“Bananas Are the Devil!” Should you stay away from ALL sugar?

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Recently where I work, we all had to attend a training course about health and fitness. The instructor made some really good points, but she made a really bad one too. Not in my class, but in others she apparently said, “bananas are the devil. They’re as bad as drinking a Mountain Dew.” Now, I wasn’t in this class (thankfully!!) but it was said enough that that phrase has been quoted and quoted in the halls here. Bananas are going to kill me!! NO THEY’RE NOT!

I am against this idea with all my heart and soul (and nutritional knowledge!) Say what you want about what it means, but I did pass the NASM nutrition course. And I lost 50 lbs while eating fruit 2-3 times a day. 

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Yes there is sugar in fruit (and veggies) but it is SO NOT AT ALL the same as a can of soda. Let’s break down sugar!

There are a few different kinds of sugar but to keep this as simple as possible, I’m going to stick to talking about sucrose and fructose. What’s the difference? Both are monosaccharides, aka simple sugars. But they are processed differently in the body. Sucrose is your “blood sugar.” It’s what gets broken down and used as energy or stored as glycogen. Unlike with fructose, insulin is secreted in response to sucrose with is what raises your blood sugar levels. Fructose is not the preferred energy source and does not cause insulin to be secreted. It is broken down in the liver and treated more like a fat, which can raise triglyceride levels.

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So does eating too much fruit cause weight gain? Yes, actually it does. A study had participants eating fructose as 25% of their diet. For a 2,000 calorie diet that’s 500 calories of fructose– that would take 20 apples to reach. 20 apples, every day? Yeah, don’t do that.

But every nutritionist, the FDA, WHO and FAO all say to eat fruit, usually 2-3 servings a day, as part of a balanced diet. In fact, dietitian Dr. Alan Barclay said in an interview:

Fruits are a core food and Australians only eat a piece a day on average which is appalling. The minimum recommended amount per day is two and anyone who suggests it contributes to obesity is wrong. We’re eating so little of fruit, how could it possibly be contributing to obesity when two-thirds of the population are overweight or obese. It’s absurd.

Humans have been eating fruits since the beginning of time! But what we haven’t been eating, what’s really changed in the Standard American Diet (SAD… literally) is the amount of added sugar we’re eating. Sugar is added to EVERYTHING. Natural and non-natural sugars and that is what is really killing us.

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Like Mountain Dew. So are bananas just as bad as drinking a Mountain Dew? Let’s take a look.

1 serving according to NLEA is 126 grams of banana (a medium sized one -ish) and according to Pepsico 1 serving of MD is 12 fluid ounces.

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You know what I also should have added to the ingredient list under bananas?? Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Panothenic Acid (all B vitamins), Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, and Selenium <– all micronutrients that are vital for living.

So tell me again how eating a banana (that will fill up your stomach and keep you full) is “just as bad” as drinking a MD??? To me, it’s not even close!

EAT YOUR DAMN FRUITS.

*Here, of course, is where I caution you and remind you it’s about balance and portion. But against dried fruit. I LOVE dried fruits.  I could eat a handful of dried bananas in one sitting… which could easily be the equivalent to eating 6 bananas at once. Has anyone ever sat down and eaten 6 fresh whole bananas??

Pick whole fresh fruits over dried. Pick dried over juice. Pick juice over… soda? Idk. Don’t bother drinking juice.

 

 

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VB6! What Is It and What Am I Eating?

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Have  you guys heard of VB6? I read this book a while ago and it really struck something in me… but then I didn’t change my eating habits. But last week I was listening to a podcast with Tig Notaro, who I adore, and she talks about going vegan (mainly for health concerns) and suggested people just give it a try for a few weeks. Well if Tig says so…

Ok, I’m not going 100% vegan, but I am following VB6. The idea is that you eat vegan before 6pm so basically breakfast and lunch and then a regular ol’ omnivorous dinner. (Really I’m going VB2am since that’s about when I eat dinner on night shift ha)

The best things is nothing is “off limits.” You can eat cheese and ice cream and steak and hot dogs, just you have to wait till dinner/dessert time. The goal is to shift you into eating more plant based whole foods and less processed foods, meats and dairy. Dairy is the easiest thing for me to give up which I am counting myself lucky about since I think more people with struggle with that.

