Julie's Blueberry and Apple Muffins
I'm lucky to have the lovely Julie Meek, well respected peak performance specialist and dietician, as my guest recipe blogger this week. Julie is going to share with us her delicious Blueberry and Apple muffin recipe, which is a favourite with her family. These tasty muffins are easy to whip up and contain plenty of healthy ingredients. Eating apples regularly is a great way to keep a healthy heart, as they are rich in pectin, a type of fibre beneficial for lowering cholesterol levels. Apples and blueberries are full of immune-boosting vitamin C, and potent antioxidants that help fight free radicals that increase premature ageing and the risk of many chronic diseases. Coconut oil contains healthy fats that can be used by the body easily for energy production, and also help improve brain function. Coconut oil is considered a thermogenic food that can help give your metabolism a boost.
2 cups grated apple
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/3 cup raw honey
½ cup cold pressed coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or essence
2 cup wholemeal SR flour
¼ tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
2. Thoroughly combine the wet ingredients.
3. Combine the dry mix ingredients and then add to the wet mix.
4. Gently fold through the blueberries.
5. Place the mixture into a prepared 12-hole muffin pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Julie Meek  (Peak performance Specialist and Dietitian). Its true, Julie Meek is an Accredited Practising Dietitian - but there's a lot more to Julie than food. Julie worked for many years with The Dockers, Perth Wildcats and athletes at the WA Institute of Sport. She has helped thousands achieve personal and business success through eating well and implementing the strategies of the elite sports person. Julie’s 20+ years of experience and qualifications enable her to deliver the most current and groundbreaking information available. Julie is the resident 'nutrition and performance' expert with a regular segment on 6PR and the author of “truth, lies & chocolate” and “Ready, Set…Go”.
Raw Berry Cheesecake
This decedent dessert is always a winner. It is so easy to whip up and it's really healthy too, being rich in protein and healthy fats, as well as containing calcium, zinc, magnesium, and plenty of free radical fighting antioxidants.
* Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free
½ cup almonds
4 tbsp desiccated coconut
¾ cup medjool dates, remove seeds
2 cups cashew nuts, soaked overnight
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
¾ cup coconut milk
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Juice of lemon
¾ cup fresh blueberries
¾ cup fresh raspberries
Soak cashews overnight in water.
Place dates, almonds, and coconut in your food processor, then pulse until well combined with chunks of almond.
Press date mixture into a cheesecake tin. Then place base in the freezer while you are making the filling.
In your food processor place cashews, coconut oil, coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla bean paste, and lemon juice, and blend until smooth and creamy.
Pour half of the mixture onto base, spreading out evenly, then place raspberries evenly over filling, pressing them into mixture.
Add blueberries to food processor and blend with remaining mixture.
Pour blueberry filling over raspberry layer then place in the freezer for 3 hours. Take out of freezer 30 min before serving. Serve topped with lovely fresh berries and almonds, coconut flakes, or you can make a raspberry coulis to drizzle over the top. Enjoy!
Nut-free Crunchy Muesli Bars
These scrumptious nut-free muesli bars are perfect for school lunches or as a nutritious treat with a herbal tea. These bars are loaded with dietary fibre to support good bowel and cardiovascular health, and provide beneficial fats for brain function, zinc to boost immunity, magnesium required for energy production and the antioxidant vitamin E. These bars are also an excellent source of complex carbohydrates to supply sustained energy to fuel the body and brain.
1 ½ cups oats
40 g desiccated coconut
2 Tablespoons chia or flax seeds + 1 Tablespoon for topping
50g sunflower seeds
110g raw honey
60 g coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
7 medjool dates, deseeded and chopped
Preheat oven to 160*C. Line slice tray with baking paper.
Place dry ingredients in food processor and pulse until combined. Add honey, coconut oil, vanilla bean and diced date and pulse until combined.
Press mixture into slice tray, sprinkle with chia seeds and bake for around 25- 30 minutes until golden.
Take out of the oven and cut into squares while still warm. Allow to cool completely before eating. Stores well in an airtight container in the fridge.
Even though its name may be misleading, buckwheat is not actually a grain, it is a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb. Buckwheat makes a great grain substitute for people sensitive to wheat and gluten. Buckwheat is full of fibre and is a good source of magnesium which is beneficial for helping lower stress levels and blood pressure. Magnesium will also help keep blood sugar levels more stable. Buckwheat also provides flavanoids, including rutin, which have powerful antioxidant action and cardiovascular protective properties.
