Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Toodle-oo Hay Fever

Spring is in full swing which means those who suffer with hay fever are really suffering! I was inspired to write this as I see those close to me SEVERLY suffering!

What is hay fever?

Hay Fever, otherwise known as Seasonal Rhinitis, is present if sneezing attacks, nasal discharge or blockages occur for more than an hour on most days at particular times of the year. It is caused by allergens that are airborne entering your airways (or in some cases your eyes.) This causes your body to produce an immune response to produce antibodies. As this is an overreaction to an un-harmful substance is defined as a hypertensive reaction. The antibodies then trigger the corresponding antigens to trigger mediators (hormones and chemicals) such as histamine, which causes the symptoms that are present.  

What are the symptoms?

Nasal irritation, sneezing and a runny nose are the most common. Other symptoms include itchy eyes, and irritation or itchy soft palate (at the roof of your mouth); all the way to itchy ears. Some hay fever sufferers also have seasonal asthma attacks is the symptoms are severe enough.

What are the typical treatments?

  •  Avoiding known allergens: such as pollen, dust, pet hair and mould; this will reduce the symptoms (if this is possible)
  •  Anti-histamine medication: this reduces the histamine produced = less symptoms, and this the most common form of treatment
  •  Decongestants: used to reduce the nasal congestion associated with hay fever, but only deals with this symptom and results wear off fast.
  •  Anti-inflammatory drugs: reduce the mast cell production in the inflammatory response to the allergen.
  •  Corticosteroids: the most effective, but the most harsh on the body & can only be used in small doses for a short period of time

What can I do naturally with my diet to reduce the symptoms? 

1.   Remove known allergens & dietary contributors to mucus production and inflammation (i.e. dairy)

  • Dairy promotes mucus production which is what you want to limit whilst suffering with hay fever, it also increases inflammation in the gut for a lot of people so looking at alternatives to dairy is a good way to reduce symptoms ( Dairy Alternatives )
  • Bananas also promote mucus production so limiting these is also ideal
  • Foods that contain omega 6 (peanut, soy, vegetable oils including sunflower) are highly inflammatory and should be reduced
  • Refined carbohydrates and sugars will lead to an increase in inflammation
  • For some people gluten and wheat, along with other food allergens will also increase inflammation 

2.   Repair the Damage & Restore gut function: Hay fever can cause damage to membrane linings, reduce good bacteria (often due to medication), and create a highly inflamed gut which decreases essential nutrients from be absorbed.

  • Glutamine: found in , can repair the mucosal lining from the damage of inflammation
  • Digestive enzymes: in supplement form or found in pineapple, papaya, raw vegetables (i.e. carrot, spinach) and spouts
  • Probiotics:  in supplements to inoculated the gut with good bacteria to reduce inflammation and severity of hay fever symptoms allowing for absorption of anti-inflammatory & anti-histamine nutrients

    3.   Increase: Anti-histamine foods & anti-inflammatory foods
  • Pineapple: contains bromelain which is a natural anti-histamine & anti-inflammatory which also assists in the uptake of other anti-histamine compounds
  • Garlic & onion: contain quercetin which reduce the amount of histamine produces = lessen symptoms
  • Berries & Citrus fruits: Contain Pycnogenol (a natural anti-histamine);  vitamin C (known immune system booster) and flavanoids (known antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties)
  • Green tea: Known natural anti-histamine and immune system booster
  • Others: ginger, fish, tumeric and leafy greens

Please consult your healthcare professional before adjusting any foods, supplements or medications.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Clean Up Your Diet

Are you focused on ‘clean eating’ ? There is so much conflicting information on what clean eating really is, so here are some simple swaps and suggestions to ACTUALLY get you there.

  1. Removed Refine Sugars: white breads, pasta, sugar, lollies (adding to coffee, tea, cereal); these highly refined sugars spike insulin levels and eventually feel you leaving low on energy, depletes essential nutrients from your body, affects your liver and promotes weight gain.
  2. Remove additive and preservatives as much as possible: Eat as much raw whole foods (fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds etc.) and stay away from packaged foods as much as possible. The more attention you pay to food labels, the less likely you will want to eat what’s in them anyway!
  3. Swap high salt high fat meat for lean meat & fish:  swap ham, and cheap high fat meat for good quality lean meat and seafood. High salt and high fat meats promote weight gain and water retention; whereas lean meat & seafood will give you more protein, nutrients and essential fatty acids minus the salt and saturated fat.
  4. Skip the pre-workouts & ‘fat burners’: stay away from supplements that aren’t pharmaceutically regulated because often they have harmful chemicals and harmful amounts of them in the product. Whilst it may give you a bit more motivation whilst working out, the effects it has on your liver and digestive system will eventually become apparent in the poor of poor digestion, mood swings, malnutrition, liver dysfunction and more. Do you research!
  5. Flavour with herbs and spices: stay away from bottled sauces they are EXTREMELY high in salt and surprisingly high in sugar and who can forget the additives and preservatives. Use garlic, ginger, basil, thyme, chilli and all those wonderful natural flavours.
  6. Say no to extras: when you having a salad so not to the heavy dressing and use balsamic vinegar instead, say no to mayo on your wrap and use hummus or avocado instead, say no to butter on your crackers and use ricotta with spinach and tomato instead
  7. Cut the diet drinks: yes they have no calories BUT there are so many studies that have concluded those that drink diet soft drink are more likely to be overweight. The artificial sweeteners stimulate the sweet receptors in your brain which cause you to crave more sweat centre in your brain causing you to crave sweat foods consistently. Not to mention the harmful effects of artificial sweeteners and chemicals coming into your body on a daily basis. Get rid of it & get some water!
  8. 1 x treat per week: If you’re 100% focused on clean eating & weight loss, don’t convince yourself that a ‘treat’ more than once a week is ok. A treat can be anything from chocolate, to alcohol, to a big pasta meal. Once a week until you get to your goal is enough to keep you focused on your goal without depriving yourself, your goal is bigger than that block of chocolate!
  9. Ditch the excess sugar: this can come in the form of fruit juices and dried fruit. Both of these are VERY high in sugar. A 250mL glass of OJ can contain the sugar of 5 oranges, but not the nutrients. Dried sultanas can contain over double the sugar (as well as preservatives) as a grape. Stick to the real deal and go for whole fruit.
  10. Increase your veg: for most people this is the most difficult and here are some helpful hints

