Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Cucumber & Salmon Appetisers

November 23, 2017

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Here’s a fresh appetiser that goes down a treat. Why just use cucumber, though? Use the filling in mushrooms or tomatoes, or as a side with breakfast eggs. Makes 16 (as an appetiser)


1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
250g cooked salmon
1 Tbsp minced shallots
1 Tbsp chopped chives
to taste salt and pepper
1 large cucumber
4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 bunch chives


  1. Peel strips of skin from the cucumber to make stripes of green and white. Slice into 2cm discs.
  2. Combine the mayonnaise, paprika and Tabasco in a small bowl and mix well.
  3. Flake the salmon into bite-sized pieces. Place in a bowl with the shallots, chives, salt and pepper, and gently mix in the spicy mayonnaise. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  4. Use a melon baller to scoop out half the seeds from each cucumber slice to make a small cup.
  5. Divide the salmon mix between the cucumber cups, and garnish each with a cherry tomato slice and a couple of chive tops.

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Roasted Garlic & Tahini Dip

November 24, 2016



Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Chicken Marsala

November 21, 2013

Healthy Inspirations Coffs Harbour index

Chicken Marsala  Serves 4


  • 4 chicken breasts, flattened to about 1 cm thick
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 250g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups Marsala or red wine or chicken stock
  • 1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 90° C and warm a large plate for the chicken.
  2. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes each side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Place the chicken on the warmed plate in the oven.
  3. Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium-low and cook the bacon until crisp but not burned. Set bacon aside.
  4. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook for about 8 minutes over medium-high heat, until any liquid from the mushrooms has completely evaporated.
  5. Return the bacon to the skillet, along with the garlic and tomato paste and cook for one minute.
  6. Add the Marsala or red wine or stock, bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to about 1 ¼ cups.
  7. Take the skillet off the heat, add the lemon juice and whisk in the butter, one Tbsp at a time. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Pour the Marsala sauce over the chicken and serve with steamed greens.

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A Reason to Skip Artificial Sweeteners

October 17, 2013

A new study may make you think twice before adding Splenda to your coffee.

Published in the journal Diabetes Care, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis researchers found that sucralose, most popularly known by the brand name Splenda, has effects on the body’s responses to sugar (glucose) — which could thereby affect diabetes risk — despite the fact that it has zero calories.

“Our results indicate that this artificial sweetener is not inert — it does have an effect,” study researcher M. Yanina Pepino, Ph.D., research assistant professor of medicine at the university, said in a statement. “And we need to do more studies to determine whether this observation means long-term use could be harmful.”

The new study included 17 people who were severely obese (they had a body mass index over 42; 30 is considered the starting point for obesity) and who didn’t regularly consume artificially sweetened products. The study participants drank sucralose or water before taking a glucose challenge test. This test involves drinking a sugary solution before undergoing blood sugar measurements in order to see how well the body responds to sugar; it’s typically used as a tool to determine if a woman has gestational diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic.

After that, the researchers asked all the study participants who first drank water to then drink sucralose before undergoing another glucose challenge test, and all those who first drank sucralose to then drink water before undergoing another glucose challenge test. Researchers found that consuming the sucralose was associated with higher blood sugar peaks and 20 percent higher insulin levels compared with consuming the water, though they noted more studies are needed to determine the actual health effects of a 20 percent increase in insulin.

It’s important to understand how exactly insulin and blood sugar play a role in Type 2 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that assists in the absorption of sugar into cells and also helps to decrease the amount of sugar that is circulating in the blood. The amount of insulin secreted into the bloodstream is related to the amount of sugar circulating; when there is less sugar, there is less insulin being secreted, according to the Mayo Clinic. With Type 2 diabetes, cells become insulin-resistant, and the pancreas isn’t able to produce enough insulin to get the cells to take up the sugar. When this happens, sugar accumulates in the blood.

The increases in insulin levels in the new study could show that the participants’ bodies are able to produce insulin to accommodate the glucose — or it could be a risk factor for diabetes because when a body is constantly secreting insulin, it raises the risk of cells becoming resistant to the hormone.


But still, even though “we found that sucralose affects the glucose and insulin response to glucose ingestion, we don’t know the mechanism responsible,” Pepino said in the statement. “We have shown that sucralose is having an effect. In obese people without diabetes, we have shown sucralose is more than just something sweet that you put into your mouth with no other consequences.”

