Tag Archives: food

Celebrate a stress free Christmas this year

Despite all the pretty decorations and celebrations Christmas time can be a stressful time of year for some people. Whether it is rushing to get all of your work tidied up before the close of the office, financial distress about how to afford presents for everyone, worry about how to put on the perfect feast or going off the rails of your summer body plan you can overcome it this Christmas.

Christmas isn’t about giving the most expensive present, preparing the best meal, what you look like or how much work you get done. Christmas is about sharing a laugh with your loved ones, spreading goodwill and Christmas cheer in the community, appreciating others and being kind to yourself. It is about spreading joy, love and peace. So focus on creating an atmosphere of joy, love and peace rather than looking at Christmas as an event to organise. Not only will this leave you feeling less up tight but it will also make you have a better more meaningful festive season.

We do however recognise sometimes it can be hard to focus on sharing the Christmas spirit when you are feeling stressed out so here are some tips to make it easier.

For the waist line:

  • Go easy on the starches such as cereals, rice, pasta, cakes, pastries, biscuits as well vegetables such as potatoes, yams, carrots, parsnips and swede. These foods drive our insulin levels up resulting in our bodies storing fat. Instead have an extra slice of turkey and opt for non-starchy vegetables such as cabbage, kale, spinach, sprouts, leeks, broccoli and  cauliflower.
  • Go for red wine over white wine, beer or spirits as red wine is higher in antioxidants and contains less “empty” calories than the others. The ideal would be opting for no alcohol – but we have to realistic here, it’s Christmas! Have your large Christmas meal at lunchtime rather than in the evening.
  • No snacking as this is really the way to pack on the extra weight. Try to ensure your meals are sufficiently dense in nutrition to last until the next one. If you must snack try to go for a slice of meat, cheese or vegetables rather than crisps, cakes or biscuits.
  • Prepare desserts with real fruit or dark chocolate over milk.

For the task orientated person:

  • Make a list of achievable tasks then cut it in half. Remember people are going to be impacted more by the feelings of love and joy rather than if you had fancy napkins or not.
  • Share the duties amongst your colleagues, family or friends.
  • Arrange childcare in advance if you can afford it to take the stress out of carting the kids around whilst trying to get everything sorted.

For the stressed out worker:

  • Be realistic with the work you can get done before your holiday, prioritise your work load and flag any tasks that might not be able to get done as early as possible with your manager.
  • Identify tasks that can be pushed back until the New Year and leave them until then.
  • If you are really struggling to get your work done before your break perhaps skip one of the many Christmas get togethers or go but don’t get carried away.
  • Limit your alcohol intake and go home at a reasonable time so you will be refreshed and ready to work at your peak the next day.

For the financially burdened:

  • Shop smart, the only thing more stressful than Christmas is starting the New Year with a mountain of debt. Get to the shops as early as possible to avoid the stressful shopping mall hustle. Online shopping is also a great tool to check out what’s out there and to compare prices without the high pressure of being in store with hundreds of people and a store attendant hovering over your shoulder.
  • Shop around for food and drink. You don’t need to get everything from the one store make the most of local produce on sale at markets and buy drinks and non perishables in bulk from discount stores.
  • Don’t be shy to ask others to bring things.
  • Do a secret Santa.
  • Get the kids to make home made cards for friends and family and even gifts for some like Grandparents who love that sort of thing.

For more Christmas spirit:

  • Invite someone in the community who doesn’t have anyone to spend Christmas with to join you. It may be that lady down the road or someone from work who has family overseas. Put the offer out there for them to decide.
  • Volunteer as a family or group of friends or colleagues to help out a local charity prepare Christmas lunch or hampers for those in need. You will help restore hope to some of the most marginalised and hopeless groups in the community and will be surprised at how good it will leave you feeling. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
  • If you don’t already have Christmas traditions, establish some. Attend a carol concert, pay a visit to Santa, or go to a service at your local Church or a friends Church even if you are not very religious it can help you focus on the meaning of Christmas is a lovely experience, do some Christmas baking, watch a Christmas movie or leave out cookies and milk for Santa.

