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Tag Archives: nutritionist

Categories GENERAL HEALTH, Uncategorized

What is ‘Mindful Enjoyment’ and why are we passionate about it?

Here at the Balanced Nutritionist and throughout our online Back 2 Basics course, we encourage you to consider an 85/15 approach to health. I.e. 85% of the time we do believe in eating really good, wholesome healthy foods, moving a reasonable amount, getting enough sleep etc. But the other 15% allows for some relaxation. We believe you should be able to enjoy an ice cream in the movies from time to time, have a pizza with some friends or sit in front of Netflix and share a bowl of popcorn…. Guilt-free too. This is where ‘mindful enjoyment’ comes in.   

Mindful enjoyment means that you are able to wholeheartedly enjoy the ‘15%’ which is when you don’t eat the ideal foods for you and you include more occasional foods.

‘Enjoying’ means:

NOT feeling ‘guilty’ because you are doing something indulgent

NOT feeling anxious or stressed whilst OR after you do enjoy something indulgent

Consciously choosing to indulge in something outside of your typical foods because you can and because you feel like it. 

NOT ‘overdoing’ things when you are eating more indulgent foods. I.e. you should always choose consciously, eat these foods slowly so you can savour them and stop before they make you feel ill.

Question…. What’s the point of scoffing a whole tub of ice cream only to finish and realise you’ve eaten it so fast you didn’t enjoy it AND you now feel ill? Wouldn’t you be better off enjoying a small bowl of ice cream slowly, tasting each mouthful, and then stopping before it makes you feel sick? 

If the following things are happening then you are NOT experiencing mindful enjoyment and there may be some stress and anxiety to resolve when it comes to food… 

Eating sugary or junky food because you are really stressed out (i.e. instead of choosing to do this consciously it’s a knee-jerk reaction to stress and overwhelm).

Eating occasional foods extremely fast and in big quantities to the point where you feel quite ill… and may not even remember making the decision to start eating them in the first place!

Feeling extremely guilty for having even the smallest amount of indulgent food.

Feeling guilty after indulging and turning to vigorous exercise, or very strict restrictions in the days that follow…. E.g. starving yourself, or eating nothing but vegetables, or deciding you need to rapidly detox because you were ‘so bad.’ (which you weren’t of course… you were human!).  

Food should not cause stress or anxiety like this. Here are some tips that may help you begin to experience more mindful enjoyment and less guilt. Please be mindful that we are not mental health professionals and you may need to consult with a counselor or psychologist if you continue to feel very overwhelmed when it comes to food.

10 Tips to Help you achieve Mindful Enjoyment

  1. Always remember that what we do occasionally does not matter. It’s what we do most of the time that counts. 
  2. Always remember that food is a celebration. Indulgent food can bring family and friends together and be part of important milestones in life to be enjoyed. Not feared. 
  3. Always remember that you will not undo everything because of 1 or 2 bad meals!
  4. Try to take control of negative thoughts in your head if you are experiencing negative self-talk during indulgences. Turn any of these internal conversations into positive thoughts / positive affirmations instead. Use phrases that work for you. 
  5. If you turn to food when you are stressed, try to actively find other ways to manage stress. This may include listening to meditations, going outside and taking 5 big deep breaths, hugging your dog, journaling, or going for a walk around the block. It may even mean bigger changes like…. Speaking to your boss about your workload OR even checking in and making sure that areas of your life LIKE your work ARE truly fulfilling?
  6. When eating indulgent foods (actually all foods in general), chew slowly, enjoy the texture and the flavours of the food, put your knife and fork down between mouthfuls, and don’t rush. Stop when you have had enough… not when you feel sick or are completely pogged. 
  7. Always remember that occasional foods will always be there. You don’t have to eat the entire pizza in 1 hit…. Thinking you will never eat pizza again! Pizza will be there next time if you feel like it 🙂 
  8. Always drink plenty of water. 
  9. Try not to think of food as ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ 
  10. If you are experiencing cravings often for sugary or salty foods then take a look at your overall diet. Are you enjoying some carbohydrates each day? Some fresh fruits? Are you having a bit of protein with all of your meals, particularly breakfast? Is there plenty of healthy fats in there? Are you hydrated? Are you exercising more than you used to and perhaps need more food? (refer to lesson 7 in this case). If you need more help fine-tuning things then book in to see us. 

We spend an entire lesson going through the concept of Mindful enjoyment in our Back 2 Basics online course… maybe we’re not available to new clients right now, or maybe you’re not ready to see someone face to face? That’s ok… the Back 2 Basics online course will guide you towards a healthy, happy lifestyle over the next few months from the comfort and safety of your own home. 

Our relationship with food is just as important as the food we eat. Work on mindful enjoyment… if you can’t mindfully enjoy treats you will forever be in a cycle of punishment and guilt. Be happy. Be healthy. And embrace mindful enjoyment.

Katie and Nicole are still on maternity leave, but we prepared these resources in advance and we hope you find them helpful. For updates on return dates etc. you can check the maternity updates page here.

