I know a lot of you have questions when it comes to nutrition. So I had a chat to my friend and nutritionist Christie Fischer to ask a few common questions.
I’m eating healthy and not seeing results – Help!
Whenever I hear this my ears alert me to the word healthy – the meaning of which is something completely different for everyone, and their meaning of the word may not actually be what their body needs for optimum health. So I always dig deeper and ask What do you typically eat for breakfast?, And lunch? Dinner? Snacks? And drinks? Only then I get a picture of what might be going on for them.
To generalise, I see many females that struggle to lose weight despite eating healthy and exercising everyday. And 9 out of 10 individuals have no idea that stress is ridiculously high in their life, and this is what is affecting their weight loss. Be it physical stress (such as running too far, too long, everyday, eating terrible foods or drinking too much coffee and alcohol), emotional stress (a relationship breakup or family feud), mental stress (from too much work to do, or juggling too much in all areas of your life) or all of them put together.
Are carbs bad for me?
No carbohydrates are not bad for anyone.
There are times when certain individuals may need to minimise or eliminate particular carbohydrate sources for their gut health, weight loss, when following certain diets and so on. It pays to also mention that in the field of Nutrition, to every Yes there is a No and there is often just as much research on both sides to debate either which way. This is exactly why I teach my clients ways to find out for themselves, along with my support, knowledge and guidance, whether or not certain foods suit their body type.
In a nutshell, if you’re wanting to lose fat (because weight loss can happen after a pit stop to the toilet), then minimising your carbohydrate intake, more often than not, will yield the results you are after.
One reason for this ties in with the chronic stress and obesity in our society. Hear me out on this – our body uses glucose as fuel first when we are stressed. Meaning, if we are chronically stressed long term from our crappy boss, our dysfunctional relationship, not knowing how we will pay the rent, and so onâ€¦ all our body uses as fuel is glucose (carbohydrate). And all we crave when we are stressed is carbohydrates in one form or another, and so we keep eating them (some carbohydrates also release messengers to our brain that make us feel good – vicious cycle). Then all those excess carbs we’ve been eating to deal with our stress and unhappiness are stored as fat because we can’t burn them off as quickly as we are consuming them. And when we are using carbohydrates as fuel, guess what we are not using? FAT.
My advice – fill your plate with more vegetables and lean protein sources, good quality fats and colourful foods first.
And if you are addicted to sugars or insulin resistant, then I highly recommend eliminating all processed sugars, grains and grain-containing foods (for at least a month) and stick to getting your carbohydrates from sweet potato, pumpkin, small amount of white potato, yams, and small amounts of fruit.
AM eating vs PM eating? (in relation to carbs)
Again there are two schools of thought to this, but when directing this at those for fat loss, I recommend that grains be eaten only at breakfast and perhaps lunch if need be (if that). Again as above, there are far more nutritious foods we can fill our plate with than grains.
If you are to eat grains at lunch or dinner, play around with the concept of food combining. Most people with impaired gut health, digestion issues or bloating, find that following food combining rules does wonders for their gut. Other people notice no difference. The biggie to experiment with is grains should not be eaten with proteins. So if you’re having pasta or rice, have it with plenty of vegetables. If you’re having steak or seafood, again with plenty of vegetables. The usual Aussie dinner options of pasta + beef bolognese or pizza base + salami, or rice + chicken curry obviously are not good options if you want to try food combining.
Regardless, aim to tuck into brekkie after your morning workout, and eat dinner no later than 2 hrs before you jump into bed for optimal digestion and restful sleep.
Most common mistakes people make with nutrition
Assuming that anything labelled gluten-free must be healthy. This is so far from the truth. Firstly because anything with a label is generally not so great for our health one way or another, and secondly because most gluten free products have been loaded with more crap than the gluten itself to make up for it.
If you do need to eat gluten free, stick to eating more vegetables and whole versions of the grains you can tolerate, and only grab a packaged snack when you can’t find anything else. If gluten is not a problem for you, generally sticking to the â€˜regular’ versions are better. Sourdough bread is one great example. White bread is not.
Why is protein so important?
Proteins are the building blocks of our entire body. When eaten, the protein in our food gets broken down into amino acids, and these are actually the building blocks that then get re-built into protein for our body and muscles. Without protein we cannot think straight, perform well, grow or maintain lean muscle mass which is essential for fat loss and our structural abilities at all stages of life.
You’ve likely seen two types of elderly folk – those who are still walking and doing some form of physical activity (yoga, gardening, gym sessions, aqua aerobics), and those who are hunched over and struggle to even walk. Can you guess which group supplies protein to their body and ensures they maintain their lean muscle mass?
For more information on the different protein powders, check out Christie’s blog post here.
What are some healthy dinner ideas?
- Crispy skin salmon steak with a green salad
- Sashimi, miso soup and edamame (a great option on the way home from work)
- Cauliflower-base pizza with grilled antipasto vegetables, proscuitto and mozzarella
- Beef tacos in cos lettuce wraps
- Bone broth / Clear soup / Thick veggie soup
- Zucchini pasta with beef bolognese
- Slow cooked lamb with roast vegetables
- Mexican Bowl (think Nachos but add everything to a bowl, and add a few corn chips at the end, instead of it being an entire plate of chips)
- BBQ; meats, seafood, sliced sweet potato, corn, grilled zucchini, capsicum, tomato, mushrooms, onions, etc served with fresh salads
- Warm quinoa with chopped vegetables and grilled haloumi
- Cold quinoa salad with olives, tomato, tuna, green beans
- Pulled pork burritos in Mountain Bread wraps or lettuce cups
No.1 tip for eating a healthy diet
If I can only pick one, it would be to eat whole foods. Ditch all packaged processed foods, and eat only whole foods (that is vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, meats, seafood, eggs, sprouts, oils, etc). Your health, waistline, happiness, productivity, focus, and appetite will all be the best ever!
If you would like the help of a nutritionist, please feel free to contact Christie: