Energy Diet

Beefing Up My Diet Efforts

Food
Just the thought of food and my mouth starts to water. I cannot think of anything else in this world that is as diverse as food, even though there are essentially only eight different food groups (dairy, fats & oils, fruit, grains or carbohydrates, meat or protein, sweets, vegetables and water). It’s the way in which food is prepared or served that makes it so appealing, especially to the senses. However, just like every other resource known to humans, we over-exploit this precious resource. Thankfully we have measures in place to ensure that sustainable supplies can be maintained, as long as we all play along.

Meat-Free Mondays
South Africa is joining the global move to encourage people to have one day a week free of meat. It’s a small move with a big impact on the environment, on animals and on health ~ Frys Vegetarian

I’m aware of a few supermarket stores behind Meat-Free Mondays (MFM) due to their campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, but the masses in South Africa don’t have access to social media and I don’t see the adverts anywhere else.

Being a meat-loving person, I find MFM extremely difficult to stick to as I have to admit that I love a nice, juicy, medium-rare steak and wors (sausage).

Seafood
A lot has been said of the decline of the fish stocks worldwide. Thankfully there are numerous campaigns and organizations that are trying to educate people on their choice of fish, but it’s you and me that must change our habits. The Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) database indicates which fish species are safe to eat, in terms of sustainable stocks and/or fishing methods used. The colours are green (safe), orange and red (endangered) and a pocket guide is available

Obesity
South Africa is fast becoming one of the world’s fattest nations, with almost half the population over the age of 15 being overweight or obese. In 1998, 56 percent of women and 29 percent of men were obese and these rates had not changed by 2003.

According to Body Mass Index (BMI), a score of 30 or above is obese – calculate your score. The biggest flaw in the system though is muscle mass is heavier than body fat. For the record, my score is 25.2 meaning I’m placed in the overweight category, compared to my all time low of 22.9 about 2 years ago.

Balanced diet
A balanced diet, exercise and rest are three of the most important factors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Being a competitive cyclist myself, getting the balance between enough carbohydrates prior to racing and enough protein for recovery afterwards is key. But it’s the balanced diet in between races that even more important. A good guide to the daily intake for your main meal, according to sports dieticians Liesbet Delport and Paula Volschenk, is as follows:

  • Protein – the size of your palm (excluding fingers);
  • Carbs – the size of your clenched fist;
  • Fruit & Veg – half the plate

Looking at my scorecard, I’ve reduced take-away meals, only eat sustainable seafood and grass-fed beef, now I just need to have one vegetarian meal per week in support of Meat-Free Mondays and give up a few processed foods.