December 15, 2013

Demi Lovato Opens Up on her Destructive Eating Disorder


Shining the spotlight on the destructive and frightening world of an eating disorder, Demi Lovato has shared her experience in the damaging disorder, which started before she was a teenager. Becoming a poster child for eating disorder recovery, Demi has bravely shared the intimate secrets of her own journey and path to wellness. 

"It was always there, but then I just acted on it at around 8 or 9 years old. I started overeating, compulsively overeating. I would bake cookies and then eat the whole pan. I went from doing that to being unhappy with my body. I went to just completely starving myself and that turned into throwing up and starving myself and it was just this crazy battle going on inside of me," she said.

Lovato, who recalls always wanting to be "very thin," faced torment in school. She said words "played more of a toll on me than if I was physically abused in school. I've always said I wished that they had just hit me in the face and gotten it over with because what they said to me sticks to me to this day and it affected me, (turned) me into the person I am today. I was bullied and they called me fat and they called me horrible things."

December 08, 2013

5 Reasons You Are So Tired


Living life to the fullest is a challenge when you just feel so darn tired. Especially as the year comes to an end, we all are struggling to get out of bed in the morning, dream of day-time naps and fall into bed before your Nanna even hits the hay. Sufficient sleep is essential to our health and wellbeing and lack of adequate rest can cause depression, weight gain, and a lowered immune system.

Apart from staying up all night watching Real Housewives re-runs, there might be some less obvious reasons for your sleepiness. Read five reasons that might explain your zombie state:

1. Caffeine
Many of us rely on a caffeine hit to wake up in the morning but it may be the reason you are so tired. Caffeine should be consumed no closer than eight hours before bed time for optimal rest, this includes pre-workout drinks, energy drinks and some teas. Limit this stimulant to the first half of the day and to one caffeinated beverage.

2. Alcohol
A glass of wine can certainly help you unwind at the end of the day but despite it's relaxing effect, drinking can disrupt sleep. While booze may help you to fall asleep, it can cause frequent waking during the night and prevent REM sleep, which is the deep, most restful sleeping state. Without REM, you will wake exhausted even after a decent night's rest. Keep the working week alcohol free and stick to no more than two drinks (unless you can afford an uninterrupted sleep in).

3. Stress
Stress and anxiety will prevent you from falling asleep with worrying thoughts causing you to toss and turn throughout the night. If you have something on your mind, it is suggested to get up and write the thoughts down to deal with the next day. Remind yourself there is nothing you can do about the issue in that moment and go back to bed with a clear mind.

If you suffer from anxiety, your body will be too highly charged and alert to let you get sufficient rest. To shut down your body's anxiety response, try meditating for 20 - 30 minutes earlier in the day, and meditate before you get into bed. Try the headspace app if you are not sure where to start. Long walks and yoga can also help to calm your mind.

4. Tummy Troubles
A stomach ache or acid reflux issues can affect your shut eye and keep you awake. Avoid large meals before bedtime, eating at least 2.5 hours before you get into bed and keep your dinner relatively low in fat to ease digestion. Acidic tomato-based foods can trigger reflux and are best avoided if you suffer from heartburn. Skip desserts high in sugar and go for a skinny sweet recipe or small bowl of plain yoghurt. Try sipping peppermint tea to aid in digestion before sleep.

5. Light and Temperature
If you are too cold or too hot, you will wake up frequently as your body tries to adjust to changes in temperature. Keep your bedroom well ventilated and cool, as your body temperature will rise as you sleep. Make sure the lights are dim when you are getting ready for bed and if possible, wake up through natural light. Melatonin is a hormone that sends you to sleep and this increases when the brain perceives that it is night. When it’s daylight, melatonin is shut down and we wake up.

November 28, 2013

Gluten-free Breakfast: Vegan Banana Brown Rice Pudding


I follow a gluten-free diet as strictly as my willpower enables me, avoiding bread, pasta and cakes. While this task is usually not a huge ask for me, one meal I do miss is porridge. Oats are questionable for a gluten-intolerant, some people can digest them and others (like me) struggle. If I have a long morning ahead, I find something substantial like porridge will keep me satisfied right though to a late lunch, avoiding any tummy grumbling mid-meeting.

Rice pudding, especially made with brown rice, is as comforting as porridge and very filling. It will require more preparation (no one minute microwave options here) but you can make portions in advance to have on the ready. As always you can experiment with flavours and add ins. It's summer in Australia so I had fresh mango and banana to add in mine.


Other flavour combinations suggested are:
  • peeled diced apple and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of sultanas and grated orange rind
  • 1/2 cup of dried sliced apricots and substitute the almond milk for coconut milk
  • plain vanilla made with 1 fresh vanilla bean, seeds removed and cooked with pod in

To cut a few corners, I actually used my trusty rice cooker, which makes things really simple because you add your ingredients in, push start and leave it to do its thing. Rice cookers are super cheap and you can usually find them in your grocery store or Kmart/Target for $20. If you have lots of mouths to feed, a rice cooker can be a big help. These days you can also find lots of different healthy rice varieties with add ins like quinoa, barley, chia seeds and wild rice. To boost the rice flavour for savoury dishes, try adding frozen peas or shredded spinach for some added greenery or a low-salt organic stock cube as the rice will absorb those flavors while cooking.


