These diets helped me figure out what’s good for me

I’m not paleo, I’m not vegan, I don’t follow the alkaline or Mediterranean diet, I’m not a clean eater. Wait, maybe I am. Maybe I am all of them. I don’t follow their rules, but I cannot deny they have had an impact on my way of thinking. Now, it’s time to summarize the diets that influenced my current eating habits. In one sentence, I would say that I eat (almost) everything in moderation. When I go out I eat many things that I usually avoid. My favourite word is “moderation” when I talk about eating. I eat gluten and dairy products in moderation, for example.

Here are the diets that influenced my way of thinking about food (note, these are just the basics, there is some extra info I may write about later).

The Mediterranean diet:
– maximise the intake of vegetables, including legumes
– when eating grain, it must be whole grain
– love fruits – they are not the enemy, but your friends
– limit the red meat intake – fish and poultry are healthy choices
– use mono-unsaturated olive oil or rapessed oil and avoid animal fat
– limit the intake of processed food
– saturated fat is the real enemy, avoid them
– eat dairy products in moderation (I personally prefer non-cow dairy products, such as feta cheese and goat cheese)
– use as little salt as possible
– instead of crisps and biscuits, snack on fruit, dried fruit or unsalted nuts
– drink red wine during meals (in moderation, 1-2 small glasses per day) – it’s very interesting, because for months I preferred white one but for a few weeks I have cravings for red wine (is it more summer wine for me? Does it remind me of Summer in Tuscany?)
– avoid sweetend beverages, drink water instead

Vegan diet:
– maximise the intake of vegetables, including legumes (good protein source)
– do not overuse grains
– avoid every kind of meat (yes, fish, too)
– avoid every kind of dairy products
– avoid eggs
– the problem can be the overuse of grains, gluten, and soy products

Alkaline diet:
– avoid meat, dairy products and eggs
– avoid sugar and processed food
– not all fruits are good for you
– some grains and mushroom can have an acid-forming effect
– follow the rules of food combining (there are quite many suggestions to make the perfect alkaline diet)

Paleo diet:
– avoid sugar and processed carbs
– avoid potatoes, rice, legumes (peanut is a legume technically, did you know that?) and corn (it is a grain, not a vegetable)
– avoid dairy products
– eat real food, not processed food
– eat lots of leafy vegetables
– egg is a good thing, eat loads of them
– avoid “modern” oils made from grains and seeds
– don’t eat soy
– eat fruits in consideration with their high level of fructose

Clean eating
– eat whole, natural foods
– avoid or at least minimize processed foods
– include some protein, carbohydrate and fat at every meal
– be aware of the fat, salt and sugar you consume and try to minimize them
– eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day
– don’t drink your calories
– avoid saturated and trans fat
– avoid calorie rich foods that don’t have any nutritional value
– stick to proper portion sizes

diets_cleaneating

There are some other diets I read about, but they were either extremely far from my style or were just variations of these diets. I don’t follow any of them but concentrate on foods that make me feel good. I try to eat as many vegetables as possible, even legumes. Not always, not every day, but quite often. I eat dairy products only once in a while, I rarely eat eggs (only when I eat my mother’s cookies or very special meatballs), because it is the only food that gives me stomach ache and discomfort. However, I miss scrambled eggs. I try to minimize gluten, but I’m not totally glutenfree. When I bake my bread it’s glutenfree but sometimes I buy wholemeal bread, too, when I’m too busy to make it myself. I’m not vegetarian, but I don’t eat meat every day. But when I eat, I don’t ‘care’ what meat it is (as long as it is grass-fed or organic), I don’t only eat chicken (which is always advised everywhere and I hate it, because it makes eating very monotonous), I sometimes eat pork and beef, and fish quite often. I eat everything that make me feel good.
I follow the 80/20 principle. I believe, if we eat healthily in the 80% of our lives, we can ‘cheat’ on special occasions. And cheating is relative. The other day I was talking to my mom and mentioned I had a cheat meal for dinner (fish fingers with grilled vegetables) and she said it is not even a real cheat meal :D

So, this is what influenced me. And what influenced you? How do you put your diet together? What are the diets that you hate, that has a bad reputation for you?

