Staying Healthy This Holiday Season

Staying Healthy This Holiday Season

Do you feel a slight sensation of dread, thinking what all those Christmas parties will do to your waistline?  Staying healthy this holiday season doesn’t need to be stressful.Staying Healthy This Holiday Season

A new study shows that even one week of overindulging can change the way your genes in your fat cells store fat.  This is shocking news indeed, but there are some simple steps we can implement to prevent this, and get through the jolly season not only with our health intact, but positively glowing!

  1. Sit down and set your goal. On January 1st, 2017 how do you want to feel and look? Write yourself a postcard from the future, describing exactly how you are after the party season is over
  2. Plan your strategy of how you will achieve this. For this you need to concentrate on three elements:
  • Maintaining your focus. Plan beforehand how you want to act at get-togethers. How many drinks will you have? Which food items will you have, and which ones might you reserve as a special treat for Christmas itself? Is there a special dish you could bring, that you know is low in calories and scores high on taste, which you could fill up on? Get creative and have fun planning with your goal of feeling fantastic in January firm in your mind.
  • Nourish your body well. Start the day with fresh fruit and berries, have plenty of salad and veg. Stay away from refined foods as much as possible, and tweak your recipes to make them fat-free. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – when you drink plenty of water, you feel less hungry.
  • Move your body. Even when you don’t have time for your normal exercise routine, you can have fun building little bursts of movement into the day: think quick trips to the park with the family or dancing to your favourite songs in the living room.
  1. Track and review how you’re going, and tweak your approach as you go.

With this simple strategy you can enjoy a much more relaxed holiday season, and stay in control of your waistline and health at the same time. Beautiful!

Article submitted by Hilke Legenhausen

 

How To Love Yourself On The  Inside First

How To Love Yourself On The Inside First

Love yourself.Love Yourself

It’s got a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

But here’s the deal.

Loving yourself isn’t just about loving what everyone else can see, it’s about taking care of all the bits of you that make you special and unique – even the parts you may only know about.

The old adage of beauty is skin deep also resonates with loving yourself, and more imperatively, accepting yourself wholly, from the inside and outside.

Give the Gift of Health

Few would be able to argue that health is one of the most (if not the most) important aspect of anyone’s life. When you’re healthy, even normal, mundane daily activities exude a sense of fulfilment and purpose. On the flip side, when you’re not at your optimum, even wonderful life journeys are dull and painfully arduous.

As the knowledge and educational awareness around Organic Products increases, there has never been a better time to gift your loved one with the tools they need to equip themselves to gain a more robust lifestyle.

Many of us are naturally aligning ourselves to nature once more, almost coming full circle with where our ancestors started, where we relied more on natural alternatives to healing and taking care of ourselves.

Why does this matter?

Let’s face it, avoiding technology like the plague is only going to get us so far in the 21st century! It’s not required either honestly.

Great strides have been made in all fields of study throughout the ages, not to mention amazing medical achievements and feats that improve all of our lifestyles in many areas we take for granted now.

Farming practices have improved (even around organic farming) where humans are learning to work with the environment instead of against it. Organic foods combined with the learning curve of technology are a perfect blend of the balanced combination of good practices with ancient wisdom and new age cutting edge valuable innovation.

There are many modern, ethical companies out there now that provide such organic food alternatives and concepts that make for perfect gifts for those of your friends and families that are either nature buffs (like me!) or need a gentle nudge in the right direction.

So how about gifting the present of health to those who are close to your heart this giving season?

Organic Foods are a great way to begin your path to a healthier version of yourself, an ode to commencing your journey of loving yourself from the inside out. Begin at the core of your being and before you know it, it’ll start to radiate from within.

Article submitted by Nimveda

 

So You Found Out You Have A Food Allergy Or Intolerance? Here Is What You Can Do

So You Found Out You Have A Food Allergy Or Intolerance? Here Is What You Can Do

So you have found out that you have a food allergy or intolerance.  Where do you start?

Food allergy is a result of your body’s reaction to certain foods where it responds to certain items and food products as an irritant. It can happen with anyone, anytime throughout his or her life. Intolerance is a

little different and is not life threatening. It is more of a chemical response but can cause similar symptoms; upset stomach, vomiting, rashes, pain etc. Allergies

Allergic Where to Start

Allergic Where to Start

are often genetic, whereas, food intolerances don’t and can affect anyone and at anytime. Children do tend to out-grow these reactions but there are chances that they would be stuck with it for their whole life ahead leading to adults. So if you or your children have been recently diagnosed with this life-changing revelation, here are some tips on how you can better manage.