While we are waiting for the official date as to when Katie will be back for consults, feel free to call or email us so we can put you up on the waitlist to be contacted when Katie opens up her schedule. Our current list is constantly growing and we would highly suggest you put your name on the list so we can prioritize you. You can call our office number (07) 3063 2710 or you can email Michelle at appointments@thebalancednutritionist.com.au (she is available between 8 am-4 pm Brisbane time). You can definitely leave a voicemail and she will get back to you as soon as she is available.

Have a lovely day folks!- Katie 🙂

Categories GENERAL HEALTH

How to Maintain a Healthy Weight

We spend a lot of time talking about dieting. And reaching a healthy weight. Or reaching health in general. But the fact is, that’s only the start. Once you reach it, you need to maintain it. And unfortunately, many people do not. Hence the dieting industry can be quite a lucrative business as people go from one diet to the next as they lose and then find the weight they once lost.

Here at the Balanced Nutritionist, we don’t want to help you find health and happiness for a short while…. we would like you to leave us knowing you have the skills to hold onto these gifts for life! Want to know the secret to maintain a healthy weight? It is all about habits and mindset. We are so passionate about this topic that we covered it off in a recent podcast on The Nourished Wrap; you can listen in here.
Anyhow, this little blog is a synopsis of the podcast, covering 10 key tips for how to maintain a healthy weight. 
If you are at the start of a health journey then begin with the end in mind and consider these tips from the very beginning. If you’ve reached your goal, then these tips will help you maintain your new-found health and happiness.

10 Key Tips to help you Maintain a Healthy Weight (and maintain health overall)

1. Do not think about this as the ‘end’ of your health journey and certainly do not think about when you can ‘go back to how things were before.‘ Health is a lifelong journey. To be healthy is a serious decision you make every minute of every day. You choose to live in line with the value of health. There is no ‘going back to how things were’ because those habits did not serve you well remember? You need to decide that the changes you have made are going to stay with you (mostly) for life.
2. Perfection is not possible. Consistency is what matters. You may have read tip 1 and thought ‘oh gee I have to be this perfect forever!?” No. Life is about balance. Its what you do MOST of the time. NOT the occasional treats and moments you fall off the wagon. You WILL fall off the wagon. Just like a puppy dog walking along a footpath – there will be exciting smells that drag them into the bushes. For you, there will be birthdays and weddings and family and friends and days or even weeks of stress when TV dinners and takeaways are more frequent. That’s ok. Move on. Forgive yourself. Pick yourself back up. And get back on the wagon when you can.
3. Your health is your responsibility. It is easy to say that you do not have time. Our work is making exercise impossible. Or it’s too cold or too dark or healthy is too expensive. Ultimately…. we are all responsible for making it happen. If it’s important enough… you will find a way. Some of the busiest, most successful people in the world are the healthiest and fittest as well.. and that takes time. We all have the same amount of time in the day. Live according to your values and if health and happiness are one of those – then live in line with that.
4. Self-monitor and self-correct. If you want to remain healthy and happy for life, you need to self-monitor. Check-in with you – are you still feeling good? Well? Are your clothes getting a bit tight? Are you going to weigh yourself once a month to check that you are looking after yourself? Or do you just go by feel? Do you have a loved one, a partner, a friend, an exercise buddy… that you can talk to and unload and admit when you’ve let things slide again, but that you are prepared to get back into things. My husband and I keep each other accountable to little things like our exercise, not going overboard with our love for a glass of wine and eating well…. because its important to both of us. It doesn’t mean we don’t have days off or nights when we may enjoy a couple of glasses… but I know I can tell him if I feel like I am overdoing it and vice versa. And then we can check-in and make sure we course correct. If you don’t know someone you can have this kind of relationship with then maybe seeing your nutritionist or health professional for regular check-in visits ongoing is worth it?
5. Consider changing your environment. If you have a whole bunch of friends who love eating greasy food often, drinking lots and don’t support you to make better decisions most of the time…. you may want to spend a little less time with them. You also want to make sure that the family is on board as well and that everyone else in the household isn’t eating take away in front of the TV every night! Surround yourself with others that have the same healthy values as you. Consider new activities to do with your friends if needed; like day hikes, or coffee in the park in the sunshine instead of less toxic activities. Or consider a gym, walking group, or similar where others are committed to their health and enjoying it as well!
6. It’s not just about the numbers. Health is a feeling. It’s not a number on the scales. Use weight if you like to monitor… but don’t ‘give up’ because that number isn’t the one you want. Consider how good you FEEL. THAT is SO MUCH MORE special than ‘your number.’
7. Get Support if needed ALWAYS. Sort of like point 4 and point 5….. no harm in investing in ongoing support. Like… you may want to have a follow-up appointment with your nutritionist or health professional every 3-6 months to make sure you are on track? Or perhaps you want to see someone more regularly as a trainer every week. Why not invest a little more often? The cost of letting everything go and then starting again from the beginning is far higher! Financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally!
8. Be organised with your time, it’s worth it! Sorry. But healthy is not always convenient. You need to have a food plan. Shop for fresh food fairly often. Spend a bit of time preparing it. Spend time moving. Monitor your work/life balance. Sleep well. etc. BUT... how much time will it cost you IF you do NOT do these things? If you were sick, sluggish, tired, exhausted all the time? A LOT. That is a FACT. So it is worth it. It is soooo worth it!
9. Accept how far you have come and be proud and grateful. Does not matter if you’ve only lost 5kg and you need to lose 60kg. It matters not where you are on the journey… just that you are on the journey! If you just keep focusing on the end and choose only to be proud and happy then… you will be disappointed when you get there. Celebrate all of the little changes you make. It’s not a race. It’s a lifelong journey.
10. Inspire others. Now that you are healthy and happy, you don’t need to ‘lecture’ others but set an example for your children and other little ones in your life, your neighbours, the people at your work who may be feeling a bit rotten. If you can be healthy and happy so can they. And a society full of happy and healthy adults and children would be a really positive, productive, and wonderful one wouldn’t it?

