The average sugar consumption for an adult is 25kg a year. That equates to anywhere from 20 teaspoons a day or more. The World Health Organisation recommends that for health we should consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day. What’s the bet this morning over 3 million people in Sydney alone blew their sugar budget, and that is not adding any sugar. Cereals for breakfast, orange juice, chocolate milk, up and go, toast and jam, donut or muffin it is easily done if you are eating the Standard Australian Diet.
Too much sugar makes us sick, fat and depressed. As well as being addictive, sugar is the cause of many health issues. It has been estimated that:
So why is sugar such a huge problem? It’s because our food supply has changed dramatically since the 1950’s. As Cyndi Omeara puts it, we are part of one enormous scientific experiment. The foods that we are choosing to eat are not as healthy as we think. Unless the ingredient list has words that you are familiar with, then it’s likely that food is not a good choice. Sugar is extremely addictive, and has been likened to a cocaine addiction. We keep on coming back for more, never reaching satiety.
Sugar is made up of glucose and fructose. Every living cell in your body needs glucose. Whereas fructose, we don’t have any physiological need for it. In small amounts, fructose in whole fruits can be absorbed efficiently in the intestines and the liver is able to break down fructose into forms that the body can use. The problem arises when we eat processed foods. These foods contain large amounts of high fructose corn syrup and refined sugars. Once eaten they are rapidly absorbed across the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream that is heading towards the direction of the liver. The liver is the only organ that can break down fructose, and can easily get overloaded. As a coping mechanism, the liver ends up storing fructose as fat around the abdomen, which we call visceral fat and also around the heart. This puts us at risk of insulin resistance, diabetes type 2, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and chronic ill health.
“This generation may be the first in history to live shorter than their parents due to poor diet. That’s a tragedy.” - Damon Gameau ‘That Sugar Film’
We are all familiar with the roller coaster ride we go on when we eat sugar. We have a quick surge of adrenalin, our blood pressure rises, our heart beats rapidly, cortisol is released. We are in flight and fight mode, restless, anxious and hypervigilant. When our trustworthy and hardworking hormone insulin manages to push all the sugar in our blood into our cells our blood sugar plummets causing us to get that slump that we so often experience around 10am and 3pm when we crave more sweet foods to get us out of the slump again. And so the vicious cycle goes on and on. Our taste buds have been trained to only want sweetened processed foods.
What can we do to break the cycle?
So what are the benefits of giving up sugar
Be Extraordinary, through Healthy Food Choices.
Krys Lojek Nutrition
What has cholesterol got to do with hormone health? A Lot! Lets see why....
Steroid hormones are a group of hormones, consisting of our reproductive hormones, cortisol our flight and fight hormone and aldosterone that regulates sodium levels and blood pressure. If we don't eat enough cholesterol our liver will make cholesterol to make these hormones, but ideally it is important to consume cholesterol.
Cholesterol is essential for life!
Learn more about the importance of eating fats and hormone health this Sunday, 11th September, at the boat shed, down the bottom of Gourley Ave, Balgowlah between 10 and 12md. Please join our Expo and learn about hormones and health, resistance training, eating well and fitness programs for you.
Just recently I was sick with the flu and managed to spend a few hours catching up on nutrition documentaries on Netflix. I watched Hungry for Change, and was engrossed by the stories of people turning their lives around by eating unprocessed, unrefined foods. Such amazing stories of people shedding half their body weight and enjoying their new life, eating well, exercising and learning how to manage stress.
Most of us get, that to lose weight we have to change the way we think about food, how we shop, and allocate time in the kitchen cooking.
Here I am going to recap on three things that don’t often get discussed when it comes to weight loss. Emotional eating, visualisation and love.
Emotional eating can derail anyone's intentions to eat well. Unfortunately, emotional eating is particularly common, and usually as a response to a perceived threat. This can be anything from “sleep deprivation, dehydration, mental or emotional stress, fighting traffic, worrying about your job, or how you are going to pay for your mortgage.” (Hungry for Change) Whatever is bothering us, we are turning to the foods that gave us comfort as children taking us back to the time when we felt nourished and loved.
This chronic stress causes an increase in levels of the hormone cortisol. This stimulates the liver and muscle tissue to release glycogen a sugar into the bloodstream to give the body a boost in energy so we can run away from the perceived danger, but unfortunately, cortisol also tells the body to store fat, leading to weight gain and obesity, especially around the middle.
