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Nutrition Topics

HOW TO EAT

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HOW TO EAT

We tend to be so conscious about WHAT to eat - fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, quality fats and proteins, sprouts, herbs etc. But HOW to eat is just as important, if not more. 

You see, your body and your brain need to engage fully in the experience of eating so they can properly perform the heavy-duty task of digestion. If your brain is distracted or stressed it won’t communicate well with your digestive system and food won’t be properly digested, sitting on your stomach causing you problems like bloating, gas, lower energy levels and eventually getting stored as fat.

So, if the food is not well digested you will not absorb all the nutrients in the food - which means your body is not getting the nutrients it needs and  there’s no point spending money on the best quality food if your body is not absorbing and getting the most it can from it.

Putting in practice the following tips will help you eat more intuitively, avoid overeating, loose weight and improve your digestion and energy levels.

1. Eat when you are hungry.

We are so used to snacking and picking at food all the time that we forget what hunger feels like. We also tend to eat for non-hunger reasons. Because food can make us happy instantly we tend to eat when we are overwhelmed, sad, stressed, anxious, bored, etc. If you eat when your body isn’t ready for food because its busy doing other tasks, that food won't be digested becoming sludge that weighs you down and gets stored as fat. To make sure your body is ready for food (fuel) wait until it signals you with hunger - the rumbly feeling in the stomach - then eat. 

2. Eat without distractions.

Once you are ready to eat put away all distractions, plate your food and sit down somewhere comfortably. Enjoy your own company or whoever else is there, without a distracting TV, phone, laptop or book around. If your attention is somewhere else and you eat mindlessly, all too soon the meal is over and you are left feeling unsatisfied. Because you missed out on the experience of eating you may go for second servings even if you are no longer hungry. 

3. Slow down, chew and savour.

Slow down and put your fork down after each mouthful (don’t worry no one will take your food away!). Enjoy each bite with your full attention - make it a meditation. If you love eating, give food the attention it deserves to fully enjoy and participate in the experience of eating by chewing and savouring the flavours, textures and aromas of your food. 

4. Stop when you are no longer hungry.

It is easy to overeat, specially if you eat fast and mindlessly, but if you slow down, chew, savour and eat without distractions it’s easier to realise when your body has had enough. When you no longer feel physical hunger - when you no longer NEED more food (as opposed to WANT more food), stop eating - put the fork down and wait a few minutes (don’t worry, your food won't go anywhere :) If you still feel hungry after - eat more, otherwise - stop there. This is the “point of energy” where the body is refuelled and fully energised. Any more and it will weigh the body down making your body more fat and tired instead. Its OK to leave food on your plate if you are done, as Michael Pollan says “better to waste than to waist”.

5. FIND your own rhythms.

Who said we need 6 meals a day or to eat every certain hours? Just because some diet says 'eat 6 times a day' doesn't mean it will work for you. We all have different needs and rhythms. Our bodies get hungry at different times everyday - it depends on how much you ate the previous meal or previous night, how quickly that food gets digested, how quickly your body burns it, how active you are, etc - so its silly to think that some diet knows more than your own body. Instead of following someone else's schedule, find your own. By practicing step 1 - eat when you are hungry - you are listening to your own body's needs and eating when is right for you.

 

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Should I take supplements?

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Should I take supplements?

'Should I be taking supplements?' - is a common question I get asked very often, and the answer always depends on a variety of factors. 

It depends on the current state of your health, your unique nutritional needs, concerns, diet and lifestyle.

Men and women have different needs. A woman in her 20's has different concerns than a women in her 60's. Vegetarians will need different supplements to omnivores. And people who live in sunny parts of the world will have different requirements than those who spends most time indoors under artificial lights... etc.

However, there are some basic nutritional requirements that most of us need, regardless of our bio-individuality. Although the ideal way to get these nutrients is through a wide variety of food, in our modern life it is often difficult to consume all the necessary daily requirements. This is why supplementation can be very helpful in filling these nutritional gaps.

So here's a few supplements that that are generally recommended for most of us:


Vitamineral green. This is one of my favorite supplements because it is actually a food, not a supplement. This product in particular contains a potent combination of nature’s most healing, nutritious and cleansing foods.

