All posts by Tree of Life Nutrition

mediterranean chicken breast casserole

Mediterranean Chicken Breast Casserole

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Casseroles in a traditional Mediterranean diet are packed with flavour, with the use of herbs and beautiful produce like capers and olives over salt and cured meats. This makes them a much healthier option for any night of the week, and as dietitians we believe this is a great approach to cooking (and eating). This Mediterranean Chicken Breast Casserole is a beautiful weeknight meal, with the use of chicken breast making this dish a lower calorie and lower fat option. This recipe uses a sauce-first approach, allowing the sauce to thicken and flavours develop in the simmering, before adding chicken back in to cook until tender. The result is a healthy yet hearty casserole which can please the whole family.

If you have your own chicken stock frozen, feel free to use that. We love Momo’s free-range chicken stock, but really, any additive free chicken stock is great. Use a good quality red wine for cooking as you will taste the difference in the end result.

Kali Orexi!

Mediterranean Chicken Breast Casserole

mediterranean chicken breast casserole in pot

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 free-range chicken breast fillets, cubed or approximately 12 tenderloins.
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 can of  tomatoes (if using whole, crush with a fork in the pan)
  • 2 red capsicum, deseeded and sliced
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 500mL Chicken stock (make your own or try Momo’s Free Range Chicken Stock)
  • 125mL red wine
  • 1 Tb capers
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Method

  1. In a large casserole dish or heavy-bottomed lidded pan heat 1Tb oil over a medium-high heat.
  2. Cook chicken in batches until nicely browned on the outside only, leaving partially uncooked. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Turn temperature down medium to low, add 1Tb olive oil, and cook onion approximately 6 minutes until caramelised. Add garlic for last 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, paprika, thyme and oregano, cooking for 5 minutes.
  5. Add chicken stock, wine and capsicum, stirring.
  6. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes to allow the flavours to develop and sauce to reduce.
  7. At this stage, if your sauce is not thick enough, you can thicken it with flour by making a ‘slurry.’ Start with approximately 1 Tb plain flour and a splash of water to make a paste. Add in 1 tablespoon of the hot sauce. Whisk until smooth before pouring the mixture back into the sauce. Let the sauce simmer and thicken for approximately 1-2 minutes. Repeat process if necessary until your desired consistency is achieved.
  8. Return chicken to the pan.
  9. Allow chicken to cook on a medium to low heat until cooked through but still tender – approximately 15-20 minutes.
  10. Stir in capers and olives and squeeze in lemon. Simmer for a further 3 minutes before removing from heat to serve.
  11. Serve with fresh green beans or asparagus drizzled with an extra squeeze of lemon.

Want more inspiration for healthy, flavoursome food?

Come along to our Mediterranean Diet Expo in Brisbane on October 21. We will have a range of cooking demos going on throughout the day, including a Greek Soup in the Thermomix; Moussaka; Greek coffee; and a demo on putting together the perfect Mezze Platter, complete with delicious wine! Experience a range of wonderful producers who can help you easily implement this diet.

Hear all about the concepts of Mediterranean eating from Tree of Life Nutrition’s Dietitians Desi Carlos and Lisa Peterson (Two Greek Girls Cooking). Learn how the Mediterranean Diet can seamlessly fit into your life for optimal health and vitality. As well, we offer you talks throughout the day from experts in the field of health and wellbeing on how beneficial this way of eating and living is for a long and healthy life.

MEDITERRANEAN DIET EXPO
dental health

Oral Health and Nutrition

By | Nutrition Tips | No Comments

Did you know, that your diet directly impacts your oral health? The health of your teeth and gums can be influenced by your diet and nutritional status, right through your life. As Dietitians, we often find that people forget about the health of their teeth and gums, and the impact it has for their overall nutrition. Poor dental health can also be the first sign of other chronic diseases. It is Dental Health Week across the country this week (6-12 August). A week where we are reminded how important high-quality dental care is essential to our entire wellbeing. In this article – we “open up” and explain how diet can impact your teeth, how your teeth can impact your health, and what you can do to keep your mouth healthy.

watch your mouth

 

Healthy diet = healthy mouth

A varied and highly nutritious diet isn’t just good for our waistlines, it’s good for our bodies, including our mouths. A study published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology Good Oral Health and Diet, found a significant association between poor diet and increase risk of oral disease.

