Good Snacks for Children

“I’m hungry!” your child states. It’s not time for a main meal but you would like to give your child something healthy to sate their hunger until the main meal without reaching for the chips or sweets.

Here are some healthy choices:

  1. Fresh Fruit. This was the only option I had as a child and a very good one. It kept me from the dentists drill for many years. This includes a punnet of cherry tomatoes. If you serve fruit salad, you could sprinkle in some chopped nuts (if they are not sensitive) or seeds. This will slow the breakdown of the fruit sugars and make the snack longer lasting. Try and avoid dairy desserts as they are full of sugar and are cold in temperature and nature. Not good for young stomachs.  But if your child is a savory tooth then read on.
  2. Dips. Hommus, mashed avocado (put a tiny bit of chilli in it as it will negate the cold nature of this food and stop them from overeating it) and vegetable sticks to dip with such as carrots and celery. If you choose to serve with crackers then these should be plain i.e.plain water cracker or rice crackers, not overly salty. The dip is the feature not the crackers.
  3. Soups. If it’s been a cold day nothing hits the spot like a warm soup.  Soups are a great way to have vegetables if you have a fussy eater. You can introduce foods like miso (fermented soy bean paste) which is instant and highly nutritious.
  4. Leftovers. Got some leftover pasta? Cooked vegetables? Beat up some eggs and throw in leftovers, cook in pan for 2 mins, flip (use a large plate over the pan, turn 180 degrees, the slid it back into the pan cooked side up), cook for another 2 minutes and presto you have a frittata. Yummy!
  5. Baked beans. If you can make your own it would be better as I find the commercial varieties are too sweet, but when you have a “starving” child staring you down the canned variety will do. If you’ve some time some stale bread you can try this for variety: Cut the crusts off the bread and push them into muffin trays. Beat an egg and add to the can of baked beans in a bowl. You could also add in some chopped spinach at this point but this is optional.  Pour your egg and bean mix into the bread lined muffin forms  and bake in a moderate oven for 15mins or until set. Crunchy toasted bread cup with a soft centre.
  6. Rice. Boiled rice with soy sauce is a good filler. If you want to complete the protein set throw in some beans or peas. It’s filling and easily digested.
  7. Vegie Rolls. These you can make in advance and freeze. I have made these for birthday parties and all the children came back for seconds and thirds.

    1 small carrot, chopped

    1 small zucchini, chopped

    ½ cup baby spinach leaves

    2 – 3 spring onions (eshallots), chopped

    ¾ cup fresh (not dried) breadcrumbs

    ¼ cup pine nuts

    1 tablespoon of fresh parsley

    1 teaspoon of olive oil

    1 egg

    1/2 teaspoon of tamari or soy sauce

    Freshly ground pepper

    1 sheet read rolled puff pastry

    Method

    Set oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

    Put all the vegetables including the spring onions in a food processor and process to a mealy

    consistency

    Spoon mixture into a larger bowl and combine the egg, bread, pine nuts, parsley, olive oil,

    soy sauce and a twist of pepper.

    Cut pastry sheet in half. Spoon mixture along the centre of each sheet. Roll up and dampen

    edges to secure. Cut each length in quarters and prick centre with a fork.

    Place on a baking tray with baking paper and bake in for 10 minutes at 200°C. Reduce heat

    to 180°C and cook for a further 10-15 minutes or until pastry is golden. Makes 8.

Note that I have tried to stay away from dairy products as they are considered “damp” in Chinese medicine.

Have fun!

Rosalba

 

Superfoods at Alba Therapies, with your favourite receptionist – Elly!

Recently, after finding an awesome supplier, Alba Therapies has begun to stock an ever widening range of health care products, mineral and vitamin supplements, female products, baby items, organic products and last but not least; ‘Super Foods’. Super foods (functional foods, superfoods, superberries) are defined as foods that either contain high phyto-nutrient content or contain more health-benefitting substances then simple nutrients given by ‘normal’ foods. They are generally associated with having benefit to health and wellbeing, prolonged life, containing high levels of antioxidants, being anti-cancer, and more. In many cases, they contain the right levels of nutrients, vitamins and amino acids to be complete- that is, they do not need to be used with another food item to give you your entire recommended intake. Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa) for example, is known as a ‘complete protein’ and classed as a superfood due to the very high protein content, as well as containing a perfectly balanced set of amino acids fit for humans.

