Thursday, July 28, 2011

Food Additives...

One of the first things I look at when going to the grocery store is the nutrition facts label. However, the second thing may be even more important. That is the ingredient’s list. If I have trouble pronouncing even half of the stuff on the list, or if the list is extra long with a lot of  -ites, -ides, acid, etc., then that may be a product I do not need to buy. Usually, an ingredient’s list will list the basic product, but also all of the “food additives” that come with the product. These would be substances that usually enhance flavor, or preserve the food.
Food additives to beware of…
Some food additives that I try to stay away from (but am not always successful) include:
1.       Sodium nitrite
This is a chemical used to preserve food and prevent botulism. It can be found in hot dogs, deli meats, and some frozen foods. Sodium nitrite is a carcinogen (cancer-causing agent).

2.      Aspartame
This is an artificial sweetener that provides the benefit of no calories. It can be found in many sugar-free products (including diet drinks). Though government officials say it poses no risk to us, it has been shown (at high levels) to cause ill-effects in rats. I don’t completely trust it.

3.      High fructose corn syrup
This is also an artificial sweetener, however, it comes with calories. It can be found in just about every box, bag, and jug you can think of. It is simply a cheap way of producing sugar.

4.      Artificial colorings and flavorings
These are test-tube colors and flavors that are not natural. They can also be found in just about every box, bag, and jug you can think of. They may also be added to enhance coloring of some of your fruits and vegetables (isn’t that sad).

There are other additives I limit usage of, but these are probably four that I pay attention to the most. Some alternatives to using these additives would be to look for items to buy that use sea salt (natural preservative); Stevia (natural sweetener); and natural colorings and flavorings. Also, consider cooking more. And when you cook, consider using a variety of herbs and spices versus just opening a box and mixing it with some ground beef.
That’s all I have for day. I will talk to you on a later date….

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I have never been a real big fan of nuts…unless they were covered in chocolate. However, recently, I have been eating more nuts….plain.
My mom bought a huge bag of walnuts and I decided to eat a few with some cranberries. After looking at the nutritional information on the bag, I became a little concerned. ¼ cup of walnuts was 200 calories, 20 grams of fat, and only 2 grams of fiber. I remember being educated in classes about the benefits of nuts, but after reviewing the nutrition information here, I became a tad bit concerned, so I did further research.
Several have spoke out against nuts because of the high fat content, but in actuality, nuts provide several benefits to the body that may outweigh the fat content. One thing you should know about nuts is that they contain a nice amount of the “good fat” that our bodies need. In addition, nuts have been associated with reduced risk of certain cancers, hypertension, obesity, and heart disease.
Many research studies have shown that those in weight-loss programs who incorporated nuts in a low-fat (35% fat) diet were more successful in sustaining weight loss than those on a simple low-fat diet (20% fat).
So eating nuts is not a bad thing. They are actually very beneficial to your body. My advice would just be to not overdo it, and just eat them in moderation (a handful a couple times a day); especially when you are trying to sustain weight loss. Matter of fact, they are a wonderful protein source when doing a detox (see earlier posts) that can help fill you up.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Always on a diet...

I have been on many diets in my life. Heck, I am on one right now. Well, really, I am not dieting, so much as I am trying to make a sustaining lifestyle change (as I have tried numerous times before).

What I have learned about diets, also known as “weight loss programs” is that they all do the same thing: provide your body with less calories. They have different ways of doing it, but it is all the same.  Low calories. So you have to utilize the program that works for your body. In reality, most weight-loss programs are only selling creative ideas that really just encompass low calories. So if you would like to save money on these types of programs, decrease your calories, and you will definitely lose weight. But if you need something more structured, a weight loss program might be right for you.

