Raw Chocolate – Dairy Free

What you need:

  • 200g raw cacao butter
  • 60g raw cacao powder
  • 100g raw honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste, powder or natural extract
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

What to do:

  1. Chop cacao butter roughly into pieces. Place in Thermomix and mill 20 sec/Speed 8
  2. Once milled, melt cacao for 20mins/37°/speed 2. You will need to scrape down the sides and in some cases scrape down the blades as well, until all the cacao butter is melted.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and continue cooking 10 mins/37°/speed 1.
  4. Thoroughly mix chocolate 20 sec/speed 4 to ensure honey or syrup is blended
  5. Pour onto a tray lined with baking paper or into moulds.
  6. Place in the freezer to set quickly, without separating.

You can add anything you please to the chocolate at step 5 or 6. Nuts, coconut, dried fruit, spices, pieces of gelatin jelly, dried berries, edible essential oils, anything your chocolate heart desires.

Full credit for this recipe goes to Quirky Cooking

0

Santosha’s 1st Birthday Kid’s Party Wrap-up

Photos from Santosha's 1st Birthday

We were blessed with a beautiful Spring day, 27 degrees with a slight breeze, to celebrate one year of Santosha Health and Wellbeing Centre.

The purpose of the celebration (besides the milestone) was to throw a kids party and demonstrate that it doesn’t have to be all fairy bread and lolly bags. We wanted to create a party to present to parents and kids, that foods with a healthy twist can be yummy and there are many fun activities that are also educational. We were nourishing little minds and little bodies all under the guise of a party with balloons, cupcakes and bunting!

Fitting with the philosophies of Santosha, Health Living, Optimal Living, Sustainable Living, there was an emphasis on promoting businesses, particularly local, who also fit under these themes. We invited local businesses to participate by including their information in our goodie bags and if possible a take home sample. The result was amazing! We had home-made playdough, tomato plants, honey, body scrubs, apples, fish oil tablets and much more!

The celebrations started by congregating the children with Megan and then playing a game to organise them into youngest to eldest. After dividing the group into three based on age, the activities began.

Suzanne from Art Play by Zuska lead an art activity where everyone was encouraged to choose colours with their eyes closed based on how they felt. They were encouraged to not just draw with the materials on hand, but to run their fingers over the page and replace thinking about the drawing with feeling the drawing. This kind of activity allows children to create art not based on what ‘looks good’ but more an expression of themselves. Suzanne believes that art is beautiful and avoids encouragement based on how it appears, but rather how it felt while creating it. Children and adults alike LOVED this activity so much that Suzanne had actually run out of paper by the end of the party!

Larissa was demonstrating some simple recipes with the Thermomix. She started with the older children’s group and whipped up a delicious strawberry sorbet which was devoured by everyone there. Next she proved that healthy can be yummy by blending a chocolate and green smoothie. I witnessed many kids sneaking back for another cup. The nutella was also a hit with most.

The unfortunate thing about foods that we eat today is that anything processed generally has a lot of added sugar, whether its a ‘sweet’ food or not. This leaves many taste buds and palates narrowed to just sweet tasting food. Anything outside of this just will not taste good. This is not the time nor the place for a discussion on sugar and its impact on our health, only to say that it is a big problem and slowly but persistently swaying children away from the processed and store-bought foods, to home made varieties where you can control the ingredients and sugar levels will benefit them in the long term, in more ways than most people can imagine!

Megan, operating as her business “me. The Mindful Mother” held a very popular mindfulness and mediation class for all three groups. Speaking to a few parents after they had been in Megan’s room, they were pleasantly surprised at their children’s participation and ability to sit and be ‘mindful’, even the very young ones. In our busy, crazy, noisy world, learning to just sit and be is such an important skills for children to learn.

While all of this was happening, Georgia from Wellness Pilates and Massage generously gave a few lucky parents a seated massage.  Those I had the opportunity to speak to after their session were extremely pleased, very relaxed but all commented that they “had a few sore bits”.

