How to reduce fluid retention


Do you suffer from bloating and puffiness? Fluid retention could be the culprit and here’s how you can naturally prevent it.

According to naturopath Rebekah Russell from Blackmores Australia, the following may help reduce fluid retention:

Dandelion leaf: This has been used traditionally for hundreds of years for its diuretic action. It can be enjoyed as a tea.

Vitamin B6: This may help relieve fluid retention and other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, including breast tenderness, mood changes, irritability and fatigue.

A broad-spectrum multivitamin: This ensures you meet the daily requirements of vitamins such as B1 (thiamine), B6, B5, D3, and the mineral calcium. These nutrients all aid body processes that are important for removing excess fluid.

Grape seed extract: Studies show this can help in the management of fluid retention associated with venous insufficiency, premenstrual syndrome, and the use of hormonal replacement therapy (HRT). It also helps relieve fluid retention, heaviness, pain and itching of the legs.

Ginkgo biloba: This is traditionally used to improve peripheral circulation (to the legs and other extremities), so it can be beneficial for people who experience fluid retention as a symptom of varicose veins.

NEXT: Fuel your body for exercise.



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Red velvet cake fudge protein bar


Ditch the sugary treats for this decadent homemade protein bar.


What you’ll need (makes 10 bars)

165 g (2⁄3 cup) roasted beetroot puree* (see instructions below)
128 g (½ cup) raw almond butter
135 g (½ cup + 1 tbsp) unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tbsp natural butter flavour
1½ tsp vanilla crème-flavoured liquid stevia extract
210 g (12⁄3 cups, lightly packed) chocolate brown rice protein powder
80 g (2⁄3 cup) oat flour
¼ tsp salt

Chocolate Coating:

170 g bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), melted

What you’ll do

For the roasted beetroot puree:
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Rinse and gently scrub two fist-sized beets, then wrap them completely in foil. Place the beets in a 22 x 22 cm brownie pan and bake for about 1½ hours, or until a fork pierces the beets with ease.
Remove the beets from the oven, carefully unwrap the foil and let sit until it’s cool enough to handle. Use a knife to scrape off the beet skins (they will fall off easily).
Chop the beetroots into chunks and place in a food processor. Puree until completely smooth.

*Using canned or prepackaged cooked beets will not provide the same vibrant red color as using freshly roasted beets…the bars will turn out brown. For the best results, use freshly roasted beetroot puree!

For the protein bars:
Line a 20 x 20 cm brownie pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
In an electric stand mixer bowl fitted with a beater attachment, add the beet puree, almond butter, almond milk, butter flavor and stevia extract. Mix on low speed while you prepare the dry ingredients.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the protein powder, oat flour and salt. Turn off the stand mixer and dump in the dry ingredients. Return mixer to low speed and mix until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Mixture should be thick and fudgy, like cookie dough.
Scoop the mixture into the prepared brownie pan and flatten. Tightly cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Once set, lift the mixture out of the pan. Slice into 10 bars.

For the chocolate coating:
With a large spoon, ladle the melted chocolate over the protein bars. Try to encase the entire protein bar with chocolate, but it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour). Individually wrap the protein bars in plastic sandwich baggies and refrigerate to store (keeps for 1 week).

Recipe by Jessica Stier featured in DIY Protein Bars.

NEXT: Up for more interesting sweet treats? Try the coconut bliss balls for an easy bite on-the-go.




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Vegetarian protein picks

Make your vegetarian lifestyle easy with these foods ideas.

Eating out

At a vego buffet, add more tofu, beans and nuts into meals like stir-fries, salads and soups for extra protein.

The alternatives

Look for modified versions of your favourite meals. In the era of mainstream meat-freeism, resorts and retreats are responding with vego takes on meaty faves – think sushi hand rolls made with water chestnuts, lasagne made with chopped mushrooms and eggplant strips in lieu of antipasto meats.

Non-vegan options

Assuming you’re not vegan, seek out vego options with animal products – quiches and frittatas loaded with vegies are well balanced with ample protein and fibre for fullness and muscle retention. Lentil burgers are good too.

Spice up your life

Seek out options seasoned with spices; flavoured food will provide interest and stop you thinking about the meat you’re missing. Try cuisines from different cultures – Greek, Indian, Turkish, and Moroccan.

NEXT: Follow our 10 step guide to clean eating to kick start your journey.



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How to stick to your health and fitness goals



Learn how to achieve your fitness goals with the help from someone other than a fitness guru.



For motivational speaker, self-love teacher and author of Mastering Your Mean Girl Melissa Ambrosini a healthy lifestyle is all about slowing down, listening to your body and living from the heart.

Here are her top 4 tips to help you achieve your goals:

1.        Get crystal clear on what your goals are.

2.        Figure out the actions you need to take each day to achieve your goals.

3.      Hold yourself accountable each day. Add it to your calendar and to-do list so it actually gets done.

4.      And don’t forget to reward yourself with your favourite self-love activity, such as a warm bath, a meditation or a cup of herbal tea in the sun.

For more self-love inspiration, download Melissa’s Self Love Menu.

Read more motivational tips and tactics to help you stay on track.




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How caffeine affects your cravings


Caffeine may be contributing to your sudden cravings for carbs and sugar. Here’s how to prevent it.


That sustainable double shot could be responsible for your hunger pangs by 11am. Caffeine stimulates a rush of adrenalin, which puts it into fight or flight mode. As you’re not on the run from mammoths, the adrenal hormones that would once have given you energy for a quick getaway circulate in your system, making you feel depleted and worn out. This fatigue can promote cravings for carbs and sugar as the brain screams for its favourite fuel source, glucose.


Switch to herbal tea or a coffee substitute like dandelion tea – caffeine can be dehydrating.
Choose single shots rather than double.
If you must have a coffee daily, don’t have more than one.
Avoid energy drinks and colas, which are also high in caffeine.
When suffering an energy dip, stop for five minutes, drop your shoulders and slow breathe, instead of reaching for some Java.

NEXT: Read more about the ‘mind-gut connection’ that could be contributing to your cravings.




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Nut butters uncovered


They’re ‘good fats’ but how healthy are the various nut butters? Dietician Melanie McGrice debunks the spreads.


“Nut butters are a good source of protein and good fats, some better than others! Try and pick a nut butter without too much oil, salt or sugar added,” says McGrice. “Many people use nut butter and butter together; it’s better to use one or the other.”

Raw vs roasted
Roasting nuts changes their flavour, but apparently not their nutrition. Raw nuts tend to have slightly less rich and toasty flavours than roasted nuts, so many commercial nut butters use a roasted product. “Roasting doesn’t affect the nuts themselves, but when they roast the nuts, they are often roasted in oil, increasing the fat content,” says McGrice. According to Nutrition Australia, nuts are capable of absorbing two to five per cent of the oil they are cooked in. Roasting nuts also takes out some moisture content, concentrating the nutrients.

‘No added’ vs natural
While both ‘no added’ and natural nut butters are better for you than traditional nut butters, a ‘natural’ label implies that your nut butter is free from preservatives, stabilisers, sugar and salt – i.e. it’s literally 100 per cent nuts. Whereas a ‘no added’ nut butter means you still get peanuts, vegetables oils and preservatives, sans the sugar and salt.

Peanut butter
Peanuts are higher in protein than most nuts and a source of vitamin E and good fats. Traditional peanut butters have a paste-like texture and a rich, sweet and salty flavour. Natural, or pure state, nut butters tend to be drier than commercial butters.

Almond butter
Almonds are low in cholesterol and a good source of magnesium, manganese and good fats. They are also rich in calcium and vitamin E. Almond butter tends to have a more mellow and fresh taste than peanut butters, and their consistency tends to be looser and coarser.

Macadamia butter
Macadamias are quite low in protein compared to most nuts, but are uniquely high in monounsaturated fats (the most of all nuts). They can lower cholesterol and contain thiamine and manganese. Macadamia butter tends to be thinner and oiler than peanut butter, and has a rich and almost fruity taste.

Cashew butter
Cashews are a good source of iron and magnesium and also have a low glycaemic index. Cashew butters usually have a pasty texture and a sweet and rich flavour.

Walnut Butter
Walnuts have been proven to boost brain function and reduce cholesterol. They contain omega-3 fats as well as folate and fibre. Walnut butter tends to be crumbly and less soft and spreadable than other nut butters. It can have an intense woody or ‘green’ taste.

Coconut butter
Clean eating uber-star coconut butter can be subbed in for butter as a spread and used in stir-fries. While the dietetic jury’s hung on just where it ranks in the health stakes, it was recently found to be preferable to polyunsaturated soybean oil despite being saturated fat. A University of California study found that replacing coconut oil with soybean oil caused more weight gain, adiposity, diabetes and insulin resistance.

NEXT: Check more healthy fats to include in your healthy eating regime.




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Veggistrone Recipe
This vegetable-packed minestrone soup recipe is inspired by a popular Weight Watchers vegetable soup recipe. It makes a big pot of soup, so keep some in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and freeze the rest of the vegetable minestrone soup in single-serve portions. That way you always have an easy, delicious vegetable soup to start your meal or to eat for lunch. Think of this vegetable minestrone recipe as a starting point for other healthy soup variations, too: toss in leftover chopped cooked chicken or whole-wheat pasta or brown rice to make it more satisfying.

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Smores protein cup


Looking for drool-worthy recovery snacks? Try this smores protein cup recipe for a healthy treat.


What you’ll need (makes 1)

1 ½ scoops chocolate protein powder
1 tbsp cacao
2 tbsp melted marshmallow (or marshmallow fluff)
½ digestive biscuit

What you’ll do

Combine protein and cacao with one to two tablespoons of water to create a thick pudding. Lightly grease a small, round plastic container with coconut oil (this will be your serving dish). Place half the mixture into the cup and place the biscuit on top. Freeze for 10 to 20 minutes. Remove from freezer and top with melted marshmallow before pouring remaining protein pudding on top. Freeze for another 20 to 30 minutes. Macros are for the entire portion but you can also divide the mixture into two or three using a mini muffin tin.


Recipe by Kyla Gagnon of Insideout Fitness Victoria.

Check out our recipes section for more healthy treats.



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