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Changing my plate – to have more energy

A couple of weeks ago I shared my journey with changing my diet and moving to a clean eating approach. I also had the lovely Katie Rainbird from Katie 180 undertake an analysis of my food intake for one day which you can read here.

Together we also offered the same opportunity to readers of Planning With Kids. We were blown away with the response and while I can’t guarantee will get to all of them this year, Katie has been busy working on many of the submissions already and we will publish as many as we can.

It is not possible for Katie to cover off everything in these posts. The aim is for her to find some small things you can change to what you are putting on your plate to help you achieve your current goal for your eating habits.

Changing my plate – my day

image_katieKatie Rainbird (AKA Katie180) is a Sydney-based Nutritionist who is just as likely to be found jogging as she is baking. She is a mother to two, a keen home cook, prefers to get around in her workout gear and has a major passion for the written word. You can learn more at

Katie reviewed what the reader Michelle submitted that they ate in a 24 hour period. This is what Katie had to say about her day:

What is your current goal with your eating habits?

Have more energy – to skip the afternoon slump. To boost immunity (recovering from Glandular Fever), to lose some weight but still have fuel for fitness (starting the Couch to 5 K running program as soon as well enough post Glandular Fever). To help with mood (mild depression – flat low mood, low in energy)

When you say glandular fever, do you mean that you are currently suffering chronic fatigue? If so the afternoon slump may be more than just an afternoon slump.
Home – Today: half cup raw muesli with half a banana and some pecans and almonds added, glass of Smart Milk (low fat)

Sometimes have grated apple with nuts seeds and coconut

Or French Toast (bread dipped in egg and fried in the pan)
Your breakfast is pretty good. I’m not a fan of light or skimmed milk personally but it is a personal choice.

Home – Rye mountain bread wrap with chicken, beetroot, carrot, hommus, spinach or lettuce

You lunch is also pretty good.

Home – made by me: Spagetti bolognese. GF pasta (child who is coeliac) – beef mince (lean) with grated carrot and zucchini added. A pasta sauce out of a jar, fresh parsley, grated pamesan.

Dinner gets the tick of approval also. But there is scope for more vegetables.
Snack 1
Mid Morning: 3 jatz crackers with small amount of cheese
wholemeal or multigrain bread with peanut butter
OR homemade oat slice
OR store bought muesli bar
OR chickpeas or broad beans roasted and salted (in a pack)
OR Fresh Juice (home made) usually beetroot, carrot, mint, ginger, apple, lime. Sometimes with spinach or Kale
OR a green apple

Snacks is where you seem to fall down although they aren’t too bad but there is room for improvement. I’d axe the crackers and switch to fresh cut vegetable sticks or a more deluxe type of cracker such as can be purchased from a health food store (organic grain based or even GF.)

Try making your own muesli bars using GF grains, nuts and seeds also. A protein smoothie in the afternoon could be a pick me up to see you through: try a brown rice protein powder and add things such as flaxseed oil, chia seeds, egg yolks and other wholesome bits and bobs; use a dairy free milk here.
Snack 2
Afternoon tea (around 3.30 when the kids home from school). Usually same as above

Snack 3
Might have a plain sweet biscuit or a date/choc ball with a cup of tea or coffee at night after kids in bed
No caffeinated beverages after dinner/before bed! Switch to a calming tea/sleep blend or a plain camomile. Trade biscuit for something protein-based such as peanut butter or ABC spread on whole grain crackers or some organic silken tofu mixed with soft stewed fruit and a dash of vanilla extract.
Dessert not an every day thing. Once or twice a week maybe. Would usually be a small amount of icecream OR a date/nut/cocoa ball OR a meringue nest with whipped cream and fruit (banana strawberry kiwi passionfruit).
Do you whip the cream yourself or use canned stuff? Better of using fresh cream and whipping it fresh. Once or twice a week is not really a biggie in my books but if you’re having sweet biscuits for snacks on these days also then it ought to be one or the other.
Nutritional supplements
Magnesium 2 a day
Vitamin C/Zinc/Garlic/Echinacea – 3 x day
Spa Tone iron supplement – 1 a day
Metagenics Probiotic x 2 daily

I’m hard pressed to make supplement recommendations for you as glandular fever/chronic fatigue treatment can be so multifcatorial. I think the fact that you supplement is great though. I would prefer to switch your iron supplement to Ethical Nutrients Iron Plus and I’d like to know what’s in your magnesium supplement.

I think probiotics are a great idea for gut health. There is some evidence connecting inflammation in brain tissue with chronic fatigue so I’d be inclined to recommend a good essential fatty acid (omega-3) as an anti-inflammatory (there’s a speical on my blog at present!)
Daily fluid intake
Would probably have 4 cups of coffee and/or tea through the day.

Try to drink 2L water each day

Sometimes have mineral water with lemon or lime one or 2 glasses a day.

Don’t (rarely) drink alcohol – special occasions would be a glass of white wine or a Bacardi lime and lemonade but maybe 2-3 times a year.
Try cutting tea/coffee by half and drinking dandelion tea as a coffee substitute and Rooibos or other herbal tea as a tea substitute. I can understand the desire to drink caffeinated beverages as you are struggling with fatigue but caffeine highs are followed by lows.

Green tea has been proven to confer gentle stimulation without the jitters that coffee can cause. Avoid caffeine close to bed time.

Further reading

Katie’e summary

In summary: I’d be interested to send you for testing for gluten sensitivity also, it can be familial and food intolerances/allergies can predispose to frequent infection and fatigue. It might be an idea to just go ahead and eliminate gluten anyway and see if this makes a difference. Same goes for dairy. Gluten and dairy proteins can both act as “poison” (foreign proteins) in the blood stream and cause all sorts of trouble in susceptible individuals. I’m feeling like it’s a good idea for you to enrol into a gentle yoga course (beginner’s yoga/Hatha yoga), it’s hard to explain but I’m just feeling like it would be good for you. There’s only so much I can say in this public forum, without directly consulting you but the aims are to: reduce caffeine, increase GF whole grains, fresh produce for snacks and do some gentle exercise.


Katie is a qualified nutritionist (Adv. Dip. Nutr. Med.).

Any diet or lifestyle changes that you implement as a result of reading this blog are your own responsibility.

This blog does not provide medical advice, any particular health conditions must be managed by your own health professional.

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.