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Upton’s Naturals Jackfruit Review

Written by Lee on . Posted in Food & Drinks, Ingredients, Natural Products, Reviews


For all you vegetarians, vegans, flexitarians and #meatlessmonday’ers, this one’s for you!

You know when you're invited to a barbecue and everyone's eating their pulled-pork burgers or shredded chicken burgers and you're left with a sad, soggy mushroom burger (been there, done that)? It can sometimes feel a little isolating and tastes a lot like you should've eaten before you came.

Well, not anymore! 

Upton's Naturals has created THE ultimate replacement for your sad mushroom burger. Guess what it’s made of?

Jackfruit!

Yes, you read that right – your newest burger is made of fruit. Confused? Do read on...

Jackfruit, native to Southeast Asia, makes for the perfect meat substitute. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre. I guess you could say it’s the jack of all fruits! 

Upton Naturals takes the green young  jackfruit plucked from the tree and does all the dirty (or in this case, very clean) work for us! They prepare, season and package the jackfruit so it’s ready to serve.

Unlike many alternative meat products, Upton Naturals Jackfruit is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, low GI, gluten-free, oil-free and soy-free.  It’s completely natural, vegan, cruelty-free and guilt-free!

Now for the most important part – how does it taste?

Upton’s Naturals Jackfruit comes in six different flavours!

The Original is completely unseasoned so you’re free to make it your own. I like shredding it up and pan-frying it in my favourite seasonings.

If you’re looking for something a little more tangy, the Bar-B-Que Jackfruit may be your perfect fit! I also love the Chilli Lime Carnitas for a bit of a kick. Sriracha Jackfruit makes for a great wings alternative or chilli-swap for your Mexican feast. If you're a lover of all things smoky, Sweet and Smoky may be your new favourite. There’s even a Thai curry flavour; that’s sure to give your meat-loving friends a run for their money!

Upton's Naturals Jackfruit is also extremely versatile – you can try your hands at fresh rice paper rolls, jackfruit stir fries or even a Thai curry burger. Adios sad mushroom burger! 

If you want to read more about Upton's Naturals and their legendary Jackfruit, be sure to check out their website here! It's got lots of tasty recipes. 

Prana Chai Review

Written by Lee on . Posted in Food & Drinks, Natural Products, Reviews


Some people can't wake up without their latte fix, others are addicted to their bulletproof coffee and I, well, I swear by my Prana chai.

For any real chai lovers out there, you’ll agree with me when I say a good cup of chai is more than just a good cup of chai. Chai warms you up from the inside out and feels like a million gentle hugs, cuddling your insides. If home had a taste, it would be chai. My ultimate motivator for finishing my morning walk is a daily cup of home-made chai and it helps me reach the finishing line every morning 

I’m not sure if it’s because of my Indian roots or if it’s because I like to add some spice to my life but if you can't already tell... I’m a little bit obsessed with chai.

So, I can say honestly, as a qualified chai enthusiast, there’s nothing worse than ordering a chai at a café and spying a teabag (#anglo-Indian girl problems) or even worse, the instant powder (just a whole bunch of sugar and additives), scooped out of a tub to serve.

Nothing can quite compare to the silky-smooth texture and aromatic delightful taste of a home-made chai.  

Prana Chai is made with that in mind. It's hand-made each day in Melbourne with only the best natural spices, mixes and of course, love by the owners, Vincent Conti and Mario Minichilli. After travelling across the globe, they, like myself and many others, fell in love with chai. Upon returning home, they worked on developing a chai blend inspired by their travels and love affair with India. This is when they met Koray Gencel and I guess you could say, the rest is chai-story!

I try to be humble with everything I do, but there’s one thing I’m certainly not humble about; I make a very good chai, one of the tastiest in the world. I’ve achieved the equal blend of froth with spice and I just couldn't make chai the way I do without my favourite Prana Chai.

So, what is Prana Chai? The word Prana, originating from Ayurvedic medicine, links to the idea of life-giving force or vital force, which is why it's the perfect name for this chai range. Prana Chai is an honest product with nothing artificial; only love, tea and whole spices.

Masala Chai, which is my favourite of Prana’s range, originates from Ayurveda, the traditional healing medicine system of India. It's a beautiful mix of black tea, aromatic Indian spices and milk. 

If you'd like to get your hands on some chai, be sure to go to Prana Chai's beautiful website here or check them out on instagram here.

If you’ve never made chai before, you need to chai it out! It’s so simple to make and will boost your senses!

Just follow these instructions down below:

  1. Place two or three heaped teaspoons of Prana Chai into a pot
  2. Fill with one cup of your favourite milk (or I do half water half milk)
  3. Heat over the stovetop until it’s been brought to the boil.  Turn off and let steep for five minutes.
  4. Strain and pour into your favourite tea cup
  5. Relax and let that chai take over your whole body!

Acure Organics Travel Pack and Cleansing Towelettes

Written by Lee on . Posted in Natural Products, Reviews

A common theme around wellness is that we are what we eat.

If this really were the case, I’d be a kale omelette with salmon and avocado... which I’m perfectly okay with!

But this had me thinking; how does this philosophy apply to the skin we are in?

If we feed our skin with a bunch of chemicals, pesticides, synthetic colours and fragrances – what’s our poor skin going to look like in the long run?!

I don’t know about you but I’d rather my skin look fresh and vibrant like a punnet of berries than a chemically-operated science laboratory.

There's no denying that we all feel our best when we consume healthy food, so when it comes to our skin, the same rules apply. 

ACURE Organics is a product range that’s pure and driven to provide you with the best and most organic experience possible. The brand is loved globally and is the #5 natural skin care brand in the US.

