How to Choose Healthy ‘Packaged Foods

I just looked up the definition of food (weird – I know, who does that…But interesting as I discovered that a lot of what we actually buy, consume & refer to as food….doesn’t actually fit the definition).   

food:  “any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink or that plants absorb in order to maintain life and growth”.

…you need to take into account the definition of nutritious to see my point.

nutritious: “efficient as food; nourishing. Nourishing, good for one, full of nourishment, full of nutrients, nutritive, wholesome, healthy, health-giving, healthful, beneficial, sustaining, strengthening.”

So our supermarkets are FULL of ‘food’ that can’t actually be described as food!  Non-food items masquerading as food! Who do we sue for false advertising here?! The other day, I saw a packet of 2 minute noodles with a health star rating of 3.5! LOL – this system is hilarious – 2 minute noodles awarded the equivalent rating of 7/10 for healthiness!  Distressingly, this packet was in my pantry – bought home by one of my wayward teenagers. I reassured myself that things could be worse, at least it wasn’t hard drugs or a pregnancy test kit. But still – did he look at the health star rating to make his purchasing decision???

I hope no one reading this bases their food purchasing decisions on the health star system…I hope it just disappears soon actually, replaced by a rating system that takes into account more than food being ‘higher in positive nutrients and lower in risk nutrients’.  about-health-stars – some light reading to get to know the system, & then if you want a bit of a laugh, go around the supermarket & check out all the dodgy ‘food’ products with great star ratings!! I’m imagining a future where we all go shopping armed with a scanner gun that can detect chemical residues & measure levels of nutrients & additives to help us make decisions.  

I’m lucky enough to have spent years learning about the relationships between food, nutrition, health & disease – before I had children to feed. For me, sorting through all the non-food garbage whilst in a supermarket to find (actual) food is relatively simple. (Ok – not entirely true, supermarket shopping is NEVER simple when you’re feeding 4 children, 3 of them teens & all of them fussy in different ways – but…I’m very, very grateful that I’ve at least had some training in the area!) It must be a very difficult task to bring home enough (actual) food that will get eaten by the family with no training at all.

No wonder I get emails from people wondering ‘what is a healthy brand of X / Y or Z pre-packaged food? i.e. muesli, dairy free milk substitute, crackers, bread, sauces…I’ve actually considered setting up a ‘healthy shopper’ training service where you can order a helpful health-nut to come push your trolley & commentate while you do your supermarket shopping (1 month minimum course). Someone needs to teach modern humans how to ‘gather’ enough (actual) food to feed (& nourish) their families instead of just filling up a trolley with stuff that will make them all sick / fat / cranky / sad / unable to live their best life. That’s what happens in many cases..

Here’s how to find healthier packaged food options, in just 2 steps (no need to count stars).

The 2 Step Guide To Choosing Healthy Packaged Foods:

Look past the marketing & product descriptions (don’t even read them, don’t waste your time), ignore the fancy serving suggestions & the stars. When trying to choose healthy packaged food to feed the family, there are only 2 places on the label that are really useful:

Step 1:

Examine the nutritional panel (you only need the far right column, under the heading ‘per 100g’).   Look at the sugar percentage (the grams of sugar per 100g of product). If something is more than 10% sugar, don’t eat it too often / too much of it. For sugar, the lower the better – but do keep in mind that many nutritious & natural foods can be kinda high in sugar also (i.e. an apple, if it had a nutritional panel would read something like this: 0.5 g of protein, 0.2 g of fat, 20g of carbohydrates with 3.5 g of fibre and 14.5 g of sugars. In an apple, the natural sugars come packaged with fibre & polyphenol antioxidants to balance the effects. Not so in a bottle of apple juice, which has next to no nutrient value, minimal fibre & loads of sugar. Next look at the carbs percentage, particularly if the product is quite processed looking (i.e. breads, cereals, crackers  etc). Refined carbs get converted very quickly into sugars once you eat them (refined carbs ie white bread & pasta have very little fibre, fat or protein to slow the absorption rate) so keep carbs low in general & choose something with a higher percent of protein, good fats & fibre (whole foods). Good fats come from natural foods like nuts, seeds, olives, avocado, seafood & grass fed organic animal products. I try to avoid anything that just states ‘vegetable oil’ as an ingredient, also canola oil & factory farmed meat & dairy (go for grass fed & organically farmed / produced wherever you can – & choose quality over quantity in everything).

Step 2:

Look at the ingredients list. Ideally, this should just be a list of real food ingredients. No numbers, no weird scientific / chemical names, no fake colours, flavours, sweeteners, no MSG….just look for real food. If you read a food label & there are words you don’t understand, chances are your body won’t know what to do with them either!

Most processed food companies are finally starting to ‘clean up’ their labels & change recipes to follow the demand for healthier convenience foods, & there are some decent products coming onto the shelves, BUT there is still an abundance of crappy ‘non-food’ foods out there, hiding behind a few stars & just waiting to jump into your trolley!

Love to hear your tips for choosing healthy packaged foods too :)

Jeanie Xx
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

 

Overweight and Unhappy to Bikini Model and Stoked!

Earlier in the year, Brad & I had the pleasure of attending one of the Gold Coast ‘Miss Fit Bikini Model Extravaganza’ (MFBME) heats. I must say – I’m not normally a fan of the whole beauty pageant / bikini model scene (I just think fake boobs, orange tans, body oil & lame ‘I want to create world peace’ type statements) but this one is totally different in that the focus is on fitness & health, i.e. celebrating & showcasing how eating & moving well translates naturally into healthy & gorgeously fit bodies. Our pick of the bunch (it was really hard to pick) was Brook-Lin, because we were so amazed at her 35kg weightloss! Here’s the story – her journey from being overweight & unhappy & not taking good care of herself to a fit, healthy & happy, stunning bikini model, who treats her body like it’s the only one she’ll ever have! 

1.Do you know how you ended up overweight?

About 7 years ago I was going though a really rough patch, I lost the most important people in my life & it all went downhill from there with depression, anxiety & started to binge eat.

2.At what point did you realise you wanted to make a change?

A night 2 years ago was my major turning point in my life – I didn’t want to wake up another morning.  I was scrolling though Facebook & saw an 8 week challenge advertised. I messaged her at 11pm saying I would be at her 5am class in the morning. I wanted to hold myself accountable, I took cash & paid her upfront for a whole challenge. That’s where it all began.

3.Did you feel inspired by anyone in particular? Who has influenced & guided you along the way? Did you have to do a lot of research / educate yourself?

When I first started properly training 2 years ago I didn’t know or have anyone that influenced me. Not long into my weights training I decided to further my knowledge in the gym & studied to be a personal trainer. I am always learning & trying new things in the gym & it has been amazing seeing my clients feel amazing in their own skin too.

4.Do you have any new rules / ideals / standards / preferences for the food that you eat now?

I control my portion sizes, I fuel my body with healthy fresh food, I eat a balance of protein, carbs & fats. I always stay hydrated especially when training.

5.Do you just eat whatever sometimes too?

Of course – having a balance is very important to keep your mind and body happy.

6.What does a regular food / drink / supplement / workout day look like for you these days?

I eat 5 times a day 😊

Soon as I wake up I will have my PondWater greens with water.

I will either have eggs and spinach with my greens on top or oats for breakfast.

Snacks are either protein shake, rice cakes, goodMix Blend11 or dark chocolate.

Lunch can be Greek yogurt with protein, a chicken & veggie wrap. dinner can be gluten free pasta with veg chicken/turkey , stir fry, healthy pizza.

I train 6 days a week 6 weights & 1 cardio session (clubbersise).

3 lower body & 3 upper body.

7.What was it like in the past?

I used to either be at work or sleep, I used to binge eat, I would drink 2L of coke a day, Maccas was a regular thing or I wouldn’t eat at all.

8.For you – what feels more important, eating really well or moving & challenging that body…or are they equal?

Eating well is important for me physically but training helps challenge my body & mind, so to me both would be equal. 😊

9.The beauty pageant stuff – were you always a ‘girly girl’, or did you learn a few things from entering the competition?

I haven’t been much of a girly girl, but it was amazing to feel like a princess for a day & be able to show my girly side. I achieved things I didn’t think I ever would. I learnt how to pose , how to speak in front of a crowd & most of all feel completely accepted in my own skin.

10.Was it super competitive, or did the girls support each other?

