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Gut Health 101

Written by Lee on . Posted in Blog, gut health, Heal Your Gut, supercharged food

Design by Catfish Creative

The gut is one of the most important components of the body. We interact with it daily and are constantly receiving feedback from it and yet, it’s something that as a society, we tend to keep on the down-lo. We don’t like to talk about our digestive systems in public because it can feel a little too personal, but it’s something so intricately connected to every single thing we do.  

Feel nervous about something? It’s more than likely you’ll have butterflies in the pit of your stomach. Did you eat something that didn’t agree with you? You’re probably feeling bloated or, maybe you’re running to the bathroom.

When we have these issues, we usually take on great measures like eating more vegetables, piling on the sauerkraut, taking fantastic gut-boosting powders such as my Love Your Gut Powder, and so on, but it can be hard to tell if what we’re doing is working and what our best course of action actually is.

So, I’ve decided it’s finally time to reveal the truth. Get those pens out, brains open and ears listening because it’s time to go back to school – gut school!  Get ready for Gut Health 101, with your teacher, Lee Holmes. Are you ready?

Let’s imagine our gut as a beautiful Amazonian rainforest. It’s a naturally complex and dense ecosystem that, when thriving, is luscious and ever-expanding. Every single unique part in the forest plays a role in creating one of the most beautiful environments on the planet. To keep it that way, we need to balance what we feed it to keep it thriving. However, when we diminish its diversity, cause pollution or create damaging conditions, the naturally flourishing system can become harmed and limit its ability to keep us protected and thriving. We need to look after this ecosystem to prevent issues. But, where do we begin?

Well, we need to first figure out where we went wrong. This is where technology comes in.

Luckily for us, the gut is constantly under the microscope, with new scientific research and growing technological findings every day. This has hugely improved our understanding of the microbiome of our gut. There are a multitude of tests available now which can help give us a greater understanding of what’s going on in our digestive systems. These tests can help us understand the reason behind some of the gastrointestinal issues we may be experiencing; however, not everyone needs to get these tests done. If you’re experiencing digestive problems, I recommend speaking to your GP or health practitioner and figure out together whether a test is right for you.

First up, we’ve got the comprehensive stool analysis. This test helps give us a greater understanding of the garden of our microbiome. The stool analysis takes a look at the colonies of bacteria within the gut, as this has a huge impact on our digestion, hormones, immune system and brain. This test can also identify if there’s a build-up of negative bacteria in the gut. If this is the case, Love Your Gut Powder and Golden Gut blend can come in handy as they can help sweep out impurities, heavy metals, parasites and nasty gut bugs without interfering with or wiping out the beneficial bacteria we need for our guts to thrive.

Second on our list of tests is none other than the SIBO breath test. SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) negatively affects the structure of the small intestine which can affect the way in which nutrients are absorbed. This can also be connected to 'leaky gut', where the intestinal walls become permeable to proteins which make their way into the bloodstream, causing abnormal immune responses, allergies, intolerances and autoimmune issues. The SIBO breath test is simple and can be ordered online or done through your GP or health practitioner. Diets can also play a major role in helping eradicate SIBO and prevent relapse. You might like to read my 21 Day SIBO guide plus recipes and meal plan eBook.

Some people don’t tolerate histamines well, which can increase their sensitivity to particular foods high in histamine. The histamine tolerance test can help detect whether there’s a histamine intolerance present.

Intestinal permeability screening is a blood lab test that measures antibodies against bacterial toxins and other proteins in the gut. It can enhance our understanding of the permeability of the gut lining and can help indicate whether someone has ‘leaky gut’ syndrome.

The last test we’ll talk about is the cross-reactive food reactivity; a blood-test for people who’ve worked on their diet but still experience the same symptoms. This can happen when non-gluten containing foods interact with, or are in the same vicinity as, gluten-containing foods. Our bodies react as if the gluten has triggered a response. This test helps us figure out how severe the intolerance is.  

Fish and fennel Broth

Now that we’ve been tested, we have to figure out how to clean up our ecosystem! Some foods that I recommend when trying to heal and seal in order to supercharge the gut and keep the garden growing are bone and veg broths, probiotic-rich food if your histamine levels are ok and slowly-cooked vegetables and stews. I also suggest avoiding foods that inflame the gut. These include processed foods and packaged foods with chemicals and preservatives that our bodies don’t even recognise! Gums and thickeners are two common culprits of digestive disorders and should be avoided. Try limiting your intake of raw foods too as these can cause bloating and reduce your overall intake of gluten, alcohol, sugar, dairy and caffeine.

If you really want to take your gut health to the next level, my Supercharge Your Gut print book and Supercharge Your Gut online program work by nurturing the digestive system two days a week, helping to harness a balanced environment within the gut.

Supercharging Your Gut is a beautiful way to practice self-care; not only does it help calm the nervous system, boost energy, improve moods and reduce stress, it's also the perfect plan for optimising gut health. It'll give your gut a boost and beautify your inner-ecosystem without taking over your life. Your body will be propelled to convert energy more efficiently and take a load off your digestive system. With so many delicious recipes to try, mindful practices and lifestyle tips, you’ll be able to enjoy supercharging your gut and gardening that inner-forest of yours and experience the positive outcomes in no time!  

