The Twelfth Day Of Christmas – With a Healthy Twist

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..twelve devils fighting, eleven emus kicking, ten wombats sleeping, nine crocs a weeping, eight flies a feasting, seven possums playing, six sharks a swimming, five kan-ga-roos, four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree.

You may have worked out that my twelfth day of Christmas does not actually finish on Christmas Day.  I wanted to get the last message in before you all clocked off for a break and stopped thinking about your healthy selves.

So, today is Christmas Eve, Eve and I would like to wish a very happy and safe festive season to you all!  We made it.  

Given that twelve Tasmanian Devils are fighting today, I am not suggesting that you are devils but there may be some pretty crazy eating behaviour on Christmas Day.  I may even be involved myself.  I found this greeting card recently by British company ‘Make Do’ that I thought summed up the day perfectly.

Enjoy this day with your loved ones.

If you are reading this there is every chance you like to take care after yourself and for that I am happy. However, we all need a break in routine and if Christmas Day festivities allow you to do that – let your hair down. Nothing bad will happen, you will just need to have a good lie down on the floor. It’s cool down there so stay as long as you can.

Thanks so much for being part of my 2019 and I am grateful for each and every one of you.

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the twelfth day of Christmas (why?????), don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack – my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go!  Emergency Pickup only.

Click here for all details.

The Tenth Day Of Christmas – With A Healthy Twist

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..ten wombats sleeping,  nine crocs a weeping, eight flies a feasting, seven possums playing, six sharks a swimming, five kan-ga-roos, four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree.

Aaaahhh, sleep.  Can somebody find me some?  Eight hours sleep is ideal for us all but this can be a challenge during busy times like the tenth day of Christmas.  Too many things to get through, do not make a good recipe for a restful sleep.  I know I am not alone but I also know that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture, so bring on the Christmas break I say.  Not many sleeps to go now.

Which brings me to our fast paced world and our now flexible mealtimes.  When I was growing up, my mum had dinner on the table religiously at 6pm and we all sat down and ate together (I am still trying to perfect that myself, unsuccessfully I might add).  

Eating early seems to be a thing of the past as we are working longer hours and may have children and other family commitments that prevent us from eating our evening meal at a civilised hour.  Some people find that it is uncomfortable to eat close to going to bed and this is turn will disturb sleep.  Others may not find this to be the case. 

There is also the question of what you are eating prior to sleeping. Snacking on chocolate (unless its your four nightly squares of course), biscuits and cake (many of which are high in fat) are not great choices before you lie down for eight  hours of sleep.  The evening is when your body is least active and therefore not burning a lot of fuel.

Essentially, you are the best judge of your own body but if you are experiencing disturbed sleep, acid reflux or other problems, then have a look at your eating habits before bed.

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the tenth day of Christmas, don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack – my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go! Pick-up only now.

Click here for all details

The Eighth Day Of Christmas – With a Healthy Twist

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..eight flies a feasting, seven possums playing, six sharks a swimming, five kan-ga-roos, four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree.

Aren’t flies just the most fantastic aspect of Australian life?  The perceptive amongst you may detect just a hint of sarcasm because in real life they truly do drive you mad. Not only are they are a source of annoyance but they are also a seething mass of germs.  With all of the mountains of food that we are preparing and eating in the lead-up to the BIG DAY it is easy to get busy and forget about storing our food correctly.

So to avoid an unhappy stomach and poisoning all of your guests in the process, don’t leave food uncovered on the bench or table, put it straight in the fridge.

On this eighth day of Christmas you can also start practicing keeping your meat and other foods separate by using different chopping boards and utensils to avoid cross contamination when preparing meals.

And don’t forget to do the same thing on Christmas Day before doing your whale impression on the carpet, so that Sitting Number 2 is fresh and healthy.

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the eighth day of Christmas, don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack – my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go!  There is still time to get it onto Santa’s sleigh but it’s getting close to the wire.

Click here for all details.

The Sixth Day of Christmas – With A Healthy Twist

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..Six sharks a swimming, five kangaroos, four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree.

If you happen to be driving along the coast of Perth on this sixth day of Christmas, you will be able to see an island shimmering on the horizon.  This is Rottnest, a gorgeous island 20km off the coast of Western Australia inhabited by quokkas and people seeking rest and relaxation.  Each February, thousands of crazy people swim the channel between Cottesloe and Rottnest. A while back on two consecutive years, I joined the throng as part of a team of four.  Although I love the beach, swimming long distances is most definitely not my forte but luckily for me I had barely any space in my head to think about the actual swimming thing.   All I thought about for five to six hours solid was a shark nibbling at my toes.

