Swimming the English Channel

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I’ve always been a swimmer. Growing up, spending time in the ocean was what we did.  Swimming came pretty easily to me, but it wasn’t until the wrong side of 40 that I really found a love for it.

It was a love born of two things. Firstly, the threat of drastic surgery to correct a serious back problem meant I was on the hunt for any other remedy. Secondly, I happened to join a very high performing swim squad called Vladswim. Swimming is more than a sport to this group, it’s a passion and a way of life. Surrounded by adventurous people with no limit to their aspirations, I was inspired to create my own big goal.

I have always dreamed of an iconic swim like the English Channel, but never took it seriously. In the Vladswim pool goals are set, prepared for and achieved. This was 2016. I had a goal, I had a preparation program and I was ready to commit to swimming the English Channel in 2019.

I began a routine of early morning training at the pool and weekend sessions in the ocean. There was always talk of nutrition amongst the swimmers. What worked, what definitely didn’t. What worked for this person but not for another. It became clear that getting the ‘feeding’ right was central to achieving my goal and also enjoying the process.

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Towards the end of last year, I started to prepare for the Rottnest Channel Swim – a 20km open water swim from Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia to Rottnest Island off the coast. It was the longest swim I had attempted and I decided to consult a nutritionist to work out the best feeding plan. Up until this point my approach had been to eat whatever I wanted and suck down a few gels as needed on longer ocean swims. Swimming makes you hungry! I’d worked hard in the pool and I could get away with eating pretty much whatever I wanted between sessions. Ashleigh, my new nutrition, had other ideas.

We used Rottnest as an experiment to find out what suited me best. The swim was a large learning curve. How do you carb load and when? How do you hydrate most effectively? What foods would aid my recovery?

I learnt that there is no exact science when it comes to individual nutrition. Trial and error and an open dialogue with your nutritionist are essential as you work out how to get a comfortable and effective feeding pattern.

A few months after Rottnest, a spot opened up for an English Channel swim during the current 2018 season.  The idea of doing it a year early appealed – I had a good base from my Rottnest preparation and my coach thought I was ready. I had a great nutritionist on board in Ashleigh, so I decided to put all my ducks in a row and give it my best crack!

I had a limited time to prepare myself both in the pool and from a nutritional point of view in order to be ready for the demands of the Channel. I needed to increase my swimming mileage, put on a little bit of weight and work out a feeding plan for some long ocean swims in the lead up and of course the day itself.

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I was on such a high in the lead up to the swim. Full of excitement and anticipation! This saw me through seven weeks of intense training, with my mileage peaking at about 50km per week. I was still talking to Ashleigh and tweaking my feeds right up until the start of my Channel swim.

I felt confident we had quite a few feed options on offer in case I felt ‘feed fatigued’.  It’s hard to know for sure what you will feel like over the course of 13 to 14 hours of swimming. I had options such as Maltodextrin, Gatorade, Staminade, Hydralyte, Coke, Mars Bars, gels and peaches in syrup.

Quite a smorgasbord of options and certainly enough to keep me interested. I can only recall finding the flavour of orange Staminade totally vile at around the nine-hour mark. No big deal, there was more to choose from.

It took me 13 hours, 20 minutes and 15 seconds to reach France. With the current, I swam approximately 55km.

I felt well fuelled and hydrated all the way through my crossing. I felt strong. I kept telling myself that I had prepared well in advance, I had done the training. If I kept focused and positive and my nutrition was on target, I would succeed.

I owe a huge thanks to Ashleigh for keeping my nutrition on track. I was not the ideal client. A little picky, a bit adverse to the healthy ingredients on offer but your patience paid off and we got there.  Thank you for helping me achieve my goal!

Sam Abeshouse

How to balance a healthy dinner meal for diabetes

Struggling to put together a well-balanced meal at dinnertime for you or a family member who has Diabetes? This quick article will assist you in maintaining stable blood sugar levels, a healthy weight and maximum food satisfaction and enjoyment at dinner!

Dinner time can be challenging when we get home from an exhausting day. The last thing we want to think about is “What’s for Dinner”?– Sound familiar? Read on.

WHY? Well if your goal is to maintain or lose some weight to help control your diabetes then choosing a healthy, well-balanced meal is important to ensure extra kilojoules, sugar and fat are not creeping into your last main meal of the day.

