Nutrition

Calories and Optimal Food Intake – Part 2

In the Paul‘s last post we looked at the basics about calories and metabolism. Now let’s see how calories affect weight management:

Whether you are trying to lose weight, maintain weight, or gain more, calories matter.

Calorie restriction is counterproductive and does not work because when you consume less energy than your body requires, the body adapts.

When you do not eat enough calories, the body has the ability to slow down thyroid hormone output in an effort to maintain energy balance. Your thyroid is responsible for fat, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism.

Your body will begin to hold onto fat stores because it is in starvation mode and instead uses muscle to provide energy. Muscle is highly calorie intensive to maintain and in a prolonged calorie deficit it is one of the first things that the body looks to get rid of, and in turn will further slow down your metabolism.

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The body will also slow the digestive tract in an effort to conserve energy. The digestive tract is responsible for breaking down food to its simplest form so that the body can use the nutrients to function. When a person is not consuming enough calories the stomach empties slower and the lining of the intestinal tract can shrink.  The digestive tract can become so severely damaged that it cannot properly digest food, and this can lead to malnutrition and electrolyte imbalances.

Not only is a restricted calorie diet not the ideal way to lose body fat, it can actually cause negative side effects in other ways, and even increase your fat storage!

When you are under stress both physically and psychologically (a reduced calorie diet creates stress on the body), the body secretes a hormone called cortisol. The primary function of cortisol is to convert amino acids found in the muscles into glucose (blood sugar) to give the body extra energy to overcome the stress.

In a way, this means more ‘sugar’ is produced by the body as a reaction to stress. When cortisol is chronically elevated it makes the body think it needs to store fat around the waist, so that it will have a source of easily accessible energy. High cortisol also makes you unable to make rational food choices, by activating the part of the brain that makes you crave pleasurable foods.

In short, restricting calories can ultimately make the body react in the same way it reacts to stress – by conserving energy stores as fat (the opposite of what you want to achieve) and causing you to crave more (probably sugary) comfort foods.

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Another hormone that is affected by a restricted calorie diet is insulin. In a healthy body, insulin behaves like a key that opens the door of the cell so that glucose can move from the blood, and be pushed into the cells where it is either burned or stored as fat. Insulin plays a primary role in managing body composition by mediating fat burning and energy levels and is thereby involved in the development of lean tissue.

When you don’t eat you experience ‘low blood glucose’. In reaction to this, adrenaline is released to elevate the blood sugar and keep you going. This leads to spikes in blood glucose and insulin, causing insulin resistance.

Constant spikes of insulin (also caused by the consumption of simple carbohydrates or sugars) can eventually result in insulin resistance. This occurs when your cells are less affected by insulin and the receptors don’t properly bind with insulin. In other words, the body is desensitized to insulin. Insulin then does not properly function as a key to the door of the cell, and the energy gets stored as body fat.

In conclusion, the bottom line is that restricting calories really doesn’t help your mental or physical health. Focus on the quality of your food and not the quantity, rather than reducing calorie intake to reduce body fat. Begin by consuming more calories to build up lean tissue and speed up the metabolism, and then restrict calories to better reduce body fat.

Here are a few more tips for optimizing your daily calorie intake:

  • Eat frequent meals 5-6 times a day.
  • Have ready to eat meals available.
  • Don’t wait until you are hungry to eat.
  • Add good clean fat.
  • Invest in a good protein powder.
  • Eat calorie dense foods.

By Paul Magnus

 

Nutrition

Food, Food and, Yes, More Food!

Allow me to introduce my latest contributor.

Kevin Cooper, Personal Trainer and Business Manager at Pinnacle Performance has been running in the fitness industry “marathon” since 2001. “Lots has been learned and more to be achieved” is his comment when asked to describe himself.

I am very excited that Kevin will share his vast insights. Intense, focused, humorous and above all knowledgeable. Kevin will say it as it is. Welcome aboard Kevin.

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So much to say such little time or space, undoubtedly the most controversial topic out there when it comes to the industry….

What to eat ? What time? And why? Well to put it as basically as possible and for those of us that have some sort of idea about this black hole we call nutrition, the rules are trial and error based. Take ownership of it and learn to take basic guidelines and perfect them, the most intensive content out there might be unbelievable to me but not work at all for the next person.

Trial and error, ladies and gents, that’s the beauty of this game and all variables that you can imagine get broken down to a term we love to use – “it depends”.

