Posted on

Sleep Better – 5 tips for a good rest

5 Tips for an optimal nighttime sleep

When you’re laying in bed after a long and busy day, hoping for a good night’s rest, the trouble starts: you can’t get to sleep. After a few hours staring at the ceiling and overthinking your day, you wake up being more tired than before. Recognisable? That could very well be, because almost a quarter of the Dutch population experiences sleep deprivation. One night of bad sleep isn’t a total disaster, but the more you experience sleep deprivation, the more it takes a toll on both physical and mental health. And that is something we’re here to prevent. That’s why this blog will give you 5 tips for an optimal nighttime sleep.

1. Quantity: get enough rest

Plenty of sleep is important to restore your physical and mental energy. Another important factor is the time you give your brains to process all the impressions and impulses you’ve experienced that day. But what is ‘enough’ sleep? The amount of sleep you need differs per person and is also variable based on age. A newborn baby needs 16 to 18 hours of sleep per day, whereas adults suffice with 7 to 9 hours sleep per day. Checking the sufficient quantity of resting hours is simple: you have a healthy rhythm when you fall asleep easily at night, and wake up feeling rested the day after.

2. Quality: a good sleep

Besides the quantity of sleep, you’ll also need a qualitative sleep. The quality of sleep can be improved in several ways. First of all, make sure that your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet and you have a comfortable sleeping spot. Second, any screens such as tv’s, tablets and also smartphones should be forbidden in the bedroom. The light that emits from screens disrupts the production of the melatonin hormone. Lastly, the quality of sleep can be significantly improved when you have a standard rhythm and maintain this by sleeping at the same time, every night. You’ll automatically wake up around the same time too.

3. Food is important too

Eating the right amount of healthy foods is a basic principle of a healthy lifestyle, and also plays a definite part in the quality of your sleep. A few specific tips when it comes to food and sleep: don’t eat solid foods 2 to 3 hours before sleeping, do not drink coffee with caffeine at night, and lastly do not consume alcohol right before sleeping. Besides these specific tips about food and sleep quality, it is important to maintain a healthy diet throughout the day for proper energy maintenance.

If you’re having a hard time getting all the important nutrients in your meals, you can always try a Jake shake. These aren’t just tasty and quick, they also contain every essential nutrient like vitamins and minerals that your body needs in a day.

4. Upgrading your sleep with physical activity

By tiring your body with physical activity during the day, you’ll experience a better night’s rest. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, but preferably even more than that. By physical activity we mean a broad definition of exercise: like working out, but also going for a long walk or bike ride to work for example. When you’ve done sufficient activities you’ll experience a tired feeling in your body which will help you fall asleep quicker and sleep deeper. Either in turn helps with improving your quality of sleep and therefore life. Do mind the following: do not exercise right before sleeping. If you do so, your heart rate, body temperature and metabolism will increase significantly after working out, resulting in staring at the ceiling again. Rather exercise in the morning, afternoon or start of your evening.

5. Come down before going to bed

As logical as it may sound, a lot of people tend not to do this. They’re still on their phones and busy in their head planning their next day, right before heading to bed. Rather grab a moment of tranquility before hitting the sack. You could read a book, listen to quiet music or try doing some relaxation exercises such as sleep meditation. By doing so, you’ll give yourself enough time to relax and fall asleep faster and better.

Jake makes complete food, in shake form amongst others. Our food contains all the nutrients your body needs – quick and fast in one meal. Care to try Jake? Click here.

Posted on

Cold showers: not always fun, but always healthy

Cold showers: not always fun, but definitely healthy

Taking a cold shower isn’t a nice prospect to wake up to, for a lot of people. Despite cold showers not always being fun (especially in the beginning), the pros seem to outweigh the cons. Having a cold shower is pretty healthy: it reinforces your immune system, helps the circulation of blood and even betters your happiness! It’s not just wild guesses, scientific research has proven the benefits of cold showers.

Research among employees of a company has proven to lower sick leave by 29%, within the group of cold showering employees. We’ll go deeper into the reason why cold showering is as healthy as we claim down below.

1. It improves your immune system

When your body comes into contact with cold water, multiple reactions occur. Your body starts making extra white blood cells and immediately increases your metabolic rate. The white blood cells help the attack on harmful pathogens. This is an automatic reaction of the body to protect you from the cold you’re experiencing. By having a cold shower on a daily basis (15 seconds, really cold), you can boost your immune system easily and be better protected against a lot of disease-causing agents.

2. Stimulates the circulation of blood

One of the reactions of the body when exposed to cold, is narrowing blood vessels. When your body warms back up, your blood vessels eventually open up widely. This stimulates the circulation of blood and, in turn, pumps a lot of oxygen to your organs and brains. Are you feeling energetic and sharp after a cold shower? You should be.

3. Production of brown fat

Another interesting reaction of the body when exposed to cold, that’s gotten a lot of scientific attention lately, is the production of brown fats. These special fat cells, primarily found around the neck and spine, function as little space heaters for the body. Unlike white fat cells, brown fat cells can not store energy. Brown fat cells can however produce energy, by using the white fat cells as ‘fuel’. When experiencing cold, the body stimulates the creation of brown fat cells. The more of those cells there are, the more white fat cells you need to fuel these ‘brown-fat-heaters’. So indirectly, cold showers help burn ‘bad fats’ and lose a little extra weight.

4. Cold showers make you happy

You might think differently during your cold shower, but afterwards the effect should really help your happiness overall. This is caused by the production of endorphins due to the exposure to cold. And as you might know, endorphins carry the nickname of the happiness hormone. The hormone has a proven effect to counteract any stress hormones, causing you to feel happy and stress free at the start of your day. Seems like a great way to start off!

Want to start your day off even more healthy and happily? Then take a Jake Shake after your cold shower. Our shakes contain all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals your body needs to function optimally. All quick and easy in one meal. Want to try Jake? Click here.

Posted on

Digestive system

Digestive system

In previous blogs we’ve talked about the different nutrients our body needs. We have yet to discuss the way our body absorbs and processes these substances. And to do so, we’re visiting the digestive system today. So how does your food travel from mouth to bottoms?

Organs

In order to better understand the digestive system, we’ll be examining the organs involved.

The mouth

Digestion starts at the top, in your mouth. A signal is sent to your brain whenever you see, smell or taste food. This activates neurons in your brain: the parasympathetic nervous system. This is step one of digestion.

Saliva makes food wet to be able to swallow it, but also coats it in protective matter: antibodies to kill any pathogen. It also contains amylose, an enzyme that splits starch in to smaller molecules.

Besides chemical digestion, due to enzymes in saliva, we also speak of mechanical digestion. By chewing with your teeth and moving your tongue, bites get smaller and compacted to a ball. The tongue pushes the ball backwards which initiates the swallow reflex. This temporarily closes of the nasal cavity and trachea so the food can enter the esophagus.

The oesophagus

The esophagus carries food over from the throat to the stomach. It is about 25cm long and the width varies from 1.5 to 2 cm. The esophagus lies behind the trachea and the heart, and sits in front of the vertebral column. It travels through the diafragma before it enters the stomach. The food is slowly pushed through using a peristaltic movement. The esophagus makes use of both smooth muscles and skeletal muscles to extend and retract itself.

The inside is covered in a thick layer of slime to make food travel down easily. We call this layer: mucosa. The esophagus does not break down any nutrients during its process.

The stomach

Food reaches your stomach coming from the oesophagus. It gets mixed with gastric juice to break down the food particles, making them more soluble. The most important functions of the stomach are the initiation of carbohydrate and protein digestion, as well as turning the food and juice combination in to chyme.

The stomach is located in de upper left part of your belly, directly below the diaphragm. In front of the stomach is the liver, behind that is the pancreas, the kidneys, the spleen and the large intestine.
The cardia is the opening between the oesophagus and the stomach. The upper part of the stomach is called the fundus. The fundus adjusts to the variable quantities of food taken in by relaxing its muscular walls. The middle part (and also biggest part) of the stomach is called the gastric body, it mainly serves as storage for foods and fluids. The antrum, the bottom part of the stomach, is funnel-shaped. The broad end connects to the lower part of the stomach body and the narrow end connects to the pyloric canal, which flows into the duodenum (the upper part of the small intestine). The pyloric canal, the smallest part of the stomach, is the exhaust of the stomach to the duodenum. It has a diameter of about 2 cm. wide.

The stomach can widen itself in order to take in about a liter of food or fluids, without expanding its pressure. The expansion of the gastric body by food activates a reflex that initiates muscle activity in the antrum.

The stomach moves and kneads the food in different ways. This ensures that digestion can take place easily, and it helps to distribute and mix the food well before it moves to the duodenum.

The inner surface of the stomach is lined with a mucous membrane called the gastric mucosa. The mucosa is always covered with a layer of thick mucus secreted by tall columnar epithelial cells. Stomach mucus has two main purposes; it provides a smooth layer to facilitate the movement of food and it forms a protective layer over the mucous membrane epithelium of the stomach cavity. The stomach acid has a low pH that could affect the inside of the stomach. This mucous layer protects the stomach from the low pH of the stomach acid.

The mucosa, or inner mucous membrane of the stomach consists of gastric pits that later (deeper down in the mucous membrane) transform into gastric glands. The glands contain cells that secrete substances to aid the digestion of food.

Mucosal cells
The mucus cells are cells that separate the slimes for the inside of the stomach. This creates a protective layer against stomach acids. It also excretes bicarbonate (HCO3-). This substance neutralises the pH of the stomach acid so that no damage can be done to the cells (Figure 1).

Een weergave van de processen van de maagklier

Figure 1.

Chief Cells
These cells excrete pepsinogen, pepsinogen still has to be converted to the active pepsin, which is done by HCL. Pepsin is a protease (protein-digesting enzyme), so when this conversion from pepsinogen to pepsin has taken place, protein digestion can commence in the stomach.

G-cells
These endocrine cells secrete the acid-stimulating hormone gastrin in response to a decreased acidity of the stomach contents when food enters the stomach and the stomach expands. Gastrin then enters the bloodstream and is transported in the circulation to the mucosa in the middle part of the stomach, where it binds to receptors on the outer membrane of the parietal cells. The formed gastrin receptor complex stimulates the secretion of HCL.

Parietal cells
Parietal cells secrete hydrogen ions that combine with the chloride ions to form hydrochloric acid (HCL) as shown in Figure 2. The produced acids then get transported to the lumen of the gland, which then proceeds to to the stomach. This process only takes place when one or more types of receptors on the outer membrane of the parietal cell are offered to histamine, gastrin or acetylcholine. Prostaglandins, hormone-like substances present in almost all tissues and body fluids, inhibit the secretion of hydrochloric acid.

Een weergave van de slokdarm en de onderdelen

Figure 2.

The speed with which the stomach is emptied depends on the physical and chemical composition of the meal. Liquids drain faster than solids. The peristaltic movement in the stomach helps to transfer the chyme from the stomach to the small intestine. In a normal situation, food remains in the stomach for 2 to 6 hours, after which it is released to the small intestine in portions via the sphincter (shutter muscle).

The small intestine

The small intestine is the main organ of the digestive tract. The primary functions of the small intestine are mixing and transporting contents, producing enzymes and other components essential for digestion and nutrient absorption. Most of the processes that dissolve and reduce carbohydrates, proteins and fats to relatively simple organic compounds take place in the small intestine.

The small intestine, 670 to 760 cm long and 3 to 4 cm in diameter, is the longest part of the digestive tract. It begins at the pylorus, the junction with the stomach, and ends at the ileocaecal valve, the junction with the large intestine. The main functional segments of the small intestine are the duodenum, jejunum and ileum.

Een weergave van de slokdarm en de onderdelen

Figure 3.

Although the small intestine is only 3 to 4 cm in diameter and about 7 metres long, it is estimated that the total absorption area is about 4500 square metres. This is possible because of the small protrusions present on the inside of the intestine. These protrusions are called vili. The notches between the vili are called crypts. These are mainly the cells that secrete fluid and hormones. The stem cells that ensure constant renewal of the intestinal cells are also present there.

The large intestine

The large intestine, or colon, serves as a reservoir for fluids coming from the small intestine. It has a much larger diameter than the small intestine, about 2.5 cm as opposed to 6 cm, with 150 cm in length it is also less than a quarter the length of the small intestine. The primary functions of the large intestine are to absorb water; to maintain the osmolarity of the level of dissolved substances of the blood by separating and absorbing electrolytes (substances such as sodium and chloride, which are in solution and take on electric charge) from the chyme; and to store faeces until it can be excreted.

The pancreas

The pancreas is a long, narrow gland that lies across the upper abdomen, behind the stomach and spleen. The pancreas is both an exocrine and endocrine gland. The exocrine tissue, called acinar tissue, produces important enzymes that are transferred to the small intestine for digestion. The endocrine tissue (islets of Langerhans) produces two hormones (insulin and glucagon) that are important in regulating carbohydrate metabolism.

Acrine cells
The acinar cells fill more than 95% of the exocrine part of the pancreas. They produce a variety of digestive proteins, or enzymes that are mainly involved in the breakdown of food proteins (proteins), fats (lipids) and carbohydrates (amylases) in the gut. In the acinar cells, almost all enzymatic proteins are synthesised on ribosomes from amino acids transported by the bloodstream to the pancreas.

Islet cells
There are three types of islet cells, designated alpha, beta and delta, which make up about 2% of the total pancreatic mass. Islet cells are approximately 20-35% alpha, 60-75% beta and 5% delta. The alpha cells release glucagon, which leads to the breakdown of glycogen in the liver and an increase in the blood glucose level. Beta cells release insulin which actually does the opposite. Delta cells release somatostatin, whose effects inhibit the release of glucagon and insulin.

The liver

The liver is not only the largest gland in the body, but also the one with the most complex function. The main functions of the liver are to participate in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fat to synthesise cholesterol and bile acids. Synthesising bile acids is necessary for the production of bile to participate in the transport of bilirubin to stabilise and transport certain drugs and to regulate the transport and storage of carbohydrates.

Bile ducts

Bile is made by the liver and then stored in the gall bladder, when it is needed it is transported to the small intestine. Bile consists of salted cholesterol, bilirubin and foreign body waste.

Bile salts are made from steroids, bile acids and from amino acids. Bile salts make insoluble fats slightly more water-soluble, which is called emulsification. Most bile salts are reabsorbed at the end of the small intestine and returned to the liver via the portal vein.

Digestion of nutrients

We’ve established the journey our food has to take in order to be processed. Let’s see how these nutrients are absorbed by the body.

Digestion of carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are absorbed as monosaccharides (simple sugars such as glucose, fructose and galactose that cannot be further broken down by hydrolysis) or as disaccharides (carbohydrates such as sucrose, lactose, maltose and dextrin that can be hydrolysed into two monosaccharides). However, these simple molecules must be obtained by breaking down polysaccharides, complex carbohydrates containing many monosaccharides. The most important of these is amylose, a starch that accounts for 20% of carbohydrates in the diet. Amylose consists of a straight chain of glucose molecules bound to their neighbours by oxygen bonds. Most of the starch is amylopectin.

Only a small amount of starch is digested by salivary amylase, but even the amylase from the pancreas has little effect on the side chains of amylopectin and even less on the bonds in cellulose molecules. This explains the inability of humans to break down cellulose. There are several forms of amylase in pancreatic juice whose function is to hydrolyse complex carbohydrates into disaccharides and trisaccharide and amylopectin into dextrins. In the brush border and surface membrane of the epithelial enterocyte are the disaccharidase enzymes, lactase, maltase, sucrase and trehalose which hydrolyse maltose and dextrins to monosaccharides, glucose, galactose and fructose.

Glucose, one of the two monosaccharide components of table sugar (sucrose) and milk sugar (lactose), combines with phosphate in the liver cell and is either transported to peripheral tissues for metabolic purposes or stored as glycogen.

To absorb the carbohydrates, there are different ways of transport. The easiest way is passive transport: molecules move spontaneously into the blood. This does not require energy but generally involves a gradient difference. Passive transport occurs in the form of diffusion or osmosis.

In addition, many sugars are absorbed and moved via active transport. This is done with a carrier molecule or via transporters. Active transport always costs energy in the form of ATP, which is why molecules can also be transported in this way against the gradient, so that they do not always have to move from a high to a low concentration.
Active Transport can also be divided into two types: primary active transport, which is directly linked to the use of ATP and secondary active transport, which is indirectly linked to the use of ATP.

The absorption of carbohydrates in the small intestine involves secondary active transport, which means that ATP is needed but indirectly.
Two transporters are required for glucose uptake: the SGLT and the GLUT2 transporter. Glucose cannot be automatically taken up by the transporter, it needs a sodium gradient, the sodium gradient is caused by the sodium-potassium pump. The sodium gradient is caused by the sodium-potassium pump, which ensures that the sodium is transported out of the intestinal cell and that therefore less sodium remains in the intestines. The sodium-potassium pump works with ATP and is therefore an active transport.
As there is now less sodium present in the intestinal cells, the SGLT can transport sodium with the gradient, taking glucose with it as shown in Figure 4. Sodium is then pumped out again and glucose leaves the intestinal cell and is taken up into the capillary with the GLUT2 receptor.

Een weergave van de lumen en de interne processen

Figure 4.

The digestion of fats

90% of the fats in food are triglycerides. Triglycerides are broken down by the enzymes lipase and colipase which are secreted in the pancreas and end up in the intestines. The triglycerides are broken down by the enzymes into monoglycerides and free fatty acids.

A property of fats is that they are not water-soluble. So in order to absorb fats, bile salts are needed, which are made in the liver and excreted into the small intestine via the gall bladder. The bile salts have a hydrophobic and a hydrophilic side and can thus surround the fat. The hydrophilic side towards the water and in contact with the intestinal environment.

If the fat droplet is thus more water-soluble, the lipases can then join in, which take care of the breakdown of triglycerides into monoglycerides and free fatty acids. The broken down lipids form micelles, which are then transported to the brusbous membrane of the intestine so that these broken down fats can be absorbed by the intestinal cells.

When the micelles come close to the burshboarder, the monoglycerides and fatty acids separate from the micelles. The monoglycerides and fatty acids then diffuse through the membrane into the small intestine.

When the monoglycerides have entered the intestinal cell they form triglycerides again. The triglycerides, together with cholesterol, form the chylomicrons. The chylomicrons are packed by the Golgi apparatus into vesicles which can be transported over the intestinal wall. These vesicles are too big to enter the capillary, so they are transported by the lymphatic system. This whole process is shown in figure 5.

Een weergave van de lumen en de cellen die betrokken zijn

Figure 5.

Digestion of protein

Proteins are chains of amino acids, the largest kind, very long chains are called polypeptides. In order for the peptides to be absorbed properly, the peptide bonds between the amino acids must be broken. There are two different types of enzymes for breaking the bonds. Endopeptidase and exopeptidase.

The endopeptidase, which includes pepsin and trypsin, can only break polypeptides in the middle of the chain. This results in two smaller peptides. The exopeptidase cannot break a peptide bond in the middle but only at the end of the protein. This creates loose amino acids and small peptide chains. A well-known exopeptidase is carboxypeptidase, which is secreted by the pancreas.

The somewhat larger pieces, chains of 2 to 3 peptides, are co-transported with an H+ across the membrane. Now they can either be broken down by peptidase in the cell into amino acids or they can be transported to the blood with the same H+ co-transporter.

Another way of transporting slightly larger peptides is transcytosis. These are a kind of vesicles with which the molecules can be transported across the cell.

The digestive system: a summary

Digestion runs from your mouth, through your oesophagus to the stomach. There is a short pause for digestion. From there your food is transported to the small intestine and then to the large intestine. Digestion of nutrients in the small intestine is accompanied by the secretion of hormones and bile that are produced in the pancreas and the liver.

Large carbohydrates are reduced in size by the enzyme amylase to which the small molecules can be transported into the blood by a secondary active transport.

Fats are broken down into monoglycerides and free fatty acids after which, with the help of bile salts, they are water-soluble and can be packed into micelles. The micelles can enter the cell. After this, the monoglycerides and free fatty acids form triglycerides again and can be transported via the lymphatic system through the body with the help of the Golgi apparatus.

Proteins must be broken down from large peptides into small amino acids or short peptides. These can be co-transported with an H+ ion across the cell membrane, after which they are transported to the blood with the same transporter.

Posted on

Why switch to a plant-based diet?

A woman drinking a Jake shake after her run

Why switch to a plant-based diet?

As vegetarian diets have become increasingly popular, a vegan diet has also gained much more recognition as a healthy and potentially therapeutic food choice. The number of people who eat vegan every day has been set at 1.5%. With a population size of 17.4 million, there are 261,000 people. This figure is more than 110,000 higher than previous estimates.

What is a plant-based diet?

A vegan diet means that you only eat foods that come from plants. Those who diet avoid all animal products, including meat, dairy products and eggs. Some people also don’t eat honey. For some, being vegan is a food choice, while for others it is a lifestyle choice.
Vegan diets usually contain a lot of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds. Eating a variety of these foods provides a wide variety of important vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and proteins.

However, people following this diet must ensure that they are getting important nutrients that humans usually consume in animal products. These nutrients include iron, protein, calcium, vitamin b12 and vitamin D.

Vegan diets usually contain more dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamins C and E, iron and phytochemicals, and often these diets are lower in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12. Vegans generally have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. A vegan diet appears to be more useful for increasing the intake of protective nutrients and phytochemicals and for minimizing the nutritional factors involved in various chronic diseases.

Health benefits

Vegan diets can provide all the nutrients you need. In addition, they can eliminate some of the potential risks that several studies have associated with negative effects of animal fats. Research has linked the vegan diet to a range of health benefits.

Better heart health

Vegan diets can improve heart health in several ways. In 2019 a large-scale study has linked a higher intake of plant foods and a lower intake of animal foods with a reduced risk of heart disease and death in adults. Animal products, including meat, cheese and butter, are the main dietary sources of saturated fats. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), eating foods containing these fats increases cholesterol levels. High cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease and strokes. Plant foods also contain much more fiber, which the AHA has linked to better heart health. Animal products contain little or no fiber. The main sources of fiber are vegetables and grains. In addition, people on a vegan diet often consume fewer calories than people on a standard Western diet. Moderate calorie intake can lead to a lower body mass index (BMI) and a reduced risk of obesity, a major factor in heart disease.

Lower risk of cancer

According to a 2017 review article, eating a vegan diet can reduce the risk of cancer by 15%. This health benefit may be due to the fact that plant foods are rich in fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals (more biologically active compounds in plants that can protect against cancer). Research on the effects of diet on the risk of specific cancers has produced mixed results. The International Agency for Research on Cancer reports that red meat is “likely to be carcinogenic,” but notes that the research has linked this mainly to colon cancer, but also prostate and pancreatic cancer.

Weight loss

People who follow a vegan diet tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than people who follow other diets. The researchers behind a 2015 study reported that vegan diets were more effective for weight loss than omnivores, and semi-vegan diets. In addition, they turned out to be better at delivering the macronutrients. Many animal foods are high in fat and calories, so replacing these with low-calorie plant foods can help people manage their weight. However, it is important to note that eating a lot of processed or high-fat plant foods, which some people call a vegan junk food diet, can lead to unhealthy weight gain.

Lower risk of type 2 diabetes

According to a large review article from 2019, following a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The research linked this effect to eating healthy plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes.

Environmental benefits

A global shift to diets less dependent on meat and more on fruits and vegetables could save up to 8 million lives by 2050, cut greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds and lead to health care savings, Oxford researchers write. Imbalanced diets, such as diets low in fruits and vegetables, and high in red and processed meat, are responsible for the greatest health burden worldwide and are also responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions.

The environmental impacts were assessed by the researchers using four different nutritional scenarios conceived for the year 2050: a ‘business as usual’ scenario based on predictions of future diets, a scenario based on global dietary guidelines with minimal amounts of fruits and vegetables, and limits for the amount of red meat, sugar and total calories, and vegetarian and vegan scenarios that both meet the dietary guidelines.

They found that adopting diets in accordance with global dietary guidelines could prevent 5.1 million deaths per year by 2050. Even greater benefits would come from vegetarian diets (avoiding 7.3 million deaths) and vegan diets (avoiding 8.1 million deaths). About half of the deaths avoided were due to a reduction in red meat consumption, the other half to a combination of increased fruit and vegetable intake and a reduction in calories, resulting in fewer overweight or obese people.
The study predicts that by 2050, the food-related exclusion of greenhouse gases could make up half of the emissions the world can afford if global warming is limited to less than 2 ° C. Adopting the global dietary guidelines would reduce food-related emissions by 29%, vegetarian diets by 63% and vegan diets by 70%.

Why switch to a plant-based diet?

Several studies show a variety of health benefits for our body. In addition, it can also help a lot in maintaining your current weight or losing weight if you want to. In addition to health effects, a vegan diet also has a very positive effect on the environment. Read more about how meal replacements can help in your diet

Eating vegetables doesn’t have to be difficult, many essential nutrients can be found in vegetables, whole grains and vegetable oils. Do you find it very difficult to prepare nutritious vegan meals? Or you just don’t want to put a lot of effort into it? All Jake products are completely plant-based and can therefore be consumed without feeling guilty about the current status of the climate. In addition, you can be sure that you will always receive a complete meal.

Posted on

Your true health, how’s yours and what could you do about it?

Your true health

How's yours and what could you do about it?

Your true health is not determined by how you feel. You can feel mighty fine while deadly diseases are just around the corner. Think about a high blood pressure or deviating cholesterol values. Neither have real physical complications but can be precursors of deadly illnesses (diabetes, heart issues, cancer, etc.). In order to measure the true health of your body objectively you can use the ‘metabolic health scale’ made by the WHO (World Health Organisation). This scale uses five measurable characteristics: blood pressure, waist circumference, fasting glucose levels and cholesterol values in your blood (glucose, HDL and TG). Is one of 5 diverging from the standard? This makes you metabolically unhealthy. Are three of 5 diverging from the standard? This means you have a metabolic syndrome. 75% of the people in the world, who are older than 40 years of age, are classified as metabolically unhealthy and this’ll only get worse when they get older!

So, what’s the cause of our deteriorating metabolic health? It seems that both our nutrition and our intensity of daily exercise are the bad guys in this story. In our nutrition it’s mostly the overload in carbohydrates and cheap plant-based oils that contain way too many omega-6’s. If you’d ban the carbohydrates, such as sugars, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and even some fruits – and you’d also ban the cheap plant-based oils, such as sunflower oil, corn oil, peanut oil, etc., from your life and you increase your exercise (in particular: muscle growth), than your metabolic state will soon see better figures.

Changing your food pattern isn’t easy. The best thing would be to completely switch your energy/fuel source of your body. This means switching from a carbohydrate-dependant burn to a full on fats based burn. This fat burning will produce ketones as fuel. When your body is fully powered by ketones, you reach ketosis. Hence the name Keto, for Jake their Keto-shake. This refers to the state of your body when you are in full fat burning mode!

Yes, you can leave your potatoes or replace them with broccoli-rice or mushrooms. However, the trickiest part will be replacing your breakfast, lunch and snacks in between. How do you find tasty products that are low in carbs and have the right omega 3 to 6 ratio? I recommend Jake to all my clients and patients. Their vegan shakes contain very little carbohydrates but still have a solid amount of calories. So the shake contains a lot of energy, delivered through MCT-oils (among others). MCT, or Medium Chain Triglycerides, are a special form of fats that can be immediately used as energy, in contrary to most fats. It can even beat sugar when it comes to the time it needs to be processed by the body. Besides that, the omega 3 and 6 ratio is far beneath the maximum value of 1 to 4 (the ratio in these shakes is currently even 1 to 0,3). And you have a nature-friendly, tasty shake that gives you energy super quickly – without a lot of carbs and unhealthy fats.

Did we awaken your curiosity? Than perhaps a Keto lifestyle could be the solution for you. Discover more about the Keto shakes by Jake to help you get started.

Posted on

My personal KETO experiences

Woman holding Jake Cap

My personal KETO experiences

The last 10 years of my life I have devoted my free time to exploring nutrition, lifestyles and its correlation to my weight, energy levels and general wellbeing. It’s a neat process of reading scientific studies, experimenting in the kitchen and slowly but surely discovering nutrition and lifestyles that match my liking. I’ve been eating low carb for about 5 years now and used to eat Jake Light for lunch, as a low carb basis. Then, after a handful of meetings with medical specialists who had developed a lifestyle programme, Keto came back on my radar. I’ve read about this more often, but had never gone in depth with the matter. When 2020 began, I told myself to start the ‘experiment’, under supervision of these medical specialists in order to make a solid and healthy start. To lose weight? No, that wasn’t necessary. I just wanted to experience this Keto diet/lifestyle, and was curious to discover the physical effects: would I maintain muscle mass, would I have sustainable energy sources, etcetera.

Keto shake by Jake next to a plant and coffee cups

March 2020, Good timing

My plan for March 2020 was to switch from a low carb diet, to a Keto diet. This happened to align with the first lockdown in the Netherlands, due to Covid-19. A blessing in disguise. It suddenly became a lot easier to maintain a strict diet, without having to resist pastry at work, another business drink or any other tough health choice. When talking about a healthy to unhealthy ratio, I generally aim for 80 – 20. However, to reach full ketosis and to experience it fully, my body had to follow these strict rules for quite some time.

The hidden carbohydrates

According to the Ketogenic diet (I prefer calling it lifestyle), you need less than 50 gr carbohydrates per day, in order to maintain Ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body mainly uses ketones as fuel instead of glucose (blood sugar). More on the background and the basic principles of Keto, here. In order to reach full ketosis, I had set my goal on eating less than 30 gr carbohydrates per day for the next 2 months. That’s a lot of micro managing and to help myself out, I’ve used a few apps. You could for example use FatSecret or MyFitnesspal to keep track of what you eat. Partly using data from the apps, but also adding extra own products, based on the lab-sheets with nutritional values. I noticed that with a lot of products, the apps don’t have their macros right.

It was quite the puzzle in the first few weeks. A lot of vegetables happened to have hidden carbs (netto carbs, after deducting the dietary fibres). I had to cut down on carrots, beets, pumpkin, etc. And yes, Jake was very convenient with my busy lifestyle. I love cooking food and do enjoy it, but the practical idea of having a shake lunch, knowing that was everything your body needed, suddenly was out of option. The result? A lot of weighing, puzzling, measuring… Meal preps every morning!

The first few weeks

People often say they experience a so called Keto Flu when transitioning in to Ketosis, I have not experienced this myself – fortunately. My guess is that my years of low carb experience, together with intermittent fasting (16 – 8 variant) played a big part in this. In other words: my start was quite smooth. I enjoyed my diverse and tasty Keto meals that, despite the effort that goes in, were a great variety to my normal eating habits. With fat being an excellent tastemaker, great opportunities had risen. Pretty soon I noticed the challenge in living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle in combination with keto. I’m not 100% vegan, but try to do this for at least 60-70% of my meals. Unfortunately, ‘supplementing’ my dietary needs with animal products was inevitable in order to maintain a great nutritional profile.

You measure, you treasure

Next to keeping track of my nutrition, I was keen on learning my body’s response. Once again, not to lose weight, but to notice the effects of ketosis to my body. Within a week, I lost 2 cm waist circumference, where my chest, arms, buttocks and shoulders remained the same. Two weeks in, these numbers went up even more: I lost 5 cm around my waist and the other figures remained steady. The last bit of belly fats and even fat that gathered around the organs, disappeared rather soon. Muscle mass isn’t effected – great!

Besides the visible bodily changes, I was keen on knowing what happened behind the screens. That’s when I started measuring my ketone contents in my body, using a bloodtest. You can read more on this in this article. After circa 8 weeks the test showed 3.5mmol, which is way up there in ketosis.

What else did I notice? A lot of energy! A clear mind! I had no cravings of sweets or carbohydrates in general. Actually, skipping meals was easier than before. I ended up doing a 3-day fasting period to ignite a bodily reset, to clean up the rest of my body. This was in effect quite simple en created a lot of energy, because of my body not spending energy on digesting other foods.

Metabolically flexible

In the present day? I try to stick to a 90% keto diet, but loosened up on the amount of carbohydrates per day. I no longer ‘have to’ stick below a 25 gr carb intake. My new maximum intake of carbs is 40 to 50 gr per day. The other 10%? Dinner with friends, having a nice wine in the evening or having some cake once in a while. I’m in control now, and aware of my body to an extend that when I go out of ketosis for a day, I can come back to it within a few days. I really enjoy the keto meals and snacks I prepare. The moments I do choose the ‘less healthy’ option with more carbs, I ask myself this: do I really want this and is it worth the effort of it all?

Specialists label this as metabolically flexible. Your body, once taught how, is very much capable of switching between burning of fats and burning of carbs, the body can actually choose which energy system to use.

Jake KETO!

The transition in to this lifestyle has become easy and I really enjoyed it. What do I miss? The convenience of a Jake shake or vitaminbar in the afternoon. The ease of eating vegan, but still getting all the nutrients my body needs. I’m not alone in this, Keto has taken flight this past year. A good reason for us, to develop the perfect Keto Shake! After a long period of development and testing, we finished our first Keto Shake, in chocolate-coconut flavour!

There are various Keto meal shakes available on the market as of this day, but they all didn’t meet my needs. What did I notice?

If you start calculating and converting the amount of kcal and carbs per shake to your daily intake, a lot of these shakes will still result in a carb intake greater than 50 gr. The Jake Keto shake contains, based on a 2000 kcal day (5 shakes), only 30 gr carbs per day!

One of the more important things being the fat source, especially for Ketogenic products where it is essentially the primary resource for nutrition. A lot Keto shakes are not vegan, and if they are vegan, they are most likely using sunflower oil as a basis. Although it naturally sounds healthy, this specific type of oil contains a lot of Omega 6, which is linked to inflammation (amongst others). The Jake Keto shake has palmfree MCT powders as a basis of C8 and C10 fat sources.

In summary; I’m proud of the wonderful product we’ve put together. A first step to more flavours and in the long run: more Keto products. I look forward to eating my daily Jake meal shake. 100% vegan, 100% convenience, 100% nutritious!

Posted on

A few things you should know before starting your Keto diet!

A woman exercising in the gym and drinking a Jake Shake

Watch these things when you're starting Keto!

Starting a Keto diet or transferring to a Keto lifestyle can be challenging. One person handles it better than the other, which often has a lot to do with the way you currently live your life. It also has to do with the (positive or negative) influence of your surroundings and even with your aspirations as a master chef. Once you start changing your dietary patterns, there’s a few things you should keep an eye on.

Scrabble word Keto Diet with cutlery

1. The Keto Sickness; push through!

The Keto diet has many benefits, like weight loss, but also has downsides which you should prepare for. The ‘Keto Flu’ of Keto sickness! Briefly after starting your Keto journey, you’ll notice your body starts to change. You have to adjust to burning fats als primary source for energy, instead of carbohydrates (which used to be your main source of fuel). It depends on your body how heavily you’ll react to this change, but there is a chance you’ll get proper ill.

Primarily the first seven to ten days will wear you down the hardest. You might feel extremely tired, especially in the limbs. Things as simple as walking up the stairs will probably feel like too much effort. And then there’s the brain fog. Fun times? No! But, it’s just your body claiming its time that it needs to adjust to a different pace. Something your body is, biologically speaking, very good at – just not used to anymore: burning fats!

Very practical; do not plan too much “to-do’s”, and take it easy on exercising when starting with a Keto diet. Your body needs to rest whenever you can, just give it time. After that recovery, you’ll be astonished as to how much energy you have, as soon as the transformation is done.

Read more about experiences with the keto diet here. 

2. Drink enough (water)

Once you start with keto, you’ll notice (especially in the beginning) a lot more toilet stops. Reason being is the decrease of carbohydrate storage in your body, which would previously require a lot of water. This is one of the reasons you lose a lot of weight in the beginning: you lose a lot of moisture. The ‘great start’ is however a great incentive to continue.

Prevent dehydration and make sure you at least drink 2 litres a day. Water is the purest source, but green tea, herbal tea, coffee or homemade vitamin water works well too. Just make sure you drink water next to your coffee.

3. Supplement with electrolytes

The moment you reach ketosis, your kidneys will excrete more water and more electrolytes. These minerals are highly important for a ton of bodily functions, such as: conduction of nerve impulses, moisture balancing or pulling and closing muscles altogether. Symptoms of a too low electrolyte presence are headaches, muscle aches (often in the calves) or a numb/tingling feeling in your limbs.

Which makes is extra important for you to keep track of your sodium and potassium intake, to make sure your body functions properly. This can easily be achieved by using tablet- or liquid-supplements. An alternative to this would be adding extra salt to your food or drinking a daily LoSalt mineral salt broth.

4. A bloodtest will give the best results

After a few weeks, you’re probably wondering; did I reach full ketosis or did I not? And if yes, how solid is my ketosis? There’s a few ways to determine if, and how well, your ketosis is. Ketones can be differentiated in to three different ones: acetone, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate. They all have a different way of measuring the levels. Your three options are your breath, blood or urine.

Measuring through breath (acetone) can be done with the help of a ketone meter. This is a pretty reliable way to test your ketone levels.

The urine test is the last accurate of the three. You have to pee over a ‘keto-stick’ or you dip the stick into a jar of your urine. De difference in colour (from light pink to purple) tells you about the level of ketones in your body: the darker the colour, the higher the concentration of ketones is.

Measuring through means of blood is done with the help of a blood ketone meter, which in turn works the same as a glucose meter. Place a drop of blood on the measuring strip and within seconds you’ll see the amount of beta-hydroxybutyrate in your blood. This is the most reliable method, but a little more expensive than urine sampling.

Lots of work?

This might sounds as a lot of work and yes, in the beginning that might be the case. Experience teaches us that certain actions will be executed without thinking about it, once they are integrated in your habits. The measuring of your ketose values will become obsolete in the long run, by then you know how your body handles and reacts to it all. In short; push through the less fun stuff and soon you’ll profit from the benefits of your new Keto Lifestyle!

Maintaining a Keto diet and preparing the right meals can be tricky and time consuming. With Jake you can throw your worries out the window. Packed per meal, 100% vegan and a 30 days money-back guarantee.

Posted on

How does a meal replacement product help you in your diet?

Photo of shadowed forks on background | Diet and meal replacements

How does a meal replacement product help you in your diet?

Have you developed a curiosity for the Jake products or are you familiar with our products and want to know more about using them most effectively? This article will help you gain insights into meal replacement products, your best match with them and the benefits of consuming them.

What is a meal replacement?

Jake products are meal replacements, in shakes, bars or a soup. They consist of nutrients that, altogether, create a nutritional profile suitable for a complete meal. This means that any of your daily meals; your breakfast yogurt, your lunch sandwich or your dinner, can be replaced with one of the Jake healthy meal replacement shakes – without having to feel guilty about not getting your vitamins, minerals or other nutrients.

Jake products don’t come with a set of rules, this means you can eat and prepare them whenever you want. The biggest benefit being the time and effort you save: stay in bed longer in the morning, stay in your workflow instead of making lunch or dinner. Forget vacuuming your car due to breadcrumbs, vegan meal replacement drinks don’t crumble!

Which product suits you best?

For starters, let’s look at the amount of calories you’d like to consume. You can determine the amount of calories by using a TDEE calculator. TDEE is the total daily energy usage, where the BMR (rested energy expenditure) is multiplied by PAL (daily exercise indicator). 

If you’re trying to lose weight, the easiest way to achieve that goal is by gaining less than you take in. Otherwise, just stick to the amount of calories you use daily. If you are familiar with your daily usage of calories, start off by choosing the meal of the day you wish to replace. You can choose to replace all three of your meals, or just try replacing one of three first. There are no rules to Jake, you decide when, where and what you eat. You can find your best match by using our comparison tool, where you can compare products with ease. To clarify how and when you can replace meals, here are some examples.

What are the benefits?

Of course there are several benefits when replacing one or more meals a day, with Jake products. An important example is the time you save with not having to do grocery shopping or cooking. When replacing every meal in a day with Jake, you can save about an hour a day to do other things.

Here are 14 things you can do in your saved, spare time:

  1. Follow an (online) yoga class
  2. Go for a run
  3. Take a walk in the park
  4. Meditate
  5. Read a book
  6. Go for a bike ride
  7. Put together a playlist of your favourite songs
  8. Read another Jake blog
  9. Read the newspapers
  10. Create a binding of your favourite photos
  11. Complete at least one task out of your to-do list
  12. Solve a puzzle
  13. Learn some new words in a foreign language
  14. Clean your mailbox

Another major advantage is your vitamin intake: without having to think about it, your body gets all the vitamins it needs. Together with the examples above, your intake would be between 103% and 111% of the recommended intake. This means no more extra supplements or vitamins. You don’t have to worry about getting too many vitamins, you’re not close to the daily limit.

Yet another benefit is the grip you get on your energy intake. This means you can regulate your energy levels way better, making you eat just the right amount instead of too much or too little. The danger of eating too little, for example during lunch, is that you get hungry too quickly and end up snacking random bits and bites. However, if the intention is to eat more than usually, you’re still at the right address. Jake is a good way to eat more, and gain weight, while still being in clear control of your nutrition.