What About Those Sharks?

Western Australia seems to be the favourite hang out joint of sharks. I know intellectually that the likelihood of me being attacked by a shark at any time is far less than the risk of crashing my car but my heart seems to win every time.

Sharks are multi-faceted because the finned hunters are not only feared by many but can also be the carrier of mercury. For many of us this is not a concern but for those of you out there who are pregnant or considering being pregnant, mercury in large amounts can harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system.  Fish ingest mercury from streams and oceans as they feed and it binds to their tissue proteins (such as muscle).   Food processing, preparation and cooking techniques don’t significantly reduce the amount of mercury in fish.

Mercury Rising

No need to panic but some tips for mums-to-be are:

  1. Avoid fish with a high mercury content such as shark, swordfish, barramundi, gem fish, orange roughy (deep sea perch), ling and southern blue fin tuna.
  1. Limit other fish, such as tuna steaks, to one serve per week or three 95g cans of tuna per week (smaller tuna contain less mercury).

There are no limits on the intake of fresh or tinned salmon and fortunately, most fish in Australia have low mercury levels. On the very large upside, fish and seafood are wonderful sources of omega-3 fats, which our bodies love.

 

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the fifth day of Christmas, don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack – my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go!  

Click here for all details.

The Fifth Day of Christmas – With a Healthy Twist

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me….. Five kan-ga-roos, four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree.

One of the first thoughts that comes to my mind on the fifth day of Christmas with kangaroo is lean red meat.  I know that might seem a bit mean to our international readers but in Australia we do multi-love kangaroo’s. By that I mean we admire their beauty and significance as part of our history but they are also a valuable food source.

Kangaroo (and some other game meat) is a very lean meat because they are very active animals. Their meat is a rich source of protein, iron and zinc.  Iron is important on any day but especially important during the Festive Marathon months of November, December and January.  You really do need plenty of energy whilst partying and socialising and iron assists by helping oxygen sail around your blood stream.  Everyone is after more oxygen aren’t they?

Is All Iron Equal?

Iron is known as haem (from an animal sources)  and non-haem (from a vegetable or plant source) iron. Haem iron is absorbed quite a bit more efficiently than the non-haem iron.  Liver is top dog in the iron stakes with red meat a much lower second, followed by chicken and fish with much lower amounts again.  

Breakfast cereal and legumes are decent sources of non-haem iron but need a friend in the form of  of Vitamin C to assist absorption. Fruit and vegetables are just the ticket for the Vitamin C assistance. For a more in-depth look at iron, take a look at the article I wrote for some of my athletes here. By the way, you don’t need to be an athlete to need iron.

Sad news about Popeye on the fifth day of Christmas. If you have ever seen a cartoon of Popeye chugging down a can of spinach with bulging muscles to get his fill, you may be thinking that spinach is the road to plenty of iron. Unfortunately the iron in spinach is very difficult to absorb due to other compounds in the leafy green (oxalates and phytates). These compounds bind the iron and make it unavailable to you. Sorry to burst that bubble.

And a bonus…..

For a delicious cupcake recipe that has a secret iron source inside check these out right now!

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the fifth day of Christmas, don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack – my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go!  TODAY IS THE LAST DAY THAT YOU CAN BE SURE IT WILL ARRIVE IN TIME.

Click here for all details.

Festive Chocolate Balls

One of my favourite treats at Christmas time is the good old Rum Ball.  Despite their deliciousness, I do know that they are jam packed with calories and it is very hard to stop at just one.  The concept of ‘balls’ have become very popular over the last few years and it is very common to see them adorning the glass display cabinets of many a cafe.  The thing is, although the ingredients in these so called healthy and natural treats, may look good on paper they still contain a bunch of calories. Let’s face it. It’s hard to stop at one isn’t it? This is my take on the traditional Rum Ball – except that I prefer Marsala. These guys are so quick and easy and make the perfect Festive gift.

Festive Chocolate Balls

Ingredients

9 Medjool dates 3 tablespoons Marsala

2 tablespoons cacao powder

2 tablespoons desiccated coconut

handful raw hazelnuts

1 tablespoon chia seeds

 

Method

Throw ingredients into a food processor and blitz for a few minutes until nicely combined. Make tablespoons of the mixture into balls and enjoy.