Archive for healthy eating

Clean up your diet… Literally

Posted in Health with tags , , , , , on July 2, 2012 by razorsedgeperformance

There’s nothing better than getting home from the grocery store and devouring an entire basket of those huge juicy berries.  They taste so good and they’re humongous! They must’ve used magic or something, none of the local stuff grows like that! Guess what, it’s not magic, it’s not luck, it’s not climate, those were grown with additives and sprays to optimize their size and color.  So really, there is something better than devouring “those” berries; get out to a local market and pick up some locally grown fruit and produce.  I’ll give you a few good reasons why. 

image

Bio magnification –  You may remember this word from high school, but in case you don’t I’ll try and keep it pretty simple.  If you put something on a plant (steroids, pesticides, hormones, etc.), each plant will have a small amount of that stuff in it.  As you move up the food chain however, the amount of that substance gets more and more concentrated.  In our case, it’s skipping from the bottom of the chain to the top (us). The plant only has a little bit of the substance, but we eat a vast number of plants. Just in one sitting I could eat a basket of berries, how much do I eat in my lifetime? If there’s something foul on those berries, I’ll slowly build levels in my bloodstream over my entire life. Each level it moves up the food chain (added appetite) the amount multiplies.

What do they spray things with? According to the environmental working group many fruits and vegetables are sprayed with pesticides and insecticides. These are made specifically to kill living organisms, to think they’ll have no effect on our own bodies seems very naive to me. If you’re interested in what is and isn’t sprayed, you can see their Dirty Dozen and Clean 15.
On top of pesticides, commercial growers use various sprays to increase production – both size and speed. One thing that’s been approved for this is MSG. So although MSG is being eliminated from restaurants, it may still be used to ripen fruit. MSG is linked to a number of diseases and disorders and is definitely something that should be avoided if the option is there.

One solution is to buy organic, whether local or from the supermarket. However, I’m usually asked – “is organic worth it?” – due to its increased cost at the till. For those asking, two things I suggest:
1) The goods on the dirty dozen are the highest priority if you can only pick a few.
2) Wash all fruits and vegetables you buy; Not just for pesticides, but dirt, bacteria and even feces from birds and animals can make their way onto your food.

The best thing you can do is wash everything as soon as you get home from the store; this can also be a good time to chop some up for later meals.

At the end of the day, what you put into your body is important, just like the quality of gas you put in your car. The difference is, you can’t go back to the dealership after you drive your body into the ground. Focus on healthy foods, avoid chemicals, pesticides, genetically altered and highly processed foods. Focusing on cleaning up your diet will make you feel better and get better output from your body.

image

Remember,
It’s About Getting Better!

Nutrition mistakes: Bars

Posted in Health with tags , , , , , , on June 15, 2012 by razorsedgeperformance

Being a fitness and nutrition expert, I see all the scams that many other people fall for. Just like I probably fall for buying useless extended warranties, sometimes you just believe in the hype when you don’t know any better. In this case, the scam that bothers me to no end are protein bars. If you’ve read any articles here previously you’ll know I’m a fan of protein powder though, so what gives? Well it’s sort of a game of smoke and mirrors.
Is there protein in there? Yes.
Is it an easy way to get protein? Yes.
Is it just protein? No.

That my friends is the important question. Ever wonder why they can be so tasty AND healthy at the same time? Well they can’t. The same reason that chocolate bars aren’t healthy. If someone figured out how to make something healthy taste like a caramilk, well, they probably would’ve done that by now. The reason they taste so good is they contain sugar or sugar like substances, stuff we’re supposed to be cutting back on. Right? Of course. Here’s an example of a popular protein bar on the market.
image

INGREDIENTS: PROMAX® PROTEIN BLEND (SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, CALCIUM CASEINATE), GLUCOSE, FRUCTOSE, YOGURT FLAVOURED COATING (SUGAR, PALM KERNEL OIL, SKIM MILK, SKIM YOGURT POWDER, (CULTURED WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, CULTURED SKIM MILK, YOGURT CULTURE), SOY LECITHIN, SALT, FLAVOUR), WATER, COCOA, COOKIE PIECES (RICE FLOUR, SUGAR, TAPIOCA STARCH, PALM OIL, COCOA, CORNSTARCH, SALT, UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE, FLAVOUR, SODIUM BICARBONATE, SOY LECITHIN), MALTODEXTRIN, SOY LECITHIN, CANOLA OIL, GUAR GUM, FLAVOUR.

CONTAINS: SOY, MILK.

Take a look at not only the nutritional information, but the ingredient list. Two things pop out at me, first of all there’s 31g of sugar in each bar. This definitely looks more like a candy bar than something considered a “health”food. Second of all, soy protein is the first ingredient on the list; besides the potential for soy to be toxic and raise estrogen levels, studies have shown that whey is superior to soy in promoting muscle protein synthesis. So why would you buy a product that has a potentially unhealthy protein source which is also an inferior product? Most people buy the one that tastes the best. This is the worst way to pick a snack, the unhealthy foods will win every time. It’s not that healthy food doesn’t taste good, it’s just that junk food has attacked the snack food market for years; when you’re in need of food, junk food will always find you. An easy solution is to try and make your own snacks and avoid bars.

With that being said, there are bars that exist which are fairly healthy but they’re more difficult to find. The easiest thing is to stick with light healthy foods. If you need protein, look for: cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, protein shakes or hard boiled eggs. For healthy fats, nuts are usually my HP to favorite but avocado is also a great choice. Protein and healthy fats are always a great start and they can be paired with fruit and veggies if you’re looking for a little more. Never buy an inferior food just for convenience, that’s lazy. Do yourself a favor and always pack extra snacks, snacks are often where diets Errol lose effectiveness. So be smart and pack a snack, you never want to feel like you HAVE to buy that candy protein bar.

Remember, it’s about getting better!