12 June 2014
“Metabolism: the process by which your body converts calories from food into energy”.
Basically, metabolism is the engine that processes the food we consume so we have energy to function, a big piece of this engine is digestion.
But not everyone is equipped with the same engine, some lucky people have the Ferrari of metabolisms, but some others, like me, struggle with having a slow metabolism. I used to get bloated, my stomach felt uncomfortable, and sometimes it even affected my mood because I didn’t feel well, it was not fun!
A variety of different things determine your metabolic speed, some being genetics, age and gender. And although you can’t control your genetics, age and gender, here are 7 things you can control to help improve your metabolism:
Eat: Your body and metabolism operate on food. If you fast, or don’t give your body the energy it needs to function, your metabolism slows down to conserve energy so your body doesn’t crash. The important thing is to eat smart, be conscious about portions and what you are eating.
Build muscle: Don’t let those machines at the gym intimidate you, they’re good for building lean muscles and will help you ramp up your metabolism. Ask a trainer to help you set a routine for the goals you want to achieve. It’s hard at the beginning, but you will get stronger and you’ll feel amazing.
Detox: A seasonal Flat Tummy Tea detox is really important to clear out toxins from your system and beat the bloating. If your organs that process fats and toxins in your body are working the way they should, your metabolism will be up to speed and your overall health with also improve.
Pack your meals with protein: Eating protein gives your body a bigger metabolic boost than eating carbohydrates or fats. Plus, it will maintain those lean muscles you’ll be building from that iron pumping at the gym! Make sure you incorporate lean protein into almost every meal.
Drink, drink and drink: Fluids that is! Like water and our tea to keep hydrated, because a dehydrated body will slow its metabolism and increase hunger. Flat Tummy Tea is a great and yummy option! Your stomach will work much better to reduce the uncomfortable bloating.
Snack Smart: When you eat large meals with many hours in between, your metabolism slows down. Having a small meal or snack every 3 to 4 hours keeps your metabolism cranking, so you burn more calories over the course of the day. Check out my recipe for a healthy post workout snack from our last blog - here!
Spice up your life: Spicy foods have natural chemicals that can kick your metabolism up a gear. Cooking with chilli peppers or adding hot sauce to your food can boost your metabolic rate, and make that chicken breast taste more exotic and fun!
So there they are, give these tips a try, I did and I definitely saw a difference. Leave us a review, we’d love to hear how you go!
27 May 2014
Healthy Banana-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies
We are always searching for ways on how to get a flat tummy. A good workout routine, balanced diet and a monthly detox are key, but you also need to consider what you eat after working out. It should be something that provides energy, protein and a good source of fibre to keep your metabolism running and help you feel full. You don’t want to through away all that hard work by eating the wrong thing.
These banana-oat chocolate chip cookies are a great alternative to protein bars and other processed snacks that are packed with sugars and starchy ingredients - not a good choice if you’re trying to reduce bloating.
These cookies taste amazing and it feels more like you are having a treat than a healthy snack! You would never guess there is no sugar, flour or butter added, and only 40 to 50 calories per cookie.
- 2-3 large old bananas
- 2 cups raw old fashioned oats
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup 60% cacao chocolate chips (you can get creative and use sliced raw almonds, cranberries or raisins)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees (180 Celsius). In a bowl smash bananas. Mix in salt and cinnamon. Stir until combined. Add in oats and chocolate chips and stir until combined.
- Place dough onto a greased tray (coconut oil is a great option) by the spoonful. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
07 April 2014
by Alexandra Dunek from the1stclasslifestyle.com
Spring has officially sprung (even though there is snow where I am) and it’s time to clean out not only our closets, but our bodies as well. Detoxing is a popular and growing trend, especially amongst females. We ladies are all are fascinated by the idea of “starting fresh” and cleansing our bodies to get rid of those past several weeks of late night munchies and bottle popping.
There are a several ways to detox. Some are short-term such as a liquid fast where juicing has become the new craze, or you can simply ingest fruits and vegetables for seven days. Others are long-term which include eliminating alcohol, sugar and switching to organic, unprocessed and superfoods.
