Nutrition Class, Nutrition Tips

Nutrition Class 1 | Carbohydrates | Part 1/3

Alright guys. The moment has arrived. I’m going to get real technical with you all and share what I learned in my nutrition course last year… I’m going to break it down into three parts: Carbohydrates, Fat and Protein. Every part might be divided too but I will see how it goes.

I’m going to start with Carbohydrates because well I can’t go a day without my carbohydrates. The course was very technical so I’m going to take pieces from it and break it down but you’re more than welcome to take the course yourself! It’s on edx. Here is the link — https://courses.edx.org/courses/course-v1:WageningenX+NUTR101x+2T2016/course/ — I do want to point out that most of the technical information comes from this course because well this is where I learned all my technical things related to nutrition. I really just want to share what I learned for those who want to read real nutrition facts without doing a lot of effort. I will add some stuff I learned from my own experience but you will see once you scroll down. You see I know how much fake information is out there so information backed with resources and research is important to me. This course has this. Really if you have the time take this course. You will probably recognize bits and pieces from here if you do.

Before I start, the pieces I take from the course will be in cursive and my words will be well you know, normal. I will try my best not to overwhelm you between what I say and what the course say. I also don’t want to copy and paste from the course but there is a lot of important information.

Part one in the carbohydrates category we’re going to talk about the chemistry of carbohydrates. There is a lot of terms, I mean when I was going through all the information there wasn’t much I could say that the course didn’t cover. I had to rethink the structure of this blog quite a bit because how it was looking was basically a copy and paste from the course, two and a half pages of it. So I will be breaking it down and will clearly point out when I’m using material from the course and when it’s me talking, or well writing. You know the drill by now. Let’s just jump in!

I’m also going to make little graphs via PowerPoint to simplify what I can.

Chemistry of carbohydrates

When you’re very deep down in the fitness world you will probably hear macro counting somewhere down the line. This isn’t a guide how to macro count, heck I’ve never tried it so I can’t really explain the how’s. This is more a technical breakdown with a bunch of information about everything to educate you about how the body works and overall improve your nutritional knowledge. Macronutrients (or macros) is divided into three parts; carbohydrates, fat and protein.

1

What is carbohydrates? What is their chemical composition? The course answers all of this.

2Carbohydrates can be separated into simple carbohydrates, sometimes referred to as sugars, and complex carbohydrates. But for now we’ll concentrate on the simple carbohydrates, which can be separated into monosaccharides and disaccharides.

3

The monosaccharides are glucose, fructose and galactose.  

4The disaccharides are composed of these three monosaccharides. We have maltose, which is composed of two molecules of glucose. We have sucrose, which is composed of a molecule of glucose linked to fructose. And we have lactose, which is composed of glucose linked to galactose. All these mono and disaccharides exist in our diet with the exception of galactose, which is only present in our diet as part of lactose.

5The monosaccharides can be directly absorbed into our bloodstream so they don’t require any digestion. However, the disaccharides need to be broken down to the individual monosaccharides. This process is part of normal digestion and is called hydrolysis. We can break down the disaccharides into the individual monosaccharides through hydrolysis. And as an example we can have sucrose, which is an important part of our diet, it is table sugar, and it can undergo hydrolysis to yield the individual monosaccharides glucose and fructose. Through that process we are able to utilize the energy that is available in the disaccharides by forming the monosaccharides which can be subsequently absorbed into the bloodstream and used as an energy source.

Now that we’ve discussed simple carbohydrates with the help of the course we can now move onto next part. We will discuss a lot about sugars so try to keep track. I know this is a lot of technical terms that some of you might not be that interested in but stay patient. This is some great information.

