Smoothie Recipes Galore!

A few years ago I was asked to do up some special summer inspired smoothie recipes for a yoga retreat. I've decided to release these to the public, and want you to jump in and get your smoothie on for summer! I would love to hear which one is your favourite...

YAYA-HINI

3 Cup    Papaya

1 Tbsp  Papaya seeds

1 Tbsp  Chia seeds

3 Tbsp  Lime juice

3 Tbsp  Tahini

10         Ice cubes

1-2 Cup Water 

 

JAVA GINJA

3 Cup  Pear or Apple

1          Banana

1 tsp     minced fresh Ginger

1 tsp     powdered Cinnamon

1 Tbsp  Flaxmeal

6          Ice cubes

1-2 Cup Water

 

woMAN-GO!

3 Cup   Mango

1          Banana

1 Cup   Coconut water

1 Cup   Coconut flesh

1 Tbsp  Maca or Lucuma powder

1 Tbsp  Chia seeds

1 Tbsp  Flaxmeal

10         Ice cubes

1 Cup   Water

 

CHOC CHOC BEAR

2          Bananas

4          Dates

1 Cup   Coconut flesh

1 Cup   Coconut water

1 Tbsp  Cacao powder

1 Tbsp  Carob powder

1 Tbsp  Maca or Lucuma

1 Tbsp  Flaxmeal

10         Ice cubes

1 Cup   Water

 

MINTY MELON

5 Cup   Watermelon or Honeydew or other sweet melon

½ Cup  Mint leaves, fresh, loosely packed

½ Cup  Sweet Basil leaves, loosely packed or ¼ Cup Thai basil leaves

3 Tbsp  Lime juice

10         Ice cubes

 

GREEN YOGI (maybe don’t make this one unless they have a very high power blender)

3 Cup   Spinach, baby bok choy (Pak Got Shanghai), or other salad green

1 Cup   Chinese Broccoli (Kana)

1 Cup   Cucumber

2 tsp     Barleygrass powder or spirulina

2 Cup   Pineapple

2          Dates, medjool or dried

1 Tbsp  Chia seeds

10         Ice cubes

1-2 Cup Water

6 Things the Food Industry Doesn't Want You to Know!

 

The food industry is an industry that has been corrupted over the years, and now is an industry that serves mostly those who sit between the farm and the plate. Not ALL food manufacturers and retailers fit this broken model, and these awesome businesses have taken huge strides to actively avoid the pitfalls of mass produced food.

  1. They want their products to LAST.  Food retailers and food manufacturers are in the risk management industry. They want to ensure they don't lose money by creating products that expire too fast on the shelf - many retailers force food manufacturers to buy back expired products and retailers want to make sure their stock appears fresh. How do they do this? In multiple ways! Many processed foods are preserved with artificial preservatives, filled with sugar and salt as natural preservers or heat treated to kill microbes (and nutritional value!);
  2. They've discovered the magic combination to take control of your tastebuds. Our tastebuds LOVE salty, sweet and fatty foods, and the food industry preys on this by amping up the sweet, salty and fat in foods. Why? They want you coming back for more and more;
  3. Together with regulators they now list artificial ingredients as numbers, not their real names. Artificial ingredients rarely appear by name in ingredients lists, they are replaced by E-numbers, so instead of saying Ammonium Acetate they say E264. Which one sounds nicer and safer? Consumers tend to not research what the E-numbers mean or are, and happily consume these (predominantly) artificial ingredients;
  4. To make cheap food, they use cheap ingredients. How can that loaf of bread cost less than $2? Or that fast food meal cost less than $5? Simple, cheap, poor quality and modified ingredients! That bread has had all the fibre stripped from its flour and filled with cheap artificial ingredients, and that fast food meal use the poorest quality ingredients that have likely been processed to appear to be food. If you want poor nutrition, eat cheap foods. If you want quality nutrition, invest in real food;
  5. All farms aren't equal. Many food retailers love to show imagery of happy farmers and farm animals, but beneath that is another story. Australian farmers (and their compatriots around the world) receive such low pricing and strict cosmetic standards from some retailers that they regularly dump crops to waste (see recent stories on pineapples and mangoes). Some animal farms aren't all green pastures and rolling hills, with confinement commonplace for many pigs, chickens and cattle. Fortunately there are farmers making changes to offer free-range opportunity for these animals (50% of eggs sold are caged eggs!). Fruit and vegetable farmers are fighting back and going direct to the consumer via farmers markets and box schemes too;
  6. If you demand it they'll do it. Consumers demand oranges year round, they also want avocado when they are not in season, now demand for mangoes has led to the import of mangoes to Australia! Oranges are flown from USA when out of season in Australia, avocados are flown from New Zealand during the out of season February period. Simply madness. Let's switch demand to eating what is IN season! Surely we can hold out for a while when fresh produce isn't in season can't we? Let's demand change that shifts all the points discussed here!.

