Comment

7 foods this nutritionist would never eat!

 

1.     Packaged smoothies and juices

Pre-packaged smoothies and fruit juices are full of sugar and very few nutrients. Smoothies and juices should be consumed relatively quickly after they are produced to ensure all the nutrients from the fruit and vegetables are still available.

Nutritionist approved: home-made is always the best option; alternatively juice bars that make their smoothies and juices to order using fresh, organic ingredients are also a great choice. 

 

2.     Low-fat dairy

Eating low-fat dairy to lose weight is actually counter-intuitive because fat is so satiating. When you consume a product with the fat removed it doesn’t keep you full for long – which means you will soon be reaching for more food. On top of that, when the fat is removed from dairy, the valuable fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E are removed along with it, making it far less nutritious. Most importantly, to ensure the product is still palatable, a ton of sugar or artificial sweetener is added in place of these beneficial fats.

Nutritionist approved: full-fat organic dairy products, goat and sheep’s milk products, and dairy substitutes such as coconut and nut milks. 

 

3.     Barbecue and tomato sauces

Barbecue and tomato sauces are laden with sugar, salt, preservatives and little else. Dousing meat or any dish in these processed sauces is the fastest way to ruin a nutritious meal.

Nutritionist approved: mustards, homemade relishes, tahini, harissa and pesto are all healthy and flavoursome condiment choices.

 

4.     Caged eggs

The farming methods that produce caged eggs are cruel and barbaric. Egg-laying hens are confined to tiny cages, are of poor health and are fed an unnatural diet. Hens that are free to roam feed on a diet of grass, insects and plants. The varied nutrients of their diet are then transferred to the eggs that they lay resulting in a far superior, more nutritious product. Happy hens lay better eggs, it’s that simple.

Nutritionist approved: organic, pastured, free-range eggs.

 

5.     Artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners do not aid weight loss; in fact they can have the opposite effect. As your taste buds become accustomed to their intense sweetness you crave more sweet food and, as a result, moderately sweet foods – such as fruit – become less appealing. There is also evidence that artificial sweeteners are carcinogenic (cancer causing) – enough said.

Nutritionist approved: unrefined stevia, raw honey, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, coconut sugar and yacon.

 

6.     Margarine

Margarine is high in trans fats; these are formed through the process of hydrogenation, which turns liquid vegetable oils to solid. Trans fats clog the arteries which has a disastrous effect on cardiovascular health.

Nutritionist approved: grass-fed, organic butter, ghee and coconut butter.

 

7.     Factory farmed meat

The problem with many modern diets is not the consumption of meat per se, but the overconsumption of factory-farmed meat. The life of a factory-farmed cow – fattened up on grains and corn and medicated with antibiotics and hormones – could not be further from what nature intended. Support ethical farmers who treat livestock humanely, and do the right thing for our planet (factory farming is a major contributor to pollution and global warming) and our health (grass-fed meat is far more nutritious and less inflammatory than grain-fed). 

Nutritionist approved: sustainable, organic grass fed and finished meat from butchers who support local farms.

 

 

 

Comment

Comment

Are you eating too much fruit?

We all know that fruit is good for us. With its high fibre content, vitamins, minerals and rich array of antioxidants, it should be a staple part of a healthy diet. But can we overdo it? Absolutely, and I am seeing it more and more commonly in clinic. Fruit is a very tempting snack option, being deliciously sweet, readily available, not requiring any prep time and easy to eat on-the-go – but this can add up to more servings in a day than you may realise, especially, if you are also starting with fruit at breakfast.

For the very active, the sugars in fruit will be used effectively for energy. But for the more sedentary, these sugars will follow the same pathway as refined sugars – converted to fat and stored in the liver and other cells throughout the body. This is where we have to be careful. For most of us, two servings a day of whole, fresh fruit is plenty. If you have been trying unsuccessfully to lose weight, despite eating a clean and healthy diet, too much fruit may be the culprit. Be realistic about your energy requirements and aware of your daily servings, especially if you are trying to lose weight.

Fruit (just like soft drinks or desserts) is comprised of two types of sugar, glucose and fructose. Your body processes these sugars differently. Fructose is metabolised in the liver, while glucose goes into the bloodstream, requiring a release of insulin to be metabolised. Thankfully, the fibre in fruit slows down the release of glucose that can lead to high spikes in blood sugar. This is why fruit juices aren’t a great choice – they keep all the sugars, with none of the fibre. Smoothies are a better option, because the whole fruit is used, but people commonly add more than two servings to their smoothie, and then continue to snack on more fruit throughout the day.

Besides difficulty losing weight, bloating may be another hint you’re giving fruit a too hard a nudge. Many people suffer from fructose malabsorption, which causes fruit to sit in the gut and ferment, causing gas, bloating and discomfort. In fact, any digestion issues – including IBS, poor gut flora, leaky gut or bacterial overgrowth – will be aggravated by too much fruit.

