The link(s) between Sugar & Sweeteners

The link(s) between Sugar & Sweeteners

Sugar is bad for you! That’s the top news of many blogs and dieticians and “wanna be slim” enthusiasts – The Guardian has a whole section devoted to stories related to sugar and it’s effect on the population. There’s no argument here, it is indeed bad for us due to the number of products that pile it in – check out the BBC story How much sugar is hiding in your food?.

Sugars

The temptation of sugar

With sugar being almost impossible to avoid unless you are a home cook fanatic it’ll be there in some degree in nearly every meal, snack and drink. NHS looks at how sugar in our diet effects our health? and Healthline’s blog post on 11 reason why too much sugar is bad for you and everything from social sites to next door neighbours daughter is now an expert on it and like Time magazines article Sugar is definitely toxic it is definitely the number one villain in the world of food and drink.

Some say the sweetest things

The world of marketing has been listening and diet drinks, sugar free sweets, low sugar meals, 50% less sugar sauces etc… etc… is quickly becoming prominent in our stores. So it’s bad for you right? So, this must be good! Remember though, they must sweeten it somehow and what they use is aptly named sweeteners. The NHS educate us again on the truth about sweeteners and fitness magazine take us through the most popular sweeteners on Get Sweetener Savvy and it doesn’t take long to realise that they aren’t a miracle cure to the devil that is sugar. Which leaves us, and Thrillist.com asking which is worse: artificial sweeteners or sugar?.

Artificial Sweeteners

So the shift moves back to negative about sweeteners with articles like those from the BBC asking are sweeteners really bad for you? and Harvard reviewing artificial sweeteners: sugar-free, but at what cost? when the whole reason we moved to them was to get away from sugar. So, may be the answer is we just eat too much?! Most of the advice comes down to one word “moderation”, and as we have found out todays society lacks that control in both ourselves and the companies that produce the food. Sugar is bad for us but instead of a solution we found a workaround which is also bad for us!

You are the answer

As much as we contribute to a society it is our own individual problem. Control what you eat, and others may follow…if they don’t at least you won’t be a victim to the sugar wars. As previously specified there is loads of advice out there from experts like the SugarScience website who breaks it down with How Much is Too Much? to blogs from chefs like Jamie Oliver who takes a look with a similarly titled How much sugar is too much? post.

In conclusion, be wary of what you eat as it is us who abuse it that makes it bad. Stick to natural unrefined where possible, choose a diet that isn’t focused on sweetness and stay away from fast food. You don’t have to be a health fanatic, you just need to be health conscious.

And another thing…

So we are the problem. We love it, it’s generally a natural ingredient and carbohydrates is our first source of energy. Sugar for those who work out at the right time can do wonders, just check out the Greatist blog post The one time it’s totally OK to eat a lot of sugar for some advice. Fact is everyone is different and on top of that we have different goals.

The Pescatarian Challenge

The Pescatarian Challenge

A trip out with my better half kick-started a conversation about eating meat; the quality of meat we are eating, the morality around the methods of how we kill the animals for our pound of flesh and so on. Both being meat eaters it really was merely a general chat that got a little out of hand and ended up us daring each other to stave from eating meat for a month. As she gladly took the challenge (and to be honest, had no doubt she could do it) I had to follow suit.

Pescatarian for a Month

That was what initiated my pescatarian diet for a month and as we approached the start I felt happy to take the challenge on. I’m a fan of meat (big fan of pork and its plethora of varities) but love fish too so thought it wasn’t going to be too bad.

When I was home the variety was incredible. My better half (and this being one reason why she is better) went out and bought fish and seafood I had never tried before. From white fish to smoked variations, sea based to fresh water, meaty swimmers to sea faring molluscs, I’m pretty sure I didn’t have one meal with the same fish throughout the month. Looking into recipes (check out http://www.fishisthedish.co.uk/recipes) we found a mesmerizing array of fish dishes, take out any that included bits of meat was like taking a cup of water from the dead see to see the affect it would have on the salt content. A whole new world opened up to fish and seafood and the question left to us with is “why did we not know all this?!”. We knew the seas were plentiful with our watery delights but meat is prevalent, so widespread we’d just forgot…or just became the norm to go meat first.

