May 31, 2013

Weekend Recipe -- Superman Bars from Co-inside Wellbeing

This week brings me such joy at offering you this recipe from my girl Candice and her hubby Curtis from Co-inside Wellbeing; who both now live just up the hill from me in Cairns. Both totes inspiring beautiful people with a super cool blog to boot, here is their Superman Bars recipe for you to lovingly create this weekend.

What you'll need:

Makes around 12 bars

¾ cup unhulled tahini
1 cup pitted dates, packed tightly
½ cup almond meal (or LSA)
½ cup almonds
½ cup raw honey
½ cup sultanas
½ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup goji berries
½ cup coconut chips/flakes
½ cup cacao nibs
½ cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons of dessicated coconut

What to do:

Place the dates, tahini, almonds, almond meal, sultanas and raw honey into a food processor, and process until a dough-like mixture forms. In a large bowl, mix the remainder of the ingredients into the date/almond mixture until completely combined (you may need to get your hands dirty for this one, or use a large spoon). Line a medium rectangle dish with baking paper and press the mixture down evenly to form a firm slab. Sprinkle with dessicated coconut and place into the fridge for a few hours. When cool, cut into 12 bars and enjoy.

Now I don't want to get ahead of myself or you, but I do want to let you know that next Friday is the beginning of a 6 part series I'm doing called Sisterhood Health + Wellness where I'm bringing you some of the hottest chics in nutrition and wellness, to share their story, wisdom, and of course a favourite recipe with you all so WATCH THIS SAPCE! In the meantime, have a fantabulous weekend, get these superman bars into you, and I'll see you all next week!

Christie xx

Curtis and Candice are health bloggers healing both themselves and others. Their website, Co-inside Wellbeing was founded when they began making fundamental changes to their lifestyle following a serious health scare, and wanted to share their learning’s with the world.

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May 29, 2013

Struggling with energy level slumps? 8 Ways to pick yourself up and bouce back!

We've all been there right? Feeling a little sleepier and a little lazier, our exercise routine disappears, our diet gets sloppy, and then we struggle to get out of bed. Day-to-day seems like an uphill battle and unless we have clear and defined reasons as to why this is all happening for us, we only make matters worse trying to battle against it.

Here are 8 of my top tips to get yourself feeling the way you used too and the way we ought too - energised, happy and full of vitality.

+ Get out of bed and move; this can be the toughest but is also the most important. Getting out of bed and donning a pair of runners to go for a walk or a jog (bike ride, swim, whatever you fancy) gets our circulation going, gets blood flow to our head, moves our lymphatic system around, and gets our heart rate going. It also helps to spike up our cortisol levels – cortisol is our stress hormone that is naturally at it’s highest in the morning (and the reason why we can get much more done in the mornings than in the afternoons). But if we’re struggling to get out of bed, then our hormones are not working at their best and adrenal fatigue is possibly starting to appear. By ramping up our cortisol when it should be doing so itself, we are encouraging the normal rhythms of our hormones, and also helping to prevent cortisol to be sky high at the other end of the day (Night owls? Tired and wired?) when it should be at it’s lowest. Exercise can also flush bacteria and waste from the body through the lungs and via sweating, and doing it in the morning kinda ‘set’s up your day’; you can listen to your fav tunes, train your thoughts to think positively whilst you enjoy the scenery, and practice deep breathing all at the same time.

+ Start your day with lemon or ACV in water; we’ve all heard it before and there’s good reason. Either of these gets your digestion system up and ready for whatever you put in your mouth a little later on. They are also cleansing, and after a night of rest and fasting, water is the best thing you can put in your body.

+ Add some spirulina; I love this stuff but I never used too. I can take a little time to get used to the taste but I think I love it now more for the way it makes me feel than the actual taste of it. Loaded with protein and minerals, this is my supplement of choice for any vegetarian who feels like they are lacking energy. Having said that, it works wonders for anyone and I highly recommend it.

+ Ensure you’re getting vitamin C and your B’s; two other nutrients that are often lacking when we’re not feeling our best. Both water soluble vitamins, they are depleted daily unlike fat soluble vitamins that can be stored in our body. Bring stress into the picture and these two are definitely going to be low. Our adrenals eat up B vitamins and our immune system eats up vitamin C. If our diet is dodgy and our liver is struggling to detox and process everything optimally, vitamin C is one nutrient needed to help. If you’re a smoker or drink alcohol regularly, then again, these guys will be near non-existent.
Eat more: kiwi fruits, red capsicums, strawberries, leafy greens, oats, wheat germ, brewers yeast, nutritional yeast flakes/savoury yeast flakes

+ Eat both simple and complex carbs; one of my favourite things to eat is a slice of toasted sprouted rye bread, with a good smear of ABC nut butter, a sliced banana, and a drizzle of organic honey. This is both slow and fast releasing in terms of energy, so instantly you’ll feel like you’ve got energy into your body and have something to work with (banana and honey), but at the same time you’re kinda saving some for later to keep you going once your initial boost begins to fall off (the rye and peanut butter).

+ Ensure enough sleep; and I really mean ENSURE it! You will know how much sleep you need to function at your best. If you’re already feeling down and out, then it’s highly likely you’re gonna be needing even more. For months, I needed 9 ½ - 10hrs sleep each and every night, with an additional 30 minute lie down in the afternoons to help in healing my fatigue. You might do great on 7hrs each night, and feel like and extra hour is all you need to jump back. Listen to your body. Turn off your phones, computers and TV and hour before you usually do. Wash your face, brush your teeth and jump into bed an hour before you usually do. Grab a book or plug in a meditation and chill until you doze off. I’m sure it won’t be long.

