Plastic Free July: Plastic free shopping guide

Hello Everyone,

If you want to  shop plastic-free then you need to take your own packaging. Seems like a lot of bother? Well, here are  some reasons why you might wish to consider this option:
You don’t like that hormone inhibitors and toxic chemicals can leach from plastic packaging into your food,
You hate plastic pollution,

You love being zero waste

You find a place that sells your required product unwrapped. This can be  anywhere from your local butcher to the cheese counter at Morrisons.
You take your own packaging and ask them use that. Bit embarrassing at first but stick with it – I do it everywhere.

Reusables 

PRODUCE BAG
These are reusable bags that can be used instead of the plastic bags supplied by shops. Use them for veges, and anything else loose and dry,
I use a cotton or net produce bags.
Find out more about
 synthetic mesh bags
organic cotton produce bags

TUBS 

For meat, fish and other stuff I try to use a reusable plastic tub whenever can.Which means I take my own tub to the butchers and ask them to use that. I use a plastic tub because it is water proof, lightweight, I have had it for ages and there is lots of wear in it yet.

If you are worried about chemical leaching you might not want to use plastic tubs. As you know if you wash plastic at hot enough temperatures to clean the container properly, it is more likely to leach chemicals. And that plastic leaches more chemicals as it ages.

If this worries you can get metal or glass dishes. Glass is heavy so I would recommend metal dishes.

And some times, it doesn’t matter what I take, I get refusals. Supermarkets especially are not keen on this and will argue long and hard. Even some local butchers will refuse.,  in which case I use…..

Disposables

The following products are certified compostable and I compost them at home in my bin once I have done with them. They can also be safely burnt.

For meat and fish I use bio plastic  (corn starch bags – made from vegetables) 

For cheese and such like its old school paper bags.

At the deli counter  where I get humus, pate and the rest, I use these compostable PLA pots.

More

Though I recommend finding reuses for your disposable packaging, (for example using the bio bags to line your compost bin),they are of course disposable. This  might not sound like the greenest option but it is still a whole load better than plastic.

Compostable?

What is compostable? To be classed compostable, items must biodegrade within a certain time (around the rate at which paper biodegrades), and the resulting biomass must be free of toxins, able to sustain plant life and be used as an organic fertilizer or soil additive. For a man-made product to be sold as compostable, it has to meet certain standards. One such is the European Norm EN13432. You can find out more here.

Taking it home

Carry your shopping home in  a reusable  carrier bag – natch!

My bags of choice are those old granny favourites, string bags.

I also have some tiny fold up carrier bags which come in very handy.

More

Though I recommend finding reuses for your disposable packaging, (for example using the bio bags to line your compost bin),they are of course disposable. This  might not sound like the greenest option but it is still a whole load better than plastic.

I compost all this packaging in my own compost bin. Yes even the cornstarch plastic bags and pots.

Loose Food A to Z

Find out if a shop near you sells bulk food loose. This is stuff that that normally comes plastic packaged ie rice, pasta and salt. And yes these shops do exist in the U.K. There’s just not many of them. Heres a list of towns with shops selling loose food,  organised alphabetically.

Buy Packaging

Being committed to local shopping, I prefer to buy that way whenever possible. I would encourage you to do the same. One of the joys of living plastic free is mooching round the local shops seeing what you can source. If you can’t buy local please do check the links above to the suppliers and buy direct from them and support their online businesses.

If you can’t do that then I have put together and Amazon catalogue. Yes I know…

flip & tumble Reusable Produce Bags- 5-PackEco-Bags Products, Produce & Bulk Bags, 3 BagsEco Bags String Tote Bag Long Handle Cotton Assorted Earthtones, ctWhite Reusable Muslin Bags with Draw String for Spice, Herbs, Tea, Mulled Wine, Bouquet Garni Infuser Sieve - 3" x 3.5" (10 pcs)5 Litre x 180 bags Compostable Bags - Biobag Kitchen Food Waste Caddy Liners 5 Litre - EN 13432 - Biobags 5L Bin Bags with Composting Guide6 Litre x 150 bags allBIO 6 Litre 100% Biodegradable & Compostable Kitchen Caddy Liners25ml Clear Biodegradable PLA Pots with Lids x 50 (Food/Craft/Storage Containers)

Amazon is a very dirty word at the moment and I thought long and hard before suggesting them.  No we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.

If you buy a product via this link we do get an affiliation fee for this. This is not why we do it.

