Carbs – how important are they?

I was in the Costco the other day and asked the cashier who I have become antiquated with how his diet was going as he recently made a lifestyle change and started eating healthier. While he has had some set backs he said he was doing well. One of the topics that came up was reintroducing carbs into his diet because he was a diabetic and had taken carbs out and found that his body sugars dropped really low and he had no energy all the time.  So today I thought I would post some information on carbs.

  • Carbohydrates are your bodies preferred source of energy.
  • All of the tissues and cells in our body can use glucose for energy.
  • Carbohydrates are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.
  • Carbohydrates can be stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy.
  • Carbohydrates are important in intestinal health and waste elimination.

Carbohydrates are broken into 3 classifications – sugars (simple), starches(complex) and fiber.  It is important to understand how different carb sources are broken down by the body and how food can be used for quick or longer rates of energy.  Simple carbs such as those found in fruit or honey, are digested easily and provide a quick boost of energy. Complex carbs that are found in whole grains take longer to digest making them a good source for pre-workout fuel for your body. And finally one of the most important aspects of carbohydrates is fiber.  Carbs with fiber helps with weight loss, moderating blood glucose levels and lowering cholesterol.

What foods are carbs?
Carbohydrates are mainly found in starchy foods (like grain and potatoes), fruits, milk, and yogurt. Other foods like vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and cottage cheese contain carbohydrates, but in lesser amounts.

 

No/Low Carb Diets

When you first start reducing carbs in your diet you start to lose weight. This is an exciting time for people because they think they have lost body fat weight.  However, the truth of the matter is the first amount of weight lost when cutting carbs is water weight.   When carbs are reintroduced into the diet the water weight will come back.   If the person continues on this type of diet they will start to see a body fat weight loss, however the weight loss in general is not because they are on a no/low carb diet it is because they have drastically cut their calorie intake.  The basic principal of weight loss is if you are in a calorie deficiency you will lose body weight. The exception to this principal are people in too much of a deficiency and their metabolism is no longer functioning properly to allow them to lose weight and people with thyroid issues.

So how do you feel on a no/low carb diet?

  • Run down & lacking energy
  • Easily irritated. Hangry (Hungry and Angry)
  • Foggy – unable to think clearly
  • Headaches

Overall no/low carb diets are not a good long term solution it losing weight and often result in gaining all if not more of the weight lost.

Creating a balance 

Its important to create a healthy balance in your diet that includes lean proteins, carbs and healthy fats.  One of the easiest was to do that is to build your meals to include all 3 macronutrients.  My recommendation is for your three big meals of the day choose a lean protein between 4-8 oz,  1 cup of green vegetables and 1 cup of a complex carb.

Sample Meals for the Day:

Breakfast:

  • 3 to 5 Egg Whites, 1 -2 whole Eggs
  • 1 Serving of Oatmeal with Cinnamon

Snack

  • 2 Brown Rice Cakes
  • 2 Tbs All Natural Peanut Butter

Lunch

  • 4-8 oz of Grilled Chicken
  • 1 Cup Steam Green Beans
  • 1 Cup Sweet Potatoes

Snack

  • Protein Shake
  • Apple

Dinner

  • 4-8 oz of Grilled Tilapia
  • 1 Cup Steam Broccoli
  • 1 Cup Rice

While there is much more detailed information regarding carbohydrates this is just a basic overview to provide a bit of information when deciding how important carbs are in your daily diet.

For a more indepth discussion about macronutrients or for nutritional guidance please contact us today to become a client.

Balsamic Steak and Pan Seared Vegetables

I love lean cuts of beef for my protein of choice.  This amazing dish came together when I was trying to decide what vegetables I wanted for to pair my steak with for dinner.

 

Ingredients:

  • Lean Steak (sirloin or round cuts are your best choice for lean cuts)
  • Frozen Green Beans
  • Sliced White Button Mushrooms
  • Red Peppers
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Minced Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Season steak with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the steak and sliced mushrooms to a skillet. Cook meat to temperature you enjoy.
  3. Remove steak and add red peppers and frozen green beans.
  4. When green beans appear to be cooked add 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp of garlic.
  5. Slice steak into strips and add back to vegetable mixture. Toss steak with vegetables.
  6. Cook a few more minutes so the steak has a chance to absorb some of the balsamic and garlic flavors.
  7. Enjoy!

