The Pros and Cons of Juice

orange_juice_1Juice is very popular.

How can you resist them when they look insta-fabulous with a filter and served in a mason jar? #Healthy #CleanEating

Nutritionally speaking juices have pros and cons and are not the holy grail of health. They have their benefits depending on the context. Context is very important. Here is a quick summary of the pros and cons of juices.

The pros of juices:

  1. A very efficient way to nourish yourself with many vitamins and minerals
  2. Delicious
  3. Great snack if you are very active and lead a busy lifestyle
  4. Are approximately 95% water – hello hydration!

The cons of juices:

1. They do not contain fibre

Most juicing machines will leave out the skin and/or rough parts of the fruit and/or vegetables. The skin and rough parts of fruit and vegetables contain fibre which is fantastic for your bowels and also contribute to you feeling full.

Fibre also help ensure everything in your gut moves along efficiently so your stools are not too hard (hello constipation) or too soft (hello diarrhoea) and protect you from bowel cancer. You don’t want to miss out on fibre!

2. They contain little or no protein

Fruit and vegetables do not contain protein which is one of the things that help you feel full after eating. Ever wonder why you feel hungry shortly after drinking a juice? The no protein factor will have you hunting down food shortly after drinking your juice.

Protein is what your body uses to build or maintain every living tissue in your body. You can get protein from animal sources (e.g. lean meat, fish, seafood, offal) and non-animal sources (e.g. beans, tofu), and dairy (e.g. milk, cheese, yoghurt).

3. Can get pretty expensive very quickly

Why? If you add your cacao nibs, maca powder, pea protein etc and buy special equipment then your juice will get pretty expensive pretty quickly. In contrast, buying, washing and eating a piece of fruit is cheap and easy.

4. May hinder weight loss goals

A typical juice may contain 3 – 7 cut up fruit, their natural sugars and vitamins and minerals. The vitamins and minerals are fantastic for your health. The natural sugars give your muscles a boost of energy (also known as glucose) and this is what you want from a snack.

If you are not very active then these natural sugars are not used by your muscles and get converted to fat. If you are trying to lose weight by reducing the unhelpful foods in your diet then your hard work may be undone by over-consuming juices. If you are trying to lose weight, you can see a dietitian to help you formulate a personal, tailored plan to help you succeed.

5. Can contribute to bloating for some individuals

Why? As mentioned above, juices contain natural sugars. An overload of certain types of natural sugar can contribute to bloating and diarrhoea in some individuals. This does not mean that fruits are bad for you. It just means that our bodies are unique, built and work differently to one another.  And, if you struggle with bloating, see a dietitian who can help you determine is causes.  

6. They cannot and should not replace meals in the short-term or long term

This is due to reasons 1 – 5 listed above. Long-term, it is not healthy, balanced or safe to replace meals with juices. A juice should be enjoyed in conjunction to a balanced diet which contains lean protein, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, dairy, fruit and vegetables.

The bottom line:

Juices are great, however, drinking them do not make you instantly healthy. Remember to look at the big picture and ensure you get adequate sleep, exercise, reduce alcohol consumption and eat a variety of nourishing foods.

An inspiring thank you from a wonderful client

I will admit it – I got goosebumps and was close to tears when reading this. There is no better email to receive than one of gratitude such as this.  I am humbled and yet so excited to share this inspiring thank you from one of my clients.

I am so proud of how far Mark (and his wife Annette) have come.  Since writing this note, he has completed two more half Marathons (one in Auckland) and his new goal is to one day complete a full Marathon!  He has told me that if he had his life over again that he would become a Nutritionist!

I wanted to share this with you as a motivator to inspire you that anything is possible – no matter your age. 


Dear Julie,

When Annette and I first walked into your office, you asked us both what our goals were. Annette said she wanted to shop for smaller dress sizes and I said I wanted to run and paddle faster. Well, last Saturday and now 22kg’s lighter, that was more than achieved – ½ Marathon in 1:53 finally smashing the 2 hours. Absolutely an amazing feeling – OK I got a little emotional. I haven’t been at this weight since I was a teenager!

