Healthy-eating-plan-2

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

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

8 Common Food Myths Debunked

It is not always clear where food myths originate. Often a new “survey” or celebrity doctor (endorsing his latest product!) will embed something into our memory banks, and then those myths are hard to shift.  Unfortunately they can lead us astray in our attempts to be healthy, and even worse, can lead to unhealthy or restrictive eating habits.

Nutritionist and health coach Jan McLeod from Mad For Health debunks eight of the most common food and health myths.

1. Do not eat eggs
A message deeply ingrained in our memory bank is do not eat eggs.  Eggs contain cholesterol and cholesterol is often demonised.  What we need to remember is that cholesterol is essential in our bodies, for example it is used as the starting material to create our hormones and is a structural component of our cell membranes.

We also often hear the terms good and bad cholesterol, when in fact what we mean is that LDL are a transport carrier that take cholesterol to cells and HDL is a transport carrier that takes cholesterol away from cells for reuse in the body or elimination.  The body makes all the cholesterol it needs in the liver.  For most of us the liver will increase or decrease its production of cholesterol based on our dietary intake.  Eggs also contain lecithin which contains choline which helps cholesterol move through our blood and supports fat metabolism.  Eggs also provide goods sources of important nutrients include Vitamin A and D, iron, B vitamins and zinc as well as useful sources of magnesium, potassium, selenium and calcium.

For most people eating 6-8 eggs per week is okay however for those who are sensitive cholesterol, an easy alternative is to only use the egg white. For some eggs are a cause of allergies, so for these people the removal of eggs from their diet is recommended.

2. Carbohydrates make you fat
If possible I recommend people do not remove any major food group from their diet, this includes carbohydrates.  Over the years, carbohydrates have been much maligned as the source of weight gain.  Research indicates the key contributors to weight gain and obesity include physical inactivity, poorly managed stress, a diet characterised by high intake of refined, processed and simple carbohydrates, excessive intake of saturated and trans fats and low intake of soluble fibre, healthy omega 3 and monounsaturated fats and fruit and vegetables rich in antioxidants, vitamin and minerals important to glucose metabolism.

There are two types of carbohydrates, simple carbs that are easily digested by the body and that are found in some fruit and vegetables and honey and complex carbohydrates as well as processed and refined sugars; and complex carbohydrates comprising complex chains of sugars further classified as starch or fibre both of which play important roles in the body.  When we eat carbohydrates the body converts them to glucose, its preferred source of fuel.   Glucose is essential for the functioning of our brains, nervous systems, muscles and key organs.

Research confirms whole grains found in carbohydrates are a great source of fibre and the protection of whole grains provides us against developing diabetes, cancer and heart disease likely emanate from the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other plant chemicals they contain.  My recommendation is to focus on moderation and balance.

3. We are all gluten intolerant
With all of the articles abound you could reach the conclusion that we are all gluten intolerant and should stop eating all foods that contain gluten. Coeliac Disease (CD) is a serious disease and requires the removal of gluten from a person’s diet.  People are born with a genetic predisposition to CD, the most commonly implicated genes in those susceptible are HLA DQ2 and HLA DQ8.  It is estimated that up to 30% of the population may carry one or both gene but only approximately 1 in 30 will develop CD.

So if it is not CD, what is the likely cause of other gut issues?  I believe it may be poor GUT health.  70% of your immunity resides within your GUT.  Modern life is fast, busy with most of us juggling competing priorities.  We know that poorly managed prolonged stress leads to increased cortisol levels.  We also know that elevated cortisol levels over time reduce immunity, interfere with sleep, can depress our mood and interfere with digestion.  In the ‘fight and flight’ or prolonged stress response blood is diverted away from the GUT and digestive process to areas including our legs, eyes and muscles.  It means over time we will digest more poorly and not be absorbing all of the nutrients we need.

I recommend as part of any strategy to get healthy you take steps to redress and more effectively manage the stress in your life.

