Five Ways to Spring Clean and Heal Your Gut


happy girlIf the words internal spring clean have you anticipating a week of ingesting bottles of cayenne pepper, lemon and maple syrup and it gives you the dreads then read on.

There are less gentler expungement methods of releasing the sluggishness of winter and enjoying an internal spring clean than dramatic master cleanses.  You don’t need to live off roughage and rabbit food or partake in faddish five day juice detoxes and down slippery elm to enjoy the benefits of healing your gut simply and in your own time.

Here are five simple and effective ways to gently give your gut a good seasonal clean and alleviate gastrointestinal anguish.

MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BALANCE OF GUT FLORA

A healthy gut flora balance should include approximately eighty five percent good bacteria to around fifteen percent bad bacteria. However the modern diet that is high in sugar, carbohydrates, preservatives and additives is the perfect breeding ground for promoting an overgrowth of bad bacteria that will kill off your healthy gut flora very quickly.

Other causes of this imbalance include the intake of modern medicines such as antibiotics, or drinking tap water; which contains chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine. If you suffer from acne, low energy, digestive problems, or low immunity; chances are that you have an imbalance in your gut flora that needs to be rectified.

Cutting down on sugar, increasing your intake of dietary fibre, anti-inflammatory healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil and avocadoes, and increasing antioxidant rich foods will help to eliminate bad bacteria. Probiotic and fibre rich foods and an abundance of fresh vegetables including leafy greens will sweep out bad bacteria from your system and have an alkalizing effect on the magical universe within, promoting a healthy gut flora balance.

REST YOUR TUMMY TWICE A WEEK

It’s not difficult to plant your gut in repair mode pronto.  Giving the digestive system a rest a couple of times a week is not rocket science and it will help to fast track your gut lining rebuilding.  Evidence is stacking up towards the benefits of intermittent fasting.

I don’t agree that you need to “fad fast” with no food at all to promote great gut healing.  On your fasting days you can consume a delicious array of health promoting soups that not only fill you up but provide you with beneficial vitamins and minerals.  It’s important not to fast in an extreme way whereby you fall into the trap of not eating at all and then having free reign the following day to gorge out on too much food.  It will become a counterproductive mind trip and will set you up for failure.

The 5/2 diet recommends limiting calories, on fasting days to 600 for men and 500 for women. This is easily achieved this by consuming a smoothie at breakfast and a couple of bowls of delicious soup at breakfast and dinner, giving you the nutrients you need and healing your gut at the same time.

HEAL AND SEAL YOUR INTESTINAL BARRIER

Healing your gut involves a dual focus: improving the balance of good bacteria in the gut, and healing the intestinal walls to decrease intestinal permeability. By doing this you are allowing the gut to smoothly complete all of the functions required to regulate your entire body, without leaking unwanted toxic substances into the bloodstream; minimizing the risk for various diseases.

The gut barrier’s primary focus aside from transporting and eliminating food and water is to prevent foreign, unwanted substances from entering the body. Therefore the gut barrier must remain strong and healthy in order to perform this function. In our unhealthy modern lifestyle, gut permeability or ‘leaky gut’ is becoming a common problem. This involves the breaking down of the intestinal walls; creating ‘holes’ which allow large protein molecules to escape into the body. Because these substances are not supposed to live outside the walls of the gut, the immune system views them as an invader; mounting an immune response that aims to attack these proteins.

Researchers are now recognising that the integrity of the intestinal barrier is paramount in preventing and healing a range of diseases. Healing and sealing the gut barrier can be done by stocking up on mineral rich bone broths.  My 102 year old grandma (who turns 103 next month) has a wonderful recipe for healing broth which you can consume as a soup or soothing drink or use in any recipe that calls for stock.  Why not try my Celery, Leek and Thyme Soupfrom my eBook Heal Your Gut.

FORGET DOING AND START BEING

Finding peace in a stressed-out, digitally dependent culture may just be a matter of thinking differently.  A plethora of articles on mindfulness have been popping up lately, notably Time Magazine’s homogenised piece and Huff Posts more ‘realistic’ take on what the new revolution actually looks like.

As the mindful revolution grabs media attention and extols its health benefits and virtues across the globe, simply speaking, we can’t discount the fact that anyone can practice mindfulness and meditation wherever they are. There’s no doubt that a peaceful mind equates to a healthy gut. Mindfulness is escaping from our thoughts about the past and the future in order to concentrate, body and mind, on the moment.  It’s the exact opposite to what we normally do, going through our endless tasks, thinking about what we did or didn’t do, worrying about what is still to be done and intently focussing on our to do list.

Food and probiotics alone will not promise a thriving colony of healthy bacteria in your gut. Stress and emotional factors can override even the most perfect diet and wellness practices.  Chronic, long term stress that lingers for weeks is incredibly damaging to your gut health. Stress causes many changes within the gut including changes in gastric secretion, gut motility, mucosal permeability, viscal sensitivity and barrier function.  Savouring the pleasures in life as they occur, helps you become fully engaged in activities, and creates a greater capacity to deal with stress and adverse events that inevitably arise.

REVERSE YOUR NEGATIVE EMOTIONS

Evidence also suggests that our bacteria respond in damaging ways to the negative emotions and stress of the host. The hormones secreted during a stress response contribute to the overgrowth of bad bacteria.  Figuring out what causes your negative thoughts is critical. Is it something that can be controlled? What lifestyle changes or decisions can you make that can remove negativity from your life? Sometimes the answer is not clear and you might need to seek outside help and that’s ok.  Incorporating meditation and yoga into your life may be the key to help you deal with these issues.

It’s become increasingly common for meditation to be combined with psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy. This development makes good sense, since both meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy share the common goal of helping people gain perspective on irrational, maladaptive, and self-defeating thoughts. Reversing negative emotions works in part, by helping you to accept your experiences—including painful emotions—rather than react to them with aversion and avoidance.

 What do you do to spring clean your gut? Share your tips in the comments section below.

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Selfies, Shelfies and Still Lifes


Raphaelle Peale Still Life With Orange

Every now and then bloggers get slammed for the disproportionate amount of foodie pictures they carpet bomb across the webosphere.  Photography is one of the main artistic forms that bloggers use to capture their creations.  You’ll find overhead kaleidoscopic stacks of vegetables drizzled with glistening extra virgin olive oil, arranged and seated on a clean white plate.  There’s a sprig of strategically positioned micro herbs, and perhaps a carefully placed napkin, I think you know the shots I’m talking about.

When you think about modern art and art throughout history you may think about the great masters at work. The Renaissance oil painter absorbed in their figurative composition or the impressionist creating his visible brush strokes with natural depiction of light. Art has been used throughout the years to commemorate our very existence, to honour our achievements, disappointments and celebrations, to freeze frame personal memories and to document what we love and what we eat.

What was relevant back in the day and revered is still relevant now in the era of contemporary art although we just use another form to capture it.  Looking at it objectively, our aesthetic hasn’t changed but the tools and technology we use to objectify the moment has.  A still life, is still a still life, a selfie once known as the self-portrait is no different and our holiday snaps are our depictions of a landscape painting.  The only difference today is that we capture them on our smart phones or with the help of a digital camera.

In honour of modern art and our creativity I want to share some of the beautiful artful compositions from our wonderful community that are worthy of being hung in the national gallery.

Here’s to modern art and shaping history our way and long may it continue!

@kiaraible Sweet Pistachio Chicken

@kiaraible Sweet Pistachio Chicken

@niteskye Tapioca Pancakes

@niteskye Tapioca Pancakes

@drinkbalance Supercharged Breakfast Bars

@drinkbalance Supercharged Breakfast Bars More

Winter Chicken Casserole


10527471_789616857756699_6490674931314733962_nI’m akin to the withered bone structure of winter and how the simplicity gives you longer quiet stretches to savour belonging to yourself whilst becoming an observer of the human condition.

During the seasonal cold weather in Sydney, Sunday has now become my favourite day of the week.  That’s because it’s my batch cooking day, a day I look forward to as I start to become the architect, anticipating and planning my menus for the upcoming week. It’s a cost effective way to cook and eat and by sweeping prodigality under the carpet you can whip up a few recipes in unison using bulk ingredients.

Another highlight of batch cooking day is the need to clean the kitchen only once and alleviate the necessity of constantly preparing meals throughout the week.  I adore the wonderful aromas that waft out of my kitchen as my cast iron pot is simmering on the stove top.

This is a beautiful big-on-flavour chicken casserole I chanced upon last Sunday that I will happily enjoy with my family and friends over the coming week.  The casserole can be added to with spontaneity with any ingredients you may pick up along the way to bulk it out.

I played with a few flavours and spices in this recipe and used sumac which pairs wonderfully with chicken, then added to the spice mix paprika, cumin and turmeric for its powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. It really is a simple and effortless dish to make and one that is enhanced flavour-wise with time.

