You may feel 90 percent chocolate right now – and you’re not alone.
January usually starts with most of us feeling sluggish, (understandably) choked up with cheese, and worries that we’ve probably spent the last month or so drinking too much and not getting enough exercise .
Do you want to lose weight this year? Get ready to eat a lot more fruits and vegetables in 2022Photo credit: Getty
And so we greet the New Year with many resolutions and swear by sugar, bread, meat and chips in one fell swoop, only to end up with everyone again in the second week of January.
It’s an annual loop that many of us can’t resist, and diets often involve a world of yo-yo and guilt, but if you’re determined to lose weight in 2022, these popular diets could be a place to start.
We also have nutritionist Dr. Carrie Ruxton of the Health & Food Supplements Information Service (HSIS) asked about her judgment:
The keto diet
The ketogenic diet is high in fat and very low in carbohydrates.
In fact, on keto, you’re eating less than 50 g of carbohydrates (like pasta, bread, potatoes) per day, along with around 40-50 g of protein for women and 50-60 g for men.
Meals are enriched with non-starchy vegetables (lots of vegetables!) And fat (from olive oil, butter and avocados to leaving the peel on the bacon).
Basically the goal is to keep blood sugar and glucose levels safe but low and to lose weight via ketosis, which is where the body creates energy by burning fat.
Dr. Carrie says: “This very low carbohydrate diet is a more extreme version of Atkins and it supposedly helps reduce body fat by causing your body to go into ketosis (where you burn fat).
“However, it is no more effective than a moderate carbohydrate diet for weight loss and can be difficult to follow when eating out because it is so restrictive.
“The diet is low in fiber, which can lead to constipation. So, consider a psyllium supplement or probiotic to support your gut health.
“The high fat content is not advisable for people with a family history of heart disease or stroke.”
The Mediterranean diet
The long healthy life and the hearts of the people in the Mediterranean region have long been touted – and not just because of the many rays of sunshine they get.
It’s a collective term, but in general, this diet is based on the healthy lifestyle habits of people who live in France, Greece, Italy, and Spain.
That means lots of nice seasonal fruit, vegetables and legumes, eating more fish and less meat and – you will be happy to hear that – happy mocking of pasta and bread.
Olive oil is also an important ingredient – whether you cook with it or pour it over salads.
Dr. Carrie says: “This is a balanced diet, with all the nutrients and food groups you need for your health, with a great focus on fruits and vegetables.
“To improve sustainability, adapt your diet to local, seasonal products rather than imported foods. Olive oil can be exchanged for UK-grown rapeseed oil.
“While this diet is great for heart health, it would only be effective for weight loss if portion sizes are controlled.
“The diet is low in meat, so supplement iron, zinc, and vitamin D with a multivitamin and multi-mineral supplement.”
From Paleo to Atkins, DASH to Keto, there are plenty of diets out therePhoto credit: Getty
The Atkins Diet was first followed in the 1970s and became one of the most popular diets of all time in the 2000s.
Another low-carb diet that is very similar to the keto diet, prioritizing high-calorie foods over carbohydrates so your body burns fat instead of glucose.
The difference from Atkins is that you gradually increase your carbohydrate intake over time, which can make it more sustainable (especially if you absolutely love bread).
Dr. Carrie says “This high-protein diet is more flexible than keto, but it still places great emphasis on limiting carbohydrates so that the fiber can be low.
“The high animal-based food content does poorly on sustainability, but this could be overcome by sourcing meat / fish from the UK and minimizing food waste.
“The diet is effective for weight loss, but only because it prohibits the sugary, processed goodies that build up the pounds.
“Studies show that Atkins diets are low in magnesium, iodine, and calcium – all of which are important for good bone health – so consider adding a multivitamin to them.”
Veganism, vegetarianism, and flexitarianism are less dieting, more lifestyle choices, but cutting out animal products can help you lose weight, reduce cruelty to animals, and support climate change efforts.
