Organic versus natural foods – the labelling and regulation controversy

Organic versus natural foods, the labelling and regulation controversy you need to know about to be sure you’re getting what you pay for! Food labels are meant to empower us to make more informed decisions about the food we buy. We want to know where our food comes from – yet country of origin labelling is still voluntary, what’s in or food – and not in our food.

Continue reading “Organic versus natural foods – the labelling and regulation controversy”

5 easy ways to use the superfood psyllium husk 

Need more fibre in your life? Rather than spending money on supplements – many of which are loaded with artificial additives, take psyllium. Just 1 tablespoon of psyllium husk contains around 5 grams of fibre. Think of it’s as a whole food supplement. Continue reading “5 easy ways to use the superfood psyllium husk “

10 functional food loaded desserts

That feeling when you’re done with dinner but could still go for something sweet… here’s some simple, completely delicious, yet healthy dessert recipes for such moments.

Chocolate Fudge Brownie

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For when you have a bit more time to invest, this raw fudge brownie is the goods. There is very little added sugar here, with just 3 tablespoons of brown rice malt syrup. Brown rice malt syrup is a wheat-free alternative to sugar made by culturing certified organic brown rice. Unlike more traditional versions, this fudge is loaded with nutrient-dense wholefood ingredients like nuts, coconut and cacao. A little of this goes a long way. Get the recipe here.

Chocolate Chia Dessert Recipe

Superfoods chia, cacao and coconut combine to create a smooth and creamy dessert that is ready to eat in just 15 minutes. If you’ve been looking for ways use or eat chia seeds, chia puddings are a simple and delicious way to pack in a lot of nutrition.

Nutritionally, just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds contains 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrates and 11 grams of fibre! You only need 4 ingredients to make this healthy dessert. Check the recipe out here.

Healthy Black Rice Pudding

healthy vegan black rice pudding

We’ve upped the nutritional value of your usual rice pudding here by using black rice. Black rice contains beneficial antioxidants, importantly vitamin E, which helps keep your immune health in check. Essential for this time of the year. For a really creamy rice pudding we recommend pre-soaking your rice, it will also cook faster and is easier for your body to digest. Get the recipe here.

Healthy Coconut Mousse Recipe

At the end of the day, fat is fat. But one of the health benefits of coconut milk is that it contains medium chain fatty acids, which are rapidly metabolised into energy, and are less likely to be stored as fat! Just 4 ingredients and 3 minutes in the blender and you’ve got a healthy dessert! Get the recipe here.

Almond Meal Berry Tart Crumble

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A super simple tart crumble you can make in 10 minutes flat, add in the berries, and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes and dessert is done! What we love about this recipe is rather than using wheat flour, this tart crumble is made from oats and almond meal. Almond meal is made from ground whole almonds, so the meal retains the same great nutritional profile of the whole nuts. Get the recipe here.

For more baked goodness, this banana loaf also makes for a healthy dessert recipe option too.

Peanut Butter Mousse

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For the peanut butter lovers… a simple 3 ingredient dessert that just requires a blender and around a half hour in the fridge to set! Peanut butter might not have the superfood status of almond butter, but if you’re buying organic peanut butter without added oils and additives, like all nuts in general, you’ll get a decent dose of protein, fibre and good fats. Get the recipe here.

Healthy Peanut Butter Cups

vegan peanut butter cups recipe

If you’ve got a thing for peanut butter, this PB recipe is for you! This wholefood nutrient-dense version is basically organic peanut butter encased within a 3 ingredient raw chocolate. And they’re super simple to make. Get the recipe here.

Need tips on creating healthy dessert recipes? Check out this post on how to reduce sugar in your recipes.

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

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When life gives you avocados, make avocado mousse! For the avocado obsessed, here’s another way to get more avo in your life.

This mousse combines the anti-inflammatory nutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants from these green beauties with antioxidant loaded raw cacao, to create a creamy, nutrient-dense and delicious healthy dessert that can be whipped up in just 10 minutes. Make it here.

Raw Brazil Nut Cacao Cheesecake

gluten free vegan chocolate tart

The ultimate celebration cake. Melt in your mouth raw cacao cheesecake! The secret ingredient here is our raw organic cacao butter… and you’ll find even a small slice is enough to satisfy your chocolate cravings, thanks to the nutrient-dense wholefood ingredients like almonds, cacao and coconut!

This raw tart also contains Brazil nuts in the base, the No. 1 food source on the planet for selenium – a mineral our body needs for a number of critical functions including to help regulate thyroid hormones and support a healthy immune system. Reason enough to make this one. Get the recipe here.

Creamy Cacao Mousse

vegan chocolate mousse recipe

Keeping it simple with 3 ingredient chocolate mousse. Takes 10 minutes to make. Just blend and chill for a couple of hours and you’re done. It’s super delicious, not to mention loaded with good fats and antioxidants. Get the recipe here.

For more healthy dessert recipes, check out our desserts category here.

