Are you a ping-pong ball or a bubble in the bath?

 A bit of science to start:

Each one of the cells that makes up your body has a membrane, that separates its insides from its outsides. Just like your skin. The fancy name for this membrane is the “Phospholipid bi-layer” or “Lipid bilayer”. This means two layers (bilayer) of fat (lipid). This is what keeps the innards in and outside stuff out.

This is why fat in our diet is essential. Each of our cells; brain cells (most importantly), skin cells, stomach lining cells, blood vessel cells, everything, is made of this. Without these fats, we don’t have enough building blocks for our membranes.

Bring in the metaphors

Imagine you’re building a house. The pallets of bricks have arrived. They all look the same. But there is one dodgy pallet. A cheap and nasty variety that has bricks that are an uneven size and shape, completely different to the other pallets. Would you build your house with them? Or send them back and get the same good quality bricks?

What about working on a team project? Everyone has the same idea, everyone is working cooperatively to hold the project together. Then there’s this one person. One person who doesn’t want to fit with the team, who wants to be different, who wants to hold their own shape. Don’t get me wrong, being unique is great. But sometimes we just need to fit in.

This non-team-player and those dodgy bricks, they are the trans fats of our cells. They let the whole process down with their poor quality, non-conformist shape.

 

How this affects your health

Transfats are a different shape to the healthy “phospholipids” that make up the bilayer that holds our cells together. Transfats straighten out due to the heat they are subjected to during processing. Healthy phospholipids are wiggly. The straight transfats make the membrane of the cell rigid. When they replace too many fat molecules in our cells, the cells become more like ping pong balls, holding their shape. They are stiff and rigid and not conducive to good health.

 

This is quite different to the normal and healthy fat molecules that make up our cells. They have wiggly tails and this makes our cells fluid and supple and they are able to conform to the shape they need to be. They are like bubbles in the bath.

The trouble is, our body doesn’t know the difference between the good quality and the bad quality. Our bodies are amazingly clever, but not so much in this case.These rigid-cell-forming lipids are then integrated into our cells changing the quality of our cell structure and it can’t be trusted to work to its optimum potential.

 

What do trans fats do? (The big picture)

Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, they increase your risk of developing heart disease and they are associated with type II diabetes. They cause inflammation, pain and general poor health.

 

What to look out for

Companies don’t want you to know their product contains trans fat, or you wouldn’t buy it would you? So trans fats like sugar and MSG are labelled as all sorts of weird and wonderful things. Here is a short list:

  • Partially hydrogenated [insert type of oil here] oil
    • It may be soybean, coconut, palm, etc.
  • Hydrogenated oil
  • Shortening
  • “Zero trans fats” – most likely a marketing lie that gets stamped on the front of the packet

Things you may buy, that won’t come with labels:

  • Any deep fried foods (chips, fish, doughnuts, etc.)
  • Baked goods/Bakery foods – cakes, biscuits, pastries, crackers
  • Flavoured or buttered popcorn
  • Margarine (comes with a label but should not be sold as ‘food’, probably should be sold at Bunnings as plastic)

In general, this means packaged, processed or fast food.

So you see, it’s not just the fat or sugar that’s in these products, it’s the type of fat that contributes to poor health in a far worse way that some people realise.

Heating oil with a low smoke point such as olive oil turns those oils into trans-fats too. Plant based oils such as olive, avocado, macadamia or hemp, should only be used fresh on salads or poured in after food has been taken off the heat.

 

How to avoid trans fats

Like any dietary advice, focussing on real, unprocessed, fresh foods is your best option. This includes fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, well-sourced meats and lots of filtered water.

If you must enter a bakery, fresher options such as a salad roll will be better for you. Just make sure you skip on the margarine. All fast foods chain stores are loaded with trans fats, so let’s be honest, it should only be a rare occurrence, if at all.

When doing the grocery shopping, avoiding supermarkets as much as possible helps. Meat from the butcher, fruit and veg from the local fruit and veg shop.

