Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Stop Sugar Cravings Now!

This was back in 2012, here's me spreading the 50DaysNoSugar message on Channel 7's, Sunrise

Removing sugar from your diet short term and then into the long term can be tough, let's just be super straight up here. It's not all roses and sh*t- it takes commitment and finding what works for you and your body!

Am I even an "authority" on giving up sugar? Well, yes, kinda! Sugar and I broke up in July 2012...so  2 years now. I was just a fricken addict! I would eat it all the time. Giving it the flick was the answer for me. It really helped me budge that stubborn body fat on my tummy area too!

Sugar free doesn't mean taste free. These berry bites are AMAZING!

Here's 13 bold statements of mine:

1. Artificial sweeteners do not help they hinder! I just feel they are better avoided. My gut is happy and healthy when artificial sweetener isn't in my body. Read more here

2. Going cold turkey doesn't work for everybody. A slower, more timed approach may be better for you. I tell those who are not cold turkey fans to start with breakfast (i.e get that meal perfect) then move on the lunch, snack and dinner.

3. Some foods are better than others, we are all individual's. What work's for one may be a path to a downward spiral or "attack of the binge". The key really is experimenting. For example: 2 years on, I can have the occasional SQUARE of dark 70 or 85% chocolate and not want to go and bathe in it. I have self control. I can stop at that one piece. To be honest everything that is sugary just tastes 400 times sweeter to me now.

4. Supplementation may be an option for you. Speak to a naturopath about the best supps for you. Protein powder (a clean, natural non dairy one may be an answer, Nuzest is my fav). I'm never used loads of supplements but that doesn't mean some are necessary!

5. Keep your mind occupied and busy. Do things when cravings hit- read, run, drink water, make a cuppa, call a friend, read an email or go brush your teeth- whatever works!

6. You need to exercise your willpower muscle. Say no! Practice makes perfect

7. Fruit is NOT a no-no. I still eat fruit and I encourage you to do the same. When I need that sweet fix, a piece of fruit does the trick. Frozen and blended it makes a delicious gelato! Yes fruit is sugar but it's really so much more than just sugar. It's vitamins, minerals and fibre.

8. Prepare like a fricken boss! Your foods that is. It's a key factor to success. A few meals made in advance save you in those times of craving.

9. Boost your diet with protein rich foods. Fish, lean meat, eggs, free range chicken and so on. You will also find protein in full fat greek yoghurt, legumes/beans and nuts.

10. It's easier to stop saying NEVER! I have indulged in a few sugary things over the past 2 years. I didn't let that ruin me, I didn't feel like a failure, I felt human. I've had an Italian gelato, a French tart or a sugary cocktail on my recent holiday and it's all been documented publicly. The thing is, it's safer for me (and probably a lot of you!) to adhere to the general guidelines of this plan and if in a food moment (not in a stress or sad or weak moment) that a sweet food is presented and I want to eat it (or taste it), I do! I don't hang around people like a dog waited for those food moments- it's a bit more calculated for me. This whole eating philosopy has come about based heavily on past diet failures, being a binge eater, being an emotional eater and also doing LOTS of reading on how food affects us- not just the calories but the nutrients of the food.

11. Stop fearing fat, there is nothing worse than choosing a low fat food for fear of putting on weight or because you are conditioned to believe these diet and low fat food are better for you. Guess what? They aren't! The research is FINALLY coming out to prove full fat products are better for us. We have been lied to for YEARS. Get your fat from sources such as nuts, oils, avocados, butter, ghee, bone broths/animal fats to name a few. Steer clear of processed/hydrogenated oils, canola, sunflower, corn, and soy.

12. Say NO to GMO! Simple! Buy GMO free foods, even check that your fruit and veg are GMO free.

13. Going on a lower sugar diet doesn't mean giving up alcohol! YAHOOOOO! It's all about choosing better things to drink. Dry white & red Wine, vodka/gin/rum, beer- it's all on the menu. Moderation is OBVIOUSLY recommended as alcohol has calories and alcohol content and that my friends is a whole different ball game! I'm a bit of a wine snob so QUALITY not quantity is where I sit.

Start the 50DaysNOSugar Challenge NOW. Interview Nat about the 50DaysNoSugar Challenge for your website or blog. Contact her here

Monday, July 28, 2014

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

The original recipe is from texanerin.com and I've made a few tweaks. The original recipe is brilliant so try both and find your favourite.

