See why my diet hasn’t always been perfect…and still isn’t

Catherine  (9)

When I speak to patients about their diet, there is often an assumption that my diet is perfect and that it must have always been like that. The truth is I started out where most of you are starting out in your health journey. I was lucky to have lots of positive influences around me to steer me in the right direction, just like I would love to do with each one of you!

While your diet and lifestyle will always be a work in progress, it’s sometimes good to take a look back and see how far you have come.

This is my story…

 

My childhood diet

When I was young, my standard diet was the accepted norm at the time: Corn Flakes or Weetbix for breakfast, a muesli bar and maybe a piece of fruit for morning tea, a sandwich made with white bread for lunch with either fritz and sauce or lettuce and cucumber, then boiled vegetables and a piece of meat for dinner.

As I got older

In my university days, when I could do the shopping and choose the food it changed a bit, for the worse! Breakfast would be a coffee or a Farmer’s Union iced coffee, white bread toast and promite or honey, or cereal which would usually be Froot Loops or Nutri-Grain, but when I was being “healthy” I would go back to my childhood and have Weetbix. The Weetbix tasted horrible so there was always one or two teaspoons of sugar on top, then a little bit poured down the side so I would get a little sweetness to finish. (I was a complete sugar addict…still recovering) Sometimes when I was splashing out I would buy croissants and have them with jam or ham and cheese.

Lunch was often leftovers from the night before. If I didn’t have anything leftover, sausage rolls with sauce were a favourite, a chicken schnitzel burger from the café at uni or sometimes flavoured rice cakes. Dinner was still vegetables and meat, stir fries with store-bought sauce (lots of added sugar), steaks and boiled vegies and often a big bowl of pasta with sauce from a jar (salt, sugar and preservatives). But too often there would be McDonalds’, KFC, hot chips from down the road and sometimes pizza.

I would go through litres and litres of milk a week just on my own, sometimes three or four litres. I would also go through litres of juice. Although I always drank plenty of water.

If that diet wasn’t bad enough, it was the things in between meals. I loved microwave popcorn. Chocolate has always been a favourite. A large packet of Arnott’s cream assorted was always in the cupboard. My favourite thing to bake was chocolate brownies. And they tasted best which big lumps of melted white chocolate. Did I say I was a sugar addict!

When was the moment I realised it wasn’t working for me?

There was no particular moment when I thought, “this isn’t working,” nor was there a health crisis that made me take a good, hard look at myself, but a series of small changes that happened over the years. I always knew fruit and vegies were important, but I didn’t realise how bad all the other stuff was. Two girls I shared a house with during uni actually didn’t consume any gluten or lactose. I thought that was because it would make them sick. I didn’t realise it was a choice.

In fifth year uni I saw a chiropractor (Hi Trev!) who gave me lots of little bits of information, which fats were best to cook with, why so many carbohydrates were bad for me and why my adrenal gland wasn’t working. I was tired all the time (something the GP put down to not enough exercise), I kept getting coughs and colds and worst of all, constant headaches and migraines.

In the following years, doing various extra courses after uni and speaking to different practitioners I have picked up other bits and pieces. I reduced my bread intake, I limited my sugar a little bit, I reduced my fast food, but still my diet was nowhere near perfect.

What are my diet philosophies/principles now?

Shireen, who I worked with in Adelaide, was a big influence in really cleaning up my diet. She introduced me to green smoothies about five years ago and particularly in summer, I start many mornings with different smoothie combinations. I avoid gluten which involved taking out bread, swapping oat porridge to quinoa porridge and reducing pasta, going for the gluten free pasta or even better, making zucchini pasta.

The only dairy I have now is in a bit of butter or in my coffee. I only have one or two coffees a week, which are always good quality, with well sourced beans. My sugar has been severely limited which includes limiting fruit, although the peaches this year have been amazing! When living in Adelaide our shopping was done at an organic fruit and veg shop (organic is something I’m yet to source consistently in the Riverland), a butcher for the meat and only a few things come from the supermarket. We are having more meat free days, instead getting our protein from more vegetables.

Coffee Green Smoothie Protein Slice

 

I don’t follow any particular diet or method. I have tinkered with Gluten free/Casein free, carbohydrate limiting diets, sugar free, raw food and paleo (caveman diet).

