Coconut Oil: Your Answer to Better Oral Health and Whiter Teeth


You probably know oral health is important and you have likely heard coconut oil is a healthy fat to consume: It helps moisturize the skin, helps reduce your bad cholesterol and is associated with better brain function.

But did you know coconut oil might also help improve your oral health? In fact, not only is it known to help prevent tooth decay, plaque build-up, gingivitis and keep bad breath at bay, it actually also cleans your teeth, and is even a natural teeth whitener.

How can this healthy fat made from medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) do all this? Well, 50 percent of coconut oil is made from Lauric acid, which your body breaks into monolaurin. Both Lauric acid and monolaurin are able to kill unwanted things, like bacteria, viruses and fungus. And in terms of maintaining good oral health, keeping bad bacteria away is incredibly important.

Two ways to include coconut oil in your oral heath routine include oil pulling and through homemade coconut-oil infused toothpaste:

Oil pulling

It started in India long ago, but basically oil pulling involves swooshing coconut oil for 15 minutes or so in your mouth like you would do with mouthwash. As you’re doing this, think about pushing and puling it between your teeth. This helps remove the bacteria and plaque from your mouth. Then brush your teeth afterward.

The main reason for gum disease comes from a build-up of bacteria that turns into plaque, thus swooshing with coconut oil can go a long way in protecting your teeth against this bacteria that eventually turns to plaque, and potentially gum disease if not treated. There’s evidence oil pulling can make a difference to your oral health in just 30 days.

This 2016 study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5109859/) showed that after just 30 days, people experienced a significant decrease in Streptococcus mutans, the most common bacteria that contributes to tooth decay. 

 Meanwhile, this 2015 study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25838632) found a decrease in both plaque and gingivitis after just one week of coconut oil pulling. Plaque build-up is also at the heart of why teeth become yellow or discoloured, and hence why oil pulling is known to whiten teeth.

 

 

Coconut oil-infused toothpaste

 You can actually make this yourself pretty easily by using 1/2 cup coconut oil, 2 tablespoons baking soda and a few drops of essential oil like peppermint oil, or cinnamon if you prefer. 

 All you do is heat the oil until it’s a liquid and then stir in baking soda until a paste forms, and then drop in 10 drops of oil or a pinch of cinnamon. From there, just use it the same way you would a normal toothpaste.

 

Give it a shot and report back in 30 days with your oral health, and tooth whitener, results.

 

 

 

 

 

Athlete of the MonthFebruary

Kyra Henningson

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How long have you been doing CrossFit?

Started drinking the Kool-Aid January 5th, 2015.

 

What made you decide to give 7 Mile Strength & Fitness a try?

My roommate at the time was exasperating. CrossFit was an outlet – a few extra hours a week outside the house.

 

What was the hardest part when you started out and how did you overcome that?

Trying to pay attention to the coaches. So many half naked men to stare at. Not sure that I have overcome that.

 

What is one thing you’re most proud of?

Nailing double unders. So. Much. Practice.

 

What, in your opinion, has kept you consistent all this time?

Fear. I’m terrified of Coach Chris, he always shoots looks of disappointment if there isn’t enough weight on the bar. Can’t fathom not showing up to class, he would certainly be unimpressed. But I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

The 2019 CrossFit Games Open is just a few weeks away. Will you be participating this year? Any particular Games athletes you follow?

Absolutely, who doesn’t love 5 weeks of torture! No, they’re all impressive athletes and deserve props.

 

Did you play any sports growing up?

Rocked a tutu and some tap shoes for quite a few years.

 

Anything people at 7 Mile Strength & Fitness don’t know about you?

Not likely, I have no filter.

 

Anything crazy on your bucket list? (bungee jumping, sky diving?)

Going to be climbing Kilimanjaro this June, hoping all the squats and lunges will help with the 19,341 feet!

 

What is your favorite WOD and why?

DT. Barbells make me feel badass.

 

What is your least favorite WOD and why?

Anything with too much running. And by too much, I mean any.

 

What has been your biggest surprise about doing CrossFit?

The community. We are one big happy family – I love seeing the crew at the end of a day. Good people, supportive environment, fist bumps, & the occasional butt slapping to cheer you along.

 

Would you recommend 7 Mile Strength & Fitness to others and if so, why?