Past research in animals has suggested that artificial sweeteners have effects on fasting glucose levels. Particularly, research presented at a 2011 meeting of the American Diabetes Association showed that aspartame — another kind of artificial sweetener — is linked with higher fasting glucose levels in mice, TIME reported.

According to Dr. Melina Jampolis, who is an internist and physician nutrition specialist, research in both animals and humans suggests the taste of sweet can boost appetite, and also reinforce cravings for and dependence on sugar. She told HuffPost:

Laboratory and animal studies have found an increase in insulin with some artificial sweeteners, which could drop your blood sugar and make you crave more sugar, but there is no consistent evidence for this in humans. There is some evidence in humans that artificial sweeteners may subjectively increase appetite. However in the context of a meal, it is not known if it causes an increase in hunger and if so, if this outweighs the decrease in calories consumed.

As far as a link between a big source of artificial sweeteners — diet drinks — and diabetes, research has been a little more mixed. A study presented at the same American Diabetes Association meeting showed that diet soda-drinkers had dramatically bigger waistlines over a nearly 10-year period, compared with non-diet soda drinkers — and weight is, of course, a huge risk factor for diabetes.

And a study released earlier this year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed an association between diet soda and higher Type 2 diabetes risk. That research interestingly showed that while diet and regular soda drinkers had higher Type 2 diabetes risks, those who imbibed with diet had an even higher diabetes risk.

However, a big study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published in 2011 showed that diet sodas actually may not raise diabetes risk, and that the association could be attributed to the fact that people with diabetes or who are obese drink more diet drinks than other people, Reuters reported.

“People who are at risk for diabetes or obesity … those may be the people who are more likely to choose artificial sweeteners because they may be more likely to be dieting,” National Institutes of Health endocrinologist Rebecca Brown, an artificial sweetener researcher who was not involved in the 2011 study, told Reuters.

But still, there’s no question that some good old H2O trumps sodas — diet or not — to quench thirst and hydrate the body.

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Healthy Inspirations – Recipe of the Week

June 6, 2013

Lamb & Bacon Meatballs


Serves 6-8



6 bacon eyes, finely diced
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried sage or 2 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1 tsp ground paprika
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
500g minced lamb
1 egg


4 cups freshly diced tomatoes
1 tsp basil, finely chopped
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Preheat a fan-forced oven to 180°C. In a medium sized pan on medium/high heat fry onion and bacon in oil for 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add the sage, paprika, salt and pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine cooled bacon mixture, egg and minced lamb and mix well.
Roll the lamb mixture into 12 balls and place onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until cooked through.
To make the sauce, place diced tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper in a medium sized pan and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cooked meatballs and simmer gently for a further 10 minutes.
Serve with steamed green vegies.


Alcohol and Exercise

June 4, 2013

Alcohol in your system is detrimental to any kind of fitness activity (except maybe on the dance floor). Here’s how booze wreaks havoc on your regimen.

1. Slower Recovery
Hard workouts drain the glycogen stores (carbs stored in the liver and muscles) and leave your muscle tissue in need of repair. “Pouring alcohol into your syste

m as soon as you finish stalls the recovery process,” says Tavis Piattoly, R.D. High levels of alcohol displace the carbs, leaving your stores still 50 percent lower than normal even eight hours later, according to one study. Sip or snack on a combo of muscle-repairing protein and carbs (think low-fat chocolate milk or peanut butter on whole-wheat crackers) before tipping back.

2. Packed-On Fat
When booze is on board, your body, besides having to deal with the surplus of calories, prioritizes metabolizing the alcohol over burning fat and carbs. Alcohol also breaks down amino acids and stores them as fat. “For some reason this process is most pronounced in the thighs and glutes,” says Piattoly. “Excessive alcohol consumption really chews up muscle in those areas.” It also increases levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), which further encourages fat storage, particularly in your midsection.

3. Disrupted Sleep
Boozing also blows your muscle recovery and performance by sapping your sleep. In a study of 93 men and women, researchers found that alcohol decreased sleep duration and increased wakefulness (particularly in the second half of the night), especially in women, whose sleep time was decreased by more than 30 minutes over the night. “Disrupting the sleep cycle can reduce your human growth hormone output—which builds muscle—by as much as 70 percent,” says Piattoly.

4. Depleted Water and Nutrients
Alcohol irritates the stomach lining, which can reduce your capacity to absorb nutrients (the reason you have an upset stomach after a few too many), says Brian R. Christie, Ph.D.—not to mention that alcohol makes you pee. For every gram of ethanol you suck down, you pump out 10 milliliters of urine (that’s about 9.5 ounces for two beers). As little as 2 percent dehydration hurts endurance performance. And by the way, you can’t rehydrate with a dehydrating drink (e.g., beer).


