The Turkey Bacon Dilemma
Most of us love bacon, there’s no doubt about it, but bacon has received a very bad rep over the years. The pork variety is mostly loaded with artery clogging saturated fats, calories, and sodium. But is turkey bacon really any better for you?
In some ways yes, in other ways, no.
Don’t be fooled by the 99.5% fat free label at your bacon aisle. Let’s have a look at the back of the most popular turkey bacon there is: Oscar Meyer.
Per one slice:
2.8 g fat
.7 g saturated fat
170 mg sodium
I know what you’re thinking. It doesn’t sound so bad, right? Then again, who only eats one slice of bacon? The average person consumes at least three slices of bacon during breakfast, some of us more. By the end of it, you’ve consumed over 100 calories, nearly 6 grams of fat, 1.8 g saturated fat and around 500 mg of sodium.
Still doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
Believe it or not, there is a healthier pork alternative. We’re talking real bacon here, folks, not a confused turkey. What’s my best pick for bacon? I like to stick with Oscar Mayer and go with their Center Cut Bacon. They’re even nice enough to give us a serving size of 3 in their nutrional facts, which is just right.
Per 3 slices of bacon:
4.5 g of fat
1.5 g Saturated fat
270 mg of sodium
It isn’t a huge difference, but every small difference adds up to one big one.
You can’t NOT afford whole grain!
Many people don’t buy whole grain because it costs more than white bread or regular wheat bread, especially when there’s a shop brand that costs less. The trouble is, most shop brands don’t even carry whole grain, and folks, 100% Wheat is not equal to whole grain. Sorry to burst your bubble; you’re not getting any more health benefits from 100% wheat than you are with white bread so why bother?
But white bread tastes so much better!
Does it really? Or are your taste buds just trained to white bread? It’s the same with kids. Most won’t eat the good stuff because we were fed white bread since we can remember. When I was little, all there was was white bread and I actually couldn’t stand the stuff. The crust was always stiff and the bread just got gross if I held it for more than five minutes. I mean, the stuff just fell apart or got moist and disgusting if I had mustard on it. Oh, let’s just take a look at what’s in a normal loaf of white bread:
Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour, Barley Malt, Ferrous Sulfate (Iron)B vitamins (Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate (B1)Riboflavin (B2)Folic Acid)Water, Wheat Gluten, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Soy Fiber, Cottonseed Fiber, Yeast, contains 2% or less of Wheat Protein Isolate (sulfites)Oat Fiber, Corn Bran, Salt, Dough Conditioners (May Contain: Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Ethoxylated Mono and Diglycerides, Mono and Diglycerides, Datem, Calcium Dioxide, Dicalcium Phosphate and/or Calcium Iodate)Soy Flour, Soybean Oil, Cellulose Gum, Calcium Carbonate, Yeast Nutrient (may Contain: Ammonium Sulfate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Ammonium Phosphate, Ammonium Chloride)Wheat Starch, Cornstarch, Xanthan Gum, Extracts of Malted Barley and Corn Grits, Vinegar, Calcium Sulfate, Enzymes, Natural Flavor (Contains: Soy Protein Isolate, Eggs)Calcium Propionate.
- (From Wonder Bread)
Yikes! I don’t know about you, but I’m wondering how it can even be legal, and if you’re on a non gluten diet - well, you’re screwed. No wonder my bread kept falling apart!
Remember that not all breads are created equal. Does a loaf of whole grain bread cost more? Yes, it does, but by how much? Well, let’s just take a good look.
Wal-Mart Great Value 100% Wheat Bread - around $1.92-2.50, depending on where you live.
Sara Lee Whole Wheat - between $2.59-$3.59
That’s a little over a dollar difference. Can you afford it? The question is: can you not afford it? Is it more important to save a dollar than to choose something detrimental to your health? The decision is ultimately yours and Sara Lee is not the only bread in the whole wheat market. Shop around, find something you love. Remember that your body needs grains as one of its food groups and plain bread just won’t cut it in that department.
If you don’t like whole wheat bread, or don’t think you like it, give it a chance! It’s actually pretty delicious if you ask me. And it won’t fall apart once you put your turkey slices onto it. If you’re gluten-free, some bread makers make their breads without the protein in it so shop around! Clip coupons! Remember it’s your health vs. that one dollar.
OH NOES! DREADED CHOCOLATE!
Yes, it’s the dreaded chocolate craving we all know and love. Particularly at that time of the month, some of us are even ravenous about it, clawing for any Hersey’s bar we can find, only to crash and feel guilty after the glutenous, heavenly bites of those friendly little Hersey squares or cups of chocolate and peanut butter fused so perfectly together.
The good news is, your anxiety about chocolate can be tossed out the window. Chocolate actually provides healthy benefits! It lowers stress, cholesterol, and lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke by a whopping 39%!
The trouble is, you may be looking at chocolate the wrong way.
What do you think when you think chocolate? Is it a Hersey’s bar? A gooey mound of peanut clusters? Is it a Baby Ruth or a Snickers? If it is, you’re doing nothing more than loading your body with sugar and additives. These snacks deliver sugar that is metabolized as fat and cholesterol in the body, and some even contain the worst of them all: high fructose corn syrup. This is not what you want so here are a few things to look for when buying chocolate.
Skip the sweets at the check out line. You can do it. Just pick out your chocolate before going to the check out line and you won’t be tempted. The best chocolates are in the sweets aisle and the baking aisle. Just be sure to avoid all the other temptations.
Cocoa bean count.
The good chocolates will have a cocoa bean count to them. For example, you’ll see 82% cocoa. This is good. Make sure the cocoa bean count is at least 60%. It’s the bean the provides the benefits, not the sugar.
The darker, the better.
Choose dark chocolate. Not just any dark chocolate. Hersey’s still packs in the sugar in their Special Dark bars. Choose a bar or chocolate chips with the least sugar. You want less refined when it comes to your chocolate. Try Bonnat, Pralus, Chocolove, Scharffen Berger, Theo Ghana, and for 85% cocoa and above, try Galler, Lindt Excellence, and the animal friendly Endangered Species Extreme Dark Chocolate which supports habitat for endangered species.
You can have too much of a good thing.
As much as you may not want to, limit yourself with chocolate. 6 grams a day will do it. Some bars even offer the six grama serving size and some brands package them in a serving size. But don’t worry, there’s so much cocoa in your chocolate by now, you shouldn’t need more than that.
So go ahead and have chocolate and don’t feel so guilty for it. There’s even dark chocolate cake recipes. You can bake dark chocolate chip cookies (look for low sugar recipes). If you crave peanut butter with your chocolate, just dab a spoonful of your favourite peanut butter onto your chocolate square. Most brands even sell their chocolates with real fruit in them such as the heart friendly blueberry. So eat up! It’s good for you!
Top indicator you’ll weigh more in five years? Being on a diet today, UCLA researchers say.
It’s true. People who think in terms of dieting to lose those extra pounds are doomed to fail. Either they’ll give up in the middle of their weight loss goal, or they’ll pack on the pounds again after they’re “through”. The trouble with dieting is you’re depriving yourself of the things you love and trying to work off the extra pounds by overworking your body.
What is the key to reaching a healthy weight and staying there?
Lifestyle change. Lifestyle change is the key to looking and feeling great. Can’t seem to kick that potato chip habit? Do you find yourself gorging once a week on pizza and Oreos? Don’t punish yourself by not eating the next day! If you do, you’ll only gorge again the next week and pretty soon, you’re right back where you started.
It’s okay to love potato chips, but try them baked and dip them in a vegetable dip instead of cheese sauce or other fattening dips. Oh, and don’t eat the entire bag. Try one or two servings, then close it up. If it helps, buy the small bags; it’ll help you not to overeat.
Instead of frozen pizza or delivery, try making your own. Buy ingredients for a whole grain crust, turkey or soy meats, fresh veggies, sauce, and grate your own cheese.
If you must indulge in Oreos, try Newman-O’s. They’re organic and free of High Fructose Corn Syrup, and they taste almost exactly like Oreos. The difference? Newman-O’s are tastier!
Remember that ingredients are important. It’s your body, take care of it by adopting your own lifestyle change. Everything you love has a healthier alternative. If you need help, just ask someone or research it online. The resources are limitless!
You don’t need to kill yourself with exercise. Just half an hour of a brisk walk every day is enough work for your heart and to burn enough calories. If you’re on foot, the rule of thumb is two-three miles. If you’re on a bike, five-seven miles.
Dieting is just too hard. No one can do it for the rest of their lives, but it’s surprisingly easy to take the foods you love and change your attitude for them. Learn to love cooking for yourself, knowing what’s going into your body, and sharing that with the people you love.
An article about the benefits of yoga. A must read for yoga beginners who want to reap health benefits
Snack of the day - Archer Farms Fruit Twists in strawberry mango
If you’re like me, cruising the snack/sweets aisles is such a downer. You pout and whine at all the delicious food that isn’t even food and you know it’s bad for you, but just this one time wouldn’t hurt. It’s that sort of thinking that gets us in trouble in the first place, which is why I’m glad for places like Target that carry healthy, delicious snacks at a reasonable price.
One example is their fruit snacks. Today, I bought the strawberry mango twists. In a serving (about 15 twists) of these little gems, there’s only 100 calories, 0 fat as most fruit snacks go, 40 mg sodium, and a full serving of fruit! Pretty sweet, huh? The only fallback I saw was the sugar content (18g per serving to be exact), but it’s still HFCS free, and the sugar comes from the juices put into the snack itself.
Tip: Put a serving onto a plate so you won’t sit there with the bag and eat the whole thing. A plate also gives the illusion that you’re eating more than you really are so you’ll be satisfied easier.
Don’t have a Target or can’t find them? Try Amazon.
New favourite snack: Tostitos Creamy Spinach dip
With only 50 calories per serving, no trans or saturated fat, 200 mg of sodium, no HFCS or gluten, Tostitos gives us a surprisingly delicious choice for our snack time. Dip anything from baby carrots to broccoli to apple slices if you’re craving something less sweet and more tangy.
Sharing this recipe because it is one of my families favourites. It comes from a diabetic cook book, something which we’ve had to focus on since my mother was diagnosed with diabetes. We like it because they don’t taste like extremely healthy muffins. Note: a lot of the fat does come from the flaxseeds, so there’s good fats in there.
Lemon blueberry flax muffins:
1/2 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
1.5 cups of whole wheat flour
1/3 cup of ground flax
3 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp splenda (or other sucralose based sweetener)
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup of low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil
2tsp grated lemon rind
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1) In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with 1tsp of the flower and set aside.
2) In a separate bowl, stir together the remaining flour, flax, sugar, sweetener, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
3) In another bowl, mix remaining ingredients, then pour into the dry ingredients. Mix only until moistened. Stir in reserved blueberries
4) Divide batter into 12 muffins, bake at 400F (or 200C) for 18 minutes or until lightly brown
Carbs: 18 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Fat: 6 grams
Saturated: 1 gram
Sodium: 183 mg