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3 Low GI Carbs You Should be Eating

Before We Begin…what is GI?

GI = Glycemic Index

Glycemic Index = a measure of how quickly a carbohydrate, once eaten, raises your blood sugar; a lower Glycemic Index is typically better as it means the carbohydrate will provide a more sustained or ‘time-released’ source of energy.

Now on to the low-glycemic carbs.

swpot apple quinoa

Sweet Potatoes

Not only do sweet potatoes taste great (at least most people think so), but they also have a rather low glycemic index (roughly 65 depending on the source, method of cooking, etc).

AND they are extremely rich in many nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, copper, and the list goes on.

Just about any time you see someone’s list of “Super Foods,” it’ll have sweet potatoes on it, and for good reason!

Quinoa

Pronounce keen wah, quinoa is another low GI (of about 50) source of carbs that has lots of nutrients.

If you’re wondering what quinoa tastes like…imagine if oats and rice had a baby…it’d be called quinoa.

Btw, it’s great for either breakfast or dinner.  I guess we owe that to it’s hybrid nature.

Apples

Fruits sometimes get a bad wrap because they contain ‘fruit sugar.’  (More on this erroneous bad wrap later.)

When it comes to apples, who really cares that they have a few grams of sugar?!  The reason we avoid sugar to begin with is because it spikes our blood glucose (blood sugar).

But apples have a GI of roughly 35, which is extremely low…meaning they do NOT spike your blood sugar, largely because they contain so much fiber.

For these reasons, and because they’re convenient and taste good, I’d highly recommend consuming apples on a regular basis.

Your friend in fitness,

Dr Clay

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Ep61: Grass Fed Beef & Why You Should Choose It


 

Episode 61: Happy Grass Fed Cows & their Healthy Beef

In this rather unique episode of the Dr Clay Show I’m going to take  you on a stroll to see some happy, flirty, and rambunctious cows as they eat their preferred staple…GRASS!  Well, and some tree leaves, too.

Related Posts:

Speaking of grass-fed beef, you can use some in this Simple, Low-Fat Chili Recipe

 

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Eat Natural Food for UNDISCOVERED Nutrients!

Yes, that’s right. I said that there are nutrients that we have not yet even discovered!

Frankly, I think it’s really naïve to think otherwise, as if the last nutrient that we humans (scientists) were able to isolate and identify would be the last one ever.

real food = nutritional insurance

I can hear it now… “Yup, that’s it… there are no more nutrients out there, boys.  We finally discovered the last one!  So let’s shut this lab down and go celebrate.”

It’s not gonna happen…ever.  There will always be compounds in plants and foods that we are yet to discover.

Undiscovered Nutrients…for Real?!

For example, here’s a quote from a study done not so long ago – in 1997 (when surely we had found every nutrient, right?  Wrong!)

“The anthocyanins in blackcurrant drink contributed only a fraction of its non-vitamin C antioxidant activity and it is suggested that there is a significant unidentified antioxidant present in this beverage.”

Did you get that?!

“…there is a significant unidentified antioxidant present…”

Notice the phrase “unidentified antioxidant” in that sentence?  Yes, a nutrient (that, specifically acts as an antioxidant – critical for anti-aging) that scientists didn’t recognize…in other words, a new nutrient.

Of course it’s not new, Mother Nature put it here for us long, long ago, but it’s new to us humans – much like meeting a ‘new’ friend.

Do you REALLY need this guy to tell you to eat fruits & vegetables?

The point is, eating natural food is the only way to give your body these undiscovered nutrients.  We don’t need to fast-forward into the future in a Delorean to know that, before long, scientists will soon announce yet another nutrient that is good for us in some, or likely many, ways.

For example, it wasn’t until the 80’s that scientists started to figure out that lycopene was a great antioxidant that supports prostate health.  But you shouldn’t have waited until you got that memo, you should have been eating a variety of fruits and vegetable all along – including tomatoes which are rich in lycopene….and were long before we even knew that lycopene existed, of course.

