Archive for September, 2012

Why Does Exercise Make Us Feel Good?

September 30, 2012
Why Does Exercise Make Us Feel Good?

Why Does Exercise Make Us Feel Good?

There is no denying the high you feel after a run in the park or a swim at the beach. Exercise not only boosts your physical health–as one can easily see by watching a marathon or a boxing match–but it also improves mental health.

According to a recent study, every little bit helps. People who engaged in even a small amount of exercise reported better mental health than others who did none. Another study, from the American College of Sports Medicine, indicated that six weeks of bicycle riding or weight training eased stress and irritability in women who had received an anxiety disorder diagnosis.

To see how much exercise is required to relieve stress, researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health observed how prior exercise changed the interactions between aggressive and reserved mice. When placed in the same cage, stronger mice tend to bully the meeker ones. In this study, the small mice that did not have access to running wheels and other exercise equipment before cohabitating with the aggressive mice were extremely stressed and nervous, cowering in dark corners or freezing when placed in an unfamiliar territory. Yet meek rodents that had a chance to exercise before encountering their bullies exhibited resistance to stress. They were submissive while living with the aggressive mice but bounced back when they were alone. The researchers concluded that even a small amount of exercise gave the meeker mice emotional resilience.

The scientists looked at the brain cells of these so-called stress-resistant mice and found that the rodents exhibited more activity in their medial prefrontal cortex and their amygdala, both of which are involved in processing emotions. The mice that did not exercise before moving in with the aggressive mice showed less activity in these parts of the brain.

Although this study was done in mice, the results likely have implications for humans as well. Exercising regularly, even taking a walk for 20 minutes several times a week, may help you cope with stress. So dig out those running shoes from the back of your closet and get moving.

Information sourced from:

Recipe of the Week – Nori Salmon Handroll

September 27, 2012




Nori salmon handrolls

Nori Salmon Handroll

Serves 4

1 fat, 2 vegetable, 1 protein


  • 8 nori (seaweed) sheets
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 400g smoked salmon
  • 1 small Lebanese cucumber, cut into ribbons
  • 4 spring onions, sliced


  1. Place the nori sheets on a flat surface and layer the avocado, smoked salmon, cucumber and green onion on top.
  2. Wrap the nori sheets around the ingredients and enjoy.


  1. Replace the smoked salmon with shredded chicken.
  2. Add sliced veggies such as carrot, capsicum, mushroom, radish.
  3. Add a very thin slice of lemon.

Is it time for a change in your workout?

September 25, 2012

It’s all about change this week at Coffs Coast Health Club, with the latest releases of Les Mills Body Balance, Body Attack, Body Pump & RPM.  Why is change necessary when you exercise and how do you know when it’s time to mix things up a bit?

When you started a regular exercise program, whether to lose weight or improve your overall health, your enthusiasm and motivation were high. Even though exercise wasn’t the most exciting activity you had experienced, you began feeling better and seeing results from your hard work. You managed to get yourself out of bed early, to squeeze in a little gym time each day, and stick to your plan without much effort.

But then slowly, the novelty began to wear off. You started finding reasons to sleep in and found “better” things to do with your time. Then before you realized it, you had missed a whole week and your drive to continue was missing in action. Is this common scenario just another motivation issue? Probably not. Could something else be getting in the way of the excitement and effectiveness of your previously-rewarding workouts? The answer is yes! Luckily, you can learn to identify the signs that it’s time to shake-up your workout routine so you can remain consistent and enthusiastic about exercise. Here are four of the most common signs and what you can do to get back on track:

Top 4 Signs Your Workout Isn’t Working

1. Your workout bores you.
You used to like walking on the treadmill, so why do you dread your workout each day? It’s easy to get bored if you stick with the same routine for too long. Sometimes it helps to add variety to your walks. For example, try taking your workout outside, adding speed intervals, putting new music on your iPod or bringing a friend along. If all of that isn’t enough, then maybe it’s time to try a new activity. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try biking or are interested in a new class at your gym. Change can help keep your workouts fun and interesting, giving you something to look forward to. And that is exactly what will keep you coming back for more.

2. Your workout isn’t giving you results anymore.
Someone who does the same activity all the time is likely to plateau much sooner than someone who varies her workouts. Just as you can get bored by always doing the same exercises, your body can also adapt to these exercises so that they don’t offer the same benefits that they once did. A little variety might be just the thing you need to get the scale moving again or bust through that strength plateau. “Variety” means either changing something about your current routine (adding speed, distance, hills, resistance, etc.) or trying a totally different activity. If you like some consistency and don’t want to change your workout each time you hit the gym, change your routine at least every 4-8 weeks (this includes incorporating changes to both your cardio and strength training exercises). This will keep your muscles  challenged, your body guessing, and the results coming!

