Thursday 30 August 2012

As a Personal Trainer you might think that I constantly have new exercises going around in my head, and of course I do but they fight about the space with new recipes.

Just like with exercise you need to update your recipes regularly to make meals healthy and interesting.

This is a new recipe is that I have tried a few times and it’s really nice on its own or with fish or chicken.

Chickpea Salad

50 g feta cheese
400g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
200g cherry tomatoes
20 black olives
75g parsley
1 tbsp pine kernels, toasted
A handful of spinach, finely chopped


1 garlic clove, crushed
100ml water
65ml low-fat natural yoghurt
Juice of ½ lemon
Freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, whisk all the ingredients for the dressing together and season with black pepper to taste.

Place chickpeas, tomatoes, olives, parsley, pine kernels and spinach in another bowl, pour over the dressing and toss lightly together.

Enjoy and healthy and easy made dinner!!

Yours in Health & Fitness,

Monday 27 August 2012

I recently read an article about health problems in US due to overweight and obesity, and it was actually a very scary article.

US has gone from having about 20 states with 10-14% of their population being overweight and obese, to all states having 20% or more of their population being overweight and obese. It has been a few articles here in Australia lately about the relation between genes and overweight/obesity, and sure if everyone in your family in overweight it is a high risk you will be too but the biggest issues is probably bad lifestyle not the genes.

Unfortunately, Australian can’t take credit for being better than US; the prevalence of obesity in Australia has more than doubled in the past 20 years. Obesity has overtaken smoking as the leading cause of premature death and illness in Australia. Our governments are talking about ban people born after 2000 to buy cigarettes, which are great, but they have failed to tackle obesity adequately.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD) account for approximately quarter of the burden of disease in Australia, and just under two-thirds of all deaths. These three diseases often occur together and share risk factors, such as physical inactivity, overweight and obesity and high blood pressure.

So if we don’t act now, by 2020 80% of all Australian adults and a third of all children will be overweight or obese.

Yours in Health & Fitness,

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Knees- Our most complex and largest joint in our body!
Around 15-20% of people suffer from knee pain and the number is increasing with our ageing population.  The knee is the most complex and largest joint in our body, it helps us to walk, run, bend, jump and lift objects. But many of us are guilty of taking our knees for granted – that is, until they start to ache or we find it difficult to do the things we normally do. And as the population ages and the prevalence of risk factors, such as obesity and poor levels of fitness, increases, so does the incidence of osteoarthritis (OA).

But the good news is – your OA symptoms can be controlled by lifestyle changes and physical therapy.

Many people with knee pain will tend to avoid exercise all together due to discomfort. But mild to moderate low-impact exercise will actually help knee pain and stiffness. Exercise such a cycling is excellent as it will provide plenty of movement as well as resistance exercise for the knee.

So remember that while your knee pain can be quite debilitating, the worst thing you can do is nothing. Take these active steps and you will not only minimize your knee pain but you will start to regain some of your lost mobility.
Six ways to look after your knee
·         Lose excess weight.  Reducing one kilogram in body weight takes 4 kilograms of load off the knee in every step.
·         Get moving! Try to keep active; it will improve your movement, mobility and general health. Avoid extended periods of rest and lying down during waking hours.
·         Suitable shoes. Wear comfortable, closed, well-fitting walking shoes.
·         Make a splash! If you're a swimmer, Backstroke or freestyle swimming are highly recommended; breaststroke is best avoided.
·         Take the high seat. While performing activities in a seated position, such as driving or watching TV, maintain a high-seated position so the knees are at an obtuse angle.
·         Keep your cool. After every stressful activity, such as walking, cool your knee or ankle area for about 10 minutes with an ice pack. You shouldn’t apply ice directly to the skin as it may cause damage.

Yours in Health & Fitness,

Thursday 16 August 2012

I know it is a cold day in Melbourne today, but this chicken salad with fragrant from Asia still warms you up. Serve with nice sourdough bread.

Minted chicken & aubergine salad

Serves 4

Sesame oil
4 skinless chicken breasts
1 aubergine, cut into 1 cm slices
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 garlic clove
2 green chilies, thinly sliced
Juice of 4 limes
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 shallots, chopped
Salt and pepper
50g mint leaves
4 tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped


Heat a ridged grill pan, brush it with a little sesame oil, and then season the chicken breasts and place on the grill.

Cook for 5-6 min on each side, until lightly charred and cooked through. Brush the aubergine slices with sesame oil, place on grill and cook until lightly charred, turning them regularly and brushing with a little more oil if necessary.

