carbs are not the enemy

carbs are not the enemy

I’ve seen countless of Instagram posts or websites encouraging to forgo carbs completely so as to lose weight. But we don’t have to demonize carbs and we shouldn’t embrace low-carb diets.

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Piling on top of my multi-grain bread, a whole lot of avocados 🙂

Carbs are the best source of energy and thus, when you drastically cut out your carb intake, your body will respond by preserving fat … making it harder for you to lose weight.

Why, you ask?

When humans used to be hunter-gatherers, our bodies were trained to preserve body fat when they realized that the body’s energy source was low. Our bodies are incredibly smart and so when you start eliminating carbs, your body thinks you are in a critical situation with not much resources and instead of readily expending your energy, tries its best to preserve it – in the form of holding onto your body fat.

Now this doesn’t mean go on a pasta and garlic bread feast everyday. It means you have to choose your carbs carefully: carbs are not made all the same.

We have our complex carbs (think multigrain bread, brown rice, oatmeal; “starchy” foods) and we also have our refined carbs (aka white bread, white pasta, chips, baked goods). You want to aim for complex carbs as they are higher in fiber and also digest more slowly. You don’t get that energy spike and sugar crash, but rather a continual source of energy. This long source of energy allows you to snack less and stay satisfied for longer periods of time. Also, fiber is critical as it slows the absorption of sugars into your bloodstream, hence making you feel full longer.

For those whose eyes glazed over the more “scientific” terms, here is the quick summary:

  • Carbs are not bad for you, in fact, if you eliminate carbs it makes it harder to lose weight
    • Your body holds onto your body fat rather than letting it go because it assumes you are at an energy depletion
  • Carbs are not bad for you, BUT you should choose carefully ==> CHOOSE COMPLEX CARBS

What are your thoughts on carbs?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Does a juice cleanse really work?

Does a juice cleanse really work?

The juice cleanse diet is among one of the popular diets I’ve heard of. Juice cleanses are a type of detox diet that involves only consuming liquids (squeezed from a mixture of fruits and vegetables) and not consuming any food. I’ve never had the urge to try one as I need the chewing aspect and constantly just drinking liquids doesn’t really appeal to me.

However, I’ve been asked this question multiple times from several of my friends: a) Do juice cleanses work? and b) Are they healthy for you?

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Unfortunately, I get asked the first question much more than the latter question, showing that many people would rather choose a diet’s result than its actual consequence on their health.

But here are a few pointers about juice cleanses:

  • While many think that drinking a high quantity of fruits and vegetables squeezed into a bottle of juice is healthy, juices fail to include fiber.
    • Juicing discards the fiber filled pulp of the fruit. Fiber is essential for good bowel movement, low cholesterol levels and low blood levels.
  • With no fiber, the percentage of sugar in juices is alarmingly high.
    •  At its core, fruits are natural sugars. And while natural sugar is great and all, sugar is sugar. Drinking too much natural sugar can cause high blood levels and high cholesterol.
  • Most of the time, these juices lack protein
    • Few fruits and vegetables have a significant amount of protein for your body. Without enough protein, your body cannot build nor repair tissues, making your daily workouts not as effective as they can be.
  • A short term fix
    • This is something I touched upon the other day, but short term health fixes will give you the material results, but will never make you feel good. Perhaps you’ll lose a few pounds from the (cough cough expensive) juice cleanse diet, but ultimately, you won’t feel fulfilled and free. This diet is unsustainable and something that requires a lot of brute force which in the long-term won’t help you. You can easily relapse back into your old habits and thus relapse back into your old body.

I hope this short post helped to clarify any confusions or questions about juice cleanses. If you haven’t caught on yet, I’m quite against them as they are unnatural and unsustainable. But of course, as always, all opinions are completely of my own and you are free to decide what you want to do with your body. 🙂

What are your thoughts on juice cleanses?

xoxo,

Stephanie

Links to sources if you are interested in reading more in-depth:

It’s All About Lifestyle—24 Healthy Habits, Hobbies & Scientific Facts

It’s All About Lifestyle—24 Healthy Habits, Hobbies & Scientific Facts

I’m sure a lot of you are feeling the same thing I’m feeling right now: burned out and tired with school/work/life.

