Food For Life: The Best Way To Feed Your Body

What you choose to feed your body is one of the most important things that you do to it every day. Are you consistently choosing the right foods to keep your body running happily and healthily? The benefits of a healthy diet are far reaching throughout the body as the old adage says, you are what you eat. The food that you regularly feed your body can affect your organs, immune system, lifespan and your risk of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Feed Your Microbes Right

You may have heard about the microbes (microorganisms) in your gut and how a balance of good bacteria can counteract the bad bacteria. Our gut microbes control the amounts of fat and nutrients that are processed from our food and eventually absorbed into the body. A recent study has revealed that ultra-processed foods such as lollies and chips feed the bad bacteria in our gut and encourage them to take over the population, pushing the good bacteria out of a home.

A healthy diet involves a range of fibre sources to feed your gut bacteria and provide you with the full range of nutrients that your body requires. So you will need to make sure you consume different foods with different types of fibre including vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts.

Ultra processed foods are defined as containing at least one ingredient that isn’t normally used in a regular kitchen. These extra ingredients are often emulsifiers and flavour enhancers that are added to increase palatability of the food. Ultra processed foods have low nutritional value, are less filling and have been designed to have a better mouth-feel and flavour than the competition on the shelves. This makes you eat more and buy more because your body won’t feel satisfied with just one square of chocolate or one Pringle. Once you pop…

Not only are ultra processed foods designed to make you eat more but they help to feed the bad bacteria in your gut. When you feed your body a range of different foods you introduce both soluble and insoluble fibre into your gut. Both forms of fibre are considered to be good but they affect the population of human gut bacteria differently. More research is required on how they each affect the gut, but what we do know is that a diet low in fibre produces an inflammatory response in the gut. This is because good bacteria break the fibre molecules into short-chain fatty acids which provide an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. When you aren’t eating enough fibre, your gut isn’t protected from inflammation which can kill off the good bacteria. That’s when the bad bacteria can take over. Now you’re in trouble, the bad bacteria don’t produce anti-inflammatory compounds and can make your gut even more inflamed. Over time the low level inflammation causes health issues throughout the body including reducing the strength of your immune system and increasing your risk of chronic inflammatory illness in the gut.

The Healthy Eating Pyramid as of July 2021 https://nutritionaustralia.org/fact-sheets/healthy-eating-pyramid/

Let’s Get Nutritional

As omnivores, humans require a certain percentage of protein to keep our body running. Therefore the body will feel hungry until you feed it the right portion of protein. Protein is relatively expensive so ultra processed foods are often low in protein and instead are filled with high levels of fats, carbohydrates sugars and salt. When we eat a diet consisting of a mainly processed foods we wind up eating more because the body will feel hungrier despite the large number of calories consumed.

A diet high in ultra processed foods is a diet that is low in nutritional value and eventually leads to low quality health. Be aware that these processed foods are “high GI” or have a High Glycemic Index. When you induce a high glycemic response in the body, over and over again, you overwork the organs and cells that are responsible for balancing the sugar levels in the blood. Eventually they stop working as well as they should and this leads to pre-diabetes, then if you let it go further out of control the disease can develop into diabetes. Diabetes is a serious chronic illness that, although common, does require specific care to ensure quality of life.

Due to the lack of nutritional value in packaged junk foods and ready meals, as well as the ultra processed ingredients, people who consume too much can become obese and malnourished. The best way to feed your body is to provide a large variety of food types, sticking to the ratios outlined in the Food Pyramid. Basically the idea is to have everything in moderation but eat mostly plants.

Everything in moderation but eat mostly plants

A diet that contains various sources of fibre is the ideal option for your organs and therefore your overall health.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Please follow this blog and subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more health knowledge based in science.

Prevent Hemorrhoids And Reduce Constipation

Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, normally show up as painful bumps around the outside of the anus. They are actually veins that have become swollen and inflamed and are often caused by straining when you’re on the toilet. So the first thing you can do to avoid causing yourself the discomfort and inconvenience of having piles is to avoid straining and constipation.

How do I avoid straining while sitting on the toilet?

