Your body does NOT need to “detox” or “cleanse”.

If I see one more picture with someone displaying their six pack and holding a smoothie, I am going to SCREAM!!! The main reason I still haven’t tried a green smoothie is due the false idea that they will magically “cleanse” or “enhance” your body in some way and that bugs me. I’ve actually heard they can be quite tasty.

The only cleansing your body needs is a shower once a day. Your liver and kidneys are perfectly capable of performing any “detoxing” your body needs to do.

 

There are numerous “health” products being sold that claim to remove toxins and impurities from your body, boost your energy and of course, help you lose weight and get that “ripped” look.

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Many of these products even claim they have been “clinically proven” (whatever that really means). Now, I don’t know about you, but I can have trouble differentiating reliable evidence from unreliable evidence. What I do know is that the overwhelming majority of these “clinically proven” products do not stand up to the claims they make when properly scrutinised.

If you are considering the latest weight loss or “wellness” product, take a moment to reflect on what other “detoxes” or “cleanses” you have tried. If you have tried others, my question to you is, if they are so successful, why do you need to do another one?

If your diet is such that you feel you need to “detox” every so often, then wouldn’t it make more sense to take a moment to consider why you’re eating in a way that leaves you feeling unwell or ughh…? If you swing between eating in a way that leaves you feeling ughh and “detoxing”, then chances are this is damaging your relationship with food and actually exacerbating the eating poorly which only leaves you wanting to “detox” again. Vicious circle.

By letting go of the diet mentality and learning to eat intuitively and enjoy all foods, your body will never need “detox” and you won’t be shelling out money on some fancy product which is simply not necessary and only ever a short-term solution.

If you have lost weight and felt better on a “detox”, it is not due to the specific product, it is because you changed your diet, most likely eating less highly processed food and consuming more fresh fruit and vegetables. You may even have eaten more mindfully due to putting more thought into your food choices.

Stop wasting money on heavily marketed products that you know deep down aren’t really the solution. Instead, consider what you might need to do in order manage your eating better on a day to day basis. Reconnecting with your appetite (hunger and fullness) is both an empowering and liberating way to start changing the way you eat for life. Dietitians who use the Non-Diet and Intuitive Eating Approach can help you do this.

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5 reasons why bread is NOT bad for you.

At the supermarket, to grab my usual bread, I had to reach past a 60 something lady who was studying the nutrition labels. She excused herself saying, “Just checking to see how much sugar is in this bread”. I politely said there was no need to worry about sugar in bread. She looked at me incredulously and said; “but isn’t bread bad for you?” I replied not at all and that I was in fact a Dietitian and ate 2 slices of bread everyday for breakfast. Not having time to engage in a full discussion, I continued on my way.

It never ceases to amaze me how basic healthy eating has become so warped thanks to all the fad diets, celebrity diets, food trends led by people with no formal nutrition training and media hype around food.

Did you know humans have been baking bread for at least 30,000 years? Almost every culture has its own version and it is one the most widely eaten foods all over the world today.

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BREAD IS HEALTHY.

Some types of bread are certainly more nourishing than others; choosing a denser style bread, or one with plenty of grains, is a good way to ensure the bread you choose is nourishing. A good rule of thumb is the heavier the bread, the more nutrition and dietary fibre. If you’re buying bread from the supermarket, aim for fewer ingredients (or ingredients that you recognise as food) and you can look for no preservatives. 

While choosing high fibre wholegrain bread offers more nutrition and is generally more filling; even a white crusty bread, think France/Italy, can be part of a healthy diet. In fact the Mediterranean diet, considered by many authorities on nutrition to be one the healthiest ways of eating, includes 3-4 slices of bread daily. All of this said, if you can’t afford the more expensive artisan style breads, a plain white (or wholemeal) block loaf offers nutrition too, especially if you’re using it for sandwiches where you can add a variety of other foods.

If you have gluten or wheat intolerance, there are now many wonderful gluten free breads. Spelt, which is a different variety of wheat, is often better tolerated by those who feel regular wheat is an issue, but who don’t have gluten intolerance. I prefer spelt bread due to its nuttier flavour and denser quality.

So what makes bread healthy?

1. It provides carbohydrate for energy.
2. It provides a range of B vitamins for energy metabolism and other important functions.
3. It can be an excellent source of dietary fibre for bowel health and to keep you fuller for longer.
4. Most breads in Australia are fortified with iodine and folate, two important nutrients many Australians don’t get enough of.
5. Most Australian bread has no, or very little, added sugar. Exceptions may be fruit bread or some Asian style breads.

In addition, toast makes an excellent medium for getting more extra virgin olive oil into your diet. If you ever find yourself in the dilemma over whether you should use butter or margarine, you can give both a miss and drizzle a good quality extra virgin olive oil over your toast. It really is delicious and you can still have your Vegemite, honey or jam. If you’re a little skeptical, try it and see for yourself. If you prefer the taste of butter, then use butter.

