Monthly Archives: June 2016

Is your STRESS – Healthy or Unhealthy??

We all need a certain amount of stress in our everyday lives to keep us motivated, driven and excited. This type of stress is healthy and helps keep us focused. Each and every person handles and interprets stress differently. It is how our body handles and copes with the stressors, whether it be physical, mental, social or emotional that is important.

When the body is negatively affected by stress, cortisol and adrenaline are the main stress hormones that do not return to normal causing a range of symptoms including: fatigue, headaches, irritability, appetite and gastrointestinal changes, low self-esteem, sleep changes and high blood pressure.

When you are unable to continually adapt to continual stress, adrenal dysfunction/exhaustion sets in. Quite often people who experience this will crave sugar or white carbohydrates and feel flat, exhausted and tired upon rising and during the day but experience a second wind or increased energy and alertness late at night when they should be going to sleep.

There are many ways to treat stress/adrenal dysfunction through diet, herbs, nutrients and lifestyle modifications. Diet is a large factor in the management of stress and these tips can often be useful.

  • Eat quality protein with every meal – (e.g. lean meat, fresh fish, eggs, legumes, pulses, raw nuts and seeds). When you feel stressed the body often craves carbohydrates for energy especially sugars, while at the same time the body is breaking down more protein from your muscle tissue to sustain energy.
  • Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables – (particularly leafy greens) to incorporate a variety of essential nutrients into your diet to support a healthy immune system while eradicating free radicals.
  • Eat wholegrains – (e.g. millet, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, oats and brown rice). These foods stabilise blood sugar levels and contain many essential nutrients including B vitamins that can help with mood and may reduce sugar cravings.
  • Eat regular planned meals – skipping meals deprives the body of essential nutrients required to cope with stressors.
  • Eat in a relaxed environment and chew thoroughly – when stressed digestion is often affected as the body cannot produce enough enzymes to breakdown food properly, therefore nutrients fail to be absorbed effectively.
  • Incorporate onion and garlic – these both display anti-microbial properties and boost the immune system.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco – these are toxic for your adrenal glands and affect glucose regulation.

Vanilla Protein Balls

I am definitely a fan of cooking things that are super quick and tasty and don’t require much effort at all. Like many, I am time poor but I still strive to eat as clean as possible.

These protein balls are tasty and filling and keep you going. This recipe makes 18 small balls 🙂

You will need:

  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup cashews
  • 2 tbsp vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp mesquite powder – optional
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence or 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 5 medjool dates – pitted
  • 1 tbsp rice malt syrup
  • 2 tbsp filtered water


  1. Process nuts and seeds in a food processor until a loose crumb is formed.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and process until mixture sticks together.
  3. Roll into balls.
  4. Store in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Zinc – One of my favourite supplements

Winter is here! So are head colds, flu’s and many other nasty respiratory infections. One of the best supplements that you can look at taking is Zinc.

Zinc is a very important trace mineral that is essential for over 200 different enzymatic processes including; protein digestion, energy production, electron transport, RNA synthesis, bone metabolism, alcohol detoxification, and the normal absorption and action of vitamins, in particular B vitamins.

Zinc is ESSENTIAL for a healthy immune system and reproductive growth. It is great for skin health and plays a vital role in reducing acne. The healing of wounds and burns thrive on zinc along with our sense of taste.

The most common reasons people become deficient in zinc include; poor diet high in processed and refined foods, aging, during pregnancy or women taking oral contraceptives, vegetarians, athletes, hospital patients and people who suffer from poor intestinal absorption.

Mild deficiency symptoms can include: slow wound healing, acne, psoriasis, dulled sense of taste or smell, mouth ulcers, bad breath, white coating on the tongue, abnormal fatigue and mental lethargy, decreased ability to see at night and growth retardation.

Some of the best food sources of zinc are animal meats, seafood, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, leafy greens and ginger.

Zinc also happens to be super affordable!


Chickpea Pizza Base

Makes 2 Pizza’s

Such a quick, simple and easy recipe to make during the week or on the weekend. Best part is, it is actually healthy, full of protein and holds together really well! This pizza makes a great alternative to a wheat flour base and vegetarians can easily make this pizza as a staple meal due to its versatility.

You will need:
• 2 cups chickpea flour
• 2 cups filtered water
• 2 tbsp olive or macadamia nut oil
• 2 tbsp dried herbs/spices – optional

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. In a bowl add flour, water, oil and spices and whisk to combine. Batter will be runny.
3. Allow batter to sit for 5-10 minutes, it will thicken up a little more.
4. Line 2 pizza trays or baking trays with baking paper and pour half the mixture onto each. Allow mixture to spread out or use a spoon to help spread it out to a thin layer.
5. Place in oven for 15 minutes to allow base to cook.
6. Remove from oven, top with your choice of toppings and place back in for a further 15 minutes to cook toppings.
7. Serve and enjoy.

