Showing posts tagged sugar
Hilary has our answer!
(Is it just me, or are you loving all of her helpful tips too?!Â The girl poses these questions before I even get a chance to ask!)
The rule of thumb is:
If the food comes in a shell,
is not porous,
or you can scrub it,
you don’t need to buy organic.
So you need to buy organic: meat, milk, and produce that you can’t scrub (like broccoli, berries, or mushrooms).Â The exception is eggs.Â We learned that last week.
With fruit, you need to beware of shiny skins.Â They are sprayed down and that pretty shine is the build up of chemicals.Â If you are willing to scrub this off (lemon juice works well), then you can feel free not to buy organic.Â But with something like an apple or cucumber where it’s almost impossible to get it all off, you should choose organic.Â As Hil says, “if a bug isn’t going to eat it, neither should you.”
With fruits like pineapples, bananas, melons, avocados etc, since you peel off the skin, you don’t need to buy organic.
Almonds, all nuts actually, come in shells, so any pesticides they were exposed to were removed along with the shell!Â Hilary also says if you buy your nuts in the bags instead of boxes you’ll save money.Â Check out the unit price next to the total price.
Other things that don’t have to be organic:
Here are more of Hilary’s insights:
Sugar is sugar.Â Cane sugar, agave, maple syrup, corn syrup, it all metabolizes pretty much the same, according to Hilary.Â I’m not sure I buy this totally, it’s probably the first thing I’ve seriously questioned, but she claims it all hits your blood system the same way. If you read the “turbinado” bag, it is a “cane” product so I suppose she is right.Â She has been about everything else :)Â Since sugar is cane and the skin is taken off before processing, then you don’t need to buy organic.
It’s cheaper and better for you to buy frozen veggies in a BAG not a BOX.Â Make sure they are flash-frozen to preserve the nutritional value.Â Veggies in boxes have usually been cooked once and have additional stuff on them for flavor.Â When you cook them again, you are killing the reason you are eating them.
The vine attached to the tomato means that the fruit still has a small source of energy and will last longer on your counter top.
As long as the only additional ingredients in canned beans is water and salt, you’re good to go!
If you are cooking with olive oil, which Hilary does not recommend due to its low smoking point, you don’t need to spend the money on “Extra-Virgin.”Â The only time you should use olive oil is for dressings and sauteeing over low heat. Hilary suggests cooking with coconut oil, which I have tried, and adds an interesting dept to my dishes.Â I use grape seed oil for simple sauteeing.
Vegetables that have been fried are not good for you.Â When you cook something until it’s crunchy, you’ve taken away all it’s nutritional value.Â Might as well get chips instead!
Speaking of chips, the “crunchy” rule applies as well.Â To my shock and disappointment, sweet potato chips are not better for you than regular potato chips.Â THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS WHEN BUYING CHIPS: the fat source - what kind of oil was used to make them.Â Look for bags with nut oils instead of vegetable or canola.
If you are going to buy pasta, choose the ones with whole grains so you’re actually getting the fiber the box claims you are.Â At the end of the day it’s all pasta and there are many better choices for your source of carbs.
Veggies in the deli case are shinier and more expensive, both of which signal a bunch of stuff has been added.Â Opt for the veggies at the salad bar for a lower price and fat content.
More to come on how I’ve been executing Hilary’s actual nutrition plan for me.Â It ain’t easy, I’ll tell you that much, but totally worth it when I execute her rules properly.
I think we’re all over the no carb diets, so now the question is, what kinds of carbs should be be eating?
Hilary broke this all down for me the other day so I’m going to simplify her lessons for you here.
According to Hilary, there are two types of carbs: simple and complex. Simple is straight up sugar. Complex carbohydrates are also sugars but they include fiber, texture, and taste. When we eat clean, complex carbs, they don’t allow the blood sugar to spike and crash because the complexity allows for a slower release into the blood stream. A good rule of thumb: the sweeter something is, the more simple it is and therefore higher in sugar and calories.