A generous tablespoon mixed with 1/4 c coconut water + 1/4 water will provide the body a full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, chlorophyl and many more nutrients.

 


Omega 3 is an anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid that we can only get trough food, typically fish and other sea food. Omega 3 contributes to the reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimers & arthritis. It also provides incredible benefits for the heart and the brain.

Choose krill oil or fish oil from high quality brands that have high purity standards to avoid mercury and other contaminants. Check the label - it must provide EPA and DHA.

I recommend this omega 3 and this krill oil


Vitamin D3, the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because sun is the best source of it. Since many of us spend long winters indoors and summers covered in sunscreen, we are generally deficient. Even if we are exposed to the sun without protection, it is usually not enough. D3 is responsible of hundreds of functions in the body and it’s deficiency is associated with cancer, depression, obesity, premature aging, insomnia, Alzheimer’s, infertility and other health issues.

It is highly recommended to take a high quality supplement with natural vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) - check this one here.


Vitamin B12 is an essential component of blood formation, DNA synthesis and the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and it is ONLY found in animal products. B12 deficiency consequences may range from weakness, fatigue, anemia, to memory loss and other neurological problems. B12 deficiency can be caused by a vegan or vegetarian diet, leaky gut or damaged stomach lining, alcohol, and long term use of drugs/pharmaceuticals.

B12 deficiency can be prevented by eating enough animal products. If you are a vegan,vegetarian or you have some of these symptoms consider taking vitamin B12 supplements in the form of methylcobalamin.


Probiotics, the friendly bacteria that populate our gut. These guys have the crucial job to boost our immune system, detox the body, absorb minerals, improve mood and mental health. The best way to keep your little friends happy is through fermented foods. If this is not possible for you, or you have taken many antibiotics in your life (which have wiped off all bacteria, good and bad) you need to repopulate with the friendly bacteria your body needs though a probiotic supplement.

Choose one that contains at least ‘ billions’ of cells like this one.


Remember...

That supplements are not substitutes for the whole foods that contain them. They should be taken to fill in the daily nutritional requirements and to compensate for the challenges that come up in our modern lives - such as contaminated fish, vegetarianism, mineral-deficient soils, traveling, eating out too often, etc.  

A few notes when considering supplements:

  • Supplements are not created equal. Many of them out there are too processed and made from poor quality ingredients such as synthetic colors, flavors, binders, fillers and other additives. Choose plant/food based supplements with as few ingredients as possible. 
  • Buy from high-end health food stores. 
  • Choose high quality, organic, non-GMO, food-based supplements. This is an investment in your health so this not the place to go cheap. 
  • Some brands I like are Garden of Life, Carlson, Jarrow, Rainbow light, Health Force, Flora and New Chapter.
  • Consider taking some blood tests to asses your deficiencies so you can supplement efficiently.
  • Consider talking to a health coach to assess your current diet and lifestyle to find the gaps that need to be filled and get a supplement plan specific just for YOU. Email me at tanya@tanyabenet.com and we’ll talk ;)

 

This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.

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ARE YOU DRINKING SUGAR?

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ARE YOU DRINKING SUGAR?

Energy drinks.gif

A clear visual can be very helpful to quantify amounts. When it comes to reading the label, it is not easy to visualize how much is actually 23 grams of sugar.

To make it even harder, food and drink labels in the US do not provide the percentage of sugar found on the daily recommended allowance column. On the label, it is the only entry not to show the percentage.

The government and the industry are not transparent about sugar quantities, which is very dubiousThey make it difficult for us to know exactly how much sugar is found in a product, so we keep buying the product blindly. 

If we could see how much sugar we are really consuming in one serving, we would probably make the conscious choice of stopping ourselves before too much. It is not in their interest for us to be clear about it, because we would likely buy less, and their profits would be affected. 

So here's a visual of some common energy drinks available out there. This is to give a visual of just how much sugar comes in one bottle. Take a mental snapshot of this, and remember it the next time you are facing a sugary drink.

'Energy' drinks? Yeah right!