As for me, I am a huge tea fan. Lately I’ve noticed tea detoxes taking over the pages of Instagram and I had to jump on the bandwagon. Flat Tummy Tea is my personal favorite and is raking in customers day after day.
Flat Tummy Tea is an Australian based company that created a special line of blended herbs to give you a cleanse worth trying and actually sticking to! The product comes with “Everyday Flat Tummy” a packet of 12 blended herbs and “Afresh Flat Tummy” that consists of 9 blended herbs. Both used together for a two or four week period, you will eliminate water weight, bloating, toxins and it will also help you with constipation and thoseannoying cramps. Plus the teas offer other great benefits such as more energy and a better night’s sleep. What is there to say no to?
The Flat Tummy Tea’s creator, Bec who is 27 from Tasmania, Australia studied Fashion Design and loves to spend her spare time designing and sewing as well as hitting the gym and hanging with Martha, her chocolate Burmese cat. She personally struggled everyday with bloating and digestive issues that forced her to search high and low for a solution.
When Bec stumbled upon the positive benefits of herbal teas, she knew she finally found the answer she has been looking so long for. After plenty of research, experimentations and meetings with herbalists, she ended up with a product that truly is a unique and special mixture that solved all of her problems. And because of how well it worked, she insisted on sharing with others so FTT is offered internationally so everyone around the world can try it and get their very own amazing results.
The website is easy to navigate and offers you a list of tips as well as guidance on what you should be eating and avoiding. You can also check out the incredible before and after pictures of Instagram customers showing off their accomplishments with Flat Tummy Tea!
Start off this spring right and don’t forget to share with all of us through Instagram!
About the author:
I am the oldest of triplets and a senior at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. I am an aspiring trainer and a registered dietician, with a deep passion for fitness. I love to travel, but New Jersey will always have my heart. My one rule at life, "Be so good they can't ignore you".
16 December 2013
Before we talk about speeding up your metabolism, let’s talk about what it is. Metabolism is the term used to describe all the biochemical processes in the body relating to energy production. Some believe that eating small meals throughout the day instead of three larger ones can significantly improve the speed of your metabolism. Others don’t believe this to be true. The reasoning behind this has to do with stimulation of your metabolism throughout the day. The body keeps working to burn calories instead of becoming so hungry between meals that it slows the metabolism down in order to conserve calories for bodily processes. The studies go back and forth. However, there is evidence that those who ate smaller meals tended to lose more weight than those who didn’t. Here’s a closer look into why this theory may be correct.
Let’s start with breakfast. This is the most important meal of the day – and that for reviving up the metabolism. Your metabolism slows as you sleep, so a nice hearty breakfast helps to wake it right back up. Your body won’t burn as many calories throughout the day if you skip it. Aim to get around 350-400 calories in the morning with a nice balance of fiber to keep you full, good quality carbs for some energy, and some healthy fats and protein to keep you sustained until your next snack or meal.
Now here’s a little info on snacking – do it! But in a healthier way. Put aside those chips, fried foods and processed sugar snacks. Go for real, fresh ingredients that your body can process and use as energy all day. Healthy snacking between meals, totaling the six small meals a day idea is a great way to feed your body as you move throughout your daily activities. This will also prevent you from going without food for too long, which can lead to overeating. And when we get this hungry, we usually overeat the food we crave the most, which end up being less healthy choices. A great mid-morning snack (or smaller meal) is a Greek yogurt with fruit, nuts and some granola. The protein in the yogurt keeps you full and the healthy fats in the nuts and granola can help keep you satisfied.
See? It’s all about balance. Your metabolism will stay fired up and working all day long. Eating smaller meals is great if you’re on a workout regimen as well. You’ll always have sustained energy throughout the day, which can power you through workouts. Eating three meals a day may have you starving before or after a workout. Your body will slow your metabolism down to make sure it’s reserving energy while you’re hungry. And we all know what happens after a workout when we’re too hungry to think: reaching out for less healthy options and overeating.
So, do your metabolism a favor and eat more frequently throughout the day. Prepare smaller meals that are portable if you’re on the go, and make sure they’re full of all the good stuff to keep you going.
