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Anecdotes and Agave

Alright I have a story for you, well a couple actually.  First off well lets see.  I have a confession first, please don't be too disappointed in me I really hate to admit this and I have goals set and I'm doing better.  But I have NEVER been good at getting enough exercise In fact this winter Ryan and I were pretty much slackers and didn't exercise at all.  Our excuse was it was too cold.  But I do have a mini-tramp and I love Pilate's but I'm a bad procrastinator and I think I rubbed off on Ryan this winter!  Anyway I promise to do better it is my goal to make it as good of a habit as my eating only good ingredients is.  And now telling all of you has furthered that commitment ;)  I hope you hold me to it. 

Okay ahhhhh that's a load off.  But now to the stories.  Back at the first of March after our long winter of NO exercise.  Ryan and I went on our annual work/convention for Ryan;  Nice vacation for me and kids ;) trip to Sunny St. George!  During part of the trip for the heck of it Ryan and I went to the gym at the condo we were staying at.  I started on the treadmill clipping at a pretty good walk seeing how far I could get before I was tired.  Ryan jumped on the elliptical and tried to see how fast he could go on it (you have to know my husband;)  Anyway after about 20 minutes I had gone over a mile and then accidentally hit the resent button on the machine, I was sweating a bit I wasn't really very tired.  Ryan was sweating really good but could still carry on a conversation with me.  So since I had never been on a elliptical I thought I would give it a try.  Ryan started lifting weights.  The elliptical definitely works you more then just walking fast on the treadmill but it was fun so I went for about 15 minutes Ry then got on the treadmill and started seeing how fast he could go! ;) 

Anyway I of course had to try out the cool bicycles that you sit to pedal on.  I thought those were pretty cool and noticed that they still kept my heart rate up.  Well after about 45-50 minutes we decided we had better go get dinner ready cause it was getting late.  Neither of us were all that tired and were still able to talk normally (were not winded)  I thought, "Dang that's pretty good for not having exercised all winter!"  But we both were confident that we would be very sore afterwards!  Guess what two days past for both of us and still no soreness.  Ryan mentioned that his shoulders were maybe sore from lifting the weights but other then that NOTHING!  Again I thought,  "That is so interesting!  Could our diet make that much of a difference in our stamina and endurance?"  I found it all very curious and I loved how I felt after exercising like that;  Thus my goal!

Alright now fast forward to now!  We are still hit and miss with the exercise thing but doing better!  I will be in a good routine before winter hits next year!  But last night Ryan came home and shared a very cute story with me.  He and one of his employees were delivering showers to a construction site yesterday.  His employee is about 24 maybe 25 years old grew up working on a farm and started running about 3 months ago.  Anyway so Ryan who has 12 to 15 years on him was helping this employee get the showers where they were supposed to be in the buildings. 

I guess it was quite a ways to walk carrying these showers by hand.  Ry said they are pretty heavy and they were lifting them over their shoulders each carrying one by themselves and going back and forth.  Ryan's employee noticed that Ry soon passed him up and that he was quickly getting winded.  At one point the employee stopped to rest while Ryan passing by him having done at least one more shower then him said,  "Hey you can set it in these closer rooms some have to go in here too!"  Ryan didn't mean anything by it and was just trying to be helpful.  But the employee was like,  "If you can do it I sure can.  I mean dang it I eat meat!"  At that point Ryan chuckled and did mention that a lot a professional athletes choose to eat a diet similar to what we do because of the strength and endurance it gives them!  Well let's just say it gave his employee and little food for thought!  He sees what Ryan chooses to eat and how he lives and yesterday he got a very vivid picture of what it does for his health!

A picture of Ryan using his strength and endurance while trying to hold and push down on a auger while drilling post holes for our fence in our very hard mostly clay soil!  He had all of them dug (there was about 15 of them) and the equipment back the the rental place in less then 2 hours!  I wish I had a picture of him Carrying a shower!

Anyway if you haven't tried the Simple, Healthy, Tasty, diet yet I recommend you give it a try and tell all your friends and family about it!  I know Ry and I are sold on it!  I'm thinking Ryan's employee may soon be too!  Or at the very least he will quit thinking Ryan is nuts for eating the way he does! ;)

Okay now about the agave!  The other day I had reader ask me what I thought about Agave.  This was my reply.

Like with any sweetener I would not overuse it and I would be sure to find the darkest kind just like with Sucanat, and your higher grade maple syrups it must have more nutrients and minerals if it is that dark. Again read ingredients and be sure they didn't just put Carmel color in it.

I have heard there are some questionable practices going on with the production of Agave because of it's popularity now. Be sure to get a brand you TRUST. And then pay attention to how it makes you feel maybe it is like what Dr. Mercola's website says and we shouldn't be eating it at all. For now though I'm still okay with a little now and again of the DARK kind from a trusted company. This is probably a good question for Green Smoothie Girl. She is great at researching companies and finding accurate stats on things!

No sooner had I finished posting my reply when in came an email from Green Smoothie Girl herself!  I'm just going to re-post it here for you all to read.  I have noticed Robyn is one of those people that likes the FACTS and gives it to ya straight!  One of the main reasons I really like her, she is also the author of 12 Steps to Whole Foods (link on my sidebar) I just have to say she knows her stuff and when it comes to nutrition I couldn't agree more with her! 

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: Dr. Mercola says agave is going to kill me! Is he right?

Answer: I have been inundated with emails about this. In every class I teach, someone brings it up.

