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Healthier, Faster, Stronger; How I Cleaned Up My Diet

Rebecca-Creedy1

Guy: Make no mistake, Rebecca Creedy is one amazing athlete. Picking up gold, silver and bronze medals in the 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth games in swimming, along with more recently winning the Australian IronWoman Championship and the World IronWoman Championship. I’m sure you would agree these are serious achievements! 

As you can imagine, Rebecca’s training regime is pretty intense, and of course, what comes with this is a hefty appetite! But with food intolerances starting to appear along with a few blood sugar issues, Rebecca started to look into the world of nutrition more and ‘clean up’ her diet a little. Naturally, this is where 180 came into the picture and we met Rebecca and got involved. There are some gems of information within this post and many lessons to take on board whether you are an elite athlete or not. Over to Rebecca…

My Clean Eating Journey

Rebecca Creedy: I’m sure most of you have heard the phrase “Clean Eating” and have your own general idea of what it means. For me as an athlete, I am always looking for ways to keep ahead of the pack and to speed up my recovery between sessions. As I’m getting older, this process was getting more and more difficult.

My Clean Eating journey started with me wanting to find a natural product that I could use to fuel my body and also help it recover after intense sessions. As you can imagine, I eat so much food that you have to look at simple ways of keeping your calories up. This is where supplementation can help. Sure, I was like most athletes and had a range of chemically formulated recovery powders and supplements to help me power on, but to be totally honest with myself, I felt they weren’t getting the job done as they may have in the past. I wanted something that my body could easily digest and absorb the nutrients as quickly as possible.

After reviewing an array of products, I came across 180 Nutrition. After trialling and loving the product I decided to delve into their website a bit more. I tried out those protein balls they have in their recipe section and I read the blog posts that are regularly updated on their website. I then approached the boys about being a 180 ambassador and this was when I started to think a little bit more about my general diet.

Since a young age I have always had problems with my blood sugar levels. Nothing too serious, but occasionally when I was training I would have to stop because I would start feeling completely depleted and I would feel shaky. As I have gotten older, these episodes have become more frequent and I have been diagnosed as hypoglycaemic. This was another push that has lead me down the cleaner eating pathway.

Where to Start

But where do I start? One thing that is very clear about “Clean Eating” is that it is NOT A DIET. I didn’t have a problem with my weight and I train 11 months of the year, so if fuelling my body was my goal, this had to be a consistent lifestyle change for me to reap the rewards. So I began by reducing my intake of certain products and swapping others. This included a massive reduction in the amount of pasta I was consuming.

Another was opting for gluten free cereals and reducing the frequency I was eating these cereals. I also moved away from the sugary processed flavoured yoghurts to the more natural pot-set ones (Jalna is my favourite). The milk in my fridge has been replaced with almond milk for my protein shakes and I have full cream milk in my morning latte. A big thing is always being prepared and thinking ahead. The above picture is one of my lunch boxes. I tend to make double at dinner so I have enough for lunch.

Make Small Changes For Success

By making these small changes, I found I didn’t even miss the old alternatives. More recently, I’ve decided to work on my usage of processed packaged items that we all use without thinking. Things like salad dressings, stir-fry sauces, tomato sauce and anything else that comes out of a jar or package at the supermarket. This change is happening a little more slowly. As something runs out in my cupboard, I do my research, read the labels and find a cleaner better version to replace it with.

One thing I have become obsessed with since decided to clean up my eating is reading food labels. It’s amazing how different the content of a product can be between brands. A good one is coconut milk. Next time you’re at the supermarket, check out the difference between the brands. The only one I seem to be able to find that in purely coconut milk without additives or preservatives is Ayam.

rebecca Creedy Ironwoman

There are so many alternatives to most products that are pre packaged on our shelves that are actually cheaper and tastier that the ones we so readily consume from the supermarket shelves. Given, they may require you to prepare them yourself with whole ingredients, but once you get the hang of how to make your own sauces and have the ingredients ready to go in the pantry, it will be as simple as opening the jar of “Chicken Tonight”. There are so many websites out there with a million recipes; new ideas are never far away.

The best way I have found to deal with a busy schedule is to make excess food in advance and always have snacks in the fridge and something frozen in the freezer. It does require a bit of pre planning but it makes eating on the go super quick and easy, which is essential for my busy lifestyle running between work and training!

Conclusion

Well for all those that are umming and ahhhing about there ability to make the switch, I urge you to have a go. It doesn’t have to happen overnight and overtime you can make decisions on weather you want to fully give up wheat and dairy further down the road, but start small, substitute here and there and see how you feel. Try reducing your sugar, wheat and dairy intake and get rid of those artificial, chemically enhanced flavours and preservatives and see the difference that it can make for you.

