Chocolate brownies | GF SF NF

GLUTEN-FREE | NUT-FREE | SUGAR-FREE | VEGETARIAN | 6 INGREDIENTS ONLY | NO BLENDER NEEDED | CAN BE PALEO | CAN BE DAIRY-FREE

I’ve left you all hanging long enough for this recipe. It’s super simple, & can even be 5 ingredients if you prefer (this will also make it dairy-free)

INGREDIENTS
1 cup cacao
1 cup coconut flour
1 cup rice malt syrup or preferred sweetener (maple syrup, honey)
6 organic eggs
1/2 cup butter (if you want a dairy-free option, you can replace the butter with coconut oil)
1/2 cup coconut oil

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees celsius
  2. Sift the cacao & coconut flour into a mixing bowl. I find coconut flour can become quite clumpy so this step is best not skipped
  3. Crack the eggs into a small separate bowl & give it a 10 second gentle whisk
  4. Melt the butter & coconut oil on a low heat in a saucepan
  5. Tip the melted butter & coconut oil into the mixing bowl
  6. Add in the rice malt syrup & eggs
  7. Stir until well combined
  8. Tip into a slice tin (approx 20cm x 30cm), lined with baking paper
  9. Use a knife or spatula to level it out
  10. Set a timer for 25 minutes
  11. Allow it to cool in the tin, then slice as required. I cut them into approx 3cm x 3cm sqaures & it made 54.

 

 

Polymyalgia & an anti-inflammatory diet

We have just spent the weekend with a family friend who is suffering from POlymyalgia. having known him my whole life, it was awful to see someone in such pain -he put up a valiant effort with guests there, but his pain was evident.

As a Health Coach, I do not have the answer to everything but I am always interested to learn more so I started researching possible natural assistance to help treat the polymyalgia.

First of all, what is it?
common inflammatory disorder that causes pain, usually in your shoulders and upper body. Inflammation is your body’s natural response when it’s trying to protect you from harmful germs. Inflammation works by drawing extra blood and white blood cells to whatever part of your body it’s trying to defend. This increase of fluid can cause swelling, stiffness, and pain (reference: http://www.healthline.com/health/polymyalgia-rheumatica-diet#overview1).

As it is an inflammatory disease, assistance with a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods can assist. As we are all bio-individuals, we react differently to certain foods so try to keep a food diary & see whether certain foods have a positive, negative or neutral effect.

My top 10 anti-inflammatory foods:

  1. Salmon
  2. Sardines
  3. Walnuts & almonds
  4. Flaxseed & flaxseed oil
  5. Olive oil
  6. Oranges
  7. Green leafy veg including collards, kale & spinach (whatever state our health is in, there is no diet/lifestyle that doesn’t benefit from more leafy greens)
  8. Turmeric – one of my favourite things to add to dishes, delicious in a curry, or through eggs (either powdered or finely grated fresh)
  9. Berries – raspberries, blueberries, cherries
  10. Herbs & spices including cloves, cinnamon, rosemary, ginger, sage & thyme

I also highly recommend easing up on inflammatory foods including sugary products (juice, biscuits & soft drinks), cooking oils (that you would deep-fry food in), alcohol, refined grains (white flour, pasta, biscuits & pastry). More controversial & again I urge you to TRY for a week, or perhaps longer – ease off the dairy & see if you notice any difference. If you’re a meat eater, source the best possible quality meat, ideally grass-fed & grass-finished & only consume meat every third day, or even less frequently.

I love this simple article on 7 days to an anti-inflammatory diet – plenty of easy swaps, if you try to make one change per day.

I am not a Doctor or qualified Nutritionist, always see your Doctor if unsure.

Foods that fight inflammation-infograph

Salmon & sweet potato patties

I’m all about making life easy, especially for families where it seems multiple meals are often made to address all family requirements.

These salmon & sweet potato patties (better word?) are gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free & can easily be nut-free. They use basic ingredients which I would bet you already have at home.

400g sweet potato

1 medium salmon fillet

Juice & zest of half a lemon 

1 tbspn chia seeds

1 organic egg

OPTIONAL

2 tablespoons finely chopped kale – it doesn’t add much taste, I add it to increase the nutritional value

2 tablespoons thyme – I add herbs to everything but they can be omitted if you feel the taste is too strong for littlies

1 tablespoon sumac – adds a nice citrusy taste (not as sour as lemon) 

CRUST

1/4 cup quinoa flakes

1/4 cup almond meal

If you are nut-free, you can use all quinoa flakes. You could also use a standard breadcrumb if you’re not fussed about gluten. If you don’t have quinoa flakes, you could use all almond meal. 

