News — #healthy

Eating Seasonally: Winter

It’s nearly June, which means winter is nearly upon us here in Queensland. Characterized by frosty mornings, early sunsets and chilly nights, the cooler months call for hearty dishes to keep you warm and nourished all winter long. 

You may think that the range of winter fruits and vegetables is limited, but with a bit of creativity and preparation, you can enjoy fresh, local produce all season long. With a Wholesomeness meal delivery, we have done all the hard prep for you – we source fresh, local seasonal produce to create tasty winter dishes that are packed with nutrition and maximum flavour. Winter is all about comforting foods that are warming, cozy and satisfying. Think flu-fighting soups, winter one-pots, hearty stews and roast root vegetables.  

Fruits and vegetables flourish at certain times of the year, however grocery stores stock just about everything all year round, which makes it easy to forget what’s in season and what’s not. A good tip is to take a walk around your local farmer’s market and see what kinds of produce are available – these will usually be the ones that are in season at that time.

There are many benefits to eating seasonally.  The food is at its freshest, tastes the best, is best for you, is more sustainable, and is usually cheaper. It also allows us to get back to the roots of local and sustainable eating, by supporting local businesses and our local community as a whole.  

Seasonal fruits and veggies that have been allowed to fully ripen on the plant and picked at the peak of freshness are better quality and higher in nutrition compared to produce that is picked unripe and then transported to different areas or countries. Therefore, eating local sustainable produce allows for maximum nutrition that is tailored to your local environment.

In winter, many people often lack vitamin D due to the increased time spent indoors. Mushrooms are often at their peak during winter, and they contain excellent sources of vitamin D (see our previous blog post on mushrooms and vitamin D here). Mushrooms are such a versatile ingredient, with the potential to add a delicious savoury and warm umami flavour to so many dishes. We love using them in our Mushroom Bourguignon with Mash and Green Beans, and our Mushroom, Spinach and Truffle Risotto with Broccoli and Pepitas.

During winter, we also need extra vitamin C to keep our immune system strong and to help fight off colds and flu quicker. Winter citrus fruits like navel oranges, mandarins, grapefruits, lemons and limes all contain amazing sources of vitamin C and antioxidants. Winter fruits also often last a lot longer than the soft summer fruits, which means less food wastage and more value for your money.

Eating foods that are in season gives you the opportunity to appreciate the foods that are available, and allows for more variety in your diet as seasonal foods are constantly shifting – a wonderful cycle that allows you to experience each food.

What veggies are in season this winter? Print out our handy list of winter seasonal veggies and hang it on your fridge!

Five Reasons to Work Out (not related to weight loss or appearance)

 

 

The number one reason that people workout is to lose weight or to look good, but the truth is that there are so many other benefits of moving your body and being physically active. Once you start to shift your mindset to one that’s more focussed on feeling good rather than looking good, you’ll start to see exercise as more fun and enjoyable which will help you get into a healthy cycle of motivation, energy and accomplishment.

 1. Improves your mental health

Exercise releases endorphins which are neurochemicals that affect our brain and our mood. Regular movement helps to regulate our moods, relieve anxiety and depression, boost our energy and improve our focus.

 2. Improves your sleep

Better sleep helps with stress management, boosts our mood and gives our brain quality time to reset, which helps with learning and memory.

 3. Self-esteem

Regular movement that you love doing helps to release all those happy chemicals. Getting stronger and fitter helps us to feel proud, accomplished and empowered.

 4. Improves your long term health

Regular physical activity gives us a healthier heart (reduces our risk of cardiovascular diseases), stronger lungs (reduces our risk of cardiorespiratory diseases), improves our posture (which improves our confidence), improves our bone health (reduces our risk of injury) and gives us a better quality of life.

 5. Boosts your lymphatic system

The lymphatic system is a network of tissues, vessels and organs that help to rid the body of toxins and unwanted materials. Movement and contractions of the muscles stimulate the lymphatic system to pump fluid around your body, which helps to cleanse, detox and boost your immune system. A healthier immune system means less colds and illnesses and a reduced risk of cancer and other diseases.

