Friday, 23 March 2012

Changing Eating Behaviours to Promote Weight Loss

You can have all the information at your fingertips about weight loss but unless you are aware of you eating habits and behaviours, weight loss is just NOT going to happen! It is critical and essential to implement lifestyle and behavioural change to not only achieve your weight loss goals but MOST importantly….maintain it. 
For many people recognising their eating habits is the first step and also the hardest and don’t worry you are not alone in this! When you feel the urge to overeat, or go for that block of chocolate, stop and think to yourself, what has just happened in my day to make me do this?

If you’ve tried to change your eating habits before or if you’re about to embark on a weight loss journey that involves a change towards healthier eating, the tips in this article may help you succeed.

Step 1
Change your portion size: often you won’t actually realise how big your bowl of cereal is & how much you are really putting on your dinner plate. Once you recognise and are aware of your portion size & make changes accordingly you can go to step 2. Here are some tips
  • Use smaller plates than usual to serve your meals.
  • Eat out of a bowl.
  • Measure your food & have the recommended serve on the label
  • When eating out, buy entrĂ©e sized meals or share a full sized meal with your partner or friend.
  • Increase your water intake
  • Have good quality protein snacks in between main meals.
  • Eat slowly & chew thoroughly
  • If you cook too much, portion out the left overs into single serves in the fridge or freezer
Here are some ideas…..Obviously this is all dependant on many different factors, weight, height, gender, goals, health concerns, family history etc. etc. But here are a few examples
Changed to….
2 x cups of pasta with dinner
1 x cup of pasta with dinner
4 x pieces of toast
1 x piece of toast
6 x serves of fruit
1 x serve of fruit
500g red meat
150g red meat
Soft drink daily
Soft drink 1 x a week
4 x coffees
2 x coffees and 2 green teas
100g nuts
40g nuts
Step 2
Change what foods you are eating.
There are really simple ways to change what you are eating.  One of the reasons most people fail to stick to this step is because they are dramatic & try to change the types of foods they are eating & their portion sizes all at once in all aspects of their food intake.

Both step 1 and 2 are critical in order to achieve weight loss & maintenance in the long term but 1 part at a time! Which option you choose to take first is ultimately up to you. So, changing what you’re eating, it’s simple! Let’s start with a few basic swaps…
Changed to….
Baked or grilled
Juice/Soft drink
Side of chips
Side of Salad
Full fat dairy
Fat reduced dairy
White bread/rice etc.
Wholegrain bread/brown rice etc.
Salted, roasted nuts
Raw, unsalted nuts
Fruit in Syrup
Fresh whole fruit
These are just a few examples to get you started.

Here are some other helpful hints to help you change & recognise eating behaviours & help you achieve your weight loss goal
  • Set goals, track your progress, and reward yourself to stay motivated.
  • Change your reward system so that it is not based on food and reward behaviour modifications, not weight loss results, ie: a massage, shopping, favourite tv show etc.
  • Understand your personal barriers to change so you can avoid excuses.
·         Be ready for change & have a positive attitude.
·  If you are ready to change your eating behaviours and achieve your goal contact Sinead at

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Endometriosis, Dysmenorrhea and ways to combat them naturally

Endometriosis has been characterized by the presence of uterine tissue (endometrial glands and stroma) in areas other than the uterus, such as the pelvic floor or around the fallopian tubes and ovaries. It is an oestrogen sensitive condition however the painful menstrual cramping that occurs is predominantly due to prostaglandin (PG) synthesis in the body. The action of the PG3 is to increase uterine contractions, whereas PG2 promotes relaxation and anti-inflammatory actions. Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation) is a common symptom of endometriosis. It can be debilitating and psychologically taxing for many women, and can be divided into 2 broad categories: primary and secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea occurs in the absence of pelvic pathology, whereas secondary dysmenorrhea results from identifiable organic diseases.

Omega-3 fatty acid can stimulate uterine relaxation and a decrease in saturated fatty acids can reduced the PG3 which are pro-inflammatory, being produced, as well as lower serum oestrogen levels. By increasing flaxseed oil, avocados, sunflower seeds fish and fish oils in Sandra's diet we can promote the PG2 synthesis.  Other anti-inflammatory phytochemicals that also reduce PG3 synthesis include, bromelain, quercetin and cucurmin . Thus increasing foods such as pineapple (which contains bromelain) , even turmeric (which contains curcumin) in cooking is a simple way to increase these anti-inflammatory responses. Onions would be a great inclusion into your diet. Quercetin is also found in green tea thus increasing your intake would be greatly beneficial.

