Iron is an essential mineral for our bodies to function optimally, to be energised, for a healthy immune system and to transport to and store oxygen in our muscles. It’s a trace mineral literally found in every cell in our body. Yet one of the main deficiencies present in our society is iron. Iron deficiency can be prevalent in vegetarian and vegan diets, during pregnancy and reproductive years and in children with inadequate nutrition in their diet.
Signs and symptoms of iron deficiency may include:
fatigue and lack of energy
weakness and dizziness
pale skin and dark circles under eyes
Ensuring you keep on top of your iron levels, in particular with a vegetarian and vegan diet, to reduce your risk of iron deficiency is key and can be relatively simple by including a variety of iron rich foods in the diet each day, and, learning to combine them with foods that improve the uptake of iron into the body and at a cellular level.
Iron rich foods you can consider increasing include:
Iron and vitamin C are synergistic nutrients, working to support and improve cellular uptake of minerals such as iron. To improve the uptake of plant based, non-haem iron, combine these foods (above) with foods containing Vitamin C including lemon, oranges, spinach, grapefruit and red capsicum.
If you are experiencing symptoms of iron deficiency, please ensure you see your health care professional or doctor for blood tests and work closely with them on an supplementation protocol to improve iron status. Do not self prescribe.
We live in a society where most of us now sit for the majority of the day. We wake up, sit to eat breakfast, we sit on the way to work, sit at work, sit at lunch, back to sitting at work, sit on the commute home, hopefully get an hour of exercise in after work, sit to eat dinner, sit to read or watch TV and then off to bed again.
Obesity in Australia has more than doubled over the last 20 years, meaning that 14-million Aussies are now overweight or obese (THE MAJORITY!!). Research shows that obesity has now overtaken smoking as Australia’s leading cause of illness and death, and is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, mental health disorders and many types of cancer.
Research now shows that even if you get the recommended dose of physical exercise (30mins of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise 5 days/week), sitting for long periods throughout the day can still have seriously negative effects on waist circumference (obesity), blood pressure, blood glucose (diabetes), triglycerides (fats), and cholesterol. A term has been coined for people who sit all day but still get there exercise requirements: The active couch potato.
As well as contributing to serious medical conditions, sitting is also a leading cause of musculoskeletal issues such as back pain, neck pain, headaches and osteoarthritis. Prolonged postures put incredible amounts of strain and stress on the muscles, joints and tissues of the body, causing overload and pain.
Human beings are designed to move. Our evolutionary ancestors would walk, run and climb for hours on end in order to hunt for food, escape from danger and find shelter. Technology, work environments and societal norms have led many of us to sedentary lifestyles (including the active couch potato), and something has to change.
Well that’s all very depressing, so what now?
The good news is that short interruptions in sitting-time can limit the aforementioned negative effects of sitting, even if the overall sitting time doesn’t change. Here are some simple tips for interrupting or reducing your sitting time:
Alternate between sitting and standing at work: standing work-desks are a worthy investment, but if your employer won’t pay, then simply standing up and stretching every 20 minutes is helpful (piled up books can also double as a standing work-desk)
Find cues to stand: stand whilst on the phone, walk over and talk to colleagues rather than emailing them, move the printer or paper bin away from your desk
Have standing or walking meetings
Stand up on trains and buses
Get off the bus/train or park your car a bit further away
Ask your physio to show you some desk-stretches which counter the muscles that are shortened in sitting
Take the stairs over the elevator
Set movement reminders on your phone
Meet friends for a walk or jog rather than a coffee or wine
Not only will you be reducing your risk of metabolic diseases and spinal pain, but sitting less and moving more also has amazing effects on your energy levels, focus, concentration and mood (reducing the need for that 3pm sugar fix).
+ This article has been contributed to Brown Paper Nutrition by Caelum Trott, Physiotherapist. You can find Caelum in practise at Advanz Therapies and discover more of his online programme Vital Aspect here.
The only love I have for winter is for soups, eggs however, I love year round!
