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With spring in full swing and summer just around the corner, more of us might be going outdoors for workouts and well, sweating a bit more! Some key nutrients you are losing when you sweat are:
- minerals (electrolytes): potassium and sodium
The great thing about our bodies is that the harder we workout, the hungrier we get and we naturally replace those minerals and water lost. So there really is no need to purchase supplements (unless you want to!) because the foods we eat are already naturally high in these minerals and the chances of not having enough in our body is unlikely. Take a look at the nutrition label for sodium and you will see what I mean!
For example, let’s take a look at sodium since it is the main electrolyte lost in sweat. If you had a hard workout and worked up quite the sweat, you may lose anywhere from 400-700mg of sodium from your workout. 1/4 tsp of table salt has 580mg of salt, 12 pretzels have 720mg of salt and 1/2 cup of 1% cottage cheese has about 420mg.
Sodium (salt) is found in most foods or can added to food and potassium is found in fruits and vegetables. Below are some suggestions to replace sodium and potassium losses.
- Cottage Cheese
- Sprinkling salt on food
- Oranges/ orange juice
Don’t forget about fluids! Aim to drink at 2-3 cups of water after a workout.
Interested to know more about how to refuel your body for sport?
Book an appointment and see how!
With the New Year, comes the excitement of new potential, hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Many think, this is a way to ‘wipe the slate clean,’ change my ways and never look back. Heard this before or something close to it?:
"This year my resolution will be to stop eating chocolate and lose 10lbs. I've gained so much weight. I'm so fat!"
But how many times have we set resolutions only to feel deflated and upset with ourselves a couple weeks in? Not a really great way to start and continue into the year! Changing the way you think and how you approach your goals will ultimately determine if your goals are met and how sustainable they are.
What is an Intention?
An intention is a plan or goal you have for yourself. It can be a word or sentence that you tell yourself to help deal with feelings you would like to change or a way to add value into your life.
For example, are you feeling scared and intimidated by something? Change your thoughts from "I am a failure and not good enough for this action" to "I am a strong person and I can do this action."
Intentions are more powerful than resolutions because they make you go inward to create change. They allow you become more mindful and honest with yourself, making you really think about what is behind a thought or feeling you might have.
For example: "I want to lose weight", may really mean, "I want to be happier or I will be happier if I just lose 10lbs".
But will you really be happier if you lose that weight? Or will you continue to put yourself down every time you miss a gym day or eat something “bad.”
By changing the way we think about ourselves, the way we talk to ourselves and the way we treat ourselves will help create a strong foundation to create lasting changes and a happier, healthier you.
Think about it this way – if we start building a house without the proper foundation, the house cannot withstand much of the environmental stressors placed on in. Much in the same way, when we continue to tell ourselves that we are fat or not good enough to accomplish something, even if we do reach our goal, it will not be sustainable and we won’t be happier.
If you reach your goal of losing weight or not eating chocolate, for example, but still have negative feelings about yourself, your body or whatever else it is, as soon as a life stressor comes in and you feel like you have fallen off the resolution train, up goes the weight or there goes the chocolate binge.
So cut yourself some slack, because whoever you are, I know you are amazing, and start filling your mind with those positive intentions that will get you far!
Here’s the How To:
- Start by looking inward. Reflect on what you want, what types of things you tell yourself, who these words may actually have come from (hint, it’s not you). This could be through exercises like mediation or writing in a journal.
- Next, think about what your resolutions have been in the past? How did they make you feel? (i.e. anxious, sad because you can never have chocolate again, worried because you may not be able to go to the gym seven days a week?)
- Think about how you want to feel this year.
- How can you reframe your thoughts to help nurture these feelings?
- Set your intention. Be specific. Create a short sentence of phrase for yourself.
- Post this phrase on your mirror, computer, phone, etc. Repeat this intention during yoga, when you wake up, after a meal, before you go to bed, just whenever you remember!
Have negative thoughts about your body?
Intention: I intend to love myself and my body more. Say, "I love myself and my body".
