gluten-free

The Truth About Acai Bowls

Acai bowls are the latest health food fad doing the rounds. They are popping up in every cafe & health food shop and you can even make them yourself at home (which I absolutely recommend so you can jam some extra nutrition in).  Touted by many as the perfect healthy meal they come in a massive variety of flavours and colours but let me let you in on a secret….. That ain’t no perfect brekkie.

OK, before a war breaks out let me firstly say, I like acai bowls. They are delicious. It’s like having ice cream for breakfast and who wouldn’t love to do that…. It’s got about the same amount of sugar as having ice cream for breakfast too. Yep, on average an acai bowl will have about 40g of sugar and up to about 75g depending on your toppings.  The same size bowl of full fat vanilla ice cream has about 39g of sugar. At least the ice cream has a good dose of fat in there too to at least help slow that insulin spike a little. Yes, the acai is natural sugar from fruit but as far as your body and your insulin response are concerned, it’s still sugar and if your body doesn’t need it, it’s likely going straight to your ar$e, or thighs, or stomach or wherever else your body thinks it would like to store it for the next famine you encounter. That’s basically an entire days recommended sugar intake in one bowl.

So what’s my point? My point is, don’t get caught up in the hype and the very clever marketing. If you give zero flying ducks (*side note; why does auto-correct think I want to write ‘ducks’? Seriously, how often do I refer to ducks to make it think that is a legitimate swap?) about your sugar intake, you are not trying to minimise your body fat, you don’t mind feeling hungry again an hour later, and you have $16 to drop on a bowl of sugar every morning, go your hardest, I’m not talking to you. If you do care about the above points I’d suggest that acai bowls are a sometimes food, a treat for your weekend brekkie out or a refuel after you have smashed out a gruelling workout, enjoy it for sure but don’t kid yourself into thinking it’s health food.

A few things I want to point out, not all acai is made equal. Homemade is absolutely the best because you can whack in a heap of great things to add way more nutrition. My tips would be cinnamon to help curb the insulin spike, collagen powder or protein powder to add some protein and help with skin, hair, joints etc, frozen zucchini or spinach to add some greens, use some coconut cream instead of coconut water to get some healthy fats in there- this will help keep you fuller for longer and assist with blood sugar regulation.

Different brands of acai also contain different things, it’s a good idea to ask. My pick is the Amazonia Pure . Some contain soy lethicin, some contain added sugar or syrups to make it more ‘scoopable’, some contain colours and additives to mask the fact that is has oxidised and gone brown instead of being the deep purple of a non-oxidised acai. So that’s it from me, eat your acai, or don’t, I have zero ducks to give, it’s your body to nourish how you see fit.

 

 

Roasted Cabbage & Kale Warm Salad (paleo. gf. df. vegan)

This recipe came about because I was making KIMCHI & I bought the world’s largest cabbage, not even exaggerating, and ended up with approximately 3.5kg of cabbage leftover. Steamed cabbage as a menu item does NOT spin my tyres in any way so I thought ‘let’s roast this gear and see what happens’. This happened and it’s a win I think. Cabbage is actually a cracking veggie if you can make it taste good. You can use purple/red cabbage too and give yourself an even bigger beta-carotene hit. Cabbage is low carb, high fibre and a good source of vitamin K, A & C.

1/2 small green cabbage, shredded
1 lge red onion, roughly sliced
1/2 bunch kale, shredded
3 small green apples, roughly sliced
Good pinch salt
Good lug of olive oil
OPTIONAL- If you tolerate dairy, some chunks of goats cheese would be a stellar topping to add for the last 15 mins in the oven.

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with some baking paper and add all the ingredients. Mix well with your hands so that everything has a good coating of olive oil. Bake for approx 1 hr. This can be served warm or cold.

Bangin’ Chicken (paleo)

Seriously banging. This chicken packs a massive flavour punch and will absolutely have your tastebuds doing a happy dance. I don’t even know what else to tell. It’s easy. It’s delicious. You can probably substitute the chicken for some bangin’ pork or beef. If you do, tell me how banging it is on a scale of “relatively banging” to “total mouth party, will you marry me? Banging”. Obviously, I expect the latter. Unless you balls-up the recipe for which I take no responsibility. Go forth & bang.