There are many benefits to using Jake in your diet.

Posted on

Tired after eating – This is how you can prevent an after dinner dip

Burger, fries and a pint | How you can prevent an after dinner dip

Tired after eating?

Feeling tired after dinner, we’ve all been there. You crash down on the couch after dinner, completely exhausted. While you actually want to feel energetic and fit after eating your meal. We’re giving you 4 simple tips so you can beat the after dinner dip, even tonight!

1. Skip quick-carbs and bad sugars

Whenever you eat, your blood sugar rises. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because you do get energy from it, but when you eat fast (refined) sugars, your blood sugar rises very quickly. Following this high peak is a great downfall: this is why you feel so tired all of a sudden. Meanwhile your body is working hard to revert the balance, but that too costs energy. It’s a smart move to avoid the fast sugars, like: fast food, candy, energy drinks, and instead choose to eat slow carbohydrates like whole-wheat products or fruits. Besides, these whole-wheat products will also nourish your body with a ton of fibres, which in turn help smoothen your digestive system. This way you will feel a lot less tired after eating!

2. Don’t eat too much

Your small intestine reacts intensely when eating rather large portions. It has to work really hard to digest your meal. Your heart rate and breathing decrease as more blood starts flowing to your stomach. All of your energy is currently being used to digest: so it makes sense you’re feeling tired. The more you eat, the more energy gets sent to your digestive system. And this works both ways, you now have less energy left that’s being sent to your brain and muscles. Rather than eating large portions of food, go small on rations so you prevent an after dinner dip. The sensible point to stop eating is when you feel 80% full.

3. Eat slower

Besides diminishing your portions you can also try eating slower, to help your battle against the after dinner dip. This is where energy comes around again: the quicker you eat, the quicker your digestive system needs to work and the more energy it costs you. Ever heard of mindful eating? Take your phone off the table and start focussing on each and every bite you take. Taste the flavours and textures, chew thoroughly. This is a good way to force yourself to eat slower and feel less tired after a meal. An additional benefit of eating slower is the time you now have to enjoy your meal to the fullest.

4. Often tired after eating? Try liquid foods

Doctor William Orr, American University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre, has proven that the digestion of solid foods costs a tremendous amount of energy, which in turn can make you tired. A big plate of potatoes isn’t so advantageous to your productivity or you feeling fit. Shakes could just be your solution. The vegan meal replacement drink by Jake contain all the nutrients your body needs. Besides, the liquid meal is less intensive on your digestive system than solid foods, making it easier to digest. The result: no after dinner dip! You can go back to what you were doing, and feel fit doing it.

Jake makes complete food, like healthy meal replacement shakes. Our products contain all the nutrients your body needs – easy and quick, in one meal. Want to try Jake? Click here

Posted on

A healthy lifestyle – top 5 biggest pitfalls

Photo by Simon Migaj - Serenity and a healthy lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle - top 5 biggest pitfalls

There’s libraries full of literature about it: living a healthy lifestyle. As well as the internet, where there are thousands of lists and tips to living healthy. Even though this information can be very valuable, we have to admit we already know a lot about it. Just like us, you know very well that daily exercise and eating fruit is healthy – whereas smoking and going to the local kebab shop is not. We figured it would be smart to find out where things tend to go wrong. Therefore we created a list of the 5 most common pitfalls to living a healthy life, that way you can prevent falling into them.

Why wait until tomorrow, when you can start today with Jake

1. Getting too ambitious

It’s not a rare occasion that people decide to completely change their lifestyle overnight. They wake up and decide to head to the gym every day from now on, only eat cucumbers and to run 10 kilometres – untrained. After a few weeks they ‘crash’ down on the couch: “It’s impossible to maintain a healthy lifestyle.” If you recognize this part, then you’ve probably – together with many others – planned your lifestyle a little too ambitious. Becoming healthy, fit and strong starts with baby steps.

2. The ‘unhealthy-domino’

When people make one unhealthy decision, there’s often more that follow: it’s a domino effect. You wanted to work out this morning, but did not feel like it at all. In the afternoon one of your colleagues offers you a slice of cake, that you can not say no to. Then when you come home at night, the lights of the local kebab shop shine brightly and you simply can not resist. A lot of people that are experiencing this unhealthy-domino will often use the same excuse: ‘today was a failure anyway’, resulting in one unhealthy choice after another. Rather, after an unhealthy choice – which occasionally is okay – try getting a grip again on your (new) healthy lifestyle.

3. Poor choice of nutrition

Making the right choice when it comes to nutrition is not easy. A common mistake people make is eating too little or eating too little healthy variety foods. In order for your body and mind to stay healthy, you need a lot of different nutrients. If you have trouble doing so, consider trying the meal replacement shakes we make. Our shakes contain the exact amount of nutrients your body needs, like: protein, minerals and essential fats such as omega 3 and 6. And they’re tasty!

4. Taking on more than you can handle

There’s people who are always ‘busy bees’. Of course there is nothing wrong with an active lifestyle, but there are limits. In order to live and maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is of high importance to set and stick to your personal boundaries. And if you don’t? Well, stress is out there looking for you and it will find you. In the long run it can bring you nasty affixes like insomnia, mental health issues, and in the worst case: heart and vascular diseases. So listen to your body, and take a step back when you notice you’re under a lot of stress.

5. Make a routine out of it

A healthy lifestyle is not achieved in a day – and you do not have to. Rather, try going step by step choosing the healthy option in life, whenever you can. Go to work by bike instead of car, grab some fruit during lunch and meet up with a friend every week to do some exercises or work out. When you stick to this routine for a longer period of time, you’ll notice that you start making the healthy choices subconsciously: it’s now part of your routine and lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle becomes a lot easier using this approach – even for you!

Jake makes complete food, like healthy meal replacement shakes. Our products contain all the nutrients your body needs – easy and quick, in one meal. Want to try Jake? Click here