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

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Plastic Free July: Join the Movement to living plastic free

Hello Everyone,

Nutrition Nourishment is a proud supporter of the #plasticfreejuly movement. Throughout July we will be posting regularly tips, guide, easy swaps, and information on living plastic free and the benefits to the animals, community and our planet! Ensure to follow us on  Facebook and instagram for more information relating to health and wellbeing! Let’s join the movement together!

About Plastic Free July

We have grown from a handful of participants in Western Australia in 2011, through to millions of participants across more than 150 countries worldwide today.

The incredible transformation has led to us recently becoming an independent, not-for-profit charitable Foundation. Our vision is a world without plastic waste.

vision for the future

​​By encouraging people to be more aware of their plastic use, we can create a cleaner world for generations to come.

Part of this involves supporting behaviour change and helping others habitually #choosetorefuse shopping bags, straws, takeaway containers and coffee cups – just to name a few. 

Getting Started

How to get started with the #choosetorefuse challenge this Plastic Free July:

Step 1: Sign up to be counted and we’ll email you tips and recipes throughout July.

Step 2: Take the Pesky Plastics Quiz to help you track down where your plastics come from.

Step 3: Choose what you will do:

  • avoiding the plastics that seem to fill your recycling bin;
  • targeting the takeaway items that could end up in the ocean;
  • going completely plastic free (finding alternatives to everything) for a day, week, month or more.

Check out our Action Picker for more Plastic Free July ideas.

Step 4: Explore our Toolbox Tab and spread the word through:

  • Chatting with and challenging friends;
  • Running a plastic free morning tea;
  • Posting your successes on social media;
  • Posting the challenge the old fashion way (with posters about town);
  • Asking your local café or shop to seek alternatives;
  • Pressing for policy change on container deposits, packaging standards, bag bans or action to outlaw microbeads.

Step 5: Share your challenge and progress on social media, tag @PlasticFreeJuly and use the #PlasticFreeJuly and #ChooseToRefuse hashtags.

Register Now!!

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

 

Listen to your body: Dealing with the healing crisis

Hello Everyone.

It has been said that one does not always “see all that he looks at” or “listen to all that he hears”. As far as your body is concerned, the above statements are very appropriate. During the days, weeks, and months ahead, your system will be making many adjustments and changes. It is very important that you be aware of what can happen so you do not get caught by surprise.

Now the question comes, what are some of the things one might expect if they choose to follow the recommendations? We do not want to predispose you to experience things you might not ordinarily experience. Some people move on quite smoothly to increased vigour and health. Others find the road rockier. Some experience one thing and some experience another. A lot depends on the direct effects from one’s faith, their mental attitudes, determination, and their own individual physical make-up.

We will list a few things that some people have experienced so that, if any of these things might happen to you, you will know that it is not unexpected. As the body chemistry changes, it can affect your feelings.

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The body has adjusted itself gradually, over a period of years, to its much less than ideal chemistry. As it begins to change back toward the more ideal, some unusual things sometimes happen. Some people do not understand, so they become frightened by how they are momentarily feeling and will stop the program. This only delays the changes that are good and necessary.

When the body starts taking up calcium some people get hives or break out with pimples and even cold sores. They might feel “funny”, or a bit strange, particularly in the area where energy has been lost. Old injuries of many years ago may flair up – sprained ankles or wrists, old surgeries, fingers hurt in basketball, leg injuries, back injuries, etc. They may hurt just as badly as they did originally and then suddenly it’s gone. This is the body doing its house cleaning. The liver activity is coming up, and the toxins that have accumulated in the body for years begin to be stirred up and cleansed from the body.

A person might get headaches, run a fever for a few days, become nauseated, feel like lying down, run completely out of energy all of a sudden – these are all typical experiences. In many of these cases – especially headache and fever, etc., the eliminative organs have not been able to keep up with the cleansing that is going on and an enema or colonic is the best and quickest relief to be had. Walking in the fresh air, with deep breathing, is also helpful to many. When the change is more severe, it is best to take a lot of rest to conserve all the body energy available for the body to make the changes necessary.

