August 30, 2012

Jennifer Hawkins Diet and Body Advice

The former Miss Universe and model says no to booze, does regular boxing and Pilates classes, avoids salt in her diet and keeps up her water intake to maintain her glorious figure.

Jen displayed the results of her discipline and hard work while shooting her new Cozi by Jennifer Hawkins bikini collection. She shares her secrets to maintaining her shape. 

"I laid off alcohol for three weeks and I feel good for that. I always am quite healthy but I like to have a glass of wine every now and again. I have a new (personal) trainer, so that has been really fun to do something different. I've been boxing and doing weight training and doing lots of repetitions. I've also been doing yoga and Pilates.

I find that sticking to a low-carbohydrate diet most of the time works for me; it doesn't work for everyone but if I make an effort to eat more protein I'm not as hungry as often. Carbs taste good, but my body doesn't work as well if I have too many.

I do a little bit of cooking, but it's purely for practical purposes, not anything fancy – I wish I could!

When I'm at home one of the meals I love to cook is really lean mince with broccoli and a nice sauce. That's my favourite meal, I always love it. Breakfast is usually either Special K or Weet-Bix, or I'll have eggs on toast. For lunch I have a chicken or tuna salad or a beautiful sandwich with wholemeal bread.

Diet is particularly important before a shoot or parade, so then I really take note of the amount of carbohydrates I'm eating.

Socialising is a challenge when it comes to my diet – when you go out to lunch or dinner there's always amazing food. You might have a drink, too, or a bit of bread on the side – it's so hard to say no.

If I have a shoot the next day or coming up soon, I'll just have one cocktail and get my girlfriends to keep the bread basket away from me. They're good about things like that – they understand.

Exercise makes me feel energised. Even just getting outside for a walk helps to release stress. It's like a moving mediation – you come back a different person.

I work out most days. It depends on my schedule. If I can, I will exercise six days a week. On average I do cardio five times a week, either walking or running, and I love Pilates so I do that twice a week, too.

Pilates is great because I can target the areas of my body that I want to work on. I use the cadillac – that's a special piece of Pilates equipment, also known as a trapeze table – plus another machine called a reformer, and I do mat work.

It's good for your core. The day after my sessions I'm really sore but that's good because I know it's working.

If I'm sluggish, which isn't too often, I have a rest... that's your body telling you to rest. I eat pretty well, so I feel good most of the time. Sometimes the words Cozi Cozi Cozi come into my head and boom, I'm up.

To quickly drop a dress size, eliminate carbs. I try to avoid any processed foods and white food in my normal diet, but cut it out completely when I'm getting ready for a swimwear shoot. The white food ban isn't a strict rule because life gets pretty boring when you make too many rules, but it's a great one to keep in mind.

Also, drink lots of water in the lead-up to a big day — be it a wedding or a bikini unveiling — but don't drink so much on the actual day that you will be feel bloated. And replace your milky cappuccinos with macchiatos — I'm a big fan of caffeine and don't think you need to cut it out of your diet.

I might have a period where I know I'm not doing swimwear so I can have a choc top at the movies, but I don't really go crazy on the naughty food — I don't really enjoy the aftermath.

Paleo Carb-free Risotto

Watching your carb intake at night doesn't mean you have to live off salads after 5pm, which gets especially tricky when the winter weather sets in. Satisfying your tastebuds, try a faux risotto replacing the rice component by using the very understated vegetable, cauliflower. I think it tastes better than the real thing because the cauliflower has such a lovely sweet natural flavour and the dish won't leave you with that heavy post-carb feeling.

August 26, 2012

Poached chicken with carb-free vege rice

I love the idea of cauliflower and broccoli as a carb-free rice! Not only is this a great gluten-free option but perfect for those trying the Paleo diet philosophy or simply trying to reduce carbohydrate intake at night. I heard Sammy and Bella from the Channel 7 morning show talking about the Paleo 'fake-rice' creation and I couldn't wait to try it. To accompany this healthy creation is some virtuous poached chicken; poaching chicken is not only healthy but makes the meat succulent and moist. Just make sure to use a low heat once it comes to a boil, otherwise the chicken will be tough and stringy. 

