Like many people in the UK, coffee is my go to morning drink. I love the smell, the taste and the ritual of making a lovely cup of joe. There’s also the sheer weekend pleasure of having the time to sip on a hot cup […]
Tag: ask a nutritionist
I was recently asked to share my top tips for Autumn health and wellness with Motherhood Reconstructed. I love what Tamu and Leah are doing to share diverse stories of motherhood in the UK. Go check out their site and events! The kids are […]
Conventional wisdom suggests that we should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, or about 1.5 – 2L. How much water do you drink a day?
For a lot of people, even drinking a litre of water a day is tricky. When I first my husband, he didn’t drink any water, but insisted that his 8 cups of milky, English Breakfast tea met his daily water requirement. I took me a while to convince him that tea is a diuretic 😳.
One thing to consider is that if you’re already eating a good portion of fruit and vegetables a day, you’ll also be getting the water in the produce, along with the fibre, micro and macronutrients too.
Some fruit and veg contain more water than others.
For example, 1 medium sized apple contains 86% water, whilst a slice of watermelon (the clue’s in the name!) is 97% water. Courgette, radish and celery are 95% water and cauliflower, peppers and spinach are 92% water. To contrast, a banana contains 74% water.
So if you’re eating 7 to 10 portions of fruit and veg a day, do you also need to be drinking 8 glasses of water a day?
As ever, it’s important to consider how you feel on an individual level and listen to what your body is telling you.
In general, if your pee isn’t clear or a light straw colour, then you probably need to up your water intake either through food or water itself. If you’re eating lots of fruit and veg that are high in water content and you’re still thirsty with dark pee, then you probably need to up your water intake. If you’re very active or outside on a hot day, it’s probably worth increasing your water intake.
Just as you can drink too little water and end up dehydrated, you can also drink too much water and end up with something called hyponatremia, where the cells become completely waterlogged, throwing the sodium-potassium balance in the cells off, which can be fatal. So the moral of the story: observe your body’s signs, consider how much fruit and veg you eat a day and tailor your water consumption to your own lifestyle and thirst.
And a note of caution: excess thirst can be a sign of diabetes, so if you’re experiencing this, I highly recommend going to see your GP.
How much water do you drink a day?
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This week, a prominent doctor in the UK talked about the need to reduce the 5-a-day fruit and vegetable intake recommendation because it was ‘unrealistic’ for low-income families to achieve this. She says that lots of families may struggle to afford the recommended amounts and that […]
There’s been a lot of chatter in the media this week about the end of ‘clean eating’, with many disavowing this term, saying that it has led to a rise in disordered eating and anorexia.
The denouement of the majority of these pieces tend to call for moderation and for more healthy eating.
I will always applaud anything that helps people get to grips with what and how they eat.
It seems to me as health professionals, that we’re suffering from terrible reductionism when it comes to advocating for better quality eating. On one side, there are those that are demonising whole food groups (i.e. ‘all wheat/sugar/dairy/etc/etc is bad’) and the other side, proclaiming the answer is to simply eat a healthy, balanced diet. Both extremes are very reductionist and don’t offer the nuance that people need. But nuance doesn’t sell newspapers / magazines / books, doesn’t it?
What if you don’t know what eating healthy actually is and what it means for you? What if you’ve picked up the first Deliciously Ella book because everyone was talking about it and you thought it might teach you a few healthy eating tips and tricks? Are you now a part of the clean eating brigade (how I hate that term)?
I’ve discussed this topic before on the blog. The rise of the concept of clean eating isn’t a bad thing. Becoming more aware of what you put into and onto your body is good – we could all benefit from mindfulness when it comes to the way we eat. And with everything, there will always be individuals who have no brakes and take advice and concepts to their limit.
Equally, there will always be charlatans who peddle bad advice. Rather than blame the clean eating bloggers and instagrammers, surely asking people to take some agency around what they put into their bodies isn’t a big ask? Just as we ask people to educate themselves in other areas of their lives (finance is an area that comes to mind), it is not outrageous to expect people to give themselves a broad education into the benefits and drawbacks of the food they feed themselves and their families and to look at what they see on TV and in newspapers and magazines with a critical eye.
