Tag: Nutrition

20 Low GI snack Ideas

5

Having plenty of small, low GI snacks foods is a great way to stabilize your blood sugar levels throughout the day. A healthy snack consists of some low GI carbohydrates, good quality protein and a little bit of the healthy fats.

To prepare a healthy low glycemic snack, start by choosing your carbohydrates. Raw or lightly steamed veggies; fruits, such as apple, pear, peach, or banana, and fresh or frozen berries make the perfect base. Quinoa, brown rice or flax seed crackers are also a good choice, if you are ok with gluten, wholegrain crackers can be ok too.

For a healthy protein choose unsalted nuts, for example, almonds, pecans, cashews, or walnuts. Nut butters are also great. Don’t forget about seeds – my favorite are unsalted, non-roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Nuts, seeds, and their butters are perfect because they also contain some healthy fats. Some other great protein sources include soft cheeses such as plain cottage cheese, feta cheese, and goat cheese, as well as Greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs, hummus, black bean spread, roasted chickpeas and much more.

20 Healthy Low Glycemic Snack Ideas:

  1. 1 piece of fruit with a handful of nuts;
  2. 1 cup Edamame (soybeans from pod)
  3. ½ cup cottage cheese with ½ cup fruit (optional – 1 tsp of vanilla extract);
  4. 1/3 cup dried apricots with a handful of almonds;
  5. 1 sliced apple with 2 tablespoons peanut butter;
  6. 1 cup raw veggies with 3 tablespoons hummus;
  7. 1 hard boiled egg and 1 cup raw veggies;
  8. ½ cup cottage cheese with herbs or salsa and 1 cup raw veggies;
  9. 1 cup fresh fruit salad with ¼ cup sunflower seeds;
  10. ½ cup grapes with 1 sliced peach and ½ cup Greek style no sugar added yogurt;
  11. 1 sliced pear with 2 tablespoons soft goat cheese;
  12. 1 hard-boiled egg with 1 tomato or 1/3 English cucumber and some sea salt;
  13. 1 cup berries with ½ cup cottage cheese or Greek yogurt;
  14. 1 hard-boiled egg with 1 cup lightly steamed broccoli and/or cauliflower;
  15. 1 cup grapes with 2 tablespoons soft goat cheese;
  16. 1 Iceberg lettuce wedge (about 1/3 of the lettuce) with ½ cup cherry tomatoes and 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese;
  17. 1 cup sliced veggies with ¼ cup black bean dip;
  18. 1 sliced apple sprinkled with ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ½ cup plain yogurt;
  19. 1 cup berries with ¼ cup sunflower seeds;
  20. 1 cup sliced fruits with 3 tablespoons nut butter;

Pears goat cheese cranberry pistachios.original

What on earth should I eat?

what on

We all get super duper confused around what actually constitutes a healthy diet. It seems that its an arbitrary thing that somebody decides is the “right” food to eat for health, or is decided by the most famous “nutrition celebrity”. Wrong. Its actually been VERY well researched, and perfectly outlined by the Department of Health (they used 55,000 research articles to get to the guidelines we have today). The problem is, we just don’t listen. If we all were eating what the guidelines tell us too, we would all be pretty darn healthy. Sadly, we snack on junk, eat far too much sugar, fat and processed foods, and its causing a whole load of disease that isn’t necessary. 

So recently I have challenged myself to make sure I am eating what the guidelines say, because most of us don’t even get to this point. We are too busy focusing on the latest fad diet, superfood or crazy new supermarket product to actually focus on getting our baselines right. Its been a very interesting few weeks, and I must say I wasn’t eating exactly what I should be eating (a sad point to make for a nutritionist). I was eating far too many serves, and far too much of the discretionary items. Most of what I was eating was very nutrient dense, but I stopped listening to my body’s hunger cues, and started mindlessly eating food in front of the tv. Cue-being my heaviest weight ever. 

So here are my basic guidelines for what you should eat. It’s not hard, its not any crazy new idea, its just the same old message. Also, I like lists and bullet points – so this makes my brain happy. 