For me bread is a breakfast staple. I love my toast drizzled generously with extra virgin olive oil. The pumpkin bread pictured is one of my favourites from Seddon sourdough kitchen. I also love the ritual of warm freshly baked bread dipped in olive oil.

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Do you have a healthy relationship with food? – take our free quiz to find out

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Check out our Moderation Movement ebook which includes tips and steps to improve your relationship with food. Click the banner to purchase your copy today for $9.95 AUD

Healthy Eating – it’s not just about the food!

child baking smallHealthy eating encompasses so much more than just the specific food you eat. I would go as far to say that healthy eating actually has less to do with the specific food you eat and more to do with self awareness and meeting family, social and cultural needs.

At its core, healthy eating is ensuring your body receives all the nutrients it requires for you to live and be physically, mentally and socially nourished.


Healthy eating also encompasses the following principles:

  • Sharing meals with friends and family. 
  • Nurturing loved ones. 
  • Acknowledging and celebrating culture, rituals and beliefs.
  • Enjoying food that makes you feel good mentally and physically. 
  • Understanding and trusting your appetite and responding to your internal cues of hunger and fullness. 
  • Being mindful of where your food comes from and how it’s produced. 
  • Nurturing a healthy relationship with food and your body (see below for definitions).

If you can find a pattern of eating that fulfils the above concepts, then you are eating healthily.

Healthy eating does not require strict rules, avoiding pleasurable food or deprivation.

Healthy eating can take many different forms and we only need to look to the various blue zones of the world, where people live to well over 100 years with lower risk of diet related disease, to see this. Blue zones have been found in Japan, Italy, Greece, Central America and America. These diets include whole-grains, legumes, potatoes, dairy, coffee, alcohol and a little sugar.

You don’t need to cut out any of these foods to reclaim your health, you can if you feel that style of eating is right for you and allows you to meet the above concepts, but you don’t need to.

The alternative to avoiding certain food to improve your health, is to focus on achieving the above description of health eating. Do this and you can enjoy all food (and alcohol) as part of a healthy eating pattern.

For myself I choose to include all food, coffee and alcohol, but I pay careful attention to my appetite and I know what feels good in my body. I regularly enjoy my favourite cheeses, wine, hot chips and eating out without worrying about my health.

What is a healthy relationship with food?

A healthy relationship with food is one where you don’t constantly worry about what you should or shouldn’t be eating, there is no guilt attached to eating and you allow yourself to eat food that you truly enjoy.

What is a healthy relationship with your body?

Having a healthy relationship with your body means you respect it for all the amazing things it is capable of doing, rather than just being concerned with how it looks. You may have parts of your body that you’re not happy with, as we all do, but you don’t let this over-ride all the other positive aspects of you as a person.

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Why have people become so confused when it comes to knowing what to eat?

In our quest for better nutrition, we have become obsessed with nutrients and lost site of actual food. Somewhere along this quest, many people seem to have forgotten how to eat.

“I mean, what other animal needs professional help in deciding what it should eat?” (Quote from Michael Pollan’s book – In Defence of Food)

This may seem like a slightly dangerous thing for a dietitian – who makes a living from helping people change their eating habits – to quote, but I could not agree with its message more.

Traditional populations that haven’t been exposed to science based nutrition knowledge (or a Western diet) have little trouble knowing what is the best thing for them to eat and are generally much healthier than their Western counterparts.

In understanding more about the nutrients in food and the effect they have on our body, we now understand less about how to eat to actually nourish our bodies.

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So why are we Westerners so confused when it comes to knowing what to eat?

Here are a few reasons I can think of; less preparation of our own food, not seeing where food comes from, too much choice, too many manufactured foods, health claims on packets, the food industry, the media and too much focus on specific nutrients rather than food itself or whether or not we are even hungry. Often, we are more concerned with how much sugar or fat is in what we’re eating, then whether or not we are truly physically hungry and hungry for the food in question.

My local health food shop sells a huge range of packaged products that make all sorts of health claims, but they sell little actual whole food. The packaging shouts sugar free, organic, high anti-oxidant, high protein, 100% natural, but do we really need to be eating sugar free organic protein bars?

As a dietitian, I have always been slightly troubled by prescriptive nutrition. Surely if people just ate a variety of fresh whole food they would obtain all their nutrients without having to worry too much about getting enough vitamins or minerals, or how much saturated fat or omega 3 fats they consumed. This, of course, would be much more likely to be true if fresh whole food was all that was available and everyone had access to it and could afford it.

