Your Discipline Is Making You Fat

A lot of successful business owners and entrepreneurs that I’ve spoken to have echoed the same frustration to me – they’re applying their business work ethic to their food and exercise, but their weight is not budging, and their energy levels aren’t improving.

The thing is, the message out there, being perpetuated by PTs, health professionals, even doctors is that weight loss comes about when you achieve a caloric deficit.

Fundamentally, they subscribe to the belief that it’s all a matter of Calories in, Calories out.

Based on that, to lose weight, an energy deficit must be created. Simple!  Right?

Just reduce your caloric intake by watching what you put in your mouth, and increase your caloric output by training hard.

If you do this and you still don’t lose weight? Well that’s because you’re a liar and you’re lazy.

But here’s the thing.

How is it that a successful entrepreneur who has built her business from zero to multi-millions of dollars, stuck to a 500kcal a day diet whilst doing kickboxing 3 times a week, found herself at a point where she was 89kgs and her weight just wouldn’t budge?

Oh, that’s right – she must be a liar and she must be lazy!

See, if there is anything I’ve learnt, it’s that highly successful people don’t get to where they are by being lazy. They don’t get to where they are by cutting corners on themselves and they certainly don’t get to where they are without the most ruthless work ethic.

So, business owners, you want to know what I think the problem is?

The problem is that the calories in calories out equation is wrong, and your ruthless work ethic – the same one that got you from zero to multi-millions in your business –  is the very work ethic that is stopping you from losing weight.

Yes, I said it.

You are TOO disciplined and it’s your discipline that is making you fat.

Just like athletes have a specific set of requirements to fuel their bodies and sustain their training for optimal performance, business owners have their own unique set of requirements, too.

What you need to understand as the business owner is that you didn’t gain weight because you over-ate. Therefore, you won’t be losing weight by under-eating and starving your body.

When you under eat, you place your body under undue stress, further adding to the stress you are already experiencing from business ownership. When that happens, your body experiences a whole cascade of metabolic responses to that stress, and that is where it all starts.

Your insulin levels rise, your hunger-fullness hormone secretion is disrupted, your sleep is disturbed, inflammation increases and your gut microbiota is affected.

Literally, a chemical shit-storm breaks out, and the side effect? Weight gain.

When you begin to understand that your weight gain didn’t happen because of too many calories in, you will stop blaming yourself for not being disciplined enough.

When you learn that your cravings are from starving yourself and you’re not just weak with no self-control, then you will stop feeling guilty every time your mind wanders to candy-land.

For you, we need to calm the storm, fix the signalling, and address the issues in a way that makes sense for your body.

Then, you will be able to experience not being hungry all the time.

Then, you will know what a good night’s sleep really means.

Then, you can have a chance of seeing weight loss and increased energy levels exist within you, simultaneously.

Because, let’s be honest, eating broccoli 6 times a day has certainly not boosted your metabolism and helped you lose weight – it’s just made you hungrier, crankier and frankly, more disappointed in yourself.

In case you haven’t noticed, this is something I’m fiercely passionate about, and I’m dedicated to helping business owners like yourself really get to the bottom of this chemical shitstorm (aka: burnout) and what you need to be doing to actually fix it and starting shifting that weight properly.

Because of the overwhelming number of business owners I come across in this situation you find yourself in, I have prepared a report that I am giving to you for free, so you can really get to understand burnout.  There’s a LOT of myths perpetuated about burnout and what you can do to fix it – many of these myths actually make your burnout worse!

So to get the report, simply click the banner below and enter your details — and we’ll send the report out to you.

Managing Anxiety- Can Good Nutrition Help?

As reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, anxiety is the most common reported mental health condition in Australia. It affects one in every four people. Anxiety involves feelings associated with nervousness and tension. Specific anxiety disorders may result in physical symptoms such as problems with breathing, shaking, and sweating.

