Friday, 20 November 2015

The Life of your Liver


It is no coincidence that the root word of liver is live as it is an incredibly important organ and plays a key role in maintaining your wellbeing.

People speak of 'doing a liver detox' however, the reality is, your liver is involved in detoxification processes every second of every day.

What's more, everyone detoxifies at different speeds, kids are particularly slow, making them more vulnerable to toxin exposure.




Liver Detox 101! The what, why and how of liver detoxification.

Toxins come from two places- inside AND outside the body.
  •  Exogenous toxins-  refers to toxins entering from outside the body
  • Endogenous toxins- refers to toxins produced inside our bodies.

External Toxins

These days, we are exposed to a cocktail of different chemicals, pesticides, flame retardants, plasticisers and heavy metals. Research tells us that small amounts of single toxin exposure can be well tolerated but once a few different chemicals or heavy metals are combined then their impact can be far more damaging, the total being greater than the sum of all parts.

Too much Heavy Metal, and I don't mean AC/DC!

Heavy metals are found to reduce brain weight, increase brain cell destruction (Alzheimer's Disease), cause liver cell damage and kidney cell death. They can be found in cigarettes, diesel fumes, industrial waste, medical products, dental amalgams and the food chain, e.g. fish.
Unless you do a specifically targeted detox these heavy metals settle themselves deep in bones, organs tissue such as the brain, kidneys & liver as well as fat cells. Different metals have different preferences,for example, lead likes to settle in the bones whilst mercury prefers to deposit in the brain.



Hormonal Havoc!! Endocrine disruption right under our noses!

Endocrine disruptor's are abundant in our environment and interfere with hormone function in various ways. They have the potential to;
  • mimic our own hormones, potentially resulting in over stimulation of hormones
  • block our hormone 'docking stations' resulting in under stimulation of hormones
  • change the way the liver handles our hormones 
Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) can be found in everyday products such as toiletries, plastic bottles, tinned food, detergents, food, toys, cosmetics and pesticides. They have been linked with thyroid & reproductive abnormalities as well as some forms of cancer.

Would you have guessed???

Your liver processes  SO many substances each day, below are some, not all.
  • Pesticides, Herbicides, Insecticides
  • Heavy Metals e.g. Mercury, Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic
  • Penicillin, Antibiotics, NSAIDS,Paracetamol
  • Alcohol, Nicotine
  • Petroleum products
  • Steroid hormones, internally and externally derived
  • Sex hormones, natural & synthetic 
  • Phenols, Amines (chargrilled foods)
  • Neurotransmitters (brain chemicals)
  • Preservatives, sulphites, flavours & colours
  • Gut derived toxins- directly from food or produced in our guts
  • Endocrine disrupting chemicals
Tools of the Trade

If you suspect a significant toxic burden then a specialised detox is recommended, with the assistance of a trained health professional. It can be potentially dangerous to mobilise stored toxins without ensuring they are bound and excreted safely.

General detox foods & nutrients include:
 
  • Brassica family vegetables
  • Sulfur rich foods-eggs, onion family
  • Green leafy veg
  • Vitamins C, B12, B6, B5
  • Minerals such as Magnesium, Zinc, Molybdenum & Selenium
  • Prebiotic fibre and probiotic organisms.
Like we service our motor vehicles so  we should service our bodies. I recommend yearly 'grease and oil change' for most people with more frequent detoxs' suggested for cancer survivors, those with chronic fatigue, people with chronic gut issues, hairdressers, motor mechanics and individuals on a weight loss program.


Your liver is one of the hardest working organs in your body, love it and it will love you back!



Monday, 5 October 2015

Mental Health Matters

Why food Matters…. 




Mental health is complex. Many factors are known to contribute to poor mental health such as lack of exercise, genetics, economics, nutritional deficiencies, traumatic life events and so on.

For those wishing to take control of their own health, nutritional, psychological & lifestyle therapies offer a safe and effective way of improving mental health. For those with mild to moderate depression, trials have repeatedly demonstrated that treatments such as St Johns Wort and regular exercise are as effective as pharmaceutical medications, are also cheaper and have fewer side effects.

Why ARE nutrients so important for your mental health?

Nutrients play a central role in;

  • serotonin & dopamine production and activity
  • reducing the inflammation that blocks serotonin production
  • preventing excess free radicals from disrupting normal nerve firing in the brain.
  • Providing the body with ‘building blocks’ essential for neurotransmitter production, e.g. you can’t make dopamine without having tyrosine in the diet.
  • overcoming genetic ‘shortcomings’ so as to prevent (mental health) illness, for e.g. improving folic acid metabolism.