METHOD

1. Peel sweet potato, cut roughly into 4cm cubes & boil until soft

2. Mash sweet potato, it doesn’t have to be smooth 

3. Pan-fry the salmon fillet, don’t worry if it’s not entirely cooked as it will be cooked again once in the patty

4. Throw the salmon fillet in with the sweet potato & again roughly mash (a fork will be fine)

5. If you’re using thyme &/or kale, you can just use some kitchen scissors & chop it straight into the mixing bowl.

6. Put in juice of half a lemon & zest – this can be omitted 

7. Mix in chia seeds (this helps the mixture bind), then mix in the egg with a fork

8. In a separate bowl, pour in almond meal & quinoa flakes (or whatever ingredients you use for crust)

9. Using your hands, form the mixture into balls then coat in almond meal/quinoa flake mix

10. Put all the patties on a plate & throw in the fridge for at least 1 hour so they set. Any sooner & they may fall apart.

11. Pan-fry in preferred oil – they only need a minute or 2 on each side

MAKES 12 PATTIES – enough for 3 young children 

Serving suggestion: mayonnaise or pesto or even better – mayonnaise mixed with pesto. I’ve popped up the recipes for both – just do a search 


War on Waste

Watching War on Waste on ABC the last two weeks, I iniitally felt despair, followed soon after by motivation & determination.

I always thought I was pretty good when it came to minimising waste & optimising recycling but turns out I can certainly lift my game in two particular areas.

Food waste: a staggering amount of food waste is thrown out by Australians every year. Put in financial terms, it would be close to $3,000 per family. I am committing to better utilisation of my food (not letting it turn rotten); as well as composting.
So what are my food scraps that cant be used? I’ve been keeping an eye on that too – banana peels, apple cores, pear cores, plum stones, banana skins, avocado skin & stones, radish tops, eggshells, coffee grinds, soggy leftover cereal, tea leaves, strawberry tops, leftover baby food that cannot be used, herb & kale stalks, outer leaves of cauliflower & outer husks & cobs of corn. I have 2 plastic containers that I keep in the fridge & fill with any food scraps. I am surprised at how quickly they are filling up.

Soft plastics: once again, an overwhelming statistic that only 1-2% of our soft plastics are recycled. You may have noticed the REDCYCLE bins at coles / Woolworths supermarkets, then again you may not have because for some bizarre reason they don’t seem to want to encourage people to recycle their soft plastics. The test is: if it’s soft plastic & can be scrunched into a ball, throw it in the REDCYCLE bin. You can pop onto their website & enter your suburb to see the closest bin – mostly in Coles & Woolworths. This psoft plastic waste is then re-purposed by the legends at Replas – currently predominately being made into commercial furniture but it would be great to see it move to homes & non-commercial usage.

Since watching War on Waste episodes 1 & 2, I have HALVED my rubbish. I am fortunate that my Mum is part of a Community Garden so I am able to give her my fruit & veg scraps to add to their compost bins. I have also started a separate “soft plastic” disposal just above my normal rubbish bin which I will then take to the RedCYCLE bin at the shops (for locals reading this, Coles Edgecliff is the closest).

My biggest bin contributions currently are nappies – I use a brand made from 40% sustainable materials (Tooshies). Their wipes are compostable. I also use compostable nappy bags made from corn starch which are from Wotnot (via Nourished Life).

I need to either stop using baking paper, or find a more environmentally friendly alternative. Suggestions anyone?

I have recently started using Who gives a Crap paper towel, which is made from sugarcane & bamboo – & is biodegradable.

Rubbish bin liners themselves – check out Compost-a-Pak. It seems like a no-brainer but so often when we see images of rubbish tips, the overwhelming thing is the tied up rubbish bags. Let’s support companies like this.

Got 20 seconds? Sign this petition to get Coles & Woolworths to stop wrapping small amounts of fruit & vegetables in plastic & styrofoam. All you need to do is put in your first name, surname, email address & postcode. Your name does not have to be published if you wish. When I signed it today there were over 193,000 supporters.

Got another 20 seconds? Sign this Greenpeace petition to ban plastic bags in NSW. Let’s hope we don’t get a pathetic ban like Tasmania whereby they just used a loophold & introduced thicker bags that they could then call “re-usable”.

Coffee drinkers, I’ve got my eyes on you. It’s time to care. Cafe owners too – rather than discounting a customer for bringing a re-usable cup, how about penalising someone for not bringing one. I guarantee charging 20 cents extra per coffee for a disposable cup will motivate people to remember it. as an Owner/Manager, could you also look at the expanding ranges of compostable coffee cups.

FUN SITES TO FOLLOW IF YOU’RE SERIOUS ABOUT THIS
Be an Unf**ker – these guys are awesome at short, succinct posts that make you realise what a f**ker you are being to the environment. If you action even half their posts, you’re doing well!
The Greater Good Project
Take 3 – it’s not their only message but how simple is it to pick up 3 pieces of litter when you’re next at the beach?
Obvious Bits – follow them, it may just be a lightbulb moment for you
ME (Alice aka 6 Clean Ingredients) –  come visit me on Facebook or Insta. I am a firm believer that making your own meals from scratch goes a long way to helping the environment. See what I’m growing in my garden, feeding my growing boys, low-tox products I’m using for my baby girl, how I’m embracing minimalism & doing my best to be an eco-warrior & of course pass on everything I am learning to you!

