GAME DAY NUTRITION

GAME DAY NUTRITION

The idea for this blog came about from a call I got from a professional athlete this week who told me their “nutritionist” recommended fig newtons, vanilla wafers, and carbo-loading with pasta when suggesting things for this professional team to eat. WOW!

The average American consumes 20 pounds of pasta noodles each year — and most of it is the refined white stuff.

Most athlete’s  eat close to 10 times this much with their generic “pre-game” and “post-game” pasta dishes that have become common place in many athletic diets. In my experience in collegiate and professional hockey, we were served processed-white noodles 5 times during a weekend series! (Thursday night, Friday pre-game meal, Friday post-game meal, Saturday pre-game meal, and Saturday post-game meal). Looking back it is no wonder why sometimes I felt bogged down or felt like I had a tough time recovering. It’s obvious to me that “refueling” and “preparing” my muscles with starchy and processed-white noodles, that are stripped of almost all their nutrients and minerals due to the amount of processing they go through. probably wasn’t doing the trick. To top it all off(literally) I would dress these noodles with high sugar/high sodium/artificial sauces that spike your blood sugar and send your insulin levels on a roller coaster ride. My question is, why do athletes continue to “carbo-load” with these types of food?

Key Points

  • Glycogen is the key energy source your muscles use during most sports activities. These glycogen levels are filled up and stored up to 48 hours before your event. What you eat the day prior and night prior to your game or event is as/more important than what you eat on game day. Your game day meal is intended to supplement glycogen levels, keep you satiated, and stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • What you eat means nothing if your muscles aren’t properly hydrated. Again, the day before is just as important. Aim for 1/2  your body weight (lbs) in ounces from just water.
  • Allowing time for digestion is vital but eating too far an advance will cause you to feel hungry before/during the game. My suggestion is to aim for a medium to large meal 4 hours before game.
  • Your meal should consist of 50% carbs, 25 % protein, 25% fat.
  • 60-90 minutes before the game consuming a simple carbohydrate such as a piece of fruit will help provide extra energy that will be available during the game.

Typical Pregame Meal

The Problem

1. The Size: Processed carbohydrates like pasta noodles don’t keep you satiated. In order to feel full from pasta you have to eat a lot. This problem is amplified in athletes  because they generally have a huge appetite and require mounds of pasta consumed to meet their needs.

2. The Composition: Standard pastas are made with refined wheat flour. During the refining process, the nutrient-rich outer bran shell and inner germ layer are removed from the grain, leaving just the starchy endosperm. This process strips the wheat of much of its fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, leaving you with a much weaker product, nutritionally speaking. Some nutrients, including iron and a handful of B vitamins, are added back during manufacturing (hence the term “enriched flour”), but these represent only a fraction of what is initially removed from the grain.

3. The Carbohydrate Complex: Pasta is a simple carbohydrate. It breaks down to sugar in your body quickly and often does not satisfy your appetite as long as a more complex carbohydrate such as sweet potatoes. Whole wheat pasta takes a bit longer and some has a protein content that keeps you satisfied longer. This is why many athlete’s who eat pasta find themselves getting hungry before or during the game. Yes, a carbohydrate is a very important macro-nutrient  supplying your body with glucose, which is the favored fuel for your muscles, brain, and central nervous system. Choosing a carbb that will deliver a steady stream of glucose to your body will help regulate your energy levels.

4. The Toppings: Most Pasta is cooked in unhealthy vegetable oils and topped with a canned Alfredo or marinara that is loaded with sugar, sodium, and other artificial ingredients.

5. Your Body’s Ability To Adjust: Most conscious and high level athletes try and eat a clean diet made up of lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. Filling your body with refined pasta noodles for an entire weekend can send your body into shock and cause digestive issues. Your digestive system can react negatively to the amount of processed food that has been consumed because it is used to otherwise whole/natural foods. This can cause bloating, stomach issues, and have lethargic implications.

What To Eat Instead

Complex Carbohydrates From Unprocessed Sources

Quinoa-A healthy complex carb that is actually a seed and can be made a complete protein when paired with other foods.