Reposted via My Fit Station and written by Dr. David Kulla. Dr. Kulla is a licensed New York Chiropractor and a nutritionist as well as owner of http://synergywellnessny.com in Manhattan. Check out myfitstation.com for health and fitness motivation and tips!
04 December 2013
Switching to plant-based organic products with health inpirations, Buffy-Ellen and Danijela Unkovich
This week we're lucky enough to have guest blogger, Buffy-Ellen from Be Good Organics interview another of Flat Tummy Tea's friends, health inspiration and creator of popular instagram account, Danijela Unkovich from Healthy Always.
Pic: Danijela Unkovich
Written by guest blogger Buffy-Ellen from Be Good Organics
I'm overjoyed to introduce you to the beautiful, inside and out, Danijela Unkovich. Danijela is the talent and inspiration behind the super successful Healthy Always instagram account. I first spied Danijela via Instagram after seeing scrolls of her delicious healthy plant-powered recipes in my feed. Not long after, I caught her frequenting some of my favourite local foodie haunts, and realised not only did we share a passion for healthy organic food, she was also a fellow Aucklander from NZ. Not just that, she's part of the tight knit local Croatian community here in Auckland which my partner is also from, so felt a bond straight away.
Danijela has been interested in health and nutrition from a young age, and is currently part way through a Bachelor of Science double majoring in Human Nutrition and Physiology. Her plan is to one day be working one-on-one with clients, teaching about the power that food can have on transforming lives, particular in terms of preventative and medicative nutrition.
As a respite from her busy studies, Danijela set up her Instagram around a year ago, mainly to draw inspiration from other health conscious individuals. However after a massive growth spurt (Healthy Always now has over 100,000 followers), she is now using it to share healthy and nutritious meal ideas with the community, in an effort to inspire them and help them make better choices.
Apart from cooking delicious nourishing meals, Danijela is a big fan of travelling, and draws much inspiration from it. She also came second in Miss Universe NZ 2010. However this lass is not just a pretty face - she's a lovely person as well and a talented wee cookie to boot (a dairy free, wheat free cookie of course).
Without further adieu, meet Danijela...
Why did you decide to turn to a more plant-based organic lifestyle?
I have always been interested in health and nutrition, and find it really fascinating. What made me really take it on as a lifestyle though was after my health took a turn for the worst after a really busy and stressful year, and taking care of myself suddenly became both a necessity and priority. The real commitment was when I started to see changes, and it was like, “hey, this stuff works!”. It is one of the main reasons why I want to dedicate the career aspect of my life to being a nutritionist and teaching individuals about the importance and power of healthy living. I am at a point in my life now where simply living this lifestyle makes me happy. It’s nourishing, inspiring, and stimulating.
How has your health (physical and emotional) changed since then?
It has dramatically enhanced my life. Physically I look and feel better. When I wake up there is no sleep “hangover”, and I have plenty of energy. My skin is a lot clearer, and my weight sits naturally at what is normal for me. Emotionally, I find I am more balanced, calm, and centred when I stick to this lifestyle. If I stray from my normal diet, I immediately feel it in my mood and become quite sluggish and irritated.
If you had to give someone 3 reasons why they should switch to more plant-based organic products, what would they be?
- More energy. Life is for living, and is full of opportunities. Having more energy gives you the fuel to live the life you want to live.
- You look better, which means you naturally feel better about yourself. A plant-based lifestyle really is a living beauty tonic. Often we subject our bodies to a vast chemical cocktail not only through the foods we consume, but also in our beauty, household, and personal products. I strongly believe in using naturally derived and organic products on our skin whenever possible, and always opting for using our diet as our main beauty regime!
- From my own experience, living a lifestyle focused on conscious healthy living teaches you a lot about self-respect and the power and capabilities our bodies really have. I have learnt so much about myself, who I am, and what I want in life, simply by investing more time into me and my own health.
What does a day on your plate look like:
- Brekky: I always start my day with a big glass of warm water. For breakfast I generally alternate between oats, muesli, or a big green smoothie, and add variety by switching it up with various seasonal fresh fruit. If I have extra time I will make my healthy pancakes, which keep me going for hours. Generally I eat all my fruit in the morning as I find it better on digestion.
