Category Archives: Nutrition/Eating
Food is a big part of our lives, it gives us energy, it brings friends and family together, and most of all it does not judge you. It just looks at you and says, “Eat me friend, I am here for you”
Then, I and the food, run across a field at each other in slow motion, meeting in the middle, gazing at one another as if finally meeting your… Ok this has gone on long enough.
Ok, back to the point of this post.
It has become very trendy to try and eat all natural and organic foods. These foods are supposedly healthier for you, due to the fact that they have not been injected with HGH and other meat enhancing drugs, or MEDs* for short, and the fact that they cost more then ordinary foods. As we all know, the more it costs the better it is.
When you see ‘all natural’ you may think it is the same as buying organic. Natural means it should be from nature and nature does not use HGH and pesticides. Organic means coming from living matter. They both sound the same. So are they?
Not if you ask the USDA. The USDA has two very different criteria for what qualifies as natural and what is organic.
The term natural is meant to imply that the food was minimally processed and does not contain manufactured ingredients. The thing is, the government does not have a specific definition of the term natural and does not regulate the use of the term on products.
Artificial colors or flavors, artificial preservatives, and irradiated products/ingredients.
Pesticides and herbicides, GMOs, antibiotics, and growth hormones.
If GMOs and growth hormones are allowed in production then natural foods do not sound all that natural. Added to that is the fact that they are loosely regulated and no one has to tell how the food/animals were raised.
USDA Certified Organic
The term organic is well defined you can read it here if you want the nitty gritty of it.
Here is the short and sweet of what needs to be fulfilled to get a USDA Organic sticker on your products.
– No human sewage fertilizer used for animal feeds or plants
– No synthetic chemicals
– Farmland has to be free from prohibited synthetic chemicals
– No GMOs, Antibiotics, Growth Hormones
– Animals must be on pasture for pasture season
– Organic products separated from non- certified products
– Undergo on-site inspections
Putting It All Together
If you plan on spending money on so called, ‘all natural’ foods, then save and just buy generic. At least you know that they are not putting crap in your food. There is a chance that the company that puts ‘all natural’ on their products is actually following the loose set of guidelines that is not regulated by any second party. I mean hell, food companies are known for their honesty after all.
If you are trying to eat organic then make sure it is USDA certified organic. This is the gold standard in organic food. Don’t waste your money on foods that claim to be all natural. Either buy the generic or spend a little more and get the good stuff. Don’t pay more by straddling the fence on so called all natural foods.
*This is a made up acronym so do not think that MED stand for Meat Enhancing Drugs
If I have not mentioned it before, I love food. Or, I should say, I love eating food. The sad thing is, it does not even have to be good food. Most people will try something and if they don’t like it, they will just stop eating it. I, on the other hand, will realize that what I am eating tastes like garbage, but instead of doing the obvious and just stop eating, I will proceed to tell everyone how bad it is while I continue to eat the thing that I just got done saying tasted like a fresh diaper. Needless to say, I really enjoy eating.
(Warning Random Thought)
As a side note, I really did not like the movie Charlotte’s Web. It had way too much singing in it for my liking, even as a child. But it had one great scene in it that sums up my love for food. Here it is.
Wow, can you find any better choreography and cinematography in a children’s film? I think not.
A common question with us red-blooded food lovers is, how many meals should we eat throughout the day? If it were up to me, it would be every minute of every day, other then when I am sleeping. But this dream is just not possible, if I want to live a healthy life.
So is the answer three meals a day; the classic breakfast, lunch, dinner combo. Or is it 6 to 8 smaller meals throughout the day. How about only two large meals? Is any one way superior to the other? Some would argue, yes. Here is my take on the whole matter of meal frequency.
Goal of Eating
Like so many things in our lives it all starts with a goal. It is no different when choosing your meal frequency.
The over-all reason for eating is to fuel and replenish your body so it can function at its fullest potential. I would like to think eating could be a hobby, the real American pastime.
Looking at eating as strictly eating to fuel our bodies and not as a social, out of boredom, or hobby, is how we should look at eating the majority of the time. This is not to say that you should never just eat to eat, or to take a person of the opposite sex out to a nice dinner every once in a while.
