4 SIMPLE WAYS YOU CAN LIVE MORE HEALTHY

 

Good food

Having listened to a lot of people share the challenges that come with losing weight or making a healthier choice of what they put into their bodies,I do find that a lot of them have the mistaken belief that to live healthy is somehow more expensive.

It is not.

It is also interesting to see that most people choose to eat out rather than carry lunch or a snack to work which I think is healthier because then you know exactly what has gone into preparing that meal.

Carrying lunch or a snack to work  was something I did when was employed some time back and the greatest motivation for doing so was because I got to save some of the money I would have used for lunch on something else like shoes or a handbag.

And no,I really do not mean that you should not enjoy lunch with friends and colleagues every now and then, you can .

 

To live healthy and to lose weight is affordable because we live in a country blessed with an abundance of healthy food.

When writing down meal plans for people who either want to adopt a healthier lifestyle or lose weight or manage any condition my first rule of thumb is to always get to hear from them what it is that they like eating .

Some of the questions I ask is what foods  they enjoy eating and how using those choices I can help them make more healthier choices.Getting to know other foods then enjoy eating helps me show them how they can incorporate healthier choices from the foods that are available to them and that they can afford.

That is how I come up with a meal plan.

The first thing in being able to lose weight or adopt a healthier lifestyle is to take stock of where you are and how you got there and a great tool that will tell you exactly how you ended up there is by keeping a food diary.

A food diary is a record of everything you eat through out the day,how often and in what amounts.It includes keeping track of what you ate for breakfast,lunch,dinner and any snacks in between.You need also to have an idea of how many tablespoons of oil you use in preparing your meals,how much margarine/butter and the number of teaspoons of sugar you are taking in.

A food diary can surprise you and just by looking at it you will be surprised at how much you really take in.With a detailed food diary a Nutritionist is able to calculate exactly how many calories you are taking in.

Now,back to discussing living healthy is not expensive and I will show how you can do that in just 3 simple ways.

1.Know where to shop

In Kenya we are blessed with an abundance of food and we are spoilt for choice when it comes to what we can eat and are willing to spend.You just have to know where you need to be shopping.

Vegetables and fruits especially come cheap and we have no excuse to not eat more of them .Sources of carbohydrates like rice,maize flour,wheat flour,traditional grains like millet and sorghum are  very readily available.You can get them at the supermarket,neighborhood kiosk or in the numerous open air markets scattered throughout Nairobi.

Toi market that is located on Ngong Road is a great place to buy vegetables cheaply and City Market gives you fairer prices on beef,chicken and fish fillets.Ngara Market and City Market just opposite the Aga Khan hospital will also give you a wide variety of fresh vegetables to pick from.

There are also the organic markets organized at various venues around Nairobi by the Organic Farmers Market   as well as farmers around Nairobi who do deliveries of their produce every week.

It is the sources of protein that make mealtimes more expensive but you  do not have to have beef,chicken,fish fillets  to meet your nutritional requirements for protein.More affordable sources of protein are legumes like  various varieties of beans,dried peas,omena(Lake Victoria sardines) offer youd  the proteins your body needs without breaking the bank.

Omena can be bought for cheap at Toi Market.

“Yes,good food does not have to be eaten with a fork.It is all around us if we are willing to make the right choice.”

2.Carrying lunch or snacks to work

Which do you think is easier,carrying lunch to work or buying food 5 times a week  from a restaurant ?

When you carry lunch to work then you have more choice over what exactly is in your plate and especially if you are losing weight then you need to know what it is you are putting into your body.

Having watched how our food habits have been changing over the years,I am happy to see the opening of more restaurants that are serving real food as well as the demand from Kenyans for healthier food rather than the choice of fries, deep fried chicken and soda  that was available some years back.

This demand has seen restaurants that are serving traditional Kenyan foods as well as foods from other cultures find a home as well as  enthusiastic foodies in Nairobi.

There has been an increase as well in the number of entrepreneurs setting up companies giving the Kenyan consumer more healthy food choices.

3.Learn how to cook

Maybe after reading the first two you thought how can I eat healthy when I cannot cook and I do not have time to learn?

You can learn how to cook by enrolling for a cooking class,one of my favourite Chefs on Facebook is Chef Raphael,he offers cooking lessons for groups as well as individuals.

If you cannot enroll for a class,but a cookery book from any of the bookshops,follow food bloggers   or watch the food shows available on TV or YouTube as well.

A quick search of this blog will give you some recipes,easy ones I promise using local ingredients that you will enjoy.

When you cook for yourself you get to experiment and once you get cooking you will be surprised at what you can whip up with simple ingredients and a sense of creativity.

4.Exercise

Eating healthy is only one side of the healthy living coin,physical exercise is the second side.

One of the most affordable ways of exercising available to anyone on planet earth is walking.Physical exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and every human being of whatever age will thrive with physical activity.

Physical activity also helps  reduce the risk  of developing certain conditions that may come with weight gain and it also helps improve physical as well as psychological well-being.

As always I love hearing feedback from readers,how are you living healthy or making more healthy choices,what has helped and what do you think I have left out from my list that has helped you and would help someone else?

Please share your feedback in the comments section.

 

 

HOW TO PREPARE HEALTHY SNACKS FOR YOUR CHILDREN

Snacking for children

A woman wields the  greatest  power over her household as she determines what gets eaten in her house ,she determines how healthy her family will be and most of us forget the power we have.You solely can  set the course over what kind of eating habits your children will carry with them through out their lives and well into adulthood.

