Category Archives: Get Your Mind Right

Understanding Nutrition and how to Eat right

Why Celebrity Suicides Make Me Angry

I’m still reeling today from the suicide of Anthony Bourdain – the original rock star of the culinary world – coming hot on the heels of fashion designer Kate Spade … two legends gone in just three days.

With this latest passing begs the question: Why with so much talent, so much fame, and so much to live for did they feel the need to end it all? Why did life seem so unpalatable, undesirable, and useless?

I was never into Kate Spade – I’m not a fashion chick. I only own two handbags – a giant red leather carry all I bought at Danier Leather in Niagara Falls, and a tiny black strappy thing from the Queen Victoria Market just big enough to fit my keys, phone and Myki in. That’s just who I am.

But Anthony Bourdain? Seriously?

Anthony Bourdain (Photo by Robert Ascroft for Adweek)

After I started more-than-just-dabbling in the kitchen, creating degustation menus for friends and exploring making everything from scratch, I came across Bourdain’s book Kitchen Confidential. I devoured it feverishly, dreaming about turning my passion for cooking into a career. His book showed me a different side – it was an eye opener to the reality of kitchen life. I subsequently decided that a career as a chef wasn’t for me after all. But I admired him. Still do.

So I am at a loss for understanding. Why is oblivion a far more attractive proposition? What is not beautiful enough about food? Why would you not want to stay and cook, and create, and explore, and share it? Making something from a bunch of boring raw ingredients, moulding it like a potter moulds their clay, and injecting with passion and love is a gift. Creating something amazing to share with others is one of the greatest joys I know.

But it would seem others care less about the gifts they’ve been given. Certainly celebrity suicides by hanging have become a pretty big thing lately. Others have come before – David Carradine, Michael Hutchence, Paul Hester, Alexander McQueen, Charlotte Dawson, L’Wren Scott, Robin Williams, Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington … so who’s next? Who’s gonna take the easy route?

I would have thought celebrities owed a duty of care to the public who has adored them so much. Aren’t they meant to be a shining light, a beacon of hope that we can live our passion too, whatever it may be, and somehow achieve greatness? Otherwise what’s it all for?

Is celebrity suicide just a cop out?

Kate Spade circa 2004 (Photo AP)

Oh and for Lord’s sake, why hanging? Surely it’s got to be one of the most unpleasant methods of all time. In this word of technological advances, medicinal marvels and the dark web, is escape by an original form of capital punishment really the best you can do?

You know I’ve read that people who are successful at suicide actually go through with it because they truly, in their heart of hearts, believe there is something better for them waiting on the ‘other side’. (Although the irony of the sentence still makes me wonder how this could be known.) But what if there’s nothing? What if this was their one big chance to do all they could do with this life – to inspire the others that follow behind in their footsteps? What if suicide is simply like dining alone at the Last Supper? Haven’t they just fucked it all up?

And what sort of inspiration is taking your own life when you’re a person of solid means and have been hugely successful? Now if you had an incurable disease, or were locked up as a prisoner with no possible chance of escape ever, destined to rot on the floor of some unbearable infested rat sewer … then maybe I could understand that suicide might just be an attractive alternative. But when you’re the host of your own globetrotting television show, like Bourdain, that indulges you in your passion for food … or you have a design empire of creative fashion like Spade … and you have all the wealth you could honestly ever need … then where’s the sense in checking out?

Is it that the respect of your peers and the admiration of millions really makes you so incredibly lonely you have to leave the communal table and resort to dining alone? If so then maybe fame, the thing so many of us aspire to with our selfies and Instagram accounts, has its price after all.

Maybe, but frankly I just think it’s irresponsible … and down-right selfish. What about all your adoring fans who have travelled with you in your life’s journey? We bought your records, your books, ate your meals, watched your movies, and carried your handbags. So what up?

And, honestly, if you’re so egotistical and self-absorbed not to realise that your fans are the only reason you have everything you have, then think about this: What about your family and friends who love and care for the real you, regardless of your flaws that you’ve managed to hide (or not hide) so well from us? Do you care so little about your so called ‘loved ones’? Do you not feel a connection, do they mean nothing at all? Are you incapable of feeling empathy, of self-love to the point that you’d rather be gone?

I’m done.

Chris Cornell of Smashing Pumpkins (Photo

It’s not that I don’t care – in fact I care too much. but I’m over being sad and heartbroken. Now I’m just plain angry at the short sightedness of celebrities who top themselves. They taunt us by blooming like the most glorious flower, making the world a brighter place, for a moment or a lifetime, before taking it upon themselves to leave without even a goodbye or a reason. As if they had no choice or control in the matter. And without any explanation we are left wondering, pondering, and questioning how on earth we can possibly be happy if they, with all they have, are not?

So what’s the point of even trying anymore?

And that’s the problem with anxiety and depression … mental illness sucks the life out of you and changes you. Often coupled with feelings of being out of control, at a loss or without purpose. It’s not a rational disease. It doesn’t make sense. I know … I’ve been there. I’ve been close to self-harm too. Never close enough – no near misses – but closer than I want to admit to others, or to myself. It’s not a nice place. It’s not where I want to be.

It’s not who I am.

So, just like Bourdain and Spade who made their own choice, so I make mine – only it’s a vastly different one. I’m not going to check out and take the easy option. I‘m going to suck it up and put the ‘big girl’ panties on – whatever life throws at me. Because even in the darkness, like Roberto Benigni showed us, life really is beautiful.

