Friday, May 10, 2013

Low Carb vs. Balanced Nutrition

Let's get a few things out in the open before we start talking about carbohydrates. First - we don't believe in dieting. We think the Zone Diet, the Grapefruit Diet, the Master Cleanse, the Paleo Diet, the South Beach Diet, all that crap is just that - marketing crap. Could we make a lot of money if we launched the BMK Beach Body Babe Diet and marketed the hell out if it with targeted advertising with photos of glistening nearly naked triathletes? Sure, if making money off people trying to get summer-swimsuit-ready was our goal - except it's not. How many diets have you tried? How many have lasted? Sure, you lost 10 lbs. eating nothing but lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup - but how long was it til you found them again? What's that? You're trying a new juice cleanse? With NON-ORGANIC fruits and vegetables (This boggles our minds to no end.) So, let's get this straight - you're drinking an anti-oxidizing acai juice that's covered in and permeated with pesticides? Mind-bending. Now, we give anyone trying to get healthy an A for effort, but let's have a quick chat about nutrition.

Lifestyle Change
Yes, a 5-day cleanse or diet is feasible, possible, and manageable. But a life-long change? Whoa. Remember, what you put in your face is a matter of life and death. If you don't believe us, ask someone who has diabetes, heart disease, or obesity. Everyone can have super-powers! You have the power to look younger, heal quickly, rest well, be energized and have a sharp mind - and that power resides in what kind of fuel you feed your body. Does this mean that you can never eat pizza? No! What it does mean is changing your lifestyle so that 90% of the time, you are providing your body with the nutrients it needs and 10% of the time you splurge. Stop looking at food as an adversary, a taunt, a treat, or a comfort, and begin to look at food as fuel - what kind of food will make me strong? Healthy? Happy? Energetic?

Be Wary of Packaged Goods
You don't need boxed rice, boxed oats, bagged pancake mix, or even bagged kale chips! Think that Uncle Ben's Rice Pilaf is just as good for you as brown rice? Let's take a look at what's in it:
Precooked Long Grain Rice, Water, Precooked Enriched Macaroni Product [Semolina (Wheat), Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin and Folic Acid] Canola Oil, Salt, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Vegetables (Onion, Broccoli, Garlic), Hydrolyzed Corn/Soy Protein, Sugar, Chicken Fat, Acetylated Monoglyceride Corn Starch, Chicken Broth, Soy Sauce (Soybeans, Wheat, Salt) Soy Flour, Maltodextrin, Turmeric (Color) Spices, Natural Flavors, Tapioca (Dextrin, Flour).
Well... That's awkward. Precooked enriched macaronic product? Nothing says YUMMY like a generic word like product. As for the rest of it - what exactly are some of those things? You know what's in BMK rice pilaf? Rice, vegetable stock (water, vegetables), minced fresh vegetables, sea salt, and cracked pepper. Big difference! Now imagine you're eating at least three meals with all of that crap above in them most days. How well do you think you're fueling your body? How well is your body going to fend off illness and immune attacks while it's trying to figure out where to break down Precooked Enriched Macaroni Product. Not very well!

Buy vegetables, buy fruit, buy a variety of grains, eat a variety of legumes, seeds and nuts. Drink water. Sounds complicated, right?!

Who'd have thought that there would be so much confusion over such a simple word! Depending on which women's "health" magazine you're reading, and which day it is, you'll get a new opinion regarding carbohydrates. Carbohydrates make you fat, right? So we must avoid carbohydrates to lose weight, right? Meaning we need low carb diets, right!?, not really.

Your brain and body need quite a few things to function correctly: carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, water, and as a bonus let's throw in antioxidants and phytonutrients. Carbohydrates are found in most foods (rendering the no-carb diet virtually impossible and the low-carb diet impractical for proper health) including grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and more! When you view the nutrition information on a package there are two components listed under Carbohydrates - Dietary Fiber and Sugars. Now, despite its bad rap - sugars themselves aren't bad for you, as long as they come from a natural, unprocessed, unrefined source and are consumed in moderation. Apples, strawberries, and oranges all have sugar and have vital nutrients for your body! You should avoid high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, glucose, or any other sugar that's been added to food to make it taste better without improving the nutritional profile of the food. Why add all those extra nutrition-free calories? Food manufacturers assume that you won't like plain, high protein yogurt unless they add evaporated cane juice. This is not the same as eating plain yogurt with fresh fruit stirred in to give you the sweetness of the berry and some vitamins.

Fiber is important, both to your overall health and to those trying to lose weight. Fiber not only keeps you feeling full, but it acts like a scrub brush as it goes through your digestive tract cleaning out old, toxic debris, it reduces blood pressure and inflammation, lowers cholesterol, regulates your bowel movements and can prevent colorectal cancer. Fiber is your friend! Your body wants to function like a high performance machine - fiber helps keep your engine clean and your key numbers in balance, yet it's... A CARBOHYDRATE! Oh no! This is why looking just for low carb numbers is an error. Kudos for reading the labels, but make sure you note which foods are high SUGAR and which are high FIBER if you see a high CARB number.

Ever dieted and felt sluggish, spacey, weak, unable to sleep but lacking energy? This is because you are starving your body of the carbohydrates (yep, we said it) necessary for your body and mind to function.

Why Do Low Carb Diets Seem to Work?
Easy! Most of the time removing or avoiding most carbs from one's diet means removing all the packaged crap that most people eat on a daily basis! No more donuts, no more cookies, no snacking on wheat thins, no excessive bread consumption, no overloading on 2-3 servings of pasta (a serving is 2 dry oz., by the way), avoiding all the enriched, bleached, processed junk carbs and refined sugar is an excellent way to lose weight AND be healthy. Yet, what will make that weight loss and new-found health last is the ability to combine a healthy diet with exercise. And that takes energy, and energy comes from carbohydrates.

The Ideal 
Eat unpackaged, unprocessed, real, organic food. Avoid anything you can't define or track to a source. Avoid grains that have been stripped of all value, enriched with chemical compounds and bleached to be an appealing white shade. Avoid sodas full of chemicals. Avoid canned and packaged fruits and vegetables in lieu of fresh, untarnished produce. Avoid refined sugars and aim for sweetening with fruit, honey, molasses, maple syrup or agave. Eat healthy fats to protect your organs, encourage healing, and assist in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Drink water to hydrate your body, move nutrients along and assist in the absorption of water-soluble vitamins. Get adequate protein from easy-to-digest sources to aid in building and repairing muscle, skin, cartilage, and blood. And while you're at it, go crazy and get some extra credit by giving your body antioxidants and phytochemicals like lycopene and flavonoids, cartenoids to protect your body against a wide range of disease, aging, and breakdown. Not only that, add in daily exercise, stretching and maybe even some meditation to create a balanced, healthy, and happy body and mind.

Questions? Ask away!