3. Your workout leaves you more tired and sore than before.
Exercise should give you more energy, not leave you feeling rundown. If you’re feeling overly tired or perpetually sore, you could be over training. Your body needs time for rest and recovery. It is during this down time that you build strength and endurance by allowing your muscles to rebuild and repair. If you don’t give your body ample recovery time, you’ll become weaker instead of stronger. If you have been overtraining, your first priority should be rest. You might need up to a week off to recharge mentally and physically. Once you are feeling better, start back slowly. Reevaluate your workout program and find ways to make changes that will prevent this from happening again.

4. Your workout is no longer challenging.
Running a 10-minute mile, for example, becomes easier as time goes on. If your workouts aren’t challenging you anymore, it can be helpful to wear a heart rate monitor. Your heart rate will change over time as you become more fit. By using a heart rate monitor, you’ll know to change up or intensify your routine, and ensure that you’re working in your target heart rate zone. Challenging your body improves your  fitness level and can also provide a sense of accomplishment as you become stronger and work toward your goals.

Changing your workout routine whenever these signs arise will help keep your motivation high as you work to improve your fitness level. The key is to pay close attention to how you’re feeling both physically and mentally. Exercise shouldn’t be a chore that you dread, but something that makes you feel good about yourself!



Information sourced from:

Do Women Gain Weight Easier than Men?

September 23, 2012

Dietitians will often hear women complain that they gain weight a lot easier than their husbands. They insist their diets are the same, yet he can eat as much as he likes, whereas she just has to look at the food and will gain weight! So is this a phenomenon or is their some scientific fact behind it? Below we look at some of potential reasons as to why women seem to be battling the bulge more than men and some tips on how to prevent it.


The recommended weight gain during pregnancy is somewhere between 10-15kg, however, many women are gaining a lot more than this, in excess of 20+ kg. What is worse is that many of these women are not losing the weight after pregnancy. Becoming a new mother is a very busy and hectic time, and often women put their health second to the needs of the baby. Most of the pregnancy weight remains, and when the woman becomes pregnant again, she is starting from a higher base weight, leading her to be even heavier after the second pregnancy!

Women are a major role model to their children, so it is important to portray a healthy lifestyle to them from a young age. It is also important that you remain fit and healthy, for your own physical and mental wellbeing, as well as that of your children. There is no excuse not to follow a healthy diet after pregnancy, and this is even more important if you are breastfeeding. A dietitian will be able to help you with meal plans and meal ideas. Take any opportunity to exercise with your baby. Walking with the pram is a great form of exercise, and there are many ‘Mother and Baby’ exercise classes available in recreation centres now.

It’s in our Genes (and our jeans!)

Unfortunately for women, our bodies will naturally store more fat than the male body. Men tend to carry less fat, and more lean muscle tissue than women. Muscle burns more energy than fat, so overall the male body will be burning more energy each day than the female body.
We can not change our DNA, but we can sway the odds in our favour a little more. Basic resistance training, coupled with aerobic training will help to build more lean muscle and burn more fat. The more lean muscle we have, the more energy we will burn on a daily basis.

Being a Mother, Wife, Cook, Maid and Taxi Driver

For the most part, woman spend more time than men cooking, shopping, cleaning, caring for children and driving ‘Mums Taxi’. With most women working 9-5, there leaves little hours in the day to exercise and these hours are spent preparing meals and spending time with their children. Shopping and cooking are challenges in themselves. Women are around food more than men, leading to the temptation to grab a snack whilst they are shopping and pick while they are cooking. These extra kilojoules add up each day.
This is definitely an area that we can change. Even the busiest of women can find time to exercise. Think about the following;

• Save the housework for one time a week and do it all in one go. Put on some music and make housework a great form of exercise

• Park the car further from work, school, dancing classes and footy training. You and the kids can get a little extra exercise each day.

• If you have small children, put on some music or their favourite children’s dancing DVD and dance with them.

• Negotiate with your partner for some time each week for you
to exercise alone, while he watches the children. If you are a single mum, you can organize with a friend to take turns watching each others children while you go to an aerobic or yoga class.

