All posts by Sallyanne Pisk

Health Benefits of Whole Grains: There are Many

It probably seems confusing that I am writing about the health benefits of whole grains when there has been so much coverage promoting grain-free and carb-free diets. Whole grains have been on the menu for at least ten thousand years, so why would we want to stop eating them?

As mentioned in part 1 of this series, I think the real confusion has come about due to our misunderstanding of the differences between whole and refined grains. In this article, I outline the health benefits of whole grains.

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Whole grains: Do I really need them?

I am often asked about whole grains. Two of my most frequently asked nutrition questions are “Do I need to eat grains?” and “How much do I need?”

So much confusion has arisen about grain foods, gluten, and carbohydrate containing foods due to fad diets that focus on eliminating food groups.

In this post, I will explain what whole grains are, and why most of us need to eat them. I will also discuss who should avoid or limit certain grain foods.

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Control Appetite Naturally & Mindfully

I often hear stories about struggles with overeating, commonly expressed as “I am always hungry”, and “I just don’t know when to stop eating”. A number of different factors influence our natural hunger and satiety mechanisms. In this article, I share 7 ways to control appetite naturally.

7 Ways to Control Appetite Naturally

#1 Avoid fad and restrictive diets

If you feel that you have been overeating, a common reaction is to start restricting what you eat. Please avoid fad or restrictive diets to control appetite.

Our natural appetite mechanisms work best when we have regular amounts of whole foods, based on how active we are. Our body and mind respond to both the quality and quantity of the food that we eat.

Restricting our food, generally leads to distress and overeating or binge eating.

Restricting our food, generally leads to distress and overeating or binge eating.

#2 Eat whole foods

I always promote whole foods, or minimally processed foods, because they come with natural fibre, protein, and fat. Plus, they retain most of their vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, depending on harvesting, storage and the cooking methods. Eating whole foods is a positive way to control appetite.

Dietary Fibre

Scientific research indicates that dietary fibre slows down the digestion process, helping us to feel satisfied for longer. It also has other benefits, such as slowing down the absorption of dietary sugar.

Good sources of dietary fibre are:

  • Vegetables
  • Legumes and lentils
  • Fruit
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts and seeds

Eating whole foods is a positive way to control appetite.

Protein

Protein appears to be “the boss” when it comes to satisfying hunger and keeping us feeling satisfied for longer.

There is also considerable ecological research demonstrating that the protein content of food influences how much apes eat.

Protein appears to be more important than energy (calories or kilojoules) in determining the quantity of food we eat.

However, we don’t need to overdo the protein-rich foods—legumes and lentils, lean meat, fish, poultry and dairy foods. Just keep to the recommended guidelines for whole foods.

Healthy Fats

Foods containing fat are better at reducing hunger than carbohydrate foods. Dietary fat slows down the emptying of the stomach. We also feel satisfied for longer.

Nutritious choices:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado
  • Deep sea fish

Again, keep to the quantities in the recommended guidelines for these foods.

#3 Eat most of your food before 1pm

Eastern medicine, including Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, recommend eating most of our food before 1pm, as our digestive function is strongest between 5am and 1pm.

There is also growing scientific evidence that eating most of our food by lunchtime assists in the maintenance of healthy body weight and blood sugar levels (for people with type 2 diabetes).

#4 Eat mindfully

The Eating for You approach to mindful eating encourages you to tune into your appetite, what you feel like eating and how you feel after eating.

It provides guidance on how to tell the difference between physical hunger and non-hunger reasons for eating.

The Eating for You approach to mindful eating encourages you to tune into your appetite.

You can learn more about mindful eating through the Introduction to Mindful Eating Workshop.

And you may register your interest in the online Mindful Eating Introductory Course here.

#5 Be active

Being physically active provides a number of health benefits. Research also shows that our appetite hormone, ghrelin, is lowered by exercise, whereas appetite suppressing hormones such as leptin, are raised.

#6 Have quality sleep

Sleep is essential to a well functioning mind and body. And the quality of our sleep impacts on appetite hormone levels, in particular, ghrelin and leptin.

Poor quality sleep increases ghrelin, making us feel hungrier and reduces leptin, which means we eat for longer until we feel satisfied. We also desire fatty and sugary foods.

Adults require 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

#7 Calm your mind

Stress and other emotions can lead to comfort eating and the overeating of fatty and sugary foods.

For some, stress causes a loss of appetite or drive to eat.

Learning techniques to de-stress helps you to control appetite in a healthy way.

Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, and mindful eating help to quieten our mind and help to reduce stress.

Quality sleep and spending time with loved-ones also help to reduce stress levels and calm our mind.

Learning techniques to de-stress helps you to control appetite in a healthy way.

If you are unable to calm your mind, due to depressing thoughts or feelings of being overwhelmed, then please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner.

Controlling our appetite is not just about food. It is about creating a mindful way of eating and living. You can find out more about mindful eating here.

The next Introduction to Mindful Eating Workshop is on 17th February.

Register Here.

7 Healthy Ways to Sign-Off Your Year

The end of a year is a popular time for reflection. And I encourage it. However, I believe it is important to have a balanced view of your year. By balance I mean taking time to recall everything that you are grateful for—challenges faced, support given and received and what you have learned. It is a shame to sign-off your year without acknowledging and celebrating all of these gifts.

This blog post requires you to do some written work too, so take out your journal or electronic device, and get ready to sign-off your year in style.

A collection of photos from Sallyanne's 2017 - family, food, trekking, Nepal, online program development and workshop space

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