Banana berry smoothie bowl

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This is such a delicious breakfast, it’s hard to believe it’s good for you. With only two serves of fruit, it’s not overloaded with sugar so is suitable for many on a detox who are limiting processed sugar and dairy.

Linseeds, also know as flaxseeds are an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, in fact they’re often claimed to be nature’s most valuable source. They are rich in lignans, a type of soluble and insoluble fibre that’s high in antioxidants, may help regulate hormone levels, boost the immune system and lower levels of bad cholesterol. It’s important to note that when consumed whole your body will often pass the seed so grinding them (ideally fresh) makes their high nutrient profile more readily available for the body. Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium and selenium. Almonds provide the body with plenty of good fats, minerals and are also good source of vitamin E.

Incorporating a variety of nuts and seeds into your diet is widely considered to provide cardiovascular support and boost heart health. They provide the body with a good source of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals  and plenty of antioxidants which play an important role in helping the body protect against cancer. Nuts and seeds are also a relatively good source of protein for vegetarians.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium to large banana
  • 70g / 2.5 oz frozen berries (any type will work)
  • 190ml /6.5 fl oz liquid – choose coconut water/almond milk/drinking coconut milk (I use two thirds coconut water and a third almond milk but you can vary or use a single liquid depending on what you like and what you have available)
  • 2 tablespoons LSA (I like to make this myself, to do so grind 1 tablespoon of almonds with half a tablespoon each of linseeds and sunflower seeds)

Method

  • Add two thirds of the banana, and the remaining ingredients to a high powered blender and blend until smooth
  • Transfer to a bowl (or glass if you prefer)
  • Slice the remaining third of the banana and top the smoothie with it. You may wish to add a few extra berries, some more nuts or chia seeds

Serves 1

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Activated Pepitas/Pumpkin Seeds

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I’ve been experimenting with activating pepitas (also known as pumpkin seeds) recently. According to Weston Price Foundation the process of soaking nuts, seeds and grains and legumes neutralises phytic acid which can be hard for the body to digest and makes the nutrients more readily available to the body.

Health Benefits of Pepitas

Pepitas/pumpkin seeds are rich in minerals including manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, copper and zinc and have long been valued as a good source of dietary zinc. They are a good source of a diverse range of antioxidants, the combination of which is not commonly found in other food sources. Similarly, they contain vitamin E in a variety of forms which is thought to increase its bioavailability.

Pepitas are also rich in omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids and contain the amino acid tryptophan which is sometimes used to treat chronic insomnia.

It’s great to rely on a variety of food sources to meet your daily vitamin and mineral requirements. Try out my paleo honey nut bar recipe which is a great way to get kids to eat pepitas with other nuts and seeds. They also make great additions to salads.

Ingredients

  • As many pepitas as you would like to activate
  • Plenty of filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

Method

  1. Cover the pepitas in plenty of filtered water (allowing for the fact that they will expand) and add the lemon juice/apple cider vinegar
  2. Soak for 6 hours
  3. Drain and pat dry
  4. Place in a food dehydrator according to instructions for 12 hour or roast in the oven in the lowest temperature for the same amount of time

Once complete, allow to cool and store in an airtight container. If you don’t eat them very often or have made a large batch, it’s a good idea to store them in the fridge.

Moroccan Fish with Preserved Lemon and Dukkah

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I’m loving Moroccan flavours with fish at the moment, they transform a light and healthy meal into a dish with the most amazing flavour.

Preserved lemons are used commonly in Moroccan and Middle Eastern cuisine, made by rubbing the rinds of whole lemons with salt and leaving them to pickle in brine, lemon juice and spices for at least several weeks (often a lot longer).

I recently ran out of my own home made preserved lemons so bought some handmade ones from a good providore. They weren’t cheap but tasted excellent so were definitely worth the investment, plus you really don’t need to use a great deal to transform the flavour of any dish. Try to avoid buying mass produced preserved lemons from the supermarket as they just won’t taste the same.

