Moroccan Chicken Cous Cous Salad

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Ingredients

Chicken

·       Olive oil – 2xtsp

·       2 cloves of garlic, crushed

·       ½ brown onion, finely sliced

·       1 tsp. paprika

·       1 tsp. cumin

·       1 tsp. turmeric

·       ½ tsp. black pepper

·       ½ tsp. red chili flakes

·       600g chicken breast (100g chicken/serve) – diced thinly

Cous cous

·       250g packet of Israeli (Pearl) cous cous

·       1xveggie stock cube

·       ½ butternut pumpkin, cubed

·       1xred capsicum, sliced

·       1xlarge zucchini, sliced

·       1xpunnet of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

·       ½ packet of finely chopped fresh mint

·       1xlemon/lime – juice squeezed

·       100g Danish feta – Finely cut into cubes

·       8-10 dried apricot halves, finely diced

·       Greek yoghurt to top

Optional: Drain a can of chickpeas or lentils and run through the mix to make it go a bit further

Method

1.    Steam pumpkin in microwave with dash of water for 4 minutes until soft

2.    Add pearl cous cous to 2.5 cups of water over medium heat, add in 1xstock cube – cook for 5-10 mins until soft and no water left. Remove and leave to cool

3.    Add oil to a pan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, cook until brown.

4.    Add in the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned. Just before removing add in all spices (paprika, cumin, turmeric, pepper). Remove chicken from pan and set aside

5.    Add a little oil back into chicken fry pan and add in capsicum, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes

6.    Finally add all ingredients together in large serving bowl: Pumpkin, cous cous, chicken, cooked veggies, feta, fresh mint, apricots and Danish feta. Mix and season with pepper.

7.    Serve with generous dessert spoon of greek yoghurt on top

Nutrition – Did you know?

·       Keeping water when you steam veggies means you retain the nutrients in the water. Don’t throw it away and use

water sparingly when steaming!

·       Pepper increases the bioavailability of turmeric by 2000 %

·       Spices contain large amounts of anti-oxidants which are thought to prevent ageing in our cells

·       Pearl cous cous is lower GI than normal cous cous, keeping us fuller for longer

·       You can reduce the salt in this meal by adding in your own home made stock or perhaps its salty enough with the

Danish Feta

Shakshuka Recipe

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Ingredients

·     1 red onion, finely diced

·     1 garlic clove, crushed

·     1 small chilli, finely diced

·     1 teaspoon paprika

·     ½ teaspoon ground coriander

·     ½ teaspoon ground cumin

·     2 red capsicums, cut into 2cm pieces

·     400g chopped tomatoes

·     ½ large eggplant, cut into 2cm cubes

·     4 eggs

·     Fresh coriander, to serve

Method

1.    Preheat oven to 2200C.

2.    Heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over a medium heat and add onion, garlic and chilli. Cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the spices and stir, cook for a further minute. 

3.    Add the capsicum and tomatoes to the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until capsicums are softened. Turn the cook top off, then blend the sauce and return to the pan.

4.    Meanwhile, spray another pan with cooking oil and heat over a high heat. Add eggplant and cook for 10 minutes or until cooked through, turning occasionally.

5.    Stir the eggplant through the sauce. Make four wells with the back of a spoon and crack an egg into each well, then bake in the oven until eggs are cooked to your liking.  

Sprinkle with coriander and serve with wholegrain bread.

Nutrition benefits:

High in Vitamin C to assist your immunity and glowing skin

A good source of protein to keep you feeling full and lower the overall GI of the meal

Can be shared with friends (Always a benefit too right ;))

This recipe was brought to you by our amazing Kirrawee Dietitian Melissa - give her a call to get your health sorted down in the South of Sydney!

 

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 :)

Flour Guide: Nutrition, Baking & Best Uses

With the number of flours available in the supermarket today, it can be overwhelming (What the hell is TEFF?!). This guide looks at some of the most popular flours used in everyday cooking and mentions some new flours that are available in stores. We share our top picks at the bottom of the blog to keep your delicious baking producing healthy outcomes too!

Grains 101

·       In Australia, wheat based flour is commonly used by food manufacturers and individuals at home. Wheat grains are ground down and sifted in a process called milling, to produce flour.

·       There are three major parts of a cereal grain: the endosperm, bran and germ.

·       Different components of any grain may be left in or taken out depending on how it is milled. This will produce different kinds of flour.  

WHITE FLOUR

In white flour, both the bran and germ have been removed via milling. As the bran and germ contain more dietary fibre than the endosperm, white flour has a light consistency. Many micronutrients including B vitamins, iron and magnesium are found in greater concentrations in the bran and germ layers of the grain. Therefore, white flour contains less of these nutrients. However, flour may be restored with some of these lost nutrients and may also be fortified with additional nutrients such as folic acid and iodine.

Uses: White flour is commonly used to make bread, pizza dough or sweet bakes such as cakes, muffins and scones. White flour is often used as a thickener for gravies and sauces.

Nutrition

 WHOLEMEAL FLOUR

Incorporates the bran layer of the wheat grain, which makes this flour higher in fibre, protein as well as vitamins and minerals (e.g. niacin (B3) and iron). This flour may also be fortified with additional micronutrients.

Uses: Like white flour, wholemeal flour may be used to make sweet/savoury breads or doughs or cakes, muffins and scones

RYE FLOUR

Derived from the rye grain, rye flour is milled in a similar fashion to wheat. A little harder to find and more expensive than wheat flour, you may have to venture outside major supermarket chains to find rye flour. Rye flour comes in both dark and light varieties. Light rye is lighter than dark rye and contains less calories, fibre and protein per.

Uses: Rye flour may be used to make breads, pumpernickel, crispbreads, or biscuits.

SPELT FLOUR

Spelt is an ancient grain, cultivated over thousands of years. This grain is rich in several vitamins and minerals including B vitamins (thiamin, niacin and folate), magnesium, copper, iron and manganese. Spelt is a high protein, high fibre flour making it a great alternative to wheat flour.

Uses: May be used to make dense breads, biscuits or pastas. Spelt is quite flavoursome so is best for savoury dishes.

GLUTEN FREE FLOUR

Gluten free flour is generally a mix of various gluten free flours including corn and tapioca starch and rice flour. Due to the ingredients, this flour is quite low in protein compared to other flours.

Uses: Gluten free plain or self-raising flour can be used to make a variety of dishes including breads, cakes, muffins, batters and can be used as a thickener for sauces/gravies.

COCONUT FLOUR

Derived from the pulp of the coconut, coconut flour is a soft, light flour. It is a by-product made during the coconut milk making process. Coconut flour is also extremely high in flbre and a good source of protein. This flour absorbs a lot of liquid, therefore much less is required to make a certain product (e.g. muffins) than wheat flour.

Uses: Coconut flour may be used to make cupcakes or muffins, cakes, biscuits, pancakes and breads. It may also be used as a gluten free alternative for batter.

QUINOA FLOUR

Derived from another ancient grain, quinoa flour is high in fibre and protein, and contains a variety of vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, magnesium, iron and phosphate.

Uses: Quinoa flour produces quite a moist bake, and is good for muffins, cakes, pastries or sweet/savoury breads.

CHICKPEA FLOUR

You may or may not have seen chickpea flour in your local supermarket. As this flour is derived from chickpeas, it contains a significant amount of protein along with B vitamins and dietary fibre.

Uses: Chickpea flour may be used to bake cakes, breads and biscuits or for pancakes, fritters or batter

LENTIL FLOUR

Like chickpea flour, lentil flour is relatively new to the supermarket. Made purely from uncooked lentils, this flour provides a nutty flavour to dishes. Lentils are a great source of protein, dietary fibre and micronutrients such as iron, phosphate and copper.

Uses: Like chickpea flour, lentil flour may be used in a variety of dishes including sweet or savoury breads, cakes, muffins, fritters and to make batter.

TEFF FLOUR

Teff has long been used in Ethiopia as a staple grain, but it is relatively new to Western. Like quinoa, Teff is a good source of dietary fibre and protein. This gluten free flour is also rich in several micronutrients including B vitamins, calcium and iron.