Unlike many organic brands, ACURE Organics has an incredibly diverse range of high-quality skin, hair and baby products that are gentle on the body and won’t break the bank.

All of their products are free from gluten, mineral oils, parabens, sulphates, harmful preservatives and artificial colours. However, ACURE Organics is so much more than what they exclude in their products – it’s about what they put in. Their products are made from pure essential oils and plant-based natural ingredients. This means they’re high in antioxidants to protect our skin from damage and ageing *insert collective cheer here*!

ACURE Organics uses powerfully potent nutrients that are good enough to eat. They've created a Certified Organic Curoxidant Blend as the foundation for each product, and it's food based and features acai, pomegranate, blackberry, rosehip and rooibos – I'm getting hungry just thinking about it…

They're also leading the way with plant-stem technology, figuring out how to isolate and amplify a plant’s benefits up to one thousand times their natural bioavailability. This is revolutionary in the tech world!

All of their products are pH balanced to match our skin’s natural acidity, helping to prevent damage. Everything is toxin-free and not tested on animals. One of the other things I love about ACURE Organics is that they're a sustainable brand that uses green packaging, recycled materials and biodegradable ingredients and packaging where possible.

By buying ACURE Organics, you're not only helping save the planet, you're also supporting charity. With every purchase, you're also supporting two wonderful charities – Unite for Her (a non-profit breast cancer support organisation) and Turning Green (a student-led sustainable movement).

Their new on-the-go product line makes beautiful travelling that much easier. The ACURE Organic’s travel pack combines a mini 30g size of their hydrating shampoo and conditioner, brightening facial scrub and day cream. The travel pack's a great idea if you’re scared of committing to big bottles and want to test it out for yourself first! They're so easy to pop into your toiletry bag and travel with.

They’ve also created biodegradable towelettes which are vegan, sulfate-free, paraben-free and cruelty-free. These towelettes contain glycolic and zinc to clear the skin of dirt, grime and oil. You can choose your destination when it comes to their smell - either clean your face and body with Fragrance Free or, my favourite, Coconut + Argan Oil (because who doesn’t want to smell like a tropical island?).

ACURE Organics  offers high-quality, and effective organic products for low prices. Could you ask for anything more for the health of your skin?

Mr Perkins Wellness Cleanse

Written by Lee on . Posted in Ingredients, Natural Products, Reviews

I'm not sure about you, but I don’t love the idea of a fruit juice cleanse. After day one, I often feel deprived, lethargic, cold from all the juices and a little bit moody!

I'm a big believer in eating with the seasons so sitting by the fire-place and shivering whilst sipping on a pineapple juice for my 'health'. It just doesn't make sense to me! 

That's why I was thrilled when I found out about Mr Perkins' new Wellness Cleanse.

Mr Perkins, the latest health hub in Bondi Beach has a philosophy that I really love and try to live by myself – ‘cooked slow, served fast’. They turn the idea of 'fast food' on it's head with that one! Everything they serve is made in-house daily with locally sourced and fresh ingredients. Think hearty soups in winter and delicious smoothies and beautiful salads in summer. 

They've just released their official cleanse which is completely plant based, rich in fibre and designed to help heal and promote wellness. The cleanse is designed by Mr Perkins’ resident nutritionist, Jessica Rutledge, from the Greenery Clinic. 

Unlike many juice cleanses on the markets, Mr Perkins Wellness Cleanse acknowledges the seasonal changes and knows we don’t want to be drinking juice for dinner all winter long! It includes juices, smoothies, soups and broths to keep us satisfied whilst promoting detoxification. The body requires nourishment and warmth to maintain our wellbeing and this is what Mr Perkins does so well!

The cleanse allows us to step away from foods that are often inflammatory and, emphasises the goodness of vegetables, fruits and seeds.

If you’ve never done a cleanse before, don’t worry – it’s suitable for all levels. It works for people who’ve never touched a detox in their life to the juicing ninjas among us.

You can experience either a one-day, two-day or three-day cleanse depending on you.

Not yet convinced?

I’m giving you a sneak-peek into their delicious menu below!

Start the day off with a green smoothie, filled with avocado, banana, coconut milk, spinach and spirulina. This smoothie is energising and just delicious!

For lunch, you can enjoy a mineral-rich Shiitake broth filled to the brim with vegetables.

Need a pick-me-up? The Strawberry Gazpacho aids detoxification and is bursting with fresh flavours. It’s the perfect afternoon treat.

Now for dinner: their Green Soup with broccoli, leek, coconut milk and cumin is a real winner!

I love the Berry Chai Parfait for dessert. It’s a wholesome way to end the day, helps promote detoxification and is full of antioxidants and healthy fats to keep us going.

For more information, visit their website here or you can check them out on Facebook and Instagram @mrperkinsbondi 

The Garden Apothecary Review + Maca-Macadamia Chocolate Bark Recipe

Written by Lee on . Posted in Books, Reviews


We all know the importance of eating clean, sweating it out at the gym and fuelling our bodies with products that promote wellness, but, this is usually where healthcare ends. While this is helpful, there's a lot more to looking after our health than green smoothies, boxing classes and chia seed puddings. 

Just for a moment, consider all of the chemically-filled beauty products that we use on our skin daily, or the pills that we take when we feel we could be coming down with a little sniffle?  Unfortunately for many of us, ancient herbal remedies have been replaced by runs to the pharmacy, pill bottles and cure-alls.

For people looking for that quick health fix, we’ve forgotten the very nature of food as medicine and the concept of using our own kitchens and gardens as a natural pharmacy.

Everyone's favourite Herb Nerd, Reece Carter, is on a mission to show us how easy it is to take health into our own hands by inspiring us to create our very own homemade herbal remedies. 

