Monthly Archives: February 2013

San Choy Bow!

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san choy bow 2San Choy Bow…ANOTHER one of my favourites!

Not only is this recipe super quick and easy but it tastes deeeelicious AND its super healthy too! Win win situation really! Packed full of lots of different tastey, veggies this meal is not only easy on the eye with the eclectic mix of colours wrapped up in your lettuce leaf but it’s also obviously loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. Oh and did i mention it’s gluten and dairy free??

Using a low fat pork (or chicken breast) mince also helps cut down on the fat content of the meal making it the perfect post work out meal or midweek dinner! I am not very good at keeping track of measurements but this is basically what goes into my san choy bow (which serves about 4 people)

1 brown onion

3 garlic cloves (crushed)

1 large red chili

1 large carrot

1 large zucchini

1/2 red or yellow capsicum

4-5 med button mushrooms

1 sm tin sliced water chestnuts

1 cup bean sprouts

handful of chopped coriander

500g extra lean pork mince or chicken breast mince sanchoybow4

1-1.5 tbs oyster sauce (GF varieties available)

50ml chicken stock

1 tsp corn flour

1 tsp sesame oil

tbs sesame seeds

splash of peanut oil

1/2 fresh lime

What to do…

Dice up your onion and sautee in a large frypan til transparent, then add crushed garlic, the diced red chili and the sesame seeds.

Next add your mince and leave on high heat til the meat is cooked through.

Add all the mushies, capsicum, zucchini and carrot and stir over moderate heat for a couple of minutes. Now add your bean sprouts.

Then add the chicken stock (or just use water if you’re trying to cut back on salt!) and corn flour and stir through. Next add your oyster sauce and the water chestnuts.

Finally add your chopped coriander, squeeze the lime juice over the top and you’re almost done!

The last thing you need is obviously your lettuce cups for serving so make sure you get a nice healthy looking iceberg lettuce and then just break off as many cups as you think you’ll need!

ENJOY!

                         san choy bow 3

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The Ultimate Healthy Start to the Day!

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My Daily Morning Routine would not be the same without my fave breaky combo!  Tempting you say? Why not make it your favourite breakfast ritual too!muesli and fruit

And yes the muesli is home-made! Why spend ridiculous amounts of money on teeny tiny boxes of commercial muesli that is probably full of added sugar and preservatives when you can whip up a big batch of your own that will not only taste amazing but will work out to be a quarter of the price in the long run!

You can make as little as much as you like but my muesli combo is actually my mums concoction and usually consists of the following…

– Dry Roasted Mixed Nuts (Almonds, Hazelnuts, Walnuts, Pistachios, cashews)

– Oats

– Coconut Shavings

– Nitrate-Free Dried Fruit such as sultanas, apples, apricots, pears, peaches, craisins

– Pumpkin Seeds, pepitas and Chia Seeds!

YUM!

Add a small serve of this delicious concoction to a bowl and then top with fresh/frozen berries, chopped banana and a dollop of low-fat natural yoghurt and I doubt you will left unsatisfied. Not only is this breakky tastey but it has a host of health benefits too! Firstly all the nuts and seeds pack a hearty punch of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids (namely omega-3’s which most of us do not consume enough of) that will help boost immunity and energy. They have also been shown to help improve digestive health and weight control and even reduce heart disease risk. The dried fruits also have their own unique compositions of important vitamins and minerals whilst also increasing your fibre intake! The oats too are full of fibre to help keep you feeling fuller for longer! When you combine all this with a good dose of calcium from the yoghurt and the goodness of some fresh fruit on top you’ve got yourself a pretty well rounded start to the morning! What did you have for breakfast this morning????

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Multivitamins – Do we really need them?

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As a dietitian I am asked constantly what my stance is on taking multivitamins and my reply is pretty much always the same.. unless you know you are deficient in something or are unable to eat a healthy balanced diet (which contains all the vitamins and minerals that your body needs) there is really no point in taking daily multivitamins! Why spend money on something which your body is probably only going to excrete if it is already receiving all those essential vitamins and minerals from your diet? timthumb.php
If however, you have been tested to be deficient in any vitamins and minerals you should speak to your GP or a dietitian about how to rectify your deficiency. Another exemption to the rule is vitamin D which I will explain in more detail in a sec.

To prove my point that your daily dose of vitamins can be obtained through your diet I decided to give you all a quick overview of where you can find most of your major vitamins and minerals from food. I am also going to include what their major functions are and what can happen if you aren’t eating enough of the right foods.

