Pepita Paprika Chicken

pepita paprika chicken

Yeah I know it’s a mouthful to say, it’s also a great mouthful to eat!

It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s delicious.. The 3 things I love in a meal.

So here’s how to make it:

2 chicken breasts cut into strips

1/2 cup pepitas

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

2-3 teaspoons smoked paprika (this could be changed to any spice you like)

salt/pepper to taste

2 eggs

oil for shallow frying

Directions:

  1. Combine pepitas and coconut and blend until breadcrumb consistency
  2. Mix paprika, salt and pepper into the pepita and coconut mix
  3. Whisk eggs into a shallow bowl for coating the chicken
  4. Coat the chicken in the egg, then in the pepita and coconut mix
  5. Place into a fry pan for shallow frying with your oil (about 7-10 minutes each side depending on chicken strip size) or could be oven baked
  6. Serve with a nice big salad, or even have the strips cold for a snack

Roast Pumpkin and Beet Salad

roast pumpkin and beet salad

This is one of my all time favourite salads.

It is just so yummy and can be served with lots of different dishes, but goes well with chicken or turkey or even ham.. so yep this is a Christmas Lunch winner, but can easily be eaten by itself with the addition of a couple of ingredients. So here it is:

Serves 4-6

1/4 pumpkin cut into 3-4cm slices and roasted with skin on

2 beetroots skinned and cut into wedges

1/2 cup quinoa

2 large handfuls of rocket

3 large handfuls of mesclun lettuce

pepitas, small handful

Dressing

2 heaped teaspoons of wholegrain mustard

2 teaspoons honey

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (roughly)

 

Directions:

  1. Roast pumpkin and beetroot and allow to cool
  2. Cook quinoa as per instructions and allow to cool
  3. Place mesclun lettuce and rocket into a serving dish and top with quinoa
  4. Place pumpkin and beetroot on top and gently mix together
  5. Garnish with the handful of pepitas and drizzle of dressing over the top and serve

 

Don’t want to have it as a side dish? Why not add in some shredded chicken or boiled eggs to make it a complete meal. YUM!

Kombucha Making

Kombucha jar

The fermented drink called Kombucha is made by using a ‘SCOBY’ to ferment a sweet black tea.

During the fermentation process, the SCOBY uses the sugar to ferment. There is plenty of information around about the benefits of Kombucha, you just have to do a quick search of it. So I will give you the recipe that I use to make it.

Always reserve about 2 cups from your last batch to make a new batch to help it ferment.

Then heat up 2L of water with 1/2 cup of sugar (or equivalent of this to fill your vessel i.e. my vessel is 8L, so I use 8L of water 2 cups of sugar). I use organic raw sugar now, but have used Rapadura sugar as well. I found the Raw Sugar fermented quicker than the rapadura, but it is dependant on the temperature at the time as well.

Once the sugar is dissolved, then place your teabags/loose tea in the infuse. Again I use 4 teabags for each of those 2L. I leave the teabags in until it has cooled to room temperature, but you can take them out earlier if you like. Once cooled to room temperature, add it into your last batch with your scoby and cover over with a tight-weave cloth to stop bugs and other nasties getting in.

Leave to ferment, for at least 5 days, then test. It is very dependant on the weather, so start testing here, but it ferments faster in heat and slower in cool. Average is 7-10 days, but your first batch or 2 could take longer than this, especially if the vessel is considerably large.

Once it is to your taste (it should have a tang to it, if it is still quite sweet, it isn’t fermented enough) then bottle it in a glass bottle (the ones with the flip top lids are great) and place into the fridge for drinking.

You can also do a ‘second ferment’. This is where you add something into it and let it sit for a few more days then drink it. Fresh ginger root added is my favourite, but you can use fruits, other teas, turmeric, vanilla beans, try a few things out!

It is always good when introducing any fermented/cultured food to start off slowly and gradually work up. For some, 1 cup could be fine and for others it could be 20ml depending on your gut function and what else is going on.

So give it a go and try something new!

Muesli Bars without the muesli

Grain Free Muesli Bar

Here is a recipe for muesli bars without any grains in it for a quick delicious snack or after school treat for the kids.

Every time I make this, I change the recipe depending on the ingredients I have on hand. So this is a rough guide, but play around with what you like. This doesn’t last long in my house!

50g Almonds

50g Brazil nuts

80g Pepitas

50g Sunflower Seeds

130g Sultanas

5 Medjool Dates

30g Shredded Coconut

1 Tbsp Cacao Powder

1 Tbsp Tahini

1 Tbsp Raw Honey

2 Tbsp Coconut Oil

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp Allspice

 

I have a thermomix so I’ll give recipe for that at the end, but here’s the normal way in a food processor.