 

So find your groove with the type of movement that you love doing and you will see how wonderfully beneficial moving your body can be!

 

 

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

Tips for Restoring & Strengthening Your Gut Microbiome

 

 

 

When we talk about “gut microbiome”, we’re referring to the millions of microorganisms that inhabit our gut, or our gastrointestinal tract. Interestingly, each microbiome is unique and contributes to different health benefits and that’s why a rich and diverse gut microbiome is incredibly important for overall health. However, there are different factors that can influence the diversity and density of our gut bacteria, including stress, lifestyle and environmental factors, excessive alcohol consumption, food allergies, antibiotic usage and artificial sweeteners.

The health of our gut is deeply connected to our hormone levels, brain health, skin health, metabolism, body weight, immune system and mood. In fact, researchers continue to find remarkable links between a diverse gut microbiome and certain illnesses and diseases, including cancer, heart disease, liver disease, asthma, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome and depression.

Although we know that diet is not the only factor that contributes to good gut health, research has shown that it is incredibly important. The more diverse your diet, the more diverse the nutrient supply is to your gut microbiomes.

Happy and well-fed gut microbiomes = a happier and healthier gut!

Here are a few key things you can do every day to optimize your gut microbiome:

👉 Incorporate prebiotics (apples, almonds, chicory root, asparagus, legumes, onions, raw garlic, cabbage).

Prebiotics promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and discourage dysbiotic growth (pathogenic bacteria). 

👉 Incorporate probiotics (yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, kefir, tempeh)

👉 Eat the rainbow

Have as many different varieties and colours of fruits and veggies that you love over the course of the day.

👉 Eat foods rich in polyphenols (blueberries, green tea, broccoli, grapes, olive oil)

👉 Drink teas that are good for your gut (e.g. liquorice root tea, fennel tea, green tea)

👉 Avoid GMOs

👉 Plan your meals ahead of time, or stock your freezer with healthy prepared meals. Click here to order.  

👉 Avoid endocrine disruptors

Some endocrine disrupters include air pollutants, BPA’s, pesticides, parabens, mercury and phthalates. Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals has been shown to disrupt the gut microbiome, which may result in dysbiosis.

👉 Minimise unnecessary antibiotics

👉 Decrease stress and have good sleep hygiene

 

Responsible health advice: There is no one size fits all approach to nutrition or the healing properties of food.  If you are unwell please seek professional advice.
References:
Gálvez-Ontiveros, Y., Páez, S., Monteagudo, C., & Rivas, A. (2020). Endocrine Disruptors in Food: Impact on Gut Microbiota and Metabolic Diseases. Nutrients12(4), 1158. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12041158

 

 

 

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

Onion and Garlic-Free Flavours (for a low FODMAP diet)

 

If you’ve just started your low FODMAP journey and you think it sounds bland and uninteresting, think again! The truth is that you can still have delicious, varied and flavourful food while managing your digestive symptoms. There are so many amazing tummy-friendly flavours that you can use to give your dish an extra boost of deliciousness.

Let’s take a look at how to increase flavour on a low FODMAP diet:

1. Herbs (e.g. parsley, coriander, thyme, basil and rosemary) – most herbs are low FODMAP and you can use them fresh or dried. Chives are also great for adding a mild onion flavour to dishes.

2. Spices – single spices like cumin, coriander or turmeric are great. If you’re keen on spice mixes, watch out for onion and garlic powder in the ingredients list. Cinnamon is a great spice favourite to have on hand to add to smoothies or breakfast oatmeal. Asafoetida powder is an Indian spice that adds depth and an onion-garlic flavour to curries and stews (it’s especially great in vegetarian dishes and you only need a tiny pinch). Ginger (fresh or dried) is amazing to add to soups, sauces, stir fries or even oatmeal for a warming flavour hit.

3. Fennel bulb – adds flavour and replaces the texture of onion in soups or stews. Fennel bulb is FODMAP-friendly at ½ cup serves, and also contains lots of prebiotics for gut health. Win-Win!

