Carbohydrates or Fat: Which One Makes Us Pack On the Weight?

Ever since I developed an interest for nutrition, I’ve had so much contradictory information pass through my brain that I’m surprised that my head hasn’t yet exploded. Fat doesn’t make us fat, carbohydrates do! – Carbs are good, eat more of them for more energy! – Olive oil is good for your heart! – Cut out all oil for better health! These days, it’s easy for an average person to get confused while trying to figure out what type of eating behavior is the healthiest. For as long as I remember, I’ve always had a notion in my mind that eating lots of carbohydrates (breads, pasta, potatoes, etc.) could make me gain weight. The proponents of low-carb diets said that all of the carbohydrates we consume turn into sugar, and sugar then turns into fat in our bodies. Early in my twenties, I even tried the famous Atkins diet for a month but soon quit after my … Read the rest of the post

Vegan Kitchen Simplified. Natural Liquid Sweeteners: Agave Nectar, Maple Syrup and Molasses.

Welcome to the second episode in the Vegan Kitchen Simplified series! Today we are talking about such natural liquid sweeteners as agave nectar, maple syrup, and molasses. Why these liquid sweeteners? If you’ve ever expressed interest in eating healthier, you’ve probably wondered about the alternatives to the common white sugar and corn syrup that are widely used in mass-produced foods and in the conventional home cooking. (I’m not going to talk about artificial sweeteners today – the bottom line with those is that most of those have a chemical makeup not known to our bodies, thus making artificial sweeteners harder for us to process than regular sugar, which is not always worth the trouble of using them.) Agave nectar, maple syrup and molasses all come from natural, plant sources. Does this fact make them healthy, whole foods? Yes and no: while these sweeteners have more trace nutrients and minerals than regular white sugar … Read the rest of the post

Why Low-Carb Diets Have It Wrong

Have you noticed that in the past few years low-carbohydrate diets have become very popular? We can open just about any popular health-related magazine and see recipes and articles targeted to the followers of low-carb lifestyle. We often hear about this or that celebrity dropping lots of weight on a strict Atkins diet. TV shows invite ‘experts’ that give you advice on how to cut more carbohydrates out of your diet: I recently saw a bit on Today show where their guest suggested replacing pizza crust with a grilled chicken breast (!) – yep, just pile all of your pizza toppings and cheese on a piece of meat on your way to those skinny jeans! And yet, the obesity levels in the US alone are at their all-time high, and we are even more sick than we’ve ever been. What’s going on? When it comes to health and wellbeing, our priorities have undergone a … Read the rest of the post

Week 2 of Marathon Training. The Goodness of Carbs. Also: Hummingbirds!

I’m two weeks in into my marathon training, so in this post I’m going to recap how the second week went, as well as share with you a secret of my new favorite energy source! Hint hint: it’s been around all along! This week went by very quickly, and fairly uneventful. My running mileage isn’t very high these days – since I replace 2 days of short runs on my marathon training plan with strength training at the gym, it’s unlikely that I’ll hit really high numbers. (I do, however, run to and from my gym, so it adds about 2.5 miles of running to my gym days.) I followed this strategy last year when I was training for my first marathon, and I was very grateful for all of my strength training on race day: it turns out that being strong all over helps big time in a long … Read the rest of the post