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Make your own: • Slow cooked dinners • Indulgent chocolate treats • Crochet throw rug

Winter

2015

Love your skin through winter

How gut health affects your brain

HOW HEALTHY IS YOUR HEALTH BAR?


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What's inside 14 Recipe for nourished skin 20 Indulgent winter recipes 48 Stylish nights in 14

Telling that story SUGAR I recently went to see That Sugar Film, a documentary that chronicles the impact of excess sugar consumption on a healthy body.

The central message of the film is that sugar, rather than fat, is to blame for rising levels of obesity and related diseases such as diabetes.

20

To demonstrate, Damon Gameau the film's maker and protagonist, consumes the equivalent of 40 teaspoons of sugar each day for 60 days (40 teaspoons equates to the national daily average consumed by Australians between the ages of 10 and 45), and documents the consequences.

48

Publisher: Vitality Brands Worldwide Managing Director: James Wright Editor: Bianca Mangion Art Direction and Design: Monique Genio and Olga Neofotistos Contributors, we’d love to hear from you. Please email info@vitalitybrands.com for more information on contributing to Vitality Magazine. Vitality Brands Worldwide Level 2, 415 Riversdale Road Hawthorn East Victoria 3123 Phone: 03 9861 7000 Copyright: All material in Vitality Magazine is copyright and no part may be reproduced or copied without written permission of the publisher. The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect those of Vitality Brands.

Vitality Brands Worldwide is an Australian owned company dedicated to developing “wellness” products that help people feel healthier and happier, thereby influencing their lives in a positive way.

And the source of his 40 teaspoons of sugar? Supposedly healthy, low-fat foods, such as fruit juice, cereals, “health” bars, sports drinks, breakfast drinks and pasta sauces, to name a few. The biggest gasp from the cinema audience came when he showed the nutritional panel on the back of a low fat frozen yoghurt pack – which actually had 10 teaspoons of sugar per serve! Whilst some might say Gameau’s arguments are relatively unscientific by definition, it was undeniably scary to see the negative physical and mental impact it had on him during the experiment. Overall, he put on over eight kilograms, developed full blown fatty liver disease, was on the verge of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, plus he also gained 10cm of visceral fat around his waist (the most dangerous type of fat).

Interestingly, and perhaps most surprisingly, all this happened while he consumed exactly the same amount of calories that he did pre-experiment. As much as I enjoyed the documentary, I cannot say I was surprised by its message. At Vitality Brands, we have been espousing the benefits of a No Added Sugar diet for the last decade. This is nothing new to us. In fact, the reduction of sugar was one of the catalysts for my change from obese, unhappy corporate “road warrior” to healthy, happy dad, husband, businessman, and “weekend warrior”. The key to a happy life is balance. I understand that carbohydrates are a vital source of energy for the human body, but it’s the excess amount in our diets that is the problem. Thankfully, we are seeing increasing demand for our stevia-sweetened Well Naturally No Sugar Added products – especially when people understand how great they taste. We can only hope that people such as these, who are benefitting from reduced excess sugar in their diets, shout their personal stories from the mountain like Damon Gameau did. It is a story worth telling. To read more about That Sugar Film, turn to page 38. Stay Well.

He also demonstrated some very erratic mental behaviour towards the end of the experiment. James Wright Managing Director Vitality Brands Worldwide 3


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We love winter Look outside and see just how crisp and clear the atmosphere seems today. Brilliant sunshine, pure air, cleansing rain and sometimes even pure white snow. Trees are stripped of green, and the starkness brings a sense of refreshment and clarity. In nature, winter is a time to stop, clear away the old and prepare for renewal. Could this be reflected in your own life? 5


Cosy and warm Winter is a great time to reignite your wellbeing.

With fewer commitments on your social calendar, it’s an opportunity to spend time improving many aspects of your life – and prepare for regeneration come spring time. Gather some winter happiness ideas here.

6


WINTER FEATURE

Move your body

Winter conditions are no excuse to skip exercise. You may not wish to pound the pavement, but you can always hit the gym. These air-conditioned workout worlds are safe and warm – especially once you get your sweat up. If you’re tired of the treadmill, try something new: a few sessions with a personal trainer, a class, attending with friends or even updating your playlist can all boost your motivation. Exercise assists your immunity by raising the level of antibodies in your system. A good sweat is also said to flush away toxins. Exercise also helps release endorphins – which is particularly useful for those battling the “winter blues”.

Eat well

There’s definitely a temptation to over-indulge when the days are chilly. Longer nights make us more inclined to stay inside, where pantry naughties and a fridge filled with treats are within easy reach. Dangerous! Reinvent the comfort food menu and opt instead for warming, hearty, healthy dishes. A classic, good-for-you winter dish is soup. Soup is generally full of vegetables – giving your body a quick, easy intake of nutrients to help it power through any immunity hits. Add some lean protein like chicken, and a little multigrain bread to dip, and you have a filling, satisfying meal. Other tummy-warming winter dishes include stews, bakes and casseroles. Make these healthier by focusing on lean proteins, lots of veggies and seasoning with herbs and spices. The advantage of homemade dinners is that you select all of the healthy ingredients to make the meal. Just think, you’ll come out of hibernation feeling healthier than ever.

Treat yourself There’s something so sensual about losing yourself during a beauty treatment on a cool winter’s day. Soothe your soul and get to your favourite day spa – stat. Soak away your cares in a bubbly mineral spa, hide away from the world with a warming, full body wrap or steaming sauna; melt the tension right off with a wonderful massage, or love your skin to its absolute beauty with a rejuvenating facial. Mani-pedis are also a must – chips, cuticles and callouses be gone.

Turn the page

some studies showing it can help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It can also help us improve our language and communication skills through exposure to different words we may not use each day. Reading is also a great way to expand our general knowledge and understanding of human experiences.

Reading can help reduce stress through escapism: Stimulate your brain from the When engrossed in a good comfort of your own home story, we allow the stress by picking up good book. of the day slip away. The Visit the library and borrow act of reading can also help a couple of novels on topics us to focus – a welcome that really interest you. relief from the multi-tasking, Reading has many benefits. attention-divided lifestyle to which we have It helps to keep the brain grown accustomed. strong and healthy – with

Financial freeze

As you find yourself around the mid-point of the year, it’s a good time to re-assess your finances. How are you tracking with your financial goals? Have you managed to save a small fortune, or do those stocktake sales see your credit card pay-waving goodbye too much of your hard-earned? If saving is hard, try setting yourself a budget and doing your best to stick to it. Keep track of what you spend – even the little things – to highlight the areas in which you could save money. Devote yourself to saving a certain amount of income and vow to not access that money for anything but the big picture goals. Revisit your account regularly to check on your savings as a reminder of how well you’re tracking. Remind yourself of how good it will feel when you finally do own your own home, buy your new car or go on your big overseas adventure. And finally, stay away from the shops. Would you prefer big picture goals, or a new dress?

Plan it

Take time out to make some clear-headed plans for the future. These can be as immediate as next week, or as long-term as the next three years. Your goals could be categorised under several different life aspects including: professional, relationship, family, social, personal, health and fitness, home – or whatever needs the most attention. Set some realistic goals and outline a step by step plan and timetable for achieving them.

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WINTER FEATURE

Welcome home Does your abode greet you with warm, open arms when you walk through the door, or send subtle shudders down your spine? You can improve the atmosphere of your home and make it much more inviting – a shining beacon of warmth and comfort – just by making a few, simple changes.

Sight: It’s amazing what good lighting can do to warm

up the atmosphere in a room. When night falls, use soft lamps to illuminate your living areas and bedrooms, instead of having the ceiling lights on. Light candles to throw more soft, warm light around the room. During the day, open the curtains and blinds to let as much natural light into the house as possible. Accent your home with anything that makes you feel wonderful: flowers, baskets of winter fruits, photos, children’s artwork and fairy lights. Incorporate warming, natural tones into your décor. Each of these little changes will do wonders to help make your home warm and welcoming.

Sound: Discover the calming effect of good atmospheric music, and play your tunes of choice through your home. It could be classical, moody, electro, chilled out sounds, or anything that soothes the soul and adds ambience.

Smell: On the weekends when the sun is shining,

air out your home. Open windows and doors – even just for an hour or so, to clear the house of odours that have accumulated over the week. Each week, air out pillows, doonas and bath mats, empty all rubbish bins, clear old food from the pantry and fridge, and clean toilets and showers. You can now enjoy a fresh, clean smelling home. To add that extra atmospheric element, try occasionally burning a scented candle with a warming, wintery scent or decorate your home with a few bunches of scented, fresh flowers.

Touch: In winter, we love to curl up and get cosy around

the home. Keep cold spots to a minimum by furnishing your home and wardrobe with winter warmers. Non-carpeted floors in common areas such as living rooms can be insulated with plush, stylish rugs. These not only add character to a room, they also create a more comfortable place for kids to play, and feel amazing beneath bare feet. Of course, you should really keep those tootsies covered. Buy a few pairs of fluffy house socks or slippers to ensure they stay toasty. Do you need to update your collection of warming dressing gowns, winter pyjamas, hoodies and tracksuits? Is your doona heavy enough for winter? When those cold nights really hit, the lighter versions may not cut it to keep you warm enough. For ultimate couch cuddle time, splash out on some new cushions and baby-soft throw rugs. These items will raise the style factor in the room, as well as keeping you amazingly cosy. To save money on your heating bills, ensure you cover any draughts from windows or doors. Relatively inexpensive draught stoppers can be purchased from good hardware stores.

Taste: Don’t get too excited – we’re not talking about

pantries full of cakes and biscuits. Warming winter tastes can include a good collection of delicious teas, or investing in a coffee maker for a surprisingly good home made espresso. In the interests of keeping your family happy, though, why not whip up some healthier winter treats? Turn to page 20 for recipe inspiration.

Psst: Spring is not too far away. Do you have a top tip for enjoying spring? Email it to us: info@vitalitybrands.com with the subject line: top spring tip. The best entry will be published in the next issue of the magazine, and will win a $100 Vitality pack full of spring goodies. 8


Well Naturally has raised the bar on healthier snacks. Introducing a range of Cereal Bars, packed with nutritious ingredients, minus the added sugar.

new range

Available in the Healthier Bites section at Woolworths, Target, IGA and Foodworks supermarkets nationwide.

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The latest in winter health, IN SEASON

happiness and

SWITCHED ON TO

HEALTHIER EATING

HOW HEALTHY ARE CHINESE DUMPLINGS? The nutritional value of Chinese dumplings depends upon the quality of the meat filling, which is usually prawn, pork or chicken. In most cases, the prawn and chicken filling is better than the pork because typically, a fairly large part of the pork filling is comprised of pork fat (it’s like eating minced up pork belly). The rest of the filling is usually comprised of vegetables like cabbage and/ or spring onion. The dough casing is usually wheat based and thin, so the carb value should be relatively low and the protein relatively high. Bottom line: Think of dumplings as the Chinese version of Italian tortellini (with thinner dough). That should give an idea of the nutritional value, which is generally quite good. Pork dumplings will generally be higher in fat than prawn or chicken dumplings. –W  ladimir Budnik, Vitality Food Scientist

Healthy eaters will undoubtedly know of FoodSwitch – the handy app that compares the nutritional value of packaged foods, and displays better alternatives with the scan of a barcode. This free app has evolved with the times, now incorporating the new Health Star rating, along with three new features: Sugar Switch (displaying products with less sugar than the scanned item), Energy Switch (displaying products with lower kilojoules than the scanned item) and Fat Switch (displaying products with a lower amount of saturated fat than the scanned item). FoodSwitch, downloadable from the App Store, is the brainchild of the George Institute for Global Health and Bupa Australia. "Poor diet is the leading cause of ill health in Australia, a precursor to the big killers like heart disease, stroke and diabetes," said Professor Bruce Neal of The George Institute and The University of Sydney. "The introduction of the Health Star Rating system is a significant milestone in the fight against this problem and, like FoodSwitch, helps people to take control of their health."