Clean up your diet with 180 for $14.95 here

 

Decoding Food Labels to Make Healthier Choices

guide food labels

Angela: I always read food labels as I can quickly determine if the product is healthy or not. You just have to do it once per product and then you know it’s all good to buy next time round. If you’re not sure how to read labels let’s go over what you need to know:

  • What is in it?
  • How much is in it?
  • Is it going to do me any good?

Once you are armed with the knowledge of understanding labels you can make smarter decisions when shopping.

5 Tips for Reading Food Labels

  1. Ignore daily intake labels – they are based on average energy requirements and nutrient needs – a 5-year-old girl is not going to need the same requirements as a 45-year-old man. The requirements are usually based on upper limits.
  2. Ingredients are listed by weight – so the most used ingredient is first on the list. So run for the hills if you see sugar as the first ingredient.
  3. Is it truly organic? – Even if there is the word organic in the label does not necessarily make the product organic. Companies have to jump through hoops to get their products certified. They are only organic if certified by a certifying body. Look for the following logos:
    organic logos
  4. Always read the ingredients label – look for products that have ingredients that you recognise as food.
  5. Be careful of marketing lines – when a product says low fat it will probably be high in sugar!

What are the biggest things we are trying to avoid?

sugarSUGAR

  • Look to see if sugar is added in the ingredients and where it sits in the list. REMEMBER ingredients are listed by weight.
  • Choose foods that have around or less than 5g of sugar per 100g. Note: 1 teaspoon of sugar is 4g. Remember dairy foods will contain lactose, which is a sugar and will contribute to 4.7g per 100g. Don’t need to take the lactose into account.
  • It’s recommend we eat no more than 5 – 9 teaspoons of added sugars per day.
  • Remember to also take into account that you might eat more than the recommend serve size when calculating the sugar content.
Other names for added sugars: White, castor, icing, brown, raw, cane, fruit, date, grape, demerara, invert, muscovado, beet, glucose, dextrose, fructose, galactose, mannose, lactose, maltose, polydextrose, maltodextrose, sucrose, malt, rice malt, barley malt, malt extract, corn syrup, golden syrup, maple syrup, rice syrup, syrup, molasses, treacle, honey, fruit-juice concentrate and modified carbohydrate. Also words ending in ‘ose’, malt and syrup are all sugars. When you see fructose and lactose listed in ingredients they are refined added sugars.

 

glutenWHEAT and gluten containing grains

The obvious gluten-containing products are breads, pasta, crackers, biscuits, muffins, pastries and cakes. Other names are: atta, burghul, dinkel, durum, farina, graham flour, semolina, spelt, kamut, triticale, pumpernickel, rye, barley, malt, malt extract, oats, and pilcorn.

Depending on how sensitive you are to gluten and how much you need/want to avoid. I would suggest if you want to avoid completely stay away from packaged foods as much as possible. You can join the Coeliac Society of Australia for $95 per year along with a doctor’s referral letter and you will receive an awesome members handbook, which is perfect size to fit into a bag and have with you always. As gluten can be in things like sauces, stocks and other packaged foods that you might not think that are that obvious.

vegetable oilsVEGETABLE OILS

These potentially damaging oils will be found in products like dips, sauces, pesto’s, crackers, rice crackers and baked goods. A good rule of thumb is to try to avoid the following: canola oil, corn oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and rice bran oil.

soySOY

About 70% of packaged foods contain soy whether it’s soy protein, flour or oil. About 90% of soy is genetically modified. Another reason to avoid big amounts of soy foods is they contain natural plant oestrogen’s that mimic estrogen in our bodies and may cause hormonal imbalances. Soy will be hidden in vegetable proteins and vegetable oils in ingredients lists in most packaged foods.

What do those numbers mean?

Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavour or enhance its taste and appearance. Some additives have been used for centuries; for example, preserving food by pickling (with vinegar), salting, as with bacon, preserving sweets or using sulfur dioxide as in some wines. With the advent of processed foods in the second half of the 20th century, many more additives have been introduced, of both natural and artificial origin.

General guide to numbers:

  • 1xx Colours – they are sometime listed using their name i.e. sunset yellow
  • 2xx Preservatives
  • 3xx 321 Antioxidants
  • 620-641 These are flavour enhancers. Numbers 620-625 are all forms of glutamates which act like MSG
  • 951-967 Artificial sweeteners

What additives are bad for you?

Not all food additives are harmful. In fact, of the 300 or so additives approved for uses in Australia, most of them are safe, well tested and pose no problem for most people. However, there are at least 60 food additives used in our foods, which are at best questionable in terms of safety, or at worst, known to be harmful. In Australia at least 30 are known or suspected carcinogens. Many others are banned in other countries because of known adverse health effects, yet are still permitted in Australia. For more information on harmful additives visit: http://www.additivealert.com.au

The 3 BIG offenders

MSG (Monosodium glutamate) 621 – It’s very difficult to avoid MSG, it is in lots of processed foods. We have to avoid it as best as we can. MSG is a white substance that looks like sugar with no real flavour but when added to food enhances the flavour of the food tenfold. MSG is used by the food industry as a flavour enhancer – to make us finish the packet. Some people believe that MSG has caused worldwide obesity as MSG can damage appetite regulation in the brain and kill brain cells.

