Banana Pikelets

Looking for something to do with the kids these school holidays? Get them in the kitchen! While it can be messy, teaching kids how to cook is a fantastic life skill for them to learn.
Original recipe from Best Recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbs butter melted
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 bananas mashed

Method:

  1. Sift self-raising flour and salt into a bowl.
  2. Whisk in sugar, butter, eggs and milk until smooth.
  3. Add mashed bananas and stir mixture well.
  4. Heat a frying pan with a little oil or butter and pour batter to form small circles.
  5. When pikelets bubble on top, flip and cook the other side until brown.

 

Our Tips:

  • To add a little extra nutrition, we suggest swapping the normal self raising flour for a wholemeal version.
  • Try reducing the sugar to 1/4 cup or swapping for an unrefined sugar such as coconut sugar, rapadura, etc.
  • To make this dairy free, use coconut oil in place of butter and swap the milk for almond or soy.
  • Use very ripe bananas for a sweeter pikelet.
  • Add in 1 tablespoon of chia seeds.
  • Puree berries for an all natural topping.

One-Pan Creamy Salmon Zoodles

Healthy?

Delicious?

Easy?

If you’re looking for a recipe that ticks all those boxes, then you’ll love this Creamy Salmon Zoodle recipe from Taste.com! The best bit is, you can have this delicious dish on the table in around 15 minutes! It’s also a great recipe to modify to suit your own tastes. We think this dish would be equally delicious with chicken or prawns, just be sure to modify amounts and/or cooking times to suit. Don’t think the kids will eat zoodles (zucchini noodles)? Then swap it out for a noodle or pasta they will eat and perhaps add grated zucchini in instead!

 

Ingredients

  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 500 grams of zoodles (To save time, you can buy packets of pre made zucchini noodles from most supermarkets).
  • 150g salmon fillets coated in cracked pepper, coarsely flaked
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped dill

 

Method:

  1. Heat a large frying pan over high heat. Add the cream and lemon juice to the pan and bring to the boil. Cook for 1-2 mins or until the cream mixture thickens slightly.
  2. Add the zucchini noodles, salmon, half the lemon zest and half the dill to the pan. Cook, tossing, for 1-2 mins or until just heated through.
  3. Sprinkle the salmon mixture with the remaining lemon zest and dill.

 

Bedtime Golden Milk

Having trouble falling asleep each night? This Bedtime Golden Milk recipe from Healthline might be just what you need to alleviate your anxiety and help you have a more restful night’s sleep.

 

Golden Milk Benefits:

  • Fights inflammation
  • Protects against oxidative damage and sleep deprivation
  • Promotes relaxation and lowers anxiety levels

 

Ingredients:

Serves 2

  • 2 cups milk of your choice (whole, coconut, almond, etc.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1-inch piece of fresh, peeled ginger
  • 1 tbsp. honey or maple syrup

 

Method:

  1. Warm the milk, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and honey or maple syrup in a small saucepan until warm.
  2. Whisk well to dissolve all spices and honey.
  3. Divide into two mugs and enjoy!

 

 

Superfood Roast Tray

We know superfoods are good for us but incorporating them into our diet may not be this easy. This no fuss recipe from Taste is super simple and could easily be whipped up mid week!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch baby beetroot, trimmed & quartered
  • 500g sweet potato, cut into 4cm pieces
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus extra to scatter
  • 1 orange, juiced, zest finely grated
  • 4 x 180g salmon fillets (skin on), boned
  • 1/2 bunch kale, trimmed
  • 300g brussel sprouts, halved
  • Thick Greek-style yoghurt, to serve
  • Chia seeds, to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Place beetroot and sweet potato on a baking paper-lined baking tray. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle over 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and salt. Roast for 15 minutes or until slightly tender.
  2. Combine orange zest and juice, and 1 tbs oil in a bowl, season then add salmon and turn to coat. Line another tray with baking paper and spread over kale leaves. Drizzle with 1 tbs oil, then top with salmon and drizzle over marinade. Toss sprouts with remaining 1 tbs oil, and remaining 1/4 tsp cayenne. Season with salt, then add to beetroot tray.
  3. Place both trays in the oven, with vegetables on the bottom shelf (underneath salmon), for 15 minutes or until salmon is just cooked, kale is crisp and vegetables are tender.
  4. Add salmon and kale to beetroot tray and scatter with chia seeds. Combine yoghurt with extra cayenne, and drizzle tray with a little oil to serve.