Some ways to deal with anxiety include:

1) Seeking professional help from a GP or psychologist

2) Staying connected with close friends, family or a support group

3) Exercise

4) Complementary therapies such as herbs, yoga, or meditation

5) Improving on diet and nutrition

This post will touch of the complex relationship between our brain, gut, and immune system and why we should support these systems with good nutrition to help improve anxiety.

The Second Brain – connection between our gut and brain

The digestive system has its own complex system of nerves called the enteric nervous system (ENS), which function independently to the central nervous system. The ENS plays a role in digestion, absorption of nutrients, motility, inflammation, nutrient synthesis, and secretion within the gastrointestinal tract. These network of nerves are found all along the lining of our gut.  Our second brain (enteric nervous system) communicates with our ‘real’ brain (central nervous system) via the vagus nerve. There is a bidirectional relationship between our gut and our brain suggesting that what we think/feel in our head may affect our gut function and what we consume, may affect our brain function.

It is important to note that approximately 70% of our immune cells are in our gut. Proper immune function is integral to proper functioning of our whole body. Therefore, it is starting to become evident how the health of our gut may play a role in the health of our brain and ultimately, our overall health.

The ENS, Neurotransmitters and Anxiety

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that allow signals to cross synapse (biological junction) and transmit information from a nerve cell to target cell. Research has shown that there are high levels of neurotransmitters in the gut. These neurotransmitters play a crucial role in our mood and how we feel.

Dopamine (reward hormone) – low levels can affect our mood, sleep quality, and immune health

GABA (major mood modulator) – low levels can contribute to anxiety, restlessness, and reduced gut motility

Serotonin (‘happiness’ hormone) – low levels may increase risk of anxiety, poor sleep quality, and compromised gut function (90% of the body’s serotonin is found in the gut)

Epinephrine (fight-or-flight hormone) – abnormal levels lead to poor sleep quality, mood disorders, and poor immunity.

How can Nutrition help?

By choosing the right foods, we can support the health of our gut, immune system, and brain which may help reduce the impact that anxiety may have on an individual.

The first step will be removing common foods that irritate the gut and may contribute to dysbiosis (imbalances within gut flora) in the gut. These include added sugar from confectionery, refined carbohydrates, vegetable oils and foods very high in insoluble fibre. Certain individuals with existing gastrointestinal issues may benefit from excluding gluten and lactose containing foods.

What to have instead:

Good quality meats (grass-fed, organic meat where possible) for:

1) Zinc to help heal the gut lining, convert tryptophan to serotonin and for a healthy immune system

2) Vitamin B5 to help maintain a healthy digestive tract

3) Vitamin B12 to maintain a healthy nervous system

4) Glutamine to repair gut permeability

Eggs for:

Choline which is used to make acetylcholine (neurotransmitter), necessary for normal nerve function

Fish (Salmon, sardines, mackerel etc) for:

1) Omega 3 EPA & DHA for overall brain health

2) Vitamin D for a healthy nervous system and immune system

High quality fats (butter, coconut oil, olive oil,) for:

1) Cholesterol for the production of hormones, a healthy nervous system, the maintenance of healthy cell membrane and the production of Vitamin D

2) Butyric acid for the health of our colon cells

A wide variety of different coloured vegetables and some fruit for:

1) Vitamin C to support immune function. It is also needed to work alongside tryptophan to make the neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin and melatonin

2) Prebiotic fibres to feed the healthy bacteria in our gut

Fermented foods and Fermented dairy (sauerkraut, yoghurt, kefir) for:

The growth of friendly bacteria in our digestive tract

Note: Speak to your practitioner about a good quality probiotic.

Healthy snacks such as nuts, cheese, and dark chocolate may also be incorporated. Nutrients and minerals work synergistically so it is important to avoid depending on nutrient-specific supplements to meet your needs. However, this is not to say that they are not extremely helpful to supplement an already good diet to manage certain health conditions.