It was beautiful – the girls, judges, the whole team were so supportive and lovely. I still keep in contact with a lot of them and love seeing them progress on their own journeys.

11.Who would you recommend enter the comp / what do the girls get out of it?

I would definitely recommend FBME, it’s a comp for all women who live healthy lives and it celebrates the fact that fit looks different on everyone. It’s a comp where you can feel beautiful in your own skin and express your personality. It also connects you with a team of like minded people that will help you & support you ❤️

12.You’ve obviously changed a lot physically – do you feel like you’ve changed mentally as well?

100% fitness & health changed my life!

I was depressed for so long and it feels amazing to finally be able to feel like myself, to finally be able to find this side of me that’s been trapped since I can remember.

12.5..and if so, what came first – the physical, or the mental – or did they both evolve together?

The mental side first, the physical took awhile, I wanted to be happy more then anything.

13.What would you like to say to anyone out there struggling with their weight & feeling trapped in a body that they don’t feel great about?

You are not alone, everyone is on their own journey. Sometimes to grow we need to push outside our comfort zones to make great things happen.

14.Can we see a before pic?

We’re not all cut out to be bikini models, but if it’s on your bucket list, this is the best comp to enter – get in touch HERE. I just wanted to share this story because I was really curious about the transformation – so inspiring! Brooke-Lin’s journey really illustrates…

a) the power of just making a start, following that survival / self preservation instinct that something has to change & acting.

b) sometimes you gotta commit / make it hard for yourself to back out or quit

c) adversity can be our friend / teacher & help us become stronger, grow as a person, end up where we need to be…if you experience a decent ‘low’ you can then really appreciate the highs in life.
d) the weird journeys we go on towards finding & living our passion & purpose – so great to be able to help empower others, from a place of experience & understanding.
e) the power of getting mind & body working together in sync, sometimes one has to ‘drag’ the other along until it catches up!
f) the importance of recognising self-destructive behaviour & having the guts to really change / reverse it
g) that someone can be outwardly really smily & happy but you just never know what’s going on inside, we’ve got to always be mindful of that.
h) nice to see a bikini comp that really values health / nutrition / training / nurturing the body rather than ‘just do whatever it takes to get skinny for the swimsuit’. Beautiful, hard-working, inspiring, healthy girls challenging themselves & supporting each other to get out of their comfort zones (& into tiny bikinis & heels in front of a crowd)! That’s some serious motivation when you feel like slacking off!!)
You can follow / get in contact with Brook-Lin here:
Need some motivation – Celebrate Women 

CSIRO Gut Health Research – Blend11

BLEND11 is undergoing scientific testing!

We have received so many great stories and such positive feedback from you, our customers highlighting the huge impact Blend11 has made to their gut health, we’ve decided to get scientists at CSIRO to do some research on the product.

The project commencing this month (October 2018) will use a model of the human digestive system to see how Blend11 is fermented by the human microbiome. The findings will be compared with a commonly consumed fibre rich product, psyllium husk.

As we continue to get customer feedback of enhanced gut health benefits when Blend11 has been soaked in water prior to consumption, the project will also study how the nutrients in Blend11 change when it is soaked for up to 3 days and what effect this has on nutrient levels and fermentation by human microbes. We will be looking to see whether Blend11 when soaked causes the microbes to produce more of the products (short chain fatty acids) that are linked with a healthier gut environment.

Previous studies suggest that soaking of seeds and grains could increase the bioavailability of some nutrients. This study will assess whether the levels of a range of nutrients change following soaking. For instance, by closely measuring Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols (FODMAP), we will be able to accurately guide our customers with sensitivity to FODMAPs as to how these levels may change with soaking. Some of the key seed phytochemicals (antioxidants) will also measured to see whether levels also change with soaking.    

To conduct this project, we were successful in obtaining a CSIRO Kick-Start grant that provides Australian start-ups and small to medium enterprises with funding support, and access to CSIRO’s research expertise and facilities.

CSIRO Kick-Start offers eligible businesses access to dollar-matched funding vouchers of between AUD$10,000-$50,000 and access to CSIRO expertise and facilities to undertake research into a new idea with commercial potential, develop a novel or improved product or process, or test a novel product or material developed by the business.

We look forward to sharing with you the outcomes of this study, expected to be completed early in 2019.

Anyone interested in specifics of the research project, or wanting to share their own story to add to the testimonial bank, please contact me directly:

e: jeanie@goodmix.com.au

Those interested in the latest general gut health research from CSIRO, grab a copy of their new book here: buy CSIRO book

Strawberries with Needles, or Chemicals?

Already Contaminated?

I don’t mean to kick a strawberry farmer when he’s down, but the needle scandal makes me wonder…what if all the chemicals used to grow Australian strawberries were as obvious as needles? Now is the time to eat strawberries – conventional or organic – so they don’t go to waste & the farmers can stay in business, but I just have to raise the point..most of our strawberries have always been contaminated…just in a less spiky-scary way.

There are loads of harmful things hidden in the food we eat. Aside from the current scandal, what about the things we can’t see, feel or taste?  At least you can tell if there’s a needle in something, not so easy to detect & avoid a chemical residue. I love strawberries, I buy organic when they are in season / I can afford them / I find a bargain, though sometimes I just buy the cheap, chemically grown variety & I don’t feel really great about eating them or feeding them to the kids. Not meaning to bag strawberries – I just want to raise a point now with all the needle noise, what about the chemicals that are already contaminating Aussie strawberries? How long will we just accept these for our kids? A quick rinse under the tap does not make a chemical-free berry! Strawberries are right at the top of the dirty dozen listproduce with the highest levels of chemical residue. They are difficult / expensive to grow organically, hence they will cost more when grown naturally / properly. Needles may turn out to be the least of our worries!

Mountains of Waste!

I think a lot of people who are used to cheap food become really desensitised to the wastage factor “who cares if the kids don’t eat the whole pile of mac & cheese we just served up for dinner, the packet only cost us $3.50 & all we had to do was shove it in the microwave with some water. If they won’t eat it, just scrape it into the bin & who cares”.

ARRGHHH!! Not enough care factor goes into food manufacturing, shopping, prepping…not enough money is invested in quality food & as a result food is just not valued the way it should be…& the kid’s growing bodies are also undervalued. If you put a lot of thought into feeding the family well, pay good money for quality fresh produce that’s been grown naturally, & spend time in the kitchen preparing it, you’re not gonna be happy to see it wasted & your kids won’t grow up thinking it’s ok to just chuck food out.  Our great-grandparents would roll in their graves if they knew how many kgs’s of strawberries were being dumped because some loony-tune has stuck needles into a few punnets & everyone is freaking out. Wasting them is craziness, everyone needs to just chill out & chop them up!

Most of the strawberries (& other fruit & veg) grown in Australia ARE contaminated, with chemical residues we can’t detect. This is a bigger issue than needles! Consumers are conditioned by supermarkets & food / agricultural giants to think that food should be dirt cheap & last for months / years on a shelf.

I’m all for saving money & finding a bargain, but I also appreciate (& will pay for) food that has been grown or made naturally, without the use of chemicals. I wish that was the case across the board, so I try to do my bit & support organic growers & smaller manufacturers whenever possible – that is the only way to get to a chemical-free future, if we support organic farmers & artisan food producers. If there were no $2 punnets of strawberries (or $3.50 mac & cheese packets), you’d just pay what it really should cost for them, the real cost of real food. Strawberries are a difficult & fragile thing to grow, chemicals are the cheapest & easiest way to increase yield / profit / decrease labour costs…but what is the cost to our health when we accept this type of food production? Organic & artisan produced food is more expensive, yes – but you’ve got to ask yourself…would you rather cheap, industrial, mass-produced, contaminated food to feed your family, or try to get the uncontaminated wherever you can, if at a higher price?

We all need to do our bit here – let’s get the strawberry farmers through this crisis (just buy them regardless), but let them know that in future, we’d prefer organically grown. 

Try this tasty Strawberry Smoothie recipe!

Regulation of Harmful and Addictive Substances (like Food and Beverages)

Should parents form a collaborative group with local drug manufacturers & dealers to educate teens about using drugs responsibly?

Should we work with drug manufacturers, encouraging them to reformulate, decreasing the potency & addiction potential of their offerings?

Should we introduce a labelling system that shows exactly what the contents of the snaplock bags are?