Indubitably! Best gym you’ll ever set foot in. All the coaches are incredible!

 

Congratulations, Kyra! We are so proud of you!

Is Your Collagen Supplement Really Helping You?


So you sipped on a collagen-powder infused beverage every day of 2018 expecting it to transform your skin into the vibrant sheath it once was, or at the very least to stop your skin from acquiring more age-related wrinkles.

It makes sense that you believed collagen was your answer: After all, the collagen we make naturally is needed for healthy hair, skin and nails, as well as for strengthening our bones, tendons and ligaments. And as for the skin specifically, collagen is what keeps skin looking young as it helps it maintain its elasticity. Once you get into your 30s, your natural collagen production starts to decline. The new trend of getting collagen facial fillers, which is similar to Botox, pumps collagen into your skin to help prevent and eliminate wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Here’s the thing with taking collagen in supplement form though: Your body doesn’t use the whole collagen the way it uses the collagen you make naturally, so your skin may never see the effects. What your body does do is break down the collagen from a powder supplement, for example, into amino acids, most of which probably never make it to your skin. Some experts say it’s unlikely that any of this whole collagen you’re getting from supplements even makes it into your bloodstream.

This, however, DOES NOT mean collagen supplementation might not be beneficial in other ways: It’s just unlikely to offer magical powers for your skin. Here’s how it might be more valuable:

As mentioned above, collagen is needed for much more than the skin, and there is legitimate evidence that a collagen supplement can provide value to your body. The amino acids from a collagen supplement can still be distributed to areas of your body that need them most, like the heart or the brain, but the skin itself is essentially a low priority.

Our bodies have cells called fibroblasts. Their job is to produce collagen, but in order to produce collagen they need amino acids, specifically glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. Collagen supplements, in the form of hydrolyzed collagen, then can help deliver these amino acids to where your body needs them most. And from there, your body can start making more collagen. So while the collagen itself from a supplement might not be usable collagen, per se, the amino acids it breaks into are used to make more collagen naturally. And the older you get, the more this becomes important.

Further, there’s some evidence that collagen supplementation helps decrease joint pain. A 2008 study from Penn State University found collagen supplements helped reduce joint pain in 147 athletes (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416885).

Other potential benefits include:

• Reduce inflammation (especially in people with osteoarthritis)
• Improves gut health
• Supports a healthy metabolism
• Promotes healthy brain function
• Helps with sleep

If you’re interested in taking a collagen supplement, here are three tips for selecting a brand that has the most chance of helping you:

1. Make sure it’s hydrolyzed collagen (this means it is in a form that make it more absorbable and usable in the body).

2. Marine collagen is best: The four main sources of collagen peptides come from either cow, pig, chicken or fish. Marine is best because it’s in the purest form and is most easily absorbed into the blood. If you do choose a collagen sourced from a cow, pig or chicken, make sure it’s grass-fed.

3. Check to label to ensure the collagen peptides do not have any fillers.

This, however, doesn’t mean you necessarily NEED a collagen supplement. If you’re eating well, you could very well be making enough of your own collagen. If you eat a lot of protein-rich foods like chicken, fish, beef and eggs, and are getting enough Vitamin C, zinc and copper, then you might be good without a collagen supplement. On top of this, three great ways to boost your natural collagen without taking a supplement include consuming bone broth, organ meats and sardines. If the above doesn’t sound like you, then consider a collagen supplement.

We would love to hear your experiences if you have been taking a collagen supplement. Have you noticed any health benefits?

Are Blue Blocking Sunglasses the Answer to Your Poor Sleep?


Would you wear sunglasses around the house after the sun sets if it meant you are sure to sleep more soundly? Before we get into the blue-blocking glasses part of this story, let’s talk about what exactly blue light is, and why it could be hurting your sleep.

About to get geeky for a minute: Sunlight contains red, orange, yellow, green and blue light rays, all of which have different wavelengths and emit different levels of energy into your eyes. All combined together, this big spectrum of colored light rays creates what we know as sunlight, or “white light.” The rays on the red side of the spectrum have longer wavelengths and emit less energy, and rays on the blue end of the spectrum have shorter wavelengths and emit more energy to your eyes.