When one chooses to go on a lemon water fast for three days, at the suggestion of their counsellor in order to speed up the chemistry changes, often they will go through a very deep change, in which the liver reverses itself causing vomiting (even of bile) and great discomfort. It lasts but a short time and then the body makes a quick, big change, and the person feels a great deal better than before. This type of thing is very likely to happen to someone who is quite a bit overweight. This is because the fat in the body has stored up so many toxins that when the body starts mobilizing the fat it also frees the toxins. Thus, the individual can become very ill.

cIyxmuL

Despite any of these potential symptoms, one should stay right on the program. Don’t back away from it, go right through with it. You will only delay the process if you stop the program during the worst of the healing crises. You need not be frightened. Rather, you can know that healing is taking place and the crisis will pass.

When you sense that there is a critical change taking place – healing crises and you feel you need counsel, or just reassurance, get in touch with the persons you have been counselling with. Sometimes additional things need to be done to encourage the body in its chemistry changes. After a major chemistry change, it is usually necessary to adjust the program to the new chemistry pattern.

If that all sounds a bit gloomy, we certainly don’t want to frighten anyone. Be assured that many people feel better and better a majority of the time. However, everyone needs to understand that there will be down days along with the better ones, and they shouldn’t be bewildered by them.

Even when a healing crisis takes place long after the time it would be expected, don’t be surprised. Every day that you faithfully follow the program is a day closer to freedom from discomfort and difficulties. Every day you forget, or goof off, is a day lost – sometimes many days are lost, as it takes the body time to readjust again.

Some people forget how much better they are feeling until they go off the program for a few days. Suddenly, the old discomforts they had forgotten about come creeping back and take over once again. We suggest you not go off for a few days, just to see the difference. Going on and off the program can create a situation where the body may not respond later on. An on-again/off-again pattern can affect the body similarly to the way heat and cold temper metal. It hardens it. Likewise, a hardening or resisting effect can be produced in the body, so it may decide at a point in the future not to respond. Therefore, in order to gain the benefits you so desire, a real commitment needs to be made to stick with the program.

Face the future with confidence, with great anticipation, and don’t be disappointed when a little rain cloud muddies up your day.

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

 

Late-Night Snacking: Why you do it, and how to prevent it

Hello Everyone.

One of the most frustrating cycles many of my clients describe is the need to snack. They will be super disciplined during the day, and then everything falls apart after dark. Which, of course, will generally stall progress for those who are holding on to excess weight.

Believe it or not, there are very simple reasons this is happening – and it’s not a matter of willpower! In my nutritional opinion, nighttime is for rest. It is not a time to burden our bodies with too much food and to strain our digestive systems. We spend a good part of the day eating, and now our body simply wants to sleep. With these tips, you can make rest and repair the priority.

1. You’re not eating enough protein.
Are you getting enough protein? If you’re snacking at night then perhaps not, especially not at dinner. This macronutrient keeps us full and satisfied. Interestingly, protein also contains chemicals, like tryptophan, that help you fall asleep. Fill up on protein at dinner and you’ll not only have less of an urge to snack later, you’ll also be ready for bed at a decent hour.

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2. You’re stressed out.
A stressed mind and body will often turn to food. If you’re under a lot of stress, you may find you get a second wind in the evening – this may also tell your body that you want food. My tip? Really listen to what your body wants. Stop and put your legs up against the wall for ten minutes. It will relax your nervous system and help prepare you for sleep. Enjoy an early night!
3. Your blood sugar is imbalanced.
Ensure you’re eating not only enough protein but also good fats at each meal instead of a purely carbohydrate-based meal. Sugar and refined carbs (like white bread and pasta) will cause your blood sugar to crash. I recommend a generally low carb/low sugar diet, but gluten-free, complex carbs like sweet potato, brown rice and quinoa are great staples.

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4. You’re drinking coffee in the afternoon.
Not only will the caffeine impact your ability to fall asleep later, it will also have a direct impact on your blood sugar level – which, often leads to those nighttime cravings. Try to cut caffeine by 12pm.
5. You’re caving to the afternoon sweet tooth.
On my clinic days, the people who had a sugary treat at 3 or 4pm tended to crave sugar after dinner too. Instead, enjoy a protein rich snack in the afternoon – nuts, seeds, protein shake or some Greek yoghurt with cinnamon (and stevia, if you like). It’s surprisingly decadent and you won’t miss the sugar!
6. You’re consuming alcohol regularly.
Substances like liquor, wine and beer will affect your sleeping patterns – and will also make you likely to snack more, especially late at night when your more susceptible to eat mindlessly. I know I always crave more sugar after a night of drinking! Keep drinking to special occasions, try to have at least 3 or 4 alcohol free nights a week and when drinking stick to 1-2 drinks!