1/3 cup coconut oil (or ghee)
1/2 kg chicken thighs, chopped
2 rashers bacon, diced
1 red onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 capsicum, chopped
good handful of baby spinach
1 tbsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1/4 tsp cloves powder
1/4 tsp cardamon powder
Juice 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt

Heat up the oil in a large frying pan that has a lid over a medium heat. If you don’t have a lid you can use a sheet of alfoil to act like one. Add the chicken, bacon, garlic, onion and salt and allow to brown. Add all the remaining ingredients, aside from the capsicum & spinach and mix well. Cover, reduce the heat to low and allow to cook for 20 mins, stirring occasionally. Add the capsicum & spinach, stir though and allow to cook uncovered for another 5 mins before serving.

Kale, Cranberry & Goats Cheese Salad

I love goats cheese. And cranberries. I’m pretty intolerant to both unfortunately (you can read about my food intolerance testing on the blog) but sometimes I just like to throw caution to the wind, say fu$k it,  and do a number on myself anyway. I’m a rebel moron like that.

Dairy tends to cause me both a pretty immediate gut bloating reaction and a next-few-days skin break out reaction. It’s awesome. Cranberries make my throat all scratchy and itchy, like hayfever, or anaphylaxis. Also awesome. What I have discovered with both of these particular intolerances is that they tend to be dose related. A few cranberries every now and again in my Paleo Hero Muesli, no problem. Cranberry sauce, massive problem.  A bit of cheese once every now and then, all good. A piece of cheesecake and I’ll be rolling around on the floor, clutching my guts, looking 9 months pregnant fairly quickly. All great lessons. And still I sometimes say ‘screw this, pass me the gelati’.

1 bunch kale, core removed & shredded

1/2 cup dried cranberries

4-6 radishes, finely sliced

100g goats cheese (omit if you don’t do well with dairy)

good pinch salt

1 tbs apple cider vinegar

3 tbs olive oil

To remove the core from your kale stalks you just pretty much grab the bottom of the stalk and pull upwards toward the tip of the leaf. The leafy bits should come off and the fiberous stem should stay there. It’s no big deal if a few bits of stem end up in there so don’t spend hours doing this. You don’t have time for that $hit. Move on. Add the kale, salt, ACV & olive oil to a big bowl and get in there with your hands, give it a good massage like its had a big day at work. A couple of minutes should do the trick, you just want it to be a little softer so it doesn’t taste like you are eating horse chaff.

Add the rest of the ingredients, give it a little toss & you are good to go. In hindsight, I think some toasted flaked almonds or walnuts would have been awesome in here too. Whatever floats your boat.

Kimchi (fermented. vegan. paleo)

If you are not on the fermented foods bandwagon yet you need to JUMP ON IMMEDIATELY. Like now. Fermented food is the new black. Adios probiotic capsules & HELLO probiotic rich foods. Not only are fermented foods going to give you more variety of good bacteria in your life but they are so much more potent than even the very best probiotic capsule or powder on the market. By incorporating food containing probiotics we start to establish great long-term, diverse, healthy gut flora far more effectively than if we just take a probiotic supplement. If Kimchi isn’t your jazz then try some other types of fermented veggies, kombucha, kefir, homemade yoghurt etc. The more different types of fermented foods the more diversity of good bacteria you will incorporating into your life. If you don’t know why having a healthy population of bacteria in your gut is important you can get in the know HERE  and HERE but basically everything from skin conditions, weight regulation, mental health, immune function, obesity, fatigue & auto-immune disease.

I have been making kraut for a while but have been hanging out for someone to give me a great kimchi recipe and Jeremy came through with the goods! This was also my first time using my new crock from KINFOLK & CO!!  This recipe comes courtesy of the awesome Jeremy over at Holistic Lifestyler who is a chiropractor in WA, runs fermenting workshops & has an awesome line of organic clothing that is SO soft & comfy. You can get your mits on his fermenting ebook for only $40 if you tell him I sent you. We’re tight like that. He’ll hook you up. Just email him info@holisticlifestyler.com

Will need approximately 2 Litre sized fermenting vessel, notes on these in the troubleshooting.

