My Thoughts: Low-Calorie Diets

In high school, when I first began to discover my passion for health and nutrition, I held onto the “calories in, calories out” motto that we hear from lots of health professionals. When someone is trying to lose weight, everyone tells them to monitor calories, reduce calories, count calories, it’s all about calories, calories, calories. It becomes something that can easily be obsessed over, and cause people to lose sight of true nutrition. This is exactly what happened to me when I started to become interested in nutrition and healthy eating in general. I used to count my calories like many people do, using an app on my phone. I didn’t really think much about nutrients, vitamins, or even macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat). All I cared about was the calories I consumed each day. This can become really dangerous if you’re trying to eat a well-balanced diet, or even a healthier diet in general. Many people (including my former self) think that eating fewer calories, regardless of the type of food is the way to weight loss, weight maintenance and a general healthier body. Eating fewer calories may cause initial weight loss, but definitely not a good long term approach to weight loss/maintenance. If calories are the main priority, actual nutrition can be forgotten about and “healthy eating” can just turn into calorie restriction.

When you restrict calories, specifically below 1200 calories/day, your body goes into starvation mode. If your body goes into starvation mode, it can hold onto everything you eat and lead to weight gain. Also, this type of “dieting” can really mess up your metabolism. Any diet that is less than 1600 calories is just a bad idea in my opinion. Calorie restriction can lead to binge eating (consuming a lot of food at one time) and just an unhappy mood. Trust me, I’ve been there, done that and it’s not fun at all. I see so many “diets” that promote eating less than 1500 calories per day, and it makes me so sad to see people try them and ultimately fail because of the calorie/nutrient deprivation. These types of “diets” cause the yo-yo effect that many people experience when trying to get healthy and eat better.

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My Thoughts: On Dairy & Why I Went Dairy Free


We are conditioned our whole lives to believe that milk is good for us, and that it’s essential to our diets. Between all the advertisements, promotions, and doctors, almost everyone is pushing milk as a healthy beverage vital for proper nutrition. We assume that all of this is true, and so most of us begin drinking cow’s milk as soon as we are weaned from our mother’s milk. Since becoming vegan and doing research on the meat and dairy industry, I’ve come to realize how wrong all of this is. Not only morally wrong, but chemically and biologically wrong.

Let’s first think about how it is biologically wrong for us to be drinking milk from a cow. So we are born, and almost immediately begin drinking milk from our mother. This breastmilk is perfectly designed to have all the nutrients and calories to sustain life, and help us to develop. We drink our mother’s milk, the person that gave us life. Cow’s milk, on the other hand, is not from our mother; it’s from a different mammal. In fact, it’s milk that comes from a mammal that gives birth to a 825 lb. baby. A calf is typically weaned from its mother’s milk between 7-8 months of age, as are humans. But we as humans continue to drink cow’s milk. Humans are the only mammal that continues to drink milk after infancy, and we also are the only animal that consumes milk from another animal. We don’t see dogs drinking milk from a cow, or cats drinking milk from a dog. It’s not biologically normal.

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My Thoughts: Gluten

You could easily say that a “gluten-free” diet has become a trendy thing to do, but is it really a diet that people should follow? Is it something that should be adopted by everyone? Should you really spend ten dollars for a little loaf of gluten free bread? And what even is gluten, and why is it so “bad”?

Many people that are on a gluten-free diet don’t even know what gluten is, and why it is supposedly bad for you. This Jimmy Kimmel video sums up most people’s idea of what gluten is…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdJFE1sp4Fw

Unfortunately, this video is quite accurate of the general knowledge gluten. Most people don’t understand why they are not eating it, and this can be dangerous for people to cut something out of their diet without full research and understanding.

So what is gluten, and is it really necessary to eliminate it from your diet?


Gluten is a protein that is found in some grains (primarily wheat) which provides stretch and binding in the product the grain is in. Unfortunately, gluten can often get added to almost anything to provide texture and consistency so it can be difficult to identify what contains gluten.

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My Thoughts: Frozen or Canned?

In the winter time, fresh produce is often difficult to find and afford. Also, our lives can get pretty busy, and we may not have a bunch of time to spend on cutting up fresh fruits and vegetables. So when you can’t get fresh produce or don’t have time to prepare it, what should you do? Buy it frozen, or buy it canned?

 

Here are my thoughts on these two options:

Canned foods may be cheap, but you are losing lots of nutrients when you buy canned foods. Often times the foods are cooked at a high temperature, causing it to lose many of its nutrients. Canned foods are also packed with salt and preservatives in order for it to stay “fresher” longer. Also, canned fruit is usually canned in syrup that has a bunch of added sugars that you don’t need. So, in other words….canned foods are probably not your best option. But things like beans, beets, and pumpkin are fine to buy canned, just make sure you RINSE the beans and beets to remove as much salt/preservatives are you can. Rinsing goes for any canned foods you eat, always always rinse off canned produce! Rinsing removes preservatives, sugars, salts, and other chemicals they may be on the food.

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My Thoughts: Organic or Conventional?

Organic is a term that gets thrown around all the time in the food industry. So many studies are done to investigate whether or not organic is better, healthier, more sustainable, etc. First of all, many people don’t actually know what organic is, or what it means, or how it’s different than conventional food.

Organic foods are produced without chemicals, pesticides, irradiation, or additives. In other words, they are grown about the same way, but without any types of sprays or treatments. This means that farmers have to keep very specific conditions, and use specific organic pesticides to grown their produce. Being an organic garden is something that has to go through a certification process, and isn’t something that a farmer can just claim. All companies must be certified to used the word “organic” whereas anyone and everyone can use the word “natural”. So organic and “natural”….not the same thing at all. ( I will discuss my anger with the word “natural” in a later blog post)

 (wait, so these are “natural”….?)

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