Make food your friend, not your enemy with this great recipe from the Heart Foundation of Australia.



serves 4

prep time: 10 mins cooking time: 15 mins

2 large wholemeal pita breads 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends snapped off 1 tbsp prepared pesto 4 field mushrooms, thinly sliced 1 punnet cherry tomatoes small handful thyme sprigs 60g reduced-fat mozzarella, chopped Green salad to serve

1. Preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan forced). Place the pizza base on a baking sheet.

2. Cut asparagus spears in half lengthwise and plunge them in a pot of boiling water. Cook 2-3 minutes. Drain, run under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

3. Spread pesto over pita breads, leaving a 1cm edge. Arrange asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes and thyme on top and scatter with mozzarella.

4. Bake 15 minutes, or until pita are browned and crisp. Serve immediately with a green salad.


Nutritional Information


Per Serve

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More information from the Heart Foundation on healthy eating can be found on their website.

Is it Hepburn Shire in Victoria, the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, the Wilderness of North West Tasmania,  South Australia’s Barossa Valley, the Kimberley Region in Western Australia, Darwin, the High Country and Snowy Mountains region, or the Northern Beaches of Sydney?

We have invited communities around the country to submit a snapshot of the healthy lifestyle initiatives around their region which are innovative and help to keep people healthy, having fun and feeling positive. This is not a competition for the best, but a regular feature of healthy initiatives in different communities which are designed to help people remain healthy on the inside and outside. Each region, city or town are asked the same set of questions to provide a consistent and fair process. It is left up to the community as to how they answer the questions and for you to consider.

Hepburn Shire in Victoria

Our first feature is focused on the Hepburn Shire Region in Victoria. The responses to the questions come from the Hepburn Shire Regional Council. Make your own mind up on what you think? Who knows, it might be just the place to go for a holiday or stay a little longer.

Question 1.    What makes your Region a healthy place to live?

 The following programs and infrastructure make Hepburn Shire a healthy place to live:

-Health and wellness related businesses (mineral baths, massage, treatments etc.) -Organic produce – farmers markets and organic wineries -Mineral water and its healing and wellness properties -Clean environment surrounded by forest -Many reserves allowing access for both active and passive recreational opportunites -Many walking trails (eg. Great Dividing Trail) -Great community support (eg. Breast Cancer Support Group, U3A, Neighborhood House etc.) - Very dog friendly

Question 2.    What healthy initiatives can Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964) access in your community?

Examples of Council’s many fitness programs running on a daily basis across the Hepburn Shire, including:

- Bush walking and bicycle riding (bring your own bike) - Mineral baths, spas and any number of various massage and alternative health and  well being pursuits - Fishing -  Bowls - Tennis - Basketball - Volleyball - Gymnasium - Palliates and instructed exercise classes

Question 3.    What events do you run which promote good health and keeping active?

Hepburn Shire Council assists event organisers such as “Run for the Willow” Sun. 3rd January 2010, Run for your Life – Easter April 2010, Jubilee Lake family fishing day, Book Town – May 2010 and Words in Winter – August 2010

Fishing Jetty at Jubilee Lake, Daylesford

Question 4.    How is information made available to people which promotes good health?

Through the media, and Hepburn Shire Event Calendar is available as a poster and brochure distribution through the Visitor Information Centres in Daylesford, Trentham, Clunes and Creswick.

Question 5.    What innovations or points of difference make your community special and a great place to live? 

-The Mineral Springs and bathing waters are famous for their relaxing properties and stress relief.   -Welcoming and accepting community – Daylesford and Hepburn Springs has the largest gay and lesbian population in regional Victoria. - Various exceptional events throughout the entire year. - Good medical providers and hospitals in Daylesford, Trentham and Creswick. - Variation in climate through all the seasons eg. spectacular autumn leaves, snow in winter etc. - Variety of accommodation type and standard. Everything from 5 star luxury through to budget accommodation. (Two caravan parks in Daylesford and back packer)

New Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa Hepburn Springs


Boomers have you been wondering what all the fuss is about Omega-3 fatty acids and their potential health benefits. It seems to make sense that fish oil could be good for you. After all, Japan has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the developed world and fish is a significant part of most people’s diet there.

A recent article in the Australian media in March 2009 by Nadine Williams of News Ltd reported on research findings predicting Omega-3 shaping as the “...wonder supplement..“  for Baby Boomers aiming to stave off ageing. The article went on to quote from an Australian Scientific think tank Omega – 3 fatty acids for Baby boomers recommending the supplement as having “convincing” effects on heart disease, arthritis, mental health and maintenance of vision.

This article independently looks at the latest recommendations and findings from two key health organisations in Australia, and tries to provide some facts on why Omega-3 is purported to be so good for us.

Reducing risk / effects of heart disease


The Heart Foundation of Australia in their position statement Fish, fish oils, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and cardiovascular health, 2008 – recommends to lower their risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), all Australians should:

1. Consume about 500 mg per day of omega-3 (marine source) through a combination of the following:

  •  two or three serves (150 g serve) of oily fish per week such as Atlantic and Australian salmon, blue-eye trevalla, blue mackerel, gemfish, canned sardines, canned salmon and some varieties of canned tuna. Other fish, such as barramundi, bream and flathead, and seafood, such as arrow squid, scallops and mussels, are also good sources of marine-based omega-3.
  • fish oil capsules or liquid
  • food and drinks enriched with marine omega-3s.

2. Consume at least 2 g of omega-3 (plant source) everyday - This can be achieved by eating two slices of soy and linseed bread spread with a canola-based margarine, 30 grams of walnuts or a variety of the foods that contain plant-based omega-3s.