In the previous paragraph we talked about simple carbohydrates and we said that they are often referred to as the sugars, and that they include the monosaccharides and disaccharides. However, in colloquial terms, sugar is most often used to describe crystalline table sugar, which in chemical terms is sucrose. When we talk about blood sugar, actually we refer to glucose in the blood. There are also other sugars: invert sugar or inverted sugar is a mixture of equal amounts of glucose and fructose. Invert sugar is a little bit sweeter than sucrose and has a number of industrial uses including in the production of alcoholic beverages. It is also used by food manufacturers to retard the crystallization of sugar and to retain moisture in packaged food. A natural form of invert sugar is actually honey.

That my folks wraps up simple carbohydrates. Now we’re going to move onto complex carbohydrates. What is complex carbohydrates? The course will answer this.

Complex carbohydrates  are also referred to as polysaccharides and there are three main groups. We have glycogen, which is a very minor component of our diet. We have the starches, which are a very important component of our diet and we have fibres.

6So let’s focus on the starches and on specifically the amylopectin and the amylose component of the starch, because starch is basically a polymer of glucose. So, many glucose molecules link together in either a linear chain, which is called amylose, or a branched chain, which is called amylopectin, and together they form starch. Now depending on the type of food – rice, bread, corn – the type of starch is in a different conformation. But they all conform to the same standard chemical composition. It’s a mixture of amylose and amylopectin. So basically what you end up with after digestion is purely glucose.

I just quickly want to touch base on this topic. There is a lot of myths on starch that I had to double check to see if there was actually some truth to the matter. So my father is convinced that you can wash starch away after cooking rice, pasta and potatoes by washing it properly after cooking. You know till the water runs clear. He is convinced that starch is the thing in these foods that make you gain weight and by washing it away it’s healthy. I always found this a little ludicrous but I wanted to see if there is actually truth to this. So I turned to Google. Almost immediately I found two websites who followed my dad’s way of thinking. Here is the links — http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/remove-starch-potatoes-11537.html and http://www.ruchiskitchen.com/how-to-cook-starch-free-rice/ — If it’s in fact true I’m not entirely sure. If a research has been done I haven’t found it. Although I don’t really see the harm in rinsing off your potatoes, pasta and rice. Just rinse it with hot water otherwise you will make your food cold and no one really wants to eat cold food.

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In this next part we’re going to discuss dietary fiber with the help of the course once again. It feels a bit weird because this chemistry part is really heavily featuring the course but I mean it is what is. I can’t really make it my own. It’s facts you know and I learned these facts from the course.

What is dietary fiber? Dietary fiber describes a chemically diverse group of non-digestible carbohydrates. Most of the carbohydrates in our diet can be digested by the enzymes in the GI tract and can subsequently be absorbed into the bloodstream as monosaccharides. However, a portion of the carbohydrates present in foods cannot be broken down by the digestive enzymes and will reach the colon mostly intact.

There are a number of definitions of dietary fiber, but one of the more simple one’s is: Dietary fibers are dietary carbohydrates that are not subject to digestion by endogenous enzymes, but may be digested by bacteria in the colon. Dietary fiber is sometimes referred to as non-starch polysaccharides. However, this classification would exclude the lignins and resistant starch and is thus not fully correct. The most common classification separates dietary fiber into two main classes: the soluble or viscous fiber and the in-soluble or non-viscous fiber. There is another classification that distinguishes fiber between three categories: fiber naturally occurring in the food as consumed, fiber obtained from raw food material by physical, enzymatic or chemical means, and synthetic carbohydrate polymers. The reason for differentiating between fiber already present in the food, which is the first category, and fiber added to the food, which is the second and third category, is that the beneficial property of fibers naturally present in the food have been scientifically well-validated, whereas there are fewer data on potential health benefits of added fiber.

People are told to eat plenty of fiber as fiber supports proper function of the GI tract and prevents constipation, and in addition fiber has several other health benefits which we will discuss later in the course. Our daily fiber intake hovers around 20 grams in most Western countries but some people may not even reach 10 grams per day. Whereas intake of other people easily exceeds 40 grams per day.

