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 ideas for such moments.

Chocolate Fudge Brownie

VEGAN CHOCOLATE FUDGE

For when you have a bit more time to invest, this raw fudge brownie is the goods. There is very little added sugar in this recipe, 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 Pudding 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 recipe. 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 a wheat flour pastry, 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.

Peanut Butter Mousse

pb-mousse-recipe-blog

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.

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

CO-CHOC-MOUSE-BLOG

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 dessert that can be whipped up in just 10 minutes. Make it here.

Raw Brazil Nut Cacao Tart

gluten free vegan chocolate tart

The ultimate celebration cake. Melt in your mouth raw cacao tart! 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.

Superfood Functional Spices and Dead 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 got a powerful arsenal of superfoods already in our pantry, herbs and spices! Continue reading “Superfood Functional Spices and Dead Easy Ways to Use Them”

WINTER WELLNESS AND FLU FIGHTING 101

Don’t let the winter months reduce you to a sniffling mess this year. A super strong immune system is all about prep. Start now by looking after yourself with nourishing seasonal wholefoods, super herbs and exercise so you can enjoy, rather than endure the cooler months.  Continue reading “WINTER WELLNESS AND FLU FIGHTING 101”

The Super 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. Once you know the main components, you can easily create your own versions. Here are some suggestions for making the most delicious, well-rounded bowls possible. Continue reading “The Super Simple (and Healthy) Meal Solution You’ve Been Looking For”

6 Summer Dinners in Under 30 Minutes 

Weeknight dinner: you want it fast, and you want it easy. You’re thinking takeout. Well, think again. With these quick dinners you can put that iPhone down and get into the kitchen. All of these 6 delicious, healthy dinner meals can be made in less time than it takes for you outsource it!  Continue reading “6 Summer Dinners in Under 30 Minutes “

10 Amazingly Simple Wholefood Hacks You Need To Know + Recipes

In life, there are a few things that seem to motivate one to get ‘healthy’, the new year being one of these. You might have started 2017 with a bang, convinced you had nailed meal prep and making green smoothies on the regular, but then what happens? Work picks up and life gets in the way, so it’s back to what’s convenient. Continue reading “10 Amazingly Simple Wholefood Hacks You Need To Know + Recipes”

5 Quick Summer Salads You’ll Actually Want to Eat

You can’t really mess up a salad recipe – they’re more a method of ‘throwing something together’ than anything else. They’re also really adaptable, so pretty much anything goes! Of course, a salad would not be complete without a decent dressing, so we’ve got a few to inspire you below:
Continue reading “5 Quick Summer Salads You’ll Actually Want to Eat”

A SIMPLE WHOLE-FOOD DIET

There are many different names currently being bandied about to refer to a wholefood diet. Some health-food advocates refer to this as ‘clean eating’, ‘nutrient dense food’, or ‘real food’. However, regardless of this recent ‘re-branding’ effort, the premise remains the same: wholefood is ‘in’, and refined food is ‘out’.

Contrary to what it may look like in social media, wholefood eating isn’t a recent discovery made by the younger generation. Naturopaths (and health veterans) have been spouting this doctrine for centuries…Well, at least since industrial suppliers started stripping the nutrients out of our food and replacing them with synthetic additives.

WHAT A STATE WE’VE ALL GOTTEN OURSELVES INTO!

Considering the state we’ve allowed our food-chain to get into, you could forgive the younger generation for thinking that we are pretty daft when it comes to our health and knowing what to eat for our well-being! In general, traditional dietary wisdom was lost or disregarded in previous generations, when new technology was used to make food ‘better’ — without realising that this was at the expense of good nutrition. The younger generation experienced the regrettable backlash of this — sub-standard food, and therefore sub-standard health.

Well, things are changing. Ironically, the younger generation are utilising technology to make themselves ‘better’ — by learning about health and by re-educating the masses. There are now many health-conscious Facebook pages, Instagram feeds and blogs touting what can only be described as ‘extreme diets’. The world of health seems to be a new and exciting area of interest for these young-uns.  And, they are pushing their recently formed opinions ‘big-time’.

Whatever your health ‘bent’ (Health Enthusiast, or Health nonplussed) we agree on one thing — that we are all promoting in one way or another — wholefoods. If we all understand the concept then eventually it will come to describe the majority of our diets.

SPICE UP YOUR LIFE!

Ceres Organics has recently launched two sensational spices, BioGro certified organic of course, which we can use to enhance our wholefood diets:  Turmeric and Cinnamon.

green salad with turmeric dressing

TURMERIC

While generally prized for its broad anti-inflammatory action and therefore used for conditions such as Osteo-arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, and Depression, Turmeric also has other health promoting benefits to offer. This warming spice can be used to improve liver function, regulate cholesterol, and aid the digestion.

You can use this aromatic spice in (and on) all manner of concoctions: curries, soups, smoothies, rice dishes, egg dishes, roasted veggies, greens, tofu scramble, or make it into a hot drink (Golden/Gold Milk.) The mean, green salad above has an awesome turmeric dressing that is perfect for keeping in the fridge during the summer months. Get the recipe for that one here.

Note: Make sure these ‘concoctions’ contain some kind of fat (either butter, coconut oil, or olive oil) to increase this spice’s bioavailability.

For general health, use up to 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric powder.

Turmeric supplements are recommended to achieve therapeutic dosage for those with long-term health complaints.

Looking for a recipe to start with? Try this spiced superfood latte below.

turmeric-smoothie-recipe

CEYLON CINNAMON 

This type of Cinnamon is ‘excloosive’ darlings! It’s hard to find, and this is the type offered by Ceres Organics. (As opposed to Cassia, which is the common variety.)

If you just like to use Cinnamon in small quantities for taste purposes, then Cassia is fine to use. However, if you’re wanting to use Cinnamon for its health benefits, then Ceylon is definitely the way to go – as it’s safer to consume in larger doses. (It’s kinder on the liver and kidneys.)

This spice is prized for its antimicrobial properties, its ability to balance blood glucose, to reduce ‘blood fat’ and to increase ‘good’ cholesterol. This spice also has warming properties that improve digestion, improve circulation, and relieve menstrual pain.

You can use this aromatic spice in (and on) all manner of delights: porridge, curries, sauces, baking, un-baking, smoothies, coffee and tea.

For general health, use up to 1-2 teaspoons of Cinnamon powder.

Cinnamon supplements are recommended to achieve therapeutic dosage for those with long-term health complaints.

To conclude…

If you are working on getting more wholefoods in your life, don’t forget about your spices! They’re surprisingly nutrient-dense, loaded with phytochemicals, many of which possess powerful antioxidant activity. So challenge yourself to work more spices into your diet, try for a couple of times a week.

RAW FOOD 101 WITH MEGAN MAY 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 FOOD 101 WITH MEGAN MAY OF LITTLE BIRD ORGANICS”

GO WITHOUT GLUTEN, NOT COOKIES. GLUTEN-FREE BAKING 101

Cutting gluten from your diet? The good news is there are now heaps of alternative options around to help you transition to this way of eating. And it doesn’t have to mean giving up those cookies and cakes you love. Continue reading “GO WITHOUT GLUTEN, NOT COOKIES. GLUTEN-FREE BAKING 101”

5 REASONS WHY EATING RAW FOODS WILL DO YOUR BODY GOOD

Incorporating more raw organic foods into your diet is one of the easiest ways to fuel your body with more nutrient dense foods – foods that make you thrive.

Eating more raw foods means eating whole foods that are closer to the earth, more natural and nutrient dense rather than a diet filled with pre-packaged processed foods. Here are 5 reasons why you might want to start adding more raw foods in your diet.

1. YOU’LL GET MORE ‘PLANT-BASED WHOLE FOODS

We’re not saying you should go fully raw, or that it is even healthy for everyone.

However, incorporating more raw organic foods into your diet means you’ll increase your intake of plant-based whole foods and improve your health. So how would you do it? Ideally the majority of your diet should be plant-based. Focus on organic fruit and vegetables, seeds, sprouts, nuts and fermented foods.

Raw organic plant-based whole foods are loaded with enzymes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients that nourish your body. When you eat processed foods, these foods are no longer whole, they often contain anti-nutrients like highly refined sugars, artificial colours, artificial sweeteners, flavour enhancers like MSG, preservatives, and trans fats.

In their report to the federal government, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee essentially told Americans to eat more plant-based foods. The report stated that “diets higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and lower in animal-based foods are more health promoting”. You can read the full report here.

2. YOU’LL GET GOOD SUGARS

Our bodies crave sugar, but for some of us, we’re getting sugar from all the wrong places. Let’s be clear though, sugars in your green smoothie are not the same as bleached, refined sugars added in processed foods.

New World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline recommends we should reduce our daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of our total energy intake (12 teaspoons) per day. The WHO guideline does not refer to the sugars naturally found in fresh fruit and vegetables.

Free sugars include monosaccharides (like glucose, fructose) and disaccharides (such as sucrose) added to food and drinks, and concentrated sugars found in honey, syrups and fruit juices.

Instead, learn to make a basic green smoothie, and have one every day. All you need is water, leafy greens, some low-glycemic fruit like bananas, berries or apples, some raw nuts or seeds (whatever you have on hand) for protein, then blend. No time to blend or no blender? Eat these raw foods whole, this will avoid you reaching for junk when you get hungry.

3. YOU’LL HAVE A HEALTHIER DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

Raw fermented foods, like kimchi, kombucha and kraut are trending for a reason. Fermented foods introduce healthy bacteria to your gut microbiome, helping to maintain a good balance of friendly health-promoting bacteria. A well balanced gut microbiome supports digestive health. It helps build a strong immune system, fight intolerances and prevent allergies, prevent fungal infection, and promote healthy skin. Not to mention, it may also help in regulating metabolism, mood and brain function. That is why gut health is so important to your overall health and wellbeing.

Fibre is also ultra important for a healthy gut. Fraction fibres are really good for your gut bacteria and can be found in fibrous foods including, Jerusalem artichokes, leek and asparagus. Cellulose has also been found to promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Foods high in cellulose include, broccoli stalks, celery and the stalks of asparagus.

4. YOU’LL STOP SNACKING ON JUNK

When you focus on eating more raw whole plant foods, processed packaged snack foods are a no go. If you’ve got zero time, fresh fruit, vegetable sticks with hummus, kale chips, bliss balls and green smoothies can all be made in minutes.

Got a massive sweet tooth so carrots and kale won’t cut it? Get into raw baking. With some simple whole food ingredients like almonds, cashews, dates, coconut oil and cacao, you can make insanely delicious raw cakes and cookies that are gluten free and vegan.

5. YOU’LL REDUCE RISK OF DEVELOPING MANY DISEASES

Plant-based diets are clearly established through decades of scientific research as a powerful way to reduce the risk of major causes of chronic disease and death. As Walter Willett, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health said, “The evidence is so strong and overwhelming and produced over such a long period of time that it’s no longer debatable.”

4 SUPERFOODS THAT ARE ACTUALLY SUPER AFFORDABLE

What if I told you there are some pretty basic foods you probably have in your pantry that are nutritionally dense, low in calories and won’t send you broke!

Superfoods like chia seeds, quinoa or anything with activated or raw in front of it can cost a bit, and often they’re harder to find. Below are five of what are probably some of the cheapest superfoods you can get your hands on. Read on and find out how to incorporate more of these superfoods in your diet.

BLACK RICE

Black rice is unmilled, meaning the nutrient-rich black husk of the rice has not been removed, so it’s better for you. In fact, the husk contains super high levels of anthocyanin, packing some serious antioxidant power.

These anthocyanins have been found to protect from heart disease, cancer and other diseases. The anthocyanin of black rice is higher than even that of blueberries, but with less sugar, more fibre and vitamin E.

Half a cup of cooked black rice has about 5 grams of fibre, the insoluble kind that is amazingly good at detoxing the bowel and improving digestive health.

In addition, fibre can also help reduce risk of heart disease by helping to lower blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure and inflammation.

