So Nutrition 101? I thought I’d get my very clever and extremely gorgeous husband to give you the 411 on nutrition because I think the more we know and understand about nutrition and what food does to our body, the better choices we can make. I know so many people who say they eat “really well” all the time and can’t lose weight, feel bloated blah blah blah. Guess what, they generally do NOT eat really well at all when you actually find out what they eat. Hot tip people…. Fat free generally means 100% sugar, you’re better off having the fat. So anyway, my rant is over for now but here’s Trav’s nutrition lesson…..
If you are reading my beautiful wife’s blog, you obviously have an interest in health and so I thought some of you may like to read up a little in regards to nutrition in light of that interest. So you know you are reading credible info, I will start by telling you a little about myself…
I have various qual’s in the fitness industry, have lectured diploma level courses in the mentioned, was a Sub Unit Physical Training Instructor in the Australian Army, a Personal Trainer post Army tenure and am committed for life to absolute health (and seeing how far I can push my physical and mental boundaries)…
As there is a lot of conflicting and confusing information available today, I would like to share with you my take on nutrition… Take it or leave it.
I will start by outlining the basics and then build on that. I will try to use simple terms and some of this you may already know; however, keep reading as my ‘Golden Rules’ may be of interest to you. Holistically, you should each be eating for ultimate health and nothing else. Weight loss and becoming a picture of ‘twisted steel and sex appeal’ should be seen as an incidental benefit.
Hopefully I can arm you with some great knowledge and prompt you to be more conscientious about your food choices… Follow my wife’s blog and you are half way there! Keep in mind that training is only 25% of the battle, the other 75% is what you stick in your ‘pie hole’…
Basic Substrates and their connection with one another through Insulin…
Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by the Pancreas and is responsible for storing everything we consume in it’s respective place (unfortunately, this little hormone loves to take fat to your hips, bum, belly and thighs most of all). Insulin is only present in large quantities when we consume sugar (carbohydrates). When carbohydrates (explained later) are consumed and broken down into sugar, Insulin is sent from it’s ‘Taxi Rank’ at the Pancreas, picks up all the Substrates (Protein, Fat and Sugars), takes Protein to the muscles for repair and growth, takes Fats to the fat cells to make us a little tubbier, and takes Sugar to the muscles and liver to be stored as energy.
Sugar (carbohydrate) is the only substrate that will trigger an insulin release. If no sugar (carbohydrate) is consumed, Insulin response will be limited and therefore fat storage is reduced… Your goal is to drastically reduce and stabilise Insulin release as it also causes the Liver to produce Triglycerides! Read more about breaking the sugar addiction here
The 4 Substrates…
Protein… 1gm = 4cals
Protein is broken down into Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) when digested – These are then used to repair muscle tissue, reinforce the integrity of cell walls, hair and nail growth, etc. The important thing to remember about protein is that you need at least 1gm per kilogram of bodyweight per day as a minimum and your protein choices must be from the following (good quality lean sources in a quantity no larger than your closed fist or approx 150-200gms per serve):
*Lean red meat (lean Beef, Venison or Lamb);
*Chicken or Turkey (not deli meat);
*Legumes (Lentils, Peas, Beans);
*Dairy (Eggs , Milk – Dairy, almond or Oat/Rice replacements, Yoghurt – Natural only); and
*Plant, nut and seed derived sources such as Avocado, Nuts (not salted), Seeds (same as nuts), and Soy (so many opinions on this one click here to read more)
Protein on it’s own, doesn’t cause an insulin response as it isn’t broken down into sugars.
Carbohydrates… 1gm = 4cals
Carbs are anything that is primarily made up of, or broken down into sugars. I could write a novel about the different types of ‘Saccharides’, how they are broken down and what effect each has on insulin, but there are only a couple of things I want you to take on board and live by with Carbs… The following are your main Carb sources that you would typically consume and are ‘safe’ when eaten on their own and or with other substrates (in the right quantities – no more than 1 cup, cooked, per serve):
*Grains (Oats, Rice [long grain white, brown or wild], Quinoa, yet hold back on wheat based grains [our digestive systems haven’t progressed enough to process these properly); read more about this here
*Vegetables (Sweet Potato – Red or Orange Skin, Pumpkin, and Carrot/Parsnip). Greens and other more fibrous veges can be eaten by the truck load!;
*Fruit (any fruit, but only 1 serve per day. Any more than 50gms of Fructose consumed in a sitting will trigger a decent insulin response which in turn causes a triglyceride response from the liver and can raise cholesterol like most refined sugars will).
