Are flavoured protein supplements suitable for a Paleo diet?

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What is a Paleo diet?

In its purest form, the paleo diet allows you to eat only those foods that humans ate when they first roamed the planet millions of years ago. The intention here is to focus on whole foods such as fruit, vegetables and lean sources of protein that have experienced minimal processing before reaching your plate. Heavy processing methods are associated with a reduction in nutritional content while boosting the levels of refined seed oils high in inflammatory fats, sodium and added sugars.

Technically, no protein supplement is strictly Paleo, whether it is flavoured or unflavoured, using natural or artificial flavouring. Protein supplements contain simply the amino-acid containing proteins that have been isolated or concentrated from the original source.

How is Clean Lean Protein Paleo-Friendly?

Protein powders certainly weren’t consumed by our prehistoric hunter-gatherer ancestors but most “Paleos” we meet consume protein supplements; ALL of which, unless they are unflavoured, use either natural or synthetic flavours. The Paleo diet aims to avoid chemicals and reduce consumption of artificial additives, sweeteners, gums, preservatives, industrial seed oils and food containing ‘anti-nutrients’ not present in high amounts in a hunter-gatherer diet. Clean Lean Protein ticks all the boxes, so for Paleos that do consume protein powder, Nuzest Clean Lean Protein is a great option.

How do we get our natural flavours?

We do not use artificial flavours—they’re 100% natural. Our vanilla is made from vanilla bean but like ALL flavours the vanilla extract is liquid, which means it needs to be dried onto a trivial amount of a  starch “carrier” made from something like rice or potato. To achieve a “flavour” (as in taste) from whole food powder alone would require, in most cases, significant quantities of that fruit or plant. While it could be argued that would be a more nutrient-dense solution, the protein content would be severely compromised.

Therefore, a highly concentrated extract is used to provide an intensity of flavour that requires only a fraction of the amount of whole-food to be used. Synthetic flavours do not use natural extracts; they are instead made in a laboratory to simulate flavours from natural products or invent new ones. The amount of natural flavour in Clean Lean Protein is very small, and the advice from our board of formulators is that all our products are suitable for a Paleo diet. There is however considerable debate within the Paleo community on what exactly ‘Paleo’ is, and so, what you choose to use will depend on your interpretation of Paleo.

Isn’t Clean Lean Protein made from peas/legumes?

One of the main reasons Paleos do not eat legumes is because of their anti-nutritional factors such as lectins and phytic acid. The advantage with our pea protein isolate is that lectins are completely removed in our water isolation process and the remaining phytic acid is negligible. As there is no need to add gums or processing aids, and with nothing added except natural flavour and katemfe fruit extract, the result is a highly digestible protein supplement which is easy on the stomach and easily absorbed. That’s why so many sportspeople flavour our brand and why so many people that experience discomfort with other proteins, especially whey, are regular, loyal customers. This may not fit with every Paleo and their own beliefs, but Nuzest Clean Lean Protein does nothing to interfere with the desired physical results or benefits of a Paleo diet; the main purpose for following it.

NB: there are a very small number of people who cannot consume anything flavoured, even with natural flavours. They have severe digestive issues and a very low tolerance for anything that is not completely natural. We do have a few customers like that who only use our unflavoured (Just Natural) option.

NEW Clean Lean Protein Bars

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European Golden Pea Protein Isolate blended with only whole food ingredients, pressed into a tasty and convenient bar form, making quality nutrition even more accessible when you’re on the go!

At Nuzest we believe in a planet thriving on plant-based nutrition. We love listening to our customers’ needs to help them simplify their diet and lives to ensure they meet all their nutritional requirements, daily.

Introducing our new 100% plant-based Clean Lean Protein Bar range, available in two delicious flavours -Cacao Coconut & Vanilla Almond.

With up to 14g of your favourite plant-based protein from European Golden Peas, they provide the ideal balance of energy contribution from protein, fats and carbohydrates; helping you stayed fuelled for the day the healthy way!
Efficacy of our ingredients has always been our top priority, so you won’t find anything you don’t understand in our ingredients list. We’ve utilized ingredients from whole foods such as nuts, seeds, and fruit in as close to their natural state as possible, to ensure we fuel and nourish every cell of your body. Like the rest of our range, our bars are vegan, gluten free, soy free and GMO free meaning you won’t find anything artificial; no fillers, no additives, and no scary stuff!

Our Clean Lean Protein already contains sufficient levels of all the essential amino acids, however the addition of nuts and seeds means you’re boosting your protein intake with the added benefit of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals to ensure you’re performing optimally every day.

HOW TO USE
Our bars make good nutrition so simple; all you need to do is choose a flavour to suit your daily requirements, tear the wrapper, bite and chew! Always ensure you dispose of the wrapper appropriately.

WHEN TO USE
Keep your cupboard stocked with our Clean Lean Protein Bars so that you can pop them into your gym bag, handbag, nappy bag, lunch bag or your back pocket and consume any time you’re looking for a snack that is good for you, whilst also tasting like a treat! Great to have every day post workout, for a mid-morning or afternoon snack, to stay energized when travelling, or when your hunger creeps up on you between meals.

INDEPENDENTLY TESTED & FREE FROM COMMON ALLERGENS
Ingredients are blended in Australia under strict GMP standards. The finished products are then tested to ensure they are safe and free from gluten, dairy and soy.

NEW Clean Lean Functional Protein

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Premium European Golden Pea protein is combined with functional ingredients from centuries-old Eastern medicine to help you perform at your peak.

Introducing our new Clean Lean Protein Functional Flavours range. Your favourite Pea protein isolate enhanced and flavoured with ingredients that have been used for centuries in Eastern medicine to treat conditions from inflammation to low energy and fertility.

