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Teri Lichtenstein

Five Digestive Health Myths Debunked

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As has happened for a number of years gone by, Digestive Wellness has once again has hit the top ten list for food and health trends in 2018.  With ongoing emerging research linking our gut to brain health and pretty much every other aspect of our health, it seems that everyone is searching for the holy grail of “digestive wellness”.



As with most popular food and health trends, two things usually happen. Firstly, companies cash in and market products with a benefit (mostly with lots of highly overstated claims). Secondly, people become very confused with the glut of not-always-correct or appropriate information that comes from a variety of sources.


So what exactly is “digestive wellness” and how do we know whether or not nutrition advice or a product is going to help us achieve this elusive state, or simply empty our wallets or potentially even do harm? Below I have tackled some of the common myths around digestive health and consider whether or not these simply are myths, or is there evidence to suggest that following this advice will get your gut in top top shape.

1. A low FODMAP diet needs to be adhered to forever

The low FODMAP diet (Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, and Mono-saccharides and Polyols) has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years, specifically in the management of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Many people who have success with this diet find that they cannot go back to eating the same foods as they did previously because they have discovered that they are intolerant to some FODMAPs. But that’s the thing, it is usually some, not all FODMAPs.  Accredited Practising Dietitian and an expert in the low FODMAP diet Chloe McLeod, advises that “once FODMAP triggers have been determined, it is important to re-introduce those that did not cause symptoms, along with small amounts, within tolerance levels, of those that may be in issue in larger quantities. Including other fibre-containing carbohydrates, especially those with prebiotic fibres that help to feed the gut microbiome is also advised. “

2. A detox will help to clean the gut

Detox diets have always been popular as a ‘quick fix’ solution and unfortunately there are still many products on the shelf promising great health through the powders of detoxing. Humans are very fortunate in that we are born with a natural, healthy and built in detoxifying organ which is our liver. There is no evidence to support detox diets and certainly none that target gut health

3. A gluten-free diet can help to eliminate a range of health issues including fatigue, migraines and weight gain

A 2016 CSIRO health report found that 1 in 3 Australian adults are avoiding gluten, yet according to Coeliac Australia, only 1 in 70 are actually affected by coeliac disease. Amongst this group of gluten avoiders there are both clinically diagnosed gluten sensitivity and self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity. It is possible that the self-diagnosed subjects may benefit from further investigation, in part because these individuals could be unnecessarily restricting gluten-containing foods and potentially missing out on essential nutrients. Specifically, there are nutrients found in whole grains  that can help to reduce the risk of diseases including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

4. Eating enough fibre is essential for good digestive health

This is an interesting one as it is partly true, but it is not the whole story. Whilst various dietary guidelines do recommend a total daily fibre intake of up to 30g per day, what is often neglected is the advice to eat a range of different types of fibre for optimal gut health. Many of the commonly eaten fibres are not the best type of food to feed the gut microbiome and there is more evidence pointing to the need for greater consumption of lesser known fibre types such as resistant starch, a prebiotic fibre that provides nourishment for the good bugs in our bowel and has been shown to play a role in minimising cell DNA damage associated with colon cancer.



5. Probiotics are the key to good gut health

Probiotics have been associated with a range of health benefits, everything from lowering blood pressure and cholesterol to alleviating skin conditions, anxiety and depression. Whilst the jury is definitely still out on most of these claims, what most people neglect when ingesting millions of probiotic beneficial bacteria, is that these bugs need a good dose of prebiotics to help them flourish and impart their health benefits. Without enough prebiotic fibre to support their growth in the gut, any potential health benefits of these bacteria will be lost. When the good bacteria are dominant in the gut, they help to establish an environment that nourishes the cells that line the gut wall. This is known as the ‘prebiotic effect’.

As this mega trend of digestive health moves beyond a tipping point, it is up to qualified nutrition professionals to help cater to the demands of a population that has become quite fixated on the gut and every aspect of health that goes with it. It will become even more essential to stay on top of the science, given this complex and evolving issue of digestive health.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic – please leave me a comment below.





Teri Lichtenstein (APD)

Summer Smoothies!

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There is nothing that says “summer” more than an ice-cold smoothie. The sky is the limit when it comes to smoothie recipe concoctions and there really is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer’s day. On days when it’s just too hot to eat, smoothies are a great way to get a good dose of nutrition in a refreshing beverage.

