BOOK NOW
BOOK NOW

Skin Health & the Gut – My S.H.E talk

Recently, I did a talk with the Skin Health Emporium at their mindfulness beauty event. It was a wonderful evening and I loved connecting with so many of you! I spoke on the importance of good gut health when we talk about beauty from within. This is because skin, being the only organ we can touch and see daily, is often a good reflection of what is going on internally. This is especially so for gut health. I thought I would share with you some of the key talking points we touched on in the event, so you too can benefit! We also spoke about ageing at the event, but I think I will save that for a future blog post as there is so much to cover! Read on to understand your gut better, and learn how you can optimise it to see results in your skin (and of course, digestive symptoms too!).

It is not simply “you are what you eat”, rather “you are what you absorb”. The primary role of the gut is to utilise the nutrients from your food that your body needs. When the body doesn’t receive enough nutrients, it sends the few it can use to vital organs – heart, brain, liver – & our skin, hair & nails get pushed aside. We want food to be absorbed as quickly as possible to ensure that it doesn’t sit in the gut & ferment, which can then cause unpleasant gas, bloating & microflora imbalance.

Phases of Digestion:

  • Food preparation: sight/smell – The moment you see or smell your food our bodies stimulate the release of digestive enzymes, stomach acid & bile to help break down food.
  • Weak enzymes, acid & bile place a greater burden on our organs to assimilate larger chunks of food, & may contribute to bloating, bacterial overgrowth, parasites & leaky gut syndrome.
  • Amidst stress, real or perceived, adrenaline is produced. The presence of adrenalin diverts the blood away from digestion & concentrates it to the arms & legs → ‘fight or flight’.
  • Chewing: should be done 12-20 times per mouthful! Arousing the sense of taste can also encourage stronger digestive “juices”. This specifically activates amylase, a digestive enzyme specific to carbohydrates present in the mouth, helps digest approx 50% of the carbs in the meal.
  • This is your only chance at “mechanically” breaking down your food. There are no little teeth down the walls of our digestive tract.
  • Swallow → stomach: physical distention activates receptors to initiate stomach acid. We want this to be very acidic! Stomach breaks the food down into a substance called “chyme”.
  • Reflux, is mostly due to stomach acid not being acidic enough. Your stomach brings your food up because it is having difficulty breaking it down.
  • Liver – bile helps digest fats & some vitamins. The nutrients get distributed into the bloodstream.
  • A lack of digestive enzymes can reduce the amount of fat & protein that you absorb, & leave your skin feeling dry & dull – which can be the cause behind many skin conditions including eczema & psoriasis.
  • Colon – 3–4kg of bacteria living here! The goal is to have more good than bad bacteria. Beneficial bacteria breakdown fibre & synthesise certain vitamins, amino acids & release short-chain fatty acids.
  • Water from food is absorbed here, to help with easy bowel formation. Constipation can place an extra toxin load on your body due to toxin reabsorption. Reabsorbed substances may be excreted through the skin.

 

What You Can Do Right Now!

  • Eat a high-fibre, colourful plant-based diet centred on vegetables, fruits & legumes. Include small regular servings of wholefood fats such as nuts & avocado with each meal. Choose lower glycemic load foods. Favourite skin foods incl: Acai, pineapple, cabbage, sweet potato, seaweed, almonds, brazil nuts, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, avocado, lemon.
  • Limit refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, dairy, processed foods, alcohol & caffeine.
  • Address food allergies & intolerances.
  • If consuming animal-based products, including fish, eggs & dairy, these are to be a “side dish” to the plant-based main & never charred/smoked. Really try for at least 2 vegan days/week or even 1 meal a day!
  • Take time to see, smell & prepare your food. If buying food, really take it all in before scoffing it down.
  • Eat in a calm environment, away from stressors & distractions. Chew each mouthful 12-20 times. Place knife & fork down between bites. Set a 20 min alarm for eating!
  • Drink 1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar in water 10-20 mins prior to main meals (or just one main).
  • Consume bitter foods (think rocket, endive, radicchio, watercress, dandelion, kale).
  • Drink warm lemon water first thing in the morning.
  • Do not drink water with your meals, drink at least 30 mins before or after.
  • Sip ginger tea and/or dandelion tea throughout the day.
  • Eat fermented foods that naturally contain probiotics e.g. kim-chi or take a quality strand-specific supplement with meals.
  • Adequate hydration. Try a pinch of mineral-rich sea salt in your water bottle for better cellular uptake.
  • Supplementation that might help depending on your condition (always only as prescribed specifically for you under a qualified health practitioner): probiotics, vitamins C & E, Algae oil (omega 3), zinc, COQ10, Selenium.

A good e.g. diet to get you started for radiant skin:

Upon waking: Hot water with lemon + a pinch of cayenne pepper

Breakfast: Good morning Green Smoothie (using 1/3 papaya instead of banana if possible) + ginger tea

Snack: Chia seed pudding (2-3 tbsp dry chia soaked in nut milk) with a handful of blackberries, tbsp goji berries, 2-3 tbsp coconut kefir, 4 crushed Brazil nuts + cinnamon;

Lunch: Mixed dark leafy green salad with 1/2 cup kidney beans, 1/4 avocado, colourful raw salad veg (think carrot, beetroot, capsicum, tomato, cucumber, fennel, red onion etc), fresh herbs, seaweed flakes + a lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, miso dressing (can add a splash extra virgin olive oil or maple syrup if desired). Optional 1/3-1/2 cup sweet potato. 

Snack (optional): all green veg juice (w ginger, lemon and optional pineapple) OR Sliced carrot and capsicum with baba ganoush OR sliced papaya sprinkled with pepitas (or chia pudding if you didn’t have it earlier). 

Dinner: Apple cider vinegar in water then… 100-150g Tempeh “steak” (baked or pan-fried) with abundant steamed/sautéed greens (particularly cruciferous vegetables), mushrooms and coriander. Topped with 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds, 1 tsp black sesame seeds + lemon zest. On a bed of 1/3 cup turmeric + black pepper spiced quinoa. 

 

Answering FAQs on the Rebalance Protocol

WHAT MAKES THIS PROTOCOL DIFFERENT?

The Rebalance Protocol is entirely plant-based, giving your system the opportunity to fully rest and fuelling your cells with an overflow of easily assimilated nutrition. It also offers blended food/salad as a means of cleansing, usually unavailable or not encouraged on a typical juice cleanse you might purchase. Whilst there is nothing wrong with these types of cleanses, I feel they do not instill sustainable habits you can integrate into your life post cleanse, are less appealing and enjoyable meaning compliance is low, and are often unrealistic for those still working and exercising during this time.

WHY VEGAN?

A whole food, vegan lifestyle is the most effective way we can avoid or reverse many chronic conditions. As a society, we have moved so far away from the way we are naturally intended to eat. A plant-based diet allows us to use food as preventative medicine and work with our bodies natural healing processes, not against them.

Biologically, we are designed to eat this way (if you look at our teeth, our digestive enzymes and our GIT), and it just so happens to support the health of the environment and the welfare of other beings. These foods are anti-inflammatory, nutrient-rich, and come as a package-deal with water and fibre as well.

Initially, some people describe discomfort with a plant-rich diet, but that is not the plant-foods fault, that is from years of improper eating, stress, environmental toxins, medication etc. We can get back to the way we were designed to eat, with ease and enjoyment. Animal-products are more acidic and complex to break down, and bring a host of unwanted additions, e.g. heavy metals and toxins in their fat, hormones from the animal and excess saturated fat. A well-planned vegan diet can meet all nutrients requirements (except vitamin B12, which must be supplemented), with fewer adverse health side effects. Once you optimise your digestion, you will find you actually absorb and utilise nutrients better too. Protein deficiency is actually extraordinarily uncommon, and so long as you consume enough calories, you should meet requirements.

Most fad diets and trends are much more restrictive and extreme. This type of real food diet, food from mother nature, in its most basic form, just becomes an easy way of choosing the right foods for your body, and your taste buds and cravings quickly adjust.

WHO IS THIS PROTOCOL APPROPRIATE FOR?

Anyone looking to challenge themself, trial or transition toward a plant-based diet, free up energy, clear up skin, improve sleep, steady mood and appetite, banish cravings, lose and maintain a healthy weight and improve their overall quality of life. If you identify with more than 2 of the following symptoms, this protocol might be the right fit for you:

  • Constipation or loose stools/diarrhoea;
  • Bloating;
  • Flatulence/Gas;
  • Reflux;
  • Thick coating on tongue;
  • Bad breath;
  • Cravings, sweet or salty;
  • Low energy, particularly first thing in the morning;
  • Poor sleep or insomnia;
  • Poor immunity;
  • Skin rashes;
  • Headaches;
  • Difficulty focusing;
  • Brain fog;
  • Mood swings/irritability;
  • Anxiety;
  • Acne/skin congestion;
  • Asthma;
  • Allergies.

WHEN TO DO IT AND FOR HOW LONG?

Now, tomorrow, next week! This protocol can begin when you feel ready. You can simply do Phase 1 or Phase 2 in isolation, or you may choose to do a few days of each.

