Loose weight with Arlene Normand

January 20, 2015


Filed under: Health — Arlene @ 3:12 am



If you are doing everything right but still gaining weight, a medical problem could be to blame.  Here are five frequently missed culprits behind excess kilos.


If the needle in the bathroom scale starts creeping up or refuses to head down, you will probably suspect too many doughnuts, not diseases or drugs.  While the usual culprits – too much food, too little exercise – do account for most excess kilos, there are some surprisingly common medical conditions and widely used drugs that can add anywhere from a little to a lot of excess weight.  Here are some to watch for if you inexplicably find fat either packing on or unwilling to go.


  1. Hormonal Havoc

You would think that 20 kilos or more would be a clue to something amiss.  Yet many of the 7-10% of premenopausal women with polycystic ovary syndrome often go for years unaware that their weight gain is in part due to this under diagnosed condition, in which the ovaries and sometimes the adrenal glands, for unknown reasons, pump out too much male hormone.  Because the kilos typically pile on gradually beginning around puberty, or sometimes don’t surface until post pregnancy weight refuses to budge, it is frequently not obvious to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome sufferers, or their doctors, that there is a medical trigger.  Possible tip offs; thinning hair, excess facial hair, severe acne, irregular periods, and impaired fertility – all hallmarks of excess male hormone.  It is not the male hormone that triggers the weight gain though.  So what does?  Short answer:  Nobody knows.  While there seems to be a genetic component to PCOS – it runs in families – and a genetic component associated weight gain, there is little to explain why some of those diagnosed develop weight problems while others do not.  It is clear that cultural and environmental factors play a part because Europeans and Americans on the coast who may feel more social pressure to be skinny, gain much less weight on average than do their (sometimes literal) sisters in Middle America or Europe.  The encouraging side of this is that while man women with PCOS feel like their weight is an immovable number studies show that almost any women with PCOS, treated or not, can, if put on a supervised diet and exercise program, lose 10% or more of body weight.  Dropping such a moderate amount of weight will often, in turn, push male hormone levels down, leading to a resumption of regular periods and improved chances of conception.


  1. Thicker from thyroid?For the most part, blaming a sluggish thyroid for excess weight falls in the “you wish” category.  A lot of overweight people sort of hope they have hypothyroidism because it’s treatable, but it is rare to find someone who is significantly overweight because of an under active thyroid.  Even if there is decreased thyroid function, correcting it doesn’t cause much gain to begin with.  If weight creep is on a small scale – in the 2-5 kilo mark – it is possible that hypothyroidism is behind it, though.  If you have other telltale symptoms, such as brittle nails and hair, dry skin and a tendency to feel the cold, definitely get checked out.  If your thyroid is to blame, treatment should shrink you a bit, but not because of fat loss.  Another name for hypothyroidism is “myxedema”, which describes a kind of swelling from thick fluid like fluid that is a hallmark of chronic thyroid.  Most of thyroid-prompted weight gain, therefore, is actually due to excess fluid, not fat; correcting the thyroid problem banishes soggy tissue, along with its kilos, pretty effectively.


  2. The weight of waterExtra kilos do not always equal fat, but are sometimes due to fluid retention – familiar to most women from premenstrual symptoms.  If puffiness isn’t related to the menstrual cycle, though, it should not be ignored, as you have to ensure that it is not heart or kidney related.  If you push a fingertip into your skin and it leaves a real indentation rather than springing back, that is a tip-off that it is fluid, not fat.  Other symptoms include shortness of breath (congestive heart disease), decreased urine output and loss of appetite (kidney failure), and fatigue and increased abdominal girth even without weight gain, for both.  Liver disease and certain cancers can cause abnormal fluid accumulation in the abdomen as well, so any big boost in your waist size, with or without weight gain, warrants a look by your doctor.


  3. A knot in your stomachUnlikely, but worth mentioning.  If women have rapid unexplained weight gain, it is possible, though rare, that they have a tumour.  One example: ovarian tumours, some of which are benign, such as dermoid tumour, a weird conglomeration of various body tissues (sometimes including teeth) that grow in the abdomen.  Don’t ignore any disproportionate expansion of your middle – check it with a physician.


