MYTH BUSTER: Margarine or butter?

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There is a lot of misinformation out there on the internet, TV commercials and even some magazines. The food industry likes to plant these ideas of “health foods” into our heads in order to sell their products, but in reality most of the time the products they’ve created are actually harmful to our bodies. There comes a time when we need to trust the cow over the chemist and comparing butter to margarine is one of those times.

Margarine is a man-made, highly processed product that uses vegetable oils, colorants, emulsifiers and a myriad of other artificial ingredients. Let’s focus on the vegetable oil. Vegetable oil is usually liquid at room temperature, so in order to get it into that nice spreadable soft margarine, we need to actually hydrogenate this oil. Hydrogenation also allows the product to have an extended shelf-life. But, when we hydrogenate this oil we are actually turning the fat from the oil into trans fat which our bodies don’t recognize! Also this involves exposing the oils to high heat, high pressure, hydrogen gas and a metal catalyst. YUCK!

Butter however is made by churning the fatty portion of cow’s milk until its butter. THAT’S IT! Now you may be saying, but I heard butter has a high amount of saturated fat and cholesterol which are bad for my heart health. Over the past few years there have been many studies that actually show no association between saturated fat, cholesterol and heart disease.

Eating saturated fats actually improves the blood lipid profile. It raises HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and changes the LDL from small, dense LDL (very bad) to large LDL, which is benign.

Lastly, butter actually offers us a lot of our fat soluble vitamins! These are vitamins A, E and a special one called K2. If we are eating a well balanced diet of plant and animal foods, you are probably getting enough vitamin A and E, but vitamin K2 is fairly rare in the modern diet and many people don’t know about it! Vitamin K2 is involved in calcium metabolism and a low intake has been associated with diseases such as CVD, cancer, and osteoporosis!

In summary, when looking for something to spread on your toast or use in your baking, opt for butter over margarine every time!

Olivia Harty – Nutritionist at Dynamic Health and Performance

oharty@dynamichealthandperformance.ca

“Quiet the mind, quiet the breathing, and this will pass”

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The responses I have received over the past two weeks from my Blog Premier have been absolutely heart warming and positive.  I won’t lie, my stomach dropped to my feet when my initial post hit social media.  I still find it scary opening myself up this way.  Vulnerability is not an easy thing to stomach.  So thank you to everyone who approached me with your positive feedback and your words of empowerment and encouragement.  Requests to address certain topics have been abundant.  I have realized this blog might actually turn into a weekly post, fuelled by the passion to share and the interest to learn.

So, as I sit here, sandwiched between this mornings swim and the extremely painful track interval bike ride to come, I am trying find the motivation to get up and go.  I am searching for the motivation that will help keep me focused on the objective of the painful bike ride to come.  We must persistently be establishing our objectives before embarking on any training session.  This is a constant search and a constant effort. That key objective or purpose, is our driving force to moving forward in training.  Without it I firmly believe failure will be at journeys end.  Let me explain what I mean by this.

Leading up to the marathon I raced two weeks ago, training consisted of three to four runs per week; two to three swim sessions and one recovery bike session.  It was a progressive build from running 45km per week, to 80-85km per week. Every training session before heading out the door I outlined my specific goal for that particular session.  I reminded myself of why I was doing this, what my objective was, and why I have decided to push my body to this degree.

In the early stages of training, when you are well rested, you do not rely on your ‘objectives’ as much as you do when you have 40 km of running in your legs, 6 km of swimming in your arms, and you have a back to back 25km followed by a 30km run the following day.  It becomes daunting, as you know there is more building to come.  You are exhausted from the physically demanding workday, your body aches, and your mind and body are simply drained of its stamina.  But you made a choice.

Fatigue resistance is ultimately the name of the game.  This is what you signed up for!  Being able to push yourself through the times you are exhausted, drained and simply want to give in.  But you can’t.  You will not.  Therefore, having that objective becomes the keystone to how you are going to push through it.

In every race, you will face that same moment.  The moment pain becomes too much to bear.  Exhaustion overcomes you and all your brain can hear is the screaming of your consciousness saying, “STOP, for goodness sake, please STOP”!  At that moment your purpose, that objective you established before heading out the door, before signing up for the race is the only thing you have to carry your next steps forward.

During the marathon, my objective was to stay constant from beginning to end.  No matter what presented itself, no matter how sore I became, or what nagging ache may have ensured, it would pass and I would still be standing.  So during the run, I would say to myself “quiet your mind, quiet your breathing”.  I know very well that a talkative mind can easily talk you out of any painful experience.  It is easier to give in to the pain of a marathon and walk for a bit.  But that was not my objective.  My objective was to stay constant and ‘constant’ did not entail walking or giving in.  The body is stronger then the mind thinks…so “quiet the mind, quiet the breathing and this will pass”.  Saying that over and over again reminded me of my objective.  And no matter what, I was not going to give in.

Now think of it the other way.  Going into a race without clearly stating your purpose and goals, and you may find it difficult to get from it what you want.  If you have an objective, and the guts to fight for it, I firmly believe you will never fail.  Apply this to every day, training or not.  Wake up and say to the world your objective for the day.  Establish that driving force that will push you through the difficulties to come, because you know they will appear.  As simple or complex as your goal may be, it does not matter.  Have one, because successfully achieving your goals feels really good.

Stephanie Nogueira

Registered Physiotherapist

No matter what happens, I will still be standing.