Nutrition Advice, Topical Nutrition

Top 5 Tips To Manage Adrenal Fatigue

Stress over extended periods causes the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, which promotes the release of glucose and fat into blood, to be carried to the muscles where it will be used to generate energy to run from danger. In today’s society, our mostly sedentary lifestyle means there is no danger, and we are less efficient at clearing glucose, cortisol and lipids from our blood, causing abdominal weight gain in the form of visceral fat.

Adrenal glands – what do they do?

The adrenals are triangle shaped glands that sit on top of our kidneys. Their primary role is to control our body’s response to stress, as well as regulating blood pressure and metabolism. When we become stressed from:

  • Infection
  • Illness
  • Excess caffeine
  • Anxiety/nerves
  • Scary animal (rare)

Hypothalamus (control centre in brain) ⇒ pituitary gland ⇒ adrenals ⇒ produce adrenaline and cortisol (hormones) which ⇑ awareness and blood flow (), simultaneously ⇓ the digestive and immune systems (damn).

Cortisol causes a release of glucose and fat into the blood to allow a burst of energy to run from danger. As mentioned, there is no scary animal to run from so we stay in the flight or flight response, constantly wired.

Chronic stress

Adrenal fatigue – what is it?

Adrenal fatigue is commonly known as HPA axis dysfunction, and occurs when the adrenal glands are placed under continuous demand and lose their ability to manage stress in the body.

Adrenal fatigue – why is it bad?

Chronic adrenal stress results in increased cortisol production (stress hormone) which in turn gives us a lovely distended abdomen over time. The rise in blood glucose stimulates the release of insulin (another hormone), which plays a role in fat storage.

Excess blood glucose ⇒ excess insulin ⇒ excess blood sugars are converted to visceral fat

This distended abdomen is composed of visceral fat that accumulates around our heart, liver and kidneys as a protective mechanism as the body thinks it is in danger and clings on to fat for potential energy. Essentially, your body is not coping with the stress and that your adrenals are heading for a burnout. Additionally, constant cortisol production can weaken the gastrointestinal (GI) tract leaving it more susceptible to inflammation and infection.

When the adrenals are in overdrive your brain is always switched on. This can effect your thought processes, attention span and ability to focus, leading to excessive thinking and an inability to switch off. When your body is constantly on the go, sleep becomes interrupted and you lose the ability to recharge your batteries, or adrenal tank so to speak. A vicious cycle of stress, insomnia, fidgeting and cravings can then ensue.

Our body loses sodium (an electrolyte) while in adrenal stress, which causes salt cravings due to dehydration. Foods such as potato chips suddenly become more attractive.

There are also knock on effects to several other hormones in your body (which I will address in another blog post), suffice to say it effects fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism and therefore our weight.

Top 5 tips to prevent Adrenal Fatigue

  1. Eat a nourishing breakfast – including good quality fats (avocado or flax seeds), satisfying protein (eggs or milk) and filling carbohydrates (wholegrain toast or chia pudding); this will ensure even energy throughout the morning and reduced stress.
  2. Monitor your caffeine intake – if you notice that you are particularly sensitive to caffeine (think fidgety or buzzing), try to limit your intake to 400mg a day.
  3. Good quality sleep – aim for 6-8 hours of uninterrupted each night to allow your adrenals to rest and your hormones to re-balance.
  4. Stress reduction – find something that works for you to lower your cortisol levels: 10 minutes of reading before bed, not using your phone for an hour from waking, 30 minute phone call to a close friend.
  5. Movement to use up excess blood glucose: sign up to that dancing class you’ve always wanted to do, agree to meet a friend for tennis once a week, chase a ball with the kids.

If you think you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue, you don’t have to continue on this path. Pop in for a chat and we can work out some solutions to get your mojo back.

Get in touch here or check out my consultations page for more information.

All the best,

Madeleine (That Healthy Girl)


This blog post was written by Madeleine Baumgart and first appeared on That Healthy Girl blog Sunday 18th February, 2018

DISCLAIMER: Any views or opinions represented in this blog are purely personal. Opinions or thoughts expressed in this blog do not represent those of people, institutions or companies that I am associated with in a professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. I have no affiliation with or receive any benefits from companies or organisations mentioned in posts on That Healthy Girl. From time to time I may provide a review and my opinion on sample products, this will be clearly stated on the post. Written content provided on this blog is meant for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide or replace medical advice, nor should it be used to diagnose, treat or cure illness. 