As a woman many times I have found myself  asking this very simple question- ” why am I  here?” .

I don’t know if many others struggle with the same question ?This   feeling  that even though I may be doing very well in my career,business,relationships….I am not yet quite there.

It feels like we are in some kind of waiting room,you know like the one at the docotrs where you have to wait out your turn?

Hospital waiting rooms and waiting rooms of any kind are interesting places to get to see what people do when they have nothing to do but wait their turn.

Some are busy on their phones,reading newspapers ,magazine or a book or just people watching.

When you have children and have to take your children to the paedetrician,it is a great time to meet other mother,fathers as well though they are pretty rare.As a nutritionist it is also a time to see the kind of snacks children carry with them.Snacks are a great way to keep children  busy,their  very short attentions spans (15 minutes with my kids)means that they get bored pretty fast.They have very creative ways of keeping you busy as a parent with their trips to the dispenser pouring out cup after cup of water or making repeated trips to the bathroom to wash their hands.

Snack time is an opportunity parents can use to teach children to pick the healthy option rather than the one that looks tempting.Whether it is a hospital visit or packing snacks for school ,whatever snacks we put into their hands should more often than not be a choice that feeds their bodies and their taste buds as well.

Snack time is an opportunity to meet our nutritional requirements and growing children require more micro nutrients which are the vitamins and minerals than adults do.Giving them  a choice of fruits,nuts as well as vegetables is a healthy way of meeting their nutritional needs.

The trick to getting children eat more vegetables and fruits is to present it in a very attractive manner.

After the last post on the building blocks of your child’s nutrition some readers asked if I could give some ideas on healthy snacks they could give to their children .

Just before I share the suggestions I have  prepared I thought I should say some things to every woman who is doing her best to raise her children to eat better and have healthier habits.

A woman yields the  greatest  power over her household as she determine what get eaten and most do not  know it.You are the one that sets the course over what kind of eating habits your children will carry with them through out their lives.

A woman has the power to determine the kind of lifestyle her children,grand children and future great grand children will live.

A woman determines what ends up on the plates of her children,by the choice of the kind of foods she chooses to wean her child on, she is developing her child’s taste buds for healthy food .

The reason why we are told to wean children on a variety of natural foods is to develop their taste for nature’s goodness and not food from little  jars or boxes that is filled with a lot of sugar,salt and other additives and preservatives.

As much as possible try and develop healthy eating habits in your children as early as you can.

And even when you may have missed the opportunity earlier on,as long as they live under your roof you still have the power to change the course of their eating habits.

Children who develop healthy eating habits from an early age have fewer incidences of disease and hospital visits.They are more likely to perform better in school as well as socially.

You may want to read a post I did on why you should be reading food labels as well.

The foods that are great and healthy alternatives are foods you can pick from your local kiosk or grocery shop and when it comes to fruits,the best choices are the fruits in season,these offer you a fresh as well as cheaper alternative than those that are out of season.

1.Fruits

Fruits are best eaten  whole not blended.

Blending a few fruits for juice may seem healthy on the surface but fruits contain fructose a sugar and drinking too much fruit juice means  children while enjoying nature’s goodness in a glass of juice are also taking in too much sugar.

2-3 fruits daily are enough to meet a child’s dietary requirements .

Instead of blending 2-3 fruits to make fruit juice have your children eat the fruit whole,if it is an orange,slice it and let them have the orange.If an apple let them crunch their teeth  through the skin of the apple or let them peel the banana .Peeling bananas is a good way to develop your child’s fine motor skills as well.

As we live in the tropics,Kenya is never out of fruits,we enjoy a wide variety of fruits all year round,be sure to have your child eat at least 2 in a day by packing them as a snack for school and having another as an after school snack.

3.Salads

Salads are a great way for getting your children to meet their dietary requirements for  vitamins and minerals .

Making salads is a fun and easy way to get children to eat more of their vegetables.

Better still is if you use your own dressing,forget the one you buy from the supermarket that is loaded with preservatives,sugar and salt.Home made salad dressing are easy and tasty.

Try making them with some olive oil,freshly squeezed lemon juice ,black pepper,pinch of salt ,honey and use that dressing to toss your grated cabbage and carrot,or lettuce tomatoes and carrots.

Salads can be served for dinner or over the weekend and are a great way to get kids involved in preparing healthy meals ,lessons that they will definitely carry with them through adult hood and when they bring up their own children as well.

4.Nuts and seeds

Before you start giving your children nuts and seeds,ensure they do not have any nut allergies.

Cashew nuts,macadamia nuts are   favorites with most children , we also have peanuts(some children have peanut allergies)  we also have almonds,hazel nuts that are not produced locally and cost more but are also healthy choices and are stocked in a variety of stores.

Before packing nuts and seeds as a snack for children ensure they are past the age of 4 years and can comfortably eat them in your presence as they are a choking hazard for younger children.

There are also nut butters available and these nut butters can be used on bread,on sandwiches as well and are healthier than margarine as well as most commercially produced fruit jams.

5.Dried fruits

Dried fruits like sultanas,dates  and raisins are also good but not too much though as sugar is used as a preservative to lengthen their shelf life.These you can mix in with your favourite nuts to create some variety or added to breads you make at home and to cakes as well.

