There is so much to say about Omega 3’s, I am simply going to devote the next several posts to talking about what they are and why they are important.
Omega 3’s are a type of fatty acid that is unsaturated. For the chemistry buffs out there, this means that they have one or more double bonds. In other words, the double bonds means there is more room for more hydrogen. Thus the term “unsaturated”. They ARE NOT saturated with hydrogen.
The number (as in omega 3) indicates where the first double bond occurs. So with an omega 3, the first double bond is 3 carbons from the end of the fatty acid chain. You have probably heard of other types of fatty acids, like omega 6 or omega 9.
When a fatty acid only has 1 double bond present, it is referred to as a MONO (meaning 1) unsaturated fat. When there are several double bonds, they are referred to as POLY unsaturated fats.
Ok, that’s enough chemistry.
Omega 3 fatty acids have studied for their protective effects on the cardiovascular system. The research goes back to the early 70’s, and the body of research since then has continued to affirm these results. Research has also begun showing positive effects of omega 3’s in brain and retinal development. This is why you will see infant formulas supplemented with DHA and EPA. These are the two types of omega 3 fatty acids associated with these benefits.
Additional research is also looking at the role of omega 3’s in Alzheimer’s Disease, depression disorders, chronic inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. The list goes on, but this gives you an idea of how significant these fatty acids can be.
This is absolutely something you should be supplementing on a regular basis. The Rudog Omega is a concentrated liquid filled CAPSULE with NO aftertaste or burping. Taking it every other day is plenty, unless you just never eat fish. If that’s the case, then simply 1/day is sufficient. Each bottle has 60 capsules, so should last you 2-4 months.
Ladies—do you want healthier hair and skin? This is how you get it. Order some today! Rudog Omega is only $25.
Yes, yes, yes EVERYONE talks about doing something new at the beginning of each year. And then they talk about it AGAIN as summer approaches. This year will be no different. MILLIONS of dollars will be spent on gym memberships, trainers, bogus supplements, gluten free foods, Fitbits, pedometers, sauna suits, and NEW bathroom scales. (Because we all know the old one must be defective!)
The truth is, deep down inside, people believe that if they spend enough money on something it WILL work. It HAS to. Failure is not an option when your are heavily invested in something.
And yet, most people will fall off the exercise/diet/torture myself bandwagon because it simply isn’t sustainable long term. It’s exhausting and usually puts a person at odds with the realities of every day life.
How about no more bandwagons? No more New Year Restarts? How about learning to make small, significant changes to what you are already doing? How about getting real answers about supplements and taking only what is helpful and rooted in legitimate research? Maybe you need some help understanding your diabetes or your post-bariatric surgery diet. Maybe you just need a little “know how” when it comes to grocery shopping.
That’s what the dietitians at Rudog do. We help by educating you and working with you, where you are right now in your health pursuits. No gimmicks, no magic pills, just the truth.
If you need additional services, like a trainer or blood work done, we can point you in the right direction.
Talk to a real dietitian and get your questions answered today. Waiting changes nothing, calling can change something.
Mary Cabral, Registered Dietitian (9728808443)
Some visits could be covered by insurance, always ask!
Have you ever wondered if you needed kitchen shears? The answer is YES. Almost anything that can be done with a knife can be done with shears more easily, and often more safely. Here is a short list of some kitchen tasks that are perfect for shears:
Trimming any kind of meat, like chicken, pork, beef, fish and bacon
Cutting meats into pieces or chunks
Cutting herbs and salad greens
Cutting dried fruit
Trimming dough (like pie crusts, cookie dough, or pizzas dough)
Cutting whole canned tomatoes
Cutting vegetables (like cauliflower, broccoli, and asparagus)
Cutting pita bread or quesadillas
Cutting fresh noodles
Cutting crab claws or legs
I could keep going, but you get the idea. Shears are especially good for use with foods that are slippery, thick, or hard. A good pair of shears will also come apart for easy cleaning and drying. This is important to prevent rust. Many times shears will have additional features, such as bottle openers or shell and nut crackers.
For a good multipurpose shear, you want shears that have a carbon steel blade or stainless steel. Handles may come in various styles and materials, but ideally you want something coated with silicon because it is comfortable to hold. Blades that are serrated and offset are better suited for cutting slippery foods and for cutting at an angle.
There are shears specifically for cutting poultry. These will be more curved, and may also have a blunt tip that can help prevent meat from tearing apart.
Herb shears (or just multipurpose shears) are so much easier and safer to use than trying to snip or cut with a knife. Once you try it this way, you will NEVER go back to chopping again!