3. Follow government advice on fish consumption regarding local safety issues.

4. Discuss healthy eating and concerns about nutrition with an Accredited  Practising Dietician or a Doctor.

The Heart Foundation website contains:

– Eating plans with many options

– Omega-3 content of various fish and seafood

– Q &A’s for health professionals and the general public


Helping to prevent or reduce the impact of Chronic diseases

The Omega-3 centre, a private health research organisation, recently ran a workshop including experts in the areas of omega-3s and the age group, Baby Boomers. According to the organisations website, the message coming out of this workshop is clear: Baby Boomers need to to make sure they have enough long chain omega-3s in their diet to reduce the impact of chronic diseases.

Their campaign is aimed at the Baby Boomers, because between 43 and 62 years of age chronic diseases really start affecting people’s lives. Chronic diseases are impacted by long chain omega-3s.

The organisation’s website provides a good overview of foods that are rich in long chain omega-3s, being mainly oily fish, which is the richest source. They explain that omega-3s found in plant foods, the shorter chain of omega-3, are more difficult for the human body to convert to the more effective long chain omega-3s, that have a role in the brain, the heart and other organs. For vegetarians they explain that looking to microalgae sources of omega-3s such as Canola oil and Linseed oil are a good source of the shorter chain omega-3s.

The other health benefits in consuming long chain omega-3s according to the Omega-3 Centre, apart from reducing the risk of heart disease, include:

  • reducing the level of pain for people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis
  • maintaining good eye health by reducing the risk of age related macular degeneration which can cause blindness in older people. 


If you have any concerns or questions about your health, please contact your Doctor.

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is the world's fastest growing chronic disease. It currently affects 246 million people worldwide and this number is expected to rise to 380 million by 2025. Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of global death by disease. At least 50% of all people with Type 2 Diabetes are unaware of their condition. In some countries this figure may reach 80%. Up to 60% of Type 2 Diabetes is preventable by adopting a healthy diet and increasing physical activity.

This is particularly true of the Baby Boomer generation. On the positive side, this generation are generally more likely to be motivated to be more active than past generations at this time of their lives, so lowering the risk.  

Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, affecting 85-90% of all people with diabetes, usually affecting older adults. In Type 2 Diabetes, the pancreas makes some insulin but it is not produced in the amount your body needs and it does not work effectively. Type 2 diabetes results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Although there is a strong genetic predisposition, the risk is greatly increased when associated with lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure, overweight or obesity, insufficient physical activity, poor diet and the classic 'apple shape' body where extra weight is carried around the waist. Type 2 diabetes can often initially be managed with healthy eating and regular physical activity. However, over time most people with Type 2 Diabetes will also need tablets and many will also need insulin. It is important to note that this is just the natural progression of the disease, and taking tablets or insulin as soon as they are required can result in fewer complications in the long-term. There is currently no cure for Type 2 Diabetes.

We have independently chosen to review information and literature available from Diabetes Australia and Government websites.

 Are You at Risk?

In Australia, nearly two thirds of men and half of all women are overweight or obese. This is a key factor in the alarming rise of Type 2 Diabetes. Yet up to 60 per cent of diabetes cases could be prevented, or at least delayed, by people maintaining a healthy weight. The main keys to long-term weight loss and reducing your waist measurement are healthy eating and regular physical activity.


The Australian Type 2 Diabetes Risk Assessment Tool (AUSDRISK)

Many Australians, particularly those over 40, are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes through lifestyle factors such as nutrition and physical activity. Family history and genetics also play a role in Type 2 Diabetes.

'High risk' is determined following completion of the Australian Type 2 Diabetes risk assessment tool and its review by a doctor.

Healthy Eating

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, the national food selection guide, provides consumers, health and education professionals and the food industry with information about the amounts and types of food that need to be eaten each day to get enough of the nutrients essential for good health and well-being. The Guide is designed to suit most healthy people but may not be appropriate for people with certain health problems. If you want advice that is individualised just for you, you should see a dietitian.

A diet consistent with the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends people consume a variety of foods across and within the five food groups and avoid foods that contain too much added fat, salt and sugar. The Guide aims to promote healthy eating habits throughout life, which will assist in reducing the risk of health problems in later life, such as heart disease, obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.

The Guide aims to encourage the consumption of a variety of foods from each of the five food groups every day in proportions that are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Australians. The five foods groups are:

• Bread, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles
• Vegetables, legumes
• Fruit
• Milk, yoghurt, cheese
• Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, legumes.

It is expected that small amounts of unsaturated fats and oils will be consumed with breads and cereals but additional fats and foods such as cakes, biscuits, hot chips and sugary drinks should be consumed only occasionally.

Recommended daily servings table


Keeping Active

Everybody benefits from regular exercise. If you are at risk of diabetes it plays an important role in keeping you healthy.

Suitable Types of Exercise

Suitable types of exercise depend on the individual. Here are some suggestions for you to discuss with your doctor:

• Walking
• Swimming
• Dancing
• Water aerobics
• Gardening
• Golfing
• Cycling
• Exercise bike
• Walking machine.

Increasing your general physical activity is also helpful, e.g. taking the stairs instead of the lift, getting up to change the TV station instead of using the remote control, housework, and gardening.

Amount of Exercise

Ideally, you should be doing about 30 minutes of exercise every day. If this is not possible, then this time can be divided in 3 x 10 minutes sessions.

Intensity of Exercise

You do not need to puff to gain the benefits of exercise. Aim for moderate intensity. This means you should still be able to talk as you exercise without becoming breathless.

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