We hope the above tips will help you experience a stress free very happy Christmas full of laughter, hugs and smiles. The team at Docmate sincerely wishes you a very happy Christmas and will be raising a toast to all of our followers and supporters. Thank you for your support in 2012 and we look forward to sharing an exciting 2013 with you all!

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Good and bad news for coffee addicts

Coffee culture. It has rapidly become a large aspect of Aussie life with the rise of cafe culture. We are sure to all know a caffeine addict; be it ourselves or someone else. The majority of people I know, including myself, need at least one per day to kick start their day and often another if necessary.

Other than tasting amazing and having great affects on energy and alertness levels coffee actually has health benefits when drunk in moderation. To start with it is part of the antioxidant family which is thought to help battle cancer amongst providing other health benefits. It also has other less commonly known health benefits.

Moderate coffee drinking (1 to 4 cups per day however this varies from person to person) may help reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease due to coffee’s antioxidants that can prevent some damage to brain cells and boost the effects of neurotransmitters.

Some studies also show moderate coffee drinkers have lower rates of stroke than non-coffee drinkers. Coffees antioxidants can help to quell inflammation’s damaging effects on arteries. However on the other hand high coffee consumption (a 5 cup of more daily habit) is associated with higher heart disease risks.

Although research is sparse it appears that the more coffee people drink the lower their incidence of cirrhosis and other liver diseases. In addition, studies have often linked frequent coffee consumption (4 cups or more per day) with a lowered risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Scientists think that antioxidant compounds in coffee can boost cells’ sensitivity to insulin which helps regulate blood sugar. However this is about the only positive of high caffeine consumption.

Of course the everything in moderation principle applies to coffee consumption. High caffeine intake can sabotage the antioxidants’ effects, can make people jittery and even raise cholesterol levels. If you are sensitive to caffeine it can cause irritability or anxiety in high doses.

It can also be highly addictive as many of us know. If you caffeinate yourself daily, you are likely to develop tolerance to its effects which means eventually you’ll need a regular caffeine fix just to reach your baseline level of alertness and are susceptible to withdrawal symptoms like extreme fatigue and
headaches.

Caffeine consumption can also cause trouble sleeping as typically it takes about 6 hours for the caffeine to clear your system. Boiled or unfiltered coffee contains higher levels of cholesterol so it is advisable to choose filtered methods instead. Finally, it is important for pregnant and nursing women to have a very moderate amounts of caffeine during pregnancy and attempt to cut down further when breast feeding if their babies are restless or irritable.

At the end of the day everything is best in moderation however it is important to be informed about the benefits and risks of your daily habits. If you are ever concerned about your caffeine consumption or simply want to find out more we suggest you make an appointment with your GP. You can book an appointment online with us here.

References

Delish, 2012. Coffee: Pros and Cons for Your Health. Retrieved 6 October 2012 from http://www.delish.com/recipes/cooking-recipes/coffee-health-benefits

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Green power

We’ve heard five plus a day will keep the doctor away. For most people the fruit intake is easier than the greens or vegies. But once you know how incredible they are for your health plus discover our easy recipes you may find your consumption naturally increase.

Continuing our series on superfood goodness this week we are going to chat about superfoods of the green type!

Spinach and broccoli have long been favourites in the green vegetable department and they are certainly super good for you. Spinach is a great antioxidant, source of iron, vitamin C and contains nutrients which protect against inflammatory, oxidative stress-related, bone, cardiovascular problems and cancer. Broccoli is rich in vitamin D, C, A folate, fibre and has a strong positive impact on our body’s detoxification system.