A good pair of shears will cost anywhere from $15-$50. You get what you pay for, so don’t be afraid to invest in something that is high quality and will last a while. I also suggest buying more than one pair. There are 4 pairs of shears in my kitchen and there are days where I wish I had one more pair.
It’s always a good idea to re-evaluate your supplement regimen, or to simply evaluate if there is something you should or need to be taking. Research changes constantly, so it’s a good idea to try to keep up. I’m not an advocate of supplementing lots of stuff, and I rarely “recommend” anything. However, I am a fan of looking into probiotics as a mainstay of the diet. If you are someone who doesn’t eat lots of yogurt or milk based foods, you should consider a probiotic supplement.
Ideally, you should increase these types of foods in your diet, but a supplement is a good second choice. There are different forms of supplementation, but I really like the probiotics from a company called Hyperbiotics. Specifically, Pro15.
Why take probiotics? They not only improve gut health, they also boost the immune system. For individuals whose diets vary drastically, or who are engaged in extremely physical/stressful activity, or who don’t eat a nutritionally balanced diet, probiotics are a great way to add a little “insurance” and help the body keep itself in good health. Check out the different options here.
This is not expensive and it’s not complicated. Give it a try for at least a week and see if you don’t notice a difference in the way you feel.
Many of the fighters and athletes that I work with really don’t have a good grasp on how much fat they are eating, let alone how much fat they should be eating. They are frequently focusing so much on eating protein or not eating carbs, that the fat content kind of gets ignored. I mentioned in an earlier article that MOST of men who are training full time (2 times a day most days, plus additional cardio) need at least 3000 Kcals. This is based on an average male body size of 5’10” and 200lbs, with an average age of 28. This is not designed to promote weight loss, but to provide adequate fuel for training and maintaining muscle mass.
For a 3000 kcal diet, a reasonable fat goal would be 20-25%, or 600 – 750 kcals. That’s the equivalent of 66 – 83 fat g/day. This would mean that the carb intake would be around 50-55% and the protein intake around 20-25%.
On diets that are a little higher in protein, they tend to be a little higher in fat. That’s because animal based protein carries with it more fat. For example, a 6oz portion of fairly lean beef is going to have upwards of 42g of fat. The same portion of chicken breast will only have 18-30g fat. The type of meat you select will greatly affect the amount of “fun” fat you can build into the diet. Dairy products are often used as protein sources and they can carry additional fat (especially saturated fat) as well.
It’s also important to point out the if you prefer to use whole grain foods and higher fiber foods, they will typically be a little higher in fat than lower fiber choices. The bran portion of the grain is where the fat content is contained. Cereals (think granola) that are higher in fiber can also be higher in fat because of the nuts they use to boost the fiber. They also cook or roll the granola in oil, be sure to read the label.
It is certainly easy to get too much fat, but you don’t want to be so careful that you don’t get enough. Many of the guys I work with admit that they are afraid to eat fat at all. Here are a few of the problems that can happen if you don’t eat enough fat:
You will end up feeling not satisfied. This eventually leads to a “binge” where you seek out pizza or something that has the fat you are craving in it.
Fat in the diet provides a mouth feel that communicates to the brain “this is yummy and I like it it.” It signals the serotonin response that tells your brain you are satisfied and done. If this “trigger” doesn’t happen, your body puts itself on a mission to make it happen.
Over time, when there isn’t enough fat in the diet, you put yourself at risk for essential fatty acid deficiency. There are lots of special fats and fat soluble vitamins that are present in fat. When you over restrict fat, you miss out on these. This can cause drying of hair and skin, brittle nails, hair that breaks, and an overall dullness to the skin.
If you are eating a balanced diet (which means adequate carbs, protein and fat) that provides the right amount of calories, and you aren’t going crazy with high fat food choices, your fat intake will be right on target without you having to measure it. However, if you want a little help or affirmation that what you are doing is right for your training goals, just talk to a dietitian to see what and how you are actually eating. Knowledge is what gives you the power to change.
This article is taken from the Hyperbiotics.com website. They did it so well, I wanted to share!
The holidays are just about here, and as excited as we are to dive into all of the delicious goodness likely to be on our tables this year, there is one aspect that some of us don’t so much look forward to: digestive troubles from a holiday binge.
From meats and cheeses to bread, fruits and baked veggie dishes (don’t forget dessert), sharing the annual meal of gratitude with the ones you love often means that overindulging – and the feelings that follow – are inevitable.
The good news is that probiotics can help. In fact, there are several steps you can take toward proper gut health that can have you saying goodbye to seasonal struggles with your digestive system when your inner foodie comes out to play for the holidays.
