Shopping and Cooking Tips

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Shopping and Cooking Tips

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  • February 8, 2016

Sometimes shopping and cooking can stir up confusion. Just because something appears to be a health food doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy for you.

There are a couple of things you want to look out for:

All fats are not created equal. Just as when you cut an apple open and watch the inside oxidize and turn brown, fat undergoes a similar process. It doesn’t happen as quickly as with the apple, but it will degrade with time. Any nut or seed that has been roasted or cooked in any way has some degrading in the quality of fat. That being said, aim for raw nuts and seeds, and nut butters which are made from only the main nut or seed. When bringing these products home, place them in the fridge to preserve the fat. With time it will oxidize at room temperature. This includes hemp hearts as well. Flax seeds should remain uncrushed until you eat them. Milled flax seeds are great fiber, but they lose their Omega-3s once exposed. All oils should be purchased or stored in dark green bottles, which protect the oils from light. Preferably, the oil should be virgin and cold-pressed as many oils are heated in the extraction process, rendering them rancid. All vegetable oils should avoid heat, with the exception of avocado oil and olive oil, which can be heated slightly. Coconut oil, pork fat, duck fat and grass-fed butter are best for cooking in small amounts due to the ability of the oils to withstand heat. I say small amounts due to the fact that they are saturated fats and it doesn’t take much to cook the food on your pan. Grass-fed butter is better than conventional because Omega-3s are formed in the chloroplast of plants. If the cow is not consuming its natural diet at the point of milking, it will affect the quality of nutrients in your butter. Whether you are avoiding farm fish or not, grocery store labeling could be confusing. In order for fish to be certified as wild, it must say “wild” in its name. If it does not, assume it is farmed. Farmed fish contamination is just as likely as wild fish contamination and is more likely to contain less Omega-3s and more Omega-6s. Free-run eggs come from a chicken that is given room to move around and exercise. This produces a higher quality egg. Free-range and standard-cage eggs comes from chickens limited in their movement. It is also important to keep in mind that chickens are omnivores, not vegetarians, so they like to eat bugs, which has an impact on the quality of fat in their eggs as well. Pastured animals or wild animals like elk contain less fat in their meat and contains higher amounts of Omega-3s. Factory raised animals should not be over-consumed due to the excess of inflammatory Omega-6s, saturated fats, potential hormones and toxins. Foods labeled “instant” or “quick” will always raise your blood sugar for the worse.

Aim for whole grain, sprouted or steel-cut oats. If it takes at least 15 minutes to cook, the effect of sugar being released in your body will be much slower, meaning more sustained energy and likely less weight gain. Gluten-free products are almost always a bad choice. Some items like a chia seed cereal (such as Holy Crap) are fine. They are naturally gluten-free; however, gluten-free products that are a substitute for breads (like pizza crust) can be full of overly processed corn by-products, rice flours and tapioca starch. If you need to avoid gluten, and you want a treat that’s a different story. If not, you will likely gain weight from all the sugar you have been eating by consuming these products.

Conventional, local or organic vegetables? Local vegetables will always have more nutrients due to the fact that they stayed in the ground or on the vine longer and were not picked before being ripe. Organic vegetables will contain fewer chemicals than conventional ones. When possible and within your budget, buying local organic vegetables is best. If you want to be more selective, look up the dirty dozen. Vegetables along with some fruit are a very important part of your diet. Overall, my advice for people is to pick up only what your need and make a plan for how you are going to eat it, instead of worrying about price. Most people will end up throwing out produce at some point during the week. Instead of doing that, buy fewer veggies; make sure they are of better quality and that you have a plan in mind for how and when to use them. Then you’re not really spending any extra money or wasting any good food. Just as the world thrives on diversity, so do our bodies.

Experiment with new vegetables, fruits, animal products, nuts, seeds and grains. For example, instead of buying standard cheeses try cheese made with goat or sheep milk. Try foods that are similar, but provide different nutrients. Overall, and as I always say, buy food in its most original, natural form whenever possible.

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Josh Stryde B.Kin (Hons), CSNN Holistic Nutrition Consultantâ„¢, Precision Nutrition Level 1, PTS

Josh has been working and educating in the fitness Industry for over 10 years. He has seen his greatest success by arming his clients with knowledge and allowing them to active role when working towards their goals. Without knowing why you are eating the way you are eating, or why you are following a particular workout routine it becomes difficult to stay consistent.

Spartan Team Canada 2017
Team PVL 2017/2018
20+ OCR podium finishes


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