In summary, a diet low in refined carbohydrate with the inclusion of quality protein sources and high-quality healthy fats may help in managing anxiety.  (i.e.: whole-food, minimally processed diet)

– See more at: http://www.metrodietetics.com.au/managing-anxiety-can-good-nutrition-help/#sthash.2Z9VvhDP.dpuf

Mindfulness and Weight Management

This month, our fabulous Metro Dietetics team has presented a range of high quality and evidence-based articles around weight management. Today, I am going to showcase some simple strategies that I like to refer to as the missing puzzle pieces of weight management.

I am not going to lie, these will not guarantee you fast or extreme weight loss results in a short period of time. However, these strategies will help to form the basis of healthy lifestyle modification, which goes hand in hand with modifying the types of foods eaten. Furthermore, these strategies will help to ensure slow and steady behavioural changes, which off-set the vicious effects of yo-yo dieting and weight-cycling. The notion is around MINDFULNESS, which I think is fitting given the cult-like behaviours we are seeing more often around our food choices.

Okay, I’m going to cut to the chase. Please read on if you’re with me.

At this point in time, I am focusing on HOW you’re eating rather than WHAT you’re eating.

Eat slowly, chew well

Have you ever considered the pace at which you eat? This is a big one yet it’s not something we consciously think about. More research is demonstrating that the pace at which we eat can influence the quantity of food we ingest at meal times.

In general, those who eat quickly tend to eat more than their counterparts who eat slowly. It takes roughly 10-15 minutes for our gut to signal to our brain that it is feeling full. Therefore, a person who eats slower is better equipped at recognising their body’s ‘fullness’ signal because they have allowed sufficient time for this response to occur, hence are more likely to stop eating before they overeat. In contrast, those who eat quickly are more likely to have already finished their entire dinner plate before feeling overly full.

Take home message and useful tips:

> Slow down the pace of your eating by chewing your food well

> Swallow your food before starting your next mouthful

> Using smaller cutlery can help you to take smaller mouthfuls

> Place your cutlery on the table after each mouthful

This is not something that can be changed over night – you may need to retrain your brain which could take a number of days or even weeks.

Food psychology is important

Many of us have been programmed since children to finish our plate. As a result, we tend to mindlessly fill up our dinner plate to the brim, then feel the need to gobble up every last mouthful.

One tip I encourage is to reduce the size of your dinner plate, if you’ve identified that this is an issue for you. The psychology behind this is that you’re still creating an illusion that your plate is full, which is in fact correct. However, it’s a smaller amount to what you would have typically served up, prompting you to eat less but still be satisfied with that amount. The key is not to make the PILE of food higher. Remember, there will always be more food to go back to if you are still feeling hungry.

The Great Divide

If you’re still feeling unsure about the amount of food to add to your dinner plate, then this might be the strategy for you: dividing your plate up. This strategy is being adopted more often today, and I think it’s a great one.

Here’s how:

1- Fill up your dinner plate and then divide it in half.

2- Eat one half of your dinner plate.

3- Pause for 10-15 minutes. Remember, you must allow time for your brain to register its level of ‘fullness’. Reassess your hunger levels.

4- If you’ve identified that you’re not quite satisfied, divide your plate in half again, so that you are left with two original-sized quarters.

5- Eat one quarter. Pause for 10-15 minutes.

6- Attempt to stop eating at this point if you feel satisfied after your pause. If not, you are entitled to finish the remainder of your plate.

This will not only help you to slow down the pace of your eating, but will also enable you to become more intuitive with your eating. A dietitian with a special interest in this approach will be able to provide you more guidance around this strategy.

Minimise distractions at meal times

This point goes hand in hand with Point 1. One reason we are likely to overeat at meal times is due distractions including TVs and phones. How much attention are we really paying to what we’re eating, how we’re eating and how much of it we’re eating? The answer is most likely: very little. I challenge you to trial a TV-free or phone-free meal time, at least three times a week. Instead, focus on the actual activity of eating. Pay closer attention to your food. What does it look like, what does it taste like? Was it saltier than you imagined? Perhaps crunchier than you imagined? How quickly are you eating? Do you need to slow down? Familiarise yourself with the food you’re eating, regardless of whether you cooked it or not. You may discover things you’ve never noticed before. Perhaps you may have never appreciated the time and effort that goes into cooking if you do not routinely cook the food yourself.