Among our newest products we find an assortment of (drool) chocolate. We are stocking pure cacao powder (also known as cocoa, cacao implies Mayan produce- thought to be the original and most ‘pure’) which is fair trade. Our chocolate bars are (delicious) dark chocolate with the addition of either nibs (crushed cocoa bean), Quinoa (mentioned earlier) or Almonds. These are organic, free trade and carbon offset. How good can you get?! Apart from being full of flavour, I was surprised today to learn just how good Chocolate can be for you. Now, let me clarify; the addition of fats, sugar and milk generally negates the health benefits – this is NOT about milk or white chocolate. Hot cocoa/chocolate can be no good if you add milk (even skim); but I have sacrificed myself for you all and found that a teaspoon or two of the powder with a teaspoon of sugar or honey is simply delicious. You don’t miss the milk with chocolate or cocoa this good. For those of you who like dark chocolate, you wouldn’t need the sweetener at all.

I always knew that cocoa contained high levels of antioxidants; even more so when raw (as the powder is) but I was unaware of the cardiovascular and circulatory boost. Studies have shown that consuming dark chocolate two to three times a week in patients after a heart attack can reduce the risk of death by up to three times that of patients who did not consume dark chocolate. The only major point I have to bring up here is that any food will add to the risk of weight gain/obesity if the energy is not burned off. So eating a few pieces of dark chocolate in the morning before starting your day (or a hot chocolate with breakfast) is a perfect way to start.

Although controversial, studies are also being conducted into the use of a form of cocoa being used to halter brain decline in aging people. Antioxidants have been known for a long time to improve longevity, but specific research is being conducted into the use of cocoa and degenerative brain disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Another much argued point is that of muscle recovery; it has been said that eating dark chocolate in the two hour period after exercise can help to regenerate muscle tissue. If you want to know more about other health benefits or see the cited studies, search Wikipedia.org for “health benefits of chocolate”.

Another addition to our Superfoods is Chia Seeds. This is a name that has been popping up more and more recently, and I thought it was a bit of a fad thing – until I opened the glorious box of wonder the other day and found these marvellous seeds. Tiny, black and white speckles not unlike sesame seeds, but smaller, Chia are the perfect vegan food and a must have supplement with everyone’s diet. They don’t really taste of much so can be added to pretty much any meal. “So why would I use them?” you might ask: ‘Cause these little guys are SUPER. They contain a huge helping of vitamin C (7 times that of an orange) which is not only beneficial to the immune system but is also needed in the use of absorbing iron (I found that out recently! You can eat as much steak as you want and still be anaemic if you don’t have a high enough Vitamin C intake) They contain 3 times the amount of iron as spinach, twice the potassium as bananas, 6 times more fibre than oat bran (both soluble and insoluble fibre – fantastic!) a whopping five times more calcium than milk, and 4 times higher ORAC* value than blueberries (which are known as a superberry for having such a high ORAC value)

I know sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the suggested additions to your meals, but I think Chia seeds are one you can keep around and know you’re getting a pretty good helping of some great nutrients. Chia are the highest known plant source of Omega 3, being 8 times higher than Salmon. They also contain Vitamins A and B12, which is why they are perfect for vegans. Chia seeds are a complete protein, just like Quinoa, and can be ground to a meal and hidden in food for little ones with no one the wiser. If you soak Chia in water they become almost a gel, not dissimilar from frog’s eggs, which I am told can be used on tired eyes to soothe them or for conjunctivitis.

If you’ve been living under a rock on the world’s smallest island in the middle of the ocean then you still wouldn’t be forgiven for not having heard about Goji Berries and the associated health benefits. These are most well known for their antioxidant properties, and for improving the length and quality of life of the Chinese and Mongolian people for centuries. Although blueberries were once hailed as the highest antioxidant berry amongst the western world, Goji berries have since taken their place and even far exceeded the ORAC values of these. Goji berries carry high levels of Vitamin C, as well as Riboflavin (vitamin B2) and a host of amino acids, other vitamins, unsaturated fatty acids, polysaccharides and dietary minerals, amongst many others. They also contain Iron, zinc, selenium, potassium and calcium. Goji berries also contain what is thought to be the highest plant found source of Zeaxanthin; a chemical found in the eye. Links have been made with consumption of Zeaxanthin lowering the severity and chance of onset of age related macular degeneration and age related eye disease. Another very handy thing to keep in the cupboard or fridge, and dried can be stored for long periods of time. Teas can be made out of the delicious berry which tastes like a cross between a raisin and a cherry, or you can sprinkle them on your breakfast cereal, porridge, or add to trail mix. If you like a sweet treat in the afternoon, you could keep a stash at your work desk and nibble them in the afternoon with a handful of nuts.