Dietary Essentials for Mental Health

  • Low Glycaemic Index Foods
  • Oily Fish- 3 serves/wk esp. sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon.
  • Protein – 2 serves /day. Fish, lamb, eggs, chicken, beef, tofu, legumes, cheese.
  • Coloured Berries – 50gms or more.
  • Nuts 60gm daily- esp. walnuts & almonds.
  • Green leafy veg- essential for folic acid.
  • Restrict intake of vegetable oils, esp. Trans fats, Omega 6’s & fats exposed to high temperature.
  • Moderate or no consumption of alcohol, nicotine & coffee.
  • Dark chocolate- 70% or 85% cocoa, 20gms daily (lowers stress hormone cortisol)

 
What’s in my tool box?

These are the key herbs and nutrients I often use for mental health conditions. Of course, prescriptions are as varied as people themselves and always individualised.

  • 5-HTP, Folic Acid, B12, B6.
  • Magnesium, Zinc, GABA, Taurine, NAC, Vitamin D.
  • St.John’s Wort, Kava, Passiflora, Rhodiola, Skullcap, Lavender, Lemon Balm.
  • Probiotics, Fish Oil – both EPA & DHA.

Mindfulness/ Meditation/ Stress Management Resources

There is an abundance of online and community based behavioural tools at our disposal, here are some that have proven to be helpful.

  • Mood Gym- online Cognitive behavioural therapy.
  • Smiling Minds- Smartphone App
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn- Guided mindfulness meditation. CD’s available online.
  • Yoga, Tai Chi, Belly Breathing, Any exercise, gardening.
  • Good sleep – apply sleep hygiene practices if necessary.
  • N.U.T.S. Program- developed by Dr. Sonia Lupien.
  • The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the life you want. (www.thehowofhappiness.com)
  • www.thehappinessinstitute.com)
  • Headspace- online mindfulness mediation

The benefit of these types of strategies is that they empower action on an individual level and put you in the driving seat so that you can effectively take charge of your health and your treatment plan.
And when life throws the odd wobbly at you (which is inevitable) or your  resilience fades, seeing a health professional  who puts you back in the drivers seat rather than a practitioner who medicates you may just be the better option.

Research Reveals….

A recent study exposing mice to cats (stress) found that when the mice were fed a blueberry enhanced diet, serotonin (often called the happy hormone) increased whilst stress hormones stayed controlled; ultimately enhancing and stabilising mood.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Chronic Disease or Not?

More of us are suffering and dying from chronic diseases than ever before.

Whilst modern medicine is fantastic with acute infections, injuries, diagnostics and life saving surgery; it can, at best only manage the symptoms of chronic disease at huge expense to the taxpayer.

Generally, once prescribed, pharmaceuticals are then taken for life, whilst a naturopathic approach aims to restore proper function so that both drug and Naturopathic treatment can be withdrawn.

Unfortunately, due to our reliance on drug medicines, our healthcare system is overburdened and underfunded. Dietary recommendations that offer a one size fits all apporoach are too general and don’t take into account genetic polymorphisms, pregnancy, growth phases, occupational exposures, stress and mental health issues.

To effectively treat a chronic disease one must address more than the symptoms.
The underlying cause must be uncovered and addressed.

Diet, nutrition, exercise, rest, relaxation, social connection, sleep quality,  self expression, intellectual stimuli and genetics are all taken into account. Ideally, balance needs to be achieved, in all aspects of life, to achieve wellbeing.

A Naturopathic model of healthcare is perfect for the management of chronic illnesses. Chronic diseases are essentially lifestyle diseases, they usually develop after years of denying your body the condtions it needs to thrive.

Think of a tree, if a tree is showing signs of diseaase the ideal strategy would be to improve the environmental conditions, eg the soil, rather than remove the diseased bits and hope for good regrowth.

Think of yourself in much the same way… If branches on your tree are sick then improve the soil!
Medications will never improve the soil , however, they can, if necessary be used to manage symptoms whilst you work to address the underlying causes.

Functional foods, individualised dietary and exercise plans, as well as herbal therapeutics, as prescribed by a highly trained practitioner, can be used to improve the quality of your ‘soil’ so that your tree can thrive!

Is stress making you sick?

Undoubtedly two of the most complex systems in the body are the immune system and the stress response system. Years of research have highlighted the impact of stress on our immune systems.


Did you know that acute stress actually upregulates our immune response, and this is a good thing?

