Breakfast, Crushes + Product Reviews, Wellness + Nutrition

Grapefruit Immune Booster

7th May 2018

If you are looking for ways to alkalize and boost your immunity this winter here is one of my top food picks; Ruby Grapefruit by itself on an empty tummy, or paired with a green powder for a fast & fuss free health shot.

Start your morning with a freshly squeezed ruby grapefruit (I make life easier by using a wooden lemon juicer) and add a little green powder, I like using the Health Connections Leafy Green Mix, whisk well and enjoy approximately 15- 20 min before solid food.

 

Or alternatively get yourself a lovely little grapefruit knife and enjoy a grapefruit in segments before breakfast. I have always loved ruby Grapefruit but the hassle of cutting it into easily retrievable segments is quite tricky. This little tool is very handy (see image for double edged knife). The curved side is used the separate the grapefruit flesh along the circumference from the peel, and the other side which has twin blades is used to cut it onto segments which then comes away with a spoon quite beautifully. Definitely worth investing in one of these clever a grapefruit knives if you love grapefruit too.

Here is where you can purchase a wooden lemon squeezer or grapefruit knife of your own.

Product credit: EHK Speciality Kitchenware 

 

Wellness + Nutrition

The good carb/ bad carb … can potatoes assist in weight loss? Resistant starches explained

5th May 2018

Pretty soon you will be hearing the term ‘resistant starches’ fairly often. Its the latest health discovery and will transform how we think about carbohydrates. Can potatoes (cooked and served in the correct way) assist in weight loss? Read this article below and find out.

Article credit:https://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/resistant-starch-natural-fat-burner

Although this may be the first you’ve heard of resistant starch, it’s likely been a part of your diet most of your life. Resistant starch is a type of dietary fibre naturally found in many carbohydrate-rich foods such as potatoes, grains, and beans, particularly when these foods are cooled. It gets its name because it “resists” digestion in the body, and though this is true of many types of fibre, what makes resistant starch so special is the powerful impact it has on weight loss and overall health. Not only does it increase your body’s ability to burn fat, but it also fills you up and reduces overall hunger. Its health benefits are truly impressive as well. Studies show it improves blood sugar control, boosts immunity, and may even reduce your cancer risk.

Resistant starch is bulky, so it takes up space in your digestive system. And because you can’t digest or absorb it, the starch never enters your bloodstream. That means it bypasses the fate of most carbohydrates, which gets stored away as body fat when you eat more than you can burn. Here are two more key ways resistant starch can help you drop unwanted weight:

It increases your calorie burn; Unlike some types of fiber, resistant starch gets fermented when it reaches the large intestine. This process creates beneficial fatty acids, including one called butyrate, which may block the body’s ability to burn carbohydrates. “This can prevent the liver from using carbs as fuel and, instead, stored body fat and recently consumed fat are burned,” explains Janine Higgins, PhD, nutrition research director for the University of Colorado’s Adult and Pediatric General Clinical Research Center. In your body, carbohydrates are the preferred source of fuel, like gasoline that powers your car’s engine. Butyrate essentially prevents some of the gas from getting into the tank, and your cells turn to fat as an alternative. One study found that replacing just 5.4% of total carbohydrate intake with resistant starch created a 20 to 30% increase in fat burning after a meal.

It shuts down hunger hormones Animal studies have found that resistant starch prompts the body to pump out more satiety-inducing hormones. A meal with resistant starch triggers a hormonal response to shut off hunger, so you eat less. Research shows that you don’t reap this benefit from other sources of fiber.

FIGHTING DISEASE, ONE POTATO AT A TIME

The research on resistant starch doesn’t stop at weight loss. This powerful nutrient is also earning accolades as a major disease fighter from standard bearers such as the World Health Organization. Here’s why scientists around the globe are so excited about its health benefits:

It can prevent cancer Research shows that the butyrate created by resistant starch may protect the lining of the colon, making it less vulnerable to the DNA damage that triggers diseases, such as colon cancer. It can also create a pH drop inside the colon, which boosts the absorption of calcium and blocks the absorption of cancer-causing substances.