Go with Your Gut
The key to feeling great during the gluttony of the holidays is to maintain a healthy gut environment on a consistent basis. Gut health is not only important for experiencing optimal digestion and regularity, but it also affects all other supportive systems, like the nervous and immune systems.
You may even be able to improve your mood and boost overall energy in the days and weeks leading up to the holidays by making simple, healthy choices in favor of your GI tract – like eating probiotic-rich foods or taking a probiotic supplement.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that colonize within your gut, and their presence can help to balance out the microbes that live there – keeping you feeling your best when it comes to foods, drinks, stress, and other holiday elements that can weigh heavily on your digestive system. A probiotic supplement that can effectively deliver good bacteria to your GI tract can help support regularity and even reduce bloating and gas – two of the most common complaints after a jubilant meal.
A high-quality probiotic like Hyperbiotics PRO-15 can pack billions of beneficial, living microbes into a single serving and might just help you enjoy your holiday feast without falling asleep at the dinner table or feeling backed up and uncomfortable in the days that follow. Simply put, a healthy gut environment can help you enjoy the time spent with your loved ones.
Focus on the Right Foods
It’s all about the details (or should I say micronutrients) when it comes to the foods that we eat around the holidays. So, to really curb the digestive distress, focus on foods that provide nourishment to your body vs foods that leave you feeling overly-stuffed and depleted.
For example, did you know that the right carbohydrates like whole grains and healthy complex carbohydratescan help keep glucose levels steady? As well, fibrous compounds from fruits and vegetables also support energy levels throughout the day and provide food and energy for the probiotic colonies in your gut – helping them to colonize and keeping your system supported.
Lean meats are great energy foods because they contain protein, vitamin B12, and essential amino acids like Tyrosine, an important amino acid for regulating hormones released in the gut environment which affects how we feel almost instantly.
Fatty acids like Omega-3 can be found in nuts, leafy greens, and fish and are important for many functions, including mood regulation. Fatty acids also help maintain a healthy gut lining, so they’re relatively gentle on the digestive tract.
Secure a Good Night’s Sleep
The night after a celebratory dinner can be a tricky one to get through, especially if you’ve really indulged in all that the seasonal fare has to offer. Interestingly enough, a December 2014 article called “The Gut Microbiome and the Brain” published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Medicinal Food describes a direct connection between your gut bacteria and your sleep and circadian rhythms. Balancing the bacteria in the gut through probiotic supplementation and conscious food choices can help you bust through a bout of post-feast insomnia.
A gigantic meal of any sort can leave you feeling exhausted, and while a cup of coffee might sound like the perfect digestif, caffeine can disrupt your REM sleep. When you’re not getting enough REM sleep, mental clarity often suffers as a result. Secure a good night’s sleep by choosing tea or hot water with lemon after your meal and increasing your intake of probiotic and prebiotic foods and supplements as the holidays approach.
Get Ahead of Bloat and Digestive Upset
Overeating is the most common cause of bloating, and gas can easily get trapped in your stomach from fatty foods, carbonated beverages, sweeteners, and dairy. Unfortunately, our culture is one adorned with buffets and double cheeseburgers, making overeating not just a holiday tradition, but a common occurrence. By eating slowly, listening to your body, and stopping once you are satisfied (not stuffed), you can start to rise above the temptation to overeat and feel great this season.
As well, when we’re not experiencing “business as usual”, it can be very hard to give thanks or focus on anything else for that matter. Digestive issues are incredibly distracting and no one should be burdened with them when it comes to enjoying a little time off with your family.
One of the best ways to combat digestive distress is to stay hydrated. It seems simple, but water helps keep digestive flow in motion, and you can achieve a healthier system simply by allowing more water to move through your digestive tract and break up anything that might be slowing you down. Try drinking an extra large glass of warm water with fresh squeezed lemon and a dash of pink Himalayan salt first thing in the morning to jumpstart your hydration (and bathroom) routine.
Attitude is Everything
Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up about a hearty holiday meal. Because the body metabolizes guilt in a multitude of ways, one of the best things you can do is to prepare for your indulgences ahead of time.
Prior to your foodie festivities, plan for a healthy holiday and aim to increase your workouts or stay physically active, eat prebiotic and probiotic foods that can more positively impact digestion, and stick to limited portions so that you can ensure that the bounty you consume in the future is properly processed by the GI tract, and moves through your body quickly and without issue so that you can cherish another year of happy memories with your family. Because let’s face it, there’s not much better than feeling your best while being with the people you love.
Want to try a probiotic that will change your life? Order yours here and get a discount because of Rudog Nutrition.
We’d love to hear from you! What are some of the ways you cope after a holiday meal?