Vegans do not eat any animal products (be it steak or honey), vegetarians forego meat and fish and flexitarians regularly reduce their consumption of animal products and opt for meat-free days.
It has been found that eliminating or avoiding red meat can improve heart health, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Dr. Carrie says: “Depending on whether your plant-based diet is meat-free or low-meat, it depends on whether you are getting all of the nutrients you need.
“While plants are great for sustainability, they contain few nutrients like zinc, B12, iron, iodine, selenium, vitamin D and omega-3 fats.
“In addition, their high fiber content can impair mineral absorption.
“Plant-based diets aren’t necessarily effective at losing weight as it depends on total caloric intake – chips are plant-based, after all!
“The best way to follow this type of diet is to add variety, try adding some fish and eggs – since they are nutrient-dense – and make sure you are taking an omega-3 supplement daily.”
Discover your inner hunter-gatherer with the Paleo Diet – it is limited to ingredients that would probably have been found 10,000 years ago.
Rather than eating highly processed foods high in fat, sugar, and salt like cookies, ready-made meals, and chips, like your ancestors did, eat lean meats, nuts, fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and legumes (like beans and chickpeas). ).
You don’t have to cook everything over the fire, but we won’t judge if you do.
Dr. Carrie says: “Paleo diets encourage strict avoidance of modern, processed foods (usually good), but also dairy and whole grains (not good as they restrict certain nutrients).
“Research that we as HSIS have reviewed as part of some analysis work that we have reviewed for our Back to Basics report – The Nutrients You Need Served On A Plate – showed that paleo diets are nutritionally unbalanced and because of them high carbon footprint meat content have a high carbon footprint.
“Depending on the serving size, paleo diets can be expected to result in some weight loss, but only because there is very little that can be eaten away from home.”
Maintaining a healthy weight is really important to treating a range of health conditions, from type 2 diabetes to joint pain, risk of cancer, and heart disease.
The truth, however, is that no diet is right for everyone – and dieting is not always advisable depending on many factors, from age to pregnancy to various health conditions.
We are all different shapes and sizes, with different medical histories, genetics and metabolism, and no diet will miraculously solve or function all of your problems without considering a number of other factors, such as fitness and exercise level.
If you are unsure where to start losing weight, and before starting a new diet, always speak to your primary care doctor.
Check out the free NHS Weight Loss Plan App and The Eatwell Guide for an overview of what a balanced diet looks like.
The DASH diet is a healthy, sustainable weight loss plan for people with diabetes or at risk of diabetes.
And can be useful even when you aren’t.
It has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and has been linked to a reduced risk of depression, some cancers, stroke, and heart disease, among other things.
When it comes to dinner, a DASH meal looks very similar to one served in the Mediterranean – expect plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, nuts, and fish.
Dr. Carrie says: “With its great emphasis on sodium reduction (which helps lower blood pressure) and lots of fruits and vegetables, the DASH diet is actually very healthy and effective in preventing heart disease and strokes.
“However, unless you plan on a strict portion size, the calories are generally too high for weight loss.
“One study found that the average DASH diet had over 2,200 calories a day, which would keep most people off the weight.”
There are a lot of different ways to do this – the point is to find the right version that suits you, so it may take you through a little trial and error.
The 16/8 method involves eating within an 8 hour window and fasting for the other 16 each day.
It can be easier than it sounds as you can sleep through much of the fasting period and then skip breakfast or just eat it later.
Granted, it can be difficult to get up and keep busy without breakfast (and the NHS recommends eating breakfast every day).
Alternatively, the 5: 2 diet consists of eating normally five days a week and then limiting your calorie intake to 500 (women) or 600 (men) on the last two days of the week (not necessarily on weekends, don’t worry ).
The Eat Stop Eat method is more stringent and lets you fast for 24 hours once or twice a week.
Dr. Carrie says: “There’s good evidence that intermittent fasting helps you lose weight, but it’s probably not enough for people who have lost more than one stone.