If you are doing my Heal Your Gut program this casserole can be blended at the final stage for easy digestibility.

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Supercharged Breakfast Bars


bbCrumbs, I know you’ll enjoy these make-ahead Supercharged Breakfast Bars if you’re stuck in a breakfast time-warp.   Or if you’re a little bit partial to the not-so-healthy big-brand energy bars with their bold health claims, well maybe then you’ll welcome them with large pincer grips.

It turns out that sadly, commercially produced health bars are home to inflammatory ingredients such as sugar, partially-hydrogenated oils, soy protein isolate and artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.  And even ones touted as healthy are cereal offenders.  With that in mind, if you do partake, you may as well be eating a Tim Tam!

You don’t need to buy your fuel from a petrol station.  These easy-to-make-at-home wholesome energy bars are one of most popular recipes from my recipe book Eat Yourself Beautiful.  So high in the popularity stakes, it would appear that these little tinkers have also been involved in highly competitive bake offs and come up trumps!

Not to sound too over-confident but I’m quite sure that they would pass bake-off scrutinization well ahead of any crumbling croquembouche or Victoria Sponge oozing with Raspberry Jam.

They glow in the nutrition stakes too, with respectable levels of good fats, zinc, dietary fibre and B vitamins.  Easily transported in your bag for a quick-snatch snack, eaten as a portable breakfast or popped into a lunchbox, there’s no reason to not have them on hand when you need a little somethin’ somethin’. More

Healing Chicken Broth


http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-home-made-chicken-soup-image25485700My grandma who is just about to turn 103 is as sharp as a tack and can still sniff out a stock cube at 100 paces.  Her cooking is very traditional and one of her mainstays in the kitchen is home-made broth.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Many supermarket brands nowadays just don’t cut it when it comes to healthy ingredients and have limited healing prowess.  You’ll find that even though they claim to be natural on the front of the box, in reality they are watered down versions of the real thing and often produced at high temperatures which eliminates much of the goodness.  On top of that artificial colours, preservatives and MSG can be added along with sugar and high doses of salt.

There’s no need to feel intimidated by making your own broth, although there are hundreds of variations of stock recipes, you can do it very simply and once the preparation is done and you’ve left it bubbling on a low heat until ready for use you can go about enjoying your day.  I have a lovely healing chicken broth recipe I’m going to share with you from my brand new Heal Your Gut e Book.

Soothing and immune boosting broth supports digestion by healing and sealing the digestive tract. You can consume it as a soup or soothing drink or use it in any recipe that calls for stock.

The gelatin found in bone broth in particular is a hydrophilic colloid. It attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices, to fully support digestion. It’s anti-inflammatory, nutrient dense and contains a rich amount of minerals in an easily absorbable format. It not only contains calcium and magnesium, but also phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and trace minerals. It even contains broken down material from cartilage and tendons such as chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine which are beneficial for arthritis and joint pain. That’s why it is so supportive for people who are suffering with auto-immune or gut issues. More

Heal Your Gut


Heal-Your-Gut-3d-cover
So excited to be launching my new eBook Heal Your Gut!

I hope that you’ll enjoy the book, it’s a culmination of my personal quest for healing and everything I have learnt along the way to bring my health back into balance.

It’s an informative, uncomplicated and achievable gut healing protocol which will inspire, motivate and bring about true healing to your body minus the expensive supplements and faddish diet trends.

The natural four week protocol is not scary and honors the body as a whole.  The healing program is divided into four phases for you to follow one step at a time, and in your own time.  What I think you’ll embrace about this book is that it’s not dictatorial and takes you into account as an individual on your own healing pathway.

Heal Your Gut encourages you to work with your natural gut flora in a positive and supportive way, and not fight against it as an unwelcome and unruly opponent.  It provides step by step guidance on how to bring your gut flora into balance with food to achieve optimum and enduring health.

Heal Your Gut features over fifty sweet and savoury recipe inspirations, drawing on whole foods and a kaleidoscopic rainbow of healing ingredients.  There are simple solutions for blood sugar, energy maintenance and gut healing and it covers breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.  There are also delicious snacks and beverages to indulge in. More

Lemon and Cinnamon Lamb Shanks with a Lemony Gremolata


IQS lamb shanksI shank it up fairly regularly, especially in winter and my slow cooker is my haven for making comfort food.   There really is no need to slave over a hot hot-pot when you can bung a bunch of ingredients and seasonal vegetables into your slow cooker in the morning and come home to a deliciously intense flavoursome and fulfilling meal which has been left to bubble pleasantly throughout the day. All ready to love you tender.

There’s a growing need for meals that alleviate any languid moods which often accompany winter’s chilly weather. Dishes that really sympathize with your hard day’s work and give you a big cuddle to make you feel nourished and pepped up again are a pre-requisite.

Slow cooked meals gladly fulfill a multitude of duties for you including lessening piles of washing up. All you need to do is invest a measly five minutes of hasty ingredient preparation in the morning, to reap an evening of hearty deliciousness.  I’m a big fan of this slow cooked hot pot recipe and chicken saag and think you will embrace them too, try them out and let me know what you think?

Speaking of slow cooker recipes this week I came across a brilliant new Lemon and Cinnamon Lamb Shank recipe to test out in my kitchen.  Hearty lamb shanks respond well to slow cooking and become even more succulent with time.  This delicious creation is from my friend and fellow blogger Sarah Wilson who blogs over here.

It’s a delicious nutrient dense pot of yumminess and flavour and comes from Sarah’s brand new book The I Quit Sugar Slow Cooker CookbookMore

Vegetable Thoran


10251927_748658795185839_7696725495682177106_nKeep Korma and Curry On.

India is a controlled and chaotically enriching assault on the senses which has altered my perception on reality forever. I would go as far as to say that it quite literally blew my mind.

There are so many things to love about a place that holds the most wonderfully vibrant and alive cuisine in the world, coupled with an ancient system of healing and what’s not to love about the traditional home of downward dog?

So what was my biggest takeaway from India?

I met a myriad of wonderfully genuine and generous people who I felt had a strong sense of kinship and community, perhaps I noticed it more because I could see people’s dependency upon one another.  And not just the kind of dependency which involved getting a step further ahead in business or a personal advancement.  It was more of a matter of sticking together for the sole purposes of survival.  Being immersed in the human element of India and its people gave me an insight and a sense of perspective that can’t be found on a facebook highlight reel.

What did I learn?  More

Stir-Fried Ginger Beef


StirFryBEef

Sometimes quick and easy is all that is required to satisfy a grumbling tummy. Behold the idiot-proof dinner from my recipe book Eat Yourself Beautiful.

You’ll be heaping this tasty dish onto your spoon or chopstick and cramming it into your mouth in just a very short space of time.

The sauce is thick and glossy with an authentic blend of flavours, the fresh, ginger, tahini and tamari give it a wonderfully nutty yet Asian inspired taste and the lemon and apple cider vinegar kick it up a notch with a gentle buzz on the taste buds.

I have included my favourite wonder spice turmeric to not only provide anti-inflammatory healing potency but also to delight your visual senses with a richly deep autumnal colour palate.

Use your intuition when creating this dish and add any leftover veg you may have in the fridge.

I hope you like it! Share your creations with me on instagram here.

WF, DF, GF, SF

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 brown onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 red capsicum (pepper), seeds and membrane removed, sliced
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) beef, cut into very thin strips
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
120 g (41/4 oz/2 cups) broccoli, cut into florets
125 g (41/2 oz/1 cup) green beans, roughly chopped
100 g (31/2 oz/1 cup) snow peas (mangetout), sliced on the diagonal
Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
brown rice, to serve

Method

  • Melt the coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.
  • Add the onion, garlic and capsicum and saute for 5–7 minutes.
  • Add the beef and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
  • Add the turmeric, lemon juice, ginger, tamari, tahini and apple cider vinegar.
  • Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add the broccoli, beans and snow peas to the pan.
  • Cook over medium heat for 12–15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  • Season to taste and serve with brown rice.

Happy cooking :)

Lee xo

Mother’s Day Recipes


reps
Pamper your mum by making her a healthy and delicious homemade breakfast this Mother’s Day!

Mums are truly special, they want you to do your best, forgive you for your mistakes, support your dreams and even tell you to remember to pack clean underwear. There’s no limit to their care and no matter how old you are it’s always comforting  when they give you a special hug, place a peck on your forehead or sprinkle fairy dust on your ouchies.

It’s time to start planning the perfect breakfast in bed to show mum some love.

If you need a hand with preparations, here’s a sample menu to get you off to a flying start.

Mother’s Day Menu

Mixed Berries in Apple Cider Vinegar with Cashew Nut Cream

This breakfast bowl is perfection. Simple and understated, the addition of apple cider vinegar will ensure the perfect start to a homemade breakfast in bed.  You will both delight and impress her.  Find the recipe here.

