MEET ANNA & ALEX FROM THE BITING TRUTH
Posted on 10 December 2014
We caught up with nutritionist's Alex and Anna to find out what a nutritionist's plate really looks like and more!
Tell us a bit about The Biting Truth, how did you get started? Have you always been interested in health and fitness?
Over the last four or five years we’ve witnessed bloggers, vloggers, fbookers and tweeters promote the latest diet and exercise fashions with everything from super foods to detox and slimming pills. And it made us wonder - as future nutritionists and dietitians, how can we take the flame of truth to all those misleading claims and sensationalised products? With growing incidents of chronic disease and more sedentary lifestyles, people need real, evidenced based health information. How can we make the truth sexy? How can we get the facts across?
Perhaps because we’re of Generation Y calibre and it’s in our blood, or perhaps because we figured, if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em, in 2013 we decided to develop our own evidenced based Instagram account on nutrition, ‘The Biting Truth’. Initially, our intention was to share healthy food and lifestyle messages and recipes with close friends in a somewhat 'stylish’ manner. We began posting regularly, each week sharing a ‘Meatless Monday’ and ‘Treat Tuesday’ recipe, a ‘Hump-day’ motivational picture and a ‘Fun Fact Friday’ based on recent nutritional research findings. We now have over 11,000 followers and have recently expanded our business venture into a website (www.thebitingtruth.com)
Our account is real, we cook all the recipes ourselves. We don’t have a huge budget for expensive health food products, and we want to make healthy eating accessible for all, so we keep our ingredients basic and affordable. Everything we post is in keeping with the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, but we try not to focus on the science behind our messages to keep our followers interested.
What’s your active life mantra?
Active living is different for everybody. There are so many ways to be active whether it’s taking a class at your local yoga studio, running laps of an oval or stand up paddle boarding with friends. For us, active living is about balance, finding what works for us and setting some time aside each day to unleash!
Number one reason for taking care of your body?
Our bodies are the only place we have to live. When we eat well and keep active we can see so clearly the positive impacts on our health, not only physically but also mentally. Is that not enough of a reason to want to take care of our bodies?!
What’s your favourite way to stay fit?
We are both very active people, Alex is more of the runner, gym-goer type, whilst Anna is the yogi/surfer type. In saying that, we both love the outdoors and try to do as many outdoor activities as possible, such as bushwalks and water activities! Let’s not forget the great benefits of incidental exercise such as walking to work or going for a walk on our lunch breaks.
How do you stay motivated?
The feeling of living and eating well is addictive, once you start, you will be so motivated to keep it up because the benefits are endless.
What or who is your biggest inspiration?
What a tough question! We are surrounded by so many inspirational individuals out there in terms of fitness, food and general healthy living, it’s difficult to choose just one.
In terms of cooking/recipes – we LOVE Jamie Oliver. His recipes are absolutely delicious, they are affordable and he is also environmentally conscious, which we believe is very important!
In terms of nutrition – we LOVE Dr Joanna McMillian. She is real, down to earth and gives fantastic recipes and nutrition tips!
Can you share a typical workout?
Our workout styles vary quite a bit so here’s a bit of an insight into each of them:
Anna: 7:30am power vinyasa yoga class to start off the day. This activates my body and mind and prepares me for the day ahead mentally and physically. I love to end the day with a surf or simply a dip in the salt water!
Alex: 6am: I like to get started early, especially with summer approaching, to enjoy the beautiful sunrise. I love mixing up my workouts from yoga, running, swimming to weights. I also enjoy a nice long walk followed by brunch with friends.
What do you typically eat and what do you try to avoid?
For the most part we try and stick to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, which includes eating from the five food groups (fruit and vegetables, grains and cereals, meat and poultry and legumes and dairy). We love vegetables, they are nutrient dense and have a low energy density and they are the one food group where you can basically eat as much as you like.
There are not many foods we completely avoid, rather we believe in the mantra ‘all things in moderation’ and consequently believe there is a place for all foods in the diet, including treats (in moderation of course)!
