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Health Hacks on a budget

Hello friends :))

I want to share with you my favourite apps I currently use and most importantly why. It can be overwhelming sometimes scrolling through Instagram, Facebook or even ITunes Store and seeing a thousand new interesting ‘health’ apps. Often I’ll get caught up and think yes that looks awesome and download a new app, but come 1 week later I’ve forgotten all about it. So, below are a few that I have as part of my ‘minimal’ thing going on…. Every month or so I have a purge of all the things I don’t use on my phone and these guys have stood the test of time.

Here is what my current ‘health’ folder looks like.

From left to right I’ll explain each one and you might be able to incorporate some in your day-to-day.

1. Easy Diet Diary. This is a way to ‘track’ your food intake. How it works is that you can ‘add in’ certain foods and it tallies it up for you for the day. It also tells you the amount of protein, carbs and fat in each ingredient. This can be very useful if you are interested in knowing just how much you are eating over the day, if you’re tracking your macros as a tool for bodybuilding competitions or just pure aesthetics. I used to use ‘My Fitness Pal’ but I found it was hard to get proper Australian ingredients in their data-base and it had a lot of American foods. For this reason I transitioned to Easy Diet Diary. A few things I love about this. It’s super easy to use and gives you prompts. For example; if you clicked ‘chicken breast’ it then pops up with the cooking method ‘steamed’, ‘fried’ etc. Keep in mind these foods and the data base are only an estimate as so many things can influence actual food nutrient value, such as the weather and seasonality of produce. However, I use this app to ‘track’ my foods. I’m not as strict as I used to be as I don’t compete in bodybuilding, but I love manipulating my diet and playing around with different carb fat and protein amounts and seeing what happens. A bit of an experiment. You may not be at that stage but you might find it useful if you’re starting your health and fitness journey. Often I will have clients who are doing everything they think is right to be ‘healthy’ but are often overlooking the little things, such as overall intake.  Often people are not aware of the ‘little things’ that can creep up in your diet and contribute to overall calories. Such things as your coffees through the day.  Even having 2-3 flat whites per day can contribute to your overall energy which you might not have thought about.

2. Clue! I LOVE this app. Also, sorry guys this one is for the girls. Your time to look away is now.  So, this app is a way to track your menstrual cycle.  I started using this to see if I could see a trend for my hormonal acne.  How it works is that each day it prompts you to enter some data (pretty personal) about your mood, skin, bowel health etc etc. and obviously if you are in your menstrual cycle.  It then uses a few months of data to predict when you’re next cycle will be.  As I mentioned before, I tracked about 6 months and found out I was getting cyclic acne (big, hormonal acne around my jaw and chin) post period.  So this made me look and research into possible reasons for this.  Even if you don’t suspect ‘hormonal’ issues, this is still a great app to quickly plug in your answers for the day and predict your next cycle (always a win).

3. Zero. This is an app which tracks time. It is used in the context of intermittent fasting. I never used to think this was important but the more research I do (and thanks to an awesome friend who is hella smart), who has helped me see some of the science behind intermittent fasting.  I still haven’t even done a whole day, however, I set the ‘clock’ to ~15 hours (have my first meal around 12 midday) and might do this once a week or so. I find it mentally very tough and not ready to do any longer, but one day I will and I hope to do a few days fasting.

4.  Uber Eats. This is a sometimes app haha! This one is self-explanatory but I wanted to highlight just because I’m a bit of a health freak doesn’t mean I don’t have a few ‘off-plan’ meals.  I don’t eat to a meal plan I just eat to how I feel, which sometimes is a beautiful thai curry or vietnamese pho! Yum.  This is very irregular for me however, I am usually organised and have meals ready to go.

5.  Fitstop app. If you’re around Brisbane, Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast, chances are you’ve seen one of these gyms around.  I use this app to check in to classes during the week to keep me accountable to going.  I go around 4 times per week and have just hit my 1 year mark of training with the Fitstop Fam. You could do this with whatever ‘fitness’ or training you do. It’s great to keep accountable.

