You Are What You Eat!

Food! Everyone loves food.  It not only tastes good but it’s also good for our body as it is the driver of your day.  Food provides you with carbohydrates, nutrients, and many more things so your body can turn it into fuel to help you successfully get through the day.  However, your biggest pleasure in food may also be your greatest weakness.  

The term “you are what you eat” has been a classic saying for years on end.  It’s something parents would tell their kids to indirectly convince them to eat better and/or choose healthier food choices.  And like most parents, still to this day, they are right.

Food and nutrition is so important for keeping your body young, active and healthy.  In today’s world where every food choice seems to be processed, deep fried, covered in sugar, or battered with bread or cheese (especially living in Wisconsin), it’s hard to differ good from bad and right from wrong.  It’s especially difficult to flip or change your eating habits after so many years of doing the same thing or even trying to choose healthy food options while on a budget (because it’s so fun being a broke college student).  

Many people are caught up in these dieting programs or are just completely lost on where to start when looking to begin a healthier lifestyle.  Well, here’s how to make it super simple: eat less calories than you burn on a daily basis. That simple. Less in, more out. I know what you’re probably thinking… okay Ashley, but how do I do that successfully?  Here’s how:

  1. Work out at best for an average of an hour/day or at least a few times a week.  Make half the workout high intensity or low intensity cardio to somehow break a sweat to burn calories faster and the other half strength based.  Like Shawn-T always says, “time to sweat, people!”
  2. When grocery shopping for food for the week, plan out your meals in advance so 1) You don’t waste food.  2) You don’t waste money and buy more than you need. And 3) This way you are already making healthy decisions for food so you’re not aimlessly wandering in the store, tempted by all the good looking snacks. 
  3. KEY point: Fill your grocery cart AND your meal plate with at least half fruits and vegetables.  Raw, perishable food is always going to be the freshest and best for you. The more packaged or long lasting it is, generally the worse it is for you.  It is also extremely important to check nutrition facts/labels to see what percentages of nutrients are in the food and what type of ingredients they are using.  
  4. Always start with fresh fruit and vegetables at the beginning of every meal so you fill up on the most natural and nutritious foods for you.  If you don’t like raw vegetables, cook them in a certain way so you do. If you only like salads with fruit and/or veggies, then make a salad before every meal.  Make options that work in your favor!
  5. Eat smaller portions by starting with smaller bowls and plates.  This prevents you from overeating and tricks your brain into thinking you’re getting a lot of food since the plate is full but in reality, it’s just a smaller portion size.  If you feel like you need more, you really don’t. It’s all about mind power and training your brain to be satisfied with what you already have.

Throughout the week, I will be sharing some other helpful tips and information about food and nutrition so stay tuned for more.

Suggested links to read:

As always, stay fit, stay healthy, stay beautiful Warhakws!

Talk soon, 

Ashley Borowski


ARE YOU FOR CEREAL?

I think we all have some sort of idea what the “ideal healthy breakfast” is, stretching from eggs to oatmeal, from hashbrowns to fruit, or non-fat yogurt to that weird smelling 800 different grains of wheat bread with just a sneaky little splat of butter. Most of us wouldn’t say cereal, but let’s be real… It’s what most of us have. It’s quick, no long preparation time, just need some type of milk, bowl with spoon, and cereal and that’s it. We could all probably eat two bowls of our favorite cereal before we can even finish making scrambled eggs. Cereal overall gets a bad wrap for being unhealthy and not filling. But there are many cereals that slip through that stereotype! Check out some reasons below as to why cereal isn’t a bad option, as well as what to look for in a cereal so that you know you are getting the most beneficial cereal for keeping your health in mind.

Whole grains make the cereal worth a million dollars ~ Whole grains such as wheat flour, contain nutrients and fiber. Essentially, no modifications done to the genetic makeup of the grain whatsoever, meaning the three parts of the grain (bran, germ, and endosperm) are all still there. Eating whole grains can have additional benefits such as multiple vitamins, help distribute fat, lower BMI, and improved cholesterol levels. Look for whole grains as an ingredient at the top of the list, most cereals advertise their high whole grains levels with high priority. Continue reading

You Salty, huh?

saltyWe as humans are creatures of habit, we do what we’re used to and don’t even question it. This personally reigns true for me when I’m sitting at a dining table and sprinkle some table salt on my food when it doesn’t meet my flavor standards. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that this additional ingredient puts a toll on my well-being.

