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Hello [name],  

We hope you’re enjoying the Aussie winter season and we are so excited to share with you our latest food and nutrition tips.  Read on to learn about:

  • The eating habits of our nation – how are you tracking?
  • Our new legumes and ancient grains cookshop
  • Grapefruits – out now and bursting with goodness
  • Energy drinks – is the buzz worth the risk?
  • A new friendly face on our team, Courtney APD
  • Ways beetroot can help beat high blood pressure
  • Food diaries and why you should keep one

Australia’s Food & Nutrition Report Card – How Do You Fare?

After a long wait – 15 years to be exact – the Australian Bureau of Statistics has released its latest snapshot of eating habits across the nation as part of the Australian Health Survey.

How does your diet compare?  Have your food choices improved or worsened over recent times?

Here are a few highlights from the report using data collected in 2011-12, which brings serious cause for concern:

  • Australians are eating 30 % less fruit and vegetables.
  • One in four people eat no vegetables at all on an average day.
  • Only 7 % meet the recommended five serves of veggies daily.
  • Just over half (54 %) say they usually meet the daily guideline for fruit intake, which is two serves.
  • When you take both fruit and veg guidelines into account, only 5.6 % of adults have an adequate daily intake.  Women are more likely to meet both guidelines than men (but that’s only 6.6 % vs 4.5 %, respectively so girls, don’t feel too virtuous!).
  • One third of all calories come from discretionary foods like cakes, biscuits, alcohol, soft drinks, chips etc.  The proportion of calories from these foods is also highest among the 14-18 year olds (41%).  Yikes!
  • Aussies weigh 4 kg more on average than they did 20 years ago but report eating less calories overall!  Interesting.  And 2.3 million people claim to be on ‘a diet’.

What does all this mean?

We might be the lucky country in many aspects but when it comes to our eating habits, the typical Aussie diet is paving the way to chronic disease and early death.  No question.

What worries us most is that people are eating dismally low amounts of vegetables while at the same time getting one third of their calories from junk food!  This is like burning the candle at both ends.

Mike Daube, a professor of health policy at Curtin University, believes the "incredibly low" vegetable consumption highlighted in the report shows that fast food has eclipsed vegetables as a dietary staple.

“It is a major concern," he recently told the Sydney Morning Herald.  "Unless governments take the way we eat seriously then there will be dire implications for health budgets and the cost of diabetes will blow out.  The results are a triumph for the mass marketing of junk food."

So while marketers working for quick service restaurants (which have multi-million dollar budgets) have been successful in luring the masses, governments appear to have failed to tackle the looming tsunami of chronic diseases.

We believe the average Australian either doesn’t know what constitutes a healthy diet or doesn’t really care because they are blissfully unaware of the dire consequences of eating poorly.  Plus, there are other reasons such as the powerful impact of marketing and advertising, which can influence our decision-making below the radar. 

Yet when people visit our Clinic and learn the specific reasons why every mouthful counts, their “lights come on”.  They are keen to start making positive changes.  Knowing how to put it all into practise also helps, which is where our cookshops come in.  They could offer you the same advantage.  Being shown what to do can be more powerful than being told.

Why is it important?

The Australian Government, through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), recommends adults eat two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables daily because evidence shows this can lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, obesity and some cancers.  And it’s important to note that these amounts are minimums.  Plenty of studies have found that eating even more plant foods is probably better for you – for example, eating more than your daily fill can offer even greater blood pressure-lowering benefits. 

If things don’t improve quickly there are dire implications for our health and for government budgets.  The ‘diabesity’ epidemic alone will see a blowout of healthcare costs, which will most likely send the government dipping into the hip pocket of taxpayers to fund a solution.

What can you do?

Here are a few ideas to get you started (but we’re sure you can think of more).

  1. Be a great role model for your family. Show them how it’s done.  Read about ways you can get your kids to eat more veggies.
  2. Teach yourself (and your kids) how to cook better and, while you’re at it, why not grow your own food too.  It’s easy and fun!
  3. Set limits or boundaries on how often processed snack foods and fast foods are purchased or brought into the home pantry.  Remember, you can’t eat it if it’s not there!
  4. Put pressure on schools, hospitals, supermarkets, restaurants and other food outlets to lift their games and provide healthier food options.  We noticed that due to requests by their patrons, one Thai restaurant now offers a wholegrain and red rice combo rather than just the usual refined Jasmine rice.
  5. Lobby government to take stronger action, such as a healthy food star rating guide or tax on junk food to make it less accessible.


From the bitterness of disease man learns the sweetness of health.”
- Catalan Proverb

What’s Cooking? – How to Cook Legumes & Ancient Grains + Learn to Master the Pressure Cooker

Trying to better manage a chronic medical condition?  Then you’ve probably heard you should eat more legumes and wholegrains.  But how do you prepare them easily and make them taste good?

Sue Radd is running a brand new cookshop to show you how to cook these ancient superfoods from scratch using kitchen shortcuts.  If you’re keen to save time you will also see how to confidently use a pressure cooker so you can try it at home!

Find out why eating a greater variety of legumes and wholegrains can improve your health and boost your intake of protein, iron, zinc, calcium and fibre.  Plus learn about some unique disease-fighting phytonutrients called isoflavones and lignans, and how these interact with your gut flora to keep you well.

Discover why Croatians love eating bean soup – you will too!  Wise up on ways with freekah and learn how to make an enticing, Persian black eyed bean stew and smooth fig and vanilla polenta pudding that your kids will also love!

If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, need to lower your cholesterol or blood pressure, tone down chronic systemic inflammation or just get a better handle on weight control then this is perfect for you!

Wholegrains and legumes should be on most people’s daily diet prescription.  Are they on yours?

When: Tuesday, 5th August 2014, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm             

Don’t eat before coming as you will enjoy a delicious 4 course tasting menu and receive recipes and handouts too!

Learn more about our cookshops

Seats are going fast.  Call NOW on (02) 9899 5208 to book your place and bring a friend.

What’s Fresh? – Grapefruit

The sunset hues of a cut grapefruit are a beautiful addition to any breakfast spread and its tangy bitter sweet taste gives us a hint of its powerful nutrients.

Grapefruit is part of the citrus family and is thought to have originated from Jamaica. The term ‘grape-fruit’ comes from the way it grows in grape-like clusters on a tree. The pulp of the grapefruit comes in white, red or pink (ruby) colours.

Grapefruit is traditionally consumed as a breakfast fruit or juice and it certainly provides a great nutrient boost at the start of your day.  It contains a good source of vitamin C, pectin (viscous) fibres and lycopene (a strong antioxidant which cuts prostate cancer risk).

When eaten with your meal, grapefruit will assist in providing a slow release of glucose into the bloodstream and will also enhance the absorption of iron into your body.

Limonoids – a special citrus phytonutrient also in grapefruit – have been shown in animal and human cell studies to fight cancer cells and stop tumour formation.  Also, naringenin, a flavonoid concentrated in grapefruit, helps to repair damaged genetic strands in your body’s cells.

The pectin fibres in grapefruit can lower your cholesterol.  However, if you’re already taking cholesterol-lowering medication, grapefruit may not be the best fruit for you. Grapefruit can have a blocking effect on the metabolism or breakdown of some medications in the body, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor).  This means that high levels of this medication will remain in the blood and will increase the risk of side effects, particularly muscle damage.  Grapefruit and its juice can also interact with several calcium-channel blockers, some neurological or emotional disorder medications, and sildenafil (Viagra).  If you’re on medication and unsure if grapefruit is safe for you, chat to your doctor.

Grapefruits prefer a colder climate and are in season between May and October in Sydney.  When choosing a grapefruit, make sure its skin is firm and springs back with gentle pressure.  Avoid grapefruits with a wrinkly or overly soft skin in certain spots.  However, patches of discolouration or scratches are okay, as they tend not to affect the taste or quality of the fruit.  Grapefruits kept at room temperature have a sweet delicate aroma.

Interesting Fact! The riper the grapefruit, the higher the antioxidant content!  Pink and red grapefruits (not the white) contain lycopene – it’s this antioxidant, which gives them their red, pinky colour.

Before peeling, rinse your grapefruit with cold water to remove any dirt from the skin, as this may be transferred to the flesh when the fruit is cut.  Slice the fruit horizontally, separate the flesh from the segment membrane with a sharp knife, and scoop out the sections with a spoon.  Grapefruit can also be peeled like an orange.

4 delicious ways to eat grapefruit:

  • Simply peel and eat.
  • Cut and toss through a citrus salad.
  • Toss through a green leafy veggie salad to give it a tangy twist.
  • Squeeze some grapefruit juice to make a powerful immune boosting drink.

Food Matters with Sue Radd – Health Risks of Energy Drinks

Is your teenager guzzling energy drinks or mixing them with alcohol when they go clubbing?  News from the US of the death of a 16-year-old girl after consuming energy drinks has once again raised a red flag over the safety of these popular beverages. Here you can read what Sue Radd has to say.

Introducing Courtney – Latest Staff Member to Join Our Practice

We’d like to welcome Courtney Thornton APD on board.  Courtney is a bubbly, goal-oriented dietitian who has come to us having previously worked at Menu Concepts.  If you haven’t attended for a while, come and meet Courtney – you’ll be impressed!  Learn more about Courtney.

Food InFocus – How to Use More Beetroot & Push Down Your Blood Pressure

Are you taking blood pressure medication?  Or has your doctor flagged that you are pre-hypertensive?  Either way, beetroot should become your best friend!  Watch this TV segment to find out how you can ramp up your recipes and include this super-charged red veg in your daily diet.

Health Tip – The Importance of Keeping a Food Diary

Something your dietitian may ask you to do is to keep a food diary.  

Filling out a food diary may seem like a pain but self-monitoring is one of the most useful strategies to help you stay on track with your health and weight loss goals, research shows.

The National Weight Control Registry (www.nwcr.ws) is an ongoing research study tracking around 5000 people who have lost at least 13.5 kg and kept this off for a minimum of a year.  Researchers are trying to pin-point key strategies used by these weight loss winners.  One of the key strategies they discovered that helps make weight loss maintenance more likely is the process of regular self-monitoring through the use of a food diary.

Food diaries help keep you accountable – you’ll think twice about eating a food because you know you have to write it down.  Keeping a food diary will also make you more aware of your eating patterns and habits and, in time, this can help bring about positive dietary changes.

Here are some easy ways to keep track of your food intake:

  • Carry a paper food diary or small note pad with you wherever you go to jot down what you eat and drink.
  • If you use a computer regularly, develop a food diary on an excel spreadsheet and type in your meals throughout your day.
  • If you’re out and about and don’t have paper or pen handy, take a picture of your meal or snack with your mobile phone so it can trigger your memory when recording later that day. You can even show this to your dietitian!

Other ways to self-monitor and control your weight include:

  • Using a pedometer, a small instrument that counts your daily steps.  Studies have shown that those who wear a pedometer tend to walk an extra 2000 steps each day, just because they’re keeping tabs on themselves!
  • Weighing yourself regularly (1-2 times each week) to make sure your weight is heading in the right direction.  Regular weigh-ins can help you pick up on small gains.  These are easier to reverse than large ones.
  • Seeing your dietitian regularly.  It’s less likely that you’ll regain unwanted weight if you touch base with your dietitian on a weekly or monthly basis.  Following up with your dietitian is especially important in the first 2-5 years after weight loss as this is the most critical time for relapses to occur.  According to research, it takes 2-5 years for weight loss maintenance to become easier.  This means it requires an ongoing investment in your lifestyle – not just a short-term fix!

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Published by the Nutrition & Wellbeing Clinic, Copyright 2014.

Suite 10, 80 Cecil Avenue, Castle Hill NSW 2154 Ph: +61 2 9899 5208 Fx: +61 2 9899 2848 www.nwbc.com.au

We are a boutique Dietitians clinic in Sydney, Australia, offering one-on-one consultations, culinary medicine cooking workshops, motivational health seminars and nutrition advisory services to businesses in the local and global area.

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