Harper's Bazaar - Next Breast Thing

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Harper's Bazaar - Next Breast Thing

The latest slew of shows (Spring Summer 2017) had the world’s top designers boasting body parts like upper abdomens at Fendi, obliques at Celine and hips at Louis Vuitton. These are more obscure than the traditional décolletage and legs which traditionally were revealed by women.
Abbie was interviewed by Harper’s Bazaar and asked to share her perspective as a nutritionist who works with all shapes and sizes, what her thoughts were on this evolution by the fashion industry. The article is in the March 2017 Australia Harper’s Bazaar Issue. 

Read below for the transcript of the full interview to see where Abbie sits on the topic of fashion, body types and more importantly, how important body confidence is, when working with the women of the world. 

...Click on the title to read the article

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Can healthy eating be cheap too?

Can healthy eating be cheap too?

Can healthy eating be cheap too?

Budgeting. That awful thing that is the reality for most of us. When talking with clients here at Feel Fresh Nutrition, one of the biggest stumbling blocks people face is the belief they can’t afford to eat healthily. I certainly agree to an extent. Eating healthily does cost you. Either in terms of finances, time or knowledge.

You can eat well on a budget, but you have to know what you are doing and have time to make things from scratch. That isn’t always easy. Some people have the financial luxury of forgoing the time and the knowledge but for everyone else, we’re here to help with some knowledge and some hacks to help you reduce the cost of eating nutrient dense food. 

...click on the title to read the post

The superfood for 2017; Collagen

The superfood for 2017; Collagen

Over the last 12 months you’ve probably heard of gelatine. It’s been hailed loudly - and rightly so - for it’s gut-healing properties. Gelatine is found in nutrient-dense foods like bone broth and more excitingly can be used to make healthy lollies - or gummies.

However, have you heard of it’s equally important and vital brother, collagen?

...click on the title to read the post

New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions

So, here we are again. The start of a new year. The base of a mountain we’ve told ourselves to climb and conquer. For some reason we like to set aside January 1st as the day to start all manner of dedication - and possibly torture - to change our lives for the better.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with self improvement, however the point of this blog is to help you frame your desires and resolutions towards what you actually want, while making these changes realistic and sustainable.

...click on the title to read the article

So what does your body shape say about you?

So what does your body shape say about you?

In her book "Move your DNA",  Katy Bowman has a powerful message. She states that 'your body is never out of shape, it is always in a shape created by how you have moved up to this very moment”. Our guest author Hazel Boot, tells us what this means to her. 

...click on the title to read blog entry by Hazel Boot

Your nutrition, your choice

Your nutrition, your choice

There are so many ‘diets’ or ways of eating available to us now it can seem like everybody is following a particular eating style. Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatrian, Clean Eating, Raw… the list goes on. Today I want to talk about an important aspect of nutrition many people don’t understand when they initially come to see us at Feel Fresh Nutrition. 

...click on the title to read the article

The Vegan Epic

The Vegan Epic

It’s been said that it can be easier to change a person’s religion than their diet. This says a lot about how strongly people believe in the choices they make relating to food – especially where issues such as ethics and morals come into play.

Movies such as Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, and Food, Inc. have gone a long way in pushing people towards a more plant-based diet – or even an exclusively plant-based diet. These movies simultaneously pull at the heart strings, while appealing to your inner environmentalist – the parts of you that don’t want to ever see another living creature harmed, and that does want to see a thriving, healthy planet for your children.

So what do we mean by plant-based?

...click on the title to read blog post

The bread you have been waiting for!

The bread you have been waiting for!

I was recently gifted some of this bread from a client, and have proceeded to eat my way through my rations in a few days. It’s that good. I emailed her and told her it was the answer to gluten free low carb bread that doesn’t need expensive ingredients. High praise. Then I promptly asked for the recipe.

She obliged, so here it is!

This recipe is adapted from the My New Roots Life Changing Loaf. I love this recipe because you can make any substitutions that you want. The original recipe uses oats and almonds as well as a little sweetener but I omit these to make it completely gluten free and nut free so it can go to school and daycare. 

I also love this recipe because it uses ingredients I almost always have in the cupboard and doesn’t require that I have 8 eggs or 3 cups of ground almonds. 

This bread also freezes really well, but you need to slice it first as it is hard to slice once it has been frozen and thawed. 

Some of my favourite flavour combinations include avocado, lemon juice and sprouts. Ricotta and fresh figs, tahini and tomato, or good old fashioned peanut butter. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup flax seeds
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 ½ cups buckwheat flakes. You could also use oats or quinoa flakes.
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husk
  • 1 tsp. fine grain sea salt 
  • 1 tsp. Kelp powder (optional but great source of iodine)
  • 3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil, olive oil or ghee
  • 1 ½ cups / 350ml water


Directions:
1. In a flexible, silicon loaf pan combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable). 
Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight. To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it.

2. Preheat oven to 175°C.

3. Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing.

4. Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. 

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do! 

What do I eat for Breakfast?

What do I eat for Breakfast?

When starting to make changes to any diet, the biggest stumbling block we see with clients is breakfast time. Often eating the “right” foods at lunch and dinner comes a bit more naturally. Protein and veggies are acceptable at dinner, but they seem a bit out of place at breakfast. 

The fact is, nothing would set you up more for a day with even blood sugar levels, energy and brainpower than some protein or veggies at breakfast. Yet, when I tell clients that I had last night’s leftovers with a poached egg for breakfast that morning, they look at me like I’ve grown four heads.

There’s a couple of reasons why I think people resist meat, veggies and things like soup and curry for breakfast. The first is that they just seem so different from the current sugar-filled muesli and breakfast options pedalled to us. The second is that a cooked breakfast appears as though it will take a lot of time. 

The first thing I always tell clients is that reframing the way they think about their meals really helps. Try not to think of it as breakfast, lunch and dinner. There really are no rules that say you should eat x at breakfast and y at lunch, but they can’t be interchanged. Think of your meals as meal one, meal two and meal three. Once you take the association of conventional foods away from the particular time of day, you can make an objective choice about what might be the most nutritious choice in that moment. 

The next problem is one of convenience and time. Let’s face it. Mornings can be hard. Regardless of whether or not you love your job, have slept a solid 8 hours, snuck in a quick morning walk and have enjoyable things planned for your day, they can still be hard. 


Here at Feel Fresh Nutrition we think the reason muesli and sugar-laden cereals have resisted the raft of scientific evidence against them is because they represent palatable convenience. So, how can we implement a few life hacks to help us out at the start of our day? 

Finding your solution


When figuring out a meal that will fit into your lifestyle, it can be helpful to identify what you struggle with in the morning. We have a couple of scenarios with solutions to help. 

1. You have no time in the mornings. 
We could tell you to set your alarm ten minutes earlier to make a smoothie. But that's not always easy because... sleep. Right?!

So the best solution in this scenario is to prepare something the night before. 

Chia puddings are a great idea as they require the overnight time for the chia seeds to soak.
The internet is also filled with soaked oats recipes with veggies grated into them. Google Zoats (zucchini oats) for an example. This is another great option if you tolerate oats. Instead of cooking them as per the instructions, combine all the ingredients into a bowl the night before. Simply stir in the morning, adding more liquid if necessary. Heat and eat. Or eat them cold. Up to you. 

Another great tip is to prepare all your smoothie ingredients in the blender the night before and chuck it in the fridge. Leave out any ice or liquid. Add these just before blending. 

2. You want to eat the same meal as your kids.
I totally get this. As a mother, you want to set a good example for your children while ensuring that they are getting a good start to their day. Even if your child loves eggs, they might not want them everyday at 7am. 

One solution is this epic No grain bircher. It's delicious. Every child I’ve come across has demolished it. If you require a bit more protein, eat a boiled egg on the side. 

3. You're not hungry as soon as you wake up.
There is no reason you have to eat just because it is conventionally "breakfast time". In fact, numerous studies have shown that an extended overnight fast can help with weight management and insulin sensitivity. One option is to eat your breakfast once you've gotten to work or after you've dropped the kids to kindy/school/daycare. This way you can eat sitting down and you’re not in a rush. Ham and egg muffins or Frittata are great for taking with you and reheating (or eating cold) once you've gotten to work. 

Lastly, if you're kitchen at work has a stovetop and a fridge you could consider buying a small amount of veggies and some eggs and storing them at work. This way you don't have to pack anything the night before and can cook up an omelette or fried eggs once you get to work. 

Leftovers are also great for breakfast. Who says dinner is only for dinner? 

The key thing to remember is there is no right way or time to eat breakfast. Find a solution that works for you and give it a try. Eating breakfast is important, but there is no one way to do it. What we do know is that consuming refined grains or sugar in the form of toast, muesli or breakfast cereal will set you up for an energy crash later in the day. 

A Feel Fresh Nutritionist can help you find some breakfast solutions to fit into your lifestyle. Book an appointment with us here.

Thanks, from Team Feel Fresh Nutrition.

  • Use this link if you want to know more about our other services.
  • Read our testimonials page to see what our clients say about Feel Fresh Nutrition!
  • Want to read another blog post - click here to head back to the start :)

Image: Henrique Felix

Before your After

Before your After

How often do we set goals for ourselves? "In five weeks I'll be x weight..." "I'm going to buy this dress in a size 10 because I'll fit it next month."

Often we are so fixated on the result that we forget to think about the process. What the journey to reaching your goals might actually look like. Here at Feel Fresh Nutrition, we like to call this the “before your after”. 

Media hasn't helped this phenomenon. Before pictures are juxtaposed against svelte, joyous after photos. Often with better lighting, more flattering clothes, smiling faces and hashtags designed to motivate others. #thiscouldbeyou. Except it couldn’t be, because that’s them and not you. 

This may seem pretty harmless, but the thing we see time and time again working with clients is that weight loss is less about what you eat, and how much you exercise and more about your MINDSET. Our most successful clients are those with the right mindset and those who make consistent changes over a period of time. When we focus solely on the end results we can’t appreciate the positive changes we are making regardless of the outcome. I.e we create the wrong mindset.

If we buy into the before/after picture scenario, it implies that the person - or you - is less in their before. Less healthy, less happy, less worthy. Some of these things may be true, but your outward appearance actually isn’t the best judge of this. What actually matters is your health behaviours.

If you change your mindset towards health, with weight loss as a byproduct, you will undoubtedly be healthier and you will still be as worthy as a person at every stage of your journey. 

The other reason thinking about weight loss as a before and after process is flawed is because it implies that we MUST have our own after picture in order for our life's work to have been a success. It also suggests - not too implicitly - that the process was easy, linear and sudden. Logically we know the person did not simply exercise for a week, eat some salad and wake up with washboard abs. 

In all likelihood, their journey had more downs than ups and it was only consistency over time that led to good results. But before's and after's don't show this. What we think is most helpful is to think about what YOUR life is going to look like BEFORE your AFTER.

  • Is it going to be a straightforward process? 
  • Are you never going to eat cake again?
  • Are you going to avoid every single social setting until you can wear that size 10 outfit or 34" jeans.
  • Are you going to avoid a glass of wine or beer on a Friday night with your colleagues or friends?
  • Or are you going to develop habits that are enjoyable and sustainable but will still get you there?

I hope you can tell from this list that at Feel Fresh Nutrition we strongly support the last statement.

We do not have to hate the process or even what our picture or context looks like 'before'. When you set goals you are working towards achieving something that is important to you. It isn't necessarily about making yourself better. You as a person, right now, are perfectly imperfect as you are. 

You are not less worthy of love, especially self-love, than the person who 'appears' to have it all because they are tall and slim. You don't suddenly earn the right to be happy and love yourself when you finally get to publish the 'after' picture. 

To some people this may seem like common logic. Some people know that small but consistent changes will lead to the results they want. But, because of our current culture and the dieting industries claims that we can lose “10kg in 2 weeks” some people get discouraged and proceed to indulge in self-destructive behaviours. 

So it’s important to tell this message. Even if we were to give people the best nutrition plan in the world, geared towards aggressive weight loss, it’s not going to be a simple equation of "do this" to convert your before to your after. 

Goals are good. They provide context and remind us of what's important. But they shouldn't come at the expense of sanity, rational thought and uplifting practises of self-respect and enjoyment. The thing about goals is that they aren't always a destination. Between where you stand now and those goals is this thing called life, and it's for living. 

So what does this all mean? How do we learn to enjoy the time before the after?

  • If your goal is weight loss, don't weigh yourself every day. Weigh no more than once a week.
  • If your happiness is pinned on a number decreasing solely based on your personal relationship with gravity, don't weigh yourself at all.
  • When working with clients in the clinic we use weight as a reference point, but we also check body composition, energy and other factors such as improvements in hormones, acne, fertility or digestive issues. You’re not necessarily going to lose weight every single time you jump on the scales. And that’s ok. We can adjust and change your plan based on the new information we have gathered. Because really, that’s all that weight is. Information about your body. 
  • Set yourself some non-scale barometers. We call these non scale victories. Do I have more energy? Is my skin better? Are my IBS symptoms improving? How many compliments have I received? Are my clothes looser? Is my relationship with food or myself better?
  • Set yourself micro goals. You aren't going to get there overnight so break up the journey. At the one month mark, regardless of your results, take yourself out for a nice lunch, massage or pampering session. Buy yourself tickets to a show or game you've been wanting to see.

Do not compare yourself to others. This is the biggest part of putting your journey into perspective. You don't know what stage someone is at on their own journey. You don't even know what their journey is. For you it might be weight loss and you resent their apparent ease with weight management. They may be grappling with anxiety or confidence or any number of things that have nothing to do with weight. Again, their worth as a person isn't less because they haven't reached their own after. 

They are awesome as they are, just like you.

Thanks, from Team Feel Fresh Nutrition.

  • Use this link if you want to know more about our other services.
  • Use this link to book your consultation today.
  • Read our testimonials page to see what our clients say about Feel Fresh Nutrition!
  • Want to read another blog post - click here to head back to the start :)

Image: Julia Caesar

Is your workplace making you unhealthy?

Is your workplace making you unhealthy?

Monday morning. Your alarm goes off! You bound out of bed, barely able to contain your excitement that it’s the start of another working week.

Sound familiar?

Didn’t think so.

For the vast majority of us, our alarms go off a couple of hours ahead of our brains, which were probably just settling into weekend life before they were jolted back to reality. We drag ourselves out of bed, barely even registering the motions we go through as we arrive at our places of work -  honestly, do you even remember your trip to work? - and don’t even get us started on work. 

