We need to get over our assumption that there are certain 'breakfast foods' that we are limited to eating in the mornings. As far as your body is concerned, food is food...and as long as it's an appetizing option to you, why do certain types of foods need to be limited to lunch or dinner? When we think of breakfast, the options that typically come to mind include cereal, toast, fruit, breakfast bars/granola bars, or if you go the fast food route...breakfast sandwiches, muffins or donuts.
Eggs - hard boiled, poached, scrambled, in an omelette or a frittata. Eggs are a great source of protein, and can be cooked up in just a few minutes
Another quick meal solution is to take a muffin tin, fill them up with veggies, meats and spices and top them up with eggs (whole eggs, egg substitute, or egg whites). Bake them in the oven and then when they're done, store them in the freezer. Before you go to bed, move one or two from the freezer to the fridge, warm them up in a toaster over or microwave.
One minute mug muffin - this is so quick and easy (and filling), and tastes great either on its own, or toasted with almond butter...or, for a treat, add some cocoa powder into the mix (you'll also want to increase the amount of stevia in this one)... And you'll have a chocolate version of the muffin. This recipe is also great to eat right before a workout because it sits in your stomach pretty well.
In a microwave-proof coffee mug put:
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
stevia (equivalent to 1-2 tsp of sugar)
1 large beaten egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter (optional)
Whisk wet ingredients with a fork and add to dry ingredients in coffee mug, mixing well. Microwave for approximately one minute, turn upside onto a plate, slice and enjoy.
Breakfast burrito - mix equal parts chickpea flour and water for the tortilla (bake them crepe style on a frying pan). Then top with whatever you want - eggs, refried beans, guacamole, diced tomatoes, lettuce, hot sauce....or whatever else you fancy!
Leftovers - last night’s dinner or lunch leftovers are always a fast and easy option (assuming you have leftovers!)
Slow cooker meals - load up the slow cooker at night, and you'll have hot and ready food when you wake up! These could include chili, stew, a roast/pork/chicken , or vegetables (that you could quickly combine with eggs to make a fast omelette or frittata.
Fish - Costco (and most grocery stores) sell frozen fish fillets in individually wrapped portions. Just take one out to thaw overnight, and in the morning simply place it on a frying pan with some lemon juice, place a lid on the pan (speeds up cook time), and in 2 minutes you'll have a perfectly cooked piece of fish
Hummus and veggies - these are great things to always have on hand in the fridge.
Next week’s topic - understanding inflammation ratings in foods
THE PROBLEM WITH BREAKFAST CEREALS...
A lot of us were raised on the belief that (boxed) breakfast cereals are a great way to start art your day - they are definitely made keyed as being the healthiest way to begin your day. All the brand marketing tells us that they're whole grain, finer rich and fortified with a day's worth of vitamins and minerals. The reality could not be further from the truth however - they are refined products that illicit a huge insulin release...so in reality, all they are leading to is a definite blood sugar crash a few hours later (making you feel like you're starving!)...so what does that lead to - us craving and grabbing another refined snack - reinforcing our trend towards becoming a sugar junky!
We eat breakfast cereals because we believe that we are making sound nutrition choices. In reality, these cereals are one of the biggest sabotages to us meeting out weight loss goals.