6. Moment. I only just got this app.  Lately I have felt like I have been on social media for too long.  Yes, it is for my ‘business’, however, too much social media can leave you drained and a bit spaced out.  So, I use this app to give me a ‘snap-shot’ into my daily social media usage.  I got a HUGE shock one weekend when I realised I had spent 6 HOURS on my phone that day. Now I am trying to stop the mindless scrolling and just get in a get out with social media.

7. Mindbody. As with number 5. this is what I use to book ‘other’ sessions such as Yin Yoga or a stretch class. Mindbody is cool because it lets you search your location and see what is going out around you.

8. Health. This allows you to ‘track’ your steps for the day.  Some days when I’m on my desk on the computer, I will check in with this app and see I’ve only done around 1 thousand steps.  Definitely not enough for the day.  I usually get ~7k-8k with a day at work only as I’m on my feet most of the day.  It is a great tool to get your bum into gear if you see you’d only done <1,000 steps and go outside and have a walk! This will get the blood pumping and flowing and is a natural anti-depressant. Even if I don’t feel like going for a walk (when I’ve done no steps that day) I always feel 100% better getting out in nature with my spotify playlist or a podcast.

I hope that these suggestions will help you with your journey to becoming healthier and happier.

CC xx

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Crunchy Pumpkin Granola

This is one of my favourites!!

Such a versatile recipe. Can use on it’s own, as a snack or as a topping on a smoothie or a chia seed pudding.  It’s gluten free, dairy free and vegan friendly.

Ingredients:

1.5 cups pumpkin (chopped)

1 tblsp ground cinnamon

0.5 tblsp ground ginger

1/2 tblsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

3 soaked dates (in 1/4 cup water)

1/2 cup coconut oil

2 cups shredded coconut

1 cup pepitas

1.5 cups mixed nuts (chopped roughly)

1.5 cups puffed amaranth

pinch of salt

1/2 cup raisins

Method

Preheat the oven to 90 degrees C. Place the dates in the water and leave to soak. Place the chopped pumpkin into a saucepan and add a few cups of water.  Bring the pumpkin to the boil and leave until soft (use a fork to check).  Once the pumpkin is soft, strain the water and tip the pumpkin into a blender along with the dates (and the water it’s soaking in), spices and coconut oil.  Blend until a pureed consistency.  Place all of the dry ingredients (except the raisins) in to a large mixing bowl.  Add the pureed mixture into the bowl and mix until all of the pumpkin mix is mixed through the dry ingredients.  Spread this mixture into a baking tray lined with baking paper and place into the oven.  Bake until the mixture is lightly brown and crispy, turning once or twice while it is cooking.  Once cooked, mix through the raisins and place into an airtight container.

Enjoy,

Cc x

Natural Anxiety Remedies

Natural Anxiety Remedies

For as long as I can remember, I have had anxiety. I used to think it was a flaw or something that was ‘wrong’, but I am now 99% at peace with being a little, ‘over wired’.

Anxiety is a natural bodily process. We were built as humans to withstand a little bit of stress. Anxiety is our bodies’ way of telling us we are stuck in that
‘Fight or flight mode’ (the sympathetic nervous system), or ‘overdrive’ as I like to call it.

In the olden days, if there was a predator or something our bodies’ perceived as a threat, we needed a way to turn on all of our mechanisms to fight this stressor, such as adrenaline and noradrenaline. These would naturally subdue once the predator was gone and we were no longer in perceived danger.

Now, in the modern age, the issue we are faced with is that our bodies’ perceive many things as a ‘stressor’ and we can get stuck in this ‘fight or flight mode’. This includes; mobile phone usage and constant exposure to social media, traffic, environment pollutants, emotional stress, financial stress; the list goes on. Adding to this is the constant surge of stress hormones such as cortisol, which in small doses, can save our life, but for the every day, too much is not a good thing. Our body is becoming more and more ‘alert’ and ‘wired’ therefore it is harder to active our parasympathetic nervous system which is our calming ‘rest and digest’ system. Think of it as your ‘recharge mode’.

