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

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

Get Healthy For Spring Shopping List!

Spring is such a great time to get healthy! Use the motivation of warm weather & less clothes to hide under, or else you’ll be waiting until the other obvious time – 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 a 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 :-)

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Tips to Get More Goodness Into Your Kids Smoothies

Smoothies…I love them because you can sneakily hide so many nutritious (but sometimes scary) things in there!!

When you have kids in this day & age, it feels like your constant mission is to find ways to hide nutritious food in what they are eating, so that the overall ratio of junk to healthy food is kept as low as possible. Not always easy…but smoothies are definitely your friend here!!

My 12 year old daughter said this morning ‘mum, this is a pretty good green-smoothie’. I said yay – do you know what’s in it? Celery tops, lemon balm, some random salad greens from the garden…she stopped me there & said “ok stop, you’ll ruin it – it just tastes good ‘cos it tastes like pineapple”! And that is the key.

Don’t overwhelm kids with healthy additives when getting them started on smoothies, introduce things gradually or they will end up dreading smoothies, wondering what vegetable or foul-tasting superfood powder you’ve attempted to mask with some brightly coloured fruit.

Here’s a few great combo’s – the yummy, familiar-tasting ’masking’ ingredients & then all the stuff you’d never get them to eat much of without putting it through a blender!

Green vegetables & supergreen powders – work well with pineapple, banana, kiwifruit, pear, apple, or a combo. Baby spinach is a really soft green veg to start with – the texture shouldn’t be a problem like more fibrous kale or celery can be.  click to see a bunch of yummy PondWater green smoothie recipes

Nuts & seeds – work well with strawberries / raspberries for hiding the texture, & a good splash of vanilla essence for that kid friendly ice-creamy taste. Also some cacao can work really well here to hide any bitterness…& use a banana base for extra creamy sweetness. Start with small quantities & use the milder tasting nuts & seeds. Hemp Seeds blended into a banana or choc-banana smoothie are perfect starters for smoothie-skeptic kids (or fussy big kids)!

Carrots – use oranges & / or mandarins to mask these, the colour & flavours work well together.

Beetroot – goes well with a combo of apple & pear & red / blue berries. Beetroot is naturally quite sweet, but for starters it’s good to mask the earthy bitterness  & the fibrous texture with something sweeter & more familiar like apple & berries.

In all smoothies with a bit of texture – ice can be great to cover / make them more acceptable.

Have fun hiding things!

Love to get your favourite smoothie recipe – maybe I’ll feature it for a little smoothie pack ;-)

Share your smoothie recipe: HERE 

Jeanie Xx

Improve Your Insulin Sensitivity & Lose the Belly Fat!

Insulin sensitivity is something you need to know about if you struggle with your weight & nothing seems to work for you.

What is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone that gets glucose out of your bloodstream & into your cells so you can use it for fuel, or store it for later use. When you are insulin resistant though, this system doesn’t work properly & glucose tends to just get placed into long-term storage (fat). The more fat you have stored already – the more insulin resistant you become, a very annoying cycle affecting many Australians today, which can ultimately prove fatal.

When you think insulin, you first think diabetes. But you should also be thinking muscles & fat, weight loss & energy.

When your body senses high blood glucose (ie after eating) insulin release is triggered (to get the glucose out of your bloodstream & into your cells for burning). If you’re eating loads of carbs all the time, your cells become less & less sensitive to insulin (it’s just always there), so you end up with constantly high blood sugar & high insulin, because your cells aren’t letting the sugar in to burn it. You are ‘resistant’ to the normal effect of insulin, no longer sensitive to its action. This is a bad situation – you’ll put on fat, lose muscle & feel tired & cranky too.

Feeling like you might already be insulin resistant? (Don’t worry – it’s not just you, there are millions of other Aussies in the same boat).

So how do you become more ’insulin sensitive’ again?

