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Filtering by Category: Nutrition

Going Keto? Here's what you need to know 😃

Tom Pereira

The ketogenic diet has been shown to provide a whole spectrum of health benefits, but getting the balance right requires time and effort. Done well, going keto can have a long-term positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Read on to discover the basics and benefits of a ketogenic diet – and how to get started!

 

The Basics

The ketogenic – or ‘keto’ – diet follows three basic principles; high fat, low carbohydrate and adequate protein intake. It really is as simple as that!

This balance of macronutrients encourages the body to enter a metabolic state known as ‘ketosis’ – where it burns fat for fuel rather than carbohydrates.

The standard keto diet recommends getting 75% of your energy from fat, 20% from protein and no more than 5% from carbs. As we are all wonderfully different, we’d recommend using an online calculator to calculate your individual requirements.

So how does it work? Put simply, when your intake of carbs is really low you don’t have enough blood glucose for energy and so your body turns to fat for fuel – hey presto, ketosis!

 Tip: Not all fats are created equal, so choosing the right ones is crucial to nailing the keto diet in a way that optimises nutritional status. You can find out everything you need to know about healthy fats here.

fat_avocado

The Benefits

There’s no debating the evidence supporting the spectrum of health benefits associated with a low-carb, high -fat diet – from promoting weight loss to preventing disease.

Getting the bulk of your energy from fat and not carbs underpins most of the benefits of a ketogenic diet. In fact, the low-carb part is just as important as the high-fat part!

That’s because when we get most of our energy from carbs our body struggles to convert it to energy quick enough, so it stores it instead. Carbs are stored in the body as either glucose (in our blood) or glycogen (in our muscles). This causes the elevated blood sugars and increased insulin resistance that contribute to so many diseases.

The good news is that by adopting a ketogenic diet you can avoid this and even reverse the damage.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the proven benefits of a ketogenic diet…

·      Promote Weight Loss - A very low-carb diet is more effective than a low-fat diet for weight loss, especially in the long-term

·      Maintain Muscle Mass – Which in turns boosts metabolism and calories burned at rest – further promoting weight loss!

·      Prevent Disease – Linked with reduced risk of Parkinson’s Disease, Heart Disease, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Diabetes, Alzheimer’s and even some Cancers 

·      Reduce Blood Sugar Levels – Which prevents things like stroke as well as nerve, kidney and vision problems

·      Balance Cholesterol – Increases HDL or “good” cholesterol and reduces LDL or “bad” cholesterol

·      Improve Blood Pressure – Reduces diastolic blood pressure and so prevents cardiovascular disease

Tip: It may take some time to get to know the ropes, but it’s most certainly worth the effort to reap these amazing benefits in the long-term! Don’t expect miracles straight away, going keto is a lifestyle change not a fad diet.

lamb leg meat

How Do I Know I’m Doing it Right?

Not only is ketosis something which we understand completely, but it’s also something which can be monitored and measured to ensure all your hard work is paying off!

You can find out if you’re in ketosis by testing ketone levels in your blood and urine. These handy urine strip tests are a convenient, reliable and minimally-invasive way to find out if you’re in ketosis!

Tip: Testing your blood or urine may sound extreme but it’s really useful to monitor your ketones every now and then– for peace of mind that the diet is working. Otherwise, it’s really hard to know either way.

 

Let’s Go Keto!

Now you know what it’s all about, here’s a guide to the types of food you should enjoy and avoid when following a ketogenic diet.

beautiful steak meat

Foods to Include

Lots of these please…

•                Good quality meat and dairy

•                Oily fish

•                Nuts and seeds

•                Low-carb vegetables

•                Avocados

•                Eggs

•                Healthy Oils

•                Herbs and Spices

Tip: The keto diet isn’t about eating as much meat and fat as possible, which you’ll find in abundance in many junk foods. Avoid trans fats and processed meat and opt for real foods as close to their whole food source as possible.

 

Foods to Avoid

No thanks, I’ll go without…

•                Starchy vegetables

•                Fruit juice and fizzy drinks

•                Starchy vegetables

•                Beans and legumes

•                Alcohol

•                Refined vegetable oil

•                ‘Low-fat’ foods (full of hidden sugars)

 

Tip: It makes sense to get to know which foods are high in carbohydrates when going keto, you can find out more here.

 

Doing Keto Well, in a Nut Shell…

  • Calculate your Macronutrient Requirements

  • Balance your Diet

  • Plan your Meals

  • Monitor your Ketone Levels

So there you have it! A simple, easy to follow, go-to guide on all things keto. As always, we appreciate your feedback and if this has helped you find out something new or encourage you into a new way of eating/thinking, let us know! Emails can be sent via the contact us page or follow us on instagram and send us a DM!

Much Love,

Team CGF x

Protein: Animal vs. Plant-Based

Tom Pereira

Protein is protein right? Does it really matter where it comes from? Or is it more important that your overall requirements are met? Well, not all protein is created equal after all – there are actually many differences between animal and plant-based proteins. Knowing which to include more of in your diet can promote health and prevent deficiency. Let’s talk animal vs plant protein!

