Last weekend didn't exactly go as planned. Friday night I started to feel 'under the weather', like I had a cold coming on. It was the end of school holidays and everything was bugging me from the mess all over the house, the sounds of the television, my 2 year old having a one-sided argument with my 9 year old, I was tired, feeling unwell and a bit over it all. Saturday morning I woke feeling much the same but with the 'head cold' really making it's presence known. And then I hopped into the shower ....Oh good grief!!! The pain of taking my top off was unbearable! My right breast was so sore and when I examined it closer, I saw a large red mark and felt a very painful, hot lump on the underside of my breast, towards my mid-line. MASTITIS!!!!
As a Certified GAPS Practitioner I receive lots of questions and comments on a daily basis, in the clinic, over the phone and by email. Some of these questions run along common themes and some are completely unique and I try to answer them all in a timely manner. Today, we're going to start with an ANSWER. I know that sounds weird but stay with me.
The answer is:
I wanted to address a question, or rather a statement, that I often encounter with new GAPS patients in my clinic. You may have once asked this question ....so you know what I'm going to say :)
How do I make the GAPS Diet fit around my lifestyle?
Is this a post about How to Cheat on GAPS Intro?? ....Well no, not exactly. But we do need to talk about it. It's kinda like the elephant in the room.
I can feel another confession coming ....eeeep!
If you're toddler doesn't like soup ....why not 'Deconstruct It'?
Feeling pretty good on my GAPS Diet 'do-over'. I had a slight resurgence of brain fog yesterday after increasing my biokult the night before, but not so bad. The eczema on my hands is looking a little better today! But again ...it's early days and the early days of Intro tend to be "2 steps forward, 1 step back". I'll celebrate when it's gone.
If you have been reading my earlier posts, Confessions of a Certified GAPS Practitioner, The Day 4 Detox Pit and Day One of Better Days ....you would be aware that I'm not doing this alone. Little Billie, my not yet 2 year old, is coming along for the ride too. And she's doing really great! That being said, it doesn't mean that we don't have our moments.
Oh yeah! That could be me right there. Well, today anyway.
It's Day 1 of Stage 2 (aka Day 8) today and it feels like Day 1 of Better Days too. Days 4 - 7 were ....interesting. So many die-off and detox symptoms, bad moods, snappy energy, fatigue and brain fog ....oh the brain fog. I don't remember experiencing the brain fog last time around. I just remember my skin flaring up terribly. Prior to re-starting GAPS, I wasn't sure that I had ever had Brain Fog. Patients spoke of it and how it affected their lives but I was never completely sure of exactly what they meant. I've had days where I was little unfocused on the job at hand, easily distracted and just not really achieving everything I set for myself each day, but this!! THIS was terrible!
Ok so it's Day 4 of our GAPS Introduction Diet. We are halfway through Stage 1 and I feel ......COMPLETELY DYSFUNCTIONAL today! Oh good grief, I'm flat out following a thought for more than a minute. My desires of getting lots of work done today are just that ....desires. I'm going nowhere fast LOL.
Little Billie is feeling it too. She's displaying a few cold symptoms like being a little bit whiney, sneezing, needing cuddles and she has gone down for a nap about 2 hours earlier than normal. She has done so well with food. It hasn't been without needing 'motivational' tools (read: Bribes!) but she's doing it in style. And when my brain comes back to me ....I have some "Tips for Doing GAPS with Kids" coming.
Here's my Day 1 photos of my hands and I thought I would shoot the obligatory "looking miserable" shot.
Some photos from my first journey through GAPS.
It has been 4.5 years since I first embarked on the GAPS Diet. I started it to help my eldest daughter with her seizures and ended up making the most amazing changes to my own health. In just 7 weeks, I went from being covered (head to toe) in eczema, exhausted all of the time, facial acne, allergic to absolutely everything and very low stress tolerance to being completely eczema free, energy to burn (despite our sleepless nights with our daughter), no acne and coping really well with our stress filled days. Within a couple of months of finishing the Introduction Diet I was told of the opportunity to become a Certified GAPS Practitioner by training under Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride and I jumped at it. Nothing in my Naturopathic life had ever brought about such profound changes in my health or in anyone else's that I knew.
Here's a little recipe for all of you Gut and Psychology Syndrome peeps ....to keep you powering on and motivated.
The Recipe for Success
4 cups of Determination (Chicken Broth)
2 inch piece of Support (Ginger, grated finely)
2 inch piece of Self Love (Turmeric, grated finely)
1 heaped tsp Courage (Garlic, crushed)
2 little leaves of Belief (Kaffir Lime Leaves)
1 tsp Creativity (Celtic Sea Salt)
Lovingly place all of the ingredients into a pot and bring to a heartwarming simmer. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. If you are currently on Full GAPS you may now drink your Success. If you are on GAPS Intro, you will need to first remove the solids by running your Success through a fine sieve or muslin cloth and then enjoy your Success.
Get Nourished xx
I've been reading an amazing book lately and it has me excited and is sparking that inner fire. It's a book that puts beautiful words to my thoughts around food, thoughts that I regularly attempt to convey to patients and participants at workshops. It's about your genes and how to feed them and ultimately ....how to change them. It really is all about 'What you do with what you get!' and it really is all about not destroying your children's, and your children's children, genetic heritage. The book is called "Deep Nutrition - Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food", written by Catherine Shanahan MD and Luke Shanahan.
This excerpt that I want to share with you, fires my soul.