So too, you have a choice to make.

The question is are you going to wallow in the anxiety and depression that seems inexorably linked to modern life? Or are you going to grab life with both hands, and climb out of that deep dark black you’ve fallen in to, and stop dining alone?

Life is not just like a box of chocolates. It’s like delicious gastronomic degustation menu just waiting to be explored and devoured. Come join the communal feast.

I dare you.

Come soak up the very marrow of life and relish in all its tastes, and aroma. Come wade in life’s rich jus and roll in its creamy lusciousness. Come feast on its sweet nectar and drink in its boozy ambrosia.

If not, then what’s the point?

Postscript: This article has deliberately been written to be controversial, so as to ignite the discussion around whether ‘celebrities’ owe their fans a duty of care to lead as an example, or whether we, as fans, expect too much from them. Tragically, suicide has touched most of us. So please join in this very important conversation on Facebook here

If you need help in Australia please don’t check out. Instead check in with Lifeline on 13 11 14  and know that you’re truly loved.

#depression #anxiety #mentalillness #anthonybourdain #katespade #chriscornell #suicide #selfharm #suicideprevention #ruok #diningalone #kitchenconfidential #noreservations #fame #celebritysuicide #hanging #help #gethelp #unhappiness #youchoose #getwell #beloved

Weight Gain, Obesity and the ‘No Diet’ Solution

The big news is that dieting doesn’t cure obesity … in fact in a study published by National Institute of Health Researchers showed that dieting actually lowers your metabolism which means long-term dieting of any kind will cause metabolic compensation, where your perhaps already low metabolism becomes gradually more and more efficient (i.e. lower still), requiring fewer and fewer calories to maintain your weight.

This means that you’d have to be calorie-deprived for the rest of your life just to maintain your weight, and you might still regain any weight you’ve lost … or even more. So for anyone who wants (or needs) to shed weight this is bad news … really bad news.

It also helps to explain why people (mostly women) throw good money after bad on a plethora of diet programs pills and shakes that don’t work in a fruitless effort to achieve an idea of beauty that doesn’t really exist anyway. It’s completely impossible. No wonder we get depressed.

You know that calorie counting old equation – weight loss or gain = calories in minus calories out, right? Did you know that it’s a complete fallacy? Aargghh … so what’s the answer?

Well, there are actually 4 steps to weight loss … and none of them actually involve dieting.

Secret #1 – Low Carb
The first step to is to correct the type of calories we consume … the reason people gain fat is due to unregulated fat-tissue due to insulin secreted in response to the carbohydrates – anything made from sugar, rice or any flours, including wheat, as well as starchy vegetables like potatoes – we consume.

Yes – you heard it – cheap delicious bready wheat-y rice-y soul nurturing carbs … they’re out for good – simple ones anyhow. Unless you want to stay fat. Your choice, you decide. Seriously.

Secret #2 – Portion Size
The second step is serving size. Remember those meal sizes were smaller when you were a kid? And when you go out to dinner at a Dennys, Applebees or Pizza Hut (let alone the plethora of awesome home-cooked restaurants in Melbourne serving huge pates to willing customers) how massive are they now? Eating out should not be about the experience, trying something new, and exploring new tastes … not just bang for buck

But it’s not just portion control you need to monitor. According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines serving size is better describe how much you SHOULD eat of a food, rather than portion size which describes the amount you ACTUALLY eat.

To get the volume you eat down, you simply eat less, right? Well, sort of. The problem is our stomachs have been stretched by ever increasing meal sizes so it’s only logical that the empty space in our stretched stomachs gives off a false sense of hunger that doesn’t really exist. Yep, you’re not REALLY hungry at all.

Eating smaller more regular meals is one of the tricks to help retrain your body … 4 meals of 300 to 500 calories over the day (every 3 to 4 hours) can help stabilise your blood sugar and shrink your stomach size.

So what is a serving size? Well that’s kind of the problem. The serve size tables aren’t very specific. Sure they list the number of serves a day of fruit, vegetables, protein and complex carbohydrates but they don’t really say how much a serve is. And to make it worse there’s no actual guideline for food growers or manufacturers for labelling serving sizes on their products – it’s completely up to them. WTF?

So what do you actually need? Well whilst it’s a bit different for everyone (based on body type and cultural differences) but it turns out it is pretty simple – a palm-sized piece of lean protein and 2 to 3 handfuls of vegetables at a meal. You can also have a piece of fruit up to twice a day and a small amount of complex carbohydrates (palm sized) like quinoa or sweet potato. And don’t forget your healthy fats … raw nuts, avocados and olive oil are essential to turning off your hunger hormone ghrelin. Simple, right?

Check out Dr Lisa Young’s other tricks to help you eat less.

Secret #3 – Intermittent Fasting
The third step is frequency of eating and the benefits of intermittent fasting. There’s a been a lot written about the benefits of intermittent fasting and programs like Michael Mosely’s “Eat, Fast and Live Longer” have certainly helped make the concept of fasting centre stage.

The truth is that fasting is in line with our ancestral DNA, and so the act of fasting has a whole host of benefits for our body including weight loss, lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, feeling full, fat loss, ketosis, metabolism booster, cardiovascular health and better insulin sensitivity – it’s a pretty amazing list. Which is why intermittent fasting is considered a big part of the cure for diabetes, obesity, heart disease and a plethora of other illnesses.

But which type of fast is right?

