Ditch The Diet!

8 Oct

I have painfully gone through the carb-free diet (several times), I have banned myself from walking down the confectionary aisle at the supermarket, I have stuck inspiring images of beautiful women to my fridge to help remind myself to eat healthy, I was shamefully convinced that the lemon-detox diet was the answer to miracle weight-loss and I have even tried the sneaky diet pills that continually assure you that you CAN have Halle Berry’s body in a week without even exercising or changing your diet……oh…dear…god!

I have only recently become aware that it is me, who is feeding the dramatic and powerful weight loss industry…..dammit! I allowed myself to believe that these diet fads were realistic and that they would magically transform my body in “under a week”.

So, I have decided to share my views with you today on the best diet I have ever experienced, which is called AWARENESS *insert flash lights here*.

Over the past year, I have experienced a growing interest in health and nutrition. I began researching blogs, talking to friends who work in nutrition, chatting to my trainers at the gym and flicking through the latest health and fitness magazines. From this, I have been led to believe that there are two major problems people face when wishing to lose weight, which are:

1. Lack Of Knowledge

The value of proper nutrition cannot be emphasized enough, the health of your body is a direct result of what you put into it.  It’s this LACK OF KNOWLEDGE that is leading individuals to eat unhealthy and preservative-soaked foods. I strongly encourage you to do some research, find out what sugars and fats is in your food and seek the nutritional information of the food on your shelves. Fill your life with clean foods that will benefit your health in the long run. You will find that there are some simple everyday foods that you can swap, which have much higher nutritional value than your original habit.

2. Laziness

The second biggest problem is LAZINESS – a huge reason why individuals turn to diet fads…and understandable too, because let’s be honest, who wants to go to the effort of making a healthy grilled chicken stir-fry when you can slap a packet of two-minute noodles on the stove? But this aside, weight-loss and health is no miracle and there definitely isn’t any fad diet pill that will instantly give you the body you desire in the long-term. If you are wanting to shape up and loose the bulge, the truth is (and I hate to break it to you), there is no secret, you have to get off the couch, move your ass and eat clean and healthily.

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A Cup Of Dirt With A Side Of Snails Please!

4 Oct

I’ve been a part-time nanny for almost three years now and I have to admit, it’s a pretty fun job. However building Lego houses and making spaghetti-haired people out of play-dough isn’t the entirety of my job. I have to look after the youngsters, I make sure they wash their hands before their afternoon cheese sticks, I make sure they don’t put their hands in their mouths after building sand castles and I encourage them not to eat dirt….. but why?

I read a really interesting article this morning discussing the ‘Hygiene Hypotheses,’ and I want to bring this up as many of my blogs are about eating chemical free. Reading this article made me question why I rub chemical filled hand sanitizer over the kid’s hands every-time they pick up a snail or pick their nose…..surely eating dirt is organic at it’s best right?

Have parents become obsessive-clean-freaks? Is this hyper-vigilant cleanliness stopping the proper development of kid’s immune systems? I kind of think that it is. Nic Gibson, writer for The Punch states, “The more sterile the environment, the less the immune system has to do. So the more it overreacts to foreign substances. Hence rising asthma and allergyrates”.

This new trend of super cleanliness is taking over our supermarkets. It’s so common today to have a bottle of portable hand sanitizer and Nivea wipes in your handbag to vigorously scrub your children down after they have been playing in the treehouse. Nic also writes, “Obsessive-compulsive cleanliness has become a multi-billion dollar industry that preys on the public’s fear and parents’ guilt. There are shiny white television ads for hands-free soap dispensers, for disinfectant-impregnated wipes, for pine-forest sprays to kill 99.9% of germs”.

I totally agree with Nic, I also think that parents need to step back and think about what false sense of security they are being lured into. When I was a kid, my parents never worried about me that much and I turned out alright….right? I feel that marketers are trying to guilt parents into making them feel like they aren’t doing a good job and so they try to sell them more products.

My point is …… try not to feel guilty when your kids walk up to you with dirt-filled fingernails, holding a slug. They are kids, and playing with dirt will not kill them. After all, what you find in your garden has to be more natural than what we find in the cleaning products on your supermarket shelves right?