Reducing Your Risk of Bowel Cancer

June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and like all cancers, there’s no sure fire way to stop Bowel Cancer ever happening to you. But there are modifiable risk factors with bowel cancer that you can change starting today.

Below are eight tips courtesy of Bowel Cancer Australia regarding diet, lifestyle choices and screening that can reduce your odds of being one of 5,375 Australians who will lose their battle with bowel cancer this year alone.


1. Get Moving

Over half of all men and women over the age of 55 are insufficiently active. Being physically active not only helps with weight management but decreases the risk of colon cancer by 16%. Aim to be physically active where the heart rate is elevated, every day for 30 minutes or more.


2. Consume More Wholegrains

Of all the grain foods consumed, only a third of them are wholegrains that are high in fibre. Eating 3 servings of wholegrains a day, such as brown rice or wholemeal bread, can reduce your risk of bowel cancer by 17%.


3. Eat More Dairy

A staggering amount of men and women are not having enough serves of dairy each day. Not only is dairy great for bone strength but consuming dairy products and taking calcium supplements decreases the risk of bowel cancer by 13%. If you’re intolerant or don’t eat dairy, consider consulting a nutritionist regarding alternative sources of calcium appropriate for you.


4. Get Screened

Did you know that only 40% of people invited to participate in the tax payer funded National Bowel Cancer Screening Program actually do? The fact is those participating in bowel cancer screening programs reduce their risk of dying from bowel cancer by 16% compared to those who didn’t. Removing bowel polyps larger than 1 centimetre (cm) may lower the risk of bowel cancer as they’re unable to become precancerous and develop into bowel cancer in the future.


5. Cut Back The Meat Intake

Limit your red meat amount to 500 grams cooked per week and avoid processed meat if you can. Eating processed meats such as bacon, ham, salami and some sausages has been strongly linked with an increased risk of bowel cancer.


6. Reduce Your Alcohol Intake

Consuming approximately two or more alcoholic drinks per day increases your bowel cancer risk. Consider having alcohol free days and limit your alcohol intake to 2 drinks or less per day.


7. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or obese increases bowel cancer risk. Monitor your body mass index (BMI), waist circumference or waist-hip ratio and keep them within healthy ranges to reduce your bowel cancer risk.


8. Quit Smoking

No good ever comes from smoking and it’ll be no surprise that smoking increases bowel cancer risk. For heavy smokers, smoking 40 cigarettes (two packs) per day increases the risk of bowel cancer by around 40% and nearly doubles the risk of bowel cancer death. Best to ditch the cigarettes for good and watch your health improve in all areas.


Need a little extra motivation to make these lifestyle changes? Why not check out Bowel Cancer Australia’s 12 Week Nutrition & Lifestyle Challenge to help you!

If you’ve had recent changes in bowel habits, noticed bleeding in your stools or other symptoms, please make an appointment with your Northside Health GP. Appointments can be made online or via the HotDoc app.

Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup

As the weather starts to cool and immune systems start taking a battering, nothing beats a good ol’ fashioned chicken noodle soup to make you feel better!

This recipe comes from The Pretty Bee and is easily turned into a gluten free dish by opting for a gluten free pasta. With no gluten, dairy, eggs or nuts, this is a very allergy friendly recipe for those with food allergies. May 26th to June 1 2019 is Food Allergy Week and with two in 100 adults living with food allergies, it pays to know how to avoid a reaction.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 650-700 grams chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 1.8 litres of chicken broth
  • 170 grams gluten free fettuccine, broken into small pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the olive oil, chopped onion, carrots, and celery in a large soup pot or dutch oven. Cook over medium heat until soft, about 7 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken thighs and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat slightly and simmer for about 25 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken thighs from the pot and place them on a plate. Chop the chicken into small pieces and return to the pan.
  4. Take about half of a box of gluten free fettucine and break into small pieces. Place the pasta in the pot and simmer until the pasta is tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Recipe Notes

  • Store leftover soup in the refrigerator. It should stay good for 3-4 days.
  • The pasta may soak up a lot of the broth as it sits in the refrigerator. You may need to add more broth when serving the leftover soup.
  • If you don’t want to use noodles, you can use quinoa or rice instead.
  • If you aren’t gluten free, feel free to use your regular pasta.

Winter Wellness Warriors

Sick of being sick?

Are you one of the many people, for whom a string of colds and flu is a way of life in Winter? Fortunately, it is possible to improve your immune system function and reduce the frequency and severity of those nasty Winter germs with a bit of awareness and some simple strategies.

Prevention beats cure every time

If you are stressed out, unfit, run down and/or consuming a nutritionally poor diet, you are likely contributing to the demise of your immune systems defences and setting yourself up to succumb to one of the viruses floating around.

