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Energy boosting eating plan

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BREAKFAST

Breakfast is an essential start to the day. It kickstarts your metabolism after the overnight fast and provides a great opportunity to get some dairy and fibre into your day. By giving your body the right fuel every morning, you reduce the risk of weight gain by elevating your metabolic rate and lowering the tendency to snack inappropriately. Choose one of the following options.

Cold Breakfast

» ¾ cup high-fibre, low-GI cereal (e.g. All Bran, Guardian, cooked raw oats) with 200mL skim milk, topped with ½ sliced banana

» 2 x hi-fibre Weet-Bix with 200mL skim milk, topped with sliced fresh fruit

» 150g low-fat yoghurt topped with ⅓ cup rolled oats and blueberries

» 1 cup fresh fruit salad with 200g low-fat yoghurt

Hot Breakfast

» 1–2 poached eggs on 1 slice sourdough with mushrooms

» ½ cup baked beans on wholegrain toast 

» ⅔ cup cooked porridge with 100mL skim milk, grated apple and cinnamon

» Omelette: 1–2 eggs, ¼ cup skim milk, 2 tablespoons grated reduced fat cheese with vegies such as capsicum, onion, spinach, mushrooms, tomato

»1 slice Burgen fruit toast topped with ricotta cheese and sliced pear

» Toasted English muffin with grilled cheese (40g) and tomato plus mushrooms 

  • Never skip breakfast.
  • If you are not hungry in the morning, try reducing what you eat in the evenings or schedule exercise before breakfast. 

NEXT: Lunch

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6 tips for a healthy gut

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Nutritionist, exercise scientist, trainer and online coach Brooke Turner shares her tips for a healthy gut.

 

 

  • Increase your prebiotic intake, which good gut bacteria uses as fuel to nourish its growth and activity.
  • Eat fermented foods such as yoghurt with live cultures, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso and tamari.
  • Up your fibre intake, which is essential for having a diverse array of bacteria.
  • Avoid the use of antibiotics where possible. Antibiotics wreak havoc on your bacteria levels and can wipe out the good bacteria.
  • Avoid inflammatory foods which are highly processed and high in sugar. Opt for anti-inflammatories such as turmeric, aloe vera and slippery elm.
  • Manage your stress levels. A link between gut health and mental health has been proven in many studies so minimising stress can directly impact your gut

 

 

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The key to targeting stubborn fat

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The term ‘stubborn’ almost creates an unnecessary mental predisposition when it comes to fat loss. Clients are often too quick to assume they have ‘stubborn fat’, when most people simply have more fat to lose before they can start burning fat in those notorious areas, such as the belly and hips.

The average fat loss dieter should not be thinking they can strategically target specific areas of fat. When losing weight, your body wants to save calories, so areas such as the arms, neck, fingers, face and feet tend to lean out quicker than the belly, butt and thighs, as having fat in these areas will burn more calories. The body is always adapting to be more efficient.

Clients that have already been training and/or dieting for fat loss from anywhere between eight to 16 weeks and are close to their desired body fat percentage can consider some of their fat as ‘stubborn’. In this case, a little more strategy can be employed.

I find that, for women, the upper body often needs to be almost completely depleted of fat stores before the lower body really becomes active. We store excess energy as fat based on two types of cell receptors: alpha receptors and beta receptors. Alpha promotes fat storage, while beta metabolises fat and makes it available to ‘burn’ as energy. Generally, women have much higher densities of alpha sites in the legs, butt and thighs.

If you want to burn fat from stubborn areas, decreasing alphas and increasing betas is the goal. This could perhaps be related back to our external and internal hormonal environment – basically our oestrogen to progesterone ratios. There is a lot of current research on this matter, and protocols that can help with this hormonal balance include: cutting down on non-organic food and coffee, increasing consumption of cruciferous vegies, drinking lemon water, reducing use of plastics and dry brushing. A useful website is ewg.org and their app Skin Deep, which indicates the toxicity level, effect on the body and potential for harmful additives found in your primary cosmetic and cleaning products.

Another specialised practice that can shed some light on potential imbalances and obstacles to fat loss is Applied Muscle Testing (AMT). Muscle testing works in the same arena as kinesiology, by testing your body for feedback to identify deficiencies in nutrients, problematic foods, potential beneficial supplements and even helping provide information on specific training protocols that may suit you personally.

