If you don’t eat meat one of the first questions you probably get asked is: where do you get your protein from?
So here is some answers:
Legumes are a great source of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates and include beans, peas, lentils and nuts.
Lentils are widely available and can be added to salads, wraps, curries, soups or stews. Black beans are also a rich source of antioxidants and one of the healthiest legumes you can eat. Legumes contain more protein than any other plant food. They are also high complex carbohydrates and low in fat, so they are a great food.
Loaded with magnesium and antioxidants and fibre. Quinoa is becoming more and more popular with households.
Peanut butter is great for a quick easy snack and brilliant to have after a workout. Due to its high fat and protein content it should help you to feel full and help to get rid of those sugar cravings. Just having one tablespoon equates to 4g of protein. You could also try other nut butters such as almond, cashew, or macadamia. I like to use peanut butter in my own cereal bars. When you make your own you know exactly what has gone into them.
There is a lot of meat alternatives around today and I do think that they taste great. They are packed with plant based protein. For a quick easy meal you could use a meat alternative chicken burger in a bun with a side salad sprinkled with seeds for extra protein. Give it a try before you say “I only eat proper meat”.
Hemp and Chia Seeds
These tiny little seeds are packed with protein and can be added to smoothies, homemade bread or homemade cereal bars.
So as you can see you can get plenty of protein from plant sources if you choose not to eat meat.
Iron is an essential mineral, found in every cell of the body.
It is an important component of the haemoglobin in red blood cells, which carries oxygen around the body.
If you have too little iron, your body can’t make enough healthy oxygen-transporting red blood cells. The knock on effect is fatigued body, which impacts brain function and immunity. Many people do not get enough iron from the food they are eating.
Iron deficiency anaemia is a very common nutritional deficiency in particular amongst children and women of childbearing age.
If you have heavy periods they can leave you lacking in iron and so can pregnancy as your body requires extra iron for your growing baby.
Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency
Lack of energy
Shortness of breathe
Loss of appetite or nausea
Cold or numbness in the fingers and toes due to poor blood circulation
Children may become very tired and have low concentration levels
Heme And Non-heme Iron
Dietary iron comes in two forms: heme iron which is found in animal flesh and non-heme iron which is found in plant foods and dairy products. Research suggests that heme iron is more absorbable than non-heme iron. Non-heme iron is better absorbed along side vitamin C.
Good Sources Of Iron Include:
Brazil and Cashew nuts
Dates and prunes
Now you can see why iron is so essential and has a huge impact on your body. Try to include iron rich foods in your diet.
Do you find that your energy levels drop throughout the day or do you find it hard to get out of bed in a morning?
Living an on the go lifestyle often results in burnout or recovering from an illness can greatly impact your energy which is very true for me at the moment.
A lot of people reach for pick-me-up snacks or energy drinks and wonder why the effects don’t last for a long period of time.
There is so many things you can do to improve or hep maintain your energy.
Some of the main causes of low energy are………..
Poor Dietary Choices
Our bodies are not designed to consume a lot of the processed foods we eat today in the Western Diet. This also includes fizzy drinks, alcohol and extra caffeine. A lot of these foods also contain high amounts of sugar. Eating lots of white foods such as white bread and pasta can create ongoing stress for the pancreas causing it to release high levels of insulin which is required to lower the blood sugar levels by pushing sugar out into the cells. This is what creates the high/low energy crash cycle. This can lead onto you craving more sweet foods.
Another diet related energy problem is candida , this is a fungus that belongs to the yeast family. When your body is healthy, it will maintain small amounts of the fungus in the digestive tract. Poor dietary choices can lead to a candida growth to spiral out of control. When this happens it can be a major cause of fatigue.
Most people deal with some sort of stress on a daily basis. In today’s busy lifestyle many people are multi-tasking and struggle to find time to have relaxed mealtimes and stop working while they are eating. This will continue to deplete our energy.
What Can You Do to Nourish Your Body??
First of all do not skip breakfast. Having a good breakfast is key for balancing blood sugar. Try to avoid sugary cereals especially ones that change the colour of your milk.
Try to ensure that all your meals and snacks include some good quality protein. Don’t forget this can include nuts and seeds.
Consume plenty of green vegetables and most non-starchy vegetables give nourishment without causing blood sugar spikes. Non-starchy vegetables include asparagus, bean sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and celery.
Eating some raw foods will also help in a great way as these are bursting with energy and enzymes which are normally destroyed during cooking. By eating raw foods means that your body doesn’t have to use a lot of energy to produce enzymes for the digestive process, reducing in more energy available for daily activities. If you don’t fancy eating raw foods you could try them in a juice first. Add in chlorella or spirulina for an extra protein boost.
Drinking water is so important, if you make one change today drink more water. Try to have two litres per day this does not mean two litres of coffee. If you struggle drinking cold water include herbal teas or add some fruit to your water. I start the day with a cup of boiled water. I am not saying completely stop other drinks just be aware of how many you are having. It is all about balance I have one coffee mid morning then change to herbal teas or boiled water.
Our bodies are designed to move all day long. Eventually lack of exercise will impair multiple physical functions necessary for health. Think of your body as a car that requires fuel from food and water and plenty of exercise to keep the engine running at optimum level.
It is important to get regular exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to join a gym. I personally don’t like gyms. I enjoy yoga, cycling, walking and hula hooping. Finding a form of exercise that you enjoy is really important then it doesn’t feel like a chore. I do 10 minutes of yoga or hula hooping in a morning and it makes me feel so much better after I have done it. I won’t lie some mornings it can feel like a lot of effort, but it is definitely worth it. If you haven’t done any exercise for a while then build it up slowly. I haven’t been able to exercise properly for a few months and it has made a huge difference to my fitness levels. Set yourself small achievable goals.
