Shirley's

Body Basics

Contact Shirley on +44 7956 913 418, email: info@shirleysbodybasics.co.uk

Frequently Aasked Questions

1. What’s the best diet for weight loss?

Both short-term and long-term, the most effective weight loss comes from avoiding animal products and keeping fats, vegetable oils, and highly processed foods to a minimum. In addition, it helps to keep the natural fiber in the foods you eat. This means eating whole-grain breads instead of white bread, brown rice instead of white rice, and plenty of fruits, vegetables, and legumes (beans, peas, and lentils). And don’t forget the importance of physical activity for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
 
2. Are carbohydrates bad for you? Is it OK to eat carbohydrates if I am trying to lose weight?
Carbohydrate-rich foods help with permanent weight control because they contain less than half the calories of fat, which means that replacing fatty foods with complex carbohydrates automatically cuts calories.

It’s important to remember to eat healthful carbohydrates, such as whole grains, pasta, brown rice, and sweet potatoes. Processed carbohydrates, such as white bread and white rice, are not as healthful because they have lost much of their fiber and other nutrients.
 
3. How do I get protein on a vegan diet? Do I need to combine proteins?
Protein is an important nutrient required for the building, maintenance, and repair of tissues in the body. It was once thought that various plant foods had to be eaten together to get their full protein value; this practice was known as “protein combining” or “protein complementing.” We now know that intentional combining is not necessary. As long as the diet contains a variety of grains, legumes, and vegetables, protein needs are easily met. Especially protein-rich vegan foods include soy-based products like tofu, tempeh (a fermented soybean product), seitan (a meat substitute made from a wheat protein called gluten), black beans, lentils, chickpeas, grains such as quinoa and bulgur, and whole-wheat bread.
 
4. Do you recommend a vegetarian or a vegan diet?
Vegetarian diets, which contain no meat (beef, pork, poultry, or fish and shellfish), are naturally low in saturated fat, high in fiber, and full of vitamins, minerals, and cancer-fighting compounds. A multitude of scientific studies have shown that vegetarian diets have remarkable health benefits and can help prevent certain diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. We encourage vegetarian diets as a way of improving general health and preventing diet-related illnesses.

Vegan diets, which contain no animal products (meat, dairy, eggs, or other animal products), are even healthier than vegetarian diets. Vegan diets contain no cholesterol and even less fat, saturated fat, and calories than vegetarian diets because they exclude dairy and eggs. Scientific research shows that health benefits increase as the amount of food from animal sources in the diet decreases, making vegan diets the healthiest overall.

5. How do I get enough calcium on a vegan diet? What about osteoporosis?
By eating calcium-rich vegan foods, including leafy green vegetables such as broccoli and kale, white beans, fortified soymilks and juices, and a variety of fruits and vegetables, you can obtain all the calcium your body needs. But keeping your bones strong and avoiding osteoporosis depends on more than calcium intake—you also need to keep calcium in your bones. Exercise and vitamin D help keep the calcium in your bones, while animal protein, excess salt and caffeine, and tobacco can cause calcium loss.
 
6. Is it possible to lower blood pressure with diet? If so, how?
Changing the way you eat can often lower your blood pressure and reduce or eliminate the need for medication. You can also lower your blood pressure by losing weight, limiting alcohol, avoiding tobacco, and becoming physically active. People who follow vegetarian and vegan diets typically have lower blood pressure.
If you have high blood pressure, you should consult your physician.
 
7. Are there natural approaches to menopause?
Women can make many dietary and lifestyle changes to ease the pain and discomfort of menopause without the side effects of estrogen. For example, switching to a vegan diet is better for your heart and bones than estrogen prescriptions.
 
8. Someone in my family was diagnosed with cancer: What dietary recommendations would you offer him or her?
First of all, be sure to get appropriate medical care and to use a healthy diet in addition to, not instead of, medical care. That said, scientific studies have shown that a low-fat, vegetarian or vegan diet can help in cancer prevention and survival. Dietary recommendations would be to replace meat, dairy products, and other animal products with healthful, low-fat meals rich in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. These foods are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and cancer-fighting compounds. And they do not contain the high amounts of fat and cholesterol found in meat and other animal products. During medical treatment for cancer, your family member should consult his or her medical care team for any specific dietary recommendations related to the type of cancer or treatment.
 
9. Is it safe to eat soybeans and other soy foods?
Recently, questions have been raised about the possible health risks of soy consumption, but the overwhelming majority of studies on soy have shown positive health effects with no adverse effects. Eating soy in moderation is appropriate for a healthy diet. There have been concerns about processed soy products, such as “mock meats,” but moderate intakes of these foods are not known to cause health problems. Some soy products are high in sodium and contain a higher-than-healthy level of fat, so be sure to check the labels and choose the healthier versions. Nonetheless, these foods are much healthier than the animal-derived foods they are intended to replace. If you do choose to avoid soy, you will find it can be easily replaced with other foods. Lentils, beans, and other legumes are a hearty and delicious source of plant-based protein and other nutrients. They are also the richest source of dietary fiber.
 
10. Is the Atkins diet healthy/safe? What about other low-carb diets?
The Atkins diet and other low-carb fad diets, which are high in fat and protein and severely restrict carbohydrates, are not healthy approaches to losing weight. High-fat, high-protein diets are associated with many health risks, ranging from mild (constipation, headache, and bad breath) to significant (impaired kidney function, osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer).

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