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Nootropics and Sports Nutrition for the weekend warrior

 

Nootropics, including BCAAs and botanicals, can help weekend warriors meet their athletic and cognitive competitive goals.

Paul H. Falcone | Jun 03, 2019
Nootropics are compounds that improve cognitive function, and in some cases, brain health. They have been gaining buzz lately, which is not surprising since we are all striving to work harder and achieve more, and sustained focus is required to maintain that high watermark. One group that exemplifies the “work hard, play hard” lifestyle is “weekend warriors.” These individuals—who are tough competitors both at work and at play—are familiar with sports nutrition to optimize their bodies, but now it is time to “focus” on their brains.

When considering how sports nutrition can affect the brain, it is important to start with the basics of hydration and fueling, which can affect a wide range of cognitive domains. These topics have been addressed in research1,2,3 while two other important cognitive areas stand out for weekend warriors: focus and reaction time.

For people who compete in all aspects of their life, laser-like focus is paramount. For example, many weekend warriors engage in CrossFit or other types of high-intensity interval training, which demand pushing past physical and mental limits. Not only do they want to finish those workouts, they want to achieve new PRs (personal records) and feel the rush from knowing they just crushed that workout. In those situations, fatigue can dramatically reduce focus, and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are one nutrition solution. It has been suggested BCAAs may delay fatigue by reducing transport of tryptophan, a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin that contributes to feeling tired.4 In a study of cyclists, the rate of perceived exertion and mental fatigue while cycling was significantly lower when they drank BCAAs vs. placebo.5 In soccer players, psychomotor performance was improved with BCAA consumption during intense interval training.

Delaying exercise-induced fatigue is awesome, but weekend warriors do more than just exercise. They need optimal focus while at work and at play, which is where botanicals can play a role. Consumers who want to “hit a PR” at work, at home, at the gym or on the field (whatever “field” they choose to play on) must stay locked-in and on task wherever they are. Researchers demonstrate this by testing “sustained attention,” a cognitive domain we are all familiar with: sit down and do your work (or play with your kids) and don’t get distracted by your phone, calendar, Facebook or getting another cup of coffee. Studies have shown sustained attention can be improved by ingesting certain botanicals,7 allowing focus to be improved and maintained throughout a hectic day.

Another cognitive area to consider for weekend warriors is reaction time, or quick reflexes. Reaction time becomes important in a variety of popular, athletic contexts, such as mountain biking (to avoid major spills), HIIT (high-intensity interval) training or obstacle course racing . Reaction time testing is generally done on a computer, which means full-body reflexes are not being captured, but only the contribution of the brain (and maybe a finger or two for keyboard tapping). Active choice reaction performance (ACRP) is more applicable to sports since it involves reaction time while moving the whole body. Certain botanicals have been shown to improve ACRP by testing people’s reflexes while moving their whole body.8
To sum things up, we could all use a brain boost. Weekend warriors are especially vulnerable because they are highly competitive, and their competitive drive never stops since they take it from work to home to leisure activities. Even their choices for leisure are both active and competitive, taxing the body and the brain. Therefore, supplements—and specifically botanicals—can be added to the diet to optimize focus, sharpen reflexes, and support overall brain health.

Paul H. Falcone is senior clinical research associate at Kemin Human Nutrition & Health.

References
 Goodman S, Moreland A, Marino F. “The effect of active hypohydration on cognitive function: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Physiol Behav. 2019.
Baker L e al. “Acute Effects of Carbohydrate Supplementation on Intermittent Sports Performance.” Nutrients. 2015;7:5733-63.
Falcone P, Tai C, Carson L. “The effect of mild dehydration induced by heat and exercise on cognitive function.” Psychol. Cogn. Sci. 2017;3:17-2
Blomstrand E. “A role for branched-chain amino acids in reducing central fatigue.” J. Nutr. 2006;136:544S-7S.
Blomstrand E et al. “Influence of ingesting a solution of branched‐chain amino acids on perceived exertion during exercise.” Acta Physiol Scand. 1997;159:41-9.
Wiśnik P et al. “The effect of branched chain amino acids on psychomotor performance during treadmill exercise of changing intensity simulating a soccer game.” Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2011;36:856-62.
Falcone P et al. “Efficacy of a nootropic spearmint extract on reactive agility: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel trial.” J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018;15:58.
Falcone P et al. “The attention-enhancing effects of spearmint extract supplementation in healthy men and women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel trial.” Nutr Res. 2019;64:24-3

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Amino acids – What role do they play in muscle building, weight loss and fitness?

Amino Acids. What role do they play in muscle building, weight loss and fitness? Learn what Aminos are an how the effect your body.

Why do the majority of people who go to the gym to build muscle know so little of amino acids and protein, and their importance in achieving our goal of muscle building? Amino acids; everyone has heard of them, protein powders list them. So what is the importance of them? Do we really need them?

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and also muscle tissue. And they also play a major part in physiological processes relating to our energy, recovery, mood, brain function, muscle and strength gains, and also in our quest for fat loss.

There are 23 amino acids and 9 of these are classed as essential or indispensable amino acids (IAA) that must be obtained from our nutritional intake. The others are termed dispensable amino acids (DAA) or non-essential due to the body being able to synthesise them from other amino acids.

When we eat a meal we don’t pay much attention to the content and balance of amino acids but the content of the meal determines the body and health building value of the protein food or supplement. In addition the importance of the amino acids content of our meal is important to support maximum growth we also have to take another factor into account which is to what extent these amino acids are actually delivered to the tissues when they are needed which takes us to the issues of digestion, absorption and also the bioavailability.

What is Bioavailability?
Eating our protein foods such as lean meats and non-fat dairy products, or having our protein drinks are the most common ways that we get our amino acids, we also can obtain amino acids from vegetables, and legumes also have levels of most amino acids. We can also use protein drinks and amino acid supplements as a convenient means to supplement our dietary needs.

