Q: Where is your accent from - are you British or Australian?
A: My accent is neither British or Australian - I am from South Africa, my accent is South African.
Q: What is your ethnicity?
A: I am part Belgian, Danish, German, French, Dutch, British and Irish (Lol, my family traced my genealogy). But I was born in South Africa, and both my parents were also born in South Africa.
Q: How long did it take you to lose 40 Lbs?
I've shared my weight-loss story
over on my YouTube channel - sharing the struggle that I had while trying to lose 40 Lbs. In this video
, I shared what diets and methods did not work for me, and (after years of struggling with my weight) what method did eventually work for me. After finding this method, I lost 30 Lbs within 12 weeks and it took me another 6 months to lose the last 10 Lbs. The initial 30 Lbs was the bulk of the weight, and I'd say the lost most of that during the first month.
Q: Will you continue to post "What I eat in a day to lose weight" videos on YouTube?
I get so many requests to keep posting "What I eat in a day to lose weight"
videos over on my YouTube channel
. I am no longer trying to lose weight, but I have more than 4 recipe books (that I've handwritten) filled to the brim with weight-loss recipes that I used while I was trying to lose weight. So yes - if you guys want more of these types of videos, then I'd love to keep filming "What I eat in a day to lose weight" examples for you (examples of what I ate daily to lose 40 Lbs).
Q: Will you continue to make YouTube videos?
I have decided to start uploading a new video to my YouTube channel
every week. I used to upload sporadically, but have decided to make my YouTube channel more of a "channel" and so you'll find a new video each week - stay tuned and subscribe if you'd like to watch!
Q: Who films your YouTube videos for you?
A: I actually film and edit my videos myself - this is my hobby and I do genuinely enjoy it (even though it is hard work).
Q: What equipment do you use for filming your YouTube videos?
A: I do not currently have the fanciest equipment, and the truth is that you do not need "fancy" equipment for filming a YouTube video. I rely mostly on natural lighting (meaning that I film during the day and close to a window), but I do also have some basic lights that I bought online (these were not expensive). I use a Canon 77D and a Canon 650D for filming, and I mostly use 3 different lenses (a 50mm, 85mm, and 30mm) - but I generally just use a 50mm lens. I use a Rode VideoMic for sound, and a Blue Snowball Mic for my voiceovers. I mount my camera on a tripod (that I also got online), or I will place my camera on a shelf or nearby table. I edit my videos on my MacBook Pro and I use Final Cut Pro. And... now you know my filming/ editing secrets!!!
Q: Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
A: I am more of an introvert than an extrovert, but I do have my extrovert moments! I am quiet and mostly introverted in "real life" - but put me on a stage or in front of a camera, and I am in my element. Go figure!
Q: Do you have a job?
A: I do have a job. I actually have my own businesses - and now making YouTube videos and blogging has also become part of my job. Don't be fooled, it can actually be hard work - but I love it!
Q: Besides YouTube and blogging, what are your other hobbies?
I love to bake, cook and experiment in the kitchen to create new healthy recipes (this will generally happen on the weekends when I have more time). I also love to sing and write songs, and also love acting - these are my main passions! I love to paint portraits as well (using acrylic paint), but I haven't had the spare time to do this in a while. And like most girls (and some guys), I love to shop and put together outfits. I also love eating chocolate (is that even a hobby though?), but I try to make sure that it's one of my healthy chocolate recipes
Q: Do you workout? Did you workout when you were trying to lose weight?
I have posted some of my workouts on my YouTube channel, and will continue to upload some more workouts and fitness tips over time. For weight loss - I mostly did strength training (check out my workouts
on YouTube channel) and my fave 16 min HIIT workout
Q: What is the most important part of weight-loss?
A: I always tell women that the most important part of weight-loss is consistency! Being consistent with your eating plan and exercise plan is the most important thing that you can do to reach your weight-loss and body goals.
Q: Can’t I just take fat-burner or fat- blocker pills to lose weight?
A: There are no fat-burner pills or supplements that will help you to lose a large amount of weight and keep it off. The crazy truth is that most fat-burner or fat-blocker pills lack evidence as to how they affect the human body, especially long term. Taking these kinds of pills or supplements could possibly lead to long-term health problems and may have negative side affects (many unknown to man). Truthfully, there isn’t a substitute for a healthy lifestyle when it comes to weight-loss and fat- loss. Following a healthy diet and exercising regularly is the best and most effective way to lose weight, and keep it off.
