Cheat Day

Cheat Day

A wake up call statement before we get started. The FDA makes no serious effort to control the use of the word “natural” on nutrition labels. Case in point: 7UP boasts that it’s made with “100% Natural Flavors” when, in fact, the soda is sweetened with a decidedly un-natural dose of high fructose corn syrup. Be careful of misleading food labels.

The concept of a cheat meal or cheat day has been around since the inception of diet’s themselves. Staying disciplined for 7-14 days in a row can be both physically and mentally challenging. Whether you are trying to gain muscle or lose weight, eating a disciplined diet that is filled with protein, healthy complex carbohydrates, and adequate caloric intake can be become monotonous. This is where the “cheat meal” or “cheat day” comes into play. Most of the issues people have with dieting are mental and not physical. Cravings are powerful and can be taxing on the physical and mental side of humans. The good thing is cheat days or cheat meals can actually have physical benefits for your metabolism as well as giving you a mental break

Physically

Cheat meals keep the body guessing. Similar to when your muscles adapt to the same exercises and rep range from routine and repetitiveness, your metabolism adjusts based on your calorie levels in the same fashion. Just when your body starts to think it has things figured out you surprise it with a radical change in your diet. If you eat the same thing everyday within a few weeks your body will adapt to the caloric intake. You have to spice things up and keep the body confused.

The Science

Leptin is a protein hormone that plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure, including appetite and metabolism. Leptin signifies a slowing metabolism. Whenever you are on a diet for an extended period of time, your body will begin to adjust its metabolic functions in an effort to ‘make due’ with the amount of fuel that it is being given. Your goal is to periodically kick your leptin levels back up so as to avoid the intense physical hunger and the slowed-to-a-crawl metabolism.

Psychologically

The cheat meal can provide a mental break even more so than as a physical break. Mid-week cravings can be pushed aside knowing that you have an awesome reward in the form of a meal coming on the weekend. Allowing yourself this mental break can inhibit future cravings in the weeks to come.

Sunday Brunch; My Cheat Meal

 

Recommendations

Leptin is highly responsive to glucose metabolism. So, when eating a cheat meal,  you will benefit much more if the majority of your excess calories are coming from good sources of carbohydrates that will turn into glucose.  One day a week increase your caloric intake by 25 to 50% in any way you want but preferably in the form of healthy carbohydrates. The sudden spike in your calories will keep the body guessing and force your metabolism to readjust following the meal along with giving you a mental break.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions or comments.

From South Bend,

Kevin
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Is It Time To Go Gluten-Free?

Is It Time To Go Gluten-Free?

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past couple years then you have probably heard about the “gluten-free” diet. Here is a quick synopsis to get you up to speed.

  • Gluten is a protein found in most grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats, that is consumed all over the world.
  • Gluten-free diets were originally formulated to treat celiac’s disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects 1% of the US population who are allergic to gluten and gluten products. In recent years, upwards of 6-10%  have been treated with mild cases of a “gluten sensitivity”.
  •  Some evidence attributes gluten to numerous diseases ranging  from obesity to autism and everything in between. There is also some evidence that shows gluten possibly contributing to overall inflammation in the body which is a major cause of more serious illnesses such as heart disease and joint pain.
  • A gluten-free diet allows for fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, many dairy products, rice, corn, soy, potato, tapioca, beans, sorghum, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, arrowroot, amaranth, nut flours and many specific gluten-free products while excluding all ordinary breads, pastas, and many convenience (processed) foods.
The Science In Support Of A Gluten Free Diet
  • When the human body senses the gluten, it needs to break it down, and it takes fairly strong enzymes to do that. The small intestine is not necessarily designed to digest large amounts of processed carbohydrates and gluten dense foods present in the evolving “Western Diet”. Therefore, the 99% of Americans who don’t have celiac’s disease also tend to respond favorably to a gluten-free diet.

