Sweet potato and Acai smoothie bowl

Sweet potato and Acai smoothie bowl
Sweet potato and Acai smoothie bowl
Sweet potato and Acai smoothie bowl
Sweet potato and Acai smoothie bowl
Sweet potato and Acai smoothie bowl

Guilty as charged! I promised you guys more recipes and to be honest, with the launch of my cookbook WHOLE - bowl food for balance, it has been crazy! I am hoping that this insanely delicious smoothie makes up for it. If you haven't shopped my book yet then click here to get your hands on a copy! 

As you guys know I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) This is an endocrine disease that stops me from having a regular cycle. I used to feel really ashamed about sharing it with others. However, I have since learned that 8-10% of females at childbearing age have it. I have also learned along the path of discovering my health that it is a solvable problem through healthy eating and lifestyle changes. 

It can be overwhelming when you look at the whole picture and you have so many people telling you what not to eat and what to eat. I have learned that the only way I am going to succeed is to make one small change a day or even in a month. All the little changes eventually add up and before you know it you will be leading a healthier lifestyle. 

This smoothie bowl is unique because I recently discovered that banana isn't ideal for me to be having as someone with PCOS because it is higher in sugar and sugar triggers hormonal acne. It's not to say a banana is bad. It's just to say that it isn't necessarily good for me as an individual right now. The problem is though, is that I love creamy smoothies. I mean duh, who doesn't. I went down the rabbit hole to find out what solution and I found it. Steamed sweet potato. Yes, you heard me. I steam it, then I freeze it, then I blend it and it is glorious! It makes the smoothies super decadent and delicious and it doesn't overpower the flavours. It's a healthy carb and a great kick starter to my day! I steam the sweet potato then I freeze it placed out on a baking tray so that it doesn't stick together. Once frozen I add them to a freezer safe Tupperware.

If you do this you end up with at least a weeks worth of supply and you can give the bananas a break. Try it and see how you feel. Does your body love it or not so much? It's about listening to what works for you. For now, I am on a mission to make as many small changes as I can in order to achieve normal health and hormonal balance! 


Ingredients:

1 1/2 steamed and frozen sweet potato (about 2 cups) – white or orange sweet potato
1 cup of frozen berries of your choice (I used blueberries) 
1 teaspoon acai
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1/2 ripe avocado
1 serving of pea protein powder or protein powder of your choice
2 majool dates, pitted
1 tablespoon of almond butter + extra for drizzling on top
1/4 cup almond milk, you can add more if needed. 

toppings all optional:

chia seeds
raspberries
sliced banana
coconut
strawberries
almond butter
pumpkin seeds
buckwheat
sunflowers seeds
 


Instructions:

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Decorate with toppings and serve! 

-Melissa 

How to bust a sugar craving with my blueberry smoothie

My sugar busting blueberry smoothie

I used to get extreme sugar cravings. Mostly when I was a sugar addict. I never admitted to myself that I was but if I look back, yup, I had a problem. I had to have something sweet after dinner or a chocolate at lunch. When I hit a slump at 3 pm at my desk then I would need something sweet to 'pick me up'. Sugar in my tea and syrup with my peanut butter toast. All loaded with refined sugar and SO not good for me. 

I learnt that in life balance is possible and it has since become my mantra. It has taken time, practise and patience with myself. It's a journey and one that I am still working on. I want freedom with food and to have a healthy relationship with food. This blog post is not here to promote extremes but by all means, if it works for your body to completely cut out sugar then listen to that. The reality is that sugar is an inflammatory food and it isn't good for you in a refined form and studies have shown that it is responsible for diseases such as diabetes, chronic migraines, obesity and cystic acne. The scary thing is how many products have hidden sugar in them or label the sugar as something else. Make sure you read the ingredients on labels, not how many calories you are consuming because not all calories are created equal. Sugar is highly addictive and sends more serotonin to the brain than cocaine. Here is a list of few names to look out for and avoid:

  • Corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup
  • Dextrose or crystal dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Maltose
  • Lactose
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose
  • Evaporated cane juice or fruit juice
  • Caramel
  • Carob syrup
  • Brown sugar
  • Raw sugar
  • Dextrin and maltodextrin
  • Rice syrup
  • Molasses
  • Evaporated corn sweetener
  • Confectioner’s powdered sugar
  • Agave nectar (really spikes blood sugar even though it’s natural)
  • Other fruit nectars (for example, pear nectar) - be careful of this as most orange juices will claim 100% fruit juice but if you read the ingredients you will soon realise this is not the case. 