FUNCTIONAL INGREDIENTS
Three unique flavour combinations have been developed using sustainable European Golden Pea protein + functional foods, herbs and spices + natural flavours; all sweetened naturally with an extract from the West African Katemfe fruit (Thaumatin).

Protein is essential for energy, cell repair and immunity and Clean Lean Protein Functional Flavours are a delicious way to nourish your body. All you need to do is choose a flavour to suit your daily requirements.

Chai, Turmeric + Maca

  • TURMERIC: A powerful anti-inflammatory used for centuries in Indian medicine.
  • MACA ROOT: Nutrient-dense and claimed to enhance fertility and energy.

Coffee, Coconut + MCTs

  • COFFEE: This powerful antioxidant promotes and enhances physical performance.
  • MCTs: Medium Chain Triglycerides are linked to weight loss and better cognitive function, occurring naturally in coconuts.

Vanilla Matcha

  • MATCHA: This green tea with slow-release caffeine is high in antioxidants and has been used in Eastern medicine for its brain-boosting effects (due to high levels of L-Theanine).

HOW TO USE
Clean Lean Protein Functional Flavours is a ready to make protein smoothie. No need to add anything other than water or your choice of milk (e.g. rice, almond or coconut). You don’t even need a blender, simply shake and go!

WHO IS IT FOR
Clean Lean Protein Functional Flavours is suitable for all ages, lifestyles and common dietary requirements. It’s founded on clean nutrition with nothing artificial – no fillers, added sugar or other nasties.

THE SUSTAINABLE CHOICE
Nuzest operate with the environment in mind. Golden peas provide a sustainable protein source using less water and less land than animal proteins. The isolation process is water-based, the water is then purified and recycled. Any waste goes to animal feed and biofuel.

INDEPENDENTLY TESTED & FREE FROM COMMON ALLERGENS
Ingredients are blended in Australia under strict GMP standards. The finished products are then tested to ensure they are safe and free from Gluten, Dairy and Soy.

Available to order online now! Can’t decide on a flavour? Try them all out with our Starter Bundle.
Buy Single Tub
Buy Starter Bundle

Article Two: Transform your stress with lifestyle choices

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Recognising and acknowledging that you are stressed is the first step in the transformation process. What you don’t know, you can’t change. In most instances, the mere fact that you have taken stock and accepted that you’re stressed also allows you to see reasons why. You may not have that magic wand to sprinkle fairy dust and make it all go away, but you can certainly use a range of lifestyle choices to ease some pressure and give yourself some breathing space. Here is a selection of powerful stress-busting techniques to choose from:

Getting your beauty sleep: Whether you’re a lark or a night owl, sleep is not a luxury, nor is it something to be caught up at weekends, or saved for holidays. Sleep is probably the most powerful, but natural, stress transformer we have – and it’s free!

Without banking sufficient sleep hours into your ‘account’, not only is your body unable to regenerate but, more importantly, your brain winds down, hindering your ability to think clearly and keep your emotions balanced. We are meant to spend around one-third of our lives asleep and yet it’s the first activity we sacrifice when the pressure is on. Why? Healthy sleep is one of the sure-fire ways of maintaining youthful, resilient, vitality of both body and mind and allowing us to cope better with stress.

But how much sleep is enough? If you’ve been scrimping on your sleep for whatever reason, it’s time for a re-think. Adults, regardless of gender, typically need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night for optimal brain and body function. Under-sleeping by even one hour every weeknight amounts to a monumental 5 hours of sleep debt by the time the weekend arrives – impossible to recoup. But, just like your bank overdraft, sleep debt has to be repaid. All too often the price is your health and spiraling stress levels as you increasingly lack the resilience to adapt to the pressures of life.

Positive self-talk: You are what you think. The orientation of your self-talk can mean the difference between super hero or super zero. Our thoughts underpin our beliefs and beliefs quickly become self-fulfilling prophecies. What we believe determines what we do, so if we believe we can’t do something, or clog up our mind with negative thoughts, we will remain stuck in our unhappy stressed-out state. Negative thoughts can seriously limit our experiences and quality of life.

Conversely, if our self-talk is positive, even if that means consciously reframing a negative thought, our behaviour and life experience follows suit. As part of the re-framing process, ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • What else could ‘this’ mean?
  • Is there a positive flip side I can reach for?
  • How else can I think about this?

Use a notebook if you need to in the beginning, but note your negative self-talk and change it. Negative thinking is a luxury we can ill afford.

Grounding in green spaces: Do you feel better when you’re outside in nature, barefoot on the green grass, under a sunny blue sky? Doesn’t everyone? Well it’s not all about the sunshine. It’s a lot to do with electrons. The Earth maintains a negative electrical potential on its surface. So when you’re in direct contact with the ground (walking, sitting, or laying down on the earth’s surface) the earth’s electrons are conducted to your body, which synchronises us to the same electrical potential. Living in direct contact with the Earth grounds your body, inducing favourable physiological and electrophysiological changes that promote optimum health eg. proper functioning of the immune system, circulation and synchronisation of biorhythms to name just a few. This electron exchange during grounding is also deeply relaxing and stress-relieving.

These positive effects from ‘grounding’ aren’t surprising because throughout our evolutionary history humans have been in constant contact with the Earth. It’s so simple — next time you’re on the grass, a beach or the earth, take your shoes off and synchronise a little.

Committing to the present moment:Easier said than done. When we’re stressed, part of the reason for the stress is not knowing what to do to get out of where we find ourselves. It seems like a mountain of steps have to be taken all at once if we are to stop ourselves from drowning. Life feels out of control and it’s a natural impulse to keep looking outwards at all those steps in front of us that feel so overwhelming. But it’s actually the step right in front of us, in the here and now, that holds the key to release. All we need to do is stop looking into the stressful future, take a breath and connect fully to the present moment.