Coconut & buckwheat pancakes
1 cup of organic coconut milk
1 organic egg
1 cup buckwheat flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tablespoon raw honey
Place wet ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well combined.
In a larger bowl place dry ingredients and combine. Make a well and then slowly add wet ingredients, mixing gently. Don’t over mix.
Place a little coconut oil in a fry pan and cook until bubbles occur and then flip and cook other side.
Delicious served with date spread, coconut yoghurt, banana, berries, or some raw honey and a squeeze of lemon.
These delicious muffins are jam-packed full of beta-carotene goodness, to help improve your eye health and vision. This important vitamin is also vital for a strong functioning immune system and for beautiful healthy skin. Perfect for school lunch boxes or for an afternoon treat with a herbal tea.
Wholemeal carrot & apple muffins
1 ½ cups organic wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons organic coconut oil
1/2 cup organic raw honey
1 organic egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 medium organic carrots, grated (makes 1 cup)
2 tablespoons flaxseeds or sunflower seeds plus extra for topping
1 heap tablespoon sultanas
Preheat oven to 180*C. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper muffin cups.
In a large bowl place dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
In a smaller bowl whisk all wet ingredients (except carrot) together until well combined.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and slowly pour in wet ingredients, mixing gently. Don’t over mix.
Gently fold through carrot, seeds and sultanas and then place mixture in muffin cups.
Sprinkle with seeds and bake for around 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly from the centers.
If your new year's resolution is to eat better then here are 8 simple ways that will hopefully help make your new years resolution a reality.
1. First of all don’t overwhelm yourself and try to make too many radical changes to your diet in one go. If you pace yourself and gradually start to introduce new foods and swap unhealthy foods to healthier alternatives over the next few weeks you will be more likely to stick to your new healthy dietary regime.
2. Cook more at home. Getting take-out might seem like the best option when your busy and getting home late from work, but unfortunately a lot of take-away choices are unhealthy and high in calories and damaging fats which can promote weight gain and heart disease. Start the new year on a healthier note by preparing nutritious dishes on the weekend to freeze for during the week, when you cook always cook more so you can take leftovers for lunch, keep some frozen veggies on hand, and find some quick and easy healthy recipes to give you some inspiration.
3. One of the best things you can do to start the New Year off in a healthy way is to give your liver a rest from alcohol. Get into fresh vegie juices such as carrot, beetroot, celery, apple and ginger, and herbal teas such as green, peppermint, chamomile, and tulsi. Dandelion root coffee is a healthy caffeine-free alternative to coffee and does wonders for helping the liver detox. Don’t forget to drink lots of water, at least 1 ½ - 2 litres a day, to flush out toxins properly from your body. Natural sparkling mineral water with a splash of fresh lemon or fruit juice is healthy and refreshing on a hot summers day.
4. Your aim should be to get rid of as many processed and refined foods in your diet as you can and start replacing them with nutritious and natural, unprocessed alternatives. A good place to start is by cleaning out your cupboards and fridge of all your packaged unhealthy foods like sugary breakfast cereals and biscuits, soft drink, and unhealthy sauces. Natural, unprocessed foods are naturally rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Eating more of these types of nutritious foods and less processed, refined foods will promote good health and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, cancer and diabetes.
5. Next, start swapping refined ‘white’ grains such as breads, pasta and rice, for healthy fibre-rich wholegrain alternatives including grainy breads, brown rice, whole oats and wholemeal pasta. Wholegrain foods are important sources of sustained energy, fibre, B vitamins and vitamin E. Choosing these foods over refined ‘white’ carbohydrate foods will help you maintain a healthy weight and help to keep blood sugar and insulin levels nice and balanced.
6. Then, swap unhealthy saturated and trans-fats for healthy unsaturated fats. Replace vegetable cooking oil with virgin olive oil or coconut oil. Instead of margarine you can use organic butter, flaxseed oil drizzled on toast or avocado. Make your own healthy mayo out of Greek yoghurt, and salad dressings from seed and nut oils, lemon juice and fresh herbs and spices. Instead of buying greasy take-away meals make your own healthy homemade alternatives eg. oven baked sweet potato chips, healthy burgers and pizza and oven baked crumbed fish. Choose low-fat dairy foods over full fat varieties.