The reason we use these supplements is the bioavailability of the amino acids. Bioavailability is a measure of the efficiency of delivery and how much of what is ingested is used for its intended use by the body. There are factors which determine the amino acid bioavailability. One is how much fat is contained in the protein source and the length of time it takes for the amino acids to be available for use by the body.
Cooking also can affect the amino acids; some are more or less sensitive to heat and cooking may cause decomposition of some amino acids. The physical nature of the particular food is also a factor, whether it is solid, liquid, powder, or even tablet, and to what extent it is chemically pre-digested as some amino acid supplements are, fillers and binders also can have an affect on the digestion of the amino acid. The condition of our digestive system can also have an affect on amino acid digestion, genetics, age, health, specific diseases and illnesses all have an affect on our digestion.

Amino acids and Bodybuilding
Exercise, hormones and nutrients will all cause muscle growth. As will supplementation of free form amino acids high in the branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s) Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. The best time for us to get our amino acids is immediately after our training when the muscle is especially receptive to nutrients and also blood flow to the exercised muscles which still remains high. The solution to optimising our recovery and growth after training is a s meal composed of protein with both simple and some complex carbohydrates. This is the time when ideally we require a fast digesting protein such as whey protein.

Amino Acid Supplementation
The popularity of amino acid supplements has increased dramatically. Packaged workout and recovery drinks that contain hydrolysed (pre-digested) proteins and often some free-form amino acids can be found in most gyms. Also tubs of powdered or capsulated amino acids are being used by an increasing number of weight trainers. The good thing about these supplements is that they don’t require digestion like food does. The term free-form means that they are free of chemical bonds to other molecules and as such move quickly through the stomach, into the small intestines where they are very rapidly absorbed into the blood stream. When absorbed, amino acids are processed by the liver. The liver can only process so many at one time, so by taking a dose of 3-4g of amino acids these will be rapidly absorbed and would exceed the liver’s capacity which would result in the amino acids being directed to the tissues that would require them such as muscle that is recovering from your training.

Amino Acids and Energy
A lot of misconceptions exist about the muscle contraction and the use of energy substrates during heavy high intensity weight training. When performing your training using repetitive power workouts a substantial portion of your energy comes from non-carbohydrate sources. When your muscles contract they use stores of adenosine triphosphate (ATP, a substance vital to the energy processes of all our living cells) for the first few seconds. The compound used to immediately replenish these stores is creatine phosphate (CP). This is how the supplement creatine, became so popular to bodybuilders and strength trained athletes. Creatine is made from three amino acids: arginine, methionine and glycine.

To keep our CP and ATP levels high, these amino acids must be kept elevated in our blood stream. The amino acids in creatine supplements can be supplied by foods in our diet but the process of elevating these amino acids takes a great deal of time in digestion, and also would be accompanied by fats and carbohydrates which may or may not be desired. So the use of free form amino acids, either alone or in combination with creatine supplements can provide direct source of energy for power and strength.

Amino Acids & Fat Loss
In fat loss two major processes must occur (1) the mobilisation and circulation of stored fats in the body must be increased; and (2) Fats must be transported and converted to energy at the mitochondria (the powerhouse site of cells). Several nutrients can assist in the conversion of fat to energy including the amino acid methionine, which in sufficient amounts can help improve the transport and metabolism of fat. When attempting to keep our total calories down during dieting, amino acid supplements including BCAA’s and glutamine can also help to keep our food volume down but still provide support directly to the muscles, liver and our immune systems which are critical to optimising our body composition.

Amino Acids & Muscle Catabolism
Our body has the ability to breakdown our muscle tissue for use as an energy source during heavy exercise. This is part of a bodily process called gluconeogenesis which means producing or generating glucose from non-carbohydrate sources. The part of this reaction that is important to us as bodybuilders is known as the glucose – alanine cycle, in which the BCAA’s are stripped from the muscle tissue and parts of them being converted to the amino acid alanine, which is then transported to the liver and converted into glucose. If we consume supplemental BCAA’s the body does not have to breakdown our muscle tissue to gain extra energy. Studies have concluded that the use of BCAA’s (up to 4g) during and after training can result in a significant reduction of muscle breakdown during training. Catabolism of muscle can cause shrinkage of our muscles and muscle soreness and may also lead us to injury.

Amino Acids and the Anabolic effect
Resistance training generally stimulates both protein synthesis and protein degradation in exercised muscle fibres. Muscle hypertrophy (growth) occurs when an increase in protein synthesis results in the body’s normal state of protein synthesis and degradation. The normal hormonal environment (e.g, insulin and growth hormone levels) in the period following resistance training stimulates the muscle fibres anabolic processes while blunting muscle protein degradation. Dietary modifications that increase amino acid transport into muscles raise energy availability or increase anabolic hormones should augment the training effects by increasing the rate of muscle anabolism and/or decreasing muscle catabolism. Either effect should create a positive body protein balance for improved muscular growth and strength.

References:
Amino acids. Barry Finnin, PHD. and Samual Peters .
Exercise physiology. 5th Edition, William D, McArdle. Frank I Katch, Victor L Katch.

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9 Great Ways to Use Hemp Protein Powder

For over 12 000 years, humans have cultivated Hemp for both food,  fibre and oil.

The seeds of the hemp plant were used by ancient cultures as a source of nutrition and healing, a practice now catching on in the western world following multiple scientific studies confirming hemp’s benefits.

Hemp protein powder is made by grinding hemp seeds, into a fine powder. This makes incorporating hemp into the diet easy and convenient.

What Makes Hemp Protein Powder So Good For You?