I personally do not have a problem with fruit. I don't eat too much and when I do; I feel like I am indulging. Fruit can be packed with vitamins and fibre and can help bust a sugar craving. I try to have my fruit with a handful of nuts such as almonds since the combination of fibre and fat keeps my blood sugar stable and satiates me. 

When you first undertake to quit sugar it is going to be hard. You might even experience physical reactions such as headaches and nausea. The detox is real and I suggest that you commit to breaking through this barrier. I upped my water intake during the first week (a good habit to adopt in general) and I focused on taking in high protein foods with high fibre dark leafy greens and veg. Having meals that are nourishing helped me be 'full' and happy. I also learnt that allowing myself to get hungry was not a good idea. Catch yourself before you are hungry and invariably end up in a space where you'll make bad decisions. Focus on what your triggers are and what makes you feel weak at the moment, then focus on avoiding it. Set yourself up to succeed.

Here are a few things I do that help me when I am craving sugar:

1 - I enjoy a big cup of herbal tea without sugar or milk. I find that peppermint helps me bust a craving or chai tea. The spices let the brain think you are having something sweet. 

2 - I indulge in a piece of good quality dark chocolate. Paired with a cup of peppermint tea - its a match made in heaven. 

3 - I keep fresh majool dates in the fridge. I don't overindulge in them as they are still sugar but they are a natural sugar and when they are cold, they go like fudge. Give them a try! One is usually enough. 

4 - I up my dark leafy greens when I am craving chocolate. Especially around my period. I find that it not only helps with cravings but it also helps with bloat. 

5 - Have a big glass of water and if you can add a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar. Make sure it is unfiltered with the mother. More often than not when I am craving food - its actually thirst. Did you know that one of the first symptoms of dehydration is hunger? Before I would just go for the fridge and binge on everything in front of me. Now I am more connected to my body and I have a glass of water when I feel like snacking on sugar, give it twenty minutes then see how I feel. 

6 - Eat a high protein snack instead of the sugar. Try having some carrot sticks and hummus or a boiled egg. This helps me and often fills me up until my next meal. 

7 - If I feel for a treat, I have some sliced apple drizzled with almond butter. I try to have this mid-morning not later in the afternoon. Focus on high protein food in the afternoon rather than sugar. This also helps me with over eating at dinner.  

When I find myself craving something super decadent and indulging, I make myself this smoothie. It's better than any milkshake out there and filled with natural goodness that won't leave you feeling awful about it afterwards. 


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries 
  • 1/2 frozen banana 
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter 
  • 1 tablespoon pea protein powder 
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds 
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds 
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened 
  • 2 blocks of ice
     

Instructions:

Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If it is too thick then add a little almond milk to thin it out. I personally like it thick. Serve cold topped with a drizzle of almond butter and berries. 

-Melissa

 

 

 

 

Roasted tomato and chickpea bowl

Roasted tomato and chickpea bowl

This bowl is one of my go-to bowls to make for lunch or dinner. I love it because you can make all the elements individually for meal prep or you can roast everything in one pan and make it a one pan wonder. If you make it individually then the same roasting rules applies to each veggie you are roasting, you'll just have more dishes! Its filled with all the flavours and packs a punch of protein with the chickpeas. I have added some spice but this is something totally optional. Play around with it and see what makes your taste buds sing! 


Ingredients: 

  • 250 grams cooked chickpeas 
  • 300 grams zucchini, cut into 2cm chunks 
  • 400 grams cherry tomatoes 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • salt and pepper 
  • 1 cup wild rice 
  • 2 handfuls fresh rocket 
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon buckwheat 
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds 
  • 1 ripe avocado 

For the dressing:

  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil - I use 4. 
  • 1 tablespoon tahini 
  • 1 teaspoon honey 
  • juice of 1 medium lemon 

Instructions: 

preheat the oven to 180°

In a large roasting tin add the chickpeas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and cover with the coconut oil. Add the spices and toss until evenly covered. Season and pop it into the oven for 35-45 minutes or until all your veggies are golden brown and soft. Keep an eye on them so that the chickpeas don't burn and toss the veggies at the halfway point. 

Cook the rice as per packet instructions. Once ready, set aside. 

Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together all the ingredients for the dressing. 

Once the veggies are ready remove them from the oven. Add the rice to the roasting tray along with the dressing, rocket and nutritional yeast. Mix together until well combined. 

Add the salad to your serving dish. Top with sliced avo. Sprinkle over the buckwheat and pumpkin seeds and serve!

-Melissa  

Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee

Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee
Sunshine mylk - a healthy alternative to coffee

If you lead a stressful life, which most of us do, we often reach for a coffee first thing in the morning. The problem with this can be that you can put your adrenal glands under more stress and set yourself up for a day of caffeine spikes and lows. As much as you need the energy, sometimes coffee isn't the solution. 

I've teamed up with Le Creuset to bring you a healthy coffee alternative that is not only delicious but is anti-inflammatory and soothing to the body. Of course, I am showing it off in their new gorgeous deep teal range. My favourite colour to date! To say I am obsessed is putting it mildly. With its restful green hues and soothing blues, I thought it would work beautifully with something that will calm your body rather than send it into overdrive. Nourishing your body means looking after it when it needs it the most.  

I have created my turmeric lattes or sunshine mylk, as I like to call it with sunflower seeds. This means that the drink is high in fiber, as you don't strain the milk. If this is something that isn't your taste you are more than welcome to substitute it with almond milk or a milk substitute of your choice. When choosing one, try focus on nut milk, as they tend to be better for you than soy-based products. If you are not used to Turmeric lattes maybe try it with almond milk and see how you go. 


Ingredients: 

For the Mylk:

  •  1 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds 
  • 3 cups filtered water 
  • If you are using a milk alternative use 3 cups. 
     

For the sunshine:

  • 1 cup boiling water 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut butter (optional) 
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom  
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste 
  • 5 majool dates 

Instructions: 

Add all the ingredients plus the coconut butter and dates to a high-speed blender. You need something high speed to macerate the seeds. Once it is all combined add it to a saucepan. If you are using almond milk then add the almond milk, coconut butter, and dates. 

Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Serve immediately. 

If you would like to store the mylk it will keep for 3 days in the fridge. Separation is normal as the fiber is in the mylk.  

The mylk can also turn slightly brown from oxidation - don't worry its still lovely to drink! 

-Melissa 

p.s deep teal is part of Le Creuset’s new Natures Kitchen collection and is available storewide and online here from March 2018.

*This blog post is sponsored by Le Creuset. All opinions are my own. 

Salmon Buckwheat with Granola Crunch

Salmon Buckwheat with Granola Crunch

This recipe is all about the crunch factor. My favourite texture because it is so immensely satisfying. That is why we so often want a packet of crisps. Rather than feeding your body, those empty calories give this salad a try. It's so nourishing and filled with all the right stuff such as omega 3's, good fats and fiber! This combination will leave you satiated and keep you going with pure energy! 


Serves 6

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 2 cups buckwheat
  • salt and pepper
  • 400g smoked salmon
  • 1 handful fresh handful parsley leaves
  • 1 handful fresh dill, finely chopped
  • handful dill, finely chopped
  • ½ lemon, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric 
  • zest and juice of ½ a lemon  
  • 2 cups buckwheat, uncooked
  • 180g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ a lemon , zested and juiced

For the salad seed mix:

  • 1 cup of various seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, poppy and chia)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper

For the dressing:

  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons plain yoghurt 
  • handful dill, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 180°C .

Place a 20cm x 20cxm piece of foil on a wooden board roasting tray. Place the salmon in the center. Rub the fish with the turmeric covering it evenly. Season the fish and top with a quarter of the parsley and dill. Add the lemon slices on top. Fold the foil closed into a parcel, making sure it is fully sealed. Pop the fish into the oven for 15-20 minutes.

For the seed mix, combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Once combined, pour it out onto a medium roasting tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Once ready,  remove from the oven and break up the clusters that have formed. 

Meanwhile, combine all of the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.

Once the dressing is done cook the buckwheat as per packet instructions . Usually about 15 minutes over a medium heat with 2 ½ cups of water.

When ready, add the buckwheat to a large bowl. Add the sliced tomatoes and the remaining dill and parsley. Top with the juice and zest of the lemon. 

When the salmon is ready remove from the foil. Place on a a wooden board and break into bite sizes pieces. Add the salmon pieces on to the buckwheat bowl and gently combine. Top the salad with the dressing and roasted seed mix. Season to taste and you are ready to serve.

Health Tip:

Pumpkin seeds are good for heart health and circulation as well as promoting prostate health. You can also roast them up for an even more delicious topping to many dishes or eat them as a snack.

-Melissa