SNEAKY FOODS – TIM HORTONS EDITION

Hey you! Welcome to a new series I’m trying out! Basically what will be happening here is that I will be accessing nutrition information on foods that are branded as ‘healthy options’ and comparing them to alternatives to see which is actually better for you… and to point out how much food companies lie.

Today, for my first edition of Sneaky Foods, I’m tackling Tim Hortons! Because it’s almost Canada Day and we’re celebrating a milestone this year (150 years, woo!), Tim Hortons brought back their famed ‘Roll Up the Rim to Win” contest (if you have no idea what I’m talking about because you’re not Canadian it’s ok don’t worry this information is not crucial to the rest of this post and also I’m sad for you because you’re missing out). Because I’m a glutton for punishment (I never win at this contest) I found myself heading to Timmy’s for coffee this morning rather than the much tastier Starbucks. While I was there I was looking into the nutrition information on their menu, and I found some very interesting tidbits I’d like to share.

First up is the Bagel B.E.L.T. (that’s a bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato breakfast sandwich for you non-Canadians).

20080129231315_random january 2008 014

 

The suggested option for this is to pair it with a 12 Grain Bagel – sounds healthy, right? Most of us know that eating whole grains is, overall, a better choice than eating white flour. However in this case, after seeing the nutrition facts of the 12 Grain Bagel, I wanted to dig a little deeper.

 

Calories Fat Sodium Carbs Sugar Protein
530 24g 1040mg 61g 11g 24g

As you can see, the B.E.L.T. with the 12 Grain Bagel was pretty high on calories and on sugar. So, I decided to swap out the bagel for a Plain Bagel. Check out how that changed the calories/sugar below:

Calories Fat Sodium Carbs Sugar Protein
485 17g 1019mg 62g 6g 22.5g

Just swapping out the 12 Grain Bagel (a seemingly healthier option!) for a Plain Bagel saved me 5 grams of sugar, 45 calories, 20mg of sodium, and 7 grams of fat.

 

While neither of these are ‘healthy’ options per-se (obviously not, they’re fast food) there are a lot of ways that we can be tricked into actually making worse choices, just because of a way that a company markets its food.

Let’s move on, shall we? Let’s start with a Tim Horton’s Raisin Bran Muffin. Sounds like a healthy option, no? We’re being good today and going with the muffin over a donut – and one that has bran in it, even! Take a look at the nutrition breakdown below:

12-07-18-cranberry-blueberry-muffin-tim-hortons

Calories Fat Sodium Carbs Sugar Protein
370 12g 370mg 63g 36g 5g

HOLY HELL. We’re looking at 370 calories and 36 grams of sugar…. for a muffin… THAT’S NOT EVEN THAT ENJOYABLE. WTF, Tim Hortons? Seriously?

 

For reference, I’m going to swap in a Honey Dip Donut. See the nutrition info below: Glazed-Doughnuts-3

Calories Fat Sodium Carbs Sugar Protein
220 6g 210mg 39g 19g 4g

The Honey Dip Donut scores better across the board. Fewer calories, fat, sodium, carbs, and sugar. This is not a one-off, either. Realistically, most of the ‘yeast’ donuts (the fluffy ones that aren’t cake-y) are much, much better for you than any of Tim Hortons’ muffins.

These are just a few examples of foods disguising themselves as ‘healthy’. The only real way to know what you’re eating is to make it yourself, honestly, and you’ll save yourself a lot of calories, fat, and sugar in the process. The amount of sugar, especially, in a lot of this stuff is truly horrifying. It’s so, so worth it to always read your labels and make educated food decisions.

Go forth, my informed friends! You can do it!

XO,

J

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WHOLE…. 15?

Sooooo I accidentally oopsed on the whole Whole30 thing. (It’s not ALL my fault, I swear!) Long story short is I took a bit of something someone else cooked and tasted cheese and was just like… meh, two weeks was fun and all but I’m over it.

Realistically, the Whole 30 is stupid restrictive. Like, to the point of life no longer being worth living. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome as a reset for your body, but eating like this for more than a couple of weeks is just not sustainable. You’ll hate everyone and everything and essentially just be a total grump.