4. Dieting can help you lose weight fast
The availability of fad diets offering fast weight loss results are plenty.  Research confirms there are multitudes of ways of losing weight, however it also indicates that as high as 90% of people who lose weight may regain it within 12months.  In addition, it confirms yo-yo dieting where your weight is continuously increasing and decreasing likely undermines long term health.

I believe the foundation to maintaining a healthy weight is well established eating and lifestyle habits.  My experience also suggests it can take up approximately 12-16 weeks to re-establish and embed new eating and living habits.  Changing our personal eating and living habits can be confronting and challenging.  For those who are disciplined and love routine it may come easier however for most of us support provided by a nutritionist or health care practitioner is required.  I recommend you aim to lose weight slowly because doing it slowly means that you are most likely changing your daily eating and living habits.  Gradual change is less confronting and allows you to incorporate realistic change into what is generally a busy life with competing priorities.

5. You lose weight if you eat most of your calories during the day and less at night
It is difficult to know where this myth originally came from.  Research indicates that there is no correlation between weight gain and loss based on the time of day you eat.  Essentially the number of calories you eat will be averaged out over your week and you will maintain, gain or lose weight.

My experience suggests that to promote even energy levels, optimum cognitive function and to limit food cravings particularly that for sugary goods it is best for most people to eat three main meals a day.  Couple this with regular organised and incidental activity (day-to-day movement) and you have a good platform for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

6. Our bodies are not designed to digest and absorb dairy
A key element of the digestive and absorption process is the release of enzymes and digestive fluids that enable digestion and absorption.  These substances and enzymes are specific to the food we eat including dairy.  Dairy is an important source of calcium as well and dairy products such as yoghurt are a great source of probiotics required for good gut health.  It is true some people lack or have less lactase the enzyme required for digesting lactose in dairy.  However did you know yoghurt and mature cheese have lower levels of lactose and research indicates that for the majority of people with low levels of the lactase enzyme they can generally consumed at least one cup of milk each day.

If dairy is not an issue, keep it in your diet however if you believe dairy is an issue be ensure you get a health practitioners help to confirm this, particularly as dairy is known to be secondary food intolerance, i.e. the true culprit may be another substance which has left your GIT irritated and reactive.  If you make the choice to go non-dairy in your milk ensure you choose non-sweetened milk with at least 100mg of calcium.

7. Foods are classified as super foods and non-super foods

I believe the term super food was created to highlight and distinguish the health benefits of some foods.  However I believe it has been taken out of context.  People often mistake the term for meaning that the food has super benefits and is essential for inclusion in their diet.  They also often think if a little bit is good for them, then a lot will be great for them.  Unfortunately this is not always correct.

The term super food brings focus onto specific foods at the expense of others.  However we need to remember there is no one food that contains all of the nutrients the body needs.  It is important to be aware foods including those often listed as super foods can contain substances to which some people are sensitive and will react to potentially leading to compromised health.  Over-eating of many foods including those tagged as super foods can lead to unwanted side effects and imbalance in our bodies.

There are many foods not tagged as super foods that are nutritious and important in a balanced and varied diet.  Restriction of foods in diet can lead to imbalance and foods habits driven by guilt.  And that reading information delivered in summary may lack or lose context important to the role the food plays in your overall diet.

8. Complete versus incomplete protein
You may have heard animal food contains complete protein and plant food contains incomplete protein.  But what does this really mean?  Protein comprises amino acids.  Amino acids play a wide variety of important roles in the body one of the most important is it being the building blocks of our DNA.  Amino acids are classified as essential and non-essential.  Essential amino acids cannot be created by the body and hence we need to take them in from what we eat.  Animal foods contain the essential amino acids we need and plant foods contain only some of the amino acids.  The amino acids found in plant foods vary, however to obtain complete protein we can employ something called food combining.

It means that as long as we eat a variety of the plant food during the day we will source all the essential amino acids we need from our diet.  If you do not eat any animal food, I recommend you aim to include throughout the day legumes (beans, rice or lentils), rice, corn and grains to ensure you are including all the essential amino acid in your diet.