People get caught up in eating three times a day because it is what they have done their whole lives. They think this is the right way to eat just because they have done it that way. You also have the people that eat small frequent meals thinking it will keep their metabolism up all throughout the day. This has been shown to be untrue in resent research.
There is the intermittent fasting group, the carb back loading group, and the palio group. (Have you noticed if someone is on the palio diet they will somehow work it into the conversation to let you know they are on the palio diet)
None of these styles of eating is right or wrong. They can all be very effective if it’s the right fit for your style of living. Some will prefer the sit down three large meals a day, for their life is able to support it. A mother that is always on the go may do better with unplanned small snake like meals throughout the day. As long as you are getting enough to eat and not eating a bunch of junk foods throughout the day, you will be fine with whatever eating style you choose.
What meal frequency comes down to, is what works for you. This depends on your daily schedule, the amount of food you need to eat, when you workout, and how you like to eat.
Eating frequent meals throughout the day does not work for me. It makes me want to eat all the time, causing me to snack more then I should. I usually start eating after my workout. I work out around 11:30, so I eat around 1:00. Then I’ll eat one last large meal at night. I do this because I enjoy eating large amounts of food at one time and because eating at night, 2 hours or so before bed, also prevents me from snacking.
I am also not locked into any one style if I know that I am going out to eat or traveling I may not eat anything all day. I will wait till dinner to eat so I can enjoy my meal and not just eat rabbits food and when it comes to traveling I know I will end up eating like crap so I just plan accordingly. This is what works for me. This style does not fit everybody’s life style. So find what works for you and do you.
You should always eat after your workout. Other then that, you can eat as many or as few times a day as you want. Just make sure you are eating enough food. A diet should not be something you force into your life, it should fit your life. This way you will stick to a healthy eating life style.
I was inspired this week to make a list of quick and easy ways to get protein into your system after your workout.
I have noticed all to often that after a sweet swole sesh athletes and common folk alike do not replenish their bodies with proteins. Now they could be going home and getting some great protein at home, which is what I would like to believe, but I know better.
Protein helps rebuild muscle that has been broken down, a not as well know fact about protein is that it also helps decrease muscular soreness. So eat that protein to get the most out of every workout, and for athletes a carb/protein mix would be best.
Here is a list of some great places to get quick protein.
Greek Yogurt: 14g Protein
This is the most delicious option in my opinion (as long as you don’t get the plain ones), and their easy to eat and portable.
Protein Supplement: 20+g Protein
The classic protein shake/bar is not a bad way to go. It’s quick and easy to make and drink/eat. Just make sure a reliable company is producing the stuff.
Milk: 8g Protein
Can’t go wrong with milk, whether its white or chocolate. The good old Moo Juice has been shown to be just as effective as protein supplements for rebuilding muscle.
Cheese/Cottage Cheese: 26g Protein
I love the cottage cheese, but the texture is not for everyone or the taste. That’s why I like to mix some fruit into it or anything that is somewhat health to make it taste better.
Almonds: 6g Protein
Almonds, peanuts, nuts in general are a good way to get protein and carbs into you after a workout.
Eggs: 6g Protein
The only draw back to eggs is you have to cook them before hand but either way they are a great option.
Canned Tuna: 40g Protein
Tuna is so protein dense but I have not been able to find a way to make it taste good and on top of that I hate opening cans with a can opener. If you can get over these facts then it’s a great option.
Those are my recommendations for quick protein sources, but don’t forget about animal meat. It is by far the best place to get your proteins.
It’s Christmas, the time of giving and receiving, friends and family, and mounds of food. It would seem as if the holidays were bent on ruining your fitness goals. With going to holiday work parties, friends parties, family parties, and you get the point there is a lot of parties to go to, which means a lot of chances to slip up in a span of a week. The only chance that you have of surviving the holiday is hoping the Mayans were right about the 21st, and if that’s the case you might as well party.
All joking aside here are four ways to keep you on track with your fitness goals during the Christmas season.