That’s the government approach to our current ‘lifestyle disease’ crisis (read: ‘crappy processed food’ crisis). With this approach to addictive drugs or food, we could probably save a few lives, but…I think we’ll still have some serious problems!

See below, my recent email / rant to health minister Greg Hunt & the reply from Senator Bridget McKenzie (For the record, I’ve never been an email ranter – this is a first). 

My email:

“Hi Greg – I have some questions for you. I hope you can help.

I’m a mother of teens, I run a health food business & I have years of experience working in both the health food industry & in pharmacy, helping Australians who are trying to lose weight, get healthy & battle chronic conditions caused largely by poor diet. I am really concerned about the health issues kids of today will begin to face as a result of what I can only describe as government negligence in the control of food & beverage availability throughout our country.   

Who regulates the availability of food & beverage products throughout Australian retail stores – is there even any regulation of what products are allowed onto supermarket shelves? Can I please have email / phone contact details & a description of their role within the preventative healthcare care / food regulation systems?

Why are food & beverage products with known addictive qualities that are now known causes of metabolic syndrome, diabetes & heart disease still available for purchase by minors & people incapable of making an ‘informed purchasing decision’?

I’m interested in the legalities – I can see from your bio online that you’re well acquainted with the Aussie legal system. I’m wondering, is this generation of children / teens going to be able to (rightly?) sue the government who has allowed this practice (harmful & addictive substances being made readily available to & marketed towards minors) to continue, for damages resulting from their diabetes, obesity & cardiovascular disease? These illnesses are now known to be caused largely by addiction to & overconsumption of these heavily sweetened products, which are addictive due to their high sugar content (& often also laced with other addictive substances like caffeine – things like energy drinks / ice coffee / cola drinks). Why today, in 2018 is a bottle of highly sweetened, nutritionally empty, caffeinated beverage still readily available for children & teens to purchase (in large quantities, daily – or even multiple times daily, if desired)? This is happening all over our disgustingly fat & sick country today. These products should not be treated any differently now to cigarettes & alcohol, given their known harmful health effects & addictive properties.

The sale of products of this nature should be regulated to protect young Australians (& take pressure off our healthcare system which is needlessly being drained, paying millions or even billions every year, caring for people with preventable, diet-induced illnesses).

I’d like to raise awareness & help the kids out there who are developing type 2 diabetes & cardiovascular disease as I write – the kids who will cost Australia billions over the next 40-60 years – because our government can not (?) / will not take the necessary action to protect them now.  This is particularly a problem among Australian indigenous communities. I feel that these kids should have every right to sue when they become chronically diseased…at what age can a child make ‘an informed choice’ about their health? At what age can a child walk into a supermarket or cafe & purchase a can or bottle of coke (or multiple bottles) every day?

Please let me know who would be best to contact in regards to this matter?

Thankyou.”

…ok so that was a bit of a rant, BUT…crappy products that nobody needs or benefits from (other than those making a big fat profit) are for sale on every corner making us big & fat. They are a MASSIVE contributing factor in the ‘lifestyle disease’ epidemic we face. It costs me money, it grosses me out, it makes me really sad & angry & yeah it puts me in the mood to have a bit of a rant!

So, I wrote that email, then forgot all about it until this lame-ass reply came through, which I feel compelled to share, because it is so lame.  Tell me what you think. Am I over-reacting? Or is this approach going to get us nowhere?

(Double click to read)

I was momentarily impressed as I opened the envelope, revealing the fancy letterhead, printed on thick, expensive paper, from someone with ‘Hon’ in front of her name. But I was completely unimpressed by the content. It basically tells me that nobody has the balls to take action where it’s badly needed.

My interpretation & commentary below

The government recognises the burden of disease associated with poor diet. (But seem totally happy to keep carrying it & paying for it with tax payers $)?

They appreciate my suggestion to impose limits on the availability of processed foods, however they prefer to educate, support & encourage Australians to adopt a healthy diet & lifestyle, not wanting to regulate what’s available for purchase in shops. (Parents, let’s fill the fridge with softdrink & lollies but read the kids a heap of health magazines & see what happens)…

They are committed to providing a safe food supply & ensuring consumers have access to sufficient information to make informed choices about food they purchase. (They also seem quite happy to place very unsafe food items in amongst that safe food supply, readily available for people incapable of making an informed choice about what they ingest & become addicted to).

FSANZ is the authority responsible for the ‘food standards code’ & determines the requirements for food sold in Australia & NZ. (FSANZ must have a very easy job, there really don’t seem to be many requirements when you spend an hour or so reading processed food ingredient labels in the supermarket)!

FSANZ requires labelling on energy drinks to communicate that the product contains caffeine, how much it has & that they are unsuitable for children, pregnant women & those sensitive to caffeine. (Ok so that makes the product ‘suitable’ for teenagers, men & the elderly who AREN’T sensitive to caffeine…there are not many of those, so how do these companies sell enough product to make them commercially viable? Hmm – maybe people aren’t reading / taking any notice of the labels? These products are actually only ‘suitable’ for people who want to waste money on addictions, get diabetes & die younger than they naturally should. Suggest a label change, though still doubt that people would read it). 

Food products are regularly checked for compliance. (Phew, lucky someone is working hard, keeping us all safe from our food. LOL).

Improving Aussie’s dietary patterns is a complex task, there are many contributing issues. We need a community-wide approach as well as individual behaviour change. (Yes, yes, yes & yes. But we also need to consider just removing some of the worst crap from our supermarket shelves)? Just start with regulating the supply of sugar-laden caffeinated beverages to kids / teens. They can at least choose their addictions when they are old enough to understand what addiction means).

The Government recognises that Australians are eating more processed foods, and they are doing a lot of things to help them get healthier. (They might be doing ‘a lot of things’….but are they neglecting to do the most effective things?)

Government is working with the food industry & public health groups, trying to promote healthier options & reducing saturated fat, added salt & added sugars. Some of their initiatives include:

‘The Health Star Rating’. Aimed at getting consumers to avoid foods high in salt, sugar & saturated fat, thus encouraging manufacturers to reformulate products, decreasing these ingredients in order to have a better rating. (The Health Star Rating is voluntary, so if your product is garbage, you can just ignore it. Plus – the system was developed in consultation with food industry & thus has little credibility. Do you really develop a regulating system in conjunction with the people you want to regulate?? This is pretty soft regulation. Give me an image of a depressed, morbidly obese person, covered in acne with an amputated leg slapped on the front of all soft drink cans & lolly packets any day, over a few stars on the front of ‘healthier-than-most’ cereal boxes. We need to be tougher on this, it’s got to be spelled out REALLY CLEARLY to the people who are still shoving this stuff into their shopping trolleys every week).

The Healthy Food Partnership’: a collaboration between the government, food industry & public health groups. Aimed at tackling obesity, encouraging healthy eating & empowering food manufacturers to make positive changes to their products. Everyone seems really committed to make this work. The aims are:

  • promote healthy eating, working towards improvement targets.
  • normalise healthy eating & encourage people to enjoy healthy foods.
  • make changes in education, food advertising, availability of foods through outlets & in food service, influence population behaviours…& ultimately rates of overweight & obesity.

(This is all well & good, but meanwhile – people are still dying & getting sick needlessly, & we’re all paying through the nose for their healthcare, & the expensive army of people out there getting paid to encourage, empower, influence & normalise. How about we just tell it exactly like it is ‘your kids will suffer from disease & die early because you keep buying X Y & Z for them to eat / drink each week, meaning the rest of Australia will be paying for your health care expenses)?

People are dying early – kids are not getting the chance to grow up healthy, 30% of them are on the road to obesity, diabetes, heart disease & early death before they even reach their teens. (No wonder so many are also depressed & anxious before they reach their 20’s). A major contributing issue is that the government allows food companies & retailers to fill our stores, trolleys & mouths with poor quality ‘food-like’ products that directly cause / contribute to the development of disease.  Millions (maybe billions) of tax dollars are spent on ads, promotion, education, liasing gently with food companies, caring for end stage diseases…we could save everyone a lot of time, money, hassle & resources (not to mention lives) if we just took a firmer approach & fixed the food standards to regulate some of these addictive & harmful substances that we clearly aren’t capable of consuming safely?

End of rant. Am I a health-nut psycho…or do I have a point here?