Morning / Fasted exercise:

This uses up all of your left-over stored energy very quickly, & will force you to then rely on fat as a fuel source. Walk fast, or jog slowly, for 40-60 mins each morning (or as many mornings as you can, on an empty stomach. You can drink a black coffee (no milk or sugar) beforehand if desired, this can even help you burn fat. If you can’t exercise in the morning at all,, try a gym session anytime (weights) that will burn through all of your stored glucose, giving you an empty tank like when you wake up – & then do your 40-60min walk / jog / lower intensity cardio. You’ll get waaayyy more fat-burning bang for your exercise buck. Exercise really is the best way to become more insulin-sensitive, as muscle contractions increase the glucose receptors on your cell walls – allowing more sugar in to be utilised as energy (instead of it just ending up going into storage as fat).

Increase muscle mass & burn some fat:

The more muscle you have, the better your blood glucose metabolism will be. Muscle is so important for fat loss, even when you are asleep your lean muscle mass will be burning through fats for you.  Diabetics should read bodybuilding manuals, the info would help immensely (just ignore the fake tan & body oil sections).

Good fats:

You need omega 3’s to make your cell walls work properly, if you’re still eating bad fats (ie margarine / chips / biscuits / ’vegetable oil’ trans fats etc – your cell membranes won’t be working properly (things like glucose can’t get in easily to be utilised by the cells). Eat plenty of omega 3 fats, or take them in a supplement form if you hate fish. Only eat grass fed animal products, avoid anything grain fed.

Watch the Carbs / try IF:

Decrease them (by a lot), so you give yourself a break from the constant insulin secretion. Trial intermittent fasting – if it feels good for your body, eat only ‘good carbs’, like berries & veggies, legumes, nuts & seeds. Less food (esp carbs) means less insulin secretion, which will mean you get more sensitive to it again over time (then you may be able to relax a little with your diet again.)

Fibre:

Use fibre to slow the release of carbs. Ie if you’re going to eat cake, have some nuts with it! Choose the carrot cake with walnuts, the bun with most seeds (or if you really want to get well – just back away from the bakery)! Focus on fat, fibre & protein & you will improve your insulin sensitivity.

Stress Management

When we experience stress (& cortisol release), it causes our blood sugar to go up. This is very useful if the stress is caused by something chasing us, but not good if we’re sitting at our desk, stressed by a work deadline or relationship issue. Obviously if you’re stressed & running away, you burn the glucose, if you’re stressed & sitting…you’ll need more insulin to lower your blood sugar. Most of us are under too much stress (raising our cortisol, blood sugar & insulin constantly),so our body becomes desensitised & just tunes out. This is how prolonged stress can cause / contribute to insulin resistance.

Sunshine

Vitamin D is crucial for insulin sensitivity, maintaining lean muscle mass, strength, athletic performance, fat burning…along with so many other things!  Looking fat in your bikini is the best reason to get down to the beach in it!

Gut Health

Gut health cannot be overlooked when treating metabolic dysfunction – it can play a huge role in insulin resistance. Your gut bugs influence your levels of inflammation, your metabolism, how likely you are to crave certain foods, how you extract calories from them, & how your blood sugar reacts to what you eat. Obesity and diabetes can be “transferred” from one group of mice to the other simply by altering their gut flora. Some human cases of this have been observed with FMT therapy (where human gut bacteria is transferred from one person directly to another).

Smoking:

Smoking will make you insulin resistant, & also the people around you breathing it in. Your smoking could be making your spouse / kids fat.

Sleep:

Bad sleep will make you insulin resistant – if you’re serious about fixing your metabolism, you must prioritise sleep.  Do not underestimate the power of quality sleep to heal you, & poor sleep to make you sick.

Some things that can help with sugar metabolism (get advice from your practitioner):

  • fish oil
  • apple cider vinegar
  • magnesium
  • fenugreek
  • cinnamon
  • aloe vera
  • turmeric
  • probiotics
  • prebiotics

…there are so many more, & best to see a professional who can choose what suits your case best, but feel free to incorporate more of the above mentioned into your diet.

