Harvest Health

Harvest Health

Monday, 31 October 2011

Muesli Recipe (well, sort of...)

It can be expensive to buy a good quality muesli.  It is, however, very easy to make and a satisfying task to make your own.  This is 'sort of' a recipe because I don't use specific quantities of the ingredients.  I simply  go by what looks right, and make enough to fit in the jar I store it in.

  • Oats (organic or biodynamic)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Nuts of your choice (raw) - I love hazelnuts.  Almonds and cashews work well
  • Cinnamon
  • Coconut (optional)

Put the oven on about 150 - 160 C.  Spread about 3 good handfuls of chopped nuts out over a baking tray and place in the oven for about 20 mins, or until lightly roasted.  The roasted nuts give the muesli a delicious flavour.  Grab a big bowl and pour in about 4 - 5 cups of oats.  Add about 3 good handfuls each of pumpkin and sunflower seeds.  Add less of the sesame seeds.  Add about 3/4 cup of coconut if using, and then sprinkle some cinnamon through the muesli - about 1 teaspoon.   Stir everything together with a big spoon, and there you have it - your very own muesli!  Store in an air-tight glass jar or container.

The cinnamon gives a lovely flavour, and it is very good for helping to keep blood sugar levels stable.  I don't like to use any dried fruit as I think it is too much sugar for breakfast.  It's not a good idea to start the day off on a sugar (even the dried fruit kind) rollercoaster!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Healthy Breakfast ideas - Part 2

Yesterday we looked at making some healthier choices around some of our breakfast staples - cereal and bread.  But, of course, there are so many more foods that we could consider at breakfast time.

Porridge can be made from many other grains apart from oats.  Have you tried millet or quinoa porridge?  You can make them pretty much the same as oat porridge, just cook until the grain is soft.  Brow.n rice can also be used.  Leftover rice can be eaten with yoghurt and stewed apple, for example, or cooked further in milk of your choice, until it is more of a congee consistency.

More breakfast ideas that also happen to be gluten free:

  • Eggs, eggs and more eggs! Scrambled, poached, boiled or in an omelet.  If you add a side of avocado, and/or mushrooms, you don't miss not having toast.
  • Organic or biodynamic plain yoghurt with fresh fruit and chopped walnuts
  • Sliced mushrooms cooked with butter or oil, with a side of chopped tomato and/or avocado
  • 'Salsa' made with chopped boiled eggs, tomato, avocado, parsley (or coriander), spinach, with a squeeze of lemon juice
  • Fruit smoothie made with organic cow's milk or oat milk, and yoghurt
Of course the options are endless when you consider borrowing from other cultures; you may consider miso soup, lentil dahl, or even steak and vegies!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Healthy Breakfast ideas - Part 1

There is so much to write about breakfast that I think it will take a couple of posts.  Here is part 1.

It is important to 'break the fast' and start the day with some nutritious food.  In Western countries such as Australia, the breakfast food of choice is often boxed cereal.  Although this choice is definitely an easy option, it deserves careful consideration.

Photo by Michelle Meiklejohns
Most (if not all) commercial breadfast cereals are a very processed food.  The majority are based on a grain, or combination of grains, however the finished product looks nothing like the plant food it contains!  Many cereals also have vitamins added back into the food, suggesting that it has been very refined.  Brands that are labeled 'high energy' will often only be high in sugar.

A much better choice for a grain based breadfast is where you can actually recognise the food, such as oats used in porridge or muesli.  Many people don't realise, however, that most grains, including oats, require cooking or soaking to make them more digestible.  Bircher muesli is soaked overnight in milk, water or juice.  If you don't soak muesli over night, then in the morning pour a small amount of boiling water over the muesli in a bowl and let it soak for about 15 minutes.  Add fresh fruit and yoghurt.

Toast is the other breakfast staple.  However, spongy white bread is not a good food to start the day as it is very refined.  Ideally choose bread made from sourdough, with wholegrain flour.  The more dense and grainy bread is, it is generally higher in fibre, and a better product.  Avoid bleached flour, bread improvers, and other additives in your loaf.

Some great toppings for toast include: avocado, poached egg with rocket or spinach, sardines, organic baked beans.

Of course, there is a whole world of ideas out there for breakfast that do not include cereal or toast.  Come back tomorrow, and we'll explore some of them.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Simple Healthy Habits

The world of health and nutrition can be confusing, bewildering, and time consuming!  As with most things in life, simplicity is the key.

                                                          Photo by Luigi Diamanti

Here are some simple tips to get you started on healthier eating:

  • Eat what's in season for maximum flavour and value
  • Eat organic food wherever possible to minimise ingestion of chemical fertilisers and pesticides
  • Include vegetables at lunchtime
  • Honor meal times - don't eat standing up or on the run.  Don't eat in front of the TV.
  • Drink plent of water.  However, don't drink with meals as it can dilute stomach acid and reduce your body's ability to digest.
  • 80/20 is OK.  Eating well 80% of the time means your body will be able to handle the occasional treat and indulgence.

Remember, the little things that you do will add up.  Your body will thank you for any positive change you can make!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Here I Am

My very first blog post.

Here I am, about to add to the billions of blogs that now exist worldwide.  I am a Naturopath and I live in Melbourne, Australia.  I have a degree in Naturopathy, and have been practicing in a clinic for the last few years.  The longer I practice, the more I realise how much more there is to know about health.  This blog is an attempt to share some simple health tips, and practices, and to explore the often confusing world of health information.  There is so much information out there, but the trick is to make it very simple.  Really.

Good health is feeling as well as we can in the body we have.  The last bit in that sentence is important.  Each body will have different experiences of health. Every body will have different requirements to be healthy.  There is not one way to harvest health, there are many.  The challenge is find the way that suits you.