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The Australian Healthy Hormone Diet Book Review

Written by Lee on . Posted in Books, Reviews

Besides classic adolescent mood swings, menstruation and menopause, how much do you actually know about hormones?

Well, as it turns out, there’s a lot more to hormones than meets the eye. Period. (sorry, I promise I won’t make any more hormone jokes). Hormones play a crucial role throughout the body, every single day. 

Hormones control our sleep, our immune system and even our libido! (Hot flush alert!)

Are you ready to control those hormones for good?

If this sounds like you, Michelle Chevalley Hedge from A Healthy View and Jennifer Flemming have released their latest book The Australian Healthy Hormone Diet, and I highly recommend it!

The extremely knowledgeable Michelle Chevalley Hedge is an American nutritionist, health writer, presenter and a close friend of mine. She created The Australian Healthy Hormone Diet to help you uncover what your hormones are actually trying to tell you! 

The Australian Healthy Hormone Diet offers a four-week nutritional plan that encompasses both lifestyle and nutritional changes to help bring your life, and your hormones, back into balance. If you’re looking to start your hormone-healing journey but you’re not even sure where to begin, Michelle shares countless stories to help you understand just how hormone imbalances can manifest throughout your life and how it’s something every single one of us can experience.

For example, if you’re someone who experiences high stress, your cortisol levels could be through the roof, if you have metabolism issues, you may want to check your thyroid and if you suffer from anxiety, it’s time to up that serotonin!

The Australian Healthy Hormone Diet will show you how to find balance in your life through delicious recipes and simple lifestyle tips for lasting changes. I love the little informative tid-bits she includes throughout the book, discussing things like the fat vs. skim debate and the importance of sleep!

Enjoy my interview with Michelle and don't forget to check out her delicious recipe for her Brussel Sprouts Chicken Caesar Salad (um... yum!) below.

- Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started your health journey?

I have always been interested in food - madly interested. My mum is Italian, with 5 sisters, so I grew up in a home where ‘food is love’.  I thought I would go into medicine and health as a career but as life has it, I ended up getting a scholarship to a business school and a fellowship for a Masters in Computers.  This landed me a career in education and marketing for Microsoft here in Australia 26 years ago.  I often tell people  how I came here to speak at a conference, and fell in love with a man and a country - in 24 hours!!!

While I was working at Microsoft, like most time-poor working people, my physical and mental health began to suffer.  My moods, brain clarity, energy, and sleep was unbalanced, not to mention my weight would fluctuate 2-3 kilos a week  due to my stress hormone, cortisol being overloaded.  In retrospect, I am so lucky to have that career, as now as a nutritionist I can say to most super busy time poor people….’I get you! I truly understand wanting to get healthy without an extreme approach!'

- Do you subscribe to a food or wellness philosophy?

I like ‘a healthy view’, not an extreme one.  I educate our clients on how food needs to be tasty, easy and affordable.  If it is not, then it is not in our books, plans or cleanse programs.  I believe in eating as much real food as possible and when we are not that is ok, but make a conscious, mindful choice.  For example, if you are going to have a couple of Friday night champagnes then perhaps that day you don't have sushi rice with your meal because you know you're going to have a fair bit of sugar from your champagne. 

- What are your top 3 cooking staples? 

Oh, that is difficult to limit to three!  Food-wise… it would be flaxseeds, avocado, and eggs.  I could live on those three yummy things to keep me satiated and my bowels moving!  Equipment wise… it would be a NutriBullet, case iron fry pan, tea pot.

- If you could cook a meal for one person, what would you make?

I love eggs, poached, boiled, or scramble for breakfast or lunch with wild flavours added but I will tell you my favourite, easy, peasy dinner.

A piece of fish rubbed with some moroccan season and oil to marinate in the fridge before I leave for work.  Arrive home and chop a sweet potato in small chucks ( smaller chucks means less cooking time) and toss in boiling water for about 15 minutes.  Drain and mash, adding some olive oil, salt and pepper. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, I decide if I'll bake this fish or pop on the BBQ for only 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.  I'll use any veggie I have, often broccoli, cauliflower or green beans.  Toss them in oil and a tiny bit of preserved lemon, finely chopped.  Place the veggies alongside the fish either in the oven at 200 degrees or the BBQ for about 8-10 minutes or until cooked.

