Three things you didn’t know about yoghurt

As you already know, yoghurt is a dairy wonder that’s beneficial for your health in many ways.

Rich in calcium and an excellent source of high-quality protein, this nutrient-rich, all-star food is delicious no matter how you eat it – whether it’s on its own or in smoothies.

However, there are a couple of facts about yoghurt I bet you didn’t know – I’m letting you in on three of them.

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Three surprising health benefits of yoghurt

#1: Yoghurt improves your digestion

That’s right – this creamy stuff can easy all of your tummy troubles! The probiotics AKA friendly bacteria in yoghurt helps balance the microflora in your gut, which in turn helps with digestion and keeps you regular, according to culinary and nutrition expert Robin Plotkin (RD). Considering 80% of your immunity lies in your gut, it goes without saying that maintaining optimal gut health is key to a strong immune system and excellent overall health.

#2: Yoghurt is great for your heart

One of the most surprising reasons to heart yoghurt? It keeps your ticker healthy! According to associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health Alvaro Alonso, eating low-fat and fat-free yoghurt may also help lower your risk of developing high blood pressure. The special proteins, calcium, magnesium and potassium in yoghurt contribute to this blood pressure-lowering effect.

#3: Yoghurt can do wonders for your skin

Forget those pricy skin treatments to perfect your problem skin. According to dermatologist Hema Sundaram, yoghurt is rich in lactic acid, which is a component in some in-office chemical peels. Lactic acid is a super-gentle exfoliator that sloughs dead cells of the top layers of the epidermis, which helps clear up blemishes and discolourations as well as smooth out wrinkles.

And there you have it – three awesome health facts about yoghurt! Do you know of any others?

This cleansing cabbage and hemp salad only takes 10 minutes to toss up

Are you looking for something quick, easy as well as tasty to toss up at lunchtime? Then this colourful cabbage and hemp salad recipe is just the thing for you!

This delicious salad incorporates a variety of colour, which is essential for obtaining a vast amount of nutrients in a single meal. It’s sure to stave off midday slumps and instead give you a great energy boost!

With added hemp seeds for protein and healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil, this salad is perfect for a satisfying lunch.

Bonus tip: Blend up a nutrient-dense green juice to enjoy with your salad for an added nutrient punch!

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Tasty hemp and cabbage salad recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes

You’ll need:

  • 1 small head of purple cabbage
  • 1 handful cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive or hemp oil
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • Juice of a lime

What to do:

  1. Wash, cut and prepare all of the vegetables on the ingredients list.
  2. In a side bowl, whisk the olive or hemp oil with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the vegetables, olive or hemp oil and hemp seeds.
  4. Squeeze the lime juice over your salad and refrigerate it for one hour.
  5. Remove your salad from the fridge, then top with sliced avocado.
  6. Enjoy immensely!

Let me know what you think of this tasty recipe!

My top three tips for aspiring vegetarians

Ever since I fell in love with the vegetarian lifestyle little over a year ago, I’ve been aspiring to convert to a plant-based way of life.

Throughout my journey thus far, I’ve encountered a couple of struggles along the way. I’ve also, of course, made a couple of mistakes.

To save any new vegetarians a ton of time, energy and frustration, take a look at the top three mistakes that meat-free eaters tend to make!

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Three tips for aspiring vegetarians

#1: Don’t replace meat with cheese

Seriously – put down the cheese! Replacing meat with cheese may seem like a no-brainer at first, but it’s a trap – just trust me on that. When I first gave up meat, I panicked and was stressed I’d become deficient in protein, so I turned to cheese to up my intake.

Initially, I thought it was fantastic – I was eating lots of delicious, cheesy things such as cheese fries, nachos, quesadillas, grilled cheese sandwiches and veggie pizzas. If a meal contained vegetables and cheese, I was on it like white on rice. And then, after about three months, I realised that I was piling on weight…

You see, cheese is a processed food and it’s very high in fat. Therefore, it offers very few health benefits. And, because the human body wasn’t designed to ingest other animal’s bodily fluids, it doesn’t quite agree with it. So when you start consuming cheese regularly, you’re pretty much just rebelling against your body’s natural process. In the long-term, this can lead to myriad health problems.