They say knowledge is power, use this knowledge and be part of the change!

  1. Buy real food that isn't full of preservatives;
  2. Watch for foods that contain large amounts of salt, processed sugar and fats;
  3. Avoid E-numbers!
  4. Invest in your food, real food isn't always cheap, but when you buy whole food ingredients it comes pretty close;
  5. If you can, go direct to the farmer, find the real farmers at your local farmers market or box scheme;
  6. Demand changes, use your food dollar to vote for change.

OBSERVATIONS FROM MY FRESH JANUARY

What? Are you CRAZY Ashley? How could you just eat FRESH for a whole month? 

Well, that's what I am doing, and I wanted to share my insights from the week and half that has gone by. Not insights into what I am eating or why I am have a FRESH January, but more-so my observations into what thoughts have come to me during this process. PS: I am eating mostly fresh and uncooked fruits and vegetables for the month of January - super amazing in the Aussie summer (who wants soup when it's hot???).

Observation 1: Food cravings and food psychology:

How often do you have a food craving? This month so far has highlighted to me, that it is ALMOST hourly we feel like eating something in particular. Be it rice, a roast potato (my most common one the last 12 days) or some of those comfort foods like pizza's or burgers. The psychology of food is such an interesting topic, and it is fascinating how our mind houses the control processes to bring forth cravings, I know I find myself reaching for snacks during the day - but do I really NEED that snack?!

Another thought that came to me that fits under this observation is how the pleasure and obsession that our culture has with food. It is so well embedded in our psyches from a young age - but it's mostly mental. One that stands out for me is how I associate feelings of love and fun with the less healthy foods, growing up, it wasn't very common to see a spread of delicious whole foods at a party! This is one to take note of, watch how your mind behaves with food today, and see what dish comes to mind when you think - TREATS, or PARTY or SAD.

Observation 2: Harvesting fresh and eating fresh:

Oh boy, this has been so cool! I've been lucky to have a garden that has survived some of the heat this summer and I've been harvesting fresh plus buying some incredible fresh produce from the markets (and Fresh Box!). This time of year is the best time for fruit and the vegetables just have a little extra crunch and oomph to them. I feel so blessed AND lucky that I live in a climate and a country that affords me this bounty. This month has taught me even more gratitude for living in the beautiful Sunshine Coast, thank you sun, rain and the amazing plants that grow here!

Eating fresh meals is normally not an everyday thing, some days I only eat cooked food (which is totally fine by the way!), the cool thing is we humans, or maybe more specifically, our palates, adjust VERY quickly! You absolutely CAN truly delight in the taste of fresh veggies if you know how to adjust your palate.

Observation 3: Taking food for granted:

At least three times a day we put this thing called food in our mouths, chew, swallow and digest. One thing I have noticed in the last week, is I have been more intentional with my eating and my meal prep. I must admit, whilst I work in the kitchen a lot, I had been taking food for granted. Eating distracted, cooking distracted and finding myself eating what I want, when I want. So, I've started peeling back the layers on this, to give more gratitude to food, food truly is precious, alongside sun, sleep and breathing, it is key to fuelling us in our daily life.

This process so far has brought myself back to being more more mindful and respectful at each meal. Preparing with care and enjoying the flavours and textures that nature has provided!
 

Transform Your New Year Resolutions

New Year Resolutions. They come around like clockwork each year, you end the year before full of food and drink, you look back on the year that was and (with unnecessary negativity) collate our regrets, skipping over the massive wins you had along the way. Then you say, "2018 is MY year! I'm gonna get fit, eat healthy, be the best Mum/Dad, climb Mount Everest, fly to Mars and back, be more organised, do the Mooloolaba 70.3 Half Ironman AND sleep more!". The first week of January is awesome, you're on holidays, you pull on the runners and get walking and plan out the BEST healthy menu for the week. Week two, you're going strong, feeling a little sore, but YOU ARE DETERMINED. Week three rolls around, it's back to school shopping time, your schedule starts to fill, you skip a few active opportunities and reach for the "simple" dinner here and there. Week four hits, you are back at work AND the kids are back at school, and well, STUFF THIS NEW YEAR RESOLUTION, I'LL DO IT NEXT YEAR!!!

My thoughts on New Year Resolutions? They are good in theory, but without the right scaffolding and support can be more damaging than good for us! We've heard of yo-yo diets, where you change your diet, lose some weight, congratulate yourself and celebrate, and put it all back on - New Year Resolutions can have this effect too, where the change you want to make encounters a challenge or time constraint and it gets put in the too hard basket just one month in! 

Have you made a New Year Resolution in the past and had success implementing the change? What about this change process helped it STICK? This question is super important to ask, as it unearths where the success lies in making any change in your world. Be it diet, behaviour or activity. 

