Personal Trainer Kelowna

Plant based diets

Plant based diets

Leigh Carter 

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym

 

Did you know you can eat a plant-based diet without going completely vegetarian. Some people call themselves “flexitarians” or “semi-vegetarians,” meaning that they occasionally eat meat, poultry, or fish. Or they may say they are “pescatarian,” which means they eat a plant-based diet plus fish. Unlike the terms vegetarian and vegan which are defined by what they exclude, a ‘plant-based’ diet is defined by what it includes.

A plant based diet certainly seems to have a lot of benefits and may be worth trying in some form. Eating more plants in the form of fruit, vegetables, pulses, beans, nuts, seeds and unrefined wholegrains can have a significant and positive impact on health.

Plant foods are packed with both insoluble and soluble fibre which support a healthy digestive system, and maintain regularity. They also contain prebiotics, non-digestible fibres that nourish the healthful ‘good’ bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics are fermented by bacteria in the colon, and this fermentation process contributes to a healthy environment throughout the digestive tract.

A low fat, whole foods plant-based diet is the number one way to improve your chances of avoiding cancer risks as animal foods have been linked to cancer, especially colon and breast cancer. Plant foods provide fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which can help to protect our cells from damage that can lead to cancers, and consumption has been linked with protection against cancers of the mouth, oesophagus, stomach and bowel.

A plant based diet can lower risk of chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. It may be that a plant-based diet lowers diabetes risk by improving how our cells respond to insulin, and decreasing insulin resistance.

Research suggests that a plant food diet can lower blood pressure and decrease risk of heart disease. Beans, vegetables, oats and barley are rich in soluble fibre, which can help to lower blood cholesterol and fruit and vegetables are rich in cardio-protective antioxidants. The monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds has been positively linked with heart health.

Meat and most all animal foods contain little to no potassium and actually raise blood pressure and cholesterol, but people having a plant-based diet automatically have lower blood pressure due to a higher intake of potassium-rich foods. Potassium helps lower blood pressure that leads to stress and anxiety. Most all whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and all fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of potassium and Vitamin B6.

Leafy greens and colourful fruit and vegetables are packed with antioxidants that are vital for good eye health, and have been shown to reduce risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

Plant foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds can actually lower rates of cholesterol and heart disease. Plants contain no cholesterol, even saturated sources like coconut and cacao. While you should balance your fat intake, a plant-based diet is one of the simplest ways to lower cholesterol.

Plant based diets are associated with a lower BMI (body mass index) and a lower prevalence of obesity in both adults and children. Plant-based diets are low in energy density and high in complex carbohydrates, fibre and water, which may increase how full up we feel and resting rate at which we burn energy. By filling up on plants we are also naturally not going to need the amount of other more calorie dense and processed foods that we eat.

If you are encouraged by these points do try incorporating a plant based diet into your lifestyle, check first with your personal trainer or dietician to ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need. You may need to look for foods fortified with vitamin B12 if you totally cut out animal products. You’ll also want to check on whether you’re getting enough iron, calcium, and zinc. Maybe start eating more fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Depending on how far you want to take it, you can cut back on animal products, or cut them out. If you decide to swap dairy products for rice milk, nut milk, soy milk, or other plant-based alternatives, check the label to see how much calcium and vitamin D you’re getting.

Try to incorporate more plant based protein into your diet, as by cutting down on animal foods, you could lack adequate protein in your diet. Plants are source of protein, the best plant sources includes beans & legumes, nuts, seeds, and high-protein whole grains such as quinoa.

Make your vegetables the main event of the meal, by ensuring that at least half your plate is filled with vegetables, and for a full spectrum of nutrients, include a rainbow of colours in every meal. Enjoy!

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

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Personal Trainer Kelowna

Diet vs healthy lifestyle

Diet vs Healthy Lifestyle

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym

 

By following crash and fad diets you can have a short-term solution to shifting a few pounds by cutting out certain types of food, but often these diets lack the source of nutrients and vitamins that are essential to keeping your body healthy long-term. You could find that in between these extreme diets you will slip back into your unhealthy eating habits and on will go the pounds and the circuit will start again. Understanding your cravings is the key to achieving sustainable weight loss, along with some changes to your eating habits and lifestyle will ensure you maintains healthy intake of nutrients and vitamins, and without depriving yourself of your favourite foods.

Is your craving for sweet, sugary things? Well sugar stimulates the same neural pathways as drugs, so in the short term it makes us feel good, but just like any other drug, we need more fixes and bigger doses just to feel ‘normal’. But by just trying to cut it out completely you are doomed to failure. Try adding protein to each meal, get rid of refined carbs and keep away from alcohol. This will balance your blood sugar and help regulate those cravings.

If dairy is your downfall you might be reaching for butter and cheese as a way to beat the blues. No surprise as some substances in milk match those used in anti-depressants. Deficiencies in essential fatty acids – omega-3, 6 and 9 add to your fat cravings. Don’t go down the low fat diet route – eating fat is good for us – if it’s the right kind. So try to include every day oily fish – mackerel, sardines, tuna, salmon – raw nuts, seeds and butters, cold pressed olive oil, natural yoghurt and a little cheese made for sheep or goat’s milk.

If salty things are your craving, it could be you are stressed. If you crave salt, it could be adrenal fatigue, you feel stressed, foggy, lethargic and in need of a salty snack. Avoid refined table salt and processed foods loaded with salt and replace crisps and snacks with homemade popcorn sprinkled with a little sea salt.

