Maintaining a Healthy Weight & Breast Cancer  


Breast Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian. In 2018, it was estimated that 18,235 new cases of breast cancer would be diagnosed with 148, males and 18,087, females (AIHW, 2017). Evidence shows that a 5-10% reduction in weight losscan lower an individual’s risk for breast cancer by 12% through the implementation of small diet improvements and lifestyle choices (Chlebowski et al 2017).

 What is the research link between weight and breast cancer?

Research shows being overweight or obese is highly associated with the diagnosis, recurrence and or survival rate of breast cancer incidents in post-menopausal women. Since high body weight increases circulating hormones, particularly insulin, this influences body fat distribution toward the mid-section (the biggest predictor for chronic disease development, particularly, heart disease or type 2 diabetes). Maintaining a healthy weight through good nutrition practices alongside exercise can improve one’s health and longevity.  

If you have been recently diagnosed with cancer or finalised your treatment and feeling lost, overwhelmed and unsure on how to tackle your diet, continue reading…


Why managing your weight during and post breast cancer treatment is beneficial to your health?

  • Promotes a stronger immunity and total recovery 

  • Decreases the risk for adverse health conditions i.e. heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes 

  • Decreases the risk of breast cancer recurring

  • Better controls blood sugar, blood pressure and lipid profile levels i.e. cholesterol & triglycerides

  • Reduces stress and pressure on joints and improves joint mobility  

 What influences my weight during treatment? 

Gaining weight is common post breast cancer diagnosis, for several individual reasons, including early-onset menopause, a side effect of treatment, changes in energy intake and or reduced movement due to fatigue. To date, there is no scientific evidence to support a “special” diet, therefore it is best to avoid drastic changes. Employing strategies that promote safe and gradual weight loss is the most effective way and under the guidance of an accredited practising dietitian (APD). 

How can I eat healthy during treatment? 

Are you experiencing symptoms that are impacting on your food intake? Nausea, reduced appetite, change in taste and or smells? These side effects can make it difficult to achieve a well-balanced diet, affecting your nutritional status and increasing risk for poor immunity. Prioritising a wholesome approach to eating as best you can ensures your body is equipped with sufficient energy with the right nutrients, improving your responsiveness to treatment. 

How can I eat healthy after treatment? 

Research shows carrying extra body fat promotes a cancerous environment. Implementing a plant-based diet provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich nutrients, encouraging healthy cell growth and preventing oxidative stress. Limiting intake of red, processed meats, sugar-dense drinks, alcohol and salty foods can support a healthy weight and helps fight cancer recurrence. 


Some handy tips to maintain a healthy weight during and post treatment! 

  • Prioritise protein at meals and snacks  

  • Include an array of vegetables and legumes at each main meal  

  • Work with your dietitian to create balanced meals that meet your own unique individualised requirements


Is widespread information leaving you feel confused as to whether elimination or addition of foods should be included in your cancer journey? Is weight a concern? OR side effects impacting on your diet? Reach out to an APD who can provide you with individualised and simple tips!


You can book in here read more about our dietitians here:

Swimming the English Channel


I’ve always been a swimmer. Growing up, spending time in the ocean was what we did.  Swimming came pretty easily to me, but it wasn’t until the wrong side of 40 that I really found a love for it.

It was a love born of two things. Firstly, the threat of drastic surgery to correct a serious back problem meant I was on the hunt for any other remedy. Secondly, I happened to join a very high performing swim squad called Vladswim. Swimming is more than a sport to this group, it’s a passion and a way of life. Surrounded by adventurous people with no limit to their aspirations, I was inspired to create my own big goal.

I have always dreamed of an iconic swim like the English Channel, but never took it seriously. In the Vladswim pool goals are set, prepared for and achieved. This was 2016. I had a goal, I had a preparation program and I was ready to commit to swimming the English Channel in 2019.

I began a routine of early morning training at the pool and weekend sessions in the ocean. There was always talk of nutrition amongst the swimmers. What worked, what definitely didn’t. What worked for this person but not for another. It became clear that getting the ‘feeding’ right was central to achieving my goal and also enjoying the process.


