News — wellbeing

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!

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

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

15 New Year's Resolutions for Your Health!

 

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