Pulse all the nuts and seeds until a rough chunks and put aside

Add all the other ingredients and blend until fairly well mixed

Add the nuts and seeds back in and gently mix together until very well combined

Place into a lined tray and put in a pre-heated oven on 200C for about 20mins or until a nice golden brown on top

Leave to cool and cut into bars.

These can be kept in the fridge or freezer until you want them…. If they make it that long!

 

For a Thermomix:

Weigh out your nuts and seeds and blitz Speed 5/4 secs and set aside

Add all other ingredients and mix Speed 5/8 secs

Add the nuts and seeds back in and mix Speed 3/5 secs

Place in lined oven tray and into pre-heated oven 200C for about 20 mins

Allow to cool and cut into bars

The Basics and Acid/Alkaline Balance


Our bodies are constantly striving for homeostasis (balance). One of these factors constantly being balanced is the acidity/alkalinity of our bodies. Too acid or too alkaline can cause problems. The acid scale goes from 0 (pure acid) to 14 (pure base/alkaline). 7 is neutral. Our bodies should be around 7.3-7.4, just slightly alkaline.

Acidity in our body can be from stress, poor diet, dehydration, poor detoxification, etc. The main foods that lead to a more acid environment are: meats, processed dairy, grains, alcohol and refined carbohydrates and sugars. Alkaline foods tend to be vegetables (particularly dark leafy greens) and some fruits.

With acidity comes inflammation. Inflammation is something our body does not want and leads to disease. ALL diseases have an element of inflammation to them.

Our body is amazing that it works very hard to maintain this balance. The kidneys excrete more or less urine, we breathe faster or slower, we get calcium pulled from our bones and teeth to buffer… Some minerals are great buffers, meaning they change the pH of an environment very quickly. Lemon juice which is highly acidic has the pH changed very quickly when we add bicarbonate soda which is very alkaline. That is called a buffer. How this relates to our health? If we are in a state of acidity, our body will conveniently pull calcium from our bones and place it into our blood to change the pH. Thumbs up for our body being AMAZING! Only problem is, if we are regularly acidic, our bones become weaker as more calcium is pulled out and not replaced. We develop spurs, kidney stones, gall stones, calcium deposits, hardened and loss of elasticity of our connective tissue, lots of calcium in the wrong spots.

Although it isn’t good to be high alkaline either, due to our highly processed diets and stressful lives we lead, we tend more towards the acidic state.

As always moderation is the key, but if you get rid of all the processed and refined foods and eat real food that looks the way it grows in nature, you’re off to a great start.

Raw Cacao Mousse


raw cacao mousseTHIS RECIPE IS:

Dairy free
Gluten free
Nut free
Cane sugar free

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons raw Cacao powder (NOT cocoa powder!)
  • 2 heaped teaspoons gelatine
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut palm sugar
  • ½-1 cup Coconut milk (depending on individual taste)

Directions:

  1. Chill the coconut milk first for a cooler treat
  2. Combine all dry ingredients, then slowly add in the coconut milk while whisking until a smooth mousse consistency
  3. Best eaten straight away!

This makes a very strong flavoured and thick textured mousse. If you don’t like strong dark chocolate, try the variations below.

Variations:

Variation 1: Put all ingredients into a blender along with about ¼ cup coconut meat and blend until smooth (my favourite!!) This makes  for a lighter flavour and texture.

Variation 2: Blend cherries or favourite berries into the mousse for a choc berry sensation!

Nutrition 101


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Today is all about the basics of what we eat and why we need it.

What are protein, carbohydrates and fats and why do we need them? The more you understand the basics of food components, the more you understand why certain foods are good or bad for you.

Protein is found in Meats, Legumes, Nuts and seeds, Chicken, Fish, Eggs, Protein Powders, some wholegrains i.e. quinoa, amaranth, Spirulina, Yoghurt, Kefir (similar to yoghurt, only more beneficial), Tempeh, Miso and vegetables.

When protein is eaten, the body breaks it down into single amino acids. There are 20 amino acids in our protein foods, and many more that make up the structure of our body. Amino acids make up 75% of the human body! There are 8 essential and 12 non-essential amino acids. Non-essential doesn’t mean we don’t need them, (because nature is kind of smart like that in that it doesn’t just make things that don’t have a use) it means that we don’t need to ingest them as they can be made in the body by combining essential amino acids. Essential means we MUST ingest them for our body to function properly. Each amino acid has different uses in the body.