Kale and Lemon Rind Omelette

This will wake mum up with a zing! The biotin found in eggs is fantastic for promoting luscious shiny hair, while the coconut oil and lemon will help her body absorb beneficial iron from the kale. Kale is also a fantastic anti-inflammatory food and just one cup is filled with 10% of the recommended daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Get flipping here.

Fragrant Lavender Tea

There’s nothing more delectable than a lavender tea. With its delicate floral scent, this tea creates the perfect moment to unwind and enjoy its fragrant, flowery goodness.  Find the recipe here.

Supercharged Breakfast in Bed Planning Tips

  • Chop ingredients the night before and have them at the ready to prepare for the big reveal. Make sure you have a pretty tray to carry it out on.
  • Nothing says I love you like a homemade touch. Decorate the tray with a small bunch of hand-picked flowers in a pretty glass jar. Add a home-made card.
  • Don’t make it too early in the morning to ensure that she has a much deserved sleep in on her special day.

breakfast-in-bed-wood-tray

Happy mothers day to all the mums out there!

For more delicious anti-inflammatory recipes check out my new book Eat Yourself Beautiful

Easter Treats for Hunter Gatherers


eggsEaster weekend is a couple of days away so it’s time to channel your inner hunter gatherer and marshal the troops for the inevitable living room Easter egg hunt.

You’ll want to explore high and low when you discover how good these solid eggs taste.  And just like traditional eggs, these orbs of deliciousness can be encased in pretty foil and hidden deep under the couch or buried in your favorite pot plant.

Just because it’s Easter, there’s no need to get embroiled in the supermarket price wars, just battle it out in your own home with healthy homemade creations.

Note these will melt on a hot day so if you want to avoid finding melted chocolate under the couch cushions in a few months then perhaps it’s better to move the hunt to the backyard.

kids_spring06_egg_chickens_vertGather your ingredients, make these ahead of time and store in the freezer

Solid Chocolate Eggs

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup coconut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 TBS rice malt syrup or sweetener of choice
  • ½ cup cacao powder
  • 2 TBS shaved cacao butter or coconut cream

(You can find ingredients here)

Method

  • Melt coconut oil and butter in a small saucepan over a low heat
  • Add remaining ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until combined
  • Using an Easter Egg mold, or if you don’t have one you can substitute by using a mini muffin pan, (I used one for this photograph), egg cups, or rounded ice cube trays, grease the inside of your tray with coconut oil so the eggs don’t stick to the sides when you are removing them.
  • Pour mixture in and place in the freezer to set.  Minimum chill time is just 15 minutes in the freezer.
  • Once set, remove them from the freezer and detach eggs from the mold or muffin pan by gently tapping on the base.  Once removed, run your index finger the warm tap, being careful not to burn your fingers and with your index finger swipe over the egg to slightly melt chocolate at each base then sandwich both halves together. Return eggs to the freezer for five minutes to set.

For more Easter recipes why not try out these spegg-tacular creations and let me know what you’ll be making for Easter this year and don’t forget to share them on Instagram.

Sugar Free Chocolates

Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Roughs

I Quit Sugar Bounty Bars

Chocolate and Berry Pudding

Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

Hoppy Easter!

Lee xo

Ps Find out more about my recipe books here.

Two Simple Breakfast Bowls


breakfast bowls

Nourishing Bowls

Hello autumn! In an effort to coax me and my cozy high socks out of bed on cooler April mornings I’ve been filling my mind and appetite with warming breakfast bowls and spicy chai.

Never one to argue with a craving, for the past few weeks, I’ve been on a bleary-eyed breakfast bowl bender and today I’m sharing two of my favourites. You may have already seen them on insta because we are on very good terms at the moment.

Two extra special kind of delicious bowls, one savoury and one sweet. Double yum!

As the colder weather rolls around it makes sense to eat with the seasons. We change our clothing to move with the seasons so it makes sense to change our diets too.  In my undying hearty appreciation of food I think that seasonal food tastes much better because it’s had the chance to ripen and develop naturally, brimming with more nutrients and minerals and it’s easier on the hip pocket too.

To break out of your breakfast rut, swap out your current dubious gluten free mystery packaged cereal and try these healthy nourishing bowls. Really, all you need is an investment of fifteen minutes at the stove and before you know it you’ll be fully awake and enjoying a comforting bowl of nourishment. Gulp!

Used by the Aztecs quinoa, a hard core super grain is gluten free, high in essential amino acids, and a great source of protein. Feel free to tinker with the recipes and top as you desire depending upon the season.

Supercharged Tip: Make extra quinoa to squirrel away in the freezer or for a quick lunch or dinner.  Try fried rice or veggie stir fry. Your future self will thank you.  More

Feeding Fussy Eaters



Photo by the Whimsical Wife

Photo by The Whimsical Wife

This blog post goes out to all of the parents or caregivers of picky eaters, and ones who are raising children in a processed fast food nation. I think that covers just about every parent.

If your child is stuck in a pasta, nugget, boiled rice or potato mash commercial time warp, here are three no-nag ways to ward off an oncoming meal-time battle and have them eating out of your hands.

There’ll be no more shaking of heads and sealing of lips, look forward to saucer eyes and open mouths as kids hoover up these healthy meals like there’s no tomorrow. You can find more recipes in my Supercharged Food for Kids recipe book here.

But first, five tips to help you to encourage your children to eat well…

  1. Don’t be afraid to say no and express your love with healthy foods.  A way of nurturing kids is not to give them nuked processed foods full of sugar and bad fats. Show them you care by feeding them foods that will help them grow and develop.  They’ll also be able to understand and experience the taste of real food and set up their taste buds for life.
  2. Follow the 80/20 rule.  Don’t feed them squeaky clean food all of the time and let them indulge in treats in moderation.  They will develop a healthy relationship with food that way and not be the playground health nerd.
  3. Keep a healthy pantry, if you don’t have Tim Tams in the house it’s easier to offer an alternative and say try this ‘zoo poo” rather than yes we have a packet of Tim Tams but we’re not letting you anywhere near it.  Pester power will be in full swing if they can see it’s in the pantry and know it’s only a pincer grip away.
  4. Don’t force the issue.  If kids don’t want to eat something then let it go and have a healthy backup plan that you know they’ll enjoy and can fall back on. Explain how certain foods will make them have strong bones and healthy bodies and why it will benefit them.
  5. Create kid friendly versions of your meals; for example if you’re making a delicious pumpkin soup, use the base mash for your little one and then turn it into a soup for you by adding herbs, coconut milk or stock. Talk to your child about the flavours and textures of the food you’re eating and if you can, sit down and eat meals together.

I’d love you to introduce these recipes into your child’s life and let me know what you think in the comments section below. More

Smashed Sardines with Avocado on Chia and Flaxseed Loaf



sardines avo
People often ask me what my favourite recipe is from my new book Eat Yourself Beautiful and although I love them all my special favourite is Smashed Sardines with Avocado on Chia and Flaxseed Loaf.  It’s probably because I eat it a few times and week and always feel so happy afterwards. Clap along if you agree.

Sardines may not immediately strike you as a happy food, but these little guys are sky high in mood boosting omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B12 and loaded with minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. They can also make your wallet happy because they’re an inexpensive meal to bring the table.  A can of sardines in extra virgin oil will set you back about $1.80 AUD.

A 2012 study reveals that fish oil increases transmission of serotonin in the brain which controls emotion.  Because of their ability to increase serotonin levels this makes fish oils a good mood food to include in your diet.

Hair, skin and nails benefit too; sardines are one of the most powerful beauty boosters because their omega-3 content benefits the circulatory system, hydrating the skin, and helping you to avoid incoming wrinkles. More

Eat Yourself Beautiful on Sunrise Channel 7


Bounty Bar Recipe from I Quit Sugar Kids


The Bounty Bar IQS Kids

Today I’m super excited to be sharing details and a recipe from Sarah Wilson’s latest e-book, I Quit Sugar Kids Cookbook, aimed at helping parents and care-givers encourage their children to eat healthier food.

As someone who has written a kid’s recipe book Supercharged Food for Kids, I was thrilled to be asked to contribute one of my recipes to Sarah’s new book, which is full of so many delicious sugar free recipes that kids will enjoy eating again and again. The book also has a lot of helpful information for parents about how to make savoury foods fun and exciting.

IQS KidsThere’s a section on navigating the school tuck shop which can be an area where many parents struggle with their children’s choices.  But kids will be pleased to know that the IQS Kids Cookbook is not suggesting a full ban. They provide a real canteen order list and the foods which are IQS approved.  There are ways to steer your kids’ choices in a healthier direction whilst still letting them have the thrill of ordering from the tuck shop.

Speaking of the school yard, I’m sure there will be much playground envy when kids start to open up their lunchboxes to reveal the yummy and fun recipes that are included in this fantastic book.