You can use it as a three-step program regularly for a few days a month, at the start of a new season, or a few weeks a year. The possibilities are endless and are yours to realise. I just recommend you modify your activity level, really tune into your hunger and energy signals and check-in with how you are feeling throughout. Of course, if you come straight off the back of a fast-food diet or something similar, you might experience more extreme symptoms, in which case please be realistic with yourself and ease into it accordingly. Consulting with a healthcare professional is advised if any serious side effects are noticed.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM EATING THIS WAY

During the Rest Phase, it is likely you might feel more hungry than usual. Depending on your goals, you might wish to eat more than the allocated portions, i.e. if you don’t wish to lose weight. Don’t be afraid to eat a little more regardless, a piece of allowable fruit, a handful of nuts, or a warm latte won’t be the undoing of your Rest! You will still experience immense benefits. When it comes to hunger signals, I invite you to tune in—sometimes it is boredom, thirst or comfort we seek. Honour this with the appetite control strategies as well as mindful eating tips, and work out what you truly need.

In any phase, however more likely the Renew, you may experience some digestive symptoms—bloating, changed bowel habits, more frequent urination. Please monitor these, however don’t be too alarmed. Nothing too out of the ordinary should occur.

Sometimes we feel worse before we feel better. As your systems heal, things bubble to the surface, and inactive pathways take a little while to reawaken. You may experience:

  • Lethargy;
  • Poor sleep/heating up in the middle of the night;
  • Brain fog;
  • Headaches;
  • Irritability/emotional;
  • Appetite changes;
  • Gassiness;
  • Bowel irregularity.

What this can be due to is the increased quantity of plant-foods and therefore fibre and water. This is a good thing in the long-term, but can create minor discomfort or changes in the short-term. We are designed to process these foods, so this transition is all about letting your body re-adjust to its new way of eating. Further to this, often when we have had a highly processed diet, our body becomes lazy at recognising and digesting real food. It may take a while for our digestive enzymes and stomach acid to rebalance. Finally, detox symptoms can be a bit nasty at times, so keep this in mind. The key here is to remember that these should be short-term. If anything persists, please contact a qualified natural health practitioner. You should be filling out your symptom diary and/or worksheets as you go along, so monitor symptoms and act accordingly. Do your best to work through minor shifts and changes, and speak to your doctor if symptoms continue.

WHAT DO I DO AFTER THIS PROTOCOL IS COMPLETED?

After Phase 1 of this protocol, I always recommend transitioning for at least a few days with Phase 2. Ideally, you will do at least two weeks of Phase 2–3. If you find yourself extra hungry at any phase, you can always ‘bulk up’ meals with more of the same foods. Both Phase 2 and Phase 3 can be maintained longer for a well-rounded, plant-based diet. Please look to the 7 principles (in eBook) to follow as a guide when looking to implement more long-term habits and rituals.

DO WE REALLY NEED SUPPLEMENTS AND CLEANSES/ DETOXES? IF WE EAT WELL, SHOULDN’T THAT BE ENOUGH?

I hear you. And I wish this were the case. And maybe one day it was… but we live in this modern world where stress is rampant, financial and emotional pressure common, pollution in the air we breathe, depleted soil quality, hidden toxins in our food, drinking water and household products that we don’t know the full effects of yet… there is so much outside of our control. This brings about compromised digestion and most importantly absorption of our nutrition, and adds a heavy burden to our body. In order to combat these challenges, even whilst stringently sticking to a clean diet and conscious choices, good quality supplements are beneficial and necessary. And so too are regular clean outs and resets in order to optimise our health. We can minimise these outside influences through things like stress management, buying organic, only using natural products… but the truth is, we are not zen yogi’s without demands to meet, living in a clean and pure world.

Purchase your copy here!

Busting Ketogenic Myths

In a nutshell: Ketosis is where our bodies use a different pathway to create ATP (energy), because we deprive it of carbohydrates (it’s preferred energy source). Instead, we flood it with fat so that the body rapidly breaks fat down to produce ketone bodies. These ketone bodies enter the citric acid cycle (energy production line) so that our cells can use them for energy.

This process is a survival mechanism our bodies have wisely developed to deal with starvation for times of famine. Despite this, we do need to maintain some level of glucose in the blood, simply to stay alive. Again, our bodies are very clever and have methods to deal with this, primarily through gluconeogenesis: fat / amino acid breakdown to create glucose. Another tidbit to note is that glucose is not just the preferred fuel for the body, it is actually the only fuel for certain vital functions (thus gluconeogenesis is crucial).

What is key here, at least to me, is the word survival. Our bodies main goal is to keep us alive. Forget optimal, or energetic, just simply alive and breathing. So when we enter ketosis, we are essentially working against our bodies natural and preferred function.

Do we know better?

Are we trying to trick our bodies?

This just seems fishy, because why would we try to teach the body something it innately knows, has been doing since our birth and does without question? It seems counterintuitive. It goes hand-in-hand with the fact that as humans, we love to interfere because we think we know a better way, or further, can “cheat the system”.

Something to think about… As ketones are not the preferred energy source, would ketosis not be a less efficient way of creating energy? As I mentioned, these survival mechanisms keep us breathing but not necessarily thriving. I don’t know a concrete answer to this, but I have a hunch. In any case, it’s interesting to contemplate.

The above is just my opinion piece with a dash of science to explain the process. Obviously, it is very complex and there are some wonderful more scientific explanations of it out there if you wish to better understand the concepts. For now, let’s dive into some myth-busting!

 

MYTH #1

“I am in Ketosis”

When people come to me and tell me they follow a ketogenic diet, I listen, and then I ask my first question: Do you really follow a ketogenic diet? So many people aren’t truly following keto. Rather, they are merely reinventing the Atkins diet by following a strict low-carb approach. First lesson: Low carb does not = keto.

Other people consider themselves keto if they eat a lot of meat/protein. A true ketogenic diet is actually more about fat than protein. It is a high fat, moderate protein diet. This is crucial, as eating high protein can spike blood sugar in a similar way to excess carbs (super fascinating, and something many people do not realise). Ketogenesis is all about avoiding this blood sugar spike, so that instead of using glucose for fuel – remember, the bodies preferred method of energy production 😉 – the body utilises fat (with a by-product of ketone bodies).

Second lesson: it’s more about fat than protein. Protein actually slows down the process of ketosis. It is a moderate protein diet.

Even if individuals are focusing on fat, moderate protein and eliminating most carbs, many are not aware of the levels they need to consume/avoid to truly be in ketosis. Most are not measuring their beta hydroxybutyrate levels which would indicate whether they are or are not indeed in ketosis. It is approximately about 80% fat and 5-10% carbohydrates on a given day, which is incredibly hard to stick to. The rest is protein. To give you some more understandable numbers it is less than 40g net carbs per day (net = total carbs minus fibre. Because fiber is a carbohydrate that your body cannot digest, it does not spike blood sugar). As carbohydrates are in lots of foods, this could mean you only have 1 carb for the day, say, a banana, and you still have a little room for the small amount that comes with your other food like veg. Not much at all! Very hard to comply with.

Third lesson: Measure your ketones via urine strips to check you are actually in ketosis.

 

MYTH # 2

“The ketogenic diet is a suitable diet for long-term health”

There are no long-term studies showing a ketogenic diet is of benefit to longevity. There are no quality studies showing its usefulness in preventing or fighting cardiovascular disease or cancer events. Any small amounts of data that does exist, generally shows it helps relieve symptoms slightly, but it certainly isn’t preventative. This doesn’t mean it isn’t useful, it simply means the evidence is not there. Quality, human studies on ketosis in general are lacking. One way we can make a somewhat accurate judgment on this type of diet is if we look at the many studies that have been done on very low carbohydrate, high-animal based diets. Countless studies show us that indeed, with macronutrients ratios like this, particularly those based on animal-products (admittedly, probably higher protein than Keto), we do see a clear rise in risks related to cancer, CVD and early mortality. We also know for sure that a diet low in fibre, is associated with many digestive issues including diverticulitis and bowel cancer. Again, these studies aren’t specific to ketosis, but they are involving many of the foods that make up the bulk of keto diets.

 

There may be some instances where ketosis might have some positive outcomes i.e. in drug-resistant epilepsy (the exact mechanism of which is still unclear). However what has been observed in these situations is that it comes at a cost – mineral deficiencies, impaired bone metabolism, kidney stones etc. Note, you actually have to follow around 90% of fat and low protein/carb for this to be truly ketogenic and effective in this unique situation.

Heart disease – studies show that it can raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower triglycerides. This seems alright, but LDL also goes up (known as bad cholesterol), even in spite of weight-loss which usually lowers LDL?! This is strange and not a good sign for long-term health.

Diabetes – ketosis seems to drop blood glucose levels (by not consuming/utilising glucose) but does not fix the underlying cause of the dysfunction nor does it reverse it. It is a band-aid because it is premised on not spiking blood sugar… but why can’t the body regulate blood sugar efficiently? Lipotoxicity (fat build-up inside of muscle, liver and pancreatic cells) is likely the culprit and has indeed shown to be a direct cause of type 2 diabetes. Therefore eating excess fat, as you do in Keto, is not working from a “root-up” “fix-the-problem” kind of place. Safe to say it exacerbates it, which people might not find until they come off it and reintroduce normal amounts of carbohydrates 🙁

Alzheimer’s – the theory behind this is Alzheimer’s is described as “insulin resistance localised in the brain”. Whereby brain cells don’t respond well to insulin, so glucose can’t enter the cells and deliver the fuel needed. Ketones as an alternative fuel source may therefore seem like a good idea… however again, like diabetes, high saturated fat is actually linked to the risk of getting the disease to begin with. Thus it is not a preventative diet. There has been some research showing a sub-group of Alzheimer’s patients with a particularly genetic predisposition that did respond well to ketosis in terms of cognitive function. However this was simply symptom improvement to a medication-induced ketosis, not food, and unfortunately, their disease progression stayed the same.