7. Next step is to start including more antioxidant-rich foods in your diet. These foods help prevent free radical damage in the body and they can keep you younger and healthier. Free radicals damage cells in the body and increase the risk of premature ageing along with chronic diseases. The easiest way to incorporate more antioxidants in your diet is to add a handful of mixed berries to your breakfast cereal, add some acai berry puree or powder to a smoothie, have a couple of green or white teas a day, and add some red or orange veggies to your lunch or dinner such as tomatoes, red capsicum, carrots and pumpkin.
8. Eat more fermented foods. Fermented foods such as yoghurt, tempeh, miso, sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables contain beneficial bacteria that help you maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in your gut. Eating fermented vegetables is one of the best ways to boost your digestive and immune health this new year.
You can feel the party vibe in the air. This time of year is when our healthy diets and lifestyles can easily go out the window and we can be especially prone to overindulging in unhealthy foods and alcohol. Following these simple pre-party steps will help look after your health as best you can this New Year's Eve, and prevent those dreaded next day hangover symptoms. Taking certain nutrients and herbs, and eating particular foods will help protect you from the harmful effects of drinking too much alcohol.
Play it safe this party period by following these 12 simple tips.
EAT BEFORE YOU DRINK: Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach, always eat something nutritious before you head out. This will slow down the absorption of alcohol into your blood stream. When drinking, avoid snacking on deep fried foods like hot chips and pizza and go for healthy snacks such as dips with crackers and breads, olives and mezza plates, nuts, and grilled seafood.
DRINK SLOWLY: Play it safe and try to stick to one alcoholic drink an hour. This will give your liver time to ‘detox’ the alcohol properly, and prevent a build-up of alcohol in your blood. Ways to help you do this is to order nips in a schooner glass of soda water so it lasts longer, and drinking a glass of water or a non-alcoholic drink in-between alcoholic ones.
AVOID DEHYDRATION: Alcohol is one of the major causes of dehydration. We lose fluid and important electrolytes such as magnesium and potassium every time we have a drink. Those common hangover symptoms – the headache, dry mouth, thirst and nausea - are all symptoms of dehydration. The best way to combat dehydration is to drink plenty of water when you are out and have an electrolyte drink before you go to bed. Resist having a ‘hair of the dog’ or coffee the next morning to help heal your hangover. Instead go for electrolyte drinks or coconut water (which is naturally rich in electrolytes). A fresh veggie juice or banana smoothie is also a good way to soothe unsettled tummies.
TAKE B VITAMINS:
The body uses up a considerable amount of nutrients when processing alcohol, including B vitamins. If you are low in B vitamins this elimination process will be impaired and will prolong alcohol levels in your system. By increasing vitamin B-rich foods and taking a complex B supplement daily you will be ensuring that your vitamin B levels are adequate to deal with any increase in alcohol intake. Some of the richest sources of B vitamins include wholegrains, legumes, avocado, nuts, seeds and red meat.
UP YOUR ANTIOXIDANTS: Drinking alcohol leads to an increase in free radical production, resulting in damage to cells in the body. Increasing your antioxidant intake is the best way to combat this. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which is found in oranges and other citrus fruits, berries, guava, rose hip tea and parsley. Other rich sources of antioxidants include berries such as acai and blueberries, green and white tea, tomatoes and other red and orange fruits and vegies. Other important antioxidant nutrients that help neutralize the damaging effects of alcohol include vitamin E, glutathione, and selenium.
LIVER PROTECTION WITH ST MARY’S THISTLE: The herb St Mary’s thistle helps protect liver cells from alcohol-induced damage, and enhances liver detoxification, helping to remove toxins such as alcohol from the body. Take some St Mary’s thistle tablets daily over the party season.
NUX VOM: Nux vomica is a great homeopathic remedy for anyone who likes to overindulge in alcohol and food. This remedy can help relieve hangover symptoms such as nausea and headaches. Take 5 drops of Nux Vomica 30C, every hour until symptoms improve. Available from health food stores.
CHLORELLA: This super sea algae has been shown to help remove toxic substances from the body, including promoting the detoxification of alcohol. Chlorella may also help reduce hangover symptoms. Take around 5 g of chlorella before heading out drinking.
GINGER: Try ginger to help ease hangover symptoms, it’s soothing for the digestive tract and helps to relieve nausea. Try chilled ginger tea with some lemon or add fresh ginger to a vegie juice.
TAKE A MULTI-VITAMIN: Alcohol depletes important nutrients from the body such as vitamin C, magnesium and zinc. Taking a good quality multi-vitamin daily is a good way to help replete your body of these essential vitamins and minerals and protect your general health.
