Healthy Eating Plan

Would You Try The Clean and Lean Diet?

Rather than adapting a crazy crash-diet that won’t actually benefit your body in the longterm, there are eating plans which aim to make lifelong changes. The Clean and Lean Diet was created by trainer to the celebrities, James Duigan as a good mix of lean ‘curvy, slim and healthy, not scarily honed or skinny’ and clean ‘a body cleared of toxins’ as said by Duigan himself.

RELATED: Would You Try The Blood Type Diet?

What are you allowed to eat?

Duigan suggests that in order to be successful within the Clean and Lean Diet, foods must be eaten in their most natural state. Heavily processed foods are not encouraged, since they quite obviously look and taste different to what they’re actually made out of. Stick to food which has a total of six ingredients or less.

Fresh unprocessed foods are the main focus, and every meal should include three key products: protein, fat, and vegetables. A variety of vegetables are encouraged, so don’t just stick to one – otherwise the diet won’t work for you in this way.

How does it work?

The principle behind the diet is quite simple, that the body doesn’t naturally cling to fat whilst it’s in the body. So eliminating harmful toxins altogether will lead to a slimmer waistline, and a stronger and well-rounded physique.

Benefits

Cheat meals

If you’re looking for cheat meals, the Clean and Lean Diet does form some type of flexibility for that sweet tooth. Although coffee is usually discouraged from other diets, you are allowed to have one a day – better make the most of it!

Increased energy

Since the focus is mainly on fresh fruits and vegetables, you will find that your body will change the way it processes food. This may lead to a faster metabolism, increased energy, and a slimmer waistline as the diet moves onwards from the six-month mark.

Exercise

There is no way to a achieve a healthy standard of living without some daily or weekly exercise. The Clean and Lean Diet encourages followers to partake in their favourite sports or activity at least 2-3 times a week in order to stay active. Even walking instead of taking the car is a conscious effort which will no-doubt make your body feel better!

Who else follows the diet?

Celebrity fans include much of the Victoria’s Secret angels such as Lara Stone and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley who have been on the eating plan for a number of years. Although, you don’t have to be a supermodel to make the diet work for you! Actor Hugh Grant also follows Duigan’s easy steps to achieving a healthier lifestyle one step at a time.

Do you have to count calories?

Absolutely not. The Clean and Lean Diet is not only easy to follow, but it’s also really effective because there aren’t any major rules to abide by. If you do find yourself digging into a packet of chips, you can always salvage the rest of the day by eating something healthy, and engaging in one of your favourite sports.

One of the Clean and Lean fundamentals is that your past does not equal your future, and there is always another chance at a fresh start.

What does a sample eating plan look like?

Breakfast

Water with lemon and lime, bread with half an avocado, or poached eggs with asparagus

Lunch

Spinach and salmon omelette

Dinner

Spicy salsa chicken and avocado salad

Would you try The Clean and Lean Diet?

Image via Rosie Huntington-Whiteley Fans

October 25, 2014

10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Fibre Intake

Most of us know the powerful disease-fighting properties of fibre, but how many of us are consuming enough of this important nutrient? Sydney-based nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin said Australians need to concentrate on eating three different types of fibre, with men and women aiming to consume at least 30 and 25 grams of fibre per day respectively to feel the benefits.

Follow these 10 easy tips to boost your daily fibre intake.

1. Instead of white bread, rice and pasta, go for grain based or wholemeal varieties of bread, and brown or wholemeal varieties of rice and pasta.

2. When buying cereals, look for wholegrains. Choose products with wholegrain ingredients at the beginning of the list (wheat, brown rice, barley, oats, rye, millet, sorghum or triticale etc) and look out for words such as whole, wholegrain, mixed grain, cracked, flaked or kibbled next to the name of the grain.

3. Add legumes such as baked beans, kidney beans, lima beans, soybeans, chickpeas, dried peas and lentils to soups, casseroles, salads and sauces.

4. Sprinkle chopped fresh or dried fruits, wheatgerm or seeds on breakfast cereal.

5. Try a handful of dried fruit and nuts as a snack or add some nuts to a stir-fry.

6. Instead of a milkshake, try a fruit smoothie made with a banana or other fresh fruit. You may also wish to add in rolled oats as an additional fibre boost.

7. Eat unpeeled fruits such as apples and pears, and vegetables like potatoes wherever possible as the skins are a valuable source of fibre.

