Fork Fed: Are you Reading your Labels?

Post by Fork Fed

nutrition

Hello everyone! I am very excited to be able to write on 248AM. I am a clinical nutritionist that has worked in various areas including food safety, pediatrics and now do a variety of work with adults. I understand that nutrition can be a confusing subject and many of us have different opinions of food and health.  My goal is to help you all make an  informed decision to achieve a better and healthier life!

Many of us are health conscious and sometimes can’t help but feel deceived once looking at the nutrition label properly. They aren’t the easiest to figure out, some are complicated while others are simply deceiving. Here are a few tips to help you navigate through that nutrition label the next you pick up packaged food.

  1. Serving size is KEY! Many manufacturers use the smallest serving size possible to lure you into a lesser caloric amount. You’d be surprised to know that you could be having 5 or more servings by consuming the entire food in your package. To be more accurate with calculating your calories, proteins or fats make sure you check how many servings their information covers, as well as how many servings you’re going to eat.
  2. Calories are not everything. Although many of us believe that this number could be the most important on the nutrition label, but you could be wrong. Where your calories are coming from is far more important. Try to avoid foods that have a bulk of their calories coming from saturated or trans fats or sugars. Also, keep in mind that “Calorie-Free” means less than 5 calories per serving, this number could add up depending on how many calories you choose to indulge in.
  3. Fats are important, but not only for how many calories they provide but more so for which type of fat is being used in your food item. You want to make sure your fats are not coming from saturated or trans fats (they lower the good cholesterol and increase the bad ones). Instead opt for a product that contains more unsaturated fats, and definitely don’t be fooled by a “Zero Fat” label on the package. According to the recent regulations you can now place a “Zero Fat” label in your package if it contains less than 0.5g fat per SERVING! (Again serving plays a big role here)
  4. Carbohydrates could be both good or bad. Instead of focusing on how many grams of carbohydrates you food item is provide, I suggest you look at the source of carbohydrates. Is it mostly sugar? Or is the bulk of your carbohydrate intake coming from fiber? Anything with less than 0.5g sugar per serving is legally labeled as “Sugar-Free.” As for the fiber, you should aim to get more than 3g per serving (especially in cereals and whole grains).
  5. Ingredients are, in my humble point of view, the most important piece of information you can get out of a nutrition label. Foods in an ingredient list are listed from highest content level to the lowest; therefore if sugar, dextrose, or high fructose corn syrup are one of the first 3 ingredients on that list expect to be consuming a high sugar food. It is important that you recognize the foods listed because ultimately you are what you eat!

I personally believe that buying food items that do not require any food labels (fresh fruits, vegetables) is much easier and healthier than buying processed or packaged ones. Either way, make sure you read that label to make your informed decision.

“I think about food because you can’t think without it”

Post by Hyatt Al Sayegh, a Clinical Dietitian and Dr. Sears Health Coach.
Founder of Fork Fed.

Photo Source


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The Burrow Life

Post by Mark

burrow1

Not sure how to begin this post, I’ve already written and deleted a few intros already because I didn’t think anything I was writing was good enough to explain what I saw a few hours ago. I don’t even think my pictures do the place any justice. Last week a friend of mine told me about a new gym that was opening up in Murooj called The Burrow Life. I checked their instagram account out of curiosity and right away realized there was something special about them. From their branding to the style of photography they were using I knew they were aiming for something different. I got in touch with them and asked if I could pass by and check the place out, they agreed so I passed by earlier today.

burrow2

The first thing they wanted to make clear to me was that The Burrow Life wasn’t just a gym, it was a lifestyle brand and I knew exactly what they meant. Although they’re starting off as a gym the brand could grow and develop later on into other things like a clothing line or a restaurant or a whatever and I liked that approach. Their name and concept for the place is based off of Alice in Wonderland, when Alice went down the rabbit hole she entered a completely different world and they’re applying the same idea here. When I walked into The Burrow Life I was transported into a completely different world and it was beautiful on the other side.