Pescatarian diet has a wide variety

Things got difficult…

However, the month we had chosen to do the pescatarian challenge happened to be a busy one work wise and was travelling around quite a bit. It wasn’t long before I noticed what essentially became the biggest pain of being a pescatarian; eating out while on the move (of which happened a lot) is woefully void of fish options. Restaurants were OK albeit having a somewhat limited menu there was always, something to try and some places gave variety but the take-out restaurants, e.g. sandwich stops and the likes to keep me going while jumping on planes, trains and automobiles or just grabbing something quick and easy to take back to the office, was plane old boring. It was always some low-quality tuna or prawn-based meal with the biggest variety coming from the bread used…oh and pretty much always a sandwich or wrap. Some places did offer some better quality and variety of options, but they were far and few between, seeing 8 types of chicken, 4 varieties of pork and 3 beef options next to a damp tuna mayonnaise (eugh, mayonnaise) and prawn Marie Rose sandwich was becoming quite annoying by the third week.

So what did I really think?

At the end of the challenge, which we both completed, I was looking forward to some meat. I was very much looking forward to having choices again but the whole trial has left a lasting impression. Sushi was such a saviour in bringing some variety, excluding bread and not lathered in sauce fatty sauces that it has stuck as firm favourite for eating on the go. I now find myself reviewing the fish options at restaurants when eating out and salmon has now replaced my cooked breakfast as a healthier, and tastier option. I have to say I still love meat, certain dishes are still favourites of mine but the dietary split has gone from 70/30 in favour of meat to the same but in favour of fish.

In conclusion I highly recommend giving it go. It is not without frustration and like me, you may have some failed dishes (anything with crab is a no for me) but this was to be expected when giving things a go for the first time. Main thing I felt was how much better my diet was, quality sustenance when we could get quality produce (frozen mussels weren’t too great) saw less lethargy after meals and easier digestion. A bonus was a new world of food, love or hate it was great to find out new dishes, new seafood and new diet that has stuck with me. Even if not 100%.

The Green Smoothie. How You Can Benefit!

What is a Green Smoothie, how can they benefit me and how do I go about making them?

TrueSapien friends YemSmoothies give advice and answer some Frequently Asked Questions on the subject.

What is A Green Smoothie?

Green smoothie is a thick beverage made using whole fruits a liquid base and leafy greens. Dark leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses containing vital minerals and nutrients

 

Green Smoothies Are Bitter, Can I Add Sugar?

There’s no need to add sugar to your smoothies. Your solid green smoothie sweeteners are some fingers of banana, pineapple rings, mango chunks or dates.

 

What’s The Best Green Smoothie For A New Starter?

Lettuce leaves, Pineapple, Cucumber and Water. Lettuce leaves are quire subtle and will ease you in to the ‘green world’ quite gently. Hopefully you’ll graduate to using Kale and Spinach which are awesome green leaves!

 

How Do I Make A Green Smoothie?

Simple! All you need is a blender, come fruit, green leaves and a base (i.e. water).

 

Can Green Smoothies Be Used As A Meal Replacement?

Yes. If you are drinking a green smoothie as a meal replacement you should ensure that your smoothie does contain protein and some healthy fat. For example you could add some Chia Seed for Protein and a teaspoon of Coconut or Flax Oil for fat.

Remember any changes to your daily nutrition should be sustainable. Small, incremental changes that are long lasting are far more beneficial than drastic, short lived overhauls.

For further smoothie advice and a host of recipe ideas visit @YemSmoothies on Instagram and Facebook.