Q: Should I eat before or after a workout?
A: A lot of people stress about whether they should be eating before or after a workout, but at the end of the day it does not really matter. Eating before or after a workout will not make you lose or gain weight - it is the total amount of calories that you consume in a day that will cause weight-loss or weight-gain. If you feel better when you eat something before you exercise, then you should eat something - it doesn’t have to be a large amount of food. If I am working out really early in the morning (first thing), then I will often only eat after a workout. But if I wake up feeling really tired and hungry then I might have a small snack before a workout!
Q: Do I have to avoid carbs to lose weight?
Carbs are a macronutrient and are therefore essential for sustained good health, healthy weight-loss and normal body function. We need to eat carbs every day so that our cells have energy, and so that we can be healthy! Eating carbs will not make us gain weight, only eating too many calories every day will make us gain weight. To lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way we must eat a balanced diet (with carbs, fats and protein) and we must eat fewer calories than what we are burning through planned exercise and normal everyday movement. Low-carb diets are not sustainable long term for weight-loss - as soon as you re-introduce carbs back into your diet (after not eating them) you can easily gain weight back. For more info on carbs and weight-loss, you can also check out my post "Are carbs really evil?"
Q: Is it okay to eat carbs at night?
A: It does not matter what time of day you decide to eat your carbs - this will not affect weight-loss. Only eating fewer calories overall in a day will make you lose weight. It is important to eat carbs, fats and protein with each meal.
Q: How do I manage my sugar cravings?
A: If you eat a well balanced diet with good carbs, healthy fats and good protein then you are less likely to crave sugar and junk foods throughout the day. Eating more low GI carbs such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes and leafy greens will also help with the management of sugar cravings. These low GI carbs cause less of a spike in blood sugar levels than processed carbs like white breads, pasta, cakes, sweets, rolls and candy.
Q: How do I satisfy my sweet tooth in a healthy way?
If you have a major sweet tooth and feel like you just can’t live without a small sweet treat, then the best thing to do is opt for sweet fruits instead of candy and sweets. Try snacking on fresh berries such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries or even grapes and clementines. Remember not to go overboard though - even with snacking on fruit - and work your fruit servings into your daily meals and snacks. Keep in mind that you will crave what you eat, so if you are eating lots of sweet foods then you will likely crave lots of sweet foods. If fruit is just not doing it for you, then you can also try some of my healthy treat recipes: www.liezljayne.com/recipes/treats-dessert/
Q: How do I satisfy my chocolate cravings in a healthy way?
A lot of people crave chocolate (especially us women), and for good reason - it tastes amazing and it makes us feel like we are in food heaven (even if it’s just for a moment). Chocolate is one of life’s simple pleasures! While some chocolate candy bars, sweets & desserts may be unhealthy food choices (filled with refined sugars and highly processed ingredients), there are some healthier ways to get your chocolate fix. What many people don’t know is that chocolate CAN be healthy! Cacao (unprocessed cocoa) is chocolate in it’s pure form, and it offers many amazing health benefits! Chocolate releases endorphins which gives immediate feelings of joy and excitement. It also ignites the release of a nerve chemical called serotonin which results in an overall sense of well-being. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine (both cause a mental boost) and phenylethylamine which stimulates the nervous system, increases ones blood pressure and heart rate, and is produces similar feelings experienced when a person is in love. Did you know that chocolate is a superfood? A superfood is a food that is considered to be beneficial for ones health because it is very rich in nutrients. Pure cacao contains powerful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals! My favorite ways to get my fix of chocolate is to eat healthy chocolate oatmeal
or a healthy chocolate smoothie
. These are both so easy to make, they’re healthy and nourishing and they leave me feeling good with sustained energy and happy feelings! You can eat chocolate - just choose to eat it the healthy way (chocolate oatmeal or a chocolate smoothie are good choices) and work it into your eating plan (I often have chocolate oatmeal or a chocolate smoothie for breakfast). Browse my healthy chocolate recipes here: www.liezljayne.com/recipes/chocolate/
- or give my 3 ingredient weight-loss chocolate recipe
Q: How do I get increased and sustained energy?
