All posts by Peter Carlos

New exercise physiologist – Brent

By | Education, Exercise | No Comments

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

By | Education | No Comments

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 🙂


Picture is from

Roasted spicy cauliflower with tahini sauce

By | Recipes, Vegetarian | No Comments

Serves 4


1 head cauliflower, broken into florets

olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried coriander

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

sprinkle of dried chili flakes

½ cup crushed almonds


Tahini sauce:

1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)

¼ cup water

¼ cup lemon juice

2-3 garlic cloves, crushed

handful of chopped fresh parsley



  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Blanch the cauliflower in salted boiling water for a couple of minutes, then drain in colander, allowing to steam dry (the cauliflower will take forever to roast if too moist).
  3. Combine all the spices, nuts and oil, and toss cauliflower florets in the mix.
  4. Place in ovenproof dish or tray and roast them for about 15-20 minutes, turning them a few times for even crispiness.
  5. To make the tahini sauce, mix tahini, water, lemon juice, parsley and garlic together in a bowl and stir until smooth. Drizzle over the cauliflower and serve immediately.


*This recipe is adapted from and


Japanese pancakes

By | Recipes | No Comments

Japanese pancakes, or okonomiyaki, are a delicious option for a light lunch, but don’t be fooled by this picture. When I attempted these babies, they turned out to be more like fritters than pancakes, but were delicious nonetheless. This recipe is so versatile, and you can use lots of different vegetables. Try adding red cabbage, carrot, bean shoots, or mushrooms.


Serves 4


1 tbsp. (20ml) canola oil

2 cups green cabbage

3 cups (3-4 depending on size) zucchini

2-3 garlic cloves

2 cups (1/4 head) of cauliflower

1 onion, grated

2 spring onions

110g almond meal

6 eggs

2 tbsp. tamari

2 tbsp. sesame oil

2 tbsp. sweet chilli sauce

low-fat mayonnaise to serve



  1. Slice spring onions and set some aside for garnish.
  2. Grate cabbage, zucchini, garlic and onions. Chop up cauliflower. Mix vegetables together and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with tamari, sesame oil and sweet chilli sauce. Then add almond meal and vegetables to the mix.
  4. Heat oil in frypan over medium heat. Working in batches, drop tablespoonful of batter into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through.
  5. To serve, top each pancake with spring onion and a little low-fat mayonnaise.

Tip: to avoid having too much liquid in batter, squeeze out some of the excess liquid from the zucchini, and add more almond meal if needed.


*This recipe is adapted from Picture from

Mediterranean stuffed mushrooms

By | Meatless Monday, Recipes | No Comments

Serves 2 people



4 Portobello mushrooms

1/2 onion

1 cup shredded kale (or spinach leaves)

1 cup brown rice (cooked)

400g can crushed tomatoes

1/2 red capsicum

2-4 crushed garlic

Dried Italian herbs

Shredded cheese (to sprinkle on top)



  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Place mushrooms on baking tray, top down. Remove stems, and scoop out the “gills”. These will be used for the filling of the mushrooms. Brush mushrooms with olive oil.
  3.  In a saucepan, heat olive oil, add onion, garlic, kale and capsicum and brown slightly. Add cooked rice, mushroom stems and gills, crushed tomatoes and dried Italian herbs.
  4. Spoon the rice mixture into each mushroom and bake for 15 mins or until filling is golden and mushrooms are tender.


For a FODMAP friendly option, try stuffed capsicum instead of mushroom, but no onion or garlic, and be cautious with the amount of rice.

*recipe adapted from

Desi explains supplements

By | Education | No Comments


Supplements and vitamins are hot topics at the moment. Here is Desi’s response to the dietary role of supplements, from her on-air conversation with Bianca, Terry and Bob from 97.3FM.



Image is from:

5 tips to maintain motivation

By | Education | No Comments

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.


Salmon with herb, walnut & chilli salsa

By | Recipes | No Comments


80g pitted green olives, halved

¾ cup chopped fresh coriander

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

60g dry roasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

½ red onion, finely chopped

1 long fresh green chilli, thinly sliced

1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar

3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 (~1.3kg) salmon fillet, pin boned

60ml fresh lemon juice

Lemon wedges, to serve


  1. Preheat oven to 200oC. Line a roasting pan or oven proof dish with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Combine olives, coriander, basil, walnuts, onion and chilli in a bowl.
  3. Use fork to whisk together oil and vinegar. Add to olive mixture and combine well.       Season with pepper.
  4. Place salmon in prepared pan. Drizzle over lemon juice and season with pepper.
  5. Cover with non-stick baking paper.
  6. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until salmon flakes when tested with fork in the thickest part.
  7. Transfer salmon to large serving platter.
  8. Top with olive mixture and serve with lemon wedges.
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