Change always begins with one step. Only one. So, try doing what our ancestors did: look to the sky and find your guiding star. Go out into the night sky. Sit in peace. Look up at the stars. Relax a little and take a moment to get away from the stress of your life and all those overwhelming steps in front of you. In the space and the quiet, in the relief and the stillness, you will regain focus. And you will feel the one step that’s in front of you. Have the courage to take that first step and commit to a daily practice of immersing yourself in the present moment – even if it’s just a fleeting 30 secs in your busy day.

You have time now to practice some of these lifestyle transformers before the next blog in this ‘Quit Stressing’ series. Next time, Rob will outline what a stress-busting nutritional toolbox should look like and why you definitely want Nuzest Good Green Stuff and Clean Lean Protein in it.

 

Article Three: Transform stress using food and nutrition

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You’ve got the idea now that we need to drop all the clap-trap about ‘stress management’ and do things differently in the name of ‘stress transformation’. People who say they like stress normally mean they like a challenge. If you like challenges and you are something of a high-achiever, you probably have the reserve to deal with the level of stress in your life. We can think of that as positive stress and it often creates an increase in your performance – at least for a while. But if you over-extend yourself, don’t give yourself enough opportunities for recovery, it can all start going pretty pear-shaped—and sometimes quite quickly. The trick is to avoid this happening altogether or to change what you’re doing as soon as you experience any or all of the early warning signs that tell you you’re not coping.

You found out in Meleni’s last blog how you can use lifestyle to transform stress. Now let’s look at how you can use nutrition to improve your reserves or capacity to handle stress. You’ll recall that it’s chronic, ongoing stress that causes the greatest problems as our bodies are simply not designed for it. We need the sympathetic nervous system and its intimately linked endocrine system, that includes the HPA axis  which in turn initiates the cascade of events that triggers the stress response, to be in fine fettle. We also need the parasympathetic system—the counterbalance—that helps restore balance and normality again to be in equally good shape and ready for business. This requires healthy cells throughout the body—nerve and glandular ones in particular. It necessitates strong, flexible and resilient muscles, and a gastrointestinal system with its associated gut flora to be great shape. All the resources needed by all these cells and tissues need to be on hand for peak function each and every day.

What should my nutritional toolbox look like? On the resources front, right up there is folate, the key vitamin required for one-carbon metabolism, the system in our bodies that allows new cells to be formed. But B vitamins work as a team, so we need the complete football team including thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyroxidine (B6), methylcobalamin (B12) and biotin (B7). A stressed body with high energy demands needs these not just at the minimum levels required for survival, but at higher levels to allow us to face the challenges head on.

Your adrenal glands have a particular requirement for supplementary pantothenic acid (B5), with up to 250 mg a day being about right for many adults. If you eat a very well balanced diet, day in day out, you can get these vitamins at the government recommended de minimis levels. But an adrenally stressed body generally requires supplementation on top. Vegetarians and vegans will find it almost impossible to acquire enough vitamin B12 from the diet, so a supplement containing the bioactive form, methylcobalamin, is strongly recommended. Also, give supplements containing the folic acid form of folate a miss, as this can accumulate in the blood and cause long-term health problems. You’re better off using supplements that contain the stabilised, bioactive form of folate, 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (available in the calcium or glucosamine bound forms), that contain the same essential form that exists in leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale.

You then need to make sure you’re replete with all the cofactors your body needs to ensure its energy and musculo-skeletal systems are fully supported. That means a gamut of vitamins and minerals in optimised forms, including vitamin K, plenty of magnesium, potassium and some boron.

You’ll need to be consuming ample protein (1-2 g per kg body weight), healthy fats and carbs, particularly complex ones from vegetables or grains, preferably gluten-free ones to reduce additional stress on the all-important gut. Around half your ‘daily food plate’ should consist of a diverse range of veg, with a smaller amount of fruit, that reflect all six colours of the phytonutrient spectrum (namely green, red, orange, yellow, blue/black/purple and white/tan)

Speaking of the gut, it needs all the help it can get. That means not overloading it all the time by snacking often or eating loads of sugar and other refined carbs. Your intake from sugars shouldn’t exceed more than 5% of your total daily energy intake – and bear in mind most people in Western countries are three times over this level!

Two to three solid, balanced, varied and not oversized meals a day is the maximum amount of food most people need. Snacks are not only unnecessary – they can stress your body unless you’re burning huge amounts of energy by way of some kind of endurance activity. On some days, especially if you’re expending less energy, you might be down to just one or two meals a day, again with no snacking in between. It’s the fasting phases between meals that are so important for recovery and rebuilding. Food is in fact a stressor: it triggers release of cortisol and it upregulates the immune system because the body needs to be on red alert to determine if the food you’re consuming is friend or foe.

Eat less, and less often, you put less stress on your system overall. You allow your gastrointestinal lining more time to recover and rebuild, bearing in mind the cells of your gut lining like to replace themselves every 2 days as compared with every 8 years or so for the neurons in your brain. You also benefit from giving the trillions of microbes in your gut some respite so they can be primed for their essential role in digestion and as key regulators of immune health. Add to this a need for some probiotics and prebiotics to help your digestive tract assimilate and handle food with minimum fuss. Throw in some good digestive herbs, like dandelion, hawthorn, globe artichoke and slippery elm—and a bunch of plant-based antioxidants like citrus bioflavonoids, quercetin, grapeseed extract, turmeric, green tea extract and resveratrol—and your tool box is starting to look well stocked.

Take homes: Let’s boil all of this down to three simple take-home messages. First, eat a balanced and varied diet that is heavily plant-based, includes all the 6 colours of the phytonutrient spectrum, yet avoids refined carbohydrates like sugar and white bread. Second, take a super-high digestibility protein like Clean Lean Protein on a daily basis if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you don’t eat a lot of meat or fish, you exercise a lot or your immune system needs some extra support. As sleep is so crucial to recovery, if you struggle with getting a good night’s sleep, down a Clean Lean Protein shake an hour or so before bed. For those who need some further help, you can enhance the levels of your feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin even further by adding 200 mg of tryptophan as a supplement which will slightly more than double the amount of natural-occurring tryptophan you get in a 25g serving of Clean Lean Protein. Third and finally – do you recall all the vitamins, minerals, botanicals, antioxidants, pre-and probiotics mentioned above that can help a stressed body and brain? Well, you’ll find 77 of them in the incredible Good Green Stuff. We urge you get a full 10 gram serving into you every day, especially if you’re under pressure. We formulated it specifically for the modern human, where stress in its multitude of different forms has become a natural part of life.

You’re now ready to chill…

Coming back from injury: lessons learnt by NZ’s top player

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Coming back from injury:  lessons learnt by NZ’s top player

By the time Marina Erakovic was 17 years old she had won a junior Grand Slam doubles title and was ranked number five in the world.  She embarked on the senior pro tour at the age of 18 playing in tournaments all around the world and found that it was ‘a completely different ball game’.

Now 28 years old, Marina is the only Kiwi to have been ranked among the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) top 100 singles players in recent years but admits that her career has had its ‘ups and downs’.

“I broke into the top 100 players for the first time when I was 19 or 20 years old.  Since then I have probably had five to six years playing the full year – dealing with injuries has been a bit of a journey.

“It can be very frustrating to go from the top of your game to injury.  It was devastating at the beginning, but as you get older you realise that it comes with the territory.  You have to treat each one as a little hurdle or obstacle and try to take a longer term view.”

In Marina’s experience, all professional athletes seem to deal with injury in a similar way.  “You’ve got to think ‘It is what it is’ and find a level of acceptance.  You learn a lot from those moments.  It’s important to work on your mental strength because it’s not just the issue of being out — while you’re out, you know that everyone else is improving.”

Maria has learnt more about injury prevention and recovery as the years have gone by.  “As a younger player, my tendency was to always push harder and train more, now I realise it’s actually about knowing your body and being smart.  These days I do less repetitive exercises and work on the specifics.  I’ve always had good upper body strength, so gym work has helped me to build leg strength and power through my glutes.”

One of the challenges faced by all New Zealand professional tennis players is the amount of time spent travelling (around ten months of the year).  Their focus has to be on maintaining health and match-fitness despite being constantly on the move.

“I’m just back from four months on the road.  It’s really important to schedule in recovery time and pace myself (another lesson that I’ve learnt along the way).  It’s also vital to have a plan that makes sure you get the right nutrition.

“I’m only allowed 23kgs of luggage so I prioritise the things that help me stay healthy.  I always carry an extra bag for my ‘go-to’ products like Clean Lean Protein, Good Green Stuff, gels and low GI, slow release, whole food bars.  The first two months are easy but by the third month of each trip I have to restock.  I’ve been lucky with Nuzest.  Now that they’ve gone global, I can get hold of their products in the UK and USA so I don’t need to take it all with me.”

Language barriers and issues around water safety and food contamination can cause problems, particularly in Asian countries.  “Without access to organic markets and rental cars it can be really hard to eat enough fresh produce in some countries.  UK and the USA are easy because they have good supermarkets and online shopping but some of the Asian countries can be much more of a challenge.

Good Green Stuff gives me some valuable peace of mind here.  It quickly and easily provides all the vitamins and nutrients I need and stops me panicking if I can’t get enough fresh greens and vegetables.  That kind of peace of mind is invaluable during tournaments – it’s just one less thing to worry about.”

Marina’s approach to nutrition depends upon demand but generally she tries to stick with unprocessed fresh, slow-release food like oats and nuts.  “When I’m at home and training, I have a bigger breakfast, a good lunch and taper off in the afternoon and evening.  When I’m travelling, food intake depends upon my game time.  If I have a 2pm game, I’ll eat around 11.30 am and choose food like rice and fish or chicken.  I have vegetables and more protein after the game.

Clean Lean Protein is a big part of my recovery in training and on the road.  I always take Clean Lean Protein in the morning and then again straight after training.  When I’m on the road, I take it in the morning and then after a tough game to help me bounce back more quickly.

“Since I started using Clean Lean Protein, I feel like I am recovering better and there’s less stress on my body.  I also perform better the next day.  I get through about a kilo every month.  When I’m travelling in Asia, I have to ration it to make sure that I can pull it out after a long, tough game when I really need it.”

Marina first tried Nuzest products on the advice of fellow tennis pro Rubin Statham (currently New Zealand’s no 2 male player).  “I was struggling with lactose so whey-based protein made me feel bloated – dairy obviously wasn’t my friend!  I was practicing with Rubin and he put me on to Clean Lean Protein.  I really liked it.  After a really tough work out, it’s easy to tell when you’re giving your body the right fuel – it’s almost feels like a sense of relief.”

She’s come a long way from the little girl who, at the age of six, left her home town of Split in Croatia with her older sister and parents.  It was the final year of the Serbo-Croatian war (1992) and the family was keen to escape the on-going ethnic tension that continued to divide the former Yugoslavia.

A love of tennis ran in the family.  Marina’s father and older sister, Djurdjica were both keen players, with Djurdjica ranked third in New Zealand at under 16 level.  At the age of 12 years old Marina was playing two to three times during the week and at the weekend with her father and sister.  By the time she was 14 or 15 she played every day, training at 6.30am before school.  “I remember Mum driving me to tennis in her pajamas.  She would head home for a nap before she came to pick me up and take me to school.”

