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Pizza Please!

4 Apr

 

Hi Lifters!

Hope you are all well! I thought you’d be interested that I saw the dietician today… she opened my eyes to a few things. Basically, I have a lot to change about my diet haha. It was great talking to her about some of the things that I’ve ‘learnt’ from the fitness industry. Some of the things that I learnt:

  • Smaller is not better
  • Restricting foods is not sustainable
  • Our bodies are too clever – if we deprive them of calories they learnt to adapt and slow metabolism
  • It is essential to not have black vs white/’good vs bad’/‘all vs nothing’ attitude towards food
  • Do not avoid certain food groups
  • Carbohydrates are essential as an energy source – the brain is unable to utilise any other fuel!!
  • Burning carbohydrates kick-starts burning fat
  • Your body will break down muscle (not fat!) for energy if carbohydrates aren’t present
  • In order to gain weight, you need to eat 2000 calories more than normal for longer than 2 weeks! One meal seriously doesn’t make a difference
  • You will weigh more after a binge (e.g. Christmas dinner) because there’s more food in your bowel, not because you’re ‘fatter’ (obvious, but I hadn’t really thought about it that way)
  • If a weight-loss product seems too good to be true, it probably is
  • Your metabolism is active 24/7 – it only slows down by ~10% whilst you sleep because you are inactive
  • 80% of your metabolism is your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) (things that you’re not even aware of e.g. breaking down food, beating heart, hair growing)

I hope some of the points above teach you something too! It was really interesting to chat to her and it’s great to know that I’m on track to get my metabolism back on track. I’m slowly introducing more low GI carbohydrates and increasing my calories. To give you some idea of the changes:

Meal 1: my favourite pancakes PLUS 1 serve of fruit

Meal 2: TWO protein bars

Meal 3: 100g meat + vegetables PLUS 1 serve of carbohydrates e.g. ½ cup cooked rice, ½ cup cooked quinoa

Meal 4: TWO protein bars

Meal 5: unchanged

Meal 6: unchanged

I want to share this information with you because I want to bring awareness to ‘normal’ eating. Unfortunately our society has created the illusion that ‘less is more’, ‘quicker is better’, and ‘skinny is attractive’. I do not, in any way, want to encourage people to starve themselves or promote eating disorders. I’m trying to fight this and want to educate you that eating the way that I am now is not sustainable. It will result in reduced metabolism, weight plateau, fatigue, unhealthy attitude towards food, and unhappiness with body image. Please, please, please take on board what I’m telling you and don’t use it to manipulate your diet and lifestyle for the worse. I want to fight society’s unhealthy attitude towards food and weight. 🙂

On another note, here’s a new delicious recipe!!

Gourmet Mediterranean Vegetable Protein Pizza

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Ingredients:

Serves 2

Base:

½ cup almond meal

½ -3/4 cup oat flour

1 egg – beaten

1 garlic clove – crushed

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley and/or basil

½ tablespoon lemon juice

½ tablespoon coconut oil (melted if hard)

Good pinch of salt

Topping:

Capsicum

Zucchini

Mushroom

Olives

Feta

Pine nuts

Fresh basil

 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

2. Mix ingredients for the base

3. Cover a pizza tray with baking paper and spread base out evenly

4. Bake for 10 minutes

5. Chop up zucchini and capsicum, and cook for 5-10 minutes

6. Once the base is complete, layer with toppings and bake for another 5 minutes

7. Relish with joy ❤

 

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Learn constantly, Love your body, Lift yourself higher x

 

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Metabolic Rage

25 Mar

Hi Lifters!

This week I learnt that my metabolism has significantly slowed down L. Talking to my doctor (who actually knows about this stuff, unlike many) she was shocked at my currently daily caloric intake and suggested that by continuing this over a long period of time it has resulted in my metabolism adapting and subsequently slowing.

Your metabolism refers to the chemical processes that occur within your body enabling regular everyday actions to occur, such as bowel movement, muscle repair, and temperature regulation. This also includes rate of fuel breakdown to provide the body with energy, also known as Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Basically, this determines how many calories/kilojoules our bodies should be consuming each day. If a person has a high BMR, calories/fuel stores (e.g. fat) will be burned up faster.  BMR is influenced by several factors, some of which we can modify to increase (or decrease) the BMR.

