Archives For Healthy Eating

I have been published in Oxygen Magazine Australia discussing the annual yo-yo that so many people fall victim to. Allowing yourself to fall off the wagon when the weather cools down, only to blow out then panic when summer starts to approach is not only damaging to your physical health (stressful on your body which can lead to metabolic damage) but is also an extremely negative angle to approach your care for your self from. To only eat and train properly when others can see your body is to negate a love for the true self, which can lead to many more negative spirals of thought. Consuming the nutrients that your body requires and ensuring that you are not at risk of any of the modern diseases associated with inactivity, obesity and an unhealthy diet should be important to you for reasons much deeper than what others will think. To choose to prioritise your health because you care about your physical and mental well-being instead sets off a positive domino effect of thought patterns, choices and further action.

Here you can see a sneak peek of the article.

To subscribe to the magazine, go to the Oxygen Magazine Australia website HERE or to follow their updates, check out their Facebook page HERE

 

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I have been published in Oxygen Magazine Australia providing a very honest and open account of what can go wrong with Body Building competitions. With the growing interest to compete in fitness modelling and body building I felt the need to share what I have experienced. I am by no means trying to deter anybody from competing, but rather I present challenges that are common, and some which presented themselves to me. I provide some advice on how to avoid some of these issues, and hope to help some who may be competing or considering competing for the first time.

Here you can see a sneak peek of the article.

To subscribe to the magazine, go to the Oxygen Magazine Australia website HERE or to follow their updates, check out their Facebook page HERE

 

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BboysIntroducing Michael and Christian Baker. I love these boys – they know so much about supplements and are always happy to share what they know and help others. They train hard, read hard and work hard. They recently had an interview with 180 Nutrition on potential risks associated with the extensive use of artificial sweeteners in supplements. You can listen to the podcast HERE

They took some time out of their insane schedules to answer some questions about supplementation with us.

 

How did you guys get into the health and fitness industry?

M: It all began in my last few years of high school when I started going to the gym. After much resistance and stubbornness Christian decided to give this gym thing a go.I think it was a combination of me pestering him and the ironman magazines he was reading. He was basically addicted from day one, and Christian’s training definitely played a huge part in his growth spurt. Pre-gym days Christian was about 6 inches shorter than me, and now he is about 4 inches taller. A few years out of high school we completed our certifications in personal training. We originally moved to Sydney to enter into a totally different career – ironically, in the fast food industry. Instead we ended up buying a supplement store together at the end of 2009, which launched our journey into the world of health, nutrition and supplements.

 

What made you want to specialise in supplementation?

C: Magazine ads: I thought that all supplements were magic thanks to the advertising I used to see in magazines and this made me embark on a quest for knowledge – I needed to find out the truth behind nutritional supplementation. For Mick it was the perfect combination of his two loves; health and business.

 

What would you say are the must-haves for the general public, if any at all?

C: A greens supplement (veggies, wheat grass, barley grass, spirulina mix etc.), a multivitamin, and fish oil. Take these three daily and take a probiotic supplement several times per year.

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What do you think everyone should be aware of that is not really common kno
wledge for supplementation?

M: Always read the label, as there are often hidden nasties that won’t be immediately obvious. Immediately ignore fancy claims, such as “double your bench press in 2 weeks” – they’re always lies. Also beware of propreitary blends, where you have no information about dosage. Some of the biggest companies have written on the back of label: propreitary blend, then show, for example, 5g with 20 ingredients below it. The problem here is that you don’t know how much of each ingredient is in the product.

C: Pay attention to the form of vitamins you take. For example, take vitamin D: Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3) is the same vitamin D our body makes when exposed to the sun, but Ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2) is very commonly used in supplements because it’s cheap to produce, yet our body has a much harder time absorbing it properly. This rule applies to all vitamins and minerals across the board: learn the most natural forms and always seek them out.

 

What supplements do you both currently take and why?

M: We both use basically the same supplements on a daily basis. Greens super-food powder (to keep body alkalised), a multivitamin, fish oil, zinc, naturally sweetened protein and unflavoured BCAAs. Check out the PODCAST for more information on why we only choose naturally sweetened and unflavoured products.