My personal philosophy is real food. Everything is made from scratch and in its most natural form. No packets, no jars, no boxes, no plastic. Just wholesome, healthy real food just as my great grandmother would recognise it.

As you can see, it has been a real gradual process. You can implement small changes over time, which will add up in the long run.

Share below in the comments one change that you can make today and commit to that will improve your health in the long run.

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Let’s all get back into broth

In the last couple of years, a staple in my freezer has been the old age remedy of bone broth. This is particularly good in winter time when most of us are craving warming foods such as soups and stews. But can also be used as a base for many recipes.
Grandma’s theory of broths and chicken soup for a cold definitely had some basis to it. Broths contain many essential vitamins and minerals. It is a nutrient-dense food source. Gelatin which is present in broth is gaining popularity for healing the digestive system. And with the high levels of food intolerances and digestive upsets, this is becoming increasingly important. Irritants to the digestive system such as gluten or parasites (worms) tend to make the gut ‘leaky’ which means proteins and substances move through the intestinal lining which they shouldn’t do as this causes the immune system to mount a response, which leads to further food intolerances and sensitivities. The digestive system also has been estimated to hold as much as 80% of our immune system.
Gelatin contains three amino acids (amino acids are essential to our health as they are the building blocks for protein) glycine, proline and hydroxyproline, these make connective tissue which can help to repair the ‘holes’ in the intestines. The gelatin is in the cartilage, tendons and ligaments of the bones which are cooked up into broth.

How to make broth

Buy some broth or marrow bones from your local butcher. They are quite cheap. I paid $5 for a large bone that also needed a hacksaw to fit it in my biggest saucepan. Alternatively, you can use leftover fish bones or a chicken carcass.

Bone Broth

Make sure the bones are covered completely by the water

Fill the pot with water and add a few tablespoons of vinegar. This is optional but recommended to draw the minerals from the bones.

After a few hours the fat will start rising to the top

After a few hours the fat will start rising to the top

Simmer very gently for a long time. This is where a big slow cooker comes in handy.

  • Fish only need around 2 hours.
  • Chicken around 6-8
  • Beef 12-24 hours

Skim off any of the scum that floats to the top.

When the broth is done, remove the bones and strain the mixture through a colander.

Allow to cool before putting into jars and into storage

Allow to cool before putting into jars and into storage

Place in a bowl to cool overnight. The fat will rise to the top and solidify.

Once cooled, the fat will solidify at the top

Once cooled, the fat will solidify at the top

Divide into jars for storage, firstly cooling to room temperature, then refrigerating, and then freezing if you would like. You can choose to keep the layer of fat on top and return to the liquid, or discard it. As the myth regarding the evils of fat has been busted, I recommend keeping it for flavour and sustained energy from the meal you eventually create with your broth

Once the fat has been taken away, you will see the jelly-like consistency of the broth

Once the fat has been taken away, you will see the jelly-like consistency of the broth

What to do with it

You can use your broth in place of stock in any recipe. It makes an excellent base for soups and stews. You can actually drink it on it’s own as well. I add a little bit to everything, even as a bit of extra liquid in stir fries.

Who would benefit from drinking bone broth?

The short answer is everyone!

But more specifically, anyone with any kind of digestive system complaint or immune system deficiency. Children who are fussy eaters would benefit greatly as they can choose their own vegetables and even if it is just carrot and peas added, you know that they’re getting a good dose of essential vitamins and minerals anyway.

It is also of benefit after any infection, particularly stomach bugs, as it will heal and repair the digestive system lining.

For general health and wellbeing it is a great way to add nutrients to your meals.

Why is Bone Broth so good

  1. Good for the immune system.
  2. Rich in minerals: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals
  3. Great for arthritis and joint pain. It contains glucosamine and chondroitin which are often taken as supplements in the older population. These nutrients help restore and maintain arthritic joints.
  4. Helps restore your gut. Bone broths help to repair the intestinal mucosa (the lining of the digestive system). The mucosa is important in the integrity of the digestive system, which can stop conditions such as ‘leaky gut’ syndrome.
  5. Contains amino acids such as proline and glycine which make up proteins. Proline is a non-essential amino acid but is a precursor to collagen. Glycine is also non-essential but was shown in one Japanese study to improve sleep quality.
  6. Contains gelatin and collagen which are good for:
    • Bone and joint healing
    • Helps support health connective tissue
    • Strong fingernails and hair
    • May reduce stress induced stomach ulcers

 

 

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Spinach Crepes

 

Finished product - spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

Finished product – spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

Like everything there are many conflicting stories about how to cook your vegetables.