Take advantage of the latest hot product at the grocery store – naan. The flatbread, most commonly associated with the cooking of India, is enjoying newfound popularity at the grocery store. Readily available in pre-packaged form, the tear-dropped shape bread comes in flavors such as whole wheat and garlic. Like Boboli before it, naan is the trendiest way to put a new spin on pizza – a blank canvas for whatever the creative cook can dream up.
Dress it up with any combination of ingredients and blanket the whole mixture with cheese or use naan as a platform to showcase melted cheese, much like a grilled cheese sandwich. Try pepper jack, Monterey Jack, provolone or mozzarella combined with other favorites such as Parmesan and Asiago.
In Indian and Central Asian cooking, flatbreads are as common as biscuits and cornbread in the South. Traditionally, naan is baked in a small dried clay oven where a hot fire heats the inside walls. The dough is thrown against the walls where it sticks and bakes. The experienced baker chooses just the right moment to pull it out of the oven – when it’s browned and bubbly – and before it slides onto the ground. The main difference between naan and other flatbreads is in the cooking: a skillet instead of an oven. In some countries, yogurt is added to the flour in naan to soften the texture of the final product.
Although you can serve naan plain, cooks have found a way to pair the ethnic food with a gourmet taste of America, similar to the upscale taco craze. You’ll find naan topped with everything from barbecued chicken and smoked Gouda, to roasted vegetables and Gruyere, to smoked salmon and cream cheese.
Because few of us have a tandoori oven in the backyard, you can slide the naan onto a grill, or you can pop it in the oven. It’s delicious any way you do it.
Swishing a sports drink around in your mouth and then spitting it out might sound like a nonsensical way to boost performance, but it’s been nearly a decade since research first suggested that rinsing improves your workout. A study by sports scientists at University of Central Lancashire this April found that during an hour-long workout, cyclists who swished carbohydrate-rich sports drinks for longer covered more distance and felt less tired than after a five-second rinse or rinsing with water.
How the trick works may surprise you. Brain scans show that specific regions light up when carbs are in your mouth. The longer you rinse, the more time the carbs have to stimulate sensors in your brain, says study author Lindsay Bottoms. “The concept of mouth rinse supports the idea that the brain is very much playing a key role in fatigue,” says Bottoms.
Swishing is most beneficial during relatively short, intense workouts. Not only can the rinse give you a performance boost of about 2 percent, but it also helps avoid indigestion from swallowing carbs during workouts. “When performing high-intensity exercise lasting less than 60 minutes, using a carbohydrate rinse for 5-10 seconds can improve performance,” says Bottoms. “It could potentially allow you to train harder.” If you’re doing a couple hours of exercise, however, rinsing will start to lose its effect since your muscles really do need more carbs.
Need a little inspiration on what to eat for snacks throughout the day, or even at night? Here are few ideas to get your brain going.
If you like it COLD
Try some KEFIR, a yogurt drink. It comes in several flavors, plus a plain version. Drink it by itself (it’s like a thin milkshake) or use it as the base for your shakes. Add strawberries and a little bit of honey. You will have a tasty protein shake that is full probiotics and vitamin C.
Freeze some fresh blueberries. You can even top them with a little light or fat-free whipped cream. Blueberries are a great source of vitamin C and fiber.
As an alternative to ice cream, how about putting yogurt (or a homemade smoothie) into an ice cube tray and freezing it. The cubes will get “slushy”.
If you like it SALTY
Grab a hard pretzel, twist or stick. These are a better choice then potato chips. Have a few with some peanut butter or some dark chocolate.
Experiment with different crackers. Look for a brand called “Mary’s Gone Crackers”. Their stuff is amazing, and is whole grain, no gluten, no trans fats. Very different flavor and EXTREMELY crunchy. Wasa is another brand to try. Hummus, Laughing Cow, or lowfat cream cheese are great spreads to put on these.
Make a quick quesadilla. Use a corn or flour tortilla (corn is lower in fat) and sprinkle with a shredded cheese blend, like Mexican or cheddar jack. Microwave for about 12 seconds. Roll up and eat. Dip in salsa if you like! These are great for breakfast, too, especially if you add a scrambled egg.
Popcorn!! I think pan popped is the best, but use as little oil as possible. The microwave versions are so dang tricky with their labels it’s exhausting to find one that is actually low fat AND has good taste. Regardless, be creative with what you sprinkle on the popcorn. It doesn’t have to be salt. Try pepper or chili powder. How about cinnamon?
