Ever wondered what a nutritionist would recommend just for YOU? I enjoy coaching clients one-on-one, taking them on health store tours, and getting into the detox kitchen with them to put it all into practice . . .But recently I've been doing more Skype and phone consultations. With some of my clients living in regional Australia, or overseas, making individualised super smoothies in person becomes a little trickier! So the Nutritional First Aid Kit was born.
This new way of working allows me to sink deeper, take my time, and figure out what goodies would best nourish your body. I go out on a little shopping spree dedicated solely to your health, getting my hands on the highest quality products personalised to your needs.
I fill your personal Nutritional First Aid Kit with goodies based on our session together. Then I finish with a personal hand-written note, care-package it up, and send it to your doorstep.It's a lot of fun for me, and for the person receiving it!Here’s a sneak peek inside a recent kit I sent out.
1) Tri-Coloured Quinoa: My client was new to ancient grains and keen to experiment with wheat alternatives, so I included quinoa for its high plant protein content, and to give her an energy boost. She’s a hard working primary school teacher who lives in a remote (i.e. quinoa-less) part of Australia, who needs it to spare.
2) Raw Chocolate: Not all chocolate is created equal, so in addition to giving her recipes, I included the raw ingredients in her Nutritional First Aid Kit to make her own scrumptious raw chocolate. Being a chocolate lover, I understand the importance of getting good stuff! Loving Earth raw cacao butter is the highest quality I've encountered, and I love the earthiness of Power Foods raw cacao powder.
3) Biobubble Probiotic drink: are my favourite brand, so I gave her a bottle of their original brew, featuring food-based antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, enzymes and billions of beneficial microorganisms per serve, because she’s suffering some digestive issues . Taken as a 30 mL shot first thing on an empty stomach. Knowing the power of probiotics, I’m betting this will help.
4) Kosmea Clarifying Facial Wash: This smells divine and it’s my way of reinforcing to my client that our skin is our largest organ. I want her to use organic and healthy skin care products and the native bush ingredients remind me of the remote part of Australia she lives in!
5) Unhulled Tahini: for delicious raw banana ice creams and to use in salad dressings. This is an excellent protein source, readily digestible and perfect for her unique nutritional needs.
6) Young Living Essential Oils: Therapeutic grade essential oils are wonderful in raw desserts (jaffa goodie balls, anyone?) and cooking too. The Orange essential oil is one of the most used items in my dessert pantry, and smells absolutely divine.
7) Adriondack Pure Maple Syrup: I want her to try alternative sweeteners, and this is as high quality as they get. Hello, Tamari Maple Activated Almonds!
There’s plenty more I include in my kits, (books, body care, tea, spices) but you get the picture.
What do you think I’d put into YOUR Nutritional First Aid Kit?
Tempted to find out?
Learn more here
This was one of the creamiest, most chocolatey thickshakes I've ever made. So much so that it blew my mind.
My mind was blown even more by the fact that it contained two massive handfuls of greens from the garden, as well as antioxidant-rich nasturtium flowers and leaves which by themselves can be just a little
This recipe was inspired by Dr. Libby's Real Food Chef
, a fantastic wholefoods recipe book my friend Naomi gave me as an early birthday pressie (you rock Naomi!)
On my road to headcold recovery and in an attempt to go heavy duty on the greens, I whipped up this stunner this morning and can honestly say I am now a religious woman (if the chocolate green smoothie goddess does indeed exist).Ingredients
* 2 handfuls organic green leaves - I used fresh tuscan kale, red silverbeet, nasturtium leaves and flowers from our garden. Warning - nasturtium is slightly bitter on its own so use only a little, or a lot if you're bold and a little daring!
* 1/2 cup filtered water, or coconut water
* 2 medium bananas, chopped and frozen
* 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
* 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
* 1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs - I like Loving Earth's cacao nibs. The Cacao Power nibs are also good.
* tiny pinch stevia powder (my sweetener of choice), or 1/4 cup agave, raw honey or maple syrup
1. In a high powered blender, blend the greens first in the water or coconut water. This is crucial for a smooth, creamy thickshake as opposed to a chunky glass of something reminiscent of lawnmower clippings that have been left in the rain.
2. Add banana and continue blending, until smooth.
3. Add remaining ingredients until it reaches a creamy, smooth consistency.
4. Drink it down like a man or be dainty and use a spoon. I find it incredibly satisfying to consume a thickshake so thick it necessitates spoonage.
