Here's how to boost your energy in 2018

Energy-Boosting Ingredients and Natural Supplements you should consider for 2018

 Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

Summer brings with it many advantages – the warmer weather, the festive and celebratory season, beach swims and more. But it can also be a very draining time for many of us, and the heat can often sap energy levels. Here are some of my favourite, natural energy-boosters for summer. By naturopath Stephen Eddey.

1.   Lemons

Not to be underestimated, simply adding some fresh lemon juice to water transforms your drink into an energy boosting (and tasty) beverage packed with natural electrolytes. Electrolytes are important as they are critical for cells to produce energy and are responsible for keeping the body properly hydrated. Sipping on lemon water often will also help to avoid dehydration.

Tip: Add some lemon into your water bottle the night before you plan on taking it with you for your morning jog/work commute/gym session to save time.

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2.   Beets

Red root vegetables such as beetroot contain high amounts of nitrates, converted to nitric oxide in the body, and have been associated with increasing endurance and exercise tolerance during high-intensity workouts by increasing blood flow and oxygen availability to muscles. Rich in B vitamins, niacin, pyridoxine and pantothenic acid and also containing potassium, magnesium, iron and manganese, beets are a good choice before exercising because of their high carbohydrate content, with some research suggesting that they may improve muscle performance and power.

Tip: Why not try adding beets to your daily juice, a beets powder to your protein shake or adding beets to your salads.

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3.   Ubiquinol

Season-to-season we continually push ourselves and while our bodies might secretly be hoping for a rest this silly season, the heat and exertion may end up pushing our bodies into overdrive - resulting in a lack of key antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants such as Ubiquinol are vital for energy production and the repairing of cells, helping to reduce inflammation caused by free-radical release during exercise. Although naturally produced in the body, Ubiquinol levels decline as we age, so it’s worth a daily supplement to help assist with enhanced physical performance, reduced fatigue and improvement in muscle repair.

Tip: Consider a Ubiquinol supplement as part of your daily routine to reap the benefits of this antioxidant.

4.   Protein

Simple but sometimes easily forgotten, protein is essential for muscle growth, repair and maintenance - and that doesn’t change through the seasons. Whether your focus is strength or endurance, consuming a high protein meal after a workout can help to provide slow-burning energy and support the recovery of strained and tired muscles. Whey protein, a soluble protein, is rich in branched chain amino acids and permits faster digestion, however there are many options for vegetarians and vegans who may consider pea protein or consumption of complete-protein foods such as soy and quinoa. Or for an even more natural approach, look no further than full-fat yoghurt, eggs or almonds as the perfect protein snack.

Tip: The process of muscle recovery continues for approximately 12 hours after you've trained, and therefore regular consumption of protein can be useful in maximising that recovery.

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5.     Berries

Berries are the ultimate power food all year round – delicious, fresh, bursting with antioxidants and cooling on a hot day. Blueberries in particular have been recognised as having one of the highest antioxidant capacities when compared against other fruits. As an alternative, the acai berry – hailing from the Amazon rainforest region - is gaining a lot of popularity for its antioxidant properties too.

Tip: Add blueberries or acai berry to your breakfast smoothie, with muesli or oats, or eat raw for a delicious snack!

About Stephen Eddey: Stephen Eddey is a qualified Chemist, Naturopath and is the Principal of Australia’s longest established natural medicine college, Health Schools Australia where he overseas seminar programs, course structures and the college administration. He has completed a Bachelor of Complementary Medicine as well as a Masters in Health Science and PhD in Nutritional Medicine.

Speak to your healthcare practitioner to discuss the benefits of Ubiquinol supplementation. Always read the label. Use only as directed.

For more information, visit https://www.ubiquinol.net.au/

 

 

Junkfood is Addictive. We knew it!

Eating junk food programs your brain to want more.

 Image: Getty

Image: Getty

The more junk you eat the more you want. The struggle is real! And, real bad for you.

New research that was presented at the Australasian Neuroscience Society Annual Scientific Meeting in Sydney is showing that a high-fat, high-sugar diet decreases self-control with food choices, affects memory and increases vulnerability to anxiety.

Dr Ian Johnston, of the University of Sydney’s School of Psychology led a study that gave rats everyday junk foods and found that they instinctively sought out more junk food to eat once they’d gotten a taste for it.

Like a drug, that first taste changes your brain instantly in that it just wants more of it. It wants to get the sugar high back again!

The good news about this type of addiction though, is that you don’t suffer withdrawals without it. In fact, once the rats went on a six-week detox, they were back to seeking out and eating healthy food.

“Self-control is the flip side of impulsivity,” Dr Johnston said. “This is how dieting works: delaying immediate gratification now for a long-term gain. This feeds into the idea that if we want people to lose weight, then we really need to make it harder for them to access junk food.”

So Birds, keep your unhealthy choices in check if you don’t want them to spiral out of control. But you already know ice-cream is just an occasional food, right?

 tay healthy

MEDITERRANEAN DIET BOOSTS IMMUNITY

How the Mediterranean Diet Can Boost Your Immunity Through Winter

I was thrilled when Naturopath and Herbalist and Organic Food, Health and Lifestyle Educator, Anthia Koullouros offered to write this piece for Health Bird. Anthea has a Greek/Cypriot background and knows all about the healthy (and tasty) benefits of a Med diet...

With a Greek-Cypriot background, I have grown on a Mediterranean diet, (what my grandparents ate) - plenty of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, plant foods such as vegetables, fruit and some nuts and seeds and pulses, pastured lamb and wild fish and seafood and pastured dairy yogurt, cheese, butter, poultry and eggs.

Several epidemiological studies have evaluated the effects of a Mediterranean Diet as protective against diseases such as obesity, atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome and cognition disorders.

Why? Because the Mediterranean diet is considered rich in nutrients necessary for a thriving healthy human being and is generally free from industrialized processed vegetables oils, refined salt and sugar, artificial additives and farming chemicals - ingredients and products shown to be detrimental to health. 

 Photo from the Mother Nature Network

Photo from the Mother Nature Network


Winter can be a time of illness, fatigue or just feeling ‘under the weather’, a Mediterranean Diet may be helpful for supporting your immune system in the cooler months.

Some of the specific foods that make up a Mediterranean Diet include:

· Extra virgin olive oil. Possibly the most widely studied source of polyphenols in the Mediterranean Diet is extra virgin olive oil. Mostly made up of monounsaturated fatty acids, extra virgin olive contains a high phenol content which offers many health benefits. It’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have a positive effect on certain physiological parameters, including plasma lipoproteins, oxidative damage, inflammatory markers, platelet and cellular function, and antimicrobial activity – all important for building immunity.

·   Olive leaf extract.  As mentioned above, olive oil is considered an excellent source of both beneficial fats and polyphenols. However, due to the fact that many polyphenols are water soluble and not fat soluble most of the olive tree’s polyphenols are lost during the oil making process. Olive Leaf Extract however contains Oleuropein, a powerful antioxidant that provides immune support. Traditionally used in Western Herbal medicine to support the immune system and relieve symptoms of coughs, colds & flu, sore throats and upper respiratory tract infections, olive leaf extract is a winter pantry must-have.  Look for an olive leaf extract that is Australian made and ‘fresh-picked’ to ensure it is as close to nature as possible by retaining all of the plant’s phenolics that occur naturally in the olive leaf.

·   Fresh Vegies. Home grown or naturally grown vegetables (organic or free of chemicals), including fresh herbs such as parsley and oregano, weeds or wild greens such as nettle and rocket. Greens are rich in antioxidants and vitamins and minerals and bitters which enhance digestion. Lemon juice and lemon zest are rich in vitamin C and antimicrobial properties known to support the immune system. Mediterranean food is often drenched in lemon juice. Vegetables are consumed in abundance and served with every meal, raw in a salad or boiled or steamed and served with lots of olive oil and lemon juice.

·   Wild fish and seafood. Wild caught over farmed is preferable as this offers higher amounts of omega 3, and essential fats which have anti-inflammatory and protective properties for the heart, brain and nervous system. Whole fish is preferred over fillet of fish which offers a higher nutrient content derived from the fish fat, bones and organs. Be sure to consume fish during the winter months to ensure you’re receiving a high dose of nutrients.

·   Pastured lamb. A typical staple, lamb, that is grass fed is rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), omega 3, fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 and other healthy fats. These healthy fats enhance the immune system, reduce inflammation and keep winter weight stable. Only minimal amounts of healthy fats are found in grain fed industrialized farmed animals. Lamb also offers complete protein making it a great winter meal option.

 

 

 

Souped Up

Time to rug up and warm up with this delicious winter recipe that features multiple health benefits. Loaded with fibre, antioxidants, folate, iron and vitamins A, C, and K, you won't just be satisfying that cold-weather appetite, you're helping to keep your skin glowing and hydrated, you immunes system strong and your digestive tract on track.

CARROT AND LENTIL SOUP

Ingredients:

·       1 onion, chopped

·       2 cloves garlic, crushed

·       1 teaspoon grated ginger

·       3 cups vegetable stock

·       1 cup red lentils

·       1 carrot, chopped

·       3 tomatoes, chopped

·       2 teaspoons ground coriander

·       1 teaspoon ground cumin

·       ½ teaspoon turmeric

·       ½ cup light coconut milk (optional)

·       ¼ cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped

·       Vegetable salt, if desired

·       Black pepper

 

Directions:

1.     Place brown onion, garlic and ginger in a non-stick saucepan.

2.     Add stock, lentils, tomatoes and spices

3.     Bring to boil and simmer for approximately 45 minutes

4.     Add coconut milk and heat through.

5.     Season to Taste

6.     Garnish with Coriander Leaves

 

 

IsoWhey has some wonderful recipe ideas that will keep your readers warm throughout the rainy season while also tackling the age old issue of weight gain in winter.

Detox the Natural Way

5 natural anti-inflammatory ingredients for detoxification

As we get older, our immune system starts producing small levels of inflammation in the body. Not only does this inflammation cause painful swelling and tenderness but it can also lower bone density, reduce cognitive function, and create insulin-resistance. Our joints and our intestinal tract are especially sensitive to processed foods with added sugar, salt and artificial flavours.  When your body has been put through stress, it’s a good idea to detoxify your liver with natural anti-inflammatory ingredients that can help to keep arthritis and chronic illness at bay.  

Naturopath, Erika Morvay, recommends these five natural anti-inflammatory ingredients for detoxification:

Ginger
Ginger is bursting with anti-inflammatory properties, and has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Studies have shown ginger may help to reduce inflammation within the intestines, relieving some gastrointestinal issues. Ginger is also packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which is why it’s a popular ingredient in detoxes. It’s thought to stimulate digestion and circulation. On a side note, ginger may aid in weight loss due to its satiating properties. Ginger is delicious in stir-fries, juices, and tea.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and bok choy all belong to the wonderful family of cruciferous vegetables. These mean greens are rich in antioxidants and are even touted as the most nutrient-dense foods on earth! Veggies such as cabbage, watercress, and cauliflower are rich in sulfur that contains glucosinolates and indole-3-carbinol compounds which support detoxification.  

Cinnamon
Not only is cinnamon delicious, it’s also full of medicinal properties. Cinnamon has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years as an effective anti-inflammatory. It’s also been found to lower blood glucose levels and cholesterol, reduce pain and inflammation, and aid weight loss. Cinnamon also has antibacterial properties that may help reduce symptoms of bloating, aid in digestion, and treat the symptoms of diarrhoea.

Liquorice
Liquorice is one of the most divisive flavours in the world - you either love it or loathe it! Extracted from the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra, liquorice is used in Ayurvedic medicine for rejuvenation and to soothe inflammation. Liquorice contains glycyrrhetinic acid which protects the liver and helps neutralise the chemical reactions occurring in this vital organ.

 Turmeric
Turmeric is an effective anti-inflammatory that also assists to flush out toxins from our bodies, and contains properties that are thought to help regenerate damaged liver cells. Turmeric is a great addition to Indian food and also makes a tasty tea or turmeric latte.

 Erika Morvay is a qualified Naturopath and Holistic Nutritionist. She has over a decade of experience working within the natural therapies industry and continues to educate herself to grow her expertise. She is part of the technical services team at Global Therapeutics (Fusion Health), providing expert advice to consumers, practitioners and retailers alike. She is also a founder of an online natural fertility coaching business, educating and supporting couples on their fertility journey. She is especially passionate about empowering and supporting women to live a nourished, fulfilled life. She can be contacted at www.erikamorvay.com

The 2017 Superfoods You Need to Know

5 Antioxidants and Superfoods Trending for 2017

 

Move over kale, quinoa, matcha, kelp and kefir, there’s a new selection of key superfoods and antioxidants on the wellbeing block. Here are 5 ingredients set to soar in the health and wellness space this year.

 

1.    Royal Jelly

Royal Jelly is known to be one of nature’s most nutrient-rich substances. Produced by honeybees to feed their Queen, royal jelly is the reason she lives 40 times longer than worker bees. Royal Jelly contains all three macronutrients; antioxidants; vitamins B1, B2, and B6; minerals; and essential amino acids. Similar to honey, Royal Jelly is used for a number of health reasons including; healthy bone development, immunity support and when applied topically it can help to transform dull skin into a radiant, healthy-looking complexion. You can try using Royal Jelly in its purest form, or if you’d prefer to use it in your beauty products, try Burt’s Bees new Skin Nourishment collection.

2.    Watermelon Water

On the subject of Queen Bee, Beyoncé has invested in a new watermelon water start up. Produced from the fruit's flesh and rind, watermelon water is set to be as popular as coconut water and a major beverage of choice this summer. High in lycopene (a powerful and protective antioxidant found in plants), potassium and electrolyte minerals, watermelon water has numerous health benefits which include regulating digestive health, reducing inflammation and improving circulation and heart health.

3.    Ubiquinol

Ubiquinol is the active (more readily absorbed) form of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a powerful antioxidant that is found naturally in the body. Its role is to assist in powering the body’s overall energy levels as well as supporting the health of major organs, including the heart. If you’re feeling drained, Ubiquinol supplements can actually help to support your natural energy levels to function at your prime. Speak with your healthcare practitioner first to discuss your supplement needs.

 

4.    Milk Thistle

Fusion Health Naturopath and Holistic Nutritionist, Erika Morvay, says Milk Thistle is one herb to keep an eye on in 2017. The super-herb contains silybin and other antioxidant compounds that support the health of the liver and may help to protect it from free radical damage.

5.    Hemp

Predicted to be the superfood of 2017 – hemp is a plant-based, rich source of Omegas, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and is also free from soy and diary. Hemp seeds contain more polyunsaturated fatty acids than any other food and are the only food to contain Omega 3 and 6 in just the right amounts to meet our nutritional needs. You might have seen your favourite foodie blogger sprinkling hemp onto smoothie bowls or salads on Instagram, however strictly hemp is still not permitted for human consumption in Australia. If legalised in April this year, Australia will join a legion of other countries already chomping down on hemp, including the UK, the United States, Canada and parts of Europe. For now, you can make good use of hemp in body scrubs and facials as a powerful antioxidant for your skin. 

Spring Clean Your Gut

GUT HEALTH

By now you know that your gut is queen with comes to overall health and wellness.

But after winter indulgences, sometimes it's harder to get our digestion back on the right path. So Health Bird spoke to Amy Jordan, a nutritionist at BioCeuticals, and she offered these top five tips to ensure your insides are always doing your outsides a favour. Follow Amy's tips, not only for  inner beauty, but for glowing skin, happier mood, more restful sleep and increased concentration. 

 

 Image: The Nava Center

Image: The Nava Center

1. Cut down on caffeine 

A tough one for most of us, but an excess of caffeine may cause an imbalance in the gut by producing too much stomach acid. Coffee has been known to exacerbate the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – if you're frequenting your local cafe or Nespresso machine more than once a day, try cutting back to one per day and see if this improves your bloating. If you’re struggling with fatigue, instead of reaching for a jolt of java, ditch social media from the bedroom, and instead see your bed as a place of sleep and sex only. 

2. Go herbal 

Swap out coffee for herbal tea. There are a number of herbal teas that can do wonders for your gut, particularly if you’re feeling bloated and irritated. Chamomile, peppermint and liqorice root teas all help to reduce bloating and gas, and support the digestive process.

3. Drink more water

Our body is more than 60% water, and the gut actually needs this water to keep bacteria and waste travelling through the digestive system, without experiencing unpleasant side effects such as constipation and bloating. While sugary drinks such as soft drinks are accessible and cheap, resist the urge to hydrate with these – all they do is feed the ‘bad’ gut bacteria in the bowel, which is exactly what you don’t want!

4. Manage stress

Did you know that your digestion is controlled by your entire nervous system?

When stress activates your ‘fight or flight’ responses in your nervous system, your digestive process can be halted and can exacerbate other gastrointestinal issues. Adopt a practice like yoga or meditation. Even taking 10 simple, deep breaths a day can help to lower your stress levels by relaxing your body and mind. 

5. Incorporate probiotics

If you’ve been on antibiotics throughout winter, or if your immune system has taken a bit of a hit, you may be experiencing an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. If the bad bacteria continues to be present in larger proportions your body may struggle to fight off viruses and gastrointestinal upsets. 

The good news is, there are plenty of probiotic rich foods that you can add to your daily diet with very little fuss. Yoghurt, fermented vegetables (like kimchi and sauerkraut) and tempeh are just some of these sources. A probiotic rich diet will help ease the imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. If you’re struggling to include probiotic foods in your diet, consider speaking to a healthcare practitioner about adding a high quality, multistrain probiotic supplement to your daily routine. Specific probiotic strains have been shown to benefit in different areas. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilusLactobacillus plantarum and Bifidobacterium breve may provide temporary symptomatic relief of medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Additionally, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium breve and Streptococcus thermophilus may provide temporary relief of diarrhoea. 

 

Incorporating one, or preferably all, of this tips will have you well on the way to a healthy gut. A healthy gut makes a happy life!