A: Having long lasting, sustained energy is something that we all strive after, because energy is what enables us to do everything. Energy makes it possible for us to work, to spend time with friends, to spend time with our loved ones, to play with our children or little cousins, to laugh, to watch tv and even to go on Facebook or Instagram. If you have ever had a “low energy moment” or a “low energy day” where you felt tired and depleted or you have just felt completely exhausted, it may have a lot to do with what you ate that day... or the day before, or even a few days before. If you feel like you constantly have little or no energy then chances are that you are not giving your body the nutrients that it wants, or needs to be vibrant, healthy and full of energy! Getting enough exercise and moving around throughout the day will actually help with having consistent energy levels. Eating a balanced diet that contains good carbs, healthy fats and good protein at every meal will also give you increased and sustained energy. Also make sure that you are drinking enough water everyday and getting enough sleep! Avoid processed, refined foods and eat whole foods to get the best energy. Some people (not all people) feel tired if they eat too much animal-based protein during the day. While animal-based proteins are healthy, they can sometimes require more energy to digest. If you notice that you feel tired with low energy levels after eating meat during the day, then try eating plant-based proteins (nuts, seeds, legumes) with your breakfast and lunch meals - and then eat your animal-based proteins with your dinner. Please note that not all people feel this way after eating animal-based proteins and meats. Some people feel best when they eat animal- based proteins with all of their meals - we are all different.
Q: Do I need to take a vitamin supplement?
A: We have been conditioned to believe that we all need to be taking vitamin supplements every day - but if you make healthy food choices then you should be getting all of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. A vitamin supplement or multivitamin cannot make up for an unhealthy diet - if we eat enough vegetables, leafy greens and fruits in a balanced diet then we should be getting all of the nutrients that we need. However if you have any special dietary, health needs or health problems, or you feel like you may be lacking certain vitamins then you should check with your doctor or health practitioner to see if you need to take a vitamin supplement. Water soluble vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin B can be taken every day (the excess will be flushed out in urine), but fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K can do more harm than good if taken in excess. Fat-soluble vitamins get stored (whatever is not used immediately) in fat and can be harmful if you take an over-dose. Always check with your doctor or health practitioner to see whether you need to take a multi-vitamin or a vitamin A, D, E or K supplement. You can take a vitamin C supplement everyday if you wish to, this can help to boost the immune system naturally.
Q: How much weight should I be losing each week?
A: If your goal is to lose weight then you should realise that woman’s body is different, and so the pace at which she will lose weight will be different to another woman. Every single person’s results will vary. Reaching a plateau (having your weight stay the same for a while without losing more weight) can be normal after having lost weight. If you do reach a plateau after losing weight then do not lose faith - if you still want to lose more weight then you must just stick to your healthy diet and keep exercising. Focus on being healthy, staying fit and eating foods that make you feel great!
Q: What happens when I reach my goal weight?
A: Once you have reached your goal weight, you should start to eat a bit more of each kind of food (healthy carbs, healthy fats and good protein) until your weight stabilizes - so that you can maintain your weight. Reaching your goal weight is not an excuse to binge on a whole lot of junk food or go back to your old lifestyle. If you want to maintain your goal weight then you need to keep up your healthy lifestyle which includes eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. If you start to eat too much food or stop exercising regularly then it is possible to gain weight. Focus on living a healthy lifestyle and exercising, and focus on eating a balanced diet that makes you feel good!
Q: How do I stay fuller for longer?
A: Because we want to lose weight while we diet and because we are restricting calories to a certain extent, this means we are often eating smaller portions of food and eating fewer times in a day than usual. However, getting that wonderful feeling of fullness (not too full - a content fullness) is not the hardest job in the world if you know what foods to eat! There’s no doubt about it (and science proves this to us again and again) that certain foods do keep us fuller for longer, and other foods don’t keep us full at all. Because we are all different, some foods will keep me full for a long time but they may not be your most filling foods - for that reason it’s good to test out some meals and foods to see what works best for your body. Keep in mind that combining healthy fats, protein and good whole carbs together at every meal is a sure recipe for staying fuller for longer. Foods that will generally keep us fuller for longer include proteins such as eggs (including the yolk, lean meats, chicken, turkey, beef, fish, legumes, nuts and seeds). Eating healthy fats such as avocado, olives and cold-pressed oils, nuts and seeds also help to keep us fuller for longer because they take longer to digest than carbs. Carbs that are high in fibre are also great for keeping us full - eat whole carbs such as vegetables, fresh fruit, leafy greens, legumes and whole grains like quinoa, whole rolled oats, steel cut oats and brown rice.