Three easy things you can do today to expedite stubborn fat loss:

1. Exercise two to three hours after your last meal or on an empty stomach. This may reduce alpha receptor activity. It also causes us to increase catecholamine hormone production (adrenaline/noradrenaline), which may increase beta receptor activity.

2. Train intensely: use compound multi-muscle, multi-joint movements. For lower body, try lunges, squats and deadlifts. Include some type of interval training into your cardio workouts and then cool down with a 30 minute walk: this can assist in dipping further into fat for fuel now it has been released into the blood stream during training.

3. Stay positive: what your mind believes, your body achieves. If you tell yourself you can’t get rid of that last little bit of fat over and over, you’ll convince your subconscious mind that it’s true and it will obey you. Keep an open mind, visualise the results you want and don’t settle for ‘almost there’.   

 

 

 

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Discovering complementary therapies

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Osteopathy: Using observation and manipulation, the practitioner addresses any structural difficulties of movement which may affect the body and works towards realignment. May help with back or neck pain.

Acupuncture: Traditional Chinese therapy uses needles on specific meridian points, or ‘energy lines’, to address specific ailments and diseases. Based on the opposing forces of yin and yang. Can be used for a range of conditions including arthritis, allergies, asthma and insomnia.

Homoeopathy: Uses extremely diluted organic extracts. Based on the philosophy of ‘like cures like’ (not dissimilar to vaccines), homoeopathy is concerned with the underlying causes rather than the immediate symptoms. Has had good results in the treatment of colds, eczema, nausea and obesity.

Iridology: Analysing a person’s health by an examination of a person’s eye, specifically the iris. Often used by naturopaths and herbalists to identify the cause of a person’s illness.

Kinesiology: A system of muscle testing linked to the functions of organs and energy. Has been used in the treatment of allergies, depression, tiredness and back pain as well as identifying any vitamin or mineral deficiency.

Naturopathy: Looks at diet and lifestyle and may use numerous treatments including herbs, essential oil, extracts and natural supplements. The focus is on prevention and self-help.

Herbal Medicine: A sophisticated ‘complete’ medical approach that has many branches including traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as well as traditional Western methods. Has been popularly used in Australia to treat skin conditions such as eczema as well as treating digestive problems and sexual difficulties.

Chiropractic: Similar to osteopathy but uses more direct thrusting movements to realign the body rather than gentle manipulation. May also employ X-rays for diagnosis. Most commonly used for back and neck pain and sports injuries.

Hypnosis: The patient is placed in a ‘trance-like’ state where the practitioner is able to address any hidden problems. Has been used as part of an effective treatment for phobias and addiction, particularly smoking.

Looking for more natural ways to combat certain health issues? Discover how to reduce bloating naturally.

 

 

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4 reasons you’re not shedding those last few kilos

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4 reasons you're not shedding those last few kilos - PHOTO - Women's Health & Fitness

 

1. Liquid energy

Less filling and easy to over-consume. Smoothies and juices may seem like healthy options, but can be packed with sugar and kilojoules. Cut back on sweetened beverages. Think carefully about long-term alcohol habits and drink less.

 

2. Portion size

Eat slowly and use smaller plates.

3. Mindless eating

We live in a culture of plenty, and food is easily available. Keep snacks out of sight to avoid temptation and overeating.

 

4. Inadequate protein

Inadequate fibre and/or protein can lead to overeating. Both these nutrients are filling and should be included at every meal. Protein is important also for maintenance of muscle mass.

So how can we stay on track?

Think about your core values and what you want out of life. What brings you happiness? Perhaps you rank health as a high priority and want to feel good and have more energy? Now look at small steps you can take to live in line with these values.

Find something that suits you. Hate the gym? Then don’t force yourself to go. Instead find something you enjoy (maybe yoga, bushwalking, pole dancing or underwater hockey is more your style?). If you indulge in fitness pursuits that you value and enjoy, you will be happier and more motivated.

Be open to change. Just because running half marathons worked for you five years ago, doesn’t mean that running is still the best option for you now. Listen to the needs of your body and switch to a new fitness routine if necessary.