“Sticking to the 5: 2 version can be a big challenge unless you have an iron will for those very low-calorie days.
“The 16: 8 version can be easier to do. To avoid low nutrient levels, make sure you eat a balanced diet and keep high-sugar, high-fat treats and alcohol to a minimum.
“Consider taking multivitamin and multi-mineral supplements daily to make sure you’re meeting nutritional goals.”
Losing weight can have tremendous health benefits – and taking a look at your diet is a great place to startPhoto credit: Getty
Expert’s nutrition tips for runners
Running is a very popular sport, thanks to its simplicity and many health and fitness benefits. It’s versatile and inexpensive, requires very little equipment, and it’s an excellent way to strengthen your cardiovascular health.
Nutrition plays an important part in optimum running performance. pexels
With the competitive nature of the sport, runners continuously challenge themselves and each other to improve. In addition to training, proper fuel for the body is vital for peak sports performance.
Noted medical and nutrition specialist Dr. Korakod Panich provided the five best nutrients for optimal running performance.
Nutrition is important for runners because it plays a vital role in overall health and can also support performance. A balanced diet for healthy runners should include these five key nutrients:
Carbohydrates—which can be found in food such as fruits, dairy products, and starches such as rice, bread, and pasta—are the most important source of energy for the body.
For runners, a small meal, taken an hour before running, consisting of carbohydrates and a bit of protein can provide the energy needed to run effectively. A smoothie made with milk and fruit, or some yogurt topped with berries, provides the nutrients needed and is easily digested before a workout.
Consuming the right amount of carbohydrates before exercising can help you maximize your workout.
Protein—found in meat, milk, eggs, and soy—helps repair and rebuild tissues and muscles that could be affected during physical activities. With the proper amount of protein and adequate sleep, muscles repair, rebuild, and become stronger.
Soy is a good protein source as it is one of the few complete plant-based proteins containing all of the nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Runners should consume a combination of carbs and protein 30 to 45 minutes after exercising.
Carb to protein ratio should be 2-3:1, with 20 grams of high-quality protein after a workout and between 40 and 60 grams of carbohydrate. A sandwich on whole-grain bread with a piece of fruit or a high-protein recovery shake would fill the bill.
Fat serves as an essential energy source. It is often used as fuel, particularly during moderate-intensity exercise that lasts for an extended period, such as a moderate jog lasting at least 30 minutes or so. The body will utilize more fat than carbohydrate for fuel in an attempt to conserve carbohydrate that is stored in the liver and muscles.
Choose beneficial fats—such as those found in olive oil, avocado, and nuts—and avoid saturated fats¬¬that can raise the risk of heart disease. This means staying away from fatty red meats, and ultra-processed foods, such as fast food or bakery items.
4. Vitamins and minerals
There are different kinds of vitamins and minerals that help maintain the balance in body system functions; fruits and vegetables are the best sources to obtain them. During exercise, the body excretes waste in the form of sweat, which also removes important minerals from the body. If you opt to exercise for more than one hour, energy and mineral drinks are highly recommended to replace lost fluids and minerals.
The human body is made up of 70 percent water, which is why staying hydrated is crucial. Water helps deliver nutrients to the cells and plays a significant role in eliminating waste. Runners need to maintain body water balance before, during, and after workouts because water provides nourishment that the body needs for almost every single function. It also helps limit changes in body temperature.
Make sure not to lose more than two percent of your body weight in fluids during exercise, as it can reduce your strength and affect performance. If you exercise regularly, check your weight before and after a workout to keep track of water loss and be sure to replace those losses. For every pound of weight lost during exercise, replace with 2-3 cups of fluid (or 1 liter of fluid for every kilogram lost during exercise).
Nutrition and running style
Aside from understanding the importance of nutrients, it is also essential for new runners to learn the proper way to run. Running not just makes our bodies stronger; it also helps burn calories and fat, depending on the goal.
