One thing for which I am ever-so-thankful is my fabulous Nutrition Counselor, Catherine. She whipped up these great tips to help you get through the holiday free of food-regrets!
Thanksgiving on track: It’s as easy as 1 2 3!
By Catherine Holcomb, DfH Nutrition Counselor
Thanksgiving has a reputation of being a holiday where you are SUPPOSED to eat until you feel sick. That is one tradition that we do NOT want to pass down to the next generation! Stick to one plate - and not a plate with enough food piled on it to get you through the apocalypse! Eat that plateful SLOWLY, savoring EVERY bite, and remember, you will have leftovers for days.
Pile up your 1 plate with lean protein, lots of vegetables, and 1 serving of starch. Anything else counts as your treats - it could be a small slice of pumpkin pie or other dessert, half of a sweet potato, stuffing, mashed potatoes, or any of the other abundant starches available at Thanksgiving. Savor them and see how satisfying they are when you have trained your taste buds to “eat clean.” You should find you get more “bang for your bite” than in past years.
Use this to get the most pleasure with the least weight gain: 90% of the flavor is in the first 3 bites of any food. This means you can get satisfied on smaller quantities. It’s likely that even the holiday vegetables are richer than what you normally consume at home, so pay attention, listen to your palate, and savor. Avoid mindlessly eating while talking…you want to squeeze every bit of pleasure out of each bite.
Have a happy Thanksgiving! We here at Diet for Health are thankful to be on your health team! Whatever happens, do your best and come see us next week.
More Thanksgiving Tips from Catherine: 1. Make a vegetable dish that you have cooked in a healthy way that you really like. That way you know you have something delicious and healthy that can already take up half of your 1 plate! Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, mashed cauliflower, roasted carrots, or salad are all good ideas.
Football - playing, not watching! It’s important to be at least moderately active after the Thanksgiving meal. Helping clean up in the kitchen right after the meal helps, or doing anything that does not involve lying on a couch or slouching in a chair. You can go for a walk, play catch, take a quick bike ride, or play some more competitive touch football - whatever suits your fancy!
Have your HELP (Healthy Eating Lifestyle Pride) speech ready, for anyone who is overzealous about serving seconds, or questions the amount of food on your plate, or has any other comments or behaviors that might be obstacles to your eating on thanksgiving. eg: o ‘I feel way better when I eat lighter - and I want to enjoy my time with people I love, not go into a food coma!’ o ‘Last year I felt really sick after Thanksgiving, so this year I’m listening to my stomach a little more!’ o ‘That dish was delicious - but I’m stuffed right now. Could I take some home as leftovers?’
Avoid the post-meal food coma by limiting sugar and starches. If you’re going to eat a little bit more than you normally do, have the extra be vegetable or lean protein. We like to say that turkey makes us sleepy, but I’m betting the stuffing, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie are probably making us groggier than the turkey!
Wear one of your more snug pairs of pants or dresses - this will help remind you how much food you are consuming!
Drink lots of water and try some Thanksgiving-friendly teas, with cinnamon or other fall aromas. You can sip on your tea while others eat their second piece of pumpkin pie :)
Make Black Friday into Get Back Friday - get back into exercise, get back into healthy eating, get back your routine, get back your tastebuds! Healthy leftovers are great, but make sure not to have anything too sweet left lying around!
Don’t punish yourself if your eating doesn’t go completely according to plan. Having one accidental indulgence usually doesn’t do too much damage, but if you’re too hard on yourself about a mistake, you’ll be more likely to go down the ‘Screw it!’ path, which can do some very real damage.
Jill's Note: If you haven't yet met Catherine, I highly recommend working with her. She is a research assistant at Caltech (studying will power, among other things), long-time client, and nutrition success story. She is as sharp and devoted as you'll ever find. Thank you, Catherine!
Thanksgiving done better
Giving thanks via pigging out is so un-creative! That's a wasted celebration...even before you feel stuffed and sick...even before you regret stretching your stomach and blitzing your taste buds so that returning to your normal diet leaves you hungry and unsatisfied for days after.
