3 ingredient dairy-free ice-cream

3 INGREDIENTS | VEGAN | GLUTEN-FREE | DAIRY-FREE | NUT-FREE | CHILD FRIENDLY | NO ADDED CANE SUGAR | LOW FRUCTOSE

I made this “nice-cream” or vegan ice-cream or whatever you choose to call it because I have been getting mighty bored of the whinging of “Whats for afternoon teeeeeeea?” the whole walk home from school! You could add any supplements you enjoy to pimp the nutrient content.

250g frozen mixed berries

150g coconut yoghurt

100g coconut water

Blend until you reach desired consistency – I use the Thermomix on speed 5 for about 20 seconds

Enjoy immediately or pour into a reusable glass container & pop in the freezer

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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.

Basic smoothie | V GF

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

INGREDIENTS
2 x medium bananas
1 x tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 cup water or coconut water (you may not need all of this)

OPTIONAL – don’t add all of these together!
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla powder (I don’t recommend vanilla extract as it is full of sugar)
Handful of berries
1 x avocado
1 handful spinach leaves (we call this one a “Shrek” smoothie & the boys love it)
1 x tablespoon cacao (I recommend cacao over cocoa as it is less processed & more nutrient dense)
Flesh of 1 x mango
2 x tablespoons natural or Greek yoghurt (check no added sugar)

METHOD
1. Peel 2 x bananas & chop into quarters. Put in the freezer in a Tupperware container or snap lock bag. Leave to freeze overnight
2. Soak 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in 3 tablespoons of water. Stir occasionally. Within 10 minutes it should form a “gel” texture. If you don’t let it mix this long it will stick all over your blender!
3. Throw bananas & chia gel in the blender. Have 1/4 cup water nearby that you can slowly pour in to get your desired consistency – either thick like ice-cream that you can eat with a spoon, or thinner that is easier to drink. Blend until all combined.
4. Pour into a glass & drink immediately. Say no to plastic straws!

 

Low-fructose kids snacks

I see the question pop up all the time of what healthy / low-sugar snacks people can feed their children.

First of all, if a child is genuinely hungry, they are more likely to try something.

Second of all, I am not a Dr or Nutritionist. If your child has sensitivities to certain foods, don’t give it to them.

Third & finally, if you are feeding them in the car, make sure it is age appropriate & not a choking hazard.

The snacks are easier than you think –

Mixed nuts – a nice little hit of protein & fats.

Popcorn – not the most nutrient dense snack but much better & likely lower in salt than a pack of crisps.

Berries – I rinse, dry on a tea towel then throw whole blueberries & strawberries (cut off their heads to minimise mess & maximise the actual strawberry they eat).

Carrot sticks. I find organic carrot sticks much sweeter & my sons aged 5 & 6, ask for them.

Qukes / baby cucumbers – rinse them, top & tail if you like.

A wrap with mashed avocado / peanut butter / almond butter / cheese.

Apple with slices of cheese; or crackers with slices of cheese. 

Organic corn chips – not a weekly treat but every so often a good little treat.

Grissini sticks – not a regular snack but low in sugar & can be convenient.

Freeze-dried fruit – maximum one little pack a day & check there is no added sugar.

Home-made pancakes or pikelets – neither contain sugar (but both contain gluten)

I’d love to hear your healthy snack suggestions too – please leave a comment if you have something to add 

How do we make Australia healthier?

I look at my experiences differently as a Health Coach. Take last weekend as an example – 5 couples went away on a planned getaway. We booked out an expensive house, indulgent but lovely. I wasn’t drinking as I hit 25 weeks of pregnancy but everyone else enjoyed quite a few drinks. We all enjoyed food in excess – home made gnocchi & pizza, multiple cheese platters, bacon (not for me), eggs, avocado, haloumi, nuts, even a bit of chocolate. In everyone’s defence, this was a special weekend & all admitted they would “suffer for the cause” after!

There was a lot of giggling, swearing (which doesn’t happen at home) & plenty of really fascinating conversations. Having beautiful friends who are a Pediatric Doctor, a lawyer, & a Personal Trainer, I of course opened the floodgates with discussions of obesity, prevention, labelling of foods, obstacles to weight loss in lower-socio economic areas (such as not being safe to walk to school, lack of playgrounds, being unable to afford sports equipment). Then there is the next baffling obstacle: government. I am not a political person, you will not see me protesting or wearing a t-shirt of my preferred political party.

It is incomprehensible to me that as an Australian taxpayer, millions of dollars are spent every year on “fixing” obese patients, yet the Government is not subsidising the factor that contributes to 70% of the problem: diet.

Why aren’t fruit & vegetables subsidised rather than junk food?
Why isn’t more money being spent on pregnant women – educating them how to feed themselves & their future offspring? Rather than “healthy eating guidelines”, a more beneficial guide would be some sample meals.

I firmly believe Government also need to be regulating food packaging more. The words “natural”, “healthy” & “sugar-free” mean nothing. I read the ingredients of every product I buy, especially for my children (yes, I’m that person in the supermarket who agonisingly picks up a packet, reads the ingredients then shakes her head & mutters about how disappointing it is).
Even better, minimise processed foods that contain ingredients – whole fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains (where you can phsyically SEE the grain- eg brown rice, buckwheat), & if you choose to eat them organic eggs, & organic meat.
The health star system is incredibly flawed & misleading to someone uneducated who is making the effort to try for healthier choices. First area it is flawed is by basing the rating on kilojoules. How backward!

It’s interesting how going back to my parents house now, I’ve been telling them (they don’t get a choice!), that they need to implement a few swaps – like:

  • buying organic peanut butter (instead of Aldi or Kraft brand which contains sugar & vegetable oil), & checking there’s nothing added.
  • buying organic eggs (instead of free-range)
  • Checking the ingredients on bread as the cheap ones tend to contain sugar.
  • I buy organic apples & carrots, where Mum is happy with conventional.

Interestingly, my sons also consume more gluten, milk & high-fructose fruits while at my parents.

Last weekend my sons had a sleepover (where they stayed will not be mentioned!) – my 5 year old came home hyperactive & excited to tell me they had Domino’s pizza, “lots” of apple juice & sweet, processed biscuits. He then proceeded to have the worst diarrhoea he’s had in years. I feel strongly that no household should have processed juice, or flavoured milk more than a handful of times a year. Never would be better. How about modelling to children the right way to eat & setting them up for life? 

As a parent, has your mindset changed on future proofing health?