It was three years ago when I was sitting in the library, just like you, dreading the upcoming exam period. I had a short attention span coupled with terrible eating habits. When stressed, I ate donuts, muffins, cookies, croissants, chips, and twinkies (okay so I had a sweet tooth!). I was the stereotypical “muncher”. I would study for an hour, daydream for the next hour, eat a couple of cookies, check my Facebook for 30 minutes, go get a slice of pizza, and call it a night. My mouth had to be constantly chewing to make my mind work. Or so I thought!
My study-partner, however, was quite opposite. She fretted for two hours, made a “To Do” list, fretted some more, studied an hour, and ate nothing because she felt sick during exams. She was the epitome of a “starver”.
At this point, you may want to review your own study habits and figure out if you are a starver or a muncher.
On the last day of exams, I (4 lbs heavier) and my friend (4 lbs lighter) would crash, complain, and sleep for a week.
One night, two days before my Physics exam, I had my “light-bulb” moment (appropriate timing, no?). I woke up at 6am, went for a 15 minute jog, showered and got myself a nice big breakfast of eggs, oranges, toast and coffee. Suddenly energized, I grabbed a bag of blueberries and opened up the books. By noon, the blueberries were gone, my white t-shirt had one purple smudge, and I was 6 chapters smarter. I took an hour long break, had a nice meal of steamed veggies, mashed potatoes, and chicken breasts, yumm. And lots of water. Another four hours with the books, dinner and 5 more chapters later, I felt like a new man! (err, woman!).
The point of all this is that if I treat my body right, it functions well, specially during exams. On that note, read on for 10 simple ways you can change your eating habits and conquer those exams!
Don’t wait until exam week to eat healthy. If your body is used to twinkies twice a day, it will not understand why you are eating an apple instead. You have to give it time and let your body get used to apples! So try to keep your diet healthy throughout the year. Yes you can eat twinkies sometimes, but allow your body to extract the goodness from fruits everyday…that will keep your blood sugar regulated, and you will not feel lightheaded or tired
Keep snacking. Nuts, berries, apricots, raisins, yogurt….eat something small every three hours! Again, it keeps your blood sugar and energy constant.
Try to cut back on coffee. If you must have coffee, go with decaf. Cappuccinos and lattes are the devil. Instead, ask them to fill half your cup with milk and top it with decaf coffee and very little sugar. Or try teas. They keep your stomach feeling like it’s full.
Do sleep. Eight hours, ten hours, whatever is normal for you. There is nothing as important as getting your daily sleep fix.
Drink a lot of water, Keep a bottle close at hand, and take a few sips every fifteen minutes.
Relax! Worrying will not make things go any smoother. Try meditation or yoga for a few minutes each day.
Exercise, for a few minutes each day. It helps bring up the motivation levels, clears out your head, and keeps your heart smiling (I mean pumping).
Do not skip meals. Even if you are a starver, you have to eat. Don’t let stress get in the way of your appetite. Your three main meals a day should be spaced out…and try to not look at a book while eating. A meal should be a way to wind down, treat yourself to something yummy, and not think!
Chew gum. It keeps your mouth busy and has very little or no calories.
Best of luck!!
Tags: Guest Posts · Tips and Shortcuts · UeaT
Easter is 5 days away. The stores are packed with chocolate eggs, and hollow chocolate figures of Bart Simpson, the Transformers and bunnies. Some of you may claim to be too grown up for Easter egg hunts….but we at UeaT encourage all UeaTers to indulge in egg decoration and hunts. Maybe even hold an Easter egg hunt across campus!
Before you set out to buy food colors and dyes for your egg decorating ventures, try out some natural dyes. You probably already have some of the ingredients needed.
Boil your eggs like you usually do, and leave them in the refrigerator overnight. Boil one cup of water with a small amount of your “color ingredient” until the water picks up the color. Strain the mixture, pour it over your eggs and cover for an hour. The longer you leave the eggs in the dye, the darker the color will be (but it will also seep into the egg, so it may not be a good idea to eat them).
The “color ingredients” can be a range of different spices, fruits, berries, vegetables, and teas. We like to use cherries (pink), blueberries (blue), instant coffee (brown), spinach (green), paprika (orange), grape juice (purple), cranberries (pink), powdered turmeric (yellow) and rooibos teas (orange). You can find a larger list here.
Send us your best colored egg pictures and we will add them to this space!
Tags: Tips and Shortcuts · UeaT
Tags: Guest Posts · Nutrition Tip · Tips and Shortcuts · UeaT
Since many of you have been complaining about eating too much over the Thanksgiving weekend and voicing concerns over calories, carbs and wine, we wanted to share some wisdom on good carbs and bad carbs with you.
The following is an article that was published in the Globe and Mail (April 7, 2009) by ANDRÉ PICARD. It provides valuable information on carbs, the Glycemic Index and healthy eating. Enjoy!
