This is where I make a reference to winter and the colder months.
It feels like Christmas was only last week, it wasn’t. And just like it hit us hard last year, we are dealing with more darkness and sometimes, miserable weather.
There are positives to the colder months. I’m thinking winter sports, how the mountain looks, warm duvets, hot drinks, crockpots and snuggling up on the couch to watch a movie. This is all good stuff. If you can capitalise on these factors you’re doing well. Unfortunately for some, winter may mean a sore throat, lots of snot, and collapsing on the couch; not to watch movies but because you’re sick. Also, on a serious note, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may rear it’s sleepless and depressive head.
Food only counts as nutrition when you actually eat it. When you eat well the chances are you feel well. In winter you may not feel well, so a lack appetite or your normal drive to prioritise healthy eating may not be present.
We need to make sure our immunity is bullet proof before the winter bugs threaten to invade. Well, as bullet proof as we can make it anyway. This is to help prevent the onset of sickness so we don’t have to rebuild back to baseline, so we have the energy to try new crock pot recipes, or the energy to go snowboarding.
When you talk about immunity and how nutrition can help, people automatically think of Vitamin C. And on some level, they are correct to do so. However, it is one piece of the immunity puzzle. And of all the pieces, it is potentially the easiest to place. Don’t disregard Vitamin C or B-Vitamins, but If you focus on finding the right spot for harder pieces of the puzzle it can speed up the completion of the whole puzzle. And we all should all want to be the master of our immunity puzzle.
New positive to winter, puzzles? Definitely.
I’m thinking along the lines of Zinc and Vitamin D. Zinc plays a powerful role in our immune system. The best source of zinc is oysters. But let’s be real, people don’t eat oysters on the regular. The next best dietary source is meat, like red meats; poultry and seafood. After that it is beans, legumes and dairy products. Vegetarian sources of zinc have compounds in them that may prevent maximum zinc absorption. So, while vegetarian diets have their benefits, a downside may be lower zinc levels in comparison to meat eaters.
Vitamin D as we know, comes from the sun. Our skin then converts it into a currency we can spend on helping our bones, mental health and immune system. When the sun goes away, so does our Vitamin-D provider and our skins income source. So over the winter months, our options are to make a conscious effort to get some sunlight on our skin or start taking a supplement. The amount of sunlight and dosage that is right for you is dependent on several factors. Ask your dietitian for specifics regarding dosage of supplements and once the sun comes out again, stop the supplement.
The ultimate recipe for success is eating oysters and plenty of fruit and vegetables in the sun. If this doesn’t sound like a good time then think along the lines of a chicken or salmon salad, followed by some fruit. A Vitamin-D Supplement may be required and If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, maybe a zinc supplement too. Do you best to stay well this winter, cue the puzzles and crockpots.
Maggie Radich – Owner of New Plymouth Nutrition
There is a good chance you have heard of “Arthritis”. You likely know someone that has it,
or even have it yourself.
“Osteo”, “Rheumatoid” or “Gout” are the common-all-garden varieties or perhaps just plain old sore knees.
The term arthritis loosely translates to ‘inflammation of the joints’. Generally, this means pain. Dietitians can help people who live with the pain associated with arthritis.
Prioritising nutrition and even enjoying food when you have been living with pain for a long time can be difficult; particularly when the type of arthritis, medication, the person’s age, sex and activity level will affect their nutritional requirements.
If you suspect you may have an arthritic condition, a blood test organised through your Doctor will be a good place to start. Your iron profile, folate and vitamin D status would provide useful information, as would asking questions around bone mineral density.
Medications prescribed by your Doctor and physical rehabilitation prescribed by your Physiotherapist are important starting points for treatment. But knowing how amazing food is, it would be nice to think that certain types could help reduce pain too.
Sardines are one of the most underrated foods of all time, as are salmon and tuna.
must include it in your diet because your body
does not produce it.
The recommendation is to eat at least 2 oily fish meals per week
and sometimes alongside the addition of supplements
containing Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA).
For our vegetarian friends, or those with gout arthritis,
supplements may be the best option.
