Tuesday, March 27

Top 10 Reasons to Stop Eating Processed Foods - Part2!

6 - Get your taste buds back! After years of eating processed foods loaded with sugar, salt, chemicals, additives, preservatives etc.. your taste buds have become desensitized to all the unnatural stimulations and are no longer sensitive to all the amazing and natural flavours of whole foods. You have become accustomed and addicted to the artificial sweet and salty flavours that our bodies crave. Thankfully your taste buds only last around two weeks, so after this time you will start to notice the awesome natural saltiness and sweetness of the fresh fruit and vegetables that you should be eating!

7 - Sugar =  
*Barley Malt
*Birch Syrup
*Blanco Directo
*Brown Rice Syrup
*Buttered Syrup
*Cane juice
*Caramel Coloring
*Caramelized Foods
*Carob Powder
*Corn Syrup
*Custard powder
*Date Paste
*Diastatic Malt
*D -Tagalose
*Ethyl Maltol
*Evaporated Cane Juce
*Florida Crystals
*Fruit Juice Concentrate
*Golden Syrup
*Hickory Syrup
*High Fructose Corn Syrup
*Hydrolysed Starch
*Jus de canne
*Karo Syrup
*Licorice Root
*Malt Dextrin
*Malted Barley
*Malt Syrup
*Maple Syrup
*Palm Syrup
*Pine Syrup
*Poplar Syrup
*Raisin Paste
*Refiner's Syrup
*Rice Syrup
*Rub Syrup
*Tequila Agave
*Yacon Syrup

That's 100 different names for sugar!! 

8 - It will save you time and money... So many people argue that they don't have the time or money to eat healthy. Firstly I spend the same, if not less, on my groceries each week as most people I know. Secondly, there are resources, recipes, tips and tools out there that will save you time and make it easier for you to eat well. Thirdly, think of all the time that you will gain on your extended life expectancy, money you will save on medical bills! Possibly the greatest benefit of all.

9 - It is comparable to taking drugs, smoking and alcoholism. 
In the film "Super Size Me" Morgan comments that after eating McDonald's he would feel good and happy but after a while he would become withdrawn and depressed. He would not feel better again until he had some more McDonald's. Ever felt like this before? It seems like an exaggeration, but have you ever tried to stop eating a certain type of food? After a few days you start craving it, you cant stop thinking about it, you get headaches, mood swings and tiredness that you feel will not go away unless you eat the food that you've removed. For me its Potato Chips, for you it might be chocolate, sugar, bread, baking. Luckily, just like any other drug, you can move past the harmful and addictive effects! 
10 - Your food will be made with love! My favourite reason. There is nothing more satisfying than cooking or eating a meal that is prepared from scratch, cooked out of passion and shared with friends.
I absolutely love sharing my cooking. I love demonstrating the simplicity and effectiveness of the food I eat. It isn't always amazing.. but it is always made with a passion for good whole foods, risk-taking and exciting tastes and flavours.

Malaysian Seafood Laksa

I have been keen to try this recipe for a while now, but its a bit more complicated than my usual week night dinner! I made it just for myself as I like to try more difficult recipes before I share with friends! Thank goodness I did because, in using dried chillies instead of fresh chillies for the first time, I accidentally added 4x too much! The heat was insane! I was crying and sweating and coughing but the flavour was so good that I had to persist! Cant wait to try this again, using the right amount of chillies this time. :)
The recipe below is of moderate intensity so adjust the amount of chilli according to taste - but trust me 15 chillies is far too much!!

Laksa Spice Paste
Blend or grind in a mortar & Pestle;
1 T Good Quality Curry Powder (I use Mrs Rogers Eco Pack Spice)
3 Chillies, or 1 t Chilli Powder
1 T Chopped Coriander Stalks
1 Stalk Spring Onion
Set to side for now.

The Seafood
Steam or boil Mussels
Chop Fish (any meaty white fish)
Place in bowl, add prawns

This is the seafood I used but you
can add any fish or meat you like!

Add 100 mLs Coconut Cream to a deep frying pan. Boil until thick and sticking on bottom of pan.
Add Curry Paste and 1 T Soy Sauce or Tamari
Mix in the seafood, chopped onion and capsicum.
Add 2 Cups of Chicken Stock and a dash of Fish Sauce.
Simmer for 5-10mins - until meat is cooked through.