Paleo Porridge with Quinoa

A fantastic gluten-free 'grain', Quinoa is a great alternative to oats for your morning breakfast, especially since the jury is still out on whether oats mix with a gluten-free diet. Technically, quinoa (KEEN-wah) is classified not as a grain but as a type of seed, that of the goosewort plant, a relative of spinach and chard. Quinoa provides a complete protein, making it especially valuable for those who prefer to reduce or completely eliminate animal protein from their diets. It contains all the essential amino acids, including lysine, which is crucial for growing and repairing body tissues. One cup of quinoa provides 9 grams of protein which is one more gram than a medium chicken egg (and unlike the egg, quinoa is unlikely to come from a factory farm).

This seed-like grain has prebiotic properties, feeding the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. Since it is easily digested, your body can readily access the vitamins and minerals it contains. Quinoa also provides a good source of insoluble fiber, promoting healthy elimination processes, helping maintain colon health and preventing the formation of gallstones. The folate and vitamin B in quinoa also boost the liver's ability to eliminating toxins from the body. People at high risk for cancer, as well as those with high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease are often advised to eat more whole grains, yet if they have celiac disease or other forms of gluten sensitivities, they must steer clear of many popular grain products. This is why Quinoa is so important for those gluten-free followers. 

Quinoa Porridge 

  • 1/2 cup of quinoa – soaked and rinsed.
  • 1 cup of almond milk plus extra to serve
  • 2 teaspoons of Natvia sweetener
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • your choice of topping such as blueberries, strawberries, chopped almonds or hazlenuts, sliced banana, apple or nectarine. 


Place almond milk and rinsed quinoa in a pot and bring to the boil, then place on simmer until the quinoa has ‘popped’ and all the liquid has soaked into the seed, similar to cooking cous cous or rice.
Stir through cinnamon and enjoy either warm or cold like a pudding. Top with your fruit and nuts of choice and a little almond milk. 

'The Kind Life' Vegan Strawberry Lemon Pie

Eating vegan or healthfully does not mean you have to miss out on delicious desserts. I love the look of this stunning strawberry pie, which is great to make for a girls' night. This recipe is taken from Alicia Silverstone's vegan blog 'The Kind Life'. I have substituted the honey or agave syrup for Natvia as it is my preferred sweetener. You will need to freeze this recipe overnight, so a little pre-planning is needed. 

August 16, 2012

Giant Chocolate Button Cookies

These cookies will win the hearts of many and they are so satisfying, I think you can stop at one and feel you have adequately treated yourself; although I can't promise that theory will stick! The key to these rich biscuits is using Cadbury's giant chocolate buttons, making every bite filled with the perfect ratio of chocolate and cookie. You only need a few ingredients to make these stunners; they are the perfect present for young and old alike and never disappoint.

August 13, 2012

Watermelon and Fetta Bites

The perfect party snack, these sweet little bites are refreshing and tangy making a delicious accompaniment to a crisp glass of champagne!

August 06, 2012

Super Food Kale Chips

What makes Kale so great? A nutritional powerhouse, Kale is a fantastic source of protein and vital nutrients for vegans and vegetarians (plus those meat eaters too!). I like to make kale chips, which taste like a total treat food but are low in fat and ridiculously good for you. Start by peeling off the kale leaves and throwing away the stalks as these are too fibrous to eat. Toss leaves in one tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning (I use my favourite combination of garlic, lemon and paprika salt). Bake in a moderate oven on a lined tray for about 15 minutes, until toasted and dry. Once cool, you can store these chips in a air tight sealed bag for a few days. Read on to find out the top ten reasons why kale is such a great addition to your diet. 

August 05, 2012

The Food Rules by Michael Pollan

  1. Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. "When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can't pronounce, ask yourself, "What are those things doing there?" Pollan says.
  2. Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce.
  3. Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.
  4.  Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot. "There are exceptions -- honey -- but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren't food," Pollan says.
  5. It is not just what you eat but how you eat. "Always leave the table a little hungry," Pollan says. "Many cultures have rules that you stop eating before you are full. In Japan, they say eat until you are four-fifths full. Islamic culture has a similar rule, and in German culture they say, 'Tie off the sack before it's full.'"
  6. Families traditionally ate together, around a table and not a TV, at regular meal times. It's a good tradition. Enjoy meals with the people you love. "Remember when eating between meals felt wrong?" Pollan asks.
  7. Don't buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.

August 02, 2012

Why Lea Michele became vegan + a vegan dessert idea

Lea believes what you put into your body is important; a view I think we should all share. She credits her vegan diet to giving her plenty of energy saying, "it makes me feel healthy and bright."

