The latest craze seems to be the 5:2 diet, an amazing, easy, uncomplicated, pain and side effect free way to lose weight, right?
Maybe. Probably not though.
A few years ago I may have tried this diet, but fortunately since my budding interest in the body and nutrition became more of a ferocious appetite for information, I’ve learnt that actually it’s nothing to do with following set diet rules or fads, and actually just eating what your body needs, not what your mind or stomach wants. The bodies metabolism isn’t just how many calories are burnt (or how quickly); it’s a massive interlinking system of cellular reactions, most of which will rely on fats, carbohydrates or amino acids (proteins). So why do we (and much of the media and diet creators) think our body can run on a fad?
But what do we need to keep us ticking along (or losing weight), or better, thriving and improving our sports and exercise performance?
Of course many people have specific dietary needs, or beliefs or restrictions that mean they have to alter the way or what they eat, but they still need the same food groups. Simplistically; proteins fats and carbohydrates.
Fats; meat and dairy are a great source, but nuts and seeds, coconut oil, avocado and even soya bean are a good source of fats.
Carbs; Vegetables are actually a great source of carbohydrates, along with fruits and of course wholegrain pastas, potatoes (sweet are a great option) and things like wholemeal pitta bread or rye bread.
Proteins; these typically will come from meat and dairy products or eggs, but there are plenty of high protein vegetarian options, (tempeh, tofu, soya, nuts and quinoa). However many people, particularly in a sporting or exercise environment will need more protein than they get in their meals, or won’t have time to make snacks with any or enough protein to supplement their daily diet. In my opinion, the best option in this situation is a simple protein shake, easy to transport (in a shaker – my favourite being the smart shaker, in pink of course), easy to prepare (shake shake shake anyone?) and easy to drink on the go. I’ve tried many different shakes, but I don’t feel particularly well when using whey or any other milk protein. I have never been diagnosed with a dairy intolerance but as an experimenting vegetarian/vegan over the years, I know i personally feel better when I’m taking in very little dairy, and I know many others feel the same. But if you’ve ever tasted a plain hemp protein shake, unless you have a very tolerant set of taste buds, you’ll understand my pain in finding a suitable alternative, and this is where Sativa Shakes came into my life. The offer of a hemp shake, or my personal choice the High Pro plant based shake, sweetened with Stevia (a natural plant extract which doesn’t affect the blood sugar like other sweeteners or sugars) seemed too good to be true, but I tried a pouch (along with the tasters that came with my order) and I haven’t looked back. A great macronutrient content, no dairy and a great taste; a winner all around.
Obviously you may need to tweak your calorie intake a little, often eating a little less than before, smaller meals or less snacking – but you don’t need to follow what a magazine, a man on the news or your favourite celeb says to lose a few lbs!