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Can you really lose weight just by exercise alone?

I have recently just read a fascinating compilation of studies that suggest that exercise alone will not result in weight loss.  This is quite contrary to our popular belief, and that espoused by innumerable fitness trainers, that suggests if we eat a meal of double cheese-burgers with chips totalling 500 calories then all we have to do is jump on the stepper, set our goal to burn 500 calories and all will be struck from the record.  But it seems as though it isn’t quite that simple.

While 100% of the energy we gain comes from food,  we can only burn about 10-30% of it in physical activity (excluding professional athletes).  There are three main components to energy expenditure, 1) Basal metabolic rate, which is energy to make your body perform basic functions, 2) energy used to break down food, 3) energy used in physical activity.  Your body uses about 60-80% of energy to perform your basic functions and keep you alive, digesting and breaking down food used 10% and the rest is used for physical activity. 

This is all not suggesting that physical activity is not an incredibly important part of a healthy, long and happy life, because it most certainly is.  But conceiving that weight loss is as simple as calories out must be more than calories in, is not quite right.  Blaming obesity on poor physical activity isn’t strictly true as it seems that it is more so the over consumption of low quality food that is more to blame.

You can read the full article here: http://www.vox.com/2016/4/28/11518804/weight-loss-exercise-myth-burn-calories

March 31, 2016

Posted in healthy, healthy eating, healthy food, nuts, raw, roasted nuts


RAW vs Roasted

Roasted nuts are delicious right?  Buttery crunchy melt in your mouth goodness!  But we have all heard that roasted nuts are bad for you. 

Nuts can be oil roasted or dry roasted, it turns out the “oil roasting” process is actually frying!  So look on the ingredients list and if you see oil in the ingredients then you .  When they are “oil roasted” they do absorb about 5% of the oil they are cooked in, which does increase their calorie content. 

Overall, they measure up like this:

  • Oil roasted nuts are definitely higher in calories than raw nuts
  • They do have the same amount of protein
  • There is extra fat in the roasted nuts
  • The carbs and fibre content of the raw and roasted nuts are the same
  • For essential minerals – iron, magnesiym and phosphorous raw nuts are higher

During the roasting process, nuts do not lose their heart healthy mono unsaturated  fat, but the polyunsaturated fats may become altered and become more vulnerable to oxidation which increases their chance of becoming rancid.

 Overall, if you can opt for the raw ones over the roasted ones, and if you must eat the roasted ones, then try to find the dry roasted nuts rather than the oil roasted version.

March 09, 2016

Posted in healthy, healthy eating, healthy food


Why is the colour of your food important?

I love a colourful salad, lots of vibrancy with purples, oranges, reds and greens.  Not only does it look pretty, but the colour in your food is a good health indicator too.  Here is what the colours mean:

Purple – deep rich burgundy colours like in eggplant, beetroot, purple grapes and purple cabbage contain  anthocyanins and consequently may be responsible for reducing the risk of high blood pressure and lowering cholesterol.  These compounds mop up free radicals and soothe inflammation.  You can easily add grated beetroot to a salad to give it a bit of extra crunch and your healthy boost.

Orange – vibrant warm colours like in carrots, oranges, pumpkins contain flavonoids, lycopene, potassium, vitamin C and beta-carotene, which is vitamin A.  These nutrients aid in eye health, reduce the risk of prostate cancer, lower blood pressure and lower bad cholesterol.  Orange foods make a delicious and easy salad – roast some pumpkin, grate up carrots, quarter some oranges, sprinkle some sultanas and olive oil and you have a very easy fresh summery salad.

Red – glowing bright coloured foods like tomatoes, red capsicum, strawberries, cherries are full of the following nutrients; lycopene, ellagic acid, quercetin, hesperidin, fiber, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.  These winners help to protect the body from prostate, cervical and lung cancer, reduce tumour growth, and protect the body against heart disease. 

Green – leafy looking lovelies like spinach, broccoli, zucchini contain chorophyll which is responsible for the colouring, but they also contain fibre, luteinzeaxanthin, calcium, folate, vitamin C and beta-carotene.  These nutrients boost the immune system, help to cleanse the blood, and fight free radicals in your body to help reduce the risk of cancer. 

 

March 09, 2016

Posted in healthy, healthy eating, healthy food


Why is the colour of your food important?

I love a colourful salad, lots of vibrancy with purples, oranges, reds and greens.  Not only does it look pretty, but the colour in your food is a good health indicator too.  Here is what the colours mean:

Purple – deep rich burgundy colours like in eggplant, beetroot, purple grapes and purple cabbage contain  anthocyanins and consequently may be responsible for reducing the risk of high blood pressure and lowering cholesterol.  These compounds mop up free radicals and soothe inflammation.  You can easily add grated beetroot to a salad to give it a bit of extra crunch and your healthy boost.