Q: How do I eat healthy on a budget?
A: It is possible to eat a healthy diet on a budget - I would know because I did it for years while living on a very tight budget. The price of certain foods will vary from country to country, and from season to season, but there will be affordable healthy foods available wherever you live. The best low-budget health foods to buy are generally foods such as legumes (you can get big bags of dry legumes at a very low price), whole grains such as whole rolled oats and brown rice, nuts such as almonds, leafy greens like baby spinach, fruit like bananas, apples, citrus, frozen berries and vegetables such as carrots, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, zucchinis and butternut squash. These foods are generally quite well priced all over the world, and depending on where you live there will also be other healthy foods options available in bulk that are good value for money. Animal protein sources such as dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, pork and fish tend to differ in price, due to availability, from country to country. Do some research to find out what foods are most common were you live - these will probably be the most affordable foods for you to purchase.
Q: Should I be following a gluten- free or a wheat-free diet?
Following a gluten-free or wheat-free diet is not the magic secret to losing weight ,this is because the calories provided in gluten containing grain foods will be very similar or the same as gluten-free grain food options. For example: I can eat a slice of wheat bread (which contains gluten) or I can eat a slice of gluten-free bread (made with rice, corn and oat flour) and the calories for those 2 slices of bread will roughly be the same. If you decide that you should follow a strictly gluten-free diet, it should be because you feel best when you eat no gluten. Some people feel bloated and gassy and struggle with digestive issues when they eat gluten - other people don’t seem to be affected by eating gluten. All of the diet plans and recipes included in The Beautiful Body Guide
CAN be gluten-free if you want them to be. For example, you can easily eat a slice of bread but choose to buy gluten-free bread instead of wheat bread. What I recommend to women is that they eat whole grains as much as possible and try to avoid white refined flours and processed grain products. Please take note that often gluten-free bread options can be just as unhealthy as wheat bread because they are made with white refined flours. For better health, choose wholegrain gluten-free breads that contain no added sugar. Be very careful of buying breads that contain lots of added sugar. Be sure to read the ingredients of the bread and check the calorie content of each slice if you are trying to get into better shape (100 calories per slice in general is a good amount). Going gluten-free is a choice that you must make for yourself - delicious gluten-free grains include brown rice, quinoa, millet, steel cut oats and whole rolled oats. There are also some great gluten-free products available on the market, such as brown rice pasta, brown rice wraps and corn tortillas. I follow a mostly gluten-free diet because of allergies (I am allergic to wheat) and so I eat lots of gluten-free whole grains (already listed), and also eat 100% wholegrain rye bread occasionally which does contain gluten (but gluten doesn’t negatively affect me, wheat does).
Q: How do I follow a dairy-free diet?
Going dairy-free can seem like a daunting task, but it’s really not as hard as it may seem. These days there is an increasing number of people in the world who are discovering that they are lactose intolerant (being lactose intolerant can cause multiple digestive issues and complications). There are also some people who are not lactose intolerant, but who actually have allergies towards dairy (symptoms can but do not always include sinusitis, chronic sinus infections, headaches, migraines, chronic fatigue and chronically sore throats). I am allergic to dairy and so I have been following a dairy-free diet pretty much my entire life! There are also so many healthy dairy alternatives available around the world today that were not around 5 or 10 years ago. Some healthy dairy alternatives include almond milk, cashew nut milk, nut milks, coconut milk, rice milk, oat milk, cashew nut cheese, macadamia nut cheese and coconut cheese. There are many dairy-free options in the eating plans and recipes provided in The Beautiful Body Guide
. If you do not eat any dairy or are wanting to follow a dairy-free diet then you must exclude all butter, milk, yoghurt, cheese and other dairy products from your diet such as ice-cream. I follow a completely dairy-free diet and so I don’t eat any meals that contain dairy - or I substitute, for example, a serving of yoghurt for some unsweetened almond milk, avocado, nuts or anything else that I want to eat that doesn’t contain dairy. One of my favorite dairy-free tricks is to add a little bit of avocado to a smoothie to make it super creamy - avocado has a subtle flavor and is so it’s not usually noticeable if you have added other ingredients to the smoothie such as berries or cacao powder. I love to have unsweetened almond milk or cashew nut milk as a dairy-free alternative to milk and will often eat cashew nut cheese instead of regular cheese (it’s so delicious).
