I was going through my draft posts and came across a link love that I never put up. Thought I would share now, because though these articles may be a year old, they are still interesting and relevant. Since we are at the end of the week it’s kind of still “week end” link love.
The Case Against Kids. About a year ago (when I compiled these links) was around the time when I fully changed my mind about having kids (to YES, definitely). If you’d asked me a few years before, I was very much anti-kid (at least for me). Now – I hope to have one or two soon. Still a good read.
Is Sugar Toxic? Probably, yes! Did you know the average American consumes 130 pounds of sugar per year? This is an interview between Sanjay Gupta (a doctor who is a public health advocate) and Robert Lustig (an anti-sugar doctor who is famous with the paleo/primal/low-carb crowd).
Ova Ova. A really innovative (woman-founded) start-up that helps you (women) track your ovulation and fertility naturally (temperature, etc) via something called the Fertility Awareness Method. FAM can be used to get pregnant or to not get pregnant, ha.
Homemade Deodorant. A simple recipe: baking soda, cornstarch or arrowroot, coconut oil, Tea Tree Oil (optional). I currently use Soapwalla’s deodorant (which recently raised in price from $12 to $14! and I thought it was expensive before). Love Soapwalla, but it’s very pricey. I may try this next time I run out (very soon).
That’s all I have! Have you read anything good online lately?
Mark’s Grok Walk Workout looks awesome. Definitely fits into my current exercise routine.
Week 5 of Biz’s 101 Days of Summer Challenge is over. Check out the comments on her post to see how we all did.
Salad Girl Updates
Today… I rewrote this post on Reducing Sugar. It was originally just “10 healthy tips” for cooking and baking, but upon reading it I discovered that I used to demonize butter and fats and think that we should all be eating carby, fat-free diets. So I rewrote it. Do check it out if you get a chance.
I got this question at work the other day (we’re a fairly healthy-minded bunch):
What are complex carbs vs simple carbs?
This question seems complex, but the answer is quite simple. Simple carbs and complex carbs end up in the same place of the nutrition facts label, but they are most certainly different.
Are all carbs bad?
Clearly not all carbohydrates are bad. We need carbs to live – glucose (what carbs break down to in your body) is what your body uses for energy. That’s why when you eat a candy bar you get hyper for a little while – your body just got a big dose of easy-to-use energy because the carbs were partially processed before they got to your stomach. Simple carbs and complex carbs both turn into sugar in the body; the process just happens faster for simple carbs.
I’m pretty sensitive to sugar (too many sweet treats = too many pimples). In addition to my skin sensitivity to sugar, I also seem to have either a mental or physical reaction to eating it – once I start it’s hard to stop! If I have a McD’s cone as a snack I also want one for dessert that night, for a snack the next day, and forever more. So I try to avoid sugar to avoid sugar cravings and bad acne. When it comes down to complex versus simple carbohydrates, complex is what I choose, especially complex carbs from veggies.
Which carbs are bad for us?
Most scientists agree that the faster carbs (simple, or white carbs; meaning they convert to sugar quickly) are the worst type of carbohydrate. This is mainly because they spike blood sugar, which has a number of negative long-term effects including a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. These carbs include (and thus I try* to avoid…):
Processed carbs like white bread, white flour, sugar, high fructose corn syrup (also regular corn syrup)*
Processed carbs like candy, cookies, most baked goods*
Fake sweeteners (not technically carbs because they have no calories – but they give me a stomachache, a headache, and it’s probably not good to eat frankenfood chemicals)
*I still eat these things, but in moderation when I want them. Artisan bread with smooth creamy butter? On occasion, yes please!
Which carbs are good in moderation?
There is definitely a middle ground when it comes to complex versus simple carbs, and that middle ground is whole grain-y things (for me). They’re not the easiest foods to digest (see IBS), but they certainly are delicious. These guys include:
Unprocessed grains like rice (white or brown).* (I grew up hating rice but now I LOVE it. I usually have it several times a week. It’s especially good with ghee, aka clarified butter.)
Oatmeal (steel cut, regular – preferably not instant).
