Archive for January, 2013

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Glazed Balsamic Chicken

January 30, 2013

Healthy Inspirations Coffs Coast Health Club


Glazed Balsamic Chicken – Serves 4


  • Olive oil spray
  • 480g chicken breasts
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 150ml balsamic vinegar
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard


  1. Heat a non-stick fry pan over medium-high heat and spray with oil. Brown the chicken breasts for 3 minutes then turn and brown the other side for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to rest for 3 minutes.
  2. Transfer the chicken to a plate, season with salt and pepper and cover with foil to keep warm.
  3. In the same fry pan, add the vinegar and pine nuts. Cook over a medium-high heat to reduce the liquid by half. Add the mustard and mix well to make a smooth glaze.
  4. Return the chicken to the pan and turn to coat both sides with the glaze. Cook for another minute or until cooked through, then divide between four plates and spoon remaining glaze over the top.
  5. Serve with salad or veggies of choice.

10 Things I Wish I’d Known In My 20s

January 29, 2013
Advice to My Younger Self
By Jackie Knechtel
Last week I turned 35. (Did I just admit that publicly?) As I drift into a new age bracket and scan my face for superficial changes, I am reflecting on what I’ve learned and who I’ve become over the past decade.
I am often mistaken for my mid-twenties (thank you plant-based diet!) and I feel better than ever. A friend recently asked me if I would go back to being 25 if I could.
“Only if I could know then what I know now,” I said.
In a letter to my younger self, I’d share these bits of wisdom that I’ve accrued over the past 10 years.
1. Be the best YOU you can be! 
Stop comparing yourself to others as you can only ever be you. Be inspired by others but celebrate your uniqueness. Embrace your quirks.  Why fit in when you can stand out?!
2. Let go of past hurts. 
When you dwell on the past you are not truly living in the present. We have all been hurt by someone in our lives but holding on to anger, resentment and pain can damage interpersonal relationships and lead to stress and depression. Practicing forgiveness of people that have hurt me in the past has truly set me free.
3. Break free from expectations, they only lead to disappointment. 
This was perhaps the most valuable lesson I have learned. I have strong principles and values and had previously expected others to abide by my standards and would be let down if they didn’t. I now know that other people’s beliefs and priorities may not be the same as mine and that I have no control over how they will think or act.
4. You can’t please everyone and if you do you aren’t living authentically.
When I was younger I wanted everyone to like me and would often put others needs before my own. Learning to say ‘no’ was one of the most empowering things I have learned.
5. Live each day like it’s your last. 
It sounds trite but this lesson really hit home for me when I lost my younger brother a few years ago. Rather than adopting a ‘woe is me attitude’ and wallowing in depression, I decided to uproot my life, sell my apartment, abandon my private practice, leave my family and friends behind to live my dream of taking a year-long trip around the world, solo! Let go of the reins, relinquish control and see where life takes you. Live the life you want to live NOW.
6. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” 
Hippocrates knew what he was talking about! Growing up on a diet of processed, chemicalized foods led to food intolerances and chronic allergies. After transitioning to a plant based diet rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, my allergies are now under control and I rarely need to take Prednisone anymore.
7. Never settle for less than you deserve. 
Don’t waste time on people who don’t make you feel good.
8. There’s no growth in the comfort zone, no comfort in the growth zone. 
I will never forget the day my art professor in college uttered this phrase. It became my mantra. Do things that scare you. The only way to grow is to challenge yourself. Step out onto the ledge and jump! (figuratively speaking of course)
9. Trust your gut; it’s rarely ever wrong. 
We are instinctive, intuitive beings. We have to tap into this side of ourselves and believe that the body sometimes knows what the mind won’t acknowledge. If you get a strong visceral reaction to something it is likely with good reason.
10. Accumulate less things and more experiences. 
In my twenties, I worked really hard and accumulated a lot of possessions; shoes, clothes, furniture etc. I fell into the trap of thinking that material things equated to happiness. I have since learned acquiring things breeds a constant desire for more and to what end? Lately I have been donating, selling and just getting rid of ‘things’. Having a lot of stuff adds to mental clutter and ties you down. No one lies on their deathbed ruminating over material possessions, rather they reflect on cherished moments with loved ones, a family trip, a cooking class with a spouse or watching their child’s first steps.
Now it’s time to find your own truths. All life experiences are valuable; seek wisdom in them, for it is not just the peaks in life, but the valleys that hold the key to our personal growth and development. I am still growing and learning myself, and I am excited to see what I have to share a decade from now in What I Wish I Knew In My 30’s. Stay tuned