Conclusion

These topics are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exploring mindful approaches to healthy eating and weight management. While they may not be applicable to everyone, they certainly make up the fundamentals of our eating habits, but are ironically and consistently overlooked as important aspects of our eating.

If you would like specialised advice around mindful eating, make an appointment to see one of our nutrition experts!

 

References:

Angelopoulos T, Kokkinos A, Liaskos C, et al. The effect of slow spaced eating on hunger and satiety in overweight and obese patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care 2014;2:e000013. doi:10.1136/bmjdrc-2013- 000013

Kausman, R. (2004). If Not Dieting, Then What? New South Wales, Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Wilkinson L, Ferriday D, Bosworth ML, Godinot N, Martin N, Rogers PJ, et al. (2016) Keeping Pace with Your Eating: Visual Feedback Affects Eating Rate in Humans. PLoS ONE 11(2): e0147603. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0147603

Willer, F. (2013). The Non-Diet Approach Guidebook for Dietitians. First Edition.  United States: Lulu Publishing Ltd.

 

Top 5 Misconceptions about Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss, there are so many misconceptions surrounding it.

Today, we tackle our top 5 misconceptions about weight loss.

Misconception 1 – “Losing weight is as simple as ‘calorie in’ versus ‘calorie out’ (CICO)”

This is possibly one of the most common misconceptions around, giving rise to virtually every single weight loss product or program these days. The belief is that as long as we keep our caloric input less than our caloric output, we should lose weight.

There are a couple of fundamental flaws to that belief, which ultimately renders this calorie in versus calorie out (CICO) equation useless when it comes to weight loss.

To begin with, calories is an energy measurement, where 1 Calorie (often abbreviated to kCal) is the amount of energy needed to increase the temperature of 1L of water by 1 degree Celsius.

When we talk about calories in, we are referring to the amount of energy we are getting via the foods and beverages we consume. This part of the energy equation we can somewhat control.

However, when we talk about calories out, often the general public (and even some health and fitness professionals) will think about what our bodies expend through exercise or exertion. That is how the whole phenomena began with people assuming that if they did X number of hours on the treadmill, they could consume Y number of calories through food, and still technically be in “energy deficit”. One minor issue – exercise is not the only determinant of energy output.

Quite apart from the fact that our bodies use energy differently one person to another during exercise, there are other factors not taken into consideration when assuming calories out. Other things that contribute to our caloric output include:

Our BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) – this is the amount of energy our bodies use to keep us alive. It is the energy our body uses to breathe, and to regulate our body temperature, and so forth. Unfortunately, our BMRs are so different person to person, and can also change dramatically depending on our body composition, food intake and other things such as illnesses.

TEF (Thermic Effect of Food) – We will touch on this more in Point 2, but essentially our bodies digest foods differently, depending on the amount of protein versus carbohydrates versus fats.

Our body also recognises when our intake drops too low below our current BMR, and responds by lowering our BMR. This is the body’s own mechanism to protect itself from literally withering away into nothingness. With a reduced BMR, your same food intake and exercise will no longer yield the same results with weight loss.

 

Misconception 2 – “A calorie is a calorie”

Knowing that losing weight by simply assuming CICO is futile, let’s now explore how counting calories is just as futile.

When we embark on counting calories, the automatic assumption is that a calorie is a calorie, no matter what is giving us that calorie. Quite apart from the fact that food is SO much more than just a caloric value, when you factor in the TEF you will realise that alas, a calorie is NOT a calorie. Let me explain.

Different nutrients affect digestion and metabolism differently.