According to the Southern Cross’s Wellness in the Workplace survey that hit the news in August 2015, New Zealand’s workforce lost an estimated 6.7 MILLION days to absence in 2014. This is a number that is increasing, with absenteeism up on average from 4.5 days per person in 2012 to 4.7 days in 2014. 

That’s a heck of a lot of food poisoning excuses!

Significant factors affecting kiwi absenteeism or presenteeism are:

  • Personal illness or injury 
  • The injury or illness of a person in the employee’s care
  • Stress - with a whopping 28.6% of businesses surveyed reporting an increase, with reasons given including increased workloads, financial pressures, and long hours.

So that’s a lot of people away from their workplace. The ironic thing though is that it is frequently the workplace that is the key contributor to absenteeism. The key is to acknowledge that we all have a certain workplace culture, which needs to be accepted and cultivated in a positive way. We have found that small tweaks here and there to behaviour and understanding of our approach to the day can see massive improvements that are mutually beneficial for both employees, and employers.

Things to consider:

  • Does your work place have a bar in it? 
  • Would you describe your workplace as ‘fast paced’? 
  • Is there a coffee machine in the kitchen and chocolate that is so accessible you groan every afternoon that you indulge? 
  • Do you have a mini celebration in your head when you hear the tinkering of the drinks trolley being pushed around? 

WELL, we can talk to you about how to incorporate sugar, alcohol and coffee in the most effective way so it does not wreak havoc on your concentration, digestion, weight or blood sugar levels. Let’s be honest, in certain workplaces, alcohol, coffee and sugar are cemented in the company culture so we need to work WITH it, not against it and have an achievable plan for the day. 

Just a few considerations: 

  • Are you fitness focussed, have a busy job and intend on eating healthily to compliment both but not sure where to start due to the barrage of conflicting nutritional information? 
  • How do you apply healthy eating to work AND home? 
  • Do you have a family you need to consider? 
  • What should you be eating after you have trained at the company gym at lunchtime? 

There’s a huge difference between showing up to work, and actually being present. 

If you are an employee or employer and know that focusing on health and wellness is absolutely paramount to workplace success, then give us a call on 0221537890 to discuss how our range of services can help your workplace. Also, check out the Corporate Wellness section of our website to see what our clients say about us. 

Thanks, from Team Feel Fresh Nutrition.

  • Use this link if you want to know more about our other services.
  • Use this link to book your consultation today.
  • Read our testimonials page to see what our clients say about Feel Fresh Nutrition!
  • Want to read another blog post - click here to head back to the start :)

Image:@gilibenita

Gratitude.

Gratitude.

Okay, so this may not be a post on nutrition – or anything remotely food related. But, we feel that the topic of this post is equally as important in fostering an over-all sense of well-being.


Gratitude.


How often do you stop just to say, “thanks?” You may not be thanking anyone – or anything – in particular, but the simple act of pausing to take a moment to give thanks for all the ‘blessings’ that your life contains can be powerful. 


We don’t mean the sort of ‘thanks’ you give to a check-out operator or a salesperson who was particularly helpful. Often these words of thanks are given without thought, and are a matter of habit – they’re just words you say when you’re leaving or saying goodbye. We’re talking about taking a matter of seconds, minutes – or even hours – to be still. To recognise the richness and fullness of your life, of your surroundings, and of the things that connect you to all of them.


Many of us are so focussed on the acquisition of ‘things’ or ‘wealth’ that we actually don’t realise just how much we already have in our lives. It’s not entirely our fault – we’re a consumer nation driven by the media and our overseas neighbours to simply want MORE – we never, ever can have enough. We’re constantly upgrading phones that work perfectly well, working longer hours (read: sacrificing time with friends and family) in order to earn a bigger salary, so that we can afford the latest and greatest gadgets.


It seems like research would even suggest that the more gratitude we feel, the happier, healthier, and more well-adjusted we are. This study suggests that participants who focused on things they were grateful for as opposed to hassles in their daily life had a higher over-all sense of well-being than those who were instructed to journal about the low points in their day (the ‘hassles’). The same study also suggested that the people who felt the most gratitude had the lowest levels of illness, and were more inclined to exercise. Win-win!


Yet another study suggests that people who experience more gratitude sleep better. This study suggest participants who experienced the most gratitude also reported the best sleep quality, and longer sleep duration. We know without a shadow of a doubt how important sleep is to your overall health and well-being – everything from immunity, to recovery, and repair. The researchers noted ‘pre-sleep cognitions.’ Seems like a win for writing in a gratitude journal each night before going to sleep!


