Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Starting to clean out my diet

Last week I read a health article that talked about simple ways to start eating clean. A tip that really spoke to me was to find out where you get the largest amount of your calories, and then work on that item first before trying to "clean up everything else" . An example is if  you're a vegetarian and a LARGE part of your diet is produce  then focus on organic fruits and veggies,  If you LOVE your meat, then focus on grass fed organic beef, cage free chickens, so on and so forth.

Unfortunately my diet is really a mixture, I eat meat maybe once a day, I make it a point to buy organic if the produce is on the Dirty Dozen list, and I don't do any processed grains (occassionaly I'll do potatoes). So what that leaves me with is just a few gluttonous items that I CRAVE- bacon, nutella, ranch dressing, reece cups, coke, and beer.  Beer is non negotiable since I  prefer higher gravity over crap Light beer- i'd like to think of the term beer aficionado vs. beer snob

I would say that out of all my "treat items" that Nutella is the only everyday occurrence.  Gosh I cannot  appropriately describe how delicious this is to me. If you ever want sex in your mouth take graham crackers, crush them up into fine crumbs and put into a rammekin followed by 1 spoon of peanut butter, 1 spoon of nutella, a few sliced almonds stir together. Then add on mini marshmallows and put in oven on broil for a minute or two.... I'm salivating just THINKING about it.

Obviously, I love nutella and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Since this is a staple in my diet and I'm trying to get down 10lbs for ideal racing weight, I've been on the search for a healthy version that doesn't require me to make it myself. It drives me crazy how they always market Nutella as a great healthy breakfast.  Its not a big deal, because CLEARLY I still eat it, the problem is that  I think people get confused thinking its like peanut butter because it comes in a jar, its spreadable, and it has 200 calories so it must be a "health food"

Do you see in the red "a glass of skim milk, orange juice, and nutella on whole wheat bread" for breakfast- yikes talk about sugar overload with the nutella, orange juice, bread and only a whopping 3g of protein (which is equivalent to 1/2 an egg). So the reason I bring this up is because this is one of my biggest pet peeves with being a nutritionist and talking to people about healthy options-- we are constantly being mis marketed to, and if you don't know what to look for, you have no idea if what you're doing is truly good for you.

The other day I found a sample packet of Justin's Nutbutter Chocolate Hazlenut in the organic section and figured I'd give it a try

So how does it compare to Nutella- taste wise its slightly thicker and has more prominent hazlenut taste whereas Nutella is pretty much chocolate with a hint of hazlenut. I loved the salty / sweet combo, one of my faves
So lets compare:
                 Justins                                                  Nutella 
Calories-        190                                                    200           not a big enough difference to care 
Total Fat        16g                                                    11g         most people stop reading and put back
Sat Fat           2.5g                                                   3.5g       sat fat is what you should be looking for 
Total Carb     11g                                                     22g        double the carbs, really?
Sugar             7g                                                       21g       MORE than double
Fiber              3g                                                       1g
Protein           4g                                                       3g 

Clearly Justin's is better but I wanted to point out something- fat isn't what makes you fat ( although if you have enough big macs, i'm sure it will catch up to you)- its sugar. Most people are so concerned with the fat in every little thing, they stop reading to see how the rest of the product  really is. I can literally have 2 servings of justins nut butter to equal what is in nutella's one serving when it comes to the sugar and carbs-- HUGE win in my book and I think I've found my replacement. 

Mission to replace Nutella with a healthy alternative accomplished. 
Next up- ranch dressing 

do you have any bad staple items in your diet that you'd like to see if you can "healthify" 


  1. Good find!! I am also more watchful of carbs and sugar than I am of fat itself, so I think that is awesome you were able to replace the Nutella with something more healthy! Nice job! I'm interested to see how your quest for healthy ranch dressing goes. I recently found "Rasberry Walnut Vinagarette" which is not at all similar to ranch, but it sure is AMAZING on salad with nuts, apples and craisins!! I crave that salad now, and I never really crave anything even somewhat good for me.

  2. i won’t let myself buy nutella. i do have some of the small packets of justins and they satisfy a craving!

  3. What a great post. Thanks for the comparison and tips on fat, etc. I don't care for Nutella, but can use this process on some other food in my kitchen.

  4. I've never even tried Nutella. I don't really use condiments/spreads, so it's not a huge area of concern. Now everything else...

  5. this is really interesting! you should do more posts like this!!! :) i am really guilty of not looking past the total calories, but if i do look past it, sugar and sodium are the only ones i judge, i just have no idea how many carbs/fats/protein etc i should be having! :)
    i've never had nutella, but my most regular indulgences are beer and coffee (coffee with lots of creamer and sugar).

  6. My husband is all about nutella and it's tough not to stick my spoon in the jar everyday! Great replacement find.

  7. I have bought a jar of nutella in my life! I love it and it is crazy tasty, but I'm kinda glad that I've never had it in my house (only had it at a friend's house years and years ago) because I have feeling it would become a "staple" of mine.

    knock of on wood, my diet clean up has been going really well the past week (we went grocery shopping last week). I only have a little bit of starch every day, and I'm eating 6-8 veggie servings (mostly fresh, some steamed. no sauces). I'm doing way way WAY better than I thought I would... but like I said, knock on wood. :)

  8. i have had 1 nutella and will not buy it again because I have 0 control :) The working on the biggest thing makes so much sense! I know that I love nut butters and nuts but probably eat too much so focusing on that first would be a great idea

  9. I love Justen's! The honey almond is my favorite. Changing to clean eating takes time and baby steps are the best chance for success. It can be overwhelming with all the info that is out there. In the end it's so worth it :)

    I don't know that it's a staple but definitely a favorite I had to healthify was tortilla chips. I could eat chips and salsa or chips and guac everyday. I switched to these A helathified alternative but still not everyday.

  10. Justen's is good!! When I try to transition to better food, I change snacks - like from popchips and fiber 1 bars to oranges and string cheese.

  11. I've never tried Nutella. And I probably shouldn't. The way everyone talks about it, I'm sure I'd sit with a spoon and eat the entire jar.

    ignorance is bliss, right?!