For example, protein has the highest thermic effect of all the macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats), meaning that our body burns more energy when we eat protein rich foods. Protein also increases satiety (fullness), and suppresses our hunger via hormonal responses mediated by the hypothalamus, also known as the “control centre” of our brain.

Fats, whilst has the lowest thermic effect of the 3 macronutrients, has the slowest transit rate through our digestive tract. What this means is that fats can slow down the rate that food passes through us, and helps keep us feeling fuller for longer.

Therefore, a meal rich in proteins and fats will be much more satiating and keep us feeling satiated for far longer (at the same time burning more “calories”) than a meal rich in carbohydrates but void of proteins or fats. (see image below).

Knowingly, when we eat a meal that is more satiating, we then tend to eat: a) less of it, and b) less frequently. Ultimately, long term, this has a much greater impact on weight loss (or fat loss) than simply caloric restriction.

Misconception 3 – “Eating more frequently can speed my metabolism up”

How many times have you heard, or been told, that eating frequent small meals helps with boosting your metabolism?

Well, that’s not correct.

Metabolism is determined by total energy intake and requirements, but can be, in the short term, affected by factors such as exercise and stimulants (e.g. caffeine).

However, if your BMR is 1800kCal and your current daily intake is 1200kCal – you could eat that across 2 meals a day or 8 meals a day – it will make no difference to the fact that you are eating below BMR, and your metabolism will likely slow down still.

On the flip side, if your BMR is 1800kCal and your current daily intake is 1800kCal – you could again eat that across 2 meals a day or 8 meals a day, but your metabolic rate will unlikely drop off because you are meeting basic energy requirements to keep your metabolism up. In fact, if you are quite active, you will often need more than just your BMR to keep your metabolic rate high, and by eating to support your physical activity demands too, you would boost it even higher!

 

Misconception 4 – “Not eating breakfast will make me gain weight”

Somehow it has become a socially accepted “fact” that not eating breakfast will somehow make us gain weight (or at the very least will hinder our weight loss goals).

This belief is a follow through from the misconception that “skipping meals” or reducing meal frequency will result in a slowed metabolism. As pointed out above, this is not the case.

There is nothing special about breakfast, except the fact that it is a meal to help provide energy and set us up for the morning, for those who need it. Some people actually wake up and not feel like eating anything, and I think it is so important to point out that if this is you, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with you, and you do not need to now force feed yourself in the hope that this will boost your metabolism and help you along with your health and weight loss goals.

In fact, fasting is a well-researched and well-documented approach for health and weight – I will be discussing this more in a blog later this month. Make sure you keep an eye out for it!

Disclaimer: Fasting does NOT equal starving – remember what we said earlier about not eating below your BMR? Eating below your BMR = starving. As long as you eat in line with your goals and you meet your BMR, not having 3 meals a day is still absolutely OK!

 

Misconception 5 – “My friend lost 30kg on a diet – I am going to do what my friend did because her results are amazing!”

Now that we know that it isn’t as simple as CICO, and that a calorie is NOT a calorie, we cannot expect that a diet that someone else did and had worked wonders will yield the same outcome for ourselves.

However, the way that most weight loss products and programs are marketed attract people to their products/programs by attempting to convince you that because “Anna” lost 30kg doing their program or using their shake, so can you!

Similarly, when we see our friends achieve massive weight loss doing what they are doing, we automatically try to copy it because we assume that it will work the same for us.

Please note that this is not the case (as explained throughout this article). There are so many nuances we need to consider (but simply don’t!):

> Age

> Gender

> Ethnicity

> Body composition

> Exercise types and intensities

> Goals

> Genetics

> Metabolic health and hormones

So, instead of trying to copy someone else’s weight loss success by doing what they did, why not seek some professional assistance in working out what works for YOU so you can eat and exercise in a way that not only suits your lifestyle but also your food preferences and physical health status and goals!

