Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Paleo Brownies

Chocolate Brownies - Paleo Style

One of the latest crazes in diets is Paleo... I'm sure I'll elaborate on this a lot more in future posts, I actually think its logically a GREAT way to eat! You not only lose weight, you help build muscle to be healthy and strong, there's an emphasis on fruit and veg perfect for the digestive and immune systems. One reason why I love it too, is the fact there is no wheat! I've had a tempestuous relationship with the grain for the past few years, when I completely avoid it I feel lighter, food seems to pass through smoothly and I feel happy because my stomach isn't making embarrassing gurgling noises and generally being a pain in the ass (Pun intended). When I decide to 'indulge' in it - usually in the form of cake, either confronted with one of two things being tiramisu or sticky date pudding - I  immediately get bloated, I once took a picture of myself post-wheat meal just so I could prove to people that this is no joke, out of sheer desperation at trying to get to the root of my digestive problems I once showed it to a Gastro-enterologist, who claimed 'I was just stressed' and had 'IBS', the solution to this was 'To not stress as much'. $600 later...
Anywhooo... sorry to stray off topic. It's not for everyone obviously, vegetarians take note, its just one way that agree's with some and I can see why. It does however completely cut out all forms of dairy - I guess the idea of eating this way came before cave man realized there were more to cows than rump steak. Which, therefore, saddens me exponentially, I'll let you in on a secret - Naturopath's aren't perfect, especially this one, I find it difficult to drink water and I LOVE MILK! COWS MILK! YES I SAID IT, oh the shame. I ought to be forgiven I think, I dream of latte's and cappucino's, and when kids order milkshakes I rue the fact I didn't order enough when I was younger.  As if, as if there's some kind of milkshake quota!!!
OK, so these are paleo brownies. Meaning, they have no wheat and no dairy, no refined sugar. I hear you say... and no taste. That's where you ARE WRONG. Yum, yum, yum. What I will say, is they haven't the texture of a regular run-of-the-mill cakey browny, its more like a dense cakey fudge, if you call that bad you obviously just want to keep eating refined sugary baked goods laden with everything bad for you on this earth and lets be honest, there's nothing I can do or say that will change that. If you want a chocolate sweet fix to satisfy your body and soul, this is the answer.
By the way, the frosting is possibly the most DELICIOUS part, I guess because I'm used to it avocado does not at all seem a strange ingredient to use. Just think of it as nature's butter, that's all, its creamy luscious blandness can be flavoured with anything. I know you are just put off cos its green, you will soon forget that when dousing it up with lots of cocoa. Give it a try, you'll be surprised, more than surprised, you'll be CRAZY bout it! 
·        1/4 cup melted coconut oil – cold pressed EV
·        3 eggs
·        1 tablespoon raw honey
·        4 tablespoons coconut flour
·        1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
·        1 large sweet potato
·        3 Tablespoons cocoa powder - sifted
What to do.
·        Peel and dice the sweet potato, toss in coconut oil
·        Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until soft.
·        Meanwhile, mix all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
·        When the sweet potato is ready, blend or mash up. Add to the wet ingredients, then mix the dry ingredients in. Make sure it’s mixed really well.
·        Spread into a low cake tin/baking tray (using baking paper so it doesn’t stick). Bake at 180 for 30 minutes.
1 avocado
2 heaped tablespoons cocoa (sifted)
2 heaped tablespoons of honey, agave, maple syrup (whichever natural sweetner you prefer)
If you have it... 1 heaped tablespoon of Chocolate coconut butter (Living Earth brand - oh my gosh amazing), alternatively, a tablespoon of Coconut oil. If just using the coconut oil, its lovely to melt down a bit of dark chocolate till runny, just a couple of tablespoons worth - its not essential but just makes it EVEN better.
1 tsp grated orange zest
- Pulse all the ingredients in a food processor or blitz them with a stick blender until smooth. Taste it now to see if you would like to 'season' it any more if its not up to your desired sweetness, add a tiny pinch of salt as well.
Smooth on to brownie once cooled. Best eaten at room temperature, but store in the fridge if you want to keep it longer than three days.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Saturated fats can be your Friend... YAY.... Especially COCONUT mmmmm....

Hi Friends,

I'm here to share something rather exciting with you after my rant over sugar and fats and not only the average person's misconception of both but many of those that are suppose to be 'in the know' about such things (ahem Heart Foundation). Any body - and I mean this both in the individual and the collective sense - who is willing to give a big fat red tick to the 'healthiest' burger on the McDonalds menu is in need of some serious education.

