8 Things I don’t really understand about clean eating and nutrition

So these days I try to eat as little processed food as possible and follow what (I think) are good nutritional guidelines. But questions, thoughts and concerns continuously pop into my mind! These are a few of the thoughts I’ve had…if you’re up on your nutritional knowledge (and feeling generous), perhaps you can address some of these for me…

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Nutritional questions…

  • Am I getting enough fibre? What’s the best way to get more without carbs/grains? I’m trying to stick to a Whole 30(ish!) diet…so don’t eat many grains.
  • Speaking of grains…Is it okay to eat oats? I’ve been including these (just porridge made with water) on days when I plan to exercise. I need the energy for working out and I’m afraid fruits, veggies and eggs won’t give it to me! Is that wrong?
  • Does juicing fruits and veggies really lessen their nutritional value? Is this an urban myth? I’m having a green juice with lots of leafy greens (and not much else other than coconut water) most morning hoping to receive all the goodness of kale and spinach this way…will this work or am I wasting my time?
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Sharing a breakfast juice 

  • I know I need a daily probiotic, it’s all about the gut health! But how do you know when you’ve found a good probiotic supplement? I hear people talking about finding one that ‘really works for me’ – but I’m not sure what this means? I am taking Probio 7, basically because it had good reviews. Please tell me about other good ones?
  • Can we set the record straight on coconut oil? Good or bad? I use it to cook with because of the smoke point issues with other oils. But, should I be using it super sparingly because it’s still fattening or with abandon because it’s good for me?
  • While we’re on the subject of coconuts, what about ‘coconut nectar’ is this just sugar? I tried some grain-free paleo cereal with this as a key ingredient and it tasted way too nice to be good for me!
  • What about paleo friendly ‘cereal bars’ – so grain free ones like Primal Pantry, Rude Health, Nakd. The ones that are basically just nuts and dates smooshed together. Are these okay? I do find these a saviour as a quick on-the-go breakfast or mid-morning pick me up. Surely with no added sugar, no grains and being pretty clean with very few ingredients – they are okay? Please don’t say they’re not.
  • I have a new found love for oat milk, specifically a Oatly Barista, I have lots in coffee. Is this bad for me?

I’m off to Google a few of these – but do comment if you have any wisdom to share on any of the above!

 

 

 

 

 

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Eating the right food for your job – findings from the ‘pod-uctivity’ report

These days I do take a keen interest in diet and nutrition, so I was interested to receive a new report from Pod, London’s  healthy food-to-go chain of restaurants. The report looked at what to eat and when to eat it. Crucially, it also looked at how different jobs have different demands and matched them with the right foods to support productivity. The report identified four key job sectors: Creatives, Office Angels, High Flyers and Key Workers.

Being in PR, I fall into the Creatives category – here is just some of the nutritional advice the pod report had for me:

  • Breakfast is a must, containing some slow- release carbohydrate to provide energy to fuel the brain and lift the energy when needed. A mix of oats, nuts and seeds is a great start to the working day.
  • High sugar, high fat diets should be avoided as this will cause sluggishness. These types of foods may ‘accidently’ creep in if eating is not planned, especially after a brainstorming session when brain activity and stress levels have been high. Instead have a slow release carbohydrate snack before and a handful of antioxidant rich blueberries after. It might not sound as appetising as a quick fix chocolate bar, but it will work wonders.
  • Carbohydrates should be reduced through the day and eating late at night avoided, include foods high in tryptophan with dinner to calm the brain and aid sleep.
  • Ensure pantothenic acid intake is adequate to help deal with stress; chicken salad with avocado, a sprinkle of seeds and a heaped tablespoon of whole grains is a perfect stress-busting lunch.

I found it really interesting, I’m traditionally a breakfast denier (since my fast days have taught me to hold off as long as possible without eating). But perhaps when I finally start to feel hungry, usually around 11am, I should be choosing something like a healthy porridge.

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Pod’s Peanut Butter Power Porridge

I’m not a Londoner, so don’t have the option to get my nutritional fix on-the-go with pod but I do make regular trips to the capital. So next time I’m there I’ll certainly be taking the report’s recommendation and popping into the nearest pod for something healthy and delicious. The new menu sounds great (you lucky Londoners)…I particularly like the sound of: Salmon and Seaweed Caviar Scrambled Eggs, Peanut Butter Power Porridge, a Vitamim Hit Blitz and the Falafel Shawarma Wraps!

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Pod’s Salmon and Seaweed Scambled Eggs 

Pod’s founders say their menu reflects their customers ‘ambitious, health concious and smart’ and I have to say I agree. Check out the report for yourself here.

