Carbs- What Should I Be Eating?

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There are some “diets” that have gained notoriety in the last several years that suggest we avoid carbohydrates. But carbs-as-evil is a huge misconception. Carbs are the gas in your gas tank! They are essential for boosting energy and improving your mood and emotional state. In fact, carbohydrates are what the body likes to use best as fuel.

The Canada Food Guide suggests that two-thirds of our food should be carbs. But not just any carbs will do the job.

We need to minimize the amount of sugar-laden fuel we eat, such as cookies, candy, cakes, and regular pop. Check labels in the grocery for the amount of sugars listed. Often there is a lot of hidden sugar in food products (ketchup, for example). These types of food will spike your blood sugar, giving you temporary energy, but soon you may experience a “crash” in energy levels. That’s because these simple sugars won’t give you the sustained, longer-term energy boost that complex carbs can. Simple carbs are like fireworks – they give off a big bang, and then fade quickly.

Whole grains in cereals and breads are a great example of good carb nutrition. Our bodies process these foods at a slower pace than simple carbs, and so we feel satisfied longer.  Complex carbs stabilize our energy level and help us to avoid the nose-dive into fatigue and irritability that comes after taking in simple carbs.


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 How Much Sodium Do We Need?

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Sodium is one of the most common sources of flavour in our food, and is found in virtually everything we eat. Overconsumption of sodium is a major factor in our self-inflicted poor health.  Health Canada reports that the average Canadian takes in about 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day. However, the government-recommended daily limit now is 2,300 mg, with the current medical and scientific communities recommending a limit of 1,500 mg per day.  Check out  the Global news story at this link for more details and stats.


The effects of excess sodium on our bodies are wide-ranging. First, it can cause us to retain fluid in our bodies, causing bloating.  This fluid retention can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension), which can then be a significant factor in heart disease and stroke. Another by-product of excessive sodium over a period of time can be kidney disease. One of the kidneys' jobs is to filter out and purge excess sodium from the body. Unfortunately, putting that much extra stress on the kidneys over the long term can damage the kidneys - and once they are damaged, kidneys don't recover.


There are three main sources of sodium in our diet.

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Health Benefits of Lemons

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The sharp, clean scent of lemons gives a hint of the wealth of positive benefits hidden inside. They contain vitamins C, B6, A, E, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, coppe,r calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, folate, and some protein.

Lemons also contain flavonoids, containing antioxidant and cancer fighting elements. They have a positive effect on high blood pressure, fever, diabetes and upset stomach, among many other benefits. They also can fight kidney stones by forming urinary citrate, thus preventing crystals forming in the kidneys.

However, turning to commercial lemonades is a step backwards, because of the chemicals, colouring, and sugar/sugar compounds added. Instead, mix a pitcher of water, fresh lemon juice to taste, and let one or two juiced lemon rinds sit in the bottom of the pitcher for even more flavour. If you want that hit of sweetness, use a bit of honey. Honey itself has many positive compounds, such as potassum, calcium, sodium, fibre and several vitamins and minerals.

Here is a link to a herb-lemon marinade that is excellent with chicken and pork,  from the wonderful chef Ina Garten.  So look for new and exciting ways to add lemons and their juice and zest to your marinades, water, salads and meats!

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Myths and Misconceptions About Fat

pdfMyths & Misconceptions About Fat

What exactly is fat anyway? First, the fat we take in through food is made up of lipids or fatty acids, and it comes in various forms, ranging from liquid oil, such as olive oil, to solid, such as hydrogenated margarine and shortening. However, the fat in our bodies is a type of tissue made up of cells containing stored fat. This fat can be "white fat", which is found in large cell sacs, or vesicles.  Stored fat can also be "brown fat", which is made up of lipid droplets. Let’s address some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding fat.

 "I should cut out as much fat as possible."

Actually, we need a certain amount of fat in our food every day. There are certain vitamins, such as Vitamin A, D ,E and K that are fat-soluble. This means that these vitamins have to have fat on board in order to be absorbed into the body, and they also need fat in order to be metabolized, or broken down. Other vitamins, such as B complex, and C, are water soluble. So we need both fat and water in our diet to get the most nutrition out of our food. Ideally, we should take in as little saturated fat as possible. However, we should eat 2-3 tablespoons (30-45 ml) of unsaturated fat each day. This fat comes from sources such as cooking oil, salad dressings, non-hydrogenated margarine and mayonnaise. This will give us the fat needed to absorb our nourishment properly. About 25-30% of our daily caloric intake should be from fat.

 "Food products advertised as "low-fat" are always a better choice."

Not necessarily. While it's good to cut down on fats, particularly saturated and hydrogenated fats, often food manufacturers replace the missing fat with extra sugar and/or sodium, making a "low-fat" food a poor choice in the end. So it's a good idea to check out the labels on food packaging, and get an idea of how much of each element is in your food.

"The type of fat I eat doesn't matter."

Deb Bailey Personal Trainer - in Home (Now On-line!)
Phone: 519-572-0986
Kitchener, Ontario

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