Mindless Eating


Brian Wansink’s ‘Mindless Eating’


Okay I’m cutting straight to the point, if your interested in food and how it controls us then read this book! 

Suggestions for avoiding mindless eating:

  • Find something else to occupy yourself. Ask yourself “what are my interests?”
  • Plating up 20% less will not leave you hungry, it may not even be missed. Of course this is a bit harder if you’re serving yourself.
  • Speaking of servings, the book suggests taking only preserved plates to the table rather than serving bowls. This way you have to go back for seconds in needed.
  • Keep empty packaging on the table until you’re done eating, this will act as a visual cue to your brain that you have in fact been eating and that you’ll start feeling full soon.
  • drink from tall skinny glasses rather than short fat ones. We perceive vertical objects to hold more volume than horizontal ones. Try drawing two equal lines, one horizontal and anothervertical starting in the middle of the horizontal one. It appears that the vertical is longer, even though it is not.  
  • Try to not use the four unhelpful and unhealthy food tool extremes. Do not use food or eating as a reward or punishment, or as a form of guilt or comfort. Easier said than done I’m afraid!

Wansink doesn’t assume you’re looking for a diet and that you need strict rules to control your eating, he is merely a scientist doing his job; presenting the facts. It’s a great read which takes us behind the scenes of the food industry and the way in which food is marketed. It offers a unique perspective to food and what your eating without using your own intake as a case study, you don’t feel targeted or guilty for eating. 

While the author cannot disclose specific information about his various industry consults, he takes us into his world. Its the world of human eating behaviours, I was captivated and taken off-guard. I had thought I knew lots about the relationship humans have with food, but this book challenged my perceptions and I’m all the better for it. 

For instance imagine an elaborately planned dining room where soup bowls magically refill and eaters just keep on eating without knowing that they have consumed more! I thought for sure most people would notice that one but apparently we have more in common with the white lab rat than we’d like to think!

Anyway onto the crux of this book, there’s lots of value here, the hardest part is actually making steps to apply the ideas to your life. I think once you take the plunge it’ll get easier to take care of yourself and follow the basic principles the book outlines; I could say that about most diet books, only I wouldn’t call this a diet book per se. 

Until next time 


Please remember that I’m a dietetics STUDENT, so none of my opinions should be trusted! PLEASE consult an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) or your GP before applying anything discussed in this blog to your diet or exercise regime


This Week’s Food News



(28 April) Monday: ABC –Toxic Mushrooms

Woolworths is defending itself after 3 people claim eating poisonous mushrooms allegedly purchased from the Dickson ACT store. ACT Health has not found any evidence of the mushrooms and Woolworths has reminded the public that its produce ‘is subject to strict government controls and is regularly monitored’.



Tuesday: ABC- Gluten

Researchers from the US, the  Netherlands, and Melbourne have found the “snapshot of the exact moment a body’s immune system recognises gluten as a foreign substance and triggers a response”. It is hoped that this will lead to effective drugs which will block the interaction between gluten and the body’s immune system, such a breakthrough may even see people with coeliac disease eating gluten foods again.



Thursday: ABC- Wine App

To renew Chinese confidence in the Australian wine industry, “former Boomers basketball player Andrew Vlahov and his business partner Grant Shaw have teamed up with Chinese IT company Invengo and consultants Deloittes to develop an app that detects” wine label authenticity. The tech would cost less than $1 / L and is necessary in the growing export market as China’s CTV reports 50% of labels as being counterfeit.



Friday: Smart Brief- Diabetes

Researchers have found links from lifetime maximum Body Mass Index to diabetes. Diabetes is traditionally thought to arise due to weight, blood pressure, age, family history, and lipid profile. The link has been proposed, independent of these traditional factors.





Two quick foods


Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 7.37.18 pm

Tired? Stressed? Have a good old sammich (as my great grand-mother used to call sandwiches). Why? because as boring and un-cool as they are- (lacking the sexy-ness of a teriyaki-marinated chicken sourdough), sandwiches are a great go to food. You can put nearly anything on them and if you don’t pile them with meat and cheese they can be low-calorie.as well as filling. I like alfalfa sprouts but you have to be careful because they spoil easily. Also on this sammich is carrot, cheese, toms, and yummy meat-free veggie sausages packed with protein. I find they’re a filling afternoon snack; cut into quarters and share- afternoon tea style. 