- Lunch: If I am at university I will usually take last night’s leftovers for lunch, and add a fresh salad dressed in olive oil and apple cider vinegar. On the weekend I love getting creative in the kitchen, and spending time making something a bit more indulgent. I eat a lot to the weather, so when it's cooler I love making soups and warm coconut based curries, which are packed full of seasonal vegetables.
- Dinner: Usually consists of a protein source and plenty of vegetables. I always aim for versatility and seasonal produce when it comes to my vegetables. I grill, steam, boil, and then add plenty of fresh herbs and olive oil to season. I am of European decent and love the simple, fresh, and vibrant Mediterranean flavours.
- Snacks: Lots of tea! I love to snack on dark chocolate covered almonds, kale chips, and vegetable sticks with hummus. I’m also always in the kitchen baking healthy treats, so pretty much at any point in time there’s something sweet to nibble on in my fridge.
Now, your favourite foodie indulgence...
I love anything chocolate. When I am feeling really indulgent I love making a chocolate fondue to share around, using a good quality block of organic dark chocolate to melt down (my favourite is Loving Earth's Coconut Mylk Chocolate), plenty of fresh seasonal fruit, and chopped nuts and shredded coconut to dip it all in.
What do you think the biggest misconception is about an organic plant-based lifestyle?
That it is boring and restrictive! There is definitely this stereotype that consuming a plant-based diet consists mainly of eating lots of salad leaves and raw carrot sticks. Really it couldn’t be further from reality. Living in New Zealand we are extremely fortunate to have access to a variety of fresh, seasonal, flavoursome, and readily available ingredients, which makes cooking inspiring and nourishing. It is all about having fun in the kitchen, getting creative, and not being scared to try something new.
What's your approach to balance & moderation (in life and food)
Before I was notoriously bad at keeping balance, but now I truly believe that in keeping a healthy and balanced life there needs to be equilibrium between all aspects. Neglecting one part of your life and over-doing another, will if anything put you more out of kilter. For me it is about focusing on getting some exercise into my day, sleeping enough at night, having a passion and following it, consuming a balanced healthy diet, setting myself goals, and keeping a positive mind frame.
Someone wise once taught me the importance of keeping faith in yourself and always striving to have a positive and open mind...I try to remind myself this when I am feeling unbalanced, as I find the thought very grounding. And when you consider that your brain responds to nearly all of the thoughts you have, what and how we think is extremely powerful. In regards to moderation and diet, I strongly believe in moderation not deprivation. When we tell ourselves we can’t eat a particular food we are more likely to obsess over it, give in and binge on it, and then feel extremely guilty afterwards. It’s all about trying to make positive choices most of the time, and when we do treat ourselves acknowledging it as a treat, enjoying it, then moving on.
You've been given permission to raid the Be Good Organics stock room - what's one foodie product and one beauty product you'd nab...
Foodie product: I have a massive sweet tooth, so it would be a tie between Loving Earth's Raw Chocolate (my favourite flavour right now is the orange and gubinge), or some Little Bird Organic Macaroons. I love the cacao and raspberry flavour. Yum!
Beauty Product: I love using a natural dry body brush before showering. It makes your skin so incredibly smooth, and is great for detoxification, increasing circulation, and helping to stimulate the lymphatic system.
Can you share your favourite plant-based organic recipe?
I love green smoothies! They are a wonderful and easy way to up your leafy green intake. Right now my favourite is this coconut and pineapple smoothie:
COCONUT AND PINEAPPLE SMOOTHIE
1c coconut water
A handful of baby spinach
1/2c pineapple (or more/less to taste)
1/2c frozen banana (or more/less to taste)
Blender until smooth and enjoy ice cold!
27 November 2013
Written by Flat Tummy Tea guest blogger, Buffy-Ellen Gill
Buffy-Ellen is passionate about plant-based health and organic nutrition. This amazing woman was struck down with illness that sent her looking for healthier alternatives, eventually leading her to create Be Good Organics, an fantastic online organic plant-based food and beauty boutique you need to check out. Thanks Buffy for the amazing tips and insight into Chia!
