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Be in good health

General healthy eating guidelines – Carbohydrates

By Hannah Ng’uni

 In today’s post and subsequent posts, we will take a closer look at what healthy eating is and what makes up a balanced diet one food group at a time. The Eatwell Guide (Gov.uk, 2016) will be just that, our guide to achieving that balance daily. The focus is on the nutrients we get from these food groups and their role in the body.

 If you have any medical conditions, please seek advice from your GP before making any dietary changes.

The Eatwell guide (2016)

Carbohydrates – the basics

Unfortunately, there are so many myths about carbohydrates, some have led to people cutting out the whole food group from the diet however it is important to understand that it is a combination of the portion size, frequency, type of carbohydrate and the food you combine your carbohydrate with that makes a difference. It would take more than one post to explain carbohydrates in great detail so here are basics.

There are two main types of carbohydrates: simple sugars and complex carbohydrates (starch and dietary fibre).

Simple carbohydrates consist of single ‘sugar’ molecules like those naturally occurring in fruits, vegetables and double ‘sugar’ molecules i.e. table sugar, honey, milk and dairy products. Products such as syrup, jams, sweets, fruit juices, fizzy drinks, biscuits, chocolate, cake are classed as ‘free sugars’ (added sugars) within this group.

In 2015 the Government’s guidelines on sugar changed significantly to push a reduction in intake of ‘free sugars’ due to health risks associated with high levels of consumption.

 

Complex carbohydrates structurally are made of many ‘sugar’ molecules some linked in straight chains and others branch off, this affects how they are digested and absorbed in the body. Starch is a complex carbohydrate stored in plants, sources include grains (wheat, rice, corn, oats, millet, barley), legumes (peas, beans lentils), potatoes, yams, cassava etc. Most starches are easily digested in the body.

Dietary fibre, however, does not get digested but can be partially broken down in the large intestine then absorbed to provide energy to the body. There are various types of dietary fibres defined by how they present in plant cells walls and the structure of the sugar’ (glucose) units – like starches. Food sources include wholegrains, rolled oats, legumes, lentils, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables.

Why eat carbohydrates?

During digestion, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose which is a body’s source of fuel for energy. Most cells in the body, the brain, red blood cells and nervous system rely on glucose for fuel. Some glucose is stored in the liver to regular blood levels, some is stored in the muscle and used to fuel muscle activity. If the body is not getting carbohydrates, fats and/or proteins will be converted to glucose to supply energy and meet the demands of the brain cells and red bloods cells that need a constant supply of energy.

Fibre remains undigested until it reaches the large intestine where it is partially broken down (fermented) by resident bacteria and is still used for energy. Fibre is seen to be beneficial for promoting a healthy gut and immune system. Fibre also helps to reduce constipation, lower cholesterol levels and help regulate blood glucose levels.

It Is important to include a variety of fibre foods in your diet to benefit from the different roles in the body. Should you wish to increase your fibre intake, be sure to also increase your fluid intake.

The current recommendation for fibre intake in adults is 30g and this can be achieved daily by having 5 a day (mixture of fruits and vegetables), including wholegrain foods or starchy options to meals and choosing high fibre snacks instead of high fat/sugar foods. Aim for 3-4 portions of carbohydrate-containing foods a day.

In conclusion

Carbohydrates are not the enemy and remain a key component of a healthy balanced diet. Remember, it is the portion size, type of carbohydrate, frequency of intake and the type of food you mix your carbohydrate with that will have the biggest impact on your nutritional intake. It is advisable to consult your GP if you have a medical condition before making changes to your diet.

 

Additional information:

British Dietetic Association (2021) Carbohydrates: Food Fact Sheet. https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/carbohydrates.html

British Dietetic Association (2021) Fibre: Food Fact Sheet. https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/fibre.html

 

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Mary Did you know?

As I sit here and ponder the faith of Mary, I realise how intense it can be to fully trust God against all odds.  In 2018, I told my parents I had found man that I plan on spending and building my life with. We told our family and friends the wedding was set the marriage formalities fulfilled. Imagine Amid all the planning and deciding, Say I received a call to accept something beyond my imagination. Like Mary a baby, what would people say – its never happened before and it was a very strange request

I can imagine how my soon to be husband would feel betrayed, considering how Joseph was feeling about this news. Furthermore the reasoning behind it sounded absurd to say the least. This was not a small task for Mary, her life depended on it. The explanation of what was happening would have in fact sounded unreasonable.

