10 Foods Staples to Throw Out From Your Kitchen NOW!! – Part 4

Every household needs pantry staples; they are essential for easy meals and an on-the-go lifestyle! But there are some staples that are not worth their convenience. Here is our final installment of our #pantryoverhaul! If you missed our first three installments check them out here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 .

9. Microwave POPCORN

microwave-popcorn

Microwave popcorn is one of the worst snacks to be keeping in your pantry. The chemicals used in the artificial butter flavoring – diacetyl- has been linked to sever respiratory disease or ‘popcorn lung’. Diacetyl is thought to be harmless when consumed, but when heated to high temperatures, diacetyl vaporizes and becomes toxic. While ‘popcorn’ lung is usually only seen in those who work in packaging factories do you really want to be consuming and inhaling this chemical in any amount?!

Maybe even more concerning are the chemicals sprayed on the inside of your microwavable bag. perfluoroalkyls, perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate are all used to prevent the grease and oil from soaking through the bag, when heated these chemicals fuse onto the popcorn. These chemicals have been found to interrupt the endocrine system, causes thyroid issues, and may be linked bladder cancer.

If all that wasn’t enough to turn you away from this toxic snack a typical bag can contain upwards of 25 grams of fat, 500+ mg of sodium and 600 calories!

What to Keep On-hand Instead? – Whole Kernel Popping Corn

Do not fret popcorn lovers! Popcorn can be a relatively healthy snack as long you prepare it the right way. Air-popping is the best way to ensure that you are getting the most out of your popcorn, avoid all the toxic additives, and you can add your own flavours! A small amount of melted coconut oil, fresh dill and a little bit of salt is my favourite!

BONUS! What staple to throw out of your fridge…

10. MARGARINE

The main ingredient in margarine is usually a vegetable oil. The problem with vegetable oils is that they are liquids at room temperature so they must go thorough hydrogenation in order to harden the oils. To do this the oil is subjected to high heat, high pressure, hydrogen gas and a metal catalyst (typically nickel) this forces the oils to become saturated with the hydrogen and in-turn firming it up. However, the final product is a lumpy grey mess that needs to be processed even further. Emulsifiers are added to remove the lumps, bleach is added to move the grey colour, the mixture is then steamed in order to remove the chemical smell, and finally synthetic vitamins, artificial flavour and colouring is added.

The process of hydrogenation also produces trans-fat, which raise bad cholesterol levels, decrease insulin responses, and are associated with heart disease.

 

What to Keep On-hand Instead? – Organic Grass-fed Butter

benefits_of_grass_fed_cows

Butter has had a bad-rep for many years because it contains large amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol. However, recent research has shown that saturated fats actually can help improve lipid (Cholesterol) profiles. Eating small amounts of saturated fats actually raises your good cholesterol (HDL) and helps reduce harmful LDL cholesterol levels.

The health effects and nutrient levels of our food depend largely on what the animal ate. Cows who eat grass produce much more nutritious by-products which contain more vitamin K, Omega-3’s and other heart healthy vitamins.

Thanks for tuning into this blog series! Be sure to share with a friend and help spread the #pantryoverhaul

If you have any questions about this blog series or any of our other series contact Courtney (cplewes@sstcanada.com) at SST Mississauga

10 Food Staples To Throw Out NOW!! – Part 3

Welcome back to our pantry overhaul series! If you have missed the first 6 pantry items to trash check out Part 1 & Part 2 of this series.

Quick and easy meals and snacks are great and almost essential for our sanity and schedules. Sometimes, however, seemingly healthy options can be our worst enemies.  Our next two items can be very tricky…

7. CANNED SOUP

Soup can be a great healthy quick option for meals, however, a lot of canned soup should be re-labelled as canned liquid sodium! Some varieties can contain upwards of 800mg of sodium per cup. That is over 1/3 of your daily recommended intake in one cup of soup!!