  4. Rx that rounds you upDo you take any medicines on a regular basis?  Then there’s a chance that one of them may nudging your figure toward the fuller side.  Some medicines that commonly cause weight gain:
    • Antidepressants are probably the most common weight gain agents.  Of the widely prescribed SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRI’s (selective serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), many researchers and clinicians believe that they tend to produce some weight gain, though typically not more than a few kilos.  Within each class of antidepressant are some that tend to produce more weight gain than others.
    • Anti-diabetes drugs  Ironically medications for Type 11 diabetes – the kind caused primarily by obesity – are often responsible for further weight gain, creating a vicious cycle.   However there are others that do not cause weight gain – some help with weight loss.
    • Oral contraception may plump you up a bit.  The low-dose pill commonly prescribed now won’t add more than a few kilos.
    • Steroids are among the literal heaviest hitters.  The most commonly prescribed to control severe autoimmune problems, including asthma, arthritis, lupus and inflammatory bowel disease.  Long-term use can increase appetite and hike weight by 10 kilos or more.  The symptoms these steroids alleviate are potentially life threatening, you do not have much choice but to be on them when you need to be.  However doctors should be vigilant about cycling patients off medication when they don’t need it, which can help them lose some of the weight they have accumulated.  Many people who are on a medication and start to gain weight often stop taking their medicine.  Don’t do that!  Keep taking it while you ask your doctor about switching to something else.  Whether a drug will cause you to gain weight is hard to predict.  An antidepressant that pushes one person’s weight up will push another’s down. Part of a person’s problem maybe unrestrained eating, and as the depression comes under control, so does the emotional eating.  If a medication is good for you, wait and see how it affects you, or look for another way to avoid weight gain.



April 1, 2012

Sugar Addiction

Filed under: Health — Arlene @ 7:05 am

Breaking Your Sugar Addiction

That white, powdery substance just makes you feel good. You can’t get it off your mind, and you keep coming back for more. The more you have it, the more you want it! But even when you try to stay away from it, it finds ways to sneak into your life almost daily. What can you do?

We’re not talking about some dangerous or illegal drug here; we’re talking about sugar. Although it’s considered harmless in comparison, sugar, in excess, can cause a host of problems for a lot of us: cravings, binge eating, weight gain and heart disease among them. The average Australian  consumed 70 kg of sugar in 1999—an all time high. Since then, consumption has dropped slightly and in 2010 the average Australian consumed 60 kg. (To put that into perspective, consider that the number was just 2 kg in the year 1700.) At least half of the sugar we consume comes from soft drinks, fruit drinks, and sports drinks. The rest sneaks into our diets in the form of ketchup, teriyaki sauce, chocolate milk and the obvious sweets like cookies, cakes, ice cream and even breakfast cereal. Surprisingly, some “healthy foods” such as yogurt and instant oatmeal can pack in 20-30 grams (5-7 teaspoons) of unnecessary added sugar! It seems like we’re drowning in sugar, and nobody is wearing a life vest.

It is recommend that we limit our daily sugar consumption to 7% or less of our daily calorie intake—that’s about 6 teaspoons (100 calories) for women and 9 teaspoons (150 calories) for men. But that adds up fast. Just one 300 ml  can of regular soda contains 8-10 teaspoons of sugar and 130-150 calories. One glazed donut contains 6 teaspoons, and a half cup ice cream (the standard serving size, although most portions are much, much larger) contains 4 grams of added sugar!

Why Should You Care? Is Sugar Actually Bad for You?
Well, aside from the increased bulge around the waistline, diets high in sugar are strongly linked to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, elevated triglycerides, low HDL (good) cholesterol levels, and heart disease. Sugar intake has also been linked to depression, migraines, poor eyesight, autoimmune diseases (such as arthritis, and multiple sclerosis), gout and osteoporosis.

Recent research has shown that a high intake of carbohydrates, including sugar, releases a feel good chemical in the brain called serotonin. Think of how you feel after indulging in a high sugar meal or treat—almost euphoric, right? The high of a sugar rush is temporary though. After a few hours—or even a few minutes—you start to crash and you become tired, fatigued and lethargic.

