Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Liquid Stevia: IMO

As you can see, I recently ordered a buttload of stevia to stock up on. 
I've been a Stevia user for about 9 months now, but only in the powdered form. It's served me well, but I've always been curious about the liquid brothers and sisters that have Instagram foodies all in an uproar.
So, a couple of weeks and an iHerb bill later, I got this shipment. I bought two different flavours:
English Toffee
Both smell great, but there were a few things I noticed when I decided to make my crushed ice slushy (see below)

I don't have any problems with the powdered stevia. I even wrote a post about it earlier, but for some reason I seem to have reactions with it in liquid form.
The taste, again, takes getting used to. However, it had a tinge of alcohol-y flavour as an after taste, which wasn't my favourite thing in the world. 
I put about 5-6 drops of liquid stevia in a liter of water, froze it, then crushed it up in my processor. Chopped up a few dates for texture and flavour and sat down with an episode of QI to enjoy.
It was yummy, no doubt, but I started feeling a bit odd. I read about certain symptoms that people experienced so I had an idea of what i was going through. Even though I had just finished a crazy workout, I knew that the light-headedness and bloating was not related (to the workout, that is). I also felt slightly numb, which was a bit alarming. All of these symptoms disappeared within an hours worth of time.
I have a feeling it's because it was just put in water, so it might have gotten absorbed much faster than other ways (for example if it was used in baking).
Either way, I've cut it out and have stuck to powdered stevia (again, in moderation).
There's my take on it. I'm going to test it out again in much smaller doses and in my paleo muffins to see if it has the same effect.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Paleo Cheat Sheet

Some of you have asked me what on earth a "paleo diet is???".
First off, it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle -insert pretentious nose sniff here-.
It's basically how and what to eat healthily without giving up meats.
This cheat sheet is brought to you by fastpaleo.com, because I'm a sucker for their cauliflower "bread" sticks.

"What is paleo and why should I do it?*
Paleo is a lifestyle that emphasizes the parts of Paleolithic life that are healthier for us than typical modern life. The
first main example is eating whole foods such as meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs and healthy fats instead of
factory-processed foods and newer agricultural products – especially grains. The second is making time for regular
exercise and proper sleep. Doing these things can make us both feel better and give us fitter, more attractive bodies!
How do I do paleo? Tell me the steps!

  •  Eat a variety of meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs and healthy fats
  •  Don’t eat added sugars
  • This includes “organic” sugar and artificial sweeteners. Never drink soda
  •  Don’t eat grains or legumes
  • This includes soy, rice, corn, wheat, and any grain product like pasta breads or cereals, as well as legumes like beans, and white potatoes
  •  Don't eat processed vegetable oils
  • This includes canola, corn, soybean, peanut, and cottonseed oils, to name a few
  •  Don’t eat any factory-processed foods
  • If it comes in a box, most likely you shouldn’t eat it
  •  Eat dairy only if it is from grass-fed animals and you digest it well
  •  Plan one or two cheat meals a week if it keeps you on track
  • Try to “treat not cheat” by indulging in more decadent paleo foods occasionally
  •  Exercise regularly and intensely, and rest
  • Give yourself rest days throughout the week and extended rest every couple months
  •  Get a full night’s sleep in a dark room every night
  •  Drink lots of water
  •  Don’t drink much or any alcohol and avoid caffeine late in the day

That’s it?
Yep! But only if you are consistent. The above paleo basics make up 90% of a successful paleo lifestyle, but they must
be followed for you to see results. One of the biggest keys in doing so is the ability to prepare your own paleo food.
The FastPaleo.com recipes page has hundreds of free, easy-to-follow recipes you can choose from to find paleo
foods that you like and can prepare yourself. Check it out, and as always, James and the awesome FastPaleo
community are more than happy to help out in any way we can! ~James"

Now, I could have written a nice long post about it explaining what exactly the Paleolithic lifestyle is and why it's good for you, but I believe NERDFITNESS has already done that for me very very well.

There will be another post about living a paleolific lifestyle, as well as a few reviews on stevia.
But right now, I'm off to bed.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

GMO : Explained. Part 1

Ever had a moment when you'd pick up a plastic fruit from one of those fancy displays and bit into it thinking it was real? Well, with what's going on in the food industry nowadays (and for decades), you shouldn't feel too bad.
You probably would have been better off eating the plastic fruit.
Not really, but let's just leave that there for dramatic effect. -fade in Inception soundtrack-

The more I read about nutrition, the more I learn about what foods are "real" (untouched) and what foods are modified. It's horrifying, to say the least, and to think that the majority of us munch on these on the daily is one thing that has to change.