Photo Credit:

First Published January 23, 2013 at 10:41 AM

About Jackie Knechtel

Jackie Knechtel MA CCC-SLP is the Chief Life Enthusiast of Pure Vibrant Living, a movement she founded to share her passion for holistic heath, travel, sustainable living, fitness, positivity and living life to the fullest! For the past 12 years she has dedicated herself to her work as a Speech Language Pathologist specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Jackie is a black belt in Okinowan Shorin Ryu and a belly dancer. She loves all kinds of dance, pilates, yoga, aerial silks, adventure sports, music and the outdoors. Jackie studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  She is known for her amazing smoothies. You can find more of her musings in Greenster Magazine.  Join the Pure Vibrant Living community at:

Recipe of the Week – Chicken and Sun-dried Tomato Coleslaw

January 24, 2013


Serves 4


4 cups cooked diced chicken
½ cup drained sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1 apple, cored and diced
4 cups shredded green cabbage
4 cups shredded red cabbage
½ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp dried oregano
Black pepper to taste


Mix all ingredients together and serve.

Healthy Inspirations

30 Dr Seuss Quotes that may just change the way you think….

January 22, 2013

Dr Seuss was a smart man!

Break the Night Time Eating Habit

January 20, 2013
By Dana James
I’ve been a night-time eater for most of my single life. I’d find myself in the kitchen around 10pm foraging for something sweet. I didn’t have a visceral need for sugar but rather a psychological need to be satiated.
I assumed it was due to the break-up of a five-year romance. I’d replaced the 10pm phone calls with 10pm baking binges. I took this connection as an epiphany and sought to eradicate it.
I worked with a life coach who imposed a punishment strategy. If I baked, I had to go to work with no make-up, flat shoes and pants. That was horrifying for me. I felt frumpy and unprofessional. It worked… until I didn’t impose the punishment.
Perhaps the eating had nothing to do with my intimate love-life? The romance was long-gone but the night time eating was still present. If I allowed myself to think about it, which I didn’t, I had been doing this since my early 20s. There was some other insidious trigger that was causing the 10pm eating obsession.
I delved into my nutrition coaching tool box and actively applied the below techniques:
1. I identified my excuses. 
Here’s what I told myself to justify my habit: I grew up with dessert, a little bit is okay, I’ll be hungry, I won’t sleep, I’m bored, I need a break, I want it, I’ll reset tomorrow.
2. I talked back to the excuses. 
Here’s what I started telling myself instead: Have some integrity. You’ve committed to yourself that you won’t night time eat, so don’t. If you’re hungry or worried you won’t sleep, have an apple. If you need a break or to be nice to yourself, stretch, meditate or do something creative.
3. I used better substitutes. 
I replaced the cookies with an apple dusted in cinnamon, pineapple with rock salt, ginger and honey tea, warmed chocolate almond milk with a cinnamon stick, an almond pressed into a date, or two squares of dark chocolate.
4. I created a different ritual. 
I took a bath with scented oils, meditated for 10 minutes, journaled; cleaned up my wardrobe, spent 10 minutes per day learning French, and I called my family.
All of these strategies assuaged my nighttime eating but there was still a nagging paranoia: I didn’t fully trust myself in the kitchen after 10pm.
The awakening arrived in a tweetable quote from Christine Arylo, author of Madly in Love with Me, “part of self love is self trust.”
Oh… could it be that this joyful and fun woman was missing a little self love? It wasn’t the obvious answer. I wasn’t a woman who distracted herself in men, alcohol or drugs. Nor did I abuse myself with food.
It was much more subtle.
I was nurturing myself with food.
Once I acknowledged this, I was able to release it and I began to trust myself in the kitchen after 10pm. If I wanted to nurture myself, I’d do it in a very kind, loving way.  Now, I gracefully make myself a cup of Earl Grey tea and add a teaspoon of brown sugar.
Information sourced from:

Recipe of the Week – LSA Wrap

January 17, 2013


LSA Wrap

LSA stands for Linseeds, Sunflowers Seeds and Almonds and as the ingredient in this recipe it is a pre made mix of these.  You can buy the pre made mix from health food stores and most supermarkets.