Here’s some top tips on preparing your immune system to withstand this Winter’s lurgies:

• Reduce stress – being stressed reduces immune system function, so make sure you incorporate regular time-out, meditation and/or ‘green’ time, such as walking outdoors or playing with pets.

• Enjoy regular exercise – remaining active reduces the risk of contracting a cold by up to 46%.

• Sleep – aim for 7 to 8 hours each night to restore energy and increase resilience.

• Eat your fruit and vegies – at least three cups of fresh vegetables and/or salad, plus two serves of fresh fruit every day. Fill your plate with a rainbow of colour to ensure an abundance of essential nutrients and antioxidants that will help support healthy immune system cells.

• Regularly wash your hands – simple soap and warm water helps reduce cross- contamination with unwell people.

While being prepared for Winter is the best strategy, it may be unrealistic to achieve all the tips outlined above. This is where your practitioner can help by creating an individualised prescription of natural medicines to help improve your health.

Marvellous medicinal mushrooms

If you are one of those people that experiences recurrent infections then your immune system could benefit from some more specific additional support. The advantage of natural medicine is that it is not just to treat illness, but improve your own natural immune defences. For example, the immune-boosting medicinal mushrooms include cordyceps, coriolus, shiitake and reishi – four, not only traditionally used, but widely-studied and clinically proven mushrooms available. Individually, each species of mushroom has demonstrated remarkable effectiveness in immune enhancement, to help resolve chronic, and/or recurrent infectious conditions. What’s more, this combination of mushrooms provides symptomatic relief of upper respiratory tract infections, including reducing mucus congestion.

Healthy gut – healthy immune system!

Did you know that approximately 70% of your immune system is located in your digestive system? This emphasises how important it is to also look after your gut health. Many people are aware that certain probiotics can support digestion, but did you know there are specific probiotics that support a healthy immune system? The beneficial strains, Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL 9, Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG®) all help enhance immune system function, making this combination a valuable aid to Winter wellness. As a healthy immune system is supported by the right microbial balance in your gut, speak to your practitioner about which probiotic combination is the most appropriate, to help overcome your immune system concerns.

No need to hibernate

There’s no need to experience ongoing or recurrent illness this Winter, or hide away at home until it’s over! Start by modifying what needs to change in your diet and lifestyle, and come speak to your Northside Health practitioner about specific strategies to help support your immune system.

The Wellness Lifestyle Pyramid

  • Take a resveratrol rich antioxidant, multivitamin/mineral, omega-3 fatty acid and probiotic daily
  • Include a handful of nuts and seeds and up to two tablespoons of healthy oils daily
  • Limit starchy carbohydrates at one to two small serves daily
  • Enjoy a minimum of two pieces or one cup of fresh fruit daily
  • Include protein-rich foods in each meal or snack
  • Enjoy a minimum of three cups of fresh vegetables daily
  • Drink a minimum of eight glasses of pure water daily
  • Enjoy a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate activity, and 30 minutes of fun and relaxation on most days

Chicken and Two Grain Stuffed Capsicums

The best way look after your heart is with a healthy lifestyle. Among the suggestions the Heart Foundation recommends for a healthy heart, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and enjoying a variety of nutritious foods are high on the list.

A heart healthy diet doesn’t focus on one type of food or one type of nutrient. Instead the Heart Foundation recommends a combination of foods, chosen regularly, over time.

Try this stuffed capsicum and salad recipe courtesy of Heart Foundation.


Ingredients:

  • 4 large red capsicums
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 500g lean chicken mince
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups ’90 second’ quinoa and brown rice mix
  • 400g can of no added salt diced tomato
  • 150g can of no added salt corn kernels
  • 80g baby spinach
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, halved, sliced
  • 1 250g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 20g reduced fat feta, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic glaze


Method:

  1. Cut the tops off the capsicums and remove seeds. Place capsicums with the open side of the capsicum facing down in a microwave safe glass dish with about 2cm water. Cover tightly with cling wrap and cook in the microwave for 5-8 minutes, or until capsicums have softened.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large non-stick frying pan sauté onion for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Add chicken, chilli powder, cumin and paprika, and sauté until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add quinoa & rice mix, diced tomato and corn kernels. Bring to the boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Combine, spinach, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, feta and balsamic glaze in a salad bowl.
  4. Fill capsicums with chicken and quinoa and brown rice mix and serve with green salad.