So start thinking of other, healthier, fun ways to make Thanksgiving special. How about:
...or just preparing healthier recipes and savoring them slowly, with thanks.
Let me know your ideas for celebrating without blasting your blood sugar and clogging your arteries.
Jill, Joyce, Amy, Catherine & Naryne
Hello! This Halloween, please remember these 3 things:
90% of the flavor is in the first 3 bites.
Sugar has been proven addictive for some folks. A bite isn't "just a bite" if it stimulates a new constant craving. Try toasted pumpkin seeds for a festive no-sugar treat.
Even if Halloween junk doesn't tempt you right now, it might at a later time, when you are stressed, tired or bored. Get rid of leftovers ASAP.
You guessed it...for Halloween I'm going as a Wet Blanket. :)
Have a Happy One!
Ask the right questions
They are not:
The answer is that everyone is different, but you can make good habits faster with:
It's not so different from changing your golf swing or potty training a puppy. You change a behavior forever, but it's no work at all once you've practiced it correctly and enough.
Get practicing and have a good week!
Make it yourself just once
I've got a chef/client who passes on this advice to all healthy eaters: Make it yourself just once.
Ever prepare a meal from scratch and wonder...
The answer, according to our chef, is that the makers added more salt, sugar, fat or chemicals than you would ever imagine. They may have
These are common practices, he says, even when customers ask for foods prepared "clean."
For any food you eat often, it pays to know. The average American eats 20-30% more calories than they THINK, and this is probably why. Thanks to our anonymous chef for the good advice!
Have a good week!
How not to Fall Back into bad habits
Is your schedule going to change come Autumn? Schedule changes often bring weight gain and bad eating habits. But there is an easy solution:
Protect your time! Your habits won't slide if you carve out adequate time to:
--get enough sleep
--relax every week
--enjoy non-edible rewards
If you don't MAKE TIME for these things, you WILL eat poorly. There's no way to get around it. So plan the time RIGHT NOW, so you can say "No Sirree!" to competing requests for your time and energy.
...and have a good week.
Trade fun for food
It's Friday afternoon and you're looking forward to the weekend! What are you looking forward to specifically?
Sleeping in? Time with family or friends? A hobby? Fun activities? Something that makes you laugh?
or FOOD? Going to a restaurant? Having a weekly "cheat-meal"? Sunday brunch? A good bottle of wine?
If you are trying to lose weight and get healthier, you need to have more NON-FOOD things to get excited about. Take a minute right now (Now! Get out a pen and paper!) to jot down some non-food ideas for weekend fun.
Cutting back on calories, sugar, fat, salt, restaurant outings or any kind of food will be unbearably hard if you don't have plenty of other good things to replace the enjoyment.
I'd love to hear what you come up with! Have a great weekend!
You deserve a break today...
Do you work hard? Take care of lots of things and people? Do your best to do the right things and do them well?
Then you deserve a treat sometimes: Indulge!
It can either be something common, like wine, pizza or cake, where your treat will be over in a few short moments and you'll be left with only the memory, regret, fat and health consequences
It can be a satisfying healthy treat, like a bubble bath, massage, movie, nap, time alone, shopping fun, or other NON-EDIBLE reward that brings you comfort AND health.
Try to make the switch. Stop rewarding yourself with foods that indulge you for a minute but punish in the long term.
Make your list RIGHT NOW of non-edible rewards that you can seek next time you deserve a break. It's much easier to eat right once you have replaced the food rewards with something else.
Laughter is a good one, so please join us for Laughter Yoga (this Sunday 5pm, in Ellie's garden next to my Pasadena office, free, super-healthy, oddly addicting, RSVP if you want more information.)
Have a good week!
42: The secret to everything
If you ever read "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", then you know that the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything is 42. ...the joke is that nobody knows what the question is.
I think I found it: "How many times must you chew your food if you want to look, feel and be awesome?"
