Carbonara Pasta

Carbonara Pasta

300mL of lite evaporated milk
3 eggs
100g of ham
3 C of pasta cooked  (GF pasta/Low carb Noodles/vegetable spaghetti)
½ Bunch of basil

  1. Lightly whisk together the milk and eggs in a medium mixing bowl and then stir in the ham.
  2. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water, following packet directions, until al dente. Drain well and return to the sauce- pan. Add the egg mixture and stir constantly over medium-low heat until the egg mixture is almost set. Stir in the basil and season with pepper. Serve immediately, garnished with extra basil and sprinkled with pepper.
  3. Makes 3 serves

*Change the pasta according to training versus non training evenings. Non training nights either decrease the pasta or choose a low carbohydrate option like vegetable spaghetti.

Protein Pancakes

I lived off this recipe through the last year of my university placement. It looks weird, but tastes amazing!!

1/3 C of raw oats
1/4 C of low fat cottage cheese
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of baking powder

Mix together all the ingredients except for the baking powder. Once mixed, add in the baking powder.

Heat a non-stick frying pan on low to medium heat. Spread the mixture into four pancakes.
Once the mixture starts to bubble flip and cook for another 2 minutes.

Be warned, if you burn the pancake it tastes foul! So make sure you keep the heat low if you are worried about cooking it the first time.

Serves 1 with 1/3-1/2 C of berries



Fats and Training – Are you hampering your recovery? 

After all the drama from the 1970’s onwards about how dietary fats are so bad for you, I think its safe to say, those ideologies have been changed. Well almost. Fats are very important for our body. In the past, low fat diets have been portrayed as the easiest way to lose weight, and to also prevent heart disease. One gram of fat contains 9 calories or 37 kilojoules which is over double of what protein and carbohydrates contain. So in terms of reducing total calories in the diet, removing fat from the diet is the easiest way to help a person lose weight. So trying to find the balance between trying to consume enough for healthy living and not too much for weight gain can be a battle.

There are a different types of fats both healthy and unhealthy. The healthy types of fats are called monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are found in nuts, seeds, avocado, cooking oils made from plants or seeds, oily fish, such as tuna, salmon, sardines and mackeral. These fats are all great for you, however should still only be  consumed in small portions because they are high in calories. Why these foods are so healthy are because they increase the good fats and decrease the bad fats in our blood that help keep our heart healthy.

The unhealthy fats in the diet come from animal fats such as full fat dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese, ice-cream, fat and rind of animal meats, bacon, and biscuits, cakes and pastry’s all which contain quite a lot of butter. These fats increase the bad fats called LDL’s in our blood, increasing the susceptibility  to heart disease/attacks.

There is one other food that has been marketed lately as a superfood with its healthy fats and that is the coconut/coconut based products (coconut milk/cream/oil). So where the hype has come from is that these foods increase the good fats in our blood, which is great, however they also increase the bad fats in the blood. So in terms of overall heart health. You are doing both good and harm to your heart, so for general good heart health my advice is to stick with plant/seed based oils.

Another hype sent out to the world is the myth that you can’t use olive oil with cooking because it hydrogenates (turns the healthy fat into an unhealthy one). This is true, but only if you heat the same oil multiple times. But if you are only heating the oil once, the oil will not reach the temperature (smoke point) needed to turn into a bad fat – so stick with olive oils/plant/seed oils.

Now in regards to training, fat serve’s a different purpose. Typically when I am educating about fat and sports nutrition, I tell my clients to avoid fats around training. Why?? If you completing high intensity training, your body is using glycogen (carbohydrate stores) as a fuel source throughout the whole session. So going into this session with all your glycogen stores filled will help 1. Burn more calories 2. Damage more muscle cells which will help with muscle adaptations 3. You will feel like you can train for longer because you have the energy there.

No not everyone will be partaking in a high intensity session, one of more muscular endurance, like resistance training or weight training. In these sessions, you will still be using glycogen as a fuel source while your body is working. I also find, usually the sessions tend to go for longer than a typical HIIT session. Therefore, you will need more glycogen (carbohydrate) to last the whole session. So really having some fat based before training isn’t the priority, and the calories should be devoted to carbs and protein, or just carbs.