 

For more strategies on how to improve your gut health, visit http://www.bioceuticals.com.au/education/articles

 

Pregnancy Eats

Healthy Pregnancy Snacks Sorted!

As I get further into my pregnancy I've noticed I'm wanting to snack more. While choc chip cookies and vanilla sorbet are on my mind, so is staying healthy. But not the broccoli type of healthy - although that's definitely important. I'm talking snack healthy. 

So, a little investigation and a lot of sampling I wanted to share my top five pregnancy snacks with you - that you can both make yourself or buy for those on-the-go days. 

Trail Mix

It's so easy to mix up your own trail mix, specifically tailored to mamas-to-be. My fave ingredients to throw in the mix includes: almonds, walnuts, dark chocolate chunks, goji berries, coconut, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon and bee pollen. This mix will give you a boost of fibre, Omega-3 & Vitamin E (nuts), antioxidants (goji berries), flavinoids (chocolate), folate & magnesium (pumpkin seeds)

Barnarna 

Not only do these organic bites taste sensational, but the company's mission is to eliminate food waste from organic banana farms. And... the brand was invented by three sexy guys! With a range of chewy banana-infused flavours including chocolate, peanut butter and coconut, there's a bite for every craving. 

Smari Yogurt

Smari organic icelandic yogurt uses four cups of whole milk per tub not only making it superbly creamy, but ensuring you get just the right dose of protein and calcium in one serving. Ideal for your little babe's continuous growth. None of their ingredients are treated with hormones, pesticides or herbicides so it's better for you than a lot of dairy and better for your babe too. 

Avocado

Nature's green goddess is full of unsaturated fat and if you use your imagination you can adapt it to almost anything in your cupboard. Smash it on toast and add chilli flakes and a poached egg, slice it on crackers with juicy cherry tomatoes, add it to salads, or whizz it up in a smoothie. 

Cherry Tomatoes

I haven't really experienced any cravings, it's more like I just enjoy the foods I always have that little bit more. But.. cherry tomatoes have become much more tasty than I every imagined and I could just eat them like grapes. Full of Vit K, Vit C and folic acid, they also help purify blood and increase circulation as well as protect against infection thanks to an antiseptic effect. 

New York's Coastal Cool

Montauk, a casual coastal town at the tip of Long Island in New York State, is where weary Manhattanites head to catch some of that beachside cool we Aussies are so accustomed to. 

Models, artists, surfers, fisherman and families blend with locals who look forward to the busy spring/summer months when Montauk blooms from winter's icy hibernation to The Hamptons' hotspot. 

I recently visited for a mid-week mini break (weekends were booked solidly on the accommodation front) with a girlfriend to recharge from NYC's suffocating summer. 

A smooth three-hour ride on the Hampton Jitney took us east on the highway to Long Island, through the posher parts of The Hamptons including East Hampton and Amagansett and passed the must-stop Lobster Roll to our destination.

We stayed at the eco-chic Surf Lodge, located on Fort Pond, a 10-minute walk from the centre of town and the main beach. 

The Lodge was revamped in 2008 and has since become a staycation and nightlife destination for locals and visitors alike. Hosting 32 rooms, all with balconies and hammocks, Evo bath products and kitch pineapple wallpaper, it's just the place you want to rest your sandy toes and Vitamin D laden body after a day at the beach. There are paddle boards and bikes on hand for adventurers - a ten minute pedal will take you to Navy Beach where you can dine beachside on crab cakes and truffle fries. The lobby hosts 24/7 surf flicks on rotation and boutique, Surf Bazaar, with instragram-worthy caftans, beach bag and jewellery pieces for sale. 

My favourite eats in Montauk include Joni's for organic fare, the Gig Shack for mango salsa fish tacos and tunes, and the Surf Lodge's very own restaurant (the organic market-driven menu devised by Aussie chef Chris Rendell) that offers a killer Lobster Roll to be washed down with one of several tasty cocktails. The property's open-air deck hosts music in the afternoons til sunset and DJs entertain revellers late into the night. 

The only way to cure your hangover is to participate in one of the Lodge's weekend health and fitness classes. Wellness warriors from New York and beyond host Pilates, yoga and more to get you moving on the deck in the mornings. 

The latest Aussie Superfood unearthed!

Guradji (ger-ra-je) is a previously undiscovered superfood that's recently been launched into Australia’s health and wellness scene. Guradji is a native Australian wonder plant used by indigenous people for thousands of years.

Gurạdji was traditionally used for its analgesic properties: chewed to relieve toothache, and brewed to calm pain or nausea. And also made into a paste to apply to cuts and scrapes for it's ability to reduce inflammation and speed up healing. 

But this miracle plant can also be used everyday as a great alternative to tea or coffee. Guradji is caffeine-free and loaded with incredible antioxidants and bitter compounds (similar to those found in green tea and cacao) shown to be anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and beneficial to gut health. 

So you can start sipping your way to health and mental clarity, LORE Australia has released it as a tisane, or a tea-like herbal infusion, that can be brewed hot or cold. 

 

LORE Australia founder, Jesse Gurujirr, learned about the Australian bush plant from his Aboriginal elders. "The plant gets its name for the 'Guradji Men' who dispensed the leaf. They were the holders of knowledge tradition and rules: The lore," he explains. "Guradji was shared as a way to welcome others and create a sense of community between clans."

In stark contrast to the regular Australian diet of today, Indigenous Australians utilised over 200 local and seasonal bio foods.

The cleansing and refreshing tisane is hand-picked from wild harvest and naturally sun-dried to preserve the health properties.

Enhanced Workout Performance without the Fatigue!

Make Room in Your Gym Bag for these Seven Performance-Enhancing, Fatigue-Fighting Ingredients

Have you been so inspired by the upcoming Olympics set to kick off in Rio that you've upped your workout hours? Bravo! If you're in the southern hemisphere, there's no better way to fight the winter blues and if you're further north, you're already rocking (and maintaining) that bikini body. But to ensure you don't find yourself falling asleep on the bus on the way to work after another sun-up bootcamp, Health Bird spoke to Belinda Reynolds, IsoWhey Sports Dietitian and Nutritionist, on the right foods to help you not only enhance your performance, but also fight off fitness fatigue... Because sometimes, a gym session and diet overhaul is kinda exhausting!