If I had children I believe I could comfortably trick them into thinking this was a perfectly innocent, rubbish-filled sugary chocolate shake, rather than a superfood-packed, naturally sweetened and oh-so-good green shake. It was that good. I think I'll have kids just to try my theory.
Happy blending cacao kings and queens! Now you can eat your greens and bear a suspiciously chocolatey grin.
I've done a survey of friends and family, and have found that of all meals, people find DINNER is the hardest to eat healthy.
Fruit or smoothies for breakfast are easy enough, and if you're living in a city there are fast and healthy homemade and takeaway options a-plenty for lunch.
But DINNER... let's face it! After a full day of work, kids, driving, gym, exercise, email, computers, family, shopping centres and iphones, sometimes, you just can't be bothered.
Come evening, for MANY of us, whatever is the easiest thing in front of you gets eaten.
So let's make sure that what you have in front of you is as healthy
, tasty and convenient as possible! Here are my top fastest, near-zero prep dinners that help me out when I've got no mojo left!1. Chemical-free Frozen Clean Cuisine
. No, I don't mean Lean Cuisine! (Are you nuts?!) Although processed frozen meals are not ideal, you can get wholefood and/or organic frozen stews, casseroles and soups from the freezer section of health food shops and even from supermarkets! The Pitango
brand organic soups, curries and risottos, are high quality packaged wholefood and tasty. Ready to go, you can bung these on the stove, do something else for 5 minutes (with intermittent stirrings) and return to a warm, hearty dinner. You can get these from the fridge section of Coles, Woolworths and some delis.
2. Sunday afternoon delight.
For the slightly less lazy among us, making large batches of homemade soup, curry or stew on a Sunday to freeze and eat over the next week saves money and time later on. You can make your not-quite-gourmet 3 litre batch of lentil soup more exciting by adding flavoursome extras – olive tapenades, guacamoles, baba ganoush, vegetable-based packaged dips (no mainstream dairy which is packed full of hormones), bruschetta sundried tomato mix, olives, capers, sea salt and pepper, and fresh herbs or even squeeze tube herbs, chilli and garlic.
3. Fast dinner ideas when I haven't done the Sunday arvo cookup thing
. It doesn't have to be a formal one-plate, sit down meal - just as long as there is some healthy food at dinner and it's not from KFC, Macdonald's or hungry Jacks!
* Tinned tuna/salmon with steamed packaged veggies (chopped fresh is always better, of course)
* Organic goats cheese rolled in cabbage, silverbeet or spinach leaves with whole-grain mustard and sprouts
* Punnets of cherry tomatoes, snow peas, other easy access veggies to eat as finger food with your cheesy handrolls, fast soups etc
* Blended salads - everything you'd put in a salad without all the chopping, just blend and go. This is especially nice with avocado, fresh tomato and miso!
* If you feel like a sweet snack before dinner, try fruit, nut butters with banana, or blended green or fruit smoothies (banana and almond butter is very yummy)
On days where you really
can't bring yourself to the kitchen, remember there ARE healthy take out options - if you're ultra keen, talk to me about clean Japanese, Thai, Mexican and other takeout and restaurant options. As a foodie and lover of exotic food I'd be happy to talk your ears off!
Know that these options are a temporary
solution and that we all go through fab phases and BLAH phases. In a perfect world, we'd mindfully sit down to a homemade, organic dinner and big raw veggie salad every night! But for now, just do what you can (hint: it's better than a big mac.)
As you know, looking after yourself will give you extra energy and resilience to get through any rough patch you are experiencing at the moment. If you can get your nutrition right, you're supporting yourself from the inside out.
And then everything else becomes easier.
Let me know if you have any other ideas for low-effort healthy wholefood dinners, I'd love to hear your suggestions!
Look after yourself and keep smiling :)
We're nearly through Winter, meaning lighter, fresher and healthier food... finally!
Having spent the last 3 weeks in Thailand, I've been reminded of the amazing flavours of coconut, sesame, ginger, lemon grass and kaffir lime.
You have to try this incredible sauce with veggies and coconut noodles - what could be simpler for a succulent afternoon nibble!?
