Motivated by the lack of information about Black Women's Fitness issues, I am creating a Community for Black Women to voice their concerns and discuss issues related to physical health. I will share information about my experience. We all know that the Black Women's experience has its complexities. From the prevalence of diabetes and breast cancer in our community to not working out because we just paid $75 dollars to get our hair done, there are a ton of issues!
Ladies, Have you ever looked at the ingredients on the back of breads in your supermarket? Ever notice that there are 25+ ingredients? Ever tried to pronounce any of these ingredients? Last week I spent an hour in my local supermarket trying to find a whole grain bread without high fructose corn syrup, sugar, or a ton of preservatives. Do you know what I found? Nada. There are several brands that present themselves as the healthy choice. Labels like whole grain, whole wheat, multigrain, lo-cal etc. But if you look at the label you will see that they still have a ton of sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). So in the end I had to settle for the item with the lowest amount of sugar. I know some sugar is okay in moderation but these days manufacturers sneak sugar and (HFCS) into everything. It is so unnecessary. If you are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle you need to be aware that there is sugar in foods that really do not require it.
Another issue with bread purchased in the supermarket are all the random preservatives. Have you ever noticed how quickly bread from a bakery gets stale? It is usually within one day, unlike most packaged breads which lasts for weeks.
So, if you are watching your sugar intake and trying to get you family to eat healthier you must pay attention to the labels.
Here are a few recommendations for purchasing a healthy whole grain bread:
1. Trader Joes and Whole Foods (the generic 365 brand) have loaves of whole grain bread for less than 3 bucks. My favorite is the soft wheat from Trader Joes.
2. Buy Bakery fresh baguettes (at your local super market or bakery)
It has been a busy couple of months and we have not been able to post as much as we would have liked. But don't worry we are still here and will continue to provide you tips, inspiration, and motivation.
For the past couple of weeks I was in Amsterdam for a summer course. It is a beautiful city filled with plenty of opportunities for exercise and healthy eating. Everyone in Amsterdam cycles, the city is pretty small so you can ride your bike to work, school, and for errands. The city is designed specifically for the bicyclists. They have their own lanes (separated by a barrier from the car lane) and lights. It's also a great city to walk through. There are beautiful canals and amazing architecture at every turn. Also, there are fitness centers everywhere. There were three within walking distance of me (Heaven!). I joined Sport City Gym because they had great selection of classes. They had Zumba, BodyPump, Body Combat, etc. The classes were taught in Dutch, it was bit of a challenge but I survived :-)
Eating healthy was no problem. Fresh fruits and veggies were much cheaper than in the U.S. Also, it was so easy to find fresh baked bread (i.e., bread w/o added sugar) and salads. There was an Albert Heijen grocery store near me and a farmers market with fresh food as well. My room had a tiny fridge so I basically had to buy groceries every other day, which was great because my meals were fresh. It was super easy to avoid processed foods (high fructose corn syrup was not an issue)
My time in Amsterdam made me realize some of the challenges we have in the U.S. and why it is difficult for many people to maintain healthy weights. Imagine if you lived in a city where you could bike everywhere and didn't have to spend a ton of money on healthy foods. Life would be so much easier.There are alot of environmental issues in the U.S. that contribute to the obesity epidemic. In the U.S. being healthy requires a ton effort....(but it still so possible). In the future I will be elaborating on some of the environmental challenges in a new series called "Why?? Wednesdays". I will identify a challenge and offer solutions.
How do you compare the availibity of fresh foods and opporutnities for exercies to other countries you have visited??
Vitalicious baked goods are officially on my must-have healthy snack list. I had the opportunity to try a variety of their products. They are all whole grain, lo-cal, low sodium, and no cholesterol. My favorite is the banana nut muffin top and the pumpkin spice muffin top. They are all under 100 calories and loaded with fiber. These products are really unique because they are actually fresh with no preservatives or artificial ingredients. They are kept in the freezer section of your local grocery store and you must keep them frozen until you are ready to eat them (they last 2 to 3 days out of the freezer). They are especially great when toasted or microwaved for a few seconds.
They also have a few dessert varieties like the Vita Brownie. It's great portion control and will surely cure your chocolate craving. I will admit they are kind of pricey so definitely keep your eyes peeled for sales. Also, they have an active facebook group where they are always offering discounts (click here). Their website also has great deals and you can always order them directly from the website.