Beetroot

Beetroot juice is no longer just a burger additive.  Beets are a rich source of nitrates, which increases the size of blood vessels to allow more oxygen to flow to muscles and  regulate muscle contraction.

New research is showing that beetroot juice, when taken before exercise, can enhance exercise capacity and sports performance, and in some studies, beetroot juice has improved endurance by up to 15%.

 

Glutamine

Glutamine is one of the most common amino acids found in muscle mass, but when you exercise, glutamine reserves become seriously depleted. This can have an effect not only on your energy levels, but also your muscle strength and ability to bounce back from exercise.

Fitness fanatics love Glutamine for two reasons. Firstly, it increases your ability to create Human Growth Hormone, which aids new muscle growth and the body's ability to metabolise fat. Secondly, it boosts your immune system- bodybuilders are very prone to becoming run down and sick, thanks to their Glutamine levels depleting during such intense workouts, and often look to l-glutamine supplements to help counterbalance this.

Ubiquinol

Coenzyme Q10 plays an important role in the production of energy, as it is essential for powering mitochondria - the ‘generators’ in our cells - providing them with energy. The majority of CoQ10 in our body is in the form of Ubiquinol, and is responsible for not only providing our cells with energy, but fighting illness triggers like free radicals and inflammation.

Studies have also shown Ubiquinol to increase short-term maximum performance, boost energy and speed recovery from exercise muscle exhaustion. Our Ubiquinol levels naturally decline as we age, starting at age 30, and earlier if we’re stressed and physically active. So if you’re burnt out, there’s a good chance your cells are actually depleted from the energy they need - Ubiquinol.

L-arginine

L-arginine may sound like it belongs in a laboratory, but it is a well-known supplement in fitness circles, that works in a similar way to beetroot juice.

Like beetroot juice, l-arginine increase nitric oxide (NO) synthesis, creating improved blood flow to all major organs. What’s so good about blood flow? Improved circulation benefits us when we're exercising because more oxygen is delivered throughout the body to organs and muscles, enhancing recovery.

L-arginine is also popular because it promotes growth hormones in the body – which doesn’t mean you’ll bulk up, but is actually beneficial if you’re looking to gain lean muscle and lose fat.

Magnesium

Magnesium is involved in all steps of energy production, making it popular in not just fitness circles but health circles in general. Magnesium is also the key nutrient required for muscle relaxation, with a deficiency often being the culprit behind muscle cramps, soreness and spasms. Two-thirds of Australians are deficient in Magnesium, which could explain why many of us are feeling regularly wiped out. If you have difficulty recovering post-workout and are prone to muscle cramping, or you find yourself consistently fatigued, investigate Magnesium.

Caffeine

Coffee lovers, celebrate! Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, increases the release and activity of adrenaline, enhances endurance and even improves performance during high-intensity events for up to four hours! Obviously it’s important to not overdo it- drinking five cups of coffee before a workout is more likely to make you unwell in the long run. Stick to the recommended daily intake of no more than 400mg, which is the equivalent to four cups of coffee. And that's at a maximum!

BCAA’s  

BCAAs or branch chain amino acids, are the building blocks of our muscles. The intake of these amino acids helps to build and maintain lean and dense muscle mass. Consuming BCAAs before, during and after exercise encourages a protein balance within skeletal muscle and helps to prevent and reduce the breakdown of muscle during your work out.  The good news is that these days, many protein powders actually include BCAA’s in their formula.

Keep in mind that although there are many new ingredients out there that can boost your performance and reduce feelings of fatigue, no amount of pre-workout formulas will help you if you’re eating a diet full of energy-zapping, processed foods. These ingredients can certainly boost your performance if you’re exercising regularly - but they’re definitely not magic ‘ab-making pills’. Hard work and dedication is still what it's all about!

Belinda Reynolds BSc Nut & Diet (Hon) 

Belinda Reynolds graduated with an Honours Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2003. She has been involved in the complementary medicine industry for nearly 15 years.

Belinda’s greatest passion is assisting practitioners in developing their knowledge by presenting new research in the area of integrative medicine. Now a mother of two, pre- and postnatal, infant and child health have evolved as subjects particularly close to her heart.

   

Eat Like An Olympian

Eat Like an Olympian- Genevieve La Caze

When you think about the diet of an Olympic athlete, I’m sure you’re thinking of whole chickens, powders and carb loading pastas and breads, but the fuel an elite athlete needs to perform at peak condition isn’t always as it seems.   

Australian steeplechaser Genevieve La Caze gives us a sneak peek at her menu, which is surprisingly normal considering the training she does. As an added bonus, all of the below is easily accessible and affordable!

Genevieve trains every day of the week except for Fridays, and genuinely loves racing and competing for the steeplechase.

The steeplechase isn’t just your average athletic event. While competitors do run on a track, to complete the race they also have to clear 28 fixed barriers, and seven water jumps. This adds quite the unique twist to an already gruelling event!

Here are five things that Genevieve always includes in her diet on an average day.  

1.    Peanut Butter- I have this with a banana, and include a coffee as well before I start my training at 9.30am

2.    Greek Yoghurt- This is always a quick, easy, and healthy snack to prepare when I’m on the go

3.    Veggies- Plenty of those in the diet! I include veggies in both my lunch and dinner meals each and every day

4.    Soft Boiled Eggs- This is another inclusion in my main breakfast/lunch that I have after finishing my morning training session. I have this with some cottage cheese, 2 slices of ham, ½ avocado, ½ tomato all on a bed of spinach

5.    Cereal- I usually eat gluten free cereal as a snack, sometimes pairing it with the Greek yoghurt mentioned above

About Genevieve

Genevieve La Caze is representing Australia at this year’s Rio Olympic Games in the Steeplechase event, and has been setting a string of personal bests in the lead up to the big event. Genevieve is currently working with Flexiseq, a topical gel to help ease joints, and regularly uses it after training sessions. 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Eating in Tulum

The Real Coconut, Sanara, Tulum

‘'Every dish is designed to nourish and support both the body and soul down to a cellular level without dismissing the importance of flavor” says Daniella Hunter, the creative food maverick behind the beachside eatery.

