Dysphagia Framework Changes – What does this mean for me?

– By Siri Burke, Speech Pathologist at Optimum Health Solutions Sylvania.

International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI)

International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDIS)

If you or someone in your life has dysphagia (problems with eating and swallowing) you may have noticed some changes in terminology and labelling over the last 12 months.

The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) is a framework introduced in 2019 to standardise the way food and fluid textures are categorized. It’s the result of years of research and international consultation, and is designed to make the whole confusing process as simple and precise as possible.

The IDDSI framework consists of a continuum of 8 levels (0-7), where drinks are measured from Levels 0 – 4, while foods are measured from Levels 3 – 7.

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Manual Lymphatic Drainage for Breast – Cancer Related Lymphoedema

– By Dalena, Physiotherapists at Optimum Health Solutions Campbelltown.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (1)

What is lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema presents as swelling in extremities of the body caused by the disrupted fluid flow in the lymphatic system. In women (and men) who have had breast cancer, removal of breast tissue and/or impacted lymph nodes and vessels can cause lymphoedema of the same arm. This can cause pain, discomfort, loss of movement and even lead to fibrosis and infection if lymphoedema is poorly managed. 25-33% of all people who have experienced breast cancer will develop some form of lymphoedema.

How is lymphoedema treated?

There is growing evidence to show that breast-cancer related lymphoedema can be successfully managed using a combination of:

  • Compression bandages, sleeves or devices
  • Manual lymphatic drainage massage
  • Exercise

What is manual lymphatic drainage massage?

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– By Bella Bianchino, Occupational Therapist at Optimum Health Solutions Blacktown & Thornleigh

Pink & Black Minimal Chic Checklist List (2)


To the majority of us, things like brushing our teeth, getting dressed, and having a shower come as second nature. For those with intellectual delays and/or processing conditions such autism, they need a little extra help to get these done.



Occupational Therapist can help with this, and one way of enhancing someone’s independence in their self-care activities of daily living is with visuals. Many people with autism benefit more from a visual breakdown of what they are doing than listening to verbal instructions.

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March 26 (8)


  • 1 1/2 cups spelt white, or oat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar unrefined if desired
  • 6 tbsp oil or melted vegan butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk of choice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven at 180*C

2. Grease a pan, or line with parchment paper.

3. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl

4. Add wet ingredients to form dough

5. Roll out onto cutting board until 1cm thick

6. Cut out rabbit or other shapes using cookie cutters

7. Bake 11 minutes

8. Let cool

9. Add on favourite icing.

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March 26 (7)


  • 4 small potatoes
  • 400g tin salmon or tuna
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs or 2 crushed breakfast biscuits, e.g. WeetbixTM, VitabritsTM
  • Olive oil for frying


1. Boil the potatoes. Mash when soft (no need to add milk or margarine).

2. Drain fish then mash.

3. Mix potato, fish, onion, egg and pepper together. For each rissole, roll about 2 tablespoons of the fish mix in crumbs or crushed breakfast biscuit. Flatten rissoles slightly.

4. Heat a small amount of oil in a fry pan. Cook rissoles for 5 minutes on each side using moderate heat.

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March 26 (6)


  • 3/4 cup sweet potato puree
  • 1 cup peanut or almond butter OR allergy-friendly sub
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp flour (Oat, white, or spelt flour all work, and readers have reported success with almond flour)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips + more for the top, optional
  • 2/3 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt


1. Preheat oven to 180*C

2. Grease a pan, or line with parchment paper.

3. Gently heat your nut butter until easily stir-able

4.  Whisk it together with the sweet potato and vanilla extract in a large bowl.

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FISH, LENTIL & SPINACH SALAD – 04 Days of Easter

March 26 (5)


  • 250g butternut pumpkin, peeled, cut into pieces
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 500g white fish fillets, halved lengthways
  • 2x 400g can lentils, drained, rinsed
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 150g baby spinach
  • 1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar


1.Preheat oven to 200°C. Place pumpkin on a baking tray. Spray with oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until tender.

2. Meanwhile, spray a non-stick frying pan with oil. Add fish and cook over medium-high heat for 6-7 minutes or until just cooked through.

3. Combine pumpkin, lentils, tomato, spinach and vinegar in a bowl. Toss to combine.

4. Serve with fish fillets and lemon wedges.

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CRAZY CARROT CAKE CUPS – 04 Days of Easter

March 26 (3)



  • 2 cups white, spelt, or oat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • optional 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cup mashed overripe banana
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, honey, or agave
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup oil OR additional milk of choice
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Optional walnuts, coconut, etc toppings
  • Cream of choice


1. Preheat Oven to 180*C

2. Grease a pan, or line with parchment paper.

3. Combine dry ingredients including carrot and banana in a bowl.

4. Pour wet into dry, and stir to form a batter.

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THAI FISH CURRY – 04 Days of Easter

March 26 (2)


  • 1 tsp peanut oil

  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped

  • ½ tbsp red curry paste

  • 1 can light coconut milk

  • 1 stalk lemon grass, crushed

  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, crushed

  • 400g firm white fish fillets (ie. blue eye cod), cut into 3cm pieces

  • 1 tbsp fish sauce

  • 1 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar

  • 1 tbsp lime juice

  • 100g snow peas, halved

  • Thai basil leaves, red chilli and steamed rice, to serve


1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat, add onion and cook until soft and golden.

2. Stir in curry paste and cook for 1 minute. Add coconut milk, lemon grass, and lime leaves (remove before serving), and bring to boil.

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PROTEIN POWER BALLS – 04 Days of Easter

March 26 (1)


  • 330 g raw whole almonds or walnuts
  • 60g (2 TB) Protein Powder
  • 20 fresh dates, pitted
  • 3 generous tablespoons Cacao Powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground  cinnamon
  • Pinch flaked sea salt


1. In a food processor, process almonds with cinnamon, protein powder and cacao until mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.

2. Add dates and vanilla and process until the mix starts to bind together. If mixture looks dry, add small amount of water to soften so that mixture comes together cleanly.

3. Using your hands roll tablespoon sized amounts of mixture into balls (this should make 12 -16 depending on the size).

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