I firmly believe that we need to start thinking about food in terms of how nutritious it is. ‘Healthy’ is such a empty, almost meaningless term. Nutritious – the vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fats in food – is more meaningful and has tangibles that can be referenced.
And what about flavour? Nutritious and flavourful aren’t mutually exclusive. Just as there’s pleasure in eating rich, indulgent foods, there’s also a lot of pleasure in eating nutritious, flavourful foods. The pleasure of eating these foods should ideally last from the moment of anticipation when you first put it in your mouth through to the lovely feeling of satiety when you’ve finished the meal.
Oh, one last thing. Get rid of the guilt. Enjoy the food you do eat and find pleasure in the making and eating of nutritious, flavourful meals.
My second assignment for my second year of nutrition requires me to keep a food diary. Sounds too easy, right? Copy down breakfast, lunch, dinner and Bob’s your uncle. For this exercise, we need to record every single element of each meal and put […]
I love January. It’s the start of the new year (I’ve only recently stopped thinking in academic years! It’s funny how long it takes to break that mental habit), a time to reset and ease into new goals and intentions.
And I love all the television programmes about weight loss on right now (my version of car crash TV) and on the flip side, the many articles imploring people to love who they are and not fall into the trap of faddy diets (all good stuff!).
Gisele’s personal chef, Allen Campbell, recently spoke about the way he cooks for her and her husband, the football player, Tom Brady. No sugar, no dairy, no wheat, no caffeine, no nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants), no MSG. Their diet actually sounds amazing and #real talk: my mouth was watering as I read about what their chef prepares for them to eat. However, once this interview hit the mainstream press, predictably, there were cries of ‘a little bit of what you fancy‘ and ‘moderation is the best approach’.
I see it in a different way. Not only are their bodies their living, they have a clear sense of what works and what doesn’t work for them from a nutritional perspective. Why should they eat cake or cheese if they know these foods don’t make them feel great? Fame aside, any sensible person would avoid the foods that make them feel ill.
For all the preaching about moderation, if bread makes you bloated and tired or dairy gives you acne, don’t eat it. Bloating, fatigue and acne are your body’s way of telling you that it’s not responding well to what you’re putting into it. The pleasure of eating should ideally last from the moment of anticipation when you first put the food into your mouth through to the lovely feeling of satiety when you’ve finished the meal. If there’s a disconnect, then the pleasure becomes bittersweet, doesn’t it? I love eating ice cream, but it’s just not worth the hours I’ll spend afterwards running back and forth to the loo.
Is there a middle ground? I believe it really all depends on you and the type of person you are. There is no one-sized fits all solution to nutrition and everyone needs to figure out the best solution for them, based on their needs, lifestyle and goals.
What kind of person are you, nutritionally? It seems that there are abstainers and there are moderators. Some people find it easier to give something up altogether (me! I have to completely avoid wheat and sugar for my health, even through I love them both so, so much) and some people would rather have the option of moderation – having cheese once a month, for example – to help them manage their diet and cravings. There are also people who can completely abstain from one food, like sugar, but can moderate other foods and drinks like coffee and tea. Everyone is so different.
I would like to say there is a right way and a wrong way, but nutritional approaches are so individual and ultimately it’s important to take a long-term view, i.e. what kind of person are you and what approach is going to help you manage your diet in a healthy way for the next 5, 10 and 15 years.
And get rid of the guilt. Enjoy the food you do eat and find pleasure in the making and eating of your meals. I like what Anna Jones has to say about this.
What’s your nutrition style? Are you an abstainer or a moderator?
At this time of the year, newspapers and magazines are filled with weight loss, fitness and detox stories. I admit, I do enjoy reading them and seeing what nutrition & exercise (mis)information is being passed around. One of my biggest gripes is seeing articles that […]