Psst: Check out Well Naturally’s Health Star Rating. No Sugar Added

Cereal Bars attract 4.5 Stars! That’s thanks to their abundance of healthy ingredients, and their lack of added sugar – sweetened naturally with stevia.

SLEEP DURATION SORTED How much sleep do we really need? A group of experts has set out to provide a more solid answer to this question, which naturally varies depending on your age. Six sleep experts and 12 medical experts from organisations such as American Academy of Paediatrics, the American Geriatrics Society, the American Psychiatric Association and the Society for Research in Human Development conducted a formal literature review on existing research into sleep duration. The studies, published between 2004 and 2014, included 312 articles. From these papers, the panel was able to distil the information and answer the all-important sleep duration question. Here are the answers: • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours (range narrowed from 12-18) • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours (range widened from 14-15) • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours (range widened from 12-14) • Pre-schoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours (range widened from 11-13) • School-age children (6-13): 9-11 hours (range widened from 10-11) • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours (range widened from 8.5-9.5) • Young adults (18-25): 7-9 hours (new age category) • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours (no change) • Older Adults (65+): 7-8 hours (new age category) 10


SEASONAL STAR: BRUSSLES SPROUTS It’s time to bring back the Brussles, we say! While the children may wince, this muchmaligned vegetable can be brilliant in many hearty, healthy winter dishes – it’s what you do with them that makes all the difference. Nutrition While you may not like the idea of eating them raw, Brussles sprouts in their natural state contain significant levels of Vitamin C and Vitamin K, with fair amounts of B Vitamins like folic acid. They are also a good source of fibre. Like other veggies from the brassica family to which Brussles sprouts belong (such as broccoli), Brussles sprouts boast a chemical called sulforaphane, a powerful antioxidant which scientists believe could have anti-cancer properties. It is best to stir-fry or steam Brussles sprouts to ensure they retain higher levels of sulforaphane, instead of boiling, which can result in significant loss. Conversely, heart patients taking anticoagulants should avoid eating excessive amounts of Brussles sprouts as the vegetables do contain blood-clotting Vitamin K.

Selection Beautiful Brussles sprouts should feel tight and firm to the touch. If you like sweeter sprouts, go for smaller sizes. Bigger sprouts will taste more like cabbage. Brussles sprouts should keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook with them, slice off the dry part of the stem at the base and remove any loose outer leaves. Now let your culinary creativity shine!

Try them • Roasted with a smattering of garlic and a light dash of olive oil. Roasting Brussles sprouts will give them a soft deliciousness and a crispy exterior that can be enjoyed by all the family. Adding your favourite nuts such as pecans, pistachios, almonds or walnuts will enhance the flavours. • Sautéed with bacon, chilli and pine nuts; Or red onion, lemon zest and your favourite herbs. • Atop pizza with goat’s cheese and prosciutto. • Steamed and topped with delicious condiments like Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, mustard, or plain salt and pepper. • Sliced and stir-fried along with Asian greens, broccoli and your favourite protein in a stir-fry.

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BEAUTY SPOT IN SEASON

The skin care professionals at MyChelle want you to get maximum benefits from your skin care routine. They offer the following advice:

Cleanse

HEALTH TIP

Research has shown that one of the most common ways to transmit the flu virus is through contact with commonly handled surfaces. Dodge cold and flu this winter by attempting to avoid touching handles, doors, buttons, railing, etc. whilst in public. If you must touch, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before eating or facial contact.

To ensure your cleanser thoroughly removes all dirt and oil from your skin, apply it to damp skin and massage in circular motions with your fingertips for 60-90 seconds. This extra time will ensure the powerful enzymes in the cleanser penetrate, to gently exfoliate and nourish your skin.

Exfoliate

Replenish While it is essential to cleanse your skin from impurities, you must ensure you rebalance the skin’s natural protective oils after this step. With use of the wrong products, skin can be stripped of natural oil. It can then overcompensate, leaving greasy shine and potentially blocking pores. To control oil production, use MyChelle White Cranberry Cleanser, Fruit Enzyme Mist and Oil Free Grapefruit Cream – products that are gentle on the skin and work to restore the vital balance.

Why do some men age so well? Genes and sunscreen use aside, they also exfoliate their skin daily through shaving. Women can use a good exfoliator to get similar results on their skin. For a super-effective exfoliation, mix MyChelle Fruit Enzyme Cleanser and Fruit Enzyme Scrub together and use in the shower each morning. Hello glow!

TRY THIS: BE HAPPIER AT WORK When winter sets in, it can impact our feel-good mood. Of course, this makes enjoying work much harder, too. Try to remain positive by attempting these simple tips:

Energise yourself Equip yourself with the energy you need to perform well at work. Begin the day with some exercise to “clear away the cobwebs”. Get the blood pumping, oxygen flowing, clear your mind and boost your energy levels. Suddenly that desk doesn’t seem as scary. Continue the good work with a nutritious breakfast and lunch based on protein and veggies, healthy snacks and lots of water.

Less distraction If you work in a noisy office or find yourself constantly bombarded with emails, meetings and casual conversations, it can distract from the important tasks on your to-do list. If you fill your day with small tasks and neglect the bigger ones, you may go home feeling like you haven’t really achieved anything. Avoid this by setting some time to “switch off”. That could mean switching off your emails for a period of time, declining less important meetings, listening to some concentration music on headphones to drown out the noise, relocating your workspace to a quieter part of the office or working from home. Try some of these tips and see how much more you can achieve. 12

Be kind The culture in some workplaces can sometimes become tarnished with negative attitudes and behaviour. Try your best to rise above and avoid getting involved. Go to work each day and promise to bring the best of yourself. Be kind to those around you, and become a positive influence on others. You may just set the precedent for a better working environment for you and your colleagues.


HELPING THOSE WITH MND

IN SEASON

Imagine going from living a healthy, active, full life, to slowly losing mobility and basic function. For the people diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, this unfortunately becomes reality. Vitality Brands helps these people live a more fulfilling life through the Take a Break program. Vitality Brands is proud to fund the Take a Break from MND program, which provides emotional support to those living with Motor Neurone Disease and their families. To date, 198 people with MND have directly accessed the Take a Break program, which has enabled them to continue to participate in family and community activities.

How it helps: • Approximately 80 people have been able to go out to a restaurant for a special meal, attend a show or football game, or travel for a family holiday. • 20 families have been able to renovate their homes or gardens, making these environments more accessible and allowing them to stay living at home for as long as possible. • 25 people with MND have been able to purchase communications equipment such as tablets or laptops that reduce their social isolation and allow them to communicate with family, friends and members of the community.

• 8 people have accessed respite care. • 17 people have been able to continue going to such things as the MND Living Well program, which helps them live with MND; or swimming lessons which alleviate their pain.

About Motor Neurone Disease Motor Neurone Disease is a terminal disease that affects a person's mobility. The average time from initial diagnosis to death is 2-3 years. Disease progression depends on the individual, but is often rapid – resulting in the need to frequently change equipment to remain living at home and participating in the community. Because of rapid changes in mobility and ability to look after themselves, the financial impact on families is very high. Many families struggle to cover everyday living costs and have no ability to pay for “luxury” items such as a day trip, weekend away, dinner out, computers or home modifications.

• 17 people have accessed in-home massage to relieve them of pain.

Access to Take a Break funding of up to $500, provides families with an opportunity to create memories and relieve financial pressures, and can extend the amount of time someone with MND can remain living at home.

• 31 people have purchased specific equipment enabling them to remain in their homes and retain their independence.

Take a Break is empowering for Regional Advisors working with clients, as they experience the positive reaction from people who receive Take a Break. To donate to MND Australia, and learn more about MND, please visit: mndaust.asn.au

NEWS J U ST IN For its in

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◄T  aking action against MND: Hundreds participate in the Walk to D'Feet fundraising event. 13


THE SKIN YOU'RE IN

Recipe for nourished winter skin

Our skin is naturally more vulnerable in winter. In the face of plummeting temperatures, exposure to wind and excessive indoor heating, skin can become dehydrated – making it flaky and lacklustre. Those with blemish-prone skin can also experience increased breakouts due to these drying conditions and the excess oil that skin produces to over-compensate. This winter, whip up a batch of beautiful skin by popping products with the following ingredients into your skin care basket. Bianca Mangion and Lauren Burton report.

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THE SKIN YOU'RE IN

All the ingredients you need Ingredient: Hyaluronic acid Method: Hyaluronic acid holds up to 1,000 times its weight

in water, effectively binding moisture to the skin. Hyaluronic acid therefore has the ability to keep skin hydrated, soft and healthylooking, even in drying winter conditions. As we age, our skin produces less hyaluronic acid. Dehydrated skin can accentuate the look of fine lines and wrinkles, making us appear older. Applying a hyaluronic acid product to the skin can have great benefits in reversing dehydration, imparting glowing, youthful results.

Try: Derma e Hydrating range with hyaluronic acid Formulas in this range are enriched with skin-boosting ingredients like green tea, Vitamins C and E, and soothing aloe vera.

Ingredient: Vitamin A Method: Vitamin A is the skin vitamin – renowned for its supreme ability to promote skin cell turnover and assist in anti-ageing. In encouraging the formation of young, healthy cells, Vitamin A helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and skin irregularities.

Try: MyChelle Remarkable Retinal Serum This intensive formula helps diminish the appearance of wrinkles, age spots, sun damage and enlarged pores. MyChelle Remarkable Retinal contains a supercharged version of Vitamin A called “Retinal”. Retinal is 500 times better at promoting healthier looking skin than Vitamin A. This formula is also is boosted with Orange Plant Stem Cells to help skin feel silky smooth, and Ceramide 3 – found naturally in human skin – to increase long-term hydration and help protect from pollutants.

Ingredient: Vitamin B3 Method: Also known as Niacinamide (the water soluble

Ingredient: Vitamin C Method: Applying Vitamin C to the skin is like giving it a big

immunity boost – which is essential at this time of year. This antioxidant works to bolster the skin’s production of collagen and elastin, smooth texture, help heal damage and brighten the visage. Our bodies do not produce Vitamin C, so it’s essential to add it to our diets and skin care routine.

Try: MyChelle Perfect C Serum Containing a potent 17 per cent Vitamin C (one of the highest levels available on the retail market), MyChelle Perfect C Serum penetrates deeply to protect and nourish skin from damaging environmental factors. This formula also contains Buddleja Plant Stem Cells to protect against premature skin ageing.

Ingredient: Vitamin E Method: Vitamin E is a superior skin healer. It is also efficient

in helping to soothe the appearance of reddened skin. The skin’s acid mantle acts as a barrier to seal in moisture, keeping skin supple and healthy. While Vitamin E is produced naturally in the skin, ageing and winter conditions can degrade this barrier, causing skin to become dry and damaged. Vitamin E restores this protective barrier by sealing moisture into the skin.

Try: Derma e Vitamin E Oil and Crème Each made with intense levels of Vitamin E, these supermoisturising products can be used on the face and body to saturate the skin, prevent future damage and help ease redness. Vitamin E Oil is particularly good on deep wrinkles and to help prevent stretch marks. Vitamin E Crème is a wonderful body moisturiser that infuses nutrient-rich moisture to the thirstiest skin.

version of Vitamin B3), this ingredient is an anti-ageing superhero – helping promote softer, younger looking skin whilst dulling the appearance of age spots and wrinkles. Niacinamide works to inhibit the production of melanin which is the cause of skin pigmentation. Vitamin B3 can also help retain moisture, bolster the skin’s barrier function, and production of fibrolasts and collagen to help diminish the look of wrinkles and fine lines.

