Christmas Recipe: Healthy Christmas Cake Muffins

Serves: 12

Ingredients

  • 400g mixed fruit
  • 2 eggs
  • 130g almond meal
  • 50g walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons olive or macadamia oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest grated 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract/essence

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius
  2. Spray a muffin tin with oil (12 muffins)
  3. Combine eggs, dried fruit, spices, vanilla and lemon
  4. Add the almonds and walnuts and mix through
  5. Spoon into tin, split into 12
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Check with skewer and cook longer if neede

Note: Cover the top if necessary to prevent over-browning.

Nutrition:

Calories: 200 calories/serve (perfect snack size with a cup of tea!)

Fat: 9.5g

Protein: 6g

Carbs: 22g 

 

 

Tips for a healthy, guilt free Christmas

We are constantly surrounded by food during the Christmas and holiday period, with busy schedules and late nights it can be hard to feel healthy enough to enjoy all of the festivities. Here at Body Fusion we believe in a balanced approach to life, this includes the party season. Hence we have a few recommendations that’ll help you enjoy yourself without blowing out or feeling too restricted.

Never arrive too hungry

Arriving at a function ready to eat an entire Christmas ham is never a good idea. Always eat a balanced breakfast with low GI carbs like sweet potato, grainy bread or oats with eggs, yoghurt and either vegetables or a little fruit. Eat regularly throughout your day, have a light fibre rich meal or snack before you go like some snowpea & cucumber sticks with hummous or 1 scoop plain greek yoghurt with 1 piece of fruit so you arrive level headed and not devour your days worth of kilojoules from the cheese and chip platter.

 Choose what you LOVE, not what you like.

Big festive meals are a joyous event however this doesn’t have to equate to a big festive weight gain. Instead of saying ‘no’ all the time only choose the item or couple of items you truly LOVE and forgo the ones you only ‘like’. For example I love pavlova, but I only just like potato salad. So I will choose to eat a piece of pavlova after dinner but swap the creamy potato salad for baked vegetables and salad. Changing the way you think will reduce the amount of guilt associated with food decisions and allows you to enjoy your meal because you are eating the foods you love!

Eat just a little less

Once you have chosen your ‘LOVE’ food/s consider your portion sizes. If you are trying to lose weight or simply maintain then eat whatever you like just in a smaller portion. This will keep your total kilojoule (energy) total in check and prevent a binge. Try having half a piece of fruitcake with fresh fruit instead of a big slab with trifle as well.

Be alcohol wise

It is a time of celebration and in Australia that often means free flowing bubbles and beers. Remember moderation! If you choose to drink then opt for a shot of a clear spirit with a soda water/ diet mixer instead of beer & cider. If you’re a wine drinker then slow yourself down by finishing one glass at a time then chase it with a non alcoholic drink (like the fruit flavoured sparkling waters).  Always aim for at least 2 alcohol free days per week.

Make sleep a priority.

There is no replacement for a good nights sleep, it will reset your appetite hormones, helps stabilise stress levels and reenergise the body. Make a conscious effort to get at least 7-8 hours sleep per night, limiting blue light from mobile phones and computers at least half an hour before bed.

 Keep moving

This is especially important if you are taking a break from your normal exercise routine. Replace your workouts with outdoor activities like walking, bike riding, swimming (especially at the beach), maybe even trying some water sports like surfing or paddle boarding. Exercise is particularly important for keeping your metabolism working efficiently and improving insulin sensitivity. 

 Remember that a few extra treats over a couple of days can be tolerated by the body but don’t let it those habits carry into the New Year. Remember, one fruit mince pie over 4 weeks can add up to an extra 1kg of weight, that’s not something many want to start a new year with.

Wishing everyone a very safe, happy and healthy Christmas and New Year!

Katrina :) 

 

Stress and busy lifestyles: How is it affecting your health?

Your mind is racing, with a long list of things to still do. The calendar is full of social events and commitments. Work is hounding and you can’t remember the last time you had your lunch break. You are sleep deprived exhausted, grumpy and defeated. 

Does it ever stop?

