Are all carbs evil?

Carbs (carbohydrates) are everywhere, not just in ‘evil’ bread, rice or pasta but they are also found in most things including nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruit, dairy, lollies, and soft drinks. Often when people are making a conscious choice to lose weight, they immediately cut carbohydrates from their diet, thinking that carbs are the reason they have gained weight. This is not true!

Carbs are an essential macronutrient. They provide us with fuel in the form of glucose, which is used by the body and brain for energy.  The body can produce and use Ketones when glucose is not available (Keto diets) and are made from fat stores and certain proteins.  However, very high levels of ketones can make the blood acidic and can lead to serious illness.  It is also important to know, that when glucose is inadequate the body also creates glucose from certain proteins leading to a breakdown of muscle.

There are two types of carbs: Complex (good) or Simple (Bad)

Complex (good, low GI) carbs require our bodies to work harder to digest, and the energy produced is released over a longer time.  They are high in fiber and nutrients, are a low glycemic index food, help you feel full with fewer calories, and naturally stimulates metabolism.

Good Carbs: Vegetables, Whole fruits, whole grains, nuts & seeds, Legumes, and Root vegetables.

Simple (bad, high GI) carbs are digested quickly into our body.  Energy is stored as glycogen and if it’s not used immediately gets converted to fat.  Bad carbs are generally ‘processed’ food.  They’re low in fiber and nutrients, have a high GI, are empty calories converted to fat, high blood glucose levels = feel tired.

Bad Carbs: Sugary drinks, Fruit juices, white bread & white rice, regular pasta, cakes & cookies and other sweet treats, deep fried food and potato chips.

The general problem with carbohydrates is that we overconsume them. It is too easy to put two massive scoops of rice or potato on our plates for our dinners and consume unhealthy sweet “pick-me-up” snacks throughout the day. Carbs should ideally be between 45 – 65% of your daily calories which can equate to around 40g – 75g for each main meal, depending on your body weight and energy needs. Vegetables are technically a carbohydrate. However, vegetables contain a huge amount of water content, so can be very full, with very few calories. Plus the vitamins, mineral, and fibre = bonus!

Overall it is best to consume more complex, slower-burning carbs in our diets. These are not only better in terms of nutrients but will also keep you fuller for longer and prevent overeating. Cutting down on simple carbs is recommended as they spike blood sugar levels, which does not sustain our hunger and energy levels for very long. Remember that life is about balance, as long as you are good 80% of the time, you can enjoy the odd treat now and again

Benefits of Water

How many of you have felt thirsty today? Now the weather is colder, the desire to drink water throughout the day gets a bit harder. Well did you know, by the time you actually start feeling thirsty your body is in fact already dehydrated? The thirst you are experiencing is your body’s way of calling out to you to rehydrate your body.

Our body is composed of 60% water, which means when we are dehydrated our body’s water composition is less than that of 60% and closer to 58-56% water composition. Although this may not seem like much it is important to note that all systems within our body do not function as well without the proper water intake.

We all know that we need to consume water on a daily basis. That saying about 8 glasses a day has been drilled into us, but why do we need it? What does water actually help with?

Researchers have discovered that by keeping our body hydrated we can maintain a better mood. Drinking more water also enables you to think clearly throughout the day helping you develop a better mindset for the day and in turn make you happier.

In a sporting context, an increase in water intake can help you perform better. Proper hydration contributes to increased athletic performance. Not only due to the fact that it keeps you hydrated throughout your workout but 75% of our muscle tissue is comprised of water! Lack of water intake or dehydration can also lead to weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and electrolyte imbalance.

Now the point you’ve all been waiting for… keeping well hydrated has been linked to weight loss. Sometimes we think we are hungry when actually we are thirsty. Our body just starts turning on all the alarms when we ignore it. For those of you trying to drop some kgs, staying hydrated can serve as an appetite suppressant and help with weight loss. It will also keep your digestive system healthy and functioning properly. We clear waste through urine and sweat, so if we aren’t drinking enough water we aren’t flushing out all the waste our bodies don’t need. Water is also essential for proper circulation of nutrients throughout our bodies (water-soluble vitamins). Water serves as one of the body’s transportation system and when we are dehydrated things just can’t get around as well.

