Sunday, November 24, 2013

Notes From Today's Nutritional Lessons

Today started Week 2 of the health program I'm enrolled in. I wanted to record some of the notes I took while reading the lesson here so I could find them again easily. And of course, I'm hoping you may learn something new and be inspired as well. 

~ Don’t consume sugar without fiber. Doing so sends the sugar straight into your bloodstream. Fiber is the antidote to the sugar and slows your bodie's absorption of the sugar. Super important!

~ There are three macronutrients in calories - fat, protein & carbs. In one gram of protein and carbs there are 4 calories. And in one gram of fat there’s 9 calories. That’s twice as much!

~ Caloric density - some foods have a high caloric density. That’s a lot of calories in a little bit of food. Think cheesecake. In order to fill your stomach you'd have to eat enough cheesecake to surpass your daily caloric requirements. You want to eat foods that have a low caloric density - lot of food with little calories. Like spinach and lettuce.

~ A quick guide to determine whether a food item is low or high in a particular nutrient: Scan the nutritional label and look at the information in the "% Daily Value" section. Anything reading 5 percent and below is low, while 20 percent and above is high. When it comes to fat, cholesterol, and sodium, aim for low!

~ Make sure you’re considering serving sizes when reading the nutrition facts on a label. For example, bread serving sizes are often listed as one slice. But sandwiches take two slices, so you really have to double the facts given. A lot of food can be deceiving with the nutritioal facts provided because the serving size isn’t always the same as the average portion size a person would consume.

~ Nutrition labels contain a lot of information, but when you’re in a hurry, you can make a fairly good decision by looking at just fat and fiber. Avoid foods that are high in fat, because you get less food for more calories. Aim for at least 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving when buying foods. Aim for about 30 grams total of dietary fiber each day.

~ Trans fat increases risk of coronary disease because it has the bad kind of cholesterol.

~ Beware packaging gimmicks that say “heart healthy” or “made with real fruit” or similar things. These are typically gimmicks. For example, the term “all natural” has no legal definition when it comes to packaged foods - anyone can say it! A so-called “healthy cereal” may say it’s “98% fat free” but still have 15 grams of sugar or carbs and almost no fiber in it. Rely on the nutritional label and ingredients list instead of gimmicks on the box to decide what’s best to buy.

~ A good way to visualize calories when making food choices: consider how much fat is in the food you're about to eat. A McDonald's Big Mac has about 30 grams of fat in it. Well, a teaspoon of Crisco contains 4 grams of fat, so this means that a Big Mac contains the equivalent fat of almost eight spoonfuls of Crisco! For comparison, a regular glazed doughnut would have about three spoonfuls of Crisco, and large fries would pack over six spoonfuls. Next time you crave something like a Big Mac, chew on this--do you really want to put eight whole teaspoons of Crisco into your body?

Sugar content can also paint a vivid picture. For quick reference, simply remember that there are 4 grams of sugar in one sugar cube. That 20-oz. bottle of Coke in the vending machine has 65 grams of sugar, which is like eating over 16 sugar cubes! Even more surprising, one 16-oz. bottle of Odwalla Superfood fruit juice has 50 grams of sugar. That totals nearly 14 sugar cubes, and, because all the fruit has been liquefied and stripped of fiber, the sugar content will hit your bloodstream quickly.

~ Once you take time to think about what drives you toward health, stop to surround yourself with that motivation before change begins and before challenges arise. At home, write your motivations down and tape them to the refrigerator, front door, or bathroom mirror.

MY MOTIVATION FOR GETTING HEALTHY - I want to wear clothes that are beautiful and tailored. I want my skin and my hair and my looks to reflect the joy I feel inside. I want to make my husband proud to walk into a room with me on his arm. I want my body to stop hurting and my heart to be strong. I want to teach my daughter how to stand tall and proud in life and to not let things like her weight to keep her from living to the fullest. And I've earned this. I've spent years caring for everyone else and just slathering myself with sugars and fats just to get by. I want it over. I want to be human again. I want to know what a size 6 dress feels like. I want to wear a bikini on the beach in Bora Bora. I want to blow minds with the whole beautiful person that I am, inside and out.