I have had a few requests for this recipe after I posted it on the Nourish facebook page and my personal page for my daughter's birthday last month. It's really just a mish mash of recipes that I hurriedly put together after a planned birthday cake disaster. Note to self ....natural food dyes do not work when one is using almond meal ....it just comes out brown :(. So at the last moment, the Strawberry Shortcake recipe was born.
I've used this recipe to make a killer cream 'frosting' for the Strawberry Shortcake recipe but you can use it in both sweet and savoury dishes. It's thick and creamy and amazingly delicious. To make it GAPS friendly, ensure that you culture for the full 24 hours.
900ml Organic Cream (pure cream, no additives)
Yoghurt Culture (C aBY type)
Warm your cream to skin temperature (approximately 38 deg C) and pour into your yoghurt jar (I prefer to use glass). You can use a thermometer or if you're good at guestimating ....use the inside of your wrist to gauge the temperature.
Add your culture (if you have purchased the iNourish C aBY culture, you will only need about the tip of a teaspoon worth of culture). Stir the culture into the cream thoroughly.
Place your jar of cream and culture into the yoghurt maker and leave for 10 -24 hours. If you are doing GAPS, be sure to leave it for the full 24 hours.
Once the time is up, place it in the fridge to cool completely before using.
There’s a lot going on at my place. My wee one is about to have eye surgery in a week’s time, she turns 1 just three days later, the clinic is crazy busy (sorry to all of you that have had to wait a few weeks for a consult!), I’m running a vegetable fermentation workshop as part of the Raw Kinetics Wellness Workshop on March 15 and then around this time we are also moving into the house that we are currently building. Pheeewwwwww! I’m knackered. And when I get a little stretched or overwhelmed I have a tendency to hit the kitchen for a bit of stress relief.
This weekend’s stress relief …….I’ve created the most AMAZING Paleo Vanilla Ice Cream. It uses coconut milk and it’s the first time that I’ve managed to make a Paleo ice cream that barely tastes of coconut at all. Not only that but I popped in a little secret weapon that has made the ice cream scoop just like Gelato! I have often found that when coconut ice cream freezes it can go hard and a little ‘icy’, making it difficult to scoop out and it just doesn’t have that ‘creamy’ texture even when I use the ice cream maker. My secret weapon has changed all of that! Just a little tiny bit of Great Lakes Unflavoured Gelatin and …..Voila!! Creamy Vanilla Paleo Ice Cream that’s just like scooping Gelato.
Best Ever Paleo Vanilla Ice Cream
Pour the contents of the 3 x 400ml cans of coconut milk into the top of a double boiler, reserving approximately 100ml of coconut milk for blending the gelatin. Set the double boiler over medium high heat and gently heat the coconut milk. Do not bring the milk to the boil.
Whilst the coconut milk is heating, add in the scraped seeds of the vanilla beans (don't throw away the pod!! You can keep these to make your own vanilla extract!) and the honey. I know honey is much better for you raw and unheated but my wee one isn't yet 1 year old and babies under 1 are prone to getting listeria from raw honey. Whisk in the honey and vanilla seeds until melted and combined. Continue heating the coconut milk until it is gently steaming and hot to the touch (but not boiling).
Separate out the egg yolks and place them into a large separate bowl. Give them a little whisk to combine them.
Switch of the heat to the double boiler. Using a soup ladle, add 1 ladle of coconut milk to the bowl containing the egg yolks and whisk until well combined. Continue whisking as you gradually add all of the coconut milk mixture into the egg bowl, ladle by ladle. This is called tempering the eggs. You need to make sure that you continually whisk so that you don't cook the egg yolk too quickly and make the mixture go lumpy. There should be no lumps at all. Once all of the coconut milk mixture has been added and whisked into the eggs, pour all of this ice cream mixture back into the top of the double boiler and switch the heat back on.
Now don't stop whisking!! If you stop whisking the egg will cook too quickly and leave lumps. As you whisk, you create foam which gives your ice cream a light fluffy texture. Keep whisking until you feel that the mixture is thickening. This takes time ...usually around 20 minutes.
Once the mixture has thickened slightly (it should coat the back of a spoon), carefully take the ice cream mix off the heat and set aside.
Place your reserved coconut milk into a small saucepan and place over medium heat, gently heating your milk. Add the gelatin and whisk like the clappers!!!! You need to whisk vigorously to avoid lumps forming. Once the gelatin is combined into the coconut milk without lumps, add this mix to the ice cream mix and whisk it through to thoroughly combine.
This next step is optional but I'm impatient! I buy a bag of ice and make an icebath to bring the temperature of the ice cream down quickly. You can't pop hot ice cream into the ice cream maker and I want that ice cream as quickly as possible :). Place the bowl over the ice bath and continue whisking until the mixture is cool.
Pop it in your already prepared ice cream maker and watch the magic happen! Try not to stick your finger in there.
I LOVE VANILLA!! I love the smell, the taste, the texture of the little vanilla seeds, I love how vanilla makes everything taste sooooo much better. So imagine my excitement, when I visited a little cafe in Ubud, Bali offering Vanilla Lime Soda’s on their menu. The cafe, incidentally was called Kafe :). A fantastic little restaurant offering a whole array of organic fare. The whole menu was mouth watering. But knowing that they delighted in serving healthy food and seeing my fave word ‘vanilla’ ….I was super excited to try the Vanilla Lime Soda. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! So good that I immediately began dissecting the flavours in my mouth so that I could try to recreate it at home.