One of the easiest ways to summarize what these posts are going to be is this:
Would you put used vegetable oil in your vintage Porsche? No, darling, you wouldn't. May it be labeled beautifully, said to be safe for car usage, and better for the environment because now EVERYONE can have more oil to put in their cars? No no, darling, you wouldn't. EVEN if it was chemically engineered to 'make your car perform better' because, well, science! No no NO, darling. You wouldn't. And shouldn't.

Metaphors aside, you can probably see where I'm going with this.
Our bodies run on food. We eat to live. We burn calories for energy and attain nutrients and minerals to keep our systems going. Basic nutrition 101, yes? So, why would we accept putting a lesser, nutrient-void, albeit prettier version of our fuel? We won't get what we need to function properly. Eating foods that have been modified and genetically programmed to have a "longer shelf life" and "glow in the dark when needs to be watered" is not going to get us anywhere. It's going to create deficits. No nutrients, no vitamins, no proteins, no minerals, all leads to imbalances in our body that, whether short term or over a long period of time, damages us from the inside out, both mentally AND physically.

So, what EXACTLY are these foods I'm talking about? You've probably heard of the term "GMO" in the news. Mainly in some recent fights in the USA to get food stuff that contain GMO ingredients to be labeled as such. 

GMO is an acronym of "Genetically Modified Organisms", which basically refers to any food product that has been altered from its natural state at the gene level. They're most commonly referred to as "genetically engineered", "genetically altered", or "genetically manipulated" food stuffs.

While as fancy pants new science as this may sound, it's been in the works for decades, if not longer.
For centuries, gardeners and farmers have been crossbreeding different species of plants to create heartier, better tasting, or more beautiful crops. It may sound innocent, and it was way back when, but what we're dealing with now is not choosing the best seeds from harvest, it's chemical engineering of the genes that make up our foods. Thinking of scientists in white lab coats? You're right.

"What is GMO?" a short animation.

The type of genetic modification of foods that we're talking about is very very different from the traditional plant breeding practices. With modern genetic engineering, genes from an animal, plant, bacterium, or virus are inserted into a different organism, thereby, irreversibly altering the genetic code, or "blueprint" that determines all of the organism's physical characteristics.

The result? Vegetables with longer shelf life by adding flounder genes (a fish), soybeans that are resistant to weed killers, potatoes that produce their own pesticides, potatoes with jellyfish genes that glow in the dark when they need water, and the list goes on. Sounds very sci-fi, yes, but this is our reality. 

It may sound "OK" at first, but what these modifications are doing is killing the natural state of our food and be ridding them of the factors that WE NEED in order to function.
Not only that, but they contain allergens, carcinogens, toxins, and anti-nutrients that have been found to kill of rats and mice in independent studies. 

A rather disturbing visual example can be found on the greenmedinfo website HERE, which shows physical tumors in the mice that were used for the study. I know that it's unpleasant to see animals abused for medical studies, but it's the best example I can give you. As well as this:

As Dr Mercola puts it: these mice showed symptoms of severe diseases in their life span and were killed by them. Seeing as humans have a longer life span, these symptoms usually won't show up right away. They create problems later in our lives and get passed on to our children.


GMO products come hand in hand with pesticides, which are used in almost all of our food crops worldwide (organic farming excluded). Pesticides are basically another form of GMO. They have created superweeds and superbugs that aren't affected by regular pesticides, therefore MORE use of pesticides are needed. The result? Death, to put it simply.

By using these pesticides, they kill the weeds by making nutrients unavailable to the plant, leading to the toxins in the soil to kill the plants and weeds, and polluting the soil. Thus, in turn, leads to the deficit of nutrients within the plants. These plants are then given to the animals that are farmed for our consumption, leading THEM to be nutrient void and sick, and then what happens? We eat them. We eat meat and vegetables that have little to no nutritional value that are pumped full of chemicals designed to break down any sustainable, life-giving nutrients. Below is a fantastic video explaining this:

For a slightly longer and more detailed video linked to the one above, watch this one below:

One major step you can do to avoid and help STOP the global use of GMO products is by your shopping.
People always say "well, it's such a huge issue, how can ONE person change this by not buying their products?". We are more than one person. WE are the people who choose whether or not these products will last. WE are the ones who can vote. WE are the ones who can tell them to go to hell and stop playing with our food. This is affecting not only our food, but our ecosystem, our environment, our HOME on which we ALL live: plants, animals, insects, down to the very last microbe. WE choose by what we buy. Each payment we make towards a specific product is a vote. A vote on what the companies should keep producing and what we should keep eating. By NOT voting for the GMO and pesticide ridden foods, we are in turn killing their profits. One by one, and the masses are fighting.

