Sunday, 17 March 2019

cleaning of teeth

When I was a dentist everybody had questions about something they did every day. Cleaning of teeth.

I can answer some of these questions by saying how I clean my teeth.

Dental plaque is a mixture of bacteria that live on teeth. Cleaning of teeth involves physically removing these bacteria. When I clean my teeth I never remove every single bacteria. As soon as I stop my cleaning they start to grow back and repopulate my teeth. When I clean my teeth regularly there are less bacteria living on my teeth.

When cleaning my teeth I am happy not to remove every single bacteria. My mouth is like my skin. It needs commensal bacteria. They help keep pathogenic bacteria away.  I need them and they need me. Symbiosis. This reservoir of plaque will remain and repopulate the teeth. Good cleaning involves removing most of the plaque. Good cleaning also means my teeth will look and smell better.

Most native or pet animals don’t clean their teeth.   This doesn’t mean cleaning of teeth is not necessary.  Most animals if they live long enough and eat food similar to us will develop the same dental diseases. They will develop gum disease with pain, infection and loss of function-in wallabies it is called lumpy jaw. They will also get holes in my teeth. The amount of decay will depend on their diet.

I can clean my teeth with a manual toothbrush but I use an electric toothbrush. Using an electric toothbrush does the job better.  Electric tooth brushes are not a mysterious marketing stunt. I can clean well without one but they do the job better.  An electric toothbrush is especially useful for someone with hand, muscle or dental problems where routine cleaning is difficult.

Your dentist will be able to tell you if your cleaning is appropriate. If you want to check for yourself plaque disclosing tablets are a good guide. They will color the plaque and make it more visible and the occasional use is interesting and helpful.

I clean between my teeth with floss or inter-dental brushes once a day. Once a day because it takes 24 hours for the bacteria to return.  I brush twice a day because they feel better, look better and every time I clean I miss different bits.

I brush my teeth after breakfast and after dinner. Not directly after drinking or eating something acidic. Acidic liquid will soften the tooth and brushing will remove the outer layer. To prevent this loss of enamel I swish with a spoonful of plain yoghurt.

If my tongue seem especially furry I will clean it at the same time. It will decrease the total number of bacteria in my mouth. It may decrease any halitosis or decrease the reservoir of bacteria which recolonise teeth.

When you visit a dentist there is one thing you can’t hide. How well you clean your teeth. You may get it right in every area every day. It is more likely you will under clean certain areas and over clean certain areas.

Excessive cleaning can led to loss of the outer layer of tooth and loss of gum.  The resulting tooth often appears longer and is more sensitive.

Excessive cleaning (toothbrush abrasion) occurs when a toothbrush is used with toothpaste. It doesn’t occur with a toothbrush without toothpaste. To manage toothbrush abrasion clean without toothpaste. And then rinse your mouth with toothpaste or a mouth-rinse.

It is the toothbrush that cleans teeth. Not the toothpaste. I use toothpaste because I like the taste. I brush with a routine bought toothpaste. I no longer receive free samples.  I don’t rinse the toothpaste off. I spit out the excess.

I use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is a natural and organic element which decreases tooth decay. Toothpastes containing fluoride are good for your teeth when in contact with your teeth. The longer in contact with your teeth the better.

Studies have shown that brushing with a fluoride toothpaste followed by no rinsing leds to less decay. There are toothpastes contain a higher amount of fluoride. Indicated for people with a high rate of decay. A dentist will advise you and tell you if indicated.

There are other toothpastes which are good for very sensitive teeth or which bleach teeth. The longer the teeth and toothpaste are in contact the more the paste will work. Therefore don’t rinse after brushing.   

And to answer your other question. I became a dentist because…

Saturday, 23 February 2019

ABC : What milk should we be drinking for the planet?

Soy, almond, cow's, none? What milk should we be drinking for the planet?

By environment reporter Nick Kilvert

Have you ever looked at an almond-milk latte and just thought: "Why?"

Dairy milk produces more emissions on the farm
Water and transport costs for alternatives should be factored in
Diversity of food sources reduces strain on individual resources
Why trade the smooth, creamy, protein-rich bounty of a cow's mammary glands for nut water?
For some, intolerance to lactose or certain proteins means avoiding dairy milk is a dietary necessity.
For others, it's an ethical choice aimed at easing the subjugation and suffering of animals.
But increasingly, avoiding dairy is seen as a way to reduce our dietary impact on the environment.
After all, cattle belch methane, and land-clearing for grazing is one of the biggest drivers of deforestation globally.

So, is it time we all we all made the switch to a milk alternative like almond or soy, or is there a dark horse — or camel — on the horizon?

Soybeans don't burp, but they do linger

Research from the University of Wisconsin last year analysed the comparative energy costs of dairy milk, and soy and almond milk substitutes.

They looked at the entire life cycle of each product, from production on a farm, through transport to market, and time spent on the supermarket shelf.

For their source farms, they picked the biggest dairy, almond and soy producing regions in the US: Wisconsin, California and Illinois respectively.

And for their retail outlet, they chose a supermarket in Chicago.

Not surprisingly, dairy milk faired poorly in the "cradle-to-gate" phase — as in, before the product made it off the farm.

had higher greenhouse-gas emissions than almonds and soy, and cows caused more eutrophication — the runoff of nutrients into waterways that contribute to algal blooms like those responsible for the mass fish deaths at Menindee recently.

But by the time consumers were plucking their preferred cereal salve from the supermarket shelf, those carbon footprints had been turned on their heads.

00 kilometres to the supermarket in Chicago.

The supermarket was running its refrigeration on Chicago's electricity grid, with a mix of 74 per cent coal, 20 per cent nuclear.

Dairy milk spent an average 2.6 days in the supermarket fridge, compared with 5.9 and 7.8 days for fresh almond and fresh soy respectively.

After fossil fuel costs were calculated for the longer distance to market and longer refrigeration time, both soy and almond drinks had a higher global warming potential than the dairy, according to researcher Courtney Grant.
"It's important to consider the full life-cycle of a product when evaluating its environmental impacts," she said.
"I was surprised to see that the transportation of the products had such a large influence on the results."
OK, back up - some clarifications are needed here.

Now, this is one very specific study and is not representative of all markets and market parameters.
Also, the emissions from the soy and almond products don't come from the crops themselves.

This study is probably more an indictment on fossil-fuel-dependent transportation and electricity systems than soy- or almond-based products.

But it does highlight the complexity of our food production systems, and the danger of making assumptions and generalisations when it comes to buying environmentally friendly products.
An environmentally friendly option in one location, may be the exact opposite in another, according to sustainability researcher Michalis Hadjikakou from Deakin University.

"Every country is unique, every continent is unique, and the thing [we] find very hard to understand is that, even if you look at one thing in isolation like milk, you can have very, very different degrees of efficiency of production," he said.

But, if you grab a carton of dairy, almond and soy milk at random off the shelf in Australia, chances are the latter will have significantly smaller carbon footprints than the cow juice.

According to the Water Footprint Network, it takes roughly 3,400 litres of water to produce a kilogram of rice, and about 4,142 litres of water for a kilogram of almonds.

That doesn't translate exactly to almond milk, as almond milk often contains as little as 3 per cent almonds.

But the point is, almonds like water. They also like warm weather.

As the world's appetite for almonds has grown, California has taken up the brunt of production, doubling its land area devoted to almond growing in 20 years.

While it has the reliable warm weather, the region's water supply is less predictable.

In 2014, California was experiencing one of its worst droughts on record. Snowmelt-fed rivers normally used to irrigate crops were running on empty.

To get water, large-scale irrigators were locked in an arms race. Multinational farming companies were dropping bores into groundwater reserves, emptying aquifers faster than they were being replenished.

As far back as 2011, researchers were warning that the water reserves under California's Central Valley were being rapidly depleted by irrigators with "potentially dire consequences for the economic and food security of the United States".

Almond crops certainly weren't solely to blame, but California's tug-of-war between environmental flows and crop irrigation mirror Australia's own recent struggles.

Almonds here are grown almost exclusively on the mid and lower reaches of the Murray River.
Soy on the other hand is grown up and down the east coast, and in limited parts of the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia.

he best alternative to cow's milk from a nutrition perspective.

