My Health For Life Program at Stafford

I’m excited to announce that I will be facilitating a My Health for Life Program at Minds4Health in Stafford starting on Friday 5th October.

The My Health for Life Program is a free program for people over 45 that are at risk of developing a chronic health disease and would like to make lifestyle changes to live healthier and reduce their risk.

The (mainly) group program provides support to participants while they decide and start making lifestyle changes that they want to make. Many participants find the group program very supportive. Support people are welcome and encouraged to come to the program.

The program consists of one individual consultation with the facilitator and 5 group sessions over 6 months.

If you would like to be eating healthier, moving more, coping better, smoking less or not at all, drinking alcohol moderately or losing weight this program might be for you.

The program is funded by Queensland Health and there is a quick survey that can be done over the phone with Cathie to see if you are eligible.

Cathie Lowe is a My Health for Life Facilitator and an Accredited Practising Dietitian. If you would like to know more about the program and eligibility please contact Cathie directly on 0409628551 or or for general information call My Health For Life on 137475.

Tradie Tucker Tips – Keep it Simple

Jamie and Mark Witte (MJ Witte Builder) are brothers (and my cousins) and both are chippies and builders.  When I heard it was Tradie Health Month I thought of them as I know they eat and enjoy healthy lunches.

‘Nothing special gets done here’ was Mark’s comment and he keeps healthy eating simple by taking leftovers or meat and salad or sandwiches and fruit.  Jamie said one of his favourite lunches was a salad including lettuce, grated carrot, cheese, boiled egg, tin of tuna with mayo or salad dressing.

Mark packs fruit and nut mix or several pieces of fruit for his snacks. He keeps it simple while getting plenty of energy to get him through the day.

In following the KISS principles of these tradies they are following basic healthy eating principles of picking a mix of foods for health and energy:

  • Protein – leftover lean meat or chicken, canned tuna or salmon, hard boiled egg, cheese, 3 bean mix, baked beans, nuts (occasionally salami or ham)
  • Energy – fruit, dried fruit, canned fruit, bread, bread rolls, wraps, crackers, leftover rice or rice cups, leftover pasta
  • Vegies – lettuce, spinach leaves, carrot, tomato, cucumber, celery, corn, radish, leftover roasted pumpkin or sweet potato, beetroot, or leftover stir fry vegetables
  • Plus Flavour – herbs, spices, salad dressing, sprinkle of nuts or seeds

Looking forward to hearing other Tradie Tips on healthy eating while on the tools.

“I’m sick of my bloating, abdo pain and diarrhoea. What foods can help me fix this?”

I do a lot of work with clients that have tummy and bowel problems and wanted to share 4 tips for someone thinking about seeing if foods upset them.

Common symptoms that clients report are diarrhoea and urgency to go (knowing where all the toilets are at shopping centres), abdominal pain, bloating (that can feel like you are pregnant), some people experience constipation or alternating diarrhoea and constipation.  None of these symptoms are pleasant on a day to day basis!



Tip 1.

Go to your Doctor (and they may refer you on to a Gastroenterologist) to make sure there isn’t any medical reason for your symptoms.

It’s much easier to experiment with food changes after you’ve had all the tests. For example, if you cut out wheat before having investigations for coeliac disease you could potentially prevent a diagnosis and put up with symptoms for years.

If I haven’t talked you into going to the doctor yet, here are some stats. One in 100 Aussies have Coeliac disease, 1 in 250 has Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis, Endometriosis can mimic irritable bowel symptoms and occurs in 1 in 10 women.

Tip 2.

Start keeping a food, exercise, stress and symptom diary.

Yes this could take 15 minutes out of your day BUT it helps to see if there are any patterns. You can see how often your symptoms are happening, notice if stressful days have an impact, notice if severity of symptoms change.  Food is harder to track as the transit time from food going in your mouth to coming out the other end (sorry no polite way of talking about this) could be up to 48 hours.  Dietitians however, would look at the diary and see trends in fibre consumption, fibre type, hydration levels, caffeine consumption, fat content of meals, FODMAP content (more on this later) of the diet, salicylate and amine content of foods you usually eat and it helps us make some decisions on what food strategies to try first.