Cancer – Theoretically, people think it might help people in treatment i.e. those getting radiation or chemotherapy. There may be some potential here, but we do not have the data to be conclusive. Cancer patients are often at risk for malnutrition, nausea and constipation already, so ketogenic diets are not suitable until further research is done. As it’s vague promise has only been shown in treatment and not prevention, it is kind of as the above with diabetes and Alzheimer’s. You wouldn’t get chemotherapy to prevent cancer right? It’s just useful short-term, when you have the disease. Ketogenic diets might (not sure yet), be able to be used when cancer exists for short-term intervention to protect normal cells and make cancer cells more susceptible to treatment. Definitely more data needed, just pointing out that it is only really indicated in treatment not prevention!

 

MYTH #3

“Ketogenic diets are effective for weight-loss”

People say this all the time. Studies have shown some short-term weight-loss. And many people trialling the diet rave about their fast results. But is this real weight-loss? And does it stay off?

People lose weight in ketosis for a few reasons:

1 – you lose water from the body initially when eating low-carb. This is for several reasons but mainly because carbohydrates are generally full of water and when you cut them out, you eat less water-filled foods. Secondly, glycogen (livers storage of carbs) becomes depleted with low-carb intake, therefore there is water loss. Finally, ketones encourage your kidneys to dump excess water and sodium, so you will urinate more frequently, particularly in the beginning.

2 – They have likely cut out a lot of processed and sugary foods in order to reach the very low-carb requirements. This is great! I like this part of the keto diet (really, part of any “diet”). This dramatic change to most people’s dietary choices can definitely have the effect of weight-loss.

3 – People who are sticking to a “diet” are likely to be in some sort of calorie deficit overall, this will always lead to weight-loss (particularly when an entire macronutrient is cut out).

4 – Fat is very satiating, so many keto or keto-ish dieters tend to eat less, again, leading to a calorie-deficit. Are they in ketosis? Not sure! But they are eating less so weight-loss is inevitable.

 

As there really are no long-term studies on ketogenic diets we don’t know how long the initial weight loss stays off. Shorter term studies and clinical experience has shown, that many people find it difficult to stick to. This is due to the unrealistic and strict ratios of a ketogenic diet, and, by my standards at least, unenjoyable way of eating. This suggests that the weight creeps back quickly. Sustainability is key when it comes to weight-loss and of course, overall health.

Something to note, when somebody chooses to have a “ketogenic meal” but isn’t really following a ketogenic diet overall, this can be detrimental to weight because if the rest of the day they are eating normal amounts or high amounts of carbohydrates, they just had a huge fatty meal, and high carb + high fat together is a recipe for disaster.

 

The Risks of Ketogenic Diets

  • Digestive health – increase risk of colon cancer and other GIT dysfunction due to low fibre intake. Constipation and nausea have also been noted from a low-fibre, high-fat diet.
  • Kidney health – Gluconeogenesis creates extra nitrogen then usual, which kidneys have to deal with/excrete.
  • Impaired arterial function – low-carb diets tend to stiffen/clog arteries, impeding peripheral circulation and restricting blood-flow to the heart, leading to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Overall mortality – lower carb diets are linked to greater chances of dying from all causes.
  • Birth defects – if a woman is following a low-carb diet prior to falling pregnant this might present an issue, as it often takes several weeks before a woman knows she has conceived. Something to be very cautious with.

 

The moral of the story is that at this point in time, what we do know points to the fact that short term goals of weight-loss, appetite control and dewy skin can be achieved through a diet that doesn’t sacrifice your long-term health. You have to ask yourself if it is really worth the downsides/side effects mentioned above, when there are many other ways to lose weight and feel energetic that can coexist with long-term health objectives, and have the data to support it.

 

New survey reveals Australians stuck on out-dated approach to winter wellness

A few short months ago, I was lucky enough to attend a wonderful wellness retreat hosted by GO Healthy, in stunning Byron Bay. Aside from the exciting activities they spoiled us with – kayaking with dolphins, sunrise walk and breakfast, stress management workshop, a naturopath consultation – we also got to know the people behind the brand and their commitment to superior research, ingredients and technology.  GO Healthy uses industry leading innovation, superior formulations and the highest quality ingredients to formulate a comprehensive range of supplements that pack a punch. Recently, they conducted a survey with Research Now to determine Australians habits when it comes to the first signs of a cold. I found the results fascinating, and thought I would share them with you below, coupled with some winter wellness advice from the GO Healthy resident Naturopath Peta Teuma. 

The majority of diligent vitamin supplements are still stuck in the ‘80s when it comes to their winter wellness regime, the survey reveals. It showed 67% of us take vitamins daily with “resistance to illness” being our primary concern, yet most are only using one of the classics – Vitamin C (40%) and a multi vitamin (21%) – at the first signs of a cold.

“That’s a great start,” says Peta Teuma, “but Vitamin C is not the full story. Classics are called that for a reason; Vitamin C is incredibly important in reducing the duration and severity of colds, but it is really surprising to see so many of the other health heroes like Zinc, Probiotics, and Olive Leaf being completely overlooked given all the new literature readily available about their benefits.

“We seem to have a host of proactive, health-conscious wellness warriors using the best in modern knowledge and technology in their diet and exercise regimes, jumping back into the habits from their childhood at the first sign of mid-winter malady. Popping a Vitamin C and curling up for an afternoon of Full House might have been enough in the 1980s, but we know there’s a lot more we can do to give our bodies a fighting chance during cold and flu season in 2018.”

The survey found 37% of respondents took vitamins for immunity, but well over half only took Vitamin C and/or a multivitamin at the first signs of illness – ignoring echinacea (5%), manuka honey (3%), olive leaf extract (3%) and a host of other options shown to be beneficial.

Want to give your immune system a refresh?  Peta recommends updating your winter arsenal with these immune boosters:

  • PROBIOTICS

Peta says probiotics can play a huge part in protecting us from the nasty germs that are flying around throughout winter. “Seventy percent of our immune system is located in our gut, so it makes sense that by improving our gut health we in turn improve the strength of our immune system,” says Peta.

“Unfortunately, the antibiotics that many of us take when we’re sick will also wipe out our good gut bacteria, leaving our immune systems vulnerable to future infection,” says Peta. To remedy this Peta recommends taking a probiotic all year round to keep good gut bacteria fighting fit. GO Healthy’s GO Probiotic 40 Billion HowaruÆ Restore and GO Probiotic 75 Billion HowaruÆ Restore Plus can provide excellent probiotic support for the majority of Aussies who don’t get enough probiotics in their diet.

  • ZINC

Zinc is important for the optimal health of the immune system and can even prevent a virus from multiplying, explains Peta.  “Zinc can play a vital part in curbing the severity of cold and flu symptoms, which is why I recommend upping the intake of zinc at the first sign of symptoms,” says Peta.  GO Healthy’s GO Zinc Complex contains a high dose of Zinc and is potent enough to be taken just once per day.

  • ECHINACEA & OLIVE LEAF

According to Peta, echinacea is known for its ability to support the health of the immune system, reduce the severity of symptoms  while olive leaf is used for it’s anti viral and antibacterial properties, helping to fight bacteria, viruses and fungi associated with illness.

“I would highly recommend taking both echinacea and olive Leaf during the winter months and upping the dosage as soon as you start to feel the winter lurgy coming on,” says Peta. Covering off zinc, echinacea, olive leaf and Vitamin C in one to three capsules daily, GO Healthy’s GO Vir-Defence Cold & Flu offers all-round immune support to promote a healthy immune system and relieve the symptoms of colds and flus.

  • MANUKA HONEY

As the most researched honey in the world, manuka honey has a long history of medicinal use, due to its high level of antioxidant and healing properties.  “Honey has been used for thousands of years to treat wounds and bacterial infections,” says Peta.  “Manuka honey has been known to reduce the growth of strep bacteria, the bacteria that causes sore throats,” she adds.

However, she warns that not all manuka honey is created equal.  “Manuka’s quality is defined by two key characteristics:  its Unique Manuka Honey Factor (UMF) and its levels of Methylglyoxal (MGO), both of which are given a number, with the higher number representing greater strength and efficacy,” says Peta. GO Manuka Honey offers a wide range of UMF to match every need and budget from UMF 5+ to UMF 20+.  Every batch is independently tested for UMF and MGO levels by accredited laboratories in New Zealand.

For more information on GO Healthy or to find stockists in Australia, visit www.gohealthy.com.au.