Orange – vibrant warm colours like in carrots, oranges, pumpkins contain flavonoids, lycopene, potassium, vitamin C and beta-carotene, which is vitamin A.  These nutrients aid in eye health, reduce the risk of prostate cancer, lower blood pressure and lower bad cholesterol.  Orange foods make a delicious and easy salad – roast some pumpkin, grate up carrots, quarter some oranges, sprinkle some sultanas and olive oil and you have a very easy fresh summery salad.

Red – glowing bright coloured foods like tomatoes, red capsicum, strawberries, cherries are full of the following nutrients; lycopene, ellagic acid, quercetin, hesperidin, fiber, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.  These winners help to protect the body from prostate, cervical and lung cancer, reduce tumour growth, and protect the body against heart disease. 

Green – leafy looking lovelies like spinach, broccoli, zucchini contain chorophyll which is responsible for the colouring, but they also contain fibre, luteinzeaxanthin, calcium, folate, vitamin C and beta-carotene.  These nutrients boost the immune system, help to cleanse the blood, and fight free radicals in your body to help reduce the risk of cancer. 

 

Insulation against winter without the weight gain!

Winter is here, and I for one am already working to avoid gaining what I call “hibernation weight”. There seems to be a double whammy that hits when the days are rainy and the cold winds blow. We crave comfort food and hunker down to stay warm. Let this get out of control and you can add some unflattering insulation as winter takes its course. This is why we have to keep moving, hitting the gym or the trail or whatever we must to stay active.

You see, hunger can be a hormonal thing. Specifically, insulin, leptin and ghrelin. Insulin is the hormone that allows you to use the sugars you ingest for energy. If you are insulin resistant, which about 1/3 of the US population are, you are not able to burn the sugars properly and get the energy. This makes you hungry. The foods that trigger this the most are refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta and sugar. If you don’t eat enough protein and fat along with your carbs, you will continually crave more carbs. Because of the insulin problem, you feel tired and hungry, and can’t lose weight

Then there are the other two, leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is your friend, the one that tells you you are full. Ghrelin is the one that sends the message to your brain to eat.

The good news, healthy eaters, is that eating adequate protein, good fats and nutritious foods helps balance all of this. So, we just have to make sure our meals have some protein and fat alongside any carbs. It’s also way better to stick with whole grains. Keep those simple carbs to a minimum, and always eat them with protein and fat.

New research also shows that people who don’t get adequate sleep also get out of balance, and make more ghrelin and less leptin. Sleep deprivation makes you too tired to move but starved for junk food.

Now, let’s remember how easy it is to get your protein. A cup of wholegrain oats with a cup of soymilk or almond milk is 13g.  Starting the day with whole grains and a healthy helping of either dairy or non dairy milk, some nuts, or seeds and fruit is fantastic.  Heat your oats or add some hot water with your milk to get a warming sensation.  A protein-packed smoothie made with almond milk, oats, nuts, chia seeds, spriulina is easy, too.  This is the meal where you want to get those hormones off to a good start.

Lunch is easily protein-boosted with beans (lentils, chickpeas, etc), tofu or tempeh, or even the generous amounts in quinoa, which has 9 grams protein in a cup, cooked. I love to add chopped nuts to my salads for the extra protein boost, or avocado is brilliant for adding extra bit of satisfaction.

Dinner is usually built around protein, just 100g of tofu in your stir fry adds 11g. A cup of cooked spinach has 5g. There is a little protein in just about every whole food. The up-side of beans, nuts and seeds are that they contain many healthful fats, fiber, and antioxidants, as well as protein.

So, you certainly don’t have to eat meat to get enough protein. And you can have that lean, healthy vegetarian glow, as long as you don’t fall into the refined carb trap. Everybody can enjoy a little treat now and then, and as long as you are treating yourself, it’s better if it has some fat, too.

 

(this article has been taken from the following blog post: http://robinasbell.com/robinwrites/2010/11/the-vegetarian-way-to-keep-winter-weight-gain-at-bay/)

Birds do it, bees do it, even you and me do it!

 Everybody does it, but no-one wants to have a chat about it….  We all think that what we do is normal, but unless something is very wrong, we would never ask anyone to check.   So lets talk about Number 2s.  And the unfortunate reality is, most people are constipated….

 Did you know that even if you have one bowel movement every day you are probably still constipated? The majority of people can go for days.  A healthier number is 2-3 times per day. And it shouldn’t be uncomfortable. It should be as easy as number 1’s.

