Archive for the tag - carbohydrates

3 Ingredient Healthy Cookie Recipe!

Healthy cookies? Three ingredients? No added sugar?! It sounds too good to be true – but it’s not!

I was tipped off about this recipe a few weeks ago, and I’ve been in cookie heaven ever since. And because they have plenty of carbohydrates, they’re great to eat (along with some protein powder) before hitting the gym. They’ll give you tons of energy to power through your workout.

Watch the 1-minute video for the super-easy recipe via my Davey Wavey Fitness YouTube channel – and then give them a try at home. I think you’ll love them.

Buying Healthy Bread: 7 Tips.

Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates are an essential part of any healthy diet and necessary for proper bodily function. Of course, not all carbohydrates are created equal – and so it’s really more about eating the right type of carbs rather than eliminating carbs from your diet altogether.

Since bread is a common and large source of carbohydrates in the typical person’s diet, it’s important to opt for healthy breads that contain natural and complex carbohydrates rather than the refined alternatives that can spike blood sugar and increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, obesity and diabetes.

When selecting a healthy bread, follow these 7 tips:

  1. Opt for whole wheat. Look at the ingredients listed on the product packaging. You’ll want to select a bread that contains whole wheat as the primary ingredient. Because whole wheat contains the entire grain, you’ll get a number of great health benefits – and the carbohydrates will be digested slowly over time. Don’t be deceived by wheat flour, which is essentially the same as white flour. Settle for nothing less!
  2. Enriched isn’t a good thing. You may notice that some of the ingredients are listed as enriched. While this may sound like a good thing, it’s really an indication that the bread contains white flour in disguise.
  3. Multigrain isn’t necessarily healthy. If you’re a fan of multigrain breads, read the label carefully. Though this bread contains multiple grains as the name implies, only the ingredients will tell you if these grains are whole or refined.
  4. Stone-ground isn’t a health benefit. Colorful adjectives are marketing gimmicks more than actual health benefits. If a bread is labeled as stone-ground, it just refers to how the product was milled. It’s not an indication of how healthy it is.
  5. Check for sugar. Read the list of ingredients and scan for sugar. If it’s in the top four ingredients, try a different product – even if it does contain whole wheat as the primary ingredient.
  6. Heavy, coarse bread is best. As a general guideline, select a whole wheat bread that is heavy and coarse. Not only is the flavor better, but it can be a good indication of fewer chemicals and less processing.
  7. Check for fiber. Though most Americans don’t get enough fiber, many healthy breads have at least 2 or 3 grams per slice. The fiber digests slowly and helps you feel fuller longer! Select a fiber-rich bread to help enhance your diet.

It’s not about cutting out bread from your diet. It’s about making a healthy bread choice – and these 7 tips should help you select a bread that is an intergral part of any balanced diet. If you have any other healthy bread tips, share them in the comments below!

10 Good Carb Foods!

Though carbs tend to get a bad rap (think the Atkins Diet), the truth is that carbohydrates are an essential and necessary part of any balanced diet.

But not all carbs are created equal. The trick is minimizing your intake of “bad carbs” and maximizing your intake of “good carbs.”

To that end, I put together today’s video with 10 examples of good carb foods! Via my Davey Wavey Fitness YouTube channel, check it out!

Is Gluten-Free Healthier?

The other day, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when I saw a tub of ice cream advertised as gluten-free. Labeling a product as gluten-free has become an increasingly popular trend – and savvy marketers are hoping that consumers will believe that gluten-free products are healthier. They’re not.

In a tweet last April, Miley Cyrus even tweeted that “gluten is crapppp.” That’s crap, with four p’s.

As it turns out, gluten-free and healthy are two very different things. According to Mayo Clinic:

A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).

Gluten-free isn’t meant to be a weight loss strategy. Instead, a gluten-free diet is a treatment for celiac disease. According to the National Institutes of Health, 1 in 133 people have this condition. When someone with celiac disease consumes gluten, it causes the little hair-like projects that move food through to the gut to breakdown – resulting in bleeding, malabsorption and other issues.

