'Macaburra': 'Ma-cah-buh-rah'; a combination of Macadamia and Kookaburra (two of my favorite things in the land of Aus).
Update: Currently JUST FINISHED 2nd Year Dietetics ( it's nutrition before you ask), a long distance runner, travelphile, hopeless at navigation.
Research Interests include Epigenetics, Ancient history, Nutrigenomics and Psychoanalysis.
A poet at times, an avid debater and public speaker.
Ask me stuff, I might reply ;)
If you’re anything like me, you truly appreciate worship that little cup of onyx goodness in the mornings.
For the entirety of my university life I’ve turned to coffee, a pungent smelling pick-me-up that guarantees within 30 minutes to work it’s magic in the body and make me actually seem interested in the lives of people around me.
But, like anything that seems to good to be true – there’s a darker side to coffee that isn’t just in the roast of it’s beans.
And it’s all in the mechanism of action.
In doing some weekly readings (#unilife), I’ve stumbled across a few articles detailing cardiovascular disease (CVD) -the leading killer of developed and developing nations worldwide.
According to the Heart Foundation’s ‘Summary of Evidence’ report 2010: Habitual Coffee consumption has always been a topic of hot debate when it comes to heart health.
===== Caution: fancy words ahead =====
Whilst phenolic chemical compounds in coffee including; Caffeine, diterpene alcohols, and chlorogenic acid (a polyphenolic acid) have been shown to be strong antioxidants (opposite of oxidants -aka bad) in vitro (outside of the human body), population studieshave commonly seen an association with coffee consumption and increased risk in the development of certain CVD markers
Mixed evidence regarding the subject has been the topic of recent debate; a study by this chick named Sofia et.al (1) suggested that a positive association (a link exists) between habitual coffee consumption (i.e living and breathing coffee) and Coronary Heart Disease using 13 case-control studies, but several meta-analyses (meshed analysis) of cohort studies (a study where researchers practically follow people around for a few years and annoy them) have found no effect of coffee drinking on the risk of CHD.
Another study involving 200,000 participants (2) suggested a significant inverse association (opposite relationship) between coffee consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes. This means that Individuals who drank four to six cups per day and more than six cups per day had a 28 and 35% lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those who drank no coffee or less than two cups per day-
So could this mean that to avoid the T2DM epidemic we simply… drink more coffee?
BUT WAIT, Before you rush to your nearest Starbucks/Zarraffas/insertbrandnamecoffeestorehere and rip up your Dietitian’s orders to eat healthily and exercise, there’s more…
You may know that Coffee is a stimulant, a vasoconstrictive agent if you will (constricts your arteries so blood flows at a pressure used rate), so consuming caffeine has (as you would expect), an effect on blood pressure.
So this researcher called Jee, and his mates (3) decided to look into coffee consumption and it’s effect on Blood pressure. They found that after 56 days with an average of consuming 5 coffees a day , the guinea pigs (humans) had an increased systolic pressure of 2.4mmol/Hg and diastolic 1.2mmol/Hg.
Now this might not sound like much, but if you’re slightly overweight and your blood pressure is borderline hypertensive (140/90) – habitual coffee consumption could just step you over the line into deep hypertension territory (aka bad).
Hypertension goes hand in hand with more cardiovascular diseases than I am bothered to type out. And all this information seems really quite counterintuitive.
So far the research suggests;
1) Drinking coffee constantly was associated with increased CVD risk
2)drinking 5 cups or more of coffee associated with decreased incidence of type 2 diabetes (good)
3) BUT drinking 5 cups or more of coffee increases blood pressure (bad)
Not looking so good for coffee is it?
So what if coffee slightly raised blood pressure or is associated with increased CVD risk? It doesn’t have an effect on cholesterol right?
Well, It depends.
Christensen and coworkers (4) hypothesised that terpenoid (cholesterol) fractions (found in very high amounts in unfiltered coffee), mainly cafestol and kahweol, in coffee oil raise blood cholesterol levels.