I’m alive!

Long_Tumbleweed

^ This is a pretty accurate picture to represent FoodTeaLife of late – but exciting things are a foot and I do plan to post soon!

My last post saw me talking about my clean eating vs. calorie counting dilemma, after receiving comments and messages in response to this I decided to make a go of clean eating. So over the last few weeks have been busy trying out and coming up with my own recipes for cleaner eating, all whilst staying within the 5:2 diet where possible (not easy!). Of course, Easter and bit of a chocolate-feast has got in the way of things a little – but I hope to have recipes and updates to share soon.

I’m also expecting to have a few exciting foodie adventures to talk about this month too…watch this space.

xXx

 

Clean eating, fasting and fear

Maybe it’s just the January effect but I really have been making more of an effort to eat clean. By that I mean, real, whole food and ingredients and eating less processed products.

The scary headlines around sugar have contributed to me wanting to consume less processed goods too. I knew sugar was in everything but I hadn’t realised just how bad for me it was.

The right thing to do…eat clean

Ultimately, I know eating cleaner is the right thing to do. Of course it’s best for my body
and my health to be eating natural products rather than foods with crazy ingredients that have been through all kinds or processes to make them low fat or ‘healthy’. I actually quite enjoy clean eating too. Plus, working from home means it’s not too difficult for me to adopt either, as I don’t need to eat ‘on the go’ and always have a fridge full of fresh ingredients nearby. So, why I haven’t I fully embraced clean eating? Why do I struggle to do it when it should be so straightforward for me? Why am I still reaching for the diet snacks on a regular basis?

I’ll tell you why. It’s the calories – which I know is a ridiculous thing to say but I’ll try to explain how I feel. Many of you will know I’m a 5:2 diet convert (perhaps evangelist might be a better word!), it’s flexible, it fits my lifestyle and I have had great results with it.  5:2 is way of life rather than a diet, it’s something you stick to for life (where possible) and I certainly see it that way…My Fitness Pal is probably the most used app on my phone. This means that calorie counting is frequently at the forefront of my mind.

Calories, health and fear…

Essentially after doing 5:2 for more than a year, I equate being ‘healthy’ with not going over 500ww calories in a day. I feel positive, pleased and even proud when I do a 500 calorie day successfully – knowing I’m keeping my body balanced for when I go out at the weekend for dinner and wine. And the truth is, until recently, I haven’t much cared how I got my 500 calories – as long as I didn’t go over this number. So a typical fast day would involve foods such as Weight Watchers chocolate wafers, fat free yoghurt, sandwich thins, reduced fat cheese, Birds Eye vegetable fingers or fish fingers…and other processed foods that offer a low calorific value.

So imagine how disheartening and hard I find it when a homemade smoothie of fresh fruits and greens has 250+ calories in it! On a fast day that would be a massive indulgence and half my calorific food allowance. Likewise with snacking on nuts and seeds – they pack a whole load of calories. So often I end up opting for a diet cereal bar instead because it’s easy, it tastes good and has less calories – and what’s not to like about that?! You see my problem with clean eating now…for a calorie counter it’s hard to get your head around how eating more calories could be good for you. Quite frankly, it scares me and makes me feel like I’ll put weight on because I’m consuming more calories. Is this just me? I don’t think I can be alone in this fear can I?

Can I re-train myself?

Seeing those calories tot up on My Fitness Pal is very off-putting – even if the calories come from healthy, clean choices. For so long, weight loss and maintaining this was my goal, soMFP all I cared about was cutting calories, without a thinking about nutrition. I have ignored how much sugar or sweetner is in my diet snacks or what the effect on my mood or performance might be of eating processed foods. I really need to address this – but how do I re-train my mind and the way I think about food and health? Perhaps if I really gave clean eating ago and felt the health and wellbeing benefits of this, I’d be converted? It’s a good idea but the truth is, it’s a big step I’m too scared about putting weight on to embrace this wholeheartedly, which is awful to admit. It’s just hard to change when I know the low fat, processed, diet snacks route has worked for me from a weight loss point of view.

So for now, I’m trying to be a bit more balanced and go for a gradual approach. My fast days will still inevitably feature some diet snacks to help me stick to my target calorie allowance – but I will try to incorporate ‘cleaner’ snacks and on my more relaxed days I’ll try and fully embrace clean eating without thinking about the calories.

At least, that’s the plan. Does anyone share my thoughts and fears? I’d love to hear from anyone with an opinion on cleaning eating, fasting or any of the issues above!