February 07, 2017

Posted in diet, fruit, healthy food, heart disease, vegetables, weight loss

Why is everything we do vegan?

You might now by now that I am not an extremist.  I am not extremely one way or another, like an extreme vegan or extreme paleo or extreme anything.  I like to drink beer every now and also enjoy a bacon and egg roll (generally not together, but each in their right time).  Our offering is focused on short term kick starts like juice fasting, healthy salads and now we have our intermittent fasting programs.  You might still ask, so if you are not an extremist, why is everything you do all vegan?  Good question.  Here is why….

  • In several studies, vegan diets tend to provide more fibre, antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds. The diets also appear to be richer in potassium, magnesium, folate and vitamins A, C and E.
  • Many observational studies show that vegans tend to be thinner and have lower body mass indexes than non-vegans. Also, a range of randomised controlled studies have shown that vegan diets were more effective more weight loss than the diets they were compared to, with one study showing that participants lost more weight on a vegan diet compared to a calorie restricted diet. 
  • A vegan diet may help to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics, and also reduce their risk of poor kidney function by substituting meat for plant protein.
  • Lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and legumes and fibre are linked to a lowered risk of heart disease. Observational studies comparing vegans and vegetarians to the general population demonstrate the vegans may benefit from a 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure.  And vegans may have up to a 42% lower risk of dying from heart disease.


Like I said, I am not advocating for everyone to become vegans for all their life.  But, there are benefits that could be gained from adopting some vegan habits, even if it is just 3 days every month!

A fast way to live longer

Did you see Catalyst last week?  Thank you to Jo for alerting me to it being on TV, admittedly I was in bed at 7pm on the night that the show was televised but she told me the next morning.

The basis of the show was investigating how some people can live longer than others and whilst a lot of their research focused on the DNA, they also discussed some research surrounding other ways to extend life.  I am not one to propose we live the rest of our lives taking pills to live longer, but the show did discuss another method, one we all have easy access to, that could increase our longevity and most importantly, our health into those extra years. 

The show looked at the presenter who attempted a diet that was designed to mimic a fast, so it was essential low in protein and sugar but also had good healthy vegetable fats, like from nuts.  The aim of mimicking the fast was to get the body into maintenance mode by reducing the growth signals it gets from certain food types.  The professor explains,

“Enough protein is very important, but people are now eating 50%, 100%, 200%, 300% more than normal and this is pushing the system to try to grow but there's no growth. And so the consequence could be that you put an accelerator on all these systems and you just really push them to the limit and then they fail.”

 The results have been quite remarkable with improvements in inflammation, dermatitis, a major reduction in tumours, improvement in cognitive function, and a reduction in visceral fat (this is the bad fat around your middle section) without a loss in muscle mass.

The professor explains what they think is happening, “One is the killing of a lot of bad cells, but also a lot of not-so-bad cells but they may have been old. So you fast and every day of the fasting, the organs are getting a little bit smaller and they're getting rid of cells because they have to save energy. Then eventually when you re-feed, these organs and cell systems, they have to return to normal and that's really a remarkable way to replace and rejuvenate almost every component of the body.”

 So it is this process of fasting 3-4 times per year for 5 days that could have an incredible impact on the liver, the blood system and many other systems in the body, in a way, making our body act the way it did when we were young. 

Now I am sure you are probably busting to know what the diet was?  From the Catalyst website, they explain it is very low in proteins (like no animal proteins – so no dairy, meat, etc) but with almost 50% made from carbohydrates from vegetables and the rest made of healthy fats from nuts.  The amount of calories was approx. 700-800 per day with unlimited herbal tea and lots of water. 

A similar dietary composition can be achieved with a Low Fruit Cleanse, we have vegetable soups, juices and nut milks that can create a similar fasting diet that may help you live longer and stronger.  Contact us for any questions!

The newest tan in a can

I am always espousing the benefits of lots of fruit and vegetable in your diet and have always been convinced of not only the internal benefit but also the external beauty benefits.  Now it seems some science is backing my claims!

Whilst the study only focuses on Caucasian faces, it indicates that faces appear more attractive when shaded with a golden type colour gained from eating lots of vegetables rich in carotenoids.  The research, published in the Journal of Evolution and Human Behaviour, shows that the glow we can get from eating lots of vegetables rich in carotenoids is more appealing to the eye than the glow we get from laying in the sun. 

Carotenoids are antioxidants that help soak up damaging compounds produced by the stresses and strains of everyday living, especially when the body is combating disease. Responsible for the red colouring in fruit and vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes, carotenoids are important for our immune and reproductive systems.

Looking to get your golden winter glow on without visiting the tanning salon or risking sun cancer? The foods richest in carotenoids are: carrots, plums, apricots, tomatoes, mangoes, sweet potato, kale, broccoli, and spinach.

Does a healthy body image mean you don’t eat healthy?

Sometimes wanting to eat well and look after yourself can be associated with an unhealthy body image.  Like a person that is conscious and careful about what they eat must be unhappy with the way they look and want to change it.  But does it really mean that?  I don’t think so.

Casting my mind back to my early twenties, I think I used to have a slightly unhealthy body image, not in the extremes but I always wanted my thighs to be skinnier (who doesn’t??). I have quite short legs and I always thought if I could make my thighs skinnier then my short chunky legs wouldn’t be quite as out of proportion to the rest of me.  I avoided exercise like spin classes, lifting heavy weights in pump class, and doing too many lunges and squats, all things that I knew could make my short muscly legs look even thicker.  I stuck to lots of running which I found did the best job.  I ate very well, lots of fruits and vegetables, did regular juice cleanses, drank lots of fresh juices, no processed sugars, no dairy, no caffeine.