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My story, round 5 – becoming a nutritionist

Food has always had an important role in my life. As a typical teenager I tried to lose weight even when I didn’t have anything extra on me, later, I had some, I worked hard to lose the extra weight. This was the first time I started to think about food consciously. It was my first meeting with healthy or diet ingredients.

My first real milestone with eating was when I was diagnosed with insulin resistance (IR) and had to dig into dietary suggestions, had to learn the rules, the counting of carbohydrates, the proper time I should eat. I wasn’t a huge fan of the original diet so I started to search for alternative diet suggestions. Luckily, I found the diet that worked best for me. During the search, I learnt quite a lot about the conventional Hungarian approach and dietary suggestions, vegetarian and vegan diet, Paleo and Mediterranean diet. This huge amount of information helped me a lot in my later studies because I didn’t have to study the very basics as I had known them before.

community studying

The second milestone was when I started my school to become a fitness instructor. Luckily, we had a very good teacher, a talented dietitian, who was mostly teaching about typical weight loss diet but gave some extra tips too. I liked those extra tips, they proved to be useful later.

The third milestone was when on our Pilates course we learnt about diet again, but not only from the how-to-lose-weight approach but about minerals, vitamins and other extras.

The fourth milestone was a very determining point in my life. However, earlier I had learnt quite a lot about vegan diet but it didn’t become my closest friend. Then I started to get closer to the Aviva method, which supports the idea of the alkaline diet. First, I was totally against it because it’s highly problematic to follow. Especially, when previously following a typical Hungarian diet. During the class, we were encouraged to read a lot about the alkaline diet. I decided to prove that it’s not the best approach but during my research I realised, there’s a lot of truth in it. I made a conclusion and I decided to support the plant-based diet. However, I do not only eat veggies and grains. I eat meat about once a week, some cheese once in a while, so there are exceptions but when I plan MY diet, it’s mostly plant based. In my opinion, there are many cases when being vegan is not the best option but being “only” on a plant-based diet is always a good idea (I know, it’s not the official definition but for me, plant based diet means that I eat as many veggies as possible and meat as an extra). It has all the positive characteristics of vegan and carnivorous diets.

you-are-what-you-eat

Next time I applied for a sport and weight loss nutritionist course where, luckily, we had very open-minded teachers*, I digged deeper in supportive diets in weight loss, I learnt about different approaches and I also learnt about the importance of other aspects (sport activity, daily work, stress level, body type, etc) so I still wasn’t satisfied.

It was the time where I started to search for more opportunities, for quite a long time I couldn’t decide whether I should go back to college and become a dietitian or going for the more alternative approach. I did my research and realised that I do not always agree with the conventional approach, but I find the holistic way of thinking more effective. I have always encouraged my clients to seek for help in different places, such as therapists (I think stress relief is much-much more important than we think), health coaches, naturopathist’s and try as many methods as they can until they find the perfect one. That’s when I figured out that being a holistic nutritionist and health coach is my path.

And here I am now, wanting to deepen my knowledge in the field of nutrition. I’m very excited about starting my new school. As soon as possible. I’m still saving for the tuition, but it will happen. Until then, I’m “just” reading and trying and using my current knowledge.

*I’m a bit weird, or control-freak or just maximalist, but I always do a long research about which school, which course is the best for me. I rarely choose poorly ;)

My story, round 4 – LoveYourBelly

I’m starting to feel that my story is just as long as the book series The Forsyte Saga I should rewatch the mini-series, I loved them or… or… or the TV series The Onedin Line was :D Oh no, it’s still not the end ;)

Because of Pilates and spinal dance and my openness to welcome anybody to my classes, I started to have more and more pregnant clients. In addition to this, women who got pregnant after they participated in my Aviva courses wanted to train with me later, too. Which, of course, I didn’t mind. And since I really enjoyed having prenatal trainings, I decided to pick up more courses on pre- and postnatal classes. Pilates, spinal dance and Aviva method courses also taught me a lot about working out with that special group but I’m always striving to gain more knowledge on certain topics so I started to educate myself with prenatal courses. However, the most difficult part comes after giving birth. At least, that’s what I had to realise. I figured many women suffer from diastis recti which sounds frightening, but it can be treated with exercises, too. Not always, but in many occasions it can help.

