Archive for the ‘Childhood Obesity’ Category

Fats & cholesterol

November 30, 2014

Understanding fats and cholesterol 
goodversusbadfatblackman
Fats have got a bad rap over the past few years, but fats are an essential part of healthy eating.

Healthier fats
Healthier fats include monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats – omega-3 and omega-6. These fats reduce the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in your blood and increase the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. This helps to lower your risk of getting heart disease.

Unhealthy fats
Unhealthy fats include saturated fats and trans fats. Too much saturated and trans fat increases LDL levels in our blood contributing to the build up of fatty material, called plaque, on the inside of your blood vessels which is a major cause of heart disease.

Replacing unhealthy fats with healthier fats
To reduce the risk of heart disease, foods with unsaturated fat should be used in place of foods with saturated fat, and trans fat should be limited as much as possible.

Sources of saturated fat include:

  • Processed meat such as sausages, burgers and salami
  • Pastry
  • Fatty or fried take-away foods
  • Packaged cakes and biscuits
  • Butter
  • Hard and full fat soft cheeses
  • Full fat dairy products
  • Cream
  • Crème fraiche
  • Chicken skin
  • Fat on meats
  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut milk
  • Palm oil

Sources of unsaturated fat include:

  • Olives
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Oils made from olives, nuts and seeds (e.g. olive oil, canola, sunflower, safflower)
  • Oily fish
  • Lean meats and poultry, eggs
  • Margarine spreads (both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated)
What about cholesterol?
Cholesterol in foods (dietary cholesterol) has only a small effect on your blood cholesterol, especially when compared with the much greater increase caused by saturated and trans fat in food.

 Choosing less unhealthy fat (saturated and trans fat) and more healthier fats is more important to your blood cholesterol than dietary cholesterol.

What can I do?

  • Choose vegetables, fruit, wholegrains and nuts and seeds everyday.
  • Including fish two to three times a week instead of meat or chicken is a simple way to reduce saturated fat in the diet while getting the added benefits of omega-3.
  • Limit deep fried foods and fatty take-away foods and fatty snacks, such as crisps, cakes, pastries, biscuits and chocolate.
  • Use reduced fat milk, cheese and yoghurt.
  • Select lean meat, poultry and game. Try to trim all visible fat from the meat before cooking. Remove the skin from chicken and turkey.
  • Use spreads and margarines made from canola, sunflower or olive oil and dairy blends with the Heart Foundation Tick instead of butter. Spread thinly so you can still see the bread.
  • Cook with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils, such as canola, sunflower, soybean, olive, sesame and peanut oils. Measure out your oil with a teaspoon or use a spray oil.
  • Grill, bake, poach, steam or stir fry rather than shallow or deep frying and roasting in oil so that you don’t need to use a lot of fat.
What is the Heart Foundation doing?
The Heart Foundation, through the Tick Program, works with manufactures to improve the nutrition profile of commonly consumed processed foods. The Tick Program sets strict criteria for saturated and trans fat. For example, the Heart Foundation began challenging Australian margarine manufacturers to remove trans fats to the lowest possible levels in the early 90s.  
As a result the levels of trans fats in almost all margarines in Australia are now amongst the lowest levels in the world.

Read more about margarine vs butter here.

The Heart Foundation also works to improve the food supply, so that healthier oils are used when Australians choose to eat out.  Find out more about the Healthier Oils initiative.

Healthy heart tip
Include a handful of nuts everyday, not only are they delicious but they are nutritious providing healthier unsaturated fats, fibre and vitamins and minerals. Choose raw, dry roasted and unsalted varieties.

Information sourced from: http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/fats/pages/default.aspx

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Ways Dads Influence Active Kids

September 7, 2014

dad-school-age-son-and-daughter-soccer-ball
It turns out that Dads have a lot of influence in how active their kids are.
Here are 7 great ways that Dads can make a big impact:

1. Be an active role model

A study titled “Influence of parents’ physical activity levels on activity levels of young children” found that children of active fathers are 3.5 times more likely to be active than children of inactive fathers. This is the perfect reason to try something new and to show your kids how committed you are to your own physical activity.

If you aren’t already active, you’ll soon see the impact on your entire family once you get moving yourself.

2. Encourage, encourage, encourage

If the kids know Dad is interested in what they are doing, they are more likely to keep it up. So dads, pay attention to your child’s activities. Notice when your son jumps rope 20 times in a row. Ask your daughter all about her Rally Cap game and what she liked about it. Watching your child, whether in an organized sport or in the backyard, shows that what they’re doing matters.

