Category Archives: Health

Fasting – Is it for you?

Toxins accumulate within the body overtime from sources such as; pollution in the air we breathe, food and water we consume, prescription medications we take along with many other means. Everyday the body attempts to adequately rid itself of toxins, however after a substantial period of time fasting can be a very effective way to eliminate toxins when symptoms such as; headaches, diarrhoea, depression and fatigue settle in more permanently than we would like.

Fasting allows the body to have a break from digesting food which allows the body to complete its detoxification process in full and to start facilitating healing. In acute illnesses such as; colon disorders, allergies and respiratory diseases, fasting can be very beneficial, whereas in chronic degenerative diseases it is not as effective.

Fasting has also been shown to regulate hormones, reduce systemic inflammation, boost the immune system, balance blood sugar levels, improve concentration and mental clarity, boost metabolism and aid in weight loss, reverse and slow down the aging process and to help people live a longer, happier and healthier life. Fasting allows the cleansing of the liver, colon and kidneys.

During a fast, liquids such as fresh vegetable juices, bone broths and herbal teas are often consumed as water alone can cause toxins to be released too quickly leading to many side effects that can be serious.

Fasting Suggestions – To Improve Overall Health

  • 12 hours fast – The easiest fast that one can do is to have no food between Dinner and Breakfast. This allows the body 4 hours to complete digestion and 8 hours for the liver to complete its detoxification cycle. This fast can be done everyday safely.
  • 14 hour fast (Women)/ 16 hours fast (Men) – If you are use to having 12 hours between Dinner and Breakfast this additional time won’t be too difficult to carry out. This fast is often suggested 2-3 times a week to reap the benefits. It is important for women in particular to stick to 14 hours without any food as opposed to 16 hours due to hormones, whereas men benefit more from 16 hours as it actually boosts testosterone.

Fasting can go for longer periods of time including 24 hours, 3 days, 5 days or 7 days, however it is best that you discuss these longer fasts with a qualified health care practitioner as these need to be done carefully.

Children should not fast, and people with chronic diseases should consult their health care practitioner before considering fasting.

fasting-pic

My Week On A Plate

I often get asked how I have some much time to prepare meals. Even though I do not have kids my life is still busy but a different kind of busy. It does help that I do enjoy preparing food and I am always happy to make time to prepare food, but that doesn’t mean that I have ample time to do it!

I generally do not get home until 7pm of after on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, therefore I need to be well prepared so I am not spending a large amount of time that evening or the following morning making meals.

On a Sunday I tend to spend a good hour in the kitchen preparing for the week. Often this looks likes roasting a bunch of vegetables (i.e. eggplant, zucchini, sweet potato, broccoli, capsicum and onion) and throwing together a quick salad (salad leaves, carrot, cabbage, green beans, sprouts, capsicum, cucumber etc.) whatever I have on hand from going to the markets on a Sunday generally. Then I alternate between the two for lunches and dinner while I’m time poor during the week.

I am also a fan of hard-boiling some eggs whether this be while I am winding down of a night time or first up in the morning before work. I also have tins of tuna/salmon, beans, chickpeas and lentils on hand at all times for days where I simply have had no time to cook. Otherwise I will cook up some meat/fish of choice and make double to pair with vegies or salad.

The nights I do have time to cook a meal I always make at least double as it never hurts to have a frozen meal for crazy days either.

Also a good idea to have some deli meat (i.e. turkey or leg ham) handy when time poor. Roast chickens from the deli also make life easier too, however I try not to do this too often. I eat a lot of fish and vegetarian proteins as they are super quick to prepare.

I am a fan of plant based protein powder and always have some on hand for breakfast of a morning. I often have a pancake for breakfast made on protein powder or a smoothie with some fresh fruit on almond milk. Otherwise I will fry up a few eggs in coconut oil and add some spinach and avocado.

For snacks I tend to eat:

  • Fruit with nut butter
  • Handful of nuts/seeds
  • Chia seed pudding with my protein powder
  • Homemade treat (if I had time to make something)
  • Smoothie (berries, nut milk, protein powder or nut butter)
  • Carrot/cucumber with hummus

week-on-a-plate

Keeping Cool & Hydrated

With warmer weather kicking in quicker this year with temperatures already rising to 30+ degrees this often means beaching it up, swimming in the pool, camping, fishing and many other outdoor activities. Often these activities involve lots of sunshine and drinking and I don’t just mean water!

Keeping cool and hydrated is important as we will have to battle with hot, humid and what sometimes feels like ‘unbearable’ weather. While sitting and sleeping in air-conditioning is also nice during the hotter months, it can still be dehydrating.

While we all know we need to drink a lot of water all year round (approximately 1.5-2L daily) and that’s the minimum, the taste can become boring for some people. We all wake up of a morning dehydrated after sleeping so we need start our day by rehydrating ourselves. The easiest way to do this is to drink 1-2 glasses of water upon waking. This also kicks starts your metabolism and lymphatic system to start detoxifying your body. BONUS!

