February 21, 2013

Dry body brushing - A word from Miranda Kerr

Cellulite and untoned skin is a problem that plagues many of us women and can be difficult to eradicate, even with a consistent healthy diet and dedicated exercise regime. Many expensive treatments target women's woes of skin rippling but the market is still divided on whether these services are worth the time and expense. A simple and affordable method to improving skin firmness is dry body brushing, which stimulates circulation and helps to flush out toxins. The key to using a body brush is using it on dry skin, focussing on the legs and buttocks, using motions towards your heart, which is key to flushing out the toxins correctly.

Miranda Kerr advocates dry body brushing daily; “It promotes movement of the lymphatic system, improves circulation, and leaves your skin feeling softer and smoother”.

How to Dry Body Brush:
  1. Begin by standing.
  2. Start by brushing left to right leg, which is naturally relaxing for the body. Use upward motions, in one clean stoke. Brush from ankle to calf, then from knee to upper thigh.
  3. Brush over your knees twice to remove a built up of dry skin. Knees can also hold toxins and fluid.
  4. Vigorously brush your buttocks in an upward motion and concentrate on your upper thigh in this movement.
  5. Clockwise circular motions around the stomach help improve circulation.
Remember to use a pressure that feels comfortable and do not brush over inflamed skin. After your shower, make sure to moisturize thoroughly, as dry body brushing will eliminate your dead skin cells. 

February 17, 2013

Skinny Yoghurt Drops

I used to love indulging in a bag of those ridiculously addictive yoghurt drops, until I realized it was like engulfing handfuls of white chocolate! Packed with sugar and fat, they were not such a healthy treat. Hence why I was delighted to find this clever little idea for homemade yoghurt drops that are actually good for you and so easy to make! Simply pick your favourite yoghurt of choice, pipe onto a tray (you can use a small plastic bag with a hole cut out), and freeze for one hour. Remember to pick your yoghurt choice wisely too. Lots of yoghurts are full of sugar, and milk products can be hard for some to digest. Sheep's milk yoghurt is easier on your digestion, and soy or coconut milk yoghurts are free from lactose. Plain yoghurt is always a good option too, which you can flavour to your own preference, using honey, pureed fruits or stevia sweetener if you want it sugar free. Thanks to One Good Thing by Jillee for the idea.



February 14, 2013

Flaxseed, almond and cranberry bites

Perfect for keeping those hunger pains at bay in between meals, these bites are high in protein and healthy fats, yet free from sugar, meaning this snack will help keep your blood sugar levels stable and make you feel full for longer. They contain flaxseed, which is high in most of the B vitamins, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibre and low in carbohydrates. You can buy flaxseed at most groceries stores in the health food section, it looks like ground nuts. Make sure to keep flaxseed in a cool place in your pantry or in the fridge as the mix can expire if not stored correctly. These tasty little bites will keep for several days in the fridge, secured in an airtight container.

Valentine's Day gluten-free chocolate fondant

Chocolate is synonymous with love; rich and addictive, chocolate is the flavor of romance. Knowing this and the fact that I knew anything chocolate would be a hit, I decided to create a dessert fit for the day of celebrating love. One of the best chocolate desserts is undoubtedly the chocolate fondant; crisp and cakey moist sponge encasing a molten lava centre oozing chocolate decadence. I made my fondant gluten free, which is actually quite simple when you replace the plain flour with gluten-free flour. For the chocolate component, I used 100 grams of dark chocolate and 100 grams of milk chocolate because I find dark chocolate creates a fondant that is almost too rich; the milk chocolate adds a lighter flavor. If you prefer the intense dark chocolate taste, use all dark chocolate but add a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar (in addition to the 1/4 cup) to compensate.

