Updated Nutritional Labels

This article from Hungry Girl regarding updates to nutritional labels just came my way, and I actually saw the revamped format yesterday on hummus…with a much larger-than-normal, bold-faced font for the caloric numbers.

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I don’t count my calories, let me be clear – for me, that’s a surefire way to get into trouble.  Having had eating disorders once, I have the propensity to micromanage to the hilt when it comes to food.  Nowadays I take the much healthier approach of NOT counting or keeping track.  I DO, however, take note of the nutritional statistics – eating highly caloric foods, even healthy ones (think: avacado, nuts, salmon etc…) can add up on me quickly. So I appreciated being able to see the numbers more clearly without having to search.  

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The other cool thing about the change is that the serving sizes are being updated to a “more realistic” amount, AND the FULL amount (what’s in the package or container) will be listed. Portions can make a massive difference!

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The other major change will be that the added sugar will be more clear – sugar is bad news, period, and too much can cause a whole host of health problems you definitely don’t want. Yay for being able to seeing those details more vividly – the more educated we all can be, the more healthy also!

Dinner…For Three?!

It goes without saying that cats are particular…pretty much in every regard.  They are incredibly discerning when it comes to food, for one thing.  

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(C) Andertoons Mark Anderson

Oh yes, as babies they ate their broccoli and snap peas – but nowadays its “no, no thank you.  Call me when you have shrimp!”  

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Excuse me?!

We don’t even have to unwrap the seafood – the mere hint of fishy fragrance and I’m suddenly swarmed by furry black beasts.  God forbid they grab a hold, it’s growl central… (Not that I can blame them – my husband makes a mean stirfry!)

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I guess I can’t really complain, though – my boys’ nutrition is top-notch!  They care about portions (that’s by default – Keku would gladly wolf down a blue whale, provided it smelled remotely edible.)  

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They also eat clean (also a function of mum, but a girl has to make sure her boys are fit and healthy so they can frolic to their hearts’ content without issue!)  They love protein – egg whites, chicken, and shrimp are favorites – just like, you guessed it… Mum. ❤  Way to go, boys!

The only real trouble with it is that I go to sit down in my chair and there’s a cat in it, thinking it’s his seat for dinner…

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Nutrition Humor – Bored Is Bad

Don’t I know this dilemma!  

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Tactics to combat it?

  1. Get moving!  Do some kind of activity, even housework if you are cooped up – SOMEthing will put your mind on other things.
  2. Reach for something healthy first.  Sweeter whole fruits, for example, are a much better bet than sugary or fatty foods, and they are liable to fill you up with water and fiber, in addition to hitting your sweet tooth.
  3. Intellectualize.  You know what’s really going on – own up to it, and don’t give in.
  4. Know your portions.  If you have tried everything, and you are still feeling the overwhelming urge to snack, grab a pre-portioned package…not the full size.  I’ve seen more and more snacks coming out in individual bags or packs – a wonderful thing!  If your favorite crave-worthy item DOESN’T come that way…think ahead and make your own.  Small snack ziplock bags are your best friend in this case.  Not to mention, you can put those things higher up on a shelf, as an example, to make them more of a hassle to get to. Keep in mind the best defense is not buying those things in the first place but…again…if you feel like deprivation will make things worse, and trigger binge eating, try the above method.

 

Portion Control 101, by Mackenzie Arrington For Jiu-Jitsu Magazine

This article about portions – Portion Control 101 – came my way recently via Jiu-Jitsu Magazine.  

Jiujitsu Magazine

Jiu-jitsu Magazine

If you google “portion control” you will be bombarded with enough articles and charts to sink a ship – but amidst the plethora, they generally share similar advice. Phew.

(As a note, you might also be bombarded with innumerable photos of Professor Snape – The seemingly insignificant “r” in portions makes potions so close in the eyes of Google that you may as well be in the Harry Potter fan club.  Nutrition, magic.  Eating, dragons… I dunno…)
Learningzone Express

Learningzone Express

Portions are a tricky thing for me – I can definitely eat a lot more than I do, and have to make a concerted effort NOT to go overboard.  As a kid, my level of activity was so high that I needed to eat more than I did.  Nowadays maintenance requires mindfulness, and a good deal less where volume is concerned.  When I falter, I see the difference fast.

