Healthy Byte: New Non-Diet Approach

NOTE: Here’s an article that I don’t necessarily agree with but I do realize that what has worked for me (counting calories via MFP) does not work for everyone. So here’s some encouragement for those who is looking for the life style transformation that will last.

Image result for calorie counting

We are gathered, dear friends, to pay honor and, just maybe, to say farewell forever to an acquaintance not-so-dearly departed: the calorie-restriction diet. Because in this world where women sip small-batch nut milk before barre class, legions of people who aren’t actually sensitive to gluten won’t touch a dinner roll, and eating like a cavewoman is considered a viable nutritional plan even though most cavewomen didn’t survive past 35, it has become devilishly hard to find someone who admits she follows a straight-up calorie-counting diet anymore.

Skeptics will say the shift is purely semantic, a case of political correctness in which everybody is still dieting but nobody wants to utter the dreary word itself. But if you doubt that the trim-at-any-cost mass culture is changing, consider that Lean Cuisine, which has had two years of falling revenues, recently revamped its frozen-food recipes and added words like “organic” and “freshly made” to its packaging. “We realized that low fat and low calorie were not the modern definition of what people were looking for in healthy cuisine,” says the company’s marketing director, Julie Lehman. It’s a similar story at Weight Watchers, the company that first implanted the calorie-counting chip in the collective brain of American women more than 50 years ago. “It’s a different age,” says R. J. Hottovy, a consumer-equity strategist at Morningstar, an investment-research company, which keeps an eye on Weight Watchers, whose sales had taken a hit thanks to things like fitness trackers and meal-plan apps (the brand has since gotten in on the game, too). Even with the help of the planet’s most effective pitchwoman, Oprah Winfrey, “[the company is] still facing headwinds,” says Hottovy.

And the most recent weight-loss trend to gain popularity, so-called intermittent fasting, alternates periods of “normal” eating with short bursts of severe calorie restriction. By some jujitsu of dieting logic, these programs, like the 5:2 plan, allow those who follow them to enjoy a sense of balance and satisfaction at most mealtimes.

The hard truth is that the once nearly universal obsession with cutting calories and eliminating entire food groups is simply no longer trendy. When was the last time you heard someone say she was doing the South Beach Diet, the Master Cleanse, or Ideal Protein? Women from all walks of life (including but not limited to bloggers, social-media stars, actresses, and activists) have dropped more-restrictive regimens in favor of plans that promise health, wellness, and mind-body balance. ” ‘Diet’ has become”—wait for it—”a four-letter word,” says Susan B. Roberts, a professor of nutrition and psychiatry at Tufts University in Boston who studies weight-loss habits. It’s not that people don’t want to lose weight and get healthy and feel better; even if they don’t use the D word, more than half of all U.S. consumers are on a diet of some kind, according to a 2015 report by the market-research firm Mintel. “The problem is that they’ve tried so many things and struggled, and for what?” Roberts says.

Deprivation, after all, has a dark side. Remember this scene from the front lines of weight loss? You’re in your bathroom, you haven’t eaten a carbohydrate in weeks, you’re living on foods high in protein but no individual servings larger than your fist, and you’ve just urinated on a small wooden ketosis strip to see if it’s working. “All of these diets have created such angst for people around eating,” says Judith Matz, a coauthor of The Diet Survivor’s Handbook (Sourcebooks), who advises her clients to eat a wide variety of healthy foods. “It’s meant to be a source of nourishment, energy, and pleasure. But when you have to pee to make sure you’re eating properly, you take that pleasure away.”

Not that calorie-restricting diets don’t work. They generally do—just not for long. Many studies have shown that, except for a small sliver of the population, the average dieter sheds perhaps 10 percent of her weight during an exhilarating honeymoon phase, then returns to her original size within a couple or three years or even puts on extra pounds. Traci Mann, a professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and the author of Secrets From the Eating Lab (Harper Wave), echoes a newly familiar sentiment: Eat healthy and stop counting calories. She has delivered her message about the futility of food restriction to audiences around the country. These days, she often feels she’s preaching to the choir. “I talk a lot about all these physical changes from calorie deprivation that make it harder to keep dieting, and people say, ‘That’s exactly what happened to me. I started dieting, and suddenly I was hungry even when I ate things that used to make me feel full,’ ” she says.

Even among the very large number of women who still eat for their bathroom scale, the tendency now is to dispense with calorie counting in favor of a “lifestyle.” Thirty-day challenges, the paleo diet, eating “clean,” even locavore or artisanal-food obsession can be ways to limit your overall intake without having to refer to a system of points—although any experienced nutritionist will tell you the only reliable way to lose weight is to take in fewer calories than your body burns.

Still, what the lifestyle plans do enticingly offer is a sense of control, possibly even joy. Maybe this is the most crucial point of all: You’re signing on to a new way of living, rather than chipping away at the one you’re used to. And some of them, at least, like the so-called Mediterranean diet, actually emphasize health and well-being over rapid, unsustainable weight loss. “As we get away from calorie counting, we move closer to nutrition,” says New York City registered nutritionist Keri Gans, the author of The Small Change Diet (Gallery Books). “People are starting to realize they have to be patient, move slowly, and give themselves time to create new habits.”

The lifestyle approach has another advantage. By choosing to go macrobiotic or to explore the benefits of cold-pressed juices, to name a couple of examples, the modern dieter can at the same time be a part of the infectious fun of the food-cultural revolution that is so dramatically remaking our grocery stores, restaurants, and entire channels of cable TV. “I don’t care if you live at the very edge of the forest during this Whole Foods moment, you still know there’s a buzz about kale and avocado,” says Amanda Chantal Bacon, the founder of the Moon Juice plant-based apothecary and food stores in Los Angeles, where Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley come to shop for things like reishi mushrooms (believed to boost the immune system), mineral-rich maca root, and shilajit tonic, which is used in Ayurvedic medicine. In that sense, the new way of dieting is all about the benefits (#gainz, if you do your boasting online) and not just the losses.

Bacon’s esoteric brand of holistic living—a combination of kundalini and Vedic meditation, exercise, and meals designed to promote wellness—includes managing one’s weight without being consumed by it. A typical lunch might be zucchini ribbons with basil, pine nuts, and sun-cured olives with a cup of green tea. Outside experts could debate for days whether that actually constitutes a healthy meal or is just low-calorie dieting dressed up in New Age finery. But Bacon is evangelical about the need to “bust the myth of traditional dieting,” as she puts it. “I stand in good company, which includes medical doctors, when I say that what I put in my body can definitely help me maintain my weight. But along with that, my skin is different; my energy levels are very different; my personality is different. Food affects everything.”

THE ONCE NEARLY UNIVERSAL OBSESSION WITHCUTTING CALORIESAND ELIMINATING ENTIRE FOOD GROUPS IS SIMPLY NO LONGER TRENDY.

The scientific community has long accepted that idea, of course, along with the understanding that our weight is also determined by genetics and other physiological factors beyond our control. All of which encourages the emergence, in a parallel universe that coexists with all the super skinny fitness stars of social media, of the idea that a woman’s body can be considered beautiful and healthy no matter how it happens to be shaped and sized. Hashtags like #fatkini (accompanied by photos of large women in bathing suits) make the rounds on Instagram, where the extraordinary yoga instructor and “fat femme” Jessamyn Stanley has 168,000 followers and counting.

Popular women’s websites decry fat-shaming and celebrate body positivity. When Kelsey Miller, the author of Big Girl: How I Gave Up Dieting & Got a Life (Grand Central Publishing) and the creator of the Anti-Diet Project column at Refinery29, first joined that website in 2012, one of the dieting buzzwords of the day was “detox.” (“We now know what bullshit that was,” she says.)

Today’s buzzword is more like “DGAF” (look it up). Miller, who says she has spent her entire conscious life in the dieting cycle, now practices what’s known as intuitive eating, in which her meal choices are guided by what she’s hungry for coupled with an understanding of which foods make her feel healthy and energetic and, conversely, which ones slow her down. “It’s about getting over the idea that kale is the savior and the cheeseburger is the enemy,” she says.

Here’s what it looks like at mealtime: When Miller is in the mood for, say, a steak, potatoes, and spinach, she eats it. Or she gives it some thought and decides, “You know what? That sounds really heavy and not comfortable right now,” says Miller. The goal either way is to take worrying about her weight out of the equation and to focus on comfort, health, and satisfaction—to reach a state of Zen-like food neutrality.

Miller is the first person to say there’s a utopian, if still somewhat attainable, quality to her anti-diet philosophy. And there’s no going back—for her, and many others who have had enough of the old way of dieting. Elizabeth Angell, a digital editor in New York City, can’t imagine ever going back to Weight Watchers, although she found the program helpful when she wanted to lose baby weight after the birth of her daughter three years ago.

But ultimately it was no more helpful than accepting the fact that her weight will fluctuate, and the best thing she can do for herself is eat lots of fresh vegetables, prepare as many of her own meals as possible, keep sweets out of the house, and try to limit her consumption of carbs to once a day. “On a diet, you’re always ten pounds away from your goal, and I just don’t want to always be short of my goal,” Angell says. “I’m tired of saying no.”

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Day 1040

Day 1040 2

I think it is fair to say that many of us healthy-life fangirls / boys have a tendency to toss around acronyms like BMI, BMR & TDEE and popular sound bites like reverse dieting, all things in moderation, and balance. For anyone who has been my MFP peep for any length of time knows that I am a huge cheerleader of the 80/20 RuleIt’s one thing to understand a theory or approach but I’ve personally noticed that there seem to be a disconnect in actually put it into real life application. Kind of like an attorney learning about the law in law school but to be able to apply that law to real life situation takes a different set of skills.

So I thought it would be helpful to share ‘a day in the life’ of what 80/20 eating regimen actually looks like. Please note that I’ve personalize a variation of 80/20 Rule. My eating habits just effortlessly gravitate more towards 90/10 then 80/20. The key here is no matter the ratio – whether it’s 80/20, 90/10, or 75/25, the build-in ‘off-plan’ eating takes the pressure of trying to be perfect all the time. Eating perfection (100% on plan 100% of the time) is a myth; it’s unrealistic & unsustainable goal.

Again, I think this is a good time to make the disclaimer that I am not a licensed dietitian or have any formal nutrition education. However, due to my own food sensitivities & BBFTB approach, I do invest a vast amount of time in researching what will keep me feeling satisfied the longest at the least amount of calories. Also please keep in mind that:

  • I am limited in what I can consume (food sensitivities). So once I find something that doesn’t have adverse effects I tend to stick with it.
  • I adore routines, schedules, plans, & goals. My go-to standard meals are my comfort foods.
  • And this really shouldn’t need to be mentioned but is always good to remind peeps that everyone is different! This is what has worked for me. And it may very well not work for anyone else. But I am hopeful by sharing details will spark an idea for someone who maybe struggling with the nutrition portion in maint or was looking for a new maint approach.

Alright, now onward with what my week-in-the-life of eating 90/10 looks like.

MONDAY – FRIDAY

(My 90% Eating on Plan)

Meal Item Food Group
BRKFST        
  • Whole Wheat English Muffin
  • Peanut Butter
  • Grape Jelly (just enough to make the English muffin not so dry)
  • 2 Mandarin Oranges Fruit Cups (drained the water – no sugar added)
  • Tea
  • Water
Complex Carb

Healthy Fat, Protein

SEE PIC

Fruit

TIP: First thing I do in the morning is drink as much of 16 oz of water I can while prepping lunches for me & the kiddos. I read somewhere that drinking water helps kickstart the metabolism & to be quite frank I don’t know how much truth is in this. However I have noticed on the mornings where I wake up absolutely famished the water helps temper that hunger until I can get to work and have a proper breakfast. So even if this routine has no metabolic boosting effects, it helps me be less hungry which is always a good thing.
Breakfast 1

Just a smidget of grape jelly to counter the dryness a toasted English muffin can be

Breakfast

Proper Breakfast: Complex carbs, Protein, Fruit (considering I never use to have breakfast at all this is a huge accomplishment) LOL

LUNCH:     
  • Low Calorie Whole Grain Bread
  • Cucumber slices
  • Spinach
  • Red or Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Rainbow Chard
  • 2 Slices of Turkey
  • 1 Slice of Ultra Thin Provolone
  • Lite Miracle Whip w/ Lite Italian House Dressing instead of mayo
  • 1 Mandarin Oranges Fruit Cups (drained)
  • Water
Complex Carb
Veg

Veg

Veg

Veg

Lean Protein

Dairy

Fruit

TIP: I have found that I visually need to be satisfied before I actually ‘feel’ satisfied aka Jedi Mind Trick.  [LINK to Earlier post – 40 lbs?] I’d venture that I probably physically consume a higher quantity of food then when I was overweight. However, because it’s higher quality of foods instead of Doritos, a sugary yogurt, & a sugary granola bar, overall I am consuming less calories but not necessarily less food – if that makes any sense.
Lunch

Perfect nutritionally balanced lunch: Complex Carbs, Lean Protein, Dairy, Veggies, & Fruit. You can see how visually it’s a “huge” sandwich but believe it or not the entire sandwich is under 250 calories.

DINNER:                                     
  • Diced Cucumbers  
  • Chopped Spinach
  • **Chopped Red or Green Leaf Lettuce (part left raw)
  • **Chopped Rainbow Chard (part left raw)  
  • **Shredded Carrots
  • **Green Peppers  
  • **Small amount of Onions (FODMAP)

[** Indicates I lightly stir fry these in EVOO in heavy spices for flavor]

  • Protein of Choice: 2.5 oz of Salmon with no more than 4oz of hard protein (ie. chicken, pork, beef – always via baked, grilled or slow cooker) for a total of 6 – 6.5 oz of protein
  • Fat Free Ranch
  • Tea
  • Water
Veg

Veg

Veg

Veg

Veg

Veg

Veg

Veg

Veg

Protein, Healthy Fats

Lean Protein 90% of time

TIP: Along the line of eating more food but consuming less calories, my dinner is a good example that ¾ of it is ‘filled’ with vegetables. So instead of using white rice, pasta, macaroni & cheese as ‘fillers,’ I use vegetables. Also instead of drowning it in ketchup or some other high sugar sauce I learned to season, season, & more season for flavor because let’s face it veggies can be bland.
Dinner 1

Proteins: 2.5 oz of Salmon & 4oz of Meatloaf

Dinner 2

Diced Cucumbers for a little crunch

Dinner 11

Baby Spinach Leaves – Roughly Chopped

Dinner 6

Leaf Lettuce wrapped in Rainbow Chard Leaf – Rolled tight for easy chopping

Dinner 7

A portion of the chopped leafy greens goes into the stir fry The rest gets tossed into the bowl raw for a bigger texture variation

Dinner 4

Stir Fry Base: Garlic, Onions, Green Peppers, Shredded Carrots, & Rainbow Chard Stems

Dinner 9

Stir Fry w/Leafy Greens

Dinner 8

Raw leafy greens & Protein mix

Dinner 14

Lightly Dressed Va-La! An obnoxious bowl of food under 300 calories!

SATURDAY

(My 10% Eating Off Plan)

SAMPLE

BRUNCH:

[Varies based on Leftovers Available but I always try to squeeze in an obnoxious amount of veggies no matter what it maybe]

  • Diced Cucumbers
  • Chopped Spinach
  • Chopped Red or Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Chopped Rainbow Chard
  • Shredded Carrots
  • 2.5 oz Salmon
  • Spicy Marinara Sauce
  • Low Cal Mozzarella Cheese

All ingredients above on leftover pizza and toasted

  • 2 Mandarin Oranges Fruit Cups (drained)
  • Tea
  • Water
TIP: Even though the pizza itself is for the most part nutrition-poor, I try to bump it up with veggies & lean protein so that I’m not hungry an hour later. This also helps me to indulge completely guilt free.

SUNDAY

(My 10% Eating Off Plan)

BRUNCH:

(Current favorite Sun brunch meal)

  • Sweet Potato Waffle w/ PB&J instead of Syrup or Butter
  • 3 Scrambled Eggs (2:1 EW:WE Ratio Sometimes 4 scrambled eggs at 3:1 Ratio)
  • Protein: Some sort breakfast meat ie. sausage patties or leftover chicken or pork (2-4 oz depending on what it is)
  • Tea
  • Water
WEEKEND DINNER VARIATION
DINNER:
  • PB&J on Low Cal Bread or English Muffin (depending on mood)
  • Snack of Choice (Current Favorite is Chex Mix)
  • Tea
  • Water
OR

(Depending how hungry I am)

  • Diced Cucumbers  
  • Chopped Spinach
  • **Chopped Red or Green Leaf Lettuce (part left raw)
  • **Chopped Rainbow Chard (part left raw)  
  • **Shredded Carrots
  • **Green Peppers  
  • **Small amount of Onions (FODMAP)

[** Indicates I lightly stir fry these in EVOO in heavy spices for flavor]

  • 2.5 oz of Salmon or Scrambled Eggs 2:1 Ratio
  • Fat Free Ranch
  • Tea
  • Water

