Month: March 2013

Cracking the Code Behind Egg Labeling (Video)

What is the best type of egg to purchase to get the most bang-for-your-buck, and to ensure your own safety when it comes to breakfast? Watch and find out….

Accompanying post with more details can be found here:

https://nourishedblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/cracking-the-code-behind-egg-labeling/

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Cracking the Code Behind Egg Labeling

            Eggs. Often demonized in the past for their high cholesterol levels, they’ve recently been gloated as a highly nutritious food. And rightfully so, as they are a great source of protein (a complete one, in fact—meaning they contain ALL essential amino acids), and that yolk is jam-packed with much-needed nutrients. But there has been some recent confusion surrounding eggs, raising a question that I am asked frequently.

 

WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH CAGE-FREE? Organic? Free range? What is the difference, and do we need to be concerned? Well, I would like to clear up the meanings of these terms. With all the regulations and their loopholes, it is easy to get confused. Here I will provide you information to help you decipher the true meaning behind these claims.

 

Cage Free: This label may sound chicken-friendly. But all it means is exactly what it says… no “cage” is present holding in the chickens. This could still mean that the chickens are couped up in a barn or shed. For a good example of this, check out this clip from the film Food, Inc.

Free Range: This label ensures only that the chickens laying your eggs have some access to the outdoors. This can be as limited as a chicken-sized whole in the side of the chicken house, allowing them access to the outside.

Organic: If eggs are marked as organic, you can be assured that your omelet is free from added hormones and antibiotics. These chickens are also required to have the same outdoor-access as free-range chickens.

So, WHAT SHOULD YOU PURCHASE if you want the cleanest possible, most natural type of egg, as that’s why you’ve all come here, right? The next time you’re at the store, look for “Pasture Raised Eggs”. They are a bit more expensive, but worth it. And, as always, go local as frequently as you can; the less travel your food has on it, the less likely it is to have picked up unhealthy toxins along the way. If you can get to a local farmer for your eggs, that’s even better, but I know that can be difficult. Look for these eggs at Whole Foods, or your local health food store. I know here in the North Bay of California, our local store Oliver’s has begun carrying them.

 

Whether your desire for purchasing the best possible eggs grows out of your concern for the animals or yourself, pasture-raised is the way to go. Not only are these chickens treated in a more humane fashion, raised in a TRUE pasture as chickens were meant to be, but these eggs tend to have higher nutrient counts as well. In addition, your pasture-raised eggs will be free from antibiotics and non-naturally occurring hormones that are often added to animal food sources. When these hormones enter the body, they can mess with metabolism and other areas of normal functioning.

The world of food has become a confusing one. I hope this clears some things up. If you have any questions, leave a comment below! Or contact me at samfink14@gmail.com.

 

Have a wonderful Sunday :).

Intermittent Fasting and The Secret to Weight Loss

Thank you to all of you who voted in the Intermittent Fasting poll. To see the results, or vote yourself, you can find the poll here.

After reviewing the results, I have a clearer picture of my audience’s stance on this topic, and I really appreciate it.

 

 

While the idea of caloric restriction has been around for some time, I most recently heard about this idea of intermittent fasting when listening to the Dude, Where’s My Health?! podcast. Clark’s guest for this episode was Brad Pilon, deemed an expert on intermittent fasting. After some digging on my end, I fear I’ve come up short on the scientific side of things. I was able to find a few small studies boasting fasting’s success for weight loss in obese subjects, but nothing overwhelming. To be fair, I was able to find NO scientific evidence concluding that intermittent fasting is definitely correlated with negative effects. Through my limited research, I feel I can conclude that more research must be done in the area to draw a true and valid conclusion with which those in the nutrition sciences can be confident. So, I would like to put the science aside for a moment, and discuss some other aspects of fasting.

 

I think we’ve all heard it before, and it’s hard to disagree: “America needs to put down the fork.” This is a fair statement, seeing as how, per the most recent CDC data, more than one-third of Americans are obese. That number is pretty astounding. Because weight loss and maintenance truly is essentially about calories in vs. calories out, it stands to reason that Americans need to eat less. But, there are ways of decreasing caloric intake without feeling like your body is heading into starvation.
While the idea that intermittent fasting asserts may sound like a solid idea to some (eat normal dinner, followed by no breakfast or lunch, followed by a normal dinner, over a 24 hour period 1 time per week [there are variations on this]), there is a bubble I just cannot refrain from bursting (sorry). For most of us, if we go all day without eating, it is highly unlikely that we will have the will power, or the level blood glucose, to sit down at the dinner table and make a nutritious, or “normal” choice, as with such high levels of hunger, our bodies’ ultimate preoccupation is receiving calories in any form available.

The relationship that most Americans (and many others) currently have with food, the wonderful sustenance that is meant to carry us through our days, is so tormented. This is in large part due to the two extremes of dieting we are receiving at all times: one minute we are told to over-consume until moving is compromised, while the next, we are told that if we don’t cut out whatever food group is being demonized at that particular moment we should be ashamed. Everyone is looking for the hot tip, the magic pill, behavior, superfood, or devil ingredient to avoid, that will grant them the weight loss or health goal they have been wishing for, when the answer really is much simpler than it is presented to be (in theory).

 

The truth is, we have each been born with a major untapped resource–the incredible entity that is the human body! Our bodies have come equipped with a number of organs designed to detoxify us and regulate hunger, along with many other ridiculously awesome functions. All we need to do to allow our bodies to do their thing is eat a moderate and balanced diet, incorporating variety wherever possible. For a healthy individual, there’s no need to cut out entire food groups, no need to initiate a juice cleanse, and certainly no need to go without food for large windows of time (from what I have read, this can be anywhere from 16 to 24 hours).