Everyone is different so each person will have his or her own needs and requirements when it comes to how much they need to take in on a daily basis. No need – EVER – to compare.

One of my personal problems is being bored or – just-because-for-no-good-reason – feeling like I need to chomp on something (even when my stomach is fine!) I can’t say chewing gum is the best habit either but…better that (in my case) than eating more calories than I need.  

Anyway. . .the article talks about using one’s own hand as a guide – it’s a useful tool, and one you never leave home without. Jiu-Jitsu practitioners are notorious for monitoring their diets – the Gracie family, for one is HUGE on nutrition.  In fact, they have their own diet and they unapologetically recommend their students abide by it.  

At the end of the day what works best for you to reach your goals may well be different than someone else, or that new and special “diet” (fad, doctor-recommended, whatever!)  That’s OKAY! 

What can help all of us is portions – minding the amount of food we take can be a massive help in obtaining results, regardless of what macronutrients our body needs, or in what quantity.  

I know I need to allow myself to feel full sometimes, for example.  Taking a drink of water and waiting a few minutes helps deter me when I feel extra ravenous.  If I’m still starving in a half hour, maybe I do need a little more protein – but better than having far too much in a sitting without really needing it. 

 

Thanksgiving 2016

I’m not a huge “holiday person” (save for Halloween, which I daresay is highly evident given my posts!), but it’s always a treat to be with family…and to be forced to relax (admittedly hard for me BUT…much needed.)

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I’m grateful for so much, but of those many things…I’m especially thankful for those closest to me.  Food-centric gatherings are not really my thing – I am incredibly boring with my nutrition (though I enjoy my foods immensely!) so there is always extra care involved.  

My husband always makes sure that I have things I’ll like – always.  He’s never not aware , and will make certain clean foods are available for me (believe it or not, finding someone who wouldn’t think I was crazy for the way eat (like a zoo animal!) was a major source of anxiety for me.  For a decade at least!)  This year he made lobster and he made a few extra for me with nothing on them – at all.  Super clean, and wildly delicious! 😀

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As for the rest, we always have yummy sides – I have a few intolerances, so I stick to what I know works…and it never disappoints. 🙂  Once upon a time I had a really difficult time portioning, and feeling obligated to have everything – after a few bouts of making myself sick in the past, I’ve learned NOT to do that! *LOL*

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It was a wonderful few days…as I hope it was for everyone. ❤  

Eating Clean All The Time

It isn’t as hard as it sounds.  There can be little treats here and there, absolutely…but clean eating “all the time” means it’s a lifestyle, not a fad or “diet.”

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Family gathering

I don’t take whole days off from eating well – it matters to me what I put into my body as fuel, and I know that if I get OFF track, getting back on will be much more of a challenge.  So I stick with it all year round, every day – it isn’t a “summer thing” or a “after-holiday revamp.”  When you maintain ANYthing, the difficulty drops substantially – less catching up to do!

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Breakfast and Snacks on vacay

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Breakfast and Snacks on vacay

A FEW TIPS for when you aren’t home, or you have a gathering?

  • Go for the cleanest preparations: Grilled, broiled, steamed, roasted, baked.  While you are at it, ask them to go light on (or eliminate) any oil or butter they might *think* they need to add. 
  • Instead of heavy dressings or condiments, ask for lighter substitutes: lemon, vinegar, olive oil on the table (so you can control the amount), coarse salt etc.
  • If the dish sounds enormous, ask for a smaller portion…OR, take half home. If you’re at someone’s house, just take a little – no one is forcing you to overdo it! 
  • Ask that any sauces be brought “on the side” so you aren’t at the mercy of the heavy-hand kitchen’s often have, or just skip it if you are at a party.
  • Drink your H2O – it will help fill you up!
  • Ask for a double order of steamed veggies on the side…another “fill you up” helper, or munch on some salad before you dive in.
  • Have fruit or berries instead of other desserts.  I know, I know, less fun.  BUT, it does help the sweet tooth (and you feel better about it later.) 🙂

