Thursday, 21 June 2012

Banana, Walnut & Sultana Muffins - gluten, grain & dairy free

Banana, Walnut & Sultana Muffins

These muffins are gluten & grain-free, high fibre, high protein, low GI, Paleo/Primal diet friendly and very tasty & filling! Coconut flour is alot more expensive than regular flour ($9 for 800gm here), but you use only 1/2 a cup for 12 muffins, so I think it works out pretty economical!

Makes 12

3 Mashed Bananas
1/3 Cup Coconut Oil, melted (you can substitute any oil here)
2 Tbs Honey, melted (if the bananas are over-ripe, you can leave out the honey)
3 Eggs (you can make these egg free by doubling the linseed/water mix below)
3 Tbs ground Linseed/Flaxseed mixed with 9 Tbs water (or 3 more eggs)
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped Walnuts (optional)
1 cup Sultanas or Raisins (optional, but you will have less muffin mix if you leave them out)

Mix wet/damp ingredients, sift in dry ingredients and fold together.  Put into muffin pans (with muffin liners) and cook for 20 - 25 minutes on 180 degrees C (350 F).


*Instead of mashed bananas you can add 2-3 grated apples (depending on size),  2-3 grated carrots or a mix of the two.  You could also add a teaspoon of mixed spice if you're a fan.

*Add a couple of tablespoons of carob or cocoa powder to the banana muffin mix to make chocolate muffins.  You may need to add extra honey, stevia or some palm/coconut sugar if using cocoa as it will need more sweetness to balance out it's natural bitterness.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Healthy Eating / Weight-Loss Challenge

I am looking for a few people to join me in losing a few (or quite a few!) kilos.  It's so much more motivating and fun (!) when you have friends along on the journey with you!  So whether you just need to lose the baby-belly or you have years of bad food choices behind you, you can join in and make some progress towards becoming the best YOU that you can be!  I have about 6 kilos to lose, which isn't a huge amount but considering the rate I've been putting it on, I'm looking at a weight gain of 12 kilos per year at this rate!  I certainly have to watch what I eat and exercise a LOT more now that I'm in my 30's!

Now I am not generally a big fan of counting calories, but I have decided that keeping a food journal with calorie counts is the best way to be accountable to myself and prevent me from shoving unnecessary food into my mouth (like kids left-overs!).  I'm much less likely to make a bad choice if have to write it down. 

Now I have a very cool (free!) tool that makes keeping a food & exercise diary SO much easier!  You can either download it as an App on iPhone, iPad or iPod or Android, or you can use it online.  It's called MY FITNESS PAL.  I have the App loaded on my iPod touch, which is a super-easy way to use the system.  Thousands of foods are already pre-loaded with calorie, carb, protein, fat and vitamin & mineral contents.  You can program in you current and goal weights and how much weight you want to lose per week (though it is only in pounds not kilos so you'll need to work that out).  I don't recommend going below 1600 calories per day (about 1800 is probably better) as you put your body into starvation mode which prevents weight loss and causes weight gain when you go off it because it's too restrictive to maintain. 

An idea I heard yesterday on Dr. Oz was to have one FAT-URDAY no-guilt cheat day per week...a day when you eat more calories than other days (so you can get your treats in!) which is supposed to boost your metabolism and prevent your body from going into starvation mode and holding onto the kilos. 

With My Fitness Pal you can program in your daily allowance at 1800-2000 calories (depending on how active you are) and save some of those daily calories for your FAT-URDAY treats and still come out under your calorie target for the week.

If you'd like to join me on My Fitness Pal, you can add friends to your news feed and keep each other motivated. The news feed will show if you burn calories through exercise or if you are under your calorie goal for the day (it doesn't show everyone if you go over or what you eat etc).  So you if join My Fitness Pal, add me - my login is angtheflyingkiwi so you can search for me and add me as a friend.

I hope you'll join me!! 

Friday, 1 June 2012

Natural Remedies for Colds & Flu

Here are a couple of home remedies we use for preventing and fighting off colds & flu.  They are not magic cures, but have helped us avoid coughs and colds turning into anything worse, and get rid of them a little sooner than usual, although some people will be able to avoid them altogether using these tips :-)

Chicken Stock! 