Here are some of my favourite summer smoothie concoctions, and I have also included a video to show you to make this delicious BARLEYmax Mango Lassi, so give this one a try before mango season comes to an end in Australia.


  1. BARLEYmax berry smoothie – this recipe is a great way to enjoy all the summer berries on offer, and it’s also a good source of whole grain fibre with nearly 7g of fibre per serve
  2. Banana and almond butter smoothie – blend 1 frozen banana with 1 pitted medjool date, ½ cup quinoa flakes, 1 Tablespoon almond butter and ¾ cup of milk.
  3. Cocoa and oat smoothie – blend 1 large banana with 1/3 cup rolled oats, 2 Tablespoons plain yoghurt, 3 teaspoons cocoa powder and ¾ cup of milk.
  4. Watermelon and mint smoothie – blend 1.5 cups fresh watermelon with ½ cup fresh or frozen strawberries. Add ½ cup almond milk (or other milk of your choice), juice from 1 lime, 1 Tablespoon each of chopped mint and chia seeds and blend all together until well mixed.
  5. Breakfast smoothie – blend 1 large banana with 2 Tablespoons LSA mix (linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds), 1/3 cup rolled oats, pinch of cinnamon and 1 Tablespoon honey.
  6. Avocado and strawberry smoothie – blend ½ avocado with ½ cup fresh or frozen strawberries, ½ cup low fat yoghurt, ¾ cup milk and 1 teaspoon honey.

Check out the BARLEYmax Mango Lassi recipe video here!

We would love to see your summer smoothie recipes and if you would like a sample of the BARLEYmax flakes to make your own smoothie concoction, send us an email and we will send one out to you.

Christmas Bark Recipe!

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Check out this awesome recipe for Christmas Bark by our nutrition ambassador, Teri Lichtenstein (APD).

A fantastic, festive treat!


BARLEYmaxTM Christmas Bark Recipe

Makes 12 pieces


400g white cooking chocolate
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup shelled pistachio nuts
¾ cup toasted BARLEYmaxTM flakes
¾ cup freeze dried strawberries or raspberries
¼ cup pepitas
2 tablespoons chia seeds


  1. Break chocolate into pieces and met in a microwave or on the stove using a double boiler. Stir regularly to ensure the chocolate does not burn
  2. Stir in the cranberries, pistachio nuts and BARLEYmaxTM   
  3. Working quickly, spread the mixture on a lined baking tray
  4. Place the freeze dried strawberries on top and sprinkle the pepitas and chia seeds
  5. Place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut into pieces


  • Swap the white chocolate and pistachios for dark chocolate and chopped macadamia nuts
  • Wrap up each piece in a clear plastic bag with ribbon for a great homemade Christmas gift

To learn more about the health benefits of BARLEYmax™, click here.


Simple Swaps to Help Meet your Daily Wholegrain Target

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After many years of the paleo and low carbohydrate diet brigades preaching their anti-grain messages, the good news is that the tide is finally turning, A recent study conducted by the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council, found that fewer Australians (compared to three years ago) are limiting grain foods. 1

Whilst this is a positive change, we still need to ensure that we are eating enough whole grains, as the evidence for positive health outcomes (reduction in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers) is strongest when 2-3 serves of whole grains are consumed every day. The Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council have set a daily target intake of 48g per day (for adults and children older than 9 years) to help Australians eat the recommended serves required for good health outcomes.

To help maintain this positive momentum, our dietitian and nutrition ambassador Teri Lichtenstein has provided her expert tips for quick and easy food swaps that you can action to help ensure that you meet your daily target intake, and reap the health benefits from extra whole grain goodness.

