I want to hear from YOU

uncle samI’m putting together a guidebook on several tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle while on a tight budget, including recipes, grocery lists, modifications, workouts, etc.

What I’d like to know is what you would want to see in this guidebook. What do you want to know? How can I help you save money while maintaining or starting a healthy lifestyle? What are your personal goals with regard to health and fitness? I’d like to touch on all of these in a way that will make reaching these goals extremely cheap or even free!

Comment below or email me here: fitgeekpersonaltraining@yahoo.com

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Easy Holiday Protein Shake

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but this shake is so delightful! That’s right, it’s time for a holiday-themed recipe! Though whether or not to call it a recipe is questionable, considering how easy it is.

But let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good ol’ pumpkin pie flavored protein shake? You can have your pie and drink it too!

Things you’ll need:

A blender
1 cup of Soy/Almond/Regular Milk
1/2 cup of Pumpkin Puree
Sweetener (we have Agave on hand, so obviously that’s what we use)
A banana
1 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice
Ice
1 scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder (your choice of which brand)

Guess how easy the directions are?

1. Add all ingredients into the blender and blend until it’s no longer chunky. Boom! Easy peasy holiday squeezey!

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FOOD TERRORISM (and who to look out for)

If you haven’t seen it in the news, there have been attacks (both verbal threats and actual violence) against GMO farmers. Whether you’re for or against bioengineering, one thing remains true: Threats and violence have no place in a discussion, regardless of what the topic is.

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Above is a picture of burning GM crops – over 1200 acres of crops that could have been used to feed thousands of people. For a country with such a large starvation rate, and nearly half the country living in poverty, this was a selfish act of terrorism by those who are fortunate enough to have three meals a day.

In France, 60 people uprooted a field of genetically modified grapevines. In Spain, dozens destroyed not one, but two GMO fields. In India, farmers burned GE cotton fields. These are all acts of terrorism.

Of course, now with the growing popularity, and almost necessary use, of social media comes several of these “Food Activists”; but what they are falls under the category of fearmongering and ecoterrorism.

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The first, and probably most recognizable, is fearmongering Vani Hari, known on facebook as “Food Babe”. Among the educated, she is more well-known as the “Fraud Babe”, because rarely does she actually know what she is talking about, and bases most of her blogs on biases & pseudoscience. Most recently she has decided upon targeting Kevin Folta, a scientist and professor at the University of Florida, by submitting an FOIA (Freedom of Information Act). For more information on why, please read this.

Earlier this year, Gawker published an article by chemistry expert and science writer Yvette d’Entremont, more commonly known as SciBabe. The article successfully debunked and discredited Vani Hari, as well as her brand of “food activism”.

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The second on our list is Leanne Ratcliffe a.k.a. Freelee the Banana Girl, a popular Youtuber who’s claim to fame is bashing other fitness, health, and wellness youtubers, as well as an array of celebrities. She makes claims against these people without any evidence, bashing them on pure conjecture and lies. Not only does she accuse people of taking steroids, having an eating disorder, bashes people for gaining weight, etc. but she also states that anyone who consumes meat or dairy “doesn’t deserve to live”.

That doesn’t sound like a good role model to me, and yet she is under the guise that she’s an absolute saint, all the while making big claims like “chemo kills” and “losing your period is good for your health”. Sorry, Leanne, but I’m going to need to see a PhD before listening to anything you spew.

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If you haven’t heard of David Wolfe, you really ought to listen up. Sexual harassment allegations aside (although extremely important to remember exists), Wolfe defines himself as an expert in health and beauty. It bears mentioning that he claims to be an excellent chocolatier, while also posting numerous “detox” recipes on his facebook. Let’s not forget that chocolate contains carcinogens, but as long as you have that detox, you should be A-OK!

Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that 90% or more of his images on facebook are stolen and stamped with his name after. This so-called expert charges nearly $1000 to become “David Wolfe” certified. I’ll pass, thanks!

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Vandana Shiva has been known as an environmental activist and, more prominently, as a crusader against the company Monsanto. She has claimed that science in general has been bought out by Monsanto. Despite the very public fact that Monsanto has never filed a suit against a farmer who unknowingly used their seeds, she claims that the company is trying to take away farmers ability to produce crops. Here is an actual fact: Vandana Shiva charges $40,000 per speech. That doesn’t include travel, hotel costs and food.

Doesn’t it strike you as odd that these activists are charging YOU for YOUR health? Elitists and privileged people are using the false and misleading information they get from these people as reasons to attack conventional farmers, bioengineering companies, and independent scientists. These are the fearmongering, food terrorists you need to look our for.

 

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BMI is BOGUS!