Salads can be jazzed up with some nuts,dried fruits and seeds like sesame seeds as well.

6.Sandwiches

Everybody loves bread(at least I thought so until we started thinking gluten was evil)

You may want to read :WHY YOU MAY NOT REALLY BE ALLERGIC TO GLUTEN.

You can make sandwiches from left over chicken and add tomatoes and with a simple simple dressing of olive oil and lemon you will have  a really delicious sandwich.You can add some crunch to it by first grilling the bread,rubbing some garlic clove on it and what you will end up with your children will keep asking for every time you have left over chicken.

One of my favorites as well as my kids is placing a slice of bread on a plate and layering it with thinly sliced avocado pieces  ,slices of  tomatoes  and topping it with a slice of bread then slicing the bread  diagonally into 4 cute triangular pieces.

You can come up with as many sandwich varieties as you like depending on what your family likes and as long as it is a healthy.Make your sandwiches  irresistible  by cutting them into fancy shapes using cookie cutters,your children will love them.

The secret to  getting it right with  sandwiches is to buy sandwich bread which is denser in order to hold the filling(s )and pick a healthy filling as well.

Fillings for sandwiches can be anything from fruits like avocado,tomato  to salads like guacamole or left over roast beef,chicken,turkey or tuna.

6.Making your own fruit yoghurts

A lot of the fruit yoghurts available in the market have a lot of sugar in them,a great idea is to buy  plain yoghurt and it with a fruit of your choice and pack it for your child  which they can have  as a mid morning or after school snack when they come back home.

Fruits that will give you a really great flavor when blended with yoghurt are strawberries,bananas,avocado,blueberries and just  one fruit per serving of yoghurt at a time .

A few years back I bought a popsicle maker and would often make popsicles with fruit yoghurt. The kids loved it especially when the weather was hot.

You may want to read :BENEFITS OF YOGHURT

A great way to ensure you do not have to push your children to choose healthy snack options is to always have a fruit bowl in the house,make sure its filled with fruits like bananas,oranges,apples ,grapes and by keeping a jar of nuts and seeds as well so that when the hunger pangs strike then they know where they can refill from.

If this post helpful,we would love to hear from you.It is readers like Wambui and everyone else who sends in their questions that keep us writing.

We may not always get it right all the time but when we can get it right 75% of the time when we pick a fruit over a packet of crisps then we are doing the right thing.

See you in the comments section and thank you Wambui!

IF YOU REALLY HAVE TO DRINK……

 

 

BEFORE YOU DRINK,EAT (2)

After having been to a couple of places where people take  adult beverages and where I spend a lot of time people watching I have been  struck by a few things.

There are more people drink than are consuming food.

And women are drinking nearly as much or more than men are (sometimes not always).

Drinking on an empty stomach does you no good whether you are a man or a woman  and women are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol than men.

First let start with what alcohol does to your body  and let us start by watching this short video.

In many developed countries there are guidelines as to how much alcohol a woman or a man can take in a single sitting.The rest of this article is based on those guidelines.

I borrowed the guidelines from the Center for Addiction and mental health because there are many other guidelines supplied by other bodies and they recommend the same amounts of alcohol for both men and women.Research however has shown that women and men absorb and metabolize alcohol very differently.

If you are going to choose to drink the recommended amounts for women and men are as follows;

Not more than 2 drinks a day for women,10 in a week is the maximum amount.

For men,not more than 4 drinks in a single sitting and not more than 14 in a week.

Women have less water in their bodies than men therefore their absorption rate for alcohol is higher  than men with whom they may be taking a similar amount.

Research has also shown that women suffer more organ damage than men from the effects of too much alcohol intake.You may want to read this report that was done by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

When you take alcohol, about 20% of it gets absorbed in the stomach but most of it will get absorbed in  your small intestines .Your body will absorb alcohol faster than it absorbs nutrients and all of this action of absorption of nutrients from food happens in the small intestines.

In the ratio of preference for what your liver will metabolize whether nutrients from food or alcohol,your body will pick alcohol.(Me thinks its because alcohol is a foreign substance and so the body wants to get it out of the system fast,very fast.)

Your liver is where alcohol gets metabolized and it takes an hour for the liver  to process one standard drink of alcohol.A standard drink of alcohol   is equal to a can of beer(5% alcohol),a glass of wine or a shot of liquor or spirit.

It is recommended  not to take more than a drink in the space of an hour, more than this and  your body gets saturated with alcohol and cannot absorb any nutrients from food you take as it is busy metabolizing alcohol.(A good reason to be alternating each drink with water).

What alcohol then does is that it interferes with the way nutrients from food get  absorbed by the body.We have already seen that when taken together with food ,the metabolism of alcohol takes first place before anything else and interferes with how other nutrients from food  get metabolized and absorbed and interferes with an individuals nutritional status.

When alcohol is being metabolized by the body it produces  toxic substances that interfere with  vital body organs like the liver.It is the reason why over consumption of alcohol leads to liver damage which can  affect  metabolism,blood clotting,drug metabolism and other body functions.

Alcohol has no nutritional value whatsoever as it consists  of (mostly)water,pure alcohol(ethanol) and sugars in variable amounts which depends on type of alcoholic beverage.

Alcohol will interfere with your nutrition in two ways.

1.Through insufficient intake of nutrients.

