It’s that time of day when your boss is pressing for some deadline that you just can’t meet or your unwinding for the evening with something fried and salty on the couch before bed. Whatever the time, whatever the reason, there is probably a time of day that you find more difficult to keep the ship sailing in your chosen direction.
As a Dietitian and Trainer for close to a decade now, I am still amazed at just how hard the overwhelm is for the person entering, re-entering or maintaining their healthy lifestyle. From supermarkets, social media feeds, the latest app and magazines, this space is noisy! In my work I attempt to simplify things. To work on the human side of nutrition science also known as food! We sit down to breakfast, lunch and dinner, not Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates. The world seems to scream, ‘if you only buy this next shiny thing you’ll get there’ or oversell the ease of behaviour change, while profiting off of the rebound when it doesn’t work.
Functional muscle mass is really a fancy way of saying the muscles you will use to perform the activities of daily living. To build and maintain that muscle, I look at 4 main points:
1. Marie Kondo
2. Nourish the body
3. Protein supply
4. Fuel for Marie Kondo
If the answer was more information, we would all be millionaires, and we'd all eat our veggies, wouldn't we?? Here are four questions to review your last 30 days:
Line One Position One CONSUME
Australia’s population grows by one person every 90 seconds. What that means is every 90 seconds we add another consumer to the list. In a recent conference I attended, a Professor was explaining the physiology of obesity. When talking about our environment, he described the battle to remain in the healthy weight range. With advertising, energy-dense foods readily available and cheap; the struggle has never been harder. Our perception of what is healthy changed along with the increased intensity of that struggle.
Some research we examined throughout my nutrition studies looked at food decisions. The average Australian makes 250 food choices a day. The majority now are not about survival or where the next meal is. The majority are attempting to resist the urge to consume. The study talks about the use of ‘external cues’ used as a source of validity of hunger or satiety.?!
Translated into English, we are using our dinner plates or tub sizes of our yoghurt to tell us whether we are hungry or full. But guess what? Their increasing! Our plate size has increased by nearly 40% in size over the last 40 years. It’s any wonder our waist circumferences are going along with it.
The science here is pretty simple, eat a little bit less than your body needs to function and you’ll use a bit of stored fat from around your body. The hard part is trying to eat less with everything from package size to your facebook page and plates all geared toward you consuming more!
Here are some questions for the mirror:
What food decisions am I making each day?
What decisions cause me the most angst?
How often am I preparing food from my kitchen?
Example: Breakfast is likely a less difficult decision than lunch. Why? Because you are choosing between cereal or toast. They are coming from your pantry. How can lunch become an easier decision when eating out or preparing? What information do you need to inform that decision? Where are your knowledge gaps?
How often do I eat to finish the plate instead of satisfy my hunger? http://yourfit.com.au/the-hunger-scale/
Now I’m a foodie but the sort that loves to eat and enjoys experimenting in the kitchen however there is a massive disclaimer that I am no Jamie Oliver and my culinary talents are not of the highest order. What that does mean is that I am well qualified to provide you really simple meal ideas that will not only get you into the good books with mum to be but ensure your little man or lady receives a lovely nutrient boost.
The Big game player….breakfast, this is where you can make the biggest impact, after a decent break between dinner or supper overnight, breakfast can be the best way to get the good book runs on the board and some studies suggest absorption is at its highest after period of fasting (sleeping).
Eggs and Avo on Toast
Don’t worry about poaching or getting the fry pan out, beat two eggs with milk in a microwavable dish and pop it on high for 3-4 minutes. Bobs your uncle…Scrambled eggs! Pop those on top of two pieces of multigrain toast spread with thick avocado (1/4 to 1/3 of a halved avo). Eggs can be a tough one but just ensure there is no runny parts to the scramble which can sometimes make them a little dry but the avo will add that creamy mouth feel to the meal a raw egg can be a listeria risk which we want to avoid throughout pregnancy. If you would like to get a bit fancy pop some cherry tomatoes (halved) and sliced mushrooms into a fry pan with a touch of olive oil and let that cook away until the mushrooms have softened and tomatoes have blistered add this to the side of the meal and finish with a little balsamic vinegar or glaze and a squeeze of lemon. Don’t worry if you muck up the first couple, our failures are what lead to our greatest successes and if your house is like mine, dads are around to be laughed AT NOT WITH so embrace it and don’t let it deter you!
The avo serves as a great hit of good fats important for immune function as well as folate essential for optimal development of your son or daughter’s nervous system.
The bread (if store bought) will be also be fortified with folate as well as iodine essential for optimal brain development. It doubles as a great source of fibre, essential to slow the movement of the food through the digestive system.
Dad: Rest assured knowing you’ve provided a really decent hit of essential nutrients, providing your little mister or miss with the right start to their day of development.
Husband: tough to go wrong with avo on toast and you’ve got away with ‘cooking’ via the use of a toaster and microwave….brownie points!
Dietitian: Awesome start to the day, great sources of essential nutrients and a good hit of energy for the developing baby and mum. Speaking of energy the next blog will have a look at the different requirements of energy requirements and a couple of snack options to help meet at certain periods 1.4 times the amount required.
Say goodbye to the dog house for me.