• Resist the urge to snack at the shops. Shop after a meal, or snack on a piece of fruit before you go. When you’re cooking don’t pick at the salad or vegetables. Put it on a plate and make it a mini meal.

Emotional Eaters

Many women will admit they are emotional eaters. We eat when we are happy, we eat when we are sad and we eat when we are bored. We meet friends for coffee and cake, whereas men meet mates for golf, to kick the footy or shoot some hoops. While we are gaining kilos, they are burning kilojoules, getting fit and having fun in the process.
The trick is to stop using food to fuel emotions. If you are happy and want to reward that happiness, don’t go for a doughnut; make your happiness last by enjoying a nice walk along the beach going to taking the kids to the park to play. If you are sad, don’t reach for the chocolate cake; improve your mood with the natural endorphins we get from exercise. Surround yourself with happy people at a group exercise class or start a weekly dance class. Make a pact with friends to decrease the coffee and cake weekends and go for walks or play tennis instead. All these things will not only prevent weight gain, they will make you feel a lot better emotionally.

A key factor in determining how much weight you put on or lose is your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). In simple terms, this is how much energy your body uses under standard conditions, typically after waking in the morning or 12hours after a meal and in a relaxed state. The BMR represents 60-75% of total energy expenditure in an average person, so because your weight is controlled by how much energy you are either burning or accumulating (food), it is an important factor in determining your weight control.

The Basal Metabolic Rate is determined by how much of your body is low fat or ‘fat-free’, called the fat-free mass. Women naturally have a lower BMR, due to mammary (breast) and gluteal tissue which is higher in fat than in men, for the natural processes associated with child birth and rearing. Consequently, on average women need to eat less food than men, if they are to maintain a healthy weight.

Another way of looking at this is to take the example of Claire, a 28 year old lady who weighs 68kg and is 162cm tall (overweight). Her husband, Peter, is also slightly overweight and weighs 85kg and is 178cm tall. Claire’s Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is 1,420 kilocalories per day while Peter’s is 1500kcal/day. So although it might not seem like a big difference (80kcal/day), it makes a big difference over time. This 80kcal/day difference means that come meal time, if Claire has the same portion size as Peter and neither of them do any exercise, she will actually put on more weight than Peter over time. This is because Peter’s natural BMR will consume the energy eaten at a faster rate. How does Claire overcome this and get back to a healthy weight and look great? Exercise! It’s tough news, but exercise is the answer to your weight woes.

Why does exercise have to be the answer?

The good thing about exercise and weight control is that the fitter you are, you have a higher BMR, so the weight will come off more easily. It’s fantastic! It’s a positive feedback cycle whereby you start dropping off the fat through exercise, the BMR goes up, then you start burning more energy naturally, and the weight comes off and the cycle continues until you are looking trim and terrific in the healthy weight range. It’s that simple!

So why can’t I just do a diet?

Unfortunately for us humans, our bodies react to dieting by decreasing our BMR. This is a kind of reaction to protect us from starvation. When we stop eating, our bodies panic and prepare for the worst by lowering our natural energy usage (BMR) to make our fat stores last longer (and survive, apparently!). Unfortunately for dieter’s trying to lose weight, this makes it harder. It also means that your weight is likely to yo-yo up and down and never be stable, and this is a very unhealthy way to live.

What are the key points?

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is determined by:

  • Fat-free mass (can be related to gender)
  • Dieting/food intake
  • Genetics (body type)

BMR determines how quickly you burn energy and how easily you lose weight.

No matter what your BMR or gender is, you can lose weight through exercise and eating healthily and with moderate portion sizes to control your energy intake.

Information sourced from:,


Recipe of the Week – Grilled Haloumi & Vegetable Skewers

September 20, 2012

Healthy Inspirations Coffs Coast Health Club




Serves 4

1 protein, 1 vegetable


  • 180g haloumi, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 red capsicum, cut into 2cm squares
  • 1 green capsicum, cut into 2 cm squares
  • 4 button mushrooms, halved
  • Sprinkle dried oregano


  1. Preheat grill. Thread all ingredients onto wooden skewers, in the same order, so that each skewer holds two pieces of each ingredient.
  2. Grill for 10 minutes, turning to avoid burning, until the haloumi is golden brown.
  3. Sprinkle with dried oregano and serve with lamb.

Recipe of the week by


Easy Lunch Ideas to get you through your week

September 17, 2012
5 easy work lunches with 15 ingredients

5 easy work lunches with 15 ingredients

Stock these 15 ingredients and your week’s worth of lunches are in the bag!  Thanks to for these nutritious & easy ideas.

