Healthy Living

Eating right for Zumba and Mental health

Eating right for Zumba and Mental health

Carbohydrates should make up the major part of your diet, accounting for two-thirds of the calories they consume.
The type of carbohydrate is as important as the amount. Some carbohydrates, such as sugar, are ‘fast releasing’, which means they raise your blood sugar levels quickly.
This leads to a sudden boost of energy and after a massive energy slump too, not great for Zumba.
Others, such as oats, are ‘slow releasing’. This leads to longer bouts of energy and memory.
The most accurate way to gauge whether or not you should eat a food is by checking the Glycaemic Load (GL) of a food, which is a calculation based on both the quantity of carbohydrate in a food, and the quality of that carbohydrate.

Maximising physical performance depends on giving the body the right fuel. Complex Slow releasing Carbohydrates, not fat, are the premier fuel for performance.
Also, complex carbohydrates can be stored as Glycogen, while fat cannot.
Glycogen is a short term store of energy, held in muscles and liver, which can be called on during extended physical performance.
That is why endurance athletes eat brown rice or wholewheat pasta or other complex carbohydrates some hours before an event to increase their glycogen stores.

So here are some safe slow releasing carb breads:
Pumperknickel – Rye Sourdough- Rye Wholemeal – Rice Bread – High Fibre White Loaf – Whole-wheat Loaf.

Safe Slow releasing carb Breakfast Cereals:
Porridge made from rolled oats – Gluten Free Muesli – Wheat Muesli – Oat Muesli

Safe Slow releasing carb Grains:
Quinoa – Maize/Corn Meal or Polenta –brown rice

Safe Slow releasing carb crackers:
Oatcakes – Digestives

Safe slow releasing carb Dairy Products or Alternatives:
Plain yoghurt (no sugar) – Full fat milk – Soya Yoghurt – Soya Milk no sugar or sweetened with apple juice

Safest slow releasing carb fruits:
Blackberries – Blueberries – Raspberries –Strawberries – Grapefruit – Pear – Melon – Oranges – Plums – Apples- Kiwifruit – Pineapple –Grapes – Mango – dried Apricots – dried Apple rings – Dried pitted prunes –

Safe Slow releasing carb Spreads:
Pumpkin Seed Butter – No sugar Peanut butter – no sugar blueberry spread – no sugar apricot spread – no sugar orange marmalade – no sugar strawberry jam

Safe slow releasing carb beans:
Hummus – Soya Beans – Pinto Beans – Borlotti Beans – Lentils – Butter Beans – Baked Beans – Kidney Beans – Chickpeas –Flageolet Beans

Safe slow releasing carb pasta and noodles:
Whole-wheat pastas – Egg Fettuccine – instant plain noodles –

Safe slow releasing carb snack foods:
Olives – Peanuts – Cashew Nuts – Popcorn no sugar – fruit/nut/seed bars

Safe slow releasing carb soups:
Tomato – Minestrone – Lentil

Safe slow releasing carb plant Sugars:
Xylitol – Stevia – Rice or Date Syrup

Safe slow releasing carb Vegetables:
Tomato – Broccoli – Kale – Avocado – Onion – Asparagus – Green Beans – Carrots – Pumpkin – Beetroot – Turnip – Sweet corn

Safe slow releasing carb drinks:
Tomato juice – homemade fruit smoothie – homemade vegetable juice esp. carrots.

What Foods to Avoid
Refined sugar and caffeine may make your family feel temporarily better, but your bodies soon “crash” from the high, leaving you even more exhausted or irritable. They also deplete vital nutrients from your system.
When serotonin levels are low, cravings for carbohydrates such as sweets and fizzy drinks or chocolate and alcohol can result, as the body uses insulin to trigger serotonin release in the brain. Eliminate these sugary substances from your diet if you can over time or you will be faced with brain exhaustion which will be a complete “crash down”.
Also dramatically reduce your intake of hydrogenated and saturated fats (fried foods, take-away, prepared meals), which only increases fatigue and sluggishness.