Post training nutrition should be quite low in fat. Why? Because fat slows down the rate of digestion of carbohydrates and protein. Post training, your muscle cells need protein to help with repairing the damage cells and creating new stronger and better quality cells. It also needs carbohydrate to help with this process and along with refuelling the glycogen stores burnt during the session. If fat is consumed alongside of this, the whole process is being slowed down and the muscle cells will not receive what it needs fast enough. So in terms of recovery skip the fat!!

So the next time you go to have nuts or nut protein bar pre workout – think is this going to help my performance? Or Having avocado or a curry post training. Is this hindering my recovery? Relocate those healthy fats to the opposite end of the day or in the middle of the day if you do double sessions. You still need them in your diet!

Happy Wednesday!

Chicken Noodle Soup

800mL of salt reduced chicken stock
200g of chicken breast
1tsp of chopped ginger
50g of rice noodles
½ C of beans
2 tb of corn
1 carrot diced
2tsp of soy sauce (GF)
Basil or chili to serve

Pour the stock into a pan and add the chicken, ginger and garlic. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, partly cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken to a board and shred into bite size pieces.

Return the chicken to the stock with the noodles, beans, corn, carrot and the soy sauce. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until the noodles are tender. Ladle into two bowls and scatter over the basil or chili to serve.

Serves 2

Irritable Bowel – What is the cause?

Do you feel constantly bloated; have abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea or feel like you look 5 months pregnant after eating certain foods? Do you simply put it down to eating crappy foods or overeating, or just have no idea what has caused it? Have you actually considered you may be sensitive to digesting certain types of foods? Personally for me I know I used to and it took me a long time to figure it out.

About 2-3 years ago while I was at uni, I used to get very bad stomach pains as if it was about to eat itself. I put it down to the stress of uni or a stomach bug, but it left me unable to consume much for a couple weeks. The one thing that did not cross my mind was that it was actually a result of the foods I was eating. I was eating salad/vegies and lean meats, a few nuts and honey, but I was consuming a lot of foods high in food chemicals that my body just does not like to digest!

So instead of you all having to go through the struggle of what I had to go through of a couple years of working it all out. I want to teach you how to determine between what a food allergy is, what food intolerances are and try to remove the paranoia of eating gluten/wheat/dairy/sugar to work out in reality what is best for you. Really because why should you have to cut out foods that you do not need to?

So what is the difference between food allergies and food intolerances?

Food allergies are immune reactions to individual proteins in foods. Proteins are unique to each food such as gluten, eggs, milk (whey/caesin), peanuts. Your immune system produces a protein called IgE antibodies which causes a reaction against the consumption of food proteins that most people would typically find harmless. Reactions may include chronic skin rashes, diarrhoea, burning sensations, swelling of the face – eyes, mouth and tongue. Food allergies are very different to food intolerances.

Food intolerances are not quite as harmful as food allergies and cause permanent damage, but can be very uncomfortable and distressing. Food intolerances do not involve the immune system but are rather a reaction to the chemicals in food, both natural and synthetic. Now I think most people may be surprised that there are chemicals found in natural ‘healthy’ foods not just artificial food additives. These are called vitamins and minerals, which are beneficial for our health, and also help with the flavour and aroma of different types of food. Some people are born with sensitivities to these chemicals, but others can develop these sensitivities with a sudden change of diet or a bad food reaction.

The different types of reactions you may see with food intolerances headaches, sinus trouble, nausea, stomach pains, bowel irritation or you could even be run down and moody.

I typically find most people tend to react to certain sugars in foods – fructose in fruit sugars, lactose which is your milk sugar. What most people commonly misconceive, is that they react badly to pure sugar, when in reality most actually react to other food chemicals within the food. Sugar is glucose which is easily absorbed within the gut because it is in its simplest form. So if you were to add a teaspoon of sugar to your coffee or tea and not react but then go and eat a large slice of cake or a few biscuits with many other added foods, this is why you may react.