Anywhooo... what is exciting is that Coconut and everything associated with the mystical nut is SO SO SO good for you!

The smart cookie's in charge of Valvoline's ad campaigns were onto more than they could possibly imagine when they came up with 'Oils ain't Oils', because its true that not all Fats are created equal.

Of course, I know the amazing health benefits of using coconut oil may not be news to most of you, and its true that with a little googling and health food shopping you've probably discovered Hooodies (that's pronounced Whoodies - as in healthy foodies)touting the stuff everywhere as the newest cure all. Its been reported to aid in weight loss, aid digestive function, improve heart health, support immunity, boost thyroid function and generally make your life amazing. However, as its such a new concept, I think people find it difficult to wrap their heads around the fact that this product, known to be so ridiculously high in saturated fats, is in fact one of the best things you can include in your diet.

So here's a bit of the science behind it, but firstly, you have to realize that our bodies are far more complex than you imagine, the way we process the things we ingest aren't categorized into carbs, protein and fats as previously thought. So, with that in mind, here is what makes this oil different from the rest...

Its essentially a compound called Lauric Acid, which makes up nearly 50% of the fat in coconut oil, and is almost never found to be naturally occurring in nature. The body converts lauric acid into a substance known as monolaurin which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties. By contrast, most common vegetable and seed oils that we often cook with are made of long-chain fatty acids or triglycerides, which are large molecules the body finds hard to break down, therefore causing them to be stored as FAT.

Lauric acid are MEDIUM-CHAIN FATTY ACIDS (within the saturated fat spectrum), being smaller they are digested more easily and immediately burned in the liver for energy - much like CARBS but MINUS THE INSULIN! - which is a HUGE positive. It actually works in the reverse, to BOOST your metabolism and coax the body into using fat as a source of energy. The story behind how this was found out is great, as back in the 1940's farmers discovered this fact after trying to use inexpensive coconut oil to fatten their livestock - which FAILED to work!

Extra-virgin olive oil is often seen as one of the best oils in the world, IT IS. There is a catch though... sorry, you had to see this coming. This great mono-unsaturated fat is gorgeous in its raw state, or heated slightly, but brought to cooking temperature changes its molecular structure, and what you end up consuming is a hydrogenated, or trans-fat, depending on how heated it has become. Ultimately, this means its undergone oxidative damage, and oxidative damage means free-radicals for our bodies.

Most Vegetable oils have been genetically modified, this includes more than 90% of soy, corn, and canola oils. This contributes to an over-abundance of damaged omega-6 fats in the diet... NO WONDER WE ALL HAVE TO TAKE 3-6 CAPSULES OF FISH OIL EVERYDAY, as it throws off our omega-6 to omega-3 ratios leading to numerous chronic degenerative diseases.

Current medical opinion is that consuming saturated fats will almost certainly lead to an elevation of cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease, however, much of the well-conducted research seems to conclude that VIRGIN-COCONUT OIL does NOT have this effect.

As medium chain fatty acids are readily used by the liver, it does not participate in the biosynthesis and transport of CHOLESTEROL - YAYYYY! It is also the BEST oil to use in cooking, as it remains absolutely stable in high high temperatures - YAYYY!

EAT SOME COCONUT! COCONUT MILK! CONONUT CREAM! COCONUT OIL! COCONUT BUTTER! Doing your body a favour by its many physical benefits, doing your soul a favour through its rich amazing flavour and texture and nourishing you inside and out.

A couple of recipes to come soon for Coconut Nutella and Sweet Potato Brownies with Chocolate Avocado Frosting (This is not a joke and I dare you to make them and find out for yourself just how amazing they are, like an Arnott's Monte in Brownie form)

The apparent blasphemy of Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are EVIL!

Yes... We have all heard it. We have all grown up with it. Apparently the majority of Western Civilization is overweight because of foods laden with saturated fat.

This theory needs to be debunked as soon as possible! Because fats are just a simple molecular structure that have been FRAMED. Framed and unjustly accused, because eating fats do not make one FAT. Eating fats do not even directly correlate with chronically high triglyceride and cholesterol levels, which actually go up and down throughout the day responding to Insulin fluctuations - basically, after you eat a meal. And what causes dramatic spikes in Insulin???

Sorry... its carbohydrate, and sugar. Sorry... its just true and you just have to accept that this is the way it is and I know its frustrating that after years of thinking an egg a day is bad for you because its got cholesterol, now you have to face the new bad kid on the block.