8. Skip fruit juices as they contain virtually no fibre and go for a fresh piece of fruit instead.

9. Instead of sour cream or cream cheese-based dips, try a spicy bean dip or some hommus, which is made with chickpeas

10. Look on the nutrition panel of food products and choose those which provide at least 2 grams of dietary fibre per serve.

What are your favourite fibre-friendly foods?

March 9, 2014

5 Antioxidants You Need to Know About

So what’s the big secret to antioxidants? We know they’re good for us but do we really know what they do?

Antioxidants neutralise excess free radicals, largely protecting us from premature ageing and diseases associated with ageing.

Antioxidants and free radicals work together to help keep our bodies functioning at their best.

Free radicals are well known for causing damage but it’s only when we have excess free radicals which our bodies can’t control do they then become a problem.

This is why we need to consume as many foods with antioxidant properties to promote good health as well as slow down the ageing process.  Stephen Eddey, Principle of Health Schools Australia QLD and qualified nutritionist and naturopath, shares the top five foods to help promote a happy and healthy lifestyle.

A is for Artichoke
Artichokes may have a peculiar appearance but don’t let their shape fool you. Within their enclosed leaves behold an array of rich antioxidants. Artichokes are high in Vitamin C, K as well as being high in folate and especially fibre. Dietary fibre promotes the growth of good bacteria which helps to maintain a healthy gut and therefore a fit immune system. Dietary fibre naturally occurs in plants such as artichoke and should be consumed as part of a balanced diet. Wash the vegetable, chop off the stem, break off the outside leaves, trim the tips and boil or roast with oils and spices for a delicious and nutritious low calorie meal.

Don’t just eat the olives, eat the olive leafs
This winter, reach in the medicine cabinet for Olive Leaf Extract as your cold and flu preventative. A fresh-picked Olive Leaf Extract in an Australian study has shown to be 5 times stronger than the equivalent amount of vitamin C providing powerful immune system support and relief of common cold symptoms. Research indicates that Olive leaf extract contains a strong broad spectrum of over 20 antioxidants including Oleuropein, a polyphenol compound, which has been shown to be one of the most powerful antioxidants. The recommended dose is 5mls, 3 times a day with food. You may want to complement it with a morning smoothie.

Eat your heart out cacao
Chocolate, a food that tickles most taste buds is surprisingly good for us! Cacao is the most nutritious form of chocolate and dissimilar to cacao which is heated and loses its nutritional value. Cacao is high in magnesium which is a mineral that the western diet lacks. Magnesium is also great for a healthy heart as well as promotes energy to the brain to help us feel focused. Cacao is also rich in serotonin which is that feel good sensation. The richer in cacao, i.e. the darker, the more potent the antioxidant and higher the nutritional benefits.

Beans beans the magical fruit
Legumes don’t just preach to the vegetarian choir. Leguminous plants such as dried beans – kidney, pinto , black and lentils are special proteins in the way they can take nitrogen from the air and incorporate it into amino acids. Beans are a rich source of antioxidants and with their amino acid profile are important in breaking down proteins as well as stimulating enzymes in the metabolism process. Match your legumes with grains to receive the optimum amount of essential amino acids.

Pick a pecan
If you munch on 15 pecans a day you can receive up to 55% of your daily recommended intake of manganese according to a study. Manganese is great for healthy skin, maintaining blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol levels with unsaturated good fats and overall boasts a high antioxidant profile.  Pecans as well as other nuts and seeds complement a healthy diet are packed with vitamins and minerals but should be taken in small doses due to a high fat content.

Do you eat a lot of antioxidants?

Stephen Eddey is a qualified Nutritionist and Naturopath and is the Principal of Australia’s longest established natural medicine college, Health Schools Australia. He has completed a Bachelor of Complementary Medicine as well as a Masters in Health Science and PhD in Nutritional Medicine.