Don’t forget to listen to our podcast on this one too!

Cheers to lifelong health and happiness!
Katie King
Categories GENERAL HEALTH

Updates regarding appointments during the Coronavirus period- as of March 20, 2020

Hi everyone,

We hope that you and your families are safe and well during this unprecedented time that we are all facing right now.
We wanted to assure you that we are here to help support you as best as we can. This is our first mass communication in relation to Coronavirus; essentially because there has been so much information from everywhere at all angles, I (Katie) felt it better to hold off and communicate more personally to each of you as your appointments arose. However, the time has come to put out some assurances and options for you moving forward regarding any upcoming appointments you may have with me or Nicole here at The Balanced Nutritionist:
  • Firstly, Nicole will only be seeing her clients via Skype, Zoom or phone effective from now until the foreseeable future. If you are a client of Nicole’s, but you’d prefer to see someone face to face, I can take over your care for now. Otherwise, Nicole can still care for you just as effectively by any of these methods and you won’t even have to leave the comfort of your lounge room.
  • I will continue to provide consults in clinic OR by Skype / Zoom/phone depending on your preference. There is mass communication already circulating in relation to best practice when it comes to face to face interactions; I won’t add to this as I trust that we have had this drilled into us from all angles.
  • Roughly 40% of our current client base is from other states including Victoria, NSW, WA and even NZ. So please rest assured; we are well set up and experienced at providing our consulting services via Skype / Zoom or phone and assure you that the effectiveness of treatment will not be compromised.
  • Should you wish to move your upcoming appointment to Skype / Zoom or phone, you can either phone ((07) 3063 2710) or email us (hit reply) now OR inform Michelle when she contacts you for confirmation. Confirmations will be done 4 days in advance from this point forward to allow for scheduling changes etc.
  • We are able to post orders for supplements via express postal services should you prefer an online appointment or simply need to restock and don’t want to call into the clinic.
  • On a final note, if you are experiencing financial hardship due to a sudden change in employment or similar, BUT you really require our services please reach out so we can see what we can offer you during these times.
A few general words from a professional, nutritional perspective…..
Over the last few weeks, I’ve witnessed some fantastic ideas relating to health and natural immunity support, from fellow colleagues being communicated via social media etc. Sometimes, this sort of advice gets shut down very quickly and dismissed as quackery. None of these colleagues (or us here for that matter) are laying claim to being able to cure viruses or anything outrageous like that. I believe the message is simply… if you have the capacity to continue working on your overall health, then you should continue to do so during this time. By strengthening our overall wellbeing, we will help our own immune systems, reducing our risk of contracting viruses in the first place (and colds – it is the season for it). Furthermore, if faced with an unfortunate diagnosis, if we are as ‘generally healthy’ as can be, it’s likely we will suffer less severely. So for this reason, we do encourage you to continue eating well, staying well hydrated (water that is) and moving where you can. This will also contribute to better mental health during these periods of increased self-isolation. Overall, we offer the following tips:
  • Local fruit and vegetable stores and even IGAs seem to be really well stocked with beautiful fresh produce as do local butchers. I can personally vouch for Lorenti’s fruit market, Greenslopes IGA, and England and Allsop Butcher Coorparoo. The supermarkets are being wiped clean so support these little guys; less crowded and better quality, fresh food. This is the food that will support you right now; not the pasta and confectionery being wiped out of the bigger stores.
  • Please drink your 2L (minimum) of pure water daily. Please. Even though it is getting cooler, you still need it!
  • Fresh air helps. Even if it’s just from your own backyard. I’ve upped the length of my dog walks to well over an hour a day to enjoy the sunshine, capture some vitamin D and keep moving generally. If gyms are forced to close you can continue with bodyweight strength exercises and even yoga/pilates via computer apps from home.
  • You can generally support your immune system naturally with nutrients like vitamin C, zinc and even some herbal products. Please ask for individual advice at your next consult. We will be suggesting immune support to all our clients at the end of consultations from this point forward; as a professional duty of care. Note that some herbs are contraindicated in certain health conditions and immune support for pregnancy is particularly specialized so do ask. No, these products won’t cure Coronavirus – but they could reduce your susceptibility to catching things in the first place.
Finally, I buy toilet paper in bulk yearly from Who Gives a Crap, an awesome organization if you don’t know them – check them out! Anyhow, I have about 60 rolls in the clinic so should you find yourself low on supplies, just ask and I’ll give you a roll or 2:).
That’s all we have for now folks. Things are changing rapidly though, therefore some of this information may change by the time you read this, but we shall do our best to keep you informed.
Take care of yourself and others.
Katie
Categories GENERAL HEALTH

Habits for Health and Happiness

Its approaching ‘that time of the year’ where we are inclined to sit down, reflect and set some ginormous goals to achieve in the first 2 weeks of January 2020.