Although sweet foods are tempting and delicious to most people (blame Mother Nature for that!), the more sugar you eat, the higher your tolerance becomes. So if you have a strong sweet tooth or intense cravings for sugar, chances are not that you were born that way, but that your dietary habits and food choices created the sugar monster you may have become.

Fortunately, we can reverse this tolerance in just a couple of weeks by cutting out sugar. Once you have decreased your threshold, something that tasted perfectly sweet a few weeks ago, will begin to taste too sweet to eat, and that can help you reduce your intake of the sweet stuff. The less sweet you have the less sweet you crave!

Cutting Out Sugar:
While the occasional sweet treat won’t make or break your weight loss or your health, many people have trouble stopping after a sensible portion or saying no to sugar when it’s available. If you feel out of control around sugar, then a sugar “detox” is a great way to reduce your cravings, eat better, and bring sugar back to where it belongs: as an occasional treat that you consciously choose to eat in a mindful manner, not a daily treat occurrence that controls you.

Follow this month-long plan to break your sugar addiction!

Week 1: Identify Sugar and Where It’s Hiding
The first step in conquering your sugar habit is to rid your pantry and refrigerator of added sugar. Some things (think ice cream, biscuits, chocolates and lollies) are obvious, but most of us need to look closer at where the sugar in our diets is coming from. Be aware. Reading labels before you buy—or bite. How many of your favourite foods contain hidden sugars in the top of their ingredients lists?

Once you have identified the sources of sugar in your diet, clean out your kitchen. Throw out or donate all of the products that contain hidden or added sugars, including any juice, drinks , lollies, sweets and seemingly healthy snacks like granola bars, fruit and grain bars, instant oatmeal and sports drinks. This may sound drastic, but stay with me!

Remember, you don’t have to throw away everything that is sweet! Natural sugar, like the kind you find in whole fruit, contains vitamins, minerals and fiber, which are lost in the processing of juice. Milk contains naturally occurring sugars, but also provides calcium, vitamin D and protein. So unlike soda, fruit juices and other processed foods, whole fruit and dairy products provide us with essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. Be wary of certain fruit- or milk-based products that contain added sugars though: flavored milk, many yogurts, fruits canned or jellied in added sugar or syrups, and the like. Opt for unflavored skim or 1% milk, plain yogurt or Greek yogurt, and whole pieces of fruit. Remember, we are trying to cut out the 151 pounds a year of added sugar, not the naturally occurring sugar found in whole foods.

Week 2: Stock Your Sugar-Free Kitchen
In one week, you’ve probably found lots of sugar in your diet. Some of it may have been obvious, like those frozen waffles or lattes from the local coffee joint. But others might not have been so clear, as sugar tends to lurk in many “diet” foods and lower-fat foods, added by manufacturers to make their low-cal offerings taste better.

Now that you know what to look for (and avoid), it’s time to replace the products you tossed with sugar-free counterparts. For example, replace high-sugar cereals with a whole grain cereal that contains little to no added sugars. Sweeten it naturally with fresh berries or half of a diced banana. Instead of snacking on candy or cookies, reach for a handful of nuts or some raw veggies and hummus. Replace sweetened yogurt with Greek yogurt or plain yogurt. Look back at week one and the foods you used to eat that contained sugar. Can you find no-sugar oatmeal? A healthier snack than a sugar-sweetened smoothie (how about a whole piece of fruit)? A more filling afternoon treat than that sugary “protein bar” (such as peanut butter on whole-grain crackers)?

When choosing a refreshing beverage to quench your thirst, keep in mind that you want to eat your calories, not drink them. Choose ice cold water flavored with a squeeze of fresh lemon or an orange slice. Or flavor unsweetened iced tea with fresh mint, crushed raspberries, or a squeeze of citrus.

One tip to help you avoid added sugar at the supermarket is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store as much as possible. Think about the general layout of a grocery store: The outside is home to fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, dairy products, and whole grain breads and the inside aisles are stocked with cookies, chips, soda, fruit juice, cake mixes, and other processed foods. Spend most of your time on the outside and only go down the inner aisles for specific products, like whole-grain pasta.

