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Pregnancy – Cravings

I’ve been pretty lucky when it comes to pregnancy cravings. Nothing too ordinary or weird food combinations (apart from cheese with mustard, but I wouldn’t count it as it was a one off trial which was good). I put it all down to good nutrition before conceiving. Really it is the key to prepare your body and mind as much as possible before such an amazing and extraordinary journey.

Before becoming pregnant I was very disciplined with what I eat. Training every day, some days twice a day, does require dedication, pre-planning and finding easy ways for nutritious meals and snacks for quick recovery and adequate energy supply. Paul and I started to eat much more real, natural, unprocessed and balanced food. I also cut down any kind of wheat products as it was causing me discomfort in my GI track.

So when we found out that I was pregnant I knew that my diet has to be even better now. Not only I had to ensure that I get required nutrients, vitamins and minerals for me but I am growing a human being inside me which completely depends on my nutritious intake. Big big responsibility if you ask me. Anything I put into my mouth will affect this little creature for life.

Good Cravings
Loads more fruit such as apples, grapes, bananas, nectarines, citrus fruits and any kind of fruits that are juice and sour. Before pregnancy I was starting to watch my fruit intake due to their high fruit sugar content and only had max. 3 portion a day (I was opting more and more for fresh vegetables). That was a bit odd but I wasn’t too concerned about it. I needed it – body was screaming for it.
Protein in form of chicken, fish but mostly BEEF! I could have killed the cow myself for a good old steak or a proper burger (medium rare of course, I know, I know not suppose to have it medium rare while pregnant, but the cravings….). We started to eat animals protein every day, where before we would have perhaps 2 or 3 days a week no animal protein at all (apart from eggs for breakfast). But again growing human cells requires protein, complete protein. And the best source for complete protein comes from animals. Plus iron! No wonder all my blood results always showed high iron present. Wonderful!
Dairy products – Especially in the last 3 months of the pregnancy I crave much more yogurt, full-fat, plain and/or flavored. Loads more cheese of any kind and from. Even soft cheeses and occasionally blue cheese (bad girl!). And of course butter! Slightly salted on ryvita – delicious! Even though I take Calcium supplements I still have yogurt 3 times a day. I can feel strong bones are baby is already has!

Otherwise I eat as before with small adjustments such as smaller portions and more often.

And here to:

Bad Cravings
I had a phase between 12 to 18 weeks of pregnancy where I craved and just had to have it no matter what – bread with butter. By bread I mean good rustic bread such as dark rye or spelt with loads (really loads!) butter. It was bad, really bad. I could consume a whole loaf of bread and in one session. No problem. I lost all senses of control and discipline (and my mind).

This phase went for about 6 weeks, with some days I could control it but some days it was too much and I had to give in. How did I feel? Rubbish. I had headache for days, dehydrated, constipated, water retention, low on energy, bloated, bad mood and temper (not good combination anyway with pregnancy hormones). And as I still tried to train every day (low to medium intensity) my recovery times were long (due to dehydration). I was in agony after only short weight session. Plus my teeth became very sensitive (!). All symptoms pointing towards WHEAT! And I knew it but I couldn’t gain control.

I did a little research and quickly found that craving bread with butter could be associated with low calcium! Of course butter has calcium but clearly not enough for both of us. I increased my yogurt intake (full fat Greek yogurt) and started taking Calcium supplements.

It was a miracle. After only 2 days my cravings disappeared almost over night. My teeth got better. Water retention went down, I became more energetic. No headaches. I started to feel great! And most important I got “control” over my mind.

All I can say, yes cravings are odd thing during pregnancy and can take over your mind (or make lose your mind). But listening to your body and noticing your behavior is the key. We can blame the pregnancy hormones, which are true, but at the end of the day if we are mindful of what we are putting in our month and think for one moment is that doing us and our baby any good, we can prevent any long term health issues for both. I know we all are unique and different but the basics are the same. Eat good, feel good, be healthy and happy. After all cravings tell us (or scream at us) that something is missing in our bodies, something is inadequate in our diet.

Nutrition is my passion. Food is my lover. Cooking is a second nature. Nature is what I love.

Happy carving!

Irina

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Posted by on 7 April, 2014 in Health & Wellbeing

 

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Energy versus temperature and running performance

Something we have been reading about this year, and are now keenly observing in our own performance is the relationship between the body’s temperature and its performance in running.