Well anyway, not that I'm here to prove it to you, this article actually is not about sugar because I don't want to make enemies as this addictive drug holds the whole world in its secret awe. But isn't it peculiar that terrible so-called high-fat foods that are seemingly responsible for the expanding waist lines of the modern world have the dreaded S word as a major element in their composition, ahem some examples you ask? Ok.

Burgers - Buns = Bread = Carbohydrate = Sugar = Protein and fat are broken down second to carbohydrate as glucose is broken down faster to meet the bodies energy requirements, it then raises insulin levels which causes EXCESS energy to be converted into fat.

By the way may I interrupt... it is only the bun which causes this spike in insulin. Insulin will not respond to protein or fat consumption. Just sayin...

Cake (Oh its fattening because it contains butter?) - Flour = Wheat = Carbohydrate = Sugar = Glucose

Chips (Oh its fattening because they are fried in oil?) - Potato = Starch = Sugar = Glucose

Pasta with Cream Sauce (Oh its fattening because cream has a lot of fat) - Flour = Starch = Carbohydrate = Sugar

Ribs (Oh its fattening because it has lots of saturated Animal fat attached!) - Sticky marinade = Honey / Sugar / Maple Syrup = Carbohydrate = Sugar = Glucose

Steak (Oh its fattening because once again it comes from an animal and they have lots of saturated fat?)
 - Eating with Fries or Potatoes? Probably! Potato = Glucose

Bacon and Eggs (Oh cholesterol and saturated fat and salt oh my)

- As if you're eating it without toast! Bread = Carbohydrate = Sugar = Glucose

I probably don't need to go on, but give me ANY ANY ANY take-out food and I will give you the sugar element. Funny though that everyone blames the FAT.

Just to get you used to thinking that very often, these foods have earned a bad reputation for being huge sources of saturated fat. When in fact, these meals are so often accompanied with a fair whack of SUGAR as well... so maybe the enemy is not who we are so used to thinking it is.

P.S. Did I say this article wasn't about sugar? I guess it ended up being so!

Monday, 27 May 2013

Hello! This is ME

Hi and my name is Lia. Here is a little bit about me... why I began this blog... and why I think the world would be a better place if we could just start loving our SELVES.

I love to say that I spend my day's trying to help people feel and get better... inside and out. Because its so obvious in this day and age, that hardly any of us feel our best.  

I'm proud to be a Naturopath and a Remedial Massage Therapist, after thinking seriously about embarking on another 5-7 years of study to join the medical profession, I decided that not only would it be impractical, costly and time-consuming, I decided that for me, the term doctor is not associated with being a 'healer' anymore. Though many have those inherent instincts, and I respect them for their enormous amount of knowledge and skill... the use of pharmaceutical drugs so often leads to dependence and further disease. 

It is absolutely true that man-made drugs or medicines have the incredible ability to make the best of potentially life-threatening situations. Antibiotics have saved us from countless illnesses that were once death sentences. Vaccination has protected us from many diseases of both childhood, adolescence and adulthood. There is a drug to treat emotional problems, mental problems, and physical problems galore. Yes we do live longer. Yes there are more of us on the planet.

But do you feel better? Has the quality of our lives and our parents and grandparents lives improved?

Sometimes yes. A headache can be done away with in half an hour with an Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory or an Aspirin. A heart transplant can give a new lease on life for a sufferer of cardiovascular disease. Insulin can be administered to a Type 1 diabetic to keep them alive. Therefore conventional medicine is remarkable. Awe-inspiring. But is it a cure-all? Well, obviously not. Otherwise we would all be happy and healthy. Everyday. All day.

So what is it about? It's about looking after ourselves. Putting us first. Stress, self-doubt, comparisons, second-guessing, not knowing ourselves, being out of touch with our bodies, feeling tired, exhausting our bodies capacity to process drugs, drink, crap food... aahhh its endless. And to top it all off, a lot of us have poor self-esteem or low confidence. We end up unhappy, as we constantly expect more and more of ourselves.

Doing a bit of a life overhaul is not as daunting as it sounds. It just requires the right attitude, a passion to be happy, and the willingness to change little by little. We can heal our lives.

Feel the benefits... and you will never look back. Its not about going all hippy... although that wouldn't be the worst thing! Its about looking at the bigger picture. There is a place for modern medicine, a place for ancient medicine, a place for wholesome food, a place for movement. There is no place for self-criticism, no place for self-abuse, and no place to tolerate it from others.

Join me and we will learn more and more together! I will show you what I know, please show me what you know...

Lia X