Eating for Health – Part One
Whether it’s vegan, vegetarian, Palo or Atkins, whatever the name, diet and lifestyle have been the focus point of many women’s lives for centuries. But which way is the best way to eat?
Many times in my workshops I am amazed at the dated knowledge and inaccurate information people believe, often times just to sell specific products.
As a vegan, statists and facts from the 1970s are reused, reworded and remarketed to keep people believing that protein, calcium, iron and vitamin B12 are hard to consume in a vegan diet and that meat and dairy need to be consumed.
Unfortunately, this leads to much confusion and a focus on over-consuming some macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fats) and under consumption of crucial micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals).
Another perspective has also been given to micro-nutrients: the belief that they should be consumed in isolation and in the form of a tablet. Needless to say, this is not optimum nutrition either (more on micro-nutrients in my next blog).
So what are the basic things you need to know about eating right?
If you follow a plant-based diet you are more than half way there to consuming what macros and micros you need, if you eat fresh!
If you consume a vegan diet but use a lot of meat and dairy substitutes you are just as likely to be nutrient deficient as a processed meat eater.
Each day you need to eat fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, nut milks, water, legumes/sprouts, tempeh or tofu.
In order to hit your daily protein needs, you only have to consume 0.57grams of protein for every kilogram of bodyweight. For example, I weigh 57 kilograms so I could need to consume 32.49 grams of protein throughout the day. That’s it!
Technically, this could be achieved by adding 30 grams of plant-based protein powder in a freshly made smoothie. Although, it must be stated that balancing your intake of protein throughout the day is the best way and helps to balance energy levels and mental focus.
What about carbohydrates?
Wholefood carbohydrates are the way forward, using brown rice, quinoa, brown/gluten free pasta, brown/gluten free bread, gluten free oats, buckwheat, barley, millet, rye and wild rice. Serving sizes should be approximately 100grams per meal, depending on whether you eat them cooked, fresh or sprouted. These should be consumed three times a day.
Then include non-starchy vegetables to keep the Glycemic Load down. As a quick point of reference, most green vegetables fall into this category, as do most salad vegetables.
Fats, eat them!
I find it interesting that the fat myth is still so strong, even with the rise of avocado toast! Essential fats can reduce the risk of some major health problems such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis to name a few. Not to mention the Omega 6 and Omega 3 essential fatty acids the body needs to balance hormones and nourish the brain. Most people in the UK are deficient in Omega 3 and 6 but are overloaded with saturated fats found in processed foods. These saturated fats are the ones that kill!
Eat your good fats from:
- Cold pressed oils
What about fruit sugar?
A vegan diet is about abundance and this includes fruit! Fruit sugar only needs to be examined if you suffer with Candida, see it out of context (listed in ingredients) or eat a lot of dried fruit. Michael Greger gives a great example of this in his book ‘How Not to Die’ stating, “In nature, fructose comes packaged with fibre, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that appear to nullify adverse fructose effects.” I could not put it better myself!
Here is an example of one of my balanced plates. Follow me on Instagram @maximumhealthuk
Please feel free to share your thoughts on this blog by commenting on it, we will endeavor to post all comments and get back to you with any questions you may have.
Watch out for our next blog due 25th July.