Superfood spices and easy ways to use them

Often when we think about superfoods, açaí bowls and obscure powders and tonics found only in health food stores might come to mind… But what many of us don’t realise is that we’ve probably got a powerful arsenal of superfood spices and herbs already – in the pantry! Continue reading “Superfood spices and easy ways to use them”

A conversation with Sarah Tanner, founder of Greenleaf Organics

The founder of Greenleaf Organics, Sarah Tanner is hugely passionate about organics and plant-based nutrition. She is also a mother to a beautiful girl named Stella. From blending out of her garage in 2014, to opening the doors to Greenleaf Organics in Kingsland last year, this is a conversation with Sarah about how it all began.
Continue reading “A conversation with Sarah Tanner, founder of Greenleaf Organics”

The simple and healthy meal solution you’ve been looking for

Buddha bowl, macro bowl, whatever you call it, how do you make one? These fully loaded nutrient-dense bowls are more of an assembly instruction than a recipe. Think of it as a formula for one damn healthy meal! Continue reading “The simple and healthy meal solution you’ve been looking for”

Switching to a whole foods diet

We live in pretty toxic environments and ideally, we all want to be eating a balanced whole foods diet, but it can be difficult navigating grocery aisles and food labels. So whether you’re new to a whole foods lifestyle and don’t know where to start or just need a refresher, here are some tips for shifting from highly processed foods to whole foods. Continue reading “Switching to a whole foods diet”

Raw 101 with Megan May, founder of Little Bird Organics

I’m Megan May, founder of Little Bird Organics, and this is (in short) why I ended up switching to a predominantly raw diet. I’ll share with you how going raw impacted my overall health and wellbeing, and simple ways you can incorporate more raw foods into your diet, and get that raw glow too!
Continue reading “Raw 101 with Megan May, founder of Little Bird Organics”

20 reasons to use apple cider vinegar every day, plus easy recipes!

Google apple cider vinegar and you’ll be drowning in articles singing its praises, bloggers blogging about the benefits of apple cider vinegar, and with good reason. Although let’s face it, it does not taste great. If you’re able to down it with water, cheers to you (and where did you get your secret powers?).
Continue reading “20 reasons to use apple cider vinegar every day, plus easy recipes!”

All about buckwheat, plus buckwheat recipes!

Buckwheat is probably one of the healthiest, most versatile grains. However, buckwheat is not actually related to wheat at all. Below we’ve got the low down on this gluten free grain and some buckwheat recipes for you so you can start incorporating this whole food into your diet. Continue reading “All about buckwheat, plus buckwheat recipes!”

Are nut butters actually good for you?

Heck yes nut butters are good for you! Harvard says “people who eat nuts regularly are less likely to have heart attacks or die from heart disease than those who rarely eat them”. So what are you waiting for?

Nut butters can be a great addition to any diet. But like all things, it does depend. Read your labels. Some are best left on the shelf.
Continue reading “Are nut butters actually good for you?”

5 ways to naturally supplement

With scientists saying the majority of supplements are not worth taking, should you be spending your hard earned cash on them? Well, yes and no, it depends. Read on for 5 ways you could naturally supplement your whole foods diet.

1. Selenium

Your thyroid gland needs selenium to function properly. Selenium deficiency can lead to muscle and joint pain, unhealthy hair, and white spots on your fingernails. If you’re deficient for too long, your immune system ends up attacking the thyroid, this is called Hashimoto’s disease.

A New Zealand study found that just eating two Brazil nuts a day was more effective than taking supplements. Eating one Brazil nut a day can keep your selenium levels within the recommended dietary intake (RDI).

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2. Calcium

You know calcium is important for your bones, but what you probably did not know is that there are loads of non-dairy sources of calcium out there. Research from senior nutrition scientist Dr. Lanou (which addresses the “calcium paradox”) found “no evidence to support the notion that milk is a preferred source of calcium”. Based on over 10 years of research, she concluded that milk, dairy products and calcium supplements do not prevent bone fractures. There is actually no scientific evidence to support the claims that dairy is good for your bones.

You should be aiming for 1000 mg of calcium a day. A cup of milk will give you about 300 mg, 2 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses has 400 mg, 1 cup of kale has 180 mg, 1 cup of tempeh has about 215 mg, 1 cup of amaranth has 160 mg, 2 tablespoons of tahini has about 130 mg.

If you make your own nut milk, you can fortify them naturally with calcium using sesame seeds. Add 1 quarter cup to your nuts and blend. This will add about 350 mg of calcium to your nut milk.

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3. Fibre

Of course, we all know fibre is important and yet, most of us simply do not get enough of it. A lot of us eat less than half of what we should. This is especially worrisome as inadequate fibre intake has been linked to increased risks of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

So how much do you need? According to the NZ Nutrition Foundation, guys need 38 grams a day and girls need 25 grams a day. Do the math and find out how much fibre you’re getting versus what you should be getting.

Foods rich in fibre also contain powerful protective agents, such as antioxidants and phytochemicals, like oats for example. High fibre diets can also help in weight control and the management of diseases such as diabetes.

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4. Omega 3 fatty acids

You’ve probably heard of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are essential fatty acids, meaning our body can’t make them from scratch so we need to get them from our diets.

Omega-3 fats are found in salmon, sardines and eggs from grass fed chickens. Getting omega-3s from plants is a bit more complicated. There are actually 3 types of omega fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

EPA and DHA are the best for you. Your body can make EPA and DHA from ALA, but the conversion rate is not very effective. You’d need to eat more foods that are higher in ALA like flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.

Some people supplement – fish oil supplements are huge, but there is one big problem: the majority of clinical trials involving fish oil supplements have found no evidence to support their health claims.

Andrew Grey, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Auckland who authored a 2014 study on fish oil in JAMA Internal Medicine also found the properties of omega-3 fatty acids had not translated into notable benefits in most large clinical trials.

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5. Vitamin D

For a while now, vitamin D has been gaining a reputation with protective powers against some cancers and bone-weakening osteoporosis. Results are mixed. This research concluded “highly convincing evidence of a clear role of vitamin D does not exist for any outcome, but associations with a selection of outcomes are probable.” What they’re saying is: it’s an unknown as to whether taking vitamin D supplements really helps at all. This study also found that taking vitamin D had no effect on a wide range of diseases and conditions.