+ Drink fresh filtered or spring water; depending on where you’re living, your build and size, and activity level, the amount of water you should be drinking will vary. On average, something between 1.5L and 3L is good. I aim for 3L a day here in Cairns. In Darwin, I was chugging back close to 5L daily. When we feel thirsty, we are already dehydrated, and by that time, our brain function s l o w s right down; you might remember a time when you’ve felt like this – I know I get cranky, moody, can’t make decisions, feel super hungry, and are either agitated and anxious or really bored and can’t move. All of which can be turned around if I make sure I drink enough water. Easy.

+ Laugh, smile, connect, and change your thinking; hire comedy movies the cheap rental night of the week, have a BBQ with mates, call your best friend in another state, read an inspiring book, whatever it is, these can and do all help lift our spirits and put our attention on things that are far more important that those that drain us and only keep us where we have no energy. Don’t buy into the thoughts that you’ve got no energy, instead focus on the energy you do have and reaffirm “I have endless energy for everything I need”.

If you've got something else or some other nifty trick of the trade that works to keep your energy levels going strong, please share in the comments below.

Christie xx

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May 27, 2013

Dropping Food Rules with Deep Fried Spring Rolls

I’ve pretty much always been a stickler for what we label “healthy” foods. Preferably going for a salad over chips, veggies steamed not fried, and drinking water over anything else, both for nutritional value and taste. As a Nutritionist-to-be, these are all recommendations I would be making to clients that are needing to clean up their diet as well. There is much benefit in all these choices, and we’ve all read books, blog posts, magazine articles, you name it, on why certain foods are better than others, and how we can make choices that will benefit our health.
But what if these choices, once healthy changes we felt good about, became a way of life that was so rigid, so inflexible, and potentially a little disordered to be so bold, that they ended up boxing us in, having us decline dinner dates, and feel guilty about a slice of pizza? Would you still consider them “healthy”?
This is what the past 2 months have been like for me. Challenging my own food rules whilst on holiday in Thailand.

Now Thailand, like anywhere gorgeously sunny, conjures up thoughts of detoxing, retreats, raw foods, delicious juices and more in my little head. And to a degree this is all true. This is everything I had in mind for my 6 weeks anyway – I was going to “clean up my diet” and get all my energy and enthusiasm back as this was only big college break all year (let it be known that my diet didn’t need “cleaning up”, but yes I was in need of some more energy; read more here). But like most plans of mine, they don’t actually go to plan (one of my big lessons this lifetime; to let go of control).

There was very little detox - and everything that possibly goes with that. There were fresh juices and a couple of colonic sessions, plenty of fresh fruit, and delicious nutritious meals. But on top of that, there was a process going on underneath it all and led me to fried spring rolls with sweet dipping sauces, chocolate bars whenever we walked past a 7/11 (sad to see), and deep fried bananas served piping hot (o-m-g) on a sheet of wax paper from the street vans in the evenings. I drank soy milk sweetened with sugar, munched on sliced white bread and white rice, sometimes with white mayonnaise, and polished off Jelly Belly’s I had in my bag from a visit to mums.
My favourite shot of all - Bangkok's Koh San Road street food
I could try to justify it all with another list of all the amazing “healthier” options I also ate, but I’d only be doing just that – justifying it, and there’s no need – until I’ve edited all the colourful, mouth-watering, delectable photos of our meals, and then of course I’ll be sharing!
And you know what happened to me? Absolutely nothing! Well, that’s a little white lie now isn’t it? By nothing I mean, I didn’t gain 10kg, I didn’t have skin eruptions left, right, and centre (the one’s I had just didn’t budge), and I didn’t get sick and nearly die (in fact I was violently ill for 3 days from what might have been a tuna salad). I was dropping all my rules around what I should be eating and just rolling with. If I felt like a spring roll, I’d buy one (omg do yourselves a favour and head to Pai in Thailand’s north for pumpkin spring rolls at the walking street markets)! If I wanted French toast for brekkie (yes, in Thailand - head thinking bread; don’t do it, fried; not great… body going Yes Yes Yes) instead of eggs and salad (head reasoning with; Protein is great! Satiety is awesome! Nutrients and colour equals yum! But my body really just wanted fried freakin’ bread that day!), I got it (and girl was it unreal).
And even then, I learnt that one spring roll was delicious, but two didn’t feel so good. So I was always listening to my body and trying to not let my head interfere too much – coz of course shitty food isn’t ideally what we should always be eating. But if we drop all food rules and listen to our bodies more, than shitty foods are no longer labelled shitty foods. They simply are just another food.
Banana + chocolate roti (pancake/crepe)

This stuff can be hard to teach and I believe that as a Nutritionist-to-be I am here to help navigate paths of nourishing eating for everyone I see and work with, and this can at times include a deep fried spring roll, or two. It’s about tailoring our eating to us. But at the same time, I think most females could do with dropping a food rule, or all!
Do you have rules around food that that you notice more in certain situations? Are they your rules or someone else’s?
Leave a comment below if you have a food rule and please share what it is.