 

The Pros of Protein

It’s hard to be even remotely interested in health and fitness without hearing the hype about protein. It’s high protein this and added protein that, but is protein the wonder-nutrient it’s made out to be? Well yeah, it is!

Protein is a macronutrient, macro meaning we need it in high amounts, just like fat and carbs. Here’s just a few reasons why we all need lots of protein from our diet:

 

·      Source of Energy – Provides 4 calories for every 1g consumed, that’s the same amount of kcals/g as carbs!

·      Essential Nutrient – We must get it from our food because we can’t make it in the body

·      Provides structure – Protein is the building block for almost every cell in the body – including hair, skin, nail, bone, muscle, cartilage and blood cells

·      Creates Biochemical Reactions – That produce hormones and enzymes needed for digestion, blood clotting and muscle contraction

·      Supports Growth and Maintenance – Repairs damage to cells caused by injury and illness, as well as replenishing protein stores post-workout

 

So, there’s much more to protein than just gains bro! Whether you’re a Greek god (or Goddess) or a couch potato, meeting your protein requirements is vital. Lucky for us, there’s a whole host of foods to choose from when it comes to boosting protein intake.

But does it matter whether these foods are animal or plant-based? In short, yes it does. Let’s explore further.

grass fed ribeye steak yummy

Not all Proteins are Created Equal!

Proteins are made up of individual amino acids, which join together in a sort of biochemical daisy chain! The order and length of these chains varies from food to food. When protein from food is consumed, it is broken back down into separate amino acids. These are then absorbed and utilised to remake whole proteins which the body can use – and so the circle of life continues!

A protein can be complete or incomplete depending on which amino acids it contains in the chain. There are nine essential amino acids (EAAs), which can’t be made in the body and so must come from food. If a food contains all nine EAAs, it is classed as complete – and is a better match for the human body. Most complete proteins are derived from animal sources.

 

Animal vs. Plant-Based Protein

There are pro’s and cons to both animal- and plant-based diets. But when it comes to protein as a standalone nutrient, you’d be hard pushed to back team plant over team animal.

There are very few complete proteins that are entirely plant-based. This means that the majority of plant proteins are lacking one or more of the essential amino acids needed to build cells.

With modern lifestyles, convenience foods and hectic schedules – balancing your veggies to gain a spectrum of amino acids is likely going to fall down your list of priorities pretty fast!

Whilst it’s possible to hit your EAA targets by including a variety of plant-based proteins, it’s likely easier and more reliable to consume a complete protein. What’s more, some ‘complete’ plant-proteins only contain tiny amounts of some amino acids, making it debatable as to just how complete they are.

meat protein tasty

Animal-Based: The Pinnacle of Proteins

Foods derived from an animal source almost always contain a favourable balance of amino acids. That doesn’t just mean meat – single-source complete proteins include fish, poultry, cheese, yoghurt, milk, eggs and meat.

So whether you’re veggie, pescatarian or meat-mad – there’s heaps of choice when it comes to meeting protein requirements. Including just one of these foods with every meal is usually enough to give your body the daily EAAs it needs.

What’s more, animal-based proteins tend to be rich sources of the following nutrients, often lacking in a plant-based diet:

·      Vitamin B12 – Most people who follow a plant-based diet are deficient in Vit B12. That’s because the best sources are meat, fish, poultry and dairy. B12 is important for producing red blood cells and boosting energy levels. 

·      Haem Iron – Iron can be haem or non-haem – haem iron found predominantly in red meat is much more easily absorbed than non-haem iron you’d find in plants -  which is why many veggies and vegans develop iron-deficiency anaemia.

·      Zinc – Studies have shown that we absorb zinc from animal foods more so than from plant-based. Zinc is needed for wound-healing, fighting off infections and also for our senses of taste and smell.

·      Vitamin D – The active form of Vit D – D3 – is found in fish, eggs and dairy produce and raises circulating levels of Vitamin D almost twice as high as that from plant sources.

·      Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Found in abundance in oily fish, Omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA have been shown to promote brain, eye and heart health as well as having mood-boosting properties.

galician beef fillet

Getting your protein from animal-based foods has the added bonus of avoiding refined grains that are commonly used as a protein source in plant-based diets. Grain-free diets have been shown to reduce inflammation, promote gut health and alleviate allergies.

For the best of both worlds, pair your animal-based protein with some fresh, seasonal and organic veggies for an overall protein, vitamin and antioxidant boost!

 

Meat-ing Your Requirements with Premium Animal Protein

As with all foods, there’s going to be cheaper, less healthful and poorer quality alternatives out there when it comes to animal produce.

Avoiding foods which are heavily processed and choosing those which are as natural and as close to their whole-food origins as possible will help to boost your intake of protein whilst supporting overall health.

  •  Support your local butcher

  • Reduce food waste by choosing less-common cuts

  • Choose organic and free-range

  • Go grass-fed and look out for Pasture for Life certification

The Bountiful Benefits of Drinking Bone Broth!

