Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Curb Those Sugar Cravings

Are you one of those people that look at your watch at 3:30pm & automatically go looking for a chocolate bar? Or maybe it’s the need for a sweet treat to finish off your meal?  Do you find you want more sugary satisfaction after you’ve already had your 4th biscuit? You’re not alone! It’s not rocket science though, you eat lots of sugar = you crave lots of sugar. But why do you crave it?

Why do we crave sugar?

The sweet taste is the one that is most preferred from birth & we are hardwired to lean towards it. Carbohydrate metabolism stimulates serotonin release (our feel-good hormone.), and many sweet treat foods will trigger the release of endorphins & a ‘food high’. 

Causes of sugar cravings:

-low protein it the diet & overall poor diet
-some medications
-low energy (i.e. poor sleep, poor diet )
-stress (i.e. excess cortisol, adrenalin)
-low in energy co-factor foods (i.e. B vitamins)
-excess intake of artificial sweeteners
-health concerns (i.e. thyroid, menopause, PMT )

How do you beat it?

-check your food intake, keep a food diary & get it check by your qualified health professional
-regular meals & VARIETY= no energy dips = not reaching for sugar as a ‘pick me up’
-protein at every meal = level blood sugar levels
-make food swaps ie: fruit & nuts, veggie sticks & a boiled egg, yoghurt & cinnamon
-increase cinnamon (1tsp per day) = improves blood glucose control
-increase chromium foods:  onion, tomatoes, meats, broccoli, green beans, mushrooms. Chromium is an essential trace mineral that plays an important role in carbohydrate and fat metabolism and helps body cells properly respond to insulin
-skip the artificial sweeteners they only make you crave more sugar
-don’t reward your hard work with sugary treats, pick a different reward i.e. shopping
-check your labels & portions! you may be surprised how much sugar are consuming, here is a good example below:

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

20 Steps to Better Health

Include these 20 simple steps to better health in your for weight loss, more energy, better sleep, better training, improve health across the board & longevity!

1.       Get more ZZZ’s:  Not getting enough sleep can reduce your mental capacity dramatically including the likelihood of you making better food choices, being organised, being motivated, poor mood, promote muscle growth, promote fat loss & so much more. Make time for it!!

2.       Add berries to your diet: High in anti-oxidants, there is SO many health benefits listed with berries including anti-aging, immune boosting, cholesterol reducing, vision preserving, infection fighting, memory promoting, digestive aiding and cancer fighting

3.       Omelette up:  colourful veg, leafy greens & eggs all contain large amounts of lutein, which is important for eye health

4.       Increase fresh vegetables: Vitamin A found in many fruits & vegetables are essential for reproductive health

5.       Increase colourful Fruit: These are high in polyphenols that are essential for reducing the incidence of cardiovascular complications and reducing plaques build up in the arteries

6.       Apples & Onions for Lungs:  These two items have querceitin in them which promotes good lung function & health

7.       Yoghurt for digestive health: increase the good bacteria in your gut & your digestive system will thank you for it. Good bacteria is important for good absorption of nutrients and boosting our immune systems

8.       Strong bones: Calcium, vitamin  K & D are essential from bone health & should be in your diet on a daily basis especially during growth stages, later in life when your peak bone mass decreases

9.       Boost your immune:  Increase Garlic! It has antibiotic, antiviral and antibacterial properties and will reduce cold & flu symptoms as well as keep them at bay.

10.   Decrease inflammation: increase pineapple to reduce all kinds of inflammatory conditions such as hay fever, arthritis, asthma and eczema

11.   Improve your mood: Foods high in tryptophan include, turkey, cream cheese, ricotta, meat , poultry, and some seeds and nuts, which promote serotonin production

12.   Decrease fluid retention: increase potassium foods will not only reduce excess fluid retention caused by an increase of sodium, it will help reduce blood pressure

13.   Increase Energy: Increase B vitamin intake. B vitamins are a requirement for energy production, sources include, mushrooms, dairy, spinach, sunflower seeds and asparagus.

14.   Stabilise blood glucose levels: Low GI foods such as protein, whole grains and most vegetables are essential to keep a slow release of blood glucose.

15.   Increase green tea: it boosts metabolism has antioxidants, anticancer, antiviral and anti-plaque forming properties
16.   Increase omega 3 foods such salmon, tuna, mackerel, avocado, nuts and seeds  have shown to be essential for brain and heart health

17.   Increase Protein: to feel fuller for longer, maintain muscle mass and promote a healthy nervous system.

18.   Keep hydrated: Water is essential we need to for every single function in our body!

19.   Increase vitamin E: It contains powerful antioxidants that promote healthy cells & growth, reduce free radicals especially in fertility

20.   Promote digestion: increase lemon to stimulate & aid digestion of foods & the production of digestive enzymes

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Emotional Eating Vs Physical Hunger

Food is not just simply fuel we use to nourish our bodies; we use it as a focal point for family gatherings and social events. We eat out of need, want and so much more. Eating becomes habitual from a very young age, and as we grow older we use the foundations of those habits created & of course create some new ones! Some are good, such as eating every four hours, protein with each meal, whilst some are not so good, such as eating your entire days’ worth of calories between 8 & 9pm or feeling down so you finish the whole block of chocolate. We all know that food isn’t going to make you feel any better, so why do we create these bad habits, why do we turn to food in response to certain emotions & why is it always chocolate and high calorie foods? What can we do to prevent this from happening?

Why do we go for high fat, high energy density foods (ie cheese & chocolate)
Foods rich in carbohydrates such as chocolate, increase the rate in which tryptophan enters the brain thus increasing the level of serotonin (a neurotransmitter creates the “good feeling “. And Cheese contains casein which in some studies acts in the same way an opiate does causing a biochemical reaction that make us want to consume it. This elevation in mood is temporary though and when this effect wears off, they again revert to their previous state of mind.

Step1.  Awareness! Recognise & admit that you emotionally eat. 
Ask yourself …
Why you emotionally eat, do you use food to cover up your emotions rather than deal with them? 
Are you even hungry or are you eating to deal with whatever situation is happening right now?
What is triggering you to eat right now?
Once you have answered these questions remember….

Step2. Keep a food diary. By keeping record of when you eat you are more likely to notice patterns. If you ate emotionally, right it down, if you are feeling bloated after, write it down. This way you will know when you are most likely to emotionally eat & have triggers set in place to diffuse the behaviour. But first ask yoursel...
Why does a certain situation cause you to go for food?
What could you eat instead?
What activity could you do instead?

Step3. Don’t beat yourself up if this happens. It is only natural for us as humans to dwell on the negative behaviours of ourselves which causes nothing but self distruction! Instead if you find your self overeating ask yourself…

What triggered this to happen?
Why did I go for these foods & these amounts?
What could I do different next time?
What goal can I set for myself the next time I feel like this?

Accept it….and MOVE ON!!

Step4. New triggers. What can you do instead of eating when you are feeling stressed, angry, sad, lonely, bored or whichever emotion triggers you to eat. 

>Exercise is the best stress & anger relief. The harder you work, the better you feel. Exercise releases endorphins which make you happy.  (Which means it’s also great for when you’re feeling sad & bored)

>Breath: sometimes all it takes is a few deep breaths & removing yourself from the stressful situation, going for a 5minute walk, or out to some fresh air & this will leave you feeling less angry. 

>Music: Listening to music is also a good trigger for relieving stress (combine all 3 & you will feel great)

>Social interaction: Catching up with friends over coffee, going for a walk with them or simply speaking on the phone, internet will also help you reduce your incidence of emotional eating. Expressing your feelings is much healthier & productive than eating them

>New hobbies/activities: If you’re bored, try something new, i.e.: read a new book, try the Pilates class down the road you have always been talking about. Whatever it is you have been meaning to try, TRY IT!!

How to recognise if you are emotionally eating or you’re physically hungry….

*Don’t have things in the house you don’t want to eat
*Have healthy alternative snacks for when you emotionally eat = damage control
*Find new triggers

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Flavouring Your Food the Figure Friendly Way

Most people rely on bottled sauces that are high in sugar, calories additives, preservatives and especially high in salt, to flavour their cooking. Not only are these NOT ideal for reaching your health & weight goals, they can be quite costly.

What are the health benefits of using fresh herbs and seasonings?
·         Immune boosting
·         Anti-histamine
·         Anti-inflammatory
·         Lowers cholesterol & blood pressure
·         Cancer-fighting properties
·         Natural Antibiotic

·         Anti-inflammatory
·         Cancer-fighting properties
·         Immune boosting
·         Heartburn, migraine, digestive upset and menstrual cramp relief

·         Anti-inflammatory
·         Anti-bacterial
·         Macula & Vision Protective
·         Cardiovascular protective

·         Anti-histamine
·         Anti-inflammatory
·         Cardiovascular protective
·         Cancer-fighting properties
·         Natural Antibiotic & promotes good bacteria in the gut

·         Anti-bacterial
·         Cancer-fighting properties
·         Anti-inflammatory
·         Metabolism Promoting

·         Anti-inflammatory
·         Metabolism Promoting
·         Cancer-fighting properties
·         Cardiovascular protective

·         Heartburn, digestive upset and menstrual cramp relief
·         Aids in the treatment of anaemia
·         Vision Protective

·         Anti-inflammatory
·         Lowers cholesterol
·         Aids digestive upset

·         Antiseptic
·         Aids digestions
·         Cardiovascular protective

·         Antioxidant
·         Anti-inflammatory
·         Cardiovascular protective

·         Lowers cholesterol
·         Stabilizes blood sugar levels
·         Anti-inflammatory
·         Aids Heartburn

·         Antioxidant
·         Anti-bacterial
·         Bone Protecting

·         Anti-bacterial
·         Antiseptic
·         Antioxidant
·         Cancer-fighting properties

And the list continues….

Fresh vs Dried
·   -Not too much difference in nutritional value
·   -Drying does remove some flavour & nutritional value
·   -Commercially dried herbs with have some preservatives (which does reduce  nutritional value)

Cost Effective
·   Herbs can range from $0.99 to $4 (depending where you buy them from), and will continue to yield with little maintenance.

Herb Combinations
·         Parsley, chervil, chives and tarragon:
·         Basil, parsley and tarragon:
·         Thyme, oregano, and rosemary
·         Basil, bay leaf , oregano and parsley:
·         Basil, dill and parsley:

Braun, L & Cohen, C 2007, Herbs and Natural Supplements, 2nd edn., Elsevier, Sydney .