For any of you out there that seem to have sore joints throughout the day or just when you are working out, I have some good news for you! Drinking water can reduce pain in your joints by keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated.

And last but not least adequate water intake throughout the day can help with your skin, it can give you your natural glow, obviously not literally but figuratively. Our skin is the largest organ in our body. Regular and plentiful water consumption can improve the colour and texture of your skin by keeping it building new cells properly. Drinking water also helps the skin do its job of regulating the body’s temperature through sweating.

If plain water is not your thing or it gets boring, try infusing your water with some no sugar water drops or try adding fresh fruit to it to flavour it a little (try slices of lemon, limes or sprigs of mint).

 

10 Benefits of more water:

  1. Weight loss
  2. Your skin will glow
  3. Better performance and productivity
  4. No more headaches and migraines
  5. Replaces lost electrolytes which are thought to prevent cramping
  6. Helps digestion and bowels
  7. Improves your immune system
  8. Relives fatigue by flushing our toxins
  9. Reduces risk of bladder and colon cancer
  10. Helps aches and pains

 

 

Should I be taking protein powder?

One of the most common questions we get at the gym, is should I be taking protein powder?

Why protein is important in our diet.

Protein IS NOT just about building muscle and is only needed by bodybuilders. Protein is one of the three macronutrients (the other two being fats and carbohydrates), which means your body needs it in a relatively large amount and is vital for the body. Protein is the building blocks of the body and is used to repair everything. Your bones, muscles, cartilage are all repaired by protein. And your skin, hair and nails are mostly made from proteins (keratin, collagen, and elastin). Fats and Carbohydrates are stored in your body, but Protein is not, which means it needs a fresh supply every single day.  Even if you don’t exercise, your body still needs protein to regenerate and repair different cells in your body.

 

Use of Protein Powder

Whey protein powder is actually a bi-product from casein and cheese manufacture. people like to use protein powder, mainly out of convenience. You may not always be in the position to roast a chicken, pan fry some steak, or boil up some beans. This is when you can utilise protein powder to give you a good serving of protein, without cooking, prepping and refrigerating. Also, protein powder is very economical in comparison to buying meat.

It is recommended that you eat a minimum of 0.8 x your body weight (KG), up to x 2 of your bodyweight. Athletes who are strength training are near the higher end and also people who are recovering from serious wounds or injuries. Women especially tend to be very low in their daily protein amounts.

Consuming more protein in our diets can really help with satiety, which in turn, helps with weight loss. By consuming protein we tend to keep ourselves fuller for longer and tend not to overeat. A study has also shown that participants that consumed a high protein breakfast did not overeat at the end of the day.

Examples of Protein:

Some examples of this (using calories just as a comparison for how much protein you get for the number of calories you consume) are as follows:

  • 2 Eggs: 14g of protein
  • Serving of black beans: 8g
  • Piece of fish: 20g
  • A thin slice of shaved ham: 2.9g of protein
  • 2 Vegetarian Sausages: 8.4g of protein
  • ½ cup of Lentils: 9g of protein
  • Baked Beans: 10.8g of protein
  • A serving of broccoli: 3g
  • 1 glass of milk: 3.4g of protein
  • 10 almonds: 2.5g of protein
  • Milo “Protein Clusters” Cereal: 5.5g protein
  • 2 scoops of Horley’s 100% Whey Vanilla protein powder: 18.6g of protein
  • Chicken breast: 30g

 

When should you use protein powder?

Whenever you want! Protein shake for breakfast, or morning tea, or afternoon tea, or for dessert! That’s the great thing about protein powder, it’s quick, easy, and versatile! You can have it alone with water, make it a smoothie by adding some berries or half of a banana, or you can even put it in some yoghurt and make a thick  flavoured mousse! If you are rushing around in the morning a protein shake can be a convenient good option or even as a post-workout snack.

 

At the end of the day, you don’t need protein powder. There are many foods high in protein that would let you reach your goal easily! However, Protein powder is usually lower in calories, super tasty (if you find the right one!), and convenient! If you need to up your protein intake and want the convenience, definitely give protein powder a try!