This blog comes inspired by another post I read recently which reflected on the way our lives have become so demanding that we have surrendered our identity to one of perpetual busyness. 

The author proposed that when asked how we are, we often respond with “I am so busy” or “I am exhausted”. He then went on to describe that in Arabic when you want to ask how someone is doing, you ask: Kayf haal-ik?  and this actually translates to “how is your heart”? 

This really connected with me and I will tell you why. These days we are so caught up in doing that we are not being. We tend to measure our success by doings. Often it’s the classic scenario of setting ourselves the goals or outcomes we want to achieve and when get there- wanting more. How much can we push? How much harder can we work? More, more, more! And with this we lose sight and awareness of those human moments and connections in which we can immerse our full attention and joy in being in that moment. We are always thinking, planning, what next?

I am not saying don’t set goals, have dreams or aspirations. I’m just saying, be realistic with these expectations and give your self a break if you take a little longer to get there. We are our worst critics.

In addition to this, we are frequently projecting what we think people or society wants us to be. Take a look at facebook? Doesn’t it seem like everyone has perfectly happy lives and looks stunning in every picture posted? Lets get real. This isn’t all of who we really are. 

And all the while this running around and projecting is making us TIRED and STRESSED. 

I think if we look a little deeper we can evaluate how stress and busy lifestyles affect our health:

Stress: 

Stress is a natural body response.  It can be positive in small doses to avoid danger, but if turned on continually (“distress”) stress can begin to affect the body in quite a negative way. The stress hormones are cortisol and adrenaline, which are both released by the adrenal glands perched on top of the kidneys.

When these hormones are over excited you will most likely experience symptoms such as disturbed sleep, elevated blood pressure, fatigue, an upset stomach, headaches or anxiety. 

How stress impacts upon my clients:

  • Heightened sensitivities to food
  • Triggering of binge or emotional eating
  • Inability to make decisions or organise themselves
  • Overeating
  • The use of food or alcohol as reward to get through hard circumstances
  • Weight gain
  • Poor sleep and consequential increased appetite
  • Heart attacks (I am serious)

Lack of good sleep

I don’t really know where to start. Sleep is so crucial to good health – and we spend a third of our lives doing it (wow!).

During sleep cerebrospinal fluid flow increases 20 fold. The brain also shrinks to leave room for it to surge into the interstitial space between brain structures. This process allows the waste products of metabolism to be eliminated. 

Lack of good sleep can result in the following:

Studies have proven that 7-9 hours sleep is optimal. I’d be advising turn off that technology before bed! Recent studies have shown that blue light from technological devices reduces melatonin in the brain (a hormone which makes you sleepy).

Using and Abusing Food, Caffeine & Alcohol

Food as a reward or celebration, caffeine to bump you through the day or alcohol as a switch off…. go on, you “deserve it”. Too much of the previous isn’t a good thing.

Why?  You are behaviorally depending on these things to deal with stress and in large quantities this can have profound consequences on your health.

Too Much Caffeine:

  • Anxiety, racing thoughts, problems sleeping, fatigue, dependency, withdrawal headaches.

Too Much Food:

  • Weight gain. Too much sugar, salt and fat link back to increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Too Much Alcohol:

  • Weight gain and poor food choices. There is also strong evidence that the chronic intake of alcohol (more than 2 drinks/day) is associated with increased risk of many cancers. These include mouth, lung, gastric (stomach), liver, endometrial, pancreatic, colorectal and breast.

Three years ago I spent New Years Eve at a small oasis in the middle of a dessert in Peru. I had been travelling South America with friends for ten weeks and it gave me some fantastic time for reflection. All my life I have been a doer and it always meant I was always on the run. I literally couldn’t sit still! Even if I was at home I needed to be doing something “productive”. My resolution was to slow down and create more “me” or “quiet” time.

Since then this has revolutionized my life. I have learnt to say no to invitations without guilt. I have learnt it’s ok to have a quiet moment - silences don’t have to be filled.  I am also selfish about my wellbeing. I now practice yoga 5-6 times per week and use my Friday’s sometimes as mental health days to keep my mind fresh. I believe this helps run my business to its maximum potential – I love my job.

