Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Love/Hate Relationship of Breakfast

Here's a thought that has been on my mind a lot lately--breakfast.  I love it.  I have to have it.  I just am starving after not eating for so long, and look forward to what is in store for me.  Perhaps, it was simply instilled in me by my mom that, "you have to eat your breakfast, so your brain can function."  Well, duh.  That's seems like a legit reason, right?  Well, for some it may, but for others who are looking for some more reasoning--this one is for you.

I attempted to locate a number of reliable sources about breakfast and whether or not it is necessary, beneficial, etc.  I think my most recent interaction with my nutritionist about two years ago, really sets the standard (for me at least) that some with a lot more education than me believes breakfast is good for you, and with the correct portioning and things to eat, it will help you maintain (or change) your health and weight.  My breakfast plan is a carb (a GOOD one, not just a white flour, high calorie bagel smothered w/ cream cheese!), a protein, a fat, and a fruit.  Actually, my breakfast is slightly more calories than my lunch.  Now, what exactly should be eaten may be swayed by the parties funding the research, i.e. Kelloggs sugary cereal.

From the British Journal of Nutrition (1997), 78, 197-198:  "Despite the fact that breakfast follows the longest 'fast' of the day and, therefore, would seem to be an important opportunity for 'refueling', a significant minority of people rarely eat breakfast, and for those who do, breakfast is typically the smallest of three 'main' meals."  And just think, that is from 1997.  Flash forward ten plus years later and where do we stand?  I didn't find any actual statistics, but considering we are noted to be the most unhealthy and obese country, I would say things don't fare much better.

An article titled "The New Science of the Loneliest Meal" may touch on an idea that causes us to avoid the one meal we tend to eat alone.  Amanda Fortini advises that the "national survey data cited b the Breakfast Research Institute indicates that between 1965 and 1991, the number of adults who regularly skip breakfast increased from 14 to 25 percent."  WOW!  Are people really that busy that they don't even have time for a granola bar or a piece of fruit?  Actually,  people noted that they didn't have time, they weren't hungry, or they simply didn't like breakfast because of the idea of eating alone.  The alone factor may certainly present a problem for some, but I know my dog certainly loves sharing breakfast with me (or at least the thought of himself sharing my breakfast with him!).  I never eat my breakfast at home, and always lug various containers fulfilling the wonderful variety of breakfast I eat everyday.  If this is a problem for you, then look for ways that you can possibly make this more enjoyable.  Morning news, weather, dog/cat, or even co-worker chats while your grubbing.  Whatever works for you to get those nutrients needed.....

Overall, it seems the consensus is that we just need breakfast.  But, (yes that's a but!) we need a GOOD breakfast, that will keep us until lunch.  A breakfast that will not cause us to crash from sugar.  We need a balanced breakfast full of fiber, whole grains (yup, those are carbs!), some protein, and good fat--all with as little sugar as possible, which means no crappy (yummy!) kids' cereals.

So...let's visit breakfast with the lovely help of Whole Foods "Breaking for Breakfast" (Accessed 4/26/10

You want to choose yummy whole grains, instead of white, sugary carbs, so that you body will digest slower leaving you satisfied until lunch time.  Check out some whole grain cereals (Kashi Go Lean Crunch is quite wonderful!), breads and pancakes topped w/ berries, fruit, or nuts.  Try oatmeal, but try to find one that isn't completely instant and filled w/ sugar.  I found a great one at Safeway called "Raw" and it nuked nicely w/ some unsweetened fruit pieces.  Then, I ate it with my Greek yogurt for protein! YUM!!!

Try nuts, coconut oil in a smoothie, or even olive oil.  Regardless of what people say, do the research yourself and you'll see, you need some of the GOOD fat.

Whole Foods says that if you add protein, it is "a good way to lower your meal's glycemic index and prevent spikes in blood sugar."  Try eggs (a couple of eggs a week is great for your diet, and there hasn't been research that can sway the results one way or the other), omelets, turkey bacon, Greek yogurt, cheese sticks, etc.  I actually got a hot cereal from the health food store that was loaded w/ a good bit of protein and fiber which I mixed in with some peanut butter and a banana.  (Check out the website if you want the whole slew of ideas.)