How do you deal with emotional eating:
Firstly don't eat when you are upset. Great advice from Kris Karr from Crazy Sexy Life
Secondly is to deal with the things that are making you stressed, whether it be lack of sleep or unhappy with your work life balance, it is important for your health to overcome these issues.
Three easy steps to reduce stress:
Get a good night's sleep - Go to bed at a reasonable time, in a darkened room, with no electronics in bedroom. Make sure you have cooler ambient air and your bedding is comfortable.
Exercise - Find an exercise that you love and commit to it. Whether it be walking 2-3 x per week, personal training classes, or weight bearing exercises will all help your body to break down those stress hormones.
Laughter - Surround yourself with happy people, watch funny movies, anything that puts you in a good mood.
Dig out a photo of yourself, or even a picture of someone else the size that you would like to be or have been. Put it somewhere, where you will see it everyday. The fridge, toilet door, bathroom door or bedroom. Don’t just look at it, but absorb that picture for 30 seconds twice a day.
When we do this we are talking to the subconscious mind, telling it that it is now time to lose weight. This is how I want to be. When we are in a state of chronic stress the body naturally stores fat as a mechanism to protect us from harm. When we tell our body, stop storing fat, I want to be thin, breaks this cycle and gives the body permission to burn fat not store it.
“Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in your life” Tony Robbins
How many of us actually love ourselves. How many of us constantly chide ourselves for having a saggy tummy, cellulite, love handles, acne or feeling ugly. This sets us up for a day of negative chatter in our head, that reinforces the loathing of ourselves. “How could it get so bad”, “How could anyone love me”, “I’m not worthy of love and affection”. Dr Northrup from Hungry for Change states that “Such thoughts prevent us from getting what we want or feeling the way we want - and deserve - to feel.”
The key is self love. Without that no change will happen.
So how can we turn this negative banter into self love affirmations. Many of you may have visited Louise Hay books in your lifetime. I am no exception. In times of despair I have turned to many of her affirmations. Here is one, that you can write on a post it note and place it somewhere, once again where you will see it morning and night.
“I accept myself unconditionally. Right Now.”
It all takes time, it's not an instant fix, but after 28 days of positive affirmations the thought starts to take over in your brain until all that negative talk has quietened down.
Here is what self love does to your body -
“It improves hearing and eyesight, lowers blood pressure, increases pulmonary function and cardiac output.” Dr Northrup.
“I am by nature a dealer in words, and words are the most powerful drug known to humanity” Rudyard Kipling 1865 - 1936
This is all before we have even began to find recipes, meal plan, shop and cook for a healthy life. The movie, Hungry for Change was released in October, 2012, receiving criticism for being plant based, heavy on juicing vegetables, and not recognising coconut oil as a good fat. Despite this I found these three messages to be key to losing weight. How many of us have gone on diets that have set us up to fail. I believe incorporating strategies to help you deal with stress such as exercise, sleep, fun and laughter, giving our bodies permission to lose weight with love and positive affirmations is the key to any weight loss success.
A few hacks to get your kids eating well
We are in the midst of school holidays I have a 13 year old child who is gluten free due to an intolerance, who is a particularly fussy eater. So, I thought this was the perfect time to strip his food choices back to healing foods.
This is a lot easier said than done, realising that the whole journey starts with me. I had to stop giving in to all the demands for gluten free breads and gluten free weetbix that are loaded with additives and preservatives. Then I had to think of other things that I knew he would eat and make them healthier.
For some children introducing new foods is a work in progress, but what I have found works extremely well is introducing new foods when they have friends over. Firstly they discover that if their friends eat it then it’s really not that bad and they try it. Even if it is only a teaspoonful, that is progress, because the more times you put it in front of them, the more they will eat.
I have been introducing pumpkin soup for what seems like years. Looking at his food preferences, he has quite a mature taste in foods, having a leaning towards herbs such as rosemary, oregano, thyme etc… I decided to give this pumpkin soup a make over. Inspired by Danielle Walker from Against all Grain I did a version of her roasted vegetable and chicken soup. This has a great combo of pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, onion and garlic in a broth base. Soup couldn't be more nourishing with all of these yellow and orange carotene rich vegetables roasted in coconut oil, as carotenes need fats so they can be absorbed by our body. So I was ecstatic when he asked for seconds, and then a second helping after dinner. I just needed to stop myself from making it over and over again day after day until he got sick of it, instead just once a week to make it a special treat.