If you don’t have celiac disease, there’s nothing wrong with consuming gluten. In fact, it’s healthy to do so. Sorry, Miley. Moreover, gluten-free diets tend to lack fiber, are higher in simple carbohydrates (the so-called “bad” carbs) and often low in the complex carbohydrates that our bodies need. If you do go gluten-free for medical reasons, it’s important to work with nutritionists and doctors to get a well-rounded diet.

The bottom line: If something is labeled as gluten-free, it’s not offering any sort of health benefit – unless, of course, you have celiac disease. The alleged link between a product being gluten-free and its nutritional content, as exemplified by my ice cream experience, is non-existent.

Best Acai Bowl Recipe.

Acia (pronounced “Ah-Sigh-EE”) berries are all the rage.

Often touted as a “superfood” by marketers, these berries (like other berries) do have high levels of antioxidants that protect cells, reduce the effects of aging and may decrease the risk of some diseases (including heart disease and cancer).

But beyond their antioxidant benefits, I enjoy acia berries because of their rich and almost chocolatey flavor. The berries have a unique but delicious taste – and, they make for a great post-workout snack.

After we exercise, our bodies need an immediate dose of protein and carbohydrates. Though most people realize the importance of post-workout protein, carbohydrate consumption is often overlooked. After a workout, carbs restore muscle glycogen. And, if the body doesn’t receive post-workout carbohydrates, it may actually breakdown muscle for this same purpose.

In fact, because the body needs carbohydrates quickly, it’s one of the few times when simple carbs are recommended over complex carbohydrates which are absorbed slowly. In other words, it’s a good time to eat foods with added sugar or honey.

That’s why, while visiting San Diego, I’ve fallen in love with a popular local snack: Acia bowls. Almost all the smoothie shops have them, and they’re a delicious way to deliver protein and simple carbs to your body when they’re needed most.

Here’s how you can make a yummy, post-workout acai bowl at home.

Ingredients:

  • Frozen acai smoothie pack (available at Whole Foods Market and many grocery stores and chains)
  • 1/2 frozen, pealed banana
  • 1 cup vanilla (or strawberry) protein powder
  • 7 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup soy milk, almond milk or apple juice
  • 1/2 fresh banana, sliced
  • 3 – 4 fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup granola
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

In a blender, combine acai smoothie mix, protein powder, frozen banana, frozen strawberries and soy milk, almond milk or apple juice. Blend until smooth and add additional liquid until a thick but well-blended mixture is achieved.

Pour contents into a bowl, and top with sliced strawberries, bananas and granola. Drizzle honey over top.

It’s a simple and easy recipe, but it’s exactly what your body needs after a good workout. In the comments below, let me know if you share my love for acai!

P.S. It’s the last day to save 25% on my brand-new workout program: Davey Wavey’s Get Ripped Workout! Use discount code “blog” to save 25% today – and say hello to a leaner, stronger body tomorrow!

Bananas: Better Than Sports Drinks.

A new study supports something that I’ve suspected for years: When it comes to supporting energy and endurance in exercisers, bananas are a real powerhouse.

Through a recent study, researchers at Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab compared bananas to carbohydrate sports drinks. In the study, cyclists were given either a cup of sports drink or half a banana every 15 minutes during a simulated road race test that lasted 2.5 – 3 hours. Before and after the study, blood samples were taken for analysis.

According to Dr. David Nieman, the lab’s director:

We found that not only was performance the same whether bananas or sports drinks were consumed, there were several advantages to consuming bananas.

Like the sports drinks, bananas are rich in carbohydrates. These carbs are used by the body as fuel to power through a workout. But bananas are also rich in other nutrients – like potassium and vitamin B6. And beyond being easy to carry and transport, bananas are a good source of antioxidants and fiber. They’re also significantly less expensive than sports drinks.

