Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to miss out on calcium-rich foods or rely solely on supplements to get by.
It’s a common misconception that dairy is one of the only viable sources of calcium, in fact there are a wide range of sources that vegans – and lactose intolerant people – can make the most of to maintain a balanced diet.
However, calcium deficiency is a significant issue affecting people of all ages. Experts recommend adults obtain 1000 milligrams of calcium a day, but a PubMed journal study found that 69% of male young adult and 83% of female young adult participants failed to meet the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) of calcium, and this number was even higher in the adolescent age group, with 95% of female participants not meeting the EAR.
Those lacking the mineral are at a dangerous risk of bone loss and brittleness, and more significantly, developing osteoporosis. The Australian Bureau of Statistics found that 20% of people aged over 75 had the condition in 2018, and it’s women who are at the most risk, coming in at a 19% higher incidence than men in this age group.
As they say, prevention is better than cure. One of the best steps to take is to ensure you’re getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals, calcium being one of the most important. Vegans may have less choices at the supermarket, but that doesn’t mean they have to miss out on this essential mineral.
Although some greens like spinach contain a higher number of oxalates – which bind nutrients and prevent absorption – kale, broccoli and bok choy can be more bioavailable options. One cup of cooked kale contains 268 milligrams calcium, similar to a cup of dairy milk.
Almonds offer 246 milligrams of calcium per cup – of course, people aren’t likely to consume a whole cup, as such this is a good choice to add a boost of the mineral, but not relying on them alone. Pistachios are also a great option, and they have less oxalates, meaning the calcium will be better absorbed.
This is already a nutritional powerhouse, known for its high vitamin K content and probiotics. While less well-known, its calcium content is nothing to brush off. Coming in at 43 milligrams per cup, this fermented dish may be lower in calcium than some of the other foods on this list, but it is still a bone-strengthening powerhouse due to its vitamin K2 content and adding a little to your diet is a great way to stave off osteoporosis.
While many prefer to get their calcium naturally occurring in their food – such as in broccoli or cheese – there’s nothing wrong with including synthetic calcium in your diet and it can be a beneficial way to meet the daily requirements.
Many plant-based milks have calcium fortified into them, and this is still a great way to help reach that thousand milligram goal. Some of these milks also have the added benefits of other vital vitamins like B12 and vitamin D being fortified into them. Oat, almond, rice and soy milk are some of the many choices available, but make sure to check the nutritional profile on the back – some brands have more calcium than others.
Tofu can be a great source of calcium, but be aware than not all brands are built the same. Some offer drastically higher amounts than others and this depends on the method and ingredients with which the tofu was set. If calcium sulfate is used for this process, then it will certainly pack a healthy dose of calcium into a meal, with some coming in at 350 milligrams in a serve – making it the greatest source on this list.
Including multiple sources of calcium is reported to be the best way to meet the daily requirements. As such, to ensure a balanced diet, try to avoid relying on loading up on one source of calcium to meet the recommended intake.
WithChristmas just around the corner, you may be looking for a solution to holiday boredom, and getting the kids in the kitchen for some festive cooking is a great way to entertain them.
Here are our top picks for some simple and fun recipes the kids will enjoy making – and you’ll get to enjoy test-tasting some of their creations in the process.
These biscuits are popular for good reason – they have a unique and festive taste and they’re also surprisingly easy to make. The kids will love the decorating process and it makes for great entertainment that they can enjoy from the kitchen table.
115 grams butter
½ cup golden syrup
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp. bicarb soda
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Coat paper with cooking oil. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale in colour.
Then add in the egg yolk, followed by the syrup.
Separately, mix the dry ingredients together: the flour, bicarb soda, cinnamon and ginger.
Combine the two mixtures together, then wrap the dough in plastic or parchment paper and leave it in the fridge for an hour.
After this, roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to cut out gingerbread man-shaped pieces. Position these onto your lined baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes.
For icing: Mix icing sugar with a tablespoon of hot water, then put into a piping bag. Decorate gingerbread men with your desired design.
White chocolate snowflakes
This is a very simple recipe, requiring only one ingredient, but the results are impressive and sure to thrill children of all ages – and the adults too. They also go well as a decoration for the shortbread biscuits.
Set out a tray lined with baking paper.
Melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of boiling water.
Once the chocolate has melted, put it into a piping bag.
To make the snowflake shape either use cookie cutters, baking paper with the pattern cut out, or style your snowflakes freehand.
Peppermint hot chocolate
This comforting beverage puts a festive spin on the traditional version, and can be decorated with any number of toppings, from sprinkles to chocolate sauce
2 tbsp. milk chocolate melts
1 cup milk
2 drops peppermint oil
Whipped cream for decoration
Put the milk into a saucepan on a low heat.