Take indigenous Australians, before the arrival of white man they managed just fine without knowing what nutrients were in the food they were eating. They just ate food and I imagine they mostly only ate to satisfy physical hunger. As indigenous Australians started eating a Western style diet and food became more readily available, their health suffered. Of course there are many other factors that contribute to ill health such as social determinants, smoking, alcohol and poor access to fresh food.

My message – we could all benefit from taking a step back from thinking about how much carbohydrate, fat, protein we are eating or which vitamins and minerals we might benefit from getting more of; and instead, start thinking more about eating whole food, about where food comes from, about how we prepare and eat our food and whether or not we are actually hungry.

By whole food I mean fruit, vegetables, whole-grains, legumes, nuts, dairy (cheese, milk, yoghurt), eggs, fish, chicken, red meat etc. With the exception of fruit and vegetables, all these foods require some processing for human consumption, even meat; unless you are slaughtering your own beast and carving it up.

Therefore, to try and avoid all processed food is silly, if not impossible. Instead, consider your intake of highly processed food that may have unnecessary added sugar, fat, salt, food additives, preservatives or anything unpronounceable. I am not saying you should never eat these foods, just don’t make them the mainstay of your diet.

If occasionally you want some cheesecake, have actual cheesecake, not some low fat, sugar-free, cheesecake-flavoured yoghurt. Do eat your cheesecake mindfully and enjoy every mouthful.

With so many extreme views on what to eat and what not to eat, I strongly believe the moderation message has never been more relevant than it is today.

Here is a little recipe for health; moderation + mindfulness + whole food + physical activity + place in society = health.

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The more you cook, the less you eat and the better your nutrition.

cooking ultensils smallWhen you prepare and cook most of your own food using mostly fresh produce (or someone in your partnership or family does), the need to worry about getting enough nutrition is virtually abolished. You will also most likely eat less. 

As Michael Pollan explains in his book ‘In defence of food’, traditional cultures who still prepare and cook their own meals from ‘real food’ (as in not manufactured or highly processed food), have much less diet related disease than Western cultures. These cultures don’t need to know what nutrients in are what food or that cooking tomatoes in olive oil makes the anti-oxidant lycopene more available, they just cook and eat real food and as a result get all the nutrition they need. 

Nutrition science, in combination with the food industry manufacturing supposedly healthy food based on this science, has complicated nutrition to the point many people feel they don’t know what to eat anymore. Certainly nutrition science and the manufacture of food is useful to a point, but we have got carried away and ‘real food’ has been left behind. 

There is a theoretically simple solution to much of our nutrition woes. Start preparing and cooking more of your own food (real food) and stop eating so much manufactured food. I say theoretical as many people have organised their lives in such a way as to leave little time for thinking about what to eat, little time to shop and very little time to cook. We are a ‘fast everything’ culture. The food industry knows this and provides us the solution with fast food, ready to eat meals, take-away food and a plethora of packet mixes and the like to make any cooking you do as speedy as possible. 

The weight loss industry also offers a way of eating that requires minimal effort when it comes to eating. Pretty much every diet is offering you a short cut to the time required to truly eat well and it has failed miserably. 

Cooking your own fresh food does more than just increase the quality of the food you eat. The increased amount of time you spend immersed in thinking about and preparing what goes into your body, means you may start to eat less. There are several reasons for this. 

  • You tend eat more mindfully as you appreciate the effort that went into the entire process. Don’t believe me? Try it. Also see what I refer to as ‘the dinner part effect’ below.

  • You get to decide how much you need to eat. Fast food, take-away and even healthier ready to eat meals or restaurant meals are a one size fits all. Often, a 6′ 10″ man is given the same portion as a 5′ 2″ woman. Yes fast food comes in small, medium and large, but I know many smaller people who still order large as it’s “better value for money”.
  • When food is better quality, you get more “bang for your buck”. Each bite gives you a richer food experience and provided you are eating mindfully, this helps with eating less.

“I don’t have time to cook!” I hear you say. Or perhaps you feel you can’t cook. 

To the former I say, if you cannot make the time to feed yourself well, perhaps you need to reassess your priorities in order to better manage your health. If you work long hours, one hopes this is remunerated appropriately and then perhaps you can afford to pay someone to cook up a week worth of food for you. As discussed in ‘In Defence of Food”, we humans of Western culture allocate a lot less of our income to eating well and spend a lot more money on health care than do other cultures. There is something a miss with this distribution of income. 

To the latter I say, start cooking more. Cooking is like learning to drive a car. We are not born knowing how to drive, we learn through instruction and practise. Use recipes to instruct you and start practising, you’ll surprise yourself how quickly you pick it up. You don’t need to cook like they do on cooking shows, that’s what restaurants are for, just stick to basic meals. 

The Dinner Party Effect. 