There exists a biunique relationship between diet and oral health: a balanced diet is correlated to a state of oral health (periodontal tissue, dental elements, quality, and quantity of saliva). Vice versa an incorrect nutritional intake correlates to a state of oral disease

It links poor nutrient levels to periodontal disease; oral cancer; lesions; candida; mucosal disorders and poor development of the oral cavity itself during childhood.

Less sugar = fewer cavities

tooth decay from sugary foodsOur eating and drinking habits can impact the health of our mouths directly. Sugary food and drinks are the number one cause of tooth decay. Sugar is used by the bacteria in plaque to produce acid, which wears away at the calcium and phosphate levels on the surface of our teeth. These are called caries.

The same study also found that dental health problems were fewer in countries who traditionally ate less sugar:

Very low levels of dental caries are found in isolated communities with a traditional lifestyle and low consumption of sugars. As soon as economic conditions improve and the quantity of sugars and other fermentable carbohydrates increases in the diet, a notable increase in dental caries is noticed.

Healthy mouth = healthy person

Your mouth can also be a strong indicator of your general health and wellbeing. Studies show a “robust connection” between oral health status and serious major chronic diseases. A Dental Health Services Victoria paper points to the link between poor oral health nation’s biggest killers:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Stroke
  • Kidney diseases
  • Hardening of arteries
  • Dementia
  • Adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • Aspiration pneumonia
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Oral cancers
  • Obesity

Eating for dental health

Which foods are best for keeping our mouths healthy? Here are some other points to remember about eating for the health of your teeth.

Eat for nutrition

nutritious foodsThe number one thing we can do for our teeth, as well as our bodies is to eat a balanced diet, high in vegetables and other nutritious foods. This is true right through our lives and is extra important for growing children. Eating for health will help to prevent chronic disease and reduce the likelihood of oral health problems.

Fibrous fruit and veges

Food like leafy greens, apples, carrots and celery are great for your teeth. Their fibrous texture give your teeth a bit of a clean and massage the gums too. Plus, their abundant source of nutrients ensure your tooth health from the inside out.

Dairy foods

Dairy has more than 10 essential nutrients which support your health. In addition, dairy like milk, yoghurt and cheese can prevent tooth decay because they contain calcium, casein and phosphorous. These minerals help to protect your tooth enamel.

Water

Water is good for our bodies and also for our teeth. Limit sugary drinks to very occasionally. They are very acidic and as well, contain ‘sticky’ sugar which can promote cavities.

Limit Sugar

Not only does this include the obvious sugar like soft drink and lollies, but the hidden sugars we find in many packaged foods. From a dietitian’s perspective, less sugar is great for your internal health as well. It’s all connected.

Want to learn more about oral health and diet?

This field is really interesting, and one which we are passionate about exploring. Our upcoming Mediterranean Diet Expo will feature a fascinating talk about oral health by PhD candidate with the School of Dentistry at the University of Queensland, Andrea Kazoullis.

She will explain the science behind the microbiome, and the fascinating relationship between oral health and nutrition in more detail. We can’t wait!

MEDITERRANEAN DIET EXPO
food secret weapon against diabetes

Food A Secret Weapon Against Diabetes

By | Nutrition Tips | No Comments

A staggering 1.7 million Australians have diabetes. An additional 500,000 Australians are living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. Complications of diabetes includes blindness, kidney failure and amputation. Diabetes can also increase your risk of heart disease by up to four times. So, while diabetes is common, it is certainly not a routine condition. Food has such a vital role in management and can play a huge part in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. As Accredited Practicing Dietitians, we are passionate about how food can help prevent and manage diabetes. This week is National Diabetes Week (8-14 July) and this year, the reminder is that “It’s About Time” we detected all types of diabetes earlier and save lives. We explain a little about diabetes and show you what type of food can make a difference.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Whilst type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition which cannot be prevented, type 2 diabetes is different. It is a progressive condition which is often brought on by a combination of genes and lifestyle factors.

It causes three possible changes in the body, and these can happen all at once, or over time and at different rates:

  1. The pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin and/or
  2. The insulin produced from the pancreas isn’t effective and/or
  3. The cells do not respond to the insulin effectively

What are the risk factors?

Diabetes Australia recognises factors which may increase your risk of diabetes. These are:

  • a family history of diabetes
  • older (over 55 years of age ) – the risk increases as we age
  • over 45 years of age and are overweight
  • over 45 years of age and have high blood pressure
  • over 35 years of age and are from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background
  • over 35 years of age and are from Pacific Island, Indian subcontinent or Chinese cultural background
  • are a woman who has given birth to a child over 4.5 kgs (9 lbs), or had gestational diabetes when pregnant, or had a condition known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

What are some of the symptoms?

