18 Habits of an Environmentally Chic Shopper

LandscapeThe concept of eating sustainably is rapidly be becoming the ‘in’ thing to do. Organic produce, eating locally, farmers markets, free range, grass-fed – love it or hate it they are part of our urban jargon.

A lot of the debate surrounding the sustainable movement is whether or not paying a premium for produce is better for you – but the reality is the movement goes far beyond our own health and is a vital step in preserving our precious environment.

In the spirit of Christmas, where the shops are drenched with anxiety and credit cards, I feel it is important to remind you how easy it is to ‘give’ to the environment all year round.

So here are my top 20 tips for making sure you welcome Christmas and the New Year with the savvy environmental chat.

Going to the supermarket:

1. Bring that reusable bag. Shockingly only 1% of plastic bags worldwide are actually recycled – the rest end up in landfill or our oceans where, unable to biodegrade, they release toxic particles. And those handy paper bags? They aren’t any better. Requiring a cool 14 million trees to be cut down and processed. This process alone requires more energy than the production of plastic bags.

2. Buy naked. Choose products with the least packaging. Buy meat from the deli counter rather than the pre-wrapped section, large tubs of yoghurt rather than individual tubs, a wedge of cheese rather than a pre-wrapped block. These are also cost cutting measures, so you kill two birds with one stone!

3. Go to a market that isn’t super. Buy from establishments that are committed to Australian produce and products. I feel so much better handing my money to the farmer who grew my broccoli rather than the supermarket who gave me a discount petrol voucher. Often these stores also operate with practices that curb environmental waste and several farmers, if you ask, choose farming methods that recycle resources.

Fruits and Veggies:

4. Buy from the source. This is becoming significantly easier with the burgeoning of farmers markets, so it is no excuse to cite ‘exclusivity’ as a major preventative. Eating locally not only gives back to the grower directly, but reduces your carbon footprint. As a plus the produce is far fresher than the veggies from South America I so often see at supermarkets!

5. Embrace the raw.  Up your intake of raw veggies to reduce the energy spent on using cooking appliances. Simple, much more convenient and potentially more nutritious!

6. Tis the season. So embrace what is growing now in Australia (cherries, tropical fruit, beautiful vibrant lettuces!) Have a look at what’s in season now.

7. Get a green thumb.  Yes, they are hard to find (my efforts in growing lettuce and basil have yet to yield a tangible result) but it is a nourishing experience to grow your own food from pots and planters, even if the results are underwhelming!

 Meat:

8. Quality over quantity. Factory raised meat has the largest negative environmental impact in comparison to any other consumer food.  I am a massive meat-eater, and I consider it vital to my sense of wellbeing, but I choose to eat modest amounts and only buy animals that have been raised ethically. I am quite adamant about this and will spend a lot more on quality meat, knowing that I will stretch it out over a week rather than a day.

9. Chew on some roo. Kangaroo is local, has far less of an impact on environmental degradation, is a great source of iron and is super lean. Mastering the art of cooking the perfect kangaroo fillet is fun and making burritos with kanga mince is a staple in my kitchen. It is also phenomenally cheap. Need I say more?

10. Grass is always greener. Pasture-raised animals have a more humane up bringing, have a smaller negative environmental impact and are fed a natural nutritious diet composed mainly of grass as opposed to processed grain.

Seafood:

11. Hook up with the steward. It can be confusing as to which fish to buy but a small Marine Stewardship Council badge on the fish tag ensures that it has met the strictest of sustainability standards, both in terms of how it was caught and the variety of fish.

12. Get a’mong’ it.  Know your fish and make it a priority to choose Australian fish that are abundant in the environment. It will likely mean that the product has been reviewed by the Marine Stewardship Council and you have a better awareness of whether or not the fish is sustainable or not.

13. Step away from the tuna. Try something different! Expand your repertoire to include sardines, garfish, john dory – this will ensure your daily tuna or salmon addiction won’t potentially wipe out an entire species or render us reliant purely on farmed versions of the breed. (Ok that’s extreme, but you understand right?)