The first thing that struck me was that the lime was not ‘lime flavouring’. It was just a fresh squeeze of lime and I love that. There was a hint of sweetness but it wasn’t overpowering and I couldn’t see any vanilla seeds in the drink so I was pretty sure that they had used a vanilla syrup. And then it was topped off with ice cubes and some sparkling mineral water. Now sparkling mineral water is carbonated and I’m not a huge fan of anything carbonated. I don’t drink soft drinks at all but I’m thinking of this as a ‘sometimes’ drink until I come up with a better solution.
So I have come home from Bali, with my enormous bundles of vanilla pods, and I set to work creating my very own Vanilla Syrup (recipe below). My vanilla syrup does have vanilla seeds in it because I can’t bear to filter out all of that beautiful flavour and to be honest, I love the rustic look of my Vanilla Lime Soda with the little seeds floating around in it. If you’re going to eat REAL food then why shouldn’t it look REAL, right?
Bung them all in a small pot over a medium low heat and bring them up to a gentle simmer.
Reduce the heat to low and continue simmering for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Take the pot off the heat and leave to cool for 30 minutes. Then pour it into a clean jar. If the vanilla seeds are really bugging you, then you could strain the syrup through a fine sieve before pouring it into the jar. The syrup will last approximately 3 to 4 weeks in the fridge. But I doubt you will have much left by that time :). Note You can use this recipe for all sorts of things but my favourite uses are in the Vanilla Lime Soda or in my black coffee.
And then of course, I know you really want to try the Vanilla Lime Soda!
Vanilla Lime Soda
Pop your ice cubes into the bottom of the glass. I love to use love heart ice cubes (nawwww) and pour my ingredients over the top.
Add the vanilla syrup.
Squeeze the juice out of the lime quarters and throw one of the squeezed lime quarters into the glass.
Pour over the sparkling mineral water, add a bamboo straw (if you have one) and start slurping ....Heaven!!
I have since made a fermented version of the Vanilla Lime Soda! It was beautiful ...slightly different in flavour ....but beautiful. I teach this recipe in my Summer Soda Workshop that I will be running with Raw Kinetics this year. It's a one off! So don't miss out. Join the Raw Kinetics Mailing List so you hear about it first.
Take your nuts or seeds of choice and place them in a large bowl.
Cover your nuts or seeds (generously) with filtered water. Your nuts will soak up a lot of this water so make sure there is plenty there.
Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of celtic sea salt and stir through.
Let stand overnight.
Drain through a strainer and rinse under filtered water. Leave to drip dry for an hour.
Place your soaked nuts or seeds onto trays in a food dehydrator and dry at low temperature until crispy. I love my nuts super crispy and crunchy, so I leave mine there for at least 36 hours!
You can also re-dehydrate your nuts in the oven if you don't have a food dehydrator. You need to ensure that your oven is able to go below 50 degrees C and preferably as low as 40. Nut oils are delicate and will burn if the oven is too high.
I’ve been playing in the kitchen this morning! I’m so excited! For 2 reasons. First of all my 9 week old fell asleep in her little seat all by herself allowing mummy to play in the kitchen. And secondly because I came up with these delicious Bliss Balls full of Lemony aroma! Oh my …they are to die for.
Check these babies out!
Lemony Macadamia Bliss Balls
Place all of the ingredients except the blueberries, water and the 'extra' lemon oil and macadamias, into a food processor and process until you reach a fine grain. If your food processor only has a small bowl or doesn’t have a very strong motor, you may need to do this in batches.
With the motor running, drizzle in some water until the grain starts to come together like a dough. The mix should be sticky and hold together when squeezed but should not be wet.
Tip the mix into a mixing bowl and, using your hands, mix through the dried blueberries.
Add the 'extra' Macadamias to the food processor together with the 2 drops of lemon oil and pulse until you reach a coarse ‘grain’.
Take small portions of dough and roll into balls the size of a golf ball and then roll these in the Lemony Macadamias. Place in a container and then freeze them. Note See how to Activate Nuts and Seeds here.
On a side note ….My family and I are off to Bali for a little holiday from May 17 – June 2. If you are needing to order anything from the online store, your last day for shipping is May 16. I’m happy to accept your orders whilst I am on holidays however they won’t be shipped until I return.
Winter is coming and in the southern states of Australia you can already feel its chill in the air. If you have been watching the television lately, you will have been bombarded with advertising and media releases about the severity of the flu season to come. Whether this hype about the flu is the real deal or just the perfect opportunity for the pharmaceutical companies to frighten the pants of people and send them running to their GP for a flu shot ….I’ll leave that up to you. I have my own opinions.
So with Winter on it’s way, let’s countdown my Top 5 Tips for Staying Healthy this Winter ….and EVERY Winter!
We all know that the best way to maintain good health in ANY season is to eat well. Sounds easy enough ….or is it?
In today’s modern, industrial society nutrition has become a little confusing and money is the cause! You really can’t sell a product without Advertising. Let’s look at the ways marketing attempts to ‘teach’ us what’s good for us. We have Low Fat, Low Carb, High Protein, Heart Foundation tick of approval, High Fibre, Added Calcium, Added Essential Fatty Acids, Antioxidants ………………the list goes on. Now forget ALL of this!
Modern society has fallen into the trap of Nutritionism. Nutritionism is where all of our foods are broken down into a list of essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, antioxidants etc and it makes the lay person feel as though they are unqualified to make decisions around healthy nutritious foods and that they need EXPERTS to tell them how to eat. Unfortunately, the ‘experts’ that have leapt in to help ‘guide’ you in your food choices are not experts at all…..they are Marketing Managers who don’t know the first thing about nourishing foods. What they do know is that their marketing campaigns must coerce the public into buying their products in order to increase the company’s sales and to keep their jobs.
