Spicy Morrocan Chickpea & Lentil Soup with Chermoula

Ingredients: Serves 4-6

Chermoula marinade:

1 handful of fresh coriander or parsley

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 or 2 fresh red chilli’s (deseeded)

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 lemon

sea salt – pinch.

Place all ingredients for Chermoula in the blender and pulse until smooth. Set aside to develop flavour.

 

Soup:

1 tablespoon Olive Oil

1 fennel bulb, chopped

2 onions diced

3 cloves garlic diced

2 tins organic tomatoes (or 2 cups homemade chunky passata)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger – or 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 cups vegetable broth or stock

1+ 1/2 cup dried chickpeas (soaked overnight)

1/2 cup red lentils

1/2 cup green/brown lentils

2 bay leaves

sea salt to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

extra water to make soupier if needed.

Saute onion, fennel, garlic in the olive oil until translucent. Add the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, pepper and allow aromas to develop before adding the tomatoes/passata. Cook for 10 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the lentils, chickpeas, broth and bay leaves and allow to cook on low heat for approximately 30-45 minutes or until chickpeas are tender and soup has thickened.  Season to taste and serve topped with as much spicy Chermoula as you like.

Voila! Enjoy

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7 swaps to go gluten free

7 Swaps to go Gluten Free….

Have you been asked to trial a gluten free diet, or recently been diagnosed as gluten intolerant? Sometimes making changes to your daily food choices can become overwhelming.

Unfortunately, a common thing that happens when a new diet comes into “fashion” is that the market responds with a myriad of new food like products in attempt to make the consumer’s life and food shopping easier. The problem is, many of these food products are highly processed, high in sugar and void of nutrition, making them almost as damaging as the gluten itself.

Let’s get one thing straight…being gluten allergic (Coeliac’s disease) or gluten intolerant is NOT a fashion or a fad! In fact, gluten is one of the most difficult proteins for our bodies to digest and it is also one of the most inflammatory foods irrespectively of whether you are a Coeliac sufferer or not. If you are allergic to gluten, it is critical to your health that you avoid gluten 100%.

Just because the packet says Gluten Free, doesn’t mean its good for you!

Take a look in this list for some healthy food swaps to help you go gluten free and continue to make healthy choices.

Swap For…
Your morning slice of toast Sweet potato toast.

Homemade breads – try out some paleo bread recipes, try some gluten free alternative flours such as rice, buckwheat, fava or chickpea flour.

Your bowl of weetbix or other wheat based cereals. Quinoa Porridge

Chia Pudding

Home made muesli or granola using nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, millet, brown rice flakes etc.

An omellette

A bowl of miso soup

Your BLT or chicken salad sandwich Salad with grilled chicken or fish.

Brown rice sushi

Free range, organic bacon with tomato on a slice of homemade gluten free bread with fresh avocado

Nori seaweed sheet with smoked salmon, baby spinach, avocado and saurkraut.

Crackers Rice cakes or Quinoa cakes.

Homemade seed crackers

Home made sweet potato or vegetable crisps.

Your 3pm muffin or biscuit Make your own at home with almond flour, flax meal, coconut, tapioca flour etc. There are heaps of great gluten free or grain free recipes online.
Salad Dressing Make your own at home with extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, pepper. Add a dash of tamari and use sesame oil for an asian twist.
Chips, crisps, snacks, desserts Sweet potato or broccoli chips are easy to make and delicious!

Dark raw chocolate.

Stew some fresh fruits and serve with coconut yoghurt in place of ice confection desserts.

So you see, there are heaps of great options when you are going gluten free and you certainly won’t go hungry. All it takes is learning to look at foods a bit more closely, along with a little planning and preparation. Start by mastering one meal at a time – you’ll be surprised how this will become your new “normal” and you will wonder what all the fuss was about to begin with.

 

 

 

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Gluten Free Apple Turnovers

There’s nothing like warm apple pie on a cold winters evening! Here is a healthier gluten free take on a classic that is just as good if not better than the original.

PASTRY (have all ingredients at room temperature)
2 ¼ cups gluten free flour eg. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking flour
¼ cup tapioca flour
¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt
¾ cup xylitol or ½ cup coconut sugar or rapadura sugar
50g organic butter at room temperature
50g coconut butter at room temperature (optional –or can use 100g butter)
1 egg beaten (poor egg, you really should apologise!)
4 tablespoons organic unhomogenised milk or coconut milk

APPLES
5 medium red delicious apples
5 medium granny smith apples
1 teaspoon ground allspice
¼ cup filtered water

Method:

1. In a medium size saucepan place the peeled, cored and diced apples with the water and allspice. Cook on a low heat with the lid on, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Cook until tender but not mushy – about 15-20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

3. Prepare your baking trays with some non-stick bake on paper or silicon baking sheets

Pastry:
Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the beaten egg. Mix until combined. Add the milk and mix well. Add the soft butter and work into a dough consistency. You may need to add a little more flour if the mixture is too sticky to roll.

On a lightly floured bench, divide the dough into 12 portions. Roll a portion into a ball and then roll out to about 8mm thickness in a roughly circular shape. Place a smallish dessertspoon of cooked apple onto the centre of the pastry circle and fold into half pinching the edges of the turnover together with your fingers. Gently poke the top of each turnover with a fork to allow for breathing holes. Brush with milk and place onto your baking tray.
Repeat until your tray is full, then bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from tray onto a cooling rack and lock the doors to make sure you still have your batch for its intended!