Lay the sweet potato mash on a white plate.  Place the fish on top and pop the veggies alongside.  Yum!

- How do you know if your hormones are out of whack?

Do you ever wake up tired after 8 hours of sleep? Do you have trouble losing weight or maintaining weight despite eating like a bird?  Do you go to bed exhausted but lie there - tired but wired?  Is your weight going straight to your tummy?  Are you hungry all the time? Are you moody, anxious or depressed and cannot understand why?

These are just a few of the signs that something is hormonally out of balance.  

It could be that you are on cortisol overload from food and life stresses.  It could be a sluggish thyroid hormone hijacking your weight.  Perhaps it is your insulin levels, creating high testosterone levels and cascading into PCOS.  Or oestrogen excess and heavy periods or cystic breasts?  Our humble hormones have a lot to answer for. 

 - What are your top tips for people who are trying to balance their hormones?

Take 4 weeks out of your life and eat clean, real food that is low sugar, no gluten and low dairy.  Make sure you have someone or a book to guide you and provide you with easy recipes that taste delicious.  If your food is tasty and satiating, then it is repeatable and becomes a habit and will most likely continue beyond the 4 weeks because it's easy to follow. 

- I'm in menopause, what foods do you suggest for people like me?

I love talking about menopause, but this book is for men and women of all ages not just with menopause hormone issues.  But since we are on this hot topic let me say that doing our 4-week rebalance that is included in the book will bring back you energy, shine, and perhaps even your libido.   The 4-week program is designed to get your liver clean, tummy flat, digestion working and brain firing.  We do that with recipes that are nutritionally dense, high in fibre, with good fats and quality proteins. 

- What inspired you to write your latest book, The Australian Healthy Hormone Diet?

In our clinical practice, A Healthy View and at our corporate speaking engagements, we were seeing an alarming number of people who were angry with themselves for lack of willpower and self-discipline.  I want people to stop beating themselves up and start looking beneath the surface of weight gain, exhaustion, belly back, fat and muffin tops!  I want people to start exploring if their fat storage hormone, insulin, is out.  I would like people to explore if their stress hormone, cortisol, is keeping weight on their belly or perhaps it’s an undiagnosed, sluggish thyroid hormone.  People who are suffering from PMT, fibroid and fertility issues - could it be that your oestrogen is out of whack? Men who are exhausted and gaining a ‘dad bod’ need to know what is going on with their bodies, brains and hormones and its connection to food.

- Tell us about The Australian Healthy Hormone Diet?

It is a 4-week, step by step recipe and lifestyle program to rebalance your hormones.  It starts off in Part I with real people, sharing their true experiences of PCOS, exhaustion, brain fog, lack of libido, and anxiety.  Those clients then go on to explain how the 4 week hormone rebalance has become part of their life because it is so easy.  It includes delicious recipes in a food combining way. 

 - What’s your favourite recipe from The Australian Healthy Hormone Diet?

Brussel Sprout Caesar Salad. "Lock up your Brussels Sprouts"…as Lee says!  This dish is scrumptious and nutritious.  I love the flavour of the dressing and I am in a race to out caesar my Italian mum in New York.   She is hands down the queen of caesar dressing.  The added benefit of Brussel sprouts being liver cleansing just takes this dish to the next level.

For more information, check it out here

Warm Brussels Sprouts Chicken Caesar Salad


Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 x 150 g skinless chicken breast fillets
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g brussel sprouts, thinly sliced
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 3 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons tamari
  • 2 teaspoons capers, rinsed
  • Sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper (optional) 

Method:

  • To make the dressing, combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, tamari and capers in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and season if required
  • Place the chicken in a glass or ceramic dish, then pour half the dressing evenly over the top. Set aside to marinate for at least 15 minutes (though if you can, prepare this in the morning or even the night before so it's had plenty of time to marinate). The dressing will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Transfer the chicken breasts to a baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. Alternatively, cook them on the barbecue
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add the sprouts and sauté for about 5 minutes or until just tender. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Toss the remaining dressing through the sprouts.
  • Slice the chicken and scatter over the top, then garnish with flat-leaf parsley and serve

Healthy Made Easy by Luke Hines + Coconut and Blueberry Loaf

Written by Lee on . Posted in Books, Reviews

Are you ready to make healthy easy again?

