The soya bean has been part of the human diet for thousands of years and, thanks to a protein profile nutritionally equivalent to meat, it has made its way into the spotlight as a suitable alternative. Soya was considered by the Ancient Chinese to be one of the five sacred grains vital for life (alongside rice, wheat, barley and millet), but it is still met with its fair share of controversy.
So, what is the verdict? Is soya a suitable meat replacement? Are there dangers of long-term soya intake? And what do the experts have to say on the issue? Fry’s Vegetarian Foods has long been hailed as SA’s best producer of tasty soya alternatives to meat, and when putting this question to them I was of course hoping for a positive outcome – I’m not ready to part with my delicious faux-chicken nuggets just yet!
Dietitian Caryn Davies RD(SA) gives us the run-down:
Please note that I’ve summarised her text for easy reading, and you are welcome to read the full article here.
First we need to acknowledge different sources of soya and their different potential health implications. Genetic modification of agricultural soya (much of our SA soya options) has been associated with negative health and environmental consequences. This, however, is not true for soya that has been naturally farmed.
Finding Valid Research
The next point is identifying which sources of information (both for or against soya) are valuable and credible. It is often unfounded claims that cement themselves in the minds of readers, inaccurately portraying different foods and their properties. What makes research so complex, is that not all sources of information are equally credible. There are also areas in which different studies (on the same topic) give conflicting results, as well as areas where not enough research has been done to provide reliable answers.
We’ve looked at position statements of the American Dietetic Association, the FDA, and the US National Library of Medicine (amongst other sources) to gather our research.
Soya Health Benefits
Soya is suggested to benefit: heart disease, reduction of menopausal symptoms, prevention of hormone dependent cancers (breast, prostate and endometrial) and bone health. It contains healthy phytochemicals (plant compounds) called isoflavones. There are various types of isoflavones, but two specifically (genistein and diadzen) have been studied closely and found to be very similar in structure to the hormone estrogen, which therefore mimic the activities of estrogen in the body.
These so-called ‘plant hormones’ are much weaker than true hormones, yet seem to have a positive influence on estrogen balancing in the body and lowering LDL cholesterol. Phytoestrogens found in soya foods also act as antioxidants, carcinogen blockers or tumor suppressors and may exert a protective effect against hormone related cancers by binding at estrogen receptor sites. Further studies suggest that plant based estrogens may reduce the incidence of vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes) of menopause and lastly that they may protect women against osteoporosis by the action of genestein, which stimulates osteoblasts (bone forming cells).
Exploring Side Effects
As long as you are choosing good quality soya products, that have not been genetically modified, there is very little reason to avoid soya with the obvious exception being a soya allergy.
There have been references to limiting soya in order to combat gout. All protein foods contain substances called purines, which yield uric acid as a by-product of metabolism, and could thus supposedly aggravate acid build up and the symptoms of gout. However, avoiding soya would warrant avoiding meat protein, which is usually higher in purine. It is also worth noting that improvements in the efficacy of gout medication have largely replaced the need for rigid dietary restriction of purines in recent times.
There is a big difference between soya based foods and soya supplements, which contain a much higher concentration of isoflavones, and unfortunately there is not enough accurate scientific evidence to support the use of soya supplements. As with many healthful nutritional ingredients, more is not necessarily better – a balanced diet remains the professional prescription for optimal health.
The only specific recommendation available is from the FDA, which advises 25g soya protein per day for adults to potentially reduce the risk of heart disease.
I am going to say something that may seem a little odd, but stick with me. I would like to make you think about the words that you use when it comes to food.
Do you use any of the following adjectives about food: good, bad, clean, junk, rubbish?
Have you ever stood at the front of a room filled with your nearest and dearest and promised a life-long commitment to a diet?
No? Then why does it seem appropriate when we use judgmental and shaming words around food? I am not unfaithful if “cheat” on my diet with a piece of chocolate. If my goal is “clean eating” does this mean I am “dirty” if I eat chocolate?
Food is food. It can be less healthy or it can be a healthy choice.
I’m a dietitian in private practice. This means that I spend most of my day talking about food. I spend a lot of time helping people reprogram the way they think about food so that their relationship with food becomes less emotionally charged, less judgmental and easier.
