It can be hard to get enough veggies and fruit into our diets, especially when we’re busy and when our kids may not want to eat quite what we would like them to! But without those fruits and especially those green veggies that we are missing, our bodies don’t work as well. We can get sick more often and generally feel more run down and tired. That makes it even harder to eat the good stuff… a vicious cycle, really. You may have tried vegetable juices but been put off by having to clean the juicer, by the fact that you lose the vegetable fibre during the juicing process or by the expense.

One innovative drink can really help. The Green Smoothie, first coined by Victoria Boutenko in 2004, is a delicious and easy way to incorporate more leafy veggies and more fruit into your and your children’s diet. The idea is simple: Put a handful or two of greens, some fruit and some water into your blender, and blend until creamy and frothy. The fruit camouflages the taste of the greens very nicely and you can really play with the colours getting everything from a strong bright green to a red/purple, to a chocolate brown colour. You can play with texture too, adding more or less water to adjust thickness. The clean up is very easy: pour the smoothie straight into glasses and then add clean water and a drop of detergent to the blender – just blend it again to clean. The whole process is quicker than making a cup of tea and the blending increases absorption of the nutrients and makes the greens easy to digest.

You can play with your own ideas for smoothies or use recipes  – there are even Smartphone apps for Green Smoothies. Get your kids involved in picking what goes in and in naming the resulting drink – one child I know takes great delight in making his “witch’s brew” each morning.  As you and your family get more used to drinking your greens, you may find yourselves gradually increasing the amount of greens in the smoothie compared to fruit, but the important thing is that it tastes good so you want to keep drinking it. Give it a try with one of these recipes, and start to feel the benefit s to your health.

Recipes:

Banana Yum!

  • 1 large handful baby spinach
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1 cup water
  • Blend and enjoy! Makes 2 cups of smoothie.

Red delicious

  • 1 small head red butter lettuce
  • 1 red apple (cored)
  • 1 handful frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup water
  • Blend and enjoy! Makes 3-4 cups of smoothie.
Miranda Bone APD AN

Accredited Practicing Dietitian & Accredited Nutritionist

Master of Dietetics, Bachelor of Human Nutrition

a2z Health Group,

Suite 2, 3 Male St, Brighton

Ph:  (03) 9798 4081  Web: http://www.a2zhealthgroup.com.au/

Check out my blog: http://mirandabone.com.au/

An important aspect of musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction is addressing all possible contributing factors, including the presence of joint or spinal dysfunction, postural imbalances, reduced coordination of movement, poor posture and the effect of trigger points.

Most muscular aches and pains are caused or affected by untreated “trigger points,” localized tender spots in muscles. Understanding and treating these points can lead to rapid and lasting pain relief. Trigger point therapy is a powerful tool in the management of both acute and chronic pain, including such common problems as headaches and back pain.

An active trigger point is a hyperirritable spot in skeletal muscle that is associated with a tender and palpable nodule in a taut band of muscle. These muscles often appear tight, weak, do not respond to just stretching and cause restricted joint ranges of motion. Once a trigger point is established it can become self-perpetuating and persist for decades until it is adequately released. If the trigger point is not released it can lead to altered joint motion and be the cause of recurring pain.

When pain is present muscles always go into a degree of spasm, this is a protective mechanism. So muscle pain is often not the primary problem but you still have to treat it to ensure a full and speedy recovery.

What causes a Trigger Point?

Trigger points are most commonly the result of overuse or trauma:

  • This may be acute, e.g. sudden overloading of a muscle when having to take an unexpected weight.
  • It can be gradual from chronic abuse of a muscle. This might be a repetitive strain, e.g. from typing, or from a postural problem such as rounded, hunched shoulders, or a weakness of the core stabilising muscles of the spine.
  • Prolonged increased tension of a muscle due to a protective spasm from a facet joint sprain can also be a cause.
  • In addition, Trigger Points may be secondary to some other pathology that may cause pain referred to a muscle. For example, a peptic ulcer may lead to Trigger Points in the deep abdominal muscles, which may persist long after the ulcer has healed.

Trigger Points seem to become more resistant after about 6 months, and chronic Trigger Points usually need prolonged therapy and exercises, alongside your Physiotherapy care. The correction of hormonal, nutritional and postural problems may also be an important part of treatment.

The frequency of visits is determined by your problem and how quickly you respond to the Physiotherapy treatment program.

Please call your Physiotherapist at a2z Health Group on (03) 9798 4081 or visit our clinics in Dandenong & Noble Park and Brighton Physiotherapy for more information.

