Archives For Weightloss

Pearl Barley and Vegetable Soup with Shiitake and Kombu stock

Pearl Barley and Vegetable Soup with Shiitake and Kombu stock

This morning I had Pearl Barley soup for breakfast. It’s not a first, in fact whenever I feel like my digestion is particularly sluggish – lately caused by many rich dinners out, with probably a few too many wines – I often will have soup for breakfast.

Soups are naturally easier to digest, and are a great way to get a bunch of healthy seasonal vegetables and herbs in one tasty shot. I’ve made this soup extra nutritious by adding immuno-protective shiitake mushrooms and kombu*. Plus they give the stock added flavour. I always keep them on hand for this reason.

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Cannellini bean smash, avocado, preserved lemon from Milkwood, Melbourne.

Cannellini bean smash, avocado, preserved lemon from Milkwood, Melbourne.

I’m making a stand for breakfasts in 2014. Long ignored and often forgotten as we rush off to work. I want to challenge you right here and now, to make a commitment to eat breakfast every single day of January.

That’s a whole 31 days of breakfasts.

Sounds easy? Reflect back on the past couple of months. How many times have you rushed out the door on an empty stomach, eaten toast in the car, gulped cereal at your desk? I see it far too often than I like in clinic. The people who need to nurture their health the most, presenting with crippling ailments have a history of skipping breakfast.

Eating breakfast is one of the most straight forward actions you can make towards better digestion, more energy, better coping skills, balanced emotions, clearer skin, and losing weight.

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Eat dinner like a pauper

October 22, 2013 — 6 Comments
Green bean, potato, fennel salad with smoked ocean trout and whipped tarragon feta

Green bean, potato, fennel salad with smoked ocean trout and whipped tarragon feta

So the Chinese have this saying – which I wrote in my last post – “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a merchant, and dinner like a pauper.”

Why? Well it’s all in the aim to lose some excess pudge. And if you want to look at it all science-like, there’s a host of biological substances that are regulated by not overeating too late.

Practicing what I preach (which I assure you, I can fall off the wagon sometimes), I wanted something light – and tasty – for dinner. Can’t beat the crunch of fresh fennel and perfectly blanched beans in combination with the soft potatoes and textural smoked fish.

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No denying it is an awkward topic, yet we all know a good poo is satisfying. Don’t squirm. If you were honest, a clean, complete poo is exciting, right? In my family, we get so thrilled by this biological process, we’re inclined to tell each other about our toilet successes. This goes way back, thanks to my health-loving father, perfectly setting me up for a career in Chinese Medicine. To us Chinese Medicine folk, details of your excrement gives clear and concise information about what is happening inside, so in that sense, it’s good to take notes.

One obvious bowel quality is constipation. People who suffer from infrequent motions really know about it. Not only is life in their body a constant uncomfortable, it is hard to loose weight, you’re bloated, have digestive issues, facial pimples and brain fog.

After being prompted by a reader for help, I’ve curated these tips to get you some productive toilet time.

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Moist and light and nutritious

Moist and light and nutritious

I have to start off by apologising. I certainly don’t post enough gluten free here. I was gluten intolerant for a bit – which was harrowing – then I fixed things up by cleaning up my diet and stress levels and loading up on pro-biotics and been fine ever since. I was lucky, I got onto it early.

Despite how much I could eat pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I like to ease the load on my digestive system. When I heard about them, I couldn’t help but to try them myself. I really do love beans.

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Rhubarb, great for pooping

January 31, 2013 — 2 Comments


Pooping is a part of weight loss. If your not pooping, food sits around fermenting, and that gives you gas and bloating. This toxic accumulation will get pushed out into the outlying tissues making you plump up. This is what we know as damp in Chinese Medicine.
We love rhubarb in TCM. We call it Da Huang and use it as a herb to tone up intestines, scraping them clean. It’s a tasty laxitive gentle enough for children. Rhubarb falls under bitter foods category which sometimes this isn’t a litteral taste, more so the effect. These foods reduce excesses such as heat (firey temper, red face, booming loud voice), accumulations (such as the ones you get in bowels) and move blood stasis (which manifests as fixed pain). Because of the strong effect, do not overuse. Anyone who feels cold a lot should use Rhubarb in moderation, for it has a strong cooling effect on the body.

Here I’m enjoying orange blossom stewed rhubarb with my morning porridge.