Instead of white bread, wraps and rolls, choose whole grain varieties. There is so much choice in the supermarket, that you are sure to find something to suit your family’s taste buds.
Ditch your processed, high sugar breakfast cereal for a wholegrain porridge like the Barley + traditional wholegrain porridge.
Be adventurous with the wonderful whole meal and legume pasta varieties on the market. Replace your traditional pasta with one of these varieties for an extra whole grain boost.
Asian dishes are extremely popular in Australia. Did you know that if you use soba or buckwheat noodles instead of regular noodles, you will be eating more whole grain goodness?
A very easy switch is moving from white rice to brown rice. Even take away sushi restaurants offer brown rice versions nowadays and many people find they prefer the slightly nuttier flavour.
If you enjoy baking, switching to whole wheat or other whole grain flours (e.g. spelt flour) is a great way to help you meet your daily target intake. An easy way to get started is to use the terms “whole grain flour” when doing a Google search for recipes. Or else take your favourite recipe and start by replacing 1/3 cup of regular flour with a whole meal or whole grain flour. Keep increasing little by little each time you make the recipe, until you find the ratio of whole wheat flour to all-purpose flour that you prefer.
It’s summer time in Australia which means salads are on the menu. Throw in ½ -1 cup of your favourite whole grains into your salad mix for an extra fibre boost and a flavoursome crunch.
Next time you are about to reach for a chocolate bar as a snack, try choosing a whole grain energy bar instead. Not only will it provide you with a good dose of wholegrain goodness, but it is also likely to keep you feeling fuller for longer. There are so many wholegrain muesli bar choices in the supermarket, or you may decide to make your own and keep in your pantry cupboard or your office desk drawer. Barley+ bars are a nutritious (and delicious) choice.
If you’re hosting a BBQ, instead of serving salty high fat chips, why not offer grilled corn on the cob as a great wholegrain snack. These are quick to prepare (simply steam or microwave for a few minutes and then char grill on the barbie) and you will be helping your guests achieve their wholegrain daily target too!


Teri Lichtenstein

BSc (Hons), MNutrDiet, Grad, Dip Business


6 Ways to Stay Healthy this Festive Season

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It’s that time of the year yet again. The shiny tinsel has been appearing in gorgeous displays in shopping centres, Christmas recipes are appearing in food media and there is that frantic feeling in the air as so many people hurry to get things completed before the end of the year is here.

Being a dietitian, I have some other signals at this time of the year that Christmas is almost here. Many of my friends and family tell me that they are going on a pre-Christmas diet and ask me for advice as to how they can keep eating healthily during the festive season.

Now those that know me, will know that I love food and I advocate eating all types of food according to your appetite and what is going to satisfy your different needs. Food is such a wonderful part of our society (and even more so during this festive period), that I don’t believe in restricting oneself unnecessarily, as this will not achieve much benefit in the long term.

Having said that however, I do think there are some simple strategies that can be used to help you avoid over indulgence during this busy period, keep the stress levels at bay (unless you leave your Christmas shopping to the night before!) and help you kick off the summer season feeling your best.

1. Get moving

With longer days and warmer nights, there is no shortage of fitness activities to keep your body moving. Find something that you enjoy, as you are more likely to stick to it and get greater satisfaction.

2. One for one

With work and social Christmas parties, it can be easy to have a big increase in your regular alcohol intake. There is no reason not to take part and enjoy this time. If you drink one non-alcoholic drink for every glass of wine, beer or cocktail, you will halve your alcohol and energy intake, and probably wake up the next day with a much clearer head!

3. Wholegrain party food

Do you know that most of us are eating less than half the recommended daily intakes for whole grains, which is 48g per day for adults.! You can help your friends and family meet this target this festive season by serving wholegrain foods at your Christmas cocktail parties and BBQs. Try this great BARLEYmax pesto recipe for a refreshing take on a classic recipe. It’s super easy to make and can be mixed into pasta for a summer salad or served as a dip together with whole grain crackers.

pesto, barleymax pesto, christmas recipe

4. Kilometre catch ups

Most of us will ask our friends to meet for a drink after work to catch up before the long summer holidays. But catching up whilst going for a brisk walk (or a dance, jog or any other exercise that takes your fancy) is a great way to kill two birds with one stone, you get to spend time with your friend and also get in some exercise. And if you’re hosting a Christmas party, try something different and get everyone moving, whether that be a morning ocean swim or a game of lawn bowls or tennis

5. Downsize

Be like Goldilocks and eat from the smallest plate. Research has shown that the bigger the plate, the more food you are likely to serve and eat, whether you are hungry or not. And large serving utensils can also encourage you to dish up more so watch out for this.

6. Summer time = salad time

It is much easier to eat fresh salads when the weather is warmer. One of my family’s favourite summer dinner’s is a ‘make-your-own’ salad bar. We lay out a variety of different ingredients and everyone gets to choose their favourites. We often have a game to see who has added the most colours to their bowl!