Chia Seeds are one of my favourite superfoods. "Super" meaning that gram for gram they contain more nutrients and minerals than your average food. Chia seeds originate from South America, and have been grown and eaten by the Mayans and Aztecs since as early as 3500BC. Aztec warriors and running messengers would use them as a high-energy food to maintain their strength and endurance in battle. That's why they were called 'Chia', which in fact means 'strength' in Mayan.
Even back then the Aztecs were all over the power and versatility of these wonder seeds. They would mix them with water and drink them as a beverage, grind them into flour, mix them into their medicines, press them for oil and even use them as a base for body paints.
Luckily for us these seeds are now being also grown in Australia too (organically in some places), thus increasing their accessibility, and reducing their food miles for us folk in this half of the world.
Here are 7 great reasons you should check out chia, plus 8 ways to easily incorporate these beauties into your diet:
1. HIGHEST SOURCE OF OMEGA 3S - 28X MORE THAN SALMON
Chia Seed Oil is the richest source of Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) on the planet, with almost 60% Omega 3 content. It's also rich in Omega 6 and 9, two other healthy fatty acids. This makes it a brilliant plant-based alternative to seafood and fish oil. In fact, chia seed oil gram for gram contains 28 times the Omega 3 found in salmon. Amazing!
EFAs can't be produced by our bodies and therefore must be consumed, thus the term "essential". They are known for their role in encouraging healthy skin, hair, nails, joints, and brain function; improving post-workout recovery, cell regeneration and cardiovascular function; increasing metabolism and promoting fat-burning; and preventing heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and arthritis.
In the modern Western diet, the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 consumption is well out of kilter at around 1:20. The ideal ratio recommended by the World Health Organisation is more like 1:3. Consuming more Chia oil and seeds can help you return to that ideal balance.
Chia Seed Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, & Flax Seed Oil – the Plant-Based Omega Powerhouses
per 100ml/g Salmon Chia Oil Hemp Oil Flax Oil Omega 3 (Linolenic Acid/LNA) 2g 57g 17g 50g Omega 6 (Linoleic Acid/LA) <1g 19g 53g 12g Omega 9 (Oleic Acid) trace 9g 10g 19g
Chia seed oil is also a wonderful alternative to fish oil tablets, which have become rather popular of late. What doesn't get mentioned by supplement companies is the often toxic levels of mercury in these oils, which can cause neurological damage, cognitive impairment, poor fetal development, attention and learning disorders, and more. The very reason why pregnant woman are told to stay away from fish oil!
In addition, fish oil is highly unstable and has the tendency to go rancid very quickly. The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research tested capsules from an array of global brands, and discovered that the majority of them had indeed begun to oxidize. This means the EFA benefits are lost, and their consumption can cause hardening of the arteries and increased risk of blood clots.
Not to mention the even more alarming ethical and environmental quandaries the fishing industry faces right now. The UN is predicting that the current rate of global overfishing of our waters will lead to the complete extinction of all sea-life and associated bird and wildlife who depend on the oceans for food, in less than 50 years. Yes you read correctly, complete extinction. All the more reason to crank out the Chia oil!
2. 20% COMPLETE PROTEIN
Chia seeds contain a whopping 20% protein, and a complete protein at that, with all eight essential amino acids. This makes them great if you’re active or trying to build muscle. Add a teaspoon or two to your daily smoothie and you won’t even notice they’re there.
3. FULL OF FIBRE
Chia seeds contain 37% fibre and are a whole grain in that the bran, germ and endosperm are present (the bran contains lots of the beneficial nutrients). 80% of this fibre is insoluble, which is great for keeping our digestive and intestinal systems healthy and regular, and lowering the risk of colon cancer. The remaining 20% is soluble fibre, which dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance – this can help moderate blood glucose levels and lower cholesterol.
4. HIGH IN ANTI-AGING ANTIOXIDANTS
Chia seeds contain twice the amount of antioxidants found in blueberries, with an impressive ORAC score of 10,000μmol per 100g. ORAC scores measure the ability of a food to fight destructive free radicals from our environment and combat oxidisation, which is essentially the skin's aging process. Studies show that a diet rich in antioxidants can slow aging not only of the physical body, but also the brain, thus reducing the risk of illnesses such as Alzheimer's.