  • Bring your diet back to its basic form: Fruit, Veggies, Meat, Wholegrain’s, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, Dairy products and a little healthy fats. 
  • Eat 2 serves of fruit minimum: eat one for a snack, then have one after dinner with some yoghurt. 
  • Eat 5 serves of veggies minimum: make sure one of your snacks includes veggies, as well as at least one serve at every meal. I like to try half fill my plate with veggies before adding anything else. 
  • Eat 6 serves of mostly wholegrains: this means the grain hasn’t been stripped of all its important nutrients in the outer layers; Brown rice, wholegrain bread, wholegrain pasta and noodles. If it has a wholegrain option; choose that one. 
  • Eat 2-3 serves of dairy everyday: Don’t be afraid of dairy products, most of us have  developed the ability to process lactose in dairy products, so just get over yourself. Go for milk (Whole, skim-whatever really), natural and greek yoghurt, and small amounts of cheese (by small amount I mean the size of a matchbox or 20-30g). 
  • Eat 2-3 serves of lean protein: and variety is good here, try chicken, salmon, tuna, beef, eggs, tofu, legumes. Its all good! Legumes are both a protein AND a vegetable, plus they have plenty of fibre, phytonutrients and minerals. 
  • Everything else is discretionary, although I will say that fats are vital to healthy cell development and neurons, so we do need to make sure we are getting some healthy fats everyday (Contrary to the old ways of fat-free everything). Try olive oil, avocado, nut butters, seeds, plant oils, oily fish and nuts. 
  • There is no need to cut out everything, its just about what you eat MOST of the time, so simply eat the treats less often. For example, eat a varied, nutrient dense and healthy diet for most of the week, and allow yourself a couple of treats throughout the week. 

Eating for health isn’t rocket science, its just simply putting some guidelines in place to make sure you are doing what’s best for your body. There is no way your body can be at its best if you are giving it the wrong fuel. 

Keep your eyes peeled-ill be posting a 7 day outline of what iv’e been eating too, so you can see all of this in practice. 

A simply glossary of milk

 

thenewmilks

I’m a huge fan of milk, despite various websites/blogs/media outlets telling us that milk is bad and causes inflammation/gas/bloating. While it is true that there are some individuals who cannot digest milk (they simply haven’t got enough of the enzymes) the rest of us have adapted to be able to successful digest, absorb and utilize the components of milk, without too much of an issue. 

A recent study released by the CSIRO noted that “one in six adult Australians are choosing to avoid milk and dairy foods, the majority without a medical diagnosis, leading to public health concerns for women in particular”. This is an alarming fact, considering the nutritional benefits of consuming dairy products, for example, dairy products are a great source of vitamin B12-Which is vital for the normal functioning of our brain and nervous system, not to mention in the formation of new red blood cells. Another great nutrient those who avoid dairy often miss out on, is Vitamin D, which is useful in the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphate. A deficiency of Vitamin D can cause issues with bone density and potentially rickets. 

With all of this in mind, and knowing that the majority of health professional still recommend dairy products as part of a healthy diet, people are still confused about what milk to buy. In my local supermarket I often see people standing in front of the milk fridges looking utterly perplexed by the huge variety of milks on offer. So here iv’e put together your simply glossary of milks:

Whole Milk (3.5% fat) is the whole milk which contains 3.5% milk fat, which is why it tastes so delicious and has a rich, creamy texture. Generally whole milk is homogenized and pasteurized (see below). After babies stop drinking mother’s milk, they usually drink whole milk until they are at least two years old. The fatty acids in whole milk are important to the development of the brain and the nervous system.

Light/Low fat milk (1-2% fat) has some of the benefits of whole milk, however due to the fact there is less fat, there are less of the fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin D and vitamin A. Some brands will fortify their milk with both of these vitamins later in processing. Often skim milk powder is added to it, which makes it taste creamier and also boosts the calcium content. Also called HiLo milk. 

Skim Milk (less than 0.15% fat) or non fat milk, generally contains less than 0.15% fat. Again skim milk powder is often added to increase the protein and calcium content, as well as make it taste creamier. 

Buttermilk, despite its name, is typically made from nonfat or lowfat milk. It is a cultured sour milk made by adding certain organisms to sweet milk, and is popular in cooking. 

Homogenised: The process of emulsifying milk so the fat droplets are evenly dispersed throughout the milk (unhomogenized milk is SAFE to consume and has the fat/cream layer on the top)

Pasturised: The process of partial sterilization, using heat treatment or radiation to make milk safe for consumption, removing all the nasties. The basic process for whole milk involves heating the milk to a temperature of no less than 71.7ºC for a minimum of 15 seconds (max 25 seconds). This process is known as High Temperature Short Time (HTST).

Raw milk: The untreated variety of whole milk, still contains potentially harmful bacteria. Generally is not legally sold within supermarkets, however in some places is sold for “beauty purposes”. Due to the nature of the harmful bacteria it is widely known that we shouldn’t consume raw milk, regardless of what health guru’s say. 

A2 milk: Standard milk contains both the A1 and A2 proteins, however there are some varieties of cows who produce milk with only the A2 protein, and for some people this can reduce the amount of digestive upsets. The reason this is the case is that A1 and A2 milks have a different structure and so for some people, will digest and absorb A2 better than A1. However it is much more expensive than standard milk, so only buy it if you find there is a real difference in how you feel, otherwise it’s not better from a nutrient density point of view. 

In summary: I tend to keep it simple and go for a standard whole milk, because it tastes so much better than skim or low fat, and I enjoy it more. I guess if you were wanting to lose weight skim or low fat milk might be a good option, however I think there are much better ways to reduce energy intake (and there are some studies that show that whole fat milk is actually better for weight loss-due to the satiating nature of the fat and protein content of whole milk). 

I could go on and on and discuss the varieties of plant based milks, however they generally don’t compare with standard milk, however can be a great addition to your healthy diet, or for those who are medically diagnosed lactose intolerant. 

For more information check out these great links:

https://www.choice.com.au/food-and-drink/dairy/milk/buying-guides/milk
https://authoritynutrition.com/a1-vs-a2-milk/
http://greatist.com/health/cows-milk-benefits-comparison
http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/diet/people-avoiding-dairy-has-hit-worrying-levels-especially-in-women/news-story/80ae11ddb13c23cd5351b52ba21dab95 

 

 

5 things I LOVE about sweet potatoes

tout_fall-produce-guide-sweet-potatoes_750x750

If you asked me what my favourite vegetable is, I would have a pretty tough time trying to decide-I love almost all of them. But the one I always come back to, and have very fond feelings for, is the humble sweet potato. It’s so versatile, flavoursome and nutritious. What isn’t to love! As the slightly more exciting cousin of the potato, there is a whole lot of great stuff you can say about sweet potatoes, and here are my 5 favourite things about the beautiful orange veggie. 

  1. Sweet potatoes are full of Beta-Carotene (A red-orange pigment found in plants) which is a precursor to vitamin A, and therefore leads to an increase in our blood levels of Vitamin A (Which is a fat soluble vitamin we use for vision, reproduction and cell communication). 
  2. They are full of complex carbs (starches) at around 20g per 100g, which helps to keep our energy levels up for longer, and keep us full. 
  3. They are relatively high in fibre with 3.8g per 100g, the fibre is both soluble and insoluble, with the soluble fibres increasing fullness, reducing blood sugar spikes, and decreasing food intake, while the insoluble fibres improving gut health (by feeding the good bacteria) and reducing the risk of diabetes. 
  4. Sweet potatoes contain lots of Vitamin C (19.6mg-or 33% of our daily intake per 100g), which is a great antioxidant, can help to reduce the duration of colds and boost the immune system, as well as helping to keep our skin healthy.
  5. They are a great warming comfort food, without the added extras that we sometimes find in pastas etc. They are versatile and can be used in a number of ways: mashed, boiled, stuffed, sautéed, fried, baked, made into fritters, added to stews and curries, no to mention simply roasted (my personal favourite way of eating them). 

So next time you are choosing between your starchy carbohydrate at your next meal, sweet potatoes are a great choice! 

