This is a perfect nutritious recipe for those “Rush Hour” days. This simple recipe is filled with all the good stuff that will make you glow from the inside out. The ingredients are easy to find and easy on the budget. Boiled eggs will keep you fuller for longer and will prevent you from binge eating. Broccoli is a super food known for its high levels of calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis. Broccoli is also high in fibre, which aids in digestion, maintains low blood pressure and curbs overeating. I cooked the mushrooms in a balsamic reduction source giving this lunch box recipe a burst of flavors
- 2 boiled eggs
- Handful of broccoli florets
- Handful of chopped raw peppers (red, yellow and green)
- 100 g sliced mushrooms
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Boil eggs and put aside to cool. Steam broccoli for 5 minutes and put aside to cool. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a small pot. Add the mushrooms and allow it to cook for about 3 minutes. Add Balsamic vinegar and allow it to simmer for 3 minutes on a low heat. Mix all ingredients in your lunch box and add the chopped raw peppers. Enjoy!
Store bought granola is often laden with hidden sugars and unhealthy fats. That is why I always prefer to make my own at home. This recipe reminds me a little of Coco-Pops (if you are from South Africa you will definitely know this) as it turns your milk chocolate brown. I use many seeds in this recipe to ensure a great balance of healthy fats. Hope you love this one as much as I do!
- 1 cup coconut pieces
- 1 cup oats
- ¼ cup cashew nuts
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup linseeds
- ¼ cup sultanas/goji berries/chopped dates
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted
- 4 TBSP maple syrup/xylitol/raw honey
- 1 TBSP cacao powder
1. Preheat oven to 180⁰C
2. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and combine well
3. Line baking sheet with tray baking paper and cover with granola mix.
4. Bake in the oven for 25 - 30minutes until crisp but not burnt
5. Serve topped over ½ cup of unsweetened Coconut Cream
This is a great dip to put out with crudités and crackers, it's healthy, delicious, and sure to be a crowd pleaser!
Raw Red Pepper & Sun-Dried Tomato Dip
- 2 baby marrows or half of one large one (zucchini or courgette if you come from outside of South Africa)
- 1 baby red pepper
- 8 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked at least 10 minutes
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 Tbsp tahini
- dash of cumin
- salt to taste
Directions: Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Serve and enjoy!
We all know that sugar is bad for you in excess. But, there are occasions when you want some so which alternative sugars are best? Also some foods containing healthier sugars are actually better for your blood sugar control than foods that say ‘sugar free’. So, how do you know what’s good, what’s bad and how much you can have?
Firstly, it’s worth understanding how sugar works. The sugar our bodies run off is glucose. The body is designed to break down natural sugars into glucose, which then enters the bloodstream to power all cells. Most fruit provides fructose. This has to be converted into glucose by the liver, making it more slow-releasing with a low ‘Glyceamic Index’, with a GI of 23, which is the speed at which a sugar raises blood glucose levels. Glucose, by definition, has a GI of 100.
Nature never provides fructose, found mainly in fruit but also extracted from corn, without fibre. So, when you eat the whole food your liver gets drip fed fructose, which it converts to glucose. However, if you have a direct and excessive supply of fructose it both taxes the liver and can be directly turned into fat. The cola companies love it both because it is cheaper and also people will drink more before the glucose ‘appestat’ kicks in and says you’ve had enough sweetness.
So, any source of refined fructose, not in whole fruit, from fresh juice to agave, is best limited.
Sucrose, white sugar, is a glucose and a fructose molecule, with a GI of about 70. Faster than fructose, slower than glucose. Honey, molasses and maple syrup have a similar GI to regular sugar – brown or white, as does Sucanat. Milk sugar is lactose, made up of a unit of glucose and a unit of galactose. It has a GI of 46. Worse than fructose.
Then, there are sugar alcohols. (They don't get you drunk!) These usually end in ‘tol’ – maltitol, xylitol, lactitol, mannitol, sorbitol, also isomalt. Some, like xylitol, are naturally occurring, others, like maltitol, are man-made. They are sweet but have a fraction of the calories and a fraction of the effect on blood sugar and are therefore very low GI. The synthetic sugars sorbitol, mannitol, isomalt, lactitol, erythritol all have very low GI scores, below 10, and are often used to sweeten processed foods. You’ll find sorbitol, for example, used in children’s chewables. While not ‘natural’ the only real side-effect of sugar alcohols at high dose is the potential for loose bowels.