3. Play with your child

Playing with Dad not only gets kids active, but it helps them to regulate their emotions and develop their emotional intelligence, according to this Civitas article. If a child throws a tantrum while playing, Dad can address the issue with him. Children get on better with other children and become better suited for team environments – and life in general – if they understand their emotions and how to control them.

4. Roughhouse with your kids

Mom is typically the safe, nourishing parent, which allows Dad to be the unpredictable one. Roughhousing is good for kids for a number of reasons, as this Art of Manliness article points out. It improves your child’s resilience and helps them develop grit, rewires the brain for learning, helps build social intelligence, introduces respect for limits and boundaries, builds the father-child bond, and promotes physical activity. It also gives kids confidence to explore their environments and take risks, especially when Dad is by their side.

Don’t think this is just for boys, either – girls who roughhouse with their dads tend to have higher self-esteem and self-confidence, and are more prone to socialize during physical activity.

5. Get away with your child

The father-child – or family – getaway is a great way for children to get involved in a fresh batch of physical activities. My dad used to take me camping when I was a kid. We’d set up the tent. We’d walk down to the water station, fill up our thermoses and walk back. We’d hike through the bush.

Not only did this allow me to explore my surroundings as well as my physical capabilities, but Dad taught me about respecting the wilderness and all that lived within it. Instead of trying to hide the fact that there might be bears in the woods, he taught me what I’d need to do if I ever came across one.

The kind of life knowledge that fathers can impart during outings is invaluable.

6. Pass on your knowledge

Dads have had a lifetime of learning they can pass on to their children at different times – this is also true when it comes to physical activities. From a young age, my dad was teaching me how to throw a Frisbee, how to paddle the canoe properly (he gave me a kiddie paddle for my fifth birthday), how to fly a kite, and how to cast and reel the fishing rod. These are just a handful of things I learned from my dad when we were outside, playing and being active together, but they’re all things that still keep me active today.

7. Involve yourself

This Family Education article sites a study that followed a group of boys and girls for 26 years and examined the roles of both mothers and fathers in cultivating the child’s emotional health and empathy. The study found that the most influential factor in a child’s emotional health, by far, was how involved the father was in the child’s care. Children who have involved fathers are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their physical surroundings, and have better social connections – all of which relate to physical literacy.

This article was sourced from: http://activeforlife.com/7-ways-dads-influence-active-kids/
About the Author: Tyler Laing
Tyler has been coaching and helping coach kids in soccer since he was little more than a kid himself. Now, thanks to Active for Life, he will have a better idea of how to raise a physically literate child when he has children of his own. Tyler provides content for Canadian Sport for Life, and holds a degree in writing with a journalism minor from the University of Victoria.

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Simple Egg Souffle

July 24, 2014

egg

Why the Number on the Scale Doesn’t Matter

July 8, 2014

It can be easy for us to tie our sense of self-worth to a number, to our body.

This Number Doesn't MatterSure, our bodies are important, but we are spiritual beings inside a physical body. Without nurturing the spiritual piece of ourselves, the physical body will take precedence and our focus will be on the body and weight. This leads to thinking about how to change, control or obsess about our bodies and food.

At the root of any of this thinking is an emotional need that is not being met. By taking the focus off of the scale, off of food, and off of weight, you can begin to dig deeper within.

The reality is that the number on the scale has no significance.

It is about your mental and emotional sanity. The physical piece will fall into place once you have the awareness and understanding as to why you obsess and focus on food and weight.

Here are four reasons why it’s time to let go of the number on the scale and focus on the beauty you harness within:

1. You are more than a number.

It always amazes me how much power we can give a number. How we can give up all of our strength to something so insignificant. If you do this, you’re not alone.

Remember that you are respected and loved for who you are; for the inner love you harness within and the ability to be the person you were put here to be.

2. It’s an inside job.

The external world has the ability to take us out of the moment and bring us to a focus point outside of ourselves.

Yet, inside is what matters.

When we start looking within and allowing ourselves to feel what is coming up, we won’t look for external validation from things like the number on a scale.

The validation will come from within. We will learn to trust ourselves and take ownership and responsibility over our lives.

3. Focusing on weight takes you out of being present in your life.

Weight is an easy distraction for being present.