Stir the chocolate melts in.
Turn the heat off them add the peppermint oil.
Pour it into a mug and top with whipped cream.
Christmas shortbread biscuits
These classic biscuits are a hallmark for many families at Christmas time – and for good reason. They involve only a few ingredients and there’s a limitless number of shapes to be made, as long as you have the cookie cutters for your desired shape the kids can choose anything from Christmas trees to stars to reindeer.
220 grams butter
1 cup castor sugar
2 ½ cups plain flour
1 cup cornflour
1 tsp. vanilla essence
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a tray with baking paper.
Coat the paper with cooking oil. Beat sugar, butter and vanilla until pale in colour.
Then add in flour and cornflour. Wrap the dough in plastic or baking paper and leave in the fridge for an hour.
Then, roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes.
Place them on the baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then decorate as desired.
Cheat’s mango trifle
This is a classic summer dessert, but many are put off by the complex steps and elements involved in the recipe. This version is simple and quick – perfect for kids to get creative with.
2 store-bought sponge cakes
2 cups custard
2 cups of thinly sliced mango
85 grams raspberry jelly powder
300ml heavy cream
2 tbsp. raspberry jam
Set out a large round bowl and place the first sponge cake in the base.
Make raspberry jelly according to package, then pour half over the sponge cake.
Then, pour half of the custard on top, followed by half of the mango – arrange it evenly on top of the cake.
After this, add the second sponge cake and pour over the rest of the jelly and the rest of the custard.
In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. This should take about 5 minutes.
Position the cream on top, then drizzle the jam on top and add the other half of the mango for decoration.
Leave it in the fridge to chill for an hour.
Berry summer mocktail
Mocktails are perfect for the entire family – with a touch of elegance and festivity that is sure to impress any guests you have over. It’s also a great opportunity for the kids to get creative with a range of garnishing ideas they come up with, from lemon or lime wedges to mint leaves or even more substantial decorations like coating the glass rim in sugar. Here’s an easy and fun starter recipe.
1 cup blueberries
1 cup crushed raspberries
4 cups lemonade
8 mint leaves
1 lemon, neatly sliced
To begin, make the berry syrup by putting the berries, sugar and a cup of water into a pot. Bring to the boil then set aside.
Set out four glasses – if you need to make more, simple adjust the recipe – and add the crushed raspberries into the bottom of each glass.
Mix a mint leaf into each cup, then add in a tablespoon of the blueberry sugar syrup mix. Add half a cup of lemonade to each glass then fill the rest of the glass with crushed ice.
For garnishes, add a mint leaf and a lemon slice, along with any other fruits or herbs of choice.
Candy cane yoghurt bark
This recipe puts a Christmassy twist on the easy yoghurt bark recipe with nostalgic candy canes. This dessert is so simple and safe for kids to make as there’s no hot temperatures involved.
2 cups plain yoghurt
2 candy canes, broken into small pieces
1 cup raspberries
1 tbsp. honey (or to taste)
Line a freezer-safe tray with baking paper and set aside.
Mix yogurt and honey in a bowl.
Add crushed candy canes and raspberries.
Pour the mix onto the tray, then freeze for 3 hours. To serve, break into 10 pieces.
Alcohol-free pina colada
It’s not summer without a pina colada, and although this beverage is known for its alcoholic kick, there’s no reason the kids can’t enjoy this summery drink – minus the rum, of course.
1 cup frozen pineapple
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup ice cubes
¼ cup pineapple juice
4 maraschino cherries
Place all ingredients in a blender for 1 minute or until thoroughly blended.
Pour into 2 glasses – you can double the recipe to make more.
Garnish with maraschino cherries, 2 for each glass.
These are a few simple cooking ideas to encourage the kids to get creative in the kitchen. Some of these recipes involve using electric equipment, hot water and the oven, and as such they may require parental supervision to ensure safety for these steps.
The festive season is well and underway, yet for many who are still recovering from the year that has passed, adapting to the economic climate is more necessary than ever.
These five simple tips and suggestions are assured to prioritise this year’s Christmas on a budget and offer alternatives for an affordable holiday season for all.
Pervading with job crisis and financial burdens, the continuous effects of the COVID pandemic has left a topically unstable economic climate for the population worldwide. A few simple tips and suggestions can go a long way to support those on a tighter Christmas budget this year due to the economic shockwave of the year that has passed.
1. Start and Stick to a Christmas Spending Plan
As December begins it is important to map out the spending of the holiday season in advance. This may include gifting, travel, recreational activities, events and hidden costs. Planning a holiday budget offers you a blueprint to constantly refer back to throughout the spending season.