Vegan Banana Brown Rice Pudding

Serves 3/4 depending on serving sizes

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 3 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk + extra for topping up if needed (you can use whatever milk you prefer but check it is unsweetened, rice/oat/almond milk often has a heap of added sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon of stevia sweetener (optional depending on how sweet you like it)
  • 1 chopped banana
  • 1/2 mango, diced

Method:
  1. Add the uncooked rice, stevia and 2 1/2 cups of almond milk into your rice cooker and turn onto cook.
  2. Let the rice cook for 35 - 40 minutes, in which time you may need to top up with almond milk if it starts to dry out. Check after the 25 minute mark in 5 minute intervals or so, just to make sure the rice isn't catching to the bottom of the pan.
  3. If you are using a saucepan, do the same process but just bring to the boil and leave to simmer with the lid on.
  4. When the rice is tender and absorbed most of the almond milk turn onto keep warm or turn the heat off your saucepan.
  5. Stir through the fruit and 1/2 cup of almond milk to make the sauce creamy. Let sit for 10 minutes for the fruit to cook through.
  6. Transfer to bowls to serve or store in containers for a few days. Enjoy!

November 26, 2013

Skinny Red Velvet Cupcakes



This recipe is inspired by secretly healthy red velvet cupcakes recipe on 'Chocolate Covered Katie', which is this amazing blog dedicated to healthy desserts. Red velvet cupcakes are a family favourite and I wanted to make some that were as delicious as the original cakes without the gluten or sugar.

Skinny Red Velvet Cupcakes

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour or gluten-free flour plus 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 3 tbsp of cacao powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of stevia 
  • 1/4 cup of cashew cream (see recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup beetroot juice 
  • 2 tbsp water 
Cashew Cream
  • 1 cup of raw cashews (soaked in water for at least 2 hours)
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of water
Directions:
  1. To make the cashew cream, drain the cashews and blend with lemon juice and water until smooth and creamy. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a muffin tin with patty cake wrappers. 
  3. In a large bowl, sift and combine flour, cacao powder, baking soda and stevia. 
  4. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients and whisk until combined. 
  5. Pour wet into dry and stir until just combined. 
  6. Put batter into each cupcake wrapper (about 2/3 full) and bake for 15 minutes, until risen. Let sit for 10 minutes to cool before removing from the mufin tin.

Left over cashew cream can be used as a delicious dressing for salads.

To ice the cupcakes, use vegan cream cheese or low-fat cream cheese whisked with some stevia to make a tangy icing.

November 24, 2013

Geordie Shore's Vicky Loses the Party Girl Weight


Following another six-week stint of filming the MTV's Geordie Shore, reality star Vicky Pattison had reached up to 70 kilos after indulging in takeaway and alcohol every night. Admitting she could gain up to 7 kilos each season taping, Vicky had lost her self confidence

"When I am at my heaviest I just don’t feel confident at all. I have all these sexy clothes and I don’t feel like wearing any of them at all."

After a series of unflattering photos were published, Vicky decided to change her unhealthy lifestyle. Dropping from a size 16 to a size 8 in just two months, Vicky cut out alcohol and saturated fat to reshape her body.

Feeling energetic and positive, Vicky is proud of herself and find exercise quite therapeutic. Despite her weight loss triumph, Vicki admits the lifestyle change has been a struggle. ‘It’s a struggle maintaining this body, let alone thinking about losing more weight. It’s a nightmare.’ A confessed carb-lover, she does miss bread and pasta but knows that no one is perfect. She stays motivated by keeping her goal weight as her incentive.

"All I remember is how badly I felt when I couldn't fit in to any of my clothes. I just remember that when I feel like giving up."

The party lifestyle had taken its toll on the 25-year-old

Booze binges have now been swapped for peppermint tea and outdoor workouts. For breakfast, the newly-fit star will have porridge and fresh fruit, spinach and eggwhite omlette or protein pancakes. Lunch will be a salad with lean meat, followed by grilled fish and vegetables for dinner.

Vicky is adamant this lifestyle change will be permanent, saying 'I am a healthy, strong young girl, and I still have a bit more to lose.'

Taking to Twitter, Vicky thanked her fans for the support.

"Can't believe how sweet everyone is being about my weight loss! Thank you - still got work to do but I'm getting there!"

November 21, 2013

Fitness For All Seasons, contributed by Emily Stone



With readers from all over the globe, myself and reader turned guest contributor, Emily Stone (fellow fitness freak and health food addict) teamed up to offer fitness tips for every season. Different environments and climates bring their own set of challenges to our healthy mindsets and our ability to reach set fitness goals. Read our tips for exercising no matter the weather, giving you no excuses, only motivation to dodge those Christmas pounds.

November 10, 2013

Vegan Birthday Cake: Guest Post by Stefanie Moir



First of all thank you Amy for featuring my birthday cake on your blog!

I became a vegan at the start of this year and I am passionate about health and fitness, I try to eat wholefood every day and limit processed food and sugar.

I bought a book by Chloe Cascarelli, a vegan chef who is well known in the UK for her successful winning of a popular television show “Cupcake wars.”  Her book “Vegan Desserts by Chloe” is amazing and has several of dif
ferent sweet treats for everyone, not just vegans.