Snacks are a big source of trans-fat containing foods, so planning ahead with healthier snack options helps:

  • Vegetable sticks and home made dips
  • Bliss balls
  • Nuts, seeds and dried fruit (keep dried fruit minimal as it is high in sugar)

Cooking with oils with a higher smoke point which include:

  • Real butter
  • Ghee (butter with the milk solids taken out)
  • Coconut oil

And using plant based oils such as olive and hemp oil at room temperature only.

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My Top Cafes in Adelaide

Changing your diet and habits is always tough. When a practitioner advises, “I would like you to avoid gluten, dairy and refined sugar for the next six weeks,” it can mean big changes. Planning meals at home and changing the contents of the pantry is a good start.

Quite often eating at home is the easy bit though. Going out to eat is different. Living in the Riverland we are limited in our options for allergen friendly take away or eating out foods. That’s a blog for another day. Heading to Adelaide for holidays, shopping or visiting family is the other time where many of my patients find it difficult to stick to these changes.

It is for this reason; I have put together a list of my favourite 5 cafes around Adelaide, in no particular order. I have tried to supply my favourite places in different directions of the city, so no matter where you’re going, it’s not too far out of the way.


Nutrition Republic Goodwood

Nutrition Republic

Goodwood

It’s hard not to leave this place a little happier than when you walked in. Oh, and feeling a little healthier too.

The atmosphere is upbeat, everyone is friendly and the selection of breakfast, brunch, lunch and snack options includes something for everyone.

Everything on the menu is made with high-quality ingredients and many of them are organic. It’s also a place where you don’t have to worry about sneaky gluten or other allergens making their way into your food.

There is outdoor and indoor seating. While they are a busy little place, I’ve never had trouble finding a table.

Great for: breakfast, brunch, lunch, snacks, coffee, whenever

You have to try: Earth Bowls, there are three flavours and I love them all

Why go here: They will convince you that healthy food can also be delicious

#glutenfree #dairyfree #greatcoffee #organic #greatservice


Organic Market and Cafe Stirling

Stirling Organic Café and Market

Stirling

Always a hive of activity, this café (with a store out the back) is a little gem in the Adelaide Hills. They are constantly busy, so I have never experienced the personalised service of some of the other cafes in this list, but that doesn’t mean they are unfriendly.

To be honest I have mostly visited during wintery drives around the hills. It’s a nurturing place to stop for a soup and a nice hot coffee, but I’m sure it’s just as refreshing in Summer as it is cosy in Winter.

The menu is seasonal, so you’ll have to drop in and see what’s available. All food is prepared daily in the kitchen along with cakes, breads and pastries from local artisan kitchens.

Great for: lunch, coffee, dessert, snacks, shopping

You have to try: I can’t say…it changes ALL the time. But I did have a really nice ABC cake once. Almond, basil and citrus. I have recreated this many time at home. A delicious combination.

Why go here: The homely feel you get when you walk in. You can also peruse the store out the back

#local #wholefoods #artesian #glutenfree #dairyfree


Argo on the Parade

Argo on The Parade

Norwood

When I lived in Adelaide, this was a little post-yoga favourite with my cousin and I. Back then we always had bacon and eggs with avocado on sour dough. A recent trip while strictly gluten-free and dairy-free actually made me appreciate the extent of their menu. It was huge! Every dietary need is catered for with countless breakfasts, brunches and lunches; pages of smoothies and juices, a fridge with bliss balls, salads and more; non-dairy milk options for coffee; and a great philosophy to go with it. Make sure you read their background at the start of the menu.

Great for: breakfast, brunch, lunch, snacks, coffee, whenever!

You have to try: Sucré-Salé smoothie

Why go here: I have never seen a bigger selection of allergen friendly foods…actually I’ve never seen a bigger menu

#glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo #healthy #greatcoffee #wholefoods


The Cooks Pantry

A Cook’s Pantry

Grange

Down at Grange, this is a great little café perfectly positioned for some good eats, a coffee, then a walk along the beach.

The menu isn’t huge, but the delicious options still make it hard to choose. They have a focus on organic, local and fresh, just the way I like it! They use McWerriton Farm free-range eggs and Paris Creek biodynamic dairy products.