For a lot of people (myself included), the idea of conventional drinking sports drinks – with their long list of artificial ingredients and dyes – isn’t appealing. So it’s great to know that there are natural alternatives like bananas. In fact, it’s why I eat one each morning before my workout.

P.S. Coconut water is nature’s sports drink and another great alternative.

P.P.S. Thanks for making Davey Wavey’s Get Ripped Workout my most successful product launch ever! Using 3 workout videos, an e-book and a slew of bonuses, the program helps you incinerate body fat and build lean muscle. If you don’t have a copy yet, use discount code “blog” to save 25% before June 7!

What Are Net Carbs?

If you pay any attention to product packaging, you may have noticed a new advertising trend. It’s featuring an item’s “net carbs.” What does net carbs mean? And should you be paying attention to it?

First things first, carbohydrates are found in breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables and in some dairy products.

Though they get a bad rap, your body needs carbohydrates – especially if you take part in regular activity. And although carbohydrates are important in your diet, not all of them are created equal. Wholegrain cereals and grains are much better for you than refined cereals and grains; they retain more of their nutrients, contain more fiber and don’t impact blood sugar levels as significantly.

Though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates labeling, there’s currently no official definition for net carbs. But, in general, net carbs are defined as total carbohydrates minus the carbohydrates that don’t affect blood sugar levels (such as fiber or sugar alcohols).

For example, I buy wraps for my sandwiches. The nutrition information lists 13 grams of carbohydrates and 6 grams of fiber. As such, the packaging advertises only 7 net carbs. Because the fiber carbohydrates don’t result in a spike in blood sugar levels, advertisers subtract these carbs to calculate the net carb total.

If you’re insulin resistant, have diabetes or issues with blood sugar levels, it’s important to monitor carbohydrate intake. But, in today’s anti-carbohydrate world, it’s easy to get carried away. If you have tried a low-carb diet, you may have noticed feelings of tiredness, an inability to concentrate, a decreased reaction time and a feeling that every small task is hard to do. It’s because your body – and your brain – rely on carbohydrates to function properly.

Instead of focusing on carbs or net carbs, my advice would be to put your energy and attention on portion size and the number of calories that you consume.

Is Raw Sugar Healthier?

Someone please tell him that there are better things to suck on.

Let’s be clear: Sugar is not healthy – and most of us eat way too much of it. When we compare raw sugar to regular, white table sugar, we’re really just examining the lesser of two evils.

In the refining process that creates white table sugar, minerals and vitamins are removed. These include Phosphorus, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and Potassium. In addition, the refined sugar is treated with a number of chemicals and added ingredients to create the final product.

From an environmental standpoint, the less processing the better; it means less waste, less energy and fewer chemicals.

It’s also worth noting that, contrary to popular belief, brown sugar is not raw sugar. Brown sugar is refined white sugar with the added ingredient of molasses. Environmentally, it’s the least Earth-friendly.

Because of the nutrients, vitamins and smaller environmental impact, raw sugar is a slightly less detrimental choice – but it certainly doesn’t make raw sugar healthy. Regardless of the amount of processing, sugar isn’t a wise choice – and most of us have no need for the added sugar we consume. We get plenty of sugars through the fruits and vegetables we eat, and our bodies can create sugar from carbohydrates.

The bottom line: Rather than focusing on the type of sugar we consume, we should pay attention to the amount of sugar we consume.

Low-Carb Fruit List.

This day and age, carbohydrates get a bad rap. In reality, carbs are essential for mental and physical performance as the body uses these sugar molecules for fuel. Not consuming enough carbs can result in low energy levels or even, perhaps, even a state of ketosis.

Fruits contain not just carbohydrates – but also a whole slew of great vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Because fruits are so nutrient-rich, it’s important to find ways to incorporate them into whatever crab-restrictive diet plan you may choose.

Just because you're on a carb-restrictive diet doesn't mean forgoing fruit. Use this list to incorporate lower-carb fruits into your diet.