I decided to take on the mixed berry shortcake as my birthday cake; I should let you in on a secret that this was risky as I have never made a full cake from scratch never mind a vegan cake! I also set myself a challenge to make a cake that was sugar and gluten free. With my track record of failed attempts looming in the background I went at it … for about 3 hours!

Not only was I nervous about this cake and how it would turn out, taste, look, but also what all my family would think of it too (they are not too big on the idea of desserts being healthy).  I will tell you this, not only was this cake vegan, gluten free, and free from added sugar, it was delicious and a huge hit with all my family! My gran even snuck an extra piece home in her purse.

November 04, 2013

Protein Truffles


These protein truffles are filled with essential fats and are low in sugar, making them the perfect snack in between meals.

Protein Truffles

Ingredients:
  • 2 scoops of protein powder in chocolate or vanilla (I use Sunwarrior Vanilla)
  • 1/4 cup of sultanas or chopped dates
  • 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds (I used a mix of black and white)
  • 1/4 cup of LSA
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 5 - 6 tablespoons of hot water 
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil
  • To coat: 2 tablespoons of cacao powder mixed with 1 tablespoon of stevia/extra chia seeds

Method:
  1. Mix together all the dry ingredients. Add the oil and a few tablespoons of water. Combine until the mixture starts to come together to form a dough. Keep adding water until the mixture is firm but not too sticky. 
  2. Roll the mixture into bite-sizes balls and coat with cacao mix and/or chia seeds.
  3. Let set in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

October 29, 2013

Kim Kardashian's Weight Loss 'The Biggest Challenge Of My Life'

That Twitter pic
After a highly publicized and scrutinized pregnancy, Kim Kardashian has worked hard to regain her fitness and body confidence. Following a strict Atkins Diet program, Kim lost 43 of the 50 pounds she gained while pregnant with baby North. Regular exercise and breast feeding has also helped the reality star to downsize within a few months.

The Akins Diet focuses on consuming a high protein diet with limited carbohydrates, which shifts your body into fat burning mode and revs up your metabolism. Popular 10 years ago, the Atkins Diet has been criticized for its high in fat and cholesterol meal plans, which could negatively affect heart health.

October 24, 2013

Kristen Bell Talks Body After Baby



Kristen Bell has ticked off two major milestones this year; giving birth to her daughter, Lincoln and marrying her baby daddy, Dax Shepard. During such an exciting time in Kristen's life, including returning to movie making, the actress has put returning to her pre-baby body on the back burner. Recognising the mental stress and pressure on women to bounce back into shape, Kristen is filtering out negativity and keeping her focus on her new family.

"The secret to body after baby is flushing down the toilet every notion of body after baby. Honestly!...I made a commitment to not allow my narrative for the year after having a baby to be about my weight. And I think that freed me up and it made me less concerned with all the pressures that revolve around body image. I was like, 'I have a baby. Do you know how awesome that is? It's so radical! Why on earth am I going to be so concerned with my pants size?'"

October 20, 2013

Three New Apps You Need in Your Life


Most of us would be lost without our precious smart phone, which has become the ultimate gadget. Much more than a 'phone', our tech sidekicks let us play music, Facebook, Google, Instagram and FaceTime. Oh and take lots of obligatory selfies and snapshots of our food. All this technology also means it's easier than ever to get access to health and wellness information. I've recently downloaded three apps that I love, helping me to keep my fitness and wellbeing goals in check. Read on to find out which apps I am loving right now.


Clean Chocolate Tarts



I've been seeing lots of vegan recipes calling for avocado in replacement of the usual creamy ingredients we reach for when making a mousse or cheesecake. I just couldn't quite wrap my head around the thought of avocado as a sweet treat, despite all the raving reviews of its dessert potential.

Getting creative one afternoon, I was raiding my fridge and pantry to see what skinny sweet I could whip up. I had some walnuts, cream cheese and an avocado, and using my beloved Vitamix I decided to give avocado a chance! What I came up with tasted EXACTLY like chocolate mousse and I put that in a shell of toasted walnut and cinnamon. The hype about avocado in desserts is warranted, it works beautifully! Not avocado-tasting, the fruit just adds a rich and creamy texture. To make this dessert vegan, replace the cream cheese with firm coconut cream.

October 17, 2013

Healing Your Food Relationship


Gabrielle Bernstein is a motivational speaker and New York Times best-selling author of May Cause Miracles. She believes that simple, consistent shifts in our thinking and actions can lead to miracles across all aspects of our lives, including relationships, finances, bodies, and self-image.

In her inspiring guide, Gabrielle offers an exciting plan for releasing fear and allowing gratitude, forgiveness, and love to flow leading to appreciation, acceptance and happiness! Doesn't that sound lovely?!

October 15, 2013

Are We Becoming Professional Dieters?


When I read this open letter from a weight loss consultant to her clients, I had to agree with many of her observations. Everywhere you turn, there is CONSTANT pressure to feel you should be thin, toned and fit. You should have the apparent willpower to resist any 'bad' foods and exercise like some sort of army troop, bouncing out of bed every morning straight on schedule.

