Fat Free, Reduced Fat, and No Fat: What Does it All Mean?

Fat Free, Reduced Fat, and No Fat: What Does it All Mean?Grocery shopping can be confusing, especially when you’re going by what the labels are trying to tell you. Knowing that most people won’t pick up a box and turn to the nutritional information, food companies try to market products as as having “less fat” than others or “reduced fat” compared to their original products, and some are even “fat free”. But are these products healthy?

One trick that food companies employ is to jack up the amount of sugar in an item to improve the taste in a reduced fat variety. Yogurt is a good example of this. It’s not unusual to find a regular variety of yogurt that actually contains less sugar and overall calories than a reduced fat variety. But, consumers would only realize this if they actually read the nutritional information.

In some cases, the original product is so unhealthy to begin with, the reduced fat variety is still unhealthy for you.

For something to be classified as low fat, it needs to have less than 3g of fat per serving. But, for something to be reduced fat, it needs to have 25% less fat than the original. If the original item has 10g of fat per serving, a “reduced fat” variety with 7.5g of fat per serving still wouldn’t qualify as low fat.

On the topic of servings, take a look at the nutritional information of products you buy the next time you’re shopping. Look specifically at what the company classifies a serving as and you might be surprised. Chances are what they would consider a serving to be is a fraction of what the typical person would consume in one sitting. I find this to be especially true of snack foods like chips or crackers where you’re not going to eat just 10 chips or crackers in a sitting.

So what’s the lesson to be learned here? When browsing the aisles of your local supermarket, don’t judge a book by its cover. In some cases, what looks healthy really isn’t. The only way to be sure is to read the nutritional information and make an informed decision based on the ingredients.

Is White Rice Bad for Me?

Is White Rice Bad for Me?I was never a big fan of rice. I ate it occasionally but it wasn’t something that I ever went out of my way to make. That is until I first had basmati rice. The taste and texture of it appeals to me in ways which I cannot describe. I’m now craving it so much I have to tell myself to relax and space out my meals that include rice. After all, foods that are white are bad for you, right?

Well, it all depends what we’re talking about. Whole grain bread, pasta, and rice will contain more fiber than their processed, white counterparts. Whole grain rice also has more calcium and vitamin E than white rice. But is all white rice bad?

Something that’s common to all rice–white or whole grain–is that it’s virtually fat-free, low in sodium, and it’s gluten-free, too. People who have legitimate conditions where they cannot consume gluten can eat all the rice they want. White and whole grain rice also contains eight essential amino acids, vitamins, iron, and potassium. So white rice isn’t something that should be written off completely the way some people say all white bread is bad.

I think the key to eating rice is to have it as part of a meal rather than your entire meal. Sure, I could sit down and eat an entire bowl full of basmati rice with nothing else, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll use a bit of basmati rice as the base and then add things into it to complement it. A little bit of chicken and a lot of vegetables combined with the rice is a healthy way to satisfy my craving for rice while enjoying a balanced meal that’s delicious and filling.

How to Stay Focused on Your Goals During Thanksgiving

How to Stay Focused on Your Goals During ThanksgivingFirst, let me start off this post by responding to a comment I received the other day. The commenter said that this blog has turned into an Onnit advertisement compared to what it once was. I agree that as my blog posts have become less frequent more have been focused towards Onnit than just general posts about staying healthy.

I have a list of topics I want to write about, and I also have a list of Onnit news that I think might appeal to readers of this blog. I can understand how my enthusiasm for the company, its products, Joe Rogan, and his podcast can seem purely like an advertisement, but my intentions aren’t simply to shill Onnit products.

I started out this blog as a way to answer the questions that I had about things related to health and fitness. Like, what is kale and why is it healthy? Why do my knees make so much noise, and should I be worried? How can I prevent a hangover? I’m going to tone down the Onnit posts and keep them limited to when an exciting new product launches and when the company has a sale on its products. I don’t need to cover the minutia of the company and every little product that it releases. I’ll steer this ship back towards what Tight Lightning once was and answer more of the questions I have about living a healthy life while limiting the posts that feel like ads to my readers. I hope that you guys will continue to visit this blog in 2014.

With that out of the way and off my chest, let’s talk about Thanksgiving. As a Canadian, I’ve already celebrated Thanksgiving. It was last month, I’m over it, and it wasn’t a big deal to me. To Americans though, it’s a whole other beast. It’s essentially the beginning of the holiday season. The family, the friends, the shopping and presents, and of course, the FOOD. I work in the food industry so I know how hard it can be to resist everything that will destroy your diet.

