Feed Your Brain – Part Three

Written by bridget on . Posted in Food and Health Education

(First featured on Onya Mag)

Are you ready for more ideas on how to Feed Your Brain?

Here we are for Part 3 of this series.

You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here and I’m sure you will be noticing changes if you have been implementing the tips?

Enjoy the third instalment! Email any questions, or feedback to bridget@newleafnutrition.com.au or comment below :)


3) Essential amino acids –

Amino acids are basically the building blocks of proteins.

Essential amino acids are ones that cannot be made in our bodies and so must be obtained from the foods that we eat.

Furthermore, neurotransmitters are made from essential amino acids, therefore without an adequate dietary supply, the communication system in our brain quite literally breaks down.

One of the most highly studied essential amino acids in this area is tryptophan, as it is vital for the production of the more well known neurotransmitter, serotonin.

Serotonin helps the body regulate appetite, sleep patterns and mood, therefore getting enough tryptophan in your diet is highly important, especially for conditions such as insomnia, depression and anxiety.

Low serotonin can also be a factor in tension, irritability, PMS symptoms, and aggressive behaviour.

As with all nutrients, tryptophan works synergistically with other nutrients including vitamin B6, vitamin C, folic acid and magnesium. For this reason, it is best to obtain tryptophan from food sources, as opposed to supplements, as food sources will typically also contain the other nutrients vital for its proper functioning.

Tryptophan is found in plentiful supply in foods such as seafood, chicken, turkey, red meat, soy beans and tofu.

Green vegies also supply a good amount, however, on average there is 5 times as much in the aforementioned sources.

To boost your brain power, as well as enjoy more regulated sleep patterns, moods and sense of calm, try turkey, cranberry and salad rolls or wraps for convenient work lunches; seared tuna steaks and greens for a happy dinner; or perhaps fresh soy beans (“edamame”) or prawns as yummy afternoon snacks.

You can also make amazing curries based on lamb, chicken, beef, seafood or even tofu, including loads of vegies to create winning combinations. Have fun experimenting.

For purely vegan sources of the magical tryptophan, go for beans (soy, lima, black, red kidney, pinto, lentils, dried peas); nuts and seeds (almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, peanut butter, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, tahini); and wheatgerm. Easy!

At the moment, I am LOVING sprouted dried peas and lentils, flaked almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds as yummy additions to my ripper raw vegie salads. I also make a morning ritual out of cashews and walnuts.

This week reflect on and re-work your weekly menu to include daily sources of tryptophan.

You are guaranteed to feel and function 100% better when you are getting adequate amounts. With a little preparation and forethought, imagine how much more smoothly life could run?

Low moods are no fun for anyone. Kiss them goodbye with a loving, daily dose of some of the ideas suggested here.

I’m sure you too will come up with loads of other ideas and, of course, I’d love to hear them. Please send them through or comment below!

Until next time, to your happier self,


Food Body Lifestyle Guru
Writer, Speaker, Consultant

Founder of The You Method 

You can read client feedback and success stories on my Facebook Page and website

Make sure you’re on my list to get a FREE mini cookbook and VIP secrets I share only with my list! Click the box below :)  



Not Quite Top Deck

Written by bridget on . Posted in Ravishing Recipes


I just LOVE sharing healthy, delicious and nutritious treats with you all :)

One of my GOLDEN RULES is that when we embark upon healthy lifestyle change, it MUST be enjoyable!!

If we DO NOT enjoy the journey, we are unlikely to enjoy the destination! 

Lucky we have clever and creative people like Bianca from Whole Food Simply

We need NEVER go without all our most INDULGENT favourites :)

Im not actually much of a chocolate person myself, however as a kid I LOVED Top Deck and white chocolate :)

You can eat this version of a favourite with the satisfaction that it is LOADED with good fats, protein fibre, anti-oxidants and the oh so good for you mineral- magnesium, just to name a few things! :)  

Enjoy this beauty and be sure to let me know your thoughts and any variations you create! :) I also LOVE receiving piccies of your yummy creations!

Email bridget@newleafnutrition.com.au

Without further ado, over to the lovely Bianca :)

Not Quite Top Deck

the vanilla

1 cup cashews
3 tablespoons coconut cream
2 tablespoons honey*
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

the chocolate

100 grams 90% dark chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons honey*
1 tablespoon cashew butter

Method - 

Place the cashews into a bowl and cover with water while you gather your ingredients and line your tin.

I used a 20=cm square tin lined with baking paper over the sides for easy removal.

You can also use a silicon loaf tin or mini silicon muffin moulds.

Strain the cashews and place them into your processor.

Blend until they are forming a paste.

Add the remaining ingredients and blend until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the mixture into your prepared tin, level it out and place it into the freezer.

To make the chocolate mix the ingredients together until smooth and well combined.

Pour the mixture over your vanilla layer and return to the freezer to set.

Once set, slice, serve, eat and enjoy!

*you can use rice malt syrup if you prefer.


There you go guys! :)

NOTHING is off limits if you use your imagination, or research skills :) Pinterest, Instagram and Google are wonderful side-kicks when you’re looking for inspiration, ideas and insights :)

Of course too, you always have newleafnutrition.com.au as a reliable go to! ;)

Until next time, enjoy and LOTSA LOVE!