While sunlight is the main place we take in blue light, we also get a lot of blue light from our man-made, indoor sources of light, both the old-school lightbulbs we used to use and even the more efficient LED lights, as well as the screens—TVs, computers, phones, tablets—we love so much. While the sun does give off way more blue light than our cellphones do, we don’t stare directly into the sun for hours on end the way we do our phones. So not only is this a problem for long-term eye health, it’s also a problem for your sleep.

It’s an issue for sleep because taking in too much blue light, especially right before you go to bed, suppresses your body’s natural melatonin production, which then disrupts your circadian rhythm. This essentially means your body gets tricked into thinking it’s daytime and not bedtime, even when it’s way past your bedtime. The result being you have trouble falling asleep.

While technology, and specifically our phone companies, are allegedly trying to protect us from blue light at night — Apple introduced a new feature in 2016 that they called “night shift,” which shifts the color of your phone’s display to emit less blue light once the sun goes down—it’s still unclear (not yet proven by science) whether this effort by Apple is really making a difference for our eyes and our sleep.

Another option: Blue blocking glasses. Basically, blue blocking glasses are glasses that block most of the blue light we take in once it’s dark outside and we’re meant to be winding down and prepping for bed. You wear them inside to block the artificial light. There are certainly blue blocking glasses critics out there who say they don’t really help but there is also a decent amount of research that does suggests blue blocking glasses might be worth looking into, especially if you’re someone who needs to be on a computer late at night finishing work or whatnot.

Specifically, one study done at the University of Houston College of Optometry and published in the Journal Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/opo.12385) suggests blue light from digital devices are contributing to the increasing number of people with reported sleep dysfunction. The study found those who wore short wavelength-blocking glasses three hours before bed for two weeks experienced a 58 percent increase in melatonin levels. As a result, these participants said they slept better, fell asleep faster and stayed asleep longer when they wore the blue blocking glasses.

Have you ever tried blue-blocking glasses? Do you recommend them? Tell us about your experience.

When it Comes to Sweets, You Can’t Cheat the System


Do you know the story of aspartame? It was discovered by accident in 1965 by a chemist named James Schlatter, who was working on developing an anti-ulcer drug. He came across aspartame during his re-search, licked his finger without thinking, and realized it tasted sweet like sugar. Eventually the brand NutraSweet (basically aspartame) because popular, especially among people who were trying to limit their sugar consumption or lose weight. They blindly believed the NutraSweet marketing machine that this product was healthier for them than sugar. But soon (as early as the 1980s), evidence started emerging that suggested aspartame is actually quite toxic to humans. Here’s what the chemical breakdown of aspartame looks like in our bodies:

Methanol, which comes from aspartame, gets released into the small intestine once it comes into contact with the enzyme chymotrypsin. Then the methanol gets converted into formaldehyde, which then gets converted into formic acid. Formic acid is toxic! In fact, formic acid is used to strip epoxy and urethane coatings. You wouldn’t lick glue or varnish, so why would you pop aspartame into your mouth?

Today, tons of health problems have been associated with aspartame, including abdominal pain, arthritis, asthma, edema, blood sugar control problems, brain cancer, burning urination, depression, diarrhea, hearing loss, thinning of hair, menstrual problems, memory loss, muscle spasms, seizures, vertigo, vision loss, weight gain. Basically, everything! Though you may not have known all the details about aspartame, you probably have heard along the way that it’s bad for you and likely switched to some other allegedly healthier artificial sweetener, right?

Maybe you’re into sucralose, or Splenda. Or maybe you have discovered erythritol or xylitol? Or maybe stevia or sorbitol? Or maybe you’re digging some other product that told you it was organic and healthy and all-natural? Basically, if you’re like most people, you probably just decided to listen to the message the company told you about their product being healthier than sugar.

Sorry to all those with a sweet toothed folks out there, but you might have been duped. Just like NutraSweet duped us all in the 1980s. At least, a new study published in the British Medical Journal (https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.k4718) says you might have been tricked. The study, which looked at 56 individual studies about non-sugar sweeteners that included close to 14,000 people, concluded there’s absolutely no evidence that these allegedly healthier sweeteners are any better for your health than plain old sugar. Some of the health issues the researchers looked at included changes in weight, body mass index, oral health, eating behavior, cancer, heart disease, kidney disease and mood swings associated with sugar and non-sugar sweeteners.