Let’s start with its pure nutritional facts. It’s called a protein powder because of the incredibly high protein content found in hemp seeds.

Hemp Protein contains all 20 known Amino Acids, including the 9 Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) our bodies cannot produce. Proteins are considered complete when they contain all 9 Amino Acids in a sufficient quantity and ratio to meet the body’s needs.

Hemp Protein is free of Tryspin inhibitors that block Protein absorption and oligosaccharides which cause stomach upset and gas.

Approximately 65% of the Protein in Hemp Seed is made up of the globulin Protein Edestin which is found only in Hemp Seed. Edestin aids digestion, is relatively phosphorus-free and is considered the backbone of the cell’s DNA. The other third of Hemp Seed Protein is Albumin, another high quality globulin Protein similar to that found in Egg Whites. Moreover, hemp protein contains a litany of vitamins and minerals that promote good health, including:

Chlorophyll, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Thiamine, Niacin, Vitamin B-6, Riboflavin, Folate,  Phosphorous, Potassium, Iron, Zinc, Magnesium, Beta Carotene and more.

If you wish to learn more about the benefits of hemp as a food and food supplement, please read this post.

Now that you know all the good things hemp protein can do for you, let’s talk about nine great ways to use hemp protein powder.

How to use Hemp Protein Powder – click on the links to take you to some recipes that include Hemp Protein Powder

Smoothies and Shakes

Incorporating hemp protein powder into your favourite blended drink is a straightforward and portable option for any time of the day.

Cereal

While cereal can make a quick and easy meal at any hour, there’s no doubt that it provides a much-needed boost at breakfast time.

Hemp protein powder can be mixed into any traditional cereal to provide extra protein for your busy day, but here is a home-made cereal that packs a real nutritional punch.

Protein Bars

Protein bars are another convenient way to get nutrition on the go. Unfortunately, too many processed protein bars you find in the stores have ingredient lists more like candy. The good news is that making your own healthy energy bars is straightforward and doesn’t even require baking.

Oatmeal/Porridge

Few things can hit the spot like a bowl of warm oatmeal porridge on a cold morning. The heat and the health benefits both flow throughout the body, providing comfort and nutrition. By adding hemp protein powder, this wholesome traditional meal offers even more goodness.

Muffins

Perfect for breakfast, brunch, dessert, or even parties, muffins are some of the most versatile baked goods you can make. This recipe provides a tasty way to get some extra protein, fiber, vegetables, and fruit.

Ice Cream

Sometimes you just crave a sweet treat, and ice cream is as smooth and tempting as it gets. By adding some healthy ingredients, you can dive right in without any guilt. The best part? You don’t even need a fancy ice cream machine.

Brownies

Ice cream isn’t the only sweet treat that can be transformed with hemp protein powder. Hemp protein can replace flour in baked goods since flour is just ground grain protein. Unlike regular baking flour, hemp protein retains its other nutrients.

Pancakes

Pancakes have made a huge comeback in recent years. Once quaint breakfast relics of small town diners, or cursed frozen toaster blocks, pancakes and flapjacks have grown up and become a welcome addition to any meal. And now, they can even be healthy.

Cooking With Hemp Protein Powder

If you’ve never used hemp protein powder before, one of the first things you’ll notice is that it tends to give foods and drinks a slight green colour. This is due to the rich amount of chlorophyll present. This green tinge is completely natural, so don’t let it scare you off.

Hemp protein powder has an earthy and nutty flavour .

Like anything, some people like it more than others. If you don’t particularly care for its taste, there are a couple of ways you can still take advantage of it.

The first is to use it in recipes alongside ingredients with intense flavours, like those above that use chocolate, dates, and bananas.

All the recipes provide using unflavoured, original flavour Hemp Protein Powder.

Summary

As you can see, hemp protein powder is a remarkably versatile ingredient. It can be added to raw foods and beverages or used in cooking or baking. It’s an all-day companion that goes as well with breakfast as with dessert and is ideal for portable energy snacks or smoothies.

Hemp protein powder can be a valuable ally for your health, for basically every part of your body from your skin to your inner organs, your digestive system to your brain.

We hope you enjoyed these recipes and that they got your imagination fired up thinking of other tasty things you can make with hemp protein powder.

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3 Reasons You Need To Change Your Protein Powder

Protein powders are as synonymous with fitness as tough workouts, competition and the need for recovery.

Even though the protein supplement market has been oversaturated and misunderstood, the reality is that: Human beings are protein machines.

All the way down to our DNA, you’ll find instructions for building our brain, digestive system, muscles, immune cells and so much more out of protein building blocks.

To build new structures, we must provide our bodies with the raw materials it needs to make it happen. You can’t build your muscle out of cheese fries and Doritos (believe me, I tried). And if your body is deficient in the protein building blocks it needs, you will breakdown faster and live a poorer quality life as a result.

The big issue in our world today is that we live in abnormally stressful conditions where our bodies have to work on high gear more often. More stress to fight, more infections to defend against and more need to build new brain and nervous system tissue than ever before. And don’t even get me started on how you need protein to build a sexified lean body… You already know that!

Though many people are adamant about getting in their protein supplement today for some of these reasons, many are unaware that the protein they are choosing may be doing more harm than good.
Here are 3 reasons you need to change your protein powder:

Digestion
The conventional go-to for protein powders for the past couple decades has been whey protein. For some people, this has worked out fine, but for many others this has been a stinky situation.
In the health & fitness field, whey protein is often referred to as “Gas & Blast” due to the unfortunate effects of causing more bloat, digestive distress and gassiness.
halleberry_catwoman
I remember hearing an interview from Halle Berry back in the day when she was getting in shape for the movie Cat Woman (bad movie, but great body). She said to the interviewer that she’d be glad when she could back off on all the exercise and whey protein shakes she had to drink because of all the gas she was kicking out. (Wait, whaaat? Halle Berry farts?)

There are actually many reasons for these digestive woes. Unfortunately, many whey protein producers claim that their products are safe for those who are lactose intolerant because there is little to no lactose found in it (especially if it’s an isolate).

The problem with this is that even a small amount of lactose (milk-sugar) can be enough to set off a chain reaction of health problems. For those who are lactose intolerant (which you probably are if you’re not a baby and if you are a baby and reading this, great job!) just that small amount of lactose found in whey will go undigested in your digestive tract and trigger excessive activity with bacteria in your gut.

As a result, you end up experiencing the bloating, distended stomach and gassiness that are definitely not the sexy part about getting into shape.

Some people will hop to vegan proteins like soy to avoid this, but end up jumping into another problem. Many soy proteins, for example, are hexane extracted. That’s hexane, as in gasoline, as in that’s explosive stuff, as in that’s just crazy!

So whether you are unknowingly choosing the conventional whey, or the typical soy alternative, you are not doing your digestion any favours. And the truth is, it’s not “You are what you eat”, it’s really, “You are what you digest.”
To wrap this digestion point up, internal distress, denatured amino acids and the potential immune response can lead to an increase in mucus production and hormone dysfunction. This can translate to an increase in allergies and asthma symptoms, skin breakouts (especially back acne aka bacne) and more frequent colds and infections. More than enough reasons to leave these lower quality protein sources behind.

The solution
The most digestible protein source that you’ll find for the human body is hemp protein. Hemp protein contains a unique blend of two soft, highly digestible proteins called edestin and albumin.
Globular proteins like edestin are regarded as the most bioavailable, usable sources of protein for the human body. The word edestin is actually from the Greek word “edestos” meaning edible. Hemp is actually the only known source of the powerhouse protein edestin.

Edestin has also been found to contain higher levels of essential amino acids than soy and you’ll also avoid the harsh extraction process used to turn the soy bean into a protein powder.

Toxicity
A Consumer Reports study found that several of the major whey protein powders on the market exceeded the safety limits for heavy metals recommended by the USP.

Heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury were found in surprisingly high amounts in protein powders and drinks you’d find on your local store shelves.

The most alarming were the amounts of arsenic and cadmium. Exposure to arsenic has been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver and prostate. It’s a strong immune system depressant and shown to damage blood vessels and other cardiac tissues.

Cadmium is also a known carcinogen. It’s proven to damage DNA and also disrupt DNA repair systems that help prevent cancer in the first place. These heavy metals are bad business. But the question is, how did they get into the protein powder in the first place?

This goes back, again, to the misinterpreted saying, “You are what you eat”.
Not only is it deeper than ‘you are what you eat’, but when it comes to the animal proteins you consume, it’s really, “You are what you eat ate.”

The health of the animals that provide you with the protein you consume is of the utmost importance. Toxicity becomes more concentrated as you move up the food chain, accumulating in the tissues of the animal and transmitting over to the animal’s meat, organs and bodily fluids. In this case, it’s the whey made from milk.
If the animals themselves are eating an abnormal diet, then the milk they produce will be far less safe to consume. Did you know that only a small fraction of a whey proteins on the market are from cows that actually eat grass?
The vast majority of whey protein products are from cow’s who’ve been given a diet of soy and/or corn. Not sure if I’m the only one that noticed, but cows can’t shuck corn… And I’m pretty sure that they can’t cook beans either. It’s just those pesky hooves that they have… They’re just not that graceful in the kitchen.

Bottom line is, when you give cows food that they have not evolved eating, they get sick just like humans do. This is also the reason that most conventional whey products are from cows that have been treated rigorously with antibiotics. This destroys their immune system and leaves them susceptible to every disease under the sun. But hey, that won’t affect you when you drink their milk… Nah, I’m just kidding. Of course it will!

Add to the mix that you are consuming the whey from potentially hundreds of different cows in one jug of protein powder, you can imagine the not-so-pretty number it can do on your immune system.

You are what you eat ate. If the cows are consuming GMO corn and soy grown in soil that is saturated with unnatural fertilizers (which contain dense amounts of heavy metals) it’s no wonder that studies are finding the heavy metals in the whey. It’s just how the system works.

The Solution
To get out of that system and get a protein supplement that’s exceptionally more safe, it’s a good idea to shift over to a plant-based protein. There’s going to be less toxicity because it’s lower on the food chain, but you want to get one that still packs the protein punch that you would find in an animal source.

Hemptons utilizes a rich and complete protein derived from organic hemp seeds. You’re no longer going to have to be concerned about nefarious pesticides and heavy metal laced fertilizers making their way into your body. Hemptons’ Hemp Protein contains all of the essential amino acids and all three branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), making it one of the most potent sources of plant protein in the world. You’ll get the protein that you need and none of the stuff you don’t.

Dense Nutrition
The protein you choose should never be deficient in the co-factors that actually make it work. Protein doesn’t function by itself in the human body.

Nothing functions independently in nature. Everything depends on something else to give it life and make it work.
Most protein powders on the market are so heavily processed that they give no regard to this fact. Vitamins and minerals found in the food, blah, who needs ’em! Antioxidants and neurotransmitters, please, who said any of that stuff is important?

The vitamins, minerals and immune factors that would be found in a cow’s milk (intended to give to its baby) are all but destroyed in the processing practices of most whey protein companies.
You are not left with anything close to a complete food… You are left with, well, protein and none of its friends (and protein is definitely not a shy little introvert … it likes friends)

Soy, on the other hand, has been found to absorb plenty of nutrients from its environment, but an abnormal amount of the wrong stuff. One study on protein-rich soy infant formula found that it contained up to 200 times more manganese than natural breast milk. You probably know that manganese is an essential nutrient for the human body, but consuming it in excess has been linked to reduced brain function and even Parkinson’s Disease.

Soy is a plant that has this unique affinity to absorb excessive manganese. This could be a good indicator that it’s not an appropriate human food. Add to the mix that it’s extremely high in estrogen compounds and trypsin inhibitors that actually block the uptake of proteins and the case is pretty clear that soy is not the standard that we want to subscribe to.

The Solution
Hemp protein provides a safe variety of minerals and trace minerals that make the protein more useable by the human body.

Hemp contains healthy amounts of magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium as some of the highlights. All with critical roles in brain function, blood building, the immune system and muscle function as well.
In nature, hemp contains nearly the exact ratio of omega 6’s to omega 3’s that are ideal for the human body. Research indicates that we need a 3:1 to 4:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 respectively.

In our world today we are bombarded with foods that contain extremely high levels of omega 6’s (the pro-inflammatory fatty acids) and not enough omega 3’s (the anti-inflammatory fatty acids). Hemp contains a ratio of approximately 3.38:1 of Omega 6 to Omega 3 and no other food is this identical. This is yet another reason why hemp looks to be an amazing food for human beings.

At 35 percent protein by weight, hemp is a naturally high protein food that provides the most useable source of protein for the human body. It’s a food that we all need to incorporate as we move forward in our health and becoming the best version of ourselves.

So to answer the question: What is the best protein powder? Clearly, hemp protein stands head and shoulders above all other conventional protein powders in digestibility, assimilation, safety and nutrient density.
Here’s to a better protein, better performance and better health for years to come!

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What to Eat Before a Workout

 
WhatToEatBefore
 
 
Just as you put fuel in your car before driving, you want to put fuel in your body before you work out. Eating the right type of fuel at the right time before your workout will help motivate and energize your workout. Pre-exercise fuel has many functions—it prevents low blood sugar, fuels your muscles and helps to ward off hunger. By selecting the right foods before your workout you can watch your performance excel!
 
1 to 3 Hours Pre-Workout
Preparing for your workout doesn’t just happen; there are many things to consider. Selecting a well-balanced meal containing all of your macronutrients (carbs, fats, protein) and even fibre, 1 to 3 hours before your workout will help to ward off hunger and top up muscle glycogen levels. A great pre-workout meal would be a gluten-free quinoa bowl with mixed berries, topped with slivered almonds and your favourite plant based milk-alternative.
Tip: When preparing your meals, be sure to choose food that are easily digested and can settle comfortably. This will help your body to use energy during your workout rather than in digestion!
 
20 to 30 Minutes Pre-Workout
It’s game time. You’re heading out the door, and you’re in a slight rush. Whether you’ve just woken up, or just finished work, it’s time to quickly prepare your body for your workout. Two main things to consider: holistic stimulants (such as yerba maté or green tea) and easily digestible, fast-acting carbohydrates (to top up your energy levels). If you’re up early and have no appetite, consider a liquid boost such as a vege/fruit protein smoothie to enhance mental focus and provide both immediate and sustained energy.
 
Sugar-free Fuelling vs. Functional Sugar Fuelling
Different workouts have different fuelling requirements. Length and intensity are two main considerations when fuelling your body and preparing for your workout. Functional sugars (sugars or carbohydrates your body needs for energy and stamina) are used wisely when engaging in intensive workouts like weight training, Cross-fit, endurance runs or bicycle rides, especially those that last an 30 minutes or longer. Before any of those activities, drink a pre-workout smoothie (have a look at some of the options at Hemptons – Recipes). If you are engaging in a less-intense or shorter workout such as yoga, pilates or walking, a fruit – like a banana – prior to workout is a suitable option to have 20 minutes pre-workout to give you an extra-boost without the added functional sugars your body doesn’t necessarily require for a less-intense workout.
 
Food vs. Liquid Fuel
If you’d rather eat 20 to 30 minutes before you work out, a simple piece of fruit will do! If you’re bored of fruit or want to try something new, try a level tablespoon of coconut oil blended with your favourite tea or on its own! Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides which are converted by the liver into energy source (much like carbohydrates) but contain no sugar or carbohydrates!
If you have a sensitive stomach, liquid foods tend to leave the stomach faster than solid foods do. Try a fruit and/or vege smoothie or fresh fruit juice before your workout. You can even try drinking a shot of Hemptons Hemp Protein powder and 250ml, instead of a full drink. If you know you’ll be jittery and unable to tolerate any food before your event or workout, be sure to make a special effort to eat enough carbohydrates the day and night before.
 
Hydration
Preventing dehydration before exercise is one of the keys of maintaining exercise performance (especially in hot/humid environments). Leading up to your workout, be sure to drink plenty of fluids. If possible, drink extra fluid leading up to your sport or workout, until your urine is a pale colour. Drink about 2 to 3 glasses, 2 to 3 hours before exercise and around 1 glass, 10 to 15 min before exercise for optimal hydration and energy.
 
If you are hoping for success in the gym or at your game and results in the mirror, planning your pre-workout meals and hydration is crucial. There are many things to consider when fuelling for your workout but the quality and selection of the right food at the right time and proper hydration is paramount. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just be sure to schedule your pre-workout nutrition just as you schedule your workouts.
Happy fuelling!
 
References
 
Kreider et al. ISSN exercise & sport nutrition review: research & recommendations .Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2010, 7:7 http://www.jissn.com/content/7/1/7

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Harvest the Fruits of Your Labour – The right Nutrition during Recovery from Training plays a vital role in reaping the Rewards

FOLLOWING A TRAINING SESSION, RECOVERY IS THE MAIN PRIORITY FOR AN ATHLETE. CORRECTLY PLACED TRAINING STRESSES TRIGGER THE BODY TO REACT, ADAPT AND IMPROVE. CHOOSING THE CORRECT AND APPROPRIATE NUTRIENTS FOLLOWING A TRAINING LOAD IS VERY IMPORTANT, AS NUTRIENTS INFLUENCE AMONG OTHERS THE METABOLIC AND HORMONAL ENVIRONMENT, WHICH IN TURN INFLUENCES TRAINING ADAPTATIONS AND PERFORMANCE INCREASES. THE RIGHT SPORTS NUTRITION STRATEGY NOT ONLY IMPROVES TRAINING SPECIFIC ADAPTATIONS IN THE BODY, BUT ALSO SUPPORTS YOU, AND ALLOWS YOU TO BE READY TO PERFORM AT YOUR OPTIMAL LEVEL AGAIN SOONER – WHICH ULTIMATELY LEADS TO AN INCREASE IN EXERCISE PERFORMANCE.

Recovery phases should not be seen as a fixed ‘window of time’, which opens after training and then shuts precisely 29 min and 59 secs later, but should be viewed more as a continuum. However, immediately after training, i.e. in the early phase of recovery, several metabolic processes in the body, which enhance the storage of glycogen in the muscle and promote the building of new muscle protein, are maximally active. If the body is simultaneously provided with the right nutrients during this time, these recovery phases can be maximally utilized.

Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are required to replenish depleted energy stores in the body, i.e. the glycogen stores in the liver and muscles. Directly following a training session the total amount of carbohydrate required depends on numerous factors, such as: the training plan, training stress, volume of work and exercise goal, as well as the timing of meals planned later that day. It is fact, that an enhanced storage of carbohydrates in the energy stores of the body can be achieved immediately after a training session. The immediate, maximal replenishment of depleted glycogen stores is especially important for athletes who want to be able to perform at maximal intensity again only a short while after the last hard training session has ended. In this case the ‘reloading’ of stores should begin immediately after the training session, with approx. 0.8-1.2 g of carbohydrates per kg bodyweight. An hour later further carbohydrate-rich snacks or meals should be incorporated.
Keep in mind that the most important factor in the rate of replenishment of the body’s own glycogen stores is the total amount of carbohydrates consumed. If the training session wasn’t overly hard and of short duration, a fast supply of carbohydrates is generally not necessary. In situations like these it is certainly possible to wait until the next full meal to replenish the glycogen stores.

Protein
During exercise the body shifts from a well-balanced protein metabolism to catabolism and muscle tissue structures get damaged. Following a training session our metabolism is working flat out, and the previous training load has stimulated the body to build new muscle protein. Especially after an intense endurance exercise or weight training session it makes sense to supply the body with the optimal amount of high-quality protein (approx. 20-25g dependant on several factors; for young adults 0.3g/kg bodyweight is recommended), such as hemp protein, to promote muscle repair and building processes. However, the body doesn’t only react more sensitively to protein directly after a session, but actually for up to approx. 24 hours following a workout. The current scientific recommendation is therefore to plan the right amount of protein immediately after intense/hard sessions (key training sessions), as well as in regular intervals spread across the day, and also shortly before going to bed if required.

Fluids and electrolytes
Sophisticated and well planned fluid and electrolyte strategies after exercise are only necessary if there are very short recovery periods between workouts, and there is an acute and large loss of fluids and salts (i.e. sodium). Otherwise it is possible to address the fluid and electrolyte loss through normal drinking and eating habits.

Suggestions for recovery meals (add fluids depending on requirements) :
Low carb option – including approx. 25g of protein (e.g. following a low-intensity or moderately hard training session)
1 Protein shake (25g Hemptons Pure Hemp Protein)
250ml Coconut Water
1 Teaspoon Honey
1 portion of low fat, plain Greek yoghurt (200g) with low-sugar fruits (e.g. raspberries)

Carbohydrate-rich option – including approx. 50-60g carbohydrates and approx. 20-25g protein (e.g. following an intense and prolonged training session)
1 Protein shake (50g Hemptons Pure Hemp Protein)
2 Handfuls (approx. 70g) raisins
1 tub cottage cheese (200g)
2 tablespoons honey
1 sliced banana
With over 25 years experience in professional sports, the Sports Scientist and expert book author on Swimming Holger Lüning is aware that the correct nutritional measures in the early phases of recovery are all too often neglected. “Especially for athletes that do not have an appetite immediately after hard training sessions I recommend liquid nutrition, such as recovery shakes. As a result, the first intake of nutrients even immediately after hard sessions is ensured, as many find it easier to drink something rather than eat in such situations”.

Conclusion
Immediately after an intense training session the correct choice of nutrients influences recovery – an important part for training success. But also later meals and snacks should be carefully planned and selected. It’s important not to forget that sleep plays a major role during recovery and that nutrition also influences this period. A sub-optimally created evening meal can influence sleep quality and reduce night-time recovery. It’s essential to always remember: every athlete is an individual. A one-size-fits-all recovery nutrition strategy does not exist!

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Hemp Protein & Oatmeal

hemp-protein-powderIf you’re looking for a high-quality protein that’s not derived from animal sources, hemp protein powder might be for you. Mix the powder into smoothies or yogurt, but don’t stop there. Hemp protein powder may also boost the protein content of oatmeal, whether you cook it in the morning or make an overnight, soaked version. The powder contains multiple other nutrients to help you start your day right.

Not Complete

Some claim that hemp has all the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein on par with whey or soy. This is not the case, as a study in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” reported in 2010. Hemp protein lacks an adequate, digestible amount of the amino acid lysine. To ensure you get enough lysine, augment your meal of hemp protein and oats in the morning with a lunch that includes beans or lentils.

