Limiting My Sodium and Sugar Consumption

My August Nutrition Goal: Reduce Sodium & Sugar intake!

Mindful Nutrition Choices Reducing Sodium and Sugar Consumption  On the blog Stronglikemycoffee.com

The typical American diet has become reliant on salt and sugar for flavor.

Why? Because both are cheap and don’t amount to significant calories.

But they have MAJOR health impacts on the body.

Sodium hides in many (or most) packaged items, and it’s important to be aware of how much we consume.

  • Food is measured under the big umbrella of calories.
    • Breaking that down, we have the main “macronutrients” carbohydrates, proteins, and fat.
      • Beyond that, we have vitamins and minerals. **I’m not saying let’s start tracking our manganese and gingko biloba consumption (who has time for that?!) but I definitely stay aware of how much sodium and sugar are in processed foods before buying them.

Reducing sodium and sugar with mindful nutrition choices (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Sodium doesn’t just come from the salt in the Morton’s container with the girl and yellow umbrella or in the shaker on the dining room table. The obvious offenders like ketchup and soy sauce are loaded with NaCl. But did you ever think about HOW much salt is on your popcorn, peanuts, and chips? Hint: TOO MUCH.

Mindful Eating: Nutrition on sodium and sugar (stronglikemycoffee.com)

If you don’t already, be sure to check nutrition labels for sodium and sugar content. Sodium will have a “percentage of daily value” whereas sugar will not.

The government regulations provide a daily recommended value of no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. I wish there was a recommended guideline for grams of sugar per day, but I suppose that would be hard to measure with fruits, veggies and other natural sources.

For this month, I will be monitoring my sodium and staying within the 2,300mg/day limit. For sugar, I am trying not to exceed 35 grams per day from packaged items.

I will never NEVER limit fruit intake for calorie/sugar purposes, and veggies are basically the best thing ever to put into your body. So no need to worry about those :) Natural sugar is A-OK and we are more concerned with processed chemicals like good ole’ High Fructose Corn Syrup, corn syrup solids, fructose, glucose, etc.

Reading packaging labels for salt and sugar nutrition (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Salt is virtually calorie-less. So no, flavoring your veggies and pasta with salt won’t add any huge calorie impact. However sodium content DOES play a huge role in our body functions and weight.

Internally: according to health.gov, consuming excess sodium increases blood pressure which puts you at risk for a whole slew of heart problems.

Externally: Salt makes you BLOAT. The NaCl wants to hold onto water. More salt = more water. Water weight is not “fat” and won’t appear as cellulite, but it does show up on the scale and when you try to button your jeans.

Sugar has ALL KINDS of nasty effects.

Sugar contributes to cavities, blood sugar spikes and drops, insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity.

Learning to reduce salt & sugar:

Spring roll veggies

First step: put the salt shaker down! We literally only have a pepper shaker in my family’s kitchen. Adding salt to foods really packs on the sodium micrograms and overpowers the flavors of fruits, veggies, proteins, and grains. When it comes to cutting table salt, I say go cold turkey. Let yourself taste all of the food’s natural flavors with herbs and spices. Then when salt is reintroduced to your recipes, you will be able to notice the difference. You might not even like the saltiness anymore.

As far as sugar is concerned, it starts in the grocery store. Reading nutrition labels before throwing products in the basket is the best thing you can do to keep from sabotaging your own healthy efforts. Finding low-sugar alternatives to items like salad dressing, pasta sauce, cereal, peanut butter and yogurt will all depend on the choices you make when shopping!

I also think it is better to just eliminate excess sugar completely instead of substituting with a sugar-free aspartame-based sweetener (though I will on occasion, like with skinny lattes). Also try trading sugar and sweeteners with stevia. It’s a plant extract, and has been minimally processed in the raw form. I use it baking! Experiment with recipes and find healthy alternatives that use applesauce, bananas, squash and cinnamon as sweeteners.

Kabob collage*The anti-salt: cucumbers and lemon. That would make a pretty infused water! I’ll be sipping on tea with lemon slices and munching on afternoon cucumber slices :)

 

Summer Watermelon Cake

So let’s just enjoy this San Diego scene before we get too invested in this Monday morning:

San Diego Sunset shot (stronglikemycoffee.com)

It was one of those weekends that felt perfectly like SUMMER in every way. We stayed with friends in the San Diego area for a weekend with lots of good food, pictures, and hiking. Even Missy had a good time!