Have realistic expectations. If you weigh under 100 kg then it’s not safe or realistic to try losing more than 0.5 kg per week. If you weigh between 100 to 150kg, then one kg per week is achievable, and if over 150 kg, then two kg per week is considered healthy.

NEXT:

 

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How to fast-track fat loss

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To fast-track coveted progress such as greater fat loss, Tramontana says you need to get back to basics.

Cardio is not ‘hardio’

With a combination of higher intensity interval training (HIIT), low-intensity steady state (LISS) training, body weight training sessions and a nutritious diet, Tramontana ensures his clients are given the best formula for their body.

“My cardiovascular programming is based around a 75/25 split of LISS and HIIT. So based on the available amount of time for a client to add in cardio on top of resistance training would determine the amount of each they conducted,” he says.

Here’s what your cardio program could look like:

2 hours per week for cardio training = 30 minutes of HIIT over two to three days + 90 minutes of LISS over one to two sessions.

Be wary, if HIIT was all you did, you may encounter the downside of too much stress on your body, which can ironically turn HIIT into a fat retention tactic.

So what about weight training?

“For fat loss, I structure everything around two to three full bodyweight training sessions – two sessions based on linear periodisation macro cycle of 16-to-24 week programming, altered every four to six weeks,” he explains.

Translation? A program that begins by incorporating high-volume and low intensity weight training, and progressively moves into phases when the volume decreases and intensity increases.  Tramontana is a strong advocate for women to hit up the weights rack, “I find a lot of women are lifting nowhere near their capacity. Don’t be shy to lift heavy weights and test your ability regularly.”

The importance of rest

All this talk of intensity may have you thinking full pelt should be the only gear you work in, but without adequate recovery, you may be undermining your fat loss chances at the dumbbells. Both injury and overt fatigue can see you performing at less than 100 per cent over multiple sessions.

“Recovery begins with the post-workout meal. I advise at least 25 to 50 per cent of overall carbohydrates be included in this meal – either using complex carbohydrate sources or a combination of simple and complex carbs,” says Tramontana. “I also recommend at least one body therapy session per week.”

Think physiotherapy, massage, sauna, steam, floating, dry needling, sleep in, meditation, yoga, grounding – or something as simple as reading a book.

How to fuel your body with the right food

For Tramontana, eating for fat loss should focus on controlling hunger, which translates to better portion control and craving management.

“I ask that protein be included in every meal upon waking, generally an even or slightly escalating amount each meal depending again on habits and hunger patterns,” he says.

“For fat loss, I personally urge the exclusion of high-energy carbs even post workout – with the exception of competitors in the later stage of preparation.”

Supplementation may also give you an edge in the health and results stakes. Depending on your goals and needs, Tramontana advises the use of creatine, glutamine, vitamin C, branch chain amino acids, fish oils, whey protein, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc and a good-quality greens supplement to aid recovery, general wellbeing and lean muscle growth.

Read the full article in the August 2016 edition by journalist Katelyn Swallow. 

NEXT > Discover ways to boost your metabolism.

 

 

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5 ways to change your eating habits

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Step #1 Start slow:

If you struggle to eat bitter foods, try white cabbage rather than broccoli when first introducing more leafy greens to your diet.

 

Step #2 Quit warm turkey:

“Most people find reducing – not eliminating – foods like saturated fat, sugar and refined carbs works best if done gradually,” says psychologist Kellee Waters, who specialises in food addiction and obesity. For example:

Swap, don’t stop: If you’re a Dairy Milk fiend, choose a healthier chocolate – think a six per cent cocoa dark chocolate – and build up over weeks/months to an 80 per cent one. Likewise, rather than trading white bread for wholemeal, try a white fibre-enriched bread, then a sandwich with one slice of white and one of brown to help you adapt to the taste and texture.

Reduce sugary drinks: Reduce sugar in your tea from two teaspoons to one then to half then to none. Start diluting juice with water until you only need a dash for flavour. Eventually, cut it out completely.

Switch oils and spreads: If you’re trying to use less butter and more olive oil, start with one that has a light flavour.

 

Step #3 Serve the same food different ways:

Not a fan of vegies? Start by grating them into meatballs or adding a few more to your stir-fry. Or use a different cooking method – for example, roasting your vegies with olive oil instead of simply boiling. This will give you different taste sensations and increase the chance that you will find one or two that make the food appeal to you more.

