Why fruit isn’t a dirty word…

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When did fruit become a dirty word?  I don’t know about you, but it seems that somewhere between smashed avo and bone broth, the practise of ‘healthy eating’ pushed fruit into the pile of foods to cut out or restrict because of its’ sugar content.

As someone who has always tried to embrace the concept of balance over deprivation when it comes to nutrition, the fact that so many women are asking me about fruit or telling me that they’ve ditched it altogether is worrying.  Yes, fruit contains sugar (a combination of glucose and fructose), but the tsunami of ‘anti-sugar’ information we’re presented with on a daily basis has cast fruit in a particularly bad light with some popping it in the same category as processed foods and refined sugars.

So, what’s the deal then?  While it’s true that glucose and fructose are metabolised differently by the body and too much of the latter can place extra strain on our detox systems, you’d have to consume a bucketload of fruit in order to reach those kinds of levels.  The truth is, fruit contains an abundance of essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients which our bodies miss out on if we nix it altogether.

While every body is different and the evidence for bio-individuality grows stronger every day, I encourage you to lose the fear surrounding fruit and enjoy it as part of a balanced diet.  It truly is nature’s perfectly packaged fast food and as they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away…

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LUXE / HEALTH dukkah dusted flathead…

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I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love fish and let’s be honest, we could all benefit from including a little more of it in our diet.  It’s a perfect source of protein and packed full of essential fatty acids which are said to help prevent a whole range of health issues such as heart disease, cancer and even Alzheimers.

I also love the ritual of waking up early on a Sunday morning to visit the fish market (coffee in hand, of course!) to pick up some fresh fish and a loaf of my favourite bread.  Although salmon and snapper are firm favourites, the humble flathead is such a simple fish to cook and full of flavour.  It also lends itself well to so many different dishes and here is one of my best…enjoy!

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LUXE / HEALTH Dukkah Dusted Flathead with Cauliflower Rice
(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

4 small fillets of flathead
2 eggs
1/2 cauliflower
1/2 cup frozen peas, boiled and drained well
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 red chilli, finely diced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup dukkah (either make your own or About Life does a great blend!)
1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
Olive oil

Method:

  • Roughly chop the cauliflower into large florets, then place into a food processor or hand blender and blitz until it looks a bit like rice.  If you don’t have a food processor, you could also try grating it.
  • Grab two wide shallow bowls (pasta plates are perfect) and in one, place the dukkah, and in the other, lightly beat the two eggs.
  • Heat a little olive oil in a large frypan then add the garlic, chilli and onion and saute until the onion becomes translucent.
  • Add the cauliflower rice and lemon zest and toss well for 5-10 minutes until the cauliflower has softened and is heated through.
  • Add a good squeeze of lemon juice, fresh salt and pepper and the peas and toss well.  Then, set aside.
  • In another large frypan, heat a little olive oil while you prepare your fish.
  • Ensuring the flathead fillets are deboned first, dip each fillet into the egg mixture before coating well in the dukkah spice mix.
  • Place each fillet in the heated pan and cook on high for 2-3 minutes each side, or until the fish has cooked through.
  • Place a good pile of cauliflower rice in a bowl and top with the flathead fillets and a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt.  Sprinkle the remaining toasted dukkah from the pan over the top and devour immediately!

How to…eat healthier

How to eat healthier

It sounds simple enough, but when it comes to eating healthily, sometimes our minds, eyes and stomachs can sway us off course in the blink of an eye.  You may have gone searching for a salad on your lunch break only to be swept away by the smell of that delicious pulled pork roll as you wander by!

The truth is, we’re all human and while it’s unrealistic to stick to a perfect diet day in, day out, here are a few tips which may help you stay on course if eating healthier is one of your goals this year…

  • Healthy vs Unhealthy – whether we admit it or not, most of us are guilty of labelling everything that passes our lips as ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’, ‘good’ or ‘bad’.  Psychologically this can be incredibly damaging as we rate our daily diet by how much ‘good’ or ‘bad’ food we’ve consumed.  The first step is to try and break this habit.  Instead of thinking, should I eat that because it’s unhealthy?  Ask yourself, am I hungry?  If the answer is yes, then you will be in a much better position to assess whether or not you are making a healthy food choice.
  • Think in terms of nourishment – following on from the point above, it’s important to think about what your food can do for your body.  It may sound obvious but eating half an avocado or a lean portion of protein is going to fuel your body far more effectively than if you wolf down a slice of pizza or a fistful of chocolates.  Your food should make you feel good from the inside out, leaving your skin glowing, your immunity in tip top shape and give you enough energy to go about your day with a spring in your step.
  • Cook for yourself – not everyone is born a Masterchef, but practise makes perfect and time and time again, science has proven that those who cook and eat at home are healthier, on average, than those who regularly eat out.  Takeaways and restaurant meals are often laden with excess fat, salt and sugar, so by choosing to cook at home, you can save yourself countless calories.  Remember too, that the internet is your friend and if you’ve been wanting to try out a new ingredient, all you have to do is tap it into google and I promise you’ll be met with hundreds of recipes to inspire you.
  • Practise mindfulness – yea, I know, you’ve heard the term ‘mindfulness’ over and over, but that’s because it actually works.  When you’re trying to make healthy food choices, you need to practise mindfulness at every opportunity, staying aware not only of your food choices, but of every mouthful you take.  If you’re someone who eats dinner while staring blankly at the television, you’re probably consuming more calories, more quickly and enjoying it less than those who take a few minutes to cherish the ritual of enjoying their meal.  Yes, it’s easier said than done but maybe try to introduce a little mindfulness into one meal a day.  Eat slowly, chew properly and savour every bite.

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LUXE / HEALTH Chicken and Broccolini Zoodles…

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I love being in the kitchen, but some days I get home from work and stare into the fridge with little to no inspiration as to what for cook for dinner.  On days like that, this recipe is a godsend as it’s super quick to rustle up, it’s incredibly comforting and yet you’re not compromising on health as it serves up a huge dose of protein and greens.  Aaaand…it’s pretty as a picture too!

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LUXE / HEALTH Chicken and Broccolini Zoodles
(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

1 large chicken breast, sliced into strips
1 bunch broccolini, each stem trimmed into thirds
4 small zucchini, spiralised
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red chilli, finely diced
1 small handful slivered almonds, toasted
Zest and juice of one lemon
Freshly grated parmesan, to serve
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Method:

  • In a wok or large frypan, heat a little olive oil and stir fry the chilli, crushed garlic and chicken strips until the chicken is cooked through.  Set aside in a small bowl.
  • Steam the broccolini in a little water in the microwave for 2-3 minutes until cooked through, but still crunchy.  Drain well and set aside.
  • Toast the slivered almonds in a dry saucepan for a few minutes until golden brown.  They will smell delicious!
  • Add a little more oil to your pan, then stir fry the zucchini noodles until they are heated through.
  • Toss through the lemon zest, then add the chicken, broccolini and cherry tomatoes to the pan and heat through.
  • Squeeze over the fresh lemon juice and toss well.  The cherry tomatoes will wilt nicely as they begin to cook through, adding moisture to the dish.
  • Once the zucchini noodles have softened a little, they’re ready!
  • Tip into two bowls then sprinkle over the toasted almonds and serve with a generous crack of salt and pepper and freshly grated parmesan.

LUXE / HEALTH Lentil Dahl…

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With evidence suggesting that vegetarians live longer than their meat-eating counterparts, it goes without saying that we could all benefit from eating a few more plant based meals.  The worldwide movement #meatlessmondays has taken off and although I’m often met with rolled eyes and a sigh, I try to include one vegetarian meal in our dinner repertoire each week.

A firm favourite of mine is this super simple lentil dahl with brown rice.  Like most of my cooking, it tends to be a one-pot wonder which is adapted depending on what we have in the cupboard, but here are the basics…

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LUXE / HEALTH Lentil Dahl
(Serves 6)

Ingredients:

375g bag of dried red lentils, rinsed and drained
1 red onion, finely diced
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 stalks celery, diced finely
2 sheets of sushi nori (seaweed), torn roughly
2 tsp. dried turmeric
2 tsp. ground coriander
1-2 tsp. dried chilli flakes
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
750ml water
Sea salt and black pepper
Handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Brown rice
Coconut oil

Method:

  • In a large saucepan, heat a little coconut oil, then saute the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes until it becomes translucent.
  • Add the spices and stir for another minute or two until fragrant.
  • Add the apple cider vinegar to deglaze the pan, then add the rinsed lentils, celery, nori and water to the saucepan and stir well.
  • Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has absorbed.
  • Add extra water as necessary, but the key to a good dahl is not to let it become too runny.  Overcook it and it will become mushy and stick to the bottom of the pan but undercook it and the lentils will be too firm.  My advice is to cook the dahl for 20-25 minutes before adding any extra liquid as usually it comes together perfectly in the last few minutes.
  • Once it’s ready, season to taste, then spoon over brown rice and serve with a sprinkling of fresh coriander.  A dollop of Greek yoghurt wouldn’t hurt either!

 

 

 

 

 

LUXE / HEALTH Lamb Rissoles…

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In our household, lamb is a staple – and by staple, I mean it’s virtually a food group all of its’ own – so as it’s Australia Day, I thought I better share one of my favourite lamb recipes with you all.  These rissoles are super simple to make, super healthy and packed full of flavour so let me know what you think!

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LUXE / HEALTH Lamb Rissoles
(Serves 2-3)

Ingredients:

500g good quality lamb mince
1/4 red onion, diced finely
2 tsp. dried mint
2 tsp. dried oregano
Zest of 1 lemon
1 egg
Sea salt and pepper
Hummus (I either make my own or Macro Organic from Woolies is delish!)

For the Greek salad:

1/3 cucumber, diced
10-12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, diced finely
Olive oil
Feta

For the tzatziki:

1/4 cucumber, grated finely
Sea salt
4 tbsp. good quality Greek yoghurt
1/2 tsp. dried mint
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed

Method:

  • To prepare the tzatziki, grate the cucumber finely and place in a bowl with a generous crack of sea salt and set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl, add a good glug of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of feta and mix well with your hands.  Then, set aside.
  • For the rissoles, combine the lamb, onion, herbs, lemon zest and salt and pepper with one egg in a large bowl.  Use your hands to combine well and then roll into small balls.  You should be able to get 8-10 rissoles out of 500g.
  • Place the rissoles in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to firm up while you return to the tzatziki.
  • The salt will have released all the water from the cucumber so squeeze all the liquid out of the cucumber and place it into a new bowl.  Add the greek yoghurt, garlic, mint and vinegar and stir well.  Taste and season – you might find you want a little more mint or need another dash of vinegar.  Then, pop in the fridge while you cook the rissoles.
  • In a frypan, heat a little olive oil and cook the rissoles, in batches, for 4-5 minutes each side or until cooked through.
  • To serve, smear a tablespoon (or two!) of hummus onto a plate and top with 3-4 rissoles and a small handful of the Greek salad.  Drizzle with tzatziki and devour immediately!

 

LUXE / HEALTH Prawn and Mango Salad…

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My love affair with prawns may be getting out of hand…but seriously, this salad is mouthwateringly delicious!

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Prawn and Mango Salad Compi

LUXE / HEALTH Prawn and Mango Salad
(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

12-18 large king prawns, deveined but with tails intact
1/2 packet rice noodles
1 ripe mango, peeled and sliced into chunks
Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
2 small bunches pak choy
Coconut oil

For the dressing:

1 red chilli, with seeds, finely diced
1 large tsp. raw honey
Juice of half a lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

  • To make the dressing, mix the chilli, honey and lemon juice with a good glug of olive oil.  Mix well and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Cook the rice noodles in boiling water according to the packet directions, then rinse and drain well.
  • Roughly chop the pak choy and steam for a few minutes in the microwave.
  • In a large bowl, place the mango slices, pak choy and cooked rice noodles.  Pour over 3/4 of the dressing and mix well with your hands.
  • To cook the prawns, heat a little coconut oil in a pan and then heat through until they change colour, brushing their flesh with the remaining dressing while they cook to seal in the flavour.  The honey in the dressing will help the prawns to caramelise and get nice and sticky!
  • Once the prawns are cooked, toss the fresh coriander through the noodle salad and tip into two bowls.  Top with the cooked prawns and drizzle over any remaining dressing.  Enjoy!

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Magnesium 101…

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Believe it or not, magnesium deficiency is incredibly common but it can be difficult to diagnose as it’s often not detected through a blood test.  Still, magnesium is essential to many of the body’s processes and if you are deficient, it can leave you feeling less than your best.

So, what does magnesium do?

  • Reduces muscle aches and cramping by speeding up muscle repair and recovery
  • Promotes detoxification
  • Helps fight diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity
  • Reduces symptoms of constipation
  • Boosts energy
  • Protects the brain from neurological damage and degeneration
  • Promotes sleep
  • Reduces symptoms of PMS

While there are oodles of magnesium supplements on the market these days, there are many ways to incorporate more of this magic mineral in your diet and I always recommend evaluating your nutrition before spending your hard earned cash on supplements.

Here are some of the best magnesium boosting foods:

  • Spinach and dark leafy greens
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Bananas
  • Black beans
  • Almonds
  • Avocado

If you’re still not feeling spritely after adding more magnesium into your daily diet however, have a chat with a registered nutritionist or naturopath who will be able to recommend the best supplement for you.

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LUXE / HEALTH chicken tacos…

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Sometimes a salad just won’t cut it…and in the weekend, I often find myself craving something a little tastier!  Takeaways however, are loaded with nasties but healthy does not have to mean bland and trust me, these tacos are packed with flavour and won’t dent your clean eating regime.  Plus, they’re super simple to make and a mess to eat…win, win!

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LUXE / HEALTH Chicken Tacos
(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

For the chicken:
2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tin black beans
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. chilli powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
Black pepper
Sea salt

For the salsa:
Handful fresh grape or cherry tomatoes, finely diced
1 long red chilli, finely diced
Juice of 1 lime
Olive oil
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped roughly
Black pepper
Sea salt

For the guacamole:
1 ripe avocado
1/2 red onion, finely diced
Juice of half a lemon

To serve:
Soft corn tortillas/tacos (I use gluten free)
Greek yoghurt
Fresh lime wedges
Grated tasty cheese

Method:

  • To make the salsa, mix the diced cherry tomatoes, chilli and coriander in a small bowl with the lime juice, a good glug of olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste.  Set aside.
  • To make the guacamole, mash the avocado with a fork and mix in the diced red onion and add lemon juice to taste.  Set aside.
  • For the chicken, mix all the spices together in a bowl, then heat a little olive oil in a large frypan.  Add the spices to the pan, then toss in the chicken and coat well with the spice mix.
  • Once the chicken starts to cook, add the tomato paste and mix well.  Turn the chicken occasionally so that it cooks through.
  • Meanwhile, cook the black beans in the microwave for a couple of minutes, then drain well and add to the pan with the chicken.
  • Before serving, heat the taco’s in a hot pan with a little olive oil (around 30 seconds each side), or warm in the microwave.
  • Spoon a good portion of the chicken into the warmed taco, then top with a little grated tasty cheese, a spoon of salsa, guacamole and a dollop of greek yoghurt.  Finish with a squeeze of fresh lime and enjoy!

(If you want to make these even healthier, simply replace the tacos with lettuce leaves and omit the cheese!)

Nam Jim Prawn Salad…

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I don’t know about you, but during summer, I begin to crave lighter dishes for dinner and this little noodle salad is both healthy and satisfying.  The tangy Nam Jim dressing is packed full of flavour and it’s super easy to whip up for a quick and easy midweek meal!

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Nam Jim Prawn Salad
(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

12 large king prawns, deveined but with tails intact
1/2 packet soba OR rice noodles
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 small bunches pak choy
Coconut oil

For the dressing:

2 red chillies, with seeds, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 cup fresh coriander, chopped roughly
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tbsp. fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime

Method:

  • To make the dressing, mix all the ingredients together in a small jug until the sugar has dissolved and set aside until needed.
  • Cook the noodles in boiling water according to the packet directions, then rinse and drain well.
  • Cook the frozen peas in a small saucepan of boiling water, then drain well and allow to cool.
  • Once the noodles and peas have cooled, pop them in a bowl and stir through 3/4 of the Nam Jim dressing.
  • To cook the prawns, heat a little coconut oil in a pan and heat through until they change colour and are pink and juicy.  I like to brush a little of the Nam Jim across their flesh while cooking for extra flavour!
  • Meanwhile, roughly chop the pak choy and steam for a few minutes in the microwave.
  • Divide the noodle salad into 2 bowls with the steamed pak choy, place the cooked prawns on top then drizzle with the remaining Nam Jim dressing and devour!