Q: Are grains healthy or not?
I followed a completely grain-free diet for a few years because I believed that all grains were unhealthy. What I have come to realize though (after much research over many years) is that grains CAN be healthy. While processed grains that come to us in the form of white refined flour and processed foods are not healthy and contain no nutrients (they only give use empty calories), whole grains in their whole form are healthy! Whole grains include brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, farrow, steel cut oats, whole rolled oats (not quick cooking or instant oats), wholegrain rye and even bulgar (which is wheat in it’s pure, unprocessed form). However if you decide that you feel best when you eat a grain-free diet (some people suffer from digestive issues when they eat grains of any kind), then there are plenty of grain-free options in the recipes and meal plans provided with The Beautiful Body guide
. For weight-loss - substitute grains for other foods that offer the same amount of calories - for example you could switch 1 slice of toast or 1/2 cup cooked brown rice or cooked oatmeal for 1 sweet potato, 1 banana or even 1/3 avocado. These serving sizes all offer the same amount of calories and points. Please note that before you decide to exclude grains from your diet, you should try eating multiple varieties of whole grains and see how they affect your energy levels and general health.
Q: What’s the difference between a plant-based and a vegan diet?
A: A plant-based diet is a diet that is made up from mostly plant foods (it is based in plant foods) such as vegetables, fruits and leafy greens - as well as nuts, seeds, grains and legumes. While a plant-based diet is “based” on plants, it is not strictly committed to only eating plant foods. A plant-based eater may also decide to consume some dairy and eggs or even fish and seafood to compliment their plant-based diet (sometimes even a minimal amount of meats). A vegan diet is strictly made up of only plant-based foods. A vegan dieter will only consume plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains. Someone following a vegan diet will not eat any animal-based foods such as meat, dairy, eggs, fish or seafood.
Q: Is following a strict vegan diet healthy?
A: A strict vegan diet is made up of only plant-based foods and no animal-based foods. There is no plant-based source of the essential B12 vitamin that we all need. People will usually get vitamin B12 from sources such as dairy, eggs, seafood or meats. There may be many benefits from following a strictly vegan diet, such as consuming many nutrients and antioxidants because of a diet that is rich in many fresh fruits and vegetables - however, there is no plant-based source of the essential B12 vitamin that we all need. Making the decision to follow a strict vegan diet that refrains from eating all animal- based proteins is a very personal decision - one that may be based on religious, spiritual, ethical or other reasons. After many years of studying nutrition (and after trying a vegan diet myself), I have come to the understanding that a vegan diet may be no healthier than a regular diet (I used to think so a few years ago) - however, this is a very personal decision. Some people feel the need to follow a strict vegan diet and they have the right to do so. When you make a decision to follow an exclusionary diet (for example eating no animal-based foods, or even carbs or no fats), it is important to make sure that your body is still getting all of the important nutrients that it needs. If you choose to follow a strict vegan diet, focus on eating whole food choices such as whole grains, fresh vegetables & leafy greens, fresh fruit, legumes and nuts & seeds.
