Tag Archives: nutrition

Chia Seeds & Hot Yoga

If you’re anything like me, seeing chia seeds in the grocery store evokes images of terra cotta animals with green sprouts coming out of the top, but it just so happens these little guys are nutritional powerhouses. In each tablespoon serving, there’s 6 grams of fiber, almost 3 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids and 3 grams of protein… that’s a lot of punch for such little guys.

Anyway, I sprinkled them on my oatmeal this morning and it added a nice crunch. They didn’t have a whole lot of taste to them, but they offered a lot of benefits for a little change to my meal. I guess time will tell if I notice any big differences. I was reading some articles today and found that a lot of runners like them because they’ve been thought to increase endurance — I won’t complain if that happens!

Chia Seeds

In other news, I bought a Groupon for a hot yoga studio in our neighborhood and am looking forward to starting class there. I’ve been taking yoga classes at the gym for a few years now and am ready to try a different style of yoga with different teachers.

Cheers to trying new things!

Eat Meat & Die???

There’s been a lot of talk going around the health and nutrition world about red meat. The consensus in the media? It’ll will probably kill you if you eat it. Um, dramatic much?

I don’t believe there is one single food that will contribute to disease or even kill you – everything in moderation and consult your doctor or a registered dietitian to determine your own personal nutritional needs. However, I wanted to shed some light on this topic through two interesting sources I’ve read in the past weeks.

The first is a blog post from The Aspiring RD on why she enjoys steak night Fridays and why we should be weary of all the articles we read. Hint: most journalists aren’t statistics majors. As a journalism school graduate, I can vouch for this being true. Therefore, stories in the media are hindered by how well a particular journalist is with health statistics and also by how much time they have to actually research and write the story. Usually not much in this world of 24 hour news cycles. Moral of the story here: Don’t just beware of what you eat, be aware of what you read.

The second is the following infographic on why read meat will in fact kill you. Based on the previous article I presented, I’ll let you be the judge of this one. Whether you find it informative or not, it is entertaining nonetheless.

Red meat infographic

The Not-So-Sweet Sugary Soda Truth

The graphic above caught my attention recently and really got me thinking about all the sugary, calorie-laden beverages available to all of us so easily on a regular basis. Ironically enough, the message really hit home while sitting at a restaurant one Friday night after dumping a sugar packet into my previously unsweetened iced tea. If I added the rest of the sugar packets in the small container on the table, I wouldn’t even come close to the 22 packets that could be found in a regular 20 oz. soda. YIKES – that’s a lot of sugar!

In fact, 46 percent of added sugar in our diets comes from soda, energy drinks, sports drinks and sugar-sweetened fruit drinks (source). Not only is all of this sugar bad for our waistlines, it is awful for our overall health. Excessive sugar intake can lead to chronic disease such as diabetes or heart disease as well as contribute to obesity, high blood pressure and nutrient deficiency. The more calories consumed in foods with added sugar, the less room in the diet for other foods with natural sugars (fruits, vegetables, etc.) and the less essential nutrients our bodies get to function properly.

So if a large portion of our added sugars are coming from sweet beverages, why are so many of us avoiding the cookie jar like it is the next coming of the black plague with a sugary, high calorie soda in our hand? According to the Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip cookie recipe, one cookie has 10 grams of sugar which comes out to about 30 grams less than a 12 ounce can of Coke. Think about that. You could eat 4 cookies and it would equal the amount of added sugar in one soda beverage. (Note: I’m not advocating that cookies have better nutrition value overall, just that they have less sugar than a soda. I by no means think you should replace soda in your diet with cookies — this is just an observation used to put something into prospective.)

No one is perfect and we can’t expect to cut sugar out of our lives completely, but it is best, like everything else, in moderation. Luckily, kicking a sugary soda habit may be easier than you think. I’ve found that with strong will and by filling up on plenty of water, your body begins to feel different, better in fact, making it easier to keep up with the healthy choices you’ve previously made. If you are looking to lose weight, small changes are key. A simple change like ditching sodas and other sugary beverages just may jump start the pounds falling off.

Take away: We don’t (usually) eat all the cookies in the cookie jar without remorse, so why are we drinking all the soda in the fridge without a blink of an eye? Cut out or cut back on sugary beverages and get healthier.

Lean, Mean, Green Fighting Machines

Let me start by saying I’ve never met a Jamba Juice flavor I didn’t like — and I mean it. I even liked the (admittedly) somewhat weird peanut butter flavor. So naturally all this talk about “green smoothies” in the health and nutrition world got me thinking… why the heck would anyone want to eat pureed lettuce?

Green Smoothie. Photo credit: Two Peas & Their Pod

Turns out a lot of people seemed to be hooked… and it’s not just lettuce they are blending up. I came across this post on a raw foods and healthy eating blog and finally learned what it means to make a green smoothie and why they are so good for your body.

When we cook vegetables many of the vitamins and nutrients are lost in the cooking process taking away from their healthy benefits. To get the most vitamins and nutrients out of your fruits and vegetables it is important to increase the amount eaten in their raw form. Green smoothies are a beneficial way to absorb these important nutrients because the cell walls have been ruptured by the blending process and the nutrients are extracted in a more digestible form.

I feel enlightened now, but I’m still a wee bit hesitant about how it might taste. I  understand and am even intrigued by this seemingly simple way to add more important veggies (read nutrients) into my diet, but I’m just not sure…

Curiosity has almost gotten the best of me so I dug up a recipe that has bananas, strawberries and yogurt in it along with spinach. If I get brave enough to try it for breakfast one of these days, I’ll let you all know. Until then, long live the Strawberry Surf Rider

Get Your Plate in Shape

March marks National Nutrition Month, a time for reflection and more importantly, action. What does this mean exactly? The theme pretty much says it all: Get Your Plate in Shape.

Get Your Plate in Shape

The campaign is based on the MyPlate guidelines set forth by Mrs. Obama and the U.S. government. MyPlate standards replaced the outdated food pyramid and is a visual representation and tool to healthy, balanced eating. As many of us know, a well-balanced diet protects us from disease while allowing us to feel our best and live life to our fullest. However, the McDonald’s drive-thru still exists and processed foods can be oh-so-convenient.

I invite you (and challenge you) to take a literal and metaphorical step in the right direction this month and take charge of the food that goes into your body and your health overall. I hope you enjoy reading this blog as one of the ways you begin and continue your journey to the best you yet.

Welcome to Conscious Kitchen — we’re always open.

 

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