Mike Cornelison

Letters from the Lunar Outpost

Month: January 2020

alpha Chik’n Fajita Burrito

Lean protein – nothing fuels you better, nothing keeps you feeling full for longer. When it comes to lean protein, my go to’s have always been tuna, turkey and a nice lean steak or lean ground beef. However, one of my new year’s resolutions is to try getting more of my proteins from plants and less from the meats. With that in mind, I decided to try the alpha chik’n fajita burrito. (For the record, they brand themselves with the uncapitalized “alpha”.)

It’s a little pricey. For $3.99 you get a 5 oz. burrito. By comparison, you can get *eight* 4 oz. El Monterey beef & cheese burritos for 60 cents less. I do want to eat less meat, but that’s a pretty high price to pay.

Sticking with the El Monterey comparison, alpha’s burrito is a little more protein packed, 11g protein from 330 calories (1g per 33) vs. 8g protein from 280 calories (1g per 35) from the El Monterey burrito.

So how does it taste? The filling is freakin’ deliciious! Unfortunately, for me, a 5 oz. burrito equates to four bites and the first bite was all tortilla. Yes, this could be a quality control issue with this one burrito (and I can only impagine the plight of the burrito wrappers at the factory and the quotas they’re supposed to hit) but even if the filling was spaced out evenly, there was still too much tortilla and too little filling. If you’re going to make a four dollar burrito, one, it should be bigger, and two, every bite should be loaded with that delicious filling.

The verdict: The filling is tasty enough to convert a meat lover, but until alpha offers a bigger, fuller burrito, I’d rather spend $3.29 on a 7-Layer at Taco Bell.

The Debate Between Low-Fat and Low-Carb Diets Is Over

For decades, Big Sugar and the Corn Syrup Industry worked hard to keep America focused on the intuitive idea that less fat in your diet would equate to less fat on your body. Unfortunately, the hidden trade off was that for almost anything advertised as low-fat, the “low-fat” translates to “loaded with sugar”.

Low-carb diets on the other hand, rely on the counter-intuitive idea that you can get thin by eating more fat.

With every new diet that comes out, there’s a sense of hope and excitement that with this latest diet, modern science has finally delivered to us the magic diet that will outperform all the diets that came before it. Currently, the Keto and Paleo Diets are hailed as the latest and greatest, but it helps to remember that these diets are really just spin-offs from the Atkins diet of the 1970s and low-carb diets themselves can be traced back to 1825.

Here’s an interesting thing I learned on the way to my yearly resolution – if you want to drop some pounds, the debate as to which diet will give you the best shot is over. When it comes to low-fat vs. low-carb, a recent Stanford study shows that neither one is any more effective than the other! That’s right, for all the focus diets place on the types of calories we consume, it’s really not the quality but the quantity.

The study took 609 participants aged between 18 and 50 with a roughly equal split of men and women and randomized them into a low-fat group and a low-carb group. They were then instructed to maintain their diets for a year and from the 80% who managed to stick with it, here are the results:

For all the faith I had placed in different diets at different times, what a shock to see the results between the low-fat dieters and the low-carb dieter nearly identical.

Diets will come and diets will go, but there are three axioms worth holding:

• There is no magic diet and there is no magic pill.
• Stay active and burn more calories than you consume.
• Avoid the processed foods and shop the outside perimiter of your grocery store.

Pro tip: Journaling with an app like Cronometer can do wonders in helping you track your calories burned vs. calories consumed.

h/t: Netflix Explained, S1 E6

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