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7. You’re glued to your phone after dinner.
It’s best to avoid computer screens and phones in the evening as much as possible. The screen time impacts the hormones needed to help us sleep. If you need to be on a screen after 8am, you can download a blue-light filter that will help minimise the hormonal upset. However, it is best to ensure your environment prepares you for sleep, then you won’t be wide awake at 10pm and wanting that late night snack! Going to bed early is what your body is truly craving. Try to best in bed before 10pm and off all screens before 8pm!

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan-Nutrition Nourishment

Fermented Foods and Gut Health: Homemade Kefir.

Hello Everyone,

 Why fermented foods and drinks?

We have over 100 trillion microbes present in our gut, and on our skin. These microbes are essential for: – keeping harmful organisms in check.

Benefits of Fermented foods/drinks:

  • Aiding in digestion and absorption of our food
  • Generating certain vitamins. E.g. some B vitamins, vit K, folate and some short chain fatty acids
  • Immune function
  • Liver function
  • Hormone balance
  • Detoxification pathways
  • Improving resistance to allergies
  • Optimising neurotransmitter function and improving mental health, improving learning and focus, and memory
  • Weight loss

Our gut is home to microscopic life forms called microbes. These are things like bacteria, yeasts, viruses, worms, germs and fungi. Enzymes catalyse and mediate various chemical processes that are necessary to keep organisms alive. A healthy adult contains more bacterial cells in their gut, than human cells in their entire body; though we are seeing an increasingly large number of people becoming sick in our society, and many of these cases could be in relation to the decreased number of beneficial bacteria in their guts.

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  • Reasons for decreased bacteria: Our mothers may not have been breast fed
  • OCP decreases beneficial bacteria in the gut
  • Antibiotic use
  • Chronic intake of poor diet; sugar, processed foods, trans fats
  • Non-vaginal birth
  • Stress

Interesting points.

  1. Good bacteria in your gut controls 500 (known to science) pathogenic and opportunistic microbes
  2. Clinical signs of gut dysbiosis are present in almost 100% percent of mothers with children that have neurological/psychiatric disorders
  3. Babies were thought to be born with a sterile gut; though evidence now shows this not to be true. However, within the first 20 days of life, their gut is populated greatly with a combination of microbes and bacteria. This first 20 days has a huge effect on the rest of the child’s life
  4. When the microbial world in your gut is imbalanced, you cannot digest and absorb food properly (BIG point), this means that chronic imbalance leads to MANY more health issues down the track
  5. Coeliac and schizophrenic patients have similar digestive tract states; these are health problems that start from an early age
  6. Synthesis of nutrients needed for healthy brain development and immune function in a child are impaired with unhealthy gut microbial balance (possible link to ADHD/Autism etc)
  7. Through the hypothalamus in the brain; gut-brain relations are connected within physiological processes such as satiety, food intake, regulation of glucose and fat metabolism, insulin secretion and sensitivity, and bone metabolism

Antibiotics and Gut Health

Antibiotic use is a major cause of microbial imbalance; even one course of antibiotics 5 years ago could be causing your imbalance today.

Signs and symptoms of an in balanced gut microbial: bloating, gas, diarrhoea, cramping, mood/ behavioural issues, skin problems, sleep issues, sugar cravings, weight management. Children born via C-section are also more likely to suffer from gut imbalance, as they don’t take in the microbia present in the mother’s vagina at birth.  70% of the immune system is found in the gut, and around 95% of our serotonin (our happy hormone) is made in the gut!!!!!! As you can see what is happening in our gut is VERY IMPORTANT!!

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Let’s Make Fermented Food and Drinks

What is it that’s so special about fermented vegetables and foods? Fermentation simply refers to an ancient technique and perseveration method that naturally alters the chemistry of foods. Similar to cultured dairy products like yogurt and kefir, sauerkraut’s fermentation process produces beneficial probiotics that are now linked to improvements in immune, cognitive, digestive and endocrine function.

People have been using fermentation to preserve valuable vegetables and other perishable foods for long periods without the use of modern-day refrigerators, freezers or canning machines. Fermentation is the metabolic process of converting carbohydrates, like sugars, into either alcohols and carbon dioxide, or organic acids. It requires the presence of a carbohydrate source (like milk or vegetables, which contain sugar molecules) plus yeast, bacteria or both. The yeast and bacteria microorganisms are responsible for converting glucose (sugar) into healthy bacteria strains that populate your gut environment and help regulate many bodily functions.

