How does eating too many carbohydratess that pass your lips end up on your hips? When you eat carbohydrates, it gets broken down to its simplest form, glucose. Your body can’t tell if the source of glucose came from a complex carbohydrate (ex. sweet potato) or a simple carbohydrate (ex. table sugar). Whatever the carbohydrate food source is, it eventually gets broken down to its simplest form, glucose (just note that the type of carbohydrates matter for fat loss, keep reading). The body does a great job of budgeting its energy needs. The glucose circulating in the blood will be used as immediate energy for your body’s daily energy needs. Anything in excess the glucose will get stored in muscles and the liver as glycogen stores – stored away for later energy use. If your diet provides more carbohydrates than your body needs, the excess will be converted to fat and that is how it ends up on your hips (and belly too).

What about low carb diets, do they work? Low carbohydrate diets work initially because most of the weight lost is water weight. Once you cut out carbs from your diet, you notice the number on the scale goes down. The body holds about 3 grams of water for every 1 gram of carbohydrate you eat. Low carb diets work for those seeking aggressive weight loss efforts, but it only works for short term. When you eat a low carb diet, your body will begin to pull energy out from fat stores – what most of us want. However, if you continue to eat a low carb diet over a long period of time your body will continue to pull energy out from fat stores BUT it will also begin to pull energy out from its own protein tissue (muscles). The last thing you want to do is break down your hard working muscles. Many people who follow a low carb diet, end up gaining the weight back and more weight once they stop.

Your goal is to have 40 to 60 % of your total calories come from slow burning carbohydrates per day. If you tend to carry more belly fat then you would want to keep your carbohydrate intake on the lower end around 40%. If you are lean and active, you can go on the higher end 60% or higher. Basically you have to find what works for your body, play around with your carbohydrate intake, use a food journal to keep track of food portions, including carbohydrate counting. Below is an example of what a 1500 calorie diet looks like with varying percentages for carbs in one day. Carbohydrate intake again varies based on age, activity level, male/female and other factors.

What are slow burning carbs? Keep in mind the type of carbohydrates you eat can make all the difference in the world when it comes to transforming your body and fueling your body The main idea is to get in the habit of consuming carbohydrates that are from whole food sources such as vegetables, fruits, nuts/seeds, beans and legumes. Basically eat clean and choose foods without a label and/or multiple ingredients (less than five to six ingredients in them). Choose carbs that have a low glycemic index (meaning they do not raise your blood sugar) since they contain fiber, digest slowly, and are full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to enhance your health.

How many grams of fiber per day should I aim for? There are many excellent sources of complex carbs that have fiber in them. Most health organizations recommend eating 25 grams of fiber per day for women and 35 grams per day for men. Just eating a few of these good-for-you foods can easily add up to that:

• Two tablespoons of ground flax seeds is about 4.5 grams – add it to your smoothie or cereal!
• One half-cup of beans contains 6 grams – blend it to make a bean dip, serve with veggies!
• One cup of broccoli has a little over 5 grams – perfect side dish for dinner!
• Twenty almonds have about 3 grams – makes a perfect mid afternoon snack!
• One-third of an avocado has 4 grams – add some to your green smoothie or salad!
• A medium apple has 5 grams – pair it with almonds for mid afternoon snack!
• Whole grains are good too, a half cup of cooked quinoa 3 grams – add it to salads, egg whites, side dish, etc.

If you are still confused about what to eat, and how much to eat; schedule an appointment with Core Sport nutritionists, Lisa P and Lisa Marie. They are here to help educate clients that want to take their nutrition to the next level.

Every Sunday and/or Monday, I try to prep my meals to last for the next few days. This is a time saver for me as I can use quinoa as a side for just about any meal. I’ll add it to my egg omelet in the morning for some good carbs after my weight training or I’ll add it to my salad for lunch for filling fiber. Today, I’ll be sharing with you how to make the perfect fluffly quinoa. It’s super easy and the best part, it’s super good for you too.

quinoa box

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) comes from South America. Thousands of years ago this super grain was an important grain during the Inca civilization. The Inca’s referred quinoa as the “Mother Grain” because of it’s health benefits.

Five interesting facts about quinoa:
1. Quinoa is a high quality protein. Is one of the only grains that stands alone as a complete protein grain. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids. Most grains are not considered “total protein” sources because they lack adequate amounts of the amino acids lysine and isoleucine. Quinoa has a significant amount of both lysine and isoleucine making it a great choice for vegetarians who may have trouble getting in all their amino acids.

2. High in vitamins and nutrients. Quinoa is rich in B vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, and potassium. Quinoa is one of the richest sources of potassium, which helps to control blood pressure.

3. Gluten free grain. Contains no gluten so it’s perfect for those that follow a gluten free/wheat free diet. Plus, quinoa is so versatile in many recipes. (see below some of my favorite quinoa recipes).

4. Great source of iron. One serving of quinoa contains 12% Daily Value of iron.

5. Source of heart healthy fats and fiber. One serving of cooked quinoa contains 3 grams of dietary fiber and 2.5 grams of fat. Perfect for keeping you full and satisfied.

Most conventional grocery stores carry it, you’ll find it down the rice aisle. You can for sure find it at any health food store. At one point Costco use to sell a big bag of quinoa, recently I haven’t seen it on the shelves. They come in a variety of colors, such as ivory (white), red and black.

1 cup quinoa (any variety — white or golden, red, or black)
2 cups liquid, such as water, broth or coconut water
1 Tbsp of Olive oil (optional) or butter
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

Kitchen tools:
Fine mesh strainer
2-quart saucepan with lid


quinoa 1 cup

1. Measure quinoa and liquid. Measure out 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups liquid.

quinoa rinse

2. Rinse the quinoa. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer, and rinse thoroughly with cool water. Rub and swish the quinoa with your hand while rinsing, and rinse for at least 2 minutes under the running water. Drain.

Why rinse quinoa? Rinsing removes quinoa’s natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter or soapy. Although the boxed quinoa I purchased says pre-rinsed, it doesn’t hurt to give the seeds an additional rinse at home.

quinoa sauce pan

3. Add rinsed quinoa and liquid in saucepan, bring to a boil. Add quinoa, stir in the liquid and the salt (if using) and bring to a rolling boil.

quionoa lid

4. Lower heat and cook covered for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to the lowest setting. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.Let stand covered for 5 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner. Let stand for 5 minutes, covered.

quinoa cooked

5. Fluff and eat! After 5 minutes, remove the lid, fluff the quinoa gently with a fork, and serve. (You should see tiny light green spirals (the germ) separating from and curling around the quinoa.

Some of my personal favorite recipes:
Black Bean Quinoa Salad Stuffed in a Pepper
Burger {Keen}
Mini Broccoli Quiches
Grain Free Tabouli Salad

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