 

What are some of the projects that you are currently working on?

M: We have been fortunate enough to speak in in front of some amazing corporate audiences, so definitely focusing on increasing our reach, and spreading our health and nutrition knowledge globally.

C: Working with Mick to do more speaking events and also hoping to release a nutritional product in the not so distant future.

 

What is your favourite workout and why?

M: When I’m in full speed training mode I enjoy doing the CrossFit Grace WOD (workout of the day). It involves completing 30 clean and jerks with 60kg for time. It burns but you feel great after it.

C: Training my triceps – it’s a special kind of pain and I love it so much. It helps that my arms are one of my genetically favoured muscle groups.

 

Keep an eye out for these two in the health and fitness industry, as they are sure to keep learning more and sharing all their great knowledge. Thanks Baker boys!

 

Stop the SabotageI really think that if anybody else said some of the horrible things that I’ve said to myself at times I would probably punch them in the teeth. I know that I am not alone here either – so often do we question our own worth, and sometimes even outright tell ourselves that we are not good enough. The horrible thing is that we then listen to this and act accordingly. This may result in not really trying our best because we don’t really believe we can achieve something, and sometimes not even trying in the first place.

Self-doubt is the destroyer of dreams.

This little voice loves to be particularly mean whenever we want to look and feel our best. We are all constantly bombarded with super fit and super thin and hyper sexualised images of men and women in the media that simply are not achievable (especially given that even the models don’t even look like that – thanks Photoshop). This leads to desiring bodies that aren’t even human shaped sometimes, and definitely are not healthy. Match that up with all of this information about how you too can get ripped abs in just 30 minutes, and really what you’re left with is a feeling of serious disempowerment.

We are shown an extreme and told how easy it should be and then reality does not match. We are also then told a whole heap of conflicting information and sold every restrictive diet under the sun. This makes weight loss a particularly popular target for that mean little voice. It might tell you that you’re never going to make it, and it might tell you to just give up. It also has the capacity to really help mess with our relationships with food.

I am very happy to announce that yesterday I was published in a glossy fitness magazine for the first time! My article is about self sabotaging behaviours that can mess with our healthy eating goals and lists a few strategies to help overcome the common issues that arise. In there I challenge a few common things that will help make that voice shut right up.

Grab a copy of the latest edition of Oxygen Magazine to read more!

To subscribe to the magazine, go to the Oxygen Magazine Australia website HERE or to follow their updates, check out their Facebook page HERE

I am very happy to have another guest post up today – this time on Nardia Norman’s website. My post is on goal setting and on checking that your goals are aligned with your true self. You can read the post by clicking HERE.

Another great read that went up today which goes hand in hand with this is a piece written by Nardia herself on what values are, which can be found HERE.

Enjoy!

S

This week I have been posted up as a guest blogger on Sydney based health and well-being blog Move Eat Heal. I have written a short article on the negative effects of extreme dieting, and why they ultimately are bad for you and do not provide long-lasting results.

To read the blog post click HERE

I love the recipes and the attitude to food that is at the core of newly launched nutrition business and website Nued Food. I was featured as an athlete on their blog the other week here. Now I am flipping the roles and would love to introduce you all to Lysi – my friend, and the genius behind Nued Food.

 

Thanks so much for sharing your time and thoughts with us Lysi. Firstly, what made you decide to be a nutritionist?

I have definitely not always been the picture of health; growing up my diet was pretty poor. It wasn’t until the end of high school I took an interest in what I thought was health (I would now classify it as extreme dieting), and managed to lose about 15 kilos. My dieting approach back then was very different to what it is now; I ate almost no carbs, was obsessed with artificial sweeteners and didn’t understand that there is a big difference between being skinny and being healthy. Even though my body looked the best it ever had, I was low on energy, my skin was dull and I knew deep down that my dieting habits were not good for me.

