Welcome!

Hi, I’m Christine.

I believe that we are all entitled to good health and that food and lifestyle are the best medicine.

We should not underestimate the consequences of our food choices.

Good Nutrition and lifestyle choices can give you the chance to reverse or even prevent chronic conditions.

If you are looking to make a lifestyle change and improve your health and wellness then Nutrition Coaching will assist in arming you with the right tools and mindset to do so.

Let’s create healthy habits together, come on a health journey with me. 

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Are Fortified foods and Vitamin supplements enough in a world of fake food?

We live in an era of convenience foods which are highly processed.

Nature has provided us with all the food we need to stay healthy, active and full of energy. However when we start tampering with natural foods we lose the chemical and biological structure of these foods.

The more food is processed, the more nutrient depleted and chemically altered it becomes.

Apart from losing its nutritional value, processed foods also lose their taste, flavour and colour. So, to compensate for that, manufacturers add additives, preservatives, colours, flavour enhancers other chemicals.

Many of these chemicals have been shown to contribute to poor health.

Natural foods get changed into various chemical concoctions which are then packaged and presented to us as food.

I want to talk about the most basic ingredient – Flour.

Many of us buy supermarket groceries that are made with flour, are keen home bakers, like to go out for a burger or have a pizza. I do all of the above!

But, do you know how your flour is processed?

A whole grain of wheat has 3 layers

The Bran – where you’ll find most of the fiber.

The Germ – the nutrient dense embryo that will sprout into a new wheat plant.

The Endosperm – the largest part of the grain.

White Flour is made by peeling off the husk and bran and crushing the grain.  The husk and bran are the most nutritious parts. Refining food destroys nutrients. Depletes food of the nutrients even.  What’s remaining are pure carbohydrates or a form of sugar. 

The flour is then chemically bleached similar to bleaching your clothes. Flour bleaching agents are a food additive added to flour in order to make it appear whiter. 

Besides bleaching the flour another process is called bromating to improve the doughs elasticity and produce a higher rise.  Nearly all the flour in the supermarket has been bromated. The substance (potassium bromated) is supposed to bake out as it cooks, but if any remains behind it can be very harmful.  Did you know bromate is considered a category 2B carcinogen (possibly carcinogenic to humans) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)?

Flour has to get shipped to the manufacturers who are using it, cereal companies and bread companies.  And when this flour gets shipped it is difficult to avoid pests, however when shipping white flour no insecticides are needed because white flour when consumed by these little critters kills them!  White flour is a natural insecticide!  So by the time the white flour reaches shore and is being transported to your favourite Kellogg’s cereal you can be assured it has had it’s fair share of many dead pests in the bag.  They died by eating the white flour…..

Lets talk about fortified foods.

After removing all of the nutrients from wheat when the large scale manufacturing began, it was discovered that many people were nutrient deficient and the government introduced mandatory folic acid fortification.  

Similarly breakfast cereals with very low nutritional value are fortified. In fact manufacturers claim that with one bowl of their product you will get x amount of the RDI (Recommeneded Daily Intake) of those vitamins.

Well….. the HUMAN BODY is not that simple. Synthetic vitamins have a very low absorption rate. The body has been designed to recognise natural vitamins that come from food.

And yes, while the body is amazing at detoxifying itself and regenerating, we should keep in mind that when it continues to receive trauma from environmental factors, stress, diet and lifestyle, that something is going to give.

So, whatever the packaging says about fortified foods in breads, cereals, yogurts and other processed products, please keep in mind that this isn’t how nature intended for our bodies to take in those vitamins.

This article is in no way meant to encourage you to alter your diet.  It’s purpose is to spread knowledge of what we are presented with as food and what we are ingesting.

My suggestions for alternatives  to break up bread/wheat products consumption are brown rice, quinoa, lentils and beans.

If you love homebaking try unbleached flour or  homemade almond meal.

Remember that having a diet full of vegetables and fruits and whole grains has been linked to better overall health.

You can’t out supplement a bad diet.

What is Intuitive Eating?

What is INTUITIVE EATING?

Any weight loss plan can achieve short term benefits, but over time the weight creeps back, and it’s not unusual to end up weighing more than you did before you started dieting. 

Research shows us that intuitive eating can help you get off the diet roller coaster for good. 

One of the principles of intuitive eating is to make peace with food and to abandon the idea of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food. 

If you’re interested in working with me check out my ‘Beautiful You’ program link in bio. We all deserve health and to be able to enjoy life a little more without stressing about diets and food. 

I even have a new shirt that says ‘You are Beautiful’ because you ARE!

https://eatinginmind.com.au/beautiful-you-5-week-program/

What is coaching anyway?

Let’s play a game. Can you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions?

