Summer breakfast: Frozen Acai Bowl

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With this week of warmth, sunshine and clear blue skies its time for you to meet my latest obsession, the Acai bowl. This superfood, Pronounced ‘Ah-Sigh-EE’ is found in the tropical Amazon rainforest and is know to locals as the ‘tree of life’. It is the ultimate energy fruit, packed full of antioxidants, amino acids, proteins and fatty acids. Blending these frozen acai packets creates a delicious sorbet-like breakfast/snack/postwork out fuel and with a slew of phyto-nutrients you’d be mad not to try this killer recipe.

What you need:

4x frozen Acai packets (I used Amazonia brand)
2x Bananas
1 x cup of frozen berries
1 heaped tablespoon honey
Coconut water- enough to create a smooth consistency (approx. 150 mls)
*Optional splash of cranberry juice

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What to do:

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth, adding more coconut water if needed. This recipe makes enough for the week so pour into small containers and store in the freezer. Take out about 30 minutes before eating and top with yogurt, granola, fruit or what ever you fancy.

Toppings:

Granola
Coconut yogurt
Fruit
Nuts& Seeds

Enjoy X

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Bounty smoothie

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This really is too good not to share. My two favourite things in the world, chocolate and coconuts, combined to make this amazingly delectable ‘bounty’ smoothie!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup rice milk ( or any milk of your choice, almond would work well)
1 tablespoon cacao
1 teaspoon mesquite powder (omit if you don’t have any on hand)
2 medjool dates
A few almonds (up to you if you want to add nuts but i wanted the protein factor in my smoothie)
2 tablespoons coconut cream
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 cup ice cubes

Blend all Ingredients and serve with some shredded coconut and cacao nibs.

Enjoy!

Foodie Friend: Lee Holmes

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Meet Lee Holmes from ‘supercharged foods’. Lee is a whole food chef and a certified health coach who is passionate about changing the way we eat by providing simple yet deliciously amazing gluten, yeast, wheat, dairy and sugar free recipes. Diagnosed with a crippling autoimmune disease in 2006 and on a multitude of medications, she decided to heal her body naturally using whole, nutrient-rich foods, turning her life around and imparting her wisdom and knowledge along the way. Using this experience Lee has implemented a petition to improve the quality of food being served in NSW hospitals, which resulted in the government introducing a new food menu in selected hospitals. An amazing feat! To sign this petition click here and help Lee make nutritious meals available to those who need it most.

Having Recently been titled the winner of Bupas blog awards, in the healthy eating category, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with Lee and ask her a few questions about life, food and health.

Tell us a little bit about yourself  I am a Holistic Health Coach, author of Supercharged Food and whole foods chef.  I enjoy reading, walking my dog, being in the fresh air and connecting with like-minded people.

What fired up your passion for health + wellness? I healed myself using food as medicine so wanted to share the tips that I have learned with others.

What is your food philosophy? I think that it’s important to make small, gentle changes every day and not to go on crash diets or crazy juice fasts and overwhelm your body. Simple is good. Try and eat whole foods as much as possible. Limit your intake of processed foods.  Eat more good fats and learn ways to detox.  Be mindful of what you are eating.  Enjoy learning to cook foods that nourish your body and allow yourself  to eat what you feel like without getting too hung up on it.

What are your top 3 ‘cant live without’ foods? Spinach, kale and green beans

What are your go-to snacks when you are super busy? I like kale chips with apple cider vinegar and nutritional yeast flakes, which i make at home. Sardines and spirulina biscuits.

What is your favourite way to work up a sweat? Yoga or walking

What does happiness look like for you? Doing what I love and having a career I am passionate about and spending time with my loved ones and dog Cashew.

Your favourite quote or affirmation?

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
Mahatma Gandhi

What are some tips you would give to other food + health bloggers? Enjoy what you do, network a lot, be true to yourself and be prepared for critics.

A recipe from Lee: 

Pea and lamb soup

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This delicious and easy to make soup is the perfect way to eat your winter greens.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1 head garlic (corm)
  • 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 brown onion diced
  • 3 sprigs thyme leaves only
  • 300gm Lamb fillets or back strap cut thinly
  • I litre beef stock
  • 500g fresh shelled or frozen peas
  • 1 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • Celtic sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Handful of parsley (reserve some for serving)

Method

  •  Heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
  • Slice ¼ inch off top of garlic bulb to expose cloves and place in oven for in a baking tray, drizzle with  a little olive oil and roast for 30 -35 mins
  • In a soup pot place 2 TBS olive oil and onion and thyme leaves cook for about 5 mins
  • Add lamb and brown for a few minutes, stirring
  • Add stock, peas, apple cider vinegar and season then bring to boil, turn heat to low and add parsley and simmer with lid half on for a further 5 mins, or 15 mins for a stronger flavour
  • Ladle soup into food processor or blender
  • Take garlic from oven, squeeze out cloves and add to blender and blend until just smooth
  • Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and a drizzle of EV Olive Oil

 

Connect with with Lee:

Webiste www.superchargedfood.com 

Facebook  www.facebook.com/superchargedfood

Comparison is the thief of joy

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If I’m totally honest with you, I’m just as guilty of comparing myself to others as you!