Topical Nutrition

If you keep doing the same things, you will get the same results

As 2016 draws to an end, we are bombarded with messages to eat clean, strip the fat, sign up to 28 day or 12 week challenges. Weight loss companies know that we have probably eaten more than we needed over the festive/holiday season and are looking for a quick fix to a slimmer, healthier you in the new year. Before you throw your cash away on yet another optimistic program I’d like you to think about the following questions.

How many times have you made New Years weight loss resolutions and kept them?

How much money have you spent on quick fixes that don’t work?

Have you actually changed your mindset around health and eating?

Are your weight loss goals too unrealistic?

Why do you want to lose weight?

Are the people you spend time with supportive of the sort of lifestyle you crave?

Do your daily food choices honour your health goals?

Are you eating mindfully?

Next year I urge you to try something radical, say no to fad diets. If diets truly worked, why are new ones created constantly? It’s time to move away from the diet mindset and eating plans based on unsubstantiated promises.

Instead, commit to small manageable changes that become habits. After all, from little things, big things grow.

Small changes are more likely to stick when implemented rather than restrictive diets. So what are you waiting for? Get planning, start making choices that align with your health goals.

✔️ Make time for a stroll through your local farmers markets

✔️ Learn more about where your food comes from

✔️ Start a weekly tradition, make a meal from scratch, let a family member chose a different cuisine

✔️ Take a cooking class

✔️ Learn the art of fermenting foods

Take control of your health!

I’d like to wish all of my healthy followers a safe and relaxing New Years wherever you are! I look forward to bringing you more and exciting articles in 2017.

Thanks for stopping by, Madeleine (THG) 🍍

Christmas Treats, That Healthy Christmas, That Healthy Recipe, Topical Nutrition

How to enjoy a Low FODMAP Christmas

Following a low FODMAP eating plan can often limit food options. This should not impact your enjoyment over the festive period. With endless parties, gatherings and ultimately Christmas day, it would be nice to have a list of “safe” foods that you know are not going to send you to the bathroom or leave you doubled over with trapped wind. Particularly if you are wearing a fitted Summer outfit!

I have trawled the web and found my pick of suitable Christmas recipes so that you don’t miss out on the fun.

Low FODMAP Starters

Roasted Chickpeas

Cucumber and Dill Infused Cottage Cheese

Antipasto Skewers

And of course my Christmas Caprese Wreath (see image below). This is a breeze to make, with some Bing Crosby carols in the back to get in the mood.

Simply place a grape tomato, mini mozzarella ball and basil leave on a toothpick and decorate on a round platter. Voila!

Caprese wreath

 Low FODMAP Mains

Spiced Cherry Bourbon Glazed Ham


Chicken and Rice Vermicelli Salad

Potato Salad

Sweet Treats

Dark Chocolate Dipped Rice Cakes

Berry Pavlova – substitute with Lactose Free thickened cream

Christmas Chocolate Bark


And lastly an entire book of tasty low FODMAP recipes courtesy of Monash University, the home of FODMAP research and resources. Available here.

I hope this has provided you with some fresh ideas for Christmas food minus the digestive upset.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Madeleine, THG 🍍

This post first appeared on That Healthy Girl blog and was written by Madeleine Baumgart

Australian Guide To Healthy Eating, Topical Nutrition

If vegetables had labels would we eat more?

I often wonder if vegetables had labels with health claims, would we be inclined to eat more of them? It is a common belief that to eat healthy is expensive. If we ate according to the Australian Guide To Healthy Eating, and achieved the required serves of fruit (2) and vegetables (5) each day, fruit and vegetables should take up about a third of our daily food intake. I find this fascinating, that a third of our food budget should be spent on fresh produce. Do you think this is the reality?

Is a third of your local supermarket taken up by fresh produce? When we consider that most fresh produce doesn’t have a label yet boasts many more nutrients than much of the packaged food, we can see that the labels have to work hard to sell the products, often focusing on minor nutrients, or clutching at the smallest benefit to promote sales.

(Source: Pixabay)

Let’s look at sweet potato as an example. If it had a label it might read low GI, source of Vitamin A, pre-biotics, protein and dietary fibre.  Conversely, if a packaged food had a different type of label, one that outlined all of the not so favourable qualities, would we still buy it? I guess this is similar to the cigarette cartons with the confronting disfiguring images on them. Did they work as a scare tactic? It certainly got people talking.

Next time you are considering the cost of your fruit and veg, think about the true nutritional benefits. Just because they aren’t on a label you cannot assume they don’t exist!

Simultaneously, don’t be persuaded by selective claims on a product, as it is often not the entire picture. It could be compared to social media, where people only show their best traits. It’s not 100% reality.