Adding Hemp to Breakfast

Hemp boosts your overall morning nutrition by providing you with essential fatty acids, iron, fiber, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Hemp-laced oatmeal also makes a quality post-workout meal to provide a combination of protein for muscle repair and carbohydrates for glycogen, or energy, restoration. One scoop of hemp protein adds about 10 grams of protein to the oats.

Mixing It In

Stir the protein powder in after you’ve cooked the oats. A tablespoon or two adds a nutty flavour and a greenish hue. Finish the oats with berries, milk and walnuts, or whatever other toppings you like. Alternatively, try the option of no-cook oatmeal by combining oats, almond milk, chia seeds, hemp protein, a little mashed banana and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Refrigerate overnight and enjoy the soft, puddinglike oats the next morning.

Quality Hemp

When shopping for hemp protein to add to your oats, go for organic varieties. Hemp readily absorbs pesticides, which may contaminate non-organic varieties. Freshness is also essential when purchasing hemp protein. If you don’t have ready access to hemp protein powder, you could add shelled hemp seeds to your oatmeal to gain the nutritional benefits of this seed.
Although hemp is related to marijuana botanically – just like broccoli and cauliflower are related, but not the same plant – hemp lacks the THC content that makes marijuana a psychoactive drug. You can’t get high from adding hemp protein to your oatmeal.

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So, what is Hemp? And why should I include it in my diet?

Many people may react cautiously to the notion of hemp as food, based on its connection to the harmful illegal drug, marijuana. Upon further exploration, however, one will discover that although hemp is family of marijuana, it is in fact a different plant – like broccoli and cauliflower are of the same family, but different plants. So, not only is the hemp seed completely THC free, it is also nutritionally superior to most other sources of protein and essential fatty acids.
 
So What Make The Hemp Seed A Super Food?
Hemp seeds contain complete protein. They are a highly digestible balance of all 20 known amino acids (both essential and non-essential) and in higher quantities than most other plant sources of protein. Hemp seeds are 33-35% protein. A mere 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds contain approximately 11g of protein!
Hemp seeds contain the globular plant proteins Edestin (65-67%) and Albumin (33-35%). Globular proteins are responsible for enzymatic functions in the blood plasma and for antibody formation, making them critical for strong immune function. Edestin is considered the most easily digestible protein and is very similar to protein in the human body. Albumin is another highly digestible and quality source of plant protein. Hemp contains the highest known levels of Edestin in the plant kingdom, making it a superior source of protein. Hemp seed is also free of trypsin inhibitors and oligosaccharides, two factors that affect the absorption and digestibility of other plant sources of protein i.e. soy.
Hemp seeds have a near perfect ratio of Omega-3 (Alpha-Linolenic) to Omega-6 (Linoleic) essential fatty acids (EFAs). The ideal ratio is considered to be 4:1 (Omega-6: Omega-3) ; hemp  seeds have a ratio of 3.38:1.
These fatty acids are required by our body via our food; we cannot synthesize them ourselves, thus the term, “essential.” Most westerners consume far more Omega-6 and not nearly enough Omega-3; this imbalanced ratio seems to go hand in hand with the common degenerative diseases of today. EFAs have a critical role in growth and development, inflammation response, mood regulation, immune strength, cardiovascular and neurological health, cellular respiration and more. Hemp also contains the fatty acids Gamma-Linolenic Acid (Omega-9), Stearidonic Acid and Oleic Acid.
The fat in hemp seed oil is 75-80% polyunsaturated fat (also known as EFAs) and less than 10% saturated fat. Hemp seeds contain approximately 44% fat. This overall fat percentage is lower than most nuts and carries with it the extremely desirable abundance of EFAs.
Hemp seeds are a good source of iron and also contains significant levels of the antioxidant vitamin E.
Hemp seeds and Hemp Seed Oil contain chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is nearly identical in molecular structure to our blood and is thus extremely beneficial to building the blood, nourishing and detoxifying the body. While the quantity is not nearly as high as the chlorophyll content of other blatantly green foods, like wheatgrass or leafy greens, the more we can increase our intake of chlorophyll the better. Chlorophyll’s presence in the hemp seed is another testament to its amazingly balanced nature.
You are probably now wondering; “Does it taste good?” My conventionally trained culinary taste buds can honestly give you a resounding, “YES!”
Hemp seed is unique in its culinary compatibility and flavour. It has a deliciously nutty and rich, yet delicate nature. Unlike what most of us know as “nuts,” hemp is a tiny, cream-colored flat disk comparable to the size of a sesame seed. Its texture is soft and creamy, not hard and crunchy. In my opinion, the taste is akin to that of a peanut or sunflower seed, yet somewhat richer and more complex. I can taste the hint of chlorophyll that dots some of the seeds; it reminds me ever so slightly of the taste I perceive when chewing a mouthful of chlorella tablets. Hemp, however, melts in your mouth. This property lends itself extremely well to blending the seeds to create smooth and creamy sauces, shakes and soups.
Besides the hemp seed, other forms of hemp food are now more widely available. Powders, often marketed as protein powder, are quite popular, as are hemp seed oil, nut butter and milk forms. Hemp is even ground into flour and used in baked goods. The red flag gets thrown here, however and we need to apply our knowledge of the fragility of essential fatty acids and proteins before we dive head first into the hemp food market.
Essential fatty acids are very susceptible to the effects of light, heat and oxygen (as most plant foods are). This means that any hemp products (or any EFA rich food) should be stored in the refrigerator, in sealed. Light-impermeable containers and not heated in any way. Some products recommend refrigeration only after opening. And that is most likely fine; however shelf life is generally increased when these products are kept cooler. EFAs and proteins change drastically when they are heated. And can transform the fats and proteins from being extremely healthful. To extremely harmful. Any temperature over the enzyme threshold temperature of 115F will initiate these harmful changes. Here is the lowdown on the most popular forms of hemp available and how to use them:
 