We can think if only I was skinnier, more fit or weighed less then my life would be better. When we rationally think about this, there really is no connection.

By staying present and taking each moment in, the need to focus on numbers and weight will start to diminish as we realize our true value and worth is much more than a number.

4. You deny others the beauty of getting to truly know you.

Focusing on our weight can make our world smaller and smaller.

Suddenly, we only care about ourselves and how to change the way we look. This takes us out of being there for our friends, family and co-workers. We deny these people the ability to truly get to know us. We deny ourselves that ability as well.

 

 

 

 

This article was sourced from http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/07/5-reasons-why-the-number-on-the-scale-doesnt-matter-lauren-stahl/

How Farmers Markets Can Teach Your Kids the Values of Local Food & Community Building

May 27, 2014
The Farmers Market is a great place to bring your kids for so many reasons! The Farmers Market allows you to provide your family with wholesome, healthy food while supporting your local community at the same time.Here’s the reality- Family farmers need your support! Now that large agribusiness dominates food production in the U.S., small family farms have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their produce and gives them a fighting chance in today’s globalized economy.And health-wise, your doing your family a great favor! Much of the food found in grocery stores is highly processed and grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification (GMOs). Some of it has been irradiated, waxed, or gassed in transit. These practices may have negative effects on human health. In contrast, most food found at the farmers market is minimally processed, and many of our farmers go to great lengths to grow the most nutritious produce possible by using sustainable techniques, picking produce right before the market, and growing heirloom varieties. (Make sure to ask each farmer about their growing practices. We’ve found that most sustainable farmers enjoy talking about their love for the soil and the great lengths they go to produce healthy, pesticide free food!)

Top 10 Reasons to Bring your Kids to the Farmers Market

– See more at: http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/2014/05/10-reasons-to-bring-your-kids-to-the-farmers-market.html#sthash.JrOdgmay.dpuf

Top 10 Reasons to Bring your Kids to the Farmers Market

eatlocal

1. Develop healthy emotional eating habits.

One of the biggest myths about emotional eating is that it’s prompted by negative feelings. Yes, people often turn to food when they’re stressed out, lonely, sad, anxious, or bored.
But emotional eating can be linked to positive feelings too! It’s no accident that McDonald’s named their kids deal a “Happy Meal”! They do this to form a lifelong emotional bond between being happy and eating at McD’s, and it works!

You can beat the fast food marketing guru’s at their own game. Simply swap out the fast food and replace it with a fun day at the Farmers Market! Do this on a regular basis and your kids will start to equate healthy real food with those happy family days at the market.

Here’s a great article on 7 Steps to Become a Conscious Eater

2. Connect kids with “real food”

There is a huge disconnect between most Americans and their food. For the most part, we’ve stopped questioning where our food comes from, how it is raised and if it is good for our health. To a large extent, this is why our supermarkets shelves are lined with so many boxes of processed junk. And most of it is Genetically Modified (GMOs). We are the ones buying it so they keep making it!

We can break that cycle with our kids and the Farmers Market provides a great opportunity to further the food connection discussion. It’s much more effective when you practice what you preach. Buying from local sustainable farmers reinforces the message.

3. Talk with real farmers

As you know, kids are naturally curious. This is a good match because farming is really amazing. Think about it: plant seeds in dirt, add water, get vegetables! Of course there’s a lot more to it than that.

As we mentioned above, a lot of the farmers we meet are very proud of the work they do and they’re very happy to talk about it. With a little coaching (if necessary) you’re kids can ask some great questions, like- Why are you a farmer? What’s your favorite things to grow? What’s that hardest thing to grow? The easiest? Do you use chemicals or pesticides? Why, or why not?

A cool side-effect of this is that the next time you go to the market your kids will remember the farmers. It’s great to make new friends, especially when their doing something as important as growing your food.

4. Let them buy their own food

Depending on your kids age(s), give them a few bucks to buy some of their own food to bring home. This in itself is a great learning experience. Will they think long and hard about what to buy? Or will they buy the first thing they see? Learning to shop wisely and consider all the options is a great skill to have.

And let’s be honest, if we really want to teach our kids about the value of real food, they should know how to shop for it!

PS- If you have young kids, instead of actually shopping maybe you can just let them give the money to farmer. Little kids (and the farmer) will probably enjoy this!

5. Cook the food you bought at home

Getting kids involved in cooking is great. Basic cooking skills open so many choices for them later in life and alleviate them of the need to buy ready made, highly processed meals. But it’s not always easy.