The good thing about Christmas parties is that they are not last minute occurrences, there is a good chance you have known of the party for a week or have been told a few days before hand.
This is plenty of time to change your eating habits for the day of the party. What you need to do is eat light throughout the day. Have a light breakfast and lunch and save your calorie intake for the mounds of food, which is assuredly to be there.
You don’t want to miss out on all the eating and merriments that will ensue because you are worried about your caloric intake. Planning ahead of time will allow you to not be seen as the Christmas party food Nazi Grinch.
Similar to eat light to eat late, is the idea of just eating late.
What? Isn’t that the same thing as above?
Yes and no, with the above I suggested to snake lightly throughout the day so you can consume the majority of your calories in the PM.
This is more of an intermittent fasting approach. If you are not familiar with IF it’s a planed period of not eating for an extended period of time, usually more then 12 hours.
How this works is you just don’t eat until the time of the party. Sounds hard but its not. This will allow you to eat to your harts content. And maybe over the course of the 12+ hours of not eating you will have gained more control over your eating habits.
From my personal experience with this technique, I have found that after not eating for a long period of time it is hard to eat a lot. You my feel hungry after the IF but you will find that you will feel full very quickly. Allowing you to eat your foods but prevent you form over eating.
I got this idea from Greg Robins over at Cressey Performance.
When it comes to portion control there is no bigger factor then the size of plat you are eating on. You can only put as much food on the plate that is permitted by the circumference of the plate. Simple put larger circumference = more food, smaller circumference = less food.
If you have a choice of a dinner plate or a smaller dessert plate pick the dessert plate. This will limit the amount of food you can take at any one time.
When you’re faced with the choice between succulent animal flesh and doughy goodness. Load up on the meat and go light on the pastas and breads.
People can eat around ten thousand plus calories in one meal, if it consists of carbohydrates and fats, but it has been shown that it is hard for the body to process more then two thousand calories in one meal if made up of high protein foods. This is because protein is able to make you feel fuller for a longer period of time, compared to carbohydrates and fats.
FYI desserts, breads, and alcohol are all high in either fats, carbohydrates, or both.
Save your food intake for the party or the big meal, whether that is by eating light early on or fasting before hand. Take a smaller plate to control your portions and stick to high protein foods over doughier fattier foods.
If you have any other good tips for eating or staying health over the holidays, feel free to share them in the comment section.
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Athletes and lifter alike have been searching for the best times to eat their nutrients, to optimize results. That is why research in nutrient timing is so big. So what is the best time to drink your protein shake and ingest your carbohydrates? There are many questions and variables to consider.
Here is what some of the research is saying about nutrient timing.
Before Working out
It has been suggested that you should eat protein and carbs before your workouts to help increase your performance. The idea is that your muscle will have plenty of muscle glycogen to pull from throughout the workout. Giving your body ample energy stores to keep you fueled throughout your workout. Ingesting protein is supposed to supply your body with plenty of amino acids to help with muscle growth. The question is, does any of this really help improve your workouts?
Research looking at carbs before exercise show that there was no improvement in training performance with carbs(3). This was also found to be true with protein alone and carbs plus protein (1).
It would seem that your workouts would not be improved with ingesting protein and carbs directly before a bout of exercise. This is not to say you should not have anything before going to the gym. It is just saying that it will not increase performance, it is still important to be hydrated and if you like to have a snack before, go for it.
Similar to eating before working out, it is also believe that eating during workouts will help you last longer and be able to perform at your best.
No surprise, the research does not back any of these claims. What is does say is that ingesting carbs during exercise will not help you lift any more and ingesting a protein carb mix does not benefit you but it will not hurt you either (3,4).
What this all means is that for now taking in carbs and protein during exercise will not necessarily help or hurt your progress. Which can be interpreted as there needs to be more research done. It comes down to personal preference, if you want to eat something, then eat something.
Post workout protein shakes have been a staple for most for years, and for good reason too. This goes for eating carbohydrates post workout as well. By ingesting a carbohydrate protein mix, this will insure that your muscle glycogen stores are filled and ready for your next workout and also increase protein synthesis, which leads to muscle growth. Protein has also been shown to prevent muscle soreness or DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness (2).