Well it turns out doesn’t really matter which one you do. Personally I do the 18/6 hour fast pretty much daily and I feel better for it. Dr Mosely prefers to 5:2 fast, whilst other people prefer a full fast or anytime fast. Really it depends on what fits in with your lifestyle and how you feel on it. For me it’s easy to finish eating around 7pm and not eat again until 1pm the next day.

The biggest benefit of any fast is that it gives your stomach time to shrink, thereby reducing your capacity for those large meals I mentioned about previously. What this means is you eat less – portion control sorted! And when you consider that every kg (2.2lbs) of fat equates to 7,000 calories you can start to understand why it takes a while to lose any weight you put on.

It took you ages for that weight to gradually come on, right? So the slow burn, the slow loss is always best and losing it slowly will help you keep it off … otherwise you might find that weight again! There is one exception to this rule and it’s something I’ll be talking about next week rapid weight loss .

Secret # 4 – Nutrient Density
The fourth step to losing weight and getting the body of your dreams is nutrition density.

All food is not created equal. The body needs a vast array of micro nutrients in the form of vitamins minerals and trace elements to function optimally. The best sources of all these things are found in a combination of (generally raw) natural foods with one ingredient – apples, oranges, berries, carrots, broccoli, greens, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, etc.

Cooking and manufacturing processes which turn these ingredients into ‘products’ are less healthy because the raw food is changed. Oils become oxidised through cooking; vitamins are destroyed by manufacturing processes; complex carbohydrates become simple like sugar when ground; and essential fibre is destroyed. And so the destruction goes on.

That’s why the best foods are raw and natural, lightly steamed or cooked to enhance texture and taste. Salads featuring a variety of leafy greens are your best option, but we’re not rabbits, and variety is the spice of life, so it’s important to eat a variety of colours and textures.

Although farming practices have improved, many crops are still gown from genetically modified stock in depleted soils with added fertilisers and herbicides which are unnatural. When you’re not eating organic, you’re also eating these additives placing an extra burden on your organs to remove them.

When it comes to eggs and meat those which are organic or bio-dynamic are best. Organic and bio-dynamic produce is grown in rich fertile soils without harmful additives or hormones. And whilst you can’t eat 100% organic all the time, eating local produce (rather than imports) and replacing what you can when you can makes a huge difference to your body and your health.

I’m still not sure how in our technologically advanced world that embraces globalisation, food manufacturers – who pack their products with unhealthy ingredients like wheat, highly ground flours, refined sugars, iodised salt, palm and oxidised oils – manage to get their products on our shelves cheaper than the local farmer with his home grown produce? It’s like we’d rather have a ‘Heston-ised’ thing that looks like something else rather than the genuine article

So aim for products that have just one ingredient, and combine or cook them at home to make super delicious, fresh and vibrant meals. Your body will thank you for it.

Next blog I’ll be talking about rapid weight loss.

#obesity #weightloss #dieting #diet #micronutrients #foodismedicine #portionsize #nutrients #nutrientdensity #oneingredient #backtobasics #foodismedicine #fasting #intermittentfasting #lowcarb #nosugar #lowcarbohydrate #organic #biodynamic #rawfood #rawmovement #raw #servingsize #youarewhatyoueat #metabolism #metabolismbooster #howtoloseweight #beslim #diettricks

Diversity, Limiting Perceptions and How to Reverse Ageing

Last night’s win in the Eurovision song contest to Israel’s Netta Barzilai may have come as a surprise, but it shouldn’t have. Whilst “Toy” was not my favourite song, I could appreciate the technical skill and talent required to perform its complexity. But its catchy little tune was not why it won.

Why the Eurovision Win is So Important
Netta’s win was about the power of Collective Humanity creating change in the world … a collective ground swell that eventually overtakes any opposition … where the rights of the individual outweigh those of the masses.

Looking back to 1891 it took a handful of dedicated women collecting 30,000 petition signatures on the streets of Melbourne for the Parliament of Victoria to change women’s’ rights. Each of those ‘powerless’ little ink marks combined (19 Bills later) got women the right to vote in 1908. Since then we’ve seen the rights of women’s liberation continue to evolve to new highs.

The 2018 win was, as Netta herself said, a win for diversity … a celebration of individuality and inclusion. And I hope that’s something we can all get on board with. ‘I’m OK You’re OK’ has very much become the catch cry of the decade, helped by the rise and speed of social media, despite its narcissistic overtones and selfie culture – and women seem to be leading the charge.

Individualism and Beauty
Could we finally be seeing the rise of the individual over well-funded corporations and conglomerates that dictate how we live through their persuasive advertising? Could the white-washing and careful playing of the public by government be coming to an end? Are we finally doing something about the injustices we see?

And when it comes to beauty is it really in the eye of the beholder? Or is there a standard ‘norm’ that women must conform to? If you ask @dove they’ll tell you it’s time we understand, when it comes to advertising, we’re being lied to.

If so, does body weight really factor into how we’re perceived? Does it affect our chances in success, and even love? Usually I’d say that’s a BIG YES, but recent talent competitions, including the 2018 Eurovision results, may indicate the tide is finally turning.

Limiting Perceptions of Weight
Back in the 80s if you were overweight or obese (like I was) then you were destined to a life of mediocrity, at best. You never won anything, sliding almost silently into the shadows bar the jeers and insults spoken (or yelled) your way. You certainly got passed over for job opportunities and promotions (sadly this still happens).