Research suggests that when you chew each bite 42 times, you:
--absorb more nutrients --feel more satisfied --pass less gas --get leaner without hunger --have less indigestion --prevent over-eating
(OK, the research uses 35-40 chews, but 42 can't hurt...)
I frequently speak to people who are certain they have a food allergy or serious digestive issue, only to learn that they feel fine if they just chew more. Remember, if you don't break down your food into really tiny pieces, and coat each one with saliva, your digestion is off to a bad start.
So aim for 42 chews and see if you can turn it into a habit. ...OK, maybe it's not the answer to everything in life, but see how far it takes you to feeling great and eating better.
Have a good week,
Boost Metabolism on the Dark Side
Get this: Research suggests that losing more weight could be as easy as making your bedroom darker at night. In a study with rats (not humans, granted), those that slept in low light conditions gained 50% more weight than those that slept in complete darkness.
Researchers believe it has something to do with your hormone melatonin, which can affect your metabolism.
Until they figure it out, it can't hurt to turn of the tv when you sleep, buy some window shades, or get a good sleeping mask.
Farewell Food Pyramid
Part of me is all excited to see what new food guidelines are announced tomorrow when the USDA officially replaces the old Food Pyramid. But part of me thinks no matter what they say, it won't matter because:
We all KNOW what we should eat. DOING it is the problem.
So here are my Food Guidelines for DOING it:
Plan and prepare.
Recognize when a food is addictive to you. Don't persist in trying to eat it in moderation if it acts like crack cocaine to your system. Giving it up is easier.
Don't feel bad when your will power fails. Instead, devise a plan to avoid relying on it.
Get enough sleep.
Don't be surprised when a lack of planning, time, sleep and attention lead to poor eating. Just carve out the time to do these things and you'll be back on track.
Tell as many people about your goals and ask for their help and support. Even if they don't help you via logistics or social support, you'll have extra accountability...so painful, but effective!
Never say "I blew it, so scr*w it." 90% of the damage happens after that. Doing your flawed best works wonders.
...and be a little skeptical of nutrition advice that comes from any government agency that once allowed ketchup to count as a serving of vegetables in schools.
Have a good week!
Olive Oil Blues
(If you find today's tip depressing, come to Laughter Yoga Sunday at 4pm...)
Olive oil is only healthy when...
You don't overheat it. Once it starts smoking, it has become carcinogenic, so use a different oil (like canola) for high temperatures.
It is protected from light and air. So keep it in a cool dark place, like under your sink. Once it is rancid, it's bad for you. If it smells rancid, throw it out.
You haven't been duped! Several disturbing articles have reported scandals and claim up to 80% of imported oils contain cheap filler products. See the August 13th, 2007 New Yorker article "Slippery Business" if you want to be informed (and really bummed out) about what may actually be in your fancy imported bottle. The only way to protect yourself--so they say--is to learn the taste of real pure olive oil. But how do you know when you've got it?! There is no sure way, but I use the Caltech olive oil as my "teaching oil" for my taste buds. Caltech picks the olives on campus, presses and bottles them nearby, and has no profit motive to scam us. That's my reasoning for trusting them. You can buy it at the Caltech book store on campus.
You watch the quantity. Remember that every tablespoon is 120 calories.
If you want to go even healthier, don't forget you can always choose actual olives! Put them in salads, or anywhere you'd use the oil for flavoring. There are 5-12 calories per olive, depending on size, so you can eat a bunch for the calories in one tablespoon of oil. The oil in the olives stays fresh and protected from light because of the antioxidants in the olive. Just remember they are salty, so you don't need to add extra salt to your dish.
Have a good week!
A Good Drinking Habit?
Hello! It feels almost as if I'm suggesting substance abuse here, but the research seems pretty strong that you might want to plan your daily drink schedule around...
1-2 cups of coffee, made fresh, about an hour before morning exercise (but not if you are pregnant.) This may help keep your brain and muscles youthful. 1-3ish cups of green tea, with a squirt of lemon to boost antioxidant effect. This may help fight aging, cancer and anxiety. It also appears to boost metabolism and fat-burning. Read your medication labels, though. Some forbid green tea. plenty of water
1-2 glasses of red wine (1 for women, 2 for men). This may protect your heart and help keep you youthful.