Tip 3

Come in and see an Accredited Practising Dietitian if you want to explore food options. Yes I am a Dietitian so of course I’m going to say this!

Research on low fodmap diets have shown that up to 50 – 76% of people have improvements of symptoms.  Dietitians trained in this area can help. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharide, disaccharide, monosaccharide and polyols so you can see why we shorten the name.

When experimenting to see if there are food triggers, I will remove foods for 2-4 weeks to see if symptoms improve. As soon as you start excluding foods, there is a risk of making your dietary choices low in vitamins and minerals. A dietitian will reduce the risks by suggesting other nutrient dense foods to eat during the experimental phase.

If you get an improvement on the experimental diet, I will then get you to do some food challenges to find out what foods trigger your symptoms. You are not meant to be on a restricted range of foods forever.

Experimenting with fodmap foods is often the first strategy trialled but other options include trial of probiotics, experimenting with soluble and insoluble fibre intake, looking for possible food intolerance to salicylates and amines (15-71% response), and looking at fat and caffeine consumption and hydration especially in athletes with symptoms.

Tip 4

Only use Australian resources if you research FODMAPs

The simplest way I can explain these foods is that they have fermentable sugars or starches that don’t fully get digested in the small intestine and can cause wind, bloating, diarrhoea and abdominal pain as the bacteria in our large intestine use them and make gas.

If researching FODMAP foods, use the Monash University booklet or mobile app. I have had clients bring in FODMAP apps from Sweden and America and the food supply is completely different and the apps will just add to confusion with conflicting information.

Recent research on FODMAPs and endometriosis

Recent research has found an overlap between endometriosis and fodmap foods. This is another reason for women to have a thorough medical check before coming in to see a Dietitian, but also gives hope that there are some dietary strategies that can be used for endometriosis.

To summarise, if you have these symptoms and your doctor has excluded medical causes, experimentation with foods (with a Dietitian) can reduce your symptoms and identify the triggers.


For consultations at the clinics click the Contact Us page.

If you would like a consultation via Skype please contact me on

Further reading

Magge S, Lembo A. Gastroenterol Hepatol 2012 Nov 8(11): 739-745 Low-FODMAP Diet for Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Regards, Cathie Lowe


Happy Easter and Clinic Sessions


Wishing you all a safe, happy and mindful Easter break. Whatever Easter foods you enjoy – hot cross buns, chocolate, fish and chips – I hope you can savour every mouthful for it’s taste, smell and texture without being hassled by guilty thoughts.

Clinics scheduled for the next 2 weeks:

Wednesday 23 March

Caboolture morning session    Ph 3036 5205

Chermside afternoon session  Ph 3350 2622

Tuesday 29 March

Redcliffe morning session       Ph 3284 8155

Caboolture afternoon session Ph 3036 5205

Wednesday 30 March

Narangba afternoon session   Ph 3886 9470

All the best from Cathie Lowe and Cathy Purcell and our super admin Tracey.

Clinics for January

Happy New Year to everyone.

I hope that if you have been thinking about making eating or exercise changes that you have been thinking of small goals that you can achieve so that you are setting yourself up for success rather than failure.

Clinic availability for the next few weeks:

Narangba clinic    Wednesday afternoon    6 January  ph 3888 9470

Aspley clinic         Monday morning          11 January  ph 3862 9223

Redcliffe clinic      Tuesday afternoon       12 January  ph 3284 8155

Caboolture clinic  Wednesday morning    13 January  ph  3036 5205 or 0409 628 551

Chermside clinic  Wednesday afternoon  14 January  ph 3350 2622

Best wishes,  Cathie Lowe.


Final Clinic before Christmas

Well Christmas is screaming up upon me.  I have my food plans organised but still need to get some Christmas presents… Hope you are more organised.

If you need an appointment this week the only clinic is Arana Hills 3351 5888 on Monday afternoon.  There are still appointments available after 3pm if you need to see a Dietitian.

