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CHIA SEEDS – The many benefits –

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GLORIOUS CHIA SEEDS!! 
When chia seeds are mixed with water or stomach juices a gel is formed that slows the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar) for energy. Thus, eating chia helps balance our blood sugar levels, and may reduce the need for an insulin surge or spike to lower the blood sugar level after eating chia. This can support diabetic conditions.
THYROID : Chia seeds contain Manganese which is required for the natural functioning of the thyroid gland.
DIGESTION: Chia aids people who have digestive disorders. There are other things that can offer the same benefit such as edible seaweeds and beetroot juice, however none are as inexpensive and neutral tasting as chia.
HYDRATION : Chia seeds also prolong hydration due to being hydrophilic (having the ability to absorb more than 12 times its weight in water). This also means it retains electrolytes in body fluids which in turn supports the life of all body cells.
OMEGA 3 – Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids required for the normal functioning of the body. They are not efficiently synthesized in the body and we need to get them from food sources. There are three main types – ALA (found in plant oils), DHA and EPA (found in fish and algal sources). Chia seeds are a great source of ALA, which is partially converted to DHA and EPA in the body. 55% of the Chia’s fat content is Omega 3, 18% is Omega 6 and 6% is Omega 9. Omega 3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and affect the blood vessels and joints.
PROTEIN –Chia seeds contain all nine essential amino acids making them a complete source of quality protein. Protein is one of the fundamental building blocks of our muscles, cells and tissues. Our body constantly requires protein to help repair cells and make new ones. Proteins are made up of amino acids, some of which the body can synthesize and some which it cannot – the latter are called essential amino acids and are supplied to the body entirely by food sources.
CALCIUM –Plays a crucial role in bone structure and also for muscle function. It also helps maintain the PH balance of the blood. Calcium also helps in nerve signal transmission, blood clotting and blood vessel function.

chia seed

Cacao Sunflower Butter – The Healthy Nutella alternative!!

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Cacao Sunflower Butter

2 cups of raw, shelled, organic sunflower seeds: the health benefits of sunflower seeds include high levels of selenium and Vitamin E, which assist the body’s natural detoxification systems. Be sure to choose organic as their high fat and oil content allows them to easily soak up pesticides.

2-4 tablespoons raw honey for sweetness: the health benefits of raw honey are vast and include antiviral, anti-fungal, and antioxidant properties.

4 tablespoons of organic cacao powder: cacao (which differs from cocoa in more than just name) is a wonderful source of antioxidants.

3 tablespoons of organic coconut oil (to help facilitate the buttering process): this healthy fat helps regulate blood-sugar levels, boost the metabolism, and reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes.

Directions:
Now, if you’ve ever made a nut or seed butter, you’ll know that it requires quite a bit of time in the food processor in order to come into fruition. First, add the sunflower seeds and cacao powder in the processor and grind the ingredients for about a minute or until the seeds are a fine powder. Next, add the raw honey and coconut oil. Grind all of the ingredients together for ten to fifteen minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the processor and to let your processor cool if it is prone to overheating. After fifteen minutes, the oils from the seeds should be out, and the mixture should be a thick paste. I like a thick nut butter, but if you prefer a runnier butter, feel free to grind the mixture for a little longer in order for you to achieve the desired consistency.

cocoa sunflower seed butter

Kids Lunchbox Snack – Energy Balls !

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LUNCH BOX TIME!!  I’ve been thinking about adding some kiddie friendly recipes for ages now so here is the first  These are so awesome for the lunch box, no preservatives, no colourings, no crap!! Just good healthy ingredients that will give them a source of protein, carbs and good fats 

Energy balls

1/2 cup organic peanut butter

1/2 a cup Raw Honey

3/4 of a cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup chopped medjool dates

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup cornflakes

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

• Blend together the peanut butter, honey, vanilla extract and cinnamon until the mixture is smooth. Pour in the oats, cornflakes, coconut,  and fruit and mix until well combined.

• Roll the mixture into golf-ball shaped balls. Store the balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks

peanut butter balls

Quinoa Power Salad

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Quinoa Power Salad

1/2 cup each: red and white Quinoa
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups water
1 red onion or 4 spring onions
1/2 each: red and yellow capsicum
1/2 telegraph cucumber, seeds removed
2 tomatoes, seeds removed
1 medium carrot, peeled
12 beans, blanched
1 corn cob, blanched, kernels removed
2 stalks celery, washed
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, mint and coriander work well)

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon chilli paste
1 large lemon, juiced

Place quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse under running water for several minutes, swishing the grains around with your hands. Drain well. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Add quinoa and saute for about 1 minute. Add the water, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and leave to stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove lid and allow the grains to cool. Meanwhile, cut vegetables into small, even dice of about 5mm.

