The Logical Blog
You may have heard the term 'ideal plate'. It refers to the balance between foods in a meal (represented on a plate for convenience), for optimal health.
Basically, your lunch or dinner plate should look like the one in this picture.
The difference between this Low GI version and the 'normal' version is the swap of starchy carbs like white rice and peeled mashed potato, for ones that won't raise your blood sugar levels as much.
One quarter protein (eg. fish, legumes, poultry), one quarter low GI carbs, and half vegetables. It's a simple but powerful image that is easy to recall.
Thanks to my Greek heritage, these little guys are a staple in our house.
Lentils are high in fibre and protein, but have traditionally been (negatively) associated with 'hippies' and vegans.
Clearly those people have never had a meal cooked with these deliciously healthy pulses.
Even the fussiest of our children loves them!
With a low glycemic index value and resistant starch content, they are a perfect diabetic diet staple.
- Just 100g of dry green lentils pack in a whole day’s worth of your fibre needs
- Just 100g of dry red lentils has more potassium* than a large banana
- Lentils contain the most folate of all plant-based foods
- Lentils are a very good source of manganese**
- Lentils have a low glycaemic index (GI) value
- Carbohydrate counting: ½ cup of cooked lentils = 1 serving
*Potassium can counteract the damaging effect of sodium, and has been shown to lower blood pressure
**Manganese plays a role in maintaining normal blood sugar levels, aids in bone formation, and protects against free-radical damage
Fibre is imperative to good gut health, and lentils contain all 3 major types, soluble, insoluble and the newest 'type' - resistant starch. This is a fermentable fibre that your gut microbiome will love, and as you will know if you're a regular reader of this blog, if our friendly gut bacteria are happy, we are healthy.
Lentils are cheap and easily accessible. You can get them dry through the MacKenzie's Foods range widely available via Coles & Woolworths, but also canned through all the majors, including Aldi.
There are loads of recipes available online, so why not have a go at some over this weekend?
Saskatchewan Pulse Growers 2018, Lentil Health and Nutrition, <www.lentils.org/health-nutrition>
Wardlaw, GM & Smith, AM 2011, Contemporary Nutrition, 8th edn, McGraw Hill, New York
Have you recently started experiencing depression, brain fog/memory problems, muscle weakness, tiredness, or hair loss? You may be suffering from Vitamin D deficiency.
It is becoming increasingly common in 'sun safe' Australia among all age groups. Traditionally it was more common among older adults due to the skin's decreasing ability to synthesise it from the sun.
Our body uses vitamin D to help absorb the calcium we need for healthy teeth, bones and muscle. It's role in brain function and cognition is not clear and requires more research. We know there is an association between low levels and dementia and Alzheimer's, but we don't understand the relationship is yet.
It is different from other vitamins because the best source is not actually food, but the sun. Treatment for deficiency is with supplements because it would take too long to get it from food. If you spend a lot of time indoors for work or health reasons, or cover your body for health, religious or cultural reasons, you may be at higher risk. Less known risk factors include having naturally dark skin, taking medicines that cause vitamin D to break down, and obesity.
If you think you may be vitamin D deficient, go to your GP and ask for a blood test. If you're female I would suggest you also get iron studies, thyroid hormone and antibodies while you're at it.
If you're vegan or vegetarian, also check your vitamin B12. If you're at the other end of the spectrum and don't eat your vegies, check your folate.
If you're female and over 40, consider getting your reproductive hormones looked at also. Peri-menopause can sneak up on you!
Better Health Channel 2018, Vitamin D, https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/vitamin-d
Cancer Council ACT 2018, Sun protection and Vitamin D, Getting the balance right, http://www.actcancer.org/assets/SunSmart/Vit-D/_resampled/resizedimage300300-201601CCFBinfographicsv4.png
Littlejohns et al 2014, 'Vitamin D and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease', Neurology, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4153851/
1. Eliminate sugar sweetened drinks such as soft drink, juice and slushies -> they ruin kids’ appetites as well as containing too much sugar and nasty additives.
2. Reduce snack food such as chips, chocolate and lollies -> these are empty fillers that displace nutritious food needed for growth & development
3. Eliminate snacks close to meal times -> it fills them up and they don’t eat consistently. Snacks should be 1.5-2 hours away from meal times depending on the child's age.
For personalised advise for your child, contact me on 0413 698 998 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
As you can imagine, I see quite a few clients with diarrhoea as a gut health specialist. Although it can be caused by numerous conditions, the one thing all sufferers have in common is the frustration they feel when it refuses to go away. It is normally at this point that they will come to me looking for answers.
There is a checklist and flowchart that I work through to help narrow down the cause of chronic diarrhoea, and pathology reports are very useful in this process. The sort of tests that can help include...
Routine lab tests: Full blood count, serum electrolytes, liver function tests, calcium, phosphorus, albumin, thyroid-stimulating hormone, vitamin A and D, Folate, Iron, & B12 levels, International Normalised Ratio (INR) or Prothrombin time (PT), erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein, and serologic testing for Coeliac Disease.
Routine stool studies: Stool sample analysed for ova and parasites, electrolytes, fat, occult blood, and leukocytes or lactoferrin; stool culture.
Why would a nutritionist need to see these? We unfortunately don't often have the pleasure of working directly with GPs, and we certainly don't have access to patient medical records. Being able to see the 'big picture' is important because gastrointestinal disorder symptoms overlap. Any recent test results clients have can therefore be invaluable.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome for example, can only be formally diagnosed by a GP or gastroenterologist. If you suspect you may have it, discuss it with your GP first, then come and see me after your diagnosis so I can help you implement the Low FODMAP diet. Otherwise you might be unnecessarily restricting your diet, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies. This is a good example of why we shouldn't just 'Dr Google' it.
Clients don't often have endoscopy, biopsy or colonoscopy results before they come to me, which can easily locate gastrointestinal inflammation or enzymatic deficiencies. So I have to be aware of gastrointestinal symptoms and what their causes might be. Being a nutritionist is a bit like being a detective. The difference between us and GPs or gastroenterologists, is that we use food as the main component of your treatment plan - a food prescription if you will!