Recipe created by Brisbane Natural Health Naturopath and Nutritionist Anne-Marie McDonald

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How to curb your sugar (and carbohydrate) cravings naturally

Are you at the type of person that is at the café for a piece of cake every afternoon at 3pm? Or perhaps you can’t finish a meal without having a sugary treat. Some of us think about sugar all day long! And no doubt the media has taught you that sugar is the crack cocaine of the food world – so a sugar addiction can’t be good right?

Well, we certainly are eating more of it than ever before, and the type of sugar that we eat is more refined than what  our ancestors were eating. This combined with the fact that most of us sit in chairs all day with limited physical movement has created an issue. However it’s not all bad news. You can have your cake and eat it too – but it’s about understanding the various types of sugar and being in control of when we have it so that we can look after our bodies without feeling deprived.

Sugar is the simplest form of carbohydrate available to the body and can be used as a source of fuel for our cells to turn into energy. It can also be used a little bit like a drug, making us feel good when we are feeling down or giving us that kick of energy in the mid-afternoon when the post-lunch slump turns the computer screen into a blur. When we have a craving for sugar or for more complex carbs (like grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes) when our blood sugar drops a little (or when we are feeling a bit crappy). This can happen with ‘blood sugar imbalance’, which is not really an illness as such, more a slight dysfunction which is easily fixed. What often happens is we can get caught up in a vicious sugar cycle – we crave, we eat, we crave again, we eat again and so on – and a blood sugar yo-yo effect is what keeps us coming back for more. Breaking this cycle is not always easy, but once it is done, we are no longer in the trap, and no longer a slave to sugar.

Let’s look at some simple ways to improve your blood sugar balance and reduce your sugar cravings:

  • Eat protein at breakfast time – this has been shown to be beneficial for many different physiological syndromes of blood sugar imbalance. It also helps to keep you fuller for longer throughout the day and make better food choices.
  • Try some healthy alternatives when the craving hits– an apple and a handful of almonds or cashews makes a great mid afternoon snack to keep you going until knock off time.
  • Make sure to snack on healthy snacks regularly throughout the day – try a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts, a boiled egg, hummus and carrot sticks, bliss balls
  • Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to your breakfast or include in cups of tea. Cinnamon helps to regulate blood sugar, which in turn reduces your body’s likelihood of having a craving
  • Try dark chocolate instead of milk/sweet chocolate. Often a switch to 70% dark chocolate (which is low in sugar) allows you to feel like you have had your treat, without you needing to consume a high level of sugar. Chocolate also contains antioxidants which are protective to your health and theobromines, which make you feel good.
  • If you are going to have a sweet treat, try having it with some protein and fat – this will slow down digestion time, delaying the release of sugar into your blood stream and reducing the yo-yo effect of eating sugar explained above.
  • If you are still struggling with your cravings, please book in to see a naturopath as there can be deeper reasons for this that need examination.

 

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All about MATCHA

What’s so great about MATCHA?

Matcha is a fine bright green powdered form of specially grown and processed green tea, Camellia sinensis. Historically this tea was used by Japanese Zen monks in the 8th century, as a ceremonial drink for its calming and clarity inducing properties.

The really great thing about green tea, and particularly Matcha is that it has many health benefits, supported by both historical records and literally thousands of scientific studies.

Green tea has a great reputation for it’s health giving benefits as a result of the compounds chlorophyll, theanine and catachins. Matcha green tea is grown in the shade, enhancing its levels of these valuable compounds significantly. 

Here is a quick approximate comparison of the variation of compounds in green tea compared to Matcha.

Compound Green Tea Matcha – 1 teaspoon powder
EGCG (epigallocatechingallate) 80mg per cup 240mg per cup
Theanine 4mg per cup 20mg per cup
Caffeine 31.8mg per cup 68mg per cup

So what do these fancy pants compounds do?

Mood & Brain Food

A 2017 study showed that match tea intake improved attention, memory and suppression of distraction when compared to control subjects.  This was attributed to the unique balance of green tea phytochemicals L-Theanine and caffeine.  L-Theanine reportedly improving relaxation and calmness and reducing tension. The study found that when compared to using caffeine in the form of coffee, green tea had equal or better alertness and focus benefits than coffee without the associated anxiety or jitteriness.

Healthy Heart & Arteries

In a 2016 study, Matcha was shown to improve HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol), reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad guy), reduce blood glucose levels and improve antioxidant levels in rats fed a high saturated fat diet in combination with Matcha. In other words rats eating hamburgers reduced their cardiovascular risk if they had Matcha powder with their meal. This showed good potential for Matcha consumption improving fat metabolism, blood sugars and inflammation. Go green!

Detox

Unfortunately we live in a world laden with all kinds of toxic compounds, many of which we are exposed to constantly without our conscious knowledge. PCB’s or polychlorinated biphenyls are one such class of toxic chemical compounds which are found in electrical equipment, inks, glues, flame retardents (used in our clothes, carpets and furnishings) and paints. The unfortunate thing about this compound is that is volatile, it can be measured in our soils, drinking water and in the air we are breathing. PCB’s accumulate in our tissues and in those of the animals we eat. Matcha to the rescue! A recent Japanese study showed that rats fed a diet of PCB’s along with Matcha were able to excrete up to nine times more PCB’s in their faeces and also showed reduced distribution of PCB’s in their livers as compared to rats who missed out on the Matcha.

There are many more studies supporting the health benefits of matcha and green tea for everything from protection against cancer to the removal of mould toxins from the body. Do yourself a favour and switch out a cup of coffee per day for a nice Matcha latte!

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Paleo brownies with raw chocolate ‘icing’

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Tis the season for migraines

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What is meditation?

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10 dairy free sources of calcium

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Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto and wilted greens

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