Two programs in particular that I have tried are the Weight Watchers Program, and the Fat Smash Diet. The all familiar Weight Watchers Program (that Jennifer Hudson is so proudly advertising with her awesome new body) operates on a point system; where your food is valued as some point, and you receive a certain amount of points per day. Though I haven’t done this program in years, I thought it was a great program. I lost weight, however, at the meetings they had (weekly meetings of individuals who also have weight loss goals), I never really connected with any of the members, though the meetings did provide some great information. Since I haven’t done this program in a while, I have heard that multiple things have changed to make it a healthier program. The original problem with the program was that a person could eat mostly junk, as long as they stayed within the required points. One of the new changes I have heard that they have is emphasis on eating more fruits and vegetables, which are no longer counted (free foods!).

The other “diet” I have tried and had great success (loss about 17 lbs in a couple of months), was Dr. Ian’s Fat Smash Diet. I loved this diet. But it was a challenge as it starts off with a very strict detox for 9 days and then slowly progresses, adding in certain meats and carbohydrates. I love the fact that Dr. Ian emphasizes the mental aspect of weight loss and living healthier, which is often not found in many weight loss programs. In addition, great recipes are given in this book to help you along the way of your “weight loss journey.”

Am I in favor or diets? No. But some people have to start on one in order to lose weight, see results, and decide to incorporate healthy lifestyle practices into their lives. For me especially, it would always help me to jumpstart healthy living. It was the maintenance that I always had a problem with…which is why I regard addressing the mental and emotional as so important with weight loss or just healthy living efforts. I think I will address mental and emotional tie-ins within another post. Talk to you later!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Accountability Partner

This weekend was really hard for me. I went to a birthday party and ate pretty healthy. However, when I saw the cake, I knew defeat was coming…
I think I told you in another blog…I love cupcakes. But truthfully, I love anything with the word “cake” in it. I have rarely ever been able to practice self-control when it comes to cake, because not only would I eat one huge piece, I would eat several huge pieces. It was like I was an addict (science says there is a lot of truth to this as our bodies become dependent upon sugar); and even though I would be full, I would continue to eat the sweet…
So back to my story…so here I am at my friend’s birthday party, eyeing the cake. I was trying my hardest to stay away from it. I was in a room with several people who were having interesting conversations, but all I could think about was, I WANT SOME CAKE!!! Finally, I decided that I was going to go ahead and give into my craving (not that eating cake is bad, it’s just that it does not fall in line with the “Insanity” diet I am doing). I was about to get up, and go get some cake, when I looked at my phone, which displayed a text message from one of my friends…
Interjection: So, this particular friend had called me a few days later and told me she wanted to do the detox that I normally do. That detox involves no meats and sweets. She had been having a hard time with sweets for a long time and wanted to overcome this. So she started the detox and tried to call or text me with her progress daily….okay, back to the story…
So my friend (the one mentioned above on the detox) texted me. So as I am about to get up to get some cake, I read her text which says: “HELP! I am at a wedding and they don’t have any vegetables! I want some cake so bad!(paraphrasing).” Well, I then sat there feeling bad. Because I had told her she could overcome this obsession with sweets, and here I was about to give in. So I “manned-up,” if you will, and told her not to give in, and that she was strong enough to do it. Knowing that I had to tell her that, and that I was in a sense accountable to her, just as she was being accountable to me, helped me to not go and get that cake. This experience, like others has shown me the value of social support. Research shows that individuals who have social support, especially when dealing with trying to lose weight or incorporating healthier eating practices, usually have better health outcomes.
So, if you are considering making health changes in your life, let me give you 3 reasons to get an accountability partner:
1. You can’t do it alone. Most people usually don’t have enough strength to make the necessary changes in their life without talking to someone else about it, and being held accountable to what they have chosen to do.
2. The fact that you have to tell someone about whether or not you have complied with your plan is often just enough reason for you to stick with your plan. Many don’t like to disappoint others, or to deal with the guilt of not meeting a goal, and others knowing about it.
3. It won’t hurt anything. Having someone to talk to who keeps you accountable in relation to your goals is not a bad thing. But you need to make sure your accountability partner is the right partner, as, just anybody will not do…
Here are 8 characteristics your accountability partner should have:
1. Desire to help you
2. Have some experience in the area you are struggling in
3. Be a motivator
4. Not condemn you when you fall short of your goals, but push you to not give up, and to continue to try to reach the goal
5. Someone you can trust
6. Someone who will “sincerely” celebrate with you when you reach your goal/s
7. Someone who attempts to hold themselves to the same standard that may be your goal (i.e., her goal was no sweets, and I was “attempting” to hold myself to that same standard)
8. Someone who will be more like a partner (we are in this together) and less like a boss (you need to do what I think is best)
I hope these tips have helped you. I believe they can be applied to not only eating healthy, but life issues in general. I love comments, so please give them to me ;-) Until tomorrow….ta-ta.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Can we get some more bread?