One of the chapter’s in the book is aimed at fructose free party recipes, an area where many parents struggle to find party food that isn’t going to send their kids through the roof on an artificial high. 

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Chocolate Truffles


Chocolate Truffles

I know it sounds a bit counter productive but these are not going to last long in the fridge.  You’ll be diving in for more with every last mouthful.  These chocolaty morsels are a new recipe from my latest recipe book.

Although not exactly textbook truffles, take a walk over to the dark side and you’ll discover that they are not only delicious and texturally sound but can also fit the bill when you’re in need of an easy chocolate fix.

A perfect accompaniment for your cup of tea, why not infuse them with your own flavours such as peppermint or orange to make them unique.

Wrapped up in pretty boxes and tied with ribbon, they make the perfect homemade gift. It’s best to house them in the fridge until you’re ready to give them, if you can last that long from opening the refrigerator door.

Chocolate Truffles can be frozen for up to a month in a sealed container, then all you need to do is drag them out and pop them into the fridge a few hours before consuming.

Chocolate Truffles

Makes 28 truffles

Ingredients

  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) additive-free coconut milk
  • 125 g (41/2 oz/1/2 cup) nut butter
  • 30 g (1 oz/1/4 cup) ground cacao
  • 60 g (21/4 oz/1/2 cup) chia seeds
  • 75 g (21/2 oz/1/2 cup) raw sesame seeds
  • 75 g (21/2 oz/1/2 cup) raw pumpkin seeds
  • 75 g (21/2 oz/1/2 cup) raw sunflower seeds
  • 75 g (21/2 oz/1/2 cup) coconut flour
  • 21/2 tablespoons rice malt syrup, or sweetener of your choice

Method

  • Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth
  • Remove 1 tablespoon of the mixture and use your hands to form small balls
  • Repeat with the remaining ingredients
  • These will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 2 weeks, and the freezer for 3 months

Supercharged tip: Blending chia seeds makes them more bio-available for the body. These are also delicious rolled in grated coconut

For more information about my new recipe book Eat Yourself Beautiful click here.

Rebooting Your Child’s Lunchbox


vintage desk and bikeIt’s almost time to send the kids back to school, which means for many parents and caregivers busy schedules and challenging lunchbox fixing.  If you’re looking to reboot worn out and tired lunch box ideas and get creative then here are some of my simple tips.  Giving kids nutritious meals can really make a big difference to their mental clarity, focus and behavior in the classroom.

When it comes to packing and presenting lunchboxes that your kids will enjoy and devour, much of the battle will be in communication and variety. Unfortunately, taking the “You’ll get what you’re given” approach that many older generations may have experienced, is a sure fire way to ensure that kids are removed from a relational experience of food.

monday-to-friday-lunchboxWhat we are all aiming for is a place where children are able to freely and creatively engage in the process of making healthy food choices, and learn how to take responsibility for what they are eating. By opening up a relevant two way conversation about the importance of eating real foods, and giving them the opportunity to make some choices about what they may be able to have in their lunchbox, will more likely result in an empty container on their return home from school.

Let your child be involved in the purchasing of their lunchbox, make sure it is sturdy with a strong lid, insulated or comes with an ice pack no parent likes to a black mushy banana on the return trip home. If they choose one that they love, they won’t mind toting it around, hey you can never be too cool for school! If you’re using plastic then BPA free makes a good choice.

Choose a lunch box with separate pockets or sections and make sure it is large enough to hold a flask or drink bottle.  Using smaller lidded containers will protect the lunchbox and its contents and alleviate the need for foil and cling wrap. They are useful for dips, salads, fruit, wraps and casseroles. More

Gluten free whole blood orange cake


Blood Orange Cake

Blood oranges feel like the forgotten fruit. They’re the jewels in the crown of the citrus world, so tasty, tangy, sweet and rich in Vitamin C they’re wonderful for the skin and offer up unique health benefits.

Unlike other citrus fruits, blood oranges are less acidic and contain anthocyanins, excellent anti-oxidants which are the same red flavonoid pigments that you’ll discover in the intense purpleness of blueberries. Just like a diamond is put through extreme stress to become a white sparkly gem, so too are blood oranges. Exposed to freezing nights combined with high day temperatures forces the development of their rich ruby- red colouring.

Anthocyanins are employed by the body to prevent oxidative stress from free radicals and help control and lower inflammation. Combine anthocyanins with polyphenol and high levels of vitamin C and here you have one of nature’s true superfoods. Vitamin C stimulates collagen production that’s why it’s such a great skin food and crucial for the normal development and maintenance of bones, gums, teeth and cartilage. More

Buckwheat Pasta with Flaked Trout


buckwheat pasta LR

There’s no time like the present for a bit of self- reflection.  How did last year shape up for you? Was it smooth sailing or were there things that you would have done differently given the opportunity?

Many of us start to the New Year with a resolution or two, whether it involves assessing our relationships, financial decisions, deciding to clean out your proverbial closet or vowing to never drink again after one too many cocktails!

What are some of the changes you’d like to see happen in the year ahead?  I’d like to do some more travelling this year and experience life a bit more, instead of being chained to my computer and also start a restorative yoga class for people who want to do gentle yoga to help give them more energy and recover from illness.

Whatever it is you choose to do this year, if you’re ready to wipe the slate clean, start afresh and ring in the New Year with a resolve to be happier and healthier, then setting yourself a realistic resolution to make gradual changes to your eating habits and lifestyle will be a lot easier to maintain.  Making small changes might not seem like much at the beginning, but soon, these small changes really do become significant larger changes that you will notice.

In a dietary sense, a few examples of small changes might include swapping your daily coffee every second day for dandelion or herbal tea, or cooking with brown rice instead of white. Or it may even be that you will become less restrictive with your current eating habits and allow yourself the occasional treat without feeling guilty. More

Pre Order Your Copy of Eat Yourself Beautiful


EYB official cover stickThere’s no time like the present to be your best self.

My new book will show you how to build a flawless, fabulous and healthy you with clean foods.

With more than nutritious 100 recipes – many of which are free from gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast and sugar Eat Yourself Beautiful is a simple and inspiring guide to eating for optimum health, beauty and successful aging.

“Spinach and coconut water, it’s a lot cheaper than a cosmetic surgeon”.

My motivation to write the book came from wanting to explore and share with you more foods and recipes which contain anti-inflammatory ingredients to heal the body from the inside out and lower inflammation levels.

I’ve been indulging in anti-inflammatory recipes for over a year now and have never felt better. In fact at nearly forty-seven I feel better than I did in my twenties.  The wonderful bonus about eating this way is that you’ll not only feel healthier, more energized and vital, you’ll notice changes on the outside too, clearer skin, healthier hair, stronger nails and less wrinkles!

Throughout the book you’ll discover secret recipes for juices, snacks and meals, delicious, easy-to-make heirloom recipes which you can cook again and again.  It’s my own personal guide to achieving inner and outer health through simple, delicious recipes using every day nutritionally rich, anti-inflammatory foods to boost longevity and promote vitality.

The delicious recipes contain everything from the skin-boosting power of plant collagen to the most potent antioxidants on the planet, to jump-start your immune system, boost energy levels and maintain your long term health and well-being.

I’ll also show you how eating the wrong foods can be visible on the outside too.

Edible beauty is the key to a healthy life, so get ready to throw out restrictive fad diets for good, enjoy your food and eat, drink and be beautiful!

Here’s a little bit more about what you’ll discover inside the book;

  • Over 100 recipes to lower inflammation and take care of your inner and outer health
  • Top secrets to successful, ageless beauty using powerful everyday foods
  • How to identify primary aging accelerators and what foods to avoid
  • Learn how to rectify common beauty concerns
  • Scrumptious recipes for super skin, hair and nails and a glowing complexion
  • Uncover secret anti-wrinkle accelerator foods
  • Unearth my top 20 beauty boosting foods and why they are important to include in your diet
  • Create delicious recipes for smoothies and drinks, healthy snacking, breakfasts, lunches and dinners and mouth-watering desserts
  • Get stuck into a  seven day beauty meal plan and shopping list

Click here to order your copy today and it will be posted to you in mid-January. preorder_ribbon

Some of the delicious recipes you can indulge in are, Buckwheat pasta with flaked trout, Raspberry studded pumpkin pie, Layered quinoa trifle, Gado Gado, Immune-boosting garlic soup, Seaweed and sesame salad, Supercharged breakfast bars, Cranberry and walnut granola and many more.

buckwheat pasta LRpumpkin pieLayered Quinoa TrifleGado Gado LRgarlic soup LRSeaweed and sesame low resSupercharged Breakfast Bars LR

Granola

Happy cooking :)

Lee xo

Layered Quinoa Trifle and Christmas Day Recipes


Layered Quinoa Trifle

Tis the festive season. So let the hunger games begin.