2.Through intake of high fat diet and reduced physical activity it will lead to obesity.

Two nutrients of which alcohol intake affects their absorption and metabolism are proteins and nutrients.

Proteins are used by the body to build and repair tissues and are a major component of every cell in your body  and vitamins play a very major role in your bodily functions-functions such as digestion,metabolism and immunity.

Part of managing alcohol intake as well as its  effects  is drinking responsibly.

1.Eating before drinking and avoiding drinking on an empty stomach.Having a high protein meal at least an hour before drinking is a good idea as well as snacking on something while drinking.

2.Not drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol depending on your gender.

3.Alternating your drinking with water.

4.Keeping track of how much you are drinking.

5.Not drinking alcohol while on medication.

6.Not driving after drinking.

Having heard as well as seen the effects of having people’s drinks spiked I thought I should add these two as well.

7.Do not just sit there drinking fro 5 hours,move around,dance take a walk and do not leave your drink unattended .

8.Go out and drink  with people you know well and trust.

Has this post been helpful,we would love to hear back from you.We love and appreciate feedback.

 

 

YOUR CHILD’S NUTRITION:THE BUILDING BLOCKS

 

monday inspiration (1)

If you were to ask my children what would make a perfect way of spending the weekend if left to themselves,it would be to sit in front of the TV for most of the day .

Do you know other children that are like mine ?

Being a parent,I get my greatest joy by telling them what is good for them in  very few words and more action like switching off the TV and asking them,ordering them outside to go and play.

It would be easier to let them watch TV all day but what fun would there be in that  and what childhood memories am I creating when I am letting them spend the whole day in front of the TV.

I was thinking about the fights we have over the TV over the weekend when I  read in the Saturday Nation that among the top 2 ailments that children over the age of 5 years in Nairobi have is malnutrition.

It took me aback because Nairobi being the capital city should be doing better than that,we seem to live in apparent affluence and food seems to be readily available for most residents of the capital city ,that should result in an above average nutrition status for most children but it does not.

What should we do to stem the rise in the incidences of malnutrition,be it over-nutrition or under nutrition ?

What can we do to stop the increasing number of children weighing in at more than they should?

I hope that this is the start of a conversation of how many more mothers and father can ensure that their children are having more of the right foods and less of the foods that come in cartons and tins.

1.Making healthy eating a lifestyle choice

Over some weekends I accompany the medics team at my church for medical missions around our neighborhood and as a nutritionist  I spend time listening as well as  talking to mothers about nutrition.

Apart from the normal complaint about how fast children get bored with certain foods,it is apparent that most mothers in the capital city no matter their economic status know what is good for their children.They know what their children should be eating and what their bodies need.

The challenge comes in turning the information that we have into  life long lifestyle habits that our children can carry through out their lives .

No matter what stage children are in we can help them form healthier eating habits and we start at home with what we serve.

Start them on healthy eating habits while they are still very young.Let them know the joys of eating food made from fresh ingredients.

Start taking them grocery shopping as early as you possibly can.Let them know how to choose the freshest fruits and vegetables and let them have a feel and look at how fresh really looks like.

“To create really great food,you do not have to make complicated meals,the tastiest foods are the ones made from fresh ingredients.”

A secret to the question as to “how to know  what is fresh ?” is that fresh is always  what is on season and fresh is always cheaper.

Kenya is blessed with an abundance of food,vegetables ,fruits are in plenty and we have no reason not to ensure children are eating at least 2 servings  of fruits and  3 servings of vegetables every day.

Fruits and vegetables are the source of micro nutrients which are essential for the proper functioning of a growing body’s functions.Children with the demands that growth puts on their bodies,we need to make sure they are meeting their dietary requirements.

For many parents who have a problem getting their children to eat fruits and vegetables,a few ideas to try in order to get them to eat more of these foods are .

  • Making fruits are easily available at home,get a bowl which you ensure is always filled with some fruit of some kind.
  • Let the children go shopping with you and let them choose the fruits and vegetables themselves.They are more likely to eat the fruits and vegetables they enjoy .
  • Get creative in how you serve your fruits and vegetables.For vegetables apart from cooking them for short period of time under high heat,try grilling them,serving them in salads sliced or grated.
  • Include fruits and vegetables as a part of every meal. Vegetables come in  such colorful colors hat there would be no excuse not to have them on your plate,they add such lovely color to a meal.
  • Add chopped or blended  fruits to plain yoghurt .
  • Eat fruits rather than blending them to make juice as fruits contain natural sugars and drinking large amounts of juice is likely to lead to a child being overweight because of all the sugar it contains.

2.Letting children play

Children need play as much as they need food.

Play helps children develop physical strength and it is also important as part of healthy brain development.Play is how children learn to interact with the world around them.

The American Academy of Pediatrics in a 2007 paper titled The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds by Kenneth R. Ginsburg had this to say :

Pediatricians should emphasize the advantages of active play and discourage parents from the overuse of passive entertainment (eg, television and computer games)

 

With access to internet connectivity we are seeing fewer children venturing out to play,they are  spending more time on their mobile devices than outside  with other children or even their parents.It is now becoming more common to see children especially those in urban centers who weigh more than they should for their age and height.

Kids need to be more  physically engaged ,this will reduce the incidences of child obesity that are on the rise.Children with a healthy weight have been shown to be healthier,more socially competent as well as more able to concentrate in school.