Never shop on an empty stomach and always shop with a list. Shopping while hungry can lead you to adding all kinds of snacks and impulse buys to your cart. Meal planning can be a tricky task at first, but following a meal plan is an important part of breaking the sugar addiction. It will help to keep you on track and help prevent stopping for fast food when you don’t have a game plan for dinner. Spend a little time on Sunday afternoons jotting down some meal ideas for throughout the week. Make a list of the food items you will need to make the meals you wrote down and stick to it!


July 15, 2010

Guide to Soft White Cheeses

Filed under: Health — Arlene @ 11:16 pm

Guide to Soft White Cheeses

Soft white cheeses range from the low-kilojoule cottage and ricotta through to the indulgent camembert and brie.

For centuries cheese has been made from the milk of cows, goats and other animals. Now there are hundreds of different cheese varieties, determined by the enzymes and bacterial cultures used and the length of heating and processing. Just as the flavours vary, so too does the nutritional content.

Nutrients in Cheese

Cheese us a concentrated form of milk so it is naturally rich in vitamins such as Vitamin A, riboflavin, bone building nutrients such as protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorous. Cheese also contains fat, particularly saturated fat – the unhealthy kind. Most soft cheeses vary in fat content, from 10-40 percent.

Soft White Varieties

There are three types of soft white cheeses:

· Fresh unripened cheeses: ricotta, quark, feta, cottage cheese and the Indian cheese paneer. They have a high water and whey content and should be eaten soon after purchase.

· Fresh, stretched-curd cheeses: these include mozzarella and bocconcini, which are usually sold in balls or in salted whey.

· Soft ripened cheeses: brie and camembert are the best known. They are covered in white mould, have a soft creamy centre and tend to have a stronger flavour.

What to Look for on the Label

Fat: Cheese is naturally high in fat and about two thirds of the fat is saturated. Choose an “every day cheese” with a total fat content under 10g per 100g, such as cottage or reduced fat ricotta.

Sodium: Salt is essential for cheese making – it helps develop the flavour and texture, and controls the ripening by stopping the growth of undesirable moulds and bacteria. The sodium content of soft white cheeses varies from 20 – 3000mg per 100g. If you are overweight and have a high blood pressure, look for cheese the least fat and sodium – try ricotta, bocconcini, and cottage cheese.

Calcium: We need three serves of dairy a day to achieve the recommended daily intake of calcium – a 40g piece of cheese is considered one serve. Soft cheese can vary considerably in its calcium content: between 73g and 950mg per 100g. Cottage cheese and quark are lower in calcium than others. Try to choose a product that has at least 120mg per 100g – an equivalent amount found in 100ml of milk.

How much, how often

For adults: If you are a cheese lover, keep the camembert and brie for special occasions. For every day use look for lower fat or reduced fat cheeses such as bocconcini, cottage, ricotta, or any reduced fat feta, cheddar, pecorino and Edam varieties.

June 22, 2010

Live Laugh Love

Filed under: Health — Arlene @ 12:39 am

Life is no brief candle. It is a sort of splendid torch that you have hold of for the moment, and you want to make it burn as brightly as possible for yourself and for others, before handing it on to future generations. We have one life. We should live and enjoy every moment!

Healthy eating and exercise, as part of a ‘wholistic’ balanced lifestyle, can truly nourish us – feeding our body, mind, heart and soul.

Wholesome food in the correct portion gives you energy and vitality, boosts your thinking, you ability to concentrate and improves your mood. It also influences your length and enjoyment of life, and ultimately, healthy living increases your capacity for living your dreams and fulfilling your purpose in life.

To improve your vitality and put some bounce back into your step, try to:

Base most of your meals on nature’s whole foods as minimally processed and as close to their natural state as possible. Keep your portions small – your body does not need too much food.

One of the best ways to increase your energy levels is to expend some. Walking is easy and calming.

Have enough sleep each night so that you wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. This is the time to recharge your batteries – when yo get into bed, try not to think about tomorrow, just unwind from today.

August 19, 2009


Filed under: Health — Arlene @ 12:52 am

Why do some people lose weight and maintain their new “svelte” figure, while others fail and live to regret it? Research has found that maintainers have the following in common:

1. They eat high carbohydate low fat diet. The low carbohydrate craze has not influenced the successful maintainers. On average they get 55-60% of their energy from carbohydrates, 24% from fat, and the rest from protein. They eat mainly “good” carbohydrates – fruit, vegetables, bread, cereal, and other high fibre foods. They keep their portions of high-sugar carbohydrates small and treat them as “occasional” food rather than “every day food”.