Vegetables

Green Cabbage  400 g ; Nappa Cabbage 500g ; Spring onions 100g; Sweet potato 250g; Carrot 100g; Green apple  ½ (100g); Salt approx. 30g (which is around 2% of the vegetable weight, this is important as it’s the researched safe ratio of salt to vegetable to provide the optimal environment for fermenting) I recommend good quality Celtic sea salt.

Paste

Fresh Red Chilli 2 ; Turmeric powder 1-2tsp; Cayenne Pepper powder 2 tsp; Chilli Flakes 1 tsp; Garlic 4 cloves; Ginger 4cm grated

Procedure

  • Finely chop green cabbage, add salt; massage until brine created
  • Chop the end off the nappa cabbage then chop into approx. 3 cm square pieces then chop the spring onions add to green cabbage and massage for a few minutes
  • Shred the carrot and sweet potato. Place the green apple through the mandolin or finely slice (if mandolin not available), add to the mix [Note: carrot & sweet potato could also be put through the mandolin if you prefer a slightly chunkier kraut]

PASTE

  • Finely chop the chilli, grate the ginger, chop the garlic, add the cayenne, turmeric and chilli flakes. Blend all the ingredients adding filter water as needed to create a paste consistency.
  • Add the paste to the vegetable mixture and mix through.

 

 Options; can add some dulse or wakame flakes into the mix, some fresh chives can be added to the paste.  Instead of water added to the paste mix some good quality fish sauce can be used may need to go a little lighter in the salt in the vegetable mix as fish sauce is quite salty.  Daikon radish also can be added which adds a nice crunch.  Korean Chilli powder can be added and is very nice and provides a deep red colour, this is usually found at specialist Asian food stores.

 

FERMENTING

  • Pack ingredients into the jar, so that the vegetables are under the brine that has been created. Close the vessel
  • Ferment at room temperature ideally 18-22 deg Celsius for 2-4 weeks before transferring to the refrigerator.
  • Once in the refrigerator should last upto a year (although you’ll get through it much faster than that because it’s so delicious!)

TROUBLESHOOTING

  • If the vegetables start to rise above the brine at the top during the fermenting period simply remove the lid and with the back of a clean spoon push vegetables back under the brine and close the lid again. Alternatively you can add some kind of weight device to keep the vegetables submerged under the brine.
  • If your environment is quite hot the fermenting period may need to be less for instance more like 10 days. If its cooler may need the full 4 weeks.  There’s no way of telling when the ferment is ‘done’ on a home scale type set up without testing things like pH etc but sticking to the timeframe suggested is a safe reliable timeframe.
  • Jars:
    • My personal preference is the ‘Fido’ wire bail lid type which can be found on line at kitchen stores. Otherwise The Fowlers-Vacola jars I’ve found to be the most reliable as the lid never loses its tensile strength like the wire bail types which tend to become faulty after a few years use and no longer create a 100% sealed environment.  The downside to the Fowlers jar is they only make them in 1 Litre size now so you have to make them in batches.  There are many other ‘specialised’ fermenting jars out there that are more expensive but they really are no more beneficial than the two mentioned.  If you want to upsize your fermenting then fermenting crocks are a great option.

 

 

Roasted Cauliflower & Green Tahini Dressing (paleo. vegan. gf. df)

If you haven’t roasted cauliflower before you are missing out. Seriously. Your life is lacking. It’s bloody tremendous just roasted with a bit of butter & turmeric but this jazz right here is next level. The green dressing packs a punch of both flavour and nutrition and both spinach and tahini are going to give you a cracking dose of calcium. I’d totally reccomend making this salad as a double batch so you have leftovers for the next day… or eat all of it at once. Whatever spins your tyres.

