8 Different Ways with Quinoa

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posted 15th February, 2013 under Nutrition and Health Cabinet.

Quinoa has been ‘in grained’ into the healthy hipsters club for the past year or two, and there is little reason to debate its popularity.

 Out of all the grains, quinoa has one of the highest amounts of protein – similar to a glass of milk.

Continue reading 8 Different Ways with Quinoa »


Top 5 Things you Didn’t Know about Green Tea

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posted 8th February, 2013 under Nutrition and Health Cabinet.

Green tea has become as common place as a cup of coffee or a steaming pot of English Breakfast. And while I am all for partaking in a social trend – don’t let green tea’s cool factor blind you.

The benefits of green tea go beyond the social and if you haven’t already ventured down this caffeine alternative – here are a few reasons why you should commit to a greener choice this year:

Your Weight and Green Tea:

As most of us are still holding onto those post Christmas kilo’ s green tea might be just what the doctor ordered. According to a recent American study, EGCG, a compound found in green tea, can actually slow the rate at which we gain weight by as much as 45%.  Admittedly, you would need to drink 10 cups of tea a day – but the amount of time spent hovering over a boiling kettle could act as that necessary fridge distraction.

Your Anxiety and Green Tea:

No one can dispute the therapeutic and comforting effect of a hot warm drink. However green tea has the added bonus of theanine a component that increases the feel good amino acid GABA in the brain. Theanine is a natural dopamine booster and can stimulate relaxing alpha brainwaves not uncommon to the response seen by daily meditation. Theanine also counteracts the effects of caffeine in green tea- which is why you can achieve mental clarity without the buzz coffee so often brings.

Your Flat Tummy and Green Tea:

Have your cake and eat it too with a cup of green tea! Recent research at Penn State University showed that drinking green tea with your high sugar carbs helped to reduce the sharp rise in blood sugar by up to 50%! Shoot for just one cup with your meal to offset any potential insulin spike.

Your Eyes and Green Tea:

If looking good is a priority then you must have the eyes to watch what you eat! In a recent study published by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists demonstrated that the potent level of antioxidants found in green tea could help ward off glaucoma. The benefits of these antioxidants on eye health can last up to 20 hours, so for best prevention a daily ritual of green tea – not the sporadic cup or two is a must.

Your IQ and Green Tea:

Those who drink green tea might just be smarter than you think.  In a recent Chinese study green tea was shown to boost memory and spatial learning.  Once again this was due to the EGCG compound present in green tea. In the study, mice were set in a maze and trained for a week to find a hidden platform. Those that were given EGCG needed less time to relocate the hidden platform.  Who knows, perhaps that extra cup of green tea will stop you from misplacing your phone or keys on a semi-regular basis?

And if you find the prospect of green tea a bitter sweet experience – why not add a slice of lemon, dollop of honey or opt for a flavored variety?  It certainly won’t inhibit the antioxidant potential and you might just find yourself making more than a cup!

8 Foods to Remove From Your Fridge Now!

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posted 17th September, 2012 under Food for Thought,Nutrition and Health Cabinet.

Bad Eggs

Or eggs from unhappy chickens. If we are adamant about change and creating a livestock industry that is ethical and humane we need to start embracing our own buying power. Further to the point pasture raised, free range chicken have as much as 2/3rds more vitamin A, 3 times more vitamin E and 7 times more beta carotene than their conventional counterpart. Since organic butchers are a rare find, build report with a butcher you trust and who can tell you where your meat has come from.  If you have to travel a little further than buy in bulk and freeze for later!

Margarine

Even if it apparently ‘lowers cholesterol’ it is often filled with genetically modified trans fat, fat that is highly unstable, oxidizes easily in the body and causes free radical damage. If you live in the city, you are already exposed to enough free radicals as it is. Stick to the real stuff and embrace butter please!

Fizzy Drinks

Fizzy drinks are without a doubt a top offender on the modern food chain; a highly processed, sugar water that acidifies the body and interrupts mineral balance.   Improper mineral balance is what leads to a host of problems prevalent in old age – particularly osteoporosis. For the sake of good bones and healthy teeth, drink water!

Processed Meats

Don’t get me wrong – I am all for a nice piece of bacon with my eggs, but give me a hunk of good quality bacon from an Australian free range pork any day over the suspect pink fillets vacuumed packed from the supermarket. Minus the numbers, guar gums and weird additives, REAL PORK with a little fat attached has up to 2800 IU of Vitamin D per 100 grams. Given that we are so deficient in Vitamin D…perhaps it is time to put a bit of pork on your fork?

Low Fat Yoghurt

Once again, low fat yoghurt is actually so tasty because of the amount of sugar in it. Also, with the amount of fat removed to make it 99% fat free, several guar gums and thickening agents, often that are very difficult to digest, are added back in to give the ‘liquid goop’ apparent thickness. It goes without saying- buy the real yoghurt and enjoy the feel of real fat and taste in your mouth. WARNING your waistline will not be affected.