Here are some ideas to get you rolling on your (hopefully) new breakfast endeavor!  Let me know your thoughts and ideas.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Childhood Obesity a Threat to National Security?

I was listening to the radio this morning and there was an announcement made regarding the nation's childhood obesity.  They stated that childhood obesity is the worst ever and that this could ultimately effect our national security.  I found an article, although i'm not sure what the radio station's resource was since they gave a little more information:  This article specifically targets school lunches as being a culprit.  According to the radion station, the correlation for childhood obesity and national security is that those who apply for the military may not be accepted by the military because they are too obese.  I immediately was speechless, but then a number of things began floating through my brain:

1.  The purpose of boot camp is to condition them to the standards of the military.  So... get them in there and kick their butts!

2.  My sister was in boot camp, and did her advanced training already, and I couldn't BELIEVE some of the things she said were on the menu, and how they wanted them to eat.  Obviously, just like there needs to be in schools (, there needs to be an abundance of nutritious choices in the military too!  C'mon now, it can't all be about going cheap....

3.  WE need to watch what WE are eating (Yes, i'm guility I had a cupcake this morning....) because if we overeat, overeat the wrong things, and continue to overeat that is what our children, family members, etc. are learning.  I must admit that I love the Jamie Oliver show (link above) and his whole intention on recreating a better, healthy school lunch.  He's trying to get us to stop eating so much fast food, and make food at home.  (Thanks to Ms. Jen at Team Xtreme check out this website for some GREAT recipes:  Granted, some of the things we may make at home CAN be just as bad, but these are choices that need to be made.  You make the choice of if you eat the vegetables or if you consume fried fast foods; if you eat a piece of chicken or a fried piece of whatever meat; if you eat ice cream or yogurt.....

Obviously, i'm not saying that we need to always be perfect.  If you exclude items from your diet that you find you crave certainly try to find the better solution and consume it moderately--just a bit, just one, etc.  Try not to over-indulge.  3,500 calories does equal 1 pound of fat, but in order to get rid of it you need to revise, revisit, and refine your diet overall.  :)  Here's a short article from ACE

What are your thoughts, comments, suggestions, tips?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I just LOVE LOVE LOVE Greek Yogurt

So, in the midst of my favorite show "The Biggest Loser," there are always little pieces of information that we can take away from it.  Of course, those little paid commercials can go a long way.  The Larabars are a wonderful source for a snack, and now my favorite--Greek Yogurt.  Now, i've tried a lot of the varieties, and since I try to avoid gelatin i'm not sure about the Yoplait version, but this is just a great source for those looking for a nice filling snack.  Bob is totally right, just a few strawberries or fresh pieces of fruit with the yogurt is an EXCELLENT choice!  Go Bob! :)

I know I mentioned the various varieties, and I have to say that my favorite still is the Fage brand.  It's super thick and very original.  Plus, it has been out long before all the others. :)  I do like the Chobani, but I find that the added fruit adds some more calories, rather than choosing the plain and adding your own fresh fruit.

So....go, indulge, and enjoy!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

"Ingredients to Avoid in Processed Foods"

What a great article!  (Thanks Andrea!) SOME recommendations for what to avoid when you're running around looking for a "quick snack."  The author even asks a question you may ask youself (although, if your grandmother is younger it may not apply, ha ha!) "Would you grandmother recognize it?"  I truly love the book by Michael Pollan "In Defense of Food."  It's a great source to start with and it will certainly trigger your desire to learn more about what is actually in your food, and what you're eating.

Some ideas for snacks:

Granola bars--avoid the mainstream brands w/ all the sugar and preservatives.  I really really love Lara Bars and Ms. Jen has even made some herself since the ingredients are so simple.

Nuts--Just a handful can certainly curb your appetite.  Trader Joe's has a great variety.

Fruit--plum, pear, apple, banana--check to see what is in season. :)



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