To that end, the chart below sorts common fruits from low to high carb per serving. Use this chart as a general guide to make nourishing fruits a part of your balanced diet:

  • Date, 1 fresh: 2 carbs
  • Rhubarb, 1/2 cup: 3 carbs
  • Apricot: 4 carbs
  • Passion fruit: 4 carbs
  • Lychees, 1 oz: 5 carbs
  • Prune, 1 dried: 5 carbs
  • Strawberries, 1/2 cup: 5 carbs
  • Cranberries (raw) 6 carbs
  • Tomato: 6 carbs
  • Papaya, 1/2 cup: 7 carbs
  • Raspberry, 1/2 cup: 7 carbs
  • Blackberries, 1/2 cup: 9 carbs
  • Blackcurrants: 9 carbs
  • Grapes, 10 medium: 9 carbs
  • Plum: 9 carbs
  • Tangerine: 9 carbs
  • Blueberries, 1/2 cup: 10 carbs
  • Fig: 10 carbs
  • Guava: 10 carbs
  • Lime with peel: 10 carbs
  • Peach: 10 carbs
  • Pineapple, 1/2 cup: 10 carbs
  • Kiwi: 11 carbs
  • Avocado: 12 carbs
  • Cherries, 1/2 cup: 12 carbs
  • Grapefruit: 12 carbs
  • Lemon with peel: 12 carbs
  • Melon – honeydew, 1/10: 12 carbs
  • Nectarine: 16 carbs
  • Orange: 16 carbs
  • Apple: 21 carbs
  • Melon – cantaloupe, 1/2: 22 carbs
  • Pear: 25 carbs
  • Banana 27 carbs
  • Raisins 1/2 cup 29 carbs
  • Mango 35 carbs
  • Dates dried with sugar 62 carbs

6 Foods Secretly High in Sugar.

Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of energy, but not all carbs are created equal. For a lot of people looking to release some extra weight or increase definition, reducing the intake of simple carbohydrates – like table sugar – is common practice.

Food products like candy, chocolate bars and soda are obviously loaded with sugar. But there are a number of unlikely foods that are shockingly high in sugar. Here are my top 6:

  1. Some dried fruit. Dried fruit sounds like a healthy and nutritious snack, right? It can be. Except that many dried fruits are loaded with added sugar to enhance the sweetness. It’s totally unnecessary. When buying dried fruits, read the ingredients carefully. If you see any other ingredients beyond the fruit (like corn syrup, etc.), then put it back!
  2. Fruity drinks. A Pina Colada, for example, has more calories than a Big Mac and as much as 60 grams of sugar. That’s a shockingly high number – and the equivalent of more than 70 Skittles!
  3. Barbeque sauce. It might be lip smacking delicious, but barbeque sauce is packed with sugar. Two tablespoons of BBQ sauce has 12 – 15 grams of sugar. And let’s be real, who uses just two tablespoons? And BBQ sauce isn’t alone – many sauces and glazes are secretly high in sugar, so pay extra attention to both the nutrition information and the listed serving size.
  4. Chocolate milk. Milk, which contains lactose, already has its fair share of sugar. But add in some chocolate syrup, and a sugar buzz is almost unavoidable. A single 16 ounce container of Nesquick Fat Free Milk has a mind-numbing 54 grams of sugar.
  5. Tomato Sauce. Believe it or not, one cup of tomato sauce has as much as SIX teaspoons of sugar! Pasta is high in carbs to begin with, but tomato sauce can be a real diet killer. 100 of the sauce’s calories come from pure sugar.
  6. Vitamin Water. Last but not least, most people think of Vitamin Water as a healthy alternative to soda. Not so fast. A single bottle (they claim a bottle is 2.5 servings) contains 32 grams of sugar. And really, not that many vitamins.

Not on the list but runners up: fruity yogurt, smoothies (many have added sugar and/or honey), granola bars, cereal and ketchup (yes, seriously).

The bottom line is that if sugars – or carbs in general – are of concern to you, it’s important to read the nutrition information carefully… even for those foods that are unlikely suspects.