Just…something to think about, on the heels of today’s Alzheimer’s post:
Since I’m generally over my whole processed food kick, all this did for me, was remind me of how much I miss strawberries. Mmmm….strawberries.
Yeah… I’ll never pick up another glass again.
…good grief, man.
While the numbers are not official counts – counts that we can expect to see three days before the apocalypse, which is to say “we will never get calorie counts for drinks” – they’re still a bit of a painful reminder that drinks are “not your friend.”
Remember – the calories listed are per every 12oz, which is literally a cup and a half. And, while I don’t know anyone who’s drinking Bailey’s straight, I do faintly recall people who drink Bailey’s rarely being satisfied with one drink. (Remember, I’m a former bartender. I know how y’all drink!)
Also worth noting, this doesn’t include many of people’s favorite mixers – pineapple juice, orange juice, cranberry juice (which is rarely unsweetened), – and you can generally expect that to add approximately 100 calories to a 12oz glass of a mixed drink with ice.
I won’t even talk about you people who line your drink rims with sugar. I just… I won’t.
I’m just gonna go be sad, somewhere.
A few weeks ago, CivilEats posted an extremely intriguing infographic regarding the amount of calories the average American is getting, and exactly where these calories are coming from.
Andrea Jezovit explains:
The United State Department of Agriculture’s loss-adjusted food availability data is one window into where those extra calories come from. While the data does not quite show what is on the average American’s plate, it does provide a pretty good picture of what the population has been consuming since the 1970s. Data on the availability of different foods per capita is adjusted for losses like spoilage and waste. Take for example the produce that goes bad at grocery stores or the leftovers tossed into the compost. By calculating such food losses, the USDA data closely approximates the amount of food that actually makes its way from the farm into the average American stomach. (Restaurant waste is not included, however; read the full documentation for more detail.)
The below infographic illustrates “calories available per day per capita” as a plate of different food groups that grow or shrink depending on how many calories were produced that year. What does the data show? Between 1970 and 1980, calorie intake is relatively stable, rising only 1.2 percent. Between 1980 and 1990 consumption jumped 9.6 percent. Then, from 1990 to 2008, the last year with data available, the number of calories rises another 11.4 percent for a grand a total of 2,673 calories available per person–23.3 percent more than consumed in 1970.
In the context of food production history in the US, you have to know that the early ’70s is important because of the initial advent of chemical processing without labeling. That means that non-food items were allowed to be used in “food products” – hyphenated and polysyllabic ingredients abounded – and the face of processed food started to change drastically.
I’m going to try to paste the actual infographic into this post, but the two things that are most important to notice are the differences between the graphic’s findings in 1970 and the findings in 2008. I’m going to compare the two here:
The reality, here, is that 1,725 calories of what’s available to the average American in 2008… come from nutritionally poor resources: added fat, added sugar and grains. Think about that – out of 2,673 calories, more than half come from nutritionally poor resources.
And while the vegetable count is rather low – it’s kind of amusing that it’s still almost the same, considering the issues Americans have with veggies – keep in mind that you can easily get three servings of veggies for under 100 calories. (This is also why I promote veggies so hardcore for weight loss. Get a lot for a little.)
The USDA’s Food Availability chart defines “added fats” as butter, margarine, lard, beef tallow, shortening, salad oils, cooking oils, sour cream, heavy cream, cream cheese and basic whipping cream. Considering how a staple in most processed foods is some variation of genetically modified soybean, corn or cottonseed oil, how likely is it that that’s the source of the extra 231 calories?
In fact, considering how many of us admittedly indulge in processed foods, how likely is it that this looks a lot like our consumption habits?
Now, mind you – this only talks about the amount of calories made available for each person. This doesn’t measure on average what was purchased or used. The USDA couldn’t possibly measure that. That being said… what does this mean for our health? Added fats (arguably coming from cooking oils, considering the rise in their prevalence thanks to genetic modifications), added sugars and added grains – easily the three least necessary categories, and the three categories containing the most processed elements – experienced growth that accounts for enough calories for an extra meal! What do we do?
This awesome infographic was spotted on Greatist, coupled with some really epic information:
On why interval training works:
HIIT taxes and maximizes both aerobic and anaerobic fitness, while cardio addresses aerobic only. Aerobic respiration requires oxygen to generate energy in the form of ATP, while anaerobic respiration does not. HIIT affects muscle tissue at the cellular level, actually changing mitochondrial activity in the muscles themselves. Studies indicate as little as 27 minutes of HIIT three times per week produces the same anaerobic and aerobic improvement as 60 minutes of steady state cardio five times per week.