2. They are conscious of calories. Successful maintainers are continually aware of the number of calories they are eating no matter what regime they follow. They are aware that a calorie is a calorie no matter whether the source is protein, carbohydrate, fat or alcohol.

3. They eat breakfast. Eight out of ten maintainers eat breakfast every day. This gets their metabolism revved up for the day. On average they consume five small meals or snacks through the day rather than any large meals. Many have reduced their intake at night.

4. They self monitor. Successful maintainers weigh themselves at least once a week, some more frequently. It is ideal to weigh yourself on a Friday before the weekend, and on a Monday after the weekend.

5. They engage in a lot of physical activity , 60 – 90 minutes each day. Successful maintainers look at their diaries and carve out time every day for planned exercise. They also look at ways to make their days more active. Walking is the most popular form of exercise.

6. Successful maintainers live in the “real” world. They are not “good” all the time, but balance their diet and exercise. If they have a bad day they ensure they cut back on their eating the next day. The majority gain a small amount of weight on the weekends and during holidays, but they make certain they lose it straight away before one kilo becomes two kilos, etc. Many maintainers seek a professional to monitor their weight monthly as they have been on the rollercoaster before of gaining and losing weight. Many know that they never got it right the first time, but do not want to give up this time.

7. Successful maintainers realise that they cannot be motivated their whole lives to lose weight, they now have to accept their eating and exercise regime as a normal lifestyle. They feel better- energy, mood, and confidence. The fear of the consequence of returning to their past weight and the penalties both to their health, personality and lifestyle prevent them from over indulgence and giving up their exercise regime.

8. Successful maintainers tend to eat most meals at home. They do eat out nearly three times a week on average, and even visit a fast food outlet at least once a week. Their choices are made more carefully, and they find that high fat food effects how they feel.

9. They balance their lives socially, family and work. They ensure they get enough sleep as they realise that fatigue is a dreadful stimulus for overeating and lack of resolve.

10. Plan ahead. Organise exercise and make sure that the correct food is available. When no food is prepared it is easy to stray!

To be successful with maintaining weight loss, it is obvious from the above that you have to make a commitment for life to continue being more active and eating carefully. Your new lifestyle has to become a habit – which involves you being aware forever, and that can be hard work. Slipping back to old habits will be your downfall. Maintaining your weight is not just for a week or a month – but a lifetime, which means exercise and “normal” eating is for keeps!

July 28, 2009

Healthy Eating Schedule

Filed under: Health — Arlene @ 7:56 am

Daily Allowance:

2 cups low fat milk

2 teaspoons fat (butter, oil, margarine, peanut butter, avocado pear)

Exercise requirement: 45 minutes of aerobic exercise per day (walk/swim/gym) Work out a plan to add a little more exercise to your life every day. The exercise should be strenuous enough to make you a little breathless and to work up a sweat. If you have any pain or are gasping for breath, you are overdoing it.

All foods must be tasty – add herbs and spices. Make use of condiments (sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, mustard, chutney, pickles, pepper, Tabasco, curry)

Drinks: Diet cordial, diet soft drinks, unflavoured mineral water, tea, coffee, herbal teas, cocoa, Bonox/Bovril.

Day 1


½ cup high fibre cereal

Morning tea:

1 kiwi fruit


2 cups Potato and Leek Soup

Afternoon tea:

1 orange


Steaks with Port and Pears with Sesame Bok Choy


30 grams chocolate / 2 fresh dates

Day 2


1 slice whole grain toast with tomato and black pepper

Morning tea:

1 small nashi pear


Toasted cheese (30g) and tomato sandwich

Afternoon tea:

1 corn on the cob (in microwave for 4 minutes)


Pork with Orange Ginger Sauce served with 2 cups steamed/stir fry vegetables


Low-joule jelly

Day 3


2 scrambled eggs with grilled tomato and mushrooms

Morning tea:

2 dried figs


Tuna and Green Vegetable Salad

Afternoon tea:

1 slice raisin toast with jam


120g grilled chicken with Asparagus and Rocket Stir Fry


25g nuts and raisins

Day 4


1 slice sour dough toast with chopped banana and drizzle honey

Morning tea:

1 cup strawberries


Roast beef (60g) with salad on 2 slices rye bread flavoured with mustard/pickles/chutney

Afternoon tea:

5 dried apricots


Chicken and Vegetable Stir fry


1 jarrah hot chocolate/swiss miss/Cadbury lite

Day 5


1 poached egg with 1 lean piece of bacon, grilled tomato and mushrooms

Morning tea:

12 cherries


Ham sandwich (2 slices whole grain bread, 60 grams lean ham, mustard, alfalfa sprouts, 2 slices tomato, 2 slices beetroot, grated carrot, shredded lettuce)

Afternoon tea:

1-cup watermelon cubed


150 grams grilled fish and 2 serves of vegetables


1 Baked Bananas with ½ cup low fat custard

Day 6


½ cup cooked porridge

Morning tea:

200g low fat yoghurt


Chicken salad (120g chicken, lettuce, tomato, carrot, beetroot, cucumber, alfalfa sprouts, bean shoots, ½ cup tinned corn, low joule dressing)

Afternoon tea:

1 small pear


Veal Marsala with 2 cups salad and low joule salad dressing


1 cup rockmelon cubed

Day 7


1 toasted English muffin and honey

Morning tea:

1 mandarin


Baked potato with 90g cottage cheese and 2 cups salad

Afternoon tea:

1 cup honeydew melon cubed


Honeyed Fish Kebabs with 2cups steamed vegetables


1 jarrah hot chocolate/swiss miss/Cadbury lite

Chicken and Vegetable Stir fry

4 breast fillets, sliced 1/3 cup soy sauce

200g broccoli, chopped 1 Tblsp oil

150g green beans, sliced 1 small red capsicum, sliced

1 medium zucchini sliced 100g snow peas

1 tablespoon cornflour 2 tablespoon water

440g can unsweetened pineapple pieces

Combine chicken and sauce in bowl, mix well. Boil, steam or microwave broccoli until just tender, drain.

Heat oil in large pan or wok, add undrained chicken, stir fry until lightly browned. Add beans, pepper and zucchini, stir-fry 2 minutes. Stir in broccoli, snow peas, undrained pineapple, bended cornflour and water. Stir until mixture boils and thickens slightly

Steaks with Port and Pears

425g pear halves in syrup 1/3 cup port

1 clove garlic 2 tsp chopped fresh chives

1 tsp grated lemon rind 4 beef eye fillet steaks

1 Tblsp oil 1 small beef stock cube, crumbled

1/3 cup water 2 tsp cornflour

2 tsp water, extra 1 tblsp chopped fresh chives extra

Drain pears, reserve a cup syrup. Combine syrup, port, garlic, chives and rind in bowl. Add steaks, cover, refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Remove steaks from marinade, pat steaks dry with absorbent paper, reserve marinade.

Heat oil in pan, add steaks, cook on both sides few minutes until well browned.

Add marinade, stock cube and water, bring to boil, simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until steaks are tender; remove from pan.

Strain pan juices, return to pan, add blended cornflour and extra water. Stir over heat until sauce boils and thickens.

Add 4 pear halves to pan, reserve remaining pear halves for another use.

Stir gently over heat until pear halves are warmed through.

Serve steaks with sauce and pears. Sprinkle with extra chives.

Serves 4

Pork with Orange Ginger Sauce

4 pork butterfly steaks

1 tablepoon oil


1 tsp grated orange rind 1 cup orange juice

2 tblsp soy sauce 2 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp grated fresh ginger 1 clove garlic, crushed

Combine pork and marinade in bowl, cover, refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

Remove the steaks from marinade, reserve marinade. Heat oil in pan, add pork, cook until browned, add reserved marinade. Bring to boil, simmer, covered, about 5 minutes or until pork is cooked through. Serve pork with sauce.