What you should steer clear of:
Processed, refined sugary sweets such as cakes, lollies, muffins, biscuits… REFINED SUGAR! The exception is any of the above made from one of my wife’s recipes… You need to read labels and make sure that NONE of the ingredients in whatever you are buying contains sugar (or any other sugar derivative such as dextrose, sucrose, maltodextrin, artificial sweeteners, basically anything that ends in ‘ose’). The following you can use as a ‘safe’ replacement (in moderation), while cooking or to sweeten things such as a hot drink:
*Agave syrup, pure maple syrup or
At the end of the day – Stay away from sugar as much as possible!
Fats… 1gm = 9cals
Fats – Here is the low down on fats… A fat is not a fat. Hydrogenated products, and some saturated fats found in Butter and Margarine and from animal sources should be consumed in moderation as they are solid at room temp, raise cholesterol and will likely end up giving you a heart attack. Poly and Mono Unsaturated (mostly plant derived fats) can be eaten freely (within reason), and when choosing oils from this category, look for olive, flax, and or fish… Unrefined, cold pressed and virgin are best. Macadamia Oil is a great choice for cooking as it has a high smoke point and won’t convert to a Trans Fat… That sh!t will kill you!
The low – down on Coconut Oil (since is quite a bit of hype around this at present and you will see this pop up in Shan’s recipes among other ‘food religions’ such as Paleo derivatives): more on Paleo here
Coconut Oil is a saturated fat (100%); yet is processed differently given its high Lauric and Stearic Acid content, and subsequent health benefits. It lowers cholesterol, is metabolised by the Liver and used for energy, and is a natural antiviral and antibacterial!
Alcohol… 1gm = 7cals
Alcohol – You should avoid eating ‘after’ consuming alcohol… This is the reason for a lot of our weight gain. The reason is this: alcohol is a poison/toxin and the body will work to excrete it before metabolising the other substrates. It will STORE all substrates while it is working on excreting the ‘poison’! That also means that your sugary mixed drinks are going to cause your body to store all the added sugar too. So, if drinking, try drinking only the following, stay on the one type of drink, drink the equivalent amount of water and don’t eat with it.
*White Spirits (without added sugar); and
*Wine or Champagne.
Righto, now you know a little about the substrates, here are my ‘Golden Rules’:
My Ten Commandments of Nutrition…
1. You can eat Carbs and Proteins together with little or no Fats only. This is because Carbs cause an insulin response and if you are consuming Fats while eating Carbs, you will store those Fats;
2. You can eat Protein and Fats together, without Carbs (for the reason mentioned above);
3. TRY NOT TO EAT REFINED CARBS WITH FATS. If you have consumed Carbs, try not eat Fats for at least 3hrs after. This is because your insulin levels are still raised for up to 3hrs after consuming Carbs.
4. Don’t eat anything with refined Sugar (or any of those ‘oses’) in it’s ingredients… That means NO LOLLIES! There are healthy alternatives such as dried Figs or Dates (in moderation), and fresh Berries. All high in fibre;
5. DO NOT ADD SALT. Salt causes water retention due to balance of electrolytes and Osmosis. If you consume a lot of Salt/Sodium, your body will shunt it to the skin though Osmosis and that is what causes ‘puffiness’ and temporary weight gain;
6. Do some light (or intense) cardio on an empty stomach, preferably before breakfast after sleeping. This is because your stored sugar levels (Glycogen) in the muscles are low and so your body will use a higher percentage of fat to compensate and provide more energy;
7. Drink a litre of water upon waking and before consuming anything else. This acts as a flush and wakes up your digestive tract. It will also stimulate your metabolism;
8. DO NOT EAT ANYTHING THAT CONTAINS ADDITIVES OR PRESERVATIVES OR IS OUT OF A PACKET;
9. Think like a ‘cave man/woman’. If it has gone through more than 2 processes before hitting the shelf, it is not worth eating, go for foods that are PICKED from a tree/bush, PLUCKED from the ground, or CUT from a lean, fast animal (fish and poultry are best);
10. Fast for at least 2hrs before bed; and…
In closing… Don’t submit to pressure. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask for an alternate option or for a chef to change a dish so that it doesn’t contain certain things. Remember there is a healthy ‘whole food’ alternative for every dessert or processed food. Start cooking… We can all make the most amazing dishes using ‘whole food’ ingredients within the guidelines of what I have written – our predecessors have done it before us, why can’t we?!