This black rice pudding recipe is much better than the traditional white rice and milk version. The black rice is cooked in coconut milk, creating a incredibly delicious, creamy dessert.

Keep in mind, black rice takes a little longer to cook than white rice, but it’s way better for you, so completely worth it! Generally speaking, cook one cup of black rice with two cups of water. Rinsing and soaking might shave off some cooking time.

LENTILS

Of all legumes and nuts, lentils contain the third-highest levels of protein. 26 percent of lentil’s calories are attributed to protein, each half cup contains about 9 grams, making lentils a pretty good source of plant based protein.

Like other legumes, lentils are packed full of both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre that, according to research, plays an important role in maintaining a healthy digestive system and normal cholesterol levels, making them great for your heart. Lentils are also a great source of folate and magnesium, which are big contributors to heart health.

Their high fibre and low GI properties also support normal blood-sugar balance, helping to prevent blood-sugar levels from rising too quickly after a meal.

Moreover, lentils contain a bunch of other nutrients, including fibre, folate, iron, manganese, copper, phosphorus, thiamin, magnesium and potassium. They provide good to excellent amounts of seven important minerals, B-vitamins and protein—all with virtually no fat!

One huge bonus here is the cooking time. Lentils cook up in only 15 to 30 minutes and don’t need to be pre-soaked. 

CHICKPEAS

You might not think it, but chickpeas are actually a great source of antioxidants, which act to protect our cells against the effects of free radicals and play a role in protecting the body against illness and disease.

Let’s face it, most of us don’t eat as much fibre as we should, which is about 25 grams a day. Chickpeas are a good source of fibre, mostly insoluble that we all need for good digestive health. A cup of chickpeas has about 12.5 grams of fibre.

You can make your food budget go even further by buying dry chickpeas that you can soak and cook. It takes a bit of organisation and cooking time but you’ll always have hummus!

Want some recipe ideas? Head over to our post on 3 ways with chickpeas or for a quick and nutritious snack thiscarrot tahini hummus hits the spot.

OATS

With 16 grams of fibre per cup, oats are a great way to load up on fibre. About 6.5 grams of this is soluble fibre.Research suggests that increasing your intake of soluble fibre by 5 to 10 grams each day could result in a 5 percent drop in “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Fibre has long been linked to better health, but new research shows how the gut microbiota might be involved here too. We all know how critical a healthy gut is for overall wellbeing and our diet is one of the most powerful tools we have for changing the microbiota. That’s because the beneficial bacteria usually feed on nutrient dense foods that are known to benefit health.

Let’s see why the fibre in oats and other legumes, vegetables and fruit are so important for a healthy gut microbiome. Good bacteria in your gut will feast on fermentable, undigestible fibres, the sort that comes from vegetables and whole grains like oats. Microbes can then extract the fibre’s extra energy, nutrients, vitamins and other compounds. By-products of this fermentation help nourish the cells lining your colon and calibrate your immune system, which can help protect from inflammatory disorders. So in short, dietary fibre can be used by healthy bacteria in your gut for an even healthier you.

Oats make the most amazingly healthy breakfast recipes. Grab yourself a bag of oats and make this five-minute banana oatmeal or almond protein oats.

So there you go, you can get all these nutrition, for not a lot of money.

THE NON-WHEAT WHEAT: BUCKWHEAT

Heard of buckwheat, but not sure what to do with it? Buckwheat is one of the healthiest, most versatile whole grains. But, it is not actually related to wheat at all.

BUCKWHEAT IS ACTUALLY NOT A GRAIN

Buckwheat is usually thought of as a grain, but it’s actually a seed and completely gluten-free and unrelated to wheat. Buckwheat should be a pantry essential for those with coeliac disease or those who have gone gluten free for personal health reasons.

So it’s a popular substitute for wheat for those who are gluten-intolerant. Nutritionally, buckwheat surpasses rice, wheat and corn on almost every level of nutrient density, especially when it comes to protein. Buckwheat is a prettygood source of plant protein, 1 cup will give you about 23 grams.

Buckwheat contains higher levels of zinc, copper, and manganese than other cereal grains, and the bioavailability of zinc, copper, and potassium from buckwheat is also quite high.

HOW TO COOK BUCKWHEAT

Pre-soak before using. Reason why is because buckwheat, like other grains, cereals and seeds, contains phytic acids that can affect the absorption of some nutrients. Soaking breaks down phytic acid, making the grain more digestible.

To pre-soak, add buckwheat to a bowl with 3-4 times the amount of water. Soak buckwheat groats overnight in the fridge. The groats will get ultra sticky, so you’ll need to rinse them under running water once they’re done soaking.

So while buckwheat isn’t a grain, you can cook it like one. If you have pre-soaked, this is going to really cut down on your cooking time. If you’re not pre-soaking, just rinse the groats prior to cooking.

You could always toast buckwheat in a dry pan to bring out more of its nutty flavour, then you’ve got kasha. Or you can buy it toasted.

You won’t need much cooking time to perfectly cook buckwheat. Seriously. If you’ve soaked buckwheat, you just need a half to one cup of water. Bring to the boil and it’ll cook in about 5 minutes. Otherwise, you’ll need two cups of water per cup of raw or un-soaked buckwheat, which will take about 15 to 20 minutes to cook.

Buckwheat makes a great base for a cold or warm salad, like this buckwheat salad with sundried tomato dressing. For healthy breakfast recipes, try using buckwheat in place of oats or soak over night like these protein almond oats. This banana buckwheat bowl uses raw buckwheat groats and it’s incredibly delicious.

BUCKWHEAT IS HIGH IN SOLUBLE FIBRE

Buckwheat is a good source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre. 100 grams of buckwheat will provide you with about 10 grams of fibre. Fibre helps detox and eliminate waste by speeding up bowel movements through the gut. Fibre also binds toxins and helps remove them from the body.

Potentially, buckwheat is a source of resistant starch, a type of starch that escapes digestion in the small intestine. Resistant starch is often referred to as the third type of dietary fibre because it possesses some of the benefits of insoluble fiber and some of the benefits of soluble fiber. While most of the starch in buckwheat is readily digestible, the small portion that is resistant (about 4-7%) can be highly advantageous to overall colon health.

BUCKWHEAT IS POTENTIALLY A PREBIOTIC

Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth and/or activity of beneficial gut bacteria in our digestive systems.

In 2003, a study out of Madrid, Spain looked at buckwheat’s high nutrient levels to determine whether it could behave as a prebiotic and be considered a healthy food.

Not only did the buckwheat-fed group emerge with a lower bodyweight when compared to the control, some of the best types of helpful bacteria were also found, along with a decrease in some types of pathogenic bacteria.

Because prebiotics act in your intestines, they have a profound effect on the pathogens and bad bacteria in your body that can cause disease. Prebiotics can be used to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s Disease.

So everyone could benefit from a little buckwheat in their life!

CHIA, THE SUPER FOOD YOU SHOULD BE EATING MORE OF

The term ‘superfood’ is thrown around pretty loosely these days, but chia seeds are absolutely worthy of superfood status.

Native to South America, chia seeds are tiny black or white seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica. They were an ultra important food for the Aztecs and Mayans, who prized them for their ability to provide sustainable energy. The word ‘chia’ actually meant ‘strength’ in ancient Mayan.

Chia seeds deliver an epic amount of nutrients. About 2 tablespoons of chia will fuel you with:

  • 11 grams of fibre
  • 4 grams of protein
  • 9 grams of fat, and of these are omega 3 fatty acids
  • Five times the amount of calcium in milk
  • Two times the amount of protein of any other bean, seed or grain
  • Three times the amount of iron in spinach
  • Eight times more omegas than salmon
  • Two times the amount of potassium in a banana
  • Three times the amount of fibre in oats

Chia seeds also contain decent amounts of zinc, vitamin B1, B2 and B3, and vitamin E.

Getting antioxidants from natural foods, like chia, can have positive effects on health. Most importantly, antioxidants fight the production of free radicals, which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to ageing and diseases like cancer.

You can find chia seeds in most supermarkets now as well as health food stores.

BOOST YOUR BRAIN POWER

Chia seeds’ high omega 3 content is not only a great way to combat dry skin; it’s also reputedly a powerful brain food that assists with cognitive and behavioural function.

Adding chia to your diet during pregnancy may help the baby develop normal brain growth, while supporting good vision and nerves. It’s the omega 3 that benefits the brain growth and function, acting as a cleanser, allowing the blood to become more fluid.

This free-flowing blood brings more oxygen to the brain, feeding it with the necessary nutrients for optimal health. Symptoms of an omega-3 deficiency can include poor memory, as well as fatigue, dry skin, heart issues and even mood swings and depression.

IMPROVE YOUR DIGESTION 

Two tablespoons of chia seeds have about 12 grams of carbs, 11 of which are fibre that are not digested. All this fibre means chia seeds can absorb up to 12 times their weight in water. Once chia seeds are hydrated, they form a gel that expands in your stomach. The chia gel cleanses the digestive tract and helps remove toxins from your body.

REDUCE INFLAMMATION IN YOUR BODY

Ideally you’d want a 2:1 or 3:1 balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids because this has shown to reduce inflammation. Inflammation can lead to many diseases, like Rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, which is why you’d want to keep your omega ratios in check.

Many Western diets are imbalanced at 15:1 or more, which is largely why so many people have serious health issues. The Omega 3 in chia seeds can help offset imbalances and reduce inflammation.

GET BEAUTIFUL SKIN

Chia seeds contain vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant that protects skin from the adverse effects of oxidative stress including ageing! You can read the full study here.

Also, the omega 3 fatty acids found in chia seeds keep your cell membranes in good health, which influences their ability to hold water. These cell membranes act like a barrier, keeping bad stuff out and keeping good stuff in. So, for moisturised, soft skin with less wrinkles, you need healthy cell membranes. Read more about that in our previous post, why you’ll want to eat your water.

The anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids in chia seeds, according to dermatologist Nicholas V. Perricone, MD, help reduce the body’s production of pro-inflammatory compounds. These compounds are involved in the ageing process, so getting more omega 3 fatty acids in your diet can affect how healthy your skin looks and feels.

Another compound that fights inflammation is zinc, and chia seeds also contain zinc. Zinc also assists in the proper structure of proteins and cell membranes, your skin’s protective barrier.

Studies indicate that dietary zinc may reduce acne, even as effectively as antibiotics, but without the negative side effects. Zinc interacts with vitamin A, and helps transport it in the blood. A study which found low levels of zinc and vitamin A in the blood serum of people with severe acne may explain why zinc has a positive effect on acne.

HOW TO ADD CHIA SEEDS TO YOUR DIET, PLUS RECIPES!

Adding just two tablespoons of chia seeds to your daily diet will give you approximately seven grams of fibre, four grams of protein, 205 milligrams of calcium, and a whopping five grams of omega-3. Here are some ideas for working chia seeds into your daily meals.

Next time you make a smoothie, add a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds, whole or ground. Try this spinach coconut smoothie with psyllium and chia seeds, it’s guaranteed great for your digestive system!

Stir chia seeds through your oats before leaving them to set and you’ll have an extra thick and creamy breakfast waiting for you in the morning! Chia puddings make a great pudding (and breakfast too), try this chocolate chia pudding recipe.

Trying to cut back on sugar? Instead of jam, try this chia berry jam. You only need two ingredients, berries and chia seeds. Mush your berries and add the chia seeds, leave to set for about 20 minutes and you’ve got yourself a superfood spread.

Warm your insides with this nourishing spiced quinoa and chia porridge. This recipe is gluten free and makes a wonderful alternative to traditional oatmeal.

Treat yourself with this raw lemony blueberry cheesecake. Unlike most raw cakes, this recipe is nut free which means you save time not having to process almonds and cashews! This mini vegan cheesecake can be made in 30 minutes. This is a dessert you can feel good about eating!

3 SUPER EASY WAYS TO USE CHICKPEAS

Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) – you probably got them in your pantry. Here are 3 ways you can get more of these nutritious legumes into your diet.

