this=that

Browsing the wide world of smartphone apps the other day, I found this beauty – the Medibank Energy Balancer. It’s free (yay!), and allows you to search for your favourite foods, choose an activity/exercise type, and tells you how many minutes of that activity will burn that food off. Sometimes helpful, sometimes downright terrifying, but it may motivate you to either work for that treat or like me, decide that you really don’t need those extra 5 pieces of chocolate (as much as I like running).

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sports supplements 101

Do you take a sports or muscle building supplement? Do you know what is in it? Do you know what is in it does? There is so much confusion out there about supplements for sports performance, building muscle mass and helping you push it real good in the gym . In 2012 the Australian Institute of Sport (i.e. the absolute experts on all things sport) established a supplement group classification system – which basically puts all known Australian supplements into one of 4 categories. It sorts out the ones proven to work and the ones that are a little dodgy or even banned. Below is the grouping (taken straight off the AIS website). It’s worth checking out what you are taking and where (if at all) it sits on this table. On the website there is so much more info, including links to the actual studies done to prove or disprove some of these supplements.

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Link to the website: http://www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrition/supplements/classification_test

ANZAC bickies

Did you overdo it on the chocolate over Easter last weekend? Don’t make the same mistake this weekend with ANZAC biscuits. Below is a healthy alternative to store-bought ANZAC biscuits. I know there is a big debate on whether ANZAC biscuits should be crunchy or chewy, but these ones are kind of in-betweeners. The outside is crunchy, but the middle is chewy – happy days all around!!

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These bickies have twice the fibre of store-boughters, less saturated fat, and significantly less sugar (5 g less per bickie – thats a whole teaspoon of sugar less!). Of course the star attraction here is oats – full of those beta-glucans which reduce our cholesterol and keep our tummy satisfied. Here is a quick 101 on how beta-glucans work: these fibre molecules bind to bile acids in our gut, causing them to be excreted from the body (rather than being re-absorbed). These bile acids are rich in cholesterol, and if they get lost (excreted) we need to make new ones out of cholesterol already in our body. As cholesterol is used to make these new bile acids it is taken out of the blood stream = lowering cholesterol (yay!!).

Anyways.. here is the recipe – enjoy your long weekend Aussies x

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut (desiccated or shredded)
  • 1/4 cup macadamias – chopped
  • 1/4 cup almonds (or cashews, peanuts etc) – chopped
  • 2 generous tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs honey (or rice syrup, maple syrup etc)
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • water

Method:

  1. Combine the oats, coconut and chopped nuts (this can be done in the food processor if lazy like me).  ;)
  2. Add the olive oil, honey and vanilla.
  3. Combine ingredients well.
  4. Add a tbs of water at a time until the mixture is slightly sticky.
  5. Roll mixture into about 14-15 little bickies and put on a baking tray.
  6. Bake for around 15 min @ 160*C (until golden on top).

Nutrition Information:

kJ: 544 (130 cal)

ptn: 2.2 g

fat: 8.4 g (2.7 g saturated)

carb: 10.6 g (1.5 g sugar)

fibre: 2 g

sodium: 80 mg

raspberry and cashew cheesecake

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I’m not a fan of the colour pink. But I love the pink colour this slice puts out because it is not due to a few drops of that bright red stuff that comes in little brown bottles. It is a pure, natural and healthy pink! This recipe was inspired by Wholefood Simply’s Raspberry Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust. Because I refuse to participate in the coconut oil craze, and because I was running out of a few of the ingredients (I have to hid my stash of cooking cashews to stop them from being devoured in minutes around here), the original recipe has been altered. The result = yumbo bumbo!!

Ok so here is the good news. Raspberries are super high in Vitamin C (especially frozen raspberries, as Vitamin C suffers in our climate as much as we do), are a relatively ‘low sugar’ choice of fruit (perfect for those wanting to reduce their total kJ or sugar intake), and also contain these magic things called phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are kind of like little soldiers that fight and neutralise the effects of oxidative stress, which is caused by everyday life. This is where the anti-ageing claims come from. Don’t think your going to stay or return to your 20-year old self  forever though:) Cashews and brazil nuts are high in 2 types of fatty acids (good types) – oleic acid (particularly cashews), and linoleic acid. Oleic acid helps to reduce our LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol), and linoleic acid gets converted in your body into longer chain fatty acids and then a group of hormones our body needs to function well.

The warning: these slices, although yummy and full of good stuff, should still be classed as a ‘sometimes food’. One slice still contains 270 calories, so four slices for afternoon tea is not recommended. But it is much more beneficial for your body to be eating one of these for afternoon tea than a piece of caramel mud cake (or a small fries from you know where..).

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup brazil nuts
  • about 10 dates (pre-soaked in boiling water to soften)
  • 1tbs cacao/cocoa powder

Top

  • 2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1.5 cups cashews
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 heaped tbs low fat cottage cheese
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Method:

  • Get your food processor out – it is going to get a good workout!
  • Blend your brazil nuts up first in the processor, then add coconut, dates and cacao/cocoa.
  • Press your blended crust mixture into a 20cm cake tin and pop in the fridge to cool.
  • Blend up your raspberries and set aside to semi defrost.
  • Blend up your cashews and then add all of your other ingredients to the mix, including frozen raspberries.
  • Pour mixture on top of crust and pop in freezer. Cut into 12 slices once half frozen.
  • Note: the mixture may not be completely smooth, but this adds a chunky, more homemade feel to the slice.
  • When serving, take the slices out 5 min before serving so that the mixture softens slightly as it can get quite hard. Try not to take out and refreeze the slices, as they will suffer a bit of freezer burn if de/refrosted too often.
  • Enjoy x

Nutrition information (per slice)

1125 kJ (269 cal)

ptn: 6.5g

fat: 22.3g (8.5g sat)

carb: 8.5g (6.2g sugar)

fibre: 2.6g

sodium: 36.5mg

 

cauliflower pizza base

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I love pizza so much, I could eat it every night. But Im not sure if my hips would appreciate the overload of thick, heavy pizza bases that taste so yummy. You may have seen cauliflower pizza bases before, but were too scared to try it, or put it in the ‘too hard basket’ (like me). Well let me tell you – it is actually pretty easy, and tastes so so so much better than I ever thought. I’m going to make a big call here, but I think I like the cauliflower base over the thick, heavy bases that my hips hate me for!

Ok so why cauliflower? Apart from making a great pizza base, cauliflower has a few other benefits. It is high in Vitamin C, which is one of our body’s antioxidants, as well as being a source of other antioxidants. Antioxidants help to ‘balance out’ harmful free radicals in our body, and therefore play a role in ‘keeping us young’. Cauliflower is also a good source of Vitamin K, which aids in inflammation. Plus, just for being a veggie, it contains other good things like fibre, and is low in fat, sugar and sodium (something which regular pizza bases are generally quite high in). So basically, its a winner!

Ingredients: (makes 1 pizza/ 2 serves)

  • 1 large half of a cauliflower
  • 4ts plain flour (or substitutes eg. almond meal, gluten free flour etc)
  • 2 eggs
  • toppings of your choice – choose lots of veggies ;)
  • optional: herbs/spices can be added to the base mixture for extra flavour

Method:

  1. Roughly cut the heads off your cauliflower, and pulse in the food processor until it becomes like fine grain.
  2. Put ‘grains’ in the microwave (uncovered) for 5 minutes to cook.
  3. Lay cooked cauliflower on a towel to cool.
  4. Once cool, bundle up in the towel, and try to squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
  5. Add egg and flour (or substitute) to the cauliflower and mix well.
  6. Lay mixture onto a baking tray with baking paper, and arrange into your pizza base shape.
  7. Bake in oven at around 200 degrees C until slight browning occurs.
  8. Add you pizza toppings and wack back in the oven until ready to eat.

Nutrition info (1/2 pizza/ 1 serve)

  • kJ 524 (125 calories)
  • fat 4.6g (1.2g sat)
  • ptn 8.9g
  • carb 10.1g (1.9g sugar)
  • fibre 4.2g
  • sodium 82mg