 

Step #4 Edit:

If you don’t trust yourself with foods that belong to your old taste way, the best cure is prevention. “Avoid [keeping] unhealthy food at home and then you will have no choice but to adapt your taste buds to the healthier choices,” Taste expert Eugeni Roura from the University of Queensland‘s Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences advises.

 

Step #5 Combine:

“When cooking at home, make healthy food taste great by combining tastes like umami (e.g. mushrooms or soy sauce) with sour (e.g. lemon juice),” says Roura. “This more complex taste stimulation is likely to enhance your fullness and satiety.” In short, by mixing and matching a few different tastes in one dish or on one plate, you will get greater enjoyment from the food and feel more satisfied at the end of your meal.

NEXT: 5 ways to resist your cravings

 

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Top fat loss tips

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1. Complete a lifestyle diary

This includes what you eat, when you go to bed, how often you go to the bathroom and how much water you drink. This will make you accountable and aware of any bad habits outside of the gym that could be hindering your results.  

2. Schedule at least two recovery sessions per week

I liken your body to a bank balance.  Every training session is a withdrawal; every recovery session is a deposit. If you are always training (withdrawing) and never recovering (depositing), you will eventually end up overdrawn and injured. Recovery practices include foam rolling, contrast showers, ice baths, massages and long walks.

3. Embrace hot yoga

The hot room allows for increased range of movement (which will translate into better range in your weight training), the heat enhances detoxification processes and the twisting movements improve digestion and lymphatic drainage in addition to massaging the internal organs.  Yoga is also great for stress management, and when you are stressed you will hold fat.

4. Test for food intolerances

Just because a food is ‘healthy’, doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you. If it doesn’t make you feel good, don’t eat it. Some of the most common intolerances include eggs, gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, corn and nuts. Intolerances can also be a result of eating too much of the same foods, so try and rotate your meal options regularly.

5. Support your liver and your detoxification channels using alternative body treatments

Think acupuncture, lymphatic drainage massage, Epsom salt baths, body brushing and infra-red saunas. Drink plenty of water to flush out toxins and try starting the day with a glass of warm water with fresh lemon juice.

For more fat loss tips, visit our weight loss section.

 

 

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Healthy eating with Rachael Finch

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We caught up with mum and author Rachael Finch to chat about her healthy eating habits and discovered how she stays on track.

Who’s that girl? Mother to Violet and Dominic, wife to Misha (her partner on Dancing with the Stars), certified Health Coach, author of Happy, Healthy Strong, and founder of B.O.D (Body of Dance).

Exercise Goal: My exercise goals vary depending on the season and what’s going on in my life. Currently I’m enjoying getting back into my dance workouts and stretch sessions since having Dominic. I also have a little personal goal to make five unassisted chin-ups by the end of the year. Wish me luck!

Typical day of exercise? I always try to workout in the morning: it’s when I have most energy and Violet loves coming out on the balcony with us in the morning air. I balance cardio, especially dancing, with stretch and tone workouts, and pair it with beautiful fresh food and meditation every day.

Steal her Science: Immunity

Rachael’s food plan provides the body with a variety of proteins – found in the quinoa, legumes, chicken and nuts – and healthy essential fats including omegas and vitamins A, E and D. Accredited nutritionist, Tracie Hyam Connor (tracietalkshealth.com.au), says Rachael’s food plan has a great combination of flavours, and the use of homemade foods and fresh ingredients satisfy some nutrition requirements. “High protein diets from a variety of sources provide nutrients needed for sustained energy, muscle building and recovery. Good inclusion of essential fats and nutritious greens nourish the body and assist with stronger immunity and resistance to disease and illness, as well as faster recovery when needed.” Hyam Connor says if you’re adopting the food plan, focus on balancing your ratio of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. For an extra health kick, we recommend adding some spinach to your morning smoothie, or try loading your chilli bean salad with your favourite vegies.

 

Sample Day on a plate:

Breakfast: Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day! If I need something quick, I love a good blitz like my B.O.D Choc Espresso Smoothie (think: cold drip coffee, protein powder, banana, almond milk and rolled oats), full of antioxidants and espresso buzz. Sundays are my day for long brekkies and relaxing, so we usually go out to eat and I will have eggs on toast with lots of sides.