These so-called energy drinks are more sugar than anything else. These sugar drinks elevate the amount of sugar in the blood, which lead to a very rapid increase in energy, always followed by an unpleasant crash. This process quickly becomes a cycle of energy up-and-down's which tires and taxes the body even more. Energy drinks do not provide a sustainable source of energy, they are a stressor to the body.

Too much sugar is clearly not good. Sugar is a powerful substance and its effects are many. It weakens the immune system, it feeds cancer, it can make you age a lot faster, it will make you fatter, hungrier, maybe moodier, and perhaps you get addicted.

Reduce or even better, eliminate artificial sugary drinks. It's good riddance. It's crucial that we rethink our drink, that we drink fluids that actually help the body instead of get in it's way.

Instead,

 Enjoy these fluids of vitality:

  • Water.
  • Water with a generous squeeze of lemon. Cold or warm. 
  • A green juice (mixed with a tablespoon of chia seeds).
  • A superfood smoothie
  • Herbal and non-caffeine teas like roiboos, verbena, chamomile, ginger, mint...
  • Caffeinated options include matcha, chai tea, green tea, black tea and yerba mate.
  • Coconut water - nature's energy drink.
  • Kombucha, kefir or other fermented drinks.
  • Bone broth for a deeply nourishing hot drink.
  • Or try this turmeric tonic.

Not-so-fun fact: One coke a day consumed for one year would mean eating 50 lbs / 23 kg of sugar, per year, per person. CRAZY!


Did you know these drinks had that many sugar cubes? Do you drink any of these? Are you hooked?

Do you know anyone else who drinks them, who might find this post helpful? If you do please, pass it along and help that friend :)

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Pantry essentials: SUPERFOODS

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Pantry essentials: SUPERFOODS

Perhaps you have heard of the incredible health benefits of Superfoods, but you are wondering why they are so special and how to incorporate them into your daily diet. In this post I will share exactly what Superfoods are and why they are so important, as well as my top 6 favourite Superfoods. These are the ones I always have in my pantry which appear in many of my recipes. They are easily available and a great place to get started! So let's get to it.

What are Superfoods?

 Superfoods are the most potent, nutrient-dense foods available in the world. They have an incredibly high nutritional value that is incomparable to normal foods such as fruits and vegetables. These super-concentrated foods are densely packed with antioxidants, enzymes, essential fatty acids, good fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals, and each superfood contains a dozen or more properties. 

Following is a list of the top superfoods categorised into groups. Don't get overwhelmed by this list, I share it for informational purposes. 

Algae

  • AFA blue-green algae
  • chlorella
  • spirulina
  • kelp

Bee products

  • bee pollen
  • honey
  • propolis
  • royal jelly

Cacao products

  • cacao powder
  • cacao nibs
  • cacao butter

Coconut products

  • coconut oil
  • coconut flesh - shredded or flakes
  • coconut cream

Fruits

  • goji berries
  • mulberries
  • incan berries
  • açai berries
  • camu camu powder
  • baobab powder
  • lucuma

Roots and grasses 

  • maca powder
  • wheatgrass 

Seeds

  • hempseeds
  • chia seeds

 

Why use Superfoods?

Superfoods are ancient foods that grow in some of the most remote places on earth where local inhabitants have harnessed their powers for centuries. Luckily these powerhouses are now available to us and adding them to our diet will provide maximum nutrition, meeting and exceeding ALL our nutritional requirements, from protein to essential fatty acids. 

They greatly improve overall health, dramatically increase energy levels, strengthen the immune system, improve libido and athletic performance, enhance mental clarity and focus, increase longevity and many more health benefits.  Basically, Superfoods cleanse, detox, energise and deeply nourish every organ, bone and tissue in our body. For all these reasons superfoods can delay the signs of aging, and even prevent or improve the symptoms of a variety of major modern diseases.

How to buy and include Superfoods?

Superfoods should be raw and organic so they are clean, pesticide and chemical-free, and provide higher amounts of nutrition. Since the soil and most of the foods out there are low in nutrients, its important to invest in good quality superfoods as the medicine that will fill in all the nutritional gaps and deficiencies. To get the maximum benefit from superfoods, they are best eaten raw to ensure they preserve all their properties intact, as some of them are sensitive to heat and will loose their benefits once cooked.