While the results of the study don’t tell us whether artificial sweeteners are even worse than sugar, as is the case with aspartame, the various types of non-sugar sweeteners also don’t present any evidence that they’re healthier than sugar, said the researchers. Our best advice: Get off the fake sugar right away! And avoid other sugar most of the time (yes this includes honey, syrups and agave). Depending on your goals and how your body responds to sugar, you probably want to avoid eating too much fruit, too, especially too much dried fruit like figs and dates. But but but, here’s the good news for you sweet tooth sugar addicts: Although you want to avoid sugar most of the time, it’s OK to treat yourself here and there to some-thing sweet. We’ll forgive you. Just return to no sugar the next day.

How We’re Different Than the Other Gyms


Generally, a gym experience comes in one of three forms:

 

  1. Globo gym:This is the big box, community center style of gym. Generally, you pay between $20 and $100 a month for the use of the equipment and you can workout on your own time and at your own leisure.
  2. Group Exercise facility: You pay to attend group exercise classes, be it bootcamp, yoga classes, spin classes, CrossFit classes, pilates, Orange Theory etc. Typically, you pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 to $180 a month for unlimited classes, or you buy a punch-pass for $20 a pop.
  3. Personal Training Studio: You work predominantly with a coach in a one-on-one environment, and pay anywhere from $75 to $120 an hour for personalized coaching (often $1,000 + a month).

 

We are NONE of the above. But before we get into what we do, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of the above three types of gyms.

 

 

 

Globo Gym:

Pros: Memberships are typically quite inexpensive, and if you’re experienced, fit, healthy, injury-free and comfortable in the gym, you can follow a program that caters to your needs and goals and you will see real fitness results.

Cons: You receive little to no guidance from a coach, so more often than not members aren’t working on the things they need to be working on to reach their health, fitness and body composition goals. And because there’s no accountability to stick to your commitment to fitness—nobody reaches out if you stop showing up—members often fall off the wagon, yet continue to pay their membership dues because the fee is small enough they barely realize the money is trickling out of their bank account. Thus, most people don’t see results and don’t stick around. Further, the vibe tends to be quite anti-social; people show up with headphones on and listen to music as they grind it out on their own, not speaking or connecting with anyone around them. In other words, there’s no feeling of community in most Globo gyms.

 

 

 

Group Exercise Facility

Pros: Training in a group is fun, social, competitive and motivating. There’s often a strong feeling of community and people make lasting friendships with other likeminded, health conscious individuals. While more expensive than a community center membership, fees are still much more affordable than personal training studios.

Cons: You’re fitness is generally done in a group environment, so there’s little to no individual programming or coaching. This means your personal weaknesses, limitations, injuries, let alone wants, needs and goals, aren’t addressed: You’re at the mercy of the group, as opposed to what you need as an individual. This leads to injuries and/or low accountability to one’s fitness. (Generally, when fitness is done via group exercise classes alone, annual churn rate among members is 70 percent, meaning 7 out of 10 members don’t last even one year in this environment).

 

 

 

Personal Training Studio:

Pros: You receive personalized care from a professional coach, who caters to your individual goals, wants and needs. This personal coaching helps you achieve fitness goals and reduces your chance of injury. Accountability also tends to be high because you have an appointment with a coach, who you have an actual relationship with, and are paying a premium to be there.

Cons: It’s expensive (often completely unaffordable for many) and lacks a sense of community. When you speak to people who go to a personal training studio, they often reveal they only know one person in the whole gym: Their personal coach. Thus, it’s challenging to forge a community support network at a personal training studio.

 

 

 

Enter 7 Mile Strength & Fitness: The impetus behind what we do is to combine the pros from all of the above models, while ditching the cons!

From a practical standpoint, here’s what it looks like:

 

Step 1: Fundamentals

You will get paired up with a coach your feel your connect with—someone you trust with your long term health and fitness needs.

You begin by doing an introductory session with this coach, followed by approximately 10-20 personal training sessions (depending on your individual needs). These sessions help identify your current fitness level, your injury history, your strengths and weaknesses and your fitness and body composition goals. Based on the above, you will be given a toolkit to help prepare you to be successful in group classes.