It’s been said that the older you get the harder it is too loose weight, now I disagree. If it is made simple, it’s achievable and to me that’s the stand out with your approach to weight loss. With a blank sheet of paper (coloured of course!) you penned what you wanted Annette and I to do – portions, protein and fibre. Also the snacks in between meals activating my metabolism made a big difference here. Eating less but more often, I find myself not starting a meal starving (like before) just hungry. When I finish a meal (mainly evening meal), I could still eat more but I choose not too as I’m no longer actually hungry.

Another stand out for me was that you weren’t representing or endorsing numerous dietary products as other weight agencies tend to do. Namely good nutritious food – Just eat unprocessed real food along with regular exercise.

Looking in the mirror in the change rooms trying on new clothes (as I had to ditch my entire old wardrobe!) I must say is a fantastic feeling – almost nudging a 6-pack without going to a gym. The comments I get from Annette’s, my and my kids friends is that “you look great”! Across the board, this really does a lot for one’s self confidence.

Julie, it’s easy to see why New Life Nutrition is so successful – Your bubbly and positive personality is very motivating and after each session both Annette and I would often comment this to each other – you made us feel good!

Now I’ve reached my goal weight and Annette is still a work in progress and I know she will get there. On a personal note, I would like to thank you very much for the simple changes that I needed to make to my lifestyle and approach to good nutritious proportionate eating.

Mark Haling – Very Happy Customer


Should I Count Calories?

Zero fat You may have heard the phrase “calories in versus calories out” when it comes to losing weight. It is true that calories do count for losing weight. The idea of counting calories started around the turn of the 20th century with the invention of a machine that helped measure calories or energy in food.

If we could measure calories, then it must be useful to be able to count them. This belief has stuck with us for the last 100 years and has spurred the idea that you must eat fewer calories in order to lose weight.

Creating a calorie deficit is meant to force your body to look for calories elsewhere, hopefully in your fat stores, which will eventually lead to weight loss. It has been traditionally believed that you need to be in a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose one pound.

Most health professionals recommend a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day over the course of a week to achieve a pound of weight loss per week. But, as many of us who have tried these calorie-controlled diets know, every calorie is not created equal.

It is also very difficult to count calories accurately. Most of us have “portion distortion” where we don’t have any true understanding what a real portion looks like. This is made worse when we consume foods at buffets or at restaurants that serve huge portions. Even dietitians and nutritionists have a hard time accurately estimating calories.

When 200 dietitians were shown different restaurant meals, they were unable to accurately estimate the calories in the meals. Sometimes they were off by as much as 50%. If you want to more accurately estimate calories, it is important to actually measure or weigh your food instead just guessing on the exact amount. This is difficult to do in a restaurant setting since you don’t know the exact ingredients in the food, therefore it is best to prepare the food yourself for the most accurate measurement.

Not all calories are created equal. Some foods tell our body to store fat or release insulin more than other foods. Some foods have a thermic effect, meaning they use more energy when they are digested. The differences are small, but it they can add up. Foods that take more energy to digest and absorb are generally foods that are high in fibre and protein. For example, whole grain bread takes more calories to digest than white bread due to the fibre content. These high fibre, high protein foods also increase satiety or feeling of fullness, leading you to also eat fewer calories overall.

So should you count calories? Calorie counting may not be for everyone. If you are just starting out on a weight loss program, first begin by improving your food quality and eating less quantity to see if that gives you the results you want. Increase your intake of high fibre and high protein foods. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet and cut out high sugar and processed foods.

After a few months of improving your diet, if you are still not getting the results you want, then you may want to consider counting calories to see if you are eating more than you think. There are many smartphone applications that help make calorie counting easier. Just make sure to actually measure your food before you consume it so you can begin to learn what a real portion looks like and get an accurate perspective.

Diet Soft Drinks and Weight Loss

Diet Soft Drinks
Diet Soft Drinks

Sweetened drinks including regular soft drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened teas, usually contain a significant amount of calories, sugar, or high fructose corn syrup. Adding just one of these drinks to your diet every day can add 54,750 extra calories in a year enough to make you gain 7 kg. Sweetened drinks may lead to weight gain because liquid calories do not increase satiety, therefore people do not compensate for the calories by eating less overall.

For those of us trying to lose weight, it may be tempting to start consuming diet drinks, which have no calories, but still contain some flavor. But, diet soft drinks may not be the weight loss solution we have been looking for in the long-run. Artificial sweeteners found in drinks include: sucralose (Splenda), saccharine (Sweet n’ Low), and aspartame (Equal or Nutrasweet).

Several long-term studies have shown connections between increased diet soft drink consumption, weight gain, and metabolic syndrome. The MESA study found that for those who consumed greater than one serving of diet soft drink daily, the risk of metabolic syndrome (a cluster of symptoms including abdominal obesity and glucose intolerance) was 36% greater than those who did not consume soft drink regardless of calorie intake or other factors. Those who consumed diet drinks had a 67% increase in risk for type 2 diabetes.

Artificial sweeteners may trigger receptors in the tongue, which are meant to identify sweet-tasting foods, even those that do not contain calories. The receptors trigger the body’s natural response to sugar which is to release insulin. When there is insulin released without calories, this may throw off the body’s natural response to insulin, possibly leading to insulin resistance.

Part of the connection between diet soft drink consumption and weight gain may also be related to our perception of how many calories we are actually saving. An average regular soft drink has between 120-150 calories, which you can save by drinking diet soft drinks. But, many people go overboard and believe they are saving many more calories, therefore they eat significantly more than they normally would. This skewed perception of the actual number of calories saved may be part of the reason we see people who drink diet soft drinks gaining weight.

Alternatives to Diet Soft Drinks

Based on current research, it is probably best to avoid or significantly limit your consumption of diet soft drinks. If you must have something sweet, some good low-calorie choices include: Stevia, xylitol, raw honey, or date sugar. Even though these may be “healthier” choices, they will still add additional carbohydrates to your diet or may influence your insulin levels.

The best thing to do when trying to cut back on sugar is to break the addiction. Once you stop eating foods high in concentrated sugar, you will begin to appreciate the sweet taste of fruit or other natural sugars. Start drinking more water. You can even flavor your water by adding fruits such as orange slices or strawberries to it. There is no need to drink diet soft drinks or any type of sweetened drink as water is really the optimal and healthiest option.

Ways to Lose Weight Differently This Year


Our Brisbane dietitians have weight loss tips to help you to lose weight differently this year!

With the New Year already upon us, many of us have set resolutions to finally get the weight off.  We all have heard the old adage “eat less and move more” to achieve weight loss, which definitely still works! But, this approach can be tedious sometimes and maybe you have tried this with limited success. So, instead why not consider some of these alternative ways of tackling weight management in 2014?

  • Try eating intuitively. The principle behind intuitive eating is that our bodies send us constant signals of how much or how little to eat. The problem is that most people ignore these signals completely and either won’t eat when they are hungry or eat way past the point of being full. The key to eating intuitively is to listen to what your body is telling you. If you are hungry, eat something. Try to make it something healthy of course, with a balance of high fiber carbohydrates and some protein. Stop eating when you are satisfied, meaning no longer hungry, you should not be full or stuffed. Just no longer hungry. The more you practice this, the easier it will become, allowing your body to fall into its natural hunger patterns and get to a healthy weight.
  • Sleep! Getting adequate sleep is the most underrated weight loss tool we have. A study of over 68,000 women found that over a 16 year period, those who slept less than 5 hours a night gained 1.14kg more than those who slept more than 7 hours a night. This was true regardless of diet, exercise, or other lifestyle factors that might affect weight. Lack of sleep leaves us craving high sugar, high calorie foods to keep our energy levels up. It messes with our metabolism and hormones too, throwing off hunger and satiety signals. When you are tired, exercise is definitely out of the question. So, this year, prioritize sleep. Aim for at least 7-8 hours a night.
  • Focus on stress management. Similar to lack of sleep, stress sends all of our hormones out of control. One of the most critical hormones for weight management is cortisol.  Levels of cortisol are increased during times of psychological or physical stress. When cortisol is elevated, it will increase your appetite, insulin levels, and cause you to deposit fat in the abdominal area.  A 2001 study of 59 healthy women found that stressed women with high cortisol levels, tended to eat more calories and sugar than those who were not under stress.  Therefore, stress management is critical to reduce cortisol levels. Daily low-intensity exercise, like walking, reduces stress and cortisol.  Other ways to manage your stress include taking time out for enjoyable activities, meditation/prayer, laughing with friends, or taking a long bubble bath.

These weight loss tips and techniques may work for you, especially if you are a chronic dieter and have hit a plateau. With long-term weight management, it is important to look at a person’s entire lifestyle, as everything can have an effect on weight. So, take a look at your hunger signals, hours of sleep, and stress in 2014 and make it your year to achieve a healthy weight!

Mindfulness and Weight Loss

Have you ever eaten a meal while at your desk during a busy day and realized you ate everything without even noticing? Have you ever eaten an entire bag of potato chips before you even knew it was gone while watching TV? You may be engaging in mindless eating.  Not actually paying attention to your food and what you are eating may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts.  What if you could achieve a healthy body weight without counting calories, weighing your food, or feeling guilty when you fall off the wagon?

Many of us unfortunately started to be programmed to overeat in childhood, when our parents forced us to clean our plates. Forcing a child to eat when they are not hungry teaches them to override their own hunger and satiety signals. Most children have the natural ability to eat until they are satisfied and not stuffed, unlike many adults. In addition to conditioning in childhood, chronic dieting may have caused us to ignore hunger signals when we are “on a diet” or overeat when we are “off” the diet. If we believe that food might be scarce in the future, we tend to overeat today to make sure we don’t go hungry.

Mindfulness starts with being in the present moment. For many of us, our minds are living in either the past or the future. We are always thinking of what will happen tomorrow or maybe dwelling on painful experiences in the past. But, if we shift our attention to the present, we will see that our minds are a lot clearer, a lot less cluttered. Focusing on the present can help relieve stress and anxiety tied to ideas about the future or the past, reducing the need to eat emotionally. If we are able to be in the present moment we can notice what is happening around us and tap in to our body’s natural needs.

We have forgotten that our body actually naturally sends signals when it is hungry or satisfied. The key to long-term weight maintenance is to learn to listen to these signals by practicing mindful eating. The first step is to tap into these cues by always asking ourselves why we want to eat. Before you put something in your mouth, ask am I hungry? Am I sad? Angry? Bored? Tired? If you are NOT hungry, then you need to address the other emotional issues instead of eating. If you are sad, call a friend or watch a funny movie. If you are tired, take a nap! Eating will not resolve any of those other issues and may actually make you feel worse.

Other ways to be mindful is to limit distractions while eating. People who watch TV while eating tend to eat about 228 calories more than those who are not distracted. Make meal time special and sacred. Sit down, put on some soft music, and enjoy your meal. It takes about twenty minutes for the brain to register the feeling of fullness, so take your time while eating. Put your fork down and chew each bite well. If you are eating with others, enjoy the conversation instead of focusing on scarfing down your meal as quickly as possible. Eating too fast may even prevent us from absorbing nutrients properly to get the most out of our food.

Lastly, eat foods you enjoy and make you feel good. If you prefer fish over chicken, choose fish. Or if too much sugar in the morning gives you an energy crash later in the day, start your day with protein instead. Listening to how your body feels and reacts with certain foods can help you tailor a diet that is healthiest for you. Try keeping a journal of your food and moods to help you identify your optimal eating pattern. Of course it’s important to maintain balance by including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains into your diet, but still honor your taste preferences within those categories. Food was meant to be enjoyed, so take the time, pay attention to it, and enjoy eating mindfully for a healthy weight.

Health Benefits of Chia

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds seem to be sprouting up everywhere these days in a variety of health foods. Although the chia  seed seems like a “new” food, chia has actually been around for over 3500 years. Chia is a seed native to southern Mexico from a plant called Salvia hisipanica. In Mexico, the Aztecs and Mayans consumed chia seeds to give them strength for battle and relieve pain. The Aztecs also used chia as a high energy-density food they could consume during long travels or during times when food was not as readily available. Now much of the chia in the world is grown in Australia, instead of Mexico, and Australia may soon become the biggest producer of chia seeds internationally.

Chia has several health benefits. These powerful seeds contain a significant amount of the omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), even more than flax seeds. ALA may help reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and even symptoms of asthma. The seeds also have an extra benefit in that the omega-3 fat is protected by a large amount of antioxidants, which prevents the heart-healthy fat from becoming rancid.  Chia seeds are also very high in fiber, providing 10g per ounce.  Chia is a high calcium seed, as it provides 179 mg of calcium per serving. That’s not all for their nutritional benefits, they are also chock full of phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, and zinc all of which are minerals vital to health.

