Superfood Cashew Butter Chocolate Cups

14 Mar

Healthy Cashew Butter Choc Cup!

I made this delicious healthy version of ‘Reece’s cups’ last night for some friends and they were pleasantly impressed!

I saw this recipe on http://www.bewellwitharielle.com but added my own twist. Check out her site for some great recipes and her amazing wellness jeWELLry collection (I’m really loving her ‘i love me’ ring).

Ingredients:
2-4 tbsp Cacao powder
4 tbsp Coconut Oil
Handful of Goji Berries
2 tsp Coconut sugar (or you can use raw honey, agave or Stevia)
Packet of Raw Cashews

What to do:
Melt Coconut oil with a little boiling water and add cacao and coconut sugar, mix well. Pour into cupcake patties and set in the freezer for 5 mins.

To make the cashew butter soak cashews overnight or for at least 5 hours in water. Strain the water and blend until creamy (I made more and used it as a dip to have when the guests arrived- yum!)

When the chocolate is set put a dollop of cashew butter on top and cover with more cacao/coconut mix with added goji berries. Place this in the fridge until the top has set.

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The finished product! I served it sprinkled with cacao and goji berries and a few coconut flakes

 

The Finished product!

This quick, simple and oh so delicious desert is high in good fats making it satiating. The cashew butter can be substituted for almond butter or if your blender is not powerful enough you can buy nut butters at your health food shop.

Cashews are a great nut, high in protein, minerals (especially magnesium) some B-Vitamins and good fats!

Again the amount of ingredients can differ depending on your taste and the consistency.

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The Power of the Green Smoothie

6 Mar

There is no doubt that a green smoothie is the perfect addition to anyones day if you feel like you are not getting enough greens! Packed full of antioxidants, enzymes, nutrients, vitamins and minerals, a delicious green smoothie is a must. And with so many variations you’re sure to find one that suits your taste buds!

Here is one that I love, but feel free to play around with the ingredients:Green Smoothie Power

  • For a base I use a mixture of filtered water with green or peppermint tea (cooled), or coconut water- about 500mls
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 2 celery stalks
  • Handful of fresh or frozen berries
  • ½ avocado, or a generous dollop of coconut cream (full fat!) or a 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1-2 handfuls of spinach, or kale.

Blend all ingredients and enjoy!

I’m lucky enough to have a Vitamix (which is very much the love of my life), but if your blender isn’t as powerful make sure you chop the ingredients finely.

This usually makes enough for 4 smoothies, so I either freeze the rest or keep in an air tight jar in the fridge.

Go ahead and experiment with the consistency and ingredients. Sometimes I add a raw egg or protein powder for added oomph after a workout.  Or you might want to add more ice to make it a bit thicker. You can add spices like Cinnamon or Tumeric for a superfood hit!

If you are new to green smoothies you might want to go for a more fruit based smoothie by adding a frozen or fresh banana and apple.  Then over time add more green and less fruit – go on think of the goodness you are giving your hot bod!

Including more green vegetables into your diet via a green smoothie can improve our health by:

  • Improving digestion by promoting good gut bacteria
  • Ramping up our detoxing process (and therefore weight loss) and reducing free radicals in the body
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Reduces cravings (if your body is getting adequate intake of the nutrients it needs it’s less likely to reach for unnecessary processed sugar)
  • Regulates metabolism, bloods sugar levels and again the fat burning process
  • Makes you happy from mood boosting nutrients – so next time you’re feeling a bit flat reach for a green smoothie 🙂

What’s in your favourite green smoothie??

Wallaby, Kale and Ahhhmazing cauliflower mash recipe!

28 Feb

I cooked this simple and easy dish with my sister last week and thought it was way too good not to share. This clean meal is packed full of goodness and should leave you energised and feeling great!

Wallaby and Kangaroo are great sources of protein and are usually antibiotic and chemical free as they are free range and able to graze on grass in their natural habitat. Be careful not to over cook the game, to quote my butcher “if ya cook game for too long and throw it as someone it’ll break bones” – can’t have that!

INGREDIENTS (Serves 2, but Wallaby, Kale, Sweet Pt and Cauli mashI always make enough veggies for leftovers, cook once eat twice)

2 Wallaby steaks (or you can use Roo)

Coconut oil

1 cauliflower

Olive oil

Garlic

Goats cheese (Meredith’s is the bees knees)

1 bunch of Kale

Sweet Potato

Rosemary

Cinnamon

Real Salt

Pepper

METHOD

Wallaby– We used a skillet but a pan will suffice, fry in a little coconut oil on high heat for 2 mins each side then let rest for 2 mins. We also fried some garlic with it, then topped with salt and pepper.