Leave me your thoughts in a comment below or send me an email…

Jeanie
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

Hiding Healthy Food for Kids

Food Wars & Taste Bud Corruption:

It’s a battle to get nutritious food into kids these days, with all the garbage food surrounding them & corrupting their little taste-buds!  Everywhere they look they see (conveniently placed at kid’s eye-level) pre-packaged, cartoon character endorsed ‘food’ options designed to be super-yummy, addictive & oh-so-easy for busy parents to fill their bellies, satisfy their cravings (& silence their whingeing)! Problem is, there isn’t a lot of thought put into the nutritional content of these ‘foods’ our kids are being raised on – what kind of foundations are we building for these kids & their bodies? Shaky ones at best!

Taste vs Nutrition, Food Giants & Child vs Parent:

When you are making an effort to feed your kids natural healthy foods, it’s really hard to compete with food giants & their marketing / R & D budgets! Especially when the taste is the main motivator for kids to eat something or not!  Eating to nourish the body generally isn’t a concept that sinks in deeply until kids are much older (by then they are teenagers looking for the nearest Macca’s to hang out at with their mates & likely uninterested in following advice on what they should be eating). So, if you have small children,  it’s important to get as much nutrition into them at every opportunity when they’re little, & to keep it interesting with some yummy & nutritious natural treats (for when they’ve eaten all their veggies of course)! You have to become very clever at hiding extra nutrients in amongst everything they eat (to compensate for the zero-nutrient food that they will also inevitably be eating as well)!

Supergreen Bliss Ball Recipe!

Supergreen Bliss Ball

Here’s a yummy treat to make for the kids that tastes very much like ‘green lollies’ but also has plenty of nutrition from the PondWater (super greens plus aloe vera powder) as well as the chia & hemp seed, natural & organic dried fruit, vitamin C & prebiotic rich baobab powder in the Fruity BallBags. Super easy to make & then keep a supply in the freezer. Also, nut free so the perfect treat for kindy & school lunch boxes (just use a small ice brick to keep the lunchbox cool).

Get this recipe: Zesty Supergreen Biss Balls 

Find more healthy tips for kids below:

How I Got my Kids (& Myself) to Drink Greens

8 Reasons Your Kids Are Hungry & Easy Ways to Fill Them Up

FAT KIDS – Why so Many and How we Can Help

 

5 Easy Ways To Get More Good Bugs Into & Onto Your Body!

1. Stop killing them all the time!

We are constantly showering / washing all our external microbes off & using all kinds of microbe-killers & things that mess with our internal & external ecosystems. Antibacterial hand wash, antibiotics, mouthwash, deodorant, facial cleansers, shampoo, feminine hygiene products, make-up etc – all great & useful products (I’m not saying never shower or use deodorant) but we need to be aware that these things can seriously mess with our natural microbes. Use ‘hygiene’ products minimally – not just out of habit (think of being ‘clean’ as being covered in a healthy microbial population more so than being completely sanitised). You are much less likely to get an infection when you have loads of harmless microbes all over you to protect you from baddies (a stripped, clean slate will just give any baddies that come along free reign to multiply). Opt for gentle, chemical free, plant-based alternatives to harsh chemical products that claim to destroy 99.5% of bacteria for a certain period (many toothpastes, deodorants & hand washes claim such things).

2. Expose yourself, inside & outside the house.

Open the windows every day, let the air into your home, or better still – get out into nature! Get dirty, sandy, muddy, salty, leafy, furry – get some new natural bugs into your ecosystem. Nature is full of great microbes that we’ve evolved with, we know how to handle them & they can help us in many cases. Google ‘hookworm & coeliac disease’ – trials are showing very positive results – everyone wants to keep their parasites as they feel healthier & any accidental gluten ingestion is less problematic. Also read about peanut allergy & probiotics, an area of study promising to help kids who live in fear of accidentally coming into contact with nuts. Probiotics & hay fever, fermented foods & anxiety…even babies growing up with pets (or grubby older siblings) are healthier than those raised in more ‘clean’ homes. The key is that when you have a baby, you want something that carries dirt & microbes into your house daily to keep your bubs immune system occupied. Put down the sanitiser, let the dog in, & kick the toddlers off the i-pad to go & play mud-pies!!)

3. Eat them. Organic fruit & veggies fresh from garden to mouth = more ‘buggy’ (in a good way)!

These will deliver not just better nutrition & less toxicity, but also a heap of healthy microbes as a bonus…not so when you’re eating produce grown with artificial fertilisers & sprayed with chemicals, then transported & left sitting in cold storage (sometimes for months) before it gets to your plate. If you’ve never been a green thumb, try growing just a tiny garden with salad greens & herbs – even start with a pot / planter box. If you just don’t wanna grow anything yourself, get to your local farmer’s markets or organic produce store regularly.

4. The big guns. Regularly consume foods that contain live bacteria.

Quality yoghurts, aged cheeses, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha,…this stuff is alive with bugs that produce amazing & helpful substances for our gut & body, while helping us to breakdown the things that they’re fermenting (so we can digest more easily & extract more nutrition). If you’re sensitive to fermented foods / probiotics then start very slowly, you may notice some ‘turbulence’ (sometimes an increase in gas) when you introduce more of these into your system, like when you suddenly increase fibre.

5. Change the environment = change the bacterial balance.

You can very quickly alter your gut bacterial population by changing what you eat each day. We know that many helpful gut bugs thrive on fibre – veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole ancient grains…these all provide fodder for your good guys. Feed the goodies & they’ll begin to multiply & crowd out the baddies. Your baddies (the gut bugs that make you less healthy in general) love to eat sugars & refined carbohydrates – that’s one reason you may crave these foods – the more of these carb-munchers you have, the more sugar you’ll want. It’s your gut bugs demanding a regular intake of what they need to survive. Making initial changes to your diet can be really hard, but once you’re well into the change it will feel hard to go back – your gut bugs want you to keep feeding them their favourites. Your dominant belly bugs are a product of what you’ve been consistently eating, so if you’re a sugar feind, they’ll strongly resist a change to a high veggie / low sugar diet, but in the end (once you’ve balanced them out) they will actually help you stay healthy).

Love to get your feedback in the comments below – how hard has it been for you to change your gut bacterial balance, & what helped most?

Jeanie x

Get Up & Go Breakfast Ideas!

What’s for breakfast? Make it yummy, make it healthy & make it the night before (more time for morning exercise = start the day amazingly)! Get up early, move your body, & then feed it well. Trust me – you’ll feel a million bucks if you can make this a habit!  Post Australia Day = no more partying or holiday laziness, it’s time to get into some healthy routines for an awesome 2018!

Get organised!

Avoid the crazy morning rush (& excuses for not exercising & eating well) with pre-made, portable breakfast jars. You can make a few on a Sunday night & then – no breakfast prep Mon Tues or Wed, yay! Leaves plenty of time for your morning exercise (this is not an excuse to sleep in)!  Plan a morning walk / run / surf / gym or yoga session or whatever you enjoy & then help make it happen by prepping breakfast for the household the night before, getting an early night & setting that alarm to make some ‘movement time’!

Goodness in a Jar!

An activated Blend11 parfait is so filling you won’t be reaching for that muffin / bar / snack mid-morning. These breakfast jars are full of enzymes, good fats, plant protein, diverse fibre & all the other good bits like polyphenols, phytosterols, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals & trace elements. The gut health benefits of having a regular diverse fibre intake can be incredible – just read some of these Facebook reviews

Eat Later?

These are perfect if you have to get up really early for work, or if you’re trying the ‘intermittent fasting’ thing (where you break the nightly fast a little later in the day to give your gut & metabolism a longer rest from constant eating). You can use any recycled jar & just keep them in the fridge, ready to grab quickly & throw into an esky / cold bag as you head out the door.

Fresh market fruit combos to try with your Blend11:

Peach & mango – team with natural unsweetened coconut yoghurt (or use half vanilla & half greek dairy yoghurt if the kids are really picky / still addicted to sugar / don’t like coconut). Just mix the yoghurts without them seeing you, & they’ll never know you’ve just halved their morning sugar intake!
Passionfruit & banana (again, awesome with natural unsweetened coconut or greek yoghurt). Mix your passionfruit & banana together so the banana doesn’t go brown.
Berries, fresh or frozen: strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, mulberries – all yum, esp with Pure n Free chocolate coconut yoghurt! (Amazing breakfast + dessert overlap)! Also delish with unsweetened yoghurt.
Red plum, cherry & red grape (again – amazing with choc coconut yoghurt!)
Apple or pear with cinnamon (awesome with a dollop of coconut or greek yoghurt).