Popped these foodie loves into a delicious wintery dish – THAI ZUCCHINI EGG LAKSA – which is ticking ALL the boxes for flavour, nutrition, protein punch, plus it’s satisfying but you feel light after eating – winning.
THAI ZUCCHINI EGG LAKSA
GF : DF : SF : VEGETARIAN : PALEO
4 free range eggs
1x 400ml can organic coconut milk
1500ml vegetable broth or stock
1 bunch broccolini, trimmed and cut into thirds
1 bunch bok choy, trimmed
600g zucchini, spiralled to noodles
Pinch sea salt
1 bunch coriander stalks, rinsed and pat dry, leaves reserved for garnish
3 cloves garlic, peeled
4cm piece (25g) ginger
60g brown onion (approx 1 small)
1 teaspoon lime zest (approx 1 lime)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
4 Asian shallots, finely sliced
1 green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 lime, cut in quarters
Make the paste by placing all ingredients into high speed food processor or blender and processing until smooth. Heat a large saucepan on medium heat, add coconut oil and curry paste and saute for 3-4 minutes until fragrant, then add coconut milk and vegetable stock/broth. Bring to a simmer, add broccolini and bok choy, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Bring a separate small pot of water to the boil, add EGGS, and boil for 7-8 minutes for a hard boiled egg. Remove from water, crack gently and peel under water. Once vegetable coconut broth is finished, add zucchini noodles and cook a further 3-4 minutes until tender. Divide noodles and broth between 4 bowls, cut eggs in half and place on top of noodles. Garnish with coriander leaves, Asian shallots, green chilli and a big squeeze of lime.
+ This is a partnered post with Australian Eggs, all thoughts ideas and opinions expressed are the authors own.
Completely delicious, simple to make and a great recipe to get the kids involved if you have some time together on a weekend or throughout the school holidays. Apple and cinnamon are always a winning combination of flavours but the extra caramel-y nature of the dates really make all these ingredients shine bright! This recipe was created in partnership with White Wings, all the ingredients should be at your local supermarket and at your fingertips – happy baking!
APPLE CINNAMON AND DATE MUFFINS
Makes 12 muffins
1/2 cup olive oil+
1/2 cup milk of choice
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 red apples (400g), cored and chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cup WHITE WINGS WHOLESOME BLEND PLAIN FLOUR
Preheat oven to 180C and line a 12 cup muffin tray with cases or grease with olive oil.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, eggs, milk, vanilla and coconut sugar until creamy.
Add apples and dates and stir gently, then fold through baking powder, bicarb soda, cinnamon and WHITE WINGS WHOLESOME BLEND PLAIN FLOUR.
Once combined pour into muffin cases and place in oven to cook for 25-30 minutes. Cool in tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Serve with a cuppa tea or a glass of milk.
+Buy a good quality olive oil, not extra virgin however, or it will result in a very savoury muffin!
It may take no convincing to ask you to eat a few more berries, they’re sweet, delicious little bursts of nutrition but ginger on the other hand can be a touch trickier. By contrast to the sweet delight that is the berry family, ginger is strong in flavour with a zing and kick. And, whilst we know berries are some of the richest known sources of antioxidants to protect our bodies from the effects of stress, illness and well, let’s face it life in general, our ginger nutrient factoids might be a little rusty. So let’s refresh those and while we’re at it look at a few ways you can up both the ginger and berry nutrition in your every day.
REMEDIES FOR HEALTH
Ginger has long been used not only as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative spice(1) but as a traditional, natural remedy for health complaints such as nausea(2) and menstrual pain (3). Should these strike a chord for you, consider these simple remedies:
steep sliced fresh ginger in boiling water for ginger tea
slice ginger into chicken broth or fresh grated ginger cooked into chicken and vegetable soup
up the ante in a green juice with a kick of fresh ginger or ole faithful – beetroot carrot ginger celery combo
Sore throat or uncomfortable gut shying you away from weekend social activities? Consider sipping on these delicious drinks to soothe the throat, support digestion and deliver quality live cultures and organic acids to your gut for overall wellbeing too.