Christie xx

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May 24, 2013

Reintegration + Looking after Me

I’m back in Cairns! And I gotta say it’s so nice to be back. It also feels a little weird, a little unsettling, and a tad something else that I’m having trouble articulating. So instead of the usual weekend recipe I give you guys each Friday, I thought I’d fill you in on what I’ve been doing, where I’m at, and what’s happening next.

We landed here in Cairns yesterday morning after a beautiful week in Darwin with family; resting, playing with our gorgeous nephew and adorable niece, spending time on the bikes riding around town, and we even managed to get a free week’s pass to the local gym and hit the weights each day which felt GREAT after having not been in a gym for over a year due to adrenal exhaustion and fatigue – I feel I’m slowly getting my strength and energy back now. It’s been a while.

Since arriving home, our car battery had died, we had to get a jump start, and then off to grab some organics, it died again and we had to call for a new battery. The place we were meant to be staying for a week or so fell through so we had no place to go to for showers and snoozes, so instead we grabbed our swimmers and headed for Stoney Creek (our favourite fresh water creek) for a freezing cold refreshing wake up dip and wash, and felt much better after that. Stopping by a mates place for hello’s and ending up with an invitation to crash there in a spare room with full use of kitchen, bathroom and living areas until further notice… things were falling into place. A quick trip for some veggies for dinner, a pot of herbal tea, and we were ready for bed.

On waking this morning I could instantly hear the banter going on in my head and all the things “I had to get done” – I was already feeling stressed just by being here and I hadn’t even gotten out of bed. Feeling restless lying there, I got up, poured some tea and sat on the deck in the crisp fresh air staring out at the garden. I needed the stillness and quiet in my mind, and after a whole large pot of tea and green grass staring, I felt much better, although I still feel a little off kilter today.

So as I begin to reintegrate back into home, without my own home to do it in, I know I’ve got to be gentle on myself and take things slowly. My own space, quiet time + tea, journaling and kitchen cooking is huge on my sanity list and so I intend on keeping those things in my day-to-day activities whilst we continue to hunt for our perfect place to live.

This is total looking-after-me-ness

What things do you need in your day-to-day that help to keep you feeling your best?

In the meantime I’ve got a bucketload of photos I need to edit with plenty of mouth-watering Thailand food porn pics to deliver you sometime in the next couple of weeks so I’m gonna jet to do so.

Have a fabulous weekend, enjoy whatever beautiful things come your way.
Eat well, stay well,

Christie   xx

May 22, 2013

Belly Bulge or No Ab-Fab? 9 Foods here to help.

Whether it's abs of steel we want, or simply a litte less bloating after meals, the flat tummy can be had by all. And food plays a huge role. Here are 9 of my top picks that you wanna get in your gob if you're after a trim taut tummy.

+ Almonds
Little gems of protein, fibre and vitamin E - a powerful antioxidant - with plenty of magnesium, which our body must have in order to produce energy, build and maintain muscle tissue, AND regulate blood sugar; this is what helps prevent cravings that can lead to overeating and weight gain. Soaking them prior to eating them also helps with the digestion of them, which can further make your tummy happy :) All other nuts are also great.

+ Eggs
You won't find a more perfect protein source thanks to their balance of essential amino acids. Personally, and from what I've seen, when people eat eggs for brekkie, they feel less hungry throughout the day (than when breakfast is mainly complex carbohydrates like breads and cereals). The protein and fat in the egg is likely what contributes to the feeling of satiety. And unless you've got an allergy, no bloating seen!

+ Berries
Antioxidants and fibre! The more fibre you eat the fewer calories you absorb from all the other stuff you put in your mouth because fibre traps food particles and shuttles them out of your system before they're fully digested.
+ Leafy Greens
Super super low calorie count is what helps that waistline here. One cup of spinach contains only about 40 calories, while a cup of broccoli has 55 calories and satisfies 20 percent of your day's fibre requirement. Most leafy greens are also a good source of calcium, an essential ingredient for muscle contraction, helping fuel your workouts. However, if your system is struggling with digesting foods, make sure you're cooking your greens.

+ Salmon
Seafood, especially fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, is an excellent source of uber-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which help promote fat burning by making our metabolism more efficient. Ontop of that, salmon (and other seafood) is an excellent source of abs-friendly protein.

+ Oats (unsweetened, unflavored)
Unless you experience gluten sensitivity, oats are a great flat-tummy food. Boosting our energy right up, and helping to maintain our blood sugar levels, so we're not reaching for the unhealthy stuff.

+ Peanut butter
Oh hello. Who else adores peanut butter? In anything and everything, I'll eat it. And what's even better? It builds muscle, and burns fat. What more could we want?

+ Avocado
Rich in monounsaturated fats that will help maintain a trim stomach.

+ Probiotic foods
It's the healthy probiotic bacteria in yogurt, kombucha, kefir and fermented vegetables such as saurekraut that helps keep our digestive system healthy, translating into a lower incidence of gas, bloating, and constipation, which of course keeps your tummy looking flat. Our health starts in our colon so if we ensure plenty of healthy bacteria there, we are ensuring health in the rest of us - this includes a healthy looking tummy.

NOTE: This is not a definitive list. If you are allergic, sensitive or intolerant to any of these foods, it is likely that they are not flat-tummy foods for you. Listen to your body and eat what works best for you. This is only a guide.

And one biggie to avoid...

