DNAFit – Genetic information for Fitness & Nutrition

If you know me or have read my blog before you may know I’m very passionate about self-experimentation. As a scientist, I find published research extremely valuable generally speaking, but when it comes to individual circumstances there’s nothing like testing things on yourself and finding out what works.

I had been thinking about getting a DNAFit analysis ever since I heard about this company in podcast land. It wasn’t until recently, when I grabbed a discount code from another podcast, that I finally bought 2 kits: one for me and one for my husband using his birthday as an excuse.

The process is simple: order your kit on the DNAFit website, wait until it arrives from the UK, get a sample of your cheek cells in the provided plastic tube, send your kit back and wait patiently for your results.

Results come in 3 PDFs: one with the fitness bit, one with the diet bit and a handy infographic with a summary of recommendations, perfect for people who prefer pictures over words. The reports explain in detail which genes are analysed, what is your allele (the combination of bases in that particular gene) and its effect on your body. The results are also available online.


There were a few things I wasn’t surprised to hear:

  • Saturated fat sensitivity = low, i.e. I can deal with saturated fat just fine, which makes absolute sense considering my blood lipids are always stellar even though my saturated fat intake is almost twice the recommended limit
  • I’m lactose tolerant which explains why I generally don’t get any digestive discomfort when consuming dairy (I do get some respiratory issues but that could be something else in the dairy rather than the lactose)
  • I have raised alcohol sensitivity (thanks mum for those Asian genes)
  • I have slow caffeine sensitivity, which means a cup of coffee after lunch will likely wreck my sleep
  • Raised omega-3 need, which makes sense because most of my health issues are inflammatory in nature
  • Raised anti-oxidant need, for the same reason
  • Raised vitamin D need due to the colour of my skin making it less efficient at absorbing sunshine
  • High injury risk – this applies to soft tissue injuries, which makes absolute sense considering all the injuries I’ve had in the past few years
  • Fast recovery speed, which explains why it takes me so little time to recover between sets when training

These were the things that made me go WTF??!!

  • Low carbohydrate sensitivity, which means I can theoretically relax my guard when dealing with CHOs… however my family history of diabetes and n=1 experience with starches and sugar tell me this is probably a case of epigenetics having a bigger impact than the genetic predisposition itself
  • Raised salt sensitivity which I didn’t expect because I have such low blood pressure even though I typically eat lots of salt
  • My power/endurance response is 18.8% vs 81.2% which is just CRAZY to me considering I’ve always SUCKED big time in endurance activities (e.g. long-distance running, swimming) and done way better in power activities (e.g. sprinting, weightlifting)

I didn’t have any expectations around the following topics:

  • I don’t have Coeliac Disease predisposition (woohoo!). The funny thing is that my husband do has a predisposition, even though he’s the one who refused to try going off gluten when I first found my gluten intolerance issues
  • Normal vitamin B need
  • Normal cruciferous vegetable need, which means that my detox pathways work just fine
  • Detoxification ability medium to fast, same as above
  • Medium VO2 max response

The diet report also comes with tips, recommendations and a suggested optimal diet (either Mediterranean, low carb or low fat), which in our case was Mediterranean. I must say I found this recommendation a bit on the “everything in moderation” camp, but I might be wrong. In summary, we’re both meant to cut down on sat fats, eat more MUFAs and PUFAs (especially omega-3), watch our glycemic load intake (Alvaro more than me), don’t go crazy on the caffeine, get more sunshine, and get more antioxidants. Alvaro also has to up his folate and cruciferous vegetable intake. We have already introduced daily citrus fruit in our diet and I’m aiming to increase our fish intake in lieu of some of the meat.

Now, for the million-dollar question: would I recommend getting this analysis? Depends. If you have the money, the curiosity and the intention to implement suggestions, go for it (especially if you can score a discount voucher like I did). Same if it’s important for you to optimise your health and/or performance, for example if you are a professional athlete.