According to Roy Morgan data from 2016, about 5 per cent of Australians had consumed at least one soy drink in a given seven-day period that year.

That's versus our daily dairy milk consumption of around a quarter of a litre per person every day.
Soy production would need to be massively ramped up to plug that gap.

According to The Lancet's Planetary Diet, the optimal daily dairy target for planetary and human health is 250 grams. Australians consume about 350 grams per day now, according to Dairy Australia.

Both soy and almond can undoubtedly play a role in replacing some of our dairy excesses.
But, especially as climate change makes rainfall and temperatures more erratic, we'll want more options to feed ourselves, not fewer.

Diversifying the products we consume stops us from hammering one particular resource or growing region to meet demand, according to Dr Hadjikakou.

"When you're eating a more flexitarian diet with a reduced percentage of animal products and diversified around different plant based proteins and some animal protein, you're spreading out the impact," he said.

So, in the interests of diversity, what do climate-change resistance, milk and vodka have in common?
The future: one hump or two?

Have you ever looked at a camel-milk latte and just thought: "Why?"

No. Probably not. But it may soon be coming to a cafe near you.

Camels are adapted to arid conditions and are capable of converting dry, nutrient-poor feed into energy.

In a practical sense, that means they can be grazed on more marginal pasture, and may show resilience in the face of climate change.

And many farms including Summerland Camels in southeast Queensland catch wild camels, meaning they're taking pests out of the environment, according to its director Paul Martin.

"We catch them in the wild, train them and domesticate them to become dairy animals," he said.
There's also some evidence that camels aren't as methane heavy as cows.

A small study in 2014 analysed the emissions from five Bactrian (two-humped) camels, five alpacas, and six llamas (both species of camelid).

While the camels produced the same amount of methane per unit of fibre as cows, when the data was standardised for body weight, the camels emitted around half the amount of methane over a 24-hour period.

That's because they consume smaller quantities of food and are more efficient at converting that to energy.

While camel's milk may be one in a smorgasbord of milk options we should embrace in future, it's not likely to be a big player.

Camels produce less than half the milk of a dairy cow, and Mr Martin says making camel's milk economically viable is a challenge.

But there is a silver lining. Camel dairies like Mr Martin's have been forced to experiment and diversify to be profitable.

Among the camel-milk-based products they've come up with are gelato, cheese, and vodka, made from whey.

Cheers to diversity.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

ABC : NSW election : climate change and food consumption

NSW election: Where the parties stand on tackling climate change through food consumption

Less meat, more vegetables and legumes is the message scientists and nutritionists are calling for when considering ways to combat climate change.

Conversely the Western diet, which includes high consumption of meat and processed foods, puts pressure on the environment, according to Daniel Mason-D'Croz from the CSIRO.

He suggested we should be eating only one serving of meat a week, or roughly 70 to 100 grams.
"[Agriculture] is one of the biggest users of land around the world ... and leads to increases in deforestation and degradation of ecosystems," he told ABC Radio Sydney.

"It's one of the leading users of fresh water, and the management of chemical inputs can be a factor in pollution and water waste, which also impacts biodiversity."

So is it time for our politicians to listen to the experts and help us reduce our carbon footprint through the food we eat?

Armidale resident Joshua Barlin certainly thinks so, and asked the ABC via You Ask, We Answer:
"Are any of the parties going to do anything to help promote the planet diet — reducing the amount of meat and increasing veggies?

"We're talking about promoting the environment and they [political parties] also seem to be talking about boosting health, so I thought why not do it both at the same time?"
So we put the question to the parties that currently have members in the NSW Lower House.


A spokesman for Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the planet diet question was "not for this department" and instead would be better directed to the health portfolio.
NSW Health said the Government promoted healthy eating through its various early childhood services and school programs, and encouraged healthy food and drink in school canteens.
It did not mention any initiatives in relation to food consumption and climate change.
"The NSW Government is committed to promoting healthy eating through our Healthy Eating and Active Living Strategy and the Premier's priority to reduce childhood overweight and obesity by 5 per cent by 2025," a spokeswoman said.
"This financial year, $38 million has been invested towards reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity."