3.A parent is the best role model

A parent is the best role model of what healthy living should be like.

Children are not very good at following instructions but they are great at being perfect imitators.

When we make healthier choices with what we put on our plates,what we stock in our kitchens our children carry these habits they have watched us practice with them when they grow up and in turn they will influence their own children.

We can change the future of generations to come just by the simple decision we make of what we eat.

Make sure it is the right one.

Was this article helpful,we would love to hear from you.Head over to the comments section with comments or questions about what we just talked about.

 

DO YOU KNOW YOUR GAP?IT’S WHERE EVERYTHING HAPPENS

Life is lived .IN THE GAP (1)

What do you do when you have tried every diet on the planet,even your friends diets and still have not lost weight?

What do you do when the diet and lifestyle you started in January does not work in February?

What do you do when going to the gym becomes a drag and you have stopped trying?

What do you do when you are stuck in the gap between where you are and where you want to be ?

You move forward.

Because life is lived in the gap,where the  challenges and battles to eat healthier every day is a battle between what you feel you want and what your body really needs.

It is lived in the gap where being faithful to your daily exercises is a battle.

You may want to read:WHY YOU ARE NOT LOSING WEIGHT

But let’s go back to the beginning shall we and allow me to tell you about myself.

In order to keep writing,even when I do not post a daily bog post I have to write,in my journal or on a slip of paper or somewhere.Whenever I have kept off writing I have seen my creativity take a slump and it becomes harder each day to write the more I keep off it.

Same thing applies to keeping and staying faithful to the decision to eat healthier as well as exercise,it is hard and it is a choice you have to make every day.

And everyday you wake up to that gap that exists between where you are and where you want to be.That GAP is not an easy thing to wake up to everyday but it is a reminder that there exists within it the opportunity to grow as well as challenge yourself.

Even if you have  tried everything under the sun and you feel  you are  not there yet,do not give up.

That gap you see is a friend,an ally and a  source of  the  energy as well as the motivation to keep going at it,towards your goal.

Now,you may be asking,since you know what your goal is,how do you start towards making this goal a reality,a reality you are aware of everyday and one that keeps you motivated enough to stay the course ?

1.Knowing how you got there.

Real change is achieved when we know where we are and how we got there.

When we understand where we are then we are better prepared to start the journey towards creating the kind of future we would like for ourselves.

Maybe we started having pizza for lunch as well as dinner once too often or it could be that we started  neglecting a regular exercise regime or gave up on the second week of going to the gym when we thought we would die from the muscle aches(muscle aches are actually  a good sign that your muscles  are working as they should).

2.Know what is on your plate every day.

Keeping a food diary for a week of what you eat is a good way of tracking your eating habits.

A food diary will help you see what you are eating more or less off and what you should cut out altogether.You may just find that it is the 4 cups of coffee or tea with sugar that are contributing to all the extra calories your body is storing up as fat.

Maybe it is the extra glasses of wine every weekend that are making it hard to lose the weight .

A food diary is a good way of tracking whatever it is you eat and will give you an idea of how much you are consuming versus what your body really needs.

You will be surprised by what you see after keeping it for at least 2 weeks.

Sharing the details of your food diary with a nutritionist or dietitian will help them create a meal plan that will cater to the kind of lifestyle you are living.Each and every person is different and what diet  works for one person may give very different results to someone else.

By having a diet personalized for you,then you are more likely to stick to it as it incorporates food you can actually eat and not gag over.

Any weight loss program will only be sustainable when you eat food that you enjoy.

3.Knowing what your body needs

In school children are taught the basics of good nutrition ,most people actually know how a good meal should look like. It just seems easier to ignore all the good advice that we know and just eat the food we feel like eating at that particular time.

Every individual is different and a construction worker will not require the same kind of food as someone sitting in the office the whole day.

A woman needs her  food intake  to meet some dietary requirements that a mans body does not require.

The body’s nutritional needs are determined by age, gender,genes,occupation and any medical conditions we may be having.

This is where I would like to challenge anyone reading this to know how your body works and  what your body needs.

When you  know how your body works,what it needs you will know what to give it as fuel in the form of the food you eat.

In case of any medical conditions you may be having with,please see a qualified medical doctor.

4.Know who to seek advice from

The nutrition sector in the country is pretty much unregulated and one should be careful about whom they take advice about weight loss,a change in diet and living healthy from.

Mot public and private hospitals do have resident nutritionists and there are nutritionists like myself who give counselling services to individuals.It is prudent to do some research as well as background checks of people who claim to give out advice on what you should and should not be eating.

And read up as much as you can before you make a visit to your nutritionist or any medical provider.

5.Remember the gap

This gap,this seemingly huge gap that we seem to see before us, that is between where we are and where we want to be is all a matter of perspective.

Always remember that.

That gap can either be the source of a lot of frustration or the starting point towards real change.

Be easy on yourself and celebrate each milestone,even those that seem little,like eating an extra serving of vegetables or fruit or spending an extra half an hour at the gym.

 

When you are grateful for how far you have come ,you are giving yourself the energy and push to keep on running towards the goal of where you want to be.

Was this helpful?

We would love to hear your comments and any questions you may have as well.

TURN UP THE HEAT ON YOUR METABOLISM

Metabolism

“What do you do when you metabolism is slow and you want to increase it ?”