The decorations have been hanging around the supermarket for months, weekly gift guides have been falling out of newspapers across the country and now Christmas is so close we can almost touch it. It’s a time when dessert making is at its peak and there’s no better time to get re-acquainted with trifles.

Loved by many, trifles are a somewhat retro Christmas dessert where indulging in seconds or thirds is not uncommon. Laying out the fruit sponge, scattering with delicious fruit and adding thick layers upon layers of custard, cream, jelly and whatever else you have on hand is all part of the process. Maybe Christmas trifles are still a tradition at your house and even now you love to pile your plate high with this popular and colourful dessert.

With these memories in mind, I’ve combined some of my favourite nutritious ingredients to recreate the classic trifle recipe. The recipe is from my new cookbook Eat Yourself Beautifulwhich will be hitting the shelves in January, a good time to start the year off with healthy intentions!

In this layered quinoa trifle there are layers upon layers of health-promoting ingredients.  I’ve substituted sponge for quinoa, giving the dish a distinctive creamy nuttiness. I’ve added a couple of dollops of full-fat Greek style natural yoghurt added in place of cream but if you don’t consume dairy why not try this cashew nut cream instead.  Just sprinkle through some coconut flakes for crunch and texture and your trifle is ready for tasting.

I think you’re going to enjoy my layered quinoa trifle recipe with a twist!  You may like to serve it in a glass jar with a ribbon tied around the edge.

Layered Quinoa Trifle Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 100 g (31/2 oz/1/2 cup) quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of Celtic sea salt
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • 6 drops stevia liquid, or 1 tablespoon rice malt syrup
  • 1 tablespoon slivered almonds
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 130 g (43/4 oz/1/2 cup) full-fat Greek- style yoghurt
  • 4 tablespoons coconut flakes 110 g (33/4 oz/1/2 cup) mixed berries
  • 1 teaspoon almond butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds, for sprinkling

Method

  • Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve. Rinse with cold running water for 2–3 minutes, moving the seeds around with your hand to ensure that the seeds are well rinsed and any residue is removed.
  • Bring 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) water to the boil in a large saucepan.
  • Add the quinoa, return to the boil, cover and reduce the heat to low for 12–15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.
  • Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  • Place the quinoa in a bowl and stir through the cinnamon and salt.
  • In a saucepan over medium–low heat, warm the almond milk for 3–4 minutes.
  • Stir in the vanilla and stevia or rice malt syrup.
  • Add a couple of spoons of quinoa to four glass jars, or glasses.
  • Mix through the almond milk and follow with layers of slivered almonds, banana slices, yoghurt, coconut flakes and berries. Repeat until the jars are full, with berries as the top layer.
  • Top with the melted almond butter and chia seeds.

For more Christmas inspiration, I’ve compiled a list of some favourite recipes over the past year that are all gluten-free and packed with nutrients. So treat you and your guests to this delicious spread.

THE STARTERS

Bite-sized appetizers are perfect to serve as guests arrive. Try this smoked salmon and pistachio terrine, which can easily be assembled in the morning, left to set in the fridge, and taken out when needed.

This pea and lamb soup works well as an entrée too, with the beautiful flavour of the peas and parsley garnish keeping it light and summery.

Fancy a salad option? This kale, strawberry, and avocado salad is an exciting combination, as is this warm beetroot, carrot and pear salad, both full of warm Christmas colours.

THE MAIN

For an alternative to turkey or ham, buy an organic chicken and make this delicious paprika, garlic and rosemary chicken, bursting with flavour and warmth.

Serve the chicken with sage mashed cauliflower as a light alternative to potatoes, as well as a hazelnut-encrusted pumpkin, and a nutrient-packed side of green beans and spinach. Here are the recipes.

DESSERT

Looking for a sweet treat that is healthy too? My luscious sugar-free chocolate is sweetened with natural stevia.

You can also find more recipe ideas on my Christmas post last year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Cooking!

Lee xo

You can buy my recipe books here.

My three favourite happy foods



seanuts LR
Have you ever noticed how what you eat affects how you feel?  Research suggests that good food can really put you in a buoyant mood. According to a study in the UK, The Food and Mood Project, 80 percent of people who were surveyed reported a significant improvement in their mood and found that when they were drinking more water and eating more ‘supporter foods’ such as vegetables, fruits, oily fish, nuts and seeds, brown whole grains, fibre, protein and organic foods they experienced less depression and anxiety.

The researchers also discovered that excess stressor foods such as refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol improved mood at first but then left people feeling stressed because they weren’t providing adequate nutrition and their bodies were left depleted.

The science behind foods effect on mood comes down to chemical and physiological changes in our brain structure which can lead to altered behavior. The survey indicated that supporter foods have been proven to alter your metabolism and brain chemistry, ultimately affecting your energy level and mood.  More

Nut Butter Biscuits


Photography by Nina Thornton Photography by Nina Thornton

Old school biscuits are the perfect accompaniment to share your morning or afternoon cup of tea. I designed these especially for kids, and the recipe comes from my book Supercharged Food for Kids as they’re a great lunchbox treat or after school bite. Sometimes snacks can be a bit of a tricky one, as you crave a morsel that is crunchy, sweet and satisfying but preferably good for you too. I’m happy to say that these nut butter biscuits tick all those boxes, as well as being packed with nutrient-dense ingredients they’re delicious and fantastically fulfilling.

The nut butter base adds a mild nutty taste that enhances the other flavours, and is abundant in protein and healthy fats, to keep you content. Almond butter is a variety you may want to use, but feel free to experiment with cashew or macadamia because they both work very well in this recipe. Extra points if you make your own too.  More

Hungry for Change


hfc-dvd-cover-180x241A few years ago I was at a major turning point in my life and hungry for change.   I was lying in a hospital bed staring at the ceiling one night and I asked myself a simple question which at the time had no idea would have such a profound effect on my future.

The question that was swirling around in my head seemed to make perfect sense to me but others around me weren’t so convinced by what I was contemplating; I’d always been quite interested in nutrition but this time I wanted to know even more about the food I was eating and whether certain kinds of foods could not only provide me with nourishment but actually become my medicine to eventually restore and heal my body.

After being diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, when I was faced with the prospect of a dull and overcast life on steroids, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics, this teeny idea that had begun  blossoming in my mind like a flower in springtime, was slowly becoming a much bigger part of how I wanted my future to look.   I envisaged a future which would allow me to live freely and naturally and one that would see me healing my body with certain foods, and wean myself off the cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs I was having difficulty swallowing daily.

At the time there wasn’t a whole lot of information that I could find on the subject and I was starting to discover that there was a great deal of conflicting advice, especially on the internet.  Fortunately for me, it just so happened that a friend of mine named Cleo sent me a link to the Food Matters DVD which really opened my eyes to the concept of using food as medicine.

As I watched the eye opening DVD, there was a moment that became a huge turning point for me.  Something in the DVD really resonated with me and it made me cry.  It was scary to think that I wanted to go against convention and try a different healing path.  I remember feeling really concerned about being criticised and made to look reckless and irresponsible because my choices were unconventional. But something inside me was convincing me that this was the right path for me even though most of the people around me disagreed.

It was from that point onwards that I was truly convinced I was going to try and discover as much information as I could and become my own “Food Is Medicine” experiment to see whether I really could heal myself without the use of prescribed drugs.

Over the next few years my health improved dramatically with food and nutrition being one of the major components of my recovery.  I also found that healing my gut, lowering inflammation in my body, taking up gentle exercise and doing a daily meditation played an important role in my overall health too.

When Food Matters asked me to be a part of their affiliate program I was really excited because James Colquhoun actually wrote the forward in my first recipe book Supercharged Food, and I was such a big fan of he and Laurentine because of the profound effect they had on opening my eyes to a new way of life.

Hungry for Change is the next book and DVD from the makers of Food Matters and it unravels the clever marketing ploys that the diet, weight-loss and food industries use to keep us coming back for more.  It shows us how we are made to think we are eating ‘healthy’ and ‘nutritious’ food when really what we are being offered is disguised food with minimal to no nutritional value at all. Nutrients from real food – vegetables, fruits and good fats are what enable us to heal from the inside out. These nutrients can’t be obtained from processed foods on a supermarket shelf but from real food grown with no chemicals and pesticides, in our own gardens, absorbing the shine of the sun, raindrops and the minerals from clean soil.

If you’re interested in finding more out about Hungry for Change which will really have you questioning the nutritional values of every packet you pick up off a supermarket shelf, every advertisement you see on TV or in a magazine then you can watch the Hungry for Change DVD here or read the Hungry for Change recipe book here.

Nourish your body with real food and your body will nourish you.

Thank you for reading my story, you can read my books by visiting my bookshelf here.

