Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Mixing, mingling and making merry this holiday wouldn’t be the same without alcohol. But for those of us with an agenda to neutralize weight gain, adding alcohol to the equation makes this a tough one to balance. Here’s why:
Alcohol is the second most potent source of calories Partying with alcohol is fun because we like feeling intoxicated, but this intoxication comes with a caloric price tag. One gram of alcohol is 7 calories, which is more than one gram of carbohydrate (4 calories) and protein (4 calories) but less than one gram of fat (9 calories).
We don’t burn extra calories to metabolize alcohol Not like we do from digesting carbs, fat and protein. This phenomenon, called the “thermic effect of food”, refers to the energy we use to digest food into small, absorbable components. Because alcohol is so easy to absorb, it enters our bloodstream without burning any extra calories.
Your liver does the dirty work Because alcohol is seen as a toxin, the liver prioritizes metabolizing alcohol first (get in line, fat…it’s not your turn!) which means you won’t be burning calories from other sources while that happens. The liver is only able to clear alcohol at a rate of around one ounce liquor per hour, which is why consuming more than this will leave you feeling tipsy.
Alcohol makes your blood sugar drop, making you want to reach for carbs The liver helps keep our blood sugar steady, but a liver busy at work metabolizing alcohol can’t do this effectively, causing your blood sugar drops and stays low until the alcohol is metabolized. This explains why you crave carbs and wake up the next day with a headache.
Alcohol calories that aren’t burned will be stored as fat This is true for all extra calories eaten no matter the source, but what makes alcohol calories worse is that they are stored in your liver first. It takes time for the liver to ship out the alcohol-induced fat for proper storage in your fat cells. If the liver doesn’t do this fast enough (or if you drink too much, too often) the fat stays stuck in your liver and around your abdomen giving you what we refer to jovially as a “beer belly.”
This of course doesn’t mean you need to completely dodge all social sips this season. Here are some tips to help prevent you from gaining too much of your holiday cheer:
1. Pour yourself half as much. This will help you limit yourself to one or two drinks per party.
2. Avoid higher calorie mixed drinks like eggnog, margaritas, mudslides, or other sugary mixed drinks–or have one and consider it dessert.
3. Alternate between having alcohol and water to stay well hydrated.
4. Sip slowly and take the time of enjoy your alcoholic beverage.
5. Keep your alcohol budget at or below 200 calories. Pick these lower calorie alcohol alternatives:
Monday, 24 November 2014
LOUISBURG, N.C. - At one point number 60, Jason Brown, was one of the best centers in the NFL.
At one point he had a five-year, $37 million contract with the St. Louis Rams.
And at one point he decided it was all meaningless - and just walked away from football.
"My agent told me, 'You're making the biggest mistake of your life,'" said Brown. "And I looked right back at him and I said, 'No I'm not. No I'm not.'"
So what could possibly trump the NFL?
You wouldn't believe.
Jason Brown quit football to be a plain, old farmer -- even though he'd never farmed a day a in his life.
Asked how he learned to even know what to do, Brown said:
"Get on the Internet. Watch Youtube videos."
He learned how to farm from Youtube.
Thanks to Youtube and some good advice from other farmers here in Louisburg, N.C., this week Jason finished harvesting his first, a five-acre plot of sweet potatoes.
"When you see them pop up out of the ground, man, it's the most beautiful thing you could ever see," said Brown. He said he has never felt more successful.
"Not in man's standards," said Brown. "But in God's eyes."
But God cares about the NFL, right? There are people praying to him on the field all the time.
"Yeah, there's a lot of people praying out there," said Brown. "But, when I think about a life of greatness, I think about a life of service."
See, his plan for this farm, which he calls "First Fruits Farm," is to donate the first fruits of every harvest to food pantries. Today it's all five acres--100,000 pounds--of sweet potatoes.
"It's unusual for a grower to grow a crop just to give away," said Rebecca Page, who organizes food collection for the needy. "And that's what Jason has done. And he's planning to do more next year."
Brown has 1,000 acres here, which could go a long way toward eliminating hunger in this neck of North Carolina.
"Love is the most wonderful currency that you can give anyone," said Brown.
"Are you sure you played in the NFL?" I asked.
"Because I feel like cuddling you right now."
"Don't do that!" he said.
Brown may have left the NFL, but apparently holding is still a penalty.