5. JAM PACKED WITH VITAMINS & MINERALS
Chia seeds are packed with lots of healthy vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, potassium, calcium and magnesium. We don't often hear much about magnesium, which is needed for over 300 bodily biochemical reactions, however 60-80% of us don't get enough of it. Gram for gram chia seeds pack an incredible punch, with more calcium than dairy milk, more iron than raw spinach, and more potassium than bananas.
6. PROVIDE SUSTAINED ENERGY
Chia seeds provide a sustained release of energy, so you’ll avoid that mid afternoon slump after a big pasta lunch. Athletes also use chia to improve their endurance, aid mobility, and help with muscle repair.
7. GOOD FOR WEIGHT MANAGEMENT & DIABETICS
As well as releasing energy evenly throughout the day, the thickening agent in chia seeds can help keep you full for longer. Chia seeds absorb up to 12 times their weight in water, helping to curb your appetite. Recent studies have also shown that chia seeds were able to reduce the blood glucose levels of Type 2 Diabetics.
SO HOW SHALL I USE THESE MAJESTIC SEEDS?
- Add 1-3 teaspoons of chia seeds or chia oil to your favourite smoothie.
- Add the seeds to your bircher muesli overnight - they'll absorb the liquid and create a nice thick creamy texture.
- Make a batch of my delicious healthy Cacao Coconut Superfood Balls.
- Whip up a jug of my popular Coconut Cashew Chia Cream - the most delicious plant-based yoghurt or cream substitute.
- Make a nourishing Chia Dessert/Breakfast Pudding - stir a few tablespoons chia seeds into your favourite plant-based milk (coconut, almond or cashew are some of my favourites), along with a few teaspoons of coconut nectar, vanilla, a pinch of salt, and a few teaspoons of raw cacao powder if you want a chocolate version, then pop in the fridge for 15 minutes or overnight - serve with extra fruit.
- Use the oil for salad dressings (don't cook with it), or sprinkle the seeds on top for added texture and colour.
- Use to make a great egg replacement - perfect for plant-based cholesterol-free baking. Simply mix 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 Tablespoons water and leave for 10 mins until it forms a gel - this equates to 1 egg. Use in any baking or pancake recipe that require eggs.
- Sprinkle the seeds on breakfast cereal, oats, or yoghurt.
THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE:
Try out some chia seeds or chia seed oil this week. Make sure you choose a spray-free organic version to avoid any toxins, chemical pesticides and GMOs. Or click here to order our favourite chia seeds and chia seed oil, and get them conveniently delivered to your door.
Source: The Chia Co, Garden of Life, Loving Earth
- Add 1-3 teaspoons of chia seeds or chia oil to your favourite smoothie.
24 October 2013
A healthy life is about balance – eat well, play well, sleep well. I am no morning person so I have to kick start my day right.
A friend of mine began the daily ritual of super shakes - I was intrigued. The perfect combination of energy and nutrients; a blend of fiber and antioxidants; both delicious and filling.
Named 'Super Shake' for a reason - packed full of fruit for our daily fiber needs, eggs for protein, seeds which are full of minerals and vitamin e, linseed which is high in omega 3 and almonds that promote a healthy heart. What’s not to love?
Start your day on a high tomorrow. Oh and did I mention it’s bloat friendly? Because bloat’s a bitch.
Super Shake Recipe
2 x oranges
1/2 cup of pineapple pieces
1 x banana
1 x kiwi fruit
1/2 cup of your favourite berries
1/2 cup of natural yoghurt
1 x raw egg
1 tbspn of sunflower seeds
1 tbspn of linseed
1 tbspn of crushed almonds
25 July 2013
by Tess Oddie, The Nutritionist Hobart, thenutritionisthobart.com.au
Bloating: the sensation of increased pressure within the abdomen.
As a nutritionist, I am constantly being asked to help people suffering from bloating and gut discomfort. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and bloating in general seems to affect an enormous number of people, especially women. Suffering from this is not only painful and upsetting, but can also cause embarrassment and social discomfort. Constantly tensing the abdominal muscles to hold the tummy in alongside frequent toilet visits isn’t a pleasant way to live.