But the green food of the moment we want to talk about is the micro salt water plant or algae spirulina. Spirulina contains rich vegetable protein (3-4 times higher than fish or beef), multi vitamins (particularly vitamin B12 which is low in a vegetarian diet), minerals (including iron, potassium, magnesium sodium, calcium), a volume of Beta (a carotene which protects cells) 5 times more than carrots and 40 times more than spinach, as well as high volumes of gamma-linolein acid which can reduce cholesterol and prevent heart disease.

The most unique element of spirulina is phycocyanin which is only found in spirulina. Phycocyanin has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has the same Cox-2 enzyme that most prescription anti-inflammatory drugs do and some studies have shown it helps to protect the liver against damage and regulates the production of white blood cells (SOLECO, 2012).

While the Japanese have known about spirulina’s cancer prevention and immune system boosting properties for years the Western world is slowly catching on. Although spirulina has taken off in recent years. NASA have even chosen to use it for astronaut food in space and plan to grow and harvest it in space stations in the near future (TAUU, 2012).

Spirulina is most frequently purchased in Australia as powder that can be added to smoothies and have we got a great superfood packed smoothie recipe for you!

Superfood Slammer:

Ingredients:

· 1 banana

· 1 tablespoon of spirulina powder

· 1 cup of acai berry juice or 1 tablespoon of acai powder

· 1 cup of mixed sunflower seads, brazil nuts and almonds

· 1 cup of milk

· ½ cup of natural non sweetened yoghurt

· 1 table spoon of honey

· A pinch of cinnamon

Instructions (well the one and only instruction):

Put everything into a blender, mix, serve over ice or chilled and enjoy!

If you would like to know more about spirulina Australianspirulina.com.au is a great source from how much spirulina should be taken in a dose to comparing various brands of spirulina. Of course here at DocMate we are always happy to help also so please do ask us if you have any queries. Or for any major changes in diets or dietary concerns we recommend seeing your GP.

References

SOLECO, 2012. Phycoycyanin. Retrieved 3 October 2012 from http://solecoltd.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=62&ltemid=40

TAAU Australia, 2012. Spirulina FAQ’s. Retrieved 2 October 2012 from http://www.australianspirulina.com.au/spirulina/spirulina.html#one

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Bountiful berries!

Blueberry, raspberry, acai berry, cranberry, strawberry, goji berry, mulberry oh the options! Long
hailed for their antioxidant and vitamin C there is no question that berries are fantastic for your
health? In recent years we’ve seen the rise in the popularity of blueberries to acai berries to goji
berries. So what berry really is the cream of the crop or are they really all the same?

For ease of comparison let’s take a closer look at the top ranking berries in the popularity stakes –
blueberries, acai and goji berries. Blue berries are rich in anti-oxidants which fight free radicals in
the body which helps to build your immunity and to combat cancer and other diseases as well as
acting as anti-aging agents. They are low in cholesterol promoting heart health, prevent macular
degeneration (retina deterioration), promote urinary health, aid with Alzheimer’s prevention, help
to protect circulatory health, are superb anti-diabetes food both in the prevention and control of the
disease, are an anti-inflammatory, promote digestive health – the list goes on and on (Wild About
Blueberries, 2012).

Whilst the health properties of blueberries have long been known acai and goji berries are more of
a recent trend. Acai berries are the fruit of the acai palm tree native to central and south America
and have been traditionally used as the treatment remedy for diarrhea, parasitic infections, fever,
liver diseases, haemorrhages and ulcer treatment (Nutrition and You, 2012). Acai typically sold in a
liquid, powder or pill form is also super rich in anti-oxidants, minerals, fibre and vitamins that have
health benefiting and disease preventing properties similar to the blueberry although acai berries
are higher in calories.

Goji berries (also known as the wolfberry) is a bright orangey red berry that is produced by a shrub
native to China and has traditionally been eaten in the hopes of living longer. The berry is attributed
to treating diabetes, high blood pressure, fever and age related eye problems. Available typically
dried like raisons in Australia however goji berries also come raw, cooked, in herbal teas, juices,
wines and medicines. Similar to blueberries, acai berries as well as cranberries, strawberries and
cherries the goji berries offer definite health benefits in terms of powerful antioxidants which help
the prevention of cancer, heart disease, onset of Alzheimer’s, boost the immune system and lower
cholesterol.