It has been shown that boiled coffee contains a lipid fraction that can be removed during filtration though paper, and once filtered, does not raise blood cholesterol levels
And Instant coffee has very low levels of cafestol and kahweol, and is unlikely to raise blood cholesterol levels. Both Robusta and Arabica coffee beans contain kahweol and cafestol.
A comparison of diterpenes in various coffee brews found that Turkish/Greek-style coffee contains the highest cafestol levels per cup (mean: 3.9 -3.2 mg), while plunger/cafetierestyle coffee contained 3.5 -1.2 mg. Five cups per day of either of these styles of coffee would raise serum cholesterol by about 8–10 mg/dL or 0.2–0.25 mmol/L.
So take home message to my fellow caffeinated mates: don’t drink too much, too often and defenatly not the Turkish boiled or plunger coffee!
I’m unsure of the levels of cafestrol in decaf coffee but seriously, who drinks coffee without the intention of reaping the benefits of sweet, sweet (but actually quite bitter) caffeine?
Have a lovely week,
Stay caffeinated, ( but not too much)
(1) . Sofi F, Conti AA, Gori AM, et al. Coffee consumption and risk of coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 2007; 17: 209–223.
(2) van Dam RM, Hu FB. Coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review. JAMA 2005; 294: 97–104.
(3) Jee SH, He J, Whelton PK, et al. The effect of chronic coffee drinking on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials. Hypertension 1999; 33: 647–652.
(4) Christensen B, Mosdol A, Retterstol L, et al. Abstention from filtered coffee reduces the concentrations of plasma homocysteine and serum cholesterol––a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2001; 74: 302–307.
You see them walking across the road in packs, or even solo. They look like a strange mix between an adult and teenager, wearing things ranging from designer gym clothes to Kmart sale items. Their hair is either fabulous or a mess (I never understood quite how to make time to do the former, given that I start at 8am most days).
They carry around this huge overpacked baggage, as if they were boarding a flight to some exotic foreign continent (hah *sheds a single tear*), within – a hoard of treasured items can be found.
A coffee mug. The best (and most expensive) friend of the University student, guarded fiercely.
multiple assignments with coffee stains – usually printed double sided to conserve funds
books with half written lecture notes – usually a friend has “borrowed” a few pages.
Gum for emergencies (I.e spontaneous hookups)
And of course,
the 10kg $200 textbook that she/he STILL hasn’t used.
Upon observing (and unfortunately interacting with) these hormonally driven beings for the better part of 3 years now. I’ve noticed the appearance of such mammals follows a seemingly predictable trend.
For females; dead set panda eyes coved dutifully with concealer, sunglasses on forehead and usually one fashion statement item, Nike or converse as the choice footwear. The same outfit is repeated on a weekly cycle – an attempt to hide the fact that the female student doesn’t have the time nor funds to afford luxuries such as clothing items – a tragedy indeed.
The typical male university student looks very similar in appearance to his fellow “sick c*%#€”, “top bloke” or “mate”, as he adresses them- (amongst other terms), the dialect of the university bogan is hard to understand, even harder to duplicate. Those of the most testosterone driven are found at the “gym” – a communal area devoted to acting like a complete ass. I’d say avoid these types.
These are of course just generalisations, there are plenty of normally normal personalities in the world. And not everyone is a sleep deprived, financially, socially and mentally drained, gym fanatic slash full time student with no fashion sense…
Oh wait, I’m just describing myself now.
I hope you all have a great week regardless, if you see me frothing at the mouth and in a seemingly terrifying state of mental stability – don’t worry.
I’ve been in a few jobs during my short life, my first job was at a themepark, followed by a chainstore chicken shop known for it’s tongue-in -cheek ads (you can probably guess which one).
Like anywhere, jobs have heirachies. I started out as the plate and sauce cleaner.
And like many others, I was, at first- ecstatic about my job.
But before long the terrors of my choice became clear. My lord, the spices in that sauce mix were something else. The combination of steam and chilli made your eyes water and if you rubbed your eyes, you’d be screwed.
All of this combined with the searing heat of the industrial tap, hissing at you in burts of 2minutes at a time, did not make for a good time.