The Benefits And Hype

  • While people with celiac disease have little choice but to avoid gluten, others may be avoiding gluten in an effort to;
  1. Trim pounds
  2. Benefit cholesterol levels
  3. Aid in digestion
  4. Increase energy levels
  • Wheat and other grains associated with the gluten-free diet are considered moderate to high on the Glycemic Index. ( A measurement of the type or quality of carbohydrates in a particular food and how fast they raise blood glucose levels. AKA the lower the better) Anything with a Glycemic Index rating over 50 is considered counterproductive for fat loss in high quantities. Many foods considered “healthy” like some breakfast cereals often contain a GI of 70+. More on the Glycemic Index to come later this month.
  • Marketers estimated in a 2008 study that 15% to 25% of consumers desired or wanted gluten-free foods, even though doctors estimate just 1% of actually having an allergy to gluten itself.
  • Gluten-free diets have gone mainstream getting endorsements from people like Oprah to Chelsea Clinton. In the most recent endorsement, Madonna was publicized as serving gluten-free brownies at her 52 birthday,
  • Many mainstream companies have created gluten-free products as well.

The Reality 

  • I believe the increased energy levels and documented weight loss isn’t from substituting generic whole grain bread for gluten-free bread or gluten-free products in general. Instead, people (excluding those with celiacs) “feel better” because they consume fewer fast and processed foods, which tend to contain gluten. They are substituting starchy carbs, breads, and convenience foods for more fruits, vegetables, and other natural carbohydrates.
  • In fact, many processed gluten-free foods and gluten-free junk foods contain almost twice the calories as their traditional counterparts, not to mention they are usually much more expensive. Processed gluten-free foods are generally lower in fiber, so you won’t stay full as long, creating an increase on overall caloric intake in the long term.
  • It’s a surprising statistic, but one study found that 81% of people suffering from celiacs disease (gluten intolerance) who followed a gluten-free diet actually gained weight. That’s because there is a common misconception that anything labeled “gluten-free” must be good for you.

  • Many gluten-free products are not fortified or enriched and contain lower amounts of nutrients such as folate, iron, and fiber than other foods
  • Some other drawbacks of specific gluten-free cultivated products;
  1. Less fiber than whole grain products
  2. Lower levels of certain essential vitamins and nutrients
  3. Avoiding grains with a gluten-free diet may mean eating fewer of these enriched products
  4. Manufacturers replacing gluten with more calorie dense substances causing an increase in overall caloric intake.
  5. THE COST FACTOR
The Cost Factor For Specific Gluten Free Products (not substituting products containing gluten for fruits and veggies)
The following data is from a 2007 US Government study. It shows that the cost of gluten-free products are considerably higher than their equivalent wheat filled products. Here are some extreme cases;
  1. Wheat flour $0.34/lb TO Brown rice flour $1.89/lb
  2. Wheat bread $1.09/loaf TO Gluten-free bread $6.00/loaf
  3. Wheat pasta $0.87/lb TO Gluten free pasta $3.69/lb
  4. Chocolate chip cookies $2.69/lb TO Gluten free chocolate chip cookies $12.83/lb
  5. Wheat crackers $1.63/lb TO Rice crackers $9.12/lb
  • The average unit price for gluten-free products was $1.71
  • The average unit price of regular products was $0.61
Conclusion
So, the answer to the article is yes and no. If you are substituting regular wheat products like breads, pastas, and processed foods, for more natural foods like fruits and vegetables than, YES, a “gluten-free diet” is great. Should you start buying gluten-free pastas, breads, and mixes? NO. The benefits of gluten-free products don’t seem to outweigh the negatives of the cost and convenience factor. However, anytime you can substitute gluten dense products like a high carb tortilla or wheat wrap for a more natural lettuce wrap is highly encouraged and very beneficial. The benefits and weight loss people experience from a gluten-free diet is not buy substituting breads, pastas, and processed foods, for their more expensive gluten-free counterparts. It is by eliminating these foods completely or opting for a more natural version where people see benefits. (For example, using spaghetti squash noodles instead of starchy, high-carb pasta noodles.)
Saving your money on what you would have paid for a gluten-free product and spending it on something like organic produce, dairy, or grass-fed meats, is going to be much more beneficial to your overall diet and wallet. The last and most important fact of gluten-free diets is; Do people know one of the ingredients in some of the most popular beers around? Gluten! Have fun drinking this on Friday night if you are giving the gluten-free diet a shot.
 

