Nutrition has been in the news a lot recently thanks to a certain celebrity chef and his promotion of a paleo diet. I have read the conversations with interest and may have added in a bit of banter myself. In this space I would like to place the science aside (Not that it's not important, but because I don't think it belongs on this recipe sharing personal blog) and think about whether this type of diet fits into your lifestyle or makes sense to you. I guess the main gripe I have is that this celebrity chef is trying to tout it as the only acceptable diet for everyone and that the current dietary guidelines are flawed and should be changed.
I feel paleo diet can work for some people but it's definitely not a diet for everyone. As far as fad diets are concerned this one is probably not as harmful as say, the lemon detox diet. In fact I agree with many of the principles of eating whole unprocessed foods however eliminating food groups for no particular reason just doesn't sit well with me or most of my patients.
I am lucky that I work in a hospital in the sense that most of the people I see aren't on some bizarre restrictive diet. However I have come across some of the more extreme effects fad diets can have.
Recently I saw an elderly lady on a very restrictive diet which had led to her becoming very malnourished. When I spoke to her family about this they were very adamant to change her diet and felt I was certainly pushing her closer to death with my recommendations. No matter how much I listened, explained, demonstrated to them they were certain that they were right and I was wrong.
It makes me wonder if it's a waste of time for me to
argue converse with the converted. If consequences of a poor diet were staring at people in the face and they choose to ignore it, what hope do I have when people are only faced with success stories? It disheartens me a little...
Something that does warm me up is weekend breakfast. Recently I've been trying my hand at baked oats, a winter version of my overnight oats. I like to have it when the top is crunchy but the bottom is still soft and creamy. It doesn't need added honey or sugar with the dried and fresh fruit adding sweetness. This recipe is not grain free or dairy free but still very wholesomely good for you. My apologies for the lack of measurements but you can't really go wrong with this one!
Baked Pear Oats
Cooking Time: 15mins
- Milk (or other milk alternative)
- Chia seeds
- Nut butter
- 1/2 pear, thinly sliced
- 1 date cut up into small chunks
- Sprinkle of pepita seeds
- Sprinkle of sultanas
- Mix all the ingredients together in an ovenproof bowl. Make sure the milk only just covers the oats.
- You can either leave it to soak for a few minutes while you get ready then put it in the oven or pop it straight into the oven at 170 degrees celcius.
- Remove the bowl from the oven with some oven mitts when the top is crunchy and lightly brown (roughly 15mins)
Blueberry+ chia seeds + peanut butter overnight oats
I've been a little obsessed with overnight oats lately. Coupled with fruits it is bringing me true joy almost every morning before work. As summer fruits are exiting the scene but the summer heat is not, I'm still taking great comfort in a nice cold bowl of oats.
You see previously I'd always put off making overnight oats because I didn't have a cute jar to mix it all up in and leave in the fridge but I didn't even need one! I just mixed it all in a bowl, cover and leave in the fridge overnight. Easy peasy.
This recipe keeps me full for 4-5hrs.
Tuesday and Wednesday mornings are my busiest at work and I just don't have time to have a mid morning snack. Lets just say I've had some embarrassing stomach grumbling moments... (borborygmi is happily my fav word and also the scientific word for stomach rumbles ;))
With the start of 2014 I had jumped on the new years resolution making bandwagon. One of my top resolutions was to be kinder to myself. This meant many things for me: being more active, leaving work on time, taking time out for myself and making sure I'm not frantically hungry while working.
Waking up early in the morning has always been something I struggled with so trying to make a good filling breakfast can sometimes be difficult. Especially when I don't like cereal... Overnight oats all done up the night before has been a saviour on busy mornings. It's made my stomach much more content and meant that I have a clearer mind to better help my patients every morning. Win-win.
The other great thing about overnight oats is you can dress it up in a bajillion topping combinations. Here's the base recipe to making beautiful overnight oats:
Preparation Time: 10mins
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla yoghurt
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- 2 tsp nut butter
- Fruit toppings
- Sprinkle of dried fruit or toasted nuts
- Mix all the ingredients together, making sure the oats are adequately covered in liquid.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate.
- Top with fruit
|Per bowl: 1545kJ, 15.1g protein, 12g total fat, 2.9g saturated, 45g carbohydrates, 73mg sodium, 7.2g fibre (calculations do not include fruit toppings and dried fruit or nuts)|
Cherries + toasted pepitas
Mangoes + lychee + sultanas + peanut butter + chia seeds
Strawberries + blueberries + almond nut butter + sultanas
Flaxseed + berries + chia
Persimmons + flaxseed + peanut butter
Grilled plums + sultanas + almonds + dessicated coconuts + chia seeds
Frozen pineapple + almonds + dessicated coconut + chia seeds
So the last time I posted anything was in June....
Work kind of got on top of me and I spent more time in the kitchen than posting things online. Also people at work now know about this blog and it's all a little embarrassing... Hello everyone from physio department!
I made this cake a few weeks ago for a colleague's farewell lunch and then again last Sunday for father's day. Since the cake was well received and I've had a few requests for the recipe I thought I'll post it up here.
Lemon Yoghurt Almond Cake
Preparation Time: 20mins
Cooking Time: 20mins
Adapted from: Everyday Cook
- 100g butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 160g vanilla yoghurt
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 cups almond meal
- 100g wholemeal flour or gluten free flour
- Syrup: 2tbs lemon juice, 50g caster sugar
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 20cm tin with baking paper.
- Beat butter and sugar together until pale and creamy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add yoghurt and lemon zest and beat until combined.
- Fold in the almond meal and flour until combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Sprinkle almonds on top
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking make the syrup. Heat lemon juice with caster sugar in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens into a syrup (2-3mins on medium heat)
- Pour the hot lemon syrup over warm cake and then cool the cake in the pan.
I've also tried this recipe using hazelnut meal with great success as seen below. If you are expecting a fluffy light cake, this is not it. This is a dense, rich, sticky cake where only a sliver is needed to satisfy that cake craving.
First I have to apologise. For keeping this muesli bar recipe to myself for too long.
You see this is a fantastic recipe that I've been using to make delectable muesli bars to impress people and then promising them the recipe but never giving it....
It's super easy with very little prep time unless you're like me and picking specific seeds out of a seed mix packet.....
I've made 2 variations of these now. One that's shown below and another even nuttier and sweeter one for a hike I did. The recipes are fairly fail safe and even my first batch that I made with whatever I fancied thrown in turned out great!
Nutty Oat Muesli Bars
Makes: 16 bars
Preparation Time: 15min
Cooking Time: 20mins
- 5 fresh dates
- 1/3 cup dried apricots
- ½ cup mixed nuts/seeds (I used pepita, sunflower, almonds)
- 2 tbsp walnuts
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 tbsp sultanas
- 1 tbs desiccated coconut
- 2 tbs LSA
- 3 ½ tbs natural nut butter (I used organic peanut butter)
- 3 tbs honey
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius
- Line a rectangular baking tray with baking paper. This is a trick I learnt from Jamie Oliver: Scrunch up the baking paper into a ball and run it under water. Shake off the excess and it will be super easy to line any tray!
- Roughly chop up the dates, apricots, almonds and walnuts into smaller pieces.
- Combine the ingredients in step 3 with the oats, sultanas, coconut and LSA in a bowl and stir to mix.
- Mix the nut butter, honey, vanilla essence, brown sugar and water over the stove until melted and it forms a sticky syrup.
- Mix half of the syrup into the bowl of dry ingredients.
- Place the muesli mixture into the baking tray and spread it with a spoon to all the corners of the tray
- Pour the remaining syrup onto the muesli, making sure there's no more dry muesli mix.
