The Lightness of Being

There is no doubt it is controversial and it sure has got people talking.  I am referring to the graphic images that West Australian’s have been confronted with over the past couple of weeks since the launch of the LiveLighter campaign.  The Grababble Gut.  As a nation, we’re the heaviest we’ve ever been. As at 2010, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated that more than 4.3 million Australians, roughly one in four, were obese. In Western Australia, the story is much the same. More than 60 per cent of us are either overweight or obese. Despite claims to the contrary by supplement companies and unfortunately as frustrating as it it can be, there is no magic pill.  Keeping your weight in the right and healthy place for you always comes back to the tried and true equation, you have to make healthier choices, perhaps eat less and exercise more.  There is simply no evading this, but the payoffs are huge. Cathy O’Leary, Medical Editor of the West Australian newspaper had some really interesting comments with regards to the health promotion methods employed in this campaign in her ‘Health campaign takes guts’ article and I agree with her.  Its not rocket science and we don’t need fancy measuring tools to know when we need to lose weight particularly the ‘toxic’ kind around our middle bits and surrounding our organs.  But it isn’t easy either. I have been talking about this campaign on radio 882AM 6PR over the past few weeks and it has certainly provoked some reactions, positive and negative with regards to the effectiveness of ‘scare tactics’ and graphic images.  One of our listeners, Helen emailed in her thoughts which may resonate with some of you.

“Just listening in to your story regarding fat and our society.  I have two boys, one thin as a rack one chubby. They have the same activity level and same diet.  I worry about my older boy but really don’t know how to help him lose weight short of boot camp and strict diets but I don’t want him to have diet hang ups and body issues.  So we let him be and try to monitor what we can.  We eat takeaway maybe once a month, I cook 99% of our meals as we have severe allergies in our house.  I don’t want my boys at 7 and 10 worrying about how much fat and sugar are in their cereal, thats my job, but to be fair its hard finding yummy good food not full of salt, sugar and fat.  We are a working family and I’m lucky enough to be able to cook every night and I bake from time to time.  But families just don’t have time to be on top of this stuff all the time.    How do we help our kids and ourselves?”

Good question Helen. One of my own annoying traits to make things way more complicated than they need to be and it is easy to fall into the trap of ‘paralysis by analysis.’ This is the phenomenon where you analyse and think about something so much, the end result is zip, zero, nada. This does make changing behaviours challenging.  I often share four strategies for removing barriers to change and they are: 1.  Too much information makes it too hard to do anything.  Make sure your information is accurate and from a reputable source.  Choose one thing you are going to change and conquer it before moving on to the next target. 2.  Know where you are at – Assess your current position, what are your goals, blood tests, fitness levels, dietary assessment and use technology to track your progress. 3.  Be a certified practising health accountant – be accountable to someone (professional or personal) 4.  Get support from those around you and don’t use ‘busyness’ as an excuse.  Recognise that when you are busy and under the pump and it is difficult to control everything, things that you can in fact control like nutrition and exercise fly out of the window.

Be like a postage stamp.  Stick to one thing until you get there.

Beverley Sills

 

 
   

 

The beauty of beetroot

The Beauty of Beetroot

Can you visualize the famous cartoon character Popeye gulping cans of spinach to build his bulging muscles?

Swedish researchers, from Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute have found that spinach, like other leafy greens and beetroot, contains nitrates and can actually improve muscle strength.

The study, funded by four scientific and medical groups including the Swedish Research Council, involved lacing the drinking water of mice with nitrate for seven days and monitoring the muscles in the mice’s legs and feet. They found that mice drinking the nitrate solution had significantly stronger muscles than the control group.

Leading researcher, Dr Andrés Hernández, said his team is keen to continue the study and see how their findings may be applied to people suffering from muscle weakness.

“From a nutritional perspective our study is interesting because the amount of nitrate that affected muscle strength in mice was relatively low,” Dr Hernández, said.

“Translated to humans it means that we can obtain the equivalent volume by eating more of a vegetarian diet, as nitrate is found naturally in several leafy vegetables, especially in beetroot juice, for example.”

Nitrate is already being trialled in athletes around the world as we speak. Keep an ear to the ground for further research in humans.

Roasted Balsamic Beetroot

1 bunch beetroot, scrubbed, trimmed and chopped
1/2 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  • Place beetroot, stock, vinegar and sugar in a bowl and toss to combine.
  • Spoon into a 3 litre capacity ovenproof dish.
  • Cover with aluminum foil, place on a baking tray and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the beetroot are tender.

Serves 4

Source: Donna Hay Magazine
P.S. This recipe also works well with purple carrots.

Fuel Watch

sprouts raw

Farmland Greens “Crunchy Combo Sprouts”

I have recently discovered a fantastic West Australian grown product that can be eaten as a snack or added to any salad. As the name would suggest Crunchy Combo Sprouts are a combination product including mung beans, lentils, blue peas and Red Caloona beans that are have just started to sprout. These legumes are a great way of adding fibre, protein, Vitamin C and resistant starch. Research shows that resistant starch can promote intestinal health and may play an important role glucose and energy management. For those of you who don’t enjoy legumes such as baked beans and other dried or tinned varieties, “Crunchy Combo Sprouts’ are a tasty, healthy and convenient alternative. They are available at supermarkets and fresh produce stores, find a location near you at www.farmlandgreens.com.au.

6PR

Headphones silhouette against On-Air sign symbolising a podcast broadcast.
Headphones silhouette against On-Air sign symbolising a podcast broadcast.

Don’t forget to tune in to 882-6PR radio every alternate Wednesday at 10am for a chat with Paul Murray and myself on the Morning program. We discuss everything nutrition and performance and answer callers questions. The next broadcast is on Wednesday 1st August.

Did you know that presenteeism is the biggest expense to your company right now? It costs the Australian economy $34.1 billion every year, which is four times that of absenteeism.

Presenteeism is defined as the productivity that is lost when your team comes to work but, as a consequence of fatigue, illness or lifestyle is not fully productive.

Join the list of smart companies who have already improved the productivity of their workforce using my expertise as a performance specialist and Dietitian. Find out how you can benefit by calling me on 0411 188 996, email julie@juliemeek.com.au or visit www.juliemeek.com.au

Don’t forget to check out my blog for interesting info that I come across on a regular basis too.