What are your thoughts on children and hygiene? Are you super obsessive with your children’s hygiene? I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

Coco-nutty Facts

3 Oct

There has been a massive trend in COCONUT water this year, and for good reason. Coconut water is the fresh, clear liquid found in coconuts when broken open. It has taken Australia by storm and is now available in most supermarkets and convenient stores. But what is so great about this tropical water?

Coconut water has several health benefits, not only is it the second most natural form of liquid after water, but it has approximately 60 calories per serve and is a great rehydrating drinks to have after exercise, and it also helps with weight loss.

Coconut water is PACKED with electrolytes and is free from cholesterol and fats. It is also suggested that coconut water helps aid weight loss as it helps to keep the metabolism at its optimal level. Furthermore, coconut water contains bioactive enzymes, which are known to help with digestion.

Lastly, coconut water is a good source of B-complex vitamins, it has a good composition of minerals, such as iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium. Coconut water contains a healthy amount of electrolyte potassium and it has a small amount of vitamin-C.

So overall, coconut water is a great everyday, healthy drink. There are plenty of different types of coconut waters on our shelves at the moment. But I would highly recommend getting a fresh one and cracking it open – nothing beats the fresh taste of a coconut – YUM!

Can Eating Clean Help Boost Your Fertility?

2 Oct

We all know that eating fruit, vegetables and lean meats is the key to a healthy diet. But not only will this eating plan help keep us healthy and give us more energy, it is suggested that eating an unprocessed and additive-free diet can help boost a woman’s fertility.

Online health magazine Body & Soul, states “In Australia, about 15 per cent of couples have fertility problems with 40 per cent of cases due to male problems and 40 per cent due to female-related issues”.

After doing some research, I have discovered three simple changes you can make to your diet to help boost your fertility.

1. Reduce Intake Of Unprocessed Foods

It is important to ensure that your diet is made up of unprocessed foods. Eating unprocessed foods supplies you with all the nutrients needed for reproductive function. A deficiency in the sperm and eggs, can threaten fertility.

2.  Eat Lots Of Omega 3S & Zinc

Omega 3S is found in Fish, Oil, Seeds and Nuts. Omega is the BEST way to promote healthy egg and sperm production. Also, try to include lots of Zinc in your diet, as it’s been proven by researchers from Northwestern University in the US, that healthy eggs need a high level of zinc to mature and function healthily for reproduction.

3. Put The Packaged Food Down

We all know this one, but it helps to be reminded. Try and limit your intake of foods that are high in salt, sugar, trans fats and additives. Consuming high quantities of these foods can have a bad effect on a woman’s chance of fertility.

If you have any healthy, clean recipes that would be suitable for pregnancy, I’d love to hear about them and share them with my readers. Hope to hear from you!

Red Wine Vs. White Wine

19 Sep

Everybody loves a sneaky glass of wine after a stressful day at work, but have you ever stopped to think about the additives and preservatives that are added to the wine you’re drinking? Probably not!

Well, substances commonly added to most white and red wines is preservative 220 (sulphur dioxide) and preservative 200 (sorbic acid). These substances protect the wine against oxidation and bacterial spoilage.  The role of preservatives and additives in wine, is primarily to ensure the wine tastes clean, fresh and palatable for it’s lifetime.

An interesting test of someone’s tolerance to sulphur dioxide in wine is to question whether they get the same symptoms from eating dried apricots. The reason for this, is that sulphur dioxide is the same preservative used to protect dried fruit sold in supermarkets.

In Australia, the maximum level of sulphur dioxide allowed to be added to dry wines is 250ppm and up to 300ppm for sweet wines – this is a very small amount. By comparison, sulphur dioxide is often used more liberally in preserved fruit such as dried apricots, which are allowed up to 3,000 ppm.

There are also additives in the wine we drink that can aggravate allergies. For example, a friend of mine breaks out in a red, painful rash after drinking some red wines. The Reader’s Digest suggests that oak-derived tannins can provoke an allergic reaction by promoting histamine production, causing headaches – it can be like getting a hangover while you’re just starting to drink the wine! Oak is widely used in red winemaking, and to a lesser extent some white wines.