Love to hear any questions or struggles you’ve experienced with weight loss. Just send me an email an I’ll do my best to get back to you ASAP.

Jeanie X

jeanie@goodmix.com.au

How to Stock your Smoothie Rack

….the smoothie rack lives next to the spice rack in any healthy kitchen!

So you’ve decided to finally get yourself healthy! High five, that’s a good decision – you even bought a blender / bullet…but what next?? What are the best things to put into it? Here is my smoothie must-have list!

Here’s the superfoods to put on your ‘smoothie shopping list’ & how to use them – so you can be the smoothie king or queen, with all the good stuff ready to  go, at your fingertips!

Put these on your shopping list asap!

1. Raw cacao powder – to give you a wake-up buzz, keep you relaxed but energised & alert (& young looking!)  Perfect for those times you need a bit of a kick, but not quite as much as a coffee. Cacao is full of magnesium to keep you calm & relaxed (it’s a super common deficiency, you probably need more), & also special plant chemicals to protect your heart & blood vessels, as well as making you feel alert & happy. AND…it makes a banana smoothie taste like chocolate. Combines well with berries, banana, maca, nuts, seeds, protein powders, coconut or greek yoghurt…a must have.

2.Turmeric – to soothe your inflammation, support your liver & keep you young inside & out. Add fresh chunks to all your green smoothies.

3. Chia seeds – to feed your gut bugs fibre, supply you with omegas, plant protein, stabilise blood sugars & keep you feeling  full. Chia has a neutral flavour, gelatinous thickening properties & should always be soaked prior to using (keep a mug of chia ‘jelly’  in the fridge for up to a week for use in your smoothies).

4. Pea protein – plant-based support for healthy immunity, strong muscles, blood sugar balance, beautiful skin hair & nails, & keeping you full & satisfied. Tatses a little ‘earthy’, but combines well with any maca, cacao, green or berry smoothie. Get used to it gradually & after a while you won’t mind it.  

5. Whey protein concentrate – same benefits as pea protein, just tastes more smooth & milky – gives your smoothies a creamy feel. Goes great with banana, berry, nuts, coconut, yoghurt, coffee smoothies…anything you want to make creamy & more filling.

6. Matcha – full of anti-oxidants, another one to keep you alert & energised, but calm at the same time. Perfect in a green smoothie – a little bitter, so get used to it slowly.

7. Flaxseeds – add in for smooth, supple skin (good fats) & to keep you full & regular. Like chia, flax are best soaked prior to using as they will digest much better & be gentler on your tummy. Keep them pre-soaked up to 3 days in the fridge, & add anytime you need good fats & fibre in your smoothie to keep you nourished & full.

8. Maca – used traditionally by warriors (& today by body-builders, athletes, average blokes & menopausal ladies) to make them strong, fast & …well, horny. Goes well with any cacao, banana, vanilla, coconut type combos.  

9. Coconut yoghurt – creamy, coconutty, dairy free deliciousness with good bugs for your tummy. Add anytime you want dairy-free creaminess. Combines amazingly well with any banana, cacao, coffee, mango, passionfruit, pineapple etc…so many flavour combos! (We highly recommend our friends at Pure n Free.  

10. Kefir – dairy or coconut / water kefir adds good bugs to any smoothie, any flavour. Just don’t overdo it as the tart / sour flavour can ruin taste if too strong.

11. Kombucha – more good bugs! Amazing added to green smoothies or anytime you want a bit of sweet, bubbly lightness.

12. Ginger – warms you from the inside! Ginger is a digestive tonic, great to settle nausea, gas & bloating & improve circulation. Awesome in green smoothies, or if you like a kick in your berry, pineapple or cacao flavours.

