Archives for posts with tag: health myths

I can hardly believe it’s been a year since I launched Sarah Thorp Fitness, and what a year it’s been. It’s been incredibly busy (as you may have gathered from my lack of blog posts) and fantastically rewarding at times. But this doesn’t mean it has all been great fun – far from it: there have been quite a few times over the past year when I have felt over-worked, stressed, exhausted and generally down. It’s upsetting to feel like that when you think you have finally found your dream job but, at the risk of sounding cheesy, it has forced me to rediscover myself; to think about what really makes me tick and what is important to me, and to make changes to my work and life to fit in with this.

I don’t regret setting up Sarah Thorp Fitness and I’m very lucky to be able to go around dancing and exercising for a living, but I don’t want that to be all I do. I’ve discovered I need variety in my life:

I love to teach dance and fitness classes…but not too many.

I love being left alone to do editing work or to write stories…but not for too long.

I love doing hardcore HIIT workouts, going to exercise classes, dancing and I love love love stretching…but I also love lying on a sofa for hours on end and engrossing myself in a good book.

Most of all I love spending time with my family and watching my little girl grow up and being around for her as much as possible.

I guess I knew all of this before, but somehow in my endless quest to find the perfect job and have the perfect body and be the best and healthiest person I could possibly be, I’d managed to forget that being healthy and happy is all about balance and not about any one thing.

There are so many healthy living blogs out there written by amazing people who seem to have discovered the best and only way to live and eat and who (if what they write on Facebook or Twitter or on their blogs is anything to go by) never, ever slip up. Paleos, vegans, raw foodists, vegetarians: they all think their way of eating is the only way to be truly healthy. Then there are those who swear by daily yoga, daily meditation, daily runs, daily juicing, daily green smoothies, daily supplements, daily oil pulling or tongue scraping (yes, these last 2 are real things – google them if you don’t believe me). Many of these blogs are truly inspiring and educational and I still read them from time to time, but I’ve had to ration myself because I got to the point a few months ago where I was becoming obsessed. I was reading healthy eating blogs and articles constantly and was becoming increasingly stressed and confused, and I felt like a complete failure because I didn’t have the time (or the inclination) to do all of the things I should be doing every day. Even worse, I was beginning to stress my family out with all my ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’ when it came to food. And the funny things is, the harder I tried to be healthy, the worse my digestion seemed to get and the more down on myself I became.

Why am I sharing all of this with you? Because I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this and I want to remind you that being healthy is not just about doing the hardest workouts you can do and having the healthiest diet in the world. In order to be healthy we need to be kind to ourselves from time to time: we need to know how to listen to our bodies and know when to give in to laziness or when to have something nice to eat just because it makes us happy in that moment. Of course, I am not saying we should all start eating rubbish, give into every single craving and slob out all the time but we need to find a balance that works for us as individuals. I know that drinking too much cow’s milk or eating too many tomatoes makes me feel sick and that too much sugar and too many grains makes me anxious and agitated, but equally if I cut grains out of my diet completely I feel low, angry and lacking in energy. Other people won’t eat meat or fish because it doesn’t feel right for them but as long as I don’t eat meat too late at night, I don’t have any problems with it.

Everybody is different and needs different things in life, so rather than beating ourselves up and setting rigid rules about what is good and bad for us, shouldn’t we start listening to our bodies a little bit more and find out what works for each of us as unique individuals? Read these blogs, feel inspired and take on board the advice given but don’t get carried away with it all. Experiment with your food and fitness and mental well-being and see what makes you feel the healthiest, happiest and most alive you can feel…and don’t be afraid to change your mind if what you thought was right to start with doesn’t seem to work anymore.

x

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There is something I’ve been meaning to write about ever since I started Cloves & Ginger but I kept putting it off because I never knew where to start. I still don’t really know where to start, but I’m going to give it a go anyway! I want to talk about FAT. Everyone thinks they know about fat: it is supposed to be bad for us, it’s supposed to cause heart disease and it’s supposed to be the main cause of obesity.

But none of this is true.

There are bad fats that cause all sorts of diseases, but these are bad because they have been processed and altered during food production. These are called trans-fats or hydrogenated fats and are not naturally occurring. They can be found in margarines, vegetable spreads and a lot of packaged foods such as sausage rolls, quiches, biscuits and cakes.

Natural fats found in pure oils, nuts, avocado, meat and even butter are

not the enemy. [They are] a very important path to health and without [them] we would not be able to make hormones, vitamin D, vitamin K, all our cells and brain tissue. Fat not only makes things but has an important part to play in our structure. Structural fat gives us beautiful cheeks, padding under our heels, protection for vital organs and curves of a woman’s body.  Fat is also required for energy, in fact fat is a better quick energy source then sugar.

Know Your Fats – www.changinghabits.com

Cyndi O’Meara explains all of this so much better than I can, so please head over to her blog (once you finished reading this one, of course!) for a more detailed and scientifically accurate explanation of why the low fat, high carbohydrate diet is not the healthy diet we’ve been told it is. Try reading:

Know Your Fats

and

It’s Official Saturated Fats Are Good For You!

The latest evidence about fats tells us we need to stop avoiding natural fats – and that includes saturated fats. Low fat alternatives that are advertised as good for our health and our waist lines are not only lacking in essential nutrients, they are often packed with unhealthy sugars. Trans-fats and unpronounceable chemicals are also common in these supposedly healthy foods. Jessie Reimers has written an excellent blog in which she shows the ingredients in a low fat tub of yoghurt. It’s worth a look.

Based on all of this, if you want to be healthy and slim, I suggest you ditch the diet foods, cut down on your carbohydrate intake and get to know your fats a little bit better. Here are a few suggestions on where to start:

  • Replace sugary snacks with nuts and nut butter.
  • At meal times, pile your plate high with protein, fat and vegetables but go easy on the starchy carbs.
  • Don’t be afraid to use oil in cooking or as a dressing, but make sure you pick the right oil for the job. Oils change structure and become harmful to our health when they are heated past their smoke point. Olive oil, for example, has quite a low smoke point so it is best to use it for cold dressings on salads rather than for cooking. Rapeseed oil and coconut oil have high smoke points so they are brilliant to cook with.
  • If you eat cheese and yogurt or drink milk go full-fat rather than skimmed. It won’t make you fat and you’ll enjoy the taste so much more.

Please do go and research this big FAT issue further. I think you’ll be surprised by some of the information out there.

x

It’s been a while since my last post. I’m sorry for the long pause. I hope you haven’t all given up on me just yet. Life (moving house) got in the way of writing for a while but I’ve still been thinking and reading about healthy foods and recipes and health related topics.

A couple of months ago I read a blog post on the Soya Bean and how it disrupts hormones.

I’ve known for a while that soya isn’t the healthy alternative it’s supposed to be, but I must admit I wasn’t really sure why. I’ve never been a massive fan of soya based foods like soya milk or tofu so I didn’t worry too much about it, but when I read this piece I was surprised at just how much it is used in shop-bought foods, as well as baby formulas. I wanted to share it with you all immediately, but it took me a while to get around to it! It’s taken me 2 months, but finally here it is:

The Soy Bean and Other Hormone Disrupting Foods and Products

Almond milk:

If you’re looking for a dairy-free substitute for milk, Hayley Hobson tells you how to make your own almond milk on her blog, here. I tried it a couple of weeks ago and it seemed to work pretty well. I still love my cow’s milk, but I would definitely recommend it for anyone who’s off dairy.

If anyone tries it, please let me know. I’d love to hear how it works for you.

x

Ps. I promise I won’t be leaving it so long between posts next time. Expect more from me very soon…