Top 5 red flags to look out for!

As a lecturer, I get asked this question many times. ‘How do I sift through the nutrition information available at the click of a mouse?’

I look out for these!

  1. ‘Drop a dress size in a week’
    Besides raising my eyebrows, I must admit that such claims are click baits, I very rapidly go down the rabbit hole… hoping to stumble on to that sure shot way to drop a dress size.Β  However, a claim is just that a claim! The reality is that we lose water which is attached to our glycogen stores. Yes, the water weight will drop and maybe that dress will be a size 10 instead of a 12…but sure as shot those pesky rolls will come back!
  2. ‘Will power and a strong mind’
    Really, is it really that simple? Say No to a gooey, yummy brownie and all is well…ummm..actually no! Losing weight is so not about will power and a strong mind, in fact, it is about recognising hunger cues, about cultivating healthy eating and about making healthy food choices. Weight is a complex play between hormones, metabolism and activity. All such statements do is make you feel guilty when scoffing down that decadent brownie!
  3. ‘Super foods’
    Hulled Hemp Hearts, Blueberries, Acai and Goji and the list continues. As a nutritionist, I say ALL foods are super foods! Our food choices should be based on what is in season, what is available within our budget and in and around our local area. Travelling 30km in busy traffic to get 200g of Hemp Hearts that you pay a packet for is unnecessary and seriously negates the benefit of any super food!!
  4. ‘Conflict of interest’
    This is a big one for me. I studied Food Policy and Nutrition as one of my electives, I enjoyed this subject immensely and it opened my eyes wide to potential bias and conflicts of interest. Industry funds research too and of course there is a potential for bias here; in this context, the benefits of supplements on a company website is not a crash hot reference!
  5. ‘It worked for me’
    Delighted for you :-). This, however, does not mean that it will work for me or anyone else. A very common claim, yet personal and anecdotal evidence is a weak form of evidence. In fact, Compound Interest has an interesting article on the types of evidence.


I look for robust scientific evidence in my practice. Yes, I do seek studies with randomised controlled trials but I am aware that the effect of diet is challenging to determine and controlled conditions are not always ethical or feasible.

Book here for YOUR personalised nutrition consult.

 

 

 

 

 

Chow for the critters in the gut!

A yummy and a popular salad in our home, made with home sprouted green gram, onions, garlic, coriander, green chillies and seasoned with mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, salt and lemon juice.

This is a traditional South Indian salad recipe. The green gram (dried green mung beans) are first washed and soaked in water to allow them to sprout. Now, Melbourne winters are tricky so I soak them in warm water and leave them to sprout over a couple of days. Next, heat a wok, in a teaspoon of sesame seed oil, add mustard seeds until they splutter, add chopped green chillies, curry leaves, chopped onions and garlic and saute until onions just turn translucent. Now add the sprouted green gram and steam for about 5 minutes. The sprouts need to retain their crunch but be cooked (this decreases the flatus and bloat in sensitive stomachs). Take off the heat, add salt and lime juice to taste, garnish with chopped coriander. A great snack for diabetics, PCOS and weight reduction.

Steamed green gram sprouts salad

Nutrition beliefs and values!

This is a post I have been meaning to write for a while. As a nutritionist and a Mum with high school kids, I often get asked questions on my beliefs and practices on food. The most common one: “Do I eat and serve healthy meals at all times?”
To be honest, I don’t. I believe in a balance.

Here are some of my personal tips to enjoy eating while staying healthy.

Love plants, add plants and eat plants in as many ways as you can!
As Michael Pollan said, β€œEat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” I follow this everyday, for example, breakfast on a Monday morning will be a porridge of oats, mixed vegetables, seasoned with salt and pepper, served steaming hot. Warms the body on a cold Melbourne winter day and keeps us full for a good two-and-a-half hours.
I pack cucumber and carrot sticks in the lunch box, add cherry tomatoes for variety and sometimes will add mixed leafy greens. This routine seldom changes. What has this achieved? My kids eat veggies either raw or cooked without a fuss.

Recognise your hunger cues!
This is a big one and is put to test every school holidays. My kids do eat more when they are at home buuuut they do get veggie and fruit platters along with the chips, cookies and chocolates. We have conversations on hunger which go something like this, Are you bored or just hungry? Can you play for a little while longer? How about a glass of water? Would you like to make yourself a snack? Often, these questions makes you aware of your hunger and leads to being more aware of your choices. Just as an aside, please do not leave it too late to eat, this will make you binge on food, which defeats the purpose!

Shall we get takeaway tonight?
Yessss! I love Friday nights ’cause it is takeaway night. Could be anything, chicken and chips, curry or pizza. Can you make this healthier? Of course, add a salad! We generally skip the drinks offered and stick to water.
Takeaway is something that we all enjoy however adding salads and losing the sugary drinks can ensure it has a healthy kick to it too!

We eat food not nutrients!
I cannot emphasise this enough. This was THE take home message from my nutrition studies. I have never forgotten this. We often hear discussions between popular figures which labour on the benefits of saturated fat, draw comparison between diets low in carbs and high in fats…..and so forth. The result is we get confused! What should we eat? Is this okay to eat butter or extra virgin olive oil?
The truth is, we eat food not one single nutrient, so it is more important to look at our overall diet. A standard diet plan sourced from the Internet will not factor in your personal likes/dislikes, culture, goals, beliefs, and limitations. Only a qualified nutritionist will deliver a personalised plan that ensures your enjoyment while keeping you healthy.

See a qualified nutritionist who resonates with your goals and beliefs! Organise your personalised consult here πŸ™‚