13. Berries – so vibrant & full of antioxidants. Use fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, boysenberries, mulberries…or dried goji berries, inca berries, macqui berries. Awesome fruit as they are high in fibre & lower in sugars.

14. Greens – kale, spinach, parsley, mint, lettuce, cucumber, celery stalks & tops, mixed greens…just about anything green can be added (in small amounts to start with) to ‘salad smoothies’! Use a fruit to sweeten / make palatable – my faves to carry the greens are pineapple, banana, pear, & apple.

15. Avocado – good fats & dairy free creaminess! Great in any smoothie to make it more filling & nourishing.

16. Nuts / nut butters – peanut, almond, cashew, brazil, walnut…any nuts. Best to soak overnight / activate before blending.

17. Cinnamon – blood sugar support to stop your cravings & keep your energy stable. A must have in any banana smoothie, great with berries, or any vanilla / creamy /  coconutty smoothies.

18. Coconut water – add as an electrolyte replacement, perfect for post-workout smoothies or green-smoothie hangover cures!

19. Banana – sweet creaminess. Use frozen chunks or fresh, in any cacao, green, berry, vanilla, nutty or tropical smoothies.

20. Natural greek yoghurt – good bugs in a creamy, protein-rich dairy base. Works well in any creamy smoothie.

21. Vanilla essence – enhances the flavour of so many smoothies. Use it in banana, cacao, berry, coconutty or nutty smoothies.

22. Blend11 – it covers so many bases nutritionally & goes well in any type of smoothie…use it for broad spectrum nutrition, protein, good fats & prebiotic fibre to keep you full & satisfied!

23. PondWater – goes into all my green smoothies to make them…greener! An easy way to increase your chlorophyll, especially when the fridge / garden is bare or you are travelling. Aloe vera & greens for energy, gut health, immunity, skin & liver support.

I would love you to share with me your favourite smoothie recipe – you never know if it makes the cut I may send you some free product!

Click to share you recipe 

Jeanie X

7 Easy Steps to Re-balance Your System!

Ok so you’ve totally pigged out on choccies…what now? Re-balance!

1. Drink loads of water, (or unsweetened herb tea, or water with lemon). Sugar dehydrates you, so really important to fix up your fluid balance asap!

2. Probiotics – take some caps, eat some sauerkraut, drink some kefir or kombucha…send in a heap of reinforcements so the nasty junk-loving microbes can’t take hold too easily.

3. Fibre. The good guys need fibre as a food source.  Fibre helps to move everything along & cleans up as it passes through. The good bugs convert fibre into short-chain fatty acids (healing, nourishing, anti-inflammatory substances for your gut lining that also get into your blood stream to help your entire body.

4. Fibre Diversity. Not just a teaspoon of Metamucil, or a tablespoon of bran. You want variety! Diverse fibre intake promotes greater gut bacterial diversity – which is what most of us westerners with our refined food diets, over-sanitised environments & reliance upon antibiotics & medications are really lacking.

5. Stay off the sweets! Go for savoury now, provide no more food for those sugar-guzzlers, you wanna starve them out for at least a few days.

6. Gut healing foods: go for things like bone broth, natural unsweetened yoghurt or coconut yoghurt, loads of green leafies, aloe Vera, slippery elm powder, turmeric, omega 3’s….

7. Exercise! Burn through everything as fast as you eat it. Easter long weekend = plenty of spare time to move! The more muscle you have, the better your body can handle sugars. If you’re a weakling, you’re much more likely to become insulin resistant, diabetic, obese & feel less inclined to move (it’s a cycle). So take the first step, call a good trainer / gym / instructor or download an app, do something that challenges your muscles daily (or at least a few times a week).


If you’re lacking energy, have bloating constipation, IBS diarrhoea, poor skin, mood fluctuations, etc, I would love to hear from you & will personally answer your questions the best I can. Just use the comments below :-)

Jeanie

Blend11: Blowing & Controlling your mind?!

