Some foods that are converted into sugars after being eaten

Have you herd us say “try to stay away from starchy vegetables, grains, sugars and sweeteners, have fruit in moderation and be mindful of your dairy intake”?

We say this because all of the above mentioned foods contain carbohydrates that are converted into sugars during the digestion process and cause your blood sugar levels to increase shortly after your meal.

Starchy Vegetables
Starchy vegetables like, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn and green peas can raise your blood sugar levels. The starches found in these types of vegetables are quickly digested and converted into sugars by the enzymes found in your gastrointestinal tract. The sugars can quickly enter your bloodstream and elevate your blood sugar levels. For example, 1 cup of mashed potatoes has about 35g of carbohydrates = 9 tsp of pure sugar.

Grains are also rich in starches and some grains also contain added sugar. All types of breads, such as bagels, sliced breads, rolls and English muffins, as well as rice, pasta, noodles, crackers and baked foods are all converted to sugars after being eaten and can make your blood sugar levels rise in a few minutes to hours following your meals. A slice of whole wheat bread has close to 4tsp of sugar, while a large bagel has over 17tsp of sugar (help, no mare bagels for me).

Sugars and Sweeteners
The sugar found in foods and drinks are very easily converted into the smaller molecules of sugar that can be absorbed into your blood, increasing your blood sugar levels fast. The more sugar you eat, the more your blood sugar levels will rise. Jams, syrups, table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup (poison and used in many baked and frozen meals) and brown sugar are all converted to simple sugar in your body. The same happens with sweeteners that are said to be more natural, such as honey, maple syrup and agave nectar.

When you eat fruit, the carbohydrates in the fruit can quickly be changed into sugars in your body. Even if fruit contains natural sugars, it does influence your blood sugar levels more than you think. Fresh fruits, canned fruits, frozen fruits, dried fruits and fruit juices all contribute to raising your blood sugar levels. A medium apple has 4tsp of sugar, while a 500ml glass of unsweetened orange juice has over 13tsp of natural sugar provided by the oranges. Remember to control your fruit intake, we suggest no more then 2 serves a day and try to have them in the form of fresh (or frozen) berries. Eat your fruit do not drink it!

Some Dairy
Milk, yoghurt and some fresh cheese contain small amounts of carbohydrates that can be converted into sugar in your body. If you choose to have chocolate milk and sweetened yoghurts, then the amount of sugar gets even higher and consuming these foods can cause a larger increase in your blood sugar levels. Did you know that aged cheese, butter and cream are not converted into sugars because they do not contain enough carbohydrates per serving?

All I need you to do is look at your daily food intake and think of ways that you can decrease the sugars. If you do, you will notice a big difference in your energy levels.

5 ways to make your day healthy

Many of us are really good at setting weekly, monthly or yearly goals that we want to achieve. Lose weight, run a marathon or lift 2 x body weight on a deadlift. What about day to day; what can we do to stay healthy and get closer to our long term goals faster on daily basis?

Here are 5 tips you can start with today.


Plan to be healthy
We all want to feel, look and be fantastic every day. But unfortunately to live a healthy lifestyle can sometimes be challenging as our hectic lives take over. Making healthy lifestyle choices regularly is important on daily basis. I want it to become second nature for you. I suggest that you plan a weekly or daily menu (in detail) and stick to it and schedule structured exercise in your journal with start time, place and activity. Rather than say, “I will eat healthily and do some exercise”, set your plan daily and stick to it.


Start your day on a positive note
How do you start your day? Reading the morning newspaper or listening to the News on the radio or watching it on TV? Yes, it is fantastic to stay informed about what is happening in our country and the rest of the world, but unfortunately most of the news has a negative twist and you might find it hard to smile and start you day positively. Let’s try to read an inspirational or motivational quote and/or read an email from a friend after your morning news hit. This will start your day in a positive way which means that your mood will be improved and your productivity increased.