Ham, Cream Cheese & Cherry Tomato Pizza

Ham, Cream Cheese & Cherry Tomato Pizza

Serves 1

1 wholegrain wrap (can use gluten free)
2 tbs chunky tomato salsa
75g shaved ham
2 tbs extra light cream cheese
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tsp grated parmesan cheese
few spinach leaves

Preheat sandwich press.

Spread wrap with salsa, top with ham, dollops of cream cheese, tomatoes and scatter over parmesan.

Toast, making sure the lid doesn’t come in contact with your pizza, for approximately 10 minutes.

Serve with a few spinach leaves scattered over the top.

PER SERVE: Energy:1285 kJ (307 Cals) Protein:  25g, Fat:  8.7g (Sat  4.1g), Carbs:  28g (Sugar  7g), Fibre:  6g

Smoked Chicken Wrap with Cream Cheese & Salad

Smoked Chicken Wrap with Cream Cheese & Salad

Serves 1

1 wholegrain wrap
1 tbs Extra Light Philadephia Cream Cheese
1 tsp mustard
1 handful of baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup coleslaw
4 slices of cucumber
4 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
75 g smoked chicken fillet, sliced

Spread wrap with cheese and mustard.

Add spinach, coleslaw, cucumber, tomatoes and chicken.

Season with salt & pepper and wrap, securing with cling wrap or baking paper.

PER SERVE: Energy:   1255kJ (300Cals), Protein:  30g,  Fat:  7.7g (Sat  2.9g), Carbs:  24.9g (Sugar  5g), Fibre:  5.6g

Warm Tuna & Brown Rice Asian Salad

Warm Tuna & Brown Rice Asian Salad

Serves 1

½ 250g packet of pre cooked brown rice (freeze the other half for another time)
95g tin Safcol tuna in springwater, drained
1 cup fresh coleslaw
2 tsp soy sauce (gluten-free)
25g baby spinach leaves
2 tsp ALPS Blend

Place all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and cook for 2-3 minutes. Or heat in a small saucepan, covered, for a few minutes.

Stir and serve.

PER SERVE: Energy:   1384kJ (330Cals), Protein:  29g, Fat:  8g (Sat  2g), Carbs:  35.7g (Sugar  3.2g), Fibre:  1.3g

Tangy Tomato & Smoked Chicken Spaghetti

Tangy Tomato & Smoked Chicken Spaghetti

Serves 1

1/2 packet 250g packet Slim Pasta spaghetti, well rinsed
1/2 cup Chunky Tomato Salsa
150g packet of frozen vegetables
75g smoked chicken fillet, diced
25g baby spinach leaves
1 tbs parmesan cheese (optional)

Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Quesadilla

Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Quesadilla

Serves 1

1 wholegrain wrap (or use gluten free)
1 tbs extra light cream cheese
50g coleslaw
50g smoked salmon
lemon pepper to taste

Preheat sandwich press.
Spread cream cheese over wrap.
Add coleslaw and salmon to half of the wrap, season with lemon pepper and fold in half.
Cook for 5 minutes, or until golden.
Serve with salad.

PER SERVE: Energy: 1136kJ (271Cals), Protein:  23g, Fat:  8g (Sat  3.2g), Carbs:  24.7g (Sugar  4.3g), Fibre:  3.6g

Place pasta in a bowl and pour over boiling water to cover.

In microwave safe bowl heat salsa, vegetables and chicken for a few minutes, or until warmed through. Add spinach and heat for another 30 seconds, until leaves have just wilted.

Drain pasta and toss with sauce.

Sprinkle over parmesan to serve.

PER SERVE: Energy:   1212kJ (  290Cals), Protein:  31.2g, Fat:  5.9g (Sat  2.6g), Carbs:  23g (Sugar  11.9g), Fibre:  21g

Information sourced from:

Food Allergies On The Rise

September 16, 2012

Earlier this week, the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) launched its Food Allergy Campaign to raise awareness of the increase of anaphylaxis in children, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.

Figures from the EAACI show that more than 17 million people in Europe suffer from food allergies. The sharpest increase is in children and young people. The number of hospital admission for severe allergic reactions in children is seven times higher than it was in 2002. Food allergy is the leading cause of anaphylaxis in children aged 0 to 14 across Europe.