You can guess why I soon left that job, looking towards greener pastures. My next job landed me with the company I currently work for, however this time there was no devil sauce or hissing faucets. This time there was hotdog juice and cinnamon sugar. I got to interact with customers more too, and being a naturally happy person – the supervisors of the next themepark down the road saw the potential of such a cheery disposition suited to a better department.
And so, shortly after, I secured my current job in sales. My managers are adamant to hold onto me this time. Constantly placing me on Vendors – a kind of self run retail cart which I love, because it gives me the freedom to do my own thing.
Being one of the happiest people in the park(besides the kids) I also get asked to work special events- such as my last one….
I got to ride the famous Tumbler!! (It’s actually a lot more spacious than you’d think!)
Some might say that my job could be better, I could be paid more or do something degree related. But for me, I love my job, I love doing something unconventional and different. I do know that in my eyes, my job is the best in the world.
It’s that time again, time to roll up my sleeves and donate that precious liquid of life.
The Red Cross donation van greeted me once again with its crimson rectangular trunk as I pulled up outside the Griffith uni bar yesterday morning.
The nurse positioned outside – Charlene, smiled as I approached the undercover zone. A clipboard in hand and a tray of sea salt chips and small cakes on the table.
After filling out several forms and taking my weight, Charlene told me to help myself to the selection of cakes, chips or drinks avalable.
The incentives start early right?
Within 10 minutes, Tom, an energetic nurse in his mid 20’s had appeared at the top of the stairs – and beckoned me up.
Had plenty to eat and drink today?
Yeah heaps, I responded.
Truth is, I never know if I have. I had been guzzling water like a madman since yesterday- but it never felt like enough.
The cold blasts of aircon made me shiver, and, being dry air – it didn’t help my hydration status.
As they started strapping on the torneque and increasing the pressure around my left bicep, I suddenly felt like I hadn’t drank anything at all.
Was I dehydrated already? My mouth was dry as the nurse started laying on the yellow antiseptic ointment above my median cubital vein, the nurse – Anna (my namesake) furrowed her head as she poked around trying to find the little bugger.
Such small veins, lady-veins I call them, she chirped.
As she prepared the little sachets containing the needle and tubing I heard the steady ‘beep’ of monitors nearby.
As the needle came close to my arm I looked away,
A sign to my right read:
‘What does donating feel like? Like getting the best biscuit ever!’
A big cartoon cookie with the classic bitemark in it’s side was under the caption.
I felt a pinch, and flinched – a reflex. Almost like a mosquito bite right in the crevice of my arm, then it was gone. The needle was in and all I had to do now was stay still and squeeze a stress ball to keep my blood flowing.
I had a wonderful conversation with Anna, we talked of the crazy diet fads that dominated the health industry, the strict regulations following safety, the curse of vitamins, and days gone by.
Before I knew it, my 10 minutes of donating was up. Anna was slightly disappointed that I couldn’t give the full 500ml, but since my veins are so small (and my blood pressure a constant 80/60), the blood flow through them is slow at best.
Now the next part is easily my favourite.
Cakes, cookies, iced coffee and bowlfulls of chocolate.
Now I’m a Nutrition student so I really should’ve just said “no thanks” and been on my merry way, but they insisted,
You need to have 450 calories after a donation like that, it takes it out of you! said the volunteer lady overseeing the food.
And out of me it did, as soon as I went home that afternoon I slept for 10 hours.
Now this is the part where I rant about how so little people donate. And it’s nearly always persons who have family members affected by cancer, leukaemia, renal complications or a particular chronic disease who do actually roll up their sleeves every now and then.
1 in 30 donate.
That’s like, me out of my entire class.
When you think about it, it’s really not much. You could say 3 in 100 or 33 in 1000.
For an hour of your time you can save 3 lives! Everyone wants to be a hero, well here’s your chance.
Little Sally or Tommy in hospital rely on donors to get better, YOU can make a difference! Over the course of our lifetimes we pump enough blood to fill 3 Olympic swimming pools.
Surely you can spare a measly 500ml bottle full every 3 months?
and the needle is nothing to be scared of really! a tiny pinprick if that 🙂
Donate today or call up to find your nearest donation centre.