So am I eating a salad every day for lunch? Well, yes and no! It’s not just lettuce and dressing and I definitely do not feel deprived!

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Someone PLEASE teach me how to be a food photographer!

There have been a couple “fails” (I don’t think I can get on board with nutritional yeast…) but I’m basically eating all my favorite foods just minus the meat and dairy. And there have been a few surprises. I was craving a BLT the other day so toasted some bread, added veganiase, tomatoes and avocado and YUM. It hit the spot more than I could’ve imagined.

I’m still trying to stop myself from eating all carbs and really focusing on fruits and veggies. But I am not worried about protein! I haven’t been monitoring my macros that closely but I am still getting a lot from beans and chickpeas, quinoa, and vegetables! Plus I usually do have meat at dinner.

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Eat all Salads!

 

Yay Salads! I think salads get a bad rap as diet food when 1) they can be delicious and 2) they can be calorie/fat/carb laden and ultimately not that healthy!  But I eat a lot of salads. They’re really versatile and can be really filling and healthy if you stick to whole foods and oil based dressings. In fact, I ate a salad every day so far this week!

Now, I originally was thinking this would be a “no lettuce salad” post, but then I realized that I put lettuce under that mess in the top picture.  It also kind of became a “1 grocery bag 4 lunches” post since I used the same few ingredients over and over. But when you’re just 1 person and you don’t want your food to spoil, you gotta use it up the best you can!

Also I really am trying to cut down eating meat and not cut down my protein intake so I’ve been experimenting with new vegan/vegetarian meals. So these are all dairy free and it would be super easy to just leave the meat out and they’d be vegan!

So here’s what I ate! (remember how great I am at taking food pics??)

Top picture: lettuce topped with black beans, corn, quinoa, tomatoes, and red onion. I also made an avocado cilantro dressing (that blob in the middle) that turned over pretty dense, almost a guacamole, but it was really yummy and mixed up really well in the salad. (Which reminds me! I used this same stuff as a spread on my black bean burger for dinner tonight! Yum.)

Bottom left: garbanzo beans (aka chick peas) with just tomato, avocado, cucumber and cilantro.

Middle left: quinoa, black beans, corn, tomatoes, green onion, cilantro, and topped with green chile pork. (I wanted it to look so pretty like those quinoa bowls you see on pinterest, alas… the toppings got a bit jumbled. Still tasty though!)
Bottom right: the common denominator here: avocado, tomato, red onion, and cilantro. This time with shrimp.

It does share a lot of the same ingredients but I promise, these little switches make it feel like I’m not eating the same thing day after day. Cuz I am not that kind of person who can eat the same things all week. I sometimes wish I was! It would be easier, wouldn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make A Plan to Eat Healthy Even When You Can’t Plan Everything

Sometimes, life is beyond your control. This week, I planned to go out to dinner with friends on Monday and ended up going out to eat 2 other times! I still lost weight so I’m stoked about that.

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And this week, I suddenly have to go out of town for a family emergency. There’s obviously a lot going through my mind, and “what am I going to eat?” is one of them. I feel selfish for even thinking of myself & food at a time like this. Weight loss itself, right now, is such a low priority but I also don’t want it to take up space in my mind when I should be focusing on other things. If that makes sense. I already went through the pantry and grabbed things that I can pack in my suitcase. (Things like protein bars and almonds. Plus I’ll run and grab fruit and veggies, like baby carrots and grape tomatoes that are easily portable. And I’ll boil some eggs to take on the go.)

But I’m sure there is going to be fast food stops in the future. Which causes me a little anxiety…

I’ve decided to just make a list now, with a clear head and full stomach of some viable options for me when the times comes that I need to stop at a drive thru.

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1000 Days

 

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1,000 Days! 

I haven’t had a sip of diet coke for one thousand days. This may not seem like that big a deal to you, but it’s crazy to me. I used to be addicted. I didn’t even realize how addicted I was until I told myself to quit drinking diet coke and found it very hard to stop! I wouldn’t bat an eye at having 4 cans a day. (and no water at all of course.)