Depends on the following:

Meal one time:

  • Is meal one carbohydrate dominant?
  • Is meal one more fat than protein?
  • Is meal one a stimulant like coffee?
  • Is meal one a mix of all forms?

An absolute no-fail choice that works for most, yes not for everyone, is to start your day off with a protein and fat meal. A simple choice will be scrambled eggs drizzled with olive oil. Easy yet effective. Don’t be scared of the yellow yolks that contain 9 essential amino acids! Get it in and enjoy risk-free taste and texture.

Once meal one is behind you keep meal timing down to max 4 hour intervals to ensure you send a consistent signal to your body of maintenance in energy and consumption through food. This will in turn ensure that your body does not create a storage pattern of energy. Instead it sends signals of absorbing and processing of food.

Keep up the protein+fat mix and consume a serving of a carbohydrate-based meal, like sweet potato for post workout only. This in turn creates an insulin sensitivity signal so that the carb can be utilized more effectively. And a greater percentage of it can be utilized in the body in that post workout phase.

So, many variables and one can successfully say that breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. It’s the first signal to your body of the day.

So the question is will protein and a fat be more beneficial than a carb start ?

Here we go …. it depends … How do you feel post meal? How does the meal effect your energy levels?  What’s the effect of the meal on your digestion? Etc etc etc.

One sure conclusion that can be drawn is the simple fact of when you consume a certain food first thing in the morning it sends a signal that depicts the rest of your day – guaranteed.

Stay away from carbs till post workout. Be sure to consume them when they are going to be utilized fully. We will certainly delve deeper into this subject as your understanding of your own body commences.

This is where taking control of your meals comes in. It is never easy but I can vouch for the fact that it is well worth it.

This is certainly an easier read on this topic, however get the ABC right the first time and it will make the outcome much more simple yet effective.

Your time is now, go get it and own your results from start to finish!

 

Nutrition

Peanut Butter Protein Balls

Protein Balls

When looking for quick fix which can help me keep up with my protein intake I make this ever so easy snack balls. You can add honey, maple, agave syrup or sweetener of your choice but for me less is more 😉

All you need is:

  • 2 TBS of organic peanut butter (I use organic, plain)
  • 1 scoop of protein powder (I used vanilla) any will do
  • 1 handful of goji berries (optional) any berries or raisins

 

 

Mix all the ingredients together and form into small balls

Refrigerate for 30 min and enjoy!

Nutrition

Spice Up Your Life

By Adrianna McDonald

Many people think that when you want to lose weight or you are on a “diet”, either for bodybuilding or athletic competition, your food has to be bland and boring. But it doesn’t have to be! To make your food tasty use herbs and spices. You will not only get the flavour but also boost your health through the many benefits of herbs & spices.

Here are few of my favourites:

  1. Turmeric

Studies have shown that curcumin, the compound in turmeric responsible for its orange colour, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Use certified organic (non-irradiated) turmeric in lower doses on a daily basis so that large doses won’t be necessary later in life after a serious disease sets in. Nourishing yourself, rather than self-medicating with ‘nutraceuticals’, should be the goal of a healthy diet.

Here are some more benefits of adding turmeric to your meals:

  • It may reduce the risk of heart attack
  • It eases joint pain
  • It delays the onset of type 2 diabetes
  • It can help improve memory in dementia patients
  • It can even help slow or stop the growth of cancer cells
  • It prevents unwanted weight gain
  • And finally, turmeric controls triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and terminates accumulation of harmful fats
  1. Coriander

Coriander is unique in that it’s both a herb (the leaves) and a spice, the latter coming from coriander seeds, which are dried and used  whole or ground as powder.

Both coriander seeds and leaves have traditionally been used to:

  • Reduce gas in the stomach and intestines
  • Stimulate digestion and treat spasms of smooth muscles, such as your stomach.

The leaves were widely used as an appetite stimulant and they were also eaten or applied externally to the chest to treat chest pain and cough.

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  1. Garlic

This is the most known and recognized disease fighting herb that also happens to be a culinary delight.

Garlic grows easily out of left over cloves. You can put it in your favorite meals, make garlic chicken soup, crush fresh garlic in a salad, it is indeed very versatile! It can lose potency when heated above 130 degrees, but avoid consuming too much raw garlic unless you want to risk gastrointestinal problems.

  • Garlic is antimicrobial and kills viruses and bacteria without disrupting intestinal flora (in moderate doses).
  • It is very effective against cold or flu viruses and more effective than penicillin against infections.

Any kind of meat or fish tastes amazing when garlic is added. I personally love it mixed with mashed vegetables.

  1. Ginger

People have been experiencing the many health benefits of ginger for ages; it is time that you see it as more than just an ingredient for your dishes, but also as a powerful natural remedy.

I must say it’s definitely a favourite of mine. Simply cut a piece out and add it to hot water with lemon to relieve the following:

  • Heartburn/acid reflux/GERD
  • Pain
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy Nose or Nasal Congestion
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Toothache
  • Headaches
  • Inflammation
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling

Ginger is also good for:

  • Cancer protection
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Helping with diseases caused by or fueled by inflammation such as arthritis, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, numerous cancer types, cardiovascular disease, and more.

 

  1. Cinnamon

 

True cinnamon is usually labelled as “Ceylon cinnamon” and comes principally from Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean.  Cassia, on the other hand, is often designated as “Chinese cinnamon” or “Saigon cinnamon” and comes principally from Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Japan and Korea.

Cinnamon is popular for its significant ability to gain control over fluctuating or rising blood sugar. I love sprinkling it in my coffee or over roasted sweet potatoes.

  • Cinnamon has been shown to normalize blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics by improving the ability to respond to insulin
  • It lowers cholesterol
  • It supports healthy blood clotting
  • It fights bacteria and fungus
  • It boosts memory and protects the brain
  • It improves digestion

So next time head to the supermarket rather than your local pharmacy!

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Nutrition

Adrianna on: Cravings vs. Addiction

By Adrianna McDonald

About cravings…

All humans at one point or another in their life experience food cravings. Women are especially susceptible because of the hormonal changes throughout their monthly cycle or other stages in their life (pregnancy, menopause). You get this strong desire for a taste of something very specific either it is sugary, salty, sour or fatty. And when you’re in the middle of a craving, it feels like nothing else can be done to satisfy that urge.

Sugar is the most common food craving and the most addictive. This is the result of a complex hormonal reaction, often triggered by the very same foods you crave.

“Sugar acts directly in the brain to inhibit the effect of leptin and increased appetite so you never feel full. So then you keep eating, and you become leptin-resistant 
 What you need to do is break the addiction by detoxing the liver, which has stopped metabolizing fat properly. Sugar consumption causes fat to build up in liver cells, which decreases the liver’s ability to metabolize fats and sugars and detoxify your body.” -Dr.Oz

Another, and more common, reason for cravings is emotional eating. We tend to turn to food in times of boredom, stress and loneliness. So your emotional health, whether you’re eating as a distraction, a reward or to help fill a missing void in your life, must be dealt with in order to successfully resist cravings for unhealthy foods.

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How are cravings different from addiction?

“Addiction is an overpowering craving to repeatedly engage in an activity that provides temporary relief often with adverse consequences.”

It’s something you feel you must do, despite its harmful consequences. Withdrawal is a big part of addiction as well as the feelings of discomfort, distress, and intense cravings.

There are different types of addiction:

  • some eat too much
  • some don’t eat enough
  • some people even have an addiction to restriction

For a food addict, food provides the fun, entertainment, control, reassurance, or love that’s missing in their life. It may also help to numb difficult emotions like fear and sadness.

Dealing with addiction is your responsibility even though you may not be responsible for having it. There are few necessary steps to treat addiction:

  • If you feel social pressure remove yourself of that situation. Our behaviour depends heavily on social and environmental cues. We can adjust our behaviour by adjusting cues from our routine and environment. Avoid people, places, and things that trigger addiction.
  • In dealing with emotions we use food as a coping mechanism thinking it will help resolve the problem. Learn to deal with boredom, loneliness, anger, lack of stimulation and lack of purpose for example and you will learn how to cope with addiction.
  • Many addictions stem from uncontrolled stress combined with food restriction. If these two factors can be controlled, food addiction might also be controlled.

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Cravings die as a side effect of changing our life and identity. You can try meditation, tapping (Emotional Freedom) techniques or any other type of relaxation methods. Even though most people are not addicts by choice, we can choose to abstain in order to recover and stop the addiction. In this case, freedom comes when we give up effort to control the substance and become abstinent.

Abstinence means willingness to face discomfort and withdrawal symptoms in the beginning. The longer you remain abstinent, the more the biological urges for the substance fade.