If you have ever thrown a dinner party, you’ve probably had this experience. You spend much of the day thinking about what to eat, carefully selecting food (usually from a market rather than the supermarket) and then preparing and cooking the food. You set the table to look special and make sure the atmosphere is just right to heighten the enjoyment. By the time you finally sit down to eat, you find you don’t need to, or want to, eat as much as perhaps you would normally. 

Why is this? 

Quite literally, your senses have spent the day immersed in food and along with eating more mindfully (you are more focused on the food to get a sense of what your guests are tasting), the nice setting and pleasant atmosphere all add up to a much richer experience and you don’t need as much pleasure from the food itself. 

You can achieve all of this on a much smaller scale with every meal you eat. Buy and cook your own food, sit in a pleasant place and eat the meal mindfully without the distraction of TV, your computer or other gadget. 

Bottom line, if you really want to escape the dieting world and truly want to better your health, start buying and cooking more of your own food. Ensure the bulk of this food is whole fresh food with minimal processing and minimal packaging. 

When food is better quality, you get more “bang for your buck”. Each bite gives you a richer food experience and provided you are eating mindfully, this helps with eating less.

 

8 GREAT BENEFITS OF GROWING YOUR OWN

By Kerrie Hill, love what you eat Dietitian 

Now that Spring is here, it’s time to dust off my salad spinner cos it’s officially salad season. While I love visiting local green grocers & farmers markets to get the freshest possible produce I can find, I’ve decided to go one better this year & grow my own. I mean what could be better than stepping outside in your backyard to pick salad greens & cherry tomatoes anytime you like.  Absolutely blissful!!

I know what you’re thinking, why go to all that trouble when you can simply walk into the supermarket and buy perfectly good fruit & veg? Well, I’m soooo glad you asked, because I’m dying to share with you some of the amazing benefits to growing your own food.

8 GREAT BENEFITS OF GROWING YOUR OWNWin the little veggie patch book!

1. It’s good for your hip pocket. While you may have a small initial outlay on seeds/soil/pots, in the long run you will save money on your grocery bill.

2. Taste. Who could argue that home grown food tastes so much better than store bought? Remember what tomatoes used to taste like from your grandmother’s garden

3. Improve your health. You’ll end up eating more fruit/veg as well as greater variety of the freshest produce. Home grown food will also generally contain less pesticides

4. Home grown food is more nutritious. When fruit & veg are left to ripen on the plant they retain more of their nutrients than those that are picked early and forced to ripen during storage/transportation.

4. Cheap & easy way to get some exercise in the great outdoors.

5. Good for the mind & soul.  Some people describe gardening as therapeutic or meditative as it helps them de-stress from life or work. Being involved in Community gardens also helps people feel more socially connected.

6. Great way to help your kids understand where food comes from & at the same time spend quality time with them away from TV/computer/social media!! Getting kids involved in the growing process can also help encourage their interest in fruit & veg (which is a sneaky way of getting them to eat more veg too). Why not involve them with watering the garden or asking them which fruit/veg they’d like to grow

7. Provides a sense of accomplishment & pride as you watch your little babies grow from tiny seeds/seedlings to abundant ‘fruit’ bearing plants

8. Zero food miles. Home gardeners can play their part in helping to reduce the environmental impacts of transporting & distributing food to supermarkets.

If you’re think that you don’t have much space to grown anything, well think again. Your veg plot can be as large as a house block or as small as a couple of jars on your window sill filled with herbs. Whatever tickles your fancy. Or find out if your suburb has a community garden where you can tend your very own plot. Check out http://communitygarden.org.au/acfcgn-directory/.

And you don’t need to have a green thumb! I’m a prime example of that!! I started out small last season with just a few pots of my favourite herbs, but I’m really getting my hands dirty this year by growing some fruit & veg as well.

I’m growing everything in pots, due to my cheeky Cocker Spaniel who has a penchant for digging up & devouring anything that’s remotely edible. My array of plantings this year include: limes, baby eggplant, cherry & heirloom tomatoes, cos lettuce, endive, radicchio (my salads will look so pretty!), sweet & thai basil, Vietnamese mint, garlic chives, coriander & lemon balm.

I’ll keep you posted with the progress in my garden over the coming months as well as some of the delicious recipes that I would love to share.

I also want to invite you all to take part in our Grow Your Own hashtag challenge on Instagram, where by simply posting a photo of your ‘veggie patch’ (doesn’t matter how small or big) you could win 2 brilliant books, ‘River Cottage Veg Everyday’ & The Little Vegie Patch & Co’s book, “How To Grow Food in Small Spaces”. The prize will go to the most creative photo. All you have to do is tag your photo with the hashtag #showusyourgreenthumb

So go on, what’s stopping you? Get growing!

Win the river cottage veg recipe book!

 

Please subscribe to this blog (right hand side) to be updated on Kerrie’s garden ventures and to receive her delicious recipes (free).