Towards the end of last year, I started to prepare for the Rottnest Channel Swim – a 20km open water swim from Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia to Rottnest Island off the coast. It was the longest swim I had attempted and I decided to consult a nutritionist to work out the best feeding plan. Up until this point my approach had been to eat whatever I wanted and suck down a few gels as needed on longer ocean swims. Swimming makes you hungry! I’d worked hard in the pool and I could get away with eating pretty much whatever I wanted between sessions. Ashleigh, my new nutrition, had other ideas.

We used Rottnest as an experiment to find out what suited me best. The swim was a large learning curve. How do you carb load and when? How do you hydrate most effectively? What foods would aid my recovery?

I learnt that there is no exact science when it comes to individual nutrition. Trial and error and an open dialogue with your nutritionist are essential as you work out how to get a comfortable and effective feeding pattern.

A few months after Rottnest, a spot opened up for an English Channel swim during the current 2018 season.  The idea of doing it a year early appealed – I had a good base from my Rottnest preparation and my coach thought I was ready. I had a great nutritionist on board in Ashleigh, so I decided to put all my ducks in a row and give it my best crack!

I had a limited time to prepare myself both in the pool and from a nutritional point of view in order to be ready for the demands of the Channel. I needed to increase my swimming mileage, put on a little bit of weight and work out a feeding plan for some long ocean swims in the lead up and of course the day itself.


I was on such a high in the lead up to the swim. Full of excitement and anticipation! This saw me through seven weeks of intense training, with my mileage peaking at about 50km per week. I was still talking to Ashleigh and tweaking my feeds right up until the start of my Channel swim.

I felt confident we had quite a few feed options on offer in case I felt ‘feed fatigued’.  It’s hard to know for sure what you will feel like over the course of 13 to 14 hours of swimming. I had options such as Maltodextrin, Gatorade, Staminade, Hydralyte, Coke, Mars Bars, gels and peaches in syrup.

Quite a smorgasbord of options and certainly enough to keep me interested. I can only recall finding the flavour of orange Staminade totally vile at around the nine-hour mark. No big deal, there was more to choose from.

It took me 13 hours, 20 minutes and 15 seconds to reach France. With the current, I swam approximately 55km.

I felt well fuelled and hydrated all the way through my crossing. I felt strong. I kept telling myself that I had prepared well in advance, I had done the training. If I kept focused and positive and my nutrition was on target, I would succeed.

I owe a huge thanks to Ashleigh for keeping my nutrition on track. I was not the ideal client. A little picky, a bit adverse to the healthy ingredients on offer but your patience paid off and we got there.  Thank you for helping me achieve my goal!

Sam Abeshouse

Three tops tips for the time poor corporate: Increasing vegetable intake to boost health, longevity and work performance


Back to back intense meetings, extended work hours, skipping meals whilst adding copious amounts of caffeine – sound familiar? What if nutrition could be quick, tasty and practical to make everything easier? Well it CAN and not only will this reduce your risk of chronic health disease such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, but also help improve body function and increase energy.

The stats: Lettuce tell you

Did you know that in 2014-15 that only 7% of Australian adults met the guidelines for recommended intake vegetables?

Similarly, in a recent survey conducted in a leading Australian bank by our business Body Fusion, 85.5% of employees were not meeting their recommended serving.

Fact: Healthy employees have been found to be three times as productive than unhealthy employees!

So what are these “guidelines” ?

Taken from the Australian Healthy Food Guide Portion Sizing Poster

Taken from the Australian Healthy Food Guide Portion Sizing Poster

The implications: Lettuce tell you more

 Not meeting your brightly coloured intake of rainbow veggies means:

·      Less fibre, negatively influencing digestion and increasing risk of colon cancer

·      Decreased satiety = hungry worker = impacted mood and interaction with team plus reduced  ability to concentrate

·      Insufficient intake of vitamins and minerals, which support body function. For example vegetables are an excellent source of potassium which aids in electrolyte balance, regulation of blood pressure and supports nerve and muscle function (including the heart!)