One of the surest way to increase your metabolism is through exercise.

Burn more calories by burning  (pun intended) the soles off your gym shoes is a sure fire way to lose weight.

A slow metabolism may be due to lack of physical activity,genes or hyperthyroidism  which is when your thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone and your metabolism slows down.

The thyroid gland is located at the base of your neck and produces the thyroid hormone which helps regulate your metabolism which is the way your body uses energy.

Th thyroid gland uses iodine from your diet to produce its two main hormones that are important for some very important bodily functions like;

  • Body temperature
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Breathing
  • Body temperature
  • Body weight
  • Menstrual cycle …

The two hormones produced by the thyroid are T3 (Triiodothyronineand) T4 (Thyroxine).

The levels of these two hormones in your body should neither be too high nor too low as they regulate how fast or slow your metabolism is.

These two hormones also work together with insulin which is the hormone that tells the body cells to take up the glucose to be used as energy fuel.

See how a slow metabolism affects your weight ?

If you have no underlying medical conditions, becoming more physically active is a great way to boost your metabolism and now thanks to science there are foods that together with regular physical exercise can help increase your metabolism.

Increasing your metabolism means that you burn more calories as you turn your food into energy that keeps your heart beating, your breathing constant ,your body temperature just right   as well as making sure your body functions as it should.All these things are using up energy which comes from the food you eat.

Thanks to one of the blog’s readers Susan,  who asked about how she could increase her metabolism.I thought about all the other readers who without any underlying medical reason may be having the same question and are wondering how to speed up their metabolism.then I should mention and here.

Exercise should be the first point of callas a means to increasing your metabolism but mother nature does provide means and ways with which we can help her along .

It is worth repeating that while our metabolism is affected by our genes and gender , exercising and eating right will go some way in helping us burn some extra more and who would not want that.

1.Do eat Breakfast

Sounds like a no brainer but you will be surprised by the number of people who do not take breakfast because they do not think it is important or even necessary.

By not eating breakfast you set your body into starvation mode and your metabolism slows and starts crawling at a snails pace to conserve energy.

(Yes,your body is that intelligent)

For breakfast try having foods that are slower to digest and leave you feeling fuller for longer so that you are not craving sugary things.

Try whole wheat bread with a vegetable omelette and a cup of tea or coffee with a fruit as a mid morning snack.

2.Do eat iron rich foods

Every month women  lose some amount of blood through their periods and blood contains the red blood cells that are  responsible for carrying oxygen into your body cells.

Remember the class 6 science lessons on the components of blood?

The red blood cells in your body contain Hemoglobin which  carry 70% of the iron in your body and hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen from your lungs to your tissues.n.

If the levels of iron in your body are low,your muscles do not have enough oxygen,you start feeling lethargic and your  body activity slows down.

What to do ?

Eat foods that will  boost the level of iron in your body and aid in its functions.

Great sources of iron are of course  dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli , spinach,kales,peas and beans as well as lean cuts of meat and poultry.

3.Do take dairy

Dairy products like milk and yoghurt are great sources of calcium ,an adult needs about 1000mgs of calcium daily,pregnant and lactating women as well as those over 50 will need more .You can meet your daily requirement of calcium with your breakfast,having a serving of yoghurt and with your tea or coffee.

A glass of milk is equal to 300 mgs of calcium.

Calcium helps metabolize your fat more efficiently and if you are wary of dairy because of the fat it contains there are now brands of milk with a skim version that will give you the calcium without the fat.

4.Do cut back on alcohol

If you drink at least two glasses of wine in a sitting or 2 beers you slow down the process of fat burning by your body as much as 70 %.Instead of having the liver ,the organ in your body at the center of metabolism  turning  the food you take into nutrients that the body can use it instead turns to the  acetate in alcohol as a fuel source.

5.Do take more protein

When paired with exercise  intake of  protein as part of your daily meals will help increase your muscles and muscles burn more calories than fat.

Having protein in your meals will help curb hunger as well as help you maintain a healthy weight and your body does burn more calories by digesting it.

Great sources of protein are beans,eggs,milk,chicken,fish and peanut butter.

6.Do sleep for at least 8 hours

Sleep deprivation slows down your metabolism and makes your body more sluggish which means you are less likely to engage in any physical activity.A sluggish body equals a slowed metabolism.

Make sure you get at least 7- hours sleep daily and you will wake up hale and hearty ready to tackle the challenges of the day .You will see and find that you are more active after a good nights sleep than otherwise.

Lack of sleep has also been linked to the hunger hormone ghrelin which stimulates appetite,an increased food intake and fat storage.

 

Was  this helpful ? we would love to hear back from you.

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See you in the comments section.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAKING YOUR DAY AT THE SPA COUNT

skin care

“One of the secrets to a happy life is giving yourself continuous small treats.”

The other day my  girlfriends  took me out for a treat,a day at some swanky spa at an address in Upperhill. To be honest I have never gone to a spa ,never thought it was necessary but hey there is always a first time for everything and I and my body loved every minute of it.

Getting myself a heady and aromatic coffee scrub , followed by a dead sea wrap that took me back ,way back to what babies must feel like when they are tucked into their mothers wombs had my skin pores absorbing the moisturizing cream and oil that was  used thereafter.A  massage followed  and my skin and body loved every minute of it as my tense muscles responded to the massage therapist  gentle coaxing by relaxing under her touch.

