What’s for breakfast?

Go high protein and fat for breakfast!

Kick start the metabolism with a high protein fat breakfast which is better for stabilising blood sugar levels better than a high carbohydrate breakfast. Feel fuller for longer which will help towards fat loss goals.

Why not try…

 

Scrambled Eggs with avocado salsa 

Ingredients

1 ripe hass avocado chopped

Handful of basil leaves torn

Tomato, deseeded

2 spring onions

2-3 eggs  

Ground black pepper

½ tea spoon olive oil

 

How to make it

  • Place avocado, basil and tomato, spring onion in a bowl and mix to combine
  • In a separate bowl lightly whisk eggs and season with black pepper
  • Heat olive oil in pan and eggs to the pan and let the mixture rest for half a minute, stir, lifting and folding until they are lightly set and slightly runny
  • Remove from heat, divide the eggs between two plates and spoon the avocado salsa along side
Book reference: ‘The Paleo diet, food your body is designed to eat’ Author: Daniel Green 

 

Can’t stop the craving?

What is a craving?

Cravings are intense, urgent or abnormal desire or longing, usually for a particular food taste or type of food. For example, sweets or savoury things.

Many people have experienced intense cravings towards foods, especially those who are making dietary changes when improving health and composition.

Cravings can be caused for a number of reasons. Sometimes they can be:

Psychological / context association. For example, a situation like watching a film and wanting to nibble on some popcorn or crisps.

Nutrition deficiency. Nutrition deficiencies are common in today’s society when we are eating more processed foods and live a faster pace and a higher stressful lifestyle. With late nights, early starts and foods that are not nutrient dense it is common for hormones to be out of balance and slightly deficient. Imbalances can cause us to feel tired, run down and often signal hormones to be hungry when we have eaten, or to be awake, when we should be asleep! Long term deficiencies such as burning out the adrenal glands through overuse of cortisol (stress hormone) make people crave high fat high carb foods.

Strict nutrition plan and dropped number of calories, existing low body fat percentage. I know from my own experience when training up for the photo-shoot how I started to crave and struggled to hit satiety. My body fat percentage was low and it was the body’s hormone response to ensure I didn’t lose any more body fat by signalling the hormones; ghrelin (the hunger hormone) which stimulates hunger and increases preference for fatty and sweet foods, lower serotonin (carbohydrate cravings) and increase leptin (the satiety hormone), a hormone that is produced by fat cells, and works to supress appetite in the brain to increase of food intake.

Poor diet. Poor diet can often lead to high intense cravings. Diets packed with sugar and high processed carbs often signal the brain to want more with sugar being highly addictive.

Mood / stress. Food cravings may be triggered by specific moods such as comfort / emotional eating. The hormone dopamine and serotonin are released which play a role in making you feel calm, relaxed and the pleasure factor from the food. Which is why it is common for people to turn to particular foods such as high sugar carbs when feeling stressed or emotional. High intense stressful situations can cause the body to panic and also signal hormones or even be a mind association to crave particular foods in these circumstances.

Insufficient sleep. Lack of sleep can disrupt hormone levels, cause insulin resistance and signal other hormones that are responsible for craving particular foods. Many people feel hungrier when they are sleep deprived after a rubbish night’s sleep because the body is stressed and tired out which leads to poor food choices. The body is having to work harder to function and recover which it didn’t get to do when it was meant to be asleep, thus causing a high consumption of sugary calories. People tend to crave higher carbohydrate foods and these cravings come about partly due to the body trying to repair itself so it signals ghrelin hormone which makes you eat and crave carbohydrates.

Hydration. Many mistakes the signals of thirst for hunger and often eat when actually they are thirsty.

How to reduce cravings

Firstly, recognise and identify what is causing the craving. Is it down to association? Boredom? Such as the popcorn and film scenario I spoke about earlier. Is it down to emotional stress? Lack of sleep?

I would always say get to the route cause of the craving to then know the best protocol towards a solution is.

Examples

Cravings due to lack of sleep, ensure you go to bed earlier and consistently.

Craving due to low calorie intake, increase calories on food plan that will make you feel fuller for longer such as foods rich in fibre, fat and protein that are known to be great for filling you up, better sustained release of energy (no big sugar drops which commonly comes from high carbohydrate diets, no crash in energy less sugar cravings) protein fat and fibre diets are also more effective for long term fat loss plans.

Try alternative methods to cope in stressful / emotional situations like meditation, yoga or exercise as exercise releases the ‘happy endorphins’ giving us a feel good factor.

Always practise mindful eating as mindful eating can reduce big binges in food. Mindful eating is a healthier approach to enjoying food by slowing down and appreciating what we eat. When we eat too fast, multitask eating and rush it can leave us feeling discontent and well, still hungry. When you eat too fast you haven’t had the chance to mentally process what you have eaten or enjoy it! The food hasn’t signalled our brain we are full or satisfied either which can lead to eating more.

Have a nutrient dense diet along with a supplementation protocol such as multi vitamins, magnesium glycinate, vitamin b12, vitamin D, zinc, iron and fish oils. Target vitamins that you are likely to be deficient in, for example, someone who rarely eats fish should look at supplementing with some good omega-3s.

Hormone imbalances usually come along with other obvious symptoms which are usually noticeable, such as foggy minded, always tired, fatigued, lack of energy, common allergies and bloating towards foods and never hitting satiety and difficulty in weight loss and sleep problems. These individuals I would suggest look at getting a blood or saliva analysis to find out what hormones are imbalanced to then set an effective supplementation protocol to get the person feeling overall well again.

If it’s just a few here and there craving niggles you are trying to get on top of whilst sticking to a new health plan, because let’s be honest, we all get them know and then when sticking to a food plan and trying to avoid to biscuit tin! Here’s a few tricks I would suggest trying.

Ideally we are trying to obtain high satiety, relaxation and that feel good factor by signalling the hormones serotonin and dopamine, which can be done in a healthier balanced way. So aim for food groups that are rich in magnesium, potassium, chromium, zinc, and foods that trigger the dopamine and serotonin.

Why not try these…

Cacao hot chocolate drink Raw cacao powder, Truvia – a calorie free sweetener from stevia leaf and unsweetened almond milk. Great for killing those late night cravings. Gives you a feeling of fullness, tastes great and cacao has some awesome health benefits such as being a powerful anti-oxidant, packed with magnesium, chromium zinc, which all help curb cravings and stabilise insulin levels. It triggers the neurotransmitters in the nervous system that signal satiety and relaxation it also signals the feel good factor hormones, dopamine and serotonin

Organic cacao buttons  Taste like dark chocolate can be bought and nibbled on in moderation to hit that satiety and stop cravings too.

Banana A banana has magnesium and potassium which helps to relax the nervous and muscle system. Contains tryptophan which converts to serotonin and melatonin, the brains key calming hormones and aids sleep. Great for those who struggle to sleep at night.

Strawberries and fresh cream with sprinkle of cinnamon-  just because it is a nice, healthier approach and great for a sweet tooth. Cinnamon is great for creating insulin sensitivity so I always recommend putting it on sugary foods to reduce the big sugar spike in blood sugars.

 

 

 

Ref: http://www.wellnessresources.com/weight/articles/lack_of_sleep_causes_excess_carbohydrate_consumption/ http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/070115p26.shtml

https://authoritynutrition.com/nutrient-deficiencies-cravings/

Image of roles of major brain and gut hormones and appetite regulation from:

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/070115p26.shtml