10 OF MY KITCHEN MUST-HAVES!

Happy Tuesday! ( doesn’t it always feel like just a second Monday?) Hope you’ve all had a great weekend. This post is going to be dedicated to all those foodies who may suffer from intolerances/allergies or just want ‘healthier’ options. I say healthier in quotation marks as some of the below products may not be the most wholesome of foods when comparing them to 100% organic, GMO free, low glycemic, low fat, low carb blah blah blah. BUT, they are definitely some of the products my kitchen AND taste buds can’t live without. I feel that these products are great substitutes for when you’re craving junk foods and are helping me make better choices on the road to better health.

Okay, so lets get started.

  1. Lemon and cucumber water 

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I am completely obsessed with water infusions! I’m not one of those people who finds it hard drinking copious amounts of water, but water + fruit = heaven. Not only does lemon and cucumber water alkalize the body, which aids in your body functioning at its optimal level, but its also packed with Vitamin C, antioxidants and silica making it an amazing immune system booster and a nice energy boost. It will also cleanse toxins as well as purify the liver and digestion (great for those party animals!)

2. CHOCOLATE!

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Okay, who doesn’t love chocolate? When I was living in London I developed this really unhealthy habit of HAVING to have something sweet after lunch and dinner to cleanse my palette so to say. This 72% dark chocolate bar is made of organic cocoa beans, organic coconut blossom sugar and organic cocoa butter. It is suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and is organic, wheat-free, gluten free, soya free, dairy free, nut free, low GI and all natural! It is especially high in Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron; a delightfully natural source of the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C. BEAUT!

3. Himalayan salt

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Pink Himalayan salt boosts 84 naturally occurring minerals and is an unrefined, unprocessed “raw” salt that’s hand-mined from salt caves that were formed 250 million years ago. The many benefits of Himalayan salt includes effective detoxification purposes, (and has been proven to be much more effective than white table salt versions) lowering your blood pressure, aids you in replenishing the loss of electrolytes, banishing sinus and respiratory conditions and improving the condition of your sleep. I use Himalayan salt when seasoning my food, but the two most uses for this salt for me is straight after incredibly sweaty exercise classes and for gargling a mixture of water and himalayan salt when I have a sore or phlegmy throat. It works wonders!

4. DAIRY FREE ICE CREAM 

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At first I was a little hesitant to try a dairy free ice cream, but after tasting it, you can see why this vegan ice-cream is stocked in numerous stores around Hong Kong. All Happy Cow ice creams are dairy free, soy free, gluten free and low glycemic. They have a coconut cream base and offer 25 flavours ranging from chocolate chilli to strawberry shortcake. These ice creams really are the SHIZZ.

5. HERBAL TEA 

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There is nothing better than coming home after a long day at work and settling down with a herbal tea. I use the wild apple and cinnamon with ginger when i’m craving something sweet, the warming camomile and spiced apple(camomile has a very calming effect on the body, allowing for a more restful sleep) before I go to sleep and the peppermint infusion for when my intolerances are acting up and I am sporting a sexy bloated stomach.

6. Brown rice pasta

Even though these pastas are still processed, they are however perfect for people with gluten and wheat intolerances. They are just as delicious as white or whole wheat pasta , however, the texture may need some getting used to. Brown rice pasta = happy tummy.

7. Water Kefir (pronounced keh-FEER) 

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The ultimate probiotic. The grains in water kefir are made up of various strains of healthy bacteria and yeast. The healthy bacteria that feeds on the “bad” unhealthy bacteria in our stomach and intestines. It is suitable for vegans as it provides an excellent source of vitamin B12, and is high in vitamins B1 and B6.

8. Roasted chickpeas

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yum, yum, yum, yum, yum. I do normally make my own roasted chickpeas, but when I’m short of time, I usually pick up some of these store bought bad boys! Chickpeas have become a regular in my diet since giving up poultry and they contain healthy protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Some good flavour combinations for roasted chickpeas are cayenne pepper & Manuka honey, simple salt and pepper and cinnamon.

9. Soy sauce and apple cider vinegar 

Living in Asia, it can be a nightmare ordering Chinese food when soy sauce has a such a high gluten content. Everything is coated in the stuff. However, my local health food store has just started stocking gluten free soy sauce and this is music to my ears! This calls for some homemade fried rice and noodles.

Now Apple Cider Vinegar is my go to salad dressing. I could live off the stuff. Apple cider vinegar has many uses. It can help dissolve kidney stones, detoxify the body, relieve allergies and heartburn as well as help kill cancer cells or slow their growth. It wards off the flu, lowers cholesterol, soothes bug bites and clears skin. A good time all around.

