A new face at Body Fusion

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Hi everyone,

I’m Katrina (please call me Kat) and I’ve recently joined Ash as another dietitian at Body Fusion. It has been such a wonderful experience forming a team here at Body Fusion HQ and we look forward to seeing more of you and the community in the future.

 

To summarise what I am all about I would say that I encourage eating wholefoods, living an active lifestyle and maintaining a positive mindset. Having a healthy mind, body and outlook is what I call the triple threat and is the key to being feeling happy & fulfilled.

 

If you have a look into my background you’ll see that I have graduated from the University of Sydney with a Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics with an undergraduate in Science majoring in Physiology. Throughout my clinical placements I found a love for engaging with people both individually and on the large scale. This is why Ash and I are both such keen presenters, we enjoy talking about food – to as many people as we can!

 

Although I have a science, evidence based background I focus on putting these skills into practice, in my own life and professionally. I am a keen chef and often experiment with new healthy versions of recipes, some with more success than others, but hey, variety is the spice of life after all! Apart from cooking up a storm (yes, it looks like a storm has hit once I am finished cooking) in the kitchen, I also enjoy reading, writing and sampling the oldest and latest nutrition trends.

 

I thrive off helping people achieve their goals through real foods and making food work well for them in their own lives. This is why I keep an up to date knowledge of the supermarket shelves, new products and restaurant fads so I can help my clients navigate through todays confusing food world.

 

Being active is another aspect of what makes me .. me. I don’t discriminate when it comes to exercise because I enjoy it too much. I like going to my local gym to pump out some weights, I enjoy going on nice scenic walks and I try to relive my old dancing days on the yoga and pilates mat a couple times a week. There is no right/wrong in my book with exercise, if you’re moving then that’s a good thing. I do what makes me feel better and I encourage my clients to do the same.

 

So now you have gotten to know me a little more, I hope to return the favour. If you are someone who is a little lost/stuck/frustrated with their food, needs food to help them with any medical conditions or just want some nutrition myths debunked, come and visit us! We’d love to hear from you.

 

Eat well and keep moving,

 

Yours in health,

Kat

For The Love of Chocolate

CHOCOLATE: A necessary evil, an addiction, a daily ritual?

I will confess. If I have any vice it is for chocolate. Hot chips – don’t care. Natural confectionary – the little dinosaurs don’t do it for me. MacDonald’s – you would probably have to pay me. But chocolate…

One of the things I LOVE about my job as a dietitian is taking something deliciously naughty and turning it into something nice and healthy. That way you feel completely indulgent and at the same time every cell in your body is singing with gratitude.

Chocolate is made from a plant called the cacao tree. The bitter beans of this tree are harvested and then fermented. After this the beans can then be roasted, ready to make chocolate. The problem is what comes next, the addition of FAT SUGAR, SALT and other additives to enhance taste and preserve texture.

Why am I so addicted to chocolate?

Feeling like you are on a high and euphoric after scoffing down some chocolate? Hold onto your chocolate block – there is a scientific reason!! Chocolate triggers chemical pathways in the brain, which release a hormone called dopamine. What does dopamine do? Amongst many other outcomes it stimulates reward and pleasure centers within the brain.

Still holding onto your chocolate block? Good because I have some furthur confronting news. What happens is that over time our body becomes desensitised to this dopamine release. So what happens? YOU NEED MORE CHOCOLATE to feel just as good! 

Cacao vs. cocoa – I’m so confused?

Raw Cacao: Made from crushed unroasted beans

Cocoa: Raw cacao that has been roasted at high temperatures

So… what is the difference? When analysing both products it appears that raw cacao has a higher ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity). This means a higher antioxidant activity. Antioxidants aid in preventing cell oxidation, a process known to contribute to ageing and chronic disease risk.

Other Health Benefits of Cocoa and Cacao

  • Blood Pressure reduction: A Cochrane Review in 2012 found cocoa to reduce blood    pressure by 2-3mm Hg (small but statistical significance).
  •  Increases HDL (healthy) cholesterol levels: Cacao and cocoa have been seen to suppress LDL (not so healthy) cholesterol oxidation (Baba et al 2007).
  • Good source of dietary fibre to promote healthy digestive system
  •  Contains other minerals and vitamins such as: calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, zinc,

Last week I started experimenting with making my own chocolate, inspired by another blog post (I wont take all the credit here!).

This is the base recipe:

½ a cup of melted coconut oil

2/3 cup of raw cacao powder

5 tbsp. maple syrup

Method:

1.     Slowly melt the oil over a low heat. Add in the other ingredients and combine until silky smooth.

2.     Add something experimental and nutritious:

  • 1 tbsp flaxseed
  • 2 tbsp sultanas
  • 30g roughly chopped almonds
  • 1 cap vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup smashed raspberries
  • A small amount of peppermint oil
  • A combination of the above!

3.     Cover a small container with baking paper (here you can moderate the thickness and shape of your chocolate) and add the chocolate mixture

4.     Freeze for 10 minutes

5.     Enjoy and savour S-L-O-W-L-Y:

  • What does the chocolate smell like - vanilla, nutty, sweet?
  • What flavours can you taste?
  • What kind texture do you feel in your mouth? 
  • How does the chocolate look - crumbly, smooth, sharp, interesting?
  • How does a bite sound - do you take a crisp bite or does it melt silently into your mouth?

Remember that coconut oil still contains high amounts of saturated fat and should be used in moderation (ie. Don’t eat all you chocolate in one go!). My next step will be to trial some macadamia oil in the mix. Wish me luck!

Keep happy and healthy!

Ash xx