So what can you do during Thanksgiving to prevent yourself from ruining all the hard work you’ve accomplished this year? Here are a few ideas to keep you from gaining too much weight over the next month:

Exercise
If you don’t normally exercise on the weekend, maybe force yourself to, just as an added boost to help burn off the extra calories you consume during Thanksgiving. Do this either before the big meal or the day after, if you can muster up the motivation to do so.

Eat a Balanced Breakfast and Lunch
If you eat a healthy, balanced breakfast and follow it up with a filling lunch, you may be inclined to eat less during dinnertime. For breakfast and lunch, choose protein and whole grains to keep you feeling full right up until Thanksgiving dinner.

Don’t Deny Yourself
It’s important that you don’t deny yourself of anything that you want during Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season. However, as I have talked about on this blog in the past, the key is moderation. Have one cookie, not four. Have a piece of pie, but skip the ice cream. Have a plate of dinner, but not seconds. Keep your portion sizes in control and give yourself a limit and you shouldn’t feel too badly once you head back to work after the long weekend.

Eat Slowly
Everyone knows that the slower you eat, the more time your body has to respond to what you put into it. You’ll feel more full quicker and end up eating less if you don’t inhale your dinner. So slow down, relax, and enjoy the time with your family and friends.

Don’t Get Drunk
Alcohol is not only full of extra calories you don’t need during the holidays, it can crush your willpower as well. The more inebriated you become, the more likely you are to eat what you otherwise wouldn’t, and you’re more likely to wake up hungover. What happens when you’re hungover? You crave more food and you definitely don’t exercise. It’s a slippery slope, so be careful.

Take a Picture
I’ll admit it, I have a picture on my computer of what I used to look like when I was about 20 lbs. heavier. I also have one for inspiration when I was at my prime. Where I’m at now is somewhere in the middle, but I can use both of the pictures to keep myself in check. One shows me what I can turn back into if I get lazy and unfocused, and the other shows me what I’m capable of when I set a goal and accomplish it.

And there you have it. Those are my suggestions on how you can keep your body and your diet in check during Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season. If you have any tips you’d like to share, feel free to post about them in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Onnit DigesTech Released!

Onnit DigesTech ReleasedIt’s been a busy week for Onnit, with the release of its Zombie Bells kettle bells, new posters, a new shirt, and now its digestion aid. Like they say, when it rains, it pours. I’m excited about the Zombie Bells as much as the next guy, but don’t overlook Onnit’s newest supplement DigesTech.

From its name alone you can likely gather that DigesTech aids in digestion. Fortunately this is not a problem that I have to deal with, but I know that many of you do. That being said, DigesTech isn’t solely for the people who have trouble digesting things like dairy, fats, carbs, protein, and fiber.

Of course, those who do have digestion issues will feel positive effects from taking DigesTech. This product contains professional grade digestion enzymes that are formulated to help break down everything I mentioned above. This can ease discomfort that comes from digesting food, but Onnit’s DigesTech helps you absorb nutrients more efficiently as well.

Onnit DigesTech is crafted using a variety of ingredients designed to break down the five major food categories I mentioned above. These ingredients include protease to digest protein, amylase to digest carbs, lipase to digest fat, along with 14 other digestive aids. This is the time of year when people tend to overeat and eat especially large meals, so DigesTech is the perfect all-natural solution to help you feel a little bit better. You will absorb more nutrients and your body will break down the food faster, leading to a decrease in fatigue and bloating after big holiday meals.

Trick Yourself Into Eating Healthier

Trick Yourself Into Eating HealthierThe mind is a very cool thing. Sometimes it will make decisions without us even realizing it. These subconscious decisions affect us in many ways, including how we eat. This can be a good thing and it can be a bad thing. It all depends on what we see first before we eat.

Brian Wansink, the professor of consumer behavior at Cornell University, found that we make food choices based on trigger foods. If we see healthy foods first, we’re more likely to make healthy food choices. If we see junk food first, we’re more likely to make food choices that skew to the unhealthy side of things.

Brian suggests that people who want to eat healthier apply this within their homes. For example, if you want to make healthier food choices when you’re eating, serve vegetables first before eating a bowl of pasta rather than with the pasta, or not at all. You might be more likely to eat less pasta or pass on the second helping.

It’s also recommended that you stock your cupboards, fridge, and freezer in this way. Everyone needs junk food every now and then, so if you have some in your house, push it to the back and keep the healthier options at the front. You won’t necessarily forget that the junk food is there, but your mind might make the decision for you to reach for the bowl of fruit rather than the cookie jar that’s placed behind it.

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