Corn Syrup in Soy Sauce?!

Getting comfortable upon our return to the US, post living in Australia for two years, I cannot help but find myself feeling “culture shock.” Maybe, “food shock” is a better term.

No doubt, I love America and the lifestyle it offers, yet, since being accustomed to daily food markets, butchers with fresh, free range meat and eggs, it is overwhelming walking into a Giant Eagle, let alone Costco these last few days.

Goodness, I bet my bank account I found a kiwi in Costco the size of a mango. How is this natural? And wow, I could literally get any cuisine I wanted in one store, regardless of the season. They had seaweed salad in Ohio! I mean this is great, but is it that great? The salad was delish but after reading the food ingredients, it lost it’s appeal seeing there were at least 3 food coloring’s in it. Why would my seaweed need to be more green? I wish we had an option.

And whereas it’s lovely to get any ingredient you want, it makes it tough to know what is truly in season. In Australia I literally bought produce by the season and made recipes accordingly. I remember one day I wanted red grapes (out of season) and the supermarket clerk looked at me like I had two heads.

Also, whilst visiting with family, my mom asked I help point out some healthier choices for her to eat/prepare for meals and I was/am more than keen to do so. This morning I began helping her by proofing her cabinet and found science experiments of ingredients. What do I mean? Some of the items in the pantry would never pass as food if it weren’t for the label or food container. I nearly fell over when I saw corn syrup in soy sauce! Why? I mean really, why? I know corn is cheap and before you know it, it is going to be found in our chewing gum. Oh wait…

I am probably coming off in this post as harsh, but the point I want to make is it’s not anyone’s fault for not knowing what is best for them to eat or feed their family with. There are so so so many mixed messages in the media and heaps of information to sort through. Most recently I had forgotten how hard marketing makes it on the regular consumer in knowing what foods to choose for health.  If you need some clarifying, I am happy to help. Send me an email and I will do my best to reply within 48 hours.

A pointer to start you off with is a line by Michael Pollan, “Eat food. Not too much. Most plants.” And sure as heck eat real butter!

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel

Shop With Reason This Season

I, along with many others, see the importance of shopping locally and since moving to Australia where I have a farmer’s market on my doorstep, I see the benefits of shopping seasonally. The hardest thing to overcome when desiring to shop with the Fall, Winter, Spring, etc is learning what is “in season.” Today’s post includes a cheat sheet for the month of June. I have noted a (*) for the enlisted produce that is also in season in the Northern Hemisphere this month. Overall, July is much more resourceful in the Northern Hemisphere than June. Many of the listed fruits and vegetables are in peak season next month back in the US.

FRUIT – Southern Hemisphere:

Apples, avocados, bananas, cantaloupe, custard apple, grapefruit, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemon, lime, mandarins, pears, oranges, passionfruit, paw paw, and strawberries*.

VEGGIES – Souther Hemisphere:

Artichokes, green beans, bean shoots*, bok choy, broccoli*, brussel sprouts, cabbage*, capsicum, carrots*, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, fennel, leek, lettuce*, mushrooms*, onion*, parsnip*, potatoes, pumpkin, shallots*, silverbeet*, snowpeas, tomatoes, and zucchini*.

I am loving roasted pumpkin right now. It is so satisfying – I throw it in a salad, pair it with chicken or even just mix in some cinnamon and sea salt and call it a day. Pumpkin does not have to be sweet – like my childhood birthday pie around Thanksgiving.

What is your favorite dish this season?

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel

 

Tying in Health When Traveling

This month was uber fun, yet, I have sat on an airplane more than I have laid in my own bed. With late dinners and early mornings I bank on my diet to pull me through these busy events.

I take my hat off to anyone who is a consultant and is always on the road. It is tough – routines are forgotten, meals are unplanned, and sleep…good luck. Yet, I have some go-to habits that help keep me sane including clean eating.

1. Food

You don’t always know what you are going to eat or when. If I didn’t pack my go-to travel foods, I would go on famished or even drowning myself in whatever I could get my hands on.

I always carry food on my trips, well at least all the types of food I can travel with from state to state in Australia (here you are not allowed to take fruits, vegs, meats and many other quarantined items from one state to another). While traveling I am constantly bouncing from one meeting to the next. What could be a fast food drive through, I turn into a quick stop at a park (if I am lucky) and eat something I have on hand. My travel foods include: hard boiled eggs, canned tuna in olive oil (100% olive oil), macadamia nuts, and dark chocolate. All these foods are good, nutrient-dense and satisfying. Since I can’t take vegetables from one state to another, I may pick up a salad and dress it with my tuna and hard boiled egg. If my flight is bright an early, I will again often source a hard boiled egg or two.