The Garden Apothecary his debut book, empowers the reader to turn to garden herbs and plants and the food already sitting in our pantries and concoct them into powerful medicinal aids.  He also give us the chance to personally fall in love with simple herbal remedies and tasty recipes.

At just ten years old, Reece could be found trying to re-create his grandfather’s fabulous veggie garden and making an absolute mess in the kitchen. I can tell you now that nothing for this herb nerd has changed. Reece went on to study Naturopathy and his goal was, and still is, to make herbal medicine a part of our everyday lives.

In The Garden Apothecary, Reece teaches us the art of herbal medicine, so we too can become our very own herb nerds. Reece helps us every step of the way – from growing our own plants to making our own ointments and tinctures.

With over forty recipes to choose from, Reece reveals how to relieve a range of ailments the natural way. This includes fixes for the everyday cold, boosting our immunity, relieving stress, curing sleep issues, improving digestion, increasing vitality and even resolving skin issues.

These herbal remedies have been backed-up by both traditional users and modern-day scientists to provide you with the best of both worlds.

The Garden Apothecary will inspire you to become your very own herb nerd. Take hold of your health with these natural remedies and fixes! 

We're very lucky that Reece has shared one of his tasty recipes with us today.  His Maca-Macadamia Chocolate Bark which will lift anyone's mood with it's delicious flavours and happy hormone-boosting ingredients. 

Maca-Macadamia Chocolate Bark

Serves: 12 

Ingredients:

Method: 

  1. Slice the vanilla pod lengthways, then scrape out the seeds using the back of a knife. Discard the pod and keep the seeds.
  2. Roughly chop the macadamias in half, and place to one side for later.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a large mixing bowl over a water bath.
  4. Remove bowl from heat and stir through the coconut cream, cacao, vanilla seeds, maca, rice malt syrup, sea salt and chilli powder. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Add half the macadamias and half the coconut. Stir through with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  6. Line a baking tray with baking paper, then spread the mixture over evenly.
  7. Top with the remaining macadamias and coconut.
  8. Refrigerate until set, then break into twelve pieces roughly the same size. To store, layer the pieces in an airtight container, separated by baking paper. Keep refrigerated or—if like me you prefer it with a little more snap to it—in the freezer.

Good luck with your book Reece! I know it will go far.

If you want to find out more about Reece, you can find him on Instagram here, check out his website here or click this link for his Facebook.

A Year of Beautiful Eating + Roast Lamb and Ramen Recipes

Written by Lee on . Posted in Books, Reviews

a-year-of-beautiful-eating

Madeleine Shaw, a wonderful nutritional health coach from London, has just released her latest book A Year of Beautiful Eating and I must say, it's everything that I look for in a cookbook and more!

A Year of Beautiful Eating explores the art of eating healthily to achieve inner and outer beauty all year round. It contains over one hundred wholesome recipes that are made according to the season and help to recognise what our body needs to feel and look its best throughout the year.

Like many of us, Madeleine turned to health after feeling constantly lethargic and bloated. She embarked on a health journey to Sydney, one of the healthiest cities in the world (go Sydney!), to discover the art of eating well and living a more energised life. This is when she started to learn how to listen to her body and give it what it needed. Madeleine began to fall back in love with food, life and most importantly, herself.

After this revelation, she was inspired to help others back in London, and across the world, do the same.

Madeleine is now a food blogger, nutritional health coach and mum to be.  

I had the pleasure of meeting up with her over lunch, last time I was in London launching my book Fast Your Way to Wellness and let me tell you, she practices what she preaches! Madeleine delivers her philosophy of keeping things simple, delicious and deprivation-free. She is lovely in real life and glows from the inside out.

Madeleine believes in healthy eating, not starvation and deprivation. More than anything, A Year of Beautiful Eating teaches you how to live a healthy life, not just follow a diet. The recipes are sugar-free and wheat-free and will be sure to leave you wanting more. Every dish is mouth-watering and simple! 

Whether you’re looking to cool off with a Papaya and Peanut Salad in summer, delve into a Slow-Roast Lamb Shoulder with Celeriac Mash and Greens in Autumn, cure your Winter blues with Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies or lovingly lounge with Lamb Chops with Parsnip Mash and Asparagus in Spring, A Year of Beautiful Eating has got you covered. It's the perfect cook book for everyday of the year!

Two of my favourite recipes from the book are the Slow-Roast Lamb Shoulder with Celeriac Mash and Greens and the Chicken Ramen. Yum.

Congratulations on the beautiful new book Madeleine and best of luck with the baby-to-be!

You can follow Madeleine on Instagram here.  

Slow-Roast Lamb Shoulder with Celeriac Mash and Greens

Photography by Sussex photographer Emma Gutteridge

Serves 6

  • 2kg lamb shoulder, bone in
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped
  • 2 sprigs of fresh
  • rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • For the celeriac mash
  • 2 celeriac, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp salt

For the greens

  • 2 bunches of Swiss chard
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh
  • parsley
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

Take the lamb shoulder and rub the garlic, thyme, rosemary and salt into the meat all over. Place in a casserole pot with the lid on, and put in the oven.

Turn the oven down to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2 and cook for 4 hours until the meat falls apart.

Shortly before the lamb is cooked, prepare the side dishes. Steam the celeriac over a pan of simmering water for 10 minutes until cooked through, then drain and place in a blender with the mustard, butter and salt. Steam the Swiss chard for 5–6 minutes, then drain and tip into a pan. Add the olive oil, parsley and salt. Sauté for a minute or two.

Serve the lamb with a dollop of mash and a serving of greens.

