Nutrition ‘Trade-In’s’ That Make A BIG Difference
Simple trade-ins that can make a TON of difference (on your health and on your mid-section)
As people we know that not all things are created equal Well, nutrition is not much different. In fact, trading in a cup of white rice for a cup of brown rice will give you the difference between getting 4 grams of fiber, or none at all. Now since fiber is known to lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and weight gain it is easy to see how small changes in the foods we pick can make a significant difference in your over all health and martial arts performance. Below is a list of easy ‘trade -ins’ that, if added up can help make significant changes.
Dressings and Dips
Instead of the high sodium and calories found in most vegetable dips and salad dressings, try the following three home made options:
Replace store bought dips with fat free sour cream or nonfat greek yogurt. With a fraction of the calories ( 148 in two table spoons of ranch dressings vs. 20 in fat free sour cream or 15 in none fat greek yogurt) the sour cream is all natural and has calcium . The greek yogurt also packs calcium and an average 15 grams of protein per serving. Drip some lemon in the sour cream, or slice up chives inside the yogurt or added taste.
Replace ‘high calorie’ spicy mayo with your own ‘at home version’. All you need to do is combine fat free mayonnaise with several drips of hot sauce – the result is your own, lower calorie spicy mayo option.
Lastly, make your own dressings, using extra virgin olive oil as the main component. Combining the olive oil with either lemon or vinegar will provide an all natural, heart healthy option. The olive oil will also help aid recovery and provide your daily dose of healthy fat.
Which is Greener?
Trade in plain old romaine lettuce for baby spinach.
There is a reason Popeye preferred spinach; it is high in iron, vitamins A, C, E, K and calcium. On average a 180 g serving of boiled spinach contains 6.43 mg of iron, just as much as many meats. Spicing up your salad with baby spinach will give you a broad spectrum of nutrients and add to the flavors in your bowl. Either replace the Romaine all together, or mix the spinach into your lettuce for a greater nutritional diversity.
Other nutritionally sound green options include Swiss Chard, Kale and Arugula.
BUT my favorite bag for the nutrition buck are MICRO-GREENS – tiny little versions of broccoli, kale, you name it. What’s cool is the tiny version is just as nutritious as the big version, but there almost 3x the amount per serving. Plus, its a great way to diversify your greens.
The Fish Factor
Mercury is a highly toxic compound that has been found in a great variety of fish. In fact, mercury poisoning can result in great variety of damage to the body including kidney problems, trouble with fine motor control, smell and touch.
Avoid high mercury fish like Grouper, Swordfish and Mackerel (and do your own research here as well). Additionally limit your intake of Tuna, Bluefish and Halibut. But feel free to indulge on the lowest mercury fish like Salmon, Talapia, Shellfish, Flounder, Catfish, Calamari, Freshwater Trout and Scallops.
Additionally, when picking tuna from a can, choose Chunk Light over White Albacore, because of smaller mercury levels.
Love your Sushi, Soy Sauce and Sodium?
Trading in the regular bottle of Soy Sauce (1006 mg of Sodium per table spoon) for the Low Sodium of Soy (533mg per tablespoon) sauce will score some pointers in the low sodium department, but, the best is replacing Soy Sauce with Organic Rice Vinegar, which is completely sodium free and available in every sushi restaurant in town.
High sodium intake is very common in our diets, causing bloating and later more serious problems like heart disease. Paying attention to sodium intake has become a vital task in the quest for a healthy lifestyle. Making small changes in the condiments we use during dinner can significantly lower daily sodium intake.
Need a Protein Supelement?
Trade in your Rice, Soy, Hemp and Casein protein scoops for Whey Protein.
With 25 grams of muscle building, fat burning, post workout recovery fuel, Whey is the optimal choice of protein supplementation. Besides all of the above benefits, Whey protein is the fastest digesting protein supplement, hitting the muscles to aid quickly with recovery.
To speed up the way Whey protein is taken up in the body, add in into a smoothie with fruits and milk, the Whey will digest even faster then if it is cooked inside pancakes or other foods.
Unless you are a professional athlete, or training heavy duty for over 60 minutes, ditch all of the beautifully colored sports drinks and trade them in for all natural green tea. The green tea you choose should be all natural, with no sugars, or sweetener additives. Green tea has been proven in many studies to speed up metabolism, provide valuable antioxidants that can ward off cancer and it is an all natural, calorie free drink. The caffeine in green tea will help aid with energy, while the zero sugars and carbohydrates helps keep off unnecessary calories.
To go one step further for your ultimate health and performance, replace all juices and sodas with green tea (yes, even diet sodas).
Trade in the Ice Cream (yes – I said it! Trade in the ice cream)…
While it is okay to indulge once in a while, making a habit out of an ice cream bowl every night can wreak havoc on your waste line, your health and your performance. Ice cream contains high amounts of sugar, carbohydrates and many brands have unnatural ingredients. Instead of ice-cream scoops every night, make it a habit to eat frozen berries topped off with fat free whip cream. The berries are an ideal source of antioxidants, while the whip cream is low in calories and helps create the ‘ice cream illusion’ , hence giving you the same satisfaction with added nutrition and less then half the calorie intake.
Alcoholic intake should always be taken in moderation, consistent drinking has been shown to cause weight gain, aid the risk of certain cancers, liver disease and many other health issues.
But, in the pyramid of drinking, on the very top is red wine, which is said to (in moderate amounts) help fight against heart disease, raise healthy cholesterol and aid in the prevention blood clots.
If you must drink hard liquors try to combine them with soda or just ice. Tonic water, juices and other sodas like sprite or coke are all high sugar cordials that will result in tripling your calories and enhancing your potential for a bad hang over. Instead squeeze lemons and limes into your drink for additional taste, and stay free and clear of all gimmick drinks and their sugary additives.