❤  You can add superfoods into smoothies and shakes, treats, trail mixes, desserts and dressings or simply sprinkle them on top of your granola, smoothie bowl or cereal. The best place to start is by adding 1 teaspoon of any Superfood to your smoothies, specially in the morning. This way you kick start your day with an easily digestible breakfast packed with nutrition which will enhance your natural energy, clarity and focus for the rest of the day. Superfood smoothies are the single most important change towards a healthier mind and body. 


my top 6 favourite superfoods

These are my favourite top 6 because they are easy to find and easy to include. Once you buy a pack you will have it in your pantry ready to use, and they last a good while too. You will also find them in many of my recipes so its always good to have them around if you are running out of ideas.

Chia seeds have been used by the Mayas and the Aztecs as a source of energy for centuries. These tiny seeds have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, are loaded with antioxidants, contain high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids and protein. They promote bowel movements, detoxification and boost the immune system. 

❤ They can be added to smoothies, nut milks, shakes or juices. Stir them into yogurt, nut spreads, cereal or porridge. Soak them in water to for a gel-like substance as a base to a chia pudding or dessert.

Raw Cacao contains high amounts of magnesium which balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, regulates blood pressure and prevents constipation. Cacao is one of the most antioxidant foods in the planet. It also contains serotonin which regulates mood and provides a sense of happiness and well-being. Cacao is also high in sulfur, the beauty mineral which contributes to strong hair, nails and beautiful skin. Always choose raw organic 100% pure cacao. 

❤ Use cacao powder in smoothies, nut milks, treats or desserts. Sprinkle cacao nibs on cereals, smoothies, porridges and desserts.

Maca powder comes from a root that grows in Peru, a powerful adaptogen that increases the body's resistance to stress and anxiety. It is also a powerful libido enhancer, enhances fertility in men and women, balances hormones and promotes reproductive health. It boosts immune system, provides energy, increases physical strength and aids in athletic performance.

❤ Start with 1 tsp and gradually make your way up to 1 tbs. Add it to your smoothies, drinks or nut milks. Add it to your porridge, nut spread, chia pudding, treats or desserts.

Goji berries are extremely rich in antioxidants which promote longevity and contribute to cardiovascular and immune system health. They contain betaine, carotenoids, and zeaxanthin, nutrients that build muscles and protect the skin, eyes and liver. Gojis enhance strength and stamina as well as sexual energy. They are a complete protein source and contain more than 21 trace minerals such as zinc, calcium and iron.

❤ Eat them as a snack on their own, or add them to your favourite nuts. Add them to granola, porridge, smoothies, yogurt, bars and other treats.

Coconut products benefit the heart, brain and stomach, amongst others. They improve digestion and absorption of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Coconut is a natural antibiotic that contains a fatty acid that naturally fights off bacteria, virus and fungus. The saturated fat content of coconut oil is from medium chain fatty acids that support the immune system and nervous system, boost metabolism and aid weight loss.

❤ Choose unrefined virgin coconut oil and use it for cooking, baking, in desserts, treats and smoothies, use it also as a skin moisturiser or makeup remover. Use unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut in smoothies, treats, desserts, trail mixes, or sprinkle it over porridges, cereals, or yogurt. 

Bee pollen is the most complete and nutritious food found in the planet. Its a complete source of protein, a great source of healthy fats, enzymes, B vitamins, and contains a long list of minerals. It increases strength, energy and endurance while providing quicker recovery from exercise. It also increases muscle growth and definition. It increases longevity, rejuvenates and heals hormonal imbalances.

❤ Add 1/2 tsp to your smoothie, nut milk, post work out shake, cereal or yogurt. Sprinkle over desserts or sweets.


Start by adding 1 or 2 new sexy superfoods to your diet this week and gradually expand your selection. You can add them at a pace that suits you and that allows you to experiment with each one until you find your favourite way to eat it. I promise you will quickly notice the glowing results from eating these incredible superfoods. 

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