VITAMIN A

Food sources: Liver, fish, eggs, dairy products, yellow/orange/red and dark leafy green vegetables (eg apricots, sweet potato, mangoes, carrots, spinach, watercress)

Why do we need it? Vitamin A is essential to maintaining the integrity of our skin, eyes, and gastrointestinal systems and respiratory tracts.

What happens when we don’t have enough? A deficiency in vitamin A can lead to the development of cataracts and syndrome common amongst the elderly known as Xeropthalmia which results in “dry eyes” and eventually blindness. Being deficient in vitamin A may also cause your skin to lose integrity becoming dry and scaly and you may also become more susceptible to infections.

VITAMIN B12

Food sources: liver, heart, kidney, meat, poultry, fish, milk, cheese, fortified breakfast cereals

Why do we need it? Important for energy production, maintaining a healthy nervous system and in the regeneration of our red blood cells.

What happens when we don’t have enough? Deficiencies can lead to anemia, lethargy and nerve problems. Deficiencies in vitamin B12 are quite common in the elderly due to changes in our diets and also our body’s ability to absorb it from the protein sources in our diets. It is therefore, recommended that anyone over the age of 50 ensures that they include foods in their diets that are fortified with vitB12 such as breakfast cereals or take supplements, as this form of VitB12 is more easily absorbed.

VITAMIN C

Food Sources: Citrus fruits, blackcurrants, strawberries, kiwi fruit, papaya, red chillies, broccoli, watercress, parsley, green leafy vegetables, red and green peppers.

Why do we need it? Vitamin C has many important roles in our bodies and is required for healthy skin, bones, teeth, cartilage and blood vessels. It helps promote healing, aids in the absorption of iron, helps reduce inflammatory responses and is a very powerful antioxidant!

What happens if we don’t get enough? We can’t store large amounts of vitamin C in our bodies, so if we don’t consume enough through our diets we leave ourselves at risk of muscle cramps, bruising, anaemia, infections, slow healing, dry skin and splitting hair.

VITAMIN D

Food Sources: minimal amounts are found in oily fish, milk, butter, fortified margarines, egg yolk and fish oils. NB: Most of the Vitamin D we need is produced in our skin and is converted to an active form by our kidneys upon exposure to sunlight.

Why do we need it? Vitamin D plays a vital role in calcium absorption in our bodies and therefore is essential for healthy bones and teeth and preventing osteoarthritis/osteoporosis.

What happens when we don’t have enough? People of 50 may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency, as your skin does not synthesize vitamin D like it should and your kidneys slowly become less able to covert vitamin D to its active form. Without enough vitamin D we put ourselves at risk of developing weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis) and a higher risk of bone fractures. Vitamin D supps are therefore a necessity for many, especially those who are over 50. If you are over 50 or spend very little time in the sun I would highly recommend having your vitamin D levels tested every now and then by your GP to check for any unwanted deficiencies!

VITAMIN E

Food Sources: Wheat-germ oil, soy-bean oil, sunflower oil, margarine, olives, nuts and seeds, avocado and coconut oil.

Why do we need it? Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant and helps protect cell membranes and therefore maintains skin integrity, aids healing and helps prevent scarring. It also keeps nerves and red blood cells healthy and assists in the prevention of heart disease. This vitamin is also believed to help prevent and/or delay cataract growth.

What happens when we don’t have enough? A deficiency in this vitamin is relatively rare if you include plenty of “good” fats in your diet. Not including enough sources of vitamin E in your diet however, will only make it harder for your body to slow the natural aging process!

VITAMIN K

Food Sources: Green Leafy Vegetables, milk, liver, wheat bran, oats, vegetable oils

Why do we need it? Known as the “natural band-aid” Vitamin K promotes blood clotting.

What happens if we don’t have enough? Though deficiencies are rare in adults, vitamin K deficiencies can cause abnormal blood clotting or haemorrhages.

NB: Vitamin K interacts with and masks the effectiveness of certain blood pressure medications such as Warfarin!

FOLATE

Food Sources: Dried yeast/yeast extract, liver, dark leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, oat bran and fortified food products (eg breakfast cereals, bread and juices)

Why do we need it? Folate works with vitamin B12 to protect the nervous system and is also believed to play a role in preventing heart disease, Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease.

What happens when we don’t have enough? Due to its role in preventing Spina Bifida in new born babies, most breads and cereals in Australia are now fortified with Folate, so deficiencies in adults are not overly common. It is still important to ensure you are eating enough foods rich in Folate as deficiencies in this vitamin can lead to a range of conditions including anemia, depression and nerve functioning problems.

CALCIUM

Food Sources: All dairy products, canned fish (eg sardines and salmon eaten with their bones), some breakfast cereals, sesame seeds, almonds, green leafy vegetables, fortified soy milk and tofu.