Many canned soups are also packaged with plastic linings that often contain BPA’s, are flavoured using MSG, and all those veggies in there are left pretty much nutrition-less after the high heat and pressurization from the packaging process.

What to Keep On-hand Instead? – Sodium-free Chicken or Vegetable Stock

Alton Brown's Garden Vegetable Soup as seen on Food Network

Soup is one of the easiest and quickest meals you can make! Keep a few boxes of low-sodium broth in the pantry and throw whatever you have lying around in the fridge into a pot – corn, potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, onion, garlic, celery, green beans. Blend it to make a creamy soup or don’t to have a clear broth soup. Add chicken, meat balls, or shrimp. Add your own salt, hot sauce, or fresh herbs. The possibilities are endless, delicious, and nutritious!

8. GRANOLA BARS

Bars can be a great on-the-go or emergency snack but be cautious! While the word granola may make you think of whole grains, whole nuts, fruit all wrapped up in a convenient bar most granola bars have suffered the same fate as trail mix.  Many are made more like candy bars containing sugar, molasses, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, marshmallows, chocolate, artificial flavours, any many chemicals that cannot be pronounced. Some Bar can contain upwards of 30+ grams of sugar in a single bar; spiking your blood sugar and actually making you hungrier in the long run (check out this post to see how).

What to Keep On-hand Instead? – Bars made with whole foods, short ingredient lists and high in fibergranola bar

While any type of bar may not be the healthiest option (always try to eat your food as close to its natural state as possible) their convenience cannot be matched and there are some options that are healthier. Make sure to look at the nutrition label, your bar should contain at least 5 grams of fiber. This will help moderate your blood sugar levels and keep you full. Look at the ingredient list, it should be short, all ingredients recognizable – Oats, whole nuts, fruit – and sugar, or any derivative of it, should be as far down the list as possible.

Thanks for tuning in this week! Check back next week when we look at pantry items 9 & 10. One of which is probably the MOST toxic food item almost every household has and needs to throw out now!!

If you have any questions or comments about this post make sure to ask in our comments section or email SST Mississauga’s Lead Strength Coach, Courtney  ( cplewes@sstcanada.com ).

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10 Foods Staples to Throw Out NOW!! – Part 2

nutnHere we are with our second installment of food staples that you need to rid your pantry of ASAP!

And of course what to replace them with!

Click the link in case you happened to miss Part 1

3. WHITE OR “MULTI-GRAIN” BREAD

White bread, and even deceivingly, multi-grain breads contain zero whole grains, are made with enriched white flours, and little to no fiber. Meaning these breads will spike your blood sugar levels and leave you feeling unsatisfied and hungry again soon after eating.

What to Keep On-hand Instead? – 100% Whole Grain Wheat Bread

whole grain bread
Look for breads with ‘whole grain’ as the first ingredient on the ingredient list. The first ingredient on any nutrition label means it is proportionately the most used ingredient in that particular product. Whole grains are not only great for keeping you satiated but can also help protect against many diet-related chronic diseases; such as diabetes.

 

4. GENERIC PEANUT BUTTER

While peanut butter on toast or fruit may seem like a smart snack choice, generic peanut butter is full of sugar, trans fats and little useful nutrients. Generic peanut butters (such as Kraft, Jif or Skippy) are usually highly processed using a technique called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation is the process of adding hydrogen atoms to the molecular structure of fat in a product in order to make it more spreadable, creamier, and shelf-stable. This process actually lowers levels of good cholesterol (HDL) in the body and increases levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). Hydrogenated oils should be avoided as much as possible.nutrition fat loss,

What to Keep On-hand Instead? – Natural Nut Butter
Now a days there are SO many nut butters to choose from! Almond, cashew, walnut, the choices are endless. When choosing a nut butter to keep your pantry stocked, read the ingredient list, there should be 3 or fewer ingredients and the first one should always be nuts.

nut butter

5. TRAIL MIX

Trail Mix is another tricky snack dressed up and disguised as a healthy one. Pre-made trail mixes now contain chunks of chocolate, M&M’s, and dried fruit. Making this, could be healthy, staple more like a bag of candy.

