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Satay Beef Skewers

I absolutely love to entertain. Entertaining does not have to be difficult, complex or very time consuming. Having some quick and easy dishes up your sleeve always makes this process easier. These Beef Satay Skewers are a great option as the sauce can be prepared a day in advance and the longer you leave the meat to marinade, the tastier they will be. My recipe is quite mild so that my children can enjoy them too, but there is no reason why you can’t give the sauce a little more oomph by adding some fresh chilli or a little more curry powder.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon ginger, minced
1 can full cream coconut milk
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons, smooth peanut butter
½ teaspoon salt
8 bamboo skewers
600g diced beef

Soak bamboo skewers in water for approximately 30 minutes so that they won’t burn.
Place the diced beef on the bamboo skewers, 4-5 pieces on each one. Otherwise you can buy pre-skewered beef from your local butcher.
Heat oil in pan on medium heat on stove then add garlic and ginger, stirring for 1-2 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients, bring to boil and then reduce to a simmer for approximately 5 minutes until all the peanut butter has dissolved. You may need to stir occasionally to ensure that everything mixes well and doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Remove from heat to allow sauce to cool.
Brush marinade onto beef skewers and place on tray. You may reserve some marinade as a dipping sauce.
Skewers can be cooked either in the oven, grill or on the bbq.

Makes 8 skewers.

Chicken and Cauliflower Bake

How good is it to only need one dish to prepare a whole meal? Just throwing all the ingredients into a tray and just leaving it to bake in the oven is not only satisfying, but leaves you wondering what to do with all the time you have saved! Cauliflower is known for its cancer fighting abilities and is also jam packed with so many other nutritional benefits. It is an excellent source of dietary fibre, Vitamin C and folates which are essential in the metabolism of fat, protein and carbohydrates. I found this recipe on the website Elana’s Pantry and my family and I enjoy it thoroughly every time.

8 chicken thighs, bone and skin removed
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 bunch of thyme
1 cup black olives, pitted

1 lemon, juiced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ red onion chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Prepare marinade and set aside
Place thyme scattered at the bottom of your tray and lay chicken pieces on top.
Scatter cauliflower florets and olives around chicken.
Pour marinade over chicken and bake for 40-50 minutes.

Serves 8

Newsletter 1 – Primary Foods

What is unique to the training I received from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) as opposed to other dietary or nutrition course available is the concept of “Primary Foods”.

Primary Foods refer to our lifestyle factors that help create optimal health. They can be broken down to four core groups: relationships, physical activity, career and spirituality.

In 2010, following a change to dietary guidelines, the USDA replaced their food pyramid (MyPyramid) with a food plate (MyPlate) identifying that the following food groups that need to be incorporated in your diet: fruits, grains, vegetables and proteins, with some dairy added too. IIN incorporates the same concepts in their plate (fruits, vegetables, protein, whole grains) but also makes some variations: replacing dairy with water, adding healthy fats and oils and the most important variation, inclusion of the four core groups of your Primary Food. As Joshua Rosenthal, founder of IIN, explains: “The food you eat plays a critical role in your health and happiness…. But the four forms of primary food truly nourish you and make your life extraordinary.”

Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career and a spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life. When your primary food is balanced and satiating, your life feeds you, making WHAT you eat secondary food. The more primary food we receive, the less we depend upon secondary foods. The opposite is also true. The more we fill ourselves with secondary foods, the less we are able to receive the primary foods of life.

Let’s explore the primary foods in more detail:

Relationships – relationships come and go and during the course of our lifetime we have relationships with our parents, grandparents, siblings, partners, children, friends, colleagues, the list goes on and on. The quality of these relationships plays a large part in the quality of a person’s life. We need to surround ourselves with people that will help us grow and develop and be the best that we can. Establishing relationships with people we enjoy being around that make us smile and laugh. Spending time and energy in relationships whereby the person does not support us and does make us feel good can truly be toxic to not only our minds but also to our bodies and can impact on the quality of our health. All relationships take a lot of work, but they can be extremely rewarding.