Missy in San Diego (stronglikemycoffee.com)Doesn’t she look like she’s actually smiling? However her “cuteness” was upstaged by this 6-week old kitten who waddles when he walks.

Kenzie and Kitten (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Our weekends here always include new hiking adventures. This time we did a back-to-back double feature starting with a shoreline trek in Torrey Pines followed by a (STEEPER) hike up Cowle’s Mountain. We could see 360 degrees of the city and downtown, although the humidity and clouds made them pretty grey and dreary.

Beach hikes and Watermelon Cake (stronglikemycoffee.com)But the thing I MOST want to share with you in our “Pinterest Win” of the weekend….a Watermelon Cake!

Watermelon Cake Summer Dessert  Stronglikemycoffee.com

I’ve seen this on Pinterest for a while now and had it on my to-do list this summer. It was the perfect summer afternoon “craft” instead of baking in the 90 degree heat. During the hour and half we took to cut, frost and decorate the cake, I am pretty sure I consumed about 4,326,921 blueberries, 1/5 a pineapple and half a cup of cool whip.

Pinterest Win Watermelon Cake Summer Dessert  Stronglikemycoffee.com

It really isn’t difficult at all! Try to find a symmetrically-shaped watermelon, the perfect oval. Chop off the ends and then slice off the green. Using COLD Cool Whip or whip cream, frost the cake like usual. (Pat the watermelon with a paper towel to soak up as much extra moisture as possible.)

Set the frosted cake in the fridge to cool and “set.” Note: you will not be able to adjust the frosting after this.

To decorate the cake we used blueberries, black berries, strawberries, and almond slivers but don’t limit yourself!

In the end….it’s just a fancy-shaped watermelon with some whip cream. But you know what? It TASTES LIKE SUMMER:

Flavors Chart (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

2 Years Strong!

We have a big bad birthday celebration in the house…..

Strong Like My Coffee turns 2 years old today.

My blog is a toddler!

Despite what you’ve heard about those Terrible Two’s I think exciting things are in store ;)

Strong Like My Coffee 2 Year Blog Anniversay

Anniversary…Birthday…whatever you want to call it….we need a cake! Because, I say so. (Who made the rules?!)

Last year, SLMC’s first birthday brought you this “healthified” Raspberry Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake. In keeping with my coffee cake theme, I searched for something equally cute. I adapted Chocolate Covered Katies “1 minute coffee cake in a mug” with a recipe down below :)

The blog statistics:

  • In the past 365 days….
  • 77 blog posts
  • 278 pictures
  • 14,562 cups of coffee

Stats on this recipe:

  • Healthy (low-sugar, low-fat, portion controlled)
  • Convenient (microwavable!)
  • Quick (5 min. tops)
  • Adorable (it’s a cake in a mug, c’mon!)
  • Coffee-themed (how appropriate.)

And that is as statistical as it gets around here :)

Coffee Cake in a Mug Recipe (stronglikemycoffee.com)The Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake in a Mug Recipe:

(Serves One)

  • Combine the following:
    • 3 Tbs. flour of choice
    • 1 Tbs. water
    • 1 Tbs. coffee
    • 2 tsp. unsweetened applesauce
    • 1 Tbs. Stevia (or sugar)
    • tiny pinch of salt
    • pinch of cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
    • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • Spoon 2/3 of the mixture into a mug (I recommend lightly spraying with cooking oil first.)
  • Combine the following in a separate dish:
    • 1/2 Tbs. cinnamon
    • 1 Tbs. brown sugar (or stevia)
    • 1 Tbs. pecan pieces
    • 1 Tsp. applesauce
  • Spoon half of the cinnamon mixture over cake mixture.
  • Add remaining layer of cake batter.
  • Add remaining layer of cinnamon.
  • Microwave for 1 minute 15 seconds. Increase by 10 seconds if needed.

Coffee Cake Mug Recipe (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

Bring on a brand new year of coffee, celebrations, cake, hanging out on New York rooftops and many more mornings of blogging :)

Strong Like My Coffee Blog Anniversary

***Cheers!***

And if you are on Instagram, I just joined your world. You can follow along @stronglikemycoffee if you’re into that sorta thing :) I’m looking for good fitspo accounts to follow too!

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