One beautiful and fun way to show the gut some love is to stimulate the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is part of the parasympathetic nervous system, which can be compromised in gastrointestinal issues. While eating clean and doing mindful, stress-busting practices can help out our vagus nerve, it’s been found that gargling and singing can improve vagal functions. So, if you need me, you'll find me singing The Greatest Showman soundtrack in my car… it’s to boost my gut health, okay?

If you want to find out more tips on supercharging your gut to help you thrive, not just survive, and flourish that beautiful inner-ecosystem of yours, and get over 100 amazing recipes be sure to check out my new book Supercharge Your Gut!

Apple Cider Gummy Bears + Booktopia Supercharge Your Gut Special Offer

Written by Lee on . Posted in Blog, Blog Snacks, Candida Friendly, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Organic, Snacks, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, supercharged food, Supercharged Food Menu, Wheat Free, Yeast Free

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know I have a passion for healtha-fying traditional recipes and making them kid-friendly. In fact, I’ve got a whole book dedicated to it called Supercharged Food for Kids.

If you’re trying to add more apple cider vinegar to yours, your kids or your neighbour’s diet, but can’t stand the taste, you may want to give my gummies a whirl. They're one of the many delicious recipes from my latest book, Supercharge Your Gut. 

It was great being able to drop into Booktopia HQ yesterday and sign hundreds of books, it's safe to say I may have writers cramp for a few days but I have picked up some brand new calligraphy skills to add to my resume!

If you can't wait to get your hands on a copy, the wonderful people at Booktopia are stocking these signed copies which are available right now at the special price of only $27.95. You can pick one up here.

Now that we’re done with a little shameless plug, it’s time to get down to business. And by business, I mean Apple Cider Gummy Bears Business. It's serious stuff, you know!

Apple cider vinegar is seriously good for our health. It can help tackle colds and flus, tame troubled tummies, ease a scratchy throat, control blood sugar levels and even boost weight loss. It has beautiful probiotic enzymes to help balance gut bacteria, improve nutrient assimilation and balance pH levels.

When I’m talking about apple cider vinegar, I mean the real thing. NOT the sweetened and sparkly apple ciders kids are drinking these days. The REAL variety of apple cider vinegar is unfiltered and contains the ‘mother’ of all ingredients – the mother! Most  apple cider vinegars out there have had this crucial ingredient removed and are heavily processed, so make sure you find one that’s got it all intact like this one here.

I'll be the first to admit it, while apple cider vinegar sounds great for our health, it isn't usually the most palatable of ingredients to kids (and pretty much everyone else out there too... if your friend says they LOVE apple cider vinegar, they're probably lying). This is why I’ve combined it with a gut-healing guru, gelatine, and some natural apple juice to make these gummies yummy and good for the tummy!

Gelatine does all the heavy lifting when it comes to gut health! It helps to seal the lining of the gut that's often been opened by various factors such as poor diet and stress. Gelatine can also improve the strength of our digestive system and enhance the secretion of gastric acids to help us break down food, making it easier for us to absorb all the nutrients we're eating! If you're trying to improve your bowel movements (sorry for the possible TMI), gelatine is your gut ninja as it absorbs water which keeps the digestive tract running with fluid and so, promotes good intestinal transit time and healthy bowel movements. Woo-Poo! 

If you're ready to have some seriously devoted healthy gummy fans, you have to give my Apple Cider Gummy Bears a try.

Apple Cider Gummy Bears

Makes about 12

Ingredients:

  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) apple juice (no added sugar)
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/164 cup) apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons powdered gelatine

Method:

  • In a small saucepan, warm the apple juice and vinegar over medium heat.
  • When it starts to bubble, remove from the heat.
  • Sprinkle the gelatine on top and whisk briskly until dissolved. Strain.
  • Pour into teddy bear moulds, or other moulds of your choice, or into a small lined baking tin.
  • Refrigerate for 1–2 hours, or until set.
  • Turn out of the moulds, or cut into small squares to serve. The gummies will keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for 1–2 weeks.

SUPERCHARGED TIP:

For my vegetarian friends, you can now have you gummies and eat them too! To make Aloe Vera Gummies, replace the gelatine with aloe vera juice.

For Vegetarian Gummies, simply heat up 350 ml (12 fl oz) aloe vera juice in a saucepan, add 1/2 tsp agar-agar powder and stir to dissolve. Agar agar is a flavorless gelling agent, derived from cooked and pressed seaweed.

Continue stirring for a couple of minutes. When the mixture starts to boil, remove from the heat, add some liquid stevia, vanilla extract, chopped mint or whatever spice you like — even berries would be nice!

Pour into an ice-cube tray. Top with shredded coconut if you like, then refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until set.

