Archives for January 2014

What are you eating?

The last five rules you’ll ever need to know about food are right here. If you care about your inner health, read on…

It astounds me as to how many people are walking around in the world today that do not know they have a body attached to their head! Sometimes I feel like shouting out,”Look down, there’s a body there, it’s yours so look after it”. Your body is a “patient” organism. It tries to accommodate the environment you create for it. Your body will work hard to digest the inorganic, processed, nutrient-void “foods” it is fed, the excessive amount of alcohol that can be poured into it and the chemicals it has to deal with day after day after day.

One day however, it will start to rebel in order to protect itself. You may feel bloated, tired, overweight, lethargic, and then the “lifestyle diseases” will set in. Who’s to blame?

Rule 1: If you can’t do it for life, it won’t work!

Think about it. Regardless of whatever else you do in your life, there are a few certainties and eating is definitely one of them. You will have to do this for some time to come so why not develop a good, healthy relationship with food. What is the number one reason for eating? If you answered for enjoyment, then you’re wrong. You already know the correct answer to this question. It is to feed your body the essential nutrients it needs to sustain life.

But let’s face it, are you happy with just sustaining life? Don’t you want to live your best life, have energy to last throughout the day, play with your kids or grandkids without stopping to rest? Afterall, if you plan to live till at least 100 years old ( I know I certainly am), then you need your body to keep up with you. Therefore supplying it with the proper nutrients is essential to maintain good health.

Diets don’t work because they are not maintainable. If you can’t do it for life, that means forever, then you are almost guaranteed to fail. Don’t implement a strategy that is designed to fail, then medicate yourself with food once that failure is complete. That sounds like a self fulfilling prophecy to me! Eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, poultry, fish, legumes and whole grains, along with drinking plenty of water will ensure you are treating the body right. If you focus on the inside, the outside will take care of itself!

Rule 2: Does it grow that way?

This is my personal mantra and can basically summarise many years of study and research in one small, simple sentence!

Does the food on your plate, what you had for lunch, or are going to have for dinner actually GROW that way? What tree does the bowl of fruit loops your child had for breakfast grow on exactly? Where did that lo-cal, cholesterol lowering, salt reduced, I can’t believe it’s not butter, margarine looking lard substance you spread on your toast this morning come from? Do you  really want to know the answer to that question? Really?

What are the ramifications of all these substitutes, processed foods in the long run?

If you keep rule number 2 in mind whenever you go shopping for your groceries, when choosing something from a menu at a restaurant, when you decide what you’ll prepare for dinner or buy for lunch, chances are you’ll be eating the right thing. Choosing fresh fruit and veg is an obvious choice. Healthy lean meats, wholemeal or whole wheat pasta, brown rice, legumes all pretty much grow that way. Are you starting to see the picture?

Make it your mantra too!

Rule 3:  How many processes did your food have to go through to GET to your plate?

Many foods are great to eat raw. They retain their nutrients, are rich in flavours not to mention life saving anti-oxidants but there are some foods better eaten  cooked.

Meats are the obvious one here, chicken, fish and some seafood. Let’s use fish as an example. How many processes does a fish have to go through, from swimming in the sea to becoming a “fish finger” crumbed and battered on your plate cooked to a golden brown? Can’t say I’ve seen too many fish fingers swimming around in the ocean lately!

If the main reason we eat is to sustain life, to aid cell recovery, to help boost energy levels, concentration levels at school or work, how will this be achieved if the food we’re eating has had the nutrients processed out of it? More and more manufacturers are now adding artificial Omega 3 & 6 to foods. Everything from frozen fish fillets to milk! It seems like the popular thing to do, to add synthetic vitamins to food. Why not simply add walnuts or some avocado to your snack time or dinner?

Your body is a natural, organic living organism. It recognises substances which are organic, chemical and hormone free food, not artificially coloured, flavoured, preserved and irradiated food.  Adding foods and chemicals your body doesn’t recognise causes a long list of health problems.

Rule 4: If it’s white it’s not alright.

Sure, the wheat that makes your bread will have to be processed to be made into an edible form but let’s keep some of the nutrients in it by choosing to eat wholemeal.

White bread is JUNK FOOD.

Stop giving it to your kids, stop eating it yourself. Your body does not recognise it and then you wonder why you feel bloated! Good thing those manufacturers remembered to ADD fibre back in after they pummeled it out. And then they dare to advertise they actually did it!

Of course if the pummeling didn’t kill the nutrients, then the bleaching surely will! If you wouldn’t pour bleach on your skin then why would you ever consider putting it inside your body? Eating bleached flour in white bread is synonymous to that. Think about it.. Did it grow that way?

Did the garlic that you crushed for dinner to add to your bleached white pasta grow that way or has it been discoloured to a lilly white for aesthetic purposes? What’s the result of all these bleached foods entering your body daily?