There are moments when God approaches us with big asks, where He requires you to go the extra mile to defy the norms and cultures of society.  Its in these moments where we are called to boldly accept the task and not limit God.

Mary Answered, “how can this be?” I study this question intently and it allows me to discover I can ask God for revelation in moments where I am uncertain and He will provide the response.

When God entrusts us with is purpose and call, He will also provide favour for the journey. When Nehemiah heard that the walls needed rebuilding, He prayed that God would grant him favour with the king.  

We see Mary yielding totally and wholeheartedly to the unknown, in Mary’s bold move we see God protecting and vindicating Mary.

Reflection Moment:

Luke 1:26-80

Ephesians 3:20

Romans 4:17

What Tasks has God called you take but fear of the unknown causes you to limit God?

What cost are you prepared to pay for God to reveal His Attributes?

Thank you for participating in our 21 day journey to discovering the beauty of God. This is only the beginning of your journey as the attributes of God are inexhaustible.  Please share the page, most importantly take time to read and meditate on the word.  #IwillnotLimitGod

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Quick tips on how to stay Active

By Belina Sithole

Its Monday and I’m waking up to the buzzing sound of my 7:00 am alarm. I roll over to switch it off and the sun rays shining through my curtains make me quickly pull the duvet over my head! I stay curled up in bed for a few minutes. “I really should get some blackout curtains” I say to myself. Anyway, it’s a lovely sunny morning which is rare in Manchester, so this motivates me to go for a run before I start work.

Regardless of the type of exercise you’re into, I think we can all agree that motivation, or lack thereof, is one of the biggest barriers to our fitness goals.

Of course, there are days when getting out of bed to work out is the last thing I want to do. Do you ever watch a YouTube home exercise video thinking I can do this, but instead of following along, you are just lying in bed or sitting on the sofa? Yes, I know…me too! There are a lot of articles and videos out there telling us how to work out and the importance of exercising, but we still struggle to maintain it or even start! As Apostle Paul wrote in the book of Romans 7:15 – “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do“. Sometimes skipping a workout feels worse than just doing the 5km run or going for the gym class, the guilt is real.

To help us stay active and get over our individual fitness barriers, I thought I would focus and share from my own experiences on what not to do in order to maintain your workout routines. I’ll also share a few tips on how to stay motivated. Hopefully you’ll find one that you can adapt to suit you…so Leggo!

Don’t Set Unrealistic Goals
‘Start with the end goal in mind’ is probably a phrase you might have heard; This helps to maintain the motivation you need to achieve your goals. However, when you’re setting your goals don’t set goals you know are too difficult to achieve based on your current level. I used to struggle to drink at least 2 glasses of water in a day, so for me to say I’m going to drink 2 litres of water was just setting myself up for failure every day.

Set SMART goals instead – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely goals. Looking at my water situation above, I bought myself a time marked 500 ml water bottle and my goal in the first week was to have at least 2 bottles (1 litre).

If you struggle to stick to a workout routine,

  • Set yourself a weekly routine that you’ll enjoy – switch it up if you’re not enjoying it, it’s not set in stone!
  • Time yourself, work out for a specific time and try to stick to the set time for the first few days even if you feel like you can keep going. We will look at overdoing it in the next section
  • If you miss your workout, hold yourself accountable, how do you plan on making it up for the missed session?
  • Reward yourself when you stick to it!

SMART goals help you to focus your effort and increase your chances of achieving your goal.

Don’t Push Yourself Too Much

I learned this lesson the hard way, stop overdoing it! It’s good to challenge yourself because you’ll benefit from it, Romans 8:18 – “For I consider that our present suffering are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us“. I use this verse for perseverance.

It’s lockdown, I’m working from home, a notification pops up on my phone inviting me to join a running challenge…this was the beginning of an ongoing monthly challenge with a group of friends. I planned out how many km I’ll do each week in order to complete the challenge. A few days in, some people in the challenge had already covered what I planned to cover in a week. This is when I started doing 20km, 15km in a day to keep up with the competition. My knees paid the price and I’m still recovering.

  • Be disciplined with your workouts, don’t let competition or the feeling of guilt push you to do more than you can handle – know your limits
  • Plan in rest days and take the time you need to rest
  • If you’re injured, ease back into it and keep it simple until you recover, exercising through injuries will only make it worse

Don’t Struggle Alone

‘I work better alone’, ‘everyone else is busy’, ‘it’s difficult to find a time that works for everyone’ – I understand that coordinating workouts can be a pain but having someone or a group of people to exercise with will keep you motivated when you’re struggling to be keep up.