By Miranda Bone

These days, going wheat or gluten free is almost fashionable. However, if you have noticed symptoms after eating a big bowl of pasta or a fluffy white pizza base, don’t rush to avoid wheat just yet.

Many Melbourne cafes offer gluten free cakes and friands, and some restaurants have gluten-free pizza bases and bread rolls, ditching wheat has some repercussions, especially if you’re not sure why you are doing it. There are several reasons why you may experience digestive symptoms after eating wheat. You may not tolerate wheat well, but you might also have C0eliac Disease yourself, which is more serious, and it gets much harder to diagnose once you stop eating much wheat. Ideally, rule it out while you are still eating wheat.

Coeliac Disease is more serious than wheat intolerance.

Coeliac Disease is not an intolerance to wheat. It is a serious immune reaction to gluten, a protein common to wheat, rye, barley and oats*. A tiny amount of this protein, 50mg (the amount in 1/100th of a slice of bread) is enough to damage the bowel in someone with celiac disease, and cause long term harms as well as short term discomfort. Coeliac disease is one of the most common genetic diseases, and can be triggered at any point in the life cycle, from children to adults. Approximately 1% of Australians suffer from Coeliac Disease, however, 75% of these remain undiagnosed. That means around 160,000 Australians have Coeliac Disease, but are not aware of it. Undiagnosed, untreated Coeliac Disease can lead to chronic poor health.

To diagnose Coeliac Disease, you need to eat wheat.

The first standard test for Coeliac Disease is a Blood Test, which screens for antibodies (part of the immune system, present in blood). These particular antibodies are at much higher levels in the blood of people with untreated Coeliac Disease. That is, people who have Coeliac Disease and are eating plenty of gluten. If you are not eating gluten, or not eating much, then your levels of these antibodies will be normal, regardless of whether you have Coeliac Disease. In other words, a false negative. So to make this test show whether you really have Coeliac Disease, you need to eat at least 4 pieces of wheat bread (or equivalent) every day, for 4-6 weeks prior to the test.

If this is an increase in wheat eating for you, talk to your dietitian. Symptoms may get worse on the first few days, but often reduce over the next weeks. You dietitian can also check your usual diet to ensure you’re getting enough gluten (eg from pasta, breakfast cereal, grains) if you don’t want to eat much bread.

The final step in celiac disease diagnosis is a small bowel biopsy. This is a short and simple surgical procedure done under light anaesthesia. Several small samples of the small bowel are taken and analysed to check if there is damage to the lining of the bowel, the villous atrophy that is characteristic of celiac disease.

The Exception: Gene test

The only way to avoid eating wheat, and still rule out Coeliac Disease as the cause of wheat-related symptoms is to have a genetic test. You can have the test performed on a blood sample or cheek swab, without having to eat gluten first. It is testing for the genes HLA DQ2 or HLA DQ8, which are responsible for Coeliac Disease. About 30% of Australia’s population has these genes. If you don’t have them, you don’t have Coeliac Disease, and you won’t ever develop it. However, if you do have one of them, you are susceptible to Coeliac Disease, and should proceed with eating wheat and getting proper testing done. 1 in 30 people who have HLA DQ2 or HLA DQ8 will develop Coeliac Disease, so this doesn’t diagnose you with Coeliac Disease, but it does indicate further testing should be done.

Just cutting down on wheat doesn’t treat Coeliac Disease

Even when most wheat is removed from the diet, gluten (the real problem in celiac disease) can still creep in. Hidden sources of gluten are found in wheaten cornflour, soy sauce, malt vinegar, beer, spelt or rye breads (often well tolerated in wheat intolerance), and in crumb contamination, amongst others. In someone with an intolerance for wheat, or particular FODMAPS sugars, these tiny amounts would make little difference. But in someone with celiac disease, these amounts may still cause symptoms, or they may “silently” damage the bowel resulting in malabsorption of calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B12, folate. In the long term, that raises the risk of osteoporosis. There is also have a higher risk for lymphoma than if you had well controlled celiac disease, and the auto-immune diseases that are more common with celiac disease may take longer to get diagnosed and treated.

In Short:

Coeliac disease requires a strict, gluten free diet for life. Wheat or FODMAPS intolerance doesn’t. With a good diagnosis, a dietitian can help you get the most from your food, and you can have great quality of life, great food and great health. So check for celiac disease first; then explore other food intolerances.

Miranda Bone APD AN

Accredited Practicing Dietitian & Accredited Nutritionist
Master of Dietetics, Bachelor of Human Nutrition
a2z Health Group,
Suite 2, 3 Male St, Brighton
Ph:  (03) 9798 4081
Web: http://www.a2zhealthgroup.com.au/
Check out my blog: http://mirandabone.com.au/