There are some things I really liked about it, though. For one, it was very strict in helping me avoid added/refined sugars. Sugar is a nemesis for pretty much everyone and it’s in freakin’ EVERYTHING, so being strict really helped eliminate sugar from my diet. After the initial sugar detox migraine, I felt really good – less tummy troubles than usual (I have a fairly sensitive digestive system) and no 2:30pm-falling-asleep-at-my-desk sugar crash. It really pointed out for me that I DO have an issue with sugar and, by extension, with dairy. (TRAGIC.) I ate ice cream after the cheese incident because #YOLO and let’s just say I regretted it later. Big time. In the last two days I have kinda been testing things out on myself, and it seems like cheese and yogurt are cool (in that they don’t give me bloating or make me feel ill) but other forms of dairy are not. C’est la vie, I suppose. I also noticed that by about 1.5 weeks in, I didn’t really want to eat sweets anymore. My coworker brought leftover cookies into the office and I was like, nah, I’m good, thanks. Same thing happened a few days later with cake. I think eating like this has given me perspective on what is WORTH cheating for (sooo like cinnamon buns, ice cream, pizza, etc.) and what will just end up being ‘meh’. I realized that I often eat sugar for the sake of it but end up not really enjoying it – so from now on I can be more mindful about my treats and make sure I’m using them for something that I really, really enjoy.

In terms of what I didn’t like about the Whole 30 experience – it’s boring. You have to eat the same thing over and over again because realistically there’s not a whole lot of diversity available. If you’re a person who doesn’t love all veggies, this will be even tougher for you. I think the elimination of grains was what I struggled with most – you don’t realize how much of your diet is made up of grains until you’re not allowed to have them anymore. So many snacks are grain-based. So many side dishes. So much everything. I know I don’t have a gluten intolerance, so this seemed a bit overkill to me. HOWEVER, it did make me realize how many calories tend to accompany grains. By not being able to eat grains, it forced me to attempt to replace those calories with either protein or fruit/veggies, and that’s harder than it seems! I found I was just eating fewer calories and eating MORE food because grains were not included in what I could eat. Going forward, though, I think I might allow myself the inclusion of one kind of grain per day (that means I can eat sushi again, THANK GOODNESS). As it turns out, a lot of grain products contain a lot of added sugar, which is where I think a lot of weight-gain issues come from. So I think by limiting myself to one serving of grains a day and ensuring it’s a type that has little to no added sugar, I’ll be ok.

This is probably a good time to tell you that I’ve decide to continue for the next two weeks with what I will refer to as Whole30-ish. I will add back in a small amount of dairy (like 1/2 to 1 serving at most per day) because I feel like not eating it somehow makes my intolerance worse? Like my body forgets what to do with dairy products? Idk. I’ll also limit myself to one serving of a grain-based product per day, and be chill with legumes. I will also allow myself one ‘cheat’ meal per week where I can eat whatever the heck I want and not give a damn, because maintaining your sanity is important, friends. Other than that, the rules still apply, because I really have seen success with this.

I weighed myself the morning of the slip up and I had shed 10 pounds in 2 weeks, which is pretty nuts. Guys, I cannot stress this enough – I really, really, REALLY think it’s the refined sugar. I’m going to go on a tangent for a second – I’ll probably make this a separate post at some point and I’ll link it here – but there is scientific evidence that sugar is substantially worse for our health and more responsible for weight gain than actual fat is. The whole ‘low fat’ crap is an elaborate conspiracy orchestrated by sugar producers so that people would keep consuming their products. They paid for studies to show that fat was bad and it caught on and we are only now realizing how wrong those (very biased) studies were. This is true, I am making none of this up. Google it. ANYWAY. Refined sugar is bad, and for me anyway, it makes me gain weight like you would not believe. So, buh-bye sugar (except for my one cheat meal per week, ’cause a girl’s gotta live a little).

TL/DR, the Whole 30 is a bit overkill but helpful if you need a reset or if you think you may have a food intolerance. 6/10 would recommend. (Realistically, you could do a 2-week sugar cleanse and get most of the benefits, assuming you aren’t testing for food issues.)

So, do any of you think you’ll give Whole 30 a try? Let me know! (I also have a couple of recipes I can share if you need them!)

 

XO,

J

A WHOLE DANG WEEK OF WHOLE 30

I’m over a week into this.

I know, whaaaat? How am I doing this? Even I have no idea.

But today is day 9 of 30 (oh my god 21 days still seems like such a long time help) and I’m still here. So far, I’m down over 6 pounds – and that’s with very little exercise. (I gave myself a break the first week to let my body adjust to the lack of sugar/carbs before attempting any truly difficult workouts.) I did hit up spin class on Saturday morning, and while I very nearly died (just kidding… mostly) I felt pretty good!

I’m going to see Wonder Woman tonight (FINALLY) so send me all your positive vibes so that I’ll be strong enough to avoid the beautiful, buttery popcorn.

Also – I’m feeling like I’m going to have to implement some kind of reward system in order to keep up with this, so leave me any great ideas you’ve got for non-food-based rewards. I’m thinking at the end of this week, I deserve a mani-pedi… am I right?

Hope you’re all surviving and thriving this Monday morning!

 

xo,

J

WHOLE 30 – DAY 4 UPDATE

Don’t worry guys and gals… this is not a post about how I’ve already failed. (I know, I’m as surprised as you are!)