My wonderful and life long friend Anoud is collaborating with me on her blog TheGreenEve to further discuss the impacts of GMO products on our environment, so check there regularly for that. Her blog is a fantastic place to raise awareness on helping our environment, among other things.

I've been asked "how can I avoid these then? I can't/don't have access/money to buy all organic all the time". Not many of us do, but when you KNOW and are aware of what foods are the worst when it comes to GMO and pesticide use, you should invest in buying them exclusively organic to avoid as much contamination as you can. The list is called "The Dirty Dozen", a catchy name that you should memorize.

To read about it and learn the list, the DailyGreen has a post on their website for that : 

Another way to improve your food intake is by buying locally. Foods that are farmed within your region are usually less contaminated than those imported from foreign countries that have to be sprayed when flown in (for "safety" measures).

Trust me when I say that this is a process. AWARENESS is what we need to move forward and to avoid becoming living products of the "FrankeinFoods"

WikiHow has a great list of HOW TO AVOID GMO FOODS, which rounds up a lot of the above info and gives helpful hints on labeling. Click HERE to see that list.

Now that I've typed my way into carpel tunnel, I'd like to roundup all that I've said into the following:
You have the right to know what you are eating.
You have the right to choose what our food is made of.
You have the right to object and FIGHT for your choice.
You have the right, so be AWARE, read more, and SPEAK UP.

I hope you leave here with a more open mind to this controversial issue, and will come back for more!
Please please please ask questions, no matter how silly they may seem. I will answer all of them with love.

Stay happy, stay smiling, stay beautiful.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Clean Eating 101 : What's the dealeo?

You've seen it on blogs, on instagram, on the health newsletters that you've subscribed to that come into your inbox but you only skim through on your days off; but what does it really mean?

Is it easy? How can I give up my delicious sweets that are sinfully and tantalizingly satisfying? 

"Clean Eating"? It's not just for the health junkies, it's just HONEST FOOD.

It can be overwhelming. Seriously, reading and studying all of these rules and tips and nutritional values of each food type and what not. What to do and when to eat and what to eat at what hour of the day after a certain type of fruit or what? what? HUH?! Yeah.

Taking time to learn these things are important. Probably one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Without it, you are blindly following the rules of anyone who seems to know what they're talking about. 

For anyone who's raised an eyebrow at the term "clean eating", allow me to narrow it down to a few easy to
remember rules...


I always get asked this. "What do you mean by no processed foods? WHAT CAN I EAT THEN?".
Simple. Anything that comes packaged with ingredients that you can't pronounce (or with a paragraph of ingredients to make up one food), is processed. It's fake. You've no idea what the manufacturers are putting into it, let alone HOW they prepare your food. So, WHY oh WHY would you want to consume chemicals and "food-like" substances that make up a "squeeze cheese". 

Think of it this way: If you won't be able to replicate this food with ingredients you can buy yourself, DON'T EAT IT. Hummus? It should be a maximum of 5 ingredients. Chick peas, olive or coconut oil, paprika, himalayan salt. Peanut butter? Should be made of?...PEANUTS! 

How and WHAT can you eat instead? Whole foods. REAL foods:
Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts. If you eat meat, then buy LOCAL and organic meats. The amount of hormones and chemicals they pump into commercial meats are disgusting and illness-inducing.
So instead, INVEST in lots of whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, amaranth (blog post coming up on this wonderful food), brown rice pastas, groats, beans, legumes. BUY fresh vegetables and fruits. 
Vegetables give you tons of nutrients and minerals and keep you FULL but are so much lower in calories than meats. You can munch of them all throughout the day and still lose weight. 

