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Wellness Wednesday: Food for Thought and Thoughts on Food

I’m sure we could argue all day about what constitutes healthy food, but I’ll save that rant for Facebook.

What do fat-free peanut butter, sugar-free candy and dairy-free yogurt all have in common?

They’re not real food anymore. All have been overly processed into a form that is nearly unrecognizable to our digestive system. We take out something that we don’t want only to add fillers, binders and texturizers to replace what we’ve removed. The problem is that we want everything, but we don't want the effects. You can see what I'm talking about here in the reviews for sugar-free gummi bears sold on Amazon.  

We have been severely misinformed and bombarded by advertisements by major corporations for decades about what is healthy or good for us. That’s how capitalism in America works. We have a large obesity epidemic that will continue to spiral out of control unless people become more active and learn more about the food they are putting in their bodies.

Can you remember the last time you heard a commercial for broccoli?

I feel many folks on the Internet feed the public misinformation, especially with regards to nutrition. This food is bad, this food is good, try this cleanse, try this fast, eat only carbs at night…and on and on. For the average person who doesn’t research nutrition, it’s easy to be persuaded into buying the next fad nutritional support supplement or ordering a certain food at a restaurant because of its alleged health benefits. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some people I know have stopped being social due to their fear of food and the outcome of enjoying it.

To keep things simple for both groups, I’m going to share five tips that will benefit most of you when you go out to eat with friends.

Slow down when you eat. If the only time you have to eat is in the car or on the run, please wake up 15 minutes earlier. Our digestion works best when it’s not in a sympathetic fight or flight situation. Believe it or not, that is the state our bodies are in when we drive.

Take at least one day to count how many calories you take in. You’ll never know until you count. You may be drastically overeating or undereating. Undereating can wreak havoc on metabolism and hormonal profiles. Restrictive diets are not good in the long-term for the endocrine system or central nervous system. Keeping track of what you take in on a day you plan on going out, can help you make better decisions when ordering.

Try to eat foods that were prepared from scratch and not overly processed. Whole foods have micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals and enzymes that your body needs to assimilate. Certain enzymes in foods digest fats, certain ones digest proteins, and others help start the breakdown of dietary carbohydrate. Take an $8 kale salad (pictured above) from Covington restaurant (and personal favorite) Bouquet and compare it to a $5-7 “gourmet” salad from a fast food restaurant. The taste and quality of the ingredients are unmistakable (and also notice that it’s not out of your budget to eat healthy food at a restaurant. Thanks, Bouquet!).

Eat to replenish what you’ve done recently or for what you’re about to do. Start with a glass of water and vegetables or salad at your meal. Then, try to add a protein and balanced fat source. Follow that up with starchy carbs to replace muscle glycogen if you’ve done physical work during the day.

Don’t stress. If you have 50 pounds of fat to lose, think about how long it took to put it on. It may take longer than that to lose it. Body fat is potential stored energy. It is used as an insulator and is there to keep you alive in times when food is scarce. Your body wants to hold onto it, therefore you have to work hard to use it up. A much better way to lose it is by making a constant lifestyle change and not using a quick fix and rebound. 

There are studies that suggest and in my experience I’ve found that one pound of fat loss per 100 pounds of body weight per week is a sustainable and safe way to lose fat. With that being said, it may take up to 15 to 20 weeks for a 180-pound woman looking to lose 30 pounds. This is good because it will give you time to make lifestyle changes and habits that will keep the weight from creeping back on or rebounding. Stressing about everything and not losing weight quickly like the contestants on The Biggest Loser (which is an unrealistic, dramatized television show) will actually keep the fat on due to the higher levels of stress hormones raging in your body. 

Take a deep breath (or 20) several times per day, enjoy life, and move more and when you combine all of that with better nutrition, your body will soon look and feel different! 

Of course there are hundreds of things to bring up about nutrition, but this is a start and I'm here to answer any question you have! If I can’t, then I can send you to someone who can!   

Now, who has questions?

- Joe Daniels is the owner of SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength Studio in Latonia. Questions for Joe? E-mail him at [email protected].

Bored with bodybuilding after reaching the national level in 2009, Joe Daniels opened SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength. From becoming an IKFF Coach operating in an 800 sq. ft. studio, the benefits of a minimal yet highly effective approach to fitness has grown to a 5,500 sq. ft. functional training facility within four years. 

Focusing on injury prevention, competitive kettlebell sport training and stress relief, SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength has hosted seminars and trained hands-on with some of the top athletes and coaches of the kettlebell world. Their philosophy has remained the same: You have to enjoy your training at all stages. Live your life. Your training should make your life outside that time more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Photo of kale salad at Bouquet/Provided by Joe Daniels