Happy cooking,

Lee xo

Kale, Strawberry and Avocado Salad with Speedy Jam Jar Dressing


Kale strawberry and avocado saladChristmas is a time of goodwill and eftpos are running a cracker of a campaign.  This year they’re giving up to $2 million dollars to two specific organisations, Diabetes Australia and the Cancer Council Australia, as part ofeftpos Giveback.

Diabetes Australia are using their funding to create a new online support platform for 1.5 million Australians with diabetes and to further early intervention and prevention for the 2 million others with pre-diabetes symptoms.

If you wander over to their website you’ll find that they’re currently running a healthy recipe competition up until Christmas, aiming to receive from the community as many healthy recipes as possible. If you have a favourite healthy recipe that you’d like to share, you can submit yours hereand the very good news is that you don’t have to weight ooops wait too long to find out if you’re a winner because they’re picking out their favourite recipes weekly and dishing out $1000 dining experiences.  I want to enter!

Living with diabetes can be a challenge but getting rest, doing gentle forms of exercise and eating and maintaining a healthy diet including delicious recipes can really help to play a major part of a well-rounded holistic approach to managing the disease.  More

Spinach and Carrot Muffins


Carrot and Spinach Muffins

Photography by Kristy Plumridge

I love these muffins because not only do they taste delicious, they use the natural sweetness of carrots paired with the incredible antioxidant properties of lemon zest.  It’s my second diabetic friendly recipe as part of the eftpos GivebackCampaign for Diabetes Australia.  If you have a favourite healthy recipe you’d like to share, you can submit yours here.

I’ve been using spinach in my dessert recipes a lot lately, remember THAT spinach ice cream?

Using spinach in dessert recipes offers up a healthy dose of iron just when you need it.  I’ve found that one of the best ways to keep on top of my auto immune disease is to make sure my iron levels are topped up and to follow an anti-inflammatory diet. More

Cranberry and Walnut Granola


Cranberry and walnut granola low resNick off tooth challenging granola.  If you’re tired of grinding your teeth on over-baked, processed, ready-made granola then you’ll welcome this recipe from my forthcoming book Supercharged Food; Eat, Yourself Beautiful, because it not only tastes amazing, but will save you on dentist and doctor’s bills too.

It strikes me as odd that many packaged granolas have received health-food cult status considering the ingredients they contain.  Store-bought varieties are often laced with sugar and brimming with bad fats which you might like to give a wide birth to next time you’re browsing the supermarket aisle.

Not only that, it’s the front of the packets covered in bad marketing jargon that are teeth clenchingly horrifying.  Note to corporate advertising executives next time you say “Let’s have a little pow wow before everyone heads out tonight” about your latest mumfluencial peace, love and granola campaign, please remove the following words from your vocabulary: Low fat, light and tasty, slow release, natural flavours, wholesome and naturally indulgent.

Imagine if we actually spoke to people the way advertisements spoke to the general public?

gapingvoid_advertising_punch_face_5001

Special note to Sanitarium, your new byline “It’s what’s inside that counts” couldn’t be more true. Well done on that one.  But, let’s have a look at what is inside your Light ‘n’ Tasty Berry Granola which “provides a delicious combination of succulent sweetened cranberries, mixed berry fruity pieces and wholesome grains”.  More

Warm Beetroot, Carrot and Pear Salad


Warm Beetroot, carrot and Pear Salad

A nourishing salad fit for a busy family is what I am going to share with you today.

Beetroots, carrots and fresh herbs appear to be the biggest culprits for left over fridge remnant veggies – anecdotal evidence I have managed to cultivate among many people I chat to about healthy eating and food waste.

While the best part of my job is helping people take control of their kitchen choices, I’m not a big fan of wasting food and will do anything to save a veggie from the trash can.

And so this recipe, a delicious Carrot, Beetroot and Pear Salad is the perfect example of roasting on the edge vegetables and still getting a great result.

A sweet, satisfying medley of cooked veggies, roasted in the oven with an array of medicinal spices and offset with the crispness of a beautiful pear. Again, any chopped root veggie could be used here – my preference is for beetroot and carrot for their natural sweetness. More

Chicken Pho with Raw Zucchini Noodles


chicken pho with raw zucchini noodles

192_12893568454_3641_nChicken Pho with Raw Zucchini Noodles

Here is a delicious recipe which reminds me of my time spent in Vietnam, where I visited the most amazing tea shop and spent a couple of weeks exploring the country and its wonderful food.

This recipe which contains raw zucchini noodles or (zoodles) comes from a recipe book called A Nourishing Kitchen by Amy Crawford who I met recently in Melbourne and who I now have an affiliation with.

What I love about this particular recipe is that it has a back to basics approach with real food yet still manages to capture the wonderful light fragrant flavours of Pho one of the Vietnamese’s most beloved dishes.  More

Gluten Free Pita Pocket



Photo by The Whimsical Wife

Photo by The Whimsical Wife

Say goodbye to soggy bread.  Sometimes it’s good to have a break from sandwiches and introduce new healthy bread options to kids’ repertoires.

Here’s a breakfast,  lunch, or bulging snack  idea that kids can easily assemble themselves and have fun in the process. It comes from my book Supercharged Food for Kids which you can find here.

The pockets can be filled with bacon and eggs at breakfast time or veggies, avocado and tuna or leftover dinner meat and spring salad ingredients and topped with homemade mayo or ranch dressing.

You can pretty much stuff in whatever you like or whatever you have available in the fridge.

The basic recipe can also be made as a flat crusty pizza and delivered to hungry mouths pretty quickly once your favorite toppings have been fixed.

Test these on your brood and let me know what you think?

Makes 4 pitas

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 TBS almond or rice milk
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS coconut flour
  • 1 TBS flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 cup blanched almond meal
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1 TBS mixed herbs chopped fine (optional)

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  • Place baking paper on a baking tray
  • In a bowl whisk egg and add water, milk and olive oil
  • Add dry ingredients and stir well
  • Pour mixture onto baking paper in 2 medium sized circles about 12 cms across and spread evenly with a palette knife
  • Bake for 20 minutes until golden and crispy around the edge
  • Let cool and with a sharp knife slice along the centre so that a pocket is created
  • Stuff with favourite fillings

Happy Cooking

Lee xo

Vegetable Fritters


Vegetable Fritters

My dog Cashew gets jealous when I eat these fritters.  I’ve never really known of a dog to get jealous of vegetables before.  But I think Cashew is an extraordinary dog and a bit of a culinary canine.

For example, recently she was bitten by a paralytic tick which put her in intensive care for four days and whilst she was recovering the well-meaning vet was attempting everything to make her eat something, anything, so that she would show signs that she was improving and come home. But Cashew just kept on refusing, turning up her little snout at any scientifically produced, celebrity endorsed dog food, or bone shaped dog biscuits and looking at the vets like they were insane. More

Chia Coconut Pikelets


Chia Coconut Pikelets

Photo by Pamela Mackertich

I’d love to share a wholesome and delicious recipe out of my Supercharged Food for Kids book.

Pikelets work well for children as they are smaller than a traditional pancake and become a practical and fun finger food for them.  They can also be used for dessert as well as breakfast or packed into a lunchbox for morning or afternoon tea.

I’ve used chia seeds in this recipe because they are a delicious super food, packed with Omega 3s and ridiculously high in antioxidants. They’re extremely versatile and easy to use too. Some great ways to include them in your child’s diet are by adding them to smoothies, sprinkling them on top of yoghurt or cereal, tossing them in your muffin mix or making these delicious pikelets.

Any time you can squeeze chia into your child’s diet, you’re boosting their nutritional profile. By including plain full fat yoghurt on top of these pikelets, you’ll be providing sustenance as well as essential protein, calcium, vitamin C, iron, potassium and Omega 3 essential fatty acids.

When mixed with water, chia seeds become gelatinous. In this form you can use them as an egg substitute in your baking recipes.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 TBS chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cup self-raising gluten free flour
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 TBS coconut nectar or sweetener of your choice
  • 2 TBS butter

Method:

  •  In a bowl place chia, flour, coconut milk, water, eggs and sweetener and mix.
  • Heat a frying pan and melt some butter in the pan
  • Pour in mixture and cook on medium heat until bubbles start to form
  • Flip over using a spatula and cook until browned
  • Continue until finished

I hope your whole family enjoys these pikelets. Top with yoghurt, berries or topping of your choice. You can find more recipes for kids here.

 

Healthy Cookware for Your Real Food Kitchen


vintage_kitchen

Photo from Love Made Me Do It x

As more and more people come around to the benefits of eating healthily and from the source, it struck me recently that there’s little information surrounding the benefits of choosing the correct and healthiest cookware on the market today.

We all know that somewhere lurking in our kitchen is at least one old saucepan that perhaps had its heyday in the 90’s and is hanging in there, just by the skin of its teeth.

Although for many of us it can be a struggle to say goodbye to what is a reminder of a delicious meal created with a special person or a trusty rusty pan that has seen many a day, for a lot of us the time has now come for cookware update.

