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/

Salmon Sushi Balls

These innovative sushi balls are high in protein, fibre and omega-3. Add some nori and you’ve got some iodine helping your thyroid to work even more efficiently! This meal is a perfectly balanced dinner, which would go very well with a delicious side salad. Enjoy :)

Ingredients:

·      1x250g packet of microwaveable brown rice

·      1 nori sheet finely shredded

·      2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

·      1 tsp. of mild horseradish

·      ¼ cup of fat free mayonnaise

·      ½ a carrot grated

·      2 tablespoons black or white sesame seeds

·      210g can of red salmon

Method:

1.     Cook brown rice following instructions on packet

2.     Drain can of salmon

3.     Add all ingredients except for the sesame seeds into a bowl and mix evenly

4.     Make ingredients into small balls

5.     Roll in sesame seeds

6.     Serve with a side salad (Asian orientated would be very fitting) to bulk up the meal and get even more vegetables into you!

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 :)

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.

VERDICT:

  • 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. 

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 

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

Thai Style Baked Fish

I've always been a big supporter of the Mediterranean diet and its inclusion of fish. Fish contains Omega 3's important for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. It also helps reduce inflammation in the body (inflammation can lead to increased risk of chronic disease and other health problems). Try and include a fresh fish meal at least once in your week. It mixed things up anyway and tastes delicious if infused with some herbs!

Ingredients:


• 6 lemongrass stalks
• 12 Kaffier lime leaves
• 1 large kg fillet of firm white fish e.g. Barramundi, Ling, King Fish
• ¼ store bought red curry paste
• 2 Tbsp Shredded ginger
• 3 garlic cloves (sliced)
• 2 long red chilis, seeds removed and chopped
• 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 Cup Coriander leaves
• 1 Cup Mint leaves
• 1 Cup Thai Basil leaves
• Steamed basmati, doongara or mahatma rice and lime wedges, to serve

 

Directions:

Preheat over to 200 degrees. Place the lemongrass and lime leaves in a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and top with fish, skin side down. Spread the flesh of the fish with the curry paste. Combine the ginger, garlic, chili and oil. Sprinkle over the fish and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Top the fish with the coriander, mint and thai basil and serve with steamed rice, a big bunch of vegetables or salad and lime wedges. Oh and then totally eat it all up...

Ash ;)

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.

_____________________________________________________________

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.