By 16, Marina was playing Junior Grand Slams.  “I was really well supported by my high school, Glendowie College.  They gave me the freedom to play and assigned a teacher to help support my academic progress but 6th form was very tough.  I spent most of my time playing overseas and then had to cram study into a couple of months.”

Some of her early experiences of Junior Grand Slams really stay with Marina.  “At Wimbledon, the convention is that the top juniors get access to the senior main draw locker room.  I remember being in there and seeing players like Lindsay Davenport walk in.  It’s the first time I was really star struck.”

Other career highlights include competing in two Olympic games – Beijing and London.  “I was part of two New Zealand Olympics teams and it was amazing to be thrown into such an unreal environment.  As a tennis player you get so used to playing on your own – it was fantastic to suddenly be part of a much bigger national team sharing accommodation with athletes across so many disciplines.”

One thing Marina’s competitors have learnt is never to underestimate her determination and drive.  After almost 12 months out with a knee injury, Marina came back strongly at Wimbledon this year.

“It was a very good three weeks with a bit of drama thrown in.  During the first-round qualifier it had been raining a lot and the courts at Roehampton (where the qualifiers are played) were not great.  I was 6-4, 4-2 up and I did a deep backhand slice, hyperextending my freshly recovered right knee, really jarring it.

“I was quite shaken and scared about what it could mean but I managed to close out the set 6-3.  I was so happy that my knee turned out to be ok that everything after that point was a bonus.  I reckon I played better as a result and went on to win three rounds of the main draw, ending up 5th or 6th in the singles.”

“This year it’s been tough but everything is heading in the right direction now.  I hope to finish the year back within the world’s top 100 players.”

Marina has recently been enjoying the luxury of spending a little more time at home after moving from Spanish coach Eduardo Nicolas to New Zealand coach and former Wimbledon champion Wesley Whitehouse.  As she heads off to the US Open qualifiers she says that she’s ‘pretty relaxed’.

“I’ve got five or six tournaments in Asia after New York and I’m just happy to see how we go.  There’s a lot of tennis left in me yet!”

Article Four: 10 Steps to Getting – and Staying – lean!

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10 Steps to Getting – and Staying – lean!

If you’ve read the preceding 3 blogs in this series you’ll now know the ‘What’ and the ‘Why’ regarding healthy weight management. This final blog is all about the ‘How’ – in 10 easy steps, because it’s really, honestly, not complicated. And I can say that because I’ve done it. After 25 years of trying to find a solution to my own health and weight management issues, these are the steps I took which led to both my professional aha-moment and my personal weight management salvation. What’s more, it didn’t take long to make huge changes that have now become permanent.

Here you go…

1. Start by working out a weekly menu plan that incorporates three meals per day, with no snacks or drinks in between, other than water. Prepare to be on this for 8-10 weeks. Leave at least five hours in between meals to let your digestive and immune systems rest and recover. Some scientists uphold that our digestive tract typically receives more immune challenges in a single day than our whole body does in a lifetime. That’s because food, which comes from outside our body, generates an immune reaction because it needs to be screened and responded to accordingly to make sure it won’t harm us. This is why resting your digestion for extended periods between food or drink is so important. Grazing through the day puts your immune system on continuous red alert, saps your body of energy and leaves it in a permanent state of low-grade inflammation, all of which predisposes you to a significantly higher risk of chronic disease, let alone upping the number of calories you’re eating that aren’t offset by your activity level.

2. Include good quality protein at every meal and make sure you get at least a gram of actual protein (not simply protein-containing food) for every kilogram of body weight (that about 2 oz for every 10 lbs of body weight). For instance, 100 g of chicken breast contains about 20 g of protein, 100 g of beef, typically about 25 g of protein and 100 g of legumes averages between 7-9 g of protein. Nuzest’s Clean Lean Protein is a perfect choice for meals on the go or for a cost effective way to increase your daily intake of protein. It’s particularly useful for vegans and vegetarians who may well be getting insufficient protein. Make sure you’re mixing it with Nuzest’s Good Green Stuff if you’re using it as a meal replacement to feed all 12-body systems with targeted nutrition.

3. Drop your fears about fat, including saturated fat, and make sure you’re getting enough of the right kind, but avoid trans fats, hydrogenated fats and fats damaged by high temperature cooking. That means including some good quality, organic butter (exclusively grass fed cows where possible – as long as you’re not sensitive to dairy. If you are, use coconut, avocado, olive oil or another healthy fat instead), extra virgin coconut oil, avocadoes, tree nut oils (e.g. macadamia nut oil), olives and unfiltered extra virgin olive oil. Clear your cupboards of common vegetable oils e.g. rapeseed (canola), sunflower, safflower, soybean, corn etc. It’s the protein and higher level of fat that keep you fuller for longer and give you better fuel for making energy so that you won’t crave sugar and refined carbs.

4. Keep your portions sizes modest and if necessary eat off a breakfast rather than a dinner plate. Eat mostly whole, real and unprocessed food. Minimal processing of some foods is OK, but always avoid ultra-processed and highly refined foods. Check out the Alliance for Natural Health’s Food4Health plate to get some guidance about how to balance your protein, carbs and fats, along with key pointers on food preparation and eating habits.

5. Make sure you’re eating all the six main colour groups of vegetables and fruit on a daily basis (green, orange, red, yellow, blue/purple/black and white/tan/brown). We call this eating a rainbow every day. Plates of colourful food every day help you ensure you’re getting the full phytonutrient spectrum into your diet. Nuzest’s Good Green Stuff is loaded with phytonutrients to bump up what you’re getting from your food because they are Nature’s best (and safest) medicine. Try to introduce a new vegetable that you may not have had before every week.

