News — weightloss

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

New 2021 Meta-Analysis: Fried-Food Consumption is Linked with an Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke

 

 

A new meta-analysis of 17 observational studies, involving a total of 562,455 participants and 36,727 major cardiovascular “events” has found a significant connection between fried-food consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The analysis, which was recently published in the Journal Heart, discovered that with every 114 weekly serving (that’s a medium McDonald’s fries), the risk of cardiovascular disease rose by 3%, 2% and 12%, respectively.

Compared with the participants who were consuming the lowest amount of weekly fried foods, the participants with the highest intake had a 28% heightened risk of major cardiovascular events, a 22% increased risk of coronary heart disease and a 37% increased risk of heart failure.

The problem with fried-foods

Frying means cooking food in hot fat, usually some kind of oil. This significantly increases the energy and fat content of the food, and generates harmful trans-fatty acids from the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils which are often used in restaurant deep fryers. A diet high in trans-fat has been known to increase your risk of heart disease and contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels.

The process of frying also requires considerable high temperatures, which causes changes in the vitamin and antioxidant content of the food, and generates carcinogenic compounds, which have proven to be harmful to our health.

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is currently the leading cause of death worldwide, responsible for 16% of the world’s total deaths. The strength of current research and evidence highlights the importance of healthy dietary patterns and lifestyles for the prevention of CHD and stroke. A healthy balanced diet that contains no to minimal fried-foods will play an important role in the management of crucial risk factors of CHD such as diabetes, hypertension and excess weight. 

We promote a healthy balanced diet with our nutritious and wholesome ready-made meals. Our meals are rich in whole foods, nutrients, bioactive compounds and antioxidants. They contain low sodium, and no processed sugars, preservatives or additives. Our meals contain no processed or fried foods, and we use minimal oil in our cooking (typically extra virgin olive oil or sesame oil for our Asian dishes).

Find out more about us here.

 

References:
Pei Qin et al. Fried-food consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Heart, 2021; heartjnl-2020-317883 DOI: 10.1136/heartjnl-2020-317883

 

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

10 Practical Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holiday Season

 

Holidays are usually a busy time of the year, with lots of family gatherings, Christmas get-togethers and holiday traditions. Just because your schedule might seem a little more “full” than usual and your routine may be out of whack, it doesn’t mean that you have to kiss your healthy lifestyle goodbye! Sure, being surrounded by yummy holiday sweets and treats for a whole month can make it easy for your healthy habits to slip, but keeping your goals on track during the holidays is doable (with a little flexibility, which is absolute key. Click here to read our latest article on 3 healthy mindset changes to make during the holidays).

We’ve put together 10 practical tips that will help to keep your healthy habits on track this Christmas season. 

1. Be prepared. Prep ahead of the holiday season so that your house is filled with yummy wonderful healthy options. If you’re strapped for time, order a box of freezer-friendly Wholesomeness meals to set you up for success before the busy holiday season starts.

2. Eat before you go. This is a great tip to avoid turning up to a celebration ravenously starving, ready to devour anything in sight. Make a quick smoothie at home beforehand or grab a Wholesomeness snack from your freezer for a nutritious pick-me-up.

3. Be a great guest. Be a great party guest and bring a plate of something yummy and healthy that you made at home (like a huge salad or a delicious grazing plate with homemade dip and veggie sticks). That way, you’ll know for sure that there will something healthy to eat while you’re there.

4. Load up on greens. If you see a salad or veggies at your holiday party, go for it. There will be probably be lots of other yummy things that you want to conquer first but eating a salad or veggies first will be best for your digestion and you’ll fill yourself up a little bit before going for everything else!

5. Avoid fried foods. Skip the high-fat fried foods and go for the lighter options.

6. Avoid heavy and creamy sauces. Avoid the heavy sauces and opt for the lighter options on offer – it will be better for your digestion and you’ll feel better after the meal too.

7. Hydrate properly. Opt for a drink of water first, to support your digestion and prevent the dreaded “post-Christmas dinner” headache.

8. Chew your food slowly and carefully. Use your senses to enjoy your food (taste, smell, touch, sight). Break your food down slowly with your teeth. When we eat fast there’s no time for our stomach to signal our brain that we are full, so try to pace yourself, chew your food and give enough time for your body to send you those hunger/fullness signals.

9. Add a side of berries to your plate. Adding a cup of antioxidant-rich berries (e.g. strawberries or blueberries) to your meal helps to maintain a healthy oxidative balance, which helps counteract the negative effects of an unhealthy meal (check out our article on this here).

10. Create your own gym wherever you are. This is especially relevant during the current Covid times, so many of you may already be pros at this! Even just walking up and down your stairs a few more times every day, picking up things/squatting, or dancing to some holiday music can be beneficial!

How do you stay healthy during the holidays?