  • They should be eaten raw to get maximum nutrients
  • They should be lightly steamed to get maximum nutrients
  • Boiling is fine as long as it’s not for too long
  • Greens should definitely be raw
  • Greens should definitely be cooked.

I’ll tell you what I know and with your own research and judgement, you can decide.

What makes green vegetables green is the chlorophyll component. This is also the part that takes the energy from the sun, to pass onto us through food. This chlorophyll is very similar to our blood. So similar that there is only one molecule of difference, which is, we have iron in the centre and plants have magnesium. This is one of main reasons green vegetables are so important.

Dr Joel Fuhrman presented a lecture for the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and explained about the structure of the plant cell. Inside the cell wall is something called “myrosinase” and inside the actual cell is “glucosinolates”. When these two enzymes combine they have powerful anticancer properties, BUT they must be combined before heating, or the enzyme is denatured (doesn’t work!).

So how do they get combined? If you eat raw it is through chewing. The more you chew, the more they are mixed, the more powerful their effects. If you want to add your greens to soups and stews, the best option is to blend them first. Blending and breaking up of the cell wall releases these enzymes, allows them to combine, then you are free to cook them.

Myrosinase-Glucosinolate System

Image courtesy of Joel Fuhrman

 

Spinach Crepes

I came across this crepe recipe a while ago and thought it would be prefect with the Broccoli and Mango salad I had once on a 3 day raw food detox. (The detox was actually 21 days, I only lasted 3!) I was quite surprised how delicious raw broccoli and mango are together.

These crepes fit perfectly with the theory that blending your greens before eating is a great way to maximise their benefits. It’s also a good way to get more vegetables into the kids. Even more handy if your child’s favourite colour is green. I think I may try these with shredded beetroot too, for pink or red crepes.

These ratios should feed 2-3 people depending on how hungry you are!

For the crepes you will need:

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 1/3 cup of milk (almond, soy, dairy)
  • 1 cup flour (I used spelt flour, but you can use wheat if you wish, or gluten free)

For the salad you will need

  • 1 Mango
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 1 small avocado
  • A few chopped dates (optional)

As I was cooking in a stainless steel frying pan, I began by filling pan with water and putting it on the stove on high. (More about this another day).

Boiling water in a stainless steel pan apparently fills the pores with water, stopping your food from sticking

Boiling water in a stainless steel pan apparently fills the pores with water, stopping food from sticking

In a high speed blender (Thermomix, Nutribullet, etc.), blend up the spinach and milk.

Transfer to a bowl or jug and mix through the flour.

I used spelt flour as it's easier to digest

I used spelt flour as it’s easier to digest

Pour the water from your frying pan and place on low heat. I used the smallest flame on the smallest.

Coat the frying pan with your choice of oil: butter, ghee or coconut oil are my choices. I used butter. Because I love butter. Good quality, grass fed, organic butter.

Pour in the mixture to cover half the bottom of the frying pan, then move the frying pan around to spread the crepe mixture so it is a thin crepe (not a fat pancake).

Fill to the size of the pan, or slightly smaller

Fill to the size of the pan, or slightly smaller

Repeat for the remainder of the mixture.

Finely chop the broccoli, slice the mango into cubes and chop the avocado in any way you wish. If you are using dates, finely chop them. Mix everything together in a bowl.

Spinach Crepes Recipe (4)  Spinach Crepes Recipe (5)

Spinach Crepes Recipe (6)

When your all crepes are done, add a small amount of the salad and roll like a pancake.

Best eaten fresh while the crepes are warm.

 

Finished product - spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

Finished product – spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

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Why is Apple Cider Vinegar Better than White Vinegar?

Many mornings, particular in winter I begin my day with a cup of tea. Not black tea or herbal tea, but apple cider vinegar tea, sweetened with raw honey. ACV is one of the oldest antibacterial agents known to man. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, has been credited with its first use back in 400BC when he used it with his patients for a range of ailments.

ACV is different from the beautifully ‘clean’ and translucent range of vinegars that you will see on supermarket shelves. These clear vinegars have been heated, treated and processed which robs them of the natural health benefits. Raw, unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar is unprocessed, which allows the retention of the health benefits such as enzyme function and antibacterial properties. A good ACV can easily be recognised by its opacity, which is created by the “mother”, a cobwebby like substance that preserves the strength and effectiveness of the vinegar.