+ Processed carbohydrates
These increase insulin levels and if we eat too many too often, they can stimulate abdominal fat (ontop of being devoid of any real nutrition). Some examples of these are low-fibre, processed breakfast cereals, white bread, pikelets, crumpets, bagels and scones, white rice and sugary soft drinks. Refined sugars, refined wheat, trans fats, and ANYTHING ELSE YOU'RE BODY DOESN'T LIKE for that matter, all start the stress mechanism which leads to fat storage.


+ Regular exercise is essential to a flat tummy. People who exercise regularly are better fat burners, burning more fat all day long, as opposed to those who don't exercise regularly.

+ Practice good posture; yoga, pilates and the like all teach you to engage your core muscles and help you develop strength. All the sit ups in the world won't faltten your tummy if your deep postural muscles are not activated.

+ Avoid overeating and eat slowly to give your stomach time to send fullness signals to your brain--it could take up to 20 minutes to realize you're satiated. Chewing food thoroughly will also help the digestion of your food, ensuring less troubles later on.

Christie xx

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May 20, 2013

Find Food Shopping a bore? 7 Ways to Love It Again.

I often have people (females) ask me how they can make shopping for food a fun thing; a pleasurable experience and not something that is merely a means to an end (ie. mindlessly walking supermarket aisles to put junk in the trolley to later store in the pantry).

So, as I lurve doing our shopping I thought I'd give you a few tips and tricks to make your weekly food shop fun, exciting, a total full on experience and something that you even look forward too, and not dread. So here we go...

+ Shop with a loved one; Whether it's clothes shopping, seeing a movie, hitting the beach or the gym, we all know most things are more fun when shared with a partner, best friend or family member. This includes grocery shopping. I always shop with B and we make an experience of it and have a ball wherever we go. I know if I did it on my own, I'd likely zip through and just want to get it done. No fun.

+ Get to your local growers market; this is what got me going every week to initially buy organics over the other stuff (yay) and got me buying new and different veggies each week. Then it became so much more; I would also always bump into someone I knew, have a hug/juice/coffee/tea/nibble/etc. I eagerly looked forward to a litre of amazing green juice I could get, and made an entire morning of chatting, shopping, trying new things and basking in the Sunday morning sunshine.

+ Get to other markets; venturing a little further to see what other areas near you offer is always a load of fun. In Sydney, Frenchs Forest was always my local fav, but every-now-and-then I'd end up at Pyrmont, Everleigh or Kings Cross. It jazzed it up a little, got me seeing and buying even more new foods and products, bumping into other friends around town, and had me see different areas of Sydney. Now up in Cairns we drive north to visit Port Douglas or up the range to Kuranda for a change of scenery and always have loads of fun.

+ Get to know who you buy your food from; when forming relationships with the people who you get your groceries from, they love seeing you again and again. They also throw in freebies every now and then, are happy to give you recipes and cooking advice, and can often get you something you ned but can't find anywhere else.

+ Have a cook-up night with friends; again, this will encourage you to shop fresh and have new recipes to try. Sharing conversation over food is one of my all time favourite things to do, and the meals shared are always changing as everyone wants to impress and experiment. Trust me, in starting something like "Friday Friends night" you'll sure be eating some of the best food ever in no time.

+ Put aside a new recipe (or more) each week to try; this gets your taste buds excited and will also help you with meal prep, which can at times be tricky. When I find a recipe I want to try, my whole body is like YUM!!! And then I can't wait to get the ingredients, prepare it, taste it and share it.

+ Ditch all large chain supermarkets; shopping at small organic grocers, weekend markets and health food shops, you're helping the locals stay in business, getting fresh healthy foods, have way less processed options to tempt you, engage in super cool conversations, and you can get everything you would otherwise get from the big guys anyways. There's also a beautiful thing about shopping at markets and smaller stores. Those big guys have it all set up for us to buy, buy, buy, and end up with a whole lotta rubbish we don't need.

So there you go. My tips to making food shopping loads of fun each and every week.
If you have your own tips and tricks, or other things you try, I would love to know what you get up too.

Christie xx

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May 17, 2013

Weekend Recipe: Apple Cinnamon Muffins (Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Paleo)

What you'll need:
  • 2 cups of almond meal
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup of maple syrup
  • 1 tbs of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of baking soda

What to do:
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
  2. Blend the eggs together in a separate small bowl.
  3. Mix together all the above ingredients and slowly stir in the blended eggs.
  4. Pour the batter evenly into 12 muffin baking cups.
  5. Cook 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden brown.

Recipe fom Natalie over at Oven Love 

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Christie xx

May 13, 2013

Guest Post from Georgia Stirring change - Raw Cacao: Hype or Science?

Ooh I love a bit of controversy don't you? Sure it can erk us one way or another, but particularly in the food and nutrition industries, a little bit of it is good as everything we read is contradictory, and being told as absolutes - which I believe nothing is absolute. Whether, let's use this instance for example, cacao is good or bad for us can only be answered with one individual in question. The same goes with apples, and coffee, and so on.

But I digress... here is an article written by my gorgeous friend Georgia from Stirring Change - and here she is doing exactly that - stirring the pot on the "superfood" we all love; Cacao.

Raise your hand if you fell for this one too.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. It was an irresistible idea, presented by some very charismatic people. Arguably one of the biggest scams to emerge out of the so-called ‘health’ movement.

