydration are sleepiness, headache, dry mouth, dry skin, and dizziness.
As previously mentioned hydration levels also depend on what you eat. Fruits and vegetables provide water as well as obvious foods like soup (although most soups contain high sodium levels which can dehydrate the body). And water isn’t the only liquid that hydrates – milk (both dairy and non-dairy) and caffeine-free beverages like decaf coffee and tea can also keep the body hydrated.
Filling a large water bottle with room temperature water and setting it on your desk can help remind you to drink enough water during the winter days, and always make sure to take a bottle of water with you to your workout. Sipping a hot cup of decaf tea on a cold winter day is one of my favorite ways to try to stay hydrated during the winter. However you prefer to remain hydrated, make sure to be aware of possible signs of dehydration in yourself and those around you.
Think positive, stay active, and smile. -A
#nutrition #werresnutrition #water #drinkmorewater #hydration #nutritioncoach #wellness #healthylifestyle #healthyliving