A year after finishing school I had gone down a few different avenues, from graphic design to real estate but was still left feeling unfulfilled in everything I was doing. My interest in health kept growing, and my dieting habits were slowly improving; I was starting to not only look good, but I was feeling good too. Fascinated by the profound effect food has on your bodies, I enrolled to study Nutritional Medicine, which was by far one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am now able to do what I love everyday and educate people so they don’t have to make the same mistakes I once did.

 

I love your take on how to feed the body. Can you please share your philosophy on food and eating?

Our bodies have an innate ability to stay healthy: every one yearns for health, however so many decisions we face day-to-day can compromise this state of wellbeing. I don’t believe that food itself is the only part of the health equation either; our thoughts surrounding food and the way we eat can sometimes be the most damaging.

I eat a wholefood diet, knowing the foods I am consuming are nourishing my body. I do not count calories, although I do know approximately how much I am consuming so I will never really be in surplus. Food is such a social thing for me – I love nothing more than going out for a nice meal with friends and family. Even if I do indulge in something I would not classify as ‘healthy,’ I don’t beat myself up about it because I know that most of the time my diet is squeaky clean. It’s all about balance.

 

You seem to have a very natural approach. What are your thoughts on wholefoods and organics?

I get asked this question a lot, and could honestly speak about this forever! Now, while I’m all for minimising chemicals in our diets, I also think it is just as important to know where our food is coming from. Just because it has the big green organic tick, does not necessarily mean it is better for us. Take, for instance, the organic labels you see flashing around in Coles and Woolies, it may look like the better choice, but is it really? The short answer to that is no.

Half of the time, the organic veggies you find in Woolies have been imported all the way from other countries. The amount of travel time as well as the energy expended to ship them to Australia clearly surpasses the notion that organic foods are always the best option. In this instance I would no doubt buy the local, conventional variety. Not only does buying these imported products not support our local farmers, but it has used a ridiculous amount of energy to ship them here and has lost a tonne of nutrients in the travel time.

To certify produce as ‘organic’ is damn expensive. Unfortunately this means that small-scale local farmers may be doing everything necessary to become certified, however they simply can’t afford to. It is extremely important for us to do a little more investigating into exactly where our foods are coming from. Now I would like to point out that I do eat mainly organic. However, I try to get to the farmers markets on weekends, shop at co-op organic grocery stores and steal as much produce from my Mums veggie patch as possible.

One last issue I have about the whole ‘organic’ revolution. Snack foods labelled ‘organic, wholefood, natural etc.’ 99% of the time are just as bad as the conventional variety. Adding organic cane sugar does not mean it’s magically not going to spike your insulin levels and cause blood sugar irregularities. Read the label when choosing anything packaged, even if it does have a flashy organic label!

As for wholefoods, I follow a ‘paleo-ish’ approach to my diet. I try and eat only real foods, organic where possible and do NOT eat anything artificial. I eat the way our bodies are designed to eat. I do not calorie restrict; however through my years of studies I have learnt to be pretty good with estimating calorie intake. So although I don’t calorie count per se, there is definitely an element of macronutrient balance to my diet, which fortunately comes naturally to me.

 

I can’t get enough of your blog and all of your delicious recipes. How do you get inspiration for a new recipe?

Why thankyou! I am a bit of a food nerd and love to experiment with new ingredients. Quite often, if I eat out and I like the flavours of the dish I will go home and try to recreate it. I’m not much of a recipe follower, and am more so an intuitive cook- this makes it really hard for me to develop recipes. Hah! I subscribe to a tonne of cooking magazines on my iPad, and am constantly scrolling through food pictures on Pinterest and looking for new food blogs to follow. Most of the time, I don’t follow healthy food blogs/chefs specifically; I just look at what ingredients are being used and try to substitute with healthy alternatives wherever I can think of one. This, might I add, has led to quite a few failures!

 

Can you please tell readers about your products?

I created Nued Food as a way of sharing information and products that are not only good for our bodies, but also good for the environment. I have worked in the sports supplement industry for the past few years, and have been exposed to some of the best and worst products on offer. Nued Food is a way of showcasing some of the amazing, innovative products that Australia has on offer. All products I have on offer have been trialled and tested by myself, and have impressed me enough to stock them.

