An Australian nutritionist and personal trainer who once worked with Angelina Jolie has revealed exactly how to get your body in top physical shape in winter – and how to boost your mental health with food.
Luke Hines, 37, provided training and dietary advice on the set of Angelina’s hit film Unbroken while she was shooting in Australia in 2013, organising meal prepped food and on-set support for her three leading cast members.
The experience left a lasting impression on the Byron Bay resident, particularly when the Hollywood A-lister and philanthropist pulled him aside during a tea break.
Luke Hines (left) , 37, provided training and dietary advice on the set of Angelina’s (right) hit film Unbroken while she was shooting in Australia in 2014
The experience left a lasting impression on the Byron Bay resident, particularly when the Hollywood A-lister and philanthropist pulled him aside during a tea break (Angelina on set)
‘She looked me in the eyes and said, “You know what kind of people I dig? I dig the people who wake up every morning and ask themselves what can I do for somebody else?”‘ Luke told FEMAIL.
‘And that has really inspired me moving forward in my career in that doing good for others is where it’s at.’
With this motto in mind Luke has exclusively revealed how to maintain your physical, mental and emotional health during the colder months.
With this motto in mind Luke has exclusively revealed how to maintain your physical, mental and emotional health during the colder months (pictured in Bondi)
HOW TO APPROACH TRAINING IN WINTER:
It’s no secret that waking up early to workout or visiting the gym when the sun has already gone down takes some adjusting – and a little extra motivation.
But Luke doesn’t advocate for over-committing yourself to a strict weight or group fitness class, instead believing in a ‘constant movement regime’.
‘A morning walk, taking the dog for a run, or simply kicking the footy in the park with the kids, all contributes to vital exercise. The key to doing exercise in winter is finding something you love doing, then you’ll be more likely to stick with it,’ he said.
‘If you live in a colder location, perhaps look into new ways of exercising that are indoors away from the elements. This is the perfect time to try something new.’
Physical fitness, according to Luke, comes down to the three M’s: Meals, Mindset and Moves.
Physical fitness, according to Luke, comes down to the three M’s: Meals, Mindset and Moves
He recommends spending more time in the kitchen to make nutrient-dense meals, eating well 80 per cent of the time, and believing that you can achieve your goals.
‘You can eat all the healthy food in the world and train your heart out, but if you have an unhealthy headspace, you’ll not make much progress long term on changing your health and wellness,’ he said.
‘Adopting positive mindset techniques such as practicing mindfulness using tools like Synctuition can equip you with the mental clarity and headspace to achieve your goals and actually stick to them.’
On top of this winter is the perfect time to clock up your seven or eight hours of sleep a night, which is essential for repairing muscles and reducing irritability.
BANANA AND RASPBERRY COCONUT BREAD:
This recipe is GF, DF, RSF and so, so easy you can make it tonight and focus on all the positives in your world right now.
300g finely desiccated coconut
6 free range eggs
2 large very ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
1/4 cup maple syrup or maple flavoured monk fruit syrup
1 teaspoon fresh vanilla bean
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, plus a few extra to garnish the top.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a bread tin with baking paper.
Either by hand or using a hand held mixer, beat the eggs, maple syrup and vanilla bean for a few minutes until well combined. Now add in the mashed banana and stir to combine.
Fold the desiccated coconut into the wet mixture, then gently fold through the raspberries. Pour the batter into the lined loaf tin and top the batter with extra raspberries and an extra sliced banana if you wish.
Bake at 180C for 35 to 45 mins or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven, allow it to cool and enjoy as is or with your fav toppings.
Luke’s raspberry and coconut bread recipe is a sure-fit hit among his followers
HOW TO BUILD UP YOUR IMMUNITY:
To build up your immunity, particularly during the current global pandemic, it’s important to limit stress, eat a wide range of colourful fruits and vegetables and supplement nutrients that you might be lacking.
‘Get plenty of vitamin D from the sun when it’s out, safely of course, and if in doubt, supplement with vitamin D,’ he said.
‘Dose up on vitamin C from oranges, broccoli, sweet potatoes and green leafy vegetables.
