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.
Being half Japanese comes with it’s perks, one of those being a broadened spectrum in all things regarding gastronomy.
Natto may scare the living daylights out of some, or have the others sighing in pleasure – the wafting aroma that can only be oxygen deprived bacterial growth accumulating on week old soybeans definitely stirs up some mixed reactions in people.
The little pocket usually comes with two sauce-type sachets, one is an amber fluid (soy sauce) the other is a yellowish smaller packet of mustard.
You can add both, or none! (though I would personally recommend adding the soy sauce) – otherwise the end product is quite bland.
Mix the two together and you create a marriage of flavoury goodness.
FYI: The sticky- ladyfinger/okra snail-like slime enveloping these once vibrant green legumes comes as a shock to many Westerners. Or maybe it’s just the smell?
Forget your Spirulina shakes or poached eggs with avocado for brekky. Like most health foods – Natto boasts some of the best macronutrients around.
A cup of this stuff contains HALF your recommended protein and Magnesium and over 80% of your recommended iron intake! (Take that steak!) Not to mention the generous addition of calcium and vitamin C contained in there too (1).
Add some avocado and you have yourself a… (yes I’m actually going to do this)
The combination of high protein, paired with the fiber and iron of this breakfast staple in japan will refuel my muscles with energy (still aching from that body attack class I did an hour earlier).
There was also a japanese study in the journal of nutrition stating that Natto had the highest single source of the vitamin K2 in foodstuff, this was linked to an endemic population that had significantly higher levels of bone health (2).
Maybe this is why you don’t see many Obachans (Grannies) confined to wheelchairs in their mid 80’s?!
You won’t find Natto in your local Coles or Woolies – check out japanese specialty stores such as GoGo Mart.
A few weeks left of my Uni holidays, can’t wait to go back and learn some more. My brain is yearning knowledge!
Kaneki, M., Hedges, S., Hosoi, T., Fujiwara, S., Lyons, A., & Crean, S. et al. (2001). Japanese fermented soybean food as the major determinant of the large geographic difference in circulating levels of vitamin K2. Nutrition, 17(4), 315-321. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0899-9007(00)00554-2
The B Vitamins, in layman terms; have the principal role of making sure you extract energy from your macronutrients- fat, protein and carbs.
This just highlights the sheer IMPORTANCE of these little vitamins in our lives. Glycogen being converted intoglucose and then
pyruvate on the left via Glycolysis. Triglycerides and fatty acids entering the TCA as the 2 carbon CoA in the middle,
and Proteins transaminating to amino acids and entering the TCA on the right.
If you are deficient in a certain co-enzyme you can slow this whole reaction down – you’ll NEVER stop the TCA, that’s impossible and would mean you’d be dead.
Vitamin B1,B2 and B3 are my chosen vitamins of choice, I could go all the way to B12, but we both know that’s not going to happen.
B1 = Thiamine
B2 = Riboflavin
B3 = Niacin
That’s a mouthful already right?
Where can I found them & how much do I need?!
Don’t buy overpriced pills, eat some bread instead!
I won’t give you an intense encyclopedia on the foods that contain the highest amounts of B1,B2,B3 etc… But I will give you a basic understanding of cheap and healthy food that will give you what you need.
B1 = Thiamine
Now, B1 is really easy to get your hands on. If you live in Australia (yay) or NZ, the food industry has actually FORTIFIED many staples of grain to be enriched with B1; Including bread, cereals and pasta.
Nuts and Soymilk are also a relatively good source of B1. One 85g lean Porkchop has over 90% of the RDI for thiamine (making it an excellent source) So unless you’re on some intense diet without carbohydrate you’ll probably be meeting this without thinking about it.
Was just doing some research on the side, and found that drinking loads of tea >1L a day can hinder your ability to adequately absorb B1 by interacting with the tannin compounds (1). I know this won’t affect many of you but just thought i’d point it out.
B2 = Riboflavin
Another important vitamin in the metabolism of energy, remember FAD? If you don’t I don’t blame you, it’s boring AF.
The highest concentrations of B2 are found in animal sources, especially liver (with over 150% RDI in an 85g fried serve).
Not a fan? try some yogurt or eggs instead. If you simply can’t do that, fortified breads and cereals will also give you an adequate shot of Riboflavin goodness.
And for those… Gluten-free,Organic, Vegan, Frutarian, (whatever I’ve missed) try 2 and a half cups of mushrooms or 11 bananas, that should do the trick.
B3 = Niacin
Another one which is relatively easy to get into you without noticing. Nician can transaminate with Tryptophan (it’s an a-amino acid), so if you’re ever too low or too high in one or the other they’ll balance each other out (the body is amazing right?).
Fun fact, since Christmas has just passed us… If you’re anything like me; you would have stuffed your gob with turkey a few days past and fallen into the deepest sleep ever?
It’s widely (and wrongly) accepted that tryptophan induces sleep, and for some reason… people associate tryptophan levels to be particularly high in turkey.
However studies have shown that tryptophan levels in the big bird are actually not significantly different to that of other poultry! (2)
“Paradoxically, what probably makes people sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner is…dessert,” he adds, “Eating carbohydrates increases brain serotonin in spite of the fact that there is no tryptophan in carbohydrates” Ballantyne, 2016
So it’s not the turkey – but the trifle, that takes you onto the fast shuttle to snoozeville, post Christmas lunch.
The more you know right?
Niacin is found in…. like the above, fortified breads and cereals (you’d probably now know why you feel so lethargic without carbs – Carbs contain alot of the B-vitamins).
It’s also found in meat sources such as chicken breast, tuna and liver.
Veg lovers don’t worry, mushrooms and peanut butter also have a good hit of the stuff, you just need 2 cups of cooked mushies or 2 tbs of Pb.
The NRV’s (Nutrient Reference values) from the Australian Dietary guide will give you a brief overview on how much of each B vitamin you need daily. Ugh does that mean I need to click the link?
So much effort.
It’s alright guys, I’ve condensed a table for you all.
*already you can run into some confusion with this table (Damnit! why does Nutrition have to be so complicated!).
Two different terms:
RDI: or Recommended Dietary intake, RDI is centered around an average adult. Of course this value changes depending on such a host of different factors that it’s moreso a average framework rather than a set-in-stone guideline.
AI: or Adequate Intake: AI measures the adequate intake for the health and well being of at least 50% of the population.
You’ll also notice the measures: ug and mg
THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING
The latter is Miligrams the former is Micrograms! the difference between 1mg and 1 ug is 1000 units! You don’t want to be eating 100ox the recommended intake of the vitamin because…. well, for one it’s a waste. Secondly, (rarely) you could get a toxicity by ingesting that much.
B1 deficiency can be nasty on the body to say the least. The deficiency itself can manifest as the condition known as ‘Beri-Beri‘.
And it can certainly be…. Beri Beri bad
I’m sorry, that was terrible.
There’s two forms of Beri beri that can be diagnosed;
Wet Beri beri or Dry Beri-beri.
The former causes weakening of the circulatory capillaries leading to odema (swelling of the tissues with fluid) due to the reduction of oncotic pressure at the venous end. Patients may have increased heart rate, confusion and labored breathing (as milder symptoms).
Dry beri-beri is associated with nerve parenthesis (losing the sense of touch or pain), Emancipation and difficulty walking, talking or breathing.
Because this particular vitamin is most abundant in carbohydrate rich sources, first world countries do not often see persons afflicted with Beri-Beri.
In the first world it’s much more common to see conditions such as Wernikie’s Encephalopathy or WKS; in persons who are chronic alcoholics. Chronic Alcohol abuse can actually diminish the body’s stores of B1 and over time and can cause symptoms shadowing that of Beri-beri.
B3 (and to a lesser extent tryptophan)deficiency is witnessed as Pallagra.
Pellagra can manifest itself as a particularly severe deficiency. Usually characterized by the three D’s: Dementia, Diarrhea and, (left untreated) Dermatitis.
I call it ‘Sandman disease’ because patientscan develop sandpaper like skin, the consistency of which eventually turns a grey-blue- black colour.
