I heard a great talk by a nutritionist this morning. With a whole host of studies and credentials behind her name, I was glad to get to hear an honest and balanced view of food and eating.
Now, however, I am sort of wishing I had skipped it.
Okay, that's not true. But I went into the session feeling pretty good about my eating habits. We don't have chips and pop and cookies and the like in our home. We snack on fruits and vegetables and whole wheat crackers. We eat small portions of a balanced diet. We drink mainly water. We don't eat packaged/prepared foods and I try to cook as much from scratch as I can.
I still came away feeling like I might as well be eating from the four food groups of sugar, pop, chocolate and fat.
Here are some of the interesting facts I learned today:
1) Orange juice is useless as a vitamin C booster, especially when you're sick. The amount of sugar in the juice actually shuts down your immune system for about 5 hours!
2) Whole wheat crackers/pasta are really no better than their white counterparts.
3) Bran cereals are more sugar than fibre. To determine the amount of sugar (or things that become sugar (glucose) in your body ones metabolized), add the sugar, carb and fibre numbers on the nutritional label. Oh - and milk actually counteracts the fibre absorption.
4) The majority (not all, but most) cancers can be prevented through diet/lifestyle. Cancer cells "eat" sugar (glucose), and need an acidic environment in which to live. Therefore, try to eat foods that create an alkaline body (ph level between 7-8), rather than acidic.
5) Vegetables should still have a crunch to them when cooked, or you are getting almost no nutrients.
6) Milk (cow's milk, like we buy in the store) is fairly useless to us. It is not a good source of calcium.
7) Your metabolism can be controlled! Once you go longer than 3 hours without food, your body starts preparing for a fast, slowing down your metabolism. Eat something every 1.5 - 2.5 hours to counteract this. Also, muscle burns calories. 1 pound of muscle burns 60 calories every day. Without doing any exercise at all!
8) Running and heavy cardio can actually cause you to gain weight: when you are pushing your body hard for more than 30-45 minutes, your body starts to take from your muscles to supply the rest of your body. And so for every pound of muscle eaten away, you need to find a way to lost an additional 60 calories!
9) Eat carbs for fuel before exercising and protein to help repair afterwords. Otherwise your body starts to eat into your muscles again.
10) The most beneficial for of exercise is weight training. It builds muscle (which burns calories on its own!) and still gets your heart going (which is what cardio would do).
11) Remember that any form of "cleanse" or "flush" or "detox" flushes everything out. It gets rid of the bad...and the good. In 10 years of practice, our speaker only recommended 5 people actually do this. (Mainly to flush out a host of medications in the system).
Well, now you know. Do you wish you had stopped reading at the beginning? Don't you hate that knowledge = responsibility? I can honestly say that although there are some changes I will be making, I won't be drastically altering our food diet. I still think we do fairly well. And I just don't see my boys eating mounds of kale and turnip and carrot juice. This is definitely another step in my eye-opening journey about food. Each step gets me further down that path. Another small victory.