**If your gut is a bit funny with any of the above fruits, it might be the FODMAP’s they contain. FODMAP’s are pesky carbohydrates that can turn a normal flat comfortable tummy into a bloated painful spasmodic irregular wreck in minutes – in quite a lot of IBS people! Good to know your fruity FODMAP’s if you suffer from IBS – for a small fee you can download the Monash University App from the app store, there is a fruit list in there (as well as all the other foods too)!  Blend11 is low FODMAP – just needs the right ingredients to go with it if you’re sensitive.

If you have some combos to share I’d love to feature them (recipes need to use goodMix products to get published in the recipe section ;-)
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

Hiding Veggies! Handy Tips for Fussy Eaters

With so many cheap processed foods trying to sabotage our shopping trolleys, the constant role of us parents is to find new ways to sneak healthy foods (particularly veggies) into our family’s food! Some kids are super-fussy, & it seems all they want to eat is sausages, chips & crackers! I don’t advise you to ‘just let them grow out of it’, as in my experience – kids who are allowed to get away with eating just sausages & chips as kids often continue to do so, & they don’t get used to the tastes & textures of vegetables & salads the way kids who are brought up on them daily do. You either do the introductory work when your kids are young, or they will pay the price for it later with ongoing fussiness, nutrient deficiencies & the health issues that arise from them. Getting veggies in can be hard work at times, but it will pay off – & there are many ways to sneak things in / introduce gradually so it’s not too scary!

It’s not only the kids who experience trouble with eating their veggies, I actually speak to quite a few adults who are definitely old enough to realise that they should be eating more veggies, but still really struggle with textures / tastes & do not eat very many at all! Because they find it so difficult to eat veggies themselves – they’re unable to enforce good vegetable-eating habits in the kids, so the issue gets passed down & compounded!

Here’s a few easy & inexpensive dishes, perfect for getting more veggies into the ‘average Aussie family’ diet. You’ll notice most of these dinners use mince as a base – reason is it’s inexpensive & kids are generally pretty good with it, plus it’s an easy texture that allows you to hide a lot of veg in it. You can experiment with beef, chicken, lamb, kangaroo or pork. Make it free range & grass fed wherever you possibly can (ask your butcher or farmer at the markets!) I ethically agree with & have experimented myself with both a vegetarian & vegan diet in the past, but I do feel that for rapidly growing kids, some animal protein & fats are important & very useful nutritionally. Just look for & support the producers who operate on a small scale & treat their animals with more care, & incorporate loads of veggies & plant foods in so that meat isn’t playing the starring dietary role, but is there in smaller quantities to supply the nutritional bits that plants don’t cover.

Meatballs / Patties

Better option for BBQ’s than the kid-favourite sausages, as you can pack them full of veggies! The secret is to chop everything really finely, or use a processor / blender. Into your mince you can add add onion, garlic, fresh herbs (i.e. basil, oregano, chives, rosemary, mint, curry plant), carrot, celery, mushroom, capsicum, zucchini. Just watch the water content with the wetter veggies (you may need to squeeze the water out of grated zucchini  for example). I generally add in something absorbent like chia meal or chia flour (ask in your health store) to help bind the patties & soak up any excess moisture from the tonne of veggies. You can also add in some seaweed flakes (i.e. dulse or kelp) to sneakily boost nutrition, salt & pepper & some dried herbs & spices like cumin, thyme or sage.

Bolognaise

A quick & easy option for most families – yet there is a big nutritional difference between the average ‘pasta-meat-sauce’ spaghetti bol & a veggie packed healthy version! To maximise your veg intake, start with onion, garlic & mushroom (all finely chopped). Fry these & then add finely chopped celery, carrot, capsicum, zucchini, & even beetroot. Add in some leafy greens, seaweed flakes, herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary all work well), & then mix all of this into your cooked mince, along with some plain chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce (I use molasses as a mineral-rich sweetener / flavour booster & salt & pepper). I’ll often just eat this without the pasta, but the kids miss it! You can use GF pasta or even some ‘courgette’ / spiralled zucchini noodles. Serve with some simple raw greens or a salad, & some grated cheese to top if desired.

Lasagne

Same veggies as the bolognaise. Chopped finely – this is just the bolognaise brew arranged with layers of sauce / cheese / pasta! You can use GF sheets or finely sliced pumpkin as the ‘pasta’ layers too.

Shepherd’s Pie

All of the same bolognaise veggies will work here too, & you can incorporate some sneaky tinned asparagus into the sauce (blend it in), & throw in some frozen peas. I often use a mix of cauliflower or sweet potato in with the mashed potato topping, & you can throw some green / brown lentils into the mince part – or even use these instead of the meat. You can use things like salt & pepper, tomato paste, mustard, molasses & herbs / spices / natural sauces to make it flavoursome.

Mexican

Great crowd-pleaser to introduce some legumes! Soak some black beans overnight, then rinse & drain them before boiling until soft. Or you can use canned if you’re not good at planning! I use a combo of whole beans & some of the canned refried beans. These can be added in after you’ve cooked up the rest of the mix, which can be your meat (if using, you can easily make a great vego mexican brew with just the beans & veg) plus finely chopped onion, garlic, celery, carrot, broccoli / cauliflower, zucchini…whatever. You can use molasses as a sweetener, plus salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric (not too much or it gets bitter) & coriander to make it taste ‘Mexican’! Serve with guacamole (mashed avo with lemon / lime juice, salt, pepper & garlic) & fresh coriander / shallots on top.

Rice Paper Wraps

Onion & garlic, add in some ginger for the Asian flavour, or whatever Asian style paste / herbs you like – i.e. coriander, basil, mint, lime juice, tamari…just fry the mince with the garlic / ginger / spices / paste, add finely chopped veggies / herbs, & have some others raw & grated on the table when you serve up. You can have several bowls for different people to choose their own additions, & some dipping sauce. Or instead of Asian style, try a rosemary & garlic lamb mince with yoghurt, mint & cucumber dressing. You can find the wraps in the asian section of the supermarket, & you just need to dip them into hot water to make them soft enough to wrap (requires a little practice, small children will need help making theirs).

Wedges

A great winter hot veggie snack. Sweet potato & potato, homemade & oven baked. You can coat in some tapioca starch & spices to get them really crispy / crunchy. Cook in macadamia or coconut oil, & serve with yummy dips (see below!)

Dips

You can hide a lot of veggies (& probiotic yoghurt / healthy olive oil) in dips. Cooked sweet potato & pumpkin, cucumber, herbs, avocado, semi dried tomato, beetroot, olives etc – & we think of dips as party or snack food, so tend not to be on the lookout for veggies! Google veggie dips or any of the above-mentioned veggies with dip & you’ll find recipes. Also – they are nice & smooth, & generally there are crackers to be had with them – so veggie dips can be a winner for veggie-shy people! 

Wraps

You can find some half-decent GF wraps in the supermarkets now. Bundle up a heap of healthy fillings with some kind of yummy dressing. Meat / cheese – whatever other fillings you / the kids like, to go with the veggies. Think avocado, hommous etc. 

Omelettes

Mushroom, tomato, onion, herbs like rosemary, parsley & thyme, baby spinach & shredded kale…just start of with a few teeny tiny bits & you can increase as they get used to the ‘bits’.

Quiches

Same as omelettes – start with a few bits & increase as they get used to the new tastes / textures.

Pies

You can add some veggies chunk style, & some hidden, finely blended into the pie ‘sauce’. Top pies with mashed & seasoned veggies.

Coleslaw

This can be a good one as most veggie-fussy types like mayonnaise / creamy dressings. You can make a basic coleslaw with just shredded cabbage & carrot, or add in shallots / raw onion, celery, kale, capsicum, grated beetroot, parsley etc. Kids usually like a little grated cheese in there too.

Beetroot Salad

Use the fine holes on your grater, to grate a large raw beetroot with 2 medium carrots. ‘Dress’ with some fresh grated / juiced pineapple & / or orange, & add in some desiccated coconut & currants if desired. Amazing sweet & juicy side salad that many kids & adults like, & a great way to introduce raw beetroot to those who’ve never tried it.