Rule 5: Drink water, just plain water.

I know there has been a lot of talk about how much water we should drink and how to drink it and the information varies with each article. Reader beware!

Many people will drink a variety of different drinks and think they are keeping themselves hydrated. The fact, is water is digested in several ways in the body. It is digested through the small intestine along with all foods, through the kidneys and also through the large intestine. No other nutrient is digested like this. The body is designed like this for a reason, so it can maximize the amount of water it absorbs.

Many article that I have read (some which have been written by unqualified authors) suggest that drinking tea, coffee and many other forms of beverage (including soft/soda drinks) all add to the daily count of water intake. Remember, for every cup of caffeinated beverage you drink, black tea, coffee, Coke etc… you lose an equal amount of water from your body. So, if you’re aiming at drinking 2 litres or water or 8 glasses, as is the average recommended amount, then proceed to have 1 cola drink, 2 coffees and a tea throughout the day, you are actually down to 4 glasses of water for that day. This means you are in H2O deficit.

Remember, drink plain water as often as you can. You don’t have to like it, you just have to drink it!

Add these five simple rules to your daily thought processes and the way you look at food will change for the best. When you next look down, your body will be smiling back up at you!

10 Good Reasons To Go Organic

There’s no better time to choose organic than right now. Your health WON’T wait! Here’s how…

Organic growers aim to produce food as naturally as possible, free from trans-fats, artificial additives, harmful chemical pesticides/herbicides and considers animal welfare and sustainability. Biodynamic farming is a form of organic farming that actively works with the health-giving forces of nature.

When our food is organic, it is produced in an organic farming system without the use of synthetic chemicals or genetically modified organisms. Organic systems recognise that our health is directly connected to the health of the food we eat and the health of the soil. Soil health is critical in producing wholesome products without the use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides.

In the production of animal products, animal welfare is also an important issue with only free-range animals allowed and under the Australian Organic Standards, cages are not permitted. Parasite problems in farm animals are controlled through regularly moving the animals to fresh pasture and other preventative methods, unlike conventional farming where animals are routinely dosed with massive doses of antibiotics and other drugs.

1. Organic food tastes better. Organic farming starts with the nourishment of the soil, which leads to the nourishment of the plant and our palate. Many people prefer organic food because it tastes better.

2. Organic food production helps protect future generations. The average child receives approximately four times more exposure than an adult to at least eight widely used cancer causing pesticides in food. Food choices made in the family and community now determine our children’s health.

3. Organic food has higher levels of nutrients. There is now a massive indication through research findings that show organic food is far superior in vitamin, mineral and nutrient content. They are especially higher in antioxidants, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. Organic foods have higher levels (up to six times) of salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is produced naturally in plants as a protective compound against stress and disease. Salicylic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps combat hardening of the arteries.

4. Organic farming methods prevent soil erosion and build healthy soils. Organic farms protect the environment by employing natural systems to build healthy soil rather than relying on synthetic fertilisers and pesticides. Compared to soils on conventional farms, organically farmed soils have been shown to have less nitrogen leaching, denser nutrient content for plants to utilise and less runoff and erosion.

5. Organic farming helps protect water quality. Pesticides and other chemicals widely used in conventional farming contaminate ground water and rivers and pollute primary sources of drinking water.

6. Organic food is free of artificial additives. Organic food doesn’t contain food additives which can cause health problems such as heart disease, osteoporosis, migraines and hyperactivity. The use of antibiotics, anti-microbials, hormones and other growth promotants are prohibited in organic production. In the case that animals are treated with veterinary drugs or chemicals, they are prohibited from being sold as organic. The use of synthetic chemicals as preservatives, colourings are also prohibited in the processing of organic foods.

7. Chemical residues are missing or at very low levels in organically produced food. Many studies show that most conventionally farmed foods have pesticide and other chemical residues. Over 400 chemical pesticides are routinely used in conventional farming and residues are often present in non-organic food. Research has shown that these chemicals are known to cause cancer. These chemicals can also lead to nervous and endocrine problems.

8. Organic food production uses less energy than conventional food production. Modern conventional farming uses more petroleum than any other industry. More energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilisers than to till, cultivate and harvest crops. Organic farming is still based on labour intensive practices such as hand weeding, green manure, and cover crops instead of chemicals.

9. Certified organic means GE/GM free. Genetically modified organisms are not allowed under the strict organic certification standards.

10. Organic food has lower nitrates levels. The use of soluble chemical fertilisers has resulted in high nitrate concentrations in many conventionally farmed foods, especially in fruits and vegetables.  High nitrate levels in food and drinking water are converted to carcinogenic nitrosamines. Nitrates have been shown to impair the ability of the blood to carry oxygen, and may pose a risk of methemoglobinemia.

