More stories

  • in

    Everything You Need To Know Before Doing Intermittent Fasting While Pregnant

    If you’ve got a little one on the way, or are thinking about adding to your family soon, you’re probably already focusing on your baby’s health and nourishment (#momlife). This brings the conversation to your own nutrition: What if you are looking to lose weight before getting pregnant and want to try a diet of the moment, such as intermittent fasting (IF)? Or maybe you’re curious about its purported longevity or blood sugar benefits.

    Whatever the reason behind your IF interest, you might be curious about how to maintain intermittent fasting while pregnant. Or, perhaps you just found out you’re pregnant and want to know the safest way to continue or wean yourself off of a fasting diet.

    Yep, these are questions and concerns that docs and prenatal nutritionists hear from expectant mamas these days, given all the hype surrounding fasting diets right now. So here’s the lowdown on intermittent fasting for pregnant women — with input from Jennifer Wu,  an ob-gyn and Nicole German Morgan, a dietitian with a background in prenatal nutrition.

    And, as always, experts advise you to always check in with your healthcare provider before making any dietary changes, especially if you’re newly pregnant or planning to get pregnant.

    Let’s get right to it: Is intermittent fasting ever safe for pregnant women?

    Generally, fasting isn’t recommended for pregnant women. Research shows that intermittent fasting can benefit metabolism and lead to weight loss. It may potentially reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But it can also actually lower a pregnant woman’s blood sugar too much. “Low blood sugar in combination with the natural drop in blood pressure in pregnant women could lead to lightheadedness and fainting,” says Dr Wu.

    An older study that focused on religious intermittent fasting in pregnant women (with healthy pregnancies) found that fetal movement was lower when mothers were fasting. This makes sense, because her glucose levels would be low and fetal movement is tied to how much glucose (aka an energy source for the bod) the fetus is able to get from the mother. That’s why most religious fasting gives an exemption to pregnant women, Dr Wu adds.

    It’s a no-go

    So, intense fasting is a no-go for pregnant women (more on that later). But the only type of fasting that may be safe for women who aren’t too far along in pregnancy is an overnight fast, for about 12 hours maximum. But, even doing a 12-hour fast depends on the trimester, explains Morgan.

    During the early stages of the first trimester, it’s of course essential to focus on consuming enough important prenatal nutrients, but your body may not need that many more additional calories than your normal intake. “In the third trimester and the later stages of the second trimester, intermittent fasting may not be appropriate at all — many women will require an additional evening snack prior to bedtime or need to eat quickly upon waking,” Morgan explains.

    You need to make sure that you are getting enough of the essential nutrients as well as calories (many pregnant women are advised to add about 300 extra calories a day), especially if you start out your pregnancy underweight or even at normal weight, so restricting your eating may not be the right solution, she adds.

    Are certain types of intermittent fasting safer than others when you’re pregnant?

    If you’re early on in the pregnancy, doing a modified version of intermittent fasting, by fasting overnight for about 12 hours (as mentioned) would be your only moderately safe option. According to Morgan, this would involve fasting from about 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. at night to 7 p.m. or 8 a.m. the next morning, which might be your normal eating schedule anyway.

    But, you don’t want to cram too many calories into a short period of time, as that isn’t healthy for digestion. Nor should you miss out on calories necessary to nourish the baby by spacing out you’re eating too much, she points out. The other popular versions of IF schedules — the 16:8 diet (where you eat within an eight-hour window), the 5:2 method, which involves eating normally five days a week and pulling back on calorie intake substantially two days a week, or alternate-day fasting — should all be off-limits, as they’re too extreme for any pregnant women.

    Eating schedules are really different for everyone. But Dr Wu generally recommends eating more frequently when you’re pregnant instead. Focus on small meals about every two to three hours, especially during the first trimester, when morning sickness is prevalent and you may not be in the mood to eat a huge meal at one time. “This also helps to keep the blood sugar steady in the second and third trimesters,” Dr Wu says.

    But for patients who struggle with heartburn during pregnancy, Dr Wu suggests stopping eating about four hours before going to sleep to allow more time for digestion, since heartburn may be worse once you lie down in bed. If you follow those guidelines, you may not tend to eat until breakfast upon waking up, so it is actually somewhat similar to an IF schedule.

    If I practised intermittent fasting before pregnancy, should I just stop and return to a normal eating schedule?

    Yep, you want to eat more frequently, without large chunks of time and without nutrients. Here’s why: Eating more frequently helps keep your blood sugar and blood pressure — and the baby’s — stable. “To promote more [weight] maintenance and less weight loss, it may be smart to widen your window of eating in order to be able to consume a more balanced diet,” Morgan says.