Why Hemp Could be Considered a Household Staple & Thompson’s Exciting New Range of Hemp Foods

I am so excited that low THC hemp seed foods have finally been permitted for sale  in Australia, so that we can all enjoy the wonderful benefits of these powerful seeds. Hemp is considered one of the most nutritious plants in the world! Yet despite this, over two million Australians are still confused about hemp foods and, as a result, may miss out on the benefits of this superfood. Below are the key benefits to using hemp powder, seeds and oil in your daily life, what they taste like, how to use them, and why they won’t impair your state of mind!

PROTEIN: The seeds are a good source of protein and they contain the essential amino acids our bodies do not produce naturally, thus helping our bodies building and repair muscle and tissue;

ESSENTIAL FATS: Hemp is a plant-based source of essential fatty acids (omega-3 & omega-6) in an ideal ratio. These fats are crucial to support the structure and function of cells. The human body doesn’t produce essential fatty acids, so it’s important that we get them from our diet;

DIETARY FIBRE: A good source which is Important for healthy digestion, supporting gut health and offering steady energy.

TASTE

Hemp products have a pleasant, mild, nutty flavour that is not overpowering, and lends them to both sweet and savoury dishes.

HOW TO USE

x Sprinkle the seeds on top of salads, stir-fries, soups or smoothies

x Blend hemp protein powder with fruit into a strengthening smoothie

x Stir through the powder or the seeds into porridge or bircher muesli

x Bake with the powder/seeds in muffins, loaves or cookies, or roll them up in bliss balls

x Add the seeds to bean burger patties for added texture

x Mix hemp oil with other ingredients to form a salad dressing or simply drizzle on salads or over steamed veggies (Note, not to be used for heating)

x Soak seeds in water and blend into hemp milk

FINALLY… Whilst yes, hemp is derived from the Cannabis genus of plants, the seeds do not contain enough THC (<.5%) to produce any psychoactive effects! So it’s not going to alter your state of mind in any way.

Thompson’s Hemp Range is now available in Australian pharmacies and health food stores.

Check out @thompsons_nutrition_au on Instagram, @ThompsonsNutritionAustralia and www.thompsonsnutrition.com.au for more information.

 

INSPIRED BY: LEE SUPERCHARGED

It brings me so much joy to share the work of other like-minded individuals, healing themselves and helping others along the way. No better example of this is the wonderful, ever-glowing Lee Holmes, aka Lee Supercharged. With her own personal health journey, a wealth of knowledge and a passion for empowering others to take their health into their own hands, Lee is a true leader in the wellness space. Her authenticity shines through in all her (many) endeavours, and if you have ever had the pleasure of meeting her, you will leave feeling truly seen and heard as well as extraordinarily inspired to put your own best foot forward.  I’ll hand it over to Lee to tell you more about herself, and be sure to try her divine vegan recipe at the end!

Tell us a little about yourself…

I’m a holistic nutritionist, whole foods chef, Hatha yoga teacher, Lifestyle Foods contributor and author of the number-one best-selling books Supercharged Food: Eat Your Way to Good Health, Supercharged Food: Eat Yourself Beautiful, Eat Right for Your Shape, Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian, Supercharged Food For Kids, Heal your Gut and, most recently, Fast Your Way to Wellness! I also have my very own 4-week Heal Your Gut program and 2-day Love Your Gut maintenance program and, have launched my very own Supercharged Food Earth Mask & Scrub, Love Your Gut Powder and Golden Gut Blend.

  1. Was there a turning point for you in your health journey/How did you come across this lifestyle?

After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia several years ago (although it feels like a lifetime ago now!), I was prescribed to a cocktail of medicines and antibiotics. I became accustomed to feelings of exhaustion, depression and pain. While I knew that the medicines prescribed to me were going to fix my symptoms, there was a much bigger, underlying illness that I needed to heal. This inspired me to do research into the world of health and food. I created my blog www.superchargedfood.com to share my story, create recipes and connect with people. The rest is history!

  1. What advice do you have for those struggling with autoimmunity and/or fibromyalgia? Any nutrition or lifestyle tips… 

Look into your gut health. The gut is our gateway to health of our whole body. It’s connected to our brain and immune system. Our body has trillions of living microorganisms and majority of them actually live in the gut! When our guts are a little disgruntled, they make our bodies more susceptible to a multitude of diseases and conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammation and constipation, as well as conditions like insulin resistance.

If we look after our bodies by eating high-quality, whole food food, we can help heal our bodies rather than harm them. Take responsibility for your own health!

  1. What’s your favourite quote or mantra you live by? 

Be open! I’m over manifesting… it’s time to get things done and be open to new experiences and possibilities.

  1. What are your health non-negotiables? 

Drink water everyday, listen to your body, spend time with your family and a little bit of spice goes a long way!

  1. What items would we always find in your handbag? 

My water bottle so I can stay hydrated on the go. My journal so I can write things down as I go through my day. A keep-cup… you never know when a chai craving will strike.

  1. What is your favourite way to unwind? 

I start almost everyday with a walk. They’re my me time. I usually walk for about 90 minutes up to the beach – no phone, no work, no emails. Just me! Walking helps clear my head and improves my overall wellbeing. The fresh air helps me breathe a little easier and just be. I also love to get my body moving first thing in the morning and start the day off on the right (or left) foot.

  1. What is the single best thing you can do for good gut health? 

Give it time to heal. As a result of all the toxins we ingest, foods we eat and chemicals we consume on a daily basis (yes, daily!), the least our gut deserves is to rest. I let my gut rest by following an intermittent fasting regime. This doesn’t mean no food at all but rather, restricted calories over a short period of time. I recommend 500 calories per day for females and 600 calories per day for men two days a week. It’s the perfect time to let both you and your gut rest and digest. You can read more about intermittent fasting in my book Fast Your Way to Wellness.

  1. Best book you’ve ever read – health-oriented, vegan, spiritual or otherwise?

Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

  1. Please share your go-to recipe when needing to showcase just how delicious plant-based eating can be!

LENTIL & SUNFLOWER SEED MOUSSAKA  

My Lentil and Sunflower Seed Moussaka will turn any meat-eater into a #meatlessmonday fanatic! It’s a goodie from my book Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian.

Instead of using dairy in my topping, I’ve created a creamy and delicious alternative cheese topping made of sunflower seeds! It’s almost too good to be true.

Ingredients:

100g sliced eggplant
100g zucchini, sliced
1 onion, sliced
3 Tbs olive oil
1  shallot chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs Apple Cider vinegar
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
2 cans of lentils, lightly drained
2 tsps oregano
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup vegetable stock

Topping: Sunflower Seed Cheese 

1 cup sunflower seeds (soaked in water for 3 hours)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 lemon juiced
3 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes
pinch sea salt
6 Tbs filtered water
2 Tbs Nutritional yeast flakes, to garnish (optional)

Method:

1.Preheat oven to 200C.

2.Sprinkle eggplant and zucchini slices with Celtic Sea Salt let sit in a colander to drain for roughly 30 minutes, then rinse off the salt.

3. Brush eggplant and zucchini with olive oil and  place in 200C oven for 20 mins until browned.

4. Moving on to the sauce, sauté garlic and onions in a pan on your stove top until browned.

5. Add apple cider vinegar, tomatoes, lentils, stock, oregano and cinnamon and cover and simmer on medium to low heat for about 15 minutes.

6.To make the sunflower nut cheese, place pre-soaked seeds in a food processor and mix until a smooth paste. Then place into refrigerator to chill and firm. (Tip: For a creamier cheese add filtered water.)

7. In a casserole dish place a layer of the cooked eggplant and zucchini, and cover layer with sauce. Repeat until casserole dish is full, or you have used all your vegetables and sauce. Ensure the top layer is vegetables.

8. For the final layer, cover the vegetables in the sunflower nut cheese.

9. Sprinkle nutritional yeast flakes on top. (Optional)

10. Bake in oven at 220C for about 15-20 minutes or until the top is crispy.

 

For more on Lee head over to:

website: https://www.superchargedfood.com

Instagram: @leesupercharged

Facebook: ./superchargedfood

SKIN FOOD: How to eat your way to Healthy, Glowy Skin

Our skin is a powerful indicator of what is going on inside, particularly the liver, blood and colon. It is in fact our largest detoxifying organ. What we feed ourselves gets distributed through our bodies, effecting each and every cell, our organs and their various functions. If what we eat can make us go to the bathroom (or not), keep us trim (or not), boost our energy (or not), you can bet that it also effects every one of our other bodily processes, and skin repair is one of them! Years of consuming artificial ingredients, preservatives, additives, hormones and toxins eventually take their toll, and often the first thing to “go” is keeping our skin “glowy” and our hair shiny because frankly, the body has more important functions to focus on maintaining our beauty! But by making the load easy for the body to bear, it can work on protecting us from the signs of aging, unburdened.

What to avoid:

Dairy is the main culprit here! Dairy is highly acidic and inflammatory to the human body, with little beneficial dietary components – it has no antioxidants to fight free radicals, or fibre to ensure a well functioning digestive tract. Dairy is also pumped with hormones and antibiotics, which not only promote acne but can lead to hormonal imbalances and even antibiotic resistance. Replace dairy with dairy-free alternatives such as nut milk, coconut yoghurt, coconut/almond ice creams, cashew cheese and nutritional yeast. Once you get the hang of it you will find there is something for everything and everyone! See my replacement advice here and here.

