Fad or Fab?– Collagen supplementation for Athletes

Fad or Fab?– Collagen supplementation for Athletes

An exciting and rapidly expanding area of research that promises to improve athletic performance and minimize injuries is the use of collagen supplementation. Is it worth jumping onboard?

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Microba Insight Microbiome Test

Microba Insight Microbiome Test

Did you know it’s now possible to have a gut microbiome test which tells you about the microorganisms that are in your gut, how they affect your gut health and how you can achieve a better balance between desirable and less desirable microorganisms?

You can:
🐛 Learn which microorganisms are in your gut and what they might be doing - their potential to digest carbohydrates, protein, and fat, as well as their potential to produce essential vitamins and nutrients.

💊 Learn if the probiotics you have been taking are actually present in your sample: Sometimes probiotic supplements don't colonise in the gut and therefore don't provide much benefit. Find out if your probiotics are doing so.

🍓 Learn which foods to add to your diet, to promote a healthy gut:

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Healthy Eating for Men

Healthy Eating for Men

It’s Men’s Health week this week so I thought I’d share my top tips for keeping the men in your life healthy. Men and women aren’t that different when it comes to daily nutrition. Yes, men tend to have more muscle mass which increases their requirements compared to a female. But nutritionally speaking, men still need a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to tick along each day.

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How to boost your immunity for winter

How to boost your immunity for winter

Winter is nearly here, so it’s time to think about surrounding yourself with the food that will support your immune system to stay well! 🥦🥝🍋

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Your gut microbiome

Your gut microbiome

How many different plant foods do you eat in a week? The American Gut project recently found that found that people regularly eating 30+ different types of plant foods per week had a more diverse microbiome than those eating 10 or fewer different plant foods a week. Recent research has shown the richer and more diverse the community of gut microbes are, the lower your risk of disease. Can you add a couple of different plants this week?

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Can the Mediterranean diet provide protection against dementia?

Can the Mediterranean diet provide protection against dementia?

If you’re anything like me, the word ‘dementia’ fills you with fear. I want to spend my retirement years travelling and playing with my grandchildren.  Not relying on someone to take care of me.

Like me, you probably think that there’s nothing you can do to protect yourself from dementia.  That is, until I read some promising new research suggesting the Mediterranean diet may help delay dementia by up to 5 years.

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Boosting your calcium intake on a lactose free diet

Boosting your calcium intake on a lactose free diet

Did you know more than half of Australians adults don't get enough calcium?  Calcium is the major building block for our bones - it's deposited as a crystal onto out bones to give them strength.  Our bones also store calcium so that when we don't get enough calcium in our diets the body will take calcium from our bones.  This is why it is really important to have a daily supply of calcium throughout our lives.   So, how do you get enough calcium on a dairy-free diet?

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Supporting your recovery from injury through nutrition

Supporting your recovery from injury through nutrition

A downside of finding a sport that you love is the inevitable injury that sidelines you.  While you are sidelined - what can you eat to support your recovery to get you back to your sport stronger than ever? No, I'm not talking about eating your feelings via chocolate and red wine but using your diet to support your recovery and get you back to your sport stronger than ever?

Your focus during your recovery should be on fighting inflammation and fuelling repair – loading up anti-inflammatory foods, keeping essential nutrient intake high as well as boosting protein intake. Your focus during your recovery should be on fighting inflammation and fuelling repair – loading up anti-inflammatory foods, keeping essential nutrient intake high as well as boosting protein intake.

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Should you consider a low FODMAP diet?

Should you consider a low FODMAP diet?

For some people, a diet high in FODMAPs can cause a range of abdominal symptoms such as bloating, excess wind, distension, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhoea (or a combination of both). Following a low FODMAP diet can help manage these abdominal symptoms - 75% of people with IBS experience relief from their symptoms with a low FODMAP diet.

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Sports Nutrition for Teenagers

Sports Nutrition for Teenagers

Do you have sporty teenagers?  With the winter sports season kicking off, you might be wondering if your teenagers are eating the right types of food to support healthy growth and development as well as their training and competition. It's not all about protein powder to get "shredded", or litres of sweet sports drinks!

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Why you should swap your lunchtime tinned tuna for tinned salmon

Why you should swap your lunchtime tinned tuna for tinned salmon

A tin of tuna is a popular lunch choice as it is a good source of protein, cheap and shelf stable.  A lot of people eat tuna for lunch assuming they are getting a serve of omega 3s – essential fatty acids. However tinned tuna is very low in omega3s - tinned salmon or sardines provide much more.