Check out more at Greatist!
Looking for an app to help manage your interval training? Check out my post on timing intervals with RunKeeper.
Are you a pro at interval training? Share your experiences!
From VisualEconomics (click to enlarge):
Now, in comparison to a graph I shared here a while back, I have to wonder where all that cheese and all those “vegetables” are coming from. Are we counting the lettuce and tomato on a whopper? The tomato sauce and cheese on a pizza?
Artificial sweeteners… the average is 24lbs? Considering the number of us who don’t use that stuff, that means that those who do are using an awful lot of it.
Salt, too? Well, we all know where all that salt is coming from.
I’m also tickled by the amount of corn – 58lbs – and the amount of corn syrup (high fructose or otherwise) – an additional 42lbs. I mean, as a Midwesterner, we might eat a lot of corn-on-the-cob, but it certainly isn’t that much. If they’ve separated the corn syrups from the corn intake, kinda makes you wonder where the rest of that corn is hiding, hmm?
What stood out to you?
As National School Lunch Week draws to a close, our friends at USC’s Masters in Teaching program would like to offer up the following infographic for discussion:
I think I’ve shared my grievances with the “childhood obesity” talk before, but I’ll say it again. It isn’t only the “fat kids” that need to learn how to eat well. ALL children need to learn. Why? How many of us were skinny children who became overweight adults with no clue how to revert back?
I also think it’s unnecessarily damning to highlight certain kids as being “a problem” or “the problem.” Teach the kids to strive to eat right and be active, and the lessons will carry with them all throughout their lives. Don’t worry about the non-obese children losing weight. Kids who don’t eat processed foods know how to compensate – their bodies demand more energy (be it fat or food) as their activity levels increase, and require less as their activity levels decrease (the same can be said for adults.) All children can eat proper meals – with portion sizes appropriate for their activity levels – and develop adequate weights, be it to gain a few or lose a few.
I just… every time I hear or read about “OMG CHILDHOOD OBESITY” I picture some parent heaping food on the plate of their thinner child, and plopping a rice cake down onto the plate for the larger child. It’s a cringeworthy picture. Trust me.
And before y’all hit me with the “tough love” comments, think about what you’d want someone to say to you or how you’d want someone to treat you in regards to your weight. Think about how much tough love you’ve received thus far, and whether or not that “tough love” has successfully made you lose weight and keep it off… and then think about whether or not treating you like a human being with a brain, thoughts and feelings could work, as well.
“Only 2 states in the union require schools to make fruits and vegetables available whenever food is offered.”
I just… I can’t. And we wonder why “CHILDHOOD OBESITY IS SUCH A BIG DEAL!” Not only are you not teaching the kids, but you’re reinforcing the NON-TEACHING with lack of resources, as evidenced by…
“Only 3 out of 10 high schoolers report eating a vegetable every day.”
“Less than 25% of students take a gym class.”
Your gym teachers (and art teachers, and music teachers…), that is, if your school can still afford them, are too busy teaching your students in preparation for the next standardized test, but I digress…
Every once in a while, I get someone asking me about apple cider vinegar… and I thought I’d share this as a little bit of a primer:
I did want to make sure the “weight loss” and “detox” component of this infographic was clear, though, because the last thing I want to perpetuate is people running out there drinking whole glasses of apple cider vinegar or something, thinking it’s the next master cleanse. Don’t do it to yourself.
Apple cider vinegar, when ingested orally, can help neutralize any acidity in one’s diet. Look at it this way – the body has a pH balance, and the “healthy” range is somewhere in the middle, with “too alkaline” falling on one side, and “too acidic” falling on the other. Some foods contribute to excessive acidity in the body, which is harmful to the internal organs. Because your body already knows how harmful the acid build-up can be, it intentionally builds up fat to protect the organs. Eating (and drinking, as it were) things that reduce acidity in the body can help in the reduction of fat as well as making it safe for the body to no longer produce fat for that purpose… hence the detoxing (also with the candida which, when becomes excessive, results in yeast infections) and weight loss. Excessively acidic diets are big big big contributors to that belly fat that people are constantly fussing about and, while you should just drop most of the acidic sources (like processed food), adding alkalinity can help with that.
Apple cider vinegar isn’t the only thing that does this, though – many veggies, namely leafy greens, are great sources for this – but it is another way to get to the same goal. I keep a bottle on deck for my hair, but I’m good for pouring some across my salads.
How are you using your apple cider vinegar?