Valentine's Day gluten-free chocolate fondant for two 


  • 100 grams of good-quality cooking milk chocolate 
  • 100 grams of good-quality cooking dark chocolate 
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of gluten-free plain flour (or regular flour if preferred) 
  • 50 grams of butter
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a large microwave safe bowl. Heat on a low-wattage and check regularly to ensure the chocolate doesn't burn.
  3. Add the sugar and mix until dissolved. Add the eggs and stir until combined. Sift in the flour.
  4. Grease two large (250ml) ramekins with butter and dust with sugar until covered to create a barrier.
  5. Pour in the mixture between each ramekin and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Take out and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Serve with vanilla ice cream and fresh berries. 

Happy Valentine's Day! 


February 10, 2013

Gluten-free Gospel: Banana Pancakes from My New Roots

Taken from My New Roots

Gluten-free Gospel 
Gluten-free diets have become uber-trendy in the past couple years as celebrities have plugged the lifestyle as a savior for their overall health and wellness. But why would someone go gluten free if they didn’t have to? Good question. Does it seem like cool-kid train has left the station heading towards the Promised Land, while you’re still standing on the platform? It’s okay; I think you’re cool. But here’s the low-down on gluten-free eating in case you want to buy a ticket for later. 

What is Gluten?
Gluten is the natural protein found in many grains, such as wheat, rye, barley, and spelt. Despite recent uproar and confusion, gluten is not bad for you. Some people however, have an autoimmune form of gluten intolerance known as Celiac disease and cannot digest it. Celiac disease affects nearly 3 million Americans, and those affected must avoid allfoods and food products that even come into contact with gluten-containing grains. 

Are oats gluten-free?
Short answer, yes. Oats are inherently gluten-free, but are very often grown with or processed in facilities that also handle wheat and/or other gluten-containing grains. Because oats become contaminated with gluten in this way, they are often not safe for Celiacs. However, some companies have developed dedicated processing facilities for oats only, making them safe for those who cannot tolerate any gluten whatsoever. These companies include: Bob’s Red Mill,Cream Hill EstatesGF HarvestAvena FoodsLegacy Valley (Montana Monster Munchies), and Gifts of Nature.
Click here for a discussion on oats in the gluten-free diet or visit Health Canada’s website for an extensive technical review on the safety of oats in the GF diet.

Should you go gluten-free?
Many people who are not affected by Celiac disease are making the switch to a gluten-free diet, claiming that it helps them lose weight, gain energy, improve concentration etc. Of course there can be something to that as we are all very different and react to foods in very different ways – some people find that eliminating gluten, or even just wheat makes them feel dramatically better than they did before. Great! But as we all search in vain for the “miracle diet” that will make us feel amazing, look our best, and allow us to take over the world, we must remember that there isn’t one right answer. We have to take time to listen to ourselves, and give our own bodies a real chance to tell us what is best for us. Even if your best friend gives up gluten and feels incredible, it may not necessarily be the right choice for you.
Often the reason many people do shed a few pounds and generally ‘feel better’ eating foods without gluten, is not the avoidance of gluten itself, but the fact that they are making healthier food choices. We all know what happens when we polish off the breadbasket at lunch; we feel sluggish, foggy, tired and often bloated. It’s not a coincidence – what do you think will happen when you down a loaf of white flour? 

Conversely, when you choose a gluten-free diet, your horizons are forced to expand just a little, and suddenly quinoa, amaranth, and millet make their way into your dinner. You choose fruits and veggie snacks instead of cookies and crackers. Breakfast becomes smoothies instead of cereal. Variety comes into play, and that is what makes the difference! More freshness! More produce! Less dead, nutrition-less, life-sucking white bread. Just sayin’.  

But let me be clear about another thing: wheat is not the enemy! Whole wheat is good for you. So are rye, and barley, and spelt and kamut. These grains contain gluten, yes, and are also full of protein, fiber, phytochemicals, B vitamins, folate, calcium, selenium, iron, and zinc. When prepared properly and eaten in their whole, unprocessed forms, they have many benefits. 