When you leave this mortal coil, you will not be judged by the kilograms of broccoli that you have eaten. What you eat does not make you a good or a bad person. It may make you healthier and perhaps good blood sugar control means you’ll be vibrant and less likely to snap, but the food you eat should not shape how you feel about yourself. Feeling guilty because you ate a biscuit is not a useful emotional response.
The words we use when thinking and talking, shape how we feel about things. If you purposely construct a food vocabulary that uses unemotional language, you are less likely to have an emotional reaction when you eat.
If you have an emotional vocabulary around food, it can be changed. Start by thinking of eating as an act of nourishing yourself, a part of self-care. You can choose healthy food or less healthy food. Sometimes we’ll really feel like something less healthy and this is okay as long as we focus on eating healthy foods 80-90% of the time. Be aware of the words you use about food. If you are using emotional language, do not judge yourself. Simply being aware of the language is the first step in making a positive change. If you do feel like something less healthy, think of what the rest of the week’s eating has been like and if you’ve been making consistent healthy choices, allow yourself the space to mindfully enjoy something less healthy. Afterwards, observe the emotions that emerge in response to what you ate. If you do feel guilty, ask yourself where you learned to feel guilty, do you think it is a useful response to food and if it is not, can you safely let go of this pattern to create a new, unemotional reaction to eating?
Changing a food language takes time and some consistent practice but it can be done and it is incredibly freeing.
I’m sitting here with a mouth full of almond, buchu honey, and cinnamon, wondering whether I might be developing a new obsession with honey. Surrounded by various jars scattered all around my desk together with a paper entitled ‘Antimicrobial properties and isotape investigations of South African honey’ – I have evidence that I might be headed there.
Kim Morgado from The Honey Bear who is without doubt Johannesburg's greatest expert on all things ‘honey’, has sent us some medicinal honey mixes after a fascinating chat I had with him a few weeks ago where he intensified my fascination with nature’s most wondrous elixir. He also gave me a copy of this study, which he was involved in with the University of Witwatersrand, published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology that proves the efficacy of South African raw honeys as effective antibiotics. Actually, the study goes as far as to say:
“In conclusion, the in vitro antimicrobial efficacy results from this study highlight the potential for using selected South African honey samples as an effective antimicrobial agent in wound healing. Some South African honeys further demonstrate the potential to be utilized to heal potentially problematic burn wounds in patients... Finally, there is no doubt that this study, highlighting antimicrobial activities which have some superior activity, and in some cases superior to the manuka honey, puts South Africa on the map towards providing high standard therapeutic honeys.” - (Khan, F., Hill, J., Kaehler, S., Allsopp, M., & Van Vuuren, S. (2014). Antimicrobial properties and isotape investigations of South African honey. Journal of Applied Microbiology).
Honey has a mystical and magical quality for me. The idea that something so beautiful, so sweet, so dreamy, and decadent is produced by nature, is evidence for me of a grander design and intelligence.
Actually the way nature produces food is always all that for me – evidence of an intelligent, abundant and loving universe, which is why I’m as passionate about the connection between food, farming and the cycle of life as I am.
I am also mystified by how many different types exist in nature’s perfect candy store. The fact that honey from bees that have pollinated the wild indigenous boekenhout plant, comes out as a caramel-like toffee without any alteration from a human hand, is just incredible to me. Then there’s the fact that such limited quantities exist of boekenhout honey because it’s such a fragile plant – it only exists in rocky outcrops where there is little grass, it is ridiculously sensitive to frost, and only really survives in valleys where the plant is protected from extreme elements. It’s a miracle when the plant survives, according to Kim. When it actually lives long enough to flower and for the bees to pollinate, the honey that comes from this rare plant is just about the most unusual and most delicious honey I know of. That’s all incredibly special, sacred even. I do not believe that you can manufacture any artificial toffee that could be as incredible as boekenhout honey and the fact that it is so rare and that there is never any guarantee from year to year that there will actually be any available, just intensifies its value for me.
Then there’s the difference between honeys based on what fauna the bees have been pollinating, that is also so remarkable. That the nutritional properties, flavour, texture, and colour of honey varies so much depending on this, fascinates me. There is as much variation in honey as there is in the rest of natures biodiversity. No two honeys are alike. Owning a store focused on only organically or naturally farmed produce – we can only sell honey from bees pollinating wild indigenous fauna and flora. We will not purchase honey from hives placed in conventionally sprayed crops or that are near conventionally sprayed crops.
