Ask Sam Now
I love me some carbs.
How can lose weight without cutting them from my diet?
Dear Crazy for Carbs,
The right carbs don’t make you fat—key word being right. Not all carbs are created equal. Keep your healthy, high fiber carbs in your meals: hearty grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and veggies. Intentionally focus on your portion size. Greater portions mean greater calories which relates to weight gain. One serving of cooked whole grain pasta is about the size of your fist (your favorite restaurant is probably serving more than this). Leave leftovers on your plate and ditch the bread basket, especially if you ordered complex carbs for your entrée.
Carbs are essential for our mind and body. Carbs are one of the three macronutrients we need, the others being proteins and fats. Refined carbs are the ones to avoid: candy, pastries, sugars, chips, syrups, fruit juices, white pasta, white rice. Ingesting the right quality carbs will boost your mood, slow down blood sugar spikes, prevent disease, increase your energy, prevent weight gain, and reduce body and belly fat.
Yes, low-carb diets give you short term success. However, studies show people gain the weight and then some back later down the road. And dietitians say it’s almost always unsustainable. Our bodies depend on glucose to function efficiently, without carbs the body will go into a state of ketosis and we become sluggish, forgetful and constipated. So, keep healthy carbohydrates at about 45-65 percent of your total daily caloric intake. If you are working out 3-4 times a week, keep this the same. If you are training for a half marathon or more, then consider increasing overall calorie intake, with your percentage of carbs remaining 45-65 percent.
No need to breakup with carbs, just pick the right carbs at the right portion size—It’s all about moderation and balance.
Are non-toxic home cleaning products really worth the cost
Dear Go Green,
The answer is yes. Some can be pricey, but you are your family’s health is priceless.
The greatest thing about going non-toxic is a healthier home and environment. Studies show using green products reduces risks of developing asthma. Non-toxic cleaners are safe to use around children, and prevents inhaling lingering chemicals in from the air and on surfaces. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reported our own home air quality can be 2-5 times more polluted than air outside our homes from traditional household cleaners.
Though it can be pricey, try gradually go green by using up your current products then replacing it with a non-toxic cleaner. There are also crossovers in your pantry and refrigerator that naturally act as cleaning products. Lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, olive oils and essential oils are great examples of non-toxic cleaning products.
Try this homemade all-purpose cleaner:
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 liter hot water
- a few drops of essential oil (try lavender or peppermint oil)
All the marketing is confusing. What are
the best and healthiest oils for cooking?
Dear Drizzle and Sizzle,
Some oils are for drizzling, some for sizzling. When you use an oil, know its smoke point. Oils can release toxic chemicals when used over their smoke point. Assuming you are cooking over a stove, in an oven or a grill, my two favorites are avocado oil and olive oil.
For high heat:
Avocado oil is best, with a smoke point of 520 degrees. Look for organic, extra virgin, cold-pressed, unrefined, and in a dark glass bottle. I also recommend refrigerating for freshness.
For low heat:
Olive oil is your best choice. Look for organic, extra virgin, cold-pressed, and unrefined in a dark glass bottle. Store in a cool, dark place.
For moderate heat:
My favorites are coconut oil and ghee (clarified butter). Coconut oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees. Look for extra virgin, cold-pressed, and unrefined and store with your olive oil.
Ghee has a smoke point of 425 degrees. Look for organic, grass-fed, and ALA acids. Store in your pantry for up to three months, or refrigerate for up to one year.