Diastasis-Recti-V3I started studying LoveYourBelly (a special method assembled by a Hungarian instructor, Tímea Bagyinka). Even I was surprised how effective this set of exercises can be.

The biggest problem is that there’s not enough information about diastasis recti and about how frequent it is among women after pregnancy. Women just get disappointed and depressed when they can’t get back to shape as fast as they expected, moreover, sometimes they start to hate their body and have negative feelings towards their “mommy tummy” and they start reading articles about how to get rid of “that extra pooch”. As it was an evil crime to have some sign left after having a new human being within their body :P No, it is not. Just because media suggests to get flat abs as soon as possible and we should shame ourselves if we don’t fit into pre-pregnancy clothes after only a few weeks, women feel pressured. Pressure is rarely good. They start doing killer workouts and crunches after crunches and they often make their situation worse. From regular crunches, diastasis recti just gets worse. And after a while, they feel even more disappointed, however, it should not be needed. There’s always a solution. Either working out with a physiotherapist or with a personal trainer specialised in diastasis recti can solve problems easily. Okay, not easily, but soon.

I won’t say it is an effortless workout (but we are trying to avoid surgery, so…), it makes you tired, it trains your abs but it also makes you want to do it again and again because the results come fast! My biggest regret is not taking enough before and after photos with my clients. The success rate is enormously high!

02-maternity-photoIt was just after finishing LoveYourBelly course when I realised I’m specialized in wannabe moms and young moms. And somehow I found myself at this point. I truly love working with these women. I like when they have the hope to get pregnant although doctors have told there’s only a small possibility (hello, Aviva method), I like training with pregnant women and watch their growing belly and listen to their excitement about how the baby moves when we do a certain exercise. I enjoy having workouts after the baby is born, helping them getting back to shape. Either they have diastasis recti or not. I’m specialised in women’s health and weightloss in a healthy way.

Have I mentioned, I like working with wannabe or young mothers? :)

My story, round 3 – Aviva method

It is a widespread thought that fitness trainers are as healthy as possible because they exercise, eat properly, don’t smoke, probably they deal with stress better and all the illnesses avoid them. I have to tell you the truth. It is not like that. Working life, stress, family matters, illnesses in the family, loss, relationship problems, genetic inheritance and the environment (chemicals in food, water, smog, etc) have their effects on us, too. We are just lucky because we know that if we change our diet, choose special sets of exercises, it can be cured and usually the alternative methods are our first choice. At least it happened to me. And I know that many fellow-trainers follow the same path, we just want to solve our problems with exercise and diet if it’s possible.
When I was about 25 years old I was diagnosed with uterus fibroids. First I panicked because I knew nothing about it. Fotunately, doctors said that it’s not urgent to operate so following my doctor’s suggestions I tried to cure myself with alternative methods. I searched for special diets and workouts. This is when I found the Aviva method. With the help of a special – and quite strict – diet, the Aviva exercises, therapy sessions (because many fibroids are said to have psychological origin) and herbs, my fibroids started to shrink. After just five month I only had one which size was just the third of the original. I still haven’t needed an operation.
After the diagnosis I read a lot of books, asked several experts about the best diet and it was the first time when I felt the desire to study about nutrition. I learnt the diet suitable for my illnesses (fibroids and as a bonus I have insuline resistance) and started to take notes about other information I found interesting in the field of nutrition.
I hardworkingly did the exercises and when during a locker-room-talk, after one of my Pilates classes I realised that this kind of problems are not as rare as I thought, I decided to study the method and became an instructor. For me it was a surprise how many women suffer from PCOS, fibroids and cysts, hormonal imbalance or just serious cramps. I was happy to study about them because I wanted to help the women who visited my classes.
Aviva method is a sequence of exercise that stimulates the lower abdominal area and increases blood-flow to the reproductive organs. We have learnt before that a good circulation is very important (you know, your leg can start hurting when watching a long film in the cinema, sitting for long ours kills the lower-back, etc), there’s no difference with the female organs, either.  It can increase the level of hormones which helps in reproduction, can help in treating tyroid problems.
Most people come to my Aviva courses to treat infertility (there are many successful stories with spontaneous pregnancies sometimes even after unsuccessful IVFs) and PCOS and fibroids. We also have success stories with menopausal and PMS symptoms and usually the relief in these situations come quite quickly. I had very serious period cramps which became lighter after years of Pilates, I have to admit, but Aviva method gave a last push and made it even easier. And, this is very important for me because I work a lot with women who want to lose weight (sometimes after giving birth, sometimes not), the exercises can help handle weight problems caused by hormonal disbalances.
görcsös menstruáció new girl
I have been teaching Aviva for more than two years now and I have very positive results. It’s not easy because the exercises are not basic I-lie-on-the-floor-while-doing-Kegels style exercises but they make you sweat. So, unfortunately some of my clients give up after a few weeks but the ones who stick to their plans to follow the diet and the workouts usually can show good results. Some of them could stop taking medicine (after a consultation with their doctors!) or together with the original non-alternative treatment they can be cured or sometimes it “just” helps minor surgeries more successful (for example, it is easier to operate a medium sized fibroid than a large one or it helped make fallopian tube permeable or just made the “operation” more successful). It is really worth it to do the exercises.
This method goes with a special diet so, on the course, we learnt about diet as well and this was the time when I really started to search for more and more information on nutrition. We learnt about a diet that is not always popular among clients (because it’s not easy to follow) and I started to search for cheating possibilities but the only thing I find was, even more specialized diets. I read and learnt a lot about curing a certain illness from very different approaches (conventional western nutrition suggestions, vegan diet, alkaline diet, Paleo diet, macrobiotics, ayurvedidic diet) which helped me teach what I teach now. I don’t like fanatically following one approach’s ideas that’s why I did researches and took part in courses and workshops.
Aviva method is not the easiest course I teach because I have to keep a lot of information in my mind, I see very difficult illnesses and sad stories. But there are more happy endings than sad stories, it is always to wake up to e-mails like “I don’t need the surgery”, “I’m pregnant” or “I have a smaller dose of medicine from now on, my doctor is more than optimistic that I can stop taking in a while”. It makes me happy. It energizes me, it helps see the sunlight on the darkest days.
Because of the succes stories (and sometimes I feel rather because of the lack of succes) I feel I need to learn more about nutrition, exercises, about health in general that is way my closest aim is to become a holistic nutritionist because I believe we don’t only have to put one thing into its place to make our body work properly but we have to “attack” the problem from different angles, like eating, workouts, stress relief (and we also have to treat the psychological origins of an illness) and if needed, taking medicine. I’m not against medicine, I just think, that if a one-legged chair cannot be stable, our health cannot be on it’s peak if we support it only from one side.

My story, round 2 – Pilates & Spinal dance

Right after I started my fitness course I knew that I would like to specialize in prevention, because as I had a desk-job-past myself, I knew how important it is to strengthen our muscles that are needed for good posture and for spinal health. My other dream was to provide beginner classes just because – at least in my environment – there weren’t any classes that were suitable for beginners, especially nothing for the overweight. I found it unfair that magazines were full of encouragement or rather pressure that we should exercise, we should diet, we definitely should lose weight, however no help (okay, I’m exaggarating, but not much) was provided for anyone without experience in exercises and/or being overweight. The classes were just too hard, too advanced. And it often happened that someone tried one or two classes but didn’t have any succes, nothing encouraging just felt as an outsider. I saw yoga classes, some intermediate or advanced Pilates classes, aerobics, dance classes, hardcore strenght training classes, but nothing for the beginners who just wanted to move “something”.

I also found it important to prevent pain and illnesses caused by  too much sitting.

I connected the two because I believe people who don’t exercise and/or overweight are especially endangered with lower-back, upper-back and hip pain. I took part in a course that thaught me how to deal with postural problems, how to strengthen muscles and be able to modify almost any kind of exercises if needed. I really enjoyed this course.

IMG_20150523_180545I started having classes and it was the best thing on Earth when I heard stories how backpain disappeared, how they were praised for having better posture, how they felt taller and healthier.

After a while I wanted to gain even more knowledge and Pilates seemed a good idea (especially because I saw the positive effects of it on my brother plus a good friend was a Pilates instructor herself and she always talked about her clients and the miracles Pilates proved to exist). Pilates – at least in my school – was totally about the health of the spine, the joints, about easing back pain, preventing pain in the joints. I loved it. I learnt even more exercises and ways to modify them for older people, pregnant women, people with injuries. I fell in love with the knowledge I got there and my feelings get even stronger when I saw the effects of specialised sets of exercises on my clients.

In addition, when I started to have my classes, they were open for everyone (not only in personal training), so older people and preggos both started to visit them. I enjoyed the challenges they gave me but I also felt a bit pushed to learn even more about the human anatomy and special cases. So I took part in courses like Prenatal Pilates and Spinal Dance during Pregnancy. I started to teach clases solely for pregnant women. I enjoyed this even more.

At this point – around 2012 – I had classes like Spinal Dance, Pilates, Prenatal Workout, Senior Spinal Dance and FitMama training (classes for young moms who wanted to get back in shape) and in personal training I had clients who needed my help in losing weight – we trained together and they got some nutrition advice and most importantly a continual support – because real changes take time and support.

The more I learnt about workouts (theory and specialised exercises, too), the more I enjoyed my job and the more satisfied my clients were. They nourished me with their succes. With our succes :)

My story, round1 – becoming a fitness trainer

I should say that I have known since the first minute of my life or at least since I can walk that one day I would be a fitness trainer. Unfortunately (or fortunately because this way I know much more about the discouraging feelings before starting to workout), it’s not that simple.

When I was a child I was totally average, I played in the garden, climbed to trees, used my bike whenever I could but later in school we had soooo terrible PE lessons that I started to hate sports. I wasn’t good at sports, I wasn’t good at ball games, I couldn’t run long distance and of course I didn’t enjoy the classes. However, when I was about 14 and started secondary school I put on some weight (stress, bad food at school, lots of sandwiches, hormonal changes, etc) and on a Christmas I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw. I decided to start working out at home, I purchased some VHS tapes (Cindy Crawford and Hungarian “famous” tapes) and worked out almost every day and kept a strict diet. Too scrict. I wasn’t the most clever teenage girl on Earth, I guess. I’m 171 cm (5’7”) and I weighed only 47 kilos (104 pounds) and stopped having my period. I got some medicine to start my period and it helped but it helped to put on weight, too. I reached the weight of 64 kilos (141 pounds) which shouldn’t be a lot but it looked awful because it was a fast gain and my body was very soft and looked terrible. So I decided to lose weight again but in a more intelligent way. Because of the many hormones I got, losing weight became terribly difficult. But I didn’t give up, moreover, it only made me better at everything. I trained better, I ate better (this time with normal portions – no more anorexic approach), everything was better. But slow. My body didn’t change too fast. At that time I hated that. Really hated. But now I’m happy that it happened this way. I learnt to like my body. I learnt that being skinny is not desirable and not everybody can be skinny AND healthy at the same time. I started enjoying my workouts. I started enjoying my diet.

speed doesnt matter

I worked out a lot, I tried many different styles of workout. It became my passion. It became my antidepressant. My mood booster. My antistress tool. At university I struggled a lot, I didn’t enjoy my years (being a full time student besides working full time is not that much fun) and I felt if I hadn’t had the opportunity to train, I would have needed to take antidepressants or stress relief pills. Fitness was my drug.