Time For You
Mindfulness is good for stress, if that’s not for you do ensure that you take some time out just for you. Have a brew in peace on your own, read a magazine, phone a friend for a chat or go for walk. Even if you only have 10 minutes to remove yourself do it, it will make a difference if you are feeling stressed.
Try to make small changes don’t do everything at once or you are setting yourself up to fail. Change one thing a week and see how you get on. Before you eat something stop and think how will I feel after I have eaten it. Also I am not saying stop eating chocolate or your favourite foods, its about moderation. I eat chocolate and enjoy it, but I don’t have it every day.
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Everyone suffers from headaches and migraines at some time in their life, but for some people their life can be ruined by cluster headaches or chronic migraines. Although the types are physiologically different there are many similarities in the nutritional management. Other factors can also contribute to headaches and migraines.
Have small well balanced meals little and often, with small satisfying snacks is the best plan for eating. One of the most common triggers is low blood sugar levels. Your blood sugar may occasionally drop a little too low or drop too quickly which can trigger headaches and migraines. One of the worst things you can do is eat very sweet food on an empty stomach. This can cause the sugar level to rise too quickly to which the body reacts by providing more insulin, the hormone that breaks down sugar, causing the sugar level to fall again. When you feel low in sugar eat something that is both high in fibre and sweet. This could be fruit, a slice of wholemeal bread with a topping of banana or honey, roast ham or a flapjack. It is advisable to keep snacks like these readily available at work and at home.
Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach, or when you are dehydrated, exhausted or stressed can lead to an enormous headache or migraine the next day. Champagne and red wine which are rich in phenolic compounds are the worst offenders. Next in line is white wine which is very acidic. If you know which drinks affect you more then avoid them or drink plenty of water before, during and after. If you still wake up with a headache try a cup of dandelion tea.
Many people find that the more caffeine they drink, the greater the chance of developing a headache or migraine. Coffee is the main offender here, but caffeine is also present in tea. Caffeine intake in general should be no more than three cups of tea or coffee in a day. This should be reduced if coffee affects you adversely. If you like coffee first thing in the morning then try having it just at weekends, rather than every day. Try other hot drinks to replace coffee such as herbal tea – peppermint, camomile, cranberry and boiled water which you can add a slice of lemon. If you decide to cut caffeine out of your diet entirely, you may suffer from withdrawal headache. This may develop approximately 18 hours after your caffeine fix as your body is being deprived of toxins. You may prefer to lower your caffeine dependence cup by cup over a few days. Also having caffeine when you are hungry, stressed or totting up to ten coffees a day then having another before you go into a stressful meeting can be a trigger for headaches and migraines. This can be caffeine in tea, coffee, cola or chocolate.
There are also other foods that have also proved to be triggers in some people. The foods include processed meats, such as salami and other sausages, mangetout and the flavour enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG). MSG is found in a lot of ready meals, bottled sauces, crisps and often found in Chinese food. Eating fresh food will mean that you avoid MSG.
Aged cheese can be a trigger. This includes cheddar, blue, brie, parmesan, gruyère and Swiss. Fresh cheese that hasn’t through the process of ageing is a more preferable choice. For instance farmer’s, cottage, cream, American, risotto and mozzarella.
Aged cheese contains more of a substance called Tyramine is formed in foods as they age or are fermented. It comes from the amino acid Tyrosine.
Nitrates are the substances that are added to meat products in order to give them a pink or red colour to preserve them. Unfortunately they can trigger migraines / headaches in particularly sensitive people. Nitrates are found in many sausages, chipolata, chorizo, hot dogs, salami and cooked meats such as corned beef. If you find that these trigger then avoid processed meats that are coloured red, instead try cold cuts of beef, chicken or turkey. Don’t forget to include the fish in your diet.
Lactose may be a trigger that can cause severe headaches. This occurs when the digestive system is deficient in an enzyme called lactase which breaks down lactose found in dairy products for example cream, milk, butter, yogurt, cheese and ice-cream. For many people all that needs to be done is to avoid having too many foods that are high in lactose. You need to be careful that you don’t compromise your calcium status by cutting out dairy products. Consult your own doctor if you are concerned.
Research has displayed results that the metabolism of people who suffer from migraines is slightly different from those who don’t suffer and it seems that foods that are high in copper can cause problems. These foods include shellfish, nuts, chocolate and wheatgerm found in wholemeal bread and other wholewheat products, however you would need to eat quite a lot of these coppery foods before a problem occurred. Rather than completely removing these foods from your diet just reduce the amounts you have.
Sleep is also very a important part of your health schedule, irregular sleep patterns can often contribute to migraines. Over sleeping at weekends can induce migraines as much as under sleeping due to stress. Try to get the same regular amount of sleep each night.
Keep a diary of what you are eating and what you are doing to find out if there are any triggers. Some trigger foods can cause a migraine or headache within 20 minutes of eating it, whereas a stressful meeting wouldn’t cause a migraine for a few hours.
Body weight – try to keep your weight within the ideal range for your height. Bring overweight can adversely affect your blood pressure and this heightens the potential for migraines headaches.
Water – are you dehydrated? Dehydration commonly brings on both a headache and poor concentration.
Relax – it is vital to reduce both physical and emotional stress and taking time out each day even it’s only 15 minutes a day. You will make a great difference to your wellbeing. Even if you can’t identify that it’s stress that provokes your headaches or migraines, you should still take the stress / relaxation aspects of your life seriously.
I hope this information helps as migraines and severe headaches can have a huge impact on your life.