What to Keep On-hand Instead? – Homemade trail mix

The best trial mix is the one you mix yourself! You can customize them to your own preferences and goals. Cut out the unwanted sugar and look to add ingredients such as 90% dark chocolate, almonds, and walnuts. Be sure to store them in air-tight containers to keep your mixture fresh!

 

6. WHITE PASTA

White pasta has the same problems as white rice or white bread, it has been stripped of all its useful nutrients, is highly processed, and is a simple carbohydrate. It will spike your blood sugar levels as well as leave you feeling hungry again soon after your meal.

What to Keep On-hand Instead? – Garbanzo bean, Quinoa, Black Bean or Veggies Based Pastabean pastas

The one upside to the ridiculous gluten-free craze that hit the supermarket shelves was the introduction of vegetable based pastas! These ‘pastas’ contain more fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals. These options are going to keep your blood sugar levels steadier and keep you feeling full long after your meal. Granted they do not taste as bland or neutral as regular pasta but once you try these options you will not want to go back to tasteless pastas ever again!

Have you tried any of new food staples?!? Let us know how these new staples are fairing in your kitchen down in the comment section.

Check back next week for Part 3!

If you have any questions or comments make sure to ask in our comments section or email SST Mississauga’s Lead Strength Coach, Courtney  ( cplewes@sstcanada.com ).

10 Foods Staples to Throw Out NOW!! – Part 1

With busy schedules of work, school, kids, training, housework – the list can go on and on – pantry staples can be a great time saver in preparing your meals, avoiding the drive-thru and keeping your nutrition on track. However, there are many everyday staples in your pantry that are doing more harm than good and need to be thrown out immediately!

healthy pantryHaving healthy, nutrient dense pantry staples on hand will help keep you full longer, aid in lean muscle growth, increase your energy and help the waist line shrink!

Read on to find out what time saving staple need to be kicked to the curb and what you can replace them with!

1. READY-TO-EAT BREAKFAST CEREAL

These are the first thing that need to hit the trash bin!! This staple is quick, easy, LOADED with sugar and not much else. It is easy to be fooled by labels boasting about ‘added vitamins’, and pictures of whole almonds, oats, grains, mountain scenery… But even those cereals marketed as ‘healthy’ are usually loaded with sugar and refined carbohydrates and they lack sufficient fiber, protein, and healthy fats to help keep you energized and full for the start of your day. Because of this you are more likely to have a crash in blood sugar levels mid-morning causing more sugar cravings and having you reaching for snacks that contain more sugar and doing so earlier in the day then you should be.

What to Keep On-hand Instead? – Oatmealoatmeal

Were not talking to Quacker packets loaded with sugar. Stock your pantry with plain oats (steel cut are even better) that can be made on the stove top. They only take a couple minutes to prepare and you can customize them with all your favourites – almonds, cashew butter, fruits, seeds, flax-seed, organic honey, dark chocolate shavings – the possibilities are endless and delicious!

2. WHITE RICE

White rice is about as void of nutrients as a product can get. The heavy processing the rice goes through strips rice of almost all vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Along with that white rice is a refined carbohydrate meaning it is digested and absorbed by the body quickly, causing spikes in blood sugar levels which in turn forces your body to process the sugar quickly and leads to fat conversion and storage.

What to Keep On-hand Instead? – Red, Black or Wild Rice
These whole grain rice options may cost an extra buck or two but they are worth the splurge! Whole grain rices have vitamins, minerals, fiber, and are digested at a much slower rates. Allowing your body to properly prowild ricecess the carbohydrates and using them as fuel instead of converting them for fat storage. These options will also keep your blood sugar levels more stable leading to less cravings and the extra fiber will help keep you feeling full longer.

 

 

 

If you liked this post make sure to check back in a few days for Part 2!