Another element of my business is also offering wholefood catering, particularly for cafes, restaurants and shops. This is a great way of showing people first-hand that healthy eating does not have to be bland or boring.

 

Finally, do you have any advice for athletes reading?

First and foremost, make sure you’re eating a balanced diet. Include loads of veggies – the more colours the better! If you’re not getting the recommended 5 servings a day, be sure to take a greens powder: this will make up for the lost nutrients. Post-workout it is essential you are having protein and carbs, as this will help to repair your muscles and replenish your glycogen stores (stored energy).

Drink up – too often I see clients going through gruelling workouts without drinking enough water. Every cell in your body needs to be adequately hydrated if you want to perform your best. Water or coconut water is my top choice.

Supplement-wise I would be looking at a good quality multivitamin, a fish oil and a whey protein isolate to start off with. If you want to take your training up a notch, branched chain amino acids are great intra-workout to prevent muscle breakdown & speed up your recovery time. Glutamine is another awesome addition to any supplement stack, it’s great to take post-workout to help repair your muscles, but has an added bonus of strengthening the gut lining which in turn will boost your immunity.

Sleep!!! Make sure you are getting at least 8 hours a night, if not more. It is essential to ensure you’re getting the maximum possible amount of recovery time.

Check out my article on the Truth about Pre and Post Workout Nutrition if you want a more detailed explanation.

 

Make sure you go to the Nued Food Shop and check out the wonderful products offered. My blog readership gets an amazing 10% discount on all products – just use the discount code SUSY

Welcome to the most epic long weekend! Regardless of whether you celebrate Easter in a religious sense or not, chances are that you are being bombarded with chocolate from all directions. Depending upon where you are at with your personal goals, you may want to consider a few different strategies to not fall completely off the wagon with your health goals in this time.

Something that I think is actually really mean is that many people are just a couple of weeks off hitting the stage. If this is you, then I extend many hugs – this was me last year. The truth though is that all you need to do is focus on your goal. Let’s be honest here – no one is holding a gun to your head saying you have to get on stage and show off your ripped bodies while everyone else feels inadequate for eating the world this weekend. This is your choice and your goal – honour it and be happy for it. If you keep what you wan to achieve at the forefront of your mind this weekend then you should still be able to enjoy time with loved ones and not feel miserable.

Now for everybody else. Please don’t feel the need to deprive yourself of a bit of festive eating this long weekend unless you particularly want to. The whole point of being health oriented and taking care of yourself consistently is so that on the occasional festivity you can indulge with family and friends rather than have to sit in the corner rejecting everything that is offered to you. THAT BEING SAID, there are some pitfalls that are worth bearing in mind, as breaks in the habits that we form are where the true danger lies.

Having a blowout for the long weekend is not really going to do much to you. It’s the after-effect of this that is much more likely to catch you. It is very important to remind yourself when you are feasting that this is only for the celebrations of the long weekend and that this is not going to continue as soon as Tuesday comes along. Put strategies in place to prevent trailing on – I have asked to not be given any chocolate for Easter, so that I will only have what is there at meals but won’t have any sitting around at home. Goodness knows there has already been enough of it to go around even with this rule in place! If you are hosting a lunch for family and you have a lot of leftovers, then send off small portions with all of your guests – then everyone can have a delicious Monday meal and then back to normal on Tuesday rather than a week’s worth of crazy eating after for the host.

It is much smarter to acknowledge what behaviours you are good at modifying and which ones you are not so good at and working around those, rather than trying to make changes that you struggle with on the spot. For example, I know that if I have junk in the house then the junk will be eaten. Rather than have junk in the house and tell myself I’ll just leave it there and be able to ignore it, I simply don’t have any in the house and go out if I ever feel like having some junk. Work around the parameters of what you know you are more likely to stay in control of. If you know that faced with a feast you are going to go all out, then accept this and plan rather than tell yourself you’ll be controlled this time. Have a healthy snack beforehand, so that you are not ravenous. You are going to go to the limits anyway, so you might as well fill up part-way with something that is not going to contribute towards the blowout. It is important to note here – this snack should not be nuts or any other calorie-dense food as that kind of defeats the purpose of trying to fill some of that bottomless pit harmlessly.