The other success that I had was homemade jellies and marshmallows. Well, how wonderful it was to come home to kids choosing jellies and marshmallows from the fridge as a quick snack. Little did they know that they were a probiotic hit made from kombucha and probiotic powder with the added goodness of gelatin. I have been really getting into using grass fed gelatin lately with all of its anti inflammatory, gut healing, joint healing qualities.
Some other food hacks that I have been using:
It has been a successful two weeks so far. I have enjoyed creating meals and snacks that will see the end of gluten free weetbix and gluten free breads forever. We haven't come up with any substitutes, but we don’t need to. It's about experiencing a wider variety of foods, with differing textures, smells and tastes.
Prepackaged, convenience foods can sabotage all of your efforts in seconds. Try not to fall into the trap again, because if you have a fussy eater it is about making every food choice as nutrient rich as possible to help them grow, develop and eventually eat everything that nature intended.
I began going grey in my early 40's, but it wasn't until mid 40's that I decided to start colouring my hair. At that stage it was every 4-5 weeks at the hairdresser for a 1-2 hour time frame. Soon, as the greys became more pronounced the visits increased to every 3 weeks. Does that sound familiar? What I struggled with the most was the time commitment, and the exposure to all the toxins in the hair colour and the fragrances in the hair salon. During this time I was reskilling as a nutritionist, studying all about nutrition, often while having my hair done. Never waste a minute, ever. I felt the need to look younger, but this was not the authentic me. Instead I was bathing my body in toxins, which it had to work hard to get rid of.
I had a fabulous hairdresser, who decided to go out on her own. In her own salon, she researched every single brand of hair colour on the market, looking for the lowest toxic, organic range possible. She tested Origin and Mineral, liked the results and began using all the products in her salon. This was fabulous for me. I was having a wonderful hair colour with minimal toxins. So if I had the product why decide to go grey?
It was an overwhelming feeling, that it was time. I am a nutritionist. My message is to live a low toxic life, with natural, beautiful food. It has taken me over a year to get to this stage. I am not fully grey, but with clever blending and dulling down of the colour on the ends has given me this new look that I embrace.
So will going grey mean that I won't be as attractive or sexy. Why the hell not. George Clooney looks dam good grey, and so does my husband. And I find the both of them very attractive, especially the latter.
For me ageing is about embracing who you are. I do my best to look after the body that I have with good food, exercise, great company and laughter.
The end of last week, I completed the GAPS Practitioner training. Many of you, through your own health journey may have seen you tube clips of Dr Natasha Campbell McBride, or ventured onto the GAPS website. A Dr in Neurology, she formulated the GAPS protocol initially to help her two year old son with Autism with success. Now she has helped countless people and trained GAPS practitioners all over the world.
The GAPS protocol is about healing and sealing the gut. It is believed that many diseases are caused by damage to the gut wall causing undigested molecules to leak into the bloodstream. These foreign invaders put our immune system into chaos. They mount an attack until our immune system can longer tell what is foreign and what is our own tissue. This leads to autoimmune disease. Where or what autoimmune disease it is depends on where your weakest link is. For some it may be the brain, joints, muscles, mitochondria etc... with a wide range of symptoms such as multiple food allergies or sensitivities, brain fog, fatigue, aches and pains, mood imbalances, rashes, weight gain, digestive issues.
A typical scenario is a child born via caesarian, unable to be breastfed, persistent ear infections, series of antibiotics and exposure to environmental toxins such as BPA, mercury etc. Some children can detox all of these exposures fabulously and live a normal healthy life, and then there are others who are unable to detox all of these toxins. Their livers become sluggish, their bowels struggle to eliminate and toxins begin to build up in the child causing symptoms that disrupt their lives. These may be digestive issues such as constipation, cramping or more systemic issues such as lack of focus, learning disabilities, ADD, ADHD, as a few examples.
As a GAPS practitioner, I can help you determine whether the GAPS protocol is right for you, and what stage you can jump in at. It requires a level of commitment, but with the right support from monthly meetings and working as a team it can be done.
If you are interested in the GAPS protocol and want to learn more, please email me an expression of interest and I will keep in contact with you.
Mindful eating is about slowing everything down. Making time and prioritising about what and how we eat into our busy lives. It can be a struggle to get dinner on the table when you get home at 7pm. But it is possible when you prioritise and plan allowing you time to anticipate, sit, enjoy, chew and relax during a meal.
What happens with MindLESS Eating
The Benefits of Mindful Eating
With mindful eating, we begin to enjoy the anticipation of food, appreciate the aroma’s, sight and feel of the food. Chewing your food well, and enjoying every mouthful allows the food to be broken down even further at every stage of digestion until it reaches the size needed to cross the intestinal wall, into the bloodstream and then into the cell.