If you have little time and would like to burn calories and fat, you can do interval training, which alternates short work intervals (80-90 percent of maximum heart rate for 30-60 seconds) with rest periods (50 percent of maximum heart rate for 1-2 minutes). This helps improve circulation and enable the heart to pump blood and make it healthier while strengthening the muscles.
If your main aim is to burn fat, and you have some time, you can run slowly to raise your heart rate to 40-60 percent of your maximum, for at least 45-60 minutes.
Korakod Panich is a member of the Herbalife Nutrition Advisory Board.
Weekly Spotlight: Make the Perfect Spring Vegan Pasta Salad!
Pasta salad is a wonderful spring meal, plus it’s a wonderful plant-based meal that can easily be veganized! It’s a meal that you can add any veggie that you want to, making it super versatile for this time of year. When spring produces like arugula, garlic and some herbs are hitting their peak season, you might have extra veggies on hand or are looking for a way to clear out some veggies from your fridge. Pasta salad is also easy to whip up, and you can either do a simple dressing or a more involved creamy dressing to top it.
Depending on your time and how you want to enjoy your pasta salad, this guide splits pasta salad recipes depending on their sauce base. The simple oil and garlic type dressings are lighter in flavor, allowing whatever you hand (veggies or herbs) to stand out in your final pasta salad. However, if you’re looking for a creamier and more hands-on homemade dressing, we’ve got you covered too! These are topped with a dressing that uses a base of tahini, tofu, or even hemp seeds to create a delicious creamy dressing. The last group focuses on taking a traditional pasta salad adding a twist, like a clever flavor or mixing up the base grain!
We also highly recommend downloading the Food Monster app — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest meatless, vegan, plant-based, and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help you get healthy! And, don’t forget to check out our Weekly Meal Plan Archives!
Are you ready to have a week full of delicious, high-protein, whole-food vegan food that leaves you nourished and content? Let’s get started!
This week, we’re bringing delicious pasta salad recipes that are fully vegan and plant-based!
Pasta Salads that Use a Mayo, Sour Cream, or Simple Oil Dressing:
Source: Spring Pea and Arugula Pasta Salad
These quick pasta salads are great to throw together for the week! Their light dressing makes it excellent to eat on its own to get a variety of simple flavors and enjoy the fresher crunch of the veggies in these dishes.
Pasta Salads that Use a Tofu, Tahini, Homemade, or Cashew Based Dressing
Source: Easy Vegetable Pasta Salad
These creamy pasta salads are excellent to enjoy on their own, or if you’re looking to add even more veggies, you could enjoy these over a base of greens for an extra crunch of texture! There are so many ways to make a creamy pasta salad with vegan ingredients; you could use cashews, tofu, tahini, or even hemp hearts to get a creamy sauce.
Pasta Salads that Are a Twist on a Classic Dish:
Source: Greek Pasta Salad with Tofu Feta
Cacio e Pepe as a pasta salad? Using orzo instead of pasta? There are so many ways to change up the flavors and inspiration you use for your pasta salads. If you’re looking for a way to enjoy a new way of eating pasta salad, this is your list right here!
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Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental well-being, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, good health other more! Unfortunately, dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer, and has many side effects.
For those interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend purchasing one of our many plant-based cookbooks or downloading the Food Monster app which has thousands of delicious recipes making it the largest vegan recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental other health benefits of a plant based diet.
Here are some resources to get you started:
For more Animal, Earth, Life, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter! Lastly, being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!
Food Therapist Debunks Myths About Veganism
Veganism is a lifestyle that is based on the ideology that humans should not exploit animals or the environment for their needs. Vegans refrain from utilizing any kind of animal products for food, clothing, or work, among other things, and they do not differentiate between any species as they consider all animals equal. Simply put, veganism is the practice of avoiding the use of any animal products—particularly in our diet—including meat, eggs, and dairy products.
Myths about veganism
Additionally, there are countless myths, misconceptions, and assumptions about being vegan from all corners. We got Nidhi Nahata—Founder, Justbe Resto Cafe, Bangalore, and food therapist—to debunk a few common floating speculations.