Labor's environment spokesperson Penny Sharpe said the party was committed to supporting primary industries across the state but currently did not have plans to tackle climate change through food consumption.
"Climate change is impacting on every farmer in NSW, and Labor will take real action on climate change through initiatives such as massively supporting increased renewable energy, looking at innovative ways to reduce emissions through our waste systems, reducing emissions through land clearing and using soils as a carbon sinks.
"The question about how people consume food and its impact on climate is not currently in our plans."


Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and environment spokesperson, said the party recognised both the health and environmental reasons to reduce meat consumption and increase fruit and vegetables in the average Australian diet.
She said the Greens encouraged farmers to combat climate change through regenerative grazing and no-till seeding.
Ms Faehrmann also noted that plant-based diets could have "serious environmental and climate impacts" and supported ongoing research and education.
"The Greens also support the phasing out of intensive meat and egg production such as feedlots and caged hens, both for their unacceptable animal welfare impacts and because they have significantly higher environmental costs and associated carbon emissions than free-range farming.
"However the Greens also recognise that animals are an integral part of farming systems and we need to be conscious of where all our food comes from and how it is produced."


The NSW Nationals said it continued to "wholeheartedly" support the agricultural industry.
"The Nationals don't believe it is our place to tell people what they should eat, but we do support the idea of people making sensible decisions about their diet based on sound medical advice.
"That being said, the Nationals do wholeheartedly support our beef, lamb, poultry, pork, dairy, fishing, goat meat industries, along with our fruit and vegetable farmers."

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers

The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers believe the planet diet is "overhyped and somewhat ill-considered", and that meat "is healthy and can form part of a good diet".
A spokesman said many small towns across rural Australia depended on the livestock industry and the party was concerned about the Government's promotion of "movements" that could lead to job losses.
"We've seen the devastation the gutting of the cattle industry has had on farmers and their families," he said.
"Government policies and reforms destroyed an industry, but government did very little to help those who lost their jobs, businesses and livelihoods."
The spokesman said the party acknowledged that reducing meat and increasing vegetables could have benefits, but "at the end of the day, we're not going to dictate or police what people should or should not eat"

Monday, 18 February 2019

From the ABC : Junk food and life expectancy

Eating ultra-processed foods like chips, sausage rolls and biscuits has been associated with higher risk of obesity, hypertension, and cancer, but up to now studies have not looked at whether you die any earlier.
Turns out you do. Probably.
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows those who ate more junk food had a higher risk of dying earlier than those who ate less.
The risk is about 14 per cent higher for each 10 per cent increase in the proportion of highly processed food a person eats.
The study monitored the diets of tens of thousands of French people between 2009 and 2017 as part of the ongoing NutriNet-Sante study.
After seven years, 602 of the 44,551 adults had died.
The authors of the study have cautioned the results do not mean eating a single packaged meal gives you a higher risk of dying.
"We shouldn't be alarmist," said Mathilde Touvier, director of the nutritional epidemiology research team at Paris 13 University.
"It's another step in our understanding of the link between ultra-processed food and health."
What are ultra-processed foods?
Ultra-processed foods come under group four of the NOVA food classification system recognized by health agencies including the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
The other three groups are unprocessed foods like fruit and vegetables, or meat and eggs; processed ingredients like oils, butter, sugar and salt; and processed foods like canned fish, fruits in syrup, and certain types of cheeses and bread.
Home delivery isn’t necessarily unhealthy, but it does make it easier to eat badly.
Ultra-processed foods include soft drinks, packaged snacks, reconstituted meat produces, and pre-prepared frozen dishes.
"The main purpose of industrial ultra-processing is to create products that are ready to eat, to drink or to heat, liable to replace both unprocessed or minimally processed foods that are naturally ready to consume, such as fruits and nuts, milk and water, and freshly prepared drinks, dishes, desserts and meals," according to the  Who in 2016.
"Common attributes of ultra-processed products are hyper-palatability, sophisticated and attractive packaging ... health claims, high profitability, and branding and ownership by transnational corporations."
Basically, it's bright shiny junk food. If you know, you know.
Why is junk food unhealthy?
Linking junk food with bad health isn't exactly groundbreaking, and the study itself isn't definitive.
Since it is not possible to conduct an experiment where you cram junk food into people for several years, observational studies are the only option. Since they rely on people accurately reporting what they ate, they are inevitably flawed.
The authors also had to adjust the results to isolate junk food from all the other causes of an earlier death, including the overall quality of the diet, or the amount of exercise - factors that are associated with eating more junk food.
In any case, assuming there is a modest link between junk food and a heightened risk of dying early, the question becomes why is junk food so unhealthy?
The JAMA report offers several hypotheses:
  • High salt content. Consuming more sodium has been associated with heart disease and stomach cancer
  • More sugar. High sugar intake has thas been associated with an increased risk of heart disease
  • Not enough fiber. Dietary fiber has been linked with a substantially decreased risk of dying early
  • Suspected carcinogen-contaminants, such as acrylamide, in foods that have undergone high-temperature processing
  • Food additives such as titanium dioxide have been associated with gut and intestinal inflammation
  • Harmful chemicals present in food packaging may be migrating into food
Whatever the causes, what's not in doubt is that people in lower socioeconomic groups eat more junk.
"These results underline the social inequalities associated with food choices," the authors write in the JAMA report.
"Further prospective studies are needed to confirm these findings and to disentangle the various mechanisms by which ultra-processed foods may affect health."

