Hey my Luscious Spring Blossoms!
Thanks for all of your comments on my last few posts. Your continuing support really means a lot to me and I am so grateful to have friends like you. I’m so grateful for my family and everything they do for me each and every day. I’m so grateful for the opportunity I have to be up here in college. I am learning so much and I’ve been dying to share some of it with you. Here are a few things I’ve been learning throughout my various classes:
(Disclaimer: Though I’m studying Health Science: Health Promotions with an emphasis on Nutrition and Personal Health and Fitness, I’m still a college student. I don’t have my degree yet. Nonetheless, these are some of the things I found really interesting as I’ve studied for my health classes. Don’t forget to consult your health professional before revamping your entire diet and/or lifestyle.)
What’s an easy way to know if I’m hydrated or not?
Check the color of your urine! An easy rule-of-thumb to tell if you’re well hydrated is to check the color of your urine. A light lemonade or clearish-yellow color usually indicates that you’re well hydrated. The darker the shade of yellow becomes, the more dehydrated you are. (This doesn’t always work; i.e. excess riboflavin, a B-Vitamin, is excreted through the urine, and when riboflavin mixes with the water it turns yellow.)
Why do we need to grind flaxseeds and not chia seeds?
It’s because the outside layer of the flaxseed is insoluble. If they aren’t ground up, they will simply pass right through your gastrointestinal tract and be excreted. Chia seeds on the other hand have a soluble outside layer, so their nutrients can be absorbed right into the blood and lymph systems.
How does soluble fiber (found foods such as legumes, oats, and flaxseed) help lower cholesterol?
Bile is produced in the liver from cholesterol. After the gallbladder excretes bile to help the lipase “divide and conquer” the fatty acids, a lot of the bile is then reabsorbed and taken back to the liver to be recycled. In simplified terms, the soluble fiber can attach itself to some of the bile and make it be excreted in the stool. The liver then has to produce more bile, which it creates from cholesterol in the body, which then lowers cholesterol.
Why is it important to get the right ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids?
Because my book says it better than what I could, here’s what it says: “… [T]he omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids made from them are used to make hormone-like molecules called eicosanoids. Eicosanoids help regulate blood clotting, blood pressure, immune function, and other body processes. The effect of an eicosanoid on these functions depends on the fatty acid from which it was made. For example, when the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid is the starting material, the eicosanoid synthesized increases blood clotting; when the omega-3 fatty acid EPA is the starting material, the eicosanoid made decreases blood clotting” (*page 145).
Why you should be grateful for adipose tissue (fat cells)?
You might ask why I would say something like that. Why on earth would someone want to be grateful for fat cells? Let me explain. One gram of fat contains 9 calories of energy. 1 gram of protein and 1 gram of carbohydrate each store 4 calories of energy. If the body were to store the excess calories as either protein or carbohydrate, you would be “twice” the size in a sense. And, since carbohydrates and proteins hold on to water, you would be much larger than you were now. Fat is a compact version.
Carbohydrates are not the enemy.
They provide the body the most efficient form of energy and allow protein to do it’s job. “Body proteins that are broken down [in the case that there is not enough carbohydrates] to make glucose are no longer available to do their job, whether the job is to speed up a chemical reaction or contract a muscle. Sufficient dietary carbohydrate ensures that protein is not used in this way; carbohydrate is therefore said to spare protein” (*page 112).
In addition, eating more protein than you need does not build muscle. Exercise builds muscle. Sufficient protein can be used to rebuild the muscle after exercise, but only if the body has enough energy to do it – it gets that energy from carbohydrates. Instead of worrying about carbohydrates, simply focus on the kinds you eat: try to get most if not all of them whole and unrefined.
* Grosvenor, Mary B. and Lori A. Smolin. Visualizing Nutrition: Everyday Choices Second Edition. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012.
In addition to these fun-facts, I wanted to share with you another delicious hummus creation – this one with extra sneaky veggies blended in!
My Sneaky Roasted-Red-Pepper Hummus!
If your garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are canned, drain and rinse them thoroughly.
Measure out the roasted red pepper, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and spices.
Add the chickpeas to your blender.
Add the other ingredients and secure the lid on top.
Turn your blender on med/high.
Blend until it becomes smooth and creamy — it may take a couple minutes. (If your blender is having trouble thoroughly processing the chickpeas, add a tablespoon of water at a time as needed to help it out.)
Spoon it out into a 2-cup container, grad some dippages (I like raw carrots and celery especially – pretzels actually taste great too).
- 1 ¾ cup cooked chickpeas/garbanzo beans (or one 15-oz can, drained and rinsed)
- ½ cup roasted red peppers
- 1 ½ tbsp. tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. chili powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- (If your chickpeas/garbanzo beans are canned, drain and rinse them thoroughly.) Measure out your other ingredients. Add them and the chickpeas to your blender and secure on the lid.
- Turn your blender on med/high. Blend until it becomes smooth and creamy, or for a couple minutes. (If your blender is having trouble thoroughly processing the chickpeas, add a tablespoon of water at a time as needed to help it out.)
- Spoon it out into a 2-cup container, grad some dippages (I like raw carrots and celery especially – pretzels actually taste great too).
Yum yum yum.
What is one way you like “sneaking” more vegetables into your diet?
With lots of hugs,