    Does intermittent fasting affect fertility?

    Believe it or not, if you’re trying for a baby, IF could help in some circumstances. “If patients are overweight or obese, they may have irregular cycles and trouble ovulating,” which can make it tough to get pregnant. So following an IF diet (which typically means you’ll be restricting your calorie intake) may yield weight loss and in turn, improve fertility.

    For example:

    Women with polycystic ovary syndrome — or PCOS, which often disrupts metabolism, the menstrual cycle and ovulation — may encounter fertility issues. But, as one study showed, losing weight (by reducing calorie intake generally by 500 to 1,000 calories per day) may help overweight women with PCOS produce luteinizing hormone and in turn, ovulate more regularly (and therefore get pregnant more easily). Dr Wu asserts that IF is fine for weight loss, but that you should stop dieting upon finding out that you’re pregnant.

    On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re underweight, continuing to restrict your eating and calorie intake can be detrimental to fertility. In extreme cases, “intermittent fasting and losing weight may actually adversely affect fertility as patients may stop menstruating and ovulating,” says Dr Wu. Morgan adds that eating less frequently while practising IF can put the body under high stress, which is not helpful when it comes to getting pregnant. “The most important point for fertility is to nourish the body in a balanced way and not to let the body feel as if it is under stress,” says Morgan.

    Is it ever safe to lose weight at all during pregnancy, via a fasting diet or any other diet?

    In short, no. Weight loss is, in general, not a thing you want to focus on at all during pregnancy. So you want to speak to your doctor about potentially terminating a particular diet you’re on to make sure you’re approaching pregnancy safely.

    During pregnancy, it’s more about staying at a healthy weight, or not gaining too much weight during the pregnancy if you’re overweight. “If patients are overweight or obese when they become pregnant, the recommendation is to gain less weight, around 6 to 8 kilos, depending on the weight of the patient,” Dr Wu says.

    But even if the patient is overweight, or develops gestational diabetes during pregnancy, for instance, fasting still isn’t the answer. That’s because it could interfere with any blood sugar-regulating medication the patient is on, she notes.

    Which trimester are you in?

    Of course, there are many factors that can impact your weight during pregnancy. It also depends on the trimester you’re in. For example, it’s normal for women to drop a few pounds during the first trimester from morning sickness, nausea, or even hyperemesis gravidarum. It’s not a good idea to lose any weight at all during the second or third trimester, Morgan says. But ultimately the advised amount of weight gain during pregnancy depends on the patient. It’s something you should discuss at length with your doctor so that you feel informed and comfortable.

    The bottom line: Nutrition during pregnancy is highly individualized to the person. It depends on how high-risk the pregnancy is and the prior health conditions of the mother. After all, no one person’s body or metabolism is the same. Before trying any new diet or changing your eating habits, it’s important to check in with your healthcare provider. You’ll want to ensure that it’s safe and sustainable for you to continue throughout pregnancy.

    This article was originally published on More

  • in

    5 Fitness Goals You Should Be Making If You Want To See Progress

    One thing we fitness pros are always babbling on about is the importance of having goals. In fact, the first thing I ask prospective clients is what they want to achieve, so I can help ’em get there. And while there’s no such thing as a bad goal, having more specific intentions can be even more powerful — especially when you can measure that progress along the way. Consider adding these five fitness goals to your list.

    Meet The Expert: Amy Roberts is a certified personal trainer

    Fitness Goal #1: Lower Your Body-Fat Percentage

    Clients often tell me they just want to lose two to four kilos to “lean out.” (Sound familiar?) But you’ve probably heard the old “muscle weighs more than fat” line. While that’s not technically true (a kilogram is a kilogram), it is true that a kilogram of muscle is denser and takes up less space than a kilogram of fat. So if your goal is to shed kilograms, you really should be aiming to lose body fat and gain (or retain) muscle. Essentially, you’re hoping to shift your body composition and lower your body-fat percentage.

    You can measure this in a number of ways…

    You can ask a trainer at your gym to test it using skin-fold callipers.

    You can try a body-comp scale or monitor that uses bioimpedance (where you stand on or hold metal pads and a current determines your body composition). Or, you can go to a special lab for a more accurate (though pricier) air- or water-displacement test.

    Keep in mind that the first two options aren’t 100 percent accurate. But as long as the measurements are done under the same general conditions, you’ll be able to get a pretty good look at your progress.

