Image courtesy of dizid; (CC 2.0)

Image courtesy of dizid; (CC 2.0)

The start of spring is a great time to reset and rejuvenate – and a great way to do this is through a seasonal cleanse. I’m committing to a 10 day cleanse and I’d love for you to join me!

The body is great at naturally detoxifying itself, however we are subject to so much more these days than our ancestors ever were, creating excess toxins for our livers to process, be it excess sugars and additives in our food, antibiotics in our meat, increased use of over-the-counter medication and alcohol and caffeine. A cleanse can help your bodies enzymes and liver detoxify your body through assisting to speed up this process.

Side effects of a sluggish system can include

  • restless sleep
  • weight gain/inability to lose weight
  • digestive issues
  • low energy/fatigue
  • mood swings
  • brain fog
  • unexplained headaches

Whilst I normally try to eat healthy most of the time, over the past three or four weeks, my “sometimes” treats have started to increase (case in point – this, or this, plus all the other sweet treats I neglected to post!), and my overall health has suffered as a result – my sleeping patterns are out of whack and I’ve been feeling constantly tired and lacking energy and motivation.

So I have decided to do a little cleanse for the next 10 days to get myself back on track and start feeling amazing again!

What I’m doing and why

  • Cutting out inflammatory foods like wheat, gluten (I’m actually on a two month gluten free diet at the moment so this one shouldn’t be hard!) dairy, caffeine, alcohol and all processed foods. These foods are all inflammatory and instead I’ll be eating lots of fresh vegetables, green juices and smoothies, probiotic foods and beverages and wholefoods like nuts, seeds, avocado, legumes and wholegrains like buckwheat and quinoa.
  • NO SUGAR! My sugar intake has increased dramatically over the past month, so for the next 10 days I’m limiting my sugar intake to only one to two serves of fruit per day for the whole period. This is largely due to the fact that fruit is high in sugar and I know from experience that eating a lot of fruit will make me crave other sweeter food.

In addition to my diet, I’m also using this time to detox other areas of my life that I feel could use with a little reset.

  • No computer/internet after 8:30pm every night – instead I’m going to spend time with my family, read, and wind down for the night
  • Sleep – I’m aiming to get a good 8 hours of sleep a night, lately my sleeps been a little interrupted and I’d like to get this back on track
  • Exercise – I’ve been increasing my yoga and Pilates classes lately, but at the expense of my cardio. I’m aiming to do a little cardio most days – enough to work up a little sweat, which is another fantastic way to get rid of toxins from your body.

Over the next 10 days, I’ll be posting my daily eats and progress on Instagram and I’ll also post some tips and recipes here for you to enjoy.

Can you relate to any of the symptoms above? If so, a spring cleanse might be a great solution for you as well. Some of the benefits to a cleanse are

  • Improved sleeping patterns
  • Clearer skin
  • Clearer thoughts/more focus
  • Increased energy
  • Improved digestion
  • Weight loss
  • Increased motivation

Even a gentle cleanse can help – you don’t need to completely restrict certain foods, do what’s right for you and your body. Simple changes like lemon water in the morning or a few extra serves of fresh vegetables a day can help to slowly cleanse your system and get you on your way to a healthier you!

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Please note the above is intended as a guide only – please consult s doctor or nutritionist before drastically change your diet

 

Baked chocolate zoats - to her core

Last month I ran a competition encouraging people to experiment with different methods of cooking with vegetables to discover new ways of including vegetables in their daily diet. It’s estimated that only half the population of Australia eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables (1) and less still in America (2). A diet high in vegetables has many health benefits, including lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, improved digestive health, increased immunity and assisting in maintaining weight. For me personally, I feel more energetic and vibrant, have a lot more energy, and my skin and hair health improves greatly when I’m eating more veggies.

[Side note: For some great ideas and recipes to help you easily include more veggies into your daily diet to have you feeling better and full of energy - plus the great skin and hair! - check out my posts on delicious veggie ideas for breakfast, main meals; and sweets and snacks]

With over 120 entries to the competition, it took a lot of deliberation and  had to bring in some extra help to assist with picking a winner from the shortlist, but in the end we chose a delicious looking baked chocolate oat dish with a hidden serve of zucchini – aka “zoats”. I tried the dish for myself shortly afterward and fell in love with the delicious flavours and was very impressed to find that it filled me up until lunch time, which is a must to stop my morning snacking habits!

I asked the competition winner Kate if she’d be willing to have a quick chat and share the recipe and some of her photos of the dish here with you all and she happily obliged.

Kate is a holistic health coach in the making – we discovered in our chats we are actually studying at the same nutrition school! - and describes herself as a breakfast and tea enthusiast, which explains the amazing breakfast creations you’ll see if you check out her Instagram! She is hugely passionate about creating and eating real, wholesome food and inspiring others to do the same, which she does through her Instagram account, as well as her blog - Well of Nourishment, which acts as a space for her to share her passion for good health and nutrition.