Sitting above pristine white sands and looking out to the azure blue Caribbean seas certainly aids the restaurant's dining philosophy that eating is a regime for both personal and planetary sustainable living.

 Beachside eating at The Real Coconut

Beachside eating at The Real Coconut

Gluten-free, dairy-free and largely grain-free, the dishes at The Real Coconut are inspired by the sustenance of Mother Nature's coconut and were developed by Daniella in her Tulum home through trial and error and inviting guests over for dinner party tastings. 

The result is a unique and revitalising menu filled with energy-boosting, health-optimising dishes.

Upon arrival at Sanara, after a 12 hour journey from New York (note, the flight is actually only 4 hours from JFK to Cancun) I was starving. After checking into my room I headed straight for The Real Coconut and ordered Coconut Quesadillas and Fish Tacos, with a lime and basil-infused soda. Over the next six sun-soaked days on the Mayan Riviera I tried various different dishes.

 Coconut Quesadillas and Fish Tacos

Coconut Quesadillas and Fish Tacos

Highlights included:

Super Green Bowl – a tumbled salad of locally grown greens topped with hemp seeds and served on an avocado gazpacho.

 Super Green Bowl + Healing Green juice

Super Green Bowl + Healing Green juice

The Nacho Bowl – complete with grain-free, coconut flour tostada chips drizzled with melted chipotle coconut cheese, guacamole and pico de gallo salsa.

 Nacho Bowl

Nacho Bowl

The Hemp Burger & Malanga Fries – made from toasted hemp tahini, sweet potato, spinach and fresh herbs.

 Malanga Fries + Hemp Burger

Malanga Fries + Hemp Burger

Choco Nutty Smoothie – Mexican cacao powder, medjool dates, frozen bananas, vanilla and almond butter blended with home-pressed coconut milk and ice. Does it get any better?

 Choco-Nutty Smoothie

Choco-Nutty Smoothie

Then there were eggs or pancakes for breakfast, various cold-pressed juices and a smooth and creamy broccoli soup.

Click image to view. 

  

Mother's Day Matcha

As Mother's Day approaches, Health Bird speaks to mother and daughter team Erin and Jennifer,  the founders of Zen Green Tea, on how to work in harmony with your mum.

Four years ago they predicted matcha would become a huge health phenomenon and sourced the highest quality matcha from sustainable tea farms in Kyoto in Japan. Now with matcha bars popping up in hipster neighbourhoods and with Zen Green Tea being sold in over 3000 retailers across Australia - who better to offer these top five tips on creating a business and keeping a healthy relationship with your mum...

1. Understand your skills: I loved pushing forward to grow the business whereas my mum loved customer service so we both focused on those areas therefore each contributing the most value in tasks we most enjoyed.

2. Talk about your goals: Make sure you set up your business so you are both working toward achieving your goals. I wanted to grow my business whereas my mum wanted to help and spend more time with me until my dad retired and they could travel. 

3. Clear Communication: Establish time every week to provide feedback to one another to ensure clear and honest communication. Don't let your personal relationship stop you from raising concerns or improvement points.

4. Be ThankfulOften with family it can be easy to take them for granted. Ensure you always praise and thank your mum or daughter and be grateful to be able to work with them.

5.  Spend time together away from the business: It’s easy to let every conversation be about the business but it’s important to also get away from that and do other fun non business activities together

 Entrepreneurial Mother-Daughter Duo, Jennifer and Erin

Entrepreneurial Mother-Daughter Duo, Jennifer and Erin

The Endless Health Benefits of Matcha

• 137 X antioxidants of standard green tea

• Boosts metabolism to aid in weight loss

• Cancer fighter and preventer

• Detoxifies naturally

• Increases energy

• Reduces stress, enhances mood

• Improves concentration

• Supports the immune system

• Clears, protects and maintains healthy skin

Is this Sydney's Healthiest Suburb?

Bondi Junction was once the poor cousin to Sydney's famous Bondi Beach. But now the cosmopolitan hub is both a shopping and healthy foodie destination.  

The healthy hot spot has smoothie bars, paleo cafes, wholefood supermarkets and vegan restaurants popping up all the time. With the help of Brittany Bennett, Health Bird profiles the superfood suburb. 

O Superfood

Arguably the best smoothie bar in Sydney and with so many incredible tasting smoothies and salads on the menu, how can you go wrong?

O Superfood is the creation of chef Mick Gay who also founded and ran the popular institution O Organic in Surry Hills for 15 years, needless to say he has been ahead of the game when it comes to health trends for a while

O Superfood has over 20 superfood ingredients sourced from around the world that they use within their vegan, dairy and gluten free smoothies. 

Try the ‘Enerdriver’ with blueberries, broccoli, banana, spinach, spirulina, goji, yerba mate tea and vegan protein powder

They also offer healthy salads and wraps, which are all dressed to order.

Naked Foods

Naked Food is a retailer that specializes in organic health foods available in bulk. It’s great for avoiding wastage as you just buy what you need, and they also have a lot of hard to find ingredients, which is perfect for the uber healthy, paleo, vegan, gluten free...., as sometimes recipes to suit those diets can be difficult to shop for.

If you are after nuts, seed, grains, cereals, spices or any unique super ingredients, Naked Foods is an awesome find. Don't miss the dark chocolate coated goji berries!

Henley’s Wholefoods

Henley’s is probably one of the more famous places in the area, known for their nutrient dense ingredients and amazing breakfasts.

Henley’s is a wholefood café that uses high quality locally sourced ingredients from trusted environmentally friendly farmers. Everything that they make is gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. The Pumpkin Hazelnut Meal Bread with zucchini ribbons, smoked salmon and egg is amazing! As are their lunchtime salad combos.

 Delicious salad combo at Henley's

Delicious salad combo at Henley's

Nalini’s Wholesome Street Food

Venturing a short way from Oxford Street, Nalini’s is a new gem that is quite hidden, but a must find. 

The small ‘hole-in-the-way’ café boasts Probiotic Rich, 100% gluten free foods, with dosa wraps (dosa is a South Indian savory crepe made from fermented rice and lentils) being it’s main feature.

