Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Make Your Own: Almond Milk

Making your own almond milk is cost effective and actually very easy! The best part? No UHT packs from the supermarket anymore and NO ADDED SUGAR. The whole process took me 20 minutes max. Almond milk is dairy free, so great for those that don't tolerate dairy. Make a protein packed smoothie using fresh fruit, cacao, coconut flesh, a dollop of nut butter or coconut oil and of course your freshly made almond milk.

You'll need:

250g Almonds (derrrrr...but actually feel free to experiment with Brazil's, walnuts or cashews)
3-4 cups filtered water
Strainer or muslin cloth

Place your almonds in boiling hot water and wait till slightly cooled to remove their skins. Leave them in whilst it continues to boil for 2-3 mins and then place on a plate to cool. Spread them evenly to assist cooling time. The almonds will just pop out of the skin with your fingers or use a rubbing action.

Next, Give the blanched almonds a quick rinse. Whack your almonds (cool to the touch) in the blender with 3 cups of filtered water. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender.

Blend for approx 2 minutes and then pour  the liquid through your sieve. If you drained it using a muslin cloth over a bowl (which is the preferred method however a sieve still yields a result!) you'd do a better job squeezing out all excess moisture. I'm not fancy, so I just used my hands to press down on the almond mush. I'm also a bit of frugal chef, so I passed the almond mush through again with a little more water (1 cup plus mush) to get ALL I could out of it! There's no rules, so just do what you feel with this one.

You should be able to produce 1L (4 cups) of almond milk from this recipe. I found it to taste nice and light, not too heavy but still creamy and almondy. Place in sterilised glass jars or an old glass milk bottle. Use within 7 days.

I haven't added any sweetness to this recipe because my sweetness will come from adding fresh fruit to the milk when I use it for smoothies. You could add stevia for a touch of sweetness, frankly it doesn't need it in my opinion.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hot Cross Bun Smoothie

One a penny, two a penny HOT CROSS BUNS! Gluten free, refined sugar and dairy free. Go on and treat yourself.


2 Tbsp Hazelnut meal or almond meal
1 tsp- 1 tbsp cinnamon (less/more as desired)
Pinch of mixed spice
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/3 grated orange rind
Scoop of Nuzest protein powder, Vanilla
1 frozen banana
400ml Coconut Water (Natural Raw C)
Coconut shreds to decorate (my failed attempt to make a cross!)

Place in a blender on high and whizz till smooth!

Share your pics of recipe on Instagram by using the hashtag: #HCBSmoothie to WIN a copy of 50DaysNoSugar Challenge

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Health Encounters Of The Awesome Kind: Alexx Stuart

I got to chat with the lovely Alexx Stuart, her site is a wealth of all things low tox and delicious real food nutrition with beautiful recipes! Connecting with like minded people in the arena of health and wellbeing is a true love of mine. Alexx sets out practical solutions for the individual and also those with families. Hope you enjoy!

Nat: Alexx, tell us a little about why you decided to make the change to living a more "low tox life"

AS: It was two phase - first time I questioned things was when my naturopath helped me kick the chronic tonsillitis I'd had for 15 years with a simple diet change and 2 supplement prevention strategy at first signs. 2nd was when I had my son and had a very wonky thyroid and adrenals following... combined with getting him onto solids, and overnight I literally questioned everything. I'd always been extremely curious and had to understand things fully, in a nerdy way in the two industries I'd been in - I'd just for some reason never applied it to what you put on or in your skin in terms of all the nasties added. Never looked back!  

Nat: Have you noticed an improvement in life satisfaction/health by living/eating this way. Was the change easy for you to make? How did you justify it? 

AS: I've noticed many things. While my thyroid issues still linger a little, I've noticed weight stabilisation against the odds (I also have PCOS coupled with low thyroid usually is very hard to keep a stable weight), I've noticed a much less 'up and down' mood and how much better it is when you're not upping your mood with 3 coffees and then winding down with 3 wines... I've noticed I've become increasingly passionate about protecting nature - our rights to accessing and choosing real food. I've noticed no more hives or strange itchy breakouts from all those cosmetic products. I've become a better person. Once you're conscious of nature, the people and businesses that care for it... You just become a more thoughtful, mindful person. 

Nat: Making this kind of change can be quite scary for the average joe or josephine, what are some of your tips to help others make the transition a little smoother

AS: Firstly, you have to understand motive. Secondly, if you slip up or aren't making changes as fast as you thought you would or you want to, you CANNOT feel guilty. As I talk about in my book, Real Treats, change and guilt can't co-exist. You have to let the guilt for what you did yesterday and channel excitement for what you're going to do today instead! That is where the success and momentum will build. The trick is to realise that no one can achieve all the changes we need to make in one day (I say 'need to' because I honestly believe it's the future of our world at stake if we don't wake up soon - our health and the planet's). So the best thing to do is to set yourself a year of discovery. Focus on one or two things a week. The single most important thing you could do if just starting out though, is to start reading cosmetic and food packet ingredient lists, NOT the promises and catch phrases. Get an app such as Chemical Maze for your phone, to make it easy to decipher everything on there. Really learning where these ingredients come from and how they impact our health, makes it so much easier to understand why we're moving away from that stuff. Keep a journal of your discoveries. Look back at all the wonderful changes you've made along the way. You've got this! 

