I have always been interested in nutrition (it was my first choice of career but one I regrettably ditched). I am facinated by how food can be used/abused, it can be your making or your undoing. I am a big fan of “The Food Hospital “, the television programme as it demonstrates how what we eat can affect not just our weight but many health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, ADHD, skin and hormonal complaints to name a few. I have a dyslexic child and I’m researching whether diet can help her too.
Having kids takes its toll on your body, I put on a lot of weight with my first child which I managed to lose through diet and exercise, but I am convinced that I now put weight on much more easily and find it harder to lose, I’ve developed a few tricks over the years and I will be sharing these plus I hope you will share your own.
Isn’t it always the way that when you are trying to eat out healthily, you find yourself faced with what appears to be a very unhealthy choice of food outlets and options so here are my tips to keep you on the straight and narrow! Whatever you choose, try to make it balanced and low GI, this means going for wholegrain and unrefined options where possible, to keep your blood sugar even and feeling fuller for longer.
1. Keep a bag of nuts, seeds and dried fruit in your car or desk at work. If you are really desperate then this will tide you over until you can find something healthy. We need to include more of these in our diet anyway as they contain lots of minerals that are hard to find elsewhere.
2. If your access is to Starbucks, Costa Coffee and the like then go for a well balanced sandwich (ie with all the food groups covered- protein, carbohydrate and fruit/veg). This could be something like tuna and sweetcorn on wholemeal bread with a piece of fruit, or chicken salad on brown bread. Check the calories. Watch out for hidden calories in certain coffees/frappes and steer clear of the muffins, even low fat ones are full of calories in the form of sugar!
3. Motorway service stations can be difficult, but opt for a sandwich as above, or soup and salad with a brown roll. Add in a piece of fruit and you are sorted!
4. The key to keeping fuller for longer and making sure you don’t reach for an unhealthy snack an hour later is to make sure you have a decent amount of protein. For men this probably means that a sandwich is not enough, either have 2 healthy sandwiches or add in some more protein such as a carton of milk, some lean chicken or turkey.
5. This brings me to what is not at first glance a healthy place to eat but has some redeeming features and that is Macdonalds, yes MACDONALDS!! I have discovered that they do porridge for breakfast (add in some fruit and nuts from your little bag, a Tropicana orange juice and you have a really good breakfast!). They also do grilled chicken salads which are incredibly low calorie (even with the dressing) and their grilled chicken and salad wraps make an ideal lunch. Plus for snacks, they have a mini chicken wrap and chicken breast in breadcrumbs, both good choices for a protein based snack.
Hope that helps!
Life is stressful and we add to this stress with our diet, we are often so short of time that we rely on convenience foods and quick fixes to give ourselves energy, but in the long term these can leave our bodies in a state that can’t cope with illness or stressful situations. They can leave us tired, depressed and overweight or even underweight and lacking vital nutrients. Ultimately this can lead to serious illness such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
One of the best things I ever did for my health was a “detox”. There has been a lot written about detoxing, some of it very negative, but to give your body a rest for a while can only be good in my opinion. It was after the birth of my second child that I found myself struggling with lack of sleep, excess weight and feeling generally rundown. My skin was terrible and kept breaking out in awful spots which wouldn’t heal properly. I came across a book called “Detox Yourself” by Jane Scrivner which really interested me, I bought it, read it and embarked on my first detox. I was a bit sceptical but liked the fact that the book was aimed at looking after and pampering yourself- I really needed a bit of TLC! 30 days later I was converted and everyone around me was amazed by the results, I had tons of energy, I was sleeping better (or as well as can be expected with a baby), I lost weight and my skin was glowing ( I didn’t get another spot for at least a year afterwards).
I have told many people since about my experience and describe it as giving your body a really good spring clean inside and out. For 30 days you will look after yourself really well and body (and mind!) will be nurtured back to optimum health.
Basically your diet will change. That means no wheat, cows dairy, meat, alcohol, caffeine, added sugar and salt. That sounds restrictive but it really isn’t, instead you will be eating fish, brown rice, goat and sheep milk, cheese and yogurt, dried fruits and varied fresh fruits and vegetables, chickpeas, nuts, apple and grape juices. You can create many delicious meals with these ingredients and you will not feel hungry, in fact if you are hungry then you are doing it wrong!
The Science Bit
I have a scientific background and love to know how and why things work. The reason our bodies get in such a mess is that most of our diet is very acidic. Meat, wheat, cows dairy and sugar are all acid producing when digested. This creates a hostile environment in our bodies which damages our cells and sends hormones haywire (in particular oestrogen). The liver is our main organ for removing toxins from the blood and converting it to substances which can be excreted, but it can get overworked and stressed. Similarly the skin (the largest organ) removes toxins through sweat and the kidneys through urine, both of which can suffer. Ultimately, an acidic, toxic environment with hormone production all over the place can result in illness such as cancer (can be caused by over production of oestrogen), diabetes (poor regulation of sugar), heart disease (clogged arteries) and many more.
Detoxing means you will introduce more alkaline foods into your diet which will allow your body to rest and repair itself. Your body will be more balanced and function more efficiently. You will have more energy, your skin will glow and you will feel great!