Gratitude is like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Look at practicing gratitude as a form of self-care. Just stopping to feel grateful for the blessings you have can enhance your mood, give you greater job satisfaction, greater satisfaction in relationships, and – best of all – it seems to be contagious. When you practice gratitude, it influences other people’s thoughts, feelings, and moods, and they’re more likely to perform ‘random acts of kindness.’ Sounds pretty amazing, right? Imagine what the world would be like if we all just stopped and said, ‘thanks.’


If you’re struggling to think of ways to feel gratitude, or to practice gratitude, here are some quick tips to get you started:

  • Keep a gratitude journal.
    This doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complicated. Simply write down anything from one, to as many things as you can think of, that you are grateful for every day. Try doing it before bed for that added effect on sleep.
  • Get out in nature.
    It’s almost impossible to be in a beautiful space outdoors and not feel a sense of awe and connection. As human-beings, we’re hard-wired to connect with nature. Find a beautiful park, go for a hike, to the beach, or to a space with a beautiful view. Sit in silence with no noise (I’m looking at you, Facebook), and spend a few minutes just ‘being.’
  • Get the kids involved.
    If you have flatmates or children (or even just a spouse or significant other), ask them at the end of each day what the best part of their day was. They may have to think about it, but that’s okay! 

The more you take the time to pause, and simply recognise the things in your life you DO have (children, a spouse, your health, the ability to call the country you live in home), rather than the ones you DON’T have (the latest iPhone, the fanciest car, the ‘perfect’ thighs), the easier it becomes to recognise just how rich and full your life really is.


I don’t know about you, but when I feel that my life is rich - and I feel gratitude for my friends and family – I want to be better for them. I want to be even happier, healthier, and more enthusiastic. I’m more likely to stick to healthy practices, and do things that nourish me, create excitement and make me feel alive, rather than that withdraw from my energy bank. Feeling and expressing gratitude just makes me a better human being to be around, and this feeds into all areas of my life. I believe it can do the same for you, too.

It can:

  • Make you a better mother/daughter/sister/father/son/brother/friend, etc.
  • It can make you a more engaged employee, and a better worker
  • It helps you to be a more caring and compassionate member of society

Gratitude is a matter of attitude.

Thanks, from Team Feel Fresh Nutrition

Image: @jeremycai
 

 

Food for your mood

Food for your mood

Did you know that the foods you choose to eat (or not eat), have a powerful influence on your mood? 

It’s no secret that foods like chocolate and lollies offer a quick reward when we’re feeling tired or down. There’s a reason these foods are used as comfort foods for a lot of people. Unfortunately, these foods can result in feelings of irritation, tiredness and leave you feeling unmotivated with a gut ache to boot. 

We are - quite literally - what we eat. We eat to provide both energy in the form of calories, and micronutrients, in the forms of vitamins and minerals. Without an adequate supply of both energy and nutrients, our bodies cannot maintain homeostasis - the scientific term for a biological state of balance and well-being. 

You may have heard of our gut been referred to as our “second brain”. The bacteria found inside our guts is responsible for producing an amazing 95 percent of serotonin in our bodies. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps the body in regulating appetite, sleep patterns, and mood. The food we put in our bodies can influence the pathways by which it is produced. It cannot be stressed enough that this connection requires a nutrient dense nourishing diet for optimal mental health.

So, if you want to get the most out of your mood, what should you be eating?

1. Make sure you get enough B Vitamins (Particularly B12)

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is essential for proper neurological function, and so you need to make sure you get enough of it. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the low end of the ‘normal’ range is quite simply too low, and that many people will suffer symptoms of deficiency at these levels.

B12 is only present in its true form in animal foods, so if you do not eat these - or don’t eat many of them - be sure to get a good vitamin B12 supplement that is easily absorbed by the body.

Brightly coloured plant foods, and good quality animal foods, are a great source of all of the B vitamins which are so essential to your health. Always build your meals around large amounts of veggies, a good serving of protein, and you’ll be well on your way to building a better mood through food!

2. Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that serves as a precursor for serotonin when combined with the essentials, vitamin B9, B6 and zinc. To increase your intake of foods rich in tryptophan for a greater overall mindset try increasing your intake of salmon, chicken, nuts and seeds.

3. Selenium, magnesium and zinc

Selenium, magnesium and zinc are also easily depleted from the body when consuming a poor nutrient dense diet and when the body is under a great deal of stress. These minerals are often found deficient in people suffering from depression and anxiety. They are essential for a wide range of roles in the body including improving behavioural and emotional disorders. Just three Brazil nuts a day can give you your required amount of selenium. Dark leafy greens are a great dietary source to get your daily magnesium boost essential for a healthy nervous system. A diet rich in seafood, especially shellfish contains high levels of zinc to ensure a healthy production of neurotransmitters.

4. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is used to enhance the synthesis of norepinephrine from dopamine, a neurotransmitter, also known as the stress hormone It is also easily depleted from the body through stress, illness and low dietary intake. Vitamin C can be increased in the diet through foods such as berries, kiwifruit and citrus fruits.