Taking in protein and carbs post workout is seen as the best time to take in your nutrients, when your body is low after its bout of exercise. By doing so you will ensure that you are getting the nutrients your body need to build muscle and recover. Leading to better results and a better looking sexier you.
If you did not read the first three sections it’s ok, because I am going to sum every thing up in one sentence.
Taking carbs and protein directly before and during a workout will not increase performance, but post workout eating is essential to muscle health and recovery.
1. Baty, J., & Wang, B. (2007). The effect of a carohydrate and protein supplement on resistance exercise performance, hormonal response, and muscle damage. J Strength Cond Res, 21, 321-329.
2. Jackman, S., & Witard, O. (2010). Branched-chain amino acid ingestion can ameliorate soreness from eccentric exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 42, 962-970.
3. Kulik, J. R., & Touchberry, C. D. (2008). Supplemental carbohydrate ingestion does not improve performance of high-intensity resistance exercise. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 22(4), 1101-1107.
4. Stearns, R. L., & Emmanuel, H. (2010). Effects of ingesting protein in combination with carbohydrate during exercise on endurance performance: A systematic review with meta-analysis . Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(8), 2192-2202.
Most people love to eat, hell America in general loves to eat that’s why we are number one at being fat and also number one at eating hot dogs, shout out to Joey Chestnut, America! I love to eat, I don’t know what I think about more, food or hot chicks looking hot, it’s a toss up.
What can I say, America and I love to eat and a lot of it. So here are 5 tips to help control your eating and to prevent you from overeating.
This is not a new idea; thirst and hunger are often confused. Lots of times when you think your hungry you are actually thirsty. Your stomach does not know the difference between food and water. By drinking water your stomach may actually think it is full. If after drinking some water you still feel hungry, you may actually be hungry. Water is a good way to find out if you are truly hungry. So drink up.
Make your home a safe place
This is a no brainer. If you have troubles snacking or have a ravenous sweet tooth, then you should not have the temptation of junk food around the house. You control what you buy for food, so make sure your house is full of good healthy foods.
If you can’t live without snacks, which is bull, then make sure they are individually packaged. It’s easier to eat a whole bag of chips at one time then it is to eat a bunch of little individual bags of chips.
Shop smart and keep your house a safe haven from the temptation of junk food.
Go to bed
You have heard the saying, “Nothing good happens after 12 o’clock”. Well I have discovered a new saying when pertaining to eating, “Nothing good happens after 10 o’clock”. If you think about it when was the last time you felt hungry after 10 o’clock and made a good food choice. Most likely you went to the freezer and got a bowl of ice cream or grabbed something high in refined carbs and sugars.
Instead of staying up and falling pray to your hunger, grab some water and head to bed. More sleep is something we all need. It’s a win win, you get to control your hunger and also increase your number of z’s.
Go to restaurants that have website
Why go to restaurants that have websites? Because you can see their menu before you go. If you know what you are going to order before hand, than you are more likely to make a good food choice.
A side note, any local eating challenges are not worth it. Just watch an episode of Man Versus Food. No ones is impressed, Adam Richman.
Cheat you say? Yes, cheat I say. Cheating is a necessity when it comes to eating healthy, a little bit of an oxymoron. If you don’t reward yourself once in a while then you are likely to crack and go on an eating frenzy. When you do plan on cheating make sure you know what you are going to eat and when you are going to eat it. 90% of your eating should be healthy, clean eating, any more then this may result in not reaching your health goals.
When it comes to cheating you must know yourself. You must know how much you can cheat and how often you can do it. Cheat too much and it can lead to a slippery slope of cheating all the time. I recommended once a week and slowly decrease it to once a month. Everyone is different. For me, I try to do it once a month. Any more then that and I end up cheating almost every day.
When it comes to eating success you can implement all the tricks you can think of, but what it really comes down to is making the right decisions day after day after day and making healthy eating a habit. Control is the name of the game; learn to control your appetite and you will be successful. There will be times you over eat, it happens to everyone, and its OK from time to time, just pick yourself up and start right back to where you were.