Makes 12-16 (depending on the size of your balls....haha balls!)

400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 vanilla bean, just the guts if it
50g of smashed up good quality dark chocolate (70-85%) the size of chocolate chips
1/2 cup Mayvers Cacao spread (it's a mix of cacao and peanut butter with no added sugar)
1/4 cup Rice Malt Syrup (fructose free, Pure Harvest brand)
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder

With a stick blender, blend all ingredients except the chocolate "chips". When this is all combined and smooth (it'll resemble cookie dough!) fold in the chocolate "chips". With wet hands roll into mini balls (a tablespoon or so for each cookie). Place on a greased tray and place in a preheated oven 180 for 18-20 mins. The will be a gooey type cookie- they don't bake hard.

The cookies are awesome straight out of the oven and for the leftovers you can store in a sealed container.

You're welcome!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Veggie Crisper Stew

Prettiness isn't this stew's job, deliciousness is!

We've all been there before: You look in the fridge and there's not much to eat other than a hunk of old cheese, an empty takeaway container (why?!) and a few veggies still showing signs of life. You have to eat but need something healthy, hearty and nourishing....but be quick because you are seconds from starvation. Never fear! Veggie Crisper Stew is here!

When there's not much kicking around in the fridge,pantry staples can save your tummy from hardcore grumbles. You'll need:

1/2 Cup Vegetable Stock (or water or just a stock cube)
Big tin of tomatoes (makes it soupy-ish, you could easily use a 400g tin)
Mixed chopped veg* (whatever is rolling around at the bottom of the crisper will do). If you are planning ahead and have heaps of veggie, then the more the merrier! I used carrots, capsicum, silverbeet, zucchini and chinese brocolli- about 200g of each
Onion finely chopped
2 Garlic gloves, crushed
2 Chillis, chopped fine
Herbs (dried or fresh)

Place some oil in a heavy based saucepan and fry off your garlic, chilli and onion (all diced finely, I just whack these three in a mini chopper and the work is done for me!). Add a cup of stock, the veg and the tomatoes. Leave to simmer down and stir occasionally. It'll help if the veg is chopped roughly all the same size, any leaves (such as spinach/bok choy) can be left till the end and added at the last 1-2 minutes of cooking. 15-18 minutes and it's done.This dish is best served with poached chicken and .  your carb of choice- rice/sweet potatoes/pasta/quinoa! Vegetarians can sprinkle fetta over the top and/or add a few chickpeas to bump up the protein content.
*organic veg is sooooo much better in this recipe but use what's available to you

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Winter Fitness Fashion Essential's

Don't fight it, winter is here! You aren't seriously going to let your butt droop and your fitness dwindle, are you? OF COURSE NOT. Let's rug up and keep those bodies moving, you sexy thing!

Here are 8 of my winter fashion faves. 

Starting with a vital component to a chilly winter's morning, especially for my New Outlook Fitness girls and their early morning sessions, The Hoodie: 

Clockwise from left 

I often struggle to find a decent looking long sleeve top, there are so many daggy ones! Thankfully the following didn't let me down. The thing I also love about these tops is you can easily take them with a pair of black leggings and head out to coffee after your workout.

Clockwise from left:

1. Blue Signal mezzo Long Sleeve, Nike 

2. Swiftly tech Long Sleeve Scoop Lululemon (I'll forgive them for their "Fat girls shouldn't wear our tights" comment!)

3. Love Dolman Crew, Running Bare

4. Paisley Judo Long Sleeve, The Upside

So, what's your favourite? Have you purchased any good buys for winter, share them below!

Want more recipes, fitness tips and awesome stuff like this PLUS a free ebook? Subscribe to Natalie Carter Talks Fitness and you'll be hooked up!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Perfect Pasta Bake

Now, to be honest, the last time I ate or made a pasta bake was YEARS ago! Quite shocking really!

Yes, it's gluten filled and can be somewhat stodgy but isn't that the whole reason for pasta bake? I believe so! To be fair, this turned out very delicious and as long as you limit your intake (i.e have appropriate sized slices, then you are fine, grrrrrl).

It's totes easy to prepare too!