The biggest part of recovery lies in managing the stress and knowing your triggers. It is also important to add a meaning and purpose for it to work and it has to be part of your internal beliefs, priorities and values.

How to handle it?

  • Try make this structural and foundational changes :
  • Change physical environment
  • Build a social support system
  • Decrease life stress
  • Learn to tolerate discomfort
  • Change routine and schedule to favour positive behaviours, and diminish the chances for negative behaviours ( more sleep, take activities that conflict with the addictive behaviour, etc.)
  • Exercise especially intense workout on a regular basis is one of the best “cures” for food cravings
  • The less processed food you eat on daily basis the less cravings you going to experience
  • Keep yourself busy and try to avoid boredom

 

Nutrition

Adrianna on: Macronutrients vs Calories

By Adrianna McDonald

You may wonder is a calorie just calorie? Do I eat whatever I want as long I’m in a calorie deficit? Well, lets make it clear


Calories are indeed a measure of energy and weight, change depends on the balance between: energy in vs energy out.

Energy out can be:

  • physical activity
  • energy to keep you alive at rest BMR (basal metabolic rate)
  • energy added to the body like amino acids to muscle, and fat to fat tissues
  • energy lost in waste (bathroom stuff)
  • energy used to digest the food you eat

Energy in can be:

  • How many calories were in the food you ate

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However, energy in is just as complex as energy out, because of the energy cost of digesting food. For example, some food (celery, cucumber) is considered negative calories as it takes more energy to break down and absorb it. It needs the calories to chew, swallow, make the acid in the stomach, make the enzymes for peristalsis (rhythmic muscular contractions) that drives the food through.

Around 10% goes to daily energy expenditure digesting and absorbing food, but this percentage changes depending on the type of food you eat.

Protein takes the most energy to digest followed by carbohydrates and then fats.

Some research advocates that eating whole food takes more energy to digest than processed food!

Processed food takes less energy to digest and absorb compared to whole foods, so 100 calories of processed food ends up being more net calories than 100 calories of whole food.

If you’re trying to lose weight and stay healthy be wise and eat whole foods.

So yes you can eat “junk” and loose weight (at least at the beginning).

Bottom line is – if you just eat for calories and predominantly “junk food” you most probably will be missing out on micronutrients.

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When you’re missing key vitamins and minerals, as well as phytochemicals, your body doesn’t work properly. You feel terrible (mod, appearance, energy). Immunity goes down. And you get sick!

Human bodies are dynamic, complex, organic, and sensitive systems.

What we eat isn’t necessarily what we absorb as all food isn’t created equal. There are many factors impacting our digestion, and use of the food we eat.

This means that the fuel, or calorie, value of food outside the body isn’t going to have the same value inside the body.

We are all “unique” and we have an individual gut flora called the “microbiome”, just like our unique fingerprint. Changing our gut flora changes our digestion and absorption, and hence our body composition and health.

Every food choice is an opportunity to direct, shape, and remake our health. Our body composition. Our performance. Our well-being.

Nutrition

Adrianna on: The Truth About Salt

By Adrianna McDonald

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Previously in the bodybuilding industry, and still in many world organisations, salt is seen as bad but there is a major difference between processed table salt and real sea salt.

Sodium (in salt) is an essential electrolyte which carries out vital functions in the body, from maintaining fluid balance and regulating blood volume to nervous system activity ensuring healthy heart function and muscle contraction.

Depleted through sweat while exercising, it needs to be replaced for healthy electrolyte balance. If not replaced it can cause sodium levels to drop dramatically, leading to symptoms of weakness, dizziness, vomiting, headache and fatigue.

Sodium isn’t produced by our body. In severe cases, the consequences of sodium deficiency can be fatal. We should obtain it from our diet to function optimally.

There are different types of salt and this is why there is confusion.

White table salt undergoes heavy processing and contains added chemicals which are also widely used in the majority of processed “junk food”. During this extreme process, the chemical composition of salt is completely altered and all of the nutritional benefits are destroyed. This type of processed salt will cause your body to retain fluids and is so toxic that your body will operate in a fight-or-flight response to protect itself from damage when you eat it.

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Natural salts like sea salt, Celtic sea salt and Himalayan crystal salt are unrefined with minimal processing and no additives. Due to natural drying techniques, they retain their rich mineral content, including important electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium and calcium.

Himalayan crystal salt is pink and contains all of the 84 elements found in your body.