Take a moment to look at how much time you spend scrolling through Facebook and Instagram and how much you do actually compare yourself to others. We compare our lives, our successes, our strengths and completely lose sight of how wonderful and unique our life is. This comparing nonsense also holds us back from moving forwards in our own lives, nothing flows, opportunities don’t knock on our door, put simply, it robs you of happiness.

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Lately I have been battling with my own issues, mainly my uncooperative and forever challenging skin! I eat clean, move my body every day, drink plenty of filtered water and stick to a simple, chemical free skin routine but somewhere, something is out of balance. I am slowing working through these imbalances to glowing, brighter skin (always be positive!). I have had my share of I-wish and why-cant moments and moments where I’ve let my skin affect my mood and self-esteem. But the more I delve into this wellness business the more I realise that changing our thoughts and behaviours is a moment to moment thing and something to continually work on. We create our reality! Besides beauty isn’t about having a pretty face, it’s about having a pretty mind, a pretty heart and most importantly a beautiful soul.

So here’s what I’ve learnt.

  • When you find yourself thinking negative, comparing thoughts, catch it, notice it and ask yourself, what good do these thoughts serve? The answer is always NO good!
  • Make a list of all the things in your life you have to be grateful for, this can be mental or written down. Gratitude brings abundance.
  • Get outside and move your body, even ten minutes will help boost your brain chemistry,  increase happiness and will shift your perspective.
  •  Eat a healthy, nourishing meal, this effects how our brain and body functions and let’s face it, we feel better about ourselves knowing we have done something positive towards our well-being.
  •  And remember YOU ARE AMAZING! Be confident. When we truly own our strengths and weaknesses and except what we are and are-not, we truly succeeded in living the most authentic, amazing life.

At the end of the day, there really is nothing more attractive and someone who is comfortable with their imperfections and you know what? There is no one in this entire world who can do a better job of being you!

Have an amazing weekend!

Carla X

Amazing benefits of dry body brushing

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If you haven’t heard of dry body brushing, you may want to listen up! It is one of the best things you can do for your body, inside and out. Dry body brushing has been part of my daily routine for a little while now and I would definitely recommend you try and incorporate this into your daily or at least weekly routine. It doesn’t take very long (you can choose to spend 2 to 20 minutes), you can do it morning or night and it’s a great way to take some time out and reconnect with your body.

So what is dry body brushing?

Always brush on dry skin as this provides greater stimulation and exfoliation. Starting at you feet, you take your brush and work your way up, moving to the lower legs, thighs, stomach, back and arms, using circular or brisk upward strokes. Start on the left side of your body first, then your right. It’s as simple as that! If you need a visual, here’s a link.

Why do I do it?

It helps eliminate toxins from our bodies as it stimulates the lymphatic system. Our lymphatic system is our body’s internal filtration mechanism that is designed to rid your body of acid and toxic waste. Lymph nodes are strategically placed throughout the body for optimal performance, particularly around the groin and underarms. It doesn’t have its own pump and relies solely on us to stimulate it, hence the importance of dry brushing. It also exfoliates the skin, improves circulation, leaves your skin feeling brighter, softer, smoother and helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

As I have said it allows you to reconnect with your body as it is a deep self-care practice. It can have a positive affect on your body image and allows you to take the time to pay attention to parts of your body that are not often cared for. Light a candle and burn some essential oils for a deeper more relaxing experience.

Important notes

  • Don’t brush on inflamed, sun burnt skin.
  • Wash your brush regularly to remove dead skin cells.
  • Avoid sensitive areas such as the breasts and genitals.

So go on, get brushing gorgeous! 

What’s in my kitchen.

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Holistic health and well being is my absolute passion and although I still have a lot to learn and grow, many of my lifestyle and eating habits are now just that, habits! I forget sometimes that when I recommend something or include a specific ingredient in my recipes, that some of you aren’t quite sure what I’m going on about. Lately a lot of you have had questions about ingredients I use and where I get them, so I thought I would do I little rundown on what’s in my kitchen and why I use and love them.

In my pantry:

Cacao powder: Raw organic chocolate in it’s purest form. Who doesn’t want healthy chocolate right? Jam-packed with antioxidants, magnesium and minerals.

Chia seeds: Gluten free, high in fibre, calcium, vitamin c, protein, omega 3’s…need I go on! I add these to pretty much everything, smoothies, sprinkle on top of yogurt and porridge. I also make chia puddings, which are awesome (recipe to come soon).

Coconut oil: I LOVE coconuts! Like seriously love them, in all their forms. Coconut oil despite some opinions, is so good for you. Here is a link to the many benefits (if you don’t believe me). I personally used it for everything, baking, smoothies, raw desserts, moisturiser and hair treatments. I’m loving Niugini Organics brand, smells divine plus it comes in a nice glass jar so you can store your nuts etc in them when it’s finished!