Cauliflower mash -Steam cauliflower and a clove of garlic, when done add to a blender with olive oil, rosemary, goats cheese (the oil from the goats cheese if you’re buying Meredith’s or a marinated one is amazing), salt and pepper and blend to desired consistency. I’m lucky enough to have a vitamix but if your blender isn’t strong you may have to add more oil or try coconut milk and pre mash it.

Kale– De-stem the Kale by breaking off the leaves, then steam for a couple of minutes until the Kale goes a beautiful bright green colour, immediately remove from the boil and run under cold water to avoid overcooking the Kale. Cauliflower and Kale are both part of the Cruciferous vegetable family and contain high amounts of fibre, vitamins and minerals, great for detoxing, weight loss and putting an extra spring into your step (thumbs up). Also various studies have linked cruciferous vegetables to lowering your risk of cancer!

Sweet Potato– Steam sweet potato until soft, then add cinnamon to serve. (I lurve cinnamon! This superfood is packed full of antioxidants and goes so well with sweet potato, not only for the taste but because the polyphenols in it assists in reducing insulin resistance – oh happy days…)

This clean, Paleo meal had my sister and I doing a happy dance as it was so easy to prepare and tastes delicious! It’s a great mix of protein, good fats and low GI carbs.

6 HEALTH BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL!

21 Feb

Coconut OilIf I was stuck on a deserted island for the rest of my life and could choose a couple of items to have with me, food based or not it would most definitely be a coconut!

The versatile coconut has many beautiful health benefits, it is rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and tastes amazing! Coconut oil is of special interest as it possesses healing properties far beyond that of any other dietary oil. The coconut palm is highly valued by Pacific Islanders as both a source of food and medicine so that’s why they call it “The Tree of Life.”

Here are 6 reasons why this superfood should be a staple in every household:

Weight Loss – Although coconut oil is high in saturated fat it differs from other dietary oils due to the fat molecule, or length of the carbon chain, within each fatty acid. Coconut oil is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). MCFAs have been proven to suppress fat deposition and enhance weight loss and fat mass. Bruce Fife, a certified nutritionist and author of “The Coconut Oil Miracle” says that  MCFAs are quickly digested, so pancreatic enzymes are not needed. By the time they enter the intestinal tract they are completely broken down into fatty acids. Because of this, they are absorbed immediately into the portal vein, and sent directly to the liver. In the liver they are used as a source of fuel to produce energy. Therefore, they bypass the lipoprotein stage, and they don’t circulate in the bloodstream to the degree that other fats do. Consequently, they do not supply the fat that collects in fat cells or the fat that collects in artery walls. They produce energy not body fat and not arterial plaque.”

Also MCFAs help to preserve insulin sensitivity, which is not only great for those with type 2 diabetes but people wanting to lose weight. Insulin  affects metabolism and  hunger levels  and if your body is sensitive to insulin you are better able to use the food you take in, which helps your energy levels and to lessen cravings for ever-increasing amounts of carbohydrates.  Remember that Insulin is a fat storing hormone, so less of this in your body equals less fat!

Increases Nutrient Absorption – Coconut oil helps increase the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, some amino acids and beta-carotene as well as  some B group Vitamins.

Improves Digestion- This increase in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins, minerals and amino acids is great for the digestive system as it prevents various stomach and digestion related problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. The MCFAs found in coconut oil have anti microbial properties and help with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, that cause indigestion.

Increase in Energy- As the MCFAs are used by the body as energy instead of fat, coconut oil is great for increasing energy levels and is used by some athletes for this reason. So less peptides and more coconut oil in sport and this world would be a happier place!

Makes your skin glow – Supermodel  Miranda Kerr is a huge fan of coconut oil and says it’s something she can’t live without. She adds 4 teaspoons a day of this miracle oil to her salads and in her green tea. She sees the effects by way of shiny hair and breakout-free skin (if it’s good enough for her it’s good enough for us!). I use it as a body moisturiser and have noticed smoother skin since using it. It gets a little greasy when first applied but soon soaks in.

High in Antioxidants/ Antimicrobials-  Coconut oil contains high levels of antioxidants that protect our bodies from free radicals and prevent degenerative diseases, cancer, and premature aging. Sweet! The MCFAs in coconut oil consist of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid. These fatty acids are highly powerful antimicrobial agents, effective against a broad range of pathologic bacteria, viruses, fungi, and yeasts.

Which type to buy?- Not all coconut oils were created equal, again organic is best. I use organic extra virgin coconut oil-  Melrose, Loving Earth and Absolute Organic (pictured) are my favourite. You can buy the refined which hasn’t got the coconut flavour and tastes a bit more neutral. Do be careful when buying refined as it can be too processed which may mean that some of the health benefits are lost. Personally I love the coconut taste and imagine myself on a tropical island when i’m having it 🙂 !