Golden Gut Oatmeal Cookies

Written by Lee on . Posted in Blog, Blog Snacks, Dessert, Gluten Free, Golden Gut Blend, gut healing, gut health, Heal Your Gut, Heal Your Gut Powder, Heal Your Gut Powder, Seasonal, Snacks, Sugar Free, supercharged food, Vegetarian, Wheat Free, Yeast Free

I don't know about you, but sometimes, when I go to do my weekly grocery shop I'm in such a rush that I'm running around and miss a few vital foods on my list. 

What can I say? I'm only human.

So, I often have to make my embarrassing way back to the shops and, I must admit, get a little distracted and often deviate from my list. Who can walk past brightly-coloured raspberries and not buy them?

I often think to myself, hmmm, did I buy enough zucchini for the week? Are there any avocados left? Do we have enough bananas?

The answer is no. Always no. 

In my house, you can never have enough bananas. I always think we need more. So obviously, I listen to my gut, and buy a few more bananas. 

And that is the story behind why I always end up with one too many bananas.

But anyway, back to food blogging... 

When these potassium-rich fruits start to go a bit brown, don't panic! You can always freeze bananas for a smoothie bowl, or my famous mint choc chip smoothie

This time, instead of just freezing my bananas, I experimented with something a little different.

I've used a few extras to create something I’ve been craving of late:

Golden Gut Oatmeal Cookies.

You know when you're drinking a cup of tea (or chai in my case) in the afternoon and you longingly wish for the perfect, crunchy, yet chewy cookie to dunk in your cup? These are the cookies. They're full of the wonderful spices cinnamon, ginger and of course, turmeric (if you can’t tell… it’s my favourite) because of their anti-inflammatory properties and delicious tastes. 

To make adding ALL of these spices, plus my Love Your Gut powder, to recipes, as easy as possible for you and, to add a little bit of bang for your buck, I've created a beautiful product that I'm so excited to share with you. I just knew these cookies would be the perfect way to do it! Because I mean... cookies... hello?. 

I’m using my brand new, golden gut blend to make these cookies as simple to throw together and as good for you as possible! Golden gut is a raw whole food powder that’s gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, low in fat, paleo and vegan. It contains organic food-grade diatomaceous earth naturally de-bittered organic turmeric, certified organic ginger, certified organic cinnamon and certified organic black pepper! It can help improve nutrient absorption, digestion and regulation PLUS it’s full of anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties because of my favourite golden spice. It’s basically magical fairy dust, you can read more about it's magical powers and ambidextrous nature in the kitchen here

These cookies also contain gluten-free rolled oats which help lower your cholesterol levels, keep your bowels regular and your blood sugar levels low. Instead of regular white flour, we're using almond meal. Almond meal acts as a great alternative to normal flour because it’s gluten-free, low in carbohydrates, high in fibre, rich in good fats and adds a hefty source of plant-based protein.

Lo and behold, I’ve combined my love of sweet foods with my adoration of spice with these golden gut oatmeal cookies.

These cookies are high in fibre, healthy fats, protein and anti-inflammatory properties.  Looks like I'm going to have to keep buying one too many bananas more often... 

Golden Gut Oatmeal Cookies

Makes 12 

Ingredients:

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius
  • Place baking paper on baking tray 
  • Place oats, almond meal, golden gut blend, and sea salt in a bowl and mix
  • In a separate bowl add egg, banana, honey, butter and vanilla and stir
  • Add wet ingredients to dry and mix with a wooden spoon adding more almond meal if mixture is a little wet.
  • Scoop handfuls of dough together and roll into balls
  • Place them onto baking sheet then press down with a hand or spatula to make a biscuit shape about 5 cms thick 
  • Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 mins until golden (longer if you are making bigger cookies).
  • Once ready place on a wire rack to cool.

Give them a try and let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Baked Fish with Flaxseed Crust

Written by Lee on . Posted in Autumn, Ayurveda, Blog, Blog Dinner, Blog Lunch, Dairy Free, Eat Right for Your Shape, Sauces, Seasonal, Spring, Sugar Free, supercharged food, Wheat Free, Yeast Free

fish

Fish is one of the most beautiful proteins, and I'm always looking for interesting and flavourful ways to enjoy a simple piece of fish. Whether it’s steamed, sautéed, fried or baked in the oven, there's just so much you can do with fish; and taking on the wisdom and culinary genius of Ayurveda means that you can take hold of an impressive pallet of healthful, balancing ingredients that will not only bring fish to life flavour-wise, but will target your unique dosha in order to bring healing and balance to your entire wellbeing.

This Baked Fish with Flaxseed Crust is one of the most beautiful dinner recipes in my book Eat Right For Your Shape. You only need a handful of ingredients, but do make sure you source them well, especially the fish! Head to a good local fishmonger who sells it fresh, as an un-fresh fish can take a potentially beautiful food experience into something disappointing, if not horrible!