    Goal #2: Get Stronger

    Of course, you don’t want to look like Joe Manganiello, but you shouldn’t be afraid to make strength one of your goals. In fact, unless you put some crazy concerted effort into it, the typical woman will never “bulk up.” (Newsflash: You CAN be strong and skinny!) What I like about strength as a goal is that it’s much more quantifiable than “toning up,” which is what women often say when they’re describing the desire to build muscle.

    Strength can be measured by a number of ways. The number of push-ups you can do, the amount of weight you lift, or the increase in reps you can handle. It’s also noticeable in daily life: The ease with which you lug your groceries or lift your suitcase into the overhead bin. And if you want to check your progress in the mirror, find out how long it takes to see muscle definition.

    Goal #3: Master A Skill

    Write down this goal if you’re one of those people who just doesn’t get particularly amped about running/lifting/sweating just for the sake of it. Sometimes you need a specific skill to hone in on. My gateway drug into fitness was a weekly adult gymnastics class that hooked me. But if tumbling isn’t your thing, just pick another sport or skill that you want to learn to excel in, like Pilates or boxing.

    Already found your fitness muse but need an extra boost? Make specific achievement goals, such as targeting a number of chin-ups (can’t do a single one? Try our chin-up challenge to learn how in six weeks!) or conquering a forearm stand in yoga.

    Goal #4: Make Fitness A Part Of Your Routine

    I meet people daily who want to shape up for a specific event — a wedding, a school reunion, bikini season… I would never begrudge anyone wanting to look and feel her best for any reason. But I try to encourage a more long-term approach. Sure, you’re motivated to work hard for the grand occasion. But do really you want to put in all that effort only to let it fall by the wayside later? Consider how you can keep those gym dates, favourite classes or regular runs in your schedule for the long haul.

    A lot of things can motivate you: finding a workout buddy, blocking off your calendar with “fitness appointments,” and prioritizing personal training or those pricey-but-awesome indoor cycling classes in your budget. What’s important is that you find your mojo and hold onto it. But if you really need an end goal, just make a point to try something for a month or two. By the time you’re finished, chances are you’ll be hooked.

    Goal #5: Train For An Event

    There’s one exception where shaping up with a deadline can actually come in handy, and that’s training for a fitness event. Some of us are just more deadline-driven than others. By giving yourself a specific point at which you’ll have to prove your stuff, you’ll be more motivated to keep up with your training. So sign up for a triathlon, a 5-Kay, or an endurance event like an obstacle course. Then, train like hell. Who knows? After the rush of completing your first one, you may decide to make it a habit.

    The article was originally published on More

  • in

    ‘Nature’s Ozempic’: What Are The Benefits Of Berberine?

    You may already take multivitamins.  And know how important certain vitamins and minerals (you know, like vitamin D, iron and zinc) are for your health. But once in a while, you may come across one whose health benefits you’re a little hazy on. One such buzzy supplement that’s been all over social media recently: berberine. It’s a botanical compound, recently dubbed “nature’s Ozempic” for its supposed weight loss benefits on TikTok.

    If you’re a little clueless when it comes to berberine’s health benefits (plus, what it even is and if it *actually* helps with weight loss), you are not alone.

    What is berberine?

    Basically, berberine is a plant-based compound that targets a protein involved in insulin resistance and blood sugar making. “Berberine is an alkaloid extracted from a specific group of plants,” explains Registered Dietitian Scott Keatley, the co-founder of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy. “This yellow substance is used by the plant to protect against predators and regulate growth.” Some well-known alkaloids are morphine, quinine and nicotine, he adds.

    Berberine may be able to help with high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and obesity. There’s a heavy emphasis on using the supplement to fight cardiovascular issues associated with those conditions, according to research. Berberine has “also been shown to moderately support weight-loss efforts,” notes dietitian Sonya Angelone, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It’s even used to dye fabrics too, thanks to its yellow colour. But given that this is a supplement and supplements are largely unregulated in SA, is berberine something you should try? Read on to see what nutrition experts have to say about this trendy supp.

    Meet the experts: Scott Keatley is a nutritionist and the co-founder of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy. Sonya Angelone is a registered dietitian and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Deborah Cohen is an associate professor in the department of clinical and preventive nutrition sciences at Rutgers University.

    What are the benefits of berberine?

    There are actually a lot. But some are better proven than others.

    It can help lower your blood sugar.

    Berberine is linked to lowering blood sugar. And there’s some research to suggest this actually works—in a few different ways. Berberine may decrease insulin resistance, help your body break down sugars inside your cells and slow the breakdown of carbs in your gut. It could even increase the number of good bacteria in your gut.