Rainbow Salmon - recipe below
Calcium and vitamin D are both important for maintaining strong bones. Considering those with arthritis may have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis (brittle bones) it makes sense to think about calcium and vitamin D. The best sources of calcium are dairy products and fish that are eaten with the bones e.g. tinned sardines or salmon. Greek yogurt also gets a special shout out because of the protein content and probiotics (healthy bacteria).
Many New Zealanders don’t get enough vitamin D, particularly during our winter months. Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium. If you don’t see the sun much, have dark skin, avoid dairy products and other calcium-rich foods, then a supplement may help. Consult a Dietitian for recommended doses as the saying “too much of a good thing” applies to both calcium and vitamin D.
From a mechanical perspective, reducing pressure on joints can help people move more freely. This means decreasing your body weight, which may be a valid consideration for some. Certain medications and some secondary symptoms associated with long term pain can make weight loss hard, consulting a Dietitian to support your weight loss journey may help.
Blanket recommendations are not particularly useful as every person responds differently to medication, exercise and food. Being aware of your own response to treatments is critical. Eating nutritious food helps fuel your mind and body. Moving your body as suggested by your physiotherapist will improve your mobility. The combination of good food and movement will support weight maintenance, which will reduce pressure on your joints, and therefore improve pain.
Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, eating minimally processed carbohydrates, including healthy oils and moving your body in the sun will surely improve your general health and likely your arthritic condition as well.
Baked Salmon and Rainbow salad
Preheat oven to 220°C and line your oven tray with baking paper.
Place salmon fillets (skin-side-down) on prepared tray. Add crushed garlic, ginger and lemon slices to salmon. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until salmon is cooked to your liking.
Add salad ingredients together. Add dressing and toss.
Dish up - Serves 2
Protein is “sexy”.
When we hear, or read, the word protein we automatically link it to big muscles.
Food marketers are onto this, with a range of ‘protein bars’ born for a time-poor population with a need for convenience. Cue the range of ‘Protein bars’ that you will see next to the old school ‘Snack Logs’ and ‘Bumper Bars’.
I generally steer clear from the muesli bar aisle at the supermarket, but I went down it for the sake of comparing the following muesli bars:
1.‘Tasti’ Salted Caramel Protein Bar
2.‘Mother Earth’ Raspberry White Chocolate Baked Oaty Slices
3. ‘Nice and Natural’ Protein Nut Bars with 3 Super Seeds
To compare the three bars you go straight to the 100g column on the nutrition label. I am interested in dietary fibre, added sugar, fat and of course, protein.
Dietary fibre is important to help keep us full and to promote good bowel health. Of the three bars the Nice and Natural bar has the most dietary fibre. The Salted Caramel Protein don’t even list it, I’m going to take this as a sign of it containing next to none.
The ‘Nice and Natural’ bar also has the least added sugar (different from total carbohydrate). The ‘Mother Earth’ bar has the most, with more than 25% of the bar being sugar.
If a food contains nuts and seeds, then you can expect it to contain fat. This is not a bad thing as these are unsaturated “good” fats. Focusing, therefore, on the saturated fat, Nice and Natural has the least amount of saturated fat and the ‘Mother Earth’ Baked Oaty Slice has the most.
Sexy protein - which bar is going to have the most? The ‘Tasti’ Salted Caramel bar only just comes out on top with 25.1g/100g and the Nice and Natural being a close second with 24.8g/100g. The Mother Earth bar has a mere 7.1g/100g. The increased protein content comes from ‘soy protein crispies’ which are added readily to cereals and muesli bars in order to increase the protein content without needing to categorise the food item as a ‘supplement’.
If I was to choose between the three bars, without a doubt I would regard the ‘Nice and Natural’ Protein Nut Bars with 3 super seeds as the better choice. I do, however, encourage all clients to prioritise meal preparation and organisation to help reduce a dependence upon processed convenience foods.
A snack is a mini meal that should sustain us between meals.
The key word in that sentence is ‘sustain’. To help sustain energy, team a protein source with some fruit or vegetables, or some quality carbohydrates.
I recommend foods like Greek yogurt and berries, cottage cheese and vege sticks, raw nuts and a piece of fruit, a boiled egg and a piece of toast over process convenience foods.