The Burrow Life is focused around 5 different fitness activities, cross fit, bootcamp, boxing/Muay Thai, spinning and yoga. They’re all class based activities so as a member you’ll have to download their app and see what classes are available during the day and sign up for them. It’s a mixed gym but the classes are segregated, so guys could be doing cross fit while girls could be boxing at the same time, but you wouldn’t have guys and girls doing the same cross fit class together.

burrow3

The space is HUGE, when you first walk into the gym you walk into a living room like area since they didn’t want you to walk into a reception like all gyms do. From there you have a yoga room and then a really long corridor with a guys locker room on the left and a girls one on the right. There are showers and changing rooms of course but a cool feature is the lockers that all have USB ports inside so you could charge your phone while you train. At the end of the long corridor there are two glass rooms, on the left a spinning room and on the right a training room with kettle bells and TRX. Once you leave the corridor you enter a really large open space with a boxing ring in the middle, cross fit stations on the left, punching bags all along the right and some weight stations on the opposite end behind the ring. Finally there are stairs that take you up to the top floor where the bootcamp training section is along with a lounge for members to sit and chill while they wait for their classes or just to socialize. The place looks amazing and as I mentioned earlier, my pictures really don’t do it any justice.

burrow4

The Burrow Life is set to open this coming Saturday. They’re only going to offer semi annual and annual memberships. I can’t say how much the cost is since that’s the only thing they didn’t want me to mention in my post but I can say it’s very similar to Inspire. Personally I think this is by far, and I mean BY FAR the best looking gym in Kuwait and the best looking gym I’ve personally ever seen be it in person or in photos anywhere. Sometimes pictures make a place look better than it actually is but I’m telling you in this case my photos really don’t do the place any justice. It looks much better in person. I’ve literally been sending these pictures to every gym goer I know telling them how great the place looks. Anyway, I’ve got all the photos I took below but also make sure you check out their instagram account for more details [Here]


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The Approved Market – Guilt Free Grocery Shopping

Post by Mark

approvedmarket1

A new supermarket opened up recently called “The Approved Market”. It’s a small supermarket where all the items they sell are considered healthy hence their tag line “Guilt Free Grocery Shopping”. I passed by earlier today to check it out and I think the place has potential since for the most part they had a bunch of products and brands I hadn’t seen in other local supermarkets. But, on the other hand, the range of products isn’t that vast with the majority of the items consisting of chips or jar food items like jams, honey, butters, etc. They of course did have other items like healthy breads, quinoa based products (like pasta and risotto), salad dressing and even alkaline water, but those items were few and far between.

approvedmarket2

The place looks great and is definitely worth passing by and checking it out. They’re located in Sanabil Tower in Sharq and are open daily from 10AM to 10PM. Here is their location on [Google Maps]


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“In It 2 Win It” Reality Show

Post by Mark

“In It 2 Win It” is a new local reality show that just started airing on YouTube. The show follows a Kuwaiti husband and wife on their journey to lose weight for 120 days. The show is in Arabic (without English subtitles) and will be composed of 12 episodes with the one above being their first. Subscribe to their YouTube channel if you want to be notified once a new episode is out. [YouTube]

inittowinit


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5 Stripes – Custom Mixed Organic Cereals

Post by Mark

5stripes

I heard about 5 Stripes from a friend of mine and I thought it was an interesting idea. 5 Stripes is a local creation and according to their website they’re the first company in the Middle East that allows you to custom mix your own cereal from a wide range of organic ingredients. They also have pre mixed cereals but whether you custom mix or go with a pre mix, they all come in cool long cylindrical containers.

You can custom mix your ingredients using their website and once you place an order you get a special code which you could use the next time you want to reorder the same mix. That way you don’t waste time creating your custom mix over and over again. If you’re interested, check out their website [Here]


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A Tip for Keeping Your Nutrition in Check

Post by Amy Freeman

caloriecounting

Post by Amy Freeman

When I first moved to Kuwait from New Zealand, my workouts stayed pretty much the same as did the contents of my diet. So when I found it really hard to lose weight one of the things that I realized is that I hadn’t taken in to account how somewhat inactive my life had become outside my workouts. It’s a common thing in Kuwait especially in summer which starts in May and lasts all the way till October.

So I started doing something that I had never done before and to be honest I had never had to do before. I started counting my macronutrients (carbs, fat and protein) and calories.

After finding that this had positive results I suggested it to some of my clients to try out as well. They also ended up having positive results.

What this made me realize first and foremost is that ‘accidental exercise’; such as walking down 2 blocks to pay a phone bill or taking the dog to the park does actually make a difference overall to your body composition and it does make it easier to be a little more flexible with nutrition.