– See more at: http://www.metrodietetics.com.au/top-5-misconceptions-about-weight-loss/#sthash.2sHmheOV.dpuf

Hydration in Summer

With Summer well and truly under way, a lot of people get concerned about whether or not to exercise.

“I don’t want to pass out”

“Is it too dangerous to exercise when it is so hot?”

“What if I get dehydrated?”

These are some of the concerns I hear regularly in the warmer months. Staying hydrated is extremely important all year round, but in the warmer months where our bodies are losing more water and salts through sweat, hydration becomes a big focus.

Here are 6 tips to staying hydrated in Summer when exercising:

Aim to start with an optimal level of hydration before exercising. This might sound very silly when spelt out like that, but it is concerning how many people are not getting enough hydration on a day to day basis! A good guideline is 30-40ml per kg body weight. So, if you weigh 70kg, you need to aim for 2.1-2.8L of fluids a day!

Check your urine. How well-hydrated you are can also be tell-tale through the colour of your urine. Optimally, you should have pale yellow coloured urine – if it is dark, it means you are dehydrated, and if it is clear, it means you aren’t retaining enough fluids – time to up the electrolytes!

Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol and caffeine are both diuretics and make your body lose more fluids. So, when you know you will be exercising, or competing in a sport / race, try to avoid alcohol leading into the event, and make sure you have the above 2 tips covered!

For exercise less than an hour, drink water. Often I see people go do a 30-60min session at the gym and they are throwing back sports drinks. Whilst this isn’t harmful, it is also not necessary. When you are exercising for short durations (less than an hour), water is sufficient for hydration. Of course, there are the ones who have very salty sweat, in which case, an electrolyte-filled sports drink may be necessary. However, for the majority, water is all we need. If you feel that you might be a big “salty sweater”, you may benefit from a sweat test. Ask your sports dietitian and they can direct you to where you can get this done.

For exercise longer than an hour, add the electrolytes. If you are doing a long event, aim to hydrate with a sports drink that is abundant in electrolytes and has about 6-8% carbohydrates for re-fuelling. A good one would be Gatorade.

Consider your overall diet, as hydration is only one aspect of it all! Do not neglect a well balanced, nutrient rich diet. For athletes, it is important to consider the amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats in your diet, especially around training time. Focusing on foods that are nutrient dense ensures that you are getting a lot of your micronutrients as well as the macros. If you are unsure whether you are eating correctly for your training, speak to a sports dietitian who can assist you in figuring this out!

Stay hydrated and have a great Summer!

 

Is Healthy Eating Expensive?

When it comes to implementing lifestyle changes one of the most common barriers is money! It is true that big food companies are taking advantage of health triggering words like “fresh” and “organic” as a means of ramping up prices. It is therefore important that we consumers are aware of such marketing techniques and learn to choose foods that will help our bodies function optimally and protect against disease, irrespective of whatever health claims may or may not appear on the packaging. So when it comes to making these choices, consider the examples below and learn how you can increase the nutritional content of your favourite meals and snacks while saving some hard-earned cash at the same time!

 Nut Bars vs. Mixed Nuts

✓     Unsalted Mixed Nuts $15.70/kg Nut Bar $25.00/kg

A good quality nut bar is at very best, 75% nut (well if you are being technical it is far less than this because the majority of nuts comprising these bars are peanuts – which is actually a legume!). So what makes up the remaining +25% of these crunchy snacks? You guessed it – sugar! The subsequent 3 ingredients are literally sugar, sugar and sugar (precisely “invert sugar, glucose, honey”). So don’t be fooled by these expensive treats, there is a much cheaper and healthier way to do it. For less than two thirds of the price, you can stock up on a packet of unsalted mixed nuts which can be easily portioned into 30g zip lock bags and taken with you wherever you go! Eating just a handful of nuts a day can reduce the risk of developing heart disease by 30-50% (1-5). Even people who only eat nuts once a week have less heart disease than those who never eat nuts (4). In addition to these heart-protective properties, nuts also have a GI-lowering effect (6-8) which means that they help to stabilise blood sugars if consumed with carbohydrate. This is likely due to their contribution of fats and fibres which both slow digestion and thus, the release of glucose into the bloodstream. So whether you eat them on their own as a snack or throw them into your natural yoghurt or smoothie, nuts are worth every cent when it comes to your health!