Also, if you're buying fruits and veggies but can't afford to buy all organic, check out the list of the "Dirty dozen" foods that are an organic MUST: dirty dozen list  dirty dozen and which foods are worth investing in


People tend to buy "0% sugar!" "FAT FREE" products when, in fact, you need fat. Sugar is what makes you "fat". The excess of unnecessary and unhealthy sugars are what gets stored as fat in your body. Your body needs HEALTHY FATS in order to LOSE weight.They keep you feeling full along with feeling SATISFIED. 
Avocados are such a yummy and good way to incorporate healthy fats into your diet. Nut butters too! But just remember that everything has to be in moderation. Healthy foods still have calories.

So, if you pick up anything that has ANY form of added sugars, splenda, anything white and ganulated, agave nectar (read previous post on that to understand WHY), high fructose corn syrup, PUT IT BACK DOWN! The easiest and most natural sweet treat you can have to kill a sugar craving is dates.
And by that, I mean putting it in your oatmeal, chopped up in some quinoa or amaranth, or eaten with a spoon of peanut butter (vegan snickers? Exactly that.). If you're not full vegan, drizzle some raw honey on your food (Just beware of not overdoing it).

Personally, I use Stevia to sweeten my teas, but remember that Stevia is still an EXTRACT that you can't be 100% sure of how it's processed unless the brand you're buying is certified organic and clean manufacturing.


I'm sure you've heard of the horror stories you or your friends have gone through when it comes to going out and having found a hair or something even less glamorous in their food. Why should you trust those in the kitchen preparing your food? You're just another number on the call list. When you prepare your own food, you know exactly what's going into it. What oils, what salts, the vegetables, the freshness. And why shouldn't you know this? 

The most difficult thing about this step is not going out to eat anymore. If you're invited out for a dinner, try to nibble on things that you KNOW can't be tampered with too much. And don't shy away from asking the hostess or waiter where exactly the ingredients come from and how they're prepared.

Then again, you can be told something is wild, or organic when it's not, so why risk it? Prepare your own food.
Take an hour out of your day to make a big vat of soup or salad, and eat it throughout the next few days.


Apart from EVOO (extra virgin olive oil, BUT make sure you don't heat it in any way or using it for cooking), and coconut oil (which is the only oil that can be used for cooking because it doesn't become toxic when used with high heat), oils are a big no no. Oil's toxicity and high fat content are shocking, especially if you're not paying attention to how much you're using daily. Stick to a little a day, and preferably organic, virgin coconut and olive oil.


Breads and wheat pastas/foods are fillers for what you're putting on top of them. I mean, would you ever just eat pasta on its own? No. They're void of any nutrition, hinder your digestion, and usually put you into a "food coma". Many people are gluten sensitive, so cutting gluten out of their diet always helps and is an amazing move forward in regards to health.

Instead, choose healthy options. I mentioned quinoa, amaranth, brown rice and brown rice pastas.
And instead of flours, choose brown rice flours, quinoa flours, coconut flour, almond flour, oat flour etc.


Pretty self explanatory. These days foods are pumped full of hormone disruptors and chemicals to make them "juicy" or "sweet" or "more flavorful". Ok, so next time you're biting into that chicken wing, try not to think about the fact that there are just as many chemicals in that one piece of meat than there are in a bottle of nail polish remover.

Anything you can't buy (or can't afford to buy) organic, can be bought local. Think about it, your food should naturally come from the surrounding area. And usually, the local foods you find at local and farmer's markets aren't sprayed with pesticides and "regulation safety measures". Do a quick search of local markets in your area and you can usually find someone who's willing to sell you some fresh eggs :)

These are some easy to follow guidelines that will GREATLY improve your lifestyle and every habits.
Trust me, just by taking a bit of time to look into what's good for my body, I've lost pounds of fat, gained muscle through training, and have fought off OCD and severe anxiety as well as BED and bulimia.

Curing yourself through food is the healthiest, easiest, and most satisfying way you can do it.
And yes, YOU CAN DO IT ;)

Stay fresh, stay fabtabulous, lots of love. 

Monday, 8 July 2013

Cheat Sheet: List of nutrients and their functions.

For those who tend to go "QUOI?" whenever they read up on certain health benefits of a certain some food or drink or other, this list should give you a heads up. You can refer back to this at any time.

Vitamin A
Potent antioxidant. Essential for immune system. Prevents night blindness. Aids in skin disorders and acne. Necessary for tissue repair and maintenance.