Want to learn more? Go to the DNAFit website.

Review: Sixpenny (Stanmore)

This year we celebrated our birthdays quietly, just the 2 of us. Out of the long list of restaurants I want to try I chose Sixpenny, in part because it’s been on the list forever, in part because the winter 4-course menu ($85pp) was still available.

This isn’t a “proper” review as I only have iPhone photos posted on my Instagram page (my camera battery was dead) and I didn’t catch the full descriptions of the dishes. On the bright side, this meant a bit less stress during the meal, which is the ultimate goal of celebrating a birthday.

Service was outstanding. Highlight of the night, IMO, even though we were (knowingly) underdressed for the venue. We toasted with champagne ($29) for me and a glass of pure pressed grape juice ($8) for Alvaro. I had totally forgotten how real champagne is so different from cheap sparkling. Not a cheap drink, but definitely worth it.

Birthday cheers #champagne #wine #bday #dinner

A photo posted by Gaby @ Lateral Eating (@lateraleating) on


We were first served some courtesy snacks: lightly pickled cucumber with rose & raspberry, green tomato & cheese gougères and pumpkin scallop. We both found the cucumber/raspberry snack a bit too hipster for our taste. I also thought that it didn’t match the other snacks too well. We both liked the gougères the best, followed closely by the pumpkin scallop.


Next we were served warm gluten-free bread and mascarpone butter. As with most gluten-free breads out there, this one was a bit too sweet and cakey for my taste. I did appreciate the fact that it was freshly baked and still warm, making it a perfect vehicle for the delicious mascarpone butter.

GF bread and mascarpone butter #bday #dinner #glutenfree

A photo posted by Gaby @ Lateral Eating (@lateraleating) on


The first course, potatoes with oyster & raw mushroom, was very pleasing to the eye and one of my favourite dishes of the night. The round bits are raw mushroom slices dusted with roasted mushroom powder. There were tender, creamy potatoes underneath surrounding an oyster emulsion.

Raw & roasted mushrooms, potato, oyster emulsion #bday #dinner #glutenfree

A photo posted by Gaby @ Lateral Eating (@lateraleating) on


The next course was spanish mackerel with radicchio & fermented cucumber. Sadly, we weren’t particularly fond of the flavours. Limeños are hard to please when in comes to fish.

Mackerel hiding underneath #bday #dinner #glutenfree

A photo posted by Gaby @ Lateral Eating (@lateraleating) on


At this stage my champagne glass was empty. Even though the usual pairing for the next course was a Riesling, I decided to go with a Pinot Noir, recommended by the sommelier as a good alternative.

Glass a pinot noir #dinner #bday #wine #vine

A photo posted by Gaby @ Lateral Eating (@lateraleating) on


The final savoury course was a dry-aged lamb rump with caramelised pumpkin juice, served with a braised leek covered with shaved walnuts. Solid dish, and a great opportunity to eat a cut that I never cook at home.

Dry aged lamb rump w caramelised pumpkin jus, leek & shaved walnuts #bday #dinner #glutenfree

A photo posted by Gaby @ Lateral Eating (@lateraleating) on


Dessert was a reduced milk sorbet with cucumber & peppermint granita. We were encouraged to break through the layers to get a bit of everything in each bite. It was a refreshing dessert, not too sweet (which I like). I think it’s a good signature dessert, although perhaps not a crowd pleaser.


83 Percival Rd
Stanmore NSW 2048
(02) 9572 6666

Sixpenny Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Sub-station Cafe (Alexandria)

Even though this cafe is conveniently located close to the gym we had only visited once for a pre-workout meal: coffee (for me) and a GF brownie (for Alvaro). Okay, I admit I had a few bites of the brownie. I made a mental note to come back for a proper meal, which happened last weekend.

I’m boring when it comes to beverages. Or should I say I always order the same to be able to compare establishments? Either way, my long black was good: not too strong and not too cold.