Physical Activity – Our bodies were made to move. If we think of our ancestors they were constantly on the move, they had to hunt and gather to live. In today’s society not only do most of our jobs involve sitting down all day, but at the end of the day we can also have all our groceries and meals delivered to our front door. Unless we are consciously moving, we forget that we need to. Physical activity does not necessarily entail training for a marathon or going to the gym 2 hours a day, it is simply about moving around. Perhaps you can take the flight of stairs instead of the lift, or get off the tram one stop earlier or just take your children to the park. Physical activity can be simple and different forms or exercise will give you different types of energy and will nourish your body differently.

Career – if we calculate how we spend the hours in our day, most of the waking part of our day is spent at work. Now let’s be realistic and how many of us can say that we absolutely love the work that we do and look forward to waking up and going into work each morning? I know I can!

But this took many years of trying different career paths to really find where my passion is and what drives me. Feeling helpless and unhappy in our jobs definitely is not a nourishing lifestyle. Finding work that you love is essential to living a healthy, balanced life. So many of us complain constantly about what we do but feel powerless to make a change, I strongly urge you to have the courage to make your job a more positive place to be. Discover what work means to you and what you need to achieve to be happy and nourish you. Feeling happy and productive in the place you spend most of your time will dramatically increase your sense of well-being.

Spirituality – Joshua Rosenthal says “Spiritual nutrition can feed us on a very deep level and dramatically diminish cravings for the superficial rewards of life”. We all search for the meaning in our lives and spiritual practice has a different meaning for everyone. Some people may find it in religion, or through meditation or yoga and others through the universe. Embrace synchronicity, believe that things happen for a reason and that you end up meeting people at the right place at the right time, things happen for a reason. Learn to read the signs, feel the direction in which life wants to go and then use your intelligence and creativity to make it happen.

It’s easy to overlook all of the things that contribute to our sense of nourishment and fulfilment. It’s not just the food we eat that affects our health, but all of the other factors present in our daily lives. Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career, and a spiritual awareness are essential forms of nourishment. I will support you in achieving all of your goals, from eating the right foods for your body to living an inspired, fulfilling life.

Grain Free Tabouli

Tabouli salads are a favourite of mine during the summer period. The freshness of the tomatoes and parsley when combined with the hydrating powers of the cucumbers is so refreshing. It is such a fast salad to throw together, so it is always a good option to take to a bbq, and one that everyone will enjoy.

4 salad tomatoes, diced
3 lebanese cucumbers, diced
½ red onion, diced
4 tablespoons hemp seeds (can use cauliflower rice instead)
½ bunch parsley, chopped

2 lemons juiced
salt & pepper to taste

Prepare the dressing and set aside.
Combine the vegetables, herbs and hemp seeds.
Toss with dressing.

Serves 4-6 as side

Tropical Green Smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to pack in nutrients, minerals and anti-oxidants whilst giving your digestive system a break. They are easy to prepare and can be drunk on the run. The flavour combinations are endless, but give this one a go for a nice, refreshing summer’s drink.

1 cup mango, diced
1 cup pineapple, diced
½ frozen banana, sliced
1 cup almond mylk (the recipe is here)
1 cup spinach
2 tablespoons shredded coconut (optional)
sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg (optional)
handful ice cubes

Place all ingredients in high speed blender and blend until smooth.

Serves 1

Hummus Dip

Chickpeas are a great source of plant protein, and when consumed they leave you feeling full and satisfied. The recipe below is a basic hummus recipe and can be easily adapted by adding whatever spices you like to change the flavour. They are also a great condiment to have with healthy Kale chips as you can see in the picture below (recipe to follow soon)!

1 tin chickpeas (BPA free)
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 lemon, juiced
¼ - ½ cup olive oil

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender. Start with a smaller quantity of oil and keep adding until you get your desired consistency.
Adjust seasoning to taste.

