Boost Your Health, Grow Your Food

Boost your health – start with sprouts

One of the easiest ways of boosting your health and ensuring that you get the best quality & freshest fruits & vegetables on tap, is to grow your own. Even if you start small with an indoor ‘sprouts’ garden for alfalfa, mung beans, pea sprouts etc. These are easy to set up and you can pick them fresh in just 3-5 days for use in salads.

Add a herb patch!

After you’ve set up your indoor garden try an outdoor one, beginning with a bunch of different herbs. When planted from seedlings you can pick them after a week or so, once they have achieved some lush growth and they will continue to thrive and thicken. 

Organic fruit and vegetables

Then perhaps a vegetable patch is next. Starting with seedlings always makes it quicker, but make sure the soil is prepared ahead of time with some good mushroom mulch or similar fertile base, mixed in with the soil. Water heavily on hot days for maximum yield. Plant a fruit tree or two and now you’re talking!

Not only do organic fruits and vegetables taste far better, they last in the fridge longer because they have ripened naturally, they are more nutrient-dense than non-organic (you get a better bang for your buck) and the activity will keep you fitter and in touch with nature. Pick a vase of herbs and spread their wonderful aroma through your house today! Enjoy!

Want To Live Longer, Live Healthier? Who Doesn’t!

… Start by looking after your “telomeres”. These are the tiny end units of our DNA strands, which prevent the DNA from unraveling. (… Think of a shoelace which has it’s ends bound tightly.)  As our cells replicate our telomeres shorten. Longer telomeres lead to longevity. So how do we lengthen them?

Lengthen your telomeres, live longer & healthier with a few simple lifestyle adjustments:
  1. Improve your quality of sleep each night.
  2. Reduce stress with regular meditation and relaxation. 
  3. Exercise regularly and include HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) one to two times a week.
  4. Eat the right fats.  Include a small amount of good fats at each meal and snack, eg. nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, olives, deep-sea fish, fish oils.
  5. Keep vitamin D levels adequate.  Include deep-sea fish, eggs, mushrooms (grown in sunlight). Expose skin daily to sunlight to boost your own production of Vitamin D. In Summer you’ll need less time in the sun because of the higher UV Index. This varies a little depending on location and season of the year.
  6. Reduce levels of inflammation by avoiding or greatly reducing refined processed carbohydrates, deep-fried foods, alcohol, caffeine, added sugars including artificial sweeteners. Choose green leafy vegetables, quality protein, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruit & vegetables, free-range eggs, herbs.
  7. Reduce risk factors – quit smoking & recreational drugs, reduce alcohol intake, include daily movement and exercise.         … Does any of this sound familiar? 

How To Lose Belly Fat

No amount of daily sit-ups will help you lose belly fat. Some lifestyle, exercise and dietary adjustments are necessary. Incorporate a few changes at a time so you are not overwhelmed. 

Exercise adjustments:

  1. Include HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) one to two times a week, for about 20 mins a session. Muscle tissue burns 3-5 times more energy than fat tissue. So as you gain muscle your metabolic rate increases, allowing you to burn more calories even while sleeping. Note: workout for short bursts of maximum intensity (eg. 30 sec) and rest in between these spurts for a similar time.
  2. Include weight (resistance) training. Perform your sets using the correct technique and at a slightly slower pace, squeezing & holding the abdominals taut during each set. Rest in between. Core-strengthening exercises like “planking” engages a wide group of muscles to improve overall strength. Push-ups are a great exercise to perform in sets of 20 throughout the day. We all need a break from sitting!

Dietary recommendations:

  1. Incorporate more protein in your diet if it is currently low, especially if you are doing weights regularly. We need good levels of quality protein to build more muscle.  Also protein has a higher Thermic Effect of Food. Protein burns about 5 times more calories than carbohydrates or fats.  So including extra protein and less carbs, means you will expend more energy & burn more body fat.
  2. Choose more organic, raw wholefoods containing fibre. This is better for the bowels and will help you feel fuller for longer.
  3. Cut out or reduce processed refined foods that deplete the body of energy.
  4. Add small serves of good fats throughout the day, eg. avocado, nuts & seeds, coconut oil, olive oil, green leafy veg, fish, fish oils. Avoid trans fats.
  5. Greatly reduce alcohol or avoid altogether.
  6. Add probiotics daily to make your tummy balanced, healthy and happy.
  7. Add a serve of fermented foods daily: eg. yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, lassi. Anything that makes the tummy balanced and happy will help reduce bloat and fluid retention.
  8. Add 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar to a 1/2 glass of water once a day to increase your satiety and restore gut health.