Vegetarian Mock Meat

Now before you think I am slaying into vegetarians, think again. I am all for implementing more plant foods into ones diet, and am happy to indulge in a vegetarian meal or two throughout the day, but for goodness sake vegetarian mock meats are exactly what they lay claim to be. FAKE! Filled with endocrine disrupting soy (lay off the soy if you have any hormonal problems) gluten and genetically modified wheat, most vegetarian meats are as bad for you as processed deli meat, if not worse. If you want plant protein, stick to soy foods in their natural state (like Tempeh) and try to include a wide variety of vegetables.

Conventional Milk

If you want milk, support happy cows that have been reared humanely and with the proper nourishment required. Organic milk from pasture raised cows has as much as 2/3rd’s more Omega 3’s than the conventional counterpart.

The extra money you pay for organic milk is marginal. Knowing you are contributing to a farmer who is committed to feeding and nourishing their cows at a cellular level is priceless.

Anything that you find hard to portion control

For me it is ice cream. Hence despite my desire to cut back on my packaged goods, if I buy ice cream, I buy it in individual tubs. No need to double dip then. ;-) Any food that tempts you to eat more is always going to be unhealthy. Whether it’s a 1kg of apples, a jar of almond butter or block of chocolate- none of them are good for you, if you can’t stop at one serving.

If you can easily have a block of chocolate in your cupboard and restrain yourself to only one row (better yet, just a piece) then go ahead and enjoy it. While your in heaven, have pity on us weaker souls. Anyone who has self control around chocolate is truly a god amongst (wo)men. I bow to your strength.

Smart Girls Guide to Removing Plastic

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posted 5th July, 2012 under Nutrition and Health Cabinet.

 

Is that BPA in my yogurt?

Most of the plastic items that have EVER been made – still exists in some form or another on this planet. Hark back to all those coffees you’ve had, tins of baked beans (yes they’re lined in plastic) you’ve consumed and Thai takeaway you’ve ordered. That plastic- is still swimming around somewhere on planet earth, along with the other trillions of plastic goods people worldwide have used

 From an environmental front- the evidence is clear that our plastic bag usage is indeed contributing to the decline of our ecosystems. However- I fear plastic from a human front too. Bisphenol A or BPA is a common element to most plastic goods we use. BPA can activate our estrogen receptors, increasing circulating estrogen resulting in early onset puberty, reduced sperm counts, hormonal dysfunction (PCOS anyone!?) and learning problems in children.  Not convinced? A recent study showed that 9 out of 10  NEWBORN babies had BPA leached into their very own bloodstream.

 While I would love to eliminate my plastic usage all-together, this is unfortunately quite impossible given our day and age’s desire to package only in plastic. Take one example, where my good friend insisted no plastic for her takeaway burrito and was ridiculed and denied the option, or another time where a diligent environmentally savvy GF brought her own container to a take out joint, only to be refused for ‘fear of cross contamination’ – this is despite the fact they were quite happy to accept her plastic credit card.

 SO what is an environmentally concerned, 21st century woman to do?

 Here are a few moves, not massive changes that can REALLY affect the way we think as a society. After all- change really occurs when the people around you start adopting the same practice.

Stop waiting for a policy to force you- start doing it of your OWN accord.

  1. Get a re-usable bottle. Water bottles are another wonderful landfill waster and are also filled with BPA. Stop reusing those plastic water bottles too, if you’re concerned about your hormonal health!
  2.  Buy an array of beautiful reusable CLOTH or SILK bags. Ensure you have them on hand at all times. Some for the car and some for your handbag. You can even use these cloth bags to weigh your fruit and veggie in so you can avoid the little plastic bags in the fresh food section.
  3. That being said, why not buy your food in bulk? This avoids plastic packaging altogether.
  4. Go to the markets! Grab a girlfriend and organize a market visit. Your products come without plastic wrap and you support local farmers.
  5. Buy your own Keep Cup Coffee mug! Some café’s even give you a discounted coffee if you opt to bring your reusable cup.
  6. Clean your house naturally with baking soda, vinegar and lavender oil. Smells delicious and lavender oil keeps mosquitoes at bay too. (Good for our Aussie households)
  7. No Straws. Unless you are in a vintage milk bar on route 66.
  8. Forget liquid soap. Old School bar soap is a must! Seek out one without Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, which is not good for our waterways or our skin.
  9. Be package savvy- if you need to buy a heavily packaged item, try to buy one that has the least offending packaging. If you can afford to buy the glass option – do it.
  10. Once you have a nice collection of glass jars – use them! I store all my baking goods in there and even use them to put leftover food in. No more plastic contsiners for me – my lunch is straight from the jam jar of last nights dinner.

What about you- have you found any nifty ways to detox the plastic in your life?

x

Holly McBride from - healthywholeholly. 

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