 

How to use it?

Unlike other oils, coconut oil can be heated to high temperatures without going rancid or even carcinogenic.  Coconut oil should be a staple in the kitchen and can be used for frying (yes frying) without losing its nutritional value.

Coconut oil can be substituted for any other oil, butter or margarine and used in frying, stir frying, baking, added to smoothies, taken by the spoonful or used in making chocolate. Try a tablespoon of coconut oil for a sugar craving buster!

Coconut cacao heartCoconut Cacao Heart

Coconut oil

Cacao powder

Maca powder

Protein powder (optional)

A splash of boiling water

Mix all ingredients together, mould into hearts or whatever shape you choose then place onto baking paper and set in the freezer for about 15mins easy and sooo tasty!

Coconut banana bread

3/4 cup of coconut oil

3 ripe bananas

1/2 cup of coconut sugarCarlys Coconut Banana Bread

1/2 cup of coconut flour

2 eggs

1/2 -1 cup of coconut flakes

1 tsp of bicarb soda dissolved in warm water

1-2 tbsp of raw honey

Mix all ingredients and bake at 180 degrees until golden brown!

This delicious gluten, dairy and guilt free desert was made for me by my amazing cousin Carly, as I’m always banging on about coconut oil she thought she’d give it a try and now says she’s never making it the old way using butter instead of coconut oil. It’s so damn yum and easily worthy of a happy dance!

For more information check out http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/articles.htm

Be Grateful!

12 Feb

My grateful journalWriting a gratitude list is something I heard about but never actually did, I kind of put it off. But then I decided to bite the bullet and write one mid last year… I wrote one every night for 30 days, and since then I haven’t stopped.  I can honestly say it’s been a ‘game changer’ for me and the way I view the experiences I have in my life. 🙂

So what does it actually do?

“Be thankful for what you have and you will end up having more. But if you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never, ever have enough.”                                                   Oprah Winfrey

A thought can be measured by its frequency, and a happy thought of gratitude has a very high level frequency. When you are vibrating at this higher level you start attracting more of these high level frequency experiences into your life. Feelings of gratitude increases serotonin which is a neurotransmitter responsible for making us feel good. It’s a lack of this mood enhancer that can make people susceptible to depression.

It’s been said before that ‘positive things happen to positive people’ and by focusing on the good in ones life it attracts more good. On the other hand focusing on the bad attracts more bad luck, haven’t you heard that drainer person complain about how ‘unlucky’ they are and that ‘bad’ things always happen to them. Well of course they do, bad stuff is always going to happen, that’s life. It’s what you CHOOSE to dwell on that will ultimately shape your mood for the day.

According to Dr Simon Young from The Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience (2007, Vol 32:6) a negative mood is a risk factor for many disorders. He discussed that hostility and a negative mood are associated not only with mental but physical disorders too, he used the example of heart disease and found patients who were negative or hostile had a poorer survival rate. Furthermore, hostility may lead to a decreased social support network and social isolation, which can lead to a greater mortality rate of those with heart disease!

So being grateful for what we have brings increases serotonin, reduces our chances of depression and heart disease AND attracts more good in our life??

Have an attitude of gratitude for goodness sake!!!

 “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”

Buddha

Today I’m grateful for my beautiful family, my amazing friends, this blog 🙂 , the delicious nutritious food that I have eaten, finishing another gruelling yet rewarding Bikram class, getting a text from the boy that I dig, the sun shining, learning new things, living in this great city, my car starting, and having the dog sit here with me while I write this!

What are you grateful for today?

How to Meditate

4 Feb

Be MindfulMeditation these days doesn’t have to be too woo woo or in fact spiritual at all. If meditation can significantly reduce your stress levels and increase your creative ability and quality of life then who doesn’t have 5 minutes to sit in stillness?

Davis and Hayes researched the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and published their article in the American Psychological Association Journal (Vol 43, No.7, 2012). They found the benefits include a reduction in depressed feelings and stress, boosts to working memory, decreased emotional reactivity, improvement in cognitive flexibility and significant improvements in relationship satisfaction. J Also evidence suggests that meditation has numerous health benefits, including increased immune function, and assists in weight loss.

Meditating reduces stress which lowers cortisol (a fat storing hormone), therefore your body is better able to detox and lose weight. Also you’re less likely to overeat when you are not stressed, and personally since meditating I feel more in tuned with my body therefore I’m able to choose the foods that are best suited right for your body.

But how on earth do you do it without the mind wandering?

“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”– Leonardo da Vinci.

I’ll let you in on a big secret; no-one can quiet their mind, experienced great mediators’ take years to become just that and those that say it’s easy are pulling your lotus sitting leg! I’ve heard the mind being referred to in meditation like wandering sheep, if one thought (the sheep) goes astray you just gently heard it back in line, this is what meditation is all about.

