All posts by Adele

#AdeleWFOTM – Kartini

This month we have ultra marathonerKartini!


I got to know Kartini personally through the Puma Running Club. It has been great watching her running journey! I truly admire her determination, discipline and passion for running!

Read on to find out more about this girl and how she gives back to the running community!

My 1st Ultra at Pink50 2015 – 60km in 8:06


  1. What’s your fav sport/event?

    Running because I don’t know how to cycle or swim (Phobia from a childhood incident)!

  2. How long have you been running?

    Exactly 5 years this month!

  3. How did you start?

    Actually, I hated running. It all started back in 2012 when I managed to register for 10KM We Run KL (I was on my comp and iPad for over 2 hrs to secure a slot!).

  4. Do you join any groups/community? If yes, which group?

    I am a MURA member (Malaysian Ultra Running Assosiation) and I do join a few other running clubs for their weekly training sessions (eg. SARC, KyserunKrew, Puma Night Running Club, Run89Crew)

    Malaysian participants at The 16th International Jeju Ultramarathon Race 2017

  5. Your profession:

    Administrative and accounts manager.

  6. How do you juggle work and running?

    Well, there is a saying that when you do what you love and love what you do, you will find a way to make it work. Work is my priority but I’ll try to follow my schedule, and rest when my body needs to.  After my injury, I learned how to listen to my body!

    My very 1st solo #runcation trip at Laguna Phuket International Marathon 2015 – 4:32

  7. Do you have a training schedule? What is it like?

    Yes I do. It looks something like this:

    Weekdays (afterwork): Easy/Tempo/Speedwork/Cross training

    Weekend: LSD/Hill training/Running Events

    Rest: 2-3 days a week

  8. Who do you usually train with?

    I usually train with my running buddies (running crew) and sometimes just myself.

  9. Have you ever had injuries? How did you cope?

    Yes, I suffered a major one last year. It was a week before SCKLM 2016. This event was meant to be my sub 4 mission and I was working really hard for it. At first, I couldn’t accept it. I kept running, hoping it will get better. I was wrong. Things got worse and I was more frustrated. I decided to take a break from running until I recovered.

    Bali Marathon 2015 – 4:16

    Making a comeback is a whole different story. It is tough but I will never give up!

  10. Which was the most memorable event and why!

    To be honest, I love all of them (even the ones where I got injured, DNS or DNF…hahaha).  Every event has its own story regardless of the distance. But Borneo International Marathon would always be my fav event since 2014 (I skipped this year due to my injury). This event was where I completed my first full marathon (in 2014) and my parents were there to witness. Last year, I also managed to smash my full marathon PB (Personal Best), securing 3rd place in the Women’s Open category.

    My fav moment at Borneo International Marathon 2016 with my loyal supporters #myfamily – 4:06

  11. You have done quite a few ultramathons. Tell us, what do you think about when you are running an ultra?

    The rewards (FOOD!) after I cross the finish line (the BIGGEST motivation) and the lil voice in my head – “What did I get myself into? Is this going to be the last one? I will never register for an ultra marathon ever again! #insaf”.

    Of course, that’s a lie (haha!). I’ve already signed up for 2 ultra marathons – one in 2 weeks and the other in December 2017.

  12. Favourite distance: 42.195km (26 full marathons since May 2014 and 9 ultra marathons).

  13. My take on volunteering as a crew member and pacer for running events, and giving back to the running community:
    Being selected to be an official pacer is another dream come true. It’s fun but it’s not as easy as you think. As much as I want to see some improvement in my running journey, helping fellow runners to achieve their goal by pacing them and sharing some experience or tips about running is another satisfaction. A fellow pacer said this in his blog – “Nothing more rewarding than a handshake or a thank you from the runners after crossing the finishing line, knowing that you played a role in bringing them home, whether it is the entire course or partially.”#givingbacktorunningcommunity – Official Pacer
     
    Volunteering or being part of the crew for running events is fun too… in a different way. HAHA! I remember when I was assigned to be at one of the water stations 2km before the finish line. We came in early in the morning to set up the station, cheer for the runners and leaving the race village only after the job was done. It is tiring but the experience was priceless. I encourage you guys to give it a try! GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN!
     

Kartini is not only someone who RUNS but she also gives back to the running community! Definitely a fine example for us all. This is a COMMUNITY. We are STRONGER TOGETHER.

Let’s continue to support each other in our own special way! Thank you, Kartini, for sharing!

All the best in your running journey! KEEP IT UP GIRL!

The Keto Diet – Everything You Need to Know

There’s been a lot of hype about the keto diet.  More and more people are going keto to manage their weight and overall health.

If you’re curious or wondering if this diet is for you, read on! I’m here to give you a quick low down on the KETO DIET!


 

Keto2-1-1200x616

What is it?

The ketogenic diet or keto diet, is a strict low carb high fat diet. The idea is to put the body into a state of ketosis.

Ketosis is a metabolic process where the body uses fat for fuel instead of glucose. This occurs when the body has drained all of its carbohydrate stores – during times of fasting, starvation or when carbohydrate intake is limited. The process involves the breakdown of fats in the liver to produce ketones.

Ketones are an alternative fuel,  which can continue to fuel the brain (the brain can only run on glucose or ketones) and the body.

Essentially, you become an efficient fat burning machine.


The benefits

The nature of this diet is benefitial for people with Type 2 diabetes, prediabetes or insulin resistance [2]. This is because fat does not impact insulin the same way as carbs and proteins [3]. Low carb intake helps with managing blood sugar levels.

Less carbs = Reduced blood sugar and insulin levels751d33ec93eeac18f86f285f892e2314

The keto diet also seems to improve markers associated with other metabolic diseases [4]. Other health related benefits include neurological (Alzheimers, epilepsy, seizures) [5, 6], cancer [7], improves blood lipid profile and reduces inflammatory markers.
In terms of the keto diet for athletic performance, there is limited research. This diet is thought to be suitable for endurance based sports at submaximal effort (such as the marathon or ultramarathon) where high intensity sprints/bursts are not involved [8].
Then again, there are some high performing athletes that can thrive off a keto diet. It all boils down to their unique genetic make up, how well they can tolerate and adapt to the diet.

LOW carb, HIGH fat

There are different degrees of “low carb” within the keto diet.ketogenic-dietBut the standard protocol looks like the image above.

5% of carbs = 15-20g of carbohydrates a day!

1 small banana = 23g of carbs

Carbs are found in foods such as cereal, bread, pasta, rice, noodles, legumes, fruits and some starchy vegetables (beetroot, parsnips, potatoes etc).


What to eat?keto-diet-picture

Vege

  • Non starchy vege (leafy greens, brussel sprouts, broccoli, kale, spinach, rocket, bok choy etc)

Protein

  • Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring etc)
  • Red meat (grass-fed beef, pork, lamb etc)
  • Turkey, chicken (free range)
  • Omega-3 eggs

Dairy

  • Unprocessed cheeses (mozzarella, cheddar, cream cheese etc)
  • Full fat milk (limited amounts as milk contains the sugar lactose)

Fats and oils

  • Avocado
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, flaxseeds, macadamias, walnuts etc)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut milk
  • MCT oils
  • Grass-fed butter and cream
  • Grass-fed ghee

What to avoid/eliminate?

  • High sugar foods (Ice cream, cake, fruit juice, soda, sweets, some sauces and condiments, sweet breads, highly processed low-fat/diet products, foods with sugar alcohols etc)
  • Cereal/grain products (breads, pasta, rice, breakfast cereals etc)
  • Highly processed fats and oils (vegetable oil, margarine)
  • Highly processed foods (chips, biscuits, cookies etc)
  • Alcohol
  • Legumes (kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, red beans etc)
  • Fruit (Most fruits except lower sugar fruits such as berries)
  • Starchy vegetables (potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots etc)

IMPORTANT NOTE:

This is NOT your GREEN LIGHT to load up on highly processed fatty foods and junk food.