Nuts: Although they add a small dent in your weekly food shopping allowance, they are totally worth it. Throw them into your smoothie or porridge for a protein boost. Make your own nut milks or raw desserts (we are loving this raw cheesecake!). Personally I always have almonds, walnuts and cashews on hand.

Seeds: Sunflower, pumpkin and flax seeds can easily be added to your salads, Muesli, vege burgers or to garnish your smoothie, for an extra hit of vitamins and minerals.

Quinoa: Pronounced ‘keen-wah’, is highly nutritious, is high in fibre, protein, magnesium, antioxidants, the list honestly goes on and on. It looks like a grain but is actually a seed. A great alternative to rice and can be used sweet or savory or even as porridge using quinoa flakes.

Rice milk: A great alternative to dairy milk.

Want to go a little further?

Coconut yogurt: Again with the coconut, but if you love yogurt and don’t want to eat dairy, this is a great, yummy alternative. I use coyo brand.

Mesquite powder: Stabilizes blood sugar, low GI and high mineral content. Add to anything to get a mild sweet, caramely flavor, thus needing less added sugar.

Hemp seeds: Packed with omega 3’s and vitamins, contains high amounts of digestible proteins and amino acids. I add these to smoothies and sprinkle on top of porridge and smoothies.

Bee pollen: Contains nearly all the nutrients needed by humans! Rich in amino acids, protein, B-complex and folic acid. I use this the same way as I use hemp seeds. Want to know more? Check out this blog post.

Appliances:

A food processor: This is pretty much a must have and you don’t need to spend a fortune either. I recently purchased a 98-dollar Kenwood processor from Harvey Normans, that absolutely does the job.  I use this for everything, for making all of my raw desserts, bliss balls, vege burgers…everything! It even has a blender attachment, two birds with one stone people.

Julienne peeler: Purchase from the supermarket or kitchen/homeware shop. This awesome utensil I use to make zucchini pasta. I will be posting a blog soon about zucchini pasta, it really is a delicious alternative to wheat pasta (who would have thought).

Juicer: These you can also pick up quite cheaply. I think juicing is a practice to incorporate into your life to achieve radiant, optimal health and a delicious way to ensure you are getting an adequate vege intake each day. If daily seems a bit much for you, just do it as often as you can, even a few times a week would be a great start.

All of the ingredients I use in my recipes can be found in your local health food shop or supermarket. For those of you on the north shore, I shop at Mr Vitamins in Chatswood and Discount vitamins in Dee Why. These both stock a huge range of products and good prices.

If you’re reading this thinking it’s sooo much stuff, I urge you to try and incorporate some of these into your diet, start with just one thing and see how your body responds. Once it’s in your pantry you will use it as it’s always on hand and it too will become habit for you.

Anything you use that’s not on my list? Comment below, I’d love to know!

Raw cheesecake recipe

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Cheesecakes are probably one of my all time favourite desserts. I’ve had them at every family birthday dinner for as long as I can remember, so it seemed only natural to give raw cheesecake a go and I have to admit I was pretty stoked with the end result. When you have something that is a) good for you b) delicious and c) a serious crowd pleaser, you can’t go wrong.

This cake looks ridiculously impressive (If I do say so myself) but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a massive effort because it really is so simple.

Ok, lets go!

Crust:
1 cup macadamia
½ cup walnuts
½ cup medjool date
Pinch of pink himalayan salt (or sea salt if that’s what’s in your cupboard)
¼ cup shredded coconut

Cheesecake filling:
3 cups cashews, soaked, rinsed and drained (Perfectly fine to skip the soaking, I only soaked mine for about 20mins)
¾ cups maple syrup
¾ cups lemon juice
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
¾ cup coconut oil

Berry topping:
2 cups frozen berries (I used mixed and I also threw in a few fresh strawberries I had in the fridge)
½ cup dates
1-2 Tablespoons warm water

  1. Crust: Blend the nuts, dates and salt together in a food processor. Get your spring form pan, you can pick these up from woolies for about $10, if you don’t already have one, grease with a little coconut oil and then sprinkle the shredded coconut on the bottom of the pan. This stops the cake from sticking to the bottom. Press the nut and date mixture evenly into the pan to form the crust.
  2. Cheesecake filling: Throw all ingredients into the processor, blend until smooth. Add about 1-3 tablespoons of water if it needs help getting that smooth, creamy consistency. Pour mixture on top of the crust then place in the freezer for an hour to firm.
  3. Topping: Next blend the berries and the dates, adding the water little bit at a time until nice and smooth. Take the cake out of the freezer, pour the berry mixture on top of the cake and place back into the freezer to firm up for about 5 hours. Take out of the freezer 20-30 mins before serving.

Enjoy

Carla X

(Take a photo, Instagram it and tag me @nourish_within. Would love to see you enjoying this delight!)

*Adapted form the Rawtarian recipe