Anna Roesler – Dietitian (B N&D and M HEd& P)
There is so much nutrition information out there, how are we to know what is right for us?The Fresh Start clean and healthy menu can start to provide an answer to this as it allows you to experience a well-balanced diet for weight loss and optimal health, while providing all the nutrients required. The menu may need to be slightly tweaked and adjusted for individuals, as everyone is not the same, however it gives a good basis.
While following the diet, you may experience a number of beneficial changes. These changes will be particularly evident if this diet is new to you. Improvements may include subtle energy level stabilization, changes in taste and satiety maintenance. Initially, however, there may be a period of adjustment, but as you continue, the benefits of the diet will become obvious.
There is evidence both for and against a myriad of diets, including high protein, high fat, high carbohydrate, fasting, soup diets, Paleolithic and more. The Fresh Start menu, however, follows the proven approach of providing a natural, clean, minimally processed diet. Such a diet is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, meats and fish.
Particularly, the menu contains plenty of fruit and vegetables. There is strong evidence that diets high in fruits and vegetables are crucial for long term weight loss and potentially increased longevity. These benefits have been associated with the high, water, nutrient and fibre content of fruits and vegetables. A six year study of 70,000 Seventh Day Adventists consuming a high plant based diet, indicated that these individuals have increased longevity. On the other hand, Western style eating pattern with a lot of meat and highly processed foods has a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. A healthy, balanced, plant-based, whole food vegetarian diet lowers cancer rates by 70%, lowers the risk of being overweight or obese and lowers cholesterol levels by 30%.
The Fresh Start menu also includes a high proportion of alkaline producing foods. It has been suggested that alkaline producing diets place less stress on the body in the long term. Although it is not clear how important it is to follow an alkaline producing diet, the Fresh Start menu is predominantly alkaline producing, due to the high fruit and vegetable content and low level of processed foods.
One factor to be highlighted about the menu, is its detoxing properties. The Fresh Start menu is a low level detox diet. There is no coffee, alcohol and processed foods to be seen on the menu. The removal of these stimulants, including the food chemicals in processed foods, allows the body to better absorb the nutrients from the diet and stabilises energy levels. For some individuals the removal of stimulants can result in symptoms, such as headaches and tiredness. Be aware! These symptoms are not a bad sign, they are simply the body readjusting, once you have passed this period of readjustment, your body will be running off it’s own energy, rather than an outside power source.
A healthy diet consists of a combination of the three macronutrients, carbohydrates, protein and fat. These three macronutrients are sources of energy. The Fresh Start menu contains energy in the following percentages: 30% carbohydrates, 40% protein and 30% fat. This is a low carbohydrate diet compared to the average diet which contains 45-65% carbohydrate. The benefit of low carbohydrate diets include the following:
Control of appetite due to the higher protein meals
Satisfaction due to the inclusion of foods higher in fibre and water
Decreased cravings – a restriction of carbohydrates can lead to a decreased craving of them
Reduction in hunger – due to the reduction in high glycaemic carbohydrates (e.g. white bread, white rice)
Furthermore, the carbohydrates which have been included in the diet have been specifically chosen as not all carbohydrates are digested in the same way. When the outside fibrous layers of carbohydrate containing foods are removed, such as processed cereals and processed fruit juices, their consumption results is a quick rise of blood stream sugar, leading to high spikes in energy followed by a rapid full. To prevent this, the Fresh Start menu has included carbohydrates which are wholegrain and minimally processed, such as, wholegrain oats, vegetables and fruit in their natural form. These carbohydrates have a lower glycaemic index, that is, they are carbohydrates which slowly release sugar into the blood stream.
These macronutrients of carbohydrates, protein and fat have been spread out over the menu to ensure they are included when the body needs them in the day. The foods on the menu which are high sources of these nutrients are as follows:
High carbohydrate sources:
Carrots, corn, potato, fruit both fresh, juice and dried, and oats.
High protein sources:
Meat, fish, chicken and the non-animal flesh sources of lentil, eggs, nuts, seeds and oats (both the oats and milk).
Healthy fat sources:
Nuts in the energy ball, Raw zen of chocolate, avocado, olive oil and coconut milk. The benefit of these fats are that they are unsaturated (except coconut oil) and unlike fats in animal sources, the unsaturated fats have been associated with protecting against CVD and providing healthy skin and an supporting the immune system. Although the fats are healthy, the amounts have been limited to prevent excess calorie intake, due to their high energy content.
The Fresh Start diet is low in calories, providing approximately 1300-1500 cal a day. You will notice the diet includes healthy raw desserts, such as raw zen chocolate (with palm sugar) and energy balls. These items have been included in portioned quantities, as they contain nutrients, however, they have a high calorie content. Healthy sweet desserts tend to be associated with providing a feeling of satiety, and can still be included in a diet. Other foods you will notice on the menu include super foods (wheatgrass, salmon and coconut water) and less proclaimed, but just as good, nutrition packed foods, such as carrots, tomatoes and lentils.
The menu includes three meals spread out over the day, to ensure the body has the nutrients it needs. The food quantities are portioned deliberately to ensure controlled eating. A handful of sunflower seeds and an apple are also provided as healthy snacks each day. Apples are a great source of soluble fibre contributing to healthy bacteria in the colon while sunflower seeds are a great source of healthy omega three fatty acids for both skin and immune system health.
You will find little added sugar, salt and fats in the Fresh Start menu. If you usually eat such items, it may take a little while for your taste buds to adjust, but the perseverance is worth it. This is known as re-education of the taste buds. It is suggested that it can take about 30 days for the taste buds to become accustomed to the newer flavours which are usually over ridden by sweet and salt. I encourage you to watch and notice how your body reacts to the removal of these intense flavours. The evidence indicates their removal is linked to more stable energy levels and an increase in the ability to monitor true hunger. The Fresh Start menu will therefore put you on track to re-educating your tastebuds to enjoy healthy foods.
This low calorie diet in combination with increased exercise levels is likely to result in weight loss. It is well balanced diet providing all the nutrients you need even though you are exercising at high levels. Guests often report how full they feel on this diet. When returning to your normal life and continuing your healthy eating be aware of how satisfied you felt while on boot camp.
We can also provide a vegetarian, vegan meal plan on request – therefore be sure to let us know if this is required. We definitely support a higher plant based diet for weight loss and good health. Also, if weight loss is not your goal, please let your leader know so they can help modify the diet according to your needs.
Enjoy the diet and your stay. If you have any questions, comments or feedback on the menu do not hesitate to let us know.
Anna Roesler Dietitian (B N&D and M HEd& P) 14 years experience in nutrition consulting.
I have been working with Louise and Richard and the Fresh Start team to analyse the Fresh Start menu and provide you with answers and support regarding nutrition. I regularly visit the bootcamp and provide a nutrition presentation when you are able to ask questions and get to the bottom of your nutrition concerns. I hope to see you at the bootcamp.