As wrote in my previous post, I started 2016 with the firm idea to take better care of myself. People that have known me for years remember that I could eat basically any kind of junk food without remorse or major impact on my body. But as I grew more conscious of the impact of my daily habits on my body I also knew that it was time to be more careful.
I started simply, with avoiding sugary foods, too much fat, carbohydrates, alcohol, etc…to start losing some weight quickly (with the help of my brand new Gym membership it was easy enough). Of course what I wanted was to find a diet that I could follow daily without feeling frustrated or bored, and with simple but original recipes as I do not know how to cook (pretty unimpressive when your father is an Italian Chef).
At this time I was excited to find many blogs with surprising and healthy recipes that are easy to try without necessarily putting so much effort every day (maybe one day when I’m married with kids I will make the effort to behave like a good housewife).
Light and healthy recipes blogs
Budget Bytes is a colorful blog created by Beth, a former microbiologist with degrees in both Clinical Laboratory Science and Nutritional Science from Louisiana State University that decided to:
“[…] document my attempts to cook delicious and (mostly) nutritious food on a small budget. I hope to give confidence to new cooks and help inspire people to learn how to cook and reduce their dependence on the prepared food industry”
The pictures just give If you visit the website you can register to automatically receive the Top 10 Most Popular Recipes e-book. You can find here-under the link to some of my favorite recipes (think I am probably gonna cook one of them tonight):
CRISPY BAKED HONEY SRIRACHA CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS (OK that’s the unhealthy one!)
Another website that I have used to prepare light cakes is La Ligne Gourmande, created by a mother of 3, fan of fitness and running, who shares light and especially tasty gourmet recipes in line with her healthy lifestyle:
“Because the key word here is to have fun, without constraint, without remorse and with respect for our environment and our bodies. This therefore requires the use of healthy, organic, most of unrefined time. Fruits and vegetables have a special place, whether salty side as sweet and chocolate is king. “
My advise: check her sugar/butter free cakes. My absolute favorite is the Brownie beets without butter or sugar (as incredible as it sounds it is made with beetroot!). You can also try the tasty Chocolate & avocado Brownie recipe.
On the healthiest side I and tasty dishes easily made (for me that is the essential part):
PS: the website is originally written in French but translated in English as well. Translation is not always accurate but recipes are simple enough to be followed.
How I tried Food Supplements to lose weight quickly:
While following many bloggers and Insta-girls I quickly saw that there was a very trendy product they were all using as part of their diet: flavored SoShape powder berlingots that they would use to replace 2 of their daily meals:
“One rule only: eat what you want for lunch! Add one So Shape berlingot in the morning, another in the evening, and all the authorized bonus foods you desire. Without even thinking about it, you will lose weight and get in shape. All the required macro and micronutrients in one natural and allergen-free drinkable meal to get fit and fulfill your body’s needs.”
I started with the smallest challenge by buying 10 berlingots for 5 days reboot cure. And it really works, for a quick fix I have not tried anything faster. The taste resemble very well the flavors on the boxes: Oreo, Stracciatella, Lemon Cheese Cake, White Chocolate for the sweet ones. I like I little less the salty ones like Curry or Bolognaise Pasta, Veggie soup, but as I have read on Instagram (#shoshape) it really depends on people.
So I was very happy with this product but for me it can only help either to give you the kick at the beginning of a diet or to quickly loose weight gained from a particular event (Hello Christmas debacle!). I still needed to find a “mantra” to learn how to eat properly and with no frustration.
How to eat healthy on a daily basis:
As you can see on these websites, it is easy to have healthier meals when you use fresh (organic) products and cook at home with no additional fat. However, after reading an infinite number of articles and books, registering to become a certified Nutritionist and trying on myself different diets, there is only one sure thing: nutrition and diets are not a precise science and everybody has a different opinion on how to lose weight and stay healthy. Basics are pretty well known by everyone now: eat lots of vegetables (cooked for fibers and raw for vitamins), eat good proteins and whole cereals. Besides that there is no sure thing!
The Fight The Fads Facebook page, created by 3 Nutritionists from the UK, perfectly explains why so many diets are totally inefficient and are based on unproved evidence. I also started following websites like Nutrition Facts (physician and New York Times bestselling author Michael Greger M.D. scours the world’s nutrition research to bring daily videos and articles), or the French website La Nutrition which is extremely rich in facts and latest articles on Nutrition.