Identifying the problem

If you think that your child has an allergy, you re-ally need to go to an allergy specialist to identify the food groups that are triggering the responses. An IgE blood test measures the blood level of antibodies which are proteins produced by the immune system that attack antigens, such as bacteria, viruses and allergens. There is also a skin prick test that is also very effective. These tests will identify the food groups such as dairy, wheat, soy, etc and environmental allergens such as grass seed, dust etc. There are more options if you think you have a food intolerance. You can do a standard food elimination test, there are many professionals who are advertising food testing and you can also take out a Food Test 500 developed by a naturopath as a bio compatibility test, which identifies which whole foods are no good to each individual tested and is also highly effective, requires no appointment, needles, blood tests etc.

Introduce alternate recipes

Once you identify the foods that are triggering your symptoms you then need to effectively avoid them in order for you system to heal and your symptoms to reduce. Now, it doesn’t end here. You will have to dig deeper to find out all the other processed, packaged food which might contain traces of the allergic food in them. So, start reading labels. For example if you are allergic to wheat or gluten you are best to look for foods that are labeled gluten free as these companies have had to test for traces of gluten. Ingredients such as maltodextrins, thickener etc can be derived from wheat. Try not to use anything that you are not too sure about. Know what you can and can’t eat so that you can prevent any im-pending danger in your life. There are many re-sources available to give you ideas on how to substitute and cook gluten free, dairy free, soy free and more.

Check out the recipe archives of What Can I Eat.

Stick together as a family
If someone has an allergy, it is already hard enough for them. Try not to make it harder by making them feel left out and deprived. The food that they are allergic to, the whole family should stop using that. No food or craving can be worth a person’s life. Be prepared if you are going out to dinner or on holidays, school excursions etc. You are sometimes better to just bring your own food.

Strict instructions

In the case of children being diagnosed with allergies and food intolerances, provide caretakers and educators such as nannies, baby sitters, teachers, grandparents and every elderly person your child may get in contact with a full list of inflammatory foods not to give them. In the same way for an adult also, it is important to be very conscious about trying anything new. Read the labels and ingredients very carefully before you try out some new food. Most importantly, keep an allergy kit with you all the time that can be used in case of a reaction.

Join support groups
To help you out and cope with all the strict, stressful decisions you are taking in your life, join support groups. You can talk to other people there who are going through something similar; find emotional support when you are down and helpful tips that can make your life easier.
Being diagnosed with food allergy or food intolerance can certainly change a lot of things in your life but it is certainly not the end of it. There is a lot of support; advice and resources these days that will help you follow your new eating guide-lines successfully. It is much better than the suffering you have had to endure so date.

Meal Planning to Stay Healthy During Winter

Meal Planning to Stay Healthy During Winter

If you’re juggling a busy schedule, it is easy to get tired, run down and susceptible to every cold or flu going around.  When you don’t have time to get sick there are a few strategies you can use to keep your health on track.

1) Embrace cook ahead meals

Winter is a great time of year to add curries, casseroles, oven bakes and stews to your repertoire.  Make a list of your favourites and each week make a batch big enough to give you extra portions to freeze and to eat the next night.

One of my all time favourite meals to make in bulk and keep in the freezer is this yellow split pea dahl curry.  It is cheap, cheerful and delicious!

2) Revamp your meals

Statistics show we waste 2.8 billion dollars every year by tossing out leftovers.  One of the most common reasons for this is not knowing what to do with the leftovers.  The Revamp principle helps you to work out how to convert leftovers from a boring rerun into an exciting sequel.  Ask yourself if you can use one or more of the four principles to making a great revamp:  Flavour, texture, ingredients, cooking method.

To help you on your way look for ways you can turn curries, casseroles and stews into:

  • Pie (with pastry) –  ingredients (pastry)
  • Shepherd’s pie – ingredients (potatoes)
  • Topping for pizzas – ingredients + texture (pizza base)
  • Enchiladas – flavour (mexican), ingredients (wraps)
  • Soup – cooking method
  • Mix with pasta for a pasta bake – ingredients (pasta)

3) Dust off your slow cooker

Give your budget a break with cheap cuts of meat, which are perfect for the slow cooker.  Don’t forget the humble lamb roast also works brilliantly in the slow cooker. 

Use winter as a time to get creative with your food and test out a few easy strategies that will help you keep your body filled with all the nutrients you need to.