How food affects your mood…through your gut bugs!

 

If you’re a gut-geek like me, you’ll know that there is a strong link between your gut health and your mental health – statistics vary, but it is thought that over 50% of people who suffer with IBS (for example), also suffer from some sort of mental / emotional disorder – commonly depression and / or anxiety.

 

There have been many trials carried out now demonstrating the amazing ways your gut bugs can influence your brain chemicals and mood. Your gut bacterial activity can literally alter your brain chemicals and the food you put into your tummy will create the environment & food source to support either lots of ‘goodies’ or ‘baddies’, meaning you will feel consequently happier or sadder. Very simplistic, but that is what it all boils down to the fact thyour food impacts your mood, through your gut bacteria & the chemicals they produce – there is no denying it. You can honestly tell your teenagers to eat up their fermented foods, because they’ve been proven to decrease social anxiety! Get into the yoghurt & sauerkraut if you’re the awkward type!

 

I’ve met countless people asking for help with their gut issues, who also suffer from mental / emotional symptoms – they just go together.  Dr Perlmutter (neurologist) says “in my 30+ years of dealing with patients with issues like depression and brain fog as well as an inability to lose weight, the program outlined above has proven to be the most powerful treatment strategy I’ve ever recommended!” He’s talking about a diet rich in pre and probiotics. Dr Kelly Brogan, (qualified in psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine & integrative holistic medicine) believes that “your micro biome influences practically everything about your health, including how you feel emotionally, physically, mentally”.

 

…so…a smoothie or breakfast bowl with either Blend11 or NeoBlend, teamed with quality yoghurt (or anything else rich in probiotics and pre-biotic fibre) can literally be considered a mind-altering substance! Seriously, spend a few hours reading up on this stuff & you’ll think more about what goes into your mouth!

 

See just a small amount of recommended reading below to start you off, & learn how to fix your mood with food :)

 

‘A Mind of Your Own’ Dr Kelly Brogan

‘Grain Brain’ & ‘Brain Maker’ Dr David Perlmutter

‘The Mind-Gut Connection’ Emeran Mayer

‘The Good Gut’ Justin & Erica Sonnenberg

‘Clean Gut’ Alejandro Junger

‘The Second Brain’ Michael D. Gershon M.D.

 

From Gut to Brain: The Inflammation Connection | Blog | Kelly BroganMD

 

Gut Microbiota: The Brain Peacekeeper

 

http://universityhealthnews.com/daily/depression/the-best-probiotics-for-mood-enhancing-the-gut-brain-connection-with-psychobiotics/

 

There are seriously countless studies & articles out there now…us naturopaths have been saying ‘it’s all in the gut’ for decades. The GP’s used to laugh at us, but…we told you so ;)

6 Tips to Encourage a Healthy Teenager

Teenagers are notorious for eating & drinking copious amounts of junk food. It’s part of the ‘I’m old enough to be my own boss now & I’ll do whatever I like’ feeling – which is a totally normal & healthy part of them growing up & becoming their own person, confident enough to cut the apron strings & be independent from their parents. The ultimate parental goal is redundancy after all!

But teens are also old enough & clever enough to understand that food choices can strongly impact their day to day health and appearance. APPEARANCE. That is where you can really get through to them – there is no other time in a human’s life when they will be so concerned about their appearance, their image, how they look to potential new love interests…they won’t care if their soft drink or chocolate milk habit is predisposing them to diabetes & heart disease later in life, but they might listen if you can give them some logical evidence that it will make their acne or love-handles worse. (Best to get that evidence presented by a health practitioner / an expert who is not you – book them in for an appointment with a naturopath or nutritionist who has a passion for helping young people). Here are my top tips for keeping your teenager healthy without fighting too much with them!

