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!

Why it's not such a bad thing to feel hungry

Hungry mostly isn’t comfortable.  We live in a world with instant gratification on so many levels and satisfying hunger is definitely one of them.  At the first inkling if hunger, we normally start to look for means to fix the problem, like quick chocolate bar at the convenience store, grab a muffin at the café, or duck into Macca’s super quick.  Hunger solved, you can get right back into your day.  Now with a 1 year old, I understand how we have developed that need to satisfy the pangs of hunger quickly (lest you suffer through agonising screams of anguish).  But does that really translate into adults.  Is feeling hunger such a bad thing?

It may feel a bit uncomfortable, but it isn’t such a terrible thing for your body, metabolism or weight management.  Our lives have evolved into a steady, reliable and consistent 3 meals/ day.  With fairly standard size bowls and plates that we have learnt to understand as the “right” portion size (who decided they were going to be that size anyway?).  And when we skip one of those regular consistent meals we feel “hungry” as our body has developed that habit of always eating around those times and approximately that portion size.  Without knowing it, the body is very good at maintaining status quo, like most of our conscious minds it prefers not to have big dramatic changes.  So when you skip a meal, your first response is “I’m hungry”.  But the interesting part is when you decide to ignore that hunger, drink lots of water and just move past it.  After a time, the pangs of hunger start go away. Your clever body switches to alternate sources of energy, which can be your fat stores.  I am currently doing our Schkinny Days program (which will be launched in the New Year), and yesterday I got up at 3:30am and didn’t have a thing (except water) until 12pm.  Sure I was hungry about 7am, but I just drank lots of water and decided to ignore it.  At about 8:30am, I no longer felt hungry, I went for a quick jog, drank lots of water after the jog and then had a salad around midday.   I felt fine, not once did I think I was going to pass out or lose concentration.  Psychologically I knew I had some fat stores that would keep me from fading away so I just kept reminding myself that being hungry meant my smart little body was going to help keep me in shape!

The story of the elephant who couldn't stay trim

An overweight elephant expends more energy than a mouse, which make sense right? It takes a lot more fuel to power an aircraft than it does a car.  So the elephant needs to eat more than the mouse because he burns more fuel.  He has a group of trim friends that always look great and he is sick of being overweight.  Let’s say the elephant decided to start exercising and limit his calorie intake and he lost quite a bit of weight, yah for the elephant!  So now the new trim elephant needs less fuel as he did before. Once the elephant lost his weight, he thought he could eat the same way as his forever trim friends eat because he was the same size and weight.  But as he eats just like them, the weight starts to creep back on.  Oh no!  This is confounding for the elephant because he doesn’t too badly and it just the same as his mates and they aren’t getting fat, WHY WHY WHY????  He pleads….

The unfortunate but true answer is “adaptive thermogenesis”.  From a technical definition it can be defined as the decrease in energy expenditure beyond what could be predicted from body weight or its components (fat-free mass and fat mass) under conditions of standardized physical activity in response to a decrease in energy intake.

But basically it means that a the formerly overweight elephant is going to burn LESS energy than his trim mates even though they are the same weight.  So the formerly overweight elephant is going to have to EAT less than his trim mates.  Our bodies have an overwhelming tendency to maintain a status quo, which I can see would have served us during periods of starvation to adapt energy expenditure, but doesn’t bode well for losing weight.  Best thing to do?  Shock your body!  No, don’t plug the hairdryer in and fill the bath.  But a rigorous change in diet and exercise can exactly the thing you need.  Think a juice cleanse or brand new exercise regime to help get your body snapped out of adaptive thermogenesis.  The trick is to maintain the new weight for at least 4 weeks so your body thinks this weight is a new “normal.” 

How does fasting contribute to cell renewal?

There is now evidence that fasting could help contribute to regenerating new cells in the body to help fight against disease and ageing.  One of these studies looked at how prolonged fasting (for periods of 2 to 4 days) not only helped protect the immune system but also helped to induce immune system regeneration in people who had undergone chemotherapy. 

Here is how it works:

When you starve your systems tried to save energy and one of the things it can do is to recycle a lot of immune cells that are not needed, especially damaged ones.  So the white blood cell count does go down, but then when food is re-introduced back into the diet the cells come back.  Prolonged fasting has also been associated with lower levels of a particular growth-factor hormone , IGF-1, that has been linked to aging, tumour progression and cancer risk. 

This research seems to have supported the recent study that showed that a low calorie diet that mimicked a fast can yield a wide range of health benefits including cutting belly fat, elevated stem cell renewal in the brain and slowed ageing.  The study looked at a group that ate normally for 25 days/month and for 5 days per month did a low calorie diet based mostly on fruits and vegetables, with plant based fats and very little animal based protein.  It’s about re-progamming the body to enter a slower aging mode but also rejuvenation through stem cell based regeneration!  Exciting times ahead!

 For more info, check out these links:


Souper Dooper - New JUST SOUP Cleanse

Tis the souping season and the season to drink warm things.  So we are launching a super dooper special Soup Cleanse.  Featuring all your favourite soups, plus some delicious new ones.  The program has 4 soups each day plus a hot shot elixir and organic vegetable broth each day.  We are featuring the delicious gut healing broth from the fabulous cooks over at Broth of life.  The broth is made from nothing except pure organic vegetables, Himalayan rock salt, and organic extra virgin olive oil.  Our hot shot elixir is a spicy mix of ginger, turmeric and cayenne pepper with lemon juice.  The hot shot elixir is a natural immune boosting and natural anti bacterial shot that needs to be mixed with hot water.

Our new soups include a scrumptious Pumpkin Coconut soup, and an Asian style Kale Broccoli soup and an Indian spiced Kale Coconut curry Soup.

Our delicious soup cleanse has a sample menu such as:

Breakfast: Pumpkin coconut soup – pumpkin, coconut milk, leek, ginger, garlic, chives, coriander

Post breakfast: hot shot elixir – ginger, lemon, turmeric, cayenne pepper

Late morning snack/early lunch: carrot cashew soup – carrot, cashew, ginger, coriander seeds, pear

Early Afternoon snack/late lunch: Lentil Luncheon – tomato, carrot, lentils

Pre dinner drink: Organic vegetable broth

Dinner: Rockin’ tomato soup – rocket, tomato, chickpeas, celery

You can order our Just Soup Cleanse online now!

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!

Why wait til Monday to start

Today is a good day, a great day in fact. The days are getting longer, the mornings are lighter, the birds are chirpier and this weekend is forecast to be above 20 degrees for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane! Good times!

So why wait to get started on being healthy? There are plenty of reasons to start tomorrow:

Just over 3 months til Christmas holidays, and if you plan on going somewhere where a swimsuit is mandatory, then that is not a lot of time to get into shape

Spring time is the best time to get inspired about changing something for the better in your life. It might be your health, your wealth, your education, or your relationships. Starting something new and exciting is as energizing as a holiday.

The fruit gets sweeter and more abundant which makes eating fresh and clean so much easier and much more delicious

Warmer nights means eating salads is suddenly not crazy talk. I know in the depths of winter, sometimes the idea of only eating a cold salad or juice seems like the most ludicrous thing you have ever heard. But what a difference a month makes!!