Try these simple tips to help you stay cool and hydrated during these warmer months.

  • Coconut Water – it is a natural electrolyte, contains essential minerals and is quite tasty. If you are consuming alcohol why not add some coconut water as a mixer or use coconut water in smoothies.
  • Smoothies – smoothies are a great way to drink more liquid and can be mixed using a variety of different bases (water, milks and juices). Adding fresh fruits are also a great way to keep cool and hydrated for longer.
  • Fruits and Vegetables – contain a high percentage of water. Foods such as; watermelon, celery, cucumbers, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce and oranges are all great sources of water as well as nutrients.

Herbal teas, fresh fruit, vegetables juices and plant based milks are also great sources of water and can make drinking water a little less mandatory and more appealing. Even adding some fresh fruit to your water to change the flavour slightly can make a huge difference to some people.

hydrating-pic

Matcha Green Tea

Matcha green tea powder tastes exactly like green tea but stronger, so if you don’t like the taste of green tea you most likely won’t like this either! It definitely goes nicer with milk I have found, I am not a fan of drinking it on water unless you really enjoy the taste.

So why so much hype over this powder? Green tea is super high in antioxidants and catechins (in particular EGCg’s), which are required to combat oxidative stress to protect our cells from becoming damaged. These qualities alone have shown to reduce your likelihood of developing cancer cells in the body. The powder can also boost calmness, memory, concentration, energy and endurance due to the caffeine and the amino acid L-Theanine that it is rich in. It will also give your metabolism a boost while detoxifying the body due to the chlorophyll content (hence the bright green colour). The powder is more nutrient dense than the tea due to the different processing.

Matcha green tea powder DOES still contain caffeine, and if you suffer from anxiety, stress or gastrointestinal symptoms, you are still best to reduce/reframe from consuming caffeinated beverages.

How to consume?

It can make quite a nice latte made on preferably nut milk or full cream milk or can go nicely with a shot of espresso added to it. While I do not require any additional sweetener, some people do due to the bitter and strong taste. If this is you try a little stevia, raw honey or birch xylitol to keep it healthier. The Workshop in Rockhampton does a really nice Military Latte (matcha + espresso) and you can choose to have it made on any type of milk you like.

The powder is easily available through health food stores and prices do vary shop to shop.

Have a try and see what you think!

My 6 Favourite Supplements

With so many supplements on the market it can be hard to decide what you should be taking to improve your health in the present and in the long term. My favourite supplements include:

Multivitamin – A high quality multivitamin is a great daily supplement that can provide added nutritional support to anyone no matter your age, lifestyle or how healthy you eat. Our food is very deficient in many vitamins and minerals compared to how it is used to be and our lifestyles are very different to how our ancestors lived. Multivitamins make a great way to fill in the gaps and to give our bodies the vitamins and minerals that we may be deficient in. It will also help with giving us added energy and boosting our immune systems all year round.

Vitamin D – why would we require a vitamin D supplement when we live in Australia, especially in North Queensland? Absorbing enough vitamin D from the sun can be difficult as we often cover up too much, wear sunscreen and don’t allow ourselves a solid 10-15 minutes to stand in direct sunlight exposing as much skin as possible. The darker your skin, the harder it is to absorb vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D is pretty much required for every tissue in the body to adequately function and vitamin D is required to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Vitamin D is also essential for supporting your immune system and neuromuscular system. It is also essential for regulating mood and makes you feel happier and less depressed.  Low levels of vitamin D pre-dispose you to a wide range of chronic conditions. Research now indicates that we need more vitamin D than originally thought and that diet and sun alone may not be enough to meet daily requirements.

Magnesiummagnesium is excellent for nervous system function as it provides a calming effect on the body. This helps our muscles contract smoothly, reduces anxiety and stress, aids digestion, promotes quality sleep as well as supporting various other body systems and functions. Stressors in everyday life in combination with poor diets are two main reasons why we require more magnesium than ever before to keep our levels within a healthy range.

Fish oil – fish oil is important for neurological and brain function and for reducing inflammation in particular. Our bodies are not capable of making Omega 3’s or Omega 6’s, however we often consume too many Omega 6’s as they are found in nuts/seeds and plant foods. In order to maintain the balance, taking a high quality fish oil supplement is ideal for the days where you are not eating fresh fish or foods such as walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds or hemp seeds to get your daily quota.

Probiotics – probiotics are fantastic for keeping your stomach happy and healthy by balancing out the good and bad bacteria. Having good gut bacteria means better digestion, better absorption of vitamins and minerals, improved skin health as well as keeping your immune system strong. We are exposed to various forms of bacteria and viruses daily and we are consuming more processed foods than ever before, all of which are the main culprits in throwing out this ideal balance.