The best we are getting based on all this is: Buchu Honey – said to be the most diabetic friendly honey from indigenous wild occurring buchu; Buffalo Thorn Raw Honey, that comes from one of the most powerful mythological and medicinal trees in Africa and said to be the best type of honey for chest complaints, skin infections, boils and wounds; and Boekenhout Raw Honey, of course the most dessert-like and proposed best for healing wounds.
We also have two medicinal mixes that have been made for us by Kim, both I am particularly excited about. The one is called ‘Coughs, Colds and Flu Honey Infusion‘ and the other is a mixture of almonds, Buchu Honey, and cinnamon and is called ‘Insulin Resistance Honey Infusion’. Use this one as a sort of medicinal nut butter. The combination of the diabetic friendly buchu honey, cinnamon spice to improve insulin resistance and almonds to further lower the GI, makes this a delicious honey, nut butter.
If you have children with niggly coughs, please think of using the natural honey cough mixture with raw ginger, propolis, olive leaf, echinacea, onion, rosehip and vitamin c rather than the syrups from pharmacies loaded with sugar and artificial colorants. The natural medicinal ingredients in this honey mix will soothe their coughs and itchy throats while boosting their immune system so they can fight the infection.
We have the coastal honey in from Umhlali. This is a very dark and almost treacle-like runny honey with again, character peculiar to the salty, humid north coast areas. Trevor, the bee-keeper collects honey from hives scattered around neighbouring farms and from wild hives that need relocating. There are two types, solar extraction apparently contains more propolis. And finally, we also have the coastal raw bush honey that generally goes very quickly!
Oats! They are a staple in my diet, and for so many reasons. Whether in my morning smoothie, a bowl for breakfast, or part of my latest sweet treat recipe – there are several reasons to love oats.
1. Oats are a good source of silica. Silica is known by some as the greatest beauty mineral as it assists healthy connective tissues (think muscles, hair, nails, bone and skin).
2. Oats are an amazing source of fibre. Fibre not only helps to lower cholesterol, but aids digestion, and decreases the risk of diabetes and weight gain.
3. Oats are amazing for your skin! Treat your skin to a deliciously cleansing mask:
- 2 tbsp oats
- 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
- Juice 1⁄2 lemon
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or splash of water
- Combine in a bowl, and leave on skin for 15 minutes
4. Oats contain complex carbohydrates -the best kind of carbohydrate! Contrary to popular belief, carbs are not the devil. They are actually the body’s chief source of energy. They’re also the easiest macronutrient to absorb, thanks to their ability to quickly convert into glucose for energy. However, to sustain energy, it’s better for our bodies to absorb glucose slowly. That’s why it’s important to go for ‘complex’ rather than ‘simple’ carbs.
5. Oats can be so versatile! I love them best for breakfast or dessert. Sweet tooth? Try my Nutella Oats or my Apple Pie Oats! Loving oats for breakfast? Try my Crunchy Peanut Butter and Banana Porridge. Yum!
So you’ve lost the weight... Now what?
I often discuss weight loss solutions on my blog, as this topic is always in demand. I provide tips, solutions and options on how best to achieve this. Weight loss is fantastic when it results in you looking and feeling great. However, the question we tend to overlook (”now what?”), is just as important as the weight-loss itself.
You’ve successfully lost the weight, you are looking and feeling fantastic, but how do you now maintain it? This is often the point at which people begin to gain the weight straight back. They feel as if the work has been done and now it’s time to relax back into old habits, only to find the weight creeping back on.
I am continuously telling my clients that weight loss is not just weight loss. Weight loss is a permanent lifestyle change. Remember these three words, say them out loud, and let them sink in, because if these three words are not implemented, then all that hard work goes straight down the drain.
Our inherent desire for quick results, coupled with the demands of our external modern-day environment, has ingrained in us unrealistic expectations in many areas of life - weight-loss included. It is always wonderful to achieve a goal, especially when it comes about quickly, but what happens to that goal when it comes into being?
Think of it like a business – say you have launched a business, and you have reached a point of great success – now what? Are you just going to stop working and let your business run itself? – never! You are going to put as much as you can into your business to have it grow further, so that you may reap even more success. The same goes for maintaining your body – it is constant work, and requires a major focus on your mental, physical and emotional health.
We need to change our perceptions about weight-loss to encompass more than just looking good. Reaching your desired body shape requires you to be healthy, and to maintain great health in order to maintain a great body. There are no short cuts or quick fix solutions. Only consistency and dedication to your health – every single day for the rest of your life.