CHICKEN RAMEN

chicken ramen copy 2Serves 2

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or butter
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 200g button mushrooms
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 chicken breasts or thighs, cut into strips
  • 100g rice noodles
  • 2 eggs
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 2 spring onions,
  • finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp toasted
  • sesame seeds

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the ginger and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Next add the stock, mushrooms, chilli, tamari and chicken pieces.

Cook for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook your rice noodles as per the packet instructions in a separate pot. In another pot, boil the eggs in plenty of water for 4 minutes, until the whites are cooked but the yolk is still runny. Once cool enough to handle, peel and slice the eggs in half and sprinkle on a little salt.

Just before serving, throw the carrots and cooked noodles into the soup and squeeze in the lime juice. Top with the boiled egg halves, spring onions and sesame seeds, then serve immediately.

These recipes are taken from A Year of Beautiful Eating by Madeleine Shaw, published 20th April 2017 by Trapeze in Hardback and eBook, priced £20/£10.99.

Probiotic Drinks at Home + Jun with Ginger and Galangal Recipe

Written by Lee on . Posted in Books, Reviews

One of my favourite parts of the human body, the gut, has taken the health world by storm. Probiotics are foods that help our guts not only survive, but thrive and their popularity is your one-way ticket to wellness.

But why?

Probiotics increase our energy levels, aid in the detoxification process, improve our skin and boost our overall health. From Kombucha to kefir, you can actively transform your gut health with every single  probiotic sip.

Felicity Evans is a fellow gut-health crusader. She was initially brought into the health world after a health crisis following the birth of her second daughter. Her disease sparked her interest in all things gut and probiotic. She started to create her own probiotic drinks and the rest they say, is history.

She has also launched her own kefir brand, Imbibe Water Kefir, to help people add more beauty and energy into their everyday lives (we’ll take two please!). 

Felicity Evans has released her first book Probiotic Drinks at Home, a step-by-step recipe book with over 50 delicious probiotic drink recipes. Her recipes are low in sugar (only natural sugars here), functional for the body and aimed at helping to boost the immune system. Evans shares her secrets about fermenting, and explains the why and how of each fermentation process. 

Probiotic Drinks at Home is the perfect book for anyone looking to improve their gut health and overall immunity. She covers everything from Kombucha to ginger beer.

I was lucky enough to interview Felicity myself and let me tell you, she’s GUT some interesting and innovative ideas!.

If you want to find out more about Felicity or Imbibe Water Kefir, you can go here

Tell us about your new book?

My new book aims to add more radiance and energy into the lives of everyday people, by helping them create their own probiotic drinks at home.  It’s so much more than a recipe book – it’s a new way of living, aimed at connecting the dots between ancient ways of fermenting drinks and our hectic modern lifestyle.

 It aims to demystify the process of making your own probiotic drinks at home in a simple and stylish way.  Gone are the days of 1000-steps and multiple processes to make the perfect kombucha. 

It’s easy to read, beautifully styled (with lots of vines from my garden!) and the steps to fermenting are laid out in a step-by-step way so that it’s super simple to follow!  There are pages and pages of troubleshooting tips, FAQs and everything you need to get started. 

It’s the type of book I wish I had when I started off my fermentation journey.

I personally make all these drinks every week for my family, and myself and I know they work. 

What exactly does a fermentation aficionado do?

We thrive, not just survive!

Seriously, these drinks have totally changed the trajectory of my life so I’m pretty enthusiastic about them. Before I discovered the power of living probiotic drinks, my health was lackluster, my skin was dull and my digestion was slower….. so fermentation is well and truly here to stay in my life!

I’ve found a very natural pace and rhythm to my family life and fermentation slides beautifully into that pace.  Usually on a Sunday I’ll make and bottle a 5 litre batch of seasonal kombucha – right now its ginger and turmeric and green tea… in summer it will change to mango, cherry, plum and peach.

Then of course there is my everyday nourishment in the form of Imbibe Living Water Kefir, which is my company – I’ve made a batch of water kefir everyday for the last 3 years, so it’s in my blood now, and if I don’t have it I truly miss it!  You really do start to crave these drinks.

In terms of my business, Imbibe Living (imbibeliving.com) my mission is to bring the radiance and energy into every day.  I do this by making a range of low sugar organic water kefir elixirs that I stock at over 200 health food stores.  I also make fermentation easy for people to access with my homegrown kombucha and water kefir kits and cultures. Part of my service is creating free Ebooks and video tutorials and other resources so that people can find a pathway to probiotic nourishment.

Why are probiotics and probiotic drinks good for you?

In my mind, they are the ultimate beauty food! Seriously, beauty begins within, so to cultivate radiance you need to focus on your gut – and living probiotic drinks are a fabulous adjunct to a healthy diet, good sleep and all the other things we know we should be doing!   

Probiotics are the good bacteria that we all need to help us thrive.  We are outweighed 10:1 bacteria to human cells, so to thrive, we need to be replenishing the good bacteria in our gut.  When you ferment ingredients, the nutrients become more bio-avaliable for the body to digest and absorb.  

So for example, making a Beet Kvass (a low sugar fermented beetroot drink), not only are you getting the living probiotics activated through fermentation, you are also getting pre-digested enzymes and nutrients from the beetroots, renowned for their liver and blood cleansing properties.

What are some of the pitfalls you encounter when handcrafting and brewing elixirs?

Oh my gosh! There are so many things that could go wrong!  Which is why I wrote this book – to arm you with all the troubleshooting so that if something does go astray, you know exactly what to do to fix the problem! 