Have a Menu Plan
Habits of a Mindful Person
When the meal is finished, practice mindfulness cleaning up. Get everyone to pitch in and enjoy the teamwork, conversation and fun. Delegate jobs and the cleaning up will be done in no time. A perfect end to a perfect meal.
This is the practice of Mindful Eating.
Realistically, to create a delicious and "good for you" meal in the time it takes to get a take away delivered is possible. Of course, nothing can beat being organised and having the ingredients on hand. That is where meal planning is so valuable and such a fabulous time saving resource. These are meals that can be made in minutes from one mum to another.
Dinner option No 1.
Roasts are very easy. No one ever complains when I do a roast mid week. Usually it is our Sunday evening treat where the in laws come over and we share a meal together. The banter between all of us is priceless. Mid week, sometimes it gets to the point where I have run out of cold meats to pack in lunches a roast is an ideal way I can have plenty of left overs for lunch boxes the next day. To save time, I will butterfly chickens by removing the back bone, flatten and seasoning with salt, pepper, paprika, oregano with a dollops of coconut oil around the pan. I will scrub my organic potatoes and parboil them (if I have time) and then throw them in the pan. The juices from the chicken make the potatoes heavenly.
This gives me at least an hour free to either help with homework, play a bit of soccer, put the washing out or get some veggies cut ready to steam or prepare a green salad. Depending on how many of us, I will do two organic chickens to have plenty of left overs. The carcasses I will put into the slow cooker with some chicken wings to make a bone broth. A wonderfully healing broth perfect for any recipe requiring stock.
Dinner option No 2
Tray Bakes are amazing. Throw it all in a pan, season, add tomatoes, anchovies, lemons, garlic, place bacon strips over the top and a drizzle of olive oil and in 40 minutes, wow the aromas from this dish are mouth watering as well as tasting delicious . This is especially good with chicken breast, but salmon also lends itself to a successful tray bake.
Serve with a quick colourful salad and you have a meal in minutes.
Dinner option No 3
Butterflied Lamb. I will place this on the BBQ or oven, on a tray. I prefer a tray on the BBQ as the flames will blacken the outside of the lamb in seconds. I will season, crush garlic, rosemary rubbed into the skin with olive oil and 40 minutes later depending on how you like the lamb cooked, I have a wonderful meal waiting. In summer I will serve with a colourful salad, or steamed vegetables in winter. Once again, if I have time I will roast some potatoes in the pan as well.
Dinner option No 4
I have mastered a few curry recipes, that I make from scratch that take me 30 minutes maximum to cook. One of these favourites is Butter Chicken. Once you have the spices on hand then the sauce takes minutes. Add the diced chicken and let it cook while you start the rice and get the veggies on. For a vegetarian option add pulses and vegetables to the sauce. Absorption method rice is also very quick and simple. For 5 people I place 2 cups of rinsed basmati rice in a pan. If it is brown rice I will add 4 cups of water, if it is white rice then I will add 3 cups of water.
Let the rice come to a rolling boil. Turn off and forget. Do not lift lid as all that hot air will escape and the rice will not cook through. So easy and mindless.
Serve with lots of colourful steamed vegetables.
Dinner option No 5
Cook more than you need. For instance when roasting vegetables, roast extra pumpkin and beetroot so that you can add to salads during the week. Blanched beans are also delicious in salads with caramelised onions in balsamic vinegar.
Adding seeds, pulses and cheeses such as grilled halloumi or feta to salads bulks them up and are satisfying with the roasted vegetables and blanched beans.
For fail proof ideas, be organised. Have some idea of what you are going to eat each night, allowing it to fit around your schedule.
Shopping can be a tireless, thankless task at the time, but when you are scouring online shopping lists, going to your fourth store in an effort to buy local, sustainable and organic items, then it will be worth it.
Your family and your tummy will be thanking you for all that extra effort you have made.
Days when you are not feeling like a salad
Don't know about you, but if I eat certain foods, its a downward spiral to overeating and feeling miserable. It happened to me yesterday at breakfast. I have always known that eggs when served on their own create havoc with my constitution. Literally, within 1/2 an hour I am starving, and feel like I am watching the clock to meal time, or hanging off my pantry or fridge door. No matter how I try to distract myself, working, walking the dog, my mind is fixed on food. It won't be the green leafy type rather the healthy kids muffins or breads that I make. Honestly, these are good foods, but I prefer to avoid them as for me, they are the foods that tend to congregate around the middle.
