We were thrilled to have the opportunity to quiz one of the most popular, and successful dieticians in Australia recently. Jaime Rose Chambers, a nutritionist, dietician & cook, based in Sydney, holds a Bachelors degree in Nutrition & Dietetics, and is studying for her Masters of Clinical Science in Complementary Therapies.
Jaime occupies a unique position across social media down-under, in that she is able to marry-up some utterly beautiful looking meals & recipes, with positive nutritional advice for her patients; helping them overcome a range of conditions & meet their goals: from losing weight, to coping with food intolerance, heart disease, diabetes, and similar.
Jaime, a huge thank you for taking some time out of your studies, and away from your practice to talk to us today. You’ve studied, and worked in, the food & health industries for a number of years now – in this time, protein bars & shakes have moved from being something only elite athletes really knew about, to something that anyone who goes to the gym regularly has on a daily basis. What are your thoughts on protein shakes & bars?
“Protein supplements have their place and are appropriate for some people but not necessary for all. Protein shakes can be a wonderful addition to a typically low protein diet such as with some vegetarian and vegan diets. They are also commonly used for body builders to meet their very high protein intake. Other than that, the general population usually do not need them if they eat a varied diet.
Protein supplements can vary in quality too so it's important to choose your supplement wisely. Protein powders are a little easier to navigate as the ingredients are generally more basic but you are always looking for a good quality source of protein such as from whey or pea protein and natural sweeteners and flavours. Protein bars are a little more tricky as they very dramatically in their ingredients and nutritional quality. There is often a plethora of unidentifiable ingredients in some protein bars. Some new protein bars on the market now however contain whole foods such as nuts and seeds as the protein source – these would be my pick if you want to use a protein bar.”
Globally, there have been a lot of food fads & trends in the last couple of years, does one stick out as being particularly unhealthy or harmful to you?
“Oh where do I start!? I will say that some food trends and fads can be wonderful, such as paddock to plate dining, ancient wholegrains and sustainable farming. However in recent times, the gluten-free, carb-phobic craze that has swept through the nation, I believe has further paralysed our already confused thoughts about what foods are good for us, or not. In clinic, I see patients who haven’t eaten bread for months because they believe it’ll cause them to magically gain weight. There is no doubt some people need to avoid wheat or gluten in their diet as it can make them very unwell but for the general population it is completely unnecessary. Regulating our carb intake (no too much but not too little) is also an excellent way to manage our weight, energy levels and digestion.”
As a dietician who is active on social media, do you see any positive food trends coming up in 2017/18?
“I think 2017 will see a strong movement towards more plant-based eating. People are becoming more aware of the health and environmental impact ofeating and producing animal foods, as well as the benefits of eating more plant-basedfoods. I’m certainly not saying you need to become vegan or even vegetarian, but just being more thoughtful about eating less animal foods and more plant foods. A good guide is 80% of your diet from plant foods and around 20% from animal foods. This is a trend I’d be happy to see stick around”.
Understandably, you want all of your clients to be as healthy as they can be, but everyone wants a little treat every now & again; what is your own, favourite, cheat-day recipe?
“I don't consider eating as 'cheating,' I like to think about a meal that's not something I'd eat every day as a "flexible meal," and boy do I enjoy it when I have it! My favourite has got to be a big, cheesy pasta bake. I usually mix through some al dente spelt pasta with some vegetables, a couple of tins of good quality tuna in olive oil and a tomato passata, pour it into a baking dish and cover with dollops of cottage cheese and heaps of melty cheese sprinkled on top. It’s really not that much of a ‘cheat’ but it sure tastes like it!”
Your Instagram feed is full of some amazing looking dishes, what is the most common recipe or meal you cook for yourself & your family?
“I would have to say my Mexican inspired dishes are on the highest rotation at home. I love the spices you can use such as smoked paprika and punchy ingredients like chipotle. I'm a sucker for guacamole and Mexican is such an easy, delicious cuisine that allows for the addition of lots of vegetables”.
Are there any foods/ingredients you actively avoid?
“Lollies and soft drinks are just not part of my food vocabulary, firstly because they simply aren’t food and secondly because of the major sugar hit and artificial colours they contain. I will actively try to avoid margarines where I can too because of the trans fats”.
For teens, and adults, who perhaps want to get fit, but aren't aware of just how important diet is to fitness & performance, what simple recipes/meals tips would you suggest?
“For anyone, younger or older who wants to get fit, diet is the fuel to your engine. It’s an absolutely integral part of a fitness journey. Some simple diet tips to support your fitness are:
- Eat mostly whole foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, legumes and lentils or packaged foods with just one or two ingredients like brown rice or oats
- Don’t skip meals or snacks – if you’re exercising regularly, eating every 3 or so hours typically works well. Skipping meals is like trying to drive a car with no petrol in the tank.
- Include complex carbohydrates throughout the day – these are your fuel. Some great ones are wholegrain bread, oats, sweet potato and brown rice. They should appear in each of your main meals.
- Avoid following or doing the same as others, everyone has their own individual dietary requirements. If you’re stuck, see a Dietitian who can put together a tailored meal plan just for you.”