Recently I’ve been doing a lot of reading about health and nutrition. The battle to lose the ‘last 5 kilos’ is a hard battle for most people, especially those who:
- Work in an office
- Enjoy socializing around food and alcohol
- Have the occasional craving for chocolate
- Are over 25 years of age
- Have been snacking on the WRONG things
I happen to fit into all of these categories, so I had to attack each one. There’s nothing that can be done about being over 25, but I found some solutions for the other categories:
- Join the gym and take up yoga and pilates to increase flexibility and movement
- Limit my food and beverage socializing situations, aim to meet friends for Japanese food instead of Italian, have one glass of wine instead of four
- Mix cacao nibs into low-fat yoghurt. If you’re gonna eat chocolate anyway, might as well make it healthy!
- Review the types and quantities of fruit that I’m snacking on
Through marketing, advertising and the “healthy food pyramid” we’re groomed to believe that certain foods are great for us. But are they really? We’re taught that “5+ a day” is the key to a healthy life but we’re not reminded often enough that fruits which aren’t organic or in season can contain a lot of sugar but very little else.
A few years ago I met an amazing woman, Tanya Alekseeva through a mutual friend. Tanya is a Wellness Coach who specializes in Raw Food nutrition and detoxing and is the author of downloadable book ‘Purified – Your complete 7 Day Detox Program‘. I love Tanya’s blog, Better Raw and I really admire what she does to educate people about improving their health.
The lovely Tanya Alekseeva
I decided that with her knowledge of natural living, she’d be the ideal person to ask a few questions about fruit.
Solange: “We all know that fruit is good for us, but can too much snacking on fruit be a hindrance for people who are trying to lose weight?”
Tanya: “Too much of anything is, well… too much of anything. When trying to lose weight, the most important goal should be creating a balance in your diet and certainly avoiding this ‘too much of anything’ – starving included. You don’t have to starve yourself to lose the unwanted weight, instead quite the opposite. Purify the system, wake up your cells, get the metabolism working, improve your digestion and focus on elimination. All this is possible when eating an abundance of fresh organic raw vegetables, greens, nuts, seeds, grains and indeed lots of fruit.”
Solange: “What types of fruit and how much should be eaten daily by a person at a healthy weight?”
Tanya: “As long as you are eating a balance of all the above, there really isn’t any restriction on the quantity, but there is a catch. It is the quality of fruit that will determine your success of reaching and maintaining that healthy weight. If fruit is picked before it is fully grown, it is practically worthless as far as nutritional value is concerned. The sad part is that most fruit is picked unripe, takes weeks to reach us while in large crates seeing no sun at all and develops its sweetness in a very unnatural way off the tree, keeping the fruit in its starchy state, which makes it very difficult for our digestion. To add to that it was probably already nutrient-deprived, being grown on fertilisers and pestisides which rob the soil of minerals and making them less available to the plant. In fact some supermarket oranges have no Vitamin C at all! For these reasons it is crucial to buy organic local produce that is in season and consume it quickly. When specifically concerned about weight or while detoxing, the most beneficial fruits are all types of berries, apricots, melons, kiwi, papaya, mango, all citrus fruits and grapes.”
Solange: “What are the best fruit options for those trying to keep fructose levels down (either from being overweight or diabetic)?”
Tanya: “For a diabetic or an overweight person concerned about diabetes, it is crucial to watch what food does to your blood sugar. In this particular case the GL score (glycemic load), which takes both the quantity of carbohydrate in the food and the quality of the carbohydrate into account, is important to know well. The lower the score, the better effect food has on stabilizing your blood sugar levels. When trying to lose weight, eat no more than 40 GL points a day (not just fruit, but all food over the day). When it comes to fruit, the lowest GL scores per serving (about 120gm) are in blackberries/blueberries/raspberries/strawberries (1 GL), cherries/grapefruit (3 GL), pears/melon/watermelon (4 GL), peaches/ apricots/ plums/ oranges (5 GL), kiwi fruit/ apples/ pineapple (6 GL), grapes/ mango (8 GL). The worst GL scores are found in dried fruits like sultanas, dates and raisins which can have scores of up to 45 GL for a 60gm serving.”
Solange: “Many of your recipes use raw honey or agave to sweeten the dishes. What are the benefits of these?”
Tanya: “There are many benefits of these, but if you are not familiar with the source, I wouldn’t recommend either. For example, raw natural agave nectar is an amazing cactus syrup with a very low Glycemic Index, making it safe for diabetics. However, supermarket and most store agave has been treated and heated making the sugars have adverse affects. The same goes with honey. I only use raw unpasturised manuka honey with an UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) or 5+ or more. This is a very soothing sweetener with very high anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. The best sweetener of all is Stevia, but unfortunately we can’t get it here in the UK.”
Fortunately, we can get Stevia in NZ and Australia, so if you are keen to cut back on your sugar intake, check it out.
WIN A HEALTHY HAMPER FROM BETTER RAW
Tanya’s blog is rapidly approaching its 1st birthday and to celebrate, Tanya is running a Healthy Hamper competition with three prizes to be won, and she will post anywhere in the world. Entries close on the 16th of April. To enter, go to Tanya’s competition page. I would be happy with the Organic Cacao Nibs alone! YUM!