So, yesterday there was nothing in the fridge that I felt like. I hadn't been cooking or experimenting so there was nothing quick and easy to snack on. The only ingredients that I had on hand were the green leafy type. Problem is: I DID NOT FEEL LIKE ANOTHER B______Y SALAD.
I think you get the picture.
Despite these feelings, I thought ok, I don't feel like one, but Im going to make it anyway.
First I got the celery out, chopped it, put it in a bowl. Ok, not bad. Next a cucumber. Hmm Looking better, then an onion, red capsicum, green beans, spinach, olives and 1/4 avocado. Ok, I can do this. Drizzled a bit of olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Seasoned with himalayan salt and pepper and topped with a little crumbled fetta. By the time I had finished putting it together, I was really looking forward to it, and it was DELICIOUS.
My cravings stopped. I didn't think about food till I was preparing dinner, and I felt sustained all afternoon.
So next time you have a craving, eat the foods that you least desire. It may work for you as well.
For any body transformation to work it requires a level of desire and commitment to make those changes happen. Eating a whole food based diet does take a little getting used to. But soon you will be noticing differences in the way you feel, your skin, how you react to situations, your focus and concentration, and most of all your energy levels.
Here are my Top 5 tips to help you to wellness.
1. Get rid of processed foods
We don't realise how dependent we are on processed foods: It could be a muesli bar after a work out, or a muffin with a cup of tea. Its about changing our mindsets, so we reach out for a handful of nuts instead of a muesli bar, or we opt for an orange rather than a muffin. The choice has always been there, but we are choosing the addictive, unhealthy, easy options. Its about having something always on hand. Be prepared, carry fruit with you, or even keep a jar of nuts in the car for times when your blood sugar drops to below zero and you are fading. Our bodies are temples, and when we are fuelling our bodies it is important that we choose nourishing foods with every mouthful.
2. Its not a diet. Its a way of life
This is not an 8 week program that lasts only 8 weeks. The goal of the menu plan is to change the way you think and feel about foods for a lifetime of change. There are no processed foods. Just real, whole foods. It is a misconception that eating a real food diet is time consuming. Its about becoming organised. You put effort into cleaning your house, walking the dog, organising the kids - so what about putting time into looking after yourself. Don't put yourself last. Plan your meals, put together a shopping list, order online, have a substantial pantry with back ups, have spare meals in the freezer. Its worth it. You and your partner and family will be thanking you for it.
3. Keep a food Journal
When we are making changes initially to our lifestyle, it is difficult and we can get discouraged. It is not uncommon to complain of headaches or aches and pains during the first week or two of any diet change, but hang in there. It will get better and in no time you will be feeling recharged, with energy to spare.
Journal what you eat, drink, go to the bathroom, how you are feeling, what you are craving and the changes you are noticing. Writing down can help us understand the patterns that we fall into. How often do you snack? Discover the associations that you have with food, and try to avoid or divert these habits by creating new ones.
4. The kilojoule confusion
No two foods are alike, and not all foods are absorbed the same, and every person has a unique digestive system that decides how many kilojoules and nourishment, they receive from the foods they eat. Processed foods such as bread and pasta are simple carbohydrates - these are foods that are easy for the body to digest. It takes little work, therefore raising blood sugar levels quickly, which can lead to over eating and cravings. Think about leafy greens and avocado. It takes the body a lot longer to digest. These are complex carbohydrates, which are difficult to breakdown, blood sugar levels are not spiked, and gives us sustained energy and nourishment.
So for that sustained energy we all want to get through the day with ease, avoid simple carbohydrates, and go for the complex ones that are whole foods, minimally processed, from plants and animals, as nature intended.
5. If you slip up, just keep going
They say it takes up to 8 weeks for a new habit to take hold. So to slip up now and again is totally understandable. Just keep going. Don't punish yourself, just reaffirm your commitment to yourself that you will keep on trying. Reach out, talk with others. Revisit your goals.
Never look back, just stay focused in the present.
Not all changes have to be made at once, change is embraced by people differently. Just keep the end goal insight and you will get there especially when you use these recommendations. Eating a whole food based diet does take getting used to. You begin to think differently about your food choices, you shop differently and you will be cooking differently. Quickly you will become an expert at reading labels and going to great lengths to avoid foods that have been processed in a plant, rather than from a plant.
Like all diets, if you are unsure or have any questions, check with your GP or nutritionist first.
Really the bottom line is as simple as just eating real foods.