I hear this type of thing in my facebook feed a lot: Americans are obese, Americans are fat, Why can’t Americans just stop eating fast food?!?!

There are a lot of different reasons why us Americans are so fat. Yes, that’s right, I’m calling myself fat, because at my size (I weigh around 165, I’ve got a fair amount of muscle mass, and still some body fat that I’m trying my darnedest to drop) I’m considered a 0.1% from being obese, according to BMI.

Now, before I get into the reasons that BMI is actually bogus, I want to share some facts about obesity with you all.

  1. The U.S. isn’t even in the top 10 of most obese countries!
  2. Countries that come before the U.S. in terms of obesity ranking: Tonga, Nauru, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Chile and several more.
  3. Only 35% of adults in the U.S. are considered to be obese, which includes those with medical conditions, diseases, disorders which prevent them from being able to lose weight.

Now, some may say “35% is still too much!” and that would usually come from a group that I like to call thin-elitists. The truth is, some of us are overweight or obese, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t healthy.

Guess how often I eat fast food? *looks at the calendar* Hmm… looks like it’s been MONTHS! Sometimes I have a disgustingly droolworthy Taco Bell craving, but for my own reasons, I haven’t eaten any. My snacks throughout the day include nut bars, raw vegetables and fruit, and, if I really feel like spoiling myself, a handful of pretzels. I have one or two of those snacks a day. I don’t eat after 6 PM, and I workout for 45 minutes to an hour every day. The rest of the day I’m either standing, chasing after my son, or swimming.

Despite my healthy lifestyle, I’ve been stagnant on 165. Which brings me to the whole point of BMI being garbage. Looking back at my high school yearbook (in which I had a lot more mass, but no muscle), and looking at my body now (a good amount of muscle, and a little too much body fat for my personal liking), it blows my mind that I could possibly be the same weight!

Let’s just take a look here:

2006 (16 years old, 160-165 lbs, diet consisted of hot cheetos, taco bell, and mac’ n cheese while physical activity was walking between classes and dance class)

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2015 (25 years old, 165 lbs, diet consists of fruits, vegetables, relatively low carbs, high protein, while physical activity is standing all day, 30-45 minutes run, and 30 minutes roughly of strength exercises)
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I’ll admit, I would definitely have considered myself bordering on obesity when I was in high school. But right now? While I can fit into medium shirts, something I couldn’t do when I was in high school? Nah, BMI can go blow a balloon, as Linda Belcher would say!

Let’s look at the facts now – since I’ve got my bias out of the way. For starters, the BMI method was designed by a mathematician Adolphe Quetelet, and he specifically stated, it should not be used to measure exactly what it is used to measure now!  According to the CDC, it’s used to measure a person’s FATNESS. Sorry, CDC, but I just can’t give you this one. It may be used to measure someone’s mass, but it’s definitely not going to measure body fat percentage!

Add to that, the skewed logic that while BMI will tell you that you’re obese or overweight, without taking your bone mass, muscle mass, and fat mass into consideration. We all know that muscle is denser than fat, therefore 5 pounds of muscle will look a lot smaller than 5 pounds of fat!

For a country as advanced in science, it’s annoying as hell that we’re still relying on this flawed formula. Here’s my advice to you all, screw BMI. Hell, screw your scales! If you want to measure your progress, get a measuring tape or take photos.

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The Takedown of the Fitness Industry

BURN 1000 CALORIES IN UNDER 5 MINUTES WITH THIS SIMPLE EXERCISE!

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BUY THIS WEIGHT LOSS SUPPLEMENT AND WATCH THE POUNDS DISAPPEAR!!

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TIRED OF BEING FAT AND TIRED? FOLLOW THIS DIET AND YOUR LIFE WILL CHANGE!!!

Due to my google and facebook searches, I am bombarded with this kind of nonsense daily. My searches include science-based fitness, in which there are proven techniques for muscle growth, fat loss, and overall health.

I admit that I have fallen prey to the lose 10 pounds in a week fad diets. I can tell you this now, they are not good for you. You are 95% guaranteed to gain that weight back, and about 65% guaranteed to gain more.

Now, with a recent fat shaming video by Nicole Arbour – available on her facebook page, which I don’t want to link because frankly I don’t think she deserves any more views – it’s become even more apparent that there is something very wrong with the fitness industry.

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Keep in mind, I am not condoning a lifestyle of nothing but chips, pizza, fried foods, fast foods, and soda. It’s simply not healthy. However, to assume that everyone who is overweight (ahem, me) and/or obese is equally as unhealthy is fallacious. What about women with PCOS or people with depression; what about people with Cushing’s syndrome, Willi-Turner syndrome, hypothalamic disorders or hypothyroidism? Are they condemned because their bodies don’t function the same as you and I?

