0 Cart
Added to Cart
    You have items in your cart
    You have 1 item in your cart
    Total
    Check Out Continue Shopping

    News — happiness

    5 Easy and Versatile Veggies to Grow in Your Own Home Garden

     

    Crisp, sweet carrots, snapping peas out of their shells, pulling firm, dark red beets out of the garden…growing your own veggies is not only fun and relaxing, but it’s also an amazing way to diversify and supercharge your diet with wholesome nutrition, stay active and get some vitamin D. No wonder why gardening is considered a natural stress reliever!

    Although the thought of growing your own veggies can be overwhelming, there are some veggies that are super easy to grow, as well as being productive as crops, versatile to use, healthy to eat and great tasting! Plus, you’re more likely to eat more vegetables if they are easily accessible to you, and it’s really fun to share and cook with healthy food that has been nurtured by your own efforts! 

    Here are 5 top picks for the best veggies to grow at home:

    1. LETTUCE – Lettuce is super easy to grow (and actually quite hard to get rid of!), high in nutrients, low in calories and really hydrating, due to its high water content. Lettuce is one of those foods that you don’t notice in a dish until it’s not there, like in an egg and lettuce sandwich, or shredded lettuce in tacos. Lettuce seems to just make a dish 10 times better.

    2. CARROTS – Carrots have a huge temperature growing range which means they can be grown in many climates all year round. They’re also really productive and can be producing for months after you plant them. Being quite a dense vegetable, even just a few standard size ones or small varieties are enough to feed the whole family for dinner. There’s a reason why people promote carrots for better eye sight – carrots contain the antioxidants lutein and beta carotene which are known for their eye health benefits!

    3. CABBAGE – Cabbages are such a diverse veggie, they can be preserved and pickled to have in salads or sandwiches, made into slaw, or added into stir-fries for a crunchy element. They’re also really good for you. A study conducted in Western Australia with 900 women over the age of 70 found that eating three or more portions of veggies per day (a combination of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts) lowered the participants risk of heart disease and stroke. Mini cabbages are quick to grow from seed and harvest and can go a long way in a delicious preserve such as sauerkraut.

    4. BEETS – A known “superfood”, beets are packed with vitamins and minerals, high in fibre, low in fat and low in calories. They’re also super easy to grow and you can even eat the tops of the beets – the beet leaves, which are just a regular leafy vegetable. This makes them a really versatile and productive option to grow in your home garden.

    5. ONIONS – There have been heaps of scientific studies looking into the health benefits of onions, with findings showing benefits with regulating blood sugar, inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in your gut, boosting the immune system and the list goes on! Onions are a pretty hearty crop to grow, with varieties to suit all climates. If you’re short on space, try growing some spring onions, which can grow just about anywhere.

    TOP TIP: No space for a home garden? Regrow the spring onions you buy from the supermarket by placing the white stems in a glass of water. Place the glass near a sunny window and wait for the magic to happen!

     

    Author:
    Lisa Cutforth
    B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
    Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
    Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness and Wholesomeness-on-Roma

    The Importance of Eating Antioxidants with Every Meal

     

     

    Firstly, what are antioxidants?

    Antioxidants are compounds found in certain foods that help to neutralise the free radicals (damaging molecules produced through the body’s process of oxidation) in your blood. In short, they help to protect our cells and DNA from damage that can lead to disease. That’s why it’s really important that we take in more antioxidants than we use up. In fact, the very act of eating increases oxidative stress, which is the attack on your cells from free radicals.

    Antioxidants originate from the plant kingdom, due to the thousands of antioxidant compounds found naturally in fruits and vegetables. Ideally, fresh produce should be sneaking its way into every meal that we eat. But, we know that that’s not always possible – takeaway nights, dining out, dinner at a friend’s house…sometimes it’s a little hard to eat healthy all the time.

    A few interesting studies have shed a light on antioxidants and their ability to counteract the negative oxidative effects of an “unhealthy” meal e.g. a meal that is high in fat, sugar and refined carbohydrates, and low in whole foods.

    A 2010 review found that consuming fruits which are high in phenolic phytonutrients (health-promoting compounds) with an unhealthy meal (high fat, pro-inflammatory, low in nutrients) increases the antioxidant capacity of the blood and helps to counterbalance some of the negative effects of the meal.

    In another interesting study, participants were given standard breakfast items which caused a high increase in oxidized cholesterol in their blood stream 6 hours after the meal. However, adding a cup of antioxidant-rich strawberries to the meal kept the meal from contributing to further oxidation, and allowed them to eat lunch at a baseline oxidation level.

    A similar study found that eating a bunch of grapes with a meal resulted in a rise in blood antioxidant levels, leaving the body in a positive antioxidant balance for a few hours. The same results were found with blueberries.

    These findings highlight the importance of eating antioxidants with every meal, and if you can’t avoid an unhealthy meal, adding a side of berries or grapes to your plate may be beneficial in helping to maintain oxidative balance.

    A 2004 study found that out of all fruits, berries (e.g. strawberries, blueberries) were the best source of polyphenol antioxidants.