10. Granola & Almond Milk – 

Anything But Salad’s Life Rawnola is Organic and includes dehydrated clusters of sprouted buckwheat groats, almonds, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. It is GF, a good source of protein and fibre as well as high levels of antioxidants. Paired with some almond milk, it makes an easy and nutritious breakfast.

What foods are your everyday go-to’s?

 

 

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Home is where the warmth is..

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After a year and a half in London, my boyfriend and I have packed up and returned to the 852! Hong Kong to me is not only my birthplace, my home, my happy place. I had a great time in London and was so grateful to be able to meet some amazing new people as well as catch up with my high school expat brat mates. I got to chance to live in Bayswater, Clapham and Camden and travel around Spain, Greece and Belgium as well as the UK.

I’m a big believer in the idea that your environment shapes everything in your life. That includes people, work, temperature and even scenery. As time went on, I started to get the itch to be back in my natural habitat, humidity, pollution and all. I’ve always known I was an extremely seasonal person and that my wellbeing is dependent on it but after constant chronic fatigue, lack of motivation, a weight gain of a stone and a half (damn you UK street food and dominos!) and a handful of health issues, I couldn’t get back quick enough.

After a very turbulent journey back to HK, we were greeted with a lovely 6 day storm which allowed us to get over probably the worst jet lag we’ve had to date. Its now been 7 weeks since we’ve landed and moved back home and I’m really enjoying seeing old places and faces. I joined my old gym, The HIT room, and have thrown myself into Body Pump, Grit strength and Plyo, hiking and even a little cross fit.

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I feel myself getting fitter as each day goes by but I have always struggled keeping my nutrition in check. I have found it very hard to completely cut out all of my intolerances and enjoy the food i’m consuming but with each week that goes by, I have made small changes which have kept me on the right track. I have also chosen to limit the alcohol I consume as lets be honest, It turns me into the worst possible version of myself (with no filter!) as well as leaves me with 3 day hangovers and palpitations resulting in bad food choices and extreme laziness. Its been tough during social events to not want to keep up with others and i have slipped up a few times..which is sometimes easier trying to explain to young adults that you don’t actually enjoy binge drinking.

It’s been great to be able to have the time to cook meals and try out some new recipes.

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Last month, My mother and I went to a 3 hour seminar at I-Detox where we were taught how to make healthier breakfast alternatives. At only $199 for the session, I came back having learnt (and tested!) a variety of options. Almond Milk (unsweetened and cacao mint), Nut Cheese, Overnight oats and GF breakfast muffins to name a few. I’ve attempted most of the recipes and have found that Cashew Nut Cheese has got to be my favourite! With it being so easy to make and 100% Dairy and Lactose free, I would happily substitute this cheese for any creamy cheese.

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I started out with soaking a cup of Cashew nuts over night to allow them to soak in the water (which will allow a more creamier taste.) After around 10 hours soaking, I drained the water and added my cashews to the blender. I then went on to add 2 probiotics capsules and oregano and cajun seasoning. With half a cup of water added, I blended the mixture until smooth. Using a nut milk bag or a old (unopened!) pair of tights. I placed the mixture in and squeezed out all the excess residue. I let the mixture set for around 10 hours until it represented a firm ball shape. For a less time consuming recipe, blend the soaked cashews and eat as a more hummus type texture.

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Another one of my favourite healthier alternatives I have recently become OBSESSED with, is French Toast! As I can’t say I ever had French Toast as I child, I feel that I have been trying to catch up on missed time. Try this recipe whenever you’re feeling like a treat.

1.Crack open 2 egg whites and 1 egg yolk and whisk
2. Add 2 tsp of Chia seeds and whisk until mixed
3. Heat 2 tsp of Coconut Oil in a frying pan (instead of butter or oil)
4. Dip your slices of Rye Bread into the eggy, chia seed mixture and place in the frying pan to cook.
5. When slightly browning, take out of pan and use 1 tsp of Agave Nectar to cover (instead of honey or maple syrup)
Add Blueberries or strawberries for extra sweetness.

GF & DF Spicy, Saucy, Soft Shell Fish Tacos!

I can’t fathom the fact that it was near 30 degrees in London for multiple days in March and now in the middle of May, the sun is shining, the wind is blowing and I’m still in a jumper! I’m really going to miss the clean fresh air here in the UK but I am certainly looking forward to going back to the heat (smog?) of Hong Kong. As I have yet to embody that summer excitement as the warm months draw nearer, I thought it would be a great time to make my SPICY, SAUCY, SOFT SHELL FISH TACOS (not to mention they are also gluten-free, wheat free, dairy free, egg free, soy free AND full of flavour!