Keep in mind that wine can be counterproductive for weight loss or good sleep, and caffeine makes some people sleepless or miserable, so pay attention to what works for you personally. And if you can't stick to the moderate quantities, forget these altogether. Otherwise...
If you love coffee, you'll like the latest research suggesting that it can be good for keeping your brain and muscles youthful. Here are some details and tips from Ori Hofmekler, a coffee researcher who has great things to say about it:
--Avoid caffeine when pregnant. --Coffee before exercise (not after) is good for your workout and muscles. --Look for organic coffee. --Avoid coffee that doesn't smell fresh. It is likely rancid and has no benefits. --Buy whole coffee beans and grind them yourself, to get the most antioxidants. --Avoid putting hot coffee in plastic or styrofoam containers, where you may end up drinking unhealthy chemicals. --Instant coffee doesn't count. --Don't add sugar!
Benefits seem to come at around 2 cups per day. After that, I suggest switching to green tea.
Fending Off Sugar Cravings
This is a fabulous list for which I can't take credit. One of my super-wise clients compiled this list, to help battle the night time sugar cravings. Thanks, Linda!!! Reasons to avoid sugar:
1) Eating sugar causes blood sugar to spike – this leads to the body’s secreting insulin, which directs calories into storage as fat. (Glucagon is our friend in weight loss, triggering the release of calories from storage, but it only comes out to play when blood sugar is low.)
2) Eating sugar makes tastebuds less sensitive to the natural sweetness of fruits and vegetables – so we are not satisfied with those tastes, and we crave more artificial/refined sweet tastes.
3) Eating sugar (and other sweeteners??) may possibly affect the pleasure centers in our brains, dampening our ability to enjoy other pleasures in life.
4) Insulin spikes cause inflammation, which is the immune response, including production of white blood cells. Their job is to attack foreign matter, but if there’s nothing to attack, they can attack our own cells.
5) Processed sugar requires the body to expend minerals and vitamins to break it down, but unlike with fruit, there are no vitamins and minerals coming back in from the food. So eating sugar actually robs your body of nutrients.
6) Remember – unprocessed food changes the chemistry in your intestines, so they can absorb more calories.
7) Note: for 5-12 hours after you eat, your body chemistry is changed. a. 5-12 hours after consuming the sugar in two sodas, your white blood cells are 40% less effective at fighting off germs. b. After a fatty meal, you are more likely to have a heart attack in those hours. c. After a healthy, plant-based meal, you have more anticancer and germ killing properties.
8) Fructose (as in high fructose corn syrup) is conducive to cancer.
Dwell on THAT next time a cookie calls to you!
Thanks again, Linda!!
Proper care of antioxidants
Hello! Since healthy antioxidants in your food protect YOU from aging, cancer and disease, make sure you take care of THEM! Here are some ways: Store your olive oil, or any other oil, in a dark place, like under your sink.
Store your nuts and seeds in the dark...or better yet, in their shell Buy full-bean coffee and grind it yourself. Drink the water used to steam veggies. Add a squeeze of lemon to your tea. Don't add milk to your tea. Keep your tea in a mug with a top. These things will protect and/or boost the antioxidant effect. Do you feel younger already?
Have a good week!
Learn from Lent
Every year, when clients give up a bad eating habit for Lent (often sugar, soda, fried foods, etc.), I hear the same thing: That by the end of Lent, they no longer miss it. The cravings go away, the desire is diminished, it's EASY and automatic.
So why do most people take back their bad habits afterwards?!
Because they get curious. Or they do it out of habit. And it only takes a little to make all those cravings and desires come back. New research on processed foods is proving it's not just you...it's addiction.
So smarten up this time! Next time you endure the suffering of giving up a junky food, and get to that beautiful place where you don't miss it, DON'T GO BACK!
Have a good week,
Put lemons on your grocery list and...
