Tag: Debunking

What on earth should I eat?

what on

We all get super duper confused around what actually constitutes a healthy diet. It seems that its an arbitrary thing that somebody decides is the “right” food to eat for health, or is decided by the most famous “nutrition celebrity”. Wrong. Its actually been VERY well researched, and perfectly outlined by the Department of Health (they used 55,000 research articles to get to the guidelines we have today). The problem is, we just don’t listen. If we all were eating what the guidelines tell us too, we would all be pretty darn healthy. Sadly, we snack on junk, eat far too much sugar, fat and processed foods, and its causing a whole load of disease that isn’t necessary. 

So recently I have challenged myself to make sure I am eating what the guidelines say, because most of us don’t even get to this point. We are too busy focusing on the latest fad diet, superfood or crazy new supermarket product to actually focus on getting our baselines right. Its been a very interesting few weeks, and I must say I wasn’t eating exactly what I should be eating (a sad point to make for a nutritionist). I was eating far too many serves, and far too much of the discretionary items. Most of what I was eating was very nutrient dense, but I stopped listening to my body’s hunger cues, and started mindlessly eating food in front of the tv. Cue-being my heaviest weight ever. 

So here are my basic guidelines for what you should eat. It’s not hard, its not any crazy new idea, its just the same old message. Also, I like lists and bullet points – so this makes my brain happy. 

  • Bring your diet back to its basic form: Fruit, Veggies, Meat, Wholegrain’s, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, Dairy products and a little healthy fats. 
  • Eat 2 serves of fruit minimum: eat one for a snack, then have one after dinner with some yoghurt. 
  • Eat 5 serves of veggies minimum: make sure one of your snacks includes veggies, as well as at least one serve at every meal. I like to try half fill my plate with veggies before adding anything else. 
  • Eat 6 serves of mostly wholegrains: this means the grain hasn’t been stripped of all its important nutrients in the outer layers; Brown rice, wholegrain bread, wholegrain pasta and noodles. If it has a wholegrain option; choose that one. 
  • Eat 2-3 serves of dairy everyday: Don’t be afraid of dairy products, most of us have  developed the ability to process lactose in dairy products, so just get over yourself. Go for milk (Whole, skim-whatever really), natural and greek yoghurt, and small amounts of cheese (by small amount I mean the size of a matchbox or 20-30g). 
  • Eat 2-3 serves of lean protein: and variety is good here, try chicken, salmon, tuna, beef, eggs, tofu, legumes. Its all good! Legumes are both a protein AND a vegetable, plus they have plenty of fibre, phytonutrients and minerals. 
  • Everything else is discretionary, although I will say that fats are vital to healthy cell development and neurons, so we do need to make sure we are getting some healthy fats everyday (Contrary to the old ways of fat-free everything). Try olive oil, avocado, nut butters, seeds, plant oils, oily fish and nuts. 
  • There is no need to cut out everything, its just about what you eat MOST of the time, so simply eat the treats less often. For example, eat a varied, nutrient dense and healthy diet for most of the week, and allow yourself a couple of treats throughout the week. 

Eating for health isn’t rocket science, its just simply putting some guidelines in place to make sure you are doing what’s best for your body. There is no way your body can be at its best if you are giving it the wrong fuel. 

Keep your eyes peeled-ill be posting a 7 day outline of what iv’e been eating too, so you can see all of this in practice. 

Juices vs Smoothies

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The age old debate; Juices or smoothies, and who wins the “healthiest” beverage title continues, from my point of view there is a clear winner. A juice is generally a beverage which contains the liquids from a fruit or vegetables, and in it’s best form, will come straight from fresh produce. However there are many products on the shelves which are “juices” but have been processed and pulverized to an oblivion, containing very little actual nutrients. However, we will disregard these in the juice category, so for now we are talking about fresh raw juices straights from the fruit and vege. 

Juices are the water/liquid component of fresh fruit and vege, with popular juicing produce being oranges, apples, celery, carrot, lemon, ginger, watermelon, and kale. Now having juice from fresh produce is great, except when you consider the things juice doesn’t include. When we juice something we remove ALL the fibre, and with that much of the nutrients. We also are able to drink bucket loads more juice than we could eat the whole fruit and vege, which means we may be getting far more energy and sugar than we think. Imagine this: A juice can contain 2 oranges, an apples, 2 carrots, a piece of ginger and 2 sticks of celery, and only just be a whole glass. While this might seem a great way to get lots of fruit and vege, imagine actually eating all of that fruit and vege whole. Chances are you probably wouldn’t be able to. Fibre is something that keeps us full, feeds the good bacteria in our gut, and helps keep our digestion regular, without it we would have incredibly poor digestion (think constipation, diarrhea, bloating, excessive gas). We are doing an incredible disservice to whole foods by ridding them of their fibre. 

Now looking instead to the humble smoothie; nope, i’m not talking about that fancy chai matcha kale cinnamon banana and almond milk smoothie you saw on instagram last week. Or that crazy monster of a smoothie topped with pretzels and whole bars of chocolate. I’m talking about a simple banana, oat and spinach smoothie. We keep the fibre, so we stay full, our digestion stays regular, and we still get the benefits of all the nutrients and antioxidants from the fruit and vege. Plus you can get as creative as you like; chia seeds, zucchini, mango, almonds, linseed, strawberries, almond milk, walnuts…the list goes on. The are a pretty perfect meal in a cup. However we can get a little carried away with smoothies, and they can end up being just full of energy and not much else. Keep in mind to base them off fresh fruit and vege and not full of peanut butter and coconut milk. 

Check out this delish pear and vanilla smoothie over at Deliciously Ella!

So, in conclusion juices remove the fibre (=not so great) and smoothies keep it (=great!). But to be perfectly honest, labeling food as good or bad is just a recipe for disaster. A fresh juice is a great way to get a few serves of fruit and vege, and smoothies can be excessive and full of kilojoules. With all things, be sensible and eat in moderation. Just eat real food. Ok?