Although the schedule of activities was a little lost by the end of the day, this allowed the children and their parents to gravitate towards areas that interested them. It was also a great opportunity to chat with like-minded people and also of course enjoy the sunshine.

The gluten-free cupcakes in chocolate and vanilla were gobbled up early. As were the Bliss Balls made with activated almonds and walnuts, kindly made and donated by Riverland Activated Nuts. It wasn’t until the very end that we realised we had forgotten to bring out the jelly! So those left had a special opportunity to taste test some home-made jelly cleverly made by Amy.

After months of planning, the day turned out well. We hope those who came along had a great day, enjoyed the activities and hopefully also learned something along the way.

Thanks to the following people for contributing on the day:

  • Amy Martinson for helping me plan and brainstorm ideas, help with recipes and keep me on track
  • Josh Kenyon, my husband and maintenance man, for cleaning up around the clinic, weeding, fixing, sweeping and bringing me food and everything I forget
  • Trisha Langford, AKA Mum, for baking the cakes while on nightshift, making the bliss balls, donating Riverland Activated Nuts to the goodie bags and forever doing my dishes
  • Megan Petersen for helping plan, put together the goodie bags and holding the Yoga and Mindfulness activity
  • Jemma Smith for ideas, organising goodie bag contents and setting up on the day
  • Suzanne Macphersen for bringing her unique art class
  • Larissa for the thermomix demonstration and patience while we tried to choose recipes
  • Georgia Tsanavaras for dedicating some of her day to massage
  • Tammy Spinks for taking photos on the day
  • Maarten Smits for beginning to help with balloons and for taking photos on the day
  • Diana Van Meel for blowing up and hanging balloons
  • Everyone who brought their kids along
  • Everyone who helped clean up
  • Anyone I have forgotten (I do apologise)
  • And lastly, all the businesses that contributed to our goodie bags which were filled to the brim. Please support these businesses where you can:
0

All you Need to Know about Beans

Are you looking to reduce your meat consumption but would still like to keep your protein up? Or perhaps you just want to increase your protein to help reduce carbohydrates?

Whatever the reason, here is the information which is…

All you Need to Know about

Beans

Beans are loaded with a good source of protein. Although they don’t have as many amino acids as animal based foods, they do have more than other plant-based options. Beans have lots of iron, B group vitamins and fibre.

Protein is important as it is the building block of cells and tissues and important for many vital bodily functions. We should consume a range of protein sources to ensure we receive all essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are the ones we can’t manufacture ourselves.

 

Preparing Beans

The best way to cook beans with minimal impact on your digestive system (I mean less farts) is to soak them overnight.

Drain and rinse the beans then place them in a pot with about twice the water.

Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer until soft.

You can add all sorts of herbs and spices depending on personal taste. I recommend adding a couple of bay leaves to the boiling pot.

A small amount of salt is also good.

Combine with any recipe that calls for beans.

Add to salads, soups, stews, as a side dish, with your morning eggs, the options are endless!

 

Cooking times for 1 cup of beans:

  • Cannellini 90-120 minutes
  • Chick peas 120-180
  • Kidney 60-90
  • Lentils 30-45
  • Navy 60-90
  • Split peas 45-60

 

Other tips for cooking beans:

Chew thoroughly, this also helps with digestion

Fennel and cumin can help reduce wind

Experiment with different beans and different flavours

Apple cider vinegar can also help to soften the beans and help with digestion. Add a couple of teaspoons during the cooking process.

 

0

Vegetarian Cold Rolls

This recipe can also be made as a non-vegetarian meal with chicken or prawns.

Cold Rolls Ingredients

What you need:

Filling (Any combination of the list below):

  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Carrot
  • Avocado
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Mint leaves
  • Kelp noodles
  • Rice paper

Dipping Sauce

  • Sweet chili sauce
  • Tamari
  • Soy sauce (fermented)

What to do:

Prepare your ingredients for the rolls, eg. Finely slice the lettuce, peel and grate the carrots, wash the bean sprouts etc.

Place the kelp noodles in a bowl of water. Break them apart as best you can. I grab the whole lot and chop it through the middle, twice. So the noodles aren’t so long and more easily handled.

