March 7, 2011 § 7 Comments
Months and months and MONTHS ago I said that I would start a superfoods section at the Strawberry Patch. Whatever happened to that?! Recently I used this idea and wrote a post for the blog that is connected to a magazine that I am writing for. You can see the online article here, but I’ve also copied it below. Who has the sudden urge for dark leafy greens?!
Reach Your Training Potential With Superfoods
Have you heard the term ‘superfood’ being thrown around the gym, the supermarket and in the magazines but you’re still unsure about what they are and what it means for your training? Don’t worry you’re not alone!
Last week the VoulezVousMag blog set you the challenge of fourteen-days sugar free. Now that we know what NOT to eat, this week we’ll discover what we NEED to eat for the health of our organs, bones, muscles and immune systems.
Superfood is a term that was originally used by the Japanese back in the 1980s to describe food that was dense in nutrients. These days, the word ‘superfood’ encapsulates any food that is dense in vital nutrients that the body needs to thrive.
Superfoods are packed with protein, that magic food group that helps keep us away from sugary snacks, and satisfy our daily vitamin and mineral requirements. What this means is that by eating superfoods you are fuelling your body with proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, phytonutrients, good fats and oils, amino acids and essential fatty acids. You’ll never have to reach for that multivitamin tablet again!
When our bodies are fed with demineralised food, i.e. food that has been grown in poor-mineral soil, or food that is highly processed, high in sugar or low in antioxidants and natural cell repairing fats and oils, we begin to show these deficiencies physically, first through our breath, then through our skin, hair and nails, and finally the internal systems of the body will begin to breakdown.
But how can superfoods help your training? When you follow an intense training program your body becomes affected physically and emotionally. So when you’re back at the gym doing it all again, your body is still trying to play catch up for cell growth and restoration. By fuelling your body with superfoods you are giving it the nutrients and minerals it needs to recover as quickly as possible.
And most importantly, superfoods are low in calories and high in nutrients, which means even small quantities will help to detoxify the body, achieve your ideal weight and provide you with the much needed energy and stamina to reach your training goals!
Superfoods For Your Shopping List
America’s South: Harris Teeter carries a small range of health food but for a one-stop shop, head to EarthFare and don’t forget to check out the bulk buy section for great prices on all your nuts and seeds.
Australia: Woolworths stocks the Macro range now, but if you’re in Bondi Junction go to The Suv for the BEST value organic market.
- Raw unsweetened cacao: High in sulfur and magnesium, cacao beans reduce appetite and strengthen nails and bones. Use this superfood to help curb those chocolate cravings and stay true to your ‘no sugar’ pledge.
- Maca: Known as the Incan superfood, Maca root is packed with vitamins, minerals, proteins and tannins. Sprinkle it on your yoghurt or mix it into a smoothie.
- Goji berries: Also known as the wolf berry, goji berries are high in Vitamin C and contain amino acids, essential fatty acids and 12 trace minerals. Just remember that these babies are reasonably high in sugar, so consume in moderation.
- Chia seeds: An ancient food used by the Aztecs, which contain protein, calcium, vitamns and minerals. Sprinkle a tablespoon of chia seeds over your soups, salads and yoghurts, or into a bottle of water to keep you feeling fuller for longer (Miranda Kerr does!) link – http://www.koraorganics.com/
- Brazil nuts: The only nut with a “complete” protein content. Limit your serve to 3 Brazil nuts per day as they are high in fat.
- Broccoli: Possibly the most powerful weapon in the dietary arsenal against cancer. Broccoli boosts the immune system, lowers the incidence of cataracts, supports cardiovascular health, builds bones and fights birth defects. If that’s not enough, a cup of broccoli only has 30 calories, so get steaming!
November 17, 2010 § 3 Comments
A Mission Australia survey released today showed an increase of young Australians not been able to cope with stress. This is a worry in people so young (she says like a wise old grandmother) and is exactly why I’m trying to channel my energies into the things that make me calm and happy. Here is Part Three of the stress-busters series, I hope you enjoy!