Tom Pereira

Bone broth is a nutritious, delicious and health-boosting meal that can transport you back to your dietary roots and allow you to reap the benefits! The nutrients it contains help to support the health of bones, joints, skin, hair, nails and all kinds of bodily tissues. As a bonus, you get to reduce food waste by using up animal by-products that usually go to waste. Winner winner bone broth dinner!

 

The Skeleton Argument for Bone Broth

·      The modern diet is drastically different to that of our ancestors - lots of nutritious meals haven't stood the test of time and are no longer eaten by most

·      Demand for convenience products and a taste for processed junk food is driving the obesity epidemic and plaguing the population with chronic health conditions

·      Even for those of us striving towards a healthier diet, we are missing some key nutrients that used be eaten pretty routinely centuries ago - and our bodies miss them!

·      Bone broth is a cheap, sustainable and simple recipe to boost levels of certain nutrients commonly deficient in the modern diet

grass fed bones

Health- Boosting Nutritional Benefits

 Bone broth is packed with health-boosting nutrients that support both physical and mental health – let’s take a closer look…

·      Strong Bones

Thinking along the lines of you are what you eat, it makes sense that bone broth would be good for your bones! Our bones need to be incredibly strong but also slightly flexible to avoid breakages. Bone broth is a rich source of collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, which is prominent in bones and connective tissue. Its crisscross formation makes it the perfect ingredient for maintaining strong and sturdy bones.

 ·      Durable Joints

Joints are the connective tissue between bones, think of them as the glue that holds your skeleton together. Over time, joints can get worn down and become inflamed - which is not only painful but degenerative to bone health. Bone broth simmers down the connective tissue of the animal, making the joint-healthy nutrients it contains more digestible. It also provides a good dose of collagen, elastin and proteoglycans - which can be used by our own bodies to repair and maintain joints.

·      Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails

Our skin, hair and nails are all made up of a matrix of proteins including collagen, keratin and elastin, which helps to keep them strong and healthy. Some beautiful benefits of eating bone broth include shinier hair, stronger nails and plumper skin. As we age, our body's natural production of collagen drops. This contributes to the visible signs of ageing including sagging skin, wrinkles and furrowed brows. Boosting collagen in the diet helps to minimise these effects by giving your skin the tools it needs to stay youthful for longer.

·      Gut Health

Proteins found in the connective tissue of animals are broken down into amino acids when consumed and can then be reused to make our own proteins. These are then used to structure and regulate all kinds of bodily tissues, including the gut.

The gut is an incredibly intelligent organ, capable of communicating with the brain via something called the gut-brain axis. This communication regulates mood, emotion, stress levels and sleep patterns. So, providing your gut with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy can promote mental as well as physical health.

Nutrients found in bone broth also help to maintain the gut lining, reducing inflammation and preventing digestive conditions like leaky gut syndrome - which causes toxins and waste products to leak into the bloodstream, as well as nutrients to be lost through the intestinal wall.

side order to a grass fed steak

Bone Broth uses up Food that would Otherwise go to Waste

When animals are slaughtered for meat only half the animal ends up on supermarket shelves, with the rest separated out into animal by-products. These aren't commonly eaten but are packed with health-boosting nutrients.

Bone broth turns the connective tissue, bones and marrow often wasted in the meat industry into a nutritious meal. What's more, because of low demand for such products these are incredibly cheap to buy. As if this wasn't good enough, you can also reduce your own food waste by keeping off-cuts of meat and bones that you'd usually discard and freezing them until you've got enough for a fresh batch of broth! 

Relishing the Recipe 

Bone broth is an up and coming concept, so there's heaps of products out there presenting you with a readymade or concentrated broth. But making it yourself is a doddle, not to mention cheaper and more sustainable – so why not give it a go?

There are many variations of bone broth and there's no right or wrong way to make it. You can add meaty off-cuts, the bones from any animals and a variety of vegetables to your broth - just experiment until you find the right mix for you – you can also buy our bone broth in the shop ;).

Whatever you choose to use, roast everything first and then simmer in a large pan with some good old water for up to 3 days to let the ingredients break down and the flavour develop. Many recipes recommend adding some vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar, to help release the nutrients and make them easier to absorb. You should only need a couple of tablespoons to help this along.

Embrace your Inner Chef

Bone broth can also be enjoyed as a base for soups, sauces, stocks and gravies. If you're cooking up a pan's worth you can freeze in batches for handy little stock pots that can be added to any meal. And f you're feeling brave you can even add a dose of bone broth to shakes and smoothies for a potent protein boost!

Here are just four reasons why you should give the broth a go :)

·      Reduce Food Waste

·      Support your Local Butcher

·      Boost your Physical and Mental Health

·      Get Creative in the Kitchen

So what are you waiting for?! - get simmering, sipping and savouring to enjoy the many benefits of a hearty bone broth!

In the shop you can find our pure beef bone broth made from grass fed bones. We roast our bone broth for an hour and a half then simmer for 72 hours to really pull all of the goodness out. We refrain from sending it out via courier as we have had some issues, needless to say we are working on a resolve, watch this space!

Team CGF x