Eating Clean in 2016
By The Fitness Dietitian
Hi Everyone,

The latest craze lately seems to be clean eating. Anyone who’s anyone seems to be “eating clean”, but what does this even mean? Sure, images of people washing their food may come to mind, but really, clean eating just boils down to how real your food is. To me, this isn’t really even a craze, it’s something my mum’s instilled in me since I was a little kid.

Clean eating has many definitions but to me, it isn’t a diet or a strict set of rules. It is a positive commitment to being a conscious eater (look out for my next article on mindful eating). Clean eating is caring about the source of your food. Clean eating is choosing fresh, wholesome, nutritious foods. Clean eating is buying locally produced foods and making things yourself. Clean eating to me means lots of fresh fruits and veggies, lots of wholegrains and lots of HOME COOKING!!! If food must come from a package, try and choose foods that have less than 3 ingredients on the entire label, are free from additives and in the least processed form possible. Clean eating IS NOT over processed or over packaged foods. Clean eating IS NOT foods packaged in plastic or loaded with colours, preservatives or other additives. Clean eating is not packaged foods made in India, or China, or America. Clean eating IS NOT a cleanse or a detox – your body does not need to “cleanse or detox” it has a liver and kidneys to do this job! Finally, let me say this one last time, clean Eating is NOT a diet or a restrictive set of rules!

I find that the biggest misconception about eating clean is that it is too hard or inconvenient. In my experience, my clients often sacrifice nutritional value for highly processed convenience foods. This is due to a number of reasons, with the main two being they are busy and time poor; or they get sucked in by eye-catching packaging and persuasive marketing on labels, such as “gluten free” “fat free” or “organic”. Have you ever picked up a protein bar in a shiny wrapper which claims to be low carb, low fat, high protein , sugar free and gluten free? If you were to turn the label over, you would find it was full of artificial sweeteners, fillers, chemical flavour enhancers and preservatives which can be detrimental to our health. Clean eating means that we try and avoid packaged foods as much as possible and a quick tip to help with this is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Here you will find the majority of items that allow us to practise clean eating, as it’s usually where all the fresh fruit, veggies, meats and seafood are kept.

By eating clean – even just for one week, you will find your eating patterns miraculously healthier (without even dieting!), you will help the environment and best of all, you will learn to eat to nourish and fuel your bodies, not just for the sake of eating.

Here’s some tips to get you started:
- Buy local, homemade foods where possible: Hello markets!! Do your friends have their own chooks, do you have your own herb garden? Does your neighbour have an apple tree in season? - Try to eat in-season produce. Summer produce are fruits such as berries, grapes and melons and vegetables such as asparagus, capsicums, carrots, tomatoes, zucchinis and celery. - Drink water and lots of it: Try mixing in lemon, mint or fruit pieces to add variety to your tastebuds. - Eat a wide variety of fresh produce: Think grilled tofu and brown rice, vegetable stacks, cous cous & salmon with leafy green salads, poached chicken and roasted veggies. - If you get hungry, try snacking on dry roasted nuts, boiled eggs, fresh fruit, homemade trail mix or granola, roasted chick peas, veggie chips (eg. Zucchini, sweet potato). - If your looking for a treat: make your own dark chocolate, try figs and honey, try homemade health slice or granola, homemade smoothie, avocado & chocolate mousse, banana pieces with 100% natural peanut butter, apple slices with cinnamon and honey… the list is endless! (For these and many more great recipes, check out my Facebook or Instagram page - @the_fitness_dietitian).
- Buy organic where possible. That said, it may not always be possible as it may be too pricey or not in season. A great tip is to use the Environmental Working Group’s Clean 15 list – conventional grown (ie. Sprayed with chemicals) produce that has absorbed the least amount of nasties. For 2014’s list, click here

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to “eat clean” and while you’re at it, don’t forget to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and add some exercise or movement into your day!

