We are out the other end of the ‘silly season’! If you’re anything like me you’ve been working hard to polish off all of that Christmas ham and had chocolates coming out of your ears (I enjoyed every single one). This is typically the time of year we tend to eat a little more than usual, drink a little more than usual and maybe not exercising as much as we usually would. Not that there is anything wrong with that because we all need a little down time. BUT you may have noticed you might be feeling a little sluggish – this is most likely due to not fuelling your body correctly. Over time this can lead to our gut health being compromised. As I’m sure we have mentioned to you before, our gut health really is the centre of our overall health, and if our gut is not healthy there’s a very good chance we won’t feel healthy either. So, what can we do to help repair our gut health after the ‘silly season’? The good news is you won’t need to spend lots of money on supplements (despite what the media might tell you) – just eat real food! Let me explain ….

What are probiotics?

I like to call these guys ‘the seed’. They are live microorganisms (good bacteria) that bring us health benefits by living in our gut. These good bacteria are important for the proper development of our immune system and the balance of our good and bad bacteria. They keep our gut happy!

 

Common food sources of probiotics:

  • Vegetables – sauerkraut, kimchi, pickled vegetables
  • Dairy foods – yoghurt, kefir, buttermilk, crème fraiche, sour cream, aged cheeses (blue, gouda, cheddar)
  • Soy – miso, tempeh, natto
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Beverages such as kombucha and Yakult

 

What are prebiotics?

Prebiotics are the ‘fertilizer’ that help our ‘seeds’ grow. They are a type of non-digestible carbohydrate that are found in a wide variety of foods. They promote the growth and activity of the good bacteria in our gut – so keep our gut bugs happy!

 

Common food sources of prebiotics:

  • Vegetables – green peas, sweet corn, potato, cabbage, broccoli, leafy greens, onion, leek, shallots, spring onions, garlic (raw has a higher content), asparagus, beetroot, fennel bulb, snow peas, Jerusalem artichokes
  • Legumes – chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, baked beans, soybeans, cocoa beans
  • Fruit – apples, bananas, nectarines, white peaches, persimmon, tamarillo, watermelon, grapefruit, pomegranate, berries, custard apples, dried fruit (e.g. dates, figs, apricots)
  • Bread/cereal/snacks – barley, rye bread, rye crackers, pasta, couscous, wheat bran, wheat bread, oats, cooked & cooled rice
  • Nuts and seeds – cashews, pistachios, almonds and flaxseeds
  • Human breast milk

 

To summarise, we don’t need to be spending copious amounts of money on supplements to get our health back on track after the ‘silly season’. Below I’ve listed 6 practical tips that will help improve your gut health:

  1. Include a wide variety of plant foods each day
  2. Include pre & probiotic rich foods each day
  3. Limit your intake of processed foods
  4. Include stress management techniques where possibly
  5. Ensure you are getting enough sleep each night (7-8hrs if possible)
  6. Move your body (choose something you enjoy) on most days in the week

 

If you have already tried all of the above and are experiencing some less then desirable gastro-intestinal symptoms (e.g. gas, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea etc) contact one of our dietitians today, we can help!

 

 

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NEW YEARS ……. REVOLUTION

by Casey on January 1, 2019

Get ready for it, the diet industry’s favourite time of year. Here come the commercial onslaught of promises; ‘give us your hard earned money and you will happier this year’. Now whilst many company’s have learned that guilt and shame are not effective marketing tools and are madly rebranding, be aware of the underlying messages that state ‘you are not good enough as you are, you’ll be better after you buy our product’.

Here’s something’s you won’t hear from that industry:

  1. Your health, weight, shape or size does not reflect your worth. Every single body is worthy of care and respect, just as it is.
  2. Intentional weight loss results in weight regain within 1-5 years for 95% of people. 95% of people. Yes, I meant to type that twice. About 60% of those people will gain more than they lost.
  3. Health is determined by our behaviours, not our weight. Health risks at larger weights can be eliminated by healthy behaviours such as a balanced diet, regular movement, lack of substance abuse and self care measures.
  4. The commercial industry plants insecurities in our minds to sell products. Including the so called health and fitness industry. A secure and content person makes for a poor consumer.

So do we need New Year Resolutions to improve our lives? I don’t think so. However if you like to use the turn of the year to reflect on your wellbeing and set some goals (which you can also do at any time of the year, of course!), then here are some things to consider.

  • Take a moment to right down some of your values- what is important to you? E.g. family, community, achievement, charity, education etc. You can find cards/activities online that facilitate this. What parts of your life support these values? What parts obstruct them? What small actions can to take to do more of what sparks joy for you?
  • Write a thank you letter to your body for all that is does for you, for all the experiences it has allowed you to have. If your health is a project and your body is a colleague, what will the project outcome be if you feel badly towards your body and actively punish it? Body love is a fantastic concept, but sometimes body respect is an empowering step.
  • Consider your relationship with food. Take 24 hours and write down observations such as:
    • Reasons for eating i.e. hunger, tiredness, boredom, comfort, celebration, taste enjoyment
    • How did your body feel before eating? How did it feel after eating?
    • Foods that give you energy, foods that make you happy
    • Any other thoughts that come to mind about food, e.g. food rules, do you think some foods are ‘good’ or ‘bad’? Why?

There are no right or wrong answers, reflect on what you have learnt and if there is anything you would want to change.

  • Have you found a movement that you enjoy? Exercise for weight loss only or even just health can be a form of body punishment and difficult to sustain. But any form of movement can have health benefits, for the body, mind and socially. Think about what do you enjoy from movement- is it the action itself? Socialising? Time alone? Fresh air? Nature? How your body feels after? You may like to explore options like dancing, swimming, yoga, gardening, bush walking, group classes.
  • Clean up your social media- there have been research studies linking social media use to poor body image and general contentment with life. Never forget we are comparing our everyday with people’s highlight reel. If anything in your world (virtual or real!) makes you feel less than worthy, unfollow! Find a community (virtual or real!) that shares your values and lifts you up.

 

One of my favourite quotes right now (from google…. I wish I could find the author) is;

 

Binge on life. Purge negativity. Starve guilty feelings. Restrict unhappy thoughts. Count blessings, not calories. The only weight you ever need to lose is the weight of the world on your shoulders.

 

Have a wonderful 2019, from Eat Smart Nutrition

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Eat Smart Christmas Recipes 2018

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Inflammation can occur on your skin, in your joints and other areas within your body. It is a process where the body’s white blood cells and substances they produce protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses.   In some cases, the body’s immune system triggers an inflammatory response when there [...]

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Fuelling your body for competition leading up to finals is when athletes really need to be in their peak performance. Coming to the end of the season after months of high training loads, long weeks and then nerves starting to set in coming close to finals it is important to focus on nutrition to get [...]

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