"Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well;...
and not today's pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man."
~James H. West

Archive for Eat well To Live

Mar
03

Are You Addicted to Chocolate?

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Why does chocolate make us feel SOOO good and seem to have so much power over us?

 

If you are the type of person who thinks about chocolate all the time and can’t live without it, and if you just can’t even think about saying no or resisting it, then you are probably addicted to it!

You can be both physiologically and psychologically or emotionally addicted to a substance or behaviour and that is what makes it harder to control or give up. 

What is it in chocolate that makes it so “addictive”?

The taste, the texture and the way it makes you feel! 

The main ingredients in chocolate are: cocoa, milk and sugar.

If we break each of these down, we can start to understand the effect each of these has on the body. 

 

Cocoa:

  • Contains compounds that act as stimulants for the central nervous system, so we feel more alert (for example caffeine and theobromine). Theobromine triggers the release of endorphins in the brain and works as a natural antidepressant.   
  • Contains phenylethylamine, which is know for causing emotional highs and lows associated with mood swings, love, pleasure and indulgence.  
  • It also contains important minerals like iron which is needed for blood formation and magnesium which the body needs for muscle movement (contraction and relaxation) and also for the nervous system, so it can help us feel a little relaxed.
  • The heavenly texture can be attributed to the fat.  This pleasurable “mouth feel” associated with fat is probably an evolutionary consequence of the high energy fat could provide in times of famine.
  • Cocoa is also a rich source of antioxidants (protective in the body)

Milk:

  • Contains tryptophan which is converted to serotonin (one of our “happy hormones”) in the brain
  • Interestingly a sensitivity to milk can give rise to cravings for milk.  (You may not be lactose intolerant but you could still be sensitive to milk!  Some partially-digested proteins for example casein in milk or gluten in wheat will form opium like peptides (chains of amino acids) which can bind to special receptors in the brain and are capable of producing a drug-like effect, leaving us wanting more of the very thing that is causing us harm!) (I will cover more on the topic of allergies in future newsletters).

Sugar:

  • (Carbohydrate) aids the transport and absorption of tryptophan into the brain
  • Will provide an increase in blood sugar, which will periodically alleviate the symptoms of low blood sugar (low energy and low mood).

Therefore you can see there is a host of explanations for why chocolate has such an effect on us and it would be so hard to give up.

 

The downside of chocolate:

  • Processed, mainstream chocolate is high in sugar and contains all sorts of other additives to keep it “fresh”.  Anything that causes a rapid increase in blood sugar will inevitably result in a rapid drop in blood sugar, which will affect your energy and your mood short term but has more serious long-term consequences (e.g. diabetes)
  • Caffeine is a stimulant so acts increases stress in the body
  • There are better ways to achieve higher levels of these important nutrients:  e.g. iron (meat, chicken thighs).  Milk hinders iron absorption.  Tryptophan is found in protein rich food like chicken, pumpkin seeds, turkey, tuna, rolled oats is a particularly good option, because of the combined carbohydrate content.
  • Some people are sensitive to certain foods, continuing to eat these foods can have undesirable consequences for the body, for example it causes inflammation which can appear with the following symptoms:  bloating, mucous production, diarrhea, cramping, leaky gut. 

The million-dollar question: So is chocolate bad for me?

  • It’s a treat!  It is definitely acceptable and possibly even beneficial to enjoy good quality chocolate in moderation.  “Good” options are 1-2 pieces 75-90% Cocoa, and preferably Organic Chocolate.  If you can’t stand dark chocolate, choose a good quality milk chocolate with nuts in it, (hazelnuts or almonds). 
  • Always make sure you are enjoying it while you eat and never eat it mindlessly (while you are doing something else!), it just isn’t worth it!
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Mar
03

Cooking up a Storm!

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Hey, Hey!!

I am very excited about this months healthy cooking parties!  I hope you will come along and join us on the 11th and 25th March.  I have a new “toy” or tool and look forward to sharing it with you!