6. Remember that not all carbs are created equal. For the ominovores among you, in order to optimise your fat-burning metabolic pathway, try and remove all refined, starchy carbohydrates (e.g. refined grains, pizza, pasta, pulses/legumes, quinoa, amaranth, bread, cakes, biscuits, sugar and bagels etc) from your diet. Instead of starchy carbs, use a diverse colour range of vegetables as the carbohydrate base of your meals. These not only provide complex carbs, but also all-important phytonutrients. For vegetarians and vegans, keep the pulses/legumes and quinoa in your diet (as these are important protein sources), but do cut out other grains and all refined, starchy, sugary carbs as above. Vegetables and fruit are great sources of complex carbs and, eaten in sufficient quantity, they provide an ample intake of carbs for most people’s energy requirements. For those who have particularly high energy requirements, such as athletes, rice, especially brown rice, and coarse oats, in small to moderate quantities according to need, alongside other protein and vegetable sources, are the grains least likely to cause adverse inflammatory or immune reactions in most people. Always try to source certified gluten-free oats if available.

7. Fruit, whilst full of good stuff (phytonutrients), is also full of sugar, so limit yourself to no more than three fruits (or a handful of berries instead of one fruit) a day – eaten with or immediately after a meal, where possible. Remember, no snacking!

8. By increasing your vegetable content, with some fruits, you will naturally increase your fibre levels, both soluble and insoluble. Fibre is essential for the healthy functioning of your digestive tract and isn’t something you can scrimp on.

9. Recover the lost art of chewing! The slow, methodical, mechanical chewing along with the release of associated salivary enzymes is actually the first stage of digestion and is really important for gut function and general health. Try chewing each mouthful of solid food 30 times before swallowing.

10. Where possible and when available, buy certified organic, biodynamic or sustainably produced meat, poultry, dairy, vegetables and fruit. Where you can’t, check out the US’ Dirty Dozen list of the foods most likely to be pesticide-contaminated, and the Clean Fifteen that are likely to contain no or harmless levels of pesticide residues if sourced from ‘conventional’ production.

If you’re a meat eater and once you’ve established this eating pattern for 8 – 10 weeks, you’ll probably find that you’re ready to drop one meal of the day to naturally create a longer fast. Whilst each of us is different, many people find that they want to drop breakfast and fast through from dinner the night before till lunch the next day. But you may also want to keep breakfast and drop one of the other meals. This is a perfectly natural progression – or I should say regression – back to a more evolutionary norm given that we’re built for famine and not for feast. Intermittent fasting also has the benefit of calorie restriction because you eat less in a day, so trust your body and go with flow. If you’re vegan or vegetarian this will likely be more difficult to achieve without using a protein shake like Clean Lean Protein, as you’ll have to eat more carbs in order to get sufficient daily protein.

10 ways to get more GREENS!

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As a Health and Nutrition Coach I focus my advice on getting more of the good stuff in – rather than taking things away and if there is any one food that we should be crowding into our diet it’s green veggies!

When we strive to get more greens into our diet we are naturally crowding out the foods that might be making you feel awful.  The more greens we consume, the more we strengthen our immune system and support overall health.

Leafy greens are alkaline and mineral rich. They are high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are also loaded with fibre, chlorophyll and many other micro nutrients and phytochemicals to help put more pep into our step.

There are so many different greens out there, and there is more benefit to enjoying a wide variety rather than having just spinach every day for the rest of the month.

If you’re like I was however, finding ways to get your greens is easier said than done. To help make things easier, I’ve put together a list of tips to help your day become maybe just a little bit greener.

 

  1. Add to scrambles: I love eating eggs, nature’s multi-vitamin, but why not give them a boost by adding some greens to your omelettes and scrambles. The taste is neutral but the benefits are far from. Simply add some olive oil or butter to the pan, add some chopped greens (spinach and silver beet are nice) and then pour over your eggs and scramble as usual.

 

  1. Spirilize: If you haven’t got a sprializer – you totally should! Kids love watching the curly courgette noodles come through the other end (ok I admit it, I love it too) and they make a great swap for your spaghetti bolognaise. When it comes to pasta, it’s really the sauce that adds the flavour so why not swap out your noodles for spirilized courgette (or other vegetables) and enjoy a nutritional boost without compromising flavour.

 

  1. Swap out your rice: Curry is delicious with a bed of greens. Again, it’s the curry itself that packs a flavour punch and the rice is really just a way to add some bulk. So, why not serve your curry on a bed of sautéed greens?  Still not convinced? How about chopping some greens up and simply adding to your curry instead. That way you still get your rice AND your greens.

 

  1. Hide in stews: I don’t like the thought of “hiding” greens but adding them to stews and soups can be a great way to get some additional green goodness. Chop them up finely and tell the family it’s fresh herbs – or better yet – add some fresh herbs as well!

 

  1. Snack time: There are some pretty amazing green snacks out there these days. Kale chips can be purchased from just about any health-minded store and are also really easy to make. You can also make some amazing dips with avocado or even coconut yogurt and kimchi and use celery to scoop it up. The opportunities are endless.

 

  1. Use as a wrap or burger bun: I know, it doesn’t sound nearly as exciting but trust me, once you try it, the flavours are so much richer. Even popular restaurants and take-away places are offering bun-less options. Give it a try – you wont regret it!

 

  1. Chop up finely and put into fritters: I tend to “hide” greens into everything. If you’re making a kumara fritter or any other type of veggies, why not finely chop some greens such as silver beet or spinach and add them to the mixture? You can sauté first but if you chop them fine enough there really isn’t any need (and that’s just an extra step right?).

 

  1. Prep in advance so you’re more likely to use them: Ah yes, “Sunday prep day”. No matter what day it is, if you have the time why not chop up some extra veggies so that you can simply grab and go on the run or when you’re beginning to get a little bit ‘hangry’? Or, if you’re a super busy person, just chop some extras when you were going to need them anyways and tuck the extras away in the fridge.