Below, I'll take you through some interesting research data on the foods we eat that cause the highest insulin response. My comments are in red, here are their findings:
(this study can be found at: http://www.nutrientdataconf.org/PastConf/NDBC35/4-2_Sampson.pdf )
U.S. Analyzed Cereals [notice that most of these cereals are ones that we would consider healthy]
• Shredded Wheat
• Corn Flakes
• Quaker 100% Natural
• Cracklin Oat Bran
• Lucky Charms
• Frosted Flakes
• Great Grains
• Honey Bunches of Oats
Highest versus Lowest Food Insulin Index (FII) Values
Highest analyzed FII Lowest analyzed FII
Jelly Beans (120) Olive Oil (3)
Pancakes (112) Avocado (5)
Honeydew Melon (95) Walnuts (6)
Potatoes (90) Tuna (16)
Breakfast Cereals (70‐113) Chicken (20)
[Notice that breakfast cereals are second only to jelly beans...a food that we would eat sparingly or as a treat]
TOP 8 FOODS CONTRIBUTING TO INSULIN LEVELS
[Notice that cold cereals are the number one contributor for men and the number three contributor for women (right behind skim milk...which we typically combine with cold cereal)]
Cold Cereal (6.1%) Mashed Potatoes (6.2%)
Potatoes (5.7%) Skimmed Milk (5 7%)
Dark Bread (4.4%) Cold Cereal (5.3%)
Skimmed Milk(3.2%) Dark Bread (4 6%)
Bananas (3.2%) Beef (3.6%)
English Muffin (3 1%) Yogurt (3.3%)
White Bread (2.9%) White Bread (3.1%)
Orange Juice (2.8%) English Muffin (2.7%)
THE DANGERS OF WHITE FLOUR
White (and refined) flours are dangerous because they are typically a staple in the North American diet (lunches and dinners). Sandwiches for lunch and hamburger/hotdog buns, dinner rolls, biscuits and desserts are common at dinner time. Here is why these pose a danger to our health (and should be avoided).
It’s generally understood that refining food destroys nutrients. With the most nutritious part of the grain removed, white flour essentially becomes a form of sugar.
White flour contains a small fraction of the nutrients of the original grain, with the heat of the steel rollers having destroyed what little nutrients remain. But then it is hit with another chemical insult--a chlorine gas bath (chlorine oxide). This serves as a whitener, as well as an “aging” agent.
Flour used to be aged with time, improving the gluten and thus improving the baking quality. Now, it is treated with chlorine to instantly produce similar qualities in the flour
Alloxan is a biproduct of the bleaching process – it is produced when the chlorine mixes with the residual proteins in the flour. Alloxan is a poison that is used to produce diabetes in healthy experimental animals (primarily rats and mice), so that researchers can then study diabetes “treatments” in the lab. Alloxan destroys pancreatic beta cells which are the primary cell type in parts of your pancreas that produce insulin. When these are destroyed, the result is diabetes.
There is no other commercial application for alloxan -- it is used exclusively in the medical research industry because it is so highly toxic.
More information can be found at (http://www.healthiertalk.com/little-known-secrets-about-bleached-flour-0499)
Next week, our blog topic will be on healthy (and filling) breakfast options, as well as bread alternatives
Last week we looked at the insulinemic response to sugars – ingestion of sugar causes insulin to be released into the bloodstream. Insulin controls the storage and release of free fatty acids in and out of fat cells . It does this through two mechanisms; when insulin is not present, the body stimulates the release of free fatty acids from the triglycerides (fat cells). When insulin is present, the body inhibits the release of FFA from TG and instead stimulates synthesis (building) of triglycerides.
Absence of insulin = body can use fat as fuel
Presence of insulin = body is switched to fat storing
This is why it’s important to know where (in your diet) sugars are coming from. An awareness about the types of foods that are high in sugar - including dairy and fruit, which most people may include as staple foods in a new diet plan (mainly because they are seen as 'healthy' food options). I'm not saying you should forever avoid these foods, or see them as poor choices, but with these foods, timing is everything, and awareness is your best friend. Here, we’ll go over how to best include these foods in your day, should you choose to eat them.
The Role of GLUT4
As mentioned in the last blog entry, dietary sugar is responsible for stimulating the release of insulin into the bloodstream and lowering your blood glucose level by quickly shuttling it into one of 3 places: the liver, muscle cells and adipose (fat) cells.
Insulin is the trigger which signals the GLUT4 (glucose transporter molecule 4) to travel from inside of these (liver, muscle, fat) cells, to the outer membrane of those cells. GLUT4 acts as a gateway/opening for the glucose to travel into these cells. So that's the downside? Well, when in a non-active or resting state, there aren’t too many GLUT4 cells that are signalled from within the muscle cells – so the glucose is most readily shuffled into the fat cells. The good news is that the translocation of GLUT4 in skeletal muscle cells is triggered by muscular contraction (i.e. exercise), which means we can pre-emptively flip the switch so that glucose is preferentially siphoned to the muscle cells rather than the fat cells.