The main things I find that come up is not understanding how these factors can affect fermentations, leading to people giving up:

Temperature

Because fermenting is so dependent on a myriad of factors, it can be frustrating.  E.g. in summer, your ferments could rage and bubble with delight and be perfectly sour in 24 hours.  In winter, it could take 14 days, and you may be left wondering if it’s all still working! 

Time

Having a diary will really help you understand and track the progress of your ferments so that you understand when they should be ready.

Ingredients

The quality of the ingredients you choose will ultimately affect the fermentation and also the end result of the handcrafted elixirs.

There are a few unusual drink trends surfacing in 2017, from wild mushrooms to blue algae and non-hallucinogenic hemp. As 2016 was the year from kombucha and kefir, what new probiotic drink concoctions are on the horizon for 17?

Ha!  Well, I can firmly put my hand up and say I contributed to the blue-green algae drink trend, because I make an organic blue water kefir using blue-green algae!

I think that as 2017 unfolds, we will see consumers being more aware of what constitutes a real living probiotic drink (hint, if its not in the fridge section of your local store, its probably not living!) and choosing small batch, beautifully pure probiotic drinks. I also see water kefir making a huge impact, as people don’t necessarily want to drink dairy kefir, and prefer the lightness of a water kefir. 

What’s your favourite recipe from the book, how did you come up with it, and why do you love it?

It would have to be the Jun with Ginger and Galangal. It’s such a light, refreshing and delicious elixir.   I was looking for a drink that would give me all the benefits of a living probiotic, but not have that super acidic taste that kombucha can sometimes have.  My research lead me to this mystical and mysterious culture called Jun.  Jun is an effervescent fermented tea, which only ferments green tea and honey.  It has a light taste and sort of sparkles in your mouth.  The roundness of the honey almost makes it buttery against the slightly sour characteristic of a fermented drink.

Jun with Ginger and Galangal

Ginger and galangal pair well with the sweet honey notes in the Jun. They can boost circulation and heat the body, calm nausea and aid in digestion. These two rhizomes complement each other well in the flavour department. Ginger has more of a fiery, pungent and sharp taste, whereas galangal is more peppery and aromatic, with tones of pine. The bacteria and yeasts tend to love the ginger and galangal – you will see lots of carbonation building around the rhizomes. If you don’t have both ginger and galangal, just use whichever one you have.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Fermentation time: 6–17 days 

Difficulty: Easy–medium

Shelf life: Refrigerate for up to 4 months  Makes: About 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups)

Ingredients

  • 1 x basic Jun (recipe below)
  • 2 cm (3/4 inch) piece fresh ginger, skin on, thinly sliced
  • 2 cm (3/4 inch) piece fresh galangal, skin on, thinly sliced

Primary fermentation

Follow the instructions for basic Jun below.

Bottling

Follow the instructions for basic Jun below.

Secondary fermentation

Add the ginger and galangal to the bottle and tightly seal the lid. Leave the bottle on the bench to build carbonation. This could take anywhere from 2–7 days, depending on the temperature. ‘Burp’ the Jun daily to release some pressure by opening the lid slightly and then tightening it again.

Drink up

When the Jun is as fizzy and sour as you like (this could range from a small spritz to a ferocious fizz), store it in the fridge to slow the fermentation process, and enjoy cold.

Tip:  you can add more ginger and galangal if you prefer stronger flavours.

Add a squeeze of sweet and fragrant lime juice when serving the Jun.

Basic Jun

The quality of the green tea and honey you choose will affect the final taste,
so choose the best quality you can afford. I always use organic green tea and
raw honey so that the Jun culture and I both get the best quality on offer
and there are no pesticides that could kill the good bacteria.

Preparation time: 30 minutes 

Fermentation time: 6–17 days 

Difficulty: Easy–medium

Shelf life: Refrigerate for up to 4 months 

Makes: About 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups)

Ingredients:

  • 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) filtered water or springwater
  • 4 green tea bags or 1 tablespoon loose-leaf green tea
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • 3 tablespoons Jun starter culture liquid (available at http://imbibeliving.com)
  • 1 Jun SCOBY, around the size of your palm

Primary fermentation

Bring 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) of the filtered water to a simmer. Pour into a teapot or heatproof bowl, add the green tea bags or tea leaves and leave to steep for 40–60 seconds. Strain the tea into a heatproof 1.5 litre (52 fl oz/6 cup) wide-
mouth glass jar and discard the tea bags or tea leaves. Pour in the remaining water. Add the honey to the jar and stir well to dissolve.

When the liquid has cooled to room temperature, add the Jun starter culture liquid and SCOBY. Cover the jar with a piece of muslin (cheesecloth) and secure with an elastic band.

Place the jar out of direct sunlight in a cool spot where it won’t be disturbed. Leave the liquid to ferment for around 4 days in hot weather and 7–10 days in cooler weather. 

Bottling

Gently remove the SCOBY to re-use or rest, and retain 3 tablespoons of the Jun liquid as the starter culture liquid for your next brew.

Mix in any sediment that has settled at the bottom of the jar. Put a funnel in the opening of a 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cup) glass bottle with a tight-fitting lid and put a strainer on top
of the funnel. Pour the Jun into the bottle through the strainer. Either discard any solids left in the strainer or incorporate them into your next brew.

Secondary fermentation

Tightly seal the bottle lid and leave the bottle on the bench to build carbonation. This could take anywhere from 2–7 days, depending on the temperature. ‘Burp’ the Jun daily to release some pressure by opening the lid slightly and then tightening it again.

Drink up

When the Jun is as fizzy and sour as you like (this could range from a small spritz to a ferocious fizz), store it in the fridge to slow the fermentation process, and enjoy cold.

Tip:  Letting green tea steep for too long causes it to turn bitter. Only steep the tea for around 40–60 seconds.

