A Nutritionist’s Guide to Hot Yoga

Hot yoga is a favourite amongst many yogis (especially me!), not only does it have all the benefits of ‘traditional’ yoga, but it also heats you from the inside out, with some people believing the idea of hot yoga was to replicate the heat and humidity of India.

Hot yoga is great for many reasons, but it results in the body getting very warm which can result in a lot of sweat. Most articles promise that hot yoga will ‘sweat out toxins’ but from previous blogs, we know that our body is a complex, intelligent system with our organs such as liver and kidneys getting rid of toxins for us. So, although there are many benefits to hot yoga such as muscle flexibility being improved, increased blood flow to arms and legs due to the physical exercise aspect and it goes without saying – a stress reliever, making us feel calmer and in some cases ‘brand new’ after an amazing class, the hot aspect cannot work miracles (sorry!)

In most cases people perceive hot yoga as more demanding on the body and rightly so, you are in a 40 degree room after all! However, it can be a little intimidating to beginners or those that are not sure if they will stand the heat. Every yoga class should be taken at your own pace but this blog is here to give you a couple of top tips on how to prepare the body for your sweaty, energising hot yoga classes.

 

Hydration is key!

When you become dehydrated, water and electrolytes imbalances can occur which may lead to the exercise performance being affected. Therefore, hydration pre, during and post exercise is crucial whether it be ‘normal’ or hot yoga. There are variables between individuals when it comes to sweating rates and sweat electrolyte meaning customised fluid replacement programs can be recommended however, this blog will be general guidance.

The American College School of Medicine (ACSM) provide evidence-based position stands, providing guidance of the appropriate hydration for individuals performing physical activity. For example, pre-exercise the ACSM recommend consuming 5-10ml/kg body weight 2-4 hours prior to minimise dehydration during exercise.

Dehydration increases physiological strain and degrades aerobic exercise performance, which is accentuated in warm weather, baring in mind most hot yoga studios heat the room to over 40 degrees! Ensuring that you are hydrated pre-exercise and sip water throughout the class can help prevent severe dehydration and, in some cases, reduce fatigue. Don’t worry about sports drinks here, water is always the first fluid of choice.

 

Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates are an important fuel for the brain and central nervous system. Many studies have shown that consuming carbohydrates before exercising can increase carbohydrate burning in the muscles and can delay the feeling of fatigue with some studies even showing an increase in performance.

If you are a breakfast lover the NHS recommend starting your day with a wholesome breakfast, which is perfect if you have time to eat before your morning class. Oats are a great source of fibre and carbohydrates, they are so easy to throw in a smoothie or make porridge/overnight oats with teaming alongside foods such as honey, nuts or fruit (contributing to your 5 a day at the same time).

Replenishing your carbohydrate stores after class is vital, try and team with protein for a delicious post workout meal. For the evening yogis, meals such as lentil and chickpea curry or chicken and broccoli pasta are a great sources of carbohydrates and protein!

 

Protein:

Protein pre and post exercise is important however, the strongest research is for post exercise. Protein does provide a little fuel source for exercising the muscles but its main job is to compensate for increased muscle breakdown post exercise to help repair and grow the muscle. For those who have done hot yoga before, it definitely works those muscles!

High quality proteins are recommended post exercise, ideally, ones that are absorbed fast such as whey protein. Many studies have found that consuming the protein with carbohydrates after exercise enhances recovery and promotes muscle building (also replenishing the carbohydrate stores you have just used in your yoga class!) The amount of protein required depends on the individual and their overall movement, the ACSM recommends 0.75g /kg body weight for a more sedentary person compared to an athlete recommended 1.2 – 2g/kg body weight. Great sources of protein are lean meat, fish, eggs, soya, beans and lentils. The classic beans on toast could be a great post yoga snack if you prefer food to protein supplements after a class.

 

Remember!

A balanced diet will always be key here if you are a regular yogi, as always food should always be first! If you are unsure on anything from this blog please speak to a registered dietitian or nutritionist, especially when it comes to supplements. Hot yoga is a great form of exercise but if you already have a balanced diet, supplements should not be needed. Always stay hydrated and ensure the body is nourished before and after your class!

 

My favourite studio in Greater Manchester is HotYoganic, if you are in the area be sure to give them a try! There is a lovely variety of classes, including beginner classes!

 

 

 

References:

Sports Nutrition Anita Bean, NHS, ASCM, Burke et al 2011.


