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What’s Not to Love About Anti-Inflammatory, Immune Boosting Mushrooms?

What’s Not to Love About Anti-Inflammatory, Immune Boosting Mushrooms?

We started  eating mushrooms as food and utilising them for medicine more than 2,000 years ago. These disease-fighting mushies are a potent anti-inflammatory food. We know that many of the fungi we use today contains active compounds that have anti-cancer, anti-hypertensive, blood sugar-lowering, and other potentially valuable therapeutic properties.

What else? These edible mushrooms also contain good sources of fibre, proteins, minerals, antioxidants and trace elements.

 

The 2014 CSIRO Mushrooms and Health report found that:

 

  • White button mushrooms are great for enhancing the action of natural killer cells and other immune responses in mice.
  • Other reports have shown that mushroom extracts given to mice reduced inflammation, improved gut bacteria to resolve infection, and increased the anti-cancer immune response.

 

Researchers at the University of Western Sydney indicated that:

  • Mushrooms show to  increase the production of salivary IgA in healthy humans, and have a positive effect on mucosal sites such as the intestinal and respiratory tract.
  • 2 mushroom polysaccharides may inhibit breast cancer cell growth, possibly through enhanced macrophage function.

One study found that of 30 common vegetables, mushrooms were placed in the top 5 highest antioxidant levels when compared to vegetables.

Now we know they contain some pretty descent immune boosting properties. Whats so good about anti-oxidants anyway?

It contains this groovy anti-oxidant called ergothioneine. Protecting blood cells and transporting nutrients and oxygen to body cells, it also protects your artery lining from atherosclerosis (fatty deposits). We can’t make this stuff. It has to come from our diet.

So low levels of  ergothioneine = oxidation (damage) of DNA and proteins. DNA damaged->antioxidants try and correct the damage-> reduced risk of it becoming a cancerous cell.

 

So get some of these gems into you to  boost your immunity and stay strong!

 

Tips to eat healthy while on holiday

Tips to eat healthy while on holiday

Eating Healthy While Away from Home or on a Holiday

I am trying to cheat a bit and make this interstate move a bit of a holiday. I am realising just how much cortisol and adrenaline I have been running on in the last few months! While stressful, some super duper herbs, exercise and fresh food has helped me through this (ok, I’m human, and maybe a glass of wine in there too!)

Now that I am in our temporary house though, it’s a bit harder to implement all this. It would be all to easy to slip into bad habits, and trust me, it is very tempting to eat lots of ice cream and lounge around on the couch!! While traveling somewhere new is (almost) always lots of fun, trying to eat and stay healthy on holidays can be a challenge.

Here are some tips I try and stick to, as much as I can, while away.

Staying Healthy on holiday?

That may not sound like sound like much fun, but worse when you feel bloated, irregular, dull skin and gained an extra few kilos.

It can be tricky to pass up the afternoon cake and coffee, fish and chips or a glass or 4 of wine…especially when you are on holiday, but for the most part we try to put good things into our bodies. At the end of our hectic day real food helps our body’s and immune system to function at its best.

I don’t know what it is about being away from home and our routines, but it is easy to leave our rational, nutritionally savvy selves at home and replace them with high fat, high sugar quick treats, especially with the endless cafes and restaurants everywhere.

I’ve found some tried-and-true tips that allow us to enjoy ourselves while away, without falling into overindulgence or gluten hangover.

1. Plan. Yep. Boring, I know but you will be grateful you did it.

You know the saying “proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance”? It also applie for our food and how our body’s perform.

Meal planning is the single best thing I do each week for my sanity and for our food budget.  I now manage to plan meals in less than 10 minutes a week (and save dollars doing it).

This time, we drove to our destination, so I started pre-making as much of the food as possible. I batch cook and pre-make entire meals like salads, Bolognese of chilli sauces,  Falafels etc. so that I don’t have to cook much on holiday (which makes it more relaxing too!)  I also plan a few meals that we will eat once we are here so I know ahead of time exactly what I’ll need at the shops. This planning ahead means I won’t forget any condiments neither

2. Pack Healthy Snacks

Whether your destination is a short car ride or a 3 hour flight, having an array of healthy snacks on hand can be the difference between processed airport or petrol station food and a fresh alternative. It helps prevent blood sugar drops too so staying in control and avoiding temptation is much easier.  Having better alternatives on hand saves time Trying to find snacks on the go and keeps us from feeling terrible.