Up until the age of 25 I thought legumes were leathery little nuggets that made you fart and only came in the form of Heinz baked beans.

What happened at 25 you ask? I met a Vegan that’s what. He was my housemate and the first Vegan I ever knew. He made incredibly tasty, incredibly easy dishes that he’d share with me, and I realised that this country-girl boarderline vegetarian had a big gaping hole in her cooking repertoire.

The trick is, you just have to know what to do with them. Visit this post to discover how to prepare beans so they don’t give you gas and find out just how much personality different beans have.

  1. Bean salad – easy; dress cooked bean of your choice with parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Throw in some diced tomato, diced capsicum (all colours) or roasted diced pumpkin for something a little extra. Let marinate for 10 minutes before serving.
  2. Refried bean tacos
  3. Cannellini or butter bean dip – gently sauté lots of garlic in lots of olive oil with a pinch of salt until caramelised. Whiz up with cooked beans (you can cheat and use good quality organic canned beans) with a stick blender until fluffy.
  4. Cassoulet – my favourite hearty winter fuel. Recipe
  5. Mexican Tortilla soupRecipe
  6. Falafel Wrap – I cheat here. My local Lebanese bakery (A1 Bakery for those in Melbourne) stock the BEST pre-made all natural falafel balls. Just pull out of the freezer and cook.
  7. Miso soup using fermented soybean miso
  8. DahlRecipe
  9. Bean Croquettes
  10. Chinese Steamed Red Bean Bao – filled with aduki beans

Why spend all that time soaking, cooking, then preparing them? Mainly because they’re super nutritious, and secondly because they’re super cheap. Worthy of being known for more than the protein of choice for vegans and vegetarians. Packed with fibre you’ll be pooping like a legend and combined with their damp drying qualities means they’re excellent weight loss staple.


Today I put on my pants – ones that recently I had room to move in – and that uncomfortable tightness enveloped my legs and constricted my waist, making me feel really grumpy. I’ve been noticing a slow but steady weight gain for a few weeks now, and on reviewing what’s different the only thing is protein shakes in the morning. Yep, I’ve been running and cycling, chewing my food and drinking warm water. I cant ignore it anymore, it’s the only thing that has changed in my diet, and it’s making me fat!
I decided to give the whole protein thing a go.

Not really a subscriber to the notion – but it’s good to try these things – after all the masses can’t be wrong, surely? After doing some research, I got onto pea protein isolate, the highest known plant source of protein and easier to digest than animal based proteins.

I just feel dense. Like veganism and vegetarianism, I tried it, I committed, but in the end it kicked my arse. Back to oats in the morning.

Search “breakfasts” for why oats are a good start.


Take this model for example, she’s skinny right? Yet she’s got a bulging lower abdomen, caused by “damp”.

What the heck is damp?

It’s one of the 5 pathologies in TCM often caused by disrupted digestion. Often associated with the plump, you don’t have to be overweight to have damp build up.

Damp accumulates when the digestion isn’t working efficiently and a build up of nutrients and gunk can’t be properly processed and eliminated, so it stagnates. And stagnates. The build up has to go somewhere so the body shovels it over to adipose tissue, starting around the belly, like our model here.

Damp is different to the fat we store for energy, so you can do all the sit ups you like, as long as there’s this digestive problem it’ll be an uphill battle. If you ignore your digestion you will stuggle with weight, battle with the kinds of foods you eat and partake in silly fad diets that aren’t sustainable.

The “about” pages will guide you how to strengthen your digestion.

Super foods can't help you if the body can't process food properly

Super foods can’t help you if the body can’t process food properly

That’s something they won’t teach you about in Nutrition school. Neither in cooking school, yet digestion is what stands between you and eating healthy. Sure, you can have that designer made premium hand harvested micro algae supplement, for all the good it won’t do IF your digestion sucks.

Get your digestion going or this bowl of antioxidants is going to do squat.

So do me a favour. Go to the mirror and poke out your tongue and take a look.

Do you have teeth marks on the side? Is there a centerline crack? Do you have a thick yellow or white tongue coating?

These are just some of the things we look for in TCM tongue diagnosis that indicates a weak middle (digestion), which not only prevents absorption of things like antioxidants, it will lead to weight gain and that pudgy belly you just can’t budge. Trust me, I’ve been there (and come back).

Visit the about pages for my digestion promoting principles that I have applied and still do today.

Look after yourself, Becki x