I want to cover off how you can make a change (be it a New Year Resolution or just an Any-day Resolution) that sticks and has the desired effect. So before you write down your resolution (or if you want to review the one you have written), follow these steps FIRST for success:

  1. Start with your WHY, why do you want to make a change? Is it for your health? For your family? The WHY is super powerful to help you get through the habit changing pain that could lie ahead, write it down somewhere where you see it every day (TIP: Grab some whiteboard markers and write it on your bathroom mirror!);
  2. Now it's time to look at why you haven't made this change before, what has got in the way for you to stop you from achieving this goal? Was it time, energy or laziness? This step is important as they will be the saboteurs you need to watch out for on your journey.
  3. Now it's time to write down your goal or resolution, plan it out and seek out the following support:
    1. An accountability friend - this person will keep you on track and check in with you as you make the changes to ensure you don't get distracted or disheartened by your saboteurs;
    2. Structure - a structured process is fundamental for success, step by step with measure points keep you focussed AND breaks it down into bite size pieces;
    3. Community - surround yourself with people who are on the same journey, this support will keep you inspired and ensure you share the trials and tribulations together!

So, what's your WHY, who/what are your SABOTEURS and what is your RESOLUTION? Share it with me in the comments - I will check in with you in a month to see how you are going (seriously!).

Mango Salsa Cups Recipe

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Equipment:

  • Saucepan for rice noodles 
  • Large frying pan 
  • Mandolin (optional) 
  • Grater or Mandolin for ginger 

Shopping List:

  • 1 lg. 450 g Mango 
  • 2 lg. 250 g Avocado 
  • 2 med. 350 g Cucumber 
  • 1 med. 150 g Red Onion 
  • 1 med. 100 g Capsicum (Red or Orange is best) 
  • 1 lg. 50 g Lime, juice 
  • 3 Tbsp 25 g Mint, minced (or Coriander) 
  • 1 sm. 20 g Green Chili, minced 
  • ¼ tsp 3 g Salt 
  • 1 pkg. 250 g Tempeh, plain (check GF?) 
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Coconut oil 
  • 1 Tbsp Tamari 
  • 1-2 Tbsp Ginger, fresh 
  • 1 pkg. 250 g Thin rice noodles (ideally 1 size up from vermicelli) 
  • 2-3 tsp Toasted Sesame oil (fragrant one) 
  • 1 lg. head Iceberg lettuce 
  • to serve Tamari 

Instructions

  1. Cook Noodles: Boil enough water to nearly submerge the rice noodles into. 
  2. Add the rice noodles and cook for ~3 minutes on high heat. 
  3. Remove from the heat and taste-test for doneness. You should be able to leave them sit in the hot water now until you're ready for them but if they are already well cooked to your liking, drain the water now. 
  4. Once drained, pour the toasted sesame oil over and toss through, to prevent from sticking together. 
  5. Make the salsa: Prepare and chop the mango, avocado, cucumber, onion, and capscium into small bite-sized pieces. 
  6. Add all remaining ingredients for the salsa to a large bowl and toss gently until evenly mixed. 
  7. Cook the tempeh: Prepare a large frying pan on med-high heat. 
  8. Slice the tempeh into thin slices ~ 3-4mm thick. 
  9. Thinly julienne or grate the fresh ginger. 
  10. Add all ingredients for the tempeh slices to the frying pan and cook on med-high heat until slightly browned on both sides, flipping them every few minutes. 
  11. Prepare Lettuce: while the tempeh is cooking, wash and prepare the iceberg lettuce by cutting around and into the stem to remove it. 
  12. Gently pry off one leaf at a time, trying to keep them intact. Having cut into the stem will make this much easier. 
  13. Serve: Less is more! Prepare yourself to eat 3-4 lettuce cups each, so try not to pile everything into one, even though it could fit. Start with a little bit of noodles down the bottom, add some salsa and a slice or two of tempeh. 
  14. Wrap up and have some extra tamari on hand for drizzling or dipping as needed. Enjoy! 
  15. PS. This is not the best meal for first dates - but it's delicious!!! ;) 
     

Notes/Tips:

  • Alternatively to iceberg lettuce, you could also wrap these into rice wraps for a slightly more lunch-box friendly or less-messy meal. If you cannot find tempeh, tofu is a great substitute too. 
  • The easiest way to prepare mango with the least amount of waste is to slice the cheeks off either side of the pit, as close to the pit as possible. Hold a mango cheek in your hand and with a drinking glass in the other, ideally one with thinner edges, scoop the edge of the glass into the edge of the mango pressing firmly into your hand until you have scooped out the flesh into the glass. 
  • Tempeh is like a fermented version of tofu. It is seen to be a healthier choice for this reason. Always choose organic soy products.