Vitamin C
Potent antioxidant . Vital for tissue growth and repair. Benefits immune system.

Vitamin E
Aids circulation. Vital for tissue repair and maintenance. Potent antioxidant. Useful in treating PMS, fibrocystic breast disease. Benefits immune system.

Vitamin B1
Essential for the function of the nervous system, heart muscles, and brain. Aids in the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.

Vitamin B2
Creates body tissue and red blood cells. Aids in the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Aids in treating osteoarthritis. Helps in the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Benefits digestion.

Vitamin B5
Aids in metabolizing fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Potent antioxidant. Enables adrenal gland function and nerve transmission. Helps production of red blood cells.

Biotin aids in cell growth, in fatty acid production, in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and in the utilization of the B-complex vitamins. Biotin also promotes healthy sweat glands, nerve tissue, and bone marrow.

Necessary for nerve transmission, gallbladder regulation, and liver function, choline also minimizes excess fat in the liver and aids in hormone production.

Is vital for hair growth. It helps prevent hardening of the arteries and helps remove fats from the liver.

Assists in blood clotting and regulates hormones, muscle contractions, and nerve
impulses. Strengthens bones and teeth.

Essential for bone and cartilage formation. Aids in sex hormone function. Activates enzymes for vitamins absorption. Necessary for metabolism of proteins, fats, and cholesterol.

Essential for immune function. Vital for hemoglobin production. Aids in energy production.

Antioxidant. Preventative against heart disease and cancer. Aids immune response. Needed for tissue elasticity.

Necessary for nervous system, hormone, and muscle function. Regulates blood pressure and controls heart activity. Balances water/sodium balance.

Essential for heart and muscle function. Vital for bone formation. Aids enzymatic systems.

Vital for healthy tissue repair and growth. Necessary for metabolism of calcium, vitamins, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Aids in energy production.

Helps to disinfect the blood and aids in the resistance of bacteria. It aids in oxidation reactions, stimulates bile secretions in the liver, and protects against toxic substances.

Amino Acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of life, joined together in chains that make up proteins. Proteins are a necessary part of every living cell in the body.
The DNA code that is inherent in every single cell is actually information regarding how to make that cell's proteins.
The proteins that make up the human body are not obtained directly from a person's diet.
Rather, a person ingests amino acids, which the body then uses to build the specific proteins it needs.
There are approximately 28 commonly known amino acids. These amino acids combine to form the hundreds of different proteins that make up all living things.
In the human body, the liver produces about 80% of the amino acids needed. The remaining 20% must come directly from the diet, and are thus called: essential amino acids.

Helps in the growth and repair of tissues. Is needed for the production of both red and white blood cells.

Necessary for hemoglobin formation. Stabilizes and regulates blood sugar and energy levels.

Protects muscle and acts as a fuel for the body. Promotes healing of bones, skin, and muscle tissue.

Building block for all protein. Helps calcium absorption and maintains a proper nitrogen balance in adults. Aids in the production of antibodies, hormones, and enzymes. Helps in collagen formation and tissue repair.

Assists in the breakdown of fats, preventing the build-up of fat in the liver and arteries. Aids the digestive system. Very beneficial for allergic chemical sensitivities and osteoporosis.

Aids liver function by helping to prevent fatty buildup. Enhances the immune system by aiding in the production of antibodies.

Cures insomnia, helps stabilize moods and is used by the brain to produce serotonin. Alleviates stress, aids the heart and helps with weight control.

Treats anxiety, depression, allergies and headaches. Acts as a mood elevator, suppresses the appetite and reduces body fat.

Stimulant effect. Enhances muscle metabolism, tissue repair and nitrogen balance.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Good Eats : Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Stuff 'em, dice 'em, fry 'em, bake 'em, mushrooms are pretty much one of the most versatile buggers to cook.

If you've ever subscribed to a health newsletter or read a few columns in a magazine, you'd know that "eating the rainbow" (meaning eating vegetables of colourful nature) is best for you.

HOWEVER, don't let the little egg-shell coloured bundles of joy be skipped on your shopping lists.

Portobello, button, shitake, naming these may make it sound like you've had one too many, but they're all super good for you, despite their lack of color.

They contain almost no fat, sugar, or salt, and are a great source of dietary fibre. They're chocked full with the 5 vitamin B's: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), and folate.
But the list doesn't stop there! Oh no...
They've got essential minerals such as potassium, copper, phosphorus, and iron.