Images and recipes from Probiotic Drinks at Home by Felicity Evans Murdoch Books, RRP $27.99. Photography by Rob Palmer.

The Wholefood Pantry + Chia Pudding Three Ways Recipe

Written by Lee on . Posted in Books, Reviews

We all know just how important it is to avoid too many processed foods. Everything from sauces to cheeses and butters to jams, and even pickles; all of these are delicious foods but often by the time they hit our palates and plates, they've been enhanced with additional sugar, salt, artificial ingredients and refined carbohydrates.

The art of creating your own versions of these foods however, for some people can seem all too difficult in this day and age. Sometimes it seems as if creating a whole new pantry of items can cost more than an arm and a leg and leave us with an even bigger dent in our wallets.

This is where the Amber Rose’s latest book, ‘ The Wholefood Pantry’ comes into our lives.

Amber grew up in New Zealand where her pantry was actually her mother's garden. Her mother and her would forage for wild flowers, exotic fruits, mushrooms and seasonal goodies to include in their cooking.

Her family have a love for not only cooking deliciously simple food, but appreciating the whole process; the excitement of discovering and collecting food, completed by the rituals of preparation and cooking.

Amber's childhood inspired her love for cooking and teaching others how to do it themselves. Amber introduces us to pantry essentials so we can re-build the contents of our kitchen from the inside out. 'The Wholefood Pantry' includes wholesome recipes for stocks, sauces, butters, milks, pickles and more!

Her cooking style is extremely intuitive, delicious and simple. She uses lots of flavoursome herbs and spices to make her recipes as nourishing as possible.

'The Wholefood Pantry' starts with the basics, teaching us the art of fermenting, creating and customising. Kim chi, nut milks and cheeses are all on the agenda. Once you’ve nailed these pantry staples down, we can move on to utilising these items in delicious recipes. Expect to find loads of salads, meat dishes and of course, beautiful sweet chocolatey dishes too.

'The Wholefood Pantry' simply embodies the ideal that food is medicine. It takes us back to our hunter gatherer roots so we can fall in love with not only food, but cooking it too.

Lucky for us, Amber has allowed me to share her delicious recipe for Chia Pudding basic mix plus two delicious variations down below.

Congratulations on the beautiful book Amber!

For more on Amber, check out her beautiful website and instagram

Chia Pudding

Photographs © 2016 Nassima Rothacker

Serves 4-6 

BASIC CHIA PUDDING MIX

  • 500ml coconut milk or almond milk, or a mix of the two
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • ½–1 teaspoon vanilla powder (optional)
  • ½–1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1–2 tablespoons kefir, either milk or coconut (optional) 

Pour the coconut/almond milk into a glass jar, add the raw honey and give it a good whisk. Add the chia seeds and use a fork to stir them through the milk really well. Let the mix stand for 1–2 minutes and then stir it really well again, breaking up any lumps that have formed. Repeat this process a few times over a 10-minute period. Add the spices, if using, and stir. Place the chia pudding in the fridge and let it soak overnight, or for at least a few hours. This allows the chia seeds to soak and thicken up.

You can also try the layered vanilla chia and fruit cup below;

  • 1 quantity of the basic chia mix
  • 550-600g your favourite fresh fruit or compote
  • Edible flowers,  optional

Spoon half the chia mix into three glasses. Sprinkle over half the fruit, layer on more chia pudding, then sprinkle over the rest  of the fruit. Serve. 

Raw chocolate and red berry chia pudding.

MADE IN ADVANCE

  • 1 quantity of the basic chia mix, to which add 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder before soaking and 2 tablespoons maple syrup or raw clear honey

FOR ASSEMBLING

  • 350g strawberries and raspberries, mixed
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1½ teaspoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
  • 1–2 spoonfuls coconut kefir (optional)

Put the berries, lemon juice and coconut sugar in a small bowl and mix well, lightly crushing the raspberries. Allow the mixture to stand for 10 minutes.

Spoon half the chocolate chia pudding into three glasses, spoon over half the macerated berries, then layer the rest of the chocolate chia pudding on top. Finish with the rest of the berries and lastly sprinkle over the cacao nibs. Serve.

Recipes from The Wholefood Pantry by Amber Rose. Published by Kyle Books. RRP $39.99.

The Wahls Protocol Cooking For Life + Turkey Tacos + Spaghetti Squash

Written by Lee on . Posted in Books, Reviews

If there was one story that I would've loved to have heard when I was enclosed in eerie hospital walls and in the grips of fibromyalgia, it would be Terry Wahls.

After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the year 2000, Dr Wahls' health was on a down-hill spiral. She became confined to a wheel chair and felt like there was no hope in sight.

Just like myself, Dr Wahls decided to turn to scientific research and understand nutritional ways to cure herself. Instead of getting her vitamins, antioxidants and minerals from pills, she decided to find ways to  enjoy these nutrients by way of the food at the end of her fork.

This led her to developing the Wahls Protocol; a revolutionary diet and lifestyle based on a modern paleo plan to help to treat all chronic autoimmune conditions. After years of being confined to a wheelchair, Dr Wahl reversed many of her symptoms and now rides her bike to work and walks around cane-free. Now thats an achievement!

Dr Wahls has a foot in two camps, as a patient and also a clinical professor of medicine. Wahls conducts clinical trials to test the effect of nutrition and lifestyle interventions to treat progressive health problems, like multiple sclerosis.

After hearing about Dr Wahls' recovery story, I just knew I had to get my hands on her beautiful book and share it with you all.  

The Wahls Protocol Cooking for Life covers the essential recipes you need to reduce and improve symptoms related to autoimmune problems, neurological diseases and other chronic conditions. The book is in a simple, easy-to-read format to make lives that much easier.

The Walhs Protocol Cooking for Life contains over 150 tasty, simple and nutritionally-charged foods so it's perfect for anyone looking to improve their state of wellbeing or just add to their paleo recipe collection. These include green juices (my favourite coloured juice!), grain-free cereals, succulent soups, delectable desserts and more.  

Unlike many cookbooks on the market, The Wahls Protocol Cooking for Life book helps us understand how to cook delicious food on a budget, how to celebrate the holidays without compromising on our wellbeing and how to reduce the amount of food we waste; something that's near and dear to my own heart.

With Wahls' help, you can be one recipe away from rewriting your health journey.

We’ve been lucky enough for Dr Wahl to share two of her deliciously easy recipes with us: Turkey Tacos and Spaghetti Squash.

Thank you for sharing your inspiring story with us Terry Wahls and best of luck with your beautiful new book!

Turkey Tacos

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey 
  • 3 cups thinly slices bell peppers
  • 3 cups thinly sliced onions 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 large lettuce, kale, or collard leaves 
  • 2 tbsp ghee 
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro 
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning Salsa and/or guacamole to taste 

Method:

Heat the ghee in a stockpot or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey, taco seasoning, bell peppers, and onions. Cook until turkey is browned and the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Serve the cilantro and hot sauce on the side, or stir them directly into the skillet. Divide the taco filling among eight large leaf wrappers (lettuce, kale, or collards). Add salsa and/or guacamole.

Roll up or fold up and enjoy. Alternatively, serve the filling on a bed of greens as a taco salad. 

Cooking tip: You don’t need to add water or broth to the fat when you are cooking the meat for this meal.

Slow-Cooker Spaghetti Squash

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 tablespoon ghee, melted 
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • Sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Put the spaghetti squash in the slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until the squash feels soft.

Remove the squash and let it cool until you can handle it. Cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and scrape out the pasta-like strands with a fork. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 375° F.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, put the halves cut-side down in a large roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast for about 40 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the squash with a fork. Use a fork to scrape out the pastalike strands. 
Put the spaghetti squash “noodles” in a large bowl and drizzle with ghee, then sprinkle with the nutritional yeast and sea salt and pepper to taste. You can also top this with your favorite bolognese or marinara sauce.

The Digestive Health Solution

Written by Lee on . Posted in Books, Food & Drinks, Reviews

As well all know, the digestive system is one of the most talked about topics in the wellness industry. Did you know one in four people experience regular digestive discomfort? That’s gut to be crazy!

The Digestive Health Solution by expert naturopath Benjamin Brown (ND), gives us the much needed low-down on all things digestive health.

If any of you experience stomach cramps, pain, bloating, gas, diarrhoea and constipation, you may have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Don't panic! Whilst IBS still has no known cause, there’s a lot of available research which uncovers ways to resolve these issues and enhance digestion.

IBS isn't as simple as food goes into our mouth and out the other end with mild (or not so mild) turbulence in between. It also relates to headaches, depression, anxiety, fatigue and more. If we have poor overall health, our digestive health won’t function efficiently. What we need to do is fix our overall health and then we'll be able to reap the benefits in our digestive system!

The Digestive Health Solution is a revolutionary book that’s above and beyond health fads, focusing on an evidence-based approach. Brown explores the mind–body connection, food intolerances, gluten sensitivity, dietary changes, food additives, parasites, fermented foods and a low-histamine diet. He then provides a practical ways to help us turn our digestive health around.

It can be so hard to know what’s right and wrong with a constant flood of gut related products and information from different sources being shoved down our throats. Brown uncovers evidence-based and safe treatments to enhance digestion and improve, or even eliminate, these issues. He individualises his approach with a five-step program to quickly relieve and improve health.

The book teaches us that by improving our digestive health we can transform the health of our whole body. He’s passionate about all things natural health. His interest in various natural therapies, such as mind-body therapies, nutritional and herbal medicines has been incorporated in a fascinating way.

Good luck with your new book Benjamin! It’s a really good read.

If you want to hear more about the author click here, or, if you’re interested in the Digestive Health Solution, click this link here.

Whole Food, Bowl Food + Carrot Cake Spiced Buckwheat Porridge

Written by Lee on . Posted in Books, Food & Drinks, Reviews

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If you’ve ever tuned into My Kitchen Rules (like yours truly!) you would've seen Anna Lisle and her mum, Cathy, cooking their way to our television screens back in 2014. Their keen determination, passion and talent made their instant restaurant episode reach over 2 million views!

Since then, Anna has become an established lifestyle journalist, foodie, instagrammer, author and passionate cook. In fact, Anna has just released her latest book, Whole Food, Bowl Food which is a modern cook’s dream. It contains over 100 inspiring recipes to get you in the kitchen and loving every second of it. So now, you can have your (gluten-free and sugar-free) cake and eat it too!

Anna Lisle_Profile Shot_New Holland Publishers

Anna moved to London in 2016 and I was lucky enough to catch up with her there during my book tour for Fast Your Way to Wellness. Anna is as wholesome and warm as her recipes. She believes in homely fuss-free food and that’s exactly what she delivers.

Whole Food, Bowl Food uses gluten-free ingredients in their most natural state to let whole foods shine. In our modern world, we can sometimes forget how delicious food can be when it’s made simply. This is what Anna teaches us.

Whole Food, Bowl Food has no hard-to-pronounce ingredients or wacky sauces, just easy ingredients that we all know and love, made differently.

One of the reasons I love this book is because like Anna, I love bowls! I know that sounds a little crazy (which isn’t too unusual around here), but there’s just something so comforting and enjoyable about eating food out of a bowl. It’s a relaxed way of both cooking and eating that makes the experience so enjoyable. This also means that you can enjoy Anna’s delicious recipes while sitting at the dining room table, perched on your favourite park bench or while immersed in the sand at the beach. How cool is that?

Whole Food, Bowl Food  has food for the whole family to enjoy. At the top of each page, Anna indicates the different dietary guidelines it can fit – listing everything from paleo to vegan! Now that is sure to make our lives a little easier! Each recipe is simple enough to make after a long day at work or when in a rush in the morning, but special enough to impress your friends with.

One of my favourite recipes in the book is her Carrot Cake Spiced Buckwheat Porridge and Anna has kindly shared it with us.

Whole Food, Bowl Food includes deliciously tasty recipes that will leave you wanting more!

Congratulations on the new book Anna - it's a great one!

Check Anna out on instagram and go to her website for more!

carrot cake porridge

Carrot Cake Spiced Buckwheat Porridge

Serves: 3-4 

Ingredients:

  • 100 g (31⁄2 oz) raw buckwheat, washed and drained
  • 500 ml (16 oz) Fresh Cashew Milk or milk of choice
  • 1 Pink Lady apple (or other variety), coarsely grated
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 40 g (11⁄2 oz) shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3–4 tablespoons sultanas, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped
  • pure maple syrup (if vegan) or honey, to drizzle

Method

Place buckwheat, cashew milk, apple, carrot, coconut, vanilla, cinnamon, mixed spice, salt and sultanas together in a medium saucepan. Over a gentle heat, stir regularly until buckwheat is cooked and the mixture has thickened, about 30 minutes.

Divide porridge between 4 bowls. Serve with persimmon slices, scatter with extra grated carrot, coconut, nuts and drizzle with honey or maple syrup, if desired.

A Whole New Way to Eat + Greek Lemon Chicken with Farro Recipe

Written by Lee on . Posted in Books, Reviews

A Whole New Way To Eat_CVR

Are you ready to look at food through a whole new lens?

Vladia Cobrdova, former juice bar girl, turned Chief Operating Officer of aboutlife, businesswoman, nutritionist and wellness ambassabor has just debuted her new beautiful book, A Whole New Way to Eat.

In her book, Vladia focuses on real food and healthy eating, rather than following the latest dieting craze. A Whole New Way to Eat contains over 135 classical recipes, like butter chicken, with a healthy twist, making them simple enough to prepare and delicious enough to enjoy. The book celebrates Vladia’s work at aboutlife, including her scrumptious recipes that have been made famous in their marketplaces and cafes all over Australia.

I recently had the chance to spend time at the aboutlife store Double Bay, launching my latest book Fast Your Way to Wellness and afterwards snuck in a chat with Vladia over an English breakfast tea.  

She says "I love inspiring people to get back to natural foods and a real way of eating like our great grandparents use to". Vladia's first food influencers were her grandmother and mother, who raised her on wholesome and real food.

Growing up in the former Czechoslovakia under a strict communist regime, meant ducking out to the nearest takeaway or fast food outlet was simply impossible. She says she was lucky in that sense, her food foundations were always real honest food, small portion sizes and an appreciation of home cooking.

Dreaming about food

A quick selfie at aboutlife


       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                    Whether you’re following a paleo-based diet, you’re an inspired vegan or you just want to create something equally delicious as it is healthy, A Whole New Way to Eat has got you covered! The book focuses on eating and cooking real food that every part of you will love - from your taste-buds to your gut. Vladia emphases the importance of using food in its most natural state, like eating seasonal foods that are free of unwanted pesticides and chemicals.

Whether it’s her Veganola for breakfast, Salted Almond Butter Smoothie for a pick-me-up or her Purple Cabbage Dumplings recipe for dinner, Vladia has perfectly balanced spices, tastes and nutrients to ensure that each recipe is made to perfection.

Cooking with A Whole New Way to Eat is a wonderful way to ensure that everyone around the table is loving what they’re eating and that their bodies are loving them right back afterwards!

One of my favourite recipes from the book is the Greek Lemon Chicken with Farro and Wild Rocket and Vladia has kindly shared it with us.  

Congratulations on your new book Vladia!

You can follow Vladia on instagram here.

GreekLemonChicken

GREEK LEMON CHICKEN WITH FARRO & WILD ROCKET

Prep time:

20 minutes, plus overnight soaking

cooking time: 1 hour

Serves 4

Ingredients: 

  • 200 g (7 oz/1 cup) farro (spelt)
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) olive oil
  • 4 chicken Marylands (leg quarters), about 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) total 
  • 1/3 cup garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) Bone Broth
  • 80 ml (2½ fl oz/1/3 cup) lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ tablespoons finely chopped sage leaves
  • ¼ cup thyme leaves, plus a little extra to serve
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 large handfuls rocket (arugula)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Method

Place the farro in a bowl, cover with cold water and soak overnight.

The following day, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan over high heat. Cook the chicken until golden all over. Remove and set aside. Add the garlic to the same pan and stir for 1–2 minutes until golden. Drain the farro and add to the pan with the chicken, broth and 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) of water. Bring to the boil, then add the lemon juice, salt, pepper and herbs and stir to combine. Cover the pan with a lid or foil and bake for 40–50 minutes until the farro is tender.

Remove the pan from the oven and gently stir the egg through the farro. Bake, uncovered, for another 10 minutes or until the egg is creamy but not scrambled. Remove from the oven and fold the rocket and lemon zest through. Sprinkle with the extra thyme and a drizzle of olive oil and serve immediately.

Images and recipes from A Whole New Way to Eat by Vladia Cobrodova (Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99).

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