Do you struggle with food cravings? This issue we share some clever food combinations to curb cravings, we tell you why you should eat more capsicum and announce an exciting cookshop on medicinal foods to drop your cholesterol and blood sugar – naturally! If you have a fatty liver you will glean some lifestyle tips to clean it up and discover ways to avoid the serious consequences of vitamin B12 deficiency. Finally, you’ll find a super garlic tip to save you time in the kitchen and boost your health at the same time!
Curbing the Craving – Do Food Cravings Control Your Life?
You’ve been there, done that, right? You’ve tried every strategy in the book, but the cravings still keep coming back, over and over again. You’ve struggled, fought, cried and prayed. But despite your best efforts, you seem powerless against them.
Is there hope for the sweet addict? Your dietitians at the Nutrition and Wellbeing Clinic definitely think so!
Why do cravings occur?
Cravings generally occur when your blood sugar levels drop and your brain signals for a ‘pick-me-up’. It is this signal that causes you to crave sugar and refined foods that supply it, like chocolates, biscuits and lollies. While it’s true that when you eat these foods your blood sugar levels are quickly bumped up, the satisfaction you feel does not last. Due to the high glycaemic index (GI) nature of most highly processed foods, your blood sugar levels are maintained for only a short period of time and will quickly drop once more, sending you (again) to the cookie jar.
Sweet foods are also mood boosters. When you eat them, they increase the amount of serotonin (a ‘feel good’ chemical in the brain), which improves your mood and gives you that ‘satisfied’ feeling. That helps explain why you may turn to food when you are emotionally upset or stressed.
What about PMS? Research suggests women tend to eat up to 15 % more calories during the two weeks prior to their period. This is due to a reduction in oestrogen (an appetite suppressing hormone) and an increase in progesterone (a hormone which cranks up your metabolism). This increase in appetite can be linked to the increased cravings you may be inclined to feel during this special time of the month.
Cravings may also occur just because your body needs some nourishment. They could be your body’s way of telling you that you’re not putting enough ‘good stuff’ in your mouth (like vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients) and your body may be feeling a bit deprived.
How do you stop them?
- Eat regular meals (including breakfast). By eating regularly throughout the day, you keep your blood glucose levels stable and stop them from getting too high or too low. Give your body some routine and aim to have your meals at roughly the same time each day. You can choose to have three main meals with one or two snacks, but remember to have at least 3-5 hours of ‘food-free’ time in between.
- Go low GI. Choose foods that will give you a slow and sustained release of glucose throughout the day. High GI foods like white breads, cornflakes and rice crackers cause big highs and lows, which lead to more cravings. Instead, choose low GI alternatives like brown grainy breads, Bircher muesli (for breakfast and dessert) and 9-Grain Vita-Weats.
- Eat enough. If you are starving yourself, then you are going to crave more food – it’s a normal physiological reaction. Extreme dieters, and those that tend to eat too little, experience a drop in leptin (a hormone secreted by your fat cells that signals to your brain the need for reduced eating). This can result in a slowed metabolism, an increase in appetite, and make it easier for your body to regain weight. Ask your dietitian for appropriate portion sizes for you.
- Try some clever food combinations. For each of your meals include:
- Some low GI carbohydrate (rolled wholegrains like oats, barley, quinoa, long grain brown rice, or sweet potato),
- A lean protein (chicken breast, kangaroo steak, salmon, lentils, chickpeas or boiled egg), and
- Plant matter (lots of colourful salad with extra virgin olive oil or steamed veggies)!
This meal combination ensures good satiety (feelings of fullness) – which means you won’t have the same desire to graze throughout the day.
- “The less you have, the less you crave”. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in April 2012, found that overeating high sugar and fat foods like ice cream, could lead to the body craving them more and more. Interestingly, it also found that the more frequently you ate ice cream, the less enjoyable it was to eat so that you would need to consume a larger quantity in order to experience the same level of ‘pleasure’. Start curbing the amount of high sugar, fat and salt foods you consume. Our helpful hint – stop buying such foods regularly in the first place!