One food I have recently decreased my intake of is bread. I am not necessarily a big bread eater, but I do like to eat it with certain meals. With Americans in general, there is this huge need to have more bread. We go to restaurants and ask them to bring out the rolls. And if they just bring one roll per person, we look at them crazy.  We ask for more rolls!  We ask for more breadsticks!  We ask for more biscuits!  We ask for more cornbread! We ask for more croutons! Hey! Give us more bread!
Bread in itself is not bad for you.  They give us the carbohydrates our bodies need.  However, most foods we eat, (except most meats) are filled with carbohydrates too!  So bread does not have to be our only source of carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables and some dairy also give us carbohydrates.
So let me give you 3 tips on how to deal with bread. I recently was cooking for a friend. I cooked fish, and some vegetables. He asked, “where is the bread???!!!”  Point 1: You do not have to have bread with every meal.  If you are an “every meal” bread eater, try eating bread at only 1 meal a day for a few weeks.
I often like to cook spaghetti meals. When cooking chicken spaghetti and vegetables for my family, the first question I received was, “where’s the bread??!!” Point 2: Rice and pasta give you what you would get from bread, so you don’t have to have bread along with those foods. 
Lastly, I really don’t eat a lot of white bread…unless I am eating a sandwich at a fast food restaurant, which is not often, I might add. I have actually gotten so used to eating wheat bread, that I don’t know that I am missing anything that I would get taste-wise from white bread. Point 3: Eat whole wheat bread more than white.  White bread has been refined and fortified with nutrients.  100% whole grain, or 100% wheat bread retains its nutritional value as it has not been stripped of its nutrients by processing. It also retains its fiber content.
Again, bread in itself is not bad for you.  It is just the type and how much you are consuming that may be associated with health issues like obesity and diabetes, which are health issues we don’t want to struggle with.
Questions? That is all I have for today. Have a great weekend and I will talk with you next week!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

#1 Killer of the American People

Good morning! This hour, I am up grading papers and putting grades in for a few of the classes I teach online. One of the classes I teach concerns eating Whole Foods. I love the material I am teaching, though I don’t agree with all of it. But we mainly discuss the various benefits of eating whole foods versus processed foods. It reminds me of a poem I wrote years ago. I’d like to share it with you…

Americans are dying
And if they are not dying, they are living in suffering
and the blame is always put on something else.

Some say its multiple murder and violence
rapidly increasing while we collectively stay silent.

Some say its cancers and AIDS
causing our physical and mental degradation
Ultimately annihilating a mass number
of the American population.

Some say its suicidal habits and stress,
Heart attacks, strokes, or the government’s neglect.

Unintentional injuries, trauma and natural disasters,
All of these are blamed for eliminating us faster.

Maybe some of all of this is correct.
Maybe some of all of this is killing us.

But my personal belief
My personal educated belief
is that the #1 killer of the minds and bodies
of the American people is…

Triple quarter pounders with cheese.

Oh yes, but also
Super-sized french fries from Micky D’s,
Churches 3 piece,
Pizza Hut meat lover’s with double cheese,
Sonic’s extra long cheese coney with extra chili please
and the total is heart disease.

Take 2 Taco Bell burritos if it’s late,
KFC’s thigh and drumstick fried never baked,
Panda’s shrimp fried rice covering the whole plate,
Shakey’s 22 oz cookies and cream milkshake,
 and a little bitty Debbie’s chocolate cake
and obesity becomes your mate.

But let’s think,
what is the connection
that produces our food selection?