Avoid processed, packaged and refined foods, refined sugar, excessive caffeine consumption, alcohol (especially sugary drinks), vegetable oils.

What to include:

Hydrate with 2L of water daily, ensure 8 hours of quality sleep each night, optimise digestion and eat a clean whole-food diet with copious amounts of greens as well as a variety of colourful plant foods, to get adequate fibre, vitamin A, C, E, zinc and omega 3… including (but not limited to) many of those listed below, on a regular basis:

Red capsicum – high antioxidant levels, vibrant red capsicums help to keep your skin healthy and supple. They are a wonderful source of both vitamin C and the mineral silicon, assisting the strengthening and regeneration of collagen, the main structural protein in connective tissue. Healthy collagen production keeps the skin firm and reduces oxidative damage! Skin tip: much on capsicum throughout your day as you would celery or carrot sticks, enjoy it with dip for extra satiety.

Sweet potato – it’s high levels of beta-carotene convert to vitamin A in the body, meaning it provides us with both vitamins A and C, the antioxidants that fight free radicals from damaging our cell tissue, causing premature aging. Skin tip: choose sweet potatoes that have the deepest orange colour, these contain the most carotene!

Cabbage – containing the skin-loving combo of vitamins A, C and E, cabbage is highest in some of the most powerful antioxidants found in cruciferous vegetables. Interestingly, it actually contains more vitamin C than oranges! By now we know that vitamin C is critical when looking to minimise wrinkles, fight inflammation and heal damaged tissue. It’s impressive nutrient content makes it a potent detoxifying food, slowing the aging process.

Lemon – another good source of vitamin C, lemons also support the hard-working liver, our main detoxifying organ. They strengthen liver enzymes and promote the secretion of bile, which in turn aids digestion. A detoxification agent, blood purifier and digestive aid, they are in actual fact alkalising once within the body (despite their acidic taste!). Skin tip: Consume the juice of ½ lemon with a cup of warm water first thing daily to cleanse the body and prepare metabolism, and use lemon throughout your day in salad dressings, stir-fries and smoothies.

Almonds – the monounsaturated fats within almonds help retain moisture within the skin, softening and protecting it. These beautifying nuts are rich in vitamin E, the primary antioxidant in human epidermal tissue. Vitamin E works to protect the skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays, whilst also nourishing the skin from within to prevent dryness.

Fermented Vegetables – loaded with probiotics and enzymes, fermented vegetables work on ensuring the gut is a friendly environment for good bacteria to thrive! This helps with digestion and the absorption of all these skin-loving nutrients. Probiotics also work to keep your system free from nasty pathogenic bacteria that cause digestive upset, poor immunity and inflammation, which may lead to skin irritation, acne or dull, unclear skin. Skin tip: don’t be afraid of it, just spoon a few tablespoons on top of a salad, crackers or alongside a meal!

Other foods to include  – all green leafy vegetables, carrots, avocado, berries, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and brazil nuts.

How to add more veggies to your day

Often, we focus on getting in enough protein. We track our intake of fat. Some closely monitor their sugar intake… but is anyone counting their vegetables?! 5 servings a day is a minimum requirement, but frankly, I rarely see clients who meet this conservative amount. We know that the consumption of fruit and vegetables is linked to a reduced likelihood of chronic disease. Fibre, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, water, vitamins and minerals, and even nutrients like omega 3 and protein, yes protein! are in our beloved vegetables. Therefore, for optimum health and in line with using food as preventative medicine, the amount we strive for should be much, much higher. I believe eight servings a day is a better recommendation, with no end in sight! My advice: Eat as many as you can fit in! The below ideas are ways to creatively include veg into your meals, for you or perhaps for fussy kids, to boost the nutrient content, colours, flavours and even texture, and far exceed 5 servings a day…

Smoothies – 1,2,3 even 4 handfuls of greens! When you blend them, they break down and you won’t even notice, especially spinach or cos lettuce.

Aim for 3+ cups with main meals such as salads and stir-fries – leafy greens, a variety of chopped raw salad veggies, and roast veg. Include a combination of all three.

Soups – you can make soups 100% vegetables, from using veggie stock (loaded with nutrients), to chopping veg in or pureeing it. Sometimes I even puree it e.g. cauliflower soup, and then top it with mushrooms, broccoli or sliced zucchini for texture. A cup of veg soup makes a great afternoon snack or dinner starter.

Snack on carrots, capsicums, cucumber, celery – crunchy foods are often more satisfying, aren’t they? Keeping sliced veg sticks handy are a quick go-to snack to enjoy, whilst upping your veggie intake. Pair with dip such as hummus or nut butter for satiation.

Blend them into a dressing – sometimes I throw in capsicum, zucchini, cucumber, beetroot or carrot in a salad dressing with things like tahini or miso. Makes for a beautiful colour and tasty flavours!

Veggie Juice – juice more veg to fruit for a healthy juice combo that is sure to give you an energy boost! Even better – use things you would usually throw out, like celery or beet leaves, where there is actually a substantial amount of nutrition. Throw in lots of lemon and/or some green apple, and you will mask any bitterness.

Grate carrot or zucchini – in your oats +/bircher, blend tomatoes, pumpkin, carrots, zucchini, broccoli in your dips like hummus, try beetroot muffins… easy, delicious and great for variety!

4 ways with Tempeh

The beauty of tempeh is how easy it is to cook. Yet, I meet so many people afraid to give it a go! It has actually already been fermented, and thus, partly cooked, so unlike chicken, you really can’t undercook it.

Firstly, I have spoken about this before, but let’s reiterate that there is no good evidence suggesting traditional soy-foods like tempeh are detrimental to your health and should therefore be avoided. Tempeh is a healthful source of protein. Tempeh is made using the entire soybean, but it is fermented, making tempeh more easily digested and “antimutagenic” than unfermented beans, as well as making it a great source of vitamin K2 (bone, heart, brain and cancer protective nutrient).

Secondly, it is important to source non-GMO and organic varieties of tempeh. In Australia, Woolworths stocks Nutri-Soy, my go-to. I buy the unflavoured one to avoid cheap soy-sauces and other additives. Stick to the plain like me, and make your own flavours with the below suggestions.

Quick guide. Choose your tempeh variety by comparing it to meat options…

Pan-fried – chicken/fish replacement

Marinated – steak replacement

Ground – mince replacement

Crusted – schnitzel replacement

Using 1 x 300g packet of tempeh….

SIMPLE PAN-FRIED TEMPEH

½ tsp coconut oil, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1 tbsp tamari OR 1 tsp curry powder. Allow the garlic to heat for 3 mins before adding slices of tempeh. Cook first side for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, cover with tamari or spices, flip and cook the second side for a further 3 minutes. Serve with vegetables for a veggie stir-fry.

JUICY MARINATED TEMPEH STEAK

Boil tempeh whole for 30 minutes. Remove from pot and then marinate in 3 tbsp tamari, ½ lemon juice, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 tsp dried for 1-3 hours. Once ready, fry whole 5 minutes each side. Slice into 4 servings and serve over veggies.

GROUND TEMPEH

Grind the tempeh by pulsing it in thirds in a food processor until it resembles mince. Then heat up your stove with a little coconut oil, just to coat, throw the tempeh mince in and pan fry with the following spices and condiments…

Mexican-inspired: ½ chopped brown onion, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1-2 tsp of spices like cumin, paprika, cajun, chili or a Mexican spice blend. Allow the onion and garlic to brown before adding the tempeh and spices. Pan-fry for 6 mins whilst stirring occasionally. Pair with brown rice and black beans.

Italian: ½ chopped brown onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 can organic diced tomatoes, 1 tsp dried Italian herbs or oregano, handful fresh chopped basil. Allow the onion and garlic to brown before adding the tempeh and spices. Pan-fry for 4 mins whilst stirring occasionally. Then add the diced tomatoes and pan-fry for a further 4 minutes. Lastly, add the basil, stir, remove from heat and serve over grains, roast veggies or pasta.

SESAME-CRUSTED TEMPEH

Preheat oven to 200 C. Prepare your “sticky” mixture of 1 tbsp flax meal soaked in 3 tbsp coco milk, 1 tsp tamari and ¼ tsp garlic powder. Allow it to soak for at least 10 minutes whilst you prep the rest. Place ¼ cup sesame seeds in a dry wide bowl. Slice the tempeh into thin-medium slices and dip each in the sticky mixture. Place onto a lined baking tray and sprinkle each slice with 1-2tsp sesame seeds. Press down on them with the back of the spoon. Bake for 25 minutes, flipping each after 15 minutes. Optional to sprinkle the other side with more sesame once flipped and before baking for the last 10 minutes.

How to keep it clean when dining out

Socialising over food is a part of life, and shouldn’t be the bane of your existence. There are times when you want to indulge and the rules go out the window (that is fine), and there are times where you would like to stick to the rules a little more closely. I eat out once or twice a week for a main meal, and whilst I usually find it relatively easy as I seek out health-oriented cafe’s and restaurants, there is the occasion where I have no control over where we go, or end up somewhere I wouldn’t usually choose. That is often the case when traveling or dining with larger groups! But these occasions don’t need to be avoided entirely, nor do they need to be stressed over. Embrace them and enjoy them for the company and experience, and keep these tips in mind, or in your phone, to gently guide you toward more healthful options.