Have you ever had an allergy to wine or alcohol in general? I would love to hear your stories and how you managed to combat these allergies.

Healthy Family Eating

18 Sep

I remember sitting down at the dinner table as kid, my mum would walk over with a plate full of freshly baked fish fingers and a bunch of broccoli, which she called ‘green trees,’ I think she thought that this would somehow make them sound more appealing to eat, her mission was unsuccessful.

My point is, is that we all know that we need to eat the good stuff, but how the hell do you convince your children? grandchild? the kids you babysit? the family or yourself that the good stuff, being fresh fruit and vegetables, isn’t the enemy. Well I’m here to give you some tips and tricks on how to eat clean and additive free in a family environment.

1. Shop Often – A good tip is to stock your fruit basket and veggie drawer at least once a week, you will find that it encourages you to eat fresh at meal times. For example, after a long day at work, I will come home and open the fridge and the veggies seem to be the easiest dinner option to chuck into a stir-fry or on a plate with some protein.

2. Organize Your Shopping Trip – The tip here is to plan ahead, planning your snacks and meals over the week will help you to focus on purchasing fresh and healthy goods. For example, I usually plan my snacks. I make sure I buy lots of fresh carrots, cucumber and hummus to have as a 3pm snack (YUM!). Having these ready in the fridge should help curb naughty, additive packed cravings.

3. Educate Yourself – Do some research on additive and preservative free foods. Educating yourself will help you to make healthier options when walking the shopping aisles. For example, there is a great book called The Chemical Maze which helps you to recognize additives in the food we eat. Check it out here -http://www.chemicalmaze.com/.

4. Be Creative – Come up with some fun, clean and healthy snack ideas. Be creative and have fun. One of my favourites is fresh grapefruit with a sprinkle of cinnamon or freshly sliced apple with a spread of natural peanut butter or almond butter. Being creative is a great way to help your kids to eat healthy too. I’m a part-time nanny and I have found that my kids are more likely to eat fresh fruit and vegetables if I team these foods with something like natural yoghurt, peanut butter or even cottage cheese!

Maybe if Mum had teamed by green trees with some fresh white snow (Aka. Cottage cheese), they would have seemed a bit more appealing 😉

Give these tips a go and if you have any feedback or recipes ideas, I’d love to hear them!

Banana-rama!

16 Sep

Besides the delicious taste bananas add to your smoothie or morning bowl of oats, these funny yellow fruits are also PACKED with awesome health benefits. Here are FIVE reasons to keep these yellow suckers in your life:

 

1. DIET – One banana has about 180 calories in it and it also has about 11% of the recommended dietary fibre. The fiber in bananas not only keeps digestion regular, but also helps maintain low blood sugar and curbs overeating.

 

2. LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE –  Studies show that the high amounts of potassium in bananas can lower one’s blood pressure, which in turn lessens the possibility of atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.

 

3. BONE HEALTH – Along with lowering blood pressure, potassium prevents the weakening of the body’s bones. A high sodium intake, which is typical of many American diets, can cause excessive amount of calcium to be lost through the urine, which threatens not only the strength and general health of the bones, but also negatively affects blood clotting, proper muscle contraction, and normal nervous system function. The potassium found in bananas neutralizes the high amounts of sodium in one’s diet, thus allowing for healthy amounts of calcium to remain within the body.

 

4. HEALTH DIGESTIVE TRACT – Bananas can diminish the uncomfortable effects of diarrhea and constipation. The high amounts of potassium in bananas can restock electrolytes that are easily depleted when suffering from diarrhea — potassium being an important electrolyte itself. Furthermore, bananas can relieve the body from constipation and help restore regular digestion with pectin, a soluble polysaccharide that helps normalize the digestive tract.

 

5. RUGGED OUT – Bananas protect the healthy constitution of the stomach in two ways. Firstly, they trigger the production of mucus in the stomach, which provides a protective barrier against stomach acids. Secondly, bananas possess protease inhibitors, a substance that breaks down bacteria in the stomach that cause ulcers. (Moreover, protease inhibitor also obstruct the replication of certain cells and viruses, including HIV.)