Uses: Teff flour has an earthy, nutty taste and is a great gluten free alternative to wheat flour in cakes, muffins, breads and other bakes.

BUCKWHEAT FLOUR

Surprisingly, buckwheat is not a type of wheat. In fact, the buckwheat plant is related to rhubarb. Buckwheat flour is gluten free, and often used as a replacement for wheat. Buckwheat is available as both dark and light flours. Dark buckwheat is more flavoursome than light. Another high protein flour, buckwheat also contains several micronutrients including iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.

Uses: Dark buckwheat flour is great for making crepes or pancakes, whilst lighter buckwheat flour may be used to make biscuits, muffins, rolls and bread. As buckwheat is quite strong, it is best used along with another flour (e.g. rice flour) to reduce the nutty taste.

OUR TOP PICKS NUTRITION WISE

Rye Flour: Particularly dark flour which is higher in protein than the light variety. With 300 calories/cup (vs. 500 in white and wholemeal), 10.5g of protein and 9.1g of fibre as well as being of a moderate glycaemic index it could be a good baking option, particularly if you enjoy making your own bread. Its also relatively cheap $3/kg.

Lentil Flour: With 333 calories/cup (5th lowest out of 15 compared) its high in protein 25.4g and fibre 15.9g and comes in at a medium price range, $9/kg.

Teff Flour: Teff was the flour highest in protein with 39g/cup! It also rated high in terms of fibre (12.5g) and was sitting at 225 calories. However it is a little more expensive, $13/kg

To learn more about the nutritional composition of flours best to talk to us in the clinic - we love baking!!

References/Further Information

Most this nutritional information was obtained from calorieking.com.au. Nutrient information on lentil flour was taken from mckenziesfoods.com.au

Note: The nutritional information provided on this guide refers to uncooked flour

[1] Honest to Goodness foods

[2] https://thesourcebulkfoods.com.au/shop/cooking/organic-buckwheat-flour-gf/

[3] https://www.tooshfoods.com.au/shop/cooking-and-baking/organic-teff-flour/

Body Fusion Spilt Milk Series #1: Dairy and Alternate Milks Comparison

Quite recently we have had a growing number of clients and friends asking about milk selection, as the options in supermarkets and coffee shops seems to be growing exponentially.

“Ash/Kat, should I be drinking almond milk?!” Great question, should you?

We thought we would put it to the test, by asking the facebook herd what they wanted to know about MILK and many udderly fantastic questions came my way; Should I really be drinking full cream again? Are there added hormones? Is organic really better? What about lactose free diets? Does anyone really know how A2 milk is any different?

Let’s get started with a focus on alternate milks that are increasingly in popularity in comparison to regular dairy and for whom they may be recommended.

Almond Milk

It’s popping up everywhere including recipes and even in café’s. Some of the common brands we looked at you can see below:

Per 250mL serving

My most common worry with almond milk is that as you can see, a couple of the brands are not fortified with calcium! The other thing is almond milk, although lower in energy and natural sugar compared to many other types of milk, is also much lower in protein (Regular dairy milk has about 8-9g/serve). Protein is a very important nutrient to fill us up. To tell the truth unless you need to drink this, or REALLY enjoy the taste, it wouldn’t be my recommendation.

Suitable for: Vegetarian, vegan, lactose free, most people who are following the low FODMAP diet, those with soy and milk protein allergies

Not suitable for: Nut allergies

Soy Milk

Soy has been shrouded with some reputation of not being safe for consumption but we can assure you for majority of people (excluding those who have had some cancers or a strong history of cancers) it is a safe and healthy option. Many studies have proven soy to beneficial for healthy cholesterol levels.

We evaluated a few different soymilk brands on the market including Vitasoy, So Good, Pure Harvest, Bonsoy (only 51mg calcium/serve) and Australian’s Own (no calcium). Similar to the almond milk there were some unsweetened options. Good in theory if you want to reduce your energy intake but if you’re after taste, forget it! Most brands had about 7.5/8g of protein per serve, which is a lot more than other milks (rice, almond, oat).

