Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins

'Toblerone Muffins' photo (c) 2010, jamieanne - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

As you can see, I have a preoccupation with creating protein snacks.

I find that I am on the run a lot and HATE taking pre-prepared food that requires a knife and fork. While a lot of people would debate that my desire to use raw protein powders, kind of goes against the whole ‘whole nutrition’ thing, I see a good quality protein powder as added insurance that my body gets enough protein, since I weight train on a fairly consistent basis.

I am also aware of the realities of most store bought snacks and believe these to be the lesser of two evils for the every day on-the-go girl/guy.

So yes- while real food would be a beautiful slow roast piece of lamb, served on a bed of wilted greens- I am quite sure no one has the capacity at work to bring in haute cuisine Monday-Friday.

Plus I like to bake. 

A good protein powder is super easy to digest, doesn’t leave you bloated and a has a great amino acid profile to ensure your body can easily escort all those nasty city consumed toxins we receive on a daily basis.

That’s right – in order to get toxins out of your body you need amino acids. And where are amino acids? They are in protein.

So what are you waiting for? Get back in the kitchen and start making a mess.

x 

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 Chocolate Hazelnut Protein Muffins

Makes 8 muffins

Ingredients

½ cup of Chocolate Sprouted Brown Rice Protein Powder

1/3 cup of Pumpkin Puree

1 cup of Hazlenut Meal

¼ cup cocoa powder

2 tsp of baking powder

pinch of salt

4 egg whites

1 1/2 cups of Almond Milk

1 tsp of Liquid stevia

Instructions

Grease and line 8 muffin tins.

Preheat the oven to 180

In one bowl, place all your dry ingredients together and mix well.

An another bowl, add all your wet ingredients and give them a light whisk

Combine the two together and stir gently

Divide the mixture between eight muffin molds.

Bake for 30 minutes or until risen and golden.

Remove and cool on your bench top.

Wrap up into individual serves and enjoy at work or play!

Health to Glow Episode 2

Want to impress everyone with Homemade mayonnaise, without all the weird additives?

Watch the second episode of Health to Glow to find out how!

Yum..goes excellent with a bit of Wild Atlantic Salmon or on your work day salad.

In fact- a little goes a long way, and if you use it for your weekday lunch box salad, you can guarantee your dressing won’t leak throughout your bag! Bonus, I say.

Hope you guys enjoy the video, Mel and I had a ball making it…

– I just love the look of intense concentration on my face! 😉

Feel free to share it with loved ones..hey, they might even make some for you it’s that easy!

Have a great Monday,

Holly x

Raw Vegan Mango Pudding

'sushi 7-7-08 078' photo (c) 2008, takaokun - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Hearing that Ricki over at Diets, Desserts and Dogs had been dealing with dental issues – I felt compelled to contribute to her Wellness Weekend competition, with a recipe relegated to the raw vegan invalid in us all (hey – we’ve all been there once in a while)

Last week – I found myself subsisting off a diet of green smoothies, coconut milk yoghurt and makeshift pudding concoctions, after having my wisdom teeth extracted (or should I say smashed with a hammer) on Monday.

Needless to say, I was a blubbery mess and need to console myself with what us girls do best – eating.

The problem herein lay with my inability to eat – largely due to the molten lava wound that was my impacted former wisdom teeth.

So the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and, unable to sit still (despite the dentists best orders) I found myself pureeing, juicing and whizzing a mass of what I can essentially say was glorified baby food. But what good mashy concoctions I made!

Perhaps the most satisfying eat, that will make its way into my diet, post recovery, is this raw vegan mango pudding. Yum!

Given that, over on the other side of the globe, food bloggers are welcoming summer with foods dripping with tropical delights – I decided to take a trip down memory lane and produce a food, entirely unsuitable for the winter conditions that is our Australian reality at the moment. 😉

..but who doesn’t enjoy a good mango recipe?

Macadamia’s also feature in this simple recipe. I often use macadamias over other nuts. Nuts, on the whole, aren’t the easiest thing to digest and I really don’t think we humans were designed to live off large quantities of nuts and seeds. Which is why I am wary of concocting raw vegan extravaganzas comprised of cups and cups of soaked cashews and almonds.

Finally macadamia nuts, compared to other nut varieties are very low in antinutrients like phytic acid, a compound us humans just can’t digest and that inhibits mineral absorption in adults. 

