What…THAT’S Unhealthy?!

I truly have some great friends!  One of them suggested this blog post to me and it was fabulous!  So much so I have to share it with you!  ****Information from FitLife.tv****

This article shares 10 foods that are generally promoted as healthy, or are mistaken for healthy; but as you look into ingredients and contents, the unhealthiness might surprise you!

1.  Yougurt/Frozen Yogurt

I will admit…this one surprised me just a little…but after reading the article and then going to some well-known yogurt brand sites…I was shocked.  There is hidden sugar in there!  Even the light brands (up until a couple of months ago) contained the imitation sugars that science has shown to increase sugar intake when eaten.  So what are we to do?  I mean this is touted as a superfood to help lose inches and keep you satisfied……well the article suggests Greek yogurt.  I completely agree.  It is higher in protein, and if you choose plain over flavored your saving yourself some sugar.  You can add fruit, honey, granola, etc to it and make it yummy!  If you do choose one that is flavored, just beware of the sugar content and adjust in your other meal choices for the day!

2.  Agave Nectar

I have very little experience with this sweeter, but like many I always thought it was a good substitute to sweeten stuff.  The article however says it contains 70% to 80% fructose, more than what’s found in high-fructose corn syrup.  Yikes!  There are other options that will probably save you calories and an artificial blood spike that sends you back to the fridge after an hour, including raw honey, maple syrup, dates, and stevia.

3.  Cereal/Instant Oatmeal

This is very sad…I love cereal…but as I’ve grown up, I have come to realize how much sugar and other artificial flavorings are in these delicious breakfast boxes.  Oatmeal can also be a surprising sugar hider…the instant oatmeal is artificially flavored so that when you’re done with the 1 minute cooking time, its ready to go, no additions needed.  However, there are options in these categories that are actually healthy…you just have to do some digging and reading.  Cereals and oatmeal with more fibers, less sugar, and less overall ingredients are usually better options.

4.  Snack/Protein Bars

Hopefully by now, most of us have learned our lesson on these little sugar traps.  Sugar and other less-than-desirable ingredients are easy to sneak into these bars; especially when they are labeled as healthy, fat free, and sugar free.  Again, this is where you have to do digging and reading to find a better bar.  I would even suggest going on pinterest and finding recipes for DIY bars (I will have some recipes for these in the coming weeks!).  They usually include 5 -6 ingredients when you do them yourself, and are super easy to make.  Plus you’ll be amazed at how great they taste without all the added yuck!

5.  Skim Milk

I have never like skim milk, it tastes like milk water to me…but it is surprising it makes the list.  But the problem, according to the article, is the loss of milk fat is replaced with synthetic vitamins….and can contain added sugar.  I prefer 1% milk, and limit my intake.  Other options include almond or coconut milk…which are easier on the digestive system and have fewer calories without added sugars.

6.  Whole Wheat/Multigrain Breads

This is one where I have a problem.  Whole wheat and multigrain breads are not bad…if they are made correctly.  The article states that these breads have enriched white flour in them and only enough whole wheat or multigrain to pass as that kind of bread.  Bread should always be consumed in moderation, but if you again, read the labels and ingredients, you can tell the good from the questionable.  But again, I do agree that it should be mindful eating when eating bread so as not to consume too much.

7.  Peanut Butter

This is the one I that saddens me the most…I love peanut butter.  I would eat it on everything if I could!  I think it makes this list because the traditional peanut butter you think of is filled with sugar, oils, and fats.  The article suggests other nut butters, almond, sunflower, or cashew, since nuts are a healthy source of fat.  However, if you’re like me and absolutely refuse to substitute your peanut butter…try the all-natural varieties (I’ve done Jif and Skippy).  These have 5 ingredients max and no oils.  You will notice a difference in taste and will fall in love all over again.  Another option is some grocery stores let you make your own nut butters.  You get a pound or so of the nut of your choice (peanuts……..) and they have a machine in store that will grind it down and make a butter out of it.  That’s it…one ingredient!  I haven’t tried it yet…perhaps I should…but I know people who have and won’t go back to the bottled stuff ever!

8.  Trail Mix

This is one that I could definitely see why it made the list…but don’t want to discourage it’s use.  Pre-packaged trail mixes contain extra calories, fat, and sugar…especially if you get the trail mix that include chocolate, candies, or dried fruit (because these dried fruits usually have added sugar).  But trail mix can be an excellent source of healthy fats and electrolytes during intense workouts.  If you want trail mix, make your own; probably cheaper as well as healthy in the long run.  Plus you can make it yours!  Search Pinterest for ideas of inclusions…dried, unsweetened fruit, coconut flakes, raw nuts, etc.