To transform yourself into your fitness inspiration, you may start falling prey to obsessive diet and exercise patterns, where you are ruled by what you should and shouldn't be doing. You might start to cancel social events to avoid the party food and drink or to get an extra workout in.

While a healthy attitude to balancing food and exercise is key to a healthy body, I don't recommend trying to change the way you look at the expense of your sanity! Let's face it, unless you are Miranda Kerr, you won't see her body looking back at you in the mirror. What we ultimately need to work towards is acceptance and self love. Anything extreme and gruelling can't last forever and a healthy lifestyle with balance is most achievable.

We are smart enough to know all that you really need to do is eat real food, move your body and whatever comes with that is about acceptance. A healthy lifestyle will lead to a healthy body, and each person is different in terms of what will work best for you.

Having the perfect body would be fun but it wouldn't dramatically change your life. Making peace with yourself and learning self-acceptance is what will make the real difference to your overall happiness.

Read this post to see the open letter.

October 07, 2013

Ten Activewear Online Stores To Keep You Motivated


Just this week a friend at the gym asked me where she could get some stylish new gym threads, apart from at the one and only queen of fitness fashion (you know who!). If you aren't from Australia, you might not know our active wear choices are dominated by one main label (google Australian fitness clothing) and while this brand's clothes are well-made, flattering, functional and pretty, sometimes you need to mix it up.

It got me thinking, where else can you find cute gym gear? I have posted fashion finds which I think offer a little something for everyone. A few new gym treats will get you wanting to spring into action and hit the road running (or at least power walking...!). 

October 06, 2013

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten free)



These cookies contain no refined sugar, animal products or gluten, but that doesn't mean they aren't filled with lots of flavour. Not to mention, this cookie recipe is so much simpler than traditional types and takes mere minutes to prepare. You will one this recipe and I promise you will be making these cookies all the time, and everyone will thank you for it!

September 30, 2013

Jessica Alba's Healthy Meatball Recipe



These versatile meatballs are a favourite in the Alba household. You can use lean turkey mince, organic free-range chicken mince or extra-lean beef mince in the recipe and make your own breadcrumbs if you prefer (or use gluten-free breadcrumbs if required). Serve these meatballs on their own with fresh salad or incorporate in a tomato sauce to serve with quinoa or brown rice.

September 24, 2013

Healthy Peanut Crunch Chocolates... sugar free, paleo AND vegan!


Lovers of peanut butter will delight in the crunchy peanut butter centre of these coconutty chocolates. To make these delicious and creamy chocolate treats, you only need a a few ingredients and a silicone ice cube tray or chocolate mould (these are flexible and make it easier to pop out the set chocolates).

If you prefer, you can substitute the peanut butter with a preferred nut butter with the same result. Yummy additions to these chocolates could include goji berries, shredded coconut, chia seeds, cinnamon or orange zest.

September 18, 2013

Not Losing Weight But You're Doing Everything Right? Three Weight Loss Road Blocks

You think you are doing everything right... You are going for daily runs, eating salads and steamed vegetables and saying no to sabotages and temptations. The problem is you aren't losing weight. You are stuck and you are pretty frustrated. I hear so many confused dieters say they've hit a wall in losing weight and can't figure out why. Here are three main reasons why you might not be reaching your goal weight. Read about these road blocks and how to turn your weight loss around in the right direction by making a few simple tweaks to your routine.

Jodhi Meares 'The Upside' is Gym Gear for the Cool Kids


Frustrated with the lack of activewear that translated from yoga to every day, Jodhi Meares (former owner and designer of swimwear label Tigerlily) started a concept for her own sport label that gave women access to chic exercise clothes. Reassembling her Tigerlily team, Meares has spent the last four years building her new brand The Upside, an exciting take on exercise gear that is practical, versatile and effortlessly cool. Meares' gym wear style is influenced by her experiences in cities New York, Sydney and Hawaii.

Diving into a lifestyle filled with yoga and plenty of green juice, Meares is the perfect candidate to spearhead a sport brand. When in sunny Hawaii, Meares does soft sand running on the beautiful beaches near her home. In New York, her typical day is yoga, vegan cafe hopping for lunch, and making a delicious raw food meal in the evening.

Her devotion to exercise means that Meares lives in clothes that work into her lifestyle. In Australia's Bazaar Magazine, she says "I was wearing a bit of Lululemon and Omgirl to my yoga classes at Equinox (New York), or if I was in Hawaii I'd resort to pulling on some great Louis Vuitton leggings, wearing them to yoga class them teaming them with Havianas afterwards. I couldn't find anything I wanted to wear, so I'd put these looks together."

Meares could see a gap in the market that many other active women would have already encountered. "Everything that was available was either too sportswear, mainstream or suburban," she observed. 

Now that exercise is an integral part of most women's busy lives, women are updating their sports wear seasonally. Purchases on sport wear is encompassing a large portion of most women's clothing budgets. "We are doing more to nourish our souls and condition our bodies more than ever before and being here in New York at the moment I am really inspired by the amount of people who are seriously looking after their bodies," said Meares in an article for news.com.au. 