Fresh ginger, honey and lemon juice with hot water, an oldie but a goodie for a sore throat
Ginger as a snack you say? Hell yay! Why not have a snack that promotes digestion (4), and fights stress and inflammation (5) rather than the sugar filled number that ultimately makes you feel worse than good? My personal favourites:
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food right? Simple philosophy to live by, so consider each meal an opportunity to fuel your body for longevity! And, given ginger is rich in anti-bacterial, anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory nutrients go for gold with introducing it in your meals each day too. Try these tasty inclusions of course washed down with a Remedy Ginger booch variety – Ginger Lemon or Ginger Berry:
ginger vegetable stir fry with lentils/chicken/fish/beef and cauliflower rice
FODMAP friendly soup with carrot ginger herbs and crunchy seed snaps
Prawn laksa, with ginger, chilli, lemongrass and zucchini noodles in place of regular rice noodles to up the nutrient ante
And last but not least, where ginger is so often used, not to mention one of the easiest ways to create both nutrition and flavour in your meals is with simple accompaniments and condiments for a meal AND to amplify your health… Consider these scrumptious numbers:
Pickled ginger and cucumber for asian meals and salads (I love these in a nourish / buddha bowl)
In a curry paste to spice up simple proteins or veggies
Grated into marinades with tamari, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil and miso
Combined with antioxidant rich berries and a touch of sweet for a GINGER BERRY JAM that will soon be your new breakfast fave.
GINGER BERRY JAM WITH GOLDEN FLAX ALMOND BREAD
GF : DF : SF : Vegetarian
GINGER BERRY JAM
3 cups raspberries (can use frozen and defrosted)
3 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely grated
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon water
GOLDEN FLAX ALMOND BREAD
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1/3 cup golden flaxseed meal
4 free range eggs, whisked
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 ½ tbsp golden flax seeds
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
To make the jam: combine raspberries, ginger, honey and water in a saucepan and simmer over a low to medium heat for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool. Store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 weeks.
To make the golden flax almond bread: Preheat oven to 180C and line a small loaf tin (7x16cm) with baking paper. Combine almond meal, flax meal, eggs, almond milk, olive oil, baking power, flax seeds, and sea salt in a bowl and mix well. Spoon into lined loaf tin. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Cool in loaf tin for 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely. Serve with Ginger Berry Jam, a smear of coconut yoghurt if desired and a bottle of Remedy Kombucha Ginger Berry.
+ This is a partnered post with Remedy Drinks, all thoughts, ideas and opinions expressed are the author’s own. Jacqueline Alwill consults and works as a spokesperson for Remedy Drinks.
So imma spicing up the menu with this scrumptious aromatic curry. Yummmmmm!!! Veggie curry is a fab way to up the ante on nutrition throughout the week, adding valuable nutrients from culinary spices (turmeric, ginger, chilli) to fire up your immune and circulatory system, making you warm for the winter, and keeping hunger at bay with a vitamin, mineral and protein rich egg.
Takes no time to put together either – gluten, dairy, sugar free, vegetarian and paleo.
AROMATIC RED PEPPER, BEAN AND EGG CURRY
GF : DF : SF : VEGETARIAN
8 free range eggs
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground chilli
1 white (170g) onion, peeled and finely diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3cm (14g) piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup chopped (250g) tomatoes, you can use tinned tomatoes if easier
250ml coconut milk
200g green beans, trimmed
1 small (100g) red capsicum, seeded and sliced into strips
To serve: fresh coriander leaves, brown rice or quinoa, toasted cashews
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add eggs and cook 6-8 minutes for a medium to hard boil. Remove from water and set aside. Heat a large frypan on medium heat, add coconut oil, mustard seeds, turmeric, coriander, garam masala and ground chilli and cook 1-2 minutes, or until spices are fragrant. Add onion, garlic, ginger and cook 4-5 minutes or until translucent. Add ½ cup (125ml) water, tomatoes and coconut milk, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add beans and capsicum for another 8-10 minutes. Whilst cooking, peel the eggs and slice in half. Once curry is cooked, toss eggs through the curry, garnish with coriander and toasted cashews and serve.
