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This month we look at: the power of positive thoughts, an exciting cookshop for October, a new superfood, the benefits of a Mediterranean diet plus you can get a taste of Sue Radd’s culinary adventures in Greece.


What’s in the News – Extended Time Spent Sitting Predicts Early Death

Sitting down for long periods of time can seriously injure your health, according to a study just published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, which adds to the already mounting evidence (you may remember we mentioned a similar finding in our April e-newsletter this year).

The researchers tracked over 120,000 US adults (average age 62) for 14 years. After adjusting for risk factors known to bring on early death in their own right, such as a high Body Mass Index (BMI) and smoking, women who sat in their leisure time (i.e. not during work hours) for more than 6 hours over a 24 hour period compared to just 3 hours, were found to have a 40% higher rate of premature death, while men were 20% more likely to die early if they were couch potatoes. More alarming still, for people who sat around a lot on most days and also reported low levels of physical activity (including exercise), the associated death rate jumped to 94% and 48% for women and men, respectively – a doubling of the death rate!

What does this mean for you? For a long, happy life, you need to focus on both boosting your physically activity by constantly finding little reasons to get up and move during the day and reducing the time you spend on your butt! The good news is that general duties including gardening, housework, shopping and light walking throughout the day all count and can go towards reducing your personal risk!

At the Nutrition and Wellbeing Clinic we’re planning to conduct more ‘walk and talk’ staff meetings, so you’ll now find a pair of sneakers hiding beneath our desks! If you have any ideas about how we can move more together when you visit, we’d love for you to drop us a line: wellbeing@ozemail.com.au


Slimming Tip – The Power of Positive Thinking

Do you sabotage your weight loss efforts with negative thinking?  For example, “I already blew it at lunchtime so I may as well eat these chips now”. It’s all too easy for weight loss success to be trapped by our own thoughts!  Yet research shows that if we have a positive outlook on what we want to achieve and do not put ourselves down if we have a setback, we are more likely to remain motivated to achieve the lifestyle changes we originally aspired to.

Be kind to yourself. Set realistic goals and if you do slip up, don’t give up entirely! Remove negative thoughts from your mind, such as “my diet is ruined now – I’ll restart my weight loss program on Monday”. The best thing you can do is immediately get back on the healthy eating wagon by planning to eat something nutritious at your next meal, or compensating a little by cutting back on your portions the next time you tuck in. Now, that’s positive thinking!


What’s Cooking – Eating to Reduce your Risk of Breast Cancer

Are you looking after your breasts? Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Australian women and it doesn’t happen overnight – it takes decades to develop. In case you want to stop reading at this point - men get breast cancer too! Yet certain lifestyle habits can exert powerful impacts on your genes, to control cancer from starting in your body and how quickly it spreads. 

At this unique cookshop, on Tuesday evening 26th October, you can find out how to cook and plan phytonutrient rich meals to make yourself more cancer resistant. You’ll also learn about the best cookware to use and whether you should consider taking supplements.

The information that will be presented is vital knowledge for all women (and men!) who want to minimise their chances of developing breast cancer or prevent its’ recurrence if you are a cancer survivor!  Recruit your girlfriends NOW and book in together by calling 9899 5208. More info…


Get a Taste of – Sue Radd’s Culinary Adventures in Greece

Sue Radd recently returned from visiting the heartland of the Mediterranean diet – Crete, Greece – and we asked her some questions about her trip:

What are some of the interesting foods you got to try?

“Purslane – the famous succulent (plant) that is used in salads, with the super high levels of omega 3 – I’ve always wanted to try this as it’s not available in Australia. Dakos, which is the Greek version of bruschetta but made with paximadia (dry barley rusks) and topped with finely chopped tomato (almost a puree), some crumbled fetta, dried oregano and drenched with olive oil, which softens the rusk so you don’t break your teeth while biting into it!  Fava bean dip (a specialty of Santorini) but also enjoyed everywhere in Greece) and surprisingly made from split peas not fava beans. And boiled goat!  Although I don’t usually eat red meat, I had to taste this at a “Recommended Cretan Traditional Tavern” as it was cooked in the old way using a slow, moist method - boiled in a lemony broth and served with creamy rice”. 

Do they really use a lot of olive oil in their cooking?

“You bet – more than you can imagine!  It became very clear to me that extra virgin olive oil is the butter of the Mediterranean. They don’t use margarine or butter on their bread but dip the bread into the leftover salad dressing. The tomatoes and cucumbers are literally floating in oil so there’s plenty left for enjoying with good bread! Extra virgin olive oil is used in all savoury dishes and also in sweets and when deep frying. In Crete, where farmers and shepherds in the 1960’s were found to have the lowest rates of heart disease compared to men from 18 other populations across seven countries (including other Mediterranean regions), they use more than 30 litres of this liquid gold per person per year (or 80ml per day), as compared to 17.4 litres per person in the rest of Greece and only 1.2 litres per person per year in Australia. It’s important to remember that extra virgin olive oil is more than just good fat – it contains powerful phytonutrients that can reduce inflammation, the basis for chronic disease”. 

Is the traditional Mediterranean diet changing?

“Sadly, yes. Before I boarded the plane I was reading some new research showing that the modern Mediterranean diet of male Cretan farmers (compared to 45 years ago) has changed significantly. It is higher in saturated fat and meat and lower in fruit. The BMI of men is 30 % higher (meaning they’re significantly fatter), their cholesterol is 16 % higher and they have a higher cardiovascular risk overall compared to the past. It was obvious why this should be the case when eating at a roadhouse near Delphi on my way to visit the Meteora. While there were delicious traditional dishes on offer, such as oven baked lemon potatoes (slow cooked), wilted greens with lemon and olive oil, cooked beetroot with its leaves, roasted peppers, stuffed tomatoes and capsicums and even tomato braised green beans, the western fast food was there in full force to cater for the tourist dollar. Burgers, fries, fish fingers, pizza etc. – it was all there. While Greeks still generally hold on to many of their traditional dishes, it was clear to me that such greasy offerings had also infiltrated their diet”.

What advice do you have for those of us who want to eat healthier?

“Learn about the simple, traditional fare, that the peasants used to eat (whether it be from the Mediterranean or Asia) and adopt as much of a plant based and unprocessed diet as you can manage. While the traditional Cretan diet included some meat, for about two thirds of the year Cretans were virtually vegetarian if you consider all the religious fasting days, availability and affordability of meat. Your body will thank you and you’ll feel much better!.”

Sue intends to incorporate many new recipe ideas from her Mediterranean experience in upcoming cookshops. For now, you can be among the first to see Sue’s new video clip filmed on location in Greece - How to make the world’s easiest lentil soup – too easy!


Food Matters with Sue Radd – Magic of the Mediterranean

Ever wondered why people in the Mediterranean region experience better health outcomes compared to those of us who live in Australia and other Western countries?  It’s true what they say – you are what you eat!  To find out what foods you should include more in your day, read Sue Radd’s latest tips.


What’s Fresh – Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced kin-wa) is a pseudo-grain, that’s been increasingly popular in recent times.  Commonly referred to as a grain – it is actually a small seed, the size of cous cous!  And it comes in a variety of colours including black, red, and white, although the latter is more commonly available in Australia.

What’s good about quinoa?  Quinoa is a gluten-free wholegrain – rich in protein, fibre, and various other nutrients.  It’s easy to cook – we can even show you how to make it in a rice cooker - and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes.  You can use it as a great substitute for rice, cous cous, cracked wheat, porridge and other grains, when looking for a change.

But be sure to rinse quinoa before cooking as this smart seed produces natural chemicals called saponins, which are bitter and act as an ‘insect repellant’ to deter bugs and other pests from eating it!  Interestingly, research in humans suggests that saponins are important phytonutrients that also fight chronic disease!  When properly cooked, the quinoa seed almost triples in size and displays a Saturn-like ring around itself which gives it an elegance all of its own!  We think it’s cool!

You can find quinoa in the health food isle of most supermarkets, however if you are after the more exotic red and black quinoa seeds or quinoa flakes, try a specialty health food store.

3 ways with quinoa

  • Make a quinoa tabouleh (replace the bulgar wheat with quinoa)
     
  • Create quinoa toasted muesli (both quinoa flakes and/or seeds can be used). Or try Sue Radd's Cinnaman Spiced Quinoa with Dried Fruits from The Breakfast Book (available in libraries or our clinic).

  • Enjoy a serve of quinoa pilaf. See recipe


In the Kitchen – Practical tips, new gadgets & essential tools:The Herb-Savor!

Do leftover herbs get pushed to the back of your fridge and go limp before you can use them?  While there are several ways to extend the shelf life of fresh herbs, we’ve found that herb-savor canisters can help herbs stay fresher for longer - up to 3 weeks.  So there’s less or no waste and more flavour to add to your meals!

You simply cut the base of the herbs to match the length of the canister, make sure you pat them dry, put them into the canister, add an inch or two of water to the bottom and cover with the lid.  Changing the water regularly will ensure your herbs remain fresh and tasty. Note that if you are using fresh basil, it is best to store this at room temperature.

Herb-savors are available in various sizes and prices start from around $25 AUS. You can pick up a Herb savor for around $40 although Victoria’s Basement sell them online for $24 online and Peters of South Kensington in Sydney offer a good deal during sale time. 


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Published by the Nutrition & Wellbeing Clinic, Copyright 2010.

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

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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