Cacao is not a superfood

Don’t get me wrong. I consider fine, dark chocolate to be a fantastic indulgence food, with a few health benefits to boot. It’s in that same seductive category as coffee and red wine. Delicious, double-edged swords, to be enjoyed in moderation. (Beware the dose response curve.)

However cacao, of any kind, shouldn’t be considered a superfood. At least, not by my definition.Optimal, healthy foods are those that are truly nutrient dense, easy to digest (ie ideal for humans) and devoid of toxic antinutrients. Surely we should, at the very least, hold ‘superfoods’ to the same criteria?

A high ORAC score (antioxidant rating) ain’t everything. In fact, the USDA’s Nutrient Data Laboratory recently removed the ORAC Database due to mounting evidence that the system has no relevance to the effects of bioactive compounds on human health.
Their primary concern? ORAC values are “routinely misused by food and supplement manufacturing companies to promote their products and by consumers to guide their food and dietary supplement choices”. Touche, USDA.

So what else shouldn’t be present in a ‘superfood’?


Upon harvest, cacao beans require fermentation to be edible. 64% of the microbes that facilitate this process create toxins called mycotoxins. Aflatoxin and Ochratoxin A are two such mycotoxins that have the following effects:
  • Neurotoxic (destroys nervous tissue)
  • Immunosuppressive (suppresses immune function)
  • Genotoxic (causes genetic mutations)
  • Carcinogenic (cancer causing)
  • Teratogenic (causes birth defects)

These toxins are present in cocoa, coffee and cereal grains and their concentration greatly depends on the correct harvesting, fermentation and storage. Cacao farmers are generally poor and often operate in places lacking proper sanitary regulations. In this study, 98% of South American chocolate sampled was contaminated with ochratoxin A and 80% had a co-occurrence of aflatoxin.
Most of the raw cacao beans that I have personally inspected are visibly mouldy – even those from reputable brands. And while roasting won’t inactivate the mycotoxins, it will at least completely destroy the moulds that produce them.

So let’s look at a couple of the fabricated claims made about raw cacao, compared with its traditional roasted counterpart. I have not been able to find a single reliable study that favours raw cacao. Perhaps traditional cultures like the Maya, who roasted their beans, had it right all along?

Myth 1: Raw cacao contains more antioxidants

FALSE. In fact the exact opposite appears to be true. This study found that there were significantly more free-radical scavenging activity in dark roasted cocoa beans compared with both pre-roasted and raw beans. And this study found that the antioxidant flavanols catechin and epicatechin increased by around 650% with roasting.

Myth 2: Raw cacao is a better source of magnesium

FALSE. Raw cacao certainly contains abundant magnesium. Does this mean it’s a good source for humans? Not really. Paradoxically, many foods containing significant amounts of magnesium, such as cacao, pumpkin seeds and spinach, also have phytates, lectins and other plant toxins that bind minerals and render them fairly unavailable to us.
Traditional cultures prepared foods in a way that minimised plant toxins and maximised nutrient bioavailability, such as adequate fermentation and cooking. Raw chocolate manufacturers pride themselves on having a short fermentation period (1-2 days). However, this study showed that the mineral-binding antinutrients hydrocyanate, oxalate and theobromine actually decrease with increasing duration of fermentation, with the most significant reduction over days 6, 9 and 12.

Myth 3: Raw cacao is full of enzymes / Enzymes are important

Anyone watching the raw cacao industry will know that up until recently, the majority of products on the market were never truly raw. It’s exceptionally difficult to produce good quality chocolate that hasn’t been heated. Good summary, here.
Regardless, it bears mentioning that there’s a distinct lack of studies confirming that (or even suggesting why) cacao enzymes are in any way beneficial to human health. In absence of this, might it not be best to rely on what we do already know? (Hint: traditional wisdom and current science). 

It’s interesting to note that Jeremy Safron – supposedly the true originator of raw cacao within the health movement – has reversed his stance on it after noticing devastating health effects among those consuming it over the long-term. He points out that native cultures predominantly consumed the fruit, which contains the benefits without the detrimental effects.

So if you’re going to indulge, good quality dark chocolate is a healthier option than its newfangled raw cousin. Just try to keep it in perspective: it’s an utterly delicious stimulant, with a few health benefits – not a superfood. And now for some Michael Pollan verdict appropriation:  Eat chocolate. Not too much. Only roasted.

So there you have it. And as a chocolate lover over here, I want to know how you feel about this one. What are your thoughts and feelings? Are you a chocolate lover? Do you prefer raw chocolate or the regular stuff? 
Leave your comments below

Christie xx

Georgia is a Sydney-based nutritionist, whole foods chef, health educator and founder of Stirring Change. you can read more about her here and find out about her upcoming workshop What To Eat; The Refeed Program here.

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May 10, 2013

Weekend Recipe - Raw Coconut Fudge

Yum yum yum! I'm always up for a treat, but make me one with amazing ingredients, no crap, that tastes delicious AND is super good for my mind, body and soul... oh baby! I'm there. This is one of those treats and it comes from the gorgeous Heather over at Sweetly Raw, who is perhaps the best raw desserts chic on the inter-web so go check her out.

What you'll need:

6 tablespoons melted coconut butter
6 tablespoons cashew or almond butter

2 tablespoons coconut nectar
2 tablespoons lucuma

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt

Stir all ingredients together in a bowl.
Spread into a plastic wrap lined container.

Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Slice. Taste. Enjoy. Let this deliciousness fill every inch of your body. Mmmm.
And store in the fridge - if there's any left ;)

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Have a fabulous weekend. Catch you all  next week.

Christie xx

This recipe is from the incredibly talented Heather over at Sweetly Raw

May 8, 2013

8 Quick and Easy Dinner Options for when you can't be stuffed

We all know those days when we get home and either have little in the fridge, or we have plenty yet we can't be stuffed trying to cook up anything, let alone something remotely healthy. Well here are 8 of my go-to quick and easy dinner ideas perfect for those days.

+ Stir fry; quick and easy and the best bit is you can use whatever veggies are in your fridge. Get out some carrots, beans, broccoli, capsicums... That half an onion, some garlic, and an egg. Chop it all up and add to a fry pan with some coconut oil and cook on high heat. Crack in the egg, and add some Slim Pasta or softened buckwheat noodles. Splash of tamari and a pinch of chilli flakes. In less than 10minutes you're done!

+ Grilled veggie stack with haloumi cheese; slice this delicious Greek cheese along with some eggplant, zucchini, capsicum and grill in a pan until soft and scrumptious (10-15mins). Serve stacked with fresh greens like rocket or spinach and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamico.

+ Eggs any which way; this is my mum's go-to easy dinner option. Scrambled with shallots, mushrooms and thyme; poached with smoked salmon, spinach and dill; an omelet with tomato, basil and shredded carrot; or my fav is what I like to call an egg and veggie scramble. This is exactly what it sounds like too - chop up the veg you've got and fry until almost ready, and then throw in a few eggs and keep stirring with a wooden spoon. Add nutritional yeast flakes, chilli, salt or herbs to taste and drizzle with some tasty flaxseed oil to serve. Yum!

+ Potato cakes with tuna, salmon or boiled eggs; grate potato and squeeze out excess liquid. Then add an egg, a little flour and some salt and mix in a bowl. Using spoonfuls of this, make burger pattie sized rounds in your heated frypan and cook in coconut oil until golden, flip, and cook again. Serve
with tinned tuna or salmon, your eggs, salad or leftover veggies. Another awesome recipe (with additional words on why the humble spud is so great) can be found here, written by a friend of mine.

+ Leftovers; always tastier a day later don't you think? Be it roast veg and chicken, quinoa with curry, stir fry, frittata, or a rice dish. I always try to make more than I need when cooking large dishes for this exact reason. Leftovers for lazy dinners or quick lunch packs, there are usually balanced with macro- and micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, with lots of colour and flavour.

+ Salads; underrated tasty goodness in a bowl (or on a plate - no judgements here). Grab whatever greens you have, and add anything else you've got; spinach, tomato, walnuts, pesto and vinegar... Cos lettuce, cucumber, radish and corn... Add a boiled egg, some organic tinned beans, tuna or nuts. Drizzle your favourite oil and vinegar, or citrus and herbs. Anything goes.

+ Raw pasta; yep you heard right. Grab a zucchini and your veggie peeler, peeling into strips that look like fettuccine and pop into a bowl. Grab tomatoes, a few sundried tomatoes, garlic, a little
onion and even fresh herbs and blend until smooth. Add this to your bowl of fettuccine. Mix through and top with olives, capers, kale or mushrooms.

+ Antipasto plate; olives, cheese, tuna, raw crackers or breads, fresh fruit, hommous or capsicum dip, olive oil, nuts and seeds, leftover grilled or roasted veggies, some meats, raw veggie sticks, cherry tomatoes... The list is only limited by your imagination.

Next time you get home from work stuffed and hungry, instead of calling in take away or tucking into a bag or chips and a wine... Stop and take some deep breathes and then ask yourself what your body feels like. What it needs. Have a glass of water and munch on a carrot or a raw cracker whilst
grabbing out what's in your fridge and getting your cook on! Spread some love in the kitchen baby!

Christie xx

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May 6, 2013

Handbag Snacks to keep you from the vending machine

So the snack thing. We all love to snack but there can often be huge differences between the foods we snack on. Most packaged, processed snacks are total rubbish - let's be honest - but when given a bit of thought, you can be munching on some of the best foods for your body come snack-time. Here is a list of some of the foods that will help calm stress levels, raise happy hormones, keep hunger at bay (along with little miss moody that often shows up at the same time), and boost brain power for those afternoon sessions you may need it.

+ Trail mix; this is an easy one and can be tailor made to suit you. Buy the one you love or make your own. My fav's have to be macadamia's, goji berries and activated walnuts... Or pepita seeds, raisins, sunflower seeds and almonds. A combo of seeds, nuts and dried fruits will give you protein, fats, sugars, minerals and vitamins, whilst keeping you happy and not hungry. Almonds are high in stress-busting magnesium; sunflower seeds boost your moods; and apricots are high in iron getting oxygen and blood flow to your brain.

+ Fresh fruit; always a winner. A banana, apple, a few plums, a kiwi or two... The list goes on. Grab organic and munch away when hunger strikes on your commute to or from work, in that mid afternoon lull, or for morning tea.

