A Guide to Fats, Carbs, and the 10 Best Fitness Foods

Need help figuring out what fats and carbs are beneficial for health and weight loss? Well, here’s the answer! I’m a big fan of whole, natural, organic food. There is no reason to be afraid of fat or carbs. You just have to learn how to navigate the world of fats and carbs. Want a rule of thumb to keep in mind? Here it is: nature does not make unhealthy fat, factories do. Healthy fats include: organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed animals bi-products (milk, cream, cheese, butter, ghee, meat, eggs, etc.), coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil, nuts, and seeds. Carbs are found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables. Carbs are your main fuel source for energy, so do not avoid them. Your best source of carbs are: vegetables, fruits, whole grains: brown rice, oats, pot barely, buckwheat, 100% whole wheat, wheat germ, and even though it is a seed–quinoa. Here’s why:

Fats:

There is a lot written about how much fat one should take in over the course of a day, but what matters more is the type of fat you are eating. You don’t need to go tracking every gram of fat you put in your mouth each day; that is obsessive and it’s unrealistic to think that someone could keep that up for the rest of their life. The better approach is to know which fats are better for you and which ones are not so good for you. And this doesn’t mean that you need to completely stay away from the not so good fats, just make sure you’re conscious of your indulgences in these types of fats and do so in moderation. Here’s the breakdown:

“Good fats” are natural monounsaturated and saturated fats. These fats are mostly found in natural food sources such as nuts, seeds, fish, and oils like olive oil and coconut oil. The healthy, beneficial saturated fat comes from NATURAL sources like coconut and animals. Organic meat and bi-products from pasture-raised grass-fed animals are best. Animals, including humans, store toxins in their fat. An unhealthy animal will then have unhealthy fat. A healthy animal will have healthy fat. Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and fish all contain vital omega-3 fatty acids, but different kinds. Chia and flax contain ALA and fish contains DHA. You need both.

The “not so good” fats are saturated fats found in commercial meat and animal bi-products (because of the toxins), fats found in processed foods and trans fat. Trans fat is purely man-made fat, avoid it at all costs! If you buy commercial meat (not organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed) then go for lean cuts. Anything processed will have fat that is not beneficial to your health, so avoid processed foods as best you can.

Carbs:

Like fats, not all carbs are created equal. Anyway, the “beneficial carbs” are carbs that come from fruit, vegetables, legumes, dairy products, and whole grains. Also, it isn’t coincidental that by nature fruits, vegetables, and dairy products such as milk and cheese are LOW carb; these are some of the foods that are encouraged on low carb diets. But low carb diets can be dangerous, and we do need carbs for optimal health. “Beneficial carbs” provide us with nutrients (vitamins and minerals) and fiber-which helps fill you up and slows digestion. And “beneficial carbs” are the main fuel source for the brain, red blood cells, and muscles. So stick to the “beneficial carbs” and stay away from the “not-so-healthy carbs” such as refined grains (anything WHITE) and sugar. For breads and pasta, 100% whole wheat is best (without high fructose corn syrup or any of that garbage) and for oatmeal, stay away from instant and go for the regular stove-top cooking whole rolled oats or steal cut oats.

For sweetness, I prefer to use raw honey, pure maple syrup, or liquid stevia. However, you do have to be careful with what kind of stevia you purchase and ingest. The best stevia is homegrown and picked from your garden, but pure liquid stevia is a good alternative. I have also come across coconut palm sugar, which is something I would like to explore further myself.

The 10 Best Fitness Foods for Women courtesy of Women’s Health. Honestly though, I don’t think these are just foods for women. I think it’s safe to say these are great fitness foods across the board. Again, follow the link to get a full on breakdown, but for now I’ll just give you the list:

  1. Avocados–good fat!
  2. Bananas–good carb! (an almost perfect pre-workout snack)
  3. Berries–amazing health benefits, especially regarding antioxidants! + good carb!
  4. Carrots–good carb!
  5. Whole Grain Cereal–read the labels with this stuff!! Many brands will try to trick you. But the right stuff = good carb!
  6. Chicken Thighs–a great lean protein!
  7. Hummus–great source of protein and “beneficial carbs!”
  8. Eggs–be cautious of what your personal diet looks like, though! If you are someone that sticks to good fats and not in great amounts, then I’d say, yes keep the yolk-1 or 2 per day. If you like to eat foods that may have more fat and cholesterol, watch your yolks to ensure you don’t go overboard. And remember you can always go for egg whites! But yolks are good for your health–they are a good source of iron and good for brain health.
  9. Chocolate Milk–when made right! Don’t think all chocolate milks are the same. Avoid high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors/flavors. Chocolate Milk = good fat and good carb! It is also great after running!
  10. Salmon–good fat!

^ seeing a trend? The best pre-workout foods are sources of “good fats” and “beneficial carbs!” I’ve seen it written that bananas have an almost perfect balance of both beneficial fats and carbs, which make them a great way to fuel up before a run or workout. They are also a great source of potassium which aids in the prevention of cramps during a workout or run.

That was a lot. But I hope some of you find this useful. It’s not only good to know what to eat, but why! So enjoy eating, fuel up right, and maybe squeeze in a walk or run today! Enjoy xoxo

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Hot Pumpkin Recipe

Last night I was browsing through a great blog, Deliciously Organic, and came across a recipe for a Pumpkin Pie Shake. It looks delicious, but I have a bit of a cold and a terrible cough, therefore I went for something hot rather than cold.

So, this morning I altered the recipe a bit and made some Hot Pumpkin! (I don’t want to call it a latte or anything like that because there is no coffee or espresso in it, mainly almond milk and pumpkin)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of Almond Milk (I used unsweetened but you can use whatever you like)
  • 1/4 cup of Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Pumpkin Spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons of Honey
  • 1 packet of Stevia

*I actually didn’t measure my cinnamon or pumpkin spice, so feel free to add more or less if you want. The smoothie recipe also calls for 4 tablespoons of honey, but I felt that was a little much, so I reduced it to 3 teaspoons and then added a packet of stevia; you can sweeten it the way you like-that’s what I did!

All you really have to do is put the ingredients in a small pot, put the stove on medium to high heat, and whisk together as it heats up. When it’s hot enough for you, pour into a big mug and enjoy! I think this would also be good with a touch or two of cocoa powder…feel free to experiment!