·      Compromised immunity, which influences energy, enjoyment of work and sick days needed


Help me solve this creatively and simply: Now!

1.    Be organised

This means from the get go on a Monday and yes a shop is crucial over the weekend! We suggest bringing healthy snacks to work that include vegetables: veggie sticks (carrot, cucumber, red capsicum) and hummus, savoury muffins or a small snap lock bag of cherry tomatoes.

2.    ALWAYS make sure there are vegetables in your lunch

What’s the easiest way to do this? Take food from home that has been cooked in advance. A huge vegetable frittata, vegetable lasagna or spinach and ricotta pie at home will make multiple serves. Salads are also always a winner!

Like to purchase on the run? Alternatively look to add veggies to your lunch in other quick ways. How about you match a veggie-based juice (carrot, celery, beetroot, ginger and apple) with your grainy ham and cheese toastie?

3.    Use tools and cues as reminders to eat

When things get busy, eating goes to the end of the priority list. Putting your snacks or lunch near your keyboard, setting a phone alarm or having another healthy buddy in the office to keep accountable will all work.

Another option is the new amazing App VegEze app by Hort Innovation which gives your hot tips and reminders to encourage you to get to your goal of 5 serves in the day.

So there you have it: Get started today by doing a big healthy grocery shop or better yet check in with a Dietitian to help guide you on your own personalised journey!

Ash, Vegetable and life enthusiast

Work doesn't have to be a struggle! Three top tips to increase work energy and productivity


The daily corporate grind: sometimes with the inclusion of early mornings, late nights, necessary transit, back-to-back meetings and client functions. We get it – keeping on top of your nutrition isn’t always easy – especially with a busy schedule! But what if you could just focus on three small things to keep you smooth sailing and make what you were doing more effective so you could leave work earlier? Well now you’re listening!

1)  Always have a balanced breakfast: Good quality protein, low glycaemic index carbohydrates and either some fruit or veggies to up your fibre intake.


Protein, a sustaining carbohydrate and dietary fibre is going to fill you up and keep your blood sugars stable.


½ cup of traditional oats (low GI and high in fibre), 1xcup of milk (excellent source of protein and added bonus of calcium), 1xserve of fruit (high in fibre and antioxidants) + sprinkle of your favourite nuts/seeds for some extra crunch. Oh and we don't mind a drizzle of honey if you've got a little extra sweet tooth ;) (We said a drizzle! = 1 tsp)

2) Time your meals SMARTLY


Because skipping meals or snacks can result in wrong food choices or overeating. This consequently influences cognition, memory, attention and productivity.


Aim to eat 3 main meals and 2 snacks throughout your day. Eating every 3-4 hours will help you achieve this.

3) Drink water


Because all the beautiful neural connections which transmit information in your brain need water to function at optimal firing rates.

How to increase or maintain an adequate intake?

Include a glass of water with every meal

Drink tea throughout the day: Black or herbal!

Drink soda water to make things interesting

Make a bright attractive drink bottle part of your desk scenery

And there you have it. Just keep it simple! And remember if you want your work team to learn more about Corporate Nutrition we offer engaging workshops. Otherwise you can drop in and book an individual consultation to focus especially on YOU and your goals!

Yours in health,

Kat, Ash and Michelle :)

How to tell if you suffer from IBS! Common symptoms, causes & solutions

Does it ever look like there’s a balloon under your shirt after a seemingly normal sized meal, do you have to run to bathroom after a large coffee or experience pain or cramping having eaten a cabbage slaw? What you are experiencing may not be normal. IBS is a term that means Irritable Bowel Syndrome and unlike other conditions there isn’t just one specific symptom that means you have IBS. Hence, the solution for each person differs – significantly!

It can be difficult to know if what you feel in your stomach and gut is ‘normal’ so we thought we’d explore some of the common symptoms and causes to help inform you.

