Changing my plate – to increase stamina + more follow up

changing my plate.jpgThis post is part of a regular series focusing on making small changes to improve our health. I shared my journey with changing my diet and moving to a clean eating approach which you can read here. I also had the lovely Katie Rainbird from Katie 180 undertake an analysis of my food intake for one day in that post, which was another step in the right direction.

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. You can read previous Changing my plate posts by clicking here.

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 a reader Gillian submitted that she 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?
To eat more healthily with more variety. Trying to eat 1-2 fish dishes with veg per week, 1 non-meat dish per week, 2red meat dishes & 2 chicken dishes per week. Would like to increase my stamina trying to keep up with 2 young children, time for me/exercise, husband & friends.

All bran flakes with lite milk, 7.45am, at home.

Here’s three alternatives: half cup of oats with almond milk, garnished with some chopped dates. Quinoa cooked as you would porridge, soak overnight to speek up cooking, then rinse and cook with a mixture of water:coconut milk and top with stewed apples. A breakfast “trifle” of muesli, yoghurt and compote layered atop each other in a tall glass – ensure muesli is full of seeds.

Home made sandwiches on shop bought mixed grain whole meal bread, with cheese, onion, carrot & cucumber & pro active spread. I am able to make lunch at home.

I will never recommend margarine. If you don’t have an issue switching to butter then please do so. If you do please try to choose from other spreadable fat alternatives such as: avocado, mayonnaise, olive oil, flaxseed oil, hummus, cottage cheese, ricotta. Margarine is an abomination.

Chicken that had been marinated overnight in buttermilk & Worcestershire sauce, this was coated in homemade bread crumbs (made from whole meal pitta breads mixed with celery salt, cayenne pepper & dried thyme) & shallow fried. This was eaten with carrot, cucumber & salad leaves around 5.15pm.

Sounds yummy!

Snack 1
Apple, around 10am.


Snack 2
Banana, around 2.30pm.

Even cooler.

Snack 3
Chocolates x3 or cheese & crackers around 8.30pm.
A few times per week this is OK. But the key is moderating it and also what type of crackers you’re eating: best they’re as unadulterated as possible. Pure Harvest rice or corn cakes, Kurrajong Kitchen lavosh or Dr Karg’s crisp breads are some of my favourites.

Chocolate cake, not a usual item in my diet. Made with kids as coming up to Easter. I usually have shop bought strawberry yoghurt (forme brand).

I too love chocolate cake and if it’s not usual then go ahead and enjoy.

Nutritional supplements
Iron tablets x1 every 2nd/3rd day. Each tablet contains 325g dried ferrous sulphate & 562g sodium ascorbate.

Are you iron deficient and was this the recommended product? I’d like to suggest an alternative product. Please let me know.

Daily fluid intake
Water x 1.5l approx, black tea with lite milk x5, red wine x1 glass.
Five teas per day is about two too many! Try to cut back or substitute with a caffeine free alternative such as Rooibos, Dandelion or any other herbal except for green or white as these too contain caffeine.

Katie’s summary
Your diet is pretty good, I can see that you are trying to make optimal choices but there’s room for a bit of tweaking: first and foremost is axing the margarine! It’s a foodstuff that we know we’re better off never eating, it’s correlated to coronary heart disease owing to its inflammatory properties and is made using highly processed vegetable oils which are actually not the “health food” they are marketed to be.

Secondly unless you are dealing with significant additional body mass I would like to see you drinking whole, organic or A2 milk on your cereal and in your tea and this is because milk is a whole food, a good source of whole fats which come packaged with fat-soluble vitamins. Light and skinny milks are sweeter owing to the removal of fats which means they have a faster action on blood sugar levels. The fat in whole milk slows the release of the milk sugars and the sugars from the foods you eat it with, into your blood stream.

Lastly, less caffeinated tea each day will assist with the absorption of minerals from your food (as caffeine interferes with this) and take a load of your central nervous system.

Further reading

Changing my plate -follow up

In May Katie review the day on a plate of Michelle. You can read the full post here. Michelle very kindly responded to our check in to see how she was going. Katie has added some further comments. Thanks so much for sharing Michelle, I loved reading it.

Hi Nicole and Katie
Thanks for the initial information and for this followup/checkin.

I have continued to try and make some pretty big (and lots of small) changes to diet and lifestyle. I am finally (I think I hope) through the Glandular Fever/Chronic Fatigue that started around Feb this year. Lots of rest and eating as well as possible although some days/weeks so exhausted. Made a committment to trying to choose the most nourishing thing I could muster even if sometimes that was a peanut butter sandwich or an apple, banana or handful or nuts or drink of milk but better than quick convenient not healthy takeaway options (still have too many sneaky pies from the bakery now the weather has got colder….they make a mean thai chicken one but I have to say I never feel that well after eating so need to pass on this habit).

The take home message from your introduction is that you are aware of yourself and you have been making the changes. These two things are key to long term change. Good for you!