Click the image to enlarge the chart. It’s Hilary’s easy way to explain the Glycemic Index.
You want to eat everything to the left of the arrows.
Fiber, which helps absorption of nutrients and digestion, is a hot topic right now. Hilary says you can identify good fiber by texture. It will be “stalky” (hard) and “barky” (crunchy and dense).
I asked her specifically about taking wheat grass shots. She loves the idea and nutrients, but points out if you eat it with something fibrous, like nuts, your digestion slows down and your body has more time to absorb the nutrients. If you drink it on its own (like I used to), it runs right through your system and you don’t get the benefits.
You won’t be surprised to hear I also asked about wine specifically. Hilary says to eat as much veggies with wine to help slow down the absorption of sugar and alcohol. Most people would think to eat something more starchy (like potatoes or carrots), but that just adds sugar and calories, which you are trying to minimize. So get the fiber from veggies instead!
My friend Renee introduced me to these gummy vitamins on our trip to Mexico. She had them in a little bag and snacked on them in the middle of the day. Of course when she offered me one, I ate 5 or 6. They’re soooo good, and I felt like I was justifying the sugar and gelatin with the nutrients they supply. I know I could use more Omega-3. And I feel like I want more candy in my diet. Win win, right?!
And I guess that’s the same thing we do for kids too. They need vitamins and want candy.
I don’t take vitamin pills because they make me nauseous. Instead, I usually drink a protein shake that is loaded with vitamins. My latest raw mix from Whole foods tastes like dirt, but it gets the job done.
A company called Alterna-Vites just came out with a flavored powder that is supposed to be better for kids because it doesn’t have sugar. Of course, if it’s a kids product, it has to be sweet, so they use Malodextrin, a “naturally-derived” sweetener.
I first learned about Malodextrin in Skinny Bitch, where they blasted all sweeteners.
“Malodextrin allegedly does not affect blood sugar in the same way as table sugar, which is why this food additive is used liberally in many processed foods. Maltodextrin is naturally-derived from carbohydrate containing foods like rice, corn, potato, and barley. The term “naturally-derived” is a key reason for this additive’s popularity. Since maltodextrin is a naturally-derived product, it is easier for the body to break down and digest efficiently.” — via LoveToKnow
However, I’ve found that malodextrin is used in only used in heavily processed foods and sodas, which we shouldn’t be eating anyway. (And it is said to be high on the Glycemic Index.)
The issue of the vitamins is yours to choose. But that led me to thinking about the latest natural sweetener craze.
Stevia is the latest to break through the market as I’m sure you know.
When I found out my Dad was using Sweet ‘n Low on his cereal, I immediately went to Whole Foods to find a natural alternative. He liked the Maple Agave I bought, but the powder was such a habit, he insisted I find something in that form. Organic Stevia was my answer. Stevia, aka Stevia Rebaudiana Berton, is a member of the Chrysanthemum plant family grown for its sweet leaves and nutritional benefits. It has no calories or carbohydrates.
There are 100% pure bags of stevia which are said to be the best for you.
Truvia is made from Stevia, but has other ingredients so it acts like sugar you can cook with.
Honestly, I’m not a sweetener girl. I’ve learned to live without it since I gave up soda for Lent in high school and I really haven’t missed it. In fact, the artificial sweetness is a little repulsive. If a recipe calls for sugar, I try to use organic cane sugar, sucanat, or agave. It just tastes better to me.
The bottom line here is: Where does each fall on the glycemic index? (Read more about the effect of GI here.) The lower the number, the better for you.
The lesson to learn is: READ THE LABEL! of the products you buy. Best case scenario: you don’t buy things in packages, but that’s just not practical all the time.
I am certainly no expert on nutrition. We are all learning as we go! My philosophy has always been: less sugar, less processed food, eat what you love in moderation.