Snack ideas:

  • Boiled eggs
  • carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers
  • rice crackers, hummus
  • Trail mix (Almonds, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, raisins)
  • Reusable insulated bottles for holding smoothies
  • Pre-made energy bars or homemade protein balls
  • Various types of almond butter, pecan butter and coconut butter for serving with fresh fruit

3. Keep to your eating at home routine as much as possible

For some people, holidays  are a time to completely throw their normal eating habits and budget constraints up in the air and spend far too much money eating processed foods at overpriced restaurants.

Ask yourself, ‘would I eat this at home?’ If The answer is NO, then I probably shouldn’t put it in my mouth while in another state or country either. But this can be a tough gig, especially if ‘everyone is doing it!’

Pre-making food or pre-planning meals when out helps a lot with this, since I don’t want to have food leftover that goes to waste. I also realized that much of the reason I like to eat out when I am away is that all I really want is  a break from cooking, so pre-making food helps with this as well. If I can’t premake it,  I remind myself that it’s not a junkfest, and mentally plan ahead of time to eat as we do normally (don’t get me wrong-with occasional healthy treats, I’m not that boring company ;-).

4. Limit the sugar

Make this an event and enjoy it! Just don’t make this an everyday/every meal occurrence but instead make it a special treat e.g. a long day of sight seeing or playing on the beach.  Also don’t forget how good a fresh smoothie or some tropical fruit tastes if you find that you want to have something sweet and zesty!

5. Picnic fun

Kids love a play in the park throwing a frisky or kicking a football. Why not choose some healthy but tasty nibbles that everyone can help choose and spread out a cosy blanket

6. Drink plenty of water

Often the weather is is warmer when we go away, and keeping hydrated is even more important. Bring your drink bottles and fill them. Aim to consume a bottle a day if not more and start the day with a glass of water or herbal tea. That way you start the day hydrated rather than playing catch up all day.

7. Don’t worry too much

So you fell off the wagon, so what? The most import thing is to try and get back onto it as much as you can. Rather than getting all stressed and thinking ‘what’s the point, I might as well give up all together’ , pick yourself up for the next meal or snack.  Just try to make the best food choices you can and above all ENJOY YOURSELF!

Adrenal Fatigue and Burn Out

Adrenal Fatigue and Burn Out

So this is what burn out feels like! You know that feeling when you go go go and GO…..you make sure the kids are looked after, the animals are safe, the finances are sorted, dinner is on the table, work emails are answered….it never ends. Then you have a break. Or a “holiday”.
Holy moly, what’s just happened? I have been keeping the conveyer belt going for the last 6 weeks with our relocation interstate move and now that we are up here, while it’s not over yet, I have been able to apply the brakes.

Lying in bed (at 3pm) I felt numb! I couldn’t feel my legs and my muscles were twitching. My adrenaline has worn off and while my mind lay there, still somewhat buzzing, my body couldn’t, wouldn’t move. Been there? Many of us have. Everything seemed an effort, a shower, making some food, talking. Please no more noise.

Recognising and acknowledging burn out is important. It’s important as ignoring this can lead to many adverse and critical health issues. High blood pressure, stroke, weight gain/loss, sleep quality, mood and stress adaption as well as hormonal imbalances, just to name a few.

What can be done about it? Adopting An ‘I can and I will’ attitude to self care. Fill YOUR cup, and look after yourself so you can look after others. It could be as much as an hour of taking a nap, reading a trashy mag or a great book, doing something you LOVE eg paddle boarding, horse riding, walking, getting a massage etc. GUILT FREE. I needed that 3 pm time out or I am sure some poor soul of my family would have worn it, but they were ok. An hour later, the world kept on turning. In fact it turned a bit more smoothly with a lot more 💖✨. Well worth it and so important.

#takecareofyourself #avoidburnout #selfcare #fillyourcup

Stress less-Is stress making you gain weight?

Stress less-Is stress making you gain weight?

If you have stubborn weight that won’t shift, it is worth a lot at your stress hormone levels. Stress promotes fat accumulation so become aware and bust out of the stress cycle for long-term health.