So how do you maintain your body shape? Here are 12 great ways to keep yourself in check:
- Drink warm water and lemon every morning upon waking.
- Take a good quality probiotic to ensure proper digestion.
- Drink loads of water – at least 8 glasses per day.
- Load up on vegetables, and lean protein.
- Don’t fear healthy fats – these keep your blood sugar levels stable and make you feel satiated.
- When you eat, sit down, chew slowly and enjoy every bite. Make sure you are eating and only eating. Don’t pair eating with activities such as watching TV or playing on your phone. Let yourself be fully present and aware when you eat –you will be pleasantly surprised at the difference this makes to how you feel after a meal.
- When you feel a craving coming along – brush your teeth. The cool minty taste will prevent you from wanting to eat.
- Find ways to move more – walk your dogs, go for a stroll in the park, find a sport you enjoy or create a hiking club. Making exercise social will help you enjoy it more.
- Stick to small dinners and bigger lunches.
- Try to get some protein in at every meal.
- Avoid carbs from grains at night. Stick to vegetables and proteins instead.
- Above all, don’t obsess about your weight! Give your body love, show it appreciation, and I can guarantee it will love you straight back!
This is a perfect nutritious recipe for those “Rush Hour” days. This simple recipe is filled with all the good stuff that will make you glow from the inside out. The ingredients are easy to find and easy on the budget. Boiled eggs will keep you fuller for longer and will prevent you from binge eating. Broccoli is a super food known for its high levels of calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis. Broccoli is also high in fibre, which aids in digestion, maintains low blood pressure and curbs overeating. I cooked the mushrooms in a balsamic reduction source giving this lunch box recipe a burst of flavors
- 2 boiled eggs
- Handful of broccoli florets
- Handful of chopped raw peppers (red, yellow and green)
- 100 g sliced mushrooms
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Boil eggs and put aside to cool. Steam broccoli for 5 minutes and put aside to cool. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a small pot. Add the mushrooms and allow it to cook for about 3 minutes. Add Balsamic vinegar and allow it to simmer for 3 minutes on a low heat. Mix all ingredients in your lunch box and add the chopped raw peppers. Enjoy!
Apart from being so refreshing and hydrating in hot summer weather, watermelon has numerous health benefits.
Watermelons are full of beta-carotene (the bright pinky-red colour) which is converted into vitamin A in our bodies. Vitamin A helps maintain eye health by protecting against age-related macular degeneration and night blindness.
Watermelons are also high in Vitamin C which is known to be an excellent immune booster and cancer fighter. Vitamin C also helps heal wounds faster so if you have any slow healing wounds up your intake of vitamin C rich foods. It will also help prevent cell damage and promote healthy teeth and gums.
Watermelon can boost your energy levels as it contains Vitamin B6 which stimulates the production of dopamine in our brains and makes us feel good and relieves us from stress, fatigue and anxiety.
They have an alkalising effect in the body when properly ripe. Eating lots of alkaline-forming foods in the form of fresh, ripe, fruit, vegetables and greens, can help reduce your risk of developing disease and illness caused by a high-acid diet, in the form of breads, dairy and artificial cool drinks.
Lycopene is abundant in watermelons, which is good for reducing inflammation. It is also good for achieving younger looking skin; lycopene is an antioxidant that neutralizes the free radicals which cause wrinkles and sun damage. The riper the fruit the more antioxidants and better looking skin and hair.
Now it's not just the fruit that is so good for you, the seeds are hugely beneficial as well. Most people would spit them out but here are some reasons to consume them:
- The seeds contain fatty acids which keep your skin moisturised, soft, firm and well toned and can help prevent acne and other skin disorders.
- They can prevent signs of aging because they contain antioxidants and oils that make your skin look younger, healthier and more vibrant.
- The oils also help rejuvenate the elasticity of your skin.
- They contain high amounts of proteins such as lysine and tryptophan which the body needs to keep hair healthy and strong, preventing breakage and keeping it moisturised.
A good way to enjoy all the benefits of the watermelon and its seeds is to blend it up and make a smoothie. I add in some sprigs of mint and a few blocks of ice and it's an incredibly refreshing and tasty drink.
From contributing author, Jessica Sepel's, website.