The easiest way when starting out that I have found is to count my breath, breathe in and count one, exhale and count 2 until you reach 10 then start all over again. But if you forget to start over again, like sometimes I get to 18 or so cos I’ve wandered off again, don’t scald yourself, just return to 1 and start over again.

Loving kindness meditation. If you feel like you are in need of a little loving kindness then the easiest way is to wish it upon someone else. Start with yourself by saying ‘May I be well, be happy, be healthy, live with ease’. Then move onto those close to you and repeat the above statement. Then those that you may have met that day, or exchanged a smile with walking down the street. Then (this may be difficult for some) wish loving kindness to those that you may be resenting, like ex partners or maybe someone at work who you’ve been disagreeing with. Or even the next door neighbour’s dog who won’t stop barking when I’m trying to sleep and have been on nights… ‘may that little yapper be well, be happy, be healthy, live with ease…’

Guided meditations are a great idea and can be downloaded from itunes. Try Gabrielle Bernstein, Deepak Chopra, Yoga Nidra or Orange liquid.

Walking Meditation

If the idea of sitting in stillness is too much to handle then try a walking meditation. Go for a slow walk, ideally somewhere in nature and count your breath. Walk at a slow leisurely pace and either don’t listen to music or have some calming music playing, and leave your phone at home or turn on flight mode. It’s amazing how relaxed and focused you can feel.

Meditation can be like going to the gym, you don’t have to like it once you are there but it still has the same effect, and you might not see any results for the first month or so, but then you start noticing the difference in how you feel, then people start to notice changes, then before you know it you’re (gasp) enjoying it!

So give it a go, what’s 5 minutes of your day to sit in stillness and watch your breath? (Candles, incense and woo woo music optional)

Kale Glorious Kale!

30 Jan
Dear Kimbo, I love your body inside and out... Yours Forever, Kale x

Dear Kimbo,
I love your body inside and out…
Yours Forever,
Kale x

I’m in love with Kale, this nutritional powerhouse has so many health benefits that it would be criminal not to have it in your life. Kale is high in vitamins, antioxidants and other disease fighting agents and is extremely nutrient dense :). This delicious superfood can be enjoyed in smoothies, salads, stir fries or soups.

Kale comes from the Cruciferous family often referred to as ‘Cabbages cousin’.  Most big supermarkets are stocking it these days but you can definitely find it in the health food store. It’s sometimes called ‘Tuscan Cabbage’.

The Benefits:

Kale is high in fibre (5 grams per cup) and sulphur which is important for weight loss, digestion and liver function.  This leafy green is high in Vitamin A and Vitamin C improving your immune system, fighting bacteria and aiding vision, growth and tissue repair.

Similar to broccoli and spinach, Kale is a great source of Iron making it a vital vegetable for vegetarians and vegans. Per calories, Kale has more Iron than beef! One cup of Kale provides you with over 1000% of your daily recommended dose of Vitamin K which is an important clotting factor and promotes bone growth.

Kale delivers a significant quantity of Vitamin B6 and folic acid along with a healthy balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids (a serving of kale contains 121 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 92.4 mg of omega-6 fatty acids) providing cardiovascular support and preventing heart disease.

Kale is an incredibly effective anti-inflammatory food, and can help to alleviate arthritis, asthma and a number of autoimmune diseases. Kale contains more calcium per calorie than milk (90 grams per serving) and is also better absorbed by the body than dairy. Pass the Kale!

How to eat it:

Salads

The stem of the Kale can be bitter so tear off the leaves and steam until the Kale turns a beautiful bright green colour, then rinse under cool water to prevent from overcooking. Try substituting Kale for lettuce in your next salad.

Smoothies

Add a handful or two of the Kale leaves to your breakfast or snack smoothie for an added nutrient hit.  Here’s a recipe I love, it makes about 4 cups depending on how thick you like it:

Green Power Smoothie

1-2 handfuls of Kale

1 cup of cooled peppermint or green tea

2 cups of water

1 green apple

2 stalks of celery

1 frozen banana (for added sweetness, optional)

Blend and enjoy!

Kale Chips

These are a great snack option or to impress your friends. Tear the leaves off the stalks and rinse and dry the Kale. Spread evenly onto baking paper and drizzle on olive oil, sea salt and your favourite herbs.

Bake for about 5-10mins.

Stir Frying

Kale can be added to any stir fry, add it towards the end. For a healthy snack option fry Kale in coconut oil and garlic then top with sea salt, and lemon juice. Yummm!

Kale Doughnuts anyone?? I came across a recipe for Kale Doughnuts from A, B, C Vegan, let me know if you think I should try it and post the finished product!