Money Smart states, “Budgeting helps you to feel in control of your money. Setting up a budget gives you a clear picture of your income and expenses. It can help you spend less and save more to achieve your money goals”.
You may like to write down your monthly income and establish you’re spending from there. Budgeting your monthly expenses from your income will be sure to keep you from being out of pocket with all of the added festive spending.
Business News Australia has released expectations of $11 billion dollars Australian spending on Christmas gifts this year. On average people are expected to spend $726 on gifts per person.
A good way to cut down your budget this year is to plan how much you will spend on each relative and exactly what you are planning to buy for them. This will keep you from being easily swayed by all the extra Christmas advertising.
The rush of the festive season can leave many scrambling for gifts and food at the last minute. This is one of the major ways people tend to overspend.Buying in advance helps you to stick to your holiday budget and avoid the extra stress and pressure of last minute additional costs, such as express shipping or paid wrapping.
When shopping ahead and smart gifting, it is a good idea to opt for joint-gifting. Putting in on gifts in groups or doubles saves costs and preparation time.
Spending your money and budget wisely also includes gifting practical gifts. The financial impact of the pandemic has contrived many to re-think wants and needs, viewing practicality as the new luxury. Many people who are currently tight on their budget, would prefer gifts more on the practical side, than opulent. This may be in the form of gift cards, houseware, kitchen supplies, an online streaming subscription or even the traditional socks and underwear. Remember that anyone who is struggling financially would welcome the alternative of the traditional over the extravagant.
It’s essential to plan and budget your food costs over the Christmas period. Some key tips to lowering costs this year include cooking yourself, splitting the bill, and sharing the meal preparation between relatives and friends.
A savvy shopping tip when beginning food preparation includes buying frozen vegetables to cater across many recipes. Buying bulk for value, regardless of the ingredient, will allow you to successfully meal prep and save.
A final strategic shopping tip involves adding a couple of non-perishable items to your weekly shop in the lead up to Christmas. This will gently chip away at the “big shop” and also allow you to look out for value for money in the lead up period.
4. Shop Online
If you know you are prone to have a wandering eye and shopaholic tendencies, the added Christmas publicization and trading is not going to help your case. This holiday period, try shopping and accumulating all of your necessary gifts online.
Shopping online also allows you to price check and compare between sites. You can apply discount codes, follow up on sales, and opt for After-pay options, acquiring the correct gifts for all of your loved ones and sticking to your original budget plan.
There is truly nothing more sentimental then a gift that comes from the heart. This Christmas, if you are hoping to save on your budget,there are many alternatives instead of commercialised gifting.
Communicate to your loved ones sentimental value beyond what any material possession would through the act of caregiving and quality time. If you have an elder or impaired loved one in particular, you may offer to help them with chores or running errands throughout the Christmas and holiday period.
Sentimental ideas also come in the form of handmade gifting. Personalised presents such as photo albums or framed pictures, offer a longterm sentimental impression to your loved ones. If your budget is a little tighter than usual this year, you can also opt to handcraft gifts in the form of; knitting, crocheting, baking, crafting and more. You can also opt to hand-make Christmas decorations and cards to cut down on your budget this year.
Another alternative includes shopping secondhand. Saving on retail pricing by picking up second hand, offers the option of perfectly good quality items to save on your spending and still cross off the gifts on your loved ones wish-lists.
Offering a donation is another great way to give back this Christmas. Following the pandemic, more people than ever, need a helping hand.
The Salvation Army is just one charity you can give back to this Christmas. Stating , “All over Australia families are dealing with low wages, insecure jobs, a spiralling housing crisis, and the ongoing fallout from COVID-19. All at once. And with Christmas coming, they are also struggling with the shame and guilt of letting their children down on the day we are all supposed to celebrate hope and joy.”
It’s important to remember that you are not alone, and to give yourself a little extra love
this holiday season. The American Psychological Association (APA) reminds us, “Small acts like a handwritten note or FaceTime with your friends and family will go further than you think. Expressing your love and care is what really matters this year”.
It’s 7.00 am in 2013. I am living in the suburbs of New York City. Papa is annoyed. I know this because Scottish pipes and drums are blasting from the Bose speakers in the kitchen – this means we are late to breakfast.
Different styles of music marked different stages of our day growing up. For example, on a normal week day, we played classical music at breakfast. As a result, from a young age, we were familiar withBach’s Cello Suite No. 1 and Mozart’s Requiem, K. 626. These composers and their pieces marked the beginning of every day. At lunch time, we listened to Neil Diamond in the 70s and Stan Getz’s Girl from Impanema. Dinner, however, was exclusively American and Italian jazz. Frank is a big family favourite—always kicking off Saturday night appetisers with New York, New York.
