Healthy Chocolate & Easter Recipes

If you know me, you know that I LOVE anything chocolatey (except white chocolate because that somehow misses the point)!  Cacao lovers need the rich, dark, quality brown stuff to really hit the spot! And guess what – there are loads of cacao health benefits (SEE HERE) to justify the inclusion of this decadent superfood in your diet. You’ve just gotta watch the added sugars, crappy fats & other weird stuff that food manufacturers like to add into it – pay attention to quality & quantity with chocolate to ensure you don’t go off the rails with it! It can totally be part of a healthy diet.

Funny story

My first attempt at making ‘healthy chocolate’ was during first year at naturopathy college (1998). We (my student flatmates & I) were all under 20, totally into partying & always broke – somehow surviving on a weekly shop that included porridge oats & the fruit & veg we got through our weekend market gig (I’m a market girl from way back)!

So in class, we learnt that you can slow / inhibit the absorption of sugars using fibre, yay! And we had also learned about psyllium husk as a fibre supplement. So – we logically (?) decided, let’s make ‘healthy chocolate’ using psyllium & melted chocolate! (Remember, this was before Instagram & Google were a thing). We were so proud, it was awesome (well edible), & it stretched our chocolate budget nicely! Except we used the cheapest, crappiest ‘homebrand’ cooking chocolate (we’d obviously not yet learned about the importance of quality fatty acids yet), oh well. So anyway – that was my first attempt to make ‘healthy chocolate’. Luckily – things evolved!

BallBags!

BallBags were born shortly after Blend11, ticking way more nutritional boxes than the psyllium combo!!

  • organic raw cacao polyphenol antioxidant goodness
  • plant protein
  • good fats
  • high fibre
  • resistant starch
  • loads of vitamins & minerals
  • zero refined sugars
  • gluten-free
  • grain free
  • vegan-friendly
  • paleo friendly
  • versatile & easy to make endless healthy treats with!
  • no food processor required, just add water or coconut oil & shape!

Click the images below and then press enter – for some Easter recipes you can make at home!

Because it’s getting cooler & it’s almost Easter time, here are some of my fave healthy chocolate recipes made using the BallBags – this is the perfect time to get into the kitchen with the kids & create some delicious ‘hand made with love’ treats for family & friends! You can obviously use any of the egg recipes or adapt the other recipes to suit Easter!

CLICK TO GET SOME BALLBAGS 

Jeanie Xx

Australian Cereal Brands – Nutritional Comparison Graphs

graphs of australian cereal brands nutritional value vs Blend11 | goodMix Superfoods

We’re often asked: is cereal unhealthy? What’s the nutritional comparison of Australian cereal brands in comparison to our very own Blend11? Read on for all the answers!

Nutritional Comparison Graphs – Popular Australian Cereal Brands Vs Blend11

Here’s a nice visual nutritional comparison of some of Australia’s favourite cereal brands, often consumed by kids & even some adults who haven’t grown out of the cereal habit!

Vs more premium brands

 

Vs Australian cereal commercial brands

These graphs pretty much speak for themselves, you can see the massive differences in protein, carbohydrates, sugar, fats & fibre – even though the total energy (kilojoules or calories) may be similar to Blend11. 

Do High-Calorie Foods Make You Fat?

I roll my eyes (internally) when overweight ladies (yes, it’s usually ladies in their late 50’s & into their 70’s) quickly look at the Blend11 calories & tell me ‘oh this has way too many calories for me’). It STILL happens. 

For the 2000th time ladies – eating fat is not what makes you become fat!  It will just mean that what you are eating has a lot of energy & a high-calorie count (fat has more calories per gram than carbs & protein). Obesity / weight loss is never as simple as ‘calories in & calories out’. The type of calories are super important as the way your body deals with them is very different!

Fat Protein Carbs – Calories per Gram

  • Fat = 9 calories per gram
  • Protein = 4 calories per gram
  • Carbohydrates = 4 calories per gram

So if you eat the same number of kJ’s / calories worth of rice (mostly carbs, minimal fat) or nuts (loads of fat, minimal carbs), the metabolic result will be completely different, even though calories eaten will be the same. It’s the same when you compare the body’s reaction to a serve of cereal vs Blend11 for breakfast. 