5. Eat your protein

Neurotransmitters are built from amino acids - the same molecules that form proteins. Therefore it is essential to ensure that you are eating enough quality protein to meet your needs. 

The Ministry of Health recommends just 46 grams of protein per day for a female aged between 19 and 30. While this quantity may prevent out-right protein deficiency, it’s unlikely to be enough to support all of the critical biological functions that rely on amino acids - such as the production of neurotransmitters. Your body is clever - when it detects a shortage of something, it increases your desire for it (think of calories when you’re trying to eat a very low calorie diet). If it doesn’t get what it wants, it’ll reduce something else. Feeling happy isn’t critical compared to other biological functions!

Remember that not all protein is created equal. It is an ‘essential’ nutrient, meaning you have to get it through your diet. There are 20 amino acids, eight of which are essential (they can’t be created by the body from other amino acids). Foods that contain all eight essential amino acids are called complete proteins, and are more readily utilised by the human body as it doesn’t have to do extra work creating amino acids that weren’t found in the meal. Animal foods are a great source of complete proteins.

Plant foods do contain some protein, though in small amounts compared to animal foods. Soy and quinoa are the only two plants foods to contain all eight essential amino acids - but in small quantities. 

6. Avoid Processed Foods

Sure they may taste good - amazing even - but processed foods do your health no favours. 

Generally speaking, they’re loaded with refined flours and sugars which shoot your blood-sugar sky-high, leading to the inevitable crash. They contain highly processed vegetable oils, which are highly inflammatory (your brain is particularly sensitive to inflammation) and may even contain trans fats - a known carcinogen. They’re also likely to contain the perfect combination of fatty, salty, and sweet - a combination which doesn’t exist in nature. Food scientists have found the perfect combination of these three tastes, called the ‘bliss point.’ It’s no coincidence that foods like Pringles have the catch-phrase, “Once you pop you can’t stop!” They’re designed to be that way!

Not only are processed foods problematic because of the things they contain, they’re also troublesome because of what they don’t contain. Processed foods are generally calorically-dense without being nutrient-dense. This is not ideal! If we’re eating a large number of calories in one sitting, we want to make them count. We want them to provide our bodies with the nutrients they need to thrive. If we become deficient in any given nutrient, our appetite increases. We are driven to eat until we eat enough of that nutrient. If you’re always hungry, you may not be getting the nutrition you need.

7. Increase your Nutrient-Density

What does that even mean?! Choose foods as close to how they’re found in nature as possible. Bright colours are a sign of antioxidants and powerful phytonutrients. Frozen fruits and veggies are great too! Choose whole food sources of carbohydrates over refined ones, such as kumara, potato, and pumpkin, over bread, pasta, and rice. 

Try to eat fish and seafood at least a couple of times a week. The omega-3 fats found in fish and shellfish is anti-inflammatory, and is known to have a positive effect on the brain. Choose sustainable fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and kippers. Mackerel, sardines, and kippers are very cheap, too! Mussels are also a fantastic source of omega-3, are cheap, and are New Zealand’s single most sustainable seafood. You’ll also get a large portion of your RDI of iron and zinc.

Our advice to you.

Minimise energy bandaids as much as possible. Try not to rely on sugar, alcohol, and caffeine to get you through the day. Your energy and mood should be such that most days are great without them! You don’t NEED these substances to keep your head up, or to de-stress at the end of it.
Take a moment each day to breath and avoid the stress that can come from our chaotic lifestyles. Notice how different foods make you feel. Choose nutrient dense foods that are nourishing, vitalizing, and energising for a healthier happier you. 
 

Thanks for reading! From the Feel Fresh Nutrition Team


Images: @Tranmautritam, @caseylee, @adriensala, @badyqb, @yorikoo, @leoniewise, @brookelark

In Defence of Potatoes

In Defence of Potatoes

In Defence of Potatoes

In 1863, William Banting – an English undertaker – wrote a booklet entitled, “Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public.” In it, he outlined his battle with obesity including all of his failed diets and exercise regimes, and described the regime that finally worked for him.

What worked? Avoiding sugar, saccharine matter, starch, and beer, amongst a few other things. He still ate four meals a day consisting of meat, vegetables, fruit, and dry wine.

In 1863, one of the main sources of starch in the diet was the humble potato. With the recent resurgence of the low carb way of eating, potatoes have once again been relegated to the category of fattening, owing to their high starch content.

So why would I want to defend them?

There are many reasons to love the potato beyond the fact they are the key component of French fries.

1. They aren’t even that high in carbohydrates.

Not that being high in carbs should necessarily be a deterrent to eat a wholefood source of carbohydrates! Depending on your goals, potatoes can easily be worked into your diet.