    An older study of 116 people with diabetes found that those who took one gram of berberine a day lowered their fasting blood sugar (i.e., their blood sugar after they fasted for a period of time) by 20 percent. It also helped lower their A1C, a common way blood sugar levels are tracked over time, by 12 percent, the researchers found. And berberine is an effective treatment for diabetes. It’s potentially even as good as popular drugs like metformin, a meta-analysis of 14 studies found. (An important caveat: Most of the studies included were small, so it’s tough to draw strong conclusions from the findings.)

    Overall, though, berberine “could benefit those with type 2 diabetes by lowering blood glucose and A1C levels,” says Deborah Cohen, an associate professor in the department of clinical and preventive nutrition sciences at Rutgers University. It’s also “relatively low cost and does not show serious adverse effects,” she adds. But if you have type 2 diabetes, don’t stop taking your meds—always talk to your doctor first.

    It may help with weight loss.

    Here’s where the whole “nature’s Ozempic” piece comes into play. The supp is said to offer similar weight loss benefits to the viral semaglutide medication, Ozempic. Ozempic helps the pancreas release the right amount of insulin when your blood sugar is high. It also mimics a gastrointestinal hormone that aids in digestion. Yet, while some people may be using berberine as a weight-loss supplement, the data to support its efficacy is limited.

    One study of people with obesity had participants take 500 milligrams of berberine three times a day. The participants lost, on average, about two kilograms and 3.6 percent of their body fat. Another small study tracked people with metabolic syndrome for three months. They took 300 milligrams of berberine three times a day. The study participants went from being classified as obese to overweight and lost belly fat in the process.

    Both studies were small, so it’s difficult to say whether the benefit would be the same in a larger group of people.

    On the other hand, within the first week of using Ozempic people typically lose two to four kilograms of water weight. After a few months on a maximum dose, they lose about 15 percent of their body weight.

    It can lower cholesterol.

    Berberine could lower cholesterol, too. It does this by inhibiting an enzyme called PCSK9, which lets more LDL cholesterol (a.k.a., the “bad” kind) be removed from your blood, research has shown.

    One meta-analysis of 11 studies found that berberine can decrease total cholesterol. It can lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol.

    “Berberine appears to be an effective [fat]-lowering agent in those with high blood cholesterol levels,” Cohen says, noting that the supplement seems to be a “safe alternative” to statins, which are usually prescribed for high cholesterol.

    It may help with PCOS.

    There’s a lot of interest in berberine and PCOS because it may help with symptoms and complications of the condition. Berberine “showed greater differences in clinical, hormonal and [fat in blood] parameters” compared to metformin and myoinositol, a growth-promoting factor, one randomized study of women with PCOS found. As a result, berberine may have been able to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in those with PCOS.

    However, research has not found that berberine alone can help improve fertility in women with PCOS.

    Who should not take berberine?

    It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement, says registered dietitian Keri Gans. “Especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have high blood pressure or diabetes,” she says.

    You also want to check to see if berberine may interact with any medications you’re taking, Cohen says. “Anyone taking cyclosporine should not take berberine, as berberine can increase its effects and the side effects of this medication,” she says. “In addition, individuals who have hypoglycemia should avoid berberine.”

    Berberine can also cause diarrhoea, constipation and gas. For people with IBS, berberine might not work well, Cohen adds.

    What foods are high in berberine?

    You’re not going to get a dose of berberine by, say, biting into an apple. But it’s available in some plants. “Berberine can be found naturally in the stem, bark and roots of certain herbs like goldenseal, Oregon grape and tree turmeric,” Angelone says.

    If you want to try berberine, check in with your doctor first. “It is important for those considering a berberine supplement to inform their primary care provider and not to stop any prescribed medication unless directed,” Cohen says.

    After getting the okay, Gans recommends looking for a supplement that has third-party certification. That, she says, “helps to ensure that is on the ingredient list is actually in the bottle.”

    This article by Korin Miller was originally published on More

  • in

    5 Ways To Switch Up Your Workout Routine To Lose More Weight

    You’ve been working out a ton and are convinced this is going to be the week that the number on the scale is finally where you want it to be. And then… nope. Womp womp.

    Put away that sad trombone — with a few simple changes to your normal workout routine, you can finally start to see results. In fact, changing up your workout routine for weight loss is basically the secret sauce for making progress.

    “Your body adapts to your workout, so it’s important to tweak your normal routine so you continue to get the most out of it,” explains strength and conditioning specialist Noam Tamir. Here, some of his favourite ways to switch up your workout routine for weight loss.

    1. Warm Up (But Really Tho) For Weight Loss

    If you jump into your workout without prepping your body first, well, you’re a normal human being. But you won’t be able to perform as optimally (read: burn as many kilojoules), says Tamir — that’s why it’s crucial to begin with a good warm-up.