Water Kefir

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Water kefir is a mixture of beneficial bacteria and yeast. There can be over 15 different species in each batch, although all batches will be different.

The bacteria and yeast utilize sugar to produce lactic acid, ethanol (small amount) and carbon dioxide, where the fizz comes from.

It’s not totally clear where they originated, but there is evidence they may have come from Mexico. The cultures form on the pads of a cactus plant as hard granules and can be reconstituted in a sugar and water solution.

Water Kefir is great for anyone who cannot tolerate dairy.

Recipe

Ingredients:

Large glass Jar

Paper towel and rubber band

Organic raw sugar ( 1 tablespoon of sugar: 1 tablespoon of grains)

Filtered water.

2L water ( the amount of water will depend on the size of your jar)

Water kefir grains.

Method:

  1. Add sugar to filtered water and dissolve.
  2. Add grains to solution
  3. Cover the top of jar with paper towel and rubber band (this is to keep the insects out and let the carbon dioxide escape. In warm weather the jar can explode if a lid is put on instead of paper towel.)
  4. Let this ferment for 48 hrs.
  5. Strain the liquid through a plastic strainer.
  6. To second ferment add fresh fruit of your choice to the strained liquid and leave to ferment for another 24 hrs. This second fermentation stage you can use a glass jar with a proper lid.
  7. Repeat the process above, and always ensure your grains are in fresh sugar water.
  8. Grains will multiply if looked after correctly. Your grains may even double in amount quickly in the warm weather. You can start a new batch or give them away.
  9. Grains tend to be small in the warm months, and large in the cooler months.

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.

Quick Reads: Heal your broken relationship with food

Hello Everyone.

The whole point of healing a broken relationship with food or your body is uncovering WHY you have ended up with this battle with your body in the first place. It’s never about the food – there is always an underlying emotional/behavioural cause.

 

Usually it’s because you have fallen out of love with yourself.

 

Sometimes it’s because you have become disconnected to your own beautiful body.

 

Or maybe because you don’t feel worthy. You don’t feel good enough. This usually results in making poor health choices for your body – because you simply don’t feel worthy of feeling your best.

 

When you have developed a complicated relationship with food and weight – its usually because you feel you are fat, ugly and unlovable. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

Good news is – you can change that.

 

This is usually what causes a complex relationship with food initially:

 

  • Control – desire to control situations/environments that perhaps feel out of control – lack of trust in life.
  • Self-punishment/torture – as a result of self-hatred and self-doubt. Bingeing is a good example of this.
  • Distraction of painful feelings – being obsessed with food and weight becomes a great distraction of feelings that may be overwhelming you.
  • Not feeling good enough/worthy – feeling like you have to be ‘a good girl/boy’ to be loved and appreciated.
  • Perfectionism – if you ‘look perfect’ you will be more lovable and feel happier in life. Perhaps it will also make you more popular?
  • Competitive nature – typical ‘A’ type personalities – everything needs to be in control and perfectly perfect, at all times. I totally admit to being like this.
  • Need for attention/love – feeling ‘lonely in the world’. I felt this for many years as a teenager.
  • Familial – often disordered eating can trickle down from family members who have also suffered from disordered eating or family members who comment/criticise eating habits at home. This was certainly the case for me.
  • Societal pressure – seeing skinny models on our social media feeds fuels the pressure to be skinny in order to be loved/appreciated/accepted.
  • If you are at the point of depriving/starving yourself with food – emotionally, it is because you may be denying yourself the ability to enjoy life because you don’t feel worthy of it. You are so worthy, my love. You are worthy of the most beautiful and abundant life. I also didn’t feel worthy (not so long ago). I get you. I get your pain. But I promise you, you are precious. The world needs you and more of you.

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan-Nutrition Nourishment

Quick Reads: How to stop stress eating

Hello Everyone,

The next time you sit down to eat a meal, do one thing for yourself: come into your body and become aware of how you’re feeling. Are you feeling stressed or relaxed? Are you holding on? Is your stomach starting to clench? Are you feeling scattered/anxious? Is your heart racing? Or perhaps you feel calm and present?

You may be excited about your food or you may start to feel guilty about what you are about to eat.

These are some of the emotions I used to feel every time I sat down to a plate of food – not the calm and present part above.

However, it doesn’t have to be like this — here’s my advice:

My advice:

  • Next time you sit down to a meal – take 3 long deep breathes and relax your entire body.
  • Try your best to remove all judgment about what you are about to eat – instead focus on slowly enjoying each mouthful. Judgment around food causes stress which makes it actually harder to digest that food. Remember that 80% of the time your goal is to eat nourishing wholefoods and then there will be 20% of imperfect eating – that’s balance. So enjoy each meal – whether good or bad.
  • Pay attention and ENJOY – eating is such a pleasurable experience. Enjoy it, Don’t rush it! Listen to your body and eat what your body needs. When you start to become a conscious eater you learn the art of moderation – you become aware of when you are full. This is the healthiest way to eat.
  • Commit to making each meal pleasurable. Make sure to be sitting in a peaceful environment (away from phone/computers/tv) to do this. Being on social media while you eating leaves you feel unsatisfied.
  • Pay attention to your food and how you feel after eating it – this is the best guide to knowing which foods make you feel good. When you start to be present with food – you start to taste it and enjoy is more which will make you feel much more satiated after eating which decreases stress eating.
  • Remember, food is not going anywhere. You can have some more later or tomorrow. This helped from overeating or stress eating.
  • Remove the pressure to do it all perfectly. Commit to eating well because it makes you feel GOOD. Then allow there to be some room for indulgence with moderation.

 

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan-Nutrition Nourishment

Recipe of The Week: Grain-Free Savoury Vegetable Muffins

Hello Everyone,

A delicious grain-free savoury muffins are full of vegetables, healing herbs, and nutrients to soothe the gut. Perfect for breakfast, snack or as a compliment to lunch/dinner. 

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Grain-Free Savoury Vegetable Muffins

Ingredients:

250g Almond Meal

100g Arrowroot

1/2 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt

1/2 tsp Baking soda

1 Tbsp Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

100g Parmesan cheese, grated

Small Bunch of Fresh Parsley

Handful of Spinach/Rocket Leaves

1 Zucchini, grated

2 tsp Sunflower Seeds

5 Free Range Organic Eggs

Baking Paper

Method:

Step 1: Preheat Oven to 180 Degrees Celsius. Line muffin tray with baking paper.

Step 2: In a Large mixing bowl, combine almond meal, arrowroot, salt, baking soda, parmesan, herbs, spinach/rocker, zucchini, and sunflower seeds. Mix until well combined.

Step 3: Mix wet ingredients together in a separate bowl, add to dry ingredients and mix well.

Step 4: Pour mixture into a pre-prepared baking tin and bake in oven for around 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

Step 5: Allow to cool on counter before freezing. Enjoy!

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan-Nutrition Nourishment

Food Labels in Australia: Understanding nutritional ‘claims’ and Ingredients

Hello everyone,

Food labels can be very confusing and tricky to understand for many consumers. Often we don’t have the time to spend in the supermarket trying to work out what they mean and how we can use them. However, a few quick tips can make shopping for healthy food a whole lot easier and quicker. Knowing what nutritional information to look for can help make the best choice and avoid unnecessary saturated fats, added salts/sugars/kilojoules. A Variety of useful websites online such as Eat for Health, Food Standards Australia and The National Centre for Biotechnology Information (refer to references section), have great information on how to read the nutrition information panel, ingredients list, nutrition content/health claims and percentage daily intake.

However, as a practitioner it is part of our job to teach our clients how to make the best informed decisions on their food products that best fit with their lifestyle and diet plan. So I decided to create this blog to help you gain a better understanding on food labels, and how to make the best choices when it comes to food products.

In Australia, the law requires all manufactured foods to carry labels containing safety and nutrition information. This information helps you to make decisions about the food you buy and eat so you can follow a healthy diet.

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What information is on the food label?

The label will tell you:

  • the name of the product
  • the brand name
  • what ingredients it contains (listed in order from largest to smallest by weight)
  • nutritional information
  • use by date
  • details of the manufacturer
  • how much it weighs
  • information for people with food allergies
  • a list of food additives
  • storage instructions
  • the country where the food was produced.

Understanding nutrition claims

Some labels tell you what percentage of the recommended daily intake is provided by one serve of the product. This helps you to work out how the food fits into a balanced diet. Read more about recommended daily intakes for adults and here.recommended daily intakes for children

The label may make a number of nutrition claims such as ‘gluten free’, ‘low GI’, ‘low fat’, ‘reduced salt’ or ‘high fibre’. These mean the product meets strict criteria set by the government. More about those below.