In continental Europe, the most common food allergies in children are to egg, cow’s milk and tree-nuts but the campaign also addresses peanut allergies (which are grown in the ground and are not tree nuts). Adults in Europe are more likely to be allergic to fresh fruit, nuts and vegetables.

Walnuts, hazelnuts and peanuts cause 50% of life-threatening allergic reactions in the UK, while in Scandinavia, allergies to shellfish and cod prevail.

The EAACI’s campaign aims to improve food labelling and access to anaphylaxis treatment. Some foods currently have the label “may contain peanuts” or “may contain milk”. The EAACI would like the criteria for “may contain” labels to be more rigorously standardised to represent different levels of contamination and risk.

In Australia, a Food Industry Guide to Allergen Management and Labelling released by the Australian Food and Grocery Council provides recommendations on the production and labelling of foods containing allergenic substances.

 About Food Allergies Overview

About Food Allergies Overview

If you or someone you care about has a food allergy, you’re not alone.  Researchers estimate that some 12 million Americans have food allergies of varying degrees of severity.  Food allergies affect 1 in every 13 children under the age of 18–an average of two in every classroom.

Having a food allergy shouldn’t stop you from enjoying life to the fullest. But it does present challenges for you and your family. Since we don’t yet have a medication that can prevent an allergic reaction, you will have to take every precaution to avoid problem foods. That means that you will have to make changes in your day-to-day life—at home and away, when eating out, at work or in school.

A reaction to food can range from a mild response to anaphylaxis, a severe, sometimes even life-threatening, condition. Fortunately, once an anaphylactic reaction starts, a medication called epinephrine can help. You can protect yourself by learning the symptoms of a severe reaction and knowing what steps to take if you have one.

All this may sound complicated and scary, especially if you have just been diagnosed. But it’s important to remember that the overwhelming majority of people with food allergies lead healthy, active lives. Educating yourself, your family and friends, and others in your circle is the key to coping and living well with food allergies. We hope that, as you explore this site, you’ll find the information you need to do just that. This overview will help you get started.

What is a food allergy?

The job of the body’s immune system is to identify and destroy germs (such as bacteria or viruses) that make you sick. A food allergy results when the immune system mistakenly targets a harmless food protein (an allergen) as a threat and attacks it.

Specifically, if you have a food allergy, your immune system produces abnormally large amounts of an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE), which fights the “enemy” food allergen by releasing histamine and other chemicals. These chemicals cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction. If you are very sensitive to a certain allergen, eating even a tiny amount of a problem food can cause a severe reaction.

Although a person can be allergic to any food, eight allergens are responsible for 90% of all reactions:

In addition, allergies to seeds—especially sesame—seem to be increasing in many countries.

Who gets food allergies?

Food allergies affect children and adults of all races and ethnicity. Your risk is higher if you have a parent who suffers from any type of allergic disease (asthma, eczema, food allergies, or environmental allergies such as hay fever).

A food allergy can begin at any age. However, cow’s milk, egg, and soy allergies typically begin in childhood and eventually may be outgrown. In the past, most children outgrew these allergies by school age. A recent study, conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, indicated that children are taking longer to outgrow milk and egg allergies. Fortunately, the majority are allergy-free by age 16.

Peanut and tree nut allergies, which also tend to develop in childhood, usually are life-long. In the U.S., approximately three million people report allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. A study showed that the number of children with peanut allergy doubled from 1 in 250 to 1 in 125 between 1997 and 2002.

Fish and shellfish allergies also tend to be life-long. More than 6.5 million adults are allergic to finned fish and shellfish.

Food allergies appear to be on the rise in all industrialized countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) describes them as “important health issues.” Interestingly, environmental allergies (e.g., hay fever) along with asthma and other diseases caused by a defect in the immune system, also have been increasing. Researchers worldwide are trying to discover the reason for the growing incidence of these diseases.

What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction?

An allergic reaction to food can affect the skin, the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory tract, and, in the most serious cases, the cardiovascular system. Reactions can range from mild to the severe and potentially life-threatening condition known as anaphylaxis. In the U.S., food allergies send someone to the emergency room every three minutes–every six minutes for anaphylaxis.

The foods most likely to cause anaphylaxis are peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish. People who have both asthma and a food allergy are at the greatest risk for severe reactions.