Just like you don’t need another study to ‘prove’ exercise is good for you, you don’t need another study to tell you that you need to eat a variety of foods, especially a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Your friend in fitness,

Dr Clay

 

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Choosing the Healthiest Rice with the Lowest Glycemic Index

White rice.  Brown rice.  Long-grain rice.  Medium-grain rice.  Short-grain rice.  Basmati rice.  Sweet rice.  Geez… with so many rice options, how are you expected to pick the best one or the one with the lowest glycemic index?  Well, that’s what I’m here for.

Allow me to help you quickly and easily make sense of the different rice varieties.

Four Basic Types of Rice

Let’s begin to make sense of rice by looking at the four basic types:

  • Long-grain Rice
  • Medium-grain Rice
  • Short-grain Rice
  • Sweet Rice (a.k.a. sticky rice or waxy rice)

Long-grain rice is called that simply because it is longer and more slender than the rather round, short-grain rice.  Of course medium-grain rice lies somewhere between the long and short versions.

The important thing for you to note is that, all other things being equal, long-grain rice tends to have a lower glycemic index than the other varieties.  Sweet or sticky rice, on the other hand (the type most often used in Asian restaurants), has the highest glycemic index of the four basic types of rice.

Brown Rice vs White Rice

Brown rice is less processed than its white counterpart.  Therefore it retains more of the brand and germ of the grain which gives it slightly more fiber, more nutrition value, and causes brown rice to have a lower glycemic index than white rice.  So as a general rule, if all other things are equal, choose brown over white rice.

Glycemic Index of Various Rice Varieties

Dozens of studies have been done which measured the glycemic index of various types of rice.  However, the data can be a bit confusing because of the wide variation in results.  Some of this has to do with the fact that the exact glycemic response of any given food can, and does, vary a bit from person to person.Rice various types

That’s why it’s important not to split hairs over the “reported” glycemic index of the different rice varieties.  Instead, just be familiar with the overall trends in glycemic response among the different types of rice.

To illustrate, here are a few types of rice and their glycemic index.

  • Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice………44
  • Basmati Rice………………………58
  • Brown Rice………………………..55
  • White Rice (long grain)…………..56
  • White Rice (short grain)………….72

What’s Up with Basmati Rice?!

You may have noticed in the above chart that there is a type of rice that I haven’t mentioned, and it happens to have a fairly low glycemic index.  That’s right, basmati rice does tend to have a lower glycemic index because of its higher amylose content.  (Note: amylose is a type of carbohydrate that is more resistant to digestion, thus giving it a lower glycemic index.)

For the record, basmati is actually a long grain rice.

uncle Ben's converted rice

The Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice Mystery

As for the Uncle Ben’s converted rice in the above chart, it does have the lowest glycemic index of all rice… for some mysterious reason.  Some people suspect that they use a secret process which gives the rice a lower glycemic index.  Who knows?  However, until I know more about this mystery process, I prefer to opt for something more natural or less ‘fake’ like basmati rice.

Rice Summary

As I mentioned earlier, do not concern yourself with splitting hairs between a glycemic index of 55 and 56.  There is essentially no difference.  In fact, there is really not going to be a significant physiological difference between brown rice which has a glycemic index of 55 and basmati rice which has a glycemic index of 58.

Besides, other studies have reported variations in these numbers, so it’s not like these glycemic indices are sewoman pointing leftt in stone.  You should just use them as guidelines.

Here are some important notes to keep in mind about rice:

  • Basmati Rice is a great, low-glycemic option.
  • Brown Rice is better than White Rice
  • Long-grain Rice is better than Short-grain Rice

In case you’re thinking, “But what type of rice do you eat, Dr. Clay?”  I personally consume white basmati rice. Sure, one could argue that regular brown rice might be slightly better (and it does have slightly more fiber), but I REALLY enjoy the taste of white basmati rice over brown rice, and the glycemic index is practically the same.