Lunch: For lunch I usually have filling salads or left-overs from dinner, such as haloumi and quinoa, or my chilli bean salad with avo, lime and feta.

Dinner: My go-to winter warmer dinner at the moment is my coconut chicken zoodle soup. There’s loads of green, so lots of good stuff going on! (Think: onion, garlic, chicken, zucchini, coconut milk, coriander leaves, kale etc).

Snack: Almond and date power balls and cookie dough protein balls are the best to grab when I’m on-the-go.

 

Photography: Bayleigh Vedelago

 

 

 

 

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5 health benefits of macadamias

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Macadamias are a rich source of monounsaturated (omega-3) fatty acids and come with a host of health benefits in just one handful. Whether you eat them as a snack or use them in a recipe for added crunch, here are five reasons why you need this healthy tree nut in your diet and two delicious recipes to get you started. 

 

 

1. Gives you a dose of antioxidants which boost the body’s natural defenses

2. Naturally gluten-free, low in sugar and very low in sodium

3. Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, keeping your heart healthy

4. Contributes to strong and shiny hair and nails

5. Contains vitamin B1, magnesium and potassium for increased energy and muscular function

Wondering how to incorporate this healthy tree nut in a recipe? Try these tasty picnic recipes courtesy of Australian Macadamias.

 

Macadamia, pumpkin and blue cheese tartlets (picutured above)

Makes 6

These tasty tartlets use store-bought pastry, so they’re quick and easy to make. The pumpkin, blue cheese and coriander combination makes them a classy work lunch option, or the ideal addition to a long and leisurely picnic. But don’t be fooled by their simplicity – the golden macadamias on top ensure they’re anything but ordinary.

Need:

300g pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1cm pieces

2 tsp oil

450g pack store-bought short-crust pastry

2 eggs

¼ cup thickened cream

50g blue cheese, crumbled

¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped, or chives if you prefer

¼ cup macadamia halves

Do:

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. Place the pumpkin pieces on a small tray and drizzle with oil. Roast for 15 minutes, or until just soft.

3. Place pastry on a lightly floured work surface and cut out 6 x 14cm rounds, to fit tartlet tins. You may have slightly smaller or larger tins, so cut according to your size. Press the pastry circles into the tins.

4. Cut 6 rounds of baking paper to line the pastry. Line the pastry and weight with pastry weights or an appropriate weight – rice or dried chickpeas work well. Bake for 5–7 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly. Remove the baking paper and weights.

5. Whisk together the eggs and cream. Pour the egg mixture into the empty tart shell so that it comes halfway up the sides. Divide the pumpkin and blue cheese between the tarts and sprinkle with coriander. Dot with macadamia halves and return to the oven for a further 5–7 minutes, until puffed and golden.

6. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Macadamia and three seed crackers recipe

 

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Makes 24

These deliciously moreish crackers are perfect with cheese and add a little macadamia magic to any picnic platter. Best of all, the super-easy, blend-and-bake recipe means you can whip up a batch in no time and hit the picnic rug sooner!

Need:

¼ cup wholemeal flour

¼ cup oats

½ cup macadamias

2 tbsp poppy seeds

2 tbsp sunflower seeds

2 tbsp sesame seeds

3 tbsp water

Do:

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. Place all the ingredients except the water in a blender. Blend until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Note that many of the sesame seeds and all the poppy seeds will still be whole.

3. With the motor running, add the water a tablespoon at a time until the mixture comes together and forms a ball. Place the ball on a sheet of baking paper that will line a baking tray.

4. Flatten the ball to a rectangle about 1cm thick. Place a large piece of plastic wrap over the flattened mixture and roll out to a 2mm thick rectangle with a rolling pin. Remove the plastic wrap and use a ruler and knife, or a pasta cutter, to score the flattened dough to create small, cracker sized rectangles.

5. Transfer the dough and baking paper to a tray and bake for 8–10 minutes, until the edges have started to go golden and the inner areas are cooked. Remove and cool for 5 minutes on the tray before gently breaking into pieces along the score lines and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

This piece was produced in partnership with the Australian Macadamias.

NEXT: Packed with nourishing good fats, here are 11 other healthy nuts to add to your healthy eating regime.

 

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