For me it was a constant battle to be accepted as ‘normal’ – I had to perform over and above what was expected of my peers or thought possible of someone my size. It was almost like I had to prove my worth again and again – that was the penance I had to ‘pay’ to apologise or compensate for the weight I carried, as if the weight wasn’t burden enough.

So consider past music competition talents Susan Boyle and Casey Donovan, and the current Eurovision songstress Netta Barzilai – it seems more overweight people are starting to take the world by storm, winning big in the process (pardon the pun!) These are talented women whose passion shines through their ‘abnormal’ façade to reach the hearts of millions and snag the popular (and judges) votes.

So why when confronted by people who look a little different to us do we often judge and discount them, even label them ridiculous? Why do we constantly try to stifle the artistic expression of those who are a little different or left of centre?

Diversity and Self-Expression
Our bodies are vehicles for that self-expression, but it’s not just clothes that maketh the man – makeup, piercings, tattoos or even our body weight – the choice is now ours to make, as we see fit.

When it comes to makeup artistry, openly gay icon Manny MUA (aka Manuel Gutierrez) is one of the industry’s top influencers with over 4 million subscribers on his YouTube and Instagram channels. With attraction power like that there’s no surprise that he was made the first male brand ambassador for Maybelline.

But Belgian artist Wim Delvoye’s has taken tattoos to a whole new level with “Human Canvas”, previously displayed at MONA, which takes the cake. Not only has Wim tattooed most of Tim Steiner’s body as a work of art, Tim has also sold his body’s artwork to be delivered to the German owner upon his demise.

But these extremes of self-expression are not new. In the 80s music industry Madonna started the trend of reinventing herself with each new single – a visual reincarnation, a metamorphosis. Lady Gaga continues that trend with outlandish makeup and outfits that often transcended sensibility like her 2014 inflatable octopus dress … but it sure got the media’s attention. Mission accomplished.

Reinventing Your Body
So what about our body size and shape … do we consciously, or unconsciously, chose the size of our own bodies as we do these other adornments? Do we create our physical presence entirely, or do we just make do with what we have?

Ask alternative medicine advocate Dr Deepak Chopra and he’ll confirm that we can design our bodies (and longevity) by choice, but usually it’s due to a lack there of. Whilst Body architect Lucy McRae believes it is possible to ‘design’ your body and even merge it with technology. And author Annette Noontil tells you in her book that the body is a barometer of the soul.

But for those of us who are not wanting to reinvent ourselves but rather turn back the clock and prevent ageing as we cling helplessly onto the impossible idea of maintaining the body we had in our 20s, what can we really do? Do we have to miserably bust our asses at the gym and eat like supermodels, or is there another answer?

It’s true, the ageing process isn’t pretty, and in fact it can be darn right nasty. Whilst a man becomes a distinguished ‘silver fox’ women become haggard, old, tired and crinkled. As if the ageing process isn’t bad enough the euphemisms used are even more offensive. So if we can actually redesign our bodies to reduce ageing, then how do we do it?

According to Dr Chopra it all starts in the mind. We’ve known for years that positive thinking not only changes your mental state, it can actually change your vision. And placebos work even if you know it’s a placebo – so it’s true, you can actually change things by thought alone.

In fact Debbie Hampton of The Best Brain Possible explains that your thoughts can even alter your cells and your genes – it’s the fascinating field of epigenetics. And it helps to explain why two cancer patients given the same prognosis can have very different longevities.

So if our brains and our minds are THAT powerful, why don’t we all have the bodies of our dreams?

Check my next blog to find out.

#eurovision2018 #eurovision #netta #obesity #diversity #acceptance #collectivehumanity #groundswell #individuality #inclusion #imokyoureok #advertisinglies #doveevolution #bodyweight #tideisturning #overweight #youarebeautiful #artisticexpression #makeup #tattoos #bodyart #piecing #fashion #musicindustry #ladygaga #madonna #caseydonovan #susanboyle #WimDelvoye #humancanvas #ManuelGutierrez #maybelline #deepakchopra #bodyarchitect #bodyisthebarometerofthesoul #reinventourselves #turnbacktheclock #preventaging #epigenetics

What is a Paleo Diet, and is it Good for You?

Click here for the original InShape News article.

What is a Paleo Diet?
A paleo-based diet is based on raw ingredients, and is often referred to as the ‘caveman’ diet due to the hunt and gather nature of its ingredients. In today’s modern times our ‘hunting and gathering’ tends to be done at the local supermarket or grocer, so think of it as a diet that focusses on home grown or organic seasonal ingredients and generally no- or low-processed foods in recipes made from scratch.

What do you eat on a Paleo Diet?
The paelo-based diet generally consists of meats, fish, nuts, leafy greens, regional veggies, and seeds with some healthy fats and a small amount of fruit.

Meats and fish: Importantly when it comes to meats, it’s a holistic view of the animal that counts rather than focussing on muscle meats (generally the cuts you find at the butcher). So you should include offal, or the internal organs of animals, in your diet. These include hearts, livers, kidneys, brains, trotters, etc. which are richer sources of nutrients than muscle meal. Bone broth is also an important component of a paleo-based diet, and especially good for gut health and addressing allergies. Use a vinegar (with a mother) to help extract the minerals and simmer for at least 24 hours – get Pete Evean’s recipe here or simply watch Paelo Star’s Fast Bone Broth video here.

Nuts: Nuts should be ‘activated’ where possible – soaking them in filtered water to remove impurities and phytic acid, and then dehydrating them. Find out more in this video from The Internet Chef.