I generally eat pretty clean, so I had to pause for a minute and question why my seemingly harmless avocado toast was making me feel so bloated and sluggish. My thought process was that I’m better off adding salt and pepper to my food rather than a hefty sauce, butter, cheese, or dressing. Which is true in most senses, but becoming too dependent on salt only causes sluggishness, bloating and cravings for fatty foods.

I realized that once I stopped adding salt to my food I felt comfortably full, extremely energized and not bloated. Once I noticed this difference it made it easy for me to decide to give up table salt for the year. I found myself broadening my horizon to the healthy alternatives to salt and realizing how little sodium we actually need in our diet.

According to the American Heart Association, it is recommended that we consume 1,500 mg of sodium a day -which is less than the amount of salt found in a teaspoon. Despite your current health status, this is an easy initiative to limit your risk factors to cardiovascular disease.

If your preferred salt intake is that of a deer’s attraction to a salt lick, this might be a troubling thought to you. However, it is easier than you think to flavor your food without salt, here’s how.

 

  • Lemon: What we tend to love about salt is it’s slight tang. What better way to make up for this with a squeeze of some fresh and tangy lemon juice?
  • Pepper: I have always added pepper to my food, personally if it’s not spicy or flavorful I’m pretty bored with that food. So I always make sure to add Cayenne pepper, or black pepper.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar is a great alternative to salt. Balsamic vinegar can help lower blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels according to livestrong.com. Plus, a little bit goes a long way when it comes to vinegar.
  • Garlic: Adding garlic to food is the perfect zest for you non pepper eaters. Not only does it give food a satisfying, hearty taste but it helps speed up your metabolism and is a good source of iron according to whfoods.org.

 

February is just around the corner, which is American Heart month. What better time than now to make this simple change that can greatly improve your cardiovascular health? Broaden your palate horizon, limit your salt intake and indulge in an energized and healthy lifestyle.

“It’s a good day to have a good one.”

-Alena Purpero

Fuel From Within

Fuel From Within MediaWe’ve all been there a time or two. Regretting that pizza or burger we ate just a little to close to the time we decided to hit the gym. Feeling sluggish and slow as we push ourselves through the remainder of our workout swearing we will never do it again. It’s not rocket science that greasy and high fat foods are frowned upon prior to a gym session, but what is exactly the best food to eat before a workout?

Similar to filling a car with gas, your body needs fuel to properly function. But, not just any fuel. The food you choose to put into your body pre-workout can determine the length, intensity and effectiveness of your next workout.  Before your next sweat session, consider these nutritional guidelines I have compiled from ACE certified fitness professionals.

 

All day long: Stay Hydrated. It’s always a good idea to be drinking plenty of water but even more so when you will be working out. Exercising causes most people to sweat, a natural reaction of the body cooling itself. While sweating is a healthy part of any workout, it can also lead to dehydration from excessive fluid loss.  Be sure to help prepare your body ahead of time by sipping on water all day long, as well as during your workout.

 

Two to three Hours pre-workout: having a meal two to three hours prior to your workout is a good idea to help give your body the energy it needs to push through your entire session. It’s recommended that your meal consists of a mix of carbs, proteins and fats within the 300-400 calorie range. While pizza or a burger could easily fall into those guidelines, its important to remember this meal should consist of complex carbs, healthy fats and lean proteins. Some popular examples are a chicken breast with veggies, hummus and pretzels or a fruit and nut bar with yogurt. It’s recommended that you stay away from gassy foods such as beans and broccoli as they can cause some intestinal discomfort.

 

One to two hours pre-workout: As you get closer to your workout, carbs should become the focus of your snack with a small portion of protein. Carbohydrates help increase glucose availability near the end of the workout to keep you working longer. Snacks should stay around the 200-calorie mark and paired with protein will help you feel satisfied and fueled. Some snack examples are cereal with milk, trail mix and banana with nut butter.

 

15 to 30 minutes pre-workout: If you only have a short amount of time to grab some fuel pre-workout, it’s important to choose easy to digest carbs. Having a snack with about 25 grams of carbs will give you just the right amount of energy your body quickly needs. Examples include a handful of raisins, a few saltine crackers or a small serving of applesauce.

While all these nutritional tips from experts are helpful, it’s important to remember that they are simply guidelines. Everyone’s body is different and you have to do some experimenting to find what foods work best for you and your workout needs. Taking the time to fuel properly can be the difference between an average workout and a great workout. Let the food you choose to consume help fuel your body from the inside to create a killer workout your body will thank you for!

 

If you have a favorite pre-workout meal or snack, comment below to share with others!

~Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Mind. Body. Spirit.~

-Hannah Anderson