1. Skip the bread basket, order crudités if on the menu, a veggie based starter to share, or simply olives, if you feel tempted to snack whilst you wait for your meal.

2. Avoid words like creamy, crumbed, crispy, or deep-fried on the menu, it is likely loaded with nasty oils and saturated/trans fats.

3. Let them know you are dairy-intolerant – vegan or not, there is no need for milk, milk powders/solids in your sauces and mains. This also means steering clear of creamy based dressings and sauces which often contain other undesirables like preservatives, thickeners and unhealthy fats etc. Find out why I choose to avoid dairy here.

4. Ask if they can cook in less oil, or use extra-virgin olive oil/coconut oil instead of butter (for vegans/dairy-free) or other vegetable oils.

5. Request dressings and even sauces on the side. Ask for a lemon, balsamic vinegar, tahini or avocado to compensate.

6. Order a bunch of side vegetables as a main – a balanced meal can often be created from a side of sweet potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, steamed greens, grains, side salad etc. Alternatively, see what produce ingredients they use in their other dishes and single out one or two you would like e.g. avocado, quinoa or beans, to add to your sides. This is also a great tip if you are vegan and there is no suitable plant-based option.

7. Ask if they have a vegetarian / vegan menu – these often exist, and are often healthier as veggies are the star of the show! They also tend to be grouped together with other diet-specific requirements i.e. gluten-free, refined sugar-free too.

8. Skip the fries and double the veggies or see if they will steam you some rice or sweet potato instead, if craving something more starch-based. NB: sometimes I do have the fries, moderation 😉

9. At Asian restaurants, see if they have gluten-free Tamari sauce available in place of soy sauce for a happier tummy. Be wary of the sugar used in some sushi-rice, ask if they would be open to swapping for steamed rice, however this might not always be possible.

Enjoy your food, but mostly the dining experience and the company you keep! There is no perfect, and your body can tolerate less-than-ideal choices from time to time 🙂

A Vegan-Inspired Christmas Feast

Last year was our first Christmas in our new home. My family is scattered all over the world – Canada, Florida, Melbourne, New York, London… so it was just a small one. Nevertheless, I welcomed the challenge to tackle our first vegan Christmas feast as a family! Whether you choose to abide by a vegan diet, or dabble with it, or just want to introduce some healthier meals into your Christmas spread, here is what I put together to make our Christmas delicious, whilst keeping it clean and plant-based.

Cashew cheese and shaved lemon-dill marinated papaya (mimicking smoked-salmon) “lox” on seed crackers – a great one for us Aussies who are used to summery Christmas’ and lots of fish! If you don’t have time to make your own, “Mary’s gone Crackers” is a great brand.

Caramelised baked sweet potato (infused with orange juice, cinnamon + a hint of maple syrup), toasted pine nuts and fresh basil

Sun-dried Tomato dip (try this recipe here, and replace carrots with 2 cups sun-dried tomatoes)

Lentil, mushroom and walnut “meatballs” with cranberry dipping sauce

Roast brussels sprouts with cumin tahini sauce, toasted pine nuts and fresh pomegranate

An easy chopped kale, silverbeet, parsley, crushed walnut and cranberry salad with a avocado and nutritional yeast creamy dressing

Desserts: Christmas shortbreads, Pumpkin Pie and Christmas Crumble!

 

I hope you all have a healthy and happy Christmas! Here are some other HAB recipes to add to the table…

Christmas Cauliflower, Pomegranate & Pistachio Salad

Sesame, Sweet Potato and Brown Rice Balls

Tomato & Lentil Teff Tart

Self-Sauced Rainbow Rice Paper Rolls

Creamy Tahini Coleslaw

Turmeric, Cinnamon & Basil Cauliflower Rice with Almonds

Sweet & Spciey Glazed Rainbow Carrots

Za’atar Carrot & Almond Dip

Vegan N’Egg Nog

Gingerbread bliss bites

N’Egg Nog Protein Muffins

Christmas Coconut Rough

My Vegan Superfood Staples

Ever since turning 100% plant-based, I have become fascinated with all of natures sources of beautiful and beneficial nutrients. What many of us are unaware of is how every nutrient we need comes from the sun (vitamin D), or the earth (everything else). Therefore, in terms of optimal absorption and utilisation, it makes sense to consume them from the primary source. Here is a list of my vegan staples, all of which are brimming with nutrition and make me feel energised and satisfied, not to mention I feel they have helped my skin, hair and nails become smoother, stronger and healthier overall. I actually manage to incorporate most of these in one single meal – my superfood lunch salads. It might seem like a lot, but they each add so much flavour and texture that you begin to crave them! I hope you find them intriguing, try them out and feel the difference in your own body 🙂

Nutritional yeast – brimming with key vitamins and minerals it is also a complete protein (with 18 amino acids), containing 71% protein by weight! Stress and poor diet deplete B vitamins so we could all do with a little dietary boost. Nutritional yeast is a great source of B’s, which offer us assistance with energy levels, brain health, fat metabolism, sleep quality, and hair growth. Note, unless fortified with B12, nutritional yeast is not a reliable source. As a guide, 3 tbsp of nutritional yeast = 9g protein! I often sprinkle this amount on a big green salad, soup, or in a veggie mash.

Sea vegetables – dulse and nori are my go-to’s, but I occasionally also enjoy other varieties such as wakame or kelp (particularly high in iodine). Sea vegetables are full of trace minerals that we don’t usually have access to, specifically iodine. Iodine ensures healthy thyroid function, which is important for metabolism, energy levels and hormonal balance. Sea veggies are a great way to replace salt in a meal, as they are naturally salty and arguably, more nutritious. Another hair-loving nutritious source, they also contain vitamins A, E, B6 and B12, iron, zinc, calcium, potassium and magnesium! Powerful stuff!

Saurkraut/kim-chi – fermented veggies are living foods! This means they contain active enzymes which help digest our food, as well as good bacteria called probiotics that ensure healthy gut function, and B vitamins. All this assists immunity and digestive health for optimal wellbeing. I try have about 2-3 tbsp at least once a day.

Chia/flax – just 1 tbsp a day can ensure you meet your omega-3 quota! Omega-3 is important for many things including hormonal balance, brain health and nerve function. These two seeds also provide you with healthy doses of insoluble AND soluble fibre which helps with blood sugar/appetite control, steady energy levels, and healthy colon function. Flax also provides us with lignans, cancer-protective and important for heart health. Try 1 tbsp of either in bircher/porridge, flax on top of a stir-fry, or sip on a few tsp chia in your water throughout the day (you won’t even taste it!).

Hemp seeds – 3 tbsp = 11g easily assimilated protein for long, lean muscles! This is one of natures most concentrated sources of essential fatty acids, particularly GLA. I don’t have this every day, but try to have it on a particularly active day. When I do I sprinkle it on my oats or enjoy it in/on top of a smoothie.

Quinoa/brown rice/oats/millet – I try to rotate the grains I use as much as possible to ensure a broad spectrum of different nutrients, as each grain has a different nutrient profile. One of the best thing that has come out of me going vegan is my new-found appreciation for quality carbohydrates, ridding myself of any trace of “Carbophobia” I definitely once had. The truth is, we are designed to eat carbohydrates as a mainstay in our diet (we produce the digestive enzyme amylase, which break down carbs, whilst some other animals don’t), and thus carbs are required for optimal muscle and brain function. These grains are gluten-free (oats contain trace amounts of gluten in Australia due to crop rotation, but they seem to be fine with most people, and if not, you can source gluten-free oats usually from abroad). Fantastic for amino acids (protein), B vitamins and fibre, these either go in my breakfast (oat or quinoa porridge), in my lunch-time salads, or with a stir-fry/curry for dinner. Complex carbohydrates like these keep me full, energised, non-irritable, and focused.

Parsley – a great vegan source of antioxidants and loads of vitamins and minerals like iron, try my tabbouleh for a healthy hit! You can also throw a bit of parsley into a green smoothie, juice or salad regularly to up your dose. As a powerful natural detoxifier and diuretic that prevents bloating, water retention and cellulite, it’s a goodie.

Miso – think of it it as vegan bone broth! This is a great gut-loving, plant-based alternative, that is soothing and provides enzymes and probiotics to promote healthy digestive function. Note, you must choose unpasturised miso, in order to reap these benefits. Alkalising, anti-viral, immune-boosting, cancer-preventative, antioxidant-rich and great for digestion… perfect as a snack with some sea veg (bonus points!) or used in salad dressings, try to incorporate it regularly.

Sprouts / Microgreens – the most powerful foods for cellular regeneration and health, sprouts are up to 50 x more nutritious than their mature counterparts!! They provide antioxidants, protein, enzymes and minerals that are easy to absorb and utilise.

Non-negotiable Green Drink – this one isn’t so much a food as a meal/snack, but it definitely is part of my everyday routine and something I source an abundant amount of nutrition from. Brimming with greens, I make sure I have one of these each day to slot in a huge amount of dietary fibre (it is usually a smoothie with over 3 servings of greens, but if I am out and about, it might be a juice), antioxidants and vitamins and minerals. A power-packed green drink is really the best energiser, I feel cleansed and incredibly vibrant after mine!

Are we tired of avoiding fruit yet?