Not only do old cooking pots and pans often look battered and bruised, they can also be a source of leeching chemicals which infiltrate our food and negate the benefits of all of the wonderfully fresh, organic and healthy produce we are purchasing.

When choosing new cookware it’s important to look at a number of factors, the usability, the price and most importantly, the materials used.  More

Cauliflower & Daikon Rice and Quinoa Pilaf


white riceIt’s time to get out those oversized salad bowls from the back of your kitchen cupboard. Today I’m going to give you lots of healthy options for replacing white rice in your meals.

You know those times when you’re looking for an alternative to stodgy, insulin spiking white rice and not sure where to turn? Well, why not try one of these more nutritious options for the perfect partnership or base to a meal. They make excellent replacements and you can whip them up just as easily.

When eaten regularly, research has shown that eating white rice can increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes.  Aside from its sky high glycemic index, another reason to give white rice the flick is its lack of nutrients after undergoing refinement and processing, stripping the grain of essential B-vitamins, iron, manganese and fibre and leaving you with zilcho nutrition. More

Quinoa Pancakes


?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Here’s a wonderful healthy breakfast or lunch idea that will give you a serve of complete protein and keep your blood sugar levels in check.

Quinoa Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (white, brown or red)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • pinch of Celtic sea salt
  • coconut oil or butter for frying
  • Stevia, lemon wedges for serving

Method

  • In a blender place all ingredients and blend until smooth adding more milk if required
  • Heat oil or butter in a frying pan
  • Place a spoonful of batter into pan and cook until pancake starts to bubble on top
  • Carefully flip it over and continue cooking until it is golden brown.
  • Remove from pan and serve with lemon and stevia.
  • You can make savoury versions too by adding nutritional yeast and serving with a green salad.

4pm Pick Up Biscuits


4pm pick up bicks

Creating and filing a healthy biscuit barrel isn’t a chore with these yummy 4pm Pick Up Biscuits which not only stave off hunger pangs but also nourish children from the inside out. They are one of my new recipes from my just released book Supercharged Food for Kids.

Every parent has encountered the hullaballoo surrounding a chaotic after school pick up, stuck in an endless car line, disgruntlement rising as every traffic light turns to red and mum or dad trying to navigate across town in the fastest way possible to make it in time to drop the kids off at after school activities.  By the time they hit the car kids are usually quite hungry and can be tired and irritable after a long school day, so it’s important to create good eating patterns at this critical time and feed them a snack which is nutritious as well as being delicious. More

Smoked Salmon and Pistachio Terrine


 

salmon terrine

One of my favourite things to do on weekends is to catch up with my girlfriends and prepare a delicious sample spread of pot luck bits and pieces!

Interestingly, after a solid year of writing my Kids’ cookbook, I have decided that there is something inherently comforting about eating food in small, finger like portions. In fact the secret to feeding fussy children lies in the art of chopping and creating food in an imaginative way and I believe we must all secretly take delight in having food prepared into fun, bite size morsels! More

Cacao Bomb Crackles


Cacao Bomb Crackles

Here’s a recipe from my brand new book Supercharged Food for Kids.

It’s crackle time! You’ve probably all witnessed the unhealthy versions of these hanging around on the table at every kid’s birthday party, loved unconditionally by children and parents alike.  These crunchy, crackles of puffed rice are essentially an old fashioned treat that I have always yearned to recondition for a real food 21st century.

Using real food will teach your child to appreciate food’s natural flavours and develop and understanding of what real food actually tastes like and this recipe is the perfect example.  If you skip the sugar-filled, artificially flavoured party treats and instead opt for a healthier version it will ensure you are meeting your child’s nutritional needs with a good supply of magnesium and iron from the raw cacao and B vitamins from brown rice puffs.  Coconut oil and butter will add stickiness and sweetness and provide a great all round anti-fungal and anti-bacterial element.

This recipe is a godsend for busy parents as it can be whipped up quickly and then placed in the fridge for kids to enjoy for morning and afternoon tea, an after school snack or a sleepover.

You can also make Cacao Pops as a breakfast cereal just by omitting the coconut oil and mixing up the other ingredients and chilling in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Cacao Bomb Crackles

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown rice puffs
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 6 TBS coconut oil
  • 2 TBS coconut butter
  • 3 TBS cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  • Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper cup liners.
  • Place rice puffs in a bowl.
  • In a food processor process coconut sugar until it resembles a fine powder.
  • Place a bowl over boiling water on the stove top and add in coconut sugar, coconut oil and butter and cacao powder until melted on a medium heat.
  • Add desiccated coconut and stir well.
  • Remove from heat, spoon mixture into liners.
  • Place in the refrigerator to set.

You can pick up the new e-book here.

Happy Cooking

Lee xo

Spinach Ice Cream


Spinach Ice Cream

Despite staying away from lactose I’m still very much partial to a scoop of delicious ice cream at times.

The little kid in me still get’s excited when I crack open a fresh tub of creamy home made confection.

As the saying goes, necessity breeds the mother of invention and having recently delved into the art of kids food, I managed to strike the perfect balance- ice cream, blasted green with nourishing spinach under the guise of peppermint. You follow me?

Its Bliss. I know you may think that spinach and ice cream are a pair of ingredients most likely to end up on the cutting room floor, but believe me when I tell you this, they make a lovely refreshing partnership. Bananas bring grown up spinach back down to earth and it’s distinctive flavour is well hidden when combined with coconut milk and mint. More

Supercharged Food for Kids


I’m really excited to launch my new book, Supercharged Food for Kids.  As a mum, wholefoods chef and former English teacher a lot of my life has been spent in the classroom helping kids grow academically. Now I’ve combined my teaching knowledge with my Certificate in Food and Nutrition (Polytechnic West), practical health coaching knowledge (Certified Health Coach, Institute of Integrative Nutrition) and first hand parenting skills to help guide other parents when it comes to integrating healthy eating routines, recipes and food ideas the whole family can benefit from.

My latest mission is to change the way kids eat so that we can build stronger, healthier and brighter kids from the ground up.

Supercharged Food for Kids features 90 recipes and meal solutions that not only taste delicious, but deliver the nutrients needed to help kids sustain energy levels, keep their mood up, concentrate and perform at their best.

SCF Kids Book CoverYou won’t find any frankenfood (genetically modified food) in Supercharged Food for Kids. But you will find kids’ favourites such as pizza, nuggets, pasta and desserts all made with healthy ingredients.

I hope it inspires you to create fresh, wholesome and nutrient rich meals that your children will eat again and again. And hopefully it will help your kids develop good eating habits they can maintain for the rest of their lives.

I’ve included tips on how to remove sugar and processed food, my top ten nutrient army, eating for special diets and allergies, packing and presenting a creative lunchbox, a bunch of tips for busy families, a chapter on sneaking super foods into everyday kids’ meals and information on mood, concentration, energy, performance and squad food.

There’s also a shopping list and Monday to Friday Lunchbox menu as well as some really fun lunchbox ideas that can be made with gluten free sandwiches and wraps.

You’ll find recipes such as Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, Pirate Muesli Bars, Cacao Bomb Crackles, Cheesy Mini Tartlets, Crunchy Chicken Drummers, Rice Crispy Bars, Zoo Poo, Watermelon Ice Blocks, Gluten Free Pita Pockets, Savoury Breakfast Muffins and lots, lots more.

My favourite recipe is Cacao Bomb Crackles.

You can buy the book here. 

Banana and Coconutty Smoothie
Banana and Coconutty Smoothie

Eggplant and Green Bean Curry


photo 2My usual approach to vegetables is to bake, steam or stir-fry them with garlic but this year I’m determined to improve my culinary skills when it comes to cooking vegetables. I’ve recently been using chef and food writer Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage book ‘Veg Every Day’ and this vegetarian recipe is adapted from it.

I’ve used a healthier oil, coconut oil and substituted activated almonds. Homemade curry paste works really beautifully and it’s a gorgeous curry, richly layered, warming and packed with melding flavours. More

Pea and Lamb Soup


Pea and Lamb Soup low resPea and Lamb Soup

Tonight I’m indulging in a fireside supper.  And what better marriage made in heaven than fresh pea and lamb. I used pasture fed lamb and organic fresh peas for this soup and 100% grass fed stock.

Rustic and hearty, simmering on the stove top increases the flavour ten-fold in this soup and if you’re not rushed for time, let it simmer for 15 minutes before blending. This perfect winter fare also contains parsley which provides a deeper flavour but you can substitute with mint if you prefer a more traditional tang.

Peas are rich in protein and a good source of fibre, Vitamin A, C and B1. Whether fresh or frozen they’re an abundant supplier of B1 (thiamin) and iron. Thiamin is essential for energy production, nerve function and carbohydrate metabolism. If you’re looking to promote good intestinal health, peas are the bees knees due to their water-soluble fibers which bind with cholesterol and help excrete it from the body. More

Chai Chia Breakfast Pudding


Image created by artist fleetingmind

Long term commitment… three little words that shoot alarm bells through the ears of commitment phobes across the land, quivering in their running shoes.

