Viewing posts categorised under: Diet

Seasonal Power-foods you need to know about

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diet Energy food Health Homegrown nutrition Organic Powerfoods Stress Superfoods

    Have you noticed how Gardening has gained a big resurgence? Known for it’s anti-stress benefits and meditational qualities, growing your own power-foods have become the latest re-discovered natural therapy. Cleverly coined Green Therapy we are witnessing Healing parks, therapeutic gardens and community patches springing up everywhere, as fast as they can grow. From Ivanka Trump (yes!) to Oprah, the world is moving back towards homegrown. source There’s no doubt that eating locally grown fruit and vegetables – garden-to-table style is much healthier from a nutritious point of view as well as for the environment. Produce such as broccoli, green beans, kale, red peppers, tomatoes, apricots and peaches are susceptible to nutrient loss when harvested and transported from longer distances, while fresh foods tend to have a higher nutrient value, if grown and harvested locally and given more time to ripen. As we head into the cooler months, here are some tasty, seasonal vegetables that belong to the ‘power-food’ category; they don’t require a horticultural degree to nurture and the added Green Therapy will provide extra health benefits.

Eggplant

purple anti-oxidant power-food

Cram-packed with vitamins and minerals, eggplants are rich sources of phenolic compounds that function as antioxidants. Generally, plants use these compounds to protect themselves against oxidative stress from the elements, as well as from infection by bacteria and fungi. The eggplant contains a particular phenolic compound, which is one of the most potent free radical scavengers providing anti-mutagenic benefits (anti-cancer), anti-microbial, anti-LDL (bad cholesterol) and anti-viral activities.

Tip:   Add roasted eggplant slices to pizza, pasta and salads

Parsnip

the perfect power-food snack

One of the greatest attributes of the humble parsnip is its ability to suppress the release of ghrelin, which is a “hunger” hormone. This makes it the perfect snack if you’re looking to lose weight. Parsnips also contain substantial amounts of soluble fibre – which has been associated with assisting with digestive disorders, reducing cholesterol and lowering the chance for developing diabetes. If heart health is of concern, the high levels of potassium and folate make the parsnip one of the most effective vegetables in promoting a healthy cardiovascular system, helping to reduce blood pressure and stress on the heart.

Tip:   Roast sliced parsnips and toss with a little sea salt, for snacking 

Leek

power-food for your arteries

Leeks belong to the Allium family along with garlic and onions all possessing disease-fighting properties known long before it was possible to identify their exact antibacterial properties. Today leeks are recognised as a source of Allicin - a antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal compound which helps in the prevention of clotting in the blood vessels, thus, decreasing the overall risk of coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular diseases, and stroke. In addition, leeks are known to ward off antibiotic-resistant superbugs, with this compound that may also neutralise dangerous free radicals faster than any other known compound. It’s a good idea to eat plenty of leeks if you’re pregnant or trying to fall pregnant, since the perfect concentration of Folic acid in leeks is essential for DNA synthesis and cell division and can help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn babies.

Tip:   Add lightly sautéed sliced baby leeks to mashed potato for added taste and a nutritious punch.

Tips for a Healthy Christmas you didn’t learn at School

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We asked our talented team at PSU HQ to come up with their personal tips to make sure Christmas runs smoother, happier and healthier.

Neroli Jones, CEO breaks it down to collaborate and sing …

carol singing kidsDon’t stress… it’s just one day. We keep it simple, everyone pitches in and contributes and that way we all get to enjoy ourselves. Who doesn’t love a Christmas carol?! You’re likely to get pointed looks if you sing Noel in September, but the whole month of December is a month to go for it. Singing has to be one of the best stress busters ever, so belt out a falalala while you’re stuck in traffic and see if it doesn’t make you smile…  

Shelley Seddon, our synergy manager focuses on some year in review and personal observations …

During Christmas Lunch we have a (hopefully) fun “Year in Review” discussion. Everyone is emailed questions in advance so they have a chance to really think about their answers.

Topics include:

What was your favourite movie, book, TV show this year?

Best travel story.

Highlight of the year

What do you hope to accomplish next year?

What are you most looking forward to in the New Year?

  dinner conversation Family/holiday conversations can sometimes be awkward or dominated by a few people. I have found that if you give people time to prepare, it gets everyone involved, including children who can sometimes feel left out or embarrassed by being put on the spot. It’s a great way to actually connect with people instead of just making small talk.  