So what can you use apple cider vinegar for?

Everything apparently. According to Paul and Patricia Bragg’s book Apple Cider Vinegar – Miracle Health System, it can be used for just about anything. In their book, they list a broad range of health benefits from this amazing liquid.

Putting the information in their book together with my prior knowledge, it seems that many of these conditions are alleviated by correcting the pH of the body, which is a huge factor in many health conditions. ACV works by correcting the pH in the stomach and on the skin if used topically, which balances the whole body. (An acidic body over time “corrodes” body tissues and may lead to disease in all systems.)

Natural treatment for indigestion and heartburn

This is the most common reason I suggest ACV. In the Bragg ACV book they explain that swishing ACV in the mouth before meals will stimulate digestive enzymes. Also, many cases of indigestion, heartburn, reflux, gas and bloating are caused by low rather than too high stomach acid. The ACV helps to relieve painful indigestion by helping with the digestive process.

Pharmaceutical reflux medications can have unwanted side-effects such as weight gain, constipation and/or malabsorption syndromes, due to the stomach acid being completely neutralised. Beginning a routine of ACV tea before meals and slowly reducing reflux medication can have immense health benefits. Eliminating potential and suspected food intolerances can make significant improvements in reflux, heartburn and indigestion too.

It may help in weight loss and lowering cholesterol

ACV contains acetic acid, which was found in a Japanese study to aid in decreases in weight, BMI, visceral fat (fat around the abdominal organs), serum triglycerides and waist circumference.

It can make your skin look healthier and more youthful

The pH level of your skin aids in the detoxification process. ACV vinegar helps to normalise this pH level, assisting in detox (see facial treatment below)

Lowering blood sugar levels in Type II Diabetes

In a study published in Diabetes Care people were divided into 3 groups: diabetes, pre-diabetes and normal blood sugar levels. The vinegar was found to increase insulin sensitivity:

  • All three groups had improve blood glucose readings
  • Participants with diabetes improved their blood glucose levels by 25%
  • Participants with pre-diabetic symptoms cut their blood sugar readings by half

Burning and itching of sores, hives, allergic reactions, insect bites

Using apple cider vinegar on any sort of allergy or bite will also relieve the itching, burning and pain usually associated.

Natural relief for fungal and yeast infections, bladder and kidney infection

Athletes foot, jock itch, nappy rash, thrush and the burning and itching caused by urinary tract infections can all be relieved by a dilution of ACV and water. Adding a cup of ACV to a low, warm bath can also help.

Alternative hair rinse

The pH level of ACV is apparently close to that of your hair. It is a popular rinse with many of those who prefer the more natural hair care treatments.

ACV is rich in potassium which is essential for every cell in your body to function. Potassium deficiency can be attributed to:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Dizziness
  • Senility
  • Morning headaches
  • Tired eyes that won’t focus
  • Poor circulation
  • High blood pressure

Other possible health issues remedied by ACV:

  • Mucus
  • Cancer
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Nose bleeds
  • Burns
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle cramps,
  • Detoxification
  • Headaches
  • Gallstones (Bragg’s have a 2 day gall bladder flush to help reduce stones)

Apple Cider Vinegar Tea

  1. Pour 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup and add ½-1 teaspoon of honey
  2. Half fill with room temperature or warm water*
  3. Top up with boiling water and sip slowly

*It is important not to put boiling water on honey. The heat can destroy the enzymes responsible for its healing properties. Honey should also never be ‘melted’ in the microwave or boiled. If your honey has crystallised, place the jar in a saucepan of water and heat very slowly.

Apple Cider Vinegar Facial

1. Rinse face with warm water

2. Apply a wrung-out, hot water soaked cloth to the face for 3 minute 3. Soak a thin cloth in an ACV mix (1 tbsp ACV to 1 cup water) and apply this to the face. Cover with another wrung out hot soaked cloth 4. Lay down for 10 minutes with feet elevated (couch, up the wall, bed etc.) this will increase circulation and promote lymphatic drainage 5. After 10 minutes, remove cloths and use a course towel or small face loofah and rub upwards on face. This will remove all the dead skin cells that have been soaking.