Try: Derma e Evenly Radiant range Containing other skin illuminators like Madonna Lily plant stem cells, bearberry, liquorice and green tea, Derma e Evenly Radiant is the secret weapon in the battle against dull skin and discolouration.

Ingredient: Shea butter Method: Scientifically known as Butyrospermum Parkii,

Shea Butter provides intense moisture and antioxidant benefits to the skin – leaving it feeling supple and smooth.

Try: MyChelle Deep Repair Cream This nourishing crème combines shea butter and pumpkin seed oil (high in antioxidants) with a special blend of peptides that help protect skin cells, maintain hydration and encourage the appearance of fresh, plump looking skin. Algae-derived Venuceane prevents moisture loss while Vitamin E helps create a protective barrier over the skin. 15


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THE SOOTHE OPERATOR Replenishes vital nutrients while making skin smooth and balanced.

ULTIMATE MOISTURE QUENCHER Hydrates the skin and prevents moisture loss.


Baby, it’s cold outside

Love your skin through winter

Your skin needs special care in winter, when harsh conditions can leave it dehydrated and irritated. Vitality skin care expert Lauren Burton recommends treating your best asset with extra hydration and enhanced nourishment. She explains how. The drop in temperature and humidity during winter means there is less moisture in the air. This change strips the natural moisturising factors from your skin, leaving it dry and dehydrated. When your skin is lacking water, it affects healthy function and intensifies the appearance of common concerns such as fine lines, wrinkles, redness and sensitivity. For these reasons it is important to pay special attention to our skin care routine during winter, and make necessary changes to ensure skin is hydrated and protected.

18


THE SKIN YOU'RE IN

Q A

How should one’s skin care routine change in winter to ensure skin stays healthy?

You will achieve maximum benefit from active skin care ingredients at night.

During summer our skin tends to produce more oil, therefore we opt for lightweight products. During winter, our skin needs products that are slightly heavier. Try MyChelle Ultra Hyaluronic Hydrating Serum or Derma e Hydrating Day and Night Cream to ensure maximum hydration and most importantly, prevent moisture loss. When our skin lacks water, it affects its natural protective function and can create fine lines that may lead to deeper set wrinkles are we age. Think of your dehydrated skin as a sultana – dry and wrinkled. If you were to pump water back into it, it would become plump, firm and smooth like a grape. This is exactly what we want for our skin. Hyaluronic Acid is one of the most effective ingredients to “rehydrate” your skin. Hyaluronic Acid is created naturally by the body. Babies are born with loads of it (and think of how good their skin looks!). Unfortunately as we age, we stop producing as much. The reason Hyaluronic Acid is so effective, is that once applied to the skin, its binds water to itself and swells to 1,000 times its size. Try Derma e Hydrating Serum or MyChelle Ultra Hyaluronic Hydrating Serum.

Q A

How do winter conditions affect specific skin types?

Sensitive skin Winter weather tends to increase inflammation and redness of sensitive skin. It is important to use products that will help to strengthen sensitive skin against these harsh environmental factors. The Derma e Soothing range with Pycnogenol helps increase skin’s resistance to irritation, making it ideal for those who have red, easily irritated skin. Dry skin Dry skin can often become drier and flakier during winter. If your skin is dry, it is important to ensure you are using a gentle exfoliant 2-3 times a week. This will help to maintain good texture in your skin and allow your nourishing moisturisers to work effectively. Try MyChelle Tropical Skin Smoother to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores, then follow with MyChelle Deep Repair Cream to moisture and ease any redness. Oily/combination skin Oily/combination skin might feel a little less oily in winter (due to dehydrating factors in the atmosphere). It is still important however, to regulate and balance the oil production of the skin to prevent breakouts and minimise surface shine. MyChelle White Cranberry Cleanser with willow bark and totarol will help to gently exfoliate while providing antibacterial properties.

Q A

We tend to stay at home more and go to bed early in winter. How can we utilise this time to take better care of our skin? While you are sleeping, your skin cells are regenerating. You will achieve maximum benefit from active skin care ingredients at night, because your skin will be most receptive without having to fight UV exposure and pollutants. During winter, use Derma e Evenly Radiant Overnight Peel to prepare your skin for a hydrating serum in the morning, or give your skin a big drink with MyChelle Hydrating Cactus Mask. You can leave this mask on overnight, just rinse in the morning and follow with you regular routine.

Q A

Are serums particularly good in winter?

Q A

How can we repair any winter skin damage?

Serums are great in winter to prevent moisture loss, however it is very important when using a serum to you prepare your skin before applying it. If you do not remove the build up of dry or dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, there is essentially a barrier preventing your products from absorbing. That's why it’s most effective to use a serum and exfoliant hand in hand. During winter, you should be exfoliating 2-3 times a week and using a different serum morning and night, depending on your skin concerns. Try MyChelle Perfect C serum, G2 Instant Firming Serum, or Apple Brightening Serum depending on your skin type.

After the chilly winter weather, it is important to nourish your skin as you would your body! Vitamins A, C and E will work together to get your skin back into shape. Vitamin A, know commonly as the “skin vitamin” helps to gently resurface your skin, perfect after those drying winter conditions. Try the Derma e Vitamin A range. Vitamin C will give your skin a boost, as it does for your immune system when you’re feeling run down. Try MyChelle Perfect C serum for a potent dose of vitamin C to boost skin’s appearance and help fight environmental factors. Vitamin E helps to soothe any irritation that may result from harsh winter conditions. Try Derma e Vitamin E Moisturising Crème – perfect for face and body – to seriously protect and nourish your skin against all that winter throws its way.

MyChelle products are available from selected retailers and online: mychelle.com.au Derma e products are available from selected retailers and online: dermaenaturalskincare.com.au

YOU COULD WIN ! Have a skin care or beauty question? Email Lauren: info@vitalitybrands.com Use subject line: Ask Lauren. If your question is published, you will receive a natural skin care gift pack valued at $100. (You can remain anonymous.)

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Indulge me When the days are dark and stormy, a sweet treat can make us smile. We still like to keep our food honest, however, so nutritionist Hayley Cavicchiolo has created these mood-boosting pleasures with healthier ingredients – to ensure you still feel great, not guilty, after enjoying them.

CHOCOLATE, PEAR AND HAZELNUT BAKED PORRIDGE Who says porridge is just for breakfast? This indulgent, warm, sweet dish will be enjoyed just as much at brunch as it would be for dessert on a cold night. Gluten free | Dairy free | No added sugar | Paleo

Serves one Ingredients ½ cup gluten free quick cooking oats 2 3 ⁄ cup milk of choice (I use coconut) 1 ripe Beurre Bosc pear ¼ cup chopped, roasted hazelnuts, skins removed 1 tablespoon Well Naturally Melts 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon cinnamon 1 tablespoon chocolate protein powder or raw cacao Tiny pinch salt Sweetener to taste, such as 1 tablespoon of Natvia sweetener, 2-3 drops liquid stevia, 1 tablespoon raw honey or maple syrup Method Preheat oven to 175°C. Halve and core the pear. Peel and dice one half into cubes and leave the second half intact. In a medium bowl, mix together the milk and vanilla extract. Add the oats, baking powder, cacao powder, cinnamon and salt and mix until well combined. Fold in the diced pear, melts, half of the chopped hazelnuts and optional sweetener. Pour mixture into a greased, ovenproof ramekin or bowl. Run slits lengthwise along the remaining pear and push gently into the top of the porridge (optional). Bake for 20 minutes and remove from oven to cool slightly. Sprinkle with remaining nuts and serve immediately.

20


HEALTHY KITCHEN

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE QUINOA BARS You don’t need too many of these bars to get your fudgy fix, as the chocolate and peanut butter are rich, and the quinoa fills you up. Dip one into your tea and let the chocolate melt silkily in your mouth. Gluten free | Dairy free | Refined sugar free | Vegan

Makes 20 squares Ingredients Wet

⁄ cup natural peanut butter (warmed) ½ cup virgin coconut oil (melted) 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or raw honey 1 capful vanilla extract 2 3

Dry

½ cup organic quinoa flakes 1 cup quinoa flour (or make your own by blitzing quinoa flakes in your blender/ food processor) Pinch of sea salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon Topping

1 pack Well Naturally Melts 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil Method Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan forced) and grease a medium sized square baking dish (glass or ceramic works well) with coconut oil.

Combine quinoa flour, quinoa, salt and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. In a high-speed blender, combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, melted coconut oil and vanilla extract. Fold the blended wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir well until a wet dough forms. It will be a similar consistency to a muffin batter. Spread peanut butter mixture evenly into baking pan. Melt the Well Naturally Melts as per package instructions and stir in coconut oil until smooth and glossy. Pour chocolate over the peanut butter layer, spreading evenly, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the chocolate edges begin to bubble and caramelise. Allow the slice to cool before refrigerating for several hours. Once refrigerated, slice into 20 squares. Keep refrigerated until serving, or freeze to enjoy later.

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HEALTHY KITCHEN

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE COCONUT PANCAKES Start your “big day in” the delicious way with a wonderful helping of these nutrition-packed pancakes. Fluffy and warm, these plates of wonderful will quickly entice the whole family to the breakfast table. Gluten free | Sugar free | Dairy free | Paleo | High fibre | High protein

Makes 10 large pancakes Ingredients ½ cup coconut flour ½ cup Well Naturally Melts, plus 1 cup for melting as topping 2 tablespoons chocolate protein powder 2 tablespoons Natvia 1 tablespoon psyllium husk 1 teaspoon baking powder 6 free range eggs ¼ cup unrefined virgin coconut oil, melted ½ to 1 cup coconut milk (depending on consistency) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Sliced banana, flaked coconut, chopped nuts and melted chocolate to garnish Additional coconut oil for the pan Method Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla and coconut oil and pour into the dry mix. Beat together until thoroughly combined. Your batter should be slightly thicker than that of regular wheat flour pancakes. Stir in Well Naturally Melts. Heat a large, flat-based fry pan over medium heat and brush or spray with a little coconut oil. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan and spread into a circle. Repeat until you have filled the pan, usually 3 or 4 pancakes will fit. Cook until the bottom is golden brown and the top is set around the edges. You will see little bubbles start to form – a good sign that it's cooked through and ready to flip. Flip and continue cooking until second side is golden brown. Remove from pan and keep warm whilst repeating the process with remaining batter until finished. Serve with melted chocolate and your choice of toppings.

Hayley Cavicchiolo is a nutritionist, food and wellness coach with a passion for healthy, active living and creating real food recipes that are gluten, grain and refined sugar free. As part of her business, Nourished Habits, Hayley specialises in treating food intolerances, creating specialised nutrition and fitness programs, and providing a range of nourishing, allergen-free food products. Email: hayley@nourishedhabits.com Facebook: Nourished Habits

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HEALTHY KITCHEN

CHOCOLATE DRIZZLED COCONUT MACAROONS Chewy and sweet, these luscious biscuits are the perfect balance of coconut and chocolate. They are very moreish, so be sure to share them with those in need of a winter pick-me-up. Gluten free | Sugar free | Dairy free | Paleo

Makes 10-12 macaroons Ingredients 2 large eggs, whites only ¼ teaspoon coconut extract 2 tablespoons Natvia 2 cups shredded coconut ½ cup Well Naturally Melts Method Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan forced). Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites for 3-5 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.

Add the coconut extract and Natvia then fold in the coconut. Line a biscuit tray with baking paper and using a melon baller or small ice cream scoop, place scoopfuls of the mixture on the tray. Bake macaroons for 15-20 minutes or until they turn a lovely golden brown all over. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Melt chocolate as per package instructions and drizzle over the macaroons, allowing them to set before serving.