As we sat at the terrace of the restaurant enjoying a view of the garden I thought of the millions   of women who all want glowing skin .How could I be able to talk to them about incorporating nutrition as part of maintaining the glow that followed spa treatments.How would I make it easier for them as well as for myself to maintain the  smooth glowing skin that followed a spa treatment as part of living a healthier lifestyle?

What you eat ,you wear in public and your skin being the largest organ is the first point of call when you want to gauge how healthy your lifestyle is.Making some small changes in your diet can improve the look and feel of your skin and it starts with  what you put on your plate.

1.Eating  5 servings of fruit and vegetables daily

Ensure your fruits and vegetables  come in a variety of colors,make you plate a rainbow of colors .Fruits and vegetables are essential as part of a daily skin care regimen because they help protect your skin from  damage that is caused by free radicals .The vitamins present in abundance  in  fruits and vegetables help boost your immune system making it easy for your skin to heal from blemishes and support growth of collagen which provides your skin with the elasticity needed to prevent formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

2.Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are great sources of vitamins and especially Vitamin E that is good for your skin and helps support healthy skin growth as well as gives protection from the damage caused as we age.An intake of nuts and seed,you just a need a handful daily will help provide much needed nourishment to your skin.

3.Stop with the  crash diets

Crash diets play havoc on your skin,constantly losing then regaining your weight  will show on your skin with the presence of wrinkled and sagging skin.That is why it is really important to maintain a healthy weight by making healthy eating a lifestyle decision that is not reliant on a diet that you cannot sustain in the long term.

4.Cut out the junk food

We know that junk is bad for your body ,and it is bad on your skin as well.A diet high in carbohydrates and sugar may result in breakouts on your skin .Make sure your plate is filled with the right kinds of foods at every meal.

5.Drink water.

Your skin needs water to stay supple ,drinking your 6-8 glasses of water will help flush out the toxins from your body and aids in nourishing your skin cells and improving circulation .This  will help prevent premature aging and wrinkles.

In addition avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and taking moderate amounts of tea and coffee which all dehydrate your body will help your skin maintain its glow.

If you really do have to take alcohol and love your morning cup of coffee, then make sure you take a glass of water with each serving of alcohol or cup of coffee that you take.

6.Exercise

Surprised exercise is on the list?It had to be.

Exercise is great for your whole body and our skin which covers that body  will benefit greatly when you take up a regular exercise schedule.When your exercise you improve the circulation of blood in your body and your blood carries oxygen,nutrients to the cells in your body.By exercising you are increasing blood flow through out  your body and helping your liver flush out the toxins from your system which can mean nothing but good news to your body and your skin as well.

7.Wearing sunscreen

We live in the tropics and for those that enjoy a day out in the sun  wearing sunscreen  to protect your skin from the harsh rays of the sun is necessary.Yes ,even for us who live in the tropics and think our darker skins can withstand the heat, we do need sun screen.

Making a few changes in your life  can greatly  improve the condition of your skin which when done together with your  spa treatments  can work towards giving you a better and healthier  looking skin for longer.

SKIN CARE:FOODS TO TAKE IN MODERATION

In case of any skin conditions that require treatment be sure to see a qualified dermatologist or medical provider  for treatment.

Does this help?Please let us know in the comments section,see you there.

 

A NUTRITION DISRUPTION

nutritionist poster

Eating healthy is a form of self love,only you can give it to yourself.

When you make up your mind to start eating healthy,the most difficult hurdle you will have to get over everyday is the hurdle of staying motivated to eat healthy.

Eating healthy is a lifestyle decision that will not be solved by going on a diet.It has to be a conscious decision every day to be mindful about what ends up on your plate.

When I started writing and talking about nutrition I was excited to share my knowledge and experience in the kitchen with my readers and I had a lot of fun.But the very same reason I started writing ,started to wane off because somehow I got demotivated.

Suddenly everywhere I looked,everyone was dishing out nutrition advice based on nothing but what was trending in social media groups.Everyone was selling slimming teas,juicing,keeping off carbohydrates,eating only proteins and making a mess of the beautiful science of why and  how food is used by our bodies.

Everyone was lapping up the myths as gospel truths and my interest in writing started to wane off.My only involvement in nutrition came when I took part in the medical camps organized by our church and I would give nutritional advice and counsel to the people i Met during those medical camps

It was  interesting to see people quickly becoming health experts of sorts from reading just a few articles and without any formal training on what nutrition is, how various conditions would influence how food was absorbed in the body,they would start giving out nutritional advice.

More interesting was to find myself dishing out nutrition advice even without thinking about it and bursting a few myths that were being bandied around as means to weight loss and health .So why did I stop writing again…..

And so I found myself back where I started writing about nutrition because the information  being being bandied about was that staying healthy was a 15 or 21 day affair of eating certain kinds of foods and avoiding others.

But is it …..really?

Staying healthy is a lifestyle choice,a reason most diets do not work is that they promise you  quick results that do not last because somehow you fall off the diet wagon.And so you will find yourself trying every diet that promises to give you quick results when instead you should be using your energy to make healthier lifestyle choices.

And that is the reason I am back to nutrition ,I  got tired of looking at food as if it was an enemy to be fought  instead of something to be enjoyed.

It was time to  burst some myths that I had come across on what living  and eating healthy was all about.You may want to read Why you are not losing weight and why you may not be gluten intolerant.

Here is what I would like to do for you ,as a nutritionist I would like to disrupt the way you see and think about healthy eating.How can you make food your partner in living a healthier life and not see it as something you should be afraid of?

There are many places,people ,pills and teas that promise you quick results but do they really work at keeping you there..at making healthy eating a lifestyle choice?

I have spent years reading about what eating healthy is all about and how we can use food to manage as well as maybe avoid certain conditions.Those same years have been spent seeing how blessed we are as a country because we have such a wide variety of foods and fresh foods to choose from.

Is there a way I can help you live healthier,make wiser food choices,maybe a   topic you would really like me to talk about or maybe write about that you think you need clarity on?

Write it in the comments section and let us see how we can start you on eating more healthy as well as keep you there.

ARE YOU REALLY GLUTEN INTOLERANT ?

Bread gluten

Have you recently met someone who has sworn  to you that they are off eating  any wheat related products ?

Thousands of Kenyan women are going off wheat and for some brief period of time they have gotten rid of the bloated feeling that comes after eating bread.

At the moment we even have producers of  gluten free baked  products for consumers that have celiac disease which is the an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks the protein we call gluten,found in most products made from wheat,barley,rye.

What is gluten you may ask ?

Gluten is a protein found in cereals like wheat,oats and rye and when consumed results in inflammation of the gut and specifically the small intestines .It is estimated to affect 1 out of every 100  people world wide is a hereditary condition. Read more about it at Celiac Org.

Gluten is the “glue” that helps baked food and other products made from cereals that contain this protein retain their shape.Some foods that you may not think of but contain gluten include beer,food coloring,salad dressings and commercial soups and sauces.

You may consider getting a doctors or nutritionists advice and counsel before you confirm an intolerance to gluten.

To confirm a  gluten intolerance you may want to keep a food diary for a period of 2 weeks and even after you confirm that bread is the culprit,remember that bread  is made with yeast which helps bread rise.You already have some good bacteria living in your gut  which in the presence of refined  sugars multiplies and when you add bread that contains more yeast into your gut,it causes the yeast to multiply,producing gas and causing that  bloated feeling you are now familiar with.

This  explains the relief you feel when you keep off wheat products especially bread.

If you really do feel you have to cut bread off from your diet,there are many healthy breakfast options available-boiled arrow roots or sweet potatoes .You may want to read the post we did a couple of years back on Kenyan food classics .

So are you really gluten intolerant ?Keep a food diary and keep a track  of all the foods you eat and you will easily pin point the ones to  blame for the bloatedness. You will be surprised to find fruits among the list ,especially if you skip lunch and have nothing but fruits instead you will get bloated as well.

Fruits contain fructose,a sugar and as we said yeast which is present in low amounts in your gut thrives on sugar,more sugar,more yeast growth more gas hence the bloated stomach.

As soon as you pin point the foods that are the cause of your bloated feeling,try eliminating them over the course of 2 weeks and afterwards try including them into your diet one at a time and in reasonable  amounts .

Does this post help?

Do you think a food diary would help you point out the foods that are the cause of your bloatedness and discomfort?

Do let us know,we love feedback.

WHY YOU ARE NOT LOSING WEIGHT….

 

Take care

A few years back, I showed my now  pre teen daughter ,photos of myself while at the university.

She could not believe it was me.

To be honest she laughed until she cried.

And still did not believe it was me.

I had to take a look at that photo again to confirm that indeed it was me in all my chubby glory.

I was so round ,bouncing off a wall if inadvertently someone knocked me against one would have been pretty easy.

Looking at that picture now,I almost doubt that it is me ,struggling with my weight and pretending I was fine with it.

For every 10  women you meet 9 are struggling with some weight issue.It is never evident at first glance, but we are all as women struggling with something and it manifests itself through the food we indulge in or deny ourselves.

My fluctuating weight was  evidence of the emotional turmoil I was going through on the inside.

I was an emotional eater.Most women are emotional eaters.

We eat and drink when we are happy,unhappy and when we are really really happy with life,we do not even feel hungry.We just feed of our emotional high (like when we are in love) to keep on going  and when the high goes,we can really eat .

My go to foods were  chocolate,ice cream or anything deep fried at  the drop of   a hat    which in a heartbeat were my pick me ups  whenever I was going through some emotional upheaval.

It could be a breakup you are going through,stress at work or just the  feeling that you are stuck in  some area of your life,it does not matter what it is but your body tells you there is something wrong and the only way to “fix “it is get something in your mouth or so we think.

I know I did that several times, taking comfort in food,much easier and tastes really good at the time.

These  experiences taught me something about food,the struggle with weight and wellness.

That sometimes the battle you are fighting is not what people see on the outside,it is what is going on from  the inside that will determine what eventually lands on your plate.

No matter how many diets you go through,how much you read about the benefits of healthy eating,nothing will start working until you fix what is not right from the inside.

The journey to a healthier life starts from the inside and even when you do not feel like it,eat the apple,take the salads,drink more water,cut back on the unhealthy foods and replace them with more fresh vegetables and fruits and magic starts to happen.

It takes some getting used to,remembering that the body you have is the only one you will ever have to take you through life as well as achieve your dreams helps some.

Take care of it.

Have  you ever  struggled with weight and would you call yourself an emotional eater,what helped you get back on your journey to living healthier?I would love to hear from you.