If you have any questions or comments about this post make sure to ask in our comments section or email SST Mississauga’s Lead Strength Coach, Courtney  ( cplewes@sstcanada.com ).

Sports Nutrition on the Road – Part 4: Low & High GI Carbs & Energy Drinks

In case you missed the beginning of this series: PART 1, PART 2 & PART 3

OTRN part 4

In Part 2 of our sports nutrition on the road series we spoke about Low- and High-GI Carbs, but what are there? And why do they matter to you performance?

Carbohydrates are important for athletes because they provide you with your main source of energy for exercise and competition. Without an adequate supply of carbs your performance can be severely limited. The Glycemic Index (GI) is an index of foods with different kinds of carbohydrates; complex, simple, etc. Foods are generally rate as “Low GI” or “High GI” based on the speed at which carbohydrates are absorbed by the body.

Low GI Foods are rich in fiber, and have carbs that absorb slowly and take a longer time to deliver glucose to your blood and glycogen to your working muscles

  • Eat these the night before games and at your pre-game meals
  • Potatoes (preferably sweet potatoes)
  • Pasta (Whole wheat)
  • Beans and nuts (not peanuts)
  • Rice/Grains (wild rice, quinoa, barley)
  • Fruits -apples/pears/cherries/grapefruit/bananas/pineapple
  • Vegetables – carrots/broccoli/mushrooms/peppers/tomatoes

High GI Foods consist of sugars and starches, and have carbs that absorb rapidly and deliver glucose to your blood and glycogen to your muscles quickly

  • Eat these within the first 12 hours after competition to reload the tank quickly
  • Some may also be eaten within the last 30-60 minutes before competition, at halftime, or between innings/periods
  • Baked potatoes
  • Corn chips/rice cakes/pretzels
  • Brown rice/Jasmine long grain white rice
  • Cereals (corn and oat-based)
  • Sweetened fruit drinks/dried fruits/watermelon
  • Sports Bars or Drinks

 

Energy Drinks

Energy drink such as Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, Amp, etc. contain incredibly high levels of caffeine, other stimulants, and huge amounts of sugar. They DO NOT provide any kind of sustained energy you need for an athletic competition and can actually have the opposite effect. Energy drinks can actually promote poor sleeping habits, caffeine/sugar crashes, and nutrient wasting by stealing your appetite from healthy foods.

Because these drinks are caffeine laden they also have a significant effect on dehydration as well as raise your heart rate and blood pressure. If you are in a sport in which randomized drug testing is common place these drinks can also exceed the legal caffeine limits set by CESP and WADA.

These are all things you definitely want to avoid on game day!

 

If you found this info useful be sure to share it with a friend!

For more info on this topic email Courtney (cplewes@sstcanada.com)

Sports Nutrition On The Road – Part 3: Game Day

In case you missed PART 1 or PART 2!

Awareness, knowledge, and preparation are key when wanting to make huge difference in your game day performance.  The benefits of nutrition, in respect to athletic performance, can mean the difference between winning and losing and an optimal vs. subpar performance.

Think about your body like a high performance race car.  Dale Earnhardt doesn’t put regular gasoline in his car before a race he uses Sunoco Green E15-a 98 octane fuel blend specifically engineered for high-performance engines! Basically, the best of the best! You need to approach your game day nutrition in the same manner. By doing so you can maximize gains you have made OTRN part 3from training, increase your energy levels, recover faster and think more clearly.

 

How to Prepare on Game Day

Pre-Game Meal

  • 4-6 hours before game
  • High Complex/Low GI foods; low protein and fat
  • Hydrate well: sports drinks (Aminocore, BCAA’s with electrolytes), water

2-3 Hours before game

  • Moderately-sized snack: more low GI foods; low protein and fat
  • Continue to hydrate
  • No caffeine* (or energy drinks)

1 Hour before game

  • Small snack: easily digestible foods (fruit, pretzels)
  • Continue to hydrate with water or a sports drink such as BCAA drink with electrolytes (like Aminocore or Biosteel)
  • No caffeine* (or energy drinks)

30 minutes before game –“Top off the tank”

  • High-GI carbs that will absorb quickly and deliver glucose rapidly to working muscles
  • Hydrate with water or a sports drink such as a BCAA drink with electrolytes (like Aminocore or Biosteel)
  • No caffeine* (or energy drinks)

*Caffeine has major dehydrating effects, can make you jumpy, and raises your heart rate and blood pressure; all the things you should avoid on game day!