It is not surprising that with all of these external and internal stressors we deal with on a day-to-day basis, some of us may find it hard to switch off and can be a little anxious or, ‘over wired’. Below I will outline a few tips that I have used and do use for both acute anxiety and long-term anxiety preventions.

These all ‘switch on’ the Parasympathetic nervous system, which is the ‘rest and digest’ system (the one we want most of the time).

• Listen to calming music – I love to use the pre-made Spotify playlists such as ‘calming sounds’, which play everything from the sound of rain to the calming beach. This can be beneficial for acute-anxiety situations (such as anxiety attacks) or to help get your breath back or to simply play before bed to get into a nice rhythm.

• Nighttime routine – this is a big one for me. I love to really slow down my nighttime routine which includes having a cup of tea and some dark chocolate after dinner all the way to having a similar skin-care routine. This ensures I get into a good mindset and know I’ll have a great sleep.

• Get out in nature. Nature has a great way that stiulates certain ‘feel good’ chemicals in our body such as serotonin and dopamine, which can help us to immediately feel good.

• Exercise. The only reason I exercise is to get that release of serotonin and make me feel good. I do this around 4-5 times a week of more intense training. Slower forms of exercise are just as beneficial; such as walking, yoga, even stretching. Move your body and see how it immediately lifts your mood.

• Lavender oil on t-shirt – I use Doterra oils and put little drops on my shirt or wrists as a perfume. Lavender is a very calming oil so would highly recommend it.
• Limit technology before bed. Limiting your exposure to technology before bed is a great way to reduce that ‘blue-light’ load which actually keeps your awake and stimulated. At night we want more of that ‘red light’ which is things like lamps (salt lamps are great), candles and using apps, which can change that harsh ‘blue-light’ on your phone or Laptop into a softer ‘red light’. This is all vital if you want a good nights’ sleep. Red lights can help our melatonin production and tells our body its time for bed.

  • Listen to ATP Science podcast on Anxiety – highly highly recommend!
    • Head to a health retreat for a ‘digital detox’. If you are anything like me, it is very relaxing and a great ‘recharge’ to have a beautiful, calming environment to retrain your brain and bring down stress hormones and chemicals.

If you find any of these tips helpful to you or have any of your own to share, I would love to hear from you.

Instagram: @claudiacramerdietitian
Facebook: Claudia Cramer Dietitian
Email: claudiacramerdietitian@gmail.com

** This post is for information purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease.

Healthy Hedgehog Slice

I have tried and tested this recipe during the week and it. is. good.

It is a perfect mid-morning or after snack. It is gluten-free, high-fibre (good for the bowels) and includes antioxidants such as raw cacao, which is much healthier than your normal Cocoa powder.

For this recipe, I got most of the ingredients at my local Flannery’s Health Food Store (lucky to work just next door) but I am sure you could find many of these ingredients at your local supermarket.

So, without further blabbering.  Here is the recipe for this delicious slice.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla essence
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 cups puffed brown rice
  • 1/2 cup linseed
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup activated buckwheat

OPTIONAL EXTRAS:

Can add some cranberries, goji berries or flaked almonds for an added layer of texture.

Method:

1. In a microwave safe bowl, add the coconut oil.

2. Heat in the microwave for ~20 seconds until melted.

3. Add the cacao powder, maple syrup, salt, and vanilla. Mix.

4. Mix through the puffed brown rice, linseed, coconut and buckwheat.  Ensure to coat all of the mixture in the cacao mixture.

5. Line a tray or glass / plastic container with baking paper.  Spoon the mixture into the container and push it to the sides and ensure it is even.

6. Place in the fridge and leave for at least 1 hour to set. Cut into 12-16 pieces, depending on what size you prefer for a snack.

Enjoy x CC

Healthy Muesli Bars

I am usually looking for something a little sweeter come mid-afternoon so I thought I would create a healthy muesli bar to take to work with me.