Non-modifiable factors:

  •          Age: BMR slows down with increased age
  •          Gender: males have higher BMR than females
  •          Genetic predisposition
  •          Infection/illness: increases BMR
  •          Environment temperature: extremes of temperature (really hot and really cold) increase BMR

Modifiable factors:

  •          Lean muscle mass: increases BMR
  •          Body fat percentage: fat cells slow BMR
  •          Drugs (e.g. caffeine, nicotine)
  •          Diet
  •          Physical activity

Here is a really basic guide as to the recommended caloric intake to maintain a healthy weight range. Please keep in mind that this is only to give you an idea, and the recommended intake varies depending on all of the factors mentioned above. To accurately calculate individual energy intake you should consult with a dietitian.

Calories
It makes sense that to lose weight you should eat less than the maintenance energy requirement; and similarly if you wish to gain weight you should eat more. However, when aiming to lose weight and going to the extreme for a prolonged period of time will cause the metabolism to slow down. The body is smart – it wants to keep you alive. If you’re not providing your body with enough fuel, it will slow the chemical processes down so that you aren’t burning your energy stores too quickly. I have been eating between 1,200-1,500 calories for about 2 years now and hadn’t thought about how it could be affecting my metabolism. It has causes my weight to plateau, I get tired easily, and my body has stopped responding to different exercises. I want to make you aware that this can happen so hopefully it doesn’t happen to you. As I’m young, it should be easy to speed my metabolism back up by making slow modifications to my diet. I’ll be seeing a dietitian in several weeks and will let you know how it goes :). I’m annoyed that I’ve done this to my body, but I’m glad I’ve found out now and can make the necessary changes to get back on track. If sufficient damage is made to metabolism it becomes more difficult to repair, resulting in a permanent low BMR.

Zucchini and Walnut Protein Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

 

 

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This tastes way better than it sounds haha it’s a beautiful dense cake perfect with a cup of tea. Plus it gets in a cheeky serve of vegies 😉

Ingredients:

Cake

½ cup oat flour

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

20 serves stevia

25g pea protein

25g whey protein

123g zucchini – grated

3/4 cup fat free Greek yoghurt

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

38g walnuts – chopped

Frosting

125g light Philadelphia cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 serves Stevia

 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees

2. Combine dry ingredients (except walnuts)

3. Add in zucchini and yoghurt

4. Whisk eggs with vanilla essence, then add to mixture

5. Taste mixture and add cinnamon/nutmeg/sweetener to taste

6. Fold in walnuts

7. Line cake tin with baking paper (this won’t rise much, so keep this in mind when choosing a tin)

8. Pour in mixture and bake for ~30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean

9. Whisk together ingredients for frosting and, once cake is cooled, layer on top

 

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Learn constantly, Love your body, Lift yourself higher x

 
References:
http://www.health.gov.au/internet/healthyactive/publishing.nsf/Content/healthy-eating-calculator
http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/publications/n6

Eating Through a Straw

6 Jul

I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed a week ago, so this second week of holidays has not been ideal. Most of my meals have been mush and, most frustrating of all, I haven’t been allowed to exercise. On the plus side, I was pedantic about ice application, so my swelling was minimal and I didn’t have any bruising :).

Motivation: Ana Delia De Itturondo

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In an effort to maintain my high protein, low carb diet, I came up with a few yummy smoothies. It seems that many people turn to smoothies when wanting to go on a ‘health kick’. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve found that liquid food is never as filling. If you look at the recipes below the macros are higher than my usual recipes, and yet they never kept me satisfied for very long (I’ve been snacking on sugar-free jelly to get me by – highly recommend for cravings!!!!).

Let me explain the importance of chewing (mastication) to you. Chewing is a primary component of the first stage (ingestion) of food digestion. It triggers various physiological components that are essential to good digestion and the feeling of satiety.