September 03, 2013

Skinny Tiramisu

Coffee lovers rejoice at this traditional Italian dessert, which I just served at Father's Day dinner. I was never a Tiramisu lover but this recipe had me converted. Super easy to make, you can make these skinny treats ahead of time and have them at the ready.

August 27, 2013

Gluten-free Lemon and Blueberry Cakes


This delicious recipe was inspired by a healthy baking recipe from the lovely Theresa Cutter, a qualified nutritionist and fitness trainer who writes for Australian Women's Fitness Magazine. She has a fabulous website, 'The Healthy Chef' which has delicious recipes and advice for healthy living.

These gorgeous little cakes are perfect to take to a morning tea or serve as dessert, warmed and with a little natural Greek yoghurt. I used honey in the recipe for sweetness but you can substitute with stevia or xylitol if you want to reduce the sugar content. To increase the protein, I also added some Sunwarrior powder. If you want to skip the protein powder, omit this ingredient and the almond milk.

August 19, 2013

Gluten-free Cake Batter Pancakes

My two favorite treats are cake and pancakes, and to combine them is just genius. I think cake is the perfect birthday breakfast and cake batter pancakes make any start to the day more special. Easy to make, decorate the pancakes with delicious vanilla protein glaze and sprinkles. Add some sparklers or cute candles to surprise a certain someone on their special day.

Cake Batter Pancakes

makes about 12 pancakes

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups of vanilla whey protein powder
  • 2/3 cups of gluten-free yellow cake mix
  • 1 tablespoon of stevia
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 - 2 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • hundreds and thousands 
Method:
  1. Combine flour, cake mix, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix. 
  2. Add 1 cup of milk, egg and vanilla extract and stir until smooth. Start with 1 cup of milk and add more if needed; you will want the mixture to be pancake mixture texture (not as thick as cake mix but not runny). Fold into the mixture a few tablespoons of sprinkles. 
  3. Preheat a large fry pan to medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking oil. Pour batter in 1/4 cup measurements and let cook until bubbles form on top, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 minute more. 
  4. Serve with vanilla sauce.
Glaze
  • 1 cup of vanilla whey protein powder
  • 3 tablespoons of almond milk (warmed)
  • hundreds and thousands 
Mix milk and protein powder until smooth and runny. You may need to add a little more powder or water/milk to reach desired consistency. Drizzle on pancakes.

Source: www.sweeteats.com 

http://www.howsweeteats.com/2011/01/cake-batter-pancakes/

August 14, 2013

Sugarfree Protein Rocky Road


If you try one recipe from my blog, it has to be this one, especially if you love chocolate. This rocky road is so good, you will happily replace fat and sugar laden chocolate nibbles with this healthy alternative. Made with toasted raw peanuts, sugar-free marshmallows and unsweetened dried cranberries to complete the flavour jumble.

Apart from the special added ingredients, this recipe uses what most health nuts will have in their pantry. I found sugar-free marshmallows at the pharmacy, but you can also source them in speciality sweet shops and health food stores.

July 22, 2013

Berry Banana Smoothie


Berry Banana Smoothie
  • 1/2 cup of coconut water
  • 1/2 cup of mixed berries
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup of ice
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
Put all ingredients into the blender and mix until smooth.

July 09, 2013

The Skinny Sweets and Treats One Day Detox

If you have had an overly indulgent weekend, an important event coming up, or just simply want to kick start your healthy living, try this one-day-detox to look and feel your best.

July 03, 2013

Roasted Spicy Cauliflower

Roasting vegetables is perfect for cooler months and really brings out the flavours of your veggies, especially when topped with delicious spices and fresh herbs. Cauliflower is one of my favorites and roasting the florets gives a creamy inside and a toasty crust. Simply lay out a baking tray with greased-proof paper and cut up a large cauliflower. Scatter the florets onto the tray and coat with coconut oil spray. Sprinkle with chill flakes, paprika, Himalayan sea salt and some finely chopped parsley. Bake in a moderately hot oven for 35 minutes, until cooked and crisp on top. Serve warm as a side or cool and add it into salads.

Gluten-free Banana French Toast - the healthy way

Sometimes poached eggs and toast jus't don't cut it for breakfast. Savoury breakfasts are not the only healthy option to start the day; you can create your own sweet treat in the morning without the guilt. This french toast for one is super easy to make, quick and so delicious. I served mine with a tablespoon of peanut butter for extra energy. Another yummy accompaniment is plain yoghurt mixed with a tablespoon of vanilla whey protein powder and chopped strawberries. Read on for the simple recipe.

July 01, 2013

To Juice or Blend?

Juicing and blending fruits, vegetables and superfood additions are excellent methods for consuming lots of vitamins and minerals in one quick go. Each method has its merits, with neither one or the other necessarily better.

Juicing is fabulous for packing goodness into one glass by extracting all the vitamins and minerals from your vegetables and fruit and compacting it into a drink. Vegetables are ideal to juice because they are low in sugar yet full of health benefits. To sweeten your juice, add a small amount of fruit like a handful of strawberries, a green apple or a few slices of pineapple.

Blending on the other hand, incorporates all the fibre from the fruits and vegetables to make a rich smoothie. Smoothies let you imagination run wild with combinations and ingredients, such as nut butters, health powders, protein powders, chia seeds and bee pollen. Frozen bananas will also make smoothies extra creamy and sweet.