If you like it SWEET
Get some Greek Yogurt, I like Façe. But Dannon, Stonyfield, or Brown Cow are great, also. Use plain or vanilla and add your own fruit, maybe even a little honey. These tend to be good sources of protein and are good for the evening snack.
There is nothing wrong with DARK chocolate. A little bit goes a long way. Get some that is 70% or higher in cacao. Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and lower in sugar than regular chocolate. Also great with a few roasted almonds.
Have you tried figs? Get them fresh or dried. They are sticky and sweet and high in fiber. They go great with cheese, honey, yogurt, and chocolate. Pick your combo!
Do you have some great snack ideas to share? Please post them here or on the Rudog fanpage.
One of the great qualities to any MMA guy or girl is that they tend to be very disciplined. They also don’t seem to mind doing and eating the same thing over and over and over and over and over again. They also seem to eat a LOT of chicken. If this remotely describes you, or you have often wondered when you will begin growing feathers……you need to switch the diet up a bit. Sure, chicken is lean, easy to cook and generally pretty cheap, but you don’t can’t eat chicken forever!
Grilled fish is such a great alternative to chicken… don’t be afraid to try it! Start with something mild like tilapia, swordfish, or grouper. These are white, flaky, and mild flavored. Brush your filet with olive oil, salt, and garlic. Throw it on the grill skin side UP, cook about 2/3 through. Flip it over and cook the other side. DON’T try to slide the fish around. Yes, it sticks to the grill for the first minute or so, but it will come off fine when it is done. Serve with some lime or lemon wedges. You can have fish with rice or couscous, or put it into a taco! (Check the Rudog website for more info on fish tacos). BTW, don’t be afraid to ask the guy at the fish counter for advice or about which fish is fresh versus frozen. They have all the right answers and are happy to share them. 🙂
Hanging out in grocery stores and cruising the aisles for new foods to try may not be high on your list of things to do. Neither is reading labels in public. (Yes, labels can be read) No worries. Let Rudog do it. Happy to help a dude (or chick) out. Check here to find out about different foods you should try. Some will be new. Some will only be new to you. Some you will like. Some you won’t. It’s cool either way. Rudog does not receive any support for mentioning a food or food product. No corporate spoon feeding here. It’s all real Rudog opinion.
OJ the Rudog Way
OJ is one of those foods that you SHOULD pay the extra money for, but only for the REALLY REALLY good stuff. I do NOT mean Sunny Delight. I mean brands like Tropicana, Minute Maid, or Simply Orange. Some things you should know:
The good stuff is 100% juice. NOT made from concentrate.
Drinking real juice counts as water and fruit intake.
You can purchase OJ that is fortified with calcium. It’s an easy way to get the same amount of calcium if you don’t like milk.
You can purchase low-acid OJ if regular OJ bothers you. (yes….LOTS of people can’t tolerate the acidity.)
Rudog’s vote for best orange juice goes to Tropicana Pure, 100% Valencia orange juice. It will rock your world. Get it with or without pulp, it doesn’t matter. Not all grocery stores carry this, so you may have to hunt around. Simply Orange, by Minute Maid is the next best choice. It is 100% juice, just not from Valencia oranges. The bonus is that it is much easier to find in the grocery stores.
BTW, if you have a food product you would like Rudog to check out, send an email to [email protected]
This comes and goes with regard to popularity, and right now it seems to be back. The Glycemic Index (GI) shows what happens to our blood sugar when we digest different types of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates that break down quickly cause a quicker rise in blood sugar than those that break down more slowly. Foods are ranked according to the effect of 50 grams of carbohydrate from a particular food on blood sugar in comparison to the effect of 50 grams from glucose. The index is a scale of 1-100, with glucose being assigned 100. Originally, the GI was developed as a research tool for use with people with diabetes.
In general, foods that have a lower GI score will have a lower impact on glucose levels. Foods that have a GI of less than 55 are considered “low”. Foods with a GI of 55-70 are considered “moderate”, and foods that are above 70 are considered “high”.
There are many problems with trying to apply the data from the GI to every day eating.
First of all, most eating does not involve eating carbohydrate by itself. Second, the GI is based on 50 GRAMS of carbohydrate of a single food, which may be significantly more than a person would eat of a particular food. Third, there are many variables that can affect the GI of a food: ripeness, the presence of acid in a food, individual differences in people’s digestion, cooking time, just to name a few.
Another key issue with the GI index is that you can’t make an educated guess about which foods are low or high. You have to look it up. Potatoes are not all the same. Orange juice is different from oranges.
With all that being said, there is certainly nothing wrong with looking for ways to increase your intake of foods that are good for you. If the GI is something you feel is valuable and helpful, have at it! There are plenty of great books and cookbooks out there on the subject. Just remember one thing: Eating should be easy. Don’t get so caught up in a “system” that you forget to enjoy the simple pleasure of eating foods you enjoy.