I can say this speaking from experience. I got my first job when I was 14 in a local bakery. As I often did the closing shift after school, I could take my pick of the left overs at the end of the day. This resulted in bags of Danish pastries, scrolls, pies, muffins and all sorts of loaves of bread being taken home to the family, so my ingestion of processed flour and gluten skyrocketed. After some time I was struggling to focus in class, would often take powernaps or fall asleep at my desk and usually have a nap as soon as I got home until dinner. My gut always felt bloated and would frequently make me double over in pain before rushing to the toilet.
Visits to the doctor resulted in the diagnosis of IBS and I turned to a naturopath to help give my diet an overhaul and allow my gut to heal (please note IBS is a SYNDROME not a disease, it is not a permanent state and can be reversed). I cut out gluten and dairy for six weeks and started eating more wholesome, less processed foods. After the six weeks I introduced dairy and wheat back in, but in much smaller amounts. This changed the way I saw food and the choices I made, and thankfully, I’ve never been in as much pain since. However, bouts of bloating have still frustratingly popped up now and then, until I learned how to keep it under wraps.
Many things can be going on at once to cause bloating and discomfort. Stress, anxiety, food sensitivities or intolerances, over eating, an unbalanced diet, nutrient deficiencies, lack of exercise, hormonal imbalances and poor gut health, to name a few.
Without going into detail, it is important to address all the above factors and learn to take a chill pill. Although being bloated is stressful and uncomfortable, agonising over all the possible solutions may just make the symptoms worse by increasing anxiety levels. Find time to put your feet up and do whatever it is that relaxes your nerves.
A great way to start is to sit back and relax with a cup of herbal tea. Active medicinal herbs, such as peppermint, dandelion, liquorice and fennel, can work wonders on gastrointestinal health. I have had the pleasure of sampling some of Flat Tummy Tea’s Everyday Blend, which contains all the above-mentioned herbs and many more. Each herb in this unique blend has specific medicinal properties that aid digestion, in order to ease discomfort and prevent gas. It has a beautiful refreshing, delicate flavour and you can even re-use one spoonful up to three times! So if you haven’t already, go pop the kettle on, make a cuppa and read these three top tips for beating the bloat nutritiously.
Chew on something bitter.
Bitter foods improve digestion and limit bloating by stimulating the release of digestive juices, bile and enzymes ready for when the food arrives. Chewing such foods slowly and thoroughly enhances this, and the more you eat them, the more you crave and enjoy healthier foods. Win! Some bitter foods include: radicchio, endive (or witlof), lettuces, grapefruit, silver beet, thistles, kale, daikon, arugula, raw cacao, dandelion, sesame, eggplant, walnuts, turmeric, cumin and dill.
TIP: branch out from the standard iceberg, cucumber and tomato salad and try a bitter salad to accompany your meal instead. I like combining sliced grapefruit, radicchio leaves, finely sliced fennel, endive, walnuts, olive oil and lemon juice together. It looks beautiful and tastes amazing!
Keep up the fibre.
Make sure you’re getting enough fibre from good sources, such as seeds, leafy greens, fruit and whole grains. Fibre, along with plenty of water, keeps you regular and cleans out your bowels. This regular movement prevents stagnancy and over-fermentation of undigested food (which causes gas and bloating), whilst also promoting an optimal environment for beneficial bacteria to thrive.
TIP: have a seed mix on hand to munch on between meals and keep cravings and hunger at bay (I have a mixed bag of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, raw buckwheat, almonds/walnuts and goji berries in my handbag at all times). This mix also contains essential fatty acids and antioxidants that help with inflammation and improve skin and hair quality.
Eat LIVE food.
Increase your intake of living, fermented foods to promote the growth of the beneficial bacteria. This can include miso soup, yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables. Fermented foods seem to have been forgotten about in modern Western times, with refrigeration, added convenience and a strong focus on sterilisation and food safety. Yoghurt has remained popular, but there is huge variation between products. Many on the market contain high levels of sugar, low levels of good bacteria and are pretty much just a dessert.