But LTC doesn’t just apply to human relationships. If you’ve been trapped in a dreary relationship with the same old breakfast food for the past few months then perhaps now’s a good time to shake up the monotony and slip on a new shoe for size?

Your alarm has gone off, you slam the snooze button a couple of times, hit the shower and then not surprisingly by the time you look up at the clock hands whizzing by, it’s time to set off.  With 9am closing in on you like a whistling kettle, you pop a slab of bread in the toaster and well, there you go again.

Eating the same food every morning is like a relationship where you’re watching someone talking, you notice their lips are moving but you can’t hear anything, only your thoughts stampeding through your mind like a Spanish matador in close fitting tights and a tasseled Chaquetilla.

Eggs, eggs, eggs and more eggs? Again. Really?

More

Blueberries and Brown Rice


2997-250x250As I type this rain drops are attacking my window.  Soon I’ll be walking my dog in the squelchy, slushy grass that lines the water-logged footpath outside. Cashew, my dog, likes to dawdle and sniff every solitary blade of grass in the Olympic-sized park at the top of the hill and the snuffling and shuffling can be problematic on days like today when time is limited and bucket loads of rain are pelting down and collecting in rather large swimming pools on the awaiting pavement.

Right now I’m in bed with a cup of morning chai and for some reason; blueberries and brown rice are whispering sweet nothings in my ear. Maybe it’s just the two of them and the fact that their nourishing combination goes together like a man and his wife that is making me feel comforted and absorbing my thoughts.

The food I’ve been eating lately is simple stuff, not because it’s all the rage, but for other reasons.  My mission when nourishing my body is to ensure I cook with the least amount of processed foods and look for ingredients that are environmentally sound where I can.

All rice, travels through several processes before it makes its way conveniently to your plastic package. Once picked, the seeds are milled to remove the outer husk. This results in simple, untarnished brown rice.

But wait, there’s more to this story. More

Banana Ice Cream


banana-ice-cream-one-ingredient-2This is the easiest banana ice cream recipe you’ll ever make. Said me.

And because it’s so simple, why not rope the kids to lend a hand. After all it’s an intrinsic part of their nature to learn and explore the world before them, so let’s begin their inauguration slap bang in the central hub of the home, the kitchen.

Empowering kids to make their own healthy choices and filling them with healthy, nutritional food, that will energise and revitalise them during such an important time of mental and physical growth, will benefit them not only now but also in the years to come.

The main element of this recipe is bananas; child friendly because of their lofty dose of potassium – an essential ingredient to keep pint-sized nervous systems in good shape. Without potassium, no new brain cells can be created.

The potassium and carbohydrates found in Australia’s number one selling fruit are the ideal brain food to help children stay alert. Potassium enables muscles to contract and expand efficiently during exercising, helping to prevent cramping. So don’t expect any Jungle Jim or rope swing misadventures any time soon.  Bananas contain plenty of essential nutrients like fibre, vitamin C and B6, as well as natural sugars glucose, fructose and sucrose, providing children with natural energy.

Cacao contains high levels of antioxidants and being rich in flavanol, it helps to boost brain function by enhancing blood flow to the brain, perfect for growing, active minds. The cocoa bean is especially high in magnesium converting into calcium and iron by the body, essential for growing strong, healthy bones.

My favourite benefit of this recipe is that the combination of banana and raw cacao allows children a natural sweet treat whilst ensuring they are still receiving essential nutrients that their growing bodies crave and are reliant upon.

Banana Ice Cream

Ingredients
2 bananas frozen and cut into chunks
1 TBS raw cacao powder
6 drops liquid stevia or sweetener of your choice
1 TBS almond butter

Method
Pre-peel bananas cut them into chunks and place in a freezer bag in the freezer
Once frozen, place them into a food processor with the cacao, stevia and almond butter
Puree until creamy stopping to scrape the sides when needed

Tahini and Chocolate Mousse


Tahini and Choc MousseDig in… It’s all good. 

What’s that word when you’re busting loose? Mousse Mousse.  There’s nothing like a little old school hip hop and chocolate to boost your mood. Hip hop and chocolate just seem to go together like Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five.

Speaking of chocolate, have you noticed how often it’s accompanied with bucket loads of the white stuff, sugar, it can be a real downer in the health department.

So, for all you hip hop fans and chocoholics out there, I’ve created a pop-locking recipe (a concoction of all-things-good-for-you), that tastes delicious so you and your crew can dig in guilt-free. More

Sugar Free Chocolate


chocolate

 

Hey guys… I have just reinvented the chocolate recipe to make it more creamy, smooth, tasty and delicious.  Here’s the new recipe, enjoy!

White Chocolate Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup organic coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 TBS vanilla essence
  • 10-12 drops liquid stevia or 1 tsp powdered or to taste
  • 2 TBS shaved cacao butter

Method:

  • Melt cacao and coconut butter and oil in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water then add additional ingredients
  • Place in a container or mould of your choice and freeze for 30mins. Break into bite sized pieces.

Dark Chocolate Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup raw organic cacao powder
  • ¼ cup organic coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 TBS vanilla essence
  • 10-12 drops liquid stevia or 1 tsp powdered or to taste
  • 2 TBS shaved cacao butter

Method:

  • Melt cacao and coconut butter/oil in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water then add additional ingredients
  • Place in a container or mould of your choice and freeze for 30mins. Break into bite sized pieces
  • Don’t forget, you can make other versions to suit your taste by adding orange or peppermint essence, crushed raw almonds, walnuts or cashews.

Supercharged Lasagne


LasagneMy mantra for this year is…

‘It’s the small changes you make every day that count’

Making a concerted effort to eat more vegetables and less processed food will have an ah-mazing effect on your body. Even if you feel the irresistible lure of comfort food, including a couple of healthy swap outs, like using zucchini in place of pasta and adding yoghurt instead of white sauce you can still enjoy a wonderfully healthy and filling meal such as this scrumptious Supercharged Lasagne.

I think small changes everyday work. When you think about it, that extra-large slice of cake or chocolate square is ok, on occasion, because if we go cold turkey and become too strict on ourselves then we end up craving a sweet treat even more.   Then what can happen is that you starve yourself of the occasional treat and then when you do relent you gorge out on the whole cake, which can leave you feeling guilty and mad at yourself. More

Teriyaki Chicken Bowl


chicken teriyaki (2)

When I fall in love with a dish, I always want to reach for my thinking cap and create a healthy version of it.  This may sound to you like culinary madness but this week my mission in the kitchen has been to create a simple Japanese Chicken Teriyaki recipe, filled with nutritious ingredients yet still full of flavour and one that genuinely looks the part. Mr Miyagi? Yes Daniel son!

Stir-fries are great options for mid-week fuss-free meals especially if you’re time-poor yet want something nourishing and filling. My latest recipe can easily be converted to a slow cooked version by skipping the marinade and placing chicken and your choice of vegetables in your slow cooker, pouring the sauce on top and slowly cooking it for about 6-8 hours on low.

Eating healthily doesn’t mean depriving yourself or eating less, it just means eating better and smarter.  The main ingredients to step away from when crafting a healthy home-made Teriyaki marinade are modified corn starch, sunflower oil, breadcrumbs and supermarket processed Asian sauces which are usually full of preservatives and sugar.  You can still enjoy a robust salty taste with a hint of sweetness from a low sugar, low sodium version, just by including ingredients like wheat free tamari, rice malt syrup and coconut oil.

The benefit of stir-fries is that you can veg them up and showcase seasonal ingredients by including anything you have lying about in your fridge. I used broccoli and red and green capsicum which are high in vitamin A and C, as well as potassium, which is important for the proper function of all cells, tissues, and organs in the human body. When in doubt just let your healthy ingredients crowd out other ingredients and add lots of greens or colours of the rainbow.

More

Celery, Leek and Thyme Soup


Celery and Leek SoupI’m back. Apologies for my lack of recipe posts lately. I’ve been working on bringing my Heal Your Gut eBook to life in the form of an online program which starts next month (October) and a print book published mid next year.

This self imposed exhile has been a great excuse to sip on soupy creations, served warm in tea mugs whilst beavering away.  Today I want to share with you one of my particular favourites.

Although it may not be the ultimate eye candy, consider this soup as a bowl of anti-inflammatory goodness. You don’t need potatoes to herald a comfort factor. The combination of celery and leek brings with it a mellow flavour and creaminess without the use of heavy cream.

Celery is best known for its ability to lower blood pressure, but it also helps protect against inflammation within the digestive tract, and aids in digestion. Combined with leeks, which are high in vitamins and minerals, this recipe is a great option to include when you feel like having a belly good holiday.

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