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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It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and used to help treat arthritis, cardiovascular health, diabetes and neurological conditions.
The curcumin in turmeric has proven strong anti-inflammatory properties that block the action of inflammatory molecules in the body.
Curcumin gives it its vibrant colour and is a potent antioxidant that is very effective at fighting free radicals and helps protect the skin, eyes and hair. It assists in keeping them youthful which is what we all want.
It also has anti-bacterial and cholesterol lowering properties.
Curcumin can help reduce the build up of the protein amyloid-b in the brain. Amyloid-b causes oxidative (free radical) damage and inflammation in the brain and is one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Antioxidants in turmeric help to fight this free radical damage.
I take turmeric as a supplement and every morning I have grated ginger and 1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric in boiled water using an infuser teapot.
The bright vibrant turmeric can have many health benefits.
At the moment I think this is a common feeling amongst most people especially if you are at home.
It is so easy to keep going back to your kitchen for more snacks.
It is better to tackle the problem of feeling hungry the natural way. Try to avoid appetite suppressants and diet pills.
Here is some ways that could help:
Eat Enough Protein
Do you get sugar dips especially around 3:30 in an afternoon? You can hear the refrigerator calling your name!!!
Try including more protein in your meals. A high carbohydrate meal can make your energy and blood sugar levels peak and trough. By increasing the amount of protein on your plate, you will help your body convert carbohydrates to sugar more slowly. Try to ensure that 30% of your meal is protein such as chicken, fish, chickpeas, fish and quinoa, snack on nuts, eggs and cheese.
Eat More Fibre
High fibre foods will keep you feeling fuller for longer after your meal. Foods such as brown rice, bran and oats contain soluble fibre, which acts like a sponge and soaks up moisture in the stomach. The fibre swells up making you feel fuller for longer and also helps to release sugars slowly to prevent energy dips. You can also try high fibre apples, avocados, beans, broccoli, nuts and seeds. I do understand it is more about what is in your cupboards at the moment.
Avoid Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, sweets and biscuits are high on the glycaemic index and release their sugars into your system quickly giving a short term energy fix. This is why they leave you feeling hungry again. Choose fibre-rich wholegrains to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Break Bad Habits
Are you really hungry? When we are tired, bored, stressed or upset we often feel the need to eat. This type of food craving is psychological. Habitual eating such as wanting a dessert after your tea is also known as psychological eating. Another type of craving is physiological, when you are feeling low on energy or feel light-headed, you crave something to satisfy the need quickly, such as biscuits or chocolate. Having an apple or some nuts and seeds would fill the void in the same way and will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Try to have healthy snacks in between your meals to avoid the feeling. Tis should stabilise your blood sugar and shouldn’t experience the hunger pangs as your body knows it won’t be starved.
The brain recognises thirst and hunger as similar sensations. Before you grab something to eat think when did you last have a drink. Try drinking a glass of water and waiting 20 minutes to see if you are still hungry. Try to drink 2 litres of water over the day. this will also stop overeating.
Increase Your Exercise
Exercise helps to prevent cravings and curbs your appetite. Aerobic exercise in particular has been proven to trigger the release of the appetite-suppressing hormone peptide YY. Exercise helps to control blood sugar and the body’s insulin response. Just ensure you eat something nutritious after exercise for example a boiled egg or oatcakes within 30 minutes of exercising, this will help your body to recover. I understand at the moment it is a bit more difficult, but can go out for a run or a daily walk. If you have exercise equipment at home use that or go on YouTube. If there is a will there is a way!!
Even though it is a bit more difficult at the moment you can still help yourself to stop feeling hungry.
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Your immune system can weaken at times, but you can give it a good boost!!
So here is what you can do to help………
Protein is the building block for many of the immune system’s key players such as antibodies and the white bloods that search out and destroy germs. Many protein foods are great sources of zinc, iron and many of the B vitamins which are essential for a strong immune system.
Make sure you are eating lean meat, chicken, fish, legumes, eggs, yogurt and other foods that are high in protein.
Just 1/2 a cup of pumpkin seeds contains around 5mg of zinc, which one of the most vital nutrients for overall immune function. You can roast pumpkin seeds in the oven for 15 minutes at 150.
These are a fantastic source of the immunity-supporting anti-oxidant mineral selenium. When you are low on selenium your white blood cells are slower to kill off microbes. Selenium also protects from free radical damage. Getting enough selenium rejuvenates immune cells so they are able to fight off the germs. All you need to have is 1 or 2 brazil nuts per day. If you are catching cold going then increase slightly.
Yogurt With Active Cultures
About 70 per cent of your body’s immune cells reside in the gut, so it just goes to show that a healthy gastrointestinal tract means a healthy immune system. Make sure you check the label on the yogurt for Lactobacillus acidophilus friendly bacteria. The more friendly bacteria you have, the less likely you are to be attacked by the nasty bugs. If you buy a live plain yogurt it will be low in sugar as well.
Cup Of Tea
The majority of us like a good cup of tea and now you have a reason to have one. If you haven’t tried green tea or you have and don’t like it, well this might just change your mind. Green tea is a major store house of immunity-boosting compounds including antioxidants like EGCG. Even black tea appears to have some immunity-enhancing properties.
A very good friend of the immune system is garlic especially when you eat it raw. It has strong antibacterial properties. It is also good at fighting viruses. Its sulphur compounds are rich in antioxidants. Chop or crush your garlic and let it stand for 10 minutes to fully release the compounds healing potential.
Fruit And Vegetables
Eat a variety of colourful fruit and vegetables as they are a powerhouse of antioxidants, substances that our immune systems need in vast quantities especially when we are unwell or under stress. Stress and sickness increase the body’s production of the rogue, cell-attacking molecules known as free radicals. the damage these do makes us more susceptible to infections, which then means more free radicals. Antioxidants help break this cycle. Try to make sure you have a variety your immune system will thank you for it and so will your bosses when you aren’t always off work with illness.
As you can see it is definitely worth thinking about what you are eating.
Don’t forget to keep drinking water. I start the day with a cup of boiled water and finish the day with a cup of boiled water with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of honey.