And that concludes everything I wanted to share about the chemistry of carbohydrates. There is more information and explanation on this in the course, I mean the videos are really great but I feel like for everyday people this is enough. What I want to achieve in this post is to show how important carbohydrates are for your body. You can’t just cut it out and hope for the best. It’s your energy source and so much more. Without carbohydrates in your body…well let’s just say some things won’t go so smoothly. I will talk about it more in part two. I hope you found this ‘nutrition class’ slash lesson educational.

Thank you so much for reading. I wish you all the best and I will see you in a click!

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Nutrition Tips, Recipes

Healthy Cottage Pie Recipe

I grew up with cottage pie and it is truly one of my favorite dishes to make. It’s home. There is ‘unhealthy’ ways to make it and there is way to improve the dish and make it healthier. This is my favorite recipe that can be deemed the healthier version. Oh before we jump in, here is a little history or background lesson.

This next part comes straight from Wikipedia. Do with this information what you will. Shepherd’s pie (made with minced lamb or mutton) or cottage pie (made with minced beef) is a meat pie with a topping of mashed potato. The dish can vary widely within its basic definition, whether as a home recipe or on a restaurant menu. The defining ingredients are minced meat (beef for cottage pie, lamb or mutton for shepherd’s pie) cooked in a gravy with onions and sometimes vegetables, such as peas, celery or carrots, and topped with mashed potato. Whilst not traditional, a common addition to either pie is to top the mashed potato with grated cheese.

Wikipedia goes into so much more detail about the dish but basically it comes from The United Kingdom originally and it’s a meat and potato dish. Now that you know what it is let me tell you how I make it.

Ingredients

  • Mince (Depends on your family/portion size. For two people I use 500g. When I feel like spoiling my husband even more I will add some bacon to the mix.)
  • Tomatoes (Medium sized tomatoes. Six to nine. Depends on how I feel.)
  • Peppers (If I feel like there isn’t enough vegetables in the meal I will add one pepper. For me it doesn’t really matter what colour it is. I do tend to go for the orange, yellow and red mix.)
  • Carrots (I always buy the medium sized carrots so I use 5 of them but if you buy the normal large carrots it’s about two.)
  • Onion (I use one but only because I’m not that big on onion. This can go according to your taste.)
  • Garlic (I use one glove but again this can go according to your taste. Garlic can easily overwhelm a dish so keep that in mind.)
  • Bolognese Sauce (I don’t think the brand really matters. I just buy the gluten free one our supermarket has to offer. The bottle is 400g.)
  • Soya Cream (I always get the 250g cuisine soya cream the supermarket stocks but normal whipped cream should be ay okay. I just tend to stay away from heavy lactose products as my body sometimes struggle to digest it. Coconut cream will also get the job done.)
  • Seasoning (I use Rosemary herbs, salt and pepper. If I feel like a little sting I will add some cayenne pepper.)
  • For sweetness I add 1 generous tablespoon of apricot jam. (I use a 30% less sugar brand. I also heat up some water and dissolve the jam in it before I pour it into my sauce. Otherwise it can get clumpy and won’t spread through the entire meal.)
  • Extras: If I feel I need more vegetables I will add some spinach but I tend to stay away from that one. In my mind spinach doesn’t go with this meal. The green ruins the nice and pretty red sauce. Taste wise I don’t think it’s noticeable. I also sometimes add 3ml of vanilla essence for flavour and a squeeze of lemon juice.)
  • Potatoes (Good old normal potatoes. I always get medium sized potatoes. I go fifty-fifty with the normal and sweet potatoes but you can do this according to your preference. Sometimes I skip the sweet potatoes all together. Portion wise I guess is just make enough. It’s better to have too much then too little but if I have to give it a number it’s about 4-5 normal potatoes (only if there is a few small ones in between the mix. Really I go according what looks enough) and 3 sweet potatoes.
  • Sweet Potatoes (I always have the option between the orange skinned and the purple skinned sweet potatoes from my local supermarket. The orange skinned potatoes is orange when cut open and the purple skinned potatoes is a yellow normal potato colour. I don’t know if that even makes sense but all in all I haven’t noticed a difference in flavour although saying that if I have the choice I go for the purple skinned.)
  • Butter and (Soya) Milk (You’re going to need butter and milk to mash the potatoes. I use soya milk because well I’m sensitive to lactose products but I don’t think it makes much of a difference. I use 25g-50g of butter (depends on how I feel like that night) and the rest just milk. It’s better to add little by little as too much makes your mashed potatoes runny.)
  • Oven pan