Xylitol is the best natural sugar alcohol with a GI of 8. That means that 9 teaspoons of xylitol would have the same effect on your blood sugar as one teaspoon of regular sugar. The only problem with xylitol is that it won't caramelise, so don't try it for crèmebrulée or dishes where the sugar has to melt, and it also has a slightly cooling after taste so it’s not the best in, for example, chocolate. It is good for cakes, jams, added to cereal or teas. It is also solid, not liquid. Probably the best liquid sugar is agave, but this varies in quality and is effectively fructose.
Xylose, the precursor of xylitol, is the predominant sugar in berries, cherries and plums, so these are the best fruits to eat. Apples and pears contain mainly fructose. Dates, grapes and hence raisins have simpler sugars and a GI more like white sugar. Date sugar would be worse. The food industry exploit this by using grape juice concentrate as a ‘natural’ sugar or adding dates, raisins and banana to ‘sugar free’ bars and smoothies, but don't be fooled. Apple juice concentrate is also used, and is certainly a better natural sweetener that grape juice concentrate.
Coconut palm sugar claims a low GI of 35 but I’m suspicious. It contains sucrose and should be around 65. Same as honey. It is possible that it has other mitigating factors that slow the release, or that this score is wrong. The analysis was done in the Phillipines, where the economy is dependent on coconut products. It’s in my wait and see category. (By the way, you will see variable GI scores for foods in tables. It is measured by feeding volunteers the sugar and measuring blood sugar levels. Natural variations do occur. It is not an exact science.)
Another interesting natural sugar from a root in South America is Yacon. It is high in inulin which also helps lower blood sugar effects. The GI is unknown.
There are many man made artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, that have no GI, but there are associated health problems in excess. I avoid these. The only zero GI natural sweetener I’d eat is stevia. There’s nothing wrong with it, except the taste. Stevia has a ‘sting in the tail’ - a slightly unpleasant after-taste. If you can deal with that it’s good.
Both the most important thing is to have less sugar overall, and primarily get your sweetness from whole foods. You can wean yourself off having a sweet tooth by gradually decreasing the level of sweetness in foods and drinks. Also, combine protein with carbohydrate foods because that slows down the speed of release of sugars. While the GI of a food tells you how quickly it’s sugars raise your blood sugar compared to glucose, the Glycemic Load (GL) is a better measure because it tells you what a specific amount of a sugar does to your blood sugar. You can look up the GL of foods online at www.holforddiet.com.
Try this delicious Apple Pie recipe from South Africa's beloved Leafy Greens restaurant!
Raw Apple Pie
Serves up to 16 people
- 1½ cups macadamias
- ½ cup almonds, soaked over night
- 1 cup dates, pitted
- ½ cup water
- pinch salt
- 3 cups apples, finely chopped
- 3 tbs lemon juice
- 4 tbs cashew butter
- ¼ cup agave
- 1 tbs cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 vanilla pod, scraped
For the crust: blend all the ingredients in a food processor until fairly smooth. Press into a tart pan, forming a thin crust.
For the filling: mix together all the ingredients. Once the crust is set, add filling. Keeps in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
Feeling sluggish, bloated and uncomfortable? Fear not! I have the perfect “antidote”. This Miracle Morning Tonic is a simple and highly effective way to cleanse, repair and energize the body. This is something that I drink every single morning as I wake up, and I absolutely swear by it! Even if I am on holiday I will make sure to bring along my special ingredients so that I can enjoy the benefits of this miraculous drink.
Although this concoction may at first glance appear to be something that you would rather not drink, like ever, I can assure you that it truly works wonders for keeping the gut healthy and happy. You will see and feel the difference within just a few days, after which you will never want to miss a morning without your Miracle Morning Tonic. The powerful combination of these detoxifying ingredients (listed below) work together to cleanse the gut, promote digestion, eliminate bloating and boost the metabolism.
So how do you make it? So simple, really! Here goes…
You will need:
- 1 litre boiled spring water – please make sure this is spring water!