Whether supplementation with vitamin D can help people live longer and healthier requires more study. Natural foods are usually the best way to get vitamins, but this is not the case for vitamin D. Only a few foods like salmon, tuna, sardines, milk, and fortified foods contain vitamin D.

So what about the sun? Exposing your bare skin to sunlight to get ultraviolet B (UVB) for about 10 to 15 minutes a few times a week is enough to generate your body’s vitamin D needs for a week. Too much exposure to the sun causes skin cancer so this one requires extreme caution.

So can you naturally supplement?

Really, we should not need to supplement… with some exceptions. This is not to say all supplements are useless, some work but you might just need to make some adjustments to your diet.

Ideally aim to get your vitamins and minerals and macronutrients from organic whole foods. Keep in mind, supplements don’t have all the other extra nutrients that whole foods naturally have.

What’s uncertain is whether it’s the interaction between various nutrients in whole foods or isolated nutrients that are beneficial to our health. What is likely to be important then is how nutrients in the foods you eat are combined.

If you think your diet might be missing some essential goodness, visit a health provider who can help you identify the areas of your diet you need to improve on and what supplements you might require. Never underestimate the basics of a good diet. Pills are not substitute for a nutrient poor diet.

Coconut oil and other fats. What you need to know

Research has shown that dietary fat can be good for us in multiple ways – look at coconut oil! But which ones should you add into your diet and why? We take a look at how you can add more healthy fats into your diet and how to avoid the not so good ones! Continue reading “Coconut oil and other fats. What you need to know”

Chia seeds and 7 other foods that are good for your gut

Most of us may not realise it, but issues like allergies, arthritis, autoimmune disease, acne, and chronic fatigue are actually digestive issues.

Your digestive system is at the core of your life energy, the wellbeing of your entire body. To avoid common digestive related health issues, like bloating and constipation, you need to know what foods will nourish your digestive health. Adding these 8 foods to your diet is will be great for your gut and overall health.

1. Chia seeds

Chia seeds plus water equals super hydrating gel. Chia seeds can actually absorb up to 12 times their weight in water. Chia has an incredible amount of fibre, just one tablespoon has 6 grams which your digestive system needs to help move your bowel.

Your bowel movements say a lot about your general health. Three per day to three per week is considered the normal range. But what’s more important than frequency is the ease with which you move your bowels. If you’re not within the normal range and/or have difficulty moving, you really need to get more fibre in you! You should be aiming for about 22 grams of fibre a day, and there are loads of ways to get chia seeds into your diet which will help you smash your fibre goals.

Make your water super hydrating by adding chia seeds to your water bottle or add chia seeds to your smoothies. Sprinkle chia over everything, your overnight oats, muesli and salads. Chia puddings are always a good idea, these chocolate chia puddings make really healthy desserts too.

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2. Hydrating vegetables 

Drinking fluids is going to help your body remove waste and detox, which prevents constipation. Forget what you have been told, eight glasses of water a day is no longer considered a goal.

You’ll gain extra benefits from eating your water. The Science of Cellular Water was developed by Dr Murad. For optimal hydration your body needs to hold water within its cells. Water in fruit and vegetables referred to as cellular water contains other nutrients that help water enter your cells.

So for optimal hydration, eat your water too. Need some juicing and blending inspiration? Check out our Pinterest boards for healthy juice recipes.

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3. Fermented vegetables

Optimal digestion, absorption and removal of waste are required for good intestinal health. While we know how important fibre is for keeping things moving, increasingly studies are showing how our gut bacteria have a critical role in determining our overall health.

You can encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut by eating foods packed with probiotics. Lacto-fermented vegetables like kimchi and sauerkraut, coconut kefir and kombucha, the elixir of life for the Chinese, are all rich sources of probiotics.

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4. Oats

The fibre in oats is awesome for digestive health for two reasons. One, because oats contain more soluble than non-soluble fibres, which means oats are easier for your body to digest. Two, the beta-glucan fibres in oats bind with toxins in the gut and cholesterol in the blood, removing them from the body.

To get more oats in your diet, make overnight oats more often for breakfast like these almond protein oats and coconut oats or throw some oats into your next smoothie.

5. Kumara

Your digestive system does not simply ‘work’ because you put food through. Rhythmic intestinal contractions, called peristalsis, are needed for digestion, absorption and metabolism to occur. We largely associate potassium with bananas but actually kumara is loaded with potassium which helps flush out your digestive system.

Sweet potatoes are also a good source of magnesium, which regulates gut function and improves enzyme production in the body, thereby helping with digestion. Another bonus is kumara contains more soluble than insoluble fibre, which is easy on your digestive system. This black quinoa kumara salad is insanely delicious and gluten free.

6. Coconut kefir yoghurt

To improve your digestive system, you need to support it. As mentioned above, probiotics get more of these healthy bacteria into your gut, which helps keep things all zen in there. Cultured yoghurts are rich in probiotics, but for some people dairy isn’t an option. They just get serious gas and bloating.

Intolerant to lactose, or think you are? You’re not alone. About 60 odd percent of the global population is. Try coconut kefir yoghurt instead. It contains all the probiotics but none of the lactose that causes embarrassing side effects.

7. Psyllium husk

Psyllium is great for giving your colon a clean. Largely soluble fibre, psyllium absorbs water and eventually turns into a gelatinous blob. As the blob moves through your intestines, it continues to absorb water and expand, absorbing toxins and helping transport waste through the digestive tract.