1 egg
2 ½ Tbsp ground LSA
2 Tbsp water
½ tsp baking powder
Cracked pepper for taste
Coconut oil (or spray) greasing

Mix the egg, LSA, water, baking powder and pepper together.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan. Add the egg mixture, tilting the pan to evenly spread the mixture. Cook the wrap on one side and then carefully flip it over and cook the other side.

Prepare your favourite filling. Place wrap on a plate fill one half of the wrap with your fillings and then fold over and eat.

Healthy Inspirations

Why ‘healthy’ smoothies are not always that good for you…

January 15, 2013
Boost Juice ... their super smoothies have the same number of kilojoules as a meal.

Boost Juice … their super smoothies have the same number of kilojoules as a meal. Photo: Adam McLean

Who loves smoothies? Are smoothies really as healthy as you think they are? This article first appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald-January 14, 2013.

Fruit smoothies, frappes and frozen yoghurt drinks marketed as healthy beverages contain more kilojoules than an actual meal, with some having the equivalent of up to 31 teaspoons of sugar.

An analysis by consumer group Choice of 95 drinks from outlets such as Boost Juice, Donut King, Wendys, Gloria Jean’s and New Zealand Natural has found 81 of them are high in sugar.

“Smoothies might have a healthy image, but some are packed with hidden sugars,” said Choice spokesperson Ingrid Just.

Drinks which contain ingredients such as high-fructose syrup, fruit juice concentrates and artificial flavours and colours are often higher in sugar than actual fresh fruit, she said.

“This makes smoothies more like a sugary meal than a snack.”

The review found some Baskin and Robbins yoghurt smoothies had between 29 and 31 teaspoons of sugars.

It also found that Boost Juice’s super smoothies, while made with real juice, are high in energy and close to 2000 kilojoules per regular serve, roughly the same number of kilojoules as a meal.

According to dieticians, snacks should contain about 600 kilojoules.

The study also highlighted a tendency to supersize regular or medium serves and inconsistency between serving size.

At Donut King a regular is 280mL, while at New Zealand Natural a regular drink is 650mL.

The consumer group said people should consider all the ingredients in a drink before making a choice.

“If you are an active person and you want a quick pick-me-up, some outlets have better options with smaller sizes, fewer kilojoules or less added sugar,” Ms Just said in a statement.

Read more:

Worst diets of 2012

January 13, 2013
The Lemon Detox Diet, the Acid and Alkaline Diet & the Six Weeks to OMG…three of the worst diets of 2012.  This article was first written for the Sydney Morning Herald on January 10th, 2013, we thought you might be interested in the findings.
Chocolate cake no worse than broccoli?... Appealing idea, but not based in reality.Chocolate cake no worse than broccoli?… Appealing idea, but not based in reality. Photo: Paul Cutter

There are close to 40,000 diet and weight-loss related books available on Amazon. But, there were three, in particular, that caught the attention of dietitians around Australia in 2012.

For all the wrong reasons.

In a newly released survey by the Dietitians Association of Australia, more than 230 members agreed that the three worst diets of the year were the Lemon Detox Diet, followed by the Acid and Alkaline Diet and Six Weeks to OMG.

From a list of nine popular diets, nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of the dietitians agreed that The Lemon Detox Diet was the ‘worst’. This is the second year in a row the diet has received top dishonour.

The diets are of particular concern to dietitians considering another recent survey, by the Association, of 200 young women which found 42 per cent are looking to lose weight in the new year.

Around 35 per cent of women aged 18-24 years are either overweight or obese and Australians are expected to spend over $800 million in 2012-13 on weight-loss services, low-calorie foods and shakes, diet cookbooks, weight loss guides and dietary supplements.

DAA Spokesperson and Accredited Practising Dietitian, Melanie McGrice hopes the findings will act as a reminder to be healthy and sustained and a deterrent to fad diets and fast fixes.
“Like many things in life, good health takes perseverance and commitment to a healthy lifestyle,” she said. “Extreme diet measures are unnecessary and counterproductive.”

Lemon detox diet


The Lemon Detox is a ten day “holistic naturopathic journey to better health,” says the author Dr K.A Beyer. Or in other words, it’s ten days of nothing but laxative tea, salt water ‘flushes’ and a concoction of lemon, water , maple or ‘natural tree’ syrup and cayenne pepper. It is, Beyer says, a “carefully formulated formula to provide the nourishment while supporting the body as it cleanses itself.”