Mild symptoms may include one or more of the following: hives (reddish, swollen, itchy areas on the skin); eczema (a persistent dry, itchy rash); an itchy mouth; nausea or vomiting; diarrhea; abdominal pain; and nasal congestion or a runny nose.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis may include: obstructive swelling of the lips, tongue, and/or throat; trouble swallowing; shortness of breath or wheezing; turning blue; drop in blood pressure; loss of consciousness; chest pain; and/or a weak pulse. People sometimes use the terms “anaphylaxis” and “anaphylactic shock” interchangeably. This is incorrect: “Anaphylactic shock” means that a patient’s blood pressure has dropped to a dangerously low level—an extremely serious condition. However, any one of the symptoms listed in this paragraph is a sign of a dangerous reaction that requires urgent medical attention.

Thanks to the effectiveness of epinephrine and a growing awareness of the seriousness of food allergies, deaths from anaphylaxis are not common. Those at highest risk for fatal reactions appear to be teenagers or young adults who have both asthma and a food allergy and who do not receive epinephrine in time. The longer the delay in receiving this life-saving medication, the more severe a reaction is likely to become.

For this reason, anaphylaxis should always be treated as a medical emergency. If you have a food allergy, you should always carry self-injectable epinephrine and wear medical alert jewelry. At the first sign of a reaction, you should take your medication and call 911. Even if medication seems to control the reaction, you should get to an emergency room as quickly as possible so you can receive more care. These steps save lives, even in the most serious cases.

How are food allergies diagnosed and treated?

If you suspect that you have a food allergy, you should see an allergist for a definitive diagnosis. After reviewing your medical history in detail, your allergist may perform skin or blood tests to help determine which foods are causing the allergy.

There is no therapy that can prevent an allergic reaction, although promising research is underway. In addition to epinephrine (adrenaline), the primary treatment for anaphylaxis, there are several other medications that help control mild to moderate reactions and relieve symptoms.

Can you have a reaction after smelling or touching a problem food?

Yes—but it is reassuring to know that these reactions normally are far less severe than reactions caused by eating foods that contain allergens. Although it is possible to have a severe reaction in these circumstances, the risk is generally low.

Airborne, or inhalant, reactions occur when food proteins are released into the air, especially in confined spaces. If you can smell a problem food, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in any danger. For example, if your peanut-allergic teenager is having lunch with a friend who is eating a peanut butter sandwich, he is likely to be fine. Your son may be able to smell the peanut butter, but there are no significant peanut allergens in the air. On the other hand, if he’s watching TV with a roomful of friends who are cracking open peanut shells, he might have symptoms. That’s because the dust from the shells discharges allergens into the air.

Contrary to what some people believe, cooking food does not remove all traces of an allergen. In fact, being near problem foods while they are cooking can cause an inhalant reaction, because heat releases food proteins (from frying eggs, boiling milk, or steaming fish, for example) into the air. Small exposures to airborne food allergens are unlikely to result in severe symptoms, and once food has cooled off, it should be safe to be near the food.

Similarly, if an allergen touches your skin, you may have a localized reaction (e.g., itching, swelling, or redness), but it is unlikely that this type of contact will trigger a serious reaction. In a study of 30 children with peanut allergy, a small amount of peanut butter was rubbed on the skin. Some of the children experienced a mild redness and rash in the area that the peanut butter touched, but nothing more. If you do touch a problem food, however, it is important that you wash your hands, using soap and water. Otherwise, rubbing the food into your eyes might cause your eyelids to swell. Worse, if you put your hands to your mouth or eat another food that you have touched, you could have a serious reaction. For this reason, young children should be closely watched to be sure they don’t put contaminated objects in their mouths.

A study at New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine evaluated how long peanut stays in the mouth after a peanut meal. The study was done because of concerns about passionately kissing a partner who has eaten peanut. The researchers found that simple brushing and rinsing was not fully adequate to remove the allergen. They found that after four hours and a peanut-free meal, the allergen was not detectable. However, the researchers advised partners of food-allergic people to prevent problems by avoiding the allergen altogether.

What is the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance?

Although food intolerances share some of the symptoms of food allergies, they do not involve the immune system. They can cause great discomfort but are not life-threatening. People with food intolerances are not able to digest certain foods because their bodies lack the specific enzyme needed to break down that food. For example, if you are lactose intolerant, you are missing the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. The words “gluten intolerance” are sometimes used to describe Celiac disease. However, Celiac disease does involve the immune system and can cause serious complications if left unchecked.

What can I do to avoid an allergic reaction to food?

