Knowledge library.
  • Food & Nutrition — August 21, 2017
    Coffee & Alcohol: What’s the go?

    Caffeine

    Many of us look forward to our daily caffeine fix (hello wonderful Melbourne coffee options), and small to moderate amounts cause no problems for most people. The issues arise when our bodies consume too much caffeine, which can trigger a stress response, with resultant increase in adrenaline production. When adrenaline is produced, our bodies respond in the following ways;

    • Our blood sugar elevates to fuel our muscles to help us escape the perceived danger (fight or flight)
    • Our blood pressure and pulse rate increases to get more oxygen to the muscles
    • Digestion and reproductive functions slow down so our bodies can save the energy for far more important matters – like survival
    • Our bodies prioritise using sugar stores rather than fat stores – which over time, with a prolonged stress response, can make weight loss is very challenging.

    We have become accustomed to living with stress as a constant in our lives.  Our bodies can’t tell the difference between being chased by a tiger and being late for work, our biological response is the same. And once we are in this state of stress, it can be difficult to calm down and relax. This can affect our sleep, so we are tired the next day, reach for a caffeine stimulant to perk us up, and the viscous cycle continues.

    So – enjoy that one coffee per day, preferably with a friend, but just recognise when your body has had enough. Instead of the auto-pilot 3pm coffee– try a herbal tea or a walk around the block with a glass (or two) of water and see how that feels.

    If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, Doctors advise to stick to one coffee a day. If you are switching to de-caf, make sure your de-caffeinated coffee is cold water filtered, as the alternate product is treated with chemicals to remove the caffeine (yuck).

    Alcohol

    No matter which way we spin it, alcohol is a toxin. Every individual should consider the effects of alcohol on their bodies, and in which situations a glass of wine is enjoyable. What we do know is that limiting alcohol intake to 2 standard drinks, with at least 2 alcohol free days per week is the key to a happy body and a healthy liver. It is also important to consider the sugar content in your drink, especially for mixed drinks – soda and fresh lime or lemon are best.

    If you are pregnant or breast feeding, it is recommended that alcohol is avoided. Sadly there is no safe level of alcohol that can be recommended during pregnancy, so avoiding it altogether is your safest option.

  • Food & Nutrition — June 2, 2017
    The Fit Mother Food Philosophy Overview

    It’s a fact that we are what we eat. At The Fit Mother, we are serious about fuelling our bodies with fresh and nutritious food, however we also know that life doesn’t run to a 7 day meal plan.

    We have two guiding principles when it comes to food;

    • Just eat real food. If your diet is made up mostly of whole, real and fresh foods – then you’re well on the way to a healthy body that functions, repairs and uses energy in the right way.
    • Make it Fast, Fresh and Easy. We won’t ever share recipes that we wouldn’t make ourselves. We know life runs at a fast pace, so we’re realistic about how much time you have to prepare meals for yourself, and for the family. Where possible, we’ve included dinner ideas that the whole family can enjoy with you.

    We are not great rule followers, and we don’t believe in guilt so this ‘plan’ is simply a guideline for you to explore and discover a great way of nourishing your body. Every (woman’s) body is different, and at various stages of pregnancy and motherhood your body will want and need different things.

    We are here to help expand your ideas about food – creating good habits on the way, with food that is Fast, Fresh and Easy to prepare. If you don’t like one of the ideas on the meal plan , just swap it for something you like. Over time, we hope you will be able to create new meals and use your own ideas following the examples we’ve set. We will be doing our part to add new recipes and ideas all the time via the member portal and community.

    Making great food choices starts with these ideas:

    Be flexible: Eat whole and real nutritious food most of the time, and then if you do have an occasion where you let loose a little – so be it. It’s what you do most of the time that matters. At The Fit Mother we think the 90/10 rule is a great way to think about your food habits. If you eat something you know isn’t great for you, have vegies as well, add in a little extra movement or choose lighter food options the following day.

    Plan ahead – think about what you need so you don’t waste it, buy in bulk when you can (nuts, seeds etc. are a good example), and use your freezer to maximise the use out of any real produce that you buy. If you have fruit or veg that is nearing it’s used-by date, freeze it. This is great for foods like bananas and kale which you can whip up in your breakfast smoothies.

    Steer clear of processed foods wherever possible. Keep healthy snack options like nuts, fruit or natural yoghurt handy.  Eat food that your grandmother would have eaten.

    When you get a craving, instead of reaching for the first available option, think about what your body needs. There may be a more nutritious option that is just as easy and accessible – but not yet habit. It may also be worth asking yourself whether you’re eating for distraction (get back to the desk with some nuts and a herbal tea!), or for emotion. Perhaps taking a walk or speaking to a friend will fill the gap for now. We have included heaps of great snack ideas in our meal plan that will give you energy and the right nutrition to keep you going.

    Buy fresh wherever possible. We know that eating organic foods is great, however these foods aren’t always easy to find, and they are often more expensive. Instead of focusing on ‘organic’, start with fresh fruit and vegetables and add organic items in when it makes sense for you. This may be your meat choices, or the items you can pick up at the local farmers market or supermarket.

    Start paying attention to the ingredients rather than the nutritional panels. It is easy to tweak portion sizes and metrics on packaging to present a ‘healthy’ product – however it is much more difficult to mislead with ingredients. Pay attention to the first few items on the list, and if they’re sugar, butter, cream etc., then you know that these are ‘occasional’ foods. You should also pay attention to preservatives and flavour enhancers.

    Please note, if you have any specific dietary requirements, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have any concerns about your diet – ensure you seek information and advice on your personal food and nutrition needs from a qualified health professional. These are generic guidelines.

    Adapted from The Fit Mother Food Philosophy.
    Authors: Sarah Poole & Chloe Lorback
    Endorsed by: Kate Save, Accredited Practicing Dietitian

  • Food & Nutrition — June 2, 2017
    Water is the holy grail of hydration

    Water is critical for the healthy functioning of our bodies. It is recommended that women intake around 8 cups of water of day (2.1L). This does include all fluids, however mostly it should be straight up H2O. If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or exercising – you should aim for a few more glasses per day as your body is losing fluid at a greater rate than normal.

    An additional 750-1000mL per day is recommended for those of you gorgeous women creating or sustaining another life.

    If in doubt – drink enough water so you are rarely thirsty and your urine is colorless or light yellow.

    Tips for increasing your water intake;

    • Keep a bottle handy – on your desk / in the car
    • Always take a bottle with you when you’re exercising
    • Try mineral or soda water with lemon at dinner times for a bit of a change
    • Add cubes or fresh fruit/herbs to your water to add to the flavor

    Adapted from The Fit Mother Food Philosophy.
    Authors: Sarah Poole & Chloe Lorback
    Endorsed by: Kate Save, Accredited Practicing Dietician

  • Food & Nutrition — June 2, 2017
    Healthy fats – not all fats are created equal!

    Given the global epidemic of diabetes, heart disease and obesity it’s no wonder we’re concerned about fats, however there is still a lot of misinformation about which types of fats are good (or bad) for our bodies.

    Research shows us that our bodies need certain types of fats to function at their best – including managing our moods and weight, vitamin absorption, brain development, immunity and maintaing healthy skin and hair.

    Some tips for upping the ante on your healthy fat intake;

    • Choose real foods, and focus on plant-based fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado and extra virgin olive oil. The types of fats found in these options is good for your body.
    • When making salads, add olives and olive oil (not heated as it changes the healthy properties of the oil) or flaxseed oil. Try making a yummy salad dressing with extra virgin olive oil, lemon, dijon mustard and a little bit of salt and pepper.

    Adapted from The Fit Mother Food Philosophy.
    Authors: Sarah Poole & Chloe Lorback
    Endorsed by: Kate Save, Accredited Practicing Dietician

  • Food & Nutrition — June 2, 2017
    Carbs – the low down

    Carbohydrates are an energy source for our bodies, however they are not an essential energy source. If you’re not going to use the energy through exercise, pregnancy or breastfeeding, then it’s a good idea to think about your carb intake coming from plant based sources such as vegetables, salad and fruit. Dairy foods are also a low GI carbohydrate.

    When you do choose other forms of carbohydrates, select mostly “complex carbs”, which release glucose more slowly into our bodies (low GI). It’s also good to think of these choices as a base for a nutritious meal, not a meal in themselves.