Well, you’ve certainly come to the right place!

Luke Hines is a passionate cook and health foodie. Dubbed Australia’s ‘Clean Living Expert’, Luke creates real fuss-free recipes that look and taste amazing. All of Luke’s recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free.

Luke’s latest book, Healthy Made Easy, shows you how healthy food can be incredibly simple to make and taste damn delicious too. Every recipe is filled with sustainable protein, fresh fruit and vegetables that’ll help you thrive and flourish, rather than feel restricted, hungry and bored. Say goodbye to those celery sticks and say hello to over 140 fast and delicious recipes.

The 'Gaytime' Cake

Healthy Made Easy focuses on finding tantalizingly tasty, healthy substitutions for your favourite old-school meals and snacks that’ll help boost your energy and make you feel happier and healthier more than ever before. PSA: this is also how being around Luke makes you feel!

If you’re ready to transform your life, regardless of how busy you are or your kitchen experience (I know, we can’t all cook for a living!), Healthy Made Easy is the book for you. t’s a great gift to your favourite chef in your life! You can find other presents for your favourite chef friends here

If you’re interested in finding out more about Luke and his delicious new book, read our interview below! Oh, and don’t forget his Coconut and Blueberry Loaf recipe - it's a real winner.

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started?

Having grown up struggling with my weight all throughout my teens, but not being overly sporty, I completed my high school years knowing I had to do something about my health, but what? I fell in love with the gym, but more so, I actually LOVED being in the kitchen! Fast-track 10 years of my life and I become a Personal Trainer with a specific focus on eating clean. Then a little show called My Kitchen Rules changed my life in 2013 and made food my full-time gig. Now, I spend my years writing recipes, sharing my books with the world, and hopefully inspiring others to know that healthy cooking is super easy, fun and really delicious!

  • I love your Facebook Live Cooking Videos; they’re always hilarious and everything you make is drool-worthy! What made you start them?

They sort of just accidentally happened! I first started filming videos and them editing them, and this proved time-consuming and I often felt a little unnatural when doing certain parts of the recipe over and over for the perfect shot. I decided I was better live as I was less nervous (go figure) and it actually showcases what cooking is like for everyone else at home. No staged, not faked and anything can happen! I realised people really resonated with the fact that not everything always works out, and thats ok! Its about having fun and simply using real food ingredients!

Surf-Chilled Coconut Ocean Trout

  • Do you subscribe to a food or wellness philosophy?

I did spend a period of time where I was fairly strict Paleo, I think energetically at that time I needed the structure that it came with to get my health on track, but asking me now I am more a flexitarian, making sure that life always comes first. What I mean by that is that I try to eat clean, which to me is the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and limit anything that could cause harm or inflammation, but never let the way I eat dictate my adventures in life as experiences should always come first. That means when I am in Italy, it's all about pizza and pasta, mindfully, in moderation! I don’t think we should ever restrict, just do the best you can when possible and in routine, and relax and don’t be hard on yourself if things don’t always go to plan!

  • What are your top 3 cooking staples? 

Eggs! Perfect for cakes, oh and breakfast! They are a true superfood in so many ways, and the real versatile hero for the kitchen!

Cauliflower! From rice to a pizza base, these babies are the bomb! What's not to love also about a simple slow roasted cauliflower in coconut oil or ghee! YUM!

Raw Cacao! Perhaps its the magnesium, or maybe she’s born with it, but I am obsessed with raw cacao! Added to my morning coffee, in a healthy raw chocolate slab, or in a delightedly chilli mole mince! Healthy and delicious, what more can you ask for?

  • If you could cook a meal for one person(apart from me ha!), who would it be and what would you make?

I’d actually love to cook for Stephen Spielberg! I am a massive movie addict, and I just LOVE his films, especially Jurassic Park, it still holds up today as one of the most magical pieces of cinematic work and it's almost 30 years old!  I'd ask for all the behind the scenes ‘how was that made’ type stuff! Plus, he might cast me in his next movie about a humble chef from Australia being kidnapped by pirates at sea.  

  • What are your top tips for people who are trying to live a healthier life?

First and foremost you have to be kind to yourself! Any physical and emotional transformation for the better, requires us to love our selves and be comfortable in the now, so we can let go of stress and allow ourselves to move into our next phase of health. Then, I would say, small, easy, incremental steps each day that add up to long term sustainable change. Progress over a long period of time is better than rushing and burning out.

Healthy Made Easy was born from all the amazing feedback from the book that came before, Eat Clean. Anytime I asked anyone what their favourite thing about Eat Clean was, the answer was the same, EASY but still delicious recipes. I spoke to my publisher and I said, how about we give them more recipes, that are quicker, easier and easier than ever before, in the hope that we could eliminate the stress and time that some people think comes with cooking your own nutritious food. As health authors, we often hear people say that eating well can be costly, confusing and take too long, it's time to turn this myth on its head!

 - What’s your favourite recipe from Healthy Made Easy?

Oh, this is like having to pick a favourite child! Ok, so, I will give you my favourite sweet and my favourite savoury! My favourite savoury is the Bangkok Beef Cheeks due to their delightful curry sauce and use of one of my favourite cuts of meat! And as for dessert, I can’t go past the Easy As Lemon Slice! It is so simple and delicious!

Wow thanks Luke and thank you for the wonderful recipe you are sharing with us today 🙂

Coconut and Blueberry Loaf - Makes 1 loaf 


I love this loaf as a slightly sweeter more decadent start to my day. Inspired by the traditional banana bread, the coconut and blueberries are a wonderful flavour combination. Enjoyed fresh out of the oven or toasted in a pan with some coconut oil until crispy, this is epic when lathered with the coconut frosting and drizzled with honey.

Ingredients: 

  • 200g desiccated or shredded coconut, plus a few extra to garnish the top
  • 6 free range eggs
  • 1 large very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fresh vanilla bean
  • 1 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, plus a few extra to garnish the top
  • Vanilla coconut cream, to top
  • 1 tablespoon honey, to drizzle

Directions:

  • Get started by preheating your oven to 180 degrees and lining a 450gram loaf or bread tin with baking paper. In a good-quality powerful food processor, blitz the desiccated coconut until it forms a crumbly flour-like consistency. Be mindful not to over-process it, as it will turn into coconut butter.
  • Either by hand or using a hand held mixer, beat the eggs, maple syrup and vanilla bean for a few minutes until well combined. Now add in the mashed banana and stir to combine.
  • Fold the coconut flour mixture you’ve made into the wet mixture, then gently fold through the frozen blueberries. Pour the batter into the lined loaf tin and top the batter with extra blueberries and shredded coconut.
  • Bake at 180C for 45 mins. Remove from the oven, turn onto a wire rack if you’ve got one and allow it to cool if you are patient.
  • Enjoy it immediately with a generous lather of vanilla coconut frosting and drizzled with honey or your favourite topping. Store in an air-tight container in the pantry or fridge.

Health Tip: This delicious breakfast bread is also great with a slathering of butter or coconut oil. 

Note: Last up to 7 days in fridge.

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).

Hippie Lane the Cookbook + Recipe Share

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

Hippie Lane CVRAre you constantly on the look-out for deliciously healthy raw treat recipes, smoothie bowls to lust over, vegan Buddha bowls to chow down on and date-night dinner inspiration with edge to seriously impress?

Look no further!

The founder of the wonderful Hippie Lane, the beautiful Taline Gabriel, has debuted her first book Hippie Lane the Cookbook and it’s one not to be missed.  Taline uses whole, unprocessed and real ingredients that are super aesthetically pleasing, free of refined sugars, gluten-free and plant-based to create recipes that are nothing short of drool-worthy and instagram friendly.