As we all know, the human body is a marvelous piece of [nature’s] engineering, and it is very good at maintaining a fairly constant temperature through a range of environmental conditions. The body has to gain or lose heat in order to do this (controlled by the hypothalamus in the brain). Our core temperature remains quite constant through this regulation, but the skin and underlying tissues are subject more to environmental changes.

As we exercise, we produce heat and a surprising fact we found is that a huge amount of the energy we use during exercise is actually in regulating (or losing) that heat! The body simply can’t keep up with the rate of heat creation in its effort to stabilise the temperature, be that heat created from our increased metabolism, muscle movements or external factors such as hot weather.

It is quite a complex subject so I won’t attempt to explain it in full here… Anyone interested in learning more would do well to read this article on runtheplanet.com though as it goes into great detail about this subject!

Through our own experimentation we have found the following tips to be very helpful and have shown us a markedly noticeable difference in energy levels when training and competing. Some of this is pretty obvious stuff of course, but we are surprised at the number of runners we see out there in the hot weather still slogging away wearing their long sleeves and tights!

  • Plan your runs at the cooler times of day (early morning or in the evening)
  • Wear as little as is decent!
  • Hydrate hydrate hydrate
  • Replace lost salts after your run (and hydrate some more!)
  • Acclimatize the body to the temperature if you must run in the heat, start slowly and build up to pace
  • For really long runs take some good quality energy gels/sweets which will help replace salts and carbs on the go. (Needless to say you should have water with you as well!)
  • Weigh yourself before and after your runs to understand how much water you lose. Then replace it before your next workout!

Some times it is hard to get the balance of clothing correct. I always tend to over-dress as it feels windy or chilly, but then halfway through my run I wish I was in just a vest and shorts! It takes a bit of getting used to your own body, especially as you improve and get fitter, but its worth keeping in mind that your body will perform better (and recover quicker) if it can more easily regulate heat loss…

Enjoy the summer! 🙂

Paul.

 
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Posted by on 4 July, 2013 in Health & Wellbeing, Recovery, Running

 

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Obsessive Society – Health, Weight Loss, Diets….

We are obsessed with healthy eating, dieting, weight loss. But do we actually eat/live healthy? Looking at the rising obesity and diseases (such as cancer, heart diseases, diabetes) rates worldwide, we definitely do not eat/live healthy! Majority of us do talk a “good game” (or procrastinate to the next more “convenient day” or always find an excuse not to do it, pulled through!) but when it actually comes to eating/living/being healthy/doing it, fail! Why? What is holding some of us back or off? Why many of us struggle with loosing weight, keeping the weight off (!), being healthy, active and ultimately happy?

Lately I get to hear very often when people look at my food and say: ‘oh that looks very healthy?’ ‘You are eating very healthy!’ ‘Oh that looks delicious’. ‘Oh that is so colourful and appetising!’ ‘Oh I wish I would have time to do my own lunches, make home-cooked meals’…..

Well for me it is natural and essential, as we all call it “healthy” eating. That is what makes me, ME. A Human Being! And to be totally honest with you, I am starting to hate this phrase “healthy eating”!

And why do I eat such “shockingly” healthy foods? Because I don’t eat and want crap which is full of sugar (artificial or not. I won’t go into the detailed science with you here), bad fats, preservatives, artificial colours/flavours and other ingredients which I cannot even pronounce. Just think, if you cannot pronounce a certain ingredient how on earth does your body deal with it? Stores as fat, messes with your neurotransmitters, hormones and and and….

I came across something very interesting the other day. “If you are reading ingredient lists on products, then you don’t eat clean/lean/natural and (ok I say it here), healthy”. It is bloody true! Absolutely, if you are in the supermarket and read label after label then you are avoiding the real food! The food which is good for you, your body, mind, and and and! And you are in the wrong aisle! (Ok enough of rant).

On some occasions I get asked: ‘Don’t you treat yourself? Have some of the yummy cakes in the kitchen’. I just wonder – why? And that is what I really don’t get! Why do I want to “treat” my body and mind with high sugar, bad fats, crap food, empty calories?! A treat for me is a nice bowl of fresh berries (you can even have a spoon of full fat crème or Greek yogurt if you like), big fresh steak of tuna or piece of nice dark chocolate (at least 70%)! That is what a treat is – and should be! Treat, that actually gives your body good nutrients, cleansing your body from free radicals, oxidation stress, nourish your mind, gives you positive energy (emphasis on POSITIVE). Not crap, highly processed food! Please….

