It seems as though every week we learn something new about the real power of nutrition. Recently, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) funded scientists at the Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research and found some interesting information.
Age related macular degeneration (AMD) and the vision loss associated with it may be connected to the “quality” of carbohydrates.
One study showed that a regular consumption of a “slow carb” ( low glycemic index) diet provided a protective effect against macular degeneration. A food’s glycemic index is an indicator of how fast the carbohydrate it contains will spike blood sugar levels.
So how do you keep your glycemic index in check? To learn more about which carbs produce only small fluctuations in our blood glucose and insulin levels, check out http://www.glycemicindex.com/ and follow their recommendations:
1. Pile half your dinner plate high with vegetables or salad
Aim to eat at least five serves of vegetables (this doesn’t include the starchy ones like potatoes, sweet potatoes or sweet corn) every day, and aim for foods with a variety of of colors.
2. Cut back on most potatoes
If you are a big potato eater and can’t bear the thought of giving them up, you don’t have to. Just cut back on the quantity. Don’t be afraid of trying other starchy vegetables like sweet potato, yams or taro, steamed, roasted or mashed.
3. Swap your bread
Choose a really grainy bread where you can actually see the grains, granary bread, stoneground wholemeal bread, real sourdough bread, soy and linseed bread, pumpernickel, fruit loaf or bread made from chickpea or other legume based flours.
4. Replace those high GI crunchy breakfast flakes
These refined breakfast cereals spike your blood glucose and insulin levels. Replace them with smart carbs like natural muesli or traditional (not instant) porridge oats or one of the lower GI processed breakfast cereals that will trickle fuel into your engine.
5. Make your starchy staples the low GI ones
Look for the low GI rice’s, serve your pasta al dente, choose less processed foods such as large flake or rolled oats for porridge or muesli and intact grains such as barley, buckwheat, bulgur, quinoa, whole kernel rye, or whole wheat kernels and opt for lower GI starchy vegetables.
6. Learn to love legumes!
Include legumes like beans, lentils and chickpeas in your meals two or three times a week, more often if you are vegetarian. Add chickpeas to a stir fry, red kidney beans to a chili, a bean salad to that barbecue menu, and beans or lentils to a casserole or soup.
7. Develop the art of combining
No need to cut out all high GI carbs. The trick is to combine them with those low GI tricklers to achieve a moderate overall GI. How? Lentils with rice (think of that delicious classic Italian soup), rice with beans and chili, tabbouli tucked into pita bread (with falafels and a dash of hummus), baked beans on toast or piled on a jacket-baked potato for classic comfort food.
8. Incorporate a lean protein source with every meal
Eat lean meat, skinless chicken, fish and seafood, eggs, milk, yoghurt or cheese, or legumes and tofu if you are vegetarian. The protein portion should make up around a quarter of the plate/meal.
9. Tickle your taste buds
Try vinaigrette (using vinegar or lemon juice with a dash of extra virgin olive oil) with salads, yogurt with cereal, lemon juice on vegetables like asparagus, or sourdough bread. These foods contain acids, which slow stomach emptying and lower your blood glucose response to the carbs in the meal.
10. Go low GI when snacking
If it is healthful and low GI, keep it handy. Grab fresh fruit, dried fruit, or fruit and nut mix, low fat milk and yogurt (or soy alternatives), fruit bread etc for snacks. Limit (this means don’t buy them every week) high GI refined flour products whether home baked or from the supermarket such as cookies, cakes, pastries, crumpets, crackers, biscuits, irrespective of their fat and sugar content. These really are the ‘keep for the occasional treat’ foods.
Keep your eye on the serving size. Remember portion caution with carb rich foods such as rice, al dente pasta and noodles, potatoes etc. Eating a huge amount of these foods, even of the low GI variety, will have a marked effect on your blood glucose. A cup of cooked noodles or al dente pasta or rice plus plenty of mixed non starchy vegetables and a little lean protein can turn into 3 cups of a very satisfying meal.
Most of all, recognize that protective nutrients are in each and every meal that you eat, and we all my have the power to stave off certain age related conditions.
It has now been two months since this video was taken and it’s amazing to see how far Rashida has come. She’s lost weight at the rate of about one pound per week, which is considered ideal because it signals healthy, permanent weight loss that is the result of lifestyle changes.
But there is so much more to Rashida’s journey than simply losing weight. In this video (Rashida’s video) she talks about how hard it is to get up and exercise in the mornings.
Nevertheless, she has stayed focused and committed to her morning workouts at All About You! Wellness BootCamp. She almost never misses a day and she does a variety of other physical activities on the weekends, and on some evenings as well.
She’s also made improvements to her nutrition. She’s incorporated a lot more vegetables, fruit and other whole foods. Rashida has such a down to earth, realistic attitude. She knows that giving up all her favorite foods would backfire, so she’s learned to enjoy them in moderation.
Rashida inspires others with her hard work, determination and positive attitude. It is an honor to have her in our fitness & nutrition program and it’s exciting to be a part of her wellness journey.
Elaine Miller, Co-Founder
All About You! Wellness BootCamp
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My Journey Journal
By Alicia Coil
The most often asked question when I say that I’m training to run a marathon is, “why run?” A fair question. After a little thought, I came up with my top 5 reasons to run.
5. Workout Outside!
Spring is here! The weather is nice; why not take advantage of the outdoors? Who wants to be inside a stuffy, crowded gym working out on machines? Outside, James and I enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, choosing different routes and scenery everyday.
4. Long Term Goal
Running 26.2 miles (or 13.1 miles, I haven’t quite decided yet) is a BIG GOAL! By breaking it into smaller goals, I have a sense of accomplishment at every step. At the gym, you workout by doing endless reps on the machines and mark achievement by adding more boring reps. But running, each week I move closer and closer to the Big Event. And going slowly, I track my progress by every goal reached, no matter how small, knowing I am a little stronger and running a little farther than the week before.
3. Get In Shape
One thing I have always noticed about runners is they have long, lean muscles and bodies. I want to be in better shape, but I don’t want to bulk up. I’m not very tall; 5 feet even, so leaner is better. And in my research, I’ve also noticed that training for a run is so much more than just running. It emphasizes nutrition as fuel for hard working muscles and a greater sense of health in all aspects for overall wellness, which leads me to…
2. Strong Body = Strong Mind
Running is a great way to work out stress and tension in both my body and mind. It allows me uninterrupted time to think, as well as the ability to spend the excess energy of tense muscles. And, this is my own personal opinion and I can’t prove it, but I believe an active, strong, healthy, fit body facilitates an active, strong, sharp, healthy mind. If I can encourage a sharp mind as I get older by becoming more fit and healthy now, and maintaining physical activity throughout the upcoming years, why not? Seems like a no-brainer!
And my Number 1 reason to run…
1. The Stamina to Keep Up with My Daughter!
I am 48 years old and I have a 4 year old daughter and 3 grand children ranging in ages between 1 and 3 years old. They have limitless energy! I have a responsibility to set a good example for these little ones. When I complete a training session, I am exhausted, but feel stronger and energized. At this point of my rookie training, I am incorporating running with brisk walks. Each week, I will run more, farther and longer, building the strength and stamina I need to keep up with these bundles of energy for years to come!
Meet Rashida, a woman determined to lose weight through a fitness and nutrition program called “All About You Bootcamp.” Rashida is fighting against some lifestyle related diseases that run in her family (like diabetes) and is determined to take a proactive role in her own health. Come along on Rashida’s journey and share some of her insights on her own challenges.