Submitted by Louise D’Allura Meal Planning Your Way

W: www.mealplanningyourway.com

F:  www.facebook.com/MealPlanningYourWay

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Coeliac Disease

Coeliac Disease

Coeliac Disease (CD) is an autoimmune disease, affecting approximately 1 percent of the global population. In Australia 1 in 100 people have CD with about 80 % (200,000) being undiagnosed.  It is believed that there are three factors that underlie the development of CD.  These include an environmental trigger (gluten), a genetic susceptibility (genes for HLA DQ-2 and HLA DQ-8 proteins) and an unusually permeable gut.

The environmental trigger of CD is gluten, which is the major protein in wheat, or of related proteins found in other grains, including rye, oats, barley and triticale.  Gluten is the composite of two proteins, gliadin and gluten in and makes up 80% of the protein in wheat.  Gluten has the physical properties of elasticity and extensibility which provide the qualities we see in wheat based breads and cakes.

In people with CD, 95% have a genetic susceptibility possessing the gene for either HLA-DQ2 or for HLA-DQ8, or both, whereas 30 40 % of the general population have one of those versions.  It is these genes doctors test for when exploring an individual’s risk of developing CD. Only one in 30 people who carry the gene will develop CD.

SYMPTOMS

The common symptoms of CD are abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, weight loss, nausea and vomiting.  However the presentation of the disease may be less dramatic or atypical.  The disease may produce symptoms such as osteoporosis, joint pain, chronic fatigue, short stature, skin lesions, epilepsy, dementia, schizophrenia and seizure.

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE GUT

In digestion, partly processed food from the stomach enters the small intestine, which is lined with finger like projections called villi.  Enzymes from the pancreas and on the surface of the villi break down most of the partly digested food into its smallest components which are then absorbed into the blood stream and travel to the tissues throughout the body.  Glutens structure and properties make it difficult for the gut to break down all parts of this protein, resulting in small indigestible protein fragments being left in the gut which are then excreted.  Normally any gluten that may cross the gut lining is too minimal to excite a significant immune response in a normally functioning immune system.  However in individuals with CD, they have a heightened sensitivity to gluten.  In this case the gluten fragment induces the release of a protein called Zonulin, which causes a leaky gut. The gluten then leaks through the lining of the gut and arouses immune system cells which trigger the release of the enzyme Tissue Transglutaminase (TTG).  The TTG attempts to heal the damaged cells.  The TTG enzyme modifies the gluten which then binds to a HLA molecule, resulting in the production of other immune cells which result in damage to the cells of the villi of the small intestine.  Hence, it is the repeated exposure of gluten to the small intestine which causes damage to its architecture, resulting in the chronic inflammation and damage of the villi, the finger like projection in the small intestine.    The repeated damage results in an increase in TTG antibody levels in the blood stream.  It is these antibodies which are measured via a blood test to determine whether you have Coeliac Disease.  The diagnosis is then confirmed with a small bowel biopsy.

DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosis requires a blood test and a gastroscopy of the small intestine.  The blood test measures the TTG

Antibodies.  The gastroscopy (passing a tube from the mouth into the gut) is a microscopic examination where five biopsies of the wall of the small intestine are taken to determine whether the villi are damaged.  It is important to have the biopsy before commencing a gluten free diet to ensure a definite diagnosis. To confirm a diagnosis, the biopsy should be repeated after 6-12 months of commencing a gluten free diet, to demonstrate improvement to the villi.

TREATMENT

The only treatment for Coeliac Disease is the lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet. When gluten is removed from the diet, the villi in the small intestine will start to heal and overall health improves. Even small amounts of gluten can cause some damage to the lining of the small intestine without any obvious symptoms. There is no agreement amongst doctors, scientists and dieticians as to what (if any) is a safe level of gluten in the diet for someone with Coeliac Disease, The Coeliac Society of Australia Inc. believes that gluten should be entirely removed, but individual should consult their dietician or doctor.

LONG TERM RISKS

The long term risks of undiagnosed Coeliac Disease or non-adherence to the gluten-free diet include:-

  • chronic poor health
  • miscarriages
  • osteoporosis due to calcium malabsorption
  • depression
  • infertility
  • dental enamel defects
  • lymphoma
  • risk of gastrointestinal & oesophageal carcinoma

It is sensible to have your blood checked annually for iron and folic acid levels, and to have a bone mineral density test performed.

Coeliac Disease can also be associated with other autoimmune conditions such as type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disease, pernicious anaemia, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and lupus. It has not been shown that there is a causative link, but having one genetic autoimmune disease increases your risk of having another.

FOLLOWING A GLUTEN-FREE DIET

It is important to avoid wheat, spelt, rye, oats, barley and triticale and foods manufactured using these ingredients.

Food Labels

  • The Australian Food Standards Code requires that food labelled as gluten free must not contain any detectable gluten and no oats or malt
  • New food labelling laws state that any ingredient derived from wheat, rye, barley or oats must be declared on the label

Modified Starches (thickeners 1400-1450)

  • If these are made from wheat they are contain residual starch and therefore are not gluten-free. If the starch is from wheat, it will be specified as such. For example wheat starch, modified starch (wheat)? or thickener 14xx (wheat)
  • If these thickeners are modified maize starch, modified potato starch or modified tapioca starch, they do not contain any gluten

Maltodextrin

  • Maltodextrin is made from wheat or from maize (corn).
  • If Maltodextrin is sourced from wheat it is not gluten free.  It will be listed as wheat Maltodextrin or Maltodextrin from wheat
  • If Maltodextrin is sourced from maize or potato it is gluten free. It will be listed as Maltodextrin

Medications and Vitamin Supplements

  • Pharmaceutical manufacturers and producers of vitamin and mineral supplements sometimes use wheat starch or gluten as a filler within capsules and tablets.
  • However, unlike food labelling requirements, drug labelling requirements do not require for gluten or gluten derivatives to be declared on the label.
  • You should check with your doctor or pharmacist about whether a drug or supplement contains gluten. If either the doctor or pharmacist is in doubt about whether a product contains gluten, it is best to contact the manufacturer directly.

Avoiding Hidden Gluten

It is possible to inadvertently eat gluten unless you are particularly careful. Because even small amounts of gluten can cause intestinal damage, it is important to consider the following tips with preparation:

  • Making gluten-free meals for the whole family, where practical.
  • Clearly label all foods in your pantry/refrigerator/freezer.
  • Use different utensils when preparing gluten-free and gluten-containing foods at the same time.
  • Prepare gluten-free foods first.
  • Use separate working areas for gluten-free and gluten containing foods.
  • Have your own margarine spread to avoid contamination with breadcrumbs.
  • Wash utensils thoroughly to remove all traces of gluten.
  • Utensils with small crevices i.e. chopping boards/sifters may contain trace amounts of gluten containing particles. You may want to consider having separate utensils.
  • Ensure sandwich makers, toaster are thoroughly cleaned before using them for gluten-free foods.

Other possible sources of hidden gluten

  • BBQ chicken (seasoning/spices, stuffing)
  • Salted hot chips may have been fried in same oil as battered and crumbed foods. Chicken salt may be added, this is not gluten free
  • Potato wedges breadcrumbs, chicken salt
  • Soy Sauce
  • Flavoured potato/corn chips
  • Unspecified cornflour
  • Manufactured deli meats
  • Confectionary lollies, chocolates
  • Processing aids wheat starch on boiled lollies etc.
  • Gluten-free bread from baker via ordinary breadcrumbs being on the bread slicer
  • Gluten free sausages from the butcher, unless all sausages made on the premises are gluten free.
  • Icing sugar mixture instead of pure icing sugar
  • Communion wafers maize wafers are available.

Eating Out

  • This should still be enjoyable. Waiting staff and chefs/cooks are usually happy to tell you how they prepared the foods and what ingredients were used once you explain the importance of gluten-free diet.
  • Remember to check each time you go to a restaurant, even if you are ordering the same meal as staff and recipes can change.
  • When ordering a meal, pay particular attention to sauces, dressings and soups. Check menu items for:
    – Flour even grilled foods such as fish can be coated with flour.
    – Breadcrumbs
    – Stock powder/booster. Can be used in items such as risotto.
    – Soy sauce
    – Cornflour a lot of Chinese restaurants use wheaten cornflour to thicken sauces, custards and other desserts.
    – Malt vinegar dressings, marinades.
    – Mayonnaise may contain thickeners, malt vinegar.
    – Icing sugar check whether it’s pure.

Gluten- Free Baking

It is important to realise that gluten-free flours do not behave the same as gluten-containing flours. Be prepared to experiment with your recipes. Directly swapping gluten-free flours for wheat flours works well for biscuit recipes, however some cake recipes work better than others!