 

 

“Fitness HQ for Women is a New Zealand owned and operated gym in the heart of Albany, North Shore. Our services include group fitness classes, personal training and providing a 24-hour access boutique women-only gym”

Coke Vs Coke Zero… sugar free drinks for the win?

Coca-Cola is a prime example of a high calorie, sugar packed fizzy drink that has very little nutritional value (vitamins and minerals). Many of us are already aware of this, and opt for Coke Zero instead. But, is this really the healthier option?

The main difference between coke and coke zero is the sugar content. When drinking coke zero as opposed to regular coke, you are consuming significantly less sugar which a positive for weight loss and reducing the risk of weight-related diseases. A study by the American institute of nutrition found that consumption of high sugar drinks was positively associated with progression of insulin resistance and prediabetes, but no correlation was found with diet sodas.

Regular coke has a direct effect on our health and weight due to its excess sugar and calorie content. However, diet coke may not be the best alternative. Research suggests that diet coke may have indirect effects on our body that leads to weight gain and other adverse health effects.

Several studies have indicated that diet sodas my increase appetite stimulating hormones such as ghrelin, therefore, increasing hunger. The artificial sweeteners in diet coke may also alter gut flora leading to reduced blood sugar control. Additives such as citric, malic, and phosphorus acid are present in both coke and coke zero, and have been linked to tooth erosion. Some research has also linked diet sodas to health conditions such as increased risk of high blood pressure, osteoporosis, heart and kidney disease.

 

 

Maybe we need to consider why we actually crave fizzy drinks in the first place?

The most common reason is dehydration – have a glass of water firstly, and see if your fizzy craving is reduced.

A less prevalent reason is a calcium deficiency. The phosphoric acid in carbonated drinks can leach calcium and magnesium stores out of your bones, which momentarily increases the calcium in the body but then creates a continuous cycle of depletion. This is the reason high soda consumption is linked to osteoporosis, as the leaching of minerals reduces bone density and increases the risk of fractures. It is important to have a good intake of dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collards, bok choy, and broccoli. As well as quality dairy sources such as milk and Greek yogurt.

It is clear that there are negative aspects to both diet and regular coke. So, to maintain overall health sticking to good old water is the best bet. Both diet and regular coke should be consumed in moderation as a very occasional treat.

 

 

“Fitness HQ for women is a 24-hour women-only gym in Albany. They offer a non-intimidating space for ladies to work on their health and fitness. We love teaching group fitness, personal training, and helping ladies work to become the best version of themselves. ”

How to beat the Christmas binge

Christmas is just around the corner, and as we know this means the opportunity to gorge on delicious foods! This is the time of year to spend with family and friends and it is completely okay to treat yourselves. However, we may end up feeling a little sluggish and unmotivated after a multitude of family lunches and dinners. Overeating may knock our confidence and leave us feeling frustrated but this doesn’t have to be the case. I am going to share a few tips and tricks to help you bounce back to a healthy routine.

Pre- Christmas:

1. Stay hydrated – It is important to keep drinking water on a hot summer’s day. Often if we are dehydrated our body mistakes this for hunger. In a study of 24 overweight adults it was found that when 500ml of water was drank before eating, the energy they consumed was significantly lower than those who had no water before eating a meal.

2. Load up on the veges and meat – Sweet and sugary snacks won’t fill you up for long so make sure you have a good meal that includes veges and meat, then enjoy your treats. Including lots of veges in your meals will give you the range of nutrients your body needs to feel great. Vegetables are also high in fiber which promotes feelings of fullness. A good source of protein will also help satiation.

3. Enjoy Your Food – Tip number one is to not worry about overeating. Christmas is a time of joy and family and it is completely fine to have some yummy treats. Worrying about what you can eat or can’t eat can lead to a toxic relationship with food.

Post-Christmas:

4. Don’t skip meals – It may be tempting to skip breakfast or lunch the day after, but this will only make us hungrier and put our metabolism out of whack. It is best to start with a filling but healthy breakfast. Including a source of healthy fats such as avocado or eggs will keep you fuller for longer throughout the day. Of course, listen to your body and go about your normal day – if you’re hungry eat, if you’re not hungry then don’t.