I want you to remember just one thing when making food choices: If it needs a marketing budget, then it’s probably not food!
So what and how should we eat? Eat like your Granny used to!
Why Bone Broths??
Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.
It contains Gelatin which has been used as a therapeutic agent going back as far as the ancient Chinese dynasties. Gelatin has been found to be useful in the treatment of a long list of diseases including peptic ulcers, tuberculosis, diabetes, muscle diseases, infectious diseases such as colds and flu, jaundice and cancer.
Grandma always knew–that broth made from bones is a great remedy, a tonic for the sick, a strengthener for athletes, a digestive aid, and a healing elixir. It can even repair dental cavities and strengthen your teeth.
If you’re vegetarian, you can still make a fabulously rich and nourishing broth for your soups, stews and curries. In the place of bones, you need to use tough seaweeds such as Kombu and a selection of vegetables such as onions, carrots, celery and parsley. Your broth won’t contain gelatin but will contain lots of essential minerals as well as some agar (gel) from the kombu.
The best things about these warming meals:
Have you ever noticed on days when you feel good and everything is going right, the people around you start to comment on how amazing you are looking? You can feel like this EVERYDAY just by nourishing your cells with amazing food.
You can also get these nutrients from molluscs such as scallops with the beautiful orange roe left on. Cook them up in a stir fry or lightly sear them in a pan.
My favourite flu fighting remedy, if I’m unlucky enough to succumb, is a chicken soup made with homemade chicken broth, chicken, vegetables, and tons of garlic, ginger and chilli. If it doesn’t make you sweat then nothing will.
4. FOODS TO AVOID
The number one food to avoid (or at the very least reduce drastically) is SUGAR! Bacteria feed on sugar. If you have a high sugar diet then not only are you feeding these little buggers but you are reducing your immune function through dysglycaemia which stresses the body and causes adrenal fatigue.
A nourishing diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. Of course you can! It’s what we do 90% of the time that counts. So if you feel like you want to spoil yourself with a little dark chocolate on a Friday night after work, then do it! Just don’t do it every day and not the whole block!
3. WHOLE FOOD SUPPLEMENTS
Vitamin D can be found naturally in the egg yolks of chickens and the fats of pigs that play in the sun, Wild Alaskan Salmon, Sardines and Cod Liver Oil.
One of our main sources of natural Vitamin D is Sunlight, but here in Canberra, there are substantial portions of the year during which vitamin D cannot be obtained from sunlight. And this is where we need supplementation. I urge you to stay away from synthetic sources of Vitamin D. Think of it this way:
“Scientists can chemically reproduce sea water but when you put fish in this synthetic sea water they die!”
The best supplement for maintaining Vitamin D throughout the Winter is Fermented Cod Liver Oil.
I used to be one of those people that would catch every little cold going around. My first Winter in Canberra was miserable with one cold after another, sometimes with only 1 week between colds. Since taking FCLO, I have had just 2 ‘colds’ that really only consisted of a few days of laryngitis. No sore throat, no snotty nose and not feeling unwell at all.
I prescribe very few supplements to my patients in comparison to most other practitioners. I prefer to let “Food be thy Medicine”. But FCLO is one of my mainstays. Almost all of my patients will be prescribed FCLO at one time or another and 90% keep coming back for more. It really is THAT good.
Although vitamin A is necessary for immune function, synthetic vitamin A may actually hinder immunity. Foods are recommended over supplements to ensure an adequate level of the vitamin with foods high in vitamin A including liver, whole milk, fish eggs and egg yolks. Again, if you don’t think you can stomach these foods, then Fermented Cod Liver Oil will be your best source.
Vitamin C is available in all RAW fruit and vegetables and is also found in the adrenal glands of all animals (attached to the top of the kidneys). Traditionally fermented Sauerkraut and KimChi are absolutely FULL of Vitamin C and are a mainstay in my Winter diet.
Synthetic sources of Vitamin C are safe and relatively effective but if you are looking for a natural wholefood way of supplementing it, try Rosehip Vital, available in most good health food stores. If you’re in Canberra, try the Allergy Centre in the Jamison Centre, Macquarie.
The second way that I use probiotics is First Aid. When you feel a sore throat coming on, or your sinuses are beginning to clog up or your children’s ears are hurting …these are signs that the balance of beneficial and pathogenic microbes in these areas is out of balance. The pathogenic microbes are getting a toe-hold and leading you down the path of illness. Last thing at night (after your very last sip of water and your teeth have been cleaned), open a probiotic capsule and pour the contents onto yours/or your child’s tongue and then go to sleep. Don’t wash it down. From here, the beneficial bacteria from the probiotic will migrate into the throat, the sinus cavities and the ear canals and begin fighting off any pathogens that might be present.
My favourite probiotic is Biokult. It’s a perfect formulation, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and it’s the most cost effective probiotic on the international market.
2. HERBAL MEDICINE
It’s best used preventatively but is known to shorten the duration of the common cold.
Again, it is best used preventatively but is known to shorten the duration of the common cold.
The number one tip I can give you for staying healthy each Winter is PLANNING. Yes it’s possibly a little too late now to ‘plan’ for this Winter but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty you can do to keep well for the next 3 – 5 months.