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

From the ABC : Plant based milks

Almond, soy or coconut? How plant-based milks compare to regular dairy

By health reporter Olivia Willis for Life Matters

Looking at a bottle of almond milk, it's easy to see why so many people have made the switch.
"Just filtered water, activated almonds, organic brown rice syrup and sea salt."

No wonder juiced nuts are having a moment! It sounds like a magical nutrient wonder potion.

Except that "organic brown rice syrup" is just a fancy way of saying "sugar", and "activated almonds" are just nuts that have been soaked in water.

Not all plant milks are created equal, of course, and there are lots of good reasons why people make the switch to dairy-free.

But how do alternatives like soy, almond and coconut milk stack up nutritionally?

Milk that's real milk

Before we make the jump to juicing oats, let's first consider the nutritional benefits of dairy.
Cow's milk has been a staple of Western diets for thousands of years and is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium.

Milk plays an important role in bone health, and drinking it is an easy way to boost your nutrient intake, said Nicole Dynan, an accredited practicing dietitian and spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia.

"Milk gives us a lot of the nutrients that we need in our diet, including calcium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B12, zinc, magnesium and riboflavin," Ms Dynan said.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend you eat 2.5 servings of "milk, yogurt, cheese and/or their alternatives" per day.

Tim Crowe, a nutrition researcher and accredited practicing dietitian, said although calcium intake was important, it was "a bit of a myth" that people needed to consume dairy.

"There's no reason why anyone has to drink cow's milk … There's nothing inherently special about it that you can't get from other aspects of your diet," he said.

However, Dr Crowe said cow's milk was a "great source of nutrition", and added that any concerns about it having negative impacts on people's health were unfounded.

"If you don't like milk, or if you're intolerant, that's fine, have something else," he said.

"But if you enjoy it, then by all means keep enjoying it — there's no strong reason to change your habit anytime soon."

Soy: the original 'alt-milk'

If you're opting for a dairy-free milk alterative, soy milk is a good place to start. Soy was the first plant-based milk to appear on supermarket shelves and is still the most widely available option.

Soy milk is made from either ground soy beans or soy protein powder, reconstituted with water, and often adjusted with oil (and sugar) to imitate the consistency of cow's milk.

"Soy milk is a good source of protein, and if it's fortified with calcium — which most soy milks are — it really is on a par to cow's milk," Dr Crowe said.

2017 study investigating the nutritional differences between cow's milk and almond, soy, rice and coconut milk found soy milk fared the best of the alternative milks — by a long shot.

"It is quite clear that nutritionally soy milk is the best alternative for replacing cow's milk in human diet," the authors wrote.

Soy milk has more protein on average than other plant alternatives, contains fibre, and is a source of "good" fats.
Dr Crowe said that while soy milk was nutritionally superior to other plant-based milks, it always paid to check whether a product was fortified, and preferably unsweetened.