Cooking the food you just bought, or the food THEY just bought if you followed the step above, makes this a whole lot easier. It’s the next logical step- “We bought these veggies from the nice farmer, now we get to cook them!”

For snack ideas, check this out: Quick Clean Eating: 40 Non-Processed Snacks for Busy Moms!

6. Introduce new foods

Face it, some kids are just picky eaters. The 3 steps above may have a profound effect on their willingness to even TRY something new, right? Let’s go through this- We met the farmer, learned about how they grew this, we bought it, we took it home and now we cooked it. It’s just natural to want to taste it!

7. Learn about nutrition

For older kids, the Farmers Market provides an opportunity to learn about nutrition and why real foods are so important to maintain a healthy body. If your kids compete in sports, you can teach them why nutrients will make them better athletes. Even if they don’t play sports they can understand that real food is packed with vitamins and minerals that make them stronger, smarter and healthier.

Additionally you’ll be able to choose non-GMO foods and support non-GMO farmers.

8. Get away from the screens

TV screens, computer screens, iPad screens, phone screens- ARghhhh! Yes, I know you are reading this on a screen (unless somebody printed it for you). Screens are awesome but they have their time and place. Food has a huge impact on childhood obesity but at the same time most kids are on their butts too many hours per day.

Do we really have to watch Lion King one more time? The Farmers Market is a great excuse to bust away from the TV, or Xbox or Facebook, Instagram, – whatever, and get some fresh air.

9. Family bonding

A trip to the Farmers Market provides a great way to spend time together as a family. It’s easy to enjoy each others company when you’re doing something healthy. With little kids you can play fun games like finding food that’s different colors or shapes. With older kids try a scavenger hunt and offer a family prize if the goal is hit.

It may take a little work (and a bribe or two) but the market can be a fun family outing. Who knows, you may end up creating one of those fond memories that your kids can carry and pass on to their kids. How great would that be!

10. Teach the importance of community

The growing number of farmers markets in the United States gives us hope. They serve not only as a way for people to purchase local food but also as a chance for them to connect with others within their communities. Buying local promotes a sense of pride in you home town.

Farmers markets allow you to teach your kids that they can make a difference by voting with their dollars. When you shop at a large grocery store chain, a fraction of your dollars stay local. Supporting local farmers keeps the money in your community where it can be reinvested for the good of the town.

– See more at: http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/2014/05/10-reasons-to-bring-your-kids-to-the-farmers-market.html#sthash.JrOdgmay.dpuf

Mothers’ Lifestyle Provides the Biggest Influence on Their Children’s Health & Diet

May 11, 2014

Image
“This study reminds parents that their children are watching and learning

from observing their behaviors, both good and bad.”

Kids whose moms encourage them to exercise and eat well, and model those healthy behaviors themselves, are more likely to be active and healthy eaters, according to researchers at Duke Medicine and the Duke Global Health Institute.

Their findings, published online in the International Journal of Obesity on June 18, 2013, remind parents that they are role models for their children, and underscore the importance of parental policies promoting physical activity and healthy eating.

Exercise and healthy diets are critical in fighting childhood obesity, a considerable problem in the United States, where over a quarter of kids ages two to five are already overweight or obese.

“Obesity is a complex phenomenon, which is influenced by individual biological factors and behaviors,” said study author Truls Østbye, M.D., PhD, professor of community and family medicine and global health at Duke. “But there are variations in obesity from one society to another and from one environment to another, so there is clearly something in the environment that strongly influences the obesity epidemic.”

The home environment and parenting can influence a child’s health by shaping dietary and physical behaviors, such as providing access to fruits and vegetables or encouraging kids to play outside.

“The ‘obesiogenic’ environment is broad and multi-faceted, including the physical neighborhood environment, media and advertising, and food tax policies, but we feel that the home environment is critical, particularly among children. However, we didn’t have a lot of evidence as to how important this was,” Østbye said.

In this study, Østbye and his colleagues examined the relationship between the home environment and behaviors related to obesity – dietary and exercise habits – among preschoolers.

The researchers studied data from 190 kids, ages two to five, whose mothers were overweight or obese. They collected information on the children’s food intake over the past week, with foods rated as junk food or healthy food. To gauge their levels of physical activity, the children wore accelerometers for a week, which measured moderate to vigorous physical activity as well as sedentary time.

