Saturday, October 3, 2015

Random Thoughts on Nutrition and Food: October Edition

Over the years, my favorite posts to write have been my "Random Thoughts" pieces. Effectively, they are just "brain dumps" on a particular topic; they aren't really clearly constructed arguments. It occurred to me the other day that - after years of putting youth sports performance front and center- I've accumulated a lot of useful tips and information on nutrition. So, here's a brain dump on the subject!

Most folks associate doughnuts as a “poor’ food choice. But consider these 31 foods that have more sugar than a doughnut. 

Added sugars hide in 74 percent of processed foods under more than 60 different names.

Seemingly healthy smoothies, salads, oatmeal, and yogurt often have more sugar than a doughnut (or several).

Bottom line, if you eat processed foods, consuming significantly more than the recommended daily amount of sugar is far easier than you might think.

Consider this nutrient and flavor packed alternative for a quick and easy breakfast:

They took organic gluten free rolled oats and infused pea and rice proteins along with real dried fruit and nuts.  The result is amazing!

Simply add 8oz of unsweetened coconut, almond, or cashew milk and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. The next morning you have the perfect breakfast, Overnight Oats.

Only 5 grams of sugar, packed with protein, fiber and healthy fats for long-lasting energy for optimal concentration and performance in the classroom and on the field of play!

Potassium plays a vital role in heart health, digestive, and muscular function, bone health, and more.

Only 2 percent of US adults get the recommended daily amount of 4,700 milligrams of potassium.

Potassium needs to be kept in proper balance with sodium in your blood; if you consume too much sodium, which is common if you eat a lot of processed foods, you’ll have an increased need for potassium.

Increasing calcium intake through dietary sources or supplements is unlikely to improve bone health or prevent fractures, conclude two recent studies published this week. Collectively, these results suggest that increasing calcium intake, through supplements or dietary sources, should not be recommended for fracture prevention.

But we’ve always been told we need calcium for stronger bones? There is some true to this conventional wisdom however it sorely neglects this critical element:

As I'm certain you’ve heard by now, vitamin D is a critical nutrient for optimal health and is best obtained from smart sun exposure. However, many are taking oral vitamin D, which may become problematic unless you're also getting sufficient amounts of vitamin K2.

Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue, a naturopathic physician with a keen interest in nutrition, has authored one of the most comprehensive books on this important topic, titled: Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life

"When you take vitamin D, your body creates more of these vitamin K2-dependent proteins, the proteins that will move the calcium around. They have a lot of potential health benefits. But until the K2 comes in to activate those proteins, those benefits aren't realized. So, really, if you're taking vitamin D, you're creating an increased demand for K2. And vitamin D and K2 work together to strengthen your bones and improve your heart health.

... For so long, we've been told to take calcium for osteoporosis... and vitamin D, which we know is helpful. But then, more studies are coming out showing that increased calcium intake is causing more heart attacks and strokes. That created a lot of confusion around whether calcium is safe or not. But that's the wrong question to be asking, because we'll never properly understand the health benefits of calcium or vitamin D, unless we take into consideration K2. That's what keeps the calcium in its right place."

As quick aside when ever possible I like to get my nutrients from food and the best food sources of K2 are natto (fermented soybeans) and Gouda cheese.

If those foods aren't an option due to any number of reasons (I hear natto is AWFUL!) make sure you select a supplement with vitamin D3 and K2 in a balanced formula.

Hamburgers from these restaurant chains could lead to serious health issues

Chipotle’s and Panera Bread were the only fast food chains that earned “A” ratings; they are the only two that transparently affirm the majority of the meats served come from antibiotic-free producers.

Most fast food restaurants are still serving meat and poultry raised on antibiotics, despite the known health risks. Of the 25 restaurant chains included in the report, 20 received a “Failing” score.

The US uses nearly 30 million pounds of antibiotics each year to raise food animals. This accounts for about 80 percent of all antibiotics used; nearly 70 percent of which are medically important for humans.

The best option for a high quality burger is making your own with local pasture raised beef/turkey/lamb. But short of that I have discovered a very good and affordable option very close by, Moo Cluck Moo.

 As luck would have it you can get high quality meat and all natural gouda (and the vitamin K2 that comes with it) with their October specials.

If you stray from a diet, focus on your next meal, not the next day!

When it comes to "healthy" nutrition, I'll often hear of people "falling off the bandwagon" for a meal - and it leading to several days of poor food choices. For this reason, I always encourage folks to "right the ship" as quickly as possible.

If you go out with friends and indulge, break down and have a few cookies, or just aren’t prepared and have to settle for whatever’s on hand, don’t give up hope for the day and plan to start over tomorrow. Tomorrow may turn into the next day, and into the next day. So what do you do?

Gather your losses and do better on your next immediate meal, instead of restarting the next day. Don’t let a bad meal turn into a bad day of eating.

This is also one reason why I don't generally advocate full-on "free" days, where folks eat anything they want as a means of "de-stressing" from six days per week of quality nutrition adherence. It's a lot easier to get things back on track after a single bad meal (whether planned or unplanned) than from a full day. One "less than ideal" meal choice won't sabotage your results over the long-term but a series of them certainly will!

That does it for this round of random thoughts on nutrition. I will definitely do it again, as they really rolled off my fingertips!

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