OT - Tone-Up Tuesday
Happy Tuesday, STalkers! Is anyone else happy that Monday is behind us? Phew, what a day. It was so craptastic, that I was seriously craving some chocolate. Who else is mentally slapping my hand and thinking, “Bad Aniki!”? Good news: there are “bad” foods that are good for you and chocolate is one of them. Woo hoo!!!
Let’s face it: once a food gets a bad rep, it’s always seen in a negative light. No matter how hard you try to sway opinions, it typically retains its Bad Boy status. An example: PRUNES. Sure, marketing strategists have tried for years to rebrand prunes as Dried Plums. People still see prunes as Old Folks food that you eat (or drink in juice form) to poop.
Here are some other Bad Foods that are actually NOT so bad…
Red meat is vilified because it’s relatively high in saturated fat, but it also offers many key nutrients, including protein and iron. Instead of avoiding it altogether, the trick is to choose wisely and prepare thoughtfully. Buy lean and low-fat meats and created blended meat options: high-quality ground beef with finely diced mushrooms can make for healthier meatballs, meatloaf, or taco fillings that are just as satisfying. If you consume no more than two or three servings (about 3 ounces per serving) of red meat per week, and stick to lean and grass-fed varieties whenever possible, eating moderate amounts of lean beef can actually help you lose weight and improve your overall diet quality. Grass-fed meat naturally has fewer calories than conventional meat and contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have been shown to reduce inflammation, improve insulin resistance and help the liver carry fat out of the body, so it's the best bet for your waistline.
Potatoes are on the starchy side and are famous for being transformed into french fries and chips, so they tend to be overlooked as a healthy meal option. Potatoes actually provide several vitamins and minerals, including potassium and vitamin C. They also offer a moderate amount of fiber – especially when eaten with the skin ON. Fill about a quarter of your plate with potatoes (SKIN INTACT) and stick to baking, boiling, or broiling. Flavor with olive oil, flavored vinegars, or fresh herbs. Bonus: Make a healthy potato salad and put it in the refrigerator. The cooling process will crystallize the tubers into resistant starch, which takes longer to break down in your intestine, producing fat-burning butyrate and delaying hunger pangs.
Yes, bread is a carb – but not all carbs are bad for us and don’t necessarily equal weight gain. Some breads are an excellent source of complex carbs and fiber, as well as B vitamins, iron, and magnesium. Choose whole wheat bread that has high fiber content. Look for the first ingredient on the label to say “Whole Wheat” and for there to be about 5 grams of fiber per slice. Other ingredients should be simple and recognizable, such as yeast, water, salt, and seeds. Be cautious of sugars and other ingredients you have trouble pronouncing! Keep the toppings nutritious: tuna salad made with mashed avocado (or greek yogurt) or nut butter (ONLY nuts) with mashed berries and cinnamon.
Yes, indeed, I said BACON!!! Thanks to the Paleo trend, bacon has become more popular than ever. But you need to choose the right kind of bacon. Many companies are now making bacon cured withOUT sodium nitrites and are using just plain old sodium – meaning they’re safer than traditional cuts. Plus, pork bacon can even relay health benefits since pork is a great source of protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAS). Just bear in mind that serving size matters, so don’t PIG out. A few slices are all you need.
Now don’t start pounding back multiple glasses of red wine! But you can enjoy a glass. Researchers have discovered that red wine contains a compound called piceatannol that binds to fat cells’ insulin receptors and prevents them from maturing and growing. Another compound, called ellagic acid, has been shown to change the way “fat genes” express themselves, boosting your metabolism and slowing the growth of existing and new fat cells. Another healthy antioxidant in wine – resveratrol – could help to counter some of the negative effects associated with lack of exercise, like muscle loss and blood sugar sensitivities. Check out these Healthy Benefits of Alcohol!
Last, but far from least, we have chocolate. DARK chocolate is rich in stress-reducing, fat-blasting flavonoids (but its waist-whittling effects do not extend to the fake, highly-processed stuff). Some chocolates (milk, white, and even dark) can be full of sugar, artificial additives, and trans-fatty partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (yuck!). Even worse: if the chocolate is alkalized, it’s stripped of its bitterness at the cost of cocoa’s natural, healthy compounds. But if you stick with dark chocolate that is 74 percent or more cocoa solids, you’ll be in good shape. The higher the percentage of cocoa means the higher the percentage of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and anti-inflammatory flavanols, two components which have helped connect chocolate to lower risk of stroke and developing heart failure. Not only that, but chocolate has been connected with having a healthier gut: the good bacteria in our belly (probiotics) eat cocoa, fermenting it into anti-inflammatory compounds.
Who’s ready for some red wine and dark chocolate?!*yahoo*