What I Ate Wednesday
Work has been busy busy causing me to be exhausted at night when I get home, so I am sorry for the lack of recent posts! I am bringing you all one of my FAVE recipes this weekend so check back for that 🙂
Meanwhile…..here’s a little snippet of what my meals looked like yesterday. I got to enjoy a dinner out with some old school friends I hadn’t seen in awhile, so that was the best part of my Wednesday!
Pre-work: I reluctantly got out of bed at 6 am to do a quick 30 minute circuit workout at home before heading off to work. Glad I did it, but it was definitely rough getting out of bed! I’m currently finishing up Week 8 of Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Training Guide. To read my quick review on this workout regime, head over here.
- Starbucks coffee with peppermint syrup + a dash of nonfat milk
- Ardens Garden Green Energy Machine juice (kale, apple, cucumber, celery, spinach, ginger) + a Cinnamon Roll Quest Bar (aka heaven, duh)
- Packet of gluten free “banana maple flax” oatmeal topped with banana slices and a packet of Justin’s maple almond butter and looooads of cinnamon (an anti-inflammatory!). This was SO CREAMY AND INDULGENT! Definitely needed some comforting carbs, so this was a healtrhy and filling way to get it. Such a good lunch, especially after going on a cold 20 minute walk during my lunch break! If you haven’t tried Justin’s nut butters you better RUN to your nearest grocery store and get it. now.
- Two grilled mahi-mahi fish tacos on corn tortillas at a local cuban restaurant called Cali N Titos. MAN was it good! I was soo hungry and wolfed it down (oops, bad habit there!) I also had an unpictured side of maduros (plantains…my fave! Click here for my own homemade plantain recipe!)
Late night snackie:
- 1 of these gluten free graham crackers! Bought at Earthfare, these babies are just like the real thing (and honestly better, in my opinion). All you gluten-free peeps have GOT to try these! ♡
…and now: Don’t fear the fat!
What exactly is fat? Should I be eating a low-fat diet or not? How do I not get confused with “low-fat” “reduced-fat” “fat-free” “healthy fats” etc? I’m here to set you straight:
What exactly is fat?
- Let’s start out by defining the term “lipids“. When you get blood tests done checking for cholesterol levels, you might notice it is called a “complete blood lipid panel”. Lipids are a family of organic compounds soluble in organic solvents but not in water (hence why oil and water are always separated). Lipids include triglycerides (fats and oils), phospholipids, and sterols.
- So, fat is technically lipids that are solid at room temperature (70 degrees F).
- Lipids fall into 3 different categories: triglycerides (which make up ~95%), phospholipids, and sterols (cholesterol). SO, when people speak about fat, they are generally referring to TRIGLYCERIDES.
What is fat’s function?
- IN THE BODY: Fat provides fuel needed to support various functions in your body. It also is the body’s chief storage form of excess energy, especially in times of “survival”. Wayyy back in the day, our ancestors did not have the luxury of being able to eat food daily. They had to hunt and gather their food, so in times of hunger and lack of food, their stored fat would be used as energy. Hence why it is so much easier for us these days to store extra fat, because our bodies were initially trained to do so for survival during times of famine. Fat also produces satiety, or the feeling of fullness. Basically, fat helps you feel satisfied from food. That’s why people who try eating low-fat diets commonly report feeling hungry all the time.
- IN FOOD: Fat-rich foods are useful for athletes to provide adequate fats and energy with hardcore and long-term exercise (think: football players, triathletes, etc.) to avoid weight loss that could impair their performance. Fat also gives foods sensory qualities and enticing flavors and aromas (think: french fries, pies, etc.). People are naturally drawn to high-fat foods due to their sensory qualities. 1 gram of fat in a food equals 9 calories, hence why higher fat foods also tend to be higher in calories as well (versus 1 g protein = 4 cal, 1 g carbs = 4 cals).
How much fat do we need?
- Fat IS actually necessary in our diet for survival. BUT, most Americans eat too MUCH fat (leading to problems like heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, strokes, cardiovascular disease, etc.) Fatty acids are what make up triglycerides (the main type of fat) that are essential to bodily functions but the body can make on its own. Essential fatty acids are the same, but actually CANNOT be made by the body, therefore they must be obtained from our diets. Therefore, we need to be getting our essential fatty acids regularly! (Essential fatty acids are found in foods such as quinoa, oily fish, nuts and seeds, and vegetables oils (cook in olive oil rather than butter!).