"That's one thing to watch out for — some soy milks have added sugars to try and mimic the natural sweetness of milk, so it always pays to check," he said.

Confusion and distrust surrounding soy foods has grown in recent years because of concerns about their effects on hormones.

Soy milk contains large amounts of phytoestrogens — a class of plant chemicals that mimic the body's natural oestrogen — but on a much weaker scale.

Dr Crowe said despite concerns about phytoestrogens causing an increased risk of breast cancer and hyperthyroidism, clinical studies have consistently shown those fears are overstated.

"Studies that have been done in humans do not point to any harmful effects," Dr Crowe said.

On the contrary, there is research to suggest phytoestrogens may have a protective effect against some cancers.
"We know that people in Japan, for example, who have lots of soy foods have lower risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer … but the research is not conclusive," Dr Crowe said.

The only exception is women with existing breast cancer or past breast cancer, who are advised (by the Cancel Council) to "be cautious in consuming large quantities of soy foods or phytoestrogen supplements".

Almond, coconut and rice alternatives

As for trendy new alternatives like almond and coconut milk, Dr Crowe said they're rarely the natural, nutritious milks they're touted to be.

"There's not a lot in them. They're basically just very watery," he said.

"They might be useful to use as substitutes in cooking, but they're not a nutritional substitute for cow's milk."

Nut milk, such as almond and cashew, is a mix of ground nuts and water, and usually contains added sweeteners and salt. It tends to be low in calories and saturated fat, but isn't always calcium-fortified.

Rice milk is made from milled rice and water, and has comparable calories to cow's milk. It's generally calcium-fortified, but it tends to be low in protein, and high in natural sugars.

Coconut milk is typically low in carbohydrate and protein, high in saturated fat, and whether it's fortified — like other alternatives — depends on the brand.

Dr Crowe said although the plant milks "paled in comparison" to soy milk, almond milk was probably the next best plant-based alternative to soy.

Ms Dynan said she'd put oat milk "marginally above" almond milk, simply because it had some fibre in it, as well as some "vitamins and minerals".

Both dietitians agreed it was important to read the packaging to check closely for sweeteners (look for sugar and syrups) and to always pick calcium-fortified products where possible.

"Especially if you're following a vegan diet, you do need to make sure you're getting B12 — so fortified milks are a good source of that," he said.

The same goes for calcium, he said.

"You just have to be more aware of good calcium sources, because a lot of these substitutes aren't going to give it to you," Dr Crowe said.

"There's no harm in these milks, they're just not adding a lot to your diet," Dr Crowe said.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Lunch: the ABC gives five tips for a healthy lunch

While many consider breakfast the most important meal of the day, lunch is equally essential and it's often forgotten in our busy work schedules.
Lack of time and preparation often means we're reaching for convenient options that are more processed and expensive — and it's our wellbeing and afternoon productivity that can suffer.
Takeaway and pre-prepared foods usually come with more added fat, sugar and salt than the meals we make at home.
Over the course of a week, and years, these additives really start to weigh heavily on our health.
Even swapping just one or two bought lunches per week for a homemade meal will make a significant difference to your general health, your wallet and the environment.
Now, home-packed lunches might bring back memories of squashed sandwiches and brown apple quarters from school, but these five tips will help make packing a healthy and delicious lunchbox simple.

1. Make lunch at dinner
You don't have to rise at the crack of dawn to prepare a delicious lunch — leftovers are an easy and economical option.
Making extra serves when cooking dinner will save you both time and money. Then all you have to do is grab a container from the fridge as you run out the door in the morning.
Leftovers will usually keep for 24-72 hours in the fridge or up to several weeks in the freezer.
Try making a pot of minestrone soup or a large veggie casserole, eat one serve for dinner, pop one serve in the fridge for lunch, and one serve in the freezer for later.
After one week of making dinners, you could have work lunches prepared for nearly three weeks and never have to eat the same thing two days or meals in a row.