Some of the more common symptoms include:

  • Thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Tiredness
  • Hunger
  • Poor healing and skin infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Gradually putting on weight
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Leg cramps
  • Or…NONE! Some people may display no symptoms, and that’s why it’s important to get check ups regularly. The National Diabetes Week message of “It’s About Time” reminds us of the importance of early detection. So, if you are over 40 and haven’t had your blood sugar checked, ask your GP.

Eating for blood sugar health

If you are at a higher risk of diabetes, and especially if you have a family history, eating well can help to prevent or delay an onset of diabetes. Here are some general principles you can follow for your blood sugar health.

  • Eat real food. Most of your diet should come from fruits and vegetables. At least half of your daily diet should consist of good quality fruits and veges. Yes the old 2 serves of fruit and 5 veg is an easy way to remind yourself.
  • Lean protein. One quarter of your daily diet should include a lean protein such as chicken, fish, shellfish, eggs, beans or low-fat dairy or yoghurt.
  • Don’t cut the carbs. Swap empty, starchy carbs for a wholegrain alternative, high in fibre and containing complex carbohydrates. These are digested much more slowly and don’t spike insulin levels.
  • Fibre is your friend. A high-fibre diet keeps those blood sugar levels stable and is great for bowel health. Try legumes and pulses on top of a variety of fibre-rich fruits and vegetables.
  • Healthy fats. Avoid high trans fats from fried food or partially hydrogenated oils. Choose fats from olive oil, fish oils, nuts, seeds and avocados.
  • Less red meat. Eat less red and processed meat.
  • Drink water. Drink water as your main drink, and only drink sugar laden alternatives very occasionally.
  • Become a reader of labels. Avoid packaged and processed foods. Learn how to calculate the sugar content in food. Once you start, it may shock you how much sugar is in some foods. Often foods which appear to be ‘healthy’ options contain high amounts of sugar. How do you spot it? Sugar may also be labelled as high fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, corn sweetener or dextrose.

mediterranean diet for diabetes prevention

How can the Mediterranean diet help?

Following a traditional Mediterranean diet is an easy way to ensure you are eating for health, without skimping on flavour or enjoyment. The Mediterranean diet naturally follows the above principles. It is high in fruits and vegetables, good fats, good proteins and whole grains. It is also lower in red meat and processed foods.

There is an abundance of Mediterranean recipes available which you can draw from. In most cases, it is about real and simple food enjoyed with family. There are no restrictions so the nutritional value is high.

Choose the more traditional Mediterranean recipes borne from Greek peasant food, or those approved by an Accredited Practicing Dietitian for your daily meals. There are many Mediterranean recipes which are popular in Western countries and are lovely as a ‘sometimes’ dish but were never intended for everyday eating. (Baklava, moussaka, loukoumades we’re looking at you :-))

Want to find out more about eating for diabetes prevention with the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean Diet Expo is coming to Brisbane on October 21 – an all-day immersion into the wonders of Mediterranean culture. You can hear from some amazing guest speakers about this diet for chronic disease prevention, including the prevention of diabetes. Also experience cooking demos, food stalls and a host of entertainment.

FIND OUT MORE

foods for preventing cancer

Diet and Bowel Cancer Prevention

By | Nutrition Tips | No Comments

You may not know, that bowel cancer is the nation’s second biggest cancer killer. Although your risk of cancer increases as you get older, its important to know that you are never too young to get bowel cancer. A healthy lifestyle and nutritious diet can all help to reduce your risk. This month, it’s Bowel Cancer Awareness Month across Australia. In this article, we look at how the right food can lower your risk of bowel cancer.

What are the facts on bowel cancer?

According to Bowel Cancer Australia, 15,253 Australians are given this diagnosis every year. 2,186 of those people are under the age of 55. 67% of those cases are colon cancer, and 33% are rectal cancer.

Early detection is key

90% of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully if found early. Sadly, fewer than 40% are detected early.

Rates are rising

20,000 cases of bowel cancer are predicted for 2020.

bowel cancer awareness month

How can food and exercise help to lower your risk?