However, when my huge 10 pound bag of white basmati rice runs out, I’m going to be a wild man (I’m just crazy like that) and try BROWN basmati rice, which can be rather hard to find for some reason.  Although there doesn’t seem to be any data on the exact glycemic index of brown basmati rice, it’s safe to say that it is at least slightly lower than the white version.

I hope this article helps to shed some light on the different varieties of rice and which ones are healthier and better options for your physique.

Yours in health,

Dr. Clay

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Almonds: Are They Good for You?

You’ve probably heard that almonds are "good for you," but is this true?

As with most foods, almonds are good for you or healthy, but only if you consume the right amount.  Otherwise, the nutrition value of almonds can work against you instead of for you.

almond pile

Almond Nutrition Basics

Although you will often hear me (and others) refer to almonds as being in the nuts category, they are technically seeds as opposed to nuts.  In fact, some of almonds’ closest cousins are peaches, cherries, and apricots.

Almonds  get two thumbs up in that they are very nutrient rich.  Just one ounce of almonds has over 35% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for manganese and vitamin E and over 20% of the RDA of for magnesium.  Almonds are also a good source of phosphorus, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and copper, as well as a decent source of potassium and even calcium.

New research has also shown that the skin on the almond has a unique array of 20 flavonoids that promote good health.

Raw vs. Roasted Almonds

Due to the healthy fat content of almonds, it’s important to make sure that the almonds you eat have been stored properly and have not been roasted at high temperatures, otherwise the fats can oxidize and produce free radicals.

The best way to ensure that your almonds are fresh is to buy raw, fresh almonds and store them in the refrigerator.  For long-term storage keep them in the freezer.

If you prefer the taste of roasted almonds, plan to roast them at home to ensure that the healthy fat contained in the almond is not damaged, as is often the case with commercial roasting.

Roasting at 160°F for 15 to 20 minutes should be about right.  Just make sure to avoid temperatures above 170°F as this has been shown to damage the somewhat delicate fat contained in the almond.

Health Benefits of Almonds

almonds heart healthy Numerous studies have demonstrated the heart healthy benefits of eating almonds.  Regularly consuming almonds tends to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing good cholesterol (HDL).

Although almonds are a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids, specifically oleic acid ( a.k.a. Omega 9 fatty acid), it seems that there is more to the health benefits of almonds than just this healthy fat.  Researchers believe that it’s the combination of healthy fat and antioxidants that is responsible for the numerous health benefits that almonds display.

Regardless, we know that almonds are good for you… but only if you keep your consumption in check.

As you can see below, one ounce of almonds contains 14 g of fat.  The problem is, most people do not properly worsen omens.  They simply grab a handful and begin munching.  As you can imagine, even though almonds are healthy, eating too many can quickly lead to a fat intake that is too high for one meal or snack.

For that reason it’s imperative that you take an extra 10 seconds to weigh your almonds on a good digital scale.  Otherwise, you can’t be sure that you’re not getting too much of a good thing.  However, in a pinch you can go by the rule-of-thumb that 23 whole almonds weigh one ounce or 28 grams.

Nutrition Value of Almonds

  • Serving Size: 1 oz (28g)
  • Calories: 163
  • Protein: 6g
  • Carbs: 6g
  • Fat: 14g

77% of the calories in Almonds comes from fat, therefore they should be considered a source of dietary fat in your meal plan.

The above nutrition values are from the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.

So, Are Almonds Good for You or Not?two thumbs up

I never like saying whether or not something is good for you or not, because the true answer is always "It depends."

However,I think it’s safe to say that almonds are good for you… if you consume the right type (fresh, not overcooked), in the right amount (typically not more than 1 ounce), and at the right time.

All things considered, I (like Borat to the right) would give almonds two thumbs up!

I would encourage you to do like I do and make almonds one of the staple "clean foods" on your meal plan.

Yours in health,

Dr Clay