Posts Tagged ‘Nutrients’

Do WE buy organic foods?

I’m just on my way back from the Perform Better conference.  I’m on their speaking circuit and the first of the three Summits they have each year was this past weekend in Providence.  Great group of attendees and fellow speakers.

As I was talking, the topic of organic foods came up.  I shared some of the evidence and information that’s out there.

And then the "most" important question came up — "Do YOU eat organic foods?"

It made me think of a blog we wrote a couple years ago called "Organic foods are a waste of money."  That surely caused a bit of a stir — we were called "hypocrites" for not sticking to our guns recommending "healthy foods."  Others emailed saying since they can’t trust us anymore, they’re unsubscribing from our newsletter list.

That’s fine.  Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but since the question came up again this weekend I thought it would be good to share some new insights and opinions on the topic of organic foods.

In that previous blog, I summarized a study that was published, basically showing there was no nutrient differences between organic and conventional foods.

In the past we’ve belonged to a CSA (community supported agriculture) and supplemented with weekly trips to the Farmer’s Market.  We also grow about a dozen different vegetables & fruit in our own garden, from tomatoes and zucchini, to Swiss chard, arugula and grapes.  We’re surely not making Martha Stewart nervous, but we have fun with it, enjoy teaching Ella (and ultimately Sophia) about the food we grow and eat.  We also surely benefit from the convenience, cost and flavors and there are data that shows families who grow their own vegetables have kids who eat more of them.

This year since we’ll be gone several weeks out of the summer, we didn’t join a CSA since we’d miss so many of the weekly deliveries, though if you have access to one, it’s a great, great investment in your health.


A CSA is simply where you buy a share of a farm — we paid $500 and get weekly, local crops, from May – December.  That’s well worth the price. Find one in YOUR area by visiting
Local Harvest.org.  These are the greatest way to buy the best vegetables and fruit from YOUR area.  Our previous CSAs guarantee nothing they carry will come from more than 50 miles away … and, as I said, local means tastier and much higher in nutrients.  If it’s organic too, it’s a great bonus.

We love the Farmer’s Market as well for a number of reasons. 

  1. First, we believe eating locally is your best option when you have the choice.  Many times the local farmers do also follow organic standards, yet may not be "certified" as such because of the associated costs.  You should ask the farmers how they grow their produce to find out.
  2. We are fortunate to have a great market where we can also buy all of our meats from the farmer’s market — chicken, meat, pork and eggs (not technically meat, but from an animal).  From all we’ve seen and read and personally believe, the benefits of meats (speaking inclusively for all meats) is safest, cleanest and best for us and our family.  We’re willing to spend more money on these quality products.  Not that this is the ONLY way to eat well, but it’s what we believe is best for our family.

"The food on the end of your fork is the
most powerful medicine in the world"

We want to know where our food comes from … we know the farmers and they know us.

You know your hair dresser by name and you likely know your mechanic and your tailor.  Doesn’t it also make sense to know the person growing the food you’re eating and feeding to your family? 

I’d say about 50% of our produce & 100% of all our meats (and milk) are organically produced and are from local farms.  We do buy all organic meats, chicken, pork, etc.  The produce that we do buy organic is that which has softer skin that we’ll eat.  So I’m not paying extra for organic bananas, but will for organic raspberries as an example. 

"More important than eating organic foods,
is eating local foods"

And we do that by "following" these three "rules."

  1. Grow them ourselves.
  2. Buy them from a Farmer’s Market
  3. Buy local produce when we can from the store, focusing on organic when we eat the skin of the fruit/veggie

We get it.  This may not be practical or realistic for you.  Eating ANY produce at all is surely better than none.  And eating less processed foods as a whole is surely a win win.

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Are you eating enough of these?

Most "diets" tell you everything you shouldn’t eat.

We think that’s useless.

Who wants to think of deprivation?  Starvation?  Your goal isn’t to just burn belly fat, but it’s to burn belly fat FOREVER!

Who wants a quick fix diet that doesn’t last forever?

At Mohr Results, we focus on everything you SHOULD eat and include when trying to lose belly fat … and even when just trying to be the BEST physically and mentally.

So today we’re talking about 3 nutrients you’re not eating enough of and just how you can eat more, through real foods, since no one thinks in terms of "eating nutrients."

Vitamin D

I recently talked with one of the leading vitamin D experts in the entire world…and it solidified my belief in vitamin D more than ever!!!

