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I’s simple – avoid the calorie-laiden drinks.

Choose water when possible – it will quench your thirst and actually help against weight gain and keep your insides smiling ūüôā .

calories in a nutshell;

The bottom line of healthy eating is to eat high nutrient and low density foods that fill you up with goodness – not fill you out. Try to eat most of your snacks in between meals as unprocessed and fresh fruits and especially vegetables. Remember, colour is key, and an extra way to brighten up this cold winter ūüôā

bring on the cinnamon;

Silverbeet, or swiss chard, is probably the single most nutrient-packed grown vegetable. Although not a common favorite among most, it it super low in calories (19 calories for 100g worth of leaves) and is a world of health for all, especially vegetarians and vegans who can gain many nutrients that are generally only found in large amounts from meat. It’s available all year round and like popeye, silverbeet will give you extra strength, or at least the energy to push yourself a little harder ūüôā .

Benefits of this wonder veggie include:

  • High in vitamins C, K, and A
  • Helps grow healthy skin and nails (from high amounts of vitamin E)
  • Good for soothing digestive problems such as IBS and some cancers
  • Great plant based source of protein
  • Rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids (very important to find a balance between the over consumption of Omega-6’s in the western world and the under consumed Omega-3’s)
  • Has a wonderful selection of many of the B-group vitamins; folate, niacin, B6, B12, thiamin, and pantothenic acid – needed for healthy cell growth and unlocking energy from food to be used by the body.
  • Full of minerals including magnesium, maganese, copper, calcium, phosphorus and importantly iron – iron has been shown to prevent and in some cases cure iron-deficiency anemia.

If you aren’t already including silver beet in your dinners or green smoothies, I hope this benefit list has urged you to do so! Silverbeet can be used or replaced for spinach, just cook it a little extra than you would spinach. Silverbeet can be steamed, saut√©ed, or braised and can be made into a soup, stir-fry, or even just enjoy the natural taste and serve it steamed as a side dish to any main. The whole vegetable can be used (both the leaves and stalk).

Happy silverbeeting!

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Did you know that the way you cook your veggies can actually increase or destroy the nutrients you will consume?

Many people today are choosing to consume a mostly raw diet today, believing that cooking destroys nutrients. However, this is only partly true, and in fact not cooking some vegetables can equally destroy nutrients. For example, eating uncooked raw dried beans inhibits the digestion of protein by interfering with certain enzymes. Some foods are also dangerous to be eaten raw, for example some meats and poultry, and some people cannot tolerate raw vegetables well.

Most vitamins are destroyed when exposed to heat, water, air or fats. Foods containing vitamins A, D, E, C, B6, B12, folate, riboflavin, thiamin, and potassium should all be cooked and treated differently to ensure maximum vitamin intake.

               Vitamin C РThe vitamin that is most likely to be lost during cooking. Contained in broccoli, cauliflower brussel sprouts. Make sure to steam these vegetable lightly in as little water as possible for the shortest time possible to lock in vitamin C. Microwaving is also good (when only a small amount of water is used) as the cooking time is quick. Try to retain the water used in the steaming process (i.e in soups and stocks) as this water is full of Vitamin C from the veggies. Most vegetables contain high amounts of vitamin C including broccoli, capsicum, leafy greens, brussel sprouts + bok choy.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Vitamins A, E, K + D –¬†The fat-soluable vitamins. Most fat soluble vitamins are less likely to be affected by heat and processing and are much more stable in cooking. However, vitamin E¬†should be heated carefully and when oils containing the vitamin (vegetable or plant-based oils) are deep fried, almost all nutrients are destroyed. On a side note, the best source of vitamin D is from the sun. As vitamin D is actually a hormone, too much of the self-medicated dietary form ¬†can have dangerous adverse effects (i.e build up of plaque and kidney stones.) Vegetables high in fat soluble vitamins are carrots, pumpkin, mushrooms, squash,¬†cauliflower, peas + cabbage.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Minerals (i.e calcium, phosphorus, magnesium + iron) –¬†Minerals are mostly unaffected by heat + processing as unlike vitamins, they always contain their same chemical identity. This is so true, that the ash of burnt foods containing minerals will still contain the same amount of minerals as the original food. An exception to this is the possibility of the minerals “leeching” into cooking water, so be mindful to use the cooking water when steaming kale, spinach, and other dark leafy vegetables.

Happy nutritious cooking ūüôā

nourish + believe

We all could use a little extra happiness in our lives, especially in these gloomy months of winter. Why not squeeze in a little smile through your diet? These foods are shown to increase your mood and therefore happiness when consumed reguarly:

Oats (rolled – for maximum health benefits) – Oats are a good type of carbohydrate and a nice warm bowl-full on a winters day (in fact any day) will leave you calm and content. This is because carbohydrates stimulate the brain to release serotonin, a natural chemical which sends the body into a peaceful & tranquil state. If no carbs are present, serotonin is actually unable to be produced by the brain – hence why many low-carb dieters are irritable and easy distressed.

 Almonds РNot only a deliciously satisfying snack, almonds are packed full of energy, fibre, and also magnesium which helps convert your carbohydrates, fat, and protein into usable energy for the body. Therefore, almonds give you that extra little energy boost to carry on with your duties throughout the day, therefore making them easier, and you happier!

