Lessons from my wife’s nutritionist

I am not a very health-conscious kind of guy, which is another reason I am grateful for Mrs DD. She does all the food shopping, meal planning, recipe sourcing, cooking (pretty much all of it) and research when it comes to what our entire family eats. There is a lot on her plate.

So it threw everything out of whack recently when she recognised she needed professional advice regarding her own diet. So selfish! I won’t go into all the “rashy” and “bloaty” details because that would embarrass her, but the long-story-short is that we learned her body hates gluten and dairy.

When she finally stopped crying and hyper-ventilating at the thought of no more cheese, I simply asked “what did the nutritionist say?”

Now because this is about me and not her, I’ll skip over all of the in-depth scientific testing and findings to talk about myself. At the end of her appointment, my lovely wife asked the expert about MY current situation and we have since put the new knowledge to work.

Berries are the best for adding to smoothies. Either frozen or on their last legs. (Credit: Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com)

Significant changes occur to a man’s metabolism after the age of 32 and a shift in my thinking was long overdue.

Turns out I shouldn’t really come home from work, aggressively destroy two white bread sandwiches with butter and Vegemite (plus cheese singles) and wash it down with chocolate milk right before dinner – like I used to as a 20-year-old.

I think deep down I knew this about my older self.

It’s the little changes that compound and add up to a big difference over time. When it comes to breakfast, for me anyways, it is often the same offering most days. So if you get it right it should produce the desired benefits. If you get it wrong, look out.

Every weekday morning for three weeks following the nutritionist appointment my wife would make me a smoothie to take to work.

The professional advice was that I should be able to undertake my morning routine as usual without eating breakfast. She advised I should have a large drink of water, ride my bike to work and consume my breakfast smoothie after settling in for the day, around 9:30am.

“You have got to be joking,” I thought. Not a chance.

From day one, it was fine. It was actually achievable. I guess the educated and qualified health specialist knew more about this than my own resistant and untried personal inner-objections.

“Over the next few mornings (that’s how long it took me to get it right) she walked me through the morning cocktail’s five secret herbs and spices.”

By the fourth week, one morning when my wife was struggling with our daughter’s hair before school, I called out offering to make the smoothie myself.

This was her reply, I am not joking.

“All you need to start with is a tablespoon of the psyllium, hemp and flax. Chuck in some chia and put the maca in there if you want, but you don’t really like it.”

What?! Hmmm.

Over the next few mornings (that’s how long it took me to get it right) she walked me through the morning cocktail’s five secret herbs and spices. We blitz them into a fine powder and then add the good stuff like frozen berries, banana, almond or coconut milk, water, ice and any other fresh fruit on its last legs.

I carry it on the side of my backpack as I ride my bike to work, pop it in the fridge for an hour and enjoy it just as I feel myself getting peckish. Works a treat. And I do actually enjoy it.

Team photo (L to R): Hemp seeds, flaxseeds, maca powder, psyllium husk and chia seeds.
(Photo: Dad Downunder)

However, what the hell is all this stuff? And surely hemp seeds are illegal?

So in the interests of expanding my knowledge and inevitably feeling like a dumb-ass, I figured I would research the benefits of each of these exotic ingredients. Get to know my new friends a little better.

Below is the results of my findings as worded by those in the know.

Chia seeds


Despite their small size, chia seeds are full of important nutrients. They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants, and they provide fibre, iron, and calcium. Omega-3 fatty acids help raise HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol that protects against heart attack and stroke.

Plant-based foods have long been associated with a reduced risk of many adverse health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality. They have been shown to support a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

Foods that are high in fibre help people to feel full for longer, and they are usually lower in calories. Increased fibre intake and a high-fibre diet have been shown to help with weight loss.



Grown since the beginning of civilization, flax seeds are one of the oldest crops. There are two types, brown and golden, which are equally nutritious. Just one tablespoon provides a good amount of protein, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to being a rich source of some vitamins and minerals.

Flax seeds are a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Plant-based ALA fatty acids are proven to have heart health benefits and are linked to a lower risk of stroke. They also contain a group of nutrients called lignans, which have powerful antioxidant and estrogen properties. They may help in preventing breast and prostate cancer, as well as other types of cancer.

The high fibre content of flax seeds can help lower cholesterol and may play an important role in improving heart health. Flax seeds have been proven to lower blood pressure and are especially helpful for those with high blood pressure.

The wife’s five secret herbs and spices, I just blitz them into a powder before adding the good stuff. (Photo: Dad Downunder)

Hemp seeds


Hemp seeds are from the same species as cannabis (marijuana) but a different variety. Technically a nut, they are exceptionally nutritious and rich in healthy fats, protein and various minerals.

Hemp seeds are also a great source of vitamin E and minerals, such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc. Hemp seed oil is also very healthy and has been used as a food and medicine in China for at least 3,000 years.

Whole hemp seeds contain high amounts of fiber — both soluble and insoluble — which benefits digestive health.

Hemp seeds are a great source of arginine and gamma-linolenic acid, which have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.

Hemp seeds are a great source of arginine and gamma-linolenic acid, which have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. They are rich in healthy fats. They have a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, which may benefit skin diseases and provide relief from eczema and its uncomfortable symptoms.

Maca powder


Maca, otherwise known as Peruvian ginseng, is grown in grasslands at high altitudes of 14,400 feet in the Northern Puna summit of Bolivia and Peru.

The maca powder health benefits simply put, are out of this world! It may be commonly referred to as a “superfood” and this is a great way to describe it. It can increase energy, endurance and stamina and can also help with stabilising hormone imbalances. It’s packed full of essential amino acids which are necessary to promote muscle growth and tissue repair.

Maca is most commonly known to increase sex drive in both women and men.

One of the Maca powder health benefits is that it is packed with plenty of good nutrients. Some B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc and calcium are all minerals contained within maca powder. It is also a great source of protein to add to your diet.

Maca is most commonly known to increase sex drive in both women and men. This is yet to be fully proven by science, but some studies that have taken place previously, have shown promising outcomes that it helps with sexual function and desire.

Psyllium husk


Psyllium husk is a great source of water-soluble fibre that expands to several times its original size when mixed with water.

[I was going to leave this next part out, but it is just too good!]

It quickly transforms from powder form into a gooey substance called mucilage. This moves through your colon, bulking up and softening your stool. The thick, toxic fecal matter that lines your colon is then loosened and pulled out along with the psyllium.

As psyllium husks travel through your digestive system they absorb water along with any toxins.

As far as health goes, consider psyllium husk a friend of your digestive system. For over 70 years, psyllium husk has been the primary source of both soluble and insoluble fibre worldwide and has a long history of use in traditional and herbal medicines.

I have (now) learned a whole load of useful lifelong information from my wife’s visit to the nutritionist. The scientific benefits are indisputable and there is no foreseeable reason for me to resist or question my new morning rituals.

Although weekend and holiday breakfasts will still include treats like yoghurt, rocket, bacon, avocado and eggs (not in a smoothie), it appears I am now on a more sensible path.

Like a big boy I can now make my own morning smoothies, thanks largely to my wife labeling everything (see photo above) and placing them onto their own special shelf for my benefit.

After six weeks I am not all of a sudden ripped, thin and hung because of the above ingredients. It is not some magic potion delivered by the gods of humanity. Nevertheless, the potential long term benefits of a small routine tweak are already apparent.

Plus I am now a big fan of maca powder, my wife failed to mention the sex drive benefits. Reading is cool, knowledge is power.

Downunder Dad: Independent, Aussie and Personal undefined

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