Potato Salad

I like to add boiled eggs into potato salad to balance the carbs with some protein / fats. You can add finely chopped shallots / chives, raw onion, parsley, celery, frozen peas….potato salad is great for resistant starch (the carbs turn into this when cooked & cooled down). Resistant starch is good food for your gut bacteria.

Fried Rice

You can use quinoa too (or a mixture) & use leftover meats or veggies in here. I use shredded fried eggs, free range nitrate free bacon, or chicken leftovers, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, shallots, carrot, corn, frozen peas, capsicum, broccoli, cauliflower (chopped up into tiny bits). 

Mash

You can sneak cauliflower into your mashed potato, use lots of butter & salt & pepper to flavour, & garlic, chives or parsley are also yum in mash. You can add cooked broccoli & carrots into sweet potato / pumpkin mash…mash makes textures less of an issue so you may have luck with some different veggies incorporated in this way.

Pesto

Herbs are super-nutritious like veggies (often even more so) but can be expensive. It’s great to grow a few in the garden / pots. You can make amazing fresh pesto using basil & baby spinach, parmesan, olive oil, salt & pepper, lemon juice & garlic. This pesto can also be used to flavour other veggies. It goes great with roasted sweet potato chunks, or in a salad.

Spinach & Feta Pies

Kids love greens hidden in cheese! Most people love mini spinach & feta pies. Use a cupcake / muffin tray to bake a heap of these – great way to get some greens & protein in if dairy is well tolerated. Basil is awesome in these.

Platters / Finger Food

Olives, carrot, celery, capsicum, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, snow peas, sugar snaps, beans….you can make great healthy platters using veggies. Just combine with things you already like i.e. cheeses, nuts, crackers, dips etc. Finger food / platters are very kid-friendly & they’ll be able to experiment carefully with a little encouragement.

Green Smoothies

Pineapple / banana / papaw / mango / kiwi / apple / pear etc can be the ‘sweetness’ to make a glass full of raw green veggies yummier! Celery tops, cucumber, baby spinach, kale etc can all be blended up into drinks – many people find drinking their veggies is actually easier than eating them!

Red Smoothies

You can make an amazing, vibrant red smoothie using raspberries, watermelon, dragon fruit & beetroot. This is just cool for kids because it is SOO bright red. Pink grapefruit & ginger are nice flavours in this too.

Juices

Some people can’t handle the thick, fibrous texture of smoothies with veggies in them. Juice can be a great way to get used to the different veggie tastes, without having to deal with the textures at the same time! Try small amounts of spinach, kale, cucumber, carrot, beetroot, ginger, turmeric etc – using familiar things like apple, mandarin, pineapple & orange to sweeten / mask.

Cakes

You can make quite a few cool cakes with veggies win them. The obvious one is carrot cake, but google chocolate beetroot or zucchini cake, black bean brownies…you can actually sneak veggies into cakes & sweet treats!

Raw Carrot Cake
Bristol Stool Chart
Best Poos Ever

Place this handy chart up on your toilet door and teach everyone who sits on your loo about a healthy gut / poo and may even show the direct effect of eating more veggies: Bristol Stool Chart – free download

I hope you find some of these tips useful, & I’d love to know your thoughts, struggles or even your own tips! Just leave a comment below or send me an email !

Jeanie Xx
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

How I Got my Kids (& Myself) to Drink Greens

I remember the first time someone tried to give me a ‘ Greens drink ’. The schooner-sized glass was dark green, frothy & had lumpy looking bits clinging to the sides. It smelled like lawn clippings, but more pungent, kinda like ‘off’ lawn clippings.

My flatmate in second-year naturopathy was much more ‘experienced’ with superfoods than I – she’d  worked in a smoothie bar / vego cafe, so knew her way around things like spirulina, guarana, tofu, lentils, wheat & barley grass…all very foreign to me as I was fresh off the family farm, where grass was for the cows.

She was taking it to fix an outbreak of vaginal thrush – something which we were all (my fellow naturopath students & party girls) a bit prone to from our fruit-heavy diets & alcohol-heavy weekends! We were 19 & conducting some informal studies on ‘detoxification’ on top of our naturopathy lectures. For the record, my party days ended not long after my naturopath course did – when I was 22, & we did discover some great natural hangover cures – but that’s another blog. 

So back to the drink – I held my nose as advised, raised the murky glass to my lips, & embarrassingly could only manage one slimy gulp. YYYUCCCKKK!!!! Quick, rinse & spit!! There was NO WAY I could finish one of those, I said she could have her disgusting barley grass & I reached for the natural yoghurt (no fruit) & vowed to party less.

But then it seemed that everyone who was drinking variations of this vile green stuff at college was raving about it – not the taste, they hated that only slightly less than me – but the effects. Skin clearing, digestion improving, energy increasing…those are BIG. The people who were into greens were glowing (& not itching).

Months went by & I had to try it again. This time, baby steps. 1/4 of a teaspoon, mixed not just into water, but with some ice & a dash of orange juice as well (to desensitise the tastebuds & mask the grassiness). I still held my nose & tried to down it fast, & I think I managed half a glass before leaving it ‘for later’.

I continued with this method for a week or 2, gradually increasing my green powder & decreasing the juice until eventually I was able to down 1 heaped tsp of barley grass easily with just water & ice. The ice was key – greens are way less gross when they are cold! And shaken, not stirred is definitely the go (no lumpy bits). I found that protein drink shakers were perfect.

I tried spirulina & chlorella but they were a whole different level to the barley grass – greener, slimier, & stinkier – plus more expensive! I stuck to the grass, it was awesome – & my skin, energy & digestion told me if ever I got slack, it was true – this green barley stuff was magic! I was a greens convert.

Fast forward a few years to my first pregnancy, all the grasses were easy & I swore I would master spirulina. I bought the best value 1kg tub which cost me I think $90, at wholesale pricing! I was going to glow, my baby was going to glow…& I’d got a bargain, life was great! Unfortunately, I hadn’t taken into account the extra squeamishness of pregnancy / morning sickness, & I ended up composting most of that tub, barely able to finish my usual grass drinks on most days.

A healthy (if not glowing) baby was born, fed well & was pretty good with solids by 7 months. I still had the spirulina on the shelf when he was 1, so decided if it was ok in a banana smoothie, he could have some in his mashed banana (I had no blender, don’t know how I survived back then). He wasn’t a fan though & I didn’t blame him, so compost / chooks / dogs got the rest :(

…a cutie sampling Pondy at the markets!

My second baby actually seemed to like the spirulina / banana mash – she guzzled it down! (I had more by this time as I could now stomach a half teaspoon mixed into my barley grass).

I went back to working in health stores / pharmacies when that baby was old enough, & greens were one of the products that pretty much everyone I spoke to walked out with! I always warned them about the taste, said to start slowly, use a shaker bottle & ice, & make sure they mask the flavour if squeamish. Sure enough, most of them came back very happy with the results – skin, energy & digestion were the most common improvements.

I know as a naturopath that when you can see skin results, good things are happening with the gut & liver too – skin is just the organ you can actually see from the outside, often a great reflection of what is going on with the internal organs. And energy – that is one of your main indicators of health & vitality, so skin, gut & energy improvements = overall good news.

Fast forward to 2015 when goodMix launched PondWater – I was so much of a green fan that I had to make my own! I knew that almost nobody really gets enough greens, & that everybody looks & feels better when they add more in…but I’d also seen some great gut results with Aloe Vera & read about some trials with type 2 diabetics / metabolic syndrome. So I thought, given that we have so many ‘gut’ customers, many who are insulin resistant / needing some metabolism & blood sugar support, a greens plus aloe powder was a good idea to kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

PondWater, as a 2-in-1 ‘greens plus aloe’ was going to support gut, liver, circulation & skin like a regular greens powder – but it would also have some metabolic support provided by aloe vera, a little help to get the glucose out of the bloodstream & into the muscles for burning as energy. Add in the immune benefits, the different nutrients & gut soothing benefits – & we would have a winner!

My babies are now teens – & they both take Pondy willingly with just lemon & ice, or in a green smoothie, as they know it keeps their skin nice & clear (use the fear of acne to motivate your teens) & it provides awesome nutrition & energy to help with their sports. It wasn’t always the case, & I did get some very vocal objections at first! But I got around those using some of the below methods:

A few easy ways to get your kids (& yourself) used to taking a yucky green powder! It may not be easy at first, but it is sooo worth persevering!