It also made me realize how much unnecessary snacking I was doing such as while preparing dinner or when I was bored. Probably the biggest thing I noticed is how much of a difference NOT eating out makes.

There are many ways to find out how many calories a day you should be having and what your macros should be but I suggest going to see either a nutritionist or a reputable coach that has experience. If you don’t have access to either of those things then you can get an idea of where to start at this website [Here]

Most of the time it is a trial and error thing, everybody is different and sometimes it takes a
couple of months to fine tune things.

Lastly remember that not all calories and macros are equal. For example, If you have a 1,500 calorie diet of chips and chocolate versus a 1500 calorie diet of beef, quinoa and broccoli, there is going to be a huge difference in how those two bodies look and perform.

Happy Training Kuwait

Post by Amy Freeman, a Strength and Conditioning Coach from New Zealand and currently a Personal Trainer at Inspire Pure Fitness in Kuwait.


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Quick Ramadan Workout

Post by Amy Freeman

Post by Amy Freeman

As we approach the middle of Ramadan, energy levels start to drop as energy reserves are getting low. I always say to my clients that training during Ramadan should be a time for maintenance and active recovery. It’s not the time to go for PB’s or peak in a training cycle. I’m also very aware that it can be hard for people to get to the gym as often as they did due to chaotic traffic, family obligations and other commitments.

So this week I wanted to put up a full body weight, circuit style workout you can do at home or at your own convenience. This should be completed one exercise directly after another with as little rest as possible between exercises but with a 2-4min rest between rounds.

Complete 10-15 repetitions of everything and 3-5 rounds:

Push-ups
Squat Jumps
Tricep Push-ups
Forward Stepping Alternating Lunges
Alternating Plyometric Lunges
Burpees
30 to 60 Seconds Abdominal Plank

Remember although we want your heart rate to be high, take it at your own pace, listen to your body and rest as needed.

Ramadan Mubarak,
Happy Training Kuwait

Post by Amy Freeman, a Strength and Conditioning Coach from New Zealand and currently a Personal Trainer at Inspire Pure Fitness in Kuwait.


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Where does motivation come from?

Post by Amy Freeman

motivation

Post by Amy Freeman

Someone asked me the other day, how long have you been exercising? I said, ‘well since I can remember I have loved being active. When I was around 10 years old I started going to classes at the gym sporadically but then at around 13 I started going to the gym regularly (that was in the days when minimum age wasn’t enforced much).

In fact I used to pester my parents so much to go that my dad would get me a gym membership for my birthday or at Xmas. I would come home from school, deliver leaflets around the neighborhood (my after school job) and then beg my mum to drive me over the other side of town to the fitness center.

My client was shocked and asked ‘What made you love it so much at that age?’ This question really made me think… and think… and think.

Finally after much deliberation I found the answer was really simple. ‘Because I wanted to be like my dad’.

He was my idol. He never ever pressured me to exercise or workout but I wanted to be as fit as he was. He had run marathons, he was a really good swimmer and generally just really fit. I remember one day venturing out on my first run aged around 11 (not really knowing what a marathon meant or that it was a specific distance) and I called him straight after and said ‘Dad I just ran a marathon!’. In actual fact I had just run around the 5km block that he helped me map out.

I also recall the school triathlon, I entered when I was maybe 9 and he helped me train for it. I remember looking for him in the crowd as I crossed the finish line and I ran and literally fell into his arms totally exhausted. He made me love sport because there was never anything negative attached to it and never any pressure or expectation and that meant I always felt like I was achieving something great.

To this day there is only positive emotions and memories that come from my sporting and exercise experiences. It’s probably why when there have been challenges in my life it’s the thing I turn to for comfort. I guess that’s why I love my job so much and wju I want to help other people experience that.

I tell this story because all to often people come in and they will openly admit they hate working out, or they hate the gym and after I got asked those questions by my client, I can’t help but think, do they hate the gym because it has negative meaning to them beyond just working out?

For example, some people start gyming because they are depressed and hate how they look so the gym represents those feelings related to low self esteem.

Or for some people the gym represents all the failed attempts to get in shape.

Or the gym and working out represents pain and feeling weak.

Does lasting and true motivation come from something bigger and more profound than just doing it for yourself?