I finally managed to kick the habit that doesn’t mean I still don’t think about it! Alllll this time later and I still think about it. It’s normally when I see someone with a dt. coke and I think about how I used to be. I cannot believe it was 1,000 days ago. It was a real struggle to tell myself not to drink one. I would literally have to tell myself no. One time a waiter confused me with my sister and put her soda in front of me and I was only half joking when I told both of them to “get that away from me.” Even now, the times that it pops into my head a little part of me thinks, “just one after all this time wouldn’t be so bad.” Addict.

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I think some people think you can’t be so addicted to DC or some people might think this is silly but it’s something I honestly have to deal with as part of my weight/health journey. 1000 days…

I am 1000% proud!!

 

Superbowl Party time!! Some Healthy Party Food Alternatives

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Who’s making this for me?

I love to watch football and I am one of those that gets excited for Superbowl Sunday! Unnnnfortunately I got mandated to work this Sunday so I’m going to miss the big game (don’t get me started…) but we’ll do a potluck here at work.

Potlucks can be scary because there’s lot of temptation and foods made of who knows what, but all you can do is make good decisions and try and provide some good (still tasty, maybe doesn’t have to be 100% clean) options.

  • Chicken Teriyaki meatballs with a low sugar marinade/sauce
  • DIY taco bar where you can set out cheese, guac, sour cream for guests/ coworkers but stick to the salsa and beans for yourself. And maybe use turkey meat or 90% ground beef.
  • Sliders where you can swap the bun for lettuce wraps
  • Deviled eggs with hummus or avocado instead of mayo? Sam’s Choice makes a Smoky Sweet Onion mustard that I have fallen in love with and use it on pretty much everything!
  • My friend gave me the recipe for a quinoa salad that’s super easy and delicious. Just quinoa with chopped veggies (tomatoes, red pepper, jalapeno, red onion) and cilantro and feta. That’s it! All mixed up.
  • Turkey pinwheels with low carb/ high fiber tortillas and stuffed with extra veggies
  • Antipasto with meats, olives, cheese if your diet allows.

And to top it off, moderation is always key. Have a bite of this and a taste of that but don’t load up your plate and eat till you want to explode. Enjoy the game! Bet on your office pool. Laugh at the dumb commercials.

Go (your team name here)!!

 

I ate a Donut! And it was okay (the action, not the taste. It tasted delicious!)

I was overweight for a long time. There are psychological affects that linger when you’re constantly scanning and finding you’re the biggest girl in the room. I’ve had an unhealthy relationship with food for so long; it got better when I finally took control and lost the weight but there are some old habits I’ve found myself falling back on.

before-and-after

Just recently I’ve decided to address some of these issues head on. One of them is my binge eating.I don’t think it would surprise anyone to learn that a girl who was almost 200lbs would binge but even 40 lbs lighter, I still have these episodes. I am not 100% comfortable getting into specifics but it’s something that’s there in my life and something I have to deal with. Like that HIMYM episode about baggage. Well my carry on reads “binge eater.”

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I was talking to someone recently who understand what I’m going through and he suggested this exercise to me. He told me to eat one donut and my response was, “I’ve never eaten just one donut.” Here’s what I did:

After work, a time when I’m tired and my cravings for junk are in full force, I went to my favorite donut place, Bosa. Donuts are a huge “trigger food” for me. I told myself I was going to buy one and only one donut, so when I went in I chose very carefully. I wasn’t allowing myself to have alllll the flavors so I had to pick a good one. I went with the kind with peanuts on top!

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Then I ate it there. I didn’t eat in the car. I didn’t eat it at home in secret. I ate it out in the open because what I was doing was okay. It wasn’t shameful. And I savored every bite. I didn’t watch TV or listen to a podcast. I didn’t go on FB or IG. I paid attention to what I was eating.

And I told myself what I was doing was a good thing! I repeated it in my head. It didn’t matter how many calories, grams of fat, grams of sugar this food had. I wasn’t “ruining” or “cheating” on my diet. I wasn’t a failure for giving into temptation or going off the rails. I was 100% in control. And it felt really good.