If you do want to stay healthy, it’s a lot easier these days than it once was – most places (and people!) are used to it, so don’t be too hung up on that.  How you feel physically and otherwise is numero uno, so take care of YOU however you need to. I got a few looks ordering plain grilled chicken and steamed veggies at a bar while out watching UFC with grappling buddies…but whatever.  I even pulled an organic apple out of my bag.  No funny looks with that though, except for the jealous friend who wanted one too! 🙂

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Yes…even at a bar watching UFC fights…it’s possible!

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For more Nutrition posts…

“Clean” is NOT Boring!

I am definitely used to comments regarding my nutrition…but I can’t say that I’m not bothered every so often.  So many people seem to think clean eating is boring.  It isn’t!  I’m not a “foodie” but I love the foods I eat – delicious enough to look forward to so SOMEthing must be right!

I’ve been through a lot where healthy eating is concerned – an athlete my whole Life, a bout with PTSD and two resultant eating disorders (as I’ve mentioned before, anorexia and exercise bulimia) which effectively changed not only my view of food, but my body’s needs.  So at the end of the day, I’m not only really proud of myself for choosing healthy options…but I feel blessed that I enjoy them, and thankful I have come full circle in the wellness category.  

“Clean” doesn’t always abide by precisely the same definition between individuals, schools of thought, workout methodologies etc… But it does follow the general concept that the foods are:

  • Real, whole, nutrient-dense foods
  • Less / non-processed foods or additives
  • Less added sugars and “bad” fats
  • Void of heavy, calorically dense “stuff” (think toppers, such as creamy sauces, layers of cheese, fried coatings…)
  • And so on…

Having LOTS of fresh water is also part of staying clean, by way of flushing and hydrating.

I think for me, since I can’t do stevia, and don’t want sugar, sucralose is my offender.  Not happy about that, but I know that’s likely the absolute worst offender for me.  So, I am far from perfect as well – I do, however, strive to stick to the healthy options overall.

What (WHO) I am especially thankful for is my other halfhe is ever thinking about the options at a restaurant, and whether I can find clean, unencumbered options.  I appreciate that so much more than I can express – No comments, no jabs, no “why aren’t you eating real food.”  He accepts, and that makes my Life worlds easier.  

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He is also awesome with a grill, a skill I sadly do not have…nor, admittedly, have ever endeavored to learn.  We will generally get something red for him, poultry or fish for me (protein!)…and he will always make sure I have some vegetables (truly, my FAVORITE food group.)  He grilled asparagus and zucchini this weekend and it’s fair to say I devoured most of it in one sitting.

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All we needed was salt, pepper, the food itself, and a dash of oil spray (olive is a healthy one!) to pull out the natural flavors, and make everything just perfect – nothing boring about it!  I could actually taste THE FOOD, not whatever goop is was drowning in – in my own mind, that’s food at it’s finest, as nothing is “hiding” or “masking” the taste.

IF someone is positively desperate for some additional flavors, a fresh salsa is always a nice way to go – you can make your own with diced tomatoes, veggies and spices (the tomatoes’ juice is liquid enough), or you can buy a fresh one (often) in a produce aisle.  Condiments can amount to a lot of added junk – calories, sodium, fillers – that you wouldn’t want if going “clean,” so spices and vegetable-based, fresh toppers are safer options.

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Whatever is left (we buy several portions at once) will assuredly be eaten later that day, or the following…so making a little extra is always nice – meal prep by default! 🙂

If the next day feels boring, chop everything up and toss it into a salad with a dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or a tiny bit of oil, basil and spices…  Tiny, healthful tweaks can add just enough punch if you need something more…it isn’t boring, and it never HAS to be!