Well, perhaps it’s not exactly like that, but by nature we do tend to consider that come January 1 we will morph into a completely different human capable of totally different things. And this is not all bad… but it’s also not entirely realistic.

The very term ‘new years resolution’ sadly reeks of failure and when it comes to setting ‘health’ resolutions its no different. A lot of gyms receive a new influx of regular ‘donors’ come January, don’t they?

Look, we don’t want to discourage anyone from wanting to be a kinder, more healthy, happier human year on year, BUT let’s do it in a way that will set you up for success and help you achieve your goals for 2020 day by day. And then above all else, maintain those ‘goals’ once attained.

So instead of worrying about another year and another new years resolution, why not sit down and think about some habits you could change come the new year to better your health and happiness. We love the definition of healthy habits put forward by Healthline. A healthy habit is any behavior that benefits your physical, mental, and emotional health. In turn, it improves your overall well-being and makes you feel good.

How awesome is that?

Perhaps the BEST thing about a healthy habit is the very fact that it has evolved into… a habit. A habit is something you do regularly, often without even thinking about it, that is really difficult to give up. So once a habit is created… it’s really hard to break!

How great would it be if we all ended up with a whole heap of new, healthy habits by the end of 2020?

Breaking habits is certainly hard so of course creating them can be a challenge and require a change of mindset. That’s why we created a little eBook to help you, step by step, to create some of your own healthy habits for next year. Download your healthy habits eBook to get prepared now.

Healthy Habits eBook

 

This is a self directed challenge. And what’s even groovier is that at the end of the month, you could simply print off a new copy and consider some different habits to build into your life for February. Think about where you might be at the end of the year? While you’re at it, we recommend you read a copy of Gretchen Rubin’s the Happiness Project because, in some ways, this little challenge was inspired by that book.

And if you do jump on board our little happiness challenge, make sure you give us a few shoutouts on social media ok? Use the hashtag #thebalancednutritionisthealthyhabits and tag us @thebalancednutritionist too.

And above all, remember, its all about the 85/15 rule. I.e. work on your habits and try to follow them 85% of the time. There are going to be times when the whole wagon falls apart…. not just the wheels! And that’s ok. Put it back together and get back into routine. This is called balance.

So, this is our completely non faddish, sustainable twist on ‘new years resolutions’ instead of the empty promises that are being shouted out to you from every other angle folks.

Who would love if being healthy becomes a habit… Not a chore?

Merry December folks and wishing you a ‘healthy habit filled’ January!

Categories Health, Uncategorized

Breaking news: research confirms ‘processed food’ is bad for us

So. Breaking News…. “ULTRA PROCESSED FOODS CAUSE OVEREATING AND WEIGHT GAIN

Ok. In all seriousness, our initial response was ‘seriously, did we really need a study to prove this but….’

The really interesting thing about the research here was that the subjects receiving the ultra processed foods versus those receiving the minimally processed foods, received the exact SAME number of calories and macronutrients… initially.

Participants were instructed to consume until they were satisfied and what the research found was that those receiving minimally processed foods simply ate less. Those receiving the ultra processed foods ate more – carbohydrates and fat in particular. The ultra processed group gained weight, whilst those receiving minimally processed foods lost it.

Take home points:

-processed food is completely unsatisfying for the body. Its nutrient devoid; you will go looking for more because the body is simply not getting what it needs. We discuss this with clients. All. The. Time. You have to get off the bandwagon of addictive snacks, sauces, sugary cereals and drinks.

-processed food completely highjacks the appetite. You will have not appetite control on a diet of ultraprocessed foods. You will not stop. You know… the pringles saying? Its the truth!

-eat whole foods… good thing happen.

-Finally, in the same week, we have also heard that Weight Watchers have released a new app for kids in the US for kids to track their food intake, weight ad physical activity. Oh no. No no no. From someone who also deals with adolescents with eating conditions this is NOT good news.

Doesn’t this research prove that resources would be better directed at removing said processed food from kids’ diets because that is a major underlying cause of the childhood obesity crisis. Instead of allowing another generation of humans with eating disorders to evolve?

We are PASSIONATE about simply moving people to a wholefoods program here at The Balanced Nutritionist because even THAT can see some magic happen.

If you are struggling with too much ‘packet’ convenience food creeping in to your diet, feeling sluggish, heavy and yuck as a result book online here because our Back to Basics wholefoods program is perfect for you.

Anyhow, what we would like to see from here in the research world:

-we would have loved to see the result if both groups had to consume exactly the same amount of calories but in 2 different forms still – ultra processed and minimally processed. This would prove the point that its beyond calories and macros. Processed food interferes with the body on a cellular level. It results in vastly different hormonal and neurotransmitter reactions and that is how the damage is done…. providing excess energy is only half the problem.

These principles are exactly why our current wholefoods program is working well – the Back to Basics protocol I mentioned above.

Its a ‘no counting,’ ‘eat to your own appetite’ ‘wholefoods’ based 4 – 8 week program which just takes it back to basics, supporting you with the structure and accountability to do so.

