All Posts by vitalassurance

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!

Ingredients
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

Method
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.

Ingredients:
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.

Method:
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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Chocolate Walnut & Tahini Brownies

I love to entertain regularly. Whether it's having family or friends over for afternoon tea or dinner, I always like to have something sweet and special. Jessica Sepel introduced me to this delicious, anti-oxidant, chronic disease fighting brownie that has the perfect texture combination of a solid base and gooey topping. It has my sweet-toothed husband's seal of approval, so is one for you all to definitely try! 

Ingredients:

1 cup walnuts
1 cup fresh dates, pitted
4 heaped tablespoons raw cacao + 1 tablespoon for icing
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch celtic sea salt
¼ cup desiccated coconut
½ teaspoon vanilla powder
2 tablespoons virgin organic coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons raw honey
¼ cup hulled tahini
a few drops of filtered water

Method:

Grind the walnuts to a fine crumb in a food processor.
Add the dates, raw cacao powder, cinnamon, salt, coconut and vanilla and process until sticky.
Line a small square dish with baking paper. Press the mixture in firmly.
To make the icing, place the coconut oil, honey, tahini and extra cacao in the processor. Press until the mixture is firm and smooth in texture. If it is too thick, add a few drops of water.
Spread the icing evenly over the brownies.
Put into the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set.

Makes 15 squares

Chocolate Avocado Smoothie Bowl

Who says you can’t have chocolate first thing in the morning? This smoothie bowl is my absolute favourite indulgent breakfast. It is so smooth and creamy, and packed with all the goodness that you need to start your day. Raw cacao is rich in anti-oxidants, polyphenols, flavonoids, heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fats, fibre and vitamins. It has all the qualities to help you fight the aging process and those chronic diseases, but best of all it tastes delicious!

Ingredients:

200ml almond mylk (the recipe can be found here)
¼ avocado
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
2 tablespoons raw cacao
1 date
1 scoop protein powder (optional)
Handful ice

Method:

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until desired consistency.
Transfer into a bowl and top with your choice of shredded coconut, berries, cacao nibs, buckinis and chia seeds.

Makes 1 serve

Broccoli Tabouli

Ahh broccoli! High in Vitamin A, D,  & K, and also know for its health benefits in fighting chronic diseases such as cancer, inflammation, and oxidative stress makes this a winning dish. Such a quick, simple delicious salad that can be enjoyed on its own or as a side to any protein. The combination of mint with the lemon/lime based dressing makes it extremely refreshing on a warm summer's day.

broccoli tabouli

Ingredients:

1 head of broccoli
100g baby spinach, chopped
4 spring onions, chopped
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons Goji berries
handful parsley, chopped
handful mint, chopped

Dressing
3 limes or 2 lemons, juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Chop broccoli to fine pieces or place in blender for 3-5 seconds until you get the size that you want.
Prepare spinach and onions and add to broccoli.
Sprinkle with seeds, berries and herbs.
Combine dressing ingredients and pour over salad.

Serves 4

TED Talk: How Stress Affects Your Body

The effect of stress on our body is completely underestimated.  When talking about toxins in our body, the biggest one of all is stress. It is a proven contributor to all the major causes of DEATH including Heart Disease, Diabetes, Stroke and Cancer. Click on the link below to hear more about the impact on stress on our bodies.

Karen from Positive Healthwellness recently put together a great infographic that comprehensively covers how stress affects the body. See the image below, and click the image to visit their website.

Stress: How it Affects the Body

Coconut Orange Bliss Balls

The health benefits of coconut has been so controversial over time, but I have no doubt that this saturated fat which is full of lauric acid (which is found in breast milk, and will boost your immune function while helping your body kill viruses and yeasts) should be a regular inclusion in your diet. These balls are fabulous to have stashed away in the fridge/freezer, and really hit the spot when you are looking for something small to snack on. Thanks Kirsti Pesso for these little gems.

Orange Bliss Balls

Ingredients:

2 cups shredded coconut (plus more for rolling)
2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
Juice of half a small orange
Zest 1 small orange
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons coconut milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch celtic salt
4 Medjool dates, pitted

Method:

Process all the ingredients except for the dates.
Add one date at a time and pulse until combined.
Roll into balls and then roll through the extra shredded coconut.
Chill in fridge or freezer before serving.

Serves 14-16 balls

TED Talk: The Happy Secret to Better Work

Your career is one of the "primary foods" in our lives, and how happy you are at work will have a direct impact on how you feel outside of work, and can become a road block to your weight loss goals as well as affect your general well being. Here is a great TED Talk that explores the correlation between success and happiness, and how we have it completely backwards and are thus unable to truly be happy.

Almond Mylk

Almond myIk is a fantastic substitute for dairy and I am constantly making it at home to add to smoothies, pour over cereals and use in baking. Almonds are rich in fibre, Vitamin E, Magnesium, anti-oxidents and healthy unsaturated fatty acids. Unfortunately many of the commercially made almond mylks available at the supermarket are shredded of all their goodness and packed with preservatives, so why wouldn’t you want to make your own clean, healthy, preservative free mylk?

Ingredients:

1 cup raw organic almonds
1.25 L filtered water

Method:

Pre-soak almonds overnight (8-12hrs) in glass jar with filtered water and a pinch of salt to activate almonds.
Rinse almonds thoroughly from the soaking liquid.
Place almonds in high speed blender together with filtered water.
Blend on high speed for 90 seconds.
Strain the blended almonds through a nut bag (or fine strainer) saving the almond milk.
Pour almond milk into glass jar and keep in refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Handy Tip:

The pulp remaining from the strained almonds can be dried out in a low temperature oven for 3-4 hours and used as almond meal. Transfer the dried almond meal into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator until required.

Note - Make sure that the almond meal is completely dried out before storing because if it is left wet, it will start to smell and become toxic.

5 Minute Granola Bars

My kids have always loved having a muesli bar added to their lunch box, or as a snack on the weekend. But they had to go when we made the change to become a sugar free home, so I needed to find a school friendly (nut free) replacement. These have the perfect balance of sweetness from the raw honey and dried fruits while still providing all that nutritional goodness. It's so easy to make, and easy to adapt to whatever you have in your pantry. Best of all the kids love them!

Ingredients:

½ cup sunflower seed butter (or any nut butter / tahini)
¼ cup raw honey
¼ cup coconut oil – melted
1.5 cups rolled oats (gluten free alternative)
¼ cup linseed meal
¼ cup chia seeds
¼ cup dried cranberries or sultanas
¼ cup sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

Method:

Prepare 8x8 dish with parchment paper.
Melt sunflower seed butter, honey and coconut oil on low heat until liquid form and set aside.
Combine all other ingredients together in a medium bowl.
Add wet mixture to dry mixture and mix until well combined.
Press mixture into pre-prepared dish.
Freeze for 30 minutes and then cut into 16 squares.
Keep in well sealed glass container in the fridge.

Serves 16 slices