The Power of Protein
Protein is primarily used in bodybuilding to optimize lean tissue health and mass, boost metabolism, maximize fat loss, minimize recovery time and muscle soreness and bone damage consequent to weight training.
Protein is effective in increasing muscle strength and size while preventing the muscle tissue breakdown that can occur during strenuous exercise.
Exercise increases muscle protein turnover rate and much greater amounts are needed for this, as well as for tissue repair and muscle growth.
An insufficient protein intake can lead to excessive muscle breakdown.
Difficulty in building muscle is rarely due to a lack of protein and often the result of not taking in enough muscle-building vitamins and minerals such as zinc and vitamin B6, which helps to digest and use dietary protein.

Some of the highest quality proteins are
Grains: Quinoa, Brown Rice and Tofu
Fish/Meat: Canned Tuna/Sardines, Cod, Scallops, Oysters, lean beef, lean chicken
Eggs/Dairy: Natural Yoghurt, Whole Milk, All Cheese and Eggs

Eggs contain important brain fats called phospholipids. Phospholipids enhance your child’s mood, mind and mental performance. UCD Dublin Institute of Nutrition and Health have researched and found that the inclusion of eggs in the diets of growing children and adolescents would therefore help achieve these increased nutritional requirements. Breakfast is often seen as the most important meal of the day yet it is often the most missed, especially amongst older children and adolescents. Breakfast consumption provides a higher percentage of micronutrients than any other meal consumed during the week and is also associated with improved cognitive and psychosocial performance.
Always boil, scramble or poach eggs rather than frying them as frying may deplete the nutrients of the egg.
Try and buy local organic or free range eggs as these are the chickens fed on the grounded flaxseed which produces the Omega-3 for our brains to absorb.
Eggs do contain cholesterol but there’s no evidence that eating eggs promotes high blood-cholesterol levels or increases the risk of heart disease.

Water – the forgotten nutrient
Probably the most important item in the diet of sportspeople is water. Muscles are 75% water.
A loss of only 3% of this causes a 10% drop in strength and an 8% loss of speed.
During athletic performance thirst sensors are inhibited, so it easy for athletes to become dehydrated.
This leads to an increase in body temperature, and energy is diverted away from muscles to cool the body down.
During endurance sports it is best to drink water to allow the body to sweat and cool down this way.
However, it is even more important to hydrate the body in advance by drinking a glass of water every fifteen minutes for 1 to 4 hours before the event, depending on its length, eating plenty of carbohydrate also helps to store water because each unit of carbohydrate, stored as glycogen, is bound with 9 units of water. As the glycogen is liberated to provide energy for muscles, so too is the water.

Essential Fats:
While Fat is not the best fuel for the body, sources of essential fats have many important benefits for athletes. They help transport oxygen and keep red blood cells, the oxygen-carriers, healthy. They are vital for the immune system, which is often taxed in people who take a great deal of exercise. They are a back up source of energy which increase metabolic rate. So nuts, seeds, oily fish and their oils form an important part of a high performance diet.
Complex Carbohydrates and Omega-3 fats are high in serotonin, a deficiency of which can cause depression and insomnia. The better a child’s blood levels of omega-3 fats, the better their levels of serotonin ‘happy brain cells’ are likely to be.
One specific kind of Omega-3 fat, called DHA is vital for the developing brain, so it is especially important in pregnancy and infancy. Another kind, called EPA, has proven effective for improving depression and anxiety in children. Both EPA and DHA are found in fish oils.


Oliver McCabe

Select Stores Dalkey,The Restaurant Brown Thomas & Irish Parent Magazine

Twitter: @nutritionoliver

Facebook : Oliver McCabe Nutrition

I have been thinking sometime to write this so HERE WE GO….

Ok so some people may say, “He’s a nutritionist, how the hell did he put on the weight?” “Practice what you preach!”…”Hypocrite”…etc…

Well yes I admit I did put on weight, I’m only human.

Some people say there are no excuses to putting on weight but in my opinion there are….and everyone should stop sometimes and think before they question someones weight or appearence because you don’t know what the background is. Personally, I lost my Mum in late 2012 God rest her soul. She had a severe stroke in 2008. As I’m sure many of you have gone through with a loved one at some stage, when you are taking care of someone else you love realistically you don’t pay too much attention to yourself. So gradually I put on 3 stone due to emotional eating & drinking and lack of exercise. I was unhappy.

It wasn’t until early 2012 I was giving a talk at a secondary school to parents on teenage sports nutrition when one of the parents told me a few weeks after that she found it difficult to believe the advice I was giving when I was obviously overweight myself. This was a huge blow to me. I lost my confidence and self esteem.