Intention: Say, "I am strong".
Unlike resolutions, if you stray from your intention, do not be hard on yourself. Remember, this is about the journey, not the destination. Let go of the desire to be perfect. Increase self-compassion, remind yourself of your intention and keep going.
With all of this said, intentions can be made any time during the year. If January 1st is not the right time for YOU then save if for a different time.
From my heart to yours,
p.s. These words are from background and teachings in yoga and do not reflect my background in dietetics. With that said, I strongly believe these teachings will help you reach your nutrition and health goals.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday filled with laughter, delicious food and great company! As we slowly get into our regular routine and plans for the New Year, talking about nutrition and food seems like the right place to start!
With nutrition, balance is always key. And while I fully endorse having a few of your favourite treats this time of year (or really anytime of the year), making sure you include healthy options is important. Your mood, gut and immune system will all thank you. Not to mention, going into the New Year healthy and energetic seems not only sensible but downright cool!
Part II of this blog focuses on specific minerals that help strengthen our immune system and keep germs where they belong (outside of our body).
Also, don’t miss out on some great meal and snack ideas at the end of the blog! Nothing better then putting theory into practice!
Found in a variety of foods and helps strengthen the immune system. We only need a small amount everyday for good health. Good news is, most people get enough through their diet!
* excludes women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Do not take more than 40mg her day
* Think the size of two white erasers for cheese.
Acting like an antioxidant in the body, selenium helps keep the immune system working!
* Think of the size of a deck of cards for meat servings.
Putting Theory into Practice: Snack and Meal Ideas
Happy New Year!
Keep those immune systems strong,
A well balanced diet is the key to staying healthy all year long. However, there are certain nutrients that may help prevent the cold/flu or decrease the symptoms we experience. Eating foods rich in these nutrients instead of taking a supplement will not only save you money but will provide you with other benefits such as meeting your fibre intake (i.e. from fruits, vegetables, whole grains) and other nutrients (i.e. calcium in yogurt, iron in pumpkin seeds).
It may not help prevent a cold but can decrease the duration and severity of symptoms. Since this is a water-soluble vitamin, any amount in excess of what we need is lost in the urine!
RECOMMENDED INTAKE to fight colds:
Do not take more than 2000mg. This can lead to digestive problems and kidney stones.
Found in many fruits and vegetables.
Keeps the immune system healthy!
Note: IU = international units (just how we measure vitamin D!)
Not found naturally in most food. Some foods have vitamin D added to it (i.e. milk).
*Think of the size of a deck of cards for meat servings.
** Take a look on the nutrition label, this amount can vary for yogurt.
This is one vitamin I do recommend taking a supplement, especially for those living in Canada where we have minimal sun exposure.
Staying hydrated helps moisten the lining the respiratory tract and prevents viruses from entering the body.
Wishing you and your families all the best and health this holiday season.
p.s. Check out my blog on Tips for Staying Healthy this Season if you haven't had a chance!
Between the busy schedules, time spent indoors and dry air, it’s no wonder this season increases our chances of getting the common cold or flu. With the possible increase of stress due to additional events or things on our ‘to-do’ list the amount of time we have to take care of ourselves mentally and physically decreases.
In other words, what we eat may change (less time to cook and meal prep) and our level of physical activity may decrease. Not to mention, self-care or time for ourselves, might completely go out the door.
In combination with being run down, not eating properly and increased levels of stress, our immune system becomes compromised and is not able to battle those nasty viruses that get in to our body.
So what can you do to prevent getting sick? Here are 5 Tips to get you started!
1) Eat a Healthy Diet
- Following the guidelines from Canada’s Food Guide is a great start! Having a balanced diet will provide you with all of the nutrients you need to keep your immune system working at its best!
- hese are just guidelines! The idea is to have most of the foods you eat in a day come from the Fruits and Vegetables group, then Grain Products, Milk and Milk Products and finally Meat and Alternatives. Do what’s right for your body!