This café has tone of gut friendly vegan and vegetarian meals that has an exotic international flavor.

The ‘Roasted Wrap’ is pretty amazing and it is topped with Apple Kraut dressing.

 Nalini's

Nalini's

Earth to Table

This is a great, relaxed, vegan café on Bronte Road that offers indoor and outdoor garden seating and is often packed with people from all walks of life! 

They offer healthy versions of all of your favourite foods so expect to see zucchini pasta, pizza with almond bases, raw cheesecakes and cashew cheese replacing actual cheese.

They do a delicious matcha latte, their raw cakes and spirulina mint bliss balls are all mouthwatering and the Love smoothie is chocolate love in a glass jar.

Beat the 3pm Slump

Healthy Afternoon Snacks for the Office

By IsoWhey Dietitian Belinda Reynolds

When the 3pm slump hits it’s all too easy to grab something quick and easy to boost your energy levels and satisfy your hunger. But a chocolate bar or bag of chips from the office vending machine is far from healthy. You might get an instant sugar high but then you'll only slump further. Try packing your snacks in advance instead, they'll be way more satisfying, and natural and healthy too.

Check out these five easy and convenient office snack ideas to help satisfy your cravings without having to go anywhere near the vending machine!

1.    Natural Greek yoghurt with berries

A big tub of Greek yoghurt will last for ages and it’s a great source of calcium, magnesium and potassium. It’s also easy to divvy it up into small portions, top them with low sugar fresh fruit such as berries and leave them in the work fridge for whenever you’re feeling peckish. If you find natural Greek yoghurt a little too sour, you can add a small drizzle of honey or vanilla extract to sweeten it naturally. Try to avoid the pre-sweetened yoghurts with added fruit as although they’re convenient, they often contain as much, if not more, refined sugar as some chocolate bars.

2.    Natural ready-made snacks

These are so easy because you can buy a box to leave in the pantry, then grab them and throw them in your bag as you need them. There’s no pressure to eat them as if you don’t end up feeling hungry, they will last more than just a day and don’t need to be kept in a fridge. My favourite are the new IsoWhey Wholefoods Superfood Snacks as they’re gluten free, dairy free, completely natural, they taste amazing and they’re loaded with plenty of extra nutrients from the superfood ingredients.

3.    Mixed nuts

If you’re craving something savoury a handful of mixed nuts is sure to hit the spot. They’re high in protein and healthy fats, which help to provide sustained energy and satiety. Pick a pre-mixed selection or just grab a few of your favourite and divvy them up into portion sizes, so you can snack on them without being tempted to over indulge. Aim for unsalted, raw nuts to get the most nutrients out of them and avoid accidentally consuming too much sodium.

4.    Fresh veggies with hummus

This is a great low-maintenance office snack. It’s easy to prepare as you can chop the veggies at home or in the office, and you can leave the hummus in the fridge, ready to grab whenever you need it. The most popular veggies for dipping are red capsicum, celery, cucumber or carrots, but you can use whatever you prefer. The combination of veggies and hummus will give your body a healthy boost of essential vitamins and minerals. If you’re not a huge fan of hummus, you may want to try a nut butter such as almond or peanut butter as your dip. If you choose a nut butter, aim for no more than a tablespoon at a time due to the higher calorie concentration.

5.    Boiled eggs

Simple but effective, hard boiled eggs are packed full of protein and make a perfect afternoon snack. They’re super easy to prepare the night before and taste great when refrigerated or heated up. If you leave them in their shells they stay fresh and aren’t too messy, meaning there’s less washing up for you to deal with.

For more tips and healthy weight inspiration, check out the new IsoWhey e-book, available to download for free here

Recipes to Fall in Love With

Valentine's books with a difference! Ditch the box of chocolates and give yourself the gift of superfood recipes and green cleansing 

 

Superfoods 24/7 by Jessica Nadel

Learn how to build superfoods into your daily diet with more than 100 quick and easy recipes that feature need-now nutrients for every meal. 

Daily Greens 4-Day Cleanse by Shauna Martin and Mayim Bialik

Boost your energy and reclaim your digestion with these recipes that set out to cleanse your body in just four days! Get greening!

Superlegumes by Chrissy Freer

Pulled pork black bean burgers and choc bean brownies are just two of more than 85 nutritious recipes featuring protein-packed, iron, calcium and vitamin B-rich legumes.

The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott

Autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto's disease and Coeliac disease are reportedly on the rise. Through experimenting with food the author alleviated her own autoimmune symptoms and is sharing her version of the Paleo diet so others can take control of their health.  

Eat Right For Your Shape by Lee Holmes

A practical guide to the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda and identifying your unique body type, or 'dosha', this book offers to help you find your ideal weight and maintain it while connecting with harmony in your life through food, nutrition and mindfulness.  

Heal Your Gut by Lee Holmes

Digestive issues? Food allergies? IBS? Lee's book, featuring mouthwatering images of must-make, anti-inflammatory recipes will have you re-tuning your gut health meal after meal. 

Eat this! Top 10 Superfoods 2016

Superfoods - The Top 10 Superfoods to Have in your Kitchen this Year

 

Superfoods, the must-have in the nutrition toolkit if you are seeking optimal wellbeing and to nourish the body from the inside out. Below are 10 superfoods you should aim to keep stocked in your kitchen for 2016.

 

Blueberries

Blueberries have long been thought of as just a delightful indulgence, but new research shows they contain natural substances that can help fight cancer cells and reduce inflammation in the body. They’re also an excellent source of Vitamin C.

Goji Berries

Goji berries have been eaten as a health food for thousands of years by people living in the harsh conditions of the Himalayas. They’re packed with beneficial nutrients such as vitamin C, iron and beta carotene. Traditional Chinese medicine uses Goji berries to improve circulation and assist the immune system.

Kale

It’s hard to find a café these days that doesn’t have something containing kale on the menu, and for good reason. Its dark green leaves even look super healthy, so it's no surprise they contain high levels of many beneficial nutrients such as iron and vitamin C.