 

Post-Game Recovery

30-60 minutes after competition

  • VITAL PERIOD!
  • Replace every pound of weight lost through sweating with 20-24 ounces of fluid
  • Make sure to fuel your body for recovery
    • Ingest food with a concentration of 4:1 ratio carb:protein blend drink – better than water
    • Carbs should be of the High-GI variety to replenish glycogen stores quickly

60-90 minutes after competition

  • Continue to hydrate

Within 3 hours after competition

  • Mixed Meal – combination of protein, carbs and fat
    • Carbs here should be of the Low-GI variety so as not to spike your blood sugar levels
  • Continue to hydrate
  • NO soda, alcohol, caffeine

Within 24hrs after competition

  • Strictly Limit: Alcohol, Soda, Caffeine in any form
  • Dehydration, lack of sleep, and lack of nutrients are detrimental to recovery

 

Meal Examples:

  • Game day breakfast:
Three soft boiled eggs with a pinch of sea salt and two pieces of
whole grain toast with organic butter, small Greek yogurt & fruit mix with ground flax seeds.
  • Pre-Game Meal:
Grilled skinless chicken breast with brown rice, broccoli and a salad dressed with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • Pre-Game Snack:
Oatmeal with ground flax seeds, walnuts, banana, unsweetened shredded coconut and a drizzle of pure maple syrup!
  • Post-Game Recovery Shake:
Six ounces coconut water, six ounces water, 2 scoops good quality protein and one banana.
  • Post-Game meal: Grilled skinless chicken breast, sweet potato and asparagus
A good blend of lean protein, complex/nutrient dense carbohydrates and veggies. The foods your body needs to repair itself!

 

REMEMBER – Game day nutrition and recovery are vital to successful performance week-in and week-out, but eating well on game day only works if you are eating well all week as well! Don’t wait for the pre-game meal to get everything you need. Approach your nutrition with the same discipline as your training and you will maximize your potential as an athlete.

Keep a look out for PART 4 coming soon!!

If you liked this post be sure to share it with a friend!

If you have questions or would like more info about this topic please email Courtney (cplewes@sstcanada.com)

 

Sports Nutrition On The Road – Part 2: Dehydration & Jet Lag

Dehydration & jet leg Blog

If you have missed the first part of this blog series click here to view Part 1!

One of the big killers of athletic performance is dehydration and jet lag. Adequate hydration is critical to over-coming any time changes as well as keeping yourself functioning to your full potential. Athletes should always carry a water bottle and sip fluids frequently. Airline travel is especially dehydrating due to the pressurized cabin. Athletes should carry an empty bottle with them through airport security and fill it with water as soon as they are through. Athletes should aim to drink a minimum of 1 cup (250 mL) of fluid for every hour of air travel.

Other tips to help reduce dehydration and jet-lag while traveling are:

  • Consume a high carb meal or two prior to travelling; this will help build extra glycogen (energy) and fluid stores
  • Drink one cup (250 mL) of fluid for every hour of air travel
  • Limit pop, coffee, tea, and alcohol
  • Pack extra calories with nutritious portable snacks – pretzels, beef jerky, trail mix, nuts
  • Upon arrival, go out in the sunlight to help adjust to the new time zone
  • Allow 1–3 days to adjust for every time zone crossed, plan your travels days accordingly

Stay tuned for Part 3: Game Day Nutrition!

If you liked this article please be sure to share it with a friend!!

For more info about this article email Courtney (cplewes@sstcanada.com)