Ingredients:

Muesli Bar Base

  • 2 cups oats (instant)
  • 1/2 cup protein powder (I use Prana on, vanilla creme)
  • 2 tablespoons almond meal
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use soy or almond)
  • dash of vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Yoghurt Drizzle ** Optional

  • 1/4 cup Natural Yoghurt (I used YoPro – Natural)
  • 1 1/2 honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (melted)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius. Prepare a baking tray by lining it with baking paper.  In a large bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients.  In a seperate bowl, mix the wet ingredients (except the chocolate chips).  Mix the two bowls together. Add the chocolate chips and fold gently.  Pour into the lined baking tray and use a spatula to spread evenly across the tray, pressing into the tray.   Put in the oven for ~20 minutes (watch for the edge to turn golden-brown).

Remove from the heat and start to prepare the yoghurt drizzle.  Mix the yoghurt, honey and coconut oil into a small mixing bowl. Hint: You can make the consistency less thick by adding a dash of milk (to your liking). Once the bars are cool, drizzle the yoghurt over the bars with a tsp.  Refrigerate.

Low-Carb High Protein Pudding

Recently, I have been experimenting with training fasted, having a long-black coffee and then my first meal of the day is High-Fat and High-Protein.  I’m always experimenting with my diet and macronutrients (check with your health-care practitioner before making any drastic changes to your diet).

In a nutshell, the aim of this training and macronutrient choice is to ‘de-activate’ the carbohydrate energy pathway  in the body and ‘activate’ the ‘fat using / burning pathway’. So, I’m trying to ‘burn fat’.

Anyway,  I have been having chia seed puddings all week, but it wasn’t until I added a few ingredients (namely protein) that I thought… 1) Hey, this is delicious and 2) This is really high protein and would be a PERFECT Breakfast option.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. chia seed pudding **prepared prior (super quick recipe – see below)
  • Protein powder (1 scoop) I use ‘Rich Chocolate’ by Prana
  • Cinnamon (1 tsp.)
  • Maple syrup (1 tsp.)
  • Toppings:
    • 1 tsp. cacao spread (I use Mayvers brand) (could also use any nut butter)
    • 1 tbsp.. shredded coconut (I like Woolworths ‘Macro Toasted Coconut Flakes’
    • 2 tsp. coconut cream or yoghurt

**Chia seed pudding. Simply, 6 tsp. of dry chia seeds (black) and 1/2 cup coconut milk and 1/2 cup water. Mix and let ‘set’. This will last in the fridge for a week.

Method:

In a small mixing bowl, add the protein powder and water (about 3/4 cup to start) and mix.  You want it to be at a smooth consistency, not too ‘watery’ and not too ‘dry’ (Add more water if mixture is too dry). Top with 2 tbsp. of chia seed pudding, cinnamon and maple syrup. Mix.  I like to add this mixture into a jar or mug before I add my toppings.  Add the cacao spread (or nut butter), shredded coconut and coconut cream. Yummy! This also carries really well. I make one in a jar to take to work every day.

Enjoy! X

MACROS:

1 serve= 240 cals.

25 g P

11 g F

6 g C

 

 

Low-Carb Peanut Butter Choc Fudge

* Disclaimer: This recipe has been altered from the original recipe via

https://www.jaysbakingmecrazy.com/2016/09/19/paleo-coconut-oil-fudge/

This one is a goody!

Now, let’s get out all of the buzz-words out about this one…..

Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, keto, low-carb….. ummmm….refined-sugar free…… I think that’s it.  Not to be a typical Dietitian, BUT portion control with this one. I LOVE having a high-fat snack during the day to pick me up… but the calories are on the higher side with this one. TRY have just a piece or two a day… or when needed 😛

Also, make sure to tag me on Instagram or message me if you’ve made / loved it (@claudiacramerdietitian) and any variations you’ve made… I love getting creative & trying different flavours.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup crunchy peanut butter (I recommend Mayvers brand)
  • ½ cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground cardamom

Method:

Heat a small saucepan on the stove (low heat). Add all of the ingredients and stir for ~1-2 minutes. Pour into a dish or small container (lined with baking paper) and let settle. Place into the fridge and let set.

