Category Archives: Education


How to boost your immunity this winter

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Winter is well and truly here, and these colder months can provide a challenge with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Staying well-nourished is important to keep our hard-working immune system firing strong, to reduce the risk of getting sick.
Here’s a list of a few nutritious foods we recommend to boost your immunity, and some lifestyle tips, to ward of the winter ill’s and keep you healthy:
  • Garlic – the humble garlic has long been hailed for it’s properties. Garlic contains a variety of antioxidants, has mild antibacterial properties, reduces cholesterol, improves blood circulation and research suggests, prevention of some cancers.
  • Yoghurt – including yoghurt in your diet everyday, provides a good dose of probiotics, important for gut health, and helps boost your immunity. Try adding some berries on top, for a top-notch snack.
  • Tomatoes, red capsicum, chili and berries– the purple and red colours or pigments (anthocyanins and lycopene) of these foods function as antioxidants, which fight against oxygen’s damaging effect on body cells. They are also high in vitamins C and A, which might not cure the common cold, but do repair and regenerate tissues, thus improving immune function.
  • Chicken soup – liquid nourishment and food for the soul – it’s the perfect comfort food to boost your immunity! Don’t underestimate this dish, it’s packed full of veggies, and is very low in kJ.
  • Spices – adds flavour to any dish, with many spices have antioxidants and antibacterial properties. Check out our spicy chickpea, tomato and quinoa soup, which is guaranteed to warm you up on a chilly winters night.
Healthy winter tips:
  • Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables – eat a rainbow to ensure that you get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, that are important for everyday functions of the body, such as energy conversions and repairing of cellular damage.
  • Keep hydrated – 2 litres is still the recommended amount in summer as in winter, to keep our bodies functioning. Remember, warm drinks, such as tea count as well!
  • Watch your portion sizes – To prevent overeating in winter, try eating off smaller plates, and ensure meals have lots of fibre rich foods such as veggies and wholegrains. These foods will make you feel full and less likely to overeat and reach for that second helping. It takes 20 mins for the stomach to communicate to the brain that it is full, so eat your meals slowly, and take your time to enjoy your food.
  • Get your vitamin D – Going outside for some sun is not always easy in winter (unless you live here in sunny QLD), so you might want to eat foods that contain vitamin D. Foods such as oily fish and some fortified food products (cereals and some milks) contain vitamin D.
  • Move your body – it might be harder to motivate yourself to go out in the cold these days, but it is still important that you get some exercise in. Perhaps do a little workout indoors, go to an exercise class, or go for a walk in your lunch break.

If you need nutritional help and guidance, make an appointment to see our friendly dietitians. Desi, Lisa and Stephanie would love to help you, reach your health and nutritional goals. Call us today on (07) 3891 6199 or send us an email on

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New exercise physiologist – Brent

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Meet Brent, our exercise physiologist, working from our Tree of Life Nutrition clinic in Woolloongabba. We asked Brent a few questions about the benefits of exercise physiology, and how his services might help you, to improve your health.

What is an Exercise Physiologist?
An Exercise Physiologist (EP) is a university trained allied health professional, who specialises in the benefits of exercise to help improve patients health, by developing individualised programs for the prevention, management and treatment of chronic medical conditions. Additionally, an EP considers the individual and all aspects of their life, to develop sustainable exercise and lifestyle habits that are tailored for their health goals.

What is the importance of exercise and seeing an EP?
Exercise has long been known to have complementary health benefits, and is now being used as a form of medicine in the management of various chronic diseases, and it can also be fun and highly enjoyable. We are born to move, and our bodies rely on this movement to function optimally.
What is the difference between a PT and an EP?
There are big differences between the two professions, not only in terms of education, practical experience and knowledge, but the range of clientele.  PT’s are only qualified to deliver fitness programs to persons “at low risk”, meaning people who are already healthy. Whereas EP’s can treat and work with all types of people, from those who wish to improve their health, to patients at risk of developing, or with existing chronic medical conditions or injuries.

In terms of education and experience, an Exercise Physiologist must complete a minimum of 4 years of university study, either undergraduate or post-graduate, within an approved course by the governing body Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA). The degree also includes over 5,000 hours of clinical placement to learn how to apply clinical reasoning and theoretical knowledge for the management or rehabilitation of chronic diseases and injury. Compared to many PT courses, which can take as little as 6 months to complete.

How an EP can help with chronic conditions?
An EP can help with a wide range of conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, cancer treatment recovery, osteoporosis, weight management, and joint and muscle related conditions.

EP’s are also skilled in how medications might affect or be affected by exercise, and specialise in how to safely implement an exercise therapy intervention and improve health outcomes. This will be done to suit your lifestyle to either directly address the chronic disease or health issue, or positively change contributing or predisposing factors.  Ongoing review and monitoring of progress will ensure success and adherence to your management plan, to get you back on track to great health.

Weight loss – An EP can assist with weight loss and compliment your dietetics plan by implementing an achievable exercise plan into your lifestyle, which will be both enjoyable and effective. Exercise Physiologists understand the science of exercise and use this knowledge to structure exercise in a way that targets weight loss.