What of the people who are obese and overweight, but are actively seeking a healthy lifestyle or are already on an active, healthy track? Are we going to ridicule them just because we don’t see them being active in the very moment we see them?

This brings me to a bigger point, which is that the fitness industry is hell-bent on making women believe that we should take up less space, and that men should have visibly defined muscles. Convincing people of that has made this a billion dollar industry!

11999063_710947565706039_3256607435171490510_n (1)Well, fuck that. I want to be the woman with defined muscles and who cares if I have excess fat or I’m overweight? I want my kids to grow up and tell all of their friends, “My mom is a superhero!”  I want them to understand that whether or not someone can control their weight, it is no one’s job to police another person’s body.

Enough is enough! It’s time to take down the fitness industry that we know today. It’s time to accept all bodies in the gym, or the pavement, the grocery stores, the WORLD! Let’s take up these spaces, “OCCUPY BIG FITNESS”, and show the industry heads that we’re people too and we’re healthy!

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And if you’re not healthy but want to get on that track, you can do that. Your health shouldn’t cost a fortune; it shouldn’t cost a thing! Reach out, and email me: healthyfitmom@yahoo.com. Let’s build a world where the industry isn’t dependent on making us feel like we aren’t good enough, small enough, built enough. We are enough, and we’re going to prove it.

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Progress Update

I’m falling asleep just writing this. That’s how slooooooooooooow my progress is, but I’m not sure I mind too much. I lost two pounds since the last time I checked, which is admittedly not much for a two month lapse.

With absolutely no tracking or restrictions (like ‘no soda’, ‘no chips’, etc.), I lost 3 3/4 inches in the last 10 days, which is fantastic!

I’m actually starting to track my food come Saturday to experiment with bulking and cutting! I’m really excited! I’ll be strict, but not restrictive, if that makes any sense.

So far, I think I’ve built a considerable amount of arm muscle; it looks like I’ve got pump in the right light, even if I haven’t worked out for hours!

arm pump

I’m excited to start the next process! I haven’t tracked in a long time, so this will definitely be hard, but it’s going to make all the difference in the world! We’ll see how this plays out, especially since I have a bit of a fracture on my foot, ahem.

I guess this isn’t much of an update, but I’ll post a better one soon.

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Work-It Wednesdays: Shaking Abs

I noticed there was a lack of progress in my ab area, so I came up with this simple, albeit tough as nails, workout to give me a good burn with limited time! As you know, I have a baby and it can be a little hard to get my workout in, especially during this teething stage. Luckily, there are intensive workouts I can do in 10 minute increments or so!

The earthquake works the abs, back and hip flexors, plus you don’t need much room and you don’t have to count a bunch of reps. You can watch TV while you do this – I especially like doing these for every new scandal that happens in Pretty Little Liars!

Start by sitting with a straight back and legs out in front of you. Hold your arms out and while exhaling, lean back slowly. Stop when you feel your abs shake and hold for 10 seconds, then lean back a fraction of an inch further and hold for another 10 seconds. Do that one more time and then hold it for even longer – if your body isn’t shaking, you probably need to correct your form. Make sure it looks like Cassey!

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Oblique dips are great for your – you guessed it – obliques, otherwise known as the “muffintop”. Make sure your elbow is in line with your shoulder, otherwise you can seriously hurt yourself. I did these after arm day, and believe me, they KILLED! I like to time them for 30 seconds each side and do a few sets of them.

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Rock climbers can be modified by placing your elbows on the floor. For an intense burn, I’d recommend going slow, and remember not to curve your back. Form is everything! If anyone says otherwise, they’re probably doing it wrong.

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The last ab burning exercise is…. the bridge! This is a double whammy since you target your booty as well! It feels a bit awkward but believe me, it’s effective. For more of a challenge, you can always place your feet on a higher surface like a chair, bench, or couch! When doing this exercise, remember not to place your butt on the floor until you’re done.

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Now go on, my little burning butterflies! Whoa, there’s an image. Fly fire!

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Work-It Wednesday: Abs for the Burn

As a recent mommy of a beautiful 5-month old, I have what I like to call mommy belly. It’s the squishy softness of extra skin and fat on the belly and hips. The babies love it because along with the boobs, it’s super comfy. Hell, even my boyfriend likes it. But I don’t, and I’m working on getting rid of it through ab exercises and cardio.

Let me start this post by saying, I don’t think it’s wrong to look any certain way. You should not feel ashamed of the way you look. I also don’t think it’s wrong to want to change your body – with realistic expectations.