 

Step 2: Hybrid Membership

Once you’re prepared, you will graduate to group classes and will begin a combination of weekly group classes (two to five classes per week), plus periodic personal training sessions with your personal coach. The frequency with which you meet your coach depends on your goals, needs and budget, but is generally once a week, once as month, once every six months or once a quarter. These sessions will help keep you on track with your goals, and will also provide an opportunity to address what’s working and what’s not working in classes, so you can adjust accordingly to ensure your continued progress.

 

 

 

As a result, we believe our hybrid model provides you with all that is required to be successful in health and fitness, including:

  1. A personal coach to cater to your individual needs so you actually see fitness results.
  2. A community-based, social environment, where you’ll feel a sense of belonging to a supportive community of friends.
  3. Financially affordable.

Contact us for more.

The Protein and Weight Loss Connection


 

When people think about protein supplementation, they often think about its role in building and repairing muscle and, of course, it’s ability to help you gain lean muscle mass. And maybe even its alleged role in helping you bulk up? Clients often approach ask various questions about supplementing with protein, via shakes, or otherwise. The most common questions are: When’s the best time to have a protein shake? Will it help me pack on muscle? Or the flipside—often from scared females who don’t want to get “bulky”—Am I going to bulk up?

 

 

Less frequently, though, do we talk about protein’s ability to help you actually lose weight. If a new pilot study is at all accurate—the study was conducted by researchers from three American universities and published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition this year—then it might be worth taking protein to help your body become more efficient, and ultimately help you lose weight. Here’s a link to the study: (https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-018-0263-6

 

 

Although we often think we need to take protein right after a workout for recovery, this study looked at the effects of taking a pre-workout protein supplement. The researchers discovered that when the participants (who were male in this case) fasted and then took protein—25 g of whey protein isolate or 25 g of casein protein 30 minutes before a medium-intensity treadmill workout—they had higher post-workout energy expenditure compared to both the group who took 25 g of carbohydrates (maltodextrin) before their workout and the non-caloric control group.

 

 

 

What does this mean exactly? Well, a higher post-workout energy expenditure has frequently been linked to both weight loss and fat oxidization, which basically means their ability to burn fat. Also notable is that those who took casein protein had even better results than the whey protein group. The researchers were also hoping to see if protein before exercise might also minimize protein degradation during exercise, but more research is needed to see if this is the case, they reported. 

 

 

 

Though this was just a pilot study, it’s certainly not the first evidence of protein consumption being linked to weight loss. A 2012 study, for example, published in the Nutrition Journal (https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-11-105) looked at whether taking extra proteins and amino acids through a liquid shake would help elderly, obese people lose weight. The result: Those who took the protein supplement actually lost more fat than those who didn’t. They believe this is because protein requires the greatest caloric cost for digestion (when compared to fat and carbohydrates), so more protein might actually assist in weight loss even if it means consuming more calories overall. Interesting stuff…

 

 

 

For what it’s worth, from a personal anecdotal evidence-based standpoint, in the years we have been involved in the fitness industry helping people get fit and become leaner through diet and exercise, we will say without a doubt that increasing protein in your diet, be it through regular food or a supplement, usually leads to a leaner body composition. Period. Bulking up requires (for most people) a TON of time lifting weights and pounding way more protein than most people are willing to eat. For the average person, however, consuming more protein (and reducing carbs) won’t make them bulky. Instead, they usually feel better and look leaner. So if that’s your goal, talk to us about your protein intake today.

 

 

 

 

 

Start the New Year in a Cleaner, Better Place Than You Ended the Last Year


Food comas, wine hangovers and lazy Netflix days spent inside sipping Baileys in your morning coffee. OK, maybe a walk in the snow here and there, but then back inside for cookies and rum and eggnog. T’is the season to undo all the gains you made in the last year, right? Ask yourself, “Is it really worth it?”

 

 

If it is, by all means be jolly and let yourself go for a month, but if you find yourself whimpering the days away in regret and depression come January and planning New Year’s resolutions you kind of know you won’t honor, then do it differently this drinking season.

 

 

Here’s the thing: We truly believe you can have it all. You can enjoy your favorite holiday snack and drinks without losing your fitness routine, without suffering during workouts in January, and without packing on any pounds. It just takes a little bit of effort. Here are some tips that will help you feel like you still have it all!

 

 

 

Wake Up, Pee, Brush Teeth, Get Coffee, WORKOUT!

