My Nutrition Story: Learning about Food, Diet, and Body Acceptance.

Hello Everyone,

You asked and I’ll answer!

I’ve had many requests to write a blog on my past experiences with nutrition and diet. I get asked often. How do you eat so healthy? What keeps you motivated? How can you know what your body needs? What is the ultimate diet?

Usually the answers are the same, I don’t eat completely healthy, I still like cheese, biscuits and the occasional sweet. Some days I’m not motivated and I feel bloated, fatigued and unable to concentrate. I don’t always know what my body needs, some days my head is going so fast i can barely hear myself think. And the ultimate diet is one that’s makes you feel amazing, keeps you healthy and able to enjoy life.

I’ve recently qualified as a Clinical Nutritionist and the knowledge I’ve gained over the past 3 years at uni has helped me to understand my body a little more. However, I still have so much to learn, and there are some moments I have questioned my abilities to help myself and others. I am human. Let me give you an overview of my past experience to begin..

Trying to fit in.

I’ve struggled in the past with my own body image throughout most of my teenage years and early 20s. Like many girls, I tortured myself to the point where food was the enemy and my body was a burden. My relationship with my body was turbulent: I was a carbrestricting, fad-dieting, anxiety-ridden, scale-fearing, self-loathing, and self-doubting mess.

I took extreme measures to to get my body to look a certain way including calorie-restricting, throwing up, diet pills, laxatives and starving. Whenever I felt I had over-indulged, I would punish my body by beating myself up, and over-excercising (until i fainted).

I thought I was doing everything right, and I couldn’t understand my body at all and why I always felt unwell. I was experiencing constant migraines, body aches, bruises that would pop up out of nowhere, my nails were brittle and my hair was falling out in clumps. My diet and lifestyle was so extreme, in fact, it was downright dangerous. My obsession with dieting and food clouded my ability to listen to what my body really needed.

Then something clicked. I realised hating on my body was not only affecting everything in my life, it had become my life. I committed myself to understanding what nutrition was all about, and how the body utilises the food I consumed. That’s when I enrolled into The Australasian College of Natural Therapies to learn more about nutrition. Once I started to learn and understand how the body actually works, my mentality shifted. I viewed food as a source of nourishment, not the enemy. I realised it didn’t matter what the number on the scales read, that would never make me happy. I needed to work on myself and find true happiness outside of my own self-obsession. I began to eat in a way that healed my body. Listening to what foods worked for me and what foods didn’t. This become how I tuned into my body’s needs and help support my system to work at it’s full potential.

Even now, I’m constantly changing the way I eat, to fit into my lifestyle, and how my body feels at the time. But I believe that is all par of being a nutritionist. (We are constantly trialling new diets to better understand their affect on the body).

Let’s go back a bit. 

Four years ago, I decided to cut red meat back to 2 nights a week. I was feeling bloated, uncomfortable and experiencing flatulence on a daily basis. I felt it took my body fare too long to digest and my body wasn’t accepting it. This was my first experience in listening to my body. In my first week I ate red meat once, then never ate it again. I consumed fish and poultry, along with wholegrains, vegetables and fruits.

After around 18 months I began to become sick of chicken and fish so I decided to cut out all meat and go vegetarian. (i love cheese and wasnt ready to part with it). I began to feel more energised, lighter and was passing stools more easily. In the past 2 years, while studying I have tried removing gluten, dairy, sugar, and trialling new food products. While I have found some that have become staples in my house ( ie kombucha, legumes, quinoa and buckwheat grains), I learnt more about what foods work and what foods don’t.  Every body is different and responds uniquely to food products.

A difficult time.

Six months ago, I went through a very difficult personal time. My life had become all about work, study and I became selfish to find an outlet. it was a healthy way to deal with my stress, and I acknowledge that now. I made mistakes and my body suffered greatly. I was run-down. My body was in a state of constant sickness, I was fatigued, pale and struggle to cope. Somehow I manage to get through the year, finish my uni degree, tafe course and work duties until my body decided since I wasn’t listening to the earlier warning signs, It was time to be a little more abrupt.

I became sick around end of November when I was diagnosed with Glandular Fever. It is a mono-nucleus virus that can lay dormant in your system, and flare up in times of immune stress. I had been fighting this virus for the past 6 months but wasnt listening to my body. I was diagnosed in Hospital via blood test, where I visited twice within the week, dehydrated, confused and yellow. My liver wasn’t coping, I wasn’t keeping any food/fluids down and I was miserable. I spent my birthday in hospital, and was unable to finish my last two weeks of uni.

This time I listened to my body. I wasn’t coping, and I needed to step back to rest. I put myself up for bed rest for 2 months. Even now I get fatigued easily, and out of breathe. I have had a check with the doc and iron deficient (which I suspected).

I am NOT perfect.

I may not ever get it completely right and I am still learning. Learning to say no, learning to cope with stress and learning to find balance. With both my life and diet. I have become more relaxed with my diet recently, as I can only tolerate certain foods still. I realise I stopped enjoying food when I became stressed and strict with my diet. i thought I was eating a healthy diet, but I was actually forcing my body into a state of burn-out without the necessary nutrients to sustain every day metabolic functions.

Rest assure, even nutritionist struggle. We cannot treat ourselves, and I’m thankful to have such a wonderful mentor who has been a blessing. She has been trying to tell me for months, what my body was telling me, but I was too arrogant.

I look forward to 2018 being a year of pacing myself, and continuing to learn how to balance my diet and life. I will no longer restrict myself with food, but allow myself to enjoy and accept my body the way it is.

I wish you all a successful 2018, and I hope you’re able to take something from this blog too.

Healthiest Regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Advertisements

Smart Snacking: Bring Some Balance into Your Diet.

Hello everyone,

The most common complaints I have in clinic are people struggling with energy levels, especially in the afternoon. It all comes down to balancing macronutrients during meals, and smart snacking. Finding some quick, easy and affordable snack options to keep energy levels high, blood sugar balanced and hunger at bay is easy with a little inspiration. Protein-rich, nutrient-filled snacks like the ones below can be a great way of bumping up your nutrition intake for the day – and are a delicious excuse to take a break from study and have a little down time. Some other great examples are:

  • Raw almonds/nuts/seeds
  • Dates filled with nut butter
  • Brown rice cakes with almond butter and cinnamon
  • Veggie sticks (carrot, celery) with hummus
  • Green apple smeared with peanut butter

I’d love to hear any of your go-to snack ideas too!

Simple Snacks

Greek Yoghurt, Cinnamon and Nuts

Simple as that. Just add a sprinkle of cinnamon to a few spoonfuls of Greek Yoghurt, top with any nuts or seeds you have (I love buckinis and walnuts!) and enjoy! Add some berries for an extra Vit-C and antioxidant hit! We also have a couple of homemade granola options in the  “breakfast” recipes section on our website.

Here’s a simple example: 

Mix together: 2 C Organic Steel-Cut Oats, 3/4 C Coconut Flakes, 1/2 C Chopped Almonds, 1/2 C Chopped Walnuts, 1 tsp Cinnamon Spice, 1/2 tsp Nutmeg/allspice, ½ tsp cardamon, 2 Tsp Chia Seeds, 4 Tsp organic virgin pressed coconut oil, Melted, 1/2 C Maple Syrup/Rice-Malt Syrup, 1 tsp vanilla. Optional: Dried cranberries/apricots. Pour the granola mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread into an even layer to ensure an even roasting. Bake for 30 minutes or until granola is a nice golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure an even bake.

IMG_1758-1024x1024

Healthy Sweet Potato Wedges

First things first, preheat your oven to 180°! You want it nice and hot so the wedges go extra crispy. Just cut your sweet potato into chunks, arrange on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper or some cumin if you feel like spicing things up! Place in the oven and 30-35 minutes later you’ll have some perfectly cooked sweet potato wedges.

IMG_1757-1024x1024.jpg

Bliss balls

Bliss balls are the best grab-and-go snack – make a batch for yourself today and you’ll be set for the week! These Almond butter and Protein Bliss balls are perfect for regulating your blood sugar levels and providing a healthy boost of good fats! Yum!