Y’all know me… I’m team ANTI soda. I don’t do soda, pop, fizzypop, drank, purple stuff… whatever you call it, I’m perfectly fine without it. It’s gross, full of calories and, quite frankly, offers my body nothing. It’s a waste. Just.. ugh.
That being said.. Deesha sent over this infographic from Term Life Insurance that offers up more than a little detail regarding how, exactly, sodapop affects our bodies. I can’t say anything more.. the graphic says it all:
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This infographic comes right on time, because this week’s challenge is to drink 8 glasses of water. Each day. Yes, eight. Know what that means – you shouldn’t have time to drink sodapop. Regardless of whether your vice is regular sodapop, diet sodapop or fancy schmancy “cane sugar sweetened soft drinks,” let ’em go.
Really, the goal for this week is to only drink water, but if you have a sugar addiction to cope with (no, really) then that would be difficult. So settle for 8 glasses of water this time. Set a schedule on your phone to just guzzle a glass every two hours. Grab yourself a container that holds 4 glasses of water at a time,and be sure to fill it two times a day. Make yourself a very excellent pitcher of naturally sweetened tea, if you must. But really… we’ve got to start getting beyond this stuff. No matter how much you love it… it ain’t clean.
Looking at this infographic just makes me want to buy an additional freezer. Those of you who cowpool or jar/can/preserve fruits and veggies might want to consider doing the same.
When I posted quotes from a Fooducate article about the effects of sugar on children’s teeth, I received an avalanche of comments concerned about how someone could overlook continued deterioration of a child’s teeth for so long for it to get to that point.
…but, the reality is, a lot of different illnesses can be pinpointed just be taking a closer look at what’s going on in our mouths. From 1dental.com, I present you with this infographic comparing our oral health with our overall health. Click the photo to enlarge.
Thoughts? Let’s hear ’em!
Thanks to Ashley for sending this in!
EllipticalTrainers.org presents us with this very well-designed infographic detailing the issues – as they see them – with obesity. (My notes come after the graphic… of course.) Check it out below:
A few notes, though:
36.8% of all Blacks are among “America’s Fattest People?” As in… 36.8% of us are obese?
“The fat get fatter: obesity rates increase faster in states that already have a high obesity percentage.” Gee, I wonder why that is.
They mention the BMI… I guess, because the BMI matters.
“Obesity is the 2nd leading cause of preventable death, just behind smoking.”
Is obesity the cause of the death, or a symptom of the TRUE cause of death? Listing “obesity as a cause of death” next to crap like “more likely to have high blood pressure/high cholesterol/type 1 OR type 2 diabetes (as if the two are interchangeable)” implies that obesity causes those things. The things that bring about THOSE ailments ALSO bring about obesity. Why do we refuse to accept that? Because we’d have to admit that the FOOD is the actual problem? C’mon, man.
“Less than 4% of adults engage in enough physical activity to improve their health, although 40% claim they do…. meanwhile, the rate of Americans undergoing weight-loss surgery has doubled in the last six years.”
So… people are undergoing surgery to lose weight, but aren’t engaging in enough physical activity to maintain it? Which implies that enough of them aren’t modifying their food intake to accommodate their decreased activity levels? Oh.
(There could also be an excessive focus on exercise, here, because this WAS created by someone who promotes and sells elliptical trainers, but… I’m sayin’.)
“Children who live in unsafe neighborhoods are 61% more likely to be obese than kids in safe neighborhoods.”
I wonder why THAT is – perhaps because unsafe neighborhoods are more likely to be neighborhoods without grocery stores… where the inhabitants are shopping out of gas stations to fill their fridges? Uh huh.
“Inactive lifestyle: We pay the price for many of our modern conveniences in physical inactivity: driving instead of walking or riding a bike and spending hours sitting at a desk, on the computer or in front of the television have all contributed to the rise of obesity.”
Hey… that’s the price we pay for convenience. Gotta be aware of the problems, so that you can go out of your way to create a solution. Right?
“Everything is in moderation. Don’t ban your favorite foods from your diet, just eat them less often and in smaller portions.”
I’d change this to say “Don’t ban your favorite foods from your diet, just cook them at home yourself.” ‘Cause goodness knows I’m neverrrrrrrrrrr giving up pizza!
Last week on twitter, someone asked me about foam rollers, and it immediately reminded me of this gem from Greatist:
Ahhh….Greatist does it again.
And, as I and another tweeter mentioned, rolling on either a softball or a tennis ball can also help alleviate soreness, and definitely don’t forget to drink your fluids after a good rolling session… but you shouldn’t be skimping your fluids at all anyway!