·  Cut up carrot and celery to snack munch on during the day
·  Add an extra cup of salad to lunch
·  Add an extra cup of vegetables to dinner
·  Have an omelette in the morning with spinach, tomato and mushrooms
·  Prepare your veg the night before – that way you  have no excuses to eat it the next day
·  Shop at your local markets – veg is cheap, lasts longer and tastes better

Most of all enjoy your food. Be creative and have variety in the foods you eat, you are more likely to enjoy it with setting yourself a goal to use a new recipe each week.  
If you struggle to eat right make simple by starting with the 7 Day Clean Eating Meal Plan 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

You’re Sweet Enough Already

Most of us were brought up on lots of high sugar foods, using sugar for flavouring & drink sugary drinks. Then we discovered the harmful effects of sugar including:
  • Increasing weight gain
  • Contributing to diabetes and heart conditions
  • Cause fatigue, anxiety and hyperactivity
  • Stimulate IBS symptoms
  • And much more

So the next step was going for artificial sweeteners they had to be better right? WRONG. Their effects are just as harmful:

  • Increase blood pressure, insulin resistance and heart disease
  • Increases abdominal fat and weight gain
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Toxic to the body
  • And much more

But did you know there is a way to get all the sweetness without the harmful effects of sugar or artificial sweeteners? Answer = Stevia

What makes stevia different?
  • About 300x’s sweeter than sugar
  • It’s a plant – all natural
  • Non - toxic

What are the benefits of Stevia?
  • Zero Calories
  • No effect on blood sugar levels

Is there a down side to Stevia?
  • Won’t taste the same in your hot beverages, slightly too sweet and bitter

How do I use Stevia?

The same way as sugar just the measurements are different:
  • 1 cup of sugar = ½ tsp of powdered stevia

Try these recipes: 

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Top 10 Foods to a Flat Stomach

Spring is here & summer is around the corner & now is the time when most people start working hard for their summer bodies. To give you a helping hand getting closer to the abs you’re working hard for here at the top 10 essential foods to burn the stomach fat in time for summer.

  1. Almonds:  These super foods are high in protein, vitamin E, fibre and magnesium. Not only are they so versatile but supress your hunger, promote digestion, satiety and muscle growth all = flatter stomach 
  2. Leafy Greens (Spinach /Kale): High in calcium (which reduced fat storage), high in fibre (aiding digestion), low in calories (good for the waistline) and high in folate, iron, vitamin C and MUCH more.
  3. Eggs: Is a perfect protein source with its balance of essential amino acids. Not only do they keep you full, give you energy they promote muscle growth and repair.
  4. Turkey:  Is a good lean protein source that keeps you full, helps you sleep (because it’s high in tryptophan & adequate sleep is a key factor to reducing abdominal fat), and contains conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) – which reduced body fat mass.
  5. Berries (blueberries/raspberries): These are high in anthocyanin’s which give berries their red/blue colours, and are not only powerful antioxidants to reduce oxidative damage in your body but also promote a reduction in abdominal fat because the visceral fat is more sensitive to anthocyanin’s
  6. Flaxseeds: High in monounsaturated fatty acids which help reduce body fat, they’re high in fibre which promote a healthy digestive system & reduce bloating
  7. Water: I know it’s not a food but it is a HUGE contributor to getting a flat stomach. A lack of water actually increases bloating. Water is needed to flush toxins & feel full = a flatter stomach.
  8. Green Tea: Again I know it’s not a food BUT it is high in catechins that boost metabolism, increase the release of fat from fat cells in the abdominal regions AND speed up fat burning in the liver post meals. 
  9. Avocados: Another food high in good fats but also very high in potassium which reduces fluid retention created by foods particularly high in salt which can cause excess weight & a bloated stomach so increase your avocado intake.
  10. Wholegrains (Oats/quinoa etc.): high in fibre, magnesium and chromium whole grains keep you full, regular, and reduce your stress hormone (cortisol) which likes to store your fat around you’re abdomen

Just in case to don’t believe me they work here is the proof in the pudding with a recent picture of me! I eat all these foods on a regular basis & it does pay off!!

If you struggle to eat right make it simple for yourself with a Meal Plan Template. Or get a Personailsed Plan to get to your goals faster :) Need more information? Simply send me an email
P.S here is an even easier way to increase your nutrient intake right here