2. Fitness

Regardless of where I am traveling and for how long, I have a workout outfit, comfy shoes to swap out my heels for to get in a quick walk, goggles and a swimsuit. The best way to get to know a city is on foot. When a day of meetings wrap-up, I will throw on some joggers and get in some fitness before the sun goes down.

3. Fasting

If there are no good food options and my blood sugars are pleasing, I will partake in an intermittent fast. I may also do a fast when my meals are too plentiful, for example last week I was at a conference and there was a buffet breakfast, morning and arvo tea (which means coffee, tea and food), lunch and then a dinner. Grains avoided or not, I still overate and an intermittent fast gets me back on track. I usually only fast for about 14-16 hours, eating dinner then again the following day around 11am.

4. Water bottle

Staying hydrated is key. I take an empty water bottle through the security at the airport and top it off right away and continue to do so throughout the trip.

5. Sleep

It is not always a good nights sleep in a new place and new bed, but I take some decaf tea with me, along with some magnesium supplements to help wind down. I also make the bedroom as dark as I can (block the clock) and turn the thermostat on the cold side.

6. Me time

Travel can be lonely but also an awesome opportunity for some personal time. When on the road set aside time to just relax and digest any stress going on in your life. Depending on where I am, I like popping downstairs to the hotel bar and getting a nice glass of red  and get comfortable in my room by reading or catching some cable (we don’t have cable; crazy? Yes).

These are just a few things I have adapted in the last year and will continue to strive for optimal health, diet and fitness when wining and dining.

Cheers to you and good health!

Alternative Health

Perhaps “alternative medicine” is a better term since health is such a loose word, but medicine seems so intimidating and foreign.

Most recently I have been surrounding myself in some new practices – acupuncture, Chinese herbs and meditation. All of them have been great, especially since my glass is currently spilling over with stress while we are figuring out our visa situation here in Melbourne and considering a move back to the US in August. Yes, that is about 3 months away and we have no confirmed plans, nor know where we will move to or what/if I will have a job. It is no bed of roses, but I have been trying to enjoy the confusion. Oh! And I will be having jaw surgery again in July. 

Life goes on and why not try meditation and acupuncture to cope, right?

Sure enough, it has helped. I am pleasantly pleased with the outcome of both meditation and acupuncture. I think the expensive Chinese herbs could fall by the wayside though. I am not sure if I notice anything different when drinking them in dissolved warm water and I cannot fail to mention how awful they taste. Has anyone else tried them? Do you have any insight to share?

The meditation is so interesting too. It is actually funny how I got involved in this. I purchased a yoga voucher and quickly learned there was more focus on breathing, etc than downward dog poses.

However, anything I do, I try to go into it with an open mind regardless of what it is. At my first session, I sat there thinking to myself, “I know how to breath, why do I need someone to tell me to take a deep breath and scan my body while listening to some weird sounds?” But gosh by golly! By the end of each session I feel pretty content. I have since been, a handful of times, and plan on continuing some sessions every month. Overall, I have realised I handle stress better, I go with the flow better and live in the moment a bit more.

I highly recommend meditation and suggest doing it at least a few times. It is a great way to shut off any chaos in your life and feel more comfortable in your own skin. 

Now onto acupuncture – why did I try this out?

Besides Robb Wolf preaching how great it is among many other health advocates, I wanted to reduce my hay-fever symptoms (I take anti-histamines every day and want to wean that down), try something new and see what it did for my diabetes (type 1). On a side note, I strive to eat paleo every day but sometimes that does not happen. When it doesn’t I often see fluctuations in my blood sugars and pay for it. So overall, I wonder what acupuncture can do for my cravings, circulation and over blood sugar stabilisation.

So far, things feel pretty good. After session one I felt engerized and invigerated. It’s not everyday someone sticks a needle in the top of your head and forehead wrists and tummy. I have session two this weekend and look forward to what differences, if any, I feel. I will be sure to provide an update on anything surprising.

Overall, the prices for alternative medicine are a little high, but I think they are worth it. They are natural and a new approach for caring for yourself. I am personally all about touting the benefits of a good diet and often forget the other sides of health including stress, sleep, movement, and fertility. These alternative health practices have helped me bring my well-being full circle.

Cheers to you and good health!

Time For An Update

Life’s been a whirlwind.

Starting in March we went on a 3 week holiday visiting about everyone we knew in the US. Nothing short of spending time in Vegas, Missouri (sister and new baby), Indiana, Cincinnati, Columbus and Chicago. Exaggeration nil, I think we met up with over a 150 people – it was awesome to be back and hard work.

   Yet thpace e didn’t slow nor has it. A few days after returning to Melbourne and doing a final parental-approved clean sweep through our house, my mom came to visit for 3 weeks. We engulfed ourselves in adventures stemming from a pub crawl in Sydney, hot springs in Victoria, a wine tour, 15k run (I smashed my husband’s time), wild life tour, and many nights out on the down and loved every bit of it.