In my last post I talked about what omega 3’s actually are, and introduced several reasons that you should be considering including an omega 3 supplement in your diet.
As mentioned previously, the omega 3 fatty acids are considered to be essential fatty acids. This means that the body must have them. However, the body is not able to make them. They have to come from the diet, either in the food you eat or in a supplement, or both! There are THREE omega 3 fatty acids: ALA, DHA, and EPA.
ALA comes from plant foods. Examples would be flaxseed, flaxseed oil, canola oil, soybeans and soybean oil, walnuts, and others. ALA must be converted in the body to DHA and EPA for it to be used. Unfortunately, this conversion process is very inefficient. There is also research to suggest that the health benefits associated with omega 3’s is not associated with ALA. There is definitely a debate about fish and sea vegetable (like algae) sources of DHA and EPA VS. vegetarian sources of ALA that are converted to DHA and EPA.
DHA and EPA are found in cold water fish, such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, and halibut.The general recommendation is to eat fish of this type at least twice a week.
It hasn’t been determined that you can get too much omega 3 in the diet, but deficiency symptoms are known. Fatigue, dry skin and hair, poor memory, moodiness, depression, and others.
There are also other types of omega fatty acids, like omega 6’s and omega 9’s, that work in certain ratios with omega 3’s. Omega 6’s should be in a ratio of 1:4 with omega 3’s. The omega 6’s are PRO inflammatory, and omega 3’s are ANTI inflammatory. The body needs both. There are times when inflammation is needed in the body to protect itself or fight disease. Think: swelling and allergies. Both of these are desirable inflammatory responses, you just don’t want to always be in an inflamed state. The American diet is very high in its provision of omega 6’s, perhaps as much as 10-20 times more than omega 3’s. This is out of balance and could be why so many people don’t feel good most of the time.
So, where do omega 6’s come from? Most come from vegetable oils. Vegetable oils are in almost everything, as the American diet has moved away from animal based fats to the presumably more “healthy” vegetable fats over the past 50 years.To be fair, there are some health conditions that are helped by omega 6’s, and we do NEED them. We just don’t need anywhere near as much as we are getting. The readily available omega 6’s compared to the narrower availability of the omega 3’s, is what has so greatly distorted the ratio of the two.
If you are someone who doesn’t eat fish (for whatever reason), you absolutely should incorporate a fish oil supplement in your diet. If you DO eat fish, then supplementing on alternating days is more than likely enough for you.
There seems to be a lot of confusion as to what exactly is a whole grain. You wouldn’t think it would be that complicated, but the the food makers are experts at confusing the consumer. Labels everywhere talk about how their bread or cereal is a good source of whole grains. They mention that their food comes from a whole grain and then imply that you are eating a whole grain food. But are you? You aren’t.
Products that are made from whole grain FLOUR are NOT the same as eating whole grain. Whole grain foods are generally made from wild rice, millet, quinoa, barley, seeds, or wheat berries. These go into the food (bread, cracker, cereal) in their WHOLE, or original form. You will physically see the grain or seed, and have to chew it to eat it. This is very different from whole grain flour. Flour is where the grain has been ground before it is used. Whole wheat bread, for example, is brown, but does not have the seed or actual grain in it.
I do not want to dismiss eating foods made from whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour is good, and a good step in the right direction in terms of having a higher fiber and vitamin content than regular white bread. However, if you are looking for a food that has a lower glycemic index than white bread, the whole wheat bread is not going to be that much better. They are both around 70 on the glycemic index.
Whole grain foods are a little trickier to find and tend to cost a little bit more. Many times these products will be found more readily in markets that have organic foods, and they are frequently in the freezer section. They don’t have as long a shelf life, so they have to be kept frozen.
As always, variety is important and so is taste. You have to find the balance that works for you and your wallet. Choosing more whole grain foods is a good goal, but you don’t have to accomplish it overnight. Start slowly and find foods that you enjoy eating. Remember, drinking lots of water is VERY important when you start increasing the fiber content of your diet. 🙂
Hello, Hawt Shots! It sounds like you are all off to a great start. I really enjoyed chatting with you on Tuesday via FB. You had great questions and comments.
As mentioned during the chat, I said I would put a snack list together. I am posting it here, as well as sending it to Steve by email. Think of it as a living document, so please feel free to add to it and share your secrets of success. You can email me things you want added, and I will add and repost.