Are there any food myths you would like explained by a nutrionist? Let us know in the comments and we’ll find out!

February 12, 2014

Pregnancy Diet Meal Planner

When you’re pregnant, it can be difficult to follow a healthy eating plan. The cravings can be quite intense and you can easily find yourself giving in to temptation. Plus, it’s hard to keep track of which foods you need to avoid.

Most medical experts recommend that pregnant women add about 300 to 400 calories to their normal daily intake. These pregnancy diet meal plans take the guesswork out of eating healthy while pregnant, and can help you plan delicious breakfasts, lunch, dinners and snacks while consuming the right amount of calories and essential nutrients for your baby.

Pregnancy meal plan #1
This meal plan will provide you with about 2200 calories per day. It also allows you the freedom of choosing from a variety of snacks and meals during the week. This level of variety will prevent you from feeling bored or deprived. It is recommended that women who are underweight should eat about 2400 calories per day, while overweight women should stick to around 2000 calories and cut down to only one snack per day. Here is a sample day on this meal plan:

Breakfast: Porridge with walnuts, cinnamon and an apple. This meal is great because it gives you plenty of complex carbohydrates, protein, fibre and calcium. You also get about 1.5 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for fetal brain development.

Lunch: Pita pocket with eggs, vegetables and hummus. This meal is packed with fibre, protein, calcium and folate. It also contains healthy fats that will satisfy your appetite. You can also include a cup of grapes with this meal as an added treat.

Dinner: Stuffed butternut pumpkin with wild rice, beans and mushrooms. This meal will provide you with a plethora of nutrients that you and your growing baby need. It also provides more than 16 grams of fibre and plenty of iron, vitamin C and folate.

Snacks: On this diet, you can treat yourself to snacks like whole-grain crackers topped with light cheese and dried fruit like cranberries or apricots. You could also choose to snack on air-popped popcorn or a fruit smoothie.

Pregnancy Meal Plan #2
This pregnancy diet meal plan takes into account which trimester you are in. The meals are designed to provide your baby with the nutrients he or she needs the most for optimal development in each trimester. For example, meals for the first trimester will include foods that are high in folate and vitamin B6. Second trimester meals will focus more on increasing your calcium and vitamin D intake, as well as omega-3 fatty acids for fetal brain development. Third trimester meals are designed to give you extra energy and prepare you for childbirth and breastfeeding.

Here is an example of a first trimester meal plan:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs served on top of a toasted bagel, plus a serving of yogurt. It contains lots of B-vitamins and protein that will help you to avoid nausea.

Lunch: Roasted chicken with broccoli, potatoes and carrots. Along with a pear and apple crumble, this nutritious meal is quite filling.

Dinner: Beef and black bean casserole. The beans in this dish provide you with lots of folate, fibre and iron. The beef contains plenty of protein and fat to make you feel full.

Snacks: You can choose to snack on dried apricots, nuts and seeds on this meal plan.

What were your favourite things to eat when you were pregnant? Tell us in the comments!

February 5, 2014

Your Best Summer Detox

We’ll admit, we fell off the health bandwagon last year with too many treats and late nights and not enough exercise, but we’re determined to get back on, starting with this summer detox.

Belinda Reynolds, nutritionist, dietitian and senior educator for BioCeuticals, shows us how to avoid drastic diets and cleanse the body for weight loss and better health. Her summer detox will leave you feeling full, satisfied and jam-packed with energy. 

Know your food
Learning to read food packaging is fundamental to knowing exactly what you are ingesting and what effects the foods may have on your body.

Stay away from foods that read fat free or diet, they are often loaded with sugar which turns into fat.

Read the ingredients listed and be wary of ingredients you do not recognise, or those that are represented by a number, as they’re most likely artificial.

The first three ingredients listed are the most predominant, as ingredients are listed in descending order according to their weight. This can be significant, particularly if sugar is listed as the first or second ingredient.