Dairy:

14. Cut back on your hormonal intake.   It is true that livestock in Australia is pumped with antibiotics to make them grow at a faster rate. This has profound health impacts for the cows, the people who drink this milk and our environment (large industrial dairy sites emit large greenhouse gas emissions). At the end of the day, milk from happy cows is readily available and not cost prohibitive. Otherwise try almond milk, coconut milk or rice milk.

Out on the town:

15. Bottle down. Remove the need for bottled water and ask for pure tap. Consider also the advantage of drinking beer from the tap. A superior taste sensation and it necessitates the use of a reusable glass not a disposable bottle.

 On the home front:

16. Don’t buy paper for mess. Cotton napkins and sponges for spills (not paper towel) are small investments towards less waste.  I will let you continue your toilet roll habit. 😉

17. Don’t chuck out ‘old’ food We are all far too sensitive when it comes to ‘use by dates’ and potentially rancid food. Food can stand the test of time; you would be surprised what a refrigerator can do. Old meals can be revamped into new or even (shock/horror) eaten as a cold lunch a few days later. You will reduce waste and also energy expenditure given that you won’t have to cook a new meal in a few days time.

18. Multiply your food. Now that you are firmly over the concept of eating ‘old’ food, cook more than you require and freeze leftovers for meals ahead. Planning ahead is an excellent way to save money, lose weight and use less energy throughout the week.

So let me ask you guys. Do you try to incorporate any of these habits regularly? Or is there a tip I have obviously missed? Let me know what tactics you use in the comments below! 

3 Things you need to know about carbohydrates…

I want to briefly talk about carbs today.

In the same way that fat was condemned in the 80’s (along with low waist shorts and natural makeup) it is fair to say that carbohydrates are now being held responsible for our growing waistline.

Now, there is some truth to this.  We live in a world where enormous quantities of refined carbohydrates can be bought cheaply and easily.  And we can’t deny that carbs are sumptuous – particularly when they have been aerated, plumped up with lush thickeners or entombed in chocolate.

It is easy to see how they can be over eaten. Give me a packet of Tim Tams and I can show you that they are not never-ending.

Currently, carbs are being blamed for a host of weight related issues – sugar is now the cause of obesity and carbohydrates of all shapes and sizes ‘cause massive insulin spikes’ which ‘makes you fat’.

It is true; the overproduction of insulin (in obese people particularly) causes your blood glucose levels to crash, stimulating hunger. Thus, people with insulin resistance who are eating refined carbohydrates (without the fibre, fat and protein present in a well-rounded meal) will eat more.

However this doesn’t make carbs fattening.

It is actually quite simple. Carbs, particularly overly processed ones are just so easy to eat. We have become reliant on them as a cheap source of fuel. People have to eat something, and our need for ease means that carbohydrates have become the dominant norm as our fuel.

On the flip side, I see so many girls going super-duper low carb (eschewing broccoli) in their efforts to drop the last few.

But, going low carb also isn’t going to help you. You do the need them. It just depends how active you are as to how many. Generally the level of activity in your day should dictate what type of carbs you choose to eat.

So what carbs and when?

1. Whole unprocessed carbohydrate sources are your priority,  such as fresh fruit and veggies. This focus is nutrient dense and not calorie dense.

 
2. Quality grains, such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat (or whatever tickles your fancy) or bread without preservatives and additives are a secondary source and need to be consumed sensibly. When you are not physically active you haven’t done enough to justify more carbohydrates on top of whole food. Emphasis here is that they are not fattening! They are just unnecessary if you have sat at your computer all day.

 
3. Desserts, chocolate, lollies and added sugars: should be eaten sparingly in the week. I don’t care how raw/vegan/organic the source. The reality is, it is still an additional something that isn’t necessary in vast amounts daily.

 

And from a health and weight loss perspective how many carbs should I have?

I like this little rule from Men’s Health weight loss adviser Alan Aragon.

Multiply your target body weight by 1 if you have a desk job, work out in a gym several times a week for an hour or less, and your main goal is fat loss. Multiply by 2 if you’re a recreational athlete who trains for more than an hour a day. And multiply by 3 if you’re a competitive athlete who trains multiple hours a day, or if you’re a guy with a Mini Cooper body and a Corvette metabolism who is struggling to gain weight.

 The number you end up with indicates how many grams of carbs you should eat every day.