Cereal = you’ll feel satisfied initially because the bowl is quite big, but the carbs will very quickly be converted into blood sugar, which will trigger an insulin spike & then a drop not too long afterwards, making you hungry again. You’ll go looking for that morning tea muffin or perhaps a second cup of coffee for the day. 

Blend11 = you might look at the relatively small pile of seeds thinking ‘I’ll need more than this to feel full’, but as you eat you’ll quickly realise a small amount goes a long way & is very satiating. Your body will be busy breaking down all the fat, fibre & protein for much longer & at a much more steady rate, meaning there is no blood sugar spike, & no insulin dump & consequent blood sugar dip. So you probably won’t be reaching for that second coffee or craving that muffin or sandwich at morning tea.  

When people tell me that Blend11 is too expensive, I will often concede that ‘yes, per kg Blend11 costs way more than the cereals they currently buy. But this is one situation where you literally do get what you pay for. 

Box of cereal = low cost to purchase, minimal benefit from eating it. 

Blend11 = high cost to purchase, huge benefit from eating it. 

* Taken from product websites or a leading supermarket website. (Prices will vary depending on source and bag size)

Summary

It comes down to what you value more – long term health or short term wealth! Ask any wealthy person with a ‘lifestyle’ disease’ & they’ll soon tell you what’s more important! And a poor single parent with healthy kids is much happier than a wealthy parent with sick kids. You just have to prioritise where your $$ go. It’s a good idea to put food at the front of the line, especially if you are feeding kids. 

Here are a few tips to help you EAT HEALTHY ON A BUDGET and also – remember that every food purchase you make, your intentions follow the dollars to help create the world you want. Our purchasing decisions literally have the power to change the world – just look at the growth of organics & health food in general over the past 10 years. We have directed the money flowing through us to support more ethical & sustainable food manufacturing YOUR FOOD DOLLARS  are making an impact, slowly but surely. The cereal aisle is shrinking, while the health food & organic sections are growing, yay! We’ve hit rock bottom & are waking up – the food future is bright :) 

As always love to answer any questions!

Jeanie Xx
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

**All data presented here has been taken from a leading supermarket website or taken from product websites / packs. The research has been put together by a marketing student intern for no fee.

Is Cereal Unhealthy For Kids?

bowl of cornflakes | is cereal unhealthy for kids? | goodMix Superfoods

Is Cereal Unhealthy? Wondering why your cereal-eating kids are always hungry? Here’s Why!

What’s missing from cereal? Fat, fibre and protein are needed for a meal to create ’satiety’ (feeling full & satisfied) and most cereals are deficient in all! Granted, they’re designed to be consumed with milk, but just adding milk to a pile of empty carbs doesn’t fix it. Milk is actually quite high in carbs too – lactose (milk sugar) adds to the hit, with just a little protein and fat to take the edge off.  So is cereal unhealthy?

Cereal Is A Great Cheap ‘Filler’ For Growing Kids That Eat All The Time…Isn’t It??

Yes, they may be cheap ‘fillers’ but what are you achieving by ‘filling’ growing kids with such nutritional emptiness? 

Saving $$ building a new house from cheap building materials is not recommended if you want a house that lasts a lifetime. The same advice applies when ‘building’ a human body. Our body is the house we live in throughout life, you can help your kids build a decent one by supplying quality materials!

If breakfast is just cereal, you are wasting an opportunity to help nourish and strengthen a growing body with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, good fats. Each small wasted opportunity adds up over time to create a nutrient-deficient body…a dysfunctional ‘house’ that will keep breaking & require constant repair throughout life. The classic ‘overfed, undernourished’ sick western kids we see everywhere today. 

What Happens When Kids Eat Cereal?

A refined carb and sugar-rich breakfast mean a quick blood sugar spike, followed by a surge of insulin and then a drop….which will be followed by another sugar craving. That’s how we load kids onto the blood sugar rollercoaster at the start of each day! 