The most common symptoms of IBS are:

·      Pronounced bloating, a feeling a fullness during and/or after eating (ladies – this means more so than that experienced during your menstrual cycle)

·      Abdominal pain (either acute or throbbing)

·      Swing in bowel motions (diarrheoa to constipation)

·      Excessive gas & flatulence

·      Nausea

·      Reflux

·      Fatigue & lethargy

Before you start self-diagnosing or cutting out food groups, STOP. Get tested by your doctor first for the following:

·      Inflammatory bowel disease

·      Diverticultiis

·      Coaeliac Disease

·      Lactose Intolerance

If you have been tested and the results are all clear, then it may be time to look at some other triggers, this is when seeing an Accredited Practising Dietitian becomes essential. They will make sure that you don’t start avoiding foods unnecessarily as this can actually do more harm than good! Additionally they can balance your nutritional intake and implement tasty substitutes once you start manipulating your intake to identify trigger foods.

Why do some people get IBS and others don’t?

Sufferers of IBS have more sensitive GI tracts, meaning that movement of the gut caused by the digestion of food is perceived as pain by their brains. The different types and amounts of bacteria are one the fundamental causes of IBS, below are some of the some common food culprits:

1.    Windy Vegetables

We often refer to some vegetables as windy, because they cause a large release of gas in the gut when they are digested. They often include: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and sprouts. In those with more sensitive guts, the large amount of insoluble fibre in these vegetables can cause bloating and flatulence. Remember a small amount of farting is normal, if wind persists for hours after a meal or is particularly uncomfortable then you maybe experiencing a bigger reaction.

2.     FODMAPs

These are a group of sugars present in food that pass mostly undigested through your gastrointestinal tract to the large bowel. Here bacteria that live in your bowel feed on these carbohydrate molecules and produce gas, which can cause abdominal discomfort. In individuals with a sensitive gut or an overgrowth of gut bacteria, this may cause symptoms of IBS.

The different groups are:

Excess fructose: eg. Apples, Honey, Pears, Mangoes, Sugar snap peas

Excess Lactose: Large quantities of milk, soft cheese and ice cream

Excess Sugar Polyols: eg. artifical sweetners like isomalt & xylitol,  apricots, cauliflower and mushrooms

Excess Fructans: Wheat, Rye,Barley, Garlic & Leek.

Galacto-oligosaccharides: Legumes like chickpeas, lentils & nuts.

These sugars can be eliminated, and then challenges of these sugars introduced to your gut to determine which class of these sugars produces symptoms. However this is never recommended unless under the guidance of an experienced dietitian.

Big contributors to IBS are also high fat meals, stress, medications, caffeine and alcohol. These all affect the sensitivity of the gut and alter its activity. Be sure to consider this as part of your treatment.

If your gut has caused you some grief, we’d really like to help you out! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our gut friendly team members so we can provide some help and assistance.

Sending health & happiness,

Ash, Kat & Em :)

Top Tips for a Healthier Easter

It's that time of year again. The supermarkets are stocked with mountains of golden alluring bunnies, the easter hat parade was a great success and the you've had a Mexican stand off with that hot cross bun sitting on the middle of the staff table for about the last 2 hours.

Here are some tips from our expert dietitian's to help your healthy behaviours around Easter:

1. Don’t fight your cravings:

Studies have proven that if you go out of your way to deny your cravings there is a good chance you will overindulge. There is no point being in denial, it is Easter! Accept that you will be having a small amount of chocolate or an occasional hot cross bun and that is OK. 

2. Choose quality over quantity (less is more!):

Your food experience should be one of pure pleasure. Smell, observe, hear and taste your chocolate. Is there a scent of vanilla? Does it sound crunchy when you bite into it? Do you notice the taste and flavour vanish after you swallow?

Why are you popping mediocre Easter chocolate into your mouth if you could be slowly and mindfully enjoying a small Lindt bunny? So not worth it!

Make sure you are paying attention whilst you are eating! Gobbling down easter eggs mindlessly isn’t satisfactory, especially if you can’t remember it. 