MSG is also sometimes used in Chinese, Thai and Japanese restaurants. People who are sensitive may have the following symptoms: swelling of the lips, bloating, headaches and migraines. There are other more serious reported symptoms; brain damage, eyesight impairment, long term memory loss and infertility.

MSG is becoming harder to track down. Food manufacturers have found that consumers recognise ‘monosodium glutamate, 621’; and are taking advantage of a loophole in labeling laws and putting MSG into our food under other names or using free-glutamates instead. When it is added as an ingredient of another substance it need not be listed on the label.

Free-glutamates – Glutamates occur naturally in foods such as soy, cheese, wine, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach and corn. Subject to processing, however, glutamate-rich foods split from the plant protein to produce free glutamates, which behave exactly like MSG.

How you can avoid MSG and free-glutamates:

  1. When you see the words ‘no added MSG’ or ‘Flavours (natural and nature identical)’, exercise caution. Products will most likely contain ‘free’ glutamates.
  2. When you see a six at the start of an additive number, beware. These are glutamates and flavour enhancers that have similar effect to MSG (621). Additives 620, 621, 623, 624, 625, 627, 631 and 635 can all potentially kill cells in your brain.
  3. Additive names that guarantee the presence of MSG are: yeast extract, autolysed yeast, textured protein, plant-protein extract, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, potassium glutamate and monosodium glutamate.

Added/Refined sugar - We have to be careful not to consume excess sugar as it turns into fat in our body and can cause a range of health problems, including stress, tooth decay, yeast infections, arthritis, depression and obesity. The way we can find out if our foods have natural or added sugar is to read the list of ingredients.

Here is a listed of added sugars: White, castor, icing, brown, raw, cane, fruit, date, grape, demerara, invert, muscovado, beet, glucose, dextrose, fructose, galactose, mannose, lactose, maltose, polydextrose, maltodextrose, sucrose, malt, rice malt, barley malt, malt extract, corn syrup, golden syrup, maple syrup, rice syrup, syrup, molasses, treacle, honey, fruit-juice concentrate and modified carbohydrate. Also words ending in ‘ose’, malt and syrup are all sugars. When you see fructose and lactose listed in ingredients they are refined added sugars.

 

Artificial sweeteners or intense sweeteners (Numbers 951 – 967 are intense sweeteners) - They are 100x, even 1000x sweeter than sugar. Our poor taste buds are then becoming accustomed to that false sweet high. All artificial sweeteners have been linked to causing detrimental health conditions. For example Aspartame since its approval in 1981 has been in controversy debate.

Scientific data shows that it causes brain tumours in rats. Since 1981 brain tumours have increased. I’m not saying that Aspartame is the only factor but I do believe along with a lot of scientist that it has been a huge contributing factor. Kids are more and more being given diet products for obesity and in turn consuming artificial sweeteners. A lot of us think we are avoiding artificial sweeteners if we are not having diet products but for example aspartame is more and more being used in products such as sausages and rice crackers.

Conclusion

Always read food labels. The best thing to do is choose wholefoods and limit packaged foods as much as possible.

Angela :)

Has this post helped? Do you check you food labels? We’d love to hear in the comments below…

Click Here & Learn More about 180 Natural Protein

Weight loss, protein supplements & 180 Nutrition: The podcast

Pod_cast

By Guy Lawrence

Last week we caught up with the lovely ladies Donna & Tora who are pretty savvy in the world of weight loss. They have both been through their own personal journeys when it comes to weight management, with Donna at one stage being 30kg over weight and Tora struggled with an eating disorder and weighed just 37kg!

When you meet them now they are both excellent examples of fine health.  They are putting many wrongs to right when it comes to weight management by drawing from many of their own personal life experiences, and are now starting to make it freely available for others too.

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To do this the girls are hosting a Weight Matters tele-seminar series focusing on weight loss advice for savvy people.

This seminar series is run once a month for one hour, and they kicked off their first episode featuring yep…  yours truly and business partner Stu.

What we cover in the podcast:

  • What is healthy eating?
  • Handy tips for weight loss
  • Why many supplements are doing you more harm than good
  • What to look for when reading food labels
  • Quick & easy healthy breakfast alternatives
  • Why we are more than just a protein supplement
  • How to ease sugar cravings
  • How to use 180 protein supplement to aid weight loss
  • How 180 Nutrition started
  • And much more… More