It is a part of getting ready for the fight. The most dreaded part. Every fighter knows about it. No fighter wants to do it. So why do they do it? Why do the fighters save the weight loss for the last minute? It’s similar to that final exam that you know you have to take. You put off studying until the last possible minute and then you of hope for the best. Deep down inside you know you could have done more and done it sooner. This is often the mindset of the fighter. How many times do we hear fighters comment that they cut too much weight at the end and it really affected their performance? We hear it way too much. As a dietitian working with fighters, it is my number one priority to teach them how to not cut weight. The goal is to actually cut it out entirely.
Many fighters don’t fully understand the impact that cutting weight can have on their bodies and their long term health. It is a practice they have been doing since they were young, and it most likely was encouraged by both coaches and parents. To tell a fighter to stop cutting weight is almost like asking someone to just quit smoking. You have to retrain the brain.
The most common techniques for cutting weight are starvation, dehydration training, limiting fluid and sodium intake, and diuretic use. There are certainly other more severe techniques, but these seem to be somewhat universal. I am going to review each one briefly and identify some of the risks that accompany each.
Starvation, or severe calorie restriction, is supposed to induce weight loss. It will do this, but at a physical expense to the fighter. Naturally, the fighter will be hungry (and therefore distracted) but he or she will also be fatigued and less able to focus. The lack of carbohydrate in the diet makes it impossible for the muscles to stay adequately fueled. It also greatly affects the quality of sleep. The majority of the weight that is lost is water, with some being muscle. The end result is a fighter that has no gas in the tank, has less muscle mass, is irritable, poorly recovered and sleep deprived. Sounds like a winning combination, doesn’t it?
Dehydration training is perhaps the most dangerous. The fighter trains with a sauna suit in order to increase perspiration and therefore weight loss. Often the room temperature is also increased while the sauna suit is being used. The fighter does not take in fluids during this time as well. The increase in core body temperature that occurs as a result is extremely dangerous and can cause heart problems and death. Any fluid that is lost during this training session is fluid that must be replaced. Fluid losses that are greater than 2% of total body weight are considered excessive and dangerous. If this fluid is not replaced, the body is at risk for heart, kidney, and blood pressure problems. Again, it sounds like a winning strategy, right?
Fluid and Sodium Restriction
Restricting fluids can be dangerous when done excessively. When fluids are not readily available, basic bodily functions are compromised. The body needs fluid for cells to function, for body temperature to be regulated, to clean the blood, to maintain blood pressure, and more! To limit fluid intake while the body is under stress (like training) is dangerous. The shift of electrolytes that occurs when the body is dehydrated is the primary concern. It can cause cardiac arrhythmias, drop in blood pressure, kidney problems, or death.
This can be anything that promotes going to the bathroom. It generally involves an over the counter product, but large amounts of caffeine will have the same effect. This is usually used in conjunction with some or all of the above techniques and can be dangerous for the same reasons that have already been mentioned. Anytime you are promoting fluid loss, you run the risk of messing up your electrolyte balance (that little sodium and potassium stuff). If it gets really messed up, your heart can stop. I know, it sounds a little extreme, but it is the truth. You only have one heart and you need to be careful with it.
When cutting weight, many fighters are trying to lose anywhere from 5 to 30 lbs. This repeated weight cycling with each fight preparation certainly takes a toll on the body, the effects of which may not show up for years. The yo-yoing is similar to the long term effects of an eating disorder. The stress of losing weight under extreme conditions can weaken the heart, the immune system, and the body’s ability to heal and recover. Each weight cutting generally requires more and more extreme measures to accomplish the same weight loss, which is even more stressful on the body and results in more and more loss of lean body mass. This loss of muscle mass ultimately puts on more weight later, making it even harder to cut the next time. As a fighter ages, it also becomes more challenging to cut as much weight in the same short amount of time. This only encourages taking more drastic measures. It’s a vicious cycle and one that is very difficult to stop.
The best strategy for a fighter to use is to NOT need to cut weight. The goal should be for the fighter to maintain his or her weight within 5 lbs of the desired fight weight all the time. This allows the fighter to be fight -ready all the time. The muscles are properly fueled and the body is physically prepared for the stress that will be endured at that weight. I feel so strongly about this that I have declined to work with fighters who are trying to cut too much weight in too little time. I generally ask that they contact me after the fight so we can begin preparing for the next one.
Things are starting to change and there is definitely an increased interest in diet and how it can improve performance. My hope is that rather than thinking about diet only when preparing for a fight, fighters will focus on how they eat year round. This will not only produce a better and healthier fighter, it will produce a fighter with a longer career and a much healthier post-career.
