Food Coach Healthy Tips

This week's featured tip

If you're one of those people who can't stand gyms or don't have time to make it there, consider weight training around the house.

For example, while you're waiting for water to boil, do some bicep curls using canned legumes or tomatoes, bottles of water or anything else reasonably heavy. Lunge your way down the hallway a few times a day and add in five squats between each piece of ironing. During ad breaks of your favourite TV show squeeze in some sit ups, or tricep dips using the edge of the couch or coffee table.

Eating healthily helps too - the more fruit and vegies you buy each week, the heavier your groceries will be and the stronger your arms will get after carrying them to and from the car.....

Latest Tips

Cooking chestnuts
Chestnuts will explode in the oven unless you cut a slit into them prior to roasting. Some people recommend cutting a cross in the face (the lighter end) of the nut, but it's much easier to cut a slit in the flat side. It's softer and you're much less likely to cut yourself.
Chestnuts are a terrific snack food, simply roast them in a moderate oven for 20 minutes until they split. Wrap them in a tea towel until they are cool enough to handle and then peel off the outer shell and inner skin. Toss the peeled chestnuts in a pan with olive oil, sea salt and chili and serve them with pre dinner drinks. A much healthier and delicious alternative to potato chips.
Dairy free milks - the right ones
Many people are intolerant to dairy or just prefer to minimise their intake by drinking non-dairy milk such as soy, oat, rice or almond milks. We can all benefit from reducing dairy in our diet, however, it's important to choose a product that will benefit your diet rather than add more harmful ingredients.

Soy milk, for example can contain a host of unnecessary ingredients designed to improve taste and texture, such as carageenan, sugar, colours and preservatives. Always read labels and check ingredients before you buy - if there's a chemical-sounding name you can't understand, leave the milk on the shelf and look for a calcium-enriched, whole grain milk substitute.
Sleep and Blood Pressure
An October 2007 study in the medical journal Hypertension showed a link between lack of sleep and high blood pressure, especially in females. Women who routinely slept six hours a night had a 42 per cent higher chance of developing high blood pressure than those who received seven or more hours sleep.

So an easy way to help prevent hypertension is to get more sleep!


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More Tips

  • More ways to prevent osteoporosis
  • Spend less time sitting - it puts added stress on your spine. Instead of sitting straight, lean back slightly in your chair.
  • Walk regularly to help prevent further bone loss.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and smoking, all of which have been linked to osteoporosis.
  • Spice up your food with turmeric - this ancient spice has showed effectiveness in blocking the pathway that affects bone loss associated with osteoporosis in recent studies.
  • Cooking with prunes
  • If refrigerator-stored prunes do become dry, soaking them in hot water for a few minutes will help to refresh them, and if you plan on cooking with them will also reduce the cooking time.
  • Health Goals
  • Among your many goals, being healthy should always feature near the top of the list. Write down what you need the most to feel great - be it better skin, stronger nails, less headaches, more energy, better controlled blood sugar or lowered cholesterol just to name a few.
    Search for foods that benefit these conditions at The Food Coach Food Value Database - and while you're there, watch one of our new feature videos on seasonal foods.
  • Cooking with soy
  • A block of tofu in the fridge is a must for busy people - and not just for those who don't eat meat. Sealed it will stay fresh for ages and takes next to no time to be transformed into something delicious.

    Many people think of tofu as bland, however, with the right preparation and a good marinade it makes a deliciious meal. Boiling the tofu makes it most porous helping the marinade absorb through its surface. Simply bring slices of tofu to the boil, and once they rise from the bottom of the pan to the top, drain, pat dry with paper towel and cover with a marinade for at least an hour, longer if time permits. You can freeze it for the same result.
  • Exciting New Videos
  • Not sure how to pick a ripe avocado, or why lychees are so good for you? Take a look at The Food Coach's latest series of short videos on seasonal fruits, vegetables, grains and more. In a step-by-step guide, Judy Davie explains why the food is good for you, how to select, store and prepare and gives easy tips on incorporating healthier foods into your daily routine.