No, this isn’t the beginning of a tired joke, it’s an increasingly common real-life occurrence. And research shows that, once inside, those avid runners—and other frequent exercisers—tend to accrue bigger tabs than the average bar patron. Picture the Cheers gang clad in head-to-toe sweat-wicking spandex.

A 2009 study from the University of Miami found that the more people exercise, the more they drink—with the most active women consuming the highest amounts every month. It’s a peculiar phenomenon that has had scientists scratching their heads since 1990, when research first pinpointed the alcohol-exercise connection. But they expected that, at some point, the script would be flipped—that the biggest boozers would exercise less. Never happened.

Instead, this landmark 2009 analysis of more than 230,000 men and women revealed that, on average, drinkers of both genders and all ages (not just wild twentysomethings) were 10 percent more likely to engage in vigorous exercise like running. Heavy drinkers exercised 10 minutes more each week than moderate drinkers and 20 minutes more than abstainers. An extra bender actually increased the number of minutes of total and vigorous exercise the men and women did that week.

“There’s this misconception that heavy drinkers are exercise-averse couch potatoes,” explains study author Michael T. French, Ph.D., a professor of health economics at the University of Miami. “That may be true in some cases, but that’s certainly not what we’ve found.”

This trend seems particularly pronounced in women—especially active, educated women, who, according to recent research from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, are drinking more than ever. In part, progress may be the root of this evil: With growing numbers of women in the workplace and other male-dominated arenas, it has become increasingly socially acceptable for women to go out and belly up to the bar alongside their male counterparts—and to overdo it.

Working Out to Work It Off
One simple theory scientists have to support the drinking-exercise connection is the morning-after phenomenon. In this case, the party girl who downs a few appletinis (and maybe some mozzarella sticks) feels the need to repent for those calories by banging out five or six miles the next morning.

“Women who consume alcohol could simply be exercising more to burn it off and avoid weight gain,” says French. “Likewise, they may drink more simply because they can, as they know they’re burning calories, so they’re less worried about the weight gain.”

But exercising to atone for the sins of the night before doesn’t explain why someone would chase an indoor cycling class with a round of drinks, which also happens with staggering frequency. This, researchers say, could be the product of a “work hard, play hard” personality type. “There are people who are sensation seekers,” says Ana M. Abrantes, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School. “They engage in activities that produce intense sensations and can be quickly bored by things that don’t produce those feelings.”

For others, it might be a matter of blowing off stress. Which may be why some women offset their tension with a boot-camp class, or by getting loaded, or both. “Exercising stimulates the release of serotonin, which is your natural antidepressant, as well as dopamine, which is the primary neurotransmitter in your brain’s reward center. It makes us feel good,” says brain chemistry researcher J. David Glass, Ph.D., a professor at Kent State University. Alcohol has a similar effect—hence, the buzz you get soothes your worries (if only temporarily).


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Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Creamy Mushroom Stew

May 30, 2013



Creamy mushroom stew recipe

Serves 4


2 Tbsp butter
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
250g Portobello mushrooms, chopped with tough portion of stems removed
250g button mushrooms, sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;
¼ cup beef stock
½ cup coconut milk
Handful of fresh thyme leaves
2 spring onions, chopped


Heat a large skillet over a medium heat and add the butter. Stir-in the onions and garlic.

Cook until they begin to brown, about 7 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Cook until moisture evaporates entirely.

Add the stock as well and coconut milk and stir well to ensure that the flavours are dispersed evenly.

Once the mushrooms have simmered for a few minutes, add the thyme leaves, spring onions and adjust the salt and pepper seasoning. Allow to sit on a low heat for a few more minutes so that it thickens.

Serve with grilled steak and steamed vegies.

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week

January 3, 2013

turkey patties

Mediterranean Turkey Burgers

Serves 5


  • 450g minced turkey
  • 30g feta, crumbled
  • 4 Tbsp finely chopped black olives
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 30g butter


  1. Place all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Mix well to combine. With wet hands, shape the mixture into patties.
  2. Melt butter in fry pan over moderate heat. Add the patties and sauté for 5 minutes on each side.
  3. Serve with fresh salad or left-over Christmas vegies.