All in all, the three berries all offer more or less the same benefits and they are all good for you so
you can’t go wrong. It really comes down to taste which berry you prefer or in what form you prefer
to eat them. Blueberries are great raw as a dessert, snack or on top of cereal where as acai is great in powder form in a smoothie or in a vitamin pill and dried goji is great for snacking on.

To get you on the berry buzz try making the following berry smoothie this summer – it is bound to
leave you feeling great!

• 3 half cups of your favourite berries so a cup and a half all together
• 1 cup of low fat yoghurt plain or berry flavoured
• ¼ cup of low fat milk or ½ a cup of fat free milk
• 2 cups of ice
• For an extra vitamin boost add supplements such as acai powder, wheat grass or spirulina
• Or for extra substance add a banana or some muesli to the mix

References

Nutrition and You (2012). Acai berry nutritional facts. Retrieved 8 September 2012 fromhttp://
www.nutrition-and-you.com/acai-berry.html

WebMD (2011). Goji Berries: Health Benefits and Side Effects. Retrieved 8 September 2012 from
http://www.webmd.com/balance/goji-berries-health-benefits-and-side-effects

Wild About Blueberries (2012). Health Benefits of Blueberries. Retrieved 8 September 2012 from
http://www.wild-about-blueberries.com/health-benefits-of-blueberries.html

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If Olympians can do it why can’t I?

Legendary US Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps feasts on a diet of over 12,000 calories a day. The
average adult male, aged 19 to 30 years of age, should consume between 2400 to 3000 calories
dependent on how active they are, according to the American Heart Association.

There is no doubt Phelps is super active winning a haul of 22 medals across his career. He shows
no physical signs of the exponentially high calorie diet, sporting an extremely athletic body adored
by an army of female fans. So just how does he get away with consuming these additional 9,000
calories over the recommended daily amount?

According to the UK’s Daily Mail reporter Bianca London, Phelps helps himself to three fried egg
sandwiches, three chocolate chip pancakes, a five egg omelette, three sugar coated slices of French
toast and a bowl of grits (type of maize porridge) for breakfast alone! Lunch is a half a kilogram of
pasta, two large ham and cheese sandwiches covered in mayonnaise washed down with gallons of
energy drink. Dinner is the other half kilogram of pasta, pizza and energy drinks.

What does personal trainer, nutritionist and weight management expert Jenny Dawes think of
this? Jenny tells the UK’s Daily Mirror reporter Bianca London, that although Phelps’ diet would be
dangerous for a regular person, he needs that amount of energy for training.

“’I would recommend that a regular competitive male swimmer would need around 6,000 calories
a day but because Michael is at Olympic level he will be training so hard that he will be burning it
straight off..His cholesterol intake is very high but by constantly swimming, there is no time for the
cholesterol to stick to his arteries,” Jenny tells Bianca.

Jenny also explains how the energy drinks are necessary for an athlete to keep their electrolytes
balanced and muscles hydrated.

Moral of the story is his output (training) is more than his input (calorie intake). So readers don’t get
any ideas you cannot eat this sort of diet unless you are an Olympic swimmer!

If you would like any advice about your calorie intake versus your activity expenditure DocMate
recommends getting in touch with a GP or dietician. Click here to make an appointment.

References:

London, Bianca (2012). Michael Phelps reveals details of his 12,000 calories a day diet..and he
doesn’t look bad on it either girls! Retrieved Tuesday 7 August 2012 at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/
femail/article-2177613/Michael-Phelps-12-000-calories-day-dont-doing-harm.html

Zehr, Michelle (2011). The Average Daily Caloric Intake For Men. Retrieved Tuesday 7 August 2012 at
http://www.livestrong.com/article/470968-the-average-daily-caloric-intake-for-men/

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