I think it does. The human mind is a complex thing and I think that to believe that we are capable of achieving greatness in fitness goals (or really any life goal for that matter), without the belief of doing it for something greater, without the help of something greater than yourself isn’t enough.

Athletes are refreshing to talk to at times because they think of their body as a machine and a tool for doing a chosen task. When I asked an athlete what gets them excited about their sport the answer was ‘when I visualize the crowd cheering me on and the people and kids I’m inspiring it motivates me to bring my best’.

Or on a smaller scale I know a lady that runs marathons and she said that when she is 10km out from the finish line and in agony she visualizes her children cheering her on and that gives her the push she needs.

What if the gym represented part of what you do to stay healthy, happy and fit for your family or for a sport and you took the vanity out of it? I know it sounds crazy because most people have a goal when they join the gym and it’s usually ‘I wanna lose weight’, ‘it’s my wedding in 3 months’ etc etc. These kind of goals cause you to exert pressure on yourself and rather than being present in each workout and enjoying it, all you want is to get your goal and maybe workout again when you have another goal. So your weight and fitness goes up and down and so does your self esteem.

To illustrate this I have a client that has been one of the most successful weightloss/fatloss candidates I’ve ever trained. When I asked her what makes her so dedicated and determined her answer was refreshingly simple and went something like this:

‘Because I want my kids to know that being heathy is important and they are so impressed when they see how strong I have gotten.’

And you know what, this client always turns up with a smile and a positive attitude every day and has never missed a training session.

Happy Training Kuwait.

Post by Amy Freeman, a Strength and Conditioning Coach from New Zealand and currently a Personal Trainer at Inspire Pure Fitness in Kuwait.

Photo by Edie**


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Why going gluten free isn’t a fad, its free health care

Post by Amy Freeman

bread

Post by Amy Freeman

I thought I would follow up last weeks post with some points on why I believe gluten isn’t necessary as part of anyone’s regular diet. This kinda leads on from why I believe that the ‘Paleo’ or ‘Whole Food’ nutrition is benefiting everyone not just for improved body composition, but for overall general health and wellbeing.

Gluten free seems to be a term that is thrown around a lot these days which has some people interested and others rolling their eyes thinking it’s another fad. Gluten is the protein in wheat and cereals that gives dough it’s elasticity and therefore bread it’s addictive, soft, chewy, air light texture.

So why is gluten getting such bad press now?

Well in the 2009 study published in Gastroenterology, it showed that celiac disease has increased in 50 years from 1 in 650 people to 1 in 120 people.

This is largely down to the difference in the wheat we are now consuming compared to our parents and grandparents.

In order to meet the demand for factories with the amount of processed food, the increased population and increased general consumption, wheat farmers now use a hybridized grain that grows fast, is bug resistant and contains new proteins that were never in original wheat plants. These new proteins are not easily digested causing widespread gluten intolerance, high rates of celiac disease, increased inflammation and really bad side effects.

After seeing the transformation in many clients that had never thought gluten had been an issue for them until they cut it out and all of a sudden saw bloating disappear and health issues lessen, I believe that many people have an intolerance of some kind to it and luckily most people I know whether friends, family or clients seem to be aware that they do feel better overall when they don’t have it as part of their regular diet.

It is also very apparent in supermarkets these days with the vast amount of gluten free products this is becoming a very adopted way of living for people and I can say i have noticed that the cost of gluten free products (in Kuwait) now compared to 2-3 years ages also validates that. 2-3 years ago it was a ridiculous amount of money for quinoa and gluten free flour options and after studying the supermarkets at places like Sultan Center and SaveCo, the prices are substantially lower than they used to be because of the many more market players of gluten free products.

So for those that may not be aware of some of the classic side effects that gluten can cause on your body this may help identify some tell tail signs:

– Bloating after eating bread, pasta or wheat based products. Bread for most is a standout.

– Irritable bowel episodes

– Constipation and or diarrhea

– Inflammation in the joints. I’ve even read celiac websites that have said white specs have showed up on an MRI of a patients brain that was found to be gluten and the cause of the patients migraines.