When our stomach is empty and blood sugar drops, ‘grehlin’ the hunger hormone is released, setting off the ‘I’m hungry again’ response. When breakfast contains more protein, fat and fibre and less refined carbs and sugars, the rise in blood sugar is not so fast and high and the drop is less sudden & happens much later on. Energy is much more stable and longer-lasting. 

So is cereal unhealthy? You bet! For kids, boarding the cereal-induced roller coaster each day can mean poor attention and lack of focus at school, poor behaviour, hyperactivity, feeling tired and grumpy, feeling hungry soon after eating, a dip in immunity, choosing sweeter foods at every opportunity. Chronically – they’ll end up with frequent colds, flus, infections, more chance of developing chronic gut-immune issues like eczema, hay fever and allergies, exacerbated acne and moodiness during teenage years…not to mention missing out on all the nutrients that are supplied by real food whilst over-eating empty calories & becoming overweight or obese by getting addicted to refined carbs.

My kids are already addicted to unhealthy cereal! What can I do??

You can either tell the kids “there’s been an explosion in the cereal factory so they can’t make it anymore, and we have to eat ‘X’ instead”, or try the following tips:

  1. Start by adding some healthy extras into the beloved cereal bowls. You want protein, fat and fibre. BLEND11 works perfectly here, or any other nuts & seeds your kids don’t hate too much. Don’t expect this to go smoothly, but it’s “cereal with added nutrients, or we just don’t buy cereal at all kids” (that’s the eventual goal anyway, they’ll get used to real food with perseverance…& maybe threats & / or bribery). 
  2. Try making the ‘milk’ healthier. You can add HEMPSEED or a little PROTEIN POWDER into the blender with most milks and make little change to the taste & texture. ALMOND MEAL or soaked CHIA SEEDS can also be quite a subtle addition. This is a baby step, but any step is good. Your ‘milk’ could be made from a healthy smoothie.
  3. Make smoothie bowls! Just run out of cereal completely one day and say ‘oh no’ we’ll have to make something, let’s make those cool Açai bowls you see in the cafes (they always have some sort of fruit & nuts, nut butter, seeds, buckwheat, granola on top. You can use any smoothie as a base and get the kids to decorate their own, choosing from an array of fat, fibre and protein-rich natural toppings. Beware the sugary smoothie trap, make sure you are using lower sugar fruits like berries and always add things like nuts and seeds for fat, fibre and protein.
  4. Break the cereal habit with other favourites your kids are used to. Try eggs (done any way your kids like them) or healthy pancakes, leftover dinners, porridge, toast piled high with healthy toppings, smoothies, Bircher mueslis, quality granola with seeds & yoghurt…there are loads of options if you think outside the (cereal) box….anything but cereal, it’s a nutritionally tragic way to start the day and unfortunately still so common in Australia! Just chat to the kids & together figure out something that will better support them to build a healthy ‘forever home’. Give them choices and use variety to cover more nutritional bases, but make all the choices better than their current norm!
  5. Think seriously about how to bring the explosion story to life.

If you’re wondering if cereal is unhealthy you might want to have a look at our blog on Australian cereal brands nutritional comparisons.

Have a question or need some help? Email me at jeanie@goodmix.com.au

Jeanie

Related posts:

https://www.goodmix.com.au/fat-kids-why-so-many-and-how-we-can-help/

https://www.goodmix.com.au/8-reasons-your-kids-are-hungry-easy-ways-to-fill-them-up/

New Year New You – What’s Your Excuse?

Most Common Excuses “I can’t get healthy because…”

You may have one or more of these, or even a different excuse holding you back from getting healthy. There will ALWAYS be obstacles blocking your efforts, & you can either let them get in your way & give up, or you can find ways around them to still win at getting healthy! Make 2019 the year you stop blaming ‘something else’ for why you aren’t looking after yourself properly. Everyone thinks up reasons / excuses why they haven’t been doing what they know they should’ve been!  

I can’t afford it. It’s so expensive to be healthy!

