Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup

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This lovely recipe comes from one of our amazing Balgowlah clients Pam. Pam reports that it absolutely delicious! Pam has been enjoying eating the soup as a good way to pack more veggies in. Thanks for sharing Pam :)

Serves 4

Ingredients

450g pumpkin, peeled, chopped (oven roasted)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 brown onion, chopped (or 1 leek, sliced)

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 large carrot, grated

1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed, drained

3 cups reduced-salt vegetable stock

400g can no-added-salt diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Pepper to taste

4 slices grainy sourdough bread

1 small avocado, sliced

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/3 cup low-fat natural yoghurt, to serve 

Instructions

1.     Preheat oven to 200oC / 180oC fan-forced.  Place cut pumpkin in a bowl and mix with a little olive oil.  Line a large baking tray with baking paper and add pumpkin.  Bake for 40 minutes or until pumpkin is golden and tender. 

2.     Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion / leek and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic, carrot, lentils, stock, 2 cups water, tomatoes and pepper to taste.

3.     Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  Add warm cooked pumpkin and simmer for another 10 minutes.

4.     Remove from heat and puree using a stick blender.

5.     Meanwhile, toast bread and top with sliced avocado. Sprinkle soup with parsley, dollop with yoghurt and serve with avocado toast.

Nutrition:

Kilojoules: 1,842kJ               Total fat: 16g                           Dietary fibre: 12.8g

Calories: 440cal                   Saturated fat: 3.6g                Sodium: 958mg

Protein: 23.2g                        Carbohydrates: 45.3g         Calcium: 138mg

Sugars: 15.2g                         Iron: 5.1mg

Salmon & Mozzarella Sweet Potato Salad

Salmon & Mozzarella Sweet Potato Salad

From our team “Where ocean meets the land”, the winners of our last Corporate Workshop Challenge.

Serves 4  

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Chosen Ingredients

  • 200g smoked salmon 

  • 80g mozzarella cheese 

  • 2 tbsp. sunflower seeds 

  • 4 cups baby spinach 

  • 1-2x medium zucchini 

  • 150g sliced mushrooms

  • 250g sweet potato spaghetti spirals 

  • 200g (1/2 can) chickpeas (salt-reduced canned, drained and rinsed) 

  • 2 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil 

Putting it together

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  1. Drain and rinse chickpeas, then bake on low-medium for 5-10 minutes until lightly browned and crispy

  2. In the meantime, add fresh baby spinach into a salad serve bowl 

  3.  In a medium-hot pan, add a drizzle of olive oil & toss sweet potato for 2-5 minutes & add into the salad bowl

  4. Slice mushrooms and zucchini and grill in a medium-hot pan for 3-5 minutes. Add to salad once cooked.

  5. Sprinkle sunflower seeds onto a baking tray and bake on low for 5 minutes until lightly browned

  6. Add smoked salmon into the spinach and veggie salad mix, then the mozzarella balls (either whole or sliced)

  7. Add the roasted sunflower seeds (save some for garnish) and mix the salad through with a drizzle of olive oil and cracked pepper for taste and enjoy!

The name & creation of this recipe was inspired by the winning team at Workday who took part in one of our fun and interactive cooking classes - creating lunch salads that are nutritious & delicious, keeping energy high until the afternoon!

Swimming the English Channel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sam Abeshouse

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 :)

I Carrot encourage you enough to eat your fruit and vegetables, A Berry good reason to Munch yourself to Health This Summer

Beach. Heat. Sun. Night swims. Barbeques. Cocktails. Yep, that’s right, Australian Summer is here along with a brand new 2015!

With a new year comes new motivation to shake (or run!) off those extra couple of kilograms or get back to treating our bodies with some love so we feel like happy humans again. This means nourishing fuel and adequate exercise, enough sleep and reducing those delicious beers, sneaky ciders or sparking wines.

In January everyone gets bombarded with exercise and nutrition programs, social media posts, gimmicks, gadgets and fad diets. It can all get a little overwhelming. Which one will you choose? And importantly, I am reminding you, which ones are credible!? I saw a post the other day online which read, “Having a six pack does not make you an authority on nutrition”. I am with this philosophy 110%! Make sure you do your research. I suggest following or booking in with an Accredited Practising Dietitian, I heard that they are pretty awesome ;)

Enough of all this bananas, although these options are all appeeling – time to get back to some nutrition basics – Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake!

Fruit and vegetables are high in fibre and various vitamins and minerals. The good news is that we are receiving more positive evidence that adequate intake in align with guidelines is associated with reducing disease risk. Recently (2014) the College of London found that eating seven or more portions reduces the specific risks of death by cancer and heart disease by 25% and 31% respectively. WOW. Give me another carrot!

This isn't the only benefit. Fruit and vegetables can help fill us up whilst reducing the energy density (total amount of energy) of what we are eating. If you are looking for weight loss, getting your 2 fruit and 5 vege everyday can definitely assist your efforts!