Triathlon Training Update – TrueSapien and Team GB’s James Hodgson

Triathlon Training Update – TrueSapien and Team GB’s James Hodgson

 

Why is it always me? ~ Neville Longbottom

As the title of this update from the one and only Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets says, ‘Why is it always me?‘.
I say this as for the fourth, yes, fourth, off/pre-season in a row I have had my triathlon training hindered by an injury of one kind or another. Since 2013 when I damaged my right rotator cuff that has caused on and off problems with my swimming. Back in 2014/15 I had a suspected stress fracture in my pelvis that stopped me from running. 2015/16 it was sinus tarsi syndrome in my ankle that put a “stopper on death” (just messing with you, that was Professor Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, bonus points if you read that in his/Alan Rickman’s voice!)…. I digress, the sinus tarsi also hindered my triathlon training by stopping me running for a fair bit of time. So you can probably understand my frustration that after managing to be super consistent since my return from Worlds in October through to mid-January my right shoulder started to play up for a few weeks, and as soon as that righted itself, my right knee/ITB has decided that it is time to start complaining! I’m quickly becoming proficient at using RockTape to strap up my knee/ITB and hopefully everything clears up soonish and I can have a good run at March and April!

 

 

Other News

In other news I’ve also got applications in for a couple of PhD projects once I finish my masters (which is currently very hectic!), so fingers crossed I get one of those to keep doing research when the next academic year starts!

That’s it, a really quick one so until next time, a big thank you to TrueSapien (www.truesapien.com/) for their support and kit, Trion:Z (www.trionz.co.uk/) for their DuoLoop bands and new Zen Loop Solo/Duo which are keeping me focused and sleeping soundly (use code ‘JamesHFreePP’ on any order to receive free postage and packaging!), Sunwise (www.sunwise.co.uk/) for their Waterloo sunglasses which keep my eyes protected during training and racing,  Aqua Sphere (www.aquasphereswim.com/uk/) for providing me with swim kit for the 2016 season, Pedal Potential for their support (www.pedalpotential.co.uk/) and Bulk Powders (www.bulkpowders.co.uk/) for their nutritional support! Also a shout out to my coach Jason Battle of PerformanceCoaching (www.performancecoaching.me/) for his training plans and guidance!

How I Began Open Water Marathon Swimming – Alina Warren

How I Began Open Water Marathon Swimming – Alina Warren

Alina Warren – An introduction

Hi, I am Alina, an open water marathon swimmer from West Wales. I started open water swimming in the summer of 2009, when I was 16. I am a PhD student at Aberystwyth University, and I can be found in the water when not in the office.

How I started open water marathon swimming

My journey to starting open water swimming was completely unplanned. I was on holiday with my parents, both keen canoeists. My father had taken me out into the lake to learn the basics and I of course fell out and had to swim to the edge. It was quite unpleasant and certainly not the moment I found a love for the open water.

The next day my dad challenged me to swim the width of the lake, a very short distance, but a challenge all the same. It was very cold and I struggled across, with a mixture of doggy paddle and backstroke. I have always been one for a challenge and my father knew it. The next day he challenged me to the length, a half mile and I succeeded. The subsequent weekends after we had returned from our holiday he continue to drive me to local lakes in Wales. After a few of these weekends I managed to master some basic front crawl and my swimming was quickly improving. My love for the open water was found when I swam my first mile, doing front crawl, without stopping. From then on challenges of greater distance, in less time were constantly being set.

I had never considered myself a swimmer

I try and explain to people that I was never a swimmer, nor did I ever plan to be a swimmer. It happened by accident really. I have always enjoyed sports, but had never realised I had an aptitude for endurance sport, as I had never really been exposed to it as a child.

From beginner to swimming across Scotland!