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12 Days of Christmas

12 Days of Christmas

I hate to use the term superfoods (eye roll) but I was thinking about all the lovely food we are blessed to be surrounded by this time of year and that I associate with Christmas.  I thought I'd share some of their health benefits as well as recipes that my family enjoy this time of year.  I'd love to hear about your Christmas super foods too!  My favourite part of Christmas is sharing a meal with the people that I love.  Food should be seen as part of the celebration - not something to feel guilty about.  Include plenty of fresh fruit and veggies and some lean protein and use the time off work to schedule in a walk or run.  Consider Mindful Eating  over the Christmas break by making more conscious food choices, paying attention to how you eat, and practicing self-acceptance.   

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Gut Health

Gut Health

The more we learn about the role of gut, the more it seems that the gut  can be thought of as the centre of overall good health. Our gastrointestinal tract runs right through the core of the body and has does a lot more than just digest our food. Our gut is home to lots of bacteria – known as gut flora. A healthy digestive system has a balance of good and bad bacteria. When your gut is not working as it should your energy levels are affected, your mood is affected and your ability to concentrate is affected.  You can help maintain your digestive system by ensuring you consume prebiotics, probiotics and sufficient dietary fibre.

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Exam Season Nutrition

Exam Season Nutrition

We are entering into exam season and you might have a stressed-out teenager on your hands.  As I'm sure you remember from toddler days, what they eat can have a big impact on mood.  Here’s my tips for the foods to include in your teenager’s diet.

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Fasted training for endurance athletes

Fasted training for endurance athletes

Should you skip breakfast before you exercise?

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My favourite yoghurts

My favourite yoghurts

One of the most common questions I get asked is “what yoghurt should I buy”*?  There are so many varieties available with options such as fat free, greek, greek style, pot set – what should you choose? With a group of my colleagues we’ve put together a table of our favourite brands.  What we have considered is taste, protein/fat/sugar content, calcium content and whether the yoghurt contains probiotics. 

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nuun electrolyte tablets

nuun electrolyte tablets

A long overdue post about my most used sports nutrition product - nuun electrolyte tablets.   Nuun tablets are added to water and replenish the electrolytes that are lost in sweat during exercise with only 1g of sugar (dextrose) per serve (compared to 36g of sugar in a sports drink).  Nuun contains the four main electrolytes that are vital in hydration and exercise performance and this year they will be the official hydration partner of the City2Surf

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Party time! Six tips for 6 weeks of silliness.

My Facebook feed at the moment of tips and tricks of how to "survive" the holiday season as if celebrating with friends and family is something to be dreaded.  I love a party and I'd hate to think of people depriving themselves but it's worth knowing some tricks and tips so you can enjoy the party without that stuffed full feeling.  

Here's my 6 top tips to enjoy 6 weeks of the silly season.

  1. Try not to turn up to the party ravenous - make sure you've had a really good lunch with plenty of veggies and protein. If you're still hungry mid afternoon have a snack - say an apple and some nuts with some chopped up veggies. You'll feel much more in control and not dive straight into the bowl of chips and dip

  2. Choose the food & drink you really love. I love a beautiful french champagne and some rich creamy St Agur cheese. But I can leave cheap Sauvignon Blanc and deep fried canapés. Savour the experience of eating good quality food rather than high fat snacks that leave you feeling bloated and heavy afterwards.

  3. Practice your mindful eating "gap" by asking yourself "do I really feel like eating this?" - this simple question is often enough to help you control the amount of food you are eating. Another simple trick is to limit yourself to just 3-5 canapés at any one event and say it out loud to yourself before you go into the party.

  4. Count your drinks - Try to have at least two alcohol-free days each week to give your liver a break and make every second drink at the party water. You can offer to drive sometimes too.

  5. Christmas is one day not two months - you don't need a mince pie in November. Try to differentiate “special” occasions from run of the mill drinks and parties with work colleagues and acquaintances. This way you can indulge when there is a truly special occasion but keep on track with healthy habits the rest of the time.

  6. Offer to bring a plate. Everyone loves it if you go to the effort of providing a whole lot of veggie sticks and homemade dips, and they are always eaten, after all we're all grownups and most people don't really want the deep fried food. Here are some of my favourite plates to share.

Do you need help getting your healthy eating back on track?  My 6 week customised nutrition program was specially designed to help you establish healthy eating habits, lose weight,  or recover from the diet cycle.  Find out more here.  