It works by “stimulating your body’s own natural cleansing process by giving it a break from the constant work of digestion… Its purpose is to purify the body and free the system of excess fats and deposits.”

Beyonce famously lost 6 kilograms on the diet for her role in Dreamgirls. She promptly regained the weight and said she would never “recommend it to anyone”.

What the dietitians say

Apart from concern about cutting out all core nutrients and criticising the necessity of detoxes in the first place, Melanie McGrice points out potentially more dire dangers.

Just 24 hours without protein and calcium can do damage, she says. When we don’t get certain amino acids (found in protein) and calcium-rich foods, “the body has to break down muscle tissue [to access stores], which slows down metabolism… and get calcium from the bones, which increases the risk of osteoporosis.”

While slowed metabolism and depleted calcium can occur quickly, “they take ages to build back up.”

It is diets such as these that result in her seeing many women whose metabolism is so slow all they need to do is “look at chocolate cake and [they] put on weight.”

Dietitian and author of The Good Enough Diet, Tara Diversi agrees that “your metabolism can take a bit of a beating,” but says cleanses “can be OK for a week or a couple of weeks [assuming] you don’t have a medical issue.”

They can “act as a kickstart into a healthy lifestyle,” she says but equally they can set up problematic eating patterns and be bad for body image. “people can think ‘I can only lose weight if I don’t eat’ and start getting negative about food and their body – yo-yoing and either eating crap food or nothing.”

The Acid and Alkaline Diet


A diet which has been growing in popularity over the past few years, the idea is that too much acid in the body creates a breeding ground for disease. “In recent years, one of the most exciting nutritional discoveries has concerned the effect that different foods have on the body’s PH levels once they are consumed,” say authors of The Acid Alkaline Food Guide, Dr Susan Brown and Larry Trivieri. “Simply put, some foods create an acidic effect within the body, while others act as alkalising agents than can neutralise harmful acids.”

Alkalised foods include green, leafy vegetables, bananas, avocados and oatmeal while acidic foods include some other fruits and vegetables along with dairy, most meats, caffeine and alcohol.

What the dietitians say:

While some small studies have found that restricting dietary acid can be helpful for health, McGrice says such diets simply add to confusion about food.

“Some of the foods they’re getting you to cut out are really healthy,” she says. “It’s sending the wrong message.”

In spite of preliminary research, she warns against jumping on the bandwagon too quickly, “when they can do us damage.” Instead, “people should follow [current nutritional] guidelines until we have good evidence behind changes.”

Diversi says that it’s not bad so long as “it’s getting people to eat more whole foods.” But, she is skeptical of the PH balance argument. “Our bodies are actually very good at keeping homeostasis,” she says. “That’s our body’s role.”

Six Weeks to OMG


The controversial author claimed to have the key to weight-loss. He was, he told me last year, sick of “watching people pour their effort into old-fashioned diets destined to fail; and … knowing that there were solutions that no-one had the guts to put forward.”

His so-called ‘solutions’ involved black coffee for breakfast because it “urges fat cells to spill their contents into the bloodstream, where working muscles can then make use of it,” cold showers to kickstart your fat-burning furnace and avoiding fruit because of fructose.

But, the claim that got him most criticised – and the most press – was that “broccoli carbs can be worse than soda carbs”. His rationale was that carbs are carbs and our bodies can’t tell the difference between chocolate cake and an apple.

What the dietitians say:

He must have a good imagination, Diversi says. It would take around “three kilograms of broccoli to get the same carbs as a can of soda,” she says. “I’d put this [diet] at the top of the [worst] list.”

He is correct that if we over eat carbs we will put on weight, she says. “But it’s easier to eat them when they’re condensed… we’re not just going to overeat broccoli, but it’s easy to drink two litres of soda.”

McGrice is equally critical. “It’s marketing hype,” she says. “He must have thought ‘what’s the most outlandish claims we can make to get media attention.”

The problem with such diets, Diversi adds, is that they take science out of context or say something “that seems kind of true, but is not right in the real world.

“They don’t set [people] up for a healthy lifestyle. They are designed to sell.”

Read more:

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week -Tomato Sauce

January 10, 2013

tomato sauce

300 g salt-reduced tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp stevia


Mix all ingredients in a jar put the lid on, give it a good shake. That’s it, done! The sauce will last a month in the fridge thanks to the vinegar.