In order to prevent this article becoming a book I’ll cut it short there. But please, if you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to ask me, or if they are more in depth questions your practitioner should be able to help you.

* Oxygen radical absorbance capacity, a scalar value derived in the laboratory for comparing the antioxidant content of different foods or nutritional supplements

Vegetarian Christmas Recipes

Julie Constantine and Elly Kielly have helped put together this delicious vegetarian feast for Christmas. Try your hand at a few of these tasty recipes.

VEGETARIANS CHRISTMAS RECIPIES

Sweet potato & leek roulade with Xmas stuffing
Ingredients (serves 6)
• Roulade
• 20ml (1 tbs) olive oil
• 1 leek, finely chopped
• 60g butter
• 1/3 cup plain flour
• 300ml milk
• 4 eggs, separated
• 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
• 1/4 cup grated parmesan
• Stuffing
• 30g unsalted butter
• 1 brown onion, finely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 1/2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs
• 1 tbs chopped fresh sage
• 1 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
Filling
• 500g sweet potato, peeled, chopped
• 15g unsalted butter
• 100ml thin cream
• 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 39 x 26cm Swiss roll pan.
2. To make the roulade, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the leek and cook gently for five minutes until soft. Remove leek from pan. Wipe pan, then add the butter. When it has melted, add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Start adding the milk, a little at a time, whisking until all the milk is combined and the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat, beat in egg yolks, one at a time and season.
3. In a separate, clean bowl, beat the eggwhites until stiff. Add a quarter of the eggwhites to the roux, then gently fold in the remaining eggwhites. Fold in leeks and cheddar until just combined, then pour into the prepared pan and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden and puffed.
4. Meanwhile, to make stuffing, melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for five minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic and breadcrumbs and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Stir in herbs and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
5. For the filling, steam or boil the sweet potato until tender. Drain and mash with the butter, cream and nutmeg. Season well and set aside.
6. When the roulade is cooked, place a clean tea towel on your workbench and sprinkle with the parmesan. Turn the roulade out onto the tea towel and peel off the baking paper. Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, then spread the sweet potato over the roulade.
7. Sprinkle the stuffing over the sweet potato. Using the edge of the tea towel, carefully roll up the roulade from the longest side finishing with the seam-side down. Slice and serve warm with rocket salad and glazed eschallots (shallots)

Rocket salad with redcurrants and hazelnuts
Ingredients (serves 6)
• 1/2 cup hazelnuts
• 60ml (1/4 cup) red wine vinegar
• 20ml (1 tbs) hazelnut oil (or, if not available, use EVO)
• 60ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• 150g wild rocket
• 1/2 cup redcurrants (preferably fresh, or substitute defrosted, frozen redcurrants)
Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for five minutes. Cool slightly, then slip off their skins by rubbing them together. Chop roughly and set aside.
2. Place vinegar, oils and garlic in a small bowl. Season and whisk to combine.
3. Place rocket, hazelnuts and redcurrants in a large bowl, drizzle over the dressing and toss to combine.

Glazed shallot & capsicum salad

Ingredients (serves 6)
• 24 shallots, peeled
• 40ml (2 tbs) olive oil
• 2 each red and yellow capsicums, roasted, peeled, cut into strips
• 2 tbs brown sugar
• 1 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
Method
1. Blanch the shallots in boiling water for five minutes. Drain. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
2. Add the shallots and fry, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes until golden.
3. Add capsicums and sugar and cook for 1-2 minutes until the sugar caramelises. Stir through the parsley and serve, warm or cold.

