Nutrition

Before I started taking care of my health, there was one label that I was concerned with when trying to decide to buy food: the price tag. Sure, we all want to save a buck, but I was overlooking the most important label of all: the Nutritional Facts.

Reading nutritional facts label is not very tricky and should be common knowledge, so I won't spend too much time on describing what you need to look out for. If you want to explore nutritional facts in more detail, please visit this page from The Food and Drug Administration. To illustrate how to read a nutritional label, we are going to look at the nutritional facts for a potato, if your name is Dan Quayle, you may refer to it as a "potatoe."

Gluten Free sealI recently saw a TV commercial advertising a breakfast cereal that is now gluten free. Perhaps you've seen it. In the commercial, after the narrator announces that the cereal is gluten free, he says, "...and kids know how good that is for you." My immediate thought was: do they?

I don't think that many adults, let alone kids, know what gluten free is, or if and why it might be bad for them. Instead, what I saw was a commercial that was trying to deceive consumers into thinking that "gluten free" means a healthier diet, or that going gluten free will help you to lose weight. Not so fast!

Grab & Go MealsEating five meals a day can be very tricky, especially when it comes to preparing those meals and finding the time to eat them. That is where including a few healthy ready-made meals or snacks comes in handy.

While it is a good rule of thumb to avoid processed foods, there are some processed foods that are healthy for you. Foods like yogurt and protein bars are not only handy but affordable too. What's more, it only takes a few minutes to gobble one of those items. You can grab one and eat it while commuting or take them to work and have one while on a break. I like to go to see movies, and I almost always go to the theater with a protein bar in my pocket. That way I can get in one of my five meals while watching the latest action film. Protein bars go equally as well with indie films too!

I grew up in an Irish-American household. Dinner always included a vegetable, and whether it was fresh, frozen or canned, my mother boiled the hell out of them for twenty minutes before serving. It was like exorcising the demons out of the vegetables, but in the case of vegetables, it wasn't demons: it was nutrients. I don't blame my mom. She didn't know any better. She came from a long tradition destroying vegetables. Potato famine, anyone?

Two-piece Chicken ComboI had a two-piece fried chicken combo with mashed potatoes and gravy with a biscuit at Popeye's today. This may sound like a confession, a moment of weakness that may put my relationship with healthy eating in peril. However, there are some perfectly valid reasons why the occasional cheat meal actually help improve my relationship with healthy eating.

You don't need to feel full in order to give your body the fuel it needs.

I made this video, thwarting one technical difficulty after the other, to prove a point: You can eat five meals a day, while keeping the calories down, all while providing your body with the fuel it needs in order to sustain your life functions. You don't need to feel full in order to give your body the fuel it needs. You should be drinking plenty of water. That may help you to feel somewhat full without negatively impacting your goals, but feeling full should not be your goal. Providing yourself with an adequate amount of healthy food should be.

Bad Fat Good Fat MeterFat doesn't make you fat. Excessive carbs make you fat. Sugar makes you fat. Inactivity makes you fat.

But not all fat is created equal. In this post, I will break down the bad fats from the good fats and give you examples of common types of foods that in which these fats are found. Before I get into that, I just want to mention that foods that contain fat contain both good and bad fats. You need fat in your diet, so it is really pointless to avoid bad fats completely, with the exception of trans fats. Instead, you want to focus on foods that are lower in bad fats than good.