Boosting Immunity With the Goodness Of Lupin Flakes

Every one of you reading this right now will agree that our current world of stress, anxiety and uncertainty is unsettling. 

Good news though – the one thing you CAN control is how you look after yourself – what you choose to eat, how to move, when to get some shut-eye, how to deal with an overload of stress and remembering the good old mechanism of breathing – remember that one?

In the food and nutrition realm, you will see some crazy coo-coo claims being made about what you should do to prevent or cure you from a viral infection. 

You may have also read about foods that boost immunity and they are usually foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals.  It is absolutely true that these nutrients assist our immunity.

Enter lupin flakes. These little yellow flakes of goodness tick many of these boxes in the vitamin and mineral department. They also have some unique superpowers in the boosting immunity department that other foods simply do not.

Lupins are a unique legume that contain 40% protein plus 40% fibre with a small amount of carbohydrate and fat and are completely gluten free.

The Super Boosting Immunity Powers of Lupin Flakes

Good Gut Health

The intestinal tract or gut is a very busy place. There are around 500 species of bacteria hanging out in your gastrointestinal tract, mostly in the large bowel.  Not only do they live there in peaceful coexistence with us, they may actually help. These bacteria keep out disease-causing bacteria and viruses, keep our immune system healthy and maintain the lining of the bowel.

Under some circumstances, the normal mix of these bacteria gets disrupted. Not surprisingly, stress is a major factor that upsets this balance.

Our gut wall houses around 70% of the cells that make up our immune system, so gut function is super important.  This is where probiotics and prebiotics start to shine.

Probiotics are live bacteria that are naturally found in our gut and in some foods. They improve our health by reducing the number of harmful bacteria that may survive in our gut. 

Prebiotics on the other hand are very different. They are mostly soluble fibres and resistant starches that act as fuel for our good bacteria in the large intestine. They get the party started by being fermented by gut bacteria and boosting the balance of our microbiome to be healthier.

Hello lupin flakes. Lupin flakes are a rich source of prebiotics due to their high content of resistant starch. This means they are super powerful bacteria and rather clever at boosting immunity.

Power Up With Protein

Did you know that protein is essential for the repair and regeneration of cells and one of the front-runners for fighting viral infections?

Protein is made up of amino acids, which are just like building blocks similar to Lego. Amino acids are classed as either essential as they cannot be manufactured by the body. These are only accessible through food or non-essential.

Inthe plant world, it can be truly difficult to get enough of these essential proteins. Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, red kidney beans and other similar friends contain just 5-8% protein.  Lupin flakes boast a mighty 40%!

Lupin flakes are multi-faceted too as they can be used as an alternative to meat but do just as well as an alternative or addition to rice or pasta.  These starchy foods contain only 3-7% protein, so once again lupin flakes storm to the front. And you can actually purchase them, unlike many other foods right now!

For ideas on how you can incorporate lupins into your day and boost your immunity at the same time – check out some recipes of mine here and a ton from The Lupin Co right here.

To purchase the lupin flakes, you can check out stockists or order online by clicking here

Stay well everyone and keep in touch – I am here.

Overnight Oats – How to Make This Simple Super Breakfast

Right now in this rapidly evolving food landscape of ours, Overnight Oats aka Bircher Muesli is one of the simplest and cheapest breakfast ideas you could whip up.  

If you don’t have oats you can also use natural muesli with the added bonus of a few extra bits!

Oats are a fabulous source of resistant starch – it’s no surprise that as the name would suggest, resistant starch is resistant to digestion and nourishes our gut bacteria. This special starch is a prebiotic and basically gets the party started by fuelling the probiotics in our large intestine. The good bacteria that are produced as a result of the starch being fermented in our gut, naturally help us to maintain our intestinal health.

This recipe for Overnight Oats serves two people but I usually batch it up and multiply the recipe by at least five to feed the locusts that live in my house.  

Depending on how you prefer to operate, the Overnight Oats can be made in individual containers or like me, a large container that will hold the weeks worth.

Overnight Oats

INGREDIENTS

2/3 cup rolled or quick oats

2/3 cup plain natural or Greek yoghurt

1 cup water 

2 tsp chia seeds

2 tsp shredded coconut

1 medium apple, grated

1 tbsp natural yogurt to serve

 

METHOD

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.

To serve, spoon into bowls and top with a dollop of natural yoghurt and fresh fruit of choice such as:

  • 1/2 cup berries (fresh or frozen) or 
  • 1 small sliced banana or
  • 1 passionfruit 

These are all equivalent to one serving of fruit but you could also combine a variety of fruits to make up one serving and add variety to your breakfast each day.