Many health complaints are related to stress from headaches, high blood pressure, digestive problems, menstrual disturbances to sleep problems. In addition to that long list is the accumulation of central fat-or more commonly referred to as the ‘pot belly’.  Not only is it an undesired look, it is also the most dangerous type of fat.

Stress hormones

As well as making us fatter, stress also makes fat more persistent and keep you fat. Stress responds via two main hormones-cortisol and adrenalin, which are responsible for your ‘fight or flight’ response.

Adrenalin gets your body ready to fight or flight. It is released very quickly in response to severe stress such as a gunshot, danger, being yelled at or finding a pile of bills in the mail. Adrenalin acts for a short duration. If stress prolongs, then the long-lasting hormone will kick in-cortisol.

Both cortisone and cortisol stress hormones work together to store more fat, especially around your central area. This fat will remain there for as long as your cortisol hormones remain high. Examples of long term stress could be a stressful job, studies, relationship issues or even chronic pain. These stress factors could all contribute to the extra fat that you have stored around your tummy and regardless of how hard you exercise, this particular fat will not budge.

Cravings

Long-term stress also plays with our appetite and food cravings by influencing our food choices. Unfortunately stress does not make us run for spinach and carrots but the high fat, high sugar/salt type junk foods. These type of foods might give you a quick fix of feel good hormone serotonin but shortly after you will feel worse and start the viscous cycle of again by searching for your next serotonin fix. That is why they are called ‘comfort foods’-they temporarily comfort us from the stress blues.

In addition, stress can affect the quality and quantity of your sleep, which in turn affect your food choices. Individuals who are not getting enough sleep often tend to make poorer food choices.

If you have been struggling to keep to a healthy diet, it might be worth your while to look at reducing the stress levels in your life first.

What can you do?

  1. Talk about it

Seek help and tell someone about your worries and stresses. Remember the good old saying; ‘A problem shared in a problem halved.’ Talking can reduce your anxiety levels whether it’s a friend, family or a professional.

  1. Get sleep

Eliminate all distractions in the room that you sleep. TV’s, alarms, phones etc. It is best not to even have them in the bedroom at all. The room you sleep in should be designed for sleep, relaxing and rejuvenating. It is the only time of your day that you get to do this. Aim for about 7-8 hours a night.

  1. Eat regular meals

This ensures your blood sugar levels won’t get too low and you will make better food choices. By skipping meals a low blood sugar levels might make you overeat and eat the wrong type of foods. In addition, more stress hormones need to be released to activate energy stores.

  1. Exercise regularly

Exercise releases feel good endorphins that will increase your mood and confidence. If you are feeling acutely stressed or sleep deprived yoga classes, swimming, tai chi or stretching might help you relax more.

  1. Meditation classes

Find a class in your local paper or buy a meditation CD and listen to it regularly.

  1. Herbal and nutritional supplements

These are no substitute for nutritious healthy food but in times of stress they can reduce the effects of stress on your body. Vitamin B’s are always beneficial in times of increased stress as well as herbal medicines such as gingseng and withania. Gingseng has been round for generations in helping boost energy levels and work performance, Withania is an Indian herb that is a very gentle non-stimulant that helps with the function of the thyroid gland. St. John’s Wort in another herb believed to relief nervous tension and mild anxiety. As with all supplements and medications, please ensure you see a qualified health practitioner prior to taking any supplements. .

 

If you are worried about your cortisol level in your body you can always do a salivary cortisol test, which can measure your cortisol levels throughout the day.

Either way, combating stress factors in your life and ensuring that you have a good work-life balance is essential for good health and is often overseen. Learn to listen to your body’s needs and treat it with respect. You will soon see a positive response if you take good care of yourself-inside and out.

 

If you are interested in reducing your stress levels and/or losing weight, click HERE call to inquire or book an appointment to see me.

 

 

 

 

Iron Deficiency?

Iron Deficiency?

Are you tired, struggle concentrating with brain fog and sick of catching every cold?

Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells. It contains a large amount of iron and helps transport oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Anemia occurs when the number of red blood cells have reduced OR quantity of haemoglobin within red blood cells has been reduced. Without treatment, individuals who don’t receive adequate intakes of iron to meet their body’s needs will eventually deplete their iron stores and develop iron deficiency anemia. An anemic person’s heart is working a lot harder since it has to get whatever oxygen there is available, to all the muscles and organs.

High-risk groups include menstruating women, pregnant and lactating women, babies and toddlers, teenage girls and female athletes.