Cordial & water. 

Just use a small amount of the most natural one you can find, & use it ONLY to help get used to the greens initially, cordial is NOT something I’d normally recommend buying, but useful if it can help get you through the green powder ’yuck’ barrier! I know that ‘Ribena’ & some of the Lime ones work well for most, but use whatever you think will work for your family. Short term!

Kombucha

Another yummy sweet option, with a bit of fizz & the added benefits of probiotics. You can call this brew ‘Frobscottle’ (from the BFG book / movie) for kids! Use whatever flavour they like most, & add small amounts to begin with.

Pineapple juice & water with ice

Half / half cheap pineapple juice & water – freshly juiced is obviously best, but use whatever works to start you off, & this is easy, esp if you’re trying to get multiple kids onto it & there may be wastage! Once again, use only for the greens, juice is not something I’d normally recommend you buy! 

Coconut water

Just gives a mild taste & a little sweetness, plus a few extra minerals.

Fresh juices

Fruit & vegetables juiced, just add a tsp of Pondy & ice. Celery, cucumber, mint, lemon, lime, etc to keep it green & sugar free, but still a bit flavoured. Or you can add in some yummier things if you need, like banana / kiwi / pineapple.

Squeeze of lemon 

2 wedges or 1 half a lemon, squeezed into the shaker bottle & then throw the peel in as well. Rinse your teeth after lemony drinks & juices to protect your enamel.

Lime (same as lemon)

Mashed banana

With a fork, mash 1/2 a banana in a bowl with approx 1/6 to 1/4 of a tsp of greens (good way to get greens into bubs if you don’t have a blender)!

Green smoothies 

Loads of recipes online (banana, mango or pineapple really hide green powders well, & then add some green leafy veggies like baby spinach, celery tops, kale, mint etc). Check out all these smoothie recipes 

Balls 

Add a couple of teaspoons to your protein ball mix when making them. Test to get the amount right – you don’t wanna ruin the entire batch by going overboard with greens!

Stir some into a not-too-hot meal

Works with a meal that has a strong masking flavour (this will only work in the dark or for little people unconcerned by the colour of their meal!)

A Few Things That Extra Greens Can Help With…

 

*Always ask your health professional first before trying, everyone is different & this is very general & just based on my own observations.

  1. Eczema, psoriasis, acne, boils, rashes, dry skin…pretty much any skin complaint responds well to extra greens.
  2. Blood circulation (which helps everything else, a healthy, well-functioning body depends on healthy blood cells & good circulation).
  3. Fatigue. So many nutrients, so easy to digest & a nice helping hand for your gut & liver too (overloaded liver & gut are often the problem with fatigue).
  4. Balanced Immunity – good gut = good immunity. Anything that helps the gut will also help your immune system. Not too reactive, but reactive enough is how we want it! Plus it has some great antioxidants & nutrients.
  5. Aches & Pains – Arthritis & fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue – all kinds of aches & pains seem to respond well to extra greens. It makes sense as anything you can do to decrease systemic inflammation (i.e. look after your gut flora & gut lining) will help with these. Also the immune-system-balancing effect of having a healthy gut.
  6. Mood – When your gut is happier, your brain feels happier too! They talk to each other, you cannot really seperate the gut & brain as they work so closely together. If one is out of whack, the other will be too.  Plus – there is a certain ‘I’m so healthy’! It’s almost the same feeling you get after a good exercise session…the ‘I’m being good to my body’ buzz doesn’t get much better than downing a big ugly green drink!

Love to hear your stories of how you get greens into the kids (or yourself)! Please leave a comment below or send me an email.

Jeanie Xx
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

Healthy Shopping List!

Spring is such a great time to get healthy! Use this ‘Get Healthy Shopping List’ & the motivation of warm weather & less clothes to hide under now, or else you’ll be waiting until New Year’s Day! Much better to jump on the health-train now, get a head start before the party season kicks in – or you’ll have all that extra baggage from Xmas to deal with too! And you want to be looking good in your summer party gear & on the beach. Besides – Springtime is the easiest & most practical season for detoxing as it’s the time of year to really get into leafy salads & fresh veggie juices / green smoothies etc.

Get prepared now – spend a few days to a week emptying your fridge & pantry of all the old stuff, getting yourself psychologically pumped, then print this list off & get to the markets / shops to start stocking up on detox essentials!  The more nourishing stuff you can cram into your basket / trolley / tummy – the less room (& money) there is for all the other crap! I hate ‘cutting things out’ – I prefer to crowd the crap out with goodness! Some foods make the list specifically because they’ll help you to stay ‘on track’!

NOTE: This is a very general list aimed at the average Joe wanting to get healthier – obviously you’d modify slightly if you’re following a strict vegan or paleo diet, or have any specific issues with particular foods. It goes without saying that you need to choose organics wherever you possibly can, as you definitely don’t wanna be consuming chemicals whilst detoxing / getting healthy!


GET HEALTHY SHOPPING LIST!

1. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries

When you need something sweet but not a massive sugar hit – berries are the perfect fruit in a smoothie or mixed through yoghurts / breakfast etc. Buy fresh or frozen – depending on what’s in season / best value. Sometimes you can find heavily discounted fresh organic berries at the end of a market. Buy up big, then chop & freeze what you won’t get through fresh.

2. Greek yoghurt / coconut yoghurt (unsweetened)

When you’re craving something creamy & filling. Combine with berries or passionfruit if you want sweet & creamy together. Or sprinkle with maca & mesquite powder or raw cacao nibs / powder.

3. Kefir

For adding a probiotic boost into smoothies, yoghurt, creamy dressings etc.

4. Blend11

Use for breakfast instead of cereal or toast (remember, we’re cutting the refined grains – a quick breakfast is hard for many people). Add to yoghurt & fruit or blend into a smoothie. This will keep you feeling full & keep the gut bugs happy, full of sustaining good fats, diverse fibre & plant protein, as well as vitamins, minerals & enzymes.

5. Avocados

When you need something creamy – can be made sweet or savoury, depending what you add.  Add things to flavour like onion, garlic, lemon / lime juice, salt & pepper, herbs, tomato…or blend with greek or coconut yoghurt & seasonings to make a creamy salad dressing or dip. Try cacao & dates to make a sweet chocolate mousse or dessert (google avocado raw dessert recipes).

6. Wild caught Sardines & salmon

when you need something sustaining, great for the mineral-rich bones, protein & the high levels of omega 3’s. Avoid the ones in sugary sauce / cheap oils.

7. Olive oil

buy quality & dress all your salads & use in sauces, this is an awesome fat to make salads & veggies more filling.

8. PondWater

When you know you need more greens, when you’re travelling, or for an everyday energy boost & immune pick me up. Or you aren’t ready for a meal, but know you need some easy to digest nourishment. Perfect for springtime detox, metabolism & weight loss support.

9. Macadamia nut oil

Use for frying / baking to give that ‘oily & satisfying mouthfeel’. Great fatty acid profile & high heat ok.

10. Coconut oil

Use for baking, frying, raw desserts. High heat is ok & the ‘solid when chilled’ property means you can use it to make some awesome raw treats.

11. Celery

When you’re feeling fluidy or like you’ve eaten too much sweet / heavy stuff. Sometimes the best ‘dinner’ can be a green juice if you’ve spent the day eating out or at parties consuming too much rich & naughty stuff. Also great for dipping into healthy dips.

12. Kale

Because it is kale, green vegetable of the decade lol. No – you can actually use it in so many recipes, & it really is very nutritious!

13. Broccoli

It was the must-have green veg before kale came! And also with good reason, super nutritious & versatile.

14. Cauliflower

You can do mash / pizza bases / rice…great veggie to help you cut carbs. Start with half-half if you think the family will crack without their normal potato mash!

15. Spinach

Perfect as a more nourishing alternative to the more watery, less nutritious lettuces. Awesome salad base,  ‘on the side’ veggie or throw into green smoothies.

16. Sauerkraut

More gut bugs please – use it on the side with all your savoury dishes.

17. Fresh Herbs

To flavour everything, add nutrients, texture & colour. So easy to grow a few in a garden bed or pots.