Dressing
1 packed cup baby spinach
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup tahini
Good pinch salt & pepper
1/4 cup olive or avocado oil
1 tbs raw honey/maple syrup

1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 tbs sumac
1/2 cup flaked almonds, lightly toasted
1/2 cup parsley, chopped

Preheat your oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and pop the cauliflower pieces on it. Sprinkle the cauliflower with the sumac and a good drizzle of olive oil then use your hands or whatever you like to mix it around to coat. Bake for 40mins or until golden on the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Pop all the dressing ingredients into your food processor or high speed blender and blend until smooth. Pop the cauliflower onto a serving platter, drizzle with the dressing then sprinkle with parsley & almonds.

Blow Your Mind Peanut Butter Slice (primal. gluten free. dairy free)

Is it wrong to eat a whole slab of PB slice in one go? Asking for a friend. Obviously.

I’m not going to lie to you, if you are trying to lay off the treats right now this recipe is NOT for you. This gear is good. I mean mind-blowingly good. You won’t just eat one piece. I’d be impressed if you could eat less than 5 squares in a sitting. If I can give you a hot tip, which I can because it’s my blog, hide the finished product from yourself in the freezer. Behind the liver. Oh, you don’t have liver in your freezer? You should. That stuff has superpowers. Anyway, hide it, or you’ll see it when you open the fridge. Every time. And you’ll eat some. Every time. Then it will be gone in 12hrs. So I hear. My ‘friend’ told me.

Base
1/2 cup almonds (or nut/seed of your choice)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
15 fresh dates, seeds removed

Blend in a food processor until it comes together like a dough. Remove and press into a baking-paper lined tray. Set aside.

Filling
1/2 cup natural coconut milk yoghurt (or full fat coconut cream)
1/2 cup 100% peanut butter (or other type of nut/seed butter)
1/4 cup collagen hydrolysate (optional but amazing for skin, hair, nails & gut health)
Pinch salt

Mix all ingredients together well then pour over the base. Pop it in the freezer while you make the topping.

Topping
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (you could use ghee, cacao butter or butter instead)
2 tbs raw cacao
1/4 cup rice malt syrup/honey/coconut nectar

Mix all ingredients until smooth, pour over the slice and pop back in the freezer for 2 hrs to set. Slice. Devour. Try to stop at one piece. That’s a dare.

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Stuffed Potatoes (paleo. vegan. gluten free. dairy free)

Stuffing stuff is awesome. There’s not much you can’t stuff. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, capsicum, eggplant, zucchini, those big-arse mushrooms that are almost the size of a plate. You get where I’m going. You don’t want to stuff potatoes? No drama. Stuff something else. Just get stuffed. The other great part of getting stuffed is that you can stuff it with whatever you like! Asian style, Mexican, Indian flavours or just a leftover mash-up of whatever’s in your fridge leftover from the week. Mine’s a leftover mash up but you do whatever spins your tyres and make them as fancy as you please. I think some leftover taco mince, homemade guacamole etc would be epic.

4 small sweet potatoes (or 1 or 10- depends how many you’re feeding)
Olive oil to drizzle
Whatever you want to stuff your stuff with. I used-
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 red capsicum, diced
Big handful kale, shredded
Big handful red cabbage, shredded

Preheat your oven to 180C. Line a tray with baking paper. I don’t peel my sweet potatoes, I just wash them. Pop the sweet potatoes on the tray and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for about an hour or until soft to touch. It could take up to 90 mins depending on the size of your potatoes but just whack ’em in and go and binge watch some Suits until they are ready. You don’t watch Suits? Take a good, hard look at yourself and make better life choices.

Take all the stuff you are going to stuff them with and sauté it in a frying pan until it’s about 3/4 cooked then remove.

Take your cooked sweet potatoes, cut them down the centre and use a spoon to push the filling to each side so you have a nice little galley in the middle for all the good bits. Stuff them choc-full with all the stuffing bits. Now would be a cracking time to sprinkle some cheese on top if you can handle it or even a good drizzle of homemade mayo. Whack them back in the oven on about 200C for 15 mins then dig in!