+ Dried fruit; it's light and takes up little room in your handbag you can keep it there nibbling on little bits and pieces over a few days even. Be sure to buy organic, sulphur free, and added sugar free. I love dates, prunes, apricots and dried apples. You can also get dried pears, peaches, pineapple, go his, raisins, jackfruit, papaya and mango. Don't get too carried away tho - you're better off with fresh fruit so keep these as emergencies or once to twice a week.

+ Veggie sticks and dip or nut butter; yum yum yum! Carrots, cucumber, celery, capsicum. Buy or make your own nut butter (but try having no more than a tablespoon at once) or take a dip instead. A super easy hommous recipe is 2 tins of organic chickpeas in the blender and add the following: 1 tin's worth of filtered water, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of tahini, 2 good pinches of salt, a nice splash of olive oil, and some cumin or chilli if you wish (delish). Blend until smooth. Makes enough for about a week. Another delish roast capsicum dip can be found here.

+ Boiled eggs; boil the night before or cook a few up on a Sunday and keep for quick snacks or additions to lunches and dinners. We get protein, vitamins A and D, as well as choline which helps with brain function - great for working girls.

+ Coconut water; when you forget your handbag snacks, you can always buy coconut water. There's many great ones these days but I try sticking too straight up coconut water in glass jars - no added
any things and not in plastic if possible. Super hydrating and with natural electrolytes so unless you're working out daily, one of these is delicious each day but anymore than that is unnecessary.

+ Superfood powder - to add to and mix in your coconut water, plain water, milk or juice; keep your fav combo or pre-bought one in a small container or zip lock bag, ready to add to your liquid of choice for a daily dose of amazing ness nutrient powers to keep you healthy and full of vitality. Vital Greens is a great mix you can get from a health food store. Or combine cacao, maca, acai and cinnamon and add to some almond milk. Mmm. I love a mix of chlorella, blue green algae, spirulina, wheat grass and barley grass in coconut water most afternoons. It's an acquired taste... But my body loves it!

+ Raw bliss balls, brownies and sweet treats; best ever! I love raw treats and desserts. Try making my lemon delicious balls, raw chocolate brownies, banana snowballs, power balls, green superfood bars, carob cake or walnut spiced tea cake. All full of nutrition for you body, mind and soul.

+ Tuna or salmon in tins; Fish 4 Ever is my brand of choice due to their ethics and sustainable fishing practices but I know there are now a few other great brands available. Packed with protein to keep you satiated as well as essential fatty acids for your hair, skin, brain and more... enjoy with some veggie sticks, an apple, some nuts or solo.

+ Hard cheeses; protein, fats and fat soluble vitamins. Pair with a piece of fruit and you've got a winner.

+ Crackers; make or buy raw crackers if you've never tried them as they are so so good! Full of seeds, nuts, veggies, seaweeds or some salt and often other added goodies such as spirulina, flaxseeds, or coconut. Crunchy and filling I love raw crackers. Here's one easy recipe. And another easy recipe, although not really raw, is this: Keep the carrot pulp from making juice, add ground flax, and either carrot juice or water and mix until moist (but not wet). Add salt, cumin, chilli, dulse, herbs etc to taste, then spread on a lined baking tray, and using a knife, score into squares, and cook at about 180 degrees Celsius until dry to touch (can be a few hours) and then turn them over until totally dry. Alternatively use a dehydrator to make them raw. Keep in an airtight container and enjoy with dip, avo, nut butter, sliced tomato... I also add them to the side of my salads or left over veggies at lunch.

So there you go. All my favourite snacks with a few extra goodies and nutritional info to boot (when can I not add those bits in hey?). What do you keep in your handbag as go-to items when you need a bit of a nibble? I'd love to see your sharing below or on the Facebook page.

Christie xx


May 3, 2013

Weekend Recipe - Coconut Buckwheat Porridge

This recipe is super easy (as I always like) and it is also courtesy of the incredible Meghan Telpner whom I have a girl crush on. This chic is amazeballs in the kitchen and seems to know everything and anything, whilst maintaining an all-round healthy approach to eating and food. Totally my kind of chic. So here is a super delish recipe that will start your day with a bang! but can just as easily be had for lunch or a hearty snack.


Ingredients (Serves 1-2)
  • scant 1/4 cup toasted buckwheat, ground (or raw-activated-and-dried buckwheat)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbs raw honey
  • 1 Tbs shredded coconut
  • 2 Tbs currants
  • 2 Tbs chopped pecans
  • drizzle of coconut syrup
Bring the coconut milk, water, vanilla and honey to a boil in a small pot. While the liquid is heating up, grind buckwheat in a coffee grinder until fine.
Add the buckwheat to the pot, stir well and turn the heat down to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, checking every few minutes to see if the porridge needs more liquid (we added a few extra tablespoons).
Scoop into a bowl and add shredded coconut, currants, pecans and coconut syrup. Enjoy!

Something super coolio about Buckwheat that you may not know is that it is used as both a food and a healing herb. Some sweet health benefits include:
  • Adjusts metabolism, fat and the lipo-soluble vitamins due to the presence of inositol.
  • Helps the liver in processing hormones, medicines, and glucoses, with a protective hepatic effect.
  • The concentration of magnesium offers a relaxing effect over blood vessels, improving circulation and decreasing blood pressure.

So this weekend why not try this out and sit down to enjoy a lazy brekkie with a loved one.
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This scrumptious recipe has been grabbed from here

May 1, 2013

Best Brekkie's To Start Your Day With A Bang!