- 1 fresh lemon – cut into slices – alkalises the system and promotes the breakdown of fat
- 1 tbsp. oolong tea leaves (can also use green tea leaves) – boosts metabolism, detoxifies the system and contains anti-cancer properties
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper – boosts metabolism and detoxifies the system
- 1 tsp. cinnamon – boosts metabolism and acts as an anti-inflammatory
- 1 tbsp. raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar – promotes fat loss and contains probiotics to aid in digestion
- 1 tbsp. liquid probiotic of choice (optional)
- 1 tbsp. raw honey
- 1 glass jar to hold 1 litre of water
- Cut fresh lemon into thin slices and place into glass jar, add apple cider vinegar, honey, cinnamon, cayenne and probiotic.
- Boil spring water and allow to cool for a few minutes. Do not add water immediately after boiling as this will burn the spices.
- Once cooled, add water to jar, stir vigorously with a spoon to ensure that all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- For every serving, simply warm a mug full of the liquid in a small pot on high heat until liquid begins to boil. Please use a stove for heating, no microwaves, as these destroy all the goodness of the ingredients! Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly and enjoy!
For the best results, make sure that you drink your Miracle Morning Tonic as you wake up, first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. I like to make a 1 litre jug which lasts up to 4 days if refrigerated and stored in a glass jar. Allowing these healing ingredients to soak in the water for a good amount of time is even more beneficial, as all their healthful properties are absorbed into the water. And voila! There you have it. Your metabolism boosting, bloat curing, gut cleansing, body detoxing Miracle Morning Tonic! Go on…try it out..a new morning ritual that will do you wonders!
By now you might have gathered that I really enjoy gardening and cooking what I grow. My nephew and I have a lot of fun in the kitchen experimenting with food where I try out new recipes on familiar foods or introduce new-to-us vegetables and herbs to dishes. In addition to using him and his friends as my food tasters (brave people!), he also loves creating recipes for marinades and sauces using our garden herbs, and bakes incredible-tasting pizzas - an excellent dish to add grilled eggplant to.
How To Grow Eggplant
Eggplant grow easily in climates where summers are long and warm, so our semi-arid region where temperatures usually range from warm to extreme heat are ideal for growing this vegetable. You can still grow varieties that mature quickly or grow them in containers if your summers are shorter, if you start out your seedlings inside weeks before Spring officially begins and have a way to keep the starts heated well enough to germinate.
Preparing The Soil
Eggplant grows well in fertile, well-drained soil in a sunny area. Make sure that you have not previously grown eggplant/green peppers or tomatoes on that site for at least two years though, as these types of vegetables tend to be very unhappy if you do (I'm still suffering the consequences of ignoring that rule with my tomato crop). I compost my clay soil with cow manure very thoroughly weeks before I plant eggplant, though I've never measured the pH to make sure it has the recommended 5.5 -6.5 pH.
The Planting Process
I tend to plant my seedlings directly into the soil. That works for me because of my climate, but it's not necessarily the recommended treatment for propagating eggplant in areas where there is a proper winter, complete with frost or even snow. If your summers are short, start your seedlings indoors six to nine weeks before your average last frost. Soak seeds overnight to encourage them to germinate and then sow them ¼ inch deep in flats or cell-type containers and then keep them warm. The seeds will sprout in seven to ten days.
Once the temperatures have warmed up enough outside, you can then transplant them to chosen spot. I tend to grow eggplant as a short-term perennial, so I'm very careful to put them in an area I have no plans to use the next year or so. Make sure that there is room for them to grow too (around 2-3 feet apart) as the more space they have, the more productive they'll be. I interplant my eggplant with lettuce, green beans and marigolds to fill the spaces inbetween.
Once the seedlings are secure in their place, I just water them thoroughly and regularly and try to keep them weed-free. In the years I've grown it, I haven't had to deal with pests, but I understand flea-beetles can be a very big issue.
The first time I grew eggplant, I wondered how the emerging veggies were going to hold up in the relatively small bushes, but they did. To test for ripeness, press its skin. If the skin does not springs back, then it's ready for harvesting.
This week’s take-away had a lot of components, which means it can take a while to make the whole meal. The good news is, you can make individual components separately and enjoy them on their own - but the combination as a whole is a winner. The fajita sandwiches could easily be converted into proper fajitas by making a thinner raw bread that resembles a tortilla, instead of making a thicker, square bread.
