The month is coming to an end so we both felt we should share a little about the nutrition plans and guidelines that each of us follow before we conclude the focus of Nutrition on Saturday. As we said at the beginning of the month, we didn't set out this focus of nutrition to ever be about us telling you what you must eat and drink to be healthy. We hope that through our suggestions and advice you have come to conclusions yourself, but we are well aware that all of us are different and have a very personal, individual relationship with food and nutrition in general. There is so much advice out there so below is a little bit from each of us about the research we have done and why we have chosen to follow the particular nutrition plans/lifestyles that we do...
Sam on Keto:
For the last 6 years I've been a runner... a carb loving running machine! In my Open university studies, I based one of my assignments on nutritional requirements for long-distance runners, and carb-loading was still the main message. However, in my most recent course the first topic of study was to question everything we know about nutrition. Within this research it was suggested that the average human does not need carbohydrates for survival. This was something I could accept, but then the question was posed to us... do endurance athletes need carbs? Until I investigated the research myself I was a firm believer that YES, we need carbs for energy but the more I read and the deeper into the research I got, I found that having a fat-adapted body, aka burning fat for fuel as opposed to burning sugars, made a lot of sense and can work well for some. And that was it. A random Wednesday in November I made the decision to cut my sugar addiction and for the weeks leading up to New York I stuck to the Keto "diet" and never felt better in my life! My body is quite insulin resistant due to PCOS - Keto is one of the suggested ways to help combat the symptoms of this and I really feel a difference. To be honest, for the average person Keto can be quite extreme as you are only allowed a very small amount of carbohydrate in order to become fat-adapted so it is not something I would recommend for all but reducing the amount of sugars going into your body is definitely a benefit. After being on and off it this year due to lower willpower, I'm back on the fat-burning-wagon again and feeling awesome.
Ashley on Veganism
since I was a child I have loved, loved, LOVED animals and have always battled with my conscience when it came to eating meat. I have been vegetarian and pescatarian on and off at different points in my life as well as making decisions not to eat red meat or meat from baby animals etc. I couldn't watch documentaries about the way animals are farmed and treated for food as they upset me too much, but one day I decided to face my ignorance head on and watched a documentary on YouTube called Earthlings. After watching this I found that my thoughts on meat started to shift but it still took a couple of years for me to become vegan, which I started in January this year. Study after study (all the totally unbiased ones not funded by the meat and dairy industry!) show that meat and dairy is not needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle and that you can actually be healthier by cutting out these food types, as studies have shown that a plant based diet reduces the chances of developing certain diseases. I get lots of protein from plants, nuts and beans etc. (lets not forget the biggest animals on the planet are plant eaters!) and I have never felt fitter or stronger. I teach over 10 classes a week, run for enjoyment and walk 5 miles every day - all while being vegan! I am eating way more fruit and vegetables and not eating foods that the World Health Organisation have classed as a Group 1 Carcinogen (alongside cigarettes and asbestos) - I'm looking at you sausage, bacon and processed meats! As well as knowing I am helping the planet by being vegan, more than anything I feel like I am living with integrity - I do not believe that my appetite is more important than the welfare, or lives, of animals. I believe that animals and the planet should be looked after and it is our job to make changes to our lifestyle to ensure the generations of the future are able to live happy lives. I understand all the questions and concerns anyone would have about becoming vegan, it takes a lot of thinking and stamina to undo all the conditioning we have grown up with in regards to meat and dairy, but 2018 is the year of the vegan and I am proud to be part of that cruelty free movement.
As you can see, we are both following completely different nutrition plans! Sam keeps carbohydrate consumption low, Ashley eats as much as he wants!! Sam is eating meat and dairy, Ashley is not. Sam is following a plan that works for her body type and the way she responds to certain foods whereas Ashley has made a choice based on personal belief.
Whatever food you choose to eat, whatever 'diet' or nutrition plan you decide to follow, just try to do some research. Find unbiased studies to read that aren't funded by any organisation that will try to 'steer' you to a certain conclusion. Watch documentaries. Have tests done if you know certain foods don't agree with you. See a professional Nutritionist/Dietitian. Keep a food log! Whatever it is you need to do to ensure you are eating the right food and that your body is responding in a positive, healthy and functional way - do it. However, like we have said before, don't obsess over it. We always say educate yourself but never let it take over your life. At the beginning of the month we advised that one of our top tips is the 80/20 rule - eat relatively well and healthy 80% of the time and the other 20% - when you get a takeaway, eat those cookies or have a bottle of wine at the weekend - won't really have too much of a negative impact. It's all about balance and education.
If you want to reach out to either of us to find out more about Keto or becoming Vegan, speak to us in club or email us back. We are always happy to talk and have open discussions, maybe there is something you would like to share with us about the nutritional diet/lifestyle you follow?
Finally... eat mindfully and be happy
Sam and Ash