OVERALL 90/10 TIPs

  • Boring is Good: Yes, yes, I eat very plain, very boring but I like routines so this suits me.
  • Heavy to Light: I front load my heavy carb items (breads, fruits) towards the beginning of the day & by dinner time I consume very little carbs (during the week).
  • No Water Conservation Here: I try to have 3 (16 oz) cups of water by 12 noon (lunch time) – this has helped tremendously on my stomach (bloating) issues & energy levels (weekday only – not very good about it on the weekend because I’d rather have tea hehe)
  • 100 % Tracking: I fanatically, religiously, & obsessively weigh / measure / track the following:
    • protein (too much hard protein can give me GI issues so I’ve really had to reign this one in).
    • carbs (My body process carbs poorly. When my weight fluxes towards the high end of my range, 99.9% of the time it is because my carbs were a little out of whack).
    • snacks (When I’m hankering for a snack I never say to myself, “MMMMM let me gnaw on this large piece of rainbow chard leaf!” {HAHAHA I wish right?} No, it is almost always a hankering for the less nutritional stuff like Chex Mix, or Cheez-It™ Crunch’D™ Hot & Spicy, or milk chocolate covered pretzels).
      • I very rarely will purposely deny myself of my hankerings because that just leads to binging
      • I measure out a portion of the snack – sometimes I will have a portion of both the Chex Mix & Cheez-It then another portion of Chex Mix – That’s A-OK
      • I snack with some form of liquids either tea or water and enjoy the crap out of the treat(s)! LOL
  • Pseudo Tracking: aka eyeballing it track the following:
    • sauces/spreads (Perhaps the sneakiest & most well hidden calorie bombs) I don’t tend to drown my food in sauces any more so I don’t go through the trouble of being too precise. And there is just SO much PB I can put on a English Muffin due to it’s small size). LOL
    • fruit Mine comes in a pre-measured cup so this one is easy (due to the sugar – although it’s natural sugar, I try to watch my intake because I am acne prone).
  • Freebies: Veggies are FREE REIGN! 🙂 WOOHOO!
  • Red is Okay: Although MFP likes to emphasize my overages in jarring red font, I don’t sweat being over my calorie allotment any more. Even when grossly over (ie. 1000+ calories – can be achieved easily with a few slices of deep dish hahaha) because A-I’m entitled, B- it’s not a regular occurrence, every few weeks or months. Again, this is NOT something I purposely suppress my wants – no. I’ve found many times that I’d just rather have my standard meal, my personal ‘comfort food.’ This choice – not mandate mentality makes a tremendous difference in my ability to stay eating on-plan most of the time. It is a choice and not something I have to do. This is also the primary reason why my food diary remains private. If someone glances at my food intake on the weekends or on Family Pizza Night without looking at the big picture from the rest of the week or month, the natural human inclination is to jump to conclusions that would not be an accurate reflection of reality. So, instead of subjecting myself to potential unsolicited unpleasantries I much rather opt to just remove that temptation for well meaning people who doesn’t fully understand the highly individualistic nature of our own methods and approaches to healthy living. (see 3rd bullet of disclaimer).
  • Eat-Fest: To be able to recognize & acknowledge when I am simply too hungry (for whatever reason) to indulge in nutrition-poor and/or highly processed foods like pizza or Chinese takeout has been a monumental leap forward to curbing the after dinner snacking. A sample ‘eat-fest’ goes something like:

Eat 4 slices of deep dish pizza – still hungry; eat leftover cheesy bacon bread – still hungry; eat any leftover pizza – still hungry, snack – still hungry; snack again.

By this point I feel weighed down (like after Thanksgiving dinner of old x3), sluggish, bloated, fatigue, and yet still not fully satisfied. And then there’s the first 24-48 hours after such a eat-fest to contend with.

  • The Day After … or Two: For the first 24-48 hours after the eat-fest I will constantly crave more carbs. The crap in the vending machine I nonchalantly pass by 3-4 times a day, everyday will all of a sudden call my name.

Vending Machine: “psssst hey baby, I know you want this Whatchamacallit. Doesn’t it look yummy?”

Tempted Me: “ahh .. oh … ooooo Whatchamacallit!”

Gate-Keeper Me: “No. F – off! That Whatchamacallit is going to lead me to those Oreos. The Oreos will lead me to those peanut M&Ms. The peanut M&Ms will lead me to the Cool Ranch Doritos. And then I’m back to where I started. So NOOOO F-the-hell off!”

This is the one of the few times where I consciously deny my cravings because I know it’s not derived naturally; that it’s chemically induced & fueled. The processed food addiction factor is very real – at least for me, which further extend the eat-fest misery.

Be a Detective: I’ve been able to curb the after dinner snacking quite successfully because I’ve discovered that most of the cravings were remnant of an eat-fest. So in order to truly stop this pattern of eating behavior once & for all, I had to really live 90/10 – and not just use it as a cool tagline. It’s actually quite silly and required nothing more than a change in my own perspective. I had to embrace that I’m not ‘missing out’ on anything when I delay the indulgence. The delay itself doesn’t somehow make it less of a treat. Once I’ve come to really accepted this, the rest fell into place quite effortlessly.

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Day 980

Day 980 2

Elmer Fudd and I are kindred spirits. Just like the stubby little game hunter with the absurdly large head is always on the hunt for a ‘twabbit,” I have this relentless propensity to always be on the hunt for ways to simplify every facet of my life. I habitually scour the internet whether it’s the latest Android app or new shortcut in MS Word, no matter what it is I weigh the practicability then yay or nay it. It is quite the persistent personal quirk which I feel compelled to entertain not because of some noble, earth shattering enlightenment, but mostly because essentially I am one lazy bitch!