 

February 24, 2014

School Recess and Lunch Weekly Meal Plan

Monday
Recess: One small tub of peaches or pears in natural juice, and 1 tub reduced fat frozen yoghurt

LunchLeftover Cajun beef with salad and cheese in a wholemeal wrap, plus banana and sultana muffin

Tuesday
Recess: 6 wholegrain rice crackers with sliced cheese and cherry tomatoes, and 1 small container of seasonal fruit salad e.g. grapes, strawberries

Lunch: Tuna and avocado sushi rolls, plus 1 wholegrain muesli bar

Wednesday
Recess: Wholemeal blueberry pike lets, and 1 125ml reduced fat milk popper

LunchLeftover lamb with hummus and salad in a wholemeal pita pocket, and 1 small container of dried apricots and apple rings

Thursday
Recess: Chopped veggie sticks (carrot, cucumber, celery) and tomato salsa, and 1 small container of seasonal fruit salad e.g. watermelon, rockmelon

Lunch: Egg, lettuce and reduced fat mayo multigrain sandwich, plus 1 tub of reduced fat custard

Friday
Recess: Air popped popcorn in a snap lock bag, and 1 tub reduced fat fruit yoghurt

LunchLeftover beef rissoles topped with tomato, cheese and salad in a italian panini, plus 1 piece of seasonal fresh fruit e.g. peach

What do you pack for the kids’ school lunch boxes?

February 24, 2014

Dr Sandra Cabot’s Liver Health Tips

We’ve all over-indulged this summer – endless parties, rich food and summer drinking. But now it’s time to get your liver into recovery mode so that 2014 is your healthiest year ever.

Did you know two million Australians suffer with liver disease? The liver tends to be the forgotten organ and yet it helps us in a variety of ways, including regulating fat metabolism and cholesterol levels, cleaning our bloodstream and removing toxic chemicals, producing energy to assist in our general wellbeing and manufacturing essential proteins and hormones.

Liver overload and dysfunction can be the cause of many health problems. Whist rapidly acting 24 to 48 hour liver detox kits have become popular, they will not be able to reverse a fatty liver or produce sustained improvement in liver function.  The good news is that liver problems are often completely reversible and the liver is able to repair and regenerate itself – just don’t wait til it’s too late!

The “Liver Doctor”, Doctor Sandra Cabot, author of the new book, Save your Gallbladder Naturally, shares her top tips to improve liver health:

1. Drink plenty of fluids such as water, herbal teas or weak black tea to hydrate all your cells and flush out toxins.

2. Increase the amount of raw plant food in your diet such as raw fruits and vegetable salads.

3. Take a good liver tonic to improve your liver function – there are various nutrients that support healthy liver function such as folic acid, the B vitamins, selenium, and turmeric.

4. Avoid the unhealthy fats found in processed margarines, processed foods and deep fried foods – these unhealthy fats contains trans-fatty acids which disrupt cellular metabolism.

5. Reduce your consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates found in refined grain flours.

6. Protect yourself against toxic chemicals such as solvents, glues, plastics and insecticides.

7. Do not over indulge in alcohol, soft drinks, sugary drinks and diet drinks containing aspartame.

What are your health goals for the year?

February 12, 2014

7 Successful Habits For a Slimmer You

Kathleen Alleaume, trusted health expert, Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Nutritionist, author, and busy mum, shares her best ways lose weight and slim down – you’ll never try a fad diet again!

Break the fast
I know you’ve heard this a thousand times over – that’s because it’s the truth. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day and a great time to sneak in fibre and goodness from fruits, grains and dairy. For a balanced option be sure to include low-GI carbos (muesli, high-fibre cereal or grainy toast) with some lean protein (eggs, dairy, soy, nuts). Pair this with some fresh fruit or veg for a great (and balanced) start to everyday.

Wet your whistle 
We often confuse hunger for thirst; so by staying well hydrated you can prevent overeating at mealtimes – hence avoid the kilo creep. Always quench your thirst with water first before other food or drinks.

Sneak in an extra serve – of veg that is 
It’s as easy as adding some spinach to your morning omelette, or snacking on crispy carrot sticks with lunch. My e-book shows you what veggies are in season and how to make them the star of your meal instead of the side dish.

Power of proper portions
We live in a world where super-sizing is the norm, but big meals lead to big bellies. Try using smaller plates to serve your meals, filling half with vegetables, a quarter with low GI carbohydrates, and a quarter with lean protein.

Sit and savour
Make mealtimes relaxed and enjoyable. Set the table (even if it’s just yourself) and turn off any distractions like the television and mobile phones. Chew slowly and take a good 20 to 30 minutes to eat your meal, stopping when you feel satisfied. In other words, eat mindfully.