MAKES 2 TO 4 SERVINGS
3 cups coconut water
1 ⁄2 tablespoon Nama Shoyu soy sauce or tamari
1 ⁄2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 ⁄2 tablespoon cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
1 tablespoon lemon grass (optional)
2 red capsicums, thinly sliced on a mandoline
2 medium carrots, cut into matchstick slices
2 pieces baby bok choy, finely chopped
Meat of 1 or 2 coconuts, sliced into long, thin strips like noodles
In a blender, combine the coconut water, soy sauce, salt, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and lemon grass. Blend on high until liquefied.
Pour mixture over the raw vegetables and coconut strips. Simple, fast and bursting with flavour! Perfect for a light lunch, afternoon snack, or detox starter.
I have very simple tastes and am usually happy with my green juice or green smoothie and perhaps some fruit as my first meal of the day, but sometimes it's just too cold, or it's sleep-in Sunday and a raw green juice just doesn't cut it!
These hearty breakfast options are wholefood, plant-based and perfect for those among us who are transitioning from boxed cereals with milk or bacon and eggs for breakfast, or who just need something more substantial as they detoxify and discover new tastes!
These recipes are also wonderful for those with higher energy requirements, such as pregnant women and athletes (like there's a difference!) The savoury veggies on sprouted grain toast with avocado is perfect if you've just come back from a long winter run through the forest and need something to fill the belly and warm the heart. Wash it down with a steaming mug of hot nut milk chai and Bob's your uncle!
· Savoury Veggies on Toast: Toast 2 thin slices of Essene sprouted grain bread. Add a thin layer of organic miso paste, a smattering of fresh avocado, and any other vegetables you like. Protein-packed sprouts, tomato, baby spinach, cucumber, and sweet capsicum are wonderful options! Add portobello mushrooms pan-fried in a small amount of coconut oil and garlic if you're feeling very gourmand.
· Very Berry Frappe: Blend 20 to 30 grams of Sunwarrior Protein Powder, a teaspoon of flaxseed oil, chopped apple, chopped pear or a handful of berries, almond milk or water plus a few ice cubes. Or be adventurous and do a warming winter version of this smoothie, by using stovetop-warmed almond milk and obviously omitting the ice cubes. Go on break the rules!
· Pumpkin Chia Porridge: A gluten-free hobbit's first breakfast! You'll need some leftover and mashed/pureed roast pumpkin from the night before, or bake some on the spot if you're crazy like I am. In a saucepan, bring to boil 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup organic coconut milk, then add 1/2 cup quinoa flakes or gluten-free steel cut oats and reduce to a simmer.
Add 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, a dash of freshly ground nutmeg, 8 drops vanilla essence and stevia to taste. Cook over low heat until creamy and soft, adding water as needed. Remove from heat. Top with chopped dates and almond butter, and a sprinkle of cinnamon, if you like. Warning: can be addictive.
· Almond Butter Banana Smoothie: This is extremely delicious and filling so save for a special morning and share with a loved one! Blend 2 tablespoons of raw almond butter, 1 cup coconut water or almond milk, half a teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, and 2 bananas for a potassium-rich and creamy smoothie.
· Real Bircher Muesli: Soak overnight 3 tablespoons of whole oats or raw buckwheat in filtered water. Next morning add 1 teaspoon of skin-nourishing coconut oil, an apple or pear (chopped or grated) and a handful of fresh or frozen berries. Sweeten with agave nectar or stevia if desired.
These recipes are about as heavy as I'd ever get for breakfast and ideally they would be more of a brunch, they really are for special occasions and special needs. To stay light and energised, make green juice, fresh fruit or green smoothies your staple breakfast (or at least the first thing in your belly), and enjoy these heartier brekkies every now and then! Hint: use them to refuel after a powerful Winter workout and they'll taste even better!
Whether you're at home, or packing a lunch box for school or work, there's something here for all levels of health fanaticism! Apply your body wisdom and food processor/mandolin/hands to quickly satisfy your hunger and fuel your body and soul.
All recipes vegan, gluten-free, highly alkalising, hydrating and energising!
· Radiance Crudites: Enjoy sticks of raw carrot, celery, capsicum, cucumber and other raw vegetables dipped in a selection of guacamole, olive tapenade, hommus and baba ganoush.
· Apple-Raisin Dream: In a salad bowl, mix 100g baby spinach, ½ cup cherry tomatoes, ½ cup sultanas, 1 finely chopped Fuji apple, chopped spring onions, chives, basil, orange capsicum and ½ a cucumber. Dress salad in the bowl with minced garlic, sea salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.