Source: Organic Federation of Australia

Brown rice is very nice

Have you been kind to your insides lately? Try some nice brown rice…

Biodynamic brown rice is a nutritionalist’s dream. Brown rice is a wholesome food which can meet our protein requirements quite adequately when combined in a variety of interesting and delicious ways. It has far more protein, calcium, B vitamins and iron than its pale, insipid, white counterpart, and also has the added benefit of containing vitamin E, found in the rice germ of whole brown rice, which is absent in white rice.

A bowl of cooked brown rice in the fridge guarantees quick, nutritious, satisfying meals. For example, beat a free-range egg into 2 cups of cooked rice, add a handful of toasted sesame seeds or poppy seeds, and spread into an oiled pie dish, fill with steamed veggies and top with silken tofu or sunflower seeds and warm through in the oven or under a griller. Alternatively, for breakfast try this perfectly combined protein dish for a particularly delicious start to the day. Remember to chew well! Enjoy and taste each mouthful.

Breakfast rice

1 1/2 cups raisins (chopped figs are a delicious substitute)

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

1 cinnamon stick

11/2cups apple or pear juice*

5 cups leftover cooked brown rice

1/2cup almonds or walnuts, loosely chopped and lightly roasted

Simmer raisins, lemon rind, and cinnamon stick in juice for a few minutes, until raisins are plump. Add rice, simmer few more minutes, turn off heat, add nuts, and let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with soy, rice or oat “milk”.

A few tablespoons of seed mix on top and a dollop of yoghurt, is highly recommended! This dish will easily feed six or provide a weekʼs worth of breakfast for one.

Look after your insides for a happy long life!

Top 5 Exercise Excuses

Excuse 1: I’m too tired

Energy creates energy! Go for a fast walk or run and tell me you don’t feel more energetic when you finish than you did before you started. The motion of exercise be it running, walking, playing tennis, taking the stairs or even vigorous housework raises the heart rate and this in turn gets the blood pumping around the body even faster. This is a good thing. It kickstarts stagnant circulation, efficiently delivers oxygen and nutrients, and awakes a sluggish metabolism. These are the real reasons you’re tired! Poor health, lack of sleep, inactivity and dehydration are what make you tired. The body was designed to move. You may not always feel like exercising, but focus on how you will feel afterwards.

Excuse 2: I don’t have the time

I have heard this excuse almost every single day over  the years I have been working in the health and fitness industry! There is ALWAYS time. In a whole week, if you have time to read the paper, time to have a several coffees, time to watch tv or chat on the phone, you can allocate the same time to do your exercise or cook a healthy meal. Many work places these days offer lunchtime classes or go for a walk around the block in your lunch break. Take the stairs, park further away so you can walk a little longer to your destination, do ten push ups a day. It all counts. You HAVE heard all these suggestions before, so why aren’t you doing them? Not enough time? No such thing!

Excuse 3: My body hurts after exercise

You may feel a little sore after the first few days of exercise. An inactive body doesn’t suddenly adjust to vigorous exercise. Start slowly and work within your own fitness level. Slow down if you feel your heart rate has climbed too high or you can’t handle the pace and catch back up in your own good time. Never feel pressure to keep up with the rest of the class if you’re participating in a group exercise class. Alway work out at your own pace to ensure you don’t damage any muscle fibres. You will start to see results much faster if you have a sensible approach to exercise.

Excuse 4: I’m too embarrassed

Worrying about what other people think will not help you in achieving your health and fitness goals. Staying away from exercise won’t help you reduce body fat stores, increase strength and endurance or tone up. Other people’s opinions will also not lower your cholesterol and hypertension therefore potentially adding to your quality of life. I have worked in the fitness industry for many years and have often heard this comment. What you need to realise is that people are way too busy looking at themselves to actually notice you! You don’t have to go near a gym to exercise. Just walking, skipping, doing push ups or exercising at home is enough to get your fitness momentum going. So don’t sweat the small stuff, save it for the workout!

Excuse 5: Any excuse concerning the weather

I live in Melbourne and I know all about weather! Melbourne, Australia is famed for having four seasons in one day. You can guarantee that there’ll be times you have planned to exercise and it’s too hot, too windy, too cold or far too wet. That’s why you need an alternative for bad weather days. Go for a swim if it’s too hot, the gym if it’s wet or try some exercises at home. Lunges and abdominal exercises will work around 70% of your muscles. Push ups are another efficient exercise which works almost your entire body.

If you want to learn how to do push ups correctly and at the same time, build up your strength, tone your body and discover your core stability, http://hundredpushups.com/ is a great resource from beginner to advanced.

Go out and GET the results you want, don’t just wish for it to happen!