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Would should I use instead of sugar?

There are times when you need to add some sweetness to a recipe. As a general rule it is better to use minimally or unprocessed natural sweeteners instead of artificial ones or standard table sugars.  However, it is not quite that simple. Some ‘natural’ sweeteners are heavily processed. You also still need to consider the amount used in a recipe and how this may impact you blood sugar. There is little point in swapping white sugar for a natural sugar if you end up using double the amount! Below gives you the lowdown on the various sweeteners on the market…

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How to spot hidden sugar in everyday foods

Added sugar is hidden nearly all processed food, which is one of the reasons why it is important to minimise it and cook from scratch, especially when trying to lose fat. I am devoting two more posts on this topic to provide some clear guidance on what to look out for when you head to the supermarket, and what to use as an alternative when you need a little sweetness!

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Have you said “bye bye” to sleeping through the night?

Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?

Do not fear, I have some great tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!

The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing

Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet we’re just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.

Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind. People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation. And don’t forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.

Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? (Gasp!)

What aspect of health does sleep not affect???

Knowing this, it’s easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:

  • To restore our body and mind. Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains while we sleep.
  • To improve our brain’s ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.
  • To conserve some energy so we’re not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.

Do you know how much sleep adults need? It’s less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it’s recommended that all adults get 7 – 9 hours a night. 

Try not to skimp!

Tips for better sleep

  • The biggest tip is definitely to try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule. Make it a priority and you’re more likely to achieve it. This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off. Seven. Days. A. Week. I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.
  • Balance your blood sugar throughout the day. You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fibre). Choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavoured snack). Make sure you’re getting some protein every time you eat.
  • During the day get some sunshine and exercise. These things tell your body it’s daytime; time for being productive, active and alert. By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.
  • Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12pm. Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it’s the “added” sugar we’re minimizing. Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte. Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be come evening. (HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).
  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 – 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off). This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.

So how many of these tips can you start implementing today?


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 Recipe (Caffeine-free latte for your afternoon “coffee break”): Caffeine-Free Chai Latte

Serves 1-2

  • 1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)
  • 2 dates (optional)

Cover the teabag and dates (if using) with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes.

Discard the tea bag & place tea, soaked dates, tahini & almond butter into a blender.

Blend until creamy.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which flavour combination you like the best. Cashew butter anyone?


Check Out Our Weight Loss Programmes

Our clients tell us that they feel more energised and confident, they sleep better and really enjoy their new way of eating. We help you to break your love-hate relationship with food and shift the pounds in an easy and healthy way. We’ll keep you motivated and moving forwards at all times.

Browse Programmes

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Protein: How Much Should I Eat?

Protein Confusion

There’s a lot of debate as to whether carbohydrates and fats should be increased or minimised for optimal health but one thing that remains fairly consistent across most modern diets, e.g. Mediterranean, low-fat, and low-carb, is the protein requirements.

Despite this, you will read conflicting information about the actual amount we should be consuming.

UK guidelines recommend that 15% of your calories should come from protein. This UK guideline also suggests calculating your individual requirement as follows:

your weight in kg x 0.75 = your daily requirement (1).

This means the ‘average’ 70kg woman would require just 52.5g protein daily. This 0.75 grams per kg body weight is the minimum required to avoid muscle loss. As with so many RDIs (recommended daily intake), the goal is to avoid disease rather than to achieve optimal health!

Amongst nutrition professionals this calculation is considered to indicate be the bare minimum required, rather than the optimal intake. Guidelines from Acceptable Macronutrient Depletion Range (AMDR) indicates that protein intake should be as much as double this.

Research that assessed the affects of protein intake on weight management, appetite suppression, healthy aging and athletic performance concluded that a protein intake of between 1.2-1.6g per kg of body weight is a far more suitable target intake (2).


Can you have too much protein?

A common misconception is that too much protein causes kidney damage. However, in healthy people a high protein intake has absolutely no negative impact on the kidneys. It’s true that a low protein diet is beneficial for those with kidney disease, however that doesn’t mean that a high protein diet causes kidney disease.

A higher protein intake seems to promote weight loss too. A review of the literature showed that a high protein intake (25-32% of daily calories as protein) led to weight loss and improved blood sugar regulation (3). A higher protein intake also regulates appetite and reduces leptin resistance.

