The Processed Food Detective (Video)

This video shows you how to be a detective and track down processed sugar, grain, and oil in your food!

Processed Food Detective

Find Out What is in Your Food!

In this video, I share some tips on how to find processed sugar, grain, and oil in packaged foods. Included is a helpful tip on the many names for “Sugar” when you are looking at ingredients. Take a look at the video, and try it out at home, or next time you shop!

Food Labels 101-Reading and Understanding Nutrition Facts

If reading and understanding food labels is brand new for you, please take a look at a previous blog post I created on how to read and understand what is in your food. This post (and video) covers the very basics of reading and understanding nutrition facts, and the ingredients label.

Learn one Diet Secret that’s 100% Non-Debatable! (Video)

Watch this video and learn one secret to diet and nutrition which is 100% non-debatable, doesn’t matter who you ask!

Diet Secret!

Are You Ready!

Diets and nutrition can be very confusing, do we even know what is healthy anymore?! What if I told you that there is one nutrition tip that has 100% consensus across all diets, and nutrition plans? Well, there is! Doesn’t matter if you ask someone who is Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Vegetarian, Mediterranean Diet…anyone!

The Diet Secret you need to know…

Here it is: if you cut processed sugar, processed grains, and processed oils from your diet, and substitute in more whole foods/ingredients, that is a healthy move! If you ask a Vegan, they might say “well yes, that is a healthy thing to do, but don’t eat Animal products!” If you ask someone who is Keto: “well yes, that would be a healthy thing to do, but on my plan you can eat Butter, Bacon, and Burgers! (with no bun, of course)”

So, while there is not consensus from everyone about the proper macro nutrient ratios etc, you will not find anyone who works in the Health/Fitness industry who will argue with you about this tip. If you do find anyone in the industry who argues that leaving processed sugar, grains, and oils in your diet is healthy, personally I would question the validity of any other advice they give.

Why are Sugar, Processed Grain, and Processed Oils Problematic?

In short, the processing methods for all of these foods cause our body to react differently to these foods, compared to in their natural state. The example I give in the video is that a whole Apple does have some naturally occurring sugar, called Fructose; when you eat the Apple, you get the Fructose with some natural packaging/dietary fiber, which results in a more moderate impact on your blood sugar and insulin. Your body’s response to Fructose in fruit with that of High Fructose Corn Syrup (processed sugar) is dramatically different. A similar comparison can be made to your body’s response to whole grain vs processed, enriched flour and other processed grain products.

For an breakdown of Oil processing methods and why some may be problematic, check out my previous blog post/video. Unfortunately, you will see a theme that the most highly processed sugar, grains, and oils are the cheapest for you to buy, and the most heavily marketed.

How to start this Diet Secret

If you eat a lot of processed food and want to make this change, it is best to start gradually. For example, if you drink a lot of soda or other sugary drinks, that is a great place to put this diet secret into action. What are some options to substitute for sugary drinks?

  1. Water
  2. Water with fresh lemon/fruit
  3. Seltzer water
  4. Herbal Tea
  5. Black Tea
  6. Black Coffee

Your staples should be water or water with lemon/fruit since everyone needs to stay hydrated, but there are some options to explore if you want to substitute in something else for your sweet drinks. Diet/artificially sweetened drinks are a whole other topic, if our focus is eliminating processed foods, steering clear of these products fits that aim.

How do I know if I am eating Processed Food???

How do I find these mystery ingredients in food I have in my pantry, food I see at the grocery store?! Never fear, my next blog post will show you how to be a detective and track down processed sugar, grain, and oil in your food…see you next time!

Interview 02: Gina Cain (Video)

Interview covers Insights from Working in Healthcare, the transition when you stop being an Athlete, and Fitness Benefits for Mothers to be.

Interview Topics:

  1. Health Insights from CRNA (and what a CRNA is)
  2. What happens when you stop being an Athlete?
  3. Why is activity/fitness important for expecting mothers?

Insights from Working in Healthcare

My sister, Gina shares insights with us from her experience as an ICU Nurse and a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist). The most surprising topic was what happens to people who come to the Hospital with chronic diseases, which may be influenced by lifestyle factors; no nutrition or exercise consultation! Hospital staff are trained to treat the patient so they can leave the Hospital, Gina explains, and Doctors do not provide any advice or resources on lifestyle factors which may help manage their condition (in her experience).

Gina does share that one lifestyle intervention Hospitals do provide information on is smoking cessation. We both speculate that the reason for this is that the science is settled at this point, smoking is bad for you. Because there are some many different diets/nutritional approaches, perhaps the medical field has collectively decided to stay out of the discussion when treating patients.

What Happens When you Stop Being an Athlete?

Gina played NCAA Division 1 Field Hockey, and even played in a Final 4! We discuss what happens when you go from having a competitive season to train for, meals and workouts scheduled, to working full time, paying bills, and having to make time for exercise.

The Benefits of Exercise and Fitness for Mothers to Be

Gina is going to be a mom soon, super exciting! We talk about the benefits of staying active during pregnancy, from her experience so far. There are many different guidelines to exercising while pregnant, so anyone reading this or viewing the interview is advised to consult with their Doctor about considerations during all different time periods and trimesters of pregnancy.

We hope to be back soon with an interview on how to prioritize your health and fitness as a new mom!