 

1. Support their growth

Realise they have MASSIVE nutritional & caloric requirements due to their growth & development. Stock the fridge & pantry with nutrient dense, whole foods (the opposite to what they will want to be eating, but make sure you have plenty available at home). Know what they love & hate in the healthy real foods category & have loads of what they do like ready to go – must include a wide variety of vegetables, plus plenty of protein & good fats.  They need regular protein for healthy skin, hair, nails & muscles.  Protein is also vital for maintaining stable moods, blood sugar & immunity – but those probably won’t register as concerns like looking good will! Watching protein intake is super important especially for teens experimenting with a vegan diet, those who are going through a growth spurt, are very thin or very physically active, & also for those who struggle with excess body fat. Any teen prone to ‘hangriness’ (growing boys especially can lose the plot

 

2. Limit the junk intake

Don’t let teens eat junk too often (some is unavoidable, & it’s not worth being a total Nazi over it, but let them know seriously that they are building their adult body – good food during this growth period is key to supporting a healthy, normal, well-functioning body throughout life). Get the foundations right now, or they’ll pay down the track. You can help them gain privileges that they want, by showing they are mature enough to take responsibility for nourishing themselves properly. More responsibility / maturity = more trust & more privileges. Intelligent choices get noticed, praised & rewarded.

 

3. Make them aware

Make sure they are aware of the addiction potential of foods, & the sneaky tactics of food companies. Having a good understanding of the power of addiction from food experiences (i.e. sugar, salt, caffeine, MSG etc) can really help them to understand how drug, nicotine & alcohol addiction work too – good to know early in the teenage years.  If your teen is addicted to energy drinks or soft drinks or lollies or chips – get them to realise they’ve been tricked into regularly giving their money to a big company who doesn’t give a crap about them & is happy to profit from making consumers sick / fat / unhealthy using addictive but legal substances in their food products. Giving someone else the power to control you is not a nice feeling, especially for a teen – appeal to their sense of justice & love of freedom.

 

4. Share the love of good food

Foster an interest in & a love of good food. If they are creative – encourage them to express some creativity through food, it’s a great medium – take them ingredient shopping at the local markets, compare the variety & freshness of what is available, start a food garden…food can be fascinating & beautiful, not just a chore. So many inspirational Pinterest ideas, Instagram recipe videos – there are loads of ‘cool’ young people into health & fitness (that’s one great thing about teens spending time on Instagram – eating healthy / being more food aware has actually become quite trendy it seems).

 

5. Get them into the kitchen

Let them into the kitchen – just put up with the mess & disasters as they learn. They can be so useful helping you shop, cook dinners, prepare lunches, snacks etc – don’t do it all for them, they may be leaving home in a few short years, so make sure that they leave with all the basic shopping, cooking, cleaning & food safety know-how to make it on their own! As motivation for your budding masterchefs – they could potentially use their culinary skills to get out of much of the cleaning! If they hate cooking – they can be on clean-up duty.

 

6. Give them choices (with boundaries).

Teens need to start making their own decisions, so let them help choose the shopping list, the dinner menu, the lunchbox foods, the cheat / takeaway night options…give them a voice & some voting power – but make sure they know that you set the boundaries – as they will be able to when it’s their pay check buying the food.  Ie – yes, you can pick your own lunchbox food but it must contain some protein & veggies (one of our house rules);  you can avoid  that veggie but you have to replace it with more of another; we can buy some takeaway but it’s either ….. or ……(insert the healthier options in your area); at a restaurant you can have whatever meal you like but you can’t leave the salad / veg; if you don’t want salad in your lunch then you have a green smoothie after school instead, if you want to get dessert ok, but you’ll come for a walk / ride afterwards instead of device time, etc etc. Try to avoid the flat out ‘no’ for the small stuff, as this can easily lead to resentment & constant food fights – but save it for the big issues (like can I sleep over with my older boyfriend or drive the car to schoolies week).