This system developed as a result of our prehistoric existence where our very life was threatened by injury and infection. Therefore, an enhanced immune response at times of (acute) stress offered a survival advantage.

For many of us today, our stressors are insidious and chronic by nature. Chronic stress has been shown to suppress immune function, with subsequent immune depletion.
On a biochemical level, chronic stress suppresses interleukins 12 & 4, resulting in immune suppression. Also, biochemically, chronic exposure to stress results in cortisol resistance and a failure to down regulate the inflammatory response.

This could be described as a double whammy, we are left with both immune suppression, so at risk of increased of lingering infections, alongside of uncontrolled inflammation which exaggerates the signs and symptoms of infection. Basically, sicker for longer!! Aargh!!

I could go on and on about dietary and lifestyle interventions for stress management…
And I will some other time…

Gastrointestinal Disorders



Did you know that the human organism is home to 10 times more microbial DNA than human DNA?
 

This begs the question, are we more more microbial than human? Your inner ‘environment and its inhabitants’ have a significant impact on your health.
The complexity and profound effect this ‘inner’ environment has on health is what drives my special interest in complex gastrointestinal disorders.

With gut symptoms constituting a large percentage of health complaints in the community, it is vital to engage the services of a health professional familiar with the nuances of gastrointestinal dysfunction.

Our gut is a many layered organ. First, there is the influence of diet, which plays a huge role in determining gut health. Other influential factors include digestive enzymes, microbial balance, membrane (gut lining) function, gut based immunity and the enteric nervous system.

It is the enteric nervous system that allows for that ‘butterfly’ feeling in the tummy when we’re nervous.
IBS? Crohns? Ulcerative Colitis? NCWS? Coeliacs? FODMAP Intolerance, H.Pylori, SIBO, Lactose Intolerance, diarrhoea and/or constipation, bloating, flatulence… the list of bowel disorders goes on and on.

SCD, GFCF, Paleo, Vegan, Blood Type, FODMAPS, Wellness, Anti-Candida, Biofilm Busting, Elimination, Nourishing Traditions, Low GI, Mediterranean and so goes the list of possible dietary interventions.

Lactobacilli , Bifidobacterium , Thermophilus, E.coli , Clostridia, Bacteroides, Fermicutes, Klebsiella, Candida spp. on and on goes the list of diverse microbes living in and affecting your gut.

What this means, is that if you have ‘gut issues’ talk to someone that is trained in, and understands the complexity of your gut and its microbial terrain. In doing so, you can better understand the causes of your gut issues, apply the best dietary strategy and optimise the population of your gut inhabitants.

Cholesterol – Fast Facts

 
Cholesterol is VITAL for:
  • Hormone production
  • Brain function
  • Skin health
  • Nerve health
  • Immune finction and lots more…

Did you know that 75% of your total cholesterol is actually made by your LIVER!

1 in 3 Australians have elevated cholesterol and currently anticholesterol medications are the most prescribed class of drugs and are often prescribed for life. Many people on statins will experience muscle fatigue and pain that impacts  significantly on their quality of life. Furthermore, new research highlights a link between statin use and an increased risk of diabetes (in certain age groups).

Of course, given  that there are many ways to skin a cat, there are also a myriad of options available in restoring cholesterol to optimal levels. Understand though, low cholesterol is not always the best measure of ‘healthy’ cholesterol.

Nature has provided us with a variety of substances that can be used for managing high cholesterol. It is no coincidence that many of these substances are fats. For example, Fish oils, Vit E, phytosterols, nuts and seeds.

It is reasonable to expect that before starting a medication one should adopt a 3 month protocol incorporating these elements; judicious use of Omega 3’s, fibre ( more than you would imagine) nuts & seeds, phytosterols, anti-oxidants and liver support.

Additional factors such as obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, exercise and refined carbohydrate intake all need to be considered when targeting healthy cholesterol levels.
For those individuals that are considered high risk for cardiovascular events (stroke, heart attack) specialised pathology testing can be utilised to determine how severe their risk is and therefore informing the best approach to treatment .

Saturday, 5 September 2015

ME: The Toxic Tiredness

I wanted to share this resource with you.

A BBC documentary, ME:The toxic Tiredness (available on You Tube) explores Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) through a series of case stories from sufferers and practitioners. Part One highlights the incredible individuality of each case and potentially devastating consequences, whilst Part two provides expert medical opinions.