Why do we need it? Calcium is one of the most important minerals of all, as it is responsible for maintaining strong healthy bones and teeth and also regulates nerve and muscle function, as well as being required for blood clotting and blood pressure regulation.

What happens when we don’t have enough? Our vitamin D requirements increase with age due to a gradual decrease in absorption. Many elderly people do not reach their minimum calcium requirements, leaving them at risk of osteoporosis, muscle weakness and spasms, high blood pressure, heart palpitations and joint pain.

ZINC

Food Sources: Oysters, crab and shellfish, other seafood, red meat, chicken, kidney, dairy products, eggs, nuts and wheat-germ

Why do we need it? Zinc helps improve our immunity and healing processes and is essential for healthy eyes, skin and nails.

What happens when we don’t have enough? Low zinc intake is associated with impaired immune function, anorexia, loss of sense of taste, delayed wound healing and pressure ulcer development.

vitamins

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Yum two of my favourite things! Who knew combining good food with good nutrition could be this simple!

Bee Fit with Tracy

Did you know that when certain foods are eaten together, their respective health benefits are exponentially increased? Throughout this week, I am going to introduce the most powerful food combinations that will supercharge your health in ways that wouldn’t be possible if they were eaten separately. Today’s “super couple” is avocado and tomato.

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a pigment-rich antioxidant known as a carotenoid. Carotenoid has been shown to reduce cancer risk and cardiovascular disease. Fats make carotenoids more bioavailable ( the amount that a substance is absorbed), making a strong case for adding tomatoes to your guacamole dip, or for adding avocados to a tomato-rich, leafy green salad. According to a July 13th, 2012 article in Men’s Health online magazine, registered dietitian Susan Bowerman of California Polytechnic State University stated “the lycopene in tomato products such as pasta sauce is better absorbed when some fat (e.g., olive oil)…

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Eating Healthy on a Budget!

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Ok, so we all know we should be eating plenty of wholegrains, fish, lean meat, vegetable oils, nuts and fresh fruit and vegetables but for some of us filling up the trolley with all of these types of foods can be REALLY difficult! Why you ask? Yep you guessed it..the cost! Despite what many will say, eating healthily can be quite costly and if you have a tight budget already, many of these foods probably get replaced with slightly cheaper and most likely less healthy options. So, for those of you who perhaps fall into this category I have put together a few helpful hints to assist you in managing to eat a healthy balanced diet without breaking the budget! 

Planning Ahead:piggy bank

  • Write a shopping list – your shopping list should resemble the healthy eating pyramid, spending the most money on your eat most foods, a smaller proportion on your eat moderately foods and the smallest portion of your list (and food budget) should be made up of your eat in small amounts foods.
  • Always plan ahead and include some healthy snack options on your shopping list
  • Decide what meals you are going to prepare for the following week and write your shopping list to suit.
  • Use your local supermarkets’ weekly mail catalogue to make use of the specials when writing your shopping list.
  • If you are going to a party, try and eat at home before you go to decrease the temptation to tuck into party foods and other less healthy snacks throughout the night.
  • Pack your lunch for work/class the night before when possible, so that time isn’t an issue in the mornings.
  • Pick a day of the week to make your designated grocery shopping time each week, always take a shopping list and try to make this a weekly ritual!

Filling up the shopping trolley on a budget:Unknown

  • Prepare your shopping list BEFORE you go shopping and only buy what is written on the list.
  • Bulk buy non-perishable everyday items such as rice, pasta, flour, tinned tomatoes, tinned tuna, lentils/legumes, noodles, stock cubes, tinned vegetables etc.
  • Buy meat in bulk when it is on special and freeze in serve size portions.
  • Frozen vegetables are a great alternative to fresh when fresh produce is not in season or is too expensive
  • Look for specials/clearance items and do your grocery shopping as late as possible in the day to take advantage of the clearance specials at the end of the day
  • Always shop around and check your local butcher/green grocer as they may have specials or cheaper prices for some products than the larger supermarkets.
  • Don’t buy extra unneeded junk food items such as softdrink, chips and chocolate when grocery shopping even if they are on special!  (There is less temptation to eat these unhealthy food items if they are not in the house!!)
  • Choose the cheaper home-brand items where possible, (especially for staple food items like flour, milk, rice etc) as more often than not the only real difference is the price.