For some other simple breakfast ideas, you can check these out here. 

Frozen Vegetables vs. Fresh – Which Are Best For you?

The pro’s and con’s of frozen vegetables vs. fresh is a question I get asked a LOT. Most days in fact.

I get it. In our super fast paced world, vegetables often get kicked to the kerb when the going gets a bit frantic. For some reason, we just don’t seem to have time to get them on the plate.  The reality is that unlike fruit, which you can simply pick up from the fruit bowl and just eat it, many vegetables do need some level of preparation. Preparation no matter how simple, does involve time.

Frozen Vegetables – Smart or Lazy?

The interesting thing is, frozen vegetables are somehow perceived as the lazy way of preparing and eating vegetables when in reality, this could not be further from the truth.

Purchasing frozen vegetables and fruit and having them on standby is smart thinking because they are convenient and budget friendly.  We all need five serves of vegetables each day and for the vast majority of our population, this just does not happen.  In my view, anything that facilitates an increased vegetable intake is a winner.

When I was growing up, the standard frozen vegetables were peas, carrot and corn but now, there is a huge variety to choose from. Speaking of frozen peas – have you tried my Easy Peasy Green Soup?

Sometimes, the quality of frozen vegetables and fruit are superior to fresh if the fresh version has to travel far to market, because the frozen varieties are processed quickly after being harvested.  

In The Can

Frozen vegetables are generally better than canned, as more nutrients are lost in the canning process than for the same food when frozen. Canning involves heating the food in a closed tin, which prevents microorganisms growing and becoming hazardous to our health. The amount of heating depends on the type of food. Nutrient losses occur during heating and storage and some vitamins may dissolve in the liquid in the can.

Have Frozen Vegetables Got All the Healthy Goods?

The major nutrient losses that occur in frozen food are not actually related to the freezing process itself but to the blanching that occurs before freezing and then again during cooking.  Blanching refers to the process of placing a food into boiling water for a short time and then plunging the food into ice-cold water to halt the cooking process.

These losses are no different to those that would occur if you purchased fresh food and cooked it at home.  

Regardless of whether you choose frozen vegetables or fresh, just make sure that the loss of vitamins and minerals in your fresh and frozen vegetables is kept to a minimum by remembering the following:

  • Choose fresh fruit and vegetables that are not over-ripe, bruised, cut or scraped
  • Avoid peeling unless damaged or unpalatable
  • Keep the pieces of food as large as possible when cutting it up
  • Add the fruit or vegetables to boiling water rather than to cold water
  • Use the smallest amount of water possible – steaming and micro-waving are very effective at minimising nutrient loss
  • Cook for the minimum time necessary

If you have access to good quality fresh produce that is not going to break the bank, then of course, that is always going to be a great option. At the same time, if you choose a mixture of frozen and fresh, don’t beat yourself up for making life easier.  A pat on the back is much more appropriate.

Passionfruit Cupcakes

Passionfruit Cupcakes had not entered my life until this week when I was gazing at the back of the a pack of a Devondale skim milk powder. I’m not usually someone to make the recipes from the back of packets of food but this time the words Passionfruit and Cupcakes  jumped out at me. Two of my favourite things together can only be a winning combo.

After making these delicious morsels, I posted them up on Facebook and Instagram and it seems that many people have nostalgic memories of Passionfruit Cupcakes from their childhood. Who knew.

I’m just very happy that I can spread the passionfruit love!  We do have a vine growing at home but quite honestly its not pulling its weight at the moment.  There are a grand total of two green ones despite the actual vine looking gorgeous.  Due to this low performance, I used fresh passionfruit pulp (without added sugar) that can be purchased in the jar.  If you have a vine that is actually doing its job, use those guys.

Skim milk powder is definitely the secret ingredient in this recipe (not surprising as it is from Devondale) because it not only provides a calcium boost but it makes them SO fluffy.

Passionfruit Cupcakes

Ingredients

125g polyunsaturated spread or butter

1/2 cup caster sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup passionfruit pulp

grated rind of one orange

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/2 cup skim milk powder

1.5 cups self-raising flour

1/2 icing sugar

extra passionfruit pulp

Method

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in eggs, passionfruit pulp, orange rind, water and vanilla.  Mix in skim milk powder and flour.

Spoon into a 12 hole lightly greased muffin tin.