Some of the activities I like doing to stay active are not everyone’s preference such as hiking, but because I enjoy it, I’m self-motivated to go out alone. However, when it comes to full body workout, I need all the support from others I can get so I go to gym classes or join online sessions with friends.

  • Get the people around you to help you achieve your fitness goals, it is easier when you have someone holding you accountable
  • Try inclusive fun activities that are suitable for your family and friends. When you’re enjoying it, it becomes less of an obligation and time well spent with your loved ones
  • ‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing’1 Thessalonians 5:11

I would like to challenge you to think of one thing that you’ll change right now to help you stay active!

Belina is actively involved in a community of young women living and pursing their authentic lives according to God’s word. She holds a BSc and an MScR in Bioorganic Chemistry. She enjoys a wide range of fitness activities including tennis, running, cycling, hiking, Zumba, and Thai kickboxing.

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Simple tips for eating healthy

by Lindizgani Eunice

As we are spending more time at home its easy for us to just grab a snack or that drink. Regardless of whether you are spending more time at home our bodies are still temples of the Holy spirit, God still dwells in us and would love us to look after his most prized possession.

We shall not live by bread alone but by every word. Prayer reading the word are the most important things, but what we eat also plays an important role in our health and well being. Paul said beloved I pray you proper and be in health even as your soul prospers

Here are my simple tricks on following a healthy lifestyle on a budget:

High fats, high sugars are not needed in the diet or beneficial. If you decide to eat them, have small amounts less frequently.

Fruits and vegetables

Include these in your day and your meals, they provide vitamins, minerals and fibre.

*tinned and frozen fruit and vegetables also count to your 5 a day and they are great as they last long too.

Another way is buying fruit and vegetables from the reduced isles then chopping them up and freezing them.

*Portions: Aim for 2 handfuls or ½ your plate to be fill with vegetables, And handful of fruit as a snack / dessert

Carbohydrate

I know it is currently trendy to cut out or limit your carb intake. However, carbs are very important for providing energy, fibre and some minerals. It is important to base your meals with these

*Aim for a handful of starchy carbs as a portion 3 times a day or ¼ of your plate

Choose whole grain options were possible as these provide fibre and keep you fuller for longer.

Examples of carbs include (potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, cous cous, maize, plantain, oats ,  )

Protein

Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and meat free alternatives

Try to include two portions of fish each week, one of which should be an oily fish (darker skinned), for example: mackerel, trout, sardines or kippers (if you are following a pant based diet walnuts , linseed , chia seed , soya beans are great omega 3 sources)

Tips: – avoid frying if you can

Remove excess fat or get lean options

Remove skin from chicken

*Portion is a palm size or ¼ of your plate at a meal.

Dairy and alternatives

Great sources for calcium. Aim for 3 portions a day

A portion is: –

a small pot of yoghurt

1/3 pint of milk

a small matchbox size piece of cheese.

Fats and oils

Choose low fat options of polyunsaturated or monounsaturated spreads and cooking oils such as olive oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower or vegetable oils

As a rule, put a thumb size amount of bread

Tablespoon of oil in cooking

Avoid oils with high saturated fat more than 5g/100g as these increase your risk for heart disease (pastries, coconut oil, palm oil, butter, ghee, cakes, ice creams)

Sugar

Small amounts can be added to sweeten foods. However added sugars are not essential to health.  “Free sugars” which are found in table sugar, glucose, honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices.

As a guide on food labels

High sugar = 22.5g per 100g,

 low-sugar food =less than 5g per 100g.

high-sugar drink = more than 11.25g per 100ml,

 low-sugar drink contains less than 2.5g.

*You only need 30g or 7tsp of sugar a day*

Choose some nutritious and healthy snacks

Carrots, cucumber, celery and hummus

Handful of nuts

Pot of Greek yoghurt

Handful dried fruit

Fresh fruit

Small bag of rice cakes

1 slice wholegrain toast with thinly spread nut butter

1 boiled egg

Apple with nut butter

It is important to ensure your daily intake is adequate for your personal nutritional needs and also  manageable.

Exercise

Also aim for 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 times a week that makes your heart race a little.

Thank you for reading my short guide to healthy eating

Lindizgani Eunice is a Registered Dietitian (Bsc Hons Dietetics, HCPC). She is a Wife, Mother and serves in the power generation youth group and Worship team at Authentic City Church.