  
We certainly haven’t left time for any grass grow beneath us. Currently we entertaining another bout of friends from Chicago for 3 weeks.

This time adventures include footy, a trip to Cairns, white water rafting, snorkeling, wine tours, zip lining and more.

  
In all fairness it has been a bit challenging to eat right and keep blood sugars level. Yet, it’s been a blast and I am always aiming to put my best foot forward. Nonetheless I have many posts to come – addressing acupuncture, meditation, mental health/diet, vitamin K2, recipes and more.

Thanks for your patience and stay-tuned. Cheers to you and good health.

Silly American: #5

With some help from my husband, we have come up with the below. This information is helpful all and anyone traveling to Australia, particularly from the USA. Note-to-self, opt for cider, you will have a much larger variety of gluten free options.

Cheers to you and good health!
The O’Schmidt’s

  • Pot 285 ml (10 fl oz) – Small sized beer in Melbourne (yes, Sydney and Melbourne have different size beers)
  • Schooner 425 ml (15 fl oz) – Small sized beer in Sydney
  • Pint 570 ml (20 fl oz) – A pint is pint
  • Stubby – Bottled beer (example, I want a “stubby” of Corona)
  • Light Beers = low alcohol beers (don’t order a light beer unless you are on probation)
  • Blonde Beers = light beers in the US, (example Pure Blonde = Bud Light)
  • Shout = round of drinks, Australians take this very serious, see video for some info on shout “politics” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfdW4iCSmFE

Food Log – I Have Not Forgotten About You

Happy New Year. I do not know about you, but I have been feeling a little fluffy since the holidays. I did not go too far off the paleo diet but I certainly had too many bites of food on too many occasions. That is okay because I am back on the horse and motivated to eat right and feel good.

Breakfast: 10AM
I woke up around 7:30AM and told myself, “You are not getting out of bed,” and slept another good hour or so.
2 free range, omega 3 eggs
Sauteed mushrooms

11:30AM – Prahran Market
Sampled some preservative free sausages (oh they are so good)
Had an organic long black
Samples some spicy and garlic olives
A fresh date

Exercise: 1PM 
bike ride to the coast (9 miles total), a few plyorometric drills

Snack: 3PM
I threw some almonds in a food processor with some macadamia nut oil and himilayian sea salt
6-8 prunes

Exercise: 4:30PM
30 min run through the local park

Dinner: 6PM
Grilled seafood salad (prawns, calamari, white fish and greens)

Snack: 8:30PM
1 oz of leftover beef
Salsa and homemade guacamole


Awesome Summer Day – Food Diary

Today, the mercury as high, the sun was out and I felt alive and in the moment. Started the morning with brekkie and friends, treated us to a massage, parused the market, caught up with our favorite fruit and vegetable vendor, got in a quick lifting session and much more. How did your weekend treat you? Here’s a peak of what I ate today..

Breakfast: 9AM
Sat outside a local cafe sipping on green tea and water
2 poached eggs
Mushroom, though only had a few bites
Sausage, caper polents; maybe one bite. Did not love the flavors.

Exercise: Gym, lifting session

Treat: 1PM
Massage with the husband. And it was awesome. I never appreciated a massage, let alone really experienced a professional massage until I moved to Melbourne. There are massage boutiques all around our neighborhood and well worth the expense.

Lunch: 2PM
Tried a new place on Chapel Street in Prahran. It was called Three Monkeys and highly recommend. Such a cool vibe; vintage set-up but laid-back staff and fresh ingredients.
Salad with colorful tomatoes, chorizo, calamari and lemon vinaigrette.
Glass of champagne, brut

4PM – Coke Zero. I know, I know, not the best choice but so good on a summer day.

5PM – walked to miles or 3.3K to meet up with some friends at a pub.
Champagne

8PM – watched Terminator 3 (loved seeing clips of Chicago!!) and ordered in. I had a warm chicken salad, which had chicken, tomato, onion and chicken. I also had the toping of one of my husband’s slices of pizza. It was really nice, some sort of cured meat.

11PM – 1/2 banana and nutbutter (to help stabilize my blood sugar, having alcohol in my system)

Australian Research: Inflammation

Eating to beat inflammation

The worry of wagyu … compared to kangaroo, it may trigger inflammation, say researchers.

Before you bite into a wagyu burger here’s some food for thought. Last year when Australian researchers looked at how the body reacts after either a meal of kangaroo or wagyu beef there was an intriguing difference: compared to the kangaroo, the wagyu meal appeared to prod the immune system into action, triggering the release of inflammatory chemicals.

Why bother comparing kangaroo with wagyu?