A dietary change that could be made to reduce dysmenorrhea is increasing dietary fibre. Not only does this help with good digestion, but it is also thought that a diet high in fibre can decrease total circulating oestrogens by excretion. It has been recommended to consume 25 grams of dietary fibre per day. Increasing foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, brown rice and oats maybe also be very beneficial. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Heart Health

Cardiovascular disease continues to be one of the leading causes of death in Australia. If it doesn’t affect you, it affects someone know. It can be very common in you families medical history, so here is few strategies to help reduce your chances of being affected.
Firstly it is important that you are aware of the risk factors, whilst family history can be a risk factor there are many contributing lifestyle and health risk factors. These include:
  • Diabetes: increased sugar may lead to heart disease because sugar may increase the production of triglycerides in your blood. Which in turn may cause heart disease.
  • Smoking: The toxin you introduce may accumulate in your heart and prevent it from functioning properly.
  • Obesity/Overweight: being overweight contributes because excess fat may block arteries and prevent blood flow to the heart
  • Sedentary lifestyle & lack of exercise: As exercise burns fat and keeps it away from your heart while promoting blood circulation all over your body thus.
  • Family history: at risk of possibly carrying the gene that predisposes you to developing heart disease as well.

Here are the some preventative methods to  ssential to cardiovascular support:
  • Quit smoking.
  • Pick the right fats: Not all fat are bad. While an excessive intake of deep fried food and animal fat may be bad for your heart (saturated fats), your body needs a moderate amount of Essential Fatty Acids or EFAs such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 for it to function smoothly.
  • Exercise regularly: Moderate exercise of at least 20 to 30 minutes three times a week may already reduce your chances of developing heart disease.
  • Limit  sugar: Avoid white sugar, white flour and refined food that contain high amounts of sugar to enhance their flavour.
  • Limit salt intake: There is also a link between high sodium intake and high blood pressure. Avoid salty foods to keep your blood pressure down and avoid overworking your heart.

Foods to introduce/ increase
  •  high fibre foods
  •  fresh fruit and vegetables
  •  fish
  •  almonds, bananas, pineapple, avocados, berries, garlic, onion, lentils, cinnamon.

Foods to avoid/ reduce
  •  refined, high sugar foods
  •  high saturated fat foods

Things to remember:
  •  maintain a healthy weight
  •  exercise
  •  maintain stress levels
  •  go for a steamed or baked option rather than a fried:
  •  drink lots of water

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Lupin Promoting Weight Loss By Increasing Satiety

Lupins are legumes, close relatives of the pea and bean family, otherwise known as pulses. The seed is renowned for its high protein content, with recent studies indicating it has therapeutic value in reducing blood cholesterol levels, and preventing the effects of hypertension and diabetes. It is also rich in essential fatty acids, carotene and vitamin E and has antioxidative properties, useful in protecting against the action of free radicals.

Lupin kernel flour that is added to lupin bread consists around thirty percent fiber and forty percent protein as well as being low glycaemic index  which is considered to promote weight loss due to the high protein, high fiber  and low glycaemic index properties. Several studies have been done based on using the lupin kernel flour in bread and participants had bread at breakfast and lunch, and compared it to those eating white bread at the same meals. It is suggested that protein and fiber enrichment of bread with lupin kernel flour has the potential to influence appetite and reduce energy intake, at least in the short term. Many participants proclaimed satiety in after having the lupin bread in comparison to the white showed a reduction in the energy consumption at lunch if they had lupin bread at breakfast time.  The lupin enriched bread also had an effect on Ghrelin, a hormone which is released in the stomach that regulates appetite, and showed a significant reduction in plasma Ghrelin resulting in great satiety.

Other studies have also showed a lupin enriched breakfast with an energy content that was less than the full fat breakfast and about the same energy as the reduced fat breakfast, provided great satiety after breakfast when comparing all three .

Calcium: Dairy & Non-Dairy Food Sources

I don't eat dairy therefore i need to take a calcium supplement because I can't get it through my diet...WRONG! Calcium is abundant in our diets & I'm going to show you where to find it!

Let's take a look at calcium, how it works & look at some alternatives to dairy sources:

Calcium the Mineral
Calcium is an essential mineral and is the most abundant mineral in your body and is necessary for bone initiation and growth from the developing foetus right throughout life to maintain optimal bone health and structure. While calcium is often linked to bone health and its importance in optimal bone health cannot be stressed enough, there are other important functions for calcium especially in a woman’s life which include aiding muscle contraction and relaxation, vascular contraction and vasodilation, blood coagulation and nerve impulse transmission, intracellular signalling and hormonal secretion.  