BR is often my go-to-girl for suggestions of calm. She was the one who encouraged me to listen to The Quiet by Paul Wilson, a simple condensed guide to various meditation and relaxation techniques. I take my ipod down to the beach and listen to his soothing voice, sitting on the rocks, feeling peaceful…like Yoda:
“You know how to find peace and quiet when you’re on the mountaintop, in the forest, on the secluded beach, at the retreat centre, or in the ancient temple.
But how do you find it in the thick of a noisy, non-stop modern world?
How do you find it when you’re battling to make a living, raise the children and dealwith illness? How do you summon it for those moments when you’re furthest away, when you need it the most?”
BR is also the one who introduced me to The Suveran in Bondi (Boondi Boondi) Junction for my last birthday.
Way more than a cafe, The Suv – as it is affectionately known – is all about serving humanity. All the food is: Sugar free, Dairy free, Flour free, Gluten free, Wheat free, Yeast free, Grain free, Soy free, Egg free, Legume free, Tap Water, & Nightshade free!
This, ahem, ‘free’ policy often raises the eyebrows of people when I first tell them….So what’s in it? They ask.
In a word the answer is HEALTH. Yup!
The Suv only use neutral or alkaline forming foods, for example sprouted seeds (millet, chia, buckwheat), lots of veggies and salads. I love their buckwheat bread but you can check out the full menu here. They’re also not-for-profit, so its healthy for the community and super healthy on your wallet. It’s a ‘living’ cafe.
They’re cracking open drinking coconuts, stirring big batches of organic chicken and vegetable stew ($6) and folding salad into crepes made from millet.
And then there is Pete. Pete is calm epitomised. He has the memory of an elephant and a keen knowledge of current
affairs and investigative journalists (sadly greater than both BR or myself, despite studying in the field!). When I went in last week at the height of my I-want-to-scream-at-the-world phase Pete gave me a hug, coconut in one hand, cleaver in the other, and said:
‘Jenn you’re living in it, just live out of it‘ – simple as that.
Pete making chocolate
So if you’re feeling a bit stressed and are about to hit up the cupboard for a block of chocolate I would recommend instead heading to The Suv. Here you can perch on the wooden benches and watch Pete make real ‘chocolate’, amazing brownie like morsels of the divine ($1.50). They’re made with organic cocoa, organic cocoa butter, coconut meat, and flavoured with anything from peppermint essence to licorice extract to wattle seeds to goji berries to spirulina to cashew nut…And of course they’re Sugar free, Dairy free, Flour free, Gluten free, Wheat free, Yeast free, Grain free, Soy free, Egg free, Legume free, Tap Water, & Nightshade free!
Syrian Blueberries – these are what a rainbow would taste like!
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? If so then I’ll meet you in The Suv, completely footloose and fancy free! (Thanks BR xxx).
244 Oxford St, Bondi Junction
August 29, 2010 § 4 Comments
One of my friends, another personal trainer, has been asked to be the face/body for a new underwear campaign that is launching soon here in Oz. He has 4 weeks to get “massive” “ripped” “insert other man-fit term here“. For DF, the way to do this is to enter a no carb zone (no carbs/alcohol/sugars etc) so I thought I would create a new category for low-carb eaters and maybe help him along the way.
The important thing to remember on a low carb diet is that your energy levels can seriously drop if you don’t get smart about what you eat. I would not recommend going totally OTT carbless (i.e. no fruit, no tomatoes, no carrots etc – basically you only eat green vegetables and animal/fleshy protein – not even eggs). Sure you’ll drop the weight but you’ll also lower your immune system and become deficient in so many vital vitamins and minerals…and then put the wight back on when you realise it’s not sustainable.
It’s also wise to consider that a low-carb diet may not be for you. Another friend, also another PT, did the whole no-carb high-protein thing and she actually gained weight, not to mention she didn’t have the energy to really get into her cardio workouts.
If you’re an athlete, do cardio, have an active lifestyle, are a normal human being…YOU NEED CARBS TO KEEP GOING.
If you’re a bodybuilder I presume you know what you’re doing with muscle mass and protein.
So the category will just be some ideas that are lighter on the carb side, which is great for some of your daily meals, and for those that include carbs remember to eat wholegrain, unprocessed carbs and sure, watch your fruit intake but 1-2 pieces a day…well you know what they say about the doctor!
