Diet, food, health

The single biggest dietary factor for reducing your risk of most chronic diseases is…

catalyst gut reactionGo on, guess?

We should eat more protein, paleo-style? We need to quit sugar? We need more ‘good’ fats or less ‘bad’ fats?

The answer to this question was explored on the last two week’s of ABC TV’s Catalyst program – Gut Reaction. (And although its a simplistic question, the research supporting the answer is worth paying attention to.)

The researchers explored how our diets are related to the state of our gastrointestinal health (in particular, microbes) and the impact this has on our overall health including our risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

The findings were actually completely unsexy and unsensational. Sad news for the diet and processed food industries.

The single biggest thing you can do with your diet to reduce your risk of these major chronic diseases is to eat more…. FIBRE!

Told you it wasn’t sexy.  It’s just common sense. But it’s nice to have some of the biochemistry to back up how the bacteria in our gut rely on a fibre rich diet to improve our immune systems which brings a myriad of other health promoting effects.

The good news is that eating more fibre is simple and easy, unlike trying to follow most fad diets.

As you know, I bang on a bit about eating a diet mainly comprised of plant foods in their whole, unprocessed (within reason) form – eg. not out of a box or a plastic packet. These new finding support this age old idea.

Do you know there are six different types of fibre? We should aim to include all of these in our diet regularly, if not daily:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Raw salad vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes and pulses
  • Nuts and seeds

I recommend flicking over to Catalyst and watching Part 1 and Part 2 of Gut Reaction.  They give some excellent examples of how hormones including insulin change drastically depending on the level of fibre in your diet.

Here’s some other sensible ideas on diet and getting more vegetables in your diet.

Have you got a favourite way of increasing fibre in your diet or some excellent fibre-rich recipes? Share them in the comments.

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

food, food allergy, health, recipe

Mum’s Hi-Fibre Apple Slice

Yesterday, I caught up with an old friend who, with the enthusiastic help of her gorgeous five-year old daughter, was telling me about the cake they were going to bake for said daughter’s ‘wobbly tooth party’, in celebration of just-about-losing her first baby tooth.  It got me thinking about the many happy times I shared with my Mum baking in the kitchen when I was growing up.

I want to share with you a recipe Mum and I used to bake fairly often, as it was on the healthier-side of baking and not too sweet.  My job was usually to peel and cut the apples, which usually resulting in me eating them and then re-peeling and cutting more.  Cut up apple is just so delicious – and this recipe makes good use of them. (Interestingly, I had the same disappearing apple problem today when I baked this recipe).  Also, I have adapted the recipe a little to be gluten-free and have added a few new ingredients.


  • 300g butter (or dairy-free alternative)
  • 3/4 cup xylitol (if unavailable you can substitute for 1 1/2 cups sugar)
  • 3 teaspoons molasses
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder (gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
  • 3/4 cup  desiccated coconut
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 green apples (peeled and cut into 5mm slices)
  • cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Grease and line a lamington tin.
  3. Cream butter, xylitol and molasses until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and beat.
  5. Mix in dry ingredients until well combined.
  6. Divide the mixture in half and press one half of the mixture into the base of the tin.
  7. Cover mixture in the tin with the sliced apples.  Sprinkle cinnamon over apples.
  8. Add water to remaining mixture until in forms a spreadable consistency.
  9. Spread mixture over apples.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Decorate with blanched almonds if desired.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden on top.
  11. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Enjoy!

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.