Despite being convenient, fruit isn’t actually the best snack option. Lacking in satiating fat and protein, fruit will not sustain you for very long. When snacking on fruit, add some nut butter, seeds or yoghurt to slow down the release of energy, keep sweet cravings at bay, and keep you fuller for longer.

But, before the forbidden fruit becomes even sweeter – of course it is still a nutritional powerhouse that we should all enjoy. But pay attention to your body, you may just be biting off more than you can chew.

 

Comment

Comment

5 ways your body is telling you that something is wrong with your diet

WRITTEN FOR BURO 24/7 AUSTRALIA

Poor dietary choices can manifest in many different signs and symptoms. More often than not, a physical change that we can see or feel is a clue to a deeper disturbance or deficiency, and usually this is your body telling you something in your diet is amiss.

1.     Your skin looks dull

 The skin reflects your inner-health status and dull skin is often indicative of a poor diet (or smoking). Antioxidants are required to combat the effects of oxidative stress; an insufficient supply may result in skin that shows the signs of premature ageing. Vitamins C and E, carotenoids and polyphenols all have powerful antioxidant properties and can be found in abundance in a diet that is high in fresh fruit and vegetables. Foods high in essential fatty acids lubricate the skin from the inside out, plumping and hydrating it to prevent wrinkles. Omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon anchovies) will benefit inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, acne or psoriasis. Staying well hydrated is essential for skin that is bright and clear – that means at least 2 litres of water a day (more is you exercise heavily).

2.     Your tongue is scalloped or quivering  

A healthy tongue should be light-red in colour and have a very thin white coating. Scalloped edging (or tooth marks) may be indicative of stress or exhaustion and are a good sign the body is need of some rest. A tongue that quivers when protruded is a good indication of magnesium deficiency, common in people with high stress or who exercise heavily. A thick white (hairy looking) coating may indicate candida overgrowth, which should be investigated further and may require the elimination of sugar, beer and wine.

3.     You have brittle hair that just won’t grow

Hair quality can provide a valuable insight into the quality of nutrients a body is receiving. When nutrition is inadequate, the growth and maintenance of hair (and nails) will be forsaken in order to prioritise more vital bodily functions. Diets low in protein, essential fatty acids, iron and zinc are commonly to blame. Increasing your intake of quality protein from eggs, chicken and fish, and fats from avocado, walnuts, seeds, coconut oil and oily fish will give hair strength, shine and support growth.

4.     You’re always the one who gets sick

If you get sick easily, take a long time to recover or feel like you are constantly fighting an infection, it’s likely you have a compromised immune system. Overuse of antibiotics, stress or a processed diet can wreak havoc on the balance of microflora, resulting in poor gut health. Taking a probiotic supplement or adding fermented foods to the diet will help to strengthen the immune system. Deficiencies of vitamins C, E and D, or minerals iron and zinc may also lead to an increased susceptibility to infection.

 5.     You have white spots on your nails  

White spots can appear on the nails of a person who is deficient in either calcium or zinc. If you get white spots regularly, a blood test can determine which mineral is lacking from your diet. Zinc can be found in eggs, meat, fresh oysters, shellfish and pepita seeds. Good sources of calcium include dairy, sesame seeds (and tahini), dark green leafy vegetables and the bones of fish like tinned salmon and sardines.

 

Comment

1 Comment

THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF BONE BROTH

teffpancake.jpg

Bone broth has been enjoying increasing popularity of late. Recently making headlines as Kobe Bryant’s off-court secret weapon for repairing his sprained ankle, reducing inflammation and increasing energy. Far from being a new fad, broth has been enjoyed as a source of nourishment since the stone age. It has traditionally been used across cultures as a remedy for colds and flu, to treat degeneration of the connective tissue, repair problems of the gastrointestinal tract and to alleviate issues of the joints, skin and muscles.

Until recently, broth suffered a fall from grace in the home kitchen, it’s demise no doubt paralleling the rise of ‘faster’ food and an increased pace of life. But it always remained a staple in any professional kitchen where it is used as stock and as a base for sauces. As we are re-discovering the health benefits of this traditional remedy, and an emphasis on slow cooking is returning to the home cook, so is the tradition of bone broth. Importantly, utilising bones as more than a waste product also demonstrates our increasing awareness of taking a more ethical ‘nose to tail’ approach in our consumption of animals.

Therapeutically bone broth may be useful in treating any disorders of the bones or joints as well as speeding recovery from illness and improving wound healing, including post-operative. Reducing inflammation in IBS and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and strengthening the immune system. Remineralising teeth, hardening brittle nails and it may be beneficial during times of growth such as pregnancy. It is important to bear in mind though that at this stage we have no clinical trials proving these therapeutic effects.

The benefits of broth are attributed to several factors including the varying levels of minerals, gelatin and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). The nutritional profile of broth will vary depending on which type of bones you are using. Fish broth will contain the mineral idodine for healthy thyroid function and if the shells of crusteaceans are used, high levels of glycosamine may also be present. Chicken broth incorporating the feet will have higher levels of gelatin. Beef broths are wonderful as you will benefit from the marrow, as well as collagen, cartilage and minerals.