Don’t eat at your desk
You are flat out at work when lunch time comes around. You either skip lunch which makes you super hungry and therefore you’ll dig into a whole heap of sugar in the afternoon or you decided to eat at your desk and that might lead to overeating as you don’t enjoy the food you are having. Make time, even when you are busy, to step outside your office and get some fresh air and enjoy a15-30 minute break. Your mood and your work productivity will be much better.



Stop mindless snacking
Many of us fall into the habit of snacking without even realising. It might be that you are bored, sad, missing someone or you’ve had a bad day and you eat just because you can, not because your body needs it or that it tastes good. This is very, very common and people tend not to talk about it. Regardless of why you are eating when you don’t need to, try to find out why you’re snacking and once you’ve done that come up with a solution for it. It is very easy to pile on the kilos without really realising. Break the habit of mindless snacking to stay toned and healthy. One way I find is very helpful is to write a food journal and by the end of the day write down the feelings you had during the day and see if there is a pattern to the mindless snacking.


Watch some comedy
I always suggest that you should leave the house and do fun active activities with friends and family when you have some spare time. There is nothing more uplifting than being around people you love, but once in a while I understand that you just want to chill in front of the TV with a good movie. If you normally go for action, thrillers or romantic,  sad dramas let’s get a funny comedy next time. There are some researches that say watching funny movies or a show is beneficial for your heart, while watching a horror or war movies can cause mental stress.


Start making some small changes to your everyday life right now…….

Make your kids eat the right foods. A few hints and tips for parents.

Did you know that eating habits are learned behaviours? This means that what your kids learn to eat at home early in life will stick with them well into adulthood.

Today’s food sources have taken us away from the foods we used to eat, which were things that you can grow or pick, hunt or fish. Today’s choices consist of highly processed food, this is mostly thanks to our busy lifestyles. Many of us choose fast options, already cooked frozen meals, or just grab something from a fast-food restaurant for the whole family. There are also unbelievable amounts of ads on TV, in magazines, on radio, in supermarkets about foods that are just not good for you or your children.

In the coming weeks I will give you some tools that will help you provide the greatest food choices you can give your child. Wouldn’t you as a parent want to give your children the best nutrition they can get?

The first 3 important tools……….

1. Be a good role model
Do your kids dislike the healthy food you try to feed them? Take a step back and have a look at yourself. Do you eat a well balanced nutrition rich meal yourself? If the answer is “no” then why should your kids? They look up to you and want to do what you are doing. If your pantry is full of fast foods, ready packaged meals and soda, then you need to clean it all out and start to act like a nutritional role model.

2. Take your kid shopping with you
I know it might be hard and a bit more time consuming to bring your kids with you to the supermarkets, but I highly suggest that you do it. It is important for your child to get to know “real” foods in its natural form. I want you to spend a lot of time in the meat, fish and vegetable department and answer all the questions they have. If they pick up an avocado don’t assume they would not like it. Buy it and let them try it.

Make the shopping fun, instead of seeing it as a mission and get them to help as much as possible.

Taking your kids on a weekend away to a farm so they get to see and experience where all the meat, milk, vegetables and fruit actually come from would be fantastic.

3. Make meal timing special.
First of all sit down and enjoy your food with your children. Talk about the different flavours and colours of the foods on the plate.

Make sure that your child is sitting down during the meal. If you have a child that can’t sit down for more then 3 minutes let them walk around and then come back to the table to continue the meal. It is important that you explain for the little ones that mealtime is a special time when the whole family is together.

When dinner comes around make everyone have a special task so they feel involved. Let each child help you plan dinner and cook the dinner with you, have them set the table, even use candles as candles can provide a calming affect on the whole family.

In a couple of weeks I will cover the next 3 important tools for you and your children.

Enjoy the healthy choices you make together.

Is Organic Better For Me?

Whorganic foodat does Organic REALLY mean? Should I be eating organic food? If it’s organic does it mean it’s all good for me? There are some myths and misconceptions that need to be ironed out…

Organic food is of higher nutritional quality and can have a superior taste to genetically modified foods but this doesn’t mean that non-Organic foods are bad for you, non-Organic fruit and vegetables will still give you vitamins and non-Organic meat will still give you protein, but yes Organic is better quality and can be good for you.