I know that cheese is awesome and hard to resist, but go easy on it!

#2: Fill up on carbs

You might’ve heard the long-standing myth that your body needs massive amounts of protein to drop weight, but this actually isn’t at all true. While your body needs protein to stay in balance, what it’s actually crying out for is carbohydrates. So I say, “bring on the carbs!” (Seriously – forget what the Atkins Diet told you)

Now, when I say carbs, I’m not talking about cake, doughnuts, bread, bagels and pasta. Rather, I’m referring to fruits and veggies, beans, nuts and rice. Such carbs are natural, derived directly from the earth, and aren’t in any way processed. In the case of white flour, it’s bleached, processed and stripped of al its beneficial nutrients. So even though flour is technically vegan and vegetarian, it’s unnatural.

I get it – white flour is cheap and versatile, but there are healthy, natural alternatives that are so much better for your body that won’t up your risk of disease and weight gain. Experiment with almond flour, coconut flour, chickpea flour and rice flour. They’re loaded with nutrients and are just as tasty in your favourite dishes!

Swapping out meat for vitamin- and mineral-rich carbs will keep your cravings at bay. They’ll also promote better overall health and keep your diet healthy and balanced!

#3: Stay away from frozen foods

When you first start your plant-based journey you may be tempted to buy readymade frozen veggie burgers and the like. I get that it’s far quicker and easier to do this then prepare a fresh plant-based meal from scratch, but are you aware of how unhealthy these frozen foods actually are?

That’s right – they may taste great, but just like cheese and flour, they’re processed products, which are bad for your health. And they also kind of contradict one of the main things you should be aiming to achieve by switching over to a plant-based diet. Why, you ask? Because they lack nutrients, vitamins and all the other good stuff that food directly from the garden contains, that’s why!

The bottom line: Make your own plant-based meals!

Don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen – it can actually be lots of fun! Buy yourself a vegan or vegetarian cookbook and commit to making your own natural, plant-based meals. Your health (and your waistline) will thank you!

Share your top tips for succeeding as a vegetarian with me in the comments below!

A raw chocolate smoothie you just have to try!

I don’t know about you, but the chocolate cravings have been real in my household lately (I blame it on the winter blues!).

To satisfy these never-ending cravings, I decided to get a little creative in the kitchen and blend up a healthy chocolate smoothie inspired by some of my favourite recipes – this is what I came up with!

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Decadent raw chocolate smoothie recipe

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups low-fat vanilla yoghurt
  • 2 cups rice milk (or other non-dairy milk of choice)
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 4-6 ice blocks

Preparation:

Add all ingredients to your blender and whiz on high-speed until completely smooth.
Pour into two tall glasses and drink up!

If you happen to try out this recipe of mine, please leave your thoughts in the comments below! Have a fabulous Saturday!

Three essential oils for a flu-free winter ahead

When it comes to cold and flu, it’s safe to say that the best-ever cure is prevention. That said, it’s never a bad idea to be prepared with a handful of effective all-natural remedies at all times. Because you never know when sickness is going to strike you, right?

Below are my four favourite essential oils to use to fight off infection during the cold winter months. They’re simply amazing at preventing the spread of airborne bacteria and viruses, and can be all that you need for a healthy, flu-free winter ahead!

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Three natural remedies for cold and flu

#1: Tea tree oil

You’re probably already familiar with tea tree oil. You may even know that it’s a powerful disinfectant, which is why many people use it as a natural cleaner for things such as yoga mats. Many beauty companies also use tea tree oil in their products because of its natural antibacterial properties, which is healthy for the skin.

The fragrance of tea tree oil is wonderfully fresh and cleansing, so it’s great for treating cold and flu, too. You should always dilute the oil with a carrier oil before applying it to your skin, and be sure to never ingest it. Some of the best places to apply tea tree oil on your body is on your throat, the back of your neck, and the bottom of your feet.

#2: Clove essential oil

Healers in China and India have been using clove essential oil since ancient times due to its brilliant immune-boosting properties. Clove is a very strong oil, so you should dilute one part clove to four parts carrier oil to apply it topically or ingest it.

You can apply one drop to the back of your tongue to relieve a scratchy throat or a tickling cough that lingers at the end of a cold, or diffuse it for antiviral properties.