Breakfast Ideas:

– Wholegrain toast, nut butter, and chia seeds
– Omelette loaded with veges
– Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

5. Go for a Walk – Walking is a great way to stay active and get things moving after a big meal. You may not feel like getting straight back into an intense workout so a light walk can do the trick to keep your body moving.

Merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy your time with friends and family and see you all in the New Year.

 

“Fitness HQ for women is a boutique Women’s only 24/7 gym, in the heart of Albany. Services include a full service gym, small group fitness classes, personal training, supplements and infrared sauna.”

Is Vegan Protein Powder Better Than Whey?

A question we get asked a lot, is about the different types of protein powder there is. Which is best for me? Whey or vegan protein? It’s a very good question as most people assume that vegan protein must be the best and healthier option. That is not necessarily the case and what works for me, won’t necessarily work for you.

 

What is whey and vegan protein?

Whey is one of two proteins that is obtained from the production of milk and therefore is an animal-based protein.

Vegan protein is a plant-based product which can be from a variety sources. Most common ones we see are pea, rice, hemp or sunflower. Each different plant protein is unique and can offer your body different nutrients which can help with many things.

 

What are the main differences?

Firstly, Whey protein is what we consider a ‘complete’ protein as it contains all 9 essential amino acids. There are actually 22 amino acids which are found within the body and 9 are considered essential which must be obtained through your diet.  These essential amino acids will repair and recover your body optimally. Whey protein is also higher in branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) which stimulate muscle growth and maintenance.  By having all amino acids, whey also boosts the immune system by stimulating immune function. Another good point to make is that MOST people prefer the taste of whey protein compared to vegan/vegetarian protein powders. This can be a big factor in choosing and enjoying a protein.

Whey protein is also easily digested. However, as whey comes from animals and the production of milk, some people may be intolerant, as it contains lactose. Did you know about a third of the population is intolerant to lactose? As you get older your body can find it harder to digest lactose and can cause gas and abdominal discomfort. For people that have sensitive stomachs, plant-based protein may be the better option.

Not all Vegan or Vegetarian protein powders are a complete protein. For example, pumpkin protein does not contain all the essential amino acids. When looking for a plant-based protein it is good to find a protein that has a mix of different plant types to achieve getting all 9 amino acids.  Quite commonly, plant-based proteins only contain one type of plant.

However, a big positive to plant-based protein is that it contains more nutrients than whey and can offer more than just B vitamins and calcium (which whey has). They can contain an abundance of other vitamins and minerals depending on which plant protein it has come from. These can aide the body in many different ways. If you are looking for a bit more than just a protein powder, plant-based options could work well for you.

 

Which protein is best for me?

There is no right answer. There are many pros and cons of each one, the choice is up to you. If you are looking for an easily digested, good tasting, complete protein, then whey is your best option. However, if you have a sensitive stomach and are looking for a bit more than just protein, than plant-based protein may be a better option for you. At the end of the day, it is trial and error. If one does not agree with your body, try a different one, it all comes down to personal preference and individual tolerance.

Remember: that your daily intake of protein is from 0.8 – 2g X your body weight in KG. Idealy,  1 – 1.5g  X your body weight is what I would recommend.

We stock Horleys Sculpt at the gym, which is a womens specific protein powder. It is whey protein which they have added extra nutrients and fat burning properties too (winning!). One scoop of sculpt is 18g protein.  Great taste and a great price.

 

“Fitness HQ for women is a boutique Women’s only 24/7 gym, in the heart of Albany. Services include a full service gym, small group fitness classes, personal training, supplements and infrared sauna.”

What is the best diet for me?

Common questions that we get asked are often about what particular diet you should be following. They are usually questions like, what do you think of this diet? Does [insert famous person here] weight loss plan work? Should i cut carbs from my diet? Or what diet should I be on?

At the end of the day you can lose on pretty much any diet, as they have one common goal. To reduce calories. By reducing calories you go into a calorie deficit and use fat stores for energy.  I strongly believe the best diet is one that works for YOU, by being sustainable. You need to be able to stick to it. There is no point forcing yourself to stick to a Paleo diet if you love carbs and no reason you should jump on the keto wave, if you can’t tolerate that much fat in your diet.