Here are some of my favorite juice and smoothies recipes:

My Sweet Beet Juice

This juice is colorful and deliciously sweet.

Ingredients:
1 beetroot
2 carrots (either purple or orange)
3 stalks of celery
1/4 cup of coconut water
handful of ice cubes

Preparation:
On high speed, filter in the beetroot, carrot and celery to juice. Pour the coconut water into the juice and mix. Put into a glass and top with ice cubes. 


Body+soul Green Renewal Juice

This is an enzyme-rich green juice. It's great for providing energy, detoxifying and alkalising your body.

Ingredients:
1 bunch English spinach
1 handful mint
1 handful parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 Lebanese (short) cucumber, cut in half lengthways
A few lettuce leaves
4 celery stalks
2–3 cm (3/4–11/4 inch) knob of fresh ginger, peeled
6 ice cubes

Preparation:
With the motor running, feed all the ingredients except the ice cubes into a juicer one at a time. Pour into a drinking glass, add the ice cubes and sip slowly to enjoy its benefits.


The Wellness Warrior Green Smoothie


Ingredients:
3 stalks of kale (discard the tough stalk and use the leaves)
3 leaves of Cos lettuce
1 cup coconut water
1 small frozen banana
A small handful of goji berries or blueberries
1 tsp hemp seeds
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp bee pollen
1 tsp maca powder
1 tsp spirulina

Preparation:
Add all ingredients to a blender and blitz until smooth. Use a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix for best results.




June 24, 2013

Thought you were picking the healthy choice? 6 foods that are not healthy options



Here are six foods that you may have thought were the healthy choice, but are in fact laden with sugar and salt and empty of nutrition. 
  1. Reduced-fat peanut butter: One of the biggest benefits of peanuts is that they’re full of monounsaturated fats, which are the good fats. Take that out of the peanut butter and what do you have left? Tons of sugar and the same amount of (now empty) calories. Typically whenever you see reduced fat in any product, it means that the fat was replaced with sugar or salt. Make sure you choose an organic peanut butter with no added sugar, oils or salt. Also try almond butter as a great peanut butter alternative. The key here is to control portion size and without sugar, you will only need a small about to feel satisfied. 
  2. Fruit smoothies: Most juice and smoothie bars are marketed as the healthy beverage choice but the average fruit smoothie can contain more than 30 grams of sugar, with no protein or healthy fats. Juices should contain mostly vegetables, with a little fruit added for sweetness. The same rule applies to smoothies, but in these you can also add coconut water for hydration, vitamin powders for added nutrition such as spirulina, and peanut butter or protein powder for fat and protein. 
  3. Protein bars: If you read the label of a protein bar, I doubt you could recognize half of the ingredients. Too many protein bars are just processed bricks of artificial ingredients and fillers. Also many of them are very high in sugar, fat and calories. If you want a quick snack, try and apple or celery sticks with peanut butter, quinoa crackers with avocado or carrot sticks with hummus. You can also make your own protein snacks at home, try some of my recipes.
  4. Low-fat frozen yoghurt and ice-cream: While some of these products may be fairly low in calories, they are nutritionally empty and send straight sugar into your blood stream, which often turns directly into fat. If you want a cool treat, try a protein rich yoghurt (such as Chobani which is low in sugar) and add in a tablespoon of flavored whey protein powder, a tablespoon of LSA (linseed meal), and blueberries. 
  5. Sushi: Japanese food is often an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, but Westernised versions of these meals often contain added fat and sugar. Watch out for meals rich in sweet and salty sauces or sushi rolls made with fried foods, mayonnaise or cream cheese. The best choice is sashimi, edamame or seaweed salads, which are all high in nutritional value and low in carbohydrates, sugar and processed fats.
  6. Vegetarian or gluten-free options: Just because a meal is labelled vegetarian or gluten-free does not automatically mean it is good for you. Vegetarian foods can be laden with oils, cheese and fats to substitute meat. Make sure you look for fresh options that include some lean protein, such as tofu or legumes. Gluten-free products like baked goods or pastas are often just as high in sugar or carbohydrates as the wheat-based equivalents. Make your own healthy versions of muffins at home (here are some recipes) and try substituting pasta for shredded zucchini. 

June 23, 2013

A tea to add to your collection: Dandelion Tea


I know you are probably thinking, 'not another tea!' or 'isn't green tea the ultimate in herbal drinks?' But dandelion tea has an enormous range of benefits, which can knock green tea off it's health pedestal and make it a must have for your tea collection.

June 18, 2013

Peanut Butter, Banana and Choc Protein Truffles

A great snack to have on hand when those sugar or hunger cravings hit as these protein truffles are so tasty and packed with good fats and vegan protein to help carry you through the day. Very easy to make, these bite-sized treats are sugar-free and high in fibre.

June 12, 2013

Eating For Your Body Type - Advice from Tracy Anderson



Firstly you need to determine which body type you have as this dictates what foods and exercises are best for you. Read each of the body type descriptions in this post to decide what most fits to you and Tracy will give you a guide of what to eat and how to move to get the best results for your shape.