The biggest reason people fall of their workout routine during this time is because they employ the “I’ll workout this evening,” or “this afternoon,” or “after breakfast” workout plan. Then comes a big brunch with holiday punch and suddenly working out doesn’t seem like a priority anymore.

 

Instead, workout first thing in the morning, immediately after your morning routine. Do it before you shower and feel too clean to workout, and before you eat breakfast and feel too full to move. It’ll be the best emotional high you get all day and it’ll make you feel less guilty when you show up to brunch and eat all the food and punch.

 

 

 

No Gym, No Problem

If you go out of town during this time, here are three bodyweight workouts that will get your blood flowing and are relatively mentally manageable, and that you can do in just 10-foot-by-10-foot of space:

 

1.Every 30 seconds x 7 minutes: 4-8 burpees.

The faster you get your intended number of burpees done, the more rest you will get. Try a lower number first, and once you feel comfortable with it, increase your number. It’s a great way to log 50 to 100 burpees in a less painful way than doing 100 burpees for time.

 

2. Tabata Mash-up:

You can do this with various bodyweight movements, like air squats, push-ups, hollow rocks, hollow holds, burpees, lunges, planks, side planks.

Choose 3 movements and rotate them, working for 20 seconds and resting for 10 seconds for 12 to 16 minutes. Once again, this is a great way to pack in a lot of volume that also allows you to rest, making it easier to handle mentally (most people find) than a “3, 2, 1 go” for time workout.

 

3. Stairs!

Staying in a hotel with stairs? Climb up and down them (run if you’re really into it) and do 1 to 5 burpees at each landing.

 

 

 

 

Handling Holiday Feasts

We have often heard the advice that you should eat before you go to a holiday party so you don’t show up hungry. From our experience, all that does it make you eat more because the food there is likely super tasty that you won’t be able to stop yourself. That being said, don’t show up famished and fasted, but go hungry ish. Here are our top three tips: The 3 Ps!

1.Plate: We often walk around at parties picking at appetizers not realizing how much we’re actually eating, as we’re eating small bites. But by the end of the night, all those small bites add up into way more calories than you ever would have eaten in one sitting. Instead, grab a pate and fill it, or half fill it, to help you monitor how much you’re actually consuming.

2.Protein: Protein fills you up, so definitely get your usual amount of protein in you to help you avoid all the carbs, carbs, carbs.

3.Positioning: Position yourself in the room far away from the food table. Hopefully the engrossing conversations you’re having will be enough to stop you from picking at the food long after you are satiated.

 

 

 

 

Small Changes in January

Sometimes making plans for the new year is as discouraging as the fitness you lost in December. Often this is because we come up with large, and sometimes unrealistic, goals for the new year.

 

This year, try something new. Instead of massive change, consider making one small change—creating one new manageable habit—each month. This can be as simple as drinking a glass of water the moment you wake up so you don’t feel so famished for breakfast. Once that becomes habit, then build in a new small habit the following month. Keep track of these change (write them down), and before you know it you will have created 12 new, healthy habits that become your new normal, as opposed to one giant resolution you make in January and abandon by February.

 

All that being said, enjoy yourself and your favourite cookies and traditions this Christmas. But keep it reasonable and start 2019 in a better place you ended 2018.

Sneaky Foods That Have You Eating More Sugar Than You Thought


If you’re someone who’s following the ketogenic diet and not counting the grams of sugar foods on your daily carb (and sugar) count, chances are you’re eating more grams of carbs than you think! If you’re eating more than 100g of carbs per day, that’s not keto! A true ketogenic diet means eating around 10 percent carbohydrates only.  Some foods have carbs – especially grams of sugar –  that you might be forgetting to track if you’re counting your macros, or are just trying to eat a low or no-sugar diet. This information may also be helpful if you’re trying twitch your sugar intake during this holiday season.

 

Let’s take a look at some of the unexpected sugar culprits:

 

Milk:

All these years you thought it was better to put milk in your coffee or tea instead of heavy cream to avoid the fat…

If you’re trying to avoid sugar, this is the wrong approach.