Hayley uses Well Naturally Melts in her chocolate recipes. This delicious, 70% cocoa, cooking chocolate is sweetened naturally with stevia, not sugar. Available in the health food section of leading supermarkets and online: shop-vitalitybrands.com 23


HEALTHY KITCHEN

HONEY-ROASTED PUMPKIN, BORLOTTI BEAN, BROCCOLINI AND HAZELNUT SALAD Borlotti beans have a creamy rich texture and nutty flavour that makes a perfect match with the honey-roasted pumpkin and hazelnuts. They are high in protein and fibre. Gluten free | Dairy free | Vegetarian

Serves 4 Ingredients 1½ tablespoons honey 1½ tablespoons olive oil 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped rosemary 800g pumpkin, seeded and cut into wedges 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

250g (about 2 bunches) broccolini, trimmed 400g tin borlotti beans, drained and rinsed 1 head radicchio, trimmed and leaves torn 2 tablespoons lightly toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

Method Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Combine 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon olive oil and the rosemary in a large bowl. Add the pumpkin and toss to coat. Place on the prepared tray and roast for 30-40 minutes or until golden, turning halfway through the cooking time. Meanwhile, combine the remaining honey and oil and the vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside. Cook the broccolini in a saucepan of boiling water until just tender. Drain. Combine the pumpkin, broccolini, borlotti beans, radicchio and hazelnuts in a large bowl. Add the honey dressing and gently toss to combine. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Tip: Queensland blue pumpkin has a firm texture after roasting, so it’s ideal to use in this salad. Butternut pumpkin is a good substitute. You can replace the tinned borlotti beans with 255g (1½ cups) cooked borlotti beans.

Pod power The legume family spans 13,000 species. Legumes are wholefoods – as close to their natural state as possible. They are packed with nutrition and flavour, whilst being easy and versatile to cook with. 24


HEALTHY KITCHEN

BREAKFAST QUESADILLAS WITH BLACK BEANS, SPINACH AND MUSHROOMS These quesadillas form a balanced meal for vegetarians, combining mushrooms (rich in B vitamins) and black beans (low in fat, high in protein). Enjoy them for breakfast or lunch. Vegan

Serves 4 Ingredients 1 tablespoon olive oil 200g button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced 1 garlic clove, crushed 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed 1 vine-ripened tomato, diced 4 large wholegrain tortillas 50g (½ cup) grated cheddar cheese 50g (1 cup, firmly packed) baby English spinach leaves Hot chilli sauce, to taste Olive oil spray, for toasting 95g (¹/ ³ cup) natural yoghurt Coriander leaves, to garnish Method Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until golden. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the beans and tomato and cook for 1 minute or until heated through.

Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside. Preheat a sandwich press. Spread a quarter of the mushroom mixture over half of a tortilla. Top with a quarter of the cheese, a quarter of the spinach leaves, and chilli sauce to taste. Fold the tortilla over to enclose the filling. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and fillings. Spray the quesadillas on both sides with oil. Cook in batches in the sandwich press for 3 minutes or until the quesadillas are crisp and the cheese has melted. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt, garnished with coriander.

Tip: You can replace the

tinned beans with 255g (1½ cups) cooked black beans. Instead of using a sandwich press, you can cook the quesadillas in a large non-stick frying pan for 2 minutes each side. 25


HEALTHY KITCHEN

HEALTHY KITCHEN

GINGER BEEF AND SNAKE BEAN STIR-FRY Snake beans, also known as Chinese long beans or yard-long beans, are dark green and crunchy. If you can’t find them, substitute regular green beans. Dairy free

Serves 4 Ingredients 250g fresh or frozen edamame (soy beans) 1 tablespoon peanut or macadamia oil 500g lean rump steak, thinly sliced across the grain 1 white onion, thinly sliced 3cm piece ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks 1 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped

200g snake beans, trimmed and sliced 1 red capsicum, seeded and thinly sliced 2 tablespoons oyster sauce 1 tablespoon low-salt soy sauce 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine Steamed brown rice, to serve (optional) Spring onions, thinly sliced, to garnish (optional)

Method Cook the edamame in a saucepan of boiling water for 1 minute. Refresh under cold, running water. Drain. Remove the beans from the pods (discard pods) and set aside. Heat half the oil in a large wok over high heat. Stir-fry the beef in two batches for 2 minutes or until golden. Remove from the wok and set aside. Return the wok to high heat. Add the remaining oil and the onion and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the ginger and chilli and stir‑fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the snake beans, capsicum and 2 tablespoons of water and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until the vegetables are almost tender. Return the beef to the wok with the reserved edamame and the oyster sauce, soy sauce and rice wine and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately on steamed brown rice, if desired, garnished with spring onions.

Recipes and images from Superlegumes ​by Chrissy Freer (Murdoch Books) $29.99 available now instore and online. 26


HEALTHY KITCHEN

Here's to health One-size-fits-all diets often don't work. Understanding personal requirements, nutrition and portions will help you develop a sustainable eating plan. These dishes will get you started.

SUPER-GREEN CANDY SALAD WITH MANGO AND POMEGRANATE You almost feel healthier simply by looking at this plate of fresh food, but do eat it, because it’s delicious and oh-so good for you. You could also use tofu instead of chicken. Serves 2 Ingredients For the "sauce" 60g baby leaf spinach 10g mint 10g coriander 20g spring onion ¼ red chilli 25ml extra virgin olive oil For the salad 200g (1 cup) raw quinoa 140g chicken breast Salt and black pepper, to season Extra virgin olive oil 50g edamame (soy beans) 20g peppadew peppers, quartered 100g mango, peeled and cut into chunks 45g pomegranate seeds 45g candy beetroot, peeled and finely sliced 45g golden beetroot, peeled and finely sliced 45g feta cheese Alfalfa sprouts, to garnish Method First, make the "sauce". Place everything into a blender, blitz to make a purée and set aside. This sauce will be used later to transform the colour of the cooked quinoa into a gorgeous, vibrant green. Cook the quinoa in boiling water for 15 minutes. When cooked, drain and leave it to cool down.

Tip: You can replace the tinned beans with 255g

(1½ cups) cooked black beans. Quinoa is a very slow-release form of carbohydrate, perfect for fuelling training sessions.

Slice the chicken breast along its length so you get a butterflied joint. Season, lightly oil and cook in a frying pan over a medium heat for 4 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat and shred the chicken. In a large bowl, mix the "sauce" with the cooked quinoa. Then toss all the prepared fruits and vegetables in, mix and crumble in the feta. Divide between 2 plates, add chicken and garnish with alfalfa. 27


HEALTHY KITCHEN

PUMPKIN CANNELLONI WITH ROASTED VEGETABLES With its classical Italian heritage, this vegetarian dish stands on its own without the need for meat. It’s served with a vibrant spinach and basil sauce. Serves 2 Ingredients For the cannelloni 130g butternut squash or pumpkin, diced 160g (¾ cup) low-fat cream cheese ¼ teaspoon lemon thyme leaves For the roasted vegetables ½ small onion, diced 100g baby corn, sliced 180g cherry tomatoes 50g black olives, pitted 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 4 fresh egg lasagne sheets

For the sauce 120ml (½ cup) water 1½ teaspoon cornflour 2.5g organic vegetable bouillon (¼ cube or ¾ teaspoon powder) 150g spinach 15g (generous cup) basil Sea salt

Method In a large pan with several litres of water, add the diced squash and bring to the boil. Cook until soft but not falling apart. Drain through a sieve and return to the pan. Then, add the cream cheese, lemon thyme and seasoning to taste. Preheat the oven to 220°C and grab a baking tray. Preheat an electric steamer or use a nest steamer over a pan of boiling water. Place a sheet of the lasagne into the steamer and cook for 2 minutes until softened slightly. Remove from the steamer and place onto a chopping board. Spoon one-quarter of the squash and cheese mixture evenly along the shortest edge (have the shortest edge nearest you so it’s easy to roll to make the cannelloni). Roll the lasagne to create a tube with the mixture inside, overlapping the end by 2.5-3cm and trimming off any excess. Repeat this with the other lasagne sheets. Meanwhile, put the onion, baby corn, tomatoes and olives on a baking tray, drizzle with the oil and roast in a preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Place the nowassembled four cannelloni back into the steamer and steam for 6-8 minutes. Meanwhile, in a cup, mix a little of the water with the cornflour to form a paste then stir in the rest of the water. Place this along with the vegetable bouillon into a large pan with a lid and bring to the boil. While it’s boiling, add the spinach and the basil and stir. Put the lid on and bring back to the boil to wilt the spinach. Transfer the contents of the pan to a jug blender and blitz until smooth (or, if you prefer, use a hand-held blender). Return the sauce to the pan and add salt to taste, then reheat and serve. Place 2 cannelloni and half the roasted vegetables onto each plate, then pour over the hot sauce and serve immediately. 28


HEALTHY KITCHEN

Tip: If you’re serving these to guests, make the cannelloni in advance and store in a sealed container; they take just a few minutes to reheat in the microwave or oven.

PORK CASSOULET Try this wonderfully flavoursome and filling pork dish with gutsy chorizo, beans and tomatoes. It’s easy to make and ideal for the whole family to enjoy. Serves 2 Ingredients 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 50g chorizo, diced ½ onion, diced 220g pork fillet (tenderloin), cut into 1cm cubes 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 400g tin chopped tomatoes 220g (1½ cups) cooked cannellini beans 1 tablespoon tomato paste 5g organic vegetable bouillon (½ cube or 1½ teaspoon powder) 1 teaspoon agave syrup ½ teaspoon cornflour 50ml (scant ¼ cup) water 20g spinach leaves 1 sprig parsley 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, picked 160g tenderstem broccoli

Recipes and images from Soulmate Food - Fitness Gourmet by Christian Coats (Murdoch Books) $49.99 available now.

Method Preheat a large pan over a high heat, add the oil, chorizo, onion and pork and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, bouillon and agave syrup to the pan. In a cup, mix the cornflour with the water and add to the pan. Stirring well, bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes. Chop the spinach and add this with the parsley and the thyme for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Cook the broccoli in a pan of boiling water over a high heat for 3 minutes. Drain and serve immediately. To serve, divide the cassoulet between 2 bowls and serve the tenderstem broccoli alongside.

Tip: Pork is a great source of selenium, which is required for correct reproduction and thyroid function, as well as being an antioxidant.

If you are not a meat eater, replace the pork with more beans. You will still have a high-protein meal, which is now even lower in fat. 29


HEALTHY KITCHEN

BREAKFAST CURRY Bored with porridge for breakfast? Add interest to your morning with this tantalising breakfast curry. It has just the right amount of spice to kick-start your day and warm you up when it's cold outside. Preparation: 10 minutes Cooking time: 7 hours (slow cooker) 1 hour (stovetop) Serves: 4

Ingredients 20g ghee or butter 2 sprigs curry leaves 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds 3 teaspoons finely grated fresh turmeric or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 red onion, finely grated 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger ½ teaspoon ground fennel 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon ground coriander 500g waxy potatoes, cut into 3cm cubes 3 vine-ripened tomatoes, halved, coarsely grated, skins discarded 140g frozen peas 8 eggs Sliced green chilli and coriander sprigs, to serve In the slow cooker Put all the ingredients except the peas and eggs into the slow cooker. Add 125ml of water and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, then cook on low for 7 hours. Stir in the peas and cook for a further 5 minutes until warmed through.

Meanwhile, poach the eggs in a pan of simmering water until done to your liking. Serve the curry topped with the poached eggs, sliced chilli and coriander sprigs. On the stovetop Heat the ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry leaves, mustard seeds, turmeric, onion, ginger, fennel, cumin and coriander and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes until the onion has softened. Add the potatoes, tomatoes and 125ml of water and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, then cover with a lid and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the peas and cook for a further 5 minutes until warmed through. Meanwhile, poach the eggs in a pan of simmering water until done to your liking. Serve the curry topped with the poached eggs, sliced chilli and coriander sprigs.