Pour a small amount of luke warm water on a dinner plate and place a clean tea towel beside. Quickly but carefully place a sheet of rice paper in the water, covering completely. Then remove immediately and place on the tea towel.

*When I started making cold rolls I used to wet one piece of rice paper completely. Put it on the tea towel, then put the next one in the water while I was filling the first one. This doesn’t work! The paper rips easily and is not so elastic. Thanks to my friend Alice and her tips at a yummy Vietnamese restaurant when we were in LA in early 2014. After that night, I feel like an expert.

Folding Cold Rolls

The order of your ingredients doesn’t really matter but I like aesthetically pleasing food so I always place the noodles down first, then the lettuce, other salad ingredients, (meat if I’m using it,) then mint leaves. Roll as per the instructions on the rice paper packet: Roll half way, fold the sides in, and then keep rolling. The rice paper will be a little sticky which is good, because it holds your rolls together in the end.

Serve with your choice of dipping sauce. My favourite is Braggs Coconut Aminos or Tamari (traditionally fermented, gluten free, soy sauce).

Vegetarian Cold Rolls

 

0

Cashew and Coconut Biscuits

These low sugar cashew biscuits are so yummy that everyone who I’ve shared them with end up asking me for the recipe. They are similar to ANZAC biscuits but are made with cashews rather than oats. Despite being low in sugar they are very tasty.

I found the original recipe in a fastPaleo cookbook “Top 10 Cookies of 2013”. They referenced the recipe as being from Kate’s Healthy Cupboard, a website which is definitely worth a visit.

As they contain no flour, the biscuits are very soft and fragile when they come out of the oven. As long as you are gentle they will hold together and as they cool will harden up. Even if you do end up breaking one (they kinda just crumble) you have two options: eat it quickly! Or push it back together and it will set. Personally I would just eat it.

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups cashews
  • 1 cup shredded or dessicated coconut
  • 1/3 cup rapadura sugar (or other unrefined sugar substitute)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder (Honest to Goodness do an amazing vanilla powder)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk

(My cashews, coconut, rapadura, vanilla powder, Himalayan sea salt, coconut oil and coconut milk all came from Honest to Goodness. They have a huge range of organic pantry items. If you can get them wholesale or through a food co-op in your area they are great value for money too!)

What to do:

Process the cashews and coconut until it resembles somewhere between sand and gravel. The more times you make these biscuits (and it will be more than once!) you’ll get to know how course or fine you like them.

Add rapadura, vanilla, baking powder and salt. Process just until combined.

Pour in melted coconut oil and the coconut milk and mix until it becomes a dough.

Scoop into balls and place on baking paper on an oven tray. Again you can play with the shape and size. I use a big teaspoon worth of mixture. Flatten them down slightly.

Bake at 175 degrees for 10 minutes or until just brown.

Remove from the oven and slide baking paper off and onto a tray.

Wait until they have cooled to move onto a rack.

Store in an airtight container once they have cooled completely.

Share them around. Everyone will love them!

Cashews are high in the amino acid L-tryptophan which is a precursor to serotonin, your happy hormone. They also contain magnesium which helps in many biochemcial pathways including relaxation of muscles but also energy pathways. So next time you’re feeling a bit down, reach for a handful of cashews and give yourself a natural boost!

0

Holistic Health Care and the Triad of Health

Holistic Health Care

When it comes to the treatment of a health condition, a simple way of making sure a holistic approach is being applied is to your health, is to ensure the three sides of the Triad of Health are balanced.

This Triad of Health includes:

  • Structural or physical
  • Chemical or nutritional
  • Emotional or mental

If only one or two aspects of this triad are addressed you may not ever reach 100% healing success.

Holistic” and “holism” are words that are gaining in popularity in the world of health. The Macquarie Encyclopaedic Dictionary states that holistic medicine is “an approach which treats the whole person rather than just dealing with manifestations of a disease or symptoms.” I am proud to practice chiropractic techniques which allow me to fulfil this definition every day at Santosha.