There’s a gap between where I am now and where I want to be

I can make and keep appointments to work on my goal(s)

I’m committed to do the work required and take action to get to where I want to be

I’m willing to change any self-defeating behaviours and beliefs that limit my success

I am willing to try new things, even if I’m not yet 100% convinced they will work

More than three yes’s? Then coaching is what you need.

So what is coaching anyway?

Essentially, coaching is a future-focused conversation with a trained professional. A conversation that’s 100% about you and helping you think differently about things you’ve previously felt stuck or unclear about. It’s action-oriented. Coaching gets you results.

Why do I need a coach?

Put simply, because it will get you where you want to be faster than if you go it alone.

A good coach will help you to bring out the best of yourself so that you feel confident in your abilities, have clarity on what you want and stay motivated to overcome the tricky patches.

Whatever your challenge, a professional coach can help you unpick the challenge or issue at hand, and define a way to overcome it.

The idea is that the more you learn and understand about yourself, the more equipped you’ll be to navigate your health journey and make choices that will make you happy and fulfilled. Along the way, your coach can help you recognise your strengths, address the habits that are supporting you, or maybe getting in your way, and help you find ways to overcome obstacles. 

How does coaching work?

Whatever the challenge, your coach will ask you lots of questions aimed at raising your own awareness and helping you see things from a new perspective.

Then they’ll work with you to break the issue down, clarify your goals and help you define your own way forward. Importantly, you’ll leave every session with clear actions to take. No fluff here, this is about results and getting you where you want to be, no matter your start point. 

Coaching is most effective over a series of sessions. We say that 90% of the work is done in between sessions because that’s when it’s up to you to use the new insights you’ve gained or take the action you decided on.

Each session is a touchpoint to talk about any challenges or successes since the last time, and decide what you want to do next. 

How do I get the best out of coaching?

Most people find coaching an empowering and liberating experience but, like anything, you get out what you put in, so you need to come prepared with an open mind and it’s helpful to think about what you want to get out of the session before you start. Time, commitment and honesty (with yourself as much as with your coach) are all you really need.

Grain Free Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

The school holidays are the perfect time to get in the kitchen with the kids and get creative. And we all know how hungry the kids are during the holidays!

These chocolate brownies have been a hit in our house this weekend.

Slightly tweaked recipe from previous brownies and it has taken a bit of trial and error – but that’s what baking is all about for me. I love experimenting with flavours and recipes.

Ingredients

1 cup cacao powder

1 cup almond meal

½ tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

½ cup coconut oil

½ packed cup grated zucchini

1 ¼ cup almond milk

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

100gm vegan dark chocolate chopped.

Method

Preheat oven to 180degreesC. Line a 20cm square tin.

Add ACV to almond milk and set aside. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Add remaining ingredients to the buttermilk bowl and stir. Pour into the dry mix and combine. Stir through the chopped chocolate.

Bake for 40mins. The cake should be slightly sticky.

I like to bake this in the evening as it sets well overnight.

Icing is optional. I used 2 tablespoons coconut oil, 3 tablespoons cacao, 1 tablespoon of maples syrup. Melt the oil and mix through the ingredients.  Spread onto the brownie once it has completely cooled and set.

Enjoy!

Magnesium – are you getting enough?

Magnesium is a mineral essential for over 300 enzymatic systems in the body, many of which relate to brain and nervous system function. Inadequate intake of magnesium is linked to cardiovascular disease, metabolic diseases, skeletal disorders and neurological abnormalities.

Magnesium and mental wellbeing

Magnesium comes up a lot when talking about muscle cramp relief, exercise recovery and sleep. However, magnesium is also a very beneficial mineral when it comes to supporting your body to adapt to stress and promoting mental wellbeing.

Magnesium has been shown to help reduce the release of hormones, which lead to over activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which plays a role in our stress response. Over activation of this axis is associated with increased stress and lower stress tolerance, which can lead to poor mental health such as increased anxiety and low mood.

Magnesium is also an important co-factor necessary to help synthesise neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, a deficiency in either of these can lead to symptoms of depression, nervousness, inability to concentrate and anxiety.

While magnesium is beneficial for stress, being in a state of prolonged stress can lead to depletion of magnesium.

How much magnesium do we need?

The Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand state that the recommended dietary intake for adults is:

Men
19-30 years: 400mg/day
31+ years: 420mg/day

Women
19-30 years: 310mg/day
31+ years: 320mg/day

Food sources of Magnesium

Look at the list I have prepared below – are you consuming enough magnesium?

