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. 

Read More

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

 

 

 

Are you eating enough protein?

Although I'm a Nutritionist I'm also a massive nerd, which is why I'm finishing off the last few units in my Masters of Human Nutrition.  I've just submitted my latest paper towards my Masters and the topic I chose to write about was managing obesity via high protein diets.  After reviewing many random control trials and meta-analyses it is pretty clear that increasing dietary protein in the place of refined carbohydrate is a useful tool for reducing and maintaining weight.  This is because protein is satiating, increases your metabolic rate and also appears to affect the hormones that stimulate appetite.  Higher protein diets also tend to be easier to stick to long term.

I'm not suggesting that you need to become a body builder (in fact amounts in excess of 2g/kg body weight are difficult for the kidneys to process).  In fact most people in Australia consume enough protein in their day.  What does go wrong is that people don't tend to eat enough protein at breakfast and lunch leading to them overeating at dinner.

So what should a serve of protein look like and how much do you need?

WOMEN AGED 30-50 NEED 3 SERVES OF LEAN PROTEIN AND 2- 3 SERVES OF DAIRY EVERY DAY

proteinserve.jpg

A good guide to estimate a serve of lean protein is that it should be the size of a deck of cards.

Dairy is another excellent source of protein and women aged 30-50 should include 2-3 serves of dairy or calcium rich substitutes each day:

Creating your own food rules

wine-and-one-glass.jpg

I was reading this very interesting article about Food Rules and it made me think about how I was able to shift 10 kilograms of post baby weight with a mindset change about 5 years ago.

My rules are:

1.  Make an appointment for exercise.  Yes I would rather be meeting my friends for a coffee after school drop off but they know that's when I get my run or weights in.  It's an appointment in my diary that I prioritise.

2. Avoid wasting calories.  I think this is one of the reasons that the 5:2 diet and other intermittent fasting models work.  For me a weekday lunch where I am grabbing something quick on my own I make it a salad with protein or a salad packed wrap and protein.  I save beautiful sourdough bread, aged cheddar and ham off the bone for weekend lunches with my family.  This is similar to what Susie is mentioning about avoiding the cheap office birthday cake.

3.  I always make myself/pack something to eat for 3 or 4pm before I get really hungry. I grab a corn thin with ricotta and tomato, some almonds and grapes or some veggie sticks and humous.  If I do this I don't start hunting for food at 530pm and eating two dinners.

4.  I don't have packaged biscuits in the house (otherwise see point 3)

5.  I try to only have wine with company.  My husband is away a lot for work so I don't drink unless he is at home too.  I also skip wine at school P&F meetings and the like.  But not book group - when I'm having a nice night out with friends it is lovely to share a beautiful bottle of wine.

One of the subjects that I'm studying at uni this term is Food Behaviour, I am finding it fascinating so far.