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    Curb the Home Isolation Munchies

    Last week we talked about why emotional eating during the COVID-19 outbreak is being experienced by many of us at the moment, especially while we work remotely, socially isolate and juggle ALL the things! 

    Maybe you’re working from home, homeschooling (or both!) and your experiencing the lure of the kitchen…the magnetic attraction to the pantry (or wherever you keep your biscuits, chips or other indulgent foods). You might not normally consider yourself an emotional eater, but perhaps the weight of the current situation has caused you to turn to food, or you’re feeling the uncertainty and just want some comfort food! Below are some tips and ideas on how to curb those COVID isolation munchies…

    1. Be gentle with yourself

    The first thing you need to do is be gentle and kind to yourself. This is an intense time for many of us and it is more than likely that you will look for food for comfort. Accept some comfort food but also know that things won’t go completely back to normal for at least a few more months yet, so remember to stay connected to things that remind you about being healthy (e.g. planning your meals, taking frequent exercise breaks, heading outdoors for fresh air).

     2. Lower your cortisol naturally

    The level of anxiety and stress at the moment may be releasing more cortisol (stress hormone) from your system, which over time can do more harm than good (high cortisol is a major driver in weight gain, for example). You can help to relieve your cortisol levels by doing things that produce dopamine and serotonin (neurotransmitters), for example aerobic exercise, time spent in the sunshine, massage, or even hopping on a zoom call with family/friends to get some love that way. Increase your oxytocin (cuddle hormone) levels by laughing, smiling, even a self-massage on your shoulder and temples.

     3. Do little things that will help you to have better choices

    For example:

    • Fill a large bowl with fruit and make it extremely accessible to you, where you can see it in full view. Fill it with fruits that you love of course!
    • Take some time to structure your meal times and food planning. Giving yourself more control over this aspect of your life can help you to experience more food freedom, helping you to let go of guilt and anxiety over food.
    • Take a walk during your work calls – anytime your phone rings, pick it up and head straight outside for a walk around the block.
    • Make sure your freezer is stocked with healthy grab and go foods like frozen fruits and veggies, cauliflower rice, healthy snacks.
    • Have a great breakfast. Did you know that regularly skipping breakfast can lead to weight gain, obesity and diabetes? For a different breakfast idea try a warm meal of beans and greens, with an egg or tofu scramble on the side. The beans will help you to keep satisfied and properly nourished before lunch. No time? We have 7 day breakfast packs available to order with any meal plan. 

    Emotional Eating During the Coronavirus Isolation: Why you may be having some extra munchies during this period

    We have all experienced times in our life where we have turned to food to provide us with some comfort. Known as ‘emotional eating’, it can take a lot of different forms, from stress eating, to boredom eating, to sad eating. You may be feeling these emotions (plus others, like general uncertainty) to an extra high degree than normal during the current COVID-19 pandemic (which is completely normal, see our last article on ways to keep calm during the COVID-19 pandemic) and it may be causing you to turn to food for comfort and to help take the weight off the current situation.

     But why are we prone to emotional eating during isolation?

    Well, first of all, isolation means we are home a lot more, which means we are around food a lot more (without anyone watching). The food in our pantry, in our fridge and freezer, the cake that you may have iso-baked that’s sitting on the counter in full view. If you are now working at home, it’s a big change to suddenly have a kitchen full of food in close proximity to your working space, and can be very distracting! Even if you are not working, not being able to fill your day with activities away from the home means more time spent at home, around food, and this can be very challenging for some people.

    Secondly, research shows that comfort foods are in fact comforting to us. For example, a 2006 study published by Physiology & Behavior found that sweet, high calorie comfort foods can provide mood improvements in certain populations. One way they do this is by producing endorphins, which helps to promote feelings of bliss and happiness. But comforting foods that delight our senses and make us feel good don’t have to be only the unhealthy ones, they can also include foods like chilli, bananas, nuts and oranges.

    Thirdly, choosing what we want to eat can sometimes give us some control, especially right now when we might be feeling disrupted and without structure to our day. Combined with increased feelings of stress and uncertainty, comfort foods that are high-calorie and low in nutrition (like snacky, junky foods) may be the foods that you are choosing. The message is not about how to avoid those comforting foods, but how you can safely and in a healthy way incorporate some of those foods into your life, without feeling like you need them when you are feeling vulnerable. Plus, who ever said that healthy food can’t be comforting? A slice of cake is nice, but there’s nothing better than a warm bowl of massaman curry with fluffy quinoa and crispy green beans! What are your favourite healthy ‘comfort’ foods or meals? 

    Stay tuned next week for some different ways that you can curb those home isolation munchies.



    E.L. Gibson. Emotional influences on food choice: sensory, physiological and psychological pathways. Physiol. Behav., 89 (2006), pp. 53-61

    This Month is Meat-Free May!

    This Month is Meat-Free May!

    Meat-Free May is an Australian campaign that began about 7 years ago, and each year more and more Aussies give it a go! If you missed Veganuary and need a challenge to keep you going through the current pandemic, why not give Meat-Free May a try?  (And if you are looking for inspiration watch "The GameChangers" if you haven't already).  ISO has given many an opportunity to do some Netflix binging.  Unfortunately, many have also found themselves binging a bit too much on junk food or processed foods.  Why not teat May as a "detox" opportunity?

    Going vegan or even just vegetarian opens up a whole new world of foods, some that you may have never tried before or even knew existed. Tempeh? Quinoa? Nutritional Yeast? They may have funny names but some of the best vegan staples are bursting with nutrition and health-promoting factors.

    With a vast kingdom of plants to choose from, plant-based cooking introduces new variety into your diet, and allows you to try new cuisines and new recipes. Many studies have shown that a diversified and varied diet is an essential component of healthy living and reducing disease risk, and the introduction of more plant-based foods is the perfect way to do that.

    Are you up for the challenge? So many delicious veggie-focussed dishes to try! Read on for some ways you can participate this month…

    1. Simply just being aware:
    You can still participate in Meat-Free May without committing yourself to anything. Simply just being aware of your choices and what meals you can veganize or make more plant based can help you to explore and get out of your comfort zone. Who knows, your perception might just shift and you might end up cooking lots of veggie meals this month!  
    2. One day a week meat-free:
    Did you know that going meat-free one day a week is a fun and free way to reduce your risk of chronic preventable diseases, limit your carbon footprint and help save resources in the environment like fresh water and fuel?

    Going meat-free just one day per week is enough to introduce more variety into your diet, as well as extra vitamins, nutrients and fibre, all while being exposed to some seriously delicious food!

    Choose a day of the week that will be a complete vegan or vegetarian day for you (Monday might be a good option because it’s the start of the week and is a great time for setting your intentions for the rest of the week). Write down a few breakfast, lunch and dinner options – make sure they include foods that you like, but also try to incorporate some new foods here and there.
    3. Go all in:
    The third way that you can participate this month is to jump all the way in! You could choose to go vegan or vegetarian, whichever is better suited to you at this time. A month may seem like a long time (especially if you are a big meat-eater), but it doesn’t have to be hard or stressful.

    The first thing that you can do is think about what you eat that’s already vegan or vegetarian. You probably already have a few recipes up your sleeve that are vegan or vegetarian, but you just don’t label them as such. For example, pasta with tomato marinara sauce, or a vegetarian chilli.

    Veganise recipes that are familiar favourites. For example, leave out the meat in your favourite stir-fry and use tofu or tempeh instead. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth in your favourite soups, add a variety of beans to your chilli instead of meat, or make a “chickpea tuna” salad for sandwiches using mashed chickpeas instead of tuna.   

    Learn a few new recipes. There are lots of resources out there, as well as plant-based cookbooks with amazing healthy plant-focussed recipes.

    Support your local grocer or food business. Our vegan plan is always available, and during the month of May we are going to be putting some extra love (and there's already a lot in there) into our vegan range to ensure there is lots of variety. Stock your freezer up with a few of our vegan gluten-free meals and Meat-Free May will be easier than you think!

    Are you going to be participating in Meat-Free May this year? If you are, let us know!

    5 Tips for Staying Calm Amidst the Chaos (COVID-19)

    It is fair to say that none of us have ever lived through, or faced something like the current COVID-19 global pandemic on such a big scale before. Together as families, as cities and as a country we have faced disasters (such as the Brisbane floods, or the recent bushfires) and we have come together to overcome these challenges. But with something as large as COVID-19, which is affecting the entire world in different ways, it feels almost surreal, uncomfortable and triggering for a lot of us.

    If you are feeling a little bit panicked, your head is scrambled or you're feeling unprepared, firstly know that those feelings (and many others) are completely normal to feel.