18. Beetroot

Sweet & earthy, amazing colour & great blood / circulatory tonic & liver support. Grate or slice raw into salads just like carrot, or add into your detox juices. Beetroot dip.

19. Turmeric

Gut, liver, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory…add the powder into any Thai / indian style cooking, or goes well with many savoury sauces, dressings etc. Use the fresh root in salads, juices / smoothies, great with ginger. And there are now many ready to go turmeric drink powders on the market too.

20. Cinnamon

Great to assist with blood sugar control, to add a spicy sweetish flavour & decrease the actual sweetener needed in desserts etc. Try a chamomile tea with cinnamon or with stewed apple, yoghurt  & quinoa porridge.

21. Carrot

Eat sticks or a whole carrot – so portable, easy & healthy!

22. Snow Peas / Sugar Snaps

Eat as is, on a platter or in salads or with dips.

23. Zucchini

To make spaghetti, spiralise & smother with fresh pesto.

24. Sweet potato

Bake wedges, make ‘toast’  sliced thinly in the toaster (a few times), use grated to make fritters, boil to make mash…so many options!

25. Salt & Pepper

Fine to enhance many healthy options like vegetables, eggs, avocados etc.

26. Chilli

spice things up now & then, also a good digestive & circulatory tonic if you’re a ‘cold’ person.

27. Sparkling mineral water

If you’re craving some fizz. Add lemon or lime wedges. Use this as a mixer for alcohol in place of the more fattening wine / champagne / beer / sugary cocktails etc. Makes a big difference if you are a bit of a party person over the summer!

28. Lemon / lime

For your fizz, or for salad dressings, for adding zesty-flavour explosion bits to any dish, for your PondWater shaker, for your green smoothies.

29. Apple Cider Vinegar

If you suffer from reflux / indigestion / heartburn – try a few teaspoons before big meals to improve digestion.  Good also to improve your insulin sensitivity.

30. Olives

Great no-sugar snack that’s delicious alone or to break up a healthy veggie / dip platter.

31. Hommous

Perfect for dipping veggie sticks into. Snow peas, capsicum, carrot, celery…watch the crappy canola oil (look for one with none, or the least amount, or make your own).

32. Pesto

Amazing to spread / dip / dress / accompany anything that’s otherwise a bit boring. Basil is easy to grow in summer, you can throw in a few plants now & be eating fresh, delicious pesto for many months! Add in other herbs / spinach / other nuts & seeds / healthy oils / spices…fresh pestos are great! Not so much the store bought, check labels – mostly full of crappy canola oil.

33. Quinoa / rice

Fibrous carb fillers, to bulk out a meal with fibre & add some carbs when you need them. Good to cook up a big pot, then let it cool (resistant starch = way less carb load & good for your gut). You can then freeze & reheat as needed to bulk up salads or main meals.

34. Lentils / chickpeas / beans

Protein & fibre to fill you up for hours. Do the same as with rice & quinoa – cook a big pot (remember soak well & rinse prior to cooking), then freeze in smaller meal-size quantities.

32. Grass fed, organic meats

Use small amounts to compliment & add more nutrition to your mostly-plant diet. Strict long-term vegans will need to be supplementing omega 3, some minerals & B12 for optimum health.

33. Eggs

Protein, vitamins & minerals, super nourishing & easy. Get real free range, there are many ‘pretend’ free range. Support the smaller farmers – not the big egg companies who also produce battery eggs in different packaging.

34. Almond meal

Like an oily flour, but without the gluten / starchy carbs etc. Mix with other flours for a flour-like effect.

35. Buckwheat flour

No gluten, good nutrition & works pretty well to replace flour in many recipes i.e. pancakes, cakes etc.

36. Bananas

Perfect as a base for creamy smoothies & ’ice-creams’. Use them when they’re just on the way to looking a bit brown (a few spots but not soft).

37. Matcha tea

To keep you alert & awake without the intense coffee high. Metabolic / detox benefits.

38. Green Tea

Easy metabolism booster (like coffee but not so stimulating!)

39. Coffee

Get up & go!! When you need to be super switched-on, also helps fat burning & appetite control. Be careful if you’re already moody, stressed & exhausted  / running on empty –  this can tip you over the edge. The jury is still evaluating the positives & negatives, & the effect of caffeine can be very different from one person to the next. Listen to your body on this one!

40. Dandelion Tea

Liver & kidney tonic, to help you drain away excess fluid & feel lighter. Don’t have a cup of this before bed, you’ll be woken by a trip to the loo.

41. Liquorice Tea

When you want a ‘not-naughty’ sweet treat. Licorice is the ‘dessert’ of herbal teas. Perfect for after dinner relaxation.

42. Raw Cacao powder

Add some to coconut oil, yoghurt, banana, nut butter etc when you’re craving chocolate!

43. Almonds

Grab n go filling snack, take anywhere or add into salads to beef them up.

44. Cashews

Same as almonds – snacks, salads etc –  or blend them to make a sweet & creamy base.

45. Brazil nuts

Selenium to go, eat just a few a day. (very expensive at present given the worldwide shortage, but when they’re back, get into the habit).

46. Macadamia nuts

Amazing to grind through pesto / dips etc or just grab n go.

47. Nut Butter

Spread onto your sweet potato toast, on apple / pear slices.

48. Dark chocolate

The least sweet you can find, with the most cacao.

CLICK FOR EASY SHOPPING LIST DOWNLOAD 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve no doubt left many worthy & useful things off this list, but it’s an easy start! Let me know what your healthy shopping essentials are, or what other foods help keep you on track!

Let me know if you’ve tried our detox plan – & how you went :)

Jeanie Xx
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

 

7 Easy BallBag Flavours

BallBags are pretty much the holy grail. Real satisfaction for your chocolate cravings…without the crappy ingredients or post indulgence guilt!! They are so much fun, & so versatile! Oh, the possibilities from one base premix! They’re all about making it quick, easy & fun to create your own healthy indulgences or just some good clean snacks – without the need for a food processor or ginormous expensive shopping list!  From raw cheesecakes & rocky road to DIY post workout protein bars – Ballbags are your go-to base ingredient. Perfect for lunches, snacks, to take on holidays & camping trips, plus you can make healthy handmade gifts in a jiffy…you should have some BallBags on hand at all times!  

Here’s how to create 7 of our fave easy BallBag flavours…

Mocha

Add a shot of espresso or even just ground coffee (a dash of vanilla essence works well in here too, & / or some walnut pieces). Taste as you go to get the coffee strength just right for you).

Mint Slice

 Add some food grade organic peppermint essential oil (approx 15-20 drops for a 750g BallBag, be careful & taste as you go – peppermint can be very strong). These taste just like a mint slice biscuit!

Jaffa

 Add some food grade organic orange essential oil (approx 60 drops per 750g BallBag). Add some zest too – if you like it. A dash of cinnamon & some vanilla essence are nice additions here.

Snickers / Extra Nutty

 Add some crunchy (100% roasted peanut) peanut butter! This has the added bonus of makinhg your BallBags lower in carbs & higher in protein. You can also use almond or macadamia butter if peanuts don’t agree with you.

Rum n Raisin 

THE BEST RUMBALLS EVER. Better than even your nanna’s recipe, these are also vegan friendly, pretty much paleo & gluten free. Everyone’s happy & no pre-Christmas stress for Nanna! Search ‘Rum Balls’ in our recipe section. 

Choc Cheescake Balls 

Instead of coconut oil, use cream cheese as your binder. Choc cheesecake. Not vegan, not dairy free…but very yummy if you’re ok with dairy. 

Extra Muscles

Just add some more of your choice of protein powder, plus a teeny bit of water if it becomes too dry. Vanilla, choc, coconut, natural or berry flavours all work well with the choc base.

 

If you have an awesome BallBag recipe – send it in to us! We’re collecting all the best ones to feature in a recipe book that will be distributed FREE across our market stalls and select healthfood stores. Great way to get some exposure for your blog or social pages, or just some good karma for helping others to achieve guilt-free chocolate BallBag bliss!

UPLOAD YOUR RECIPE HERE 

FILLED WITH EASY RECIPES & INSPIRATION FOR MAKING HEALTHY TREATS!

Jeanie Xx

p.s. send us a private message on any of our socials and I’ll sort you out with a FREE shipping coupon so you can get started – just one per person :-)

Message us on: Facebook 

Message us on: Instagram