Vegetables: the paleo way of life should focus on a vegetable-rich diet (up to 70%) supplemented with some meat, fish, nuts. All vegetables including root vegetables and especially leafy greens are welcomed and eaten in abundance.

Fats: Fruit-based fats are good and used in most meals. These include coconut oil, avocado and olive oil. Nut oils are less often used as the oxidate quickly and are difficult to extract. Coconut oil has the highest smoke point and is good for cooking.

Fruits: Fruits are generally high in fructose and are ‘sometimes’ foods if you chose to adopt a paelo-lifestyle. If you think about our pre-farming ancestors they did not have ready access to bananas, mangoes or even apples. They were not only seasonal, but spasmodic in access. So keep your fruit intake to under 3 pieces a day.

Fermented foods: Fermenting vegetables is one of the new paelo crazes as it increases the nutrients of the vegetables 100-fold and makes them more bio-available. New to fermenting? Check out the Fermenting Queen of Australia, Kitsa Yanniotis’s fermenting recipe video here.

What can’t you at on a Paleo Diet?
In two words – processed foods.
That means no grains, no sugar, no dairy.
Yep, no rice, no pasta, no legumes, no soy, no refined sugar.

What can you replace these with?
Paleo substitutes may seem difficult at first, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier. Substitutes include cauliflower rice, Zucchini or squash ‘pasta’, dried fruit, coconut flour, nut meal, flax meal, nut milks and coconut cream. You can check out more substitutes at Paleo Grubs here.

Is a Paleo Diet good for you?
If food is medicine (and it is), then what we eat is who we are, and a paleo way of life makes a lot of sense. Check out PictureFit’s Video here which explains both sides of the paleo story.

It’s well known that a diet rich in the right vitamins, minerals, micro and macro nutrients can repair most, if not all, ailments in the body. In fact, if you ask Australian Paleo Ambassador and Chef Pete Evans he will tell you it’s the only way of eating that is good for you. Check out his ‘Paleo Way’ introductory video here.

Experience has shown that a paleo-style diet eliminates the high inflammatory foods that cause issues and pain in the body. Paleo advocate Dr Sarah Ballantyne (aka The Paleo Mum) provides a lot of evidence-based assistance for autoimmune sufferers on her website.

Are there issues with a Paleo Diet?
There are two main issues with a paleo diet – accessibility and scientific evidence.

Accessibility: The real pitfalls with a paleo-based diet is that it can be time consuming – everything has to be made from scratch. There are plenty of shortcuts once you are familiar with the preparation and cooking techniques, but generally you need to plan ahead: organic foods do not have the same shelf-life as conventional packaged foods, and it can be really hard to find paleo foods when eating out. Paleo diets, due to the organic and grass-fed nature of ingredients, can seem expensive and out of reach of many of those in need of a healthier diet.

Scientific evidence: The Sceptical Nutritionist tries to debunk the paelo diet here with claims from evolutionary biologist, Professor Marlene Zuk, that the paleo diet lacks any rigorous scientific research to support its health claims. They further cite Dr Christina Warriner, archaeological scientist, who states that there was no ‘one way’ of eating when it came to our ancestors, and that due to thousands of years of evolution, the modern cultivated foods we grow bears little likeness to those our ancestors ate.

But having said that you can read well-respected Paleo Grubs article “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of the Paleo Diet” here and PaeloDietEvolved’s “15 Benefits” including scientific links here.

Is there a wrong way to go paleo?
For sure! For many people paleo is about losing weight or addressing an ailment of the body (arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, adrenal fatigue, diabetes, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.). And whilst a true paleo-lifestyle may address and even alleviate many of these conditions, it will only help people to lose weight if the portion sizes and meat to vegetable ratios eaten are truly paleo in nature.

For example, there are now a lot of paleo and raw food ‘treats’ on the market. These contain a lot of concentrated fructose, from dates, dried apricots and prunes or other fruits. We know from last month’s article that there are lots of dangers associated with a high fructose diet. So switching from processed foods to a diet rich in these paleo snacks is not the right way to start, and it’s not truly paleo anyway.

Do you have to count calories on a Paleo Diet?
That is one of the biggest advantages of a paleo-lifestyle – there should be no need to count calories – as long as you do it right.

However, having said that, there is a need to constrain portion sizes and eat more appropriate meal sizes. Restaurants are well known for trying to give you ‘value’ with cheap nutrient-depleted meals rich in bad fats, salt and sugar to make them taste better.

The biggest issue with people on a paleo diet is that they over-eat protein. A small palm sized pieve per meal is all you need. Oh and lots of veggies!

I want to go paleo, but where do I start?
If you’re unsure of where to start, don’t worry, there’s plenty of resources available to help. You can simply search for ‘paleo’ on the web or in your favourite bookstore.

My go-to paleo resource is chef Pete Evans, because he explains things simply, and his recipe books look beautiful. Eat Drink Paleo’s Irena Macri also has some great resources and My Paleoish Life has some fantastic recipes and a new cookbook coming out soon.

If you want something to ‘digest’ immediately then check out Paleo Chef Pete Evan’s “The Paleo Way – Putting It All Into Practice” video here.

Happy hunting.

P.S. if you want more information on the difference between raw, vegan and paleo diets check out this article from PositivehealthWellness here.



Paleo Challenge #3

I feel like crap. I’m still craving sugar and I’m thirsty.