The most surprising thing is that among their mineral content we can find selenium, which isn't found in many other vegetables and fruits. (Note: it's found in sunflower seeds as well).
Info on Selenium and why it's good for you : Selenium fact sheet    Selenium benefits

Similarly to cucumbers, mushrooms have a 90% water content, so adding them to soups or stews or salads (or other "s" foods) can fill you up without adding calories.

One thing you need to know is that mushrooms absorb EVERYTHING, so make sure that you're buying them from a reputable source. (or better, organic/local)

Another superfood ingredient is the SUMMER SQUASH. Also known as the baby marrow, or in Arabic "Cousa", this vegetable is surprisingly good for you.

It's full of vitamins and minerals that help fight cancer, inflammation, blood sugar spikes, and many many more. It's a rich source of vitamin A and C, magnesium, fibre, folate, riboflavin (sound familiar?), phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B6 and the list.goes.on!! On top of that, it's high in manganese:
a mineral that helps the body process fats, carbohydrates, and glucose.

And...for the ladies, it even helps with PMS symptoms! Read here and here for more squash info :)

And now, for the long awaited (albeit extremely easy) recipe for STUFFED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS!

Prep: 10 mins
Cooking time: 12 mins approx, depending on ingredients.
Baking time: 5-10 mins.

Portobello mushrooms (as many as you'd like, for this recipe, I did 3).
2-4 large red onions (doesn't matter how much you add, onions are delish and healthy).
Coconut oil (enough to sautee the veggies, about 3 tbspns for this recipe)
Summer squash (around 4-7, again, amount doesn't really matter, you'll just have to adjust cooking time)
Button mushrooms (two handfuls...or as much as you want.)
Frozen spinach (optional but delicious, I didn't have it this time but if you have it, ADD IT!)
Cayenne pepper (a good shake, but for those who don't like it, omit it)
1-2 organic stock cubes (I used herb and garlic stock cubes)
salt and pepper (to taste)
tspn of dried thyme.

Yes yes, the amounts aren't accurate, but I never measure. I cook by eye and I add/take out depending on taste and flavour. With these ingredients, the only difference is that you'll make more stuffing! And that goes very well with morning scrambled eggs, so no worries, my darlings.


Preheat oven to 180C

Wash and clean portobello mushrooms, taking a spoon and scooping out the flesh. Place "shells" into a baking dish.

Chop up the onions, mushrooms, and squash, and put aside for easy access.

Put the chopped onions into a large pan with 1 tbspn (a third) of the coconut oil. Put on medium high heat until it starts to lightly fry the onions. Put the heat down to medium and STIR every 30 seconds. Keep the onions moving so that they don't brown. We don't want burnt onions!

Sautée onions in coconut oil until softened and just transluscent.
Then, add in mushrooms and chopped marrow (and spinach if you have it). 

Cook down for about 10 mins. Keep stirring and add a good pinch of salt. This will release the water from the veggies, so in order not to let the veggies BOIL in their own water, make a little well in the centre of the pan, like this:

Add the organic stock cube, if you have it, and cook down, adding a splash of water if you need it. Spice with the thyme and cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.
Cook down until it's not releasing any water, but not dry and burnt.

Have you noticed that we don't want to burn anything? Yeah, that's cooking.

Take a shell, and stuff the filling in. Place back in the dish and put into the oven for 10 mins.

Once you hear the DING!, take out the dish, let it cool for a few mins and then serve it up! :)

The stuffing can be used for soups (another upcoming recipe for when you have extra stuffing), or put in an omelette for a DELICIOUS breakfast, and a bunch of other things!

Bon apetit, smacznego!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Cheat Sheet : Clean Baking Substitutes

For many of us, cupcakes and cookies and brownies (oh my!) are a dime a dozen, albeit de-li-cious;

But when you're finding yourself in the kitchen every other day looking to pop a bun in the oven you might want to slow down on the unhealthy flours and sugars for obvious reasons.

I have been using a fantastic cheat sheet that I think should be places on every person's kitchen.

Behold! The Baker's healthy baking cheat sheet!

Might I add that I don't agree/use with a few of the substitutions (any processed sugars/dairy-> only if raw and organic), but I'm not the one who came up with this list, so bear with me.

Besides, if you're just getting into clean eating then you should make a smooth transition, not jump into it not knowing which way is up.

