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Vexing Vocabulary: Calories

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What is a calorie? We know it as a measurement commonly used when discussing food, but what does it represent? Too simplify things; the calorie is a measure of expended energy. When we talk about our diet, calories are assigned from 3 main sources: carbohydrates, fats and protein (our macronutrients). Per gram, carbohydrates and protein have 4 calories, and fat has 9 calories. This is a simple way of showing that these nutrients represent a certain amount of energy our body can use to contract muscles, think, move, maintain organ function, and sustain life. Contrary to popular belief, a calorie is not a physical thing. Instead it is a scalable measurement of the ability to use a physical thing, like the macronutrients, as energy. Needless to say, in the human body energy is important! We require energy to survive, but most importantly in proportion to activity. For every increase in intensity and duration of activity, there is an increase in calories burned, and an increased use of macronutrients for energy. This is applicable to all activities from sleeping to laying to sitting, and walking to jogging to sprinting. In recent years however, the calorie has developed a different reputation.

“Feed your body what it needs”

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Eating for Exercise

Diet and exercise always work well together. Whether you are trying to build muscle or lose weight, one without the other hinders results. When an athlete follows a structured exercise routine and fails to eat properly, optimum performance cannot exist. In competition, this is a tragedy. All the time and sweat invested in training wasted because the plate was deprioritized. Investing in your diet is crucial, and hopefully after this article, it will be much easier to prioritize!

“Strong and fit is the image to aspire to.”

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Vexing Vocabulary: Exploring Energy

“I feel like I don’t have any energy. What can I eat to give me energy?” This is a quote I hear from new clients on a regular basis in my private practice. Being a Dietitian and self-cited mediator of information, what better way to answer this question then a quick Google search? In 0.28 seconds, Google finds me 24 million results that supposedly answer this seemingly popular issue. Upon further inspection of the information at my fingertips, I find an article on Business Insider: “10 Foods that will give you energy”. Sounds perfect!  Here is an abbreviated list of the cited foods:

  •       Almonds, Dark chocolate, Salmon, Spicy herbs, Greek Yogurt,  Popcorn, Leafy Greens, Whole Grains, Blueberries, Eggs
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The Lifestyle Triad: Balance, Moderation, Variety

A colleague of mine once observed that efficiency is reduced when there are “too many chiefs and not enough Indians”. That remark correlates with my current view of the health industry; it’s a mess. Thanks to extremely transparent access in all media, everyone is a health expert. Personal trainers, doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, nurses, and dietitians all offer professional services that occasionally step into the realm of the one another. When the education, experience, and application are relevant there is nothing wrong with this coverage. A problem arises when an expert decides to branch into a new area without the proper education or ability. This is one of the most direct causes of contradicting recommendations, which creates a medium for overwhelming confusion and misinformation.

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Vexing Vocab: Examining Healthy

This series (“Vexing Vocabulary”) is written with the intention to clarify or correct common misconceptions in the health industry, specifically the confusion caused by buzzwords. In most industries, information is spread using commonly accepted terms to raise awareness or drive trends. While this allows us to communicate and receive information at an increased rate, it is also responsible for the rampant spread of partial and even complete misinformation. Personally, I think it is because most buzzwords have multiple meanings, which creates an overlap of information that is not compatible. Being able to understand and identify that most commonly used terms have multiple meanings is the first step towards becoming an informed consumer. As you read this blog, if you think of some commonly used buzzwords that you would like to see a post on, let us know!

Attention to Lifestyle

Attention to Lifestyle

You’re busy. Each day you find yourself more heavily invested in life with higher expectations and more responsibilities. Stress is an ever-present factor, and with it, sometimes life seems to get in the way of truly living. This cycle is far too common in our society. It is the same cycle that leads to sedentary behavior and poor eating habits. From these habits come the sacrifice of health and what Jack Lalanne considered the most fundamental American tragedy. People are living longer but less able to participate in the activities they love. Said another way, life is measured in quantity not quality. The average lifespan is 85, but who cares when a majority of adults stop doing what they love by 60? There needs to be acknowledgement of the difference between living and existing. It is easier than one might think to invest in a life that favors living. All you need is a little attention to lifestyle.