Go slow Winter is a great time to stay in and spend more time creating delicious, slow cooked dishes that will please those you love. Made using wholefoods, these satisfying meals are also quite nutritious. 30


HEALTHY KITCHEN

CARAMEL PORK BELLY If you want to garnish this dish with crispy Thai basil, briefly fry a handful of the leaves in a little oil until translucent. If you can’t find Thai basil, just scatter some regular basil or coriander leaves over the top instead. Preparation: 10 minutes Cooking time: 4¾ hours (slow cooker) 1 hour 50 minutes (stovetop) Serves: 6

Ingredients 1 tablespoon grapeseed or rice bran oil 1.5kg skinless pork belly, cut into 5cm pieces 3 tablespoons kecap manis 185ml rice malt syrup 1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 4 garlic cloves, crushed 3 tablespoons fish sauce 4 star anise 250ml chicken stock 1 teaspoon cornflour – only needed for slow cooker 1 small bunch snake beans or a handful of green beans, cut into 5cm lengths Steamed rice, Thai basil and sliced chilli, to serve In the slow cooker Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over high heat. Cook the pork for 5 minutes until browned. Meanwhile, combine the kecap manis, syrup, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, fish sauce and star anise in a bowl.

Pour the mixture into the pan and cook for 3 minutes to glaze the pork. Transfer to the slow cooker. Combine the chicken stock and cornflour in a bowl until smooth, then add to the slow cooker and stir well. Cook on high for 4 hours. Skim any fat from the surface, then add the beans and cook for a further 30 minutes. Serve with steamed rice, Thai basil and chilli. On the stovetop Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over high heat. Cook the pork for 5 minutes until browned. Meanwhile, combine the kecap manis, syrup, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, fish sauce, star anise and stock in a bowl. Pour the mixture into the pan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover with a lid and cook for 90 minutes until the pork is tender. Skim any fat from the surface, then stir in the beans and cook for 10 minutes until tender. Serve with steamed rice, Thai basil and chilli. 31


HEALTHY KITCHEN

BUTTER MISO MUSHROOM RISOTTO A modern Japanese twist on an Italian classic, this versatile risotto can also be made with other vegetables, such as pumpkin and snow peas. Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour 50 minutes (slow cooker) 35 minutes (stovetop)

Serves 4 Ingredients 1 tablespoon sesame oil 300g sushi rice, rinsed 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 spring onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts kept separate 4 tablespoons white miso paste 50g butter 400g mixed Asian mushrooms, such as shiitake (stems discarded and caps sliced), shimeji and enoki 50g baby spinach leaves Toasted sesame seeds, to serve In the slow cooker Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the rice, garlic and the white parts of the spring onions and stir for 1 minute until the rice grains are well coated. Transfer to the slow cooker. Whisk the miso paste with 750ml (3 cups) of boiling water until dissolved, then pour into the slow cooker. Cook on high for 1村 hours, stirring halfway through. Melt 20g of the butter in the frying pan over mediumhigh heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes until slightly softened. Tip the mushrooms into the slow cooker, along with 185ml (他 cup) of boiling water. Stir well, then cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining butter and the spinach leaves, plus another 185ml (他 cup) of boiling water if needed, and cook for 10-15 minutes until the spinach wilts and the rice is al dente. Check the seasoning. Scatter with the green parts of the spring onions and toasted sesame seeds to serve. On the stovetop Melt 20g of the butter in a large, deep frying pan over medium-high heat and cook the mushrooms for 3 minutes until slightly softened. Remove and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium and add the oil to the pan. Add the rice, garlic and the white parts of the spring onions and stir for 1 minute, until the rice grains are thoroughly coated. Whisk the miso paste with 750ml (3 cups) of boiling water until dissolved. Add a ladleful of this miso stock to the pan and cook until the liquid has been absorbed before adding another ladleful. Continue adding the miso stock until the rice is almost al dente. Stir in the remaining butter, spinach leaves and mushrooms, plus another 185ml (他 cup) of boiling water if needed, and cook for 5 minutes until the spinach wilts and the rice is al dente. Check the seasoning. Scatter with the green parts of the spring onions and toasted sesame seeds to serve. 32

Recipes and images from Whole Food Slow Cooked by Olivia Andrews (Murdoch Books) $35 available July.


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ODE TO OATS We love our oats in winter – served warm and creamy as porridge, or used in warming winter desserts like apple crumble. We also know oats are good for us – but do we know why exactly? Tammy Kacev dishes out the health facts (and some delicious recipes).

LOWERS CHOLESTEROL: Oats contain a specific type of fibre known called beta-glucan. This fibre lowers cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels are correlated with the build-up of plaque in our blood vessels that block the blood vessels, potentially causing heart attacks, stroke, or blood clots.

IMPROVES DIGESTIVE HEALTH: Oats are great for digestive health because they are high in insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibre passes through the digestive system without being absorbed, which bulks up stools and helps keep bowel movements regular.

DECREASES RISK OF CANCER: Oats are a rich source of plant-based phytochemicals. Phytoestrogen compounds, called lignans, in oats have been linked to decreased risk of hormone-related diseases, and are said to reduce a person's risk of getting cancer.

KEEPS YOU FEELING FULLER FOR LONGER:

Tammy Kacev is passionate about nutrition, health and fitness. She holds a Bachelor degree in Psychology and a Masters of Nutrition. Tammy is registered with the Nutrition Society of Australia (NSA) and is also a Les Mills group fitness instructor. Mobile: 0402 369 190 Email: kacevt@gmail.com Facebook: Tammy Nutrition Instagram: Tammynutrition

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One cup of plain, wholegrain, cooked oats has less than 150 calories, yet its fibre content is what keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Oats have a low glycemic index (GI is a rate at which carbohydrates affect your blood sugar levels). When you eat oats, your body will digest and absorb them slowly, keeping your blood glucose level more stable, thus keeping you feeling full.


PEANUT BUTTER OAT BALLS

STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE

Makes 5-6

Makes 2

Ingredients 4 cups wholemeal rolled oats 2 ⁄ 3 cup peanut butter ½ cup chia seeds ½ teaspoon honey ½ cup shredded coconut

Ingredients 1 cup milk (personal choice: almond, soy or full cream) ½ cup rolled oats 1 banana 10-12 strawberries ½ teaspoon honey or liquid stevia to taste

Method Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Shape into balls. Put in freezer for an hour to set.

Method Put all ingredients into blender and mix.

Delicious recipes PROTEIN PANCAKES

OAT & BANANA MUFFINS

Makes 4

Makes 12

Ingredients ⁄ 3 cup wholemeal rolled oats 3 eggs ½ scoop of vanilla protein powder 2 tablespoons of almond milk ½ teaspoon of cinnamon 1½ tablespoons vanilla essence

Ingredients 8-10 soft, pitted dates 4 cups wholemeal rolled oats 2 bananas (mashed) 2½ tablespoons honey 2 cups milk (personal choice: almond, soy or full cream) 1 cup Well Naturally Melts 1 tablespoon of coconut oil ½ tablespoon of vanilla essence

1

Toppings 100-200g plain Greek yoghurt ½ cup strawberries and/or blueberries Method Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Using ¼ cup mixture per pancake, cook 2 pancakes for 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook other side for 3-4 minutes. Serve with your choice of toppings.

Method Preheat oven to 180-200ºC. Grease 12 muffin cups. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients (wet ingredients including the banana). Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well. Fill prepared muffin cups about ¾ full. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Leave to sit in oven for 5 minutes on wire racks.

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HOW HEALTHY IS YOUR HEALTH BAR?

Almost all of the sampled products were composed of at least one quarter pure sugar. 36


EAT FIT

Health bars are a popular snack and are perceived as being a better-for-you alternative to biscuits, chips and confectionery. But how healthy are they really? Wladimir Budnik investigates. Most health bars are predominantly composed of a blend of grains, cereals, seeds, nuts and dried fruits, and we all know that such ingredients are good for us. These ingredients provide us with nutirients and benefits such as complex carbohydrates, dietary fibre, beneficial fats, essential minerals, trace elements, antioxidants and vitamins, to mention a few. But here's the catch. When all these nutritious ingredients are made into a bar, they need to be brought together with some form of syrup. It is here where their “healthier” status is compromised. Almost without exception, the “syrup” ingredient will be a sugar product such as glucose, fructose, sucrose (cane sugar), juice concentrate, rice syrup, malt extract and the like, and in many cases this comprises 25 per cent or more of the bar. In other words, most bars traditionally marketed as “health bars” are actually one-quarter sugar! Recently in the UK, a well-known consumer advocacy group commissioned a survey of 15 leading cereal bars and breakfast biscuits to investigate their sugar levels. Brands included Eat Natural, Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain, Alpen and Nature Valley. Of the 15 bars and biscuits surveyed, 12 had “high” sugar levels that would be listed “red” under the UK traffic light labelling system, ranging in sugar levels from 22-42 per cent. The worst of which (Kellogg’s Cocoa Pop Bars at 42 per cent sugar) was specifically marketed to children. Eight out of the 15 contained 30 per cent or more sugar. Interested by these findings, I decided to conduct my own survey of products available in the Australian market. I sampled 31 bar and snack products representing well known, popular brands purchased from the heathy snacking and cereal bars section of a major supermarket. The results were astounding. The sugar content of each bar ranged from 20.7 to 63.5 per cent, with the average being 43.7 per cent sugar across all the “healthy snacking” options sampled. Of most concern were those products aimed specifically at children with taglines such as “lunchbox friendly”, “lunch box fun”, “sure-fire lunch box hit” and similar statements. It was these very products that contained some of the higher levels of sugar within the sample range. Twenty nine of the 31 bars and snacks sampled had a sugar content greater than 25 per cent, which means almost all of the sampled products were composed of at least one quarter pure sugar. Quite concerning isn't it? It doesn’t have to be this way. At Vitality Brands, we believe that healthy bars and snacks can be made without adding sugar or juice concentrates (which are just sugars in disguise). Following on from our years of expertise in developing, what we believe to be, the best range of No Sugar Added Chocolate on the market

today, we took the same learnings and applied them to what we saw was a big gap in the healthy snacking category: Cereal Bars with No Sugar Added. Adopting our tried and true philosophy of “taking the bad stuff out and putting the good stuff in”, we replaced the sugar syrup traditionally used in cereal bars with a soluble dietary fibre Polydextrose, a multipurpose, soluble fibre that is used in foods as a replacement for sugar, starch and fat, resulting in a lower calorie, healthier alternative. We then took all the nutritious, tasty ingredients that people love to eat in health bars such as nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews), seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, linseed), grains (quinoa, brown rice, rice bran) and dried fruits (currants, sultanas) and naturally sweetened the bars with stevia to create Well Naturally No Sugar Added Cereal Bars. These bars have an average sugar content of 6.4 per cent (sugars naturally present in the ingredients) and a whopping 29.8 per cent dietary fibre across three varieties. They have no artificial colours or flavours and attract a shining Health Star Rating of 4.5. You can’t get much healthier than that! So next time you go shopping the health bar aisle, ask yourself the question: “how healthy is my health bar?”

Looking to cut excess sugar from your health bar? Well Naturally. % SUGAR PER 100G

SUGAR PER SERVE PORTION

Well Naturally No Sugar Added Nuts & Seeds

3.2g

1.1g

Well Naturally No Sugar Added Nuts

3.9g

1.4g

Well Naturally No Sugar Added Fruits & Seeds

12.0g

4.2g

Go Natural Nut Delight

20.7g

7.3g

Kellog’s Special K Chocolatey Bars Caramel

30.8g

6.6g

Uncle Tobys Yoghurt Topps Strawberry

32.5g

10.2g

Carman's Classic Fruit & Nut Bar

17.5g

7.9

PRODUCT NAME

Compare the sugar content of Well Naturally No Sugar Added Cereal Bars to that of other popular brands. The healthier choice is clear.