It is needed for:

  • Growth and Repair of EVERY cell
  • Immune System Function
  • Muscle/Connective Tissue Growth and regeneration
  • Nervous System
  • Balancing blood sugar levels
  • Sources contain fat soluble vitamins
  • Hair, Nail and Skin health

If you don’t have enough protein in your diet it can cause:

  • Muscle Wastage
  • Poor Immune System
  • Poor Digestive Integrity
  • Imbalance of blood sugar levels
  • Poor skin, hair and nail health
  • Muscular cramps and spasms
  • Poor connective tissue strength

Carbohydrates are found in Fruits and Vegetables, Whole Grains, Rice, Fresh Herbs, Raw Honey, Dried Fruits, Sprouts, Nuts and Seeds

POOR Carbohydrate sources are bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits, cereals, potato chips, lollies, sugar, alcoholic drinks e.g. Beer

We all know about the poor sources above, and think of them as being carbohydrates in whole, but we must remember about the good sources that are very important.

We need them for:

  • A source of Fuel/energy
  • Bowel regularity
  • Cell Communication
  • A source of minerals

If we don’t have enough it can cause:

  • Low energy
  • Poor digestive health
  • Constipation
  • Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies

Fats are found in dairy, nuts and seeds and derivatives of e.g. Oils (Flaxseed, Hempseed, Olive, Coconut, Evening Primrose, etc), avocado, fish, meat, chicken.

Fats are needed for a HUGE amount of things in our bodies:

  • Brain and Nervous System Function
  • Outside of every cell made of fat
  • Hormone production
  • Help lower cholesterol (“good’ fats)
  • Energy source for heart muscle
  • Insulation
  • Bodily Secretions
  • Cardiovascular Protectant (‘Good fats”)
  • Inflammatory responses

Deficiency causes:

  • Loss of cognitive function
  • Low hormone production
  • Nervous System weakness
  • Dryness throughout whole body (e.g. dry eyes, constipation, vaginal dryness, dry skin)

I hope this now makes you see the importance of a truly balanced diet and moderation of everything is the key. We need ALL of these components to be a fully functioning human being and this is why restrictive low fat, low carbs or low protein diets DO NOT WORK.

 

We must look at the quality of the protein, carbohydrate or fat source as well…. But that’s for another day!

Chocolate Treats YUM!

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Here’s a recipe for a lovely little treat, particularly good when you feel like something you really shouldn’t be having, this will satisfy your craving, without nasty ingredients.

It is also:

Dairy free, gluten free, egg free, can be nut free, vegan, sugar free, but definitely not taste free!

12 dates diced finely

¼- ½ cup coconut oil

3-4 tbsp raw cacao powder

Small handful goji berries

¼- ½ cup Puffed millet/quinoa

1 tbsp dried fruit of choice (blueberries, cranberries, diced apricots, etc)

1 tbsp coconut palm sugar

¼ cup desiccated coconut

2 tbsp chopped macadamia nuts

2 tbsp sunflower seeds

1 tbsp chopped pepitas

1 tbsp hemp seeds

1 dsp chia seeds

 

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl except for coconut oil and cacao powder

2. Melt coconut oil and combine with cacao powder

3. Slowly add cacao mix into fruit and nut mix and stir well

4. Press mix into a dish or container lined with baking paper to make it around 3-5cm high. Press it in flat and sprinkle with desiccated coconut

5. Place in fridge or freezer to harden

6. Once hard, cut into 3-5cm squares and keep in the fridge or freezer to keep firm

 

Any mix of different nuts and seeds can be used to your liking.

Delicious!

Bone Broth for bone health and gut health


Here’s a little about bone broths and why they’re so great, and how to make them:

Meat and fish stocks contain gelatine and other healing substances, which is used for the rapidly growing cells of the gut lining to repair and regenerate and it has a soothing effect on inflammation in the gut. That is why they aid digestion and have been known for centuries as healing folk remedies for the digestive tract.
To make good meat stock you need joints, bones, a piece of meat on the bone, a whole chicken, giblets from chicken, goose or duck, whole pigeons, pheasants or other inexpensive meats. It is essential to use bones and joints, as they provide the healing substances, not so much the muscle meats. Ask the butcher to cut in half the large tubular bones, so you can get the bone marrow out of them after cooking.
Put all the meat and bones into a large pan and fill it with water, add natural unprocessed salt (I prefer Himalayan salt) and a splash of apple cider vinegar (this helps draw the goodness out of the bones) at the beginning of cooking, about a teaspoon of black peppercorns, roughly crushed, some veggie scraps (I use carrots, celery, broccoli stalks, etc) and an onion. Bring to boil, cover and simmer on a very low heat for about 48 hours for meat broths and 24 hours for chicken, or alternatively use a slow cooker on a low temperature for the same times. I always use a slow cooker as it is much easier. You can make fish stock the same way using a whole fish or fish fins, bones and heads. After cooking, take the bones and meats out and sieve the stock to remove small bones, peppercorns and veggies.
Extract the bone marrow out of large tubular bones while they are still warm: to do that bang the bone on a thick wooden chopping board, or use a spoon to scoop it out.
The meat or fish stock will keep in the fridge for at least 7 days or it can be frozen. Do not use microwaves for warming up the stock, use conventional stove (microwaves destroy food). It is very important to eat all the fat in the stock and off the bones as these fats are essential for the healing process.
You can drink it as is, or use it as a base to make a soup. Enjoy!

Fertility – What can you do to help it?

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Did you know 1 in 6 couples in Australia have difficulty conceiving. The rate increases to 1 in 3 in women over 35. These rates are also on the increase.

In 40% of cases the male is the issue, 40% the female, in 10% of cases it’s both and 10% have an unknown cause. 

What are some of the reasons?

Women

Ovulation disorders

Poor thyroid function

Fallopian tube damage

Endometriosis

Immunological dysfunction

Polycystic Ovaries

Ageing

Men

Sperm defects

Immunological dysfunction

Ejaculation disorders

Ageing

 

Many couples are not truly infertile, they are sub-fertile. True infertility is the inability to fall pregnant permanently, whereas sub-fertility means that couple are having difficulty falling pregnant, but it may be corrected.

Natural Therapies has a great reputation for being able to help with sub-fertility or difficulty falling pregnant. Many herbs and nutrients can be used to increase sperm health and numbers, balance hormones, regulate the immune system, counter the ageing effects, regulate ovulation patterns and increase the health generally so the body is strong and well enough to gain and hold onto a pregnancy.

Nutritionally, some great measures to take are:

Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Carnitine, CoQ10, Vitamin E and Calcium all may help to increase sperm count and/or motility

Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Iron, PABA, Arginine, and a multivitamin formula may all increase the chance of falling pregnant in women.

There are also many herbs used for the specific issue with great results, e.g. Vitex, Ginseng, Paeonia and Propolis.

Now let’s look at a few simple lifestyle steps that can be taken.

Caffeine

In a study, women who consumed more than one cup of coffee per day had a 50% reduction in fertility, compared to women who drank less. But don’t think just switching to decaf is enough – one study has shown that consuming 2 cups of decaf per day was associated with increased risk of spontaneous abortion.

Alcohol

In another study, women who drank alcohol had a greater than 50% reduction in the probability of conception in that menstrual cycle.

It also seems that caffeine increases the negative effects of alcohol. Women who abstained from alcohol and consumed less than 1 cup of caffeine per day were more than twice as likely to conceive (26.9% compared to 10.5%).

Cigarettes

Not only does smoking cause damage to you and causes difficulty conceiving, women whose mothers smoked during their pregnancy are less likely to conceive compared with those whose mothers were non-smokers. So remember smoking while pregnant doesn’t just harm yourself, it harms your unborn child, AND could possibly prevent them from having children of their own when the time comes. Your actions affect more than just yourself.

Chemicals

In 1 study, farmers that were growing organic crops, not spraying, had fertility levels twice that of standard farmers using pesticides. Although this was only a small study, I find it very interesting there is such a huge difference. Pesticides and Herbicides are Xenoestrogens, meaning they mimic oestrogen in the body, causing all kinds of problems, including hormonal issues in women (such as breast cancers, menopausal and menstrual issues). Limiting your exposure as much as possible will go a long way to helping the cause.

Diet is always specific for the couple depending on their health issues, although there are the basics of limiting certain fats and carbohydrates, decreasing/eliminating sugars, increasing vegetables, having quality protein sources, having good intake of ‘healthy’ fats.

Babies born using assisted technologies (e.g. IVF) rates have nearly doubled in 4 years to well over 10,000 per year. Many of these babies could have been naturally conceived through simple dietary lifestyle and supplement changes.

I have had the pleasure of helping couples conceive naturally, sometimes after many years of trying without success. It is one part of my job that I take great honour in being able to do, helping a couple fall pregnant and bring a beautiful new life into the world. Especially the ones that have tried for a long time and had so much heart ache at the thought of never getting that baby to love.

Don’t make diet and lifestyle change your last resort, make it your first.

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