I might sound as if in against marketing, this isn’t the case. I just urge you to apply a bit of critical judgment when considering food choices :).

For anyone in Brisbane I hope you stay dry over the weekend with the expected torrential rain.

As always, thanks for stopping by, Madeleine (THG) 🍍.

Topical Nutrition

What does a Dietitian eat? Top 10 foods I always have in my house

Schwarze Schokolade
People often ask me “Do you eat chocolate?”, and (I’m almost certain) they are surprised when I confirm that, yes of course I do, most days I like to indulge. I once had someone at my house ask for a coffee, then paused and said, “but I doubt you would have any in your house”.

Come on, coffee?!?!

There seems to be such misconception over what an individual should eat (no sugar, Gluten Free, organic grass fed, vegan) and this confusion extends to what people think a Dietitian eats. Simply being a Dietitian I am held to many assumptions about my food choices, and open to public scrutiny.

Today I’d like to shed some light and hopefully insight into a few foods that I always seems to have in my house. Now this list is not suggesting that these are the HEALTHIEST and ONLY foods that I carry, but let’s be realistic, I’m a working Mum on a budget, so these foods get me through!


  1. Mission tortilla strips – these actually taste like a corn chip should: crunchy, slightly salty and enough length on them to dip in to, well, dips!
  2. Full fat Greek or natural yoghurt – I find the rich taste of Greek yoghurt really filling. It’s the perfect accompanying to any fruit.
  3. Dark chocolate – this is my go to treat. I find a couple of squares quite satisfying, and they seem to finish off an evening meal.
  4. Oats – love these in Winter with milk, cinnamon and grated apple. The options are endless. I get the whole oats as they contain more fibre, so if I’m running around after my daughter and miss morning tea, I still have energy. (Not endorsing missing meals, but sometimes this is the reality).
  5. Tomatoes – any type, but loving sun-dried tomatoes at the moment on a baked potato with tuna and natural yoghurt. Really flavoursome. Or grape tomatoes for snacking on their own.
  6. Frozen vegetables – if I’m tired and don’t feel like cooking, these come in very handy. Don’t think that being frozen isn’t as nutritious. There is some vitamin C loss during the freeze/thaw process, but often frozen vegetables have more nutrients than the soggy ones sitting in the bottom of the crisper.
  7. Brie – double or triple cream. This is definitely one of my go to indulgence foods, creamy goodness. I craved this so much while pregnant and actually requested some in hospital after I had given birth. Perfect with crackers or melted on a toasted sandwich.
  8. Full cream milk – a staple. Our whole family drinks full cream milk, my daughter needs to have the full fat rather than a reduced fat due to her age, but my husband and I choose it as it is richer and fuller flavoured. Plus has slightly more fat soluble vitamins (A and D) than reduced fat milk.
  9. Coffee – where would I be without coffee. I really do love it, and yes I do have it in my house :). I do prefer fresh but also drink instant for the convenience and cost factor.
  10. Chia seeds – these little seeds are so handy to through on things, or even make a pudding out of. Great for the kids as well. I toss them on to cereal, yoghurt, into baked goods and even use to thicken and bulk up smoothies.

I hope this list shows you that I do eat regular foods. On reflection I guess I do tend to eat less processed foods as I simply enjoy the taste and feeling I get from eating them.  When I do indulge I make sure it’s on something worthwhile and full of flavour.

Happy weekend all! 

Thanks for stopping by, Madeleine (THG).

Topical Nutrition

Health claims on baby packaged foods

(Example of a packaged baby food)

Packaged food is always going to be at risk of misleading health claims, with the overuse of persuasive terminology frequently employed to promote a product.

So called ‘baby’ products are not immune. Just like packaged foods marketed at adults, these processed foods will have almost anything on the packet to entice a sleep deprived parent.

Here is my top tip for finding out what is actually in the packaged baby food you are buying.


The Ingredient List

Ingredients are always listed in descending order by weight, so this will give you a fair idea of the % of ingredients in a product. By law, if an ingredient is in the title, the % must be shown. You might be surprised that (for example) a Berry Banana Fruit product has in fact only 1.5% berries, 3% bananas and the rest might actually be apple! So it pays to take note of not only the ingredients, but the amount of each.

If sugar is one of the first three ingredients, you are safe to assume that it isn’t the most nutritious option.

For more information on what infants and children should be eating, book in a consult with me today. 

You can also visit Eat For Health which outlines serve sizes and food groups to be aiming for. 

Thanks for stopping by, Madeleine (THG).