According to Paul and Patricia Bragg: “Your skin will look more youthful and will shine like a polished apple with a joyous new life.”

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Fish Curry

Today is a little bit humid. It’s warm, warm enough for shorts and a singlet. But it rained a little while ago.

I’ve been craving coconut milk or cream. I wanted to have a coconut chia pudding for breakfast this morning, but didn’t get myself sorted early enough last night to make it. That recipe will come another day. So I satisfied my coconut cream/milk craving, while using left over fish from last nights dinner, and whipped up this simple fish curry.

I didn’t have all of the ingredients, but it turned out perfectly fine. And as I sit here with my empty bowl beside me, I feel like I could be in some tropical location. Most likely Bali, Malaysia or Thailand. Somewhere with humidity, coconuts and fish.

I will give you the recipe I used, as well as the other ingredients I didn’t have on hand.

Ingredients

  • 4 white fish fillets (I used Coorong Mullet, because that’s what we had)
  • 1 can coconut cream
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chilli
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (I used a full teaspoon. Turmeric is SO good for you)
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2 tsp coconut oil for frying

Optional (ingredients I didn’t have)

  • 1 1/2 cups of fish stock
  • 2 stalks of lemon grass
  • Splash of fish sauce
  • Finely sliced spring onions

What to do:

  1. Heat coconut oil in pan
  2. Add crushed ginger and garlic, and sliced onion
  3. Once cooked through, add chilli and turmeric
  4. Pour in can of coconut cream and fish stock if you are using it. (As I didn’t have the fish stock, I used Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast with a little bit of water). Add stalks of lemon grass
  5. Bring to the boil and simmer until it has thickened
  6. Add fish fillets
  7. Stir until fish is cooked through
  8. Remove lemon grass and discard. Place fish on bed of rice
  9. If you have fish sauce and spring onions, add at this point, stir and then pour sauce over fish and bed of rice
  10. Serve with steamed greens or just on it’s own!

Sorry I didn’t get a before photo. I ate it too quick!

iPhone 5S 1374

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What does your body actually need to heal and achieve full health?

In a recent Institute for Integrative Nutrition module, we were asked the following question:

“Joshua explains that, given half a chance, the body will heal itself. Why do you think this is the case? Why is it more effective to let clients find their own way to their truth instead of being guided step-by-step? Have you experienced self-healing of any kind? Please share below!”

A big part of the chiropractic philosophy is that the body is a self-healing, self-regulating system. This is a significant point to understand if you want to achieve health. You have all the tools and capabilities RIGHT now to be healthy. So what’s stopping that?

Our body wants us to be well. Our body is designed to be well. It’s when it doesn’t have access to all the necessary tools such as rest, vitamins and healthy relationships (just to name a few!) that it breaks down.

For example, your body isn’t designed to get a cold. It’s designed to fight a cold. When you come into contact with bacteria, your body’s immune system kicks into action to find that bacteria, capture it, destroy it and remember it for next time. All before you have a chance to cough. So why sometimes does that cold or flu take hold? Why do we end up with symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, green phlegm and a cough? It’s because the body doesn’t have what it needs.

What does it need?

Well that depends on the person. In my case I need rest. The only time I get sick is when I’m working too much and not getting enough sleep. My body might feel tired for a few days or a few weeks beforehand, and if I don’t listen to these subtle cues, then it says, “Ok, you’re not listening. I’m going to force you to rest!” And BAM! My muscles ache, I have a headache, I literally can’t stay awake and I rest.

The truth is (confession time!) I don’t mind being sick. Two reasons: I get to rest. Yay! Who doesn’t love staying in bed all day? And two: It means my body is working. It’s fighting off and processing whatever it needs to process. I do support my body. It gets extra vitamins, sometimes some olive leaf extract, vitamin C, lots of ginger, lemon and honey water, a chiropractic adjustment, some NET, but most of all rest. Because I know that’s what was lacking for me to get myself into that position in the first place.

This isn’t just the case with colds and flus. We are not designed to get cancer. It’s not “luck of the draw”. Cancer cells proliferate when given the opportunity. Or when our body isn’t working too its full potential and misses something. Headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, joint pains, heart disease and more are all examples of things that can “go wrong” in our body.

What is the prescription for optimal health?

  • Nutritious food
  • Good relationships
  • Sunshine
  • Exercise
  • Laughter
  • Music
  • Rest and relaxation
  • And more!
  • Whatever it is that your body needs

When you ask yourself, “What does my body need in order to heal?” what answer do you find?

