Month: July 2016

Carbs are not the enemy

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about low-carb diets, and I think for some people, it can help them lose weight and be healthier. In fact, I have a good friend who went full keto and was able to lose over 100 pounds through the keto diet + exercise! However, for me, I truly believe carbs are not the enemy. My 95 year old grandpa has been eating carbs all his life, especially white rice, and he is one of the healthiest people I know. His diet is balanced, combining the carbs with healthy protein from fish and chicken along with lots of vegetables. He still teaches a ballroom dance class, drives, climbs ladders to pick fruit off of his trees, and takes daily walks.

My point is that I think we all need to find what works for us, and any diet that is too restrictive and extreme is difficult to maintain for the average person. I believe the key to health is moderation and having a well-rounded diet. In addition, I walk an average of 5-7 miles per day (to and from work + errands), plus work out almost every day. Without carbs in my diet, I would feel sluggish from lack of energy!

tumblr_nqfpm0prEh1rjgem2o4_r1_1280Healthy avocado toast from my kitchen!

Here are some facts that I found on health.com supporting the campaign for carbs:

Eating carbs makes you thin for life

A recent multicenter study found that the slimmest people also ate the most carbs, and the chubbiest ate the least. The researchers concluded that your odds of getting and staying slim are best when carbs make up to 64% of your total daily caloric intake, or 361 grams.

Carbs fill you up

Many carb-filled foods act as powerful appetite suppressants. They’re even more filling than protein or fat. These special carbs fill you up because they are digested more slowly than other types of foods, triggering a sensation of fullness in both your brain and your belly. Research done at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom found that consuming Resistant Starch in one meal caused study participants to consume 10% fewer calories (roughly 150 to 200 calories for the average woman) during the next day, because they felt less hungry.

Carbs control blood sugar and diabetes

The right mix of carbs is the best way to control blood sugar and keep diabetes at bay. In one study at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Center at the USDA, participants who consumed a diet rich in high Resistant Starch foods were able to lower their post-meal blood sugar and insulin response by up to 38%.

Eat the carbs you want, but you need to combine them so that they don’t cause a spike in your blood sugar. Instead of eating white rice, switch to brown and combine it with beans, corn, or other high Resistant Starch foods that keep your blood sugar more balanced than low-carb diets.

Carbs speed up metabolism

Carbs high in Resistant Starch speed up your metabolism and your body’s other natural fat burners. As Resistant Starch moves though your digestive system, it releases fatty acids that encourage fat burning, especially in your belly.

These fatty acids help preserve muscle mass—and that stokes your metabolism, helping you lose weight faster. Researchers set out to fatten up two groups of rats, feeding one group food that was low in Resistant Starch. A second group was fed Resistant Starch-packed food. The rats fed the low Resistant Starch chow gained fat while losing muscle mass. Rats that ate the high Resistant Starch meals preserved their muscle mass, keeping their metabolism moving.

SOURCE: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20359383,00.html

IMG_3906Gluten free pancakes from my kitchen!

So I’ve concluded for myself that carbs are an essential part of my diet!

The moral of this story is that it doesn’t make sense to overly restrict any foods. Or as my friend Brooke says, foods do not have moral components; they are not either good or bad. I personally feel my healthies when I eat a balanced diet including carbs, protein, healthy fat, and natural sugar.

 

Of course each person’s results will depend on their level of activity, genetics, and type of carbs you eat. But the moral of the story is that it’s A-OK to stick with healthy carbs, like quinoa, brown rice pasta, and beans for a well-rounded balanced diet!

 

Why Chopsticks?

A lot of the food posts on my instagram show chopsticks as my only utensils. I’ve gotten a few questions about why I eat with chopsticks so often, and it’s not just because I’m Asian!

Although I’ve been using chopsticks pretty much all my life and consider myself rather adept with them, using them causes me to eat more slowly! And health experts have discovered that eating more slowly is better for the body overall. So next time you’re hungry, pick up a pair of chopsticks rather than a fork! Your body will thank you!

Here are some of the benefits of eating slower:

  1. Stopping when we are full. According to scientific research, it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to register that our body is full. This means that if you eat too fast, you might eat past the point of fullness, yet not really even know! Ever had that feeling after eating to fast of feeing “gross” or bloated? Chances are that by the time your brain caught up with your body’s feeling of fullness, it was too late, and you already over ate. By eating slower, you can still consume your favorite foods, but not overdo it!
  2. Better digestion. Eating more slowly allows you to more thoroughly chew your food, which in turn helps your body to fully digest it.
  3. Overall enjoyment and satisfaction. As in anything, if we take the time to enjoy it, we will be happier! Food is one of the wonderful and amazing things in life, and like a beautiful sunset or first dance, there is something calming about being able to fully enjoy the meals that we consume! I’ve found that slowing down during meals and taking time to enjoy them have helped me to not only be more mindful of what I put in my body, but to also appreciate all of the tastes and flavors!

Bon Appétit! I hope this post will inspire you to eat a little slower, enjoy your next meal, and maybe even try out a pair of chopsticks!

Love,

Shannon

 

Meal Prep On The Go!

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Life for me has been a bit crazy between my office job (I work at an architecture firm), workout schedule, and photoshoots (I work part time as a lifestyle model/commercial actress in SF). Most of the time, I’m running late for something, don’t have time for food, and end up eating unhealthy snacks or not eating at all, only to leave myself eating one big meal a day. This is HORRIBLE considering it’s bad for your metabolism to starve your body or to eat all at once. My solution? Meal prep the night before!

This was my first attempt at “meal prep” for a whole day of snacks for on the go. I had a business lunch planned for the day, so I didn’t need lunch, but at least my breakfast and snacks were planned so I could avoid stopping by a fast food place when I get hungry!

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For breakfast I packed some rolled oats, which was easy to make at the office by adding some water. Topped with a few strawberries, and it was good to go! I had a lot of driving to do, so the nicely boxed little snacks were convenient to eat in the car while on the go.

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I brought along my water infuser by dropbottle to infuse my water with lemon to keep me hydrated!

I was always hesitant to pack food to go in the past because I was worried about it not lasting in the car or getting spoiled or too hot from the California sun! I recently got a special insulated bag to carry my meals in that also holds ice packs to keep it all fresh! I highly recommend The Shield bag by Fitmark, but really any insulated cooler bag can work. The great thing about this bag however is that my snacks are accessible from the top AND the side, perfect since I have been driving a lot lately! They’re running a 4th of July sale right now – JULY4 for 20% off!

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I would love to know your experience with meal prep, how often you do it, and has it made a difference in your fitness results/health! I plan to continue this for a bit to track  my own results as well, so I’ll be posting what’s in my bag regularly on Instagram – @caligirlgetsfit!

Have a Happy 4th of July, beautiful fit people!

xx,

Shannon