Diabetes in a Nutshell – what is happening in your body!

Diabetes is when high levels of glucose circulate within the blood. When we consume carbohydrate-containing foods, our body breaks it down into glucose (sugar). The presence of glucose triggers the release of insulin, a hormone helping to reduce glucose levels in the blood. When the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin or insulin doesn’t work as effectively, diabetes arises. Without adequate insulin, glucose in the blood builds up and can increase short and long-term health risks. 

Type 1 – When the pancreas cannot produce insulin due to the body’s immune system damaging the cells that usually make insulin, therefore insulin must be replaced in order to manage blood sugar levels.   

Type 2 – Usually a result of either insulin resistance where the pancreas is supplying insulin, however the cells are resisting the insulin, compromising the uptake of glucose for energy and or over time the pancreas can become overworked and fails to produce adequate insulin to glucose ratio. 

To achieve a healthy balanced dinner, having a few handy kitchen supplies is important so you can make a quick, nutritious and delicious meal that ticks all the boxes and keeps your blood sugar levels in check.

1. Low Starch Vegetables– a variety of colours helps you to achieve a balance of micronutrients & fibre!

  • Fill half your plate with an array of low starch vegetables. Some convenient options: birds eye steam fresh bags or frozen stir fry mix; fine cut coleslaw; spinach, rocket, kale leaves pack, stir fry rainbow veggies and or spiralized zucchini or cauliflower and broccoli steam “rice” packs

2. High Fibre Carbohydrates –encourage a slow release of blood sugar and promote increased fullness!

  • Fill ¼ of your plate. Some convenient options: lentils, freekah, beans superblend; brown/long grain rice or quinoa microwaveable packs; spiralized sweet potato noodle packs or birds eye frozen oven roast bag 

3. Lean Protein– broken down slowly, providing long-lasting energy

  • Fill the other ¼ of your plate. Some convenient options: BBQ chicken (skin and stuffing removed) *keep in an airtight container for a few days’ supply; birds Eye steam frozen fish /Atlantic salmon or canned tuna and salmon or versatile eggs!

4. Healthy Fat– promotes a healthy heart and has anti-inflammatory effects

  • Enjoy adding a thumb size of avocado, nuts, seeds or olives to your salads & veggies. 

 

Now putting it all together - Inspired Buddha or Burrito Bowls

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Step One: add a high fibre, slow-releasing source of carbohydrate including ½ cup cooked beans, brown rice or 100% buckwheat noodles 

Step Two: add lean protein including 150g fish or prawns, 150g firm tofu, 120g poultry, two boiled eggs or 100g lean heart-smart minced beef or pork meat

Step Three: add 2-3 cups of varied low starch vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms, capsicum, green beans, carrots, cherry tomatoes, cabbage, baby beetroot, bok choy, zucchini and the list goes on!

Step Four: include some heart-healthy fats including ¼ avocado, 1 tbsp. of olive oil, 10 olives or a sprinkle of nuts or seeds. 

Step Five: enjoy, take your time and appreciate the colours and flavours 

Remember that the AMOUNT of carbohydrate is going to be very individual and you should check in with a friendly local dietitian to set a collaborative plan. You can book in here http://bodyfusion.com.au/contact-us/or read more about our dietitians here: http://bodyfusion.com.au/about-our-dietitian/

Wishing you some delicious and healthy dinners!

Lentil Bolognese & Zucchini Zoodles

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Searching for a delicious recipe that increases your intake of plant protein? 

Serves: 6

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes 

Eating Time [most important😉]: 20 minutes ++

Ingredients

Vegetables

  • 4x Large Zucchini 

  • 1 Punnet Cherry Tomatoes (save 4-6 raw for garnish)

  • Handful of Fresh Spinach Leaves 

  • 1 Heaped Cup Sliced Button Mushrooms

  • 2x Spring Onion Bulbs 

Protein and Low GI Carbohydrate

  • 2 Cups Dried Red Lentils (McKenzie Brand)

  • 100g Cooked San Remo Pulse Pasta (optional) 

  • Parmesan Cheese (to sprinkle on top)

Healthy Fat

  • 1-2 Tbsp. Guacamole (see recipe below)

  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Sauces / Spices / Flavours

  • 100% Tomato Passata (Mutti Brand) or Tinned Crushed Tomatoes (low sodium)

  • 1 Tsp. Minced Garlic

  • Spices + Flavours: Paprika, Turmeric, Cracked Pepper, Basil, Parsley or Mixed Italian Herbs 

Instructions

1.     Slice ends of Zucchini and use a Spiralizer to make ribbons (or alternatively see practical tip*)

2.     Thinly Slice Mushrooms and Spring Onions and Halve Cherry Tomatoes

3.     Sauté Mushrooms, Onions + Tomatoes with Olive Oil + Spices in a pan for 3-5 minutes

4.     Add 5-6 cups of water to lentils and boil (follow McKenzie packet instructions) – mix whilst boiling until lentils absorb the water and are cooked through

5.     Mix through Passata sauce and minced garlic into lentils whilst on low heat

6.     Add mushrooms, tomatoes and onion into the lentil mix – mix through 

7.     Add and mix the handful of spinach 

8.     Drizzle some olive oil over Spiralized Zucchini and place in the microwave for 15 seconds 

9.     Plate up Zucchini, then pour over the lentil mix, sprinkle with parmesan cheese & seasonings

10.  Add a dollop of Plain Greek Yoghurt or Guacamole (see below) 

11.  Enjoy and take your time, serve with a sparkling water and fresh lemon juice

Guacamole Recipe (optional) – Combine ingredients to a consistency of your preference

  • 1 small Avocado 

  • Juice of half a small lemon 

  • 1 Tbsp. Plain Greek Yoghurt

  • Season with Pepper and Salt 

Alternatives

  • Instead of Zucchini = try sweet potato ribbons (higher starch vegetable*)

*Practical Tip: Coles and Woolworths – have pre-packed vegetable ribbons available

Nutritional Benefits

  • Excellent Source of Plant Protein

  • High Fibre

  • Antioxidant Rich

  • Anti-inflammatory Fats

 

This recipe was brought to you by Aimee Boidin, our Lane Cove and Cremorne Dietitian! 

Shakshuka Recipe

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Ingredients

·     1 red onion, finely diced

·     1 garlic clove, crushed

·     1 small chilli, finely diced

·     1 teaspoon paprika

·     ½ teaspoon ground coriander

·     ½ teaspoon ground cumin

·     2 red capsicums, cut into 2cm pieces

·     400g chopped tomatoes

·     ½ large eggplant, cut into 2cm cubes

·     4 eggs

·     Fresh coriander, to serve

Method

1.    Preheat oven to 2200C.

2.    Heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over a medium heat and add onion, garlic and chilli. Cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the spices and stir, cook for a further minute. 

3.    Add the capsicum and tomatoes to the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until capsicums are softened. Turn the cook top off, then blend the sauce and return to the pan.

4.    Meanwhile, spray another pan with cooking oil and heat over a high heat. Add eggplant and cook for 10 minutes or until cooked through, turning occasionally.

5.    Stir the eggplant through the sauce. Make four wells with the back of a spoon and crack an egg into each well, then bake in the oven until eggs are cooked to your liking.  

Sprinkle with coriander and serve with wholegrain bread.

Nutrition benefits:

High in Vitamin C to assist your immunity and glowing skin

A good source of protein to keep you feeling full and lower the overall GI of the meal

Can be shared with friends (Always a benefit too right ;))

This recipe was brought to you by our amazing Kirrawee Dietitian Melissa - give her a call to get your health sorted down in the South of Sydney!

 

Everything you need to know about pregnancy nutrition

Whether you’re planning a pregnancy or already pregnant, what you eat can make a big difference to the health of you and your baby. But with so many guidelines, misinformation and anecdotal stories buried deep in the internet (or even simply passed on from a good-intentioned friend), it can be hard to know exactly what to eat (or not to eat) when you’ve got a bun in the oven. We’ve put together our top questions from clients we work with to highlight vital nutrition basics for pregnancy.

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Should I eat more food when I’m pregnant?

Many people think that being pregnant means you’re eating for two, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. You see, in the first trimester, you don’t actually need any extra energy. It bumps up a little in the second trimester, to around 1400 extra kilojoules per day, and in the third, that quota is increased to 1900 extra kilojoules per day. In reality, that’s only the equivalent of an extra sandwich.

How do I meet these increased energy requirements but also optimise my nutrition to support a healthy baby and womb?

As you can see below some food serves you need to eat more of. We can help identify how many serves you are currently eating and how to practically achieve what you need!

