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.

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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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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

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