So, at last week’s FITNESS Magazine Meet & Tweet, I attended a panel discussion titled “The Real Deal on Carbs, Cleanses and Caffeine.” Believe it or not, the crowd was kind of sparse – I feel like people were far more interested in the swag than the dialogue – but y’all know me. I’m nerdly… and I don’t turn down the opportunity to gather more info for BGG2WL. Considering how they had June DeMelo, FITNESS magazine’s nutrition editor; as well as Keri Gans, RD and author of The Small Change Diet (grrr, there’s that word again); and Tanya Zuckerbrot, RD and author of The Miracle Carb Diet (…and again…), I figured there’d be some valuable information worthy of sharing, here.
So…I recorded the dialogue.
I separated out the portion on coffee because I think its worthy of its own separate post, since so many people ask me about it. I feel like, far too little, people differentiate between “coffee” and “instant” coffee, coffee that you brew yourself and “coffee” that you get from certain places, or are even unwilling to say “a little coffee” vs the “all or nothing” approach.
Considering what I knew about coffee before I attended, I was glad to see some of what I knew to be confirmed…but lots of things weren’t touched.
Quoting the participants:
“There’s actually research that shows that a little bit of coffee before your workout can help you work out harder, longer, not feel the kind of the pain or difficulty and just a lot of research in general saying it has health benefits and that you don’t need to feel guilty in drinking it.”
“There are, actually, so many health benefits now associated with intake of coffee and, [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][applause] I’m with you on that. Coffee can lower your risk to everything from Alzheimer’s to depression. Of course coffee’s been linked to reducing your risk for cancer, so there are some amazing health benefits associated with drinking coffee. Of course, you don’t want to exceed what is recommended, which is approximately 3 cups (24oz) a day, which is what they say is a safe amount for women. As far as the benefits for exercise, some studies do correlate if you drink approximately one cup of coffee before a workout, that your intake will enhance performance and that’s because caffeine is a stimulant. You will have energy. What I will warn you about is, if your workouts are longer than an hour, you will come crashing down. If it’s just a quick burst of energy, studies have shown that a cup of coffee is effective and is no different from an energy drink some people would have… it’s just not a good supply of long term energy. But there are health benefits, you do not have to stop coffee… except in two cases: 1) if you’re trying to get pregnant, more than two cups of coffee a day have been shown to reduce fertility by a rate of 40%; and 2) if you are pregnant, you should not drink more than one cup of coffee per day because it may increase the risk of a miscarriage, but pregnant women, have your coffee. It’s been known to be a mood enhancer.”
“What you want to be careful of, though, is not letting your cup of joe become a dessert. I think one too many people think “Oh, I can drink coffee,” but they’re not thinking about what they’re putting in that coffee. So, if we’re telling someone “Oh, have a cup of coffee for exercise, we’re not talking about some mocha frappucino something or other with whipped cream that’s five hundred calories. That’d be pretty silly if you’re going to work out and try to be healthy. So I think that what people really need to look at, is what they’re putting in their coffee. It’s one thing to have a tall black coffee, you know, a few calories, but then you start to add things… the coffee really starts to become more like a dessert. I also know, that if someone’s not a coffee drinker, it’s just like wine – you don’t need to become a coffee drinker. And there’s benefits, yes, from the caffeine, but a lot of it is the antioxidants that are in the coffee and not the caffeine. So, for instance, lowering the risk of diabetes can come from drinking coffee but it has, really, nothing to do with the caffeine but possibly the antioxidants. What I recommend, as opposed to having that cup of coffee before working out, is having a healthy snack. Keeping your body fueled properly throughout the day, in my opinion, is much more beneficial that drinking coffee all day. I mean, I love my coffee. I am a coffee drinker. However, I’m not using that for my fuel. I’m using food for fuel. So, before a workout, I’d much prefer to see someone have a piece of fruit and maybe some string cheese or maybe a yogurt and some fruit works, again, replete with energy.”