The problem is many of us eat wheat three times a day, often in its over-processed forms (boxed cereal, sandwich bread, pasta…), which has been stripped of most of its valuable nutrition. It’s not necessarily the wheat, it’s the way we process and consume it.   

If you want to give gluten-free eating a shot, go ahead. Perhaps you do have an insensitivity lurking around, and eliminating gluten will certainly shed some light on it. Or, perhaps you want to cut back on the wheat and introduce new and exciting foods to your diet; experiment with the amazingly diverse seeds, nuts, and grains that are on the market for you to explore. Sometimes imposing a few limitations on oneself forces creativity, which can be a very good thing when it comes to what we eat. PB&J sandwich again? We can do better than that!

Gluten-free Banana Bread Pancakes

Serves 2

Dry ingredients:
1/3 cup walnuts
2/3 cup rolled oats (certified gluten-free oats if you have a sensitivity)
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch sea salt

Wet ingredients:
1 very ripe banana
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. olive oil
2/3 cup nut milk 
2 tsp. maple syrup
For garnish:
maple syrup
1 banana, sliced
a handful of walnuts, chopped
extra-dark chocolate, grated (for a special treat!)

1. In a food processor, pulse walnuts until they resemble a sand-textured powder (do not over process – you’ll end up with walnut butter!). Remove walnut ‘flour’, add oats and pulse until you get a shaggy flour. Place walnut and oats flours in a large bowl. Add baking soda, sea salt and stir to combine. 
2. Add all wet ingredients to the food processor and blend to combine. 
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until the two come together. Let batter sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. 
4. Heat a little coconut oil (or ghee) in a skillet and drop in 3 large spoonfuls of batter (you are after three, 8 cm / 3 inch sized pancakes). Spread slightly with the back of the spoon to even out the batter. Turn heat down to low. Let cook on the underside until the topside is opaque, which will take more time than a regular pancake. Check to see if the bottom has browned, and if so, flip over to cook the other side. Cook until the underside is crispy and brown (although the middle is a little moist, this is okay).
5. Put pancake on a baking sheet in a warm oven, and cover with some foil while you make more (this will also give them time to firm up a little in the middle). Serve with pure maple syrup, fresh banana slices, chopped walnuts, and grated dark chocolate for a special treat – they are banana bread pancakes after all. 

February 06, 2013

Goop's Q&A with Tracy Anderson

I subscribe to Gwyneth Paltrow's blog and website, Goop. It gives you an interesting dose of news of health and wellbeing, fitness, environmentally friendly products and hot new restaurants. Gwyneth's fitness guru, Tracy Anderson is often featured on the website and the latest edition was a question and answer session with the celebrity trainer. Tracy is an advocate of exercising and eating to her own developed method of success to achieve your perfect body. Instead of repetitive cardio and heavy strength work, Tracy prefers dancing and targeted moves to enhance your body shape without adding bulk.

Ultimately I think it should be about what works for you, and this method works for her and many of her clients. I do enjoy doing her dancing DVD's as a break from my usual cardio routine and her targeted exercises really hit those trouble spots. However, she doesn't vouch for women doing heavy weights but I quite enjoy this type of training in the gym, and it does help you reach a higher calorie burn. At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide what training method you want to follow. It is a worth a read though, especially if you are not getting desired results. Read on to hear some interesting answers from Tracy on diet and exercise, some of which may explain why your nightly 45 minute run is not helping you achieve the results you want. She also throws in a recipe for a great morning shake.

February 03, 2013

Top Superfoods - What is all the hype about?

I've posted an interesting article here taken from the Sydney Morning Herald examining the latest super foods commented on by nutritionist and chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin. Popular chef Pete Evans was slammed in the media for advertising his daily diet, which consisted of the super foods listed. Critics claimed the foods were overpriced and falsely superior to more readily available fruits and vegetables. I am interested, do you eat these foods and feel they are worth the price and improve your overall health?