With three young children, his spouse working full-time, and shift work to juggle, Mark Stewart has a busy life. So there is little hesitation when it's his turn to prepare dinner: He gets the water boiling, cuts the vegetables for the sauce, and has a big batch of spaghetti on the table in no time.
In this anti-carbohydrate era, when it has become gospel that carbs are the express lane to obesity, these are the words of a heretic: doubly so because he shuns red meat and more than half his diet consists of carbs including pasta, whole-wheat breads and fresh fruits and vegetables.
But Mr. Stewart, a Toronto firefighter, has many things that the Atkinsites, the South Beachers, the Zonies and followers of other trendy diets can only long for: a trim, buff body, boundless energy, good blood pressure and rock-bottom cholesterol.
What he has realized is that carbohydrates are not the monolithic evil they are made out to be: There are good carbs and bad carbs.
The good ones are those that break down slowly in the body and provide a steady source of energy. The bad ones give you a quick rush and leave you feeling hungry again not long after.
What he is doing, almost unwittingly, is choosing food based on its glycemic index, a measure of the speed at which food is digested and converted into glucose, the body's source of energy. It is a Canadian theory that has a devoted and growing following in scientific circles, and that is now entering the mainstream as a counterbalance to carbless mania.
GI has also spawned some of the hottest new entries in the diet book wars, with titles including The New Glucose Revolution, by University of Toronto professor Tom Wolever, and The GI Diet, by Rick Gallop, past president of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. What distinguishes GI from its competitors, however, is that it is more a scientific theory than a weight-loss fad.
"It's not a diet; it's a way of thinking of food," said David Jenkins, a world-renowned nutritional scientist and director of the Risk Factor Modification Centre at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.
He published the first research on the glycemic index in 1981, but, in his words, "it sank like a stone." Over the years, however, the evidence slowly accumulated as Dr. Jenkins and others published groundbreaking work on how dietary choices influenced rising rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer.
Today, the GI approach is being hailed as the missing piece of the nutritional puzzle, the underlying explanation for why the high-carb, low-fat and carb-free approaches have all failed.
"This is emerging as one of the most promising, if not the most promising nutritional development ever," said Simin Liu, an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.
The body converts all carbohydrates -- bread and sugar alike -- into sugar molecules that are burned or stored. The faster carbs are broken down by the digestive system, the quicker blood sugar goes up and the higher the GI of a given food. The GI value of pure glucose is set at 100, and every other food is ranked on a scale of 0 to 100 based on the actual effect on blood glucose levels.
Almonds rate a 0, apple juice 30, spaghetti 38, cheese pizza 60, Coca-Cola 63, a white bagel 72, a baked potato 85, and a fruit roll-up 99.
The blast of sugar that comes from high GI foods makes insulin levels go up and stresses the pancreas, our body's insulin factory. Insulin is a hormone that activates cells to absorb sugar in the form of glucose. This, in turn, leads to insulin resistance, a precursor of diabetes and heart disease.
"At least 25 per cent of the population is insulin-resistant, and half are overweight or obese," Dr. Liu said. "This indicates they can't handle the high glycemic load."
In modern times, we have adopted a diet of soft, chewy, processed foods that go down smoothly. We tend to think of these easily digestible foods as good, but in scientific terms, they are not. The body processes them quickly, demanding massive insulin production and leaving us hungry again only hours later.
Over time, this leads not only to unhealthy weight gain but to pancreatic burnout, a key contributor to many chronic diseases.
The glycemic index is the underlying rationale for limiting carbs in popular diets like Atkins, South Beach, the Zone and Sugar Busters, but Dr. Jenkins believes the idea has been perverted.
"To cut out carbs from the diet, that was sad," he said. "But they are revising their statements so that now they are not carbohydrate-exclusion diets but more selective carbohydrate diets."
In fact, most foods on the banned lists of these popular diets are high-GI foods. Low-GI carbs such as peas, beans and lentils are actually encouraged.
While there are now detailed lists of foods based on their glycemic index, Dr. Jenkins doesn't encourage tedious bean-counting. Common sense, he says, is a fairly good guide, and by that he means eating primarily unprocessed, fresh foods, including whole grains, nuts and lots of fruits and vegetables.
"I encourage people to revisit the foods which, over the last 100 years, we've thrown out of our diets: Try some pumpernickel bread, beans, peas, lentils; try a barley stew, or some oat bran muffins."
Jean Dumenil, a Quebec City cardiologist, tried treating patients with a low-GI diet and was amazed by the results.
Within a week, patients' cholesterol and triglycerides dropped sharply, and blood glucose levels remained steady and low. Even though the patients were allowed to eat as much as they wanted, their caloric intake also fell, even compared to an already healthy diet.
"The patients were eating 25 per cent less calories than they were eating on the American Heart Association diet. We were amazed by this," Dr. Dumenil said.
No one is claiming that GI is the magic formula for turning the obesity epidemic around.
But GI is helping us understand why many weight-control methods have failed. It is also proving a key element in understanding how to regulate blood sugar levels and control appetite.
Tags: Guest Posts · Tips and Shortcuts · UeaT