We start on farms where some cows are fed dead animals
instead of grain and grass
they’re pumped with antibiotics, we eat this beef
and for some reason our health is failing fast.

We crowd and cage chickens in dirty pens
surrounded by their own mess
some are pumped with antibiotics
some with steroids
possibly to make the manufacturers burden less
But this food and chemicals, can our bodies effectively digest?

We drink diet cokes
with suspected tumor causing aspartame
And sodium nitrite preserved dinners
with hidden cancer claims.

We have high fructose corn syrup
in every can, cereal, package and box
Massive meat fillers, salmonella and e-coli killers
and expired food left in stock.

What the heck are we eating??!!!

All the food additives,
 red dye number 40
yellow dye number 5 and 6
We have fruit and veggies pumped with chemicals
to give them color an off season has missed.

I could go on and on about this, but you get the pic.
The truth is:

What goes in to the body is not what defiles a man
but what comes out. 
But if nothing is coming out on a regular basis,
what went in is killing him.

Our people perish from lack of knowledge.
You have now been educated. 

Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid. Proverbs 12:1(NKJV)

I call this NUTROETRY. Yeah….I like that term. Remember where you heard it first. I believe you will continue to hear NUTROETRY from me. Let me go ahead and copyright it while I’m at it (NUTROETRY (phrase copyrighted by Jenelle N. Robinson 2011)). If you haven’t caught on by now, I am a little silly….but back to the topic…what did you think of my nutroem (nutrition and poem mixed together)? Makes you frustrated too, eh? Yep. But we continue to buy into the lie.

With that aside, here’s some advice to you to help you live longer with less disability and illness: increase the vibrant colors (red, purple, dark green, etc.), which are usually received from fruits and vegetables. Decrease the bland colors (white, beige, brown), which may most often be received from things like nachos, french fries, hamburgers, etc. I know you have heard it so many times before, but fruits and vegetables are where more life is….we will talk about that on another blog…until then!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011


So since starting this “Insanity” program, I also have had to change my eating. I have been doing pretty good for the past couple of days. Yesterday, I had peanut butter and strawberry spread on 1 slice of wheat bread, with a cup of OJ before I did my workout. After the workout, I had a whey protein shake with skim milk, and ½ a banana. For lunch I had a small salad, a turkey wrap (whole grain tortilla), and a cheese stick. For a snack I had a special K protein bar, and then a nectarine. For dinner I ate a shrimp pasta I made (whole grain pasta), along with another nectarine. In total, I had about 1525 calories, which is appropriate for the amount of exercising I am doing (in addition to doing “Insanity” in the mornings, I walk for over an hour at night).
One of the things I am really missing right now is cupcakes. I love cupcakes. I used to buy 1 cupcake a day at the local grocer. That got to be expensive, so I would then just buy the 6 pack in efforts to span the cupcakes over 6 days. That was a failure as I tended to eat all 6 cupcakes in one day! I know that was ridiculous. One thing I have had to learn to conquer is my cravings. I crave certain processed sweets.  My belief is that I was taught to crave it (subliminally). So I just have to play some mind games with myself in efforts to change my cravings.
I try to complete a detox once every month or so. My detox consists of eating only fruits, vegetables, brown rice, oatmeal, and egg whites. I commit to the detox for 3-9 days (depending on how I am feeling that week). I usually lose about 5-7 pounds every time (yeah, I know, probably mostly water weight); but the weight loss is not the big deal. My body feels cleaner when I do the detox. I actually feel like my body functions better during the detox (besides the headaches as the withdrawal symptoms). But what I learn during the detox is that I am able to overcome my cravings for sweets, and meat. Usually, after a detox for 3 days, I don’t even desire meat, and sometimes, not even sweets. It’s amazing how you can conquer things when you set your mind to it.  That is one thing I suggest to anybody who asks me about how to lose weight, or conquer cravings. Commit to a detox. It can change your life. Now many have said you don’t need to do a detox very often. I disagree. Or rather, I believe it depends on what type of detox you are doing. To go meatless and sweetless for a couple of days every month is a great idea to me. It has worked for me in helping to overcome cravings, and giving me the added bonus of losing a few pounds at the same time. It is more of a discipline thing, I think. Kind of like fasting. Fasting is definitely a way to get closer to God, to hear clearer, but in actuality, more than anything, it is about denying self. It is about disciplining self to understand that food is not what sustains you, and that you have power to control what you expose your body to.  A detox has the opportunity to work the same way, though the focus may be a little different from the fast; yet the principle is the same.
I’ve said enough for today….until tomorrow….
Also, I do a nutrition bit on an internet radio show every Wednesday at 1:30CST. Check me out:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This is INSANE