Side note: Although I may seem late to the party, I recently purchased a mini blender/chopper thing (just from Woolies, approx $15! And NO! I will not be joining in on the hype of Thermomixing crowd). So my onions and garlic now just get thrown (chopped) into the mini blender and all the chopping/dicing is done in seconds. It's actually such a good little kitchen gadget and it's not bulky nor is it hard to clean.

Perfect Pasta Bake

400g ground beef
300g (ish) pasta shells (I actually didn't go GF with these ones, just normal)
2 tubs of tomato paste (low salt)
2 onions, 1 garlic, 3 green chillis (chopped in awesome mini blender!)
Shake of Italian dried herbs
2 cups of Cheese: pecorino and parmesan (shredded)
Pure Cream to drizzle each layer

Whack your pasta on to cook. A little less than al dente is the goal. It will cook a little more when you ovenify it later.

In a saucepan, place your chopped onion, chilli and garlic to fry with some olive oil. Once the onions become translucent add your beef. Brown slightly then add tomato paste (you can also use passata if you prefer.) I refilled the two tomato paste containers with water just to add a little more volume to the sauce. Stir occasionally and turn down to a simmer. The sauce can be left till the pasta is ready. Essentially is a bolognese!

Drain your pasta and place to one side. Remember, make sure there is bite to your pasta- you definitely don't want it mushy. In a large baking dish (a rectangle pyrex is good) so layering: Meat, pasta, drizzle of cream and cheese then repeat. I think I ended up with 3 layers.

Place in a pre heated oven on 180-200c (depending on your oven) for 45 minutes. A golden top and ozzing/bubblingness is what you are looking for.

I probably don't need to tell you that this is delicious the day after. Serve with a side salad and enjoy!

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

How NOT To Get Fat On Holiday

Getting fat on holiday! Paaaaaaleaseeee, who has time for that? 

I've been to a few different cities in my time and tout myself as a bit of holiday connoisseur. I'm up to 21 countries so far and counting. There's nothing better than packing a bag to go exploring in a new land. Enjoy my tips for getting the best out of your body when your are on holiday.

1. I aim to adjust to the time zone of the location I'm visiting as soon as possible.

2. Excessive alcohol onboard is a no no for me (I know,what a shock!). Aim to drink a lot of water (hopefully you have an aisle seat!) at regular intervals. 200-300ml every 30mins. I'm also not a fan of sleeping tablets (been there once and it's not for me). Sleeping tablets can cause excess fluid retention- I prefer to ride out the long haul flights with small naps and lots and lots of onboard flight entertainment. 

3. I find a few pieces of fruit onboard is also great for a vitamin boost and gives you a bit more fibre to get things moving in the digestion department. Flying can really slow down your digestion and bloating is no ones friend, especially when you've got to slip into a bikini at the other end. 

4. Get up and about at regular intervals also (every 1-2 hrs for a stretch). If you are sleeping try not to stay in the same position for too long. Long haul flights usually have enough room up near the toilets to perform some standing stretches (quads, calves, lower back, upper back and chest). Don't worry if you think people are staring just do it and then go sit back down. If I don't stretch I pay for it later on the ground. Stretching and movement is key!

5. On the ground, get out in the sunlight if it's the right time and aim to have a little exposed sunlight time. Jump in the hotel pool and treat yourself to a massage if possible. Don't forget to book one in your return city (i.e when you get back home). Massage can really help settle jet lag.

6. Go easy on the booze till you feel relived of any jet lag symptoms (tiredness, lethargy, feeling wired). Hydration is everything- guzzle that water!

7. Eat fresh, clean food! The processed food you get on the plane and then in some hotels should be avoided. Salads, grilled meats/chicken/fish and some hearty carbs are all available in EVERY country if you look for them.

8. Don't turn into a lazy potato on holiday- EXERCISE! You don't have to go hardcore but something light everyday means you can indulge in those culinary delights. It's rare you'll find me vegging out on holidays, I like to explore, swim, shop (hello!) and get out there. A sun lounger is great but really what's the point of being cooped up in a hotel- the world is at your feet!  

9. Where you can book apartments rather than hotels. These can be a real money saver (airbnb.com has great options) and it means you can prepare some meals in your apartment. Shop for fresh, local and in season produce and you'll feel like a local. 

10. Live in the moment & stress less! You are on a freaking holiday!

5 Simple Recipes To Boost Your Family’s Immune System: Brenda Janschek

Brenda Janschek, supporting and guiding busy mums to raise happy, healthy families. Brenda is a certified health coach and my guest blogger! I cant wait for her to share some immunity building recipes with you- Just in time for Winter!

The suggestion of whipping up an immunity-boosting delight can sound difficult enough to some to send them running for the nearest overpriced Acai shake. But it's really not that difficult! 

Here are five examples of how easy it can be to give your taste buds and your body equal servings of pleasure.


Garlic packs its best infection-fighting punch in its raw state, and that’s why dips like hummus, baba ganoush, pesto and tzatziki are such awesome immune system-boosting foods.
Even better, studies show that kids are more likely to eat their vegetables when accompanied by a dip to dip into! And we all know that the vegetables themselves contain loads of vitamins and minerals as well.
Throw some immune boosting greens like basil, parsley, rocket, baby spinach, coriander (or a mixture of them) into a food processor with some pepitas (full of zinc). Add parmesan, olive oil (anti oxidant), lemon (Vitamin C) and a clove or two of raw garlic, then blend and serve.
Tip - You can also add garlic raw to a salad dressing


There are so many ways you can add immune-boosters to your smoothies.

In winter I like to use a base of coconut milk (anti viral, anti bacterial) or almond milk which contains good oils because winter has a habit of drying out our skin and hair, and even our lungs, which can lead to a dry cough.

The oils in these milks keeps our immune system strong and our skin lubricated. In the summertime I gravitate toward coconut water because it’s lighter and more hydrating. Or, you can use a combination of the milk and coconut water for a medium texture.

Make sure you rotate the fruits you use to reflect the goodness and freshness of seasonality - pears and apples are seasonal in winter, while berries are naturally abundant in summer. I make lots of berry smoothies (anti-oxidants) and add some greens such as spinach or herbs for their anti-oxidants.

Immunity Smoothie

Mix some fruit, coconut milk or coconut water, baby spinach or mint, chia seeds, ginger, gelatin, cashews and dates into a blender for a minute and serve. In the summer you can add some ice.

Quinoa Porridge

Quinoa is high in immune-boosting properties such as protein and zinc, iron and fibre and it’s gluten-free. Buy your quinoa from Australia as there’s a sustainability problem in Peru.

Quinoa coconut porridge

 1cup quinoa well rinsed, ½ tsp ground cinnamon, 1 cup water, 1 cup coconut milk, 2 tsp chia seeds, 1 teaspoon vanilla powder, 1 tsp coconut sugar, fresh seasonal fruit to serve. Place quinoa, cinnamon, vanilla and water and coconut milk in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally bring it to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for approx 15 mins until quinoa is cooked. Add chia seeds and stir well. Add more liquid (milk or water) until desired consistency has been reached. Serve with fruit, nuts and seeds and enjoy.

Bone Broth

One of the myriad benefits of bone broth is that it inhibits infection caused by cold and flu viruses, and fights inflammation.

Simmering the bones in water for long periods breaks them down and pulls out all the nutrients.

Chicken Stock

Pop approx 1kg bones (from a healthy animal), along with a few chicken feet into your slower cooker. Add some roughly chopped carrots, celery, onion and some herb stalks, a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar (to extract the minerals from the bones)  and some sea salt and pepper into your slow cooker. Cook it for 12 hrs on low and it will be ready in the morning. Strain using a fine metal strainer to remove all the bits of bone and vegetable. When cool, store in fridge or freezer. Use in soup, stews, sauces, to make rice or quinoa, can be replaced whenever water is called for in a recipe.


At the first sign of a cold my kids ask don’t ask for medicine, but clamour for their special ‘ginger tea’!

It’s not just ginger, though, but a mixture of ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, lemon, raw honey and coconut oil.

Each of the ingredients have natural medicinal qualities which combine to create a soothing tea that can relieve sore throats, colds and flus, and boost the immune system.

Ginger Tea

Fill a small saucepan on the stove with water, add grated ginger and turmeric and simmer for 5 mins. Strain into mugs and add raw honey, coconut oil, cinnamon and a squeeze of lemon. Serve 2-3 times a day at first sight of symptoms.

Other ingredients to boost your immune system

-        Air
-        Water
-        Exercise
-        Vitamin D
-        Sleep
-        Whole foods/ real foods (as opposed to processed, packaged and refined foods)
-        Dirt (a healthy exposure to germs helps our kids build their immune system)

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