This is a question I get often. "What is the best food to eat for breakfast?". I understand that it can get super confusing with all the contradicting information out there. The thing is breakfast, as much as I love it, is a little overrated. Yep, that's right! I don't see breakfast as "the most important meal of the day". I see breakfast as any other meal. I also don't see why breakfast should be forced on you if you are not hungry. I try to tell people to follow their hunger cues and eat when they are hungry, and many people just aren't hungry when they wake up. Then don't eat! That's my honest and simple response. It is beneficial to give your body a break from eating occasionally and a fast from dinner to breakfast is kind of a light fast. If you can hold off even longer without food, that's okay too. I won't get into the fasting subject as that is a different post altogether but what I’m saying is eat if you are hungry. If you do decide to eat breakfast, then I do suggest that it be a meal with mostly protein and fat. The reason for this is that if you start your day with with sugary cereal and high processed carb foods makes blood sugar levels go up, insulin is then produced to carry that sugar in your cells for energy and then you find yourself with low blood sugar again and thee viscous cycle starts again. The long-term effects of this is insulin resistance which is when your cells stop reacting to the insulin, so your blood sugar always stays high and that can cause many metabolic issues like diabetes and heart disease. This will also leave you hungry, tired and raging with cravings all day. On the other hand, starting your day with more protein and fat will keep your blood sugar in check, give your more energy, help you burn more fat and likely help with cravings throughout the day. I want to explain as well that there are no "breakfast foods". Food is food, it should not be labelled as such because it adds even more pressure and confusion. Here are some easy recipes that you can try fr breakfast or any time of the day.
Can be found under "recipes"
Eggs with vegetables cooked in coconut oil
Avocado spread with egg
Turkey patties with avo spread
Grain free porridge
This is a subject that I’ve been debating writing about but I’ve decided to do it since I feel it’s important to me in order to do my job the best way I can. I am just starting in this nutrition business and I have to admit that it hasn’t been easy. I’m just going to come out and say it…if you are looking for quick and easy fixes then I’m not the person for you. There! Plain and simple, black on white, there it is. I know that a lot of people think they understand this and still think they are ready to make some changes but as soon as I tell them my recommendations, they decide It’s too difficult and some don’t even try! They run the other way. I’m not an evil being trying to deprive you of all your “little pleasures”. If I tell you that what you are eating is causing your complaints and issues (this could range from weight gain to blood sugar imbalances to acne and bloating) then maybe it’s time you stop eating those foods and try something new. If a doctor said you were allergic to peanuts, would you eat them? If a doctor gives you a pill to “fix” your stomach issues or headache, do you take it? Yes, you do, why? Did you know that most doctors don’t have nutrition courses in medical school? Am I saying you shouldn’t listen to your doctor? Of course not. I am saying that if you seek help from a nutritionist then why aren’t you doing what he/she recommends? In order to make changes in life, whatever it might be, it takes sacrifice and dedication. You don’t get something for nothing. There are no magic pills or miracle solutions for nutrition. You need to understand that you will have to make some changes, sometimes big, sometimes small, in order to better your health and well being. Please if you are thinking of hiring me to help you with your dietary lifestyle, come ready and come with an open mind. You must be prepared to not like what I have to tell you and you must be prepared to do it anyways and reap the benefits. It is a process that can take over a year for some people depending on their health issues. I am not writing this to discourage you from seeking nutritional counseling, I am simply preparing you to face the fact that things that are worth doing are most times difficult to do, or else everybody would be doing it.
Vitamin K Nutrition
Improving your health one nutrient at a time
As soon as I told people I was taking a nutrition course, everybody seemed to have so many questions for me. It's still part of my daily life to get asked at least a couple questions a day about food or diet or anything that has to do with nutrition. I quickly learned that it's best if I let people come to me with questions than me just blurting out "oh don't eat that" or "hmmm, that's full of sugar, don't drink that". I wasn't trying to be a "know-it-all" but at times I felt I wasn't minding my own business so I stopped doing that. Now I know that if people have questions, they will ask when they are ready but they often don't want to hear the answer I have for them or are not ready to hear it. I will be very clear on this...Nutrition is not a one size fits all, there is no mold that everybody fits in and that everybody should follow to the tee. Nutrition is very individualized and personal and has to be tailored to your bodies' needs, demands and lifestyle. When someone asks me "should I avoid grains?" or "why do you think I feel tired all the time?" or "should I stop eating dairy?" I can't give you a direct answer as I have not sat with you and gone through your health profile. In order for me to make an educated decision to determine what is best for you as an individual, I need to know all the facts. Some people can handle grains, others can't, some people can eat dairy, others can't. It's as simple as that yet very complex and detailed when it comes to YOUR individual needs. As a general rule I do tell everybody to cut out convenience food, fast food, sodas, processed foods and sugar. This is beneficial for everybody in the long run, no exceptions. As for everything else, well, it depends. As much as I want to answer everybody's questions all the time, I must have all the facts.
Being a nutritionist also doesn't mean I know everything there is to know about food. I too am constantly learning and nutrition is an ever changing thing. We discover new things everyday with science and that's what so great about it. With my science background it's ingrained in me to always want to know more and the reasons behind everything. Right now i'm learning a lot about high fat low carb diets and how it can benefit many people with various health issues. I am trying it out on myself to see how I feel on this particular way of eating. I have enjoyed how it makes me feel and in order to recommend it to my future clients I am trying to get as much information and real life experience to be able to guide them if they want to try it out. Now will I push this diet on everybody? No. I feel that everybody should lean towards what they feel is right for them. Is something isn't working for you then try something else. If you feel like crap on a specific diet or way of eating but you read somewhere that that's what you should do, well maybe you should rethink it. I think our bodies have a way of telling us what it needs and it wants to be healthy and balanced. We all need to learn to listen to our bodies more, myself included.
Take home message is: Keep asking questions but be prepared for the answers. Do what works for you and if it's not working then do something about it. Listen to your body, it wants you to thrive!
Karine Vaillancourt R.H.N.
Vitamin K Nutrition
Improving your health one nutrent at a time
In June of 2015 I went into this new journey with excitement and fear. I had noticed that this fitness competition thing was becoming quite the new popular thing to do and that mostly anybody could do it. All the stories I read were success stories on how amazing this experience was and how it changed peoples’ lives forever. For me all I wanted to do was get on stage. That was my initial goal. I have to admit though that I also wanted abs. Yep, I said it. I wanted to look smoking hot and have that body that most women dream about. Then as I researched it a bit more I became interested in the nutrition aspect of it and how it affects your body. I decided this would be my year to challenge myself to do something so out of my comfort zone that I had butterflies just thinking about it. I found THE BEST coach around and sat down with her to discuss my goals and see if I would be a good fit for this competition. Not everybody is able to do these competitions. You have to be doing it for the right reasons. I for one wanted to improve my self-confidence and prove to myself that I could do something that seemed almost impossible to me at that moment. I soon learned that most women that enter these competitions have some issue they want to resolve, some kind of insecurity or trying to regain control of their lives somehow by taking control of their body. I am a very dedicated person when I want to do something and I couldn’t get it out of my head so I was determined to go through with it to the end. My goal was to get on that stage. It wasn’t to come first, second or 10th…no it was just to step on that stage and show my family, friends and myself that I had done it.
After speaking with my coach I now had a better idea of what I was getting myself into. I thought at first that I would be deprived of a lot of foods and be starving all the time. Well, let me tell you that was not the case at all. I had to eat so much friggin food I had a hard time finishing my meals for the first two weeks! I ate a copious amount of veggies, rice, potatoes, chicken, turkey and fish. That was the extent of my diet for the first couple weeks just to gauge my base line. I was shocked but I was happy to have all that food. The next couple months my diet changed with my body slowly but surely. I couldn’t really notice the changes to my body but my partner and my coach would tell me that I was definitely changing. It was depressing for me because I was working so hard and eating so clean all the time but not really seeing the difference in my body.
The “before and after” pics as well as progress pics came and went but I was still self conscious of my body and worried that I wouldn't be ready for the competition.
During the whole process I was very focused, determined and dedicated. I hardly cheated on my diet (maybe a few times with crackers or a piece of dark chocolate). I did have cheat meals which was a life saver and I always looked forward and planned them carefully. I was tested many times and it was very difficult. It can be a very lonely time especially when it comes to food. You feel as though people are judging you, you feel like you are missing out at times. It's also hard when your 8 year old wants burger and fries and you have to watch him eat it while you have rice and fish. It was challenging to say the least but I did it. People constantly asking you what you are eating, why you are eating that, thinking you should eat more not knowing that was my 4th meal of the day while they only had breakfast. It was a constant obsession with food. Let's not forget the constant looking in the mirror, measuring, weighing and pictures. I was becoming obsessed with myself that is not in my nature. I only really noticed changes in the week before my competition and the day before, when I had my tan done, then I could really see my hard work. I was also deprived, dehydrated and tanned to the extreme. The next day I stepped on stage. I had accomplished what I had set to do and I loved it. It was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life and I felt I was on top of the world until it all came crashing down the week after the competition. That's what they don't tell you when you start this process. These are the hidden demons of competition life. The fact that you can't look stage-ready forever as it's not healthy or realistic.
Now I am aware of all this but even now, 4 months after my competition I still struggle with my body image and insecurities.
I would say that I've been more obsessed with my body in the last 4 months than before my comp or even ever for that matter. I was warned about the post comp depression and it is a real thing. I didn't realize however that it would last so long. I thought I’d get over it after a couple weeks of going back to the gym and eating "normally" but no, it has not. Every day I compare myself to others I see on some kind of social media. I say to myself..."why does she have abs all year round, why can't I? Why can't I look cut like her all the time? Why does my butt look like this and not like that? Why can't I have her arms, her shoulders, her.....etc etc etc. Now I do realize that I am not out of shape, obese or flabby. I have always been active and in shape. Then why am I thinking these thoughts on a regular basis? Why am I so consumed with how I should look? I've always been one to compare myself to others but it was never this bad. I feel like this comp made me see a side of me that was beyond the reach of most people and I lived it and now I’m back down to earth and I have to accept that I can't and shouldn't look like that all the time. I am relentlessly working on trying to avoid social media (easier said than done) and talking to myself. I am still very active at the gym, going 4 times a week and eating clean 95% of the time. I am never happy with my results and I’m impatient, wanting to see more results faster. My goal is to gain muscle and that is not an easy task. For me it would probably take at least 1 year to grow 5-10lbs of muscle to be able to compete in nationals naturally.
Now I could continue this journey and always follow that same path but I think I’ve come to realize that it's not necessarily what I want. I want to be fit and healthy, yes, but I don't think I want to go through the ups and downs of competition just because of the aftermath and what's it’s done to me. Maybe one day I’ll learn to accept my body the way it is and be ok with not having abs 365 days a year but for now, I’m still dealing with the post comp blues and it's going to take a while for me to get out of it. I'm not saying NO to more competition but I’m saying NO for right now, at least until I get back to being me and being ok with it.
Vitamin K Nutrition