Lots on today … I get writing and update my blog. Still thinking about breakfast and decide to give paleo pancakes a try. I don’t have any coconut milk. I decide to use almond milk, egg whites and SteviaSlim and add 2 spoons of raw cocoa powder to the mix. They take a long time to cook, especially one at a time. The air is thick with the smell of chocolate and coconut.

The day was pretty busy and so I never got back to this post until much later. I did manage to get in a quick mostly-paleo dinner before heading off to MTC’s Faith Healer starring the amazingly talented Colin Freils and Alyson White.

Sadly after this post I got a bit sidetracked, things got hectic, I had some bad medical news and I fell off the paleo wagon. Whilst I tried to maintain my mostly-paleo ways I can’t say that things since have gone to plan. Mentally it’s been a real struggle. Emotionally it’s been tough. Physically things have gone downhill.

As a result I couldn’t continue this experiement.
I did write my article on all things paleo – it’s coming out soon – watch for the post.
And in May I have recommited to a paleo lifestyle, not just for combatting my adrenal fatigue, but for combatting a number of other women’s issues including suspected candida. It’s time to get back on the wagon, kick my bad habits for good and make the healthy lifestyle change for me.

Paleo Challenge #2

Feeling good today, slept well and had good result on my morning weight in, which always puts you in a good frame of mind and spurs you on for the day.

Did yoga *ouch*, my gratitude journal, and got the dogs out to the ‘G’ for a good off lead run (they always run well after a chiropractic treatment). Back home, hydrotherapy, body brushing and time to hit the computer for a few minutes before heading to lunch with my wonderful husband for our weekly catch up meeting.

Great meeting and lunch with my husband. Avoided the bread and the wine. Still feeling good. Delicious scallops, green salad and amazing pan-fried mulloway. Watched hubby eat dessert and drink a fine fortified tokay.

Home again, hit the office and start knocking off tasks, getting lots done (but never enough). That old adage “right now my to do list is so long I’ll never die” applies.

Snacked: activated nuts, choc paleo balls, raspberry coconut chia pudding (all home-made). Still peckish. Hmmm. Try to avoid the urge.

Massage at home from our good friend (and qualified masseuse) Grace. Eat dinner: aromatic coconut vegetables and bbq’d chicken thighs. Remaining chia pudding hit the lips after adding activated pepitas, walnuts and cocoa nibs. Crunchy.

Still peckish …inca berries …activated almonds …1/3 of a banana …home-made sugar-free (paleo) hazelnut kisses and lots of water. I decide to send the rest of the kisses to hubby’s work mates tomorrow.

Watch TV and give the dogs a cuddle. Still peckish …nectarine …cup of hot tea. The sugar cravings are overwhelming. Is this withdrawal? I feel like a drug addict. My self-control has boarded the bus and is leaving. I trawl the fridge and the cupboards for suitable sugar-laiden snacks like an addict searches the streets for a fix. I can’t find any.

But later that night I give in …a serve of Moser Roth Dominican Republic 75% cocoa with quite a number of prunes. My addiction is sated for the time being. I go to bed.

Weight: -0.7kg
Water: 3.0 litres
Stopped eating: midnight
Added sugar: 6g (just over 1 teaspoon)
Sleep: 4h 52m


Paleo Challenge #1

Over the years since I shed all that weight I’ve come to realise three things: 1) maintenance is more difficult that shedding the weight ever was; 2) I have a number of food intolerances that seem to get worse as I get older that need to be managed; and 3) I have some addictions that I need to deal with – specifically an addiction to refined carbohydrates (including sugar).

In preparation for an article on Paleo Living that I’m writing for InShape News next month I thought I’d do a 30 day paleo test and go 100% paleo for at least 30 days, testing my bloods before and after and tracking my weight and body fat. so with the tests done I’ve embarked on just this.

On reflection the diet I mostly used to shed all that weight was paleo: lean proteins, lots of vegetables, a few nuts and a little fruit. For the most part I ditched all grains and most dairy. And I exercised. Boy did I exercise. I went to the gym 3 days a week and most days I jogged 13kms (which is the same distance as the City to Surf). It was hell on my body during the maintenance phase and I eventually developed painful bursitis in both hips.

In recent years I’ve relaxed my exercise routine and my diet and the results have not been all that I hoped … not only has more than just a little weight crept back but in November 2016 I developed adrenal fatigue (also known as chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia).

So 2017 is time for change … time to rethink and recommit to a healthy eating plan that is not arduous, lets me socialise with friends easily, and a plan that I don’t have to weigh, measure and track what I eat to keep a stable weight.

Enter this Paleo Challenge.

To be completely transparent, I’ve been moving towards a paleo diet for many months, eliminating refined sugars and reducing grains, flours and dairy. But one of my weaknesses is bread products like fresh sourdough (often spelt or gluten free) and more recently I discovered an amazing French baker nearby that makes all sorts of delights (think brioche, almond croissants, pain au chocolate) from imported French flour – a strain of wheat that doesn’t bloat me (Australian wheat is very high in gluten and isn’t very well tolerated). It’s been a delight to indulge but the indulgences have been too frequent. And knowing all too well that food IS medicine, I need to clean up my act and walk my talk.

So today, Day 1 of the challenge I started on this journey. I felt really good today and was easily able to stick to my paleo plan. I skipped breakfast to induce glycolysis (the burning of glycogen stores) and began with a late lunch of sweet potato, carrot and avocado egg skillet. Delicious.

