Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nutrition "Myth"ssion

You can't always believe the stuff you see on TV or the internet - especially when it comes to your health and nutrition. A lot of hype surrounds our way of eating - from superfoods to dropping pounds to living forever. I came across this article in Men's Health about the 15 Biggest Nutrition Myths and have to agree with almost all the points (the last one is dicey, I'll explain below). Here's a taste of the full article, available for free on the website (my comments are in italics):
MYTH #14: Organic is always better:

Organic produce is almost nutritionally identical to its conventional counterpart. The issue is pesticide exposure... many conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are very low in pesticides. Take, for example, the conventional onion: It’s got the lowest pesticide load of 45 fruits and vegetables tested by the Environmental Working Group. Also in the safe-to-eat-conventional group are avocados, sweet corn, and pineapple. In general, fruits and vegetables with impermeable skins are safe to buy conventional SR: If it grows in the ground, you can peel it, or you can wash it thoroughly, don't bother with organic. Don't bother with organic imports either - regulations differ across countries - and organic junk food is still junk food. Better yet, buy local!


MYTH #10: Chocolate is bad for you:
 
Cocoa is a plant-based food replete with flavonoids that increase blood flow and release feel-good endorphins. Plus, it contains a healthy kind of saturated fat called stearic acid, which research has shown can increase your good HDL cholesterol. But here’s the rub: When most people think of chocolate, their minds jump immediately to milk chocolate, which contains far more sugar than actual cocoa. Instead, look for dark chocolate, specifically those versions that tell you exactly how much cocoa they contain. A bar with 60% cocoa is good, but the more cocoa it contains, the greater the health effects. SR: I loooove 70% dark chocolate and recently discovered stevia sweetened 70% dark chocolate - yum!


MYTH #9: Eating junk food helps battle stress: 

You’ve been there: Stressed out and sprawled across your sofa with one arm elbow deep in a bag of cheese puffs. In the moment, it can be comforting, but a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that people who consumed the most highly processed foods were 58 percent more likely to be depressed than those who ate the least. Your move: Find a healthy stress snack. SR: Better yet, get off your butt and join a fun, energizing class like Zumba or Bokwa®

This is the one that I have a little bit of an issue with... 

MYTH #15: Meat is bad for you: 

Pork, beef, and lamb are among the world’s best sources of complete protein, and a Danish study found that dieting with 25 percent of calories from protein can help you lose twice as much weight as dieting with 12 percent protein. Then there’s vitamin B12, which is prevalent only in animal-based foods. B12 is essential to your body’s ability to decode DNA and build red blood cells, and British researchers found that adequate intakes protect against age-related brain shrinkage. Now, if you’re worried that meat will increase your risk for heart disease, don’t be. A Harvard review last year looked at 20 studies and found that meat’s link to heart disease exists only with processed meats like bacon, sausage, and deli cuts. Unprocessed meats, those that hadn’t been smoked, cured, or chemically preserved, presented absolutely zero risk.
SR: The key here is unprocessed, fresh meat was used for the study - which is an expensive rarity in today's market. Protein is important for total body health, but bear in mind meat is not the only source, and most of us get too much every day as it is! Stick to moderate portions (i.e. actual serving sizes - 3 oz cooked), stick to lean cuts of grass-fed beef, free-range fresh chicken, game meats like bison and fish. Avoid pork, which is a universal inflammatory agent (translation: bloating, skin flare-ups, allergies). Try to go meatless more days of the week than not too - I have a ton of vegetarian and vegan options on my food blog for inspiration (some use meat substitutes, but most use whole foods like beans and unadulterated tofu. I also have lots of ideas in my cookbooks!

Read the full article here and let me know what you think in the comments!

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About Me

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I started my "working life" as a holistic and allopathic nutritional consultant with a love of cooking. Teaching the value of wholesome meal choices to families became close to my heart after I battled a long history of struggles with weight and health, and the passion for teaching led me into where I am now. My blog, which focuses on "bringing good taste to healthier food" through creative use of whole grains, fresh produce and acknowledging the importance of the occasional treat, also features a wealth of "specialty diet" friendly recipes for gluten-, egg-, dairy- and sugar- tree nut-free items that everyone can enjoy without alienating those who need them.

Overall, I want to bring back the desire for good quality, homemade, (mostly) healthy food into the hearts and kitchens of families so that the next generation will be less box-reliant than mine. I firmly believe that any “homemade” food, even when labelled as "naughty", is a more wholesome treat than pre-packaged, cookie-cutter junk. With the knowledge of good food (and how to cook good food) as a base, a healthy lifestyle can follow, and then anything is possible!

Today, my love for teaching is branching out even further - I'm in Montessori training to solidify my love for the system and working with children and families!