As well as the breakfasts and lunches, they have a great selection of juices and smoothies.

While not gluten-free, they do bake the bread themselves using organic flours, some with spelt. There are gluten-free options.

The other novel thing about the Cook’s Pantry is the cooking classes. While I’ll never had the opportunity to participate if they’re food philosophy (and taste!) is anything to go by, I imagine they’re pretty good.

The only down side is they’re not open Sundays, which is a crime for a café so close to the beach. I think they would do a great trade on Sundays, with people going for a leisurely Sunday stroll on the beach, but perhaps that’s just me!

Great for: Coffee, brunch, paired with a short walk to the beach

You have to try: Grilled Fig and Walnut Bread!

Why go here: It’s not far from the beach, so after your Fig and Walnut bread, green smoothie and a sneaky coffee, head down and ground yourself in Grange Beach

#local #organic #wholefoods

 


A Mother’s Milk

Unley

Again…when I lived in Adelaide…this was my local coffee place. A short walk from where I worked and great because the staff knew me. I didn’t have to order. My coffee guy knew.

Baked Eggs is my favourite breakfast item. Lunch time I can’t go past the Beetroot Salad.  When I brought a friend, I’d often convince them to go halvies in the figlets on sourdough. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is on the menu anymore. But Baked Eggs are. And you go here for the coffee as much as the food. These guys LOVE and appreciate their coffee and you can really taste the difference. It does get quite noisy during the busy times, so if you’re looking for a place for a conversation, find a table out the back or outside on the street.

Great for: Coffee, breakfast or lunch

You have to try: Baked Eggs

Why go here: If you’re not gluten free, the sour dough served with most meals is amazing!

#greatcoffee #greatservice #wholefoods

 

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Macronutrients for Kids

MacronutrientsNutrients are foods that we need for energy, growth and bodily functions. ‘Macro’ means large, so ‘macronutrients’ are needed in large amounts in our body. ‘Micro‘ means small. Micronutrients are required in small amounts in our body and they include vitamins and minerals.

Macronutrients include:

  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Carbohydrate

There are ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ types of each of these groups.

Many children are missing out on the protein and fat groups, particularly at breakfast time. Throughout the day they are also consuming more of the ‘unhealthy’ types than ‘healthy’ types, particularly when it comes to fat.

Protein…

…is essential for growing children. It is used for muscles, tendons, organs, skin, hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters (brain chemicals). With the running around, focusing and thinking, communicating and learning children do at school, adequate protein is hugely important to optimise their school performance. Increasing protein at breakfast time and in their lunchboxes is critical. The usual breakfast of cereal or toast, followed up by some fruit, then a vegemite sandwich at lunch won’t contain near sufficient protein for your child’s learning capabilities. Adding an egg to breakfast, some seeds (nuts when outside of school) or a container of dip such as hummus will make sure they start the day right. Eggs are a perfect snack and can be eaten whole, or made into patties, muffins or quiches that are bite size and perfect for lunch boxes.

Fat…

…is an essential macronutrient for brain and nervous system development. The types of fats that are in snack are foods are trans-fats or hydrogenated fats. These are the ‘unhealthy’ fats and can be found in biscuits (sweet and savoury!), snack foods, store bought cakes and muffins, chips, margarine, salad dressings,  and in high amounts in take away foods. Trans fats increase our risk of high cholesterol and heart disease, which many mistakenly believe doesn’t matter in kids as “they’re still young”. But with the rates of obesity rising, heart disease in children is also increasing. “Healthy” fats are generally unprocessed. Olive oil, coconut oil, oil from fish and plants such as avocado are all good for you.

Carbohydrates…

…are also best consumed in their most unprocessed form. The best type of carbs? Vegetables! 🙂 The worst type? Sugar 🙁  Processed cereals such as Nutri-grain, Coco-pops and Froot-loops, which are popular with the kids are extremely processed, contain large amount of sugar and minimal protein and fat. While Weet-bix is lower in the sugar count, it is unfortunately also unbalanced in macronutrient status. Mueslis containing nuts and seeds, eggs and wholemeal toast with toppings higher in fat and protein are much better alternatives at breakfast time.