Per 100 gram serving, only 17 grams are carbs. Of those 17 grams, 2.2 grams are fibre. This reduces the ‘usable’ carbohydrate from 17 grams, to 14.8 grams (total carbs net of fibre). Of these 14.8 remaining grams, an untold amount is actually ‘resistant starch’ (RS) – a form of starch that ‘resists’ normal digestion and is processed more like fibre in the body, and feeds certain strains of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

2. They provide resistant starch.

Speaking of resistant starch, potatoes are one of the few sources of RS in the diet. The amount varies according to cooking methods and preparations. For example, cooking and cooling potatoes before eating them dramatically increases the amount of starch that’s ‘resistant’ to normal digestion – though how much, nobody really knows. However, it’s safe to say that of those ~14.8 grams of carbohydrate remaining in 100 grams of potato after fibre has been subtracted, not many actually get used as starch.

Resistant starch is a hefty topic, and one best left for its own post (coming soon!), but some benefits include:

  • Preferentially feed ‘good’ gut bugs that produce butyrate. Butyrate is the prime energy source for our colonic cells.
  • Improves insulin sensitivity, and lowers the insulin response to food.
  • Reduces fasting blood sugar.
  • Increases satiety.

My favourite way to eat resistant starch? Potato salad (with homemade mayonnaise).

3. They provide many essential vitamins and minerals.

Potatoes aren’t simply carb bombs. No, they’re actually very nutritious, offering a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. In fact, they’re so nutrient-dense that it’s been hypothesized that one could survive on a diet of potatoes and milk for months.

In the same 100 grams of potatoes, you’ll get:

  • 7% of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamins B1 and B3, as well as manganese.
  • 9% of your RDI of potassium and phosphorous.
  • An impressive 23% of your RDI of vitamin B6.
  • And an unexpected but amazing 25% of the RDI of vitamin C.
  • You also get modest amounts of vitamin B2, B5, folate, non-heme iron, magnesium, and zinc.

They may not look like much, and they may have been (temporarily) outlawed by the Paleo movement owing to their glycaemic index and saponin content. However, they’ve recently been added back in to the list of approved Paleo items (just not in highly processed forms, like chips and French fries).

4. They’re cheap!

With vegetable prices seemingly increasing every day, the humble potato is reliably cheap and always available. They’re also incredibly easy to grow yourself, if you have the space to do so.

You pay slightly more for the washed varieties, but if you don’t mind scrubbing a bit of dirt off, you can save even more money. Heck, a little dirt may even serve as a free probiotic!

They’re a very good way to add bulk to a meal without spending much money, plus (as mentioned above) potatoes are uniquely filling. Just make sure you store them in a cool, dark place, and throw them out if they start to go green – green potatoes are toxic.

5. They’re oh-so versatile.

This Wikipedia article lists 92 different varieties of potatoes. 92!! Of course the majority aren’t available here in New Zealand, but even your standard grocery store will have three or more varieties, ranging from waxy to floury, washed to unwashed.

Varieties aside, there are literally countless ways to cook and prepare potatoes. Baked, boiled, fried, dauphinoise, scalloped, mashed, whipped… not to mention the ways they can be used as components of other recipes, such as Shepherd's pie, curries, soups, and stews. I own two cookbooks entirely dedicated to potatoes. One book alone boasts over 200 recipes!

As a wholefood source of carbohydrates, there is nothing wrong with the potato. In fact, there’s a whole lot right with it.

Thanks, from the Feel Fresh Nutrition Team xx

Image: @chaminchamin

What your Poo says about you!

What your Poo says about you!

Did we really just say that?

Yes, we did! And here’s why. The gut microbiome – the delicate balance of billions of microorganisms living inside of our gastrointestinal tract – is really having its time in the lime-light in terms of its role in our overall health and well-being, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing. It seems like new journal articles are being published almost daily about how these critters can influence everything from the obvious (like our digestive health) to the less obvious, like our mental health. Our bodies are 10 to 1 bacteria; you have more bacterial cells residing in and on you than you have human DNA. Think about that for a moment… most of the DNA in your body isn’t human!

Why should you care about the health of your gut, and how can you tell whether or not yours is in tip top condition?

Our guts are our ‘second brain,’ with the bacteria that reside there producing a whopping 95 percent of the serotonin in our bodies. (1). This serotonin is responsible for regulating both mood and gastrointestinal activity. Ever wonder why you get butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous? That’s the gut-brain axis at work.

The balance of bacteria in the gut can also be a powerful player in terms of how well you do or do not digest your food. They help regulate everything from transit time, to nutrient absorption, and gas, bloating, and stool consistency.

Your gut is also your best defence against attacks from the outside world – bacterial infections, viruses, and foodborne illness. It is responsible for an enormous amount of your immunity – whether or not you get sick. Frequent illness could be a sign of a compromised gut! Even mild stress can be enough to tip the balance between health promoting bacteria, and disease causing bacteria.

So, with the health of the bacteria that reside in our guts being so crucial to our health, how can we tell if our guts are healthy or not?