Place quinoa in a bowl and add vegetables, cranberries, almonds and herbs. Mix gently to combine. Season with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Combine dressing ingredients in a screw-top jar. Shake well and drizzle over salad. Mix thoroughly and stand for 30 minutes to allow flavours to infuse, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Salad is best served at room temperature. Serves 6-8

quinoa power salad

How That Wine/ Beer/ Cocktail Can Stack Up Unwanted Calories!!

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Every wondered how many calories are actually in that wine, beer or cocktail you like to drink? Don’t get me wrong, this post is not meant to make you feel guilty. I myself enjoy the occasional cocktail, but I know how any calories I’m taking in.. and account for it accordingly. There was a time when I didn’t, and wow did it make a difference to my weight!! Check out the calorie count below and how much exercise you have to do in return to burn it off. You’ll be surprised!

red wine

1 glass of merlot  – 122 calories – to work this off : 29 minutes of brisk walking

beer

1 bottle of light beer -103 calories – to work this off: 37 minutes of crunches

margarita

1 frozen margarita-520 calories – to work this off : 106 minutes on the eliptical

rum and coke

1 rum and coke – 361 calories- to work this off : 31 minutes or skipping with the skipping rope

The average alcoholic drink contains enough energy/calories as half a meal. That’s A LOT! My advice; take this into serious consideration if you are trying to watch your weight. Opt for orange juice or lemon/lime water instead, or in between. Your waist, gut and liver will love you for it!! 🙂

The Best Choc Mint Slice EVER!

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I always loved those peppermint choc slice biscuits you buy at the supermarket, but since going gluten free and refined sugar free I’ve had to get this fix elsewhere. THIS is the recipe that fixed that craving and let me tell you, not only are these a HEALTHY alternative but they taste AMAZING!

choc mint slice 3

 

The original recipe is from Dr Libby Weavers book “The real food chef” but I have made a few tweaks for my version.

Raw Choc Mint Slice

Base :

2 Cups Almonds (soaked)

6 Dates

1 cup Cacao

1/2 Cup desiccated coconut

2 Tablespoons water

Blend all the ingredients  in a food processor until combined. Press into a slice tin and freeze for 10-15 minutes or until set.

Next make the mint layer and spread over the set base.

Mint layer:

1 Spirulina (don’t freak out, this is PURELY for the colour & nutrition, you CANNOT taste it in the finished product 🙂

10 drops peppermint oil

2 cups raw cashews (unsalted)

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup raw honey (or maple syrup (which is what Dr Libby uses) if your allergic to honey, but raw honey is healthier)

Blend the ingredients in a food process0r till smooth.

Once you have put the mint layer on let it set in the freezer and once it has set top it with the choc icing below.

Icing:

2 cups cashews

1/2 cup raw honey (or maple syrup if your allergic to honey, but raw honey is healthier)

3/4 cup Cacao

1/2 cup filtered water

100 grams cacao butter (I replaced this with coconut oil as didn’t have cacao butter at the time)

Melt cacao butter (or coconut oil) in a saucepan over gentle heat. Allow to cool. Then combine this  with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and blend till smooth.

Return the tin it to the freezer now with all 3 layers so the choc icing can freeze and set. ENJOY!

choc mint slice 2             chocolatemintsquares

 

 

 

 

Smoothies – Staying Safe While Staying Awesome!

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green smoothie

Hey smoothie lovers! Just wanted to remind everyone that uses KALE or SPINACH in their smoothies to make sure you are blanching this before putting it in your smoothie (or salad for that matter) and not adding it raw!

Why?

Oxalic acid present in greens and other foods has the potential to bind with calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and copper in our intestines to form oxalates, insoluble salts, thus interfering with the absorption of these minerals and making them unavailable for the body to use.

Oxalic acid also forms insoluble salts such as calcium oxalates which are found in kidney stones. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and may cause health problems such as kidney stones.

How blanching fixes this:

The oxalic acid is lowered by blanching (pouring hot water over the kale or spinach for 20-30 seconds, then rinsing it under cold water) but the minerals and vitamins and phytochemicals still remained as they havn’t been killed due to over boiling (which happens with things like broccoli when you over-steam/boil them and the colour changes from a lovely dark green  to a light green and instead of being crisp they’re now soggy).

greens

 

Green Monster Smoothie

1 banana, roughly chopped

4 or 5 strawberries

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1 small peach, peeled and roughly chopped

1 heaping cup (or more) fresh spinach leaves, blanched first

1 tablespoon Greek yogurt

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 cup crushed ice

Blend until smooth, feel free to switch up for any fruits you like. Can serve 2

green and blueberries