In my opinion, the issue with coffee is not the coffee itself. It’s the way people have their coffee.
The additions of sugar, milk, cream and sweeteners are what make that innocent cup of coffee – not so innocent! In fact it can be the cause of many of your unwanted health issues. I harp on and on about coffee being dangerous in excess to an already stressed out body because the caffeine can cause a rise in cortisol and adrenaline. And too much cortisol causes all kinds of hormonal issues – and weight gain around the midsection (no thanks!).
Too much coffee will also have a major impact on liver and digestive function, but if you follow my blog – you also know that I say YES PLEASE to my 1 cup a day. All sorts of research supports that moderate amounts of coffee are GOOD for our health. So how do you have your coffee?
If you have a double shot with full cream milk and 2 sugars…and maybe some cream on top? – I can assure you this is NOT good! Or perhaps you are having a large cappuccino. This is 2 cups of milk + 2 espresso shots + chocolate sprinkled on top… not so good! Basically most coffee options at Starbucks are not going to be a good option unless you have a long black… What do I think a good coffee looks like?
- A long black – with a dash of good quality cows milk or almond milk (if you prefer dairy free)
- A piccolo – a shot of espresso with only a small amount of milk added. This is what I have, sometimes I have cows milk and when I am cleansing I enjoy almond milk
- A macchiato
- An Americano
- A ½ latte/flat white cup of milk with the espresso shot – something I order sometimes
- A small ¾ latte/flat white –(this is ¾ of the cup milk) with no added sugar or sweetener
- A small latte (this is a full cup milk) – with no added sugar or sweetener
A small latte is actually quite a lot of milk. This is as much as I would go. No more! Little tips:
- Don’t have chocolate on top
- Go for good quality organic cows milk – low fat or full fat
- Only have 1 shot in your coffee, max
- Try to have 1 coffee a day – max 2!
- Don’t drink coffee after 1pm
V = Vata Dosha consisting of space and air with qualities that are light, dry, cold, erratic, moveable
P = Pitta Dosha consisting of fire and water with qualities that are hot, oily, dispersing, ascending
K = Kapha Dosha consisting of earth and water with qualities that are heavy, wet, cold, stable
Allspice is pungent, heating, balances K and V and unbalances P. It relieves gas, promotes peristalsis and stimulates metabolism. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Anise is pungent, heating, balances K and V and unbalances P. It relieves gas and promotes digestion. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Basil is pungent, heating, balances K and V and unbalances P if taken in excess. Basil is said to open the heart and mind to the Divine. Good for all seasons but less in summer.
Bay Leaves are sweet, pungent, heating, balance K and V and unbalance P if taken in excess. They stimulate digestion and relieve gas. It promotes sweating and can be a diuretic. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Black Pepper is pungent, heating, balances K and V and is neutral to P, but unbalances P if taken in excess. It is a powerful digestive stimulant that relieves gas, neutralizes toxins, and burns up mucus and promotes health in the lungs and heart. It has been used in food and ceremonies since Vedic times in India. Good for all seasons.
Cardamom is pungent, sweet, heating and balances V. Its sweetness helps to alleviate P if not taken in excess and balances K. It is one of the best herbs for enhancing digestion, relieving gas and strengthening the stomach. It is good for coughing and breathlessness as well as burning urination. Good for all seasons.
Cayenne is very pungent and heating, balances K and V and unbalances P. Cayenne can be thought of a containing a great deal of sun energy because of its dramatic heating effect. It has the ability to relieve internal and external chilliness. Cayenne also helps to alleviate indigestion, stimulates the digestion and burns up toxins in the digestive system. It is good for circulation. It is pleasantly warming on a cold winter day. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Cinnamon is pungent, sweet, astringent and heating. It balances K and V but in excess may unbalance P. Cinnamon’s sweet, astringent qualities make it suitable for P who are not in a state of excess. It stimulates digestion and circulation, relieves gas and balances blood sugar levels. It also helps to prevent heart attacks owing to its blood thinning properties. Good for all seasons.
Clove is pungent, heating, balances K and V and unbalances P. Cloves stimulate digestion and metabolism and eliminate gas. Acts on sinus and bronchial congestion. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Coriander is bitter, astringent and cooling. It balances V, P and K (tridoshic). It helps to cool P aggravations and is good in general on a hot summer day. It can reduce fever and is a diuretic. Good for all seasons.
Cumin is bitter, astringent, pungent and cooling and balances V, P and K (tridoshic). It stimulates digestion and relieves gas. Wonderful medicinal qualities that can be used for all digestive complaints. Improves absorption of minerals in the intestines and can act as a mild pain reliever – stomach, nausea and diarrhea. Very restorative to the tissues. Good for all seasons.
Curry Leaf (Neem Leaf) is pungent, sweet and heating. It balances K and V and unbalances P. Best for autumn, winter and spring. Dill is pungent, bitter and cooling. It balances P and K and is neutral for V.
Dill helps with digestion and is a good cooling herb fro the summer. Good for all seasons.
Fennel is sweet, astringent and cooling. It calms and balances V, P and K (tridoshic). It is good for strengthening the digestive fire without unbalancing P. It helps to cool pitta, relieves gas and digestive slowness. Can help get rid of intestinal worms. Fennel is such a good digestive aid that in India it is used as an after-dinner ‘mint’. Good for all seasons.
Fenugreek is bitter, sweet, pungent and heating. It balances K and V and although it slightly unbalances P, it can be taken in small amounts by P. Fenugreek helps digestion. Fenugreek sprouts are good for indigestion. Good for all seasons.
Garlic is pungent, heating, balances K and V and unbalances P. It is a digestive stimulant, dispels gas and is a great general healer. It contains all the Ayurvedic tastes but sour. In its sun-dried form, garlic’s characteristic aroma and stimulating qualities are significantly diminished, so it can be considered more of a sattwic and balancing food than the heating and activating raw form. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Ginger is pungent, sweet, heating, balances K, V and P. It stimulates digestion, improves absorption and assimilation of nutrients, relieves gas if not taken in excess and helps to detoxify the body, especially the liver. It improves circulation, relieves mucus congestion (has an affinity for the lungs); helps break down blood clots and may aid in preventing heart attacks. Good remedy for common cold, cough and breathlessness. Dry ginger is more balancing for K because of its drying qualities and fresh-squeezed ginger is slightly more balancing for V because of its more fluid qualities. Its sweetness allows P to take it in minimal amounts. When ginger is organic, freshly picked and young, the skin does not need to be peeled. Good for all seasons, but less in summer.
Horseradish is pungent, heating, balances K and V and unbalances P. It helps to relieve mucus and stimulates digestion. Best taken in small amounts and can be used to help heal asthma.
Mustard Seed is pungent, heating, balances K and V and unbalances P. It stimulates digestion and relieves gas. Black mustard seeds are slightly more heating than yellow mustard seeds. The most powerful action of the mustard seed is to help heal the bronchial system and to get rid of intestinal worms. Also a digestive. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Nutmeg is astringent, pungent, heating and sweet. It balances K and V and unbalances P. It increases food absorption, particularly in the small intestine. It helps to relieve V in the colon. It is often used with cardamom. Too much nutmeg has been known to have a disorientating effect on the mind. Helps relieve cough, induces sleep and can reduce pain. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Onion is pungent, sweet and subtly cooling to the digestive tract in it post-digestive effect. In its raw form it balances K, slightly unbalances V and unbalances P. Its sweetness, watery properties and post-digestive slowing of digestion may unbalance K if K is already in excess. Best for autumn, winter and spring.
Saffron is cooling, sweet, astringent and tonifying, aids digestion and is balancing to V, P and K (tridoshic) and has an affinity for the female reproductive system. It improves skin colour and complexion, is a blood cleanser, liver detoxifier, nerve tonic, blood thinner and heart tonic. Aphrodisiac and increases sperm count.
Salt is heating, increases P and K and decreases V. Salt is a digestive and improves flavor of food. It is a laxative and antiseptic and can be used to induce vomiting. Rock salt is rich in minerals and a strong digestive with a sweet post digestive effect therefore not as aggravating to P and K.
Turmeric is bitter, astringent, pungent and heating. Is known as the best medicine in Ayurveda as it cures the whole person. Taken in small amounts it balances V, P and K (tridoshic). It may unbalance V and P if taken in excess. It is good for digestion, relieves gas and increases peristalsis and maintains the flora of the intestine. It has tonic properties and is an antibiotic. It improves and balances metabolism. It is said to purify the subtle nerve channels of the body helping to reduce anxiety and stress; is an anti-inflammatory used to treat arthritis and period pains. Good for all seasons.
