Let me tell you a little secret… I used to want to be a nutritionist. Nevertheless, things change, people change, dreams change, and I don’t regret my current career path in elementary education one bit, but nutrition still really interests me. I consider it all a part of the yogic lifestyle. Yoga teaches us to treat our bodies as a temple, to love, and respect our bodies, and what better way to honor out temple than to give it nutritious fuel?
This past weekend I attended a workshop called Fuel + Fitness & Horizontal Conditioning. Sandra Koulourides is a Birmingham native with a long history in the fitness world and she is also a registered dietitian. I can’t put into words how inspiring she was. First of all, the Horizontal Conditioning class kicked my butt! It was so hard, and so naturally, I want to go back… I love a good challenge! Second, her nutrition talk was right along my no-processed path. But here’s the exciting part, she makes the no-processed
diet lifestyle easier to incorporate into every day life! The no-processed diet I wrote about before is wonderful, but it is very hard to eat out, go to parties, etc. Sandra gives examples on how to make good choices on the run.
Have you ever heard someone say, “Getting fit is 80% diet, 20% fitness?” It’s true. And that’s exactly what Sandra preaches.
What I found most interesting about her nutrition talk was the science of it. Meaning, what certain foods do once inside our bodies. I bought her book at the end of the workshop and read it cover to cover in one day. I love a good nutritional advice book! All the following quotes come from her book, Fuel + Fitness, the Total Package (by Sandra Koulourides, MS, RD).
“Carbohydrates (carbs) provide energy for your muscles and organs. When you think about carbs, think ‘fuel…’ Carbs provide glucose, the preferred fuel for your brain and organs. Your body needs constant delivery of glucose… When you don’t give your body the fuel it needs, it will eventually use protein for energy… Protein is your lean body mass – your muscle. Your muscle burns a lot of calories. You want to preserve this metabolically active tissue, not use it for energy.”
“Protein builds and repairs your body. Everything in your body is made of protein. Your bones alone are 50% protein. Your skin, red blood cells, white blood cells, hair, nails, organs, and muscle tissue are also made of protein. Protein is critical for weight loss. If you do not have enough protein in your diet, you will not gain the lean muscle you are working so hard to attain.”
“Most people are scared of fat. They think fat makes them fat. This is not true. If it is the right fat in the right quantities, fat actually helps with weight loss. So, here is one thing to love about this book: you can and you should EAT FAT! (hence the title of my blog post) Fat has several functions. One is to promote satiety, meaning fullness. Fat helps you stay full so you are not hungry, eat fewer calories, and lose weight… Fat also is part of the cell membrane and helps your absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are vital to a healthy body.”
She stresses the need for each of these (Carbs, protein, & fat) in every meal. The major mistake most people make is dinner being our biggest meal. Dinner needs to be our smallest meal as it is the least active part of our day. She gives wonderful meal ideas in the book, too!
How often have you thought, “Oh well, I ruined breakfast/lunch, so I might as well just call this day a wash and eat pizza and cookies for dinner. I’ll be really good tomorrow.” Sandra says that if you splurge on one meal, pick up the pieces and eat right the rest of the day. That “whatever” attitude is like getting a ticket for running a stop sign first thing in the morning. After that ticket are you going to say, “Oh well, I might as well drive how ever I want for the rest of the day and I’ll be better tomorrow???” No, you wouldn’t. You’ll never meet your weight loss/fitness goals if you let one splurge turn into a whole day of bad eating.
The Dirty Dozen… the 12 foods that require the most pesticides.
Sandra mentions the “dirty dozen” in her book. These are the 12 foods that require the most pesticides: Apples, cherries, grapes (imported), nectarines, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries, bell peppers, celery, potatoes, & spinach. I am a big advocate of organically grown foods (and animals for that matter), but in the book Sandra says, “If you can afford to buy organic, then do… You do not have to avoid the ‘dirty dozen,’ just be aware of pesticide potential. To minimize your pesticide exposure, wash (scrub) produce thoroughly, and peel the skin when you can.”
She also gives a list of seasonal produce and says, “For added flavor and nutrients, try to by local and seasonal.” I love this book!
Read your ingredient labels…
Okay, so this isn’t the first time I’ve gone on and on (and on) about reading labels. Look at the ingredient label!!! Don’t you want to know what’s actually in your food? Here are things to avoid when looking at the ingredient label: high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils/trans fats, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, artificial flavors, processed foods, high sodium products, refined flour/grains.
Horizontal Conditioning… a sneak peak (Scroll through her Youtube channel to see other exercises.)
If you’re a member of the Mountain Brook YMCA you’ll notice her workout space! She teaches her Horizontal Conditioning classes there and you can also buy DVD’s. If you would like to purchase her DVD’s, she highly recommends starting with the beginner workout (Getting Started) then moving up. I know, no one wants to call themselves a beginner, especially when we feel like we’re pretty fit. But I promise, the beginner workout is challenging! It’s new exercises that your body (and core) aren’t used to so they will be hard.