I started the workout program “Insanity” yesterday. It is literally insane. After day 2 (today), my back is hurting, and every muscle, bone, artery, and vein is in pain. Yes, “Insanity” is a challenge. But in actuality, I kinda love it. I feel like I did when I played basketball in high-school, where, before basketball season would start, we would do extreme training just to prepare us to get on the court. That is exactly what this workout program feels like….a high intensity workout for sports preparation.
I’m really not a high-intensity exerciser. For 5 years, I have trained for and run in a half-marathon every year. I am slow as a snail, but I have the needed endurance. However, my body is used to this moderate intensity running/walking. It needed a change. So for 60 days, I’m going to do this “Insanity” program and then go back to training for the next half-marathon.
On another note, I’m actually a little ashamed to be doing “Insanity.” Why? Because after all these years of creating my own workout plans, and creating my own nutrition plans for myself and others, along with getting great results, this time, I had to resort to someone else’s program. What I figured out is that I get tired of programs (self-created, and others) quickly. So does my body. My body gets used to it, and stops showing results. So I have to do what I have to do.
In retrospect: why do we put our bodies through all this stress of exercise? Yeah, I know there are recommendations for it for health reasons, but for a lot of us, it has nothing to do with our health, but more about fitting into certain clothes or an “ideal” shape. That is not necessarily a bad thing, I guess. Just kind of shows where our priorities might be. Nevertheless, I am a huge fan of exercising, but believe the greatest results come when you change your eating habits. I constantly hear people talk to me about how they exercise and still are not seeing results. My question to them is, “what do you eat?” Their face always turns sour when I ask that question.  In reality, I am going to step out on a limb and say this:
You can go through life without ever doing any moderate or extreme exercise, and still get results… If you change what you eat.
I believe our weight problems are 90% what we eat, while only 10% is a result of physical inactivity (I might change that number after going through “Insanity”).  I know people who never exercise, but eat low calories and do not gain weight.  I also know people who eat a lot of calories and do extreme exercise, but still gain (or maintain) weight. It doesn’t seem fair, eh? My theory though, is that if you do them both, you will most definitely get better results…but especially, if you get the eating down packed. 
As I said in the first blog, most of our weight-related, or eating problems derive from mental and emotional issues. We can put ourselves on every diet we see, but until we deal with the internal, we will never see sustaining results in the external. So what are the steps to overcome? How do we continue to see results? I believe I have said enough for today…
Stay tuned for answers, along with more talk in my daily blog….until tomorrow…

Monday, July 11, 2011

Am I Fat?

Hello bloggers and blog readers! My name is Jenelle and I am excited to begin a journey of blogging about fat, weight issues, food, nutrition, and my issues with all of the above! I have an interesting story concerning my “battle” over the years with these issues. Instead of telling you about it, I will let you read how I poetically describe it…

“I told a 300 pound woman that I was fat 
She looked at me with contempt as she struggled to scratch her own back.
Embarrassment paralyzed my voice, as I squeezed out of her path,
thinking about the struggle with my weight that I’ve had…

It began as a ten-year old girl, teased at school by the kids,
“Jelly belly girl,” they hollered, and laughed cause I was big.
At home was no relief, I ate masses of cookie dough,
my dad said,“You’re as big as a house, and will get bigger if you eat any mo!”

Got to junior high school, and decided to play basketball,
the weight began to drop, but starving myself was my biggest fall.
Same episode in high school, as weight went up and down,
college was a big setback, when the cafeteria buffet was found.