We then stumbled across Vitasoy Calciplus and So Good Essentials. So Good Essential got my vote, with half as much sugar per serve compared to Vitasoy Calciplus and an extra 100mg calcium per serve compared to other soy milks. It was also fortified which I thought could be useful for some people, vitamins C (50%), E (23%), niacin, D2 (50%), A (15%), B12 (50%), B2 (25%), B6 (22%), B1 (23%), folate (44%), iron (19%), phosphorus (23%).

Suitable for: Vegetarian, vegan, lactose free, milk protein allergies, iron deficient, people with low vitamin D or people with/at risk of osteoporosis.

Rice, Oat and Coconut milks

Rice milk is very sweet tasting and higher in natural sugars than other milks. Both Australian’s Own and Vitasoy were fortified with calcium (300mg), which was a win. However its important to note that rice milk is of a high glycaemic index and like almond milk, low in protein (<1.5g/serve). You’d be drinking bucket loads to try and feel full.

Suitable for: People following the elimination diet or who really don’t like any other milk (last resort!)

Oat milks are probably the newest to the market. Pure Harvest has no calcium. Alternatively we were very impressed by the Vitasoy Oat Milk, Bone Essentials: With Vitamin D and Phosphorus. It is to be noted however; the vitamin D in this milk is only 13% of RDI’s compared to the So Good Essentials 50%. This milk also contains 1.5g of beta-glucan per serve, a type of fibre that has been undeniably linked to reducing cholesterol levels. 

Suitable for: Vegetarian, vegan, lactose free, milk protein allergies, people with low vitamin D or people with/at risk of osteoporosis, seed allergy (contains no vegetable oil), soy allergy, those with high cholesterol

Not suitable for: Coeliacs

Coconut milk is not to be confused with the cans of coconut milk you find in the Indian section in the supermarket. These are found in the long life milk section. With only 3 options: Vitasoy Unsweetened, Vitasoy Original and Pure Harvest we were not overly impressed. There was no calcium in the Pure Harvest but 300mg/serve in the others. All these milks were very low in protein 0.38-1.4g. The only difference between the original and unsweetened Vitasoy versions was that the Original had raw sugar added. Additionally the coconut unsweetened contained inulin, which for the average person is a great prebiotic but for coeliac or those sensitive to FODMAPs often a reactive starch.

Suitable for: Vegetarian, vegan, lactose free, milk protein allergies, seed allergy (contains no vegetable oil), soy allergy

Dairy Milk: Full Cream and Skim

As you can see with dairy milks, A2 included, are the milk highest in protein, fantastic for filling you up. This protein also contains amino acids leucine and casein, perfect for repairing muscles after a workout. Fat content varies from skim through to full fat varieties, consequently explaining energy variance. The calcium content is quite similar to alternate milks.

Most suitable for: Everyday milk drinkers, athletes or exercisers post workout, hungry people (which may include those after weightloss), under eaters who are struggling to keep weight on eating solid food.

Lactose Free Milk

For those who do not tolerate milk well, lactose free milk is always an option. Lactose free milks are just regular milk with an added enzyme called lactase to help the body break down the lactose in the milk. Lactose free milk therefore contains the same amount of protein, fat and energy as regular dairy milks. The calcium content is a little lower 300mg vs. 320/330mg than in regular milk.

Special mention here to Liddell’s lactose free UHT High Calcium Skim. One serve (250mL) contains a whopping 500mg of calcium and 9.7g of protein! It does contain 15g of sugar, which is a lot higher than all other milks analysed. HOWEVER interestingly on the ingredients list there is not any added sugar, so it must come from concentration during processing. Zymil High Calcium is a close follow-up, with 405mg calcium/serve, 12.8g sugar and 9.3g of protein.

Suitable for: Lactose intolerant people, anyone who doesn’t like drinking huge volumes of dairy, people with low vitamin D or people with/at risk of osteoporosis, perhaps elderly people who aren’t eating huge volumes of food

Our Top Picks from each group:

Almond Milk: Almond Breeze Unsweetened

Soy Milk: So Good Essential

Oat Milk: Vitasoy Oat Bone Essentials

Lactose Free: Liddells Full Cream & Liddells High Calcium

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Well there you have it! A great jump down the rabbit hole to compare and contrast the different nutritional benefits and suitability of different milks. Our next blog will explore skim vs. full cream dairy milk vs A2. We will also discuss high protein milk. Stay tuned for that!