Benefits can go as far as:

  • Regulating the water content throughout your body
  • Promoting healthy pH balance in your cells (particularly your brain cells)
  • Promoting blood sugar health and can help reduce the signs of ageing
  • Assisting in the generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in your body
  • Absorbing food particles through your intestinal tract
  • Supporting respiratory health
  • Promoting sinus health
  • Preventing of muscle cramps
  • Promoting bone strength
  • Regulating your sleep
  • Supporting your libido
  • Promoting vascular health
  • Regulating your blood pressure with sufficient water and potassium intake.

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Celtic Sea Salt is comparable to Himalayan crystal salt in its composition and health benefits. It is naturally harvested in Brittany (France) near the Celtic Sea using a 2,000-year old Celtic method that is crucial to preserving its life-giving nutrition profile.

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Benefits include:

  • Alkalising the body
  • Balancing blood sugars
  • Eliminating mucus build-up
  • Building immunity
  • Improving brain function
  • Increasing energy
  • Providing electrolyte balance
  • Promoting restful sleep
  • Preventing muscle cramps
  • Regulating heartbeat and blood pressure

 

Most of the types of salt are similar, consisting of sodium chloride and various amounts of minerals. However, choosing more natural types of salt helps you avoid toxic additives and anti-caking agents that are often added to regular table salt.

Nutrition

Adrianna on why fats are important

IMG-20151230-WA0019Many times we have been told that fats are the source of all evil when it comes to our health.

However, this is not always the case. By choosing the right fats you can improve your health tremendously.

Find out from Adrianna all you need to know about what fats are good for you:

 Almost all cooking oils or cooking fats, contain some mixture of three types of fatty acids: polyunsaturated, mono-unsaturated, and saturated. Each has certain advantages:

Saturated fats

Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50% of your cell membranes, giving them their necessary stiffness and integrity. They play a vital role in the health of our bones and they lower certain substances in the blood (like Lp(a) that indicates proneness to heart disease). They’ve been given a terrible rap!

The saturated fats found in butter have anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and weight-control properties.  Stearic acid, the most abundant fatty acid in butter, is the preferred fuel source for the heart and can reduce “bad cholesterol” or LDL.

Butter contains another saturated fat called lauric acid, which contains anti-bacterial properties and can stop certain viruses and pathogens right in their tracks.

 CLA, while not found in appreciable amounts in grain-fed butter, is abundant in grass-fed butter.  CLA can aid in building lean muscle, burning body fat and is believed to have anti-carcinogenic properties.

Butyric acid is another important fatty acid found in grass-fed butter and can prevent colon cancer and controls gut inflammation.

Grass-fed butter is copious in Vitamin A and contains the full array of fat soluble vitamins.

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Polyunsaturated fats

Polyunsaturated fats include both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3s, like flaxseed oil, are great for using on salads, but can’t be used for cooking at high temperatures because of the delicate structure of the fats—any health benefit will be destroyed during the heating.

On the other hand, omega-6s (found in corn oil, soy bean oil, safflower oil, and the like) are “pro-inflammatory”oils which have a high ratio of omega-6s should be used sparingly or not at all. We get far too many of these omega-6s in our diet (and far too few omega-3s). Plus, omega-6s are very susceptible to cell-damaging free-radicals when heated. Sadly, most vegetable oils are highly processed and refined, meaning many of the natural antioxidants have been destroyed, so these should be avoided too.

Mono-unsaturated fats

Mono-unsaturated fats, also known as omega-9s, are found in olive oil and macadamia nut oil and are one of the best oils to cook with. Macadamia nut oil stands up to heat quite well, and contains a ton of these heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fats. Extra-virgin olive oil is the least processed of the olive oils can stand medium heat and superb salad dressing.

So what should you include in your nutrition? 

My recommendation is  unrefined, cold-pressed oils whenever possible, regardless of the oil you choose. Coconut oil is an especially good choice. Organic butter and ghee, which is clarified butter, are also good choices.

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Coconut oil and coconut cream contain Medium Chain Fatty Acids, which are instrumental in making the immune system stronger.

On thing to avoid is canola oil, despite its hype and popularity. It’s a highly refined oil that has to be chemically bleached, de-gummed, and deodorized at very high temperatures (much like many other refined vegetable oils) which strips it of any health benefits.

 

Nutrition

To Supp or Not to Supp?