Zinc – deficiencies in zinc are extremely common even though we eat a diet rich in animal meats due to factors such as; increased consumption of processed foods, medications becoming more accessible, and an increase in poor intestinal absorption. 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. It is also essential for a healthy immune system, reproductive growth, reducing acne, healing of wounds and burns as well as improve our sense of taste.

 6-favourite-supplements

Food Allergy versus Food Intolerance

Often people can get quite confused in understanding the difference between an allergy and intolerance so I have broken it down to make it a little easier to grasp.

Food allergy – is an allergic reaction to a particular food that is often caused by the protein in that food. Essentially our immune system identifies the protein as harmful and will do what it can to fight it! An antibody known as IgE is created to neutralise the threat, however if the same food is eaten again the antibodies that were created previously may trigger other chemicals to be released such as histamine. Histamine is often released in normal circumstances to support our immune systems but for some reason when released in conjunction with IgE antibodies it sets off an allergic reaction in people who are hypersensitive to particular food proteins. This is why you can eat a particular food one day but then the next time you consume it you have an allergic reaction.

Food allergy symptoms include; itching, hives, swelling of throat, eyes or tongue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, drop in blood pressure, dizziness, fainting and even cardiac arrest. Common foods that are implicated in allergic reactions include; milk, eggs, fish, crustaceans, peanuts, soybeans, tree nuts, and wheat. Genetics do seem to play an important role in allergic reactions, however it is not uncommon for a child to grow out allergies.

Food intolerance – is a reaction of the digestive system as opposed to the immune system and no antibodies are involved. In these cases a person may just be having trouble digesting food due to a lack of enzymes (i.e. lactose intolerance) or due to the chemicals in the food which impairs digestion. An intolerance to a food can be immediate in that the first time you eat it you feel unwell or it could be determined by the quantity of the food consumed, whereas with allergic reactions the tiniest of amounts can result in a reaction. Lactose intolerance is a good example as often people can consume small amounts of dairy without experiencing any discomfort.

Food intolerance symptoms include; stomach pain, bloating, gas, cramps, headaches, skin rash, tiredness and the general feeling of malaise. Intolerances can be caused by many different foods, some of the main ones include; dairy, wheat, gluten, alcohol and yeast.

There are a range of different tests available if you feel you suffer any of the above mentioned symptoms.

The food and allergy test that I provide tests for 96 different foods with the option of testing 16 common inhalants. For more information call 0439 764 426 or visit www.good4younutrition.com.au

Food allergy intolerance pic

Why Fats are Important!

Fats carry our fat soluble vitamins around the body to allow for uptake and are essential for converting carotene to vitamin A. Fat holds and protects our organs, provides insulation and prolongs digestion as it slows down the production of hydrochloric acid. Eating good fats also aids our digestion in the sense of lubricating our digestive track to help keep us regular. It is also important for our skin complexion, scalp and muscles.

The body can also utilise fat as a source of energy when the livers glycogen stores are depleted (i.e. during fasting, exercise or when we are sick.

If we do not eat enough fats we risk the loss of fat-soluble vitamins as they are unable to be absorbed. We also expose ourselves to a higher risk of developing eczema and other skin conditions. Severe deficiency can lead to severely retarded growth. On the other hand eating too much fat can increase your risk of cholesterol being stored which contributes to atherosclerosis, hardening and narrowing of the arteries along with various other alignments linked to excess fat (weight gain, obesity, diabetes, hypotension, cancer etc.)

Our bodies are pretty unique in that they can make all fatty acids except for:

  • Linoleic acid (Omega 6s) – which are found in seeds and land plants
  • Linolenic acid (Omega 3s) – fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds

We often consume too many omega 6s and too little omega 3s.

Omega 3s are essential for brain health and reducing inflammation in particular. Ideally we need to consume a serve of omega 3 fatty acids daily to reap the benefits. If you are unable to consume these fatty acids daily, supplements are a great option!

Healthy Fat Choices

  • Avocado
  • Cold pressed oils (olive, coconut, flax, macadamia etc.)
  • Nuts and seeds (raw only)
  • Coconut (oil, flesh, butter, flour etc.)
  • Grass fed butter
  • Olives
  • Goat and Sheep cheese and yoghurt

Cold pressed oils are fantastic to drizzle of salads and all nuts and seeds should only be consumed if they are raw.

Coconut products is particular are a great choice to consume as although they are comprised mainly of medium chain triglycerides they are easily digested and metabolised in the liver. They are used directly for energy and help boost metabolism.

Fats that should be avoided include:

  • Deep fried foods
  • Commercially baked and packaged foods
  • Margarine and vegetable shortening
  • Canola oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Peanut oil

Every meal you eat should include a healthy fat source of some kind so it is time to get creative!

Fats