Should you decide to follow a vegan diet, it’s important to make sure that you eat lots of foods that are rich in iron (plant-based sources) to prevent becoming anemic (having an iron deficiency). Good sources of iron include foods such as dark leafy greens, baby spinach, broccoli, raisins, dried apricots, chickpeas, soy beans, lentils and pumpkin seeds. Iron is best absorbed in the presence of vitamin C. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, lemons, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, grapefruit, leafy greens and kiwi fruit. If you’re following a plant-based diet, it’s also important to consume foods rich in vitamin B such as nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes and broccoli. It is also very important to get enough B12, without it our nervous systems can be damaged. Make sure that you take a vitamin B12 supplement or get vitamin B12 injections from your doctor regularly if you follow a strict vegan diet and don’t eat any animal-based proteins at all. Should you decide to follow a strict vegan eating plan, it is also recommended that you check with your doctor, GP, health practitioner or personal dietician to check whether an exclusionary diet is suitable for your personal health needs.
Keep in mind that just because something is vegan does not necessarily make it healthy. For example, I can easily follow a vegan diet but still eat lots of processed foods such as white flours, sugars, junk food, sodas, pastries and candy (all of which can be vegan). Focus on eating vegan foods that are in their whole, unprocessed forms - for example: whole grains, legumes, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, raw nuts and seeds. While following a vegan diet, it is also important to make sure that you are eating a balanced diet that contains healthy fats, whole carbs and good sources of protein. Choosing to follow a vegan diet means that you must also make sure that you are getting all of the essential amino acids that your body requires from protein. When we eat animal-based proteins such as eggs, seafood or meats, we are eating complete proteins and are getting all of the amino acids that our body needs.
It is not possible to get complete proteins from plant-based foods, but you can combine high-protein plant-based foods to make complete plant-based proteins. Here are some examples of plant-based food combinations that will give you complete proteins: corn & beans, rice & beans, rice & peanuts, lentils & rice, chickpeas & rice, quinoa & beans, quinoa & almonds, peanut butter & oats, oats & almonds, legumes & seeds, legumes & nuts, grains & legumes, grains & nuts, grains & seeds. If you are trying to lose weight while following a vegan diet, you must be mindful of calorie consumption (like with any diet) because foods such as legumes, nuts, seeds, oils and grains can still be high calorically. The Beautiful Body Guide
includes various 14 day eating plans, healthy recipes and a build-it-yourself eating guide specifically for vegan diets (plant-based, vegetarian and regular options are also included).
Q: How do I follow a healthy vegetarian diet?
A: Vegetarians generally avoid all meats, poultry and seafood in their diets. They instead focus on eating eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, healthy fats like avocado & oils, fruit and vegetables. When you make a decision to follow an exclusionary diet (for example eating no meats, no seafood, or even carbs or no fats), it is important to make sure that your body is still getting all of the important nutrients that it needs. If you choose to follow a vegetarian diet, focus on eating whole food choices such as whole grains, fresh vegetables & leafy greens, fresh fruit, legumes, eggs, dairy and nuts & seeds. Should you decide to follow a vegetarian diet, it’s important to make sure that you eat lots of foods that are rich in iron (plant-based sources) to prevent becoming anemic (having an iron deficiency). Good sources of iron include foods such as dark leafy greens, baby spinach, broccoli, raisins, dried apricots, chickpeas, soy beans, lentils and pumpkin seeds. Iron is best absorbed in the presence of vitamin C. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, lemons, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, grapefruit, leafy greens and kiwi fruit. If you’re following a plant-based diet, it’s also important to consume foods rich in vitamin B such as nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes and broccoli.
Should you decide to follow a strict vegetarian eating plan, it is also recommended that you check with your doctor, GP, health practitioner or personal dietician to check whether an exclusionary diet is suitable for your personal health needs. Keep in mind that just because something is vegetarian does not necessarily make it healthier. For example, I can easily follow a vegan diet but still eat lots of processed foods such as white flours, sugars, junk food, sodas, pastries and candy (all of which can be vegetarian). Focus on eating vegetarian foods that are in their whole, unprocessed forms - for example: whole grains, legumes, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, eggs, dairy, raw nuts and seeds. While following a vegetarian diet, it is also important to make sure that you are eating a balanced diet that contains healthy fats, whole carbs and good sources of protein. Choosing to follow a vegetarian diet means that you must also make sure that you are getting all of the essential amino acids that your body requires from protein. When we eat animal-based proteins such as eggs, seafood or meats, we are eating complete proteins and are getting all of the amino acids that our body needs.