 

The biggest 2 mistakes you can make are – giving up & not even trying cos it’s all too hard, or making it so stressful that food just becomes a battleground.  Expect constant resistance, & stick to your guns knowing that you will never be able to control everything.

There’s more to life than juice

Juice Fasts…A Few Reasons To Skip Them.

It’s that time of year, people are all feeling sluggish from the indulgence & inactivity of the holidays!  I’ve run into many people lately who are detoxing – some plans are great, but some…don’t sound so great…

 

Although I love using veggie juices & smoothies to give the digestive system & liver a bit of a rest whilst nourishing the body – I’m not a fan of extended juice only fasts i.e. the kind where ‘you just have fruit & veggie juices’ for days or even weeks.

 

My reasons are as follows:

 

1 – Your body requires amino acids for safe & effective detoxification. 

The main amino acids used by the liver for detoxification pathways are cysteine, glycine, glutamine, methionine and taurine. You just won’t get enough of these from a juice diet, which will mean your liver function is compromised & you’ll be inefficient / unable to breakdown & convert toxins into safer substances for excretion (i.e. your detox can actually do you more harm than good with a poorly nourished liver).

 

2 – You’ll lose muscle. 

Going without protein for long periods = no materials readily available for building, repairing, replacing of old cells, immune cells…no new materials coming in means your body is forced to raid your amino acid stores. The crappy thing is – you don’t really store aminos like you can store sugars & fats…well you kinda do, but you store them as lean muscle tissue. Which you do not want to break down. You want to preserve the lean muscle tissue you have – it is your metabolic friend & considered a good health marker (the more lean muscle you have, the more fat you’ll be able to burn – even while you’re asleep). It is especially detrimental for older folks & diabetics to lose (or use up) their muscle tissue.

 

3 – You’ll be Hangry.

Your brain & neurotransmitters. Amino acids are required for healthy production of neurotransmitters – as well as hungry, you’ll likely feel cranky, depressed or emotionally unstable without consuming protein for an extended period.

 

4 – Too much quick release sugar.

When you juice a fruit (or even a sweet vegetable like carrot or beetroot), you remove the fibre – leaving the natural sugars to be digested really quickly, with nothing to slow them down (the usual job of the fibre). In a prolonged juice fast, this will cause huge blood sugar variations & unhealthy insulin spiking. Not good for your metabolism in the long term, although you’ll lose weight short term simply due to the decreased calories.

 

5 – No Fibre = No Food For Gut Bugs.

A true juice fast, using a typical cold press juicer will mean you’re consuming very little fibre to support healthy elimination through the bowel, & provide the all-important food to support a healthy gut bacterial population. Fibre also acts like a bit of a sponge – cleaning the digestive system on its way through – so great to leave it in your detox plan. Use a blender rather than a juicer, at least some of the time if using juices in a detox, especially important if using sweet fruits (best left out anyway, focus more on veggies).

 

6 Your Engine Needs Oil Too. 

– Fats! Don’t forget about fats. They are not the villains responsible for disease that we once thought. Fats are so crucial for our brain & nervous system, our gut health, our skin…you can survive ok without them for a while – but long term low fat / no fat diets are not ideal.

Preaching Gut Health to Beer Guts

Aussie Bloke - Slim Down
SPECIAL MENTION – goodMix Blend11 in the book !

Woohoo! We’re famous. Team goodMix is stoked to have gotten a mention in this awesome book: ‘The Great Aussie Bloke Slim Down‘.

Can every fat & clueless Australian male PLEASE read this short book over the holiday break. It’s simple, to the point & tells you what you need to do to go from ‘Fatty Boomka’ to fit again. Do it for your kids if not for yourself.

Ladies, just leave a copy lying around & tell him a visitor left it behind, & that it’s funny ;-)

Quote from the book…

“So what should you be eating instead?

My wife, meantime, swears by something called ‘The Good Mix, Blend 11’, which comes, I gather, from an equally valiant small Australian business, making 100 per cent natural food”. 