Need an afternoon pick-me-up? Instead of reaching for a cuppa-soup*. Try something blended but still easy to prepare. If you like fruits with your milk for a twist try frozen bananas and mango with 10 mint leaves and a fibre mix (such as chia seeds, psyllium husk, and/or LSA).

I usually use only 1/2 a Cup of skim milk. You need to add just enough so that the blender doesn’t get stuck, it’s a fine balance! There is so little milk because it will achieve the best consistency, not because I dislike dairy (because dairy is great). After blending the mix is like icy soft serve, it reminds be of a luscious ice cream full of sugar, but this probably has less than half the calories and won’t leave your throat sticky and burning. 

You’ll be surprised that no honey is needed. You can get away with less sugar in cold things, especially with fruits which have natural sugars. Just remember that this type of smoothie contains foods rather than liquids so it can be quite dense. A serve would be a standard glass of 250ml.

* (I’ll admit they have their place and can be handy especially for dieters)

Until next time 


Please remember that I’m a dietetics STUDENT, so none of my opinions should be trusted! PLEASE consult an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) or your GP before applying anything discussed in this blog to your diet or exercise regime

Palak Paneer


Coriander, cumin, ginger, garlic, chilli; as the intense aroma of curry paste filled the house they came running! Well not quite, but honestly the beautiful smell that comes from this paste needs to be experienced by everyone. It’s life changing! This curry, like most, is all about aroma. You aren’t constrained by the ingredients list, with a little care, palak paneer can be taken down any number of avenues. It can be spicy or mild, packed with fat or full of veggies, its a white canvass that needs no improvement. For this reason I attempted a palak paneer with a healthy spin.

This variation has been designed for both weight-loss and muscle-gain diets. It is also ideal for those seeking a diet low in nutritional factors contributing to cardiovascular risk. This includes low saturated fat, adequate fibre, lower sodium, and includes vegetables2. I was able to decrease total energy3 by 42%, decrease fat* from 13g to 4g (saturated2 from 10.4g to 2.1g), and decrease salt2 from 265mg to 163mg. Fibre and protein content was increased2. I would like to note that for muscle gain this meal is really only appropriate as a protein-loading entree and would need to be adapted if consumed as a main due to extra energy requirements.


The first and most obvious step for me was to completely remove the ghee. Now, I know you’re thinking, ‘you can’t just remove the fat, that’s what mixes the flavours and intensifies the curry. It holds everything together!’. This is what my friend, Karina told me. At first I was concerned, but there was no need to be. Let me tell you that it DID work out perfectly, the dish was delicious, aromatic, and unforgettable. Frying the onion and paste without ghee was a little difficult, and I recommend a non-stick pan. The onion in particular was tricky but with LOW heat and a spray of olive oil, it can be achieved! If you’re scared about the onion browning try adding the fluid part of the paste, it helped quite a lot. Precious calories were also saved using a creamy evaporated milk or even skim milk in place of pouring cream.

Salt had to go. Not only is salt a cardiovascular disease risk factor but may dehydrate you, giving a sluggish feeling which may just be the trigger to give the gym a miss. If you still made it to the gym you might not reach your full potential due to dehydration and tiredness. By radically reducing the amount of paneer (to 70g) fat and sodium content are markedly reduced. It’s a high protein cheese, so it gets us part of the way to our goal. While the original recipe called for 200g of paneer, I needed to bulk up my version with a disproportionate amount of chicken, tofu, and paneer (now sitting at 370g compared to 200g paneer). By adding chicken (200g) and tofu (100g) the paneer’s fat and sodium content is diluted, while protein is gained. Protein is great for feeling full, and for re-fueling after (or before) the gym.

There’s nearly nothing negative to be said about this recipe! Mum didn’t like that I prepared it with chicken and tofu, but still enjoyed it. Its fun to prepared, tasty to eat and filling. Everybody enjoyed it, so I think this one will become a favorite.

Until next time!



1. The original recipe http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/palak-paneer-0 (my recipe coming soon)

2. Reddy, K.S. and Katan, M.B.. (2004). Diet, nutrition, and the prevention of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Public Health Nutrition. 7 (1A), 167-186.

3. Lovett, G. (2004) MenuCoster [website]. Available at http://www.menucoster.com.au (Accessed 17 August 2013).

Please remember that I’m a dietetics STUDENT, so none of my opinions should be trusted! PLEASE consult an Accredited Practising Dietitian or your GP before applying anything discussed in this blog to your diet or exercise regime