"Exercise training is the most potent stimulus to increase skeletal muscle GLUT4 expression, an effect that may partly contribute to improved insulin action and glucose disposal and enhanced muscle glycogen storage following exercise training in health and disease."
Richter EA1, Hargreaves M.Journal Physiol Rev. 2013 Jul;93(3):993-1017. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00038.2012
So, long story short - if you chose to include foods in your diet that are high in sugar (fruits, grains, milk, etc.), timing is everything! Eat these foods during, or immediately following exercise and you can do so without sabotaging your weight loss goals. Knowledge is power in this case.
sugar + a current state of non-activity = glucose travelling preferentially into fat cells
sugar + a current state of exercise/post-exercise = glucose travelling preferentially into muscle cells
What's considered exercise? Well, basically it's sustained muscular contraction, so if you're someone who builds exercise into your daily routine, that's great. If you don't have the time, desire, or ability to fit it in, it can be as simple as doing a few short bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, squats, lunges, planks etc. Start with whatever you can do (this may just be 10 push-ups in the beginning), then as you become stronger, just increase the number of reps until you get to a mentally manageable number. Doing 2-3 minutes of exercise just 2-3 times per day can serve as a great catalyst for weight loss.
Next week’s blog will address refined grains
Debunking the Traditional Take on Nutrition
New Year, New You
~Part I of our nutrition posts aimed at helping you reach your nutrition and weight loss goals.
Sugars, insulin & weight loss
Identifying where your sugars are coming from, and eliminating them from the main part of your diet is the first and easiest step to a new nutrition plan, and will help you kick start your weight loss goals.
Sugars are what cause an increase in blood sugar, and the resulting release of insulin into the blood stream. High insulin levels have been shown to be directly related to weight gain by turning on your fat storage pathways (your body’s ways of preferentially shuttling those [sugar] and other calories consumed within that meal into fat storage). The easiest example I can think of is in the case of type II diabetes where the body can no longer produce insulin - the largest symptom of those suffering from type II diabetes is sudden and unexplained weight loss (i.e. Weight loss without changes to diet or exercise level). So what can we take from this?...if you can reduce your insulin response to the foods you’re consuming, you can reduces your weight.
Here is a breakdown of the most likely places you may be consuming sugar:
SUGAR (sucrose, glucose, corn syrup) basically the straight addition of refined sugars to packaged foods. This one is an easy one to identify and eliminate from your diet by reading the ingredient list on the packaging
FRUCTOSE (fruit sourced sugar) - This is where most people can easily go wrong, even though they are acting with good intentions. The published Food Guides groups fruits and vegetables together - they are in fact completely different in terms of the way your body reacts to them. Think of your body like a car - everything you put into it has an immediate and specific effect on overall performance. Your body works in the same way - it has a very specific and immediate physiological reaction to everything you eat...so everything you place into your mouth triggers a corresponding cascade of physiological reactions. Your body has a vastly different response to eating vegetables (with the exception of starchy vegetables such as potatoes) than it does to eating fruit. Fruit is healthy because it is jam packed with nutrients and antioxidants, high in fiber, and a healthier replacement for when you're craving something sweet...but it is basically just sugar and water...so here's the pitfall most people fall into - they go on a "diet" and fruit becomes their go-to for snacks and with meals - very nutritious, but bad for weight loss since their diet is now consisting of mainly sugar. With fruit, timing is everything, it is a great choice right after exercising – your body is primed and ready to take in and use sugar at this time (without having the same effect on insulin levels)
LACTOSE (milk sugars) – Another common error is to make the switch from 2% to skim milk, and to switch to low fat or no fat dairy products. When you remove the fat in milk, you are left with mostly just the sugars (lactose), which more quickly stimulate an insulin response. The added fat content in dairy products is what makes it harder/slower to breakdown and digest – therefore, lessening the insulinemic response to that particular food.
Even though milk products have a low GI (glycemic index) rating, they have an extremely high insulin index (similar to that of white bread in fact), so reducing your intake can definitely help with your weight loss goals
Stay tuned next week’s blog post on refined grains, and fueling for exercise.