Healthy Inspirations

Great tips for a successful early morning work out!

January 8, 2013


If we didn’t prioritize our lives, we would never get anything done; work, family, and financial stability often trump our personal health and leisure.

Don’t let a late workday or long meeting interfere with your workout: consider exercise in the morning to take care of your health & well-being first thing, while still maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Why Early Morning Workouts Are Great

Exercise in the morning provides a wide range of benefits that offer physical and mental gratification:
Exercise and elevated heart rates boost metabolism for up to 48 hours so doing your workout in the AM is a great way to jumpstart your metabolism. This elevated metabolism will ensure you are burning calories throughout the day.

Exercise also promotes endorphins in the brain, which can elevate your mood and start your day off on a positive note. More so, your sense of accomplishment from knowing you have your workout done before you even start your workday will elevate your mood and keep you from stressing over it later if something unexpected arises. According to research, exercise significantly increases mental capacity and exercising in the A.M. can allow you to harness that increased brainpower.

5 Tips For Better Early Morning Workouts

1. Pre-Plan Your Pre-Workout Meal

If you find that you have more energy eating something before your workout, planning your pre-workout meal the night before can be helpful. Research has shown more calories tend to be burned with some fuel in your body before a workout. However, each individual knows his own body best, so finding out what works best for you is essential.

Eating a small to medium sized meal may provide ample energy for your workout without the bloated feeling that comes with larger meals that can affect performance. A great way to kick start your daily meal plan is to make a shake the night before. A healthy pre-made smoothie is versatile and can provide ample fuel to power you through a workout.

Suggested ingredients:
• Plain Greek yogurt
• Berries
• Chia seeds,
• Whey protein
• Almond Milk

2. Go To Bed Earlier

Human sleep cycles follow a daily cycle called circadian rhythms. Using an alarm clock, establishing meal times, and even routine workout times are all cues that reset our rhythms. People who consistently exercise in the morning teach their body to be most ready for exercise at that time of day.

Go to bed 30-45 minutes earlier so you can stay on your normal sleep schedule. This will ensure the 30-45 minutes it will take you to get your warmup and workout done in the morning won’t come at the expense of adequate rest.

Research also suggests that morning exercise improves sleep so getting into a good routine of an earlier bed time might not be an issue. Exercise in the morning can help to set the body clock for a day of activity and a night of sleep, while exercise at night can potentially push back the sleep part of the sleep-wake cycle. In one recent experiment women who exercised in the morning averaged a 70% better nights sleep versus non exercisers.

3. Set Everything Up The Night Before

Make sure everything is laid out before you go to bed so you won’t be scrambling the next morning. This will save you crucial moments and give yourself the peace of mind that you don’t have to rush your workout. Knowing you have made sufficient preparations will ensure a worry free sleep and stress free morning.

Another great option is to create a new playlist the night before or start your workout with a new song you really enjoy and look forward to hearing. This will help you get out of bed in the morning and get those energy levels fired up early in the morning.

4. Perform A Longer Warm-Up

Your body temperature is naturally lower in the morning and the last thing you want to do is open yourself up for injury. When you begin to exercise, your body undergoes a number of changes such as an increased blood flow, increase respiration rate, and an increased amount of oxygen delivered to muscle cells. In order to ensure these bodily changes respond properly you should gradually prepare your body by performing an adequate warm-up.

Benefits of a solid warm-up:

Prepares your nervous system for the impending exertion of exercise
Heightens your mental acuity
Loosens up your joints and muscles for the prevention of injury
Allows your heart to gradually adjust to the increased activity, thereby increasing the blood flow and sending the proper amount of oxygen and nutrients to your body’s cells.
Perform at least 5-10 minutes of muscle activation and dynamic flexibility movements to get your blood pumping and mentally prepared for you morning workout.

5. Start With Exercises You Enjoy And Recruit A Partner

You’ll be more likely to get out of bed and into your workout if you perform exercises you enjoy. Whether it’s a brisk run, yoga sessions, group exercise or free weights, perform a morning workout you appreciate to ensure you will stick to a routine and not come to dread that morning alarm. Recruiting a partner can also help with consistency. A pre-arranged workout time with a partner will force you out of bed and take the option of “going back to sleep” out of the equation completely.

by Kevin Deeth, CPT | August 28, 2012