If we use the simple example of a headache: This headache may be caused by your five-a-day coffee habit (chemical), stress over a recent relationship breakdown (emotional) combined with dysfunction in your neck (physical). But if only the neck dysfunction is treated by chiropractic adjustments or stretches, or you just kick your coffee habit, while the headaches may diminish they will not go completely until you take care of the emotional patterns you are also dealing with. In the same way, counselling may help you emotionally and reduce some headaches, if you are still consuming copious amounts of coffee, the problem will likely still persist.

On the other hand, dealing with your headache by chemical means, such as ‘pain killers’, while chemically altering your body to not feel the pain, still leaves the emotional and structural problems behind. These emotional and structural issues may then manifest as other health problems further down the track.

As I mentioned earlier, I am proud that my approach and qualifications allow me to address all three sides of the health triad:

0

Banana, Coconut and Lime Ice Cream

Banana Coconut Lime Ice Cream

What you’ll need:

  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 6 tablespoons coconut cream
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Juice and zest of half a lime
  • Toasted coconut

Peel and freeze 3 bananas at least one day before.

Measure 6 tablespoons of coconut cream and freeze for about 30-60 minutes before you intend on mixing the ice-cream. I have learned that my ice cube trays are kindly 1 tablespoon in each cube, just in case you have the same ones. Also handy for freezing lemon juice for when lemons go out of season. I digress.

Add banana, coconut cream, cinnamon, lime juice and zest into a food processor.

Blend until smooth.

Serve into four bowls.

Garnish with toasted coconut.

This recipe originally came from Alexx Stuart from http://alexxstuart.com/ I have made various versions of this recipe but have stripped it back to basics here. If you are looking for many more delicious real food recipes, I definitely recommend Alexx’s wesbite!

The coconut cream will help with the metabolism of sugar by slowing down the process so you don’t get the sugar highs and lows (even though there is only minimal sugar in the banana in this recipe.)

The cinnamon will do the same.

Some people report being able to digest frozen bananas, better than fresh ones. I always freeze my bananas before adding them to my smoothies, except when I forget to. Then I don’t.

Toasted coconut is a great thing to have ready in the pantry. I used shredded coconut in my picture above, but you can also use coconut flakes. Lay the coconut flakes/shreds on a baking tray. Turn the oven onto grill. DON’T LEAVE the kitchen. I did once. Then I saw some towels that needed putting in the laundry. Then I saw there was a load of washing that needed to be folded. Then I smelt smoke as I folded the washing. My coconut was on fire! In my brand new oven. I repeat. Do NOT leave the kitchen while toasting coconut. Anyway, you may need to take it out and toss it around a bit while it is toasting. Toast (but don’t leave the kitchen) until your level of coconutty goldeness is reached. Wait until it has all cooled, place in an airtight container and store in the pantry.

The toasted flakes can be used as a garnish for ice creams, other desserts, stir fries, other Asian dishes and much more. I also eat them straight from the container as a snack.

0

Book Review – Well-Adjusted Babies

Well-Adjusted Babies Book

Well-Adjusted Babies is a book I recommend to all parents of young children but especially pregnant women. It takes the reader on a well-informed journey from pre-conception, through the pregnancy, labour and birth and all the options that present, breastfeeding, through to first feeding solid foods, and more!

The information offered in the book is well-researched, evidenced-based and backed up by referenced studies, however this is all presented in an easy to read format (as opposed to some other dry and boring information based books).

Well-adjusted Babies has been endorsed by celebrities such as Miranda Kerr who reportedly continued to refer back to the book as her baby boy Flynn grew.

The best thing about this book is that you are basically getting about 10 books in one. Generally each stage of your child’s life requires another book and another lot of information. With Well-adjusted Babies you can find it all in the one place, with each stage flowing on from the last.

Claire, mother to Fergus who is 2 months old and blogger on White Blank Pages had this praise for Well-Adjusted Babies:

“Throughout my pregnancy and now with a newborn I refer to Well-adjusted Babies constantly.

“It guided me through my pregnancy, reassured me and made me feel like I was fully equipped in every scenario. Well-adjusted Babies was my one and only resource through my pregnancy. I especially referred to it in the final stages, when I needed it more than ever preparing me for labour and giving me the courage I needed.

