Posted by: Brenda | March 21, 2012

Day 17: Healthy Eating

After breakfast we had a class titled ‘Redefining Healthy Eating’ and we got tons of great information on nutrition and healthy eating. I learned that saturated fats and trans fats increase cholesterol and trans fats also feed into insulin resistance. We were also told that even if a product is labeled as “Trans Fat Free” it can still have less than 0.5g of trans fat per serving, so reading labels is important. Look for words like: partially hydrogenated, margarine and shortening. If you see those words in the ingredient list, than the food still has trans fats (and though you might get a negligible amount in one serving, just think about how much you could potentially be getting once you finish the box or bag).

We also went back over the EWG‘s Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. The Dirty Dozen are fruits and veggies that contain the highest amounts of pesticides or other chemicals. You should try to buy organic or local as much as possible. The Clean 15 are the least contaminated. If you have farmer’s markets in your area, those would be a great place to start!

Another thing we learned about today is Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 3’s can lower inflammation in the body and help reduce cardiovascular disease, diabetes, insulin resistance and more. If you don’t like fish, Omega 3’s can also be found in Pumpkin seeds (1/4 c. is about a serving), Flax seed (1 Tbsp. ground), hemp and chia seeds (think chia pets). I also didn’t know that nuts and seeds can help lower your blood pressure.

As for Omega 6 fatty acids, they encourage inflammation in the body and can be found in things like corn oil, soybean oil and vegetable oil. They are also in safflower and sesame oil, but since we generally ingest both in such small quantities it doesn’t really make a big difference in our bodies. Good oils to use in your cooking are olive, peanut and canola (watch out on this one though, as it can be genetically modified).

We also learned about plastic leaching into foods that are hot, acidic or high fat (like oils). It’s a good idea to look into ways to reduce plastic contact with your foods (like buying oils in glass containers, or swapping them into a ceramic/glass bottle when you get it home). Other ways to reduce plastic contact with food is to use parchment paper when putting food into plastic bags. Just make sure to label the bag clearly!

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