    “Start with a couple of mobility moves, like hip-opener drills, ankle drills, leg swings and neck nods,” recommends Tamir. “All of these will help get the synovial fluid — the fluid inside of your joints — moving, which will help with your mobility overall.”

    He also recommends paying some attention to your glutes, which are the biggest muscle in your body — and should be activated before any workout for max results. His activation moves of choice: single-leg bridges, lateral band walks and deadbugs. “If you do just a couple of these moves before you begin, your workout will be much more effective.”

    2. Work Interval Training Into Your Cardio Routine

    “Interval training helps you burn more kilojoules than you do when you’re exercising in a steady state,” explains Tamir. So if you’re a treadmill junkie, sprint for 30 seconds and then walk for 30 — and keep alternating that routine. Play with the incline to increase resistance, too, which will boost your weight loss. You can try a similar technique on a bike or an elliptical — basically while doing any form of cardio. “You’ll be working harder when you’re going faster, which will spike your heart rate, and ultimately help you get more from your workout overall,” says Tamir.

    3. Focus On Compound Movements

    Many of the machines at the gym target one specific muscle group, but if you’re focused on weight loss, your best bet for weight training is to opt for moves that use multiple muscle groups at once. “An example of this would be a squat versus a leg-extension machine,” explains Tamir. “You’re using more muscles overall, which ultimately means you’ll end up burning more kilojoules.” Look to free weights, which challenge your balance and fire up more muscle, so you’ll work harder.

    4. Lift More Weight

    Because — you guessed it — you’ll end up burning more kilojoules.“For your upper body, try increasing the weight you’re using by five to 10 percent each week,” says Tamir. “And for your lower body, increase the weight by 10 to 15 percent each week.”

    So if you’re lifting five kilos, try increasing the weight by about half a kilo for your upper body, and about one kilogram for your lower body (depending on the weights you have; it doesn’t have to be exact).

    And if you currently do only bodyweight stuff, start using weights. “The key is to choose a weight where you’ll still be able to do your moves with clean form.” (Because going too big and getting injured definitely won’t help you get in better shape.)

    5. Refuel And Rehydrate

    “If you don’t do this, your body won’t get the optimal muscle gain from your workout, which will limit the amount of kilojoules you burn in the long run,” says Tami. In addition to drinking lots of water, he recommends having protein post-workout — something like chocolate milk is great.

    This article was originally published on More

  • in

    What Is The Macrobiotic Diet – And Can It Help You Lose Weight?

    Rooted in Japanese culture, the macrobiotic diet espouses the Asian yin-yang philosophy and is all about bringing balance to your plate, and by extension, your body. It’s also endorsed by celebs like Ariana Grande, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sting. If you like whole grains and soup or are looking to try something new, this is the diet for you.

    Meet The Expert: Carla Chait is dietician and expert in macrobiotic eating

    The history of the macrobiotic diet

    The macrobiotic diet started in the 19th century. “Sagen Ishizuka, a Japanese army doctor trained in Western medicine during this time, became disillusioned with his craft when he was unable to cure himself of his own ailments using the allopathic approach to healing,” says Chait. He started experimenting with diet and postulated that the balance between potassium and sodium in the body is the foundation of health. He called for a rejection of the foundations of the Western diet (meat, sugar and dairy) and wanted a return to the traditional Japanese diet that prizes miso soup, brown rice, pickles and seaweed. “Ishizuka healed many patients with his approach to diet and health and became famous throughout Tokyo as the ‘Anti-Doctor Doctor’,” says Chait.

    So… what is the macrobiotic diet?

    You don’t need to buy the entire Japanese grocery store to get the benefits. The diet focuses on whole grains, legumes, vegetables and yes, seaweed as the principal foods, says Chait. Added to that are white-meat fish, nuts and fruits.

    What can you expect on the macrobiotic diet?

    While you’d be mistaken for thinking the diet, while being whole foods focused, is just a dolled-up vegetarian diet, you’d be wrong. Key differences include its ideological and energetic bases. The idea is that by eating the right foods, you can powerfully affect your health and well-being. Prized is food that is locally grown, less processed and options low in saturated fats.

    “People eating a Macrobiotic diet can expect increased physical stamina and mental clarity,” says Chait. “Eating whole foods gives one a ‘whole’ or expansive view of the world. Eating Macrobiotically not only changes one’s health then but also changes one’s life.”

    Will it help you lose weight?