Dukkah is also used commonly in Moroccan and Middle Eastern dishes and is made by grinding a variety nuts such as hazelnuts, pistachios and almonds with sesame, cumin and coriander seeds. I’ll be posting a Dukkah recipe shortly but if you don’t have time to make your own, there are plenty of good options available from quality health food stores. I’ve tried the About Life dukkah made here in Sydney and it’s excellent.

Ingredients

  • 2 x fillets of your favourite white fish approx 180-200g / 6.5-7 oz
  • 1 x fresh lemon
  • Roughly a quarter or 2 tablespoons of preserved lemon
  • 4 tablespoons dukkah
  • A large sheet of aluminium foil roughly 40cm/6 inches

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Lay out 2 squares of aluminium foil roughly 20cm / 8 inch each side
  3. Slice the fresh lemon into thin slices and place half on each of the foil squares to create a bed for each of the fish fillets
  4. Place the fish on top of the lemon beds and fold the foil back on itself to create a parcel for each of the fillets
  5. Roast for approximately 15 – 20 minutes (this works for fillets approximately 2.5cm /1 inch thick so adjust according to the thickness of your fillets and how well you like your fish cooked)
  6. Remove from the oven and test to ensure the fish is cooked to your liking. If not return to the oven for a couple of minutes
  7. Once cooked, remove the fish and lemon from the foil and place on two plates, drizzling any excess lemon juice from the foil parcels over the fish
  8. Chop the preserved lemon into small pieces and arrange over the fish then sprinkle with the dukkah and serve

Serves 2

This dish goes beautifully with my rocket and cauliflower cous cous salad.

Green Banana Smoothie

cancer-fighting-green-banana-smoothie-2I’m such a big fan of green smoothies and am always experimenting with new recipes.

Three key prerequisites for my green smoothies are that they contain plenty of green vegetables (not just a few spinach leaves), limited sugar (from fruit and other ingredients) and that they taste good.

This smoothie contains a good serve of steamed broccoli, which has a whole host of health promoting properties. There’s an increasing amount of evidence to suggest that regular consumption of broccoli (think at least half a cup per day or a cup 3 – 4 times per week) helps the body fight against cancer. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods this is thanks to a unique combination of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and pro-detoxification properties.

Similarly, spinach is rich in antioxidants and like broccoli provides the body with a good source of vitamins A & K. This is particularly useful for those who are vitamin D deficient as vitamins A & K help the body keep vitamin D metabolism in balance.

Cucumbers are wonderfully light, alkalising vegetables (as is spinach) also with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They contain three key lignans (chemical compounds found in plants) that have been associated with reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate cancers.

Bananas provide a good source of potassium which helps the body maintain healthy blood pressure and heart function. They also provide a sweet, creamy consistency to the smoothie.

If I’m running low on broccoli or spinach, i’ll often substitute with some kale. You don’t have to be too precise with the ingredients, again use what you have readily available at home and if you like, add some protein powder or your other favourite supplement powder. I’ll often throw in a tablespoon of hydrolysed collagen (which I find unpalatable taken alone) .

Ingredients

  • 150 g / 5.25 oz steamed broccoli
  • 100 g / 3.5 oz spinach (I use English spinach or baby spinach leaves)
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 small lebanese cucumber or half a large one
  • 300 ml / 10 fl oz coconut water
  • 200 ml / 6.75 fl oz water
  • Quarter cup of ice
  • OPTIONAL: tablespoon of protein powder or supplement of your choice

Method

Steam the broccoli and allow to cool. I often steam batches and keep them in the freezer, you can blend straight from the freezer.

Add all ingredients to a high powered blender and blend until smooth.

Serves 2

Note, I was given a new high powered blender for Christmas the ingredients i’ve listed are a bit too much to fit into one of the jugs so I divide between 2 (one each for my partner and I).

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Chocolate Buckwheat Pancakes

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This recipe comes courtesy of my aunt who is gluten, dairy and processed sugar free. It’s her favourite breakfast of the moment topped some seasonal fruit and is even popular with her husband and teenage kids – who like them drizzled with maple syrup.

Buckwheat is a wonderful grain substitute with a whole host of health promoting properties. It’s relatively high in protein and contains all eight essential amino acids making it a good option for vegetarians.