 What do you think? Have you had success on low carb diets? Find you get too light-headed without dense carbs? (usually indicates you have great insulin levels) I would love to hear your thoughts.

Top 3 Problems with the Typical Healthy Breakfast

oatsSo…I have been tardy, absent and severely missing my communication with the wonderful world of blogging and my readers!

Apologies, I have been dabbling in website overhaul. Needless to say, I ain’t that good at it, but when I manage to pull this off (I am aiming for end of January) you will be so impressed!

I am going to be having video content as well as exciting kitchen styling sessions from other fit and healthy personal trainers, health coaches and dieticians.

Just writing about it gets my adrenaline pumping!

As for now, I will continue to instagram and post facebook updates, while my website is currently ‘down’.

Yes- I should have clarified this earlier. But, no one is perfect and I thought I could pull the rabbit out of the hat sooner rather than later.

So today, I thought I would reflect on breakfast – again.

I find this meal to be a stumbling block for many well-intentioned health seekers.

Particularly for women who want to ‘tone up’.

While I have a few friends who naturally sit at a muscular level, I am not one of them and over the past few months I have dabbled in strength training and proper nutrition in order to see how a fit body is made through spot on nutrition, fun strength training and adequate rest time.

(Such as today – where I believe a nice stretch and an epsom salt bath will suffice)

Back to the breakfast issue though, I have realised how seriously lacking most breakfast options are of protein and now know why so many people flail on the energy levels prior to lunch and indeed experience a slump in the afternoon. Instead of subtracting my breakfast portions I have merely added twice the amount of protein and gained some serious definition in my arms and abdominals (ok I am not ripped but my abdominals are present rather than pudgy!)

With this in mind

My three Issues with the Standard Approach to Breakfast:

1.    Cereal:

When a food company says something is a ‘healthy choice’ I recommend taking a closer look. Cereal is one such ‘health food’ that is targeted towards us health conscious girls. There are several leading healthy wholegrain cereals that have seriously high levels of sugar and salt, which are added to these products to lower the fat content without jeopardising the taste. Next time you are in the supermarket, grab a chocolate bar and head to the cereal aisle then compare the sugar content of either. You will be amazed.

Even better is when the cereals have synthetic vitamins added to them, which are both unnatural and often used in such small amounts that the benefits are negligible.

Once again, it isn’t cereal that is a problem it is the pre-made boxes that are seriously questionable when it comes to your health.  I encourage you to make your own cereal, read the label to see what is exactly in the box or if all else fails I suggest you say ‘cereal later’.

Cereal Substitution: Oats or Buckwheat, Cinnamon, Stevia with Coconut Oil or Cultured Butter, either warmed over the stove or baked in the oven.

2.     Dried Fruit:

Although considered a good source of energy, be fussy in the type you select. Drying is a wonderful age-old form of food preservation. Unfortunately the dried fruit that is available in supermarkets, is just not as natural and wholesome as you think. Most of these options are vacuum freeze dried, and then placed in a microwave or boiled before being vacuumed a second time. It is little wonder that after this process the dried fruit in question is nutritionally devoid. This process is also solely cosmetic; appealing to our desire for plump, soft and substantially bigger portions and involves the use of chemicals (sulphates typically) that can trigger asthma and allergies.

Now, don’t get me wrong. One of my favourite things are dried dates – they honestly can substitute chocolate for me – but I choose to eat versions with no sulphites, manufactured with integrity and I make sure, in keeping with my desire for good digestion that I counteract the dryness of the fruit with lots of water. Regardless of whether your dried fruit is organic or conventional, dried fruit is taxing on your digestive system and needs to be either soaked in water or followed with lots of fluid!

Dried Fruit Substitution: Angas Park Dried Fruit – an Australian company with fruit that is incredibly plump, dried naturally and without additives. The dates and figs are amazing and they can be found in Coles.

3.    Milk:

 I have never actively craved milk. But I don’t see why it can’t form a part of a healthy all round diet. Indeed, milk has long been part of human diets. However, recent questionable farming practices and feeding methods have left me doubting whether the milk you buy in the supermarket is as ‘bone building’ healthy as we are lead to believe.