    Berries are on the dirty dozen, so organic berries are best. Keeping frozen berries on hand is also a great idea, and actually, frozen berries often have more antioxidants and other nutrients because they’re frozen shortly after picking. Essentially, frozen produce is often even fresher than what we call “fresh produce”!

     

     

     

    References:
    Burton-Freeman B, Linares A, Hyson D, Kappagoda T. Strawberry modulates LDL oxidation and postprandial lipemia in response to high-fat meal in overweight hyperlipidemic men and women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010;29(1):46-54. doi:10.1080/07315724.2010.10719816
    Burton-Freeman B. Postprandial metabolic events and fruit-derived phenolics: a review of the science. Br J Nutr. 2010;104 Suppl 3:S1-S14. doi:10.1017/S0007114510003909
    Ursini F, Zamburlini A, Cazzolato G, Maiorino M, Bon GB, Sevanian A. Postprandial plasma lipid hydroperoxides: a possible link between diet and atherosclerosis. Free Radic Biol Med. 1998;25(2):250-252. doi:10.1016/s0891-5849(98)00044-6

     

     

    Author:
    Lisa Cutforth
    B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
    Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
    Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness and Wholesomeness-on-Roma

    10 Signs You Need to Detox!

     

    You may not realise it, but every day we are exposed to different toxins and pollutants, all products of the modernized world we now live in. From pollutants in our air, water and soil, to synthetic chemicals, heavy metals, heavily processed foods and food additives.

    Normally, the body does an amazing job at facilitating toxin elimination to help keep us healthy and thriving. Each system in our body is involved in a complex process named “detoxification”, involving highly sophisticated mechanisms for the removal of toxins and unwanted substances from the body.

    However, if the body’s natural detoxification process is compromised (for example, due to stress, or an overworked liver from a high intake of processed foods, refined sugars, alcohol, smoking or the exposure to too many environmental toxins), this causes significant consequences on our health.

    Our liver, or otherwise our “detox manager” has the busy job of filtering out toxins from the foods we eat and the things we are exposed to in our environment. When our liver gets overloaded (just like for example, if you get overworked in your job), it starts to have trouble processing the toxins efficiently and fast enough. This causes toxins to build-up in the body, which causes inflammation, and this creates a vicious cycle which is difficult to break.

    The build-up of toxins in the body is linked to autoimmune conditions, gastrointestinal disorders, inflammation, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and numerous other illnesses and diseases.

    Here are 10 signs that you may need to detox:

    1. Persisting fatigue
    2. Unexplainable weight gain
    3. Brain fog
    4. Headaches
    5. Stubborn belly fat
    6. Skin problems (acne, rashes)
    7. Achy muscles and joints
    8. Digestive distress (bloating, gas, diarrhoea)
    9. Irregular sleep patterns
    10. Feeling anxious or depressed

    We don’t believe in detoxes that are aimed to starve you or drive you insane. That’s why we created our 4-week Wholesomeness Detox, specially put together by our nutritionist and cooked by our qualified chef’s.

    Our detox plan focuses on clean whole foods, we use seasonal and fresh ingredients with the aim of giving your body a little break to restore itself and catch up on the detoxification workload. With everything included that you need per week (including premium supplements to support and balance your gut health), our program is aimed to cleanse and reset your body, leaving you feeling refreshed and revitalised.

    Check out our 4 week detox plan here!

     

    Author:
    Lisa Cutforth
    B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
    Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
    Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness and Wholesomeness-on-Roma

    5 ‘Healthy Foods’ That Are Actually Packed with Added Sugar

    There are certain foods that we all know are loaded with added sugars – ice cream, lollies, baked sweet treats and soft drinks. We’re often conscious of the amount of sugar we’re taking in when we eat these things, even managing our portions by selecting smaller desserts when we can. But the truth is that sugar is hiding everywhere - from yoghurts to pasta sauces, even salads and trail mixes!

    In fact, there has been research conducted in supermarkets to show that the majority of food items found in a grocery store contain added sugars (over 80% of foods in some American supermarkets, and we're pretty sure when we looked at the list that it's the same in Aus!).

    Sugar is lurking everywhere and not just in the obvious places like ice cream and cookies. Here is an inside scoop on some popular ‘healthy’ foods that are actually loaded with sugar and additives:

    1. Flavoured and non-fat yoghurts
    In general, yoghurts are quite healthy as they contain lots of beneficial probiotics and protein. However, the fruit flavoured and non-fat yoghurts are often laden with added sugars – just take a look at the nutrition panel next time you are at the grocery store. One serving of fruit yoghurt can even contain more sugar than a shortbread cookie. If you like fruit yoghurts, try unsweetened Greek yoghurt instead and mix in your own chopped up fruits. It's not the fruit that is the issue, it's the sweeteners or concentration that is.

    2. Pasta marinara sauces
    Most mainstream manufacturers add sugar to spaghetti sauces to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. Of course it does depend on the brand, but it is quite hard these days to find a tomato-based pasta sauce that is free of added sugars. The best option is to just make your own using fresh red-ripe tomatoes… or even use canned chopped tomato but add fresh herbs, olive oil, and some sauteed garlic, chopped celery, onion and grated carrot to create a delicious sauce that will be even tastier than the store bought sauces! (Chef tip, saute the onion first, let them caramelise but not burn, add the garlic at the end, burnt garlic is very bitter, stir in the carrots and let the sauce simmer for a long time, add extra olive oil at the end... and simmer away on a low heat.  Stir your herbs in mid way so they don't become bitter and maintain their flavour kick.)

