Yes, it’s another chocolate recipe┬á

I always get the most recipe requests for chocolate – perhaps that’s a no brainer?!

INGREDIENTS
1/3 cup coconut oil or ideally cacao butter
1/3 cup tahini (Mayver’s is my fave)
1/3 cup cacao
2-4 tablespoons rice malt syrup – depends how sweet you like it
1/4 cup coconut milk

OPTIONAL ADDITIONS:
For a little sour kick add 1 tablespoon of baobab powder
For a protein hit, add 1 tablespoon vegan protein powder (I get mine from Naked Foods) &/or 1 tablespoon chia seeds

METHOD
1. Throw all ingredients (but only 2 tablespoons rice malt syrup to start) in a saucepan & turn onto low heat.
2. Stir until well combined – it will only take 1-2 minutes on a gas cooktop then take an all important taste test. Add more rice malt syrup if desired
3. Once well combined, remove from heat & pour into a silicone loaf “tin” or a Tupperware container lined with baking paper. Pop it in the freezer & it should be ready to devour in an hour (although from experience it’s also pretty good when still a bit gooey ­čśë)


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10 low-fructose desserts you have to try…

The internet really is an amazing thing. I remember doing school projects in the 1990s & using my Grandparents’ encyclopaedias for information! Now we have information at our fingertips (some of it helpful, other not so much).

I love finding recipes online – there are some seriously talented people out there creating some amazing dishes…..before you get your knickers in a knot & see maple syrup in some recipesall sweeteners can be substituted with low-fructose sweeteners like rice malt syrup or stevia.

1. Warm pumpkin & coconut muffins – by the ├╝ber gorgeous Green Kitchen Stories http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/warm-pumpkin-coconut-muffins/

2. Beet, raspberry & vanilla bowl by My New Roots https://www.mynewroots.org/site/2015/11/beet-raspbery-and-vanilla-smoothie-bowl/

3. Raw low fructose mocha cake by the bubbly Merrymaker Sisters who I’ve been following for a few years & loooove their recipes http://themerrymakersisters.com/raw-low-fructose-mocha-cake/

4. Chocolate raspberry muffins by Teresa Cutter aka The Healthy Chef https://www.thehealthychef.com/2013/03/chocolate-raspberry-muffins/

5. Hazelnut chocolate cookies by Alex Stuart of Low Tox Life https://www.lowtoxlife.com/hazelnut-chocolate-cookie-recipe/

6. Pureharvest’s gluten-free Orange polenta cake https://pureharvest.com.au/recipes/glutenfreeorangepolentacake/

7. I Quit Sugar’s Berry swirl cheesecake https://iquitsugar.com/recipe/christmas-berry-swirl-cheesecake/

8. Food Matters’ raw Oreo recipe. So easy & SO delicious http://www.foodmatters.com/recipe/homemade-with-love-oreo-cookies-recipe

9. Lee from Supercharged Food’s quinoa trifle http://www.superchargedfood.com/blog/autumn/layered-quinoa-trifle-and-christmas-day-recipes/

10. The beautiful Jacqueline from Brown Paper Bag always has the most delicious recipes so it was hard to choose one but who could go past a Sweet potato brownie http://thebrownpaperbag.com.au/recipes/sweet-potato-brownies-2/

20 pantry items to kickstart a healthy 2017

If I could force everyone to have 2 New Year’s Resolutions they would be to drastically reduce high-fructose foods & to start purchasing pantry staples from bulk stores, using their own jars.

My top 20 pantry items to kickstart your healthy 2017 are:

1. Nuts – a quick, easy snack high in protein & fat to fill you up & ward off sugar cravings

2. Buckwheat – a versatile ingredient delicious in a home made muesli, great soaked overnight in stewed berries & coconut yoghurt for a gluten-free vegan bircher. I buy a big jar from Naked Foods.

3. almond meal – muffins, cookies, crumble topping, muesli. Such a versatile gluten-free ingredient

4. Coconut oil – cook with it, use it in a vegan chocolate or slather it all over your body or through your hair. You can buy an organic coconut oil in Aldi or Woolworths for less than $7 a jar.

5. Olive oil – cook with it, use in dressings or in a low-fructose cake.

6. A variety of spices including zaatar, cumin, chilli, sumac, curry powder, cinnamon, Ovvio Organic turmeric – spices pimp any dish & make them way more interesting.

7. peanut butter – one of my all time favourite Asian dressings combines PB, tamari & freshly squeezed lime. An easy toast topper. Buy organic only (even Coles & Woolworths have their own organic PB) & check nothing is added like oils or sugar.

8. Tahini – delicious in a dressing with freshly squeeezed lemon & turmeric. Also adds a delicious element to home made chocolate. Mayver’s hulled tahini is the best.