100g cocoa = 510mg
100g chia seeds = 335mg
100g sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds = 425mg
100g almonds = 260mg
100g cashews = 250mg
100g uncooked oats = 100mg
100g dried figs = 73mg
100g firm tofu = 78mg
100g raw spinach = 68mg
100g cooked quinoa = 56mg
100g cooked black beans = 49mg
100g boiled brown rice = 49mg
100g green or brown cooked lentils = 31mg
100g cooked red kidney bean = 30mg
1 medium banana = 30mg
100g cooked chickpeas = 27mg
100g raw rocket = 23mg
100g cooked salmon = 34mg
100g cooked chicken breast = 27mg
100g cooked beef = 26mg
100g natural yoghurt = 17mg
1 boiled egg = 5mg

Try this Magnesium rich Chocolate Banana Smoothie for a delicious magnesium boost

Chocolate Banana Smoothie

Ingredients
1 cup soy milk
1 medium banana
20g avocado
10g baby spinach leaves
20g cocoa/cacao
20g chia seeds
honey to sweeten
ice, optional

Method

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Intermittent Fasting – is it right for me?

Intermittent fasting is the voluntary abstinence from food for a prolonged period of time.

Traditionally many cultures and religions have used fasting in their practises.

Some Christians follow lent.  The Muslim religion has Ramadan where fasting is observed for 29-30 days during the daylight hours.

Buddhist monks and nuns following Vinaya rules commonly do not eat each day after the noon meal, aiding in meditation and good health.

Intermittent fasting is an umbrella term for various eating diet plans that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting over a defined period. Intermittent fasting is under preliminary research to assess if it can produce weight loss comparable to long-term calorie restriction.

Many believe that fasting is the most ancient secret to good health.

There have been many studies on various intermittent fasting diets that show that intermittent fasting can improve health and successfully aid in weight loss.

For the purpose of this paper I would like to further explore:

  • Periodic fasting (where, once every few months you cut your food intake down for 5 days in a row)
  • The 5:2 approach (where you restrict your calories for 2 days a week)
  • Time Restricted Eating (where you restrict your eating to a narrow time window)

Periodic Fasting

Professor Valter Longo, one of the leading experts on human ageing believes in the power of fasting to delay aging. Periodic Fasting claims to activate a process called autophagy which means ‘self eat’. Autophagy acts to eat up dead, diseased, worn out cells. It is triggered by fasting and stops when the fast is broken (https://valterlongo.com/ VAlter Longo Foundation).

Periodic fasting also claims to regenerate cells faster. So, when you fast your system tries to save energy and recycles a lot of the immune cells that are not needed. When the fast is broken it triggers the creation of new more active white blood cells. (Valter Longo).

Short periods of fasting have been shown to regenerate the immune system (Longo, Valter et al 2014)

A 2012 Human trial conducted by Valter Longo of a 4 day fast resulted in IGF1 levels decrease (Insulin like Growth Factor -1) which is a measure of cancer risk.  Valter concluded that regular bouts of short term fasting can reduce your risk of a variety of cancers. And, that fasting could assist with making chemotherapy more effective by slowing down the growth of cells to help protect the healthy cells during treatment.  (https://valterlongo.com)

He also recognised the difficulty of fasting for patients while undertaking chemo therapy and there are current trials on an 800 calorie diet to try to mimic this approach.

5:2 Approach

The general idea behind the 5:2 diet is calorie restriction on the two (non-consecutive) given days. That is, for two of the 7 days in each week, you eat very low calorie (but high in nutrition) foods, while the other 5 days you can eat what you would usually eat. This diet isn’t a full fast, but is a carefully planned eating plan for a couple of days each week.

The two days of fasting requires you to keep your intake below a set number of calories: 500 for women, 600 for men. The normal average calorie intake is 2000.

5:2 Raised blood sugar and heart health

The diet has shown to reduce the HbA1C levels. This haemoglobin is chemically linked to glucose. The formation of the sugar and haemoglobin linkage indicates the presence of excessive sugar in the bloodstream, often indicative of diabetes. A1C is of particular interest as it is easy to detect.

A human study concluded that intermittent fasting can reverse Type 2 Diabetes (Therapeutic use of Intermittent fasting for people with Type 2 diabetes as an Alternative to Insulin https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6194375/)

The study was of 3 patients all on medication to manage their diabetes. The most noteworthy outcome from this case series is the complete discontinuation of insulin in all three patients.

It was noted that caloric restriction and weight loss are important factors for remission of T2 diabetes.

The study concludes that therapeutic fasting can provide superior blood glucose reduction compared with standard pharmacological agents.