If intermittent fasting was a superhero,
it would claim that its powers were:
In other words,
It would claim to transform people to their desired shape.
I’m interested in learning more about the science behind intermittent fasting and if it is sustainable in the long term.
What is intermittent fasting?
Basically, it means changing the timing of your meals and snacks so there is a prolonged period that you are not eating or drinking.
This is thought to help your body switch from a ‘fed’ to a ‘fasted’ state. This fasted state is thought to tell your body to utilise your fat stores rather than your glucose stores (glycogen) to fuel your body.
There are many variations of fasting, a simple google search will prove this. ‘The 5:2 diet’ involves restricting calorie intake to 500-600 for two days of the week. The 16:8 fasting method involves a 16 hour fast and 8 hour eating window. The list goes on.
Let’s talk Science
Carbohydrate, or glucose, is the bodies preferred fuel source and one of the main objectives is to keep our blood sugar levels within a ‘normal’ range.
Our carbohydrate (glycogen) stores are depleted during exercise or if no food is consumed in 18-24 hours. Once this happens our body needs to find a way to produce glucose. Our bodies are so smart that they can break down our muscles to produce glucose, this is called gluconeogenesis. Our bodies can also utilise our fat stores in a process called beta-oxidation. Our fat stores are not converted to glucose but to ketones which can fuel our brain and muscle cells in the absence of glucose.
This happens when we are in the fasting state or “starvation” mode. So, if we starve or fast, our bodies will use muscles and/or fat stores to keep us alive.
So, in theory, fasting may help utilise your fat stores, but in order to recommend fasting I need some scientific support that has been conducted on humans.
Unfortunately, much of the literature I have reviewed on this topic is based on anecdotal personal accounts, or laboratory studies on mice rather than human subjects.
The anecdotal evidence has presented individual accounts of people having had short-term success meeting certain weight management goals, but I have concerns about some secondary aspects of intermittent fasting.
The issues I have with fasting:
Diets don’t work, we need to be able to continue the changes we make for the rest of our lives. This means fuelling our bodies and our minds.
I would argue that the psychological aspects of fasting (that is food deprivation/starvation) are not suitable or realistic in the long-term. They’re almost like a punishment.
We have different triggers to eat - environmental cues (like a morning tea shout), emotional cues (like sadness), stress, hormonal fluctuations, social events, exercise and our actual hunger cues.
I encourage people to identify what is triggering them to eat or overeat, understand why and then address that.
I also work with a lot of athletes. A sustained calorie restriction in athletes can not only impair performance and recovery, it can result in a condition called Relative Energy Deficiency in sport (RED-S) which can negatively affect bone health, hormonal balance, immunity, mental health and heart health.
So, is Intermittent Fasting a Superhero? At this point I’m going to say no. That applies especially to those wanting to create a healthy lifestyle for themselves or their families or to meet nutritional requirements for exercise.
Reducing our intakes of processed foods, eating plenty of vegetables, oily fish, wholegrains and legumes are a way to fuel our minds and bodies. Actual food is the real Superhero.
In order for me to have success in the kitchen I need recipes(/what recipes?) to have room for creative freedom.
I half, I double, I take things out and I add things in.
I can imagine that watching me bake is stressful for the perfectionists among us.
The way I cook only works when I think about the role of any ingredients that I change.
This is especially important for baking as most ingredients are there for a reason.
I LOVE using pumpkin in baking.
I also LOVE substituting blitzed oats for flour as a healthier alternative.
I have developed a pumpkin spice muffin that is nutritious, moist and delicious.
NB: At first I didn't use the LSA but the mixture was too runny so I added it at the end to help hold the mixture together.
2 cups oats
1/2 cup LSA
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp Dried ginger
pinch of salt
1/2 butternut pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 tin of coconut cream
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
2. Soak dates in boiling water
3. Add oats to food processor until it resembles flour.
4. Put in a bowl and add other dry ingredients - LSA, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt.
5. Leave the skin on and chop pumpkin in half. Chop in to small cubes and boil/microwave until soft.
6. Add pumpkin to food processor to make a puree. Add other wet ingredients - drained dates, coconut cream, vanilla essence, eggs.
7. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix.
8. Add mixture to muffin tins and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Makes 12 generous muffins. Or 1 large loaf
Download the pdf here.
It has been a while since I posted about food that I love,
been busy and all that.
Recent discussions with clients and the fact that our
beautiful Maunga is covered in snow means I’m thinking
about making soup, pumpkin soup.
I have compared the carbohydrate, starch and
dietary fibre content of the following to help clear up
Per 100g: Carbs (g) Starch(g) Fibre (g)
Butternut squash 6.9 1.7 1.8
Kumara – with skin 14.1 8.5 3.0
Potato – with skin 12.9 12.3 1.8
All three of these vegetables are amazing. They contain goodies like: Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. All of which play a role in keeping us well.
It is commonly thought that pumpkins have a high carbohydrate content, but you can see the Butternut squash has almost half the carbohydrate content of both potato and kumara; very little starch and like a lot of vegetables, it’s high in dietary fibre.
To get the most out of these vegetables and to decrease meal preparation time, leave the skins on.
Tip - If you’re making soup, pumpkin skins can be easily blended by using a stick blender.
Keep cosy during this cold snap and perhaps warm up with some pumpkin soup, I plan on it.
Three reasons why this saucy number is up for review:
I wanted unadulterated flavour so first I tried it by itself – it was smoky and tangy like all good BBQ sauce. I then added it to eggs, which it complimented well. Extra points for not giving me a sugar rush. Tick.
I hate that the nutritional value of things like sauce even need to be considered – if you are having something sweet you want it to be an obvious sweet treat, right? I’m thinking ice-cream or a caramel slice. Not something that is considered savoury.
Popular brands (Hint: rhymes with squatties) Tomato sauce is 30% sugar and I found a sweet-chilli sauce packing a sugar punch of 66% (more sweet, less chilli).
Sneaky food companies.
Sugar is sugar is sugar. Meaning whether you’re adding white sugar, raw sugar, organic coconut sugar, molasses, rice syrup, maltose, nectars, agave syrup, maple syrup (just to name a few) you are adding “free sugar”. It is recommended that what we eat on a daily basis should be under 10% of free sugars (ideally under 5%). In simple terms this means sweetened foods should be kept to a minimum.
Given there is 14.3g/100g of “sugar” in Get Real Foods BBQ Sauce there is free sugar coming from somewhere. That somewhere is Apple juice concentrate and Blackstrap Molasses. Dates contain natural sugar too so they will be adding sweetness. In comparison a sauce with 14.3% “free sugar” is a job well done. You should however still be weary of how much you are adding at the table.
I appreciate NZ brands that do their best to reduce sugar content and make the ethical choice not to use preservatives, artificial flavours or colours.
Good one Get Real Food.
These bad boys are starting to appear . . . cue the smile.
This means summer bbqs, sunshine and real fruit ice creams are also
about to appear in my life.
The average sized strawberry is 12g
Per 100g Strawberries contain:
- Carbs: 3.9g (this is low)
- Fibre: 2.5g (this is high!)
- Calories: 21 (this is low!)
- Potassium: 158mg (Higher than bananas)
- Vitamin C: 45mg (this is high)
Analysis aside, this fruit is beautiful and I hope you've all managed to have your first strawberry of the season.
Beetroot as a sports supplement??
One beetroot (82g):
Beetroot also contains Nitrates.
Nitrates get converted to NITRIC OXIDE.
Nitric oxide opens our blood vessels which allows more blood and oxygen to be delivered to our muscles during exercise.
So. . . .beetroot = nitrates = nitric oxide = happier muscles = potential improvement in performance
You will need around 500ml of straight beetroot juice to get the desired concentration of nitrates OR companies like Beet It Sport offer a 70ml shot that offer similar amount of Nitrates.
NB: watch for purple pee or poo or stomach upset
You can know everything there is about macros, micronutrients, phytonutrients, dietary carcinogens, supplements, sports nutrition and how to fuel athletes.
However, if you don't know how to cook or how to apply that knowledge practically then what good is it?
Check out the photo below of some athletes cooking up a storm - nice one team.