Healthy Versions Of Your Favorite Meals

HEALTHY VERSIONS OF YOUR FAVORITE MEALS

Changing your diet does not mean getting rid of your favorite foods. Any diet (whether you are trying to gain or lose weight) that has you completely changing the foods you eat, while eliminating some of your favorites, is setting you up for failure. Alterations to portion sizes and ingredients can transform notoriously unhealthy foods, such as ice cream, pizza, or burgers, into a healthy dinner option. This blog is intended to show you some good, bad, and everything in between, of popular foods we consume as a society. Each individual meal below can be catered toward your specific need, whether you are trying to put on muscle, lose fat, carbo-load for an event, or need an idea for your next dinner.

“The danger is not to set your goal too high and fail to reach it. It’s to set your goal too low and reach it.”

(Take a look at the change in obesity rates from 1991 to 2003 in America. Thanks to Doctor Anderson for forwarding this literature to me.)

 

 

PIZZA

The average American eats 46 slices (23 pounds) of pizza a year. 

Examples of things to stay away from: Keep in mind the American Heart Association recommends your sodium intake to be 1500 mg per day or less.

1. Papa John’s Pizza Pan Crust Cheese Pizza (1 slice)

  • 380 calories
  • 15 g fat (7 g saturated fat)
  • 1000 mg of sodium


2. Sbarro Stuffed Pepperoni Pizza (1 slice)

  • 960 calories
  • 42 g fat
  • 3,200 mg sodium

3. Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Meat Lover’s Pizza (1 slice)

  • 480 calories
  • 26 g fat (12 g saturated, 1 g trans)
  • 1390 mg sodium


4. Uno Chicago Grill Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza (Individual pizza)

  • 2,310 calories
  • 162 g fat (54 g saturated fat)
  • 4,920 mg sodium

Common Mistakes

1. Being influenced by America-The motto that” bigger is better” has jumbo sized many of our foods and toppings. Italy, where pizza was originated, has pizza that is based around a thin crust (usually half the amount of flour as a traditional american, thin crust) with a flavorful, low-sugar, tomato based sauce, loaded with fresh-cut veggies and “SOME” cheese.

Try to guess which pizza is from America!

2. It’s not just cheese that’s hurting you– Sausage, ham, beef, and bacon, are just a few of the most popular toppings that exist today. Many of these salt-cured meats contain more than a day’s worth of sodium and are loaded with fat and grease. Salty meats coupled with a surplus of processed cheese does not make for the healthiest combo. Add some grease with a refined, carbo-loaded crust and you will help contribute to the obesity charts listed above.

3. Portions- Restaurants such as Sbarro serve up gigantic slices that are often two slices piled into one.

Quick fixes

  • As a general rule, avoid all over sized and stuffed crusts at pizza chains. Stick to a regular or thin sized crust. Better yet, make a multi-grain or whole wheat crust. Many pizza places now carry these different options.
  • As far as toppings go, stay with ham, Canadian bacon, or grilled meats, and nix the pepperoni and sausage. Load it with veggies instead.

Barbecue Chicken Thin Crust Pizza-A great example

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-ounce) thin pizza 100% whole wheat  or multi-grain pizza crust
  • 1/3 cup barbecue or homemade tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced (about 1/4 pound)

Dominos Crunchy Thin Crust  Hawaiian Pizza- decent restaurant option

1 slice

  • 150 calories
  • 8 grams of fat
  • 315 mg’s of sodium

BURGERS: Food industry consulting firm Technomic says, “Almost half of Americans, 48 percent, eat a burger once a week.”