When Kate isn’t busy coming up with amazing healthy creations, she is also an avid wanderluster, runner, hat wearer, and nature lover, who you’ll find more often than not with a great big smile on her dial.

On her winning dish, Kate explains that this dish is a super easy way to sneak more veggies in at breakfast time, particularly if you’re not a savoury breakfast lover. And if you arent a huge zucchini fan, Kate suggests swapping out the zucchini for other veggies such as cauliflower or carrot! She assures us that this breakfast will nourish you and help you power through your day, which I can fully attest to!

Baked chocolate zoatmeal (zucchini oats)

Ingredients

  • ¼ - ½ small zucchini, grated
  • ½ cup rolled oats, soaked in water overnight (or buckwheat soaked overnight & rinsed)
  • ½ cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 – 2 tbsp cacao (depending on how chocolate-y you want it!)
  • 1 egg (or 1 chia egg), optional
  • Optional: 1 tsp sweetener like coconut sugar if you need a bit more sweetness
  • Handful of raspberries/berries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C
  2. In an oven-safe bowl/dish, combine soaked oats, zucchini, cacao and baking powder (and sweetener if using). Mash the banana into the mixture. Fold through the berries, leaving some to sprinkle on top for decoration.
  3. In a separate jug whisk the egg and milk together and then pour over your oat mixture. Alternatively, just pour the milk over the mixture.
  4. Place dish in the oven and bake for 20 – 30 minutes, or until the wet mixture has cooked through. Serve with extra berries and almond milk if you desire!
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To connect with Kate, you can find her at -

Webpage | Instagram | Facebook | Pintrest

 

Savoury vegetable pancake with coconut coriander pesto | to her core

It’s hard not to have a preconceived notion of how something is going to be before you experience it. Whether it be a new job, a new place, or a new food, if we know we are going to be doing something new and have time to think about it, we inevitably get an image in our head of what that thing will be like.

When I went to Japan in 2009, one of the things I was expecting was LOTS of sushi. Everywhere. Sushi bars, sushi trains, sushi restaurants. Sushi snacks in supermarkets and other convenience stores. Little carts on the sides of the road selling sushi. I was even half expecting sushi vending machines! It didn’t quite pan out like that however, and what I noticed was that while there were a lot of options for eating sushi, the sushi that was available was very fresh – often freshly made – with the smaller bite-sized sushi being more popular – a stark contrast with the premade handrolls which are popular in Australia.

There were a lot of other food options though other than the sushi – ramen, teppenyaki, gyoza and of my favorite food of the holiday, okonmiyake. I actually first tried okonmiyake – which is a Japanese take on a savoury vegetable pancake – at the Spitalfields market when I was living in London. It was delicious, and I was very excited to see that it was abundant in Japan.

Savoury vegetable pancake with coconut coriander pesto | to her core

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find anything similar in Australia (if you know of anywhere that does amazing okonmiyake here, please let me know!) so I set about to make it at home. Authentic Japanese okonomiyake – which is what I was aiming to make, is made up of a lot of components that aren’t necessarily easy to find in Australia.

In the end, I decide to make a very untraditional savoury pancake (I’m not calling it okonomiyake as it’s really nothing like the traditional version) and ended up with something that was quite impressive in its simplicity – lovely fresh, clean flavours, loads of veggies and delicious pesto on top, these pancakes come together really quickly to make a delicious and healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Savoury vegetable pancake with coconut coriander pesto | to her core

Savoury vegetable pancake with coconut coriander pesto

Yield: 1 hungry person, or two as a light meal

Ingredients

  • Vegetable Pancake
  • 3 cups of thinly grated veggies (sweet potato, pumpkin, zucchini, capsicum, carrot)
  • 3 Tbsp almond meal
  • 1 Tbsp psyllium husks
  • 1 egg
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, shredded,
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Creamy Coconut Coriander Pesto
  • 1 bunch coriander, stems removed
  • 1 small garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 Tbsp coconut cream
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 190 C | 375 F
  2. Heat a non-stick, ovenproof frypan or pot over medium heat.
  3. Grate the vegetables (I use the thinest grating disc on my food processor, though you could do it also by hand) and add to a mixing bowl with the almond meal and psyllium husks.
  4. Stir to coat and then add the egg, basil leaves, paprika and salt and pepper.
  5. Press into the pan and allow to sit a minute or two for the egg to start setting, then move to the oven.
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes, until cooked and golden brown.
  7. To make the coriander pesto, and the coriander, garlic and cashews to a food processor and blend a few seconds until finely ground.
  8. Wipe down the sides of the bowl, then add the remaining ingredients and pulse to combine.
  9. Serve the pancake with a generous dollop of pesto on top.
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