First of all, Dr. Mercola didn’t exactly say that, although he allowed it on his web site. Mercola is a brand, a big company, employing lots of people, including staff writers who write stuff for the site and newsletters. The chiropractor named Joe Mercola doesn’t do the research and writing. So when I say “Mercola” in this article, I mean “it” (the company/brand/staff), not “he” (the founder of the company).

What I write is all me, by the way—I have no staff writers.

Controversy, right or wrong, unfortunately, adds to Mercola’s 7-figure mailing list and profits. Mercola (and the chiropractor himself) may or may not be aware that it is wrong about agave. Comparing it to high-fructose corn syrup, or to tequila, is a tenuous, false, almost ridiculous exaggeration. It reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the organic chemistry differences.

It’s similar to the comment a pediatrician made to me 15 years ago, when I questioned his suggestion to feed my toddler Sprite for quick energy. I said, “Why not an apple?” And he said, “Whatever. Simple sugars are simple sugars. There’s no difference. They all end up as glucose in the bloodstream.”

A similar reductionistic argument you’ve heard before is, “A calorie is a calorie is a calorie.” Really? Then why did the vegetarian group in Campbell’s massive China study eat 200 calories MORE than the heavy meat eaters, and they were lean while the meat eaters were overweight? (Exercise was a variable the researchers controlled for, so that doesn’t explain the difference.)

Apparently you CAN eat more calories when those calories are plant foods. I bet you know, from experience, that the impact on your body of eating an apple is entirely different than drinking a can of Sprite!

Apples have simple sugars, sure, but they also have tannins that remove insulin from the bloodstream and convert the sugars into energy. Apples have pectin and other fiber to decrease cholesterol and slow absorption of sugars on the bloodstream. Sprite has none of that, just a chemical version of fructose and lots more man-made chemicals. I could make this whole post about the egregious comparison the pediatrician made, but let’s move on to the similar agave controversy.

Mercola’s staff writer acts as if fructose is poison. Yes, fructose is the sugar in high-fructose corn syrup, too. One point Mercola and I agree on is the fact that the highly refined sweetener HFCS is deadly. But fructose is the sugar in fruit, too! Is it possible that fructose can be either good or bad?

Here’s a key point Mercola overlooks. Agave’s sugar is a long-chain polymer of fructose, which is not absorbed by the body and therefore passes through you. Thus there’s a much-reduced impact on your blood sugar of consuming agave (versus HFCS, cane sugars, and honey). It’s not hard to document that agave’s glycemic index is one-third that of sugar or honey.

I personally know a nutritionist/nurse who has stopped diabetes in a group of her patients with no changes other than switching from sugar to agave.

So is agave on par with excellent whole foods like apples, spinach, lentils, and barley? No way! An apple has fiber and many other elements that work synergistically to support your health.

But as sweeteners go, if you’re going to use them—and please use all concentrated sweeteners sparingly—raw, organic agave is a very good option. And another of my favorite sweeteners, stevia, contains a compound called steviasides, which shut down insulin production in the pancreas—stevia is an even better (calorie-free) option, especially for diabetics.

So, the answer to the question, is agave a superfood or a poison, the answer is, “Neither one.” Don’t fear it. Don’t overuse it either.

-To your health,

Robyn Openshaw
I just want to thank Robyn for all she does and with the perfect timing it seems!  And I tell you if you want to improve your health quickly, inexpensively, the down to earth, common sense way, and with all the facts straight!  Green Smoothie Girl is a great resource!


Emily said...

Hooray for 'run and not be weary...'

And Hooray for Green Smoothie Girl!

Good luck with your goals...I know you can do it!

Mike and Risa said...

Hey Tammie! Way to go with the motivational goals, I have never been good at exercise either and so Mike is going to get me a Wii Fit for my b-day to see if it will help. Anyhew, I'd thought I'd give an "amen" to your stories on endurance as Mike just got his evaluation at Gold's Gym, and he had improved dramatically in every category even though he hasn't been making it to exercise very often the last couple of months - the lady even commented on how low his heart rate was during the tests (which is a good thing). He was way excited, and I have a suspicion that his improved eating habits have a lot to do with it, plus his body does love the exercise. He has goals now to get even better scores next time :) I think he's in the best shape of his life, thanks for your food lessons!

Permission to Mother said...

If I had a chance to comment last night, I was going to tell ou that I am not sore after pushing myslef at the gym. BUT this morning I ran a 5k (first time in long time). I may not be able to walk tomorrow. :) I have also thought that good eating prevents my soreness, but perhpas this morning I pushed my limit....

Husband update. My husband has finally lost weight and eating a little better after 3 years. He says he can't remain fat with as trim as I am getting. :)

Tammie said...

Denice: Thanks for the comment! I'm pretty sure we do have a limit! Way to go with the 5k! I have never been a fan of running goes back to my chubby childhood. ;) But I have wondered if I wouldn't enjoy it now after having the good diet for so long!

And yeah those husbands can't help but come along a little at a time when they see how good looking and fit their wives are getting! HOORAY for you! I love updates like that! Keep up the great work!

Wholesome said...

Hi Tammy,

Thanks for your great blog--and due diligence! While Wholesome Sweeteners doesn't know the source of Dr Mercola's information, we share your concerns about his assertions and allegations--especially regarding our Organic Blue Agave nectars. Wholesome Sweeteners' CEO, Nigel Willerton, responded directly to Mercola's claims. Here's a link to his response: http://www.wholesomesweeteners.com/Mercola-EnoughAlready.html. Here's to the simple, healthy, tasty life! Thanks again.