Be vigilant! Read the ingredient labels on all packaged foods to make sure that they do not contain any allergens. If you’re not sure whether a product contains a problem ingredient, call the manufacturer to find out. When dining out, make sure the dishes you order are allergen-free. If you are in doubt about any food, don’t eat it. Remember, people sometimes are exposed to problem foods in spite of their best efforts and the good will of everyone around them. Be sure to carry your medication and wear emergency identification jewelry at all times.

At first, trying to cope with your food allergy may be overwhelming. There will probably be times when eating will feel like a difficult task, rather than a pleasure. But eventually, managing your food allergies will become part of your daily routine, and you’ll find that life is sweet—even if you do have to pass up those chocolate nut brownies!

Information Sourced from:,

Recipe of the Week – Peppered Pork with Caraway Cabbage

September 13, 2012

Healthy Inspirations Coffs Coast Health Club


Peppered Pork with Caraway Cabbage

Peppered Pork with Caraway Cabbage – serves 4

1 protein, 2 fat, 1 vegetable


  • 4 lean pork chops
  • 1 Tbsp coarsely crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cabbage, stalk removed, shredded
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • Salt
  • 350ml chicken stock


  1. Coat the pork chops with the peppercorns. Heat half the butter and half the oil in a fry pan and add the chops. Fry quickly for 2 minutes on each side to seal the chops, then reduce the heat to low and cook gently for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining butter and oil in a wok. Add the cabbage and caraway seeds and fry, stirring, for about 5 to 10 minutes until lightly golden and just tender. Season with a sprinkling of salt, remove from pan with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
  3. After the chops have been removed from the fry pan, pour the stock into the fry pan, scraping up any sediment, and bring to the boil for 1 minute. Whisk in the remaining butter, a little at a time, to thicken the sauce and season with salt if desired.
  4. To serve, place the cabbage on 4 serving plates, top each with a chop and spoon the sauce over the top. Serve with steamed veggies.

Stroke Prevention: Act FAST

September 11, 2012

Would you know what to do? Would you even know what you were witnessing? Stroke is the second biggest cause of death in Australia after heart disease and is a major cause of devastating disability.

“Strokes wreck lives and are a massive national health budget expenditure, yet it remains a little understood disease.”

Most people understand the term heart attack because the words used to describe the event, evoke its very meaning. Stroke, however, is brain attack. Blood flow to the brain is interrupted (for a variety of reasons) and immediately the cells that amount to life,to thought and to mobility begin to die.

They cannot be recovered. In Black and White One in six people will have a stroke in their lifetime. Every 10 minutes in Australia someone suffers a stroke. One in five people die within one month of having their first-ever stroke. One in three people die within a year of having their first-ever stroke. Stroke kills more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer. Almost one in five people who experience a stroke are under the age of 55.

“Strokes cost an estimated $2.14 billion peryear in Australia alone inhealth costs and the social cost is inestimable.”

We ask all Australians to understand thesigns of stroke so they can act quickly if they suspect someone around them is having a stroke. Sadly, too many still don’t know what a stroke is, let alone how to recognise one. Every second lost by delaying treatment amounts to brain loss.

F.A.S.T. – Face, Arms, Speech and Time.

We have a simple test, known as FAST,which we ask people to memorise. This test indicates if stroke is occurring.

Face: Has the person’s mouth drooped?

Arms: Can they raise their arms?

Speech: Is their speech slurred?

Time: Act immediately – call 000.

Stroke is preventable. A stroke is treatable. Stroke claims more lives – and more livelihoods– than it should. After a stroke, many people still leave hospital without so much as a discharge care plan. There is no co-ordinated mechanism to make sure that when people leave hospital they are followed up.

There have been some important improvements in stroke care and management, but there remains much work to be done. Despite the fact that in the 1990′s heart, stroke and vascular health was one of the first national health priority areas identified by the Australian government, we have seen too little direct funding for stroke.

The data we have on stroke is appalling. Targeted stroke research funding is inadequate.This would make an immense difference to the way we tackle this disease. Australia’s last community-based cohort study, which is the best way of determining stroke incidence

in the community, was conducted in 1996. So in reality we don’t really know how many strokes are even happening – but we must manage the fall-out.

For more information, visit The Stroke Foundation.