If you have an urgent referral please call me directly on the mobile: 0409 628 551.

With the festive season upon us, please find a link below to a youtube meditation on mindful eating to try.  Regards,  Cathie Lowe.

Appointment availability week starting 7th December

Hi Everyone,

Seems like people are keen to have appointments before Christmas….

This week there are limited appointments available at:

Aspley         Mon 7th December morning    ph 3862 9223

Arana Hills  Mon 7th December afternoon  ph 3351 5888

Redcliffe     Tues 8th December 10.20am  ph  3284 8155

Caboolture Tues 8th December 3.20pm     ph 5431 4312

Narangba    Wed 9th December 3pm         ph 3886 9470

Hope that helps.  Regards,  Cathie Lowe.

It’s National Nutrition Week – Try for 5 Challenge

Happy Monday Everyone,

canstockphoto0184679It’s feeling like summer in Queensland which is when I start looking for salads.  Which is one way of boosting vegetables if you aren’t getting your 5 vegetables a day.  Have a look at the link below for recipe ideas for vegetables.

The Asparagus Crumbed with Parmesan on Bocconcini Salad is a different way to eat asparagus which is in season now.  The Rice Paper Rolls are a great way to boost vegetables and these could be used at a party with the dipping sauce for a different snack. Continuing on with the Asian influence the Asian Salad with Snow Peas and Cashews is a refreshing crunchy salad.

And finally a link to a website to help get ideas for how to encourage children to eat more vegetables….

Hope you take on the 5 Vegetable a Day challenge this week.

Regards Cathie.

Sleep is Really, Really Important!

canstockphoto15729484In a new journal article Alyssa Lundahl and Timothy Nelson look at how poor sleep quality and quantity affect the human drive to eat.

The take home message is if you don’t sleep well – try to get help as is has a big impact on your food choices in many ways.

Biologically, researchers have found that disrupted sleep can lead to a 20% increase in the amount of calories people eat and that portion sizes are bigger.  It appears that 2 hormones control most of this higher drive for food.  Lower levels of Leptin (tells our brain we how  satisfied we are with what we’ve eating) are found in stressed adults with disrupted sleep and higher levels of Grehlin (tells our brain we are hungry) occur.  This makes people look for more foods that are sweet, salty or starchy.  Researchers have found other hormones also are changed with poor sleep including cortisol, insulin, glucocorticoids and these also make us change our food choices.

If we don’t sleep well, our ability to think is reduced in several ways and can lead to adults and children eating more foods and for children looking for higher calorie snacks.  Poor sleep affects a part of the brain that helps us with goal directed behaviours and being able to moderate our impulses and emotions.  So it is harder to talk yourself into doing healthy goals like going for a walk, eating more vegetables and harder to say no to tempting higher calorie foods.  Another part of our brain is disturbed with poor sleep, making the brain want more rewards to pleasurable stimuli – so we want that pleasurable sensation from tasting of sweet or  fatty foods more than usual.

Poor sleep affects our emotions.  You are more likely to notice negative events and negative emotions and be emotionally distressed when you have slept poorly. I don’t think it would be a surprise to many people that when feeling negative emotions, adults and children tend to eat more foods. The changes in eating patterns are eating less fruit, vegetables and breakfast cereals and eating  more sugary or high fat foods.

The way humans behave is changed when sleep quality or quantity is poor.  Adults and children are more likely to behave impulsively and plan less when they are tired. So when you are tired it is harder to resist tempting foods if you have an impulsive personality and you will tend to eat more food then you may have wanted or planned to.

So if you are trying to make healthy eating or lifestyle changes, try to get enough undisturbed sleep so that you won’t have extra hormonal, thinking, behavioural and emotional challenges.

Regards and best wishes from sunny Brisbane,  Cathie Lowe Accredited Practising Dietitian

Journal Referance:

Alyssa Lundahl and Timothy D Nelson

Journal of Health Psychology June 2015 Vol 20 6 794-805