There are risk factors such as your age (being over 50 increases your risk sharply) and your family history (linked to 25% of cases) which you have no control over. However, diet and lifestyle also play a part. They are what is known as modifiable risk factors. This means, choosing the right kinds of foods and making lifestyle changes is something you can improve upon to lower your risk. Giving up smoking, and reducing your alcohol intake can help, and so can diet and exercise.

Exercise

Physical activity can help to reduce your risk factor for colon cancer. The Cancer Council says that “inactivity is responsible for 14% of colon cancers.”

“Just 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each day is good for your health and 60 minutes can reduce your risk of developing cancer. There is evidence to suggest that the more exercise you do, the lower your risk – especially if this is more vigorous physical activity.”

Diet

Your choice of food can impact your risk for many cancers including bowel cancer. While there is no magic cancer preventing food, eating a healthy diet can protect you from bowel cancer.

What food should I eat to prevent bowel cancer?

Vegetables

At least 5 serves of vegetables a day is the minimum requirement. Eat the rainbow to ensure the health of your entire body, including your bowel. Leafy greens, garlic, onions and tomatoes are particularly good!

Fruit

At least two serves of fruit per day.  Apples, papaya and pomegranate are great, but any fruit eaten in place of a packaged or sugary snack is even better!

Legumes, nuts, seeds.

Eating plenty of beans, lentils and pulses is great for your bowel as is nuts and seeds. This is because they contain plenty of fibre as well as many nutrients for good health.

Limited red and processed meat, add more fish, poultry or vegetarian meals.

Eating more than 700 grams (raw weight) of red meat a week increases your risk of bowel cancer, and your risk goes up 1.18 times for every 50 grams of processed meat eaten per day.

“The World Health Organization has classified processed meats including ham, bacon, salami and frankfurts as a Group 1 carcinogen (known to cause cancer) which means that there’s strong evidence that processed meats cause cancer. Eating processed meat increases your risk of bowel and stomach cancer. Red meat, such as beef, lamb and pork, has been classified as a Group 2A carcinogen which means it probably causes cancer,” Cancer Council Australia.

Dairy foods

Dairy products are associated with a lower risk of bowel cancer. Consume 400 grams of dairy per day to decrease your risk by a staggering 13%. Include low fat milk, yoghurt and cheese in your diet daily.

Wholegrains

Eat 3 serves of wholegrains per day to reduce your risk of bowel cancer by 17%. This can include brown rice, grains, and bread.

The Mediterranean diet can lower your risk

The traditional Mediterranean diet can help lower your risk of many chronic diseases, including cancers of the breast and colon. The diet is rich in fish, vegetable, legumes, wholegrains, fruit, and olive oil, with lower to moderate amounts of wine and red meat. It also limits sugars and processed foods, and flavours food with herbs instead of salt. Everything you are ‘supposed’ to be eating to prevent bowel cancer is naturally included in this way of eating. Dishes are delicious, nutritious and easy to prepare and enjoy as a family.

There are many studies on the efficacy of this diet. Here is a passage from the abstract of one study which helps to explain the benefits:

“The Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The biological mechanisms for cancer prevention associated with the Mediterranean diet have been related to the favourable effect of a balanced ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 essential fatty acids and high amounts of fibre, antioxidants and polyphenols found in fruit, vegetables, olive oil and wine. The Mediterranean diet also involves a ‘Mediterranean way of drinking’, that is, regular, moderate consumption of wine mainly with food.” 

Help to implement the Mediterranean diet

mediterranean diet and bowel cancer prevention

If you are interested in learning how to eat traditional Mediterranean food for health and longevity, come along to the world-first Mediterranean Diet Expo, being held in Brisbane on October 21.

Presented by Two Greek Girls Cooking, it’s a great day out for the whole family. Learn how to cook, eat and live the Mediterranean way and hear from a range of prominent health experts about how to stay healthy and live long. We can’t wait to see your there!

 

What is the Most Nutritious Diet Plan?

By | Education | No Comments

Diet. It’s that one word many people from all around the world are all too familiar with. You may have either partaken in a diet, (often many times over) know someone who has “tried and failed”, or are exploring options for it. Most of us acknowledge that looking good is a sure way to boost confidence; however, when considering a diet, feeling good is the most essential aspect you should be looking for. This is why a long-term and nutritious diet is the best choice. So what is the most nutritious diet plan? We explore some of the schools of thought and look at what you can do to find a nutrition plan that will not only help you look good in time, but also feel better too.

Recognising a good diet

With so many diets to choose from, it can be hard to identify one that fits in with your lifestyle, is easy to follow, and can be maintained. Endocrinologist at The University of Adelaide, Professor Gary Wittert says that focusing on healthy habits is most important.

“People should not focus on weight, people should focus on health. Then you don’t engage in these diets where you restrict your nutrients, and where people get depressed because they regain weight, which is almost an inevitability,” he told ABC news.

A non-diet approach

When asking a Dietitian or Nutritionist what the best way to approach dieting it is, most will agree that the vast majority of diets do not lead to a high result of long-term and sustained weight loss. The reason is that diets are viewed as “fads” and the best methodology for prolonged success is by viewing your diet as a lifestyle change. Once someone adapts their attitude positively towards food and exercise, a non-diet approach will always appear to be most effective.

Some key methods of a non-diet approach may include (but not limited to):

  • Nourish your body with as many organic and whole foods as possible (the closer to the earth food comes from, the better it is for you)
  • “Love the skin you’re in” – your body shape is something you can’t change (nor are your genes) so embrace the body you have
  • Do not deprive yourself of food that you enjoy. Be mindful that everything should be consumed in moderation and monitor your portion sizes as to not overindulge
  • Trust your body signals when it comes to thirst, hunger and fullness
  • Incorporate exercise that is enjoyable and invigorating into your weekly routine
  • Always set realistic goals when it comes to health and fitness by taking into account your lifestyle and time constraints
  • Plan, plan, plan. Preparation can save you not only time but money as well
  • Celebrate your successes, no matter how small

Inclusive plan for the whole family

An article in the 2014 April edition of “Today’s Dietician”, suggests that “evidence shows long-term, healthy behaviour changes are most successful when the entire family is involved”. Most people when they think back to a time when they have tried to make a positive change in their life could most likely attest to this statement. After all, there is strength in numbers.

Some of the considerations when trying to incorporate a new diet into a family household could be:

  • Accounting for, and customising a plan based on everyone’s varied tastes and (where applicable) allergies
  • Ensuring enough time for planning and preparation (let’s face it, we live in a fast-paced world where time is of the essence)
  • Tailoring a plan to the household budget. Researching where to find the freshest yet still affordable produce is a great idea
  • Keeping each other accountable and motivated/excited about the shared journey
  • Setting realistic goals about what you all want to achieve and supporting each other to achieve these as a team. It is all about setting yourself and your family up for success

So what is the most nutritious diet plan that is easy to follow?

When asking what is the most nutritious diet plan, a large body of evidence shows that the Mediterranean diet is a good choice. There have been many studies since the 1970’s on its benefits. It focuses on seasonality, local produce and meals that can be enjoyed by the whole family. It is highly beneficial for nutrition and long-term health. Researchers have concluded that the Mediterranean Diet can aid in weight loss and assist in the prevention of heart attacks, reverse the effects of type two diabetes, strokes and metabolic syndrome.

A US News & World Report recently ranked The Mediterranean Diet as #1 Best Diet Overall (a tie with the DASH Diet out of 35 measured diets). This way of eating could be a winner in your household, especially if health reasons are motivating you to give “dieting” a try.

The Mediterranean Food Pyramid

Signature foods in the Mediterranean Diet include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and olive oil. Moderate consumption of fish, poultry and red wine are also included. Red meat, sugar and salt intake are reduced.

The Mediterranean Food Pyramid is supported by entities such as The International Union of Nutritional Sciences. It is also supported by the International Commission on the Anthropology of Food, and Nutrition and The Hebrew University (to name a few). This is an easy-to-read Pyramid. It is designed to assist busy families to understand which foods to include in the diet, as well as a guideline for physical activity.

 

mediterranean food pyramid

The Mediterranean way of eating is not ‘prescriptive’ in nature and allows for flexibility suited to your family’s needs. It encourages enjoyment of food and good company. What’s not to love about that? It is this flexibility that makes it one of the best ‘diets’ that you can maintain long-term. It provides you with nutritious options and gives you the energy you need each day.

Understand more about the Mediterranean Diet

We are always available to chat with you about how to implement Mediterranean eating into your life. Why not book a one on one consult to see how we can help? We will also be at the Paniyiri Greek Festival in Brisbane this weekend (19 and 20 May) as Two Greek Girls Cooking. We will be making a Hellenic Salad in the cooking demo area. Come down and say hello this Sunday at 11:30 am!

mediterranean diet tomatoesMediterranean Health Expo

On Sunday 21 October, we will be bringing you a world-first Mediterranean Health Expo in Brisbane. This will be an exciting day which comprehensively covers the health and lifestyle benefits of Mediterranean Eating. We will celebrate Mediterranean culture, food and nutrition. It will be a day not to miss if you are at all curious about this way of life.

Tickets are on sale now, so grab an Early Bird Ticket while you can and we’ll see you there!

EXPO TICKETS

You can also subscribe to our mailing list for updates!

How To Choose Your Food To Get The Most Out Of Your Workout

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It’s a no brainer that diet and exercise are both crucial to your well-being and a common myth is that you shouldn’t eat before a workout to burn more fat. This is actually doing you more harm than good. You should always eat something before exercising as this helps give your body enough fuel to power through your workout. But what to eat? We show you how to choose your food to get the most out of your workout. In order to help you out, and make deciding what to eat a little bit easier, we have listed Australia’s most popular forms of exercise and what the ideal pre-workout snack is for each of them.

Before running

Love getting that blood pressure up? You’re all for a brisk run in the early hours of the morning or a quick jog in the late afternoon breeze. To avoid stomach cramps, we recommend whole wheat toast with some nut butter an hour before you plan on running. This snack contains easy to digest carbs and a little protein so it will fuel you up without you feeling too full.

food-before-circuit-training

Bike riding

For cyclists, it’s recommended to eat something that can be digested quickly enough in order to be converted into energy by the time you need it. 30 minutes before you hop on your bike, it’s a good idea to eat a banana.

Pre-strength training nutrition

While weight lifting provides the stimulus that elicits gains in muscle strength and size, the foods you eat are what fuel those developments. When you’re lifting weights, your body will be utilising primarily carbohydrates as fuel. We recommend apple wedges, which provide the low-glycaemic carbohydrates, with almond butter, which offers up protein.

Stamina for swimming

The food you eat before a swim will make a difference in your energy levels and athletic performance. Eat easy-to-digest foods, to avoid needing to use the restroom when you least expect it or having painful stomach cramps. Some steamed vegetables will do the trick

Circuit training

When you’re moving around a lot jumping from exercise to exercise, the key is to consume easily digested carbohydrates, so you don’t feel sluggish. Low fat or fat free yoghurt will give you the energy you need for a high intensity workout without filling you up.

Yoga

Not to give in to the yogi stereotype but the best food before a yoga session is a small green smoothie. Try to keep the ingredients in your smoothie to mostly greens to support your blood sugar and maybe add a couple slivers of avocado, or a tablespoon or two of chia seeds for just a little healthy fat. The healthy fats will help you absorb the nutrients in the smoothie better.

Pre Pilates

It’s no use wilting with lethargy after the warm up as we all know that there’s a whole world of stamina needed after that. Air popped popcorn is a great idea for pre Pilates. Don’t go for the buttery cinema kind, at most, you can add a tiny pinch of salt to yours if you need the flavouring.

We hope you find these pre-workout food ideas helpful. Don’t forget, that active people have an even greater need for adequate nutrition. If you would like help with designing a complete healthy eating plan which fits in with your lifestyle, why not book in for a consult?

two greek girls cooking demo

Winter Warmers Cooking Demo with Two Greek Girls Cooking

By | Events | No Comments

Do you struggle to stay on a healthy eating plan over the winter period? Reach for the comfort food a little too often? Winter is a bit like that sometimes. But Two Greek Girls have you covered. In our Winter Warmers Cooking demo, we’ve put together a special selection of delicious and nutritious meal ideas to help you survive the winter months with your health intact.

 

What kind of healthy meals can we learn to cook?

We will show you some great one-pot recipes, delicious soups and stews which will keep you and your family warm as we begin to approach those winter months. They’re filling yet nutritious and have that comfort factor you’re often looking for when the weather turns cold. Plus, we always ensure we show you meals which are easy to prepare and fit in with your lifestyle.

Here’s a sneak peek…

Whole meal soups and those little extra fillers without affecting your weight! With vegetarian options and our famous Greek Avgolemono Soup (Chicken Soup).

PLUS! Learn how to modify your favourite recipes to maintain optimal nutrition without losing the flavour!

winter warmers cooking demo

Winter Warmers Cooking Demo Details

When: Monday 23rd April

Time: 5.30pm – 7.30pm (5.15pm arrival)

Where: Golden Pig Food and Wine School, 38 Ross Street, Newstead

Cost: $95 Per Person

How to Secure a Spot

Simply give us a call (07) 3891 6199 or email info@twogreekgirls.com

It’s going to be a fun evening and we can’t wait to see you there!