The recipe is beautiful for pacifying Vata (Air) and Kapha (Earth) doshas. In balance, airy Vatas’ are full of creativity and flexibility, however a diet too high in cold foods or absent of oils and healthy fats can bring imbalance to Vata’s leading to dry skin and hair, constipation, digestive problems, malabsorption, fear and anxiety. This warming fish meal with heating and grounding ingredients like black pepper and ginger will bring Vata’s back down to earth and also provide some lubrication and digestive support through the use of ghee.

Kapha’s are super nurturing peace makers in balance, but can be cold, heavy and static when eating a diet that is too high in dairy and heavy proteins, making fish an excellent choice.

Kaphas need light, warm and spicy foods to uplift and generate more digestive fire without weighing them down. This Crusted Fish really ticks all the boxes as its light protein and the use of warming spices like pepper, ginger balanced with the light mint and coriander chutney means that they will be pacified against the tendency towards weighty conditions like depressed mood, sluggishness in digestion and weight gain.

I love this recipe because you can turn a plain fish fillet into a crispy yet moist and flavourful delight covered in a special crunchy flaxseed crust that you mightn’t see every day. Flaxseeds are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids that will help to lubricate Vatas’ dry intestinal tract.

Baked Fish with Flaxseed Crust

Serves 4

Turn a simple fish fillet into a crispy yet moist and flavourful delight covered with a special crunchy flaxseed crust. Flaxseeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fa?tty acids and will help to lubricate vatas’ dry intestinal tract.

  • 4 rainbow trout fillets, bones removed
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, melted
  • 50 g (13⁄4 oz/1⁄2 cup) flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Serve with brown rice and Coriander and mint chutney 
  • lime halves, to serve

Preheat the oven to 175°C (345°F) and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place the fish skin side down on the prepared baking tray and brush with the ghee. Combine the flaxseed meal, rosemary, salt and pepper in a small bowl, then spoon the mixture over the fish and press it down gently.

Bake for 25–30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Serve on brown rice with coriander and mint chutney on top and lime halves on the side.

Coriander and Mint Chutney

Serves 3-4

  • 65 g (21⁄4 oz) mint
  • 80 g (23⁄4 oz) coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 1 green chilli, seeded
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 6 drops liquid stevia
  • pinch of Celtic sea salt

Combine all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.
The chutney will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days.

Coconut Banana Bread

Written by Lee on . Posted in Blog, Blog Breakfast, Breakfast, Dairy Free, Dessert, Desserts, Fasting, Gluten Free, Recipe Book, supercharged food, Vegetarian

banana breadNever ever think that just because you’re sticking to an eating protocol that you have to be a victim of restriction. I’m not a believer in hard core dietary limitation, however I do believe you can achieve detoxification, cleansing, and give your gut a rest from everyday stressors whilst still indulging in pleasure. All it takes is some creativity and an open mind.

In fact, fasting as a spiritual practice is a way to experience the pleasure of a higher conscious state, mindfully detaching from mealtimes as a way to re-focus. During my fasting protocol, which isn’t a complete abstinence of eating all together, you do have the opportunity to truly savor simple elemental flavours. By the end of a fast, you may actually find that your taste buds have re-wired to find even vegetables bursting with sweetness.

Ritual is something of a lost art in our society, and sitting down to food with a mindful, conscious approach is somewhat of a shock to the system in our fast paced world. How often do you sit down, breathe, indulge, and bask your senses in the still quiet of a meal? This approach can act as a mini health retreat, a minor meditation that will re-set your mind on the goodness and beauty of life.

While I’m fasting, I love to sit down in the afternoon to take a pause between ticking tasks off my to-do list, to have some time for myself; refueling for the afternoon. I’ll light myself a candle, prepare myself a pot of herbal tea in a nice tea-pot, and sit down to a snack. My strawberry teacakes are a true delight for afternoon tea, and my lime and blueberry muffins are a sweet treat that will never disappoint.

While I’m fasting, I still want to enjoy a treat that is generous in flavor, and I’d have to say this coconut and banana bread from my new book Fast Your Way to Wellness is an utterly gorgeous indulgence, with a tropical twist on the classic flavours of everyday banana bread, which is usually loaded with wheat and white sugar.

This beauty is free from gluten, low in fructose and uses coconut flour, which imparts the flavour of a Maldivian island, yet offers a range of health benefits. Coconut supplies energy building medium chain fatty acids, micro-flora support and defence against parasites and pathogens thanks to lauric acid and monolaurin. Studies have also shown the fatty acids in coconut help you to eat less, and this is believed to be the result of the way these fats are metabolized.

Bananas are high in potassium, vitamin B6, immune boosting vitamin C, and also contain nutrients that moderate blood sugar levels; helping you to avoid blood sugar plummets during periods of fasting. Bananas are also quite rich in fibre and resistant starch, which are loved by your gut microbes, keeping all those friendly bacteria happy, healthy and fed. Look after these guys and they will look after you! You can read more about the importance about gut health in my popular e-Book Heal Your Gut.