The mothers reported information about their children’s environments, including family policies around food and physical activity, accessibility of healthy versus junk foods, availability of physical activity equipment, and whether they model healthy eating or exercise for their kids.

When they analyzed the data, the researchers found significant associations between these environmental measures and the preschoolers’ physical activity and healthy versus junk food intake. They concluded that to promote healthy behaviors in children, a healthy home environment and parental role modeling are important.

For example, limiting access to junk foods at home and parental policies supporting family meals increased the amount of healthy foods kids ate. Overall, the home environment had more influence on the children’s dietary habits than on their physical activity levels.

This study reminds parents that their children are watching and learning from observing their behaviors, both good and bad.

“It’s hard for parents to change their behaviors, but not only is this important for you and your own health; it is also important for your children because you are a role model for them,” said Marissa Stroo, a co-investigator on the study. “This might be common sense, but now we have some evidence to support this.”

The researchers also looked at socioeconomic factors of the mothers, including their education levels and whether they worked, to see if this had an effect on the children’s behaviors. The mother’s socioeconomic factors did not affect their kids’ physical activity, but had mixed results when it came to their dietary habits.

Further research is needed to better understand how a mother’s socioeconomic factors influence her child’s health, but it is possible that different strategies may be needed to prevent obesity in children depending on a mother’s education and work status. More research is also necessary to see if the influence of the home environment changes as children get older, and if parenting strategies should adapt accordingly.

In addition to Østbye and Stroo, study authors at Duke include Bernard Fuemmeler in the Department of Community and Family Medicine, Rebecca Brouwer at Duke Global Health Institute, and Nancy Zucker in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Rahul Malhotra of the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School and Cheryl Lovelady of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro also contributed to this research.

Article sourced from https://globalhealth.duke.edu/media/news/parenting-and-home-environment-influence-childrens-exercise-and-eating-habits

Flexitarian ~ the sustainable diet solution

February 2, 2014

ImageNew Year’s resolutions tend to be big, impressive promises that we adhere to for short periods of time – that blissful stretch of January when we are starving ourselves, exercising daily and reading Proust. But, and you know this, rather than making extreme changes that last for days or weeks, we are better off with tiny ones lasting more or less forever.

Mostly, though, when it comes to diet, we are told the opposite. We have a billion-dollar industry based on fad diets and quick fixes: Eat nothing but foam packing peanuts and lemon tea, and you’ll lose 30 pounds (14 kilograms) in 30 days. Then what? Resolutions work only if we are resolute, and changes are meaningful only if they are permanent.

What follows are some of the easiest food-related resolutions you will ever make, from cooking big pots of grains and beans once a week, to buying frozen produce, to pickling things à la “Portlandia.” Committing to just a few of these, or even one, will get you moving in the right direction toward eating more plants and fewer animal products and processed foods.

My suggestions are incremental, but the ease with which you can incorporate them into your normal shopping, cooking and eating routines is exactly what makes them sustainable and powerful.

Flexitarianism is about making a gradual shift, not a complete overhaul. It is a way of eating we are much more likely to stick to for the long term – which, after all, is the point of resolutions in the first place.

COOK SIMPLE, UNSEASONED VEGETABLES EVERY FEW DAYS

You can steam or parboil or microwave. Once cooked, vegetables keep a long time. And then they’re sitting there waiting to top pastas and grains, to bolster soups and salads, to whip up veggie wraps or just to reheat in oil or butter with seasonings.

Leftover vegetable spread – Purée any leftover vegetables (as long as they are tender) in the food processor with olive oil, fresh parsley leaves, lemon juice, salt and pepper until the mixture reaches the consistency you want. Serve with bread, crackers or crudités. It’s nice on toast as breakfast.

COOK BIG BATCHES OF GRAINS AND BEANS

Because it’s nearly effortless, and having cooked grains and beans on hand at all times makes day-to-day cooking a breeze. They will keep in the fridge up to a week. White beans with kale and sausage – Sauté some loose Italian sausage in olive oil until lightly browned. Add minced garlic, cooked white beans, chopped kale, a splash of bean-cooking liquid or water, salt and pepper. Simmer until beans are hot and kale is wilted. To garnish, add oil and parsley.

BUY HALF AS MUCH MEAT, AND MAKE IT BETTER MEAT

Thinking of eating meat as an indulgence lets you buy tastier, healthier, more sustainable meat without breaking the bank.