Desi and Lisa – Two Greek Girls Cooking | Tree of Life Nutrition

 

easter bliss balls

Beat the Chocolate Cravings! Healthy “chocolate” bliss balls for Easter

By | Sweet treats | No Comments

The Easter bunny is on his way and that means chocolate is literally everywhere at the moment. When you have a particular eating plan in place, it can be quite hard to say no when confronted with those sugary, chemical filled distractions. If you are one who often gives into their sweet tooth, here is a yummy easter egg inspired bliss ball as a great replacement snack. These are still decadent and delicious but not nearly as bad for you as the supermarket, foil covered alternatives. In this recipe we’ve used cacao butter. This ingredient can sometimes be a little bit hard to find. However, your local Woolworths is a stockists or iHerb is a great and reliable online health food store.

Ingredients

1/4 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight

1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight

1/2 cup organic desiccated coconut

30g chopped cacao butter, softened

3 tbsp premium coconut milk

2 tbsp honey

1/4 cup almond meal

1/4 cup cashew meal

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp cacao powder

Handful sesame seeds

Method

  1. Soak almonds and cashews overnight in a large bowl filled with water. The following day, drain and rinse the soaked nuts
  2. Blend the soaked nuts with the coconut, cacao butter, coconut milk and honey until well combined in a blender
  3. Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in the almond meal, cashew meal, cacao powder and vanilla
  4. Scoop up a tablespoon of mixture and circle into balls. Circle fully formed balls into the sesame seeds to make them look pretty and add texture
  5. Transfer into an airtight container to put in the fridge ready to set
  6. Enjoy without the guilt of consuming chocolate!

Did you enjoy this recipe? Do you have another delicious recipe that’s a great replacement for something sweet? We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment in the reply box below.

Recipe inspired by lovelivenourish

The Need To Know On Food Intolerances

By | Education | No Comments

Although food intolerances affect at least 3.7 million Australians, it can be a difficult concept to understand and is sometimes poorly understood by doctors as well. There is a lot of misinformation out there on food intolerances so make sure you are equipped with the facts. Below we’ve answered four of the most common questions asked about food intolerances so you can help assess if you’re impacted by a certain food.

What is the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance?

It’s not rare to find that a food allergy and a food intolerance have the same or similar symptoms. But a true food allergy can cause an immune system reaction and is often severe or life threatening. A food intolerance is a lot less serious and often limited to digestive issues, headaches, breathing problems or just a general feeling of being unwell. With food intolerances, you can also eat some of the offending food occasionally without trouble and it’s a lot easier to prevent a reaction. Sometimes your reaction to food can be quite delayed whereas with an allergic reaction it is often immediate.

The delay can sometimes make food intolerance harder to diagnose. You may not notice symptoms straight away, but hours or days after eating a food. You may also be able to tolerate small amounts, but flare up with a ‘build up’ of the offending food in your system.

 

What are food intolerance symptoms?

Food intolerance can cause a wide variety of symptoms. More common food intolerance symptoms include

  • bloating
  • diarrhoea
  • irritable bowel
  • cough
  • asthma
  • eczema
  • psoriasis
  • chronic headache
  • mood swings
  • stiff joints
  • arthritis
  • sneezing
  • infections
  • nausea
  • constipation
  • cramps
  • dermatitis
  • acne
  • significant weight loss or weight gain
  • tiredness
  • itchy skin

Australian food scientists have also made strong links between food intolerance and some behavioural issues we see in children.

What can people have a food intolerance to?

Food intolerance is a lower threshold for tolerating the chemicals (either natural or man-made) found in certain foods. The scale is different for everyone. It is something you may be genetically predisposed to, or it could be brought on by illness, hormones or medication.

The intolerance threshold may mean you react every time you eat a certain food, or could be worse after repeated exposure. So you may be okay to eat a certain food one day, but after eating it twice in a row, you find you get side effects. This is where food intolerance significantly differs from a true allergy.

Your intolerance can be to one particular food, or a group of foods.

It may be to man-made chemicals such as food enhancers, preservatives, colours, thickeners or flavouring. Or could be due to certain natural chemicals found in foods. These include lactose/dairy as well as salicylates, amines and glutamates as well as foods containing fermentable short chain carbohydrates known as FODMAPs (Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Dissaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols).