The Glee star told Glamour UK that she loves to cook and eats a lot, "but really well. Every morning, I make a tofu scramble with soy cheese; lunch and dinner is usually a salad, with lots of vegetables, and pasta. I love to cook. I make a great baked ziti pasta.” 

Eating vegan basically means consuming only plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. Since these foods are so low in calories, "counting calories is simply not necessary!" says celebrity nutritionist Cynthia Pasquella.

In fact, studies have shown that followers of a plant-based diet are significantly thinner, says Pasquella, whose clients include Debra Messing, 42, and Sandra Bullock, 46.

Other health benefits include lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels (a major perk for Bill Clinton, 64, who recently adopted a vegan diet and lost weight for Chelsea's wedding). Plus the increase of nutrients like vitamins A, B, and E is great for clearing skin, promoting healthier hair and nails and boosting energy. It's no wonder Lea , who must rehearse for hours on end for Glee, credits her vegan diet for helping her keep up with the strenuous schedule.

If you're interested in going vegan but are feel the whole change might be too drastic, try one of these simple switches:

- Participate in Meatless Mondays. Just give up meat and any animal products on Monday and concentrate on plant-based meals.
- Make plants your main course and have meat as the side.
- Swap cow milk out for almond or coconut milk.
- Use vegan beauty products. Urban Decay has a collection of vegan beauty items including their best selling Eyeshadow Primer Potion and 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil. Tarte carries PETA-certified vegan cosmetics like foundation, mascara, and primers.

For a tasty vegan dessert, try this delicious Chai Chia Seed Pudding!

Chai Chia Seed Pudding
1 cup almond milk
1 banana
1/2 tsp cinnamon
dash nutmeg
dash cayenne
dash sea salt
dash organic vanilla extract
1/4 cup chia seeds
optional: cacao nibs, hemp seeds, shredded coconut, other nuts/seeds, sliced banana
Combine first set of ingredients in blender until smooth. Combine this mixture with chia seeds in small mixing bowl or serving bowl, making sure it’s well mixed and no clumps of chia seeds remain. Allow to sit 10-15 minutes, until seeds have soaked up liquid and pudding is thick. Top with any other optional ingredients you desire. 

August 01, 2012

Lime and Lemon water improves digestion

A glass of warm lemon or lime water first thing in the morning is great for the body for many reasons. Mainly lemon or lime water is known for stimulating digestion and eliminating ama, the Ayurvedic term for toxic slime that builds up in the gastro-intestinal or GI tract. Yuck! Drinking this water every morning also has other benefits for the body, read the top ten reasons why.

1) Warm lemon/lime water helps purify and stimulate the liver, liquefying bile while inhibiting excess bile flow.

2) Warm lemon/lime water aids digestion. It's atomic composition is similar to saliva and the hydrochloric acid of digestive juices. Good if you tend to suffer from acid reflux or digestive problems.

3) The liver produces more enzymes from lemon/lime water than any other food, according to A.F. Beddoe, author of Biological Ionization as Applied to Human Nutrition. Enzymes are important for overall liver function.

4) The lemon/lime water helps bowels eliminate naturally and easily.

5) Lemons and limes are high in potassium. Potassium is an important mineral that works with sodium for smooth electrical transmission in the brain and nervous system. Depression, anxiety, fogginess, and forgetfulness can often be traced to low potassium blood levels. That same nervous system needs potassium to assure steady signals to the heart. Your heart health is improved from the lemon water's potassium.

6) Calcium and magnesium are plentiful in good ratio to each other in lemon/lime water. Magnesium is important for heart health and calcium keeps bones strong.

7) Lemon/lime water can help lower blood pressure.

8) Lemon/lime water has an alkalizing effect in the body as it is buffered. Even if you drink it just before any meal, it will help your body maintain a higher pH than if you didn't drink it. The higher or more alkaline your pH, the more your inner terrain is resistant to minor and major disease.

9) Helps dilute uric acid, which if it accumulates it creates arthritic pain or gout.

10) Helps reduce phlegm in the body.

How and When

Warm purified fluoride free water or spring water should be used to mix at least a half of a lemon or lime without any sweetener. This should be done first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and don't start eating breakfast right away. Some recommend an hour before eating for maximum results.

Learn more: