As a health coach, I have had dozens of people provide me with their definitions of “healthy living” and “healthy eating”. Although they’ve made an appointment with me, these people are pretty sure they have most things health figured out and are proud to share the rules they have imposed on their kitchens. The problem is, the difference between good and bad eating habits isn’t aways black and white.
It’s easy to get caught up and confused by the overload of information about nutrition out there, especially because some of it is contradictory. Enchanted by the latest celebrity endorsement or buzzword of the day, well-intentioned dieters easily make misguided decisions, setting rules and restrictions based on good intentions but not actual science. Here are the health traps I see people fall into most often, habits that actually aren’t all that healthy in the long run.
1. The Fat Fearers
Yes, large amounts of saturated fats found in steaks and candy bars can increase your risk for cardiac events, but don’t forget the good fats! “Low-fat” products simply replace the fat with more chemicals and sugar and should be avoided in favor of full-fat options. It’s also smart to add in more healthy fats like those found in avocado, olive oil, and flax seeds to feel full and satisfied with each meal.
2. The Cheating Vegetarian/Vegan
No question that a plant-based diet is a safe bet for overall health. More and more people are experimenting with vegetarianism and veganism and that is wonderful! But did you know products like Oreos are vegan? A lot of new vegans do—and they’re filling up on them! The idea behind vegetarian and vegan diets is to have most all of your food sources come from natural fruits, veggies, beans, legumes, seeds, and good fats (with the occasional cookies of course!). Eating packaged junk like mac & cheese and veggie pizza means you avoid meat, but these diets don’t satisfy the plant-based foods requirement. To do this diet right, make one of our meat free recipes, like these delicious vegetarian stuffed peppers. (more…)
By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist
Showing a little more skin now that the weather has warmed up? In addition to sunscreen and moisturizers there’s another equally important way to care for your skin—from the inside. Just as there are nutrients particularly critical for the eyes, brain and heart, certain vitamins and phytonutrients are key to radiant, clear skin. By happy coincidence, many of those nutrients are in abundance in spring and summer produce. So, make sure to toss the following in your cart:
Cantaloupe and strawberries. They’re rich in vitamin C, which nourishes skin in two ways. As an antioxidant, this vitamin helps destroy skin-damaging free radicals caused by UV light. Plus, vitamin C is needed to form the protein collagen, which firms up skin and gives it elasticity.
Ever feel like your cereal box is staring at you? If you do, you’re not alone. New research from Cornell University Food and Brand Lab shows the somewhat creepy, blank stares of popular cereal mascots are designed to specifically to stare you down as you decide which brand to buy. They’re also probably part of the reason kids seem to be drawn to sugary, less healthful brands.
The study also found what most of us already know. In stores, cereals targeted at children tend to be on lower, easy-to-reach shelves. They’re also at an optimal height to be in kids’ lines of sight. Healthier “adult” cereals tend to be placed higher up and out of kids’ easy reach.
Enjoying the taste of eating right is something we do every day at DietsInReview, so we were thrilled to discover “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” was this year’s theme for National Nutrition Month!
Every year, March is set aside to celebrate health, especially nutrition. With a theme like this year’s, we knew we had to do something more than share nutrition tips. Instead we reached out to some of our favorite Registered Dietitians and asked them to share their recipes that are the perfect combination of eating right and eating well.
Earlier in the month, the Huffington Post reported that more than sixty percent of adults in England are overweight or obese. We’ve written about this before, but the trend seems to be growing—along with people’s pant sizes. Apparently Jamie Oliver‘s healthy food habits haven’t caught on in his homeland. (Maybe it’s time he turn his focus back to the U.K. after working on our American health habits!)
But wait. The United States hasn’t exactly gotten on board with healthy eating either: the nation had the highest obesity rate of all countries, as of March 2013: a reported 2/3 of all adults (people over 20 years of age) are overweight and an approximate 1/3 of Americans are obese. Right below the United States is Mexico, who has an obesity rate of about 25%.
I’ve often joked that the only reason baked chips are listed as healthier than their traditional counterparts is because you get less product per bag. Apparently, my jokes weren’t too far from the truth.
We’ve discovered that Baked Cheetos in particular actually have 70 more calories than their crunchy counterparts. It’s an excellent example of how “positive” branding can make a consumer assume a product is healthy, even when it isn’t.
This is what’s known as a health halo. It’s the perception that one thing is healthy or has healthy qualities because something with similar qualities is healthy. Using the Cheetos example; we know baked foods are usually healthier than fried foods, so when consumers see the word “baked” on a label, they assume the product is better for them.
Health halos aren’t limited to Cheetos. You don’t have to search the grocery shelves too hard to find other foods getting more glory than they deserve. (more…)
It used to be that eating disorders were just about being thinner than everyone else. But that’s no longer the case. Now you have to be stronger, fitter, and healthier than everyone else too. Since this week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (February 24-March 1) it seems like the perfect time to talk about the new ways disordered eating is surfacing.
Though not an officially recognized eating disorder, there is a growing trend in orthorexia or an obsession with health. Many people, especially teenagers, associate health with the number on the scale or how they look in the mirror. Both of those can be good baseline for determining health, but there’s a lot more to it than how big your thighs are.
Eating before a workout can help prevent low blood sugar and fatigue—both of which can greatly decrease your exercise performance! What you eat will vary based on the time of day, what you’re doing for exercise, and how long you plan to be active. Prior to exercise, your main focus should be carbohydrates. It’s good to have little bit of protein and fat as well- make sure that your carbohydrate ratios are a little higher. It’s best to eat both simple and complex carbohydrates before working out to get a good balance of quick and slow-released energy.
Fats and proteins take more time to digest, so they will help keep your stomach satisfied so that it’s not growling while you’re at the gym. Protein will work on repairing muscles after your workout is over (and at that point, it’s good to consume more). In general, fiber is your friend—but not before a workout. Ingesting too much fiber before a gym session could leave in a pretty uncomfortable situation! If you have no problems digesting dairy, having a little bit before you exercise is just fine. However, just like fiber—stay away from it if you have any digestion issues.
Here are a few simple options to eat before exercising:
Whole Grain Toast with Peanut Butter and Honey
One slice of whole grain bread or toast topped with one tablespoon of peanut butter and one teaspoon of honey (or sliced banana) provides a great source of carbohydrates, plus a little bit of protein and fat. This snack is easily digestible and will provide a quick source of energy.
The minds behind Sullivan Higdon & Sink’s (SHS) FoodThink are at it again, and this time they’re taking a good look at the how and why of eating healthy. Their new white paper, “Our Appetite for Healthy Eating,” covers everything from attitudes about healthy foods to our attempts to eat right.
According to research conducted by SHS, 61 percent of Americans make the commitment to eat healthy. Of course, there’s a lot of variation in that claim.
From “Our Appetite for Healthy Eating”: Organic shoppers, for instance, are 31-percent more likely to say they’re committed to healthy eating. On the other hand, those who believe their cooking skills to be sub-par are 13-percent less likely to say they’re committed to healthy eating.