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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The recipe to living a life you love.

Do you live a life you love? I mean really stop and think about it – are you completely happy and loving your life? Are you happy in your relationships, your job, where you live? Do you do things regularly that make your heart sing? Of course, we all aspire to live a life that we love, but it is all too easy to get caught up in the day to day, leading a less than ideal or mediocre life. This mean you might remain in a relationship or job that doesn’t light you up for longer than you should. Or it could mean that you haven’t cultivated enough self love to truly be happy day to day.

People who live a life they love eat well, workout regularly (because they want to), have strong relationships (including with themselves), enjoy their work and are happy most of the time. They get a lot of joy from life and look forward to the start of each day. They refuse to put up with a beige existence, knowing that life has a bounty to offer them if they find out where to look. We each have the ability to have this – it’s just a matter of peeling back the layers and giving your body, mind and soul what it needs to enhance your life.

After working with over 5000 people, we know that there is a recipe to having a life that you love. it includes the following.

1. Achieving excellent, vibrant health

Good health is the foundation to living a life that you love. When we have physical symptoms it causes pain, discomfort, worry and concern that can strip the joy from our day to day lives. It can stop you from behaving how you normally would, preventing you from doing what you love. It can even colour the way that you perceive the world through negative emotions, as you’ll see in the next section. Achieving excellent health is about eating the right foods, moving your body and healing disease with natural medicines, if possible. It’s also about mindset, as you’ll see in the steps following.

2. Working through emotional toxicity

People who live a life they love have been able to identify and release emotional toxicity that holds them back. This might be working through anxiety, depression or low self esteem by identifying the underlying subconscious causes and triggers. It might be identifying what emotions you have attached to and dis-ease in the body, and where it first started so that you can clear it. Your thought patterns and emotional state are a huge determinant of how you’re feeling and also what behaviour that you present. We all have some emotional toxicity to varying degrees and once you can identify this and work though it your life will be so much better.

We need to identify and release emotional toxicity in order to reach our full potential.

3. Cultivating gratitude and positivity

This step comes more easily once you have mastered the former, but it’s something that you can begin to work on right away. Studies (and ancient spiritual teachings) show that cultivating gratitude makes you happier and more content with life. This can be a simple as consciously and sincerely thanking people more often or keeping a daily gratitude journal. We also need to practice mindfulness – this is observing our thoughts so we can actively try to change them. We are taught to be inherently negative – especially towards ourself. Listen to your self talk – you’ll soon find that you would never speak to someone that way that you speak to yourself. Catch yourself and consciously try to think more positive. This might require more work on step 2 if you find it challenging.

4. Addressing your spirituality

No matter what you religious denomination or what your spiritual beliefs are, once thing for certain is that we are more than our physical bodies. We know from research that people that have a strong spiritual belief in something outside of themselves are happier and more content. Spirituality doesn’t need to be about praying to a certain god or figure, most importantly it is about reconnecting to your own spirit or soul. Doing this can give you your own sense of purpose, help to ground you and make you more comfortable in your own skin. To help nurture your spiritual self we recommend meditation and exploring this side of yourself with a spiritual/energetic healer that can help you to identify if there is anything that can be blocking your growth in this area.


We are complex beings with many layers of physical, emotional and spiritual blocks that can stop up from reaching our full potential and living a life that we love. It is through the exploration of these layers and removal of blocks that we grow and advance as human beings, so that we can truly experience life for all that it has to offer.

At Brisbane Natural Health we are passionate about helping people live a life that they love. We’ve developed memberships to specifically address all 4 of these areas and help you to not only feel better but to truly improve your quality of life. Call us on 07 3367 0337 to ask about how we can help you. 

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Is farmed salmon healthy?

Our days of eating wild caught fish are getting numbered with dwindling fish supplies caused by overfishing. The fish that is available is increasingly contaminated with mercury and with other persistent organic pollutants (POPs) like Bisphenol A caused by the huge amount of plastic that has ended up in our oceans.

All fresh and smoked salmon available in Australia is farmed. Farmed salmon is an attractive alternative and may well bridge the gap we need to boost our omega 3 content. There are some pros and cons to eating farmed salmon which we’ll discuss in this article.

 

Omega 3 content

Farmed salmon traditionally contained higher levels of omega 3 than wild salmon, even though wild salmon has a more favourable omega 3 fatty acid profile. This is likely due to the overall fat content being up to three times as high in farmed salmon. In recent years however studies have found that the omega 3 levels in farmed salmon are dropping. This Australian study for example found that since 2002 omega 3 levels have dropped 30 – 50% in farmed salmon.

This is a result of the change in their diet – farmed salmon used to be fed on pellets made form small fish like anchovies and sardines, however a reduction in supply of these fish has lead to other feeds being produced. These newer generation feeds can contain, soy, barley, algae, trimmings from seafood processing, insects and leftovers from processing almonds and pistachio nuts. There is also a genetically modified yeast that produces omega 3 that some salmon farms are using to bolster omega 3 levels.

This UK study found that farmed salmon that were fed on more vegetable oils were indeed lower in omega 3 than those fed on fish oil rich pellets. It also found that the omega 3 concentrations in the fat of wild caught salmon was higher. Even given this, the nutritional content of omega 3 per 100g was higher for farmed salmon due to the higher fat content of the fish.

Smoked salmon is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids.

Heavy metals and contaminants

Because fish can bio-accumulate toxins through the food chain it’s important to look at levels of mercury, dioxins, PCB’s and pesticides. Toxins levels correlate mostly with the feed given to the fish but also the environment they are grown in. This Norwegian study found that over a 13 year period from 1999 to 2011 contaminant levels of mercury, arsenic, dioxins, PCB’s and DDT had reduced, however pesticide levels remained steady.

In this British study, they found that there were higher heavy metal concentrations in feed than there was in the farmed salmon. Mercury showed a slight degree of bio-magnification – meaning that it could be transferred from feed to salmon. Other heavy metals like lead and cadmium did not transfer across and became less available through the fish. The study found that overall mercury levels in farmed salmon were well below safety guidelines.

In this human study participants ate 380g of farmed salmon a week for 30 weeks and then tested for mercury and POP levels. No increases were found in these toxic compounds as a result of consuming farmed salmon.

As fish supplies dwindle farmed fish may be the only viable alternative.

The verdict?

Based on the research it would seem that farmed salmon is still a great candidate to fill our omega 3 requirements. Even with the decline in omega 3 levels brought about by the increase in vegetable matter in their feed, farmed salmon is still one of the best sources of omega 3 by weight.

Because of the decline in our fish stocks we’ll need to watch this space as new fish feeds are being trialed constantly and they will determine the quality of the end product. With the increase in man made toxins and POPs studies will need to be conducted regularly to ensure that farmed salmon remains safe to eat.

Want to learn more about toxins in our food supply? Come along to our environmental toxins workshop. View our upcoming workshop timetable here.

 

 

 

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10 Tips For Glowing Skin

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2 meals in under 18 minutes

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