Christmas Pudding Truffles
Ingredients
175g digestive biscuit crumbs (or other vegan biscuits)
50g chopped raisins
50g roasted hazelnuts, chopped
50g ground almonds
75g blackcurrant jam
1 orange, zest only, very finely chopped
dark rum or brandy
150g plain chocolate (vegan)
White marzipan, angelica and glace cherries
Method
1. Mix the biscuit crumbs, raisins, nuts, jam and orange zest together in a bowl. Add sufficient rum or brandy to make a fairly stiff mixture.
2. Form the mixture into walnut sized balls.
3. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Coat each truffle individually and rest on a foil covered board until set.

Decorate the top of each truffle by taking small pieces of white marzipan and rolling it out into an uneven shape, then press onto the top of each truffle to resemble icing. Add bits of glace cherry to resemble berries and angelica to represent holly.

Crispy Spicy Toast
Ingredients
2 cloves garlic (or less)
1 tsp salt (or less)
1/3 cup Olive oil/2 teaspoon Olive Margarine
1 tsp paprika/garam masala (or less)
2 tsps cumin seed, finely crushed
2 tsps sesame seed, finely crushed
Some slices of bread
Method
Peel and crush garlic
Add all other ingredients into bowl and mix well
Spread it on bread and toast it in frying pan. Enjoy with dip or on it’s own.

Cannellini & Sundried Tomato Dip Recipe
Ingredients
1 can cannellini beans
1 C steamed eggplant
1/2 cup toasted almond meal (or LSA)
1 clove garlic
2 T sundried tomato paste
(or 7 sundried tomatoes)
5 kalamata olives
Generous squeeze of lemon juice.

Method
Toast the almond meal lightly over medium heat. Stir constantly. Be careful, it burns quickly.
Lightly steam the eggplant.
Process all ingredients in food processor or with a hand-held barmix.
Serve with veggie sticks (celery, cucumber, carrot, capsicum etc.)
and/or
soy and linseed toast (cut into melba squares).
Can also be used as a sandwich spread.

Chilled Melon Soup

This refreshing summer soup is a great starter for
dinner on the patio on a summer evening.
Try any variety of melon in this recipe.
Serve leftover soup with salad for lunch the next day.

Ingredients
• 6 cups cubed ripe melon
• 1/2 cup diced seedless cucumber
• 6 tablespoons lime juice, divided, plus more to taste
• 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallion green,
• 1 whole scallion, divided
• 1 jalapeño pepper, plus more to taste
• 1 cup cold water
• 1 2-by-1/2-inch strip orange zest
• 1/2 cup orange juice, plus more to taste
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, or mint for garnish
• 6 teaspoons plain yogurt, or crème fraîche for garnish
Method
1. Dice enough melon to measure 1 cup and combine in a small bowl with cucumber, 2 tablespoons lime juice and scallion green. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve the soup.
2. Place the remaining melon and 4 tablespoons lime juice in a blender. Chop the whole scallion and seed and chop jalapeño; add to the blender along with water, orange zest, orange juice, ginger and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and add more lime juice, jalapeño and/or orange juice, if desired.
3. Refrigerate the soup until chilled, 2 hours.
4. Stir the reserved diced melon mixture and divide among 4 soup bowls. Pour the soup into the bowls. Garnish each serving with cilantro (or mint) and yogurt (or crème fraîche), if using.

Tips & Notes
• Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate the melon mixture (Step 1) and soup (Step 2) in separate containers for up to 1 day. Finish with Step 4 just before serving.

A Gentle Detox

Leading up to and after the ‘silly season’ is a GREAT time to cleanse our bodies of all the gunk of the past year – and will help us to process all the coming attributes of this time of year. Marney Murray has an easy way to cleanse your system – turning away from all these unhealthy quick fixes we see so often.

There are several benefits from a gentle cleanse, including: A feeling of lightness and more energy, More mental clarity and ease of getting up earlier (the sun and the birds are up earlier now too), Release of the stiffness felt as the liver clears acids from the tendons and ligaments, And a boosted immune function and prevention of minor complaints – like summer flu, sinusitis, sluggishness and winter weight gain.

How long will it take, and what is required?
This is designed to be a gentle cleanse, so to not disturb your body – it take 2 weeks. One week to shift your diet to a cleansing one, and one week of doing the same with more focus.