4. Nutritional yeast flakes are an incredible pantry stable. Add to sauces, mix with popcorn or sprinkle on top of pasta for an added cheesy flavour. We love to use it in our homemade vegan pesto sauce, which we then mix through gluten free pasta with chicken, zucchini and sundried tomatoes for the ultimate low FODMAP dish full of flavour.

5. Spring onions (green part only). Top tip: place the white bulbs in a glass of water near a sunny window and the green leaves will grow back.

6. Fresh lemon or lime juice – a little squeeze of sourness can contribute to an incredible balance of flavours in a dish. We love to add a squeeze of lemon to our herb quinoa and serve it with our low FODMAP Roast Lamb with Aubergine and Tomatoes with a drizzle of Tahini Dressing.

7. Garlic-infused olive oil – because the fructans in onion and garlic are water-soluble and not oil-soluble, garlic-infused olive oil is a safe low FODMAP option for extra flavour and aroma. If you don’t have infused oil on hand, another option is to cook large chunks of onion/garlic in olive oil and then remove them. This gives you extra flavour without the FODMAP’s.

8. Miso paste (<2tbsp)

9. Soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce (max 2tbsp per dish)

10. Homemade salad dressing (e.g. with balsamic or olive oil)

11. Salt and pepper – only a small amount of salt is needed to bring out the flavour of food (if you have high blood pressure or need to limit sodium seek help from your health professional).

12. Maple syrup (real, not flavoured)

We hope this list has reassured you that you can still eat tasty foods even if you have food intolerances. In the Wholesomeness kitchen we pack our low FODMAP meals full of flavour, and bursting with super food ingredients. That’s why our low FODMAP meals are super popular among our customers. Check out our low FODMAP 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

Self-Care to-do List: Self-care ideas for when you have 5, 15 or 30 minutes

 

It’s true, taking care of yourself is the kindest thing you can do. Nurturing your body, mind and soul with self-care activities helps to add a sense of calm to your life, recharges your mental batteries and helps to create joy within yourself.

There are four different types of self-care:

Physical: taking care of your physical body (e.g. physical movement, stretching, healthy food).

Emotional: activities that help you connect, process and reflect on your emotions (e.g. kindness, stress management, journaling).

Social: activities that nurture your relationships with the people you love (e.g. time together, having strong support systems)

Spiritual: activities that revolve around your values (doesn’t have to be religious, can also be activities that nurture your internal thinking or your sense of perspective). For example: time alone, meditation, time in nature).

You may find it easier to look after certain aspects of your self-care than others, but it is important to create a balance by working on them all.

Do you allow yourself “me” time each day? Indulging in just 15 minutes of self-care a day can make a huge difference. We’ve put together a list of different self-care activities you can do – for when you have 5, 15 or 30 minutes of spare time.

Self-care for when you only have 5 minutes:

  • Take a few deep "self regulating" breaths...with a longer exhale than inhale..like a long slow sigh
  • Self check in - check in with yourself - “how are you feeling?”  - label a feeling. 
  • Listen to your favourite song
  • Stretch your body
  • Sit in the sun
  • Smile!
  • Compliment someone
  • If you need to, have a good cry (and use the expensive tissues!)
  • Give a loved one a hug
  • Forgive yourself for what you couldn’t do today

 

Self-care for when you only have 15 minutes:

  • Sit down, and have a tea, coffee, water and chillax
  • Read a chapter of your book
  • Organise your desk
  • Pat a furry friend
  • Pamper yourself (shower/bath with candles, give yourself a mani/pedi, wash and blow dry your hair) 
  • Call someone you love
  • Watch a funny YouTube clip
  • Make your bed – fresh sheets!

 

Self-care for when you have 30 minutes:

  • Take a walk outside - or a run or a swim
  • Cook a new recipe - find one that can be prepared in a short time
  • Take a nap
  • Do a guided meditation
  • Do a gentle yoga class
  • Unplug from technology and do an activity that involves repetition to promote calm (e.g. folding laundry).
  • Make something without caring if it’s “good” or not (e.g. knitting, baking, painting)

 

 

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