Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How to Eat Like a Nutritionist in 10 Easy Steps

About once a year I teach a free seminar at Remede Wellness Medicine on how to eat, well, like me. I'm often being told how healthy I look and this makes people want to know what I do to keep that healthy glow. 

Here's my 10 easy steps to eating like a nutritionist:

  1. Buy organic food where possible and avoid processed foods
  2. Include adequate protein at each meal choosing from lean organic meat and poultry, wild caught fish and seafood, organic eggs, organic legumes (pulses), organic dairy, soy foods like tofu and tempeh, and nuts and seeds
  3. Eat a wide selection of various coloured vegetables and have one to two pieces of fresh fruit. Aim for at least three cups of vegetables per day with some raw.
  4. Include superfoods in your diet such as:
    • cacao and 85 percent dark chocolate
    • green tea
    • organic berries
    • a little fermented foods like natural yoghurt, kimchi and kefir
    • purple, red and pink foods like beetroot, red cabbage, red capsicum and pomegranate
    • turmeric and garlic
  5. Balance on your plate - so have one-quarter of the plate filled with protein, half to two-thirds of the plate filled with veggies and salad, up to one-quarter of the plate with low GI starchy carbs (on the days you eat them) with a little good fat included. Aim to have one or two meals per day without starchy carbs though to keep your waistline trim. And, use smaller plates because it doesn't matter how big the plate, we all seem to fill it up and eat all the food.
  6. Minimise sugar. For sugar alternatives try these suggestions:
    • Piece fresh fruit + a few nuts
    • Small handful nuts + a piece of dark chocolate
    • Cacao protein ball
    • Natural yoghurt + fresh fruit
    • Hot chocolate sweetened with natural sweetener
    • Soda water with dash of lime juice
    • Coconut water
  7. Include plenty of good fibre in your diet as this fibre feeds the beneficial bacteria in your digestive system and helps to prevent poor health, cancer and diabetes. Fibre choices can include: psyllium husks, slippery elm powder, chia seeds, pulses (legumes), whole grain low GI foods such as quinoa and brown rice.
  8. Address alcohol and caffeine. Have four alcohol free days per week and on the days you do drink, keep it moderate such as one to 3 drinks only. Bingeing in seriously bad for your liver, brain and health. Have just one to two caffeinated drinks per day and swap to green tea (which does contain a little caffeine too but you can top up the pot with hot water all day and still enjoy the beneficial polyphenols without the caffeine). Have your caffeine before 2:00pm each day so your sleep is not disturbed.
  9. Read labels and get to know what's in the food that you're buying. Keep sugars to less than 10g per 100g of food. Avoid trans fats. If you're trying to lose weight then keep to foods lower in carbohydrates. Nutrition labels will help you here.
  10. Eat like a nutritionist is watching. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Holiday Notes

Recently we were on holidays for six weeks in Europe and it made me realise how difficult it can be when you're in "holiday mode" to keep track with healthy eating.

Exercise on the other hand is a cinch! We were walking anywhere between six and 14 kilometres per day and, according to the health app on my phone, climbing from 10 to 50 floors worth of stairs per day. This is the joy of being a tourist in wonderful cities and towns in Europe, you can eat quite a bit and exercise most of it off. "Most" being the key word here. We still came home with some excess baggage around the waist.

I really feel for people with coeliac disease who like to travel because that would be the most difficult to manage. Gluten-free choices aren't thick on the ground. While you can usually order a protein food with veggies / salad, you can't be 100 percent sure the chef or cook has avoided all gluten containing products. And, some people with this disease can be bedridden after consuming even a hint of gluten.

As a matter of preference I avoid gluten food about 80 to 90 percent of the time and the only dairy food I eat is some grated parmesan or a little butter unless we are dining out or at friend's places for meals. During the holiday I noticed my digestion changed gradually over that six weeks from functioning very well to decidedly unhappy by the time we returned. It was an interesting experiment or one-person study to conduct and then consider in relation to the patients I see at the practice.

Over that holiday time I was mindful quite often and ordered foods like grilled vegetables and octopus salad for lunches to try and rest the digestion somewhat. At other times we were on small boat cruises where the food was provided and plentiful. While you can give dietary preference information, there's something about being relaxed and on holidays where you get complacent about food choices and dig in with gusto regardless.

If anything, aside from having the most wonderful trip to reminisce with my beloved over the years to come, it made me very aware of what everyone else, including my patients, experience while travelling or in their day-to-day busy and social lives.

Some simple tips for travelling:

  • Exercise a lot and wear very comfortable shoes
  • Go starchy carbohydrate free for one meal per day as many days as possible
  • Minimise alcohol at least 3 days a week and be moderate the remainder
  • If food is provided on an organised trip, ask to have smaller portions
  • You don't have to eat everything on the plate
  • As soon as you return follow a healthy balanced low carb detox diet to help return your body to its former good health (that's exactly what we are doing now).