I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, the national crisis on our television screens, the invisible enemy, the first world at war with their own waistsizes.
At University, we’re prepped to know all about diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and drug interactions. Yet knowledge is useless unless you act on it.
Too many times I’ve met very educated people who have the equivalent of Masters in health, feeding their kids cheese and bacon balls.
Retirees who’ve been in the health industry for over four decades- giving children cocopops cereal at midnight just before bed. I’m no saint of nutrition, but it’s the ignorance of intelligent people who really grind my gears.
According to the 2014 Australian health survey data:
Around 92% of adults were not eating enough vegetables, and only 49% were eating enough fruit for optimum nutrition
We’re obviously eating ENOUGH, we’re just eating the WRONG THINGS.
In the end, I believe it comes down to Time. Time and your level of giving a sh*t.
So this week, I’ve decided to really give it a shot, is it that hard to just prepare food yourself?
Now I’m at university everyday, and I go to the gym usually twice daily. I work on the weekends. Usually, my parents are off globe-trotting so I have the house empty for weeks at a time.
I’m looking at the average weekly diet of Australians and recreating it, making it not only healthier BUT ALSO CHEAPER.
Now who doesn’t want that?
I’ll start next week, when the parents are both off on a cruise.
let me know your thoughts, have you noticed friends, family, associates who blindly eat doughnuts like there’s no tommorow? Don’t you just want to scream at them?
Maybe you should.
Side note: apologies for the lack of posting as of late, I got caught with the flu and have been idly bedbound for the past few days, staring at the ceiling and plotting my revenge on the kids that infected me.
I’ve been MIA for over a week now, but now I’m back baby!
I had celebrated my 20th birthday on the cruise, and it had certainly not been one to forget.
The drinking had started early, by the time the Gatsby party had kicked off I was dancing in the stairwell entangling strangers with faux fur.
At lunch I was given an entire circular chocolate cake, whom we shared with people on our deck. Since we had no utensils, we resorted to using a credit card to cut the pieces
Mistakes were made that day.
By 2am, after my legs had given out and my eyelids drooped – I made my way back to the shared cabin, the ship’s rocking had sent me off to a doze the moment my head hit the pillow.
Before the sun even rose this morning- I was up and moving, hurriedly stuffing the last of my damp bikini tops into my already overfilled backpack.
Silence, only broken with the zipping of bags filled the small cabin. Unkempt hair and unwashed faces left us feeling rather like how we looked;
The cessation of rocking held with it the promise of being back at port. Since we had no window, the time and location was impossible to tell.
Gathering whatever clothes I had left from my cupboard space, we made our way to our last breakfast aboard the Pacific Dawn.
As we walked from level 5, and my card beeped with the scanner for the last time; I looked back – all the drama and hilarity that had unfolded on that ship slipped away.
How empty and different it would feel now, if I was to ever board again; the ship would seem somewhat incomplete without the same theater group whom dominated the dance floor everynight,
the tanners on deck 10 with the complexion of leather.
Heck, even my awesome steward Anoop who always smiled, left me elephants made of towels, and fistpumped me as we left the cabin every afternoon.
As we rode home; Thomas, Marcel’s Dad- and our designated driver home; retraced our minds back to the ship that we had just left.
How we spoke of the shenanigans we got up to and the food we ate, the people we met and the nights we didn’t remember.
Dad I found two new boyfriends!
Marcel exclaimed, bringing his father’s attention to the back of his iPhone 6 case – complete with two new smiling Polaroids.
Replied Thomas, in his strong Filipino accent. His thumbs up-with the hint of a smile on his face.
The drive home felt shorter than it had been when we left to go aboard. Each of us excitedly chirped up when a broad question about he holiday was asked, all too eager to share stories.
We laughed as some boys we met on the cruise sent us Facebook messages, and we uploaded photo after photo of us (majority of me) looking awkward (as is the tradition of birthday photo montages on facebook).
When I got home, I unpacked, ate and hit up my gym. And started on what I’m doing right now: writing about it!
The cabin life
Travelling in a group of close friends was the best idea we had. We knew that we’d get on eachother’s nerves and so we tried best to accommodate for that.