It’s argued by many that too much protein will causes weight gain because any over-consumption of calories leads to weight gain. However, the ‘calories in VS calories out’ theory is massively flawed. Read more about that here. Furthr to this, theoretically, your body will produce 50g of glucose for every 100g of protein consumed, stimulating insulin release; a fat storage hormone. This process is known as gluconeogenesis. However, research has indicated that this glucose doesn’t enter circulation and therefore doesn’t impact fat storage. Research consistently proves that a higher protein intake promotes weight loss.

Ultimately, it’s pretty difficult to overeat when it comes to protein because it suppresses the appetite. How many times have you struggled to finish your dinner and then miraculously found room for dessert? You really have to force yourself to overdo the protein!


My Guidance For Optimal Protein Intake

To keep things simple, as a bare minimum I recommend having 20g of protein per meal plus an additional portion after a workout. Remember, that’s the minimum. Closer to 30g per meal plus more with a workout, is likely to be optimal.

A combination of quality animal protein (organic, free-range & pasture/grass-fed) and plant protein is recommended.

If you want to calculate your recommended intake use the following calculations:

  • For athletes and the very active: 1.6 x your weight in kg
  • For less active individuals: 1.2 x your weight in kg

If you have kidney disease seek advice from a qualified professional.


Need Help Losing Weight?

We help men and women to lose weight, feel more energised and reduce pain. Check out our Facebook weight loss group where we share advice, recipes, challenges and support, for free!

Join For Free!

What are healthy sources of protein?

The protein that makes up our bodies is not obtained directly from the foods that we eat. Dietary protein is broken down into its ‘building blocks’ amino acids, which the body can then use as it needs.  Therefore, it is the amino acids that are essential rather than the protein. Protein is a constituent of every cell in the body, and next to water makes up the greatest proportion of body weight. It makes up hair, nails, ligaments, tendons, glands, organs, muscles, body fluids, enzymes and hormones.

Animal

  • Poultry
  • Rabbit
  • Venison
  • Red meat
  • Eggs
  • Dairy – full-fat yoghurt, cheese, cream, butter etc

Seafood

  • White fish, e.g. Coley, Cod, Haddock, Sole, Bass, Sole, Halibut, Whiting
  • Oily fish, e.g. salmon, trout, herrings, sardines, mackerel, pilchards, fresh tuna
  • Shellfish

Plant Sources

  • Beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas
  • Full fat hummus (made from chickpeas and sesame seeds)
  • Baked beans – check for the sugar content, choose organic unsweetened if possible
  • Tofu – either plain that can be marinated or stir-fried, or as sausages or burgers
  • Nuts and seeds– raw and unsalted and avoid peanuts
  • Quinoa
  • Quorn (in moderation)

Supplement Sources

  • Protein bars (sugar free)
  • Whey, hemp or pea protein powders
  • Amino acid formulas in tablets or capsules

References

  1. https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/nutrients-food-and-ingredients/protein.html
  2. http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/full/10.1139/apnm-2015-0550#.Wvw9_ejwZD8
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23829939

Check Out Our Weight Loss Programmes

Our clients tell us that they feel more energised and confident, they sleep better and really enjoy their new way of eating. We help you to break your love-hate relationship with food and shift the pounds in an easy and healthy way. We’ll keep you motivated and moving forwards at all times.

Browse Programmes

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Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong and it’s Making You Fat and Tired

Nutrition and diet info is everywhere and each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you. Right?

Well, maybe…

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat. This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health.

Let’s focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.


What you eat and drink

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important. Don’t get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn’t work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kind of knew that already, didn’t we?

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Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

Getting together with family and friends for a feast is hard to beat. And it’s not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the banter, and the ambiance.

It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days. But it doesn’t always stop there. 

Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals. Or All. The. Time.


Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.

Tip #1: Start with some water

When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it’s too easy to fill a plate and dive into the food.

But did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger? Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.

Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce

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metabolism and weight loss

What is Metabolism? [PLUS Metabolism Boosting Recipe]

This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.

You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight. But what exactly does this all mean?

Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body. It’s how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.

Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive. And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

  1. Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).
  2. Allow activities you can’t control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).
  3. Allow storage of excess energy for later.

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

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