Some solid, factual nutrition/health information from Buzzfeed today!
This is important.
Ages ago I mentioned that I had enrolled in an online course to become a Certified Nutrition Course. And while I got through all of the course material sometime in early to mid November, I hit that weak point before I actually took my second certification exam and had been putting it off (despite its presence on my to-do list) for literally months.
But, on Saturday night I finally got around to taking that exam and… I passed! So I am now officially a Certified Nutrition Coach. 😀 I would add a picture of my certificate here, but I haven’t received it in the mail yet so you’re just going to have to take my word for it.
It’s fun talking about things that happened nearly a month ago and all, but at some point I feel like I should start getting into where I’ve been for the past two months and why I was barely blogging. I do have a few good semi-decent excuses (I went to boyfriend’s house for Christmas and didn’t bring my laptop, I was on a cruise without internet access, etc.), but those only cover part of the time that I’ve been MIA and only tell a very small part of the story.
The short version of the story is that I sorta just let everything in my life fall apart. But that version sounds sad, and the real story isn’t that depressing, so I’m going to take it upon myself to tell it in full.
Over the summer I read a book about habits which taught me about something really important: keystone habits. Keystone habits are that one change you make that then spirals outward into a whole bunch more habits, all as a result of that very first one. Ideally, and in my case, that habit and the ones resulting from it are positive. So in January of last year I started training for a 10k. That meant running on a regular basis, which led to learning about and starting to implement proper training habits, which led to improving my nutritional profile and starting to do strength training, which led to losing weight and feeling awesome about myself, which led to flossing and using mouthwash every night to be even more awesome, which somewhere in there led to using a to-do list to track everything I needed to get done (i.e. blogging) and do it on time so that I fell into super-productivity and amazingness.
It was incredible. I felt like I had every part of my life super under control – and it had all started with a random inclination to run a 10K in Disney World. The one small problem with this method of habit forming, though, was that as soon as one thing fell apart… it all did.
I have to start this post with a biology lesson. You probably already know that there are three macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. These are our bodies’ sources of fuel, but they are not all treated equally.
The article I linked to above explains this quite well, and in more detail than I’m going to, but the short version is that carbohydrates are your body’s primary fuel source, largely because they are the easiest to break down. While your body can and will break fats and proteins down into energy, it takes longer than breaking down carbs and therefore, as a less efficient process, is not preferred by your body in most cases.
Fat contains the most energy potential per gram, so it is also commonly used by the body as a source of fuel – either in low intensity exercise where it has the time to break the fat down, or during endurance exercise in an attempt to preserve glycogen (sugar), which comes from carbs and is used by your body to create energy.
Finally, the least preferred source of fuel is protein. It is used in late stages of endurance exercise, when glycogen (sugar) runs really low and the body is forced to break protein into amino acids for fuel. However, this is not ideal because protein is much better used for other purposes – specifically muscle build and repair functions.
So that brings us to how low carb diets work.
So as I’ve been increasing my interest in both cooking and healthy eating, I’ve spent a fair amount of time searching the internet for healthy recipes I can try. As a result, I’ve noticed something: a significant portion of the internet has no idea what healthy means.
Now in some cases this is understandable; for example, I recently found an entire blog dedicated to healthier recipes for baking. She does a really great job making recipes that are significantly healthier than a typical, comparable recipe, and I intend to make a huge number of things on her site, but there is a limit to how healthy things can be when you’re baking. And that’s fine.
What’s not fine is when people post things like “extra super cheesy bacon squash mac and cheese” and pretend that it’s healthy because they used squash instead of wheat pasta. I’m sorry, internet, but that’s just not how it works. You don’t get to pretend that unhealthy dishes are suddenly healthy just because you took out the gluten; gluten isn’t even bad for you, unless you have celiac disease.