A 2018 study shows that modest weight loss of 5-10% have been associated with significant improvements in cardiovascular disease risk factors (eg decreased HbA1C levels. Reduced blood pressure, increase in HDL cholesterol, decreased plasma triglycerides) in patients with T2 diabetes. The risk factor was reduced even more with a greater body weight percentage weight loss of 10-15% (Antoni R, Johnston KL et al. Intermittent v. Continuous energy restriction: differential effects on postprandial glucose and lipid metabolism following matched weight loss in overweight/obese participants. Br J Nutr., 2018. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29508693)

The 5:2 has also been found to have promising results for Brain disease and Breast cancer

TRE Time Restricted Eating

Time restricted eating is not a new diet but rather an ancient ritual that has been observed by both religious and cultural groups.

The two most popular fasting schedules which have become popular amongst body builders and celebrities is the 12:12 fasting:eating or the 16:8 fasting:eating. There have been some studies indicating that the 16:8 is the most beneficial.

According to Dr Satchin Panda, Professor at the Salk Institute in San Diego, one of the worlds leading research centres for biomedicine in San Diego, most of your body’s fat burning occurs 6-8hours after your last meal.

A human trial of TRE found that after 10 weeks, a group that had gone without food for an additional 3 hours per day had lost more body fat, and had bigger falls in blood sugar levels and cholesterol.

Contradictions

A recent clinical trial with 43 participants conducted comparing Continuing Energy Restriction (CER) and Intermittent Energy Restriction (IER) concluded that reductions in body weight were similar.

Fasting plasma glucose concentrations decreased after CER but not after IER (mean difference CER–IER – 4.8% (0.7, 8.9), P < 0.05) and fasting plasma non-esterified fatty acid concentrations were lower after IER compared to CER (mean difference CER–IER 0.15 mmol/L (0.06, 0.24), P < 0.005). There were no differences in lipids, adipokine/inflammatory markers, ABP or HRV between diets (Pinto et al)

They concluded that short-term CER or IER diets are comparable in their effects on most markers of cardiometabolic risk, although adaptive changes in glucose and fatty acid metabolism occur.

A major assumption that intermittent fasting makes is that the food that is being consumed on the non-fasting days along with the restricted or fasting days will still equal a calorie deficit. Eating healthy on non fasting days does not mean that a calorie deficit will be maintained as eating ‘healthy” can mean a lot of different things to many people.

Another consideration is that on the fasting days or low calorie days are foods from different groups being consumed. If a patient is eating the same foods over and over again there could be risk of nutrient deficiencies.

There is more quality research coming through on intermittent fasting and more human trials that I could cover in this paper.

Many books on how to fast and recipe books for fasting diets have been published creating a small market of products.

If a patients chooses to go on this diet they will need to ensure that they are taking in quality healthy ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and lean protein.

There could be a risk associated with grains and fruit being omitted from the diet as these are generally higher in calories.

In conclusion, a wholefoods diet would be favourable over intermittent fasting in the first instance. If a patient is unable to lose weight on a wholefoods diet then calorie restriction or one of the fasting techniques outlined here could assist in restricting calories. Intermittent fasting could add value as a tool to assist calorie restriction and weight loss if other more gentle approaches have not been successful. Intermittent fasting isn’t a ‘magic’ remedy for reversing diabetes or heart health but a valuable tool to help patients lose weight if they haven’t been able to previously.

References

  • https://valterlongo.com/ Valter Longo Foundation/PKA to promote Hematopoietic-Stem-Cell-Based Regeneration and Reverse Immunosuppression. Cell Stem Cell, 2014; 14(6)
  • Valter D. Longo et al. Prolonged Fasting Reduces IGF-1
  • Therapeutic use of Intermittent fasting for people with Type 2 diabetes as an alternative to Insulin https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6194375/
  • Antoni R, Johnston KL et al. Intermittent v. Continuous energy restriction: differential effects on postprandial glucose and lipid metabolism following matched weight loss in overweight/obese participants. Br J Nutr., 2018. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29508693
  • Pinto et al (2019) Intermittent Energy Restriction is comparable to Continuous Energy Restriction for Cardiometabolic Health in Adults with central obesity; A randomised controlled trial.

BLACK BEAN BROWNIES

These easy vegan black bean brownies are made in less than thirty minutes, are gluten free, paleo, deliciously fudgy, and made with simple ingredients.

Let’s talk about some of the ingredients in this brownie.

Black beans are full of fibre + protein, Almond butter includes healthy fat + protein and Almond meal is a good low-carb and nutrient dense flour.

Black bean brownie 1

INGREDIENTS

1 tin black beans, drained and rinsed.

1/2 cup almond butter (or any nut butter)

1/4 cup almond meal

1/4 cup cocoa powder (the darker, the more chocolatey)

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 Tbsp melted coconut oil

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. In a food processor blend beans, nut butter, almond meal, cocoa, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Scrape down sides as needed.
  4. Pour into greased 8×8 pan
  5. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy Cx