In western culture we only have sitting toilets available for us to do our number twos. In Eastern countries they use squatting toilets more commonly than the sitting down type. Squatting toilets allow the bowel movement to pass more quickly due to the shape of the anal passage. When sitting, you constrict the flow of this passage so that the waste product (your poop) has a harder time travelling out of your colon and into the toilet. This is what causes us to strain more, creating pressure on the blood vessels, and therefore potentially cause ourselves to form hemorrhoids in and around the anal passage.

To improve your posture when on a sitting toilet you can elevate your knees with a small step or rock forward when pushing out. This will reduce the time you need to spend on the toilet straining as the waste will flow out more readily.

Another massive health tip you should always remember:

Don’t try to force out your poop. Wait until it is ready to come out. Remember Cardi B’s catchy chorus: If it’s up, then it’s up, then it’s up, then it’s stuck.

How Regular Is “Regular”?

You don’t need to do a poop every day. Your body doesn’t work that way!! A normal number of poops for humans is about 3 per day to 1 every 3 days. If you’re doing more than 3 a day you have diarrhea, and less than once every 3 days you might have constipation. But you definitely DON’T need to force it once a day. Let your body process the different types and amounts of food that you feed it. Let it do its thing and you’ll be fine.

How do I prevent constipation?

  • Move all stool in one go to avoid compaction.
  • Eat prunes and obtain fibre from multiple food sources so that you have various fibre types cleaning out your bowels. And remember to drink water too!
  • Walking helps mobilise your bowels. Go for a gentle stroll or a nice brisk powerwalk.
  • While lying down massage belly a clockwise motion. This is the direction that your intestines work so you don’t want to massage it the wrong direction and push the waste back up. You want to gentle push it in the right direction, so that it is excreted out of your body.

Thanks so much for reading. I hope this helps you in your day to day life so that you feel less stress and have more control over your health.

Please subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more Full Cup Wellness from me, Queeenvk with 3 e’s.

The Science Behind Food Poisoning From Leftovers

Bacteria are an important part of life on Earth. They use enzymes to break down dead matter and convert it back into a form that can be used to create new life. For example, manure and composted food waste are used to feed farm crops or plants in the garden. You might recall the nitrogen cycle and the carbon cycle from chemistry class in high school. Bacteria are vital for these life cycles to continue to work.

Some of these bacteria are able to produce toxins as a personal defence mechanism or they have special ways to avoid our immune system and make a home among our cells, causing an infection. When we have an infection in our gut we call it gastroenteritis, or gastro for short. Several different types of bacteria and viruses can infect the human gut but the term gastro applies to any infection of the gut. The symptoms of gastro normally involve diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea as the infection disrupts the normal function of our digestive system. Sometimes it takes a large amount of pathogen to overcome our immune system, and other bacteria only need to grow to a small population before they can cause harm. So it’s safest to reduce your risk of infection at every step of the food prep and storage process.

The bacteria that can infect our digestive system like to live at around the human core temperature of 37°C. They thrive at this temperature. So if you have a fever or localised inflammation warming up the infection, this is the body’s way of trying to overheat and kill the infecting object, also known as a pathogen. This part of the immune system is non-specific to the kind of pathogen that is infecting the body. The body also has other non-specific immune system mechanisms and some of these are exploited by specific bacteria so that the pathogens can avoid the immune system.

So if some of these bacteria can get past our immune system how do we protect ourselves from being infected with such bacteria that could cause us harm?

How To Prevent Food Poisoning From Leftovers

1. Reheat leftovers properly:

You must reheat your leftovers to above 70°C to ensure any present bacteria are killed. However, bacterial toxins are not destroyed by heat and can still make you sick if there is bacteria present that is generating a toxin.

Freezing does not kill bacteria it just slows the growth down to the point of hibernation. The bacteria will begin to grow normally again when they are brought back up to their optimal temperature for life.

