Sunday 29 April 2012

It’s great with a healthy heart but what about the brain?

The human has approximately 60,000 thoughts per day and many of them - around 95 per cent - are the same thoughts we had yesterday and the day before.

You don’t have to stop yourself thinking in a negative way, but simply notice certain thoughts. The more you are aware of your thoughts, and the extent to which you are influenced by them, the more you can take responsibility and shift the negative thoughts into something positive.

About 20% of Australians are affected by depression; it is like diabetes or asthma, an illness. We use the term depression in normal conversation to describe distress or unhappiness due to something unpleasant that has happened to us. This depression is perfectly normal, it is usually for a short period of time, and usually resolves rapidly, without the need for any specific treatment.

Compared to depressive illness, which is a much more severe and prolonged condition with persistent sadness, negativity, and difficulty coping.

From research we now know that the gray area in the brain is the centre for our attention, emotions, memory and consciousness. Related research also showed that depressed patients had measurable changes in the amygdala and the hippocampus, crucial in stress response. The amygdala is the central for emotional life, but through research they have also now found that the memory centre is also involved in stress and depression. In research in 1996 they found that depressed patients hippocampus was 15% smaller than a control group, which may explain why depressed patients sometime complain about learning and memory trouble.

This might also explain why Alzheimer’s patient suffers from mood deterioration, since the disease starts with erosion of the hippocampus.

Depression doesn’t t only affect the brain but also the body, shutting down the drive to sleep, eat, have sex and generally not feeling like looking after our self.

In the early 1990 scientists found that brain-derived neurotrophic factors

(BDNF) protects neurons against cortisol (the stress hormone) in areas that control mood, including the hippocampus. While very high levels of cortisol can decrease BDNF, antidepressants and especially exercise can increase BDNF. It is the boost of BDNF that encourages neurons to connect to one another and grow, making it vital for neuroplasticity and neruogenesis.

The great thing with exercise is that it gets us moving, which stimulates the brain stem and gives us more energy, passion, interest, and motivation.

Exercise doesn’t selectively influence anything, it adjusts the chemistry of the entire brain to restore normal signals and make you think clearer and remember good things.

Exercise will not solve all the problems around depression but it definitely helps the mood, even if it is just when we have had a bad day.

Yours in Health & Fitness,

Wednesday 25 April 2012

I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but here in Melbourne it has gotten a bit cold with the onset of winter. This recipe is great for a cold and rainy day.
Stew with meat and walnuts
4 portions
500g rump steak or any kind of meat that is good for a long cooking time
1 yellow onion
Black pepper
1 ½ dl meat stock
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp flour
2 ½ dl cream
2 apples
15 prunes
½ dl walnuts
2 tbsp chopped parsley

  • Peel and chop the onion finely.
  • Fry the meat, and move it to a large pot.
  • Add salt, pepper, stock and soy sauce, and let it boil for 1 ½ - 2 hours.
  • Beat cream and flour together and stir the mixture into the stew.
  • Cut the apples into small pieces.
  • Cut the prunes in half and add apples, prunes and walnuts to the stew.
  • Boil for another 5-10 minutes, sprinkle the parsley over the stew and serve with rice.

Take your time, sit down and enjoy a nice dinner!!

Yours in Health & Fitness,

Sunday 22 April 2012

Have exercise lost its pleasure?
So many times I have clients complaining to me that the Personal Trainer they have been training with is pushing them too hard and they feel stressed about keeping up with all the exercises they have to do.
I think we now more than ever have access to charity runs, marathons, triathlons, adventure trekking and runs, mountain biking – you name it and it’s available for us to join. It is great that we can set a goal and have something to train for and get a ‘high’ from achieving it.
We also have apps that tell us when to train, what to train, how fast, on what intensity, and what to eat to keep us on track and motivated.
My concern though is that in our already stressed lifestyles, this put another stress factor to our lives and maybe even put some people off exercising.
Where has the pleasure of a 5 km run in a moderate pace, enjoying nature and the feeling of moving the body gone? I’m a Personal Trainer and off course I sometimes put pressure on my clients to keep up their exercises, but I’m promoting exercise for health and pleasure. I enjoy my training, it can be weights, a run, a step class, yoga, body balance anything that gets the heart pumping and moves my body.
Our government is doing everything they can to educate people about the health benefits from a fit and active body, but at the other end we have TV-shows like Biggest Loser where exercising and eating healthy is all about winning. The normal person who lives a normal life to run can’t exercise like that, and then we get to the comment that scares me – “There is no way I can do all that, so why do anything?”
Maybe we should go back to the good old morning gymnastics, arms stretching up, a push up, a few jumps and an enjoyable run in the forest.