I know it’s hard (and expensive) to eat completely organic and clean and I myself don’t even do that!! However, I do try my hardest each and every day to just try and eat, fresh, local and as less processed as possible. I still have packaged foods (eg. yoghurt, oats, peanut butter), but I try and find the least processed forms possible (remember aim for less than 3 ingredients on the label) and aim for no additives or preservatives. Your body will thank you for it!!

Let me know how you go – if you don’t think you can last a week, try it out for just a day and try for two days the next time you do it!! If you can last a week, go for two and so on and so on, before you know it, healthy eating habits will be a normal part of your life and your body will be bursting with nutrients and energy!

Love Leanne.

Food Myths 
Hi guys,
Every wondered if your "healthiest habits" are sabotaging your health and fitness goals?
I see this time and time again, even at work, I sit in the tea room and hear other health professionals (I work in a hospital) discussing the latest diet their on, the latest superfood their taking or the latest health trend their following. More often than not, I can't even finish my lunch, I simply get up, walk away and breathe deeply. Let me explain why.
Myth 1: The raw food obsession/ the raw desserts obsession. It's a great idea to add in lots of raw foods to our diets but try to focus on the plant foods and not so much on the raw desserts. Now, don't get me wrong, I love a raw piece of cheesecake as much as the next person but I remind myself that it is still a piece of cheesecake (no matter how raw) and needs to be eaten in moderation and as an occasional treat. As you're eating your raw treats from your favourite organic café, try to remember they are still filled with lashings of coconut oil , maple syrup, dates and nuts (note: very high calorie!). More often than not, although they are delicious, raw & vegan friendly, these treats often have higher calories than their un-raw counterparts.
Myth 2: Going gluten free for the health benefits. I saw a person post a picture on Instagram the other day titled "Gluten free, guilt free" **face palm** Gluten free foods are used to treat special dietary conditions diagnosed by doctors and dietitians such as coeliac disease, gluten intolerance and IBS. Gluten free foods won't cause you harm but they're NOT necessary in the majority of people’s diet, they will also NOT help you loose weight, more than likely, you'll gain weight as many gluten free foods are filled with extra calories in an attempt to replace the texture of the gluten. If you want to lose weight, save your money, your taste buds and your waistline and focus on eating a variety of wholesome nutritious foods and exercising regularly in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Myth 3: High protein-low carb everything. There is a lot of hype at the moment around "carbs" being the devil and fats and proteins are the only way to go. If you walk down the supermarket aisles, you will find plenty of products labelled as high protein, low carb but if you turn over the label, they are usually filled with chemicals and other junk needed to fulfil this marketing tend. I believe in balance and that a healthy diet contains all three macronutrients, carbs, fats and protein. Now, having said that, it's the different types of macronutrients that matter. Choose healthy fats, lean proteins and good quality carbs such as oats, quinoa, brown rice and sweet potato. If you insist on following the high protein, low carb eating pattern, rely on real, wholesome foods, not processed bars and shakes from the supermarket where you can’t even pronounce the ingredient list.