As a high school junior, wow, I am drowning in homework, school tests, standardized testing, and that end of the year stress.

And especially at this point of the year, it’s super easy to slip up with our health habits.

But remember: it’s actually more important when we are fatigued and unmotivated to nourish our bodies and brains with the proper fuel, exercise and rest.

I was shown to this super duper helpful infographic the other day that I think will help keep those stress-eating sessions and procrastinations at bay.

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This infographic is from writer&blogger Jake Milgram.

I’m going to try in achieving three of these goals this week.

What goals will you try out?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

Changing Your Diet

Changing Your Diet

I am definitely no stranger to changing diets. If you have followed the blog, you’ll know that I experimented with vegetarianism and pescetarianism in middle school. For the past year or so, I’ve cut numerous foods out of my “diet” and substituted them with other foods–and it’s not as hard as you would think!

One thing I do not drink is dairy milk-I’m slightly lactose intolerant (my entire family on my mom’s side is lactose intolerant!) so during the summer, when I went on a backpacking trip with an organization,  I thought it would just be easier to tell them that I was dairy free. As a result, they packed me lots of dairy free cheese, and I found no difference from dairy cheese at all! A week after the backpacking trip, I decided to avoid dairy all together. I realized that it was very easy to substitute foods I could not eat for ones that I could. After all, I already didn’t drink dairy milk, so avoiding other forms of dairy was a natural next step. And my decision was also because the week following my trip, I had eaten 2-3 pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream all by myself. Although the ice cream was amazing, my body did not feel great afterwards (passing gas, feeling bloated, etc.). Avoiding ice cream was actually not as difficult as I had thought because I learned to substitute the dairy ice cream with vegan ones like So Delicious. Still, the vegan ice cream took a toll on my health, and after avoiding ice cream for a month, I found myself not even craving ice cream at all! Oh, what the power of avoidance can do!!

Another food-bagels. Now, I wasn’t as obsessed with bagels as I was with ice cream, but whenever there were bagels available, I would never pass up the opportunity. So, in the beginning of this year, I started to avoid bagels, subconsciously, after hearing about how bagels were the equivalent of 5 pieces of white bread because of the overwhelmingly high carbohydrate content (which results in high blood sugar levels). After months of not eating a bagel, I finally had half of an everything bagel during finals week, as a sort of reward. I remembered how much I used to love the savory taste of the everything bagels, and when I tried it…it was completely not what I remembered. The bagel didn’t taste exceptionally good or satisfying, it just filled me up. So, avoiding bagels made it not taste as appealing, and this experience furthered my avoidance of bagels.

A month ago, I became pescetarian (not eating meat except for fish) again, as a result of conversation with a friend whom I did not know was vegan. The result was similar to the bagel experiment. At first, it was a bit difficult to not be eating juicy, savory baked chicken wings, but as I went longer and longer without meat, when I tried a small piece for Thanksgiving, it was nothing special.

So in conclusion…

1.) Once I made those choices, I found that it was easier to eat healthy because I would avoid foods that were not “allowed” in that diet, and find healthy substitutes. For example, when I decided to reduce my dairy intake, I could not eat supermarket cookies, chocolate, or ice cream. But out of my desperation for those junk foods (especially the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream), I quickly found substitutes. I made healthy vegan cookies, chocolate bliss balls, and nice cream very frequently. It’s often difficult to make a big change in one’s diet because it feels restricting and depressing. However, I found that restricting myself helped me find better options for the unhealthy foods that I loved.

2.) After avoiding the unhealthy foods, I developed an indifference towards their tastes, and healthier foods became much more flavorful. I know…weird right?!

What is one food you are trying to avoid?

Love,

Serena