I am going to kill three birds with one pot!!  This month is for those of you with really busy lives!  Either you are a working parent or you are a business developer or owner or you just have a lot on your plate!  Common excuses (or reasons) I get for poor eating habits are:  I don’t have time!  I am too tired when I get  home and I can’t be bothered!  The thought of healthy food just isn’t that appealing after a long hard day!  Well, my mission for these parties is to leave you inspired to put those reasons in the compost heap!

Come and have fun, and walk away stuffed with yummy food, ideas and recipes that will save you time and effort and leave you inspired to create! (And, I will be revealing to you the only oil/fat you should ever cook with and why!) 

See you then!  ;o)

March

 

A Pot, a Spoon and a Knife:

Wed, 11th March at 6pm

Love great food, hate the dishes!

Problem solved!  Learn three great tasting, no fuss dishes!  (Psst!  Healthy and quick too!)

Where:  Merendi Health and Wellness, 4/255 Leitchs Road, Brendale

 

Fast Food!

Wed, 25th March at 6pm

Dinner in 20 minutes!  Hungry, busy, pushed for time?  Learn how to save your health and your back pocket with these quick, tasty nutritious fast food options!  What’s in your store cupboard, how can you bring it alive?

Book Me In!

Categories : Eat well To Live
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Feb
04

Super Brain!

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Do you want to stay focused?  Do you want a sharp mind?  Do you want a good memory?

Check out the easy tips below to look after your brain… (p.s. these tips will also give you more energy!!!)

For those of you that attended the function on Monday:  Good for you!  You now know 5 ways to keep your brain young and focused, thanks for being in the audience!  I would LOVE to hear how you are going implementing the 5 keys.  If you haven’t started yet, I would love to help you to get started!

So I thought I would write a quick reminder for you! 

Number 1:

Remember to breath!

This brought a laugh from a few of you.  It is SO obvious, isn’t it?!  yet most of us only breath using 20-30% of our breathing capacity!  Oxygen is a vital “nutrient” for our bodies, it is an essential ingredient in the process of getting energy out of food, and it is absolutely vital for the health of our brain.  We can survive without food for weeks, water for days but without oxygen for a few minutes we would die!

How to breath properly:

Breath into your stomach, put your 3 fingers above your belly button and breath in so that you can feel your “tummy” expand and your fingers move outwards, breath out slowly and feel your “tummy” move inwards.  Be aware of your breath as you inhale and exhale, but don’t force it.  Breath in and then breath out.  Whenever you are feeling stressed or tense, REMEMBER to stop and breath!  By bringing your attention to your breath, you will immediately feel calmer and you will oxygenate the brain for clarity.

Number 2:  Control your blood sugar!

This is vital for concentration, focus, clarity of mind, attention and sustained energy.  The best ways to do this are:

  • Always eat breakfast
  • Eat small regular meals
  • Combine protein and carbohydrates at meal times
  • Choose whole grain or low GI/GL foods and limit refined carbohydrates and sugary foods
  • Limit stimulants

Number 3:  Fat

Your brain is made up of fat!  It needs fat to function! 

The best fats are:

  • Fish oils such as sardines, salmon, tuna
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Cold pressed oils such as olive oil or flax seed oil
  • Avocado

Avoid: hydrogenated and trans fats and limit saturated animal fats (like cream, butter, cheese, fat on meat)

Number 4: B Vitamins

B vitamins are super essential for the brain, they are necessary for nerve production, stress reduction, memory, sleep, appetite, metabolism and especially with regards to the brain for breaking down homocysteine.

High levels of homocysteine have been strongly associated with alzheimers disease risk.  B vitamins help to break this down into important substances used by the body.

You get B vitamins in green leafy vegetables, grains, meat, chicken.   Just remember they are water soluble so the way you prepare food can affect your intake, e.g. if you overboil your broccoli or leave it to sit in the water after its cooked, the B vitamins will be dissolved in the water and will no longer be concentrated in the broccoli.  Quick cook and strain immediately or steam your veggies for maximum Bs.