2) Stay Physically Active
- This helps the immune system stay strong and fight off infections.
- Health Canada suggests being active for at least 2.5 hours a week.
o This can broken down into sessions of 10 minutes or more.
- Remember, every step counts! Do what you enjoy!
3) Get Enough Sleep
- The number of hours each person needs to sleep per night may vary on several factors (i.e. age, sleep derivation, etc.).
- Some studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can negatively affect your immune system in a number of ways.
- Guidelines suggest most adults need between 7-8 hours a night.
4) Reduce Stress
- Stress can weaken your immune system, thereby increasing the chance of catching a cold or flu.
- Take time for yourself and do the things you love!
o For example, take a walk, list 3 things you are grateful for, call a friend, meditate, go to the gym with a friend or by yourself or have a bubble bath
5) Wash your Hands!
- Use soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds to kill off those germs!
Christmas is one of my favourite holidays! I love the overall happiness the season brings, time spent with family, Christmas music and of course the delicious food and treats.
It is definitely a time for celebrating, enjoying the company of others and reflecting on what we are most grateful for. For some of us though, the stress of the season, especially around eating, can lead to feelings of guilt and anxiety.
Here are some helpful tips to help you focus on the present moment and the happiness that surrounds us during this time.
Eat Regular Meals and Snacks
- “Saving” all of your calories for the big meal can lead to feeling overly full, sluggish and perhaps even guilty for overindulging.
- Try having 3 meals and 2 snacks (if hungry) a day.
- Eating regularly during the day will help keep energy levels up and prevent you from overeating at a meal or over snacking on treats.
- Go to a party with an appetite but not starving!
Incorporate the Healthy Plate Model at meals
- Try incorporating this model wherever you go (restaurant, party, home, the mall, etc).
- This means: 1/2 plate vegetables, 1/4 plate carbohydrates (stuffing, potatoes, bread) and a 1/4 plate protein.
- Try to always use a plate!
- This will help in knowing exactly how much you are eating (i.e. appetizers, chips).
- Keep an eye on portion sizes. Maybe share a large dessert or choose a small square or two.
- Choose fruit if available plus a treat or two.
- Try thinking, “I can have something tomorrow again if I want to.”
Sip on Water During the Day
- If wanting alcohol or a sugary beverage, try to sip on water in between each drink to decrease the amount you have and stay hydrated.
- Hunger and thirst cues can often get mixed up. Staying hydrated can prevent this!
- Try flavoured water for a healthy twist.
- The holidays are a great time to start eating mindfully. Try to eat when hungry and stop when comfortably full.
- Create a nice eating environment and enjoy your meal! For example, place some candles on the table or a nice centre piece.
- Enjoy and savour each bite!
Lose the Guilt and Love Yourself!
- Having a “cheat day” and then restricting certain foods the rest of the week can lead to a binge and an overall unhealthy relationship with food.
- Try not giving food so much control over how you feel during the holidays. Enjoy each meal and treat and try to focus on all the positive things surrounding you!
- If you eat more one day, don’t stress or beat yourself up about it. Just pick up with your healthy eating habits the next day.
- Please, stay off that darn scale!
- This is something I encourage throughout the year and not just during the holidays. At the end of the day, the scale reflects just a number. Weight fluctuates daily and it is usually not because of body fat.
If you feel like you are needing a bit more advise or suggestions on healthy or mindful eating during the season, I am always here to help.
Although breakfast can be considered one of the most important meals of the day, what you eat before and especially after physical activity is equally as important. Some even argue that for athletes, post-exercise nutrition is the most important meal of the day!
With that said however, how to eat before and after exercise can be quite confusing. With all of the advertisements, advice and myths out there it’s no wonderful people aren’t sure where to turn. What I commonly see are people are either all gung-ho on the protein shakes and supplements (completely disregarding the need for carbohydrates and other essential nutrients) or decide not to eat at all. If your goal is to have energy for your next workout, build muscle or keep your body healthy, follow some key suggestions below.