+This is a partnered post with Australian Eggs. All thoughts, ideas and opinions expressed are the authors own.
WORDS : Lucy Kemp, Counsellor (Infertility and Pregnancy Related Trauma)
“Being a mother is one of the most rewarding jobs on earth and also one of the most challenging.It is sometimes difficult to reconcile the fantasy of what you thought motherhood would be like with reality.Take care of yourself. Debra Gilbert Rosenberg”
Motherhood is a journey; for no two women is this journey the same. When I was pregnant with my first child, my own sister wisely told me “no-one gets it easy.” Everyone has a challenge at some point – whether it be conceiving, pregnancy, giving birth, breastfeeding. Certainly in my own experience she was right. As women, we are born with an innate desire to nurture and create our own family. We fantasise about an easy conception and pregnancy and that “perfect” baby who will feed, settle and sleep but often the reality of motherhood results in a challenging yet incredibly rewarding experience.
During pregnancy, it is so important for a woman to allow herself the time to prepare both mentally and physically for motherhood. This will be different for everyone but may involve a holistic birth preparation course such as Calmbirth, leaving work with enough time to rest and keep up some gentle exercise and spend time talking to your partner about how they can be involved on a practical level when the baby is born.
In our society, new mothers want to be perceived as coping with whatever challenges they may be facing. This is often made worse by what I call the “motherhood myth” – the myth that the woman in your mothers’ group / family / social circle has the perfect baby. Women need to feel more comfortable sharing their stories about motherhood – both the good and the bad – so that we can provide each other with emotional support. Find your “person” – maybe a friend who has had a baby at the same time – somebody who will allow you to be honest about your challenges in adjusting to life as a new mum. As women, we all feel better when we can talk about whatever is going on.
One way to break this myth is to encourage new mums to feel comfortable to say yes to help or support offered by family and friends. Being at home with a baby can be isolating and exhausting – take ‘baby steps’ to allow yourself a break by accepting an offer for somebody to come over to fold your washing, drop off dinner or look after your baby even just for half an hour to allow you the mental space to go out for a walk alone in the sunshine.
The arrival of a child results in a huge shift in the dynamic of every relationship. It is really important, as a couple, to acknowledge this. Men want to be able to help – it is innately important to them to be able to “fix things” – but so often they just don’t know how. Talk to your partner about what you need and how they can help on a practical level – bathing the baby, ensuring you get that quiet half hour to yourself while they take the baby for a walk.
Most important, remember that motherhood means a huge shift in a woman’s identity which impacts self-esteem. I really believe that creating time to be kind to yourself in whatever way you need makes such a difference.
If eating chocolate straight out of the pack isn’t the best then these CHOCOLATE ROSEMARY ALMOND COOKIES are really the next best thing! They’re vegan, as is all Loving Earth Choc, gluten, and refined sugar free. Such a delicious treat and so very fast to whip together if you’ve guests coming over, or you need something just for you. If you don’t have rosemary on hand it’s fine to omit, but if you do, don’t be shy to use it, it sounds bizarre but the flavour is just divine!
Preheat oven to 160C and line baking tray with greaseproof paper. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Roll into 12 balls, place on lined baking tray and press down lightly with back of fork. Cook in middle of oven for 12-14 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool on baking tray and store in airtight container.
This month on Brown Paper Eats our gift with purchase to our lovely customers is in partnership with Loving Earth. We believe in partnering and collaborating with people, communities and brands who share a similar philosophy to ours in health.
Loving Earth is an ethically driven company that believes Food is Sacred. Their vibe is bean-to-bar whole food chocolate from regeneratively grown cacao. Loving Earth’s passion is real relationships with grower communities around the world. They work their magic in a solar powered factory to craft plant-based chocolate bars. All their chocolate packaging is home compostable and made from recycled board using vegetable inks.
If you haven’t yet tried Brown Paper Eats or Loving Earth maybe July is your month to do so! In the meantime head on over to Loving Earth to learn more of the nourishing philosophies behind their bean to bar practise and if chocolate cookies are your thing be sure to make theselittle wonders here….