Dairy can be a bit of a dirty word among some GI symptom sufferers. Bloating and embarrassment causing symptoms sometimes resulting from its consumption but the movement away from dairy as a whole is concerning for our health. Here’s the deal, the body has a calcium bank known as the skeleton, up until 25 years of age every human makes deposits into that bank, increasing its density and strength. Beyond 25, we can’t improve our bones calcium density; we can only maintain it. Dairy is our best chance at getting adequate calcium in, and the ladies in our life are in greater need than us boys.
If you think of calcium a bit like the timber frame inside a brick house, the calcium binds to other minerals and gives our bones their strength. Here is the catch though, our bodies have many uses for calcium and one critical use is its involvement in cell to cell communication. The detailed description talks about positive and negative charges, and it all gets a bit confusing, but the oversimplified version is to think of the old two cans and a length of fishing line you used to talk to the kids next door. The calcium is the line, and the cans are the cells.
How does this relates to your health? The communication is an immediate need and prioritised by the body over skeletal strength. When there isn’t enough calcium in the blood to make that happen the body has a mechanism to release calcium from the bone into the bloodstream allowing that communication but as a result reduces the strength of that bone or more plainly the timber frame holding up the house.
It’s this process that sees our elderly fall victim to broken bones or fractures in incidents that might not seem at all possible. Tripping or knocking their leg. With our mothers and grandmothers more prone to these breakages than the men of the family.
So get your sons and daughters onto dairy. Yoghurt, milk and cheese should be a daily habit, and I’ve got a link below to give you an understanding of exactly how many we should have at the various ages. Remember up to 25 is the point to build maximum bone strength….so get building and maintaining that frame.
Calcium is an essential mineral for human life. Dairy is our best source, but there is a small percentage of our population that do have intolerances or even a direct allergy. It is diagnosed with a simple test, and there are some great sources of calcium that don’t require the consumption of dairy but before throwing the milk out, consult your GP and dietitian. There are probably simple ways that we can manipulate things so you can maintain the strength of that skeleton and reduce those symptoms.
Say hi to Milkman for me.
I have been a very fortunate man that until recently still was lucky enough to have all four grandparents with me. Unfortunately, I recently lost my grandmother, and in penning my thoughts down about Nan, I realised the impact Nan had on my relationship with food. You see, my Nan loved to treat us kids, and whenever we would go to Nan’s, dinner was followed by a choc-wedge. Probably one of my youngest childhood memories is biting into that chocolate topping and having melting white ice cream drip down my fingers and then having my mouth and hands wiped clean. It’s so vivid. I still remember where Nan kept them, the colour of the box, the ritual of being given one, the ripping open of the paper and sound of the chocolate crackling. Then the final step: chewing of that paddle pop stick until you nearly splinter your tongue.
The concept of a relationship with food is a foreign one for a lot of people, and until I studied nutrition, I had never given it a second thought. How do you relate to food? Is it a coping mechanism at times? Fuel at another? An obligation for some of the time? An escape from work at others? Would you say you relate to it healthily?
Healthy doesn’t mean we need to eat vegetables every meal or obsess about every last calorie. However, the old relationship question is the empathetic one. Would you be happy if someone you love related to food the way you do?
It’s an individual thing and a decision for every household to make but one worth thinking about. I suppose in promoting the health benefits of those foods typically deemed healthy I wanted to reassure everyone that it’s normal for you and your family to indulge. The choc wedge at Nan’s house is one of my favourite memories and one I’ll have forever.
Thanks to my Nan Dobson.
Say hi to your Nan for me.
Ok so now I have your attention…I’m talking about the mineral, not the household choir if you must know I do all the ironing in our house.
So what’s the go? Why am I making this point…truth is most health-conscious women, mums and some of the ladies I train are at significant risk of Iron deficiency and therefore so are their little tackers. You see when we’re born our mother passes on about six months worth of iron stores, from that moment on we as humans need to eat iron to maintain our body stores. Why is it so important? Well, Iron is the UBER that Oxygen needs to get to our muscles. Without the UBER, our body’s tissues don’t get the oxygen they need to produce energy and maintain vital biological pathways. Common side effects are excessive fatigue or a burning sensation when exercising. But, tell me out of all your friends who aren’t tired? Right, not many and who has heard the saying feel the burn when exercising! Quite often these go undiagnosed. Here is the unique part about iron though, our body doesn’t have another place to store the thing other than the blood. This storage fact is why women of childbearing age are at such risk. Experiencing blood losses on a cycle of 28 days and burning the candle at all ends (work, family, some time for you) iron quickly falls off the priority list.
So basically to order an Uber for the ladies and little ones in your life its recommended lean red meat be on the menu 2-3 times per week as that’s the best-absorbed source.
Eggs and fish are an excellent source also. There are some vegetarian sources like spinach and legumes, but you do need a lot more in comparison to animal sources. For clients of mine that are vegan or vegetarian, I recommend a regular blood test with their GP and supplementation as an alternate.
Watch out for excessive fatigue symptoms or any complaints of burning sensations while exercising. Gents, keep a close eye on how your partner is faring, if you notice bags under her eyes or that she is run down, might be worth suggesting a visit to your GP. Regular blood tests for women of childbearing age would be my recommendation. Do your best to keep lean sources of red meat, fish, eggs and legumes on the dinner table. I respect all individuals choice whether they be vegan or vegetarian, but iron is essential to keep in mind. Something to monitor if these are the choices of the individual and as the husband in me suggests, involving your GP in this decision is essential.
Say hi to your GP for me.