Me and Marcel having the liveliest personas often shouted and competed for attention, causing a ruckus with a simple stare.
Ashleigh was the responsible one, making sure all of us got up in time or took our seasick tablets before bed, though she’d never say no to a good party. Mish was the calm, quiet friend who always was there for a good chat, or even a singing buddy if you were up for it.
The cabin was surprisingly spacious for four people, each of us had an allotted cabinet space. We shared the bathroom, although I would usually pop out to my parent’s suite for a better shower.
The things I loved the most
Don’t judge me, but one of my favorites had to be the bread.
I don’t know what it is about the bread on board – but it was something else. If I could just eat those rolls for lunch and dinner i’d be a happy person.
The food overall was really good, there was nothing I didn’t like!
Pancakes to pan seared bacon for brekky, garlic snails, godly nachos at midnight and generous scoops of icecream at the New Zealand Natural located straight outside the Buffet – you’re really spoilt for choice!
The drinks were beautiful, and from the $480 bill I received you could probably guess where most of my money went.
It was a great trip, with parties every night and endless tables of food. So many lovely people I met aboard, and so many I didn’t have the chance to meet.
And Oh how the laughter and rage filled our cabin every night, the groans at 6am alarms and who had used the toilet last.
So finally, after the goodbyes were said, Facebook friends and status’ updated; we found that we had learnt more about eachother in 7 days than we had in 7 years. The night before, we had harnessed our inner Freddie Mercury and belted out some Queen renditions. Now even that seemed as if it was an eternity ago.
And, as we drove closer to home; the holiday high (like sleep in our eyes) – lingered.
It’s funny to see their reaction, people hear me before they see me most of the time. I have a very loud voice – perhaps that’s why they stick me in vendors so the guests can get a headache (*spruiking is my favorite part of the job).
Or perhaps, it’s so I get away from as many workers as possible – before they get a headache.
*spruiking: imagine one of those wackos at the fishmarket/circus/marketplace that yell at the top of their voice to come try/come buy/come see their certain product…
My Dad will often bring my attention back to how close we are, distance-wise; when I’m having a heated conversation with him.
Ana, you’re 30cm away from me. You don’t need to shout.
I just get carried away and yell to prove my point, it happens all the time.
At the gym, at the shops, in my bathroom.
My Highschool (And now Uni friends), often dare eachother to see how far I’d go, they usually spark the fire with a completely absurd statement, one I possibly cannot resist.
It’s not because I’m angry, it’s because I’m excited.
Whilst public speaking may scare the living daylights out of many, it’s something I completely adore. The thrill of walking on stage, the eyes festooned on you whilst you deliver your speech. After all, YOU did all this research, all this preparation, why not blow them away with your presentation?
Another thing I’ve come to notice is that people always comment on just how happy I am.
How are you SO happy? All the time?! – my supervisors mostly
What drugs is she on? – whispers from my coworkers.
Perhaps they think it’s all an act.
I genuinely feel happy.
Not all the time of course, but it’s like a plateau of happiness. Sometimes it peaks and sometimes it dips a little. But all in all, it’s stable.
So I’ve noticed some core things in my life that really make me happy. It’s not some magic pill (although coffee does do wonders for me in the mornings).
So here we go, my top 10 things that make me genuinely happy.
Finding what you love, and doing it! May it be cooking, gardening, gaming (hehehe), helping people, travelling, learning or tempting the wrath of my cat (guilty) – find what you love and do it a little every few days.
Exercise in some form – everyday or every other day. This is a big one, for me exercise is a way to socialize and keep my body healthy. I love the feeling you get after working out, it’s like toothpaste freshness but for your whole body. It doesn’t need to be intense, do whatever you feel comfortable doing. But make it for at least half an hour.
Having a broad range of social contact You don’t need to be the most popular kid on the block. I just have a handful of really close friends and family whom I go and talk to once or twice a week. It really helps the soul to have a good laugh and a bit of banter.