Through the case stories and ongoing research a message of hope emerges with clear explanations of the benefits gained from supporting both the physical body and the mind-body aspects of the patient. This illustrates the benefits of an holistic approach in chronic, complex conditions such as CFS.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Skin IS Deep!


Chronic skin conditions can be uncomfortable, unsightly and downright dangerous, at least making life awkward, at worst increasing the risk of systemic infections.

Approximately 27% of Australians suffer one or more skin condition. The most prevalent are eczema, acne, rosacea and psoriasis and are usually inflammatory or allergic. The lymphatic system is a network of nodes, vessels and immune cells responsible for delivering and draining lymph fluid. A congested lymphatic system results in a build up of metabolic wastes and toxins placing an increased burden on the skin.

Unlike the blood which has a pump (the heart) our lymph system relies on skeletal muscle to keep things moving. Many of you know I’m a big fan of exercise, here’s YET another way exercise contributes to our wellbeing, it is vital for healthy lymph and skin.
Lifestyle strategies to support lymphatic health include dry skin brushing, deep breathing exercises, massage and a clean vegetable heavy diet.

In the case of stubborn, difficult to treat skin conditions, herbal and nutritional medicines can be used to enhance elimination via the lungs, liver, gut and kidneys. This reduces the lymphatic burden. Echinacea (a favourite herb of mine) Burdock, Yellow Dock and Poke Root are all lymphatic herbs with a long history of use in skin conditions. Additionally, zinc and Vitamin A can provide nutritional support for lymphatic clearing and skin healing.

But let’s not forget the role of hormonal imbalance and skin disorders……… More on that later……

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Antibiotic resistance affects us all



 High rates of antibiotic use in rich countries has
led to the emergence of resistant strains of bacteria. The World Health Organisation’s report states that this is a ’cause of high concern’ and that resistance to ‘last resort’ antibiotics is now global.

If we continue to use antibiotics at such high rates we risk losing them working AT ALL!

Shamefully, Australia has one of the highest rates of antibiotic over-use in the world and as a result, once easily treated bacterial infections are becoming increasingly difficult to cure and even at times, life threatening.

As consumers of medicine we all have a role to play and can exert a significant ripple effect by what we choose. Save the use of antibiotics for true bacterial infections only, and even then, in non life threatening situations. Why not try something plant based first. After all, we use plant based compounds all the time, take aspirin, for example.

So, what are our other options?

First, ensure your immune system is in tip top shape. Nutritionally and herbally this means;  ensuring you have adequate iron, zinc, Vitamin C, D and E to start with. As well, you can improve your immune systems ability to detect and fight bacteria and I especially love a combination of Echinacea and Astragalus for this job.

This might also mean you need to get more sleep, improve your diet, stress less and exercise more!

Secondly, specific agents that possess antibacterial properties can also be used. Some useful ones include Garlic, Golden seal, Myrrh, Andrographis and Thyme. Lactoferrin, derived from colustrum is an incredibly powerful antibiotic agent to consider too. Furthermore, different herbs have different affinity for different body parts. For example, I would use Thyme for a chest infection and Golden Seal and cranberry  for a urinary tract infection.

I am passionate about preserving the viability of antibiotics for when people really need it.

I am available for economically priced ‘acute’ consultations when you want to get the best, most effective natural treatments for infections of any kind.

Really, the treatment possibilities are almost endless…

Friday, 17 July 2015

No Cooking Cooked Greens


Sometimes after a marathon cooking session where I've cooked for example, a roast or a meat dish, some spuds, pumpkin or ricey dish, a curry for the week ahead and prepared a nutritious dessert/ cake/ sweet slice for lunch boxes and a gluten free loaf I have a greens crisis!

This recipe is perfect for when you reach the point of cooking overload, you're running out of time 'cos the masses are hungry and/ or you don't want to generate any more washing up.

I use a selection of green, red and purple leaves such as rocket, kale, cabbage, beet leaves and radicchio or what ever else I have on hand.

The other thing I love about this technique is that it reduces the bulk of the raw leaves, makes them more palatable and easier to chew, meaning you can get more of the goodness that plant based foods have to offer.

No Cooked Cooked Greens

Quantities are vague for this recipe...

Rocket
Kale
Silverbeet
Spinach
Radicchio
Beet leaves
Or any garden leaves on hand....

Chop into thick or thin slices. Place into bowl.
Dress with olive oil (or your preferred oil) and give your greens a quick vigorous massage.
I add a pinch of good quality sea / rock/ Himalayan salt ( for extra adrenal support) because I'm a salt fiend.
After 5-15 mins the leaves have softened considerably and are wonderful alongside of anything really. Omelettes, meat, fish, haloumi etc etc.