Note – instead of using tinned chickpeas you can pre-cook 1.5 cups of dried chickpeas that have been soaked for 8 hours.

Makes approximately 1 cup

Healthy Fish ‘n’ Chips

No need to freak out when your kids ask for Fish ‘n’ chips for dinner! Forget what it used to be known for: greasy, battered, salty fast food, and make this instead. This meal is just as delicious, without the extra coronary heart attack! It is so quick and easy to prepare, and tastes so delicious that even my ten year old son thanked me for preparing him the “best meal ever”.

2 x 180g white fish fillets
1 lemon
handful parsley
2 medium sized sweet potatoes
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper

Method (for the chips):
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees
Peel and cut sweet potato into thick chips
Spread potatoes over a baking tray and pour oil over chips and season with salt and pepper
Cook for approximately 30 minutes turning chips over once
Reduce oven to 180 degrees and continue cooking for approximately another 15-20 minutes whilst fish is cooking at the same time

Method (for the fish):
Whilst the chips are cooking, place fish fillets on two separate pieces of non-stick baking paper
Season with salt and pepper and top with a few sprigs of parsley and a couple of slices on lemon
Form a parcel out of the baking paper by twisting the ends
Place fish into oven at 180 degrees and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes or until cooked through

Serves 2

Tahini Dip

I find Middle Eastern cuisine packed with flavour and is easy to replicate at home. Rarely a week goes by without me making a batch of Tahini dip. It can be used in so many different ways. It can be a great snack with either veggies, falafel or crackers, it can be used to drizzle over salad or meat or even as a simple spread in your sandwich. Tahini is a great alternative to dairy as it is a rich source of calcium and healthy fats.

¾ cup Unhulled Tahini
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 lemon juiced
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup filtered water

Place all ingredients into a blend and combine until smooth. You may wish to add more water for a thinner consistency. I usually do this when I want to use the dip as a dressing.
Adjust seasoning as required.

Makes approx. 1 cup

Chocolate Banana Smoothie

Ooooh how I love smoothies. I love them for breakfast or even as a snack. This chocolate banana smoothie is one of my regulars. It’s packed with so many nutrient rich ingredients, tastes great and will keep you feeling satisfied for ages!

200ml almond mylk (Recipe is here)
½ frozen banana
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 tablespoon maca powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup ice
1 scoop protein powder (optional)

Additional superfoods you can add:
1 teaspoon Reishi powder
1 tablespoon flaxseeds

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until well combined.
For a thicker consistency you may want to add more ice.

Serves 1

Chocolate Chia Pudding

I am so happy that I discovered chia puddings as a breakfast option. They’re quick to prepare, and taste best when done the night before therefore making it extremely convenient. Despite their small size, chia seeds are packed full of important nutrients like anti-oxidants, Omega-3 as well as fibre, magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium. With all that goodness, a small amount of chia seeds goes a long way!

I like to keep my chia pudding base really simple and then add different toppings to change the flavour. You can experiment with what ever spices and sweeteners you want.

3 tablespoons chia seeds (white, black or a mix)
1 cup almond mylk (or milk of your choice) My almond mylk recipe is here
1 scoop chocolate protein powder

Additional flavours:
1 tablespoon raw cacao
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (sugar free)
1 tablespoon maple syrup (or raw honey)
1 tablespoon nut butter

Toppings (any combination of):
Shredded coconut, mixed fresh berries, cacao nibs, flaked almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, goji berries, banana, kiwi fruit.

Place chia seeds in glass jar.
Combine protein power and almond mylk and pour over chia seeds. (Add additional flavours at this point.)
Stir well and then give it another stir after a couple of minutes. Make sure all the seeds have come off the bottom and you don’t want them to clump together.
Place in fridge overnight or allow to sit for 20 minutes before serving.
Top with any nuts, seeds or fruit to complete.

Serves 1

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