It is about moving away from highly processed foods, vegetable oils, foods filled with trans fat and omega-6, and margarine. This practice should apply to EVERYONE, not just for people on a keto diet.


Bottom line:

  • The keto diet is suitable for people with specific conditions
  • It is pretty extreme and it is not for everyone
  • It can be for people who have metabolic diseases
  • Before you get into ANY diet, pls do your research + get help/advice from your doctor and dietitian
  • Thanks to our uniqueness, two people on the exact same diet can have very different results!
  • For any diet to work, you need to make it work for YOU
  • It needs to be sustainable and not get in the way of your life
  • Most importantly, you need to ENJOY eating and FOOD!
  • Find your sweet spot and happy balance!

Let me know if you have any questions!

xoxo

4 Food Myths… BUSTED!

When it comes to food, everyone seems to have a different opinion.

Social media, marketing, our peers and even celebrities have come to shape the way we think about nutrition and food. At times, it can be difficult to differentiate between fact and fad.

Below are 4 common food myths that are still going around!


Myth 1: Eating fat will make you FAT

Low fat and fat free products are now widely available. This can be attributed to fear that eating fat will make you fat. However, these products are not necessarily healthy. Some have a lot of added sugar to compensate for the loss in flavor/texture. People also tend to over consume, thinking that because it is free/low in fat, they can consume more of it.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Yes, fat has more calories per gram (9 kcal/g) compared to carbs and protein (4 kcal/g). But that does not mean that it is more “fattening”. In fact, studies have found that low carb diets (as oppose to low fat) have led to more weight loss [1, 2, 3].

We all need fat! They have roles in absorbing vitamins, appetite regulation, making of your brain cells, nerve cells and key hormones (sex hormones).

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

The source, amount and type of fat are very important. These should come from olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, nuts and seeds, fish/fish oil and grass-fed animal fats.


Myth 2: Red meat is unhealthy

Red meat has always gotten a pretty bad rep. I often hear people say that they have to avoid eating red meat. And when I ask why, common answers would be “it is not good for me” or “it is not healthy”. But they cannot seem to pin point WHY it is unhealthy. It seems like an ingrain assumption. I wish people would have that same assumption towards highly processed packaged foods!
IMG_3452
Yes, PROCESSED meats such as poor quality sausages, ham, salami and burgers are associated with an increased risk of diseases such as diabetes, CHD and cancer. That is because processed meats are filled with chemicals and fillers. The same cannot be said for unprocessed red meat [4, 5, 6].

Good cuts of fresh, grass-fed red meats are very nutritious (protein, iron, zinc, Vit Bs, selenium, phosphorus etc) and they do have a place in a healthy diet. Just remember to cook them well. Harmful compounds can form if you burn the meat!

Oh, and if you’re worried about the saturated fat, check out this recent study.


Myth 3: Eggs are high in cholesterol and are bad for you

This myth has been busted ages ago but it still comes up every now and then. Our liver makes the bulk of the cholesterol in our bodies. The food we eat has very little effect on its production.

Yes, eggs are high in cholesterol BUT studies have shown that eggs raises HDL (the “good” cholesterol) and improves blood lipid profile [7, 8].

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Eggs are very nutrient dense. Loaded with protein (high quality essential amino acids), choline (for healthy brain), antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin (protects the eyes) along with other vitamins and minerals.


Myth 4: Low GI foods are healthier

The GI rating is another index that has been widely abused by the commercial food industry. The common perception is that if it is low in GI, it is healthy, regardless of the other ingredients.Low_Gi_Logo_CMYK_R

Low GI has been associated with terms such as complex carbohydrates, improved insulin sensitivity, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, a study has shown that low GI foods are not necessarily associated with healthier outcomes when compared to high GI foods [9]. In fact, some sugar-laden foods such as soft drinks have a relatively low GI. This can be very misleading, especially if one swears by the GI rating.

The GI rating alone says very little about the food. Instead of relying on a number or rating that has been assigned to it, focus on the ingredients that make up the food!


