Monthly Archives: November 2016

Dinner Parties

Dinner parties really are a great way to catch up with friends when life seems super busy. My group of friends are big fans of hosting dinner parties on a regular basis which is generally every month if not fortnightly depending on everyone’s work commitments.

Our dinner parties are based around homemade cooking and we often pick a theme and roll with it. Each couple brings a plate of food to help contribute to the evening, whether this be some nibbles to start with, a meat dish, a salad/vegetable dish or dessert. We aim to spend no more than $20 each on our plates of food for the evening.

We like to pick themes to keep the parties interesting and to give us something to look forward too. We also like to experiment with cooking things that we wouldn’t ordinarily cook. We do aim to keep the food relatively healthy and generally make it gluten and dairy free.

Some of the themes we have done include:

  • Thai – Curries
  • Chinese – Wontons and Dumplings
  • Mexican – Burrito’s
  • Argentinian – Parrilla
  • Vietnamese – Rice Paper Rolls

We do just often cook roasts, pulled pork/beef to put on burgers or wraps, fish and chips, rissoles, kebabs or even just do a quick BBQ.

This is often a great way to wind down after a crazy week and a good excuse to catch up with everyone 🙂 A few drinks also don’t go astray 🙂

dinner-parties

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Adrenal Exhaustion – My Personal Journey

This is something that I am very familiar and experienced personally after I started working Fly in Fly out in the construction industry. At the time I didn’t know that I was struggling with this and thought it was normal.

When the body is under a lot of stress for a continuous period of time, there is an increased need for more hormones to be produced. When the adrenals are exhausted and adrenal function is reduced symptoms such as: weakness; lethargy; fatigue; recurrent infections; dizziness; low blood pressure (upon standing); headaches; memory problems; food cravings; digestive disturbances; allergies; and blood sugar disorders may be present.

The signs and symptoms I experienced were:

  • Dreaming about work in my sleep in which I felt stressed while sleeping and didn’t feel like I actually slept when I woke up that next morning.
  • High cortisol levels on day 1 of R&R – levels were 701 in 2013 – with the range being 160-650! Imagine what they could have been on a work day.
  • I would end up sick with a head cold every time I went on R&R!
  • Indigestion and heartburn. When I would wake up in the morning and after I ate my chest would hurt.
  • Upset stomach randomly from eating normal everyday foods (Irritable Bowel – Symptoms).
  • Extreme pain below the chest a few times which required seeing the onsite medic and having to request an upper endoscopy (camera down my throat) to look for any internal damage/complications.
  • Intense cravings for sugar (to the point I would eat a whole bag of lollies in one sitting!).
  • Overexercising to try and compensate for not eating as well and to try and help me have more energy.
  • Not being able to relax or enjoy hanging out with friends. Instead I would feel like I am on the go and need to be doing heaps of other things when I really didn’t need to be.
  • Not being able to switch off when finishing work. This meant racing to eat dinner and get back to my room for a shower to just end up sitting in my room.
  • Feeling tired and exhausted during the day but wide awake and alert come bed time.

What woke me up that something was wrong?

  • I got my cortisol levels back and realised just how high they really were on my first day of R&R – pretty scary!
  • After having the upper endoscopy done which didn’t indicate anything physically wrong internally.
  • Starting to get stuck into my Nutrition studies and realising that my symptoms were not normal and that something was actually wrong.

What I did to change for the better?

  • Saw a Naturopath/Nutritionist – who helped me get back on track with supporting my adrenal glands and gut.
  • Started yoga/Pilates in the mornings before work and on R&R and stopped going to the gym every day! I actually bought cheap books from Kmart and started following the yoga/Pilates routines which were only 15 minutes each. Best thing I did!! Then on R&R I would attend proper yoga/Pilates classes for more variety.
  • Started eating lots more salad with lunches and more vegetables at dinner. Started changing snacks to vegetable sticks and nut butters and breakfast to wholegrain GF oats with protein powder and fruit. Completely cut out added sugar.
  • Really started progressing with my studies where I was able to identify myself as having adrenal exhaustion and started focusing on learning more about it and what I could do to help myself.

While this worked well for me everyone is different and requires slightly different treatment plans. Dietary changes are just one component, there are various herbal/nutrient supplements that are extremely effective along with lifestyle suggestions that can make a world of difference. If you are finding yourself in the same position I was in I strongly recommend seeking some additional support.

Please make an appointment with me to discuss your situation further so we can have you back on track in no time 🙂

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How To Not OVEREAT!

It is very easy to overeat at any meal and often we do so without thinking it through and before long it becomes ‘normal’ to reach for or eat that much food! Overtime our metabolism does change especially with age and we can no longer afford to just eat as much as we feel like without facing the consequences.

Shifting weight as we get older is much harder than when we were younger. You can exercise as much as you like but if you do not watch your portion sizes and the foods that you are eating, dropping weight can be a real struggle. You do still need to enjoy the foods you really like whether it be, cake, muffins, cheeses and takeaway for example, but you do need to enjoy this in moderation and still watch just how much you are eating.

Ways to help control portion sizes and to prevent you from overeating include;

  • Start with a bowl of salad or vegetables before moving onto meat and starchy carbohydrates (potato etc.).
  • Start with a small bowl of soup made on a base of salt reduced stock.
  • Use smaller plates with every meal.
  • Use smaller forks and spoons with meals to slow you down.
  • Enjoy a glass of water before eating (being careful not to drink too much otherwise food cannot be digested as well).
  • Learn portion control (carefully serve up proper portions and have the willpower not to eat anymore) – this is me!!
  • Take food to work for lunch in smaller containers so it looks like a lot.
  • Add protein and fat to every meal followed by lots of fresh vegetables or salad. Can’t go wrong with lots of greens!
  • Portion control your snacks (small handful nuts, 1 piece of fruit, ½ cup yoghurt, 3 tbsp hummus/cottage cheese and celery, 1 hard-boiled egg etc.) and put these in small containers so you cannot eat more than what is there.

Other factors that contribute to overeating;

  • Lack of sleep – need to aim for 8 hours every night as the more sleep deprived you are the hungrier you feel.
  • Emotions and stress – this is the biggest problem for many. When you are upset or stressed most people have a tendency to lean towards food but not good food, instead foods that give you a quick release of energy and make you feel better for a short period of time. Finding ways to destress that works for you is extremely important too. Yoga, meditation, walking, enjoying a massage, group coffee dates and herb/nutrient supplements can be very effective.
  • Imbalance of good/bad gut bacteria – having more bad gut bacteria can cause you to crave foods (particularly sugar) and these cravings can be so intense that it is extremely hard not to give in. Try a probiotic or two daily along with fermented foods/beverages to assist with correcting the balance.

If you do require further assistance in healthy eating, controlling your stress or improving your sleep quality please make an appointment with me today so I can help you get back on track 🙂

overeating

Carbs – Let’s not be afraid!

When we talk carbohydrates we are not just referring to foods such as white rice, bread or potato which are generally labelled the ‘BAD’ white carbohydrates and fattening. All fruits and vegetables are carbohydrate sources.

Carbohydrates provide the muscles and other body tissues with approximately half of the energy they require for use, the other half coming from mostly fats. Carbohydrates are broken down into simple carbohydrates (glucose, fructose and galactose) and complex carbohydrates (glycogen, starches and fiber). Simple carbohydrates basically mean that the body breaks them down quickly, therefore we require more sooner, whereas complex carbohydrates take longer to breakdown into glucose as they are slower releasing, therefore we can sustain energy for longer.

The body’s cells require glucose for energy, and it is the preferred energy source for brain cells, other nerve cells and developing red blood cells, however protein and fat can also be converted to glucose to some extent.

Complex carbohydrates are my favourite sources as they provide sustained energy without creating a rapid sugar spike. Balancing meals will often include a small portion of complex carbs (sweet potato, pumpkin, beetroot, lentils, chickpeas, beans, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, amaranth or brown/red/black rice) with the majority of carbs being made up of fresh vegetables and fruits, in particular leafy greens. It is these carbohydrates that provide us with numerous vitamins and minerals in their most absorbable forms.

Grains which are actually ‘seeds’, quinoa, buckwheat, teff, millet and amaranth, while I do not consume many of these on a daily basis, I do use these foods in baking or every now and again for breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

Carbohydrates are essential and need to be consumed daily to provide our bodies with energy. Choosing a range of fresh vegetables and fruits is definitely the best way to start followed by pulses and legumes. Depending on your energy requirements will depend on just how much and what types of carbohydrates you will need.

If you have any questions surrounding what types of carbohydrates you should be including into your diet for optimal health, make an appointment today and I will work with you to get you back on track quickly 🙂

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