- There are two types of fatty acids/fats: SATURATED fats (often softer at room temperature, slower to melt: aka butter, coconut oil, beef fat, etc) and UNSATURATED fats (more liquidy @ room temp: olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, etc.)
- The recommended amount of fat per day from the Dietary Guidelines of America suggest keeping your intake of fats to 20-35% of your total daily calories, and to limit your overall intake of saturated (“bad”) fats to less than 10% overall. Also, they recommend getting as little as possible, preferable NONE of trans fats. Trans fats are fats that contain any # of unusual fatty acids, formed during processing (aka hydrogenation). The most unhealthy of the fats because they have more of an affect on cholesterol, upping risks of getting heart disease. According to the USDA, “FDA has made a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the major dietary source of trans fat in the processed food supply, are no longer Generally Recognized as Safe, or GRAS.” This basically means that basically when trans fats are added to a food (i.e. to make a food taste good with that fatty flavor) they have to be reviewed and approved by the FDA before they can market the product. So, because of this, many products now contain 0g trans fats, which is great.
What is the difference between good fats and bad fats?
- What are considered “bad fats” would be the SATURATED fats: butter, beef tallow, lard, palm oil, chicken fat, fats in baked goods like donuts, cookies, pies, hot dogs, pizza, etc.
- What are considered “good fats” would be the UNSATURATED fats: oils from things like fish, nuts, avocado, olive oil, etc.
- *Fats from animals (i.e. meat, butter, cheese, lard, etc) are usually more unhealthy and saturated. Vegetable oils can also be saturated though through processing when they are hydrogenated. (Hence why its important to read food labels and stay away from anything with hydrogenated oils in the ingredient list!)
- *Fats from plants (i.e. olive oils, avocados, nuts, seeds, etc.) are usually more healthy as they are likely unsaturated.
- Good fats help lower “bad” cholesterol and raise your “good” cholesterol, lowering your risk for cardiovascular disease. Bad fats do the opposite: they raise your “bad” cholesterol and lower your “good” cholesterol, upping your risks. So, when reading food labels, be sure to first check the overall fat. If it is mainly from saturated fat, I’d put it back on the shelf. If it comes mostly from unsaturated fats, these are good fats and are beneficial. Things that contain nuts, seeds, veggie oils, coconut oil, etc are often high in unsaturated fats but these are healthy. Hence, why everyone is so confused on FAT!
So all in all, if you didn’t read any of that ^ just remember this:
Eat MORE of these: oily fish, vegetables oils (olive, canola, almond), nuts and seeds (quinoa, flax, any type of nut), avocados.
Eat LESS of these: hydrogenated oils, fats from meats and animal products, butter, palm oil, fats in baked goods, processed foods like pizza, fast food burgers, french fries, etc.
*When it comes to “low-fat” versus “reduced-fat” etc…my recommendation is to stay away from too many processed foods with these claims. Often times, when companies take the fat out, they replace it with more sugar and other chemicals, resulting in an even more unhealthy food product. “Reduced fat” chips, crackers, cookies, etc are all still unhealthy! Try to stick to healthier fats as discussed above. When it comes to yogurt, I do often go for the low-fat versions, but check the food label and ingredients to make sure there isn’t too much other added crap and that the sugar is 12g or lower. When it comes to desserts and animal fats, I would much rather only eat them rarely and get the real thing: full fat cheese, real meat, full-fat icecream and truly enjoy it and savor it, rather than eat lower-fat versions that aren’t as satisfying more often. But that’s just my two cents!
How can I get more good fats in my diet?
- Add in 1 TBSP of flax to your morning smoothie
- Replace rice with quinoa every so often
- Bake goodies at home with almond meal, dates, and nuts instead of buying baked goods
- Add sliced avocado to your next salad
- Sprinkle nuts onto your oatmeal
- Bake salmon instead of chicken or beef
- Replace regular potato chips with quinoa chips (they do exist!)
- Add almond butter to whole wheat toast