Good evening lovely people ♥️
I hope you’re doing well! As many of you already know, season 2 of my nutrition workshops started last week – 14/09/2019. We had a lovely turn out, goody bags, discounts, a lot of great questions and a wonderful atmosphere. As usual, here’s a little recap.
We started off season two with a talk about Calories, Carbs and sugar. While I’m sure you’ve all at least heard of calories or seen the claims or calories contents of packaged food, there are still many misconceptions around calorie content in food, bio availability of these calories and what the best options on the shop shelves are. The truth is that calories are simply units of measure. I started off the talk by explaining that while it is important to have at least an idea of how many calories we need per day and how many calories are in everyday foods, that is only one, very small, part of the story. Calories indicate the energy content in food, however they tell us nothing about nutrient content.
I explained that calculating how many calories a person needs is quite simple; simply calculate your BMI (body mass index – there are many free online calculators if you’d like to give it a try) and multiply your answer by your activity level. The result you achieve is a rough estimate of how many calories you need per day. But the truth is, we calculate calories ‘per day’ because it is the simplest way to do so. Our bodies do not need the same exact thing day after day; some days you’re not so hungry, other days you’re starving – listening to your body is always a good idea!
As I mentioned, calories tell us about the energy content in food, but nothing about the nutrient content or about the actual ingredients. We need to take into account both the quantity and the quality of our food. Our bodies need far more than just energy to survive, function and thrive. We need a variety of nutrients that we can only get from a variety of different foods. *Note: While vitamin and mineral supplements do exist for pretty much anything you can think of today, and while they can be helpful, the biological availability of the nutrients from food far outweighs the availability of nutrients in supplement form.*
After we discussed calories in vs. calories out, foods that are calorie dense vs. nutrient dense, I took some very interesting questions from those attending and then we moved on to a discussion about carbohydrates.
Before moving onto our next topic, we enjoyed some healthy treats I made the night before (because it takes a while to set). I shared the recipe here earlier this week. To try it out for yourselves, click on the link here https://holisticnutritionninja.com/2019/09/17/no-bake-oat-bars-%f0%9f%98%8b/
Carbohydrates are getting a really bad reputation; unjustly might I add. Carbohydrates form part of many nutritious foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables just to name a few. We need both the carbs and the nutrients from these foods. While I will never state that there are good or bad carbs, because I strongly believe that there is no such thing as ”good’ or ‘bad’ foods, there certainly are different types of carbohydrates.
I went on the explain the difference between complex and simple carbohydrates and which is more appropriate for a healthy diet and we even took some time to discuss portion sizes and a balanced plate – because life really is far too short to count calories!!
While low carb diets are clinical and effective in most individuals, there is no one correct or better way to eat, nor is there one way to lose weight. The truth is many wholefoods which are rich in carbs are also rich in important nutrients. Therefore, a diet that avoids grains, beans, fruit and veg is certainly not ideal or healthy.
We then went on to a short break where we made, and of course ate, some guacamole with some Kallo rice cakes and different galletti from Good Earth – wholegrain, rye and seed galletti; all very nutritious and delicious – therefore increasing the fibre content and slowing the absorption into the blood stream which is very important!
The recipe for the guacamole we made is linked here: https://holisticnutritionninja.com/2019/01/10/guacamole-%f0%9f%a5%91/
From here we moved onto a discussion about sugar. Many of us in the developed world are consuming far too much FREE sugar. It’s not just the granulated white sugar that some add to teas and coffees that we need to be concerned about. Sugar is found in many different foods – especially processed packaged foods.
FREE sugar is any sugar that is added to a food in preparation or processing of said food together with the sugar present in honey, syrups and fruit juices where the sugar has been extracted from the cell wall during preparation. These are the types of sugars that can be harmful in large amounts – the upper limit is actually quite small (6 tsp for women and 9 tsp for men) so please be aware that even when you are drinking a fresh juice, you are still consuming free sugars. While the juice itself may be healthy, the recommended amount of fresh fruit juice is 150ml daily which is a very small amount for this very reason.
We also discussed sugar alternatives like stevia, xylithol coconut sugar, date sugar, date syrup, rice syrup, honey, maple syrup, agave and so on. While I personally prefer using liquid sweeteners such as agave, maple syrup and honey in my cooking, the truth is that they still contain free sugars therefore it will be processed in the body just as granulated sugar is. However, there are some added nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and in the case of honey even anti-histamines that are beneficial and I find that liquid sweeteners tend to be sweeter than regular sugar therefore I use far less which is helpful. Eating a whole fruit on the other hand is a different story because the fibre that is naturally found in the fruit is still present.
Xylithol and stevia on the other hand are processed very differently in the body; both do not contain any free sugars therefore the blood sugar levels within the body do not rise rapidly making them suitable for people with diabetes and those trying to avoid sugar for other reasons – including the avoidance of type 2 diabetes.
Finally, we ended the session with some new treats – Blueberry Bliss Balls – the recipe will be posted here on the blog separately soon but in the meantime, here’s how to make them:
100g dried blueberries
200g peanut butter
50ml plant based milk
Place everything in a food processor, pulse to combine and form a paste. Then roll into balls and refrigerate for at least an hour. Then, munch away and enjoy!
That’s it from me for today – I hope you’ve enjoyed this!
Special thanks to Good Earth, Flavors for Health and Holland and Barret for supplying the products used for the event together with the goody bags handed out on the day!
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Sarah’s Healthy Eats – @holisticnutritionninja
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Thank you for taking the time to be here and read this ❤
Until my next post, be well xXx