The next time you feel overwhelmed by all the food information out there, just remember – WHOLESOME, NUTRIENT RICH and FRESH!

Let me know if you have any questions!

10 Foods that are High in Sugar

Following on from my Added Sugars post, I thought I’d point out 10 foods that are relatively high in sugar.

You’d be surprise to find out that some of these foods are assumed and/or claimed to be “healthy” and good for you.

As you’re reading this post, keep this in mind (for context):

1 tsp of sugar = 4g

1 can of coke (350mL) = 10 tsp of sugar


1. Low fat yoghurt

Yoghurts with the right strain and amount of probiotics are good for gut health. They are also a good source of protein and calcium.

With the low fat trend still trending, many are made without the fat.

BUT yoghurt without the fat would not taste as nice. And so manufacturers tend to add quite a bit of sugar to make up for it.

Low Fat Greek Natural Yoghurt344668_1

100g = 6.7g of sugar

1.7 tsp of sugar

A2 Protein Whole Milk Natural a2_1kg

100g = 4.1g of sugar

1 tsp of sugar

I know that it is not a MASSIVE difference but just so that you are AWARE. And this is just one example.

Also, check out this study about FULL fat and LOW fat dairy products.

Solution:

Go for all natural Greek yoghurt or plain yoghurt. READ the LABELS and INGREDIENTS list. Sometimes, these natural plain versions have added sugar!

Ideally, you’d be looking at <15g of sugar per 100g.


2. Breakfast cereals

For many, breakfast cereals are a staple. It is a fuss free and quick breakfast option.

If you eat them every day, your choice of breakfast cereal is crucial. Most breakfast cereals are loaded with sugar (especially those that are marketed at children) and contain very little fibre, protein and other nutrients.

You’re basically having sugar for breakfast. A big NO-NO.

Kellogg’s Coco Pops

7442f090-bd1d-4498-afba-68a82a736907

1 cup = 14.4g of sugar

3.6 tsp of sugar

Solution:

Get up a little earlier and cook yourself a nutritious breakfast. Some eggs + avocado +/- toast will provide you with some protein, carbs and healthy fats to power you through your morning!

If you must have your cereal, choose those that are high in fibre, made from 100% wholegrains and with NO/least amount of added sugars.


3. Fruit juice

Whole fruit is good for you. Fruit juice contains fruit. So, it must be good?

I’d definitely think twice about that! Yes, fruit juice is made from fruit BUT without the fibre from a WHOLE fruit. It will still contain the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals from the fruit but it also comes with a huge hit of SUGAR.

Just think about it: How many oranges would it take to make a glass of juice?

Easily more than 5 oranges. It is so easy to drink 1 glass of orange juice (made from over 5 oranges) than to actually EAT 5 oranges! That’s a lot of sugar in a tiny glass!

Without the benefits of eating a whole fruit, sugar from fruit juice is still sugar. The body processes it the same way. Shockingly, the sugars in fruit juice can be as high (or higher) as those found in a can of coke.

Love potion from Juice Labstatic1.squarespace.com400mL = 43.4g of sugar

10.9 tsp of sugar

And look, it is actually given “5 health stars”.

Solution:

EAT the whole fruit! If you MUST have your juice, please make sure that there are no added sugars. And if you order fruit juice from a stall, ALWAYS ASK FOR NO ADDED SUGAR. Most places add some form of syrup/sugar in them!


4. Smoothies

Like fruit juice, smoothies are always assumed to be “healthy”. Yes, they can be!

But many commercial smoothies (bottled or from smoothie bars) are sweetened with fruit juice (apple juice, orange juice), flavoured yoghurts, sorbets, ice cream, honey or some other sweetener (natural/artificial).

Boost Juice Passion Mangoboost1

Med size (450mL) = 61.3g of sugar

15.3 tsp of sugar

 Solution:

Make your own smoothie at home! 1 cup of Strawberries + 1 Banana + Cacao powder + Milk/Yoghurt + Ice (optional) = YUM!