Lifestyle suggestions:

  1. Reduce stress: cortisol is a fat-storing hormone that is produced in higher amounts under stress. Incorporate some daily relaxation or meditation (10-15 mins) to improve your sleep and recover your energy.
  2. Get some sunlight exposure each day and feel more grounded. This helps us sleep better at night. Take a walk outside during your lunch break.
  3. At night after dinner, dim the lights and reduce your exposure to blue lights and electronic devices an hour or so before bed. Both of these disrupt your natural melatonin production. This is the hormone that helps us wind down and sleep at night. If you’re wired, you’ll get tired! 

5 Lifestyle Changes that Could Prevent 80% of Heart Attacks

Adopt these 5 “low-risk” behaviours to help reduce your chances of heart attack:

  1. A healthy diet – eat freshly prepared wholefoods; avoid refined, processed choices.
  2. Being physically active – choose to exercise each day for at least 30 mins. Include a range of activities from weight training, to interval training (HIIT), to yoga/pilates and walking. Find something you enjoy!
  3. Healthy waist circumference – less than 92cm for men and 80cm for women.
  4. Low to moderate alcohol consumption.
  5. No smoking.

Do You Have the Guts?

Our gastrointestinal tract (GIT) or gut is essentially a complex ‘tube’ that runs from our mouth right through the body to the colon. It is responsible for a multitude of functions: digestion, hydration, maintaining immunity, nutrient absorption and eliminating toxins. If it is not functioning properly, not only can you experience a host of uncomfortable symptoms, like bloat, wind & constipation, but also it can compromise your mood, hormonal balance, energy and immunity.

Here are 3 Hot Tips for Restoring Great Gut Health:

  1. Refocus on food – increase your intake of bitter foods (lemons, limes, apple cider vinegar) to stimulate the secretion of digestive juices and ensure proper breakdown & absorption of food. Include pre-biotic foods such as bananas, leeks, garlic, onions & wholegrains – these all support the growth of good gut bacteria. Fresh garlic is a powerful antibacterial and antiseptic that can ward off unwanted pathogens.
  2. Go GREEN! – Include a daily handful or two of your favourite greens eg. spinach, watercress, kale, rocket etc. These all contain chlorophyll which alkalise the blood (reduce acidity & inflammation). Slippery elm powder, a natural fibre with no additives, can be added to your daily smoothie, to boost fibre and soothe & heal the digestive tract. 
  3. Add fermented foods – by including fermented foods daily, such as yogurt, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir, you will be increasing your supply of probiotics to boost your good gut bacteria. 


To Defeat Stress, Eat What’s Best!

Here are 5 great foods to help you de-stress:

  1. Avocado – rich in glutathione which blocks your gut from absorbing bad fats, that cause oxidative damage. Also high in folate, good fats and potassium to help stabilise blood pressure.
  2. Berries – contain high levels of a particular antioxidant (anthocyanin) which helps improve cognition and slows ageing.
  3. Red capsicum – contains almost double the amount of vitamin C, of an orange. This vitamin helps people recover from stress and heal more readily.
  4. Salmon – the omega-3’s in this fish help to reduce levels of anxiety quite significantly.
  5. Spinach – contains high amounts of magnesium. Low levels of magnesium increase our risk of depression. Magnesium and folate in spinach will help you keep your head on straight when stressors come knocking!

Cholesterol-Lowering Foods

Cholesterol is a white, insoluble, waxy substance that is manufactured in your liver. 

Your body needs cholesterol for many vital metabolic processes, such as making hormones, producing vitamin D, producing bile acids to help digest fat, etc. When people regularly consume foods high in saturated fats (Salami, sausages, processed meats, deep-fried foods, etc), their livers manufacture more cholesterol. This impacts upon their total blood cholesterol levels and throws out their ratio of good to bad cholesterol. LDL’s (low density lipoproteins) represents bad cholesterol, which can result in hardening of the arteries. HDL’s (high density lipoproteins) is good cholesterol which helps remove excess cholesterol out of the cells and arteries.

Many foods can help to lower cholesterol:

  1. Fresh fruit & vegetables – provide soluble fibre that blocks the absorption of dietary cholesterol from the intestine. Good choices are bananas, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, artichokes, carrots, apples, alfalfa sprouts.
  2. Fish & fish oil – contain dietary fats that lower triglycerides in the blood and reduce blood pressure, while boosting the levels of HDL’s.
  3. Beans & legumes  – contain a water-soluble fibre (pectin) that binds cholesterol and shifts it out of the body. Good choices are kidney, lima, & soybeans, peas, chickpeas & lentils.
  4. Oats – provide soluble fibre that reduces the absorption of cholesterol. Brown rice, quinoa & barley have a similar effect, to a lesser extent.
  5. Soy products – contain isoflavones, and fibre that lower total cholesterol. Good choices are soymilk, tofu, edamame.
  6. Tannins in tea and compounds in green tea (catechins) lower LDL’s and stop the build up of cholesterol on artery walls.

