USA trip food

Back from the United States of America with a head full of ideas and a heart full of motivation.

Just a quick word today about my observations about the food choices available on the road in the US.

It seems to me that the USA really is the land of opportunity – and food is no exception. The ability to choose incredibly unhealthy options (deep fried sugary/salty/fatty foods in dizzying variety – chicken fried steak anyone?). This may contribute to a perception that Americans are an unhealthy bunch – especially when you look at the obesity figured presented in the media. This land of opportunity also allows the people to choose amazing, healthy, tasty dishes that by Australian standards are really cheap.

Anyone for a monster salad of meat/seafood/poultry with avocado, pine nuts, rocket, baby spinach, tomato, cucumber, dates, boiled eggs and other assorted yumminess for $6?!

I recognize the socio-economic divide that contributes to the unhealthy nutrition of the poorer Americans. All I’m saying is that the healthy options are there. Now we just need to let the good stuff get to more Americans.

And Australians.

Protein: Where can I get it?

As we discussed in the last post, Protein is made of basic organic compounds called amino acids, and has two main forms: complete and incomplete. Complete proteins contain all the amino acids vital to the body, while incomplete have only some of them. Various kinds of food can be sources of protein.

Beef is a common source of complete protein. Two or three servings of protein is enough to satisfy the body’s daily requirements.

Dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt are good examples of complete protein sources. For those who are not lactose-intolerant or allergic, dairy products can be part of a well-balanced meal, or eaten alone as a snack.

Eggs are a rich source of complete proteins. The body utilizes complete proteins derived from eggs and similar sources to produce new cells and repair damaged ones.

Complete proteins also derive from fish. Eating fish at least two times weekly is highly advisable as it contains n-3 (Omega 3) fatty acids which are vital for brain health and help to reduce systemic inflammation.

Meat from poultry, such as chicken or duck, is a common source of complete proteins.

Soybeans are the only vegetable protein source that contain all nine essential amino acids.

Grains are a source of incomplete proteins, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. Choices include barley, corn, oats, rice and wheat.

Legumes such as beans or peas are examples of incomplete protein sources. You could pair legumes with other incomplete plant proteins to complete the amino acids–for example, eat corn with beans.

Nuts and seeds are sources of incomplete proteins. Almonds, brazil nuts and cashews are typical examples of nuts containing protein. Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds also contain protein.

For some more information check out Alison Anton’s balanced post about protein consumption.

In future articles, we will look at sources of beneficial fats and their utility, as well as the role of dietary carbohydrates and preferable sources.

Protein: The Building Blocks of Life

There is no process in the body that does not require protein. They truly are the building blocks of life. Protein is essential for proper immune function, effective and safe detoxification, creating and maintaining lean muscle, stabilizing sugar levels, producing energy and controlling weight.

Women need to consume 0.75g x their body weight (in kg) in protein a day whereas men need to consume 0.85g x their body weight, depending on activity level. Those over 70 years of age need to consume 1g for every kilogram they weigh, as do pregnant and breastfeeding women.

A good and easy habit to start is including protein in every meal and snack. Each main meal should contain a palmful of lean animal protein (e.g: turkey chicken, fish) or two palmfuls of vegetarian protein (e.g; tofu, lentils, nuts).

High protein snacks help to keep us full and stop us from snacking on junk food. Examples include a boiled egg, a can of tuna, a protein shake and nuts.

Diets high in protein also need you to keep up or increase your water intake so bottoms up!

Meat sources of protein contain about 30g of protein per 100g while twice from a non-meat source will give you the same value.

How much Protein do you need?

Males

______ (kg) x 0.85 = _____ (grams/day)

Females

______(kg) x 0.75 = ______ (grams/day)

Breastfeeding mothers and those over 70 years of age

_______(kg) x 1 = ________ (grams/day)

Article thanks to Mei Wong of Chirotherapy

Weight Training and Size

A common misconception about resistance training (weights) is that they’ll make you get big and muscular. Some women especially think that doing weights will make them look undesirably big and masculine (like a lady-wrestler).

The type of weightlifting, sets and repetitions will dictate the result. This is the science behind the training.

There are 4 types of resistance training outcomes possible and they are dependent on a number of factors.

Some hypertrophy (size) can occur from training in all of these types, but muscle gain can be as fast as 3 weeks from the start of training whereas fat (which is closer to the surface than the muscle – making it look like you’ve gained size) takes longer to reduce. Generally the strength training type is the one that can make people ‘bulkier’ but even then – only if they’re also eating for ‘size’ (especially milk).

If you’re a BEGINNER STRENGTH trainee then you’ll be looking at using a heavy load, 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps at a slow-medium pace with 2-3 minutes rest – training 2-3 days a week.

If you’re an INTERMEDIATE STRENGTH training athlete then you’ll be looking at using a heavy load, 1-6 sets of 2-6 reps at a slow-medium pace with 3-5 minutes rest – training 2-3 days a week.

If you’re developing POWER then you’ll be looking at using a medium-heavy load, 3-6 sets of 4-8 reps at a fast-max explosive pace with 2-5 minutes rest – training 2-3 days a week.

If you’re training for LEANNESS then you’ll be looking at using a low-medium load, 1-5 sets of 6-20 reps at a very slow-medium pace with 1-2 minutes rest – training 2-3 days a week.

If you’re developing ENDURANCE then you’ll be looking at using a light load, 2-3 sets of 15-30 reps at a medium pace with minimal rest – training 2-3 days a week.

(Adapted from: ‘The Fitness Leader’s Handbook’; Egger, Champion, Bolton; Table 6.1: Resistance Training Regimes)

So pay attention to what you’re doing. If you are doing a heavy load – is it fast or slow? (Strength / Size or Power)

If you’re doing a light / medium load is it at a moderate pace and between 15 – 20 reps? (Leanness and Endurance range)

The more you know about how to do weights – the better able you are to discern the right exercises for you.

Defend Yourself Ethics

No rational personal wants to be in a violent confrontation.
That being said, ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away.

Aside from learning effective physical counter-measures, a vital aspect of responsible self defence training must include mental preparedness and an ethical perspective.

It is up to the instructor to provide an ethical framework for the practitioner to use as a launch-pad for developing their own set of values to use when faced with violence. Even if the eventual position of the practitioner is ‘anything goes’ the instructor has not been the one to make that decision.

The ethical exercise for the practitioner is not for altruistic reasons alone.
The idea is that the defender has thought deeply about the types of possible confrontation, motivations of the attacker(s) and consequences of the various responses (physical injury or death to themselves or to others, property damage, psychological repercussions and involvement of the authorities).

This way, the practitioner can have made a rational and ethical decision ahead of time as to the appropriate response for the scenario in which they find themselves. This eliminates a snap decision in the heat of the moment while under physical attack and psychological pressure which may have life-long consequences.

What is the situation? How serious is it? What am I prepared to do? What am I absolutely NOT prepared to do?

It’s ALIVE!

If you’re reading this then it means that the technology pixies have been kind and the blog on the new FunFit website (like Frankenstein’s Monster) is FULLY OPERATIONAL! (Insert evil laughter here).

I’ll be transferring the posts from the old iWeb blog here over the next week or so… and trying out Facebook and Twitter integration too.

Please bear with me during this process as it’s been a steep learning curve!

There will be entries on various topics including (but not limited to) fitness, self defence, ninjutsu, nutrition, activities, seminars, holiday programs and any specials that are available.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions about this blog, the subjects covered or the website in general.

Comments will be enabled – please keep it polite!