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Silly Season Survival 101

It’s the silly season. We all have approximately 2375 Christmas parties to attend. The general outcomes of those for me are a lack of sufficient sleep, I drop the ball with training & movement, the food choices are less than stellar and more than a few cheeky beverages are consumed. Because very hot. Must hydrate. Much booze. My hilarity also peaks and I become an amazing dancer….. I blame champagne entirely. I am generally not a big drinker so this time of year generally ends with me feeling like a toxic mess but oh the fun!

So, because for most of us these situations are unavoidable, I thought I’d do my best to help negate some of the negatives with a few strategies I’m going to use.

First up. I like love sleep. Not only can a lack of sleep make you feel generally crappy but it does funky stuff like affect our blood sugar control, messes with your hormones, increases inflammation and decreases our ability to deal with stress. Here’s some hot tips on how to help minimise those negative effects but I’ll be loading up on magnesium and trying to incorporate some of the 5 minute meditations from the Smiling Mind App.

Sometimes it’s hard to fit in your usual workout or training sessions when there is so many events to attend but even getting in 15 minutes can make the world of difference to your mood, food choices, digestion and detoxification. Our skin is our biggest detox organ so getting that sweat cranking will help get those boozy toxins out! I have been using some of the quick TABATA workouts from Intensity PT as well as these cool free 10 minute smash sessions from SOUND COACH on Spotify.

Eating out at these events is often more frequent than the meals we prepare ourselves over the Silly Season but ensuring that the meals we do prepare are nutrient dense and pack a nutritional punch can make a huge difference. I take good quality probiotics, eats loads of fermented foods like kraut, kombucha & kefir and drink plenty of water. You can find load of inspiration over on my INSTAGRAM but here’s a few crackers from some of my fave bloggers too.

DIY Vitamin Water from Pretty Wee Things

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Liver Loving Salad from Ascension Kitchen

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Refreshing Homemade Ginger Ale from A Gut Feeling

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Anti-Oxidant Smooothie from Brenda Janscheck

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Now to help minimise the damage I also love to incorporate a few great hacks. I take magnesium before bed with loads of water,  I have some activated charcoal in water before I go out drinking (I use this one, discount code GBD599 if you want it) and I take some of these milk thistle tablets the following day to help support liver detoxification. Here’s a few hacks for you….

How to use activated charcoal from The Nourishing Hub

How to detox effectively from The Holistic Nutritionist

Make your own Magnesium Salts from Cut Out The Crap

AND How to avoid hangovers from Real Food Agenda

Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart

It’s been a while between blog posts and if I’m being honest, I feel like my kitchen mojo is a little flat right now. My creative cooking buzz is a little dull and I am feeling a bit ‘pulled all over the place’ with life in general. Sometimes that just happens right and instead of creating and blogging when Baby G goes to bed, I binge watch Banshee. Because avoidance is my strategy of choice right now. As the weather warms up though I am sure I will get inspired again and we’ll be hanging out here a lot more together. In the meantime. Chocolate & Peanut Butter.

Chocolate & peanut butter, it’s a marriage made in heaven and who doesn’t love a good tart?! I know you do. You could make this as mini-tarts using cupcake moulds if you fancied. I don’t fancy because that seems like a whole lot more effort than I can be bothered with but if mini-tarts are your thang, go hard.

250g raw cashews, soaked in a bowl of water for 2-4hrs
2 ripe bananas
4 tbs coconut oil
1/4 cup natural organic  peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice)
1/4 cup raw cacao
1/4-1/2 cup pure maple syrup/ rice malt syrup depending on your sweet preference

2 cups raw almonds

2 cups fresh pitted dates

Preheat your oven to 170C. Line or grease the bottom and sides of a spring form or tart tin.

Pulse the almonds & dates in the food processor until The come together like a rough dough. Press evenly into the base and sides of the tin and bake for about 15mins until just starting to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

While the base is cooling, add the drained cashews and banana to the food processor and blend until completely smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides a few times. Add the remaining ingredients (start with the minimal amount of maple syrup) and blend to combine. Taste and add extra sweetener if required. Pour into the cooled tart base and refrigerate for at least 4 hrs, overnight is best. Cut it. Serve it. Eat it.

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