The reason we need to plan for Winter is Vitamin D. The best way to get the most effective Vitamin D is worshipping the sun. I don’t mean laying in it for hours and burning. I mean getting just a little each day (around 20 – 30 minutes) and building up a natural tan. This tan tells you that your Vitamin D levels are adequate.
We all know the Slip Slop Slap campaign. It has been thrown at us since we were babes, ad nauseum. It has done wonderful things to reduce the skin cancer and melanoma rate in the past 30 years…..but it has also given Australia’s population a shocking Vitamin D deficiency. We Westerners don’t do things by halves. Instead of reducing our sun exposure, we have completely shunned it, covering up with hats, UV rated clothing, avoiding the sun at all costs in the middle of the day and smothering ourselves in chemicals that actually do more to cause skin cancers. Every single act reduces our ability to obtain Vitamin D from the sun.
Yes, we can take supplements but our skin was made to manufacture Vitamin D in its most efficient form.
So how exactly do we plan for the Winter?? Starting from the end of January:
Here is a very basic but delicious recipe for bone broth or stock and in the coming weeks I’m going to share with you lots of my family’s favourite winter meals, all containing this delicious super food.
Generic but Delicious Bone Broth
Throw all of the ingredients into the pot and leave it to sit for 30 minutes before turning it on. This allows the vinegar time to begin drawing nutrients out of the bones.
Bring your stock up to the boil and as it is coming up to the boil, begin to scoop the foam off the top. This is all of the impurities so you don't really want that incorporated into your stock.
Reduce your heat to low and simmer gently for a minimum of 12 hours but preferably 24 hours or more. I switch my stock off during the night and then turn it back on in the morning.
Cool the soup for several hours. At this point some people like to scrape the fat off the top and that's ok ....but I like to leave mine there. There's too much nutrition in it to throw it in the bin.
Once cooled, strain out the veges and bones and then scoop the stock into containers and store in the freezer until you need it. Note Making stock doesn't have to be an exact science. I've learnt so much about making delicious stocks and also lots about being frugal from Shannon Hayes' new book,"Long Way on a Little". I save up bones from meals during the week (some cooked, some not) and I save all of my vegetable peelings too. I have a bag of saved bones in the freezer and a container of saved vege peelings in the fridge. At the end of the week, I bung them all in a pot with some extra bought soup bones, apple cider vinegar and the water and away I go.
I know I promised this post aaaaages ago! But in the midst of pregnancy related carpal tunnel syndrome, giving birth and then forgetting how much time a newborn actually takes up …..you get the idea :).
In the last post, we talked about how easy it is to make fresh yoghurt at home. If you need a refresher or a reminder of how easy it is, check out the post here.
So ….how can you make you kid’s yoghurt taste more fabulous than the store bought ….ahem ….garbage? By making your own fruit sauces! These seriously take no time at all. Your sauces can be cooked or raw. The raw sauces are really great for maintaining nutrient levels from the fruit as cooking generally destroys nutrients such as Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids, but cooking the fruit can add a whole other dimension to the flavour of the sauce.
Here is my favourite RAW fruit sauce:
Raw Raspberry Sauce
Add both ingredients to the food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Note You can use any type of berry. Blackberries make a fabulous sauce.
Simple, super quick and delicious.
The cooked sauces require only slightly more preparation and cooking time. I cook mine up on the weekend, ready for the school/work week. They can be stored in the fridge or freezer. You could even store them as individual ice cubes in the freezer and just throw them into your yoghurt in the morning. They will be defrosted by morning tea time and help to keep your yoghurt cool.
My favourite Winter fruit sauce is:
Spiced Vanilla Apple Sauce
Peel, core and chop the apples into pieces and place into a medium sized saucepan
Add just enough water that it is approximately 0.5 cm deep. Place a lid on the saucepan and place over high heat.
When the water comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for approximately 15 minutes or until fruit is soft.
Cool slightly and then puree with a food processor or stick blender.
Note Variation: Use 2 cups of chopped fresh apricots to make an apricot sauce.
And my favourite Summer sauce is:
Sweet Strawberry Sauce
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and cover. Bring to the boil but watch carefully as you will need to take off the lid once the mixture is boiling (otherwise it froths over).
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the liquid has thickened slightly.
Once cooled you can blend this mixture until smooth but I prefer to find chunks of sweet strawberry throughout my yoghurt!
So simple and so delicious! Let me know how you go. And if you come up with some other delicious ideas, we would love to hear them.
Yoghurt is one of those foods that tends to be quick and easy to grab for the lunch box. Unfortunately, the brightly coloured commercial varieties are also quick and easy to grab with their recognisable TV characters and relentless marketing. The sad truth is that parents grab them thinking that they are doing the right thing by incorporating healthy ‘yoghurt’ into their child’s lunchbox. It’s a good choice, right? A healthier choice than a packet of chips? I wish I could say yes ….but no.
These commercial ‘kiddy yoghurts’ aren’t really yoghurt at all. They look like yoghurt. Smell like yoghurt (kinda). And they have the consistency of yoghurt ….but they aint yoghurt!
‘Kiddy Yoghurts’ contain denatured milk solids, emulsifiers, gelling agents, LOADS of sugar and just a little bit of culture so they can market it as healthy. They often also contain added flavours and colours to make them more enticing. Unfortunately, if your kids have had these ‘yoghurts’ previously, it can be difficult to convince them that REAL yoghurt is delicious. But there are ways of making REAL yoghurt irresistible to even the toughest critics.