If in doubt, take a B complex supplement.

Remember there are many things you can do to keep your brain alert and healthy, there are just 4 ways to get started.

Number 5 and most importantly!

Check out Lisa live giving you Point number 5, the most important tip!

So Get Started today, be vital and love your brain! 

… But only if you want to Remember and Be remembered! I do!

 

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Dec
18

Support your body over Christmas!

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‘Tis the season to be jolly!  Have a GREAT time but remember to support your body! We all like to spoil ourselves over Christmas, it is best not to over do it, but if you do… here are some tips to ease the body burden…

Aside from the obvious, stay out of the sun at the hottest part of the day, protect the food from flies and salmonella poisoning, here are 3 winners!

  1. Drink lots of water!  It is really hot, so you need to replenish the water you loose from sweating.  If you are drinking alcohol, it is especially important to drink more water to prevent dehydration and to help your body eliminate toxins!
  2. Support your liver!  It is your main detox organ, so this time of year it tends to work overtime! Milk thistle is a great herbal supplement that aids and protects the liver.  You can buy it from most health shops and chemists (ask the assistant for advice if you are on any medication or you are pregnant or breastfeeding).
  3. Get some fresh food into you.  Watermelon is great this time of year, it’s refreshing and full of nutrients!

May you have a very merry Christmas and live to tell the tale! ;o)

 

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Dec
16

Merry Christmas! My gift to you!

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What an exciting fun time of year, the festive season.  Do you remember when you were a kid how much you loved christmas?  This time of year for me is painted with memories of family, friends, good cheer, great food, playing and relaxing.  As an adult though it is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of activity that starts to take the magic out of it.  We spend too much, eat too much, rush too much, fuss too much and then it’s all too much!  Then before you know it, it’s over all too soon.

So, before you get too caught up in the silly season, try to remember what christmas is really about for you. 

My gift for you this Christmas is: a couple of festive (and secretly nutritious) recipies.  A delicious and fresh salad recipe, perfect for Christmas on a summers day and some tasty Date balls (both great tasting and without the added guilt and extra pounds that sometimes accompany the overindulgence of christmas!). 

Try this colourful red and green festive salad to accompany your main meal…

Beetroot, Pumpkin and Spinach Salad 

The goodies:

 

200g fetta cheese, crumbled

10 small beetroots (600g)

2 tablespoons olive oil or 2 tsp coconut oil

700g peeled pumpkin (1 small butternut), diced into 4cm pieces

150g baby spinach leaves

¾ cup (75g) toasted walnuts, chopped coarsely

 

Walnut vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons walnut oil

¼ cup (60ml) olive oil

¼ cup (60ml) lemon juice

 

The Fun:

 

Destalk the beetroot and cut them into quarters (unpeeled). 

Place in a large shallow baking dish, drizzle with half of the oil. 

Roast, uncovered, in moderately hot oven (about 180o) for 15 minutes.

Add the pumpkin, drizzle with remaining oil. 

Roast uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until veggies are tender.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

when cool enough to handle, peel the beetroot if desired (the skin will come of easily).

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette.

Place all the dressing into a large salad bowl, and add the beetroot, toss gently to coat the beetroot.

Just before serving, add the remaining ingredients (spinach, pumpkin, nuts and fetta) and toss gently.

Divine Date Balls:

 

The goodies:

 

1 cup (250ml) pitted dates

½ cup (125ml) walnuts

½ cup (125ml) desiccated coconut

4tbsp (60ml) sunflower seeds

A pinch of salt

2tbsp (30ml raw honey)

¼ cup (60ml) sesame seeds toasted, or desiccated coconut (optional)

 

The fun:

 

Place all the ingredients, except honey and sesame seeds in a food processor and pulse until well-chopped but not pulverized.

Add honey and process for 30 seconds.

Take teaspoonfuls of the mixture and roll into balls.

Roll in toasted sesame seeds or desiccated coconut (optional)

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

ENJOY!

Hope you have a wonderful, wonderful Christmas! 

 

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