2. Use leftovers creatively
Leftovers can easily be used to create a different but equally delicious lunch in no time.
Roasted, stir-fried or sautéed vegetables can be added to almost anything. Put them in a sandwich with some pesto or cheese for a cafe-worthy toastie, add them to another night's leftover pasta for salad, or try them on top of plain tortilla chips for quick and healthy office nachos.
Or experiment with using a leftover stir fry or roast as the base for a tasty salad. Assemble by placing your leftovers at the bottom of a container or jar with a salad dressing (the sauce or oils from your leftovers may become a dressing that's free of added hidden sugar or salt in store-bought dressing), and add some leafy greens on top to keep them crisp.

3. Use a whole grain or legume base to make hearty lunches
Forget expensive protein balls and bars — whole grains such as quinoa or buckwheat, and legumes such as beans and chickpeas, are nature's original convenience superfood.
Whole grains and legumes are packed with protein and fibre to keep us fuller for longer and are much cheaper — and easier to prepare and store — than meat.
Make grains and legumes the hero of the lunch by incorporating them into curries, stews or casseroles, then use up older or wilted produce in the bottom of your crisper instead of throwing them out.
This will maximise not only the nutrient profile of your lunch, but also how far the weekly grocery shop will go.

4. Front-load your veg intake
We're all guilty of falling short of the recommended five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit per day. But bringing lunch can be a great way to front-load our fresh fruit and veggie intake to hit these goals more easily.
Packing our lunchtime meal with veg also provides valuable micronutrients such as B vitamins in leafy greens and legumes, which are essential for concentration and brain function.
The high fibre content and slow-release energy of vegetables also helps to keep you fuller for longer and avoid the dreaded 3pm slump.
Aim for three serves of vegetables and a piece of fruit at lunch and you're over half way there.

5. Invest in a couple of good-quality containers
Nothing makes the idea of BYO lunch less appealing than the idea of a flimsy lunchbox leaking at the bottom of a handbag or backpack.
A few sets of well-sealed containers will make it significantly easier to prep and carry lunch, even if it's haphazardly tossed in a bag while running out the door.
Having more than one container allows you to keep a few options in the fridge or freezer, ready to go at any time (see tip one to avoid lunch menu boredom).
You don't have to spend big money on fancy containers but it's important they are made from BPA-free plastic that won't disintegrate or leech in the dishwasher.
Glass jars are also a great option as glass is food safe and jar lids will stick tight, even after high temperature washing.
You could save money and reduce your household waste even further by reusing jars from groceries as lunch containers.

To sum up…
Life is busy but with a little effort we can make big changes to our physical health.
Over time, swapping the average takeaway lunch for a BYO meal could save you hundreds of dollars a month and reduce the amount of single-use plastics in our landfill and oceans.

Dr Sandro Demaio is a doctor and researcher with a passion for disease prevention, nutrition and global health. He also loves to cook and recently published a cookbook.

Monday, 28 January 2019

From the ABC: planetary health diet.

Why the Western diet needs to shift to a 'planetary health diet' in the age of climate change
By Rosemary Stanton and Kris Barnden

