Nutrition hasn’t always been my strong suit. As a teenager I experienced somewhat anorexic ideas of consumption meaning the less I ate the better. It wasn’t until I had limited myself to 137 calories a day and my weight dropped to 6 1/2 stone – a little over half the weight I am now – that I realised maybe, just maybe it was becoming an issue. Now don’t go worrying about me, I’m all good but it took a lo-ooo-ong while for me to see food as something other than a controller or to be controlled.
So when ESSE advised they were holding a nutrition talk completely free of charge I signed up to see what more I might have to learn. Esse is a boutique shop and spa just off the A10. I was treated to a coffee and a wander around the shop and couldn't help but notice all the items for sale on pretty much every single shelf, staircase and wall space. Over hearing a customer getting a makeover say “I don’t like red lipstick...on anyone” me and my MAC True Red decided it was time to find where the talk was to be given.
The Nutritionist, Claire Thornton runs Glow Nutrition and has worked with an established celebrity well known for his stance on food and nutrition. She's also quite the clever clogs with an MSc and BSc (Hons) as well as being registered on the UKVRN and a member of The Nutrition Society of Great Britain and SENSE Nutritionists. All this and she’s not yet 30, but we can’t hate on her cos she’s actually quite lovely and had many interesting titbits of information on food and nutrition. Like what you say? Well seeing as you asked...
The five food groups These are Protein, Fats, Carbohydrates, Dairy and Fruit and Veg. We need all 5 at some point in the week so eliminating any is a no-no. Did you know that the brain can only use glucose from carbohydrates as energy? This means cutting out bread and potatoes makes you dumb. My assessment, not Claire’s.
There’s no such thing as a super food It’s simply a marketing term. The foods that are often highlighted as ‘superfoods’ are in fact just well-known healthy foods. Booooo!
Smoothies only count as 2 of your 5 a day, no matter how many types of fruit or veg you add to it. Okay this one was a particular annoyance to me so I checked with another nutritionist who works at Addenbrookes Hospital GOOS study. And unfortunately got the same answer “By blitzing fruit and veg you reduce the amount of fibre and increase the amount of non milk extrinsic sugars in the end result. The reason we are advised to eat 5 a day is really for the fibre content that fruit and veg supplies". She continued "most organisations have estimated that a general smoothie will only provide the equivalent of approx. 2 a day”. What a bummer eh?
Omega-3 Fatty acids are a particular source of awesome. These are usually found in oily fish. You can get some in plants and nuts but they aren’t converted as well or as easily as the ones found in the fish. So you’re basically on a back foot if you’re not supping our scaly friends - Sorry Chris.
Get your 40 winks A good night’s sleep does more than just make you less of a grouch the next morning. Chemically speaking it also aids the release of leptin. This is the hormone produced by our fat cells and it tells us when we’re full and when we’re hungry. If we have less leptin in our bodies we will feel less full and vice versa (when we feel full it means we have more leptin circulating). My Addenbrookes contact confirmed “there are studies suggesting being sleep deprived can result in a lower leptin level".
Think you’re hungry? Think again. Apparently we can be mistake thirst for hunger. As the brain is 73% water this is like filling a fountain with jelly and then wondering why it’s not flowing properly.
Claire ended the presentation with a small sales pitch which included a video of Adrianna Lima, a model who eats holistially (as Claire recommends). Though it's a great example of how consuming this way can work, it seems a tad unattainable – it’s not like we all have a slow motion or wind machine following our every move you know. That said it didn’t seem to matter as most of the ladies confessed to not knowing who she was anyway. Due to my love of Victoria Secret underwear and their shows I found myself in the unusual position of being ahead of the curve here, which made for a nice change.
Claire was insightful and engaging and though I’m more than a tad annoyed about the smoothie thing, I'm choosing not to hold that against her personally, I'm good like that. I guess this healthy eating malarkey is at least worth a shot, especially if I could end up looking anything like this!
Do you have any nutrition tips?