I often get asked the difference between my ON-season and OFF-season nutrition plan, and I hope it will give you an understanding of how I approach things on a personal & professional level. As most of you know, the best results come from what you put into your mouth and can make up to 80% of your results. The other 20% is smart dynamic training designed for what you want to achieve and the type of life you want to live.
Now I eat really healthy most of the time (another 80/20 rule) so for the 20% that I am relaxing a bit, my vices are sparkling wine (in winter it is red wine), dark chocolate, pretzels, and Italian panini. These treats I enjoy over weekends. In the past I use to beat myself up and feel this extreme guilt when eating anything remotely “unhealthy” but as I have gotten wiser (ok, older) I have come to understand the importance of “living” and “balance”. I use these words a lot but it’s just because they're so fitting!
The other 80% of the time I eat really healthy & clean. This means fresh whole-foods, loads of veggies, seasonal fruit, raw nuts, seeds, whole grains, I use loads of spices & herbs, and I experiment with food a lot. Now when it comes to ON-season eating, the major difference comes in cutting out the 20% treats, and controlling quantities on certain foods. I love the food I eat and the type of food doesn’t change, just the treats get taken away and quantities adjusted.
Below I have made a comparison example of how I function ON and OFF season with my eating. Now I could to try eat my ON-season diet for the entire year, but that doesn’t give me much room for “living”. In the past I have done the all year round “clean eating” but have just ended up deprived, irritable, frustrated, and binging when I felt I “deserved” a day off, only to beat myself up the next day. This was a continuous cycle and not a very healthy place to be in, emotionally or mentally. This was not working for me and I needed balance back. So although I am not as lean during my OFF-season, I am definitely happier, healthier and far more energized.
ON-Season Eating Plan(I measure most of my foods, except the veggies)
- Upon waking: Green tea, followed by my Veggie Green Juice about 45min later
- Straight after 1st workout: Vegan shake & 1 seasonal fruit (e.g. medium banana) & vitamins
- Salad of spinach (unlimited), 125g raw mushrooms grilled, sprouts, 1 large tomato.
- 1 medium banana OR 1 thin slice of 100% rye bread
- If avocados are in season I will work it into my calories for the day
- Black coffee
- Large salad (unlimited), baked sweet potato (quantities measured), legume & seeds (quantities measured)
- Green tea
- Again, if avocados are in season I will work it into my calories for the day
- 2 rice cakes with peanut butter (depending on how I am feeling for my 2nd workout of the day, I might add a banana)
- Black coffee
- Veggie Green Juice with plant protein powder added
- Unlimited amount of stir fried vegetables OR oven baked vegetables (specific selection of vegetables e.g. baby marrow, aubergine, peppers, onion, green beans, broccoli, spinach, tomato, pumpkin, carrots, beetroot, butternut, mushrooms, red cabbage, white cabbage etc) cooked with coconut oil and seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices.
- Alternatively, homemade tomato OR pumpkin soup
OFF-Season Eating Plan
This entails pretty much anything I feel like eating as long as I am making the healthiest choice possible, and I always start with 1 or 2 cups of green tea first thing in the morning.
- I still have my Veggie Juice OR vegan shake before my workouts with a seasonal fruit. This is on mornings that I have early clients. On late mornings or weekends I start with meal 2
- Spinach, mushrooms, sprouts, tomato, medium banana, 2 thin slices rye toast AND ½ small avocado
- Cup of coffee
- Left overs from the previous night, or salad wraps, or my Vegan muffins, or even my crunchy muesli, it all depends on how I am feeling
- 1 fruit (if I am hungry)
- Green tea
- This varies between stir-fries, roasted veggies, soups, barbecues, LOADS of salad, sweet potato wedges, wraps, barley, corn on the cob etc
The key thing to remember for the above is that it's all about balance. For example, if I had a wrap at lunch I would probably just have roasted vegetables and salad at dinner. Or, if I had a salad & avocado for lunch, I might have wholemeal spaghetti with my vegan bolognaise for dinner. Then on the weekend I will add my treats.
I have really made an effort not to put limits on myself, because in the end I will just end up wanting things more. This is different for when I am prepping for a show because there is an end goal in site. I also make an effort to use common sense. Just choose whole-foods, fresh foods, natural foods, NO junk food, NO over processed foods, no meats, dairy & animal fats. By doing so I am always in best shape I can be to enjoy my life.