Saving time and money in the kitchen:

  • Prepare meals in bulk and freeze them in portion-sized containers – (they make a quick, healthy and cheap alternative to take-away when you have limited time!
  • Take left over’s to work/class etc rather than buying your lunch.
  • Bulk up your meat dishes with legumes, chic-peas and lentils – reduces costs and overall fat content whilst increasing recipe bulk.
  • Use up old vegetables in soups or to bulk up meat dishes, where freshness is not nearly so important.
  • Frozen/canned vegetables and fruit are a great way to prevent wastage due to their extended shelf life. Frozen vegetables/fruit in particular are usually just as nutritious as fresh produce and tend to be less expensive.
  •  Limit takeaways – despite popular belief they are actually usually more expensive than home cooked meals (especially when buying for more than one person) and lack the nutritional quality.
  • Include some form of protein to meals wherever possible (such as lean meat, tofu, tuna, legumes, low fat dairy, eggs or nuts), as they help to increase satiety and prevent unnecessary snacking throughout the day.
  • Store perishable foods like bread/crumpets/wraps etc in the freezer to prevent mould growth.
  • Use fruit that is starting to perish to make stewed fruit or a healthy smoothie for breakfast.

Some sites to check out for extra information on how to eat healthily on a budget and some great recipe ideas!

–       Food Cents Program: http://www.foodcentsprogram.com.au/

–       DAA Cheap and Cheerful Recipe List: http://daa.asn.au/for-the-public/smart-eating-for-you/recipes/browse/?course=0&cuisine=0&type=0&category=50&ingredient=0

–       Swap it Don’t Stop it Campaign Information: http://swapit.gov.au/ways-to-swap/swap-tips

OR BECOME A MEMBER OF A COMMUNITY KITCHEN NEAR YOU! Check out this site for more information:    http://www.communitykitchens.org.au/

Hope this is helpful!

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I think this is a great article as Melissa has nailed a very important weight loss theory on the head… Fad diets and Yoyo dietiting DON’T WORK! Despite the constant hype in the media about the latest fad diets, successful weightloss is more about having a healthy balanced diet and listening to your body’s cues and the way you are feeling than severe food restrictions and cutting out entire food groups. Thanks for this one Melissa!

East Side Crew Fitness

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This post is by our guest contributor Melissa Podmore.  Melissa Podmore is a psychologist and yoga teacher based in Bondi, NSW. Melissa can be contacted by clicking this link.

Tips for Weight loss and Healthy Lifestyle

You may be surprised to hear that the absolute number one rule / tip / mantra (Or even tattoo if your so inclined…) for losing weight is that “DIETS DON’T WORK”.  The best, most proven technique for us to FAIL long-term in any weight loss pursuit is to follow a restrictive diet which deprives you of the calories and nutrients your body needs to function efficiently. There are 2 clear reasons why!

1.  Dieting sets up a psychological state of deprivation and control, and both of these states create stress in our mind (and bodies). When we are dieting we are focusing on what we CAN’T have, and this leads to restrictive and obsessional…

View original post 785 more words

My Fish Tacos!

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FISH TACOS          (serves 4 people)

This is another of my regular favourites! Not only are they fun to eat but my slightly Asian inspired take on the traditional Mexican Fish tacos are fresh, healthy and seriously delicious!

For the fish:              fish tacos

600g firm white fish (I like to use snapper or mahi mahi)

2-3 cloves of garlic (thinly sliced)

1 fresh red chilli (sliced)

4 spring onions (sliced)

juice of 2 lemons (approx ½cup)

250g punnet cherry tomatoes (halved)

splash of olive oil

splash of fish sauce              crunchy salsa

handful of fresh parsely (chopped)

salt and pepper

 

Everything else:

1 large ripe avocado

1 sm Lebanese cucumber

2 roma tomatoes

1 sm red onion   guacamole

handful of coriander/parsley

½ lemon

1 tspn sesame oil

splash fish sauce

packet on mini corn tortillas

sm jar salsa

What to do…..

Ok so first up, turn your oven on to moderate heat (180degrees)

For the fish place your fish into a medium sized baking dish and pour over your oil, lemon juice and fish sauce.Then add all your chopped veggies for the fish and season with salt and pepper before placing in the oven.

(Your fish should take about 20mins or so depending on the thickness of your fillets so keep an eye on them while you’re prepping the rest of the dish! To test if the fish is cooked grab a fork and if it slides through a fillet without resistance and the fish breaks away into nice big flakes it should be just about done! Also check that the fish has turned white and is no longer that raw, opaque colour in the middle.)

While the fish is in the oven, make your guacamole by mashing the avo in a bowl and seasoning with lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Then make up your crunchy salsa by dicing up your cucumber, roma tomatoes, red onion and coriander and then adding a splash of fish sauce, the sesame oil and a squeeze of lemon (or lime).

Just before serving throw your mini tortillas either on a rack in the oven or nuke them quickly in the microwave for 30 seconds

Now its time to EAT!

Enjoy!

fish tacos