Bone is a reservoir for minerals, most importantly calcium and phosphorus, but also magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfur and and fluoride, these minerals account for the hardness of bone. Throughout the bone matrix runs collagen fibres which are flexible and give the bone tensile strength. Collagen is responsible for strengthening not only bone but also blood vessels and skin. Once collagen is extracted from the body and cooked it is usually referred to by its food name of gelatin. Gelatin is a protein made up with unusually high amounts of the amino acids glycine and proline which give your body the building blocks to repair your own connective tissue by supporting the formation of collagen. As we age our ability to repair our own connective tissue diminishes, we see this first hand in the sagging of our skin and slower wound healing.  

Cartilage found at the end of bones, contains more collagen fibres as well as elastin. Cartilage has been used as effective treatment for gastrointestinal disease by reducing inflammation and degenerative joint diseases including arthritis. It may also stimulate the immune system, and as 70% of our immune system resides in our gastrointestinal tract, it can simultaneously nourish our gut and stimulate the immune system. The gelatin from bone and cartilage we extract as we simmer broth, together with the minerals is what makes bone broth such a nutritional powerhouse.

Making broth is incredibly inexpensive and straightforward, it just requires a little patience. It is imperative the bones are from a healthy, grass-fed, preferably organic animal as you will be extracting and consuming the contents of the bone matrix. Additional ingredients are variable but apple cider vinegar, bay leaves, carrots, celery and onions are commonly added for flavour and additional nutritional value. Once you have broth on hand you can drink it on its own or use it as a basis for soups and stews or to flavour any type of cooking.

There is something undeniably soothing about sipping on a warm cup of broth, especially when weak or ill. The aroma that fills the house as this nourishing concoction simmers away on the stove is as good for the soul as it is for the body. If you haven’t already jumped on the bone broth bandwagon, give the beef version in my recipes section a try. 

 

1 Comment

Comment

Natural hangover cures

The dreaded hangover is pretty much guaranteed to make an appearance at some stage during summer festivities. With Christmas parties, NYE, BBQ’s and long lunches that continue well into the balmy evenings, this time of year is all about excess – including, on occasion, excess alcohol. The only surefire way to prevent a hangover involves not drinking. But if that doesn’t sound reasonable or even remotely appealing, there are a few things you can do to help your body deal with the aftereffects of a few too many.

 

1.     N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC)

This is miracle powder packs a major therapeutic punch when it comes to assisting your liver to detoxify the harmful metabolites left over from a night of excess. NAC works to increase glutathione levels and break down acetaldehyde – the toxic byproduct of alcohol metabolism that’s responsible for most of the symptoms of a hangover. Take 1000milligrams in water on an empty stomach as soon as you get up; it also works well as a prophylactic if taken before drinking.

2.     Hydrate

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it has a dehydrating effect on the body. Replacing these lost fluids is the single most important step in the recovery process. Coconut water works well to help to replenish lost electrolytes, speeding up the rehydration process. Have a large glass of water on waking and continue to sip throughout the day.

3.     Spirulina

Spirulina is a nutrient dense microalgae that has a detoxifying, energising and alkalising effect on the body. It also works to fight the free radicals left over from alcohol metabolism and replace vitamins and minerals that have been depleted by a night of drinking. Take 2 – 4 grams of spirulina when you wake up, just before breakfast.

4.     Eggs

Many people crave eggs for breakfast when they’re hungover – and with good reason. They are an excellent source of protein, which provide the liver with the amino acids – especially cysteine – needed to pack-up toxins for elimination. Being easily digestible, eggs are also gentle on upset stomachs.

5.     Take your vitamins  

The diuretic effect of alcohol increases the loss of the water-soluble vitamins, including the B complex and vitamin C. These vitamins are essential for energy production, detoxification and protection against free radical damage. Their depletion will worsen the symptoms of a hangover and increase the time it takes for your body to recover. Take one B complex vitamin with breakfast and up to three 1000milligram doses of vitamin C throughout the day.

6.     The ocean

There are some things that a dip in this ocean cannot cure, but a hangover usually isn’t one of them.  Get yourself to salt water and let the healing begin.

7.     Wholefoods

Skip the greasy food typically thought of as hangover food and instead fill your plate with fruits and vegetables.  Antioxidant rich foods like berries, green tea, tomatoes and dark green leafy veggies will assist your body neutralise the free radicals left over from alcohol metabolism. Liver-supporting foods including the cruciferous vegetables, turmeric, bitter salad greens, artichoke and lemon will help your liver deal with the extra burden.

8.     Sweat

If you are up to it, sweating out some of the toxins can make a world of difference to how you’re feeling – get to a sauna, to the gym, or a hot yoga class and atone your sins with a sweaty session. This method should only be employed to battle a mild variety of hangover; if you’ve been sick or nauseous, skip it. Be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid becoming even more dehydrated.

9.     Ginger

If you’re feeling nauseated, ginger works well to settle an upset stomach.

Use a ginger tea bag or steep fresh ginger root in hot water and sip slowly.

10.  Go back to bed

If none of the above has worked, it’s time to throw in the towel on the day and give your body what it needs, rest. 

Comment

Comment

4 popular Health Claims – de-bunked

Nutrition is one domain constantly inundated with fads and claims that promise everlasting health if you just jump on the bandwagon. But is there any truth to them?

Claim 1: Drinking warm water with lemon first thing in the morning will revolutionise your heath  

Health conscious celebrities are constantly singing the praise of warm lemon water; crediting it for weight loss, flushing toxins, even preventing wrinkles. In truth, drinking lemon water first thing in morning does have some benefits as a part of a broader self-care regime; but it is not going to transform your health if it’s the only change you make. 

What it will do is stimulate the appetite and digestion, give a good dose of vitamin C, and have an alkalising effect in the body. Be careful sipping on lemon water all day though, this will erode the enamel on your teeth; I recommend keeping lemon water to once in the morning and following it with a rinse of plain water.

Claim 2: Consuming loads of green veggies, green smoothies and green juices daily is good for everyone

Green juices and smoothies have definitely reached the zeitgeist of the recent health movement, but surprisingly consuming loads of the green stuff isn’t good for everyone. The brassica family (kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard greens) contains goitrogenic substances that prevent the utilisation of iodine and need to be consumed with caution by anyone with an underactive thyroid. Of course, this family of vegetables has an array of health benefits and most people can enjoy them daily without any worry, but if you know your thyroid is underactive or you have been diagnosed as hypothyroid, speak to a professional about formulating a nutritionally dense diet that limits or excludes these veggies.

Claim 3: Raw desserts don’t count  

Handmade raw desserts are leaps and bounds ahead of packaged, processed cakes and sweets in terms of nutritional value, but treats they still are. Raw desserts have slipped quietly out of the realm of occasional treats and settled into the daily snack column in the minds of a lot of health conscious people. The truth is raw treats are often made with more nuts than the body can break down in one go. They also tend to be high in sugar, unrefined yes, but sugar of any kind is still going to cause a spike in blood glucose and insulin. If that sugar isn’t ultilised for energy, it will be stored as fat in the liver and adipose tissue. It is fantastic that raw treats have become a widely available option but they still need to be consumed in moderation.

    Claim 4: Gluten-free products are better for you

Unless you have been diagnosed as coeliac or gluten intolerant; gluten-free products usually aren’t the best choice. Supermarkets aisles are lined with high glycaemic gluten-free options that are overly processed. Gluten-free bread can have up to twenty ingredients making it miles away from being a wholefood.

By contrast, properly prepared sourdough bread is made by combining a starter culture with flour and water and leaving it to ferment for several days. During fermentation, bacteria break down gluten proteins rendering them virtually harmless. Many people who switch from factory-made bread to a properly prepared sourdough are able enjoy it without any bloating or discomfort. Try it for yourself; if this is the case for you, a quality sourdough is a far more healthful choice than a gluten-free bread. 

Comment

Comment

Do you really have to eat organic?

 

Organic food is more expensive than conventionally grown produce so justifying the expense raises the question – is it really worth it?

Conventional produce is grown using pesticides, herbicides and fungicides; these additives allow produce to grow out of season and in poor quality soil. The impact these additives have on the health of the consumer is well documented. As well as providing a reduced exposure to pesticides, organic produce has been shown to contain a higher level of nutrients than its non-organic counterparts.

Most health experts agree that it is crucial to choose the organic option when shopping for eggs, meat and dairy. Organic farming methods are more ethical in the treatment of their livestock and the final product has considerably better health benefits for the consumer. In addition to the pesticides in the feeds of conventionally farmed animals, there are also hormones and antibiotics to contend with. Conventionally farmed animals are fed on a diet of grain instead of grazing on pasture. This practice changes the ratio of fats within the meat, replacing beneficial omega-3s with inflammatory omega-6s.

When it comes to fruit and vegetables, there is a little more leniency around choosing organic. Some fruit and vegetables require little interference in order to flourish; these are listed as the ‘Clean 15’. Conventionally grown items on this list should have little pesticide residue. By contrast, those listed as the ‘dirty dozen’ are heavily sprayed and should be on the top of your list when shopping for organic produce. 

To make buying organic affordable, support your local farmers markets where you will deal directly with the grower and where produce should always be fresh and seasonal. You can’t escape all of life’s inevitable environmental toxins, but you can make choices that lighten the toxic load and provide your body with the best chance of achieving optimal health. Switching to consuming an organic diet is not something you will reap immediate benefit from, but it is a long-term investment in your health.

The dirty dozen (always buy organic)

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Broccoli  
  • Peaches
  • Blueberries
  • Potatoes
  • Salad greens (spinach, lettuce, kale)
  • Nectarines
  • Capsicum
  • Strawberries
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes

The Clean 15 (okay to buy conventional)

  • Cabbage
  • Pineapple
  • Corn
  • Eggplant
  • Peas
  • Avocado
  • Rockmelon
  • Grapefruit
  • Watermelon
  • Mushrooms
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Asparagus
  • Mango
  • Onions
  • Sweet potato

 

Comment

Comment

Natural sweeteners

 

Now that our sweetening options are endless, we can’t decide which one we should actually be using. The biggest cause of confusion and current debate is around the fructose content of natural sweeteners. Unlike glucose, fructose isn’t absorbed immediately into the bloodstream, giving it a low GI score that won’t ‘spike’ blood sugar levels. Fructose is absorbed by the liver where it is converted to glucose to be used as energy or stored. This presents three key problems: first, fructose absorption is impaired in many people, second, we are adding more work to our already over-burdened livers and last, if the energy from fructose is not used, the body is very efficient at converting it into adipose tissue (the storage form of fat). There is no absolute answer to which sweetener is the best of the bunch as everyone’s needs are different. In truth, a sweetener is as it sounds - a treat to be used sparingly to sweeten the taste of our occasional foods. To vary our sweeteners and consume them in moderation is key.

Raw Honey

Raw honey has many nutritional benefits: it is alkaline-forming, has antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties and a GI of around 50 (which is considered medium to low). Honey is about 30% glucose and 40% fructose. Commercial supermarket honey has been pasteurized to improve its shelf life, texture and look and is no better than regular sugar - so always choose raw and organic.

Brown Rice Syrup

Primarily glucose so not as sweet as honey and its fructose content is negligible but, with a very high GI, it’s not a good choice for those monitoring their blood sugar. Ensure you choose Australian, organic and 100% brown rice.

Agave

When raw and organic, agave contains minerals and phytonutrients. It has a very high fructose content, making it very sweet (about 1.5 times sweeter than sugar) so you can use much less of it to get the same effect. Its GI is low so it is not a bad option for those watching their blood sugar. It should be avoided by anyone with fructose sensitivities.

Coconut sugar / nectar

Made from coconut palm blossoms and considered one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable sweeteners, coconut nectar and sugar are low GI and high in vitamins and minerals. They still contain moderate amounts of fructose but not as much agave.

Yacon

A tuber root from Peru, it is sweet, very low in calories and acts a prebiotic (food for our intestinal flora) in the gut. Yacon is the gold standard in sweeteners with its very low GI and low fructose content: however it is very expensive and can be hard to find.

Stevia

Made from ground leaves, stevia is extremely sweet so experiment sparingly. With no calories, a GI of 0 and no fructose content, stevia is a good option for diabetics. Avoid the white bleached powders and look for the green, unrefined version.  

Comment

Comment

10 tips for a flat stomach

bloating .jpg

 

Enhance your digestion to keep bloating at bay for good

Breaking down your food efficiently is essential to ensure nutrients are absorbed, elimination is complete and bloating is banished for good. The following tips will get your digestion firing and your stomach flat in time for summer.

1.     Hydrate

A well-hydrated body is less likely to retain fluid, so drinking more water actually eases water retention and bloating. Water also keeps everything moving through the digestive tract to keep metabolism functioning efficiently. Aim for at least 2 litres a day, more if you are very active.

2.    Relax

In stressful times, blood and energy are directed away from the digestive tract to fuel the brain and muscles. Achieving a relaxed state regularly throughout the day is essential for good digestion. Inadequate rest and long-term stress will also cause an increase of the hormone cortisol. High cortisol levels signal your body to store fat, especially around the mid-section. This makes weight loss difficult, even if you are exercising and eating a healthy diet.

3.    Cut down on your drinking

Moderate to heavy drinking leaves you dehydrated signaling to your body to hold onto fluid, leaving you with that bloated, puffy look. Keep to two standard drinks, have at least three alcohol-free days a week and avoid sugary mixers.

4.    Look after your gut flora  

The health of your microbiome is intrinsically linked to the health of the rest of your body. Too much bad bacteria can cause a sluggish digestion, weight gain and bloating. Load up on the good guys by eating fermented foods or taking a probiotic supplement.

5.    Fill up on fibre  

Food cannot move through your digestive tract efficiently without adequate fibre to speed up the transit time.

6.    Activate your nuts and seeds

Raw nuts and seeds are hard work on the digestive system. During activation, an enzyme inhibitor is broken down that allows the nutrients to be more easily digested and absorbed.

7.    Eat mindfully

Be present when you eat, this means sitting down and not multitasking. Always chew thoroughly as chewing signals to the rest of the digestive tract that its time to get to work. Watch your portion size; never eat to a full stomach.

8.    Stimulate digestive juices

The digestive juices contain hydrochloric acid and enzymes essential for the proper breakdown of food. Take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a small amount of water before eating or use it as a salad dressing; eat bitter foods such as grapefruit, endive or radicchio and start the day with lemon in warm water.

9.    Know your sensitivities

If you’re not digesting a particular food properly, it may be the cause of your bloating and gas. If you think you might be reacting to something you’re eating, identify what it is by eliminating possible causes one at a time for a period of two weeks each without changing anything else in your diet. Speak to a nutritionist or naturopath to ensure your diet is still balanced once you have removed your trigger food, with a goal to reintroduce it back into your diet in the future. 

10. Step away from salt  

If you’re feeling bloated and puffy, the hidden salt lurking in processed food may be the culprit. Salt is a vital electrolyte but if you are having too much, it will cause you to retain water. Avoid packaged foods, sauces and additives. When seasoning with salt, ditch refined table salt in favour of a mineral rich celtic sea salt.

* If bloating is painful and affecting your daily functioning, see your doctor to rule out any possible pathological causes

 

Comment

Comment

Are you eating too much avocado?

Australians love our avocado. We eat it with eggs at breakfast, on sandwiches and in salads, with corn chips, on pizza, and lately its even found its way into our smoothies and desserts. But is there such a thing as too much avocado?

The fat content of an avocado is roughly 20 percent, making it very different to other fruits. One gram of fat provides double the energy (calories) as the same amount of carbohydrate or protein, but we know now that eating fat doesn’t make us fat. Fat behaves differently in the body to sugar: keeping us satiated for longer, stabilising blood sugar, providing the building blocks for hormones and facilitating the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins A,D,E and K. Half an avocado has around 14.7 grams of fat, 9.8 of which are monounsaturated. Monounsaturated fats lower LDL cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke; this is why they feature heavily in the much lauded Mediterranean diet. 

That being said, we still only have a certain number of calories to use up each day, so we do need to have our good fats in moderation. But when it comes to a fibre-rich wholefood such as avocado, it is difficult to consume more than you should.

The once humble avocado has been elevated to superfood status, and rightly so. This strange looking fruit is like no other; its rich and creamy and tastes good with almost anything. So go ahead, take it anyway you can get it. 

Comment

Comment

Spring Clean - a gentle 7 day detox diet

 

Our bodies are constantly inundated with toxins, which our liver works tirelessly to package and ship out before they can linger around long enough to cause any damage. Over indulgence, times of stress or poor diet choices can cause a backlog of toxins as the liver struggles to find the nutrients it needs to keep these processes working efficiently.

This clean, high-protein, low-glycaemic 7-day meal plan will provide the nutrients to support the conjugation and elimination of toxins in a gentle detox. You should finish the week feeling light, bright and energised. Your liver will love you for it!

Protocol:

·      Abstain from caffeine, alcohol, dairy, sugar and gluten

·      Start each day with the juice of half a lemon in warm water

·      Include herbal teas - licorice, peppermint, rooibos, dandelion, ginger, fennel and chamomile

·      Snack on activated nuts and seeds, vegetable sticks with hummus or tahini, fruit, bone or vegetable broths

·      Drink 2-3 liters of filtered water daily

·      Eat entirely organic for the period of the detox

·      Practice mindful eating – eat slowly, chew thoroughly

·      Stir 1 tablespoon of psyllium husks into a large glass of water before bed (2 hours after any medication, supplements or food)

·      Engage in gentle daily movement – walking, yoga, swimming, stretching

·      Prioritise sleep, relaxation and quiet time spent alone

·      Enjoy an Epsom salt bath every second day

Monday

Breakfast – smoothie: kale, spinach, cucumber, frozen banana, mint leaves, cashews, chia seeds, coconut water (or filtered water), ice

Lunch – 100grams grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, grated beetroot, avocado, watercress, sauerkraut dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, hummus

Dinner – barramundi baked in paper with lemon, capers, dill served with roquette, radish and parsley salad

·      High quality protein from fish and organic chicken provides the liver with the amino acids necessary to conjugate and eliminate toxins

 

Tuesday

Breakfast – 2 eggs scrambled, avocado, sautéed kale

Lunch – cooked quinoa, chickpeas, roast carrot, sweet potato and cauliflower; topped with parsley, pepita seeds and lemon juice

Dinner – grilled snapper, steamed broccoli, bok choy and mushrooms; topped with garlic, tamari

·      Carotenes from sweet potato, carrot and kale act as antioxidants to combat the oxidative stress from an over-burdened liver

 

Wednesday

Breakfast – chia pudding: chia seeds soaked in coconut milk and cinnamon (the night prior), topped with mixed berries, flaxseed meal and almonds

Lunch – tempeh stir-fried in coconut oil, salad of spinach, shredded cabbage, alfalfa sprouts, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, parsley, pepita seeds, dressed with apple cider vinegar, olive oil

Dinner – palm-sized piece of grass-fed beef, roast pumpkin and Brussels sprouts, served with bitter roquette salad dressed in lemon juice and olive oil

·      Cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cabbage and broccoli promote detoxification by inducing both phase one and phase two processes in the liver

Thursday

Breakfast – smoothie: mixed berries, frozen banana, cinnamon, cashews, coconut yoghurt, soaked chia seeds, flaxseed meal, coconut water (or filtered water), ice

Lunch - 1 tin wild-caught salmon, shredded cabbage, watercress, dill, parsley, sprouts, avocado; dressed with lemon juice and olive oil

Dinner – baked tempeh, cooked quinoa, grilled capsicum and zucchini, parsley, sprouts, pepita seeds; dressed with lemon juice and hummus

·      High-fibre foods like soaked chia and flaxseed meal will increase transit time and encourage the thorough elimination necessary in detoxification  

 

Friday

Breakfast – smoothie: frozen banana, 2 handfuls spinach, squeeze lime, cashews, coconut milk, ice

Lunch – tinned sardines, grated beetroot, parsley, sauerkraut, avocado; dressed with lemon juice

Dinner – chicken thigh fillets stir fried in coconut oil with eggplant, kale, tamari, garlic, ginger, onion, chili, coriander; served with brown rice

·      Fermented foods like sauerkraut will replenish the gut with beneficial flora as bad bacteria is being cleared out during elimination  

 

Saturday

Breakfast – 2 eggs baked in fresh tomatoes and sugar-free tomato paste, garlic, kalamata olives, parsley; topped with roquette before serving

Lunch – grilled salmon, sautéed kale, grilled zucchini and asparagus, squeeze lemon

Dinner – stir-fried tofu, mixed mushroom medley, English spinach, garlic, onion, chili, tamari

·      High-sulfur foods like garlic, onion and eggs support sulfation; an important phase two detoxification pathway

 

Sunday

Breakfast – 2 boiled eggs, cooked quinoa, sautéed kale, avocado, parsley, squeeze lemon

Lunch – roast pumpkin and beetroot, lentils, mint, watercress, pepita and sunflower seeds; dressed with olive oil

Dinner – grilled sardines, roasted sweet potato, Brussels sprouts and fennel; served with watercress and radicchio salad dressed in lemon juice and olive oil

·      The high content of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids in sardines will help to regulate the omega 3:6 ratio that is commonly unbalanced in modern diets

 

 

 

 

 

Comment

Comment

#eating disorder?

In an effort to #eatclean and #healthy, have we spawned a new wave of eating disorders?

WRITTEN FOR BURO 24/7 AUSTRALIA  http://www.buro247.com.au/culture-lifestyle/health-and-fitness/eating-disorder.html

In the Western world, food has never been more abundant, it’s hip to be healthy and we have all gone a little ‘clean living’ crazy.  Yet, there has never been more emphasis on exclusionary diets, coupled with confusion about what we actually should be eating. Popular regimes touted by celebrity endorsers suggest we eliminate entire food groups to improve the way we look and feel. They did and it worked for them, ergo it will work for everyone - right? Unfortunately not.

 The idea that there is one particular lifestyle that is the ‘healthiest’ or ‘cleanest’ approach is ludicrous. Popular exclusionary diets such as paleo, raw vegan and sugar-free are all conflicting in their fundamental theory and protocols. So which one is right? There are some valuable principles within each of these diets and, for some people, they may be a way of life, but for anyone to suggest they have found a ‘one size fits all’ approach is very misleading.

 Exclusionary food trends are not only alarming from a nutritional perspective, they can also be socially isolating. ‘No I won’t have any of your birthday cake, it contains sugar/flour/eggs/dairy/general evilness’. This is not what I consider to be living life to the full, and surely that what we’re all here to do? Of course, intolerances and allergies are very real and some people must make these necessary restrictions. But many people are eliminating food groups as a mechanism for dietary control.

 Orthorexia is a relatively new term, which literally means “fixation on righteous eating”. In the case of an Orthorexic, a fixation on the ‘goodness’ of certain foods develops. They begin to link their identity and self-esteem to the purity of their diet. Feelings of superiority are attached to the ability to maintain a strict adhesion to dietary controls and punishing lows follow any perceived slip up. The problem with popular exclusionary diets is that they lead people to be fearful of food. Choices are narrowed down to what feels safe or perceived as ‘clean’. It is easy to see the correlation between this sort of disordered eating and the rise of Orthorexia Nervosa.

 We live in a world of bikini selfies and hashtags, where anyone can position themself as a role model and proclaim ‘this is the healthiest way to live’. Yes, we must eat consciously but we also must eat intuitively. Listen to your body - what does it tell you it needs? If you are not sure, speak to a professional who will consider your constitution and personal circumstances in helping you find your tailored health plan.

 The food that we choose to consume is the single most powerful tool we have in our quest for health. To really live optimally we can’t see food as good and evil; we can’t fear it. Food is our medicine, to be shared and most importantly enjoyed. We must empower ourselves to make good choices most of the time and block out the rest of the noise. Focus on finding an approach to your health that is manageable and sustainable long-term. This will mean something different to everyone. Look for balance and variety and joy in the food you consume.

 

 

Comment

Comment

10 immune boosting tricks to stay healthy this winter

WRITTEN FOR BURO 24/7 AUSTRALIA 

http://www.buro247.com.au/culture-lifestyle/health-and-fitness/10-immune-boosting-tricks-to-stay-healthy-winter.html

Cold and flu season is in full swing. While colder weather can’t make us sick, viruses do thrive in lower temperatures so we are always more likely to get sick during the winter months. We can’t hibernate for the entire winter, so our best defense against getting sick is strengthening the immune system and taking extra care of our bodies during this time when we’re more vulnerable.

1.     Stick to a wholefood diet rich in colourful, antioxidant packed fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants contain an array of phytochemicals that help support a healthy immune system.

2.     Consume plenty of high quality proteins – inadequate protein is linked to immune dysfunction.

3.     Choose cooked over raw - warm foods are gentler on the body during the colder months. Soups, curries, broths and stews that incorporate plenty of veggies, herbs and warming spices are easily digested and nutrient dense.

4.     Garlic has antioxidant, antimicrobial and immune-enhancing properties. It is imperative to prepare garlic properly by crushing or chopping it and then allowing it to sit for 10 minutes before cooking or ingesting it in order to get the full nutritional benefit.

5.     Look after your gut – 80% of our immune system resides in the gut, so take care of it by consuming pre and probiotic rich foods, plenty of fibre and water and cutting down on processed foods, refined sugar and alcohol.

6.     Prioritise sleep – while we’re sleeping our bodies are healing. Sleep deprivation suppresses the immune system and robs the body of this crucial time for restoration. Make the most of the longer nights by increasing the hours spent in bed.

7.     Start the day with an immune boosting tonic – into a blender add the juice of two lemons, a large knob of ginger, a knob of turmeric (or 2 teaspoons powdered), one teaspoon of raw honey and 4 cups of filtered water. This makes enough for 3 days.

8.     Reduce stress – stress wears down the body and is known to have a detrimental effect on the immune system. Identify the causes of stress in your life and any underlying emotional issues and do your best to address them. Ensure plenty of time for relaxation during the winter months, prioritising time at home over socialising.

9.     Vitamin C is an antioxidant and powerful immunostimulant. The most concentrated food sources include capsicum, chilli, oranges, blackcurrants and strawberries. Citrus fruits, parsley, papaya, cabbage and broccoli are also good sources. During the winter months it is worth supplementing vitamin C – 500mg taken 2 times daily for prevention, increasing to 4 times daily during an acute infection.

10.  Zinc is as an important mineral for reducing the frequency and severity of colds and flu. Zinc is found in meat, eggs and seafood (especially oysters and shellfish), nuts, pepita seeds and mushrooms.

 

Comment

Comment

The mighty microbiota! Why its time we listened to our gut

WRITTEN FOR BURO 24/7 AUSTRALIA

http://www.buro247.com.au/culture-lifestyle/health-and-fitness/5-ways-you-should-be-listening-to-your-gut.html 

It might surprise you to learn that our gut is the epicenter of our health. Good gut health not only determines our digestion and absorption of nutrients, but our vitality, immunity, mental health and risk of chronic disease.

 The gut is a breeding ground for trillions of microbes, both friend and foe, known as the gut microbiota. This population of microorganisms can weigh up to 2kgs and, much like our fingerprints, is unique to each of us. This dynamic ecosystem interacts with its host in a complex manner known as the gut-brain axis. This interaction makes gut health pivotal to issues such as anxiety, depression and the stress response. Interestingly, the majority of serotonin (the neurotransmitter in charge of making us feel happy) is synthesized in the gut. Even more astonishingly, 70% of our immune system also resides in the gut. Known as gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) and located just below the mucosal lining, the GALT is responsible for red flagging any bad guys passing through the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and triggering an immune response.

 A healthy gut will contain a ratio of roughly 80/20 good to bad bacteria. This balance keeps the bad guys under control and allows the friendly flora to get on with all of their valuable work. This balance can be thrown out by a poor diet, stress, antibiotics and everyday toxins, resulting in dysbiosis and gut dysfunction. Left untreated, this will eventually lead to inflammation and chronic disease.

 So, if you want to improve your digestion, enhance mental clarity, feel calmer, happier and strengthen immunity, it’s time to start focusing on rebuilding your gut health.

1)   Take a good quality, multi-strain probiotic supplement first thing in the morning on an empty stomach

2)   Include fermented food and drinks in your diet – fermented foods are easily digestible and their nutrients highly bioavailable. Look for raw, unpasteurized sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and kefirs in your local health food store

3)   Include prebiotics in your diet – prebiotics act as the food for our friendly flora. Try adding a teaspoon of slippery elm to your smoothie and including prebiotic containing raw veggies such as dandelion greens, garlic, leek and onions in your diet

4)   Hydrate – water is essential for keeping waste moving efficiently through the GIT which keeps the good bacteria happy

5)   Cut down on sugar and processed foods – these foods provide a fertile playground for bad bacteria to flourish

 

Take care of your gut and it will take care of you!

 

Comment