Some would consider me to be a ‘tough love’ kinda Mum, but when you’re introducing children to REAL food for the first time ….trust me, it’s the only thing that works. So here are a couple of rules of thumb before we get into the nitty gritty of yoghurt.
1. Under no circumstances should you EVER cave in and buy the commercial kiddy yoghurt. If you do, you will never win the REAL food war.
2. Let your kids know what is going into their lunchboxes (and what will be available at home too) and why.
3. If they’re old enough, get your kids involved in making these foods at home. It’s surprising how obliging kids can be with trying new things when they have had a part in its production. That goes for growing veges and fruit at home too.
4. Get them started as early as possible. That doesn’t mean your 13 year old can’t be converted to REAL food, it just means that it could be a battle.
The best yoghurt is home-made. If you are not going to culture your own yoghurt at home then please learn to read product labels. And read them with just a small grain of cynicism. Please don’t fall for all of the garbage that marketing uses to insult your intelligence.
A commercial yoghurt is only cultured for between 1 and 7 hours. This is nowhere near enough time for the yoghurt to develop a therapeutic level of probiotics and this means that there really is no health benefit to eating it. Your ‘kiddy’ yoghurts are likely only cultured for 1 hour …..NOT yoghurt. And ‘low fat’ yoghurts …..NOT yoghurt. !! Again, this will contain additives that force the product to gel and look like yoghurt. I encourage you to experiment with making a yoghurt from low fat or skim milk. It is disgusting. It is watery, it smells funny and it doesn’t even taste close to yoghurt. Yoghurt thrives on cream!! Don’t be afraid of cream. It will not make you fat and it will not clog your arteries. What it will do is give you plenty of energy, leave you feeling satisfied and not looking for your next Carb hit, and will give you beautifully soft skin.
You’re probably wondering if making your own yoghurt is hard ….NOPE. It’s dead easy and requires almost no effort at all …and it’s super cheap!
What you will need to make your own yoghurt at home:
1. A YOGHURT MAKER – yes, you can make yoghurt without a yoghurt maker using eskies, blankets and hot water bottles to insulate the yoghurt but it’s fiddly, time consuming and you generally get pretty inconsistent results. I’m a busy working mum and I don’t have time for faffing around. The yoghurt maker makes my life easy by maintaining the correct temperature for my yoghurt for as long as I want to culture it. I get consistent results ….no faffing. (You can purchase a YOGHURT MAKER HERE)
2. YOGHURT CULTURE – this is what turns your milk into delicious yoghurt and gives you a healthy probiotic food. Yes, you can use culture from store bought yoghurt but you will get a thinner milk and it will not re-culture indefinitely which leaves you back at buying yoghurt again. (You can purchase YOGHURT CULTURES HERE)
3. Saucepan – for heating your milk.
4. 1 Litre Glass Jar – for culturing in. I don’t like using plastic. Plastic and heat don’t make a good mix as the heat leaches chemicals from the plastic into your yoghurt. I buy pickling jars from the $2 shops.
5. Good Quality Milk – Full cream organic milk that has not be homogenised will make a beautifully thick yoghurt.
Now how easy is it?? Heat your milk in the saucepan until just before it begins to froth (you will need to watch it because this can happen quickly). Immediately pour your heated milk ‘carefully’ into your jar, pop on the lid and cool to body temperature. Once cool, add your culture and give a good stir. Place in the yoghurt maker and walk away for 12 -24 hours. That’s it!! Pretty easy, huh?
Now this makes ‘Natural’ yoghurt which your kids may not immediately LOVE. That’s only because it’s not full of sugar and flavours. So to fix this, mix in a little honey to their individual serves of yoghurt. You can add some chopped up fruit too.
In my next post, I’ll share with you some recipes for making delicious fruit sauces to serve with the yoghurt. Your kids will love them.
I have so many articles and plans and recipes in my head to share with you all at the moment but Mother Nature has other ideas for me right now. I was half way through writing a rather large post on our family’s decadent Christmas dessert but my hands are giving out writing it. I’m currently 37 weeks pregnant and eagerly awaiting the birth of a very special second baby, but Mother Nature in her wisdom has decided that a severe case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome should slow me down a bit! I’m currently typing in 3 minute bursts so I have decided to pop in some small posts that don’t take me weeks to finish typing :).
I don’t know about you but a REAL food lifestyle doesn’t always stop me lamenting a couple of indulgences that I used to eat. One of those indulgences was having a Frosty Fruits ice-block whenever I visited the beach. That hasn’t been so much of a problem in the last 2 1/2 years as we having been living a long way from the beach. But this Summer, I spent lots of time at the beach and being a hot summer, the Frosty Fruit has been at the front of my mind. Thankfully I haven’t been able to find one! Although I would love to have a look at the ingredients list and remind myself of why I choose not to eat them anymore.
So with my tastebuds constantly chanting Frosty Fruits, Frosty Fruits, Frosty Fruits, I began to think that surely it can’t be too hard to recreate one at home. I think I came pretty close. Either way they are delicious, they are hitting my Frosty Fruits Funny Bone and my daughter, Ayla, loves them! So here is the recipe ….so that you can become obsessed too.
FROSTY FRUITS ICE POPS
1 ripe Pineapple, peeled but leave in the core (that’s where all the enzymes are)
3 peaches, stone removed
3 apricots, stone removed
1/4 cup honey (optional)
pinch of salt
Run your pineapple through the juicer and then place the juice into a blender jug.