1) Mechanically breaks down food (duh) which increases the surface area of the food and enables easier absorption later on

2) Saliva contains an enzyme called salivary amylase (or ptyalin) which starts the  breakdown of starch and carbohydrates

3) Glands near the tongue secrete an enzyme called lingual lipase and is involved in fat digestion

4) Chewing relaxes your stomach. There is a muscle called the pylorus at the base of the stomach leading into the small intestine. The mechanism of chewing helps relax this muscle, enabling the contents of the stomach to easily enter the small intestine

5) Helps taste the food. This might seem silly, but taste is actually an important part of triggering the rest of the digestive system to produce certain substances to optimise digestion. This is called the cephalic stage of digestion. Here’s a good little animation if you’re interested: http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072507470/student_view0/chapter24/animation__three_phases_of_gastric_secretion.html

So basically what I’m saying is that I prefer to chew my food haha.

 

Breakfast Booster

This contains super foods such as goji berries, psyllium, flaxseed and blueberries. It is high in antioxidants, fibre, good fats… and is delicious!

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Serves 1-2

¼ cup reduced fat cottage cheese

1/3 cup oats

1/3 cup frozen blueberries

1 tsp goji berries

1 tsp flaxseed oil

1& ¼ cup water

¼ tsp psyllium

4 serves Stevia

1 scoop vanilla whey

4-5 ice cubes

Blend!!!

 

Nutritional info: for whole recipe

Calories: 345

Total fat: 8g (1.8g sat)

Total carbs: 33.5g

Sugar: 7.2g

Protein: 35.8g

 

Coco-Berry Smoothie

Tastes like a chocolate smoothie!! I recommend adding natural almond butter, I think it would taste even better!!

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Serves 1-2

½ banana

½ cup silken tofu

3 strawberries

2 tbsp cocoa

4 serves Stevia

1& ¼ cup water

4-5 ice cubes

½ scoop vanilla/choc whey

Handful spinach

Blend!

 

Nutritional info: for whole recipe

Calories: 415

Total fat: 14.4g (7.3g sat)

Total carbs: 29.1g 

Sugar: 11.3g

Protein: 39.5g

 

Starting back at uni next week – holidays never seem to be long enough!! I’ll be able to get stuck into my training again; I’m going to start Ashley Conrad’s program from the start and this time there won’t be any surgery disrupting it. Hope everyone is well and keeping on track!! Please don’t hesitate to message/email me, I love hearing from you all and finding out where your are in your fitness/healthy lifestyle journey 🙂 x

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To Supplement or Not To Supplement

26 Oct

When I first started getting into fitness I was all about getting as many supplements as I could because it was all so exciting and I felt really professional. I was hooked on pre-workouts – first JACK3D, (which is no longer available in Australia..), then Phenadrine (which is also no longer sold here)… they made me feel jittery, anxious, and JACK3D gave me pins and needles in my hands. But they felt good whilst I was exercising, which is all I cared about.

I stopped taking pre-workouts at the start of this year, when I was clinically diagnosed with depression-anxiety. I don’t know if these supplements caused it but I think they may have had some contribution. Nowadays if I feel like I  need an extra boost before heading to the gym I’ll have a coffee, green tea, or an apple, and I don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals that I’m putting into my body, or the affect that it’s having on my mental health.

 

 

 

However, I do take other supplements. Here’s my daily supplement menu:

Morning:

1 women’s multivitamin

1 tsp flaxseed oil (on my pancakes)

1 ferritin (iron) + vitamin C

1 fish oil

1 magnesium

During Workout:

1 tsp ON Micronized Creatine Powder

1 scoop Scivation Xtend BCAA

Post Workout:

1 scoop ON Gold Standard 100% Whey Powder

 

I’m a big believer in getting your vitamins and nutrients naturally, through food sources, however those that are involved in body building and fitness may require those extra vitamins in order to keep up with their body’s demands.

There are so many crazy scientific-sounding supplements available, so I thought I’d break some of them down and explain why you should, or should not, take them.

 

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) – leucine, isoleucine, valine

These are compounds that are essential to the human body – in other words we do not produce them in our body and therefore they need to be ingested. Intake (especially leucine) increases protein synthesis (muscle growth) and may even decrease protein catabolism (muscle breakdown) as your body uses the BCAAs for energy rather than breaking down muscle.