With that said, yes I am most definitely working on building a stronger, and in my opinion, sexier, core – yes, I’m sure some people would think my midsection is sexy enough, but hey, I go for the gold. In the last 10 days I’ve managed to lose 1/2 an inch around my belly, so I’d say it’s going good. If you’re looking for healthy progress, I welcome you to try this workout.

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One of the most basic core exercises for abs are sit ups/crunches. I do my crunches with my knees and shins in a tabletop position. When my head lifts off the mat, I press my knees in and when I bring my head down I extend my legs out. I do 3 sets of 15 of each of these exercises.

In addition to those, I also do oblique crunches, which look pretty much like the picture below!

oblique

One of the most ab-worthy burns is the double leg drop. You lay down (because of my back problems, I keep my hands below my tailbone), and start with your legs in the air. As the name suggests, you’ll lower both legs slowly, but make sure they don’t touch the ground and that you are breathing steadily.

leg drop

Now being that I gave birth 5 months ago and I’ve done research on working out post-pregnancy (and how some workouts aren’t good for you until sometimes a year after pregnancy), this is all I do about 3-4 times a week. It’s worked so far in shrinking – of course, that’s in addition to doing cardio!

Let me know what types of ab exercises you do for that burn!

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On-The-Go Wraps

My boyfriend and I are still getting used to being parents, so the last thing we need to worry about is food. In fact, on the list of things we want to spend time on it goes: our son, our health, our bills, eating, and fun.

One of the things we’ve taken to is easy on-the-go foods. Homemade trail mix, meal prep, simply going out to eat. But one of my favorite things is the spinach wrap. You don’t need a lot of ingredients, in fact, you just need whatever you like.

quick, healthy wrap

My wrap (gracially modelled by my boyfriend) consisted of the following:

  • tortilla
  • black beans
  • lots of spinach
  • sriracha sauce
  • a sprinkle of cheese
  • another hot sauce – because I really love spicy food

Wraps are really easy to make and you can prep them the day before without having to worry about spending a lot, or waking up early to make food.

Other things you can add include:

  • precooked meat (chicken, bacon, beef, etc)
  • onions
  • mustard
  • ranch
  • tomatoes
  • quinoa or couscous
  • tuna
  • avocado

 

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Month of Meals: April

This month we managed to only spend about $60 for the whole month! I got 3 bags of frozen veggies for just a dollar each.

This month’s food was better by far, probably due to affordability!

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This was simple and delicious. Beans, sriracha, cheese and a dallop of sour cream. I almost always add cayenne to my beans and veggies!

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Using fettuccine noodles, beef, and spaghetti sauce, I made an awkward-looking but still yummy plate of food. The little glass of wine went well with this meal!

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For the first time since living with my family I was able to maje smoothies, so my sister shared a key lime pie smoothie which used about half an avocado. I’ve never had key lime pie, but I’m assuming it was pretty on point, because it was good and very filling!

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Another recipe my sister shared with me was black bean brownies. These were surprisingly delicious! Like I was legitimately shocked at how much like brownies these were. The only difference was that they were much more fudge-like.

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Another smoothie was made with frozen berries. I made two glasses worth on accident, but I was absolutely ok with that! The more, the merrier?

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I learned how to make no-bake cheesecake bites. I made 3 different kinds; plain, blackberry, and pumpkin! All with fresh, real ingredients!

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One of my favorite foods in the world – besides cornbread and donuts – is protein balls! I ended up using both creamy peanut butter and peanut butter with pretzel bits inside. Next I might try it with crunchy peanut butter and oats!

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Melting peanut butter in the microwave makes for a great drizzle and everyone knows I love my apples with peanut butter. My problem is portioning the PB, but when you melt it, it’s easier to get the delicious and portioned amount! The oat bar is a date, raisin, pecan bar from Whole Foods.

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One of the ways I cut back on shopping costs was by buying a 6-pack of ramen noodles. To make it a little more filling and healthy, I grilled the frozen veggies and added sriracha sauce! That way, you get enough with the proper portions.

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To spice up the eggs, I added chorizo! These were the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever had, to be perfectly honest! Protein and fat, huzzah!

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Another chorizo-centric meal was these veggie and meat tacos. The tacos were made from tortillas and hot oil on the stove! It’s cheaper than byying pre-made shells, and everyone knows I’m all about the cheap stuff.

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These were my yummy, yummy pumpkin spice ugly cupcakes. There’s no question I put too much in each cup, but I didn’t care because… well, YUM!

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The first time I ate out was with my son’s grandpa. I wanted something with enough protein for me, because I’ve been trying to up my protein and down my carbs.