Available in the Healthier Bites section at Woolworths, IGA and Foodworks and selected Target stores.

Wladimir Budnik is a food scientist who heads the Education Department at Vitality Brands. His current role is the latest in his 50-year career, which has included key management roles in three of the world’s leading food manufacturing companies. Wladimir holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Masters of Business Administration. He is a scientific expert on diet, nutrition and skin care. 37


EAT FIT

MEETING THAT SUGAR MAN

How much sugar do we consume each day? Is that fat-free yoghurt really healthy? Which contains more sugar: soft drink or juice? Is sugar really that bad for you? Australian actor and film director Damon Gameau sets out to answer all these questions and more in That Sugar Film. Vitality met the star at a special screening of the movie, where he shared his views on the sweet stuff.

CHAT WITH THAT SUGAR FILM DIRECTOR, DAMON GAMEAU Have you seen That Sugar Film? You should! This popular Australian documentary will open your eyes to (or perhaps just remind you of) the excessive amount of sugar many of us consume each day. The film highlights how sugar is often “hidden” in foods commonly perceived as “healthy” such as cereal, juice, muesli bars, fruit snacks and yoghurt.

And while this may seem extreme, That Sugar Film reminds us of why it’s so important.

Scarily, these foods fill around 80 per cent of supermarket shelves. They’re all around us, and as the film argues, many of us are not aware of just how detrimental over-consumption can be to our health.

The results reveal themselves throughout the film – and are quite astounding, with Damon visibly gaining weight around his stomach, developing fatty liver disease and suffering mood swings and energy slumps. And while he purportedly consumes the same amount of calories as he previously did, he would never feel full on his new diet.

The film tracks the journey of producer and star, Damon Gameau. For 60 days, Damon undertakes an experiment whereby he only eats packaged foods that are perceived as “healthy”. His intake totals around 40 teaspoons per day (the national Australian average), and that’s just from consuming these foods. There is no “junk” food on his menu. Putting it into context: the World Health Organisation recommends we consume only six teaspoons of sugar each day for a healthy diet. 38

For three years preceding the experiment, Damon had “quit” sugar – avoiding packaged foods and replacing them with fruits, vegetables, grains and lean protein. He therefore had a clean slate from which to begin his experiment.

The message dispels the theory of pure calorie counting for weight loss – not all calories are created equal! Like these sugar-laden foods that masquerade as healthy, the film masquerades as bright and entertaining. It’s addictively appealing to a mass audience; with candycoloured, sprinkle-covered, frostingdolloped scenes, boppy beats and

cameos from popular actors and personalities to keep us watching. But beneath the sugar-coated exterior is a very serious message. Vitality attended a special screening of the film – which concluded with a visit from Damon, who stuck around to answer the audience’s questions surrounding the topic. During this session, audience members asked and listened first hand to stories of Damon’s experience, and his attitude toward sugar consumption and healthy eating. Despite the strong “anti-sugar” sentiment of the film, the actor advises that the best way to approach healthier eating is to tailor a diet to suit your own needs and level of health. “Many people are trying lower carbohydrate eating and having fantastic results,


EAT FIT

The main sweetener currently seen as a healthy alternative is stevia.

Members of the Vit Damon during ality team with the premier

but it is up to the individual,” he says. “I just know I am a better person when my blood sugars aren’t going up and down. To get back on track, I remove those (high carbohydrate) foods for a couple of months.” But what works for Damon could be too extreme for someone initially attempting to exit a high sugar diet. He says the best thing to do is simply make a start. “It’s all relative. During a recent radio interview I did, a listener phoned and said, ‘my wife’s been nagging me for years to give up sugar – I have three litres of soft drink a day’. I thought to myself, ‘She should be nagging you’. But he went on to explain that two weeks ago, he cut his consumption back to one can a day, and he now feels amazing! It’s all just relative to where you’re at and how much sugar you’re actually having,” Damon explains. The director also disagrees that sugar has the same negative effect on everyone as it did on him. “I absolutely don’t think that everyone will be affected by sugar in the same way I was. I think we’re all biochemically and genetically different, and we all respond differently to foods, so I think we need to move away from the idea that one diet fits all.” Despite his experience with the adverse effects of sugar consumption throughout his experiment, Damon takes a balanced approached to “quitting” sugar. He says going cold turkey is not always the best option, but we must be mindful of just how much sugar we have already consumed, if we do decide to indulge. “If you’re not having much refined sugar anywhere else in your diet, the odd bit of maple syrup or honey is going to be okay. We’ve got to be very gentle with ourselves around this stuff, and still allow treats every now and again. If that’s your fifth teaspoon for the day, go for it.”

“If you’re having a glass of wine, great, but maybe don’t have the apple juice, the low fat yoghurt and the bowl of ice cream as well,” he describes. “It’s all about knowing how much sugar you’re having in our day so you can get your power back. You know the parameters and it is up to you to decide. I hope this film can help people understand how much sugar they’re actually having in a day so they can choose the sugar they do want to have.” Of course, there are always alternatives to sugar that can allow us to indulge in something sweet without the same effects on our bodies as sugar. Damon cautions against artificial sweeteners, however. “The studies that I’m aware of are not great for artificial sweeteners. Diet drinks containing artificial sweeteners have been known to spike insulin as well, having similar effects to sugar. And we know the brain can’t be tricked. Artificial sweeteners might activate your rewards centre (like sugar does) but your body doesn’t get the full hit of the sugar so it might crave it in another item somewhere else. You might go for a doughnut later on in the day.” Damon does advocate the use of natural sweetener, stevia as a good alternative: “The main sweetener currently seen as a healthy alternative is stevia. From the people I’ve spoken to, that’s probably the recommended one…You can even buy stevia plants in Bunnings and literally grow it on your windowsill. To make a cup of tea, pick off a leaf and put it straight in there.” Damon says his preferred sweetener of choice is still sweet fruit such as banana, mentioning that his wife, Zoe uses fruits to create desserts, and as a sweetener when baking. While the That Sugar Film message may not be new to health conscious viewers who know their way around a nutrition panel, it does serve to highlight the perils of excess sugar consumption for those who may not be aware, or may need a reminder, of just how much sugar they are consuming each day. For more information on That Sugar Film, visit: thatsugarfilm.com

For Damon, the same level of good judgement also applies to alcohol, which contains a type of sugar called Maltose. 39


EAT THE BLUES Winter can naturally make us feel a little low. Humans

love warmth and light, and such conditions are scarce throughout the middle of the year. How does this impact our eating patterns? Do we simply gorge on comfort food to make us feel better, or is there a scientific reason as to why we reach for carb-laden fare? Selina Mithen explains. 40


EAT FIT

If you associate winter with hibernation and high carb snacks, you’re not alone. Many of us experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) around this time of year, with women more likely to be affected than men. Whilst the reason for SAD is not resoundingly clear, it is believed that a lack of sunlight leads to increased melatonin synthesis from the pineal gland in the brain. Melatonin is the hormone that controls one’s sleep-wake cycle (known as circadian rhythm), signalling the brain when it’s time to sleep. Production of melatonin is naturally triggered by reduced light at night. In winter, when exposure to light is reduced due to shorter days and overcast stormy weather, we can produce melatonin thorough out the day. The brain may interpret this reduced light as a cue for instigating sleep, making us feel tired and down. With increased melatonin also comes an interrupted sleep-wake cycle and abnormal serotonin synthesis. Serotonin (our “feel good” hormone) is a precursor to melatonin production. So as our demand for melatonin production increases, this can lead to serotonin depletion, and depressed mood. Other symptoms of SAD include low energy, oversleeping, irritability, difficulty concentrating, appetite changes and weight gain.

EAT THE RIGHT FOODS

Individuals with SAD experience increased hyperphagia (excessive hunger or increased appetite) and carbohydrate cravings, which are typically symptoms of depleted serotonin. Carbohydrate consumption is closely linked to serotonin concentration. Carbohydrates increase the availability of tryptophan (an amino acid that is needed as a precursor for serotonin synthesis). Carbohydrates, as a food source, tip the availability of amino acids from food in tryptophan's favour, making a higher concentration available to the brain. Simple carbohydrates have a quicker effect on serotonin production, as simpler carbohydrates are absorbed into the bloodstream more rapidly than complex carbohydrates. This is why we usually reach for the bread, cakes and chips on cold, dark days. As we know, excess carbohydrate consumption results in a net energy surplus that will eventually lead to storage in fat cells and weight gain. Consumption of processed carbs affects the body’s hormonal balance, leading to inflammation and excess fat storage. The key is to eat natural, complex sources of carbohydrates. Try making your own muesli bars or healthy slices, and incorporating healthier carbs like lentils, brown rice and sweet potatoes to sustain serotonin levels on a more even level than eating high sugar, refined carbohydrates. A great way to boost serotonin levels through diet is to eat dark chocolate made from at least 70 per cent cocoa. Dark chocolate is very high in polyphenols, which boost serotonin levels in the brain. Chocolate that contains no added sugar, such as Well Naturally Chocolate, is a healthier choice here. There are several nutrients needed in the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin. The main nutrients are Vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, folate, and Vitamin C. Factors that can deplete these nutrients are excessive alcohol, coffee consumption, diuretics, low stomach acid and poor quality diets.

The key is to eat natural, complex sources of carbohydrates. Of course it's not just your diet; behavioural ways to help beat SAD are discussed below.

MANAGE STRESS

Stress may increase your need for serotonin and make it harder to control food intake. Cortisol, the stress hormone, increases a tryptophan-degrading enzyme, which lowers serotonin production. Try practicing yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and getting regular exercise to reduce stress.

LIGHT THERAPY

Light therapy involves sitting in front of a light therapy box that emits very bright light (and filters out harmful ultraviolet rays) for 30 minutes or more a day during winter. There are blue light lamps that are recommended for use in winter for 30 minutes. The light used in this type of therapy is 10,000 lux (lux is the unit of measurement that gauges the power of the light source), which is about 10 times brighter than normal room lighting. Fifteen minutes of exposure to this type of light is equivalent to approximately two hours of natural daylight. Keeping such a light source close throughout the day can be a good way to perk up. Waking up with gradually brightening light can also assist your body to adjust to waking, especially if you love sleeping in a completely dark room. Gradually increasing light can allow you to feel more refreshed and awake in the mornings. This type of light has a natural re-setting effect on your body clock, triggering the brain to gradually stop producing melatonin, and produce more cortisol instead, which is your “get up and go” hormone. You can find these lamps at wakeupbright.com.au. The trick to beating the winter blues is not beating yourself up over carb consumption. In the face of increased melatonin production, your body needs carbs more than ever. Simply be sure to eat the right carbs and maintain exercise to minimise weight gain and help control stress. Introducing more light can also help, as does a good belly laugh or two.

Selina Mithen is a qualified naturopath with 15 years' experience in clinical consulting, research, and nutrition. She has also worked as a lecturer, and in new product development within the health and beauty industries. 41


EAT FIT

The way to brain health is through your stomach How good digestion and diet improves mental function There’s bacteria in your gut that can change the way your brain functions; causing symptoms such as anxiety, brain fog, and headaches. It sounds like science fiction, but this is science fact. According to Benjamin Brown, improving your digestive health can lead to better mental functioning.

42


EAT FIT

Deep inside your digestive tract, you have a hidden world teeming with bacteria – around 2-3 kilograms to be more specific. They actually out-number the cells in your body by a factor of 10 to 1. We once thought that they mainly helped us digest food, but new research is turning our understanding of the role of your gut bacteria on its head, literally. It has been recently revealed that your gut bacteria can communicate directly with your brain. This is a revolutionary discovery that gives new importance to a healthy digestive system, because it means problems such as anxiety could be due to poor digestive health. In fact, we have known people with symptoms such as occasional bloating, distension, constipation, abdominal pain and diarrhea (also known as irritable bowel syndrome or IBS) often also suffer from symptoms such as anxiety, depression, brain fog, headaches, and mental fatigue. We now know this is not due to chance, and these brain based problems may be stemming from our digestive system. One of the biggest scientific breakthroughs in our understanding came from a world-leading research group specialising in the gut bacteriabrain connection at University College Cork, Ireland when they were able to show, though a series of experiments, that probiotic bacteria can directly influence neurotransmitters deep in the brain and have an anti-depressant effect. This remarkable discovery is now being seriously investigated in humans.