Taline has included nourishing recipes for every occasion under the sun, including breakfasts bursting with flavour, delicious dinners, Sunday brunches, sweet fixes and easy lunches!

Taline Gabrielian_SmlGrowing up as a Nutella-obsessed junk foodie, Taline’s speciality is taking treats we used to love and making them with simple ingredients that are vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free.  They're so nutritious and you won’t need to worry about compromising on the taste side of things either.

You may have tried one of Taline’s delicious raw treats, like her Snickerz Bar (spoiler alert: they taste better than the real thing!) around different cafes in Sydney, but her savoury recipes prove to be just as mouth-watering. I’m still dreaming about her Green Goddess Bowl which is a green lover's paradise.

Hippie Lane the Cookbook, is so much more than a compilation of delicious recipes and a few healthy tips, Taline focuses on the power of food and the beauty of gathering loved ones together to celebrate a passion of wholesome cooking that can nourish the body, mind and soul.

The Green Goddess Bowl 

Hippie Lane Cookbook

Images and recipes from Hippie Lane: The Cookbook by Taline Gabrielian (Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99).

Ingredients

serves 2    

VGN  DF  GF  RSF

Almost too yummy to be healthy, and the ultimate brunch, here is the perfect green bowl, fit for a goddess.

  • 15 g (½ oz/½ cup) shredded kale
  • 6 broccolini stems
  • 10 green beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra
    to serve
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Pesto (see below)
  • 300 g (10½ oz/1½ cups) cooked quinoa
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 45 g (1½ oz/1 cup) baby rocket (arugula) leaves
  • 1 zucchini (courgette), shredded or spiralised
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion (scallion)
  • a few basil leaves
  • pinch of Himalayan salt
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lemon wedges

Method

Fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Have a bowl of iced water at the ready.

Add the kale to the boiling water and blanch for 30 seconds, then remove with tongs and refresh in the iced water, to stop it cooking further.

Add the broccolini to the boiling water. Leave to boil for 1 minute, or until just tender, then remove and add to the iced water.

Blanch the beans in the boiling water for 30 seconds, then remove and add to the iced water.

Drain the blanched vegetables, then chop the kale and beans and set aside.

Warm most of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the pesto, spreading it over the pan. Stir in the kale. Add the remaining olive oil, then add the broccolini and beans, stirring briefly. Stir the quinoa and lemon juice through, then remove from the heat.

Divide the rocket and zucchini among two serving bowls. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil, then top with the pesto-tossed greens.

Top with the avocado, sunflower seeds, pepitas, spring onion and basil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper, add a lemon wedge to each bowl and enjoy.

Pesto

  • 115 g (4 oz/¾ cup) pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ¾ cup basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 25 g (1 oz/1 cup) rocket (arugula) leaves
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) mild-tasting olive oil

Place the pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until large crumbs form.

Add the garlic, basil, rocket, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Pulse until just combined. Add the olive oil and process until smooth. The pesto is best made just beforeserving, but will keep in the fridge for a day or two in an airtight container, covered with a layer of olive oil to stop the basil discolouring.

For more information about Taline, check out the Hippie Lane website and Taline's instagram.

Small Victories Book Review Plus Buttermilk Pancake Recipe

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

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Food always tastes better when made with love. Whether it's from the passion the cook has for it or from the love for the people it’s being created for. Each mouthful becomes even more pleasurable when love is involved.

Julia Turshen’s new cookbook Small Victories is full of wholesome yet exciting meals made from such moments. Revealing and laughing at her own cooking mistakes, turning them into useful tips, Turshen encourages you to overcome the daunting and stressful task of making a meal. To find enjoyment in the ‘small victories’ like not dropping any celery on the floor when first learning to sauté, or turning ice cream that wouldn’t freeze into a dinner party milkshake hit.

Small Victories has a humble quality, from Turshen’s expert but easy-going guidance, to its focus on utilising good, fresh produce that is accessible to most home cooks. With a few ingredients and flavours included to help broaden your pantry and excite your tastebuds, Turshen takes away the angst of having to find and buy these ingredients if you don’t have them, by providing effective alternatives.