Here are some tips for you:

  • Measure ingredients carefully.
  • Ensure your oven temperature is correct- over baking will dry the cake/bread out.
  • Grease all baking tins even non-stick ones- or line, to prevent sticking
  • Plain flour substitute: equal parts soy flour, rice flour and potato/maize flour.
  • Gluten-free baking powder two parts cream of tartar with one part of bicarbonate soda. Use 2 teaspoons of this mixture with every cup of gluten free flour.
  • Extra egg, xanthan gum can aid rising and results in a better texture. 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum should be added to biscuits/slices; 1-2 teaspoons to cakes/pastries; and, 1 tablespoon to breads. Commercial bread mixes already contain a gum.
  • Roll gluten-free pastry onto non-stick baking paper it’s easier to lift.
  • Cake and bread batters will always be thinner than the wheat counterparts.
  • Cakes will cook better in a ring tin.
  • Cornflakes and rolled rice flakes are good alternatives to rolled oats.
  • Freeze bread immediately and use from the freezer.
  • Set the timer for gluten-free pasta as it can become quickly over-cooked.
  • Packaged gluten-free breadcrumbs or crushed gluten-free cornflakes are useful for crumbing foods.

COELIAC DISEASE WEBSITES

Australian

  • Australian Coeliac Society.  www.coeliac.org.au
    o Queensland branch. www.qld.coeliac.org.au
    o Victorian Branch http://www.vic.coeliac.org.au/ (This site has better general information than previous sites)
  • http://www.allergyassist.com/ online shop for many gluten free products, specialising in products for people with multiple food allergies or intolerances. (Website to be launched September October 2009)
  • http://www.glutenfreeshop.com.au/ online shop for many gluten free products however many products are available in supermarkets as well. Good site for getting an idea of what products are available to Coeliacs.
  • http://www.orgran.com/ another site giving examples of available gluten free products.

International

  • http://www.celiac.com/  U.S. site. Very comprehensive and informative about Coeliac Disease, gluten free foods and recipes. Click on site index for website contents. Also contains link to message board where you can post questions and read other’s experiences. http://www.glutenfreeforum.com/
  • http://www.coeliac.org/ ? UK site. Another very informative site and very easy to navigate as well.

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Are You Allergic to the House Dust Mite?

Are You Allergic to the House Dust Mite?

House dust mites live on a diet of skin scales which we shed daily. They thrive in warm and humid environments, living and breeding in our mattress, doona/quilt, pillows, under blankets, carpet and fabric covered furniture items. Approximately 80% of asthmatics are allergic to dust mites. They mainly live and breed in our bedding and mattress. Up to 2 million dust mites can live in a mattress. Each day dust mites produce up to 20 faecal pellets (allergens) and it is these droppings that are the most common cause of dust related allergies. 
 
Most people who suffer from dust mite allergy find their symptoms are worst at night or in the morning. This is usually a good indicator of dust mite allergy as the most dust mite allergens we are exposed to are in our mattress and bedding. Some of the symptoms of dust mite allergy include: 
 
 Asthma 
 Eczema 
 Itchy, red, watery eyes 
 Sneezing 
 Tiredness 
 Rhinitis 
 Itchy skin rashes 
 Itchy throat 
 Runny nose 
 A dry cough 
 
Here is a simple list of measures that can make a huge difference to sufferers of dust mite allergy. 
 
Primary measures 
 
 Encase the pillow, mattress and quilt in zip up dedicated dust mite covers. Cotton dust mite covers are now available. 
 Wash the dust mite covers at 60 degrees every 8-12 weeks as this temperature kills dust mites and removes their droppings (dust mite allergens) look for tumble dryable covers as tumble drying can also kill dust mites. 
 Wash normal bed linen regularly, at least every week at 60 degrees. 
 
Secondary measures 
 
 Do not allow pets in the bedroom. 
 Use a high quality vacuum cleaner, 
 I.e. install a ducted vacuum system where the allergens are taken outside to the unit. For conventional vacuums use a high efficiency HEPA filter unit. 
 Use a damp or electrostatic duster/wipe when dusting and cleaning surfaces. 
 Replace carpets with wooden or hard floor coverings which are easily cleaned of allergen. 
 Remove curtains and soft furnishings in the bedroom. 
 Avoid fabric-covered furniture, use leather or vinyl coverings. 
 Remove or reduce the amount of soft toys from the bedroom; wash them at 60 degrees or freeze them to kill dust mites. 
 Expose rugs and carpets to direct strong sunlight for more than 3 hours to kill mites. House dust mites are transparent and have no natural protection against sunlight. 
 Sufficiently ventilate dwelling to decrease humidity, a damp house will promote more dust mite and more dust mite allergen. 
 
The common all year round symptoms of dust mite allergies like asthma, rhinitis and eczema should greatly improve if the above steps are followed. Remember that our indoor air is more responsible for our allergies than the pollution outside. This is a good thing because it means we can control the environment which affects us the most! 
 
Article Contributed by Alex from AllergEND PLUS 
 

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