    The following tips might help you to feel a little bit calmer and more collected during this time:

    1. Focus on the areas of your life that you can control, and that make you feel calmer and safer

    This could be something as simple as planning your meals, planning your workout routine, or even staying organised while you work from home. If an organised and full freezer helps you to feel calm, remember that we are continuing to deliver every Tuesday to all of our Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunny Coast peeps. 

    2. Normalise your response

    Know that it is normal to feel anxious, or frustrated, or sad. Try to find comfort in the fact that most people in the world are quarantined and self-isolating and we are all connected in this way. Know that we WILL get through this and it won’t last forever. Feel your emotions but also try to tap into the part of you that knows you will get through this.

    3. Try not to over-consume on information

    Information seems to be being mass produced right now, and a lot of it is being mixed in from the media, from the government and from social media, causing a panic mix of information. Try not to over-consume, but stay informed and check reputable sources once or twice a day to stay updated.

    4. Get back to basics (eat, move, rest)

    Remember to eat well, and also to eat enough, but not to over-eat.  If you're eating for emotional reasons, is there something else you could do instead?   Try to slow down, stay grounded and listen to your intuition.  Stay connected with friends and family but remember to be careful of too much screen time, especially late at night, Move your body (especially outside in the natural elements where you can soak up some vitamin D), and remember to REST your body.

    5. Optimise your immunity

    Optimise and boost your immunity through the foods that you eat. Eat all colours of the rainbow, and even if the grocery stores are empty, there are still amazing dried or frozen items you can buy (frozen veggies and fruit, dried beans and legumes, dried mushrooms).

    Cook with immune supporting herbs and spices like garlic, ginger, turmeric, rosemary and coriander. Keep your gut calm by practicing mindful eating, getting some probiotics into your diet, doing light exercise, and getting in your Oxygen. Get enough sleep every night so that your body can heal and repair. And something that is very important for the immune system – try to manage your stress levels. Go for a walk, practice a hobby, take a nap, anything that you know will help to make you feel calmer and less stressed.
    We have lots more tips and ideas related to what’s going on at the moment over on our blog at https://wholesomeness.com.au/blogs/news. Food waste hacks, tips on stocking your fridge and pantry, home remedies for clearing and preventing phlegm and mucus, plus much more.

    Post-Easter Healthy Tips

    Post-Easter Healthy Tips:

    Easter – chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate! Did staying at home during Easter mean you had easy access to the chocolate-filled fridge and pantry? Or maybe your kids received too much chocolate so you had to eat most of it? Maybe you have a sugar hangover, and feel tired and cranky? Or maybe you ate too much chocolate that you have a sore stomach?

    Trust us, we are complete advocates for a little indulgence every now and again.  But sometimes it’s nice to have a few tips up your sleeve for getting back on track and for feeling energized, motivated and healthy again.

    Tip one:

    Adopt a Guilt-Free Mindset: If you indulged in some sweets over the Easter break and you enjoyed it without any regrets then that’s great! Your thoughts are very important, especially the way that you think about yourself and the food that you eat/have eaten. If you enjoyed the Easter holiday, had a few treats and are now ready to get back to your usual routine, without any negative feelings, then you are already on the right track.

    Tip two:

    Start with one: It’s about having a start point, or set point for getting back on track after a period of over-indulgence. For nutrition, focus on that first meal. When you wake up in the morning, think “I’m going to have a great breakfast this morning”, whatever that looks like to you – porridge, toast with avocado, a fruit salad with coconut yoghurt and granola.

    For exercise, start with just one walk, or one run, or one home CrossFit session.

    For mental health (feeling stressed), start with one thing also, like a home yoga session, meditation session or mindfulness session.

    As soon as you start with one small step, the next steps become easier. One small step will set the tone for the rest of the day, and for the rest of the week. This also helps if you’re feeling some decision fatigue about how to get back on track, or your feeling overwhelmed about what steps you have to take. Take one step at a time and it will help you get back to your normal routines (although our “normal” routines might have changed a lot over the last few weeks!).

    Tip three:

    Try a 4-week Wholesomeness detox: Gluten and dairy free meals, no added additives or nasties, no refined sugars, and made with love from our kitchen in Brisbane. Every week you will receive 14 vegan or low fodmap meals (your choice), snack packs, breakfast packs and a premium protein powder blend. You also receive gut health supplements to support your gut during the detox, detox tea to support and help your body expel toxins, and a detox welcome pack in the first week. We believe in still being satisfied during a detox, that’s why we make our meals healthy and delicious at the same time. Find more info about our detox plan on our website under '4 WEEK DETOX'.