Including whole psyllium husks in your diet can help keep your bowel movements nice and regular. You could drink one tablespoon of psyllium straight up in a large glass of water, or add it to a smoothie like this cleansing green smoothie with psyllium. Make sure you drink a lot of liquid when taking psyllium to keep things flowing.

psyllium smoothies

8. Water

So now you’ve read this and you’re going to have a more fibrous diet. You’ll need to up your water intake too. Fibre is super absorbent and without fluids fibre can’t move through your digestive tract. You’ll get constipation. Not what you want.

Drink plenty of water and cellular water too. You’ll know when you’re getting enough water when your pee is clear all day long.

10 foods that help balance hormones

Whatever you eat is either helping hormonal production and maintaining healthy hormonal balance or causing imbalances and wreaking havoc on your body.

WHAT ARE HORMONES AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Eating the right nutrient dense whole foods can help get your hormones back in balance. Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers produced by your endocrine system. You might not know it but they control practically all the major processes in your body. When I say major, I mean major! Key processes which hormones control include:

  • Reproduction
  • Puberty
  • Energy levels
  • Bone and muscle strength
  • Metabolism
  • Libido
  • That time of the month (for women)
  • Maintaining nutrient, water and electrolyte balance of the blood
  • Mobilising body defences against stressors

Your body produces, stores and releases hormones, and when all is good, your body functions properly and you operate at your maximum. When your hormones are unbalanced, things can get ugly… this kind of ugly.

  • Weight gain
  • Irregular periods
  • Belly fat and loss of muscle mass
  • Low libido
  • Bloating, gas
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Can’t sleep
  • Acne

While the endocrine system is complex, there are some simple things you can do to help out your body to create and balance your hormones. Read on to find out how you can eat your way to more balanced hormones.

1. COCONUT OIL

Coconuts are superfoods for a reason. It contains lauric acid which is healing to the skin and also hugely beneficial to hormone production. Coconut oil, although not an omega-3 or omega-6 fat, is an extremely beneficial dietary fat, thanks to its special MCFAs (medium-chain fatty acids). While many foods have a negative effect on the thyroid, the medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil are small enough to enter the mitochondria, which are your cells’ energy burning powerhouses, where they are converted to energy.

Findings published in the Journal of Nutrition by researchers at McGill University concluded that coconut oil may increase energy expenditure, which may result in faster weight loss and help with weight control when consumed daily as part of a balanced diet and with the removal of processed foods.

2. AVOCADOS

Eating a varied diet including short, medium and long chain fatty acids are important for balanced hormone levels. Hormones are produced using good fats, so a lack of these good fats can cause hormone problems because the body doesn’t have the building blocks to make them.

Rich in monounsaturated fats that help your body absorb and use nutrients, avocados are also loaded with fibre, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, B vitamins and folic acid which are all critical for maintaining hormonal balance. We cannot have proper hormonal balance without adequate amounts of saturated fats.

3. FLAXSEEDS, CHIA & WALNUTS

Hormone balance is also about omega 3 and 6 balance. Omega 6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory, while omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. By avoiding pro inflammatory fats (like processed vegetable oils and processed foods containing them) and increasing your omega 3 intake, you can get enough EPA and DHA which are the building blocks for hormones. Getting more omega 3 fats in your body is one of the easiest ways you can naturally balance your hormones.

4. RAW CARROTS

Estrogen dominance is an underlying cause of PMS, hormonal acne, fertility issues, man boobs and erectile dysfunction, to name a few. Carrots actually contain unique undigestible fibres to help detox excess estrogen from the body.

Raw carrots have been found to help by preventing the reabsorption of estrogen from the intestine, meaning the liver can more effectively regulate metabolism. Foods like carrots and coconut oil, that protect the bowel and can improve the hormonal environment, can have a huge impact on hormones and immunity. This salad recipe is pretty easy to put together, you will need:

  • ½ to 1 medium carrot
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of salt

Just grate your carrot, full size, not baby carrots as they don’t contain those special fibres and add the other ingredients, mix and eat your way to healthier estrogen levels!

5. EAT YOUR WATER

According to Dr. Murad, drinking too much water can deplete electrolytes and cause dehydration; so you don’t really need to go overboard with the 8 glasses of water. Instead, practice metabolic hydration which optimises cellular hydration. This is important for many people trying to balance hormones because it supports thyroid and adrenal glands.

Despite being told to drink 8 glasses of water a day, it would appear we were doing it wrong. Dr. Murad recommends eating your water! Juicing nutrient rich organic fresh fruits and vegetables is important for optimising cellular hydration. Metabolic hydration supports the thyroid and adrenal glands, helping to balance hormones naturally. You can read more about this here.

6. INCREASE YOUR LEPTIN LEVELS

Leptin is a satiety hormone produced by fat cells that regulates hunger and metabolism. We can create a deficiency in our leptin levels by consuming too much sugar or processed foods, or by not getting enough sleep. The result is seriously dangerous food cravings, a slower metabolism, and weight gain. For more in-depth information on leptin resistance and how to fix it, this article is a good read.

7. MACA

Maca root is a tuber in the radish family that has a history of boosting hormone production and libido. Many women notice fewer PMS symptoms, increased fertility and improved skin; while some studies show increased sperm production, libido and better sleep. Maca is also high in minerals and essential fatty acids, making it great for hormones.

8. ORGANIC WHENEVER YOU CAN

We’ve all heard of the dirty dozen list, but did you know pesticides used in conventional agriculture contain hormone altering endocrine inhibitors? Endocrine disruptors increase the production of some hormones and decrease the production of others, which can throw things out of balance.