I use a few eggs in this recipe, which adds a good hit of protein to keep you fuller for longer. Honestly, I’m not sure I can find another ingredient that quite matches the nutritional generosity and convenience of the mighty egg. These guys are the perfect portion of fats, proteins and nutrients to aid in body building and all round nourishment. They’re an inexpensive, high quality source of protein, which is found mostly in the whites.  Egg whites contain rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B12, B6 and minerals such as iron, zinc and copper. Egg yolks contain fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K and lecithin. If you buy high quality free range eggs that have come from hens who have pecked around happily in green pastures, they’ll also contain a nice dose of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, so be sure to know you’re eggs.

Aside from binding this bread nicely, eggs are intentionally part of the recipe to ensure you are gaining nutrient density and protein to keep you happy during a fast. But you’ll barely notice you’re fasting when ritually enjoying a slice of this luscious loaf, and with an open and conscious mind, every mouthful will bless your tastebuds.

Take the time to bake and enjoy this gift to yourself with a cup of herbal tea such as this lavender tea with almond milk, or a cleansing and anti-inflammatory turmeric and ginger tea.

Coconut banana bread

Makes 8 slices

119 calories per slice (498kJs)

 Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe small bananas
  • 3 medium eggs, lightly whisked
  • 90 g (31/4oz/1/4 cup) rice malt (brown rice) syrup  
  • a few drops alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • 30 g (1 oz/1/4cup) coconut flour
  • 3/4teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • fruit, to serve (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease a 21 x 9 cm (81/4x 31/2 in) loaf (bar) tin.
  2. Peel and mash the bananas in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, rice malt syrup and vanilla, then mix well. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt, then mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
  3. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the bread comes out clean. Completely cool in the tin on a wire rack, then slice and serve with fruit (if using).

6 Reasons I Love Sardines + Sardine Mash Pot Recipe

Written by Lee on . Posted in anti-inflammatory, Blog, Blog Dinner, Blog Lunch, Digestion, Dinner, gut health, Heal Your Gut, healthy gut. digestive health, Learn, Lunch, Nutrient Rich, Recipe Book, Sugar Free, Super Foods, supercharged food, Supercharged Food Menu

sardine mash pot

Why on earth should I eat sardines? Now before you turn your nose up on these commonly rejected tinned swimmers, you may be surprised by the answer. In fact there is not just one answer to this question. There are several reasons why a good old can of sardines should make an honoured appearance in your pantry.

Sardines might not immediately seem like the most joyous of foods, but they’re so insanely beneficial you’ll be sure to fall in love with them. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids and energy-boosting vitamin B12, as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. This mash is an inexpensive and nutrient-dense meal for when you feel like a boost.

Here are the top six reasons why I love sardines, and why they're one of my favourite supercharged foods for good health.

1. A superior source of omega 3’s

Everyone needs more omega-3 fatty acids in their diets due to the use of processed vegetable oils in foods, and feeding livestock on corn and grains, rather than green pastures. Sardines are a wonderful source of high-quality omega-3 fatty acids. Research is showing that omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA may help to support the tolerance of probiotic strains within your gut microbiome; making sardines an excellent gut health superfood.

2. No worries about mercury

The small size of the sardine means that it has less opportunity to pick up and accumulate mercury. The skinless and boneless sardines are even lower in mercury, with up to 50% less mercury than regular sardines because the mercury is stored in the sardine’s spinal cord. Many people say they also taste better. Larger fish, even salmon contain significant more concentrations of mercury than the tiny sardine.

3. High in vitamin B12

A Vitamin B12 deficiency, even a mild one, can cause symptoms including nerve damage, poor mental function, problems with oxygen uptake into cells, and depleted energy. One can of sardines provides a whopping 338% of your daily Vitamin B12 needs!

4. Anti-inflammatory

The numerous benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are related to their ability to act as an anti-inflammatory, making them a super effective treatment and prevention of hundreds of medical conditions. Omega-3 rich sardines have a remarkable ability to help defend against mood disorders like depression and anxiety, ADHD, arthritis, infertility, heart disease and inflammatory gut conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Apple Pancakes Y’all

Written by Lee on . Posted in Blog, Blog Breakfast, Dairy Free, Dessert, Fasting, Gluten Free, gut healing, gut health, intermittent fasting, Kids, Lunch Box Ideas, lunch box ideas, Nutrient Rich, Organic, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, supercharged food, Vegetarian, Wheat Free, Yeast Free

appleThe humble apple is one of my greatly adored kitchen staples and today I'm sharing an apple recipe from my brand new book Fast Your Way to Wellness.

Affordable, nutritious and versatile, they’re a scrumptious fruity must-have that I love to continually replenish within my kitchen. Whether sliced thinly and thrown into salads, baked and stuffed with nuts and oats, stewed and made into apple sauce, or lovingly formed into a classic crumble, apples are the jack of all trades and a loyal friend that awaits transformation into all kinds of delectable creations.

