It’s the last weekend of October and my favorite holiday is coming up! This weekend we have a Halloween parade at Ella’s school, plan to go see my husband’s co-worker’s insanely decorated house (he is apparently HUGE on Halloween), and prepping for this week’s special Halloween episode of The Bitchin’ Yogis.
I thought today I would drop some random nutrition facts at you. I’ve been chatting with some of you on Instagram and it seems that you are looking for some new nutrition content, so hopefully you enjoy!
1. The brain regulates the amount of protein you need to eat.
Most people, not everyone, will crave more protein when they need it, and be adverse to it when they need less. Interesting, right? This doesn’t always work for say, a body builder who needs that extra protein (and their brain doesn’t understand their goals), but for someone like me, listening to my body’s natural cues is key. There are other cases where higher protein intake can be beneficial, where that innate craving may not go up, but these are particular cases (like certain chronic illness).
On the flip side, there’s a reason there is always room for dessert! I am saving this for another day though.
Side note: Ever wonder why pregnant women get nauseated at the site of chicken? I always thought the reason was protective/primal. For instance, chicken is prone to food-borne illness so being repulsed by it will protect you from eating under-cooked meats.
While there may be some truth to my theory about food born illness and pregnancy, there’s an actual scientific cause. One being that hormones are all over the place, two being that you learn to become really in-tune with your body (whether you like it or not).
When pregnant, you experience a decrease of stomach acid. (There are also a lot of hormonal changes which also may mess with your appetite) When your stomach isn’t producing enough hydrocholoric acid and pepsin for digestion, your body knows it is unable to digest meat, so your brain tells you to run far away.
This makes complete sense and you shouldn’t stress too much in early pregnancy (this is a whole other blog topic), do your best and try sipping some apple cider vinegar tea with honey to help build up that stomach acid, and eat small meals!
2. Food Corporations Paid Big Bucks to Downplay the Harmful Effects of Sugar
This is pretty disturbing.
Did you know that many food corporations paid scientists to downplay sugar’s role in heart disease? I bet this isn’t too shocking.
All of the things being pushed were basically hidden forms of sugar. “Oatmeal will make you fuller, longer” “Grape juice boosts brain function.” It is pretty damn decieving.
Coca-Cola was funding high-profile scientists and organizations promoting a message that, in the battle against weight gain, people should pay more attention to exercise and less to what they eat and drink. In the aftermath of that investigation, Coca-Cola released data detailing its funding of several medical institutions and associations between 2010 and 2015, from the Academy of Family Physicians to the American Academy of Pediatrics. All told, Coca-Cola says it gave $132.8 million toward scientific research and partnerships.
Basically, the food industry plays a big role in a lot of nutrition information. These above examples are from 50 years ago but unfortunately this still goes on.
Have you ever seen a Mazola Corn Oil commercial? I mean, those infuriate me beyond belief. Highly refined vegetable oils are NOT heart-healthy!
3. “Drink More Water” Isn’t Always Best
This is something I am DEFINITELY guilty of pushing in my lifetime.
As a fitness/wellness/yoga professional I have been taught to advise others to drink more water. I, in fact, used to strive to drink a gallon or so per day … and it was easy for me!
Listen, water is awesome. It is great for your skin, it hydrates you, gives you energy, prevents muscle cramps, headaches, and it is a billion times better than sipping on soda all day.
However. This may not be the best advise given that chugging down tons of water is going to screw up your electrolyte levels, and this can be dangerous.
As far as exercise and hydration … you may actually need to focus more on SALT intake than water.
It was understood that drinking water while exercising would decrease your core temperature, thus taking the strain off of your body and allowing you to exercise longer. However, some current science states that, contrary to popular belief, drinking during exercise does not reduce one’s core temperature. In fact, salt will cool your body down faster than drinking water!
This doesn’t mean don’t drink water while exercising … just be mindful of replenishing salt levels because you lose a lot of that in your sweat.
Try making a little shot with 2 ounces of water + 1/2 teaspoon of real salt + lemon before you exercise to enhance performance. Then sip on your water as needed!
Instead of forcing down tons of water each day, which can actually be pretty dangerous, focus more on the color of your urine.
I mean, my mom told me she still remembers me teaching her this 15 years ago! You want clear pee … if it’s yellow, you need to hydrate. I look at this with my kids because it is really easy for a kid to become dehydrated.
Final thoughts … water is great, drink more of it, but be balanced about it and listen to your body (and pee).
Also, check out the book “The Salt Fix.”
4. Food Scientists Work to Make you “Addicted” to their Products
“Once you pop you can’t stop” – you know the Pringles slogan. Well, it’s true. Food scientists sit in labs and put additives in processed foods that will make you want to buy more of said food. It’s genius, but also a tragety.
Chemists in labs working for food companies know exactly what they are doing. This is why it has become increasingly difficult for people to get a handle on their health. Food has become more and more addictive as time has went on. As humans, we are getting further and further away from a natural, nourishing diet, box by box.
The public and the food companies have known for decades now — or at the very least since this meeting — that sugary, salty, fatty foods are not good for us in the quantities that we consume them. So why are the diabetes and obesity and hypertension numbers still spiraling out of control? It’s not just a matter of poor willpower on the part of the consumer and a give-the-people-what-they-want attitude on the part of the food manufacturers. What I found, over four years of research and reporting, was a conscious effort — taking place in labs and marketing meetings and grocery-store aisles — to get people hooked on foods that are convenient and inexpensive. I talked to more than 300 people in or formerly employed by the processed-food industry, from scientists to marketers to C.E.O.’s. Some were willing whistle-blowers, while others spoke reluctantly when presented with some of the thousands of pages of secret memos that I obtained from inside the food industry’s operations. What follows is a series of small case studies of a handful of characters whose work then, and perspective now, sheds light on how the foods are created and sold to people who, while not powerless, are extremely vulnerable to the intensity of these companies’ industrial formulations and selling campaigns.
5. Calories Count but You Don’t Need to Count Them!
How our bodies use food goes much deeper than a simple calorie count of what you are eating and burning. Our metabolism is driven by so many complex interactions of elements such as vitamins, minerals, hormones, and things like ATP (adenosine triphosphate), and BMR (basal metabolic rate). Everything our bodies do require energy, and food provides the raw materials for that energy. In nutrition courses I have taken I learned how to calculate someone’s recommended calorie intake for weight loss using BMR, but in fact, BMR is just an approximate measure of the bare minimum of calories needed to help our bodies with the millions of chemical reactions it needs to fuel our metabolisms when we are resting!
Additionally, no calorie calculator can accurately account for your age, gender, activity level, nutrition, hormones, amount of sleep you get and so on. Every person responds differently to the food eaten. With all of these variables at play your metabolic rate is going to change from day-to-day as we work to maintain homeostasis. Additionally, it is important to note that we don’t even absorb all of the calories we are eating! Food has to go through the whole digestive process before we can even measure it, and gut bacteria may also play a factor in how you absorb and assimilate food as well.
As far as the actual food goes, depending on where it came from the nutritional value can vary so much. A calorie is not necessarily a calorie: there’s a functional difference between plant species, plant families, harvest, or how an animal was raised and the animal’s personal makeup. Finally, when it comes to packaged foods labels can flat-out lie (by 20% actually). We really can’t accurately measure what is in our food all of the time … so basically we have to look at it how it is, as loose guideline.
Have a great weekend!