6 Best Fat-Burning Foods

TRY: Beans

RESISTANT STARCH: 8 g per 1/2 cup

SMART SERVING SUGGESTIONS
Snack on chilled pinto bean dip with crudites
Substitute hummus for mayo on sandwiches
Add black beans to garden salads

TRY: Bananas (slightly green)

RESISTANT STARCH: 6 g per small
SMART SERVING SUGGESTIONS Slice and mix with yogurt and oats for breakfast
Dip in yogurt, roll in chopped nuts, and freeze as an ice-cream alternative
Dice and toss with lemon juice, salt, sugar, and onion to make tangy banana chutney

TRY: Potatoes and yams
RESISTANT STARCH: 4 g per 1/2 cup
SMART SERVING SUGGESTIONS
Serve cold potato salad as a side dish
Add chilled, chunked red potatoes to a salad
Puree cooked white potatoes to create a chilled garlic potato soup

TRY: Barley
RESISTANT STARCH: 3 g per 1/2 cup
SMART SERVING SUGGESTIONS
Add to chilled lentil salad Mix into tuna, chicken, or tofu salad
Sprinkle onto garden salads

TRY: Brown Rice
RESISTANT STARCH: 3 g per 1/2 cup
SMART SERVING SUGGESTIONS
Order brown rice sushi
Mix chilled brown rice with fat-free milk, raisins, and cinnamon in place of cold cereal for breakfast
Add to chilled marinated cucumbers as a side dish

TRY: Corn
RESISTANT STARCH: 2 g per 1/2 cup
SMART SERVING SUGGESTIONS Add to a taco salad, burrito, or quesadilla
Sprinkle into salsa Make fresh corn relish.

 

So now you know whole grains and high carb vegetables can be most beneficial, especially as part of a balanced weigh-loss program. I love potato salad, Santa Anna’s Organic Wholegrain and Non GMO corn chips and tortilla’s, Nature’s Choice non-GMO popcorn kernels, barley soups, as well as roasted sweet potatoes, baked white potatoes (occasionally), brown basmati rice, wholegrain Soba (buckwheat) noodles and pulse pastas. Carbs are not a swear word anymore, yay!!

 

Happy healing and cooking.

 

 

sweets, Wellness + Nutrition

Raspberry & Yogurt Mousse Gut Health Treats Do Excist

24th April 2018

Life without a little sweetness would be utterly depressing.

My sugar philosophy is that our bodies can cope with a little sugar (and I obviously exclude those suffering with diabetes in this statement) as long as we choose an overall active and healthy lifestyle.

When a diet is crammed full of sugary drinks, refined white flours, etc., then we certainly shouldn’t include puddings as well, but if your day has been filled with good fibre-rich wholefoods, you can allow yourself one well-chosen sweet treat every now and again.

You will find though that the less sugar you eat, the less you crave, and by making the shift to only fibre-rich wholefoods, your sugar cravings will all but disappear.

Here are a few gut-healthy sweet treats just in case.

Raspberry & Yoghurt Mousse

Serves 4

 1 heaped tsp gelatine

½ cup boiling water

1 cup home-made yoghurt (See page xx)

⅓ cup pulped, fresh raspberries

 

Dissolve the gelatine completely in the boiling water.

Using a hand-blender blend all the combined ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, transfer it to your serving dish/bowl, cover with cling film or a lid and transfer to the fridge for 2–3 hours to set.

Note: Add a few drops of stevia or a tbsp of brown sugar to the gelatine and boiling water should you wish for it to be a bit sweeter.

 

PS; If you are looking for a truly healing desert, jellies really tick all the boxes. Gelatine is 30% glycine, which has been shown to improve gut health by repairing the intestinal wall and sealing the gut lining – which is essential for healing leaky gut syndrome and the autoimmune conditions that stem from leaky gut, such as rheumatoid arthritis and allergies. Combining gelatine with probiotic rich yoghurt is one of those smug food moments.

Wellness + Nutrition

Gut Health Explained Gut Health Explained

23rd April 2018

The topic of Gut Health is often discussed in the media, various books have been published on the subject and there is on-going scientific research on how our ‘Gut Health’ can be linked to our overall good health (and on the flip side; many diseases).

Could it be that optimal health, mood and our ability to fight disease resides in our gut? In fact our gut is often referred to as our ‘second brain’.

But which foods and lifestyle practices promotes optimal gut health? Terminology such as the ‘Microbiome’ or Micriobiota may be unfamiliar to you, but they simply refer to the community of internal ‘bugs’ or good bacteria in your digestive system, and more specifically in the large intestine. Our digestive tracts are populated by symbiotic bacteria that regulate, affects and assists with every single body function we have.