    To view a video, simply visit the individual food pages below, and click on the video link:

  • Apples
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Pears
  • Lychees
  • Oranges
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Yellow Papaw
  • Red Papaya
  • Eggs
  • Freekeh
  • Custard Apple
  • Soy milk
  • Rice Milk
  • Oat Milk
  • Olive Oil
  • English Spinach
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Leeks
  • Beetroot
  • Cherries
  • Apricots
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Grapes
  • Plums
  • Making the switch
  • Cooking kangaroo is easy, and you don't need to go searching for recipes either. Simply substitute kangaroo for any other meat you may have used in a recipe where the method is grilling, frying, barbequing, or what about a kangaroo bolognaise? Just remember that kangaroo can become tough when overcooked, so you may need to tweak the specified cooking time.
  • Sweet tooth
  • If you've got a sweet tooth and are partial to dessert after you've eaten dinner, consider indulging in a soft ripe custard apple instead. Slice a large fruit into pieces and share between three people.
  • Looking at Labels
  • There are a few things you must take into account when buying packaged food:
    1.What's in it?
    2.How much is in it?
    3.Is it going to do me any good?

    Other things, such as the logos of various organisations, beautiful pictures, nutritional claims and daily-intake panels may influence you, but at the end of the day, provided you know what to look for, the three points above are the most important things to know.
  • Improving bone strength
  • Postmenopausal women are especially prone to osteoporosis due to the lower levels of oestrogen, which is inevitable as we age. So what's the answer? Weight training.
    Studies have found that older women who participated in weight sessions twice a week for a year were able to increase their bone density by one per cent, while those who did nothing experienced a loss in bone density by 1.8 - 2.5 per cent.
    Strength training actually helps the bone retain calcium - so no matter how high your calcium intake, without doing some weight-bearing exercise your bones will find this vital mineral hard to retain. It needn't be strenous exercise - see an expert for a suitable program you can implement twice a week, and on the other days try a brisk walk to get the blood flowing.
  • The real stuff
  • Many people regularly consume products full of artifcial sweeteners, believing if something has "no sugar" then it must be better for you in terms of weight loss. Diet soft drinks, cordials, chewing gum, protein bars, desserts, sweets, the list is growing.

    Artficial sweeteners are thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar, which actually leads to more intense cravings and a desire to eat more, studies have shown. What many don't realise is that there's nothing wrong with sugar, as long as it's in moderation. A slice of cake with friends now and then should be savoured, not replaced with "fake" food. Choose natural sweeteners for a hint of flavour, such as 1/2 teaspoon honey in tea, or a drizzle of maple syrup on porridge or use agave nectar in baking. I guarantee you'll enjoy your food more, and be satisified without having to reach for a second (or third) slice....
  • Freeze your lychees
  • Little fingers just love tasty treats that fit snugly into their hands and frozen lychees are just perfect for that. What's particularly appealing about frozen Australian lychees is that no sulphur dioxide is used on the fruit, as it is with lychees farmed in other countries.

    When you buy Australian lychees you are comfortable in the knowledge that you and your family are enjoying a natural product, which when frozen, taste surprisingly like fruit flavoured ice-cream.

    Simply peel the skin off the fruit and pop them into a plastic freezer container. They'll be frozen and ready to eat in a matter of hours.
  • Heal and Seal the Gut
  • If you have been diagnosed with leaky gut syndrome, the first place to start is to remove offending foods that may be causing allergies or intolerances to flare up, commonly wheat and dairy. To heal the gut wall, a probiotic supplement can be very useful in replenishing good bacteria in the stomach which will prevent further immune system depletion. Sealing the gut can be helped with slippery elm powder, which is soothing for the digestive tract, and not just limited to the stomach as it moves through the body to the intestines and bowel. Try taking a teaspoon or two of slippery elm powder in water daily.
  • Egg Economy
  • To test the freshness of an egg, place it in a bowl of water and watch - if it floats, the egg is not very fresh, but it doesn't mean it's ready for the compost bin just yet. Rather, the varying degrees of egg freshness determine what dished they are best suited for.

    The freshest eggs in the basket are great for poaching or frying, as the white won't separate. A few days on, eggs are good for boiling, as the white will separate more easily from the shell when peeling. A bit later, use your eggs for scrambling, frittatas or omelettes where the eggs can be combined with other ingredients. And lastly, the older eggs are perfect for baking.

    If you're really concerned about the egg's freshness, crack it into a bowl and sniff the contents - if it smells off, don't use it.
  • Save your scraps
  • If you plan on starting a worm farm or just want extra nutrients for your compost heap, invest in a small plastic bin to keep on the kitchen counter. Tucked away in a corner, this small necessity will make it much easier to collect food scraps to feed to the worms - and you'll be helping the environment by recycling too.