· Gorgeous Vegetable & Herb Slaw: Grate beetroot, fennel (reserve fronds), radish, carrot, red or white cabbage. Add in fresh chopped parsley, tarragon, dill and the reserved fennel fronds. You can dress this with drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (optional) lots of lemon, lemon zest, sea salt and pepper. This looks like a rainbow exploded in your plate! Serve in lettuce cups for a light snack or as a salad with sprouted grain toast topped with avocado slices.
· Geisha Rolls and Raw Teriyaki Sauce: To make enough sauce for another day, blend 1 cup tamari, 1 cup pure maple syrup, 1 teaspoon chopped ginger, 1 clove garlic, and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil. Using whole red cabbage leaves, rice paper or nori sheets as wrappers, place julienned capsicum, carrot, and chopped coriander, mint and whole basil leaves inside a cabbage leaf. Roll the cabbage leaf and dip into the teriyaki sauce.
· Raw Butternut Salad: Mix 2 cups grated butternut pumpkin (I cut them into long chunks and grate it though my food processor), 1 zucchini, a small thumb of minced ginger, 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, all spice), drizzle of agave nectar, juice of a lemon, a sprinkle of pepitas and a pinch of pink Himalayan rock salt. Fast and yummy!
· The Best Guacamole: In a salad bowl, mash together 3 ripe avocados, juice of 2 limes, finely chopped red onion, 2 chopped vine-ripe tomatoes, a cob of raw corn, 1 sliced red or yellow capsicums, chopped fresh coriander, 1 pinch stevia or honey, chilli powder and celtic sea salt to taste. Use this as a vegetable dip or spread it onto a vegetable sandwich. You can also add mixed greens and shredded carrot to create a dreamy guacamole salad!
· Crunchy Candied Almond Salad: In a small bowl, place ½ cup raw almonds, agave nectar and tamari. Let the almonds soak in the marinade while you combine in a bowl mixed greens, vine-ripened tomatoes, grated carrot, 4 chopped pitted dates, and diced sweet onion. Dress with balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, wholegrain mustard and fresh pepper, adding the candied almonds last. Crunchy, colourful, high in Vitamin E, and satisfies a world of cravings.
· Raw Blended Carrot Renew: Blend 2 cups fresh carrot juice, 1 ripe avocado, 1 tablespoon curry powder, 1 tablespoon fresh ginger and 1 clove garlic in a blender on high until smooth. Serve with toasted Essene bread or flax crackers. Great concoction for healthy eye function!
· Raw Thai Young Coconut Soup – Combine in a blender meat of 2 young coconuts, 2 cups coconut water, 1 garlic clove, 1 knob ginger, 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass, 1 handful each of Thai basil and coriander, 3 tablespoons lime juice, and 1 red chilli (optional) and blend until smooth. Add salt/pepper to taste and garnish with finely diced red capsicum and spring onions. Serve in the empty coconut shell for a gourmet touch!
· Japanese Guacamole Nori Rolls: Mash 1 ripe avocado with 1 tablespoon tamari, 1 teaspoon raw honey, 1 teaspoon chopped ginger, a little minced garlic and a tiny squeeze of wasabi. Using nori sheets as wrappers, place a line of the japanese guacamole, julienned capsicum, carrot, mushroom, red onion and chopped spinach inside a nori sheet. Roll the sheet up, slice in halves or quarters and devour!
· Buckwheat Pancakes with Savoury Fillings: Drain 1 cup raw buckwheat (soaked for at least 4 hours) and process in a blender with ¾ cup water until it reaches a thick-shake consistency. Cook in a non-stick pan on low to medium heat for around 2 mins on each side, using a little coconut oil or rice bran oil if required.
Stack pancakes on top of each other so they stay warm and soft. Add julienned vegetables of your choice, sprouts, olives, sweet onion and sundried tomatoes. Roll up and devour!
· Sunomuno Salad: This is a traditional Japanese dish: 1 ribboned cucumber (use a vegetable peeler) and 50g soaked wakame seaweed marinated in rice vinegar, sugar and salt. To make it detox friendly, substitute for equal amounts of lemon & lime, sea salt and stevia, if desired. To make it into a dinner size salad, toss with chopped cos or red/green leaf lettuce. Top with a handful of crushed nori and a sprinkle of black sesame seeds. Light, lovely and high in natural iodine for thyroid health.