Guess what happens as a result? You gain energy, clarity, happiness, health and released unwanted weight. Without math. Without stress. Without packets. Genius.

Categories GENERAL HEALTH

Welcome Nicole

Hello, I’m Nicole. I’m a Clinical Nutritionist, certified Metabolic Balance® Coach, and lover of avocado, coffee, chocolate and the beach and I started here at the Balanced Nutritionist in early July 2019.

My food philosophy is simple: eating nutritious, whole, real foods will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to be healthy and vibrant.

I also believe that healthy eating is not about deprivation. It’s important to give ourselves permission to indulge in the foods we love, without guilt, because good nutrition and good health is also about having a healthy relationship with food.

My Story

I’ve had tummy troubles for as long as I can remember. My gut has always been unpredictable and a bit ‘sluggish’. As a child, I remember going days without, you know, going and taking a book to the toilet (because I’d be sitting there for a while!). As I got older my symptoms got worse – bloating almost every day, abdominal pain (which sometimes felt like I was being stabbed in the stomach), and difficulty going to the toilet alternating with diarrhoea.

My digestive issues were compounded by overseas travel and several bouts of ‘Bali Belly’ (in Bali, as well as Africa, Turkey, Bosnia and Fiji), taking the OCP (oral contraceptive pill) for 10 years (which I now know can impact on your gut microbiome and increase your risk of gastrointestinal conditions, such as IBS and IBD), poor dietary choices and a stressful job.

In my mid-twenties, desperate to get to the bottom (excuse the pun) of my digestive issues, I visited numerous doctors and specialists, only to be told that I “probably” had IBS.

No one tested me for food intolerances, talked to me about how stress can affect our digestion, considered that the pill may be contributing to my digestive woes or recommended that I make dietary changes. That was until I went to see a Natural Health Practitioner for a different health concern. She suggested that I make some dietary changes and I felt better, almost immediately!

While that wasn’t the end of my journey (it took years of self-discovery to restore my digestive balance), it was the start of my journey to becoming a Nutritionist.

Fast forward to today, and my tummy is much happier – I seldom experience stomach aches or bloating (unless I choose to eat something that I know won’t agree with me) and I go to the toilet easily, every day. My overall health has also greatly improved – my weight has stabilised without me even trying (or worrying about how many calories I’m consuming), I now have more energy, consistently throughout the day and, most importantly, I feel really good both physically and emotionally. This lead me to want to help other people to feel better too!

Helping clients to optimise their health, sort out their digestive issues, improve their skin and release unwanted weight is a real passion of mine. And, thanks to my own health journey, I have a genuine appreciation of the struggles that many of you are living with day in, day out.

Before life as a Nutritionist, I worked in a demanding corporate job, so I know that it can be difficult to prioritise your health and eat ‘right’ when you lead a busy lifestyle, juggling work and family commitments. My goal is to provide you with individualised nutrition strategies that fit you, your lifestyle and your health goals.

A few more things about me

I live with my husband, Greg and fur-child, Billy the Westie.

I was born in Sydney, but my family moved to Brisbane when I was 2. I have two younger sisters and four beautiful nieces, a handsome nephew, and another niece or nephew on the way.

I am not ashamed to admit that I am slightly obsessed with my dog (Billy). He’s treated like a human in our house, my personal Instagram account is mostly photos of him and I usually greet him before my husband when I get home. I’ve always loved animals and once wanted to become a vet when I grew up.

I am a multi-tasker. I am usually doing multiple things at once and always have numerous tabs open on every device. 

I look forward to going to the farmer’s markets on a Sunday morning to pick up fresh produce for the week ahead.

I love pouring through home magazines and buying homewares.

My go-to outfit is jeans and a blue and white striped top (I have at least 10 in my wardrobe).

I am a self-confessed neat-freak and actual enjoy organising things, especially my pantry. 

I start every day with a cup of tea.

Categories GENERAL HEALTH

A Day at Cobram Estate Olive Oil

Wow, what a day. If you follow me over on Instagram and Facebook, you would know that yesterday I was privileged enough to be flown in a private plane with 8 other Brisbane health professionals, to the Cobram Estate olive oil farm in Cobram, Victoria.

 

First. Let me tell you about the plane. It was tiny. Plush… but tiny. The pilot, Neil, who I will be grateful to forever for getting us down and back safely, informed us that the each of the (8) seats was worth almost $50,000. So, I’d like to call it a mini version of Air Force One. But real, real mini. And to make matters slightly more terrifying, as we did our last toilet stop before boarding on the private airstrip at Archerfield, the weather report said…. ‘severe warnings for Victoria. Strong, gustily winds forecasted.’

Gulp. Ok. So, I did hold the hand of a stranger as we descended. And I did count forwards and backwards from 10 as we sunk through the very bumpy clouds on the way down. But 3 and a half hours later… with both feet shakily on the red dirt runway, the adventure began.

I love paddock to plate experiences. I love knowing where my food has come from. You tell me it’s made with care, love, the best quality ingredients, integrity, passion… that is something money cannot buy. And I will support it. And once you read this, you like me, will never buy another brand of olive oil outside of the Cobram Estate label, ever again.