Fructose is highest in: apple, honey, pears, pineapple, mango, high fructose corn syrup (processed food additive)

Lactose is highest in milk, yoghurt, icecream, milk powder, evaporated milk and some soft unripened cheeses (cottage/ricotta/mascarpone/cream)  – lactose is very low in hard cheeses like cheddar and parmesan. Lactose free milk and yoghurt are great options to help you reach your recommended daily intake of calcium and B vitamins. I find a lot of people swap to almond or coconut milk from dairy milk. The nutrient profile (vitamins and minerals + carbs/protein/fat distribution) is no way near as great as lactose free dairy. Definitely swap back to dairy if you can!

A few other foods I find most people can react to are called galacto-oligosaccharides (I dare you to try and pronounce it! J ) These include legume beans like chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans.

Also included in the list is polyols which are found in both natural and artificial products. These include apricots, apples, avocado, cherries, nectarines, plums, mushrooms and pears. Additives including sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol and isomalt all contain polyols which can cause bloating, wind and abdominal discomfort. Or I like to think of avoiding all additives ending in –ol except for erythritol.

SO where to from here. If you are interested in completing an elimination diet because you have no idea what causes these reactions. Please contact me! There are number of other foods to consider and a process to go through to ensure you are doing it correctly. It may take a couple weeks to be completely symptom free before food can be reintroduced into the diet. Foods can be slowly added in, in small portion sizes to ensure it is not an irritant to the body.

There are a few handbooks out by the RPA hospital or Sue Shepherd books that can help with a proper elimination diet if you do not have a good budget to see a dietitian. Removing a number of foods from your diet needs to be done carefully to ensure that you are still meeting all of your nutrient requirements and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Otherwise that is it for this week! I hope this helps!

Alcohol – How to minimise the damage?!

Alcohol has been played out in the media as something that can benefit your health, but then at the same time be detriment to it. Personally, I don’t promote the consumption of alcohol, because I see it as wasted calories, but I would be kidding myself if I expected all my clients to see it in the same way. So today I have some tips to I guess control the damage of consuming those extra calories and toxins.

My first tip is to avoid consuming any fatty foods alongside alcohol, which I find can be pretty challenging for most people! How often do you have cheese and wine, or beer with nuts or chips. What about options like takeaway foods like McDonalds, KFC, kebabs, chocolate, curry’s, coconut or oil based products.

Now the question is, why do I say avoid fat? At rest, our body is using fat as a fuel source to keep it functioning well. As alcohol is a toxin, our body wants to remove it as quickly as possible and as a result, uses that alcohol as a fuel source. So when we consume any fat based foods alongside the alcohol, instead of our body using the fat for fuel, it will divert it all to storage! So the easiest way to control the damage of alcohol consumption is to stick with lean meat and vegetables or salad if you are having a night out! And avoid the bacon/hash browns or greasy food the next morning!!

Yes I know you all hate me now haha. But in reality it is the easiest way to control the damage.

My second tip is to avoid sugary mixers. Pick vodka, lime and soda, white wine or sparkling or low carb beer (yes another cringe I am sure ;)). These have a lower calorie content then normal beer, cider or any sugary based drink!! You will save yourself a number of calories if you stick to this.

Next, try and consume a glass of water in between drinks, this will help slow the consumption down and again the less calories you will consume!

But what about if you are not a social drinker and just like to have a few glasses of wine a night or a couple bottles of beer? Maybe try to cut it back slowly.  Start with two alcohol free nights, then increase it to three and then four after a few weeks. I have some clients who just like the idea of having a wine glass in hand. Why put wine in it? Try soda water and lime or if that will not satisfy you try a sugar free cordial. It only takes a three or so weeks to change a habit if you commit to it. You can do it 🙂

Lastly, don’t be afraid to say no! A lot of people feel out of social obligation they have to drink, or you feel like you are missing out. You don’t have to drink!! It is your body and you are the one that has to live in it for the rest of your life. You are the one who has to deal with the aftermath the next day. You have to deal with trying to lose the extra kilo or two gained from the weekend. The habits that you make now will affect your life later on. If you feel like these habits don’t truly affect you, what about your friends, or family and children around you? I have seen too many times, the effect of excessive alcohol consumption on families or partners and the stress on the relationship begins to build. You are all a role model to someone, whether you believe it or not, so don’t be afraid to say no and begin to change your those habits!