Recently, a study published in the leading scientific journal, the British Journal of Nutrition, found that a probiotic was able confer similar brain benefits in humans as well. Compared to a placebo, the probiotic supplement was able to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve mood after just 30 days. What’s more, their blood levels of stress hormones significantly decreased. So it appears that healthy gut bacteria result in a healthy brain, better mood, and lower levels of stress. The great thing about these discoveries is that they are empowering; you can quickly improve your gut bacteria and this can improve the health of your brain and whole body. Probiotics are without doubt a quick, safe and effective way to make a difference; but the secret to healthy bacteria has more to do with your diet. You may not think about it when you eat, but whenever you consume food you are also feeding your gut bacteria. Like any garden, they need the right food to flourish and survive and it’s clear that they love to eat plants, lots of them, and a wide variety. Increasing your intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes is key. And, if these are like fertiliser for your inner forest, then sugar, refined foods, junk food, and soft drink are like acid rain and best avoided. In other words, foods that have always been considered healthy are healthy for us because they are healthy for our inner bacterial friends which, in turn, keep our brain healthy.

References: Desbonnet L, et al. The probiotic Bifidobacteria infantis: An assessment of potential antidepressant properties in the rat. J Psychiatr Res. 2008 Dec; 43(2):164-74. Messaoudi M, et al. Assessment of psychotropic-like properties of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in rats and human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2011 Mar;105(5):755-64.

Benjamin Brown is the author of The Digestive Health Solution (Exisle 2015). He teaches nutritional medicine and contributes regularly to industry magazines and scientific journals. Ben is on boards at the UK College of Nutrition and Health (BCNH) and lectures at numerous high profile institutions around the world. He specialises in plain English solutions, derived from science. The Digestive Health Solution is available from exislepublishing.com.au and wherever good books are sold. RRP $29.99.

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THE CORE OF HEALTHY LIVING How healthy is your core? Do you know of the vital role core strength plays in everyday physical function and overall wellbeing? YMCA Health Club Director Stephen Littlewood provides the answers.

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FIT FOR LIFE

The Medical Journal of Australia reports that up to 80 per cent of Australians will experience back pain at some point in their lives, and 10 per cent will experience significant disability as a result. Back pain disrupts quality of life and accounts for an enormous cost to the community. The key to preventing back pain is a healthy, robust core. You may have heard that the key to health, wellness, fitness or even life itself, is your core strength.

The key to preventing back pain is a healthy, robust core.

GETTING TO THE CORE Similar to the example of the core of an apple, the human core is the centre of the body from the front and rear of the shoulder girdle, through the back, including the abdominals and waist, down to the front and rear of the pelvis. In short, it is the entire length of the spine with all its associated muscles and ligaments. The core is important because it is the centre of strength. It includes many muscles from deep spinal support, to more superficial muscles such as those located in the upper and lower abdomen, back extensions, waist and muscles that provide strength and connection through our arms and legs. Think of how your core is used: When pushing on something that is reasonably heavy, we drive out of our legs and transmit this force into our arms. The ability to do this depends on how rigid you can hold your core. If you buckle in the middle when you transmit this effort, the force is lost.

HEALTHY SPINE IS CENTRAL The spine is the foundation of the body and supplies support for all our movements. Like the star player in any team, however, it is only as strong as the support around it. The core supplies that support. It is a fact that if we stand the spine upright on a surface with just the ligaments and discs, it will buckle with the application of only two kilograms of pressure. It is up to the core muscles associated with the spine to hold it in the neutral position and provide support 24 hours a day in every activity we undertake in our daily lives. It therefore makes good sense to keep the muscles associated with the core strong and healthy. Regular exercise is always the best way to do this and you do not need any fancy machines to maintain a sensible core-strengthening regime. Before you can safely do so however, you need to understand the principle of “spinal neutral”. Spinal neutral is the position when the spine has a slight inward curve in the lower back, a slight outward curve within the mid back between the shoulder blades, and a slight inward curve at the neck. In spinal neutral, the vertebrae are aligned correctly to receive load. If we move the spine out of this position, we change the joint loading dynamics and the spine is at greater risk of injury.

To get into neutral spine position, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Your neck and your lower back (the cervical spine and lumbar spine, respectively) should be the two areas that do not touch the floor. Now that you’re spinal neutral, you’re ready for core strengthening exercises. Some of the best exercises are easy to understand and perform, and can even be done at home, although it is always sensible to obtain advice and demonstration from health and wellness experts if possible.

EXERCISES THAT WILL POWER UP YOUR CORE INCLUDE: Hover and plank

Side hover and plank

Head/shoulder raise

Bridges – single/double

Bow and arrow with resistance tubing Strengthening your core and maintaining a sensible exercise regime to ensure it stays that way will go a long way to enhancing your wellbeing and reducing and even preventing back problems now and in later life.

YMCA Health Club Director Stephen Littlewood has spent 20 years dedicated to helping people achieve the best health and fitness outcomes across a number of areas. He spent time as a high performance sports coach, sports conditioning expert and personal trainer before joining the YMCA as senior trainer eight years ago. 45


HORMONES AND WEIGHT LOSS You’re doing all the right things to lose weight: following a healthy eating plan and training regularly. Despite this, you’re still unable to shed the excess from certain stubborn areas. The reason could be a hormonal imbalance in the body. Sally Matterson reports.

If hormones are at play, it is almost impossible for that last area of fat to melt away, unless you approach the mission in a more scientific way. There are three key areas in which the body stores fat, and the good news is that there are different ways to combat this excess weight.

Stubborn area one: JELLY-BELLY Hormone responsible: CORTISOL Cortisol is a hormone released by the cortex (the outer portion) of the adrenal gland when a person is under stress. It can be so destructive that cortisol levels are now considered a biological marker of suicide risk. Excess or continued high levels of cortisol contributes greatly to body-fat storage around the naval area.

Why does cortisol increase weight in this area? When you are stressed, your body over-produces the hormone cortisol. As a result, your body holds on to fat. There are more cortisol receptors in the abdomen, so when we are stressed the body tends to hold onto fat in this area. This unhealthy visceral fat (the fat surrounding your internal organs), can also increase inflammation and insulin resistance in the body, further increasing body fat and creating a vicious cycle of fat production throughout the body. The risk of developing adrenal fatigue and chronic fatigue as a result is also increased.

Solution Stress less! Easier said than done sometimes, but worth the effort. Focus on adopting regular sleeping patterns, taking up light activities, meditating, connecting with others, trying new activities or professional help if required. If stress is unavoidable, try supplementing with magnesium. Taken in the evening, this will act as a cortisol blocker and help relax the body, relieving anxiety, too. Start with a modest dose of 300-600mg a day, increasing up to 4,000mg a day if symptoms of stress and sleeplessness are still present.

46

Stubborn area two: LOVE HANDLES AND BACK Hormone responsible: INSULIN A major fuel-regulating hormone, insulin is secreted into the blood from the pancreas. Its function is to store and transport energy from carbohydrates (in the form of glucose) to the muscles for energy.

Why does insulin increase weight in this area? When we consume too many carbs, we produce too much insulin, which results in excess glycogen (which the body uses for energy). When we do not expend this energy, it gets stored as fat. Over time, this can cause insulin resistance, which means the body cannot tolerate carbs anymore. This is often reflected physically in fat distribution on the shoulder blades and the top of the hips, otherwise known as love handles. Shoulder blade skinfold thickness is also directly associated with carbohydrate intolerance, and research suggests that fat in this area may, in some cases, help identify risk of type 2 diabetes in pre-menopausal women.

Solution Once the body becomes insulin resistant, it goes into a meltdown. This can be corrected by controlling carbohydrate intake in the diet and taking EPA-dominant, pharmaceuticalgrade omega-3 fish oil, both of which can help increase your insulin sensitivity. In short, you will produce less insulin and when you do eat carbs, they will be used the way they should be – for energy!


FIT FOR LIFE

Stubborn area three: PEAR-SHAPED BODY AND/OR JELLY LEGS Hormone responsible: OESTROGEN Yes, a pear-shaped body is beautiful and feminine – and sometimes this is our natural shape – but sometimes we can have too much of a good thing. Same with jelly legs. Enough said!

Why does oestrogen increase weight in this area? An imbalance in oestrogen levels can be caused by many different factors and will be specific to your lifestyle and age. However, one main cause that affects many women is the presence of xenoestrogens (or what we call oestrogen mimickers) from our environment (found in plastics, pesticides and parabens). These mimickers can latch on to existing receptors, which are predominantly found in the lower half of the body, causing fat to be stored in this area.

Solution To rid excess oestrogen from the body and in turn lean out your legs, try and avoid or minimise the toxins or oestrogen mimickers from entering your body while getting your body efficient at detoxing through the use of supplementation. To reduce the effect of xenoestrogens from the environment, try to limit the toxic load on the body by:

• Using glass or ceramic to eat or drink from, instead of plastic

• Buying organic fruit and veggies

• Washing produce thoroughly with water

The kidneys, liver and gastrointestinal tract are each responsible for detoxing foreign oestrogens from the body so it is important that they function well. To speed up the detoxification process and clean out trouble spots:

• Ensure you drink lots of water

• Increase your intake of cruciferous veggies containing sulforaphane and indoles (such as kale, brussels sprouts, spinach and cabbage).

We can also reduce the load on the body from xenoestrogens by supplementing our diet with:

• A pharmaceutical-grade multivitamin containing zinc and B-vitamins – to help metabolise foreign oestrogens from the body, particularly from the liver and kidneys.

• A probiotic and digestion support to support the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and help excrete oestrogens from the intestine.

• Flaxseed lignans – a good, plant-based oestrogen, flaxseed can bind to oestrogen receptor sites before the nasty ones get there, inhibiting further production.

Sometimes fat loss is more than just diet and exercise. Once you understand the hormones governing your body and how to control them, you will start to become the master of your physique.

Sally Matterson is a renowned personal trainer, bio signature practitioner and author of the new book, Healthy Body (Rockpool Publishing $24.99), now available at good book stores and online at www.rockpoolpublishing.com.au 47


Stylish night in Spend winter nights cuddled up on the couch, watching a great film, listening to the rain on the window, feeling warm and wonderful in a home made throw rug.

Knit t ed i n Pat ons

for stockis information t patonsyarn see s.com.a 48

u


TRY IT

Knit your own crochet rug Easy crochet

MEASUREMENTS Rug width (approx) Rug length (approx)

PATONS INCA 50G BALLS

cm 100 cm 150

Quantity (7017 Cream)

HOOK AND EXTRAS

29

• 7.00mm (UK 2) crochet hook or size needed to give correct tension. • wool needle for sewing seams.

TENSION

Each square measures 24cm across, using 7.00mm hook. Check your tension carefully as quoted yarn quantities are based on this tension. If square is larger than 24cm, use a smaller hook; if square is smaller, use a bigger hook.

SPECIAL ABBREVIATIONS

Cluster A = *yoh and draw up a lp in next st, yoh and draw through 2 lps, rep from * twice more in same st, yoh and draw through all 4 lps on hook. Cluster B = *yoh and draw up a lp in next st, yoh and draw through 2 lps, rep from * 3 more times in same st, yoh and draw through all 5 lps on hook.