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Out of milk? You can still have pancakes for breakfast (or dinner)!  Try out the ‘Sour Cream Pancakes with Roasted Blueberries’ recipe from the book, which I Supercharged by using a Turshen alternative of buttermilk rather than sour cream. By the way if you’re dairy free coconut milk would be just as nice!

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This book is Turshen’s outstretched welcome into her home kitchen, with beautiful nostalgic photography and personal stories, and every turn of the page is filled with the essence of her love for food and cooking.

The other wonderful thing about Small Victories is that you don't need to be an expert to enjoy it; if you're more of a "one recipe kind of a cook" the book features creative ways to reuse recipes, turning your single mastered meal into a multitude of delicious moments.  

Small Victories is a great introduction to food for new cooks because it gently takes away the seriousness of getting it right and finds laughter and pleasure in your ‘small victories’.

My first stop was the Sour Cream pancakes and I made a couple of supercharged switches using buttermilk in the recipe which I'm sharing with you here.

buttermilk pancakes

Buttermilk Pancakes with Roasted Blueberries

  • 1 ¼ cups (160g) blueberries, rinsed and drained
  • 3 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • ½ cup (60g) oat flour
  • ¼ cup (30g) sorghum flour
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) Buttermilk or coconut milk
  • Coconut oil for cooking and serving

Preheat oven to 200°C

In a baking dish, combine the blueberries with 2 Tbsp of the coconut sugar and stir to mix.

Place in the oven and roast, pulling the baking dish out a few times to stir the blueberries, until their skins burst and they have released lots of juices, this takes about 20 minutes.

Using a fork or a potato masher, crush the berries a bit so that they become jammy. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, and salt and whisk to combine.

Crack the eggs into a medium bowl, add the buttermilk and remaining 1 Tbsp coconut sugar, and whisk until the mixture is uniform. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to mix everything together. It’s okay if the batter isn’t perfectly smooth – it’s better to under mix than over mix.

Set a large cast-iron pan, or your largest frying pan over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp coconut oil. Once the oil melts, swirl the pan or brush the pan to evenly coat the surface.

Pour the batter into the pan using a ¼ cup (60ml) increments to form pancakes that are roughly 10cm in diameter, cook only as many pancakes at a time as can fit comfortably.

buttermilk pancakes 2

The minute that pancakes become too precise is the minute they become no fun, so don’t stress over this – it’s okay if they’re not the same size. Cook the pancakes until small bubbles appear on the surface and the undersides are nicely browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

Flip the pancakes over and cook until the second sides are nicely browned, another minute or so.

Transfer to warm plates and continue making pancakes, adding more coconut oil as you go, until you’ve used up all the batter.

Serve pancakes immediately, with more coconut oil on top and the warm roasted blueberries.

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SPIN-OFFS  You can use coconut milk, buttermilk, sour cream or even yoghurt.

SHAKE UP THE TOPPING ROUTINE by roasting just about any fruit in place of the blueberries (berries are the most jammy, but all fruit benefits from the concentrated caramelisation that happens in the oven). Roasted blackberries, sliced bananas, sliced peaches, and thinly sliced apples or pears are all really delicious. Or rhubarb! Just keep an eye on the fruit while it’s roasting, as some types (e.g., apples) take a little longer than others and some (e.g., sliced bananas) take not much time at all.

THE ROASTED FRUIT TOPPING IS VERY VERSITILE; serve it with coconut cream for dessert, on toast spread with goat's cheese for breakfast, or on waffles for any time. Stir it into yogurt. Or serve alongside or grilled rich meat like pork shoulder or pork chops. Or lamb! Lamb loves fruit.

JULIA TURSHEN has co-authored such cookbooks as Spain…A Culinary Road Trip with Mario Batali, It’s All Good with Gwyneth Paltrow, Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen with Dana Cowin, and The Kimchi Chronicles, Hot Bread Kitchen: The Cookbook, The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries, and Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food

She hosted the first two seasons of Radio Cherry Bombe and has written for Vogue, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Saveur, and The Wall Street Journal.  She lives in upstate New York with her wife, dogs, and cat.

 Follow her on Instagram + Twitter!

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