International No Diet Day

Nutritionist Steph Wearne explains the easiest way to get the right balance of food groups without having to consider the extreme diets that are prevalent today. It's as simple as asking yourself two questions every time you consider eating a food...

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Health Star Rating System gets Zero Stars from Nutritionist

By Nutritionist Steph Wearne

Next time you visit the supermarket you may notice a number of stars jumping out at you on the bottom of packages. May I introduce you to the newest marketing campaign to persuade you to buy processed nutrient poor food. This Health Star Rating System (HSR) has been developed by the Federal Government to add even more confusion to the already dreaded chore of grocery shopping.

The HSR system is supposed to help you choose the healthier products by allocating a star rating to a product from a measly half a star to a 'nutritious' five stars. The amount of stars depends on the type of food, it's calories, and then also considers what they have deemed risk nutrients (saturated fats, sugars and sodium) and positive nutrients (protein, fibre and proportion of fruits/vegetables/legumes/nuts) per 100g or 100ml.

I am outraged at the release of this system which will by no means result in consumers having more knowledge about which foods are most nutritious. Firstly let's look at the 'risk nutrients'. Emerging modern day research is now showing that saturated fats may not be the enemy and in fact are not associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but can actually be beneficial (1,2,3). Take coconut oil for example, which is 94% saturated fat, but the system does not take into account that 50% of that fat is medium chain triglycerides which are thought to be metabolized differently providing more energy and anti-microbial effects (4,5,6). On the Star System any products using coconut oil would have a low rating because of the 'risky' saturated fat. The fats that should be considered risky are trans fats yet these do not come into the equation at all with refined margarine rating at 3.5 stars, the same as olive oil!

What is even more outrageous is that additives and preservatives are completely ignored with this new system. Sanatorium are raving that their new reduced sugar Up & Go is five stars, however would you buy this for your kids knowing these were some of the ingredients:  wheat maltodextrin, soy protein, cane sugar, vegetable oils (sunflower, canola), flavours, inulin, hi-maize™ starch, food acid (332), vegetable gums (460, 466, 407), stabiliser (452), salt? I sure hope not!

Furthermore, the system can reward products that have travelled a million miles and gone through 10 or more refining processes before reaching the supermarket shelves. As a Nutritionist that advocates local, natural whole foods this is simply deplorable.

When we look at the 'positive' nutrients, of course it is great that products high in protein, fibre vegetables, fruit, nuts and legumes result in more stars, but what about the commonly deficient omega-3 fatty acids, B or D vitamins and minor minerals? Products are being promoted as nutritious yet the full nutritional value is not accounted for. Water crackers are likely to rate high because they have no 'risk' nutrients and are low in calories, yet they are made of refined wheat flour, palm oil, salt and a raising agent, resulting in negligible nutrition value.

My final criticism is that the star Rating System is voluntary. If my product didn't rate above 3 stars then of course I am not going to disclose this to the public. It will be taken on board by large scale manufacturers that can afford the expense of calculating the stars for their products with smaller companies products being overlooked even though they might be 5 stars with no preservatives and additives.

In my opinion, if it has a packet or package to print any number of stars on it should not be a regular item in your shopping bag in the first place! Forget the stars that are essentially trying to con you that after being refined and processed these products can still be 'healthy'. Choose foods that have come straight from the plant, animal or earth where no calculations are needed to prove it's nutritional value.

 References :

1. P.Siri-Tarino, Q.Sun, FB Hu, R. Krauss, Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease, American Society for Nutrition, 2010.  

2. A.Astrup, Yoghurt and dairy product consumption to prevent cardiometabolic disease: epidemiologic and experimental studies, American Society for Nutrition, 2014.

3. L. Schwingsshackl, G. Hoffmann, Dietary fatty acids in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease: a systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression, BMJ, 2014

4. T. Matsuo, M Matsuo,N Taguchi, H Takeuchi, The thermic effect is greater for structured medium- and long-chain triaclyglycerols versus long-chain triacylglycerols in healthy young women, Metabolism, 2001

5. MP St Onge, C Bourque, PJ Jones, R Ross, WE Parsons, Medium versus long chain triglycerides for 27 days increases fat oxidation and energy expenditure without resulting in changes in body composition in overweight women. International  Journal Obesity Related Metabolism Disorders, 2003

6. M takahashi, S Inoue, K Hayama, K Ninomiya, S Abe, Inhibition of Candida myselia growth by a medium chain fatty acids, capric acid in vitro and its therapeutic efficacy in murine oral candidiasis, Med Mycol J, 2012.   


5 "Healthy" habits that are holding you back!

By Nutritionist Steph Wearne

A large part of what I do is help people lose weight. Majority of these people come to see me and say they ARE eating healthy but just aren't getting results. As soon as I hear this I know exactly what's going on. Their perception of healthy is a bit different to a Nutritionists definition of healthy. These days we hear so many claims about what is healthy and what isn't I can't imagine what a mind game this is for most people. However what I have found is there are 5 main habits that are constantly considered healthy by my clients, but the truth is these habits are only holding them back. Yes we can indulge sometimes (this is what we call 80/20) but if you're serious about losing weight, it's time to ditch these 5 habits.