Iron deficiency, Immunity, Headaches and Mental Health

The Medibank Better Health Index found that those suffering from iron deficiency and anemia were far more likely to present with signs of a low immune system and frequent headaches. Statistics alone show that 62 percent were affected by the common cold in the last 12 months compared with 46.8 percent of the general population. The Index also showed that  35.8 percent of  iron deficient individuals anaemics also presented with more anxiety symptoms compared with 17.4 percent of the general population. The results for depression showed similar findings.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Lethargy / Low energy
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Heart palpitations / Rapid heart beat
  • Mood swings / Irritability
  • Unusually pale or Flush skin
  • Poor attention span

High Risks groups:

  • Women with heavy menstrual flows
  • Pregnant women
  • Post partum women / Breastfeeding women
  • Post surgery
  • Low nutrient diet
  • Vegetarians/Vegans

Prevention:

  • Eat a diet rich in iron
  • Dark leafy vegetables: spinach, kale, mustard greens, dandelion greens, brussel sprouts, cabbage, etc.
  • Animal protein: steak, chicken, turkey, pork, liver, etc.
  • Shell fish: mussels, clams, oysters, scallops, etc.
  • Oily fish: sardines, anchovies, smelts, herring, salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc.
  • Other plant foods: seeds, beans, tofu, broccoli, potatoes,
  • Reduce consumption of empty calories and processed foods e.g.  lollies, cakes/pastries, white flour, refined sugar, most canned and prepared or “fast food,  sodas, fruit punches, sweet tea, etc.
  • Have iron levels checked (particularly if you are at high risk or have any of the signs and symptoms of iron deficiency anemia)
  • Follow doctor’s advice

If you’re concerned, speak with your GP. They can track your blood levels.

Diet & Disease-Reduce Heart Disease through Diet.

Diet & Disease-Reduce Heart Disease through Diet.

The power of a healthy diet on health and disease should not be underestimated. Yet, if so many cardiovascular diseases can easily be prevented by diet, why is it that heart disease remains the No. 1 killer in Australia?

 

Take action today by following these steps:

 

  1. Learn about fat- The good, the bad and the evil.

THE GOOD: Increase heart healthy fat. Eat fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines, nuts such as almonds and walnuts and choose olive oil. Eating oily fish is good for your heart.

THE BAD: Control and reduce saturated fat. This is the fat found in fatty animal products such as high fat beef & pork, cream, butter, cheese, baked foods and ice cream. Instead, choose low fat dairy products and lean meats for examples fillet beef, pork or chicken and trim any fat off. Try to eat vegetarian meals once or twice a week or reduce your portion sizes of meat.

THE EVIL: Cut out trans fats. Read labels to make certain that there is no hydrogenated fat, shortening, coconut or palm in the product, as well as the ingredients list, in order to be sure. ‘Trans fat free’ claims have loopholes so ensure you read all labels. Trans and Saturated fats increase your cholesterol which can cause accumulation of plaques in your arteries- called atherosclerosis. This can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

  1. Increase fibre

Recommended daily intakes are at approximately 25 grams per day. While this seems a lot it can be easily achieved by beginning with a high-fibre breakfast cereal, and later eating some whole grains or whole grain bread for lunch with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Legumes, chick peas, kidney beans, black beans, soups are great sources of fibre.

  1. Reduce salt

High salt intake can be a factor to high blood pressure, and in turn, cardiovascular disease. Recommend daily intakes are less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day which is about a teaspoon.

The most obvious cut back seems to stop reaching for the shaker at the dinner table, but look out for processed foods. Much of the salt comes from canned or processed foods, for example soups and frozen dinners. So start eating fresh foods and making your own soups and stews and always opt for reduced sodium if you have to eat processed.

  1. Exercise more

There are endless benefits to exercising regularly. One benefit is it reduces your risk of heart disease and two it reduces other conditions which affect your heart such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Exercise in combination with other healthy lifestyle habits will greatly reduce your risk of fatal heart disease.

Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week. Start of with as much as you can and work your way up.

  1. Loose weight

The risk of heart disease increases with weight, especially if you are an ‘apple’ shape as oppose to a ‘pear’ shape. Reduce your portion size, make healthy food choices by reducing saturated fat and increasing fruits and vegetables and exercise more.

 

 

 

 

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