Get physical
Find 30 minutes or more to move each day. To stay active in summer, hitting the beach for a surf or swim, or a soft sand run, or play Frisbee with your friends. To learn exactly how much energy you burn during these water workouts click here.

Be a priority
Feeling healthy and good about yourself is not a luxury – it’s an absolute necessity. If you know you have a crazy week ahead then do some simple meal prep on the weekend and have a few back-up dinners in the freezer just in case. You can also squeeze in some exercise at work or while you watch TV.

Find out more about Kathleen’s e-book 10 Days to a Healthier You here.

How do you slim down? Tell us in the comments!

January 30, 2014

How to Reduce Cellulite (No, Really!)

Cellulite is one of the most frustrating issues for women of all ages, sizes and ethnicities, and if you have it, welcome to the “over 80% of women above 20 years of age” club that develop it at some point in their lives.

Unfortunately for women it’s not only due in part to our hormonal profile and an excess of estrogens, but it’s also related to how many toxins our bodies are holding on to, and to the anatomy of our skin and the way in which our fat cells and receptors are distributed.

Fitness and health expert Alexa Towersey, listed by Lifestyle Asia as one of the Top 5 Toughest Personal Trainers in 2013, knows there is no miracle overnight cure to getting rid of cellulite. But there are ways to combat cellulite naturally by making some lifestyle changes. Here’s how:

1. Minimise your exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants
Go organic with your cosmetics and household products (check out www.ewg.org to find out how toxic your favourite brands are), don’t reheat your food in plastic containers, avoid soy products, and buy organic produce when possible.  If you’re on a budget and need to prioritise, watch out for the pesticide laden “Dirty Dozen”: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, capsicum, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce and kale.

2. Eat nutritionally dense, high fiber and low GI foods to manage your blood sugar and reduce bodyfat
The worst offenders for cellulite are alcohol, caffeine and refined sugars.  If you just can’t do without your glass of wine with dinner, stick to Sardinian and Spanish red wines, pinot and merlot which have some beneficial anti-oxidants.

3. Cellulite isn’t just a fat issue, it’s a skin issue
One of the reasons it may be so visible is that the collagen in your skin lacks optimal connective tissue structure. Eat foods that are rich in Vitamin C, high in collagen strengthening and anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals, and have lots of essential fatty acids.  Citrus fruits such as lemons, grapefruits and oranges are good choices, as are nuts and seeds. Plant based omega oils are a great supplement to increase fat burning, decrease inflammation and improve the health of our cell membranes.

4.  Support your digestive system
Learn to love your cruciferous veges (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage and bok choy) which contain compounds that draw out excess estrogens, and include plenty of fiber which will then bind to and eliminate the waste products (flaxseeds, dark green leafy veges, fresh fruits, beans and lentils, steel-cut oats, buckwheat and barley).  Raw apple cider vinegar in warm water is a strong digestive aid, and a really cheap and effective way to kickstart your system first thing in the morning.  I’m a fan of includng a good quality probiotic and a plant based digestive enzyme.

cellulite

5. Use resistance training to help rebalance your hormones and reshape your body
Hormonal imbalances can often show up as stubborn fat on different parts of your body, with estrogen dominating the hip and thigh region.  You can effectively lean out your legs by telling your body to turn on your fat burning hormones and turn off your fat storing hormones.  I recommend women include weights as part of their training program using a circuit style of high reps (15-25), moderate weight and low rest.  For fans of spin classes, I’m sorry I’m about to ruin your day, but research has shown that spinning actually increases the intramuscular fat stores in the legs!

6. Reduce the appearance of cellulite by improving your circulation
Lymphatic drainage and detoxification channels using alternative body treatments such as acupuncture, lymphatic drainage massage, Epsom salts baths, body brushing and infra-red saunas will all help to reduce cellulite.  Drinking plenty of water is also important for flushing out toxins.

What are your best tips for reducing the appearance of cellulite?

January 29, 2014

4 (Deceptively Fatty) Foods You Should Stop Eating Now

Aussies spend an astounding $745 million on diet products each year and the diet business is booming. So, why are we fatter than ever?

Even savvy consumers are being fooled by ‘diet’ and ‘all-natural’ labels seen on the abundance of healthy food products available – especially on-trend and popular health foods like fro-yo. Often they can pack just as many, if not more calories and fat than most of their junk-food counterparts.

USANA nutritionist Ravinder Lilly uncovers the worst hidden fat and calorie foods.