1. Forgetting the moderation rule -  even if it is healthy!

Unfortunately that old rule of moderation can't be ignored! Foods like nuts, seeds, avocado and coconut oil are fantastic in terms of nutrient density and are definitely foods I encourage my clients to eat. However not when you're adding almonds, flaxseeds, coconut oil and avocado to your breakfast, lunch and dinner and then snacking on cashews and protein balls in between.  Keep these foods in moderation and you will get enough of the essential nutrients without overdoing it on the energy front.

2. Eating well during the week, and then slipping up on the weekend.

Let's be honest, when does your weekend start? Friday after work for drinks? Friday lunch time? Or even Thursday night because it's pretty much the weekend right? Well let's do some math then...Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, maybe Thursday you eat healthy...Friday Saturday and Sunday you don't. It's going to be a looooong journey to weight loss if this is the rate your going! Consistency is the key. One of the first challenges I get my clients to work on is weekends, if you can get those two days in check the results won't be far away!

3. Allowing yourself to indulge because you've exercised.

I can't tell you how often people have the mindset that exercise is an excuse for a nutrient poor food choice. You cannot lose weight if you don't address your food intake, no matter how much exercise you do. Period! Consider exercise as a way to shape your body, improve your fitness and cardiovascular risk factors and reduce stress,...but it is not the be all and end all of weight loss if you can commit to changing your diet and it certainly doesn't give you a free pass to that coffee and muffin on your way home from the gym!   

 4. Skipping a meal to cheat the system.

Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to cheat the system? Well trust me if there was I'd tell you about it! Skipping a meal does not mean less calories for the day and subsequently weight loss. It messes with your blood sugar levels, your energy, your nutrient intake, and causes cravings. In most instances if people have skipped a meal they tend to overeat at the next meal anyway. It's also likely that the next meal isn't your healthiest choice because by that stage your blood sugar levels are low and you are lacking energy so you are craving sugar or refined carbohydrates. So don't fool yourself, eat regular meals that leave you feeling satisfied but not full.

5. Choosing a wrap or sushi when you're on the run and haven't planned a healthy meal.

These are the two most common options people tend to go for when on the run and clients always say to me 'they're not that bad are they? Well besides the fact that you can never be sure of exactly what is in your wrap or sushi roll, yes, they're not as bad as a burger and fries. However they're also nowhere near as good as a hearty, wholefood meal made from home. Don't settle for second best if it's not something you would eat at home. Be prepared with your meals and snacks and stop convincing yourself that these 'healthy' options on the run are okay. I bet they wouldn't be showing up in your Nutritionists food diary!


If you think your eating could do with some help from Steph, Linked is running their next Nutrition Program (Beach Bods) starting on 10th November. It is a four week clean eating program with delicious whole food recipes to get you feeling great before Summer. Click here for more details.


A day in the life of Steph and Jack! - food and exercise


6:10am Wake

I try not to snooze as it can interrupt your sleep cycle but on the odd occasion will get that extra 9 minutes if I feel like I need it.

6:45am Elixir

This is my morning detoxer and digestive kick starter which is usually lemon juice/apple cider vinegar and warm water but depending how I feel it can also include coconut oil, turmeric, ginger, manuka honey or garlic.

7:00am Workout

I train 5-6 times a week and my routine includes 2 x runs (1 interval, 1 hills/stairs), 2 x strength sessions (1 heavy, 1 light), and 1 boxing/mixed cardio session. I also try and balance this out with more restorative exercise including 2-3 yoga sessions and 1 reformer pilates class per week.   

8:00am Yoga

Either a group class or I use The Yoga Studio App.

8:30am Dry skin brush

Dry skin brushing is fantastic for your skin. It removes dead layers of skin, increases blood circulation and rejuvenates your cells to create smooth clear skin. Rub a dry brush over your skin in a circular motion working from your feet to your neck (I use an exfoliant cream for my face) and it is best done before showering and then afterwards apply a natural oil or moisturiser.

8:45am Breakfast

My favourite meal of the day. I try and pack in as many nutrients as I can at all of my meals but breakfast in particular as it will fuel you for the rest of day and gets your metabolism into gear. Most days of the week I will have a green smoothie. My current favourite is ½ frozen banana, 2 leaves kale, handful of spinach, ½ cucumber, wheatgrass, vanilla pea protein powder, flax seeds, almond milk and coconut water. Otherwise it might be buckwheat granola, fresh berries with yoghurt, nuts and seeds, quinoa porridge or poached eggs on a weekend.

10:30am Snack

 Although I am not always hungry at this time I make sure I have a snack to maintain my blood sugar levels and ensure I don’t get too hungry before lunch. My snack is usually a piece of fruit, handful of nuts or my favourite: 2 dates stuffed with a brazil nut.

1:00pm Lunch

I love going to my fridge at lunch time and seeing what I can create! Often it is leftovers combined with some fresh veggies or a big super salad with plenty off veggies, quinoa and some protein. One important thing for me at lunchtime is that I remove myself from all distractions so I can eat mindfully, absorb my food better and know when I have eaten enough.