Meanwhile, place the sugar in bowl, add the fish sauce, garlic, chilies and lime juice and mix well. Stir in the onions and shallots.

Remove chicken and aubergine from the grill and leave to cool, the shred the chicken and cut the aubergine into small dice. Add to the bowl, season, toss well cover with clingfilm and

And leave to marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.

Add the mint leaves and serve in a deep bowl, sprinkled with the peanuts.


Yours in Health & Fitness,

Monday 13 August 2012

Do you eat better than your ancestors did? We probably eat a more varied diet than they did, but we eat way too much and we don’t follow the seasons. So in that perspective we actually eat less varied than they did.

So what is a healthy portion size? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention people eat more when served more. In one study, two groups of people were asked to rate the taste of different-sized containers of popcorn. Even when they didn’t like the popcorn, people given larger amount ate more. In another study, participants again eat more when served more, but they didn’t recognize the difference in portion size.

Learning and recognizing a healthy portion size is important for healthy eating.

Many of us tend to underestimate the amount of food we eat and tend to overestimate the recommended portion size for many foods. At the same time we tend to overestimate the amount of exercise (steps per day) we do and unfortunately that equation makes us put on weight.

For example, many people would say they ate one serving of cereal, but a true serving of dry cereal is only ½ cup. Very few people pour only ½ a cup into a bowl without measuring. Or your pasta portion, take your usual portion of pasta and measure it. Chances are you’re eating two, three or four times the amount of the recommended portion size.

So how do we know how much we should eat without measuring every piece of food going into our mouth?

The portion plate has been used for a very long time to educate us about portion size, and it’s still a perfect way to remember and learn how and what to eat. 

Using the portion plate methods is simple, try to make half your plate with fruit and vegetables and that should be about a cup each. A cup of vegetables is pretty much the size of a computer mouse, or a baseball. ¼ of the plate should be your whole grains, example 1 slice of whole wheat bread or ½ cup brown rice, no more than ¼ of the plate should be lean meat like fish or chicken, like the size of a deck of cards.

Fat and oils should be between a tsp and a tbsp.

The plate will help you remember healthy eating habits every time you eat and it doesn’t matter if you eat at home, at a restaurant or at a friend’s place.

And remember to eat slow and let the body and mind feel the fullness before you go for seconds.

Yours in Health & Fitness,


Thursday 9 August 2012

Making a healthy snack for the kids or even for ourselves can sometimes be challenging. I tasted these treats last Friday when Kemi Nekvapil made them for Lululemon’s VIP night.

They are really nice and very easily made, and will last many days in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container.

Double Chocolate Pecan Treats

Makes 22


1 cup raw pecans nuts
1 cup medjool dates, pitted
½ cup cacao powder
¼ cup cacao nibs
3 drops vanilla extract
¼ tsp sea salt

Place the pecans in a food processor and pulse until you have the
texture of breadcrumbs.
Add the rest of the ingredients (except the cacao nibs) and pulse
until combined.
Lastly add the nibs and pulse for 5 seconds.
Roll into balls.

Enjoy with you afternoon coffee or tea!

Yours in Health & Fitness,


Monday 6 August 2012

The balance in life

Within my work I regularly talk to people about a healthy lifestyle, and I know what I have in mind but sometimes I get a response that makes me realize that how I define a healthy lifestyle not always means the same for the rest of the world.

A healthy lifestyle for me is a balance of healthy food, exercise and rest. I think the balance for me is more important than anything else. I can’t live on lettuce all the time, I love to go out for dinner every once in awhile and order anything that seems nice. I love my running and my gym sessions, but I do need a change sometimes with an aerobics class of some kind.

I also feel so much better when I make sure I do my stretching/yoga/relaxing sessions.

The balance in life is probably the hardest for everyone to adopt. We can have a goal or a feeling of what we would like to achieve, so we start full on but so many times we have gone out too hard and we don’t have the energy to keep going. We get the feeling that we couldn’t do it and feel disappointed we ourselves.

By all means we need goals, something to keep us going and motivated, but they need to be realistic with some rewards along our way.

So, what have I done today to keep my life in balance? This morning I did my cardio session – cross trainer combined with biking (early morning so it doesn’t interfere with today’s work), had a beautiful raw salad for lunch, I went shopping for a bit with my daughter, took the dog for a walk, had my daughter’s delicious fudge with my afternoon coffee, did my relaxing session (before bed so it doesn’t interfere with work or family time) and the work in-between actually didn’t feel overwhelming. I also made some very nice double chocolate pecan treats, but I will share that with you later. 

Keep your life in balance with healthy food, exercise and rest – but also with positive good company! 

Yours in Health & Fitness,