    Complex or low GI options include;

    • Wholegrains: rye, spelt and wholemeal sourdough
    • Gluten-free grains: brown rice, buckwheat and quinoa
    • Oats
    • Beans and legumes
    • Starchy vegetables: sweet potato, pumpkin, beetroot, corn and carrot (as examples)
    • Low GI fruits: berries, citrus and stone fruits (i.e. nectarines)
    • Dairy: plain natural yoghurt, milk and cheese

    Adapted from The Fit Mother Food Philosophy
    Author: Sarah Poole & Chloe Lorback
    Endorsed by: Kate Save, Accredited Practicing Dietician

  • Food & Nutrition — May 11, 2017
    5 crafty ways to boost the goodness of your family meals

    Let’s be honest, kids can be fussy little eaters. Trying to find nutrient-packed meals that they will actually eat can seem like an endless challenge – for even the most creative home cooks (of which I am not!).

     

    Here are five little tried and true ways we’ve discovered to sneak that extra bit of goodness into family meals and kids snacks;

    1. Go Brown

    Wholemeal, wholegrain, wholefood. The best carbohydrate options for big and little bodies are brown. Not only are they less processed that their enticing white friends, they are a rich source of many essential vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Wholegrains foods are high-fibre and low GI – taking longer to digest and creating a feeling of fullness – as well as releasing energy more slowly into the body. Look out for wholegrain options for rice, bread, rice crackers, biscuits….

    2. Sneak in the superfoods

    One of our favourite sneaks is adding beans into pasta sauces, bolognaise, taco mix – wherever it might blend in. Beans, or legumes are an incredible source of complex carbohydrates and are an alternate protein source to meat. Nearly all legumes provide protein, fiber, B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium. Most supermarkets offer a wide variety of beans including red kidney beans, cannelli beans – or a mix. You choose!

    3. Grate in some goodness

    This is another sneaky fix – wherever you can get away with it – grate in carrot, zucchini or any other non-starchy veggie you have into your meal. It’s amazing how much difference a grated option versus a chunky option can be for little brains!

    4. Sprinkle away

    Perfect for sneaking into smoothies and sauces – add a spoonful (or as recommended per product), of some energy-boosting, nutrient-full goodness like LSA, chia, or one of the green varieties that might help to supplement for those little tackers who won’t eat their green veggies.

    5. Swap out the cream

    We ditched the creamy options long ago in our house, and substituted them with natural yoghurt – and none of the kids batted an eyelid. Natural yoghurt is the perfect partner for things like curries, taco’s, soups – and a spoonful in a smoothie is delicious.

  • Just eat real food

    Do you sometimes find yourself eating mindlessly? Staring into the fridge and picking anything, even when you’re not hungry?  Whether we eat food that is nutritious and fresh, or highly processed, or something in-between – not many of us seriously consider the long-term impact of taking a ‘quick and easy’ approach to food.

    Focusing on whole food and real food is all about changing the conversation, away from calories and diets, to understanding that what our bodies need is food that is fresh and whole. It’s about focusing on the nutrient content above all else. The concept seems so simple that you have to wonder if it can be that easy.

    In today’s society when there is literally a new weight loss plan every day, it’s no wonder we’re all totally confused about what we should be putting in our bodies for optimal health.
    Just Eat Real Food.

    By changing the approach away from strict rules about what you can and can’t eat, to making it a priority to choose foods that nourish and support your body, we can take a lot of the stress out of what to eat.

    Here are some ideas to help you make a transition to eating real food;

    • When you get a craving, instead of reaching for the first available option, think about what your body needs. There may be a more nutritious option that is just as easy and accessible – but not yet habit. It may also be worth asking yourself whether you’re eating for distraction, or in responss to emotions. Perhaps taking a walk or speaking to a friend will fill the gap for now.
    • Buy fresh wherever possible. We know that buying organic is the ideal – however this simply isn’t practical for many of us. Getting a load of fresh fruit and vegetables at the start of the week is a great way of making sure you something nutritious and easy at the ready for snacks and meals.
    • Be flexible. Life does not run to a 7-day meal plan – despite your good intentions. Eat whole, real nutritious food most of the time, and then if you do have an occasion or a dinner where you let loose a little – so be it. It’s what happens most of the time that matters.
    • Plan ahead. Think about what you need so you don’t waste it, buy in bulk when you can (nuts, seeds etc. are a good example), and use your freezer to maximise the use out of any real produce that you buy.
    • Try and steer clear of processed foods and processed sugars. Keep a stock of healthy snack options like fruit, veggies, nuts and natural yoghurt. It’s normally the in-between meals where we find ourselves reaching for the quick options.

    If you’re serious about making good decisions for your health, and the health of your family – then eating real food should be a priority. If you make one or two nutritious decisions today – who knows what will happen tomorrow!

    Eat well xx

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