Since NAD (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) and it’s phosphorolated version NADP are the cofactors of Nicain – a deficiency in Nician would lead to the eventual decline of all NAD available to the body. NAD is an EXTREMELY important co-enzyme in the body’s metabolism (remember that really ugly diagram)? NAD was practically everywhere.
So what’s it like to have Pallagra?
Imagine yourself with a inflamed beefy tongue that hurts when you talk, large angry scabs appearing everywhere on your body. Your constantly tired- but unable to sleep, hence you’re going to naturally be pissed all the time. You’re also now very sensitive to sunlight and you’re losing your hair. And to top it all off, you’re losing the ability to perform simple co-ordinated movements and eventually forget who you are and what you’re doing.
Doesn’t sound that great does it?
I think the main thing I wanted to emphasize in this post was the importance of having a balanced diet. Like I mentioned; it’s very uncommon to see these conditions in first world countries such as the US, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and parts of Asia. But they still exist to remind us of the importance of meeting those RDI values.
Avocado, or as our friendly Aussie neighbours call them:
So why should you eat them?
Relatively low in sugars, commonly mistaken for a vegetable and described as having a ‘creamy’ or ‘neutral’ flavour.
Often labelled as a ‘superfood’, this green ancient wonder has been around for millennia, and was believed to have originated from Mexico.
Particularly high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats; the avocado is in actuality a fatty berry of sorts. Which may be why the berry flourished as a source of valuable fatty acids and nutrients in the past. It’s high energy content would have kept many ancient Aztecians alive during famine.
Some literal translations from the Spanish, Mexican and Aztecian language believe the tropical berry resembled the human testicle, hence the translation would be ‘testicle berry’.
Don’t let that put you off though. In the English language, the name Avocado sounded relatively similar to the Latin ‘Advocare’ aka ‘Advocate’ (lawyer), and thus, was renamed so in the north.
It is theAvocado whom is responsible for that common green dip (Guacamole), you may see accompanying nachos at your next family gathering.
The versatile berry has nowadays spread across the world as an international favourite, smushing its deliciousness and health benefits onto toast, sushi (USA and Australia), milkshakes (Brazil, Vietnam and Thailand) – even ice cream!
High in monounsaturated fats (these are good. Eat more of these), high in the fat soluble carotenoids (Vitamin A); Beta-carotine (think: rich orange pigment responsible for eye health) and zeaxanthin. Not to mention the potent shot of Folate (important in pregnancy regarding the health of the fetus’ neurological development), and Vitamin B5 (which makes up 20% and 28% of Avocado’s composition respectively). Vitamin B5/Panthothenic acid is a water-soluble vitamin important for the synthesis of CoA; I can’t emphasize enough how important CoA is in the body’s metabolism of fatty acids and energy….
So I’ll just stick with: IT’S VERY IMPORTANT.
Claims to fame
I haven’t even started on the mineral composition either, but I think by now you’d understand that the host of nutritional benefits, make Avos a truly incredible fruit to be eating. The nutritional journal of 2013 even stated that:
Avocado consumption is associated with improved overall diet quality, nutrient intake, and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome(1).
Anna’s translation: eating Avocados means you eat better on the whole, have a better range of nutrients in your diet, and are less likely to die from heart disease or lifestyle-related mortality.
The American Heart foundation also added in their site ‘Circulation’:
Including one avocado per day in a heart-healthy diet lowers plasma oxidized LDL and lutein concentration; the benefits extend beyond their fatty acid content. The change in oxidized LDL by diet was correlated with a change in small LDL but not large LDL particles (2) .
Anna’s translation: Eating even ONE Avocado a day (alongside a healthy diet) reduces your body’s concentration of the fatty Low Density lipoproteins (aka low protein particles that can block your arterioles in the heart circulation and cause a plaque to form (embolism). If this plaque ruptures this can cause a MI (heart attack) as blood can no longer pass through the artery. If this clot decides to move, you’ve got yourself a thromboembolism which can get into your carotid arteries and give you a stroke) both of which: are bad.
So maybe now you have some improved insight on the incredibleness of Avocados, and I highly recommend adding them to your diet if you havent already.