In more detail, our microbes are responsible for:

  • Converting sugars to short chain fatty acids for energy.
  • Crowding out pathogens (bad bacteria).
  • Digesting food
  • Helping your body absorb nutrients such as calcium and iron
  • Keep your Ph. balanced
  • Maintaining the integrity of the gut lining
  • Metabolising drugs
  • Modulating genes
  • Neutralising cancer-causing compounds
  • Producing digestive enzymes
  • Synthesizes B-complex vitamins
  • Synthesizes fat-soluble vitamins
  • Synthesizes hormones
  • Training the immune system to distinguish friend from foe

Below I dive a little more deeply into how our immunity, risk of inflammation, mood and weight management can be influenced by our gut health:

Immunity:

In modern society where cancer, digestive- and auto-immune disease is rife, science is discovering the connection between gut health and a strong or weak immune system. Our microbes are in charge of the correct gene expression, which means our microbes can switch gene expression on, or off, as well as having the ability to crowd out the bad guys, making our gut health an essential component in a strong immune system that wages war against disease, not against our own bodies

Researcher’s findings suggest that 70 per cent of the immune system lives in the gut and gut bacteria assist your immune system’s T cells to develop—teaching them the difference between a foreign substance and the body’s own tissues. This is an extremely important process that determines how and what your immune system responds to, and the success of this critical process is determined, in part, by the health of your gut. When there’s a mistake in the process, for instance; if there is an overgrowth of bad bacteria, it can lead your body’s immune system to begin waging war on your own cells, the hallmark of autoimmune disorders.

Inflammation & Leaky Gut Syndrome:

In addition to regulating our immune responses, on-going research also suggests that our microbes regulate which particles pass through the intestinal lining into the rest of your body. Healthy digestive tracts are designed with small gates that allow digested foods to pass while keeping out larger food particles and other antigens (foreign particles that cause immune reactions). However in a leaky gut, the gates in the intestinal lining have become damaged by a western diet rich in refined- and gluten-rich foods, once the gut’s lining has been compromised with these perforations, it allows large food particles and unwanted substances to enter the rest of the body. Once inside, they are rightly treated as foreign invaders and cause immune reactions that trigger inflammation, and in turn inflammation triggers disease.

With its roles in training your immune system and acting as a gatekeeper to the rest of your body, the gut is arguably the centre of your health. For those with arthritis and other autoimmune conditions whose symptoms are exacerbated or created by poor gut health, healing the gut can help reverse their conditions. For everyone else, healing the gut makes developing an autoimmune condition, food sensitivity, and/or inflammation less likely.

 

Weigh management:

We have always known that there is a communication pathway from our gut to the brain, but what science has discovered recently is that messages from the gut to brain doesn’t simply just say “feed me”, messages from the gut also tell our brain which foods to choose, in other words by restoring your gut health, your cravings can be controlled and changed from unhealthy- to healthy foods, promote feelings of satiety and extract fewer calories from food.

Mood:

On-going studies indicate there could be a link between intestinal dysfunction, depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter; it is responsible for regulating mood, appetite, and sleep. The right amount of serotonin in the brain produces a relaxed and positive outlook. As it turns out, approximately 90% of the serotonin in the body is located in the gut. Can we treat depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems by normalizing the bacteria in the bowels? Perhaps by addressing gut health one can also move from chronic low mood to chronic good mood.

Wellness + Nutrition

Secret Supper Club Second Spring Edition

19th September 2017
Hello mid-September, and welcome to the Secret Supper Club where you are bound to be inspired to become the healthiest you.
In this edition I am sharing my fermented veggie recipes that are brimming with probiotics and not only fight aging, but boost your immune system and energy levels. I am also sharing one of my favourite articles from Mind Body Green on which foods to avoid and include for youthful, radiant skin.

It’s possible to erase years from your face simply by changing your diet. I know this first-hand because ten years ago, I didn’t look younger than my age. In fact, I was starting to look wrinkly, washed-out and old. So I changed my lifestyle and cut out pro-aging foods like sugar and grains, and started eating a natural, primal diet to slow the aging process. And when I focused on eating anti-aging superfoods, I started to reverse the signs of aging — especially in my face. What’s more, I’ve seen this same transformation over and over again in my patients. When they add these superfoods to their diets, they start looking younger almost immediately and over time, they often reverse more than a decade of aging. Here are the most powerful wrinkle-fighting foods I’ve discovered through my clinical and personal experience. If you want soft, young-looking skin, I recommend making them the core of your beauty ritual.