I’m actually just here to say – so far, so good! My sugar-deprivation migraine only really lasted one afternoon, and now I’m smooth sailing.

I’ve been eating about 1400 calories a day – as it turns out, it’s kinda hard to eat more than that when basically all you eat is veggies. Complex carbs are bae, don’t get me wrong, but they’re also hella caloric. If it wasn’t for the meat I’m eating I would neeeever meet my calorie goals.

Also, thank goodness for fruit. I know, I know, you’re not supposed to rely on fruit to help you get through the sugar cravings. You’re not supposed to rely on Larabars or RX bars to get you through. (Even though they are Whole30 approved… MAKE UP YOUR MIND, WHOLE30.) Honestly though I dgaf and I’m eating them anyway. I’ve been keeping it to 2-3 servings of fruit a day and only 1 Larabar, so it’s not like they’re EVERYTHING I’m eating. Sometimes you just need something different to break up the monotony of meat, eggs, and veggies, kay? I NEED DIS.

In other news, my coworkers think I’m insane and I’m pretty sure the boyfriend does too (although he really liked a couple of the meals I’ve cooked for him that were Whole30-approved!) but I’m surviving!

I’m also breaking another rule by weighing myself every couple of days, because I’m a rebel. And also I need the motivation that results from losing weight because otherwise I’ll say screw it and head to my nearest Dairy Queen ASAP. (I’m kidding… mostly.) So in the spirit of that.. I’ve lost 4 pounds! Yay!

I’ll keep you all posted, but so far Whole30 is not too shabby. And my wallet is really happy too, considering I have not been buying any food while at work.

 

xo,

J

MY WHOLE 30 ADVENTURE

Hey friends! If you haven’t yet heard of Whole 30…. well, you’re about to.

Whole 30 is a suuuuper paired down eating plan designed to reduce inflammation and irritation as a result of what you’re eating. For me, it is basically an exercise in sugar detoxification. My birthday was last week and as usual, I got a little overzealous with the whole celebrating thing, and my eating went down the toilet. It was a glorious, glorious week of pie, ice cream, pizza, and pasta…. but as per usual for me, once I spiral a bit I REALLY spiral. So Whole 30 is my way of reigning myself back in a bit and focusing on nutrition. The idea is that you eat very carefully but very simply for 30 days, and once that time is up start reintroducing food groups one at a time to see how your body reacts. The Whole 30 no-no groups are, loosely categorized:

  • Grains. (This includes oatmeal (sadface), bread (NOOOOO), and even quinoa and brown rice.)
  • Legumes. (Including beans (so long to my fav clean recipe, turkey chili), chickpeas (hummus! waaaaaah), and soy.)
  • Dairy. (We have a love-hate relationship already so I can kiiiinda live with this one. Coconut milk is bae.)
  • Added sugar. (It’s in everything. Seriously.)

And that’s it! So basically I can eat veggies, lean protein, and fruit. That’s it, that’s all, folks! I started yesterday, June 4th, and h’oh boy. I have done a sugar detox before, which is precisely why I decided to start this on a Sunday. I anticipated a migraine and I was correct! I spent allllll afternoon yesterday on the couch with my head feeling like it was being split open by a meat cleaver. (Gilmore Girls was some comfort, but being allowed to eat sugar probably would’ve been better.) There came a point at which I wanted to eat a cookie – not because I actually wanted the cookie itself, but because I knew eating sugar would make my headache go away. (I even had some grapes to try to help the situation, and they didn’t do the trick. Refined sugar is a hell of a drug.) If you don’t believe that a sugar addiction is real, try a sugar detox. It will make you a believer, my friend. (And like, not in a good way.)

The good news is that I feel like a new woman after having my coffee this morning. I’m hydrated, I’m not crazy hungry, and my headache is gone! I’m also less bloated than I’ve been in weeks.

So essentially you can all start taking bets on how long I’ll make it. I feel like if I can keep this up for 30 days, I can probably do anything, so we’ll see. Maybe I’ll be Wonder Woman by the end of this? Or at least be as fit as she is? A girl can dream.

At the end of the 30 days I’ll be reintroducing foods, probably starting with grains because I love them and they are wonderful, and then moving through all of the food groups. My hope is that I’ll be able to keep away from the refined sugars for the most part, as I find my overall health is waaaaay better when I’m not eating them. Once the sugar addiction is broken I find it’s actually pretty easy to stay away – things start tasting sooo sweet when all you’ve been eating is fruit for sweetness. I don’t believe in long-term restrictive diets, as I’ve made very clear, so this is purely a reset to curb my sugar issues, not a long-term plan. NOBODY SHOULD BE FORCED TO LIVE WITHOUT BREAD, OKAY? (Sorry celiacs 😦 )

Anyways, that’s that. I’ve weighed myself before starting, as well as taken some pictures for reference, and we’ll see what magic the Whole 30 has in store for me over the next month! People say it’s life changing and that they feel great afterwards…. so we’ll see if it lives up to the hype.