Three years after I started swimming in the open water we (my dad and I) decided to come up with a challenge. A challenge I could train for as our weekend trips were becoming a little monotonous. I gained a fantastic coach and started training in an endless pool multiple times per week as well as the open water on weekends. The challenge we came up with was to swim across Scotland, using the great Glen Way, a 117km channel from the east coast to the west coast. We gathered a team made up of 1 land support, Ady, a team Dr on the water, Simon, and my Dad and Gary, both experienced canoeists who led the expedition as well as sighted me whist swimming. We succeeded and gained a world record for being the first swimmer to ever complete this waterway. My love for swimming has only ever grown and it’s now a fundamental part of my day. Living on the coast gives me the opportunity to swim in the open water as much as the weather allows, and I also have a coach based here with an endless pool too.

Keep up to date with my swimming, training and trips away by following my Instagram (@alina_warren), and please feel free to get in contact!

A Runner’s Training Diary. Run Like A TrueSapien!

A Runner’s Training Diary. Run Like A TrueSapien!

Discover what makes runner and OCR Competitor Ben a TrueSapien. We’re following Ben’s training diary over the coming months to gain an insight into a TrueSapien’s daily training.

Read the first post in this series for a Background to Ben and the first week of his diary.

What follows is week 2 & 3 with Ben’s account of how he felt before, during and after and a description of the session.

 

15/1/17
Before: Ready
During: Cold and wet
After: Sore ankles
21km/13miles –  2 hours
Went exploring the NDW again. Lots of frozen mud to smash my ankles and ice to catch me out. GREAT fun !! Nice time on my feet with some new shoes

16/1/17
Before: Sore ankles
During: Fast!
After : ankles still sore
Easy miles to recover from sunday. New shoes feel fast even though they are heavier ! Ankles still sore fro the weekend

17/1/17 double
6am
Before: ankles better
During: good
After: ready for the day
6am run just to wake me up. 20minutes out and back. Freezing!!
7pm
Before: Still sore but getting better
During: Fast!!
After: sore ankles but feeling good
Same run as yesterday but 8s/km quicker! At the exact same HR!! Still easy km for the moment. Back to back quality sessions coming soon.

18/1/17
Rest day  + “cheat” meal

19/1/17
Before: Sore ankles
During: Heavy legs
After: Sore
Quick 20minutes in the A.M longer run planned for  P.M but work went side ways

20/1/17
Before: Sore ankles still
During: heavy legs for the first half, settled in after
After: Shocked!
8x 3minutes Hard (5km race pace) with 2minutes reco very jog. Pushing vo2 to the max and reintroduction to the pain cave a vitally important place if you want to be competitive! Felt tough but first Hard session usually is! Estimated vo2 is now 59! Even with sore ankles and heavy legs

21/1/17
Before: Sore ankles still
During: feeling good
After: Happy
1mile threshold with 1minutes rest x 5
Building that lactic threshold while fasted! Hitting 4min/km putting me on target for 80-85minute half marathon !

22/1/17
Before: Sore ankles
During: STRONG!
After: Sore ankles again
Long slow run, 21km exploring the NDW struggled to keep the HR low due to the changes in elevation but averaged 146bpm (74%)

23/1/17
Decided to rest due to the ankle. It’s important not to make injuries worse when your body is telling you something is wrong .

24/1/17
Before: ankle feeling better
During: started to get sore towards the end
After: Sore but not as bad as before

25/1/17
Another rest day to try and get in front of this before it gets worse and i can’t run at all.

26/1/17
Rest.

27/1/17
Before: Tired but ready
During: Strong ! Until i lost my footing on a pothole!
After: Swollen and sore ankle!
1000m Intervals at 3:30 pace, could quite manage to maintain pace as i was feeling tired from work and a nasty head wind on the up hills killed me but hitting around 3:40/km. Everything was great until i lost my foot in a pot hole! NSAID and rest and hope for the best now !

28/1/17
Rest. Swelling gone down but still uncomfortable

We’ll have more from Ben’s diary in the coming weeks to see how he responds to his injury on the build up to his first race of the season!