Give it a try!

It does take some experimenting and trial and error due to the fussy nature of some children. But the long term health benefits and good habits beginning early most definitely do pay off. Not just in health but behaviour, academic performance and emotional stability.

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5 Ingredients In My Pantry

Sea salt, dulse and Nutritional Yeast

Sea salt, dulse and nutritional yeast

There’s a healthy eating secret that will help you lose weight, gain more energy, reduce digestive upsets and help you live longer. Seems too good to be true doesn’t it? It’s not.

Do you want to know the secret?

Eat real food. There’s an actual diet for that. It’s called the JERF diet. Just. Eat. Real. Food.

Here’s where people get confused though. You can only eat fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat and anything else that’s not packaged, processed or comes in a box. Confusing? “But if you don’t eat bread and cereal for breakfast, what do you have?” “But what do you have on your vegetables?” “Where does the flavour come from?” are some of the questions.

The problem with packaged and processed food is that it’s been enhanced, usually chemically. It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but big food companies do employ food scientists to make sure you eat lots of their food and you keep coming back for more. Often these foods will trigger parts of your brain that leave you wanting more, more, more! Because it “tastes” so good!

Switching to a real food diet, low in added sugar, salt, additives and preservatives can be hard. A big reason for this is because we’ve lost the art of flavouring our own food. Herbs and spices open up a whole new world when you begin to cook from scratch.

Now I could be here all day and just about fill an encyclopaedia (remember those big books before Google?) about all the herbs and spices and what to do with them. But for now I will share just 5 things that are in my pantry that I use to flavour my food.

These things do come in bottles and packets. However, I do try to source the most natural, most unprocessed forms.

 

Apple Cider Vinegar

If you read Bragg’s book about apple cider vinegar, it cures everything. I’m not making that claim but it’s pretty versatile. You can also read about ACV here.

What is it?

ACV is fermented apple juice. The sugar in the apples in converted to alcohol through fermentation. It is then converted to vinegar through a second fermentation process.

It is important to purchase a vinegar with the ‘mother’. A murky, cobwebby substance, usually floating on the bottom. This means the ACV hasn’t been pasturized, which destroys all the good enzymes present from the fermentation process. The ‘mother’ maintains the function and effectiveness of the vinegar.

What I use it for:

  • Dressings on salads rather than straight vinegar and definitely in place of packaged salad dressing.
  • Drinking as a tea when I’m sick. Mixed with some ginger, lemon and juice and honey, this is my go to drink for when I’ve got a cold
  • Adding to stocks and broth. When making your own broth (from marrow bones or chicken) you need to something acidic to draw the minerals out of the bone. About a tablespoon (or a big splash) is all that’s needed.

What you can use it for:

Everything mentioned above. You can also add it to you bath for detoxing,

 

A good quality sea salt

I’ve used them all: Himalayan, Celtic, Peruvian, Murray River, and more. Lately I have been tending towards the Murrary River Pink salt. This is based on a few different factors but mostly ‘food miles’ which should be a big factor in any food you consume. ‘Food miles’ relate to the distance your food has travelled from its source to your plate. The costs involved in transporting food across the planet might work out well for large companies, but for the Earth it’s costly.

But back to the salt…

What is it?

Well we all know what salt is, but why are these different? Salt in its natural form contains many minerals essential for our health. Processed ‘table salt’ has had these natural minerals stripped. It’s often bleached and then has chemicals such as anti-caking agents added to make sure it stays nice in the packaging.

Traditionally salt is obviously used to flavour things and it’s also a great preservative. We have been warned against salt because of conditions such as high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease. Like sugar, highly processed diets are high in salt because so much is added to make the food taste ok. When preparing your own food, you are in control of how much you add, which means you won’t be consuming as much.

What I use it for:

  • I sprinkle a little to flavor my veggies
  • Any recipe that calls for salt
  • When exercising I will add a tiny amount to my water for extra electrolytes

What you can use it for:

The same thing as always: flavouring your food. Just remember to find a good quality unprocessed salt, use minimal amounts and experiment with other ways to flavour your food, such as herbs and spices and the next couple of products described below.