2. Store food properly:

Leftovers are safe to stay at 4°C (your usual fridge temperature) for up to 3-4 days. When you are ready to eat some of the leftover food you should transfer it from the refrigerated storage container to another vessel to heat if you aren’t going to finish it all in this sitting. This will reduce the amount of contamination you introduce to the storage container. If you put your dirty spoon in the container then put it back in the fridge the bacteria from your mouth/the kitchen bench, that is now on your spoon, will slowly grow (because it’s cold in the fridge) over the next couple of days and you run the risk of growing enormous amounts potential pathogens inside the container. Like a petri dish of bacteria sitting in all that delicious food. Loving life. Compared to the small amount of bacteria that can survive temporarily on your teeth will have no trouble increasing their population in your container of food. Have you ever left a container too long in the fridge only to find it has turned into a science experiment?

3. Prepare food properly:

Washing your hands before preparing food will massively reduce the risk of introducing harmful bacteria to the dish. Every time you rub your nose on the back of your hand the bacteria from your nose can be introduced to the dish by accident. If you’re wearing gloves to protect yourself or the ingredients from bacteria, make sure the gloves don’t touch your phone or your hair or skin. That negates the reason for the gloves as they are meant to contain and control the contamination of your work or yourself.

Wash your fresh fruits and vegetables before you eat or cook with them to remove any harmful bacteria and fungi that may have been introduced to the crop during the fertilisation process. Fertiliser is great for plants but not so much for humans.

Ensure cooking times and temperatures allow the entire dish of food to be brought into the “safe zone” above 60°C, particularly for risky meats like chicken and pork. Pathogens can’t normally survive above this temperature but sometimes your microwave doesn’t heat the food evenly, so give it a stir about halfway through reheating leftovers. Or the sausages in the oven need to be turned over halfway through cooking to make sure each section of the sausage has reached above 60°C.

Regarding the dangers of raw chicken and eggs:

Salmonella poisoning can occur if poultry isn’t prepared properly or if poultry manure has touched the surface of the meat or eggs then it is ingested by humans. The bacteria lives normally in the gut of chickens and other poultry. So this means chicken manure contains Salmonella. Sometimes chicken poop gets on the outside of your eggs and not every country washes the eggs before sale in the supermarket. So please always wash your hands after handling eggshells, sincerely, this germophobe right here (me).

But knowledge is power so I feel powerful enough to avoid food poisoning and I hope now you do too. Honestly, all those years of studying microbiology and the immune system at university has helped me through my germophobia and empowered me to live more freely.

Thanks so much for reading! Stay safe and keep your cup full of positivi-tea.

Visit my YouTube channel for more Full Cup Wellness from me, Queeenvk with 3 e’s.

Everyday Hormones That We Experience Every Day

Hormones are signals that tell the organs in your body that it’s time to perform a particular action. For example, when to sleep, when to digest food, when to increase your heart rate and when to feel happy.

Notable hormones for your health throughout each day:

Insulin/Glucagon – Work together to regulate blood sugar concentration.

Leptin/ghrelin – regulate hunger signals. Leptin suppresses hunger signals and makes us feel full. This hormone is controlled by our circadian rhythm (daily cycle) so make sure you’re getting a decent 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night, otherwise your hunger signals will be out of whack. Ghrelin is the hormone that makes us feel hungry. Ghrelin levels increase before a meal to signal when our body requires more food then decrease after we eat so that we no longer feel that hungry feeling in our gut.

Endorphins – You may have heard that exercise brings on a rush of endorphins. This hormone is a natural pain killer and sedative which means it reduces anxiety too. And bonus, it signals your brain to increase serotonin too so you feel happy and calm.

Dopamine – Reward systems in the brain are controlled by dopamine. Repeated rewards lead to reinforcement of the behaviour which lead to the reward, for example when you train an animal with treats you reinforce a particular behaviour because the animal will continue to expect a reward each time. The same goes in our human brain. In this way, dopamine indirectly controls our behaviour and helps us to learn how to relate to the world around us.

Serotonin – Sometimes serotonin is called the happiness hormone because it is known to stabilise mood and make you feel happy. Serotonin is involved in many areas of our physical health including sleep regulation, appetite, communication between brain cells and improved memory and cognition. People with low levels of serotonin can be prescribed anti-depressants that involve keeping serotonin levels stable in the brain.