Here’s a simple example:

Add to food processor: 2 scoops vanilla protein (any pea/rice, organic variety), 1 tbsp almond butter, 2 tsp maple syrup, 2-3 dates (pitted), 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, 1 tbsp coconut flour, pinch of sea salt, 1/4 cup of water. Process until ingredients start to bind together. Roll into balls and top with extra almond butter and cinnamon.

IMG_1760-1021x1024.jpg

Smoothies

Smoothies are another easy snack option. Just blend up some easy-to-find, pantry-staple ingredients and pour into a glass – or jar!

Everyone’s Favourite: 

SUPER CHOC BANANA BERRY SMOOTHIE – SERVES 1

This sweet, chocolatey, berry goodness will make you feel as though your having a cheat day, however your body will thank you for the high intake of nutrients, and antioxidant-rich superfoods. This will aid your body to fight free-radical, remove toxins, detox, and rebuild. 

Ingredients:

1 Frozen Banana

Handful Mixed Berries

2-4 Pitted Medjool Dates

1-2 tsp Cacao Powder

1 tsp Chia seeds

1 tsp Maca Powder

1 tsp Beetroot powder

1 Tsp of Goji Berries

½ Avocado

2C milk of choice (Soy, Almond, Coconut)

Handful Ice

 

Method:

Blend all ingredients together to form a smooth consistency. Enjoy!

IMG_0329-1024x1024

Don’t forget to check out all the recipes available for free on the website for some more delicious inspiration!

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Recipe of the Week: Barley and raw veg power salad

Hello everyone,

Been super busy getting all the recipe pages updated for you guys, with photos, and easy-to-navigate drop-down menu. Below is one of the recipes I’m really excited about, it’s packed full of nutrients, proteins and anti-oxidants to provide health and regeneration; It’s called the Barley and Raw Veg Power Salad. Just because it’s starting to cool down, doesn’t mean you have to completely remove delicious salads from your daily menu.

Firstly, some health information regarding barley…

Barley is a major cereal grain, commonly found in bread, beverages, and various cuisines of every culture. It was one of the first cultivated grains in history and, to this day, remains one of the most widely consumed grains, globally.

Barley and other whole grain foods have rapidly been gaining popularity over the past few years due to the various health benefits they provide.

Whole grains are important sources of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are not found in refined or “enriched” grains. Consuming plant-based foods of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. They are also considered to promote a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight. Barley has proven benefits for health including lowering blood pressure, improving bone strength and integrity, supporting heart health, reducing the risk of cancers, particularly colon, reducing inflammation in the body, promoting health digestion and elimination, along with weight maintenance, and satiety (feeling full or satisfied).

Nutritional profile of barley

Barley is commonly found in two forms: hulled and pearled. Hulled barley has undergone minimal processing to remove only the inedible outer shell, leaving the bran and germ intact. Pearled barley has had the layer of bran removed along with the hull.

Half a cup of hulled barley contains:

  • 326 calories
  • 11.5 grams of protein
  • 2 grams of fat
  • 0 grams of cholesterol
  • 68 grams of carbohydrate
  • 16 grams of dietary fiber (64 percent of daily requirements)

That same serving provides the following portion of your daily allowance of minerals and micronutrients:

  • 3 percent of calcium
  • 18 percent of iron
  • 40 percent of thiamin
  • 15 percent of riboflavin
  • 21 percent of niacin
  • 15 percent of vitamin B6
  • 5 percent of folate
  • 30 percent of magnesium
  • 25 percent of phosphorus
  • 12 percent of potassium
  • 17 percent of zinc
  • 23 percent of copper
  • 50 percent of selenium
  • 90 percent of manganese

Beta-glucans are a type of fiber that is found in barley. Recently, beta-glucans have undergone extensive studies to determine their role in human health.

They have been found to lower insulin resistance and blood cholesterol levels, thereby lowering the risk of obesity as well as providing an immunity boost.

Now to the good stuff…. How can you incorporate this nutritious food into your diet?