Omega-3s and calcium have been shown to help with weight loss and chia seeds provide large doses of both nutrients. But chia seeds actually have an additional weight-loss boosting benefit other than their nutritional profile. When mixed with water, chia seeds grow to 10x their size, forming a gel that is high soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is not digested by our bodies and therefore is calorie-free. The gel also grows in the stomach, making us feel full and leading to a reduced overall calorie consumption. Soluble fiber traps fat and cholesterol, possibly lowering calorie absorption from a meal. Less calories being absorbed, means less calories are stored as unwanted fat!

Not sure how to eat chia seeds? When mixed with water, they have a rubbery, gel- like consistency. Chia seeds are 100% gluten free so are safe to eat on a gluten or grain free diet. If you want to lose weight, add them to water or tea to help fill you up before a meal, so you feel full and eat less overall. Sprinkle them on salads, blend them into smoothies, or add them to your favorite soup as a thickener. Add them to hot cereal, yogurt, or grind them to add to muffins or breads. Many people use chia as an egg replacer in baked goods to add omega-3 fats and reduce cholesterol. As chia becomes more popular, you are sure to see it pop up in a variety of health foods and they are a great addition to any diet.

Here is a recipe for you adapted from Simple Bites. This recipe is GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, LOW SUGAR, LOW GLYCAEMIC and HIGH CALCIUM


  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk (you can also use 1% cow’s milk)
  • 2 tbsp xylitol or Stevia (you can also use coconut sugar, agave, or honey- although these contain real sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a pint jar. Cover the jar with a lid and give it a vigorous shake.
  2. Chill for about an hour, then return to the jar and shake it up. Let chill for at least 4 hours and overnight is even better.
  3. Chia seeds will expand and turn into pudding the consistency of applesauce (it won’t get really thick).
  4. Serve cold with sliced fruit or toasted nuts on top.



Healthy Easy Lunches…and a Competition!


Days at work can sometimes get so busy that many of us forget to stop for lunch or just eat at our desks. This results in being overly hungry at night or to a 3pm blood sugar slump which leads us to choose sugary snacks to get our energy back up. Taking a lunch break is not just important for our diets, but is also a critical part of stress management at work. Taking a break away from your desk, even if it’s just for 15 minutes can help reduce daily strain quinoa saladand will actually make you more productive and focused for the afternoon. The ideal work day lunch provides lean protein, a high fiber carbohydrate, and a healthy fat. It is best to bring your lunch to work if you can, so you can control exactly what you are eating and are less likely to be tempted by high fat, high calorie restaurant choices.  Here are some lunch ideas to keep you productive and healthy during a busy day at work:

1. Salmon salad. Canned salmon is an easy, nutritious source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Mix together 1 small can of salmon (approximately 100 grams), 3 cups of greens such as lettuce, baby spinach, kale etc (your choice), ½ cup beetroot,  a whole grapefruit or orange in sections, and ¼ cup of nuts (your choice).  Add a small can of four bean mix or chickpeas for some low GI carbohydrates. Drizzle with olive oil, white wine vinegar, and chili powder for dressing.

2. Leftovers. Leftovers from the night before always make a great lunch the next day. If you are cooking chicken or fish, make a little extra for lunch. Rice and beans or a bean soup keeps for about 5 days in the fridge and makes a filling-high fiber lunch. Make a large batch on a Sunday and eat it all week.

3. Wholemeal pita sandwiches. Pita bread is a great pocket for just about any lean meat, vegetable, or healthy fat. Pita can get soggy easily, so pack the bread separately from the fillers and make your sandwich when you are ready to eat. Some suggested toppings: hummus with roasted red peppers and cucumber slices, the salmon salad above, or turkey with tomato slices, lettuce, and olives.

4. Frozen or pre-packaged meals. Although it may be tempting to just throw a pre-packaged or frozen meal into your lunch bag, be careful with what you choose. These choices can be high in sodium and low in nutrition. Look for choices that have less than 500mg sodium per serving. Choose those that include whole grains and vegetables. Avoid frozen pizzas, pastas, or fried choices. If you do find a healthy option that is low in calories and sodium add a side salad, fruit, or low fat yoghurt to balance out your meal.

5. Quirky quinoa salad. Quinoa is a great whole grain that provides a significant amount of protein and fiber. Our recipe has chickpeas for additional protein and a ton of vegetables. It can be made ahead of time and tastes even better the next day. Get creative with quinoa, toss in leftover chicken and vegetables along with your favorite dressing.  The combinations are endless!