All of these hormone levels fluctuate throughout each day to keep your body functioning. Knowledge is power, the more you know about the hormones that create signals in the body, the more understanding you have of your own personal health.

Stay safe!

Visit my Youtube channel for more of The Full Cup Wellness

Nutritious Delicious Fungi

Mushrooms are the meat of the vegetarian world. But they are neither meat nor vegetable. They are classified as fungi because of a few specific characteristics, for example, the cell walls are made of a material called chitin. This is why mushrooms are more nutritious when cooked because those chitin cell walls are too tough for us to digest to reach the goodness inside.

Fun fact: The mushroom part that pops out of the ground is actually the fruiting body of the fungus. You’re picking the fruit!

Types of mushrooms that you can eat:

Make sure you only eat mushrooms that have been picked by a professional. There are many mushrooms that contain toxins that they use to protect themselves from being eaten since they can’t run away from predators. Sometimes these poisonous mushrooms look very similar to safe mushrooms, which can prove fatal if you eat them. There have been recent reports of families being poisoned after they picked mushrooms in Australia that look almost exactly like the safe mushrooms from other countries. It is vital that you don’t go and harvest your own mushrooms without the proper knowledge.

There are so many types of good eating mushrooms all around the world. They all have different flavours so I encourage you to explore the exotic mushrooms at your grocery store. Some really delicious mushrooms you may have heard of are:

Enoki or enokitake

Shimeji

Shitake

Oyster mushroom

Vitamins, minerals and other benefits of eating cooked mushrooms:

Vitamins B1, B2, B12, C, D, E, folate,

Trace minerals such as potassium,

Amino acids,

Low calorie source of fibre and protein,

Antioxidants, especially when grilled or microwaved.

Best ways to cook mushrooms:

Grill or microwave mushrooms to get the most nutritional value out of them. These methods leave the antioxidant activity in tact (Source). You can also fry, boil or bake mushrooms to enjoy the beneficial vitamins and minerals.

Fun fact: The largest organism in the world is a fungus that spans a few km across in a forest in Oregon, USA.

What are your favourite ways to prepare mushrooms? Do you stuff them? Fry them with butter and garlic? Those are my favourite ways to enjoy mushrooms.

You’re worth more than a number

[Listen to me read this post out for you on Spotify]

You’re worth far more than any number on a scale.

If you don’t have to, seriously, NEVER weigh yourself.

Is it actually useful to know your weight and how it fluctuates daily, weekly, monthly? Be honest.

Instead, it’s far more useful to note how your body is feeling. How are you feeling at the moment? Are you a bit bloaty? Are you in pain? Are your clothes tight or uncomfortable?

If stepping on the scales makes you feel so crappy that you lose motivation then remove that toxic bitch from your life!! No BODY has time for that negativity.

If you’re losing confidence and beating yourself up because of those scales, get yourself out of that depressing cycle.

You have the power to remove those negative influences in your life and become more productive in your journey through life.

And remember, our weight fluctuates so much that we weigh differently at different times of the day. The amount of water you drink or whether you’ve emptied your bowels will make a lot of difference. Even the amount of sleep you get will change your weight!

So weighing youself day to day doesn’t actually matter. You know what does matter?

How strong you are becoming as you train your muscles to lift weights.

Holding that yoga pose or nailing your pilates routine.

Reaching your goal of running a few km or completing a marathon.

Feeling confident when you look in the mirror.

Loving yourself because you’re worth it!

It’s rare that I check my weight anymore. When I do, I accept the number that appears on the dial. It’s only a number.

Working towards fitting into a pair of jeans or a slinky dress is a great goal, but you deserve to love yourself and feel worthy in the clothes you are already in. No matter the size.

Aussie Bush Tucker In The Kitchen

**Listen to me read this post out on my Podcast**

Do you love trying new foods? For me, it’s almost a hobby, I call it going on a food adventure. The best part about travelling is getting to experience new foods. New flavours and new textures. Even simple flavours like tomatoes taste different when you’re on the other side of the world. Food says a lot about the culture of a region. Think of the simple ingredients that are used to make a boring dish really amazing, like fried breadcrumbs on streamed veggies.