A) Squeeze some in your tea to boost the antioxidant effect. B) Add some to your water to flush out bloating. C) Eat them when losing weight, to help prevent kidney stones. D) Use them to enhance the flavor of foods, in place of salt E) Put them on cooked meat, fish, and poultry, to reduce the slightly carcinogenic effect of cooking. F) Grate the rind on your oatmeal, yogurt or other foods, to help prevent skin cancer.
Better yet, plant a lemon tree in your yard!
Have a good week,
To Carb or Not to Carb
Hello! I bet you've heard conflicting advice about whether to eat or to avoid carbs before and after a workout. There are good reasons to do it either way, depending on your goals.
If your goal is primarily to burn fat, and you are not doing a killer workout, and you don't mind recovering less quickly or being more sore, go ahead and skip the carbs. This will help you achieve lower blood sugar, which promotes fat burning.
If your goal is to have good strength, speed, power, performance, or recovery and less muscle soreness, then eat more carbs before, after, or even during your workout. This will boost energy and preserve muscle glycogen. I know what you are saying: "I want both!" So here is my advice. Decide your goal for each workout and eat accordingly. If you are training hard for an event, for example, by all means eat carbs so your poor muscles can rebuild stronger. If you need your muscles to be fresh the following day, eat carbs. If you are doing an easy workout, or are doing your regular routine without need to build new muscle or recover quickly, consider foregoing the carbs and burning more fat. In either case, eating about 10g protein both before and after your workout will help you build or retain more muscle. Happy exercising! Jill
Routine Weight Gain
After 13 years in corporate HR, my husband is today officially starting his own software company. It reminds me that most health-conscious people gain weight whenever their daily routine changes.
It happens because your inner "Automatic Pilot" is disengaged. Now willpower has to step in to guide behaviors that were habitual. That's a lot of extra work!
My husband's healthy routine at Nestle was solid: Salmon salad lunch in the cafeteria and 2pm workout in the beautiful gym. No thought required.
Now his willpower has to keep him eating right and exercising until he finds a new habitual routine. Until then, the healthy lifestyle is fragile.
Habits and routines are the key! Protect them and take care to consciously plan new ones when your old ones don't work anymore.
Have a good week!
Don't be a sore loser
Hello Equinox Roadrunners!
Ever had such sore quads and glutes that you couldn't stand up from a chair (or toilet!) without wincing in agony? Muscle soreness is a sign of your exercise ambition, but it can also be a sign that you didn't eat enough carbohydrate and protein SOON ENOUGH after your last workout.
Remember the golden rule of recovery eating: The sooner the better.
Your muscle cells are like sponges, soaking up every bit of sugar and protein from your bloodstream, up until about an hour after a tough workout. This is your window of opportunity to help them recover faster and stronger, to avoid excess soreness, and to eat without concern that it will turn to fat. But it only lasts an hour.
The biggest mistake I see exercisers make is to undereat at this time. If you are trying to lose weight, it is tempting to do this, especially because a tough workout suppresses your appetite. Take my word for it: You need to eat more right after Gene kicks you rear, and then eat less at nighttime. That's the way to lose weight AND recover from your training session.
OK, have a good week! Feel free to send your questions my way.
Another Reason It All Matters
Last week I explained one reason that every tiny healthy behavior matters, even when it feels insignificant: It either strengthens or weakens a habit, which DOES make a big difference.
Here's another reason every tiny choice matters:
Research shows that every good healthy act makes the next one come a little easier. For example, once people start walking, they are more likely to quit smoking, and this makes them more likely to take on even more good habits, and so on.
That means each healthy act earns "compound interest". You know, it's the thing that turns a daily $1 investment into a million dollars at retirement because you keep earning interest on interest on interest...
It makes a small daily sacrifice turn into a pot of gold over time.
No individual dollar mattered very much, and yet... voila! A million bucks. Every healthy act is like one of those dollars invested. Give it time to earn interest.
OK, enough with financial metaphors. Can you tell I'm gearing up to work on taxes? Ugh. Have a good week!