The "Western diet", with its high proportions of meat and highly refined, processed foods, contributes to a long list of health problems including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, many types of cancer, mood disorders and dementia.
This unhealthy diet is also a big contributor to the ongoing devastation of our planet. Agriculture contributes up to 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and uses 70 per cent of fresh water, while land clearing and industrial farming methods involve large amounts of herbicides and pesticides that pollute our rivers, wetlands and coral reefs.
recent report published by EAT and authoritative medical journal The Lancet warns that we must significantly transform the way we eat and grow our food. Failure to do so will cause an increasing proportion of the global population, which is expected to hit 10 billion people by 2050, to suffer from malnutrition and preventable disease. Today's children will inherit a planet that has been severely degraded.
The report, which has brought together 37 experts from 16 countries, has for the first time set scientific targets that call for nothing short of a revolution in our farm-to-fork practices to address these seemingly colossal challenges.
The report calls for a "flexitarian" approach to eating which caters for meat eaters, as well as vegetarians and vegans.
The "planetary health diet" recommends doubling global consumption of vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes, ditching refined grains in favor of wholegrains, and at least halving our consumption of red meat and sugar.
So what does a 21st-century nutritional and delicious meal that boosts health and protects the planet look like?
Here are some suggestions for those who are unaware of the delicious alternatives to meals dominated by meat.
Let's start with breakfast
Homemade or good-quality muesli with fruit and yoghurt or, in cooler weather, cold-cooked oats with dried fruit and pepitas.
An occasional meal of egg, mushrooms, tomatoes or beans or a Middle Eastern shakshuka (spiced eggs) for a weekend special.
Meat-free lunches
Wholegrain and seeded sandwiches with avocado, salad or vegies, plus falafel or a portion of cheese (there are daily limits of 500ml of milk or the equivalent in yoghurt or cheese).
Hot or cold soups, or salads with legumes such as delicious blue-green lentils.
The weekly limit for red meat is just under 100g for beef and lamb, and the same for pork, but either can be substituted for the other.
That's two dinners with modest servings of meat suitable for a stir-fry, or as part of a winter casserole bolstered with plenty of the highly-recommended legumes and vegetables.
Chicken once or twice a week (either one big meal of 200g or two smaller meals of 100g). That could be one small serve of roast chicken with roasted vegies, or an enchilada (cooked chicken with vegetables, chilli, herbs and kidney beans tucked into a wholegrain corn or wheatmeal wrap).
Fish or other seafood also has a maximum consumption of 200g a week. That might be a single fillet of fish with a mango, chilli and mint coulis, served with a large plate of seasonal vegetables and one of the two weekly potatoes made into chips cooked in olive oil.
For another seafood meal, perhaps prawns with homemade satay sauce (making it yourself ensures a decent amount of peanut) with brown rice and a large salad.
Alternatives to meat
For omnivores — and Australians are one of the highest meat consumers in the world per capita — that leaves just one or two meatless dinners to think about.
There are many satisfying and easy alternatives to meat. How about wholemeal pasta with pesto and a big salad with greens, cherry tomatoes and avocado?
Or maybe a couple of Indian curries? Recipes abound, so try a chana masala (made with chickpeas), plus a dry cauliflower curry with rice and sambals (try flaked coconut, tomatoes, cucumber, coriander, mint and natural yoghurt).
You can also make full use of herbs, spices and extra virgin olive oil for cooking or on salads.
What about snacks?
No surprises here: junk foods are out, but fruit and nuts make excellent snack foods for those who need a little extra during the day.
The EAT-Lancet diet will require behaviour change for many Australians.
Education about the need to change eating habits is vital, but personal action is only one piece of the solution, which may not be readily available to everyone.
If you have been choosing processed foods high in fat and sugar since childhood, if you don't have the time to prepare fresh food or the means to afford it, or if you live in a place where it's just not available, then "choice" does not begin to describe the uphill battle to put healthy food in front of your family.
Farmers and retailers wanting to supply sustainably-grown food also face considerable hurdles in a system that has been skewed in favour of large-scale, industrial food production with low diversity.
Governments need to lead the way with policy changes that reflect modern-day challenges to the way we produce and consume our food.
It starts with the farm
The food revolution we need requires substantial agricultural innovation that must focus on improving efficiency and sustainability in existing farming lands; restoring degraded lands; a zero-expansion policy of agricultural land to enable natural ecosystems to thrive, and halving food waste.
The EAT-Lancet report also tells us that better governance of our land and seas is needed to protect the biodiversity that supports life. This is consistent with calls in Australia for the next elected federal government to develop new national environmental laws with independent authority to protect our environment and the ability to produce food into the future, in a way that does not cost us the planet and humanity's future.
If our next elected government also puts money into making local fresh food readily available and affordable, subsidises and promotes sustainable farming methods, and protects our environment, we will reap the benefits of a healthier population.
We will also do our share of avoiding catastrophic damage to the planet from runaway climate change and other environmental threats.
Only then can we evolve from the current lose-lose scenario with poor diets that result in malnutrition, ongoing damage to ecosystems and worsening climate change, to a win-win scenario for people, animal life and the planet.
Dr Rosemary Stanton is a nutritionist and dietitian and part of the Scientific Advisory Committee for Doctors for the Environment Australia. Dr Kris Barnden is an obstetrician and a member of Doctors for the Environment Australia.