Evidence suggests that regular consumption of buckwheat can help lower the risk of developing high blood pressure and high cholesterol (precursors to heart disease), thanks to the presence of a number of powerful flavonoids including rutin.

Regular consumption of buckwheat has also been linked to the reduction of type 2 diabetes according to an extensive Canadian research study published in 2003.

Raw cacao is one of the most nutrient rich foods on earth with the highest antioxidant concentration of any food in nature (thanks also to its high flavonoid content). Coconut flour is high in fibre and cinnamon provides both a subtle flavour enhancement and has also been linked to lowering blood sugar in people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Ingredients

  • Half a cup / 70g / 2.5 oz  buckwheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • Stevia (equivalent to 2 teaspoons of sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • ~ 4 teaspoons coconut oil or other oil for greasing

Method

  1. Sift all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl
  2. Stir in the almond milk until completely mixed
  3. Beat in the egg until the batter is smooth
  4. Heat a small frying pan to a medium-high heat
  5. Add add a teaspoon of coconut oil to grease the frying pan
  6. Pour in a quarter of the batter
  7. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the top starts to bubble and the bottom is sufficiently cooked that you can flip the pancake
  8. Cook the second side for approximately 3 minutes
  9. Remove from the pan and repeat the process for the remaining 3 pancakes
  10. Serve with fresh banana and berries, other seasonal fruit or your favourite topping

Serve 2

Makes 4 medium sized pancakes – 2 each

BBQ Steak with BBQ Vegetable Salad

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What better than steak on the BBQ in summer?  Steak with BBQ vegetables of course!

I love this dish as it’s another one that’s quick and easy to make with very little prep time and a relatively short cooking time.

For cooking steak on the BBQ opt for a good quality premium cut – I choose eye fillet, known in the UK as fillet steak and in the US as beef tenderloin. Always choose grass fed and grass finished beef, it tastes better and is much better for the animal and better for the planet.

Beef steak is an excellent source of protein and is high in B12, zinc and iron and the iron is steak is highly absorbable by the body.

BBQ with your favourite vegetables – here I’ve suggested capsicum (belle pepper) and eggplant (aubergine) but zucchini (courgettes) work really well too, as does broccolini drizzled with some chilli oil.

Ingredients

  • 2 x eye fillet steak fillets – approx 150g – 200g / 5.5oz – 7oz each (these instructions are for fillets around 3cm or 1 ¼ inch thick)
  • 1 medium sized eggplant/augergine
  • 1 red capsicum/belle pepper
  • 1 yellow capsicum/belle pepper
  • 80g / 3 oz rocket/arugula
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons good quality balsamic
  • Salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Heat the BBQ to a high heat (for most BBQs you’ll need to allow at least 5 minutes to heat)
  2. Slice the eggplant/aubergine into slices approx 1.5cm or just over half an inch thick and drizzle with a little oil
  3. Cut the capsicum/belle pepper into chucks approx 2cm or ¾ of an inch thick and also drizzle with a little oil
  4. Place on the BBQ – the eggplant will need to cook for approx 10 minutes each side until golden brown. The capsicum will need to cook turning several times for about 12-15 minutes until lightly charred but not too black
  5. Season the steak on both sides and drizzle with a little olive oil olive oil (it should be lightly covered in oil all over)
  6. Place the steak on the BBQ and cook for approx 3 minutes each side then turn and cook for an additional 1.5 minutes each side for a medium-rare steak or an additional or 2-3 minutes each side if you prefer it more cooked.
  7. Remove the steak from the BBQ, cover in foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes
  8. When the vegetables are done, remove from the BBQ
  9. Cut the cherry tomatoes in two and place in a large salad bowl with the rocket/arugala
  10. Mix through half the capsicum/belle peppers and eggplant/aubergine (place the other half in the fridge, it will keep for several days and make a delicious marinated-style vegetable addition to your salads)
  11. Mix 1.5 tablespoons olive oil and 1.5 tablespoons balsamic, drizzle over the salad and mix through well
  12. Serve with the BBQ steak

 

Serves 2