1. Muffins
Next to a croissant or doughnut, the muffin looks like wholesome nugget of health. However, the giant-sized muffin concoctions commonly stocked in most supermarkets and bakeries are actually classed as being around three to four servings and can contain anywhere from 350 to a staggering 630 calories. In fact, some muffins have more fat and calories than a cupcake or doughnut. Even bran muffins can contain up to 500 calories and 20 grams of fat. Try swapping your sweet treat for one or two toasted crumpets (83 calories each) with low-sugar fruit spread or half a cinnamon and raisin bagel (160 calories).

2. Frozen Yogurt
The clever marketing of fro-yo as the go-to dessert for weight watchers has consumers under the impression that they can eat as much as their heart desires, guilt-free. Most non-fat ‘plain’ fro-yo however is 30-35 calories per 20 grams with around 20g of sugar – meaning that a large serve can crank up to 304 calories and 76g of sugar before you add any toppings. Most frozen yoghurts contain similar amounts of fat and calories as ice cream and fat-free versions are padded out with extra calories in the form of sugar. So, if you prefer it, you might as well enjoy a scoop of your favourite flavour of ice cream! Add sliced strawberries, blueberries and raspberries for an antioxidant explosion!

3. Veggie chips
Veggie chips are crispy, salty and delicious just like their wicked cousins, potato chips. They are made from super healthy vegetables making them the perfect unity of taste and nutrition, right? Sure, veggie chips are made from real vegetables rich in minerals and antioxidants, but when it comes to the fat and sodium content they’re actually in the same ball park as regular potato chips.

Make your own chips and wedges by chopping up some delicious young kale, spraying it with olive oil and oven baking it until it’s mouth-wateringly crispy. Or, slice some peeled sweet potato and cook with some olive oil until crisp. Yum! 

4. Supermarket salad kits
Salad dressing is one of the leading mischief and supermarket salad kits are high on the list of deceptively unhealthy meal options. For instance, one cup of a Caesar salad, adorned with shaved cheese, roasted croutons and dressing can contain nearly 400 calories and 26 grams of fat. In fact, when it comes from certain fast food chains, Caesar salad contains more fat than a burger!

Instead, choose a simple salad with a sprinkle of grated or reduced-fat cheese, opting for fuller flavours to add some bite. Add cooked beetroot and some red kidney or black beans – your body will thank you for the extra antioxidants and filling fibre.

What are your favourite healthy snack ideas?

January 24, 2014

7 Ways To Avoid Gluten (In Every Situation)

Just been diagnosed with coeliac disease – or simply gluten intolerant? Either way, no matter how hard you try to cut gluten from your life, chances are that it keeps finding a way to creep back in. The result may be abdominal pain, bloating, tiredness, headaches or poor concentration.

Even if you’ve got your gluten-free diet worked out at home, it can be challenging maintaining it in situations like parties, travelling and dining out. Michael Carp, owner of yummy gluten-free snacks company Kez’s Kitchen, shares his top tips for avoiding gluten in every situation.

1. Dining out
This is often when we throw any diet commitments out the window – simply because of the enjoyment factor associated with dining out, and especially if the menu isn’t in line with our dietary needs. “When we’re really enjoying good food and good company, we might tell ourselves our symptoms aren’t that bad – then have regrets afterwards,” Michael says. “Although a menu may not offer gluten free meals, if you call ahead most establishments will be happy to pre-prepare a couple of suitable options for you to choose from. And an increasing number of restaurants are now offering gluten-free options on the menu – including some pizza and pasta establishments.”

2. Flights
When sitting on long flights, it can be tempting to consume any meal a flight attendant places in front of you – including the dinner rolls. When you’re booking flights, be sure you pre-order the gluten free option. “On nearly every flight, my gluten-free meal is often served first and looks better than the person’s next to me, as chefs need to get creative with gluten-free. The remainder of your flight will be much more enjoyable. You might also want to pack your favourite gluten-free snacks for long-haul flights.”

3. On the go
Many of us eat on the run. Instead of grabbing a bagel – which you’re sure to regret later – there are now great-tasting alternatives when you’re searching for a snack on the go. For instance, the Kez’s Free range includes cereal snack bars and bites including roasted Florentine Bars and biscuits that are all 100 per cent gluten free, without making any sacrifices on taste or texture.