    Since the diet prizes fibre and downplays fat content, you could very well shed kilos. “A high-fibre diet ensures that the digestive system is toned and functioning properly, while also stabilizing blood sugar,” says Chait. “The fat sources in the diet are largely mono- and polyunsaturated, which is good for heart health. Eating Macrobiotically will improve one’s overall health and ensure that energy is flowing smoothly through the body so that excess weight is discharged.”

    Who does it work best for?

    Well, since most dietary recommendations prize the upping of fruits and vegetables and whole grains, it comes as no surprise that this diet will work well for pretty much anybody. “The diet is especially helpful for those who have had a lifetime of poor food choices, leading to stagnation and disease,” says Chait. “For those, the diet is truly miraculous in restoring health and well-being.” Research backs this up. One study showed that macrobiotic diet can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, leading authors to think that it might be a great diet for people dealing with cardiovascular problems. Another study posited that it’s a diet associated with decreased cancer rates. In cancer patients, macrobiotic diet has been known anecdotally to yield results and is associated with decreased cancer risk. However, more research is needed to confirm the benefits of this diet on cancer.

    And it works for women, too. “Women consuming macrobiotic diets have modestly lower circulating oestrogen levels, suggesting a lower risk of breast cancer. This may be due in part to the high phytoestrogen content of the macrobiotic diet,” one study’s authors noted.

    Any supplementation required?

    Per one study, there’s a decrease in vitamin B12, vitamin D and calcium with people on the diet. But compared to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, this diet outperformed in terms of being anti-inflammatory and health-giving.

    Try these two recipes from dietician Carla Chait to get in on macrobiotic eating.

    Miso soup with daikon and shiitake

    Prep Time 15 minutes minsCook Time 15 minutes mins

    Course Appetizer, Main Course, SoupCuisine Japanese

    4 dried shiitake mushrooms1 tsp dried wakame leavesWater for the soup1.5 cups halved and sliced daikon radish1 tbsp barley misohandful chopped spring onion for garnish
    Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl of water for 10 minutes to soften, remove the stems, and slice thinly.Soak the dried wakame leaves in a little water for 5 minutes to reconstitute and slice the leaves into small pieces.Place the sliced mushroom, wakame pieces, and the sliced daikon radish into a pot and add 3 cups of water.Bring to a boil and cook, covered, for 5 minutes.Purée the miso paste in a bowl with a little of the soup broth and then return the miso purée to the soup, stirring gently.Simmer, uncovered, for a further 3 minutes.Garnish each bowl of soup with chopped spring onion.

    Keyword miso soup, soup

    Fried rice with tofu and vegetables

    Prep Time 20 minutes minsCook Time 10 minutes mins

    Course Main CourseCuisine Chinese, Healthy, Japanese

    1 tbsp sesame oil½ cup diced onion½ cup sliced celery½ cup quartered and sliced carrots1 cup crumbled tofu2 cups cooked brown rice1 tbsp water1 tbsp soya saucechopped parsley for garnish
    Heat the oil in a frying pan.Add the onion, celery, and carrot and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the crumbled tofu.Layer the rice over the vegetable and tofu mixture and pour the water down the side of the pan.Cover and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.Stir in the soy sauce and cook for a further 2 minutes.Garnish each serving of fried rice with chopped parsley.

    Keyword fried rice, healthy fried rice More

  • in

    Why Does It Feel So Much Harder To Lose Weight When You’re Short?

    Putting on 2kg when you’re 1.8m tall is NBD — you might not even notice it. But to lose weight when you’re short? It can feel like a 🚨🚨🚨 situation. But here’s where things get really, really frustrating: Losing those same 2kg is also way harder when you’re short.

    “Short women have slower metabolisms,” explains Dr Craig Primack, president-elect of the US Obesity Medicine Association. “The average woman has a basal metabolic rate (BMR) of 1 400 calories (5 852kJ) per day. That means, if she lies in bed for 24 hours, she will burn 1 400 calories (5 852kJ). But I see women who are shorter than 1.5m with BMRs of 1 200 calories (5 016kJ), and some who are 1.7m or so at 1 750 (7 315kJ) or more per day.”

    Why Is Life So Unfair, Though?

    The short (lolz) answer: The smaller your body, the less energy it needs — and the less it burns.

    The longer version: Short frames naturally have less lean mass on them, Primack says. Lean mass includes your muscles, organs, bones, connective tissues — basically everything that isn’t fat or water. Lean mass is the biggest factor in how many calories/kilojoules you burn at rest, walking to work, or crushing it in the gym.

    In fact, research published in the medical journal PLOS ONE explains that the size of people’s kidneys, brain, liver and muscles accounts for 43 percent of differences between peoples’ basal metabolic rates. And, yes, organ size is proportional to overall body size and height, with short women having smaller vital organs than taller ladies, says nutritionist and strength coach Marie Spano.