What can hinder this healing?

The truth is, some people don’t want to get better. Without their illness or complaint, subconsciously they believe there would be an emptiness, nothing to talk about, nothing to define them. Finding the cause of this is a big part of the healing process for some people. Particularly with chronic conditions.

Having an answer come from within is more powerful for healing than if the answer came from outside the body (someone telling you what to do). Letting my patients realise from within, but still guiding them and being part of that epiphanic (I think I made that word up) process, means the changes are going to be more permanent or if not permanent at least more effective.

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Recipe – Lemon Bliss Balls

Lemon Bliss Balls

I made these Lemon Bliss Balls to share with people at the first Riverland Health and Wellbeing Festival. Everybody LOVED them. Even those who looked hesitant when we told them there was no added sugar. No sugar doesn’t have to mean no taste!

These balls are perfect for mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks. You can swap almonds for sunflower, pumpkin or flax seeds for a nut-free version.

The ratios of ingredients are only rough estimates. When making these kind of things I stand in front of my thermomix with the pantry and fridge doors open and just add whatever I see. So feel free to alter the ratios to suit your taste.

Try this for starters…

  • 1 cup activated almonds
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 7 medjool dates
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • Rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • Dessicated coconut for rolling them in

Mix all ingredients (except coconut) in a high speed blender or Thermomix until well combined.

Roll into balls, and then roll in coconut.

Store them in a sealed container in the fridge.

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Product of the Month – October – Superfoods for Kidz

Do you have fussy kids?

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Is dinner time a struggle when it comes to vegetables? Do you worry your children aren’t getting enough nutrients?

Nutraorganics has a perfect product for you. Superfoodz for Kidz is a variety of flavoured powders that can be added to any meal to boost the nutritional benefit. We tested some of the flavours (Choc Berry Chunk, Vital Veggie and C Berry Blast) at the Health & Wellbeing Festival and found there’s something for each child’s taste. These fruit and veggie powders can be added to Bliss Balls, muesli bars, home-made ice creams, slices, smoothies and wherever else you can imagine.

The powders are freeze-dried superfoods. Superfoods are foods that have been found to have a higher nutritional content than other foods. They have lots of antioxidants, naturally occurring vitamins and minerals (rather than being artificially fortified), phytonutrients and bioflavonoids.

Superfoods for Kidz are available in the clinic for purchase or order online here.

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Superfoods for Kidz is made by Nutraorganics, an Australian-owned, Australian-based company on the Gold Coast. They source only the best quality ingredients and local ingredients if possible.

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What type of salt should we be using?

A few months back, I had an email question from a friend regarding salt. I have included the email below and my response.

Pink Salt

Hi Catherine,

I was wondering if you have heard of this salt (see attached page [not included here]). What salt do you use?

Love Lizzy xoxo


Hi Liz!

I haven’t heard of this particular one. But it looks ok.

I use Himalayan sea salt, which I buy in bulk through a co-op. And because I lost my Himalayan Salt at the back of my pantry a while ago, I also bought some Peruvian Pink Salt (mostly because it looks good in the grinder!) Celtic sea salt is another really good alternative.

Salt like anything, should be minimally processed so that it contains a full spectrum of minerals and nutrients that are there naturally in nature. A bit like sugar. It makes it better for you (contributing to more minerals in your diet) and also can help your body process it more effectively. Because unrefined salt (and sugar) is what we’ve been eating for thousands of years, the body recognises it as “food” and knows what to do with it.

So keeping that in mind, table salt or anything really refined and white should be avoided. Once you’ve eaten real salt, the other stuff actually tastes chemical anyway. You also need to be aware of claims of “sea salt” because most likely all salt at some stage came from the sea. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been processed. They also may be treated with “anti-caking agents” to stop it from clumping in the container, which adds more chemicals that don’t need to be there.

Salt can be added in small amounts to any food. A tiny pinch can also be added to your water while exercising as it does contain micronutrients and minerals that may be used up during vigorous exercise.

Thanks for the question! Keep them coming.

Love Catherine xx

 

Like all foods, the less processed and the more like it’s original form it is, the better it will be. The body recognises food in it’s original form and utilises it best this way. That’s what we’ve been doing for thousands of years.

 

What kind of salt do you use? Share your comments and experiences below.