As nutritionists what question do you get asked the most, and what’s your answer?
We often get asked about diets that are ‘hot’ in the media such as restriction diets that might involve cutting out dairy, carbohydrates and/or fruit. Our response to these questions is that there is really no need to cut any food groups out completely, as all these foods contain essential nutrients, which form part of a balanced diet. Sure if you suffer from allergies or food intolerance you may need to cut out a certain food, but eliminating whole food groups for the intention of weight-loss or to follow certain trends is something we would not encourage. Of course losing weight might involve cutting back on some certain foods, but completing removing /demonising certain foods will only leave you wanting them even more and might mean you do not meet all your nutrient requirements.
What does a usual day on a plate look like?
This is another question we get asked all the time! Our typical plate will include:
- ½ plate of non-starchy vegetables and fruit à Fruit and vegetables are nutrient dense and have a low energy density (meaning you get the nutrients you need without the added calories!)
- Serve of a protein rich food e.g. meat, poultry, legumes, tofu, dairy à protein is satiating and therefore helps fill you up and prevents you snacking on other foods throughout the day
- Portion of carbohydrates. These include smart carbs such as legumes, starchy vegetables or wholegrains à we need carbohydrates to fuel our brains and these smart carbs are rich in fibre, which is beneficial for gut health. We recommend low GI carbs, meaning they slowly absorbed, keeping you fuller for longer!
- ‘Healthy fats – we are talking unsaturated fats such as those found in extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds and oily fish. Not only to fats taste great but they provide essential fatty acids and nutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy.
What is your favourite green smoothie recipe?
When it comes to smoothies, we aren’t really ones to follow a recipe. We tend to mix it up, but some staples we like to include are almond milk, reduced fat greek yoghurt and a big handful of kale!
What is your favourite healthy snack?
Nuts! We go nuts for nuts (haha) And here is why:
Nuts are full of healthy fats (mono and polyunsaturated fats), they are a good source of antioxidants and offer a range of vitamins and minerals. They are also a good source of fibre and have a low GI (keeping you fuller for longer!). They satisfy that ‘crunch’ we are often seeking and are super easy to pack and carry on you at all times! Raw and unsalted nuts are your best choice and we like to spice things up by roasting them a little or even adding some spices to them such as paprika. Although nuts have a fantastic nutritional profile, you do still need to keep in mind they do contain a high portion of ‘healthy fats and hence as always moderation is the key. It is recommended people consume approximately a handful of nuts a day for optimal health.
Favourite healthy cafe/hang out spot where you live?
There are so many cool spots to hang out and enjoy delicious, nourishing food we would be lying if we said we had one spot we went to all the time. Obviously Bondi is a one stop spot for all things healthy and we love places such as Bondi Wholefoods and Porch and Parlour but back over closer to where we live you might find us catching a bite to eat at Bloom Healthy Food Co in Mosman or Sprout Wholefoods in Willoughby.
Can you share your ‘signature’ healthy recipe?
One of our favourite recipes (especially with summer just around the corner) is our Quinoa Tabouli. This recipe is fantastic to serve as a side at a summer BBQ. The health benefits of Quinoa are endless and include:
- Quinoa is often referred to as a ‘pseudo-grain’ as it is cooked and eaten as a grain however it is actually a seed
- Quinoa contains all 8 essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Quinoa contains approximately double the amount of protein of rice.
- Quinoa is a low GI carbohydrate. This means that the carbs in quinoa are digested and absorbed more slowly helping to keep you fuller for longer and more satisfied after the meal
Prep Time: 15 minutes || Cooking Time: 20 minutes || Serves: 4
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 3 medium tomatoes (diced)
- 3 cups parsley (chopped)
- ½ red onion (diced)
- 2 spring onions (diced)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ lemon (juice)
Step 1: Heat the quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups of water over medium heat. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, strain excess water and set aside.
Step 2: Place the diced tomatoes, chopped parsley, Spanish onion and spring onions into a large bowl. Add in the cool quinoa and toss to combine.
Step 3: Add lemon juice, olive oil and pepper to taste
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