Studies show that people whose diets are rich in pulses, such as beans, chickpeas and lentils, have a lower body mass index (BMI) and carry less fat around the middle. This is because pulses are rich in soluble fibre, which makes your body sensitive to the effects of insulin, the hormone which removes excess glucose from your system. The more sensitive your body is to insulin, the more fat you will burn. You could also add more oats, barley, vegetables and fruit to your diet which will increase your fibre intake.

By fasting for 12 hours your body can burn fat. It could be as simple as going to bed a little hungry (nothing to eat at 8pm) and not eating breakfast until after 8am. During the day, your body burns some of the carbs you consume for fuel and deposits the rest in your liver as glycogen, a storage form of glucose. At night, glycogen is converted back into glucose to keep blood sugar levels stable while you sleep. Once stored glycogen is used, you start burning fat – but this takes time. Late night snacks followed by an early breakfast mean your body never has time to start fat burning. So try the night time fast.

Several studies have shown that a lack of sleep can stimulate over eating by causing changes in the hormones involved in hunger, appetite and the way your body uses glucose. For example, one study found that people who slept fewer than six hours per night on a regular basis were much more likely to have excess body weight, while people who slept an average of eight hours per night had the lowest relative body fat of the study group. So by getting a good nights sleep, you could be helping your weight.

According to research from the University of Glasgow, people who walked for an hour before having their first meal of the day were more sensitive to the effects of insulin, and burned more fat and carbs than those who walked after breakfast or didn’t walk at all. So get walking then according to more research – have breakfast as this is the most important meal of the day for your blood sugar, if you skip breakfast you eat more over the rest of the day.

By trying to adjust your diet, not to a faddy crash type, but just by eating more healthily and perhaps taking note of some of the tips above, by making changes to your lifestyle – trying to include more exercise or maybe by discussing your concerns with a personal trainer who will discuss and support you in ways to benefit your health issues, you will say goodbye to this ‘yoyo’ dieting and have a long term solution to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

Start building a better body for your future

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Personal Trainer Kelowna

Anti ageing exercise

Anti ageing exercise

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym

 

You want to stay young? You need to stay active. Studies show that active older people resemble much younger people in their health and physiology. So if you want to hold back the years for your brain and your body you need to stay active, regular exercise is important no matter what your age, as it plays a crucial role in keeping you healthy. Failing to stay active will only cause some of the negative symptoms that are typically associated with ageing, such as weakness and loss of balance. Maintaining a good exercise regime as you age will help you stay strong and agile, keeping you feeling younger!

It’s also never too late to start, as scientists at the University of Texas proved that when they put five unfit, overweight 50 year olds on a six-month regime of walking, jogging and cycling and the training reversed 100% of their age-related decline in aerobic fitness and took the men back to their baseline fitness at age 20.

Regular squats and lunges will strengthen your leg muscles and could also help to keep your brain young. Scientists discovered by tracking a group of identical twins over a period of 10 years that
their leg strength was a better predictor of cognitive change than any other lifestyle factor. If done correctly, squats are good for strengthening ageing knees. Your exercise regime is not the only time you need to squat, for example when you’re picking up your grocery bags, and it’s important to learn to do it correctly so you’ll help your joints rather than harming them. Women should squat with their toes turned slightly outwards, as this allows your femur to line up properly in the hip joint. Men have a different hip structure and should squat with their toes forward.

Strength training becomes more important as you age. From your mid 30s muscle mass starts to decline and post menopause that accelerates, affecting your metabolism, strength, balance, bone health and even your diabetes risk. So just a few minutes of high intensity interval training can build strength and fitness in one go improving insulin sensitivity, aerobic fitness and muscle strength after just a few weeks. Aerobic activity improves mitochondrial function (the work of energy-producing organelles in cells) which typically decreases with age. To minimise this decline try to get at least the recommended 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week. This can include running, fast walking, cycling, swimming, dancing and various sports. Speak to your personal trainer who will tailor a programme to suit your needs.

To keep your flexibility throughout your life, you need to stay active and stretch out. Flexibility is needed to perform everyday activities with relative ease. Simple things like getting out of bed, lifting children, or sweeping the floor, but again our flexibility tends to deteriorate with age, often due to a sedentary lifestyle. Over time, we create body movements and posture habits that can lead to reduced mobility of joints and compromised body positions. But by staying active and stretching regularly we can help prevent this loss of mobility, ensuring independence as we age. Being flexible significantly reduces the chance of experiencing occasional and chronic back pain. Again speak with your personal trainer.

What about balance, this again declines as we get older, balance is a complex operation involving your muscles, eyes, inner ear and receptors in the nerves of your joints. It is vital to keep your balance as you get older, if you don’t use it you lose it! Try some simple exercises – heel rises – rise up onto your toes as far as you can then drop down and repeat 10-20 times – or sit to stand, without using your hands get up from a chair and sit down 10-20 times, even balancing on one leg while cleaning your teeth would help.

Exercise can help to prevent negative effects of ageing on the brain as well as the body – especially if you choose activities which engage both! Sports such as tennis and racquetball can help to keep your reaction times quick, while activities such as learning choreography can help with memory. The connection between the right and left hemispheres of your brain deteriorates as you age, which causes them to have trouble communicating with one another. But you can combat this decline with physical activity and simply include some movements where you cross your legs and arms over the midline of your body – this forces the two sides of your brain to communicate, strengthening the connection between them.

So as you can see exercise can helps not only your body but also your brain to stay young, start getting more active today.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

Start building yourself a better body for your future

#leighcarterfitness

#privategymkelowna