- Replace it with something better. If you take something out of your diet, you should always replace it with something better. For example, if you normally put cream on your fruit, replace it with our gorgeous cashew nut cream or a creamy non-fat Greek-style yoghurt with a drizzle of honey. By doing clever swaps, you’ll achieve your weight loss goals without feeling deprived.
- Try ‘Mindful Eating’. It may sound strange, but being mindful when you eat can make a big difference. Mindful eating means to deliberately pay attention to the food you eat and learn to fully experience and savour every mouthful. Your dietitian can help you develop this technique, but here are a few tips to start you off:
- Remember to sit down when you eat, and remove any distractions (e.g. your computer, TV or mobile).
- When you eat, take small mouthfuls and chew food slowly.
- Really appreciate and savour the taste and texture of the food in your mouth.
- Exercise and rest. By ensuring you have proper exercise and rest, you’re more resilient physically, mentally and emotionally to craving triggers.
- Use social support. Recruit the help of close family members and friends. Their support makes changing difficult habits much easier.
Some craving crunchers
Here are some quick food tips to help you curb your cravings:
- Nip your craving for junk sugary foods in the bud by enjoying some lush seasonal fruit. Or, for more intense sweetness, try 2-3 pieces of dried fruit (e.g. dried figs, fresh medjool dates or dried apple).
- Be enchanted by the fragrant taste of sweet teas. Try raspberry, peppermint, vanilla rooibos or liquorice tea.
- Fancy a smooth, cool, low-fat, low-sugar yoghurt (our dietitians recommend Chobani Greek style yoghurt).
- Whizz up a smoothie with some light soy milk (1 cup), one small banana, ½ cup of berries (frozen or fresh), 1 tablespoon of chia, 1 tablespoon of psyllium husks and 2 teaspoons of honey.
- Sprinkle one tablespoon of chia or LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond) mix onto your breakfast cereal.
- Spread some ABC (almond, Brazil and cashew) spread on a slice of grainy toast.
- Savour a handful mix of nuts, seeds and sultanas (keep total serve size to ¼ cup).
- Indulge in a whole punnet of fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries).
For more crave curbing food, dessert, snack and drink ideas, check out our recipes and attend our upcoming culinary medicine cookshop, which is always a hit!
Strive for progress, not perfection. Unknown.
What’s Cooking? – Smart Foods to Drop Your Cholesterol & Sugar, Naturally!
Do you want to keep avoiding medication for your cholesterol or blood sugar? Or would you like to prevent a rise in your dose and additional life-long prescriptions?
You can. But you will need to make some delicious meal swaps. We can show you how easy this is.
Join us for this popular cookshop to see how you can use certain food ingredients to work as medicine and drop your blood sugar and cholesterol naturally – without nasty side effects! You will experience only good results such as body fat loss, improved regularity and more energy!
Taste delicious dishes throughout the evening, ranging from entrée through to dessert! If you’ve been to a cookshop on this topic before, call us to check what’s coming up as we regularly change our menus.
When: Tuesday 9th April 2013
Time: 6.30 pm – 8:30 pm
If you have diabetes, high cholesterol or a family history of stroke or heart attack, or you are simply overweight, this cookshop is perfect for you!
Learn more about this cookshop
Call TODAY on (02) 9899 5208 to book your place. Bring your partner for a date night!
What’s Fresh? – Capsicums
Cool, crispy, capsicums are fresh right now in Australian stores. Their bright colours (red, orange, yellow and green) can make any dish look fun and appealing.
Capsicums are native to the Americas, but have gone global and are used in many different cuisines. They are known as red peppers, green peppers or bell peppers in North America, as sweet peppers in Britain and just “capsicum” in Australia and New Zealand. They are closely related to the chilli family, but they taste much milder and sweeter – especially when roasted – so everyone can enjoy them!
Red capsicums are bursting with vitamin C. In fact, one whole red capsicum can meet the daily vitamin C requirements for 2-3 people! Capsicums also provide a valuable source of beta carotene, vitamin E and folate (one of the B vitamins).
When buying capsicum, select those which are firm and have a glossy, unwrinkled skin. The brighter the colour, the better. Avoid any capsicums with soft spots or blemishes. You can store your capsicum for up to five days in a plastic bag in the fridge. Remember to wash them well before use.