Too much chocolate on a regular bases can be detrimental to health as it is high in saturated fat and energy. For example a 200g Lindt bunny = 1086 calories, where are the average adult would need about 1500-2000 calories/day to maintain their body weight.

3. Out of sight, out of mind: 

Be honest with yourself: If it’s in your house you are going to eat it. Try to minimise how much you bring home from work or give to family members as a gift. After all, “Sharing is caring". Some of our clients find it useful to freeze their chocolate so they are not tempted to eat it or to put it completely out of sight.

4. Don’t skip meals: 

Only chocolate for breakfast or any other meal is a horrible idea. Chocolate is high GI as it contains much simple processed sugar and spikes your insulin. This does not fill you up for long, which could result in many other consequent binges later on. Remember to eat 5 small healthily spaced meals (this includes small snacks morning and afternoon) with plenty of grains, fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy omega-3 fats throughout the day. 

5. Find healthy alternatives to celebrate Easter: 

We need to remember what Easter is about. 100% it has religious connotations but for most people religious or not it also symbolises family. For my example my friend Steph is Greek and she explained their Christmas involves all attending late night mass, having a homemade 12am feast in the kitchen with family and cracking eggs against eachothers heads! (Sounds fun to me). You can check Steph out on instagram @steph.zervos, she's a sprinter training for the Commonwealth Games and an awesome PT.

Just remember:

  • You don’t have to eat 20 bunnies to feel closer to your family or friends
  • A healthy BBQ, dinner out or another non food based activity with friends or family to celebrate can be just as special

Here are some other healthy ideas

  • Painting eggs with children.
  • Making healthy food into easter bunnies and chicks, get the kids involved here. The more hands on, the better! (See below photos)
  • Making healthy chocolate alternatives: Check Kat's previous blog out for a yummy example:
  • Home made hot cross buns made with wholemeal, rye or spelt flour. We love Teresa Cutter's recipe. Check her out!
  • Choosing dark chocolate varieties of chocolate, higher in cacao which in small amounts does has positive links to reducing blood pressure and preventing cancer due to polyphenol conten

6.    Adapt a positive attitude: The world isn’t going to ever run out of chocolate

Why do we need to go crazy in one weekend? Reality is, you can still eat chocolate as a part of a healthy diet! Daily in fact. If you do indulge, well tomorrow is another day. Let it go! Get back on the horse or of course check in with a Dietitian if you need some support and direction.

Happy Easter everyone! Enjoy. 

Ash and Kat :)

TEFF: The latest ancient grain set to hit the scene

Quinoa is sooo 2014, haven’t you heard of Teff? Brace yourself because there is yet another ancient grain that is about to send health nuts into a frenzy and kick quinoa from its top spot as the latest trending grain. Teff was primarily cultivated in Ethiopia, where it has been used a staple for thousands of years. Thanks to the gluten phobia that is now plagueing society, I predict that Teff’s popularity will rise as people seek alternate grain options, like millet and amaranth.

Teff is quite dense and resembles tiny brown sand particles, similar to poppy seeds. Traditionally teff is ground into flour and fermented to make a spongy kind of sourdough bread called injera. If you have ever been to an African restaurant you may have been served this to eat with the rest of your dishes.

INJERA: Ethiopian flat bread made using teff flour 

INJERA: Ethiopian flat bread made using teff flour 

However you can benefit from the grain simply by cooking it over the stove. For a creamy porridge like consistency cook 1 cup teff with 3 cups water over the stove, to which you can add your choice of toppings.

Teff grains resemble small poppy seeds. It is commonly available in white, red/brown (pictured) and mixed varieties). 

Teff grains resemble small poppy seeds. It is commonly available in white, red/brown (pictured) and mixed varieties). 