I usually just chop up half of one, blend it with a clove of garlic, a quarter of red onion and half a medium tomato, add a dash of herbs and lemon juice…. And bam Guacamole – with the added anti-aging lycopene of tomatoes! It’s perfect on a slice of toasted turkish bread drizzled with olive oil.
~Until next time! Sayonara
——- Anna Freeman, student Dietitian ——
III, V. L. F., Dreher, M., & Davenport, A. J. (2013). Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008
Wang, L., Tao, L., Stanley, T. H., Fleming, J. A., Lambert, J. D., & Kris-Etherton, P. M. (2015). One Avocado Per Day Lowers Plasma Oxidized-LDL and Increases Plasma Antioxidants in Overweight and Obese Adults.Circulation, 131(Suppl 1), A17-A17.
Marketing will inadvertently shift with whatever is ‘hot’ at the time.
It’s a vested intrest.
You, like millions of others may have heard of the myriad of benefits surrounding ‘lemon water’ in early 2013, or been swamped by the ‘kale’ epidemic last year, you may have even fallen victim of both.
The superfoods, as they are known are quickly becoming homologous to high end fashion. I had previously NEVER heard of kale in my life prior to 2013. As for lemon water, I would rather eat a slice of red capsicum and get 50x the vitamin C, than force myself to chug that diluted acid.
It seemed that overnight ‘kale’ (an otherwise overgrown spinach), had wrapped the marketing world in its fibrous storm.
Kale smoothies, kale ice cream, kale chips! You couldn’t escape the onslaught of kale-ification!
I remember reading article upon article preaching the miracle that was Kale.
So give it a few weeks, a year or so and now we’re in 2015.
What have you heard recently about kale? I look around the supermarket and see kale on special, again.
Fluorescent yellow tags sticking out like childrens tongues after a 7th birthday party.
Dominating the bottom shelf in a desperate attempt to get noticed, ‘Reduced to clear‘ splayed across the side.
No one wants you anymore Kale.
Your moment in the sun has passed, and now it’s onto something else. Some strange exotic seed or tongue tying agalmalation of vowels that we’re probably prounouncing wrong anyway (see; my quinoa confusion for years)
See just typing the word ‘new superfood’ gave me this… Oh joyous internet.
So I decided to highlight some laughably sad diet fads that seem to be mindwashing society.
Digging a little deeper; these have to be some of my honorouble mentions,
Freekeh; sounds more freaky then foody
Farrow; i could do a better job at inventing names then this, honestly.
Bone broth jelly, isn’t this the same as every single jelly constituent out there?
Bee pollen; and I thought Bees were under threat enough as it is recently, now we have to go out and just hunt them to extinction.
Vouge magazine even went as far as to say this aboutChlorophyll
“Also called nature’s green magic, chlorophyll has the power to regenerate our bodies at the molecular and cellular level.”
Thank you Vouge, I had no idea that I have actually been a plant for the last 19 years of my life.
And now for the winner of 2015s shameful waste of money award thus far.
When I saw this I really had to rub my eyes.
WHAT IDIOT CAME UP WITH THAT IDEA.
do you know what charcoal is primarily made out of?
Do you know what we breathe out on a daily basis?
WHY ARE WE PUTTING SOMETHING IN OUR BODIES THAT WE WANT TO NATURALLY GET RID OF?
Perhaps im not looking at the full story here, okay fair enough, maybe because the person or persons (ahem Vouge.com) who came up with (a majority of) this list took into consideration that you’re keeping up with the latest ‘superfoods’ of 2015 list and do Infact, ingest chlorophyll too.
So with Vouge’s logic, yes, you eventually do turn into a plant and via Photosynthesisyou can miraculously convert that activated charcoal into glucose.
Thus energising you!
In another sense, I find it great that the Australian marketing Accosiation is atleast making an effort to get society to shift it’s 1 in 4 overweight arse. Even if it means there is a sum of money behind the process
I for one find it halariously comical that everyday (otherwise useless) items (barely passed off as edible at that) are having their time in the spotlight.
Hey who knows, maybe you should think twice before giving those tomato stems the flick to your compost, you might be around the corner from discovering the new superfood of the coming year.