Are You on Toxic Overload?

Every day we are subjected to many thousands of chemicals and toxic compounds in our environment. Adding to this burden are our internal toxins, many of which originate from an unhealthy gut.

Further disruption may occur with poor dietary and lifestyle choices & emotional stress, that may cause even more deterioration of the gut lining, resulting in “leaky gut”.

Warning signs may include: bloat, headaches, constipation & diarrhoea, fatigue, allergies & intolerances, insomnia, menstrual irregularities, low mood, irritability, sinus, poor concentration, etc.

These are signs that our body is on toxic overload and needs a spring clean. A customised, well-planned detox includes fresh organic fruit & vegetables, lean quality meats, fruit & nuts, healthy shakes, GF grains. You will be feeling revitalised and energised in no time! 

Switch Off Your Sugar Cravings!

Apart from alcohol and drugs, the next biggest addiction in the Western World is “sugar”. Refined sugar is a very powerful stimulant, which has a drug-like effect on the body, so people can develop a dependency on it.

What are sugars? 

Sugars belong to one of the major nutrient groups, called carbohydrates. This food group includes: fruit, vegetables, grains (cereals, breads, pasta, rice, oats, wheat, corn, rye, millet, flour-based products), wine, spirits, chocolate, honey & other sweeteners … etc. When eaten, they break down into glucose or fructose. A sugar craving can include a craving for sweet carbs (eg. chocolate, sweet biscuits, desserts) or savoury carbs (eg. bread, crackers, potato chips, hot chips).

Simple & Complex Carbohydrates

Simple, refined carbs are digested & absorbed more quickly because of their lower fibre content. This provides a quick energy boost, but can leave the person feeling flat and fatigued after it wears off. Often this energy deficit pushes the person to look for another ‘hit’ of sugar to provide yet another energy boost to help them through the day.

Complex carbohydrates breakdown more slowly and provide longer lasting energy and help to stabilise blood sugar levels, leaving the person more satisfied for longer. Sugar cravings are a thing of the past.

Our bodies are equipped to handle excesses of sugar for a short time only. When we consume large quantities of simple, refined sugars, the pancreas & liver are stressed and we suffer a ‘stress response’. Adrenalin is released during this ‘fight or flight’ response, causing an increase in insulin production (a fat-storing hormone) and thus initiating the laying-down of body fat. This would have benefited our ancestors who lived through periods of food scarcity, but for us it is dangerous as we never suffer the food shortage and therefore get to burn off our fat stores.

Switch off your sugar cravings!

Try the following:

  1. Reduce stress levels significantly (by incorporating exercise, relaxation, yoga breathing, meditation, soothing music …)
  2. Replace refined sugars with good quality proteins throughout the day with 1-2 serves of complex carbs (eg. oats, low GI rice, lentils, wholegrain bread). 
  3. Eat smaller meals with 1-2 snacks per day, so that you maintain a top up of protein at every opportunity. This stabilises blood sugar levels and can substantially reduce cravings within 1 week.

Secrets to Fat Loss

Four scientifically proven tips to losing fat & keeping it off: 

  1. Eat 3 meals & 2 snacks per day, every day. This boosts the “thermogenic” effect of food, which means once your food is digested, the energy produced is utilised in the fat-burning process. 
  2. Include “good fats” in small amounts with each meal, as they encourage fat burning and satisfy hunger quickly. Eg. choose from nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, salmon (deep-sea fish), turkey, chicken & pulses. 
  3. Eat protein with every meal & snack. In particular, start your day with a good serve of protein to burn more calories through the day. Eg. breakfast choices can come from sardines, eggs, nut butters on wholegrain toast or nuts/seeds added to rolled oats, and smoothies made from whey, soy or rice protein powders with yoghurt/fruit & ground seeds.
  4. Eat the right amount for you – based on your level of activity, age, etc – your body requires a minimum amount of calories to keep healthy, even if you are trying to lose body fat. Eg. if you don’t eat the right amount of good fats per day, muscle mass can waste.
  • Contact me today for your customised Summer Nutrition Plan on 0438 577 351, to lose body fat & keep it off for the long-term!