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What are the top nutrients essential to growing and sustaining a new life?

1.     Folate – plays a crucial role in development and is protective against neural tube defects – so much so, that women who are planning a bub are recommended to take a supplement.

2.     Iodine – key for development. 

3.     Iron – important for your baby’s blood stores. 

4.     Zinc – key for the development of our DNA. 

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The weighty debate: How much weight should I gain before conception?

As a guide, a woman with a healthy BMI before falling pregnant should gain between 11.5 and 16kg by the end of pregnancy. It’s different again if you are not at a healthy BMI! Of course, this is very individualised, so it’s important to seek individualised advice. Book in with one of our supportive and knowledgeable dietitians here

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What about food safety?

No soft cheese? What!? We empathise. There are many other foods too that are recommended to be avoided to be safe. But why? This is due to risk of contamination from bacteria and possible infection which can be harmful to the baby. Finding healthy and tasty substitutes can be tricky but not impossible. For example: Even though you are saying goodbye to camembert and brie for a while doesn't mean you have to avoid tasty cheese on some grainy crackers as a snack.

And there you have it! Common questions answered. Again, if you’re planning a pregnancy (or are already pregnant) – why not book in to see one of our Accredited Practising Dietitians for up to date, evidenced based and individualised advice. 

Spiced Banana Oat Loaf

Serves 12

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Ingredients for Loaf: 

3 ripe bananas

2 eggs 

1 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 cup rolled oats

2 cups wholemeal flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup honey 

 

Ingredients for Topping: 

1/2 cup walnuts

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive OIl

1/4 cup coconut sugar 

 

Method: 

1. Preheat oven to 180°C fan forced

2. Line a rectangular loaf tin with baking paper

3. Blend the bananas for 1 minute until soft with small chunks

4. Add in the remaining ingredients to the blender and blend for another 1 minute until smooth. Pour mix into the baking tin.

5. Add the topping ingredients into a clean blender and mix leaving chunky. Use your hands to sprinkle the topping along the cake before putting in the oven.

6. Mix all ingredients in a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth. Grease and line a muffin pan with grease proof paper.

7. Bake in the oven on the middle shelf for 15-30minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Let stand for ~10 minutes before eating.

 

This recipe has been adapted from Sports Dietitians Australia

 

 

Ash's Super Simple Butternut Pumpkin Dahl with Mango Chutney & Asparagus

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I developed this one the other week whilst things were starting to get a little cold in Sydney! Its quick and SUPER tasty. Enjoy enjoy!

Ingredients (Serves 4-5)

  • 2xpackets of chefs selection: Simple Dahl (Orange Packet)
  • 1/2 butternut pumpkin - Chopped
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes - Halved
  • 2 cups brown long grain rice (I highly recommend the Riviana Brand)
  • 2xBunches of asparagus 
  • Mango Chutney
  • Greek yoghurt (Small tub)

Method:

1. Cook the Simple Dahl as per instructions (30 mins simmer)

2. Steam the pumpkin in the microwave with a tiny bit of water for 5 mins

3. At 20 mins add in the butternut pumpkin and tomato to the dahl mix

4. Cook the rice for 15 minutes (2 cup of rice & 4.5/5 cups water) and then take take off the boil to steam **I usually put in after the Dahl has cooked for 15 mins**

5. Steam some asparagus just before the dahl and rice are ready to serve

6. Serve dahl over rice and top with mango chutney and yoghurt, place some asparagus sprigs on the side

7. Devour!!

Nutrition:

- Low GI and a good source of fibre: This fills you up and aids digestion!

- Source of plant protein: Lentils, like asparagus are also a prebiotic - perfect for winter immunity

- Butternut pumpkin is high in vitamin A, which assists in maintaining cell integrity

- Tomatoes are high in vitamin C which ensure the iron absorption from the lentils

- Dollop of yoghurt provides some extra calcium to your day

Pretty amazing huh!

Recipe: Home made baked beans

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Legumes: Amazingly high in fibre and pre-biotics for gut health. Here is how to make this warming dish at home rather than buying it in the supermarket.

Makes: 3.5 cups

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

·      1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

·      1 brown onion, finely diced

·      1 garlic clove, crushed

·      1x 200g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved

·      1x 400g tin crushed tomatoes

·      1x 400g tin bean mix, drained and rinsed

·      1 zucchini, grated

·      1 tablespoon dried mixed herbs

·      Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Method

1.     Heat olive oil over a medium-high heat.

2.     Sauté onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes or until softened.

3.     Add cherry tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, bean mix, zucchini, mixed herbs and pepper and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Nutrition

1/2 cup provides roughly:

·      460 kJ (110 cal), 4.5g protein, 3.3g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 13.1g carbs, 4.2g fibre

Enjoy 1 cup with some grainy toast and a little sprinkle of cheddar cheese for breakfast :)

Sweet Asparagus and Tomato Frittata

Here is one of my favourite quick dishes which can be thrown together in a few minutes with whats left in the fridge and leave you with only one pan to clean! 

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Serves 4

Ingredients:

- 500g Sweet potato (grated)

- 1 medium onion diced

- 2 bunches Asparagus

- 250g Cherry tomatoes

- 6 eggs

- 1/3 cup light milk

- ½ cup cottage cheese

- 1 tbsp olive oil

- 1 avocado chopped

- Salad to serve

Method:

Step 1: Heat a large (20cm) non-stick fry pan over a medium heat. Add cherry tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Add onion, asparagus and grated sweet potato cooking for a further 3 minutes.


Step 2: Whisk together the eggs, milk and cottage cheese and pour over the pan to cover the vegetables. Reduce the heat to low and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Step 3: Place the pan under a hot grill to cook until the top is golden. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Top with avocado and serve with a side of salad.

 

Enjoy!

 

Three tops tips for the time poor corporate: Increasing vegetable intake to boost health, longevity and work performance

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Back to back intense meetings, extended work hours, skipping meals whilst adding copious amounts of caffeine – sound familiar? What if nutrition could be quick, tasty and practical to make everything easier? Well it CAN and not only will this reduce your risk of chronic health disease such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, but also help improve body function and increase energy.

The stats: Lettuce tell you

Did you know that in 2014-15 that only 7% of Australian adults met the guidelines for recommended intake vegetables?

Similarly, in a recent survey conducted in a leading Australian bank by our business Body Fusion, 85.5% of employees were not meeting their recommended serving.

Fact: Healthy employees have been found to be three times as productive than unhealthy employees!

So what are these “guidelines” ?

  Taken from the Australian Healthy Food Guide Portion Sizing Poster

Taken from the Australian Healthy Food Guide Portion Sizing Poster

The implications: Lettuce tell you more

 Not meeting your brightly coloured intake of rainbow veggies means:

·      Less fibre, negatively influencing digestion and increasing risk of colon cancer

·      Decreased satiety = hungry worker = impacted mood and interaction with team plus reduced  ability to concentrate

·      Insufficient intake of vitamins and minerals, which support body function. For example vegetables are an excellent source of potassium which aids in electrolyte balance, regulation of blood pressure and supports nerve and muscle function (including the heart!)

·      Compromised immunity, which influences energy, enjoyment of work and sick days needed

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Help me solve this creatively and simply: Now!

1.    Be organised

This means from the get go on a Monday and yes a shop is crucial over the weekend! We suggest bringing healthy snacks to work that include vegetables: veggie sticks (carrot, cucumber, red capsicum) and hummus, savoury muffins or a small snap lock bag of cherry tomatoes.

2.    ALWAYS make sure there are vegetables in your lunch

What’s the easiest way to do this? Take food from home that has been cooked in advance. A huge vegetable frittata, vegetable lasagna or spinach and ricotta pie at home will make multiple serves. Salads are also always a winner!

Like to purchase on the run? Alternatively look to add veggies to your lunch in other quick ways. How about you match a veggie-based juice (carrot, celery, beetroot, ginger and apple) with your grainy ham and cheese toastie?

3.    Use tools and cues as reminders to eat

When things get busy, eating goes to the end of the priority list. Putting your snacks or lunch near your keyboard, setting a phone alarm or having another healthy buddy in the office to keep accountable will all work.

Another option is the new amazing App VegEze app by Hort Innovation https://horticulture.com.au/ which gives your hot tips and reminders to encourage you to get to your goal of 5 serves in the day.

So there you have it: Get started today by doing a big healthy grocery shop or better yet check in with a Dietitian to help guide you on your own personalised journey!

Ash, Vegetable and life enthusiast