Why "it doesn't matter" matters
It seems like many people, including weight loss experts, say "it doesn't make a difference" WAY too often. Just this week, I've seen and heard professionals say these healthy acts aren't really worth the trouble:
--Drinking cold water for the metabolism boost; because it only adds up to about 60 calories per day --Foregoing the cheese on your sandwich; because it only removes about 100 calories --Skipping the cake at a wedding; because weddings don't happen that often --Switching from low-fat milk to nonfat; because it only saves you 20 calories per cup
What short-term thinking! While each individual act is insignificant to your weight, they combine to make long-term habits that make ALL THE DIFFERENCE.
Need to see the math? The nonfat milk habit will take 8 sticks of butter off your body by the end of the year and the no-cheese on sandwiches habit will take off 40, if each habit is practiced daily. Isn't 48 sticks of butter off your gut a good payoff for a year's worth of relatively painless changes?
What's more, I've noticed that the weight loss Super-Succeeders have the attitude that "It all matters"...every single little victory.
So while it's true that each individual behavior doesn't make a noticeable difference to your weight, the ATTITUDE WHICH GUIDES IT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE. The behaviors, then, don't matter. They are just a side-effect of the attitude, which does.
Have a good week!
Oooh mommy, taste the umami!
Ever tried exotic, high-quality, fresh cooked mushrooms, like Candy caps, Porcini, Trumpet, Truffle (now much less expensive, because they are growing in the U.S.), or any of the dozens of others?
Wherever does all that amazing umami (savory) flavor come from?!
I don't know, but I DO know it doesn't come from sugar, fat, salt or anything else to feel guilty about. If you saute them with a little spray oil, lemon juice, garlic and a pinch of salt, they will taste better than any calorie-bomb splurge you might be wanting. Put them on top of any veggie or protein, put them in soup or just eat them alone.
My favorite place to get them is from Eddie, the "LA Fun Ghi", who has dozens of amazing choices. He is at:
Also, we have a few spots left for our workshop:
Burn More Fat at every Workout Saturday, February 26, 1-2pm La Canada Office RSVP if you'd like a spot.
Have a good week!
The Problem with Calorie-Counting
All kinds of websites and apps make it easier than ever to count calories, but here is the problem:
1) Research proves that most of us--even trained experts--underestimate portion sizes by about 30%. The app only counts what you SAY you ate, and you likely ate more.
2) Restaurant meals often have many more calories than the menus state. Nutrition researchers from Tufts report that the listed calories are frequently off by up to 100%. This is because the chef may not be following the recipes perfectly.
(Remember, every extra tablespoon of oil or butter is 120 calories. Every extra ounce of bread or flour is 100 calories. It adds up fast.)
3) Even if you perfectly determine the number of calories you EAT, you don't know how many you ABSORB. Dietary fiber, genetics and other factors can influence how many calories pass through.
So use a calorie-counter if it helps you, but remember its limitations. Your pants will often be a better judge of whether you are eating the right number of calories.
Have a good week!
Super Bowl Blood Sugar
If you are a Super Bowl fan, be on guard. Super Bowl Sunday is the second biggest eating day of the year, and much of the eating is so mindless that you don't even savor it!
(Thanksgiving is the biggest eating day, but does less damage, in my opinion, because at least some of the food is healthy.)
Dominoes and Pizza Hut deliver the most pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday: 3.5 million. The most chicken wings, chips and beer are consumed this day also.
Remember this: If you spike your blood sugar, you WILL store fat, and adrenaline gets your blood sugar higher to start with. The more hyped-up you get on adrenaline, the more low-carb your snacks should be.
Make a plan RIGHT NOW for how you won't mindlessly eat away the afternoon. Decide to either...
--have veggies available --chew gum instead of eating --sit far away from the snacks --brush your teeth right before the game, so you won't feel like snacking --tell your buddies you'll pay them $1 every time they catch you putting chips in your mouth --keep your hands busy with something besides food --keep a glass of water next to your beer and drink one-for-one --impress me with your other smart strategies!