4. Holidays
You may know exactly where to find great gluten-free meals and snacks in your own neighbourhood, however when you’re on holidays it can be like finding a needle in a haystack, often leaving you with little choice but to take advantage of takeaways and local eateries conveniently located on every street corner. “A good breakfast is important when you’re travelling. Make gluten-free breakfast options an important criteria when choosing a hotel – ask whether they can provide gluten-free cereals and breads at the time of booking, most are happy to oblige if you give them notice. For dining out, research restaurants around your hotel, or ask your hotel to do the research for you – most restaurants have menus available on their websites.”

5. Work functions
Readily available canapés drifting past every few minutes is enough to make even the strongest-willed crumble to the temptation – especially when hungry. “If you ensure to eat a full meal before attending any event you’ll be much less likely to reach for a few cocktail spring rolls. Additionally, bringing a snack bar in your bag is always a good idea in case you feel peckish, and remember to opt for a cider instead of beer as they’re commonly gluten free,” Michael says.

6. Living with young kids
Chicken nuggets, fish fingers and potato gems can be a staple food group in any household with young children and, in turn, can become a quick meal for exhausted parents too tired to prepare an additional for themselves. “Take advantage of any free time you have during the day – for example during kids’ nap time or while they are at day care – to prepare fresh gluten free meals that are ready to eat later on when you’re pressed for time. Chicken schnitzel is always a family favourite, and you can still enjoy this by using rice crumbs instead of bread crumbs – the kids won’t even tell the difference!”

7. When entertained by friends
“These situations – particularly if it’s a dinner or lunch – are sensitive, as they’re more intimate and the host will notice you avoiding foods that were prepared for you,” Michael says. “If it’s a meal, it’s best to let the host know about your dietary limitations beforehand so they can organise gluten-free options. If it’s a more casual get-together, bring a gluten-free share plate that everyone can enjoy. This way, you’ll appear polite and thoughtful and you’ll know there will be at least one gluten-free dish available!”

What are your best tips for maintaining a gluten-free diet in different situations? Tell us in the comments!

January 21, 2014

How to Flatten a ‘Fat’ Belly

If your stomach is bigger than the rest of you and diet and exercise don’t help, it may not be a weight issue.

As you’re reading this, the odds are you’ll be feeling more…well…rounded than at other times of the year. Festive overindulgence and get-togethers full of bubbles and nibbles that we lose count of in the name of celebrating the season, lingering breakfasts, brunches, lunches and dinners are likely to leave you looking and feeling larger than life. Not in the best possible ways.

The stomach usually suffers the lion’s share of festive excess, and so New Year diet resolutions inevitably kick in. But for many women, no amount of eating well and moderately or exercising regularly will burst that balloon belly because it’s not always a weight issue.

There are a number of other possibilities that may surprise you.

Poor digestion
If your body isn’t properly processing what you eat and drink, waste can accumulate in the intestines and lead to gas bloating and constipation. All of which equals a distended, or fat-looking stomach.

The most likely culprits of poor digestion are not drinking enough water, eating a poor diet, eating too many different food groups in one meal or low levels of stomach acid or digestive enzymes. Modern processed diets and stress leave us more prone generally to digestive issues.

Persistent bloating can be a symptom of a medical condition such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or even more serious issues so see a doctor to rule before taking matters into your own hands.

TIP: A good way to kick start your digestion is with colonic therapy to help rid the body of accumulated waste, gas and toxins. “Colonics rehydrate the bowel to stimulate peristalsis [contraction and relaxation of muscles to propel contents through the digestive tract],” says Anna Paredes, of Sydney’s Colon Care Centres.

“When digestion is sluggish, food – even good, healthy food – ferments in the intestines and produces gas, which causes bloating and discomfort. Dehydration makes matters worse, as the faeces become dry, impacted and hard to move.

“Colonics rehydrate the bowel to get things moving again. You might need several treatments a week apart to start, depending how severe your symptoms are. Then maintenance treatments every few months, or sooner if you feel you need one.”

While colonics are not recommended as a weight loss treatment, once the digestion/elimination process is pumping again, many people find stubborn extra kilos just drop off.

Gut flora imbalance
Not having the proper amount of “good” bacteria in the body allows food to ferment in the intestines and feed “bad” bacteria. Constipation can result, causing toxins to flow through the body. 