The macros vary depending on what type of meat you use and how much. Also how much vegetables you use.  This would be great on a tortilla or with some rice on the side. I encourage you to play around with the ingredients.

balsamic-steak-veggies

 

Gluten Free Protein Pancakes

One of my favorite meals is breakfast. I could eat breakfast for every meal of the day. These protein pancakes are high in protein and carbs and are great for a pre or post workout meal.  You can put different toppings and to change the macro nutrients. My personal favorite is caramel syrup, bananas and pecans.

  • 1/4 Cup Gluten Free Bisquick
  • 1 scoop Quest Protein Powder (I have used both Multiple Purpose Mix and Peanut Butter in this recipe)
  • 1/4 Cup Low Fat Cottage Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Coconut Oil Spray
  1. Heat pan and spray with coconut oil.
  2. If using a 12 in pan pour entire batter in pan. If using a smaller pan then pour 1/2 of the batter in the pan.
  3. Wait until the edges look dry so when you flipped the pancake it doesn’t fall apart.
  4. Cook second side for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Once done top with fresh fruit or other toppings.

Note: You can use this batter for pancakes or waffles.

Approximate macronutrient breakdown:  Protein 40 g, Carbs 50 g, Fats 3 g, Calories 387

protein_pancakes

3 Bean Turkey Chili

This 3 Bean Turkey Chili provides you will a good source of lean protein, complex carbs and healthy fats.

Ingredients

20150908_162808-1[1]
Directions
  1. In a large pot add onions and meat, sprinkled with garlic powder and cook until no longer pink (drain using a plate, if desired).
  2. Next add the beans, tomatoes, and spices and stir until combined.
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Serve hot.

Approximately makes 8- 1 Cup Servings

Approximate Macros. Protein 32, Carbs 27 and Fats 10.  340 Calories.

Want a little extra kick try adding a dab of greek yogurt and some low fat cheese.

 

Recipe adapted from Jamie Eason’s 3 Bean Turkey Chili

Personal trainers: The good, the bad and the ugly. Do I even need a personal trainer?

Personal trainers can be the key to helping people meet health and fitness goals, or they can be a huge waste of money.  Determining if you need a trainers expertise or not can be a tough decision.  But if you know you need one choosing the right one could be even more difficult.  First step is to determine if you need a personal trainer.

How do I know I need a personal trainer?

  1. Do you lack motivation on your own?
  2. Do you like to do different types of workouts but you are not sure how to create a program ?
  3. Do you have specific fitness and training goals such as competing?
  4. Do you feel comfortable using the equipment in the gym on your own?
  5. Do you want to lose weight but can’t seem to lose the weight without doing drastic diets or starving yourself.

If you decide you need to have a personal trainer, here is a guide for choosing the right trainer for you.

How do you choose the correct trainer for you?

  1. Ask questions. Your trainer should be able to answer your questions completely and comprehensively.
  2. Get referrals. Good trainers have worked with many people and they will be happy to give you their feedback with their experience with the trainer.
  3. Find a trainer that trains in the way you want to train. You want to find a trainer that will cater to your needs. You want to find someone that fits with your personality because it is important for you to trust your trainer. If you want to be a powerlifter find an experienced powerlifter trainer.
  4. Ask about qualifications.  Good trainers will always look for ways to expand their knowledge in the field.
  5. Do you have special needs or injuries? Ask if the trainer has experience working with your special needs. Exercise and nutrition can help with many medical conditions but improper treatment can cause more harm.
  6. Nutrition plans can be the key to success in achieving your ideal physique.  It is important to understand you don’t need to eliminate foods,  slash calories,  do detox’s, or replacement shakes to make progress.
  7. Shop around. Most purchases are made based on emotions. You will find different trainers charge different rates and offer different services. Make sure the trainer you choose provides you everything you are looking for to help you with your fitness journey.  Cheaper is not always better and neither is more expensive.  Doing your homework before you finalizing your decision is important.

How do you know if you have chosen a trainer that may cause you more harm then being helpful.

  1. The trainer does not do any type of assessments.
  2. The trainer is having you do workouts that you may not be appropriate for you.
  3. The trainer doesn’t let you eat foods you enjoy like fruit.
  4. The trainer has you on a highly restrictive diet  or is having you do 2 a day cardio workouts and you are not prepping for a competition.
  5. The trainer has you work through injuries instead of addressing the issue to resolve it.
  6. The trainer can’t explain why you are doing the things he/she is asking you to do.
  7. The trainer tries to sell you a bunch of supplements.
  8. The trainer does not track your progress.

While these are just a few ways to find the perfect trainer it is important to do your research so you don’t injury yourself or end up damaging your diet to lose weight.