Myth 4: The juicing/smoothie craze. Every diabetic patient I saw last week seemed to have a brand new blender and was juicing like crazy! Needless to say, I had to break a few hearts last week in order to stabilise a few blood sugar levels! Smoothies and juices are a great addition to your diet, especially green ones but watch what you put in them. Some recipes have enough energy for an entire meal yet people are using it as a drink only, then eating a whole meal on top of the smoothie. I've seen some great low kilojoule smoothies (eg. spinach, water, lemon, ginger, apple and celery- my personal fav!) but I've also seen the other extreme: milk, peanut butter, honey, chocolate, banana, ice-cream. These are fine to have but be mindful of your portion sizes and best to share with a friend or ask for a half serve if you're watching your waistline. If you’re blending up smoothies in your home, aim for a 4:1 ratio of veggies to fruit (ie. 4 different veggies is to 1 piece of fruit). Also, scrap down the sides of your blender or you're missing out on the vital nutrients, like fibre!
Myth 5: Eating "sugar-free" Every person I talk to seems to be eating "sugar free" at the moment but there is a lot of misconception about what this actually means. Replacing white cane sugar with other types of sugars (eg. maple syrup, dates, honey, argave syrup etc) doesn't make your favourite food "sugar-free", sure it might make it "raw" as I mentioned before but it still contains energy and will add to your waistline. Also, these types of sugars DO NOT contain any miracle health benefits (despite numerous claims) and they all still contain SUGAR! I prefer to sweeten my foods with natural sugars found in other foods such as fruit and yoghurt. There is no need to eliminate every ounce of sugar from your diet, as always, just be mindful of your portion sizes. Oh and just for the record, a recipe is NOT sugar free if it contains maple syrup, dates, honey, fruit or argave syrup!
Myth 6: Eating "organic" everything as it's always good for you. Let's not get me wrong, organic fruit and veggies are a great option if you can afford them, as is organic meat, dairy products and cleaning products etc etc The real issue is with overly processed foods such as chips or cakes - when they claim to be "organic" (which im sure they are) but they are still just chips or cake, so again, as always, watch your portion sizes and save your money by spending it on organic fruit, veg and proteins instead. I'll leave you with a funny quote on organic food I found the other day: "I hate when I think I'm buying organic vegetables and when I get home I discover they're just regular donuts..."
Myth 7: Detoxing is necessary for our bodies. As I posted the other day, please don't waste your money on expensive detoxes! Your body has an inbuilt detox system – the lungs, liver, and kidneys working every minute of the day to effectively 'cleanse' your body of waste products. You won't get a better detox than that.. Not to mention a cheaper and safer one! If you are adamant on detoxing as you've been eating poorly lately, try nourishing your body by cutting down on fatty, highly-processed foods, alcohol and caffeine, and eat a balanced diet – making sure you get plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and water. Don't forgot to move your body too - exercise is a great stress reliever & helps to keep your body in tip top form. Forgot those expensive drinks and tablets, they’re just a waste of your hard earned money and instead focus on nourishing your body with wholefoods!
Hope you guys found this useful - I just can't believe some of the health crazes around at the moment. I mean, it's wonderful everyone wants to be healthier, but just remember, there is no substitute for real, wholesome foods and there is no real need to cut anything out of your diet (especially whole food groups!) - you can eat anything you want in moderation as long as you're eating well, eating when you're truly hungry (not bored!) ie. Mindful eating and exercising regularly.
Please share with your friends and families if this helped you, made you smile or simply reminded you of someone you know.
Love Leanne xo
Why Dieting Doesn’t Work
By The Fitness Dietitian
Hi everyone,