 

  1. Add them to smoothies: Smoothies are the ultimate place to get some greens.  If you really want to go incognito blend into your favourite chocolate smoothie and no one will know.  Spinach and silver beet have a fairly neutral tastes so are my top choices when it comes to covert smoothie action.  Kale is fine too but has a much stronger flavour.  Another trick I enjoy is freezing chopped courgette for smoothies. They make the smoothie creamy and cold without changing the flavour.  Teamed with a scoop of Vanilla Clean Lean Protein – no banana necessary.

 

  1. Get some Good Green StuffCan’t seem to make time for veggies? Or just need an extra boost – there’s always Good Green Stuff.  My green insurance policy in one convenient scoop.  Because sometimes…. Well life is busy.

 

Have a look at this great recipe:

Good Green Gummies! 

2 cups coconut milk

1 scoop Good Green Stuff 

1 handful of spinach 

1 banana

2 Tbsp powdered gelatine 

 

Warm the coconut milk in a saucepan. 

Place the warmed coconut milk and the rest of the ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined. 

Pour into a baking paper lined square baking dish. 

Place in the fridge to gel then cut into squares. 

Article One: Supporting your body’s innate detox capacity

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You might wonder why governments allow so many chemicals to be released into the environment? Why are there so many chemicals in our food, water, clothes, toiletries, cosmetics and cleaning products? Are the pesticide residues in our foods really safe?  And what about the indoor or outdoor air we breathe, the water we drink, or the plastic containers we store our food in, or put our kids’ school lunches in?

What about those artificial flavours, preservatives, colours, sweeteners or technological additives that are laced through so much processed food we find in supermarkets? Then there’s the chemicals released from vehicles, factories and power stations.  The list is seemingly endless. While some industrial compounds have been evaluated for safety, the majority haven’t. Where safety has been evaluated, the studies are always based on individual chemical compounds, studied in isolation, often on animals or bacteria. The fact is, we’re human, and we’re not exposed to these chemicals in isolation, but rather as highly complex mixtures that are almost impossible to study. Not only is each one of our exposures different, our genetic ability to handle these exposures is also different. That’s why some of us react very differently to others.

The harsh reality is that more of us are not coping well with this chemical assault. This may be seen by high levels of certain liver enzymes that are doing their best to work overtime to detoxify our bodies but have been overwhelmed. Chemical overload can manifest in a multitude of ways and can lead to, chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety or disturbed sleep patterns, among many other things.

Apart from reducing your chemical load as far as you can, you can also help support your detoxification system. This means making sure you eat a healthy, balanced and varied diet, drink at least 2 litres of spring, mineral or filtered water daily (more of you’re exercising intensively, especially in hot weather) and taking some supplementary nutrients. A daily serving of a broad spectrum ‘supplemented food’, such as Nuzest’s Good Green Stuff, with it’s powerpack of 75 ingredients that feed all 12 of your body systems—including your detoxification, digestive and immune systems—is a great place to start.

We hope you enjoy your low-tox living journey. It makes perfect sense in an increasingly toxic world, and it’s the way of the future.

Article Two: What’s your toxic burden?

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Our bodies do remarkable things every day to manage the load of chemical toxins to which we expose them. Some of these we produce internally, being products of our digestion and metabolism. But we also get exposed to a plethora of toxins in our external environment, absorbing them in the food we eat and the water and beverages we consume or wash in. We inhale them in the air we breathe and we absorb them through our skins each time we shower or bath. Our bodies are very well adapted to the toxins we produce internally—because they’ve had millennia to adapt and develop ways of getting rid of them, often in a modified, detoxified or partially detoxified state. It’s the chemicals we absorb from our external environment that have changed so much in recent times—especially over the last 50 years which is just a whisker of time in evolutionary terms.

Environmental Medicine is a rapidly expanding field that looks at the interplay between our bodies and genes and the complex mixtures of synthetic, as well as natural, compounds to which we’re exposed daily. Most of us are exposed to a cocktail of around 20,000 new-to-nature, industrially manufactured chemicals each day. If we’re in good health, eating and hydrating properly, many of us can handle this assault, with our on-board detoxification systems doing a great job ‘biotransforming’ toxins and getting rid of their metabolites in our urine, faeces or sweat. Some fat-soluble compounds, such as dioxins, which can be found in chlorine-bleached tampons, nappies and some municipal drinking water, aren’t readily excreted. They may be ‘biotransformed’ into compounds that are more toxic and much of it gets dumped in our fat. If we then burn fat, we risk releasing these fat-soluble toxins into our circulation. More of the 10 trillion or so cells that make up an adult body then get re-exposed.

We’re rapidly learning that most of us benefit from reducing our toxic chemical burden.  Since most forms of cancer are environmental, this is a good idea to help reduce your long-term cancer risk. But there are often other benefits like less fatigue and fewer jangled nerves.

The first step to reducing your toxic chemical burden is finding out more about your sources of exposure. You can then remove these entirely or substitute for safer, less toxic products. This process will take time, but think about swapping out at least one product in your home or office every week for something safer. Studying the US website of the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) is a fantastic place to start.

Article Four: Low-tox living through optimisation of diet, activity and lifestyle

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By now you’ll understand there are two main strategies we need to use to get clean and green.

The first involves doing everything you can to minimise your sources of toxic environmental chemical exposure; you’ll find 5 top tips in our last blog post. Every little bit counts as it’s your body’s overall burden, over time, that can end up over-taxing your innate detox systems. That means cutting out as many nasties in your life, whether you’re putting them your mouth, on your skin, or inhaling them deep into your lungs.