Above and beyond this nutrient rant – this recipe is delicious- goes down with ease and is a perfect comfort food treat come spring, autumn,summer or winter.

Ingredients

  • Flesh of 2 mangoes
  •  1/2 cup soaked macadamias
  • 1 tsp stevia
  •  1 tbs of coconut butter (can sub with 1/4 cup of desiccated coconut)
  1. Soak your macadamias for an hour or overnight in some filtered water with a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
  2. Drain and rinse our macadamias and place all ingredients into a high speed blender
  3. Process until smooth (may leave a little texture in there…but not if you have had your teeth suitable smashed by a dental contraption known quite simply as a hammer)
  4. Serve in a beautiful glass and once chewing ability has commenced, feel free to top with toasted coconut and bee pollen.

So there you have it – super food for the super invalid.

What about you- what delightful concoctions do you eat when you are not feeling your best?

 

….after more sugar free, vegan delights? Head on over to ‘diets,desserts and dogs’ a fantastic resource of sugar free, anti-candida friendly delights…simply click on the link below and start the discovery! 

 


Health to Glow Episode One

Welcome to Health To Glow TV a brand new segment on my blogI am really happy to finally share something that I am passionate about…above and beyond writing too much!

Join my good mate Melissa and I for weekly videos where we will be sharing our love and passion for healthy clean living. Without giving away all the juicy details…please have a look, it’s 10 minutes of kitchen fun which I want to share with you!

I hope you like our first video thanks to Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar books.

Be sure to subscribe to our channel and comment below lovelies.

Thanks for all those people who have inspired me along the way…

Holly

x

Do Your Healthy Choices Stall Your Weight Loss?

You’ve quit sugar over the past month, tried to stop drinking as much alcohol as you usually do and your fridge looks like it is straight out of an organic grocery- but your tummy still won’t lose a cm. What’s going on?

Perhaps the very ‘healthy’ pursuits you are adopting are exactly what is causing your weight loss to stall. In order of most common culprits I hear from our Hypoxi clients here is our list of ‘healthy’ habits that stall your fat loss:

  • You are eating too much – even though it is clean and healthy: Just because it is organic, full of healthy fat and brimming with antioxidants, doesn’t mean you can go overboard. Yes, that means a small handful of almonds, not a giant fist full. And yes, it means attacking the whole large punnet of strawberries isn’t exactly advantageous.
  •  The healthy foods you are eating aren’t agreeing with you: Your body has unique biochemistry, which react to nutrients differently from one person to the next. Foods that typically cause problems are nuts, gluten, dairy and soy. All such foods that are staples in most people’s ‘low fat’, ‘calcium enriched’ diet. Cut them out. I think you will be rather surprised…
  • You neglect breakfast: Breakfast establishes your metabolic rate for the day. Choosing a small breakfast will physically leave you crashing by 10am and reaching for the skinny muffin and skim latte. Furthermore, it will mentally leave you thinking that you’ve been saintly by ‘cutting back’. I guarantee you will more likely splurge later on in the day as you are unable to sustain your ‘calorie reduced’ mindset.
  • Using ‘Diet’ Foods: For sure sugar free and fat free foods do usually contain fewer calories and so it goes without saying you might think they will serve you well in your fat loss goals. Take a look at the ingredients list first and try to work out what nutrients (if at all) are held within the aforementioned ‘100 calorie cookie’. If something is devoid of fat, it is usually amped up with artificial sugar, which generally leaves you craving more sugar. Finally without the precious fats, your body so desperately needs you will most likely remain unfulfilled and hungry.

Sweetly Sugar Free

Sweeten Your Life without Sugar…

Since so many artificial sugars have been attracting suspicion as of recent, you may now be questioning that sachet of Splenda you add to your coffee or daily diet coke addiction.

Or- perhaps regardless of the stroke and cancer warnings, you fear the word “artificial” in itself.

But where does a health conscious, weight loss enthusiast turn to when she craves that much needed sugar hit?

In an attempt to conquer the nutritional vice that is fructose (ergo white table sugar) ‘natural’ sweeteners have taken off with a vengeance. Once confined to the realms of New Age Urban Hipsters, these supposedly natural sugars are a marketer’s wet dream, riding on the tail coats of those fit enthusiasts who want their world to be sickly sweet but without the sugar. Natural sweeteners are the perfect answer to this conundrum. Right?