Long black

Long black ($3.50)

Alvaro had an açaí smoothie with banana and coconut water. I had a few sips and it was great and pleasantly thick.

Acai smoothie

Açaí smoothie ($8.50)

Meals are served on chopping boards, which is one of those trends that people feel strongly about (both ways). I don’t really care as long as the food is good. The Sub-Station breakfast comes with 2 free-range eggs (we had them poached), sumac bacon, chunky Mediterranean salad, avocado smash (ours was definitely not smashed), natural yoghurt infused with halva and roasted almonds (ours had strawberries), tomato relish served with toast (ours was gluten-free) and butter. Huge meal for breakfast, more appropriate for brunch or lunch IMO. Even though some of the elements were not exactly as described, we loved it.

Sub-station breakfast

Sub-station breakfast ($18.50)

Our other shared dish was one of the day’s specials: Kaskaval eggs with pan-roast tomato, kaskaval being a Bulgarian cow and/or sheep milk cheese. The dish comes piping hot in a small paella-style pan with a side cabbage salad, toast (we requested gluten-free) and butter. Good tasting dish and a nice alternative to shashuka for those who find it too spicy or who prefer a meatless version.

Kaskaval eggs with roast tomato

Kaskaval eggs with pan-roast tomato ($16.50)

Sub-station Cafe
124 McEvoy St
Alexandria NSW 2015
(02) 9557 9868
On Facebook

Sub-Station Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Black Ginger (Enmore)

Going to the chiro is a good excuse to eat on Enmore road. Not that is too far away, but it’s nice to have a legitimate excuse. That, and catch up with a friend who lives in the neighbourhood. My eyes were initially set on The Stinking Bishops but it was booked out. We walked to the next block with no Plan B in mind, and stumbled across Black Ginger. Vietnamese is always a good option for us, and this was a new restaurant for all of us.

The menu has photos, and both my friend and I decided quickly the Vietnamese Crispy Pancake Banh Xeo filled with mung bean, onions, bean sprouts and choice of protein (prawns, duck or tofu) was the way to go. We both chose duck and yes, I shared with Alvaro. The pancake is one of the many items in the menu labelled as gluten-free. It was my first time trying it and I loved it. The taste was great and the top half of the pancake was thin and crunchy. The bottom half became a bit soggy once enough nuoc cham had been applied to the filling, but it didn’t matter. There was a good variety of leaves on the plate – this was not a boring meal at all.

Vietnamese pancake with duck

Vietnamese crispy pancake with duck ($14.90)

The other dish I shared with Alvaro was the North Vietnamese Chicken Salad with shredded chicken, lime juice house sauce, red cabbage, onion, mint, coriander and peanuts. Generous serving, super fresh and very tasty. Couldn’t complain and would order again.

Chicken salad

North Vietnamese Chicken Salad ($14.90)

Only one PS: the prices in the menu are not updated. Expect to pay a dollar more here and there.

Black Ginger Restaurant
89 Enmore Rd
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 8386 5254
On Facebook

Black Ginger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Ya-Ya Mediterranean Grill (Sydney CBD)

On my last day of work at the office for a while (until I finish my mandatory uni placements) I caught up with my lunch buddy Sebastian. We’ve had a lot of disappointing lunch adventures in the CBD lately, but luckily this was not the (entirely) the case.

Souvla meat #greek #meat #lamb #chicken #paleo #primal #glutenfree #foodcourt #lunch

A photo posted by Gaby @ Lateral Eating (@lateraleating) on


I ordered a lamb plate that comes with chips, pita bread (which I skipped), dip (I chose tzatziki), salad (I chose Greek) and a drink (water for me). First the good news: the lamb was tender and tasty, chips and dip were good. Chips:salad ratio, however, was grossly skewed towards the cheapest end. Also, I got only a couple of small squares of feta in my salad. I still think $13.90 was a good price to pay for that meal, especially in the CBD.

Lamb plate with tzatziki & Greek salad #paleofriendly #primal #glutenfree #foodcourt #lunch

A photo posted by Gaby @ Lateral Eating (@lateraleating) on

Lamb plate ($13.90)

Sebastian ordered the chicken pita wrap that comes with a side (he chose Greek salad, too) and a drink (Coke Zero as usual). He agreed it was pretty good value for the money (his combo was $10).

@fabuloussebastian's chicken wrap with Greek salad #greek #foodcourt #lunch

A photo posted by Gaby @ Lateral Eating (@lateraleating) on

Chicken wrap combo ($10)

We would like to see the option to have no chips and more salad as well as extra meat.

Ya-Ya Mediterranean Grill
259 George St
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 8937 0725
On Facebook

Ya-Ya Mediterranean Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Product review: Green St Kitchen kimchi hot sauce

The makers of my favourite kimchis and krauts (see previous review) have a newish product in their line of fermented vegetable products: a kimchi hot sauce. It comes in a 280ml cough-syrup-style bottle. Be careful when opening it for the first time, as fermentation makes it fizzy. I’m glad I opened it over the sink.

Kimchi hot sauce

The sauce contains red peppers, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, red pepper powder, coconut sugar, sea salt and Korean miso… but don’t worry, it’s not as hot as it sounds! In fact, I found it pretty mild for my Peruvian palate. I loved the taste and would suggest you try it with different cuisines, not just Korean/Asian.

Kimchi hot sauce

Green St Kitchen
On Facebook

Review: Belgian Beer Cafe (Sydney CBD)

This is not only a fantastic place to grab a Belgian beer, but also a great place to catch up for dinner, especially if you love mussels. We’re talking about 1kg bowls of mussels in a variety of sauces ranging from European to Asian (all gluten-free), served with hot chips and mayo. We were told one bowl + sides would be enough for us, but we ordered two + a small salad (just because we’re dietitians) and we had no issues polishing them off.

Lobster brandy bisque mussels

Lobster brandy bisque mussels ($30)

The sauces we chose were lobster brandy bisque (vegetables, herbs & bisque sauce) and siam (vegetables, tom yum paste, Asian broth, coconut cream & Thai basil). I thought I’d like the first one better but the Siam was the unanimous winner. Regardless, both were delicious. The chips were great too: not too thin and very crunchy. Oh yeah, nice salad as well.

Siam mussels

Siam mussels ($30)

Small salad, Belgian fries

Small salad ($7), Belgian fries

None of us tried the beers but there’s a huge variety to choose from. If you don’t feel like beer, make sure you ask for the wine list. They had a few sold by the glass, like the Shiraz ($7) and Riesling ($11) one of my friends and I drank on the night.

Belgian Beer Cafe
135 Harrington St
The Rocks NSW 2000
(02) 8488 2460
On Facebook

Heritage Belgian Beer Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Big Daddy’s Burger Bar (Newtown)

This is one of the newest burger eateries in Newtown that I was super excited to try when they first opened their doors. Sadly, it seems that they’re having a hard time to keep customers engaged, as they don’t seem to be as busy as other local joints. Expect to find American everything: from furniture to menu items, including Mexican soft drinks (kidding).



We ordered a Who's Ur Daddy, which comes with beef patty & pulled pork, coleslaw, American & Swiss cheese, Canadian bacon, American mustard & mayo. They don’t have GF buns but are happy to serve burgers naked and there’s cutlery available, so no dramas. I can imagine cutlery would be helpful even if you order your burger with a bun, as it can get messy. It was an okay burger, tasty for sure but I’m biased towards higher quality patties.

Who's Ur Daddy

Who's Ur Daddy ($14)

The other burger we shared was a Big Daddy (double/double, i.e. double patty and double cheese) plus extra Canadian maple bacon, pickles and guacamole. Same deal: tasty combo but note the best quality IMO. And don’t get me started on the guacamole. Perhaps these are just not my kind of burgers.

Double + bacon & guacamole

Big Daddy ($11) + Canadian maple bacon ($2) + pickles ($0.60) + guacamole ($2)

Big Daddy’s Burger Bar
227 King St
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9517 4335

Big Daddy's Burger Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food for thought: Reading vs listening

I used to read a lot for fun. Then I decided to go back to uni and my reading turned a lot more academic. At some stage I decided to stop buying physical books and got a Kindle, mainly because it is a pain in the ass to move houses when you have heaps of books. Then I started listening to podcasts and realised I learn way quicker this way. I also enjoy the practicality of audio: I can do it while stretching, cooking, showering, walking, etc. Of course some activities require more concentration than others, but I’ve found I can get away with listening to podcasts while working if what I’m doing is fairly mechanical (or I’m not super interested in what’s playing on my phone).

Recently I started an audible membership, that allows me to download one book per month for “free” (i.e. for the cost of the membership). That’s a good pace for me at the moment because I don’t have a lot of time to listen to stuff and I’m still subscribed to a lot of podcasts.

I’ve noticed this shift from reading to listening not only with books, but also with blog posts. I used to read most of the articles in my feed from start to finish. Now, if there’s a choice of reading or listening (e.g. articles posted in blogs like Precision Nutrition and Mark’s Daily Apple), I disregard the article and listen to the podcast episode instead. If there’s no audio version, I convince myself that I absolutely *need* to read that article, otherwise I just discard it. It might be that my information FOMO is fading off, but I think it’s just that I don’t find the same value in reading anymore. I’ve become a listener.

One thing that I miss, though, is the active part of being a reader, the opportunity to use my imagination in giving a voice and a pace to the words. On the other hand, listening forces me to pay more deliberate attention because audible information is more likely to fade away if not stored in long-term memory; printed words are more “permanent” in that sense. I have also noticed that the reader’s voice, accent and occasional mispronunciation of words have the potential to annoy the heck out of me, in the same way cheap paper or poor font choice would annoy me when reading printed books.

If you haven’t tried listening to podcasts or audiobooks yet, I recommend you try it to see how it goes for you. It can help your productivity and/or appeal more to your learning style.

Review: Left Bower (Sutherland)

Last weekend I caught up with my friend Natalie (check out her holistic nutrition website) to talk about life, placement, diet experiments and her latest exciting project: The Holistic Nutritionists podcast.

I was meant to go to her neck of the woods (Cronulla), which I was excited about given the vast array of healthy cafes down there, but there were trackworks going on. Instead, I got off the train in Sutherland and we had brunch in a nearby cafe which is apparently popular among local cyclists.

I apologise in advance for being so slack in this review… I did not get photos of the menu hence the vague meal descriptions and absence of prices. All I know is we had a good chat and a good meal. I would definitely go back if I was in the area.

I had a long black for a change, which was on the short side. Not a bad thing when it’s a bit chilly outside and you want to finish your coffee while it’s still reasonably hot.

Long black

Long black

I ordered the pork, fennel & apple sausages with smashed sweet potato, poached egg, sauerkraut and GF toast. The generous serving of sauerkraut and wholegrain mustard made the meal taste very familiar to me. The serving was pretty big, but I did manage to polish it off.

Pork, fennel & apple sausages

Pork, fennel & apple sausages with smashed sweet potato, poached egg, sauerkraut and GF toast

Nat ordered a vegetarian brekkie with roasted pumpkin, chickpeas & poached egg on GF toast, which normally comes with tahini dressing. It looked like a great hearty vego option.

Roasted pumpkin, chickpeas & poached egg

Roasted pumpkin, chickpeas & poached egg on GF toast

My only suggestion would be to serve the GF toast on the side, as it gets way more soggy than regular toast when it’s served at the bottom of the plate.

Left Bower
1 Adelong St
Sutherland NSW 2232
On Facebook

Left Bower Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato