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What an exciting issue we have this month!  You'll learn how diet can be used to improve symptoms of painful bladder syndrome, why fresh garlic should top your shopping list, what to dish up to tone down asthma symptoms and how to click your way to good health with some easy-to-use apps.  We also have our super delicious and popular Mediterranean diet cookshop coming up, which will teach you how to make healthy eating a whole lot easier!

Interstitial Cystitis – How Changing Your Diet Could Help

Interstitial cystitis (IC), or painful bladder syndrome, is a condition that remains a mystery to most, including many health professionals.  IC occurs when the lining of your bladder is damaged and remains in a state of inflammation, discomfort and pain.  Your symptoms may include: pain when urinating, increased urgency (that feeling that you just need to go), increased frequency to urinate during the day or night, and dark, cloudy, strong-smelling urine.

Running to the toilet five times an hour can be awkward, uncomfortable and embarrassing. For this reason, many people with IC tend to avoid social occasions when their bladder is playing up.  They can also experience varying degrees of depression (due to the isolation), discomfort and pain.

What are the causes?

The exact cause of IC is unknown and can sometimes be confused with urinary tract infections.  The difference?  IC is any urinary pain that isn’t caused by infection or urinary stones.  Many people with IC can go for four or five years with a wrong diagnosis, often leaving them in a state of frustration and hopelessness.

While there is no cure for the condition, the good news is that a number of lifestyle modifications, medications and medical treatments are now available to help alleviate symptoms.  In the past 10 years or so, diet has become a particularly powerful tool in managing the irritations and pain attributed to IC.

How your diet can help your bladder

Despite limited clinical research on the IC diet to prove it will work for everyone, a number of bladder specialists, GPs, dietitians and IC patients around the world have found that specific foods can trigger or aggravate IC symptoms.  In a 2011 study published in the journal Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery, 95.8% of the 598 IC patients surveyed reported certain foods or beverages exacerbated their condition.  Some potential trigger foods highlighted in the study were caffeinated beverages, alcohol, citrus fruits, tomatoes and spicy foods.

How do foods and their inherent nutrients and chemicals affect your bladder?  This remains a mystery.  But some have theorised that once the protective mucous layer of your bladder wall is damaged, histamine, potassium (and other food substances) are able to cause irritation, which produces an allergic or chemical response increasing the nerve sensitivity in your bladder.

US registered dietitian Julie Beyer (who also has IC) is one of the leaders in this field, spearheading investigations into diet and its effects on interstitial cystitis.  Through empirical work and the help of other medical specialists and IC advocates, Beyer has developed an IC Food List and elimination approach to help people more easily pinpoint foods that trigger IC symptoms.  So, while we don’t yet understand the causes of IC, there is some evidence to suggest dietary changes can help.  And you have nothing to lose by giving it a try, so long as you ensure your modified diet remains nutritionally adequate. 

Your dietitians at the Nutrition and Wellbeing Clinic are committed to helping those with IC following Beyer’s protocol.  If you or a friend has been diagnosed with this uncomfortable condition, just give us a call.  We are trained to help take you through an investigative approach to identify your possible food triggers. 

One thing to note: the IC elimination diet process needs to be undertaken carefully.  It involves regular visits to your dietitian and can take anywhere between one and three months to complete before you can fine-tune your diet for the long term.

But any IC patient will tell you the freedom they experience from “not having to run to the loo all the time” makes it very worthwhile!


“Always remember, there is more strength in you than you ever realised or even imagined.  Certainly nothing can keep you down if you are determined to get on top of things and stay there.” – Norman Vincent Peale.

Clinic News – It's a Girl!

Emma has a new baby sister! Congratulations to our senior dietitian Monica Kubizniak, and her husband Gordon McLean on the arrival of their baby girl Kate Ella McLean. Monica, Gordon and Emma are delighted with their new family addition.

What’s Cooking – The Magic Mediterranean Cookshop to Drop Your Cholesterol & Blood Sugar

Have you ever thought healthy foods taste bland? Well, we’re about to send your taste buds on an exciting journey to the Mediterranean, where the food is irresistible and your body gets all the benefits!

If you’d like to get better results with your elevated sugar and cholesterol, without giving up on flavour, then this is for you (and you’re in for a treat!).

Join us for Sue Radd’s personal favourite cookshop and discover the delights of the Mediterranean diet, full of delicious foods like fava (a dip from Santorini made with split peas), oven-baked fish infused with oregano, and horta (tenderly cooked greens seasoned with lemon and raw extra virgin olive oil).  If you’re wondering what’s on next month’s menu, just give us a call.

The best news is that the Mediterranean style of eating is easily adapted to your Australian kitchen.  And research has proven multiple benefits for conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease to breast cancer, depression and fatty liver.  So it’s a perfect way to eat for the whole family!

Why not make delicious food your medicine?  It’s easier to stick to and so much more enjoyable.

When: Tuesday 15th October 2013

Time: 6.30 pm – 8:30 pm

Learn about our cookshops

You will get to experience our famous tasting plates throughout the evening and take home unique recipes from across the Mediterranean and fact-filled nutrition handouts.

Call RIGHT NOW on (02) 9899 5208 to avoid disappointment.  We run this event only once per year and it always sells out fast.  Bring your partner and make it an evening out!

Video Recipe – How to Make an Authentic Greek Salad!

To put you into the mood for Mediterranean eating, see how to make a real Greek salad at home.  Find out about the unique benefits for each of its characterising ingredients.  Watch Sue Radd, early one morning, on the Island of Crete!

What’s Fresh? – Garlic

You’ll either warm to it or reject its distinct taste and smell, but there is no questioning that garlic supplies multiple health benefits – even flu-fighting properties!

Garlic is packed to the brim with important disease-fighting phytonutrients (like sulphur-rich compounds called thiosulfinates, sulfoxides and dithiins) and it is a powerful anti-inflammatory food.  Studies have shown that garlic may help lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides; regulate blood glucose levels; and eliminate a wide range of bacteria, fungi and viruses.  Garlic also supplies small amounts of vitamin C, B6 and minerals to your plate.

The use of garlic as a food and medicine has been documented in the pages of history for thousands of years – especially in the Mediterranean and Asian regions where it is a staple for most savoury recipes.  Just try a hot pot made famous in Chongqing, China, and you’ll know what we mean!

Garlic is available all year round in Australia.  However, the Australian grown variety generally pops up at markets between January and April. 

Garlic belongs to the onion family and its cousins, including leeks, chives and shallots, each provide similar health properties.  Garlic bulbs are divided into multiple cloves and have a white, purple or pink skin. When buying, look for firm, well-formed cloves and store in a cool, dark, well ventilated space.  Generally speaking, the smaller the clove, the stronger and more pungent the taste.  And if it is Australian garlic, research tells us it has high alliin content!  Alliin is one of the single phytonutrients being intensively studied.  Cloves can be peeled, chopped or crushed (with the side of your knife or a garlic crusher) and used raw or cooked.  If you want to gain the greatest benefit, freshly crush your garlic and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes before adding to the final stages of cooking. The reason for this is that allinaise (the enzyme responsible for converting alliin to the active ingredient called alliicin, which adds muscle to garlic’s medicinal powers) is destroyed by heat and alliicin itself is degraded with increased temperature and cooking time!

Don’t like the garlic breath?  Try chewing on some fresh parsley or fennel seeds or bite into a wedge of lemon to help neutralise the smell.

3 ways with garlic:

1. Rub a clove on toasted bread (for instant garlic bread!).

2. Freshly crush one clove and add olive oil and lemon juice to create a lovely salad dressing.

3. Stir in last minute into soups, dips, stir-fries or pasta sauces.

Food Matters with Sue Radd – Do You Need to Portion Control?

Do you find you eat healthily but your portion sizes let you down?  Research into food psychology tells us that big-sized plates make everyone eat more than they intended to.  Perhaps now’s the time to Spring clean your kitchen cupboards and take a good look at your cups, plates and spoons!  Read Sue’s column to learn more.

Food InFocus – Have Asthma and Want to Breathe Easier? 

While Spring-time brings welcomed relief from the cold, it can be a challenging season for asthmatics. With plenty of pollen in the air, your airways might be struggling.  Did you know your diet can help?  Some foods are known to be anti-inflammatory whereas others promote inflammation – the dominating factor in asthma management.  What you eat can make a world of difference to how you feel and how often you reach for that puffer.  Check out this fascinating TV interview where Sue Radd reports on new anti-asthma dietary research.

Kitchen Tip – Apps to Keep your Health Goals Alive

Many of us would feel lost without our smart phones these days.  Our gadgets seem to have become a vital part of surviving the 21st century.  So why not use them to help you reach and maintain your health and lifestyle goals?

Here are some handy apps that have come to our attention.  Why not check them out?

  • FoodSwitch by Bupa.  Eating well is all about making the best possible food choices, especially if you shop in a supermarket.  The Australian FoodSwitch app scans barcodes and interprets the nutrition information of different food items through a traffic light rating system. Foods are rated according to their amounts of total fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt. The app provides lists of healthier food options and also rates them according to their nutrient quality.  Note: this app now also has a GlutenSwitch and SaltSwitch mode which can help you identify healthier gluten/salt free products.
  • Taste by News Life Media Pty Ltd.  Not sure what to cook for dinner tonight? Become a savvy foodie by using the Taste app with its extensive list of Australian recipes for any meal or occasion.  You have the option of saving your favourite recipes and creating shopping lists from your recipe of choice.
  • CalorieKing Australia Food Search by CalorieKing.  Want to know how many calories are in your takeout meal?  Will that extra flat white really make a difference?  Calorie King is a quick way to check the calorie or kilojoule content of a meal or snack before purchasing it, using Australian food composition data.  It can also provide more specific food details like fat, carbohydrate, protein, fibre and sodium contents.  The basic version is free!
  • Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker by My Fitness Pal.  Are you finding it difficult to keep a log of your daily eating and exercise patterns?  The free My Fitness Pal app may just be the solution for you.  This easy-to-use app has an online food and exercise diary and the largest database (over 3 million foods) to choose from.  But note: this database is not from Australia, although many of the values will be similar for Australian foods.
  • Moves by ProtoGeo.  How sedentary are you?  Not sure how much you move?  Moves is a free basic pedometer, which tracks your daily activities (walking, sitting, driving) and locations so long as you have your phone in your pocket.  It is a great way to increase your movement awareness and motivate you to develop healthier habits. But beware: it can drain your battery power!
  • Run with Map My Run by MapMyFitness.  This is a phone GPS that can track your walking, running, cycling or workout goals and map your journey, making exercise more interesting and fun. Use it as a free pedometer and it will monitor your exercise pace, distance covered and time taken. Set yourself personal challenges to increase your distance or duration or show off your achievements to your partner and friends!

Exciting News – Welcome Lindsey Thurlby

We're delighted to announce that Accredited Practising Dietitian Lindsey has joined our dynamic team. Lindsey is passionate about using lifestyle medicine to help you achieve better results.  Need an annual nutrition check?  Lindsey is waiting for your call.  Read more about Lindsey

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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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