‘Pie hole’, colloquial for one’s mouth, is believed to have evolved in the USA in the 1980s from the British expression ‘cake hole’ (coined in the mid 20th century). Pie hole refers to a mouth, as in: Shut your pie hole or, in this case: Put less in your pie hole.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Seriously, Eat Your Diet Rules

So you're on your gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, bread-free, chocolate-free, sugar-free, low-fat, low-carb, high-protein, solid food-free, juice only fad diet. Great. Are you having any fun? Do you find yourself obsessing over what you put in your pie hole? Are you frequently restricting yourself from eating things you'd like to enjoy? Are you dissatisfied with how you look or the number on the scale? What? You're so vain, I bet you think this article's about you... Don't you, don't you?

Last week we touched on typical restrictive 'diets' and how they often rely on external rules such as avoiding 'bad' foods. This is ineffective for weight loss, and perhaps more importantly, is associated with psychological distress, poor/unhealthy eating and even disordered eating patterns. So basically... They're super counterproductive and bad for your health.
Not Ideal...
Research shows frequent dieting is associated with weight gain and negative psychological effects. Traditional 'diets' are like speed dating: the start of the two minutes brings hope of finding Mr. Right, but by the end it's time for a restraining order... And a tub of double chocolate fudge ice cream with a snickers spoon. Simply put: Frequent dieting equals fleeting results, feelings of failure and frequent floundering... That is fairly deflating.

Now, enter the hippy-dippy, feel-goodery approach to eating... Intuitive or 'mindful' eating. Simply explained:
  • Less focus on weight loss
  • More focus on internal cues of hunger and fullness 
  • More focus on making food choices based on health and enjoyment
  • No food restrictions... Wait, whaaat? 
Yes! Read it... Then read it again
I know you're all waiting with bated breath for the research, so here's the good news: Intuitive eating is associated with:
  • Improvements in eating habits
  • Lifestyle improvements (like exercise)
  • Psychological improvements like increased body acceptance, self esteem, body satisfaction, quality of life, and decreases in pressure for thinness, anxiety and depression
And, perhaps most significantly, many of these results carried through the follow up period. In other words, results (both physical and psychological) were lasting and sustained, compared with restrictive or fad diets.

Eating mindfully and giving yourself unconditional permission to eat and enjoy food improves all of the above and also reduces 'binging'. Why? Because suppression of food thoughts increases food cravings, binging and disordered eating patterns.
This article doesn't really need a recap, so let me leave you with these parting thoughts as a sort of pep talk:
  • Address your body's peaks and valleys via the non-diet method without peaks and valleys
  • Dump dogmatic, dissatisfying and defunct 'diets', instead clue yourself into your own conscious
  • You may want the body of a model, but behind the dead eyes and duck lips, you know they're thinking about murdering a sandwich
Umm... Yes: No more dieting

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Eat Your Diet Rules

In the last two weeks I've been asked so many questions about weird diets it's made my head spin. I'm also still reeling from some of the diets people are currently on- having had them described to me in great detail. It's like a full moon in the diet world that practically bit me on the bum, begging me to write the article that follows.

Low carb and high protein on workout days, intermittent fasting two days a week on non-workout days, modified paleo most of the time, some juicing, "cheat" meals, miracle unicorn urine... This diet belonged to one person (and perhaps not 100% verbatim). When asked my opinion, my answer was "wow, that sounds complicated". When prodded again, my response "that doesn't sound like much fun".

The last two weeks have proved troubling. I didn't realise just how many people were constantly cutting out random foods and following such (needlessly) complex diets. In lieu of the usual literature review, today I'm simply giving my opinion. Next week, that's right- you don't have to wait two weeks this time, we'll get to the science.

This is not true for all dietitians, but for me, one of the reasons I became a dietitian was because I love food. I love cooking it, growing it, buying it, eating it, photographing it (like any good millennial) and playing with it (yes, like a small child). I didn't become a dietitian to be the 'food police', to judge your food choices at a party, or to tell you not to eat certain things (like gluten, sugar, wheat or Bessie the Cow).