    As if that weren’t sucky enough, shorties also tend to have less muscle. After all, it takes less muscle to power a short leg than it does a long one. Spano notes that each 0.5kg of muscle burns about six calories (26kJ) per day at rest – before factoring in things like exercise that up the burn.

    But if you’re a shawty, there are ways you can outsmart your naturally slower metabolism.

    How To Lose Weight When You’re Short

    1. Eat for your needs.

    You know that whole “stay in your lane” saying? It totally applies to the food on your plate, too. Match your meals and snacks to your personal hunger levels and energy needs, rather than assuming you can lose weight eating the same number of calories/kilojoules that taller ladies can, says registered dietician Betsy Opyt. So as much as you might want to, maybe don’t eat the same exact brunch and two mimosas as your super-tall bestie.

    If you really start paying attention to your hunger signals, you may automatically start eating less. After all, how starving you are is a reflection of your metabolic rate, according to one study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. People with higher metabolic rates (think: tall people) are generally hungrier than those (ahem, shorter ladies) with slower metabolisms.

    2. Lift heavy.

    Even if you can’t make yourself grow a few centimetres, you can still catch up to your tall friends’ metabolic rates, Opyt says. The key is building lean, metabolically active muscle. (No, you can’t change the size of your organs.)

    That’s why she and Spano encourage all of their shorter clients to incorporate strength training into their workout routines. Primack votes for lifting weights at least two to three times per week, prioritising heavy weights and moves that work several muscles over using lighter weights and only working one muscle at a time. “It is better to lift a 10kg dumbbell once than a 0.5kg dumbbell 20 times,” he says. “Exercise to muscular failure stimulates the muscles even more.”

    3. Put back more protein.

    Protein is awesome for weight loss because it’s so satiating, putting the kibosh on blood-sugar swings and triggering the release of feel-full hormones. Obviously, when you’re trying to cut calories/kilojoules, that can help.

    But if you’re trying to adopt the metabolism of a much taller individual, you’re also going to need protein to build muscle, says Spano. A 2018 review published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition shows that to get the most muscle-building out of your workout, you should eat 0.4 to 0.55 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight four times per day. For a 68kg woman, that works out to four meals of 27 to 38 grams of protein each.

    4. Pay attention to vitamins and minerals.

    To lose weight, you have to take in fewer calories/kilojoules than you burn per day. There’s just no getting around it. Unfortunately, that means, to lose weight, you might have to cut calories/kilojoules pretty low — sometimes to 1 200 calories (5 016kJ) or even less per day.

    And hanger isn’t the only issue you’ll deal with if you’re cutting cals. It can also be hard to get all of the nutrients you need when you’re taking in less food, Spano says. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to determine if you need to take a multivitamin or a fibre, calcium or other supplement. Primack adds that you should never go lower than 1 200 calories (5 016kJ) without the supervision of a bariatric or weight-loss doctor who can monitor your nutrient needs and minimise any muscle loss.

    K. Aleisha Fetters is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, training clients both in-person and online.

    This article was originally published on More

  • in

    Um, Can You Drink Black Coffee While Intermittently Fasting Or No?

    There are a few agreed-upon pleasures in life: Food is definitely one of them, coffee’s a close second, followed by photos of Ryan Gosling doing literally anything. Intermittent fasting—while, yeah, can help with weight loss—takes away one of those pleasures for hours on end (if you’re doing the 16:8 diet, for example, you go 16 hours each day without food).

    So here’s my question: You can look at all the Ryan Gosling photos you want in that 16-hour fasting time frame…but that won’t satiate you (no offence, Ryan). So can you at least have coffee, or does the world continue to be a cruel and unusual place?

    What is intermittent fasting?

    Intermittent fasting is a type of eating that only allows eating in certain periods of time. The window in which you’d eat varies largely, depending on what’s best for your body and the kind of approach you’d like. This could mean having your first meal at 12pm, with your last meal at 8pm, or vice versa. There’s no evidence that intermittent fasting yields better results than any other diet, but hey, different strokes for different folks.

    Can you have coffee while fasting?

    Good news: You can have coffee in the morning—as long as your coffee doesn’t have calories, says Abbey Sharp, dietitian and blogger at Abbey’s Kitchen. That means you need to drink it black. “You cannot add sugar or dairy because that would add calories, fat, sugar, and therefore stop the fast,” she says. (FYI: Liquid calories count during fasting, too).