So let me tell you a little about what we learnt. Our day was mostly led by the incredibly kind hearted, friendly and passionate man behind the brand, Rob McGavin. It turns out that Rob and his uni mate Paul planted the first olive tree around 20 years ago on what is now Cobram Estate, with the view to give olive oil making a crack. So… it started with 2 guys and a tree. And they’ve certainly made history since then.

Here are some of the astounding things we learnt about Cobram Estate the brand:

  • The company has about 2.5 million olive trees and what they do to one they do to all of them. All of their trees receive the same love, attention, care and consideration
  • The estate at Cobram stretches for about 21km one way… hello, what a great venue for a marathon (#justsaying…. #planting the seed). There is a second estate near Bort, also Victoria.
  • They grow about 35 varieties of olive trees and each tree produces about 45kg of fruit per year of which approximately 20% becomes olive oil.
  • The absolute maximum time between picking and pressing is 4 hours. And we witnessed the procedures that guarantee this. No stale, rancid olive oil in a Cobram Estate product. Only the freshest and highest in antioxidants, that I can say with conviction.
  • An olive used for olive oil never touches the ground…. It is picked fresh from the tree and then transported to the plant. I’ll put some videos and photos in my stories over coming weeks featuring some of the amazing technology that enables this.

As far as their corporate social responsibility….

  • Cobram Estate are leaders in research. They have produced 17 peer reviewed research studies about olives and olive oil. This is an incredible contribution to the scientific community.
  • About 40% of the land they own is essentially left in its natural state, it’s not even ploughed.
  • Cobram Estate have dedicated a great deal of thought and research into reducing the waste products from their manufacturing efforts. These efforts include using as much from the tree as possible. They are now producing an incredibly high quality olive leaf tea and olive leaf extract; you may find this in your supermarket under the label ‘Wellgrove.’ It took 5 years to develop and they have a TGA approved laboratory. They also recycle some of the ‘seed’ from the olives to power their boilers. They are stockpiling the rest of the seed waste, for future use and thinking of innovative ways this could be recycled. We saw piles of seed on our travels around the estate, awaiting its final destiny.
  • They remove the squalene from some of their reject olives which is highly beneficial for skin, This is sold back to cosmetic companies. The only 2 places squalene is found in commercial doses is in olives and in shark’s livers… so by doing this, the lives of more sharks are spared.

The manufacturing process was incredible to witness….

  • Olives are picked and then received for pressing within 4 hours.
  • They are washed first… they look beautiful in action when this happens (see my stories archive over coming weeks).
  • Then the entire olive, seed and all undergoes some brutal bashing with a mallet and its turned into this kind of tapenade. It smells incredible. It would be nice to dip a cracker in this. This process goes on for about 30 minutes.
  • It then undergoes centrifugal force to separate the oil from the rest of the fruit. We got to taste it basically straight after this process!
  • There is no filtering process once its separated because further processing would only destroy more of the health benefits. Instead, the oil is left to settle for about 3 weeks and some of the cloudy bits (for want of a better term) are drained away and what is left is bottled. How pure!

A few fascinating facts about olives you may not have known….

  • They are all green to begin with. The black ones have just been picked later and they are riper.
  • Generally, the more robust the olive oil is in flavour, the more antioxidants it has.
  • Olive oil is completely safe, even beneficial to heat and use in cooking. See the Olive Wellness Institute for the latest research around this.
  • Olives have amazing survival tactics…. The olive tree can suck lots of moisture from its fruit if necessary. Then, once water is no longer scarce, the fruit can regain its hydration really quickly. I found this irrigation system quite fascinating.
  • You should endeavour to use your olive oil within 4 to 6 weeks of opening so that the antioxidant content has not declined greatly.

The best thing about the day…

  • The food… of course. The food was kind of amazing. We enjoyed this incredible lunch thanks to Chef Kevin O’Connor who prepared us homemade Chapa bread with spelt flour for dipping with the First Harvest Olive oil, a beautiful side dish of beetroot and caviar, plus carrots and pesto and finally an amazing medley of mushrooms and slow cooked meats on a bed of ancient grains along with a turmeric slow baked eggplant. Much of the food was baked slowly over this incredible outside stove and olive oil alongside fresh herbs made the dishes sing. We finished off with dark chocolate and olive oil bark and olive oil carrot cake. It was served with local wines. It was amazing. Please close your mouth I see you drooling.

Something I’ve really come to realise in the last year or so is that ‘big’ and ‘successful’ doesn’t mean that the value system is watered down. I used to be quite adamant on supporting small, local businesses and yes I certainly am still this way inclined. But experiences like this remind us that just because a company is really successful, doesn’t mean that they have necessary lost sight of their value system. I can relate to this myself. I’ve built my business to a level I didn’t think possible and shortly I’ll have 2 staff working alongside me. And who knows where it could from there. But have my values been watered down? No. If anything, they are stronger than ever because I need those values to ripple further and further. Likewise, Cobram Estate’s values are as visible and obvious as ever. And their business is massive! I honestly cannot see myself supporting another olive oil brand ever, now that I know the integrity behind each and every bottle they produce. It’s also really important to remember that you and I as consumers do have a lot of power and influence when it comes to how we spend our money. Sure, individually it may not seem much. But collectively we can make a real difference. Put your money where your mouth is and spend your dollars supporting businesses that have values that align with yours. Each time you go to the supermarket or even a café, is an opportunity to demand transparency, quality and the best ingredients in your food. Know where your food comes from. This is a topic we spend so much time talking about over on the podcast too.