Raw Vegan Open-Faced Fajita Sandwich
- Raw bread (or tortillas if you want proper fajitas)
- 2 small bell peppers, sliced thin (use 1 red and 1 yellow for color)
- 8 baby bella mushrooms (or 10 crimini) thinly sliced
- 1 shallot (or small red onion) thinly sliced
- olive oil
- agave syrup
- 4 large pieces of lettuce
- 1/3 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1/4 cup julienned carrot
- salsa (see recipe below)
- cashew sour cream (see recipe below)
Instructions: The night before, mix some olive oil and tamari with a little agave in a shallow dish. Marinate the peppers, mushrooms and onions overnight. To serve, place a piece of lettuce on a square piece of cornbread. Add shredded cabbage, carrots and marinated vegetables, then top with some salsa and a dollop of sour cream.
Fresh Tomato Salsa
- 2 large tomatoes, seeded
- 1/4 bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 red onion, chopped (or 1 spring onion)
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Himalayan salt
- freshly ground pepper
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- small handful fresh coriander/ cilantro
Instructions: Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until chopped/broken into small pieces– you do not want to make soup.
Cashew Sour Cream
- 1 cup cashews, soaked at least four hours
- 1/2 cup of water
- 2 Tb olive oil
- 2 Tb lemon juice
- pinch of Himalayan salt
Instructions: Blend all ingredients in blender until completely smooth, adding more water if needed. Taste for salt, lemon.
Ok so this post is two-fold… on the one hand we have a simple delicious juice and on the other we have a naughty juice… a.k.a. a cocktail. We could all use a little health AND a little naughtiness to help us get the weekend started :)
One of my favorite things about summer is that watermelon is in season. I could subsist on watermelon. It’s versatile, delicious, and the health benefits go on and on. Here are a few:
- Low in sugar and calories
- Natural diuretic (yay for kidney health!)
- High in antioxidants
- Natural electrolyte (hello, post-workout food)
- Can reduce body fat
Yum. While you can put watermelon through a juicer, it’s not really necessary. The fruit is so high in water that it’s worth keeping the pulp and just popping some chunks into the blender.
handful of mint
2 cups of chopped watermelon
Blend the watermelon. Juice the cucumber and mint. Mix the two. Voila!
- chopped watermelon
- champagne/sparkling wine (just make sure it’s dry, the watermelon adds sweetness and you don’t want a sickly sweet cocktail)
- mint to garnish (optional)
1. Blend the watermelon until smooth.
2. Fill a champagne flute 2/3 of the way with champagne, then carefully top with the watermelon juice.
These pink delights go down WAY too easy. Delicious, refreshing, simple, and screaming summer.
Having fresh breath is wonderful. It makes you confident to talk to people without having to worry about what they're smelling throughout your conversation. I have to say that when I changed my lifestyle to cleaner eating I didn't have the yucky feeling in my mouth anymore so no more chewing gum or minty sweets. I do still love to have fresh breath and using a mouthwash is a nice way to freshen up.
If you have a look at how many ingredients there are on normal mouthwashes, and how many you don't even know how to pronounce you start to get a little concerned. Now I know you don't usually swallow the mouthwash but what about your kiddies? They swallow the mouthwash quite regularly and all these potentially toxic chemicals are going into their little bodies. It doesn't seem like a lot but when you add up those toxins as well as other body care products, house hold cleaners and pollution in the air, there is quite a toxic load going into your system. Making your own mouthwash and reducing even just this little toxic load can go a long way in improving your health.
Chewing on parsley, mint or swirling lemon around your mouth also helps freshen up your breath. But if you don't have these on hand then you can make your own mouthwash:
- 1.5 glasses of purified water
- 2 tablespoons of food grade hydrogen peroxide
- 2-3 drops of mint essential oil
- Stevia for a bit of sweetness (optional)
Pop all the ingredients in your bottle and shake to combine.
To Use: Swirl around in your mouth after brushing your teeth and then rinse with water. This is such an affordable way to make a non toxic mouthwash... Fresh breath here we come!
Recipe from http://www.easyrecipeplugin.com/