Why all the recent "noise" about this vitamin?  It’s been shown to help:

    * muscle strength
    * improve bone health
    * potentially play a role in reducing type 1 and 2 diabetes
    * slash fat loss
    * cancer prevention
    * Alzheimer’s
    * arthritis
    * decreasing falls with elderly
    * decrease inflammatory issues
    * And much, much more.

Our bodies make vitamin D from sunlight, but most people don’t get out enough … or when we do, we slather our bodies in suntan lotion so sun has no chance to hit our skin (I’m not saying don’t use sunblock, by the way).  
 
Believe it or not, Vitamin D deficiency is starting to resurface.  This expert I spoke with, Dr. Robert Heaney, said his data suggest 60-98% of teenage girls are deficient…

The problem is it is difficult to get from foods — milk is fortified, canned and wild salmon are good options, sardines, anchovies, egg yolks, liver, and only a few other foods provide decent quantities.  Unfortunately you’re probably not licking your lips thinking of sardines, washed down with a nice glass of milk, are you?  Me neither.

So what should we do?  

First, next time you go to your doctor, have them measure blood levels of Vitamin D — experts seem to suggest that levels should be at least 40 ng/dL for optimal health.  At Mohr Results, our goal is not to simply eat enough to prevent malnutrition, but rather aim to optimize health.
 
And this is one nutrient it might be wise to add as a supplement (1000 IU’s/day, unless your health care provider tells you differently).  Of course do try to include some of those foods, too, because you get other powerful nutrients in addition to D when eating whole foods.  A favorite product of ours is Nordic Naturals Ultimate-Omega with D (high concentration of omega-3′s + 1000 IU’s of vitamin D).  A true win win.  Of course this is in conjunction with a great variety of foods that provide loads of other nutrients too.

Omega-3 Fats

This one probably won’t surprise you.  It all started when scientists realized Eskimo’s had an incredibly low rate of heart disease, yet ate a diet that was about 70% fat.  When they realized where the fat came from (primarily seal, which are high in omega 3′s), the wheels started turning.

Now, over 15,000 scientific studies later, voila!  We’ve got a winner on our hands!

The American Heart Association suggests eating at 12 oz of fatty fish per week (such as salmon, tuna, sea bass, etc).  Fish is the best source of omega-3 fats, but without getting into technical details, you can also get omega-3′s from other foods, such as walnuts, almonds, and flax seed/oil.  They’re not exactly the same, even though they’re all under the "omega-3 umbrella."  But all are a healthy part of the diet and you should be eating more of them!  If you’re allergic, well, then stick with vegetarian sources of omega-3′s. 

Why should you care?

Some of the benefits of omega-3′s are similar to those listed above for Vitamin D.

    * potentially burn belly fat
    * improves skin
    * cancer risk reduction
    * reduce the risk or progression of Alzheimer’s
    * slow progression of arthritis
    * decrease inflammatory issues
    * Decrease the risk of heart disease

Now if all those benefits above don’t impress you, nothing will.

Eat more vitamin D.  Eat more omega-3′s.  Notice salmon is a good source of both.  So are sardines and anchovies, but I bet you’re more likely to eat the salmon.  

Fiber

Most American’s eat an average of 10 grams of fiber each day.

It’s recommended that we get 20-35 grams.

There’s obviously a disconnect.

Here’s how to do it.

Replace all junk carbs — you know, the ones that increase belly fat FAST — with fiber filled carbs.  Fruits.  Veggies.  Grains.  If a carbohdyrate DOESN’T have 3 or more grams of fiber PER SERVING — toss it.  If it has more than 10 grams of sugar.  Toss it.  Deal?  In an ideal world, you’d get MOST of your carb intake from fruits and veggies, each day.  Trust me, you’ll feel like a new person. 

And why should you care?

    * keeps blood sugar stable — this helps with energy and storage of body fat
    * Controls appetite
    * Keeps you regular

All those sound good to me!  Just as an aside, add fiber slowly … otherwise your spouse, co workers, and friends may no longer want you around.

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Sugar: More Addictive than Drugs?

We talked recently about the dangers of sugar – an ingredient (among others) that is killing us! 

A friend of ours — Jeff O’Connell — just published a book, Sugar Nation: The Hidden Truth Behind America’s Deadliest Habit and the Simple Way to Beat It, that is starting to gain some serious attention about this very topic.  Interestingly, Jeff has type 2 diabetes — but at 6’6, very lean and active, he’s certainly not your "typical" type 2 diabetes patient. 