But just because a product can make a nutrition claim doesn’t mean it is healthy. For example, a product that is ‘low fat’ may have more kilojoules than another similar product. Check the Nutrition Information Panel to see how the product compares.

Various claims on Food Products

Food products may have various claims on the package providing information on the food products and source. Some claims you may see in the supermarket include Free-range, organic, gluten-free, Whole-grain, good source of calcium, low energy, lactose free, good source of protein.

Some food label claims are more specific to a particular nutrient such as:

Sugar: No Added Sugar, Real fruit/fruit juice, unsweetened, % Sugar free

Sodium/Salt: Low in Salt, No added salt, unsalted

Fat: Low fat, Fat-free, Reduced Fat, % Fat-Free, Saturated Fat-free, contains less cholesterol, trans-fatty acid free

light or lite: One of the most confusing food packaging labels. This can refer to any number of characteristics of a product including colour, textures, salt, fat, or sugar content. The label must specify in what way the product is considered ‘light/lite’. If the information claims a nutrient, energy or salt of the product has to be at least 25% less than the regular version. However, if the product is normally very high, the ‘light/lite’ version can still be high energy, salt or fat.

low cholesterol: The food contains no more cholesterol then 10mg per 100ml for liquid food and 20mg per 100g for solid food.

Cholesterol is found in meat, chicken, dairy products and eggs and is linked to a higher incidence of heart disease. Therefore, products containing little or no animal fats can claim to be low cholesterol or cholesterol free. This, however, does not mean the product is necessary low in other fats such as vegetable oils. While most plant based fats are healthier than saturated or trans fats they can still contribute to weight gain. In the same way that fat free is used to disguise high sugar products, low cholesterol or cholesterol free are often used on high vegetable fat products. Potato chips, for example, often use the label, even though many contain in excess of 30% fat.

High fibre: for a good source of dietary fibre a serving of the food must contain at least 4g of dietary fibre. An excellent source of dietary fibre would include at least 7g of dietary fibre per serve.

Reduced salt: The food must contain at least 25% less salt than the regular version.

Low sugar: The food contains no more sugars then 2.5grams per 100ml for liquid food and 5g per 100g for solid food.

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How to read the Nutrition Information Panel

The Nutrition Information Panel tells you the size of a standard serving of the product and which nutrients are contained in that serving. You can use the label to compare the product with what’s in similar packaged foods.

Energy: A kilojoule is a measure of energy. To lose weight, you need to eat and drink fewer kilojoules than you use. You should limit your intake of foods that have more than 600kJ per serve.

  • Fat: Fat is higher in kilojoules than other nutrients, so you should limit the total amount you eat.
  • Saturated fat: There are different types of fats. Saturated fats are linked to an increased risk of heart disease and high blood cholesterol, so it is especially important to choose foods low in saturated fat.
  • Carbohydrate: Carbohydrates are found in all fruit and vegetables, all breads and grain products, and sugar and sugary foods. You need carbohydrates for energy.
  • Sugar: Sugar is a type of carbohydrate. It is better to choose healthier carbohydrates and to limit foods that are high in added sugars.
  • Fibre: High fibre foods such as wholegrain bread and cereals improve digestion and help you to feel full.
  • Sodium: This tells you how much salt the product contains. Eating too much salt is linked to high blood pressure and can lead to heart disease, strokes and kidney disease.

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Ingredient lists

Ingredients must be listed in descending order (by ingoing weight). This means that when the food was manufactured, the first ingredient listed contributed the largest amount and the last ingredient listed contributed the least. For example, if sugar is listed near the start of the list the product contains a greater proportion of this ingredient.

If the product contains added water, it must be listed in the ingredient list according to its ingoing weight, with an allowance made for any water lost during processing, e.g. water lost as steam. The only exceptions are when the added water:

  • makes up less than 5% of the finished product, 

  • is part of a broth, brine or syrup that is listed in the ingredient list, or 

  • is used to reconstitute dehydrated ingredients.

Sometimes compound ingredients are used in a food. A compound ingredient is an ingredient made up of two or more ingredients e.g. canned spaghetti in tomato sauce, where the spaghetti is made up of flour, egg and water. All the ingredients which make up a compound ingredient must be declared in the ingredient list, except when the compound ingredient is used in amounts of less than 5% of the final food. An example of a compound ingredient that could be less than 5% of the final food is the tomato sauce (consisting of tomatoes, capsicum, onions, water and herbs) on a frozen pizza.