Avoid eating foods with trans fats in them. Trans fats are a product of how fats and oils are processed. Trans fats are not metabolised well and contribute to an imbalance in good and bad cholesterol,, which may cause health issues. They’re found in deep fried and commercial baked goods such as biscuits, pies, pastries, cakes and buns.

Chewing
You know you are eating too quickly when you’re already preparing your next fork of food while still chewing. If you feel stomach discomfort after eating a meal it may be because you are not chewing your food enough. By chewing your food properly you encourage the release of enzymes which break down the food for effective digestion. A rule of thumb is to try and chew each bite 20 times. This can be harder than it sounds so if you start off with 10 chews per bite you are doing well.

Good bacteria
After the silly season we may need to clean up any unwanted toxins. Look out for fermented foods that contain probiotics; these help to secure a healthy gut and restore any imbalances in good vs bad bacteria. You could also opt for a probiotic supplement to complement a balanced diet. Foods like yoghurt, kefir, tempeh, miso, and kimchi  contain probiotics and complement a balanced diet.

Try a morning smoothie of kefir, cacao, spirulina and a banana to achieve a good dose of probiotics and antioxidants to start the day.

Hydration
During the summer months we may forget to compensate sweat lost with an adequate intake of water. It is important to achieve the recommended eight glasses of water per day, and you can also increase your hydration levels with coconut water, a natural source of electrolytes. Coconut water contains B vitamins and essential minerals as well as potassium and sodium.

Focus on achieving 2 fruit and 5 vegetables daily
Plan ahead with snacks of carrot and celery sticks, a stash of strawberries and blueberries, and a packed salad for lunch. This will ensure you consume healthy, nutrient dense food that supports natural detox processes, instead of convenient high sugar fast food alternatives.

Natural sugars
Refined sugars induce a spike in our blood sugar levels which means our energy levels quickly drop after a handful of lollies, biscuits, cake or a soft drink. By adopting a diet consisting of low GI foods you can help maintain steady blood sugar levels.

Opt for foods with natural sugars to keep your energy up. Fruits such as cherries, plums and peaches are low GI and are seasonal over the summer time.

Instead of refined sugar in your tea or coffee try stevia. Stevia is a natural sugar replacement, comes from a plant containing low calories and is low GI.

Remember to always consult your healthcare practitioner for advice on what supplements may benefit you. A qualified practitioner is trained to identify any potential deficiencies that may be present due to your current diet and lifestyle, and also based on symptoms you may be experiencing. Your nutritionist, dietitian or naturopath can therefore recommend the right program, including dietary adjustments and supplementation, tailored specifically to your needs.

Have you done a detox? Share your experience in the comments!

February 4, 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

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

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

6 Ways to Stay Healthy Over Summer

Struggling to maintain a healthy weight over the festive season? Weight loss expert Kylie Ryan gives us her top tips for keeping your motivation in check over summer.

1. Get really clear on why you want to stay healthy and slim
Without a BIG why, the cake will look really tempting. You need a really good reason to say no. Ask yourself why do I really want to be slim and healthy until you get an answer that no piece of cake could argue with. Maybe you want to live a long and healthy life so you can enjoy your grandchildren in years to come, maybe you don’t want to be forced into dramatic weight loss surgery – or hey, maybe because you want to look fantastic in that bikini – choose your reason and remember it next time the chips and dip come around.

2. Decide what you are going to eat and drink before you walk into a party
If your gran makes an amazing cake, and you want some, decide that you will have some of that, and then don’t eat other sweets or chips. It’s your indecision that leads to overeating. Decide beforehand, and practice your response when someone offers you something.  Repeat after me – “No thank you. It looks delicious, but I’m full.” Say it with clear voice and a friendly smile but don’t leave any room for arguments.