1:45pm Body Work

Before going back to work I will do 15 minutes on the foam roller/massage balls and stretching.  If I am really stressed I will try some meditation.

4:00pm Snack:

This could be a small smoothie, piece of fruit, boiled egg, veggie sticks and homemade dip or rice cakes with avocado/nut butter

6:30pm Dinner

Dinner always sticks to the rule 1/2 plate veggies (mostly green), ¼ wholegrain/complex carbs and ¼ lean or plant protein. I experiment a lot with recipes but some regulars are crispy skin salmon with sweet potato chips and raw slaw, Dijon lamb salad with green beans and asparagus, miso chicken with soba noodles and seaweed salad and falafels in lettuce cups with tahini yoghurt dressing.

8:00pm Snack

I allow myself 3 nights a week to snack after dinner but I have been known to let that rule slip every now and again. My snack is usually always 2 pieces of dark chocolate (I make my own so I know it’s good for me J or on the weekend I might make a healthy dessert such as sweet potato brownie’s, coconut cookies or my specialty cinnamon granola with homemade ice-cream.

10:00pm Relax and Sleep

I am very fond of a relaxing bath and a chapter of my book before bed but I will always ensure I am heading off to sleep by 10:00pm.



5:30am Wake

Make sure my singlet isn’t inside out!

8:00am Breakfast

I’m always serving myself a very large breakfast because I don’t get much time to snack between breakfast and lunch so I need something that is going to sustain me until then. Every morning I have a very large bowl with 1 Banana, 1 apple, pineapple, handful of blueberries, 2 cups of homemade Muesli, ½ cup of natural yoghurt. Occasionally when I have the time I will treat myself to 2 poached eggs, smoked salmon, avocado and mushrooms at the local cafes.

11:00am Workout

Depends on the day. From Monday – Friday I will do some sort of strength routine at a moderate intensity everyday and generally will run 2-3 times per week. Ranging from longer easy runs to shortened interval sessions eg. stairs or track work.

I can’t go more than one day without a workout but I am smart about what area of the body I’m working because the body needs to recover to get stronger.

12:30pm Lunch

Another large meal which could be 2 or 3 turkey and salad wraps, Sushi & sashimi day (Wednesday), Chicken Salad, Egg salad or toasted salad rolls. Steph has taught me well so I always try to portion these meals using predominantly Vegies ½, proteins ¼ and then carbohydrates ¼.

3:00pm Workout

Either run/rower/weights or rest depending on what I have done in the morning or the previous day.

5:00pm Snack

Banana/apple and protein drink.

8:45pm Dinner

I always eat fairly late and again I’m very hungry by this stage but I do have good self control to not over eat and try to fill up on vegies rather than simple carbohydrates. Some of my favourite meals are bean burritos, chicken burgers, crispy skin salmon and fish tacos. Very rarely I will have a piece of dark chocolate with almonds and when I want a not so healthy dessert – almond magnum!

10:00pm Sleep

Head hits the pillow and I’m out.

Nutrition Seminar - The Healthiest Choice

We are running a free seminar for the Bayside Community.  Our Nutritionist Steph Wearne will explain why some foods thought to be healthy (think yoghurt, milk, bread, wraps, cereals, noodles, oil etc) may not be as healthy as you think. 

Walk away knowing which brands and products have the best nutritional value for you and your family and which marketing scams to be aware of.

When: March 11th 7:30pm.

Where: Sacred Heart Parish School, Sandringham

Cost: We are asking for a gold coin donation on the night to help fund the schools veggie patch project.

RSVP: or call Steph 0439619201

Week 4 NYNY Competition

This week NYNY participants have the chance to win a Stand Up Paddle Boarding Lesson for 2 people at Sandy Beach HQ! Just comment on this post which have been your favourite recipe/s of the program so far and why and you'll go in the draw to win!

NYNY Week One Competition!

The competition for week one involves the participants of our NYNY Program getting creative in the kitchen! 

They need to to create their own recipe then send in the title of the recipe, a picture and an ingredients list and we will judge each meal out of a score of 15. (5 = Originality, 5 = food group inclusion, 5 = flavour combinations).

The judges will be Steph (Nutritionist), Jack (Trainer and Foodie), Smiley Sam  - Sam Newton (from My Kitchen Rules series 4), and Nellie Kerrison (owner of Relish Mama Cooking School). 

Time to get your creative caps on... :)

To find out more about our nutrition programs click here

New Year, New You - 2014!

How many times have you said this is going to be my year to get fit and healthy? Make it happen in 2014 with our New Year, New You Program. 

Six weeks of delicious healthy meals all planned out for you so you never have to think about what to cook! Family friendly and suited to any type of goals (weight loss, gaining muscle mass, improving energy, improving sleep), learn how to eat healthy and actually enjoy it!

Combine with a Linked training membership and receive the program for half price!

Click here to receive more information!

Article - The Costs of Coffee

Visit our Nutrition Philosophy page to check out our latest article on the costs of coffee. You will be amazed what just two coffees per day can do to your body!