ABBREVIATIONS

beg = beginning; ch = chain; ch sp/s = chain space/s; dc = double crochet; dtr = double treble; lp/s = loop/s; rep = repeat; sl st = slip stitch; sp/s = space/s; st/s = stitch/es; tr = treble; yoh = yarn over hook.

RUG GRANNY SQUARE – make 6

Using 7.00mm hook, make 5ch and join with a sl st in first ch to make a ring (see diagram). 1st round – 1ch, 8dc in ring, sl st in first dc. 2nd round – 2ch, Cluster A in same st as sl st, * 3ch, Cluster B in next dc, rep from * to end, 3ch, sl st in top of Cluster A, sl st in next 3ch sp. 3rd round – (3ch, 2tr, 2ch, 3tr) in same 3ch sp, 3tr in next 3ch sp, * (3tr, 2ch, 3tr) in next 3ch sp, 3tr in next 3ch sp, rep from * to end, sl st in 3rd ch at beg, sl st in each st to next 2ch sp, sl st in 2ch sp. 4th round – (3ch, 2tr, 2ch, 3tr) in same corner 2ch sp, 3tr between each 3tr group to corner, * (3tr, 2ch, 3tr) in corner 2ch sp, 3tr between each 3tr group to corner, rep from * to end, sl st in 3rd ch at beg, sl st in each st to next 2ch sp, sl st in 2ch sp. Rep 4th round twice. 7th round – (3ch, 2tr, 4ch, 3tr) in same corner 2ch sp, 3tr between each 3tr group to corner, * (3tr, 4ch, 3tr) in corner 2ch sp, 3tr between each 3tr group to corner, rep from * to end, sl st in 3rd ch at beg. Fasten off.

CIRCLE IN A SQUARE – make 4

Using 7.00mm hook, make 8ch and join with a sl st in first ch to make a ring (see diagram). 1st round – 3ch, 15tr in ring, sl st in 3rd ch at beg. 2nd round – 5ch, 1tr in next tr, * 2ch, 1tr in next tr, rep from * to end, 2ch, sl st in 3rd of 5ch at beg, sl st in 2ch sp.

SEMBLY

3rd round – 3ch, 2tr in same 2ch sp, * 1ch, 3tr in next 2ch sp, rep from * to end, 1ch, sl st in 3rd ch at beg, sl st in each of next 2tr. 4th round – 1dc in next 1ch sp, * 6ch, 1dc in next 1ch sp, (3ch, 1dc in next 1ch sp) 3 times, rep from * to end, sl st in first dc, sl st in corner 6ch lp. 5th round – 3ch, (2tr, 2ch, 3tr) in same corner lp, (3tr in next 3ch sp) 3 times, * (3tr, 2ch, 3tr) in corner lp, (3tr in next 3ch sp) 3 times, rep from * to end, sl st in 3rd ch at beg. 6th round – 3ch, * 1tr in each tr to corner 2ch sp, (2tr, 2ch, 2tr) in 2ch sp, rep from * 3 times, 1tr in each tr to end, sl st in 3rd ch at beg. 7th round – As 6th round. Fasten off.

PLAIN SQUARE – make 14

Using 7.00mm hook, make 2ch (see diagram). 1st round – Miss 1ch, 8dc in last ch, sl st in first dc. 2nd round – 4ch, (3tr in next dc, 2dtr in next dc) 3 times, 3tr in next dc, 1dtr in same place as sl st at beg of round, sl st in 4th ch at beg. 3rd round – 4ch, 1dtr in same place as sl st, 2tr in next tr, 1tr in next tr, 2tr in next tr, * 2dtr in each of next 2dtr, 2tr in next tr, 1tr in next tr, 2tr in next tr, rep from * to last st, 2dtr in last dtr, sl st in 4th ch at beg. 4th round – 4ch, 1dtr in same place as sl st, 2tr in next dtr, 1tr in each tr to next dtr, 2tr in next dtr, * 2dtr in each of next 2dtr, 2tr in next dtr, 1tr in each tr to next dtr, 2tr in next dtr, rep from * to last st, 2dtr in last dtr, sl st in 4th ch at beg. Rep 4th round 3 times. Fasten off.

TO MAKE UP

DO NOT PRESS. Following assembly diagram, join squares together.

EDGING

With right side facing and using 7.00mm hook, join yarn with a sl st in corner at beg of one short side of rug. 1st round – 1ch, 3dc in same place as sl st, * work 91dc evenly along short side of rug, 3dc in corner, work 139dc evenly along long side of rug *, 3dc in corner, rep from * to * once, sl st in first dc. 2nd round – 1ch, 1dc in same st as sl st, 5tr in next dc, 1dc in next dc, * miss 1dc, 5tr in next dc, miss 1dc, 1dc in next dc *, rep from * to * to next corner, 5tr in next dc, cont in this manner around all edges on rug, sl st in first dc. Fasten off. GRANNY SQUARE GRANNY SQUARE KEY

KEY GRANNY SQUARE GRANNY SQUARE 7

= chain (ch) = chain (ch)

Key

KEY

1

1

= Slip stitch (sl st) (tr)

A B

4

4 3 2 5

4 6

7

CIRCLE IN A SQUARE

6 5 7 4

1 2

5

31 2

46

7 5

6

7

3

CIRCLE IN A SQUARE

4

4

PLAIN SQUARE 3 2

Granny Square GrannySquare Square ==Granny

2

CIRCLE IN A SQUARE CIRCLE IN A SQUARE

7

Circle in a Square

2

Circle in a Square

6

PLAIN SQUARE

2

5

3 1

1

Plain Square

RUG ASSEMBLY Key

7 6

(dtr)

PLAIN SQUARE PLAIN SQUARE

3

7

6

5

3

Cluster B (dtr) = double treble = =Double Treble

= Cluster B = Cluster

2

4

= Double crochet (dc)

= Cluster A = Cluster

4 3

2

7

6 5

4 3

= Chain (ch)

= treble (tr) A = =Treble Cluster

6

5

(dc) KEY= double crochet = double crochet (dc) = chain (ch) = treble (tr) = treble (tr) = chain (ch) = slip stitch (sl st) = double treble (dtr) = double treble (dtr) = double crochet (dc) = slip=stitch Cluster(sl A st) = Cluster A = treble (tr) = Cluster B = double crochet (dc) = Cluster B = double treble (dtr)

5

Circlein inaaSquare Square ==Circle

Granny Square

= slip stitch (sl st) = slip stitch (sl st)

1 2

5

6

7

3

7 6

PlainSquare Square ==Plain Plain Square

5 4

4 49 5

3 2

1 2

3

6


TRY IT

ONE POTATO, TWO POTATO, THREE POTATO, FOUR It's simple and rewarding to grow your own potatoes. Chris Faram explains how, and shares a delicious recipe. People around the world adore the humble spud, not only for its delicious taste, but also for its sustenance. The importance of the potato as a food crop in combating world hunger led to a declaration by The United Nations that 2008 was to be the “International Year of the Potato”. Originally from Peru, potatoes arrived in Australia on the First Fleet. Home grown spuds can do much more than keep hunger at bay in your home. They also help you avoid commercially grown potatoes that may have been treated with pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. Home grown spuds also taste much nicer than the supermarket varieties. Potatoes are easy and rewarding to grow, with one seed potato generally yielding around 8-10 potatoes. Despite being associated with hearty winter fare, potatoes are actually warm season plants. In the northern states of Australia, growing potatoes can occur all year round, but the preference for planting is early autumn to early spring. In southern Australia, potato growing is best achieved from early spring to summer, avoiding damaging frosts. When selecting which potatoes to plant, it is best to always buy “seed potatoes” (virus-free tubers) from a reputable nursery. Don’t even think of using potatoes that you can buy from the supermarket! So, let’s get growing.

NOTE: Never eat potatoes that have turned green or have green shoots, as they can be poisonous. 50


TRY IT

WHERE TO PLANT Spuds need a full sun position, super good drainage, a soil pH of about 5.5-6 and plenty of organic matter (compost and animal manures). A sprinkle of blood and bone (at planting time) would be ideal. The more organic matter in the soil, the better!

ROASTED SMASHED SPUDS WITH GARLIC AND ROSEMARY GOODNESS

Don’t plant potatoes where chillies, capsicums, tomatoes or eggplants have been planted in the last two years. All of the above, including potatoes, are members of the Solanaceae family. Nematodes or “eel worms” live in the roots of these plants. There are around 20,000 identified species of nematodes – some of which are harmless or even beneficial to plants. The root knot nematode however, is not. It feeds off the root of the plant, potentially reducing yields or even killing the plants through starvation. Unfortunately, they can remain in the soil for a long time, so it’s best not to risk it. Potatoes can also be planted out in all sorts of containers, as long as there is great drainage. So get going drilling plenty of holes in the bottom of old wine barrels, buckets, old (clean) garbage bins and so on. You could also use a cylinder made of chicken wire, 1 metre in diameter, supported by stakes to hold its shape. Or, perhaps try a “tatey” bag – available at most good nurseries. I grew a bumper crop in polystyrene fruit containers with the bottoms removed. I piled them 3m high to mimic “hilling up” and it worked a treat! Don't get too carried away with recycling however: it’s not recommend to grow potatoes in towers of old car tyres. The potential for leaching of dangerous chemicals from the tyres into your spuds is entirely possible.

HOW TO PLANT Plant the seed potatoes whole if small (the size of an egg). If larger, they can be cut into pieces, as long as there is at least one “eye” in each piece. Spread the pieces out in the shade for a week or so before planting. This enables the wound to callus up (preventing possible fungal entry) as well as hardening the eye so they’re not easily knocked off during the planting process. When planting potatoes out in the ground, plant them in rows, 10cm deep and 30cm apart, leaving about 80cm between each row.

CARING FOR POTATO PLANTS As the plants grow, gently pile up soil, straw or compost around the stem, always leaving the top 15cm of the plant exposed. This is called “hilling up”. It supports the plants, protects the tubers from caterpillars, and prevents any tubers (forming close to the surface) from turning green by exposure to sunlight. It also increases your yield, so do this up to three times during the growing season. Each time you hill up, give the plants a good sprinkling of blood and bone and/or well-rotted compost or manures.

INGREDIENTS 12 small to medium red spuds Pinch of salt for use when boiling 1 teaspoon sea salt for use when baking ⁄ 3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1

3 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary 6 large garlic cloves, minced

METHOD Boil potatoes for about 25-30 minutes. Test with a fork: if it goes in easily, drain, pat dry and cool for a couple of minutes on paper towel or clean tea towel. Preheat oven to 185°C and line the tray with baking paper. Use your potato smasher and gently squish the spuds so that they’re about 3-4cm thick. Carefully move them onto the tray.

Don’t overwater throughout the entire growing season.

Drizzle the olive oil over the spuds and jiggle the tray so that oil gets under the spuds too.

HARVEST

Sprinkle with the salt, rosemary and garlic.

When potato plants are fully grown they produce pretty white flowers, but the tubers won’t be ready for harvesting at this stage. Potatoes usually take around 4-5 months from planting to harvesting time.

Bake for approx. 25-30 or until crispy and golden brown.

Check three weeks after flowering: if the potatoes are the size of an egg, harvest some for your hungry family. The skins are still very soft at this stage and won’t store long.

DEMOLISH!

When the stalks and foliage have finally died off, the remaining potatoes can be carefully dug out with a fork or fancy potato scoop. Try really hard not to cut or spike the potatoes during harvesting. If the skin of the potatoes doesn’t rub off with your thumb, they’re ready to store. Spread them out to dry for a couple of hours, preferably not in direct sunlight. Store your potatoes with dirt still on, in a cool, dark place to prevent them from greening.

Chris Faram is a passionate grower of organic food at home. Her business, Perfectly Good Food at Home, aims to inspire others to grow their own food. Contact Chris: Email: perfectlygoodfoodathome@gmail.com Facebook: Perfectly Good Food At Home 51


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Vitality Magazine Winter 2015