3. Stay away from the snack and chips tables
Get yourself a drink, take a deep breath and go and talk to someone. If you’re a bit shy, remember that nobody wants to be alone at a party – your friendly approach might be a lifesaver to someone else! If you see someone alone, go up to them and introduce yourself. You could start off by asking my favourite party line – “So tell me, what are you passionate about?”

4. Resist the temptation to try everything at a smorgasbord
Remember your portion sizes, why you are staying healthy and keep your plate small. When you first get the thought, I’m full. Stop eating.

5. Drink water
Wine spritzers are a great way to look festive without over-drinking. Limit your alcohol to 2 standard drinks. If you think you’ll be tempted, drive to the event, so there is no option to drink too much.

6. Get some exercise in with your family and visiting relatives
Soccer, cricket, running around with toddlers are all fun family games that will help you to break a sweat and keep fit.

Kylie Ryan is one of Australia’s leading weight loss motivation experts, inspiring women via her weight loss mindset blog mymindcoach.com.au and her Goddess Body Quest 8-week mindset program.

How do you stay healthy over summer?

December 30, 2013

How to Avoid Christmas Weight Gain

From choosing the right party food to committing to a regular exercise plan, Michele Chevalley Hedge, author of Beating Sugar Addiction For Dummies, shows us how to enjoy the silly season without the inevitable Christmas weight gain.

Christmasitis, noun: The inflammation, bloating and self-sabotaging that often begins on December 1st of a year and ends just after Australia Day at the end of the next year’s January.

Many people will gain one to two kilos over the holidays. The combination of summer and the festive season can catapult many of us into an eating frenzy. Christmas parties, end-of-the-year parties, welcome-to-summer parties, New Year’s Eve parties, and a host of other celebrations can bring out the Sugar Monster in the healthiest of us. You don’t have to be a Scrooge and not enjoy the celebrations, but consider some ways to keep yourself from feeling miserable about how you indulged once the fun dies down. If you take heed of the following tips, you should feel delighted and encouraged from all the possibilities that come with the fresh start of a new year.

Don’t go to a party hungry
Eat before you go to an event if you don’t believe there will be healthy food choices available. You’ll have more time to socialise and you won’t be obsessed with hunger and wondering where the food is and when the next tray is coming out.

Try to have a glass of water between alcohol
Alcohol will add to weight gain, slow down your liver function, and may dehydrate you. Consume and enjoy but be moderate. Have a hydrating glass of sparkling mineral water between each alcoholic drink and in the morning you’ll be happy you did.

Choose the ‘right’ nibble
Tasty treats are abundant at holiday parties. Look for nibbles that are high protein and low in sugar.  Seek out the chicken or prawn skewers. Crustless quiche, smoked salmon, bun-less sausage or even a bowl of nuts can dampen hunger without adding sugary kilojoules.

Get over it
If you do indulge in one too many wines or party pies, don’t carry on with guilt and self-abuse the following day.  Get up and exercise and commit your new day to low-sugar, whole and fresh foods. People who beat themselves up mentally often begin the following day by skipping breakfast. By midday or the afternoon, they then become so hungry that they roller-coaster off into indulging in convenient junk food.

Burn it
Celebrations and holidays are meant to be enjoyed and you will most likely over indulge at some point. Commit to a regular exercise plan to keep your metabolism fired up, your endorphins stimulated, and your mind off your next meal!

How do you keep the weight off during the holidays?

December 8, 2013

4 Ways to Beat the Holiday Belly Bloat

It’s officially the season of overindulgence, and who doesn’t look forward to feasting with friends and family – but with that also comes the inevitable belly bloat.

Ravinder Lilly, nutritionist at USANA Health Sciences says, “With the toxic load of saturated fat, sugar and alcohol consumed over Christmas, there’s little wonder why we find ourselves suffering from a full and sluggish gut. Thankfully, there are a couple of strategies available to fight the silly-season stomach swell.”

Ravinder shares her top tips to beat the belly bloat this holiday season:

1. Get out there
Some of us, on occasion, eat to the unbearable point of being unable to move. And although it may be tempting to wallow in our bloated abyss, one way of speeding the rate at which food moves through the system is to take a post-meal stroll.