Tip: Roasted capsicums are delicious slow roasted in the oven. Skip step 1 and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

Your Cold & Flu Insurance Policy This Winter!

It’s not just the drop in temperature that heralds the start of Winter. It’s when nearly everyone you run into is battling a cold, coming down with something or has just spent a week of work you know Winter is near! But what if you could take out a wellness ‘insurance policy’ of sorts against colds and flus? We share our tips to boost your immune function and help insure against illness this Winter.

Key Nutrients for a Strong Immune System 

There’s a good reason why most oranges are in season during the colder months! Oranges and citrus fruits of all kinds are rich in Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that plays a key role in the mobilisation of your immune system defences.
Zinc is another powerful immune system supporter, found in meat, eggs, seafood, nuts and seeds. Zinc helps infection-fighting white blood cells to be deployed at the first sign of a disease-causing invader, such as a virus or bacteria. These two nutrients form an essential immune system foundation to help reduce the incidence and severity of colds and infections.
Vitamin D also plays an important role in the overall function of your immune system, working behind the scenes to help ‘marshal’ your immune cells to the site of an infection. Our vitamin D stores tend to decline as you spend more time indoors and less time soaking up the sunshine required to manufacture your own supply. You may wish to take a supplement during this time of year to help maintain your infection-fighting capacity over the winter months.


Good Gut Health = Strong Immune System

Believe it or not, your gastrointestinal tract contains approximately 70% of your immune system, so it’s vital your gut is populated with plenty of beneficial micro-organisms. The micro-organisms are central to you maintaining optimal immune function and different strains of probiotics have different health benefits. Look for Lactobacillus acidophilus (NCFM strain) and Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG and HN019 strains) to help you reduce the incidence of respiratory infections that are common in winter.


Lifestyle Tips to Support Good Health

Here’s your official prescription to schedule regular ‘down time’! Stress and being on the go constantly can significantly drain your immune function and leave you more susceptible to any viruses you come in contact with. Recharge with regular relaxation and ‘me time’ such as reading a good book, getting a massage, or perhaps a yoga class followed by a long soak in a warm bath. Ensuring you get sufficient sleep also enables your body to rest and repair, keeping you ready to fight whatever battles you may encounter tomorrow.


Prevention is Better Than Cure!

Don’t just succumb to yet another cold or flu this winter, take out a wellness ‘insurance policy’ and help support your immune system and actually enjoy this slower season. We invite you to come in and speak to your GP here at Northside Health to discuss how we can boost your infection-fighting capacity with high quality, clinically effective Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin D and immune-boosting probiotics and what doses are best.

Calcium: Are You Getting Enough?

Dr Rosie Ross

With alarming statistics on falls and their sometimes devastating consequences, it’s clear to see bone health isn’t taken as seriously as it should be.

An important part of bone health is getting enough calcium. Calcium combines with other minerals to form the hard crystals that give your bones their strength and structure yet less than half of all Aussies are actually getting enough!

Think of your bones as a calcium bank. If you don’t eat enough to replace what you naturally lose then the body reacts by ‘withdrawing’ calcium from your ‘bone bank’ and depositing it into the bloodstream (calcium is also essential for the healthy functioning of the heart, muscles, blood and nerves). More withdrawals than deposits = a decline in bone density and significantly increases your chances of osteoporosis.

Regardless of whether you eat low fat, gluten free, vegetarian or vegan, calcium intake can be achieved through diet and is always better than taking supplements. Need supplements? Chat with your pharmacist about how to take calcium supplements properly and discuss any side effects.

Osteoporosis Australia recommends 3-5 serves of calcium rich food daily with the average adult needing around 1,000mg of calcium per day. For most Aussies, dairy foods are the main source of calcium and an easy way to obtain adequate calcium. Milk, yoghurt and most cheeses are particularly high in calcium and can provide over a third of your recommended dietary intake in one serve. People who dislike or are intolerant to dairy products require more serves of other high calcium-containing foods; for example, calcium rich vegetables, tinned sardines or tinned salmon (including the bones), calcium rich nuts and fruits, or calcium fortified foods.

For a comprehensive list of calcium rich foods, check out the Osteoporosis Australia website.

It is worth noting than Vitamin D also plays a big part in calcium absorption and not getting enough sun exposure, excessive caffeine and alcohol, certain medicines and some medical conditions like coeliac disease can inhibit your calcium absorption. These should be discussed with your doctor.

Be sure to check out Nicola’s suggestion of Sardine & Almond Salad for a calcium rich meal idea or check out this delicious looking list of calcium rich dinner ideas!

Follow Dr Rosie Ross on LinkedIn.