Rachel is a university qualified Clinical Nutritionist based in Balmain.  She is also the busy working mum of two teenagers, so is practical and realistic with her advice . Rachel offers private consultations to improve your family's health and well-being. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram for more healthy tips and tricks. 

INTERMITTENT FASTING - WILL IT WORK FOR YOU?

Intermittent Fasting diets have been popular for a few years.  Recently researchers from Austin Health and the University of Melbourne compared the results of the popular 5:2 intermittent fasting diet with a standard kilojoule reduced diet.  The 5:2 diet involves eating only 2,500 kilojoules (or 600 calories) on two non-consecutive days a week and then eating normally on the other five days.  Both diets demonstrated similar weight loss and reduction in body  fat and girth over a 6 month period.  

Often clients ask me whether an Intermittent fasting approach would work for them.  My answer is - it depends.  It works well for some people. If you are like Client A  who has a busy job, not really into food, happy to fast for 2 days because they forget to eat much at work anyway and don't feel the need to "feast" on the non fasting days an intermittent fasting approach might work.  

However for client B who works from home, prepares the family meals, who gets a lot of hedonistic pleasure from planning and enjoying meals (this is me by the way) - going 2 days with only 500 calories ("what does that equate to anyway?!") would find intermittent fasting a challenge.  

Client C might be a  strict "If it fits your macros"  gym-bro who isn't afraid to sacrifice meals, avoids "cheating" when a goal is near, and is used to restrictive eating might be able to persevere with intermittent fasting while they get results and then might move on to the next thing if intermittent fasting non longer works for them.  

Really, any approach that involves eating less and moving more is likely to get results. However with any way of eating before you commence it you need to think about whether you can imagine doing it for the rest of your life because that's ultimately the plan that will work for you.  

I'd prefer people to tune in to mindful eating, where they notice and enjoy food and recognise hunger and fullness cues.  I'd love to see more families cooking at home and eating together  with parents modelling a balanced, healthy approach to food.  You can find out more about mindful eating here and my coaching approach here.  

If you do decide to try intermittent fasting make sure you talk to your GP first. There have been concerns around risks for some people on certain medications or with particular medical conditions – fasting might make some conditions worse. If you're on medication for high blood pressure or type II diabetes, you may need a different medication regime on that day or a whole change of medication. Also in some susceptible people, it can stir up their liver as the fat starts emptying out of it. This can actually make the liver more inflamed and trigger liver disease. A similar thing can happen in the gallbladder, too.

Insulin Resistance and Pre-Diabetes

Photo by udra/iStock / Getty Images

Could you have insulin resistance or pre-diabetes? Insulin Resistance is a silent condition which occurs when cells in your body stop responding to insulin. Insulin is produced in response to blood sugar sugar - it tells the cells to metabolise the sugar by burning out for energy or storing.  Insulin helps keep your blood sugar levels stable so that sugar can be used as a fuel source in your muscles and liver. 

People with insulin resistance have normal blood glucose levels, which is why it is hard to diagnose.  However although the blood sugar levels are being controlled, more and more insulin is required.  The presence of all this excess insulin in the body is thought to be linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, fatty liver and even some cancers as well as type 2 diabetes.   

Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with prediabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and CVD, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.

A new client of mine came to see as she had a health scare.  Her blood sugars were on the high side.  She was sent for a fasting glucose test which found Impaired Glucose Intolerance with a  level of 8.3 (normal range is 3.6-7.7).  My client saw a diabetic consultant who was helpful but was still confused about an eating plan that would suit her and her lifestyle.  Here's what my client said:

"What I love most about Rachel is she is very positive and encouraging. She kept telling me that there is nothing I cannot eat, but just to watch the amounts. Rachel had me keep a diary of the meals I had everyday for a few weeks.  InitiallyI did have my doubts and worried about keeping to a diary. But it is not difficult.  My family and I even took a holiday to Spain and Singapore in June and I was worried about the foods but it was no problem.
2 weeks ago, I had another blood test for the sugar level and it is now only 4.9, with fasting. Am overjoyed and knew that the plan on the right foods worked. My specialist told me if I stick to this, I will never be diabetic.  Anyone can do this.
 I highly recommend Rachel Eagleton."

I was overjoyed with my client's results.  While weight loss, glowing skin or extra energy might be a measure we can see on the outside I believe it is far more important to invest in your internal health and do everything you can to reduce the risk lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  

Want to know more about designing a way of eating that works for you to manage your goals?  Read more here

Are you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes?  Take this test and talk to your GP

Read more about insulin resistance and pre-diabetes here