Lunch can give you more energy, help you save money, and make you a more productive worker. Remember lunch doesn’t have to be a traditional sandwich, it can be whatever makes you feel healthy and well-nourished to make your work day more productive. Feel free to start with these ideas and create your own energy boosting lunch.



We love food…and we also love quinoa!  To celebrate our love for both of these things, New Life Nutrition has teamed up with a new wholefoods business in Brisbane to bring you a great giveaway.

Andes Mills is a Brisbane based family owned business who source and sell natural products and superfoods traditionally used in South America for their health benefits. Their products currently include maca and amaranth however they have announced that they will be launching their quinoa product at Brisbane’s Good Food and Wine Show in November!  The most awesome thing about this product is that the Andes Mills family actually grown their own quinoa on their farm in South America and  import it for sale.  I love that not only do they know where it came from, they have actually grown it themselves!


To celebrate the launch of their quinoa, Andes Mills and New Life Nutrition are giving you the opportunity to win a double pass to the Good Food and Wine Show in Brisbane (8-10 November).  The winner will receive both a double pass as well as a 500g bag of quinoa (so you can whip up our Quinoa Salad for your lunches!).  Two runners up will each receive a 500g bag of quinoa.


good food and wine

To win, tell us what your favourite family food memory is.  Please comment either below or on our Andes Mills competition facebook post .

Competition closes Wednesday 30th October at 10pm (Brisbane time)

 Please also show the love by checking out the Andes Mills facebook page! I love a family business so please support this great business!

Quick Healthy Breakfast Ideas

healthy-breakfastEating breakfast is one of the most important health habits you can develop – choosing a healthy breakfast can make it a challenge. Breakfast helps you maintain your weight, gives you energy throughout the day, and keeps your blood sugar stable. A healthy breakfast balances protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to provide adequate fuel, nutrients, and energy. Here are some quick and healthy breakfast ideas you can turn to when the mornings are rushed.

  • Whole wheat bread and a tablespoon of nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew), topped with a sliced banana. If you are not lactose intolerant, add a cup of non-fat milk to drink. Look for bread that is low in sugar and has at least 3g of fiber per slice.
  • One or two boiled eggs and a piece of fruit. Sometimes life just gets too hectic, so try to boil some eggs on the weekends to have as grab-and-go breakfasts during the week. Add a piece of fruit to balance out the meal.
  • Plain Greek yoghurt, berries, and 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds. Greek yoghurt is best because it contains a significant amount of protein, but be aware of the sugar content in the flavored varieties.
  • Fruit smoothie. Blend ½ c berries and 1 banana with ½ cup non-fat milk, almond milk, or “silken” tofu. Silken tofu can be used in the place of yoghurt or dairy products to add protein and texture to smoothies. Add protein powder if you want an even bigger boost or if you want more ideas click here.
  • Healthy Muesli bars. Try our recipe for a homemade version or make your own bar for a healthy breakfast option. If you are going to buy a pre-made bar, look for one with at least 3g of fiber and low in sugar. Add a boiled egg or a slice of low fat cheese for a little extra protein.
  • Stuff whole wheat pita bread with scrambled eggs and a few slices of tomato. Add fruit on the side.
  • Coconut and almond rice pudding. Full of delicious coconut and cinnamon, this rice pudding works for everyone in the family. It can also be made with quinoa for more protein.
  • Melon and low fat or non-fat cottage cheese. Scoop the seeds out of any melon and fill with cottage cheese for the perfect combo of carbohydrates and protein.
  •  Oatmeal with nuts and soy milk. Cook the oatmeal with soy, almond, or non-fat milk for extra protein. Top with nuts and dried fruits, such as raisins or dates.
  • Vegetable omelet with fruit. Put spinach, tomatoes, and onions in a pan and lightly sauté. Add 1-2 beaten eggs. Top with a few slices of avocado if desired and add a piece of fruit on the side.

Healthy breakfasts don’t have to take up a lot of time, but they do require planning. Get all the ingredients you will need for the week ahead of time and pre-prepare what is necessary for the week. Get up just 10 or 15 minutes early to give yourself plenty of time. With a little planning, a daily breakfast will soon be another healthy habit!



Vitamin D Deficiency

After a recent doctors visit for some routine blood work, I discovered I have vitamin D deficiency. You may be thinking, how can a dietitian be deficient in any vitamin? Well, vitamin D is different from other vitamins because food is generally a poor source.  So, no matter how balanced my diet might be, I can still be deficient. Our skin makes vitamin D when it is directly exposed to sunlight, especially in the summer months.  Sadly, like most people today, I spend most of the day light hours inside the office. And with my fair skin, I try not to expose myself excessively to the sun and when I do I cover up with sun screen. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a vitamin D deficiency.

But, I am not alone, a study from 2007 from the Environmental Health Perspectives Journal, analyzed vitamin D status in three areas of Australia: southeast Queensland, Geelong region, and Tasmania. The results showed that study participants in Tasmania had the greatest prevalence of low vitamin D levels approximately 67.3% of subjects had levels less than 50 nmol/L, followed by those in Queensland (40.5% of subjects), and lastly 37.4% of participants in the Geelong region.

Certain population groups are also more prone to vitamin D deficiency.  People with darker skin do not absorb the vitamin from the sun as well as those with lighter skin.  Also, people who live in colder climates, who have illnesses that prevent proper absorption of nutrients, and breastfed children who do not receive supplemental vitamin D, are all at risk for developing a deficiency. The elderly are also at high risk due to time spent indoors and the skin becomes less efficient at absorbing the vitamin as we age.

Why is vitamin D important?

I am concerned about my vitamin D levels because vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a variety of health problems. People with low vitamin D may experience more bone fractures or muscle weakness, due to the role that vitamin D plays in calcium absorption. Low levels of vitamin D have also been linked to specific cancers such as thyroid, prostate, and breast cancer. Vitamin D is also vital for a healthy immune system and can help us fight off bacteria and viruses, especially in the winter months.  People who are obese tend to have lower levels of vitamin D, as vitamin D is fat soluble and gets trapped in the body’s fat cells.

Treatment of Vitamin D deficiency

The first thing to do if you believe you might be deficient in vitamin D is to ask your doctor for a blood test called 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD). This specific vitamin D blood level should be ? 70 nmol/L.  For those with a significant deficiency, your doctor may prescribe a high dose of the vitamin temporarily to quickly correct the deficiency. The upper limit of vitamin D is 10,000 IU.

If you want to take an over the counter supplement look for one with Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) which more closely matches the type vitamin D naturally found in the body, therefore it is the preferred form for supplementation. If you are deficient, try to take 1000 IU daily to get your levels up, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Many people may need a “maintenance” level of vitamin D during the winter months of 600 IU. But, the best thing you can do to naturally get your vitamin D levels up is to spend a little time enjoying the sunshine. Just 10-20 minutes of direct sunlight during the summer months will help keep your vitamin D levels up. So get out there and enjoy the sunshine!


Benefits of Beetroot

This is the first of many featured ingredients for our new blog series ‘GOODNESS ME!’.  Each fortnight we will feature a new ingredient and tell you all the amazing health and nutritional benefits and give you some tips of how to use them in your every day diet.  

Comment below or on our Facebook page if there are any ingredients you would love to know more about!

I love beetroot not only for its delicious taste and powerful nutrient properties but also for its ability to add vibrant colour to almost any dish.

There are so many health and nutritional benefits to beetroot. Beetroot is an excellent source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate, potassium and our digestive systems best friend – fibre! The rich purple colour is due to high levels of phytonutrients (a potent antioxidant), which fights free radicals (those nasty things that damage our cells) keeping your immune system strong and body healthy. A recent study also suggested that beetroot juice may assist with maintaining good blood pressure! To boost a juice, ask for added beetroot!

Lucky for us, beetroot is available year round but is most plentiful (and cheap) in the warmer months.


How to include beetroot in your diet

Choose small-medium sized deep-coloured beetroots with smooth skin. Grated raw beetroot is a yummy addition to any salad and the best way to keep all of those antioxidants intact – just don’t be alarmed when that wonder juice we were talking about before turns everything pink!

You can also roast, steam or boil beets for around 30-40 minutes (depending on the size), before consuming whole, peeled, diced or sliced with meals. Beetroot, pumpkin, spinach and goats cheese is a great combination for risottos, salads or pizza toppings. You can also add the leaves to your salad for added nutrients.