  • Enthusiasm at the fantastic results that await you!
  • A departure from alcohol
  • Abstinence from animal products, including dairy products.
  • A reduction or removal of tea and coffee
  • Abstinence from refined flour and sugar products i.e. Commercial breads and cakes.
  • You will require patience and gentleness with yourself. If you eat something that is not beneficial, don’t scold yourself. Acknowledge it and just keep going!
  • Also listening to your body and resting adequately.
  • You will find you have more energy if you do a gently walk, stretch, or both everyday.

Ingredients List

You will need: A bag of lemons, (one for each day). Spirulina, powder or tablet form (powder is preferred), Fresh fruits and vegetables (esp. Leafy greens and seasonal produce), Sprouts of any kind – snow pea, alfalfa, etc. (Sprouted bread is okay to eat during a cleanse), Beans (dried or tinned), tofu, tempeh, meat alternatives and Whole grains, such as brown rice, millet and pearl barley.

Method

  • Plan the dates of your cleanse so you can have your pantry and fridge stocked. Also it gives your time to become mentally prepared and enthusiastic about the results you will achieve. Begin whenever you like, I tend to shop on a Saturday and cook staples Sunday, then officially begin Monday.
  • Prepare some foods that will keep for a day or two, like bean and rice patties or zucchini fritters. Try things that may be new to your cooking repertoire, as these can be good to snack on or combine with main meals of fresh leafy greens and vegies prepared on the day.
  • Every morning, squeeze half to one lemon and have it in water before you eat or drink anything. This helps the liver to cleanse and the lemon becomes alkaline in the body, which is essential to help clear acids from the tendons and muscles and support your flexibility.
  • If you are getting a thick tongue coating in the morning, your digestive organs are cleansing themselves. You can scrape the coating off with a teaspoon and rinse your mouth with water. (You can do this before your lemon juice).
  • With tea and coffee, be gentle with yourself. Reduce slowly or you may get a detox headache. This is a very gentle cleanse, not a strong detox, so I would suggest reducing your intake ASAP and during the first week bring your consumption down to 1 cup per day, until you feel you no longer need it.
  • One or two teaspoons of Spirulina in juice or water per day. If you have never tried Spirulina start with half to one teaspoon, as it is very nutritious and a cellular cleanser in its own right. The Spirulina is essential for energy during ‘the cleanse’, especially if you are going to continue working. The protein in Spirulina has digestive absorption that is four times greater than in beef. A teaspoon of Spirulina is equivalent to 36 g of beef!(Available in most health food shops)
  • Leafy greens! Add them to most of your meals. Lettuce, Rocket, Baby Spinach, English spinach, Bok choi or Pak Choi, and herbs, like fresh parsley, basil, mint, oregano… yum! Seasonal vegies like asparagus, snow peas and beans are delicious right now! Crunch!!
  • Most foods can be lightly steamed, poached, boiled or baked. If you are particularly robust or have ‘heat’, you can eat more raw foods (see your practitioner to clarify ‘heat’)
  • If you are tired or are cleansing mucous from your system, eat lightly cooked foods and avoid dairy. Mucous can manifest as runny nose, sinusitis, asthma, allergies, Candida, excess weight and thick tongue coating.
  • Beans need to be soaked. If you are using dried beans, you will need to acidulate them (soak them in water with half a lemon for 8 hours). Do this in the morning before you go to work, drain them off and put fresh water in and cook for around 1 hour when you return home at night, or on the weekend. When soft, strain and put in an air tight container. Add to salads or other recipes. They also freeze well. By doing this you will increase the digestibility of beans and avoid uncomfortable gas!
  • You may continue with your standard multi vitamins or vitamin C. Flaxseed oil or fish oil supplement can also be continued as they are essential fatty acids. Colloidal Minerals are an excellent way to boost the minerals of the bones while you cleanse your organs and tissues.
  • Drink plenty of pure water, and experiment with herbs and teas to keep your fluid intake up. Green tea can be a gentle alternative to reducing your caffeine from tea and coffee as it also contains small amounts.
  • Enjoy the experience, experiment with new recipes, encourage your family and friends to eat some of your healthy new foods options!

If at any time you need any help or have any questions, make an appointment with your practitioner and we can help you work out a detox that’s right for you, and help with herbs and teas and information!. Don’t hesitate to call us! (07 3843 3555)