“You should eat three square meals a day”. What does that even mean? There are so many gimmicks out there today, cleanses, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Seattle Sutton, Atkins, Paleo, Whole 30…Shall I continue? There are literally 38 that are considered “the best” by U.S News & World Report. There is SO much that goes in to eating healthy, I totally understand why people either start and quit or don’t even start at all! Whats a protein? Whats a carb? Why are there good fats and bad fats? Is this the Wizard of Oz where the bad fats will drop a house on your sister?
Let me try to dumb this down and please forgive me, I am NOT an expert. I struggle at eating healthy EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I don’t need a personal trainer so much as I need someone to follow me around and slap the bad food out of my hand before I shove it in my word hole. Also, I do not have ANY comments good or bad to make about the diets listed above. You do you Oprah Winfrey.
First and foremost, protein does not encourage muscle growth. All of those foods and supplements you see on sale for athletes to build muscle growth is a load of BS. Extra protein can reduce your appetite (keeps you full) so it can actually lead to weight loss.
Basically, protein foods are broken down into little parts called amino acids and this happens during digestion. We need these to remain in good health. You find amino acids in foods such as milk, meat, fish, and eggs. It’s also found in plants such as soy, beans, legumes, nut butters (usually high in sugar at fat so watch out) and some grains like the ever-so-popular quinoa.
The amount of protein you need depends on your overall calorie need. As you can imagine, this varies WIDELY among people so to say that 1,200 calories a day is the “ideal” caloric intake is just a load of hoo-ey. You can only imagine that someone like The Rock takes in twice as many calories as I do because of his massive stature. I aim to take in 60 grams of protein a day. I stay away from peanut butter because due to contrary belief, peanut butter is NOT that great of a source of protein and it is high in sugar. If you crave peanut butter, try PB2. It’s the powder form and has WAY less calories and sugar and if you close your eyes and concentrate REAL hard, it sort of tastes like peanut butter.
Delicious and addictive. I’m going to lump sugar and carbohydrates into the same category because they’re basically the same thing. I mean, minus all the science and stuff. Our bodies need sugar, or glucose, to function. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that comes in many different forms. Glucose occurs naturally in fruits and plant juices. Fructose occurs naturally in fruits, some root vegetables, cane sugar, and honey. Galactose combines with glucose to form lactose which is what you find in milk. Table sugar that you put in your coffee and sniff from pixie sticks is made up of glucose and fructose. Our body uses this and converts it to glucose which we either use for energy or convert to fat.
Our bodies need sugar to function but when we get too much sugar there becomes a problem. Insert insulin. The more sugar you consume, the more your blood sugar spikes, the more insulin you need and then, BAM- Diabeeeeetus.
Now, you’re thinking to combat this, you should just eat less sugar. It’s a good start…but now insert our friendemy carbohydrate. All carbohydrates convert into sugar but it is the rate at which they are digested and converted into sugar that is important. Generally, more refined, processed food will be converted to sugar more quickly so this means all the foods we love, French fries, white bread, cookies, cakes which all contain carbohydrates get into our system and get converted to fat. Different people process these foods different. Male or female, young and old all process differently.
I could seriously write an entire blog JUST about sugar and it would be so wordy, you’d probably get bored and quit half way through. Maybe I will. On to the next!!
Roughage. Bulking agent. Appetite Suppressant…whatever you want to call it, fiber is a VERY important part of your diet. If you don’t believe me, please see my previous blog post about pooping. Generally speaking, fiber is located in all plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, and grains but it is not in meat. Fiber is a form of our friendemy the carbohydrate but it doesn’t get digested in our small intestine therefore it swoops through and helps us poop. Each person has to consume different amounts of fiber and these amounts can change depending on what types of medications or supplements you’re on. I take iron, zing, AND calcium so these make it harder for my body to digest fiber so I need to take more than the average bear.
Oh boy. We need fat for growth, development, storing energy, maintaining healthy skin and tissues, transporting vitamins throughout the body, regulate hormone levels and even keeping us warm. Generally speaking, the majority of our foods, even my beloved avocado, contain some sort of fat. Here is where we get in to our good vs bad fats and too many good fats can be bad (insert Dead or Alive: you spin me ‘round).
There are different kids of fat. Saturated (bad) and Unsaturated (good). Then, unsaturated has two subcategories: mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated.
Saturated: meat, cheese, milk, butter, cream, and eggs (not cream eggs at Easter)
Unsaturated: olive oil, peanuts, avocados
Polyunsaturated: nuts, vegetable oils (safflower, sunflower and soy), cold- blooded seafood. These are broken down into fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6.
mono-unsaturated: olive oil and canola oil
Trans fat: natural or artificial. Artificial are in fried foods, fast foods, commercial baked products such as cookies. Natural are found in milk, beef, and cheese. Trans fats are used to keep foods fresh for a longer period of time.
Saturated fats raise your bad cholesterol level and put you at risk of heart attack, stroke, and other health problems. Eating unsaturated fats instead can help lower your bad cholesterol.
Do you see how things can be confusing? Eggs contain protein and protein is good for you but they also contain saturated fat so that means they’re bad for you. Right? No, not right. Unsaturated fats such as peanuts are good for you so you should be able to snack on them forever and be ok. Right? Again, no, not right. Food is such a confusing monster and its no wonder people start diets and stop them three hours in. I’d love to say I have the answer but I don’t. I think everyone should meet with a nutritionist. Someone who can put some meal plans together for them and explain all of this in normal words. Ultimately, too much of a good thing can be bad. Not all bad things are bad. Everything is ok in moderation except for drugs. I hope I helped you because all this blog post did was make my head hurt.