Step by step

  • I always start off with preparing all of my vegetables for my sauce. I cut up the onion, tomatoes, garlic, peppers, carrot and then add it to my favourite large sauce pan. I then switch over to skinning to potatoes and cutting them up in small pieces (I want them to boil through quickly).
  • I place the potatoes on a medium heat and with some olive oil I just let it sit and boil.
  • I then switch over to my sauce. I add the mince and the entire sauce mixture like I explained earlier. The Bolognese sauce, soya cream and seasoning. I give it a quick mix (Over mixing it with raw mince breaks it up to a point of you feel like you’re eating baby food. I still want chunks of meat.) I then put a lid on it and let it boil for 20-30 minutes on a low heat. I will give it a stir about halfway through but otherwise I leave it alone.
  • The potatoes should be done in 20-25 minutes. I then mash it and please don’t forget to add your seasoning. I always just use salt and pepper. Nothing fancy. All the flavour you want is in the sauce. I saw somewhere someone using the water that they boiled the potatoes with for the mashing. I haven’t tried it yet but be my guess.
  • I now take my oven pan and I will up half of it with my mince sauce (If there is left great you have leftover for spaghetti tomorrow night. You can also freeze it for another night.) I carefully put the mashed potatoes above this. One big serving spoon in three different parts of the oven pan. The side and the middle. Ones I feel like the mince mixture and the potatoes mixture is even I will even the potatoes out with a fork.
  • For one last extra flavour I add a layer of grated cheese. You can also add a layer of crushed chips (original flavour) on top of the mashed potatoes and then add the grated cheese. It gives it a nice extra layer of crunch. It’s not the healthiest but it is oh so good.
  • Then you just pop it in the oven for 30 minutes (or till cheese is nice and crispy) at 180˚C or 356˚F for my Americans. (Sorry for all the grams. Google it?)

Annnddd that’s it folks! Here is a photo of my batch. If you make it and like it please let me know. I would love to see your response to it. If you don’t like it well hey we all like different things. Oh and sorry for the dark quality in the picture. It’s winter here and it’s pretty dark around dinner time. It also doesn’t help that half of our light bulbs aren’t working…

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Here is my husband’s review. I promise he is not lying for me at all (he is).

“Thinking back of this dinner on a Sunday morning makes me hungry, it’s one of my favourite meals! If you have not tried this you are definitely missing out. I especially like the variation with the chips on top, so the unhealthy one basically.”

Before I go the unhealthy version is basically no vegetables and using a lot of butter with your normal potatoes.

I wish you all the best and I will see you in a click!

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Celiac Disease, Nutrition Tips

What Happens To Me When I Get ‘Glutened’ | Celiac Disease

There is quite a large difference between my body’s reaction with a small scale gluten and a large scale gluten. Both events are equally uncomfortable and something I wouldn’t like to repeat.

Small Scale

What I mean by a small scale reaction is just what it sounds. I got a small amount of gluten in my system as in traces of another product –we didn’t wash the pan correctly or I used Onno’s spoon by mistake. It could also come from a product made in a factory where they handle gluten. It’s small amounts. Heck it could even be from we used a pinch of spices that contains gluten or I prepared food on a dirty platform so some bread crumbs was on the table and it got on my food. It really could be the smallest thing and it would be enough. Here is two examples.

I went to a football (soccer) game with Onno and his family and bought a glass of water. No food and water is allowed to enter the arena so you buy what’s available. As you can guess the first thirty minutes after the gates open and before the game begins all of the service counters are beyond the point of busy. They pump out drinks and foods left and right. The main drink being served is a beer. They pour the drink in a clear plastic cup. All the drinks all served in the small cup. I always get water that they pour from a water bottle into the same clear plastic cup. I got gluten in my system and started to feel the effects just as we pulled out of the parking lot. There was some beer in my glass. I didn’t taste it but that’s the only thing that makes sense. The second time we went I asked to buy a bottle as I don’t really want to go two hours without a drink but they refuse to sell it. So I have yet to figure out just how I can enjoy a game with something to drink without getting sick. Another example is the popcorn at the movies. It was something I had to confirm as normal popcorn we buy from the shop never gives us a problem but alas the spice mixture they use at the movies contains gluten.

So now that you get a clear idea just how small the gluten could be to make me sick, I can tell you just how sick I get.

  • Stomach pain
  • Heavy stomach bloating
  • Nauseous
  • Exhaustion
  • Dizziness
  • Foggy Brain

The recovery from a small scale attack take two to three days. The stomach bloating which is so large and uncomfortable won’t go away for about four days. I will have some stomach cramps but it’s bearable (sometimes). Sometimes I will have blood in my next number two bathroom trip.

Big Scale

I haven’t had a big scale attack in a year if not more. The amount of gluten needs to be an actual normal product as in a donut, muffin, pasta, pizza literally anything that’s the usual thing you can get. Big scale attacks are extreme and so painful. I can barely put it into words.

  • Extreme stomach pain and cramps
  • Extreme stomach bloating (nine months pregnant type of stomach in minutes)
  • Extreme nauseous
  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Extreme dizziness
  • Extreme foggy brain

The recovery time from a big scale attack can take weeks. The attack is anything but bearable. I ball into myself and sob from the pain. For the next few days, all of my number two’s have blood in it. I also lose all of my appetite. It is anything but pleasant.

The point of this blog is really just to show that although some people follow a gluten free diet because they feel it would benefit them in weight loss other are physically allergic to the protein. If someone orders a gluten free meal don’t give them an attitude about it. Be respectful because honey if you gluten me for shit and giggles (it has happened before) I will punch you in the gut so at least you can feel half of the pain I do. Okay wow that is aggressive but it really does anger me. How hard is it to respect others? I’m going to end this blog here as I’m really not sure where this is going.

I wish you all the best and I will see you in a click!

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Nutrition Tips, Plain Old Nutrition Content, Story Time

My First Special Candy Occasion | Candy Free

Boy oh boy was it hard to wait eighteen days to finally tear open a packet of candy and stuff my face. By day twelve the cravings started to kick in but I was going strong. The northern lights is one juicy carrot. As my birthday neared, my first special occasion since the challenge started, the excitement grew and grew. I carefully considered what candy I would enjoy on the day but eventually after some time I decided on soft wine gum candy and chocolate. Compared to the normal I would say it’s on the more side of things but it’s definitely not the most candy I’ve eaten in one day.

I however was surprised by my lack of appetite after a few bites. I quickly became nauseous as the candy was almost too sweet for me. It just goes to show how quickly your taste can change. Half way through the packet of gums I was done. Sick to my stomach. Not even five bites into my chocolate I was done. Sick to my stomach. Too much sugar. This would’ve have happened eighteen days ago. Heck the night before new years I inhaled the same chocolate and I had no problem with the sugary goodness.

This is not the first time this happened. Every time I go candy free for longer than two weeks my first candy is always to sweet and always makes me nauseous. The second candy is a little better but by the third and fourth candy its back to the normal taste. I’m not really finding any research paper or reliable source on the matter but I do remember my high school biology teacher explained it as your taste buds adapt to your low sugar diet so when you suddenly eat a product with a high sugar content the difference in taste stands out more than usual. So basically when your taste buds are used to high sugar products eating more of it won’t make a difference to you. Heck you won’t really taste all of the sugar but once you go without, well then it’s completely different. Is this even making sense to anyone?

I do want to add that I didn’t go sugar free. Not completely. I’m making conscious choices to choose the sugar free option but I’m not being over serious about it. Being gluten free is enough for me. My main goal is just to stay candy free so basically I avoid candy, chocolate, soft drinks and more.

My next special occasion is on Valentine’s day and this time around I will only eat one type of candy, chocolate. I will definitely buy a small chocolate as I don’t think I will be able to stomach more. It’s interesting how things work. Other than that I haven’t really noticed a big difference since going candy free but I’m sure with more time I will definitely see a difference. I will tell you all about it when the time comes.

I wish you all the best and I will see you in a click!

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Nutrition Tips, Plain Old Nutrition Content

My Nutrition Plan For 2018

Hold up. I’m actually writing a blog post about food or something nutritional related? What world is this? I’m just kidding. I have so much nutritional content I want to share but for some reason I just never really got to it. I always just want to write a story time. I can tell you one thing for sure, I’m going to be sharing a lot of food related content in 2018. You will see why in a second.

So the entire December I’ve been thinking of what I want to achieve in the year 2018 and what I want to do differently. There is nothing like a new year to try a lot of new things. To grow. You might have seen the no candy for 365 days for the northern lights post go up around that time if not, please feel free to go give it a read. Self promotion at its finest. Cutting down on sugar is one of my biggest goals for 2018. I got somewhere in 2017 (a lot later in the year then what I originally wanted) but I could do better. One of the places I really lacked was the amount of vegetables and fruit I eat. 99% of my meals for dinner does contain some sort of vegetables which is a MASSIVE step up for me but that’s one meal. I only eat fruit in the summer. That’s not good enough. So for the new year I want to try 1-2 portion of fruit and 1-2 portion of vegetables per day. If my favorite fruit is out of season then I just need to think of something. I still have some hints of the same picky eater of a child in me. Hey it’s one step at a time.

Drinking water is so damn important I’m not even going to touch that one but I’m not drinking enough of it on a day to day basis and that needs to change. I used to be so damn good with that one, heck I was in danger of drinking TOO much water. I’m just going to strive for 2 liters of water per day. I do seem to do drink more water if I have an app to put my amount in. My favorite app for tracking water is Plant Nanny. I eventually deleted the app because I’ve gotten every plant there is so it was less exciting but it took me nearly a year to reach that level so definitely still go for it! I’ve recently started using a new app, My Water. It’s doing okay. I did get a FitBit watch for Christmas and the app has a water tracker function so I will most likely end up switching over. You just need to find a way where it fun or exciting to drink all your water. The app is just nice because I get a reminder.

The next nutritional related thing I want to do in the new year is something I’ve tried on and off. Every time I do it my body responds to it quite well. I don’t know why it hasn’t became a habit. I don’t have anything against the taste or anything like that. I just need to start drinking it on the daily and eventually it will become a habit. I want to drink green tea or lemon water 3 times a week if not more. It just flushes everything out and it makes my body feel so good. It just clenches everything.

The last thing on my list is a 7 day smoothie clench. I’m not sure why this one is on my list but I know how it got on. I want to say late 2016 I discovered my favorite raw vegan Alyse Brautigam, the founder of Raw Alignment. On her YouTube channel she was doing a juice clench. I really liked the idea and thought it would be something nice to try out. I however would pick a smoothie over a juice any day so hence the 7 day smoothie clench.

Oh who can forget about the nutritional blog related stuff…I’m just going to try out new recipes and play around with clean treats. I’m not sure how great that will go but we will see now won’t we? May this year be as clean and green with a little sprinkle of chocolate on the side (special occasions for me)!

2018 IS GOING TO BE AN AMAZING YEAR!!!