It is likely that during this time there will be days of over indulgence. Don’t let one big meal or hangover derail your health goals for the rest of the season. All food is there to be enjoyed and there is certainly no better time of the year to embrace that enjoyment!


Teri Lichtenstein

BSc (Hons), MNutrDiet, Grad, Dip Business




cooking barleymax, barleymax flakes, barleymax, gut health, cereal


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根据澳大利亚的最新健康调查,每两个成年人中就有一个人有高血胆固醇水平 (> 5 mmol / L)1 。更令人担忧的是,只有约10%的人清楚这个状况,这表明大多数人要么对此一无所知,要么根本





  • 低密度脂蛋白胆固醇 (LDL)—将大部分胆固醇带入细胞。通常被称为“坏”胆固醇,因为LDL过多会阻塞动脉。对于那些患有与心脏病相关的危险因素 (例如高血压) 的患者,LDL水平应维持在2 mmol/L以下。
  • 高密度脂蛋白胆固醇 (HDL)—帮助去除细胞中多余的胆固醇。俗称“好”胆固醇。









  • 植物甾醇

植物甾醇天然存在于食物中,包括葵花籽和油菜籽、植物油和少量坚果、豆类、谷物、水果和蔬菜。 一些人造黄油、牛奶和早餐麦片中添加了浓缩的植物甾醇。作为健康饮食和生活方式的习惯,每天从富含植物甾醇的食物中摄取2克植物甾醇,已被证实可以将LDL胆固醇降低多达9%。2

  • β-葡聚糖

β-葡聚糖是 一种可溶性纤维,在消化道中溶解,形成一种可与胆固醇结合的凝胶。然后这种凝胶和胆固醇作为身体排泄物的一部分排出体外,从而有助于降低胆固醇的再吸收。研究表明,每天食用3克β-葡聚糖有助于降低胆固醇的再吸收。BARLEYmax™是β-葡聚糖的最佳来源之一,它是一种天然全麦谷物,其β-葡聚糖含量平均比其他全谷物 (如燕麦) 多70%。BARLEYmax™可以在一系列产品中找到,满足你每天3克β-葡聚糖的摄入量需求,以自然方式降低胆固醇水平。




Do Gut Feelings Come From Our Gut?

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Trust your gut. Something that most of us have been advised (by others or our own intuition) at some point in our lives.  There is a lot of truth in those three words. Your gut is intricately linked to your brain via the ‘gut-brain-pathway’ (a complex two-way communication system). This pathway can provide vital information that can impact how you think, feel and act in many different situations.

A couple of years ago, a paper published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, explores whether gut feelings really come from the gut.

“Traditionally, scientists have focused on the role of the central nervous system in regulating our moods and behaviours, but a paradigm shift is afoot, with new research revealing a unique role of our gut microbiota in influencing emotion,” writes the paper’s author, M.J. Friedrich.

The Gut-Brain Relationship

Our gut is connected to our brain via more than 100 million neurons and the gut itself literally feeds gut feelings directly to the brain. Think of “butterflies in our tummies” or feeling “sick to the gut’. What happens in our gut really does influence what goes on in our minds! There is a lot of emerging research linking gut health to everything from sleep, anxiety disorders and depression, as well as medical conditions associated with changes in mood, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). IBS is considered a “gut-brain disorder”, since it is often worsened by stress. Many IBS sufferers also have difficulties with depression or anxiety. Ongoing research is investigating whether gut bacteria are one reason for the mood symptoms in IBS, as well as the gastrointestinal pain, diarrhoea and constipation.

Micro-organisms in our gut secrete a significant amount of chemicals. Some of these are the same substances used by our neurons to communicate and regulate mood, like dopamine, serotonin and gamma- aminobutyric acid (GABA). These chemicals appear to play a function in intestinal disorders, which coincide with high levels of major depression and anxiety. The more that scientists discover about the role of the gut, the more it becomes very clear that having a healthy gut microbiome is essential for good brain health and overall mental health.


What is a “healthy” gut?

If having a healthy gut is the key to lifelong happiness, how do we get our gut into tiptop shape? Generally, a healthy gut means a diversity of bacteria. To achieve diversity, we need to eat a range of different types of fibre.