Thai beef salad – Grill, broil or pan-sear a small piece of flank or skirt steak until medium-rare; set aside. Toss salad greens; plenty of mint, cilantro and basil; chopped cucumber; and thinly sliced red onion. Dress with a mixture of lime juice, fish sauce, sesame oil, sugar and minced jalapeño. Thinly slice the steak and lay it on top; drizzle with a little more dressing and any meat juices. Garnish with herbs.

SPLURGE WHEN YOU CAN

That way, the foods you consider special treats are truly special. For me it’s dark chocolate, meat and cheese.

Dark chocolate ganache – Heat 1 cup cream in a saucepan until steaming. Put 8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot cream on top. Stir to melt and incorporate the chocolate; use immediately as a sauce, or cool to room temperature and whip to make a smooth frosting or filling.

BUY FROZEN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Because out-of-season produce from halfway around the world doesn’t make much sense or taste best. Fruits and vegetables (from peaches, to corn, to squash) frozen when they are ripe are a better alternative, and incredibly convenient.

Frozen peach jam – Combine 1 pound frozen peaches, 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, then adjust heat so it bubbles steadily. Cook, stirring occasionally until thick, 15 to 30 minutes. Cool completely; it will keep in fridge at least a week.

PICKLE

So the copious amounts of fresh produce you buy never have to go to waste. And because it tastes good.

Quick-pickled cucumbers and radishes – Put thinly sliced cucumbers and radishes (use a mandoline if you have one) in a colander. Sprinkle with salt, gently rubbing it in with your hands. Let sit for 20 minutes, tossing and squeezing every few minutes. When little or no liquid comes out, rinse and put in a bowl. Toss with some sugar, dill and vinegar, and serve. Garnish with dill.

MAKE YOUR OWN HUMMUS, BEAN DIPS AND NUT BUTTERS

With those around, vegetables and fruit practically dip themselves. You’ll be filling up on produce without even noticing it.

Hummus – In a processor or blender, combine cooked chickpeas, minced garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Purée; taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with oil, lemon and smoked paprika.

MAKE YOUR OWN CONDIMENTS

Store-bought versions of ketchup, barbecue sauce, salsa and the like are often loaded with preservatives and sugar. Besides, creating your own recipes is a blast.

Marjoram pesto – In a small food processor, combine a cup of marjoram (leaves and small stems) and some garlic; process until finely minced. Add red wine vinegar and olive oil; purée. Add capers (about a tablespoon) and pulse a few times. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

EAT VEGETABLES FOR BREAKFAST

You already eat fruit for breakfast, so what’s so strange? Veggie-based breakfasts are common around the world: cucumber and tomato salads in Israel, pickled vegetables in Japan, a bean and tomato stew in parts of Africa. Think of it as a très chic international trend.

Cauliflower tabbouleh – Pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor, or chop them by hand, until they are small bits resembling grains. Toss with chopped tomatoes, plenty of chopped parsley and mint, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

COOK PLANTS AS YOU WOULD MEAT

Because bold, meaty flavours aren’t reserved just for flesh.

Breaded fried eggplant – Dredge 1/2-inch-thick eggplant slices in flour, then beaten egg, then bread crumbs. Put on a baking sheet lined with parchment and refrigerate at least 10 minutes (up to 3 hours). Shallow-fry (in batches, without crowding) in 1/4 inch olive oil in a large skillet until browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Garnish with parsley and lemon.

COOKING FOR CARNIVORES? MAKE EXTRA SIDES

Let the people around you have their fill of meat while you eat a bit, but fill up on vegetables, beans and grains.

Roasted broccoli gratin – Put broccoli florets in a baking dish; toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees until the tops are lightly browned and the stems nearly tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with bread crumbs (preferably homemade), mixed with Parmesan if you like, and a little more olive oil. Continue roasting until the bread crumbs are crisp.

COOK OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Because some of the best vegetable-centric food comes from halfway around the world, where it is “food,” not “flexitarian.”

Caramel-braised tofu – Put 1 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a deep cast-iron skillet over medium heat; cook until sugar liquefies and bubbles. When it darkens, turn off the heat. Carefully pour in 1/2 cup fish sauce and 1/2 cup water; cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until it becomes liquid caramel. Add sliced shallots, cubed, pressed or extra-firm tofu, lots of black pepper and lime juice. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the tofu is hot.

