Let's Get Clean ~ Refine my diamonds, not my grains

In comparison to whole grains, refined grains refer to grain products that have been severely modified from their natural form. Grains are termed as 'refined' when the bran & germ of the grain are removed, which in turn strips the grain of all fiber, vitamins, & minerals that make it so nutritious. The process does call for the B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, & folic acid) as well as iron, that were removed, to be 'restored'....hence the term 'enriched'. By using refined grains, the food industry is able to increase the shelf life. Refined grains like white rice, white bread, and white pasta, are missing the healthful nutrients of whole grains, which ultimately make it so easy to digest. The easy digestion causes blood sugar & insulin levels to spike. It's the repeated spikes that lead to insulin resistance & diabetes over time.

Have you ever noticed that when you're scarfing down a bag of potato chips, you really don't get "full"? You only stop eating when your hand hits the bottom of the empty bag. Or when you're eating white pastas (or white bread even, hello Macaroni Grill!), & it's so easy to just keep eating & eating, but without getting "full"? Or maybe you get full temporarily, but hungry soon after? That's because these refined grains are nothing like whole grains...even when they are enriched, they are still not 100% back to what they were when they had the germ & bran. On top of that, once they become refined, they never have the fiber back that they started with...which shows why you never really feel satisfied when eating them. Fiber is what leaves you feeling full.

Here are some scary numbers: the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition noted that people who eat refined grains, compared to those who eat whole grains, have 40% higher levels of C-reactive protein. This C-reactive protein is a sign of chronic, low-level inflammation in the blood vessels that is linked to heart attacks & strokes. Furthermore, people who never eat whole grains have a 30% higher risk of developing diabetes than people who aim to eat just 3 servings of whole grains a day.

So what now? Here's a Get Clean Challenge for you: try eliminating foods from your home that contain processed grains. Look for the words "enriched" or "refined" & toss that food! Another thing to make note of, if the first ingredient does not say "100% whole _____"...tell it good-bye!

Don't get me wrong, I love potato chips, mainly Tostitos with a hint of Jalapeno...but I definitely do NOT consume them every day, and I make it a point to limit myself to ONE serving size. Ever look at that? Most chips, for 1 single serving, it's only a mere 8 to 15 chips...yikes. I think we've all over eaten a bit in that area! (Of course I kill myself in my next workout, but that's another blog!) Try incorporating whole grain bread into your sandwiches rather than using white bread, as a jump start.

Happy Monday

If you need membership information to any of these sites, let me know!

RueLaLa ~ no sales really struck my interest for this week...

Ideeli ~ currently they have some red sale apparel & shoe items...worth checking out, various brands; they also have BCBG sales going on that expire tomorrow.

Beyond the Rack ~ currently: men's Lacoste & Melissa Beth Designs (cute diaper bags). Starting today there is a Swarovski sale & a bebe sale (which, I don't understand that one...).

Billion Dollar Babes ~ CHANEL vintage handbags sale starts today! On Thursday there is a Sweet Pea sale

HauteLook ~ currently: Walter. On Tuesday there is a Beirn sale (shoes & bags), & Wednesday there is American Apparel sales (men & women)

Gilt Groupe ~ Marc Jacobs swim wear starts today. There are JetSetter sales ending today for NYC & Peru...upcoming sales: Mexico, London, & Napa Valley.

Row Nine ~ ehhhh

If anything else pops up during the week, I'll be sure to post the goods!

Editor's Closet ~ ehhhh

Let's Get Moving ~ The Squat

A squat is an exercise move that targets the quadriceps (muscles on the front of your thigh) and the glutes (muscles in your rear).

To properly execute a squat:
1. Stand with your feet hip width apart
2. Bend at your knees, ensuring that your knees do not go past your toes & engage your core (abdominals & lower back)
3. Bend as if you are going to sit down in a chair, spine straight & neck in line with your spine...really push your rear back as if you were going to sit
4. Return to standing position

Beginners: during commercial breaks, while cooking dinner, or any other time, try to do 3 sets of 12 repititions

Intermediates: hold in squat position for 10 seconds, then release. Try to bring your thighs parallel to the ground & then hold. Do 1 set of 12 reps, hold, and then continue on to your next set following the same pattern. You can progress this move by adding on a leg lift after your hold to really work your core & improve your stability!

Advanced: incorporate free weights while you squat by doing bicep curls or over head presses. Begin with a lighter weight & work up to a resistance that is challenging but yet something you can complete. When you're up for it, try these combined moves while standing on a Bosu ball!

Let's Get Clean ~ Hydro-what?

I don't know about you, but I am constantly reading nutrition facts & information labels, especially the ingredients list. I find it rather amusing trying to pronounce most of the words that are listed; but I also find it extremely scary! In my opinion, the United States has been on a track of unhealthy living for the past several decades. We live such busy lives, that 'fast & easy' has become our motto. Set aside the fast food industry, even our grocery stores carry "5 minute meals", in a box!

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with a "5 minute meal" if you know what in fact you are eating. Take for instance the common ingredient in most processed foods: hydrogenated fat. These fats allow foods such as crackers, cookies, pasta & rice mixes, breads, and chips to sit on a shelf & still retain their "freshness". I don't know about you, but eating a cracker years after it is produced just does not sound appetizing!

Hydrogenated fats are produced when regular fat (like corn oil or palm oil) is injected with hydrogen gas at a high heat & then ultimately mixed with a metal catalyst (like zinc, nickel, or copper). What this does is alter the regular fat's chemical structure, turning it from a liquid to a semi-solid structure. The ultimate result of this process: trans fat.

So what does this mean for your health? Well hydrogenated fats increase your LDL (bad cholesterol) & your triglycerides, while lowering your HDL (good cholesterol). This combination of increasing LDL's & lowering HDL's could lead to coronary heart disease. Regular consumption of trans fats could ultimately lead to hardening of your arteries, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, & Alzheimer's.

Here's a Get Clean Challenge for you: begin eliminating foods from your diet that include ingredients with the word "hydrogenated". If you already avoid these foods, then kudos to you! I'd love to hear about your experience.

Tip: If your favorite food lists a 'hydrogenated' ingredient, try checking in the organic section of your grocery store. Most times there is an organic version. The cost may be more, but wouldn't you rather pay $2 to $5 more now, rather than pay $1000's in doctor & medical bills later having to correct / stabilize the damage done to your health?


I am so glad that you have stumbled across my 'Fashionably Healthy' blog!

No matter your fitness level, or health consciousness, I hope that you will find useful information & the keys to developing (or maintaining) a healthy lifestyle!

Fitness is my passion, and I love sharing the skills & tools to leading a healthy life.

Please feel free to leave comments, send messages, or ask questions you may have. I'm happy to help in any way possible!