I want to get the most out of everything doing the absolute bare minimum. By and large, I apply the same approach to my eating and exercise. I am constantly surveying for a more nutritiously rich vegetable or a new exercise which works multiple muscle groups  simultaneously because I want the most bang for my buck.

Part of this near obsessive pursuit is constantly volunteering myself to be a guinea pig in my own food experiments. Sometimes I come across a huge win. Like the discovery of big leafy rainbow chard leaves are great to make a bastardized burrito instead of using the standard flour tortilla. While others I suffer the consequences of my own ignorant assumptions which is usually in the form of weight gain. Like the time I thought I could eat all the whole wheat English muffin with PB&J that my little heart desired because ‘hey – it’s whole wheat, it was healthy, complex carbs are good for me, etc.’ Somehow my brain interpreted all the perceived goodness to free reign – what a silly brain!

I was particularly motivated to constantly tweak my food repertoire because although I was eating tons of vegetables (broccoli, mushrooms, onions, cherry tomatoes, carrots), with lean proteins, and complex carbs, I never felt quite ‘right,’ something always seemed to be amiss, and I was plagued with severe constipation and bloatedness. It was really frustrating and defeating because my diet did not reflect how I was feeling. A few years ago, one of my best friends was diagnosed with having Celiac. [Side Note: Celiac is not a food allergy, rather it is an autoimmune disorder where essentially the body attacks itself every time a person consumes gluten.] Her comprehensive revamp of her diet to accommodate her medical needs sparked the idea that perhaps I had some sensitivity to gluten. With the current massive food trend of gluten free everything, it seemed like a logical place to start. SO, I conducted a little experiment and started to eat gluten free pizzas but with all the same toppings. After a few times the difference was miniscule at best. I was at a loss. I consumed very little dairy so I knew it wasn’t lactose intolerance. I tried to reduce my total carb consumption but that only led to extreme fatigue. I tried to change my lean protein from chicken to pork but it made no difference. I was thoroughly stumped. The frequent stomach irritation and always feeling like I had just single handedly feasted an entire 8 course Thanksgiving dinner haunted me and was about to derail my efforts when as a last resort I knocked on the door of my best research assistant, Mrs. Google to further investigate another possible cause.

I searched:

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Search Results:

Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS)

FODMAP diet to help with IBS symptoms

My eyes immediately was drawn to “FODMAP” because my initial thought was, ‘what an ridiculous acronym.’  But upon further research, the symptoms the website was describing were almost exactly what I was experiencing. It was as if Dr. Google took my symptoms and magically computated an answer (queue the signing angels please). FODMAP stands for “Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides And Polyols.” FODMAP are short-chain carbohydrates which are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and pass into the large intestine, where gut bacteria rapidly ferment them causing a retention of fluid that can manifest in the forms of bloating, abdominal pain, flatulence, nausea, and diarrhea in some while causing constipation in others. Approximately 10% of the population has FODMAP sensitivity or intolerance. WOW – only if I was this lucky in the lottery!

The prominent challenge of FODMAP foods is that it is not relegated to any one specific standard food group. ie. fruits, dairy, etc. FODMAP comprises many foods across all food groups based on its natural biochemical markers. ie. Frutans, Galacto-oligosaccharides, etc. (Galatac what? lol) Even within the same FODMAP food group, some people may be able to tolerate a certain limited quantity of something while others are unable to tolerate any. It is this level of individualized symptoms which can only truly be remedied through many, many, many trials & errors to identify and replace irritants in one’s diet. Perhaps the biggest shocker for me was how many ‘healthy’ foods fell under the reign of high FODMAP food group. I was simply stunned & bewildered that ⅔ of my vegetable intake was on one high FODMAP food list or the other!

I incrementally began to swap out high FODMAP foods with low FODMAP options. And miraculously I increasingly felt relief from my symptoms. Less bloated, no stomach pains, and regularity without the use of harsh laxatives every other day. This is what I had expected from committing to a healthy lifestyle and finally I am beginning to be able to bask in the rewards of my effort.

Remember that pizza experiment? I tried it again but this time on a regular crust replaced the cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, onions with spinach, pineapple, and black olives. And VALAH like Tony the Tiger, I felt GRRRREAT! The one personal pizza didn’t make me feel like that I had just devoured four. I wasn’t so bloated that I had to consign myself to elastic waistbands for the following 2-3 days until I was able to fit back into my jeans without feeling like being squeezed like a sausage. I simply felt AH-MAZING!

