Hello HC St. Olaf Readers!
As I said in one of my previous blogs, some of the best information I receive about health and fitness is from my friends and readers. This week, I decided to feature my kiwi host (the equivalent of a JC at Olaf), Sophie. A New Zealander from the North Shore, Sophie is in her third year at the University of Otago. She is a very health conscious person with a talent for cooking – the aromas of her meals always waft through the house.
I asked Sophie if she would be willing to answer a few questions about her healthy low GI diet, as well as one of her favorite recipes, and she happily agreed. Meet my wonderful friend Sophie (pictured below), New Zealander, and definitely one of the sweetest people I know.
What is the GI diet? The GI diet is all based on the Glycemic Index of foods. Your GI is a measure of how fast carbohydrates break down and release glucose into the bloodstream. Foods are given a rating of 1-100 on the GI scale, with apples having a GI closer to 1 and sugar and sweets having a rating closer to 100. Low GI foods, such as veggies or apples, cause a smaller rise of sugar levels so you have energy for a longer period of time. Higher GI foods such as such as cookies raise your insulin levels quicker; you get a quick boost of energy but it unfortunately it wont last in the long run. The more natural the foods are the better.
I eat a lot of low fat yogurt, veggies, and fruit – these raise your sugar levels slower giving you energy for longer. Examples of Low Glycemic Index Foods (55 or less): Apples, carrots, low fat milk, oatmeal, lettuce, grapes Medium Glycemic Index Foods (55-69): Sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole wheat bread, peppers High Glycemic Index Foods (69-100) Dates, baked white potato, bagel, lollies (the word for candy in NZ terms), french fries
When did you start your low GI diet and why did you want to do it? I started the low GI diet in February. I did it mainly because last year during school I got sick frequently, due to stress and lack of sleep. With the advice of a Naturopathic (a person who practices a holistic form a medicine looking at natural ways to become or stay healthy), I was recommended to do this diet to boost my immune system. So far it has worked! I have not gotten sick and I definitely feel healthier. The whole idea is to reduce the stresses on your body. The Naturopath suggested doing this diet and exercising regularly, although on days where I was feeling exhausted to do some less stressing workouts such as Pilates or walking outside.
Okay, I know you are a fantastic cook, what is one of your favorite healthy recipes? I really like this recipe called, “Tuna, Tomato, Cucumber and Couscous Salad.” It’s pretty simple and great for lunch or dinner. What you will need:
½ cup couscous
¼ cup cold water
1/6 cup orange juice
210 g. can tuna in oil, drained and flaked (normal small tin size)
1 tomato chopped
1 spring onion, thinly sliced Pepper (to taste)
2 tsp. lemon-juice (to taste)
Combine the couscous, water and orange juice in a small bowl and set aside for 15 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed. Use a fork to stir the couscous and separate the grains. Add the tuna, tomato, cucumber, spring onions, and pepper to taste. Toss gently to combine, taste and adjust seasoning with lemon juice, if desired. If you want this can be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge. Enjoy!