Converting the Holiday Crowd – It can get dangerous…

“What do I look like a hippie?” “That’s a bloody girl’s breakfast – looks like birdseed”. “Too healthy for me!” “Mate I don’t eat that crap – look at me!” “Can you soak it in beer?” “What – $43 a bag! I can buy 10 boxes of cereal for that price!” “Ya gotta be kidding me, best poos ever – I’ve seen everything now.

OMG. Just keep walking then, keep drinking your freakin slushie & eating your fries, we’ll see you next holidays wearing a size bigger. Or maybe we’ll just see your wife & kids – hate to say it but they might be better off without such a poor role model.

It is astounding that in Australia, in 2016 – there are still many intelligent (?), educated, mature Aussie blokes who wear their beer gut like a badge of honour, slapping it protectively when anything ‘healthy looking’ gets too close to it. Brad & I (& I’m sure the entire goodMix market team will agree) see sooo many inflamed, overweight, lethargic, unhealthy, unreceptive, poor-excuses-for-men that BADLY need some Blend11 for breakfast – or just anything besides the iced coffee, energy drinks, cereal & jam on toast they’re used to. They need it more than anyone, yet they have this weird wall of resistance…which cannot be broken through gently.

After a few years in the market game & many failed attempts, Brad has learnt to crack them. To my amazement, he can actually sell a bag of seeds to the classic beer-gutted Aussie bloke. Here’s a few points often used in his ‘sledge-hammer’ sales approach for these infuriating ‘too healthy for me’ belly-slapping kinda guys. He gets the message across in beer gut bloke language, but this is the basic content). Ladies – your man may need the sledgehammer approach too.

Wake up to yourself, your big beer gut is not a normal part of the male ageing process – it’s actually a giant red flag which communicates the following sad facts:

  • You will likely die 20-30 years before you should.
  •  You can’t participate in many fun activities anymore because of your weight
  •  You probably won’t live to see your grandkids (definitely won’t be up to playing with them)
  • Your sex life is sub-optimal (even if you’ve got a partner who’s ok with obesity, you won’t function as well as you once did  due to the sorry state of your circulatory system)!
  • Your employment opportunities are less
  •  People take you less seriously & you are less respected (plus you couldn’t catch them if they made fun of you anyway).
  • Your partner (who actually looks after herself), is probably checking out the lawn mower / pool cleaner / anyone who’s less ‘cuddly’ than you.

…beer belly not so cool now huh? Take another look at the stupid-expensive-organic-hippie-girlie-looking-soggy-birdseed-breakfast. Have a taste…hmm…It didn’t kill me. People aren’t staring at me. The world is still spinning, I just ate something ‘healthy’ & I didn’t explode. Or vomit…it was actually ok. Gimme a big bag then, ya bloody cheeky bastard. It comes with instructions doesn’t it? Seeya next year – if this doesn’t work I’ll knock yer block off! We often receive a disbelieving but thankful Facebook message from the missus a week or so later.

That’s how it goes at the holiday markets (unless they threaten to punch him right then & there, which has also happened). I cringe at Brad’s sales methods, & never EVER use them myself, but I can’t stop him because his never-say-die-I-will-convert-this-one-if-it kills-me attitude came about because he once WAS one of those guys himself! (Not like a really bad one babe, I’m sure you would have tried the taster but you kinda did have a beer gut & some cardiovascular issues at one point – I’ve seen the pics). Happy to say Brad’s one of the blokes who realised that beer guts were for losers & as a typical bloke, you can survive eating weird ‘healthy stuff’ until you get used to it. You do get used to it, your old food & drinks start to taste all wrong…& then you start to feel better. You look better, you function better…even your mood is better. There’s no going back!

Bring on the stupid-expensive-organic-hippie-girlie-looking-soggy-birdseed-breakfast! – Blend11

Watch the video interview with the Today Show.