All are great quotes. I just…need to contrast them with this:
Scientists agree that caffeine activates the pleasure centers of the brain by slowing down the rate of dopamine reabsorption, thus making us feel peppy and good (cocaine and heroin do the same thing, but obviouslyl to a much greater degree.) Caffeine also provides a shot of adrenaline, so we feel charged up, while blocking reception of adenosine, another neurotransmitter believed to play a part in promoting sleep, making us feel sharp and awake. Now, once the adrenaline wears off, what’s next? Well, as any coffee drinker knows, we feel tired, in the dumps, irritated, and jumpy, and our heads hurt, too, since caffeine restricts the blood vessels in our brains, and we need a coffee to get our adrenaline levels back to the levels to which our bodies have grown accustomed. [source]
Coffee, it seems, is one of those things people either go for or don’t really care for, and I’m totally fine with that. That being said, all coffee is not created equal. There’s a reason why, even though there’s “instant” “coffee” (it dissolves in your cup!…?!??) there’s still a “brew your own at home” market. And, even though there are brands that are out here with catchy commercials and epic marketing, there’s still a market for people who like to have their beans ground right in front of them. There’s a reason why, for all of that.
I think the infographic above, courtesy of Good.is, covers fair trade and its importance pretty thoroughly. There’s easily another thousand words I could throw in here about this, but I’ll save that for another day. Suffice it to say, when things come too cheaply, someone’s getting shortchanged in the end… and it’s usually the person with the fewest representatives and the smallest “voice” (read: least money.) You want to consume consciously not only for your health, but for the sustainability of our communities (yes, even the global community, as well).
As with all other things, the more manipulated it is by man, the less the benefit you can receive when it comes time to consume it. So instant coffee… that’s out. Nothing should be dissolving into your drink and creating “awesomey goodness.” That’s the height of hyper-processed food trickery. If it dissolves… it’s gotta go.
Processed coffees with branding, labels and other fancy schmanciness… let’s just say this. If you have a spot in your coffee section that allows you to portion out your own beans and grind them, then you should do that.The less the processing, the more of those antioxidants you’ll be receiving from your cup. There are different flavors available – they’re made in almost every way between “pouring ‘natural flavors’ on your beans” to “roasting the beans with fruits to give their flavor” – and often times, the flavors are good enough where you neither want nor need all the sugar and cream and goodness knows what else in your coffee. You can also add flavors to your own beans and roast them yourself. There are lots of coffee shops who will do that for you, as well.
That leads me to another point, that one of the RDs made above. What are you putting in your coffee? If it’s some form of artificial sweetener… let’s talk. Are you using raw sugar? Actual raw sugar? Unbleached? (No, not even those “bleached but coated in molasses after the fact” sugars will do.) Consider using something a little less…adulterated.
And what about those creamers? If you’re using a certain creamer brand, you can rest assured it’s not clean. In fact, it has trans fats in it. If you’re using a non-dairy creamer, again… rest assured, it uses trans fats. Coffee, though it may have antioxidants, is not essential enough to sacrifice “clean-liness” for it. If you’re in need of a pick-me-up that badly, a hearty piece of fruit does the job just as well as coffee… unless you’ve become addicted to it (which, considering how it has effects similar to other addictive substances, would make sense.) Try to stick with regular creamy substances to avoid the negative side effects of consuming mystery chemicals on a regular basis. Using creamer is, more often than not, a means of adding fat to the drink to make it more palpable – people can often be caught adding any member of the sugar/fat/salt trifecta to their food – so, I must say, coffee isn’t essential enough for the strife.
As a “clean” coffee habit can get kind of pricey – fair trade, flavorful beans, raw cane sugar, clean creamers – it’s easy to see why someone would simply tap out. To drink, or not to drink… that is the question.
That being said, I wish y’all could see the cup of coffee I have sitting beside me on my desk. Pardon me as I hug my island roast, complete with coconut milk. Swag my morning out.
I do it the el cheapo way because, quite frankly, I’m cheap. I invested in a french press. I use, maybe, one tablespoon of coffee each morning in the bottom of my french press and boil two hearty cups. Sometimes I use something to make it creamy, sometimes I don’t. I don’t add sugar, but I also don’t swallow my cup whole. It’s coffee, not kool-aid.
I also went to a coffee shop and paid outright for a full pound of coffee, ground especially for a french press. Because the press uses so much less coffee than a coffeemaker (and uses less electricity), I wind up saving money both ways. The pound of coffee has lasted me six weeks thus far, and I just got to the half-pound mark.
So…tell me. How do you do your coffee?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]
I’m only posting this because some of you Chesty McChestersons need to know what to avoid…
…and also, because you need to stop having bigger boobs than me. Pardon me while I go buy up all the garlic and pistachios.
I must admit, though I posted this out of jokes because of the conversation we had about it on twitter (are you following me yet?), I’m not entirely convinced of either its legitimacy or its safety. Then again, looking at the soy on the list and thinking of the discussions of how soy is “feminizing men” because of the amount of estrogen in it, I don’t know.
Thoughts? Who rushed out to buy beets and pistachios?