YES, it is. Nothing worthwhile is free. Good food costs money, good advice costs money, & yes you’ll have to invest some time & energy. BUT – you will increase your energy & productivity, your mood will be better, you’ll look better, say yes to more opportunities, need less sick days, people will respect you more….getting healthy is an investment & it will pay dividends every single day of your (longer & more comfortable) life!! Invest in your biggest asset – the body that carries you through this life! You only get one!! Being healthy will cost you, but it will cost you way less than being unhealthy in the long run!

Free ebook to help : 9 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

I have injuries, so I can’t exercise.

Exercise the parts of your body that don’t hurt! If your back is sore, see a practitioner who can help with exercises that won’t hurt your back. This will help strengthen it so you can move more comfortably. You can always train some part of you, even if it’s only your hands, your feet or your butt cheeks!! Be gentle with yourself, but firm – an injury is not an excuse to just curl up & die. 

 

I have an illness so can’t get healthy even if I do try.

Sometimes it’s really hard, & you might need professional help. Invest in getting the help, & then start with one small habit you know you can implement by yourself (drink more water, or add in some herbal teas / a green smoothie each day, watch a funny movie, get some sunshine, do 5 mins meditation). One small step = a start. Remember – there are a lot of people who’ve been sicker than you & become healthy again, so it’s possible for you too. Your ultimate health potential may not be as high as it could be, but don’t underestimate the body’s self-healing drive.

I’ve tried so many different diets / plans but none of them really work, I give up now.

Hmm – there are many people who have been successful in turning their lives around too…maybe you are missing something? Plans are usually just a kickstart, & not everyone will get the same results. Ultimately it’s your everyday habits that determine your long term results. By all means use plans to help you along the way, but they will not do everything for you (& you can’t just throw in the towel & blame them when you don’t get the results you want!) Instead of giving up, try changing direction – get some advice on the best kickstart plan for you!

I don’t sleep well so have no energy to make any changes.

Sleeping well is a health necessity. But you can still make better choices whilst running on limited sleep (it’s harder, but it can be done).

  • Do some exercise even if you are tired (it will help your sleep in the long run).
  • Try to get morning sunshine
  • Get off the stimulants (yes, see if going without coffee helps you)
  • Start a nighttime yoga practice
  • Learn to meditate so you can do that in bed.
  • Meditation will help you feel rested & refreshed even with less sleep, & you may find yourself drifting off more.
  • Invest in a great mattress, pillows, make the temperature comfortable & block the light / noise out.
  • Remove all devices from the room, no screen time for at least 1/2 hr before bed.
  • Use some relaxing essential oils in a hot bath or rubbed into your skin.
  • Try changing the direction your bed faces.

There will be plenty of things you can do to support your sleep efforts.

I’m too busy looking after my baby / kids / ageing parents / partner & have no time or energy left for looking after me :(

You won’t be much good to anyone if you can’t carve out some time to look after you! You literally have to CARVE it out. Your baby / kids / parents / partner / need you to be nourished, energetic & calm. You need to have your own oxygen mask on your face before you can start looking after others! Modern day life is kinda like a plane crash – grab hold of your mask – take responsibility for looking after your own needs as a priority so you can be helpful to others around you. Caring for others needs to become your reason to look after yourself better, not an excuse to neglect your health!

My partner isn’t interested / is unsupportive when I try to get healthy so it gets too hard to stay on track. I just keep derailing.

Well if your partner is the total cause of your poor health, ditch your partner!! But not before you’ve been very honest with yourself (we tend to blame our partners for a lot of things that could actually be more to do with us). Is it really all your partner’s fault? Surely your partner wants you to look & feel your best – they might actually surprise you if you really communicate your needs. And if you can both be on the same page, supporting each other to get healthier it will be so much easier! If they really are resistant / won’t see where you’re coming from you may need to consider a break to get yourself on track.

If your partner is a smoker with no intention of quitting & you really want to, it will be really hard (but still possible, better with a break), if you want to cut down on sugar & your partner brings home Tim Tams every night & teases you it will also be hard but still possible – once again, take a break apart. You need to communicate your needs assertively (not aggressively) & if they really have zero interest in helping you with what you’re trying to achieve, you need to question if you’re a good team to keep doing life together.

My job / active social life means I’m always partying – eating junk, drinking, not sleeping.