There is another way to gauge if you are constipated. It is called the Bristol Stool Chart.  As unpleasant as it is to look at, it is a very important gauge of your health as well as the health of your diet.

Check it out here:

As unpleasant as it is to look at, it is a very important guage of your health as well as the health of your diet.

How to read the chart:

   Types 1-3: You are constipated.

   Types 4-5: Depending on who you talk to these are ideal.

   Types 6-7: Too "urgent" to be normal.

 The form your stool takes depends on how long it has been in the colon, with 72 hours being ideal. As you move down the chart you go from way too long in the colon (1-3), the normal ~72 hour time period (4-5) and finally under 72 hours (6-7). You can find much more detail about each stool type and what it means here (http://www.fibermenace.com/gutsense/transition.html)

 In order to be healthy, inside and outside, your bowel must be working and for every meal that we eat, every day. If you are eating three meals per day, then you must have three bowel movements per day. You won’t remember it, but those with children will know the regularity of an infants bowel, food in, poop out.  If you are having less than two bowels movements per day, food residues accumulate for more than twelve hours, purification and fermentation begins and the insides begin rotting, aging and becoming ill.  Often when I talk to people about doing a detox, they will ask me “But won’t I go to the toilet a lot?”  Well, yes, and you need to!  You will need to go to the toilet to move those nasty things you have eaten through you body.

Any nutritional elements present in the fecal matter passes into the bloodstream as polluted products, thus toxemia commences.  Pimples and other skin blemishes are generally the first sign of toxemia.
  Not only does it create a toxic environment, but increasing your chances of bowel cancer.

So, how do you become more regular? The are fibre supplements out there, but really a diet rich in fibre is what you need.  I speak from experience, when I know I have eaten a day full of just fresh fruits, vegetable legumes and nuts, I am as regular as clockwork, BUT give me a day of naughty food, coffee, bread, dairy and I am lucky if I go once!  My belly feels bloated, and I would like to get it out, but cannot!  A cleanse also really helps to reset your bowel and move the old matter through your body.  Then you can restart your new diet rich in high fibre foods.

End of year - Time to trial something new!

 The pace of this year has blow my mind, the pace of this week even blew it!  There are lots of great things about getting older, but the time flying past is NOT one of them.   So we are back to silly season of overeating, overdrinking, and under exercising, and it is a super fun time to let your hair down a bit, but it is also a good time to experiment with a few different things to cook with.  My current fave is Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah).  I have tried it a few times before, but never got the consistency right because it needs to absorb a lot of water.  But I just started with a little trick, and now we are having in a few times a week!  You can buy it in the health food section of the supermarket,  and apparently 2013 is to be recognized as "The International Year of the Quinoa.

 

So you might be thinking, well why Quinoa?  Surely, you can just have rice or cous cous with  your meal, or even pasta? Not quite, Quinoa is rich in phtyonutrients, calcium, protein and heart healthy fats (it takes 350 calories from wheat for 1 gr of fat, and only 68 calories from Quinoa).  It has some amazing anti-infllamatory properties, is gluten free and while it is used as a “grain” it is in fact not a grain at all!  It comes from the same family as spinach and beets.

 

Here are some of my recipes you can try over the holidays.

Firstly make the Quinoa by simply using a coffee/tea mug and a pot.  Fill the coffee mug with Quinoa, then pour into the pot, then simply add 2 coffee mugs of water.  Turn on high till it boils, should only be a few mins, then when it is boiling, drop the heat right down and add a lid.  Let it go for 15 mins!  Then perfectamundo!!  Their little tails will pop out (once you try it, you will see what I mean!) and they are ready to mix  in with your best sauces, toppings, sides, etc…

 

Breakfast

            1.5 cups quinoa, rinsed, drained (see above)

            
1.5 cups soy milk (I like Bonsoy)

            
0.5 cup dried apricots, chopped

            
1/3 cup dried cranberries

            
1.5 tablespoons brown sugar

            
1/3 cup pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped

                        
Raw Honey, to serve

Combine quinoa, stir in milk, apricot and cranberries. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes

or until quinoa is tender. Stir in sugar. Spoon porridge into bowls. Sprinkle with

pistachios. Drizzle with honey. Serve.

 

Dinner

            1.5 cup red quinoa (see above

            
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

            
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

            
1 zucchini, grated

            
250g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved

            
200g raw cashew nuts, chopped roughly

            half cup of chopped fresh basil

            30 ml soy sauce

Combine cooked quinoa with lemon juice, zest, grated zucchini, tomatoe, cashews and fresh basil.  Mix all together.  Combine soy sacue and olive oil and then dress your salad to taste.  For something extra delicious, add some avocado!!

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