However, if an ingredient that makes up a compound ingredient is a known allergen it must be declared regardless of how much is used.

Percentage labelling

Most packaged foods have to carry labels which show the percentage of the key or characterizing ingredients or components in the food. This allows you to compare similar products.

The characterizing ingredient for strawberry yoghurt would be strawberries and the label would say, for example, 9% strawberries. An example of a component could be the cocoa solids in chocolate. Some foods, such as white bread or cheese, may have no characterizing ingredients or components.

For more information regarding food labelling laws, understanding claims, recommended dietary serves and serving sizes, please click the links below. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via the contact page

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan.

References:

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/cutting-down-on-sugars

https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/recommended-number-serves-adults

https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/recommended-number-serves-children-adolescents-and

http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

https://www.nutrition.gov/subject/shopping-cooking-meal-planning/food-labels

Lift your mood: 20 natural ways

Hello Everyone,

So many of us are waking up tired, moody and feeling low about life. Our lives are busier, more stress and sometimes very taxing. This can take a toll on your mental health – as well as your physical wellbeing!

Many health practitioners will tell you that mood disorders are the most prevalent condition in their practices, with a staggering number of clients suffering from depression, anxiety and other psychological stresses. I believe therapy can be incredibly helpful and recommend it to my community whenever they need. However, there are also a lot of natural mood boosters to try!

These are my favourite ways to improve your mood naturally…

However it is always important to be guided by a health practitioner to support your needs beyond this gentle advice.

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NUTRITION

  • Cut caffeine (coffee, sodas, energy drinks). The adrenaline from caffeine will effect your moods. If you’re stressed or feeling low, this can make things worse. Alternatively just stick to one coffee a day before 12pm- The Nutrition Nourishment Rule!
  • Cut processed and packaged foods. They are inflammatory in the body, which will inevitably have a negative effect on your moods, not to mention some negative long-term health effects.
  • Cut artificial sweeteners. Evidence shows that aspartame is linked to mood disorders.
  • While you’re at it, cut refined sugar too! Sugar is a huge energy zapper. You get a short boost of energy after consuming, but then you’ll crash harder than before making you tired and grumpy.
  • Add a portion of protein, good fats, and complex carbohydrates to your plate. These macronutrients help to keep our blood sugar levels stable. When our blood sugar levels drop, so does our mood! Good fats and complex carbs also help to make hormones and neurotransmitters in the body that help make you feel good- serotonin!
  • Reduce alcohol intake. Alcohol is associated with mood disorders. Oh yes it is!
  • Cleanse. When our gut and liver are clogged from excess drinking, sugar, and an overall toxic load, our body struggles to make the feel-good hormones such as serotonin. Serotonin is actually made in the gut. So reduce your toxic load and give your body a break from the nasty chemicals with a seasonal cleanse.
  • Drink more water! Dehydration can cause fatigue and agitation.

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LIFESTYLE

  • Exercise is a natural mood lifter! Move your body in your favourite ways!
  • Schedule some downtime. When we’re stressed and overwhelmed, our moods tend to be low. Dedicate a few minutes a day to you and REST. This will really lift you up!
  • Sleep 8 hours. Sleep = repair. When we feel rested, we’re happier people.
  • Acupuncture has been used to treat mood disorder. This may help!
  • Forgive. It’s not for the other person, forgiveness will benefit YOU!
  • Gratitude. Write down 5 things you’re grateful for everyday. When we remember what we DO have rather than what we don’t have, we instantly feel better.
  • Laugh more! Yes there is science behind this. Laughing is the easiest way to feel good.

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SUPPLEMENTS

 (under the guidance of a health practitioner)

  • Go for the B! Research shows these Vitamin Bs—folate, B6, and B12—can assist with mood.
  • Vitamin D. Low vitamin D is correlated with depression. Most of the population is deficient in this essential micronutrient. All you need is 15-20 minutes a day of sunshine or supplement with Vitamin D (200 IU).
  • Fish oil. Opt for 2 to 3g a day
  • Get your daily probiotic. This will ensure healthy gut flora which assists with serotonin production.
  • Go the herbal route! Seek assistance from your naturopath – herbs can have mood elevating effects.

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan-Nutrition Nourishment