Add the peaches, apricots, honey and salt and blend them on high for a couple of minutes. You want to make sure that the skins of the stone fruit are well and truly blended up.
Pour into your ice pop moulds and pop them in the fridge for around 4 – 6 hours. I tend to wait at least 6 hours because it’s really annoying when they are not quite ready and you accidentally pull the stick out of the ice pop …grrrr.
Variation: Blend through a frozen banana for a creamy texture.
You’re probably wondering why I bother to add honey and salt. I know the fruit is sweet enough already. Have you ever noticed that when you put water or juice in the freezer, it can freeze so solid that you can’t even dig a spoon into it? Well the honey and the salt help to make the ice-pop more ‘flaky’ so that you can take a bite without breaking your teeth! I mostly leave it out.
The blended stonefruit in this recipe really gives the ice pop a lovely texture and I was thinking that blending through a frozen banana would also give an amazing creamy texture so I’m going to try that next time.
The worst part about these ice-pops is that they don’t last very long! They are so yummy and refreshing on a hot day that we have usually eaten them all within 24 – 48 hours of making them.
So why not throw some in the freezer for a healthy and satisfying after school treat for the kids ….or after work treat for yourself. But you better be quick because stone fruit season is almost over!
So here’s a post for all those on the GAPS diet ….but if you’re not on the GAPS don’t just click away!! There is plenty of yummy stuff here for you too :). GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology/Physiology syndrome. Here‘s a link to a quick run down on what GAPS is and does and here is a more in-depth link for all things GAPS. If you would like to know more, please feel welcome to contact me and I’d be happy to help.
Last Wednesday night was our final GAPS Support Group for the year and we focused our attention on GAPS friendly Christmas foods. GAPS looks really scary when it comes to the foods that you CAN’T have ….until you scratch the surface and realise there is an AMAZING world of undiscovered foods out there. For instance, a person on the GAPS diet is not allowed to have ANY grains or sugar. I can see all of you non-GAPSters fainting out there! It’s really not that bad but as you can imagine that removes a good portion of the delicious Christmas foods that we have all come to know and love. So this post is to show you the tip of the “GAPS friendly Christmas recipes” ice-berg. There really are that many recipes. Some of the recipes below will link you to other GAPS friendly pages but there are a couple that I made up myself.
So the VERY basic Christmas menu that I shared with the GAPS group looks a little like this:
Think Poached Eggs with Wilted Baby Spinach and Mushrooms or Banana Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce (or even just lashings of butter and honey) or Nitrite Free Bacon and Eggs.
What about Decorative Fruit Skewers with a Salted Almond Caramel Dipping Sauce or a GAPS friendly Christmas Cake with a huge slab of butter.
Lunch and Dinner
Almost ALL of your traditional Christmas meals can be made to fit into a GAPS lifestyle. Let your imagination run wild!!
Sweet Christmas Nibbles
Almond Roca (this is kind of like a peanut brittle with a chocolate coating)
Honey Sweetened Peanut Butter Cups (OUT. OF. THIS. WORLD!!) I did change this recipe ever so slightly and I’m working on a completely different version so stay tuned. I swapped out the vegetable shortening for lard. I just can’t bring myself to use shortening of any kind, organic or not, and traditionally lard has always been used in place of shortening. It was still amazing, only I couldn’t ‘roll’ the peanut butter in balls so I just cooled the peanut butter mix to stiffen it and then spooned it into the cups.
Salted Honey Caramel Crispy Nuts
Home-made Ice-Pops – I must confess that I really want to do an entire post on these babies by themselves so again, stay tuned.
Savoury Christmas Nibbles
How about a trio of home-made dips with vege sticks. Dips are always popular at BBQs and get-togethers and when you make them yourself they always seem to start fabulous food conversations. My best source of home-made dips is a book called Snack It Out, Donna-Lee Halkett. The dips pages in my copy are all dog-eared and smeared with food ….very well loved :). You can purchase the Snack It Out book here. As well as lots of yummy dips, it contains fabulous ideas for healthy and delicious snacks and lunchbox foods for kids. You’ll love it!
You could even serve your dips with some home-made Multi ‘Grain’ Crackers, yoghurt cheese and a selection of cold meats.
Christmas Drinks Menu
For the kids (and big kids too!), how about some Lacto-Fermented Ginger Ale or you can take it one step further and make Blackberry Fizz! This is one that I have played around with and the recipe is below.
I think it’s important to note here that all of these foods are GAPS friendly …..BUT (and it’s a big BUT) that doesn’t mean that you go crazy with them. They still contain honey and fruit etc which are natural sugars and sugars should never be consumed in ridiculously high amounts. You don’t want to undo all of that hard work that you have done leading up to Christmas!
BLACKBERRY FIZZ RECIPE
To make your Blackberry Fizz you are going to need to first make the Ginger Ale. The lacto-fermented Ginger Ale will act as your ‘bug’.
3 cups Blackberries (fresh or frozen) – you can use any berry really.
2L of filtered water
1/2 cup of honey
1 cup lacto-fermented Ginger Ale.
Put half of filtered water into a large pot. Bring the water to a boil. Stir in your honey.
Add your blackberries to the pot (these can be fresh or frozen and other kinds of fruit can be substituted for the blackberries – raspberries, blueberries, strawberries etc) and bring the water back to a boil. Allow them to simmer in the water for about 10 minutes.
Taste it!! Is it sweet-ish? Does it taste fruity enough? If not maybe you want to add more berries or simmer a bit longer.
While your berries are simmering, sterilise your bottles/jars with boiling water.