Apples are nutritional ninjas, boasting loads of wellness boosting properties. Did you know that apples are a wonderful ingredient for regulating blood sugar? Recent studies have shown that the polyphenols contained within apples can help to prevent rollercoaster blood sugar spikes. Particular flavonoids like quercetin have the effect of inhibiting enzymes like alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase which normally break down carbohydrates into simple sugars. Therefore when you eat apples, your body deals with less simple sugars and releases you from spikes in blood sugar.

Salted Caramel Slice

Written by Lee on . Posted in anti-inflammatory, Blog, Dairy Free, Dessert, Desserts, Flavour of the month, Gluten Free, Organic, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, supercharged food, Vegetarian, Winter

salted caramel slice

Today I'm supercharging a classic cake stall favourite straight outta the 80's.  Back in the day when fashions and seasons were mixed; leg warmers and mini skirts, lace with acid wash jeans, now I'm combining salt and caramel!  

Say hello to my gooey and melt-in-the-mouth Salted Caramel Slice, a dessert sure to be a sell out at every school fete across the country.

These beauties are gluten-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar free and full of healthy mood boosting ingredients.  I mean, what kind of person doesn’t break into a smile when they’re gobbling down a piece of chocolatey caramel slice? You’ll be surprised at how something so delicious can actually be so nutritious!

To reach their supercharged potential, I've rounded up some cashews and almonds to make the base. Cashews are great for zinc, iron and vitamins E, K and B6 and almonds are known for their fibre levels, protein, iron, magnesium and vitamin E.

These slices are full of lip-licking and tongue-tingling goodness, and satisfy your sweet cravings without adding inches to your waistline! They partner well with a pot of tea and best served chilled.

If you're looking for a healthy dessert to wow your guests or a superfood snack for afternoon tea, you've come to the right place! 

So, what are you waiting for?

Here’s what you need:

Ingredients: 

Base

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat groats
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp rice malt syrup
  • a few cracks of sea salt

Filling: 

  • 1 cup cashew butter
  • 1/3 cup rice malt syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil 
  • a few cracks of sea salt 

Chocolate topping:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil 
  • 1 tbsp cacao butter
  • 2 tsp cacao powder

Method: 

  1. For the base, combine cashews, almonds and buckwheat in a food processor
  2. Transfer to a bowl and add coconut oil, rice malt syrup and sea salt. This is best combined using hands and then pressing into a brownie tin. Leave in fridge for an hour or freezer for half an hour while preparing the filling. 
  3. To make filling, combine all ingredients in a bowl and spread on top of the base. Leave in the fridge for an hour or freezer for half an hour. 
  4. To make the topping melt coconut oil and cacao butter, add cacao powder and stir until there is no lumps... Drizzle on top of slice and set in the fridge or freezer. Top with shredded coconut and a few more cracks of sea salt!

Give them a whirl and let me know what you think in the comments section below 🙂

Bonkers Banana-cado Bread

Written by Lee on . Posted in Blog, Blog Breakfast, Blog Snacks, Bread, Breakfast, Breakfast, Dairy Free, Dessert, Desserts, Gluten Free, Heal Your Gut Powder, Heal Your Gut Powder, Healthy Meals, Kids, Kids' Recipes, lunch box ideas, Organic, Snacks, Sugar Free, supercharged food, Vegetarian

banana-avo-bread

Bananas and avocadoes are two foods always stocked in my fruit bowl. I honestly don’t know how I could live without these perfectly packaged portions of nourishment, in fact I'm bonkers about them.

While the spotlight is often on ambiguous superfoods found in the depths of Amazonian rainforests, I like to think that some of the simple seasonal foods we have grown up with are also brimming with supercharged goodness.  This is something that I've discovered in my own kitchen at home; everyday foods often hold some of the greatest nutritional superpowers. My mission in life is to find ways to harness the nutrient density of these ingredients; maximising their benefits through the pleasure of everyday simple and delicious recipes.

Smashed avo on toast certainly is a national favourite in Australia and also was peaking in cafes on my recent trip to New York City, and why wouldn’t it be? Creamy, green, versatile and full of nourishment ranging from an abundance of heart healthy monounsaturated fats, a big hit of fibre, vitamin K, folate, vitamin B6, potassium and vitamin C; these perfect portions of goodness can turn a piece of toast or a standard salad into a thing of gastronomical wonder.

I love a bit of smashed avo, but you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg in a hipster café to enjoy its goodness, and can quite frugally enjoy this wholesome café favourite at home. My ultimate go-to breakfast recipe is my smashed sardines with avocado on chia and flaxseed loaf which is full of anti-inflammatory fats, and wonderful for anti-ageing by supplying the skin with moisture from the inside out.

My chilled avocado soup is also an ideal way to enjoy the delight of Mexican flavours and is a brilliant recipe to share as a light meal or starter in the warmth of summer.

No salad really feels complete to me without the presence of luscious chunks of ripe green avo, and another way to celebrate this dreamy fruit is within my kale, strawberry and avocado salad; a beautiful lunch or side to grace your family table.  It's one I'll be serving at my annual orphans Christmas event at my house this year. For more Christmas recipes go here.

Now bananas are another one of those everyday foods that just don’t get old. It’s likely these yellow friends were a presence in your daily school lunchbox, and are the perfect on-the-go snack to bring energy and nourishment in an instant. But don’t let this commoner fool you. They are absolutely loaded with nutrition.

We all know they’re high in potassium which is important for relieving anxiety and stress, enhancing muscle strength, metabolism, water balance, electrolytic functions, and balancing the nervous system; but did you know that bananas are also loaded with vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese and fibre?  They also contain several types of potent antioxidants, including dopamine and catechins, which have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and degenerative diseases.

I love to enjoy bananas as a quick morning snack before exercise. I never let an over-ripe banana go to waste; storing them up in my freezer as a quick way to add creaminess to breakfast smoothies. A stash of frozen bananas always means I can have a sustaining smoothie bowl on offer;  whizzing up a deliciously customised blend bejewelled with different crunchy sprinkles like cacao nibs, nuts, seeds or coconut on top.

My Bestest Ever Roasted Vegetable Stock

Written by Lee on . Posted in anti-inflammatory, Blog, Candida Friendly, Dairy Free, Dinner, Fasting, Gluten Free, gut healing, gut health, Heal Your Gut, healthy gut. digestive health, Healthy Meals, micro flora, microbiome, Nutrient Rich, Organic, Sauces, Seasonal, Shopping List, Soup, Soups & Salads, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, supercharged food, Supercharged Food Menu, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Wheat Free, Winter, Yeast Free

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“Good broth will resurrect the dead,” reads a South American proverb.

Escoffier claimed “Indeed, stock is everything in cooking. Without it, nothing can be done.” A staple and medicinal cure-all in traditional households and the prime ingredient in classic gourmet cuisine, stock or broth made from meat or vegetables is a beautiful meal-base ingredient to always have on hand in the freezer, and has been revered for generations for its ability to nurture the sick and nourish families.

For chefs, stock is the charmed elixir for making soul-warming soups and spectacular sauces.

Vegetable broths made mindfully at home are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to use up leftover veggies, making it a fabulously frugal and environmentally friendly household staple.

If you’re looking to be a more conscious consumer, a homemade stock using up all of your on-hand veggies are the perfect way to enter into the world of frugality, and can help you to justify spending a little extra on quality organic ingredients as you find use for every last skerrick of produce to create delicious meals for you and your family to enjoy.

Beyond adding delicious flavour as the bases of sauces, stocks, soups and stews, they also act as a supercharged “tonic” that are wonderful for adding a dose of healing nutrients that are empowering for health.

Many of the minerals and vital nutrients contained within vegetables are actually bound up within the cell walls of the raw product. Long, slow and gentle cooking actually allows for the breakdown of the cell walls of veggies so that your digestive system can have easy access to the uptake of nutrients.

This is an especially helpful process if you suffer from leaky gut or malabsorption.  Adding broths and stocks is an extra insurance policy to ensure that your body is being flooded with easy-to-digest nutrients and it's one of the staples in my book Heal Your Gut and Heal Your Gut online programs.

I love to experiment with different flavours of seasonal vegetables, herbs and scrap leftovers to create nourishing stocks and tasty, nutrient-rich broths that are both delicious and healing.

Spicy Lamb Koftas

Written by Lee on . Posted in Autumn, Ayurveda, Blog, Blog Dinner, Blog Lunch, Blog Salads, Dairy Free, Dinner, Eat Right for Your Shape, Gluten Free, Healthy Meals, Kids' Recipes, Lunch, Lunch Box Ideas, lunch box ideas, Nutrient Rich, Organic, Salads, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, supercharged food, Supercharged Food Menu, Wheat Free, Winter, Yeast Free

kofta

In need of a little umph and energy?

These Spicy Lamb Koftas from my Ayurvedic bible Eat Right For Your Shape are the perfect energy building food.

Lamb's gamey taste will remind you of the strong blood building qualities of red meat which also helps you build internal heat; a serious requirement of the flighty vata, who tends to feel the cold and become destabilised physically and emotionally. Vatas out of balance caused by a lack of warmth, grounding and digestive fire will be prone to dry skin, poor circulation, muscular aches and pains and arthritis.

Koftas are such a comfort food; even their name is filled with an ultra-cosy vibe. Their hearty nature will warm up your metabolism, so you feel warm from the inside out but can be eaten any time of the year. Rosemary & cumin highlights add to the warmth and spiciness of this rustic and sturdy dish.

Where possible, it’s important to purchase organic and 100% grass fed and finished lamb, which will contain higher amounts of healthy fats including omega-3 fatty acids, bringing another level of wholesome nourishment to build energy and stamina.

Pastured meat’s EPA fatty acid components are also incredibly important for mental health, as EPA is directly linked to brain function and emotional stability.

The fat content in these lamb kofta’s will bring an increase in digestive fire, as will the inclusion of fiery spices like warming ginger and the grounding zing of fresh parsley.