There are a lot of anti-dairy crusaders in the health world, and with good reason. However for me generic milk at the end of the day is the stuff that is best avoided. The stuff you buy for $1 a litre has been homogenised to even out the fat molecules and pasteurised to kill off bacteria. This is often why people have issues with milk. Heating up milk through pasteurisation alters the enzymes present in milk. Milk therefore becomes difficult for your body to digest.

If you want good milk, choose a quality provider who is committed to the welfare of their animals. This way, you know your milk is mineral rich and the cows have been fed a proper nourishing diet.

Milk Substitution: I personally don’t buy it, but I really like the ethos of the Elgaar Dairy Farm. You can pick up their products at health food stores and all of their dairy products are packaged in reusable glass so you can return your bottles when you run out and be reimbursed! I adore their cottage cheese and cream. If you like the taste of Almond Milk, then I would also consider giving this a run!

What about you? Are there any breakfast finds that you have found to be particularly awesome?

I’d love to see what everyone else considers their optimal start to the day!

Why My SUPERFOOD COSTS LESS THAN A CENT…

It is so easy to get carried away with ‘Superfoods’.

Yeah- I here ya on the greens powder front. Things like Vital Greens or any of those nutrient dense Chlorophyll rich greens powders are awesome, particularly when you are travelling and know you aren’t going to be eating your usual array of veggies. And yes, I use them.

But- if you are on a tight budget- most of these ‘mass marketed’ super foods are not super necessary.

Particularly when the most humble ingredient is the most potent!

My superfoods are found in my spice rack – not the Amazon. Lined up in a perfect alphabetic row, I get to pick and mix which nutritional powerhouse I am using for the day.

With all my spices I try to buy the whole form of the spice, not the powder.

Spices contain delicate oils in them that can quickly deteriorate once ground to a fine powder. Buying the spice pre ground in a plastic packet that has been sitting in your supermarket for who knows how long is a sure fire why to ingest rancid oils and funny tasting food!

Finally I almost always buy the organic version, or source a quality company.

Buying fresh good quality spices is not a cost commitment and the taste difference is phenomenal! 

My favorite spice, whose nutrient density is astounding, is the humble clove.

Cloves are:

–       The highest-ranking food on the ORAC scale, (used to assess the antioxidant content of food)

To put clove’s nutrient density into perspective, blueberries have an ORAC score of 2,400 whereas cloves have an ORAC score of 10 million.(And the much hyped Goji a mere 23,000) That means that a 15ml bottle of Oil of Clove has the same amount of antioxidants as 150 litres of blueberry juice. That’s a lot of berries.

–       A source of Omega 3 Fats. While only containing a minimal amount…every little bit counts to our body.

–       A fabulous source of Manganese- a trace mineral heavily involved in normal brain function

–       In its pure oil state (eugenol extract) clove has been used in dentistry as an anesthetic and anti-bacterial. Hence when I feel a sore throat coming on I gargle/swallow oil of clove and BAM potential cold is gone. (No jokes…this and Elderflower extract – but I digress)

So as you can see, spices are far more ‘super’ than your dehydrated ‘health food’ powder and the advantages of applying and eating clove and its essential oil are far bigger than most ‘health food marketers’ would have you believe.

Plus- I feel a massive sense of honor using age old ‘remedies’ to heal and nourish my body from the inside out.

 

As an aside, how do you think you might incorporate some spice into your life? 😉

I tend to add my cloves to my blender and whiz them up before putting the rest of my smoothie ingredients in. 

Is Red Meat Bad for YOU?

Image via themainmeal.com.au

Let me prelude this by saying that I have no interest in slaying vegetarians; particularly if you choose to abstain from meat for compassionate reasons.

This article is geared more towards the ‘health conscious’ seeker who feels compelled to remove red meat from their diet in an attempt to ‘be healthy’. Moreover, if you fear that red meat is bad for your health, read on, most of the research regarding red meat consumption highlights nothing.

Ok ok, so this study published by the Harvard School of Public Health that associated red meat to higher rates of mortality did come out earlier this year BUT I still get girls, guiltily telling me how they ate a steak/lamb chop as if it were a whole bar of chocolate.

If you take a superficial glance at the research, then the evidence does really suggest that eating a lot of red meat isn’t exactly going to help with longevity. The study that examined 37,000 men and 83,000 women demonstrated that those with higher red meat consumption had a higher rate of heart disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes.