‘Celebrate foods that are high in Vitamin B6. This vitamin is vital to supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system. You can find it in foods such as chicken, cold-water fish like salmon, tuna and green vegetables.’
‘Get plenty of vitamin D from the sun when it’s out, safely of course, and if in doubt, supplement with vitamin D,’ he said
CRISPY SWEET POTATO ROSTI:
FOR THE ROSTI
2 cups grated sweet potato
2 tablespoons sweet potato flour or almond meal
2 free-range eggs or vegan flax eggs
2 tablespoons coconut oil, for frying
Salt to season
FOR THE AVOCADO SMASH
2 avocados, smashed
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Pinch of salt
Fresh limes, to squeeze
Fresh Coriander, roughly torn
Chilli flakes, to garnish (optional)
In a bowl combine the grated sweet potato, sweet potato flour, eggs and salt in a bowl. Use a spoon to mix well to combine until all ingredients are well incorporated.
Melt the coconut oil in a large fry-pan over medium high heat. Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter into the pan per rosti and fry, in batches for 3-4 minutes until firm and golden brown on the first side, then flip and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Once all cooked, set aside and get onto your avocado smash.
In a small bowl combine the smashed avocado, lime juice, olive oil, vinegar and season generously with salt to your liking. Mix well to combine and set aside to serve.
Serve your sweet potato Rosti with generous dollops of the avocado smash, dress with the fresh herbs, sprinkle with chilli flakes, season well with salt and serve alongside fresh lime wedges.
These delicious sweet potato rosti are good for you AND easy to eat
HOW TO HEAL YOUR GUT:
Gut health can be compromised by many varying factors including lack of sleep, chronic stress, inflammation, poor diet, drugs and alcohol.
The first advice Luke gives to anyone looking to improve their gut health is to manage those lifestyle factors, so get plenty of sleep, reduce stress, practice mindfulness, avoid drugs and limit alcohol.
From a nutritional standpoint, fruits and vegetables are the gateway to great gut health due to their fibre and beneficial nutrients.
‘Eat the rainbow. That means eating a wide variety of colours to get all the varying nutrients,’ he said.
‘Having bone broth and fermented vegetables is also another great way to improve the beneficial bacteria and heal any damage.’
Gut health can be compromised by many varying factors including lack of sleep, chronic stress, inflammation, poor diet, drugs and alcohol, Luke said (pictured with Rachael Finch)
CRISPY POPCORN CAULIFLOWER NUGGETS:
100 g (1 cup) almond meal
2 teaspoons chilli powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
750 ml (3 cups) coconut cream
125 g (1 cup) arrowroot or tapioca flour
1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
coconut, avocado or macadamia oil spray, for coating
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Mix the almond meal, chilli powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin and turmeric in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, mix the coconut cream and arrowroot or tapioca flour to make a thick batter.
Dip a cauliflower floret in the coconut cream batter to coat evenly, then toss it in the almond meal mixture. Transfer to a prepared tray and repeat with the rest of the florets.
When all the florets are ready give them a spray with the cocolife oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway and drizzling or re-spraying with oil if you wish, until golden brown and crisp.
Crispy chicken popcorn cauliflower nuggets for those who like the crunch of the original
WHAT FOODS BOOST MENTAL HEALTH?
It’s all about balance, variety, and eating from the five food groups.
‘We understand that food fuels both body and mind. When we eat nutritious foods our bodies grow, repair, and function well. Well our brain needs nutritious foods too,’ Luke said.
‘In fact, it’s quite hungry, the brain accounts for around 20% of our total daily energy requirements.
‘So when we choose nutrient dense foods, we’re providing our body (and importantly our brain) with the building blocks needed to be at our best, especially from a mood and mental health perspective.’
Research has shown that following a healthy pattern of eating is linked with better stress management, improved sleep quality, increased concentration, and better mental wellbeing in general
Research has shown that following a healthy pattern of eating is linked with better stress management, improved sleep quality, increased concentration, and better mental wellbeing in general.