The New York Times

This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/flexitarianism–sustainable-resolutions-for-your-diet-20140101-305zq.html

Yoga beats aerobic exercise for instant brain boost

July 21, 2013

US researchers have found that even a short 20-minute bout of yoga practise can immediately enhance brain function.

In a study involving 30 young female subjects, a team from the University of Illinois found that those who participated in a yoga session performed significantly better in working memory and inhibitory control tests immediately post-exercise than they did following moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise of a similar duration.

Study leader Neha Gothe, who was a graduate student at the University of Illinois at the time of the study but who is now a professor of kinesiology, health and sport studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, said; ‘Yoga is an ancient Indian science and way of life that includes not only physical movements and postures, but also regulated breathing and meditation. The practice involves an active attentional or mindfulness component, but its potential benefits have not been thoroughly explored.’

Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Edward McAuley, director of the Exercise Psychology Laboratory that conducted the study said; ‘Yoga is becoming an increasingly popular form of exercise in the US and it is imperative to systematically examine its health benefits, especially the mental health benefits that this unique mind-body form of activity may offer.’

For the yoga session, study subjects undertook a progression of supine, seated and standing postures comprising regulated breathing and isometric contraction and relaxation of different muscle groups, before ending in a meditative posture. For the comparative aerobic exercise session participants walked or jogged for 20 minutes on a treadmill.

The results surprised the researchers: ‘It appears that following yoga practice, the participants were better able to focus their mental resources, process information quickly, more accurately and also learn, hold and update pieces of information more effectively than after performing an aerobic exercise bout. The breathing and meditative exercises aim at calming the mind and body and keeping distracting thoughts away while you focus on your body, posture or breath. Maybe these processes translate beyond yoga practice when you try to perform mental tasks or day-to-day activities.’

Source: Journal of Physical Activity and Health, http://www.fitnessnetwork.com.au/enews/july2013/july2013.html#timely

It’s NEW – Coffs Coast Kids Club, fitness & fun for your little one!

April 27, 2013

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The local kids of the Coffs Coast are preparing to participate in a unique, healthy and fun exercise program. Coffs Coast Kids Club is hosting its first official program to give kids a place where they can develop balance, strength, coordination, fitness and flexibility in a non-competitive environment while having lots of fun! 

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It is recommended that school aged kids and young people do a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. There are also specific recommendations for infants and younger kids. A rise in the amount of sedentary or ‘still’ time – often spent watching TV, DVDs, logged in to the internet and playing computer games – is linked to kids and young people becoming overweight or obese, which they can carry through into adulthood.

Over the last 25 years, rates of childhood obesity have risen in many countries around the world. Some researchers have called it an “international epidemic of childhood obesity”. In a major study in 2004, almost 5,500 school-aged students in years K, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 were surveyed and the survey showed that the number of NSW kids who were overweight or obese had risen from around one in 10 in 1985 to one in four in 2004.

It is very important to prevent and manage obesity in kids as there is a high risk that the problem will persist into adulthood. Obese kids have a 25-50% per cent chance of being obese adults, however, this possibility can be as high as 78% for older obese adolescents. Being overweight or obese puts a significant strain on our bodies and leads to many health problems in adults, such as muscle and bone complaints, cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, sleep disorders, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Obese kids, particularly girls, also tend to have lower self esteem, lack energy throughout the day and are reported to be less happy.

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 Coffs Coast Kids Club is run by Carla Marchant – a local Fitness instructor, Yoga instructor, Zumba instructor, Art curator and Mum of two who is passionate about improving the quality of life of the kids in the Coffs Coast community.  Carla creates an environment where kids can express themselves creatively, learn to move their bodies, dance, laugh, play and learn.

Coffs Coast Kids Club Programs on site at C.ex Coffs, Vernon Street:
Pre Kindy Zumba       (3 – 5 year olds)
Tuesday 11.00am – 11.30am
Pre Kindy Yoga         (3 – 5 year olds)
Tuesday 11.45am – 12.30pm
Toddler Yoga             (18months – 3 year olds)
Tuesday 12.45pm – 1.15pm
Kids Zumba               (5 – 8 year olds)
Tuesday 3.30pm – 4.00pm
Kids Yoga                 (5 – 8 year olds)
Tuesday 4.15pm – 5.00pm

There are limited places still available for each Term 2 session, starting Tuesday 30th April. Bookings are also available for private sessions, schools, community groups, sports teams & birthday parties at your preferred venue.

Simply contact Carla on 0412 930 064 or via carla@coffscoasthc.com.au for further information.