Hemp Seed
This is the best form currently available to us and is the hemp seed in its most whole state. Hemp seed are widely available in health food stores, raw food product stores and on the Internet. Sprinkle them on your salads, eat a handful alone, or blend them into a creamy sauce, smoothie, or soup. Keep in mind that blending causes rapid nutrient destruction and oxidation, so you won’t get as much from them by blending them as you would eating them whole.
You can also make your own hemp milk by blending the seeds with three times as much water as nuts and then straining it (optional). Most people prefer to slightly sweeten their hemp milk by adding a few drops of stevia or honey. Without any sweetener, this milk makes a delicious base for a creamy dressing or soup. Because I’m a big believer in consuming the most whole form of a food in order to benefit from the synergistic nutritional effect it has to offer and to minimize nutritional losses and modifications caused by processing, this form is my favourite and comes most highly recommended.
 
Hemp Seed Butter
This is the finely ground form of the hemp seed, similar in consistency to almond or peanut butter. lt has a green tinge to it due to its chlorophyll content. While nut butters are delicious, with a consistency that makes them quite versatile and enjoyable, there is always a question that weighs on my mind: “How hot did the commercial grinder get?” Anyone who has attempted to make nut or seed butter in their own home, whether using a homogenizing juicer, food processor, or other equipment, knows what I mean when I say that homemade nut and seed butters are never as oily and smooth as commercially made ones, unless you process the butter for lengthy periods of time until it gets quite hot.
While I have no doubt that makers of “raw” nut and seed butters do not intentionally heat their product, the heavy and quick work of commercial grinders naturally generates a considerable amount of heat. That heat releases a lot of the oils causing a commercially ground nut or seed butter to seem much more creamy and oily than one made at home. What’s wrong with this deliciously creamy spread? Heat and oxidation can easily equal the damage of fats and proteins. There is no practical definitive way that we, as consumers, can tell how much damage was done in this process.
My suggestion has always been that if you aren’t going to make it yourself, look for the brand with the least amount of oily separation in the jar. This is not to say that all raw nut and seed butter are bad, just use caution and use whole hemp seed as more of a staple, saving the nut butters for more recreational use. They too can be used in smoothies or dressings/sauces and as a spread. Check ingredient labels; salt or other ingredients may be added.
 
Hemp Seed Oil
This is the oil which is obtained by pressing the hemp seed and it can be used in dressings / sauces, drizzled on your meal, in a smoothie, or ingested as a supplement. Again, the importance of cold-processing is extremely critical. This oil is should always be refrigerated. Like flax oil, it is highly perishable and should be purchased in small bottles so that it will not remain opened and unused in storage for a lengthy period of time. Never use hemp seed oil for cooking, as the healthy fats will be transformed into harmful fats. While this oil is certainly high quality, keep in mind that oils bring pure fat to the table and whether good or bad, too much causes distress in the body. Again, my first choice is always the whole hemp seed, because you get the whole balanced food and not just one aspect of it and in a less processed state. Use all oil sparingly and it can be a healthy addition to your daily intake.
 
Hemp Protein Powder
In a purely hemp form, this powder can be useful for boosting a blended mixture. Look for cold-milled brands, such as that from Hemptons, to ensure that processing has had minimal detrimental effect on the nutritional quality of the powder. My opinion is that the shelled hemp seed nuts blend in to a shake just as easily and are tastier, so unless you are looking for other ingredients that might be contained along with the hemp protein powder, it is better to just use the nuts.
 
Hemp Flour
Most of these products do not have a place in a raw food diet. Hemp flour is usually incorporated into baked goods using flour and other processed ingredients. While it is healthier than wheat flour, as it does not contain gluten, cannot be used as a substitute – as the baked goods won’t rise. It is good if you want to increase the protein percentage.

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Soy Protein is an Anti-Nutrient

By : Dr. Jockers – 6 April 2015
Soy protein is an anti-nutrient that should be avoided for several reasons.  Soy contains phytic acids that bind and pull major minerals such as calcium, magnesium, & zinc from the body (4, 5, 6).  High processed soy consumption is linked with deficiencies in these major minerals.
Soy also contains enzyme inhibitors that turn off natural enzyme’s needed to perform critical cell functions.  Goitrogenic substances that block thyroid hormone are highly prevalent in soy foods as well.
Animal protein that comes from animals raised in conventional factory farms is extraordinarily toxic.  These animals are pumped full of dangerous hormones and antibiotics while eating genetically modified, pesticide laden grains.  This combination causes massive amounts of toxic bio-accumulation within the animal tissue and animal by-products.
 
The Best Vegetarian Proteins
hemp-protein-powderThe best vegetarian proteins are from brown rice, peas, & hemp.  Pea protein is considered the most hypo-allergenic protein which is especially important for individuals with chronic food allergies and leaky gut syndrome.   When mixed with a high quality pea or hemp protein they form a complete protein source with all essential and branched-chain amino acids.
Hemp protein is one of the very few plant based complete protein sources.  Hemp is a great source of sulphur containing amino acids methionine and cysteine which are necessary for cellular detoxification and the production of vital enzymes.  Additionally, it is rich in branched chain amino acids that are needed for muscle growth and repair.
Your protein powder should also contain medium chain triglycerides from sources such as coconut oil to improve bioavailability and aid in digestive comfort. This should never contain artificial flavourings and preservatives of any kind.  This source should be sweetened with natural sources such as stevia and/or xylitol.   Certain individuals may feel inflamed using a grass-fed, non-denatured whey protein.  They should switch to a high quality vegan protein such as hemp, pea, or brown rice and monitor results.