Examples of things to stay away from

1. Hardee’s Monster Thickburger

1,420 calories
108 g fat (43 g saturated fat)
2,770 mg sodium
230 mg cholesterol

2. Five Guys Cheeseburger (plain)
840 calories
55 g fat (22.5 g saturated)
1,050 mg sodium
3. Burger King Triple Whopper Sandwich with Cheese and Mayo
1,250 calories
84 g fat (32 g saturated, 3.5 g trans)
1,600 mg sodium
Common Mistakes
1. American Influence: The “bigger is better” motto is probably most prevalent in the burger industry. With sandwiches such as the Triple Whopper or Big Mac, you can easily find burgers with 2 or 3 patties in many restaurants and chains.
2. Choosing the wrong meat: Problems start with the high fat ground beef that is often chosen because it is cheap and easy to make. Substituting standard ground beef with a lean-ground turkey meat, bison, poultry, or lean-ground beef, will make a world of difference.
3. The way the meat is prepared:  Restaurants and fast food chains have been known to deep fry high-fat burgers in a mixture of grease and oil. Play it safe and grill your meat or throw it in the broiler for the best results. Using a 90/10 lean ground beef and cooking it over medium heat for even browning will provide great results.
4. Using Mayonnaise: 1 tbsp of mayo has 11 grams of fat and 100 calories and most people probably use at least double that as a topping on a burger. Substitute mayo with avocado or a healthy guacamole instead.
5. Choosing the wrong bun: White buns are the most common choice among burger consumers. White bread is refined flour that spikes your blood sugar and is extremely high on the glycemic index with almost no protein and affects your body in the same way as white sugar.
6. Choosing the wrong sides: Fries are the most common side ordered with a burger. I could probably write a whole book on the negatives of french fries but instead I will just suggest that you substitute them for sweet potato wedges, a healthy coleslaw, or a side salad.

What to choose instead

1. Keep it lean: Either the extra lean (also known as 5% or 95/5) or the lean (also known as 10% or 90/10) ground beef is a healthful substitute for a standard beef patty. Get creative and make a bison burger or turkey burger for even more health benefits and great taste.
2. Choose the right sides: Complement your lean burger with fresh fruit, a green salad, beans, veggies, sweet potato fries, coleslaw, or basically anything other than standard french fries.
3. Choosing a soft cheese: For a healthier sandwich topping, try soft cheeses, like mozzarella or feta cheese. Soft cheeses tend to be lower in fat and less processed then something like american cheese.
4. The right bun: Many restaurants offer a whole wheat or multi-grain bun as a substitute. If you are making a burger at home use half a bun and load it with veggies instead.
Greek Bison Burger-a great example
Nutritional Information

(per serving)

Calories 392
Total Fat 16g
Saturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 68mg
Sodium 671mg
Total Carbohydrate 30g
Dietary Fiber 6g
Sugars
Protein 35g
Calcium
Ingredients(serves 2 to 4)
  • 1 pound(s) ground bison
  • 1/2 cup(s) cooked spinach, squeezed dry
  • 1/2 cup(s) crumbled feta cheese, preferably sheep’s milk
  • 2 teaspoon(s) chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon(s) chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon(s) ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon(s) minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup(s) non-fat or low-fat Greek-style plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon(s) chopped fresh dill
  • 4  French rolls or 4-inch pieces of baguette, preferably whole-wheat, split and toasted
  • 16 slice(s) (thin) English cucumber
  • 8 slice(s) vine-ripened tomato
  • 4 slice(s) (thin round) red onion
Balsamic Turkey Burger
Turkey Burgers With BBQ Sauce and Bell Peppers
Ingredients
  • 1 Whole wheat english muffin
  • Kale or lettuce
  • 1 slice Provolone Cheese
  • 1 sliced tomato
  • 1/2 pound of lean Turkey meat with1/2 cup chopped red onions sautéed with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of balsamic-vinegar
  • Calories per serving: 470; Fat: 12 grams

SALADS: People always affiliate salads as automatically being healthy. But, as depicted below, this is not the case in several circumstances.

Some examples of things to avoid:

1. Chili’s Southwestern Cobb Salad
  •  1,080 calories
  • 71 grams fat
  • 2,650 mg sodium
2. Applebee’s Santa Fe chicken salad

  • Calories: 1300
  • Saturated Fat (g): 25
  • Sodium (mg): 3420
  • Carbohydrates (g): 57
3. Outback Steakhouse queensland salad.

  • Calories: 1129
  • Saturated Fat (g): 26
  • Sodium (mg): 1975
  • Carbohydrates (g): 42
Common Mistakes
  1. Processed Salad Dressing.. Like RANCH– A mixture of trans fat, sugar, preservatives, and artificial flavoring, make for a deadly combo. (1 serving of ranch has 140 calories, 14 g fat, and 260 mg sodium). Opt instead for vinegarettes, balsamics, light olive oils, tomato salsas, or make your own.
  2. Using Iceberg lettuce– Contains almost no nutritional value. Opt for darker greens like spinach, mixed greens, kale, or arugula. This is something you will actually benefit from and tastes better.
  3. Using Croutons– It is white/dried/processed bread.. Enough said. 1/2 cup croutons has 100 calories. If you have to use them, use 100% whole grain croutons or make your own from 100% whole grain bread or some sort of sprouted grain bread.
  4. Bacon bits– Despite how good they taste, most bacon bits are highly processed and made up of mostly sodium and saturated fat. Opt for a natural protein like beans, grilled meats, or nuts.
  5. Cheese– A good salad shouldn’t need a lot of cheese but if you like it use it sparingly and opt for a more natural cheese such as feta.
What to add instead
1. Beans-Beans are high in protein, iron,  and a complex carbohydrate. With varieties such as black, kidney, garbanzo, you can substitute this protein for the more unhealthy fried/breaded meats, or some of the high sodium deli meats like pepperoni or salami.
2. Nuts and seeds-Almonds, walnuts, cashews, flax-seed, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds, can all be added as a substitute for croutons to keep the crunch of your salad, while adding essential vitamins and minerals, that you will benefit from.
3. Dried fruits– Cranberries, raisins, and apricots, can all add some sweetness to your salad. While they do contain moderate/high amounts of sugar, using a handful of dried fruits will not affect you and the antioxidant properties will outweigh any negatives caused by the sugar.
4. Avocado– A great source of healthy fats that is loaded with vitamin E can make for a nice addition.
5. Whole grains– Whole-wheat couscous, quinoa, and barley are all protein rich grains that are high in fiber toppings and make a great addition.
6. A healthy dressing– Vinegarettes and light oils are generally the safest but a healthy tomato salsa or lemon juice can give it a nice kick as well.
7. Creative veggies- There is nothing wrong with green pepper, cucumber, and carrots, but those can get got boring. Next time, opt for some artichoke, beets, radishes, turnips, or parsnips.
(A great example)
Salad of grilled chicken tenderloins with avocado, tomatoes, red onion, green beans, spinach and arugula. Delicious healthy eating. Stock Photo - 5366430
Ingredients
  • grilled chicken tenderloins
  • avocado
  • tomato
  • green beans
  • spinach
  • arugula
  • balsamic vinegarette dressing

You can now find my blog on “The Hockey Season App” which can be found using the link below and used with any iOS device such as an Iphone or Ipad.

http://itunes.apple.com/app/the-hockey-season/id481402661?ls=1&mt=8

Thanks for reading, from Norway,

Kevin

kdeeth21@gmail.com