A sensible approach to nutrition by Lewis Gill

Health and fitness is as popular as it has ever been. Going to the gym is now seen as trendy (even writing that word makes me sound like my dad…) and the recent rise in healthy food establishments has been incredible. It was only a matter of time before restaurants and cafes joined the fitness craze. 

Now don’t get me wrong, the shift towards ‘healthy’ food is fantastic. Cafés like ‘-grams-’ that provide a choice of healthy food, which is affordable, whilst being both delicious and nutritious is just what the world needs. The UK now has the highest obesity rates in Europe and obesity related illnesses costs the UK economy over £3 billion per year.

Here is where the problems lie. There are now thousands of confused dieters wondering how they can get their health back on track. In their desperation, people are turning to wannabe health gurus and nutritionists that, because they have thousands of Instagram followers, are seen as reliable. I spend the majority of my time busting myths created by these ‘professionals’ with no nutrition qualifications. They make outrageous claims and recommend some pretty questionable, not to mention dangerous, advice. Did you know that ‘nutritionist’ is not a protected title in the UK? If your CV is looking a little bare, pop it on there. No one can stop you and no one seems to question it either. 

“Don’t eat dairy, oh and meat. They’re really bad for you.”
“Carbohydrates make you fat.” 
“Gluten is the reason you’re putting on weight. If you cut it out you’ll easily drop body fat.”

I’m surprised I have any hair left with the amount of hair pulling I do scrolling through social media. Some of the advice you see online is completely ridiculous. So what are we supposed to believe? 

Sometimes it all comes down to taking a sensible approach. Easier said than done, but you need to focus on what feels right for you. Completely cutting out food groups and living off blended up fruit and vegetables is not sensible. Replacing all real food with meal replacement shakes is not sensible. Depriving yourself completely of the foods that you enjoy, causing you to be utterly miserable, is not sensible. 

So what is sensible? Eating real foods that nourish your body and make you feel great. If you can’t see yourself on the same nutrition plan six months from now, chances are, it’s not going to work. As -‘grams’- has shown you, eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring or complicated. 

Get active and move more. Then make sure 90% of your diet is coming from wholesome single ingredient foods. This gives you a nice 10% leeway to enjoy the little treats in life. Eat food that makes you feel good and ignore all the conflicting dietary advice. 

 

Maybe I'm about to disappoint some people... by Lewis Gill

Hey, so been a while since I last posted. I've been crazy busy with the cafe (actually running a bit behind schedule). Thanks for all the support and kind words on our social media pages, it's much appreciated and has kept us going....well that and coffee. 

Anyway, the main reason I am writing this is because I've noticed a lot of people posting that we are going to be a vegan/gluten free cafe. This is true and false. Most of our food will be gluten free* and we will have quite a few vegan/vegetarian options along with our cakes that are Vegan/gluten free/refined sugar free/dairy free. BUT we are not purely vegan/gluten free.

We have posted our thoughts on food and diets in the past, to summerise:

"We believe in a balanced lifestyle. We don't believe in one diet or one way of life for everyone."

The food that we are going to offer will be as natural and unprocessed as possible. We will be using local and organic ingredients where possible and when in season. We will also be factoring price in to our menu when choosing our ingredients, we would love to be 100% organic but we want to make our meals affordable and not just accessible to the affluent few percent.

I thought I'd better clear this up now before there was any more confusion. We want to cater for everyone and make healthy food easily accessible regardless of your diet.

Can't wait to open and I hope you guys will come say hi.

Thanks again for all your support

 

*Quick side note: our only non gluten free option will be our sandwiches. After tasting loads of gluten free bread we decided that it just doesn't taste anywhere near as good as the real thing and just because it's gluten free it doesn't make it healthier. Having loads of gluten free options on the menu we decided to choose an organic sourdough as it is low in gluten and tastes amazing. This has been sources from a local supplier and pre cut to minimise any contamination (also our cakes are made in a different kitchen). At the end of the day a sandwich isn't going to kill your diet and just remember your "healthy" avocado and toast is essentially a sandwich. 

Does becoming vegetarian improve your health or is it a missed steak? by Lewis Gill

salad

“Do you think you’ll ever become vegan?” The answer is no. The Nutrition student and food blogger who eats meat and has a strong hatred for kale? Shocking. People are honestly surprised when they find out that I don’t choose the 100% plant-based lifestyle. “But you’re meant to be into healthy eating?” Yeah –  I am.

Scroll through Instagram, and I bet you’ll find copious amounts of ridiculously photogenic and beautifully/slightly OCD-arranged food posts, categorized as ‘vegan’. Don’t get me wrong, I could happily eat a bowl of plant goodness with delicious beans and hummus etc. for most of my daily meals. I really respect those who consider themselves vegans for their ethical beliefs and please DO NOT think I am shaming anyone who is. I just feel that it isn’t for me. Yet can I still consider myself a healthy person if I choose to consume a few of society’s dietary villains?

I believe there is no such thing as a perfect diet. There are approximately 7.13 billion people in the world [so Google tells me] – and if you haven’t realised already, every single person is different. No one has the same genetic makeup, medical history, intolerances, beliefs or metabolic rate. Therefore, I believe we should eat more of what makes us happy, that works for individual bodies and helps us live life to the fullest. As cliché as that sounds.

As a society I think we’ve become terrified of food. We’re so consumed with what’s presumed as ‘bad’ that we’re forgotten the incredible properties of what food can have to offer. Why has becoming vegan the elixir to achieving true health status? Good-quality animal products are not bad. A roast chicken is flipping delicious and is loaded with wonderful protein. Meat also contains vitamin B12 which is essential for protecting the heart and producing energy. A vital vitamin which many vegans can unfortunately not get enough of, if they don’t carefully supplement, and can have negative health outcomes. I’ve learnt that life is all about balance. Balance - one small, simple word. Although was quite difficult for me to initially grasp.

When I began my course, I became what I felt at the time, as ‘healthy’. I had moved away from home and for the first time, began cooking for myself. I ate very little fat and, being taught how to take future-patients dietary plans, I learnt how to excessively calorie count my own meals. I looked at other food-bloggers as a source of literal inspiration. However they all seemed to eat like 8 bananas for breakfast but this way of eating wasn’t nourishing for me. I dropped weight and overtime my energy levels began to drop also. Looking back, it’s crazy to compare my attitude towards food, from then and now. Thankfully, I’ve chilled out my attitude towards eating and do you know what? I’m a lot happier. As my course progressed, I realised that ‘healthy eating’ isn’t all about about cutting out entire food groups, but about eating everything in moderation. Embracing life and a varied diet. I began to follow less-extreme food bloggers who were fantastic at suggesting creative ways to create wholesome meals using natural ingredients. I now fill my diet with lots of protein [either animal or plant based], wholegrain carbohydrates for energy, dairy-products like full-fat Greek yoghurt, at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day for vitamin/mineral boosts and embrace body-loving fats like peanut butter with open arms. As well as cutting back on refined sugar and saturated fat. But also knowing and enjoying that the odd packet of Cadbury’s buttons is a good thing. This relaxed approach to healthy eating works for me and I hope for you too. So there you go - the ramblings of a meat-eating and gluten-loving Nutritionist student.

The Vegetarian Diet - high carbs low protein? by Lewis Gill

upload.jpg

First of our guest blog posts! If you'd like to blog about ANYTHING food/health related get in touch: contact@gramsedinburgh.com 

When was the last time you met someone with a protein deficiency? If you can’t remember, then ask yourself if you’ve ever actually met someone who is struggling because they’re not getting enough protein into their diet.

I’ve been vegetarian for over 15 years and I’ve lost count of the number of times people have asked me how I manage to get enough protein. The question has become even more frequent since I switched to a vegan diet just over two years ago.

We’re led to believe that the best source of protein comes from animals, but it really couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s no denying that there’s lots of protein in a steak dinner, but there’s also some stuff in there that you might not want to digest. For example, beef also contains saturated fat, cholesterol, and hormones given to the animals to speed up their growth. On the other hand, you can get lots of protein from plants without the added extras.

The animal v plant protein argument is one that has been going on for years. The China Study by T. Colin Campbell puts forward a lot of research which outlines the differences between animal and plant protein. One of the studies conducted showed that casein which makes up 87% of cow’s milk protein promotes cancer growth. Not only that, but the research showed that plant protein didn’t promote cancer growth even when the intake levels were much higher. The China Study is a big book to get your head around, but there’s no denying that there’s a lot of really compelling research which shouldn’t be brushed aside.

If you’re eating a well-balanced vegan diet, then it really isn’t difficult to get enough protein. It’s found in fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. To show you how easy it can be, I’ve made a list of protein found in foods that vegans like myself consume on a daily basis -

1 cup spinach (cooked) - 5 grams

1 cup broccoli (cooked) - 4 grams

1 cup peas (cooked) - 9 grams

1 cup sweet potatoes (cooked) - 3 grams

1 ounce chia seeds - 4.7 grams

1 ounce nutritional yeast - 5 grams

1/2 cup quinoa (cooked) - 4 grams

1/2 cup oats (cooked) - 5.5 grams

1/2 cup kidney beans (cooked) - 8 grams

1/2 cup tofu (cooked) - 6 grams

1/2 cup red lentils (cooked) - 9 grams

 

But how much protein do we need anyway? Well the average man should be getting around 55g a day and woman should be getting 45g. Most mornings, I’ll have oats with almond milk for breakfast. It means I get nearly 15 grams of protein by the time I’ve had banana, seeds and nut butter on top of it. So before I’ve even left the house to head to work, I’ve already had a third of the recommended daily allowance of protein.

In reality, it’s really not that difficult for someone to get enough protein on a plant based diet. If you’re diet isn’t balanced, then you might not be meeting your targets on a daily basis. However that could also be said for a meat eater who isn’t eating healthy food.

So if you ever find yourself about to ask someone who doesn’t eat meat about their protein, then you might want to think twice. The chances of them suffering from a protein deficiency are extremely low, and they’re probably getting just as much protein in their diet as you are.

By Sarah Moyes

Twitter @moyesy

Instagram @moyesy

Blog -www.moyespace.blogspot.co.uk