Let’s start at the very beginning. What you eat before exercise is going to help you get the best workout possible and hopefully prevent you from “hitting the wall” or losing all your stamina and energy halfway through. In other words, eating well before physical activity will prevent fatigue and allow you to exercise longer and with more intensity.
During the Day
- Eat regularly
- This usually means 3 meals and 2 snacks
- Stay hydrated and sip on water
- Include carbohydrate-rich foods in your meals and snacks
- i.e. fruit, grain products, milk products, starchy veggies (i.e. potatoes, corn, squash), legumes, and lentils
- If your exercise is intense, you may need a smaller meal a few hours before to prevent an upset stomach
You know your body the best! Try different foods before a workout/event/competition. See what works best for you and stick with that. Listen to your body!
2-4 Hours Before = MEAL
- Have a balanced meal + 500ml (2 cups) fluid
- The meal should be rich in carbohydrates, lower in fat and fairly low in protein and fibre
- This allows for proper digestion
- Toast with peanut butter, fruit and glass of milk
- Sandwich (meat, vegetables, cheese) + milk or fruit
- Fruit smoothie + homemade muffin
- Oatmeal with fruit and milk
- Whole wheat wrap with meat and vegetables
- Stir fry with meat/tofu/legumes, brown rice and vegetables
Note: Portion size depends on your body size, gender and duration of exercise. For a full meal, some people find they need at least 3-4 hours before they exercise.
1-1.5 Hours Before = QUICK ENERGY SNACK
If you are hungry or your workout will last more than 1 hour, grab an “energy-sustaining” or “quick-energy snack.”
- Snack + 200-250ml (1-1.5cups fluid)
- The snack should be high in carbohydrates, lower in fat/protein/fibre
- Fat, protein and fibre are all important for a healthy diet. However, because they take longer to digest, eating foods high in these nutrients may cause bloating or discomfort during a workout.
- Try to avoid foods rich in “simple carbohydrates” (i.e. high in sugar – chocolate bars, candy). These may cause a surge of energy and then a quick drop halfway through your workout!
- Fresh fruit
- Home-made muffin
- Bowl of cereal with milk
- Apple sauce with cinnamon
- Regular yogurt + berries or other fruit
- Toast with peanut butter
- Cheese + crackers + grapes
- Fruit + yogurt
Interesting Nutrition Fact!
Did you know…
Carbohydrates are the MAIN source of energy for our body and the ONLY source of energy for the brain? Makes sense why you may find it hard to concentrate if you are hungry, hey? or feel like you have no energy for a workout if you had one quick meal during the day?
In other words, whenever we have food with carbohydrates in it, our body breaks it down into glucose (or energy). This is then converted into glycogen and stored in our muscles and liver. This glycogen acts like a “reserve” which our body will then use for energy during exercise.
Why do we want nice and full glycogen stores?
- For a better workout!
- Glycogen acts like a back-up or reserve (think ‘pantry or reserve for energy’)
- During prolonged activity, our body will use glycogen for energy
Will I notice if my glycogen stores are low?
- If we do not eat enough carbohydrates, glycogen is not stored to help us fuel activity lasting more than 1 hour
- Your endurance will drop and you will “hit the wall”
Can I replenish glycogen stores during a workout?
- No! This is why eating well during the day is so important!
What happens if I decide to have a low-carbohydrate diet?
- You will have lower glycogen stores and your muscles will become tired more quickly during exercise
- Your body will breakdown protein (i.e. your muscles) to make glucose
- Carbohydrates spare protein from being broken down to make glucose (energy) when needed
- People who eat enough calories and carbohydrates in the day will use protein less as an energy source
** Remember, carbohydrate is the main source of energy for physical activity **
Within 30 minutes = SNACK
- As soon as you start to cool down, the recovery clock starts ticking
- Try to eat within 30 minutes of completing any type of physical activity. (This does NOT include stretching).