Hannah-Florence Macgregor, video producer advises us on how to keep our bodies healthy this season …

drinking-water-clipart-how-to-drink-more-water-VFoGP2-clipart

Drink more water

    Drink lots of water especially in these hot months. 3-4 litres a day, will keep you hydrated and balance out the excessive sugars and other indulgences we enjoy during the festive season. If you feel like going one step further, add little Apple Cider vinegar to alkalize the water and detox while you hydrate.  

 

Anna Barr, Director of Awareness focuses on staying calm…

Christmas listBe organized!

Don’t leave wrapping presents, decorating, baking and so on, all to the last minute. Do whatever you can in the weeks leading up to the big day, so you manage to actually enjoy the festivities without worrying about the menu or conjuring up a missing gift. I make lists on my phone so I can’t forget them!    For an instant recharge, escape to a quiet spot for 5 minutes and take a few deep breaths.  

Helen Kingsmill, Ground Control, has discovered a real crowd pleaser…

Here’s a handy recipe that is a whizz to make and sooo healthy and fresh!
Christmas party recipe

Christmas party recipe

Prawns with blended Xmas mango dip

Fresh, green Aussie king prawns 2 x plump Christmas season mangoes Generous handful of fresh basil leaves Garlic and chilli infused oil (for marinating prawns) Spritz of lemon juice   Shell the green prawns leaving tail intact and marinate in the garlic/chilli oil Peel mangoes and whizz in a food processor with basil and lemon juice. Cook the prawns on the barbeque, brushing with oil – they cook in a flash so don’t look away! Serve warm, with mango dip, then stand back so you don’t get injured in the crush for more!

games at ChristmasJohn Whaley, Architect of Order, suggests a time for reconnection without distraction …

I always love to play a board game or cards at Christmas. Whilst this can be a source of tension for over competitive family members (!), generally it is a great ice-breaker and activity for getting everyone together in one place and having a laugh… Another tip is to have a no electronic devices policy (phones, iPads, computers) on Christmas Day, allowing us to feel present and bringing some togetherness into the day.  

Nadia Superina, Mission Control, shares her diet tricks…

*Eat a healthy breakfast with loads of fruit/veggies and healthy fats. Either a big smoothie or eggs with avocado. This means that even if you have a fabulously unhealthy lunch and dinner, you’re charged with one healthy meal. Plus, fats will make you feel fuller so you’ll eat less of the bad stuff.
*Stick to three meals and avoid snacking. All the snacks add up and you’d be amazed how they pile on the weight.
*Drink lots of water between meals. NOT with meals. Water dilutes stomach acid, which needs to be strong to digest meals (particularly loaded with carbs and protein). Drinking between meals will help you feel full as well as prevent snacking.
Christmas-Tree-Fruit-Platter

merry fruity Christmas

Merry, healthy Christmas to all!

 

Weight Gain? Is Sugar to Blame?

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Guest blogger, Melanie White, PS weight management expert, tells us there's more to weight loss  than simply cutting out the sugar.

    Lately, it's sugar that has been demonised, as far as diet is concerned. It causes us to gain weight, it creates cravings and it affects our energy and moods. It also sets us up for chronic diseases. All these facts are scientifically proven. Why Sugar is now the Bad Guy There are numerous medical studies about the adverse effects of sugar on our health. And in addition, sugar has taken two big hits in the media over the past year.sugar
  1. The World Health Organisation announced it would reduce the recommended maximum sugar intake to just 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day for an adult (down from 10 teaspoons). http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/sugar-guideline/en/
  2. In October 2016, the sugar industry was exposed for trying to shift the blame for heart disease away from sugar and over to fat, in 1965 - despite medical evidence at the time, that excess sugar consumption increases health risks. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-12/how-big-sugar-enlisted-harvard-scientists-to-influence-how-we-eat-in-1965
 

So, when it comes to weight gain – is sugar really to blame?

With all the negative press surrounding sugar, some of us are quitting sugar altogether, swapping sugar for 'natural' substitutes or pledging to cut out sweet foods for good. From what we know about sugar, surely this has to be a positive, as far as our health goes. However, the question remains – when it comes to weight gain - is sugar really to blame? As a health and wellness coach who specialises in helping people change their eating habits, I have come to realise that something bigger, than just sugar - is at play. Over the past 5 years, 95% of my clients have come to me seeking help to get over sugar. They typically show  the signs and symptoms of insulin imbalance, including excess weight and 'love handles' (due to too much sugar); They suffer from sugar cravings, and struggle to manage their intake. But while those clients definitely needed to reduce their sugar intake, we discovered that in every case, sugar was not the only contributor to their extra kilos. There are two distinct problems that can make it hard to quit - your beliefs, and your hormone levels. If you can rewire your beliefs, you will start to act differently, and find it easier to reduce, moderate or quit sugar for good. Once you reset your hormones, your physical cravings will diminish and you will find it much easier to make better choices.  