“In the build up to labour, my partner even picked it up to read giving him a better understand as to what to expect.

“It is a fabulous resource from conception through to motherhood. I highly recommend it.”

Claire Colebeck | whiteblankpages.com.au

 

Well-Adjusted Babies is available from Santosha Health & Wellbeing Centre or online by clicking here.

 

 

0

How to ensure optimal motor development in your children

Baby Crawling

Although each child develops at different rates, there is a correct sequence to this development. This sequence moves through parts of the brain in a very specific order. Unfortunately with all the mod-cons of today, this sequence is often disrupted.

Normal development

Babies are born with reflex movements only. This begins before birth and the ‘kicking’ felt from the baby is part of this development. No movement is purposeful. At around 16 weeks of age, the brain progresses into what is called homolateral activity, which is using one side of the body and either top or bottom at one time. This also includes visual and auditory senses (seeing and hearing) but due to each side working separately, location of sounds and depth perception doesn’t occur.

Between 6 months and one year of age is a very important time period developmentally speaking as this is when the body learns to use both sides of the body together. This movement pattern is called “cross-crawl” or “cross-patterning”. This is an important phase due to its relationship with moving into an upright position and ensuring the two hemispheres of the brain to work together. This development time frame also includes hand-eye coordination.

Between one and five years, this bilateral (both sides) development continues to progress and walking begins. Early in this stage the arms do not move in a cross-pattern with the legs, but rather they are used for balancing. Moving into this phase too early (i.e. when bilateral function is not sufficient) can retard normal development. It is not until 3 years of age that left or right sided dominance becomes prominent. Before this time it is important to develop both sides of the brain equally. Once dominance is established, it should be constant through-out the body. Hand dominance should be the same as eye, foot and ear. This stage will reach full development by around 5 to 8 years of age.

Examples that may cause disruption to this normal process

Bottle-feeding babies on one side
Breastfeeding naturally encourages development on both sides as each breast is used almost evenly. When feeding occurs, one eye, arm and leg are restricted and eye contact is made with the other side. When bottle-feeding, it is common for the parents to use their dominant side, however this means the body restriction on the child is consistent on one side, not allowing the often restricted side to develop fully. Swapping sides each bottle feed ensures each side of the baby’s body receives the same stimulation.

“Walking” babies (holding onto their hands while they “walk”)
As walking is a very complex task neurologically, it is imperative that the nervous system is developed sufficiently to cope with this activity. Proficient development of each hemisphere of the brain must be complete; otherwise it may be delayed or interfered with when encouraging a child to stand or walk too soon. Allowing children to develop at their own pace allows the normal sequence to occur naturally.

Using cutlery
The introduction of solid food for children is shifting earlier and earlier (this is a separate issue) but that also means the encouragement of utensils is also becoming earlier. The use of a fork or a spoon is a unilateral (one-sided) activity and may force a child into dominance before their brain is ready. Eating with their hands not only encourages a child to use both sides of their body (brain) before dominance at 3 years, it also gives them a lot of sensory feedback when they are able to touch, feel and move their food around. Sorry Mum, playing with your food is actually good!

These are just a few examples. Jolly jumpers, walkers, Bumbo seats and other contraptions are a contentious issue. The bottom line is that anything that pushes a child into an area of development that their nervous systems is not yet ready for, may be detrimental on the long term, whether used in moderation or not.

0

See why my diet hasn’t always been perfect…and still isn’t

Catherine  (9)

When I speak to patients about their diet, there is often an assumption that my diet is perfect and that it must have always been like that. The truth is I started out where most of you are starting out in your health journey. I was lucky to have lots of positive influences around me to steer me in the right direction, just like I would love to do with each one of you!

While your diet and lifestyle will always be a work in progress, it’s sometimes good to take a look back and see how far you have come.