How to get enough Iron in your diet

Many nutrient requirements change through the lifespan and iron is no exception, not only is there different requirements at different ages there are different requirements between genders. This article will explore different recommendations helping you reach your daily intake through highlighting foods rich in iron.

Iron is a mineral that has many different roles within the body. Iron is needed for cell growth and production of red blood cells in our blood, the haemoglobin in red blood cells binds oxygen and transports it around the body. The British Nutrition foundation state that iron is also an essential component in many enzyme reactions, having an important role in the immune system.

Recommended intake for different groups:

The British Dietetic Association provide the table below to help us recognise the different requirements;

Population Group Age (years) Iron mg per day
Infants 0-3 months

4-6 months

7-12months

1.7

4.3

7.8

Children 1-3 years

4-6 years

7-10 years

6.9

6.1

8.7

Adolescents 11-18 years 14.8 (girls)

11.3 (boys)

Adults 19-50 years

50+ years

8.7 (males) 14.8 (females)

8.7

 

 

Iron deficiency:

Iron deficiencies occur when a lack of dietary iron results in a deplete in iron stores in the body. More than 2 billion people in the world suffer from anaemia making iron deficiency the most common nutrient deficiency. Mild anaemia symptoms are often feeling tired, lacking energy, shortness of breath and sometimes an increased risk of infection. More severe iron deficiency symptoms are heart palpitations, brittle nails, itchy skin and mouth ulcers developing.

Population groups that are more at risk of iron deficiency are woman of a child bearing age and teenage girls as you can see from the table above their requirements are higher than those of men the same age. The National diet and nutrition survey (NDNS) indicate that women are below the reference nutrient intake (RNI) and that younger woman are below the lower reference nutrient intake resulting in intakes being inadequate.

Although woman of a child bearing age require more iron, there is currently no need to increase intake during pregnancy. The BNF state that the extra demand can be supported by pre-existing stores and the lack of menstrual blood loss.

 

Dietary Iron:

There are two main sources of dietary iron; haem iron which is found in animal food and non-haem iron which is found in plant-based foods. Haem iron is the most bioavailable form of iron with sources being red meat; beef, lamb and pork particularly rich sources whereas poultry and fish aren’t as rich. However, even though haem iron is the most bioavailable, non-haem iron is the predominant source in our diets through foods such as cereals, pulses, beans, nuts, fruit and vegetables. It is important to understand that non-haem needs a little help with absorption, for meat eaters this isn’t so difficult as haem iron can increase the absorption so a balanced plate of red meat and green leafy vegetables can have a positive affect on iron absorption.

 

Optimal iron sources for plant-based diets:

Non-haem iron can be affected by different foods which can potential reduce the absorption. Phytate, fibre, tannins (in tea) and calcium can all bind to non-haem iron in the intestine (resulting in low absorption rates) however, eating foods rich in vitamin C such as fruit and vegetables can support the absorption when eaten at the same time. For example, teaming a small glass of orange juice and topping your porridge and fortified milk with seeds and berries may help aid absorption.

 

Foods rich in iron:

Animal products which are high in iron include;

Beef, pork, lamb, liver, sausages and eggs with some fish including mackerel, tinned tuna and prawns contain small amounts.

Plant-based sources of iron include;

Baked beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, tofu, figs, almonds, brazil nuts, peanut butter, sesames seeds, sunflower seeds and green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach.

Fruit and vegetables to team with the plant-based sources (high in vitamin C) include;

Kale, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, oranges, broccoli, mango, red peppers (some are a source of iron too!)

 

Top Tips:

  • A balanced, colourful plate full of a variety of vegetables
  • Try a small amount of dried fruit for dessert such as apricots/figs
  • Add beans with meat in stews, curries, pasta dishes
  • Sprinkle salads with seeds such as sesame or sunflower
  • Opt for fortified foods such as milks and cereals (check the label, is iron fortified?)
  • Seek help from a Registered professional if you think you maybe deficient in iron, the doctor can check with a blood test.

 

References:

British Nutrition Foundation

British Dietetic Association


Top Tips for Veganuary

Happy New Year!

Another year has gone in the blink of an eye as well as a lovely Christmas break full of extra yoga (utilising that time off work well!) or full of extra food and drink! January for many is a time where people look to make fresh starts and try new things – we have all seen the new years resolution posts haven’t we?!

One of the most popular ‘new things’ to try over the last couple of years has been Veganuary. Veganuary is a charity run campaign to encourage people to try a vegan diet for the month of January hence Vegan-uary. Last year saw an increased number of retailers and restaurants jumping on board the vegan hype, having dedicated menu sections and shopping aisles purely for vegan products.

Many people have opinions on this campaign both positive and negative, but there is no doubt veganism is rapidly growing as a lifestyle choice, with the Vegan society stating there were 542,000 vegans in the UK in 2016, a whopping 360% growth over the last ten years! So, whether you are new to the vegan scene or you just want some extra nutrition advice, here are some top tips to consider if you are opting for the plant baed diet this January.

How to get enough protein:

Protein plays several important roles in this functioning of our body such as growth and repair and the maintenance of good health. There are a variety of plant-based sources of protein on the market such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu and soya. In the UK it is advised to aim for approximately 70g of protein each day. When following a vegan diet variety is key as some sources of protein do not contain all the essential amino acids needed by the body. Foods such as soya, quinoa and hemp are thought to be the only ‘complete’ plant-based sources of protein that do not come in supplement form.

Vitamin Deficiencies:

People following a vegan diet can sometimes be more likely to be deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. Some of the vitamins to try and include in your diet are listed below.

Vitamin B12 is a very important vitamin to be aware of it you are eliminate all animal products from your diet. A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause fatigue, anaemia, and potential nerve damage. The British Dietetic Association recommend eating two portions of fortified foods per day to help with your B12 intake such as breakfast cereals, yeast extract, soya yogurts and non-dairy milks. If this isn’t possible, consider taking a daily supplement with approximately 10mg of Vitamin B12. (If you have any concerns about this please see your GP or a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist)

Iron is usually found in meat and eggs with absorption being helped through Vitamin C. Plant based sources of iron are not as easily absorbed however, you can find iron in foods such as dried fruits, wholegrains, leafy green vegetables, seeds and pulses. To help absorption consume with foods high in vitamin C such as citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables for example; porridge with seeds and raisins serve with a 150ml glass of fresh orange juice.

Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid which means the body cannot make it itself therefore we must obtain this from food. Omegas are important for contributing to growth and development, brain function and inflammation. Omega 3 is commonly found in oily fish, so this can be hard to get from a vegan diet. The British Dietetic Association (BDA) advise those who cannot get their Omega 3 from fish sources to maximise conversion by avoiding high in saturated fat foods and to focus on adding plant foods that contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) as well as considering a supplement from algae derived DHA. Good sources of Omega 3 in plant-based foods include walnuts, flaxseeds, soya beans and chia seeds.

Calcium is mainly found in dairy products so when following a vegan diet then you are best to try and include foods such as; green leafy vegetables, dried figs, nuts, kidney beans and tofu to help towards your recommended intake of 700mg per day – the Vegan Society state that 100g of calcium-set tofu can provide a half of an adult’s recommended intake. Calcium is important for the maintenance of bone health.

Selenium content in plant-based foods can vary depending on the selenium content of the soil the plant is grown in. This is sometimes hard for those following a vegan diet to ensure they are getting enough however, the BDA say that by consuming just two brazil nuts a day can help you reach your recommended intake of 60mcg for females and 75mcg for males.

 

If you are taking part in Veganuary this year, enjoy it, get creative with new foods, exotic recipes, and embrace those indulgent vegan dishes in restaurants, just try not to deprive yourself of any foods your body may need. Do not feel the pressure to eliminate animal products from your diet if you don’t want to, this should not be a new year’s diet. Maybe having one day each week being vegan is enough for you… don’t feel pressured into changing your eating habits if it doesn’t suit you.

If you are unsure on anything then always speak to a medical/nutrition professional. Your body unique, nourish it well. 


Super Easy Smoothie Bowl

Hi guys,

Thank you for all your messages asking about the smoothie bowl I posted on Insta this morning!

Smoothie bowls are to me literally what it says on the tin, my fave smoothie poured into a bowl so it really is that simple!

 

Ingredients:

1 banana

3 large handfuls of frozen blueberries

3-4 tbsp of oats

1 tsp honey or syrup of choice

1 tsp peanut butter

40ml of milk of choice

 

Toppings:

Frozen raspberries

Chia seeds

Extra oats

(all ingredients for those asking are from Aldi except the wholefood peanut butter, so nothing mega fancy)

 

Method (if you can even call this a method it’s that simple):

  1. Add the banana, blueberries, oats, honey, peanut butter and milk to a blender and blend on low speed until thick.
  2. Pour in to your most insta worthy bowl
  3. Decorate with your fave toppings

 

*if you are not bothered about the bright purple colour, I usually add spinach too for some veggies*

Enjoy and tag me in any snaps!

Sarah x

 

 

 


Turmeric – is it the new miracle spice?

Hi Nutribloomers,

I have been getting asked a lot about the health benefits on turmeric and if it is something we should be adding into our diet. With it being featured on ‘this morning’ earlier this week as well as getting lots of media coverage, I felt it was quite relevant to add a little evidence based blog.

 

I love adding turmeric into curries especially coconut milk based ones and having the odd turmeric latte (recipe below) however, as with most foods it is important to eat in moderation… but I bet you knew I was going to say that?!

Turmeric has lots of rumours going round about how it can cure cancer, diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimers as well as aiding weight loss. To keep it short and sweet it is not the miracle spice you may think.

Turmeric contains the antioxidant chemical curcumin which is usually what is found to have anti-inflammatory properties we hear so much about (it also gives tumeric its bright golden colour)  However, its quantities can vary with the turmeric we buy in our local supermarket, with some bottles only containing around 3% and with curcumin being poorly absorbed we would need kilos of it to see any benefits.

Turmeric extract on the other hand can contain as much as 95% curcumin which is usually tested in scientific, test tube studies. There is not enough sufficient evidence to show the benefits of turmeric in humans at the moment and much more research is needed. However, that is not to say stop eating it, if you enjoy it then whack it in those curries and opt for a turmeric latte now and again but if you don’t enjoy it then don’t feel the pressure to add it it your diet, you aren’t missing out.

 

Just a quick note on recent media coverage. It important to note that every body is different and what has worked in one person may not actually work for you. Always speak to a medical professional/Registered Dietitian or Reg. Nutritionist before adding vast amounts of something like this into your diet. Please do not consider IV treatment for ingredients such as turmeric (it has unfortunately led to a death in 2017) 

 

If you do want to try turmeric I would recommend a tablespoon in any type of curry or if you want to see what all the fuss is about try my homemade turmeric latte recipe below:

 

Spicy Turmeric Latte Recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon of ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 150ml of your chosen milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Add all ingredients into a pan and whisk.

Stir ingredients over a medium heat until warm

Add to your favourite mug and dust with extra cinnamon and enjoy!


Setting an Intention this New Year

Happy New Year everyone!

As a new year begins I just want to take a moment to share my gratitude for one of my personal highlights of last year with you all. 2017 was the year I finally completed my Yoga Teacher Training Course. Not only was this a challenging journey but it was one I am very grateful for and it is certainly not over yet. I have learnt so much about connecting mind to body and it is something I feel I really need to focus more on.

I often preach about ditching the detox and never feeling guilty about food choices, but instead making small mindful changes and listening to your body. Just in case you were wondering, I 100% practise what I preach (as much as I love avocado I also love chocolate and as much as I love kombucha I also love prosecco!) #balance right?!

 

For this blog post I thought I would focus more on our mind rather than whats in our fridge. It is a fresh, new year after all and I promise it will only take a minute.

 

Setting an Intention

When I start every yoga class, whether I am teaching or practising I set an intention. At first, I used to listen to examples the teacher was guiding the class through but now before I step on to the mat I know (most of the time!) why I am practising yoga and who or what I want to dedicate my practise to.

Each intention we set is personal so it would be unfair for me to start talking about what we should be grateful for or why we should be happy as we are all unique (another thing I harp on about!) but I do believe that setting an intention is something you should consider doing. If you are in need of some inspiration I once read that setting an intention ‘translates your practice off your mat and into your life.’

However, you do not have to be stepping on to the mat to set an intention, the new year, the start of a new day or even whilst you are making a fresh cup of coffee might suit you best. Anything from one to even ten minutes just focusing on some ‘you’ time can be a great step to self care. Taking some small, calming moments to reflect, may help you recognise what has been challenging you or what really makes you happy, then your intention may be built from there.

I find walking, yoga and baths a great time for me to unwind and get some head space but there are lots of great apps, Youtube videos and playlists that can help too. So, if big New Years resolutions don’t work for you maybe take a few moments now to begin your intention setting journey.

Here are two of my favourite things to help you begin to unwind and reflect:

  • All Bar One – Mindfulness Matters Playlist on Spotify
  • Guided Meditation on the Head Space App

 

I hope this has as much as a positive impact on you than it does for me, good luck!

Sarah x

 

 

 


Ditching the detox this New Year

Merry Christmas guys!

Tis’ the season to be festive, drink lots of Baileys and eat lots of turkey (or nut roasts… no discrimination here!)

After a lovely festive season where food seems to be the centre of all social events (woo) many people begin to look at extreme diets. We have all heard people say “2018 is my year” “The diet starts January 1st” and a personal favourite “New year, new me!” Whether that be through detoxing, juicing, calorie restriction or eliminating food groups from the diet, there will be some kind of product available to ‘help’ you achieve this.

If this sounds like you then you are not alone and as good as people’s intentions are you may be spending time and money on something you don’t need to.

Ditching the detox is something that you may hear many Registered Nutritionists and Dietitians talking about and for most of us detoxing is unnecessary.

A detox may indicate that our body is full of toxins and unless we ‘detox’ they will just begin to build up in the body.  Thanks to our kidneys and liver working all day, every day, this is simply not the case.

A detox can comes in many different fad forms. Here is a little myth busting on the top three I get asked about:

 

Juicing

This can be anything from days to weeks consisting of consuming nothing but juices. The idea of juicing may have started with good intentions, you are contributing to your 5 a day and consuming lots of vitamins and minerals after all. However, you are also consuming a lot of free sugars when the fruit is blended or juiced as well as losing some of the fibre, which can help keep our gut happy. Public Health England recommend that we limit our fruit juice and smoothie intake to around 150ml per day to limit the free sugars in our diet.

 

Detox teas

A lot of these products are a marketing dream, claiming to detox you from all the ‘bad’ foods you have eaten and all the alcohol you may have drank. I wont rant on about these too much but I would advise you not to waste your money on them. If you are wanting to check out how valid their claims are, visit the ASA website and see how many of them get pulled up on false advertising.

 

Eliminating food groups

Unless there is a medical reason to why you should cut key food groups out of your diet then this is something you can definitely ditch. Carbohydrates, protein, fats, fruit, vegetables and dairy/dairy alternatives all contribute to a healthy, balanced diet. Removing one of these core food groups from your diet without advice from a Registered Nutritionist or Dietitian could cause you more harm than good. Carbohydrates may seem like the enemy on social media but wholegrain varieties can help towards your fibre intake and should be our main source of energy. Lets give carbs a break in 2018 please!

 

How to ditch the detox…

  • Firstly, think about why you are starting this ‘detox’ journey in January, is it really the best time for you to be spending more time focusing on your diet? The ‘new you’ can start whenever, so don’t feel you have to rush into a quick fix.
  • Don’t start panicking by downloading calorie counting apps and throwing the pasta away just yet. Take a step back and look at your diet and how it makes you feel. If it is overwhelming then speak to a professional.
  • Do not listen to ‘Sally from down the road’ when it comes to nutrition advice, if you are willing to spend over the odds on heavily marketed products you may as well see a Registered professional for real, trustworthy advice.
  • Remember we are all different, ‘Sally’ may have a completely different lifestyle to you. ‘Sally’ may feel better for cutting red meat out of her diet but is she feeling better because of this or is she possibly eating more fish, veggies and overall variety which she may have never had before.
  • Is your health professional actually a professional? Or do they have very good marketing to get them over 10,000 followers on Instagram? If you want nutrition advice that you can trust and can help with your lifestyle check out the Association for Nutrition Register.
  • There are some amazing PTs out there but are they qualified nutritionists? If something doesn’t sound right then question them and ask for evidence. A true professional should be more than happy to provide you with references if they are credible.
  • Try and drop the guilt surrounding food and Christmas. Yes we may eat too much but no doubt you are having a great time when you are, so remember memories will be what you look back on, not how much protein you ate that day.

 

I am more than happy to answer any questions on detoxes. If you hear of a new one that has come out this New Year that you may be unsure on then I am happy to have a look into it for you guys.

Have a great festive season and see you in 2018 🙂

Sarah x

 

*Disclaimers:

I have no personal grudge against anyone called Sally. 

 I have been in two minds about if I should post this blog. Everyone has different relationships with food and if this time of year brings anxiety or any stress to your eating habits then please get in touch.