    Tea bags, fruit, vegies can all be thrown in the scraps bin but make sure to dispose of meat products separately.
  • Reducing toxic load
  • Not only do we need to minimise chemicals in our food by buying locally, pesticide-free and organic produce, it's also important to reduce the amount of chemicals in the home. Toxins are able to be ingested through the skin and lungs, and if there's young children or pets in the house it can be even more dangerous.

    Simplify your cleaning cupboard to include a few biodegradable products, and always keep bicarb soda and vinegar on hand.
  • Read the Label.
    Ignore the front of the packet, turn it over, examine the ingredient list first and then the nutritional panel. If still in doubt, go without!!
  • Cleaning mushrooms
  • If eating mushrooms raw, wipe them over with a clean, damp paper towel or inse under cold running water and pat dry. Never leave mushrooms to stand in water or they will soak it up and bloat.
    There's no need to peel mushrooms - why miss out on all the goodness in the skin? But remember to handle mushrooms gently, since bruising detracts from the mushroom's appearance.
    Mushrooms are so easy to use that you don't even have to wash them if you're cooking them. Simply use a soft pastry brush to brush any dirt away. If you're preparing mushrooms ahead for cooking later, sprinkle them with a little lemon juice to prevent any discolouration.
  • Choose your proteins wisely
  • When buying meat, chicken, eggs or even yoghurt, it's worth spending the extra few dollars on organic cuts. Animal fat stores most of the toxins from the environment and animals have a naturally higher level of fat than other foods such as fruits, vegetables or grains. If you can't buy organic, look for the leanest cuts available and trim off all visible fat to minimise exposure to unnecessary toxins.
  • Ayuveda - 6 Tastes
  • A quick reference of tastes found in the major groups of foods are:

    Fruits are mainly sweet and astringent, with citrus fruits adding sour.
    Vegetables are mainly sweet and astringent, with leafy greens adding bitter.
    Dairy is mainly sweet, with yoghurt and cheese adding sour and astringent.
    Meat is mainly sweet and astringent.
    Oils are mainly sweet.
    Grains and nuts are mainly sweet.
    Legumes are mainly sweet and astringent.
    Herbs and spices are mainly pungent.
  • Love thy food
  • When you consider that it takes four months of tending broccoli to grow from a seed into a mature plant ready to eat, you may consume it with more respect in the future.
    Acknowledge that any food worth eating comes from nature and provides a balance of energy and nutrients necessary for a healthy life. Consider the value of the food you eat and cook it with care. Buy as much as you need and try not to waste anything and take time to chew everything well. It's all about respecting yourself, the planet and the producer.
  • Reduce inflammation through stretching
  • An indicator of internal inflammation is often noticed through flexibilty and range of movement. To test a reduction of inflammatory processes in the body practice regular stretches or yoga poses, and observe if and when the moevments become easier and more fluid.
  • A helping hand
  • When setting out to make changes in any area of life, we all need some inspiration. We like the saying "It takes motivation to start, and habit to continue" so search for your own favourite quotes and stick them up on your fridge, desk or mirror - anywhere that's visible on a daily basis.
  • Stress less
  • Christmas can be a stressful time, especially if you're worried about gaining weight over the festive season. Stress is a major contributor to weight gain, making us eat more when we're not really hungry. If you're lucky enough to get a few days off work, take the time to rest, relax and enjoy yourself with family and friends. Eat when hungry, stop when full and choose the healthier option.
  • Incidental Exercise
  • If you're making an effort to get fit and shed a few kilos, make exercise a part of everyday life as well as setting aside time to work out. At work, rather than taking the lift to the office, use the stairs every time. Don't email a colleague three cubicles down, get up and walk over to deliver your message. On the way home, get off the bus three stops early and walk the rest of the way, and get up to change the TV channel rather than using the remote.
    You won't really notice the incidental exercise, but every little bit of expended energy counts towards the daily number of kilojoules burnt, leading to a fitter body.
  • Thinking positive
  • Learn to accept that your body will never be perfect and embrace your shape as it changes throughout the various stages of life. If you eat well, exercise regularly and keep happy, you're doing the best you can and your body will reflect that. Laughter lines and curves appear as we age but the quicker we understand that they're an inevitable part of life, the quicker we can get on living it!
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