A quick sugar glimpse:

· 8 oz. of skim milk, 1 percent milk and 2 percent milk have approximately 12 grams of sugar

· 8 oz. of half-and-half has 0.2 grams of sugar

· 8 oz. of heavy cream has 0.1 grams of sugar (most brands list this as 0 g of sugar)

Thus, if you’re trying to avoid sugar and not fat, stick to cream over milk. Try 33 or 36 percent cream: It’s delicious and sugar-free.

 

 

Nuts:

Another place the sinfully sneaky sugar is found are in nuts. Here’s a lit of various nuts, along with how much sugar each type contains per 100 grams.

Almonds: 3.9 g
Brazil nuts: 2.3 g
Pecans: 4 g
Walnuts: 2.6 g
Peanuts (not a real nut): 4 g
Cashews: 6 g
Macademia: 4.6 g
Hazelnuts (also known as filberts): 4.3 g
Pistachio: 8 g

So by this standard, it’s best to avoid pistachio nuts and stick with walnuts and brazil nuts.

Another tip, if you’re buying nut butters, check the ingredients list and make sure there’s no added sugar.

 

 

Sauces:

You have probably heard this one before, but from store-bought salad dressings to canned tomatoes and tomato paste, you’re probably getting way more sugar than you realize.

A simple option for a salad dressing that takes three minutes to make and is sugar-free: Olive oil, balsamic vinegar (not a balsamic reduction: those have a ton of sugar), lime or lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano. Boom.

Here’s another big one: Tomato sauce! Usually the store-bought ones have a surprising amount of sugar. Believe it or not, it’s pretty easy to make your own.

Homemade tomato sauce: Saute onions and garlic until super soft (10-15 minutes). Add tomatoes and some water (or sugar-free broth) and let simmer. Then go nuts on spices like salt, pepper, dried or fresh basil and/or oregano, parsley, chilli powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper, if you’re into spice. Cook on medium heat for a good 20 minutes and then throw it all in a food processor and puree until smooth. If you want a creamy tomato sauce, just dump in half a cup or so of heavy cream once it’s all pureed. Or if it needs thinning out, add some water or broth. It will taste better than any store-bought tomato sauce and is, of course, sugar-free.

 

 

Booze:

We all know booze has sugar, but let’s take a look at the better and worse ones in terms of sugar content:

Wine: Obviously it depends on the type of wine, but even some dry white wines can contain as much as 10 grams of sugar per 5 oz. glass, and most people drink more than 5 ounces. The sweeter reds and whites go up from there in terms of sugar content. Some dry reds and whites, however, do contain as little as 1 gram of sugar, so do your research and select those with less sugar.

Bubbly: Again, it depends on the type, but most champagne and proseccos have around 5 g of sugar per glass.

Fortified wines: These are the ones to avoid (think port or sherry or marsala). They can have as much as 150 g of sugar per litre. Something else to avoid: Mulled wine! Sometimes it has as much as 11 tsp. of sugar per glass.

Beer: While beer doesn’t contain much, if any sugar, it does has a lot of carbohydrate grams, usually in the 10 to 15 g of carbohydrates per 12 ounces of beer.

Cider: Let’s just go ahead and ban cider right now. Many ciders have as much as 20 grams of sugar per 500 mL of cider. That’s around 6 tsp. of sugar! And it’s pretty easy to guzzle 500 mL of delicious and refreshing apple cider.

Whiskey/Scotch: Better choice than beer and cider. Whiskey has little to no carbs or sugar. Things are looking up!

Gin: Winner, winner chicken dinner. Gin has 0 grams of sugar. It’s best to mix it with club soda and lime instead of tonic, though, as tonic water does have sugar, often 9 grams every 100 grams of tonic!

Vodka: Another winner! 0 grams of sugar. Once again, if you’re mixing it, don’t turn your sugar-free drink into a sugar-filled one. Lime, mint leaves, or cucumber are great things to add to your vodka-soda to make it a little more flavorful.

Tequila: Winner number 3: No sugar, no carbs! Tequila shot to your heart’s delight this Christmas season. Just kidding…

Here’s a good resource into the best “keto-friendly” boozy drinks: (https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto/alcohol-guide).

Yes, being sugar-free, or as low of sugar as possible, takes a bit more work, but it’s worth it: Your body (and happiness levels) will thank you or it.

Think Beyond the Sugar this Hallowe’en?