I’m also going to start a SuperFoods section as I’m sitting here with my coconut milk berry smoothie with Vital Greens powder and chia seeds feeling very healthy and happy and it will just be nice to have a category that we can click and feel quietly pleased with ourselves for eating so well! What can you expect to see?
- chia seeds
- coconut water
- Quinoa…and more.
July 26, 2010 § Leave a comment
Wow, did everyone watch the Masterchef final last night?! Talk about pressure cooking, and here I was worried about coordinating my dumplings with the fried rice!
Ok, it’s Monday and I’m feeling back on track, three days until holiday time. Now let’s be honest, even if I was as good as gold for the next three days I’m not going to achieve a Jennifer Hawkins’ body in that time (I’m BLUSHING with flashbacks from the weekend binge!)
BUT! What’s important is that Blushing Strawberries is now setting the dietary foundations that will have us hot to trot by the time spring rolls in.
A morning walk to Bronte and a fresh vegetable juice. Bliss.
I still have an issue with the word ‘detox’ and I don’t want to use it here. Detoxification suggests participation in an extreme diet for a set period of time to quickly shed some kilos and ‘rest’ your digestive system. A few thoughts.
- Firstly, while you will lose fat you will also lose muscle that you have worked hard to develop. Once back to normal eating patterns the fat will return but you” be back to square one with your workout.
- Secondly, by ‘resting’ your digestive system, (juice or lemon water detox) for days at a time, the body goes into starvation mode and will then store extra carbohydrates and fats when your diet returns to normal in fear that the supply will again run out.
- Finally, you can expect to be constipates and suffer an enormous dip in energy – how are you going to hit those stairs and weights with no fuel in the tank?!
Our bodies need a combination of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats and LOTS of vegetables to function and be nutritionally sound, and the amount of each will depend on your goals and your body type. If weight loss is the aim then you will need to be more restrictive for a time, but once you lose the weight and if you can continue a healthy lifestyle then don’t feel bad about the odd treat, like a glass of wine a couple of nights a week or a square of chocolate after dinner. If fat-loss isn’t the issue and you’re just looking to maintain weight but boost your health and nutrition then you don’t need to go hardcore on elimination.
You know I love my food but nearly everything I cook is from scratch and is bursting with the goods. And sure, I then like to head out to dinner on the weekends and enjoy a more decadent dinner or brunch. This aint bootcamp, it’s real life, and I’m going to show you how to make it healthy, fulfilling and most importantly – delicious.
So to detox I say pfft! This is Blushing Strawberries eating Food for Life.
Coconut porridge at Bronte Lounge
Let’s start with the basics, I’m not working on elimination but restriction. Portion size will be the key for many people wishing to achieve weight loss (Michelle Bridges agrees) – even if you are a super healthy eater, three serves of dinner is going to add up.
- Limit caffeine to weekends
- Swap sugar for naturally sweet alternatives where possible – such as cinnamon instead of brown sugar on porridge, or organic cacao instead of milk chocolate.
- Eliminate artificial sweeteners all together – diet drinks are simply chemicals, enjoy a small amount of the real thing if you need any at all
- Limited – zero processed foods
- Limit dairy and enjoy the wonders of coconut milk. I’m still not wholly sold on soy milk as most brands have a lot more additives and chemicals than regular milk (besides, I love cow’s milk so it’s here to stay.)
- Enjoy a range of lean meat during the week – chicken, lean pork, lots of fish and seafood, small quantities of red meat (kangaroo is the healthiest choice) and have meat free nights.
- Limit desserts to a couple of nights a week – or just the weekend
- Drink LOTS of water 2-3 litres per day
- Your plate should be 3/4 vegetables 1/4 lean protein. Of the vegetables make 1/2 the plate ‘light’ i.e. greens, tomatoes, squash, carrots etc (go wild with these vegetables, the calorie content is so tiny) and 1/4 plate ‘heavy’ such as your starchy potatoes, pumpkin, corn…- or substitute the starchy veg for complex carbohydrates (brown rice, quinoa, wholemeal pasta etc).
- DON’T snack while cooking,
- Ask yourself if you really need seconds before going back
- DON’T eat your leftovers (keep them for the next days lunch and save money)
- DON’T make your kids finish their meals when they’re full – it’s teaching bad habits.