If you are after an informed and educated dietitian to understand more about how to meet your nutrition needs maybe its time to book in! We'd love to see you: 0426 500 251 (Ash)/0410 533 213 (Kat) or shoot us an email inquiries@bodyfusion.com.au. 

Time to get mOOving. :)

Ash & Kat

Spicy Carrot Dip

Ingredients:

3 carrots (475g), grated

75g (1/4 cup) tahini

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 clove of garlic, chopped

2 medjool dates, pit removed

1.5cm piece fresh ginger, grated

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/4 cup freshly chopped coriander leaves

125ml (1/2 cup) water

Method:

Blend all in a food processor or blender.

Enjoy

1. As a snack with cut up veggie sticks or grainy crackers. 1/3 of a cup is a good portion!

2. As a spread on your wraps or sandwhiches

Nutrition

Carrots are high in Beta Carotene, an important antioxidant which plays a role in generating healthy skin and eyes. Tahini is made of sesame seeds and high in a certain natural food chemicals called lignans which have been seen to reduce cholesterol. Tahini is also a good source of calcium and magnesium, which aids in building strong bones. Ginger has been seen to reduce inflammation, assist in protective immunity and assist with digestion. What are you waiting for - eat it up!

Nutrition for Mental Health

According to the Mental Health Commission in Australia adequate mental health is “a sense of wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem”. It enables us to fully enjoy and appreciate other people, day-to-day life and our environment. This allows us to deal with life’s challenges, use our abilities to reach our potential and form healthy relationships.

Fact: One in Five Australians suffer from a mental illness every year such as bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

Fact: Along with high blood pressure, depression is the number one cause of early death

Now I don’t know about you, but I am a pretty proactive and happy person who sees that there is much joy for many of us to experience in a lifetime. Sure the rollercoaster of life is going to present its challenges but I’d like to think we could learn, grow and overcome many of our obstacles. Easier said then done.

Working as Dietitian’s we have a phenomenal opportunity to influence our client’s lives in positive ways to improve their enjoyment of their lives.

One example that comes to mind is an old client of mine who gave up his addictive drinking, started eating healthily and lost weight. Not only did he then have a huge improvement in his health, but also increased energy and productivity, an improved relationship with his wife and most noticeably never hung over and missing his kid’s soccer games on a Saturday ever again.

When it comes to mental health nutrition can be a powerful influencer.

Here are a couple of examples of foods that support mental health:

Omega-3: Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fat that is commonly found in fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, ocean trout and sardines. It can also be found in nuts and seeds, some of the highest sources being flaxseeds and walnuts.

B Vitamins (Includes folate): Sources of folate include dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and asparagus, as well as legumes and lentils. Folate plays a crucial role in healthy brain development. It also helps to form red blood cells and produce DNA.

Zinc: Deficiencies in zinc in both men and women has been associated with a greater incidence of depression (Vashum KP et al 2014). Zinc can be found in lean meats such as beef, oysters, whole grains and seeds (particularly pumpkin and sesame).

Probiotics for a healthy gut: Modulation of gut microbiota may prove to be a therapeutic target for the treatment and/or prevention of mood and anxiety disorders. A recent randomised control trial (Steenbergen L 2015) has stated that “participants who received the 4-week multispecies probiotics intervention showed a significantly reduced overall cognitive reactivity to sad mood, which was largely accounted for by reduced rumination and aggressive thoughts.”

Although this is emerging research, I would not be surprised if we see more studies proving the same. We already know that the gastrointestinal tract can activate neural pathways and central nervous system signalling systems in the brain.

 Mental Health for children and adolescents: Nutrition in early life

Emerging research suggests that early in the lifespan a healthy diet has an important relationship with mental health risks. This is especially because the onset of anxiety and mood disorders is on average from age 13-16 years.

A recent systematic review that included 12 studies (Adrienne O’Neil et al in 2014) found evidence of a significant cross-sectional relationship between unhealthy dietary patterns and poorer mental health in children and adolescents.

In align with the above research this study also noted that diets of a poorer quality were missing essential nutrients that played a role in mental health:

  • The dietary intake of folate, zinc, and magnesium were inversely associated with depressive disorders
  • Dietary long-chain omega-3 fatty acids were inversely related to anxiety disorders

Of mention physical activity here also played a significant role and was positive for mental health.

Take home message:

Everybody deserves the right to good mental health and a happy life. If you feel like you could benefit from increased mood or mental health support with nutrition, then we would be more than happy to support you in our clinic at Body Fusion.

References:

J Affect Disord. 2014, Dietary zinc is associated with a lower incidence of depression: findings from two Australian cohorts. Sep;166:249-57. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2014.05.016. Epub 2014 May 23.

Steenbergen L1, Sellaro R2, van Hemert S3, Bosch JA4, Colzato LS5, A randomized controlled trial to test the effect of multispecies probiotics on cognitive reactivity to sad mood. Brain Behav Immun. 2015 Aug;48:258-64. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2015.04.003. Epub 2015 Apr 7.

O'Neil A1, Quirk SEHousden SBrennan SLWilliams LJPasco JABerk MJacka FN. Relationship between diet and mental health in children and adolescents: a systematic review. Am J Public Health. 2014 Oct;104(10):e31-42. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302110.

 

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: http://bodyfusion.com.au/blog/2016/3/21/choc-almond-easte
  • 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 :)

Sunday Runs, Markets and Muesli (Recipe Included!)

Imagine this:

On the horizon sits the sun, a bright yellow beginning, slowly climbing its ladder up the coloured sky. A light breeze pushes you into a rhythmic run, right along the sleepy beach and up to a grassy green headland. You stop to catch you breath, your heart hammering gratitude as you drink in the 360-degree view.

A couple of more minutes. A couple of more colours… Time to go.

Following the seagulls down the sandy path, past the receding aqua wash and waving to the local surfers, you finally reach the end of your journey. With the salty ocean breeze brushing your face, you turn like a magnet to the sparkling ocean. With a start, you run in to meet your old friend with a joyful laugh, still fully clothed. There you float. Free. Happy. Alive.

With exhilarated rosy cheeks and slight regret, you drag yourself away from the caring hands of the ocean… time for the markets!

 And this is just the way my Sunday began.

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I am a big fan of local markets in Sydney. They offer fresh produce, you can meet and support local farmers and taste before you buy. It’s such a sensory experience. They smell of warm crusty bread, cinnamon sticks and freshly blended citrus juices all of which mingle in with a sea of interesting people as you weave your way in and out. My fresh produce lasts about twice as long and tastes about twice as good!

This Sunday I was on a mission. A client had given me a delicious muesli recipe and brought some in as a gift (thank you, you know who you are). It tasted phenomenal and I was committed to making my own variety.

As I wondered amongst the bustling stores I bartered over buckwheat and nutted out the best place to buy my pecans. Half an hour later I was content with a bag full of goodies. I couldn’t stop smiling. I was so excited.

Experimentation took the good part of my Sunday afternoon but this is what I came up with:

Ingredients:

  • 300g sprouted buckwheat
  • 1 cup of oats (you could use quinoa flakes if you want gluten free)
  • 1/2 cup of amaranth
  • 200g pecans or walnuts
  • 100g sesame seeds
  • 100g pumpkin seeds
  • 2 long (10-12cm) cinnamon quills
  • 2 tsp. dried nutmeg
  • 120g medjool dates (deseeded and cut into small pieces)
  • 300g dried apple (cut into small pieces)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 80g Canadian Maple Syrup

Optional (makes it a little higher in energy but a lot more crunchy!)

  • 50g coconut oil
  • 100g shredded coconut

Method:

1.     Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

2.     With mortar and pestle or end of rolling pin bash/grind cinnamon to break up sticks. With your hands then break/rip up cinnamon into small bits (as small as you can!).

3.     Add all other ingredients into a big mixing bowl, melting coconut oil if necessary. Mix well to coat with oil and maple syrup.

4.     Put into 1 or 2 large baking trays lined with baking paper.

5.     Periodically check muesli over next 30-40minutes, using a wooden spoon to slowly turn over the muesli when it looks brown.

6.     Leave to cool for 20 mins.

Nutrition:

  • Amaranth is a great source of iron (~5mg/cup).
  • Oats contain beta glucan, a soluble fibre to reduce cholesterol levels.
  • Apples contain polyphenols and flavonoids, which prevent oxidation in the body, preventing  disease and ageing.
  • Buckwheat is a good source of magnesium, a micronutrient responsible for more than 300 enzymatic reactions, including enzymes required for maintaining stable blood glucose levels.
  • All the grains, nuts and seeds are an excellent source of fibre, which makes you feel full and aids digestion.
  • This mix is also high in healthy omega 3 and omega 6 fats, which promote clear cognition, boost HDL (healthy) cholesterol, maintain hormone production and lubricate joints.
  • Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, vital for promoting immunity, clear skin, strong hair and nails.
  • Sesame are incredibly rich sources of many essential minerals including Calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc and selenium.

How to eat this delicious mix:

  • Portion out ½ a cup (trust me doesn’t look like a lot but its so filling!). Add some milk, yoghurt and a piece of fruit for breakfast. Wouldn’t be surprised if you are content until lunch ;)
  • Nibble on as a snack during your work day.
  • Add over the top of some ice cream as a treat.

Party Season: Do's and Don'ts

Wow, only 4 weeks until Christmas! All my clients have been a little stressed out about work amping up and trying to get everything done before the holiday period. On top of this it seems that everyone wants to get in a social Christmas event with you BEFORE the big day hits. Food is a big part of celebrating Christmas, but if you just keep mindful about your choices you can come out the other side not too bad off. This year I thought I would list some simple Do’s and Don’ts.

Do (You will get lots of presents)

·      Take a healthy dish to a party. Options include a big plate of sushi, rice paper rolls, home made Thai fish cakes, cherry tomato, bocconcini and basil skewers or a big fruit salad platter.

·      Have a small high protein snack before you go out so that you don’t turn up hungry and devour the first thing in sight (hello sausage rolls!!). Some ideas include a small 95g tin of tuna or salmon, a handful of nuts, a boiled egg or some veggies sticks and hommous.

·      Reduce your alcohol and energy intake by 1) Taking some soda water to drink between alcoholic beverages 2) Drinking reduced alcohol wine, light beer or spirits with soda or diet soft drink (less calories) 3) Stopping your hosts from topping up your glass, how many did you have again?

·      Only say yes to every third canapé offered. Pace yourself. Christmas is like cricket; you’re in for the long haul! Don't get caught out ;)

·      Keep hydrated with water. Christmas can be hot. Water helps to fill us up and prevent us from reaching for food when really we are thirsty

·      Get active with your friends and family. A game of soccer on the beach, lawn bowls or scenic walks are simple and enjoyable.

Don’ts (You are more likely to get coal)

·      Eat out of family size open packets or dive nose first into the crackers and cheeses without a second thought. You are better off putting a small selection on a plate and sticking to just that. 

·      Think you are doing better by drinking cider. Cider is the in thing in Australia at the moment and our intake is increasing. It’s the most energy dense of all alcoholic beverages!

·      Leave your plate on the table. Studies have proven that people (especially men, sorry guys) will eat up to 40% more when they leave their plate on the table. This is because people will pick at more. You don't really need it!

·      Feel obligated to try and eat a big delicious piece or serving of everything. Choose what you really want. Also, a couple of mouthfuls are all you need to get a taste. Sharing is caring. Hand over the other half of that mince pie.

·      Completely switch off in relation to healthy eating with the justification that it’s Christmas. Yes you can indulge a little but don’t make it your excuse to eat 5 mince pies a day and candy cane for the next festive month.

·      Keep temptation in the house if you can’t handle it. Out of mind out of sight. Give it away, throw it out, or get someone in the family to hide it!

·      Feel like if you have fallen off the wagon it’s game over. You will do a lot more damage if you let things snowball!

Good luck :)