Athletes especially may be causing irreparable damage to their bodies as they excessively exercise or train for their sport. Most dietary calcium comes from dairy products such as yogurt, milk and cheese, but other sources include sardines, canned salmon, green leafy vegetables, and tofu.

Absorption & Excretion
Calcium absorption is improved by vitamin D improves and a limited amount obtained from foods such as fish, eggs and some fortified foods ie: milk and margarine. It is also produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight of sufficient intensity. Conversely a supplement may be needed. 

Phytic acid (whole grains, nuts, and legumes) and oxalic acid (spinach, beets, celery, pecans, peanuts, tea), bind to calcium and can inhibit its absorption. Alcohol also by reducing its absorption and by inhibiting enzymes in the liver that help convert vitamin D to its active form. Some absorbed calcium is eliminated from the body in urine, faeces, and sweat.  

Calcium excretion is increased by high intakes of sodium and protein and intake of tea and coffee due to the caffeine. Increasing phosphorous ie: via soft drink, will increase the excretion of calcium via urine. Phosphorous is required to bind with calcium and store in the bone to promote bone mass, however when this is in excess it causes reabsorption from the bone causing reduced bone mass and increased fracture risk.

Some absorbed calcium is eliminated from the body in urine, faeces, and sweat.  Calcium excretion is increased by high intakes of sodium and protein and intake of tea and coffee due to the caffeine. Increasing phosphorous ie: via soft drink, will increase the excretion of calcium via urine. Phosphorous is required to bind with calcium and store in the bone to promote bone mass, however when this is in excess it causes reabsorption from the bone causing reduced bone mass and increased fracture risk.

Calcium Requirements vary depending on gender, life stage, absorption etc.
Babies 0–6 months
approx. 210mg (if breastfed)
approx. 350mg (if bottle fed)
Babies 7–12 months
Children 1–3 years
Children 4–8 years
 Children 9–11 years
Adolescents 12–18 years (including pregnant and breastfeeding young women)
Women 19–50 (including pregnant and breastfeeding women)
Women 50– 70
Men 19–70
Adults over 70

Calcium in Dairy Sources

Milk, yoghurt, cheese
-One cup of milk =300mg calcium ( calcium fortified milks can ranging from 280mg to 400mg of calcium per 200mL
- 200g tub of yoghurt =300mg calcium.

Calcium in non-dairy sources:

-20-25 almonds contain as much calcium as 1/4 cup of milk
- Fifteen almonds contain about 40mg of calcium.
- Half a cup of canned salmon contains 402mg of calcium.
- one cup of cooked broccoli contains about 45mg of calcium

Other food sources include Tofu, sesame seeds, spinach,  and sardines.

Alternatives to Milk:

If you are looking for a dairy free milk alternative there are plenty available.

Oat Milk: Oats are well known for containing beta-glucans, which help to minimise cholesterol absorption.  Oats are also low glycemic index so help to regulate your blood sugar level. 

Nut Milk: Nut milk is also becoming popular for those wishing to avoid dairy milk.  These milks (like almond milk) are quite sweet and because they are made from nuts, are high in vitamin E. 

Rice Milk: Fortified rice milk contains as much calcium as cow’s milk.  It is also a good source of fibre but tends to be sweeter than cow’s milk.  Most of the rice milks that you buy in your local supermarket or store will be fortified with calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D. 

Soy Milk: Soy milk is well known as a lactose free alternative to   Soy milk also contains isoflavones that are phytoestrogens & have similar effect to estrogen in the body.  Most soy milks are fortified with calcium

Sheep or Goats milk: sheep’s milk contains a large amount of calcium and vitamins, there is a compound in goat’s milk that can bind with Vitamin B12 and prevent absorption.  Sheep’s milk is also higher in energy (kilojoules) than cow’s milk.

**It is important to be aware that nut and cereal based milks are not as high in protein as cows or soy milk.  For this reason Food Standards Australia and New Zealand have warned against the use of these products as a substitute for milk for children less than 5 years of age.

Oeseki, H 2007, The Nutrient Bible , 8th edn., Bio Concepts Publishing, Queensland, Australia.
Mann, J & Truswell, A 2002, Essentials of human nutrition, 3rd edn., Oxford University Press, New York.