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#1 Bone Broth
Wrinkles form when your skin breaks down. To erase these wrinkles, you need to boost your collagen levels not by rubbing on creams, but by mainlining collagen directly to your cells. How? With collagen-rich bone broth (Read more in our first spring edition). Bone broth is better than wrinkle creams or Botox because it lasts.

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#2 Foods rich in omega-3’s
Think of aging skin cells as slightly deflated balls. Omega-3 fatty acids plump up the walls of these cells, making them bouncy again. To get plenty of omega-3s, eat fatty fish and walnuts, or take a high-quality omega-3 supplement.

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#3 Amino Acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of collagen and elastin, which are both vital to healthy skin. A diet high in essential amino acids (which the body can’t make on its own) helps keep your skin firm and elastic, while a deficiency makes it thin and dry. Meat and eggs are your best sources for essential amino acids.

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#4 Potassium-rich foods
Here’s a tip I give my patients: Switch from regular table salt to sea salt. Why? Regular salt pulls water out of your cells, leaving them flabby and prone to promoting wrinkles. But sea salt, which is high in potassium, does just the opposite. It pulls water into your cells, making them firm. You can also get skin-hydrating potassium from fruits and veggies, nuts, meat, poultry and fish.

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#5 Fermented foods
A radiant gut translates into radiant and wrinkle-free skin, while a bad gut is a leading cause of skin aging. That’s because good gut bacteria help keep your body well supplied with the nutrients your skin thrives on. Bad bacteria, on the other hand, can cause a leaky gut and allow toxins to escape your intestines and create inflammation throughout your body — including your skin. The result? Sick, blotchy, old-looking skin. To improve your gut health, eat fermented foods like kimchee, kvass or my simple and delicious mixed veggie ferment below. Make sure you buy refrigerated brands, which contain large amounts of live bacteria.

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#6 Green and yellow vegetables
Vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, helping prevent oxidative stress (damage to cells caused by free radicals). So it’s not surprising that a study of Japanese women found that a higher intake of green and yellow vegetables (along with a higher intake of healthy fats) reduces wrinkling.

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#7 Green Tea
Like veggies, green tea is loaded with antioxidants. Research shows that it protects your skin against sun damage — the primary cause of wrinkles.

Beetroot Juice
#8 Phytoceramides Phytoceramides are a naturally occurring constituent of skin and help to keep it hydrated. Found in beets and spinach, they offer similar benefits. Recently, the FDA approved phytoceramides in nutritional supplement form based on research showing that they can help heal dry, rough, wrinkle-prone skin.

Wrinkle-fighting foods protect your skin in a variety of ways. Some them hydrate your skin, some build strong cell walls, some guard against sun damage, while others protect against free radicals. What’s more, these foods often work together, boosting each other’s power. Combine them, and you’ll get far more wrinkle-fighting power than each one offers on its own. So if you’re serious about looking younger than you are, add all of these foods to your diet — and eat them daily if you can. My guess is that within days, you’ll start to see a difference and within months, your skin will look so much youngerthat people may start asking: “Did you have a facelift?”

Kimchi

Fills one preserving jar
1 large savoy cabbage or Napa cabbage
¼ cup of sea salt
Filtered water (see instructions for amount)

Paste:
2 cloves of finely grated garlic
1 small (thumb size) knob of finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 tablespoon of fish sauce (can be replaced with water)
1 tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon of red pepper or chilli flakes
6 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced

You will need:
Silicone / surgical gloves (optional)
Sterilised preserving jar

Remove the core from the cabbage and then slice it in 2.5cm wide ribbons, lengthways. Add the cabbage and salt to the largest bowl in your kitchen, start massaging (wearing the gloves) the salt into the cabbage until the cabbage releases some fluid and begins to soften.

Next add enough water to cover the top layer of cabbage and next put a plate with something heavy to weigh it down on top like a jar of preserves for example. Leave it to stand this way for 1 hour.

After 1 hour has passed, rinse the cabbage under cold water twice, then let it drain in a colander and set it aside for using later.