TIP: opt for natural yoghurts (i.e. with no added sugar or artificial sweeteners) that are well within their best before date (bacterial numbers decline close to the end date so although the product is perfectly safe to eat, the health benefits are reduced). Make sure they contain a few strains of beneficial bacteria (i.e. acidophilus, bifidus, casein, thermophilus). Pot-set varieties are great, as they are the least disturbed and are naturally fermented.
Turnip Kimchi Recipe
For those who haven’t tried fermented vegetables, give this recipe for turnip kimchi a go. Turnips are easy to digest, ginger soothes the digestive tract and reduces gas, chilli stimulates the metabolism and the good bacteria promotes optimal gut health and digestion, making turnip kimchi an anti-bloating powerhouse!
This recipe is of medium heat (I don’t like my kimchi fiery hot as it is traditionally meant to be), so you can just adjust the chilli content to your personal taste.
It’s really easy and cheap to prepare and makes a great condiment or pre-dinner snack. Serve on top of fish steamed with lemon alongside a bitter salad to get your digestive juices flowing and your bowels in tip top shape.
- 1kg turnips, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 1 tablespoon raw sugar (to feed the bacteria)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 6 spring onions, chopped into 1-2cm lengths on an angle
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons chilli flakes
- 3 teaspoons hot chilli powder
METHOD: In a large bowl, toss the turnip with the salt so it is well coated. Leave to sit for approximately 30 minutes to draw excess fluid from the turnip. Transfer to a colander and drain well. Return to the bowl and mix all remaining ingredients in gently. Fill sterilised glass jars with the mixture and press down with a spoon so it is nice and compact. Fasten with a lid and leave to ferment in room temperature for two days. Transfer to the fridge and let it further ferment slowly for two weeks. This allows the bacteria to grow and lets the kimchi develop a sour, tangy flavour.
17 July 2013
Find out why some healthy snacks you can pack help to burn fat.
by Nicci Micco
I never leave home without snacks in my bag. If an appetite emergency strikes, I’m ready. Of course, just because I have a snack doesn’t mean I need to eat it. Munching when you’re not really hungry can rack up lots of extra calories. But judicious use of the right snacks can boost your calorie burn (every time you eat, your metabolic rate increases slightly) and even help you blast fat. Here are three portable snack options packed with fat-burning ingredients.
In one Harvard study, women who ate nuts two or more times a week gained less weight than women who rarely noshed on them. Although nuts are high in calories, researchers think that the combination of protein, fiber and healthy fats help keep you feeling full. And going for nuts with a little zing may even help boost your metabolism. Studies suggest that capsaicin, an antioxidant in chile peppers (and also what makes them hot), increases the body’s metabolic rate—slightly—and may stimulate brain chemicals in a way that helps you feel satisfied.
These spicy nuts were inspired by ones sold by street vendors across Mexico. If you can only find salted peanuts, omit the added salt. Add the maximum amount of cayenne pepper if you want an extra hit of spice.
Don’t forget: this movie-theater favorite is a whole grain and has only 20 calories per cup (just skip the butter). Plus, as Ana Mantica reported in EatingWell Magazine, swapping refined grains for whole grains may help reduce total body fat and belly fat, swapping refined grains for whole grains may help reduce total body fat and belly fat, according to research in the Journal of Nutrition. In this study, people who ate about 3 servings of whole grains a day had about 2.4 percent less body fat and 3.6 percent less abdominal fat than those who ate less than a quarter of a serving. Fiber from whole grains may help you feel full on fewer calories—and possibly fuller than fiber from other sources, such as fruit and vegetables, the authors speculated.
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper dress up air-popped popcorn.
Whole-Grain Cereal-Based Snack Mix
To make one of my go-to snacks, I toss about 3/4 cup of a low-sugar, high-fiber (but oh-so-delicious) cereal into a small container with 12 almonds (that’s about 1/2 ounce). It’s an easy-to-eat-on-the-run, filling snack or breakfast that delivers whole grains and nuts and lots of staying power for only 175 calories. Sometimes, I sweeten it up with a tablespoon or two of raisins.
Crunchy Cereal Trail Mix
Crunchy, sweet and salty, this simple trail mix combines all your favorite flavors in a convenient mix.
Written by: Nicci Micco, M.S., Editor-at-Large, eatingwell.com/nutrition_health
23 June 2013