 

Here is the bottom line… When you choose a dietary lifestyle, ask yourself this question: Can I do this for the REST of my life? Be honest. If the answer is truly a resounding “YES,” more power to ya. But if your approach is to do this for now, and go back to “normal eating” after a certain point, or if you foresee yourself dreading every fast day as it quickly approaches, I urge you to reconsider.

 

Life is short. Don’t waste it being unhappy. Just eat less, and move more (although I know this is more challenging than it sounds, I also KNOW that YOU absolutely can do it). Listen to your body, give it what it’s asking for (what it’s TRULY asking for–different than just a craving, story for another time) as often as possible. Grant it that, and it will return the favor by functioning optimally, allowing you to reach your health goals.

Balance. Variety. Moderation. THAT IS THE SECRET. Now go tell your friends. And enjoy today.

MYndful PLATE!

MYndful PLATE!

Love this spin on the USDA’s MyPlate. If we really follow these rules, and keep our minds open to learning about proper nutrition, the rest will come into play naturally.

Intermittent Fasting for Optimal Health

I learned a bit about this today, and I certainly had a gut reaction. I would like to collect some of that good ol’ evidence-based research to form a true opinion before writing a post on it. But I’m also curious as to how all of YOU out in the blog-o-sphere feel about this topic. Heard of it? Practice it? Love it? Hate it? Poll it up! I’d love comments from any poll-takers with details on your opinion.

 

Vote away! Thank you!

Food vs. Pharmacy

Medications absolutely have their uses. But healthy food choices can be so preventative, and even healing in many cases!

STAY HEALTHY with SAMANTHA

Is this illustration something that you guys have noticed? 

I know I have!!  Choose healthy foods to prevent ending up like the left side of this cartoon!

health vs pharmacy

 

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Mac n’ Cheese Craving About MORE Than Our Lack of Will Power?

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What an interesting <24 hour span…

After a challenging but incredible day working at my new job, getting to visit some patients in the ICU, I head to my typcically oh-so-reliable vehicle (the Kia Sportage), in a bit of a rush to make it to my second job–about an hour away–on time. In the ignition my keys go, and with a clockwise turn forward, I see my afternoon flash before my eyes. Sportage was…. Dead. =’O

After a brief panic-laden call to my father, during which he told me a bunch of things that under more serene circumstances I would have already known, I called AAA, made my job aware, and awaited my knight in shining new battery’s arrival.

Battery’s replaced, I’m one hundred clams poorer, but I’m on the road. With extreme traffic (usual 1 hr drive took 2hrs), I felt my blood boiling and my mind racing with what innovative Chinese water torture method my job might use to punish me. (Side note: something I really enjoy about a commute is the time I’m forced to spend calming myself down :))

FINALLY, I arrive back into town. As I let out a serious sigh of relief, apparently, so does my rear right side tire. Tire pressure light comes on, and as it turns out, I have a flat. I decide to hold off until after work to deal with it, at which point I stop by a gas station and fill the tire with air. A large part of me knew that this likely would not fix the issue, but it was 8pm, and I needed to get home.

This brings me to this morning… Around 10am, I go to my car to drive to the store to pick up some foods for lunch (which I eat with my clients, so I am obligated to have something). Upon pulling out of my driveway, I learn that my tire is not just a bit low on pressure, but is–you guessed it–flat Stanley. Fantastic. I find the nearest tire repair store, and drive (YES, DRIVE) my poor, just barely pre-mortem vehicle about 3 miles down the road for fixin’. The man fixing my tire was incredibly nice, and when I told him I needed to be at work by a certain time, was sure to get right to it. He informed me that I had, not one but — TWO screws in my tire, and that because I drove my car there, it was incredibly dangerous to continue driving on it (even after repair) due to the damage. Now, I am suddenly in need of a new tire.

Now…. to my point in writing this post. I’m about $250 down, and in SERIOUS need of a hug. With blood glucose levels running low, and cortisol levels running obscenely high, I find myself craving… wait for it…. PIZZA LUNCHABLES. What?

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(Seriously? This sounds good?)

Then I think about it… In my early childhood, before my mother became as well-versed in nutrition as she now is, she would often feed these to us. I remembered a time with my family on Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday involving fasting. After I had attempted to do this fast for the first time at age 6 (um, earliest signs of ED, perhaps?), and my poor growing body just couldn’t take the hunger, my mom took me out to the car, and gave me my very own pizza Lunchable that she had brought, likely foreseeing me not making it much past 11am. I think this shows that what I really needed today after this stressful experience is not highly processed, naturally stale-ish tasting fake and cold pizzas. What I really want is for my mom to take care of me, to take me out to the (functioning) car, sit with me on the sidewalk, and tell me everything is going to be alright, even though things have not gone according to plan.

The evidence is there. Cravings often have a true emotional tie within us that others may not be able to understand, and sometimes we subconsciously believe that eating certain foods will give us what we lack. So…

I PROPOSE A CHALLENGE:

The next time you have what seems like an odd craving, try to think about WHY. Was it a food your family made every Friday night? Maybe it’s the cookies Grandma would make whenever you went to her house (not my Grandma–but maybe yours did that stuff… ;))? It could even be the crappy dorm food over which you shared a number of laughs and good times with your best college pal. Then, if you’re really NOT hungry, or it’s maybe a food you’d like to avoid due to health reasons, try doing something to fill that need. Maybe you can call a family member, just tell them you miss them. Or if you’re lucky enough, go hang out with them. Maybe you need to call up a friend to hear a familiar voice. Or just go give/get a hug from someone. Does the craving go away? Do you feel fulfilled? I would love to hear any findings or feedback here!

Comment away, my dears :). To LUNCHABLES (or at least the warm fuzzy feeling they give to some of us…)!