Nat: What do you feel are the top 3 "nutrition lies" the general public are being forced to buy into? 

AS: That saturated fats are bad - If you eat meat, then stick to grass fed, pasture raised meats. If you eat eggs, then stick to organic pasture raised eggs. Factory farmed meat and cage eggs lack vital nutrients, are cruel to animals and have altered omega 6/3 ratios. Those are the foods with saturated fats that are bad, the rest are healthy and vital, in fact to health. 

That oodles of raw kale is good for everyone. Evidence shows that too much raw dark leafy veggies can cause thyroid issues for some people. I know it certainly doesn't sit right with me to drink blended leafy greens and for my green smoothies I do avocado, cucumber, herbs and coconut water which are delicious. The trick with choosing foods that work for you is to realise that YOU are the most important health professional in your life. It's true. Only you can know ultimately if something feels like it's digesting well and causing a benefit thereafter. Too many people change their diets off the back of a blog post and it is risky and dangerous to do so. Once you're eating real food and have ditched the packet and processed foods, experiment and see what suits you best. 

That Wholegrains are 'goodness' and should be the majority of our diet. Dr Perlmutter's book "Grain Brain" is a wonderful book that explains in very simple terms just why grains aren't the best thing for our bodies. I cannot wait to see the grain recommendation drop in the food associations' guidelines. I know it will happen in my life time. Science says so and the freedom of anecdotal exchange over the internet of people sharing successful healing by reducing or ditching them. There are some cultures that healthily enjoyed grains, but when you look into it, they were always prepared very carefully through soaking, sprouting and creating sourdough cultures for breads. 

Nat: If you had to sum it up in a nutshell, what are your recommendations for taking control of your own and your families health and wellbeing?

AS: Mindfulness. What are you eating? How much? How fast are you going through your day? How do certain products or foods make you feel. Once we raise our consciousness and 'tune in' it's scary how much of our lives we simply 'put up with'. Over time you'll discover things, and move onto better ways at your pace, doing what you can and when. You'll naturally move to wanting to do more and more and it won't feel like a 'have to' any more. I promise. 

Nat: Have you got a favourite time of year/season to cook in or that you love the produce of that time? 

AS: I love the salads of summer, the soups of autumn, the stews of winter and the colours of spring. I could never pick a favourite, but I do get excited by each one! Once you don't shop in a supermarket for produce, seeing the stalls change each week with things disappearing and the new season's things popping up, you get excited! 

Nat: Would you share a favourite recipe with us? 

AS: One of my favourite recipes is my "Choose your own adventure Cake". Treats must be real but even real treats shouldn't be for every day or several times a day - we simply didn't come across sweet stuff in nature that often, and it's hard now with it everywhere all around us. So, when you do have a treat, make it nourishing, filling and satisfying! You can pop through to the recipe on my blog here. Everyone needs an easy cake recipe for birthdays or afternoon tea parties and this I've created, to be able to work as a plain base recipe as well as being adaptable, so you remember one set of ingredients, but you can make loads of variations, pop it in mini muffins with berries, as a loaf with banana, chocolate chip cup cakes - Your family will think you're a genius knowing all of these different 'recipes' but shhh... It can be our secret! 

You can connect with Alexx on facebooktwitter or pinterest or of course have a read of her recipes and articles on her site

Pimp Your (Sugarfree) Easter

Easter is on it's way and with can bring a little pang of heartache when you are sugar free kinda gal or guy but it reallllly doesn't have to be this way! Here's a few ways to enjoy Easter including CHOCOLATE! No refined sugar in sight

50DaysNoSugar Plan: A 50 Day Guide to ditching the sweet stuff, complete with recipes and How-to tips. Also become a 50DaysNoSugar email subscriber here for extra goodies and updates.

Hot Cross Bun Smoothie

Chocolate Brownies

Frozen Banana & Chocolate Sandwiches

2 bananas frozen
3 tbsp Coconut cream (harden by placing can in fridge for at least a few hours)
1 tbsp Cacao
Oil (tiny few drips)
few drops of vanilla stevia

Place harden 3 tbsp coconut cream, 1 tbsp cacao and a teeny dash of olive or coconut oil in a bowl together. Mix well and remove any lumps. Slice frozen bananas in half and place chocolate cream mixture on one side of the banana. Place it's other banana "lid" back on top. Return to freezer for 30 mins or serve immediately. Alternatively, you could start with a fresh banana, slice in two, apply cream place on a skewer and then pop in freezer to harden.

Grab Yourself A Glass

A lot of people (including a few friends of mine), constantly question the sugar content of the pinot (red wine) that I drink. "I thought you can't have sugar? Isn't wine full of sugar? My answer: No, if you know anything about the alcohol process, the sugar is converted into alcohol (i.e the stuff I'm drinking wine).  Residual sugar that remains in dry types of white or reds is very minimal (1g/litre). So if you are going to have a little tipple over Easter, best to choose dry whites or reds and if spirits are your thing, go for vodka, rum or gin. Quality over quantity! Remember alcohol in excess will eventually make your thighs rub to together and six pack disappear into thin air.

Chocolate Mousse 

Eggcellent Frittata

Easter Booty Workout 

Guide To Sugarfree Easter Ideas

Make Your Own Chocolate

Have a Happy Easter
x Nat

50DaysNoSugar Plan