I now feel more centered and happy. I can give out more motivation, education and inspiration to my beautiful clients. I am less tired and more relaxed. My immunity is improved, I do not get sick often. I recover well from my exercise. I sleep like an absolute log.

So do you want to be one of those people who when asked always says, “Busy”? Or do you want to be one who is a relatively relaxed and with a lot better health?

How is your heart? 

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 :)

Top Tips for Surviving the Holiday Season

It’s the end of the year. We are all tired, if not exhausted.

My teachers are coming in pulling their hair out after being slammed with reports, candy cane and chocolate presents. Corporates are struggling to meet deadlines with a string of boozy client lunches and parties following. Parents have been up late for one too many school ballet or presentation night. And the university students are about ready to check in to detox programs after all their nights out!

To accompany all this it seems that EVERY person you have ever known in your whole life has decided to catch up… all at once, right now, before Christmas! Your Facebook inbox is flooded with group conversations and you feel like you need a PA to remind you what’s on which night.

DO NOT PANIC. I am here to give you some practical advice to keep you on the straight and narrow just when you thought everything was getting a little overwhelming and pear shaped.

If you are serious about your health, now is not the time to discredit all the hard work you have put in all year. A couple of weeks damage can take you back a couple of months. So not worth packing back on that 6kg!!

This is all is comes down to:

Organisation and Planning

Mindful Eating

Portion Distortion

Organisation

An army doesn’t go into battle without a plan, and neither should you. You need a plan and strategy to navigate your social calendar. Write a list of each social event, potential barriers to you eating well and some ways to attack these barriers. For example:

Event: Work Christmas Party

Barriers: At a Thai restaurant, portions hard as sharing, unlimited alcohol provided, range of desserts available

Strategies: Small snack before dinner so not ravenous when I arrive. Research menu before attending and choosing healthier dish. Get waiter to take plate away when I have finished meal so I can’t eat anymore. Drink vodka lime and soda (less calories) or offer to drive, have a sensible portion of my most favourite dessert and don’t feel guilty about it.

Will you be hosting a party? Why not make it easier and organise a healthy meal?

Smart swaps. Just as delicious!

Smart swaps. Just as delicious!

 Mindful Eating

 Mindfulness includes noticing the colours, smells, flavours, and textures of your food. Studies have shown that people overeat when they neglect to pay attention to what they are eating. Imagine what happens when you introduce a couple of glass of champagne or beer to the mix? Where did those mince pies go? How many did I even have? You should be able to recite exactly what you had for Christmas lunch, this means even if you are being a little more indulgent at least you ARE paying attention.

Some other mindful tips:

Always eat when you are sitting down with minimal distraction

Slow it down: Eat with your fork in your non dominant hand

Use smaller plates and bowls

Use taller glasses, people perceive they are drinking more

 Portion Distortion

Ever heard the expression “French women never get fat?” Don’t worry I am impressed too. For a country that specialises in croissants, pastries, baguettes and cheese I think they are doing well! Want to know their secret? Portion control. They look for QUALITY and control their QUANTITY. This applies at Christmas time even more so when we are surrounded by temptation.

Remember when you have a greater amount of options available; more of those options are going to walk their way happily onto your plate. After they’ve had their own Christmas party in your mouth there is no escape and it’s straight down to the stomach.

With your portions I offer these tidbits of advice. Be reasonable about how much you should have on your plate. At least half should be salads. And if it’s too much don’t feel obligated to finish it! Remove your plate from your reach or clear it from the table. Studies have proven that leaving dishes on the table in group situations leads to men eating 29% more and women 10% more.

 With your desserts. Choose the one you want MOST (your favourite), and have that only without guilt. Savour, savour, savour.

Reality is if you do eat a bit more over Christmas and Boxing Day it won’t have a huge influence on your weight. It’s when you continue to eat huge portions of leftover food and alcohol consistently for the whole month surround Christmas that this becomes a problem. Offload leftovers to guests and try and get back to your usual healthy routine as quickly as you can.

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Enjoy your Christmas everyone!