Without a doubt, Moodi Dennoui has an unconventional, but wise approach to nutrition. I had the opportunity to catch up with Dennaoui and probe his mind on all things nutrition.
Dennaoui has obtained various qualifications from the University of Sydney. His education encompasses a wide range of subjects including Nuclear Medicine, Psychology, Nutrition and a Masters in Research Methodology.
Dennaoui’s success has led him to work with an array of elite athletes as well as many actors and musicians. He also regularly features on the Triple M Grill Team and the Channel 9 Morning Show. Likewise, Dennaoui has contributed to Magazines including Men’s and Women’s Health.
With each question, Dennaoui opened my mind to new ideas and ways to approach nutrition. I would highly recommend this article to anyone who is serious about looking their best but still desires to live a happy, healthy and vibrant life.
Can you please tell me a little about yourself and how your passion for nutrition developed?
My interest in nutrition started in the mid 90’s when someone in the gym approached me and said that I possibly have what it takes to compete, even though I only weighed a measly 61 kilos.
I realised that if I wanted to compete, I’d have to understand supplementation and food a little bit better. Luckily, as a student I had access to the university library. I was studying nuclear medicine at the time and so understood science.
I was smart enough not to look to places like flex magazine for anything other than inspiration. The nutrition content is heavily biased, it’s just one big advertisement. Having access to the Uni library data base meant that I could research legitimate content about supplementation and food.
Everyone knows that as a student, you are quite poor. This meant that I had to ensure that the foods and supplements I purchased actually worked. I would read journal article after journal article until I was convinced.
I decided to start Moodi’s Café as I was tired of people taking short cuts and thinking that just because something is grilled or steamed, it is good for you.
Where does the meat coming from? Is it hormone and chemical free? Does it contain artificial sweeteners or preservatives that are blocking micronutrients from being absorbed into the blood?
On your YouTube channel, you state that despite desiring to lose weight, many in fact don’t eat enough.
This idea goes against the common belief that in order to lose weight you must eat in a calorie deficit. Can you please elaborate on this point?
As humans, we have an innate ability to adapt to our environment. Hence, if you eat less, your body will learn to survive on less. Take intermitted fasting for example. If you’re eating 500 calories per day, your body will learn to preserve those 500 calories to sustain life. If you then bombard it with 3000 calories, that’s an extra 2500 calories that your body is most likely going to hold on to for survival.
Likewise, food has what’s called a thermic effect. If you’re eating whole foods, you’re going to burn calories while you’re eating. With this in mind, how can you assign a person a set number of calories to eat per day when no two foods are the same?
Yoyo dieting and undereating has contributed to metabolic damage as well as endocrine problems. We are in an era when infertility is at its all-time highest.
You should be able to enjoy having a social life, enjoy a wide variety of foods and still look, and more importantly, feel the way you desire. It’s not about how much you can torture yourself until you achieve the results that you want. It’s not sustainable.
With this in mind, is it possible to be healthy but have that look that everyone desires?
It most certainly is. The answer is to consume a portion controlled diet that is full of whole foods. Whole foods have a thermic effect on the body that is massive. If you eat a 500 calorie burger that is manufactured, your body will expend 3 calories to digest it because there’s no digestive effort required.
You now have 497 left that your body will either utilise or store as energy. In comparison, if you eat a wholefood burger, you’ll expending 150-200 calories during digestion. That’s equivalent to a half hour power walk. Eating whole foods will allow you to eat more, stay satiated and energetic, burn fat and look the way you want to.
I endorse the 80/20 eating philosophy. In the developed world we have been exposed to bad foods and as a result I believe that it is too psychologically damaging to eliminate all foods that are bad out of your life.
While this eating approach sounds sustainable, what advice do you give people who desire to change their eating behaviours but frequently fall victim to temptation?
Food cravings are an indication that you’re not eating enough. In my opinion, it’s not an addiction to a particular food that causes the craving. It’s the relationship between our brain and physiology.
Physiologically you’re experiencing something, it could be a blood sugar drop. This blood sugar drop will then tell your brain to rectify this in a fashion that you are aware of and that you enjoy. This may lead you to a snickers bar. However, if you didn’t know what a snickers bar was, you wouldn’t crave it.
To help prevent cravings, I advise people to shift their focus away from the foods that they’re missing and towards trying to add in all the wholefoods that they haven’t been eating. For instance, when was the last time you ate a yellow capsicum?
Veganism is becoming more popular in our society. What is your opinion on this trend?
If you want to become vegan, it is important that you understanding what veganism is before you jump in head first. Otherwise you’ll make mistakes and as a result may create food allergies, metabolic damage and mess with your hormonal balance.
Creating micronutrient deficiencies is problematic as our cells communicate via micronutrients. Micronutrients influence our temperament, our performance, everything. You should choose to go vegan for the right reasons, not just because it’s trendy.
Where can people go to follow you and find out more about you?
Written by Alana Willis
Alana is a qualified Personal Trainer who is passionate about instilling her love for training into those around her.
Alana has studied numerous subjects at the University of Sydney including anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, psychology and nutrition. Hence, her past education and love for science ensures that she continues to critically analyses her training approach.
This gives her an edge in training clients using both current and evidence based techniques which are tailored to your individual needs and GUARANTEE results.