“Because kangaroo mimics the kind of wild meat that humans ate for thousands of years,” explains Dr Gary Egger, Professor of Lifestyle Medicine at Lismore’s Southern Cross University, and one of the researchers. “It’s meat from lean animals that run around and eat grass. Wagyu on the other hand is relatively new to the food supply and an example of modern meat from modern animals that are less active and often fed on grain.”

It’s too soon to say whether this might matter to our health, but the ‘roo versus wagyu experiment is the first of more proposed studies at Southern Cross University and the Australasian Research Institute to see if food with a high ‘Human Interference Factor’ is fuelling chronic inflammation, a problem now linked to heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases including asthma, Alzheimer’s disease and possibly cancer. Other examples of old versus new foods on the researchers’ list are brown rice versus refined white rice, whole soybean flour versus processed soy isolate, and wholegrain flour versus white.

Inflammation is the immune system’s defence mechanism – and when it erupts on injured skin with redness and swelling it’s a sign that that your body’s repairing itself. But scientists now think there’s also a kind of low level inflammation smouldering inside the body that isn’t so healthy. Unlike the acute inflammation that helps heal a wound, chronic inflammation doesn’t switch off – and Egger thinks our modern lifestyle is the reason why.

Eating a western diet, stress, smoking, inactivity and skimping on sleep, have all been linked to chronic inflammation. And while all these habits have been part and parcel of industrialised societies for years, in the big picture of human evolution they’re new assaults on the body – so our immune system treats them like foreign invaders, he says.

“Modern lifestyles seem enough to cause an inflammatory reaction – it’s as if the immune system is programmed to react to activities in the same way as it does to microbes, but at a lower more chronic level,” Egger explains.

One example of where the immune system gets it wrong is in the blood vessels where it tries to defend the arteries against ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, but in doing so ends up thickening the artery walls – and contributing to hardened arteries.

So how can we live in an industrialised world and still keep inflammation at bay?

“Getting more sleep is part of it. Humans have never had such short sleep cycles as we do now,” Garry Egger points out. “We’re also walking about 15 kilometres less each day than we did 150 years ago. We can’t go back to doing that so we need to have institutionalised exercise to make up for it.”

We also need to choose foods that are less likely to provoke inflammation, and a number of studies point to a traditional Mediterranean style diet – big on plant foods and including olive oil, fish and nuts – as having an anti- inflammatory effect. Australian research from the University of Sydney reported earlier this year backs up the anti-inflammatory benefit of nuts – those who ate the most nuts had a 40 per cent reduced risk of dying from an inflammatory disease, according to data from the Blue Mountains Study, a long running study of residents in the Blue Mountains.

The kind of carbs we eat matters too. Garry Egger suggests that lowering inflammation is another argument for low GI carbohydrates which are generally anti-inflammatory – there’s some evidence that blood sugar spikes from rapidly digested high GI carbs can trigger inflammatory chemicals.

Silly American: #4

English is English.

Well, not really. Don’t you reckon mate?

Bushwalking in Mornington Peninsula

Not only has it been an experience learning the new surroundings here in Melbourne, it’s been a journey learning the lingo.

Day one on the job – I walk into the office bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, asking everyone, “How are you?”

No one would place their words the same as I. I quickly adapted to, “How’s it going?” Australians also say this as if it were one word. How’s’it-going?

Fair enough – that adaption is obvious and easy. But geesh, let’s walk though some other fun stuff. I’ll place the Aussie phrase/word, followed by the American.

Reckon —> Don’t you think

Hotel —-> Bar/pub

Partner —-> Serious girlfriend or boyfriend

Bushwalking —–> Hiking

Flat white, long black, macchiato —-> Coffee

Fancy —-> Like (Example of using fancy would be, “Do you fancy yoga?”)

Keen —-> Interested (On a daily basis, I hear “keen” probably 15 times)

Lovely, Gorgeous, Beautiful —–> Nice (Could you imagine your boyfriend or brother saying, “That was a beautiful coffee?” You’d be shocked here. Yet, I admit I like the affectionate words used for the simplest things)

No worries —–> Okay (I have caught onto this trend. Just as someone finishes asking a question, “No worries,” falls out of my mouth)

Footy —-> Australian Football

Chips —–> French fries

Prawns —–> shrimp (Menus always throw me for a whirl here)

Pissed ———> Drunk

Cheers ———> Thank you, Hello, Bye, it means almost anything (Again, I hear this about 50 times a day)

Carpark —–> Parking Spot/Parking garage

Footpath —–> Sidewalk

Bugger ——> darn or expression of dissatisfaction

Biscuit ——-> Cookie (You should have heard me trying to describe biscuit in terms of Bob Evan’s biscuits. Tough crowd)

Boot ——-> Trunk (of car)

Boots ——> Cleats, like soccer cleats

So if you could imagine, we are all speaking English but conversations can take many different directions.

Cheers to you from afar to you and good health!