My name is Leanne and I’m an Accredited Practising Dietitian and an Accredited Nutritionist working in Brisbane. I have a love of food, fitness and generally improving ones health on a daily basis. With the new year comes new resolutions and I hear from my clients, family and friends almost daily about the newest diet or weight loss tricks.

There are so many diet and eating trends out there that it sometimes gets confusing and overwhelming, even for people like me! Luckily, I’m here to help you! So which diet is best you ask? Will the high protein diet, juice diet, baby food diet, low carb diet, no sugar diet, 5:2 diet, liquid diet, detox diet or gluten free diet finally give you your dream body? Well… sadly, NO, but please allow me to explain why.

The only thing all of these diets have in common (besides being expensive, draining and HARD TO FOLLOW) are that they all make exceptional claims to be the best way of eating, which among others will help you to lose weight, gain energy and miraculously fix all your health issues PLUS end world poverty (ok, maybe not the last one!), but you get my point! If these diets really were all they claim to be, wouldn’t all dietitian’s and health professionals be following them? Surely there wouldn’t be an obesity epidemic or the health services wouldn’t be overrun with chronic diseases?

I have to tell it to you honestly right now, WE’RE REALLY MISSING THE POINT!!!

We’re getting so hung up on which diet is best, macronutrient distributions, food restrictions and food demonization, that society is getting FATTER THAN EVER!! The evidence shows us that some of the healthiest people in the world eat a very simple and basic diet. They don’t calculate the amount of fat or carbs in their meals, they don’t go out and make a chocolate cake with raw, vegan, gluten, dairy, egg free ingredients and they certainly don’t count their calories. They simply eat natural, healthy and unprocessed foods.

Here, I am going to present to you the inside workings of my dietitian brain. This list of tips will help you to live the healthiest, happiest and best life you can imagine, WITHOUT THE NEED FOR A DIET!

But first, let’s talk quickly about why dieting doesn’t work. I’m guessing a lot of you have been in this scenario before. You restrict food to try and lose weight, you then feel deprived and your desire for the foods you are restricting increases, you finally give into temptation and eat those “forbidden” foods (this is done very quickly, without actually enjoying it and often you eat a lot more than you normally would as because you’ve “already fallen off the wagon!”). Next come the feeling of guilt and failure and you are more than likely angry at yourself for not having the willpower to resist. So you begin to restrict yourself again and the cycle continues… Does this sounds familiar or do you know someone else caught in this cycle? As you can probably see, dieting doesn’t work in the long term. Usually the weight you lose, you end up re-gaining and often even more! Dieting can also destroy your self-esteem, lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, lead to unhealthy or obsessive behaviours and even mess with your metabolism.

So, do yourself a favour and STOP DIETITING!! Follow the healthiest populations in the world and eat natural, healthy and unprocessed foods. Eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you are full! Let me say that again, eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you are full! Do not count calories or restrict certain macronutrients. It’s not the amount of fat, protein or carbs you’re eating, usually it’s just that you simply eat too much. Stop yourself from binging on foods or obsessing over them. If you want something, have a small amount. Be present when you are eating it, savour it and really enjoy the taste. Trust me, you will eat a hell of a lot less this way rather than shovelling it down your throat whilst watching tv. Stay present in the moment when you are eating, switch your phone to silent, turn off the tv and engage with your friends and family. Food is meant for enjoyment and nourishment, teach your family and friends this. Put your fork down between mouthfuls and really enjoy the taste of the food. It isn’t necessary to finish every last mouthful on your plate (despite what our parents used to tell us) – you can always have leftovers!

I hope my post today has opened your eyes to why dieting doesn’t work and why the latest diet trend may not be the best for your body. There are numerous ways to eat and one approach does not work for everyone. Restricting things from our meals just makes us want it even more. If you are caught in the restrictive “dieting cycle”, try these simple tips to break free: eat for health instead of for weight loss - respect your body and feed it nutrients, not food, make peace with what you eat – don’t label foods as “good” and “bad”, deal with negative emotions without using food (go for a walk, call your best friend, have a hot bath), and finally, start exercising – trust me, you’ll soon notice the difference.

People always ask me: “Do I eat chocolate? Do I eat bread? Do I drink alcohol?” YES to all of these and more! And while I’m at it, I even occasionally drink soft drink and it’s not even the natural kind!! Sometimes I eat chips (which are NOT kale!) and sometimes I eat pancakes and ice-cream for breakfast!! Am I obese? NO!!! I eat what I want, when I am hungry. Sometimes I eat a smaller portion, sometimes I make time for an extra gym session and I add an additional serve of veggies to my meals. What I don’t do is restrict certain things from my eating habits or shame myself for eating them. I eat fresh, healthy and wholesome foods the majority of the time and make sure I lift some weights, do some yoga to clear my mind and fit in some cardio sessions a few times a week. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect all the time (no one is). One burger isn’t going to make you fat, just like one salad won’t make you healthy. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters.

Thank-you for reading and PLEASE SHARE with anyone you know that you think would benefit from this post. In fact, please just share this as I’m sure we all know numerous people who would benefit from this post.

Love Leanne.
Top 10 Health Hacks 
Top 10 health hacks to prevent over eating.