For as long as I can remember, I have woken to classical and fallen asleep to jazz.
With my days structured in musical genres, I was able to use my spare time for exploring my own musical tastes. From rap, to country, to Pitbull – my Spotify playlists never seem to make much sense. Indeed, growing up listening to different types of music meant I could not only explore a myriad of musical epochs, but also developed an interest in their history, because of the important social and political role some musicians played.
The way my parents used music to break up our days and structure them according to meal times, meant to this day, I associate music with community, to a time for conversation, and a time to enjoy my food.
I credit my solid relationship with food with the benefits of music.
As I grow older, I am increasingly aware of the manner in which family dynamics around food and meals can shape and affect our children’s eating habits. The benefits of listening to music at home in a structured, but enjoyable way, meant, growing up, the time for eating was always a shared event. Music brought my family together around a small kitchen island for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Not only has the correlation between food and music positively affected the quality of our time spent eating, but as well as that of our conversation. If anything, music inspires taste and mood, which is reflected in the way people communicate.
Research on the association between music and its intellectual benefits for kids is common. The assumption is, however, that there is causation involved between listening to music and children earning higher marks. This didn’t play out for me because I was never patient enough to learn a musical instrument and always preferred kicking the soccer ball. However, alternative explanations could explain why children who grow up listening to music or playing a musical instrument achieve success. For instance, a child taking the time to learn to play the guitar might learn the skill of perseverance, which helps when tackling challenging homework.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) show that music has physical and emotional benefits. Music activates the emotional reward system of our brains and causes the release of dopamine. This is one of the main signaling molecules in our brains. It is often used to describe a small, pleasurable thrill. Music creates ‘peak emotional arousal’ following for instance, the anticipation of a beat drop or a particularly enjoyable passage.
When combined with other euphoric aspects of our lives – i.e. food and a happy family environment, music has incredible social and personal benefits. The natural benefits of music on the body explain why music is a universal concept among humans.
In recent years, the keto diet has become a popular method of weight loss. Though there are very few long term studies of ketosis and weight loss, there are many reasons as to why it is effective.
The ketogenic diet, also known as the ‘keto’ or low carb, high fat (LCHF) diet, is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet in which one’s consumption of carbohydrates is reduced to 50-20, ideally 20, grams per day. When carbohydrate consumption is substantially reduced, the body’s supply of glucose is depleted, forcing it to turn to fat as an alternative source of energy. This metabolic state is known as ketosis. Ketosis leads to the production of ketones, which are stored in the liver and can provide energy to the brain.
In recent years, the keto diet has become a popular method of weight loss. Though there are very few long-term studies of ketosis and weight loss, there are many reasons as to why it is effective. The keto diet has been linked to the reduction of the hormone ghrelin; the body’s main ‘hunger hormone’. The reduction of hunger signals can lead to a lower calorie intake and less food cravings, resulting in weight loss.
Following a keto diet
The rule of the keto diet is to consume a high amount of fat, a moderate amount of protein, and small amounts of carbohydrates. Generally, a person following a keto diet should obtain:
Starchy vegetables (e.g. Potatoes and sweet potatoes)
Most milks, with the exception of unsweetened almond milk
Chips and crackers
Other uses and benefits
The keto diet was originally used as a medical diet to assist in the treatment of Epilepsy, primarily in children.
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder. It is characterised by a variety of unpredictable seizures, ranging from sudden unresponsiveness, confusion, abnormal behaviour, and loss of memory, to convulsions and complete loss of consciousness. A person is diagnosed with Epilepsy if they experience two episodes of unprovoked seizures (occurring more than 24 hours apart), that are not caused by another medical condition such as low blood sugar, alcohol withdrawal, or drug overdose.
Keto diets are traditionally used to treat and manage seizures in children when anticonvulsant medication has not worked. Higher ketone levels in the blood often lead to improved seizure control.
Studies have shown that the keto diet is effective in treating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease occurs when too much fat is stored in the liver. In the past, fatty liver was attributed to those who consumed excess amounts of alcohol. However, today, it is more likely to be caused by other factors, such as obesity and insulin resistance.
A keto diet can assist in the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by:
Reducing fat stored in the liver.
Decreasing insulin levels.
Promoting weight loss.
Other Neurological Issues
Due to extensive evidence that the keto diet effectively reduces seizures in children with Epilepsy, it has been suggested that the diet may assist in the treatment of other neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and even brain cancer. However, there is currently not enough evidence to support these claims, and more human studies are required.
Risks and side effects
The ‘Keto Flu’
A sudden decrease in carbohydrate intake can come as a shock to the body, which may cause a variety of flu-like symptoms. For most people, the ‘Keto Flu’ is a group of short-term side effects that will resolve within a few weeks. These symptoms may include:
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
As the majority of fruits and vegetables contain high levels of carbohydrates, they are often not consumed while following a keto diet. This increases risk of deficiencies in nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B, and vitamin C.
Lowered Bone Density
Ketosis can have negative effects on bone health. Though there have been only a few studies regarding the keto diet and bone health, results have showed depleted bone density and an increase in fracture risk.
High fat animal products, such as meat and eggs, contain little to no carbohydrates (for example, one boiled egg contains approximately 0.6 grams of carbs) and are therefore staple food items in a keto diet. Eating a lot of these foods leads to a higher risk of kidney problems, such as kidney stones.
Heightened Risk of Chronic Illnesses
Medical evidence suggests that following a ketogenic diet increases the likelihood of chronic, potentially life-threatening illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer.
Who shouldn’t follow a keto diet?
Those with impaired kidney function
As mentioned earlier, those who consume high quantities of animal products, such as meat, eggs, and cheese, are more likely to develop kidney problems. Because of this, those with pre-existing kidney issues should not follow a keto diet.
When it comes to the keto diet and pregnancy, there is little research, mainly due to ethical issues regarding studies performed on pregnant mothers. However, the main consensus between doctors is that following a keto diet is not safe during pregnancy and can lead to a higher risk of developmental delays and issues with organ growth. Following a keto diet during pregnancy may also be linked to organ dysfunction and behavioural changes after pregnancy.
Those who are underweight
Though the keto diet involves consuming high amounts of fat, it often leads to, sometimes rapid, weight loss. For this reason, it is not recommended for those who are underweight.
Those who suffer from, or have a history of, eating disorders
Without the advice of a dietician, it is not recommended for individuals with a history of eating disorders or disordered eating behaviours to follow restrictive diets. There is a ‘slippery slope’ when it comes to eating disorders and dieting. Obsessing about the nutritional content in food may trigger eating disorder sufferers to fall back into dangerous behaviours. What’s more, those with a history of eating disorders or under eating may already be suffering from nutrient deficiencies, and these may be exacerbated while following a keto diet.
Keto and diabetes
There are two main types of Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas is unable to produce an adequate amount insulin, which is vital in converting glucose to energy. Type 2 Diabetes is a progressive condition where the pancreas slowly loses its ability to produce insulin.
There is no simple answer as to whether a keto diet is safe for those with diabetes. In some, following a keto diet may be possible and beneficial, provided they are closely monitored by a medical professional. As many with type 2 diabetes are overweight, the weight loss benefits of a keto diet may be helpful. A keto diet also lowers blood sugar levels, which may also be beneficial. Monitoring carbohydrate consumption is recommended in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, as large consumption can cause blood sugar spikes.
However, there are numerous risks involved. Firstly, a keto diet may cause blood sugar levels to drop too low, leading to symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Secondly, following a keto diet puts sufferers at risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis occurs when ketone bodies produce a dangerous amount of acid in the bloodstream. The kidneys then begin to excrete ketones in the urine, which can result in fluid loss. Cases of diabetic ketoacidosis usually occur in those with type 1 diabetes, due to their inability to produce insulin, which prevents the body from producing too many ketones. However, in rare cases, it has been observed in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Before making any changes to your diet, it is vital that you seek advice from your doctor or dietician, monitor your health closely, and report any concerning symptoms. If you are taking any medications, it is also important to talk to your doctor about any effects a keto diet may have on them. All in all, trust your body. If you don’t feel well while following a keto diet, speak to a professional about whether or not the diet it is right for you, and discuss alternatives.
You don’t have to be Australia’s best chef to make baby food at home. In fact, it is quite simple and the advantages are endless. By being homemade, bub will be eating foods free from preservatives and harmful chemicals. It also sets up your children with a love for healthy eating right from the start, making them appreciate fresh, wholesome food.
TOOLS AND APPLIANCES
The tools needed to make baby food are staples already lying around the kitchen. Not many are needed – minimal equipment will still make delicious food.
Blender or food processor
Options like theChicco 4-1 baby blenderorCherub Baby steamer blenderare good options if looking to purchase. Otherwise, any blender that makes smoothies or purees food will work. If the blender is older, add an extra dash of liquid to make food a smooth consistency.
Ice cube trays
If the ice-cubes are calling these home already, check the local op shop to stock up on trays for an inexpensive price.
This is needed to steam the food for purees. Steamerinsertscan fit more produce but both will get the job done.
Other tools include:
Main cooking techniques include steaming, roasting, baking or microwaving until food becomes tender. To preserve the nutrients from fruit and vegetables, opt for steaming not boiling and if ripe, they don’t need to be cooked at all.