Enjoy! And if you have any other clean cheats, let us know!

Click HERE for the high res photo (readable)

Monday, 1 July 2013

If it ain't sweet, it's Bitte (part 2) AKA: The Bitte truth.

Agave agave agave. The modern day foodie's sweet tooth savior? Not exactly.

Agave has gotten a rep for being the ultimate healthy sweetener because it's from a cactus and is low on the glycemic index.

Well, guess what?
Cacti are pricks. And that's not just a puntabulous play on words (or is it?...).

You may think that since it comes from a natural plant then it's tooootally safe, right? I mean, come on, if it's from a plant then it's safe?

Please. Haven't you watched Into the Wild? He eats the wrong berry and he dies. A berry.
Nature's got its own shi to deal with so let's not assume things.

Anywho, the cactus itself isn't an evil evil thing, it's just how the nectar is processed.

Yup, that's right, it's processed to the point where it contains more concentrated fructose than HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), and that's a scary thing.

Before I can even begin to explain what the dirty details are with Agave, you have to be familiarized with the horrible and evil side effects that HFCS does to your body, which is why this post is going to be super long. 

Maybe not super long, but it will be filled with lots of quotes and explanations that you should read if you want to know the truth behind the aching sweet tooth.


What is it?

High fructose corn syrup is an industrial food product and far from “natural” or a naturally occurring substance. The sugars are extracted through a chemical enzymatic process resulting in a chemically and biologically novel compound called HFCS. 

Some basic biochemistry will help you understand this. Regular cane sugar (sucrose) is made of two-sugar molecules bound tightly together– glucose and fructose in equal amounts.The enzymes in your digestive tract must break down the sucrose into glucose and fructose, which are then absorbed into the body. HFCS also consists of glucose and fructose, not in a 50-50 ratio, but a 55-45 fructose to glucose ratio in an unbound form. 

Fructose is sweeter than glucose. And HFCS is cheaper than sugar because of the government farm bill corn subsidies. Products with HFCS are sweeter and cheaper than products made with cane sugar. This allowed for the average soda size to balloon from 8 ounces to 20 ounces with little financial costs to manufacturers but great human costs of increased obesity, diabetes, and chronic disease.

Now back to biochemistry. Since there is there is no chemical bond between them, no digestion is required, so they are more rapidly absorbed into your blood stream. Fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol). This is why it is the major cause of liver damage in this country and causes a condition called "fatty liver," which affects 70 million people. The rapidly absorbed glucose triggers big spikes in insulin -- our body's major fat storage hormone. Both of these features of HFCS lead to increased metabolic disturbances that drive increases in appetite, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and more.

AGAVE SYRUP - What's the dealio?

Agave “nectar” is not made from the sap of the yucca or agave plant but from the starch of the giant pineapple-like, root bulb. The principal constituent of the agave root is starch, similar to the starch in corn or rice, and a complex carbohydrate called inulin, which is made up of chains of fructose molecules.Technically a highly indigestible fiber, inulin, which does not taste sweet, comprises about half of the carbohydrate content of agave.

So what's wrong with it?

The process by which agave glucose and inulin are converted into “nectar” is similar to the process by which corn starch is converted into HFCS. The agave starch is subject to an enzymatic and chemical process that converts the starch into a fructose-rich syrup—anywhere from 70 percent fructose and higher according to the agave nectar chemical profiles posted on agave nectar websites.


I mean, if you take 10 minutes to read up on HFCS and the other additives the food industry pumps into your food, you'll understand and know a lot more about the effects and harms it does to your body.

What we can understand from all of this is the common link between Agave and HFCS: Fructose.

All in itself and when digested naturally (from fruit), it's safe, but because HFCS and Agave are processed in such a way that they contain such an insanely high percentage of fructose that it slowly poisons our bodies.

I highly highly recommend that you read more about the dangers of HFCS HERE.


I mean, do you really need me to tell you?

Keep to other NATURAL options. Honey (as long as you don't over do it, the higher glycemic index thing shouldn't be a problem.), coconut sugar, stevia (see previous post)... 

One of my favourite things to sweeten desserts/foods with is dates. Chewy, sweet, satisfying! 

As long as you do your research before putting it into your body, you'll be fine.

           And that's...the Bitte truth. -awkward shuffle around the room-

Hah, nah, just eat clean, allow yourself to fall every now and then, and be AWARE.