 Nutritional benefits: Teff is known for being a great plant derived source of calcium. 1 cup of cooked teff has approx. 123mg calcium, similar to half a cup of cooked spinach. However it also contains phytic acid, a calcium absorption inhibitor, so to reduce this, soak the grain overnight and cook it before eating. Teff’s biggest nutrition benefit is its high amount of resistant starch. Recent research has proven that this type of fibre is an important probiotic, ie food to help keep your healthy gut bacteria levels growing (read more in our previous blog Getting to the guts of it). Dietary fibre has a host of other benefits including appetite suppression that in turns helps with weight management, blood sugar regulation and protects against bowel cancer.

Where can you buy it?

It is not quite as common as quinoa, amaranth and other ancient grains quite yet. Some larger supermarket chains with International sections like Coles and speciality health stores stock Teff. One report found 500g Teff at Coles for $11. A rather expensive choice considering 1kg rolled oats is around $2.

Any downsides?

Apart from its cost, Teff is quite dense and due to its tiny seed-like texture means it sticks together when it’s cooked. So it isn’t as versatile as say quinoa, pearl couscous or rice. If you want to trial Teff it makes a better porridge or soup/stew thickener. If you find it in a flour, mix it with other flours to increase the fibre content of your other flours when baking.


  • Practicality: 6/10
  • Nutrition: 9/10
  • Cost & availability:2/10 

An interesting grain to watch out for and perhaps sample if you ever see it on a menu. There are no superior grains, just eat a wide variety of wholegrains – you can get the same benefits from much cheaper and easier to prepare varieties. 

Product Review: OATS

Porridge is notorious for being a healthy breakfast, particularly on cold winter mornings. But are all oats made the same?

oat groats .jpg

Oat groats: All oat grains begin as groats, they are simply hulled, toasted oat grains. They are not commonly available except for in some health food shops. Normal cooking time is 20 – 25 minutes, similar to any other wholegrain like buckwheat or barley. If you have the time to find and cook these guys they are the least processed of your oat products but aren’t necessary for a hearty healthy breakfast.


Steel cut oats:  These have recently made resurgence into the marketplace due to health trends/bloggers. In actual fact, they have been eaten traditionally in Scotland and are known as ‘Scottish oats’. Steel cut oats are produced when the groat is cut up into small, thick pieces. They taste nuttier and have a gritty texture. Cooking time: 15- 20 minutes once added to boiling water.


Rolled oats: Instead of being cut into chunks, oat groats are flattened, rolled out and then steamed. This processing makes it cook faster and means they can be cooked in around 5 – 10 minutes once added to boiling water.


Quick oats:  These are the most heavily advertised and commonly used oats from what I have seen with clients. Quick oats are more processed than rolled oats because they have been cut into smaller pieces, rolled for longer and partially cooked which reduces their cooking time to 1.5 minutes in the microwave.


Instant oats/ flavoured:  Another step down the processing line we find instant oats. You’ll find they are cut even finer than quick oats, plus are partially cooked and often have skim milk powder, emulsifiers and other preservatives added to help them develop a creamy texture when you cook them.

The two debates: 


This is where the debate gets a little heated – health nuts often argue that steel cut oats are far superior to rolled oats. However there is actually very little difference between the two types. Prevention did a great comparison between both options, check it out here.  

As you can see there are a few SLIGHT differences, however nothing that will drastically make a difference to your health. Energy, carbohydrates, fibre, GI are pretty much identical. Due to our fascination with health foods, food companies have brought out steel cut oat ranges now, which are nutritionally wonderful but are more expensive than your regular rolled oats. Eg. Uncle Toby’s now sell 750g steel cut oats for $5.99, but a 750g homebrand rolled oats is only 0.99c.  

                                  750g = 0.99c 

                                  750g = 0.99c 

                     750g = $5.99 

                     750g = $5.99 


 HIGHER GLYCEMIC INDEX (GI) than steel/rolled oats

What this means: faster release of the sugar (from carbohydrates and any added flavours) into your blood stream. Giving you a quick burst of energy in the morning, causing a larger insulin response (not ideal for those with insulin resistance or diabetes) and requires less work for your body to break down.

LOWER FIBRE than steel/rolled oats

What this means: Due to the level of processing a lot of the fibre that wholegrain oats naturally have are lost. Machines have done the mechanical work that your digestive system was originally designed for. Generally this means they are less filling and chances are you’ll be hungry again an hour or two after breakfast.

