This week, as well as the next two weeks of the Challenge, Jacy checks in with me for a 15 minute phone call to review my goals, answer my questions, and give me a motivational boost. But I have to admit, this week I didn't really need any motivation. I'm still pretty jazzed about this Challenge.
It felt good to be in control of something. I have plenty to manage in my life, but there are only a few things that I truly have control over and my diet is one of them.
Here's what I know to be true: even though it tastes great, junk food makes my body and my brain slow and sad. One of the things Jacy and I talked about during my initial consult was my snacking problem. Remember when snacking was reserved for kids who were excused from waiting to eat at prescribed meal times because of all the growing they were doing and freeze tag they were playing? Yeah, well, times have changed. Now everybody snacks. Too often and too much. And food marketers have aided and abetted the constant grazing going on in America.
Jacy and I agreed that instead of coming home from work and inhaling anything I can get my hands on, I would plan ahead and have easy-to-whip-up or convenient-to-carry portable snacks that are both delicious and nutritious. At Jacy's suggestion, I consulted the nutrition facts on a bag of almonds and instead of snarfing down handfuls, I actually ate a legit serving size. And you know what? It was plenty. And satisfying. And held me over until dinner time. I get an A+ for my planning, thank you very much.
We also discussed how a few years ago the 19-year-old food pyramid was replaced by a colorful four-part plate as the icon of the new U.S. Dietary Guidelines called My Plate. The icon makes it clear that fruits and veggies should make up half of your meal. The other half of the plate is divided into two parts: the smaller of the two is a lean, healthy protein and a slightly larger part is reserved for whole grains. In an attempt to lower my cholesterol, Jacy is encouraging me to fill the whole grains section with quinoa, brown rice and whole wheat pasta (my grandfather would be proud) at lunch and dinner time, and with oatmeal or a whole wheat English muffin at breakfast.
After we spoke on the phone, Jacy emailed me links to websites for recipe ideas. And she told me about a whole wheat English muffin that actually has whole wheat listed as the main ingredient. We are all supposed to be consuming more whole grains and fewer products made from refined grains, but that doesn't make the bread aisle any less confusing. Is multigrain the same as whole grain? And where does whole wheat fit in? Jacy set me straight.
- Whole Grain means that all parts of the grain are used, including the nutritious germ and bran. Whole grains are higher in vitamins, minerals and fiber than refined grains, which are processed to remove all but the starchy endosperm
- Whole Wheat is simply the whole grain version of wheat
- Multigrain means that more than one type of grain has been used, but that doesn't necessarily mean that any of them are whole grains. So, a bread labeled "multigrain" might actually be made from white flour, without any of the benefits of whole grains.
It's tricky and confusing, right? To make sure the bread you are buying is made from whole grains, look at the label: whole wheat flour or whole grain flour should be among the first ingredients listed. Or look for the words "100% whole wheat" or "100% whole grain" on the package, which will ensure that you aren't buying a loaf of white bread masquerading as whole grain.
Jacy will check in with me again next week. Until then, here's to making good choices and creating healthy habits.