BUT before you opt to boycott your local butcher HOLD UP!

If you take a closer look at what WASN’T published in the mainstream media you are in for a reality check.

Let’s see how the researchers tested for the ‘dangers’ of meat.

Through complex lab work?

I think not.

Rather it was

.. a survey.

While I love a good survey I also know that they can not possibly come to a decisive conclusion in regards to red meat and bad health.

Guilt by association maybe.

Now if we take a look at another fair observation from one of the researchers in which;

 “….a higher red meat intake was associated with a higher intake of total energy but lower intakes of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.”

Perhaps we can see another major flaw in the ‘red meat is bad’ theory. For me, this doesn’t highlight the dangers of meat, rather the potential that the lack of other vital nutrients in their diet were at play in their negative health.

Further to the point. Was all the red meat clumped together in one category?

Pasture raised, organic meat or a fast food hamburger patty?

The quality of each product and its nutritional makeup renders the two food items completely incomparable.

As one of my FAVOURITE nutrition researchers, Alan Aragon, stated

“This whole idea of pointing the finger at a single dietary culprit in the development of a multifactorial outcome is hilariously preposterous. People who eat a lot of red meat regularly, he explains, tend to have unhealthy habits—smoking, drinking, less exercise—have higher BMIs, and eat fewer disease-protective fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”

What to take from the study:

You can choose whether or not to eat red meat.

Personally, if it makes you feel nourished, then eat it.

But don’t let this study make you think that red meat is dangerous.

Variety is key. Too much of anything is bad.

Move around, eat the veggies and fruit you digest with ease and get a good night sleep!

(Oh and be happy…)

Health to Glow- Episode 14…SALT and why it isn’t bad.

This week..salt….that delectably ‘sinful’ ingredient that is supposed to be a cardiac nightmare..

I have written about the topic before….

AND…moving on from the health aspect…

salt tastes good!

As an ingredient in dishes, salt has two vital roles. First, it diminishes the bitterness of dishes (hello rocket/dandelion and other leafy greens). Secondly, through stamping out any bitter notes of your dish, salt will encourage the taste and smell of your meal to  shine on.

Making for one delectable dish..

And as an aside and of some/lots of interest…

…which for stress heads is a plus…

and for girls desperate to start reducing that puffy, swollen look often apparent in the abdomen, this is another factor to consider. High cortisol levels generally make themselves known through stomach fat. Urgh!

But..as usual I digress..

Watch the vid and see what salt Mel and I choose to use..

..and please don’t pursue the usual salt suspects..live a little and buy good quality salt with added mineral content!

 

 

 

REMOVE YOUR EYE MAKEUP UP EASILY WITH THIS NATURAL TRICK!

I have recently gotten into a little bit of beauty alchemy. Don’t get me wrong – I am NO DOMESTIC GODDESS, and I am not the kind of person who avidly denies their kitchen prowess yet whips out her homemade jam with buttermilk scones when unsuspecting guests arrive. ‘Doesn’t everyone make their own rhubarb jam’?

If you are teetering on the fine edge between caring about the chemicals in conventional makeup yet still wed to the smell and feel of your $150 eye cream- read on. I proffer a simple solution that smells divine, is easy to use and won’t tax your sensitive body or your unbalanced bank account.

Yes- I still love a good lick of mascara and eyeliner on my lids but I choose my weapons wisely; opting to part pennies with local companies whose commitment to ethical ingredients both environmentally and chemically are in harmony with my desire to combine the fine art of ‘looking natural’ whilst wearing makeup. A pursuit chased by most girls and when accomplished – a real show stopper.

WIPE AWAY YOUR MASCARA NATURALLY WITH THIS LITTLE TRICK

The art of eye makeup removal without chemicals requires no skill set, nor will you be rubbing mashed banana, avocado or raw eggs into your eyes in the name of ‘natural beauty’.

My go to makeup remover comes in the form of coconut oil.

A staple in my kitchen and now my bathroom for its ability to heal superficial wounds, intensely moisturize the cracked barnacles that are my feet during winter and remove the black liner and mascara I have artfully worn during the day.

Method:

  1. Dip your fingers into your coconut oil jar and rub a very tiny dollop of oil between your fingers to melt it.
  2. Spread the melted oil along your eyelids and eyelashes.
  3. Grab a cotton pad or face mitt and wipe the oil away and watch as your makeup is removed with ease.

And that is honestly it.

Keep in mind that a little oil residue will linger – leave it be – it’s the best anti wrinkle treatment your dermatologist never told you about.

Who says going ‘au natural’ was too hard?

TOP 5 REASONS YOU SHOULD STOP ALL THAT CARDIO

The majority of ladies I know want to ‘tone up’ and insist that their previous methods; cutting their food consumption and running a whole lot more is their tool of the trade. I also know straight away that a desire to ‘tone up’ means they are scared of weights.

The only problem with ‘toning up’ is that it requires women to weight train, a notion that unleashes a tirade of excuses as to why using weights will make them HUGE!

Let me tell you- I have been going hard on weights for a little over a year and have only shrunk (albeit not massively as I am a small person) and gained enormous confidence with my bodies capabilities – a sense of confidence that could never have been found running for miles or attending back to back spin classes.

Not only has lifting HEAVY weights affected my day-to-day activities (hello being able to carry home ALL my groceries without a car) but the increased muscle mass means I burn more even at rest. (And subsequently have to eat more…oh the pain!)

And the best way for women to weight train?

Like a man.

Lifting light weights with lots of reps is a sure fire way to not see results.

Without massive amounts of testosterone, and an accompanying male appetite for food, women will only achieve that toned, cellulite-less physique they so constantly crave.

Don’t get me wrong, group classes are great for camaraderie and motivation but it will never beat heavy and intense weight training.

For me, weight training has affected my body, mind and spirit in 5 crucial ways:  (let me know your experience)

1. Creates tangible goals:

When ‘lifting weights’, exercise moves beyond the realms of aesthetic goals and touches upon the desire to outdo our last efforts. Writing and tracking our progression of strength allows us to see how far we have come, the results we have achieved and creates a massive sense of pride and reward. In a competitive world, being able to feel accomplished with your own personal pursuits is so imperative for mental health!

2. I get to be part of the bro club at the gym.

Which is dam intimidating but so satisfying once you start to blend in with the crowd. Furthermore, training with weights enters you into a wonderful community. Just like when my dad, a proud panel van driver, drives past a fellow sandman and toots his horn, so to can you feel part of something and connect with strangers. And given our propensity to live our friendships online who doesn’t love a good bit of social interaction with a random.

3. It is proven to boost your self esteem. 

There are quite a few studies that show how a weight training program can help those with eating disorders normalize their eating patterns and in doing so, gain confidence in their ability to ‘let go’ of food anxieties.

4. Weight training requires patience. And being part of a generation who wants change yesterday, cultivating a realisation that change doesn’t happen overnight and requires hard work is vital in reinvigorating a more realistic mindset on achieving goals.

5. It makes you smarter! There is quite a bit of research that demonstrates the correlations between exercise and mental cognition. The theory being that the increased blood flow to the brain enhances clarity and concentration.

So to all my female readers, and there are a few, start lifting heavy, stop running to shed fat and reap the benefits of stronger bones, a ‘toned’ tush and an astronomically faster metabolism.

..let me know what you guys thinks. Does the weights section scare you? Do you find you are addicted to the high that jogging/spin classes gives you?

What’s the ‘healthiest’ way to eat MEAT? + a recipe!

I am all for cooking up an ample carcass of protein and gelatinous bone goodness, (cue the smell of lamb shanks, osso buco and roast chicken to name but a few) but in this contemporary state I am in at the moment (you too? Get out!) Sometimes slow cooking meat on the bone isn’t feasible

especially when you get home and you want dinner stat.

This is where my creativity with chicken breasts is put to work – like most Australians (I recall Masterchef stated we ate 45kg per person per YR!) I find chicken massively convenient and easy to impart well-known flavors upon. My main priority when cooking meat in a hurry, is to ensure I cook it without charring it to within an inch of its life.

Barbequing on the whole isn’t the best method of meat consumption every day– as the very nature of ‘charring’ your meat produces cancerous Hydrocarbons and Amines that cause massive oxidative stress on your body. That being said- I will NEVER say no to a good barbecue. How UN- Australian 😉

In order to combat any worries of potential ‘cancer causing’ agents- I get my hands dirty.