Lamb's natural oily and warming qualities will make you feel capable and maybe even a little competitive. It’ll bring the bounce back to your step, and make you feel more focused and driven.

Enjoy these delightful ayurvedic kofta’s as a midweek meal that’ll be enjoyed by the whole family.

Kids will especially find them fun to eat on their little skewers, and they’re a great way to ground littlies as a trusty witching hour meal to bring them back down to earth!

For busy families, double the recipe for lunch the next day. You can even serve them minus the skewer as a great protein addition to a salad made with seasonal vegetables.

I hope you enjoy them 🙂 Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Spicy Lamb Koftas

Serves 4 makes 8 koftas

  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) minced (ground) lamb
  • 1 small brown onion, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 2.5 cm (1 inch) piece of ginger, peeled and grated

  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint

  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

  • 1 teaspoon mild paprika

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Celtic sea salt, to taste

Preheat a chargrill pan or barbecue hotplate to medium.
  To make the koftas, mix all the ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Divide the mixture into eight portions and form each into a short sausage shape. Thread each onto a bamboo skewer and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Place the skewers on the prepared pan or hotplate and cook for 10 minutes, turning halfway through.

Serve with a garden salad in warmer months or roasted vegetables in winter.

 

My Favourite Mince and Pea Dish

Written by Lee on . Posted in Autumn, Ayurveda, Blog, Blog Dinner, Blog Lunch, Dairy Free, Dinner, Eat Right for Your Shape, Healthy Meals, Lunch, Nutrient Rich, Organic, Recipe Book, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, supercharged food, Supercharged Food Menu, Wheat Free, Winter, Yeast Free

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When investing into quality food; organic and free of chemicals, it can unfortunately be quite a hit on the family food budget without some wallet friendly recipes up your sleeve.

If frugality is just as important to you as nourishment, then I have the perfect recipe for you. This tasty Mince and Pea dish, also known as Keema Matar is one of my favourite budget friendly Ayurvedic recipes from my book Eat Right For Your Shape, and is ultra wholesome and balancing for finance fearing Vatas who require affordable and grounding comfort food at the end of their day.

Keema is a traditional Indian meat dish, and it’s believed that the word may have been borrowed from Greece and originally meant ‘minced meat’. Traditionally, this dish uses minced mutton (lamb or goat) with peas or potatoes. Keema can be made from almost any meat, can be cooked by stewing or frying, and can be formed into kababs. Keema is also sometimes used as a filling for samosas or naan.

If you’re a Vata, it’s no wonder you have money worries. Vata’s are governed by the flighty element of air- naturally cold, light, dry, dynamic and ever changing. Complexities and changes in financial situations will stress you out, so when it comes to your food budget, you need a stable set of money saving recipes that you can rely on week in and week out. Your thoughts and your physical body are completely interlocked, so if money is a stress for you, it will manifest also in physical ailments like poor circulation, brittle nails, frizzy hair, dark eye circles, insomnia and muscular aches and pains.

As a Vata, you’ll definitely want to choose foods that are warming, oily, heavy, sweet and salty to help ground your anxious thoughts and bring a sense of stability to your body and mind. This scrumptious Keema Matar will tick all of these boxes:

WARMING- through the use of fiery grounding spices like chilli powder and ginger, which will rev up your sluggish digestion; a link to anxiousness.

OILY- through the use of gorgeous ghee. This nourishing golden oil is slightly sweet and lubricating for your dry and cold constitution.

HEAVY- through the keema (mince); lamb or beef will provide a heavy and earthing quality, igniting a sense of groundedness and pacifying the effects of worry and stress in your life.

SWEET- through the use of gorgeous green peas. These really are the lollies of the vegetable kingdom; reducing Vata which is typically sharp and cold.

All the ingredients in this dish are also super affordable. A pack of frozen peas, even in organic form will cost around two or three dollars, and mince is one of the most affordable animal proteins you can purchase.

This is a recipe I love to batch cook and freeze in single portions for those days when you’re really not in the mood for cooking but need a quick lunch to take to work, or a speedy dinner instead of spending on takeaway.

It's a true saviour!

KEEMA MATAR (MINCE WITH PEAS)

SERVES 4

  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 11⁄2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh turmeric or ground turmeric
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) minced (ground) lamb or beef
  • 200 g (7 oz/3⁄4 cup) sheep’s milk yoghurt
  • 215 g (71⁄2 oz/11⁄2 cups) frozen baby peas
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala (optional)
  • freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • filtered water (optional), for moistening

To serve

  • Rice of choice  large handful coriander (cilantro) leaves, almonds, roughly chopped, to serve

Heat the ghee in a wok or heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3–4 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for 2 minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic. Add the turmeric, chilli, cumin and salt, and stir for a few seconds.

Add the meat and cook, stirring frequently, until it breaks up and colours. Stir through the yoghurt and peas, then reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir through the garam masala (if using) and pepper to taste. If you prefer a moist dish, add some filtered water.

Serve with pilau, sprinkled with coriander and almonds.

Happy Cooking 🙂

Lee xo

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