Hi guys,

what I am about to post might be a little controversial. I get it, I myself jumped on the “all sugar is sugar” bandwagon and went through a long period of avoiding all things sweet, including fruit. In fact, if you look back at some of my recipes, you will see I used to make a lot of fruit-free smoothies, replacing it with avocado or soaked nuts and stevia/xylitol.

Whilst I think limiting fruit has a place, like in issues with Candida overgrowth, my transition to a 100% plant-based diet has seen a revival in my love affair for fruit. It has brought to my attention the very warped way in which I once viewed whole foods, like fruit, and the way I believe so many of us still do.

You see, we live in a world where packaged food with nutrition panels, ingredients we can’t pronounce, flavour numbers we don’t understand, and buzz words that deceive, are viewed as “good”, yet we are afraid of the plant foods that grow from the earth and have been eaten by humans for centuries. Hmmmmm...

It goes back to the simple concept, if you can recognise it, your body probably does too!

Fruit is natures beautifully alkaline, perfectly packaged, fibre-rich supplement.

When we consume fruit we get vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, folate and calcium. We also get the benefit of antioxidants such as organic phenols, which have been shown to decrease oxidation helping to prevent chronic disease and promoting healthy aging. The fibre acts as a buffer to the natural sugar being consumed, ensuring it is slow releasing and preventing those dreaded highs and lows of refined sugars. Not only that, but ripe fruits are the most alkaline of all foods. We want our body to stay alkaline to prevent chronic disease and toxicity and make us feel and look our most vibrant (animal-based foods are acid-forming, which causes the body to leech specific nutrients that balance this acidic effect, like calcium). And last but not least, fruit contains water making it extremely hydrating, which never goes astray when so many of us struggle to meet our daily quota of 2L water.

With all these incredible health benefits, we have somehow managed to demonize fruit and glorify artificial, man-made formulas.

So how did we get here?

Big bad fructose: Any ill effect of fructose, the sugar found in fruit, is strictly limited to that of industrial fructose such as high-fructose corn-syrup, and not fruit. In fact, this study proves that a diet that restricts fructose from added sugars but includes fruit, is more beneficial for weight-loss than a diet that limits both fruit and added sugars! It is definitely a combination of the above health benefits that ensures fruit doesn’t have the same effect on our blood sugar as refined sugars. Indeed, restricting fruit intake has even been shown to be ineffective in type 2 diabetes patients.

Here is something else I have come to understand – when you cut a food out completely you usually need to fill it’s void with something else. What I found myself doing was replacing a lot of my fruit with nuts, seeds and oils, essentially replacing healthy carbohydrates with good fats. I didn’t feel good on a high-fat diet, and even though I still promote good fats as part of a balanced diet, I think we are all too concerned with eating fat and not concerned enough about eating fibre and nutrient-dense plant foods.

We are in fact designed to eat carbohydrates as a large portion of our diet – particularly land and ocean fruits and vegetables, even whole grains. Yet so many of us are crowding out carbohydrates with protein and fat. We actually have 5 tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. As you can see, sweet is indeed one of them, meaning we need not feel guilty for wanting something sweet! And fruit is the perfect answer.

The more I eat real, whole foods, the more I can eat fresh fruit and even a little dried fruit, with no guilt, no bloating and no weight gain. It actually makes me feel so, so good and alive! This is where another age old comes into play – listen to your body. We are unique individuals.

Experiment, eat consciously, tune into yourself.

Don’t fear a whole food group, especially one as vast, nutritious and natural as fruit. We are fruit eaters – look at the banana-loving chimpanzee, our closest relative!

I just want you to think about how you view food, and begin to see the irony of fearing foods that are whole, pure and come from nature.

Surely, that doesn’t seem right?

Love, health & wholefoods, always

Sami xx

Cleansing with Cali Press

Hi guys!

Some of you have asked me about the 3 day cleanse I recently did with Cali Press. I thought I would share my experience with you, discuss what you might get out of it and let you know some juicy ways to enhance a cleanse, should you choose to do one yourself!

What it involved…

I did the Super-Flu fighter Juice Cleanse centered around boosting immunity. Fitting for the season! It has been formulated to ensure that the cleanser is receiving a rich amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, flavonoids, and phytochemicals to ward off the winter flu.

IMG_1986

You receive 4 delicious cold-pressed juices a day, full of veggies with a little bit of fruit. You also get 2 warming miso soups, 4 cups of Ovvio herbal tea daily and a “fireball” shot for each evening (that’s 12 juices, 6 soups, 12 teas, 3 shots!). Some of the superfoods used in the cleanse include ginger, echinacea, olive leaf, dandelion leaf, turmeric, green capsicum, kiwi, spinach, kale, oregano oil and lemon. So nourishing!

FullSizeRender-11

I have done a few cleanses before, some with companies, some on my own, and I have to say, I am a fan. I feel they are a perfect little break for my digestive system and allow me time to be really gentle and kind to myself. Even though I love to cook, it is nice to stay out of the kitchen for a few days (which can be time-consuming!), reset and recharge. I do find when I do them with external companies (instead of juicing myself) it requires less self-discipline as they make up the rules for you. I believe doing cleanses with the change of season is a great way to incorporate a few each year and ensure you are looking after yourself in this transitional period.

How you will feel…

It really depends on your eating patterns and your digestive system. Of course, if you are not used to eating clean it might have a different effect on you, due to the detoxifying effect and withdrawals (I’m looking at you coffee!). Hopefully this subsides, and after day 2 you feel better than ever!

I personally feel amazing whilst I cleanse. I sleep well, wake up refreshed and feel light and energetic throughout my day. I also find I am more productive. When I am out of the kitchen and my mind is off food and thinking about what I am making for meals, I get a lot more done! Therefore, I feel it is both a digestive and mental vacation 🙂

juice

You might get a little peckish, but it’s nothing that a herbal tea can’t fix. Once you are past the hunger, which is often mental, you will realise you feel quite lively. You learn to drink slowly and mindfully and savour the taste of your juices. You can feel your body drinking up the nutrients and thanking you. I feel like your senses are enhanced and you begin to salivate by the sight and smell of your drinks, which is fabulous for digestion. Your taste buds completely reset, and that first green juice which may have tasted more like spinach than apple on the first day, tastes sweeter by day 3! By the last day, I could really go a fourth or fifth day. And really, we are resilient, we can try just about anything for a few days!

FullSizeRender-7

Things to remember…

This is not a “quick fix” – I don’t believe in viewing your cleanse as a quick-fix to weightloss and a flat tummy, because that is not what they are about and you will likely binge-eat the second you finish. Rather, if you have been indulging too much lately, look at this as a reset and a gentle stepping stone to forming healthy patterns post-cleanse. You are doing something good for your system. The intention is important.

Drink slowly and mindfully – as I mentioned, you want to give your system all the signals it would usually receive when you are preparing a meal. Look at the juice, smell it, sip it slowly, even swishing it around in your mouth. Really savour and enjoy it!

Ease your way back into eating solid food – after a cleanse, it is a good idea to ease your way back into eating slowly. Try not to gorge on every food craving that potentially popped into your head during the past 3 days! I began my day after with a green smoothie full of simple whole-food ingredients (i.e. no powders and packaged liquids). You might then want to munch on some raw veggies throughout the day, make yourself an abundant vegan salad with some good fats for lunch (avocado, extra virgin olive oil, raw nuts/seeds), and enjoy a warming soup or veggie dish with some grains/legumes for dinner. I’d love it if you avoided coffee for the day after too 🙂 Your system is sensitive.

Don’t over-exercise – in line with the below point, this is a time to rest. I understand the desire to do some daily exercise, which I fully encourage, but make sure to check in with how you feel and not overdo it. Pilates, gentle yoga, walking and a short light jog are about all I would recommend, but of course, everyone is different so see how you feel. I did my own yoga each morning, went to one yoga class, one pilates session and did two 45-60 minute walks. That felt right.

This is a time to relax – I understand that the show must go on, and you might have work and duties to attend to. Try to incorporate some restorative practices into your day each day of the cleanse (as we should every day), to truly give your system a well-deserved break.

Additions…

I was very impressed with how easy it was to stick to the cleanse. In the past I have usually completed cleanses that included a smoothie or a nut mylk as well as a few juices daily, so I was worried I would be starving! However, as I mentioned, once you get past the mental aspects you are actually very satisfied. The one time I felt like I needed something more, I munched on some raw nori sheets (seaweed) / added them to my miso 🙂 If you feel like you have to have something additional, I recommend raw nori, a little avocado, some raw celery/cucumber sticks and of course, more herbal teas.

I still had my warm lemon water every morning, as it is part of my morning ritual, and I love it so much. I then would have my Ovvio tea, do some daily exercise and start with my first juice. I also continued to take my probiotics and added a magnesium oxide supplement in the evening to ensure I was eliminating properly.

IMG_1987

Some juicy ways to enhance a cleanse…

Here is a list of great activities you can do to take your mind off food and enhance the cleansing process (note: just do what you can!)…

  • Dry body brush
  • Full body exfoliation
  • Facial or DIY facial
  • Long bath with essential oils
  • Diffuse/sniff essential oils
  • Yoga – self-practice or a gentle flow/yin class
  • Walking
  • Infrared sauna
  • Colonics
  • Float tank
  • Massage
  • Reading
  • Journalling

So, are you ready to embark on a cleanse yourself?! As you can see, it can be quite delicious in both taste and experience! Cali Press is offering a 10% discount off cleanses for the remainder of July, just use the code SAMI10 at check out.

