What is Wrong With “Normal” Foods?

I may not be the most “natural” eater (I do use supplements and Whey protein, after all) but I don’t understand some of the ingredients that are “must haves”. I’ve been reading (yes, mostly reading since I’m so out of shape) about health and fitness for most of my life (We recently started watching “The Shield” from the beginning of the series and right there in the 3rd or 4th season was Cory Everson and I just about died. I looked at my husband and exclaimed, “Wait until I show you who that is!”. Then I dragged him to the computer and showed him her Ms. Olympia-era pictures.) So, that proves how long I’ve been reading! Anyway, it seems like every two to three years, a magical, miracle food shows up with claims that it will revolutionize your fat loss, your muscle gains, your health and wellness, or some other claim. Most of them I either wanted desperately (who wouldn’t want an easy, no exercise needed fat loss supplement?) or totally discounted because the claims were just too outlandish.

One of my favorite pieces in Muscle and Fitness magazine (I truly hated “Muscle and Fitness Hers”) was just inside the back cover when they would bash themselves for the stories published in the past about everything from exercise, food/supplements, and clothing fads. Who doesn’t still giggle at the brightly colored spandex, headbands, and mullets?

Well, now that so many people are either going low carbohydrate in one way or another (or gluten free), I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes with the latest miracle foods: flax, quinoa and chia seeds. I typically just bypass those recipes just because they include the “it” foods of the day (yeah, I’m such a rebel).

While I have done my best to include flax in my diet (I can’t pass up the Omega fatty acids since I am unable to eat any seafood). I hate it. I tolerate it as long as I can’t really taste it. The first full-blown recipes I tried were MIMs – Muffin In a Minute. The first one was a cinnamon muffin. It was awful! I hated the flavor and boy, did it bound me up! The next one I tried was a chocolate muffin. That one tasted great and, since I had that intestinal issue with the first one, I sliced it and didn’t scarf the entire muffin in one sitting. My mouth’s initial reaction: What flax meal? BUT if you are on a low carbohydrate diet, have you looked at the nutritional breakdown of the basic muffin? Whether you do net carbs or not, one muffin contains 12.7 grams (9.3 grams fiber). If you are limiting your carbohydrate intake to 20 grams per day, you just blew most of them on one muffin! I think I’ll stick with adding it to my protein powder shake. Plus, with it adding only 3 grams carbohydrates (3 grams fiber) and 3 grams of protein in two tablespoons per day, that’s not bad!

Next is quinoa. I have not tried it and probably will not (no, I take that back. I tried an ancient grain tortilla with quinoa, amaranth, flax and other grains I can’t remember. It was alright but the carbohydrate count was still too high for me). Quinoa is the magical Andean grain that will give you everything you need to stay healthy, right? Well, yes, as long as that’s pretty much all you eat. If you look into the diet of those who have been eating it the longest, you will see this is a staple of their diet (little meat, whatever vegetables they can get, and quinoa). Well, it was until it was more expensive for them to eat it than to sell it. Now, their health is beginning to suffer because this miracle grain is a “must-have” for those who are in with the in-crowd. Another thing to consider is the nutritional content of quinoa. Yes, it has 8 grams of protein per cup of cooked quinoa but in that cup of quinoa is also 39 grams of carbohydrates.

The next is chia seeds. Every single time I see this in a recipe, the song from the Chia Pet commercial goes through my head. I had never considered this a food because of those dang commercials. I thought it was interesting, but that was it. That is, until I began reading about it. I’m intrigued, especially since this (and the flax) I can grow here (which is always a bonus for me). I tried growing maca but I guess everything about my region is wrong (I’m in Central California). I really like plants that have more than one purpose (more edible/medicinal parts) and all I’ve been able to find on leaf usage is as a medicinal tea. If anyone has any more information, I would love to see it. From what I read, it’s suggested that you only consume 2 to 3 Tablespoons per day but it gives a powerful nutritional punch! In two Tablespoons, there are 12 grams carbohydrate (10 grams fiber) and 4.7 grams of protein. It seems hefty on the carbohydrates but with all the other nutritional benefits, this one just may be worth it! Here’s a great article on the health benefits: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/super-seed-the-case-for-chia.html. I haven’t quite jumped on the band wagon but it can’t hurt to buy a chia pet if it’s majorly on sale! 🙂

After writing all of this (and second guessing myself on chia seeds) I really think it’s important to get as much of our macros (protein, carbohydrate, fat) from as much whole food as possible and make the wisest choices for ourselves. If I could eat seafood, you can bet your bottom dollar I would rather have salmon over this stuff any day of the week!

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