Are you drinking sports drinks for the right reasons?

picUnless you are exercising intensely for over sixty minutes, sports drinks are nothing that you should be consuming. Exercising for less than sixty minutes doesn’t deplete our carbohydrate or electrolyte storages enough to require supplements such as Gatorade or Powerade. Instead simply drinking water will be plenty good for you.

The amount of calories, sugars, carbs and sodium in sports drinks are very high.

Gatorade:

Calories: 80

Carbs: 21g

Sodium: 160mg

Sugars: 21g

Powerade:

Calories: 100

Carbs: 25g

Sodium: 100mg

Sugars: 20g

People assume that since Gatorade is a “sports drink” that it is healthy for you. In reality putting this amount of unneeded sugars and everything else in your body can be the exact opposite of what you want after a light to medium workout. There has been research done that proves that these sports drinks are as unhealthy as soda!

Calories, sugars and sodium are all three big things that most of us could afford to cut back on as it is and drinking water rather than sports drinks is a very good way to do so. The average American consumes almost double the amount of sodium that is recommended for daily consumption.

There are more watered down forms of Gatorade (G2) and Powerade (Powerade Zero) that are much healthier for you if you need a sports drink, but are looking for a healthier option.

Other healthier options would include:

  • Adding a fresh lemon or lime into you water
  • Natural flavored water
  • Mixing natural juice with water
  • Adding berries, basil or mint to your water
  • Coconut water
  • And a bunch of other healthier recipes here 

Yesterday you said tomorrow

-Eric Hess

What are you Really Dipping in to?

pic for blogWe all know that French fries, pretzels, carrots, sandwiches, etc. all taste better dipped and lathered in your favorite sauce. Ketchup, mayo, honey mustard, ranch: they all are so delicious but have you ever thought that maybe those small additions to your meals are causing a set-back? Condiments are packed with lots of fat, sugar, and calories. It’s time to swap the bad and find new ways to still enjoy your favorite foods!

Let’s start with KETCHUP. One of the most popular American condiments but don’t let the “tomato” part fool you. Studies have found that about one-fourth of a bottle of ketchup is pure sugar. So not only do the French fries pack on the pounds, but adding a simple side of ketchup racks up those calories even more. Something to try in place of delicious ketchup is tomato hot-sauce, tomato vinaigrette, or even a big slice of tomato on your favorite sandwich! If you are desperate for something that resembles ketchup a little more, try this homemade, healthier option… Homemade Ketchup

Next up, MAYONNAISE. One of the worst condiments you could possible consume. Just one tablespoon of mayo has around 90 calories and 10 grams of fat. That 10 grams of fat is about 15% of your daily intake of fat. Is that really worth it for just ONE tablespoon. Even the “light” versions are just as bad. Sure they say “less fat” but where that fat is reduced, extra sugar is added. So really, you are just swapping bad for worse. Try making your own mayo using Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and your favorite spices. Like this recipe…. Greek Yogurt Mayo

Want a salad…with some RANCH? Ranch is popular on salads, but the newest favorites are breadsticks, chicken wings, pizza, and I won’t lie, one of my favorites is French fries. Did you know that just 2 oz. of ranch dressing is equal to 10% of your daily calorie intake on a 2,000 calorie diet? Now be honest with yourself, do you only really eat a 2 oz. serving? Exactly! The easiest thing to remember is just staying away from creamy dressings. Vinaigrettes or mustard is one of the easiest swaps you can make. If you still are dying for that creamy Ranch flavor though, try this delicious homemade version! It really is a smarter and MORE delicious swap….. Homemade Ranch

Last but not least, BARBECUE. This is my absolute favorite. As Americans, we put it on everything and it comes it a million different flavors and varieties that you really can’t get sick of it. Do you know what dipping your chicken into barbecue is similar to? Dipping your chicken into liquid sugar! It is loaded with the same amount of sugar as ketchup, but ALSO has high carbohydrate content. Add that to your lean chicken and you might as well just eat it deep fried! Instead of your Sweet Baby Rays sauce or Masterpiece BBQ, try mixing some soy sauce with a little stevia for that sweet yet tangy kick! You can also try one of these homemade recipes that have fewer calories, but double the flavor….. Paleo BBQ Sauces

I am not encouraging you to cut out condiments all together! Just try to think a little more about what else ketchup, mayo, ranch, barbecue, etc. adds to your favorite foods other than just flavor!

“Always remember that it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep on going”

~Kenzi Weidman

Sweet or Salty?

picWe have all heard of the expressions, “ I have a sweet tooth,” or “I crave salty foods” from time to time, but have you ever stopped to think about what exactly that means? I have plenty of friends who crave burgers and French fries, but those things never really appealed to me. On the other hand, put a cookie in front of my face and I’m hopeless. After thinking about this for a little bit it got me to think that maybe it’s a little bit more that just different taste buds.

Salty Cravings.