Any loss of amino acids is detrimental if it could have been used to maintain or increase skeletal muscle mass

Natural sources: meat

Alanine

Unlike the BCAAs, beta alanine is a non-essential amino acid (i.e. your body makes it). Studies have found that intake before or during prolonged exercise conserved carbohydrates energy stores and enhanced protein synthesis.

Deficiency in any amino acids (essential or non-essential) will cause the body to break down body proteins = breakdown muscle

Natural sources: beef, lamb, milk products, corn meal, peas, potatoes

Glutamine

Another non-essential amino acid, glutamine has many roles in the body. The most significant to bodybuilding/exercise is that it stimulates protein synthesis and regulates muscle protein levels.

Decreasing intramuscular glutamine concentrations has been shown to increase muscle catabolism (breakdown)

Natural sources (from highest content to lowest): chicken breast, pork chops, beef T-bone, wheat germ, tuna, salmon, turkey breast

Creatine

Creatine is natural stored primarily in muscle and every individual has some level of creatine. Depending on their level, creatine supplementation could give varied benefit… there is such thing as a creatine non-responder!!  But hundreds of studies that that maximising creatine stores can improve exercise and training adaptation. If you cease taking creatine, it takes 4-6 weeks to return to normal levels. Once maximum is reached, only 3-5g per day is required for maintenance.

Studies have found that ingestion of creatine with carbohydrate helps maximise creatine stores

Natural sources: salmon, herring, raw beef, pork, tuna, cod

Glucosamine

Produced naturally in the body, glucosamine is generally used in the treatment of osteoarthritis as it a component of cartilage and is believe to have some anti-inflammatory effects. Many athletes take supplemental glucosamine regularly to protect joints and ligaments from damage. There is no actual evidence that this helps for sports injuries.

There is widespread use among athletes even though there is no evidence for efficacy

Natural sources: none

Omega-3 – eicosapentanoic acid (EPA), docosahexanoic acid (DHA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)

ALA must be converted to either EPA or DHA to be used by the body. Fish oils contain high levels of EPA and DHA, whilst flaxseed oil contains ALA.  However, omega-3 has many other health benefits, such as reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, anti-inflammatory effects, treat depression etc.

Omega 3 is believed to have significant metabolic effects which would influence exercise capacity, but this has not yet been proven

Natural sources: fish (especially sardines, salmon, fresh tuna), eggs, lean red meat, turkey, linseed/flaxseed, walnuts

 

They are the only ones I’m going to cover today, but if you have any questions or would like me to look into a certain product/supplement just let me know!!

Hope this was helpful x

Physical Signs of Malnutrition

10 May

Sorry for the delay with this post – I’ve been crazy busy starting a new rotation at the hospital as well as having assessments due… and helping my boyfriend prepare his meals for the week, as well as my own separately, took longer than I’d anticipated! He loves it though, he says it’s so much easier throughout the week now! Hate to say I told him so 🙂

Ok so I’ve decided that this week I’m just going to cover the signs of malnutrition – I originally wanted to cover sources of vitamins, recommended daily levels of vitamin intake, supplements etc, but that will be way too much to squeeze into one post! I’ll try to cover a part of nutrition each week; if anyone wants anything covered in particular please feel free to let me know!

Nutritional assessment includes finding out about dietary intake, however in this post I will be focusing on physical findings. Often malnutrition can just cause people to feel rundown, inappropriately tired, and to be certain of malnutrition it is best to get blood tests done. However here are some signs that may be seen when certain deficiencies are present:

 

Vitamin A (retinoids)

– Loss of vision, especially at night

 

Vitamin B1 (thiamine)

– Constipation

– Decreased appetite

– Nausea

– Mental depression

– Pins and needles/numbness in fingers or toes

– Fatigue

– Muscle loss (more severe stage)

 

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

– Cracked, red lips

– Inflammation of mouth and tongue (hot, painful, swollen)

– Mouth ulcers

– Cracks at the corners of the mouth

– Sore throat

– Dry, scaly skin

– Anaemia  (often presents with general fatigue, shortness of breath on little physical exertion, pale gums/nail beds, oncholysis/finger nails come away from the nail bed (see image)) – symptoms vary depending on severityImage

– Bloodshot, itchy, watery eyes that are sensitive to light

 

Vitamin B3 (niacin)

Lack of vitamin B3 causes pallegra which is characterised by the ‘4 Ds’:

– Diarrhoea

– Dermatitis (red, itchy, irritated skin)

– Dementia

– Death (in severe cases!)