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With 5 pounds of apples, meet applss chips. Another good dessert!

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The best lunch I made was this beauty! It was simple: chicken, black bean, brown rice and sriracha sauce.

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My splurge this month was this! I wasn’t concerned with calories because when you’ve got a craving, you’ve got to do something about it!

Needless to say this month was pretty delicious!

As for weight loss, I’ve only lost a pound, but I’m actually ok with that because I’ve been a lot happier, albeit less active and more tired. For the month of May I’m hoping to incorporate even more veggies, which I’ve been eating more of slowly.

Here’s to another month of meals!

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Sugar Kills with a capital K

doughnut-545199A common myth that’s been circulating not only the health community, but also… well, most of the world, is that sugar can kill you. Not only is this untrue, but it’s also another one of those dangerous misconceptions that gets spread through opinion and word of mouth rather than actual scientific evidence.

“If sugar isn’t bad for you, how do you explain diabetes?!”

This is one of the very poorly thought out arguments on reasons that sugar is evil. But people who throw diabetes out there as a legitimate argument against sugar, show that they don’t actually know what diabetes is. In short, diabetes is a disease that affects insulin production. There are several links that explain diabetes. Pick one, or read them all to understand.

The majority of people who say they don’t consume sugar mean that they don’t eat added sugar, but sugar is a lot more complex than that. Eating anything in excess can cause bodily harm, that includes things typically considered healthy.

Boy-drink-juiceJust recently, I heard a story about a father and his son walking into a Whole Foods and purchasing organic orange juice (which contains no added sugar). The father gave his parched son the orange juice and continued his shopping. Unbeknowst to the father, the son chugged the orange juice. The person who told me about this was an employee and watched the boy as he chugged it. When the father pushed the cart around the corner, the employee heard a loud hurling sound, followed by the father exclaiming, “I just don’t know what happened!”

You gave your son a highly acidic fluid and let him chug the entire thing. That’s what happened. When you drink an entire jug of OJ, you’re potentially damaging your stomach lining. You can drink more soda (which has a lot more sugar in it) than you can drink orange juice before damaging your insides – though I definitely wouldn’t recommend an excess of either. There’s no added sugar in organic orange juice, and yet sugar is always under fire for being the culprit behind many diseases and obesity.

The causes of these very serious problems isn’t sugar. It’s people. Heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure), sleep apnea, and many more are caused by the following:

  1. Genetics
  2. Overeating
  3. Poor diet
  4. Lack of physical activity

Genetics is something that is inherrent. Overeating, poor diet (even when you get the right amount of calories), and lack of physical activity are your responsibility. Neither sugar nor any other chemical compound has any part in that.

who-report-on-chronic-disease-4-728Painting sugar as the bad guy can lead to a lot of what I call “food fear”, where there shouldn’t be any. For starters, there are many different types of sugars. Fructose, glucose, galactose, lactose, and maltose are some of the many different types of sugar. For more on the chemical structure of sugars, click here.

Does any of that sound familiar? If you’ve heard of high fructose corn syrup, you’ve heard of at least one of these sugars. A lot of misinformed people will tell you that HFCS is a toxin, or poison, but it is simply a sugar made from corn. When broken down into its basic compounds, HFCS is nearly identical to table sugar, which you put in your coffee each morning.

hfcs_cornie_2Lactose might also sound familiar if you’ve heard of the term lactose intolerant, which means an inability to digest lactose – a sugar commonly found in milk and other dairy products. Those of us who lack the enzyme lactase cannot consume most dairy products. However, there are some products made specifically with the addition of lactase so that people like me can drink and enjoy milk without the repurcussions.

A big problem with saying sugar is bad, is that people who make this claim are probably consuming sugar without even realizing it. When a recipe claims to be healthy because it uses stevia or honey, what it means is that it doesn’t have refined white sugar, which has the same compounds as stevia and honey.

Hidden-SugarsContrary to popular belief, sugar is actually a necessity in the growth of children. Findings have shown that we’re hardwired at a young age to crave sweet things, but why is this? As it happens, we need sugar in times of rapid growth, and it also works as a pain reliever. That’s why we give children lollipops at the doctors office.

TL;DR – The problem isn’t sugar. Eating to excess can cause an array of problems, regardless of what you’re eating. If I only eat fast food, I’m going to have problems. If I only eat fruits, again I’m going to have problems. Sugar kills as much as a honey bee kills. It’s all about balance and taking responsibility. It’s not a corporation’s job to make sure you’re being healthy. You have to hold yourself accountable.

eatwellplate640The takeaway message is this: There is no bad food. A balance of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, protein, and indulgences will lead to a happy and healthy life.

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