Today’s post is a bit of a quickie…more “food for thought”, pun intended. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being a health coach. Why? Because as I’ve mentioned before in previous posts, I’m a people pleaser, to a fault even. Nothing makes me happier than being a resource to others, so that they too can optimize their health, and as a result- their happiness. That being said, I get bombarded with questions (in a good way!) on a daily basis when people make discovery of my occupation. Can I eat fats? What about Stevia? Do you prefer juices or smoothies? What’s the deal with coconut oil? The list goes on…and on… and on. While I love entertaining these questions, and could happily discuss or debate wellness for hours, my husband would confess I make a horrible double date. It isn’t uncommon when we are with a group of friends for the table talk to quickly become a Q & A session, much to his dismay (I mean can’t a guy get a word in about the Red Sox?? Just kidding, Trav xo). I’ve started mentally compiling a list of the most frequent inquiries, and am going to dole out my insight on a somewhat regular basis here. Today’s topic? GRAINS. Yep, they are in just about everything these days and I’m gonna tell you why you should rethink making them a staple in your daily food consumption.
Let’s start with the obvious. For years, we grew up with with a food pyramid model that gave grains a significant spot on the chart. Grains are low in fat content, and for a number of decades, our country has been waging war on the obesity epidemic. Unfortunately, in my opinion (as well as many others), giving grains the extra weight in the food pyramid, only added extra lbs. to our waistlines. See what I did there? Weight? Ahhh, so punny ; ) In any case, grains do have some wonderful nutrients, but our bodies process grains, loaded as carbohydrates, into sugar. More sugar in your body leads to not only extra storage of fat, but also inflammation and a whole host of other longterm health issues. I can speak, literally, for hours (and do when I give presentations) on how badly sugar wrecks our bodies. I promise I’ll devote another post to that in the future, but for now- just know that sugar truly is one of the absolute worst things you can put in your body. By the way, if you are reading this and thinking “but the government said it was okay… why else would they have created that pyramid chart for my high school science room?”- here’s a news flash: I can think of about 15 other foods that are banned in other countries but are served here, with regularity. Sigh.
But what about all that awesome fiber? Fiber IS important, as it helps create bulk in your system and keeps your colon clean, but there are plenty of sources of fiber besides grains. Nuts, seeds, and fruit all contain an ample amount of fiber… and don’t contain a lot of that other toxic crap that typically comes with the grains we consume these days. Plenty of health advocates around the world, especially those that embrace a Paleo and Ketogenic lifestyle, are promoting going grain free and personally, I’m in the same club. I am not 100% grain free, but I am keenly aware of how much worse my body feels after consuming them, so for that reason alone, I avoid them on a day-to-day basis. My rule of thumb for anyone- if you aren’t feeling great, try something different. One person’s fuel can be another’s poison, so try eliminating possible culprits.
So, wanna know how to reduce these funky dudes? Here are some tips:
- Fill up on fats, proteins, and veggies. Yes, I said fats. Fat doesn’t make us fat, y’all. Sugar does, remember? You can blame the scientist, Ancel Keys, for almost single handedly demonizing fat consumption, back in the early 70’s. Fortunately, plenty of more current research has gotten us back on the fat train, so please eat your avocados, nut butters, and coconut oil! By eating more of your fats, proteins, and veggies, you will get plenty of the nutrients your bodies crave, and you will be satiated longer. When we constantly feel hungry (a symptom of too many grains in our diets), we naturally gravitate to more carb laden foods because they supply us with that quick energy… that crashes shortly afterwards. So break the cycle! Your body will thank you!
Don’t go cold turkey and ditch the grains all at once. Some can do this, but most people will quit all at once, and then sabotage their efforts a few days later with a binge. To gradually incorporate this new lifestyle, you can first begin byditching the unhealthiest grains (sugary cereal, fruit bars, rice, etc.) and instead opt for healthier versions (quinoa, brown rice, etc.) Once you’ve done that, you can gradually cut done your portions of grains meal by meal until none exist… or you eat them very sparingly.
- Don’t keep them in your house! As with anything tempting- out of sight, out of mind! One thing I discuss often in my 6 week Signature Program is keeping a pantry that supports you mentally and physically. When you open your pantry, or your fridge, you should see food that makes you FEEL good… not tired, unsatisfied, or worse- guilty!
- Prepare meals, or snacks, in advance. Prepping meals once a week prevents you from binging on grains when you’re hungry. Purchase glass containers and mason jars to store your food in the freezer after cooking, and then all you’ll have to do is pop your food in the microwave. There will be no time to reach for the granola bars, pretzels, or bagels.
- Experiment with some tasty new Paleo or Ketogenic recipes! Boredom is one of the biggest catalysts for people falling off the healthy lifestyle wagon. This is another subject I focus on in both my 6 week Signature program, as well as any Detox or Challenge I offer. While I advise always having a handful of quick and easy “go-to” recipes, I strongly encourage you to try something new a few times a month at a minimum. Each of my programs contain a wide variety of new recipes to play around with, and even the most novice chef in the kitchen can “make it work” (Tim Gunn voice). Besides, experimenting in the kitchen gets us out of our comfort zones. And you KNOW how I feel about comfort zones. They suckkkkk and nothing good ever happens in them ; )
Okay, so you wanna know more? Well, that’s what I’m here for, friendos! If you are interested in learning more about any of my programs, please feel free to reach out! Lots of fun stuff planned for 2016!