Potato vs. Pumpkin

✓     Pumpkin $1.50/kg Potato $4.00/kg

Potato is a staple in many Australian homes and has been for many years. However, our population has also become increasingly insulin resistant as evidenced by the undeniable prevalence of large waistlines and epidemic rates of Type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance manifests after a chronic period of eating more carbohydrates than one’s body can handle. The pancreas ramps up insulin production to deal with or prevent abnormally high levels of blood glucose. Each person’s carbohydrate tolerance is different and you may well be insulin resistant despite producing “normal” levels of blood sugar. An easy non-invasive measure of insulin resistance is waist circumference, with Australian targets being < 94cm for men and < 80cm for women. This is because visceral fat (stored around our internal organs) has an extremely strong positive association with insulin resistance (9). So what does all this have to do with the humble potato, and why is pumpkin a healthier (and cheaper) choice? Well, 100g of potato contains 18g of carbohydrate while the same amount of pumpkin contains just 6g (10). At any one time a (non-diabetic) person has around 1 teaspoon (5g) of sugar in their blood (11). With the knowledge that carbohydrate breaks down to glucose in the blood, it is easy to see how potato will produce a much greater rise in blood sugar and ultimately require a much greater amount of insulin to deal with such! If you have insulin resistance then your pancreas has to work even harder to clear glucose from your blood, so it seems only sensible to choose foods that are lower in carbohydrate where possible. Pumpkin is also abundant in many essential micronutrients such as the antioxidants vitamin A, C and E. You can make the most of it by keeping the skin on, for extra fibre, and by roasting the seeds to sprinkle over your meal, for healthy monounsaturated fats, protein, iron and zinc. Pumpkin can be roasted, stir fried, mashed or pureed – just like you would use potato.

 Packaged Crumbing Mixtures vs Desiccated Coconut

✓     Desiccated Coconut $8.00/kg Pre-made Crumbing $11.70/kg

Everyone loves a good crumbing, whether it be on your chicken, fish or even on the top of your cheesy veggie bakes! Well it’s time to clear the pantry of nutrient-void bread (or Corn Flake) crumbs and say hello to desiccated coconut. Pre-made crumbing mixes tend to be full of unwanted additives such as sugar, salt, artificial flavours and preservatives. Desiccated coconut on the other hand is literally just that – coconut! Coconut meat is high in medium chain triglycerides which are preferentially converted into fuel for the body to use for energy, with little chance of being stored as body fat. Coconut also contains fat-soluble vitamins A and E, alongside polyphenols and phytosterols (12). These properties of coconut meat may be a reason the Kitavans of Papua New Guinea or the Tokelaus of New Zealand, whose staple food is coconut, have no incidence whatsoever of stroke and heart disease in their respective populations (12). Not only is it good for your health and waistline, but desiccated coconut is a perfect alternative for those who many have allergies or intolerances to wheat, gluten or chemicals that tend to be hidden in these types of foods (and don’t forget, it’s cheaper!). Coconut forms a rich, crunchy coating and can be used just like any other crumbing mixture. It even adds depth with it’s unique nutty flavour and you might even like to season it by tossing through your favourite herbs and spices!