Dinner was a crock pot creation of aromatic coconut norwegian salmon and vegetables (no rice) inspired by chef and paleo king Pete Evans, and a raspberry coconut chia pudding adapted from Kari’s recipe at Get Inspired Everyday (I simply switched out the dates for SteviaSlim to lower the fructose count, and I didn’t have any dates on hand). I didn’t feel any need to snack or eat after dinner. Slept well.

Weight: OMG
Water: 2.5 litres
Stopped eating: 8.30pm
Added sugar: 0g
Sleep: 6h 08m


Is Fructose Good or Bad for You?

Click here for the original InShape News article.

I have a sweet tooth.
Oh boy do I have a sweet tooth.
It’s gotten me in trouble on more than one …ok, I confess …many occasions.
Having quit refined sugars and I’ve had to look for alternatives.
And so this got me thinking about fructose as a replacement sugar …is it good or bad?

What is fructose?
Fructose is a plant sugar, a simple carbohydrate found in fruit and vegetables. Yep, that’s right … vegetables too. In fact vegetables with the highest levels of fructose include green beans, asparagus, leek and onion …but virtually all vegetables contain some fructose.

But it’s fruit, combined with additionally high glucose, that really takes the cake. Star fruit is the worst culprit at 8% fructose and a massive 7% glucose – that’s 15% sugar! Other high-fructose fruits are those you’d suspect due to their sweetness: apples, kiwi, bananas, mangoes, oranges, pineapple and stone fruits. You can check the fructose and glucose levels of foods here.

How is fructose different to sugar?
Fructose IS a sugar …don’t be misled otherwise. Fructose only differs from refined table sugar (which is sucrose made from the sugar cane plant) in that sucrose is 50% fructose and 50% glucose. Fructose is, well, 100% fructose sugar. The difference is it’s metabolised slightly differently by the body (and we’ll get to that later).

But what’s causing outrage and concern is the refined version of fructose and other sugars found in packaged products and take away foods. Look on your ingredient label: fructose, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, high fructose corn syrup, corn sweetener, glucose, anhydrous dextrose, maltose, cane juice, dehydrated cane juice, evaporated cane juice, cane crystals… these are the culprits of ill-health and obesity. These sugars, concentrated and devoid of any nutritional counterparts (like fibre), are added unwittingly to our convenience foods to make them more ‘palatable’.

And let’s not forget flour: corn, wheat, rice, maize, tapioca, coconut, etc… which are added as fillers and binders to our packaged and processed foods, all of which contain sugar and simple carbohydrates (which convert to sugar very quickly once eaten).

This means we’re eating more sugar than ever before in the history of humanity.

Feeling sick yet?

How is fructose metabolised?
According to Wikipedia, whilst glucose is metabolised ‘widely’ in the body, fructose is almost solely metabolised in the liver. So eating high amounts of fructose not only means you’re eating high amounts of sugar, but it’s putting a serious load on your liver …often the very thing you’re trying to detox.

Fructose is also serious stuff for those suffering fructose malabsorption or FODMAP (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols) where the short chain carbohydrates including fructose cannot be digested properly due to deficient fructose carriers in the small intestine’s enterocytes. This results in indigestion, excessive flatulence, bloating and distension, fatigue and impaired brain function.

And it’s the volume of all sugars combined that now adds up to alarming amounts in almost all diets. So switching to a non-refined fructose diet is not the panacea. But it can be the easy and important first stepping stone to switching to a no added sugar (of any kind) diet.

How much sugar is enough?
Harvard Health Publications recently reported on studies that explain why we should limit our sugar intake to around 10% of our daily calories. More simply, men should eat no more than the equivalent of 9 teaspoons of sugar, whilst women should aim for 6. That’s 45g for men and 30g for women. Which means 200g of Star Fruit equals the daily allowance for women. No tea, no coffee, no lattes. Frightening, eh?

Why do we crave sugar?
It’s been well reported that sugar is actually more addictive than heroin or cocaine? In fact studies, including those by Dr Mark Hymon, have shown it’s up to eight times as addictive. So it’s no wonder western affluent countries are turning into obese nations …it’s a true epidemic and it’s happening right now without any sign of reversal.

Just like any drug, cravings for sugar (insert your favourite ‘ose’ here) require more and more of it to sate our appetite for this modern day heroin. And it’s contributing to a plethora of diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

What happens if we have too much sugar?
OK here it is …bottom line …first you’re going to get fat. Really fat. There’s no avoiding this one. No amount of exercise or dieting is gonna fix it. And then you’re going to get sick. Really sick. And here’s why.

When the body metabolises glucose it releases insulin to control the chemical reaction induced by eating high amounts of glucose. Insulin tells the body to ‘store’ the glucose rather than burn it. So though metabolism glucose is converted to fat and stored in the body …and usually in those places you don’t want it.

Sadly, when it comes to diet, we’ve been lied to for many years. Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, debunks the last 30 years of nutritional information and explains the damage caused by a high sugar (including fructose) / low fibre diet in “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”.

And even I Quit Sugar’s Sarah Wilson agrees ….whilst fructose isn’t metabolised in the same way, and doesn’t cause the same sort of spike in blood sugar and insulin production, it still contributes to your overall calorie count. So remember that Star Fruit you gorged out on that contains 50% glucose? Guess what …your fat reserves just got added to. And they’re gonna keep getting added to until you make a choice.

What can I do to reduce the effects of fructose and sugar?
So you’ve decided to reduce your sugar intake … start slowly and track your sugar consumption and aim for it to be 10% of less of your calories a day. When sweet cravings hit choose low-fructose naturally occurring sweet foods like berries. Remember sugar is present in almost all foods including dairy. Read food labels and ingredient lists.

The optimal solution is to quit all added sugars, processed foods and sweet beverages, but this isn’t always practical. So minimise fresh fruit consumption and avoid all dried fruits where possible. Eat complex carbohydrates (e.g. quinoa, teff, amaranth) and ditch simple carbs (e.g. potatoes, rice, wheat, flours, bread). Eat mostly fresh vegetables, 50% raw, and some lean protein. Drink plenty of filtered water … boring I know but your gotta drink 45mls per kilogram of body weight …that’s 0.69 ounces per pound of body weight. It’s how I lost 70kg (150lbs) so I can vouch that it works.

Even though I’ve quit refined sugar, over the years my sweet tooth has gotten the better of me and I’ve let too much alternative sugars and this addiction creep back into my life. Tired of the illness and added girth it has caused me, I’ve decided it’s now time to take a stand and quit …this time for good.

For some, including me, this is gonna be rough…

What sugar replacements are safe to use?
If you need to sate your sweet tooth (and I still do) then don’t go for the maple syrup, rice malt syrup, agave, honey, molasses or coconut sugar or nectar. The truth is all of these substitutes are virtually the same from a sugar-perspective and will ultimately add to the girth of your backside. And even worse are the artificial non-calorie chemical sugar substitutes like SplendaTM which mimic sugar and trigger the same chemical responses from the body even though they have no calories.

Instead try getting used to the liquorice-like flavour of Stevia. It’s a natural plant product rich in steviosides, which have a negligible effect on blood glucose, but are up to 150 time as sweet as sugar. It’s more recently been combined with a benign sugar alcohol called erythritol and granulated into a more palatable product under labels like NativiaTM and SteviaSlimTM.

It doesn’t taste the same, I don’t get the same ‘sugar’ high, but it’s gonna help me kick this habit …and fructose …for good.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

On a mission to find delicious interesting paleo breakfast recipes I came across OneLovelyLife’s site and have adapted one of their recipes to an individual serve for my tastes. It’s kinda American, kinda Christmas-y and pretty delicious.



  • 1 banana (frozen if preferred)
  • 100g cooked, cold butternut pumpkin
  • 250mls Coco Quench Organic coconut milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp fresh or ground ginger powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • Stevia to taste


  1. Put all the ingredients into your blender or Nutri Bullet
  2. Blitz until thoroughly combined
  3. Drink immediately and enjoy.


  • Serves 1
  • 268 Calories
  • 9.3g Fat (6.3g Saturated)
  • 5.6g Protein
  • 51.5g Carbohydrate
  • 3.1g Fibre
  • 29.1g Sugar

Love Your Life

Yesterday I witnessed the aftermath of a drug overdose. The last few minutes of this man’s life were spent on the concrete floor of a public toilet, and I was jolted into a sense of sadness and waste.

A life of what ‘could have been’ was no longer, and it got me thinking about addiction. We all have it – our addiction to something …. drugs, alcohol, food, sex, bad relationships, Facebook …. You might try to deny it but you do have one, at least one, and probably more than one. Addictions come in all shapes and sizes and they’re not necessarily bad, or good – they just are. They’re those overwhelming compulsions to subconsciously do something you perhaps consciously would chose not to do. Like opening the fridge and staring into the back of it hoping the light will go ‘on’. It’s biting your fingernails, smoking, drinking, and checking the car door is locked or the oven’s off three times … just to be sure, to be sure, to be sure.

It’s not the addiction that fascinates me, but rather the evolution of addiction. Why are our brains wired this way? What experiences (or nature or nurture) lead us down a particular compulsion? Not loved enough as a child, or perhaps loved too much? And why do those exposed to the same ‘trauma’ turn to different forms of relief, escapism, coping mechanisms, dependencies? And I start to wonder whether there’s any correlation between incident and addiction.

As an NLP and Hypnosis practitioner I’ve studied this stuff quite a lot. But I’m still looking for the holy grail, the ultimate answer, the ‘quick fix’ to the problem – if we could only rewire our own brains, take control of the subconscious without falling into the abyss, imagine all that we could create and achieve … it might even be … Limitless.

Yesterday was a reminder for me to be present and fully engaged with my own life, and to practice gratitude. I’m most grateful for my network of family and friends, who care enough to ride the waves of life with me and provide between us a conduit of unconditional support … whatever form that might take in each unique relationship. Sure I love my possessions, but it’s this connection that is, by far, the most significant thing that I’m grateful for.

Over the last 6 months as I wake up the first thing I see is a sign by my bed that says “I love my life”. I repeat the words to myself as a morning ritual, even when I find it tough to say it (which incidentally is happening less and less). I follow it up by thinking about all the things I’m grateful for … everything until I can think of no more (and sometimes that takes a while). Then I plan my day, prioritise and set myself up for a day or achievement and success. This morning ritual is a conscious habit I’m creating … rewiring my brain gradually.

But this man, whatever circumstances led him to that toilet yesterday to get his last ‘fix’, his final escape, doesn’t get that chance. But you do. So if there’s anything I can advocate to you, it’s to practice gratitude and love your life, no matter where in your journey you are. You might think your life could be better, but I can almost guarantee it could be worse. So make the most of it …. LOVE your family, LOVE your friends and, most importantly …

… LOVE your life.