Is your job worth sacrificing your health for? Are you maybe out-growing some of your friends? If you’re serious about getting your health on track this year, it may be worth re-evaluating a few things, like the people you spend most of your time with (surround yourself with people that you aspire to be like, because you will end up like the people you hang out with). 

My job is really sedentary so I can’t exercise enough.

Does your job take up 24 hrs 7 days per week? No – then that is not a valid excuse! Sorry :- /

My job is really physically taxing, & that is all I have the energy for.

I hear this from all the nurses / tradies / physical labourers – but just imagine how amazing a good stretch or a swim would feel for those tired, overworked legs & back at the end of a shift?!  If you have a job that keeps you active, great – but chances are you’ll be doing really repetitive stuff & your body will still be suffering because the ‘load’ is unbalanced – wearing you out in places whilst others remain unchallenged. Your energy may improve with some sort of exercise to help balance what you already do with work.

I’m just too lazy, I can’t be bothered putting in the effort to be healthy – I feel ok as I am & I am happy enough.

Well why did you even bother to read this?? If you are happy enough & don’t want to make any changes, don’t. Easy! But if there is a part of you that wonders what it would feel like to spring out of bed with energy each day & ditch the tracksuit pants & baggy tees for a bikini….then just try. Try changing one habit at a time. Get one change down pat, then move onto the next once you are confident you have it nailed. You may just surprise yourself – small steps are easy to take!

This year – try looking after your body as though it needs to last you a lifetime (hint – it does). Have this mentality clear in your head when you write a shopping list / are walking through the supermarket aisles, are deciding what meal to order / what food to put on your plate / tossing up wether to buy another pack of cigarettes / bottle of alcohol / soft drink / iced coffee. All the small decisions you make in a year add up the body you’re trapped in (or feeling great in) at the end of the year! All the times you were ‘too tired / too busy / not feeling it’ add up to the fact that your shorts no longer fit, or you’re puffing & red faced after a small flight of stairs. Stick a note or a picture somewhere you’ll see it daily to remind you to think like this every day! Value your health, if you’re still alive you’re luckier than many & you still have something to work with!

Make a list of the healthy habits you can start incorporating into your life from NOW! I’ve made a start with a habit suggestion below, even just adding this one habit in will literally change your life!

Check out how this amazing women went from overweight and unhappy to Bikini Model and stoked!

Habit Suggestion – Morning Movement!

Do some type of exercise first thing in the morning. Decide on something you can squeeze in, something you don’t hate (wether it’s 5 minutes dancing around in the kitchen with your toddler on your hip, as many chin ups as you can do in your doorway / garage, a burn around the block with your kid on a scooter, or a quick lounge-room yoga or pilates class from an app you’ve downloaded…just get into the habit of MOVING every morning, before you think about starting your day, to be healthy in today’s world, making time for movement is a MUST!!

If you make yourself tick that box before anything else for the day, you’ll succeed. It will be hard for 2 weeks if you’re not already in this habit, be prepared for some resistance! If you get through the first 2 weeks, you should be feeling so much better you’ll be motivated to keep the habit. If you start work really early & morning is just totally impractical for you, you’ll need to figure out another time of the day that will work, & commit to it. Ie – if there is a gym / sporting club you drive past on your way home each day – could be worth exploring. Or a friend’s place…or maybe adopt an energetic dog (they will demand an afternoon walk!) Can you cycle to work? Take the stairs a few times? Swim? Use a different train / bus stop that requires a brisk walk on your way home….if you are serious about feeling better you’ll find a way to make it happen!

You need to spend some time thinking of your own habits to start – what little steps can you realistically take this year to make it healthier than last ? Try listing 5 habits, but prioritise & just start with ONE, then once that one is in place, firmly in your life, try starting another. One good habit that you can stick to for months / years is more effective than a ‘total life overhaul’ that you give up on after 2 weeks!! Baby steps, small changes at a time, but just stick to them! One small victory will give you the confidence & self belief to attempt bigger goals later.

Happy New Habits!

Xx Jeanie

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

csiro gut health booklet and blend11 | goodMix Superfoods

BLEND11 is undergoing CSIRO gut health 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

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