After binging on all the gyros, feta and wine during my trip to Santorini, I have found it hard to get back into the rhythm of watching what I eat and I have definitely started to feel the effects. The headaches are back, the lack of energy has peered its ugly face, I am constantly fatigued at all hours of the day and not to mention the fact that my stomach and face is so bloated I could easily be mistaken for an 8 month pregnant lady. At no fault but my own, it’s time to cut the excuses and give my body back the love it gives to me! I opted for some Tilapia fillets as my local Waitrose didn’t have the largest selection. Sole, red snapper, grouper, halibut or cod also work well. Whatever tickles your fancy. I seasoned the Tilapia with cumin, chilli, paprika, coriander, parsley and a splash of lime juice and placed in the oven for 15 minutes at 200°C.

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Whilst the Tilapia is baking, I prepared my toppings. I wanted to create a balance between spice, sweetness and a buttery flavour. (Avocado makes a great butter alternative and It is loaded with healthy fats, fibre and various important nutrients) IMG_8799

Toppings: I diced some cherry tomatoes, cut some cabbage and watermelon, grilled some red onion and picked some coriander.

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Sauce: I blended 2 avocados with fresh lime juice, almond milk and jalapeños for the spicy creamy sauce.

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For the taco shells I used soft corn tortillas by Cool Chile Co. They are 100% gluten free and contain nixtamalised ground maize, water and sea salt. I absolutely love them and they don’t leave you feeling groggy after.

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Taco: Heat a dry pan until medium hot. Warm each side of the tortilla until toasty but still soft. Lastly, add your toppings and enjoy!

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K

A Foodies WORST Nightmare

All my life I have suffered with severe fatigue, bloatedness, lack of energy, headaches, joint pains, dizziness…you name it, I experience it on a daily basis. I can’t actually remember the last time I woke up feeling refreshed with at least one or more of the symptoms above. After trying to live a healthier life, exercising regularly and educating myself on nutrition, I had hoped to see improvements. Frustratingly enough, after completing an intolerance test, my worst nightmare has peered it’s evil little head.  I’m going to have to be one of those Gluten Free, Dairy free assholes. 

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My report came back and I have a long list of Intolerance’s Ranging above 90%. Wheat, dairy, egg whites, soy, flaxseed, lentils, rye,  lettuce (who on earth is intolerant to five different types of LETTUCE?) green beans, sheep & cows milk. This concludes that I will no longer get to indulge in the food of gods…. cheese. Bread. No pizza, no chocolate, no eggs, no bakery items, only a small number of sauces, only a small number of meats as wheat flour or soy is literally in everything! #$%!^&!!! 

After cutting out all the above and spending countless minutes reading the ingredients of every single food item I laid my hands on, I started to feel great. I was sleeping well (apart from the occasional disturbances from my snorlax boyfriend), bursting with energy and wasn’t really experiencing any symptoms, bar anger and frustration. However, by day 5, my body was experiencing withdrawal symptoms and turning me into a complete and utter psycho. I felt angry at the world for no particular reason and I felt like I was truly craving processed crap like my life depended on it. Since then, I have had a large number of weak moments which have resulted in painful symptoms for the next 2-3 days.

After attempting to eliminating my intolerances for the second time, I have purchased Deliciously Ella’s book for some inspiration. Her book is filled with gorgeous looking recipes, full of colour, with a number of alternatives to your favourite junk food items. I would highly recommend this book to everyone and anyone interested in nutrition and clean eating. Although you’ll need a good trip (and pricey one at that) to your nearest WholeFoods or local organic shop, her recipes are all pretty simple! Check them out here, http://deliciouslyella.com 

Below I attempted her Sweet Potato Brownies –

Ingredients - sweet potato, medjool dates, ground almonds, spelt flour, raw cacao powder, organic 100% pure maple syrup.
Ingredients – sweet potato, medjool dates, ground almonds, brown rice flour, raw cacao powder, organic 100% pure maple syrup.

and an inspired version of her blueberry muffins…..

Ingredients: Brown rice flour, ground cinnamon, almond milk, ground almonds, fresh blueberries and 100% organic maple syrup
Ingredients: Brown rice flour, ground cinnamon, almond milk, ground almonds, fresh blueberries and 100% organic maple syrup

and for all you pancake lovers, who actually can consume egg (weehh) and you’re craving a full english on a sunday morning, try this healthier breakfast alternative my boyfriend & I created –

Quinoa flakes, 2 egg whites, almond milk and chia seeds, topped with blueberries. Nom dot com! (Ignore the bacon, naaat so healthy!)
Quinoa flakes, 2 egg whites, almond milk and chia seeds, topped with blueberries. Nom dot com! (Ignore the bacon, naaat so healthy!)