We Know Sugar Is Unhealthy – But Saying No is Tough

lolliesWhether you have trouble with excessive intake of sugar, salt, alcohol, coffee or lack of exercise, the problem often lies in your beliefs - your own personal rules - about those foods. Regardless of how many labels you’ve read, how many sugar alternatives you know about, or how many diet plans you follow, it more often than not goes out the window, as something sweet blindsides you on a Friday afternoon, following  a stressful week. Let's face it - if we truly believed sugar was poison, we simply wouldn't eat it. But on the flip side, if sugar has always been presented as a treat or a reward,  avoiding it presents a challenge.

True Story

Two years ago, a client came to me wanting to lose weight. She loved sweet pastries, even calling them a 'special treat.' The thought of going without pastries simply made them even more desirable. So, I asked her to do an experiment - instead of having a restrictive, guilty mindset around pastries, I suggested she could buy a small pastry and enjoy it wholeheartedly and without guilt, the next time she had the urge, to see what would happen. She came to our next session feeling very disappointed. She explained that, as she entered the pastry shop, she realised that she didn’t actually want the pastry anymore. All the mystique and compulsion around this special and forbidden treat was gone – because she was allowing herself to have it. Sugar addiction can be likened to having an affair. It's secretive, forbidden, naughty and guilt-inducing. But once they're out in the open, affairs often fizzle out because the excitement and intrigue is gone. Hormonal imbalances are another likely contributor to weight gain. Anybody who has elevated levels of the hormones insulin, leptin, ghrelin and/or cortisol, might struggle with persistent cravings for sugar and/or sweet foods.  
sugar- naughty or nice?

sugar- naughty or nice?

Sure indicators and symptoms of hormonal imbalance include ‘love handles’, a ‘stress belly’, poor sleep, insatiable cravings for chocolate, and a desire for constant snacking. However, most diets don’t address these hormonal issues, so no matter how many calories or points you count and stick to, the cravings remain. And if that isn’t enough, it’s also frustrating to learn that it is those hormonal issues that can prevent you from losing body fat. As a weight-loss expert, I strongly recommend you look at your relationship with sugar and any possible hormonal imbalances first, before you consider just quitting sugar, as a silver bullet to down-sizing.

As we all know, it can be super hard to break up with something so sweet!

You can Beat the Afternoon Slump

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It’s early morning and you’re feeling pumped, firing on all cylinders, getting through the to-do list, answered all your emails and you've even churned out a report. Then, shortly after lunch, you slump. Why? The afternoon slump is your body responding to two things

  • the natural circadian rhythm — that internal clock that tells us when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time to go to bed
  • the highs and lows in blood sugar levels determined by what you eat.
Paradigm Switch nutritionist, Christine Blanchard shares the following: “Each organ has a particular time of the day when it has its peak of performance. For example, the stomach is 7-9 am - the time when ideally we have breakfast. 1-3 am is liver time which can pinpoint detoxification issues if people wake at this hour. Between 1-3 pm  energy moves to the small intestine and we go from the speedy Yang energy to the slower Yin phase, allowing the body to absorb nutrients. For about an hour after we eat, our blowind-up from the slumpod rushes towards our digestion, away from our brain and muscles, making us feel tired and unfocussed. This is why ideally all the hard work should be done in the first half of the day, leaving easier or fun tasks for the afternoon. If you can structure your day like this, you'll be more in tune with your body’s natural rhythms.” Recent studies suggest the sugar and other carbs in food directly affect a specific group of brain cells that play a key role in keeping us awake. Those cells located deep inside the brain turn off when they sense a large amount of sugar in the blood, leaving us feeling sleepy. Unfortunately, the demands of modern life require you to be on the ball all through the day. So here are a few simple  ways you can trick your body into staying alert and avert the mid-afternoon crash.   protein and salad keep you alertAvoid eating too many empty carbs and fatty foods.Fats are slow to digest, so we become tired as our bodies work harder to process them, while carbs often   create a ‘spike’ in energy making us plummet a few hours later, when we experience a “crash” in energy levels. “A lunch of protein and vegetables or salad and some healthy fats is preferable, if we are to minimize the afternoon slump,” adds Christine. Choose nuts over fries!   Take a brisk walk. Try this instead of reaching for another coffee. A little bit of exercise is often all it takes to encourage blood flow, boost creative thought, help the brain think more clearly and increase energy levels again.  
energetic

A couple hours of bright light early in the morning helps set our circadian rhythm for the day, which increases our alertness, performance and even helps to regulate   weight.

