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7 Carb Myths You Should Know

7 Carb Myths You Should Know

Oh, carbs. Love ’em or hate ’em…  who are we kidding? You love ’em. We all do. But are they good or bad for you? Well, it’s complicated.

With so much conflicting information out there, it’s hard to know what’s what. What was good has become evil and what was evil has become good in a dietary sense, and round and round we go.

Here are a few myths about carbs explained to help you navigate the nutritional seas.

1. Cereal is a heart-healthy breakfast

Cereal is a staple in what we we think of as “a balanced breakfast” because it’s “light”. But it’s composed of highly processed carbohydrates for easy eating, which are just as easily broken down to sugar in our bodies.

Some brands try to offset this fact by adding “oat clusters” or nuts, but they’re usually coated in some form of sugar. How did you think the clusters clustered?

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All those simple carbs and sugars can actually do damage to your heart according to the Cleveland Clinic.

2. Grains and legumes should be the base of a “healthy” diet

Remember the classic Food Guide Pyramid from the USDA? The one with grains and legumes dominating all along the bottom of the image? It’s out of date! The USDA Food Pyramid has been replaced by MyPlate.gov, a more comprehensive and vegetable heavy approach to eating a balanced meal.

Guess what you should actually be eating most of? Veggies of course!

3. Granola bars are a “healthy” option

Candy bars are bad and granola bars are good, right? Not so, I’m afraid.

Granola bars are compact little blocks of processed carbohydrates. Even if they’re composed of more slowly broken down grains like whole oats, (most aren’t) they’re held together by sweeteners from corn syrup to honey.

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You’re better off snacking on some raw nuts or maybe an avocado, both of which have sustaining healthy fats to hold you over and won’t spike your blood sugar.

4. Exercise is more important than watching carbs

Let’s face it, we all hate cutting carbs. They’re so comforting and delicious.

If you’re trying to loose weight, or just be healthier, they really are one of the first things that should be reduced. Some people exercise more rather that eat fewer carbs. Anything not to cut back!

But according to this article from the British Journal of Sports Medicine, that’s not the best method. Over the past 30 years, obesity has reached new highs. While our physical activity levels haven’t reduced much, our carbohydrate and sugar intake has increased considerably.

Some people even manage to maintain a healthy weight by exercising more, but the strain on the system from all that exertion as well as the inflammation caused in the body from eating too many carbs and sugars can put seemingly fit people at risk for hypertension, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and heart disease.

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5. Fruit has “healthy carbs” so you can eat as much as you want

You may think that “eating clean” means loading up on a big, fresh fruit salad first thing in the morning to get yourself started on the right foot. Not so fast.

Simple carbohydrates, be they the much-feared high fructose corn syrup, or regular old fructose occurring naturally in most fruit, will burn up quicker than a phoenix in the California hills.

This will spike your blood sugar and bring you crashing down just as if you ate a couple doughnuts. Not to say fruit is bad. Just that there’s always too much of even a good thing.

For a better start, have a protein based breakfast like an egg or some chia pudding with green veggies.

6. Gluten is the cause

Celiac disease is very real, and those who have it should absolutely avoid gluten. But for those who seem to experience gastrointestinal issues when eating glutenous grains and are not celiac, you could be misdiagnosing yourself as “gluten sensitive”.

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Recent studies have been pointing to the more likely possibility of a sensitivity to fructans, a carbohydrate found in some glutinous grains, garlic, artichokes and some fruits. There’s also evidence pointing to sensitivity to the lactose in some dairy products and galactans, which are found in some legumes.

It might be more complicated than simply a sensitivity to gluten. The particular details of this sensitivity are outlined in the diet movement known as FODMAPs. Read more about it here.

7. All carbs are the enemy

There are carbs in almost every food, even vegetables! Complex carbohydrates in grains and starchy veggies have health benefits and nutrients too.

A wide variety of foods consisting of mostly whole, low sugar options is ideal. Just do a little research into what carbs are better for you. (Spoiler alert, white bread and sugar will be on the naughty list). But you can enjoy whole grain or grain-free baked goods as occasional treats, even if you’re living a low carb lifestyle.

Variety makes life interesting. And who wants to live an uninteresting life? Happy conscious baking!

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Hannah Glenn

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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