One of the most problematic forms of gut flora imbalance is candida, a fungus that is a form of yeast. A small amount lives in your mouth and intestines to aid digestion and nutrient absorption but when there is an overgrowth it can have exactly the opposite effect. It breaks down the wall of the intestine and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxins.

A bloated belly is one of the most obvious symptoms but it can cause a range of health problems from digestive issues to depression.

Candida overgrowth can be caused and fed by a diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and fermented foods and drinks (eg. wine), taking oral contraceptives or too many antibiotics, which kill bacteria, including the friendly kind.

TIP: Once confirmed that you do suffer from it by a doctor or health therapist trained in treating candida overgrowth, a change of diet may be necessary to reduce or eliminate foods that feed the fungus. Taking natural supplements that help restore “good” bacteria levels, such as acidophillus bifidus, can help.

Food intolerances
An inability to digest certain sugars and proteins, such as lactose (in dairy products) and gluten (in some grains and the foods they’re used to make; eg. bread and pasta), will cause bloating, constipation or, conversely, diarrhoea. They are not the same as food allergies. You’ll certainly know if you have one of those as “offending” foods can cause extreme reactions such as difficulty breathing, swelling, rashes or vomiting. 

Food intolerances are not noticeable to most people because they believe the signs of digestive distress are normal. A study carried out by food intolerance website Foodintol found 42 per cent of sufferers experience symptoms for more than five years before realising they have the condition and seek help.

If you suddenly become bloated after a meal, take note of what you’ve eaten and in what combinations. Keep a record to compare with future incidents to see if there is a pattern or common food denominator.

TIP: Food intolerances are too often self-diagnosed and lead people to unnecessarily exclude vital nutrients and basic enjoyment from their diet. The first step should be to see your GP, who may refer you for a gastroscopy or a blood or skin test, where a suspected allergen is placed on the skin and the reaction is monitored. If confirmed with a food intolerance, you may need the help of an immunologist, allergist and/or a dietitian to help you manage the condition.

However, there is no test that can definitively diagnose food intolerance. The best thing to do is to keep a food diary to help isolate intolerances, according to Deborah Manners, founder of Intol.

“For a few days, note what you eat and what symptoms occur,” she says. “Then avoid a food you think you are intolerant to for 10 days and note how you feel. Bring that food back into your diet and notice if any symptoms arise.”

Next week, we’ll look at other ways to reduce your belly.

January 17, 2014

Susie O’Neill’s Top 5 Healthy Eating Tips

Thinking salad but craving pizza? Trust ex-Olympic swimmer and mum-of-two Susie O’Neill to motivate us to start eating healthy and ditch the junk food for good.

1. Fabulous fruit
The more brightly coloured your fruit is, the more full to the brim it is with antioxidants. Fruit is the perfect dessert option any night of the week!

2. The rule of fat
Trying to cut down the fats in your meal? As a rule when using fats and oils in your cooking, stick to one teaspoon of fat/oil per person that the meal will feed.

3. No more skipping breakfast!
Research shows that skipping breakfast is bad for our waistlines. Studies show that people who eat breakfast are generally a lighter weight, and find it easier to keep weight off. So tuck into a healthy brekkie of porridge, wholegrain toast, or cereal (with reduced fat milk).

4. Hunger = over-eating
Going hungry for too long can lead to over-eating. Take the edge off your appetite with a handful of unsalted nuts or some wholegrain crackers with salsa or low-fat hummus dips.

5. Portion control is your friend
How much you eat is really important when you’re trying to balance your energy in with your energy out. Keep portion sizes reasonable planning how many servings a meal will make and putting leftovers in the fridge for lunch.

Visit Together Counts for more tips from Susie as well as healthy meal ideas.

What are some of your favourite healthy summer recipes?

January 14, 2014

3 Quick Bloat Busters

Still feeling bloated from all that festive overindulging? You’re not alone! Whether you need a quick fix for bloating, gas or inflammation, leading gut guru and naturopath, Michèle Wolff, shares 3 easy bloat busters to deflate that tummy and help you squeeze into your jeans!

1. Morning Bloat Buster
Combine 2 tsp. barley, 2 tsp. coriander seeds, 2 tsp. fennel seeds, 4 raisins. Put all of these ingredients in a thermos of almost boiling water overnight. In the morning strain and squeeze these ingredients and add a few drops of lemon juice, 2 tsp. aloe vera juice, 2 pinches of turmeric and 2 pinches of cinnamon.