 

6 Top Trending Wellness Foods

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A new  food trends report  has been released, showing a growing interest in specific “functional foods” foods (often called superfoods),  which target wellness and health issues ranging from skin conditions to energy, depression, insomnia and pain. We took a look at the most popular functional foods trending right now, according to Google which led us to some interesting finds. If you aren’t already, we suggest you incorporate some of these into your diet.

  1. Turmeric

    turmericWith 3.9 million views on YouTube this spice with active ingredient curcumin fights a number of diseases including acne, depression, high blood pressure and cholesterol, to liver disease and weight loss. A super versatile spice, add turmeric to a smoothie, salad dressing or casserole for extra taste and health benefits.

  2. Apple cider vinegar

    Despite being acidic, Apple Cider Vinegar creates a perfect alkaline environment in the body that is the exact opposite of what most diseases like  to thrive upon. Apple Cider Vinegar also provides a veritable smorgasbord of vitamins and powerful antioxidants including vitamin A, B6, C, E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, beta-carotene and lycopene – making it a powerhouse against bacteria.

  3. Kefir

    kefirA powerful food for balancing the gut, this fermented dairy product is super-powerful, beating both yogurt and probiotic tablets when it comes to digestive health. It has been found to help promote weight loss, boost the immune system and fight allergies.  

  4. Jackfruit

    The next big meat substitute, Jackfruit is enticing vegetarians around the globe. It has been a common ingredient in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine for centuries. The meaty-textured fruit (similar to pulled chicken) is now gaining recognition in the West, delivering high protein and antioxidants, while it is low in calories.

  1. Manuka honey

    manukahoneyUnlike others, this honey contains glucose oxidase, an enzyme the bees introduce to their honey, giving it anticeptic properties. Well-known for it’s healing properties, a teaspoon is enough to coat the stomach and eliminate bacteria upsetting the digestive tract. A balanced gut is often the key to good  health.
  1. Avocado oil

    avocadooilThis superfood contains  20  different vitamins and minerals with benefits for the digestive tract, the skin, hair, joint relief and weight loss. It is also excellent for cooking because of its high smoke point, meaning, unlike many other oils, the molecular structure remains intact – perfect for stir fries.
  Liked this post? Subscribe to our newsletter to receive more here   Source: The Alternative Daily  

Pre Christmas Energy Boost

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.... Splurge on Some Smoothie Love ...

"It's important to start your day with a serve of protein  to help balance blood sugar levels and energy for the rest of the day" says Naturopath Christine Blanchard.

A protein smoothie is a quick and easy way to boost energy levels with a super dose of medicinal food. Perfect for when you don’t have time for a full meal. Also, ideal to drink following any exercise, to ensure muscle repair and renewal.

So if you're stuck for a quick breakfast ideas that is healthy, will deliver a boost of energy while still gluten and dairy free, read on.


From Christine comes ......

Get up and Go Super Smoothie

-200ml Almond or Coconut milk: Preferred brands are fresh, Inside out, From Harris farm or Pure Harvest from Coles.
-3 tblsp Raw protein powder: non-dairy and low allergenic from fermented rice and pea protein.
-2 tsp chia meal or LSA meal: for beneficial omega fats and fibre.
-2 tsp of Niugini Organic coconut oil: for healthy digestion and appetite satiety from healthy fat source.
- Small handful of fresh or frozen berries or mango - for anti-oxidants and fruity goodness.

Optional Extras for Added Boost Factor

To support you through the indulgent Christmas party season, add one of these Superfood boosts for antioxidant goodness.

- Alkalising greens:  a serve of Organic Isowhey Kale, Collard greens and Broccoli sprout powder or 1 tsp Spirulina powder.

-  2 tsp Raw Cacao for a natural high - better for you than coffee, rich in antioxidants.

- ½ tps of Turmeric powder - keeps your liver happy and reduces inflammation from a too-acidic diet.

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If you're wondering what the story is when it comes to  red wine and dark chocolate, rest assured, they can be actually good for us! Yes, but there's a big BUT - and that is BALANCE.

All in moderation. Sorry!

"I use the 80/20 rule as a guide, making sure 80% of the time I’m eating beneficial, nutritious food which allows me to enjoy 20% for fun food and indulgences."

Remember, to get the most out of the holiday season by selecting your food wisely to energise your over-stressed body, in the healthiest possible way.