Serve into bowls and add some Mung Bean Sprouts and Chopped Coriander. Yum!

Incredibly Luscious Mango, Avocado and Almond Crusted Calamari (phew, that's a mouthful!)d

Easily one of the yummiest salads I have ever tasted. And I've had a few. 3 easy steps - perfect summer salad for BBQ's, but fancy enough for a dinner party.

I made the dressing first so that the flavours would incorporate by the time I mixed it through the salad..
In a small bowl mix together - 1 T Olive Oil, 1 T Mirin/Sake/Rice Wine, 1 t Chilli, 1 T Tamari/Soy Sauce, Juice of 1 Lime and a handful of Chopped Mint. Chill in the fridge until later.

In a large salad bowl add chopped Mango, Avocado, Red Onion, Spinach Leaves and Cashews.

Coat Calamari in Egg and then Almond Flour. Fry in pan. Add to salad bowl and mix chilled dressing through.

The Mint gives this salad a vibrant and refreshing taste, and the contrasting textures of the cashews and avocado make this salad insanely perfect. If you aren't a fan of seafood then Grilled Chicken would work well too.

Hope you all love it as much as I did!

Wednesday, March 21

Universal Comfort Foods...

This week the weather here has been a bit atrocious. We have gone from gorgeous sunny days to heavy wind, rain, thunderstorms and power outages. Comfort foods are perfect in times like these. I love my hot spicy foods in both good and bad weather and could eat Mexican and Indian foods all week - last week I went through a whole pack of Cumin spice! But for the sake of experimenting and getting a bit of variety I have tried to put in some more universal flavours. We travel from the Mediterranean to France, with a little taste of Thailand, Morocco and Italy, then finish up with an Asian inspired stir-fry. This menu plan has a bunch of yummy warm (and still a bit spicy) comfort foods that will help keep you warm and provide a perfect excuse to stay inside and snuggle up. Enjoy! xx

Week 2 - Universal Comfort Foods

Tuesday, March 20

I came across a website...

This is heading a little bit off food as such but I believe that nutrition, particularly avoiding highly processed, packaged, posted foods is one of the easiest ways to start making positive changes to how you are treating and affecting your world. This little write up on this *website here* reminds me of a close friend who had a great paying job with a bazillion benefits. Unfortunately she felt as though her core values and beliefs were being compromised and eventually ended up leaving to pursue some dreams that were better suited to herself and the life she wanted to lead. Many of us may not have the financial ability to pursue our biggest dreams right now, or perhaps we need to do things first to get there. This article asks some questions that might help you to re-assess where you are right now and where you are heading. Is this really the best life that you think you are capable of leading? Are you being too lazy to consider your personal beliefs and values when it comes to your career? Perhaps, like the writer of the article, you think it's possible to separate your work life and your personal beliefs? Whatever your excuses are, I would like to challenge you to change one small thing in your life so that you are heading closer in the direction of where you want to be, where your beliefs, values and skills can be best used and appreciated. Even if this small thing is writing down your core values, establishing what your best assets and skills are and thinking about how you can use this in a positive way in your work life....  and as the beautiful Mahatma Gandhi said...

Spicy Stuffed Capsicums

-1 cup cooked Black Beans (soaked or canned then boiled)
-1 cup cooked Quinoa
-1 Capsicum halved lengthways
-Fresh vegetables - tomato, grated carrot, courgette, red onion
-Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-Almond Flour
-Parmesan (if you can eat dairy)
-Paprika, Cumin, Coriander, Chilli

Stirfry beans, quinoa and fresh vegetables in a little olive oil.

Add spices to your taste.

Fill halved capsicums with mixture.

Coat with almond flour and parmesan.

Bake for 10-15 minutes

Serve hot with a side of Guacamole or Tomato Salsa. xx

Friday, March 16

Another delicious breakfast smoothie!

This morning I felt like something a bit sweeter than the old green powder so I decided to make a new and exciting super smoothie. This smoothie contains both Chia seeds (just 28g of dried chia seeds contain 4g protein and 42% (11g) of our daily values of dietary fiber) and omega rich Flax Seeds ( which promotes healthy hair, nails and skin, as well as increasing brain and cardiovascular function!).

My yummy ingredients... 
4 strawberries (handpicked out of my frozen mixed berries)
Half a banana
1 Tablespoon of flax and chia seeds
1 Passionfruit (picked off my passionfruit vine!)
Half a glass of cold water...
Blend and serve! 

PS - Loving the gorgeous weather we are having here in Mount Maunganui! xx

Thursday, March 15

Cant't stop eating these Rice Paper Rolls!

A little bit addicted to Rice Paper Rolls! They are super easy to make, you can put almost anything in them and they are perfect for lunches! Today I made some with smoked salmon and some with tuna and added avocado and thinly sliced carrot. Its just like super cheap an easy sushi. Rice paper is around $2.50 from either your supermarket or Asian food store and comes with about 10-15 sheets. Just soak the sheets in water for about 30seconds then carefully lay out and put whatever ingredients you like in the centre. Fold in each side and roll up the middle. I find that they taste better after being chilled for an hour or so and are fricken delicious dipped in some Tamari! After 3 or 4 of these I'm usually pretty full but definitely struggle to stop eating them... Enjoy! xx

Top 10 reasons to avoid processed foods... Part 1

1 - No more deciphering food label ingredients... does anyone know what any of that means? Where it came from? What it does to your body once it enters your system? How it ever found its way into our daily food intake? Gelatine made from ground cows hooves, Castoreum (used to flavour desserts, sweets and frozen dairy products) is derived from the anal glands of beavers. Awesome. I'm sure you've all heard the horror stories but you keep eating it because.. it taste good. Which leads us to reason # 2...

2 - You will stop craving processed foods! Once your body has eliminated all of the crap form your system you will find that your cravings for these foods will stop completely! Like smoking and caffeine, your body thinks you need it and is most likely craving more and more of these food because its not receiving enough of the nutrients that it really actually needs. Try it, I dare you.

3 - Reducing your carbon footprint! Yay for environmental friendly folks. Pretty much ALL of the processed foods you buy comes, not only in a ridiculous amount of packaging, but from a million miles away overseas. What is so wrong with the food we make right here in this country? In fact when was the last time you ate food that was locally produced? Or even better - from your own backyard? Buying your produce from markets means you are supporting your local farmers and butchers, reducing your carbon footprint and getting the freshest food available!

4 - You know what's happened to your food - The FDA allows up to 19 maggots and 74 mites in a can of mushrooms. The same stuff used to detect metals in airports is used to detect processed meats for wire, metal shards and needles. Factory farmed cows are feed road kill, euthanised animals and cheap plastic pellets.

5 - No hidden extras. The amount of sugar, salt, bad fats and gluten that are disguised in your processed foods leaves no room for all the incredible minerals, nutrients and live enzymes that our bodies need to operate at their best!

Wednesday, March 14

Super Smoothies!

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Every morning I love to start my day with a cleansing an energising super smoothie. Kimberley Snyder, superstar nutritionist for the likes of Drew Barrymore, Eva Mendes... believes we should only ever eat fruit in the morning. If eaten after this it can sit on top of the foods we have eaten throughout the day, rot in our stomachs and lose a lot of their nutritional content. Because fruit moves through our digestive systems so quickly it should only be eaten on an empty stomach so that it can move efficiently through our bodies and we can obtain the maximum nutritional benefits.
So when making my smoothies I throw in whatever fresh fruit is in season as well as a handful of frozen berries and a teaspoon of Ultimate Greens, containing decent doses of Spirulina, Barley Grass and Chlorella. These are natures most 'highly concentrated nutrient rich whole-foods' that provide our bodies with energy, balance the acid-alkaline in our system and helps to get rid of the bodies waste and toxins.

1 Banana
1/2 Cup Mixed Berries
1 Peeled Apple/Passion fruit/Mango... or any in season fruit
1 Teaspoon Ultimate Greens
1/2 Cup Cold Water

On a budget, with only a basic blender this is the easiest smoothie for me to make every morning, however there are so many amazing smoothies and juices out there that contain fruit and vegetables with bucket loads of essential minerals and vitamins. I'll post some up in coming weeks just in case anyone wants to give them ago.

Do you have a favourite super smoothie recipe?

Our very first Menu Plan...

A couple of warm comfort foods to help you adjust to the cold weather.. and some nice light options for the (hopefully!) warmer days. Comment for alternatives to any recipe and I'll do my best. You can save this sheet to your computer so you don't have to keep coming back here, and its easy to print off. Hope you all enjoy!x

Week 1 - Entering Autumn!