Bake at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the passionfruit cupcakes are golden. Allow to cool.

For the icing – sift the icing sugar into a bowl and gradually add small amounts of the extra passionfruit pulp until the mixture is smooth but not too runny. 

If you live with other people big or small, hide at least one for yourself because I can assure you if backs are turned – they will be inhaled.

 

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 Eleventh Day Of Christmas – With A Healthy Twist

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..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.

Emus worry me, they really do and I hope I don’t see any on this eleventh day of Christmas.

Beady little eyes and a lonnnnnnggg neck that looks like it might reach out at any moment and give you a little peck followed up by a quick kick.  An iconic Australian product that features this native animal is the good old Swan Brewery Emu Export beer.  It is still around but not considered to be in vogue now.  

Emu Export beer was and still is a full-strength beer unlike the low carb beers which are gaining popularity in Australia.  The question is, are they the real deal?

Low carb beers are low in carbohydrates but they still contain alcohol and therefore kilojoules.  Choosing a low carb beer over a full strength beer will save you about 100 kilojoules.  In a 375ml can or stubby of full strength beer there will be approximately 13 grams of carbohydrate compared to 0-3 grams in the low carb version, so this could be useful for diabetics but there is still the alcohol content to consider.  

Low carb beers are not the same as ‘light’ beers, which are lower in alcohol and based on this it is a good idea to watch out for the false promises of beer advertisers.

If you are concerned about your weight (and Christmas Day is definitely not the day to be concerned), consider choosing a beer that you enjoy and drinking less of it.

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the eleventh 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 with just a couple of sleeps to go.

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 Ninth Day Of Christmas – With A Healthy Twist

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..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.

It doesn’t matter whether it is the ninth day of Christmas or not, crocodiles are scary.  Not that I socialise with them all the time.  Some time back when I was doing a nomadic around Australia trip, we stopped off at the Adelaide River in the Northern Territory and hopped onto a boat to spot some crocs. Within minutes there were monster truck versions of the prehistoric animal flinging themselves out of the air  to try and jag some meat off the end of a stick.  I regretted taking the tour immediately as it was wrong on so many levels but as there was only one way of getting off, I decided to stay.

Crocodiles are THE peak predator with endurance like no other.  Because they are the boss of everyone, they can eat whatever they like. But they don’t.  They hunt only what they need, roll them around a few times and then eat when they need to. Yes, I know they do occasionally get confused and take a human who happens to be in their feeding ground. 

I think there is a lesson there that we can use over the next few days.  Be selective, gather only what you need, roll it around a few times and savour it, chew slowly and enjoy. And as a special tip, try not to confuse your fellow diners with the sumptuous fare.

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the ninth 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 probably the last day for postage. If you can pick up, there is still time.

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 Fourth Day of Christmas – With A Healthy Twist

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..Four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree

Ahhh, Caramello Koalas.  They are so cute and tasty. Especially on the fourth day of Christmas.

Just in case you are wondering how they fare in the world of treats, one regular sized Caramel koala contains 99 calories and this includes around 1 teaspoon of fat and just over 2 teaspoons of sugar.  If you get sucked into a fundraising vortex and decide to go the Giant version, this effectively doubles the dose.  Well, maybe a bit more if you get guilted into buying the whole box.

So should you eat them?  They are quite delectable and can help you experience a moment of bliss, so they are perfectly designed as an occasional treat. But when I know that one little koala takes up some of my total daily intake, I do what I did today.  Go look at a cute image of them…. zero calories, fat and sugar but still the moment of bliss.

Some darker varieties of chocolate contains a bunch of powerful antioxidants that can do good works in our bodies. Don’t go crazy though – two squares of good quality dark chocolate will do the trick, you don’t need the whole box that you were given! 

If you are looking for something sweet but a bit more satisfying than a little koala, try these on the fourth day of Christmas.

Christmas Muffins

(Makes 12 regular or 24 mini muffins)

Ingredients

300g plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

75g muscovado or brown sugar

250g fruit mince

300ml buttermilk (or 1/2 yoghurt, 1/2 milk)

80ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil

1 egg

1 cup icing sugar, sifted

1-2 tbs lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon and pinch of salt in a bowl. 

Method

Stir in the brown sugar. Beat together buttermilk, oil and egg until combined, then add to dry ingredients with the fruit mince and stir until only just combined. Fill each muffin case with the mixture and bake for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool. Place icing sugar in a bowl, add enough lemon juice to form a soft icing and drizzle over the muffins.

 

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the fourth 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.