Please share this post – if it helps just 100 families change their habits forever, I would be absolutely thrilled (& Mother Nature will send you a big hug) xx Alice

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Easy (sugar-free) scones

2 tspns apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup organic milk

2 cups wholemeal s-r flour

1 tspn baking powder 

1tbspn organic butter

METHOD

  1. Add the vinegar into the milk & set aside for 5 minutes, until the milk thickens (it looks bad, but is meant to be!)
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius
  3. Sift the flour & baking powder into a bowl. Rub in the butter using your fingertips
  4. Add the milk to the flour mixture & stir quickly.
  5. Turn out into a floured surface, knead lightly & roll out to 2-3cm thickness.
  6. Use a round cutter & cut out the scones. They only need a small gap on the tray as they go up, not out once cooked.
  7. Using a small amount of milk, brush the tops of the scones
  8. Set the timer for 10 minutes. It may need 1-2 minutes longer.

Serve immediately 

Apologies for no photos with this one – I had a slight lapse where some photos weren’t saved….ahhh, technology! Good excuse to get back into the kitchen & make these for you 

Best low-fructose bliss ball recipes

Most bliss balls are crammed with fructose in the form of dates, or added sweeteners. It’s time to step outside the box & try some of the awesome low-fructose recipes out there – choc full of nuts, cacao, seeds, coconut oil, & sweetened with nut butters, cinnamon, vanilla or a touch of low-fructose sweeteners including rice malt syrup or stevia.

IQS Choc-Cashew bliss balls

IQS Fruit-free bliss balls

Lilian Dikmans Peppermint bliss balls

The Nourished Psychologist fruit-free bliss balls

Honest to Goodness bliss balls can be made nut-free. I would personally also omit the goji berries to make them lower in fructose.

Jessica Sepel’s sugar-free protein balls – these contain a little stevia, which is a good substitute for sugar as it is low in fructose.

Everyday Simple Health bliss balls – contain no added sweetener. Once you have been sugar-free for a while, you will find some of the most simple ingredients actually taste quite sweet – like cinnamon.

I always save the best til last – this is my favourite bliss ball recipe, I’ve personally made it & can’t wait to make it again – Teresa Cutter AKA The Healthy Chef’s raw cashew & vanilla lamington bites

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Top low-tox baby products

I am so thrilled every time I hear from a friend who wants to low-tox their home. Although we often decide we want an immediate change, please be mindful of wastage – if you can longer tolerate a product, can you pass it on to a family member or friend rather than throwing it out?

As a family with a 7 year old, 5 year old & 5 month old, I am conscious of not only what they eat, but what goes onto their skin & into their body by other means.

Low-tox baby wipes – Tooshies by Tom are my absolute favourite, with the added bonus of being compostable.

Low-tox baby moisturisers. I use a few different ones – as a side note, I embrace minimalism but a couple were given by friends as gifts so I also use these on myself:

  1. Wotnot baby lotion – contains no sulphates, petrochemicals, parabens, caustics, glycols, artificial fragrances or preservatives.
  2. Thank-you baby lotion – contains no SLS, SLES or parabens. Contains avocado oil, rosehip oil, marshmallow & chamomile.
  3. Weleda calendula cream – even the smell makes me feel calm with light notes of lavender, but also a soft sweetness.

Talc-free mineral powder: Little Innoscents. I’ve been using this on my 5 mmonth old since the day she was born & she has never once had nappy rash.

Compostable bamboo toothbrushes. How many toothbrushes does your household throw out each year to contribute directly to landfill? You can buy these in brown paper packaging through Nourished Life.

Toothpaste: Little Innoscents Milky Whites organic toothpaste – I’ve added a photo comparing this toothpaste to a standard supermarket purchased Colgate kids toothpaste. Until recently, I had never read the ingredients of kids toothpaste – perhaps as I regarded it as an “essential” product & wasn’t aware of the alternatives.

Baby bottom cream: Bubba Organics – proudly contain no parabens, petrochemicals, sulphates (SLS), mineral oils, synthetic fragrances or colours. It does contain delicious ingredients including aloe vera juice, olive fruit oil, shea butter , goat milk, lavender & rosemary.

Compostable nappy bags: Wotnot

A few other things to note – it can be a hard balance to choose something sustainable, ethical, local, environmentally friendly & low-tox. Have a logical think before you make your purchases – for example, my baby has been given all hand me down clothes. They are not all from the most ethical producers however I feel that as they have been purchased & already worn by at least 2 children, it would be more sustainable for her to wear them than to buy something new that she will only get a few wears out of before she grows into the next size.