Travelling across the globe might not be possible for you but never fear! There are amazing flavours to explore in our own backyard.

Here in Australia I’ve been living in the city with my family. My parents migrated to Australia from Europe so Australian culture is a little different. It’s very interesting to compare cultures and histories, even how those cultures are affecting us in the multicultural environment of Australian cities. I adore the many cultures of Sydney where I currently live. There are many opportunities to go on food adventures as each suburb has a range of restaurants of different cuisines. So many flavours to explore!

Then I learn about Aussie bush tucker. When I was in primary school I thought of bush tucker as witchetty grubs and that’s about it. I had no exposure to Aboriginal culture other than the history they taught in schools. I have always had deep respect for their culture, especially since they were strong enough to handle eating those witchetty grubs. But in the suburb of Sydney that I went to school, the population was full of migrants and decendents from England so I didn’t learn about Aboriginal food and medicine until later.

Native Australian Ingredients For Your Next Food Adventure

Finger Limes

Inside the skin of the fruit there is a pulp of little bubbles filled with juice. The pulp is used as a fresh burst of citrus flavour in food or drinks. Goes great with seafood.

Lilly pilly

These are the super bright pink berries that end up covering the footpaths around Sydney. I didn’t know you could eat them! Then I tried them and I am hooked. They are subtly sweet with a hint of sour and are satisfying to bite into, like a very small apple.

Quandong

I haven’t tried these but I see the contestants on Masterchef Australia use these a lot. They sound amazing, sweet and tangy. Ususlly used in marmalades or pies. Sounds good!

Edible Pigface

I grow this one in my garden and eat it raw. It’s like salty aloe vera. Add it to salads for a salty topping.

Thanks so much for joining me today. Checkout my Youtube Channel for more Full Cup Wellness from me, QueeenVK.

Keep your cup full!

How do you do breakfast?

I choose not to skip breakfast! Keeping your blood sugar level stable is the easiest way to prevent type 2 diabetes (which runs in my family) and keep brain function at optimal levels. 

Did you know that your brain can’t function without glucose? That’s why when you’re hungry your body tells you to have high energy foods. It’s a defence mechanism, a quick band aid solution to your lack of energy. What your body is actually asking for is complex carbohydrates (Low GI foods) that can be broken down and digested into glucose molecules for the brain to use as energy.

Low GI foods such as brown rice, brown bread and grains are the best option for a hungry brain. They keep your blood sugar stable too!

I also reach for some protein in the morning to give my muscles the energy to tackle the day. Protein helps your body feel fuller for longer! The reason your body needs protein is because proteins are made up of amino acids, the building blocks of life. Your muscles, enzymes, cells, everything in your body needs that precious protein.

How do you do breakfast in the morning?

Source: https://www.finedininglovers.com/blog/food-drinks/international-breakfasts/

Plastic pollution myths busted!

There are some myths currently floating around that could be harmful to the environment so I’m here to help with some mythbusting facts.

Myth #1

If I recycle my plastic waste I’m not harming the environment.

Fact: Many types of plastic cannot be recycled. Additionally, if non-recyclable items contaminate a bunch of recyclable products all of the recyclable items will be sent to a landfill.

This is why I can’t stress enough that COFFEE CUPS SHOULD NEVER BE PLACED IN A RECYCLING BIN.

Coffee cups are in no way recyclable. If these non-recyclable products contaminate the products being sent recycling, all of that recycling goes straight to the tip.

What you can do: Reduce use of all plastics. Bring your own coffee cup on your coffee run. Use canvas tote bags for all of your shopping and produce. Stop buying plastic toothbrushes (go for bamboo). Take advantage of this code for 15% off all purchases at Sand Cloud: VICK_Y15. Sandcloud.com has a selection of glass water bottles, metal straws and environmentally friendly organic sunscreen (packaged in a tin instead of plastic). You can feel really good about saving the planet with your next session of retail therapy.