In saying that  your old diet of coffee and toast is obviously not going to ideal for your body to function and perform optimally. Try to think about food as a fuel source that can energise and heal the body.

Key things to remember:

Love your fruit & veg! (5+ a day).

Try to eat 1g – 1.5g x your body weight in protein daily.

Low GI “good carbs” will keep you more full.

Everything in moderation.

A balance meal is Carbs, protein, fats (include fruit and vegetables as good carbs).

Don’t drink your calories! (Fizzy drink, juices and energy drinks are big causes of weight gain).

If you are missing something from your diet, then you should look at supplementing.

5 Nutrition Myths Busted

 

  1. “Fresh produce is healthier than frozen”

In actual fact frozen vegetables can be heathier than fresh! Produce is often snap frozen very soon after they are picked and this ‘freezes’ all the nutrients along with it. On the other hand fresh vegetables can lose some of their nutrient value on its way from the field to the supermarket shelf. Water soluble vitamins such as vitamin C and B’s tend to deplete the longer the veges are around for. However, both fresh and frozen veges provide us with a quality amount of nutrients and it is actually the method of cooking which will make the greatest difference in nutrient content. Boiling veges in water for a long period of time lets the vitamins and minerals seep out into the water. Regardless of whether you’re using fresh or frozen veges, in order to retain the most nutrients cook veges in as little water and for as little time as possible. Steaming, microwaving, stir-frying, and roasting are much better options than boiling when it comes retaining those nutrients.

  1. “Eating carbs will make me fat”

Our bodies preferred source of fuel is glucose – which comes from eating carbs. We need carbs in order to have the energy to carry out our day to day activities. Cutting out all carbs can lead to low energy levels, feeling moody, and unmotivated. What we want to do is focus on the types of carbs we are consuming. It is the simple carbs which can cause us to gain weight. Simple carbs are highly processed and include: White bread/rice/pasta, chips, crackers, cakes, biscuits etc. In these types of carbs the outside layer of the grain has been removed, which contains fibre and protein. This results in your blood sugar levels spiking and lowering rapidly, often referred to as a ‘sugar crash’ which results in our hunger levels being out of whack thus effecting our weight. Simple carbs are also often packed with extra sugar and calories. Complex carbs on the other hand include: Wholegrain bread/rice/pasta/wraps, oats, legumes, sweet potato, fruits and veges. These result in a steady increase in blood sugar which keeps us fuller for longer and our hunger levels regulated. However, as with all foods everything should be eaten in moderation. Complex carbs should make up a quarter of your plate, and remember to always include a healthy source of protein and fat in each meal. Also do not deprive yourself of a treat every now and then to keep those cravings satisfied, but keep it as just that, a once-in-a-while treat.

  1. “Snacking is bad”

Short answer is if you are hungry eat! Having a snack between meals can be a good way to prevent that mid-afternoon energy crash and prevent you from becoming ravenously hungry just before dinner. The important part is not when you’re eating it is what you are eating. Rather than chips and biscuits, choose a snack with protein and healthy fats to keep you satiated. For example: Apple and nut butter, cheese and meat whole grain bread sandwich, tuna and avocado, carrots and hummus etc. Keep portable snacks with you when you’re out and about such as hard boiled eggs or nuts. If you find yourself in an environment where mindless snacking is occurring such as a social event, bring with you the healthiest option feasible and stay hydrated to prevent hunger mistaken for thirst.

  1. “Juices and smoothies are healthy”

Many people believe juice is a great way to get in the health benefits of fruit. However, juice could not be more far from healthy. The flesh of the fruit has been removed thus leaving it with no fibre – a nutrient that helps you feel fuller for longer, regulates blood sugar, and keeps our digestive system healthy. A lot of juices are packed with extra sugar making their sugar content comparable if not higher than a lot of fizzy drinks. This high sugar content packs in the extra calories and in the absence of fibre will cause a huge blood sugar spike. It is best to stick to whole fruit as it is more filling and contains much more nutritional benefits, but if you must have juice try to dilute it with water.