2. Pop a peppermint
Indigestion can result from eating too much, eating too quickly, opting for too many high-fat foods, and too much alcohol/caffeine. Peppermint flavoured candies, breath mints or tea can relieve gas, indigestion and nausea. But peppermint is not the best option if you have heartburn. That’s because peppermint, as well as caffeine and alcohol, can weaken the oesophageal sphincter so that stomach acid is able to splash up causing worsening heartburn.

3. An after-dinner drink for digestion
Caffeine-free chicory-root tea can soothe your mood, and possibly also your digestive tract. Chicory, which generally has a roasted-coffee taste, is known among herbalists as an effective means to move things along. Chamomile tea is similarly soothing on the digestive system. Green tea is another fabulous option – it contains healthy antioxidants called catechins. And, by adding citrus juice or vitamin C, it boosts the bioavailability of these beneficial compounds. These healthy chemicals are associated with a lower risk of cancers whilst boosting heart and brain health.

4. Don’t look to laxatives
It’s an unfortunate misconception that taking laxatives will help to push food out of the system by quickly emptying an overstuffed gastrointestinal system. The truth of the matter is laxatives help to empty the colon. The food you’ve just consumed, however, is in your stomach. For food to reach your stomach through your small intestine can take several hours, so taking a laxative certainly won’t make you feel any less full. Instead, opt for wholegrain foods – the less processed, the more fibre is retained in foods like wholegrain bread and brown rice.

Ms Lilly also recommends the following products:

USANA® Probiotic which contains two types of beneficial bacteria which help to complete the process of digestion, produce vitamins B and K and aid mineral absorption. Beneficial bacteria also play an important role in boosting your immune function.

Try a fibre supplement like USANA’s Fibergy. It’s hugely rich in fibre so try a spoonful or two on your breakfast cereal or stirred into small juice. Don’t forget to drink lots of water to help the fibre move waste effectively out of the body, too.

November 12, 2013

Q&A with Surfing Legend Sally Fitzgibbons

Sally Fitzgibbons is one of the hardest working athletes in world sport – and her incredible passion makes her one of SheSaid’s most inspiring women. A child surfing prodigy who dreamed of emulating seven-time world champion Layne Beachley, the 22-year-old holds the record for shortest time ever to qualify for the world tour, in 2008.

Addicted to any form of competition that involves a bat, ball, watercraft or finishing line, the ever-energetic Fitzgibbons lives for sport and for perfection. When she’s not on tour, you won’t find her shopping or attending a plethora of parties and events but instead doing anything possible to get an edge on her rivals.

Fitzgibbons is outspoken about the plight of women’s surfing, often going in to bat for her comrades in the name of equality. And with her infectious lust for life, endearing charm and clean-living lifestyle, she has become not just an amazing surfer but the ultimate role model.

She’s never had a drink, never tried a cigarette and the only speeding ticket Fitzgibbons has every received in her Mini was courtesy of dad, Martin. No wonder she’s proud to be an Arrive Alive ambassador, supporter of numerous charities and the reigning Australian Bachelorette of the Year.

SheSaid chats with Fitzgibbons about how she stays healthy and motivated, and where she gets her inspiration from.

What is a typical day’s eating plan?
I have to be really flexible when it comes to an eating plan as I’m constantly travelling around the world competing for the most part of the year. I try to keep it pretty simple and eat mostly a diet of fruit, vegetables and a variety of meats and quality proteins. Being lactose-intolerant I am a little restricted as to what I can eat and it can get tricky on the road but I love trying different cuisines around the world – often including some cultures’ ways of eating into my own regime. Like eating more of a dinner meal for breakfast; chicken soup or a stir-fry with vegetables and protein. It seems to keep me going for longer. I snack on fruit and nuts and I’ll often have a Red Bull before or halfway through a training session to help me push through.