Pesticides contain xenoestrogens, a sub-group of endocrine disruptors that mimic estrogen. When xenoestrogens enter the body they increase the total amount of estrogen resulting in estrogen dominance. Build-up of xenoestrogens have been indicated in many conditions including: breast, prostate and testicular cancer, obesity, infertility, endometriosis, early onset puberty, miscarriages and diabetes.

Organophosphate pesticides, the neurotoxins originally created for chemical warfare are, YES!, used to spray crops. The best thing you can do is buy organic when you can, or use the most current dirty dozen list to avoid the produce with the highest pesticide levels. You can find it here.

9. OLIVE OIL

Healthier fats, like the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, can help create more responsive and healthy cell membranes that allow hormones to more easily adhere to the cell membrane.

Although this process is not fully understood, a paper by Dr. Michael Aziz explains it like this – when people eat unhealthy trans fats, “they incorporate in our cells, and the cells cannot communicate or talk to one another. In turn, hormones are disturbed and weight gain follows.” So eat good fats that help keep hormone communication happening!

10. EVENING PRIMROSE OIL FOR GLA

Evening primrose oil is very high in essential fatty acids and is particularly indicated for hormonal imbalance related to PMS symptoms. GLA is anti-inflammatory and may promote healthy hormone production, in particular regulating estrogen dominance.

Hormones still messing with your body? Consider seeing a certified health professional who can work with you to develop a plan to naturally bring them back into a state of chi.

Do we all need to go gluten free? Probably not

Going gluten free can transform lives. Some 55 or so conditions have been linked to gluten and, while avoiding gluten has most definitely had some amazing benefits for loads of people, for many others wheat is the issue and not so much gluten. Continue reading “Do we all need to go gluten free? Probably not”

6 reasons you’ll want matcha in your life

What’s the deal with matcha powder? You’ve seen it all over Instagram, those matcha lattes that all the cool urban cafes have now, the doughnuts, the ice cream… But there’s nothing new here really – people have been taking matcha for centuries, find out why below.
Continue reading “6 reasons you’ll want matcha in your life”

Pesticide use is hurting us and the planet

The global volume market for pesticides is projected to reach 3.2 million tons by 2019, and the industry market value – expected to reach an estimated market value of $81.1 billion by 2021. Pesticides are a growth market. The developing world is awash with pesticides. But does it need to be, and at what cost? Continue reading “Pesticide use is hurting us and the planet”

10 hydrating foods and why you’ll want to eat your water

Hydration is not about how much water you drink, but how much water you hold. Healthy, hydrated cells are the key to beautiful skin and a healthy body – so below we’ve got 10 hydrating foods with recipes so you can eat your water!

Hydration is about the water you hold, not drink 

As we age, our cells lose water. When we are born approximately 75% of our body is water but by the time we reach middle age, our body’s water content can be as low as 50%. The Science of Cellular Water™ developed by Howard Murad, M.D explains how cellular water loss causes ageing and why our wellness is determined by each cell’s ability to hold water.

Without adequate water supply, skin cell structure deteriorates and leads to visible signs of ageing, (think fine lines and wrinkles). Water in fruits and vegetables contain nutrients and structured water to nourish and hydrate your cells, (to give you glowing, healthy skin).

The Science of Cellular Water looks at the ability of cell membranes to hold water within a cell as the fundamental marker of youthful good health, because skin can only be beautiful if it is healthy at the cellular level. So how do you provide your cells with water-rich nutrition? You eat it.

Want beautiful skin? Eat your water

Most of us think hydration means drinking eight glasses of water a day, but Dr. Murad says that water “will go right through you,” and along with it, nutrients. Hydration is about the water you keep, not drink so water eaten goes towards replenishing our cellular water and maintaining optimal cellular function.

Water in fruits and vegetables is surrounded by molecules that facilitate the entry of water into cells, which is why it is referred to as cellular water. Cellular water is absorbed slowly, providing you with lasting hydration, so Dr. Murad recommends “eating your water” in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables to keep your body hydrated.

Most foods contain some water but plant foods have more. When you consume water through fruits and vegetables you also get, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents and fibre. Cooking reduces the water content so eat your fruits and vegetables raw, whole, blended or juiced. Read on for your top 10 hydrating foods, how to get them in you and get hydrating!

1. Cucumber | Water Content 97%

One of the most hydrating foods – cucumber! Increase the hydrating power of your next green smoothie by adding a cup of cucumber, like the spinach coconut smoothie below.

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Add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds to your smoothie and bam! you just drank a refreshing 11 grams of fibre too.

2. Strawberries | Water Content 92%

This smoothie recipe combines strawberries and watermelon – both high water content, with our superfood blend antioxidant boost. 

INGREDIENTS

½ cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 frozen banana in chunks
½ cup frozen strawberries
¾ cup fresh diced seedless watermelon, used in place of water
2-3 tablespoons Ceres Organics Antioxidant Boost

Add all the ingredients to a blender, blend, then drink up.

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3. Watermelon | Water Content 92%

Quite simple really, blend watermelon to get watermelon juice and stir through a tablespoon of chia seeds for 4 grams of protein. Watermelon also contains the antioxidant lycopene which is thought to have a protective role against cardiovascular disease, although this is slightly controversial and still under scientific study. 

4. Raspberries | Water Content 92%

Combine 1 cup of raspberries, 1 cup of spinach, 1 frozen banana with ½ cup water and throw in 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed. Blend and then down 4 grams of yummy soluble fibre, (ground flaxseed is easier for your body to absorb). We combined them with beets and ground flaxseed in this antioxidant rich smoothie here.

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5. Spinach | Water Content 92%

This green fruit-free smoothie will give you enough hydration to share with a friend. 1 cup each of spinach, cucumber and celery, plus 1 avocado, the juice of 1 lemon (lemon has such low fructose levels that even Sarah Wilson allows it), 4 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of psyllium husks and a handful of ice.

6. Celery | Water Content 95%

This hydrating juice will give you all your vitamin A requirements for the day. Juice 2 celery sticks with 3 carrots, 1 apple and a ¼ cucumber. A good green juice is going to combine loads of hydrating foods, think cucumber, celery, spinach, grapefruit and or lemon. Not for the faint hearted, you can throw some apple or pear in there to tone it done.

7. Grapefruit | Water content 91%

Boost your metabolism with this hydrating smoothie which combines two super hydrating foods – grapefruit and spinach. Blend 1 grapefruit with skin removed with 1 apple, 2 cups of spinach, a frozen banana, a handful of ice cubes and ½ cup of water. Grapefruit is a great source of vitamin C, so get on this now, winter is coming!

8. Cantaloupe | Water content 90%

Smash your fibre goals with this cantaloupe, banana, seeds smoothie. Makes enough for 2. Blend 2 cups of cubed cantaloupe, 2 frozen bananas, a handful of ice cubes and 3 tablespoons of a mix of seeds like sesame, amaranth, chia, flaxseed.

9. Red Cabbage | Water content 92%

A slightly odd combination but you won’t regret making this vitamin rich beet and berry smoothie. It’s quite possibly the best way to have cabbage. 

antioxidant functional foods smoothie

10. Carrots | Water content 87%

Make yourself an anti-inflammatory concoction by blending 1 cup of carrot juice with a 1 inch piece of fresh turmeric grated or juiced with 2 tablespoons of raw cashews. The cashews are optional but it will make your juice that little bit creamier. 

Curcumin is thought to be the primary pharmacological agent in turmeric, with anti-inflammatory effects shown to be comparable to potent drugs in various studies. It was even used to effectively and safely treat patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis in this study.

Ready to try drinking your water with these 10 hydrating foods? Show us. Tag @ceresorganics on Instagram.

Getting enough greens? 6 ways to get more!

Remember your parents always telling you to ‘eat your greens’? They were right – green vegetables should be the pillars of a healthy diet. Easier said than done!

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) have found that “adding more spinach, kale, collards, and mustard greens to your diet could help slow cognitive decline” due to their “vitamin K , lutein, folate and beta-carotene content”. This is all well and good, but what if you have a picky eater at home? Or perhaps just can’t seem to enjoy the taste and texture of green vegetables? And what if you don’t know how to prepare them? Read on for a handy list of six different ways to sneak more greens into your diet.

Smoothies & Juices

Green smoothies and juices are a fantastic way to cram extra nutrients into your day. They’re an especially easy method of consuming greens as the ingredients have already been blended up, so you don’t have to try chewing your way through an entire stalk of kale. Use flavourless greens such as baby spinach, kale, or chard, or if you’re feeling a little adventurous, go for some parsley and dandelion leaves.

This Minted Pear and Kale Smoothie is the perfect refreshing drink for a warm afternoon, but do make sure you blend the greens first to properly liquidise them, or else your drink will have a rather unpleasant texture. ThisCleansing Smoothie with spinach leaves and psyllium husk is a great option for kids (or fussy adults!), a gorgeous green potion with the sweetness of banana, kiwifruit, and grapes.

green-smoothie-blog

Sauces & Dips

Trying to consume greens if you’re not a big fan of them is never an easy feat, which is why hiding them is the perfect solution. Dips such as pesto are perfect as they can be smuggled in anywhere you would use any other variety of sauce. This Spinach and Coconut Dip contains a half cup of spinach per serve, giving you an assortment of nutrients such as vitamin K and A, manganese, folate, magnesium, and iron, as well as the goodness of fibre other phytonutrients. Try serving this alongside some crudities or rice crackers, spread onto chunks of fresh bread, or spooned liberally over warm roast vegetables for the ultimate salad.

Wraps & Sandwiches

Wraps and sandwiches are a fantastic option because they’re usually crammed with so many other flavours, leaving the greens almost unnoticeable. Use these Gluten-free Tortilla Wraps as a starting point – add your favourite vegetables, then try adding texture with crunchy cos lettuce, or some bitter rocket for a sharper taste.

Stirfries

Known for being the quickest and arguably most delicious way to ramp up your vegetable intake, stir-fries are also the perfect place to sneak in some extra greens. When wilted, greens like spinach and bok choy are the perfect vessels for tasty sauces, and provide additional texture and bulk. Try wilting them into this Red Rice Quinoa Stir-Fry, or serve it on a bed of fresh leaves for an extra crunch.

Soups

The beauty of soups is that they have the ability to mask both texture and flavour of the ingredients used – no more limp broccoli or soggy silver beet! Try this Broccoli Soup – not only is it packed with vitamins and minerals such as iron, vitamins K and C, and potassium, it also boasts a substance called sulforaphane which apparently has anti-cancer properties. Top tip – pouring soups over greens may sound strange, but it’s rather tasty!

Epic salads

Last but not least, the most obvious way to prepare greens – in a salad. However, salads aren’t all limp lettuce and soggy dressings! This Green Vegetable Salad has an assortment of nuts and seeds, which provide additional textures and flavours to keep your taste buds busy. Having a tasty dressing helps too – this recipe has a combination of maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar to help liven it up.

Greens need not be eaten with a wince, nor grudgingly added onto your plate at the last minute. Make them a main component of a flavoursome dish, whether that is a wrap, salad, or soup, and you’re bound to end up with something a lot more enjoyable!

No, oats are not gluten free – here’s why

There’s a lot of confusion around oats and whether they are actually gluten free or not – well, oats are not gluten free. To understand why, we’ll look at what gluten actually is, Coeliac versus non-Coeliac gluten sensitivity and legal definitions for labelling here and globally. Continue reading “No, oats are not gluten free – here’s why”

5 puree recipes for happy healthy babies

These recipes are simple and quick because, let’s face it, you don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. Using seasonal ingredients and a few superfoods, you can create healthy, nourishing baby foods in minutes.

Whether you’re already making your own baby food or if you’re starting out, these organic baby food recipes are nutritious, nourishing and super quick to make, plus it will cost less than store brought. Most recipes make up large enough quantities for you to freeze, and some will even double as a healthy dessert for you.

Now what about organic versus non-organic food for your baby? Does it even really matter? Babies are more susceptible to pesticide exposure because they eat more food per kilogram of body weight than adults do. So if you are able to use organic foods, your baby will be exposed to far fewer pesticides.

According to a study published in the Journal Environmental Health Perspectives, kids who ate conventional foods had several different pesticides in their systems. These chemical pesticides disappeared within a day after switching to organic food and juice.

So “Yes!”, the best way to reduce your baby’s exposure to potentially harmful pesticides would be to source organically grown food where possible. However, sometimes it is just not possible to eat all organic so whether you’re using all organic, all conventional or a mix of both it’s a personal choice. At any rate, making your own baby food from scratch using whole foods will be better than non-organic conventional processed baby foods.

These simple baby puree recipes require only a maximum of five whole food ingredients, and will keep in the freezer for at least a month. Some batches are quite large so adjust quantities to suit, and feel free to sub other produce in to take advantage of seasonal produce.

In addition to using a combination of fresh fruits and vegetables for vitamins, minerals, energy and fibre, coconut milk and chia seeds are used in a few purees providing a high quality source of healthy plant based fats and protein. These baby purees will delight your baby’s taste buds and provide him or her with nutritious whole food nourishment.

SPICED BANANA COCONUT PUREE

½ banana, peeled
2 tablespoons Ceres Organics Coconut Milk
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Place the banana in a small bowl and smash with a fork until almost smooth. Microwave the banana for 10 seconds, stir and repeat until the puree is warm. Stir in coconut milk and cinnamon and serve.

This puree is still great cold and will last for one day in the fridge or one month in the freezer.

PEAR DATE AND ORANGE PUREE

2 pears
6 Ceres Organics RAW Pitted Dates, soaked and drained
Juice of 1 orange

Preheat your oven to 200°C and line baking tray with parchment paper.

Cut the pears into quarters and place on baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.

When pears are done, add pears, dates and orange juice to a blender. Pulse until you have a blended but chunky puree.

Kept in an airtight container, the puree will last five days in fridge or three months in the freezer.

MANGO CHIA COCO PUREE

3 spray free or organic mangoes
¼ cup Ceres Organics Chia Seeds
2 cans Ceres Organics Coconut Milk
½ cup Ceres Organics Shredded Coconut
handful of mint

Blend mango flesh and then transfer to a large bowl. Add the chia seeds, one can of coconut milk and shredded coconut. Leave to sit in the fridge for at least four hours or overnight.

Place the contents of the bowl into a blender, add the second can of coconut milk and the mint, and blend until thick and creamy. This makes a lot. Keep some for dessert for yourself, it will keep in the fridge for up to three days or the freezer for a month.

MANGO BERRY PUREE WITH COCONUT MILK

3 spray free or organic mangoes
1 cup organic blueberries or raspberries
1 can Ceres Organics Coconut Milk, chilled overnight
¼ cup filtered water

Blend the mangoes and berries with water.

To make the whipped coconut milk, scoop the thick cream off the top of the can and place in a bowl. Keep the liquid in airtight container for your next smoothie.

With a hand mixer, whip the coconut cream until thick. Fold together the fruit puree and coconut cream. Store in airtight container in fridge for up to three days.

CURRIED ORANGE KUMARA PUREE

2 large organic orange kumara
½ teaspoon curry powder

Preheat your oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Wash your kumara and prick with a fork. Wrap in tin foil and bake for about an hour or until a fork goes easily into the kumara.

Let the kumara cool and then cut lengthwise. Scoop out the kumara flesh into a blender. You won’t use the skin here. Add the curry powder and blend until super smooth.

This will keep in the fridge for three days and in the freezer for three months.

5 metabolism boosting foods

Your metabolism is not the only thing determining how good skinny jeans look on you. Yes, to some extent your metabolic rate does but these five metabolism boosting foods can help you boost it and burn more calories!

What is metabolism?

Your body requires a significant amount of energy just to do even the most basic of things. Defined, metabolism is quite literally the overall total of what your body needs to do in order to maintain homeostasis, basically to keep you alive. There are two parts here, catabolism, the process of breaking things down for energy, and anabolism, the synthesis of essential compounds for use in various cells throughout the body.

The amount of energy (in the form of calories) that your body needs to function while resting for 24 hours, so doing absolutely is called the basal metabolic rate, or BMR. This number differs from person to person, and it’s actually about 60% of your total energy burned each day which is huge.

In addition to your BMR, two other factors determine how many calories you can burn (also important to know if you are wanting to lose weight).

Food processing. This is also referred to as thermogenesis, the digestion, absorption, transportation and storage of the food you eat. Eating actually requires energy too. Not all foods are equal and some actually require more energy than others and research even shows that eating whole foods compared to highly processed foods requires more energy. Another reason to eat whole foods, they burn more calories!

Physical activity. Whether it’s hitting the gym or yoga, exercise is one a somewhat variable factor that really determine your calorie burning potential!

Unfortunately, weight gain (and loss) is not straight forward. It is likely a combination of genetics, hormones, and even things like how much you stress out, how much sleep you get and how much you exercise and of course what you’re eating! You can however support your metabolism through your diet. Here are five foods to start eating now to boost your metabolism.

Matcha green tea powder

You’re probably already familiar with green tea leaves which are widely renowned for their nutritional benefits. However, much of the valuable antioxidants and flavonoids are simply dumped in the bin when we empty out our tea strainers. You can get more bang for your buck by swapping your leaves for matcha powder – the ground form of the green tea leaf.

Matcha is a natural metabolism booster, for which we have catechins, ECGC and polyphenols in particular, to thank. These are super potent antioxidants that are found in a very limited number of foods, and are also thought to have anti-cancer properties. A study conducted by Maastricht University has shown that matcha is a proven metabolism booster, which alongside its considerable potassium, protein, and Vitamin A and C content makes for an impressive repertoire!

Not only is matcha powder much more nutrient dense per cup in comparison to its bagged counterpart as the result of ingesting the entire leaf (approximately 10 times so), it also has a sweet, sharp taste that makes it very easy to incorporate into your diet. You can enjoy it in drinks such as smoothies and juices, on its own with hot water, or even as a ‘matcha latte’ with your favourite warm nut milk. If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding a bit of matcha powder to your pancake batter for an earthy twist!

Raw almonds

Keep that jar of almond butter at the front of the pantry – it’s the perfect metabolism-supporting addition to your meals and snacks. The monounsaturated fats and protein hidden within these small nuts make them a natural metabolism booster, and the great news is that they carry a range of other beneficial nutrients too, including copper, magnesium, and vitamin E.

Studies have found that almonds can also help improve heart health, having a positive effect on LDL and total cholesterol levels, like this one published by the Journal of the American Heart Association.

It’s important to note that you should eat nuts in their raw form, and avoid those that have been roasted with added oils and salts. Raw almonds are especially versatile, and can be consumed as a buter, chopped up and sprinkled over oatmeal and smoothie bowls, or simply alone.

Try this recipe for miniature raw chocolate almond butter tarts, which also incorporates another metabolism-boosting food, cacao powder. They’re the perfect sweet treat to satisfy cravings, and are also especially satisfying thanks to the nut and coconut oil content.

Capsaicin

Chillies certainly aren’t everyone’s favourite food, however their benefits are undeniable – particularly that of the chemical compound capsaicin found within. This is coincidentally the same component that lends chillies their characteristic fiery heat.

Various studies have shown that the consumption of capsaicin has resulted in an increase in energy expenditure in participants, as well as pain relief, which is why it can also be found in topical ointments. For capsaicin of the edible variety, try this spicy black bean dip with some sprouted buckwheat crackers. Of course, classic vegetable curries are a fantastic idea, as are spicy salsas and chilli chocolate if you’re up for something new. Not only will the heat give your tastebuds a shock, but it will give your metabolism a good kick too!

Avocados

Is your current relationship status: avocado? Keep smashing those avos on toast. We all know that avocados are packed full of good fats, however its main strength in relation to our metabolisms is that it’s a wonderful source of L-carnitine – an amino acid that plays an important role in fat metabolism. Unlike the urban myths that some may have you believe, you don’t have to restrict your intake to a half a day – avocados contain lots of goodies including almost twenty different vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E and C, and are a valuable addition to any meal.

You may consider avocado to be a typically savoury fruit, however its high fat content means that it makes for an especially creamy and thick chocolate mousse. Sound strange? The raw cacao powder masks any of the avocado’s delicate flavour – try adding a few chilli flakes or a spoonful of almond butter for a metabolism-boosting variation

Raw cacao

If you were looking for another excuse to eat chocolate, here it is! Cacao powder in its raw form is exceptionally high in a host of nutrients, most notably magnesium which plays a key role in metabolic processes and other assorted biochemical reactions.

As with all foods, it is more beneficial to consume cacao powder in its organic raw form. Many commercial crops are sprayed with an array of harsh chemicals, and cacao beans are one of the most intensely sprayed crops. Instead of reaching for a foil-wrapped chocolate bar when your cravings strike, try substituting the refined treat for something a little more wholesome.

Raw cacao powder is wonderful in smoothies, oatmeal, and raw treats in particular – you can even make your own homemade raw chocolate! These Not Mars Bars are exceptionally delicious and are the perfect way to entice kids (and fussy adults) into healthy eating and spending more time in the kitchen. With no refined sugars, this is the perfect way to ensure that every mouthful has as many nutrients as possible! This Chocolate Nut Fudge is also a wonderful choice, with the addition of almonds enhancing its metabolism-boosting properties once more.

Please note that these foods are certainly not miracle foods, and need to be part of a well-balanced diet and active lifestyle in order to have any effect whatsoever. Additionally, metabolic disorders certainly do exist, with two of the most common being hypothyroidism (under active thyroid), or hyperthyroidism (over active thyroid). If you are struggling with your metabolism, or have any symptoms or concerns, please discuss these with a medical professional.

Probiotics 101 plus 5 foods for a healthier gut

Probiotics, they’re trending right now, so if you’ve been wondering what they are we’ve got a bit more about probiotics, including what they are – good news is they occur naturally in our digestive system already! And where you can get them!  Continue reading “Probiotics 101 plus 5 foods for a healthier gut”