Yours in Health & Fitness,

Australians have found the great benefits with Swedish posture support.
I have been using the harness with my clients with great success, and so many Australian pregnant women are also finding what a great relief Swedish Posture support is when you back is tired from pressure. You can now find Swedish Posture support on, or order it directly from

Yours in Health & Fitness,


Wednesday 18 April 2012

Do you need some inspiration for dinner tonight?
This recipe doesn’t take longer to make than cooking the pasta,
My version of Frutti de Mare
 2 serves

·         200  gr cooked prawns
·         200 gr mussels
·         Half a can of chopped tomato
·         2  fresh fine chopped tomato
·         ½ fine chopped onion
·         2 cloves chopped garlic
·         ½ cup fine chopped parsley
·         Fresh basil
·         ¼ cup black olives
·         200 gr pasta 

1.    Fry fine chopped onion, garlic and add canned tomato and fresh tomato and come to a boil.
2.    Clean the mussels and peal most of the prawns
3.    Add the muscles to the sauce and let them boil for 10 min or until open.
4.    Add prawns, salt, pepper, parsley and basil, come to a boil.
5.    Sever with pasta.

Yours in Health & Fitness,

Sunday 15 April 2012

Do you realize how much you core is involved in your posture?
Poor posture weakens your core, which causes other muscles near the core not to do their job.

If your deep abdominal and hip muscles are weak your hamstrings and external hip rotators have to compensate during movement, like hip extension during a walk or a run. This causes your hamstrings and hip rotators to be overworked and fatigue easily.

There are many posture related problems. Here a few where the Swedish Posture support can assist in making it easier to correct them:
Tilted Pelvis Problem – Your pelvis has a particular purpose in your body, it acts as a lever and has a big impact on your posture. Sometimes individuals with weak core muscles will develop a problem known as ’tilted pelvis’ whereby weakened stomach muscles means the weight pulls the pelvis forward which induces a bad posture.
Rounded Shoulders – Spending hours at a desk hunched over a computer makes it hard to keep good posture. Rounded shoulders occur when the body begins to naturally hunch or slouch over. Shoulders move inward, a curve forms at the back and spine, and the abdomen protrudes.

Joint & Foot Pain – Those people who suffer poor posture can also experience difficulty in their joints and in their feet. Normally this is due to the skeletal system becoming poorly aligned so pressure is placed on areas of the body which are not designed to take it.

During some perios of time in life your back is under more pressure due to for instance an injury, pregnancy and during the baby period when you do a lot of carrying and lifting of the baby. For pregnant women, back pain can have a negative impact on your daily lifestyle, from potentially missing time at work to making your delivery more difficult.
Most of the time back pain during pregnancy has natural causes due to changes in the bodies' aliment. Common changes due to pregnancy that can cause back pain includes:

1.   Weight gain. Pregnancy can cause you to gain as much as a quarter of your body weight, adding stress to the back and other weight-bearing structures.

2.   Center of gravity changes during pregnancy. Secondary to weight gain, the weight is typically carried anterior (in the front) as well as posterior (behind). This change in your center of gravity creates:

o    Muscular imbalances. These imbalances create strain on weight-bearing structures in the body and are more problematic if superimposed on existing imbalances (such as muscle weakness and inflexibility).

o    Muscles that fatigue more quickly than usual. Muscle fatigue in turn often results in poor posture and/or makes poor posture even worse.

By using the Swedish Posture Mother and assisting you thoracic muscles to keep a good posture, it will promote and support proper posture and avoiding unnecessary stress to supporting structures.

Swedish Posture support is a brilliant new Swedish product that you will assist you to activate your back muscles; it works as a reminder for you and your muscles where to work for a good posture. Because it “forces” you to keep a good posture in a relaxed way your muscles will slowly “learn” the new position and feel comfortable in that position.
Swedish Posture support is so discreet that you can wear it under your clothes for support at work or put it on over your clothes at home for a bit of relief after work.
Swedish Posture is available in three different styles;
 style -stylish, comfortable and discreet design makes Swedish Posture Style an invisible aid – with amazing visible benefits, enabling a perfect posture for a more confident you! -,
performance - Swedish Posture Performance helps the body to find a natural and healthy position during long work days at the computer and in physically demanding sports and activities to which posture is essential. - and
mother - Swedish Posture Mother
provides support to parents carrying heavy loads, experiencing imbalanced strain and helps mothers to find the way back to a confident and proper posture after pregnancy and nursing.

Swedish Posture supports are now available on my web-shop,

Yours in Health & Fitness,

Thursday 12 April 2012

We all sometime struggle with planning our meals, to make healthy choices and not just something quick on our way to the next important part of our lives. 
But so many times bad choices about our meal are what make us tired, low on energy and put on weight. We don’t have to cook a three course meal all the time, keep that for special occasions, but by planning our meals and menus for the week can make a big difference in what you put in your mouth and expect your body to run on.
It doesn’t need to take more than 20 minutes one day a week, to sit down and make the menu for the week and then shop accordingly.
Below is a great quick (15min) healthy lunch or dinner, it stays nice and fresh so you can make it in the morning a have it as lunch.
Curried tuna and apple pita
1 serving
85gr canned tuna in water
¼ cup chopped unpeeled apple
2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
¼ tsp curry powder
½ tbsp chopped unsalted peanuts
½ tbsp Dijon mustard
Sea salt
½ whole wheat pita
½ cup shredded lettuce leaves

1.    In a small mixing bowl, combine the first seven ingredients.
2.    Line the pita bread with lettuce leaves  and spoon in the tuna salad

Yours in Health & Fitness,

Monday 9 April 2012

Denmark leads the way in the world's first fat tax

Recently Denmark became the first country in the world to introduce a tax on foods that contain more than 2.3% fat. To put that into things we shop, that's butter, milk, cheese, pizza, meat, oil and processed foods.