Chickpeas are loaded with protein, fibre, folic acid and manganese. We all know how important fibre is, yet most of us don’t come close to getting the 25 grams a day we need. When we think fibre, we usually think whole grains, but chickpeas actually have about 12.5 grams per cup! Chickpeas are also a great source of antioxidants, which help protect our cells from free radical damage.

There’s a lot you can do with chickpeas and we’re going to focus on some super easy snack ideas using these low glycemic, gluten-free legumes.

 SPICY ROASTED CHICKPEAS

Potato chips aren’t easy to replace, but these roasted chickpeas are a good place to start. They’re easy to make, nutritious, crunchy, and satisfying.

All you need are two cans of organic chickpeas, 1 tablespoon of organic olive oil, and some natural sea salt and spices of your choice.

  1. Heat your oven to 200 °C, and line a baking tray with non-stick paper.
  1. Put your chickpeas in a bowl with the oil and spices, toss to coat and spread evenly over the baking tray.
  1. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove tray from oven. Shake and place back in for another 15 minutes.
  1. Remove from oven, let them cool off a bit, then enjoy!

HUMMUS

Awesome hummus does not come from a tub with an ingredients list full of words and numbers you don’t understand. Hummus contains some very basic ingredients and you can make it yourself, with just a blender or food processor.

Start with the best ingredients, it’s worth it. You’ll need chickpeas, either canned or dry, garlic cloves, lemon juice, tahini and olive oil. Use real garlic and lemon juice, not the stuff that comes in pouches and jars.

  1. If using died chickpeas, you’ll need to soak them overnight first and then cook them for about an hour and a half. They’re done when you can squish them easily between your thumb and finger.
  1. Authentic tahini uses a lot more tahini than conventional store bought stuff. Generally you’ll get a three quarter cup of hummus per cup of chickpeas.
  1. Next you’ll need to get your blender or food processor out. Combine the tahini, juice of 1 lemon and 2 cloves of garlic and blend until smooth. Then, add in the chickpeas while the motor is running. Add a little cold water if needed.
  1. Transfer the hummus to a bowl, and stir in (rather than blend) about a half cup of olive oil. That’s how it’s traditionally done. Yes, it takes a little longer to make, but it’s definitely worth it.

Ready to up your hummus game? Try this carrot tahini hummus or roasted pumpkin hummus.

organic_hummus

 CHOCOLATE CHICKPEA BITES

This recipe is for those 3pm sugar cravings. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup cooked (or canned) chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup brown rice malt syrup
  • 1 cup dark chocolate, chopped
  • cacao nibs for sprinkling
  1. Combine oats and chickpeas in a food processor and pulse into small pieces. Add cashew butter and rice malt syrup, and process until it forms a smooth ball. You may need to scrape the sides a few times.
  1. Use a tablespoon to scoop level spoonfuls and, with your hands, roll the mixture into a ball. Lay the ball on a baking tray lined with non-stick paper. Repeat until you’ve used up all the mixture. Place the baking tray in the freezer and freeze for 20-30 minutes.
  1. Melt the chocolate in a small pot on low heat. One by one, drop each ball into the melted chocolate and use a spoon to completely cover it. Scoop it out and place back on the baking tray.
  1. While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle the truffles with cacao nibs. Once you’re done, allow them to sit at room temperature until the chocolate is set. Refrigerate until ready to eat, and keep them in there so they don’t melt!

ARE NUT BUTTERS ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOU?

Heck yes! Harvard says that “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?”

20 WAYS TO USE YOUR JAR OF COCONUT OIL

Coconut oil is this multi-purpose unicorn-like ingredient. You’ve heard amazing things, maybe you even have a jar… well here’s 20 things you can do with coconut oil.

We know better now, but coconut oil used to be considered as bad as trans fats. Get yourself a jar of raw virgin coconut oil and add a tablespoon to your smoothies

WHEN A CALORIE IS NOT A CALORIE

Even though 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil has around 120 calories, these 120 calories don’t act the same in the body as say, 120 calories of say canola oil or safflower oil.

Coconut oil is more thermogenic, compared to other foods and fats. This means eating it tends to increase energy expenditure. In other words, eat more coconut oil to burn more calories. You know the saying, “eat fat to burn fat”? well, coconut oil is that fat.

Unlike other fats which are made of long chain fatty acids (LCT), coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids (MCT) which are more efficiently absorbed by the body and metabolized.

These medium chain fatty acids are not used by the body like other fats, but rather like carbohydrates. So rather than circulate freely in the blood or get stored as fat to add to bodyweight, instead MCT are sent to the liver, where they are immediately converted to energy.

This research literature review published in the Journal of Nutrition found that research conducted to date replacing dietary LCT by MCT in humans increased energy expenditure.

Research exploring the effects of MCT on satiety are few but results have found that MCT consumption lead to decreased food intake. Much scientific literature researching the effects of MCT in humans does suggest that replacing dietary LCT with MCT could facilitate weight maintenance in humans. So there you have it, switch out your pro-inflammatory LCT fats for coconut oil and lose weight! (or maintain it, whatever your goals are).

Experts agree that on average, medium-chain fatty acids triple the rate of metabolism as compared to long-chain fatty acids. This means that medium-chain fatty acids aren’t only a healthy energy source, they also help burn off stored fat.

BALANCE YOUR HORMONES

The second thing that needs to happen for you to be even able to lose weight is for your hormones to be balanced. For this to happen you need a healthy liver and thyroid gland.

So you might have heard that omega 6 fatty acids are not that great for you, these are the kind you find in yellow oils like canola. These unsaturated fats block thyroid hormone secretion, its movement in the circulatory system, and the response of tissues to the hormone. So what do you get? Messed up hormones.

For ages we were told that ‘fat-free’ was good and that saturated fat was bad, it just is not true. Fat is one of the most critical macronutrients for healthy hormones. Hormones are made from certain fatty acids and cholesterol, so if you’re lacking any of these, you’ll end up with hormone issues just because you don’t have the building blocks for healthy hormones. The lauric acid found in coconut oil additionally is very beneficial to the production of hormones. So here’s how to get the most out of your jar.

1. ON TOAST

Instead of butter or processed spreads, spread a little coconut oil on your toast.

2. IN SMOOTHIES

Add 1-2 tablespoons to your daily green smoothie to boost your metabolism. The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are easily digested and converted to energy rather than stored like other fats.

3. MAKE A BODY SCRUB

Mix coconut oil with an equal amount of coconut sugar until you get a thick paste to create an exfoliating scrub. Your skin is going to feel ultra smooth and smell insanely delicious!

4. IN BAKING

Coconut oil is a staple ingredient in raw baking that creates delicious creamy cakes and slices. Give this raw blueberry cheesecake a go. Coconut oil can also replace butter in baking and other oils. A 1:1 substitution usually works.

5. ON OVEN BAKED FRIES

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius. Cut organic potatoes or sweet potatoes into thick fries. Place on a baking sheet and brush lightly with coconut oil. Bake for about 1 hour or until chips are crispy and brown. Add salt to taste.

6. MAKE UP REMOVER

Coconut oil is a totally natural make-up remover. Just dab some coconut oil on a cotton ball and gently wipe your make-up off. Even waterproof mascara is no problem for coconut oil.

7. OIL PULLING

Sounds complicated but it’s not. You put a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for 20 minutes. You may have to build up to that, start with 5. Apparently, we store toxins in our salivary glands. Toxins get drawn into the oil, so when you spit out the oil, you spit out the toxins.

8. ON YOUR DOG

Brushing some coconut oil into a dog’s coat can also ward off fleas. The antibacterial and anti-fungal properties of coconut oil make it good for disinfecting cuts, soothing rashes and hot spots, and promoting healing of wounds.

9. ON YOUR SKIN

Rub coconut oil into your skin, it works as a moisturiser and is great for people who have eczema.

10. POPCORN TOPPING

For an awesome gluten free snack, instead of butter, melt a little coconut oil and pour it over your popped popcorn, then sprinkle with a little sea salt and spices.

11. OVERNIGHT HAIR CONDITIONER

Get gorgeous shiny hair by using coconut oil as a deep conditioning hair treatment. Rub a small amount of coconut oil into the ends of your hair. Put your hair in a loose bun and wash rinse the next morning.

12. AS A DEODORANT

Apply coconut oil on your underarms, even if solid, the coconut will melt into your skin. Using coconut oil as deodorant will not only help you perspire less, you’ll be moisturised and smell downright amazing too!

13. DIAPER RASH

Coconut oil soothes nappy rash and acts as a barrier, preventing further irritation. Coconut oil will also nourish your baby’s skin. And, coconut oil will not ruin cloth nappies, which is an added bonus.

14. Remove lice

It happens, but you can get rid of it by rinsing your kid’s hair with apple cider vinegar, then comb using a fine lice comb. Dry hair and then apply coconut oil, leave on for 12 to 24 hours. Wash the comb thoroughly, then comb through again and wash hair with shampoo.

15. CLEAN YOUR MAKE UP BRUSHES

If you can use coconut oil to remove makeup from your face, it makes sense you could use it to remove makeup from your brushes. Rub a small amount into the brush and rinse thoroughly with water then lightly pat them dry with a soft towel.

16. BATHE IN IT

Run warm water for a bath. Add half to one cup of coconut oil and several drops of your favourite scented essential oil. The warm water can stimulate blood circulation, and the oil will help soothe the skin’s dry patches.

17. MAKE CHOCOLATE

You can make your own raw organic chocolate with just 4 ingredients. Give these raw chocolate bites a go.

18. TO SOOTHE INSECT BITES

Apply coconut oil to mosquito bites, ant bites, and other small insect bites to help alleviate that annoying itching.

19. GET ULTRA SMOOTH FEET

This one’s perfect for winter. Massage coconut oil into your feet and put on a pair of thick socks to hydrate dry skin while you sleep. When you wake up in the morning, your feet should feel soft and smooth.

20. IN COFFEE OR TEA

Melt a teaspoon or so of coconut oil in your tea or coffee is an easy way to work coconut oil into your diet.

ARE SUPPLEMENTS WORTH YOUR MONEY? 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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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 ARE SUPPLEMENTS WORTH THE MONEY?

Really, we should not need to supplement… with some exceptions. This is not to say all supplements are useless, some work but you need to sort out 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.

ARE YOU SELENIUM DEFICIENT? ONE FOOD TO FIX THAT

Selenium is a pretty important dietary mineral, and there is a super easy way to make sure you’re getting enough: EAT BRAZIL NUTS.

Selenium is incorporated in a small cluster of important proteins, each of which plays a critical role in our health.Scientists named these selenium-containing proteins “selenoproteins.”

Depending on where they are grown, just two or three Brazil nuts may contain as much as 10 times the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) recommendation for selenium. See, it’s that simple to get your daily selenium requirement.

SOIL & NUTRIENT CONTENT

Selenium content of soils can vary widely, it depends on a few things. So let’s start with this quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt, “A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.” He’s right and here’s why.

Healthy soil is essential for the production of crops. In addition to providing a stable base to support plant roots, soil stores water and nutrients required for plant growth.

Selenium content of plant foods is often closely related to selenium content of soil in which the plants have been grown. Unfortunately, industrial agriculture practices continue to damage and deplete this valuable natural resource.

ORGANIC SOILS ARE HEALTHIER SOILS

Between intensive ploughing, mono-crop agriculture systems and over-application of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, we see wide global-scale soil nutrient depletion.

More than 100 million tons of nitrogen fertilisers were applied to crops last year. Of this, about half is absorbed by the plants, while the rest pollutes the atmosphere, soils and waterways.

Fortunately, many farmers are choosing to use sustainable agricultural techniques; such as conservation tillage, crop rotation and organic fertilisation, in order to protect our valuable soil resources.

Sustainable nutrient management techniques allow farmers to maintain healthy, productive soil for crops without degrading the environment. So by choosing organic foods you’re also supporting a more sustainable environment.

SELENIUM & ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITY

Selenium is required for the proper activity of a group of enzymes called glutathione peroxidases. All you need to know is they are very important in the body’s detoxification system and protect your body from oxidative stress. Of the eight known glutathione peroxidase enzymes, five of them require selenium.