And then people say: ‘oh that is so difficult to resist those cakes, chocolate, biscuits, sweets in the kitchen’. Really? I don’t have a problem with that. Why? Just read the ingredients list and research each ingredient (good old google will help you with that). Find out more information and then think about it (digest the information you just read). Do you really want to have it in your body? Probably not (I hope so though otherwise I really don’t understand the world anymore).

The emphasis here is on natural, real, fresh food! We are designed to move, we are designed to eat whole food, real food.

And just an end note: I am proud to say that I haven’t been to McDonald’s (or similar establishments) in 15 Years! And I am not going to change it! I am shocked to see a queue in the Drive Through every time I pass a McDonald’s. Shocked! Seeing all the families with their kids stuffing their face with who knows what is in the “foods”!

Happy & natural eating!

Irina

 
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Posted by on 23 May, 2013 in Health & Wellbeing

 

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Abdominal (core) strength training aids portion size control?

Something the two of us have been discussing today is the effect that having a well-trained and strong ‘core’ (specifically the abdominal wall) could have on the function of the digestive organs, and whether this effect could help in controlling portion size of the food we eat…?

Irina has been particularly good at developing a serious core strength over recent months, using many different exercising techniques (which we will be blogging about separately soon). Recently she has been noticing that she feels full from eating less food than previously was the case. I have also noticed that my portion sizes in general are smaller now than they were several years ago, as my fitness levels have increased.
So perhaps there is some link?

From researching online I can’t find a huge amount specifically on this subject.

Some things I’ve found relating to health benefits of abdominal strength training (by no means an exhaustive list!):

  • It improves overall stability;
  • Promotes good posture
  • Can reduce back pain / weakness
  • Improves breathing under increased effort
  • Improves athletic performance
  • Added protection of internal organs
  • Improves digestive function

These last two we find of great interest for this discussion… Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

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New Years resolutions don’t work!

Happy New Year to you all! Hope 2013 will bring you health, excitement, adventures, fun, laughs (loads) and anything you wish and are working hard on.

It is New Year and many, many of us set New Years resolutions. Put a list together (either written or mentally) things we want to improve, achieve, get rid of, become better etc. The majority are probably loss weight, become fitter, start running, eat healthier, reduce alcohol consumption… You get the picture. So we are all set and ready to attack. We are so excited, motivated, full of energy, running to the shop and buy things we never though of buying (we don’t even know if we need it, how to use or what this thing does and if the claims are true), joining gym… We can visualise our goal, we know what we have to do. Until…..
Let me tell you the truth – New Years Resolutions don’t work! Boom! I know we don’t like to hear it or acknowledge that fact. But that is the truth. And why? Because they won’t last long, we get tired and bored, we get frustrated, we lose motivation, then the time issue, other commitments, other excuses, bad weather and and and. So after only few weeks we get somehow deflated, realise that it is harder than it seemed at the beginning. So what is the solution?

1. Don’t set New Years resolutions. It is good to have a starting point and 1st January seems like a good date to start something new (or get rid off) but somehow this particular date seems to be associated with a lot of pressure, from society. Start any day, any time. Start now!

2. Do it in stages. Step-by-step. Change, say two things first. For example, start walking more and eat more fruit and veg a day instead of bread or drink more water instead of soda/coke. See how it goes for few weeks, how you feel (and your family), once you got confident and comfortable, then change a few more of your habits. And so on. Be experimental with ingredients, recipes. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 3 January, 2013 in Health & Wellbeing

 

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Other names for Sugar

Next time you do your food shopping look at the label on the products you usually buy. Watch out for sugar which some food manufacturer “hide” under different names for it. Those are:

Sugar – obvious
Sucrose – yeah can recognise
Glucose – sounds familiar
Fructose – somehow known
Corn Syrup – oh this one very bad! Cheap and vastly available.
Honey – natural but some manufacturer use corn syrup to make up bigger portions.
Molasses – probably not used that often
Sorbitol – alcohol sugar
Mannitol – alcohol sugar
Brown sugar – is what is says
Dextrose – also known as a corn sugar (ah naughty)
Levulose – aka fructose
Invert Sugar – mixture of glucose and fructose
Fruit juice concentrate – ….

The last one is shocking – Fruit juice concentrate! I only have to think on the isle in the supermarket we usually do our weekly shoping which contains drinks made of Fruit juice concentrate!!!! I am shaking my head in disbelieve…
Don’t be blind! Check before you buy!

You are welcome.

Irina

 
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Posted by on 17 December, 2012 in Health & Wellbeing

 

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