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FOOD & NUTRITION BLOG
The holidays are officially upon us! And that, unfortunately, also means that finals are also creeping up on us. I wrote an entire blog post about healthy study snacks and memory boosting foods that you can read HERE and HERE, respectively.
But, instead of talking about studying and finals, let’s talk about something we’re all interested in: drinking!
It’s hard for me to believe that Thanksgiving is next week! Time passes so quickly especially when the holidays roll around. And for us, as students, Thanksgiving is a nice respite from classes and general busyness before the craziness of finals comes in December.
So you’ve been feeling under the weather? But how do you know if it’s a seasonal flu or if it’s food poisoning? In light of recent events of the Shigella outbreak at one of our local Mexican seafood restaurants, Mariscos San Juan, it is important to be aware of where your illness is coming from. Luckily, even though symptoms of the flu and food poisoning are similar, there are some key differences that will help you determine the next course of action to treat it.
We’ve all been there. We reach a point as students where we are so overwhelmed and overburdened with all the work, studying, and daily responsibilities that we sometimes just feel like spontaneously combusting. Don’t get me wrong- a healthy amount of stress is good. In fact, I know some people who need the stress of deadlines to actually have the motivation to get to work! However, when stress becomes a trigger for anxiety attacks or long periods of depression, then we’ve got to take the time to find out the source of our stress and face it head on.
I get many, many questions about the best foods to eat pre- and post-workout. There is really no straight answer to this question. As with many topics in nutrition, so much of the advice we give has to be based on the individual with his/her particular circumstance. No one person is the same, so naturally, it makes sense that no one fitness plan is exactly the same. However, there are some basic guidelines that any athlete or regular exerciser can follow to maintain optimum nutrition before and after you sweat it out.
Should you eat before a workout? If so, when? And what types of foods should I eat?
These are all great questions that have some pretty standard answers. Generally, if you’re a competitive athlete or even a regular exerciser, it is recommended that you eat something 1-3 hours before your workout, especially if you plan to exercise strenuously. Without proper fuel, your body will soon give out on you after it has burned your stored fuel. Carbohydrates are a great way to get that instant fuel that you need to keep exercising without losing steam. It is generally not recommended to eat right before you exercise. Food in your gut starts to get digested and this competes with your muscles you’re using to exercise. Also, for many people, exercising right after a meal can cause gastrointestinal discomfort and may cause you to feel ill midway through exercising. Be smart and plan to eat something light and nutritious before you hit the gym.
Some possible ideas for pre-workout fuel include:
The important thing about pre-workout fuel is to choose foods that have both carbohydrates AND protein. Carbohydrates are your fuel, while protein is used to repair and rebuild muscle.
So, you’ve finished sweating it out! Good for you. Now, you are likely famished and are thinking about what to eat. It’s important to replenish the glycogen you just used up in your workout so it’s time to stock up on good ole’ carbs and protein. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics former spokesperson Christine Gerbstadt, MD, MPH, RD, CSSD, recommends a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates and protein about 15-20 minutes after exercise and eating a mixed meal 3-4 hours later.
Some ideas for post-workout meals include:
Some other information I found intriguing:
Sports gels, drinks, energy bites… are they even effective?
I was on a bike ride once and one of my friends offered me a energy gel pack because I broke the cardinal rule of not eating breakfast before exercising (needless to say I was dying even before we were half-way). I have often wondered if all these sports-related fuel lives up to the hype. According to Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson Heather Mangieri, MS, RDN, CSSD, it’s all part of marketing. Real food can perform the same function as these sports fuel, but it is more a matter of convenience than anything else. Also, some athletes may not be able to handle solid food during a workout to refuel, so sometimes these types of fuel may prove to be useful. But, there’s no secret or magic ingredients in these that make them superior to real food.
Eatright Article: How to Fuel Your Workout
Eatright Article: Timing Your Nutrition
*All picture sources have links sourced on the picture*
It is shocking to know how much sugar we consume in a single day. I watched this intriguing documentary called, Fed Up, that highlights the main reason why obesity and being overweight is now an epidemic for the developed and developing nations. You may not be surprised that the main culprit is in fact sugar, and not fat (as many people used to believe). We had a trend of making everything low fat in the 1980s and 90s, but the documentary made an interesting point that as we lowered or eliminated the fat content, food industries have upped the sugar content to make it more palatable.
As a graduate student, I no longer have a meal plan since I cook for myself now. But, thinking about this topic makes me nostalgic and brings me back to my undergraduate days eating at the dining commons. The dining commons environment certainly hasn’t changed over the years- some things are always the same. Like the fact that it is still serving mountains of fries and tator tots, vegetables bathing in cream, at least 10 different types of desserts, and soda around every corner. And with our dining commons, we even have Jamba Juice and Weavers inside the facility! Talk about convenient calories…
I’ve known very few people in my life who have never had problems with acne, in one form or another. In fact, I could probably count them on my fingers. Getting acne when you’re a teenager or even into your young adult years is almost like a rite of passage. The majority of people get it, they grow out of it as hormones begin to balance out, and they may or may not come out unscarred. Although for most people, acne will tend to flare up less as they grow older, for some, it is a condition that follows them into adulthood causing feelings of depression, loss of self-esteem, and even suicidal tendencies. Over the years, the question about whether or not diet plays any role in the development or possible treatment of acne has been debated with no satisfying conclusion. But in recent years, there is new evidence surfacing about diet’s role in acne therapy that may be the key to shutting down those unsightly pimples.
It’s always amazing to me to see how much has changed in our dietary patterns. Back in the day, there were no such things as gluten free diets or paleo diets or any sort of rigidly defined eating habits. But, times have changed. Food allergies are on the rise, obesity is becoming a worldwide epidemic, and more and more people are starting to actually care about what they put in their bodies because they can visually see the detriments of a poor diet and lifestyle. One of the popular ways in which people have started to control their diets are through specialized diets. Vegetarianism, gluten free diets, and paleo diets are gaining rapid popularity throughout the U.S. I will be focusing on vegetarianism and a brief overview of gluten free diets and other types of diets that are pretty well-known in the nutrition sector.