This is probably the primary reason why I continue to faithfully & mindlessly log every morsel of food which passes my lips – no matter how small the quantity. For me, it’s beyond just a calorie tracker. For me, it is a living record of my diet which is an invaluable tool for anyone with any sort of food sensitivity or allergies. There is years of data at the fingertips and whenever my body tells me that something is a bit wonky, I have a ready resource with me at all times. So yea, I will more than likely be that person … the life food logger.

Below is a very small sample of everyday items in FODMAP food categories which may surprise you:

FERMENTABLE OLIGOSACCHARIDES (eg. Fructans and Galacto-oligosaccharides)

HIGH FODMAP FOODS

  • Vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cherry tomato, garlic, onion, pea
  • Cereals: rye & wheat cereals when eaten in large amounts (e.g. couscous, pasta)
  • Legumes: bean, chickpea, lentil
  • Fruits: custard apple, persimmon, rambutan, watermelon, white peach

LOW FODMAP FOODS

  • Vegetables: bok choy, carrot, celery, chives, corn, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, green pepper, leafy greens, lettuce, parsnips, spring onion (green part only)
  • Onion/garlic substitutes: garlic-infused oil
  • Cereals: gluten-free and spelt bread/cereal products
  • Fruit: tomato

DISACCHARIEDES (eg. Lactose)

HIGH FODMAP FOODS

  • Milk: regular and low-fat cow, goat, and sheep milk; ice cream
  • Yogurts: regular and low-fat yogurts
  • Cheeses: soft and fresh cheeses

LOW FODMAP FOODS

  • Milk: lactose-free milk, rice milk
  • Ice cream substitutes: gelato, sorbet
  • Yogurts: lactose-free yogurts Cheeses: hard cheeses

MONOSACCHARIDES (eg. excess Fructose)

HIGH FODMAP FOODS

  • Fruits:  apple, peach, mango, pear, sugar snap pea, tinned fruit in natural juice, watermelon
  • Honey sweeteners: fructose, high-fructose corn syrup
  • Large total fructose dose: concentrated fruit sources, large servings of fruit, dried fruit, fruit juice

LOW FODMAP FOODS

  • Fruits: banana, blueberry, cantaloupe, grape, grapefruit, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, passion fruit, pineapple, raspberry, strawberry Honey substitutes: golden syrup, maple syrup
  • Sweeteners: any sweeteners except polyols

And

POLYOLS (eg. Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt)

HIGH FODMAP FOODS

  • Fruits: apple, apricot, avocado, cherry, lychee, nectarine, peach, pear, plum, prune, watermelon
  • Vegetables: cauliflower, mushrooms, snow peas
  • Sweeteners: isomalt, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and other sweeteners ending in “-ol”

LOW FODMAP FOODS

  • Fruits: bananas, blueberry, cantaloupe, grape, grapefruit, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemon, lime, orange, passion fruit, raspberry
  • Sweeteners: glucose, sugar (sucrose), other artificial sweeteners not ending in “-ol”

ADDITIONAL INSIGHTS

FODMAP Food Lists:

**PLEASE NOTE: Due to a variation of everyone’s tolerance of high FODMAP foods, there maybe some discrepancies between FODMAP food lists. So please use the list as a general guide not gospel.**

Common FODMAP Sensitivity / Intolerance Symptoms

  1. Food equals bloating
  2. Healthy food seems to aggravate the problem
  3. You are lactose intolerant but…
  4. You can’t identify the culprit(s)
  5. Doctors don’t help
  6. You have a love/hate relationship with the toilet
  7. You feel better after going to the toilet
  8. Your digestive system rules your life

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (Intolerance)

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

FODMAP Abstract:

There is emerging evidence for the role of food intolerance in the management of IBS symptoms. This does not present a cure, rather suggested dietary modifications to improve symptoms and quality of life. The greatest body of evidence is for the low-FODMAP diet, which improves symptoms in at least 74% of patients with IBS. There is potential for a low food chemical diet to improve IBS symptoms by impacting on the level of hypersensitivity to luminal distension, but further work is needed.

TIP OF THE WEEK

This week’s tip is based on a general observation at the gym. Day in & day out it’s easy to dial it in – I know I have. But there are certain things we can do to ensure a more robust effort even when we would rather be home in our jammies. Day 980 TipAs a huge advocate of compound exercises to get the most bang out of my workout buck, I try to target multiple muscle groups or body systems with one movement or exercise. When I am on the elliptical I always use some sort of program and incrementally vamp up the resistance. Higher resistance serves two purposes:

  1. Higher resistance naturally makes me exert more effort with every step rather I really want to or not
  2. In general, resistance training is a great way to build lean muscles.