Interview 01: Bob Uguccioni (Video)

On Personal Training, Keto Diet, Fasting

The Interview Series Begins!

I’m sitting down with my dad, Bob Uguccioni, who is an experienced personal trainer, and strength and conditioning coach. Topics Bob gives insights on include:

  1. How to pick the right Personal Trainer
  2. Intro to the Ketogenic Diet
  3. Intro to Intermittent Fasting

Top Insights

Bob walks us through his experience, and professional certifications related to training and nutrition. One thing to note, not all certifications are created equal, in fact some only require a multiple choice exam! A good test taker does not (necessary) make a good personal trainer/coach. Bob gives some tips on how to pick the right trainer to help you meet your goals.

When thinking about the Keto Diet, a lot of people think that eating Bacon Cheeseburgers with no bun put us right into Ketosis/Fat Burning mode. Bob clarifies the important role of vegetables in the Keto Diet, and gives insight into his experience with the Diet.

Fasting means controlled periods of time when one chooses not to eat, this is different from starvation. Intermittent Fasting is periodic times when someone chooses to fast; the most basic model is a 16 hour fasting window, and an 8 hour eating window each day (rather than constantly eating small meals/snacking. Bob tells us why fasting is more challenging for people who eat processed sugar and grains.

In Closing

Thanks so much for checking out this interview, I will have many more coming to help gain additional perspective and expertise on Health and Fitness related topics.

Vegetable Oils- Healthy or Not?

Let’s Talk Nutrition- Follow Along on You Tube!

Vegetable Oils- How do we get Oil from Vegetables?

Let’s talk Nutrition, this post is all about “Vegetable Oil”. Plant based oils are sometimes considered to be nutritious and healthy. Our post today is going to explore how these oils are processed and made, and help you make your own decision on what is healthy.

A lot of recipes, or food prep methods call for use of Vegetable Oil. Cooking, baking, marinades, dressings, the applications and uses of plant based oils in food these days really are limitless. Did you ever wonder how we get oil from Vegetables? Yeah me too, and the answer may surprise you.

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We do not get oil from vegetables; most plant based oil comes from seeds or pits. The most common sources of plant based oils are Olive, Canola, Cottonseed, Sunflower, Safflower, and Soybean. There are many other sources if you would like to take a look. There is some degree of processing involved to extract oil from seeds, let’s take a look at common oil production methods and how oil is made from seeds:

Plant Based Oil Processing Methods, Defined

Here is a breakdown of how plant based oils are produced:

  1. Solvent Extracted
  2. Expeller Pressed
  3. Cold Pressed

Solvent Extracted

Solvent Extracted oils are produced by grinding seeds down to a paste, and introducing a chemical solvent to help extract the oil (the most common chemical used for this method is Hexane). The solvent chemicals are removed after the process, giving us Vegetable Oil.

Commercial companies claim that all of the solvent chemicals are removed at the end of the process, however they are not able to guarantee there are not trace amounts left in the finished product. The end result is a highly efficient oil production process, which can extract 98-99% of oil from the seed. Due to the high efficiency of this process, solvent extracted oils are often the cheapest (and most widely available).

Expeller Pressed

Expeller Pressed Oils are produced by a mechanical process, which does not involve chemical solvents. The expeller presses the oil from the seeds, and this process also produces some heat (140-210 degrees F).

The heat produced in the process actually helps press more oil from the seed, however it is not as efficient as solvent extracting, typically pulling 60-70% of oil from the seeds. If you note on the product label that the oil you are using is expeller pressed, you may be assured that solvent extraction was not used in production.  

Cold Pressed

Cold Pressing is also done via mechanical means, similar to expeller pressing, however the temperature may not exceed 110 degrees F to be labeled Cold Pressed.

Cold Pressed is the least processed plant based oil, and is popular among consumers because the flavor of Olive, Avocado, etc. is not fundamentally altered by heat or a chemical extraction process. As you may imagine, cold pressing is less efficient than expeller pressing due to lower temperature, and typically cold pressed/cold processed oils will cost more to buy.

Cracking the Code

If you want to be sure of the processing method of oils you buy, you must read the label and research the company. Unfortunately, companies are not required to list on their label if they use solvent extraction as their processing method.

To crack this code, follow these guidelines:

  • Is the oil you are buying is very low in price?
  • Is the processing method listed on the ingredients label?
  • If yes to question 1 and/or no to question 2, you can make a reasonable assumption that it is solvent extracted.

For a quick and easy guide to reading and understanding nutrition labels, take a look at my blog post on this topic. What you’d want to see to make sure you are avoiding solvent extracted Oil are key words like “First, Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil”, or “Expelled Pressed Canola Oil”. If the label simply reads “Canola Oil”, that is an indicator it may be solvent extracted.

We will explore potential health implications of these different processing methods of plant based oils on a later post, but for right now the general theme follows the same guideline as my previous posts:

If food you are choosing highly processed, and fundamentally altered from its original state, this food is probably not the healthiest choice available.

Vegetable Oils in Summary

  • The Cheapest Oil is likely solvent extracted
  • Companies are not required to label solvent extracted oils as such
  • Cold Pressed Oil is the least processed of all plant based Oils

Food for thought, next time you restock your Vegetable Oil!

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