Really dirty.

And massage my meat with an awesome marinade.

…marinating not only boosts flavor but also reduces the formation of these Amines and Hydrocarbons – quite significantly.

Interestingly some scientists at the Food Safety Consortium project at Kansas State University have discovered that herbs of the Lamiaceae family (Basil, Mint, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, and Sage) used in marinades reduced the formation of free radicals rather well.

So when it comes to quick meat dishes in a flash here are

3 RULES

1.  Marinade– Delicious and easiest way to avoid cancer-causing compounds. Some research even shows that marinating for 30 minutes can reduce the formation of these compounds by 90%!

2. Lean Protein Cuts – Cuts of meat with less fat are less likely to drip fat and flare the BBQ flames all over your juicy steak.

3. Don’t burn the S*&t out of your meat – tone it down please.

And with that said – here is my chicken marinade, using turmeric, the humble spice with amazing anti-inflammatory properties and even shown by the Cancer Research Centre in Hawaii to reduce cancer causing Amines by a half!

… for an extra side of delicious, my peanut free satay sauce. One word. YUM.

Chicken Marinade INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 tablespoons tamari

1 1/2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon fresh grated turmeric

2 garlic cloves, crushed

500gm Chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

METHOD

Mix your marinade ingredients together and rub into your chicken breast

Let stand for 30 minutes or overnight

Heat up your pan with some coconut oil and over low heat, cook your chicken until done!

Satay Sauce INGREDIENTS

2 cm piece fresh ginger, chopped

1 brown onion, chopped

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon macadamia or coconut oil

1 teaspoon good quality curry powder

1 tablespoon tamari sauce

¼ cup almond butter or tahini

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 teaspoon stevia (or 2 teaspoons of honey)

1 cup coconut milk

METHOD

Process together the ginger, onion and garlic in a mini food processor.

In a pan on low heat, fry the above mixture in coconut oil for a few minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add curry powder and tamari and stir well before adding almond butter, stevia and chilli flakes.

Add coconut milk to almond sauce and stir thoroughly until the sauce is smooth. Cook on low heat for 2 minutes – remove from heat and serve with your chicken!

Don’t forget some veggies. 😉

 

To Salt or Not to Salt

 

Salt is one of those suspect food ingredients, relegated by most health conscious foodies as unnecessary and ultimately ‘unhealthy’.  But even while superfood evangelists are screaming “get away from that shaker” we can’t forget that salt has an important role to play in the body.It keeps our electrolyte balance under control, assists our body in absorbing food, is a natural antihistamine and stabilizes blood sugar. Little wonder then, that traditional cultures used proper sea salt liberally in their cuisine.

Like most food now days, we need to respect the quality of the source before we can judge its nutritional value.

Refined white salt, that necessary evil perching on most dinner tables has been stripped of its trace minerals; having been refined and bleached (nothing like a good peroxide treatment on your food) to leave sodium chloride only.

Often, to make the salt pourable and easy to use, anti-caking agents are added that are invariably aluminum based, adding to our heavy metal toxic load. The final added ingredient is sodium acetate, which has been associated with increased blood pressure and water retention. Not to point fingers but this is the compound that sends people frantically removing salt from their diet.

Sodium chloride is everywhere in packaged foods, so once again, try to eat fresh so you can control the amount of refined salt you are consuming.

For those keen to add taste into their food, ergo pretty much everyone, start to look for sea salt that has been air dried. Air drying ensures the minerals are all still relatively intact.

If you are confused, just have a look at the colour, the salt should be slightly gray or even pink in colour.

I personally buy Celtic Sea Salt or unprocessed New Zealand Sea Salt and add it to my food after cooking for an additional mineral boost. Otherwise, a pinch of the stuff in some lemon water is a great way to get a mineral boost while you work out, and is essentially what those expensive sports drinks are, sans the artificial colours and flavours.

That being said – if you are noshing on too many processed foods in the first place, these are filled to the brim with sodium chloride. So subtract these before you add – otherwise you will be getting salt overload and anything in excess is never a good thing. .