The aim is to reduce people's intake of fatty foods, but it's not to curb obesity. Fewer than 10% of the Danish populations are obese, which is quite a bit lower than the 15% European average. The outgoing conservative government in Denmark planned the fat tax as part of a goal to increase the life expectancy of the Danes. Danish research shows that excessive consumption of saturated fats causes about 4% of the nation's premature deaths with the current average life expectancy of 79 years expected to drop by three years over the next 10 years.

How will the new fat tax affect the cost of food in Denmark?

The new tax will add 16 kroner (around $AUD3.00) per kilo of saturated fats in a product, increasing the price of a burger by around $AUD0.15 and raising the price of a small package of butter by around $AUD0.40. As a result, the Danes began stockpiling tax affected products, filling their freezers in the lead up to this new tax.

Health minister Jakob Axel Nielsen introduced the idea of a fat tax back in 2009, stating that, "Higher fees on sugar, fat and tobacco is an important step on the way toward a higher average life expectancy In Denmark" because "saturated fats can cause cardiovascular disease and cancer." In March this year the tax was approved by large majority of the parliament.

Will Australia bring in a fat tax?

Chief executive Kate Carnell from the Australian Food and Grocery Council
AFGC) says a similar tax would not address our obesity levels. Australia has had a 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on processed foods since 2000, yet obesity levels have continued to rise. Taxing dairy products has also been ruled out as the AFGC is encouraging people to have more calcium in their diets rather than less.

In a bid to curb obesity in Australia, the AFGC is calling on involvement from industries, governments and communities to help solve the crisis. One in four Australians are overweight or obese, which is why leading industry bodies, manufacturers and governments are all putting plans in place to help overcome the issue.

Here's what's currently being done:
·         Leading manufacturers have reduced the saturated fat content of cooked and smoked sausages and luncheon meats (excluding salami) to less than 6.5 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams.
·         The Victorian government recently spent $40 million on educating the public about nutrition and the importance of exercise.
·         CHOICE announced it will start naming and shaming foods making misleading health claims.
·         Australia has reportedly joined with the United States and Canada to call for the United Nations to change their rules around regulating the production and marketing of unhealthy foods.
·         The Cancer Council is calling for cartoons used in junk food advertising to be banned.
·         The Australian Medical Association wants to ban the advertising of junk food to children.
·         Hungry Jack's recently announced that vegetable options will now accompany its burgers.

Is a Fat Tax the Answer?

I don't think it necessarily is going to affect our obesity levels by simply taxing high fat foods, should we tax high sugar level food too then? But at the same time the above "actions" that the government are currently working with doesn't seem to do much either. Maybe we do need higher taxes on processed food, to force us to do more "home "cooking and start plan our meals.

We need to tackle our obesity epidemic in a similar way as we did with tobacco, and maybe a fat tax could give us that kick to start eating healthier and really think about what is in our food.

Do you think that introducing a fat tax would impact our obesity levels?

Yours in Health & Fitness,

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Do you eat enough fish?
I had grilled fish and quinoa salad for dinner tonight, and it was really nice.
I used bass filet, which I slightly brushed with the dressing from the quinoa salad.
I made a mixture of fresh ginger, garlic, chili and pepper which I also mixed with the quinoa dressing and poured that over the grilled fish.
Quinoa salad
Serves 4

1 cup cooked quinoa
2 cups parsely chopped
2 cups mint, chopped
2 large handfuls, baby spinach leaves
1 small red onion or 2 shallots, finely sliced
½  cumber, chopped
2 ripe tomato, chopped or 250 g cherry tomatoes
20 g pumpkin seeds
20 g almonds or pistachio, chopped

1 lemon juiced + zest (30 ml)
2 teaspoons honey
100 ml cold pressed olive oil
fresh ground pepper

Combine all the dressing ingredients until creamy.
Mix together parsley, mint, spring onion and spinach.
Add the tomato, cucumber, seeds, quinoa and almonds.
Mix in a few tablespoons of the dressing.
Spoon into a large serving bowl.
I served it with a green salad, and it doesn’t get much better than that.
Smaklig måltid!!!!! (Swedish for enjoy your dinner)

Yours in Health & Fitness,

Monday 2 April 2012

Swedish Posture the amazing change in posture
I have been using the Swedish Posture support over a few weeks now on various clients and it’s amazing to see the change in their posture. As soon as someone starts wearing the support you can see how they straight away go from bad posture to good posture. Clients comment on how they are reminded about their posture even when they are not wearing the support.
I have also noticed that my clients have better aerobic capacity due to the more opened ribcage and diaphargm. The muscles accross their upper back have strengthen due to the corrective properties of the Posture support.
Swedish Posture support is now available on my web-shop,

Yours in Health & Fitness,