Eating fruit and vegetables in season is often CHEAPER and they taste BETTER. Wondering what fruit and vege is in season currently?

Taken from the Australian Seasonal Produce Guide

Summer Fruits

Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries cherries, grapes, melons (watermelon, rock melon, honeydew), nectarines, peaches, plums, Valencia oranges, tomatoes

Summer Vegetables

Asparagus, beans, beetroot, cabbage, capsicum, carrots, celery, chilies, cucumbers, eggplant, leeks, lettuces, pumpkin, rhubarb, snow peas, spinach, spring onion, sweet corn, turnips, zucchini

 Some Nutritional Benefits of summer fruits

·      Berries: High in antioxidants, vitamin K, manganese and vitamin C, these guys are bursting with health. They are also low in calories!

·      Melons: Watermelon being ~92% water is a great hydrator during summer. Similar to tomatoes, watermelon is also high in lycopene, a compound linked to reducing the risk of prostrate cancer. Watermelon is one of the only foods that is high GI however (releases sugar quickly into your blood steam), so I would eat it in conjunction with other fruits or some yoghurt. Rock melon and honeydew are an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium.

·      Orange and yellow fruits are excellent sources of vitamin A for glowing and strong skin, vision and immunity.

 A serve of fruit (2 per day recommended)

     · 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear

· 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums

· 20 grapes/cherries, 1 cup blueberries or raspberries, 3 cups strawberries

· 30g dried fruit, such as 4 dried apricot halves; 1 ½ tablespoons of sultana

· 1 cup diced pieces of canned fruit

               Or only occasionally

· 125mL (1/2 cup) 100% no added sugar fruit juice

 

Some Nutritional Benefits of Summer Vegetables

·      Beetroot helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels

·      Cabbage is an anti-inflammatory

·      Pumpkin and carrots contain high amounts of vitamin A

·      Spring onions contain a valuable flavonoid quercetin, which acts as an antioxidant linked to preventing cancer. Their use also means you don’t have to add sugar and salt to your cooking!

 A serve of vegetables (5 per day recommended)

· ½ cup of raw or cooked orange (such as carrots or pumpkin) or cruciferous (such as broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage) vegetables

· ½ cup of cooked or canned (no added salt) beans, peas or lentils

· 1 cup of green leafy vegetables or green salad vegetables (raw)

· 1 small-medium tomato

· 1 small or ½ a medium potato or equivalent starchy vegetable such as sweet potato, sweet corn, taro or cassava.

5 ways to get munching more

·      Have fruit smoothies or cereal with fruit for breakfast instead of toast

·      Make sure you include vegetables in both your lunch and dinner

·      Have fruit as a snack or as a dessert if you are hungry after dinner

·      Snack on vege sticks or cherry tomatoes during the day

·      Incorporate more interesting salads into your day

 Orange you glad I posted this?

 Enjoy, Ash xx

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? 

Chili Con Carne

Winter is upon us and suddenly we are craving warming and filling foods. Better make them healthy! I made this one the other weekend in my slow cooker. But you can do it just as easily on the stove. If you are vegetarian this one can also be for you! Why not add some extra beans and veggies and omit the lean beef. Feel free to also experiment with your extras. I added some jalapeños to mine and next time I will definitely consider some salsa or avocado.

High in FIBRE with brown rice and many veggies. High in VITAMIN C with tomatoes to maintain a strong immunity. LOW GI to fill you up. And also this more than provides enough leftovers to save you time when things get busy. This recipe also tastes better with every passing day as the flavours mix and mingle more and more. DELICIOUS! :)

Ingredients (serves 8 - Plenty of leftovers!)

3 cloves garlic (minced or finely chopped)

1 brown onion (chopped)

1 red capsicum (chopped into small pieces)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp cumin powder

1 red chill

Black cracked pepper

750g lean mince

1 can kidney beans

400g tinned tomatoes

1/2 bunch fresh basil (finely chopped)

Brown rice

4xsmall wholemeal pita bread

Light sour cream (small tub)

Reduced fat cheese (25% Bega)

Method:

1. Add olive oil, garlic, onion and capsicum to a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until brown

2. Add in lean beef mince and cook until brown

3. Add tinned tomatoes, kidney beans, cumin and chili. Keep on a medium heat until completely mixed and food is warm.

4. Leave to simmer and steam with the lid on for 30mins with reduced heat

5. Whilst this is simmering add a cup of brown rice with 2.5 cups of water to a rice cooker or saucepan. Cook until almost all water is gone and then steam with the saucepan of the heat.

5. Add basil and pepper to season to the chill con carne mix

6. Cut up wholemeal pitas into 6 pieces per pita and place in the grill for 5-10 minutes. WATCH THIS CAREFULLY they seem to go from brown to black quite quickly from experience!

7. Serve: A good large spoon of brown rice, a good couple of large spoon of the chill con carne mixture onto a plate. Garnish with sour cream on top and a sprinkle of reduced fat cheese. Add pitas around the plate.

8. Enjoy and feel nourished!!