The second strategy, the subject of this blog, is to make sure your own, onboard detox system is in tip top condition and has all the resources it needs to function to the best of its ability. Remember that our capacity to detox varies between one individual and another. Since gene sequencing technology became a key part of the medical and health sciences around a little over a decade ago, we now understand a lot more about the importance of genetic variations. We’re discovering that people who struggle most with their exposure to environmental chemicals are more likely to have genetic variations that reduce their capacity to detoxify or biotransform particular chemicals. These genetic variations are rarely spotted or tested for by general practitioners who are simply not trained to look for them.

We’re now going to focus on some of the things you can do with your diet, your physical activity and your lifestyle that will help you get the best out of your detox system.

Diet

  1. Make sure around half of every plate of food you eat is comprised of non-starchy vegetables, especially cruciferous ones from the cabbage family such as broccoli, kale, pak choi or bok choi that are rich in compounds that help our liver’s to detox.
  2. Each day, ensure that you consume vegetables and fruits that represent all 6 of the phytonutrient colour groups, namely green, red, yellow, orange, blue/purple/black and white/tan
  3. Avoid charred, burned or even heavily browned foods, especially meats or carbohydrate sources, be they barbequed, fried, grilled or toasted, as these contain compounds that are recognised carcinogens
  4. Consume at least 2 litres of clean fresh water every day (more if you’re exercising in hot weather), preferably between meals
  5. Consume a daily multi-nutrient food supplement product such as Nuzest’s Good Green Stuff that includes a host of vitamins (e.g. vitamin B1, niacin, methylfolate, methylated B12), minerals (magnesium, zinc, selenium), plant-nutrients (e.g. broccoli sprout, turmeric and green tea extracts) and other nutrients (e.g. alpha lipoic acid, n-acetyl cysteine, resveratrol) that enhance our detox capacity, as well as others (e.g. milk thistle) that protect the liver, our main detox organ

Physical activity

  1. Be active moderately active for at least one hour every day, including, depending on your level of fitness, shorter periods (say 30 minutes) of more intense activity at least twice a week

Lifestyle

  1. Avoid smoking or inhaling second-hand tobacco smoke and if you consume alcohol, don’t consume more than 2-3 units on any one day and include at least 4 alcohol-free days a week
  2. Sleep as much as your body needs, but not in excess of 9 hours each night. Make sure your room is darkened completely to ensure maximum output of the hormone melatonin and that you are away from electronic gadgets for at least an hour before bedtime. Also, turn off any electrical devices close to your bed and turn-off wifi (if you have it) overnight.

Micro-fuel Your Nutrition

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How often are you told that you should get all the vitamins and minerals that you need from a healthy diet?  And guess what? I’m not suggesting that you can’t, but the reality is that many of us don’t get all that we need, all of the time from diet alone.

My philosophy has always been that natural, whole and unprocessed food comes first — but we need to be realistic and understand that our diets may need a little support if we want peak performance.  Good supplementation can help.

Vitamins and minerals act as co-factors for literally thousands of chemical reactions throughout the body.  These reactions do everything from enabling the breakdown of food into energy, through to dictating the ways in which our cells reproduce, express genes and more.  Without enough of the ‘little guys’ of nutrition, nothing much would get done!

I often explain that ‘micronutrients’ (vitamins and minerals) act like the spark plugs in a car. They don’t provide the fuel directly, but they enable it to be used, and used efficiently — without them you don’t go far!

Data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that fresh vegetables, fruits and berries may only provide around half the amount of certain vitamins and minerals when compared to produce grown in the 1950s (1). This means that we need to eat twice the amount of nutrient-dense food that our parents and grandparents ate — to get the same amount of nutrients.  It makes me wonder whether the ‘5+ a day’ is really going to cut it.

If you’re not getting enough micronutrients, supplementation could be just the boost you need to improve performance.  Estimates from the New Zealand Ministry of Health ‘NZ Adult Nutrition Survey’ of 2008/2009 suggest that many New Zealanders are not getting the recommended amounts of many vitamins and minerals from dietary sources (2).

Some key findings included:

  • Around 20% of people fail to get sufficient vitamins A (one of our major anti-oxidant vitamins, vital for gene expression, eye health and cell division), B1 and B6 (both essential for energy creation)
  • 8% of people fail to get sufficient B12. B12 is required for proper functioning of nerve cells and without adequate B12 people can suffer from a form of anaemia and ultimately a lack of B12 can permanently damage neurons.
  • Nearly 10% of women don’t get enough iron. Iron deficiency results in anaemia, lethargy and loss of muscle strength and endurance.
  • Around 25% of people don’t consume enough zinc. Zinc is extremely important for immune function and for the creation of testosterone. Interestingly, nearly 40% of males may not get adequate zinc from their diet, which could increase risk of colds and flu, and reduce the ability to build muscle.
  • 45% of people don’t get enough Selenium, a mineral lacking in New Zealand soils that is vital to thyroid function and metabolic rate.

So, while natural, whole and unprocessed food comes first, many of us may not be getting everything we need on a daily basis.  Good Green Stuff bars are New Zealand’s first multi-vitamin bar.  Designed to provide the vitamin and mineral boost you need, each bar gives you around 95% of average adult daily requirement, helping you to get the right balance of micro-nutrients for peak performance.

Drop in and see us at NZ Fitness Expo 2015 (July 11-12, Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds) and get a FREE Good Green Stuff bar with every purchase of NuZest products — micro-fuel your nutrition the natural way.

 

(1). Davis, D.R., M.D. Epp, and H.D. Riordan, Changes in USDA Food Composition Data for 43 Garden Crops, 1950 to 1999. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2004. 23(6): p. 669-682.

(2). University of Otago and Ministry of Health., A Focus on Nutrition: Key findings of the 2008/09 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey. 2011: Wellington.