 

Nutrition hacks: Food pairing

black-beans-pepper-1-354f333763e6ee9b2c3ab0cd9a1357b5e3a3d202-s900-c85 We often think of putting food together because they taste awesome together: bread and butter, tomato and basil, cheese and crackers, peanut butter and jam, coconut and cacao (I put that last one in there for the superfood fans :p). But there is another way…what if I told you by putting some foods together you get MORE NUTRITION! Thats right, simply by putting foods together you can get more bang for your (nutrition) buck. 

So i’ve put together a few easy examples on how you can get more out of what you eat! 

  • Iron and vitamin C

This is one of the most popular food combos, and the first one I learnt about at uni. By putting foods high in iron with foods high in vitamin C, the iron is better absorbed. There is some cool science behind this: Iron from non-meat sources is called non-haem iron, and it’s not absorbed as well in our body as haem iron from meat sources (red meat, poultry). By eating non-haem iron rich foods with foods rich in vitamin C, the plant based foods better “let-go” of the non-haem iron. 

So things to eat together based on this:

  • Spinach, kale, lentils,soybeans, tofu, potatoes and legumes with
  • Strawberries, chilli peppers, orange slices, a squeeze of lemon juice, or tomatoes

In an actual meal this might be something like a spinach and chickpea salad with balsamic strawberries and orange juice dressing. Or red kidney beans with lemon and chilli. 

  • Fat soluble vitamins and fats

Seems simple right? By consuming the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) with fats, it helps dissolve the fats and therefore have them ready for your body to absorb!

So in this case you should eat: 

  • Vitamin A rich foods: Sweet potatoes, carrots and pumpkin
  • Vitamin D rich foods: Mushrooms and eggs
  • Vitamin E rich foods: Almonds, sunflower seeds, and dark leafy greens
  • Vitamin K rich foods: Spinach, Kale, broccoli (Basically any leafy green vegetable)

With a thumb sized portion of healthy fats:

  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Avocado
  • Nuts
  • Coconut oil

There are some super cool foods like salmon, egg yolks, liver, almonds and sunflower seeds that have both the fat soluble vitamins and the healthy dietary fats! They are their own little perfect nutrition package. 

  • Incomplete proteins

What if I told you not all protein is made the same? Protein found in animal sources is a complete protein (it contains all of the 9 essential amino acids we need-the ones our body can’t make), however plant based sources of protein don’t contain all of the essential amino acids, only some of them. But by putting plant based sources together you can make up a complete protein! For example:

  • Rice and beans
  • Hummus and bread (Made from wheat)
  • Pasta and legumes (Think a nice pasta salad)

You don’t actually have to combine proteins to make up the complete set every meal, you can do it over the course of a day, the main thing here is to think about variety (Every food has a different nutrient profile so the more that you get the better). 

 

 

 

Vegetarian and Vegan diets

381246-1

 

It’s so fantastic that so many people are adopting a more plant-based style of eating, and some even go the extra mile to announce that they are fully vegetarian or vegan. I 100% applaud anyone who decided to stop eating meat or animal products, there are a bunch of great benefits not only for health, but for the environment as well. There are so many reasons that one decides to go full-vego, and whatever that reason is, is all good. Making a commitment to a way of eating and for some a lifestyle shows a huge amount of respect, dedication and personal value. However, many people who go vego don’t do their research before doing so, and there are a number of things that need to be considered from a nutrition point of view before proceeding. 

My personal philosophy on vegetarian and vegan diets is that while I respect any individuals decision to follow it, I’m more on the no-diet approach bandwagon, which means still eating as ethically as possible without cutting out any food groups. I also know my body simply does better with eating meat and animal products, so I do my best to investigate brands and buy products which encourage ethical farming practices. Iv’e had periods of my life where I was following a strict vego diet, and although it was well managed, I still lacked energy, dropped my iron levels and increased my frequency of being unwell. You just have to do what works for your body.

Type of vegetarian diets:

There are a number of styles of vegetarian/vegan diets, all of which have a different set of “guidelines/rules” and all of which will have a slightly different set of nutritional let-downs. The main two broad categories ill talk about are vegetarian diets (cutting out meat) and vegan diets (cutting out all animal based products). 