If you’re going for a commercial smoothie, check the labels and ask what’s in them! And a reminder to watch portion sizes.


5. Granola

Granola is made from rolled oats and combined with other foods like dried fruit, nuts, seeds and sweetened with either honey or other sweeteners.

With the right ingredients, granolas can be a good source of unsaturated fatty acids, iron, fibre and protein. But most commercial granolas are filled with sugar.

Five:am Apple Crumble Granola7807531 cup = 18.4g of sugar

4.6 tsp of sugar

Solution:

Check that there are no added sugars apart from the sugars found in dried fruit. Opt for the ones with the least amount of sugar per 100g. I’d also avoid those with some form of “vegetable oil” added to them.

As granola is more dense than cereal, use it as a topping (instead of having a whole bowl) on your yoghurt, fruit or even in your smoothie!

Alternatively, you can make your own!


6. Protein bars

With the word “protein” attached to these bars, surely they’re a healthy option?

Most of these bars are just candy/chocolate bars in disguise. They are usually loaded with sugar, low in fibre and with some protein.

Power Bar Peanut Butter Caramel Protein BarProteinSnack_Peanut-Butter-Caramel1 bar = 12g of sugar

3 tsp of sugar

Just for comparison, 2 large eggs contain around 25-30g of protein! Now, THAT is a high protein snack!

Plus, just look at the ingredients in this bar:

CHOCOLATE FLAVORED COATING (SUGAR, FRACTIONATED PALM KERNEL OIL, COCOA POWDER, WHEY POWDER, NONFAT MILK , SOY LECITHIN, VANILLA FLAVOR),CARAMEL FILLING (CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, CREAM, FRUCTOSE, PALM OIL, SALT, NATURAL FLAVOR), MALTITOL SYRUP, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, PEANUTS, SOY CRISPS (SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, TAPIOCA STARCH, SALT),OATS, OLIGOFRUCTOSE (FROM CHICORY ROOT) , PEANUT BUTTER, WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE, FRUCTOSE SYRUP, CANE INVERT SYRUP, CALCIUM CASEINATE, AND LESS THAN 2% OF: PEANUT OIL, NONFAT MILK, SOY LECITHIN, WATER, SUGAR, SALT, NATURAL FLAVOR, SUNFLOWER OIL.

Look at all the different forms of sugar!

Solution:

Have some good ol’ hard boiled eggs for a snack. They are loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals, choline (in the YOLK) and carotenoids (in the YOLK) without the excess “junk”.


7. Sauces

Sauces, especially savoury ones, are probably the last place you would think of that would be high in sugar. Check out the sauces below!

Hoisin Saucemed105801_0710_hoisin_sauce_vert1 tbsp = 7.2g of sugar

Tomato Sauce

Ketchup1 tbsp = 5.2g of sugar

BBQ Saucethumbs_bbq_sauce

1 tbsp = 11.4g of sugar

Oyster Saucezhzhenka4-300x3001 tbsp = 4.8g of sugar

If you’re a sauc-y person, it is easy to consume a lot of sugar in one meal!

Solution:

Read the labels. Go for the ones that have no added sugar/least amount of sugar. Also, be mindful of HOW MUCH you’re having!

Try seasoning your food with herbs, spices, olive oil, lemon and vinegar. SO GOOD!


8. Sports drinks

Another question that I often get is “which is the best sports drink?” or “do I need sports drinks?”.

My standard answer would be: unless you’re an elite athlete training at high intensity levels every day (+/- under the sun), you don’t need a sports drink.

Sports drinks are designed to hydrate and fuel during/after intense and prolonged bouts of exercise. As such, most have a lot of sugar that can be easily absorbed and used for fuel.

If you are consuming them outside of this context, you’re just drinking unwanted sugar. Sports drinks are just another form of sweetened beverage and have been linked with obesity [1].

Gatorade81oG+Clh3nL._SY450_

600mL = 36g of sugar

9 tsp of sugar

Solution:

WATER! If you find it hard to drink plain water, squeeze some lemon and add some ice. Alternatively, have some fresh coconut water!