Myth #2

Plastic pollution in the ocean isn’t harming humans.

Fact: Leaching of chemicals from plastics into our waterways not only affects our water but our food too. Large pieces of plastic break down into smaller pieces called microplastics. These microplastics are mistaken as food by sea creatures and are frequently ingested. The smaller fish that consume these plastics are consumed by larger fish until it gets to the top of the food chain, you and me! Do you really want to be eating food that is potentially contaminated with harmful chemicals?

Myth #3

Ocean plastic pollution mainly originates from dumping rubbish in the ocean

Fact: Plastics from all over the land can end up in the ocean, no matter where it was dumped. Most of the plastics that are now in the ocean originated from every day items that you and I use frequently – bags, bottles, caps, food containers. If we begin limiting the use of plastic in our lives we can make an impact on the reduction of plastic in the ocean.

Share your plastic reduction tips in the comments. My latest effort in waste reduction involves the use of beeswax food wraps and reusable ziplock bags to store my lunches for work! What’s yours?

Five ways to increase your metabolism

Do you have a slow, sluggish metabolism impacting on your overall health?

Thankfully there are a few ways you can increase your metabolic rate.

Your metabolic rate is the number of calories you burn in a given amount of time, also known as calorie expenditure. The faster your metabolism, the more calories your body needs to function. So, how can we speed it up?

1. Strength train

The effect of exercise itself will increase your metabolism but if you also combine this with strength training exercises it will lead to the growth of muscle mass. The amount of muscle you have is directly associated with your metabolic rate. More muscle equals a higher resting metabolism, that is, metabolic rate when the body is at rest. Muscle loss is often associated with older age or a calorie-reduced diet. It’s important to continue promoting the growth of muscle mass so you are able to increase your resting metabolism which will significantly allow your body to burn more calories.

2. Move your body

Those very basic day to day activities such as standing up regularly, doing household chores, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or even fidgeting all count as getting your body moving! This particular boost in metabolic rate is known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). In severely obese individuals, NEAT can account for a considerable portion of the daily calorie expenditure. Although the recommendation of moderate intensity physical exercise is 30 minutes per day, even light activities like walking around or your household work will boost your metabolism which is going to give you an advantage in the long run.

3. Do high intensity workouts

One of the most effective forms of exercise is high-intensity interval training (also known as HIIT). HIIT is a form of interval training which incorporates short bursts of workouts at intervals of often little rest in between. The positive effects of HIIT on your metabolism remain long after the workout is complete.

Try this HIIT workout and let us know how you go!

200m sprint (run or row)

20 kettlebell swings

15 box jumps

10 push press

5 burpees

30 seconds rest

Repeat 4 times

4. Eat protein

Eating sufficient amounts of protein is essential if you want to maintain or build your muscle mass. There are also many other health benefits of eating protein in your daily food consumption. All food leads to a temporary increase in metabolic rate however, this effect is much stronger after eating protein than after eating fats or carbs. Protein actually increases metabolic rate by 20–30% verses carbs and fat which only increases it by 3–10%.

5. Drink green tea

The benefits of consuming green tea are well known. Not only does it contain antioxidants aplenty and various nutrients it also boosts metabolism quite effectively. Studies have found that the consumption of green tea is associated with weight loss, especially around the belly. There are polyphenolic compounds called catechins present in green tea which stimulate fat oxidation and boost energy expenditure. This effect is even stronger when combined with exercise.

If you don’t enjoy the taste of green tea, or want to give your body a real boost, I recommend Tegreen capsules which contain the equivalent of 6 cups of green tea in one capsule. You gain all of the beneficial properties of green tea without burning your mouth on a cup of steaming hot tea.

I love receiving feedback because it’s so valuable! Here are some Tegreen (plus exercise) Before and After shots.

Note that belly fat is reduced by using Tegreen in conjunction with exercise as the boost in metabolism from the tea assists with extra expenditure of calories during exercise.

Comment below or send me an email at fullcupwellness1@gmail.com to find out more information about supplementation with green tea and to place an order for Tegreen. Mention this post for 15% off all TeGreen supplement purchases.