Category Archives: Health

A green winter warmer

I know I am not alone on this but as soon as the cold weather is here I just want to make soup.

I think I like the soup making often more than the soup eating even!

My only slur against soup (except for when you make pumpkin soup, and you have to cut up a whole pumpkin and your knife keeps getting stuck and you break out in a sweat – I really find that annoying) is that after eating it I can easily be hungry again in an hour, especially since now there isĀ  no bread consumed along with it.

So was intrigued by my new favouritee blogger, Scandi Foodie’s Creamy Green Soup. It uses oats to thicken it – and they defnitely fill me up! And also the creamy part was not caused by cream, but milk and the oats melting together – so much better for me and my bum.

The recipe calls for green beans, zucchini and broccoli – such an easy way to consume so much green goodness in one sitting.

Beans are great for Vit C and K, folate, potassium and also source of catenoids, which is a form of Vit A that acts as an antioxident. The bulk of the zucchini‘s nutrition is in its dark green skin, the rest of it is largely water so has practically no calories. The Vit A in zucchini is good for immune development and growth. And we all know broccoli The Super Food! High in Vit C and dietary fibre and lots of lovely cancer fighting properties — cannot get enough broccoli!

It was super easy and to be honest I wasn’t sure how adding the oats would work but it just slowly bubbled away and thickened up…

It looks much more appealing once blended!

It was very thick. Next time I will add more milk or water.

This recipe I think would work well with onion or lemon added. I did serve with some grated parmesan which was yummy.

Now I am a dope because I forgot to photograph the finished product so I am borrowing Scandi Foodie’s photo which was my initial inspiration after all!

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A spoonful of sugar goes a long, long way….

Todays post is a continuation of my fascination and discovery about the power of food to address health and illness. And how it seems to be to be so easy for doctors to prescribe medication without even bothering to raise the question of diet in many instances. I am not a doctor or have any official training, my opinion here is formed from personal experience and research from other experts in their field. I don’ think I’m advocating no drugs and medication but simply not to view them as the first or only treatment. If we can eat naturally occuring food that our bodies over hundreds of years of evolution have been developed for surely we should consult there before introducing newer developed properties if we can.

My passion around this subject has been sparked recently in relation to the health of a loved one. And my friend, and budding naturopath, Shannon shed some initial light on how diet can help or even trigger illness in some cases.

I did some research about migranes…. someone close to me has been prescribed something to prevent the onset of migranes as the diagnosis suggested it could be aggravating other health issues. Here is what I found and what I will be sharing with this person about how diet could be playing a major role causing those migranes:

Deficency in magnesium.

This site spoke at length about how it can be quite difficult to get enough magnesium in your diet. And how processed foods and other badies in our “modern” diet can actually deplete the magensium we do manage to consume. High protein diets can also pose a challenge ensuring an adequate magnesium intake. And something I found ironic — taking calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis etc without the proper counter balance of the ol mag mineral can cause seperate health issues, doh!

Magnesiums’ role in relation to migranes is that it helps relax muscles and artieries in your body and your brain.

Food allergies or sensitivities.

These apparently are at the core of triggers of migranes. It could look quite daunting as there is 25+ commonly eaten foods which are linked with possible causes for migranes. Outside the more commonly throught of processed meats, aged cheeses, wine, beer and caffine.

The ‘triptans’ in chocolate, wine or cheese or artificial sweeteners like aspartame, nitrates or processed foods are very common for causing headaches and migranes.

Livestrong site had a comprehensive, easy to read list of these.

Given the range of foods that are there a good first approach could be avoiding the top billing bad guys — eliminate caffeine, sugar, chocolate and processed meats for a few weeks and see if there is a change. And then work through the list… there are some surprising ones in there like tomatoes, corn and apples.

Other things that can cause migranes arer dehydration, high blood pressure, vitamin deficiencies, gastrointestinal problems, musculoskeletal problems.

Given how common some of those foods are you can imagine how easy it could be to be eating away on an apple thinking you are being healthy and you are actually going to give yourself a horrible headache! Although saying that, how simple could the solution be to just give up apples!

Thinking about my brain

I think about my brain all-the-time.

There is a family history of Alzheimer’s and dementia and I think that is what sparked my interest in how to keep my brain young and spongey!

And the first book I read on the subject was amazing! “The Brain that changes itself” by Norman Doidge. The overall theme that I took away from the book is that your brain is capable of constant change, and if you treat you brain in the right way it can be change which keeps your brain strong and sharp for a long time. Now this was a few years ago but I don’t remember the book specifically referencing diet as one of the contributors but it certainy mentioned exercise and making sure that throughout your life you learn new skills, like a sport or language or musical instrument.

Doing new things does not always come naturally to us humans who generally seek out comfort zones in life. I can certainly count myself in that group. I started tennis lessons last year. Whilst I had played a bit as a child with my Dad I have never had a lesson or played a game. Taking lessons in something you are not good at as an adult it quite disconcerting! But I do love tennis now, I still just use it as a nice social time to have with my girlfriends.

Came across this article today on the New York Times: Science Facebook page: How Exercise Could Lead to a Better Brain.

Who excercises like this though!?

This article basically is saying to us that excercise makes us smarter. Going for a swim or walk can prevent our brains from shrinking which they naturally start doing from our late twenties (OMG!!!) and it can also improve cognitive function. Excercise improves our brain muscle and makes it stronger.

Whilst I was on this train of thought I looked at what foods are supposed to be good for our memory and general brain health. The consensus from multiple sites seems to be:

  • avocadoes
  • salmon
  • blueberries
  • wholegrains
  • chia seeds
  • some caffiene as well (which I am taking as a nod to continue to enjoy my morning latte)

Don’t think I will ever get tired of this subject! I kinda love also that whilst our brains are so vital they are still largely a mystery to science but then such relatively simple things have a big impact our brain health.

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Spoils from the internet

I am loving spending time online reading healthy blogs, recipes and Pinterest….. oh Pinterest, how many hours get absorbed into a quick “glance” at Pinterest!

There is just so much great content out there. So much education to be had!

I came across this one today: 17 Healthy Grains You’ve Never Heard Of

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I decided I would like to add more grains back into my diet. I keep reading how good wholegrains are for your brain function – and I need all the help I can get there! I haven’t consulted the all-powerful Fiona The Naturopath yet but in the meantime I am learing about alternatives to white flour – other than wholegrain flour.

I am experimenting with chia seed at the moment. Purchased a packet Chia Co chia seeds from the South Melbourne Markets Organic store and I am absolutely bowled over by what I read — chia seeds have more fibre and omega 3 than any other food! The reason why it is not included in the modern diet normally as it requires very specific growing conditions.

I put chia in the ‘crumbing’ on chicken the other night, I also put it in a smoothie but be aware it is super super absorbent so turned my smoothie into a pudding like consistency. So good to note – use chia as a natural thickening agent!

After reading the article above I thought I might try millet and spelt flours. They both have reasonable levels of protein and are good at keeping your bodies glucose levels consistent.

I find it fascinating really with these base ingredients that, with a little bit of knowledge, you can add so much extra nutrition to every individual meal you eat.

I signed up to receive a weekly email from these guys today – Greatist. They are all about health, fitness and happiness – can never have too much of that!

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