A Modern Day Dilemma

Supplements… where do I start? In a paradoxical world where some people are malnourished due to scarce resources and other are malnourished due to poor diet one has to wonder what is the best way to get the nutrients we need.

Enter the supplements – a modern phenomenon of adding man-made nutrients to our diets. From powdered vegetables to vitamins to amino acids, this has become and industry worth billion of dollars (US$104 billion as of 2013 to be precise).

Of course as a rule of thumb we should always try to get our nutrients (mind, not just vitamins, but also minerals, proteins, oils, essential acids and so forth) from natural whole foods. However, there are many factors that could undermine our efforts to hit our daily target of the good stuff.

Image from PeopleCleaner.com 

Nutrient thieves

Naturally we lose nutrients as we go about our daily activities, however certain situations may leave us a little bit drained. For example, when we are stressed our bodies use more nutrients at a faster rate. But it is not just proteins and carbohydrates that we lose.

Dr. Griffin, Dr. Neblett and Kissinger state that “The increased metabolism [due to prolonged stress] can also cause an increase in the use and excretion of many nutrients such as vitamins A, C,D,E,K, and B complex, and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, chromium, selenium, zinc, and potassium.”

“Eating right is just as important as managing stress
because vulnerability to stress increases with poor diet”

Philip Rice, Stress and Health. Moorhead State University

Another issue is the quality of food that we eat nowadays. It is not just junk food that is the culprit here. A lot of our groceries are either heavily processed or chemically treated to extend their shelf life. These processes significantly reduce the nutrients of the foods we buy and eat. In this case, the best solution is to opt for organic or locally grown produce (and check the labels!).

And of course there are certain personal situations which may make matters worse. Suffering from digestive problems may mean that no matter how much nutrients from natural food one gets, the body is not absorbing and/or converting enough of those into fuel. Other illnesses may also require specific supplementation (currently fighting a cold with Vitamin C, zinc, lemon and ginger 🙂 ) Also, intense training requires more nutrients such as protein, amino acids, trace minerals and electrolytes which are lost through sweat.

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To Supp or Not to Supp?

So should we jump with both feet in to this trend? Personally, I like to avoid artificially made things, especially when it comes to what I put in my body. Deciding whether to take supplements is an important health decision filled with mine pits – there is so much information and so many supplements that haven’t been tested which make it very confusing.

My recommendation is to read, read and read some more! Check labels and consult with qualified professionals (not me!). But first and foremost evaluate your needs. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you eating enough natural whole foods?11882472_768857866556298_1315508989_o
  • Do you feel constantly tired or are you energetic?
  • Are you experiencing a lot of stress in your life at the moment?
  • Are you ill, undergoing intense training programme or suffering from specific health issues?

Think carefully about your answers and if you think natural whole foods may not be enough, do consult with an expert and make sure you choose high quality supplements.

Nutrition

3 Reasons Why Vegetables are Better Than Fruits

We all know that we should eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables per day, but did you know that the majority should be vegetables and not fruits. Why? Here’s your top 3 reasons.

1.The sugar issue

Graph made by PhD Nutritionist Alice Callahan

For starters vegetables tend to be much lower in sugar than fruit and this is always a bonus. Less sugar means more balanced hormones and insulin levels (which in turn helps to control hunger and cravings) and also less likelihood of carbs being stored as fat. In fact, in a previous post I had mentioned the burden sugar places on our liver and how excess sugar is stored as fat. So it is important to be aware of all forms of sugar, even those from natural sources.

2.More valuable to your health 

Secondly, it has been scientifically proven that vegetables have a more beneficial impact on health than fruit. One study found that “each daily portion of fresh vegetables reduced the overall risk of death by 16% percent” compared to just 4% for fresh fruit and zero for fruit juices.

3.Vegetables vs fruits – the battle of nutrients

This perhaps is due to the fact that vegetables also tend to be slightly higher in nutrients than fruit. For example, vegetables are much higher in iron, folate, vitamin A and calcium content.

All graphs made by PhD Nutritionist Alice Callahan

What I usually do is have 2 servings of cooked vegetables at lunch and another 3 raw servings (i.e. salad) at dinner. I tend to have 1 or 2 pieces of fruit early in the day and/or after a workout. This brings me to about 7 daily servings of vegetables and fruits which according to this study is the optimum number as anything higher than that did not show any further increase to health benefits.

So now you know why that nursery rhyme went like: “Vegetables, vegetables. You’ve got to eat your vegetables!” 🙂