And that is how I actually learned about the revealing concept of Glycemic Index, which is the potential of a food to affect blood sugar levels when ingested. When you ingest high GI foods it create a sugar high in our blood followed by a sugar crash, which increases appetite and fatigue but can also lead, on the long term, to insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease.
Focusing on minimizing or eliminating foods which are high on the glycemic index while emphasizing foods low on the glycemic index like fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains stabilizes the sugar levels in your blood (no sudden high).
Foods are therefore ranked on a scale from 0 to 100 based on how much they raise your blood sugar level:
- High-GI foods (70 or higher): white rice, white bread, pretzels, white bagels, white baked potatoes, crackers, sugar-sweetened beverages
- Medium-GI foods (56-69): bananas, grapes, spaghetti, ice cream, raisins, corn on the cob
- Low-GI foods (55 and under): oatmeal, peanuts, peas, carrots, kidney beans, hummus, skim milk, most fruits (except those listed above and watermelon)
The lower a food ranks on the glycemic index, the less it tends to cause cycles of spikes in blood sugar followed by sugar crash. Following this concept is based on prioritize low GI foods to help to keep your blood sugar levels stable, to attain or maintain a healthy weight but also to have more energy throughout the day. Other more recent studies are now taking into account GI “load” which considers the serving sizes people actually eat which changes the scale of certain woods. I have been following this concept for a year, basically just avoiding white rice and potatoes. It made a huge impact immediately and the good part is that your body metabolism increases and even when you go out and have some big meals the body knows that it it an occasional behavior and you do not put on weight!
Many books in English exist on the subject but I could not advise any particular one as I have purchased the excellent French copies of The new IG diet & The Guide of Glycemic indexes and nutritional values).
For more medical facts you can read this article from Harvard Medical School with links to the complete list of the glycemic index and glycemic load for more than 1,000 foods as clear explanation on glycemic index and glycemic load:
How I enrolled to become a nutritionist:
After becoming passionate about this new subject and enjoying learning about the latest theories and lifestyles to live a healthy life, I thought that I could actually learn the real facts. I have been following online courses on many topics recently (see more on post Week 1 – How I started e-learning) and thought that maybe having a proper degree in something both useful and for which I cared personally could be a good resolution for future business projects. I have started since September 2016 my training to become a Nutrition Counselor and, as seen on Internet, I realized how it is important to keep reading the latest facts as it is not yet a sure science and new and conflicting theories keep being published every year. So the studies continue but I now question everything I read and try the theories on myself when possible.
This year I have the knowledge to conduct a healthy lifestyle and I want to keep not only my commitment but mainly spread the word to help people to loose weight and feel full of energy & good about themselves.
In addition I want to try the new concept I have recently come across of Intermittent Fasting (which, as crazy as it sounds, is supported by many nutrition associations) based on the concept of fasting for at least 16h hours each day by skipping breakfast and only have lunch and dinner.
Of course everybody knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but while reading many studies I have discovered that not EVERYONE agrees with that actually and it is actually a more controversial theory than we like to think).
How it works: Your body is in the fed state when it is digesting and absorbing food (from when you begin eating and lasts for three to five hours as your body digests and absorbs the food you just ate). When you are in the fed state, it’s very hard for your body to burn fat because your insulin levels are high.
After that timespan, your body goes into what is known as the post–absorptive state, aka digestion. The post–absorptive state lasts until 8 to 12 hours after your last meal, which is when you enter the fasted state. It is much easier for you body to burn fat in the fasted state because your insulin levels are low.
Because we don’t enter the fasted state until 12 hours after our last meal, it’s rare that our bodies are in this fat burning state. This is one of the reasons why many people who start intermittent fasting will lose fat without changing what they eat, how much they eat, or how often they exercise. Fasting puts your body in a fat burning state that you rarely make it to during a normal eating schedule.
Of course it’s a theory as any so I will try it and let you know how it works for me, which won’t be easy as it took me a year to get used to have a full protein-carbohydrates-fibre breakfast every morning…see, not a sure science.