Craving salt can come from a few different sources. One reason why you may crave salt is because you have a mineral deficiency. Our bodies do need salt (About a Tsp. a day) so if it is not getting the normal dosage of natural salt you will begin to turn towards salty foods such as chips or French fries. I also found a study in my research that suggests that salt cravings could be due to lack of calcium in your diet. According to Michael Tordoff, Ph. D., a researcher at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, “Sodium temporarily increases calcium levels in the blood, which tricks the body into thinking the problem is solved.” The study also goes on to saying that lack of potassium, calcium, and iron may also be the cause for all those salty cravings! Another reason you may be craving all those French fries is because you are dehydrated. If you are someone who needs salty foods after an intense workout, you may have lost too many electrolytes from sweating. Try replenishing your body with a Gatorade or another electrolyte booster drink.

Careful! Although our bodies need salt, too much salt could lead to trouble. An excessive amount of salt could cause you to feel dizzy, or dehydrated. Even worse, over a long period of time eating too much salt can lead to high blood pressure and a higher risk of a heart attack.

Sweet Tooth

Now on to the “sweet tooths” of the world, such as myself. When I looked up the cause of having a sweet tooth, the word serotonin came up a few times. For those who aren’t quite sure what that is (me) here is the textbook definition:

“Serotonin is a chemical created by the human body that works as a neurotransmitter. It is regarded by some researchers as a chemical that is responsible for maintaining mood balance, and that a deficit of serotonin leads to depression.”

So for short, serotonin is a chemical that makes you feel good. One food that is known for releasing serotonin in the brain is chocolate. So every time you need a quick pick me and want to feel good, reaching for that chocolate bar wouldn’t be surprising. Even though dark chocolate is actually good for you, chocolate donuts, chocolate ice cream, or chocolate cookies are not. Unfortunately. Another reason for sugar cravings is sleep deprivation. Since sweets usually have a lot of sugar in them, eating a cupcake will give you a quick sugar spike that will make you temporarily forget you’re sleep deprived.

Whether it is salty or sweet food cravings can come from all over the place, and the best thing to do when they strike is know how to handle it! Make sure your body is always properly hydrated and well rested. Stop rewarding yourself with a cookie when you do something good! Thinking that sweets are a reward just tricks our body into the cycle that good=sweets, which ultimately equals bad. Cravings can also come from your sensory to foods. Don’t give into eating ice ream because it’s cold and feels good on a hot day.

Just incase you need a little bit more on good foods to turn to when those cravings hit, check out this chart provided by MindBodyGreen:

What are you Craving?          Examples                                       Try instead…

Chewy                                      Cookies, brownies                          Oatmeal bars, dried fruit

Crunchy                                    Chips, crackers                              Crisp veggies like carrot

Cold                                          Ice cream; Milk shakes                  Frozen bananas

Creamy                                     Pudding; Creamed soups              Greek yogurt, avocados

Tangy                                       Salad dressing; Ketchup                Lemon, salsa

 

Stay Healthy, Stay Strong.

Mary Marren

Pour some STEVIA on me!

Pour some stevia on me photoBy: Kenzi Weidman

Def Leppard sang it—“Pour some sugar on me”, and that is what we do. In today’s world, or North American culture at least, it seems like nothing is ever sweet enough for people. We add sugar to coffee, rice crispy cereal, fruit, toast, and if your family is anything like mine—baked goods are better when you add extra sugar! The real question is, if you want something to be sweeter, why do we choose sugar or “natural sweeteners” as the go-to additive? Is that really the best option?

There are lots of different so-called “natural sweeteners” out there, like Splenda, Equate, Nectresse, and the list goes on. The one that I have come to learn about and truly trust is stevia. I have grown up with extra-sugar being added to everything I ate, and recently my mom switched out sugar for stevia, and I didn’t even notice a difference until she told me!

Stevia is a plant that is part of the sunflower family. It is known for its sweet tasting leaves. It is a plant that contains natural sweeteners that are used in foods (WebMD) This natural sweetener comes right from the plant with no added chemicals making it truly NATURAL!

These proven facts about stevia that will prove why it’s the best natural sweetener out there are:

  1. It does not contain elements that cause imbalance in the insulin levels of people with diabetes or issues with blood pressure. (The Sweet Facts on Stevia)
  2. Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar and about 35-40 times sweeter than sucrose.
  3. If you want to lose weight, Stevia contains no calories and can be a great start toward losing those first few pounds to get you motivated. (The Sweet Facts on Stevia)
  4. Stevia is available in many different forms. There is the dried leaf, a white powder, or even a liquid. These many forms allow it to be added to any food or drink.

Stay away from the chemicals or the high calorie sweeteners and broaden your horizons. Real cane sugar may also be natural, but it is high in calories. Why not use stevia when it is also natural, but LOW in calories. It might not please you as much as it did me, but it is worth a shot. What do you have to lose?

Here are some delicious recipes that include stevia as the natural sweetener instead of sugar. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

“Always remember that it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep on going”
~Kenzi Weidman

Sources: The Sweet Facts on Stevia, WebMD, Pinterest, Yummly