    If you can’t stomach black coffee (and tbh, not everyone can), no-calorie sweeteners like Stevia can help you out. They’re still allowed while fasting because they don’t impact insulin or blood-sugar levels, says Sharp.

    The caveat

    However, if you’re at risk for diabetes, steer clear of sweeteners, per the WHO, which advises against using them. That’s because there might be a mildly increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

    So, coffee lovers can officially breathe a sigh of relief. But there is something you should keep in mind: Coffee on an empty stomach can irritate your gut. It can also worsen symptoms of heartburn or irritable bowel syndrome, says Sharp. Even more: “Having coffee on an empty stomach may also amplify any feeling of jitteriness and anxiety because it’s absorbed much faster,” she says. But that’s only a possibility since coffee affects everyone differently.

    And even if you’re not a coffee drinker, you don’t have to solely stick to water while intermittent fasting. Any calorie-free drinks—like sparkling water, black tea, and even sparkling flavoured water is totally fair game, says Sharp.

    So it looks like you can resume your daily routine of checking Ryan Gosling’s social media accounts over coffee. Wait…is that just me?

    This article was originally published on  More

  • in

    How To Lose Weight If You Don’t Know Where To Start, According To A Dietician

    Weight loss. Just two words that carry so much, from the many, many (seriously, so many) diets to the multitude of mind-hacking that comes with it. A lot of work needs to go into it to try and shift kilos. But how to even begin to lose weight, if you’re not sure where to even start? As is our style, we turn to experts first. “As a registered dietician, I’m here to help you navigate a sustainable approach to achieving overall health and wellness that goes beyond short-term weight loss goals,” says dietician Gabi Meltzer. “I would love to help you shift your perspective from quick fixes and temporary results to building healthy habits that prioritise your well-being, both physically and mentally.”

    That means giving up fad diets, or quick fixes that promote a huge amount of weight loss in a short space of time. Per a dietician, here’s how to really begin your weight loss journey – and not have it end in tears of frustration.

    Meet The Expert: Gabi Meltzer is a registered dietician in Cape Town

    To lose weight, prepare for a mindset change

    That means re-looking your ideas around weight loss and what that really means to you. Do you need to look hot for a date that’s right around the corner? Or do you want to feel better, move better? Either way, turn to sustainable approaches rather than quick fixes. “To break free from the vicious cycle of fad diets, a change in mindset is necessary,” says Meltzer. “Instead of fixating on the number on the scale, shifting the focus toward cultivating healthy habits that contribute to our overall well-being is the most sustainable.”

    Focus on your eating habits first

    Per one paper that evaluated different studies on weight loss, “Healthier eating, but not physical exercise accounted for goal-setting-induced weight loss.” To help, try writing down everything you eat. Is it a lot of pizza or late-night pies and fewer than the recommended five-a-day of veggies and fruits? Writing things down can give you that distance and perspective needed to alter your eating habits.

    See a dietician

    Professional guidance can help move the needle since they’re expertly trained to give you those tips and encouragement when trying to lose weight. It’s a big feat – and you don’t have to go it alone.

    Try intuitive eating

    Here’s a popular trend that could actually help. “This is a self-care and body kindness framework that can be helpful in reconnecting to our body’s innate cues,” says Meltzer. Eat when you’re hungry and not when you’re bored or overwhelmed. It’s also a way to rebuild trust in yourself, especially if you struggle with binges. “[It’s about] learning to trust our bodies to make choices that truly nourish us, both mentally and physically,” adds Meltzer.

    Find an exercise you actually like

    Moderate exercise goes hand in hand with slimming down. But the key to sustaining your regimen lies in finding something you like to do. “Engaging in activities we genuinely enjoy can transform exercise from a chore to a pleasurable experience,” explains Meltzer. “When you find the type of movement that makes you feel energised, less stressed, happier, and more connected to your body and what it is able to do, you are likely to want to make this form of movement a regular part of your life.”

    Be gentle with yourself

    Real, sustainable weight loss takes time, so allow yourself to go slowly. That means you’ll be in this for the long haul. One way to think about it? Instead of focusing on what you’re eliminating, focus on what you’re bringing to the table. “Rather than fixating on strict rules or demonising certain foods or food groups, focus on adding more opportunity for a wide range of nutrient-dense foods,” says Meltzer. Keen to try new veg? Explore new recipes! You’ll find yourself free from restriction and less bored.

    Learn to accept your body

    Hating yourself will get you nowhere, and any problems you think will be solved through weight loss will likely still be there when it’s all gone. “Learning to appreciate and respect your unique body is essential for mental well-being and sustainable healthy habits,” says Meltzer. More