Try your best to be good the rest of the time. If you already have a few meals with family and friends, then be controlled with your breakfasts and other meals that are not festive over the long weekend. Keep those lower in calories and as clean as possible. Finally, have a plan for how you are going to eat next week. You can actually make this blowout work to your benefit if you then hit your body with a week of very clean eating in a slight deficit. That doesn’t mean starve yourself after, but aim to avoid all junk for the following week or two, and you may find that you actually look even better after Easter.

Have a lovely long weekend with all the loved ones!

S

nuedfood.com is a wonderful website created by my friend Lysi, who is an excellent nutritionist. Here you can find many recipes, products, as well as nutrition consultations. Lysi also has a blog on this site, and the other day featured me in her first interview. Go check it out HERE

Amongst people who diet, the term ‘cheat’ is used most often to refer to any food that does not fit the description of clean eating, or which deviates from the eating plan that the person might have. I like to take this one step further and to split up the labels further, as I think that lumping everything in together is doing us a disservice, because not all cheats are equal. Whenever I approach a cheat, rather I have a choice between having a treat, or having junk.

The foods that I call treats are calorie dense foods: you do not want to be shoveling down these in large quantities, because there is no way you will be burning that off and it’s going straight to ‘dat ass’ if you go overboard. However, and here is the important part, these are still foods that in small quantities are delicious but not harmful to the body in any way. An example of this is natural peanut or other nut butters. It is very high in fats – eat a jar of this every day and you will not be fitting into your clothes for much longer. However these are largely monounsaturated fats, which are not culprit of all of the major health issues that plague the Western world. Similarly fruit is high in fructose, so large amounts will make you gain fat, but this does not react in your body in the same way as added sugar does. This brings me to junk – this is the label that I give to all foods with the added sugars, the trans fats and any other highly processed food. These are the ice creams, deep-fried food, chocolate, pizza, soft drinks etc. I will be writing lots about these over the coming months but in this post, my focus is on these labels, so I’m going to move on.

So what is the purpose of these two labels?

This separation provides me with a simple mechanism that helps me to choose the best food possible when it’s time for a cheat meal. Cheat meals are exciting for clean eaters, excitement can lead to snap decisions, and snap decisions require short-cuts. Usually this means going for the first thing in front of you. By having a mental list of treats and junk, I am easily able to direct my attention towards foods I have already labeled as treats, and consider eating one of these before considering anything labeled as junk. Most of the time, I will find something in that list that is appealing, and then I can have that cheat meal and have avoided putting anything rubbish into my body.

Interestingly, this labeling also does a few things on a cognitive level, which can really help avoid eating junk too often. A common problem with eating habits is an underestimation of how often one is actually consuming foods that are damaging for the body. By using this strategy I am highly aware of every time that I am eating junk: in order to end up in that situation I have first had to consider many other options and consciously decide that I would instead like to eat junk. Additionally, junk is not a nice word. It is associated with garbage and unwanted goods. By always calling this food junk I am actually slowly conditioning my mind to associate these foods with these unpleasant characteristics. As strange as that may sound, over time these associations will start to pick up some valence with the foods and the foods will actually become less rewarding to me than they were before. That is not to say that they will taste horrible, but rather the hedonic response that I will experience when I eat these foods will be smaller than if I didn’t do this. This is further enhanced by informing myself about what these foods actually do to me and ensuring that I regularly remind myself of these things. It is all about recalibrating reward. I want to delve further into this in coming months, but just wanted to touch on it here.

Some of you may be thinking “why would I ever want to do that?” – well, because I’m hoping you would like to take care of your health. It’s not all about how you look, and you only get one body so be careful with how you go about feeding it. Of course that is not to say that you cannot ever indulge, but it is all about knowing when enough is enough. Think of it like other junk – like watching trashy reality TV or letting your home get messy. It has its place and a bit of it is not going to kill you, but a lot of it can slowly lead to other consequences that creep up on you. I hope that this strategy will be helpful to you – please feel free to use it or to use the thoughts shared here to create your own. I would love to hear what you come up with.