Selenium-containing enzymes are also involved in recycling vitamin C, allowing for greater antioxidant protection.

SELENIUM & THYROID FUNCTION

A healthy thyroid is critical to your overall health and wellbeing. Selenium and iodine work together to keep your thyroid functioning optimally. There are a ton of environmental factors that can affect thyroid function, including gluten, gut health, stress, excess iodine and vitamin D deficiency.

Selenium is another factor that can have a major impact on your thyroid health. Researchers have been able to induce problems with the thyroid gland in just two months of a low-selenium diet.

Even adequate selenium levels will support efficient thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism. Eat a Brazil nut a day to keep thyroid issues away. This raw Brazil cake recipe is a delicious way to get your selenium requirements.

5 GLUTEN FREE PANTRY ESSENTIALS

You’ll only get the full health benefits of a gluten free diet if you do it right, which does not mean stocking up at the gluten free section of the supermarket!

Eating loads of highly processed foods, gluten free or not, isn’t good for anyone. Whether you have to ditch gluten because you’re intolerant or because you want to see what going gluten free can do for your health, these five naturally gluten free foods should be staples in your pantry.

1. MILLET

Millet is naturally gluten free and one of the few alkaline (non-acid forming) grains, due to a high ash content that actually counteracts acids. It’s considered to be one of the least allergenic and most digestible grains available making it a pantry staple if you have coeliac disease, gluten sensitivity, digestion issues or just wanting to go gluten free.

Millet is not just for bird feed! It’s a wholegrain source of protein, rich in dietary fibre and packed with vitamins and minerals including copper, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, and B-complex vitamins. Millet is also a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid which helps regulate appetite, sleep and mood.

Millet is great in salads, like this one here, and if you cook extra, millet makes a mean porridge. This hot cereal with caramelised apples is wonderfully warming on cold winter mornings.

2. AMARANTH

Amaranth is a super tiny seed that’s a complete source of plant based protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids including lysine. Lysine helps your body absorb calcium and convert fatty acids into energy and is often missing in other grains. When cooked the seeds go quite creamy, think pudding and porridge texture! It also works well in soups.

Amaranth also has three times more fibre and five times more iron than wheat, which is great since you’re not eating it anymore, and two times more calcium than milk. You’ll also be getting a ton of other nutrients including iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins A, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E and folic acid.

3. CHIA SEEDS

When you remove gluten from your diet, or any other food for that matter, you need to make sure you’re still getting all the nutrients your body needs. Chia seeds actually have twice the amount of protein of most grains, five times more calcium than milk, three times the iron in spinach and twice the amount of potassium found in bananas. So yes, those are the reasons why chia seeds are a superfood! So, chia is definitely a natural food worth investing in.

Add two or three tablespoons of chia to your water bottle, and down them once they have hydrated and formed a gel. The chia gel works like an intestinal broom, cleaning your digestive tract, eliminating waste and toxins from your body. Detoxing is largely through bowel movements, not green juice cleanses, and will increase your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Next time you make a smoothie, throw a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds into the blender or sprinkle over your muesli. Chia puddings are always a good idea, perfect for breakfast, that mid-afternoon snack or dessert! Try thesechocolate chia puddings.

4. QUINOA

Quinoa isn’t even a grain, it’s actually a seed and naturally gluten free! Quinoa, which reached superfood status some time back, is available at most supermarkets now. Another good source of plant protein, quinoa contains a well-balanced mix of all nine essential amino acids.

Plus, it provides a host of other nutrients such as iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, complex carbs and vitamins.

Quinoa gives you nutrient bang for your buck and is super versatile. It makes a great addition to Buddha bowls, and is great in salads like this quinoa salad with tofu. Going gluten free means no more overnight oats but you can do the same thing with cooked quinoa! This coconut quinoa bircher makes an incredibly creamy delicious breakfast.

5. BUCKWHEAT

Buckwheat doesn’t actually contain wheat, it’s a seed-grain that’s naturally gluten free, making it another gluten free pantry essential. Buckwheat makes a great addition to any diet really, as it has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, B vitamins, phosphorus, protein, essential amino acids, calcium, fibre and antioxidants. It is also high in magnesium which helps to relax the blood vessels and improve blood flow.

Buckwheat makes an awesome porridge alternative. Soak the buckwheat overnight in water, rinse in the morning and add to some blended banana, almond milk and berries. It’s wonderfully creamy! This banana buckwheat bowl is somewhere between a raw porridge and smoothie bowl and totally worth making!

8 FOODS THAT ARE EASIER FOR YOUR BODY TO DIGEST

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.

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.

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 komucha, the elixir of life for the Chinese, are all rich sources of probiotics.

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.

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.

NORI, THE SUPERFOOD YOU SHOULD BE EATING

There’s more to nori than sushi. That stuff isn’t as good for you as you think, but the nori is. Here’s why you should be eating more of this superfood from the sea. 

Vast and widely unexplored, the oceans are a veritable source of nutritional sustenance and among them, the edible seaweeds. One of the most popular and nutritious seaweeds is nori – yes, the ‘green stuff’ that holds sushi together.

Nori is an edible algae which turns dark green when dried. It has long been attributed to health and longevity in Asian cultures. In Korea, nori is an integral part of their culture, served as soup on birthdays and given to women for three weeks after childbirth. According to elders, it helps replenish and rejuvenate the body. Today, nori’s reputation as a natural health food has been firmly established, as attested by the Japanese proverb, ‘two sheets of nori keep the doctor away’. Read on to find out why.

NORI’S NUTRIENTS

Nori offers one of the broadest range of nutrients of any food, including many found in human blood! Because the chemical composition of seaweed is so close to human blood plasma, they are excellent at regulating and purifying our blood.

Nori nutrients include calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc and then some! Nori can actually contain up to 10 times more calcium than milk! Nori is packed full of vitamins too. It offers vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K, as well as niacin, folic acid and taurine. And thanks to the level of vitamin C it contains, the bioavailability of its abundant iron content is increased.

As well as measurable amounts of polyphenols like carotenoids and flavonoids, nori contains other phytonutrients, including several types of alkaloids with antioxidant properties. Nori also contains chlorophyll (a pigment that makes plants green) which is a powerful, natural detoxifier that can help eliminate waste products from our body. Nori is also loaded with fibre and protein. In fact 30-50 percent of nori’s dry weight is protein, and much of the rest of it is digestible fibre.

What’s most impressive about nori is the iodine content. You simply can’t find a more concentrated source of the stuff! Missing in almost every other food, this essential mineral is vital in maintaining healthy thyroid function.

EATING NORI CAN HELP YOU AVOID IODINE DEFICIENCY

Typical Western diets are low in iodine. This is because people are restricting their sodium intake in response to the dangers of consuming excess salt, or because their diet is full of processed convenience foods. These highly processed foods contain loads of poor quality (iodine-free) salt.

When iodised salt consumption is reduced, it’s actually pretty easy for people to become iodine insufficient or deficient. Without sufficient levels of iodine, your thyroid function can become impaired, meaning it’s harder for your body to burn fat. This can lead to fatigue and weight gain.

Nori is an excellent source of iodine, so adding it to your diet at least three times a week can help keep your thyroid in check. Plus, eating nori may help reduce cholesterol levels, according to a Japanese study published in theBritish Journal of Nutrition.

HOW TO ADD NORI TO YOUR DIET

  • Blend sheets of nori with a little bit of sea salt and bam! You’ve got a seaweed sprinkle. This can also help reduce the amount of salt you add to your foods.
  • Sprinkle crushed up toasted seaweed snacks over your salads, or soups.
  • Fill a nori wrap with tofu, baked kumara, avocado, quinoa and greens. It will be loads better for you than that 8 pack of sushi.
  • Hummus or nut cheese spread over some seaweed snacks makes an awesome low carb, high protein snack. Of course, it can be enjoyed on its own as a crispy snack, just like a bag of chips -but way better for you.

When buying seaweed, choose certified organic where possible. Seaweeds absorb the properties of their environment, which includes any pollutants in the water. Certified organic seaweeds have been grown and harvested in unpolluted waters that are free from harmful chemicals. You’ll find organic seaweeds from some supermarkets and health food stores.

7 FUNCTIONAL FOODS TO START EATING NOW

You’ve probably come across the term ‘functional foods’. Of course, all foods are supposed to be ‘functional’ but some are more functional than others.

Yes all foods are to some extent functional in that they provide nutrients such as protein for muscle repair, carbohydrates for energy, or vitamins and minerals for cell function. But let’s face it: food isn’t what it used to be!We live in pretty toxic environments, a lot of food you find in the supermarket are really “food-like” products. Ideally, we all want to be eating a balanced whole food diet, but in reality we might not be getting all the nutrients we need.

In the paper ‘Enough is Enough. Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements’, the authors concluded there is still no real significant scientific evidence to support the use of supplementation. Instead, you should eat functional natural foods that provide additional health benefits that will make you feel ‘super human’ and may reduce your disease risk. Here are 7 functional foods to start eating now.

1. MACA

What is maca powder and why would you want to put it in your smoothie? Maca is a Peruvian herb rich in vitamins (B1, B2, B12, C and E) and essential minerals (calcium, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, silica, sodium, zinc, manganese, copper and iron), and high in fatty acids omega-3 and omega-9.

While the scientific evidence is limited, maca has a reputation for being able to balance hormones, and has been used successfully in traditional medicine for menopausal discomfort and infertility. Maca is awesome in smoothies, try this one.

2. PSYLLIUM HUSK

Even if you think you have a healthy gut, bloating, constipation, gas, fatigue, food cravings, allergies and difficulty losing weight can all be signs you need to detox your colon.

To cleanse your colon, you’ll need to up your fibre intake. Three bowel movements 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. Psyllium is a great way to help you smash your fibre goals.

Psyllium is 30 percent insoluble fibre, which is known to promote regularity. A 5 gram serving of psyllium husk contains 5 grams of fibre. So make your smoothies more super by added 5-10 grams of psyllium to help get things moving down there. Not sure how to use psyllium in your smoothies? Try this cleansing smoothie with psyllium.

3. FLAXSEED

Flaxseeds contain high levels of dietary fibre (both soluble and insoluble) including lignans, which are powerful antioxidants. They are also packed with micronutrients and essential omega-3 fatty acids plus an abundance of other nutrients and vitamins including calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and vitamin E.

Zinc and magnesium may have roles in effective acne treatment. So eating foods like flaxseed that are good sources of zinc and magnesium might help you get glowing skin.

4. CHIA SEEDS

Reputedly the highest plant-based source of complete protein, chia offers twice the amount in most grains. These tiny seeds are also packed with fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, rare antioxidants, minerals and calcium. They contain three times the antioxidants of blueberries, five times more calcium than milk, three times the iron in spinach and twice the amount of potassium found in bananas. Hydrated chia seeds in water are an easy way to increase your intake of these super seeds. Chia puddings are also always a good idea, like these chocolate chia puddings.

5. ALMONDS

Almonds are a great source of plant protein. A 1/4 cup of almonds will provide you with about 8 grams of protein. Almonds are also loaded with antioxidants like flavonoids. Flavonoids found in almond skin combined with vitamin E double the antioxidant power of almonds.

Almonds are also a good source of phtyonutrients that give you the type of sustained energy you need to get through the day, which is why almonds make awesome snacks.

6. COCONUT

Coconut contains one of the healthiest fats, with lauric acid making up nearly half its fatty acid content. Once converted to monolaurin in the body, lauric acid has the benefit of fighting bacteria and yeast.

Coconut fat is mostly made up of medium chain fatty acids. Medium chain fatty acids are smaller than the long chain fatty acids found in most vegetable oils, the fatty acids in coconut are easily broken down and converted to energy, like carbs but without the insulin spike. So the fats in coconut actually boost your metabolism and help your body use fat for energy, as opposed to storing it. Cook with it, add it to your smoothies, or un-bake with it. Thisspinach coconut dip makes the perfect snack too, just add rice cakes or vegetable sticks!

7. SACHA INCHI SEEDS

Sacha inchi seeds have loads of omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids which have been found to be beneficial for cardiovascular health and decrease inflammation.

Sacha Inchi seeds contain a massive 9 grams of plant protein per 28 gram serving, which is pretty high for a nut! A serve of these super nuts contains 5 grams of fibre too, and because they are highly digestible, sacha inchi seeds are great for your gut health.

Snack on sacha inchi seeds, throw them in salads, or use the powder in your smoothies to power up!

LOVE CHOCOLATE? ARE YOU EATING SUPER FOOD OR SUPER JUNK?

Dark chocolate, yes it is a legitimate ‘superfood.’ Chocolate or rather cacao is a rich source of those all important antioxidants. It might be good for your heart too!

But while it’s true that dark chocolate, or more specifically, cacao, can be a healthy addition to a balanced diet, is the chocolate you’re eating really doing as much good for you as you think it is?

Most conventional brands of chocolate are based on cocoa solids rather than cacao. Even though both come from the same plant (beans of the cacao tree), there’s a big difference between these two, and it isn’t just the spelling.

Raw cacao products are made by cold-pressing (below 47 degrees Celsius) the unroasted beans to separate the fat (cacao butter). This goes on to become the nibs or powder.

The antioxidant potency of raw cacao acts to reduce free radicals in a pretty extraordinary way, and contains more per 100g than blueberries.

Cacao contains properties that reportedly protect your nervous system, reduce your blood pressure, and even reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

It’s a great source of minerals too, including magnesium, iron, potassium, copper and manganese, all of which are essential to achieving optimal health.

In contrast, cocoa products have been roasted at high temperatures before pressing. The process of using high heat significantly reduces the nutritional compounds in the beans that we know are so beneficial to our health. So, for this reason it would be fair to consider cocoa a more processed food, and raw cacao products are always going to be the superior option.

Sadly, many conventional chocolate brands, including dark chocolate, are not only made from cocoa but they also contain low quality fillers such as refined white sugar, preservatives, and (not-so) natural flavours.

Another issue, which is fairly common in conventional chocolates, is that sugar is the first ingredient in the list, indicating to us that there is actually more sugar in the product than there is cocoa. Not such sweet facts, huh?

So look for chocolate that contains natural ingredients, starting with cacao solids, not sugar and not a lot else added to it. Chocolate that has been minimally processed will give you the most nutritional bang for your buck.

Another option is raw chocolate. Raw chocolate is a natural food and is without a doubt the most nutrient-dense option you can find – made from cacao butter and powder, it contains no dairy and is naturally sweetened with small amounts of natural sweeteners including agave and coconut nectar.

WHAT ABOUT THE FARMERS AND THE ENVIRONMENT?

Cacao beans are generally grown in low-income developing countries such as West Africa, where access to basic needs like fresh drinking water are often an issue.

Unfortunately, there are major chocolate brands out there that are guilty of sourcing cacao harvested by children and slave labour because they can get it at a cheaper price. It should be noted that organic and fair trade products pay farmers a fair price for their crops, thereby creating opportunities for farmers who are economically disadvantaged by conventional trading.

Greater awareness and support for organics and fair trade can contribute to an economy that lifts farmers out of extreme poverty, and reduces the exploitation of workers and child slavery.

Cacao is actually one of the most heavily sprayed food crops. Many cacao plantations use large amounts of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. These chemicals are bad for people’s health and the planet. You can read more about that here.

Many of these chemicals have been shown to cause cancer, as well as a long list of other serious health issues. When a person is repeatedly exposed to these chemicals, like the farmers are, the risk of developing these serious diseases increases significantly.

Organic plantations where no chemical sprays are used are better for the overall health of the farmers, the environment and the product.

So go ahead and enjoy a few squares of organic, fairly traded chocolate, or a spoonful of cacao powder in your morning smoothie. Not only will it be good for you, it will be good for the farmers and the planet too!

THE GLUTEN FREE ALTERNATIVES YOU MIGHT NOT BE USING

Going gluten-free for some is a personal choice, for others it’s a necessity. Regardless, if you’re changing your relationship status with gluten make sure you’re fuelling your body with these 7 nutrient dense whole grains.

Continue reading “THE GLUTEN FREE ALTERNATIVES YOU MIGHT NOT BE USING”

10 HEALTHY QUINOA RECIPES & HOW TO COOK IT

So you bought a bag but now you don’t know what to do with it or how to cook it. Quinoa isn’t complicated, it’s a bit like rice actually and there’s loads you can do with it.

HOW TO COOK QUINOA

Rinse it first!

Quinoa has a natural bitter coating called saponin that needs to be rinsed away first. If you don’t, your cooked quinoa won’t taste right. Using a fine-mesh strainer, let water run through while gently massaging the grains, and check for small stones.

Don’t overcook it

You don’t want mushy quinoa! Here’s how you do it. Combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the grains from sticking to the bottom of the pan. You should see little tails sprout on the quinoa once it’s done.

Drain it

Quinoa holds lots of water, so if you don’t want to serve up watery slop, make sure you drain it thoroughly after it’s cooked. Again, use a fine-mesh strainer so you don’t lose any quinoa down the sink.

Experiment

Take your quinoa to the next level by cooking in vegetable broth, adding spices or throwing in a smashed clove of garlic with a bit of thyme.

WHAT TO DO WITH QUINOA

Now you’ve cooked some, use quinoa just as you would any other grain, it makes an awesome rice substitute, upping the nutritional value of your meal big time. Quinoa is pretty versatile; it can also be used in salads, as a side for mains or for breakfast bowls. Check out the list of recipes below for some ideas!

1. RED RICE QUINOA STIR-FRY

A simple plant based main that can be thrown together in minutes. Meals like this are great for when you need to use up a fridge of produce that has seen better days or if you have nothing in your fridge and need to make those frozen vegetables taste decent!

2. SPROUTED QUINOA BUCKWHEAT CRACKERS

The quinoa here is sprouted, not cooked and the crackers are dehydrated, (so they are technically raw), or baked on the lowest temperature on your oven. They’re a delicious, incredibly healthy snack and much cheaper than store bought versions. Get the recipe.

3. COCONUT QUINOA LOAF

This loaf is vegan and super low in sugar. There is a cup and a half of cooked quinoa in there, and if you haven’t baked with quinoa before, it adds a dense, chewy texture to baked goods. This loaf is amazing toasted and smothered in almond or coconut butter!

4. BLACK QUINOA KUMARA SALAD

This salad uses black quinoa, but you could use white quinoa here if you could not find the back version. The combination of flavours from the baked kumara, toasted seeds and dressing will make this salad your new favourite!

5. COCONUT QUINOA BIRCHER

This Bircher is great for all the gluten free people out there who miss oats! You cook your quinoa, add the remaining ingredients, cover and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, spoon the bircher mixture into bowls, or individual jars, add your toppings and you’re good to go!

6. ALMOND QUINOA COOKIES

These cookies are gluten free, and use quinoa flour. If you’ve not tried gluten free baking because you were put off by using 3 different types of flour, this cookie recipe is for you!

7. SPICED QUINOA AND CHIA PORRIDGE

This will nourish and warm your body on the cold mornings. Just cook the quinoa, adding spices into the pot like nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. It’s so simple, but completely delicious. Get the recipe here.

8. RED QUINOA SALAD WITH NASHI PEAR

No nashi pears? No problem. This recipe is a really adaptable recipe. Depending on the season, you could use Bosch pears, citrus, peaches, apples or plums. Tropical fruit like mango and papaya would also work well here. You can also leave out the feta and throw in some avocado instead for some healthy monounsaturated fats.

9. CARROT AND LENTIL SESAME BITES

Another gluten free recipe, these bites take only about an hour to make. You prepare the mixture, leave it to set in the fridge and then cook the bites for a bit in a frying pan. Serve them up with some chilli or tomato sauce. Kids will love them too.

10. QUINOA SALAD WITH SNOWPEAS AND TOFU

A great family meal using tofu, which is a good source of plant based protein. Make sure you go for organic tofu that has not been processed with chemical additives. You could use any other vegetable in place of snowpeas, Asian greens like bok choy would also work well here. Get the recipe!

What’s your favourite quinoa recipe?

5 CARBS YOU SHOULD PROBABLY BE EATING

The 90s was about eliminating fat. Today, carbs are getting slammed, especially the wheat derived ones. Here are 5 you should be eating.

When your body goes without carbs for too long, it can cause metabolic imbalances, super intense cravings, fatigue and anxiety. So yes, carbs are important. But there are carbs you should absolutely keep away from – the ones from highly processed, convenient junk foods which contain a bunch of anti-nutrients too.

Eat carbs that count and don’t eat empty calories. Here are some sources of nutrient-dense carbohydrates that will supply you with loads of energy and many other health benefits:

1. QUINOA

You’ve heard of this one, the Incan superfood quinoa, loved by the gluten intolerant and those on plant based diets. Here’s why. Quinoa is gluten-free and easily digested, making it a pantry staple for those on gluten-free or wheat-free diet.

Quinoa is also one of the most protein-rich plant foods out there. It offers high-quality, complete protein which means that it contains all the nine essential amino acids your body needs.

If you have mean ‘sugar and carb’ cravings come late afternoon, quinoa for lunch might be a good idea. Quinoa is a complex carbohydrate with a low GI that is slowly digested. It will keep you feeling full for longer, while keeping your blood sugar stable and your cravings in check.

Not sure what to do with quinoa or how to cook it? Check out this article for recipes and instructions on how to cook perfect quinoa.

2. CHICKPEAS

Another ‘must’ for those on a gluten-free diet. Chickpeas are also a good source of fibre, mostly insoluble that we need for good digestive health.

Most of us don’t eat as much fibre as we should, which is about 25 grams a day. A cup of chickpeas has about 12.5 grams of fibre which is pretty good going.

You might not think it, but chickpeas are actually a great source of antioxidants, which act to protect our cells against the effects of free radicals and play a role in protecting the body against illness and disease.

Want some recipe ideas? Head over to our post on 3 ways with chickpeas.

3. BUCKWHEAT

Buckwheat is actually not a wheat, it’s a seed. So, buckwheat is another great gluten-free alternative for those with wheat sensitivities. It’s also a health boosting, nutritious addition to any diet as it has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, B vitamins, phosphorus, protein, essential amino acids, calcium, fibre and antioxidants.

Buckwheat is really easily incorporated into any diet, you can also sprout it or eat it raw by soaking it overnight in water, rinsing and using as you would oats for porridge. This banana buckwheat smoothie bowl is loaded with nutrients and only takes 10 minutes to put together. Want to be more organised with your meals? Make up a bowl of this buckwheat and bean salad, it will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

4. KUMARA

For those not keen on potatoes, kumara is a great alternative. You can bake them, make fries with them, or mash them just as you would potatoes. And nutritionally, they’re better for you.

They’re also low on the glycemic index, so they’ll help keep your blood sugar stable and help prevent sugar cravings.

Half a cup of boiled kumara will provide you with around 300kJ of energy, virtually no fat, 1.8 grams of fibre, plus a ton of vitamins and minerals.

Generally speaking, the brighter the colour of fruit and vegetables, the higher the antioxidant content, so purple kumara are the ones to go for. Proteins in kumara have also been found to have anti-cancer effects.

You’d be better off steaming, baking or boiling kumara (not eating it raw), because cooking not only releases beta-carotenes, but also makes them more accessible to the body. This black quinoa kumara salad is a plateful of healthy, body loving carbs!

5. BLACK RICE

Black rice is unmilled rice, meaning the nutrient-rich black husk of the rice has not been removed, so it’s better for you. The grain is so dark in colour because of the high level of nutrients that it contains, especially the health-promoting anthocyanin antioxidant.

The anthocyanin of black rice is higher than even that of blueberries, but with less sugar and more fibre and vitamin E antioxidants. Random fact: black rice was so valued in ancient China that it was reserved only for the emperor and was known as “forbidden rice”.

This black rice pudding recipe is much better than the traditional white rice and milk version. The black rice is cooked in coconut milk, creating a incredibly delicious, creamy dessert.

Restricting foods your body needs will eventually cause cravings for them. You don’t need to eliminate carbs entirely, just be picky about the ones you do eat.

SESAME SEEDS ARE SUPER FOODS, HERE’S WHY

Sesame seeds might be tiny, but they’re loaded with nutrients. Get sesame seeds in your life, and no, not via hamburger buns.

Both the seeds and the oil are good sources of some pretty important nutrients like, manganese, copper, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fibre. Sesame seeds also contain unique nutrients that can have some superfood worthy effects on our health and wellbeing.

SESAME SEED PHYTOSTEROLS CAN LOWER CHOLESTEROL

Sesame oil, which is mostly polyunsaturated fat has one of the highest concentrations of omega-6 fatty acids and contains two natural preservatives: sesamolin and sesamin. These unique substances, combined with the phytosterols found in the oil, have been shown to help reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

Not sure what phytosterols are? They are plant sterols that are structurally similar to cholesterol in our bodies that act in the intestines to lower cholesterol absorption. Because sesame seeds have very low systemic absorption and are already present in healthy diets, eating more phytosterols might be a very practical way to reduce coronary heart disease without drugs.

SESAME SEEDS CAN HELP YOU DETOX

Sesame oil contains a pretty powerful antioxidant called sesamin that scavenges free radicals in your body that cause oxidative stress and damage.

Sesamin is also able to prevent the metabolism and degradation of vitamin E, also an antioxidant. So turns out, you can increase antioxidant levels in your body just by eating sesame seeds.

In addition to boosting antioxidant levels and fighting free radicals, sesamin also increases blood and tissue levels of vitamin E, including the extra potent gamma tocopherol form, which helps fight inflammation in the body. Why is that important? Well, loads of health issues, from chronic pain and thyroid problems to cancer, are all rooted in inflammation.

EAT SESAME SEEDS FOR GLOWING SKIN

Sesame seeds have a pretty decent amount of zinc, which helps produce collagen, giving your skin more elasticity and helping repair damaged body tissues.

Back to those antioxidants, sesame seed oil contains antioxidants that help detoxify your skin. Sesame seed oil attracts oil soluble toxins when applied to the skin and draws them out, which can help keep your skin clear without the use of toxic pharmaceuticals.

Here’s a natural cleanser you can easily make that won’t cost a lot either. Mix half a cup of organic sesame seed oil with half a cup of organic, raw apple cider vinegar and a quarter cup of water. Apply this cleanser to your skin every night after splashing your face with water.

THEY’RE GOOD FOR YOUR BONES

A handful of sesame seeds contains more calcium than a glass of milk. If you don’t do dairy but make your own nut milks, throw a quarter cup of sesame seeds in the blender with the nuts to naturally fortify your nut milk with calcium. Also, the high zinc content of sesame boosts bone mineral density.

HULLED VERSUS UNHULLED

There is a little bit of controversy about sesame seeds and calcium, because there is a substantial difference between the calcium content of hulled versus unhulled sesame seeds.

When the hulls remain on the seeds, one tablespoon of sesame seeds will contain about 88 milligrams of calcium. When the hulls are removed, this same tablespoon will contain about 37 milligrams (so about 60% less).

Tahini which is a spreadable paste made from ground sesame seeds makes an awesome substitute for butter and other nut or seed butters that might be loaded with sugars, salt and added oils. Look for the unhulled version so you don’t miss out on the calcium. 

HOW TO GET SESAME SEEDS INTO YOUR DIET

They’re not just for hamburger buns. Sesame seeds can be added to almost anything really. Sprinkle sesame seeds over your salads, stir fries, and soups. Coat your oven baked fries with sesame seeds for extra crunch, or crust your tofu with them.

Use tahini as a substitute for butter or less nutritious nut butters. Tahini makes homemade hummus more awesome, you could try this recipe here, or make your own salad dressing using olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, apple cider vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper.

6 REASONS YOU’LL WANT MATCHA IN YOUR LIFE

Matcha and matcha lattes are nothing new but right now, matcha is the new black. Yes matcha lattes are cool but so are bright green matcha bliss balls, smoothies and raw tarts.

Matcha, what is it? The literal translation is ‘powered tea’, so it’s the entire leaf and that’s why it’s even more awesome than other green teas. Unlike traditional green tea, matcha tea leaves are shaded from the sun before they’re harvested. This increases the chlorophyll content which gives matcha a vibrant green colour. The taste could only really be described as strong and vegetal, perhaps even spinachy.

Matcha tea leaves are then hand selected and steamed briefly to stop fermentation, dried and aged in cold storage, which deepens the flavour. The dried leaves are then stone-ground into a fine powder.

Unlike most brewed teas, where you steep the leaves and then chuck them, matcha is the whole leaf. So, you’re digesting the entire leaf, and you’re getting all of the polyphenols and the health benefits which we’ll get into now.

1. MATCHA IS SUPER HIGH IN ANTIOXIDANTS

Just one cup of matcha has an off the chart ORAC score, providing you with loads more antioxidants than goji berries, or raw dark chocolate. Get the best of both worlds, and make this Matcha Chocolate Torte. This recipe is by the talented Olivia Scott of The Raw Kitchen and is featured in our FREE ebook, get your copy here.

Raw-kitchen-matcha-torte-blog

ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is a method of measuring antioxidant capacity. So, the higher the ORAC value, the greater the antioxidant powers. Matcha has an ORAC value of 168,500/100g, so to put this in perspective, acai berries have an ORAC value of 102,700.

2. MATCHA IS CLINICALLY PROVEN TO PROTECT CELLS FROM DNA DAMAGE

We already know matcha is high in antioxidants, but matcha also contains a super antioxidant called catechin. Matcha’s most powerful catechin is a called called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is thought to be anti-carcinogenic.

EGCG has super free radical scavenging abilities and have been clinically proven to protect cells from DNA damage caused by reactive oxygen species.

A 2003 University of Colorado study confirmed that drinking 1 cup of matcha green tea has 137 times the amount of antioxidant EGCG compared to a conventional cup of green tea.

3. Matcha detoxes your body

Matcha is grown in the shade, which is why it is richer in chlorophyll than other green teas. Chlorophyll is the pigment responsible for giving leaves their green colour which is why matcha is the colour of the Hulk.

Although yet to be scientifically prove, chlorophyll is thought to detoxify the body. It is thought that matcha can help the body purge toxins, heavy metals and hormone disrupters.

4. Matcha reduces bad cholesterol levels

2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that green tea beverages or extracts resulted in significant reductions in LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. LDL is the bad cholesterol that causes cardiovascular disease.

5. Matcha is Energising

Yes matcha does contain caffeine but 1 gram of matcha contains only about 25 mg to 30 mg of caffeine versus a shot off coffee which would have anywhere between 80 to 100 mg of caffeine.

Before we mentioned that the leaves are shaded before harvesting, well this also increases the content of L-Theanine, an amino acid that helps balance caffeine. So while matcha contains caffeine like other teas, the L-Theanine is known to create a calming effect, the opposite of caffeine’s effect. Plus, matcha shots are so hot right now! Models were sipping on them backstage at New York Fashion Week.

6. Matcha can help you burn fat

Not joking, a 1999 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that matcha green tea extracts rich in catechins has thermogenic properties that promotes fat oxidation.

Other studies have also found that matcha can increase resting metabolic rate, helping the body burn more fat. Another study found that people who hit the gym straight after drinking matcha green tea burned 25% more fat during their workout. This matcha smoothie is the perfect pre-workout fuel.

matcha-smoothie-blog

This study back in 2005 found that daily consumption of matcha green tea containing 690 mg of catechins, for twelve weeks, reduced their body weight! Of course you need to eat well too, you can’t expect to live off matcha and pizza and lose weight!

So how much do you need to consume really? Well one gram of matcha powder contains 105 mg of catechins, a serve is about 5 grams, so just over a teaspoon is all!

Matcha is available as a concentrated powder, and even though it might cost a bit more than other green teas, you don’t need as much to get all the benefits. Some studies reckon that as little as 1 teaspoon of matcha is the same as drinking up to 10 cups of other green tea.

Certified organic matcha has been grown without any chemical fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides and you should be able to find it at most health food stores. By choosing certified foods, you’re eating positively, not just for your own health and wellbeing, but the health and wellbeing of others and supporting a more sustainable environment.

WHY YOU’LL WANT TO EAT YOUR WATER. 10 FOODS TO HYDRATE YOU

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, drink up.

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.

Get 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%

Increase the hydrating power of your next green smoothie by adding a cup of cucumber, like the one below. Get the recipe here. Add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds to your smoothie and bam! you just drank a refreshing 11 grams of fibre too.

detox-smoothie

2. Strawberries | Water Content 92%

Blend a cup of frozen strawberries with a cup of coconut water and you have yourself a seriously, hydrating, healthy slushie.

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 1/2 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).

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.

If you’re the kind of person who thinks a smoothie is not a smoothie if it doesn’t have banana, make this one below.

Spinach-Chia-Smoothie

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 1/3 cucumber. 

7. Grapefruit | Water content 91%

Boost your metabolism with this hydrating smoothie. Blend 1 grapefruit with skin removed with 1 apple, 2 cups of spinach, a frozen banana, a handful of ice cubes and 1/2 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 these seeds (sesame, amaranth, chia, flaxseed).

9. Red Cabbage | Water content 92%

A slightly odd combination but you won’t regret making this vitamin rich smoothie. Blend 1½  cups of filtered water, 1/2 small head of red cabbage, 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1 frozen banana and 2/3 cup of coconut yoghurt with a handful of ice. This is quite possibly the best way to have cabbage.

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.

8 EASY WAYS TO CLEANSE YOUR BODY WITH REAL FOOD

Detoxing should not mean depravation. Detoxing should nourish, cleanse and rebalance your body so you can achieve a super state of wellbeing. Health is the new wellth. Increase yours by incorporating the following 10 things into your life.

1. Detox With Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has some amazing health benefits, and it is thought to help with detoxification by improving circulation and boosting the liver’s ability to detox the body of toxins.

The acids in apple cider vinegar bind to free radicals and other toxins stored in the blood, fat cells and organs, which is thought to be responsible for the cleansing effects.

Consistency is key, so put a reminder on your phone and keep a bottle of organic apple cider vinegar out where you can see it so you can detox daily. Start with a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar to a glass of water. Drink your detoxifying tonic 15 minutes before each meal, as this also helps breakdown your food.

2. Get Into Green Smoothies

Drink your greens because chlorophyll can encourage the release of toxins from your cells and the fibre will help cleanse your colon.

To build the perfect green smoothie, first choose your base. Filtered water, coconut water or almond milk for something creamy are good choices. Next, add your fresh organic produce, aiming for 40% greens and 60% fruit. Spinach, kale or collards are great in smoothies, you should rotate your greens too so you get a variety of health benefits.

Many people might not love the idea of drinking foods like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and celery. There is a way you can hide these calciferous greens, this cabbage and blueberry antioxidant smoothie is the answer.

cabbage_antioxidant_smoothie_recipe

3. Drink Your Vegetables

We spoke about the benefits of eating your water in a previous post. Water from organic fruits and vegetables is not only hydrating, but full of vitamins and minerals. Drink vegetable juice, not fruit or you’ll just be drinking sugar. Drinking vegetable juice is kinda like a multi vitamin, but better. This green smoothie will have you glowing from the inside out.

4. Try Adding Fermented Foods to Your Diet

We are more bacteria than human. Our gut bacteria, also known as our microbiome is involved in many of our body’s key functions and therefore critical to your health and overall wellbeing.

If you want to feel amazing, get glowing skin, fix your digestive issues, improve your immunity and maintain a healthy weight (or even lose some), a healthy balanced microbiome is critical. Integrating good bacteria, also know as probiotics into your diet can help. The most effective way you can do this is by including fermented foods into your diet.

Fermented foods go through a stage of lactofermentation, which creates beneficial enzymes, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics. Start with the basics, like organic sauerkraut, kefir, coconut yoghurt, kombucha and tempeh. These can easily be worked into your diet and will introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system.

5. Clear Your Colon

There are a few pathways your body will use to eliminate toxins, sweat and urine account for about 23 percent of the throughput required to detoxify your body.

On the other hand, solid waste (you know what I’m talking about) accounts for 75 percent. So while we don’t really talk about it, poop is the pathway that contributes the most in helping you detox your body.

This holistic approach to detoxing means you need to be eating at least 25 grams of fibre a day. Try incorporating foods like lentils, black beans, almonds, avocados into your diet and add fibre rich superfoods like psyllium husk and chia into your smoothies. Not sure what to do with psyllium? Try this cleansing smoothie with psyllium.

6. Eat Superfoods

So what are superfoods anyway? Superfoods are plant based foods which contain antioxidants, vitamin and minerals in a super concentrated form. Where possible incorporate nutrient dense foods like mama powder, cacao powder, chia seeds, and coconut oil into your diet.

Think your budget can’t include superfoods? Think again, simple foods like oats, legumes, millet, buckwheat, and black beans are packed with nutrients that will nourish your body.

7. Eat More Living, Not Dead Food

Ditch the processed dead food and incorporate more raw and sprouted foods into your diet. Ayurveda medicine, one of the world’s oldest healing systems is built around maintaining healthy digestion. According to Ayurveda the best foods are the ones that are easy to digest and nutrient dense.

Sprouted grains, beans, nuts and seeds are both highly easily digestible and nutritious. Sprouting breaks down the seed, removing anti-nutrients like physic acids, making it easier for your body to digest.

Sprouts are living, growing foods, with a rich supply of enzymes and the process of sprouting increases phosphorus, calcium, iron, and other minerals inside the seed. Sprouting may also increase the nutrient value of nuts, grains and seeds from anywhere between 50% to 400%, so sprouting creates superfoods.

Sprouts are also fat emulsifying and if you eat lot of fresh seasonal organic produce, your body will remain more alkaline and detoxification will occur naturally. So, next time you have avocado on toast, add some sprouts and make it a bit more super.

8. Oil pulling

Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic practice said to have detoxifying properties and it is pretty easy and cheap too. Here’s what you do. Put about a tablespoon of organic coconut oil into your mouth and swirling it around for five to 20 minutes. Beginners, start at 5 minutes and work your way up to 20 minutes or pro pulling level.

Give it a couple of months

Create as many positive habits as humanly possible from the above. Be realistic, even if you just do one thing, start with that and then create and add extra habits to your routine.

You might not get glowing skin, drop 3 kilos or rid your skin or acne in days, but if you start somewhere and are consistent, in two or so months you will. According to this study, it takes 66 days to create a new habit.*

Wondering if you can actually do this? Tell others, share this post and get your friends and family to join you. Hold each other accountable and you’ll be more likely to stick to drinking green juice and fermenting than if you were going it alone. Go forth, I believe in you.

*results may vary

MEAL PREP 101. 3 SUPER EASY TIME SAVING TIPS

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. This applies to many life situations, including meal preparation. It’s a yesterday-you-said-tomorrow sort of situation. You want to eat clean and healthy… but next minute, you’re at work and you didn’t bring lunch or snacks so you end up eating junk. We’ve all done it.

We’re all so busy now, whether you’re a parent, student or blurring that line between work and life. We just don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen.

Pro Planning Tips

Invest in some good glass containers like mason or ball jars or reuse glass jars, that’s being sustainable. If buying plastic, check they are BPA free.

Prepping enough lunches, breakfasts and dinners for a week sounds like a pretty daunting task, so just start with two to three days at a time. This also ensures you are eating fresh fruit and vegetables and not risking eating food that may have gone off!

Having an idea as to what you are going to eat and make is going to save you money too. If you buy random food at the grocery store, you might end up not using it and throwing food out, and who wants to waste food (and money)?

Write down what you want for your meals and snacks, write a list of ingredients and buy that. The idea here is to make meals around ingredients you can use in multiple ways, make food that can be prepared in bulk and in advance to save you time.

So here are 3 simple things you can do in the evening, that will save you some time the next day.

Cook Extra at Dinner

Not everyone loves cooking, or even if you do, there are a million other things to do, so make it worth your time and cook extra. Lentils, chickpeas and other legumes and pulses are perfect this time of year for warm salads, so cook extra to have some for lunch the next day. When you’re dishing up, fill up those mason jars too and that’s tomorrow’s lunch sorted.

Rice, quinoa, millet and buckwheat are all perfect for salads and breakfasts. Cook up extra or just cook up a cup of your preferred grain, and you will have enough food for up to three days.

Cooking quinoa soaked overnight in almond or coconut milk makes a deliciously creamy breakfast. Love oats but not the stove time? Make enough for 3 days. Try these almond protein oats. They will keep for up to three days in the fridge, so that’s three breakfasts sorted.

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Chickpeas are a versatile food, whether you’re soaking and cooking dried chickpeas or using canned ones. Get about two cans worth, place in a bowl and toss in olive oil and spices like chilli, paprika and pepper, then bake for 30 minutes or until golden.


organic_hummusGet into a Habit of Soaking

Soaking foods like buckwheat and oats make incredibly delicious, nutritious breakfasts. Plus, soaking makes the grains easier for your body to digest.

Using a glass jar, add your oats, or buckwheat, and cover with a milk of your choice. Now get creative, a tablespoon of cacao through your oats will give you chocolate oatmeal. Coconut, chia seeds and flaxseed all help to boost the nutrient density of your breakfast. These will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Another food that can be soaked overnight is Explore Asian bean noodles. You read right, no cooking required. Soak a serve of noodles in filtered water overnight in the fridge, drain off in the morning and add some chickpeas (that you made the night before), vegetables, seeds, nuts or sprouts for a nutritious lunch. Try this warm sprouted salad with mung bean fettuccine out for yourself!

warm_sprouted_salad_explore_asian

Soaking can save money! Buying organic pulses and legumes like adzuki beans and chickpeas (the dried variety) is cheaper than buying canned versions. They require soaking prior to cooking though, so get into a habit of soaking legumes every couple of days to have a ready, good supply. You can use these in salads, and soups like this adzuki bean soup or for dips, which make great snacks.

If you make nut milks, soak your nuts each night so you always have milk for overnight oats. You can save the pulp and use half a cup in your overnight oats, so you get more fibre and protein and don’t waste food.

Cook, Bake, Make and Buy Bulk!

Cooking meals in bulk means you chop once, heat the oven once, clean up once and this actually saves you time. Even if you are cutting up vegetable sticks and fruit for meals, cut it all at once and put it in containers you can store in the fridge for up to three days.

Making soup? Find a healthy nutritious recipe like this carrot soup and double it and freeze the extra servings for meals during the week.

Who doesn’t love bliss balls? Next time you are making a batch, make double and keep them in the freezer. Try these LSA truffles, they are also great for kids. They keep in the fridge for up to 4 days and, if you freeze them, they’ll keep for a month.

Cookies are also great for freezing. Make double or triple batches of healthy cookies like these two ingredient banana cookies and these almond butter cookies and take them out of the freezer when you need to restock.

Portion control sizes are great for snacking but they also cost more. Check out bulk bins at health food stores for organic whole foods like nuts, seeds and dried fruit you can use in your meals or as snacks.

Plan with a friend. SHARE this post

Now you’ll be eating better and saving time and money. Share this post with your friends and family. Get them to join you in doing this so you can share the shopping, cooking, baking, soaking and bliss ball rolling responsibilities together.

DITCH THE PROCESSED COOKIES: 5 HEALTHY COOKIE RECIPES

Cookies can be a perfectly legitimate healthy snack… that is, when you make them yourself using whole food ingredients.

However, there’s always the tendency to opt for store-bought alternatives when time is of the essence – this is definitely a nutritional no-no. There are a couple of things wrong with most of those store brought, off the shelf, highly processed cookies. First, they are mostly pumped with unhealthy refined sugars, poor quality fats, artificial (sometimes, even chemical) preservatives, flavourings, and colourants. Second, these highly processed foods are oftentimes nutrient void, completely lacking in the wholesome, nourishing goodness that the following healthy cookie recipes provide.

So, instead of grabbing a box of empty calories from the supermarket, grab a bowl and set aside a half hour. Make yourself up a batch or two of these cookies!

2 Ingredient Banana Coconut Cookies

For times when you truly cannot bear the thought of getting fancy in the kitchen, these cookies are your humble saviours. All you need to do, for the laziest snack ever, is stir together a banana and a bit of shredded coconut, pop blobs of it in the oven, and you’re done! The beauty of this recipe is that it’s suitable for almost anybody with any allergies, or on any diet. Add dried fruit, chocolate, or cacao powder for different alternatives, and cinnamon and nutmeg for a simple spice twist. GET THE RECIPE

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Chocolate chunk cookies are a staple in many pantries, and too often we find ourselves turning to the supermarket shelves for a quick fix. This recipe is a great option as it uses buckwheat and rice flours, as opposed to wheat flour, making it suitable for gluten-intolerant people and adding extra nutrients such as copper, and magnesium, as well as dietary fibre. To make these cookies gluten-free, simply replace the oats with either the gluten-free variant, or other flakes such as quinoa or buckwheat for additional goodness. GET THE RECIPE

No Bake Almond Butter Cookies

This is a great recipe for those trying to incorporate more raw foods into their diets. With only five simple ingredients that you’re bound to have in your pantry, it really couldn’t be any easier. These cookies are made from both whole almonds and almond butter, and are therefore a fantastic way to up your healthy monounsaturated fats and high quality protein. GET THE RECIPE

Gluten-Free Almond Cookies

Super quick, these cute little gluten-free cookies take literally minutes to whip up, and you only need one bowl! It’s all good ingredients here: almond meal (a great alternative to wheat flour as it is a good source of both fibre and protein), dark chocolate (loaded with antioxidants and minimal sugar too!). GET THE RECIPE

choc-chunk-gf-cookies-email

Banana Cake Cookies

These dense cookies taste a bit like banana cake, and are full of healthy whole foods like oats, almonds and chia seeds. Dates are the major sweetener in these cookies. Think of them as an upgrade to the simple 3 ingredient cookie recipe with oats, banana and dates. These cookies are also perfect for breakfast on the run, and kids are sure to love them too! GET THE RECIPE

breakfast-cookie-frosting-blog

ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH GREENS? 6 WAYS TO EAT 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!

20 CLEAN EATING SNACKS FOR BUSY PEOPLE ON THE RUN

It happens to the best of us. 3pm rolls, your energy levels are in the red zone, and you need something so you can function like a normal human being again.

But you end up snacking on junk. Well, no more.

Break the vicious ‘junk snack’ cycle. Instead of snacking on processed food, these healthy snacks will help stabilise your blood sugar levels, nourish your body and leave you feeling fuller for longer.

You don’t need to visit a healthfood store to make any of these. You just need simple natural ingredients you probably already have in your pantry and a few minutes to spare.

1. Avocado dip with flaxseed crackers 

This duo has your heart health covered. Avocados contain monounsaturated oleic acid, a heart healthy fat and according to research, flaxseeds help protect from cardiovascular disease.

flaxseed_avo_snack

2. Apple with almond butter

A great post work out snack that delivers. The apple will satisfy your sweet tooth, and the protein from the almond butter, your hunger. Almond butter even makes celery sticks taste good, if you want a lower carb option.

3. Smashed avo on toast with savoury nutritional yeast 

Not heard of nutritional yeast? It’s a bit underrated, and you’re about to find out why. Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of vitamin B12, so a vegetarian’s and vegan’s pantry staple. 1 tablespoon will provide you with your B12 for the day and about 4 grams of protein!

4. Sprouted salad

With this sprouted salad, you’ll be eating a lot of live, activated, vitamin and mineral rich food. The mung bean pasta is pretty high in protein, which will help keep you full for longer. Once you’ve made up your salad, you can keep snack size servings in jars in your fridge for up to 3 days.

5. Hummus with rice cakes 

Hummus is always a good idea. Healthy hummus should pretty much just contain chickpeas, olive oil, garlic and tahini. Flavoured ones you’ll find in the supermarket are easy enough to make at home, try this carrot tahini hummus recipe. By making your own from scratch, you’ll avoid the preservatives and other additives.

Chickpeas are a good source of fibre, and contains many other vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, zinc and magnesium. Spread or dip it.

hummus_rice_cakes

6. LSA truffles

Got a bag of LSA in your pantry or seen it but didn’t know what to do with it? Now you can make chocolate truffles with it! Quick to make, these truffles are also a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. You can substitute the fruit in this recipe. No apricots? Just use extra dates, use what you have on hand. Get the truffle recipe.

7. Coconut sacha inchi protein smoothie 

Sacha inchi protein powder is great too because it is 60-65% protein, plus it is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids that help prevent inflammation in the body. Coconut makes a great addition to smoothies because it provides healthy fats that will keep you fuller longer. Get the smoothie recipe here.

coconut_sacha_inchi_protein_smoothie_blog

8. Peanut butter on rice cakes

Peanut butter tastes so good, it’s high in protein and full of fibre. But like most things made with nuts, it’s also pretty high in calories. Try and stick to 2 tablespoons maximum and pair it with low carb rice cakes which will be more filling. Always check your peanut butter doesn’t contain added oils or sugar.

9. Kale chips

These are the healthiest chips ever! Just preheat your oven to 165°C. Tear kale into pieces, wash and spin dry. Place kale on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and add sea salt and spices. Bake until crisp, for about 12 minutes.

10. Roasted chickpeas

Forget chips, with a can of chickpeas and some spices you’ve got yourself a seriously addictive snack. Rinse and pat your chickpeas dry. In a bowl, toss with a little olive oil and whatever spices you have on hand. Bake at 200°C for about 30 minutes or until your chickpeas turn golden brown.

11. Handful of trail mix

Either buy a good quality organic one or make your own. If buying, watch out for added ingredients like salt, preservatives and sugars which are sometimes added to the nuts. Your basic nut and fruit combination will provide you with healthy fats, protein and natural sugars.

12. Chia pudding

Chia seeds are packed with fibre, omegas, iron, calcium and magnesium, so you absolutely need to get more chia in your life! This chocolate chia pudding contains a massive 10 grams of fibre! You only need 4 ingredients and it is ready to eat in about 30 minutes. You’ll also satisfy your sweet cravings without overloading on sugar.

13. Almond cookies

Cookies are a favourite snack for most of us but unfortunately many of the ones you’ll find in stores are highly processed and high in sugar. You can still have cookies, just make your own. These raw almond cookies contain no added sugar and take just 15 minutes to make.

14. Overnight oats 

Oats are not just for breakfast. In a container with a secure lid, mix 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup almond milk, 3 tablespoons protein powder, and a handful of almonds until well combined. Let sit in fridge overnight (or even up to a few days). Need some extra sweetness? Add half a banana, mashed!

overnight_oats_snack

15. Handful of raw nuts

Nuts are super easy to get. Try a mixed bunch for variety and a combo with dried fruit for some added sweetness. Want to get more protein for your buck? Go for almonds and pistachios, they’re higher in protein compared to other nuts.

16. Banana coconut cookies

Only 2 ingredients, so zero excuses here. All you need are some ripe bananas and coconut. To save time, double or triple the recipe then you can feed the family, the flat or just have a good supply for yourself. Get the cookie recipe here.

17. DIY raw energy bars

Snack bars are ultra convenient, great for kids, uni, the gym and desk draw. But many conventional bars are full of highly processes and added ingredients. These raw zesty almond bars are made from only natural, organic foods and only take a few minutes in a food processor.

18. Avocado mousse

This chocolate avocado mousse is rich and creamy but way healthier than the original version. You just need four ingredients and 10 minutes to make this mousse and it’s way better for you than eating a half block of chocolate. 

19. Coconut banana loaf

Baking doesn’t have to mean loads of sugar and butter anymore. This moist coconut banana loaf is sort of like banana cake, or bread – but even healthier! Kids will love it too!

coconut_banana_loaf

20. Black bean dip with veggie sticks

Black beans deserve super food status, packed with protein, fibre and antioxidants. 1 cup of black beans has 15 grams of fibre and 15 grams of protein which make them great for your digestive system and regulating blood sugar. This black bean dip only takes 10 minutes to make and will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. Get dipping!

HOW TO EAT SUPER HEALTHY WITHOUT BEING SUPER BROKE

There’s a common misconception that maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet is unavoidably expensive. However, it’s not as pricey as you’d think to eat whole, plant-based foods – you just need to know how! Read on for six tips and tricks to set you on the path to saving money while continuing to nourish your body.

Buy your produce in season

Supermarket shelves are laden with delicious foods harvested from every corner of the earth, and it’s easy to be enticed by a ripe nectarine from America or a bag of frozen strawberries from Turkey. But these products are often overpriced due to the distance they’ve traveled.

You can save a lot of money by opting for local produce that is in season. Not only will you save money, but the produce is more likely to be fresher and have maximum nutrients.

carrots

Make your own alternatives from scratch

Instead of buying expensive pre-made nut bars or bottles of pricey plant milk, try making your own! This is a great way for kids to learn how their food is made and offers a chance to get creative. Nut and plant milks can be an bit of an investment, often costing up to $8 per litre, and many contain a plethora of unnecessary ingredients such as refined sugars and vegetables oils. Making your own milks at home is both an easy and exceptionally affordable alternative – it’ll save you money and spare the unnecessary packaging. Making your own nut milks requires only a handful of ingredients, start with the basics, almond milk, cashew milk and coconut milk.

almond-milk-blog

As for snack bars, forget the boxed ones, these Zesty Almond Bars are super nutritious and use whole foods you can purchase bulk from health food stores to save some cash.

Bulk is best

Buying from the bulk bin is not only cheaper in comparison to packaged products per kilo, it’s also a great way to test out new flours, grains and legumes without having to commit to an entire pack. Bonus points if you can find paper bags! Chickpeas are an extremely versatile ingredient, you can make a ton of hummus for the fraction of the cost of store brought. Try out hummus four ways here.

This bulk theory applies to cooking too – if you’re making something like a vegetable stew, soup or salad, make extra to take for lunch the next day and curb those temptations to stop by your favourite café. This Fennel and Carrot Slaw lasts for a few days in the fridge, just keep the dressing separate from the salad until eating is the best way to keep it fresh and crunchy.

bulk-bin-organic-food

Eat out less

It’s difficult to resist the allure of the mouthwatering raw cakes and fresh smoothies gracing the cabinets of most cafés, and those pesky coffee cravings can strike at anytime. One way to avoid spending excess money is to prepare your own meals and snacks, and reserve dining out for special occasions and weekend treats only.

This chocolate nut fudge is a great snack to have on hand and you can never go wrong with healthy cookies – keep your snack stash at your work desk or in the car for when you’re on the run. Plus does your local cafe really makechia pudding or smoothies better that you can? If you get up just ten minutes earlier you could blend yourself up a green, fibre rich smoothie like this one with psyllium or do it the night before and store it in the fridge so you’re good to go the next day!

chocolate-chunk-cookies-blog

Grow your own

Admittedly, not all of us are blessed with a green thumb, but there are some plants that will happily thrive in your garden (or a decent size pot) with minimal supervision and tending required. Spinach and kale are a great place to start – seeds and seedlings are super cheap, and can be found in some supermarkets and all garden centres. Strawberries are also wonderful, as are herbs such as basil and parsley, that are easy to grow and will thrive in even the smallest of pots perched on your kitchen windowsill. There is nothing more rewarding, eco-friendly or cheap as growing your own food!

Check out this post by the Organic Mechanic on how to build a vegetable garden like a pro, it’s not as hard as you might think! This post will give you the low down on what to grow and how to grow it organically, how to cut down on your home waster and set up your own compost ecosystem. The guys over at We Compost can also sort you out with a compostable waste bin and the need to know for composting at your place. Instead of adding to landfills you will be creating nutrient rich biomass you can use on your garden, reducing your waste and minimising your impact on the environment.

compost

Plan your meals ahead of time

If you head to the supermarket without a clear idea of what you need to purchase, you’re more likely to end up with an assortment of food that you didn’t really need. Save money (and time) by planning out your meals and snacks for the week, then write a list of ingredients required.

It also helps to stock up your pantry staples every month or so – these may be oats, rice, quinoa, chickpeas, lentils, passata, nuts, nut butter, sweeteners and so on. As a result, you’ll only have to purchase fresh ingredients each week, meaning less time in the supermarket!

Recipes like this Nourishing Buddha Bowl and Red Rice Quinoa Stir-fry are perfect examples of easy meals to plan for, and snacks like these LSA Truffles are great to prepare for when you’re on the go (reducing the likelihood of having to resort to a more expensive alternative).

Give some of these ideas a go and see how much money you’re able to save – you’ll be amazed how small changes can have such a big impact on your spending. This way, you’ll be able to pay a little extra for a slice of raw cheesecake, or perhaps an imported mango or two, from time to time without having to worry about your wallet.

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.

BURN BABY BURN! 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 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.

3 SUPER CLEAN GREEN SMOOTHIE RECIPES

Anything edible and green has basically taken over the health world recently. Fair enough, as greens are one of the best things you can put into your body. Did you know you can fit up to half a kilo of green vegetables in one green smoothie? That’s a lot of nutrients, and one very happy body.

When it comes to the benefits of consuming green vegetables, the list is seemingly endless. Bitter greens are amazing for your digestion, supports your liver, promotes healthy skin, are a great detoxifier, lowers blood pressure, and help improves bowel function, just to name a few. Packed with folate and fibre, as well as vitamins A, C and K, and crucial minerals including magnesium, calcium and potassium, it’s safe to say they’re a nutritional powerhouse.

Green smoothies are such an easy way to slip in more greens into your diet, no matter where you are, or how busy your schedule. Using these healthy drink recipes, you can blend up a big batch and keep it in the fridge for the next few days. If you prefer them fresh, you could set your alarm clock a tiny bit earlier – the result is worth it.

The key to green smoothies is to try and focus on vegetable content. It’s easy to assume fruit smoothies and juices are healthy, but in terms of fructose consumption, it’s best to keep to 1-2 pieces of fruit per serve. Of course, if you’re a newbie to the juicing way of life and feel the need to start off slow, go right ahead! With three different combinations to choose from, these smoothie recipes are foolproof. There’s no excuse not to try this liquid goodness! Your body will thank you for it.

greeen-smoothie

THE CLASSIC GREEN SMOOTHIE RECIPE

2-3 stalks of celery

1 cucumber (cut into pieces)

1/2 lemon

1/2 lime

handful of spinach

handful of cos lettuce

handful of kale

ginger to taste

1 tablespoon Ceres Organics Chia Bran

Planet Organic Spirulina Powder (optional)

up to 500ml filtered water and 1 cup of ice (if blending)

HOW TO

Cut the celery and cucumber into bite-sized pieces. Peel or cut the skin off the lemon and lime. Put ingredients through the juicer or blender, adding water and ice if blending. Serve with ice to make it even more refreshing!

GOLDEN GREENS

4 carrots

½ lemon

1 kiwifruit

1 handful of lettuce

3-4 sprigs of parsley

ginger to taste

¼-½ head of broccoli

1 tablespoon Ceres Organics RAW Virgin Coconut Oil

HOW TO

Slice the carrots, kiwifruit and the lemon, adding each ingredient through the juicer for a sweeter combination of greens! To up the ante even more, blend in some broccoli after juicing and enjoy even more benefits.

green-smoothies-kiwi

MEAN, GREEN AND NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED!

½ cucumber

1 cup Ice

300ml Water

handful of spinach

handful of kale

4 tablespoons of lemon juice

½ teaspoon of turmeric

ginger, to taste

parsley, to taste

1 tablespoon Ceres Organics Super Seed Blend

HOW TO

Cube your cucumber half and then add all your ingredients to a blender. Blend on high until creamy.

green-smoothies-spinach