Around the same time my friends Isobel Kelly and Mary introduced me to Zumba Dancing.

I loved it. I loved it so much I would try to attend 5 classes a week. I always loved dancing growing up. And this to me was nearly a reunion for me, back to what I loved. I overcame injuries through the 1st year. Back, knee, etc…but I perservered and by July 2013 I had lost a stone. So it took me a year to lose a stone. That first stone was the toughest to shift.

Previous to Zumba I had tried boot camps, gyms, trainers, running etc but I found it so boring and the weight was not shifting. And I was unhappy.

So Firstly, LOVE YOUR EXERCISE, you have to love your exercise if you are going to shift weight.

WHY? boosting serotonin “happy cell” endorphins created from enjoyment of exercise and happiness.

This will prevent you from overeating, cravings and generally thinking about food.

Once you are on this path stay on it!!

So it’s so important to find an exercise that you genuinely love if it’s tennis, swimming, pilates, cycling or zumba. So go out and find it!! If you are looking at a clock or watch when you are exercising, throw it in and find your exercise. Maybe it’s what you loved when you were young!! Find it!! It’s important to maintain your weight.

Secondly, I created the ‘Super Detox Cleanse’ in September 2013. Why? obviously to cleanse and lose weight.

It also worked for me because I was working 6 days a week 7am – 6pm. And I required healthy food on the go little and often.

I would start my day with a glass of warm water with apple cyder vinegar and squeeze of fresh lemon juice. This would kick start my digestion gradually waking it up.

Then I would prepare a green smoothie for breakfast made of avocado pineapple wheatgrass spirulina barleygrass then I would add juice of cucumber apple and lime. Blend and I poured into a 500ml bottle which I sipped throughout the morning time. It’s about 250 calories with complex low GI carbs essential fats and protein. I would then snack on an apple or pear as a snack.

Then I would have another green smoothie for Lunch which I would sip until about 4pm. It was made with Celery Spinach Parsley Cucumber Apple Lime Pineapple wheatgrass spirulina and barleygrass. Again 250 calories in a 500ml bottle. I would then have another apple or pear as a snack.

For dinner at 7pm I would have a vegetable stew with brown rice or quinoa with mix vegetables and homemade stock. no salt yeast wheat dairy or meat. Also 2 litres of bottled water a day. All in All I was on about 800- 900 calories a day compared to 2500 calories.

Ok I would have the odd glass of organic wine now and again and also the americano now and again but I never went back to oversized portions or too much booze. I wasn’t unhappy anymore. I was happy with myself.

I continued my zumba dancing but increased to 6 – 8 hours a week of high energy dancing. I would take pure fish oil, calcium, b vitamins, magnesium, probiotics and digestive enzymes as supplements to support my daily routine.

I also increased my body stamina and strength with thanks to my first teacher Lukasz of Zumba Galaxy. I didnt have back problems anymore. Put it this way I could lift 5 x 40kg bags of coal on my shoulders no problem without trolleys etc. in 2 mins to customers cars.

Customers and friends told me they were seeing a hugh difference in me. This felt great!

Unfortunately our zumba teacher Lukasz left in December 2013. The great thing about Lukasz was He would have you in 1st gear and beyond for the entire class. I have been able to maintain this full throttle now with our new zumba teachers and our Zumba “Mafia” we call ourselves who have sticked together through thick and thin. Pardon the Pun!! So now we have a range of zumba classes throughout the southside of Dublin. All fantastic certified teachers.

Zumba Fantasy with Colette, Natasha and Kelly.

I was pleasantly surprised that from September 2013 to April 2014 I shifted 2 stone in weight quite quickly with my new super detox cleanse diet and extensive exercise which I loved. Over a period of 2 years I have lost 3 stone. As I said the first stone was the toughest but once you overcome this it seems to come off easier and quicker.

I have learnt once more that daily exercise and healthy eating portioned properly is key to losing weight and maintaining weight loss. The easier you take it off the quicker you can put it on again. SERIOUS!!

I have also learnt and I’m welling up now – that friends and family, customers and clients and especially loved ones are very important in your life for support when you are trying to achieve a goal. It’s also terrific to meet new friends along the journey too and they know who they are.

Many thanks for your time

Oliver X