Monday, May 22, 2017

Back to the Beach

Nope, we're not going to the beach (sigh) and no we didn't go to one on our recent anniversary getaway. More on that recent and fun adventure comes in future posts.

The "beach" we're returning to this coming week is the South Beach (SB) Diet plan. The basics of this plan was detailed in an previous post, so I won't repeat them here. 

Our reasons are much the same as before. We need to alter our eating habits, especially after our anniversary road trip when we ate out every day. We have all the SB cookbooks with lots of recipes. This past weekend we stocked up on veggies, chicken, and seafood.

The SB diet, started by cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston in the 1990s, focuses on controlling insulin levels and the benefits of unrefined slow carbohydrates (whole wheat, brown rice, bran, beans, nuts, vegetables) vs. fast carbs (breads, sugar, fruits, starchy vegetables). 

Fast carbs rapidly break down into sugar. If eaten regularly, they keep blood sugar elevated and can lead to weight gain. Slow carbs are higher in fiber and provide the body with energy over a longer period without a rapid elevation in blood sugar. Another benefit is you won't feel hungry as often. In fairness to fast carbs, they're beneficial after exercising. According to some nutritionists, a rapid rise in blood sugar restores glycogen (sugars stored for energy) in the muscles and liver if eaten 2 hours afterwards.

No, we haven't avoided processed foods (as we thought)
We didn't consider ourselves to be processed food junkies. There's no hidden chips, cookies, canned soups, instant mixes in the pantry, no frozen or microwave foods in the freezer, and we avoid fast foods. That was before I fully understood about them.

Online reading was an eye-opener. I knew that the definition of processed food included ones packaged in boxes, cans, bags. It also applies to meats preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives: sausages, bacon (a breakfast favorite), ham, salami, pepperoni  (pizza favorite). 

Besides going through complex manufacturingprocessed foods usually have additives, artificial flavorings and "non-natural" ingredients. 

Is something processed or not? 

Check the ingredients; the rule is: if it's a longer list, the more the food is processed. These foods likely contain ingredients you can't recognize or ones you wouldn't have in your kitchen. To eat healthier, advocates advise shopping in the outer grocery food aisles, vegetables, dairy meats, seafood. That alone doesn't always ensure non-processed foods.

That said not all processed foods are off-limits. Minimally processed foods like bagged spinach, salads, pre-cut vegetables, nuts and others are packaged for convenience and can still be healthy. Others include foods processed at their peak to lock in nutritional quality and freshness, such as canned tomatoes, frozen fruit and vegetables and canned tuna.

Processed foods can be beneficial. Milk and juices can be fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Canned fruit (packed in its own juice) is an option when fresh fruit is unavailable. The challenge is to distinguish between good-for-you lightly processed vs.heavily processed foods; these are foods not recognized as food in its original form (potato chips, crackers) or non-naturally occurring foods (soda, donuts, cookies, candy).

Not only are we now reading a lot much more about processed foods, but also all grocery store food labels. (This definitely adds more time to our grocery store trips.)

You may have heard of "clean eating." This buzzword term usually refers to how a food is produced. It means avoiding processed and refined foods and basing your eating on whole foods. In other words, farm = clean vs. manufacturing facility = not so much since these are foods have more "steps" along the way. 

"Clean eating" is not about eating more or less of certain foods, but being "mindful" (another buzz term these days) of the food's path between its origin and the plate. It's eating whole or "real" foods that are not or are minimally processed, refined, and handled, keeping them as close to their natural form as possible. 

It's not so much a diet, but an eating lifestyle: "If you can’t read it, don’t eat it. If it sounds complex, or like a word out of chemistry class, chances are it is." 

This past weekend we used foods from the freezer and pantry before starting on the SB plan:  Country style ribs with homemade BBQ sauce and sweet potato salad with Greek yogurt  and fresh veggies. (Recipes to come in a future post). 

Do you have an eating or diet plan you follow?


Anvilcloud said...

Well that last supper sounds like one to remember.

I just count calories, even if roughly. I need to start counting again though.

Anonymous said...

If I just avoided deserts it would be a miracle and help me lose weight! But I appreciate your post because I learned something. My body does crave healthy eating. I just tend to grab the unhealthy stuff when I think I need to plan better. Andrea

Sandra said...

I am doing what you described here, but it is my own diet made up from reading on the net and listening to others at the meetings. basically I eat no white flour and no sugar. I eat fresh fruits, veggies/beans, dairy like cheese and yogurt and milk and whole grain bread/cereal.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thanks, Sandra, as always for your comments and from what you have posted on your blog, you're doing really great on this plan. We "think" we are avoiding processed foods and while we are in some part there's still SO many more we need to be better at avoiding!

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Hi, I've popped over for a visit. The healthiest I was and the fittest and leanest I was, was when I was eating clean, also with the concept of eating 5 or 6 small "meals" a day, and trying to combine protein with complex carbs (i.e. vegetables, brown rice, fruit) as much as possible. Good luck on your journey and it sounds like you are on a great path! -Jenn

Lynn said...

I actually went on the South Beach diet the first time in 2005 or so and still loosely follow it. It's a good way of eating - I've thought of doing that first two week thing soon (I've been eating too much sugar.)

Emma Springfield said...

I too eat a lot of chicken and fish but I'm not willing to give up my beef. Your diet sounds like a good cleansing diet though. It certainly won't do any harm.

Anonymous said...

Good advice. I'll try to follow it.

Denise inVA said...

It is always a challenge this journey to healthy eating but we are doing so much better than we were a year ago. An interesting post and one that helps to reinforce what we are striving for. Good luck and I look forward to hearing all about your progress.

Linda said...

Good luck. I eat very few processed foods because I have multiple food allergies including wheat, cow dairy, and pepper, and that eliminates just about all convenience foods. This has not resulted in weight loss though.

baili said...

i am so grateful for this wonderful eye opener post my friend!
i learned not only about what should eat and what should avoid but about my own eating habits.
you are so blessed to be concerned about these diet plans and now i am going to give it try

Valerie said...

I used to be religious about counting calories but not so now. After many years of checking foodstuffs I got to know what suited me and what didn't. I couldn't have been wrong in most things since I have lived healthily until my vast age. It's my birthday today so I might indulge just a little when my son takes me out to lunch.

Pam Jackson said...

Oh I would so much rather be going to the BEACH with the water and sand! Diets are not near as fun. Wishing you the best of luck.

William Kendall said...

Reading the ingredients would definitely add onto the time you're in a store!

Connie said...

Good luck with your lifestyle change. I've heard good things about the SB diet.

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