Start on making the paste by mixing the garlic, ginger, fish sauce, water, sugar and red pepper together in a bowl to form a paste.

Gently squeeze/ press any remaining water from the cabbage and then return it to your large bowl along with the spring onions and paste. Using your hands (and this is where the gloves come in handy, gently work the paste into the cabbage and onions thoroughly.

Once all the cabbage is coated evenly transfer it to a preserving jar, packing it tightly and pressing down onto the top surface when the jar is filled so that the saucy brine covers the surface of the cabbage. Also be sure to leave at least 2cm of ‘headspace’ above the surface of the brine/sauce.

Storing & fermenting: Then seal the jar well with its lid and store the fermenting kimchi at room temperature for 2-5 days, it depends on the season and you should open the jars once a day to let it release its gasses (you read right 🙂 ) and press down on the cabbage to ensure it is still submerged under the brine/ sauce. Also, be warned, Kimchi can be smelly whilst fermenting it has a typically strong smell due to the garlic, fish sauce and onions. After 2 days (in summer) 4-5 days (in winter) of room temperature fermenting, transfer the jars to the fridge and start enjoying this wildly delicious condiment with meals.

Simple cultured vegetables:

Fills one preserving jar

3 large organic carrots, washed but not peeled
1 small head of organic red cabbage
1.5 tablespoons of sea salt
Filtered water, boiled (see instructions for the quantity)
1 preserving jar

Using organic carrots is important as you want to ovoid the pesticides and reap the benefits of the extra nutrition in organic carrots multiplying during the fermenting. Start by grating the thoroughly washed carrots, and then remove the core and outer layers of the red cabbage, shredding the rest in a food processor.

Mix both the grated & shredded cabbage in a large bowl and then pack it tightly into sterilised preserving jars, leaving at least 2 cm head space at the top. Lastly fill the jar with the brine water (dissolve the salt properly in boiled water before adding the water to the jar). The brine should cover the surface of the vegetables. See below for fermenting & storing instructions

Kvass

Fills one large jar

4-6 medium organic beetroot, quartered
1.5 tablespoons of sea salt
Filtered water, boiled (see instructions for the quantity)
1 large preserving jar


With a vegetable brush, scrub the beetroot thoroughly and then top, tail and quarter them, leaving their skin on and then pack them into the jar.

Lastly fill the jar with the brine water (dissolve the salt properly in boiled water before adding the water to the jar). The brine should cover the surface of the Beetroot.

Storing & fermenting Simple Cultured Vegetables & Kvass: 
Then seal the jar well with its lid and store the fermenting vegetables at room temperature for 2-5 days, it depends on the season and you should open the jars once a day to let it release its gasses and press down on the veggies to ensure it is still submerged under the brine. After 2 days (in summer) and 4-5 days (in winter) of room temperature fermenting, transfer the jars to the fridge and start enjoying the fermented vegetables with meals. The vegetables will acquire a tart, pickled taste.

Health Benefits of fermented vegetables and kimchi 


Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean delicacy, it is crammed with vitamins and minerals and antioxidants that multiply during the fermentation process. But the best part about Kimchi or any other fermented vegetables is that it is an extremely rich source of probiotics, or otherwise known as beneficial micro-flora in the form of Lactobacillus which is hugely important for good digestion and an a strong immune system. Kvass is particularly good for liver cleansing and in the case of Kvass the brine as well as the beetroot pieces is consumed.

The Real Things Green Powder Supplement 
Get this great wholefood supplement in a convenient tablet form. It’s full of green things from land, sea and fresh water; organic wheat, barley and alfalfa grasses; seven sea vegetables AND chlorella. Now that’s powerful. https://www.faithful-to-nature.co.za/the-real-thing-green-power-tablets

Oh-Mega Almond Butter Sachets – high in Omega 3 and other good fats, this fabulous product also comes in handy sachets for a power snack on the go.
This is a 100% natural nut butter that is thick, rich and deliciously smooth. Slightly sweet with a velvety texture, Oh Mega’s almond butter is the perfect alternative to peanut butter. Packed with protein and essential minerals, it’s incredibly good for you. Spread it over toast in the morning, use it when you’re baking, add a dash to your smoothies or even use it to give another flavour dimension to your salad dressings. A tasty, wholesome spread your family will love. Proudly South African. https://www.faithful-to-nature.co.za/oh-mega-almond-nut-butter