Saturday, February 20, 2016

Spotlight on food: greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is a food that has a lot of protein and can also have zero amounts of fats and low carbohydrates - more so than regular yogurt. In some cases you can also get a decent amount of fiber. The trick is to find greek yogurts that have very few carbs, very low fat but still taste good so that they can be used as part of a healthy diet.

I'm going to review three yogurts and go over their nutritional information.

I've made this table comparing these three yogurts, which are all the same flavor/style (small pieces of peach sweeten the base yogurt) and are all easily found in supermarkets and warehouse stores.

Please note that depending on the flavor of the yogurth these values may change. I see this specially in Chobani or when choosing a flavor such as vanilla.

Analyzing, we see Chobani is the one with the most carbohydrates/sugar and thus is only suitable for diabetics when that energy will be used. Examples would be for an early morning snack or an hour before your workout. The good news is that Chobani uses normal sugar sources - the other two yogurts use "fake" sweeteners. It does not have fiber.

Dannon Greek light and fit has the least carbohydrates and a decent amount of protein but it does not have fiber. I find this is an excellent yogurt for dessert or a night craving. Perhaps thanks to using the most processed ingredients, it's also the one that tastes the best in my opinion (i'm being honest...). This is the best option if you are trying to lower your A1C.

Oikos triple zero has a medium amount of carbohydrates (note that the sugar amount specifically is the same as Dannon though) but it has the most protein and is the only one with the added benefit of having chicory root - which means it gives us fiber. Even though it's in the sweeter side, I find this a better option to Chobani because fiber goals can be difficult to attain. It's sweetened with Stevia as we can see in the ingredients list which is regarded to be more natural than sucralose.

The ones I will continue to buy are Oikos and Dannon. Dannon is my "craving" yogurt for when I'm hundry or want a nighttime dessert, and Oikos is my workout or early morning yogurt. Since protein is difficult to obtain I do plan on eating at least one daily, and if I work out I'm eating one of each.

Dannon has the added benefit that it's available in case presentation in Costco (strawberry, blueberry, peach, all having the same nutritional values). I have not found Oikos yet in a warehouse store but I wouldn't be surprised to find it in Sam's for example. Chobani is found in Costco as well but as you saw it's not the best option if you are diabetic and won't be doing exercise after eating it, and it doesn't win in the taste test either in my opinion (it's perfectly ok but not as good as Dannon).

I'll add one positive note for Chobani though - for savory cooking, I find their non fat plain yogurt to be the best tasting (the blue one). My wife makes a killer chipotle dip with it!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Improving Yourself Like in a Video Game @NerdFitness @artofmanliness @Dark_KnightUK

So all us guys/girls that work in IT are for the most part big fans of gaming! Be it console gaming or PC gaming and we pretty much all have fond memories of the Sega Gensis/Megadrive/NES/SNES etc.

This blog post came about after listening to The Art of Manliness Podcast @artofmanliness (which I have to say I have been a big fan of for over a year) and their podcast with the guy that runs Nerd Fitness @NerdFitness. I have been a big fan of Nerd Fitness for ages, esp the Nerd Fitness blog posts.

They covered many topics that I have mentioned previously, but from a gamers point of view, and I thought this is a way soooooooooo many of us could relate to.

For example in a game, you will start off with very little skill, and you have to do various mundane tasks that you may think don’t have any real benefit,  you level up so you can beat the end of level boss, after which you go on and do some more to fight the next boss. If you decided to jump right in and go for the end of game boss (your ultimate goal) you would fail, simply because you hadn’t earnt all the stuff you needed and obtained the skills you needed to get there!

Also if you get to a boss and you fail, you will restart and try a different approach. But it is amazing how in real life, so many of us don’t do this, we fail at the boss fight and then give up, but in the game we try again, even if it means loading a save from a bit further back so we can try something different. Why is it we are happy to do that in a game but not in real life?!

We will spend hours upon hours, playing the game building XP and moving forward, but we usually are reluctant to do the same in real life
The podcast is brilliant and I have also pre-ordered the new Nerd Fitness book which is out in March.

So if you want to start running, you can start by walking. If you want to eat healthy, start by eating some fruit, small changes lead to big things if you keep going and build them up.

I have gone from not being able to run at all and hating it, to doing 5k and now I have managed to run 10k, it has taken time and I have had to level original boss/goal was to start running, next level was to get a decent 5k time and the level after was to get to 10k...and so on. 

I rewarded myself along the way, when I reached 10k I bought myself some nice running gear, something that I can reward myself with, but will help me reach my next goal/boss fight, which is getting a decent 10k time!

The podcast can be found here: