What the f#*& should I be eating and when? Is this you? Do you feel like there is a bunch of new stuff out there that makes it increasingly harder to understand basic nutritional guidelines and makes it harder to maximise your results while working to your goal? OMG ME TOO GUYS and I know a little bit about nutrition. Hello, you should be totally listening to the PT who won her yr. 12 award for the highest study score in Health and Human Development. Clearly sarcasm is also high on my skills list but the point being I know a bit more than the average bear and I still don’t feel comfortable to go outside my nutritional coaching capabilities, so how is the general pop (you guys!! ) supposed to feel informed and not confused? This is exactly the reason I sought professional and specific insight into the world of nutrition for this post. Please keep in mind this is written through a lense that is not around sports performance or for body builders or sculptors or fitness models. This is written for everyone who wants optimal health and has a goal to maintain a healthy weight and stay or get fit. Overall health and wellness.
Who is this legend of the nutritional cosmos that I have gained many insights into the world of nutrition from? Introducing Catherine Macdonald! *loud and spontaneous clapping*. This blog has been forever in the making. I sat down and had a yarn with Catherine Macdonald, Public health Nutritionist with VACCHO ( Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation) , so very long ago and ran past some questions that my clients had in regard to nutrition. Catherine would like me to tell you all that this information she has given from a public health perspective, she does not specialise in sports performance and if you are looking for specific nutritional advice then you need to go and see a nutritionist/dietitian. NO MEAL PLANS BELOW ! but some cool meal ideas.
Ummmm what does that leave us to talk about? It leaves all the things. Because you are a mum or a dad or a professional with a lot of competing commitments and who has time for complicated. So, let’s get some basic rules down. Healthy eating and good nutrition does not have to be hard.
One of my rules is if it seems too good to be true with ‘dieting’ it probably is… and if its offering you a quick solution it wont last. So, no more Beyonce lemon tea detoxes please fam. Leave Bey alone. Here are some of the questions I had for Catherine with answers to follow.
Are eggs bad for us?
I asked this because I am an Egg Fiend! And they are so tasty and a good way to get our protein in but I feel at times they are a bit demonised.
The main issue with eggs is the cholesterol, however now evidence is suggesting it’s saturated fat in foods that has more of an effect on our cholesterol levels than the cholesterol in eggs. This leads us to the guidelines around eggs. The Heart foundation suggests that eating 6-7 eggs per week will not increase our risk of heart disease when eaten as part of a healthy eating pattern. Eggs have good quality protein and healthy fats, including omega-3 fats.
Is dairy bad for us?
I was in a gym environment once and there was a lot of talk of certain foods being toxic. One of those being dairy.
Over to you Catherine,
Currently there is no evidence around suggesting that there are ‘toxins’ in foods such as eggs and dairy. In fact the good news is, if you don’t have an intolerance to lactose in dairy foods, they are a good source of protein and carbs which provides us with the slow release energy that we need throughout the day and good for gut health. The calcium in dairy also helps keep our teeth and bones strong.
What supplements would you recommend?
My personal opinion on this is supplements are only for when you are struggling to get what you need from whole foods or you’re in need of a time friendly approach to your meals when you are out and about killing it in your daily lives.
The Sound and Sensible Catherine Macdonald has this to say.
There are certain amounts of Macro and Micro nutrients that our bodies need and whatever the body does not use it will excrete. If we look at the example of protein powders they can do no harm to consume them (as directed) but if you are meeting your daily intake through other foods, then it may be unnecessary. The average women needs approximately 46 g of protein a day. To put this into perspective an egg has 6 grams of protein. This is dependant also on the individual and the individual’s daily movement output, or as some people call it, exercise.
But what about your Pre, Intra and Post work out supps?! . Look I am a huge fan of BCAAS during and post because they are tasty! . Especially around times I increase my training load for Marathon training or sport but unless you are training twice a day everyday then you are probably just spending a lot of money on a tasty treat during your work out. For pre-work outs there is evidence around that suggests Caffeine does increase your training performance, so this will maximise the quality of your work out. If you are experiencing some negative effects of training such as muscular cramps etc this is probably a sign that your overall nutrition needs to be addressed as you may be missing some important nutrients within your diet but can also be addressed with the use of supplements.**
What is your advice for women pre, during and Post Pregnancy ?
Stay hydrated at all times. Water is the best choice! Whole foods are the best and most nourishing for the body especially at this time when you are creating little humans. Have lots of healthy, easy meal ideas and snacks that are ready to go when you are heading into your final trimester. This may require some pre cooking but will be a huge time saver when you come home from the hospital. Remember weight loss after pregnancy will take time. Make eating healthily a priority especially if you are breastfeeding as it is important for your health and your bubba’s.
Do you have some suggestions for easy healthy snacks?
My advice would be to be organised rather than types of snacks. A lot of people bring all their hard work undone because they haven’t pre planned their daily food and give into cravings when they hit.
What are some of the biggest challenges people face with food selection?
Food labelling and fatigue. People tend to make poorer choices when they are tired and if they are tired and not prepared they may just head to the tea room snack box where all the chocolate is for a 3 pm pick-me-up.
Food labels can be very misleading. Ignore packaging as words such as ‘lite’ can actually just be suggesting the colour of the food is light. If it suggests it’s low in fat it may be high in added sugar or other nasty things to make it tasty . My advice for this is
- Turn the pack over to read the ingredients, if sugar is within the first three listed it should be a no from you.
- Pick products with short ingredients lists.
- Ignore Packaging, make your choices based on the information in the ingredients list, on the food panel and by the star rating system that is now happening within Australia.
- Fruit and veggies (fresh, frozen or canned with no added salt and sugar) are always a healthy choice
Is eating healthily always going to be expensive?
Definitely not is the answer ! here are some tips and tricks on how to keep that shopping bill nice and low.
This answer is a combo of J T and C Mac J
-Shop in season this means fresher produce at the best price. Shopping at a farmer’s market away from the main supermarkets for your fresh produce can also make a huge difference in your shopping bills.
-Stir-fry’s are a great meal to add to your repertoire that are low cost high in nutritional value.
-SPAG BOL !!!! this is my favourite. Carbs are good for us and we can still have a family favourite in Spaghetti Bolognese using all natural products. You hit your macros and you get your veg in as well. Winner winner…spag bol for dinner haha. This can also be made in bulk and freezes well.
-Buying tinned fruit in its natural juices to have on cereals for breakfast or a healthy snack. This is where reading food labels becomes important and not being full by clever marketing, so you know exactly what product you are purchasing. Once you have discovered a few of your favourite products you will know where to go to in the store so those first few times may take a while but will get easier in the long run.
Is it better to eat lots of small meals during the day or fewer big meals?
Calories throughout the day is person dependant and whether you eat a few bigger meals or more smaller meals throughout the day is also more of a lifestyle thing rather than a science thing. Smaller meals for some people could lead to over eating in the long term. You just have to spend some time experimenting with the options and find the one that bests suits you.
I hope there is something in here guys that has answered a burning question or a point of confusion for you when you thinking about your nutritional needs as well as your lifestyle and training goals. If your loving the content please leave us a message , email or DM us on our socials. If you would like to suggest some topics please let us know .
Have a deadly week team! Stay tuned for some awesome guest bloggers in the coming weeks .
** Jacara (author of the blog) is not a qualified nutritionist or dietitian please seek professional advice if you are experiencing the symptoms described.