That began my cycle again, but no sport to discipline me,
so I made the fitness center my idol, while less pounds I began to see.

After college was the biggest test, I entered the job market,
three hours of work then lunch, fast food places became my target.

But I was enlightened one evening, to start anew eating right,
and get fit with workouts every day, so clothes wouldn’t be as tight.

A sacrifice it would have to be, to give up foods I liked,
so many delicious entre├ęs and desserts, and I couldn’t eat one bite?

No chocolate chip or sugar cookies, no ice cream sundaes and pies,
no strawberry short cake with whipped cream, I kissed vanilla bean cheesecake goodbye.

No fatty French fries, no burgers with cheese,
no pieces of fried catfish, no hushpuppies will I need.

No mounds of potato chips, drenched in cups of grease,
no huge pieces of fried chicken, included in my feast.

No four glasses of juice, no Cokes and milkshakes,
no sugary icees, or slushies could I make.

A new menu I created, to keep me on the right track,
it contained many healthier foods, that my previous list had lacked.

I ate lean turkey, egg whites, and plenty of lean ham,
wheat toast, but never jelly, only sugar free jam.

Baked chicken, baked potato, grilled tilapia, and shrimp,
fresh corn, green beans, and carrots, broccoli was not exempt.

Pineapples, bananas, plums, oranges, and fresh peaches,
strawberries, melons and grapes, were fruit I really needed.

Pasta salads and chicken salads, made a tasty meal,
Slim Fast Shakes, and Smart Ones cakes, were nourishing and had much appeal.

Sugar free beverages and no calorie pops, were drinks to quench my thirst,
sixty-four ounces of water a day, made my bladder almost burst!

Seven full days of exercise, provided a needed distraction,
step aerobics, running, and weights, were my three main attractions.

Two to three hours in the gym, was never enough for me,
I included a short workout at night, I committed to before sleep.

Twenty-six pounds of weight I loss, some said I was too small,
but I was beautifully thin, in the mirror hung against the wall.

After all this working out, all this time, and many calorie restrictions on myself,
I asked my mom, “Am I fat?” She told me, “Girl, you need some help!”

Although I had lost a lot of fat, I still felt my problem spots,
cellulite on the thighs, flabby arms at the side, and a stomach pudge seemed like a lot.

It then began a mind game, I played ongoing inside,
that I would always be fat, no matter what or how hard I tried.

I weighed myself nonstop, hoping to lose a pound or two,
when the scale told me lies, I broke it, although it was programmed to only tell the truth.

Paranoia hit when I met guys, who said “let’s go out to eat,”
I constantly asked, “do you see me as fat, or as girl a girl with just a lot of meat?”

So here presents the struggle, that has never ended in my life,
A seed planted by my enemy at childhood, has grown to create much strife.

One answer will end this battle, this question is to you in fact,
after hearing this exhaustive narrative, can you tell me, “Am I fat?””

(Copyright February 2006 Jenelle N. Robinson; from the book “February’s Diary: 28 Days of Lies”)

What do you think? I’m a girl with some issues, eh? Well, that is most certainly the truth. But what I have realized over my 30 plus years of living is that my weight issues, my concerns with my outer appearance and how "fat I am," all of it had more to do with what was on the inside of me than what was on the outside of me. I believe that is where all of us go wrong in seeking to lose weight or eat healthier, or change our bodies. We start from the outside, when really it is an inside-out process. Because for me, no matter how much weight I loss, no matter how small I was, I still thought I was fat. Clearly, it was an internal issue. My belief is that if we want to tackle weight and body related issues, especially in reference to what we eat, we have to explore the mind and heart first; as most of these issues have a mental and emotional root.

I am going to try to blog daily, or every other day concerning the aforementioned issues of interest. What is my purpose for blogging?

To help someone else? Mostly.
To vent? Sometimes it may be.
To educate and inform? Definitely.
To learn more about myself? Always.

I actually hope blogging will get my creative juices flowing to write more, and to think outside the box. I love feedback. I can always improve my thinking and be enlightened by others, so leave comments :-). Until tomorrow...