1. Transit time

This one is fairly straight forward and involves eating something that passes through the digestive tract relatively unchanged. This is a measure of how long food takes to pass through your digestive tract. A transit time that is too slow could indicate constipation, and an overly rapid transit time could indicate poor nutrient absorption. Some options include:

  • Sesame Seeds: Mix a tablespoon of sesame seeds into a glass of water and swallow them whole. They should reappear in your stool mostly intact.

  • Beetroot: In addition to being an awesome source of many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, beetroot also turns things purple – your poo included! You need to eat about a cup either cooked or raw, and on its own. Watch for the change in colour in your stool.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a study conducted in the 1980s showed significant differences between men and women in terms of transit time, with men having a much faster rate (33 hours compared to 47 hours for women). A normal transit time is anywhere between 12 to 48 hours, with anything more than 72 hours likely indicating constipation. (2).

2. The Bristol Stool Form Scale

Developed by a team of researchers at the University of Bristol, the Bristol Stool Form Scale classes bowel movements by form and shape. There are seven ‘types,’ all indicating different degrees of bowel health.

The longer faeces stays inside our bodies, the more dried out and hard it becomes. The Bristol Stool Chart is essentially another way of measuring transit time.

  • Type 1: Indicates constipation. The stool is hard and scratchy, and painful to pass. There will be little gas, as there is inadequate fibre to ferment.

  • Type 2: Also indicates constipation, but is more severe than Type 1 owing to the size. Considerable straining required to eliminate. Common in sufferers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Stool in this form has been in the colon for several weeks.

  • Type 3: Has all of the same characteristics of Type 2, but transit time through the colon is faster. Also common in sufferers of IBS.

  • Type 4: Normal! Common in people who have a bowel movement daily.

  • Type 5: Also considered normal, but not if there is incompletely digested food visible (this could indicate a transit time that is too fast).

  • Type 6: Abnormally fast transit time, but comfortable to pass. Can be caused by excessive stress, laxative use, or gut disorders.

  • Type 7: Classic diarrhoea. Transit time is far too rapid to allow for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. (3).

So, Types 1, 2, 6, or 7 could indicate gut issues that require further investigation.

3. Just looking!

Does your poop float, sink, or contain undigested food particles? All of this tells you something about your digestion, and the overall health of your gut.

  • Floating stools can indicate flatulence and gas in the stool, and is not caused by too much fat in the diet (as is commonly believed). However, an increased fat content of stool can indicate a pancreatic disorder, as the pancreas is responsible for emulsifying dietary fats. (4).

  • Undigested food in your poo can be harmless, or a sign that something is wrong. For example, not chewing thoroughly, swallowing a lot of air, or eating hard to digest foods can all cause food to be incompletely digested, but are harmless. However, it can also be a sign of inadequate hydrochloric acid production, intestinal inflammation, or malabsorption. If this happens to you frequently, see your doctor.

4. Frequency

Although everyone is different and there is no set ‘ideal’ bowel movement frequency, it can tell us a lot about our gut health. As stated above, there is considerable variability between individuals influenced by factors such as fluid intake and diet. There is also much variability between men and women, with men passing stool more frequently. (5).

It is generally accepted that having a bowel movement every day to every three days is considered normal. Any less frequently than this could indicate serious constipation. Frequent loose or watery stools can also indicate malabsorption, or digestive disorders such as IBS.

5. Listen to your gut

Symptoms such as pain, gas, and bloating can all indicate abnormal digestive health – especially if experienced frequently. However, there are many lesser-known symptoms of poor digestive health as well. If you experience any of the following symptoms frequently, it could warrant further investigation:

  • Indigestion and/or heartburn

  • Bad breath

  • Food sensitivities and intolerances

  • Mucus in the stool

If you experience any of these symptoms, there are a number of things you can try at home to help health your gut and restore digestive health, such as:

  • Increase your fibre intake – especially from fresh fruits and vegetables

  • Increase the amount of fermented foods you eat, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kombucha

  • If you suspect you may have food intolerances, try an elimination diet to single out the food or foods

  • Increase your fluid intake

  • Get a good probiotic supplement

  • Get enough sleep, and reduce stress as much as possible

If you suspect you may have a more serious condition such as Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Colitis, or a bacterial (such as SIBO) or fungal overgrowth (such as Candida), it is essential that you see your doctor for testing.

Healing the gut and optimizing gut health can be a complicated process with many moving parts, but it’s well worth the investment of time and effort for the sake of your physical, mental, and emotional health. We’re still learning just how important our gut health is in achieving optimal well-being.

 

Thanks, from Team Feel Fresh Nutrition.

For more information please email us here, or book here - we look forward to working with you! 

A Lesson on Self Love

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A Lesson on Self Love

Every day, everywhere we look, we’re bombarded with images of beautiful bodies. Bodies that are toned, muscular, and lean. These bodies smile, and look happy. They tell us that if we only worked hard enough, wanted it bad enough, we could look like them, and we too could be happy. As if true happiness depends on being smaller, no matter the cost.

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