Breakfast has gotta be my favourite meal of the day. Perhaps because I've always been an early bird and loved tucking into something delicious as soon as I woke up. Whatever the reason, brekkie is the most important meal of the day and I strongly recommend getting something in your pie hole first thing. 

Break-fast is just that; we are literally breaking the fast our body has been in for all the hours we have been asleep. When we sleep our metabolism slows down so that we can rest sufficiently, so if we don't tuck into something when we wake up, our body is still in slow-sleep-mode (and not burning anything much at any great speed). You follow?

So, if you're not a brekkie fan maybe some of these suggestions will open your mind to all the possibilities beyond white toast and corn flakes. Here are my favourites...


Quinoa Porridge. High in protein and super easy to make this can be had sweet or savoury. Cook up enough quinoa (plain) for a few days on the weekend, and have for brekkies, lunches, or quick dinners. Try it with cinnamon, raisins, almonds and a little coconut milk. Or with shallots, tomatoes, mushies and flax oil. Here's an easy recipe I posted not too long ago

Eggs any which way. Eggs provide a wealth of hard-to-get nutrients, all in one small bite-sized package. The perfect food almost. Loaded with protein (the body's building blocks + what fills us up), vitamin A (immune function, skin, hair, and eye health), vitamin D (needed for calcium absorption + loads more), and choline (for proper fat assimilation, cholesterol metabolism, and brain health). Try fried eggs them with some sauteed greens, mushies and tomato... Enjoy scramblies with your favourite toasted bread... Boiled eggs with some fruit... Or make an omelet.

Sprouted bread + nut butter. I love a slice of toasted sprouted essene rye or khorsan (kamut) bread - amongst all others really. It's dense and filling but never bloats or upsets my tummy - like regular breads do. Delicious with coconut oil and nut butter, or with banana and honey. Or go savoury with some cheese and tomato. You can buy different grains (wheat, spelt, rye, mixed, etc) to suit your taste at all good health food stores.

Granola. Home made or try an organic one sans sugar and other nasties. Sarah Wilson's Coconutty Granola or her Pumpkin Ginger Spice Granola (which I have made on numerous occasions - amazeballs) are both easy to make, not full of crappy junky stuff, and are deliciously good for you.   Loving Earth's Buckini's (and their other flavours) are also delicious (with coconut yoghurt and a drizzle of almond milk) and ready made (so a great pantry back-up).

A fruit smoothie. Blend your favourite/s with coconut milk/almond milk/raw milk/goat's milk/yoghurt and a little ice. Toss in some extra nutrition from cacao powder (antioxidants + minerals) or carob (alkalising), cinnamon (blood sugar stabilizing), oats (beta-glucan), flax oil (omega 3), untreated honey (immune help) or fresh mint. If you’re game, add a raw egg yolk for the extra fat-soluble nutrients and protein.

Sardines. I'll admit I'm yet to say I love these guys. But I wish I did with the host of nutrition packed into these little guys. Buy them fresh or try Fish 4 Ever's lemon and olive oil, or tomato based ones, with toast or veggies and you'll be ready for an action packed day with a satisfied yet light belly.

Leftovers. A small piece of fish with a few slices of cooked sweet potato, a little leftover meat and root veg, home-made curry, stir-fry, root vegetable soup, etc. Small servings of leftovers from home-cooked meals can make for the most satisfying and nutritious meals as well as snacks, and tend to be fairly well-balanced options in terms of providing good amounts of all your macronutrients

Greek yoghurt + honey. A bowl of high quality (full-fat) Greek yoghurt, raw home-made yoghurt or coconut yoghurt topped with a drizzle of raw honey is super easy and delicious. Add cinnamon or ground nutmeg for spice. And extra fruit, nuts, seeds, berries, or buckwheat granola!! (or all of the above) for a more filling and balanced brekkie.

Frittata. Super easy to cook up a big frittata on the weekend and cut it into slices ready to go for meals and snacks during the week. You can even freeze the portions and defrost/reheat them as you need – great served cold or warm. Great combos include potato and rosemary, capsicum and mushroom, or pumpkin and broccoli.

Bone broth. A cup of bone broth is great first thing in the morning (or as your mid-morning hot bevvie at work) and an easy way to get glycine into your diet. Add some cooked veggies to make it chunkier and more satiating with some sea salt and fresh herbs – and you're onto a winner. Read more on the benefits of bone stock here.

Pancakes. Oh my I love a good pancake. Healthify them a bit by changing the flour from white to buckwheat or even coconut flour. Add blueberries and coconut yoghurt, or banana and honey. Try mixing dried coconut or oats into the batter before frying. Delish!

French toast. Another winner from a French family! Eggs and the best bread you can find (try a dark cherry fruit loaf sourdough from Brasserie bread - oh my). Add plenty of antioxidant-rich cinnamon, and couple with sliced bananas, maple syrup, raspberries or pecans and enjoy a lazy Sunday morning with that baby!

Ripe fruit + cheese. Perfect if you've gotta be out the door pronto! Nutrient-dense and satiating, the fruit and cheese combo provides a the perfect balance of natural sugar, salt, saturated fat and protein (with calcium, as a bonus.

... and here's another load of goodies I used to eat for breakfasts more

What are your favourite brekkie options? Do you have the same thing day in and day out? Or do you like to mix it up a little? Get sharing in the comments below and we'll all be having new brekkie ideas.

Christie xx

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