First, an excerpt about Hallowe’en from Jerry Seinfeld’s old-school stand-up:

“The first time you hear the concept of Hallowe’en when you’re a kid, your brain can’t even process the information. You’re like, ‘What is this? What did you say? …Who is giving out candy? Everyone that we know is just giving away candy? Are you kidding me? When is this happening? Where? Why? Take me with you….I gotta be a part of this …I can wear that!’(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MarBVyZVe9s)

 

If you were a kid who took Hallowe’en seriously, you’re probably not going to love what I’m about to suggest about moving away from giving out free Type 2 Diabetes to kids this year…

 (In case you don’t know what I mean about the kid who took Hallowe’en overly seriously, he is the kid who started planning his costume in August. The kid who took notes each Hallowe’en—noting who gave out full-sized candy bars and who disappointed him with granola bars and tootsie rolls—to use the following year when mapping out his route to maximize candy collection. This kid was fairly discerning about who he let Trick-or-Treat with him: Less athletic friends, who wouldn’t be able to keep up with his pace, were cut from the roster, as were those who didn’t show adequate enthusiasm for the event. That’s what I mean about taking Hallowe’en seriously!)

 

If that was you, I ask you to open your mind and think beyond the full-size chocolate bar for the sake of the next generation of children and their health, because times have changed, man. Kids who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s were raised by mothers who used Campbell’s mushroom soup as a sauce for everything. Go figure, these same mothers encouraged us to use oversized pillow cases as reasonable Trick-or-Treating bags. Today, we’re living in a modern gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, most definitely Campbell’s Mushroom Soup-free era. Not to mention, we have become more sensitive about allergies and food sensitivities. What does this mean for today’s generation of Hallowe’en enthusiasts? It means half their candy might just get confiscated by their health-conscious, helicopter parents anyway, so it might be time to think outside the box when we consider what to give out this year. Yes? No? Are you with me?

 

 

Here’s the thing: I think if you’re smart about it, you can give out healthier, no-sugar options on Hallowe’en that kids will be even more excited about than they are about a fun-sized Snickers bar (Why do they call it fun-sized, anyway? Isn’t it more fun to have a bigger size? Just saying). The key is to move away from handing out edible treats altogether. This way, there will be less comparing going on between a Mars bar and a homemade, gluten-free, sugar-free nut ball. 

I know what your next objection is “How much is this Hallowe’en going to cost me?” If you do it right, it doesn’t have to cost you anymore than a giant box of chocolate bars. To get you thinking in the right direction, here are 7 treats you can give out this year without murdering children’s teeth or giving them Type 2 Diabetes before the age of 15.

7. Mini Glider Airplanes: (amazon.com). Novel, fun, and they’re just under $10 for a 24-pack. If you normally give out two small Hallowe’en-sized candy bars to each child, you’ll spend about the same. Not only that, but they promote being physical. 

6. Carabiners: (amazon.com) If you get some older 12 or 13-year-old Trick-or-Treaters, carabiners are a great choice for them. Practical for all sorts of uses. A carabiner house would have been on our map as a 13-year-old!

5. Mini Flashlight: Similarly, a mini flashlight is great for the “older” Trick-or-Treaters (and the younger ones, for that matter), and they are also surprisingly inexpensive: 20 for $24. (amazon.com). Better yet, if you’re feeling extra generous, give out a flashlight on a carabiner and your house will be remembered by all who Trick-or-Treat at yours. 

4. Bouncy Balls:A pack of 50 for $50 (amazon.com). No kid of any age–or adult for that matter–would turn down a bouncy ball if offered. They’re timeless. And promote a little hand-eye coordination, perhaps?

3. Tattoos: I don’t know a 4-year-old who wouldn’t choose a tattoo over a Kit Kat bar!

2. Bubbles: See above. Younger Trick-or-Treaters especially, live for bubbles more than they do for candy.

1. Fidget Spinner: While I don’t understand the fidget spinner generation, they seem to be popular among kids of all ages, and you can buy mini ones for not much more than 50 cents each (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073HR8S3H/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=supheakid-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B073HR8S3H&linkId=83e5b71ac318e6490431fb4d85ab2e6c).

Not sold? Here’s an experiment: Put out a bowl of candy and a bowl of trinkets this year, and let the children select a candy treat versus healthy treat.. Report back!