- Body cells are most receptive to being replenished during this time
- Restore glycogen stores
- Help the immune system recover more quickly
- Help increase overall endurance and performance (especially if you plan on working out the next day)
- Your best bet: simple carbohydrates (i.e. tropical fruits like mangos, bananas, peaches).
- These are quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and will help replenish glycogen stores immediately
- Repairs muscle damage
- Aim for 15-25g protein (Your body cannot absorb more than this at one time)
- Replace fluid losses (about 2 cups fluid)
- The longer and more intense your workout, the more you need to drink
- Hydration = pale yellow urine
- Staying hydrated will help improve performance
- Replace losses
- Sodium is the main electrolyte lost in sweat
- If you sweat a lot, consuming foods higher in sodium will help replenish these losses
5. Vitamins and Minerals
- Eating a healthy diet during the day will help support your health and immune system
- As we increase exercise, free radical formation is increased. Antioxidants will help protect your body’s cells from this damage.
- Found in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, and garlic
- Kefir + protein power + fruit (Lisa’s smoothie!)
- Banana + Greek yogurt
- Peanut butter sandwich + berries + milk
- Chocolate milk + fruit
- Cottage cheese + rice cracker + peanut butter
- Cereal + milk
Within 2 Hours = MEAL
- Include all 4 food groups
- Rich in complex carbohydrates (high fibre options) and protein
- Stir fry with meat/ tofu/legumes, brown rice and vegetables
- Sandwich (meat and vegetables) with milk
- Whole wheat pasta with meat sauce + side salad
- Scrambled eggs with cheese and diced peppers + whole grain toast
- Grilled salmon or chicken breast + baked sweet potato + steamed vegetables
- If activity is less than an hour and of less intensity, you could go straight to a meal (make sure you incorporate a source of carbohydrates, protein and fluids).
- Planning meals and snacks ahead of time will help ensure you perform at your best and recovery properly
- Choose real food first!
- Coach. (2016). Fluids and Foods AFTER Training/Competition. Retrieved September 2016, from http://www.coach.ca/fluids-and-foods-after-training-competition-p154681.
- Coach. (2016). Eating for Endurance - Making Sense of Sport drinks, Bars, and Gels. Retrieved September 2016, from http://www.coach.ca/eating-for-endurance-making-sense-of-sport-drinks-bars-and-gels-p154675.
- Erdman, K. (2016). Recharge and Replenish - Recovery Nutrition. Retrieved September 2016, from http://www.coach.ca/recharge-and-replenish-recovery-nutrition-p154667.
- Coach. (2016). Optimizing Your Recovery Routine. Retrieved September 2016, from http://www.coach.ca/optimizing-your-recovery-routine-p157156.
- Sharp, A. (2015). Best Pre Workout Meals & Post Workout Meals for Endurance & Strength Training. Retrieved September 2016, from http://www.abbeyskitchen.com/nutrition-best-pre-workout-meals-post-workout-meals-enduranc/.
- EatRight Ontario. (2016). Stay Active. Eat Like a Champion. Retrieved September 2016, from http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Physical-Activity/Stay-Active-Eat-Like-a-Champion.aspx#.V-xFioRlkSJ.
- EatRight Ontario. (2016). Healthy Eating Checklist for Active Adults. Retrieved September 2016, from http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Physical-Activity/Healthy-Eating-Checklist-for-Active-Adults.aspx#.V-xGRYRlkSJ.
- EatRight Ontario. (2016). Sports nutrition: Facts on carbohydrate, fat and protein. Retrieved September 2016, from http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Physical-Activity/Sports-nutrition--Facts-on-carbohydrate,-fat-and-p.aspx#.V-xF34RlkSJ.
- Staton, J. (2010). Running: The Complete Guide to Building Your Running Program. Toronto: Penguin Group.
- Dietitians of Canada. (2016). Fuelling up before exercise. Retrieved September 2016, from http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Sports-Nutrition-(Adult)/Fuelling-up-before-exercise.aspx.
- Dunford, M. (2006). Sports Nutrition: A Practice Manual for Professionals (4th ed.). USA. American Dietetic Association.