Serves 4

Veal Marsala

1 Tblsp oil 4 veal steaks

1 onion chopped 250g mushrooms, sliced

¼ cup marsala 2 tsp cornflour

2/3 cup water 1 small chicken stock cube crumbled

1 Tblsp chopped fresh chives

Heat oil in pan, add veal, cook until lightly browned and tender; remove veal from the pan.

Add onion to pan, cook stirring, until soft. Add mushrooms, marsala, blended cornflour and water, and stock cube. Stir over heat until mixture boils and thickens; stir in chives.

Serve sauce over veal.

Serves 4

Honeyed Fish Kebabs

500g white fish fillets 12 cherry tomatoes

12 baby yellow squash 12 baby mushrooms


2 tblsp soy sauce 1 tblsp honey

1 clove garlic crushed 1 tblsp sweet sherry

1 tblsp lemon juice

Cut fish into 2 cm cubes. Combine fish and marinade in bowl, cover, refrigerate several hours or overnight. Drain fish from marinade, reserve marinade.

Boil, steam or microwave squash until just tender; drain. Thread fish, squash, tomatoes and mushrooms onto 12 skewers. Grill or bbq kebabs until lightly browned and cooked through, brushing occasionally with reserved marinade.

Serves 4

Tuna and Green Vegetable Salad

200g broccoli lettuce

100g green beans, chopped 425g tuna, drained, flaked

100g snow peas 1 onion, sliced

2 medium zucchini, sliced


Combine the following ingredients in jar, shake well:-

½ cup light olive oil 2 tsp grated lemon rind

¼ cup lemon juice 1 clove garlic, crushed

2 Tblsp fresh chives chopped

Add broccoli, beans to pan of boiling water, return to boil 1 minute, add peas, drain immediately; rinse under cold water, drain well.

Tear lettuce into large pieces. Combine all ingredients in bowl.

Add dressing, mix gently.

Serves 4

Sesame Bok Choy

2 tsp cornflour 2 Tblsp water

2 Tblsp hoisin sauce 1 Tblsp oyster sauce

2 tsp soy sauce 2 tsp sesame oil

800g bok choy 1 Tblsp toasted sesame seeds

Blend cornflour with water in small jug. Stir in sauces.

Heat oil in wok or large pan. Stir fry bok choy and seed until bok choy is just tender.

Stir in sauce mixture; stir until mixture boils and thickens.

Serves 4

Asparagus and Rocket Stir Fry

750g asparagus 1 Tblsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 red capsicum, seeded, sliced

2 Tblsp balsamic vinegar 2 Tblsp tomato paste

1 Tblsp water 125g rocke

Cut each asparagus spear into 3 pieces.

Heat oil in wok or large pan; Stir fry asparagus, garlic and capsicum until almost tender.

Add combined vinegar, paste and water; stir fry until asparagus is just tender.

Add rocket, stir until just wilted.

Serves 4

Potato and Leek Soup

300g potato, peeled and cubed

1 onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, crushed

1 medium leek, sliced 2 chicken stock cubes

2 cups water 375 ml evaporated skim milk

½ tsp dried thyme pepper to taste

2 Tblsp fresh coriander, chopped

In a large non-stick pan, sauté potato, onion, garlic and leek until the onion is transparent (use a cooking spray or steam with some of the chicken stock if required).

Dissolve the stock cubes in the water and stir into the vegetable mixture. Add the evaporated skim milk, thyme, pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered until the potato is tender.

Blend till soup is smooth.

Serve hot and sprinkle with coriander.

Serves 4

Baked Bananas

6 large firm ripe bananas 1 cup sultanas

1/3 cup chopped pecan nuts 1 cup maple syrup

1 Tblsp rum (optional) 1 tsp vanilla essence

½ tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Peel bananas and place in the baking dish. Scatter the sultanas and chopped pecan nuts into the dish.

Mix together the maple syrup, rum and vanilla essence, and pour over the bananas. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the top and bake for 25 minutes, basting occasionally, until the bananas are golden.