Once cooled, transfer to a food processor of choice and blend for one to two minutes. Slowly add water, breastmilk or formula to reach a desired consistency – which ultimately should glide off the spoon.
Enhance taste and your baby’s palette by adding herbs and spices like sea salt, ginger, cinnamon and rosemary.
Food will need to be kept in airtight containers, freezer bags or ice cube trays. Before transferring to the fridge or freezer, allow food to cool. Ice cube storage allows flavour combinations to be created as the small dosages of food can be mixed and matched.
The storage timeline for baby food is up to four days in the fridge, two months in the freezer for purees with meat and beans and up to three months in the freezer for fruit purees.
Labelling containers with the date and what is inside will allow for no confusion when choosing baby’s next meal.
Optimum nutrition is crucial for physiological and cognitive development, however evidence shows that diet quality in children has declined. Processed foods, skipping meals and following fad diets may cause children to fail in meeting nutritional requirements necessary for growth and development.
Essential vitamins and minerals cannot be synthesised by the body, so a child must obtain them in adequate amounts from food. Poor intake of nutrients and energy could have detrimental effects on health, and contribute to the onset of low self-esteem, dental issues and decreased academic performance.
Epidemiological data estimates that one in five children are expected to develop some kind of mental health issue before adulthood, with half of adult mental health problems developing in childhood and teenage years. This highlights the importance of early prevention.
An Australian study examining 7114 adolescents aged 10-14 years, demonstrated that teenagers on a healthy diet were less likely to report symptoms of depression. The association exists above the influence of family, socioeconomic and other factors.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is key for skeletal development, bone health and teeth, providing hard tissue with its strength. Due to its importance for growth, requirements are higher in childhood, adolescence, pregnancy and lactation.
Calcium is also necessary for learning, mental capacity, the immune system, nerve impulse transmissions and contracting muscles.
The top five teas you should be drinking this spring.
Tea. It’s been around for centuries. It’s been used for medicinal purposes, beauty products and has even become a euphemism for gossip, but what is all the rage?
Tea has been essential to so many cultures around the world. There have been proven health benefits between the properties of tea and their effect on our immune systems, mood and health that have been around for centuries.
“When we sip tea, we are on our way to serenity,” says lifestyle philosopher, Alexandra Stoddard.
Research has shown that green tea is one of the healthiest drinks going around.
Green tea is made with unoxidized tea leaves which contain flavonoids – a group of plant-based chemicals that have been shown to reduce coronary inflammation.
Here are some of the major health benefits associated with daily consumption of green tea:
Contains healthy bioactive compounds – The nutrients found in green tea have been linked to treating various disease including some cancers, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and may help prevent type two diabetes.
Boosts metabolic rate which increases fat burn.
May improve brain function – Green tea contains caffeine which is a stimulant that increases brain activity including mood, memory, vigilance and reaction time.
In a season where immunity is still compromised, the antiviral properties of green tea are a natural way to help fight off colds this spring.
With its minty properties, peppermint tea has been used for its taste and medicinal properties for hundreds of years.
Some reasons to incorporate peppermint tea this spring are:
Can reduce headaches – A 2016 study into peppermint oil found that there was a link between the cooling nature of the substance and the easing of migraines.
Breathing in the vapours of hot, peppermint tea can reduce nasal congestion. This is particularly useful in combatting winter colds.
Peppermint tea can aid in digestion relief for those suffering with upset bowels.
Peppermint capsules may help fight bacterial infections while tea several types of mouth bacteria.
This flowery tea has a relaxing essence that soothes the senses. Chilly nights can be warmed with this fragrant tea that the whole family will enjoy.
People incorporate this tea into their diet for a variety of health benefits as seen below:
Proven to help irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and can be a fantastic preventative measure for harmful bacteria.
Can help with sleeping as it relaxes the nerves, according to Dietician Anshul Jaibharat.
In a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Chemistry, it found that chamomile can help reduce muscle spasms and period pain by decreasing the production of prostaglandins.
Despite its infamous, polarising reputation, ginger tea is one of the best teas to help with unsettled stomachs. Its light spice soothes and relaxes stomachs.
Can reduce nausea and morning sickness in expectant mothers through acceleration of the gastric processes.
After only two months in lockdown, I was horrified to jump on the scales to find I had gained 15kg.
I found myself to be eating whatever I wanted, when I wanted, and too much of it and because I
wasn’t exercising regularly (thanks to the gym being closed down), the weight piled on.
I’ve never been someone who diets. I’ve tried shakes, cookies, all protein and Keto, but I could never stick to them and even if I lost weight, I put it back on again. Knowing this, I used intuitive eating and I got creative with the meals I made. They were still my ‘naughty’ foods, but they were much healthier for me. Lesser in carbs, fats, sodium and sugars. Before I knew it, I started to lose weight.
Intuitive eating is making smarter decisions but not banning myself from the foods I loved. If I
wanted chocolate – I ate the chocolate, but I was intuitive in how much I ate. I listened to my body
when it told me I was full and didn’t binge eat because I wasn’t restricting myself from the foods I
Within 2 months I had dropped 10kg by staying within my calorie deficit, but I didn’t count any
calories. I dropped carbs and sugar, and increased my protein intake. Combined with my averaged
day of activity, half an hour walks and household cleaning, it was able to lose 10 kilos the weight I
had put on.
One of the main ways that I managed to lose weight was by swapping out my favourite foods with
low carb and vegetable alternatives. These are the foods I used:
Instead of whole grain pasta, I used red lentil pasta or edamame fettuccine as an alternative, which
are available at Coles, Woolworths and online.
I also used zucchini or sweet potato spaghetti. Coles has these already pre-cut and packaged ready
to eat, but I also made these using a vegetable spiralizer. This helped me increase my daily vegetable
I followed the packet serving instructions and paired it with my choice of sauce (usually bolognaise).
I used the same sauces as previously but whole grain spaghetti changed.
Spaghetti Squash is also a popular alternative. I cooked the squash in the oven for 40 minutes and
used a fork to scrape it out.
I swapped white rice with cauliflower or sweet potato rice, which are available in the freezer section
of Coles or Woolworths. Similar to the approach with the pasta, I paired it with anything I
traditionally ate. People often boil cauliflower rice, but it goes gluggy, so instead I fried this for 5 to
10 minutes and it tastes much better. My favourite meal with this is curried sausages.
Wraps and bread
I swapped bread or wraps that I loved for lower carb alternatives and I could barely taste the
difference. If anything, I preferred these lower carb options. I avoided cereals or muesli as much as
possible because of their high sugar. Instead, I found a slice of toast with an egg would be perfect. I
would also make myself a ‘McDonald’s’ brekkie wrap with scrambled eggs, fried bacon and BBQ
sauce (lower salt).
Companies are slowly becoming much more friendly to low-calorie options when it comes to sweets.
I found Halo Top’s ice cream fantastic for curbing my cravings for sugar. Each tub has 360 calories or
less so I didn’t feel guilty about eating it. They’re stocked at both Woolworths and Coles, but Aldi has
a cheaper version called Kenny’s 360. Keep an eye out for these products because more variety are
To make the base layer, add the ingredients to a high speed blender or food processor and blend until it resembles fine crumbs and sticks together when pressed. Spoon mixture into a 24 mini muffin pan (see note below) and press down with the back of a teaspoon. Place it in the freezer.
To make the caramel layer, add the ingredients to a high speed blender and process until completely combined and smooth. Spoon the mixture onto the bases and smooth over with the back of a teaspoon (see note below) and place back into the freezer for at least 1 hour to set.
To make the chocolate layer, melt the coconut oil in saucepan on low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and add the sweetener. Whisk briskly until well combined. Then add the cacao powder, stirring until well mixed through. Pour the chocolate on top of the caramel layer and place back into the freezer and let it set completely, approximately 3-4 hours. Once frozen, they are much easier to remove.
I keep mine store in the freezer in an air tight container and remove them a few minutes before serving/eating.
We rely on health advice from an industry that simply promotes the latest fad, designed to exploit the vulnerable out of their money. Diet culture wants us to feel bad about our bodies, leading us down a dangerous path of disordered eating behaviours and exercise misuse, inevitably, only profiting those who fool us.
Weight loss TV shows, stick thin celebrities, the ‘obesity epidemic’, Body Mass Index (BMI), bad foods and ‘skinny’ jeans. As a millennial, these were terms and images I was heavily exposed to throughout my childhood and teenage years.
I was a 15 year old girl, eagerly jogging on my treadmill in front of the TV while watching The Biggest Loser. I would dream of living a life like the contestants, exercising for hours on end and following strict eating regimes to ‘transform’ my body.
At school we learnt about BMI, and were required to calculate our own measurements; an activity becoming a petri dish of comparisons and judgment.
The influences that I grew up with were seen as normal, and even healthy, but have resulted in detrimental and dangerous outcomes. I am not alone in my history of disordered eating.
An eating disorder is a mental illness which can be identified as an unhealthy preoccupation with exercise, body weight or shape, and eating habits. Eating disorder behaviours can include restricting, bingeing, compulsive overeating and purging. Purging can extend to vomiting, laxative abuse and excessive exercising.