9. Tamari – adds flavour to any dish, it’s a gluten-free version of soy sauce, made with whole soy beans & no added sugar. I buy Pureharvest brand Tamari.

10. cacao – no brainer here – to make all kinds of sweet treats. Cacao is the raw, unprocessed version of cacao. You can even buy it in stores like Aldi now.

11. rice malt syrup – my favourite sweetener. It’s low-fructose & derived from rice. It is a lot less sweet than honey so as you lose your sweet tooth it gives sweet treats just enough sweetness, especially in chocolate . I love Pureharvest which can be found in Coles & Woolworths.

12. quinoa – it’s been round a few years & I always have a store of it, great to bulk up salads or to serve as a gluten-free alternative to pasta

13. sesame seeds – they add flavour & texture to any dish, & are especially good in Asian dishes like a noodle salad. I also sneak them into my vegan chocolate often.

14. pepitas – enjoy them raw, sprinkle them over a black rice salad, lightly roast them with some tamari & chilli for an irresistible snack

15. sunflower seeds – have them raw as a snack, lightly roast them, sprinkle them over salads.

16. Herbal tea – I always choose organic teas as tea is a crop heavily sprayed in pesticides. Have a few varieties – I love Clipper organic peppermint, Spiral organic Genmai Cha, & usually a flavoured white tea or a herbal combination – currently it’s Pukka Night Time & Revitalise.

17. Organic coffee – I make myself a black organic filter Coffee most mornings. No wasteful coffee cups  & you can have your caffeine hit before walking out the door. We all win!

18. Chia seeds – at about 20% protein, chia seeds are great to pimp the nutritional value of a smoothie. You can also use chia seeds in place if an egg.

19. organic Miso soup – I love the Spiral Foods brand organic Miso – a quick, easy snack with 0.14g sugar & 0.92g fat per serve.

20. Tuna – It’s worth checking out this Greenpeace Tuna Sustainability Guide before buying. Hands down, Fish 4 Ever is the most sustainable brand, which you can buy in About Life.

Why start seeing a Health Coach in 2017?

I constantly get asked about what I do as a Health Coach. We focus on your primary food – including these 4 areas. I like to lead by example but am quite aware I am not perfect & am also refining my primary food constantly.
I believe that if you step on a pin tack, you remove that pin tack, rather than treating it with a nurofen / panadol / something stronger. In other words, I want to get to the root cause of your health issues & resolve them. I am passionate about healthy, low-tox living but also strongly feel there is an important part in our lives for Doctors & other qualified practitioners like Nutritionists. I am not going to claim to cure cancer, diabetes or any serious diseases.
I also won’t tell you to become paleo, vegan, dairy-free or become a meat eater because it is what I believe in. I’m not going to force you to stop drinking alcohol, but I will encourage you to drink in moderation. I will encourage you to find a way of eating that suits YOU (we call this bio-individuality). I am a restaurant’s worst nightmare with my mix of eating – currently (again, your eating can change & evolve) I am gluten-free, pescetarian, low-fructose. I prefer to eat seasonally & organic where possible. I was avoiding dairy for a year on the advice of a Naturopath but now am enjoying it in moderation.
I want to know about your relationships – whether that’s with a partner, family &/or friends. If you are in a relationship, is it a loving one? Do you have a supportive network? If you needed to drop in & chat with a friend, could you name a few people you could do that with? Do you catch up with family or friends regularly & enjoy your time with them?
Are you happy in your career? How do you feel every morning when you wake up & know you have a day of work ahead? Do you enjoy a positive workplace? How does your work life affect your relationships?
Do you enjoy regular physical activity? What is it? How often do you change it up? I am guilty of not doing much physical activity currently & know I feel better when I do it. I also tend to stick to the same activities (running & hockey), when I know I would enjoy swimming & pilates.
Do you have some form of spirituality or hobby that helps you take time out from everything else? It could be bushwalking, religion, collecting stamps (I totally did this as a kid), reading (which I do every night), cooking for enjoyment.
The next element is an obvious one – food. It has the ability to affect our mood & overall wellbeing. As you would have seen from my Instagram feed (no pun intended), food is a pivotal part of my life. I live to eat & am constantly thinking about what I can create for the next meal.
I want to work with you – whether it’s a strategy to get out of a dead end career, do a pantry┬á sweep, visit the supermarket together to help you get on track, or find a new sport you enjoy & makes you feel good. I also feel that spirituality is really lacking for many people as they are so focused on their careers & relationships – especially working Mums who in my personal experience, get up & do everything to get children ready for the day, drop them to school, do a whole day’s work, then pick up the children, do the whole evening routine & by the time the kids are in bed, they just want a glass of wine & bar of chocolate.
afg-health-coach

Cauliflower kale quinoa salad

VEGAN | GLUTEN-FREE | DAIRY-FREE | LOW-FRUCTOSE | JERF | IQS

Loving salads at this time of year but while breastfeeding (I’m using that as an excuse for eating a lot), I need something a little more filling, hence adding quinoa as a source of protein & carbohydrates.