– Severe acne

– Headaches/migraines

-Skin irritation/Eczema

Just to finish be aware that when you opt for some gluten free products, they often will have more sugar, fat and fillers in them to make up for the lack of texture and taste from real wheat so always read the ingredients and make sure you are aware of what they are using instead of wheat and don’t be blinded by the gluten free label. This is kind of the same as fat free products. When something is taken out it has to be replaced, just be aware and make sure that you aren’t replacing your wheat with a chemical concoction of god know what.

Happy Training Kuwait

Post by Amy Freeman, a Strength and Conditioning Coach from New Zealand and currently a Personal Trainer at Inspire Pure Fitness in Kuwait.

Photo by jmlpyt


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Our grandparents had it right

Post by Amy Freeman

paleobooks

Post by Amy Freeman

I remember in the early 90’s watching my nana and pop switch from butter to margarine, whole to skim milk and where possible, full fat to low fat. The 80’s and 90’s was the start of what would become a processed food epidemic. As Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig were constantly being advertised on TV and in magazines, leading the ‘weight loss’ industry and the ‘microwave meal’ industry, woman were becoming more body conscious and diabetes was on the rise. It became a highly publicized and popular belief that calories in and calories out was all that mattered, low fat was the key and all carbohydrates were equal. Enter the diabetes and obesity epidemic!

The unfortunate thing is that the belief systems that were used for weight loss in the 80’s and 90’s are still held in high regard to this day. Trying to convince people that eating natural butter is BETTER than processed margarine is a daily battle. Trying to convince people that full fat milk or cream is BETTER for your insulin levels than low fat or skimmed milk is hard to land with a lot of people.

The reason ‘Paleo’/Whole Food nutrition (or clean eating as I call it) has been so successful, is that it is taking people back to eating a very similar diet to those that lived in our grandparents era. Home made food, unprocessed junk food, lots of fruit, veggies and meat, this style of eating is identical to how our wirery, fit and non diabetic ancestors lived. Even though I remember my nana’s baking yummy desserts, they didn’t eat it in copious amounts and binge till they burst on a Saturday night. They worked it into their active, busy lifestyles and treated food as fuel and NOT as bribery or reward on a daily basis.

When my nana passed away and we were going through her bookshelf I remember the copious amounts of nutrition books she had collected over the years. Amongst what must have been around 50 of them, there were soup diet books, detox books, vegetarian diet books, liver cleansing books and a number of diabetes books. I remember feeling really impressed and proud that my nana had been so conscientious about being informed of health and wellbeing.

The problem is that behind all these diet books is a person trying to make money. Telling people to eat natural foods with correct portions and live a balanced lifestyle isn’t going to make the authors of these nutrition books any money. Instead, what sells is ‘14 Day Detox’s’,‘Lose 10 Pounds in 5 Days’, ‘Do the Dukan Diet’ or ‘Do the Atkins Diet’. Around the time that these books started becoming popular, curvy models were out and skinny was in and magazines really started to promote size 0 as ideal.

The amount of clients, family members and friends that I have seen fall into the trap of going on one of these unrealistic diets and rebound back from it (me included), is ridiculous. Through this a lot of people have developed unhealthy relationships’ with food from being convinced that low fat/ low carb is the only way to lose weight and then go 4 months without so much as one lick of an ice cream only to then rebound and go the other way and live in a chocolate coma for a month. Both extremes are as bad as each other and each time your body goes through this cycle is going to make it harder the next time you try to lose weight.

Being perfect, eating only grilled chicken and veggies, not socializing in case you slip up, feeling guilt when you have 2 eggs instead of 4 egg whites and doing 2 hours of cardio a day is not maintainable. Unless you are going to compete as a figure athlete and you are close to competition, quiet frankly, its stupid and absolutely unnecessary. I give it around 3-4 months before burnout and 4-6 months before you put all that weight you lost back on and then some.

Making healthy choices, eating whole foods like our grandparents and having a balanced workout routine and doing it consistently for 6-12-18 plus months is going to get you results that you can maintain forever. Yes you will need to be patient, it wont happen overnight and there will be times where you get frustrated but weight loss and well being should be treated as a marathon, not a sprint. It will be worth it when you have reached your goal and can still enjoy your life without feeling deprived of food or guilty every time you have a treat.

Happy Training Kuwait

Post by Amy Freeman, a Strength and Conditioning Coach from New Zealand and currently a Personal Trainer at Inspire Pure Fitness in Kuwait.

Image by akeelsworld


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