3 ways with capsicum:
- Slice lengthwise into long strips and eat as a raw snack with your favourite hommus or tzatziki dip, or toss into a stir-fry.
- Core them and remove stalk, white ribs and seeds, then fill (or stuff) with a fragrant rice and lentil mix, and bake in the oven.
- Chop into small squares and sauté with onion and garlic when making pasta sauces, stews, casseroles or omelettes. Or just sprinkle them sliced or diced on top of a homemade pizza.
Virtual Supermarket Tour – Get Coached on Healthy Shopping
Have you attended one of our amazing supermarket tours? There are just a few spots remaining for the March event. It’s designed to build your confidence in selecting the healthiest food products.
On the night, our dietitian will walk you through the aisles in the comfort of your chair. You will practise reading food labels using multiple product packaging, and learn to compare brands using our helpful nutrition benchmarking.
When: Wednesday 20th March, 6:30 – 8:30 pm.
Want to learn more about the supermarket tour?
Call TODAY on (02) 9899 5208 to book your seat. Each attendee will receive a free pocket shopping guide for their wallet!
New Australian Website – Pregnancy, Birth and Baby
Know any mums-to-be struggling with pregnancy issues or new mums needing advice to manage their baby?
We love the new pregnancy, birth and baby website. It was developed by the Australian government and provides credible information so you don’t have to trawl the internet for reliable facts.
You will find A-Z advice ranging from the latest evidence-based thinking on air travel during pregnancy to immunisation and nipple thrush. If you live in Australia you can also avail yourself of the site’s free helpline and speak with a qualified counsellor. Why not pass on this information to a friend?
Food Matters with Sue Radd – How to Fix a Fatty Liver
Could you have a fatty liver and not know it? With a growing number of people who are overweight or obese, fatty liver is becoming very common and could lead to serious consequences. There are no medications to treat it, but lifestyle medicine works. Be proactive. Ask your doctor for a liver function test and check out Sue’s quick tips to fix a fatty liver.
Food InFocus – Are you at Risk of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
If you’re over 50, on certain medications for diabetes or on a low-dairy consuming vegetarian or pure vegan diet, you could be lacking vitamin B12. Watch this short TV segment with Sue Radd to learn why B12 deficiency is a serious matter. See how you can protect yourself from irreversible nerve damage and obtain reliable food and supplement sources in your diet.
Kitchen Tip – Peeled Garlic Cloves
So, you know you should use more garlic in your cooking for its health benefits, like people in India and China do. But time is of the essence and you don’t fancy peeling cloves each day for dinner. Wouldn’t it be nice to have it on hand, ready to use? Now you can.
Peeled garlic cloves are increasingly available for purchase from selected green grocers and Asian food stores. Usually refrigerated, they retail around $6-10 AUS per kilogram, so they’re not expensive. They come in various pack sizes of 100 g, 250 g, 500 g and 1 kg, depending on your need.
If you want Australian garlic (this has been shown to have the highest alliin content, which is the active ingredient identified by researchers), check with the store as many suppliers provide peeled garlic from China. Or, you can prepare your own.
Here’s an easy way to peel your own garlic cloves which you can freeze:
- Select your desired quantity of fresh garlic – look for garlic that has not dried out. Pull the cloves apart, discarding any loose skin, and place in a bowl.
- Pour over enough water to cover (tap water or warm water works well) and allow the cloves to soak for about 4 hours or overnight.
- Using a sharp knife, peel each clove, cutting the base and the skin will follow. The skin will simply soften in water, similarly to how paper does when wet.
- Freeze the peeled cloves in 500 ml containers. Note – if you use larger containers, the cloves will become covered in ice as moist air enters the container with repeated opening.
- Use the frozen cloves as needed in your cooking. Cloves will defrost in a glass of warm water within a few minutes or you can crush them immediately using a garlic crusher.
While you would always want to use freshly peeled garlic for salads, the flavour of frozen garlic does not seem to deteriorate significantly over time. This makes it useful for cooked recipes, while saving you time in the kitchen!
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Published by the Nutrition & Wellbeing Clinic, Copyright 2013.
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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