Listening to or playing music If you (like many of us) are stuck using one side of their brains, we overwork ourselves. Much like muscles, you can’t just focus on one area – it’ll end up looking disproportionate. Unleash your creative side, music has a real soothing effect on people. Enya, Matt Corby, Sam smith, Coldplay and Hozier are some of my favorites.
GOALS and Plans They don’t have to be huge, no one’s expecting you to go out and cure cancer in your 20’s. But do set yourself a series of short term and long term goals. The short term goals should be things that you aim to strive for daily. Whilst long term could be monthly – in saying that, set ‘checkpoints’ to make sure you’re keeping up to date with what you set out for yourself
Spoiling yourself 😉 Too often we forget the simple pleasures of a specialty massage or even the odd coffee. Don’t forget that the world around you has so much to offer, part with some of your cash and enjoy it, even if it only lasts the whole of 3 seconds.
Working towards something – always similar to Goals, don’t ever get to the point in your life when you wake up and have nothing to strive for. If you have time – FILL IT. I used to go out and volunteer because I just had THAT MUCH spare time. You really meet some amazing people. Work towards something, be it your career or your personal goals (getting fitter, getting more social, getting smarter) whatever!
Letting go Now this might rattle a few chains, sometimes we have things that hold us back. Regrets, grief, mistakes- things that haunt us from the past, in fact we become scared to do new things because of our fear. Letting go is one of the hardest things that we can do, because usually – we’ve invested so much into something that we’re scared to let it slip through our fingers. Personally, this is one of the things I struggle with most, critical reflection on past mistakes. But that’s just it, it’s called the past for a reason. we can’t change it. Letting something go is difficult, but in the long run – you’ll feel better for it.
Sleeping and waking properly Last year I really struggled with sleeping. Full weeks at Uni paired with late night study and chatting kept me up until 2am in the morning (sometimes later) – it was disastrous for my sleeping health. I often skipped core lectures because I simply couldn’t wake up in time. As you can expect – my grades (and my attitude) plummeted. I’ve come to realize the importance of adequate rest now, it’s actually so important to hit those pillows early. Not only for your mental and physical performance – but also to keep the inner b*tch at bay. Like the saying goes, the early bird DOES catch the worm.
Believing in yourself and your abilities If not the most important, it should be high up there. Having confidence in yourself and knowing that you’re an amazing person is really the key in keeping happy.It’s not selfish or vain or superfluous in any sense. People are attracted to confidence – it shows a level of maturity and self-respect. Believe in yourself (I know it sounds cheesy), but it’s really not complicated at all.
(Extra) Be a bit of a wacko: If I ever find myself in a silent room with well dressed, well behaved people; i’d be the first to say something absurd. Everyone being the same is boring, people don’t remember sameness. They remember silliness! Have a genuine laugh at yourself. And if other people laugh at you, laugh with them!
Historically known as ‘forceable invasion and ostracisation of indigenous Australians’ day.
Nationally celebrated as ‘let’s f*ck up our liver’ day.
Being Australian myself, I make it a habit not be found engaging in the annual behaviour of:
1. calling in sick
2. binge drinking
3. attaining diabetes with lamington overdose and finally….
4. finding yourself lying unconscious, poolside (or beachside) on a couch – surrounded by the wreckage of VB cans, cheap plastic cups and cold sausages.
I do however, love beaches.
Unfortunately, today… I was working!
Though, my shift got cut short (Great job once again Aussie weather).
I found it interesting though, in the space of two humid hours; my snapchat stories had been quietly accumulating. My phone repeatedly buzzing. Muted but none the less annoying – notifying me of new drunken updates.
I wasn’t surprised when the majority of my ‘friends‘ had sent me short snippets of their booze fuelled public holiday.
Watching everyone have a good time via social media always fills me with a mixture between regret and relief. Regret for missing the occasion and relief for not being exposed to those socially awkward situations in the first place.
Atleast tommorow I’ll have a clear head, whilst a quarter of all Aussies will probably fall victim to the post Aussie day hangover.
My unsteatated liver is quietly thanking me for now – don’t worry liver, the cruise will sort that out.
Hope you all had a great day, whether you be a sober Aussie, a drunken Aussie, or not even Aussie at all.