‘I don’t look the part’

”It is the ethical responsibility of anyone working or studying within human health to acknowledge and critically reflect upon their weight bias, no matter how uncomfortable it feels to challenge one’s own level of privilege. Practicing without doing so is to practice negligently and infringes upon the rule of ‘first, do no harm’.”
– fat_therapist

I read this the other day on Instagram and it stuck with me.
And now, let me tell you a story:

I went to see my counselor the other day (yes, I see a counselor and I am not ashamed to say it) – and neither should you be. Sometimes we just need someone to talk to about life’s all ups and downs. When I say I’m gonna heal myself I do it from all different angles.
I’m getting off topic here – anyway…
I was talking about myself and my future profession and everything I said he wrote down on the big whiteboard – you know, so everything you say is really confronting  – because it’s right in front of you in big black letters. – And that’s when you realize how stupid everything negative thing you say about yourself sounds.
I spoke, he wrote. One thing I said was ‘I don’t look the part’. He wrote it down, and I just looked at it. And the first thing that popped into my head was ‘Are you Freaking kidding me?!’, where did I get this from?
Here I am, advocating Health at Every Size and the non-diet approach and this is what I’ve got going on in my mind, still?! Why do I put my value into the way I look? Why do we put our value into the way we look?
My counselor asked me why I thought that way, and I said ‘well, if you look at all the instagramers who run a health page, they are SO thin (I bet you my mum is rolling her eyes no)! They have a six-pack, all of them! And most of them don’t even have the appropriate education or knowledge to be providing health advice, but still they do – and they get heard because they look the way they do!’
Let me just say, it’s okay to have a six-pack, it’s okay if you don’t. You are beautiful either way. But you know how easy it is to thing negatively about yourself? That was the situation I was in at that moment.
I thought that I wouldn’t get heard as a nutritionist just because I don’t have a six-pack. (This is what I seriously think sometimes, I’m embarrassed just writing it – but I need to do this (YOU ARE NOT ALONE!).

My counselor just looked at me and said:
‘Is that how you picture nutritionists? With a six-pack? I picture a scientist with a lab coat and glasses. Because it’s a science subject.’
Yeah, let’s face it, nutrition is the science of food so he does have a point.

From this I learnt that I’m gonna continue to work on myself and also motivate others to be proud of their body, no matter what they may look like. I work on this every single day, but I’ve come a long way in these last three year since I started to study.

 

Let’s talk about food marketing

Let’s talk about food marketing, and how companies trick people into believing that one particular thing is more healthier than another.

In this post I am comparing two different brands of potato chips, let’s not think about the fact that it is potato chips. If you want to eat good fats and a fibre rich diet potato chips are probably not the way to go. But I just wanted you to get an idea of how it works.

I found this one at a friend’s place and I was just blown away by all the claims it has on the front. Someone would easily believe that this one would be a healthier option compared to other brands.
First of all:
Gluten free – this is a marketing strategy a lot of companies use. I went to a café the other day and a cake said ”low gluten”, what even is that? Are they thinking: it’s just one little table spoon of flour, so that makes it less gluten? It Does Not Work That Way. It’s either gluten in it, or it’s not. There’s No in-between.
Anyway. Who knew that potatoes are gluten free? Who knew that potatoes are natural?
And 90% less saturated fat than what? Are they comparing it to a specific oil? Because, for example, both sunflower oil and olive oil are predominantly monounsaturated fats. Or are they comparing it to butter?

And then I absolutely love the top left corner ”no hidden nasties” – and then we turn the bag over…

 

Most ”original” potato chips contain three ingredients – potatoes, an oil and salt. This bag only contains 60% of potatoes – and it also contains sugar! I would call that a hidden nastiness, wouldn’t you? The sugar they have probably only added to make it taste better. But other brands that you might think are ”unhealthier” than this one do not contain any sugar at all.

People often don’t know what to look for when they read food labels. So let’s break it down for you: the ingredient list always starts with the ingredient that is of the greatest amount in that particular food. For example – when I go to buy a ”healthy” bar for example, I wouldn’t normally pick one that has golden syrup, fructose or something similar as an ingredient on top of the list – it’s still a sugar. I would pick something with a nut as the first ingredient, or something like oats, which is a good base for a bar.

When looking at the nutrition information where all the information regarding the amount of energy, protein, different type of fats etc. – Look at the 100 g column, because that makes it easier to compare it to other brands. Because serving sizes may vary depending on the brand.
I don’t have a good picture of the nutrition information of this particular bag – but it contained, for example, 7.3 g of sugar per 100 g, whereas Smith’s potato chips, another big brand here in Australia, had 1.0 g of sugar per 100 g. The Sodium content of Smith’s was also lower, but not that significant. However, the Smith’s bag didn’t say how much dietary fibre it contained – the bag in the pictures above contained 4.2 g of dietary fibre – which is good. The higher the fibre content, the better.

The Smith’s chips were made out of sunflower oil and canola oil, they did have higher saturated fat content – but not that much. They did, however, also contain greater amounts of mono and polyunsaturated fats compared to the ”healthy” one, which is much better! It is important to look at the nutrition information – people are often too scared of fat. The one type of fat that people should be aware of is trans fat. The ”healthy bag” contained 0.1 g, hardly anything. But Smith’s had 0.0 g. And people should be aware of this because trans fat are associated with different health issues, such as heart disease, which is why it is recommended to keep the intake as low as possible. Trans fats are often found in chips, store bought cakes etc.
The Smith’s chips were however higher in energy. But when I eat chips, I’m just gonna eat whatever chips I want to. If a person is mainly focusing on losing weight, the chips would probably not be included in their diet anyway.

I’m not saying that you should go and get a bag of chips now just because one is is better than the other one, I just wanted to show you how food marketing works. By just looking at the front of the bag isn’t enough to keep you informed about what is actually in the bag. Turn it over and look at the ingredients, how many ingredients does it contain? What does it contain?

I hope this helped you a little bit, and if you’ve got any questions just let me know!

 

One thing you could skip this Christmas (definitely not the chocolate)

The stress regarding your body image and what food you put in your body.
One thing I would advise you to skip this Christmas is the stress regarding how much you eat and how you afterwards have to ”get rid of it”.

We all know that what we put in our body needs to be used as energy to prevent the risk of gaining weight. Energy in – energy out.
And this Christmas you might eat more than you intended to, as most people do every year. And that is okay.
And you do not have to justify it with ”the new year is coming and I am going to lose weight”. Enjoy it.
I am not saying that you should overindulge in it, but just eat that chocolate if you want to – without the guilt.

Because I believe it is all connected – holistic health. That stress and mental struggle you are creating for yourself is not going to help you in any way – doesn’t matter what body size you are. We are great at creating anxiety around Christmas – money, gifts, family get-to-gathers. Another thing we don’t need is to create anxiety around food.

Let me introduce you to mindful eating.
This is something I’ve been trying to adopt the last couple of months, and I would recommend you to do this during the holidays.
A couple of girls in my class at the end of my last semester at Uni spoke about this in a workshop – mindful eating. And I really like the idea of it.
I have a tendency of eating waaay too fast (it’s kind of like someone would take the food away from me-fast!), which makes me bloated and I am not really enjoying my meal. Instead, I am trying to eat my food slowly so I can enjoy it – because I do really, really love my food.
By eating slowly I can also tell when I am getting comfortably full, instead of ”food baby-full”. Then I stop eating – I’ll just put the left overs in a container and shove it in my fridge and save it for later.
It is also great to take small breaks when eating and really see if I am enjoying the food. Does it taste good? Does it bring me joy? If not, then why the Hell are we eating it?
Food is there to nourish your body, but also create joy and be a pleasant experience.
People often tell me ”I eat chicken, brown rice and broccoli because I know it makes my body look the way I want it too”. Really? Are you enjoying eating it or is it just about the way your body looks?
I love food too much – would not eat something just because I think it is going to make me look a certain way (If you would have asked me a couple of years ago my answer would have been completely different).
The thing is food is sooo much more in our lives than just focusing on our weight; you can still have a Delicious meal that is considered healthy – I am not saying ”If you love McDonald’s than have that all the time.” But maybe try and make your own hamburger instead. We are all on different health journeys and you’ve got to start somewhere.
So I would recommend you to start now – by not judging yourself for eating this holiday. It might seem like a small step to you – but your health is going to thank you for it.

Merry Christmas to you all,
Please let me know what you thought of this post!

Variety, baby

Long live the smoothie bowl. It’s pretty, it’s yummy. But I am just getting so tired of all the hype around it, aren’t you?

If I see one more perfect smoothie bowl I’m gonna suffocate myself on the peanut butter I have stashed in my cupboard (there are worse ways to die).
No, I want to see some other dishes, something inspiring (but still easy to make).  Sure, your bowls look pretty and they probably taste amazing. Anyone can make them which is great, maybe not make it look as pretty as yours (obviously, because you’ve had a great amount of practice with all the failed smoothie bowls you managed to make before you took that perfect shot), but a smoothie bowl is not that impressive.

It is easy to make, I give you credit for that – because easy-making nourishing food is what I’m all about.
I am not saying I am a great cook, and that is why I am asking for inspiration. And I most definitely do not have the artistic smoothie bowl skills that you have.
But what about variety? Do you eat anything else?

Today I made lasagna.
I used to hate lasagna, every time we got it in school I would pull a face (you know the face) and it probably took me a decent amount of time to finish the plate.
But lasagna does not have to be in a certain way.
What do you think of lasagna?
It’s yummy?
It’s too ”unhealthy” because of the cheese?
There is too much carbs in it?

I decided to make it my own way, and so can you.

First of all, all home cooked food is better than fast food any day.
It’s made with love, you took the time to make food that nourish your body. 
There is cheese, and who doesn’t love cheese? (which you do not have to use if you do not want to)
In my lasagna I used:
Tomato sauce made by frying garlic, onion and tomatoes together, adding sour cream and whatever spices you want. I used basil, + salt and peppar.
Chickpeas
Capsicum (peppers)
Eggplant
Lasagna sheets
Cheese

I’ve modified the ”traditional” lasagna, and even if you were to make a traditional lasagna that is awesome. Because you made it yourself, and as I was saying – that beats fast food any day. And store-bought food – because they have a tendency to add heaps of things that doesn’t necessary have to be in there.
The thing is if you modify it slightly you might get away with ”hiding” certain foods from yourself.
I used to hate capsicum, now I love it warm (still working on the cold part).
I used to hate eggplant, now I use it in my lasagna because I can sometimes crave it.
Isn’t it funny?
And it contains sooo many things that are good for you – vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates and protein. Your body needs it, everyday.

You can also make it with a kick-ass salad on the side.
I made mine on kale, fried in a little bit of olive oil, green beans, red cabbage and some pepitas.

Good luck creating!

The problem is when we become afraid of food

Do you ever get overwhelmed with all the nutrition information out there?
Yes, me too.
And I am a soon to be graduating nutritionist. In less than a month, I just want to add that. (yaay!).

But it is just so confusing, am I right?
Low carb, high fat. Ketogenic diet. Don’t eat this, do eat that. One day it is different information compared to the day before.

I was listening to this very great podcast the other day and then the lady that was being interviewed started giving nutritional advice. She has no nutritional background what so ever. She is an author regarding something completely different..
And she has sooo many followers. And they are of course going to believe everything she says as they look up to her.
I am not going to go into what she was speaking about – but it is just frustrating how someone with so many people admiring them gives advice on what they should eat. Because it works for her.

I would never tell anyone ”this is how you Should workout, because that is what I am doing at the gym. And clearly this works, look at my boobs”, kind off. But at the end, I have to freaking idea why You are going to the gym. I am not a personal trainer. I have other people in my life to help me with that.
It’s like saying: everyone should paint their walls pink because it makes me feel so much more energetic in the morning. So you feel very tired in the morning, but do You even like pink?

Look at this picture:

Yummy, right?
Some of you are going to think: Oh, she is so healthy that Penny (she’s a freaking beast).
Some of you are going to think: That is just too much sugar.
Some people: You should just quit as much carbohydrates as possible, because they are not good for you.
Another one: Oh, I wish I could eat like that. I have this problem (whatever it is), and my body would not react very well after eating that.

And these are legit thoughts that are going through my reader’s minds right now, because We Are All Different.

When I mentioned sugar what was your thought? 
Yes, fruit contains fructose, which is a sugar (carbohydrate). And just like refined sugar – It contains the same amount of energy per gram.
Just because I say this you might think: Am I going to become fat if I eat too much fruit?
No.
The difference is that refined sugar has no nutritional value what so ever. It does not give you any of that goodness that makes your body thrive and heal. (Maybe not heal a heartbreak, but that’s a completely different story).
However, I am not going to tell you not to eat refined sugar. The problem is when the intake of refined sugar becomes too high and it starts to contribute a lot to your daily intake.
Because it does not contain any of the amazing components that fruit contains – Fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Fruit also contains a lot of water.

However, too much of anything may be bad for you – but seriously, how much fruit can you eat before your lips become all sour and they hurt?

But when someone tells me we should cut out all carbs and pretty much all fruit – ”Because My body will feel so much better, just because Their body feels better” – I am like; WTF?!

Are you with me?

The problem is when we become afraid of food, sugars especially, because a lot of us are. Because it is made out to be the only enemy that is contributing to overweight and obesity.

But it is all about balance and moderation.

What you put into your body have to be used up as energy otherwise you will gain weight.
I went to the gym today, so I can have that chocolate bar. But it doesn’t matter. I should not beat myself up over it if I decide to eat that bar tomorrow instead when I don’t go to the gym.
Or I can choose on that gym-day to eat a lot more carbohydrates (veggies, rice, potato), or protein (contains the same amount of energy as carbs) – because they are nutrient dense, feeding your body with nutrients.

Take home messages:
– Look where you get your nutrition information from. Do you know how many celebrities that have written books about nutrition and that they actually are actresses?
– Everyone is different.
– If you don’t have someone to turn to with your questions – I am happy to help. I do not know everything, but I can always look into it for you.