Broccoli

Not all superfoods are recent arrivals to our health food stores and supermarkets. We've all grown up with broccoli on our plates, and sometimes wished it wasn't there. Knowing what we know now about broccoli, this attitude has changed, and our fantastic ways of preparing it today are a far cry from the overcooked methods of yesteryear. Its bacterial fighting properties and high Vitamin K content make broccoli one of our most important superfoods.

Raw Cacao

When chocolate is included amongst the ranks of superfoods, we are not really referring to the sweetened, high fat treat that many of us love to eat. Superfood status does however belong to the raw cacao bean. Without the processing that turns it into a sweet dessert, raw cacao maintains its high nutritional value and is full of antioxidants, magnesium and calcium.

Matcha Powder

Matcha powder is made from dried and powdered green tea. One cup of matcha tea contains a much higher volume of antioxidants compared to one cup of ordinary green tea. Matcha powder is high in B vitamins and is also used to create the tea used in the ancient Japanese tea ceremony.

Flaxseed

Also called linseed, flaxseed is a great vegetarian source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are known to be useful for circulation and heart health. Ground into a powder, and mixed with other seeds and nuts, flaxseed is delicious sprinkled on many dishes, both sweet and savoury, or added to soups and stews.

 Cold Pressed Coconut Oil

The fatty acids in cold pressed coconut oil have many health benefits. Some studies even suggest they are beneficial for blood circulation and mental functionality. It is important to use the cold pressed product since heat and processing reduce its superfood properties.

Chia Seeds

These tiny seeds are in all sorts of supermarket products now, from chocolate bars to sliced bread. To make sure you are getting their full superfood benefits, pick sources of chia seeds that do not also contain high levels of sugar or saturated fat. Chia seeds are high in omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamins B & C and soluble fibre.

Avocado

This soft green fruit is not very sweet and has a unique texture, leading to it being considered an acquired taste. Perfect in salads, as a dip or as a spread on toast as a replacement for butter or margarine, raw avocado contain no cholesterol and lots of vitamins and minerals to help keep you healthy.

 

Blackmores has recently launched its new Superfoods range, offering six superfood products that are created with the highest quality ingredients and boosted with natural nutrients, including Vitality Super Greens, Matcha Green Tea, Wild Blueberry Blend, Coconut Water, Cacao, and Raw Chia.

The Blackmores Superfoods are available in a convenient powdered form and can be easily added to any type of drink to help boost your daily nutrient intake in a way that’s accessible anytime, anywhere. 

Boxing Day Bikini Body

So you wanna feast at Christmas, but still hit the beach in your cossie come Boxing Day? Well there no reason you can't be bikini ready despite tucking into some turkey and treats.  Just follow these tips from some of Australia's top health and wellness experts to maintain a Boxing Day Bikini Body

Peta Shulman – Founder of GoodnessMe Box

The holidays are a time to indulge- it’s all about letting your hair down, enjoying time with friends and family and having that extra slice of pudding! However, that doesn’t mean you have to completely throw your healthy lifestyle out the window. A good way to ensure you maintain your health during the holidays is to offer to bring dessert yourself! Think chia puddings instead of bread and butter puds, bliss balls instead of rumballs, pumpkin brownies and more. I love the three-ingredient chocolate truffle recipe found in our Decadent Desserts e-book, by Melbourne-based nutrition student Alicia, @balanced.basic- it’s just almond meal, chia seeds and choc-hazelnut spread. Options like this taste so naughty that none of your relatives will know they are nice! 

 Peta Shulman

Peta Shulman

Belinda Reynolds, Dietitian, Nutritionist and BioCeuticals Educator

Christmas can, more than not, often mean lots of big meals enjoyed with friends and family, and therefore the stress of keeping completely healthy can often seem daunting. But it doesn’t have to be! There’s no reason why you can’t indulge and enjoy a little treat here and there at Christmas time.

In saying that, I aim to focus on healthy snacks and nibbles that include raw veggies and delicious healthy dips, plus nuts and some great cheese as a treat. Meals focus on protein sources (e.g. prawns, smoked salmon, chicken, ham off the bone) and lots of great fun and creative salads.  

I always steer clear of breads and other sides which are high in refined carbohydrates. For dessert, I love dark chocolate, or cacao mixed in with coconut yoghurt, a little stevia for sweetness, strawberries and a superfood-type sprinkle of nuts, seeds and dried berries).

Lauren Hannaford – PT and IsoWhey Sports Ambassador

When it comes to the Silly Season and Christmas, it’s hard to deprive yourself of all the delicious food you’re surrounded by. It’s become more and more a festival of food at this time of year, so rather than trying to pretend that I don’t want to eat the pudding or sit there gritting my teeth the whole time depriving myself, instead of just digging right in and thinking I will be able to control myself, I go for the healthiest options first!! I fill my plate with the salads and veggies first before I opt for that heavenly looking potato bake. If I’m still hungry 10 minutes after having the 'healthy food' then I usually grab a smaller plate and put some of the 'not so healthy' bits and pieces on- it’s all in the balance and moderation!

Andrew Pap – PT and IsoWhey Sports Ambassador

Christmas is a time of celebrating with family and friends. I know it seems to be tradition to unbuckle the belt and consume as much food as possible, but, your waistline doesn't have to be in jeopardy! I know for myself, I still maintain my training and a well-balanced diet as if it's like any other time of the year. 

My family and I like to prepare food that's healthy, nutritious and fresh. I enjoy seafood, lean meats, creative salads and pastas. I visualise the food as my perfect recovery source for my mornings training and look forward to take the leftovers for future prepped meals. Everything in moderation is the key to longevity and success. 

Kate Kendall - Co-founder and Director of Yoga at Flow Athletic

Over Christmas my eating style is fairly similar to every other day in the summer months – light, clean and fresh. I try to incorporate quick and easy ways to add extra nutrition into my food where possible, for example with the Blackmores Superfoods range. The only change would be a higher intake of fruit and liquorice all sorts! I grew up on an orchard in the country so when I go home to see the family, there’s an abundance of delicious stone fruit and other goodies in the fridge and fruit bowl. And my Mum and I both have a thing for liquorice so there’s always some lying around for us. It’s a Christmas tradition. 

 

 Kate Kendall

Kate Kendall