Amaranth– Technically, it’s not a grain; it’s the fruit of a plant. And that’s the reason it contains a more complete protein, and more of it, than other traditional grains.

Barley & Steel Cut Oats– A great option in the morning of a game day that will deliver a steady supply of glucose throughout the day.

Legumes– Black beans, chickpeas, and lentils are all great options for complex carbs that also provide a steady supply of protein and fiber.

Starchy Vegetables- Foods like sweet potatoes and squash that are usually shunned by low-carb lovers are  acceptable for athletes who will use the large amounts of carbs from these whole foods as energy for game time.

All Vegetables- Getting your carbohydrate sources from whole foods such as vegetables will ensure you are receiving the adequate vitamins, minerals  and nutrients that accompany natural-base carbohydrates. Unlike refined flours and pastas,which are stripped of most of the essential vitamins and nutrients that provide your body with energy, vegetables are natural foods from the earth that are identifiable for our digestive system and wont cause any gastrointestinal problems that are associated with many processed foods.

Lean Meats– While protein takes longer to digest, it will keep you satiated during the game and provide your muscles with a steady influx of protein to help with muscle recovery and muscle maintenance.

Great Examples

1. Chicken Breast with baked sweet potatoes and green salad.

A Pre-Game Meal for the Phillies

2. Chicken breast with Quinoa and asparagus.

3. 2 pieces of cod over a mixed green salad with carrots, parsnips, and potatoes.

Conclusion

Many athletes still dont understand what they need to properly fuel their bodies. Unfortunately many of the nutritionists and chefs that cook or prepare meals for this demographic don’t understand macro-nutrient profiles of foods either. My suggestion to all the athlete’s and people I talk to is ask questions and do your own research. If a nutritionist recommends to eat pasta on a game day ask them why and see what kind of answer you get. Unless you are running a marathon or playing a double header soccer game I never recommend “carbo-loading” with pasta. Most sports, like hockey, require shorts bursts of energy over a 2 hour time period. Eating 200 carbs in the form of pasta for a pregame meal is excessive for most athletes who wont even come close to tapping into all that stored glycogen from a large pasta meal. Keep it moderate and substitute some of my suggestions listed above. Remember, each athlete has their own individual preferences and requirements. Adjust your needs as you see fit and experiment with different foods to see what makes you feel the most energized and helps you recover the fastest.

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

From South Bend,
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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

The Best Food Swap You Can Make

Lettuce wraps vs. tortillas

With time and convenience being such a big factor in people’s eating decisions and habits, having easy options is always a plus. Throwing  some turkey, chicken, or leftover meat in a wrap for the next day’s lunch is always a great meal idea and lunchtime staple. With an extra 300 calories and 50 carbs, generic tortillas and wraps can turn today’s lunch into a carb-loaded hazard. Below is the breakdown of some popular tortillas that are common among lunchtime meals.

Nutritional Breakdown

Chipotle Flour Tortilla 13″ inch

  • Calories-290
  • Fat-9 g
  • Carbs-44 g
  • Sodium- 670 g
  • Protein- 7 g

Mission Flour Taco Tortilla 8″ inch

  • Calories- 146
  • Fat- 3 g
  • Carbs- 25 g
  • Sodium- 249 mg
  • Protein- 4 g

Taco bell heat pressed tortilla 13″

  • Calories- 317
  • Fat- 8 g
  • Carbs- 52 g
  • Sodium- 887 mg
  • Protein- 9 g

Butterhead Lettuce (1 large leaf)

  • Calories- 2
  • Fat- 0 g
  • Carbs- 0 g
  • Sodium- 0 g
  • Protein- 0

Romaine Lettuce (1 large outer leaf)

  • Calories- 5
  • Fat- 0
  • Carbs- 1 g
  • Sodium- 1 g
  • Protein- 0 g
A Great Recipe “Asian Lettuce Wrap”

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced

cooking sauce:
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil

6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, peeled and minced
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and diced
½ cup bamboo shoots, drained and diced
½ cup water chestnuts, drained and diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced

1 head butter lettuce or iceberg lettuce, washed and leaves separated

garnish:
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Directions

1. Place the first five ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together. Pour mixture over the chicken and stir together. Set aside and allow chicken to marinate for 10 minutes.
2. Place all ingredients for cooking sauce into a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
3. Place 2 tablespoons oil into a large skillet over high heat. Sauté chicken for 6 to 8 minutes or until half-cooked. Remove from skillet and set aside.
4. Pour remaining oil into the same skillet and place over high heat. Sauté the ginger, garlic and shiitake mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Add the bamboo shoots and water chestnuts and sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Add chicken back into the skillet; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Pour the cooking sauce over the mixture and stir together. Lower the heat to medium and allow the mixture to thicken, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the green onions. Adjust seasonings.
6. Remove from heat and allow chicken mixture to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Top with a sprinkle of green onions and sesame seed and serve warm with crisp lettuce cups.

Conclusion

A lettuce wrap is a great alternative for a tortilla when making a meal. Some athletes, or those looking to gain weight and a more calorie dense meal, might make the argument that the tortilla gives them extra protein and calories to meet there needs. Instead of filling up on processed and empty carbs received from a tortilla, adding more meat, beans, or vegetables to make up for the calories you will be loosing from the tortilla is ideal.

Suggestion

Any time you can substitute a processed bun or wrap for something that is natural and has nutritional benefits is always encouraged. My suggestion is to not only substitute the lettuce for tortilla wraps, tacos, and burritos, but also for buns and bread. This will force you to add more of the “in between ingredients” which will provide more of a nutritional benefit to everyone.

From South Bend,

Kevin

Ten Foods You Should Add To Your Diet (Part 2)

Ten Foods You Should Add To Your Diet (Part 2)

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are part of the cruciferous vegetable family that are low in fat and calories but high in protein. (accounting for more than a quarter of their calories) A great substitute for broccoli, 1/2 cup of brussels sprouts contains 80% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.

Health Benefits

  • High in fiber and beta-carotene.
  • Loaded with vitamin A & C, folate, potassium, and calcium.
  • Loaded with phytochemicals and antioxidants that control inflammation and can help combat cancer.
  • Have cholesterol lowering benefits when steamed.
  • Brussels sprouts are an outstanding source of glucosinolates which can help detoxify the body.

Kale

Similar to brussels sprouts, kale is a power vegetable and member of the collared greens family that is unusually high in fiber (contains 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber) which helps to keep you feeling full. A great substitute for romaine or iceberg lettuce.

Health Benefits

  • Excellent source of nutrients such as vitamin A,C, B6, calcium, folate, manganese, and potassium.
  • One of the best sources of beta-carotene which help aid in the battle against cancer and heart disease.
  • Promotes regular digestion, prevents constipation, lowers blood sugar, and curbs overeating.
  • One cup of kale provides about 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Like other greens and cruciferous vegetables, kale is loaded with antioxidants that help regulate the body’s inflammatory process.

Walnuts

Considered the #1 nut for heart health, walnuts contain almost twice as many antioxidants as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut. Walnuts are antioxidant dense and can lower cholesterol, reduce oxidative stress, and decrease unhealthy inflammation. Can make for a great snack, oatmeal addition, and salad topping.

Health Benefits

  • Contain plenty of high-quality proteins that can be used as a substitute for meat. Loaded with vitamins and minerals; dietary fiber; and they are dairy and gluten-free.
  • Walnuts have been linked to decreased risk of heart disease, certain kinds of cancer, gallstones, type 2 diabetes, and other health problems.
  • Rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and vitamin E.
  • Loaded with healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and omega 3 fatty acids that have been shown to lower bad cholesterol(LDL).

Almond Butter

Much like walnuts, almond butter’s essential benefit comes from its heart-healthy properties. Considered a healthier version of peanut butter, almond butter is a great vegetable and fruit spread because of it is high quality fats, protein content, and rich taste.

Health Benefits

  • Rich in monounsaturated fats which reduce levels of cholesterol, decrease the risk of heart ailments, and lower blood pressure.
  • High in vitamin E and flavonoids(essential antioxidants) that combat inflammation and disease.
  • A great source of fiber and loaded with potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and phosphorus.
  • Almond butter is less commercially available than peanut butter. Because of this fact, some peanut butter manufacturers add unhealthy ingredients such as excessive salt, sugar, and saturated fats to the product whereas almond butter is generally more natural and less artificially manipulated.