    3. Granola
    Try sifting through the various granola options at your local supermarket and you will see how little options there are that are free of added sugars. Many varieties contain sugar in the form of brown or white sugar, or corn syrup or glucose syrup, while others are coated in "chocolate" or "yoghurt". If you’re looking for a healthier breakfast cereal option, why not try our breakfast packs? We make our own cereal blend from scratch, using premium ingredients (and no added refined sugars in sight!). We keep our dried fruit content low, occasionally we might add xylitol, honey or maple syrup, but it's rare and it's minimal.  Check out our breakfast packs here.  Breakfast is one of the most important nourishing opportunities of the day.  Make it count. 

    4. Peanut butter
    Yes, peanut butter can be healthy in small amounts and when it’s just peanuts (peanuts that have literally been blended into a smooth and creamy peanut butter). Many peanut butters available in the shops have added sugar, salt and oil to create a ‘better’ and creamier taste. Fortunately, there are healthier options available and they are not too hard to find – look for peanut butter that is 100% peanuts (that is, peanuts are the only listed ingredient).  Better still go for a nut blend (one of our favourites is almond, cashew and flaxseed).

    5. Breads (even gluten free breads)
    A lot of breads are actually sweetened with refined white sugar or corn syrup, even the whole wheat and gluten free varieties. It’s also good to remember that just because a bread is organic, it doesn’t mean that it’s sugar free, and just because it is gluten free, doesn't make it healthy. Make sure to check your bread labels and look out for sugar as a main ingredient.

    We make our meals from scratch and we use ingredients as naturally as we can so that we can maximise the taste without compromising the health.  Many manufacturers rely on a formula of salt:sugar:fat to create a taste that keeps you eating and eating.  Great for your tongue, terrible for the rest of you.  Our meals are designed to achieve: sensory specific satiety and satiety.  That means, they are designed so that you are nourished, you enjoy it, but it is complex and natural enough that it doesn't trick your tastebuds into overeating. 

    Save your sugar eating for your treats, it has no real place in your meals.

    You can trust us with your meals, we've got you, healthy foods that really are healthy (and they taste great... without needing to add sugar, or heaps of other additives for that matter).

     

     

    Author:
    Lisa Cutforth
    B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
    Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
    Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness and Wholesomeness-on-Roma

    Creative Ways to Include Movement in Your Day Without Having to Schedule Special Workout Time

     

    Too busy to hit the gym or schedule a structured workout into your day? Don’t sweat, because there’s lots of easy things you can do during the day to boost your movement and activity levels, without even realising it!

    GO FOR A WALK WITH A FRIEND. Instead of meeting at a coffee shop to sit down and catch up, get your coffees to go and hit the local neighbourhood for a walk. If you have a beach nearby, taking a walk with a friend along the beach boardwalk is a nice thing to do as well.

    WEEKEND FAMILY BIKE RIDE. Dust off the bikes, lace up your shoes and head outside for a weekend bike ride with the family! You’ll be getting active, getting some sunshine and keeping your family connected all at the same time.

    RUN UP THE STAIRS INSTEAD OF WALK. Running up a flight of stairs is an awesome way to burn calories (ever seen those stair climbing machines at the gym?).

    JUMP ON THE TRAMPOLINE WITH YOUR KIDS. You may not believe it, but trampoline jumping actually works out your entire body. A 2019 study on the effectiveness of a mini-trampoline jumping program for people with osteopenia (low bone density) found that trampoline jumping helps to improve balance, strength and functional mobility. Jumping is for everyone!  

    HAVE A DANCE PARTY. Make exercising fun again! Make sure to include moves that get you down low, jumping up high and moving your arms.

    PARK IN THE FURTHEST PARKING LOT AWAY FROM THE SHOPS. Okay, so this might not be the most fun idea to do all the time, but have you ever tried to steer a full shopping trolley full of groceries around the parking lot, while attempting not to smash your trolley into someone or get yourself run over? It requires a lot of muscle strength and body movements!

    GIVE YOUR KIDS PIGGY BACK RIDES. If your kids are young, they most likely love to get piggy back rides. If you start thinking about it as a way to get some more exercise into your day, you might enjoy it and want to do it a lot more!

    LET YOUR DOG MOTIVATE YOU. Grab the leash and your dog and head outside. Your body and your pooch will thank you later! 

    BE CREATIVE ABOUT ADDING MOVEMENT INTO YOUR DAILY ACTIVITIES. For example, you could do hand and wrist stretches while waiting at stop lights, squats while you watch your kiddies bath, or even star jumps while you wait for the microwave to ding.

    Getting movement into your day doesn’t have to involve intense HIIT sessions or specific “scheduled” workout time. Remember that every step counts!

     

    Author:
    Lisa Cutforth
    B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
    Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
    Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness and Wholesomeness-on-Roma