Serves 6



Asparagus (10 stalks) Capsicum (1 medium)

String Beans (3/4 cup) Radishes (10 Medium)

Beetroot (1/2 cup) Sauerkraut (1 Cup)

Cabbage (1 cup) Eggplant (1 Cup)

Spinach (1 cup) Onion (1 medium)

Tomatoes (1 large) Chicory (10 small leaves)

Broccoli (3/4 cup) Brussel Sprout (10)

Zucchini (1/2 cup) Cauliflower (2/3 cup)

Mushrooms (1 cup) Celery (4 stalk)

Pickled Cucumber (1 large) Cucumber (1 cup)

Lettuce (2 cups) Turnips (1/2 cup)

Carrots (1 cup) Bamboo Shoots (1 cup)

Bean Sprouts (1 cup) Chokos (1 cup)

Garlic (free) Pumpkin (1/2 cup)

Corn (1/4 cup) Broad beans (1/4 cup)

Potatoes (1/4 cup) Parsnips (1/4 cup)


1 small Orange 1 small apple 1 small pear

1 small banana 1 mandarin 2 plums

2 dried apricots 3 passionfruit 2 dried figs

1 slice pineapple ½ grapefruit 2 fresh dates rockmelon 1 cup cubed honeydew melon 1 cup cubed

2 prunes Grapes 12 medium

nectarine 1 small papaya ½ medium

strawberries 1 cup watermelon 1 cup cubed

Sultanas 1 tablespoon 10 cherries

Rhubarb 1 cup 1 small mango

Cereal Group

1 slice bread (approximately 30grams) – white, pumpernickel, rye, wholemeal, multigrain

2 vita wheat crackers 2 Sao

2 Rice cakes 4 Corn thins

½ cup cereal 1 slice raisin toast

½ bagel 1 slice cinnamon toast

1 sachet instant porridge

Protein Group

1 egg

100gram meat (mince, steak, hamburger patty, Veal, corned beef, roast beef, 1 lean lamb chop)

120-gram chicken – ideally the breast (no skin)

150 grams fish (fresh) – salmon, tuna, mackerel, John Dory, Barramundi, etc

100g tin salmon/tuna (in brine or spring water)

90 grams low fat cottage cheese

30 grams yellow cheese

60 grams ricotta

200gram low fat yoghurt

100g fruche lite

100 grams tofu

2 Tablespoons hummous/tehina

1 Tablespoon peanut butter

100 grams baked beans

25g nuts


1 shortbread biscuit

2 morning coffee biscuits

2 ginger nut biscuits

2 Marie biscuits

2 wafer kitkat

2 lindor balls

1 tim tam

1 ice block

1 Jarrah/Swiss Miss/Cadbury Lite hot chocolate

½ cup ice cream

30 grams chocolate

120 ml glass wine once a day may replace a snack

1 biscotti


Filed under: Health — Arlene @ 7:17 am

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–> Calcium is important for strong bones and healthy teeth.

The best source of calcium is dairy food. The Dietary Guidelines for Australians recommend 2-3 serves of dairy foods a day for most people. At certain times in life calcium needs increase for example during pregnancy, breastfeeding and teenage years. A serve is 250ml of low fat milk, 1 slices cheese, 200g carton of yoghurt or 250ml custard. Soft cheeses like cottage cheese and ricotta should not be counted as a serve as they are relatively low in calcium.

If you don’t like dairy foods try soy milk with calcium added or fish with edible bones (eg salmon, sardines). Smaller amounts of calcium are also found in egg yolks, green leafy vegetables, almonds and sesame seeds.

Adults and children above 2 years of age should choose reduced fat dairy products. Reduced fat and skim milks should not be offered to children less than 2 years of age. This is because children need the fat and vitamin A in full fat dairy products for energy, development and growth.

Not having enough calcium in your diet can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones lose calcium and become fragile. Adequate calcium in your diet plus regular physical activity can help build strong bones and reduce osteoporosis risk.

Here are some easy ideas on how to include more calcium in your diet:

  • Have a low fat smoothie, yoghurt or cheese and biscuits as a delicious snack or meal
  • Pour some custard/yoghurt over fresh or tinned fruit
  • Try yoghurt as a side dish with curries or yoghurt based dips
  • Enjoy salmon and green leafy vegetables for dinner
  • Add low fat cheese to pancakes, omelettes, pasta and vegetable dishes
  • Add low fat milk or skim milk powder to casseroles, soups and sauces
  • Make delicious sandwiches with tinned salmon or sardines and salad

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