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Staying Healthy During the Crazy Christmas Season

Christmas is definitely the time that people go a little crazy. Lots of Christmas parties, so much to do so little time, school is ending, work is ending, planning holidays, worrying about where “Christmas” will be held this year, stress of family, it goes on and on. In stressful periods it’s often people’s diets that suffer first, despite a good diet being crucial for the body coping. Christmas is a particularly tough time for this too with all the get togethers with various yummy foods, more alcohol than normal and the need to let your hair down. So here are my top tips to stay at your best during the Christmas season.

  1. Drink water between drinks
    In normal circumstances you need one litre per 30 kilograms of body weight, or around 30mL per one kilo of body weight (depending who you ask). When you are drinking coffee you add two cups of water per one cup of coffee and when you are drinking alcohol it’s about the same. So adding a few glasses in between your drinks will make a real difference, not only the next morning but to your health overall. If drinking between drinks isn’t your thing, you can at least make sure you have had your water quota spaced out through the day before you pop that bottle.
  2. Eat more salad
    The more cooked a food is, the less nutrients or ‘life’ it has left in it. The more processed (packaged) a food is the less ‘life’ it has too. Health isn’t a matter of how many calories or how much food you’ve eaten. It’s the quality of what you’re eating. Salad is a good option for Christmas dinners due to our warmer Christmas weather. It’s healthier than oily roast vegetables and won’t leave you feeling fat, bloated and lethargic after your meal.
  3. Slow down
    Stop rushing through this Christmas time. Focus on what is important. And when it comes to that Christmas dinner, slow down too. Eating slowly means you will eat less. It also means you will enjoy your meal that little bit more. It gives your stomach time to produce acid and enzymes for digesting which will help avoid that bloated and full feeling
  4. Keep your body moving
    Now that we have avoided that full and bloated feeling you won’t be feeling like that afternoon nap you usually need after Christmas lunch. Jump up! Have a game of cricket, play with the kids or use their toys. Keep active and keep moving because it is proven that exercise gives you more energy.
  5. Express gratitude
    Taking time to be thankful does wonders for people’s mood. Be grateful for your family around you even if they’re a little crazy, at least they’re around. Be thankful for the food that is on your table and this may slow you down for even just a few seconds from gobbling it all up. It means that you can savour the experience and not rush through, because next thing you know it’s January…or February…and the fun is all over.
  6. Eat more protein
    Protein and fat (good fats) are the ideal fuel for our body. Too many carbohydrates cause our body’s to accumulate excess body fat and contribute to many health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and chronic pain. In the short term, carbohydrates give us an energy rush, not sustained energy which causes the body to crave more food, so we eat more often. This is your permission to gobble up that Christmas turkey, devour the roast lamb, hog the pork, tuck in to the beef, whatever you need to do to get more protein which will stop you from filling up on breads and other carbohydrate foods. Warning: This may cause a smaller dessert serving requirement.
  7. Fruit is a perfect dessert
    Although fruit does contain sugar it contains more nutrients and fibre along with the sweetness to finish off your meal. Swapping the trifle, pavlova or Christmas pudding for baked apples, berry sorbet or a variety of fresh fruit is a better option.
  8. Swap it
    1. Nuts instead of chips
      Putting a bowl of nuts on the table instead of potato chips provides a healthier option and with all the protein and good fats in nuts it might also limit Christmas lunch overload
    2. Butter instead of margarine
      Requires more time and space than I have here. Just know that butter is a real food, margarine is a chemical. Butter (if coming from grass fed, healthy sources) is good for you, margarine is not. Your body recognises the fat in butter and can put it to good use. Margarine is unrecognisable to the body and does lots of damage.
    3. Positive instead of negative
      See Christmas as a time for celebration whatever your beliefs. It is a time to spend with family. Time spent being grateful for what you have and for what has happened in the past year, then looking forward to the coming year. Try and see the positive in all that happens.
  9. Start on your new year’s resolutions
    If you ignore all my suggestions and still end up feeling fat, bloated and sorry after your Christmas dinner, this is the perfect time to start making resolutions if your health or weight is something you want to work on. And even if it’s not, now is the perfect time to start thinking, “What change do I want to make for 2014?” “What do I want more of?” or “What do I want less of?” Thinking about these things now gives you that little bit of extra time to think, plan and put into place your intentions for next year.
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