 

Dulse

This is something that’s been in my cupboard for years, but I’m really only just getting into it. It has been recommended to me for two reasons. Firstly because I am an O blood type and dulse is beneficial for Os. It’s neutral for all other types, so don’t worry if you don’t know what your type is. Also in Ayurvedic medicine is beneficial for those with a Vata dosha. There are many online ‘find your dosha’ quizzes. The best way is to visit an Ayurvedic practitioner. But if that’s not your thing here is the first website I ever used to find mine: https://store.chopra.com/dosha-quiz

Back to dulse…

What is it?

It’s a red seaweed. Like many of these flavourings I am suggesting, it’s packed full of minerals. Lots of B vitamins, Vitamin A, C and E and lots of minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. Like other sea vegetables it contains iodine which is essential for thyroid and hormone health and lacking in many of our diets. Sea vegetables also contain more bioavailable minerals, meaning they are easier for our bodies to absorb. And dulse is highly alkaline, another important factor in our overall health. Who wouldn’t eat dulse with all those benefits!?

What I use it for:

As I said, I’m really only just getting into it now. I add it to all my soups, stews and casseroles.

What you can use it for:

All things savoury: soups, stews and casseroles, stir fries, miso soup and you can also use it like a ‘salt’ for flavouring dishes like pasta.

 

Nutritional Yeast

Another Bragg’s product, Nutritional Yeast has been condemned for being a ‘yeast’, thought by some to worsen symptoms such as yeast overgrowth (also known as candida) in our body. Good news is though; this is a totally different form.

What is it?

Nutritional Yeast is different from Brewer’s Yeast (a by-product from the brewing industry, but still high in B vitamins) and Torula Yeast (grown on wood pulp). Nutritional Yeast is grown on beet and cane molasses. The yeast is an organism that feeds on sugar. Through this process it manufactures its own amino acids (building blocks for protein) and vitamins, which is what makes it so healthy for us to consume. It is harvested, washed, cleaned, dried and packaged up.

Nutritional Yeast has a full spectrum of B vitamins which are essential in times of stress, for energy, brain function, digestion and many other roles in the body. It is also very high in protein, chromium which is essential for controlling blood sugars and rich source of phosphorus.

What I use it for:

Much the same as the dulse. I use it in all my soups, stews and casseroles as an addition to or instead of salt.

What you can use it for:

It’s a great replacement for salt, if that’s what you’re looking for. It can be used to flavour gravies and sauces, on salads, to ‘salt’ your popcorn or sprinkled on veggies. I’ve even seen it listed in recipes for smoothies!

 

Hemp Oil

*This information is only for those living outside Australia. Hemp products are not for human consumption in Australia. However, if you live anywhere but Australia it is perfectly fine. As shown on the Hemp Foods Australia Website:

Hemp Oil is another recent addition to my repertoire. It contains a ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 of 3:1 which is a healthier ratio than many processed foods which can 20:1. Omega 3 has been touted as the best oil, but that is because our diets have been so rich in Omega 6, we needed more 3 to balance it out. The truth is Omega 6 is also important. We need these ‘good fats’ for many functions in the body including for our immune system, cardiovascular system, the health of our cells, counteracting the signs of aging and for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Hemp Seed Oil is manufactured from cold-pressing hemp seeds. It is then bottled and sent around the world for consumption, except in Australia and New Zealand where it is only for cosmetic purposes.

What I use it for:

Cosmetic purposes of course, but say I lived in another country…

I would add it to my salads and vegetables for increased fat. We need fat in our diets for the reasons listed above, but also because that’s what sends messages to our brain that tells us we’re full. Fat is also used as slower burning ‘fuel’ for our bodies.

What you can use it for:

If you live outside Australia…

In much the same way olive oil is used. It can be added to pastas, salad dressings, smoothies, shakes and vegetables. It is not recommended for heating (just like olive oil) as the heating process destroys the properties of the oil. You can however, add it after foods have been cooked.

In Australia, Hemp Seed Oil is also good for massage oils, lip balms, soaps, moisturizer and hair conditioner.

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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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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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