My last true “7 Interesting Things I Read This Week” post was exactly a month ago, and I collect articles to post like they’re going out of style, so choosing only 7 for today was a challenge! I decided to work through my bookmarks in chronological order, which is why many of these articles are a few weeks old. We’ll catch up soon enough! Enjoy this week’s links!
7 Interesting Things I Read This Week
- Food Manufacturers Betting on Gluten-Free: When business and nutrition interact, you can be pretty sure my interest levels will be piqued! I found this article, which explains how food manufacturers are investing in the proliferation of gluten-free food items because of their predicted continuing growth, to be interesting and frustrating at the same time. Of course, I support the availability of gluten-free items for those with celiac disease, gluten sensitivities, or others who choose to avoid gluten. At the same time, capitalizing on consumers’ vulnerability by implying a gluten-free is healthier when it is really loaded with lots of extra sugar and/ or saturated fat is just not fair. If you haven’t gotten my free pdf on “7 Nutrition Myths that Will Change How You Eat Every Day,” get it now – it explains a bit more about the gluten-free phenomenon.
- 10 Reasons You Need to Sleep Even if You’re Busy: I’ve mentioned before that prioritizing sleep is one of my worst health habits. In my old job, it wasn’t uncommon to be working 8am-midnight, work on the blog until 1:30 or 2am, and get up at 6am to run. That leaves jut four hours for sleep, and I’m embarrassed by the number of times I “made that work.” I’ve been prioritizing sleep lately, and working on getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night, and it’s amazing how quickly your body adjusts! Now, if I get 6 hours, I feel tired the next day. I think this goes to show that sleep is incredibly important, and even if we can squeeze by with less than we know we need for weeks, months, or years, doing so reduces our productivity, health, mood, and more.
- How to Evaluate Supplements: I covered most of WebMD’s tips (and more!) in my recent post on how to choose supplements (including how the FDA regulates supplements as food and does not require manufacturers to prove their claims!), but I wanted to share this perspective as a follow-up. The article gives a few additional tips for choosing the form of supplement (liquid vs. pill) and the storage of supplements.
- Fresh Salad Vending Machines Testing in Chicago: I’ve been seeing some great versions of healthy (or healthier) vending machines popping up all over the place. The community center where I hold my Girls on the Run practices has packaged snacks that are a bit healthier, and a gym I visited last week had a machine stocked with protein bars and healthier post-workout-snacks. But the ability to get a fresh, nutrient-packed salad from a vending machine sounds like a dream come true! I hope this company is successful and continues expanding, especially for the benefit of those for whom preparing food is not an option. (As a side note, my mom always talks about eating moldy ham-and-cheese sandwiches out of a vending machine in college … disgusting!)
- The Best and Worst Foods to Eat When You’re Sick: Sadly, this is a time of year when people tend to get sick more frequently. While Greatist must have overlooked my Healing Vegetable Soup (ha!), the list they have here is full of tried-and-true options that will help you feel a bit better when you’re under the weather. Remember (as they mention) that when you’re sick, even if food doesn’t sound too appealing, you do still need to eat to help your body repair!
- The Case for Full-Fat Dairy: For so long, it’s been engrained in my mind that healthy mono- and poly-unsaturated fats are beneficial (and they are!), but that we should stick to low-fat dairy. I’ve heard some of the most influential nutrition speakers talk about this, and yet, recent studies are beginning to show otherwise. It’s not so much that there are health benefits in full-fat dairy that don’t exist in low-fat dairy (although some believe that full-fat organic milk has more Omega-3s), but the increased satiety from eating full-fat dairy may cause us to eat less overall. Amelia wrote a great post that touched on this a few weeks ago. Overall, I’m still on the fence here. As I’ve been working to decrease my sugar cravings, I’ve also been experimenting a bit with full-fat dairy … and while I’m not 100% sold yet, I’m anxious to continue reading the research and learning what works best for my body. (I also have a surprise recipe coming tomorrow that involves full-fat yogurt!)
- 10 Secrets to Happiness You Keep Forgetting: I’ve focused on positivity (here and here), gratitude (here), and a few of the others listed in this article, but it never hurts to have a reminder of the many things we can do to improve our happiness.
(*Note: all pictures are from the linked articles, except the supplements one, which is from my original post).
Spill It Sundays
I’m linking back up with Arman’s Spill It Sundays this week, on a related topic … fat! I’ve mentioned many times that I used to be “scared” of fats, particularly nut butters, olive oil, and avocados. However, over the past 5 years or so, I have gradually increased the percentage of fats in my diet, and find they are some of my favorite foods! I go through nut butters shockingly quickly (a good thing for my Sweet Cinnamon Eggy Oats!), and try to include avocados in many meals. While the majority of fats will continue to come from the sources I think are the healthiest (including fish, olive oil and olives, avocado, nuts and seeds), I’m beginning to experiment with other sources, as I mentioned in point #6 above.