If you are celiac avoid barley and use slippery elm instead. If you have candida, avoid the raisins.

2. Bloat Buster Tea
Mint/peppermint has a calming, soothing effect on the gut and is cooling. It helps get rid of gas and bloating. It is also helpful if you have nausea or travel sickness and works well with ginger as a tea.

3. Bloat Buster Salad
Use caraway and fennel for bloating/wind and liquorice root for digestive inflammation. The leaves are delicious used in salads and yoghurt dips. It tastes good in soups and sauces too.

What are your health goals for 2014?

January 13, 2014

5 Ways to Make Lunch Count

Do you skip lunch from time to time? You’re not alone – one in three Australians are not eating lunch every day, according to the Subway Aussie Lunchtime Habits Poll. Accredited Practicing Dietician Kate Di Prima says by making subtle changes in your diet at lunchtime, you can create positive habits for your health and wellbeing.

Kate shares five easy ways to make lunch count:

1. If you can’t make it out of the office
Have a desk drawer or locker stash of food. Store nuts, seeds, canned soups, microwaveable rice cups, canned tuna and salmon and individual tubs of chopped fruit in juice. That way, if you can’t make it out of the office you can still eat something nutritious.

2. Lunchtime is perfect for leftovers
If you do take a packed lunch, it’s easy to re-invent your dinner from the night before. Use leftover meat like chicken, beef or lamb, slice and place into rolls, pita or wraps and add salad. Or cut the meat into strips and add a hard-boiled egg, a handful of cherry tomatoes and a few celery sticks. If you can cook an extra steak or chicken fillet for dinner, it can be easily transformed for lunch the next day by adding some coleslaw or rice salad for a healthy midday meal.

3. Not all fast foods are created equal
If you’re buying lunch go for a wrap, some sushi or a sandwich with lean meat to keep control over kilojoules, and add as many fresh salad fillings as you can. A standard Subway Six-Inch Sub includes 84 grams, or over one cup of salad vegetables, including lettuce, capsicum, cucumber, onion and tomato, which provides over one serve of an adult’s daily “2&5”.

4. Get out – it’s good for your sanity
Do yourself a favour and don’t eat lunch at your desk. Take a break and eat lunch with a friend, or enjoy lunch outside. If your time is limited, eat a quick lunch and power walk around the block. Getting a little exercise will boost your energy and up your productivity for the afternoon.

5. If you do miss lunch
Don’t overindulge at dinner – it’s not a great time to be stacking up on kilojoules and big portions which can cause bloating and fullness which isn’t great before bed.  Try and squeeze in a healthy snack before dinner, like some vegetable sticks and hummus or a couple of crackers with cheese – that way you won’t be tempted to go for inflated portions.

Share your favourite lunch ideas in the comments!

January 6, 2014

7 Ways to Minimise Overindulging at Christmas

‘Tis the season to overindulge – and regret it the next day. But does it really have to be that way? Nutritionist and health coach Jan McLeod guides us through the 7 best ways to enjoy your food whilst minimising overindulging this festive season.

1. Don’t over-fill your plate
It’s easy to get excited when you see your favourite dishes, but remember the festive season is much longer than one meal, so you have plenty of time to enjoy.

2. Leave it
If you mistakenly overfill your plate, don’t feel compelled to eat everything. It’s ok to leave something. That’s why the term leftovers was created!

3. Choose a mix of light and heavy dishes
You will not only experience a range of textures, smells and tastes, but you will also help your waistline.

4. Get up early and get active
After eating a big lunch or dinner, the last thing you will feel like doing is being active, so do it before you eat

5. Plan your week
Understand the days you are eating heavier and plan to include meals on the other days that are lighter and will give your digestive system a rest.

6. Practice the words ‘no thank you’
Sometimes we can find ourselves in situations where we feel compelled to say ‘yes’, but saying ‘no’ politely is okay.

7. Seconds? Don’t mind if I do
If you often find yourself going in for seconds, halve your initial portion size. That way, even if you go back for more, hopefully you will still be eating less.

What do you think – do you overindulge at Christmas or do you avoid overeating?

Jan McLeod runs Mad For Health, a personal and business health and nutrition consulting service that provides simple, practical advice on how to eat delicious, nutritious food that enables you to live a long and healthy life.

December 18, 2013