Winter squash (these are my favorite foods, but it’s easy to get a stomachache if you eat too much of them; squash also has lots of beta-carotene – but beware the orange glow).
I love having rice with veggies, like in bi-bim-bap (pictured above – veggies, egg, beef over rice). In fact, I just like mixing foods together in general. Mix-it-up bowls are possibly the greatest invention ever.
Which carbs are good for us?
Most vegetable carbohydrates are good for our bodies. Some of my favorite carbs are…
Non-root veggies like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, peppers, yadda yadda yadda… Veggies are a diet staple.
Fruits (but not too much). Fruit makes me break out as well in large (more than 1 a day) quantities. Some lower-sugar fruits that I really like are: papaya, blueberries, berries in general, cranberry juice (without sugar) and spritzer, lime/lemon juice and spritzer, melons (cantaloupe, honeydew).
Do you eat a lot of carbs? Do you avoid any? Which are your favorites?
When it comes down to complex carbs vs simple carbs, it’s probably better to choose the complex ones. But remember to include healthy fats (including saturated fat – it’s good for the brain) and protein. Out of the simple carbs, sugar is probably the worst. At least that is what works for me!
I made unsweetened applesauce the other day. This recipe turned out to be simple and quick – and very healthy. It’s low calorie, and has just 3 ingredients. Applesauce is great as a snack, a baby/toddler food, or even dessert.
A few days ago I bought a bunch of apples, because I love apples. Unfortunately they turned out to be a little bit mealy. I like apples crisp, don’t you? Fuji and Honeycrisp are probably my favorites. Galas are good too. These were supposed to be Fuji but I think they were past their prime. In any case, I needed a way to use them up.
So I made homemade unsweetened applesauce. It turned out to be super-sweet even though it has no added sweetener – just the way I like it!
Homemade Unsweetened Applesauce Recipe
5-6 apples, chopped in fourths
2 cups water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add chopped apples and water to a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil and let the apples boil for about 10 minutes.
Some apples may start to lose their skin. You can remove it if you like, and eat it for added fiber.
Add the cinnamon and vanilla extract and mix it around.
Turn the heat down to low, leave the top off the pan, and simmer/low-boil for another 30 minutes.
Remove from heat. Let the apples cool. If you don’t want the skin, you can peel it off once the apples are cool enough. I suggest leaving it on because I didn’t notice any odd flavor or texture from it.
Puree the apple pieces + leftover water (there shouldn’t be that much) + skins (optional) in a food processor. They should blend easily and turn right into the perfect applesauce consistency.
Eat the homemade unsweetened applesauce!
I use applesauce for cooking all the time. Here are some of my favorite recipes that use applesauce.
Thanks to your suggestions a while ago, I started listening to NPR podcasts on walks/subway rides/free time. One of my favorites is “Your Health” – a podcast on a variety of health-related topics. The other week I listened to one featuring the founder of The Monday Campaigns – Healthy Monday and Meatless Monday. I reached out to them asking what I could do to help promote the campaign, and I decided to start featuring a healthy tip every Monday going forward. Maybe I’ll try doing Meatless Mondays as well.
Healthy Monday is a public health initiative founded in 2005 in association with Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University and Syracuse University. HM’s goal is to end chronic preventable disease in the U.S. by offering people and organizations a weekly prompt to start and sustain healthy behaviors, intentions, actions and initiatives. For most Americans, the week begins on Monday. Studies suggest we are more likely to maintain behaviors begun on Monday throughout the week. That makes Monday the perfect day to make a change for your health and the health of our planet.
Healthy Monday Tip #1: Skip the sugar!
Yes, sugary food can taste good, but too much sugar leads to…
On this Healthy Monday, think about skipping the sugar in favor of something better – stevia maybe (I recommend NuNaturals), or perhaps nothing at all. Splenda-aspartame-nutrasweet-etc are just as bad (or worse) than sugar in my opinion, so try skipping them too (I am off of Splenda for over a month now!). Not everything that we eat has to be sickeningly sweet, right? Take this healthy scone for example…