Nutrition – Back to Basics!

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Hello! And welcome to the CrossFit Iron Bear nutrition blog! Let me introduce myself as I’ll be regularly bringing to you blogs, videos and articles about all things nutritional and general wellness!

My name is Mel, I’m a qualified nutritionist, personal trainer, massage therapist and soon to be first time mumma!

I’ve been in the fitness industry for nearly 10 years (wow time flies when you’re having fun!) working across a spectrum of gyms and supplement stores. I work with nutrition clients online and face to face to assist them with their diet, correcting nutritional deficiencies and identifying food intolerances.

But enough about me, let’s start with nutrition!

There is so much conflicting and confusing information out there that we often forget the basics so let’s go through that now and I’ll also go through some really easy ways to start nourishing your body tomorrow! Don’t wait until Monday!

  1. The closer to nature, the better – our body’s best fuel will come from whole foods, that is, food that hasn’t been processed and altered too much from its original and natural state. If it grew from the soil, walked on the earth or swam in the sea, get it in your belly! Fresh or frozen I’m not fussed to start with. Start simply by grabbing a banana or an apple on the way out the door in the morning and eat on the way to work.
  2. Every single cell of your body needs pure water – All. The. Time! There is no set amount of water we need to drink as we are all different however if you aren’t one to carry a bottle with you and sip away, try to drink 1 glass when you walk up, a glass at midday and a glass in the afternoon. Setting a reminder on your phone will help.
  3. Reduce your processed sugar intake – If you put sugar in your tea or coffee, halve the amount you’re adding each time. And try this substitution trick – if you crave sweets after dinner, swap ice cream or chocolates for a bowl of Greek yogurt and fruit.
  4. Simplify your meals, especially dinners – the old ‘meat and 3 veg’ dinners are a great idea to make sure you’re getting enough of your macro nutrients, start with the meat, and add 3 different coloured veggies. Don’t forget some avocado or chopped nuts for fats.

It’s all about forming habits, why do you do what you do now? Because you’ve always done it like that, eaten this way etc. So why can’t you change it? You can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result!

For starters, what have you got to lose by doing the few things mentioned about?

Then next, will you keep walking past the confectionary isle at the supermarket or stop reaching for the impulse items at the service station counter?

What healthier habits can you start forming? It doesn’t need to be a drastic change for it to be an effective one! Write it down and commit to it! Good luck!

Melanie Palmer

BHSc Nutritional Medicine, Personal Trainer, Massage Therapist and Pilates Coach

Fish Oil is a Myth

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myths, facts, solutions

Two of the most common supplements on the pop culture market these days are Omega-3’s and Krill Oil.  Touted as being the answer to heart disease, arthritis, and cholesterol; these fish oil supplements make up nearly 1/8 of the $15 billion American supplement industry (Consumer Report, 2009).  Americans aren’t the only ones on this band wagon.   A study in 2010 indicated that nearly one of every 4 Australians take this by gel cap every day (Harvard Review,2011).  So, the question becomes:  Are they REALLY that good?  Keep reading to understand the myths, the facts, and what to do.

Myth:  Fish oil can prevent heart disease.

Fact:  According to the analysis of 14 controlled trials in which nearly 20,500 patients with a history of heart disease were randomly assigned to take Omega-3 supplements or placebo, those taking the fatty acid pills had about the same rates of heart disease, death from heart attacks, congestive heart failure, and stroke as those on placebo (Archives of Internal Medicine, 2012).

Solution:  Most everyone from nutritionists to doctors agree that a balanced diet with limited salt intake combined with regular exercise is – as always – the best way to heal a heart.  Additionally, add foods high in potassium such as yogurt and bananas can be beneficial.

Myth:  Fish oil acts as a lubricant for the joints.

Fact:  Omega-3 is an anti-inflammatory agent.  Therefore, it can aid in the reduction of joint pain by reducing the swelling enough so toxin can be released (Harris, 2011).

Solution:  Including fish oil into one’s diet cannot harm the joint, but understand it does not lubricate them or prevent joint diseases.  If you are truly interested in joint health, fish oil can help.  However, so can other things:  Cherry juice has been used successfully for centuries to relieve arthritis pain.  Mangoes, brazil nuts, and asparagus provide protective anti-oxidants.

Myth:  Fish oil supplements are good for you.

Fact:  Fish oil supplements, of all kinds, contain only around 25% of the necessary compounds needed to be of any benefit to the body.  Even the highest quality fish oil supplements are comprised of fish by-products (left-over fish parts) and are usually rancid by the time they are used in production (Nelson,2014)

Solution:  Save your money.  The recommended daily intake of Omega-3 is about 500 mg and can be obtained more safely from a mindful diet.   The foods highest in Omega-3 are:  Pasture-raised animals, egg yolks, flax, walnuts, and SOME cold water fish (salmon, mackerel, and tuna) (Foster, 2009).