Chicken soup made from scratch with lots of chicken bones (save your roast leftovers in the freezer for stock making day!) and 2 TBS of vinegar (helps to draw the minerals out of the bones) contains natural antibiotics and will boost your immune system, helping to fight off the winter ills.  Not an old-wives tale after all, this has actually been scientifically proven to contain these goodies!


Take at least 2 or 3 chicken carcasses (or whole chicken/s, cooked about 30 - 45 minutes, then remove and take off the meat and return the bones to the stock, putting the meat in the fridge to add back into the soup later).  I like to order free-range chicken frames, which actually have enough meat on them to make a nice chicken and vegetable soup.

Bring bones to the boil with 2 TBS vinegar, then reduce to a simmer for 6 - 24 hours.  In the last hour or so, add in a couple of chopped onions, celery and a carrots.  Strain bones and veges (chuck them out) and allow stock to cool, transferring to the fridge.  When cold, scoop off chicken fat that has risen to the top and freeze stock for later or make soup straight away.  The stock can also be used for rice risotto type dishes or anything that uses stock and you will get the benefit of this immune boosting, natural antibiotic, mineral rich stock, even if soup isn't your thing.

Coconut Oil & Active Manuka Honey!

Coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties and boosts the immune system (and the metabolism!).  Add it to smoothies, or eat if off the spoon.  I like to mix it with Active Manuka Honey (my favourite is Mossops UMF 5+ because it's a raw honey and cheaper than the other brands - I buy it from New World New Lynn) to feed to the kids when they have a cough or cold.  Also very dark chocolate (I like Green & Blacks 85%, but it does contain a small amount of raw organic sugar) helps with bad coughs. 

You can read more about the benefits of coconut oil here in a collection of articles by Dr Mary Enig (author of 'Nourishing Traditions' and 'Eat Fat, Lose Fat' - a book I highly recommend!).  Coconut oil has a very impressive list of uses and remedies.

Check out this list of 80 Uses for Coconut Oil.

Clean Air Indoors!

Apparently, it's not the cold weather that makes us more prone to colds & flu in the winter, it's the fact that we spend so much time cooped up inside with little fresh air, so the germs get passed around more easily.  So make sure you are opening the windows for at least an hour a day (even when it's cold!) to let the fresh air in, and try and have a couple of windows around the house that are always left open a crack.  Also having pot plants, especially these types, such as Peace Lillies. ferns and palms, which will purify the air for you, which is especially helpful during the coldest parts of winter when you can't have the windows open too much.

Just as a little side note, sadly, it is just a myth that a cut onion will absorb bacteria in a room, so don't even bother with that old wives tale!

Natural Vitamin C!

Forget the synthetic vitamins you can buy...these are hard for your body to absorb and it's always better to get your vitamins from whole food sources.  I like to eat a couple of kiwifruit a day during winter.  You can read why kiwifruit is a better source than supplements here.  You can view a table with the vitamin C content of various fruits here.  If you'd rather have a supplement, a good one is Acerola Powder, which is a whole food source, but doesn't seem to be readily available in NZ, except added into Lifestream Spirulina Powder + C, which would be a great supplement to take over winter if you don't/can't eat alot of fruit, and you can fit it into your budget.

Apple Cider Vinegar!

Apple Cider Vingar (ACV) has a very long list of conditions that it is reported to help with.  Buy the real stuff (raw & unfiltered - I like this one because it's made in NZ).

Sore Throats

The good old favourite lemon and honey drink works a treat, and you can boost it's effects by adding two tablespoons of ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) and a big teaspoon of Active Manuka Honey. 

You can also gargle half a teaspoon of sea salt in half a cup of warm water (kills the germs), which works especially well if you catch it early.  A tsp of ACV in half a cup of warm water will also do the same as the salt (and I guess you could combine the two!).

Well, hopefully you picked up a tip or two you can use and I didn't spend a good part of my Saturday writing this blog post (instead of doing housework) in vain!  LOL.

Thanks for stopping by!