Any number of natural food chemicals may be present in varying amounts in fruits and vegetables – some have all, some are higher in one chemical than another and there are also foods which may be more ‘safe’ choices for food intolerance.

The Dietitian’s Association of Australia explains it well:

More than one type of chemical may cause symptoms so a person may react to many different types of foods. Some foods contain the same chemicals and a person can react after eating a variety of foods that contain the same chemical. This is because the chemical slowly builds up in the body until the dose threshold is reached. It also explains why the same food does not cause symptoms every time it is eaten.

 Food intolerances often run in families, suggesting a genetic predisposition. Sometimes food intolerance only affects a person after a sudden change in diet or after an illness.

Will food intolerances go away?

Food intolerances aren’t always permanent and sometimes, all it takes is removing the food that is causing the intolerance for 6 months or more. Age, hormonal changes and reduced stress can also improve your tolerance level.

Defining which food chemicals you react to can be quite an involved process. But once identified and removed from the diet, symptoms of food reaction often disappear.

Key in this process, is to swiftly find your individual tolerance level to food chemicals, especially natural ones. This ensures you can reintroduce the important nutrients those foods provide, whilst keeping their intake below your safe threshold.

This process is not one you should boldly go alone. Seeing an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) is the fastest and most controlled way of going through the process of discovering food intolerance by food elimination and challenge. Adopting a proven protocol for replacing nutrients is always strongly advisable, as nutrient deficiency can also exacerbate food intolerance symptoms.

Think you have a food intolerance or need help managing yours? Why not book a consultation with Tree of life Nutrition to stop the pain and irritation you are experiencing today!

healthy mini muffins

Banana Blueberry Oat Mini-Muffins

By | Healthy snacks | No Comments

Prepping for the day ahead can be difficult, especially if your household is a busy one. Sure, you can and should, always throw in some fruit and maybe some diced vegetables to your children’s lunchboxes (or yours!). But it is great to have a few snacks on hand to go into the lunchbox which feels a little more like ‘treat food.’ Here’s a beautiful and quick recipe for banana and blueberry mini muffins perfect for little hands.

We love both bananas and blueberries for their nutritional benefits. Bananas are the gold standard for filling up hungry little tummies and curbing blood sugar levels and have a huge number of nutrients in every sunny bunch. Whilst blueberries are high in antioxidants and support digestion, brain and heart health.

A point of view on cakes, slices and biscuits

When it comes to finding healthy snacks to add to lunchboxes, buying pre-packaged can be a minefield. There can be many claims on the health benefits of the item on the front of the packaging. But when we get to the ingredients and contents list, that’s where the real story is told. High sugar, high saturated fat, and not to mention a long list of unpronounceable and unadvisable additives can turn a so-called ‘healthy treat’ into a bad one.

Nevertheless, cakes, bars and slices are a much-anticipated part of a busy child’s day. They’re always the thing they eat above all else, and providing a healthy option often avoids the old ‘swap-e-roo’ at lunchtime. If you make them yourself, you always know what went into them.

So here’s our favourite recipe for muffins. We keep a batch in the freezer and add them in frozen to the lunchbox. They turn out perfectly defrosted by little lunch. Enjoy!

Banana blueberry oat mini-muffins

banana-blueberry-oat-mini-muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe Cavendish bananas
  • 1 cup (225 g) plain Greek yogurt (we like Olympus Greek Yoghurt or Chobani Greek Yoghurt)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • ¼ cup honey (local if you can source it)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup of blueberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C and spray mini-muffin tin with cooking oil spray, brush with oil of choice or use muffin liners.
  2. Blend banana, yoghurt, eggs, oats, vanilla, baking soda and baking powder in a food processor or Thermomix on medium-high speed until a smooth texture is achieved.
  3. Gently fold in blueberries.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Test by inserting a toothpick into the centre. If it comes out clean – they’re ready.
  6. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before resting on a rack to cool completely.
  7. Store in an airtight container for the week, or freeze them to use within 3 months…if they last that long!

Variations

You can replace the blueberries with raspberries, walnuts, or raisins in step 3 if you prefer!

We hope your children love this recipe as much as ours do.

Could your school benefit from nutritional education?

If you are interested in learning more about promoting great nutrition in schools, we also run seminars for schools, parents and carers of both primary school and high school-aged children.

For more information, head to our School Seminars page.

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