Frozen Yoghurt vs. Natural Yoghurt

✓     Natural Yoghurt $5.00/kg Frozen Yoghurt $14.30/kg

There is a huge misconception that frozen yoghurt is somehow a healthy option, likely due to the inclusion of the word “yoghurt”. Not only is frozen yoghurt almost three times the price of natural yoghurt, it also contains quadruple the number of ingredients (17 vs. 4)! When you see a huge list containing numbers and words you don’t understand then you know you are not eating real food. The less ingredients that are listed on packaged foods, the better. This means that per gram weight of yoghurt, you get more of the good stuff such as calcium, vitamin B12, potassium and probiotics, because there is less of the bad stuff to dilute it. If you have a food processor, try blending some natural yoghurt with your choice of frozen berries. You will be left with a product that mimics frozen yoghurt but contains no added sugar (or other nasty chemicals for that matter). You’ll also be getting a lot more real fruit this way as ‘fruit-flavoured’ items tend to contain very little. Natural yoghurt has a smooth, creamy texture and not only is it a healthier and cheaper alternative to frozen yoghurt, but it can also act as a great substitute for things like sour cream or dip bases.

 Lasagna Sheets vs. Sliced Eggplant

✓     Sliced Eggplant $7.50/kg Lasagna Sheets $7.70/kg

The final tip for today is to switch lasagna sheets for sliced eggplant! Sliced eggplant is cost-equivalent to home-brand lasagna sheets and a significantly cheaper option to wholemeal or gluten-free varieties. Eggplant is a rich source of fibre and contains B-vitamins which are crucial for energy metabolism. This simple switch will not just improve the nutrient profile of your lasagna, but it will enhance the taste and texture too! Roasted eggplant absorbs flavours from the other ingredients, intensifying the dish and resulting in a “melt in your mouth” texture (yum!). If you are suspicious about how this might turn out then the best thing you can do is to just try it for yourself. You may like to follow this super easy recipe from “Add A Pinch” as a guide: http://addapinch.com/easy-eggplant-lasagna-recipe/.

 

You should now be enlightened to that fact that so many of these overpriced products we think of as being “healthy” are actually falsely advertised as so, and to our benefit, there are much healthier and cheaper options available! If you require further assistance on how you can make healthier swaps at the supermarket that may just save you some cash, consult a dietitian for personalised advice.

References

1) Albert CM et al. Nut consumption and decreased risk of sudden cardiac death in the Physician’s Health Study. Arch Intern Med 2002;162(12):1382-7.

2) Ellsworth JL et al. Frequent nut intake and risk of death from coronary heart disease and all causes in postmenopausal women: the Iowa Women’s Health Study. Nutrition Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease 2001;11(6):372-7.

3) Hu FB et al. Frequent nut consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in women: prospective cohort study. British Medical Journal 1998;317(7169):1341-5.

4) Fraser GE et al. A possible protective effect of nut consumption on risk of coronary heart disease. Arch Intern Med 1991; 152: 1416-24.

5) Blomhoff R. et al. Health benefits of nuts: potential role of antioxidants. Brit J Nutr 2007;96(SupplS2):S52-S60.

6) Jenkins DJ et al. Almonds decrease postprandial glycemia, insulinemia and oxidative damage in healthy individuals. J Nutr. 2006;136(12):2987-92.

7) Parham M et al. Effects of pistachio nut supplementation on blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomised crossover trial. Rev Diabet Stud. 2014 Summer;11(2):190-6.

8) Kendall CW et al. The glycemic effect of nut-enriched meals in healthy and diabetic subjects. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2011 Jun;21 Suppl 1:S34-9.

9) Wu T. Diabetes Mellitus in a nutshell. University of Sydney. RPA Hospital Diabetes Centre 2016.

10) AUSNUT 2011–13 Food Nutrient Database [Internet]. Food Standards Australia New Zealand. 2014 [cited 2016 Apr 06].

11) Eades M. A spoonful of sugar [Internet]. The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D. 2005 [cited 2016 Dec 20].

12) Greenfield B. Secrets of the Superhuman Food Pyramid: Benefits of Coconut Meat [Internet]. Superhuman Coach 2013 [cited 2016 Dec 20].

*** Product costs and information retrieved from Coles online on 19 December 2016

– See more at: http://www.metrodietetics.com.au/healthy-eating-doesnt-have-to-be-expensive/#sthash.0czeJ7NL.dpuf