Fast forward a few years to my mid thirties and I find myself walking the two blocks from my house to the beach in just my swimmers.  I felt my bum wobbling, saw my thighs jiggling with each step I took, and I was completely ok with it.  It is something I would NEVER have done a few years ago as I was so self conscious of my thighs (which is retrospect, there was nothing wrong with, you wouldn’t mistake them for Miranda Kerr’s, but they were fine all the same).

So now my body image is healthier, does that mean my desire to look after myself has waned?  Now that I have waved the white flag at my body, does that mean I have thrown it all in and I eat chocolate every afternoon, drink beer every night and eat more from the shelf than the vegetable crisper?  Not at all.  I still want to the best thing for my body, I want to live a happier, healthier, more robust life full of energy and vibrancy.  I want to have that healthy glow, clear white eyes and feel vitality to get out there and enjoy my life.  Eating well is not tantamount to unhealthy body image, it is the best way to treat your body with the respect it deserves!

August 28, 2015

Posted in detox diet, diet, good food, healthy, healthy food, pantry

Spring clean your pantry

After the winter clears and the weather warms, I often look at my cupboards and think, “What on earth did I buy that for?”. Or more appropriately, when did my partner sneak that into the grocery basket. I found a box of choc chip cookies, some packet pasta, 2 minute noodles among other nasties that I care not to mention. Winter tends to get me at my weakest, I hate the cold and definitely understand the appeal of tasty quick naughty things that make you feel better (only briefly though). But when the winter breaks, and salad is not such a dirty word, then it is perfect timing to Spring Clean your body with a cleanse, but also Spring Clean your pantry. Here are my tips:

Look for anything that you are storing for a rainy day – if it is there, you are 100% guaranteed to eat it at some point. Maybe you get home from work and you missed lunch and it is the first thing you see, and 10 cookies end up disappearing in 2 minutes flat.

Donate whatever you don’t want to eat to the needy – all the prepackaged stuff can be donated, it will help them a lot and you don’t feel guilty for being wasteful and throwing it in the bin.

Organise what you do want to keep – get it all out and sort through it so you know exactly what you do have. I found 10 tins of chickpeas in our cupboard, as my partner seems to think we eat more of them than we actually do, so I have stacked all 10 together as I know I can make some yummy healthy dishes with lots of chickpeas!

Where to go when you need to go

I recently suffered a bout of very uncomfortable constipation after changing some vitamins I was taking. Normal for me is 2-3 times a day, because I eat lots of raw fruits and vegetables and drink lots of fresh raw juice, so having a fibre rich diet means you will go more frequently than someone who doesn’t. But with this new vitamin I was struggling to go once every 2-3 days. Which not only bloated me, but made me feel sluggish, tired and revolting. This got me researching what to do, as naturally as possible, to help get me going as quickly as possible. Here is a breakdown of the main components


Magnesium helps with bowel movements through two different ways. It helps to relax the muscles in the intestines which helps to establish a smoother rhythm. But it also attracts water and this increased amount of water in the colon serves to soften the stool, helping to make stools easier to pass. It is easy to get extra magnesium from your diet, look for cacao, dried fruit, and dark leafy greens.


Sorbitol is a simple sugar which is sometimes used as a natural sweetener in soft drinks due to its sweet taste. While sorbitol does have calories, the body absorbs sorbitol more slowly than it does regular table sugar. Sorbitol works by drawing water into the stool from the surrounding tissue through osmosis. Get sorbitol naturally from apples, pears, peaches and of course, prunes (which are really just dried plums).

Psyllium husk

Psyllium husk increases the bulk in your stool, just making it larger, an effect that helps to cause movement of the intestines. It also works by increasing the amount of water in the stool, making the stool softer and easier to pass.


This is something only to be used in really desperate times. Enemas treat constipation by introducing fluid into the intestines through the bottom end of the digestive tract (the part where you want things to come out). The liquid softens the stool while the enema nozzle can help to loosen your body parts.

What to eat at what time of year

Have you ever noticed that things taste different in Winter as opposed to Summer?  Growing up on a fruit farm, I used to both love and loathe the fruit season (my parents farm grew peaches and nectarines).  I loved it because of the fresh availaibility of delicious sweet fruit (and I loathed it because it meant working every weekend and after school).  This was summer and that is when stone fruit is readily available, as well as other things like pineapple and mangoes.  So what does the season mean for your fruit and veggies? 

Basically eating your fruit and veg in season will mean it will taste better.  The flavours will be fresher, sweeter, fuller and taste how they are supposed to taste.  Plus it is cheaper!  You know it is in season when those prices start to come down and they can't move the stuff quick enough.  Basic economics, if it is in season, there is lots of of supply so there prices will be better.  Fruit and vegetables in season will have had more of a chance to ripen properly Vs sitting in cold storage for months on end, so there should be more availability of micronutrients for your body.

What should you try to eat this season?

In Autumn, apples, pears kiwi fruit and lemon are all seasonal.  You will see all sorts of brightly coloured apples in the grocer right now.  Try them salads or just munch on them as a snack (and tooth cleaner).

Winter is great for bananas, oranges and mandarins.  All citrus comes alive in Winter, plus it is rich in Vitamin C which is exactly what you need in the cooler months.

Brocoli, beans and cabbage are seasonal vegetables in Autumn, together with cauliflower and mushrooms.  They are perfect stir fry and soup vegetables.  Pumpkin is also in season, which is so versatile in any kind of dish.  I roasted some last night with a little salt, pepper and coconut oil and tossed it through a salad!  Delish!