The #WeDigDietitians series is all about introducing you to our favourite dietitians—and busting a few myths about what they really do (and don’t do) along the way. Today’s Feature Dietitian is SOL nutrition’s Christina Turner.
1. TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
I grew up in the Snowy Mountains of NSW. My parents luckily still live there so of course I am back every year for my fix of snowboarding. I’ve lived in quite a few places since then—Canberra, Sydney, Central Coast of NSW, NZ, UK and lots of travelling adventures around the globe.
I am currently what is officially termed a “gypsy” (ha ha). Up until a few weeks ago I resided in the lovely Byron Bay. My partner Baden and I are now building a house further up the coast and so whilst that project is happening his parents have lovingly given us their “suped up” retiree caravan to live in. At the moment we are in Kingscliff (northern NSW) and are loving the relaxed vibe.
2. WHY DID YOU BECOME A DIETITIAN?
I ask myself that question a lot! I think it probably stemmed from being into sports when I was younger. I loved running and hockey. Becoming interested in nutrition and how it fuels the body for sports probably led me to a profession in that field.
3. What does a typical day in your life look like?
Oh dear. Well, work life/balance not too great at the moment. So my week days are quite long. Up at 5am or 5.30am. Baden is a tradie so not too much chance of sleeping in ;)!!! I try to exercise before work as I find this makes my day go smoothly.
I always ALWAYS have a long breakfast. It gives my brain a chance to get on track for the day, then off to work. My days are quite varied with a mix of running our Byron Bay clinic, our online programs, supervising dietitian students and running a cooking program at our local Aboriginal Health Medical Centre.
At the moment our nights are probably filled with chit chat about our house build and I’m always very excited for dinner time!
Weekends are a bit different. Still some work in there but time at the beach as well. Baden’s son also visits him regularly so that means making sure the pair of them don’t eat me out of house and home when they are surfing, surfing and doing more surfing 😉 😉 Therefore there is usually lots of cooking up a storm on the weekends.
4. CAN YOU SHARE AN AVERAGE ‘DAY ON YOUR PLATE’?
- Breakfast is usually a muesli of some sort plus coffee (always). Might have something cooked on the weekend.
- I tend to take a lot of snacks to work like fruit, my homemade muesli slice, yoghurt, boiled eggs or salmon. I might also have a smoothie at some point in the day
- Lunches can be leftovers or something simple like a sandwich and yoghurt.
- At the moment living the gypsy/caravan life, our dinners are quite simple. Steak, salad and homemade chips seem to be easy, as do one-pot meals and soups.
- I’m into baking and so there would be usually be some sort of baked item after dinner like banana cake or something.
- Oh and I LOVE tea. Have always got a cuppa on the go.
- P.S – I don’t restrict on anything I eat!
5. WHAT’S YOUR DEFINITION OF GOOD HEALTH, AND HOW DO YOU STAY HEALTHY?
Good health to me means a whole lot more than being free from certain diseases or health conditions. It means waking up with a spring in my step, getting enough sleep, feeling happy within myself and being connected with what’s going on around me.
Of course, I have an awareness that keeping my body moving and undertaking some form of exercise most days helps me to be healthy. Being a dietitian and having an awareness of how certain foods fuel and nourish also helps.
I have to say though, I’m a BIG FAN of mindfulness as a way of staying healthy—whether that be mindfulness with food or general mindfulness throughout the day (with my surroundings, my conversations, my thoughts). Although in the scheme of things I am relatively new to mindfulness and meditation, I enjoy it immensely as a way to stay calm, centred and healthy!
6. WHAT’S YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON SOCIETY’S IMPACT ON BODY IMAGE TODAY?
There are so many health professionals out there who could probably put it much more eloquently than me….but I’ll give it a go 🙂
I’d have to say one of the biggest issues I see is the use of social media (particularly Instagram) in promoting a preoccupation with body shapes and inappropriate (often dangerous) means to achieve these—all under the guise of “let’s get healthy”.
There seems to be an underlying movement that women (and that includes young girls as well) must continually strive for some sort of body shape or body type that fits with what society tells us is normal or “ideal”. That bugs me big time.
So it seems it’s OK for us to have different personalities and different favourite colours, but if you don’t eat quinoa for lunch and have a green smoothie for breakfast PLUS have a thigh gap there is something wrong with you.
At the very worst I’d say society plays a role in the development of some eating disorders and at the least I think it has led to generations of women following diets they just can’t sustain (with the guilt and weight cycling effect that follows).
I’d love for us to live in a society where we are free from obesity prevention campaigns, weight-focused health messages and crap dietary advice in magazines and on Instagram. It would also be great if we could see some real size diversity on the catwalk.
OK. Rant over 😉
7. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE BLOGS OR WEBSITES?
There are a ridiculous amount of food and nutrition blogs so I am not sure where to start.
- For nutrition info: Scoop Storehouse is pretty new and run by Dietitian, Emma Stirling. It showcases reputable nutrition blog articles from QUALIFIED Accredited Practising Dietitians and Nutritionists.
- For changing perceptions on how we think about Health and Body Weight I think the HAES (Health At Every Size) blog is great.
- For tasty food inspiration I always go back to SBS food.
8. WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
Pretty simple really:
- Being near the ocean
- Food—preparing and eating with others
- Spending QUALITY time with loved ones (my goal is to make this happen more!)
9. SHAMELESS PLUG TIME: DO YOU HAVE A SERVICE, BOOK OR BLOG YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT?
Shux. Love a good plug 😉 We have a flipping load of helpful nutrition services: face-to-face and Skype consults, a bunch of e-books, e-courses, seminars and retreats! Check out solnutrition.com.au to find out more.
Christina’S high fibre Muesli Slice
This is a muesli slice I have been baking a lot lately. It’s a combo of a bunch of different recipes I’ve found off the internet. Whether you are gluten free, sugar free, fructose free, paleo, ‘blah blah’ free you can just adapt it to suit your needs.
3 cups of rolled oats
2 1/2 cups of shredded coconut
2 cups of of dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, dates and cranberries all work well). Add more nuts & seeds and use less fruit if you don’t like too much sweetness
2 tbls of seeds like LSA mix, chia or sunflower seeds
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 – 1/3 cup of honey, agave or rice syrup. Or if you prefer 2-4 tsp of stevia powder
1/4 cup coconut oil , olive oil or butter
1-2 tbls of hot water
Step 1: Grease and line a baking tray.
Step 2: Beat eggs in a bowl and leave to the side.
Step 3: Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl first (oats, coconut, fruit, seeds and cinnamon).
Step 4: Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl (honey/sweetener, oil & water).
Step 5: Combine all together and then add the eggs. Mix well. If it’s still a bit dry add a little extra oil or hot water.
Step 6: Pour the mix into the baking tray.
Step 7: Bake for about 30 minutes.
Step 8: Once cooked and cooled a little you can cut into small pieces.