Avocado

This green-skinned, pear-shaped fruit is most commonly used as the main ingredient in guacamole. While it tastes good, most people dont know that it provides nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. Avocados have become increasingly popular and make great additions as a sandwich spread or salad ingredient.

Health Benefits

  • High in healthy fats and antioxidants which help combat heart disease.
  • Avocado contains 30% more potassium than bananas which help regulate blood pressure and prevents circulatory diseases.
  • Avocados have numerous phytonutrients which help prevent cancer and also repair damaged cells.
  • It is a powerhouse of vitamin E which protects us from free radicals.
  • Avocados are very effective in reducing the risk of oral cancer and preventing bad breath.

Steel Cut Oats

Not all oatmeal is created equal. Generally, oatmeal is considered a healthy source of whole grains and complex carbohydrates. However, current products on the market have added sugars, artificial preservatives, and unnecessary ingredients that can cancel out the benefits produced by natural oats. Steel-cut oats are relatively unrefined and the most pure and healthy form of oats.

Health Benefits

  • Steel-cut oats take longer to digest than instant oatmeal or rolled oats, which in turn, helps to stabilize blood sugar.
  • A good source of complex carbohydrates, protein, and soluble fiber, which works to lower cholesterol.
  • Rich in B-vitamins, calcium, protein and fiber.
  • Steel-cut oats are low in sodium and unsaturated fat that are a great alternative to typical cereals for a breakfast option.

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is a blend of hemp seeds and water with a creamy texture and a subtle, nutty taste, that is a great alternative to standard cow’s milk. People have started to look for alternatives to cows milk after unregulated hormone claims and support showing cow’s milk to be tough on your digestive system. Much like almond milk, hemp milk is a great alternative that is high in protein and low in sugar.

Health Benefits

  • Hemp milk is easy to digest and has an essential fatty acid balance that is ideal for the human body.
  • Hemp milk is rich in protein and contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins A, E, B-12 and folic acid, and is rich in magnesium, potassium, iron and magnesium.
  • Hemp milk has anti-inflammatory agents that helps to improve circulation
  • Hemp milk can strengthen the immune system as well as promote a healthy heart and skin.

 

Goat

Table 1. Nutrient Composition of Goat and Other Types of Meat [1], [2]
 Nutrient  Goat  Chicken  Beef  Pork Lamb
 Calories 122 162 179 180 175
 Fat (g) 2.6 6.3 7.9 8.2 8.1
 Saturated Fat (g) 0.79 1.7 3.0 2.9 2.9
 Protein (g) 23 25 25 25 24
 Cholesterol (mg) 63.8 76.0 73.1 73.1 78.2
[1] Per 3 oz. of cooked meat
[2] USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 14 (2001)

As seen in the table above, goat meat is lower in calories, total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol than traditional meats. It is a great source of high quality protein that provides greater health benefits in comparison to traditional meats.

Health Benefits

  • Lean protein,s such as goat meat, are good for weight control because protein is a hunger-suppressing nutrient.
  • Goat meat provides only 82 mg sodium per 100-g serving, which is relatively small compared to other proteins such as lunch meats and dairy.
  • Goat meat is a low-fat alternative to many meat-based sources of protein, such as fatty steaks, burgers, or dark-meat poultry with the skin, which are high in saturated fat.
  • High in essential nutrients such as iron, potassium, and vitamin B-12.

 

Dark Chocolate

Moderation is key here but, studies have shown that small amounts of dark chocolate can provide substantial benefits for the human body. The main benefits come from the abundance of antioxidants in cocoa beans which are filled with natural plant nutrients. Dark chocolate makes for an excellent post-meal dessert.

Health benefits

  • Loaded with antioxidants which help combat numerous diseases discussed in similar foods above.
  • Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce blood pressure, improve blood flow, and has mild anti-clotting effects that may help prevent plaque formation in arteries.
  • Unlike most sweets and desserts, dark chocolate has a low glycemic index and therefore doesn’t spike your blood sugar.
  • Dark chocolate helps the brain to release endorphins, which help in mood elevation and also remove headaches.