· Chunky Tomato Gazpacho: Finely dice 4 cups cherry tomatoes, ½ a cucumber, ½ a red or yellow capsicum, ½ cup red onion. Finely chop ½ bunch of parsley and 1 clove garlic. Place ingredients in a bowl with the zest and juice of 1 to 2 lemons, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if desired, and Tabasco hot sauce to taste. Puree 3/4 of the recipe and garnish with the remaining quarter. Bask in the Tuscan sun and enjoy!
In reading my recipes you may notice that kale is used heavy-handedly in juices, salads, and cooked meals.
Some carefully observing friends may ask: Why kale?
Besides the fact that it's beautiful curly leaves and dark green hue make it an amazingly sexy cruciferous crusader, there are many solid reasons to include this champion of champions in your diet.
Here are six of them:
1. Scrap the botox
Sick of spending money on anti-wrinkle creams? Eat more kale. It's a superstar in the arena of carotenoids and flavonoids, two powerful antioxidants that protect our cells from free radicals that cause oxidative stress. With the addition of high doses of celebrity antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin A, and manganese, kale is a smart choice in the battle against cellular oxidation.
2. Still walking at 100..
One cup of kale provides about 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids that helps regulate the body’s inflammatory process. A megadose of vitamin K further aids to fight against excessive inflammatory-related problems, such as arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and asthma. Kale's whopping dose of vitamin K (there's 1327% of the RDA in one cup) is necessary for the synthesis of osteocalcin, a protein that strengthens the composition of our bones.
3. ..and still seeing at 100!
With over 192% of the RDA of vitamin A, one cup of kale keeps our eyesight sharp, is an effective antioxidant, boosts immunity, maintains healthy bones and teeth, prevents urinary stones, and is essential to our reproductive organs. Kale also has plenty of star anti-oxidant vitamin C, which lowers blood pressure, ensures a healthy immune system, and fights against age-related ocular diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Kale can be likened to the superhero of vegetables, especially green leafy ones. Deep green kale contains the highest levels of antioxidants of all vegetables. Kale's high content of flavonoids and antioxidants work together to prevent and even combat cancer, in particular colon, breast, bladder, prostate, ovarian cancers, and gastric cancer.5. Digestion
One cup of kale contains nearly 20% of the RDA of dietary fibre, which promotes regular digestion, prevents constipation, lowers blood sugar and curbs overeating. Kale contains the glucosinolate isothiocyanate (ITC) that fights the formation of H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori
), a bacterial growth in the stomach lining that can lead to gastric cancer.6. Happy hearts, brillant blood
The high fibre content of kale lowers our cholesterol by binding with bile acids that the liver produces from cholesterol for digesting fat. Because many of these bile acids are coupled with fibre, the liver is charged with producing more bile acid to digest fat, and therefore requires more cholesterol to so, ultimately lowering the amount of cholesterol within our bodies.
The vitamin K in kale also prevents calcium build-up in our tissue that can lead to atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke.Where to get it
You can buy kale (tuscan, dinosaur, red, cavolo nero or black) from many weekend markets - in Brisbane try the Northey St organic markets on a Sunday. Other than that, you can get it from health food stores such as Wray's and Mrs. Flannerys, but these may charge a premium.
Here on the Gold Coast many weekend markets sell kale, but personally we grow all our greens in our garden and have no shortage of kale - it's very easy to grow and loves sunlight.Rotate your Greens
Kale is moving out of season now - Spring is the best time for growing and harvesting. Now that it's Summer we are replacing kale with other types of greens to match the seasons - in our juices we are using asian greens such as bok choy and choy sum.
I tend to rotate my intake of different greens with the seasons - it's cheaper, helps you to stay in sync with environmental change and energetically attuned to your natural surroundings, reduces the risk of same-plant toxin overload (spinach overload can be dangerous!) and also to widen the range of micronutrients I get from the greens.How to use it
Wash kale before use, and don't discrad the outer, deep green leaves - these contain rich amounts of carotenes and indoles. Kale is good juiced, blended in green smoothies, chopped finely in raw salads, steamed or stir-fried. For non-vegans, its strong taste goes well with eggs, bacon and cheese. My favourite use for it is classic Green Juice, or in a mixed cooked/ raw salad like this Roasted Earth Vegetable, Kale & Dill Salad. Kale, like spinach, shrinks a lot during cooking, so make sure you add plenty to the pan!
Chef Palasis watering the kale in Spring