This is my story…

 

My childhood diet

When I was young, my standard diet was the accepted norm at the time: Corn Flakes or Weetbix for breakfast, a muesli bar and maybe a piece of fruit for morning tea, a sandwich made with white bread for lunch with either fritz and sauce or lettuce and cucumber, then boiled vegetables and a piece of meat for dinner.

As I got older

In my university days, when I could do the shopping and choose the food it changed a bit, for the worse! Breakfast would be a coffee or a Farmer’s Union iced coffee, white bread toast and promite or honey, or cereal which would usually be Froot Loops or Nutri-Grain, but when I was being “healthy” I would go back to my childhood and have Weetbix. The Weetbix tasted horrible so there was always one or two teaspoons of sugar on top, then a little bit poured down the side so I would get a little sweetness to finish. (I was a complete sugar addict…still recovering) Sometimes when I was splashing out I would buy croissants and have them with jam or ham and cheese.

Lunch was often leftovers from the night before. If I didn’t have anything leftover, sausage rolls with sauce were a favourite, a chicken schnitzel burger from the café at uni or sometimes flavoured rice cakes. Dinner was still vegetables and meat, stir fries with store-bought sauce (lots of added sugar), steaks and boiled vegies and often a big bowl of pasta with sauce from a jar (salt, sugar and preservatives). But too often there would be McDonalds’, KFC, hot chips from down the road and sometimes pizza.

I would go through litres and litres of milk a week just on my own, sometimes three or four litres. I would also go through litres of juice. Although I always drank plenty of water.

If that diet wasn’t bad enough, it was the things in between meals. I loved microwave popcorn. Chocolate has always been a favourite. A large packet of Arnott’s cream assorted was always in the cupboard. My favourite thing to bake was chocolate brownies. And they tasted best which big lumps of melted white chocolate. Did I say I was a sugar addict!

When was the moment I realised it wasn’t working for me?

There was no particular moment when I thought, “this isn’t working,” nor was there a health crisis that made me take a good, hard look at myself, but a series of small changes that happened over the years. I always knew fruit and vegies were important, but I didn’t realise how bad all the other stuff was. Two girls I shared a house with during uni actually didn’t consume any gluten or lactose. I thought that was because it would make them sick. I didn’t realise it was a choice.

In fifth year uni I saw a chiropractor (Hi Trev!) who gave me lots of little bits of information, which fats were best to cook with, why so many carbohydrates were bad for me and why my adrenal gland wasn’t working. I was tired all the time (something the GP put down to not enough exercise), I kept getting coughs and colds and worst of all, constant headaches and migraines.

In the following years, doing various extra courses after uni and speaking to different practitioners I have picked up other bits and pieces. I reduced my bread intake, I limited my sugar a little bit, I reduced my fast food, but still my diet was nowhere near perfect.

What are my diet philosophies/principles now?

Shireen, who I worked with in Adelaide, was a big influence in really cleaning up my diet. She introduced me to green smoothies about five years ago and particularly in summer, I start many mornings with different smoothie combinations. I avoid gluten which involved taking out bread, swapping oat porridge to quinoa porridge and reducing pasta, going for the gluten free pasta or even better, making zucchini pasta.

The only dairy I have now is in a bit of butter or in my coffee. I only have one or two coffees a week, which are always good quality, with well sourced beans. My sugar has been severely limited which includes limiting fruit, although the peaches this year have been amazing! When living in Adelaide our shopping was done at an organic fruit and veg shop (organic is something I’m yet to source consistently in the Riverland), a butcher for the meat and only a few things come from the supermarket. We are having more meat free days, instead getting our protein from more vegetables.

Coffee Green Smoothie Protein Slice

 

I don’t follow any particular diet or method. I have tinkered with Gluten free/Casein free, carbohydrate limiting diets, sugar free, raw food and paleo (caveman diet).

My personal philosophy is real food. Everything is made from scratch and in its most natural form. No packets, no jars, no boxes, no plastic. Just wholesome, healthy real food just as my great grandmother would recognise it.

As you can see, it has been a real gradual process. You can implement small changes over time, which will add up in the long run.

Share below in the comments one change that you can make today and commit to that will improve your health in the long run.

0
Page 3 of 4 1234