MORE ADDED SUGARS than unflavoured oats 

What this means: Added sugars are a significant energy contributors to the diet and one of the biggest nutritional challenges we face as a population – it is not secret that Australia is consuming more now than ever before. Flavoured sachets have extra sugar added, just look at the ingredients list. Our general rule of thumb is to avoid products that have sugar listed in the top three ingredients. In most quick/instant flavoured oats sugar is the second ingredient, which adds extra sugar you simply don’t need on a daily basis. Plus eating sweet tasting foods as part of your regular diet is only training your taste buds to constantly seek out sweet foods.


        35g = 8.4 g sugar per serve

        35g = 8.4 g sugar per serve

                  35g = 0.4g sugar

                  35g = 0.4g sugar


Choose traditional rolled oats and if time and budget allows then splash out for steel cut oats. 

Focus on the quality of your food products not simply the energy on the side of the packet. Beware of added sugars, especially in the gourmet packets of oats with added flavouring, dried fruit and other bits and pieces. Do it yourself by picking up good old fashioned rolled oats (like your grandma would have) then add some flavouring turn to your natural, fibre rich fruits and vegetables like bananas, pears, apples, berries and even carrot with a sprinkling of cinnamon, crushed nuts and a little (1 tsp) raw honey or 100% maple syrup. 

                 Caramelised banana oats with vanilla, cinnamon and toasted macadamias

                 Caramelised banana oats with vanilla, cinnamon and toasted macadamias

*Prices as per Woolworths online 4/6/2015.

**Body Fusion and this author is not affiliated with or compensated by any companies, brands or products discussed in this review. 

Nutting out nutrition nonsense

There are studies being thrown at us left right and centre, one day we are eating too many carbs so you cut the toast at breakfast, the next we are avoiding skim milk because it is too high in sugar or maybe you have heard that cooking your food in copious amounts of coconut oil is fine because saturated fat isn’t a problem. All the while we continue to wonder, will this help us lose weight? Is this healthy?

STOPPPP right there, if you’re starting to get confused about what to actually believe then it is time we nut it out once and for all. Let’s start off by getting a few simple, common things straight.  

1.    You can’t believe everything you read.

2.    If it sounds a little to obscure then it probably is.

3.    No single food/ nutrient is the cause of any major chronic disease, it is ALWAYS a combination of factors.

Now that we have that out of the way, how do we begin to understand what is being printed in the newspaper, magazines, on TV and wherever else we are fed information? You need to get a little bit suspicious!

Let’s take an article and have a bit of a closer look. This study was published in the American Journal of Nutrition and appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald the other week1. It highlighted that people who ate a diet with a high glycaemic load (GL), heavy with refined grains, starches and sugars, gained more weight. Here your first questions should be:

1.    How many people?

2.    What type of people?

3.    In comparison to who else?

Whenever you read the phrase ‘a recent article published by …’ you need to put your critical thinking hat on. Ask yourself what are these scientists trying to test? In what type of people are they testing it? Is the test fair and accurate?

In this study for instance they were actually trying to test the effect of protein on weight. This article did a pretty good job of listing all the key findings, which you should keep your eyes out for. Then you need to put the findings into CONTEXT! I would say this is the most important part because if we can’t apply the evidence to real life then what is the point? When findings are taken out of context this is when we get begin doing all sorts of crazy things like avoiding entire food groups, not eating noodles after 5.34pm and telling others that gluten is an enemy.

Here are a couple of key findings of this article and the explanation of what they actually mean (or don’t mean) in reality:

Increasing intakes of red and processed meat were most strongly associated with weight gain.

What this means:

Amongst the people who gained the most weight, they also happened to eat larger amounts of red and processed meat. So, people who ate more red/processed meat were more likely to gain weight.

What this does not mean:

That red/processed meat directly causes weight gain. A whole host of factors influence weight gain, but one of the factors that those people who gained weight had in common was that they had higher intakes of red/processed meat.