- Cut another piece of baking paper around the same size as the tray and lay it over the tray. Press on the muesli mixture to compact it.
- Place the tray in the oven uncovered and bake for 20mins or until the top is golden brown and smelling delicious.
- Once the tray is removed from the oven, use the baking paper from step 9 to press the muesli again.
- Do not take the muesli out of the tin as it will crumble.
- Leave to cool in the tray and cut into slices once fully cooled.
As you can see the bar is packed with quite a lot of energy compared to say a fruit or low fat yoghurt snack but this will definitely keep you full! This snack is high in protein and fibre and packs a good punch of unsaturated fats. If you use unsalted nuts and natural nut butters like me the sodium will be very low as well.
I also made a batch with some wheat flakes from cereal which added a good crunch to it as well. The batch I made for a hike kept me energised and going for several hours! I also pop these in a zip lock bag to take to work or crumble them to top my yoghurt for some different texture.
Okay It's been a little while since I last updated on my Taiwan holiday. So here's a nice reminder of how amazing Taiwan looks:
On our second day with Taiwan Holidays we headed up the mountains to Alishan National Scenic Area (阿里山國家風景區). This is one of the "eight wonders of Taiwan" and an area known for cypress trees, sakura, high mountain tea and the girls of Alishan. I remember the song "Ālǐshān de gūniang" or "The Girls of Alisan" was a popular song my parents would sign with friends over some alcohol and karaoke and a song I frequently heard at every Chinese culture type event! "The Girls of Alisan" refer to the beauty of the girls in the aboriginal tribe living in Alishan; their beauty attributed to the clean water and environment.
After our visit up the mountain, we took a bus ride down to have some tea.
We taste tested two types of oolong tea, both grown in the mountains of Alishan. The demonstration lady asked us to taste one type of tea and asked us what it reminded us of. It had a fragrance like milk! She explained that the expired yoghurts from the supermarkets are collected and used as a type of fertiliser for the tea trees and the tea takes on that milky flavour! It was fascinating and a nice cup of tea during winter was what my tired legs needed.
After our trekking morning and afternoon we re-boarded the bus and went to Kaohsiung 高雄: The largest municipality in Taiwan.
Ok you've probably had enough sightseeing now and am wondering about the food! Of course this is a blog about food and nutrition so I'm pleased to say we visited Liuhe Night Markets (六合夜市). One of the largest night markets in Taiwan. This place was insanely packed!
I didn't take many other photos as night markets also involve strolling and eating and buying too much food at once and not having any hands to hold a camera....
Truth be told, this was probably my least favourite night market. It was just so crowded! The problem with going on tours is you have a time limit at each location. For this market we had 2hrs which isn't nearly enough! The lines on some of the stalls were insanely long. Our tour guide said to go to any place that had a long line as Taiwanese people love to line up for good food! I lined up for one store and it was so long I gave up and then proceeded to have lost the rest of my family. I ended up spending the remaining 15mins looking for my parents! I guess that could be a reason why I didn't enjoy this market!
There is one must try food though! Papaya milk tea. There is a store called Zheng's old brand papaya milk that has a really long line. It serves up amazing papaya milk tea that's endorsed by the president of Taiwan. Best drink of the trip, truly. This is a blog I came across when researching Taiwan and there's a lot of good photos and food recommendations for Liuhe Night market (as well as other places in Taiwan.)
Next up: The day I got really ill in Taiwan.... or I might just skip to the amazing Taroko Gorge photos ;)
The information presented on this blog acts as general nutrition advice and is not tailored to meet individual needs. It should not be used as a replacement for any medical advice you have recieved from medical practitioners. Please discuss any concerns for your health with your doctor or Accredited Practicing Dietitian before starting a new dietary or exercise regime as they can give more personalised recommendations.
I make every effort to ensure information on Nutrition with Wendy is correct and up to date however nutrition is an evolving field and discrepancies can arise. If the information here appears incorrect or out of date please let me know and I will do my best to update my posts.