June 04, 2013

Pistachio and Strawberry Rose Meringue Cake


This stunning cake is the ideal centerpiece for a girly afternoon tea in the sunshine. Serve with beautiful rose champagne, and make sure you have lots of hungry guests with a sweet tooth. The lightness of this cake is perfect for warmer weather or a wedding celebration. The pictured cake was made by my talented friend Georgie, who has a cupcake and sweet business in Brisbane called Narnies Cupcakes. She can make an array of gorgeous treats, including macarons of all colours and flavours, beautiful wedding cakes and cupcakes, and can cater to your personal preferences and occasion.

Skinny Sugar-free Cinnamon Tea Cake


This is a very simple recipe and makes the most delicious buttery cake with simple but beautifully matched flavours. I replaced sugar in the recipe with Natvia stevia sweetener. Cinnamon on the palate is also associated with sweetness and can mimic the taste of sugar in your mouth.

June 02, 2013

Skinny Sugar-free Gluten-free Butterfly Cakes


The perfect treat at an afternoon tea, butterfly cakes are dainty and sweet, and are always a crowd pleaser. These sponge cakes are made without gluten or sugar yet stay fluffy and moist. To keep the cakes completely allergy free, the berry centre is made with blueberry flavored CoYo, spiked with some Chambord liquor.



Skinny Butterfly Cakes
120 calories per cupcake

Ingredients:
  • 100gm (2/3 cup) gluten-free plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of Natvia sweetener (stevia sweetener powder)
  • 50 gm butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large tub of blueberry CoYo (coconut milk yoghurt)
  • 2 tablespoons of Chambord or raspberry liquor
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees fan forced. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake liners. Sieve the flour and baking powder twice into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs and sweetener until pale and creamy, and doubled in size (about 5 - 8 minutes).
  3. Gently fold the flour mixture into the eggs and sweetener until combined. Add in the melted butter and fold again until incorporated.
  4. Divide the mixture amongst the 12 cupcake liner; the mixture should come to just over 3/4 full. Don't fill the cupcake to the brim on the liners as they will rise.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, until risen and golden.
  6. Take out of oven and let cool in tin for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool.
  7. Once cooled, use a small sharp knife the cut out a dome shape in the centre of the cakes. Cut this small piece of cake into two to use later.
  8. Transfer the CoYo into a bowl and mix together with liquor.
  9. Fill each cake cut-out with the CoYo and top with remaining cake pieces to form the butterfly.
  10. Dust with natural icing sugar before serving. 

May 21, 2013

Gluten and Sugar Free Protein Cakes

These cakes are so moist and delicious, I couldn't have been happier with the results. They are beautiful as a muffin, toasted as an english muffin or served warm with co yo ice-cream and sugar-free maple syrup for dessert. Made with really clean ingredients, this is an excellent skinny sweet, which is free from gluten, any added sugar and packed with protein and healthy fats.

May 13, 2013

Vegan power porridge

This simple yet satisfyingly delicious breakfast will give you an extra push to get out of bed on a cold winter morning. Easy to make, you can toss a few ingredients together to make a celebratory breakfast any day of the week. Full on nutrients and fuel for your day ahead, this morning meal is one of my absolute favourites.

May 06, 2013

A Simple Brunch - Egg and Bacon Cups


I love making bacon and eggs as a treat on the weekends, but if you are catering for more than two, the thought of multitasking poaching eggs and grilling bacon for a crowd can make you want to crawl back into bed. If you would rather spend your morning enjoying the sunlight and chatting with your companions, this recipe is perfect for you. Within a few minutes, your breakfast will be all prepared, and you can sit and relax while the cooking part takes care of itself. Serve your cute egg cups with whatever accompaniments you like; I picked some beautifully ripe baby tomatoes, and gluten-free English muffins that were topped with mashed avocado, Himalayan sea salt and continental parsley.

May 05, 2013

Banana and Chia Seed Protein Cookies (gluten and sugar free)


This recipe makes delicious sweet and moist cookies that are filled with healthy goodies like omega fats, protein and important vitamins and minerals. Not only are these cookies packed with protein, they are bursting with potassium, which reduces lactic acid, improving your strength endurance and recovery time. You only need a few ingredients and the biscuits are very easy to make. If you don't have a cookie cutter, just roll portions of the dough into a ball and flatten before baking.

May 02, 2013

Apple Seeds are poisonous?



Yes! I had heard green potatoes are toxic, but I never knew an apple seed can be harmful.

Apple seeds contain cyanogenic acids. Cherry pits, and seeds from related fruits, including peaches, plums, almonds, pears, and apricots, all contain cyanogenic glycosides. Your body can detoxify small quantities of cyanide compounds, which means if you ingest a few accidentally, your body can process the compounds without causing you harm. Chewing the seeds makes them much more hazardous for your body as the poisons are released.

How do you know you could be suffering from poison? Symptoms of mild poisoning include headache, dizziness, confusion, anxiety, and vomiting. Larger doses can lead to difficulty breathing, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and kidney failure. Reactions can include coma, convulsions, and death from respiratory arrest! There are several treatment options, but the main thing is to limit the absorption of the chemicals from the seeds.

If eating an apple or pear, just remember to cut out the core and discard; also make sure to de-core your apples and pears before juicing. If you are eating a stone fruit, don't be afraid of the seed, but don't chew or suck on it.