It is not possible to get complete proteins from plant-based foods, but you can combine high- protein plant-based foods to make complete plant-based proteins. Here are some examples of plant-based food combinations that will give you complete proteins: corn & beans, rice & beans, rice & peanuts, lentils & rice, chickpeas & rice, quinoa & beans, quinoa & almonds, peanut butter & oats, oats & almonds, legumes & seeds, legumes & nuts, grains & legumes, grains & nuts, grains & seeds. If you are trying to lose weight while following a vegetarian diet, you must be mindful of calorie consumption (like with any diet) because foods such as legumes, nuts, seeds, oils and grains can still be high calorically. The Beautiful Body Guide
includes various 14 day eating plans, healthy recipes and a build-it-yourself eating guide specifically for vegetarian diets (plant-based, vegan and regular options are also included).
Q: Raw vs. cooked food - which is better?
A: In the health industry, there is a big debate about whether raw or cooked food is healthier. I have tried a fully raw diet and have found that balance between raw and cooked food is the best. Yes, some may be lost nutrients while cooking but in certain foods (like tomatoes for example) certain nutrients can only be absorbed by the body when the food is cooked. Too much raw food can also make it difficult for the body to digest. Certain foods like hard root vegetables are best broken down and absorbed by the body when they have been cooked and other soft foods such as spinach or bananas may be best absorbed by the body when eaten fresh and raw.
Q: How should I prepare vegetables so that they taste good and are still healthy?
A: Lightly steaming vegetables or eating them fresh and raw are great ways to eat vegetables. Oven roasted vegetables are also delicious and healthy, I always say that if you are in doubt about how to cook vegetables, just roast them! Slow roast your vegetables at a medium temperature with sea salt, cracked pepper and a little drizzle of oil (I like to use macadamia nut oil). Vegetables are also delicious added to soups and stews and in these forms they are easily absorbed by the body and are still filled with healthy nutrients when cooked at a low to medium temperature. Spice things up sometimes and lightly sauté your vegetables in a frying pan (if you like to) with a little oil, sea salt and some fresh herbs. Careful not to overcook or burn your vegetables - this may destroy nutrients - and do not boil vegetables as this causes almost all nutrients to be lost. Learn to love vegetables by finding healthy balance between eating raw, roasted, steamed, stewed and souped!
Q: Is eating meat healthy?
A: It has become quite popular to follow meat-free diets in recent years, and many people fear that meat is unhealthy. Making the decision to follow a strict vegan or vegetarian diet that refrains from all animal- based proteins such as meat is a very personal decision - one that may be based on religious, spiritual, ethical or other reasons. Some people feel the need to follow a strict vegan or vegetarian diet and they have the right to do so. However, meat and animal- based proteins are actually healthy - in moderation of course, like with any food. Meat and animal-based proteins will not alone cause weight-gain, eating too many calories is what causes weight-gain. In fact plant-based proteins can contain just as many calories as animal-based proteins. Meat and animal-based proteins are very good sources of protein and amino acids, they also contain essential vitamins and minerals. If you choose to eat meat as a source of protein, it is recommended by health professionals that you purchase unprocessed meat products from a good reputable source. Buy grass-fed beef and lamb, and buy grain-fed poultry that comes from free-ranged animals!
Q: Is eating soy healthy?
A: Soy is popular among vegans, vegetarians and among people who follow dairy-free diets. Tofu and soy beans are high in protein and soy milk is a popular milk alternative for people who are lactose intolerant. However, there may be some dangers with eating too much soy. Studies have shown that soy and soy products may be unhealthier than what we have previously thought. GMO soy products and highly processed soy products have been linked to various sicknesses and diseases, and it has been recommended by health professionals worldwide that we limit these types of soy products intake in our diets. If you choose to eat soy as a source of protein, or as a dairy substitute, it is recommended by health professionals that you purchase organic soy and soy products that are as unprocessed as possible. Always buy soy products from a good reputable source!
Q: Is a low-carb, high-fat diet good for weight-loss?