Quick tips:

  • Add barley to any pot of soup or stew to make it heartier and more flavorful.
  • Cook barley in your choice of broth and add a variety of vegetables for a tasty pilaf or risotto.
  • Toss chilled cooked barley with diced vegetables and homemade dressing for a quick cold salad.
  • Combine barley with onion, celery, mushrooms, carrots, and green pepper. Add broth to the mixture, bring it to a boil, and then bake for approximately 45 minutes for an easy and healthy barley casserole.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Barley and Raw Veg Power Salad

A delicious summer-inspired salad, full of nutrients to aid in health and regeneration. Raw cauliflower, when processed, soaks up the dressing and all the lovely flavours. Perfect on it’s own, or paired with grilled lean meat or fish. 

Ingredients:

150g (2/3 cup) pearl barley

2 oranges, peeled

1 lemon, rind finely grated, juiced

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons maple syrup

250g cauliflower florets

1 small zucchini, finely chopped

2 celery sticks, thinly sliced

2 green shallots, thinly sliced

280g mixed carrots, peeled, coarsely grated

50g (1/3 cup) dried cranberries

1/2 cup fresh mint (firmly packed), chopped

1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves (firmly packed), chopped

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

200g low-fat feta, quartered

Extra virgin olive oil, extra, to drizzle

Fresh mint and Coriander leaves, extra, to serve

Method:

Step 1: Place barley in a saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30-35 minutes or until tender. Drain. Refresh under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towel. Place in a bowl.

Step 2: Holding each orange over a bowl to catch any juice, cut along either side of the white membranes to remove orange segments. Reserve juice. Combine orange juice, lemon juice, oil and maple syrup in a bowl and season.

Step 3: Process cauliflower until finely chopped. Add cauliflower and zucchini to juice mixture. Set aside for 5 minutes to develop the flavours.

Step 4: Add orange segments, lemon rind, celery, shallot, carrot, cranberries, zucchini mixture and 3/4 of the herbs to the barley. Season. Toss to combine. Divide among bowls. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Top with feta. Sprinkle with remaining herbs. Drizzle with extra oil and sprinkle with extra herbs.

Healthiest Regards

Nutrition Nourishment

The Vegetarian diet: Prevention of common nutrient deficiencies.

Hello everyone,

Today’s blog is focused on a vegetarian diet and the nutrients that cause a greater risk of deficiencies when eating a plant-based diet. While it may be possible to eat the correct foods to ensure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs, a person following a vegetarian diet may need to include the use of supplements to equip the body with adequate nutrients for every healthy functioning. At the bottom of the blog, nutrition nourishment has included foods that provide key nutrients for vegetarians.

A vegetarian diet, in its most basic form, is a plant-based diet. Various types of vegetarian diets exist: some only omit animal flesh but allow for poultry and/or seafood, while other stricter forms exclude consumption of animals and animal products altogether (e.g., eggs, dairy products, gelatin, honey, etc.).

Although a wide array of health benefits associated with eating a vegetarian diet exists, nutritional concerns may arise from the exclusion of animal products and their nutrients, which can result in several deficiencies. However, a well-planned vegetarian diet can make up for this by finding these nutrients in plant foods. If you follow or plan to follow a vegetarian diet, do keep an eye out for the following key nutrients:

Protein

Due to the exclusion of meats, a vegetarian diet may be lower in protein but can easily meet the recommended daily requirements with careful planning. Dairy and eggs provide complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids for good health. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins that our bodies cannot make on their own. Individuals following a strict form of vegetarianism/veganism can find significant sources of complete protein rich plant foods in the form of quinoa, buckwheat, soy, chia seeds and hempseeds.

In addition to the essential amino acids, plant-based sources of protein can be combined to arrive at a complete protein: for example, a combination of brown rice and beans contains the complete set of essential amino acids. A varied intake of these complementary protein sources throughout the day can provide an adequate amount of protein.

Iron

Vegetarians who do not consume enough iron are at risk for iron deficiency anaemia due to the decreased absorption of iron from plant sources. Iron can be found in soybeans, lentils, spinach, quinoa, chickpeas, oats, tomatoes and tofu. Combining plant-based iron sources with a source of vitamin C (such as citrus fruit or red peppers) also increases iron absorption.

Zinc

Zinc plays a myriad of roles in biological functions. The primary cause of zinc deficiency is poor dietary intake. Sources of plant-based dietary zinc include bread, legumes, milk, soybeans, tempeh, tofu, nuts and seeds.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is of special concern in a vegetarian diet. A deficiency can cause megaloblastic anaemia and other physiological concerns. B12 can be found in animal products (eggs, cheese and yogurt), but is not naturally found in plant products. It can be found in algae, such as spirulina, and for stricter vegetarians, B12 can be obtained by consuming fortified foods (e.g., breakfast cereals) or as a supplement. Again, be careful about the source of the B12.

Calcium

Calcium is integral to maintaining bone health. Moreover, calcium plays an important biochemical role in all cells. Calcium can be found in dairy products, fortified orange juice and plant milks (soy, rice, almond, etc.), tofu, almonds, sesame (and tahini), dandelion greens and fish bones.

And finally, green leafy vegetables such as collard greens, spinach and rhubarb contain appreciable amounts of calcium, but also contain a chemical called oxalic acid that reduces their absorption. In order for calcium to be properly absorbed, it’s important to maintain vitamin D levels!

Omega-3 fatty acids

Aside from their well-documented health benefits, omega-3 fatty acids are essential to normal growth and health. While the most popular source of omega-3 fatty acids in the Western diet is fish, they can also be found in flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseed oil, soybean and canola oil. Hens fed a diet of greens (e.g. seaweed, green algae) or flax and canola seeds produce eggs with a high omega-3 fatty acid content. An increasing number of foods are being fortified with omega-3 fatty acids, such as orange juice. The sources for these omega-3 fatty acids could be fish-based, so be sure to read the label of the food in question if you happen to be a strict vegetarian!

Iodine

Iodine consumption is essential to the creation and storage of the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Sources of iodine include iodized salt, dairy products and dried seaweed and kelp. Also, plants grown in iodine-rich soil will contain appreciable amounts of iodine.

There are many benefits of a following a vegetarian diet, so if you do decide to follow one, make sure you avoid deficiencies and get all the nutrients that you need! Read below to find out what foods contain key nutrients for plant-based diets.

Key Nutrients for Vegetarians and Vegans

Regardless of the kind of meat-free diet practiced, vegetarians should focus on getting enough protein, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin B12, riboflavin, alpha-linolenic acid, and vitamin D.

Here are some ways to incorporate these nutrients into a vegetarian diet:

  • Protein: Choose tofu, edamame, tempeh, veggie burgers with 5 grams of protein or more, beans and other legumes, nuts, nut butters, eggs, and higher-protein whole grains such as quinoa, amaranth, and kamut.
  • Iron: Eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, soy-based foods, dried prunes, dried apricots, nuts, beans, legumes, and fortified whole wheat bread are good choices.
  • Calcium, which builds bone, is plentiful in cheese, yogurt, milk, edamame, tofu, almonds, sesame tahini, calcium-fortified orange juice, calcium-fortified non-dairy beverages like soy or almond milk, and dark green leafy vegetables like collard greens, spinach, and bok choy.
  • Zinc, which boosts the immune system, is ample in soybeans, soy milk, veggie “meats,” eggs, cheese and yogurt, fortified breakfast cereals, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, lentils, black-eyed peas, split peas, and wheat germ.
  • Vitamin B12: Soy-based beverages, some breakfast cereals, and fortified veggie “meats.”
  • Riboflavin: Almonds, fortified cereals, cow’s milk, yogurt, mushrooms, and soy milk are riboflavin-rich foods.
  • Alpha-Linolenic Acid (Omega-3): Canola oil, ground flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, walnuts, walnut oil, soybeans, and tofu are good choices.

As always if you are interested in further research regarding a vegetarian diet or vegan diet, click on the links below.

http://oldwayspt.org/traditional-diets/vegetarian-vegan-diet

http://oldwayspt.org/resources/oldways-vegetarianvegan-diet-pyramid

http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/frequently-asked-questions/vegetarian-diets

https://daa.asn.au/smart-eating-for-you/smart-eating-fast-facts/healthy-eating/vegetarian-diets-the-basics/

https://daa.asn.au/smart-eating-for-you/smart-eating-fast-facts/healthy-eating/vegan-diets-facts-tips-and-considerations/

http://www.veganaustralia.org.au/health

Healthiest Regards

Nutritionnourishment