Just out of hospital for gallbladder surgery so not eating much at all at the moment. Learnt the hardway just today that doing too much too soon and making some bad food choices (went out for dinner) was not great so aiming for as clean as possible and trying to work out what I can and can’t tolerate now sans gallbladder and therefore the liver doing the bile/digestion thing without its gallbladder teammate.
Loved (and spot on that I needed) the Yoga component – but as had already started Pilates and using some v cool meditation apps (Buddhify and Smiling Mind etc) I haven’t taken up Yoga as well but Katie was right that I needed to chill and work on stress and anxiety after a rough year health wise and the rigours of raising 2 kids (one with coeliac and one with ASD who hasn’t slept well for years) all pt solo as husb is away 50-60% of the time (DIDO).

Post surgery let’s focus on protein rich but gentle foods such as soups with slow cooked meat and broths with lots of vegetables. Without your gall bladder concentrating bile your liver will have to do all of the work with less potent bile so it will take some time to adjust. Right now it may be necessary to take it easy even with “good” fats such as nuts and fish oil, and dairy.

Have been trying to add more vegetables, grating them in to meals,adding them to homemade muffins, just eating them steamed, lots of stirfries etc and frittatas which is good as can make and eat fresh and then have later cold so don’t have to cook again and can load with heaps of veg.

Have tried to concentrate on better snacks and doing carrot sticks or a veggie/fruit juice and trying for more grainier type crackers to replace the jatz. Have gone Ryvitas are they any good or still crap?

Ryvitas are still not a premium choice, sorry! My preferred suggestion for a cracker is the Pure Harvest Rice or Corn cake thins, perfect as they are gluten free so they reduce the intake of wheat and they’re nice and light so you can eat 4 of them without feeling uncomfortably full.

Haven’t yet got around to making homemade awesome crackers. Does pinning lots of recipes to try count?

I haven’t been able to kick my coffee habit but have switched to trying out bulletproof and quite like it but had to adjust the butter/coc oil down to about 1/4 tsp of each. Lovely actually and look fwd to them now and “normal” milk in coffee tastes gross so now its black or bulletproof. TRY to stick with Licorice or Peppermint tea after dinner/before bed. Cant do chamomile or dandelion despite trying its just bleergh to me. but having less coffee and more tea/herbal tea generally and saving my coffee for out and about “real” coffee indulgences.

If you don’t like the taste of certain teas then don’t force yourself. I’ve read much about the bulletproof coffee so if you’re into then one per day is fine.

Have become an ABC butter convert. Love it on thin slices of granny smiths (and occasionally straight from the jar ….my new vice whoops). Can not stomach tofu – silken or otherwise. Texture and taste not palatable (sorry super fussy eater here with some sensory issues in common with my ASD son). And yet always whip the cream from fresh never the canned stuff.

This is great, what a healthy snack!

I haven’t made the switch to Ethical Nutrients Iron but only as I still have the other one on the go but I will look for this when after a new lot. And you asked what was in my magnesium supplement – details are as follows: CENOVIS brand 325mg from oxide heavy507mg and amino acid cholate 150mg, manganese8mg as amino acid chelate and vit b6 (pyroxidine hydrochloride).
I have also had shocking sinusitis so as well as doing sinus washes with SinusFlo (saline) have been taking Astraforte (Greenridge brand), Vit C 500, Natures Way Fish Oil 1000, Vit D and Ethical Nutrients probiotic Inner Health Immune Booster for Adults which all in combo seemed to really help.

It’s pushing outside of my boundaries to recommend supplements for you in this platform of communication but I would like to change your magnesium also. When you pop into the shop to buy the Ethical Nutrients iron pick up the magnesium powder also.

Next phase = recovery from gall bladder removal, keep working on immunity (investigating the fermented foods), focus on clean and real unprocessed foods that are also in low fat for the gallbladder but hoping to be able to tolerate the good fats (avo, grass-fed butter, coconut oil etc hopefully), and get back into exercise gradually including walking, Couch to 5 k (running=therapy/active meditation) as well as returning to Pilates and keeping up the meditation daily.

I have been tested for Coeliac and am not (although daughter is), and waiting to see and allergist for testing for a load of things including wheat given that reaction to wheat can be auto-immune (i.e. damages villi =coeliac) or allergenic response (production of histamines).

I have gone GF for some time and not sure it made a huge difference but perhaps with less headaches/foggy head.

I suspect most of us would feel “better” eliminating gluten from our diets because a: it forces us to eat different grains with different nutrients, b: it steers us away from bread and bread-y foods and c: it gives our digestive system a workout. So keep to a low gluten diet but if you’re not positive for celiac then enjoy gluten if you feel like it.

Haven’t yet cut out dairy but may trial as may assist with Gallbladder (or lack of Gallbladder too).

So your main points were to reduce caffein (Id give me a C- on that but have made some inroads), increase Gf whole-grains (I would say a B for that), eat fresh produce for snacks (maybe an A-) and doing some gentle exercise was a B+ once I could re Glandular Fever without crashing for a week after trying and prior to Gallbladder op but keen to get back into it again. Just a 6 week post surgery lag but focusing on SELF CARE and gentle walks and great nutrition in the meantime and itching to get back into regular Pilates, running and maybe back to Pump classes which I LOVED pre kids (havent done for 10 years but I want to feel STRONG again).

I think you’re doing really well and you’re so aware and so honest and these signal to me that you’re serious. Keep up the good work!


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.