9.  Frozen Diet Meals

This is one of those too good to be true type of scenarios.  While the calorie count may be low, these meals rarely have any nutritional value.  They are loaded with preservatives and sodium.  However, they are easy to make and I find myself buying two or three every now and then because I haven’t planned my weekly meals well enough.  Your best bet for “diet” foods are whole foods and dishes you make yourself.  And if you make meals ahead, and even freeze them, then you can have quick meals that are far healthier.

10.  Fat-Free Foods

I would we would all know this one by now as well.  These foods are typically sugar and chemical loaded to make up for the lack of flavor without the fat.  And interestingly, I didn’t know this until reading the article, but when you remove the fat it takes the food further away from its natural form.  Interesting fact….so you’re actually going the complete opposite with diet intentions when you eat “fat-free.”  Your best option…choose your fat wisely.  Like the trail mix before, nuts have fat, but their healthy fats.  They should be consumed in moderation because fat is still fat.  Other foods like avocados, olive oil, seeds, coconut, etc are good, healthy fat options.  You don’t want to cut fat out of your diet; the body still needs it to function…..it just doesn’t need as much as we give it!

So there you have it…10 foods that are sneaky little sneaksters.  Surprised?  Not surprised?


Fitness Geek

Yup I’ll say it…I am a fitness geek.  But here’s my definition of such things…I love trying to find and using the latest apps and gadgets to get the most out of my workouts and meals. There fun to play with and then when you actually start using them, the inormation they reveal is amazing!!

I’ve used many an app for running, cross training, and tracking my meals.  But I’m only going to tell you about my 2 favorite, because this list could go on!

First, I’ve talked about it before, but I’ve been tracking my food for the last month with MyFitnessPal.  Yes it will also track exercise, but there are apps dedicated to running that I like better…but I digress.  MyFitnessPal is simple and easy to use; it asks you for your daily lifestyle and your goal, and based on that gives you a calorie goal.  When adding food, it has a massive index of foods and restaurants to choose from.  And my favorite feature…if you get your recipe online (like from Pinterest), you can put that website into the app and it will find the recipe and match ingredients for you!  

And not sure how your week is stacking up?  There is a nutrition section where you can look at your week and see how it’s going!  You might surprise yourself and see your not doing as bad as you thought you were!!

 And now on to the fitness app.  I used to use the Nike Run app and it worked fine.  But a lot of friends were using RunKeeper and it kept popping up in magazines as one of THE apps for running.  And they were right!  It’s user friendly and tells me everything about my run, time per mile, mile splits, overall time, and total miles.  And I know what you’re thinking…they all do that!  But wait!  After a particularly good run…longest to date, shortest time per mile, etc…the app sends you rewards!  My first was 20% off a smart scale.  My last two have been coupons for deodorant…yes less exciting but if you’ve ever smelled me after a run you would think it was a fabulous reward!! 

Just a little screen shot of the app.  Shows where you ran and all the other info.  And it’s not bad looking either!

So I would call myself a fitness geek.  The latest greatest apps are like candy to me.  If they’re aesthetically appealing, easy to use, and give valuable info for my fitness then you know I will download it and try it out!!  Ah….fun stuff!

Run #1

I made a hefty commitment a week ago…serious half-marathon training including the physical aspect as well as the nutritional aspect.  Well evidently it took me a week to fully accept this reality, because I ran yesterday for the first time in about 3 weeks…wow I’m doing stellar!!

Anyway…I went 2 miles and the reasoning was a) time restraints, started at 10:45 had to be at work at 1:00….add shower, breakfast, feeding dogs…not a lot of time; b) I hadn’t run in 3 weeks so I thought I’d ease in slowly; and c) I was tired, but I bargained with myself, 2 miles and then a hot shower!! 

I learn a lot of things and see a lot on my runs…there are some new houses for sale, some old ones still on the market, and new ones for rent.  Britney Spears’ song Work Bitch is kinda mean when your legs are hurting (I used to think it was a fun motivating song!). And no matter how tired you are, that car is not gonna stop for you even though they have the stop sign.  Important life lessons were learned today!! 

Runs are fun…sometimes it’s only seen in hindsight.  I struggled with my run yesterday because it had been so long since I’d ventured around the neighborhood.  But I’m glad I did it.  In hindsight it was a good thing to go run…and I’ll be glad I did it on run 2!