There are many things wrong with us as a fatty mcfat fat society: Rampant and relentless fast food advertising, the ever-easy and accessible 'junk' food options, and the laziness of not bothering to cook a meal. The other extreme: "Fit-spiration", disordered eating and the idea that eating healthy must be so complicated.

An unashamed rant here... I've run with a fitness crowd for over 10 years: Dancers, gym-junkies, aerialists, marathon runners, you name it. I've seen juicing, cleanses, fasting, meal-skipping, meal replacements, protein bars, protein powders, gluten-free, meat-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, paleo... again, you name it. Even the smartest, well educated people have surprised me.

My conclusion: There is most definitely some over-thinking going on. 
What ever happened to eating when hungry, stopping when full, eating foods you like and enjoying meals? Instead, we've become a bunch of nut-jobs micromanaging our every bite, metaphorically beating ourselves over the head with a crowbar if we eat a piece of chocolate, and putting so much effort into militantly dictating what is acceptable and what isn't. Geez, myself and the chocolate-orange chocolate-chip brownie next to me clearly don't get it.

Here's introducing the hippy-dippy feel-goodery approach to eating: It's called intuitive eating. And yes, it's a thing. Next week we'll bite into some great new research on this topic. 

In the meantime, here's your assignment: Do one thing to uncomplicate your diet. It might be having a healthy snack in the afternoon when you get hungry, rather than ignoring your hunger. It might be slowly savouring and really enjoying that piece of brownie, rather than gulping it down. You're smart, you'll think of something. Till next week. Peace... No, brownie out!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Let One Rip

In the spirit of doing this article justice, I'm slapping on a warning label: Contains frequent references to gas. If jokes containing words like flatulence, fart, faeces, belch and burp aren't your thing... you probably should have stopped reading 15 words ago. For the brave souls still reading, join me on this funky, fascinating, fastidious and sometimes fetid fact-finding flatulence-inducing fest.

Most people fart between 13-21 times per day. It's true, even the hot girl at school/work is frequently letting rip. Usually flatulence is the non room-clearing, odourless kind because it's gas like methane, carbon dioxide or hydrogen.

Gas gets into the system one of two ways:
  1. Air that you swallow
  2. Gas produced during digestion
It also gets out one of two ways: A booming belch via the pie hole or flatus-forte via the...

So what turns flatulence funky? One word: Sulfur. Sulforaphane is not only the stink-causing culprit contained in brassica vegetables (like broccoli and cabbage), but it also has cancer-fighting properties. Beyond that, as if you needed another reason to love your antisocial flatus, the bacteria responsible for producing the sulfurously stinky stench, do so by using up other available gas - like methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen, thereby reducing the overall gas in your system - which, if you've ever had bloating, you'll know is a good thing.

Gas-causing sugars include:
  • Raffinose - Found in high amounts in beans, smaller amounts in whole grains, asparagus, broccoli and Brussels sprouts
  • Lactose - Found in dairy
  • Fructose - Found in onions, artichokes, pears, wheat and in some soft drinks/juices
  • Sorbitol - Found in fruits and is also used as an artificial sweetener
Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you...
These sugars are fermented in our colon by our friendly microflora (bacteria). One of the byproducts of their fermentation is short chain fatty acids which are absorbed by our gut lining. Short chain fatty acids aid in cell turnover, which in turn, reduces the risk of colon cancer. They also promote the growth of other good bacteria.

New research shows that the types of bacteria colonising your gut can change remarkably quickly depending on the types of food you eat. People whose diets are high in animal products have high rates of bile-tolerant bacteria, capable of triggering inflammatory bowel disease

The good news is that changing your diet to one that is high in plant products, quickly facilitates a change in your gut bacteria. This change may, at first, lead to inflated flatus figures (greater than 13-21 per day), but as your bacteria catch up, your fragrant and potentially flammable flatus will fade... Phew!

Fast tips to assist your flatus:
  • Chew your food really well
  • Eating slower means swallowing less air
  • Introduce high fiber foods gradually
  • Drink water and non-fizzy drinks
  • Finally, the 3 F's - fiber, fluid and physical activity help keep your bowels running optimally