It’s that time again. The pantry is looking lean, and the refrigerator has a cold, lonely echo inside when you open the door. Time to go get groceries. You could think of a thousand different things you’d rather do, not the least of which is watching playoff football. It doesn’t have to be a miserable task. Understanding how those wretched stores are laid out can really maximize your time, money, and the nutritional value of your grocery bill. Here’s a little Grocery Store 101 to get you motivated.
Round 1 – Shop with Strategy
Start with a list for the week. Taking a few minutes to do this will prevent having to run back later for items you forgot. It’s actually a good idea to just keep a running list on the fridge all week. Find a good pad with a magnet and just put it on the fridge door
Round 2 – Eat, then Shop
Do not shop hungry. This is a simple but very significant way to save some money. Have a snack before you go, and stay away from the end caps near the register.
Round 3 – Shop Alone
Try to shop when it’s not peak hours at the grocery store. Choose a time during the middle of the day, or the middle of the week. Busiest times tend to be right after work and on the weekends. If you shop when it’s really late at night, you will have the luxury of being practically by yourself, but you will probably be stepping around inventory, as this is when they tend to restock.
Round 4 – Shelf Strategy
The front of the grocery store is where the bakery items are (so keep walking!), and the middle of the store is where you will find canned and non-refrigerated items. These will be more expensive, plus be more processed. When you venture to the middle, stay focused and get only what you need. Shopping from the top or the bottom areas of the shelves can save you some money. The tops of the shelves are generally occupied by smaller brands and specialty items. Store managers will also place local or regional items here. The middle area of the grocery shelves is where the best sellers and more popular brands are placed. Prime shelf space is expensive, so the mark up will be much higher on items that are here. The bottoms are where the store brands and private labels are put. You will also find the bulk sizes here, which can be a little cheaper.
Round 5 – Shop the Perimeter
The perimeter, or outer edge, of the store is where you will find fresh produce, meat, fish, poultry, dairy, and other fresh foods. Shop the perimeter first, then move to the middle of the store to get the pantry items you need, and then get out!
If you are looking for an easy way to boost the vitamin content of your diet, give nuts a try. They have long since been recognized for their nutritional value as a source of polyunsaturated fats, good protein, and antioxidants. There are so many fantastic nuts to eat, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one type. Pistachios, almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, and macadamias are just a few! For this article, we will focus on walnuts.
A serving of walnuts is going to be 1 oz, or roughly a handful. (I’m talking about walnuts without the shells) This would be about 1/4 cup shelled halves or pieces OR 12-14 halves. A serving has about 18g of fat and 190 calories. Don’t panic. I admit, they are high in fat and calories. This is exactly why you have to be careful when eating nuts, any kind of nuts. However, for people who train HARD and need concentrated calories (especially the kind that can travel in the car and gym bag), nuts are a very strategic, health RICH food.
Walnuts are the only nut to be a significant source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids. Typically these fatty acids are derived from fish. Omega-3’s are essential fatty acids (that means they have to come from the diet) and known to reduce inflammation. Research has suggested that omega-3’s may also help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases. You definitely want a diet rich in omega 3’s. Because walnuts are a plant food, and not animal based, there is NO CHOLESTEROL. There isn’t cholesterol in any nut. They are also naturally low in sodium.
I mentioned earlier that nuts are also a good source of antioxidants. Research has suggested that antioxidants may help protect against some cancers, especially those related to the aging process. As reported in the Spring 2011 volume of SCAN’s Pulse
A 2010 study2 investigating the antioxidant activity of different dry fruits found walnuts to exhibit the best antioxidant properties Additional research3 testing 1113 different foods for antioxidant levels reported walnuts rank second only to blackberries in terms of antioxidant content Ellagic acid and gamma tocopherol, a form of vitamin E, are two antioxidants that are thought to have anticarcinogenic properties; both are found in walnuts Melatonin, an antioxidant known for its sleep regulating properties is also naturally found in walnuts Research, led by melatonin expert Russel Reiter, PhD4, published in the September 2005 issue of Nutrition: The International Journal of Applied and Basic Nutritional Sciences, reported the calculated concentrations of melatonin in walnuts was 3 5 +/- 1 0ng/g.
I have always been a proponent of using melatonin to help with sleep, but I was not aware that it was an antioxidant! It’s like a bonus!
For those who may prefer to focus on a more vegetarian type of diet, nuts can be a great way to incorporate protein, while adding additional fiber. Fiber helps you feel full and is also beneficial to controlling blood sugar levels. (and they are gluten-free!)
If you happen to like reading research and getting more of the clinical details, you can read more here. Be sure to look for new recipes on the site that use walnuts. 🙂
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