Improved energy – Regular exercise has been proven to drastically improve energy levels and reduce fatigue. Starting an exercise program will enhance the blood flow carrying of oxygen and nutrients to muscle improving their ability to produce more energy.

Osteoporosis – Exercise improves bone strength and density because the development of strong bones occurs through force and impact on the skeleton, from the muscles pulling on them. An EP can assist with this process by ensuring the exercises implemented for an individual with osteoporosis cause this process and the exercises are safe with no falls and fracture risk.

Increased fitness – Regular exercise at the appropriate intensity for an individual improves fitness overtime by increasing VO2max, which is an indicator of a person’s fitness. It measures the amount of oxygen a person can consume and deliver to the various different tissues in the body. As VO2 max improves a person’s fitness level will improve, making exercise more efficient, achieving more exercise easier, and being able to do more activities for a longer period of time in everyday life.

Diabetes – An EP can implement an exercise program that assists the body in using blood sugar without the need for insulin release. As we use our muscles during exercise this signals a process where our muscles will take up the blood sugar and utilise it for energy, without the body needing to produce insulin to transport it to our fat and muscle cells. Exercise assists a person living with diabetes, by causing insulin to work better, which will improve your diabetes management; reducing and/or maintain a healthy weight; lowering blood pressure; reduce your risk of heart disease; and reducing stress.


Brent is available for appointments every Friday at our Woolloongabba clinic. Call us on (07) 3891 6199 to make an appointment to improve your health today!


Easter Survival Guide

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There are many temptations during Easter that test our willpower and waistline. It is an indulgent season, but fear not – we have compiled a list of tips to help you manage, without missing out.

  • Choose quality over quantity – Plain, dark quality chocolate has less sugar than milk or white chocolate (although it may contain more fat), the flavour is more intense, and therefore most people find that a couple of smaller pieces are enough to satisfy a craving. With that being said, choose YOUR favourite treats this Easter, just have a little bit, so you don’t feel like you’ve missed out or deprived yourself.
  • Portion Control – Moderation is key, when choosing Easter treats. We recommend a 25g portion – which equals to about 3-4 squares of chocolate. Remember – chocolate still has a lot of kilojoules, so overindulging can easily lead to weight loss. Buying individual, smaller chocolates, will make it easier to control the amount you eat, especially if you give yourself a limit of 3-4 little eggs. Larger chocolate blocks or eggs will make it more difficult to control portion sizes, and harder to stop eating.
  • Eat mindfully – savour every mouthful. It is easy to “shove” food down, without paying attention to what or how much we’re eating. Eating mindfully involves really paying attention to what you’re eating, the flavours of the food, how it feels in your mouth, the aroma and texture – it will give you so much pleasure and enjoyment. You’ll be surprised how little you actually eat, and how much better it tastes, when you savour a treat this way.
  • Sharing is caring – share your Easter treats with family and friends, particularly after Easter. Give yourself the long weekend to enjoy your favourite treats, but come Tuesday….no more! Give them away. Get them out of the house. Don’t fall into the trap of eating all the leftover chocolates and treats.
  • Store chocolate in the fridge – The chocolate flavour lasts longer in your mouth when it’s cold.
  • Homemade treats – Allergies and intolerances often limits a lot of food choices. Making your own Easter treats is a great way to make indulgent treats that won’t result in reactions or upset tummies. A simple Google search will bring up lots of options for gluten free, nut free, dairy free, and/or low kilojoule Easter recipes. Try dark chocolate covered strawberries or other fruit, or dark chocolate bark – check out our Facebook page for other delicious recipes.
  • Help is available – We don’t mean Chocoholics Anonymous, but us. Our dietitians at Tree of Life Nutrition will be happy to help if you have any post-Easter chocolate withdrawals, or need to get back on the weight-loss bandwagon. Give us a call on 3891 6199.

Enjoy the long weekend :)


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5 tips to maintain motivation

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Whether it is staying inspired to continue with a New Year resolution, diet change, elimination diet, or just being healthier, maintaining motivation to achieve a nutrition goal can be a challenge. So we have compiled our top 5 tips on maintaining motivation to reach your nutrition goals!

  1. Measure progress

Review your action plan regularly. Whether that be asking yourself at the end of each day: “What did I do today that helped me reach my goal?” reviewing weekly food diaries, or fortnightly meetings with your dietitian, whichever works for you, as long as it holds you accountable. Being reminded of progress already achieved is a great way to see the big picture, and get you back on track to reach your goal.

  1. Celebrate little wins

Don’t forget to applaud yourself, and give yourself a pat on the back for achieving short-term goals. Everyone’s nutrition journey is different, so celebrating little goals will make it more enjoyable. Try to not give yourself food rewards, but instead focus on little treats such as buying yourself flowers, or watch a movie or an episode of your favourite TV series.

  1. Overcoming barriers

Some days we don’t feel motivated to do anything, and that’s ok, setbacks and challenges are normal. However, to keep going forward instead of halting, it’s important to have plans in place to get you back on tract. Thinking about barriers in advance, and having a plan to counteract each barrier, will help prevent creating excuses, and help avoid relapses from occurring. Your dietitian can help you brainstorm potential barriers, and come up with solutions that are tailored to you.