OK, make me proud and GO PACKERS!
Have a good week,
How Super-Succeeders Do It
Will Power Battles.
We are accustomed to thinking these are inevitable parts of healthy permanent weight loss.
But "Super-Succeeders" manage to avoid all this pain and suffering. We can learn from them!
Over my 14 years of working with people, I've noticed that a small percentage of clients, my "Super-Succeeders", approach nutrition and weight loss differently, and get amazing lifelong results...WITHOUT THE STRUGGLE.
The great news is that their methods are ones that anybody can learn. They:
I'm so impressed by their smarter ways that I'm writing a book about it, and tomorrow I'll be sharing their tricks. Please join me for a small, informal discussion:
How the Super-Succeeders Do it: Lose Weight, Keep it Off, With the Struggle
Details: Saturday, January 29th 1-2pm La Canada Office (address below) No cost, but space is limited RSVP to this email
This really is the best stuff I've learned from my first 10,000 clients, and I believe it is the key to lifelong success. Simply by changing to their mindset, this approach has taken the struggle out of my personal weight management, and made me lose 5 more pounds without even trying. I am very excited about what these "Super-Succeeders" teach us. If you are working hard at your weight, I think I can save you some effort. Please join me!
(...and if you ARE one of these Super-Succeeders that showed me the way, THANK YOU for your example!)
All my best,
Sitting got you Stressed?
Did the recent news about how too much sitting can shorten your life get you squirming in your chair?
In case you missed it, experts report that prolonged daily sitting is its own health risk factor, meaning it's bad for you even if you get a daily workout . Bummer. Research showed that people who sat for more than six hours a day were nearly 20 percent more likely to die during the 14-year-study than people who sat for less than three hours daily.
One major reason was blood sugar. It turns out that sitting for a long time makes your body bad at drawing glucose out of your blood stream and into your muscle cells, where it can be burned.
If you are like me, and don't want to quit your job, here's one thing you can do:
Put less glucose into your bloodstream in the first place.
Reduce your intake of starches and avoid processed carbohydrates. Even wheat bread. Even cereal. Even "healthy" crackers. This will lower your blood sugar, sitting or not. You can make up the calories with proteins or healthy fats, which don't raise blood sugar.
OR you can get up and dance at your desk periodically. Your boss might not like it, but I'd sure support you!
Have a good week,
The Problem with SuperFoods
Next time you are thinking of jumping on the bandwagon of the hot, new SuperFood or product, remember yesterday's great ideas that backfired.
Remember these would-be (but weren't) SuperStars?
Margarine: We thought it was a great way to avoid saturated fat, and only made a much worse fat; trans fat. Raw Eggs: These were popular in the early days of weight lifting. Now we know that they can cause nutrient deficiences. Pom Wonderful Juice: Later disciplined by the FDA for false claims. Emergen-C: Ditto, but is still popular because people didn't hear the news. Soy Foods: Americans now eat so much in processed forms, that we are likely doing more harm than good. Vitamin C Mega-Doses: Shorten your life, but researchers aren't yet sure why. There are loads of other examples and this is why you may not want to be an early adopter of nutritional "hot trends."
Have a good week,
Brains need Carbs
Two weeks ago I recommended reducing your starch intake if you are worried about "sitting syndrome", where prolonged daily sitting can shorten your life, partially by raising your blood sugar.
Today I want to remind you that you do indeed need some carbs. Your brain can't use fat and protein for it's main fuel, the way that muscles are able to. Your brain needs carbs, and it needs quite a few. It's a hungry organ and it consumes about 100g or about 450 calories of carbohydrates every day.
So don't cut out your carbs completely...you'll get cranky, forgetful and the "brain fog" will set in. Fresh fruit, veggies, whole grains, and dairy all provide carbohydrates with loads of nutrients. Aim to eat enough of those to keep your brain well-fueled.
Finding the right quantity of carbs is admittedly tricky. If you are struggling, you can always come see us for help.
Have a good week,