 

Vitamin B4 (biotin) – RARE

– Rashes

– Fine, brittle hair

– Hair loss or total baldness

– Anaemia (see above)

– Tiredness

– Decreased appetite

– Inappropriate muscle pains

– Pins and needles

 

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) – RARE

– Fatigue

– Pins and needles/numbness

– Hypoglycaemia: restlessness, sleep disturbances, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps

 

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

– Nausea and vomiting

– Mental depression

– Confusion

– Mouth ulcers/cuts

– Pins and needles/numbness in fingers or toes

– Weakened muscles

– Anaemia (see above)

– Rough/red/greasy skin (aka seborrhoeic dermatitis)

 

Vitamin B9 (folate/folic acid)

– Fatigue

– Mouth ulcers

– Swollen tongue (may have ‘smooth’ appearance, aka glossitis (see image))Image

 

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)

– Anaemia

– Pins and needles/numbness in fingers or toes

– Diarrhoea or gut pain

– Reduced reflexes

– Brittle hair

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

Deficiency of vitamin C causes scurvy:

– Small bruising (may appear like little pinpricks over the body, aka petechiae (see image))

– Bleeding gums

– Reopening of scar tissue

– Sore joints/bones

– Mental deterioration

– Increased infectionsImage

 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D can be obtained from UV sunlight

– Osteoporosis: increased risk of fractures, muscle weakness, back/neck pain, bone pain/tenderness

– Premature ageing

– Decreased immune function (more infections – hence why people tend to get more sick during winter)

 

Vitamin E – RARE

– Reduced reflexes

– Pins and needles/numbness

– Confusions

– Difficulty with speech

– Anaemia (see above)

– Decreased immune function

 

Vitamin K – RARE

– Generalised bleeding

 

Calcium

– Osteoporosis (see above)

 

Phosphorus

– Weak bones/teeth

– Joint pain/stiffness

– Less energy

– Decreased appetite

 

Magnesium

– Weakness

– Confusion

– Convulsion

– Abnormal eye movements

– Decreased appetite

– Nausea and vomiting

 

Sodium

– Nausea and vomiting

– Confusion

– Tiredness

– Decreased appetite

– Restlessness and irritability

– Muscle weakness and muscle spasms/cramps

– Decreased consciousness/coma (more severe)

 

Potassium

– Muscular weakness

– Muscle cramps

 

Chloride – RARE

– Muscular weakness

– Tiredness

– Abnormal shortness of breath on physical exertion

 

Zinc

– Impaired growth

– Decreased immune function

– Loss of taste

– Abnormal behaviour

 

Iron

Iron deficiency is very common in females!

– Anaemia (see above)

– Impaired learning capacity

– Muscle weakness

– Fatigue

– Reduced physical activity and lower work productivity

– Decreased immune function

 

Iodine

– Lump in the neck (aka goitre (see image))Image

– Impaired intellectual function

– Hypothyroidism: abnormal weight gain, decreased physical activity, sensitivity to the cold temperature, fatigue

 

OK! Sorry about the long boring list, but I wasn’t sure of the best way to set this information out.

PLEASE keep in mind that this is a very basic list and many symptoms are extremely vague – everything in medicine is subjective!! To get an accurate knowledge of your nutritional status it is essential to get a blood test done and I strongly advise doing this if you are feeling generally unwell and run down, especially if it is for an unusually long amount of time and if you believe your diet might not quite be providing you with enough vitamins and minerals.

In other posts I will explain what the best sources of specific vitamins and minerals are, as well as supplementation etc.

PS we are told that our fingernails give indication as to our nutritional status and in SOME cases this is true – however nails can show signs of anything, from heart infection to the normal ageing process. The main sign that can be relied upon if seen in the fingernails is the oncholysis (which I mention above, and is a sign of anaemia).

I hope you found this a bit interesting and helpful – if you have any tips or topics that you would like me to cover I would love to hear from you!! blhat1@student.monash.edu, or leave a comment 🙂