Vegetarian: Cut out all meat including pork, beef, lamb, chicken, duck, veal, while keeping fish, eggs, dairy products and other animal-based products. 

 Vegan: Cut out all animal based/derived products, including; meat, fish, eggs, dairy, gelatin, honey, insects and also any products that animals may have been included in the processing (e.g. leather, enzymes, some cane sugar)

Research:

Health implications: 

Protein

Iron

B12

Fatty acids

Calcium

Vitamin D

A healthy vegetarian diet: 

Summary: 

Things are getting crazy in the Nutrition world…Bone broth for babies, wellness warriors and a whole pantry kerfuffle

jess-ainscough-death-notice--720x547

 

So over the last 2 weeks things have got pretty crazy in the nutrition world, it seems we have all gone a little mad. And to be honest, i’m getting a little fed up with the commotion. Firstly, you may have heard that Jess Ainsough (AKA The Wellness Warrior) passed away about 2 weeks ago. In my opinion Jess was an advocate and true warrior for health, however she wasn’t an expert and was simply in human survival mode when it came to her health. She did what she believed was right in terms of treatment for her cancer, and if that meant she passed away earlier that she may have from typical cancer treatments, then that is ok, because it was her call.

I believe that we all need to be responsible for our own bodies and healthcare

 

During her time as The Wellness Warrior she inspired thousands, and challenged the mainstream, which is a huge milestone and we can all thank her for that. While some are saying her views are “dangerous”, I believe that we all need to be responsible for our own bodies and healthcare, so if you are going to put all your eggs in one basket and believe the words of one person (who is speaking from personal experience rather than scientific evidence) then that is your call. I think its awful that there is so much negativity around her death, she was an inspiration and there are many things we can thank her for (Although coffee enema’s are just not one of them!). 

 

500

The next big piece of news headlines is the whole craze around the Pete Evans/Bubba Yum Yum Paleo formula. Now this one is getting me a little annoyed, because while I think Paleo is a fantastic way of eating for SOME INDIVIDUALS, it is not ok to mess with the health of infants. Bubs have such specific dietary needs, and a mothers Breast milk is defiantly the best way to go, and if the case may be that the mother can’t breastfeed for whatever reason, scientists have spent a vast amount of time developing specific milk replacement formulas to cater to these very specific needs. And for a health coach/chef and a mumma health blogger to say that a bone broth/liver concoction is an ok replacement for this is not cool.

Don’t mess with the health of our children, or the children of anyone else

 

Don’t mess with the health of our children, or the children of anyone else. I understand that the infant replacement formula is not made up of nourishing wholefoods etc, but due to the nature of babies development, we have to be so careful with the amounts of nutrients they get while they are growing. So giving them a formula replacement that could be varied every single time you make it, is very very dangerous. I’m not saying paleo in general is dangerous, and i’m all for feeding kids whole foods that nourish their little bodies, but just while babies are in the stage of life where nutrition is vitally important, just leave that to the experts. And feel free to drink the yummy bone broth formula yourself.

 

  269AFCAD00000578-0-image-a-32_1426252537693

 

And lastly, the Belle Gibson cancer lie kerfuffle. I have no idea where the real truth lies with this one, but it appears as thought the founder of The Whole Pantry app, website and now cookbook, has been living a life of lies. Belle (who is known on insta as healing_belle) is being questioned in regards to the validity of her cancer diagnosis. Considering the foundations of her business is on the fact she is “cured from cancer” due to eating all this wonderful healthy wholefoods, is slightly frustrating.

 

The question I ask, if the lies have helped thousands of people live healthier and happier lives, is there really much of an issue?

However, the sliver lining in this one-I think if she has developed this huge array of lies to build a business, she is one intelligent woman for keeping it up this long, and to be honest, the app and business she has developed is full of great recipes and beautiful images. I will keep on using it, I don’t really care too much about the fact she was lying. That is her burden to carry, and it’s not something I would ever do. She must be under a huge amount of pressure from her ex-fans and the media. The question I ask, if the lies have helped thousands of people live healthier and happier lives, is there really much of an issue? I guess the issue does lie with the fact she promised to donate the money raised from the app to charity, which hasn’t happened-that’s not ok in my books. 

