Sunday, January 1, 2012

We're all in this together.

 So remember how yesterday I said that making the change to a healthier life has to begin with you?  Well, I still stand by that.  :)  However, we're all in this together.  We're all thrown into this big mix of life together and if we can't be there for each other and help each other through then where is the fun in that?  It would be a pretty sad world if we could not interact with others.  Everything is more fun when friends and loved ones are involved. 

So I want to be there for you!  I want to hear your stories!  I want to hear your successes.  I want to hear your failures.  I want to hear how your journey is going.  If you get frustrated along the way, shoot me a message, I want to share that frustration!  This "new way of life" is really exciting to me and I LOVE hearing people's success stories and their journey along the way.  There are only a few things in life that make me happier...and they are all sleeping right now.  :) 

I will be hanging this in my home.  :)
Remember how a few days ago I said we'd be breaking down the food pyramid?  Well, it's time.  This will be a great way to break into that good diet, let's break down each section. 

So again, here are the two most recent food guide charts:

When I first laid eyes on the plate I scoffed at it.  I grew up with the pyramid and was used to seeing it and was comfortable with it.  Change is hard.  But now as I look at the plate I see the wisdom in it.  Much easier to understand and you don't have to be too specific about portions.  You just make sure that most of your meals look like that. 

So let's use these two as our guide right now.  Starting with the pyramid we'll work our way from the bottom to the top and work our way around the plate.   Now, I don't claim to be a health professional by any means.  In fact everything I have learned I learned by studying and reading what I could in books and the internet.  I understand I may not have all the facts correct, but I feel comfortable enough to post it here.  But do not take these words as the end all be all. 

So the bottom of the pyramid is the bread, cereal, rice, and pasta group.  All that startchy stuff.  I've heard a lot of people comment that a "vegan" diet seems like it'd be a high carb diet.  Well, it can be, but so can any diet it if you make it that.  I've opted for more of a low carb diet to aid with the weight loss.  Here is what the Mayo Clinic has to say about the low carb diet:

Your body uses carbohydrates as its main fuel source. Sugars and starches are broken down into simple sugars during digestion. They're then absorbed into your bloodstream, where they're known as blood sugar (glucose). From there, the glucose enters your body's cells with the help of insulin. Some of this glucose is used by your body for energy, fueling all of your activities, whether it's going for a jog or simply breathing. Extra glucose is stored in your liver, muscles and other cells for later use or is converted to fat.

The theory behind the low-carb diet is that insulin prevents fat breakdown in the body by allowing sugar to be used for energy. Proponents of the low-carb diet believe that decreasing carbs results in lower insulin levels, which causes the body to burn stored fat for energy and ultimately helps you shed excess weight and reduce risk factors for a variety of health conditions. 

I will say that I have found the low carb diet to be quite successful.  It's when I have dropped the carbs and focused solely on the basics from the earth that my weight has dropped off.  As I add them back in now I am more maintaining my current weight.  So if your goal is to lose weight, I recommend cutting back your portions from this group and focus mostly on the vegetables, fruit and protein sections.  

Having said that, I am a brown kind of person.  Meaning all the grains that I buy are brown.  Brown rice (although I keep short grain sticky rice on hand for sushi), whole wheat breads and pasta's, whole wheat flours.   Everything is brown.  Whole grains are an essential part of a healthy diet.  All types of grains are good sources of complex carbohydrates and some key vitamins and minerals.  You want to have these in your diet.  

What exactly is a whole grain?  Here is the Mayo Clinic's answer:

Whole grains. These are unrefined grains that haven't had their bran and germ removed by milling. Whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. Whole grains are either single foods, such as brown rice and popcorn, or ingredients in products, such as buckwheat in pancakes or whole wheat in bread.

So to summarize this all up, eat mostly whole grains and if you want to drop the weight cut back on your portions.  Period.