Take home message: If you are struggling to lose weight and eat red/processed meat more than 2 – 3 times per week than some of the following suggestions may help you:

·      Swapping processed meat (salami, sausages etc) over to leaner options (chicken, turkey, fish, tuna)

·      Reducing your portion size of meat (no more than palm size at one time)

·      Eating more vegetarian based meals

Increasing other dairy products, including full-fat cheese, whole milk, and low-fat milk, did not significantly relate to either weight gain or weight loss.

What this means:

The types of dairy products that people were eating didn’t seem to affect any weight gain or weight loss.

What this does NOT mean:

That low fat or full fat dairy products are good or bad.

It doesn’t matter how much cheese or milk you eat, neither will affect your weight.

Full fat dairy is not a significant contributor of saturated fat to many peoples diets or that you should swap all dairy products to full fat varieties without making educated decisions about other things you may need to compensate for in your diet.

Take home message:

·      Think about dairy in the context of your diet. Full fat dairy products are still sources of saturated fat, so for those aiming to reduce their total energy intake then swapping to low fat varieties will save you energy, better spent on eating monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

·      If you are a consumer of low fat dairy be mindful about the added sugar or artificial sweeteners, which can bump up the carbohydrate total of that product.

·      Stick to the recommended 3 serves of dairy per day; 1 glass of milk, 2 slices of cheese and 200g yoghurt.

My last piece of advice is to look up the jargon or words you don’t understand. This article talks about GL – glycemic load. But what is that? Basically it is a number that estimates how much a food will raise a person’s blood glucose level. Don’t let the scientific language trick you! If you want to know what is best for you to eat then come and talk to a dietitian aka nutrition professional – yes we have spent time examining articles with a thin toothcomb, so we can give you the low down. 

 The scientist from this study summed up what they thought was the main point pretty well saying that ‘this study encourages people to focus more on eating a nutritious diet than just filling up on nutrient – poor, highly processed ‘diet products’. So if all of the above is too much for you, skip to the conclusion and remember that the more whole, fresh foods you eat in moderation the better! The end.

 1. Link to article 

Speed Eating, How To Slow It Down!

Growing up a competitive swimmer and heavily training at least 8 times a week (With lovely 430am rises! ) I was blessed with a ferocious appetite. When I finished training I would scrounge around for the closest morsel of food to replenish my last training session. Not only did I learn (and need!) large quantities of food, but I could also woof down my meal quicker than a commercial break.

Many of my clients often mention to me that they have a problem with their speed of eating. One the other day mentioned he finished his meal and was greeted with the noise of crickets as he patiently waited for everyone else to finish. What is the problem with this? Often it will lead to overeating because you will go back for more…

And then it hits you. Time to cuddle up on the lounge and have a nap. Or feelings of guilt settle in. And for some, with feelings of guilt come brilliant ideas like “I can just skip the next meal or snack” or “I will deprive myself of carbs next meal” and that’s when we really start to put a spanner in our metabolism and weight loss/maintenance efforts.

Slow it down:

Don’t skip meals or hold out for hours on end for your meal so that you are starving and ready to demolish the meal when it is put infront of you.

Minimise all distractions: Don’t eat infront of the television, whilst madly chop stick typing out a university assessment or replying to a long list of work emails. You need to pay attention to what you are eating.

Don’t shovel in the next mouthful until you have completely chewed and swallowed the last. Put your fork down on the table between mouthfuls.

Always sit down to your meal with a big glass of cold refreshing water. Use this to moderate your eating speed by taking a break to slow down and have a sip at intervals throughout the meal.

Taste the flavour, see, smell and appreciate the texture (mouthfeel) of your food.

Try eating using your knife and fork in the opposite hands (fork in right, knife in left… now that’s co-ordination!)

Dedicate at least 20 minutes to finish your meal

When you are finished… WAIT. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to register that you are full. Put that food on layby and see how hungry you feel 30 minutes post meal.

So there you go, have a happy meal time!