For now, the countdown is on. Day 2/30.

 

Send me good vibes, peeps!

 

XO,

J

Review: The BBG (Bikini Body Guide)

Buckle your seat belts, folks, because this one is going to be a long one!

As many of you probably know, I have had an on-again-off-again relationship with Kayla Itsines’ BBG program for about 2 years now. For those of you who don’t frequent the fitness community on Instagram, Kayla Itsines is an Australian personal trainer with an insane Instagram following. She has built a fitness empire off of this following, initially starting by selling her eBooks (a training manual and a fitness guide) online, and now moving into a paid app.

I will be the first to admit – this program works. However, I will also be the first to admit that I have a very love/hate relationship with it and with the newly founded Kayla Itsines empire.

I’ll start by diving into the actually Bikini Body Guide. The guide itself is great – very straight-forward, everything all planned out for you from week to week for 12 weeks. You only need a small amount of equipment, so if you’re not the gym type you could pretty easily accomplish most of it from home, although you would have to invest in some dumbbells and a bench of sorts. The workouts are short, only taking about half an hour to complete, and you are expected to work out 6 times per week, taking the other day as a rest/recovery day. Like I said, pretty standard. The workouts may be short, but they are intense. There is a reason that the #DeathByKayla hashtag is so prevalent on Instagram. I’m always a sweaty, panting mess after doing these workouts, and I definitely saw my overall fitness improve over the 12 weeks. I actually had muscles! Not to mention that I lost a significant amount of lingering weight, and I felt like a certified badass.

I would definitely recommend the BBG to someone who is just starting out on their fitness journey and who needs guidance and discipline to keep them on track. More experienced gym-goers may find it tedious, since many of the exercises are common/standard and there isn’t a ton of variety. But, if you’re looking to tone up and shed a few pounds, this will do the trick (as long as you stick to it diligently – much like any other fitness regimen). Additionally, after the first 12 weeks, you might find that you start to get bored… like I said, there isn’t a ton of variety. It’s simple, but effective.

What I don’t love about the BBG is Kayla’s Nutrition Guide. The guide is vague at best and harmful at worst. It’s also expensive for what you’re getting, which is a glorified explanation of the Australian government’s food guidelines. I guess if you had next to no idea about healthy eating and limited internet access, this could be helpful… but honestly I would still say avoid it. Many girls on the program find that they are eating too few calories, which negatively impacts their metabolisms in the long run, or that the guide does not adequately speak to food intolerances/lifestyle choices like veganism, celiac disease, lactose intolerance, etc. While Kayla is a great personal trainer, she is just not qualified to be giving this kind of nutrition advice. Besides, every body is unique and everyone’s dietary needs will vary based on that fact. If you can afford it, I’d say go see a dietician for a consult. If you can’t, do A LOT of research, and go through a bit of trial and error, and you’ll find what nutrition plan works best for you. My advice, based on my personal experience? Cut out refined sugars, cut down on dairy, eat limited starches (and when you do, go for whole grain), and fill up on veggies and lean protein. But hey, what works for me might not work for you.

I also can’t say I’m 100% sold on the new business model. Listen, I get that everyone needs to make a living, but Kayla’s new app costs a whopping $21/month (Canadian) to use. For those of you who aren’t mathematically inclined, that’s about $250 a year, all for access to a few work outs, a couple of tunes, and some recipes. (Can’t say I’m a huge fan of her recipes so perhaps that’s just not a selling point for me.) And all of the workout content is identical to what’s in the eBooks. Given that she already has a social media empire, sells products, and now has steady revenue coming in via her app, I can’t help but feel like it’s all becoming a bit much. The #BBG community on Instagram started as a genuine, feel-good, supportive movement where women could feel empowered… now the whole thing feels a bit commodified somehow. Maybe I’m a bit jaded, given that I have seen some of my Insta-friends become frustrated and exit the community… but I do see where they are coming from.

So, all in all, if you’re thinking of giving it a go, sign up for the free trial of the app (a week long) and see how you do. Once the free trial ends, I’d recommend just purchasing the workout eBook and calling it a day. You can still be friends with all of us via the Instagram community (please join us! 🙂 ) and you’ll save money in the long run without missing out on anything.

So, in summary:

The BBG did work for me. I lost 20 pounds and felt like a total badass. The workouts are snappy and effective. I’d just recommend forging your own path with nutrition.

I hope this was helpful to anyone curious about the program! If you have any more questions I’d be happy to answer, just drop me a line. 🙂