Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pasta and Whole Grain

As you all know my project this summer was to lose a little weight (done) and learn to eat healthier. I did not think I was eating so poorly before, but I've learned a LOT lately about how our bodies process foods - why we store fat vs break it down etc. What foods prevent us from burning fat, and what foods help us do it. Which is good to know, for me it's not so much for the weight LOSS part but for the keeping weight OFF part.

So there's the obvious, that most of us know. Sugar is bad, the regular sugar type sugar (chocolate brownie style) and the 'you don't think about it' sugar (foods that turns to sugar; orange juice, bread, pasta)... so eating that stuff makes you have a blood sugar spike (sugar rush WOOO) which then causes your body to release insulin, which tells our bodies to store fat!! AND causes a crash (not so woohoo) and the crash makes us tired and hungry and gives us cravings. All bad cuz then I run to the kitchen for a snack... which usually ends up being a piece of bread with pb and we start it all again.

So that leads us to the fact that there are good Carbs and bad ones. Bad ones are simple carbs like white flour. But many articles I've read include whole wheat bread in the list, and whole grain cereal, whole grain pasta, and granola.. the list goes on. I was surprised to read that products can say they are whole grain w/out actually being whole grain, as long as there's a little in there then can label it that way. Which means you're eating grains thinking it's the good stuff... but it is still processed grains and will still cause that insulin spike/fat storing mode situation... *grumpy sigh*

Obviously we gotta have carbs, they give us energy. And obviously fruits and vegetables are good carbs. Then there's the sprouted grain breads (which ARE good for you). But I want my spaghetti and my mac and cheese so I'm not sure WHAT to do about that. Maybe I'll just make sure I do a 30 minute work out video before dinner on the days I want to eat pasta, I'll use the whole grain (for what it's worth) and my body will be in extra calorie burn mode so it wont store as much fat as it otherwise would.

Confusion really is my primary reaction to this great grain debate. To eat or not to eat, I like carbs way to much to cut them out of my diet... (a couple article links for you)

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs: How To Pick The Best Carbs For Your Diet

Carbohydrates: Are All Grains Bad For You?

At least the good fats and bad fats part of things is easier to understand. I mean everybody pretty much agrees that if you eat the bad fats it causes your body to store fat. But eat the good fats it tells your body to burn more fats (increases your metabolic fat burning something or other). And, even better, they all seem to agree on what the good fats are!! Easy then, try to avoid hydrogenated oils (which seems impossible when you look at food labels, yikes), use either real butter or the tubs of heart-healthy margarine made with omega-3 not fake stuff that have trans fats in them, use olive oil (or, even better, coconut oil), eat eggs and avacados and nuts (though apparently peanuts** and cashews are both "bad" nuts, which is upsetting because they are my two favorites *big sigh*).

And the random bit of information I came across that actually makes a ton of sense and was pretty interesting to me (being that I'm a lazy person and love processed foods)...

Here it is, see our liver has a whole bunch of jobs, but the two important ones for weight are the breakdown of fats and filtering harmful toxins from the blood. So when we eat processed foods the liver stops breaking down fats in order to focus on filtering the chemicals and has no time or energy for fat breakdown. So the fewer processed foods we eat, (foods with artificial sweeteners, fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, processed soy products)... the more time it has to break down the fat vs store it. And then thinking about THAT you realize that almost all the pre-made store bought foods (trail mix, health snack bars, flavored yogurt, frozen lasagna etc) have those things in them.

Anyway, take it all for what it's worth. It's overwhelming to say the least. I think I will make an effort here and there. Like I said, I'll work out on pasta dinner days, I'll replace my oils with coconut oil (already done) stop getting the fake butter and start using the real stuff.

I'm not going to become a crazy health nut, but sometimes even one or two steps can help enough to keep things on the right track. And the older I get the more important it is to take the small steps to keep things from getting out of control.

**I refuse to give up my peanut butter!! I may possibly be persuaded to spend the couple extra bucks to get the sugar free organic just peanuts kind (rather then skippy)... we'll see how it tastes before I commit to it.

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