A: You may have come across the newly popular way of eating that promotes a low-carb, high-fat diet. I followed a high-fat, low- carb diet for almost 3 years (with the hopes of losing weight) - and gained more weight than I was ever able to lose. What I learned during this time is that no matter which diet we follow, if our goal is to lose weight then we should remain mindful of calories (fats are high calorically). After years of studying nutrition, I’ve realized that it’s not good to exclude any food group from a diet. Fats, carbs and protein are all equally important for good health, for weight- loss and for a sustainable lifestyle. Low-carb diets are not sustainable long term for weight- loss - as soon as you re-introduce carbs back into your diet (after not eating them) you can easily gain weight back.
Q: Am I eating enough calories?
A: When you start a new way of eating and make a big lifestyle change, there is ALWAYS an adjustment period and you can expect this. For the first 2 weeks or so, you may feel a little hungrier than usual and may have lower energy levels. Sometimes the stomach also needs to shrink a bit (if you have been over-eating) and often the body just needs to get used to a healthier way of eating. We’ve gone over the basics of calorie consumption (in this nutrition guide) - we’ve talked about why calories are good and not “bad” and we’ve looked at how many calories we should each be consuming each day to lose weight (depending on our current weight, natural build, how active we are and how much lean body mass we have). Once you have started your new way of eating, you need to pay attention to if you are losing weight and how you are feeling (energy levels, etc) - so that you can increase or decrease your calories if you need to. You need to be completely honest with yourself about whether you are consuming too many or too few calories.
Example 1: I might be following a 1400 calorie diet but I am quite sedentary throughout the day and am not losing any weight. I need to be honest with myself about this and try eating a 1200 calorie diet instead.
Example 2: I might be following a 1200 calorie diet and am losing weight very quickly, I also have noticed that my energy levels have decreased dramatically. I need to be honest with myself about this and try a 1400 calorie diet instead. If I try a 1400 calorie diet and I no longer lose any weight then I can try a 1200 calorie diet again and assess my energy levels on a day to day basis.
If after 2-3 weeks to a month of consistent healthy eating (that means really giving it a go), you feel terrible then you should discuss these issues with your doctor or health practitioner to see whether your new diet is right for you. In The Beautiful Body Guide
, I show you exactly how to many calories you should be consuming each day to lose weight in a healthy way - based on your natural build and shape, current weight, and daily activity level.
Q: Is it okay to eat the same foods every day?
A: I often get asked this question by women that I work with - women who like to eat oatmeal with coconut oil, blueberries and almonds every morning for breakfast, or clients to like to eat eggs with avocado and toast every morning for breakfast - and my answer is always the same. If you find a certain breakfast, snack, lunch or dinner that is healthy and you love to eat it everyday then that is totally okay. Often we are restricted to buying a limited variety of foods due to our budgets or what is available to us. If you like to eat oatmeal for breakfast every morning and you love it and it makes your body feel good then there’s no reason why you should stop! However, if you start to become bored by your same menu everyday, feel that your diet is lacking certain nutrients or begin to crave junk foods, then it may be time to incorporate some new food items into your everyday diet. Eating a wide variety of healthy foods, such as a variety of different vegetables or fruit, is always good!
Q: Is it okay to drink coffee?
A: Pure black coffee, such as a black Americano or an espresso shot contain no calories. However - adding sugar, sweeteners, syrups, milk and cream to coffee can quickly take this simple drink from a zero calorie wake up call to a very-high-calorie treat! If you feel that you need caffeine in the morning then you may drink black coffee such as black Americano’s or espresso shots “for free” - without taking calorie amounts into account. But “free” coffee contains no added sugar, syrups, sweetener, milk or cream. If you add milk and sweetener, then you must work those calories consumed into your eating plan. Try to limit your coffee consumption to 1 or 2 servings per day as coffee dehydrates the body, and always make sure that you are staying hydrated by drinking enough water.
Q: Is it okay to drink alcohol?
A: Alcohol is very high in calories - It contains 7 calories per gram! To put that into context with the calorie amounts found in food, carbohydrates offer 4 calories per gram, protein offers 4 calories per gram and fat gives 9 calories per gram. BUT - while carbs, protein and fats can give us nutrients for those calories (essential nutrients), alcohol generally gives us empty calories (no nutrients). Many alcoholic drinks are also mixed with flavored syrups and sodas - which adds even more calories! Cocktails, for example, can be one of the highest calorie drinks as they usually contain multiple types of alcohol, syrups, sugars, juices and sodas.