Information sourced from:

Top Nutrition Tips for Athletes

September 9, 2012
Top Nutrition Tips for Athletes

Top Nutrition Tips for Athletes

By Peter Jaret
WebMD Feature
Most of us who jog for an hour, take an aerobics class, or go to the gym don’t need to worry about a special diet for athletic performance. The basic guidelines for healthy eating provide all the energy and nutrition we need for our workouts. But if you push yourself hard for 90 minutes or more — especially if you compete in high-intensity endurance events — your diet can help you perform at your peak and recover more quickly afterwards. Here are five key tips for athletes to consider:

1. Load Up on Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are an athlete’s main fuel. They are converted to glucose, a form of sugar, which is stored in muscles as glycogen. When you exercise, your body converts glycogen into energy. If you exercise for under 90 minutes, the stores of glycogen in your muscles are enough to fuel even high-intensity activity.

“For longer activities, carbohydrate loading for three or four days before an event can help top up your glycogen stores,” says Joy Dubost, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

  • To achieve maximum carbohydrate storage, experts recommend eating a diet that gets about 70% of its calories from carbohydrates, including breads, cereals, pasta, fruit, and vegetables.
  • On the day of a big event, you should eat your last meal three to four hours before exercising, to give your stomach time to empty.
  • Avoid eating sugary or starchy foods within 30 minutes of starting an activity. The process of metabolizing carbohydrates uses water, which can hasten dehydration.

For activities lasting longer than 90 minutes, it’s important to replenish carbohydrates, minerals, and water during exercise. Experts suggest you eat a snack and drink fluid every 15 to 20 minutes. Refined carbohydrates (with sugar or flour) pass quickly into the bloodstream, where they fuel working muscles. Many athletes prefer sports bars, sports drinks, or gels, since they’re so convenient. But fruit or fruit juice are also excellent choices.

Replenishing carbohydrates is equally important after intensive exercise. “Since you don’t need quick energy, it’s best to choose less refined carbohydrates” such as a whole grain bagel or carrot and veggie sticks, which provide both carbohydrates and a rich array of nutrients, says Dubost.

2. Consume Enough — but Not Too Much — Protein

Protein does not provide a lot of fuel for energy, but it is important for maintaining muscle tissue.

  • The average person needs about 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day. That’s about 88 grams of protein for a 150-pound person.
  • A strength athlete may need up to 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight. That’s about 150 grams of protein for a 200-pound athlete.

“Milk is one of the best foods for recovery after an event, because it provides a good balance of protein and carbohydrates,” says Dubost. Milk also contains both casein and whey protein. The combination may be particularly helpful for athletes. Research shows that whey protein is absorbed quickly, which can help speed recovery immediately after an event. Casein is digested more slowly, helping to ensure long-term recovery of muscle after a grueling event. Milk also contains calcium, which is important for maintaining strong bones.

Although protein is made up of amino acids, Dubost says there is little evidence that taking specific amino acid supplements offers an advantage. What’s more, consuming too much protein can put a strain on your kidneys. Instead of supplements, she suggests eating high-quality protein, such as lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, eggs, or milk.

3. Go Easy on Fat

For long events, such as marathons, the body turns to fat for energy when carbohydrate sources run low. But most athletes get all the fat they need by following basic dietary guidelines: Eat mostly unsaturated fat from foods such as nuts, avocados, olives, vegetable oils, and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna. Experts recommend avoiding fatty foods on the day of an event, since they can cause stomach distress for some people.

4. Drink Fluids Early and Often

High-intensity exercise, especially in hot weather, can quickly leave you dehydrated. Dehydration, in turn, can hurt your performance and, in extreme cases, be life-threatening.

“All high-intensity athletes should drink fluids early and often,” says Dubost. “And don’t wait until you’re thirsty. By the time you feel parched, you may be seriously dehydrated.”

“One way to monitor hydration is to keep an eye on the color of your urine,” says Joshua Evans, MD, a physician at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit and an expert on dehydration.

A pale yellow color means you’re getting enough fluid. Bright yellow or dark urine means you’re falling short.

Because intense exercise causes rapid fluid loss, it’s a good idea to drink fluids before as well as during an event, says Dubost.

  • For endurance athletes such as marathon runners or long-distance cyclists, experts recommend drinking 8 to 12 ounces of fluid every 10 or 15 minutes during an event.
  • When possible, drink chilled fluids, which are more easily absorbed than room temperature water. Chilled fluids also help cool your body down.

5. Replenish Lost Electrolytes

Sweating causes both fluid and electrolyte loss. Electrolytes help transmit nerve signals in your body, and play many other important roles. To replenish lost electrolytes, many athletes reach for sports drinks. If you lose a lot of fluid sweating, experts recommend diluting sports drinks with equal amounts of water to get the best balance of fluid and electrolytes.


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