Tag Archives: diet

Spilling the Juice on Juicing

Spilling the juiceAnother year, another diet craze hits the market. Although to its credit, the juicing frenzy has stuck around longer than most, especially because of the new found popularity of technology like Nutribullet.

So – is juicing the best thing since steel-cut oats?

We do get the appeal of juicing. As humans, we eat with our eyes as much as we do with our stomachs, and the sheer vibrancy of the greens and reds of many of the freshly blended juices just screams “healthy!” to our stomachs.

And yes, juices can be a great way to load your system with raw, unprocessed vitamins and minerals.

So what’s the problem, we hear you ask? Well there are a few.

  1. Humans have teeth for a reason. We as a race evolved to chew on food. It’s part of our physiological make-up, and a hugely important part of digestion. Take the visceral act of chewing away from a human, and it can confuse their body’s understanding of when it’s hungry or full.
  2. Juice-only diets generally lack protein. Behind the bright green veneer, lies essentially a cup of blended carbohydrates. So while juicing purported health benefits, it actually does little more than feed the average body’s addiction to high-glycemic sugars. Yes, there are hardened juicers out there who perhaps blend tuna in with their green shakes (we happen to know one!) but the majority of fair-weather/beach-body juicers need their juices to be sweet in order to be palatable.
  3. Most juicing excludes the fibre. Take away the act of chewing and now the fibre too, and you have basically blocked any of the natural ways in which your body slows the absorption of nutrients into the blood. Which is great if your juice is purely made of vitamins, but troublesome as your juice is mostly made up of sugars. This results in a huge blood-sugar spike…and we all know that what goes up, must come down. So the inevitable crash after will have you seeking your next quick-high, perpetuating a vicious cycle of sugar-addiction.
  4. News flash: Your stomach likes solids! Just as you would never run your washing machine without clothes inside it, feeding your body nothing but liquids can be very confusing to your gastric system, and can cause you severe stomach cramps and nausea. Your body was designed to churn solid food into soluble materials – don’t deprive it of its purpose in life!

Often times, those on a juice diet also struggle to feel sated after a day of juices and end up succumbing to a solid meal. While this is good news for your empty stomach, it can be bad news for your calorific intake. This pattern of behaviour often results in the diet juicer actually putting on weight when they should in theory be losing it!

So, our advice is to ditch the juice and eat the way your body intended you to.

By all means, enjoy juice if you find it hard to fit your 5-a-day into your diet, but make sure you calculate that into your overall daily calorific intake. And wean yourself off the high-fructose base of many juices, and really try to stick with earthy leafy greens and vegetables for maximum benefit.

Abs are made in the Kitchen not the Gym

A popular mantra of the moment is that abs are made in the kitchen, and not in the gym. However, with so much contradicting nutritional information flooding the internet, one would be forgiven for wondering which kitchen they have to cook those abs in!

Even within the AB-MXR team, there differing opinions on how best to eat.

Joanna, who has been a personal trainer to a celebrity list for 20 years, has always opted for a strong macrobiotic diet, which is largely vegetarian, with an emphasis on wholegrains and local produce. And despite having had 2 children, she has a body most 16 year old supermodels would kill for (she will beg for us to delete this sentence but we stand by it!)

Walles, on the other hand, with a 15 year career as an elite athlete and an additional 5 as a fitness model, is paleo through and through. If a food didn’t exist in caveman times, it won’t cross his molars. So in direct contrast to Joanna, that cuts out all grains, (including the new supergrains like quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth and spelt), dairy, pulses and legumes, and refined sugar.

Lastly, David, the Herculean PT of the team, is firmly of the ‘everything-in-moderation’ camp. No restrictions, just an overall awareness when eating. Eating when he feels hungry, eating slowly, stopping when he is full, and acknowledging cravings, assessing their source and satisfying them without over-indulging.

All of them are in peak physical condition, constantly shattering their own personal records in their chosen personal fitness pursuits, and each is a role-model for their lifestyle.

So with this in mind, is there any one kitchen that makes better abs?

The answer is probably no. Every body is unique, and people’s personal relationships with food have to be taken into account whenever designing a lifestyle-eating plan (we baulk at the word ‘diet’).

There is a common thread amongst all 3, and that is avoidance of heavily processed, overly-sugary foods.

David can eat a small piece of cake and appreciate its wonderful flavors without feeling the need to indulge in a second slice (is a second slice ever as good?) Joanna is likely to choose a fruit-based dessert like sorbet, whereas Walles has avoided sugar for so long now that he now describes almonds as intensely sweet!

So, for all of you out there struggling with your dietary plans, we suggest you:

  • Commit to whichever eating plan you choose with heart and soul.
  • Don’t start a cycle of denying yourself and then over-indulging. Eating isn’t shameful. Learn to enjoy it!
  • Avoid heavily processed food. If it’s not of a color or consistency found in nature, chances are your body can live without it!

And if you really crave it or want to enjoy a social moment, just eat with awareness and recognize this is a single moment rather than a slippery slope into breaking all your good habits.

Finally, remember that there is no one nutritional way to achieve a great body.

Find what works for you and keep your relationship with food healthy. You are what you eat, after all – so EAT HEALTHY = BE HEALTHY.

Bon appetit!