Cut up into small pieces for easy SNACKIN’ (I cut it up into about 20 pieces just for a little portion when needed).

Enjoy x

Skin & Gut Health Hack

Skin and Gut Health Hack Part 1. 

I bet you have used this ingredient at some point. Myself living in South-East Queensland I am very familiar with this as a salve for my sunburnt skin as a teenager (sorry mum). Of course, I am talking about Aloe Vera This is fast becoming one of my favourite ingredients to use as it has SO many benefits. Which, might I add, does not involve purchasing any additional products, all which can be quite expensive.

I am going to go through 2 QUICK and EASY ways I incorporate Aloe Vera into my day-to- day to help with my skin, gut and digestion.

1. Aloe Vera Water

Benefits
-May improve digestion (soothes digestive tract)

How I use it

1

Firstly, you’ll want to find some Aloe Vera Barbadensis around the house or find a neighbour with some).

Photo 2

Chop a piece off about 10 cm in length (don’t worry, the plant will grow back)
Photo 8
Next, place your piece of aloe in a glass of water and leave for at least 30 minutes This drains the “bitter” yellow part of the aloe and we’ll throw the water out.
Photo 4
After draining off the yellow “bitters”, next, we want a nice big “chunky’ bit of aloe.
Photo 5
And then we slice the skin off. As if you were filleting a fish. Slice the topside and the bottom side off. We want a fleshy-gooey chunk of aloe.
Photo 6

This is the bit we want to keep .

Photo 9

We’re going to leave this in a glass of water in the fridge. Now, every day for the week, add about 1/2 a cup of this “aloe water’ in your normal water bottle. Then fill the “aloe water cup’ back up and leave it. This will be good for about a week. Then you’ll need to start again with a “fresh” piece of Aloe from the garden.

OPTION You could use a piece of this fleshy aloe to put into a smoothie. Extra points!

2. Skin Treatment

How I use it

From making our ‘aloe water’, we have those leftover skins off the aloe plant.

Photo 10

After I have washed and cleansed my face I rub this all over my face and the backs of my arms. It is such a soothing natural treatment that can be used for redness or just as an easy skin repairing treatment.

I’m always interested in hearing your home health-hacks so please get in contact through Facebook (Claudia Cramer Dietitian) or Instagram (@claudiacramerdietitian).

My experience with HELLOFRESH

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I am usually the person who will bring an esky full of food to any function (even for a 1-hour University lecture). You could say I am fairly organised. Or maybe it is the fact that you do not want to see my at my ‘hangry’ stage. Whatever the reason, I am generally pretty organised, even down to bringing my vitamins and peppermint tea in a little zip-lock baggie.

With that being said. Every person (even you superhumans in the kitchen) has those days where you come home from a big day, just want to chuck off your bra (sorry guys) and kick your shoes across the room and sit on the couch. You remember you need to go grocery shopping and it is the last thing you feel like doing. There’s the dilemma of wanting a healthy, delicious, home-cooked meal but you’re couldn’t be stuffed to go to the shops so that uber-eats app is looking mighty appealing.

This is where HelloFresh comes in.

**Full disclosure** The Collaboration for this Classic Box is sourced via Shopping Links.

This collaboration was to get my opinion and feedback on HelloFresh but this does not in any way guide my comments or thoughts on the service.

So, back to the fooooood. The meals were delivered straight to my doorstop. Inside were several brown paper bags and a stunning recipe book. Each paper bag was filled with the ingredients you need for one of the recipes. Not only was everything portioned out but it was peeled and cut for your ease.

The first meal I tried was the Cajun Chicken with rice.

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Preparation, tick. Taste, tick tick. Clean up, no problems.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the ease and taste of the meals. These guys obviously know their stuff. The flavours and recipes were original and creative. Even the nutritional breakdown was provided for each recipe. Big tick.

So whom would I recommend this service to?

If you are someone who wants a HEALTLY and QUICK meal. Who loves to know everything is set out and the recipe ideas given to you. Then this is for you.

If you are at all interested then this link will get you there.

Have a good week everyone 🙂

CC x