And herein lays problem number one.

What is natural? In contrast to Organic Foods, there isn’t a certified Australian standard for natural vs unnatural food. Effectively, it’s a word that promises a lot, but can ultimately signify nothing.

The power of this promise is heavily based upon how Australian consumers define natural vs healthy.  Given the relative ‘newness’ of these sweeteners – there are no finite understandings of the effects they will have on our body. Furthermore given our zealous relationship with sugar there is no way of knowing what effect large quantities will do to us!

The second issue is the one I slam myself up against a brick wall, with a lot of our clients. Sugar, in all its low G.I and reduced calorie wonder is still sugar, regardless of its form.

That being said, for those with severe fructose allergies (they do exist) or diabetes, a little natural sweetness can do wonders for the soul.

And with this in mind, the girls here at Hypoxi took the Sugar Free challenge this week in order to decipher the good from the bad in the race for a life sans sugar.

Agave syrup

The deal:  Agave Syrup now decks the aisles of all health food stores and is a similar taste experience to maple syrup. The syrup is actually extracted from the plant, agave which is in the same family as the cactus. In order to extract its sweet syrup, it needs to be processed, and funnily enough, once it has gone through this process it is pretty much identical to the much dreaded high fructose corn syrup. This is not so good – actually I would go as far to suggest it’s rather bad.

In its defence, agave does have a low g.i and is sweeter than white sugar, therefore you require less of it (ideally- although portion control when it comes to sugar is difficult).  But what care I for stabilised blood sugar levels, when sugar and agave have the same number of calories, similar fructose content and no nutritional value?

Brown rice syrup

The deal: Brown rice syrup emerges when cooked brown rice is mixed with barley malt enzymes. (This doesn’t explain much now does it?) . The final product is 45% maltose and has absolutely no fructose in it, which means it hits your blood sugar at a much slower rate and won’t give you that energy crash that most sugars do. Additionally, the syrup retains trace elements of key minerals, so it isn’t a complete nutritional waste like most sugars are.  Taste wise, I say it imparts a nice butterscotch taste. but with the main sugar in brown rice syrup being maltose, it is not as sweet as normal sugar. On the whole I like this as a transgression food for someone who is addicted to the sweet life but needs to make a sensible shift.

Stevia

The deal: I have talked about stevia before. I am a huge fan. It’s only downfall in my humble opinion, is that it takes a while to master the right ratio for you. Why? Because it is so dam sweet! Stevia is my favourite as it is not really a sugar.

Rather it is an herb that is about 200 times sweeter than your average teaspoon of sugar.

As an herb, it has NO CALORIES and doesn’t affect blood sugar at all. This in itself makes stevia a diabetics dream.  It has been  used extensively in Japan for decades now- having replaced all artificial sweeteners in low calorie beverages with stevia. When baking with the stuff, you need to keep in mind that you are losing the structural quality of one cup of sugar and will most likely need to replace it with some other bulking agent, such as almond meal or coconut flour. Finally, the sweetness of stevia lingers long on your tongue and can be off putting for some. For me? I love that the sensation of sweet stays a few seconds longer than the average spoonful of sugar.

 Coconut Sugar

The deal: Coconut Sugar is essentially palm sugar – the stuff used liberally in Asian cooking. (think those glorious thai salads) . It is made by cutting the buds of coconut trees and gathering the sap. The sap is boiled until it thickens and becomes solid. In terms of nutrients, it is by far the most nutritious of all sugars as it is high in several minerals our body requires and is also very low G.I. My favourite part of coconut sugar is that it is the single most sustainable sugar in the world! Not bad. That being said, in regards to fructose content – it still isn’t fabulous – sorry. It is about 45% fructose so in my eyes, still pretty toxic.

In terms of the worst choice for these alternative sweeteners, I would categorically say Agave is out. Stevia, followed by Rice Malt Syrup are my preferred sugar sources as they are fructose free.

What about you?

How do you sweeten your life without sugar?

‘Health Food’ Isn’t What It’s Wrapped Up to Be!

I recently walked into my local health food store and made a bee line for the grocery section to grab my staple almond butter. With a few minutes to spare, I decided to have a brief look at what other ‘healthy’ products lined the shelf. Given the vulnerable state of most people shopping at health food stores, I felt disgruntled at the amount of unhealthy processed foods that were competing for shelf space.

The gluten free section

(although I would like to debate the placement of chocolate in the gluten free section in the first place)

had me up in arms!

Gluten free cookies, chips, biscuits, crackers- all of which would not deserve attention in a healthy trolley were taking pride of place in people actively seeking a healthier kitchen cupboard. Just because something is ‘gluten free’ doesn’t make it any more processed and terrible then its gluten riddled counterpart. At the end of the day- most of these products are still a high GI carbohydrate nightmare that will send your blood sugar flying and send messages to your body to store fat – and I know that is not what we want.

Moving on down the line into the ‘vegetarian mock meat’ section I was confronted with soy products galore. While soy products deserve a whole article on them in itself (yes this includes the milk), I simply want to ask you, how do you think soy beans become hotdogs, ice cream and ‘chicken’ nuggets? It’s part of the wonder known as processed food, and to be frank, I think I would actually prefer to eat a McDonalds Burger Patty than down a mock meat soy ball.  There’s also a good amount of research to show that processed soy, such as soy milk is an endocrine disruptor and anti-nutrient.

Turning into the next aisle, I was met with an entire block of ‘natural sweeteners’ – particularly every single type of Agave Syrup you have ever met. Here’s the news. Sugar is sugar, regardless whether it is from a cactus or from table sugar or a piece of fruit. Your body digests sugar just the same as any other form of sugar – that is- it raises your insulin levels, and multiplies your stress hormone reaction. Given this natural response- excess sugar is also very aging.

Funnily enough- if I even enter the store in my workout gear (being the buff fitness trainer that I am ;-) ) I’m often accosted as to what I’m putting into my trolley. Regardless of the store, whether it is a supermarket, local, or health food store – I stick to the peripheral. Fresh veggies, fruits, quality meat and fish. That my friends – is all you need – apart from the occasional detour to the chocolate section…and I will be honest…the ice cream section too.

Start reading the labels of your favourite product and think about what something is before it goes into your mouth! It is up to you to be your own food detective!

Craving Makes Us Human

You’d think that writing constantly about what’s good for you- that I would be able to practice what I preach. However- I have a confession to make – I am powerless when it comes to Almond Butter and Chocolate. The darker the better.

Every-time I tell myself I will share the chocolate with my boyfriend- he restrains himself to one row of chocolate leaving me with the inevitable task of devouring the remaining five. Ahh, will-power, how you evade me!

Will-power, however, is hard to muster when we are genetically predisposed to love/want/crave indulgent foods. After all, the constant uncertainty of famines once upon a time meant binging and feasting were necessary for basic survival.  

The problem with this genetic ‘flaw’ is that we have so much exposure to so much food. All of this food is primed to taste AMAZING and reinforces our desire for more – ergo our addiction in the form of food is prevalent and rising.

Large companies strategically buy out whole front store displays in an attempt to place their product within eyes reach- which is why it is so easy to pop in that last Mars Bar into your trolley when all you wanted to do was pay and leave.

These ingredients- when grabbed nonchalantly then become a habitual part of your diet without you even realising. More often than not- they also contain a host of addictive ingredients which leave you wanting more and creating food allergies that were not seen some fifty years ago. Think Gluten, Dairy, Wheat and Soy- All common food allergies and ones that are eaten constantly by the masses. Don’t believe me? Log your food intake- cereal and milk for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, afternoon chocolate snack, pasta for dinner….see my point?

So what to do?

The next time you see yourself in the same pattern of craving- stop and listen!

Realise this is a behavior trait that can be changed and try to implement a plan of attack so you don’t fall victim.

Some of my preferred methods of attack?

  1. Add before you subtract: crowd out your plate with so much good food- that trying to fit in bad food is nigh impossible.
  2. Do something else- take a bath instead- go for a walk. Do something that is polar opposite to your initial desire.
  3. Hydrate – if you are stuck in the office- only let yourself have the item of food you crave- once you polish off a cup of green tea or water. Often you will find- your desire for thirst far out quenches your need for sugar

How about you- what strategies do you implement in order to combat your genetic tendencies? Have a think about what foods you crave- you will often find these are exactly the foods that are making you eat more!

Detox Smart Not Hard!

 

 

Given the nature of what I LOVE to research –  it goes with the territory the readings I peruse are at times a hive of information on the latest fad diet and “must-eat” superfood for lasting weight-loss. Detox’s particularly at this time of year – are big on everyone’s to do list. I have to admit – each and every time I hear these words being circulated by one of my hard working clients – I want to cringe.

The very nature of the environment we live in – regardless whether you are a city our country dweller – means we are absorbing toxins every day. This is a reality and unless you were born in a plastic bubble, you can’t escape it.  On the plus side – our bodies are naturally detoxifying all the time. But if you’re getting more in than you can get out, they’ve got to go somewhere and they tend to get stored in your fat.

That’s why we want to detoxify every day.

The problem with ‘cleanses’ is that we tend to think of them as an extreme. Where you drink water, maple syrup, lemon and cayenne pepper and don’t eat for a week. Which, we will see, isn’t one of the most cleansing and amazing things you can possibly do.

In its rudimentary form detoxification has two phases. Once you understand these two phases and see your body’s ability to detox in this light – I am quite sure you will see the fallacy of strict somewhat ridiculous ‘cleanses’.

Let’s see how we detoxify.

Firstly – our body tries to make toxins in a form for easy removal. It does this by trying to make them water soluble.

If though we are getting too many toxins, our bodies won’t be able to make ALL our toxins water soluble and they are stored in our fat. This is why I am emphatic about organic cosmetics. It is one of the simplest ways of combating excess toxins.

Now that our bodies have made them ready to escape – we need to usher them out. In order for our bodies to do this, we need amino acids. This is where protein comes in to play.

Limited amino acids in your body = stalemate in getting toxins out of your body.

Now…where in a week of Master cleanse or juice only diets, do you get abundant protein? Certainly drinking lots of hydrating juice or water will ignite the first phase of detoxification – getting the body to release the toxins into a more water soluble form – but there will be a limited ability for your body to remove them as you aren’t ingesting any protein. So now, you have all these circulating toxins in your body and there is no way of them getting out.

What do they do from here? They create stress and inflame your body.

Little wonder then that people complain of massive headaches, rashes and lethargy when they are detoxing.

Yes they are removing toxins INTO the body but they AREN’T leaving your system. Detoxing shouldn’t be painful, so when I hear people saying they “Feel crap so it has to be working” it takes a lot of self discipline to prevent me from telling them that they are probably aging their bodies and encouraging cellulite. Harsh I know.

My piece of advice is to detox EVERYDAY. Drink water to get phase one of the detoxification process firing, fill up on fibre to allow the food you eat and the toxins you accumulate to be swept out of your system and ensure you eat protein with EVERY meal. If you want to do a juice only cleanse – try to incorporate at least two clean organic protein shakes each day to ensure you are just as capable of removing toxins as you are in converting them to an easy water soluble form. Got it?

Master Cleanse officially over.

 

Pumpkin Crisps

A recipe! And don’t we love a recipe?

Well at least I do anyway

Last night, I attended a scrumptous launch for the cook book Supercharged Food. And boy was the food anything but sausage rolls and party pies. I have to say though – my hands wouldn’t stop gravitating to the Oven Roasted Pumpkin Chips. They were devine! Needless to say I was the girl at the food table devouring the bowl rather than making small talk. Woops.

When I managed to retract myself from the aformentioned bowl I asked Lee Holmes – author of Supercharged Food- to give me the recipe. Although I had my pen and paper ready, they were not necessary. Two ingredients – a little time and you have the makings of the coolest chip since Kale.

Get ready to eat a whole pumpkin in one sitting – I kid you not.

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Ingredients

1/2 Small Pumpkin

Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Brushing

Preheat the overn to 150 degrees celcius. Cut the pumpkin into two or three chunks, then peel. Using a mandoline or the slicing blade on your food processor, cut the chunks into very thin slices, about 2 mm thick. Dry the slices on paper towels.

Place the pumpkin slices in a single layer on two lined baking trays. Brush with Olive Oil and sprinkle with a good pinch of sea salt. The salt helps draw moisture from the vegetables, so let them sit for 5 minutes before placing in the oven.

Bake the pumpklin for 25 minutes or until crisp.

Remove from the oven to cool completely. The slices will crisp as they cool. Keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Makes lots!

And if  you want to find out more about Lee Holmes’s Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free recipes..head on over to superchargedfood.com ;-)