1. Milk has a lot of calcium
There is an existing misconception that only cow milk contains calcium. So, what is the optimal source of calcium? Like plenty of other nutrients, calcium is readily available in a variety of plant-based foods that are better absorbed by the body than dairy. Think broccoli, cabbage, kale, almonds, chia, beans, pulses, leafy vegetables, and more. Therefore, even if you are not vegan, having a wide range of calcium sources in your diet can be a healthier option.
2. Animal protein is more important than plant protein
Incidentally, the animals that are consumed for so-called protein are fed on a plant based diet, which basically means that we are consuming the same and/or processed protein through dead tissues or extracted produce from an animal. For those on the lookout for plant-based protein sources, there are plenty of options like soya, lentils, pulses, broccoli, seaweed, peas, spinach, beans, brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta, quinoa, peanuts, cashews, almonds , pistachios, walnuts, oats, and seitan tofu.
3. Vegans have B12 deficiency
Vegans, vegetarians, or non-vegetarians—all could have deficiency because of vitamin B12, which is a bacteria found in nature. The sources of vitamin B12 are commonly questioned in reference to being vegan, since the most common source is assumed to be animals and animal products. But the reality is that vegans can achieve the intake needed through reliable sources, such as supplements or fortified foods.
Vitamin B12 is produced by certain microorganisms and is processed while consuming cobalt from a plant base. However, our modern day agriculture prevents these nutrients to be transferred into our bodies through either sources-–animals or plants. Therefore, vegans, vegetarians, or non-vegetarians need to normally be given cobalt or B12 supplements to attain suitable levels regardless of their dietary preference.
4. Vegan lifestyle is very expensive
The limited accessibility to vegan food and alternatives is one of the biggest restrictive misconnects prevalent in our society. The reality is that, similar to any diet, plant-based eating is only expensive if there are a lot of quick-to-eat processed foods, readymade meal preps, and products from vegan-specific brands. There are plenty of vegan foods and ingredients that are affordable in India, especially if the diet is centered around cheaper foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, lentils, beans, and several others. Good planning can make vegan diet more affordable than the ones that include animal products.
5. Pregnant women need milk and dairy
“You cannot be vegan when pregnant” is a common misconception for soon-to-be vegan parents. The basic fact is that pregnancy is a challenge for the body, no matter what diet you are on and usually requires additional nutrients. It is advised to be closer to iron and vitamin B12, which can be attained on a vegan diet as well. The tradition of milk being one of the most integral components of our diet has been prevalent for decades. We need to be mindful and bring logical reasoning in choosing food for soon-to-be parents as well as children.
6. Soy increases the chances of breast cancer
There is no convincing evidence that eating soy-based food increases the risk of breast cancer in humans. This misunderstanding, however, might arise from earlier studies conducted on rodents. Scientists of this study showed that when these animals received large amounts of soy-compounds called flavones, they showed likelihood to develop breast cancer.
A study published by the International Journal of Epidemiology, in February 2020, searched associations between soy intake and breast cancer risk by following 52,795 cancer-free women in the US for an average of 7.9 years. In the results, they found no substantial association between soy intake and breast cancer, but they did identify a link between dairy (milk) and breast cancer.
Soy as an ingredient is loaded with fiber and is a good source of protein, omega 3, and antioxidants. Research also suggests that soy has a good amount of protein which is well absorbed by the body, and the best way to consume it is in bean form, tofu, tempeh, and other such forms.
7. Veganism is a cult
Being compassionate and conscious can never be a cult. Veganism is a lifestyle that utilizes an ideology to bring people closer to their instincts. This means bringing us closer to eating what nature has designed and grown for us, rather than exploiting animals and other sentient beings.
Lead Image Credit: Alia Bhatt and Yami Gautam Dhar, Instagram
Guiding the way to thrive
Expert’s nutrition tips for runners
For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News
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