Check out some of my healthy-fat-laden Birthday meals from Friday … I enjoyed:
- (no-sugar, no-grain, no artificial sweetener) pancakes with Sunbutter and a grapefruit for breakfast
- A salad with chicken patties, veggies, and avocado plus homemade vegetable soup for lunch
- Filet mignon, lean bison steak, arugula-cauliflower mashed “potatoes” (recipe coming soon!) and lots of grilled veggies for dinner, and
- A pumpkin mugcake (again, no-sugar, no-grain, no artificial sweetener … meaning not actually that delicious!) with almond butter for dessert.
I’m experimenting with increasing my lean red meat intake from 1-2 times per year to once per month or so. As you can tell, I’m consistently tinkering with my own personal diet, and I love doing so! I know that the experimentation and knowledge I’m always gaining will help my health coaching clients as well!
So tell me in the comments … Which article was the most interesting to you? Have you ever eaten out of a healthy vending machine? What is your favorite healthy fat?
Meg….how did I not know it was your birthday? I feel like a terrible blend! Well, HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY my extremely brainy blend who taught me so many life skills like BrusselS sprouts and introduced me to ‘M+K time’.
#1…..oh my gee. My mate works in FCMG for a supermarket here (Coles) and for 2014, they are running an entire aisle dedicated to ‘Gluten free’ products purely because its a niche market. I have friends who actually could get seriously ill if consuming gluten so this really is frustrating!
Hope the chicken patties were tasty!
Don’t feel like a terrible blend – you’re great! I didn’t really publicize my birthday :). Thank you for the wishes! I share your frustration on the confusion over gluten labeling. And yes – the chicken patties were amazing!! You’re the patty master!
For many years our Firm had vending machines in the kitchen to meet the demand for snacks. Never once did I obtain anything that even seemed nutritious, much less fresh. A few years ago, we replaced the vending machines with a large cabinet of various free snacks, which while perhaps a bit more nutritious and fresher than the vending options, still left much to be desired. I am about to take a photo of the current variety of snacks that we are stocked in that cabinet and employ you to suggest a method by which we can gradually convert the selections for our staff to more healthy (nutritious and energy) options without having a full blown mutiny on our hands. Clearly there are better options than candy packages and packets of sugar wafer cookies?
Please do, Gary! I would seriously love to make suggestions on your work cabinets … we could even turn that into a post!! I promise to not suggest anything “super strange” either 🙂
Alright so #1 gets me worked up daily. As you know, I eat gluten-free, most of the time. Through trial and error I know my body does better without it (trust me, no one wants to be in the same room with me post gluten-consumption) but somewhere along the way GF got convoluted with healthy. There is also the misconception that gluten-free means low carb. I absolute do NOT eat low-carb (I might die if I tried) but trying to explain that to people is like an uphill battle. Something along the lines of “I’ve never heard of millet?! You made that up right?!” ughhhh I digress.
So year, hearing companies become GF certified for the sake of marketing is not helping my case. Gahhhhhh. Rant done.
You’re right, Davida. Like I said to Michael, I think I was a little too nice to the companies that try to mislead consumers when I initially wrote my post. I DO think it is frustrating, unfair, and deceptive, and I don’t support the misleading labels. It’s so fortunate when people like you, who do need to avoid or limit gluten, also know so much about nutrition and can pick and choose the right options for them, but it’s just sad for the masses. Your comment about millet made me laugh 🙂
I love the idea of the healthy vending machines! It would be so convenient to be able to get a healthy salad while on the go!
I agree! I really hope they make it to Dallas!
Another great collection of links – and as usual you cruelly expect us to pick ONE!
I love the ‘9 Foods’ post from Amelia enough to comment and sign up for the site, it is such a great set of info.
But the ‘Gluten Free’ thing is one that is bugging the crap out of me … maybe I am more sensitive to it because of what we are doing with Lisa’s diet recently, but the whole co-opting of things like Stevia and Gluten Free as marketing ploys (similar to the lax rules around ‘whole grain’) is just annoying because it preys on people’s limited exposure and knowledge.
Thanks again for another great set of links … it almost excuses not having done one for a month. Almost.
I’m so glad you checked out Eating Made Easy – Amelia truly is one of the bloggers I respect and trust most.
You and Davida are making me realize I was too nice (shocking, I know) on the gluten-free article. You’re right – I DO feel frustrated that they are marketing things as healthy when they’re really not, and I DO object to preying upon people’s limited knowledge. Truly, the solution is knowledge, and I just wish there was a way to educate the masses about this stuff.
I see your snark in the last line there! I’m working on my own 😉
I love the idea of the Farmer’s Fridge vending machines but I have a hard time grasping the idea and how it would work. I bet it’s costly but worth it to have a healthy option in a pinch.
I think you’re right that it’s costly, Jill – it seems like there’s a lot of manpower that goes into stocking the machines daily, so I’ll be interested to see how (if) they’re able to scale it. I hope they do, though!
This was perfect timing. Guess who has been sick all week!
Oh no! I’m so sorry, Chrissy. I hope you feel better soon – have some Healing Vegetable Soup, some citrus, and some tea!
I wish there were of the fresh salad vending machines around! I hate when your somewhere and have NO options. That is really neat! What a great way to help people make healthy choices.
I know … I want the company to do well so they make it to Dallas :). I always prefer to make my own food, but this would be SUCH a nice option!