So in the book he talks to a ton of researchers, physicians and others looking deeper at some of the causes of the disease that’s growing by 7,000 people PER DAY. 

Well, Americans are certainly eating enough sugar to make it toxic.  While surely there are some controversial nutrition recommendations in the book, it’s important to look at some facts about sugar. 

sugar is toxicAdded sugars make up about 16% of total calories in the American Diet — SIXTEEN!  That means 16% of the American Diet is not just void of ANY nutrients whatsoever, but it’s filled with completely useless calories.

 

And ‘added sugars’ means sugars from any source — white sugar, brown sugar, organic sugar, high fructose corn syrup, soda, honey, organic cane sugar, etc.  The sugars mainly found in processed foods are added sugars and so are any sugars you personally add.  Basically, any sugar that’s not naturally found in foods like fruits, veggies or dairy products so don’t use these new "rules" as a way to say you have to stop eating fruits and veggies.  That’s taking smart guidelines and applying them to what you may want to hear.

 

Just to give you an idea — here are a few of the major culprits of added sugar in Americans’ diets.

 

  • Soda, energy drinks, sports drinks: 36% contribution to total added sugar intake
  • Cakes, cookies, pies: 13%
  • Fruit drinks and “-ades” (not 100% fruit juice): 10.5%

Sugar has earned a spot on the AHA’s black list — saying it’s basically a "negative nutrient" that needs to be limited for your heart’s sake (and, really, every other organ in your body too).

The AHA recommends that added sugar intake be limited to 100 calories (25 grams, or 6 teaspoons) per day for women and to 150 calories (about 37 grams, or 9 teaspoons) per day for men.  To be honest, even less would be even better…the less, the better. 

Keep in mind that now, the average American eats over 350 calories each day in sugar alone (about 22 teaspoons,or nearly 3-12 oz cans of soda)!  Talk about a way to make sure you gaining belly fat and ruining your health!

Added sugars have NO place in your body whatsoever.  NONE.  ZERO.  ZIP.  (NOTE: for certain athletes, sports drinks and post workout drinks CAN play a role, but that’s not the majority of the population).  Unfortunately the majority of the population are those who still drink too many of those things yet don’t move their bodies.

Here’s the deal.

Adding sugar to your diet is like pouring mud down your throat.  Gross, right?  Yeah, they have about the same amount of nutrients — actually, the mud probably has more!

The study I’m referring to was published in AHA’s Scientific Journal, Circulation … and they talk about the link between high sugar intake and insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and type 2 diabetes.  Of course we can also point to the increase in belly fat from eating too much sugar, which can lead to basically every other disease known to man.

Very simply, we are OVERFED YET UNDERNOURISHED!!!  And added sugars need to go.

In fact, the AHA has a very strong conclusion in their study: "There is sufficient evidence to link excessive sugar intake to the pandemic of obesity and cardiovascular disease."

Scary stuff.  That is, unless you’re not "in the know."

Tricks to limit added sugars

This is what we do to limit added sugars and make sure we don’t throw ouroverall "diet" in the toilet.

  • Eat whole foods with a max of 5 ingredients each (preferably just 1 ingredient) — fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, whole grains, & fish, as each are void of added sugars.
  • If it comes in a package, leave it on the shelf (think snacks, pastries, cookies, most breakfast cereals, etc)
  • Leave foods on the shelf if they have any of these as the first few ingredients: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, sugar (dextrose, fructose, glucose, sucrose), high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, malt sugar, molasses, raw sugar, syrup.

Kudos to the American Heart Association … most governing bodies haven’t stepped it up and made such a bold move.

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5 Fat Loss Mistakes!

Our goal isn’t just to talk about losing fat.  Anyone can lose fat, fast. What’s more important is discussing how to lose fat permanently! And I say lose "fat" because some weight is good — we don’t encourage muscle loss, so focus on body fat and you’ll be golden. Just the other day I was on the phone with a writer for a popular fitness magazine.  And the writer asked me what I thought were the top 5 fat loss mistakes that people make. He was surprised that there was barely a pause before I started rattling off the common problems I see with people who are trying to lose fat.  And it’s not that I’m some incredibly brilliant genius, it’s just that after working with 1000′s of people over the years, it’s very clear where people are struggling when trying to lose belly fat.