I hope this was helpful! If you have any further questions, please email me 🙂

Love & health,

Sami xx

meee

Part 3 My Health Story: Vegan, My Food Philosophy, Eating For Longevity

Several people had recently mentioned to me a movie called Cowspiracy, and I had this feeling in my gut that it would change my life. I wasn’t prepared for this, I was still of the belief that I needed animal protein. I knew if I watched just ten minutes of it, I would go vegan. Nevertheless, when my boyfriend, Mike (who had been vegetarian for a year at this point), said that he wanted to watch the movie, I knew all signs were pointing to the obvious – to stop living in ignorance and make an informed choice. So I did. I was wrong, within the first three minutes I decided I was going to go vegan! Mike and I said we would trial it for one month, which easily became two, and has now become a lifelong commitment.

There are many moral reasons I could list – environmental concerns, animal welfare issues – let’s be honest, we all know them, we just try not to think about them. And for sure, that is what breaks my heart and what grabbed my attention at first. You see, I am of the belief that what is good for the macro is good for the micro – so it makes sense to me that the best diet for us as beings on this planet, should be compatible with the environment and other creatures around us, so that it is sustainable. Therefore the choices we make for our health, can and should support the vitality of the world around us.

However, most interestingly for me as a nutrition student, it came down to the cold hard facts regarding the correlation between standard western diets and disease, and the way in which we have allowed mainstream media and food marketing to distort our beliefs, our instincts and our relationship with eating. We have become entirely disconnected from our food; what it is, where it comes from, what it does for us. I came to realise that there are far bigger holes in the western diet than “protein-deficiency” (which is extraordinarily uncommon, by the way), and that a diet centered around real, whole-foods makes the most sense on a biological and biochemical level.

Why is it that for almost every chronic illness, a vegan diet is prescribed and found beneficial, yet to healthy people, it is perceived as harmful, or wrong?

It just makes no sense!

As a health coach and nutritionist-in-training, I am fully aware of the fact that I will be presented with clients that do not wish to embrace a fully vegan diet. People don’t change overnight, and my own journey is a perfect example of that. My aim is to encourage you to eat in a way that is conscious, vibrant, and sustainable. So to do that, I stand by simple principles that can be applied to everyone:

  1. Eat more whole foods that exude life, not death – this includes plant foods, raw foods, fermented foods, sprouts, herbs and weeds!

  2. Don’t fear entire food groups – Carbs, Fats or Protein;

  3. Don’t fear any whole-food – that goes for fruits, dried fruit, grains and white potatoes (the common ones people, my past self included, seem to view as “bad”) – we live in a world where artificial sweeteners and processed protein bars and shakes are deemed “healthy”, but the banana, a whole-food, given to us by nature, is bad… really?

  4. Cut processed and refined foods, particularly refined sugar; and

  5. Source, prepare and eat your food consciously and mindfully.

 

I believe that we all need to reprogram how we look at food. Yes it is yummy, comforting, and often celebratory, but do we stop and realise that it is actually a source of energy? No. Do we truly understand that food is a source of nutrients? Not those supplements you occasionally pop, but real, beautifully packaged, naturally intended vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and fibre! No. Do we make the connection between the food we put in our mouths and the way we feel? Mood, energy levels, digestive discomfort, sleep patterns, hormonal changes? NO! What’s more, is the connection made between our food choices, and our susceptibility to disease?

NO. I don’t believe the majority of the world does view food this way.

My vegan journey has taught me many things, but one of them is certainly regarding the way in which I view food. I view it as a source of nourishment, as preventative medicine, as my ticket to vibrance, vitality and longevity. I don’t want to wait until I am sick, I want to be consuming the diet that ensures I stay as healthy as I possible can right now, in this moment. And I believe, we all could do with eating many more plant foods.

So, this is what leads me to where I am today. Happy, healthy and vegan! I was reluctant to “announce” it to my readers and friends because I didn’t want to seemingly push my beliefs onto you, but mainly, because I wanted to feel it in my own body first so I could speak from some experience. I can now say with conviction that this is my lifelong way of living and eating. It is not a diet, not a FAD, or a ploy to get thin or look a certain way, it is a lifestyle choice to consistently feel optimal and live a long and healthy life.

If I can encourage you to do anything, it is to make the connection between food and your overall health, not just your size. Start thinking about how many greens and other veggies you eat daily, and begin to incorporate more into every meal, and even every snack. These are the foods that will enhance your health, not inhibit it. Losing weight, feeling energetic, getting thick hair and nails, glowing skin, are just happy side effects. But I believe the intention is important:

let’s eat for longevity, not looks.

Thank you for reading, your support means the world to me.

Love & health, always

Sami xx

 

Bang For Your Buck: Why Juicing From Home is Double the Nutrition and Half the Price

We all love our fresh fruit and vegetable juices, and rightly so. Not only do they taste amazing, they’re an awesomely easy way to boost our diets with all the right nutrients. However, not all juices are created equally. It turns out that how your juice is extracted makes a huge difference to both the nutritional pack they punch, and to your hip pocket.

In fact, there are two types of juicers; traditional (or centrifugal), and cold pressed (or masticating).

Traditional juicers extract juice using high speed and heat, a process that can readily destroy and oxidise nutrients, antioxidants and enzymes (also visible in your rapidly separating juice). Cold press juicers, on the other hand, use a non-heat, slow pressed extraction process that retains maximum nutritional levels.

Amazingly, studies* have shown that cold pressed juicers extract up to 50% more nutrients (including up to 42% more vitamin C, and 60% more vitamin A), all while yielding up to 50% more juice.

There are many other health benefits associated with enjoying your juice cold pressed. They can help manage weight, detoxify and cleanse our tired bodies, and prevent and fight a variety of ailments including that nasty winter flu. Juices also fit neatly into even the busiest of lifestyles, and can tempt even the pickiest of palates.

Purchasing cold pressed juice from your local café or bar can be a pricey exercise. In fact, if you were to buy a cold pressed juice every day from your local, you’d spend around $3500 a year (based on a conservative $9.50 per juice.) Yes, you’d feel amazing – but you would be spending ridiculous amounts of money in the process.

As a health food enthusiast and lover for fresh produce, I’ve found that cold pressing at home is the cheaper, simpler, and tastier alternative to store bought juice. By using the Mod Juicer, I’ve switched my daily café juice to juicing at home, and saved thousands of dollars in the process. It’s amazing how a simple switch can have such an impact, both to our heath and our wealth.

Juicing at home allows you to take full control over the quality of your produce, your recipes, your ingredients – all when you want it.

Only like to shop organic or local? Hate beetroot? Allergic to ginger? Want to start a detox immediately after a big weekend? All totally do-able. Not only that, you can also make your own tasty nut butters and natural nut milks. More wellness, and more savings. Here are two recipes loved by the Mod Team:

of raw almonds overnight in water (for at least 12 hours)
l of filtered water and add a small pinch of salt, mix together

Almond Milk

  1. Soak 100g of raw almonds overnight in water (for at least 12 hours)
  2. Take 800ml of filtered water and add a small pinch of salt, mix together
  3. Turn Mod on and add a quarter of the soaked almonds, followed by a quarter of the water
  4. Continue alternating soaked almonds with water until all added
  5. Waste from the nuts will begin appear in the pulp chute
  6. Open the juice tap to let flow your tasty, fresh nut milk. Enjoy!

Nut Butter

  1. Soak 200g of nuts (we love almonds as they are so alkaline) overnight in filtered water
  2. Drain nuts
  3. Replace the metal mesh and plastic rotation wiper with your clear plastic filter in your Mod Cold Press
  4. Open the orange juice stopper located inside the juice drum (where all the juice collects) (don’t remove, just move it aside)
  5. Place your nuts down the chute and watch in amazement as nut butter is created!
  6. OPTIONAL – Stir through a little sea salt once complete if you like a little seasoning to your nut butter

 

By Katharine McCarthy, Founder and Director of Mod Cold Press

Katharine McCarthy is the Founder and Director of Australian owned and run cold press juicer company, Mod Cold Press. Health enthusiast Katharine founded Mod Cold Press in 2015, after struggling with her first child’s distaste for fruit and vegetables. Katharine discovered cold press juicing as a complementary way to nourish her children. Here, Katharine saw the opportunity to create an efficient cold press juicer that was affordable, offered minimal wastage, and was aesthetically pleasing. The Mod Juicer comes in black and white and is $599 RRP available online at www.modjuicer.com.au.

For more information on Mod Cold Press Juicer head to the website and follow on Instagram: @mod_cold_press, Facebook: www.facebook.com/modjuicer, and the hashtag #mod_cold_press.

Sources:

*Korean Food Research Institute; Michelsen Laboratories Inc.

+Example based on purchasing a juicing box capable of creating at least 7 juices a week at a cost of $35 per box for 52 weeks. Mod Cold Press Juicer RRP $599, currently on sale at $499. Example based on sale price.

SIGN UP TO THE HEALTH & BLOOM NEWSLETTER