I liked working out but I never felt I’m good enough. I felt I should be ashamed of my performance. I thought everybody was better than me. Yes, my self-esteem wasn’t at the highest peak. I imagined personal trainers to have huge past in professional training, decades of full-time trainings, I didn’t even dare to dream about becoming a PT.

Then I met my boyfriend.

We both worked a lot, so we had to manage our freetime perfectly to be able to meet and spend quality time together. We both needed to workout. We both wanted to meet each other. So what? We started to workout together. Before the first time I was very nervous. I didn’t want my boyfriend to see me sweating, with red face, in my training trousers. Yuck. So, our first time was very ridiculous. I asked him not to look at me :D We were facing opposite direction and did our separate workout in the same room. I was sooooooo stupid :D Later I became less problematic and we started to train together. Really together. First of all, it made our relationship better. It brought us much closer. I was happier than ever. And I started to realise I’m not as weak and miserable as I thought because we often did the same workouts and I often suprised him how much I could do without sweating. Oh, I forgot to mention one thing. He was (still is) a kettlebell instructor, among the few first RKC2s (yes, he was among the best and he is still among them – he has leveled up since then). He trained hard. And I trained with him. This was the time when I realised I couldn’t be as bad as I thought.

superwoman deservesSo I started to dream about becoming a trainer. And one dark night, before falling asleep I plucked up my courage and confessed him (literally whispered) my dreams of becoming a trainer. He didn’t laugh at my idea but told me it was a good idea.

So, this is it. I saved some money and started my school. I became a group fitness instructor.

My road to be a holistic nutritionist

step1: have good parents who find healthy eating important

step2: not to be a rebel and follow the rules of healthy eating and learn to cure illnesses by herbs and concentrate on prevention and take vitamins, do exercises, be happy

step3: have a stressful period (university, relationship problems, taking care of sick relative, no rest, nothing)

step4: be diagnosed with insulinresistence. freak out. going back to the origins

step5: read a lot about special diet and concentrate on healthy eating again

step6: more stress and be diagnosed with fibroids. freak out. trying to concentrate on alternative therapies (special exercises, herbs, Bach flower remedies, meditation)

step7: change carreer – at least start working on it: become a fitness trainer (2011 was a good year, it changed a lot in my life), Pilates instructor (several different but somehow similar courses to help cure back pain, courses about prenatal fitness, postnatal rehabilitation, everything in consideration of healthy spine)

step8: learn about healthy eating on fitness related courses and read as many books as possible

step9: start teaching Aviva method (I’ll write about it later) and learn a different approach of dieting, meet many women with cycle related problems, PMS, PCOS, fibroids, preparing for IVF and stuff… want to help them and read even more

step10: realise that my path is to help people with not only proper workout and special exercises but personalized “healing” diet, too

step11: save money for the desired courses :D

step12: start a blog to help pass time :D

And here I am now. I want to start my courses as soon as I can but I have to save some money. Until then I will read as many books as I can (recommendations are welcome), visit workshops on dieting (I’m very curious about the ayurvedic approach, for example) and learn wherever I can.

I will experiment with my cooking, too. This is my weakest point, I often cook the same foods because I’m always happy when I’m succesful with a food and hate making mistakes and being out of ingredients at home. So this is part of my plan: I will try to cook in a higher variety and take risk with experimenting with more recipes.

I have some nice cookbooks (and my stupid obsession is to collect more and more cookbooks, even if I don’t use the recipes – I LOVE the pictures and the smell of the book), I want to try many recipes.

So, this is the present. Just desires and being forced to wait.

I’d like to take part in two courses, one is for getting the certification Holistic Nutritionist and the other is titled “Healing Diets”. Both would make me happy. Okay, now, winning a lottery would make me the happiest because I wouldn’t have to wait a day ;)