1. Use the rule of 1/3. Mentally divide your plate into thirds before you begin eating your meal. Allow yourself to eat 1/3 only (mindfully!) then put your cutlery down, take a few sips of water, chat and have a rest for a few minutes. Then start on the second third. Do the same again once you finish the second third before deciding if you are still hungry enough to need the final third of the meal.

2. Set a timer with 20 minutes and aim to finish your meal after the 20 minutes is up (not before!). Studies have shown it takes roughly 20 minutes for the brain to recognise that the tummy is full, therefore if you want seconds, wait at least 20 minutes to make sure you are truly hungry for more.

3. Use smaller plates and cups. Research has shown that people who eat off smaller plates, eat 20-25% less food. This is a fabulous idea to trick your mind into thinking you are eating a decent portion that is going to be satisfying.

4. Practice mindfulness. Savour each bite and chew each mouthful at least 10 times. Enjoy the flavours as they are released each time you chew and try and recognise something different in each mouthful (taste, texture, heat, colour, smell etc). Turn off the tv, leave the smart phone in the other room and eat your meal at the table. People tend to overeat when they are distracted so don’t allow yourself any distractions at meal times (that means no eating in front of the tv!)

5. Have a large glass of water or herbal tea before your meal. This can help you to feel fuller and eventually eat less during the meal. If you are thinking about going back for seconds, have a glass of water first and then wait 5 minutes to see how you feel. Don’t forget, dehydration can sometimes makes you think you are hungry when you are not, so remember to hydrate regularly!

6. Out of sight, out of mind. Serve yourself only what you need and remove the rest from your sight. Ie. Put away leftovers in the fridge or take them off the table. If the food is still in front of you when you finish your meal, you’re more likely to reach for seconds (even if you’re not hungry!)

7. If you are out at a restaurant, start with an entrée salad and a large glass of water or herbal tea. The fibre in the salad will help you to feel fuller and prevent you from over eating at the main meal or dessert. When it comes time for the main meal, order an entrée or small serve or if the restaurant doesn’t offer one, ask for a take away container and box up half the meal before you even start eating (remember, out of sight, out of mind). If you must eat dessert, share it with someone or ask the waiter for only half a serve.

8. Put your fork down between every mouthful. This automatically helps you to slow down and savour each bite. This trick can also make it easier to identify when you are beginning to feel full and prevent over eating.

9. Rate your hunger before you start eating on a scale of 1-10 (1= starving, 5= neither hungry or full and 10=over full). The hungrier you are, the more likely you are to overeat and end up too full. Don’t let yourself get too hungry between meal times as you are more likely to make poor food choices and eat so quickly that you end up over eating and making yourself sick. Aim to prepare or order meals when you’re about a 3-4 so you’re eating when you’re about a 2-3 (if you let yourself get down to the 1-2 on the hunger scale, aka you are ravenous, you’ll quickly end up on the other side of the scale aka 9-10 and feel as sick as you did on Christmas Day!).

10. Finally, beware of your portion sizes. The best meal plate has ½ plate of salad or non-starchy veggies, ¼ plate of lean protein and ¼ plate of low GI carbohydrates. An example of a great meal would be: ¼ plate fish or chicken or tofu, ¼ plate roasted sweet potato or brown rice or wholemeal pasta and half plate of stir fry veggies (mushrooms, broccoli, kale, snow peas, capsicum, zucchini, bamboo shoots, onion, cauliflower etc etc). Any meal can be made healthier by tyring to match it to this ‘plate guide’. Say for example you are out for fish and chips (serve ¼ chips, ¼ fish (ask for grilled or pull off the batter and order half a plate of salad on the side). The beauty of eating this way is that you don’t miss out on your favourite foods, you simply rearrange your plate a little to reduce the carbs and protein and increase the veggie servings (half a plate of pizza and half a plate of salad sounds much better than a whole plate of salad!).

Happy Nourishing!

Written by Leanne Ward (Nutritionist, Dietitian and Provisional Sports Dietitian)