Saturday, 28 May 2016

AIA Vitality Member discounts

In case you haven't heard, AIA Australia is one of the largest life insurers in Australia and Vitality is a science-backed health and wellness program that works with their members to make real changes to their health. AIA Vitality specifically aims to influence behaviour related to chronic diseases and obesity through incentives and rewards, such as discounts on gym memberships and flights, to encourage people to adopt and sustain healthy behaviours. 

Our dietitian Amanda Moon is registered with AIA Vitality, which means you can come in for a nutrition assessment and accumulate points for your rewards. In addition to points, AIA Vitality members will also receive an additional 20% cashback from AIA Vitality for the consult, on top of a 30% discount Newtown Nutrition offer members for the initial 60 minute consult!

Visit AIA Vitality for more info and to see whether joining as a member will be valuable for you. 

Already a member and looking for a Dietitian to complete a nutrition assessment? Contact reception and ask to make a booking with Amanda.

Product Review: Dovedale Gluten Free bread

By Liz Beavis

Many people now trial a gluten or wheat free diet for a range of different reasons (including as part of an elimination and challenge process with a dietitian), and some people find the staples are the hardest foods to replace.

There are many gluten free breads on the market, of varying degrees of palatability! The first trick when looking for a gluten free bread is to remember a basic tenet: toast! With very few exceptions, gluten free breads fair much better if you toast them than if you try eating them fresh in a sandwich.

Although there are now many reasonable gluten free breads out there some people find it challenging when they need to look more closely at the label for other ingredients that they may be avoiding for various reasons, such as dairy free, soy free or preservative free.

My usual recommendation is to look at what is available at your local markets or health food store, as sometimes the best breads have only a small run and availability. But of course this isn’t always practical, but there are also breads available in the big supermarkets that tick several of the ‘free from’ lists, depending on your needs.

One brand that is available in Coles supermarkets is Dovedale bread. I tested out one of their newer offerings (not yet added to their website so you’ll need to check it out in store!) Dovedale Tiger White Bread which they describe as a gluten free, FODMAP sourdough (low in FODMAPs that is!).

If you like a squishy soft white bread then you are best to keep looking, as this bread will not meet your desires, but if you like a bread with a bit of chew (like a sourdough) and crunch when you toast it this bread may put a smile on your face.

The label has a list of claims which may suit lots of different dietary requirements
  • gluten free
  • dairy free
  • egg free
  • cholesterol free
  • soy free
  • nut free
  • high in fibre
  • low sugar
  • low in saturated fat
  • no preservatives
*note: we recommend that if you wish to trial a gluten or wheat free diet to improve your health that you do so under the guidance of a dietitian to ensure you are meeting your nutritional needs, as well as to help ascertain why they change of diet suits your body, and how you can improve this further.

Top 5 things to consider when choosing a Personal Trainer

Guest blog - By Michelle Le Grande (Personal Trainer from Good 2 Grand)

Working with a personal trainer is one of the most important investments you make – after all, you are investing in your health and body.

However it seems every second person is a personal trainer so it is important you find the right one for you. But how do you know which trainer is the best one?

Here are my top 5 personal and practical ways to select a personal trainer to help you succeed in your fitness goals:

1. Decide what you want to achieve and what motivates you
First work out whether you want to lose weight, increase your strength, get fitter or just feel better about yourself. Are you training for a special event, a marathon, to get back on the dating scene or were you told by your doctor to make changes to your lifestyle or else. This should be one of the first questions a potential PT asks you so be prepared.

Secondly work out what is going to motivate you to achieve your goals. Do you want to be shouted at, pushed to the limit or do you need gentle encouragement and positive reinforcement? Do you want someone energetic, aggressive, relaxed or laid back? Every personal trainer has a different style so make sure their style matches your personality and will motivate you to actually move and lift.

2. Make sure they are fully qualified

At the very least, every personal trainer must have a Certificate IV in personal training. But a good one should have a current CPR (which is renewed every 12 months) plus a First Aid certificate (updated every three years). They must have insurance and be ideally registered with Fitness Australia. Also if you want to train in boxing, kettlebells or other specialised training, make sure they have qualifications in these areas too.

If you have any injuries or special conditions, best to get someone who is well trained and experienced in this area so you achieve your fitness goals safely and with confidence the person is an expert in their area.

3. Shop around

Just as you would shop around if you wanted to join a gym, you should also take your time and look around for the right PT. You will be spending a lot of time and money with this person so you want to make sure you are 100% sure you are making the right decision.

They should offer a free consultation to sit down and discuss what you want to achieve, your diet, any medical issues, special needs, assessments and so on.

Also like a gym offers a free trial, a PT should offer a free session – that way you can see for yourself what their coaching style is and whether you can see yourself working together as a team.

4. Ask questions

When you meet a PT for the first time, treat it like a job interview – this is your chance to ask any questions such as:
  1. What is your fitness philosophy?
  2. How do you stay in shape?
  3. What experience and qualifications do you have?
  4. How do you keep up to date with fitness trends and techniques?
  5. What days and times are you available?
  6. What are your rates and do you offer special deals if purchasing multiple sessions or prepaying sessions?
  7. What is your cancellation policy?
  8. What have you achieved for your clients?

    5. Do they really care about you?
    When I see PTs spending more time on the phone than watching their client or when a PT session sounds more like a therapy session than a workout, I wonder why they got into personal training in the first place.

    Personally, I believe you become a PT because you are passionate about fitness and health and you want your clients to succeed. If you are truly committed to making a change, then you need a PT who matches your expectations. So ask them, why did you become a personal trainer in the first place – ultimately the answer should be along the lines of helping others achieve what they couldn’t do on their own. That is one thing a PT can’t fake – passion, energy and love for their job.

    Always remember, the right PT can change and transform your health, fitness and life – so ask yourself, will you reach your fitness goals with this person or would you be better training on your own? You need to have a healthy, strong and beneficial relationship with your PT – after all, we are talking about the most important person in your life – you.

Looking for a Personal Trainer to get you started with exercise or support your current technique? Contact Michelle on 0419 428 604 or email for a free initial session.

Recipe of the month: Basil pesto (dairy-free)

This month I wanted to share a recipe for one of the staples in my fridge (or freezer)..... pesto. I love making a batch to have handy when I'm in need of quick flavour for my meals. Freeze in ice cubes to keep fresh then defrost when needed. Toss through pasta or noodles, mix through warm vegetables, spread on toast with eggs, spread on the base of a pizza or use with salad dressing - delish!

Dairy-free pesto can be hard to come by too, so making your own is an easy solution. Plus you can ensure it has some really nourishing ingredients like Extra Virgin Olive Oil, rather than an average vegetable oil blend - Amanda Moon. 

Recipe shared from

Dairy Free Basil Pesto

3 cups (packed) Fresh Basil leaves
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Raw Cashews, Pine Nuts or Macadamia Nuts
1 Fresh Garlic Clove, peeled and crushed
Pink Salt to liking
  1. In a small blender or stab mixer with attachment, blend basil with half the amount of olive oil until finely chopped.
  2. Add lemon juice, cashews, pine nuts or macadamia nuts, garlic, salt and remainder of oil. Blend until smooth. Add a little more oil or a splash of water if needed. Adjust seasoning to liking.
  3. Use pesto immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
  1. Add 1 fresh, de-seeded chilli or 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes to ingredients before blending for some warmth.
  2. Blending basil with a little olive oil before adding the remaining ingredients help to create a smooth and well-blended pesto.
  3. Purchasing fresh herbs from farmer’s markets is usually much more affordable than store bought. You often can get much larger bunches that are extremely fresh and vibrant.
  4. To keep your basil fresh, wrap in kitchen paper towel and store in an airtight bag in the crisper section of your refrigerator or alternatively stand bunch of basil in a glass of water.
  5. After each use top pesto with extra olive oil to keep fresh. You can also freeze pesto in ice cube trays and pop out individual serves and defrost as needed or store frozen pesto cubes in an airtight freezer bag in freezer.

Sensitive to Nuts?
Omit Nuts from pesto. Alternatively you can substitute nuts for seeds such as Sunflower Seed Kernels or Pumpkin Seeds.

Sensitive to FODMAPs?
Omit fresh garlic and use garlic infused olive oil for added garlic flavour.