  1. Portions are out of control! This image is a perfect example of portion distortion.  Not that any of these are smart food options, but even if we went back to the smaller portions of each, we’d be headed in the right direction.portions-have-changed1So what can you do about it?  When at home, don’t serve family style.  You’ll eat more when serving out of a larger bowl or platter.  Read food labels, too, so you can see that sometimes 1 bottle, or 1 bag of a product, is often 2, 3 or even 4 servings!
  2. Thinking all calories are created equal! A calorie isn’t a calorie.  That might be in the face of science.  Some say that all calories are equal, meaning as long as you cut calories, you’ll lose weight.  Sure, but is your goal to lose fat or lose muscle?  And don’t you want to fuel your body with all the nutrients you can?  After all, slugging down a 250 calorie sugar laden soda is far from eating veggies and hummus, peanut butter and an apple for those same 250 calories. So a calorie isn’t a calorie — eat quality, don’t just focus on quantity!
  3. Outeating your exercise. Run 1 mile and you burn about 100 calories.  Walk 1 mile and you burn about 100 calories.  That means if you wanted to lose 1 lb/week through exercise only, you’d have to run or walk 5 miles every single day!  That’s not realistic or a good use of your time.  It’s much easier to eliminate those extra calories by replacing junk  with high nutrient fuel or eliminating calories from soft drinks, for example.  Exercise, yes, but you’ll get more bang for your weight loss buck by monitoring the foods you put in your body.
  4. Skipping breakfast as a way to "save" calories. Eat breakfast and you’ll weigh less.  It’s as simple as that.  Just eat the right types of foods — avoid sugary breakfast cereals and instead opt for fruit, raw nuts, yogurt, eggs and veggies, for example.
  5. Thinking exercise is your answer to losing fat. Exercise doesn’t work.  Nutrition does.  Sure, exercise needs to be a part of your fat loss routine, but even though you may exercise 1 hour/day, what happens the other 23 hours?

There you have it – the 5 most common fat loss mistakes! If you truly want to be permanently successful,avoid the mistakes above and you’ll be well on your way. Tomorrow we’ll be back with some fat fighting recipes!

Organic Foods are a Waste of Money?

Organic foods are hot – more and more consumers are looking for the term "organic."

But is organic "stuff" worth the extra money?  Sometimes organic produce costs at least double what "conventional" produce costs.

So why do people spend the extra money?
1. Less pesticides
2. More nutrients
3. More flavor

But are these valid reasons?

According to research published just the other day in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition …

… not a chance.  Organic foods didn’t turn out to be any "better" than conventionally grown foods.

Here’s the deal — the goal of the study was to measure the differences in nutrient content between organic vs. conventional food.

Very simply the researchers scoured the literature, studies published over a 50 year time span, and looked at the nutrient differences, if any.

Their conclusions?  "There is no evidence of a difference in nutrient quality between organic and conventional foods … "

So is this the be all and end all?  Should we boycott Whole Foods — turning our noses up at the organic food "industry?" foods?

Not quite.  Here’s how we feel about this.

First, more important than organic … simply eat more fruits and vegetables.  Produce is great for you — whether you’re trying to lose fat, improve health, decrease your risk of disease, etc.  With the average American eating just 2 servings total per day, eating organic isn’t my main concern…eating MORE fruits and vegetables is my concern.

We also believe local is actually more important than organic.  Local … meaning foods that are grown close to where you live, like those found at Farmer’s Markets.  An organic food flown 3000 miles to your grocery store is not even close to the same as a fresh vegetable picked that morning from a farm that’s just a short drive from your house.  It’s also a great way to support the local economy since you’re helping local farmers.

While I mentioned this very recent study that compared some nutrient differences in conventional and organic produce, there are also other "issues" with organic foods that are a concern for many

  • Are they better for the environment?
  • Are there less pesticides used in production, meaning we eat less pesticides?
  • Are they safer with the recent disease outbreaks that have popped up lately (e coli, salmonella, etc)?
    There are still a lot of questions to be answered.  Remember that this study was just one of many … and all studies need others to support (or refute) the claims.

Here’s our take as of now:

  • Eat more produce, organic or not
  • Buy local

If you are thinking about buying organic produce, but cost is a factor, focus on those fruits and veggies where you eat the skin vs. those you don’t.  For example, you peel a banana, but eat the entire raspberry — the raspberry would therefore be more to ‘go organic’

What do you think?  Is organic worth it?  Why do you (or don’t you) buy organic foods?  Leave us a comment.
 

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