When you’re happy with your syrup, add in the rest of the filtered water to cool the syrup down. Leave to cool to room temperature.
Once cooled, add 1 cup of Lacto-fermented Ginger Ale and give it a good stir. Pour this mix into a jug to make filling your bottles easier and as you do so, sieve out the solids. I often find that if the blackberries are left in the bottles, the bottles are much more likely to explode!! Don’t throw away the blackberries ….pop them into a container in the fridge to serve with yoghurt or ice-cream.
Fill your bottles with this mix, ensuring that you leave a 2 inch space at the top ….trust me, you will need it! Cap them tightly and leave them to sit on the bench for 24 hours or up to 3 days depending on the room temperature. Watch them carefully!! I made this on a hot day and only left them out for 12 hours. They were crazy gassy and I put them straight in the fridge.
Once cultured, pop them in the fridge to cool. When you open them, do so very slowly! You might be surprised at how much gas has accumulated.
Enjoy!!….and don’t tell your kids it’s healthy.
This recipe has been adapted from http://www.learningherbs.com/soda_recipe.html
I have so many patients who ask me about their coffee drinking habits …..and then some who hope I won’t ask. I’m a coffee drinker but I do believe in absolute moderation. Here’s why: Back in January of this year Nourished Kitchen posted an article titled, “Are you still drinking coffee? 10 Reasons to Quit Right Now” ….I haven’t quit. Coffee is my guilty little pleasure. A quick summary of the 10 reasons to quit are as follows:
I must admit that I don’t entirely agree with all 10 of these statements. I agree with them in part but not entirely. For example, I don’t believe that caffeine ‘causes’ PMS, Insomnia or Malnutrition. I do, however, believe that caffeine is a major contributor but it doesn’t do it on its own.
So the question I am asked by patients who enjoy a coffee but are much more attached to their health and well-being is this: “Is one coffee per day too much?”. The answer …….Yes…… and No. This answer seems a little ambiguous but it comes down to this. Your constitution, the strength of the coffee and the brewing style. When we speak of constitution we are speaking of how well your body copes with toxins, how well it eliminates them, how often you get sick, how quickly and how well you recover. Think of it this way …..One person can seemingly smoke and drink their way through life and live to the ripe old age of 100 with no apparent ill-health. His best friend, trying to keep up with him, smokes the same cigarettes and drinks the same amount of alcohol but is diagnosed with lung, throat and prostate cancer at the age of 56 and never recovers. This is where your constitution dictates what your body can and cannot handle. This is a massive oversimplification but you get the idea. Don’t compare your coffee habits and health to your friend’s as there is simply no comparison.
The strength of the coffee is self-explanatory ….the more caffeine, the more damage. But let’s get to the interesting part, the Brewing style. I’m not going to go into an explanation of all the different brewing styles because if I’m honest, I’m no barista and I don’t have a clue. I do know that different brewing methods will result in higher caffeine levels and higher acidity levels. What I am most interested in when it comes to brewing methods is, HOW DO I REDUCE CAFFEINE AND REDUCE ACIDITY? Regardless of the reasons listed above, I still love my coffee. I don’t have a fabulously strong constitution so I can’t afford to have more than 2 or 3 coffees per week and I am conscious of the amount of caffeine I consume.
Whilst on holiday in Bali recently, I had the privilege of staying with a friend in Nyu Khuning, close to Ubud where I was introduced to Cold Pressed Coffee. This coffee was whipped up into delicious cold frappes using coconut milk, ice, coconut sugar and vanilla bean. Needless to say, my coffee habit increased to 1 per day temporarily. There’s a little ‘health food store’ in Ubud called Alchemy where you could buy 1 Litre bottles of Cold Pressed Coffee as well as the most amazing raw cacao treats ….pssst try the Raw Cacao Peanut Butter Cups – OUT. OF. THIS. WORLD!!!!
On returning home to Australia, I was a little concerned about the amount of coffee that I was drinking but I had noticed that these coffees had not affected me in the same way that coffee usually does. So I started to do some research and found that using a Cold Brewing method for coffee REDUCED BOTH CAFFEINE LEVELS AND ACIDITY by up to 70%. And it’s EASY.
Here’s how you do it:
You need finely ground coffee beans, a 1 Litre Coffee plunger and cold filtered water.
Place 2 heaped tablespoons of your coffee into the plunger and then fill the plunger with cold filtered water. Place the lid on the plunger but don’t ‘plunge’ yet. Leave this sitting on your bench for 6 hours. If it’s really hot weather, you can put it in the fridge. At the 6 hour mark, go ahead and ‘plunge’ your coffee. Do it carefully so you don’t get any grinds slipping past the mesh. Now leave it on your bench overnight. In the morning, pour off your cold pressed coffee into a glass bottle and store in the fridge for up to a week.
I’ve consumed this in a couple of different ways. As a ‘Bali Frappe’ or I have VERY gently heated it and consumed it warm. Heat is what brings out the acidity in the coffee so I know that if I want the acidity kept low, I need to keep the heat low too.
Serves 1 Prep time 5 minutes Cook time 5 minutes Total time 10 minutes Ingredients
Whizz it all up in the Blender and Enjoy!
Yes, the caffeine is lower. Yes, the acidity is lower. BUT please still only enjoy in moderation. 1 coffee a day is plenty and you never know …..1 per day may be too much for your constitution.
I’m a Naturopath, Certified GAPS Practitioner and Paleo Consultant. I help people take back their health and happiness using food as medicine.