Sprouted Grain Bread

Sprouted grain bread or “flourless” bread is made with live grains and provides more protein, vitamins, and minerals than refined flours. Sprouted grain bread can be used as a substitute for typical white or wheat breads.

Health Benefits

  • Besides increasing their protein and vitamins, germinated sprouts contribute carbohydrates that are easier for you to digest because their starches have already been broken down by enzymes.
  • High in fiber which can help aid in your digestion and keep you feeling full.
  • The bread is very low in saturated fat and a much better alternative than typical wheat or white breads.
  • Sprouted grain bread is made with whole lentils and soybeans which means you’ll be getting a significant amount of protein and amino acids with each serving.

Thanks for reading. I am currently back in the USA trying to seek out further medical opinions for concussion rehab and treatment. Now that I am back I can be reached much easier for questions and comments.

From South Bend,

Kevin

kdeeth21@gmail.com

Ten Foods You Should Add To Your Diet

Ten Foods You Should Add To Your Diet 

These foods are probably foreign to most people however, they all pack a nutritional punch in terms of health benefits. Try and add a couple of these foods to your daily regimen for a more well-balanced diet. First, a great quote to start out the blog post that really puts things into perspective and something that really resonates for me right now in dealing with an injury.

To feel better, imagine the worst.  “Dont count your blessings; subtract them. “consciously spend a few minutes imagining what your life would be like without the good things. You’ll experience stronger feelings of love, gratitude, and happiness when you think about what life would be like without the people and things you love and, they’ll seem surprising and special again.”

-Psychologist Timothy Wilson

Exotic Berries- Goji and Acai

These two berries are super antioxidants that are loaded with several substances called anthocyanins and flavonoids. They work wonders on your immune system and help reduce the risk of some diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.

Benefits (Acai)

  • Loaded with antioxidants. (Twice the antioxidants of its cousin blueberries and 10 times more than red grapes)
  • Rich acai berries destroy cultured human cancer cells.
  • Provide an increase in energy.
  • Resistance to colds/flu.
  • Healthy and more youthful skin.
  • Promotion of weight loss.
  • High levels of omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids, which help the heart and cardiovascular systems.
  • A powerful anti aging food.
Benefits (Goji)
  • A high concentration of antioxidants.
  • Helps to slow down premature aging.
  • 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10 to 30 times the anthocyanins of red wine.
  • A synergy of monounsaturated (healthy) fats.
  • Loaded with dietary fiber and phytosterols to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
  • A great amino acid complex.
  • Vital to proper muscle contraction and regeneration.


Edamame

Also known as the soybean, edamame is a natural source of antioxidants that is made up of anywhere between 30% and 40% protein. A half-cup of these beans can have up to 11 grams of protein and are one of the few vegetarian proteins sources that have all nine of the essential amino acids the body can’t make. The fat in edamame is the heart-healthy kind, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that help to lower cholesterol levels.

Benefits 

  • Great source of fiber.
  • Rich in vitamins B,C, and E.
  • Rich in magnesium, calcium, and iron.
  • Helps reduce risk of heart disease.
  • Improves bone health.
  • Help reduce certain types of cancer.

Bok Choy

Bok choy is a member of the cabbage family that is loaded with antioxidants and can help aid in digestion. One cup of raw bok choy contains about half your daily requirement of Vitamin A, C, and K, while being low in fat, low-calorie, and low-carb.

Benefits

  • High in vitamin A, C, K, B6, calcium, dietary fiber, folate, and iron.
  • Lung, colon, prostate, and endometrial cancers seem to be reduced with bok choy intake.
  • Loaded with beta-carotene  which can help reduce muscular degeneration.

Lean Bison Meat

Bison or buffalo, is a lean protein that contains all the essential amino acids your body cannot produce on its own. Buffalo offers an alternative to other commonly eaten lean proteins such as chicken breast, turkey, and pork tenderloin. In looking at the comparison table you can see it has more protein with fewer calories, less fat, and is lower in cholesterol than other protein sources.

Benefits

  • Bison spend their lives on grass and are generally not subjected to questionable drugs, chemicals, or hormones.
  • A nutrient dense food because of the proportion in protein, fat, mineral, and fatty acids, to its caloric value.
  • Has a greater concentration of iron than other meats.
  • No growth hormones, steroids, or sub-therapeutic antibiotics. These animals are both environmentally friendly and people friendly.

Quinoa

Quinoa, considered the “mother of all grains”, is a complete protein, packing all the essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle. Quinoa has about twice the protein of regular cereal grains, fewer carbohydrates, and even a dose of healthy fats. This is great gluten-free alternative to wheat carbohydrates.

Benefits

  • An awesome alternative to the proteins found in meat.
  • Entirely gluten-free.
  • A very good source of magnesium, folate, and phosphorus.
  • Great source of fiber that can provide cardiovascular health and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Canned Salmon

Canned salmon is a quick and easy way to get 1 of your 3 recommended servings of fish per week. Like other varieties of canned fish, canned salmon is a convenient protein source that contains healthy monounsaturated fats with no sugars or carbohydrates and contains lower mercury levels than canned tuna.

Benefits

  • A good source of  B-vitamins, especially vitamin B12.
  • Very low in environmental contaminants such as mercury and pesticide residues.
  • Contains an abundance of nutrients that protect your bones, prevent cardiovascular disease, and help keep you mentally sharp.
  • One cup of canned salmon provides almost 30% of the 1,000 mg of calcium you need each day.

Venison

Like bison meat, venison is a great low-saturated fat alternative to generic red meats. Venison comes from any large game animal like deer, elk, moose, or caribou. Venison is low in cholesterol and like any non-farm produced animal, is resistant to disease and does not live on a diet of antibiotics and steroids.

Benefits 

  • Venison houses fewer calories, less fat, and more iron than chicken breast.
  • Rich in various nutrients including proteins, iron, vitamin B12, B6, riboflavin, and niacin.
  • A great option for those who are vulnerable to heart disease.
  • Can help increase energy and boost your metabolism.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is an excellent snack that is low in fat and carbohydrates, but packed with protein. Cottage cheese is a favorite food among athletes, weightlifters, and dieters for its high content of casein protein, or slow digesting protein. Research suggests that cottage cheese makes a great late night snack to allow your body to utilize the slow digesting protein while you sleep and can also help your muscles to recover.

Benefits

  • A good course of calcium, with vitamin D.
  • Great source of casein protein.
  • Helps control your appetite.
  • Great nighttime snack to keep you from feeling hungry while you sleep.

Spaghetti Squash

Comparison of  spaghetti squash noodles to one cup of enriched white spaghetti

Spaghetti squash is a great alternative to high-glycemic carbs that are associated with most white and wheat pastas. Spaghetti squash gives you the advantage of not spiking your insulin and is relatively low in carbohydrates. The low caloric value will allow you too add more natural ingredients to your spaghetti, such as more proteins and vegetables, versus getting calories from processed white or wheat noodles.

Benefits

  • Rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
  • High levels of vitamin A and C, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, folate, beta carotene, and more.
  • Can promote brain function while inhibiting inflammation.
  • Great alternative to high-carb/high calorie pastas.

Chia Seeds

There was a great article this week in the Wall Street Journal about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and how he lives and dies by chia seeds… Seems like my kind of guy. Chia seeds are another complete source of dietary protein, providing all the essential amino acids. They can make a great addition to your morning oatmeal or shake.

Benefits

  • Highest plant-based source of omega 3’s.
  • Rich in dietary fiber and protein.
  • Doesn’t carry the health concerns of flax seeds.
  • Naturally gluten-free.
  • Large amounts of B-vitamins and calcium.
  • Chia seeds are hydrophilic, meaning they hold around 10 times their weight in water. For athletes, this is a good thing, helping hydration during exercise.

Adding these foods to your diet will give you some great nutritional benefits and help you to yield greater results whether you are trying to gain weight, lose weight, or maintain a healthy balance. Thanks for reading.

From Norway,

Kevin

kdeeth21@gmail.com

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.

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Thanks for reading, from Norway,

Kevin

kdeeth21@gmail.com