Anyhow. I am writing this on the flight home, whilst the knowledge and experience is still fresh. This leg of the journey is much less terrifying thanks to a red or two over lunch…. And it’s time for a nap!

Thanks to Rob, Abby, Chef, Tris, Jacqui and the team for such a memorable experience.

Oh and a final comment… ‘lite’ olive oil…. well, when have I ever suggested you buy ‘lite’ anything? We don’t need to dwell on the negatives… but let’s just say you definitely do not want that stuff in your life!

*All attempts have been made to ensure any facts made in this article are indeed as correct as possible, but there may be minor errors in a few of the details as it gets difficult to take notes after one has enjoyed a long lunch and a couple of glasses of red wine. I’d safely say this blog is 98% accurate, but some names / figures may be ever so slightly wrong. Thank you for your understanding.

Categories GENERAL HEALTH

THE METABOLIC BALANCE® RECIPE BOOK

There has been a lot of interest and support in my ‘little’ project to create a Metabolic Balance®  recipe book (the constant mess in my kitchen suggests this project ain’t that little…). All the support has been lovely, but I thought I’d clear up some of the confusion around what to expect. While many of the recipes may be tasty and easy for those of you simply looking for ‘healthy’ wholefood meals, the Metabolic Balance®   program is extremely specific. Here are some of the  hurdles that I have to account for in creating suitable meals and a taste of what to expect from the book….

1, Metabolic Balance®   is strictly food.  I mean… literally, food only. No sauces, no packets, nothing processed, not a drop of soy sauce here or a touch of mustard there. So flavor must come from basic spices, dried and fresh herbs, salt, pepper, garlic, ginger and very clean broths only. On the upside, this is one of the reasons I do love Metabolic Balance®  – it teaches people to cook with real, basic ingredients. And one of the reasons why it works too – far too much of what we put in our mouths these days is not actually ‘food.’ Its chemicals – made in a lab. Not grown in a field. These fake foods are wreaking havoc with our hormones, our gut, our immune system, our metabolism, our health and as a result our LIVES.

2. It is completely individual. This is not a lie. There’s not say, 100 templates that exist and every person is ‘matched’ to one of them. No two plans are the same. Each individual receives a list of recommended proteins, fruits, vegetables and starches and from this list they create their meals. Each individual is also designated ‘quantities’ of each food group to consume. In general, the more complicated the case (i.e. someone with multiple medical conditions and / or ‘poor’ blood test results’) the more limited the food plan. While someone with less complicated pathology is likely to get a less restricted plan. So when writing a recipe book, this makes things rather hard… would you not agree? In putting the book together, I am trying to provide recipes based on all possible proteins that may exist on a plan and then build in a couple of different options  as accompaniments based around different vegetable combinations. I am also including substitutions wherever I can so that the recipes can be ‘adapted’ to suit most people’s plans. Further to this, each week I am pulling out a ‘different’ plan to base my culinary creations on for that week. My own personal Metabolic Balance®  plan had lots of options so if I wrote all the recipes based on that, the book wouldn’t be a very helpful resource to those with restricted options*.

3, Metabolic Balance®   is not a ‘dairy free’ ‘gluten free’ ‘soy free’ ‘egg free’ ‘grain free’ ‘fat free’ vegan program. See point 2 above. Some people… get milk on their list! Some people will be able to eat gluten on their plan! Some will have more vegetarian options, others will feature beef, some won’t have red meat. You get the point. I hope if you have been following me for a while you have ‘gotten the gyst’ that I am not a namer and shamer of food groups that are ‘bad.’ Personally, I take creamy cows milk in my coffee, I eat gluten everyday and sometimes I’ll take chickpeas over a steak but other days it just doesn’t cut it. I LOVE this point about Metabolic Balance®. Again, its about the individual. Not about the latest craze.  Further to this point, the blood tests on Metabolic Balance®  do NOT test for allergies, however these can be ascertained separately and then excluded from a plan. Many people I see in clinic are convinced they may have certain ‘intolerances.’ Intolerance testing is expensive and not always helpful and in my experience, signs of ‘intolerances’ tend to sort themselves out on a Metabolic Balance®  program.

4. Although not entirely relevant to the recipe book discussion, Metabolic Balance®   is a highly supported program. Anyone on a Metabolic Balance®  plan must be guided by a degree qualified Nutritionist consistently through the program. Its not a ‘quick fix’ program. Many of the people who embark on a Metabolic Balance®  may have had health issues for many years. Its a restoration process – back to good health. Sometimes it concerns me that people who have complex pathology will try short term fad diets or shake programs or be guided on the topic of their health and nutrition by someone with absolutely no professional qualifications. Having a serious medical condition and / or being overweight does require professional support. Its a physical, mental and emotional journey back from this state. And yet, we still search for the magic pill….

Enough now. I hope to have the first edition of the book out for current Metabolic Balance clients in about 5-6 weeks time. However, it will be at least 3 months before I properly publish and release it. If you are doing a Metabolic Balance® program then I hope it is an invaluable resource. If you are thinking of doing a Metabolic Balance®  program than it will be a great starting point to ‘feel’ the program. If you simply want to check out some really quick, clean, wholefood meal ideas then it may also be a bit of fun for you.

For more on Metabolic Balance check out this page here. Thanks for reading and keep up to date on the progress of the book via Facebook and Instagram.

*The more restricted plans are necessary for those with complex pathology that have a great deal of healing in front of them to restore health. Remember that Metabolic Balance®  is  designed by Medical Doctors and Nutritional Scientists, and accounts for complex conditions and medications – restricted plans are ‘checked off’ by a team and plans are ‘expanded’ on as a person’s health improves. Healing through food at its best.

Categories GENERAL HEALTH

CONFESSIONS OF A NUTRITIONIST….

I’m a garbage guts. For real. I mean, I literally eat, basically everything.

Ok, so that might be a slight exaggeration.  What I really mean is that I eat from every food group and I eat lots of things that people may think would be ‘off my list.’ I have bread most days – so its dense, dark, usually sourdough but I still eat it most days. Every SINGLE day without fail I start off my morning (usually after exercise) with a full fat milk cappuccino, mug size in a cafe. Considering we now live 200m from one of Brisbane’s best cafes, keeping this to 1 a day is an ongoing battle ;). I’ve also never followed a gluten free diet, and 2 or 3 nights a week you can count on me sitting down with my other half and having a red wine with dinner. It would be rare for a week to go past where I don’t consume a glass of sparkling wine and I just can’t help this. It’s genetic. It’s called the ‘champagne gene’ and it’s very active in my family.

I honestly love nothing more than eating out. Nothing is off the list – we love Indian, Thai, all kinds of Asian cuisine, Japanese, Seafood, the occasional good old fish and chips… you get the gist. It still surprises me when I am out for a meal with people I don’t know well and they say ‘oh you’re a nutritionist?’ They then look down at their plate like I’m going to judge them. Or worst, they sit there waiting for me to analyse the menu and pick  the least exciting, lowest calorie option out of them all. Hmmm, you can’t rely on me for this I’m afraid.

But seriously, interspersed with the ‘fuzzy bits’ is a lot of goodness. Cheap take-away just doesn’t do it for me, my entire pantry and fridge is all wholesome, fresh ingredients and I’d prepare 18 out of 21 meals a week myself. These are generally packed full of vegetables and herbs, really good quality protein and balanced with slow release, tasty carbs. My cooking style is fresh and fast, but tasty (well I like to think so anyway, Carl may not agree….).

So I’m telling you all of this because the culture around exclusion is starting to drive me a little loopy. I completely respect and acknowledge that in order to ‘reach a health goal’ or manage a condition, this degree of relaxation may not be possible. I also agree that many people have genuine intolerances (see our recent podcaston this topic) or may need to exclude dairy or gluten in particular because they react adversely. But, it’s still my belief and something I say to my clients that a healthy gut should be able to tolerate a wide variety of food from a wide variety of food groups without too many issues. Please don’t think that healthy and exclusion are the same thing or that they must go together.  Also remember that nutrition can be very individual and will vary from person to person. Just because your friend tells you, you shouldn’t be eating cheese (for example) doesn’t mean they are right. Again, what’s right for one person may not be right for you.

Thankfully, we are moving towards a more wholefoods focus and away from a processed food society. Seriously, simply basing your nutrition around mostly minimally processed foods would solve many people’s problems! Rather than always looking for that one, single evil that’s causing all of your ailments look at the whole overall picture. Heaps of people I see have convinced themselves that ‘potato’ must be the reason they can’t lose weight or that ‘the gluten in the Big Mac’ made them feel sick…. step back, look at the entire picture. Be in control of your nutrition and your health but also allow yourself to meat each meal with joy. The psychology of food and how we sit down to a meal is equally as important as what’s on the plate itself. Always come from a place of nourishment and peace, as opposed to abuse and guilt. Those 1 or 2 meals I eat a week that aren’t perfect, I really enjoy them. I’ve worked hard on not beating myself up about it and I’d love for everyone to experience this. Eating is such a joyous ritual, a beautiful opportunity to bring people together and not to mention a blessing to have access to more than we need. The ‘stress’ we are creating around food is perhaps causing just as much harm as making poor food choices.

If nothing else, I hope this blog post served to show you that no one is perfect. The instagram world of #glutenfree, #soyfree, #nutfree, #fatfree, #dairyfree, #wheatfree, #meatfree, #sugarfree, #flavourfree #fatfree ‘perfection’ (what are you eating, air???)  is in my view far as far from perfect as possible. Think of me next time you allow yourself a little indulgence and I hope you can enjoy it, be kind to yourself and move on to the next moment in time without delay.

Happy Friday :).

P.S. Pictured is the Ruben sandwich I ate from The Coffee Nook for lunch at the top of our new hood in Secam Street. Rachel and Michael here have been banging on about these for weeks and they are so right…. ammmmaaazzzziiinnnggg! A corned meat toastie on beautiful rye bread with strong cheeses and pickles…. are you salivating yet? It was absolutely divine!