- Always eat sitting down – enjoy your food!
You only get out what you put in.
If you’re out to lose weight then the simple ratio of energy consumed versus energy expended is the best way to go. If you’re looking to maintain weight or gain weight, consider the same philosophy and make it work for you. Basically there are 4.2 kilojoules in one calorie, but if you get confused check out this site for a little more explanation!
Protein – a vital part to the health of our hormone and immune system as well as for the repair and growth of every tissue in your body. Complete sources of protein are animal based – meats, eggs, fish and dairy foods, which means they have all the essential amino acids your body needs, and incomplete sources of protein are vegetable based – legumes, nuts, seeds and wholegrains. If you are a vegetarian then be sure to include a wide range of protein sources to avoid amino acid deficiency. Protein rich foods are also filling and great for a satisfying meal after a workout. I don’t think it’s necessary to completely cut out carbs at dinner but choose extra protein, fewer carbs and of course – lot’s of vegetables.
Most people need 1-2 grams per day for each kilogram of their weight*
Pesto and fetta scrambled eggs on quinoa and soy bread
Carbohydrates – The Hollywood actress’s enemy, but needlessly so. Carbohydrates (found as starch in grains, legumes, vegetables, and as sugars in fruit and milk) are an important source of fibre, phytochemicals, minerals, vitamins and of course energy. Carbs break down as glucose, the body’s preferred fuel, so when we use this fuel we have to refill the tank. You might notice when your carbohydrate stores are low that you feel lethargic, tired and find it hard to focus. So to keep your energy levels up you need to keep eating the RIGHT MIX of carbohydrates throughout the day- wholegrains and cereals; starchy vegetables; fruit and legumes; milk and yoghurt. Avoid processed carbs like white bread, white rice, cakes etc.
Intake will depend on your level of activity: A person who participates in light-moderate exercise will need about 150-250grams of carbohydrate per day. Very active people may need in excess of 350-400 grams per day.
Fats – Obviously if you predominantly choose foods high in fat then you will gain weight – fat provides double the energy of either carbohydrate or protein. But completely eliminating fat from your diet will have an equally adverse effect on your health. It is recommended that roughly 30% of your total energy intake comes from fat*, which is between 50-60 grams for a less active person to 80-100 grams for more active people. What’s most important is the type of fat that you eat.
- Omega 3 fatty acids (essential fatty acids) – found in oily fish, linseeds, walnuts and pecans.
- Also some Omega 6 fatty acids, which are found in nuts and seeds and oils (olive/sesame/macadamia/rice bran/avocado…)
- Saturated fatty acids – fat on meat and poultry, full cream milk and yoghurt, cream, cheese and butter, and in commercial cakes, biscuits and pastries
- Trans fatty acids – found naturally in the fat of dairy products but most dangerously included in the diet through processed foods.
Saying that, personal trainer and certified metabolic typing adviser, Liz Codrington**, has recently written an article that shows how the palaeolithic diet (our hunter-gatherer ancestors), which incorporates moderate amounts of saturated fats (from animal sources, not processed), is beneficial in reducing ailments such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and autoimmune diseases. While Codrington still strongly warns against the consumption of trans fatty acids and commercially processed foods (they create an ‘insulin spike’ before the inevitable plummet), she says that the healthy fats found in coconut oil, nuts, meat, eggs and cream actually help your body produce a hormone in the stomach and small intestine that signals that you’ve eaten enough.
The catch? These saturated fats must come from certifiably organic produce and grass-fed meat that are free of chemicals and pesticides. And of course not everyone can ingest the same amount.
Finally, YOUR diet and that of your partner/friend/flatmate/gym instructor are not meant to be identical. Metabolic typing has shown that each persons metabolism is unique and requires different diets and different quantities of fats/carbs/protein etc. Just because Jennifer Aniston cuts the carbs doesn’t mean you should too, consider seeing a nutritionist or a qualified metabolic typing adviser if you change your diet for the better but continue to feel lethargic and emotional and find the weight is hard to shift. Eating well should make us look great and, more importantly, it should make us feel great – emotionally, physically and mentally.
Welcome aboard the journey.
*Figures come from Purely Golden Door, Murdoch Books, 2005
**Liz Codrington can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org