As with all my recipes, adapt to your tastes – if you don’t like kale, use baby spinach; if you don’t like chilli, don’t add it. If you don’t like olives then sorry, we can’t be friends.

2/3 cup quinoa (when uncooked – I use Naked Foods)
1 medium cauliflower
3 stems kale
1/4 cup peas
3 stems broccolini (random figure I know, it’s what I had left in the fridge – you can omit it entirely as there is plenty of green in the recipe already)
1 tspn turmeric powder (I use Ovvio Organic brand)
1 tspn sumac
2 lemons, both the zest & juice
2/3 cup sweet potato
1/3 cup mint
1/3 cup olives – any sort. I used some fat green ones & Kalamatas
1 tablespoon zaatar (or dukka)
2 tspns chilli flakes
Olive Oil – I tend to overdo with the olive oil (like Jamie Oliver!), but you shouldn’t need more than half a cup
OPTIONAL FOR VEGOS – 1/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or parmesan

METHOD
1. Cut cauliflower in half & put on an oven tray. Sprinkle the turmeric & sumac then pour the juice of half a lemon & 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (go on then, pour on a little more if you like). Throw in the oven at 180 degrees celsius & set your timer for 45 minutes. It may need a little longer but better to be able to do a little longer.
2. Cut sweet potato into small pieces & also throw in the oven – in the same oven tray if preferred. Again, a dash of olive oil on the sweet potato.
3. Cook the quinoa – I do 2 1/3 cups to 2/3 cup of quinoa but go for whatever works for you.
4. Once the quinoa is cooked & cooled slightly, pour into a mixing bowl.
5. Use the same pot to cook the broccolini & peas – 2 minutes on the boil to retain maximum nutrients. Drain immediately & add to the quinoa.
6. Use the same pot for a third time to briefly cook the kale – 2 minutes on a gas cooktop on medium heat with a dash of, you guessed it, olive oil, should be enough to soften it slightly. Pour this also into the quinoa mix.
7. Pour the zaatar & juice of the remaining 1.5 lemons & zest of 2 lemons into the quinoa & give it all a good mix. You should be feeling healthier already ­čśë
8. Tip onto a serving plate – add the mint (I just cut it with kitchen scissors at the lastt minute). Place the cauliflower on top (it’s too pretty to be cut up for serving). Throw on the olives, sprinkle some chilli & dig in!
If you’re adding the grated grana padano, do this at the last moment.

SERVES 4 (or 2 greedy people like me)

Banana tahini vanilla smoothie 

VEGAN | GLUTEN-FREE | DAIRY-FREE | NUT-FREE | NO ADDED SWEETENERS | 4 INGREDIENTS

Can’t go wrong with frozen bananas in a smoothie but I always try to add some protein &/ or good fats to keep me full for longer

3 bananas, peeled then frozen overnight
1 tbspn tahini (Mayver’s is my fave brand)
1 tspn vanilla powder (I like Heilala – you can buy it in About Life Sydney peeps)
1 tablespoon chia seeds

METHOD
1. Soak chia seeds in 4 tbspns water for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
2. Throw dry ingredients, then bananas, tahini & chia mix into blender
3. Whizz until you get desired consistency. Add a little water slowly if you prefer a thinner less ice-creamy texture

Pour into 2 glasses. Drink up!

Kale, carrot & quinoa salad 

VEGAN | GLUTEN-FREE | DAIRY-FREE
Can be made nut-free / option of adding dairy or seafood

I could not get enough of this delicious salad. It’s one of those “what have I got in the fridge/pantry” combos after 2 long days of fun but exhausting family events….ah Christmas, I love you but I’m tired now….

2/3 cup quinoa (when uncooked)
2 medium carrots, grated
2 stalks kale, the leaf pulled off the stem
1 tspn nutritional yeast
1 tspn cumin
1 tspn chilli flakes
1/4 cup almonds
1 tbspn black & white sesame seed mix
1 avo, could be replaced with 2 soft boiled organic eggs, smoked trout, feta or a salmon fillet

METHOD

  1. Cook 2/3 cup quinoa w 1 2/3 cup water
  2. Grate carrots
  3. Pull kale leaves off stem, wash, then chop finely & massage w 2 teaspoons olive oil & the sumac until it is a bit brighter green & doesn’t feel so rough.
  4. Throw almonds in the oven for 10 minutes at 140 degrees Celsius with a touch of olive oil & a sprinkle of chilli
  5. Once the quinoa is cooked, remove from heat. Once it has cooled down, stir through cumin, nutritional yeast,  carrots & kale.
  6. Tip onto a serving platter. Top with avo, sesame seeds & roast almonds

EASY PEASY QUIN-A-WEEZY