High Fat High Carb: Killer Combo

We've all heard that fat is bad for us, and now we're all hearing that carbohydrates are bad, truth is.... it's all a load of bull. We NEED carbohydrates and fats in order to survive and lead a healthy life, without a sufficient amount of these two macronutrients (along with protein) you will suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. However, new research suggests that the combination of fats and carbohydrates really gets us going, and it's this that could be contributing to obesity. 

When we eat foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates, the reward centre in our brain goes crazy and we enjoy it more than we do having carbohydrates or fats on their own. Unfortunately for us, the majority of foods that have this combination are processed, high calorie, low nutrient and therefore not really good for us. In a recent study of 206 subjects, scientists took brain scans of the subjects whilst they viewed images of foods, mainly high in fat and sugar. The subjects were also given money to bid on items of food, unsurprisingly, people were willing to pay more for foods that had the combination of fats and carbohydrates. However, a large point to stress is that the neural circuit for the reward centre lit up more than when people saw their favourite foods, high sugar foods and high fat foods. 

But why? Well scientists reckon that it's an evolution thing. You see, we've had carbohydrates and fats the whole time humans have been around, but the combination of the two hasn't been around so long. Only in recent years in terms of evolution have we had processed foods, therefore our brains aren't quite sure how to respond to it just yet. Sadly this sucks for us because our brain wants more when it's not great for us, and this can lead to problems such as obesity, type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

What can you do? Well i'm afraid there's not that much you can do about your brain's response, one of the best things you can do is reduce the amount you eat these foods as much as possible. The less you have them the less you'll crave them, and I know i'm saying this as though it's a piece of cake, it's really not, but you've got to push through it.



Wagamama - Eating Out the Healthy Way

The last month or so I've been following a diet from my nutritionist which has involved keeping track of my calories and macros in order to support my training, so I am able to get the most out of my workouts and athletics training. As I've been learning about macros more in depth, I've stuck to a more basic diet, lots of chicken I'll admit, in order to find out what works for my body. However it's not been without struggle, and yes I've had the odd time off plan, I'm only human, but I never have and never will be super strict with my food, it's not a way of life for me. I love good food and the social aspect of eating out, so when I finally visited Wagamama (I know I'm late on the band wagon) I was so happy to find somewhere I can eat without messing up my healthy eating and macros. 

After a 4am start, I walked into the Trafford Centre late Wednesday night praying to find a healthy restaurant as I was not prepared to cook a decent meal. Traipsing past TGI Fridays and Coast to Coast, I really wasn't hopeful, but just a few steps forward was my saving grace. I've been told by so many people how good Wagamama is, however Japanese food never really appealed to me and when I go out I like to go for something big and greasy. However, it was by far the busiest restaurant around and being on a bit of a health kick, I thought noodles and vegetables might be a better idea than ribs. I was so right. 

Wagamama hit the UK in 1992 in London and since has expanding nationwide, bringing a little bit of Japan to the streets of England. They work off the philosophy of 'kaizen' meaning 'good change' and the restaurant sure gives off that simple, relaxed vibe. They keep the tables small and clear in order to fit as many people as possible, without it feeling overcrowded and dense and everything has a sense of being very clean, just what you want in a food environment. It only took a few minutes to decide what to have, not because there wasn't enough choice, but because I had ramen on the brain, it's impossible to go to a Japanese restaurant and not try the ramen, it's what makes or breaks it. 

Simon ordered the Tonkatsu, pork belly coated in panko breadcrumbs, sweet soy marinade and white rice, I went for the chicken ramen, and we took the duck gyoza and steamed pork belly buns as sides. The gyoza were fried dumplings filled with duck, a little naughty treat that was definitely worth being a little lenient with my diet for. And the pork buns were soft, well marinated and the pork flaked away in your mouth, absolute perfection. Ramen is a traditional Japanese dish consisting of wheat noodles, a meat or fish based broth, meat and vegetables and is a light but flavoursome dish, making it a great option if you don't want to splurge when eating out. Often I find there is too much going on with some ramen dishes, but this one had the balance just right, plenty of meat and the broth had a great aroma. 

I really couldn't fault the food, service and overall look of the restaurant, and I can finally say i've been to Wagamama and will be going back in no time to try something new. And you know the best thing about it? Their meals were already on My Fitness Pal...


Women & Whey

Drinking protein shakes has always been widely associated with bodybuilding and bulking. As a female, often when I tell someone that I drink protein shakes they look at me in horror and say "why? you don't want to look like a boy?". There's always been a lot of stigma against women eating too much protein and potentially looking 'bulky' when really they have the opposite effect. Just to clarify, drinking protein shakes will only make you put on weight if you A. Have bulking protein, B. Drink it with fattening liquids such as full fat milk or C. Drink protein shakes that up your calorie intake so that you eat more than you burn. 

But before you go ordering 5kg of protein powder, no matter what your goal is you need to have your diet and nutrition down to a T. Once you've got your diet and exercise in place, then it's time to consider supplements. But, if you're going from the starting blocks then you maybe adding supplements will make things too complicated and cause more trouble than it's worth. 

What is Protein? 

Protein is one of the 3 macronutrients that food provides our body with in order to survive. It is made up of amino acids which help to repair issue, promote muscle growth, make enzymes, hormones, bones & muscles and our hair and skin are made up of it. So it's safe to say we need a good amount of protein in our diet. The NHS recommend 50g or protein per day for adults, however recently there has been a lot of speculation over whether this is enough, especially if you're doing a lot of resistance training, a higher intake of protein would be much more beneficial. 

What is Whey? 

Whey is one of the most popular forms of protein you can buy as it's pretty easy to source compared to it's alternatives. Whey is one of two proteins found in milk along with casein and is also formed as a byproduct of making cheese. Whey is suitable for vegetarians but not vegans, therefore people that follow a vegan diet may have to opt for protein powders such as hemp, pea and other plant based powders. 

Benefits of Protein powders 

Realistically, if you're getting enough protein from your diet then you don't need to take whey as a supplement, however if you are working out a lot and require a higher daily intake of protein, that can mean you're having to consume larger amounts of food to hit your daily intake which will then increase your calories. Protein shakes, if taken with water or skimmed/nut milk are generally quite low in calories and will provide your with around 20g of protein per scoop.

Likewise, if you're often on the go, a protein shake makes a great snack so you don't have to cook up a high protein meal. They're quick to make and easy to store, therefore if you know you're going to be out all day a protein shake could be a good way to go. Plus, having a high protein snack leaves you feeling fuller for longer and will mean you're a lot less likely to be craving sugary snacks. 

Finally, if you're doing any form of resistance training it's a good idea to try and consume protein within 45 minutes of your workout for optimum muscle repair and growth. Therefore, if you know you're not going to get the chance to cook straight after a workout, a shake is a simple solution to this and will feed your body with enough protein to help with muscle recovery. 

If you're looking for good quality protein, I prefer to use Ideal Fit and they also include vitamin D, folic acid and calcium into their powder and biotin for healthy hair and nails. Plus if you are a vegan, they also have a Vegan protein range available. Use code ERYN10 for 10% off your order.