Try my beetroot dip, which is perfectly paired with vegetable sticks or crackers for a quick and protein rich afternoon tea or a delicious spread for sandwiches or wraps. If you are feeling creative – try our bean and beetroot brownie recipe.


Beetroot Hommus

This recipe is packed with protein, fibre, antioxidants and good fats!


1 tin chickpeas, drained

3 baby beetroots

1 tablespoons tahini

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

½ clove garlic

1 teaspoon smoked paprika



  1. Boil or steam beetroots for around 25 minutes until tender. Drain and cool.
  2. In a food processor, blend all ingredients until smooth. Add an extra tablespoon of water if the mixture seems too thick.
  3. Serve or store in small containers for a quick snack on the run!

Juice: Health food or junk food?

Often people suggest that instead of softdrink, they will have a juice. I’ll put it out there – I hate juice. It provides a false sense of security as it comes from something healthy like fruit. However, when you look at how many teaspoons of sugar a juice has, you may think again!

A freshly squeezed medium sized fruit juice typically contains around 11 teaspoons of sugar, and while it may be natural and not refined cane sugar, ultimately, it’s still sugar with none of the fibre you’d get from eating the whole fruit. I always like to think about how many oranges you would need to juice to get a glass of juice – would you eat that many oranges in one sitting? I would say probably not!

Juice teaspoon sugar

Just as a side note, the type of juice we are talking about here, is not your popular juice bar smoothies.   Smoothies from these shops can have up to 30 teaspoons of sugar in a serve!! (eeek!) That is astounding – especially considering they are marketed as a healthy product!  The worst of these are those that are based on frozen yoghurt, sorbet, fruit concentrates and syrups.

If you choose to buy a juice, get one which is freshly squeezed, stick to a small size and combine the fruit with even more vegetables.  If you must buy supermarket juice, choose those that have no added sugar and include the pulp – however keep you serve to 1/4 of a glass and dilute it with lots of water!

Another even better alternative, why not make your own Green Smoothie at home!  For information about Green Smoothies head to my blog post all about them here.

Low Carb Spaghetti Bolognaise

Serves – 4

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garli,c chopped
2 x 120g lean mince (try kangaroo!)
1 large carrot, grated
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 x 500g jar low carb pasta sauce – Leggo’s spaghetti sauce with beef  OR  tinned tomato passata
6 green zucchini
6 yellow zucchini
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
freshly ground pepper to taste
pinch of sea salt (optional)
light spray of olive oil (optional)


  1. Saute the onion and garlic in a little water until softened. Add the mince and cook, stirring constantly for 5 mins, until browned. Add carrot and celery and cook for a further 5 minuted, adding a little water if necessary.
  2. Stir through low carb pasta sauce. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 mins.
  3. While sauce is cooking, use a potato peeler on the zucchini to create spaghetti
  4. Just before serving, blanch zucchini in a pinch of sea salt (optional) and bring water to the boil for 1 min to heat through, then drain.
  5. Toss with a light spray of olive oil (optional) and a tablespoon of the parsley.  Keep warm.
  6. Season saute with pepper. Fold in the rest of the chopped parsley just before serving.
  7. Divide zucchini spaghetti into serving bowls and top with bolognaise sauce.



 ** Alternative to making spaghetti bolognaise is to make mince into a meatball mixture.  Add the below ingredients to the mince and roll to form meatballs.  Cook in a non-stick fry pan until becoming golden brown then continue at Step 2 to continue cooking meatballs in the tomato pasta sauce.

  • 1 egg
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • ¼ tsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk
  • pepper,
  • rosemary
  • basil
  • thyme

** Alternative to zucchini is to use carrot, cabbage (prepared in the same way) or SPAGHETTI SQUASH.  Directions for preparation of spaghetti squash as below.  (This was inspired by my client Gill who gave me her home grown spaghetti squash!)

  1. Prick the spaghetti squash all over with a skewer so it will not burst while baking.
  2. Place whole squash in a shallow baking pan.
  3. Bake in preheated 180*C oven for 1 hour.
  4. When cool enough to handle, cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise with a serrated knife.
  5. Scoop the seeds and fibrous strings from the centre of the cooked spaghetti squash
  6. Gently scrape the tines of a kitchen fork around the edge of the spaghetti squash to shred the pulp into strands.
  7. Cooked spaghetti squash is usually served with a sauce or gravy because the flesh is very bland in flavour.