Mind, Body, Soul Wellness

Dietitian~Counsellor~Eating Psychology Coach


Founder of The You Method 

You can read client feedback and success stories on my Facebook Page and website

Make sure you’re on my list to get a FREE cookbook and the VIP secrets I share! Click the box below :)  



Feed Your Brain – Part Two

Written by bridget on . Posted in Food and Health Education

(First featured on Onya-Mag Website)

Welcome back to our series, Feed Your Brain. I bet you are feeling better simply from following the tips from Part 1 ??

Here I continue to explore more of the essential nutrients that contribute to an optimally healthy brain, thus, healthy MIND…



2) Essential Fats –

Without doubt the most important type of fat to the brain, and thus mind, are Omega 3 fatty acids.

As a dietitian knowing this, it is really concerning for me to consider just HOW many people I see that are NOT getting in their minimal requirement of this essential nutrient, especially children.

Available in their most bio-available form from fatty fish, Omega 3’s are one of the most deficient nutrients in today’s diet, significantly impacting our mental health as a society.

For an adequate intake, it is recommended that we eat at least 140g of fatty fish per week.

This is incredibly easy if we look at the opportunities available at breakfast, lunch AND dinner.

Sardines on toast are a delicious start to the day (and also provide one of the highest doses of calcium per serve); tinned mackerel on a salad or veggies is a satisfying (and QUICK!) lunch and grilled salmon, sweet potato wedges and vegies is a lip-smacking dinner!

Lots of people initially come to me claiming their absolute distaste of fish – even to the point of gagging at the mere thought. However, with time and coaxing that we essentially “train our tastebuds”, these once avid fish-haters, become self-professing fish lovers.

Check out two of my (and my clients!) FAVOURITE fish recipes that end up converting many  ”fish-haters”:

Salmon and Broccoli Filos and Orange Glazed Salmon

But, what if, you are VEGAN and, or, more environmentally aware and thus concerned at the sustainability of this animal source of Omega 3 fatty acids?

This is a dilemma and challenge I have encountered of late. Without going into all the nitty-gritty detail, let me summarise here the low down on how to get your EFA’s without eating “Food with Faces” (as my Vegan friends term it).

As I mentioned earlier, animal sources of omega 3’s are generally thought to be much more effective in providing our bodies and brains with ideal levels of these fats, than plant sources. This is because plants contain the short-chain version of these fatty acids, which require conversion into long-chain versions.

When we eat animal sources, the conversion is done for us.

Since the conversion process in humans is considered extremely slow and only about 2% of that ingested in is fact converted, there is concern that vegetarians may not get adequate amounts.

Evidence supports that vegetarians and vegans often have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their bodies than meat or fish eaters, however, there is no evidence that vegetarians’ or vegans’ health is in any way affected by these lower levels – in fact, they are widely considered to be healthier than meat eaters.

Clearly, there is a need for more research and as far as I can see, as long as you get plenty of your plant sources of these fats, then there is no need for concern, in fact you may have reason to be extra-stoked with your health!

So where can you get rich, plant sources of Omega 3 fatty acids?

Without doubt, one of the richest vegetarian sources is flaxseed oil.

There are so many ways to enjoy this yummy oil in your daily diet.

Try using it in place of olive oil to make salad dressings (do not cook with it as it is highly volatile and its beneficial fats will be damaged, and can even become damaging to the body when ingested), add it to smoothies, or drizzle over cooked vegies.

Ground flaxseeds are another great source, again highly diverse in use – sprinkle over cereals, add to smoothies, make flax-crackers, etc.

Walnuts are another warrior food in this department. Add to salads, serve with some almonds and cashews for a brilliant arvo snack, use in baking, add to stir-fries. The possibilities are endless.

Some less conventional, yet becoming more popular, vegan sources include hemp seed and algae based supplements (chlorella or spirulina).

You can include a sprinkle of spirulina in vegie juices, or green smoothies, or perhaps make some yummy spirulina balls. A tub I had once suggested taking it in water before meals, and just out of curiosity I tried this for the first time whilst writing this article…interesting. Definitely an acquired taste!

In any case, it is a FANTASTICALLY concentrated source of brain loving Omega 3’s so it’s a great vegan option.

Oh! And we mustn’t forget simple, yet brilliant, leafy greens.

Although in much smaller amounts, they are still an important source of these fats for us all.

Think broccoli, spinach, asian greens, kale, rocket, etc. As many of you will know, I use these delights as the base for my super yummy vegetable salads VERY regularly.

Finely chopped and tossed with other colourful, fresh, raw, steamed, baked, roasted vegies, these are truly divine.

As always the key lies in using our IMAGINATION. Let us be creative!

In summary, this ONE habit of including more Omega 3 fatty acids in our diet, is a simple change that offers magically profound potential to positively affect the way a person thinks, feels and acts.

No matter your choice of sources, simply re-work your weekly plan to include as much as you can.

Give this one habit a go for at least 3 weeks and see what changes you notice.

Get your MasterChef on and take up the INVENTION challenge to see how you can incorporate and disguise these brain-loving morsels into your week.

I would love to hear any great ideas you come up with! Email me on bridget@newleafnutrition.com.au

Yours in health and happiness,


Dietitian and Healthy Lifestylist
Writer, Speaker, Consultant