April 30, 2013

Healthy Apple Blueberry Crumble



Perfect dessert as the cooler months approach, this apple crumble is made with delicious toasted walnuts and coconut, juicy green apples and superfood dried blueberries. I served mine with vanilla and nutmeg coconut milk icecream.

April 03, 2013

Brooke Burke's butt workout and morning shake recipe


Brooke Burke sits firmly in place as one of my all-time-favourite fitness inspirations. She takes such good care of her body and it shows in her amazing shape and glowing skin. The 40-year-old takes her fitness seriously and I always look to her for new tips on toning, especially for the butt. While Brooke has released a workout DVD, which I plan to add to my collection, you can find some excellent express exercises to do at home by looking on you tube. I've posted my particular favourite video below, which is a butt burning series of moves that will really tone up your trouble areas. 

Brooke's breakfast contains a shake of coconut water, berries, 1 scoop of protein powder, omega oils and some kale. She blends this together every morning for a great breakfast on-the-go and she also credits this combination to keeping her skin fresh and her body lean.

For more workout tips from the actress and model, check out Fitness Magazine's list of Brooke's favourite gym exercises. 



April 02, 2013

Fitness Model's Workout and Diet Plan


Here is a sample plan of a workout schedule and diet plan to follow to achieve a fitness model physique, which won't be as bulky as a bodybuilder but will be toned and lean. For sample menu plans, click here.

Plan to workout with weights 4 days a week, and if you have some fat you need to blast, you add 2 days of cardio, no less than 25 minutes and no more than 45 minutes. For example:

Monday is always going to be Upper Body

Tuesday is always going to be Legs

Wednesday is Cardio

Thursday is Glutes and Abs

Friday is Upper Body and Legs (mini workouts)

Saturday is Cardio

Sunday is your OFF-Active Rest Day, and also Food Prep Day (grocery shopping and meal planning)

Start every workout with a warm up. Warm up simply by walking in place, then moving side to side, and then picking up the intensity to say maybe jumping jacks, and then running in place. Aim for a warm up for at least for 5 minutes.

Pick Three Exercises PER Body Part.

Perform 8-12 reps for 3 sets, at a challenging weight where the last 8-12 are hard to finish.



25 Minute Cardio Workout:

Fitness models focus on keeping their heart rates down, not allowing them to start burning off their hard earned muscle mass.

Fitness models rarely run, because this too "eats at their muscle mass," and makes them flabby.
Fitness models aim at no more than 25-to-45 minutes of cardio, unless it's time to compete, where they bump it up.

Don't run or try to embrace another form of low impact cardio. Fitness models and other professionals lean towards the "no running" principle because it's known to "eat away" at the muscle you work so hard to gain.

Don't work against yourself and defeat your progress by running. It takes a lot of energy with no real gains, except for cardiovascular. You can receive cardiovascular benefits from other low impact versions such as using the Elliptical, Nordic Track, Air Stepper, and the Stair Master.

Don't do less than 25 minutes, or more than 45 minutes. This "magic zone" between 25-to-45 burns fat. If you do more than that your body "hits a plateau" and your body "hits a wall" and you slows/stops your progress.

Don't overtrain! If you overtrain, your appetite will increase and you will start eating like a 250-pound football player and not a fitness model. Rather do just enough to blast fat, and not to hit a plateau. Again if you overtrain, your body will "lock up" and not allow you to burn the fat off that you need too, because it will reach a state of "shock," thus holding onto the fat.

Sample Meal Plan:

Meal 1 (Breakfast): 5 egg whites + 1 yolk, 0% plain Greek yogurt
Meal 2 (Post Workout): Protein shake
Meal 3 (Lunch): 1 chicken breast, sliced over spinach salad + tomatoes, red onions, snow peas (no dressing)
Meal 4 (Afternoon): Almonds, chopped veggies
Meal 5 (Dinner): chicken stir fry
Meal 6 (Evening): 0% cottage cheese with pepper OR 0% plain Greek yogurt OR protein shake.

For more meal plans, click here

For sweet treats, try these recipes:

Flourless Coconut Chocolate Protein Pancakes

This was a treat for Easter Sunday breakfast so naturally these pancakes had some luxurious sprinkles of chocolate scattered through them. I added my favorite pea protein powder and some coconut flour, which makes these pancakes gluten-free and low in sugar. If you are using a good non-stick fry pan, flipping your pancakes will be easy. If you don't want to use chocolate drops, try adding blueberries.

Flourless Coconut Chocolate Protein Pancakes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1 large mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup of soy milk
  • 2 scoops of protein powder
  • 3 tablespoons of dairy-free sugar-free dark chocolate drops
  • 3 tablespoons of stevia sweetener powder
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
Directions:
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl until combined. 
  2. Heat up a large non-stick fry pan and spray with coconut oil.
  3. Pour an even amount of pancake mixture into the pan (my pan could fit four at a time).
  4. Cook on a medium heat until the edges of the pancake start to peel from the pan. When this happens, carefully flip each pancake using a rubber spatula.
  5. Cook on the other side for a few more minutes until cooked through.
  6. Serve with low-fat Greek yoghurt and berries.