How do you train on an average day?
Day-to-day my training sessions are forever changing according to what location I am in. I try to use my surroundings and create sessions around what I have in front of me. I use my training to help me see and explore all these amazing locations I get to travel to. I make my training sessions out of the water into a bit of an adventure, it can be anything from running to famous landmarks, biking, hiking, swimming or paddling kayaks or boards up and down the coast.

Having a competitive running background I love jumping in fun runs whenever I get the chance and Charity events like City2Surf, Biarritz Breast Cancer Run and I am also ambassador for Run Wollongong’s inaugural run which is raising money for Wollongong Children’s Hospital. It’s so much fun getting active and bringing a community together with exercise, it’s an awesome vibe. I’m also in the gym everyday for strength and conditioning on top of the my training sessions in the water.

How do you stay motivated?
I had the dream from a really young age that I wanted to become an elite athlete but wasn’t sure which sport I would make it in, so I signed up for every single one under the sun. Being driven by myself and my own will power to want to achieve this goal meant that I was constantly self motivated. I want to be the best so bad that I know myself how much hard work and long hours I need to put in. Great partners like Red Bull who are really supportive of my training definitely help when it comes to setting goals and making the impossible happen. There is still so much I want to achieve so this is what keeps me motivated and moving forward.

sallyfitzgibbons

You have amazing skin – what’s your skincare routine?
It is hard to keep your skin protected from being in the harsh elements and the sun so much but I know how important it is to look after it and save it from getting damaged as best you can. I use a lot of Garnier products in my daily regime to moisturise and rehydrate my skin after surfing and use the BBcream as an all in one daily foundation with the SPF in it for my day to day go to. When we travel to extremely hot places I layer face suncreen with a foundation coloured zinc. Making sure at the end of the day you cleanse and clean your skin to avoid break outs.

Where are your favourite surfing spots in Australia and around the world?
That’s a really tough one to narrow down. There are so many amazing waves around the world and right at home in Australia. My top few in Australia would be the breaks on the South Coast of NSW where I have grown up Sandon Point, Werri Beach and Seven Mile Beach, Bells Beach in Victoria and Margaret River in WA.

Abroad I would say Fiji, Mexico and Hossegor, France are up amongst the top performance waves that I enjoy.

How do you like to relax?
I find it hard to sit still and relax, even in my time off I like doing a lot of things in a day. I love going hiking with friends or going on long adventurous runs. I am a bit of a sports fanatic so I try to go to big games and sporting events with friends and family.

Who inspires you?
I’ve always had a great passion for sport from this my inspirations were elite athletes at the tops of their sports. I loved watching those magic moments when you see them achieve their ultimate goals. Claiming World Titles, Olympic medals and personal bests. There was something really special about seeing someone’s hard work, dedication and sacrifice pay off. Athletes like Cathy Freeman, Kerryn McCann, Ian Thorpe, Robbie Maddison, Kelly Slater, Layne Beachley, Rodger Federer and Adam Scott are definitely ones I’ve drawn inspiration from.

What changes if any do you think we’ll see over the next 5-10 years in women’s sport?
In our sport of surfing I think you will really see it take off in the next 5-10 years. It’s gathering great momentum amongst fans and the public around the world and more great sponsors are wanting to host Women’s World Tour events. With the talent level at an all time high in our sport it is only fitting to see it get thrust into that main stream spotlight and have the addition of great events in world class waves for us to perform on.

As an Arrive Alive ambassador, how do you convince your friends to be responsible with drinking?
For me it was a lifestyle choice not to drink. I always wanted to wake up for the early dawn patrol surf and wanted to go and train and drinking never really fitted in with that. But I love going out with my friends and having a great time without alcohol. All I need is a Red Bull to keep up with them on the dance floor! I also like being able to look out for my friends too. I would always be able to drive everyone home at the end of the night and I felt that need to make sure everyone got home safely.

What’s your life motto?
A smile will take you the mile. Love what you do and make the most of every moment.

October 8, 2013