Healthy Inspirations Coffs Coast

Spring…the Perfect Time to Detox

October 9, 2012
Spring Detox Discover the basics of how to cleanse, boost metabolism, optimize digestion and eat to lose weight and boost energy.

I am often asked about the benefits of fasting in order to improve health, reduce inflammation and optimize digestion. For the majority of people, I am not an advocate of fasting. Most people do not have the proper blood sugar control to fast and end up feeling dizzy, hungry and may even find it difficult to participate in everyday activities. Part one of the natural spring detox series focuses on cleansing, not fasting. Why cleanse you ask? In essence, digestion is one of the major keys to health and wellness. By following a cleanse filled with high fibre and nutrient-dense foods, you give your body the opportunity to “clean out the pipes.” When thinking of doing a cleanse or a detox, I recommend a five-day period from Monday to Friday. Weekends are often a more difficult time to make nutritional changes. If following the recommendations properly, you should not feel hungry or deprived while cleansing. There will be enough selection of low glycemic index, high-fibre foods to fill you up and keep you going.

The key steps for the five-day cleanse outlined in The Natural Makeover Diet (Wiley, 2005) include:

1. Eliminate coffee. When public speaking, I often hear audible groans from the audience when I recommend eliminating coffee for five days. Coffee is acidic, a diuretic and can often make you feel shaky when cleansing. Instead of coffee, I recommend drinking herbal tea, green tea or white tea for the antioxidant effect and to help you get rid of any coffee withdrawal headaches. In addition, I always say if there is something in your diet you are so addicted to that you can’t give it up for five days — that is a clear sign to give it up!

2. Eat an abundant amount of colourful foods. Fruits and vegetables are high in fibre, filled with minerals, vitamins and plant chemicals called phytonutrients that prevent and even help treat disease. My motto has always been “eat live to feel live!” From tomatoes to broccoli and blueberries — fruits and vegetables are low glycemic index and will help to sustain energy while flushing the system.

3. Eat lean protein options such as egg whites, chicken, turkey, fish and soy at every meal or snack. Proteins secrete the hormone glucagon which helps in fat loss. Avoid red meat and dairy for 5 days.

4. Supplement your diet with a high quality multi-vitamin, fish oils supplement and probiotic such as acidophilus. Acidophilus is “friendly” bacteria that helps to maintain a healthy digestive microflora. Healthy digestion and absorption is one of the main keys to looking and feeling your best.

5. Add essential fats and oils — such as flaxseed oil, ground flaxseeds, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds — to your diet for their anti-inflammatory effect.

6. Drink eight glasses of water per day. Fresh clean water aids with elimination, helps to boost metabolism, gives you a “full” feeling longer and helps to keep energy up.

It is best to give your body a mini five-day cleanse at the beginning of each season. Although not a drastic change in diet, the 5 days will take some planning and focus in order to eat right. By doing so, you will be paving the path for a spring full of health and vitality!

To continue the theme of springtime internal cleaning, the second part of our series focuses on nourishing from the inside out with high quality, nutrient-dense foods. Although the latest diets and fads are constantly hitting the weight-loss market and causing some confusion about what and how to eat, there are four basic nutritional principles that need to be kept in mind in order to eat well, feel well and look your best.

The nourish principles are:
1. You are what you eat!
2. Your body requires all three macronutrients — carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
3. You need to eat live to feel live.
4. Water yourself down.

Principle 1: You are what you eat!
To quote nutritionist and author Adele Davis, “We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.”
This statement touches upon a deep truth. Although we are of course much more than the sandwich and soup we had at lunch, the quality and quantity of our food choices can have a major influence on our mind and body. We all have a very deep-rooted emotional and chemical relationship to food. Picking higher quality nutritional choices such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products etc., can improve overall wellness and help to prevent the onset of future disease and illness.

Principle 2: Your body requires all three macronutrients
The three macronutrients that are the mainstay of the diet, and that the body requires as its primary sources of energy, are: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. While micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals are equally as important, the body only requires them in smaller amounts.
Unfortunately, due to a myriad of diets and health claims such as low fat, high protein and low calorie, people often try to eliminate or greatly minimize one of the macronutrients in an attempt to lose weight. In truth, when looking closer at the weight loss research, it is evident that all macronutrients are required for optimal weight and health. The key is to select the right kind of macronutrients from each category, such as:

1. Low glycemic index carbohydrates
These include most fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grain breads or pastas (kamut, spelt). Eliminate all white sugar, refined flours, white potatoes, white bread and white pasta. Try to have a minimum of one dark green food per day (broccoli, spinach) and one orange food (carrots, squash, sweet potato).

2. Lean proteins
Low-fat dairy products, chicken, fish, soy, protein powder, eggs, turkey and lean beef are included here. Minimize full-fat red meat and cheese in the diet. Proteins are a critical factor in muscle repair, blood sugar control and weight loss.

3. The “good” fats
These include monounsaturated fats such as extra-virgin olive oil and avocados. Essential fats called omega 3 fats should be consumed because the body can’t make them. This includes options such as flaxseed oil, flaxseeds, almonds, walnuts, cold water fish (salmon and tuna) and fish oil. Omega 3 fats are anti-inflammatory and help to improve the look of skin, hair and nails. Eliminate trans fatty acids (partially hydrogenated fats) from the diet completely.

Principle 3: You need to eat live to feel live
As an adult, you need a minimum of five to nine servings of colourful fruits and vegetables per day for optimal health and wellness. Not only do fruits and vegetables contain an abundant amount of minerals and vitamins, they also provide a rich blend of phytonutrients — plant chemicals that can prevent and even reverse disease. Examples of phytonutrients are lycopene in tomatoes, sulfurophane in broccoli and flavonoids in dark chocolate, berries and grapes. What does a serving look like? One serving is equal to:
• One medium-size fruit
• 1/2 cup raw, cooked, frozen or canned fruits (in 100% juice) or vegetables
• 3/4 cup (6 oz.) 100% fruit or vegetable juice
• 1/2 cup cooked, canned or frozen legumes (beans and peas)
• 1 cup raw, leafy vegetables
• 1/4 cup dried fruit

Principle 4: Water yourself down
After a thorough food analysis, I often hear myself saying to clients, “You’re not sick, you’re thirsty!” The body relies on water for proper elimination, for optimal digestion and for basic cellular function. Without it, a myriad of symptoms can arise such as constipation, lack of energy, poor skin, and weight gain. Nutritional changes often take time and focus. That said, by simply increasing your consumption of water per day in the form of distilled water, herbal teas or watered down juice, you will jumpstart your internal spring cleaning process!
Other high quality, nutrient-dense foods that are considered “treats” but can be included in the diet on a regular basis — in moderation — are red wine and dark chocolate squares (70% cocoa).
We have all heard the old adage, “you are what you eat.” With that in mind, I would like to expand on that adage to include, “you also look how you eat!” I have been lucky enough to witness the “before” and “after” changes that take place when people take charge and clean up their diet. When this happens, there is a certain “sparkle” and radiance that only comes from health and wellness.

With that in mind, part 3 of the springtime cleansing series focuses on moisturizing hair and skin naturally. When thinking of moisturizing, most of us conjure up an image of creams for youthful looking skin and conditioners for soft hair. However, the type of moisturizing I am referring to is an internal process that involves food and supplements. What are the foods that can help you look 10 years younger?
Essential for your health
When it comes to fat, there are good fats and bad fats. The bad fats that should be eliminated from the diet are chemically-created fats called trans fatty acids (also known as partially hydrogenated fats). While food manufactures tend to like these fats because they extend product shelf life and are very stable, our body does not like them at all. In fact, these fats can raise cholesterol, create havoc on arteries and may even be linked to certain cancers. In other words — keep them out of your diet completely.
Other types of fats to minimize due to their pro-inflammatory reaction in the body are saturated fats such as those found in full-fat cheeses, ice cream and red meat. Eat these foods on occasion, not as staples of the diet.
The fats that are a must to moisturize skin, hair and nails from the inside out are called essential fatty acids. These fats cannot be made by the body and must be consumed through diet. Specifically, the essential fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid or omega 3 essential fat has been shown to have numerous health benefits including:
• reducing inflammation
• reducing risk of heart disease
• lowering cholesterol
• improving mood and attention
• improving skin
Unfortunately, most  Australians are chronically deficient in this “good” fat. While the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fat is approximately 1:1, most of us have a ratio between 20:1 and 30:1.
Omega 3 sources
Omega-3 fat is available in several food sources, such as flaxseed oil, flaxseeds, cold-water fish (tuna and salmon), omega-3 eggs, nuts (almonds, walnuts) and seeds. However, it is often difficult to consume enough food sources to receive an ideal amount of omega-3. In addition, the safety of eating fish such as salmon and tuna has come under investigation recently. Although fish is a wonderful source of protein, selenium, vitamin D and omega-3 essential fat, the level of toxicity showing in up our waters and fish is disconcerting. For example, Health Canada has recently set guidelines on the limits of white albacore tuna that should be eaten due to high mercury levels. This does not mean that tuna needs to be eliminated from the diet, but it should not be overly consumed. For more information, click here.
In addition to eating omega 3 rich foods, a daily supplement of distilled fish oil is also advisable.
Tips to boost your omega 3 intake and improve your skin
• Sprinkle some walnuts on your salad or put almonds in your morning yogurt
• Purchase omega 3 eggs instead of regular egg. Omega 3 eggs contain approximately 300 mg of omega 3
• Supplement with a fish oil daily
• Eat fish twice per week
• Use 1 tsp of flaxseed oil in your morning shake — store oil in fridge
When it comes to these healthy fats, think “sprinkling.” Fats have more than twice the calories of proteins and carbohydrates and do not need to be eaten in the same quantity.