There are also secondary eating disorder behaviours, which can often fly under the radar due to the influence of diet culture, which creates a sense of normalcy when it comes to obsessing over wellness.
Secondary Eating Disorder Behaviours
Carolyn Costin is a clinician, author and speaker, well-known for her expertise in the eating disorder field. In her book 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder, she discusses food rules, food rituals and exercise dependance.
Being unable to trust internal hunger and fullness cues without a ‘rule’ or ‘guide’.
Limiting choices of foods or food groups based on rules.
Measuring foods based on numbers such as calories or time.
Feeling a sense of control over food, and therefore out of control when food rules cannot be followed.
Participating in food behaviours that create a sense of ‘safety’ around food.
Preparing food in a specific way.
Consuming foods at the same time every day.
Eating foods in a particular order.
A feeling of anxiety if the food ritual cannot be followed.
Compulsive exercise is a commonly justified behaviour.
Exercise is no longer a choice, but an obligation.
Exercise is linked to self worth.
Exercise is continued through injury and illness.
Social engagements are cancelled for exercise.
Exercise is used to compensate for eating.
Diet culture has a long history, and its roots are embedded in the media, science, medicine, religion and racism today. The anti-diet movement has been established to fight back against an industry that we are conditioned to believe has our best interests at heart.
Christy Harrison is an intuitive eating coach, anti-diet dietitian, and author of Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating.
“Worships thinness and equates it to health and moral virtue, which means you can spend your whole life thinking you’re irreparably broken just because you don’t look like the impossibly thin “ideal”.
Promotes weight loss as a means of attaining higher status, which means you feel compelled to spend a massive amount of time, energy, and money trying to shrink your body, even though the research is very clear that almost no one can sustain intentional weight loss for more than a few years.
Demonizes certain foods while elevating others, which means you’re forced to be hyper-vigilant about your eating, ashamed of your food choices, and distracted from your pleasure, your purpose, and your power.
And oppresses people who don’t match up with its supposed picture of “health,” which means you experience internalized stigma and shame—and perhaps external stigma and discrimination as well—for all the ways in which you don’t meet diet culture’s impossible standards.”
Diet culture is cunning and clever, we may not even realise when it is meddling with our lives. The identifying trends and behaviours are so normalised in society today, that it sneaks up on us in workplace lunch rooms, at social events, even through our internal voice, which may echo the food rules from our dieting pasts. Diet culture is inescapable.
“The implication is clear: eating anything other than the correct diaita made people less than fully human. The term diet, then, was bound up from the start with ideas about morality, restriction, the renunciation of pleasure, and the superiority of certain races.”
The Anti-Diet Approach
Anti-diet is anti-diet culture. The approach has a focus on overall wellbeing, rather than weight loss, and it shows us how the foods we eat and what our bodies look like, are not tied to moral virtue or social status.
Diet culture makes us believe that we have to ‘beat’ our hunger and change our bodies in order to find happiness and self worth.
Christy says, “Diet culture is a form of oppression, and dismantling it is essential for creating a world that’s just and peaceful for people in ALL bodies.”
Research supports this notion and confirms that diet’s don’t work. A 2019 study concludes: “The increases in BMI and WC were greater in dieters than in non‐dieters, suggesting dieting attempts to be non‐functional in the long term in the general population.”
To adopt the anti-diet approach, we need to keep our wits about us. Organisations know that diets don’t work, and have been moving away from language such as ‘diet’ and ‘weight loss’, instead, changing their language to terms like ‘wellness’. The diets have not ceased, they have just changed forms.
Diets are often disguised through buzz words such as ‘protocol’, ‘clean eating’, ‘health reset’, ‘nutrition challenge’ or ’lifestyle change’.
How can we adopt the anti-diet approach and fight back against diet culture? We can keep an eye out for diet culture red flags.
Diet Culture Red Flags
Wellness programs with a weight loss focus.
The use of before and after photos.
A program that gives food a moral value such as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, including ‘traffic light’ systems and the like, that categorise foods.
Eliminating foods or food groups, without a medical reason.
Focusing on numbers such as calories, percentages, or time.
Buzz words like ‘cleansing’ or ‘detoxing’.
Tracking of calories, exercise or steps.
What can we do now to start adopting the anti-diet approach? We can identify diet culture through it’s red flags, notice our own internal dialogue when it comes to food, say no to fad and perfectionistic diets, and unfollow social media accounts that make us feel bad about our bodies or food choices. When we stop engaging in diet culture, diet culture loses its power.
“Weight loss doesn’t heal people from their internalised weight stigma. Bad body image is not cured by weight loss.” – Lisa DuBreuil in Anti-Diet.