Variation: You may wish to add shaved parmesan, tasted nuts or seeds or some sardines/ mackerel.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Lyle's Vegetarian Indian Curry


This recipe was given to me by a classmate whilst at Uni.
Lyle was a qualified chef studying Naturopathy so I expected it to be delicious. Not only delicious, this recipe is nice and easy to put together too.

  • 2 small eggplants, diced
  • 2 large potatoes, diced
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 fresh green chillies, chopped
  • 1 bunch spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup oil or ghee
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp palm or coconut sugar

Fry potatoes in 1 tbsp oil until golden. Remove from pan.

Fry eggpplant in oil, remove from pan when softens.

Add 1 tbsp oil and onion, cook until soft and golden. Add ginger, turmeric & cumin, cook for 1 minute.

Add chillies, tomatoes, salt, potatoes, eggplant & spinach.
Cover and cook on low until all vegies are tender (may need to add 1/2 cup of water)
Add palm sugar and cook uncovered to evaporate excess liquid.
Serve with chopped coriander, rice and yogurt.

Variation: I like to add some chickpeas for increased nutritional value.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Cumin Spiced Cauliflower Soup

It's been a while between recipes and high time for a seasonal soup.
I told my kids it's a 'curried' vegetable soup and they loved it.

Ingredients

1 cauliflower head
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp curry powder
3C chicken or veggie stock
Yogurt
Parsley to garnish

Place cauliflower florets on a roasting tray. Toss with 1 tbsp of the oil.
Sprinkle with cumin seeds and curry powder.
Roast in 180c oven for 20 minutes.
Saute chopped onion and garlic in remaining olive oil until softened.
Add roast cauliflower and stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Blend with stick blender or in blender.
Serve with a dollop of yogurt and chopped parsley.

Savour the seasonal goodness of sulphur rich cauliflower- perfect for everyday & detox support.



Saturday, 6 June 2015

Goodness Green Masala


I love anything even remotely related to curry and will stir this through my salads, add to poached or scrambled eggs & marinate meat or seafood.

Full of fabulous anti-inflammatory herbs & spices.

Green Masala Paste

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (soaked overnight)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
40g fresh mint leaves
40g fresh coriander leaves

120ml vinegar-  I use apple cider vinegar
3 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons turmeric

1 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds

120ml vegetable oil
50ml sesame oil
 

Strain the soaked fenugreek, discard the water.
Process everything bar the oil, in a blender or food processor, to make a purée.
Heat the oil in a karahi (Indian version of a wok) or wok.
Add the paste to the oil. It will splatter a bit so be careful.
Stir-fry the paste continually to prevent it sticking until the water content is cooked out (it should take about 5 minutes). As the liquid is reduced, the paste will begin to make a regular bubbling noise if you don't stir, and it will splatter. Take the karahi off the stove. Leave to stand for 3-4 minutes. If the oil 'floats' to the top, the spices are cooked. Bottle the paste in sterilised jars.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Choc Chia Cookies

As with all the recipes on my site, these biscuits are fuss free, delicious and nutritious.


  • 2 Tbsp Chia seeds
  • 1/3rd C Water
  • 1/3 rd C Coconut oil
  • 1 Egg (optional)
  • 1 1/4 C Wholemeal flour (can use buckwheat for GFoption)
  • 1 C Cacao nibs or choc chips
  • 1/2 C Rapadura sugar
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla extract or seeds from 1 pod.
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder & pinch of  salt

Heat oven to 180C. Soak chia seeds in the water for 5 minutes (will form a gel). Whisk sugar & coconut oil (and egg if using) until well combined. Add flour, baking powder, & vanilla, stir until well combined. Add chia gel and cacao nibs or choc chips, fold through.

Roll into balls, place on baking tray, flatten with hand. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Makes approx. 16 cookies.

Quick & Easy Beef Skewers

This recipe ticks all the boxes for convenience, ease and flavour.
I only ever eat locally produced, organic meat as it IS much healthier for me, you and the planet.
If using cheaper cuts of meat this will still be tender if marinated a bit longer…..
Serve this with a side of braised asian greens and rice or cauliflower rice. Couldn’t be much easier.

Marinade:

  • 1 Tsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tsp chilli flakes ( I leave this out when cooking for kids)
  • 1 Tsp sea/Himalayan salt
  • 3 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 Tbsp light soy sauce or tamari
  • 80ml Peanut oil
  • 1 Kg beef fillet, diced

Combine marinade ingredients in bowl. Add diced beef. Marinade for 15 minutess or more.
Thread onto pre-soaked bamboo skewers. Barbeque 3-4 mins either side.

Baste with remaining marinade whilst cooking. Serve with lemon wedges.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Health(ier) Home-made Nutella

Really not like the shop bought stuff, you can tastse the quality ingredients in each mouthful. Just as delicious on toast.....
  •  
  • 250gm roasted & skinned  hazelnuts
  • 100gm honey
  • 100ml water
  • 2 tbsp cocao powder
  • 4 tbsp hazelnut, almond or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
Blend nuts in high speed blender (30 secs) or longer in food processor.
Add honey, water, cocao powder, nut oil, sea salt and vanilla.

Process for two minutes or until desired consistency is achieved.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Choc Chia Coconut Pudding

During a recent integrated detox where I cut out all red and white meat, dairy products (except some yogurt) alcohol, sugar, caffeine, gluten and processed grain products I found myself getting creative in the kitchen around Day 7. In case you're wondering how I was coping without all of the above, I was feeling pretty awesome by Day 7.

This pudding is detox friendly and delish, gluten & dairy free and full of antioxidant phytonutrients. Other detox friendly deserts on the site include the fig, date& cacao truffles and chocolate avocado pudding.



Ingredients

1/4 c chia seeds
2tbsp cacao powder
1 c coconut milk
1/4 c water or almond milk
3 tbsp rice malt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Place into several small jars and set in fridge. They'll be ready in about 3 hours.
You could usea high power blender for a creamier end product. I like the low fuss version better, probably because it of the low fuss factor.

Easy enough for kids to make.


Thursday, 2 April 2015

Smashed Sardines

I am always ‘prescribing’ sardines, wether it be for bone density, hypertension, high cholesterol, asthma, skin health or mood regulation these little ‘super’ fish tick a lot of boxes.

Being small they haven’t accumulated lots of heavy metals, they are sustainable and not over fished, and provide good amounts of essential omega 3 fatty acids and calcium.

If you’re like me and find ’fishy’ fish difficult then this recipe from Janella Purcell’s Wholefood Kitchen might excite you, or at the very least make sardines more enjoyable.


1 tbsp tahini

½ tbsp grated lemon zest

1 tbsp lemon juice

2tbsp parsley or dill, finely chopped

75gm tin of sardines in olive oil, drained & mashed.

In a bowl, mix tahini, lemon zest, lemon juice and parsley or dill. 

Add sardines and adjust seasonings if necessary, you may wish to add more lemon juice.
Spread on wholemeal sourdough, rice cakes, ryvitas or corn thins.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Cacao Nut Clusters

This recipe is easy enough for younger chefs and can be enjoyed all.

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3rd C honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1/2 C peanut or nut butter of your choice
  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 C shredded coconut
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 C cacao powder
  • 1/4 C walnuts,chopped
  • 1/4 C almonds, chopped

In a large saucepan melt coconut oil.
Add honey and peanut butter, combine gently.
Add remaining ingredients.
Dollop spoonfuls onto baking tray.
Refrigerate until firm.

Chimichurri

A combination of simple superfoods that can be enjoyed everyday and as part of a detox.
Use a generous spoonful to spice up vegetable, fish and meat dishes.

  • 1 Bunch Italian Parsley
  • 6 Cloves garlic
  • 1/2 c Avocado oil
  • 1/4 c Apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 a Lemon juiced
  • 1/2 Red onion

Combine all ingredients in a food processor to desired consistency (paste like)
Add Himalayan Salt and freshly ground pepper.
Store in the fridge.

Gluten & Dairy Free Banana Bread

This gluten and dairy free banana bread couldn’t be easier to whip up.
Sometimes I add sultanas or sunflower seeds for variety.

  • 1/2 Cup Almond meal
  • 1 Cup Brown rice flour
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Bicarb soda
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Cream of tartar
  • 1/2 Cup Dessicated coconut
  • 1 Cup Banana, mashed
  • 1/2 Cup Milk of choice
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 – 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 1 Egg
Sift flour, bicarb and cream of tartar. Add coconut and almond meal.
Combine remaining ingredients, mix well.
Combine with flour, coconut etc. Pour into loaf tin.
Bake in a moderate oven for 40-60mins.
Cooked when inserted skewer comes out clean

Friday, 13 February 2015

Tahini Dressing

Quick, easy and versatile this tahini sauce is  great poured over salads, steamed vegetables, cooked grains and meats.
It can also be used as a dip (homous without the chickpeas) and provides a generous dose of calcium for bone and nervous system health plus good amounts of iron and zinc.

150ml tahini
1-2 cloves of garlic crushed
50-75ml water
50ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.
You may wish to use less water if you like the dressing a bit thicker.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Super Greens, Super Easy

Any kale can be used for this recipe, Cavalo Nero is a favourite of mine though Kurly or Russian kale works just as well. A clever combination of miso & garlic gives this vegetable  a nice lift that is especially appreciated by the end of the growing season.

Kale has recently made the 'Dirty Dozen List', meaning it is one of the 12 fruit and veg exposed to the most herbicides and pesticides during it's production, so eat organic when possible and wash well.




5 heads of Cavalo Nero, stalks removed & chopped or 2 bunches of kale
5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
400ml of vegetable or organic chicken stock
2tbsp Shinshu miso (yellow miso)
1 tsp chilli flakes


Blanch kale.
In a wide pan heat oil, add garlic and cook for 3 minutes, taking care not to brown the garlic.
Add kale, stock, miso & chilli flakes. Cook covered over low heat, approximately 10 minutes.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Fig, Date & Cacao Truffles

Since first making these I virtually haven't stopped. SO delicious (if you are a chocolate lover) and with so  many health benefits...
     
  • 1 Cup figs
  • 1 Cup dates
  • 1 Cup desiccated coconut
  • ½ Cup walnuts (can substitute with Flax meal, almonds, nut butter, pepitas, tahini etc)
  • ½ Cup raw cacao powder (or carob)
  • ¼ – ½ Cup coconut oil (add gradually)

Roughly chop fruit, add to food processor, pulse a few times.
Add coconut, walnuts, cacao powder then process till smooth.

Finally, add coconut oil, blend till smooth and glossy.
Roll into walnut sized balls, roll in coconut, cacao powder or nut/seed meal.

Variations: Absolutely endless. Different dried fruits, nuts, seeds, tahini, nut butteer.

Green Smoothie

If you're after a green smoothie  that doesn't have too much fruit then try this recipe....

This recipe has a good ratio of veg to fruit and tastes good too.


Variation: Throw in a bit of mint.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stick celery
  • 2 leaves of kale
  • 1 green apple, chopped with skin
  • 1/2 small lebanese cucumber
  • 1 small kiwifruit
  • 50g baby spinach leaves
  • Juice of half lemon

Combine all ingredients into a high speed blender.
Serve with ice and thin with water if the consistency is a little thick.
Drink immediately.

Spicy Lentil Soup

Not only are lentils quick and easy, they provide prebiotic fibre, essential nutrients and protective hormone modifying phytochemicals. Include legumes in you diet at least 2-3 times per week.
  •  1 C red lentils
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 C stock
  • 2tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 C coconut milk (optional)
  • Fresh coriander

Brown onions, garlic & ginger. Add stock, rinsed lentils, carrot, tomatoes and spices.
Bring to boil then simmer approx.45 minutes. Add coconut milk and chopped coriander.
Heat through.

Serves 2

Moroccan Lentil Salad

This Mediterranean type salad is a summer staple for me. I like to cook up extra lentils so that I always have some handy for a quick and easy lunch or dinner.

  • 1C brown lentils (cooked until tender) and drained, or use canned lentils
  • 2 C chopped mixed vegetables- red capsicum, red onion, baby spinach, rocket, shallots, coriander

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 tsp each of ground coriander, cumin and a pinch of turmeric
  • 2 tbsn olivel oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon

Combine lentils and vegetables in bowl.
Mix dressing ingredients well. Pour over vegetables and toss through gently.
Serve with cooked chicken or lamb with humus and cool salad of grated cucumber, plain yogurt, lemon juice and mint.

Pesto

Pesto's are a great addition to a detox diet, packed full of nutrients that support Phase 2 liver detoxification and simple to prepare.
Add a dollop to cooked meats/fish/soup etc.

  • 1C fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 C toasted pine nuts
  • 1/3 C grated parmesan (optional)
  • 1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Generous pinch of good quality salt
Combine all ingredients in food processor and process to your preferred consistency.
Variations:
Replace basil with mixed greens such as rocket, parsley, coriander or baby spinach.
Replace all or some of the pine nuts with macadamias, almonds or cashews.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Black-Eyed Beans with Spinach

Packed full of minerals, prebiotic fibre, hormone modulating compounds and easy to  prepeare this Mediterranean inspired recipe balances blood sugar and enhances bone density.