Smoothies are also popular and believed to be a great way to consume healthy fruits and veg. Because the fibre of the fruit is not lost in smoothies they are already a better option than juice. However it ultimately depends what goes in the smoothie that makes it ‘healthy’ or not. It can be all too easy to pack an orange, apple, berries, honey, and a banana all into one easy to drink smoothie. But would you usually eat all this fruit in one siting? If you are adding in all this fruit, the calorie content can easily creep up to be very unnecessarily high. The key to smoothies is to just use a small amount of fruit, for example, half a banana and a handful of berries or half a banana, and add a source of protein such as Greek yogurt to keep you fuller for longer.  Avoid added sugars such as honey, ice-cream, and sorbets.

 

 

  1. “Potatoes are bad for me”

Potatoes are actually a superfood! They offer a huge range of nutrients including vitamins C, B6, and B3, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate, and fibre. It is also important to note that potato skins contain a great amount of the vitamins and nutrients so peeling potatoes before cooking can significantly reduce their nutrient content. Potatoes also generally have a high GI so keeping the skin on increases fibre content and consuming a source of protein simultaneously will reduce the effect on blood sugar. The best way to prepare potatoes are boiling, mashed with only a dash of milk, or roasted with just a drizzle of olive oil. When potatoes are processed into the form of fries, chips, hash browns etc. the calorie content goes through the roof due to the excess oil, and the nutrients become diminished.

 

 

10 foods to boost your immune system

First of all everyone should be aware that consuming these foods will not prevent you from getting corona virus or any other sickness. However, our food choices and lifestyle factors do have a large impact on our immune function and therefore a diet that obtains all essential nutrients will allow the body to bounce back from sickness quicker than those with a poor diet. While it is also convenient to pop those lolly-tasting vitamin C tablets and other multivitamin supplements, your body absorbs nutrients a lot better when they come from a dietary source.

 

  1. Capsicum

Many people turn to vitamin C when fighting a cold, but if you think citrus fruits are the best source of vitamin C then think again! Capsicums have twice the amount of vitamin C than citric fruits and also contain beta carotene which keeps your eyes and skin healthy.

 

  1. Spinach

Spinach also contains vitamin C and is packed with antioxidants and beta carotene. Antioxidants help protect your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals (air pollutants, chemicals, processed foods). Undamaged cells mean a fast working and effective immune system. Light cooking of spinach allows nutrients such as vitamin A to be released so the body can better absorb them.

 

  1. Yogurt

Yogurt is a good source of probiotics – this can also be advertised on labels as “live cultures” or “acidophilus”. Probiotics in food serve to maintain a healthy flora of gut bacteria. If our gut flora is unbalanced, opportunistic pathogens can more easily enter the body. Yogurt is also a great source of calcium, protein, vitamin A, and zinc. Choose plain low fat yogurt and serve with nuts, seeds, berries, or fruit for a healthy snack.

 

  1. Almonds

Almonds along with other nuts contain valuable vitamin E and healthy fats. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that help the body fight off infection.

 

  1. Eggs

Eggs have gotten a bad rap due to concerns of cholesterol, but fear not, the egg yolk is a little powerhouse of nutrients. They contain the immune boosters zinc, selenium, and vitamin B-6. Vitamin B-6 is a crucial component for many chemical reactions that occur in the body and are also important for red blood cell formation. Eggs are one of the only foods that contain vitamin D which is critical for bone health, enhances immunity, and is a vitamin many of us can get low on in winter months due to less sun exposure. The egg white is a rich source of protein which is vital to build and repair body tissue and fight infections.

  1. Legumes

Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans are great sources of zinc. Zinc plays an essential role in the immune system and zinc-deficient individuals experience increased susceptibility to infectious agents. Zinc is also very important for would healing.

 

  1. Green Tea

Green tea contains compounds called polyphenols which promote immunity through various pathways. However, be sure to wait 30 minutes either side of main meals to drink your tea, as polyphenols interfere with your body’s absorption of iron.

 

  1. Garlic

Garlic may boost the amount of virus-fighting T cells in your blood and the sulfur it contains can help your body absorb the immune boosting mineral zinc. Some evidence suggests garlic may also plays a role in reducing stress hormones.

 

  1. Broccoli

Broccoli is a superfood! It contains high levels vitamins A, C, A, and K, along with a good profile of B vitamins, including folic acid, and the minerals iron, potassium, calcium, selenium. Research has also identified a special compound that occurs in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables called DIM which has potential immune enhancing effects.

 

  1. Potatoes

No this does not give you a free pass to eat all the potato chips… When boiled, mashed with only a dash of milk, or roasted with just a drizzle of olive oil, potatoes retain their high nutritional value. They are high in the immune boosting vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium. Potatoes are also an excellent source of iron which is essential for maintaining healthy blood.

 

It is important to note that eating just one of these foods will not help you ward off the flu, cold, or other illness. Variety is key! You must get your recommended 5+ fruit and vegetables per day, every day, in order to get all the nutrients your body needs for it to work optimally.

Poor diet is also not the only factor contributing to poor immunity. Smoking, excess alcohol consumption, poor sleep, and lack of exercise also contribute to decreased immunity.

Finally, the most important thing you can do for your immune system and overall health is to wash your hands.

Should i take protein powder?

Hi Ladies! Today we’re looking into Protein Powder. A common question we get at the gym is if protein powder is recommended, and does it make us “bulky?”.

Use of Protein Powder

The purpose of Protein Powder is for people, whether athletes, bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts, or just your average joe, to up their protein intake in the easy form of a powder. Protein Powder exists because of pure convenience, because you may not always be in the position to roast a chicken, pan fry some steak, or boil up some beans. Protein Powder is often lower in calories than a “standard” source of protein. It is recommended that you eat 1-1.5g of protein per kg of your bodyweight, and while most people think they get enough, they may not.

Some examples of this (using calories just as a comparison for how much protein you get for the number of calories you consume) are as follows:

  • Boiled Egg: 6g of protein (140 calories)
  • A Tank Lemon & Herb Chicken salad (My favourite!): 24g of protein (222 calories)
  • A thin slice of shaved ham: 2.9g of protein (30 calories)
  • 2 Roasted Garlic Bean Supreme Vegetarian Sausages: 8.4g of protein (153 calories)
  • ½ cup of Lentils: 9g of protein (200 calories)
  • A tin of Watties baked beans: 10.8g of protein (220 calories)
  • 1 glass of milk: 3.4g of protein (130 calories)
  • 10 almonds: 2.5g of protein (149 calories)
  • Milo “Protein Clusters” Cereal: 5.5g protein (191 calories for one 45g serving)
  • 2 scoops of Horley’s 100% Whey Vanilla protein powder: 18.6g of protein (and only 98 calories! This is the protein powder I have used in the past, it tastes great in my opinion, the vanilla one with half a banana and lots of ice tastes just like a good old banana milkshake/smoothie with vanilla icecream!)

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Why protein is important in our diet.

Protein IS NOT just about building muscle and only needed by body builders. Protein is one of the three macro nutrients (the other two being fats and carbohydrates), and is the building blocks of the body. Your body needs it in a relatively large amount, and is vital to the body. This is because your body uses protein to repair and build tissues. Protein is also a building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, hair, and nails! Fats and Carbohydrates are stored in your body, but Protein is not, which means it needs a fresh supply every single day, and it’s up to you to provide your body with this supply. Even if you don’t exercise, your body still needs protein to regenerate and repair different cells in your body.

Will I get “bulky” from eating more protein?

If you are eating 1 to 1.5g per kg of your bodyweight, you will not gain muscle, as this is the recommendation to keep your body happy and healthy.  Remember that females do not have the same amount of testosterone as males to get that “bulk”.

 

When should you use protein powder?

Whenever you want! Protein shake for breakfast, or morning tea, or afternoon tea, or for dessert! That’s the great thing about protein powder, its quick, easy, and versatile! You can have it alone with water, make it a smoothie by adding some berries or half of a banana, or you can even put it in some yoghurt and make a thick mousse!

 

At the end of the day you don’t NEED protein powder. There are many foods high in protein that would let you reach your goal easily! However, Protein powder is usually lower in calories, super tasty (if you find the right one!), and convenient! If you think you need to up your protein intake and want the convenience, definitely give protein powder a try! Some health food stores sell single sachets of a variety of protein powders, and we have single sample sachets of Horleys, Sculpt for sale at the gym!