  1. Being mindful

Mindfulness starts by being present in the moment, and taking a second to tune in. Take cues from your body, and ask yourself: “Am I hungry?” “Or am I bored/tired/sad/thirsty?”. Checking in, and being aware of how your body is feeling will ensure you only eat when hungry, reduces snacking, and overeating.

Being mindful also includes limiting distractions such as TV and computer screens (phones included), and enjoy your meal and make meal time special. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full, so try chewing for longer, and take your time enjoying your meal.

  1. Have a support person

Having a person in your life supporting your nutrition or health goal will make the journey there so much more enjoyable, and research shows, more likely to help you reach your goals. Choosing a partner, friend, or even a dietitian, means that you have a personal cheerleader, someone cheering for you to succeed, but also hold you accountable for when you need a little push. If you prefer the electronic version, there are lots of free Apps available that give daily reminders, and are a good way to help keep track of your progress, depending on your nutrition goal.


If you need more individualised advice and support, contact Tree of Life Nutrition on (07) 3891 6199 to make an appointment to see one of our Accredited Practising Dietitians. We would love to help you reach your nutritional goals.



R is for Rehabilitation foods

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Most people usually will have an injury from a sport or movement related activity at least once in their life. And they can be incredibly frustrating as it prevents you from doing some things you love for a period of time. I’m not at all going to say there are foods that will cure your injuries but they will assist in the healing process to get you back to the activity you love sooner rather than later.

First you have to work out whether it’s a bone injury or a muscular injury as that can impact on what macro and/or micronutrients you are going to focus on in your diet.

To begin with regardless of whether it’s a bone injury e.g. stress reaction or muscular injury e.g. pulled calf muscle it’s important that you have adequate protein intake to help maintain your muscle mass, help rebuild the muscle and to maintain muscle mass to support the bone in it’s healing stage and when you get back into your activity.

Inflammation will occur during the early injury phase and there are some food items that could help to reduce this. High dose Omega-3 supplements or a good intake of oily fish such as salmon can be beneficial. Other anti-inflammatory foods include turmeric, paprika and cinnamon, all of which can eb easily added into your meals. High antioxidant foods could also be beneficial to reduce inflammation such as blueberries, cherries, pomegranate, leafy green vegetables and green tea.

For bone injuries there are certain micronutrients that having adequate intake of can assist in bone rebuilding. These are calcium and vitamin D. Both these minerals help make up your bone structure so having adequate intake is important. The best source of calcium comes from dairy products and the best source of Vitamin D is some sunlight! Having a well balanced diet will also ensure you get all the other important nutrients such as Vitamin K, Magnesium, Zinc and Phosphorus.


Q is for Quinoa

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Quinoa seems to have stolen the spotlight the past few years as a superfood. Although I’m not a big fan of saying a food is a ‘superfood’, quinoa does bring a lot to the table!

Firstly to begin with it’s a great option for coeliacs as it’s gluten free. You can add quinoa to salads as a swap for couscous or make porridge with quinoa flakes.

It’s also a complete protein, which means it contains all the essential amino acids (the ones you have to get through your dietary intake as your body can’t produce them). Although in saying that the protein content is very low (8g protein per 1 cup cooked) so I would recommend having other protein sources with your meal too (you can have a look at our previous blog on protein to find some ideas!).

Quinoa is also very high in fibre, which is great for your bowel health and soluble fibre has been found to reduce blood sugar levels and improve cholesterol. It also keeps you fuller for longer so plenty of fibre in your diet is good for weight loss. Per cup of cooked quinoa you get a massive 17-18g of fibre! Considering the RDI for women is 25g/day and for men is 30g/day, quinoa can really help you get your fibre intake up.

Check out our recipe on Wednesday with Quinoa as a main ingredient!


P is for Protein

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Protein: 1 of the 3 macronutrients of our diet along with carbohydrates and fats. It’s important to have an adequate intake in your diet to retain lean muscle mass and it’s important for your cells (skins, muscles, organs, hair, nails etc) as it maintains the structure, function and regulation.

Protein is also an important part of your meals as it’s helps to keep you fuller for longer, so if weight loss is a goal of yours, than having adequate protein in your diet is important. Sneak some egg in at breakfast, greek yoghurt as a morning snacks, some tinned tuna with crackers, chicken with your lunch meal, a small serving of nuts in the afternoon and a lean mince with your dinner – just some quick ideas of how to get that protein in! if you want some more individualised guidance come and see one of our dietitians!

So what foods contain protein?

  • Animal meats e.g. chicken, beef, turkey.
  • Fish & seafood.
  • Dairy products e.g. yoghurt, milk & cheese.
  • Nuts
  • Vegetarian options such as legumes and tofu.

Protein is particularly important post exercise to help your muscles recover so you don’t pull up as sore and are ready to work hard at the next session. Make sure you get your protein in within 30-45minutes post your session so protein synthesis can start your muscle recovery. If you do a lot of sport and/or exercise workouts and need some guidance around what to do for your recovery meals come and see us at Tree of Life Nutrition!

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