Further recipes can be found on the Website (

Chickpea Pizza Base2

3 Great Tips for Healthy Hormones

Balancing hormones can be difficult and hard to fix due to our current lifestyle choices, however this article provides a good insight into 3 basic things that you can do to minimise your risk of imbalances. These alone may not be enough for everyone but these are a great start!

  1. Meat/Protein Consumption – consuming a lot of grain fed meats in particular (i.e. chicken, beef, pork, turkey, lamb), along with eggs and farmed fish can result in imbalances due to antibiotics, synthetic hormones, pesticides and other chemicals that they may contain, which mimic oestrogen. Choosing 100% grass fed meat and organic eggs may be a better choice for you.
  1. Cruciferous Vegetables – EAT LOTS. Vegies include; kale, silverbeet, broccoli, cauliflower, mustard greens, watercress and brussel sprouts etc. Loaded with indole-3-carbonyl which is great for binding with toxic xenoestrogens chemicals and eliminating them from the body. Best to lightly steam these vegies first to make them easier to digest (particularly if you have a thyroid condition or gastrointestinal condition). If you have trouble consuming these vegies you can benefit from eating mouthful of sprouts daily.
  1. Minimise Plastic – BPA in particular has been shown to contain xenoestrogenic chemicals, however all plastic to some extent can leak chemicals. Try using glass and stainless steel water bottles and cups and buy oils and foods in glass jars to reduce your plastic exposure. Always opt for BPA free is need be.

If you do feel like you are suffering from hormonal imbalances it is always best to consult with a Qualified Health Practitioner who can provide additional advice and support you through the process.

Eating Disorders

Last week I was lucky enough to attend the National Eating Disorders Collaboration that ran for 3 days at the Rockhampton Base Hospital conducted by EDOS.

Eating disorders are becoming more and more prevalent among all age groups with the ages (14-25yrs) becoming more likely to develop distorted eating habits. Whether you are suffering from Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating, all are extremely serious conditions and can lead to being life threatening.

The mindset of the individuals suffering from eating disorders is distorted. They honestly and actively believe that nothing is wrong with them. Family engagement and support becomes critical to the affected individuals in order to overcome an eating disorder.

It is important to note that not all people who are suffering from an eating disorder are extremely thin, often times they can be at what people consider normal weight or overweight.

Carmel and Elain from EDOS discussed certain areas in which people with eating disorders differ to those without.

  • Emotional Style – often less resilient, more anxious and more stressful than other people. From a young age they may have what seems to be a ‘turbo charged’ anxiety system and therefore need to learn strategies to cope. They also may have dysregulated moods. Often very dedicated, have good attention to detail and are often academically gifted in nature as well.
  • Thinking Style – show good cognitive ability, great ability to focus and concentrate and are often perfectionists. They believe that they are ‘very’ fat and fear the worst, often have an increased drive to be thin. They essentially believe that being thin will make themselves feel better even if being thin is not what is actually bothering them. It could be an underlying problems such as; sexual abuse, family troubles or other trauma of some kind.
  • Pro Anorexia Nervosa Thinking – To them it feels right to be doing this and that they need to just keep going and not stop. This is the hardest component for parents and family to understand and comprehend.
  • Interpersonal Factors – they often become distant and lose friends due to social activities that require eating and become isolated as their disorder becomes so secretive.

Parents find this extremely difficult to understand and often feel:

  • They are to blame
  • They are walking on eggshells arounds their child
  • Feel uniformed, helpless and frustrated
  • Struggle with stress, anxiety and depression of their own

There are many different techniques that can be utilised for the management and treatment of anorexia. Ideally management of anorexia starts with early identification, stepped care and treatment sequencing along with support, particularly family support. Treatment aims to medically stabilise the individual, restore weight/nutritional rehabilitation followed by some form of psychotherapy such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) which has proven to be very effective.

In terms of addressing eating for anorexia patients EDOS discussed the acronym they utilise called RAVER.

  • R = Regularity of Food
  • A = Adequacy of Food
  • V = Variety
  • E = Eating Out and Experimenting
  • S = Spontaneous

It is very important to manage and treat the psychological effect anorexia has on the individual in terms of mindful awareness and emotions. It is essential for the patient to understand their emotions (fat and thin are not emotions) and how to better deal and manage these emotions as opposed to using binge eating, exercising or starvation as coping mechanisms.

If you know of anyone who is suffering from an eating disorder, please seek professional help. Working with Psychologists, Nutritionists/Dietitians and a support organisation such as EDOS can be very effective.

Useful Books

  • Skills-based Learning for Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder – The New Maudsley Method – by Janet Treasure, Grainne Smith and Anna Crane.
  • Overcoming Binge Eating – by Dr Christopher G Fairburn.

Useful Phone Applications

  • Recovery Record
  • Rise Up + Recover