340g black-eyed beans, soaked overnight
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp butter
1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
225g fresh spinach, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Rinse soaked beans and cover with water. Bring to boil and  simmer for 1 hour or until tender.
Drain. Fry garlic in butter and oil until golden (seconds).
Add drained beans, roughly chopped spinach and fry until spinach is wilted.
Season with salt & pepper and add balsamic vinegar.
Serve with rice, quinoa, root vegetable mash or with salad.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Marinated Butterflied Lamb

With BBQ season fast approaching here are two tasty and easy variations to try on the barby.

As the process of barbequeing is known to generate high amounts of free radicals always make sure you combine your grilled meats with foods high in anti-oxidant compounds, for example, a cabbage salad, garlic, herbs such as rosemary and or a dollop  of pesto.
Organic lamb is always preferable (I get mine from my local farmers market), taste is superior, meat has a better essentail fatty acid content and  impacts less on the environment.


 Butterfly Lamb Variation 1

1 leg of butterflied lamb
1/2 c fresh lemon juice
1/2c tamari sauce

Score the lamb.
Marinate at room temperature (or refrigerated) for several hours in tamari and lemon juice.
Barbeque or grill for aboout 15-20 mins per side until medium rare.
Serve sliced thinly across the grain, with warmed marinade.


Version 2

1.5 kg (approx) butterflied lamb leg
1/4 c red wine
1/4 c olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 c fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
Pepper and Himalayan / Sea salt

Cover lamb with marinade ingredients for 15 minutes minimum.
BBQ on high temp for 5mins per side.
Cover and cook on medium - low for 10 minutes. Rest for 15 mins beore slicing thinly against the grain.

If your bbq doesn't have a lid roast in medium oven for 50 mins, basting frequently.
Rest for 15 mins before serving.


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Lime & Cumin Chargrilled Chook


If you have an oven proof griddle pan then this recipe is an absolute one pot wonder.

If you have a local supply of happy hens even better. There is plenty of evidence demonstrating the healthier fat qualities (less inflammatory) in birds that have been pasture grazed, that is, eating a diet that they have evolved to eat. Not really rocket science that a healthier production methods equals healthier meat.


Preheat oven to190 C.
Rub Ingredients

2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp toasted cumin seeds
1/4 tsp sea/himalayan salt
Zest of 2 limes
Juice of 2 limes
1 tbs oil- peanut, rice bran

Pound garlic, cumin seeds and salt in a mortar & pestle.
Stir in lime juice, zest and oil.

Rub paste all over 1-1.5kg of chicken pieces.
Preheat ovenproof grill pan on high.
Cook chicken skin side down for 3 minutes or until charred to your liking.
Turn chicken pieces, cook for 1 more minute.
Place frypan in oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Baste a few times throughout cooking.

Too easy, too delicious and of course, serve with salad!

Zucchini Salad


Perhaps like me you're looking for new ways to manage the seasonal deluge of zucchini...

I stumbled across this quick and easy recipe in the River Cafe Cookbook and it is now a summer favourite.

Serves 6 though amounts can easily be adjusted.


  • 1kg young zucchini (must be young)
  • 225g rocket (or any other green leafy will do really)
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 100-175g parmesan slivers

Trim ends from zucchini, slice thinly and place in bowl. Remove stalks from rocket.

Mix together olive oil, lemon juice and S&P, then pour over zucchini. 

Mix then marinate for 5 mins. Season with S & P.

Divide rocket (or other greens) between plates, place zucchini, then parmesan slivers on top.
Bon appetit!

Healthy Heavenly Cheesecake



I was so impressed with this higher protein version of the classic cheesecake that I had to share it. 

Plus, it fits the criteria of simple, quick and nutritious, my preferred kind of recipe!!


I made up the crust off the cuff so measurements are approximate, you could use your typical cheesecake crust, or crushed rice flakes, or my version below.


Base:

  • 2 c almond meal
  • ¼ c coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp nut butter
  • ¾ c dessicated coconut
  • Orange juice, just a squeeze to help bind.



Mix all ingredients in a bowl. I found by hand is best Alternately, you could use a food processor. Press into base of a paper lined 30x25cm tin.

Filling:

  • 1 kg cottage cheese
  • 3 eggs, plus 2 egg whites
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange
  • 4tbsp cornflour
  • 125gm honey (or even a little less)


Combine all above ingredients in food processor until smooth. Pour over prepared base.

Bake for 45 minutes or until set. Cool, then chill in fridge before serving.