Day 4 of our sugar-free journey -- Done! Here is my Daily Success Log Entry for July 21st. Note: Food portions are approximations. Veggies are local. Meat is local, 100% grass-fed and pasture-raised. Poultry & Eggs are local & pasture-raised:
- Sleep Time & Quality: 7 hours. Did not sleep very well. Ended up with a skin rash from an herbal patch I used on my sore shoulder. The itching was a distracting discomfort that disrupted my sleep.
- Exercise: 8,432 Steps (3.3 Miles) and 10 Hours of Good Posture. Morning Walk w/ Tim & Boys
- Mood & Energy: Excellent!
- Breakfast: Egg Scramble: 2 Eggs, 1/4-C Browned Ground Beef, 1/2 Cup sautéed power greens, avocados
- Lunch: OOPS! Lost track of time again and forgot to eat :-(
- Dinner: Leftovers from Day #3: Pan-Seared Pork Chop & Kale Salad
- Snacks: 1/2-C Roasted Pistachios. Ate an extra 1/4-C because I missed lunch
- Notes: Need to build in time for lunch. Not good to skip meals!!
In Yesterday's Post, I discussed drilling down to get a deeper understanding of key Real Food concepts. So I'm starting at the very beginning with the components of food. We probably don't think about what food is and what it is made of. But this is powerful knowledge (tool) to possess. Because understanding what we are eating and why we need to eat, leads to better choices. Particularly when faced of temptations. Or what I call the "Carrots vs. Carrot Cake Dilemma".
Real Food Toolbox Tip
Here's a silly question - "What is food?" I daresay our innate understanding of food is simply -- something we eat or drink, right? But if you Google this question, the definitions all discuss food in terms of nutrition:
“Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism’s cells to provide energy, maintain life, or stimulate growth.”
Hmmm.... No there's some food for thought ;-)
Food is way more than just something to eat and drink. Food has a purpose. To provide essential nutrients to the body. And our body needs these nutrients for energy, to maintain life, and to support growth. Simply put, food is the delivery system for essential nutrients needed to sustain life.
Here are other key terms to help understand the nutritional concept of food:
- Calorie: A calorie is the unit of the energy contained in a particular food or food product.
- Macronutrients: These are nutrients in our food that "carry" the calories (i.e., energy). The main macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates, and fat. And foods can contain any combination of these three. Protein and carbohydrates each carry 4 calories per gram. Fat carries 9 calories per gram.
- Micronutrients: These nutrients are also found in food, but in smaller quantities (micrograms). Micronutrients are vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, organic acids, and phytochemicals. These nourish our cells and enable the cells to create energy and metabolize macronutrients more easily.
- Nutrient Density: Refers to the the proportion (quantity and variety) of micronutrients in a food compared to the calories of a particular food. So food that is nutrient dense provides more nutrients than calories.
- Measuring nutrient density can be a challenge because there are different methodologies.
- The percentage daily value of sugar, sodium and saturated fat listed on the nutrition labels is a good guide. The higher these numbers, the lower the nutrient density (which is not the best choice).
- The most useful way to use this Real Food tool is when comparing food to decide which is more nutritious.
Are you still with me? Hope so because now I'll tie these concepts together with the "Carrots vs. Carrot Cake Dilemma". Here are the nutritional values for 1 cup chopped raw carrots:
- Calories: 52
- Macronutrients: Protein (1 gram), Carbohydrates (12 grams: 4g Dietary fiber, 6g Sugars), Fat (0 grams - only trace amounts)
- Micronutrients: A very good source for Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium. Also Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Manganese, Magnesium, Vitamin E, Calcium, and Iron.
- Nutrient Density: Holy Bugs Bunny! And What's up doc? Did you get a load of these carrots stats? 52 calories and a mixture of micronutrients. And with 88 milligrams of sodium (4% of Daily Value), 6g of sugar, no fats. Carrots have a relatively high nutrient density!!
The nutritional value of carrot cake varies with the recipe. I'm using the stats provided with the popular fitness app -- MyFitnessPal. Note: These numbers are based on a 6 cubic inch slice with cheese cake frosting, the smallest size available on the app:
- Calories: 575
- Macronutrients: Protein (5 gram), Carbohydrates (6 grams: 2g Dietary fiber, 50g Sugars), Fat (34 grams)
- Micronutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron.
- Nutrient Density: OK - Magic 8 Ball, Is carrot cake a nutrient dense food? Answer: "Don't Count On It" ;-)
I know this is an unfair comparison. Because obviously carrots are the better choice. Even with the most nutritious carrot cake recipe. Carrots win hands down. What say you Magic 8 Ball? Answer: "It Is Decidedly So".
But here's the thing. Remember that the purpose is to deliver essential nutrients to the body to provide energy, maintain life and sustain growth. This knowledge is your power. Because when you are faced with the "Carrots vs. Carrot Cake Dilemma", you are deciding: Does my body need energy, life, and growth OR do I simply want pleasure?
And believe it or not, there is no absolute answer. This is where the tools of the past few posts can be used together to help you analyze this Dilemma. Check your food journal. What have you been eating lately? Have you been eating lots of ultra-processed foods that have been wreaking havoc on your liver? If so, then make your liver happy by eating the carrots. Your body needs the energy. And frankly, I am betting that you prefer to maintain a healthy life.
Believe me -- there is plenty of carrot cake in this world. And it will be there when you reach that point in your journey when you can eat and enjoy without regret or health consequences.
So if you have read this far in the article then Congratulations. You have just completed "Mindful Eating 101"!! And you passed with flying colors. The cornerstone of the Real Food lifestyle is to learn mindful eating:
- Choosing what to eat with intention -- ideally for the purpose of taking care of yourself.
- Using you senses to eat with awareness -- Paying attention to notice your food (the colors, tastes, smells, and textures). And with each moment and bite, notice how the food is effecting your body.
All of the tools in you Real Food Toolbox are geared towards empowering you to find your BEST self through Real Food. And mindful eating is the most essential utensil in your journey. But this is a skill. And you have to keep practicing and honing it, or you'll lose that ability.
This past month Tim & I got a bit sloppy with our mindful eating. We veered off course. And though it was a fun detour, to be sure. We're using The 212DSD to recalibrate our Real Food compass and get back on track. Today is Day #5. And though I know the struggles will continue, I just ate a kale salad for lunch. So I'm powered up and ready to go!
Kick Sugar To The Curb!
If you decide to take this challenge, please let me know. I have received so much support and positive energy from you all. That I would like to return the favor :-)