You Eat a Lot of Junk Food…Then What?

15 08 2011

If you are reading this blog, it’s likely that you like foods like fresh strawberry-blueberry smoothies…

whole wheat homemade banana oat muffins…

and massive whole foods hot bar buckets.

If you are reading this blog, it also means that you are human, therefor do not always eat “healthy” foods. I generally tend to prefer healthier options, like fresh fruits and veggies, grilled fish and chicken, greek yogurt and whole grains; but I also definitely have some guilty pleasures (what I like to call “fun foods”), including challah french toast (loaded with fresh berries, whipped cream and tons of maple syrup), super duper cheesy Hawaiian pizza, and peanut butter, banana and nutella crepes. I used to consider these foods to be “bad foods” but I have come to realize that there is no such things as a bad food. Some foods are just better suited to fuel our bodies and others simply taste good and make us smile. Last Friday, I had a day filled with all sorts of “fun foods.” I started off the day with my typical oatmeal with banana bowl, but got hungry mid morning and treated myself to a blueberry scone and latte from Starbucks…

Lunch was my typical turkey and swiss sandwich, but a colleague had extra pizza (which of course happened to be my favorite kind!) from her lunch outing, so I had two slices…

I snacked on a few three of these in the afternoon…

By mid afternoon, I was craving some sweat pants and a nap. When dinner rolled around, I wasn’t even that hungry, but I had a dinner date with my Dad on Friday night. The restaurant that he chose has stellar burgers AND sweet potato fries. I opted for a burger with baked apple slices, sauteed onions and brie.

this isn't my burger from Friday...I didn't bring my camera to dinner. But it was similar 🙂 SOURCE

After a day of such heavy eats, I didn’t sleep super well on Friday night. I woke up on Saturday morning for a 12 mile run. I knew from the moment that I took my first step that I was not going to have a repeat from last weekend’s 11 miler.

As I ran, my legs felt like lead, I experienced a ton of acid reflux, my sweat was super salty and my mind was just not in the game. I know enough about nutrition to know how much proper fueling and hydration play into performance, but I began to wonder what exactly goes on in your body after consuming a lot of high sugar/carb foods and why eating foods such as cookies, pizza, burgers, etc. leaves you feeling sluggish. I did a little research and this is what I found…

*I am not a nutritionist, so if I didn’t get it totally right, feel free to help me out in the comments section! The information below was compiled from healthguidance.org, webmd.com and livestrong.com

Once you have taken a few bites of your oh so delicious cookie, pancake, piece of pizza, (insert fun food of choice)…

2) Your pancreas goes into overdrive and releases insulin (the hormone that the body creates to regulate and break down sugar in the blood stream) to begin the process of “cleaning out” the sugar from your blood and using it for muscle restoration. If your muscles don’t need anymore glucose, the sugars are stored in fat cells.

3) You might feel flushed or a little hyper during this process. Your body is stressed and releases adrenaline and cortisol to help find a new state of equilibrium. Your body works to release insulin until all of the glucose is gone from your bloodstream.

4) The spike in glucose, extreme release of insulin and increase in cortisol and adrenaline leave your body feeling exhausted, and you will likely swing into a state of sluggishness, known as a sugar crash.

 If you are all finished with your “fun eating” for the day, your body may take up to 5 hours for this entire process to run its course and then you will start feeling more like yourself. If you had a day like I did on Friday, your body must repeat the process each time that you eat high sugar/high carb foods, such as burgers, fries and burger cookies 🙂

On Saturday morning when I woke up, my body was likely just finishing the process of “dealing with” the loads of sugar and carbohydrates that I fed it through the day on Friday. My legs probably felt like lead and my sweat was extra salty because of the high sugar/high salt content of the foods I ate, which left me dehydrated. I noticed that as my run went on, I felt better and better. Maybe my exercise got my heart rate going faster, which pumped it through my heart and consequently cleaned out my system? I don’t regret anything that I ate on Friday. Those types of foods are not foods that I eat every day, but when I do, I fully enjoy them. But maybe next time, I won’t choose to eat them the day before a long run.

Question of the day: Do you notice how different foods effect your training?

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How NOT to Attack the Fridge While Babysitting

7 04 2011

While I (Chloe) am proud to say that my Master’s Degree in Child Psychology is no longer solely being used in the profession of babysitting  (although there is NOTHING wrong with it if that is what you do!), I still dabble in the babysitting world just a little bit to help pay for my extracurricular and unfortunately not super cheap activities…cough cough. If you are anything like me, babysitting is  a treat. Get paid to play with kids…sign me up! I thoroughly enjoy babysitting (probably because I am still a 5 year old at heart) and find it to be fun and relatively easy; however there is one aspect of the job that I find to be challenging! That one little thing would be eating. Typically, babysitting falls during some meal hour and often spans during snack time too (I am a 3 large meal and 2 snack kind of girl), so you’ve gotta eat!

How many of you have walked into a kitchen (could be babysitting, house sitting, a trip back home to your parents house or any other kitchen other than your own) and seen this…

or this…

And not to mention someone says to you in a very sweet voice “help yourself to whatever you like!” Umm hello open invitation to go to town (FOR FREE) on many of the items in the grocery store that you have consciously in the past (with your healthy eating and eating in moderation hat on) said “no thanks” or “I will choose my one or two fun foods for the week.” It is not that I wouldn’t purchase these items on my own. In fact, I purchase many of them on a regular basis; however I do not purchase them all at the same time! The other night the kids had already been fed dinner and so once they were put to bed, I was left alone to make myself some dinner…in someone else’s kitchen…with quite an array of fun foods. Let’s take a closer look…starting with big containers of Justin’s Chocolate and Maple Almond Butter. As I have shared before, THESE ARE MY FAVORITE! but they are tres $$$ so I only get the small packets of them for special occasions….

Bear Naked Banana Nut Granola…again- a total treat in my kitchen, as this granola can be pretty pricey. **Take note of those Chocolate Teddy Grahams…those came out later on in the evening 🙂

Tropical Juice! Delicious 🙂 but unfortunately full of sugar. In my opinion this juice is perfectly fine to have in moderation, but is not an everyday food and it is something that I only buy on occasion at the store.

next on the list: ICE CREAM! I don’t think I need to tell you again how much of an ice creamaholic I am, but I try to be cognizant of the amount of sugar and calories on the ingredient list…and definitely do not stock 4 different types at the same time!!! That second picture would be homemade creamy vanilla.

I admit, I felt a bit odd standing in front of another person’s fridge taking pictures, so I only snapped shots of the foods that stood out, but as you can see, I had pretty awesome selection of fun foods to pick from, none of which would have been considered “dinner foods.” Of course, in a house that had fully stocked fridge and cabinets, there was a fruit and veggie drawer…

but these foods (apples, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, etc) are all foods that I eat on a regular basis and don’t consider to be special, so my desire and motivation to make a dinner with these foods was pretty low. So what did I do? I could have completely thrown my healthy eating and eating in moderation hat out the window and eaten a bowl of ice cream, topped with peanut butter and granola and a side of fruit juice for dinner, but I knew that I physically and mentally would not feel very good after that type of meal. So instead…I took a step back and thought about some of the tips and tricks that I have slowly (through trial and error) acquired over my years of babysitting.

Tip # 1: Take a step back and think about how hungry you really are. Simply by looking at all of my choices, my mouth was watering, my eyes had grown humongo and I wanted to devour all of the sweets in front of me. On that evening, I actually was fairly hungry, so I knew that I wanted to put together a decent sized dinner.

Tip # 2: Decide why you are at the fridge/cabinet in the first place. Is it time for dinner? In which case you would likely opt to create an entire meal or is it just an afternoon hunger strike, where you might want to think about what combination of foods would both taste good and hold you over until your next big meal.

Tip # 3. Remind yourself that you can buy this food and put it in your own kitchen! Yes…many of the items in the fridge and cabinet were things that I would not choose to buy on a regular basis both because a) they are super expensive and b) they are fun foods that should be eaten in moderation, but when push comes to shove, if I want to buy a large container of Justin’s Chocolate Almond Butter or 4 different types of ice cream, nobody is stopping me. This reality check is a reminder that just because you choose not to eat it at that moment, does not mean that you won’t be able to eat it tomorrow. In my experience, taking away the novelty of a food makes it just a little less desirable.

Tip # 4. Do not deny yourself of food that will in fact bring you pleasure and leave you satisfied. Take your answers from tips number 1 and 2 and put together a meal that both satisfies your hunger and the purpose of your meal. In my case, I wanted to create a dinner. I could have put together a healthy boring salad, just like any other salad that I might create in my own home…but that would have left me feeling completely dissatisfied and likely led to me standing right back in front of the fridge, staring that ice cream in the face!

Tip # 5. Give yourself permission to eat (in moderation) the foods that are calling out to you! Babysitting is a rare occasion for me and it is not everyday that I have the opportunity to put together a dinner with foods that I would not generally choose to buy.

So…with these tips in mind, I took one good look at all of my options in the cabinet, fridge and freezer and this is what I came up with!

I started off my meal with a frozen Amy’s Cheese Ravioli Bowl. I was craving pasta and cheese and generally do not purchase Amy’s frozen dinners because they tend to be expensive.

I knew that my body would thank me if I fed it some type of veggie, but again I was really not in the mood for a plane Jane salad…so I opted for canned carrots. You might think I am crazy…but I find these carrots to be some of the tastiest canned food out there! Fresh veggies are always great, but a veggie is a veggie and sometimes canned is the way to go! I ate the entire can.

There was no way that I was going to leave that Chocolate Almond Butter alone…so I made myself a frozen waffle (also not something I generally keep in my house…for no healthy eating or moderation reason) and smeared it with a mix of chocolate and maple almond butters.

And, of course…because a meal is never complete without it, I finished off my meal with a bowl of ice cream (I used mint chip and homemade vanilla) and for extra kicks topped it off with a handful of those chocolate teddy grahams that I had been eying in the cabinet.

So, there you have it. Was my meal completely well balanced? Not really. Was my meal completely satisfying? Definitely! I made and enjoyed every single bite of my dinner and was able to leave the kitchen without feeling like I had denied myself food that I wanted, but also not feeling like I had completely gone over the deep end with overdoing it on unhealthy food. Is it always this easy to turn down fun foods? no way! I am a complete believer that there is a time and place (in every single day) for fun food, but you have to pick and choose when and where that food will come in. It isn’t always easy…but hopefully these tips will help you the next time you stand in front a fridge, cabinet or freezer that is fully stocked with all of your favorite foods!
Question of the Day: When do you find it hardest to control your healthy eating/eating in moderation habits?