EAT GARLIC: Garlic contains an amino acid called S-allyl-cysteine, which neutralizes acetaldehyde, a highly reactive by-product of alcohol metabolism.
EAT YOGHURT: Eating probiotic-rich foods such as yoghurt and taking a probiotic supplement daily will help boost good intestinal bacteria, which can be disrupted when you drink too much alcohol.
Wishing you all a wonderful New Year's Eve!!
Brown seaweed such as wakame and kelp have high concentrations of a pigment called fucoxanthin, which is unique to brown seaweed. Fucoidan has an anti-aging effect and has been found to improve skin elasticity and collagen production.
Brown algae also contains laminaria, a polysaccharide that improves circulation and the appearance of the skin, making it smoother, more even toned and radiant.
Applying seaweed topically delivers essential nutrients such as zinc, selenium and vitamins A and C, directly to the skin. These nutrients are all needed to support collagen and elastin production, which improves skin firmness and tone.
These remarkable marine plants are also rich in a vast array of antioxidants including carotenoids, polyphenols, and asthaxanthin, needed to protect skin cells against environmental aggressors such as UV radiation and pollution. The carotenoids and polyphenols also absorb UV rays to help deflect the damaging effects of the sun.
Polysaccharides found in seaweed such as L-fucose have anti-inflammatory properties and provide a super moisturising action on the skin.
Using a moisturizer like Zk’in  rejuvenating moisturizer which contains an organic brown seaweed extract is an excellent way to fight premature skin ageing and improve the look and feel of your skin.
Are you still feeling a little slow and sluggish coming out of winter? Do you wish you had more energy, to jump out of bed in the morning, and sail through the day? Well read on, I’m going to share with you my top tips for increasing energy levels to get that ol’ spring back in your step.
Top tips to boost your energy levels this spring:
Eat a well-balanced nutritious diet: Nothing takes away from the importance of having a nutritious well-balanced diet. Limiting processed and greasy fast foods, and eating mainly fresh, natural foods is the best way to stay healthy and vibrant. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds are going to supply you with important nutrients your body needs to fuel your body and brain, to provide you with plenty of energy.
Cut back on caffeine: Relying on coffee to get you started in the morning or to keep you going during the day, is only artificially boosting your energy levels temporarily with a stimulant, caffeine. Too much caffeine will over-stimulate your nervous system, deplete you of important nutrients like calcium, unbalance blood sugar levels, and can stop you from sleeping well, leaving you even more tired. Try keeping your coffee intake to one a day, and instead go for herbal teas like green, white, chamomile, peppermint or ginger. Dandelion root coffee or a real chia tea is a good alternative too. Soft drinks and energy drinks also contain high levels of caffeine and other unhealthy ingredients, which are best avoided. Opt for a fresh fruit and vegie juice or natural mineral water with a splash of juice instead.
Limit your sugar intake: Eating sugary foods like biscuits, cakes, chocolate, muesli bars and soft drinks regularly will cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then fall soon after, leaving you feeling flat, tired and irritable, and craving more sugary foods. If you’re wanting a little something sweet go for some sun-dried fruit like dates or apricots, and a few carob buds with a handful of your favourite nuts and seeds. Or whip up some healthy protein balls.
Eat protein-rich snacks: Having protein snacks is the best way to keep blood sugar levels and energy levels stable. Try snacking on hummus and crackers or vegie sticks, trail mixes of raw nuts, seeds and sun-dried fruits, tubs of yoghurt, fruit smoothies, and healthy raw protein bars. This will help keep your sugar cravings at bay.
B-vitamins: B vitamins play a crucial role in energy production, helping the body use carbohydrates, proteins and fats as fuel. Without adequate B vitamins you will lack energy. Take a good quality B complex multi-vitamin supplement daily like Tresos-B by Eagle to complement a well-balanced diet.
Magnesium: The body needs magnesium to produce energy, as well as calm and support the nervous system and adrenal glands. Taking a magnesium supplement is recommended, as well as including magnesium-rich foods in the diet such as nuts, seeds, legumes and wholegrains.
Eat iron-rich foods: Iron is an important mineral used to produce red blood cells and to transport oxygen around the body. Iron is necessary for the production of energy from glucose, which is the main fuel for both the brain and the rest of the body. Without sufficient iron we become tired and weak. Good sources of iron include red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, green leafy vegies and legumes. Supplementing your diet with a good quality spirulina supplement is also a great way to boost your iron intake, especially for vegetarians.