Tag Archives: nutrition

Challenge for August: No Processed Sugars! (and Raw Carrot Cake Recipe)

Hey everyone! Happy Friday to all!

I know I’ve been M.I.A. and have been neglecting you (I’m so sorry!) but rest assured I have been keeping healthy, staying dry (I completed the Dry July charity challenge and raised over $500 for cancer research) and busy dreaming up all sorts of new ideas to post about.

Dry July

Staying booze-free wasn’t too hard at all. The most challenging times were the first few Friday afternoons (I love an after-work red to kick off the weekend), a friend’s 30th (but I got over it after the first hour) and another friend’s birthday dinner (and I soon got over that after the food arrived – oink). I did however, find myself eating a lot more sweets and treats, justifying to myself that since I wasn’t drinking, I was consuming fewer calories anyway, or they were at least cancelling each other out.

BUT as we all know, it’s not (all) about the calories right?  I was consuming more processed sugar than before and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you don’t need me to tell you that nasty processed sugar is addictive and detrimental to your health! Yuck!

There are many opinions out there about sugar – processed and naturally occurring – and how much one should consume. I don’t purport to be an expert on it so I won’t preach here, but I will share with you what works for me, and how I want to eat.

Challenge for August

Now bringing it back to where I started off.. Taking on the Dry July challenge was fantastic – it gave me a goal to work towards and achieving it was very rewarding. I felt positive in body and mind. So I thought, why not take on another challenge in August: No processed sugars?!

Let me be clear: This isn’t a license for me to go and eat barrels of fruit a day and ladle honey over my morning muesli like it’s going out of fashion – a balanced diet is still important – it is an attempt to minimise the amount of processed sugars consumed. Sugar is in so many unsuspecting food items (like Ketchup and many of the Asian sauces we cook with plus so much more!) I can’t possibly cut them all out, but I can at least try to make “sugar swaps” – using healthier natural alternatives where possible – and cut out those blocks of Cadbury after dinner each night, and that 3pm cupcake at work, “you know, because it’s Tuesday”.

I’ll be experimenting with some different sugar alternatives, and working on some other greener meals and snacks, so stay tuned!

Raw Carrot Cake*

Depending on which way you look at it, this could be the perfect (or counter-intuitive) way to bring on my August challenge: a raw carrot cake using only natural ingredients and no added processed sugars (only honey and fruit are used as sweeteners). Just remember that cake is meant to be a treat, so enjoy in moderation.

raw carrot cake

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups walnuts
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup organic rolled oats – I used my morning raw muesli mix already stocked in the pantry (my cake batter was scattered with almonds, pepitas, sultanas and coconut – yum!) 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan rock salt – I love a touch of saltiness in my sweet!
  • 12 large fresh dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup dried chopped apricots or pineapple – I used a combination of both
  • 2 large raw carrots, grated
  • 1 orange
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste – which I didn’t have so I used 2 tsp natural vanilla essence
  • 2 tbs raw protein powder

Method

  1. Combine walnuts, chia, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, protein powder, orange zest and salt into a food processor and processed until mixed and finely chopped.
  2. Add dates and apricots then process again until mixed through.
  3. Add grated carrot and vanilla and then process again until combined. The mix should now form a lovely dough.
  4. Tip into a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add oats and kneed through the mixture.
  6. Press cake firmly into a 15-20cm baking tin that is lined with baking paper.
  7. Store in the fridge until ready to serve. Leave at least 2 hours to allow the carrot cake to rest.
  8. Lick fingers and bowl.
  9. Enjoy as is or with your choice of frosting.

Frosting Ideas

  1. Greek yoghurt or coconut yoghurt
  2. For a raw cashew or macadamia nut cream, combine 1 cup raw nuts with 1/2 cup orange juice or coconut water and a little vanilla. Blend in Vitamix until smooth and creamy
  3. For a cream cheese style frosting, combine 250g soft cream cheese with a little lemon zest, juice, vanilla and maple syrup and honey, and beat until combined and creamy. You can use quark or Neutachafel (try Flannery’s, I think Barambah organics makes a quark) or a naughty but easily-accessible option is Philadelphia cream cheese (not raw or sugar free!!).

This cake is rather dense, and will cut up into about 16 slices. I ate 3 in the first day – oops! Enjoy xx

*Recipe credit to Teresa Cutter, The Health Chef: http://www.thehealthychef.com/2013/07/raw-carrot-cake/
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Protein Power Balls

IMG_2147I’m a huge fan of Teresa Cutter (aka “The Healthy Chef”) and her approach to food – she creates delicious functional foods for optimum health and wellbeing.

I have been meaning to give these protein balls a try forever but have never gotten around to it, so Friday night when my girlfriend came over for healthy fish and veggies (and wine – what? It’s the weekend, plus isn’t a glass of wine good for you?!), we gave them a whirl. They turned out absolutely dangerously delicious!! Let’s just say we couldn’t stop at one..

Ingredients

  • 330g raw whole almonds or walnuts – I didn’t have quite that many almonds so made up about 50g of the difference with pistachios
  • 60g protein powder – I use ezyprotein (vanilla) which is an Australian certified organic, sprouted, bio-fermented, raw, wholegrain brown rice protein powder
  • 16 fresh dates, pitted
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder – I used raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbs natural vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • desiccated coconut, goji berries, cocoa, nuts for rolling

Method

  • Throw almonds, cinnamon, protein powder and cocoa into a food processor and process until the mix looks crumbly – Vitamix won’t work, I found this out the hard way.. but you can blitz the nuts in a Vitamix, chop up the dates and moosh all ingredients together with your hands in a big bowl. Get dirrrrty!
  • Add dates and vanilla extract and process again until the mix starts to come together
  • Add a splash of water if you need to so that the mixture is soft and forms a soft ball
  • Form into 14 decent sized balls
  • Roll in coconut or other suggested coatings and store in the fridge (up for 4 weeks, if they last that long!)

Nutritional Info (per ball)

  • Protein 8.2g
  • Carbs 7.6g
  • Total fat 12g
  • Saturated fat 0.9g
  • Fibre 2.8g
  • Kilojoules 703
  • Calories 168
Picture of Protien Power Balls

After-dinner treat

Recipe from: The Healthy Chef http://www.thehealthychef.com/2011/09/protein-power-balls/

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Overnight Oats

Picture of Overnight Oats

Good morning!

Lately I’ve been getting a little bored of my breakfast green smoothie and have been craving the chewiness of.. FOOD!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my green smoothies but sometimes you just want that spoon-to-mouth-and-chew action.

One way I have been switching it up is with Overnight Oats (aka Bircher muesli). You still get all the convenience of a one-jar breakfast that can be eaten on-the-go, and what’s better, it basically prepares itself overnight!

Basic Overnight Oats Recipe

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats – I use my own mixture of rolled oats, quinoa flakes, coconut flakes, sultanas, raisins, apricots, almonds, sunflower seeds and linseeds
  • 1/3 cup milk (soy, dairy, nut, coconut, or even water if you are trying to be good)
  • 1/3 cup yoghurt – I use Chobani No Fat, it’s super high in protein and doesn’t have any yucky additives*
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • pinch of cinnamon – I like a good dose
  • (you could add some vanilla or a pinch a salt also)

Throw all ingredients into a jar. Screw the lid on and swirl to combine. Place in fridge overnight. In the morning, add in slices of banana, berries, crunchy granola or nuts, coconut.. whatever tickles your fancy. Grab the closest spoon, your bag, keys and you’re out the door ready to face the day!

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My Overnight Oats, coffee & water with lemon and apple cider vinegar to kick start the day

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IMG_2119  IMG_2127

Check out http://www.buzzfeed.com/arielknutson/overnight-oat-recipes-oatmeal-cold for some awesome Overnight Oats flavour inspiration!

Next I’m going to try out this Green Monster Vegan Overnight Oats – this way you’re not missing out on your morning greens! Stay tuned to see how my Green Monster Vegan Overnight Oats turn out (and tastes!!).

Picture of Green Monster Vegan Overnight Oats

*I use Chobani Greek Yoghurt (Plain Fat Free). Per 180g serve, it has 17g protein, 0g fat and 6.9g of sugar (but it’s lactose which is naturally occurring in dairy and not yucky added sugars). You can find Chobani at Coles and Woolies.

Green Monster Vegan Overnight Oats image credit to:
Oh She Glowshttp://ohsheglows.com/2012/03/23/green-monster-vegan-overnight-oats-getting-back-into-running/
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Super Green Sprout Salad

Picture of a green salad with sproutsWell, mine is loosely interpreted and has added tuna (sorry to all strict greenies out there!)

Picture of super green sprout salad and tunaSome days you just don’t want to cook dinner. Especially when it’s late and you’ve just come home from a long day at the office. Long day or not, I’m a huge fan of the “assembled dinner”. Call me lazy.

That, coupled with my prerogative to use up what’s in my fridge (who can be bothered to go to the shops at 8pm, plus you save money and don’t waste produce), led me to try out this recipe I found on the Loving Earth website. I had radishes (which I rarely, but in this instance conveniently stocked), 2 yet-to-be opened containers of raw sprouts that needed to be consumed before they turned nasty (the longer you keep them the higher risk they become for E. coli and Salmonella), along with a very ripe avo that was begging to be used ASAP.

I followed the recipe as close as I could using whatever I had in my fridge and pantry.

For the Salad

  • A big handful of mesculin greens – I used oak lettuce
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 can of chickpeas – I used the raw sprouts (crunchy combo including chickpeas, lentils, mung beans and other goodness)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley – I used mint instead
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 3 radishes
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds
  • 2 tbs activated pumpkin seeds – I didn’t have any so left these out
  • 1 tbs activated buckwheat – I substituted with leftover grilled corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup activated almonds – I didn’t have any of these either so I left them out. I would use insecticide-free almonds soaked overnight. No need to dry before eating. Just rinse and pat dry
  • Fresh sprouts to garnish

Method

  1. Cut broccoli into florets and steam until just tender – I blanched, it’s so much easier and less clean-up! 
  2. Thinly slice radishes and cucumber and place in a large bowl
  3. Add leafy greens and chopped herbs along with chickpeas and broccoli
  4. Slice avocado into squares and carefully fold through the greens
  5. Roughly chop nuts and seeds

For the Dressing

  • 2 tbs tahini – I use Flannery’s own brand unhulled
  • 1 tbs white miso paste – I didn’t have any so substituted with tamari
  • 2 tbs water – I used 3 tbs hot water
  • pinch of salt – I omitted as tamari is already salty

Method

  1. Whisk all ingredients together, taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly – I added cracked pepper, and next time would add some crushed ginger and garlic
  2. Pour the dressing over the salad, mix gently to coat
  3. Before serving, sprinkle the salad with the chopped seed mix, and add a good dose of sprouts to the side – I didn’t have any alfalfa but you can see from the picture what they mean. Next time I would also add a good squeeze of lemon at the end to bring out some freshness

This recipe is relatively high in fat (heart-healthy fats though), so feel free to reduce the amount of avo or dressing you use and substitute with some protein. If tuna doesn’t float your boat, try some grilled chicken or turkey breast, or tempeh if you are a herbivore. I used tuna as I already had it in my pantry. If you add all the nuts and dressing, canned chickpeas and buckwheat, you probably don’t need the extra protein. It’s very filling (and protein-ful) already. This recipe yielded two big salads.

Quick, simple, lean and green! Bon appetit!

Feature salad image credit to: https://lovingearth.net/recipes/super-green-salad-sprouts
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Zing!

Picture of an immune boosting green smoothie

Immune Booster Green Smoothie

It’s getting darker in the mornings and you’re reaching for the extra blankie at night. Yep that’s right, winter is just around the corner. You can feel it in the air and in your bones. Winter means toastie hot chocolates (I’ll have an extra marshmallow please!) and a reason to pull out your fabulous suede boots, but it also means it’s flu season.

Stay phlegm-free this winter with this delicious immune boosting green smoothie. Now whilst I don’t normally advocate smoothies made with a whole lotta fruits (they can be very high in sugar), this smoothie uses citrus fruits only, which are relatively low in sugar. Plus, it’s worth all the nutritious vitamin C goodness you’ll be nourishing your cells with, to keep you fighting fit and strong as the mercury drops outside.

Ingredients

  • 2 oranges, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 lime, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, peeled and roughly chopped
  • large handful of spinach leaves – all-round nutritional powerhouse
  • small handful of parsely – vitamins A & C and anti-inflammatory
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric – antiviral and anti-inflammatory
  • 2cm-piece of ginger (more if you like a kick!) – anti-inflammatory
  • 1/2 cup coconut water (or just filtered normal water, it’s up to you)

Throw all the ingredients into a powerful blender (eg Vitamix) and whiz away. Easy as.*

Bottoms up!

Picture of green smootie ingredients

The ingredients

Picture of green smoothie ingredients in powerful blender

Peel, chop, blend..

Picture of an immune boosting green smoothie

Drink!

Picture of an immune boosting green smoothie

*This recipe is adapted from Teresa Cutter’s website www.thehealthychef.com

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