#3: Pine essential oil

Pine essential oil is distilled directly from the needles of the pine tree. The Hippocrates were the first to use it for its fantastic respiratory system benefits. This oil is also well-known for its ability to relieve sinus, throat and lung infections.

If you want to relieve nasal or chest congestion, simply mix two drops of pine essential oil with three drops of lemon and three drop of eucalyptus and diffuse. You should also dilute pine essential oil with a carrier oil before applying it directly to your skin.

Wishing you great health this winter!

This cherry and beet smoothie supports your liver and reduces inflammation

If you’re anything like me, you’re all for recipes that pack both lots of flavour and a nutritional punch!

This tasty cherry and beet smoothie is dark purple in colour, and is laced with an array of nutrients that are great for every aspect of your health, but especially your natural detox system AKA your liver. Try it out!

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The nutritional benefits of this cherry and beet smoothie

In this smoothie, you’ll reap the liver-supporting benefits of beets. You’ll also take in a fantastic dose of inflammation-fighting cherries, ginger and cacao.

All other ingredients on the list are just as beneficial, and will provide your body with a great punch of all the vitamins and minerals that it needs to reboot and refuel!

The smoothie has a taste that manages to be both earthy and zesty at the same time, which is absolutely delightful first thing in the morning or after a workout.

How to blend up a tasty cherry and beet smoothie

Serves: 2

You’ll need:

  • ¼ cup almonds, cashews or hazelnuts
  • ¾ cup cherries, fresh or frozen
  • 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 beet, peeled and chopped
  • ½ banana, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tsp lime zest, grated
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • Small handful oats (optional, for a filling breakfast smoothie)
  • 2 tbsp hemp protein (optional, for a post-workout pick-me-up)

What to do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Spread the nuts of your choice out on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the nuts are lightly roasted. They should be golden brown in colour.
  3. Remove the nuts from the oven and transfer to your blender. Add the remaining ingredients to your blender and whiz on high-speed for one minute or until completely smooth.
  4. Divide the smoothie into two glasses, serve and enjoy!

Try out this sweet and soothing carrot and cantaloupe smoothie!

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that you have to swap out smoothies for soups. I personally love sipping on sweet, warming smoothies during the chilly months – especially when I’m feeling as gloomy as the weather and am in need of a little pick-me-up.

The carrot and cantaloupe smoothie recipe I’m about to share is both soothing and nutrient-dense, making it just what you need to survive the miserable cold weather! The next time you’re feeling flu-ish or run down, give this health-enhancing blend a try – you wont regret it!

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Why carrots and cantaloupe?

You might avoid carrots because of their high sugar content, but this is in fact a misconception. You see, because carrots also pack loads of fibre, they have a low glycaemic load.

However, this means that you have to eat the whole carrot (or use it in a smoothie) to maintain its fibre content. Juicing removes the fibre, which increases the glycaemic load. Therefore, the bottom line is that carrots are packed with incredible health benefits, not sugar!

Furthermore, both carrots and cantaloupe are very rich in the essential carotenoid beta-carotene, making them beneficial for your skin and eyes. They’re also both powerful natural anti-inflammatories.

Cantaloupe in particular is great for your insulin levels and blood sugar metabolism. Rich in vitamins A and C, this delicious fruit possesses an array of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, which actually makes it a superfood – bet you didn’t know that!

Lastly, the hint of ginger in the recipe adds a great little immune-boosting kick, while the natural sweetness of cinnamon provides blood sugar-balancing benefits. The combination as a whole is a soothing, anti-inflammatory and ever-so-yummy blend!

Carrot and cantaloupe anti-inflammatory smoothie recipe

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup carrots, chopped into small chunks
  • 2 cups cantaloupe, cubed
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger root, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

Preparation:

  1. Add all of the ingredients to your blender and blend on high-speed for one minute.
  2. Pour the mixture into two glasses and garnish with a sprinkling of cinnamon if desired.
  3. Serve immediately and enjoy tremendously!

Tip: Remember to try and chew your smoothie to increase your saliva, which aids digestion. You’ll feel more satisfied! After all, smoothies aren’t drinks, but rather liquid snacks and meals.

What did you think of this recipe? Leave your comments below!