Therefore in 30 minutes time, I not only get in a nice dose of cardio, I also am building muscles via resistance training. BOOM – two birds with one stone so-to speak (no actual bird was harm in that paraphrase). So go on, leave the book or magazine at home, crank up the tunes & the resistance, and get more out of your exercise!

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Day 970

“Complete abstinence

is easier than

perfect moderation.”

~ Saint Augustine

Day 970 Fried Rice

Of course St. Augustine was referring to abstinence from something else entirely but its actually very applicable to my maintenance success. I am a huge advocate for moderation and I am as loyal to living the 90/10 Rule as a dog to a master holding to a piece of juicy bacon. But I think like many things in life there are no absolutes. 

The 90/10 Rule affords me the emotional and mental permission to indulge guilt free. And I have long touted to be a firm believer not to banish any food group(s) or specific food into permanent exile and to a certain extent, that remains my motto. However like superman, I do have my personal kryptonite. There is one item that I have completely, ruthlessly, and utterly unapologetic in eradicating it from my diet entirely … my frenemy … rice.

Rice to me was like the one ring to Gollum. I loved it and I hated it. I loved it because it was a meal staple for as long as I can remember. I hated it because I lacked the ability not to commit gluttony when it comes to it. A meal didn’t feel like a meal without it. It was rice with breakfast, rice with lunch, rice for dinner, rice, rice, rice!

For me, rice is very much unlike other foods which can be easily satisfied with a small sampling or a substitution. For example, if I wanted cheesecake I’d be perfectly content with having one slice from Barnes & Noble Cafe instead of an entire cake from Cheesecake Factory. Or if I was hankering for chips, I can easily be fulfilled with an individual bag stocked near the checkout rather than the family size bag from the chip section of the grocery store.

But rice … no. It lured me to lose my faculties and carelessly toss care into the winds. If there was a tub of fried rice I can probably inhale half a tub in one sitting & return to finish the rest in about 15-20 minutes. It’s was one facet of my food source that I truly felt was beyond my control. So because of this lack of inability of self restraint, I resorted to utterly eliminate it from my food repertoire multiply by infinity. It took me approximately 18 months to slowly transition away from my ‘feeling’ of a proper meal by incrementally reduce my rice consumption. From absolutely zero accountability of portions size down to ½ cup before switching over to quinoa and bidding farewell to the lovely little morsel of rice. I donated any unused rice to local food bank and even donated my rice cooker … but please don’t tell my mother. 😉

It has been almost two years since I have had any rice. And I know that may sound like a horrifying sacrifice but to be quite honest, I don’t even miss it now. I don’t miss it because I avoid it like the plague. Prolonged avoidance makes me forget more and more what the allure was. Since I no longer remember the allure, I lose my taste or craving for it. And since I’ve lost my taste or craving for it, I no longer eat it. Sound familiar? (chicken and the egg phenomena)

So now I can walk into Panda Express and stand right in front of the shiny giant cask of fried rice and not pathetically salivate at the site of it. I can order a double serving of the vegetables in lieu of without a second thought. My complete abstinence of rice has allowed me to be truly free.

So I encourage everyone to reflect and identify any possible personal kryptonite(s) which may be throwing a monkey wrench in their long term maintenance. Then I would doubly encourage to consider a complete abstinence rather than the uphill struggle striving for perfect moderation. It’s not defeat or a lack of will power; it’s the wisdom to know & to chose a different path.

ADDITIONAL INSIGHTS

Different Set of Skills Required for Maintenance

“It seems somewhat similar to love and marriage. What gets you to the altar is likely to be quite different than what keeps you married in the long-term. [And] not recognizing this transition and adapting with different practices will also get you in trouble.”

TIP OF THE WEEK

Chesse. Who doesn’t love gooey dooey melty cheese? And cheese is one of those items which can quickly add up in calories with very little effort … at least for me. In my search for a cheese dupe, I’ve come across an ingenious version of my favorite – provolone cheese. Sargento was actually the first to produce an ‘Ultra Thin’ line. It’s ingenious because it melts the same, gives comparable cheesey satisfaction but at a fraction of the calories & fat. By swapping out the cheese to my daily work lunch sandwich, I save 33 calories per sandwich, 165 calories a week. 9,240 calories a year. And again, small daily changes adds up quite nicely in the long run.

2015 9-1

Per 1 Slice Regular Slice Provolone Cheese Thin Slice

Provolone Cheese

(Store Brand) Thin Slice

Provolone Cheese

Difference per Sandwich
Calories 70 40 37 33
Total Calories from Fat 45 27 27 18
Total Fat 5 3 2.7 2.3
Saturated Fat 3 1.7 2 1 to 1.3

HB Sig

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