 Spinach РEaten regularly, this bad boy has a never-ending supply of folate which helps produce our favourite mood-lifting serotonin. One study showed that those who ate spinach often were almost 70% less likely to suffer from depression than those who ate none. Asparagus also has a high level of folate and can produce such benefits.

Dark Chocolate – My absolute favourite, as you can probably tell by reading through my previous posts. With high levels of cocoa, dark chocolate provides an immediate boost in concentration and mood by increasing the blood flow to the brain. Unfortunately for our taste buds, only a small amount of dark chocolate is needed to produce such results, such as a few small squares.

Honey – Nature’s little sweetness. Sweeter than the empty-caorie refined sugar, honey contains two flavonols (kaempferol and quercetin) which reduce inflammation in the brain and in turn keeping your mood high and depression away.

Coconut – Often getting a very bad wrap in the media, coconut is actually a mood booster. Yes, it may contain high amounts of fat, but the majority of this fat is medium-chain triglycerides. These are a great source of fat for promoting positive brain health and better moods. The best form of coconut its the natural nut itself, steer clear from the calorific coconut cream and unhealthy coconut inspired desserts.

Kiwi Fruit – Not only are kiwi’s happy to look at, the vitamin C in kiwi fruit will contribute to overall low mood disturbances, and even the smell of citrus fruits will put your mind in a happier state. Any citrus fruit will give the same health benefits, but kiwi fruit have a high concentration of Vitamin C, almost 6 x that of an orange!

….As you can see, these feel-good foods are all healthy foods, so an overall healthy diet will be your best bet for a positive mood and mind. This being said, refrain from reaching for the donuts and Tim Tams in times of stress, and turn to a much more comforting bowl of oats with honey, or a spinach-based salad tossed with almonds for long lasting and happy mood-lift ūüôā .

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Great article on the Vitamin D expose you need from the sun in summer. Remember the Vitamin D from the sun is very different to synthetic Vitamin D you get in supplements (which can have very adverse effects) so the natural stuff from the sun is best!

Your health. Your life.

Do you get enough sunshine? Especially now that the days are getting shorter?

Here‚Äôs a nifty map I came across that shows how much sun you need each day to keep your vitamin D at a healthy level.¬†You may be surprised at how many rays you‚Äôll need to catch ‚Äď especially if, like me, you live South. So, get outta here and into that sun!

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superfoods on a budget;

When winter is approaching and the coughs and sniffles spreading, there is only so much blocking of the germs that copious amounts of hand-san and “scarf-to-the-nose” trick can do. A good nutritious diet (and of course in combination with a little exercise) can be all that is need to prevent yourself from the sniffle bug this season. Here are some great suggestions to keep your body in tip-top shape this winter:

  • dark chocolate – this item is joyfully listed first. The high amounts of cocoa in dark chocolate support the growth of T-cells which boost immunity and the way our bodies fight infection.
  • garlic – this delicious root that gives many foods a great little kick contains sulphur compounds – that help in wipe away bacteria and fight infections. Winter is the perfect time for soups, and stir-frys so why not mince a few cloves and pop it into your dishes. ¬†However, for immune boosting properties,¬†lots¬†of garlic must be consumed.
  • almonds –¬†packed full of vitamin E, almonds have been suggested to reduce overall inflammation in the body and especially in the immune system, and therefore prevent illness.
  • olive leaf extract –¬†always a cold + flu season favourite. Once again, working with the immune system , this powerful little anti-oxident formula destroys bad bacteria in the body and keeps the good bacteria untouched (unlike anti-biotics which destroys both types). I use Natures Own Liquid Olive Leaf Extract (below) – around $15 for 300ml from most supermarkets and health food stores.
  • quality natural/greek yoghurt –¬†like olive leaf extract, yoghurt is a pro-biotic which removes bad bacteria from the body which will support a healthy immune system.
  • legumes (especially¬†red kidney beans!) –¬†red beans contain a mulittude of nutrients – iron, magnesium, phosphorus and ¬†potassium which all help keep electrolytes in balance to keep you hydrated (increasingly important if you are to become ill).
  • fruits + veg –¬†and¬†plenty of them! There is no doubt about it that fruit and veg will both prevent and ward off colds and flu’s, and the more colour and variety the better. Most importantly eat the dark leafy green veg as they are known to be the most nutrient-dense – exactly what the body needs to keep it in it’s best shape and form.

Keep in mind…¬†many head for the supplement isle during winter or when they are truing to prevent illness. If you eat a healthy balanced diet there is absolutely no need for extra supplements in your diet – and if you are concerned you may be lacking in a vitamin, then get a blood test with your doctor. Although seemingly harmless, it can be dangerous to self-prescribe vitamins, especially if you are taking them for extended periods of time. This is again especially the case for your fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E + K) which the body has a harder time removing from the body (unlike the B vitamins and vitamin C). It’s difficult to overdose from a vitamin from eating food alone, as most foods contain safe amounts well below the UL (upper limit) set in Australia.

And one last note…¬†although vitamin C is commonly associated with colds + sicknesses, it actually doesn’t do a whole lot in preventing an sickness – only reducing length and severity of¬†symptoms once you have one.

Enjoy a flu-free winter ‚̧

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