 

So to round off this little rant, the moral of the story is to do your own research, be critical about what you read on the internet, listen to the experts (i.e people who have the necessary scientific qualifications), eat real, wholefoods as we were intended to, and be kind to ourselves and to others, don’t judge and be negative towards others, it only create negative energy in your life, which nobody really needs. Love and happiness guys! 

 

What are your thoughts about the whole nutrition kerfuffle at the moment? DO you think we need it for a good kick up the bum, is it getting out of hand, or maybe you are just really confused! I would love to get some discussion happening, comment below!

Bloating: 10 tips and tricks to help you through the storm

Feeling as bloated as this little guy?

 

Bloating is generally caused by gases produced whenever we eat or drink, for some it can cause a visibly swollen stomach, pain or discomfort. Normally, gas is produced in the colon and moves smoothly through the body prior to being emitted or absorbed. Sometimes, the gas doesn’t have a smooth transition and this is where issues are found. If the gas gets trapped in either the small or large intestine it can cause the discomfort associated with bloating.

There can also be a number of medical reasons why bloating is affecting you, such as irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease or lactose intolerance. If bloating is affecting your life, it’s advisable to get it checked out by a medical professional. The best practitioner to see would be your accredited practicing Dietician (APD), who specialise in allergies, intolerances and digestive issues.

However, there are a number of things you can do to prevent bloating, or to minimise the discomfort.

  1. Ensure you are having a healthy diet, including fruits and vegetables at every meal. This will ensure you are getting plenty of fibre which is associated with improved digestion. Some fruits and vegetables may actually cause gas and bloating-be careful of onions, cabbage, broccoli, beans, sprouts and cauliflower.
  2. Limit the amount of processed, high fat, and high sugar foods. These types of food have less fibre and nutrients as well as lead to poor digestion. Salt is a culprit in fluid retention and too much will cause you to feel bloated, be aware of how much salty food such as chips, sauces, processed and takeaway foods.
  3. Cut our caffeine, or reduce the amount you consume. Try to replace caffeine in beverages with herbal teas or water.
  4. Go for a walk, the movement and simple exercise can help to pass the gas through your digestive system and ease the discomfort of a bloated belly.
  5. Relax and reduce stress. This may seem like a silly one, by stress negatively affects digestion by disrupting the muscular contractions that control digestion. Try yoga, meditation, breathing and reducing the cause of your stress.
  6. Try eating some probiotics: these can be in the form of yoghurt, probiotic supplements, and fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir and kimchi. Probiotics contain the good bacteria needed in our gut to maintain good digestive flora. They assist us in digesting and absorbing food, and are vital for optimal health. Your bloating and discomfort may be assisted by a boost of these little bacteria friends!
  7. Try a herbal remedy like Iberogast from Flordis: this combination of 9 herbs does wonders for a bloated belly, and I can personally recommend it! Get it from your local health food shop, pharmacy or naturopath.
  8. Drink a herbal tea like ginger or dandelion. Both teas aid in digestion through saliva, bile and other digestive fluid production. Ginger also has a role in relaxing muscles and can assist in passing trapped gas, as well as relieving intestinal cramps. Dandelion tea is a natural diuretic, so it aids in passing gas and fluid through the digestive system. You can either find dandelion tea at your local health food store, or try growing it yourself!
  9. Pay attention to how you feel after eating sensitive foods such as wheat/gluten and dairy products, if you are feeling bloated after consuming these types of foods it might be a good idea to reduce them or eliminate them. In this instance I suggest seeing your GP or booking an appointment with a Nutritionist/Dietician.
  10. Be present and mindful when eating, only eat when you are actually hungry, and be sensible with your portion sizes. Your bloated belly could simply be the result of a big, heavy meal and you may just need to eat smaller portions. Also chewing your food properly and being mindful of how fast you are eating can assist you in preventing bloating in the future.