The fourth and final part of our detox series has little to do with what you are eating, but rather focuses on how you are eating. When practiced, certain food behaviours can have dramatic positive effects on weight loss, digestion and overall health. Simply implement the recommendations below for a mere two weeks and you will make a positive difference on your health.
The food behaviours outlined below emphasize consciousness eating. Unfortunately, in today’s rushed and busy world, we have become accustomed to eating in a hurry and dining out on fast food. This practice promotes excess eating and mindlessly munching on the wrong types of foods. In essence, a detachment from our true hunger signal occurs and our health and weight suffer.

The four steps to consciousness eating to improve health and wellness are:
Step 1. Eat breakfast!
Research has shown us time and time again that people who front load their day and eat breakfast are healthier, have more energy and lose more weight in the long run. While breakfast skippers think they are saving on calories and losing weight, they are in fact doing the opposite. I often hear people lament that they are not hungry in the morning and could not possibly eat. Keep in mind, you do not have to eat within minutes of rising out of bed. However, it is advisable to eat a small amount of healthy food options before going to work or school within 1-2 hours of rising. Examples of healthy breakfast options include:
• Protein shake
• Cottage cheese, fruit and nuts
• Yogurt, fruit and nuts
• Egg white omelet
• Poached egg with whole grain toast
• All-bran cereal with milk

Step 2. Eat until you are sufficiently sufficed, not stuffed
Most of us gobble down our meals within 5-10 minutes. In addition to not digesting and chewing our food properly, this fast pace of eating does not give the body the time to register a “full sensation.” In fact, it takes approximately 20 minutes for the stretch receptor to reach the brain and register a signal that you are satiated. Try to slow down your meal by chewing your food well, using your utensils, talking to your family. By making mealtime last a minimum of 20 minutes, you will feel fuller, and therefore consume less calories.

Step 3. Do not count calories for life
When first beginning to lose weight, most people follow a program or a plan to take the pounds off. While there are many good programs on the market, I have seen too many people fall off their program, only to gain the weight back. This is why 90 to 95 per cent of all dieters eventually gain the weight back. Don’t misunderstand — there are many wonderful weight loss books, programs, etc., on the market that can help with the initial weight that needs to be lost. However, in addition to this, it is also critical to become a student of nutrition. This is essential when you fall off your program (which you will at one point or another), because you will have the basic fundamental nutritional skills to climb back onto the heath wagon without feelings of deprivation. As one of the most powerful tools we have for health and disease prevention, learning the basics of nutrition is one of the most valuable assets you can offer yourself and your family. Keep in mind that any diet that overly restricts the intake of calories, carbohydrates or fats is not a sustainable diet.

Step 4. Do not eat past 7p.m.
When implementing behavioural changes, those related to food are often the hardest to make. That being said, it is often difficult for people to change their habit of late-night eating. Unfortunately, the pattern of skipping breakfast, eating a fast food lunch and a late night dinner of pasta, bread and other starches is a one-way ticket to weight gain and fatigue. Instead of falling into this vicious cycle, try to eat dinner no later than 7p.m. In addition, dinner is the perfect meal to maximize protein and vegetables and put less emphasis on grains. If you do eat a grain, try to select whole grain breads, pastas or brown rice. If the urge to munch does creep up later in the evening, satiate the feeling by munching on “free foods” such as cucumbers, celery or broccoli florets. In addition, drinking herbal tea or water helps to fill you up and cut down on sugar cravings.
Wishing you a healthy and happy road filled with delicious and healthy food options. Bon appetite!

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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!

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