When you ask someone about the Mediterranean Diet, typically the first thing they’ll mention is “Oh, yeah, lots of olive oil!” So that message has gotten through (though don’t forget the other basics of the diet: loads of veggies, seafood, whole grains, little meat, and very few sweets). Most folks also know that doctors, dietitians, and other health professionals sing the eating plan’s praises for its potential to bring important health benefits such as better blood cholesterol levels, help prevent chronic diseases, decreased likelihood of obesity, and others.
I’ve written about various aspects of exercise for this blog over the past several years, including what to eat after exercise, getting back into an exercise habit after a break, and how to just get started moving around more. One of the exercise topics that I find the most interesting, however, revolves around the tendency that we have to consider our workouts to be more strenuous (and therefore more intensely calorie-burning) than they truly are—and how that impacts our food intake. I have written about how not to out-eat your workout previously (what might be called compensatory eating), but this time I’m going to focus on the science behind why we shouldn’t rely on exercise for weight loss.
Several of my sisters and I like to share photos of our “used it up” culinary creations on social media. I’m not sure if it’s because we were raised in a big family by two parents who were children during the Depression, but I think that likely has something to do with it. Our mother managed to feed lots of mouths by making wise and creative use of inexpensive, yet healthful, food. Seeing her refashion leftovers or aging ingredients into something new taught us how to stretch our food dollar and avoid wasting food. She wasn’t heavy-handed about teaching it; we just sort of “soaked it up.” We now all pride ourselves on being able to “make something out of nothing.”
Of course, most of us could stand to get more vegetables into our diets. Using purees is just one additional way to benefit from all the nutritional goodness in vegetables, such as vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting phytonutrients, but also fiber! Even though you’re making a puree out of the veggies and the texture may be smooth, the fiber is retained (unlike with juicing, for example).
Although here at Guiding Stars we usually focus our blog posts on topics that relate to selecting and cooking food at home, we realize that most everyone dines out sometimes. But eating out each week—even just once a week—is known to add up to increased weight over time. So, here is a post to help with one of the most common issues that consumers have when eating at restaurants: eating too much! I know—it’s all so tasty and you want to get your money’s worth—I don’t blame you. However, there are a few techniques you can use when eating out that will allow you to enjoy the experience, stretch your dollar, and keep portions in control for good health, too.
Once in a while we like to do a little “expose”-style post where we reveal some foods that have Guiding Star ratings that surprise you—and then explain why these foods warranted that rating. Our hope is that you might realize that a food you’ve been avoiding for fear that it isn’t that healthful is actually something that merits a place in your eating plan. Of course, that could work in the opposite way, too—something you routinely purchase because you think it’s nutritious or good for you turns out not to be “all that.”
February is American Heart Month, and in the past the Guiding Stars blog has covered various aspects of eating for a healthy heart including eating more whole grains, cutting down on added sugars, and eating more seafood. Science shows that consuming a diet that’s lower in sodium, saturated fats, and higher in potassium and fiber is beneficial for cardiovascular health. But of course, knowing what to do and actually doing it are two different things. What to do? Make heart-healthy food shopping easier with these tips.
Given all the media hoopla, you’ve likely already heard—the Mediterranean Diet snagged the top slot for “Best Diet Overall” for the first time this year. Unless you read through the whole list, you may not realize how extensive it is—41 diets were reviewed! (That’s a lot of diets…wonder what that says about dieting in general…a topic for another day.)