A Word of Caution…

On the other hand, not all Organic foods are good for you… Organic chocolate is still chocolate and still unhealthy!

Organic food is proven to have many benefits (listed below) but… you will only reap the benefits if you choose to eat good quality foods in the right portion sizes. Organic certification doesn’t give you free reign to eat as much as you like of any Organically labelled food and still say that you are eating healthy.

For example, sugar is bad for you and will always be bad for you – just because it has an Organic label does not mean it is suddenly good for you and you’ll lose weight if you eat it. Sugar and grains are still pro-inflammatory foods, high in unfavourable carbohydrates, EVEN when labelled as Organic.

If you follow the Ignite Way of Eating choosing good quality varieties of lean protein, favourable carbohydrates from fruit and vegetable and good fats in the correct ratios and the foods you buy are Organic or locally grown the majority of the time, you will be better off than someone not eating Organic foods. But if you choose to eat ANY food that is Organic without limiting portions, you will be unhealthy and not lose weight.

If you want more information read on…

What is Organic?

The basic principle of organic farming is to produce food of the highest nutritional quality possible without using artificial fertilisers or man made chemicals. To be certified as Organic a food must meet certain production standards not just during farming but also during handling.

So the idea is to create products that grow by “working with nature” rather than against it and because Organic farming recognises that nature has been successful is producing and maintaining life for millions of years it makes sense to farm as close to nature intends as possible.

People believe that Organic food tastes better and research is showing that the nutritional quality, taste and storage life are being improved through Organic farming. But Organic food must be looked after at all stages of production, even once you have bought it… food handling at home and even care when taking it home are important for all foods, especially Organically grown foods. Organic food is more delicate, and therefore more easily damaged, so the external appearance of the food may look spoiled even if the quality of the food is not.

What are the Benefits of eating Organic?

  • Increased nutritional quality;
  • Improved taste due to increased nourishment during farming;
  • Supports local small farmers;
  • Keep your food free of cancerous chemicals;
  • Protect the farm workers from chemicals;
  • Decrease carbon footprint.

So What Should I be Eating?

Just because a food is certified Organic does not mean it is “healthy” and does not mean we can eat as much as we like! Portion control is always the key and some bad quality foods should be avoided all together (i.e. sugar and grains). Just make sure you choose Organic foods when possible but so long as you don’t assume “Organic = Good” for all foods you’ll be fine, stick to the fresh, unrefined and raw foods where possible.


Can healthy eating improve your mood?

My answer to that is YES……

Many of us don’t realise there is a connection between health and nutrition and our mood, but what you eat can influence your brain’s chemistry and will affect your mood. Eating healthily can improve the way you feel straight away. When we are deficient in essential nutrients our nerves perform differently and we may experience mood swings and behavioural changes.

To avoid mood swings it is important to eat well — you will feel better about yourself and it won’t be long before people really notice a change in your mood.

If you feel that your mood is unstable and changes from day to day it might be that you –
- make poor food choices
- are overeating
-are following a particular diet

Choosing the right nutrients can affect your daily performance, improve your mood, sharpen your mind and your memory. We shouldn’t forget the power of food and how our nutrition can affect our mental and emotional health.

The foods we eat influence our brain messengers or neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine and noradrenalin). These brain messengers communicate between nerve cells and control mood, appetite, thoughts and behaviours. They generate feelings of happiness, mental alertness and calmness. As these neurotransmitters are derived from the food we eat, positive dietary modifications can regulate their levels naturally and improve your body’s response to stress. If there is an imbalance in the brain’s transmitters it can lead to anxiety or depression and even overeating.

How do we make sure that our mood stays on top so our brain sends us unlimited positive feelings? We have the answer, you have to get your food under control and to do so we suggest that you follow “the Ignite way of eating”.