9. Flavoured milk

Milk on its own is highly nutritious and a good source of protein and calcium. Flavoured milk… not so much.

Along with the good stuff, flavoured milk comes packed with added sugars!

Oak Chocolate Milk 20160713055518OAK_Chocolate_600ml_3D

600mL = 63.6g of sugar

15.9 tsp of sugar

Solution:

Plain milk.


 

10. Iced blended coffees

Just look at the numbers…

Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino665e04ca364a4253a5b2c1fb9b514917Grande (16oz) = 61g of sugar

15.3 tsp of sugar

Solution:

Stick to the usuals: black coffee, latte, cappuccino etc. They are also a lot cheaper. 😉


I hope this was helpful!

Please note that I have NOTHING against these brands listed. Just providing some examples.

I am not saying that these foods do not have a place in your diet or that you should avoid them at all cause. BUT I do want you to be AWARE of foods that have hidden sugars.

Most people say that they do not have a sweet tooth or eat desserts, yet wonder why they struggle to lose fat. Well, you may very well be eating these foods that could have the same amount of sugar in desserts!

Also, be careful of “health claims”. As you can see, some of the foods listed above are sold as health foods.

I always say FRESH IS BEST! But if you are buying packaged foods, ALWAYS check the nutrition label and the INGREDIENTS list!

Let me know if you have any questions!

xoxo

Added Sugars – Everything You NEED to KNOW!

Sugar seems to be the biggest enemy right now, with good reason. The general population is consuming WAY TOO MUCH SUGAR, esp ADDED SUGARS!

Let’s take a closer look.


Natural sugars

Sugars are naturally found in fruits (fructose) and dairy foods (lactose). Lower levels are also found in semi-starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots and beetroot.

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Sources of sugar from wholefoods (the ones mentioned above) are more than just sugar. They come packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. When eaten in the right amounts, these foods can reduce inflammation, improve immune function and enhance gut health.

 Added sugars

Added sugars are well, basically sugars that have been added to foods and drinks at any stage during preparation or processing. These can be added on top of the natural sugars that are already present.

Sugars are added to enhance the taste and palatability of foods. If it taste great, people are going to buy it. The food industry has relied on this to increase sales of processed foods – by adding loads of sugar to their products.

pf0irboajkezwsc8boss

Head down to your nearest supermarket, and randomly pick one packaged processed food item. Look at the ingredients. I can almost (ALMOST!) guarantee that some form of sugar (refer to infographic below – Other sugar names) will be among the top 5 ingredients.

The problem with these foods (besides being high in sugar) is that they have no additional nutrient value. Added sugars in excess can really mess with your hormones and metabolism, leading to an increased risk of chronic diseases (diabetes, obesity, heart disease) and tooth decay.

Current recommendation

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that added sugars should not exceed 10% of your total energy intake, preferably below 5% or about 25g/day. That’s about 6 teaspoons of added sugar over a whole day.

What does that look like?

To put things into perspective, just look at the amount of sugars in the foods below. You can see why we EASILY exceed 6 teaspoons a day!

 Kellogg’s Coco Pops7442f090-bd1d-4498-afba-68a82a736907

30g = 3 tsp

Five:am Apple Crumble Granola780753

45g = 2 tsp

Cokeairbornecokecan2

375ml can = 10 tsp

Common sugar claims

Navigating Sugar Claims

Other sugar names

Other Sugar Names JPG

How to spot hidden sugars

Sugars are usually hidden in processed and packaged foods. The problem with nutrition information labels is that it will give you the TOTAL (natural + added) amount of sugar. ingredient-list-THEIRS

What you can do is to take a look at the ingredients list. These are listed in order of their quantity in foods, starting from the highest to the lowest. If sugar is lined up right in front, it probably has a lot of added sugar!


 I hope this helps!

Don’t be swayed by marketing gimmicks. Let’s get smart about our sugars!

Let me know if you have any questions!

xoxo