Springtime is here! Get alkaline!

Dear readers,

do you feel tired lately? Are you lacking appetite? Do you feel sick off and on? All these symptoms could be a sign that your body is chronically acid. When your body is not capable any more of balancing the acidity it is high time to act.

spring 1Especially now in springtime the body needs to detox and get rid of winter’s slags. You should eat a light, rather cooling diet. Do not overload the body with heavy food since the change of seasons to a warmer climate already is a bit stressful for our organism. Thus it requires nourishing and refreshing food. During winter you have probably eaten more meat and more carbohydrates than usual and these produce acidity in our body. Turning back to alcaline helps avoiding the usual springtime flu as your immune system works better and it can also ease hayfever.

If the body is acidic, it starts to consume its mineral depots, which would be hair, teeth and bones as well as tendons and muscles. Avoid the consumption of these very important parts of your body and start to get back into balance now!

All sour foods, like for example oranges, lemons and tomatoes, are part of the element of spring and help to regenerate the liver. Sour food preserves life energy (Qi in TCM) in our body and prevents the intrusion of germs and bacteria.

Green colored food (as usual!) brings new vital energy. There is a lot of greens available now, cabbages are still around, first new greens are available, just steam it, put it on a plate, add some high quality olive oil, fresh lime and some sea salt. Salty food removes blockages and makes energy flow. These would not be your potato chips of course!

After a lot of warm food during the cold season, you can now re-insert raw food into your diet – always if you are able to digest it well and feel good with it. Best eat them during lunchtime when our digestive fire is burning high.

Spicy food is anti-inflammatory and invigorating and relieves blockages in our body’s meridians so life energy can flow.

Still the evenings can be very cold and something sweet in the evening warms you and harmonizes. Try dark chocolate, steamed fruits, a light sweetish rice dish. There are many options. Try to eat all variations of tastes throughout the day.

Every season’s fruits and vegetables grow during that season for a reason. We digest them best and they help us to stay healthy. In springtime for example asparagus, zucchini, strawberries, radish and cucumbers make great and light dishes. Barley and chickpeas as well as lentil dishes provide wonderful carbohydrates. The sweet side can be satisfied by pumpkin, which is still available, apples, pears and honey. Use spices like tumeric, saffron, asfoetida, mustard seeds and cumin.

Spring is the beginning of another cycle. It’s considered the first season of the year so brings with it a sense of renewal and creativity. It’s about birth, youth and inspiration and its energy is rapid and upwards. Help your body to keep up with the energy of the season! Move a lot, especially in fresh air, use the first warm sun rays wisely to charge your batteries, but not damage your skin.

spring 2

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Workout and nutrition – healthy eating when you’re exercising

Dear readers,

after a hopefully relaxing and fun Easter Holiday it is time to get back into your exercise regime. I myself after 2 “lazy” days (just some Yoga and a quick run) have started intensive workout again yesterday. During “Yoga for the Warrior” (https://twitter.com/mytrainerbob) I was thinking about all you guys, who are exercising in order to loose weight and frequently come to me with a common misconception that you can eat more when you are exercising. This is not the case, i.e. it depends on your goals. If you are the “average athlete” training just to keep yourself fit it is essential to follow a balanced, healthy diet according to your exercise regime. If on the other hand you are trying to loose weight there are a few questions which tend to come up…for example the aforementioned one:

Can I eat more if I work out?

This depends on your goals. Generally, the calorie consumption through workout is overrated whilst forgetting the positive fact of simply moving your body. Training does not only mean to burn a lot of calories. The goal is a persistent change in your body composition. A reduction of body fat and an increase of muscle mass will make you burn more calories even when resting.

What is a healthy weight loss?

In order to loose 1kg of body fat you have to save about 7000 kcal either by exercising or eating less – ideally through a combination of both. For a loss in body fat of 1,5kg/week you need to save 500 kcal/day. More or less what you burn during 1h of cardio exercise.

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So what am I supposed to eat?

As mentioned before a “normal” athlete just has to pay attention to a healthy and balanced diet. It is always important to eat at the right time though in order to optimize the fat burning and to give your body the chance to regenerate.

I personally recommend to workout in the morning for a better start of the day and that on an empty stomach. This might not be the best you can do for fat burning, but for efficiency. There are people, who are unable to train on an empty stomach. In those cases there is always the good old (organic!) banana or otherwise have 1/3 of your breakfast and the rest after workout. Never forget to drink though! If your blood thickens, the muscle will not be provided with enough energy and you will feel a lack in performance, concentration and coordination. If you exercise more than 30-40 minutes always have some water with you. Usually water is sufficient. Only if you are performing more extremely you need to add up on electrolytes as well. Avoid chemical electrolyte drinks, rather use the proven apple juice with a dash of salt. 

If you work out in the evening, take care to have the last bigger meal about 3 hrs before your workout. Thus you will have enough energy, but not feel the weight of your food still in your stomach. You will need your blood for exercising, so it should not be busy with digestion. Fill up on your carbohydrates before your workout (wholegrain pasta, brown rice, wholegrain bread etc.) If your last meal was more than 4 hrs before your workout, have a light snack like a yoghurt with some fruits and cereals or (again) a banana or a slice of wholegrain bread with some salad and cheese.

What should I eat after my workout?
When you sweat your body looses liquid and electrolytes. As mentioned before under normal circumstances water is enough. After longer cardio sessions remember to replenish the electrolytes as well.

Eating after training is important for the recreation of the body as well as to boost muscle build-up. If you have to keep an eye on your weight choose your protein source carefully.

healthy snack

There are many mistakes and misconceptions to avoid: 

  1. Don’t start drinking only when you feel thirsty. You have to avoid a thickening of your blood (see above). The water should always have room temperature.
  2. Do not eat right before your workout: you will not be able to perform well as your body will be busy with digestion.
  3. Generally there is no need for protein shakes or artificial electrolytes: buttermilk, fish, cottage cheese or pulses provide enough protein for the average athlete. Electrolytes are important after extreme cardio sessions.
  4. Avoid over eating on protein: athletes tend to overeat on protein. More important is the diversification of your protein sources in order to build up muscle. Eggs, milk products (if you are able to digest them), pulses fish or even meat (the latter especially for intense muscle building) provide a variety of proteins.
  5. Don’t eliminate carbohydrates: even if you want to loose weight, do not completely eliminate carbs. Your body needs them as an energy source. Obviously do not overeat on carbohydrates and choose the right sources.
  6. Be wise about your fat intake: after exercise your body needs some carbs and proteins for its regeneration. It also needs some essential fats. Take care about the sources for these fatty acids.
  7. Avoid alcohol after exercising: it may well be that beer contains electrolytes. Still, alcohol is a toxin, which your body starts to eliminate right away. This procedure inhibits any fat burning that might want to happen.

Try this healthy and tasty recipe for breakfast or even after sport: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20678467_2,00.html

Enjoy your workout and eat mindful!