Just as our food choices affect our physical and mental wellbeing, the opposite is also true, we’re more likely to follow a healthy diet when we’re in a good headspace.
- Fruit and vegetables provide us with fibre to support a healthy gut environment.
- Fibre is a favourite food of the beneficial bacteria in our gut that play a range of roles in supporting our overall health.
- Fruit and vegetables also give us a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support brain health.
- Healthy fats, such as the Omega 3’s, are vital for optimal brain function, so try to incorporate olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds and fattier cuts of meat into your diet.
- Make sure you eat complex carbohydrates for a steady source of brain fuel, eliminating those that are highly processed and refined.
- The protein in meats, fish and eggs provide building blocks of many brain chemicals that can influence our mood.
- Drinking plenty of water prevents dehydration, a common cause of headaches, tiredness and ‘brain fog’ that can affect our ability to concentrate.
Just as our food choices affect our physical and mental wellbeing, the opposite is also true, we’re more likely to follow a healthy diet when we’re in a good headspace
Foods that are known to improve brain health:
1. Dark chocolate
Chocolate is rich in many mood-boosting feel-good compounds, such as caffeine, theobromine, and N-acylethanolamine – a substance chemically similar to cannabinoids that has been linked to improved mood.
Chocolate is high in health-promoting flavonoids, which have been shown to increase blood flow to your brain and reduce inflammation.
My advice is to opt for dark chocolate, which is higher in flavonoids and raw cacao and lower in added sugar or fillers.
2. Fatty fish
Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of essential fats that you must obtain through your diet because your body can’t produce them on its own.
Fatty fish like salmon and albacore tuna are rich in two types of omega-3s (DHA and EPA), that are linked to lower levels of depression.
Omega-3s contribute to the fluidity of your brain’s cell membrane and appear to play key roles in brain development and cell signalling.
Most experts agree that adults should get at least 250-500mg of combined EPA and DHA per day.
3. Fermented foods
Fermented foods, which include kimchi, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut, may improve gut health and mood.
The fermentation process allows live bacteria to thrive in foods that are then able to convert sugars into alcohol and acids, and during this process, probiotics are created.
These live microorganisms support the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut and may increase serotonin levels.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects many facets of human behaviour, such as mood, stress response, appetite, and sexual drive.
Up to 90 per cent of your body’s serotonin is produced by your gut microbiome, or the collection of healthy bacteria in your gut.
In addition, the gut microbiome plays a role in brain health. Research is beginning to show a connection between healthy gut bacteria and lower rates of depression.
Bananas are high in vitamin B6, which helps synthesise feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
One large banana provides 16 grams of sugar and 3.5 grams of fibre.
When paired with fibre, sugar is released slowly into your bloodstream, allowing for stable blood sugar levels and better mood control.
As mentioned above, blood sugar levels that are too low may lead to irritability and mood swings.
When bananas are still showing green on the peel, they are an excellent source of prebiotics, a type of fibre that helps feed healthy bacteria in your gut. A robust gut microbiome is associated with lower rates of mood disorders.
Although the mechanism isn’t clear, a diet rich in antioxidants may help manage inflammation associated with depression and other mood disorders.
Berries pack a wide range of antioxidants and phenolic compounds, which play a key role in combatting oxidative stress, an imbalance of harmful compounds in your body.
They’re particularly high in anthocyanins, a pigment that gives certain berries their purple-blue colour.
One study associated a diet rich in anthocyanins with a 39 per cent lower risk of depression symptoms.
Good news is that if you can’t find or afford them fresh, you can buy frozen berries, which are frozen at their peak ripeness to retain the maximum amount of antioxidants.
WHAT DOES A ‘HEALTHY’ BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER LOOK LIKE?
Breakfast could include eggs, avocado and some sautéed greens. Otherwise a nutrient dense smoothie with berries, banana and protein would be ‘perfect’, Luke said.
Lunch can be as simple as some fresh salad greens and your favourite grilled protein source, otherwise a hearty vegetable soup with some slow-cooked beef shredded into it would be awesome too.
Dinner could be a delicious piece of crispy skin salmon with charred broccoli and roasted pumpkin.