The key seems to be in eating the right type of fibre. There are two key types categories of fibre – fermentable and non-fermentable. Non-fermentable fibre has a laxative effect, whereas fermentable is the type of fibre, which feeds the bacteria in our bellies. Feeding these bacteria can help to achieve optimal gut health, which in turn can influence our happiness and prevent a range of gut-related diseases. Fermentable fibre can be found naturally in whole grains, stone-ground cereals, bananas, brown rice, legumes, pulses and BARLEYmax™.


The future for gut brain health

The emerging research into gut-brain health is very exciting.

Animal research is investigating whether the transfer of compounds found in the feces of infant monkeys into another monkey’s intestine, can change their neurodevelopment. Even more intriguingly, in a study published this year, gut microbiota samples from people with major depression were used to colonise bacteria-free rats. These rats went on to show behavioural changes related to depression. Human studies have found people with major depression have different bacteria in their faeces to healthy volunteers. But it’s not yet clear why there is a difference, or even what counts as a “normal” gut microbiota.

There are still so many questions to answer. If altering the gut’s microbes can change behavior, which microbes are most important? What does it take to tip the scales toward the right ones? We simply don’t have good answers yet, but imagine what the future holds for curing human disease.

If you can achieve optimal gut health, then you certainly can rely on your gut instincts!

Teri Lichtenstein
BSc (Hons), MNutrDiet, Grad, Dip Business

健康检查: 你纤维吃得对吗?

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在澳大利亚 (和其他西方国家) 存在所谓的“纤维悖论”。尽管在过去的20年里,消费者的平均纤维摄入量增加了,但肠癌发病率却并没有相应地下降,在澳大利亚每天有12人死于肠癌。1这一悖论的原因之一是,当我们只吃大量的不可溶性纤维时 (通常称为粗粮),我们错过了吃不同类型纤维的机会,包括非常重要的可发酵纤维,它可以保护肠道,并有助于预防肠癌等疾病。


纤维可分为三种不同类型 – 可溶性、不可溶性和抗性淀粉。每一种纤维都通过不同的机制提供健康益处。有科学证据表明,当这三种纤维组合食用时,会对消化系统健康带来更大的积极影响。2

富含多种纤维的饮食可以帮助控制常见的肠道问题,如便秘和肠易激综合征 (IBS),以及憩室病、痔疮和其他肠道相关疾病。

  可溶性 不可溶性 抗性淀粉
功效 减缓消化 (食物需要更长的时间才能通过胃和肠)并降低血液中的胆固醇水平 对大肠影响最大—吸收水分,从而有助于软化粪便,增加排便次数 淀粉抵抗小肠分解并喂养大肠中的有益细菌,从而产生保护肠道的短链脂肪酸
来源 BARLEYmaxTM、燕麦、豆类、扁豆、豌豆、坚果、种子、一些蔬菜和水果 BARLEYmaxTM、全谷物面包和麦片 BARLEYmaxTM、煮熟后冷却的土豆/米饭/意大利面、青香蕉、扁豆和豆类




研究发现,与膳食纤维的总摄入量相比,淀粉的摄入与肠癌的减少有更强的关联。3 淀粉和肠癌之间的负相关与在大肠中发酵抗性淀粉可预防肠癌的潜在机制原理一致。肠道内的有益细菌通过发酵产生短链脂肪酸 (特别是丁酸盐)。丁酸盐是肠壁细胞的首选能量来源。











  3. Bird AR, Vuaran M, Crittenden R, Hayakawa T, Playn MJ, Brown IL and Topping DL. Comparative effects of a high-amylose starch and a fructooligosaccharide on fecal bifidobacteria numbers and short-chain fatty acids in pigs fed Bifidobacterium animalis. Digestive Diseases and Sciences. 2009; 54: 947-954.
  4. Baghurst PA, Baghurst KI, Record SJ. Dietary fibre, non-starch polysaccharides and resistant starch – a review. Food Aust.1996;48(Suppl):S3-S35.




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Teri’s Breakfast Parfait Recipe

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Looking for a nutritious on-the-go breakfast solutions? Look no further!
THG Nutrition Ambassador, Teri Lichtenstein (APD)  shares her delicious breakfast parfait recipe with us here.

Want more BARLEYmax™ recipes? Look no further! You can find our recipes here and watch our recipe videos here.

We’d love to hear your healthy breakfast ideas. Please drop us a line in the comments section!

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