Recipe: Mango Salads

I wanted to share 2 recipes today on one of my favourite foods of summer: Mangoes!

After the last post about Nok Nok I had an intense desire to make Thai Green Mango Salad and as luck would have it someone had gifted us some!

I did a quick search on green mango salads online and mashed together a few recipes that took my fancy and ingredients were available in my fridge.

Green Mango Salad

  • 1 small handful of dried shrimp (around 1 1/2 tbsps)
  • 1 green mango (peeled and sliced or grated)
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 birds eye chili (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander/cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 green onion (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts (chopped)
  • 3/4 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • zest of 1 small lime 
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  1. Mix the mango, bean sprouts, chili, green onion, dried shrimp and corriander in a large bowl.
  2. Mix fish sauce, lime juice, lime zest and sugar in a small bowl.
  3. Toss the salad with the dressing and serve garnished with the peanuts.

Look at this beautiful dish! This will be a flavour explosion in your mouth and with only 3 steps what could be easier? The salad can serve as a healthy and refreshing lunch during the summer or anytime of the day. For those who have never tried green mango salad or would give it a pass just imagine the flavour and texture of this dish in your mouth right now. The soft sweetness of the mango, the crunchy fresh bean sprouts, the flavoursome coriander, the spicy chilli, the crunchy roasted peanuts, the salty and fishy shrimp and fish sauce, the tangy sour lime and the sweet sugar all combined together in one dish. Heavenly!


Prawn, Asparagus, Mango and Avocado Salad

I first saw this salad shared on Twitter and knew I just HAD to make it! It had a lot of my favourite ingredients! Sadly it was the middle of the night and I was already in bed so I bookmarked the link for another day. That night I couldn't stop thinking about it and in the morning I recruited the ingredients from my fridge to make this beautiful salad.

  • 500g prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 2 mangos, peeled and flesh cut into bite sized cubes
  • 1 avocado, peeled and cut into bite sized cubes
  • 1 small bunch baby asparagus, lightly steamed, cut into small lengths
  • small sprig snow pea sprouts, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon walnut pieces
  • a few tiny baby cos lettuce leaves, rinsed, pat dry
  • black pepper

  • Juice of 2 limes (including 1 teaspoon finely chopped lime zest)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 Birdseye chilli, finely chopped, seeds removed
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  1. If you are using green prawns, cook the prawns in gently boiling salted water until the colour changes to pink. Prawns don't take long to cook, so be careful not to overcook them. Set aside to chill in the refrigerator. Or if you are using cooked prawns, simply peel and devein, then chill them while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. To make the dressing, combine the lime juice, lime zest, coriander, chilli, honey and olive oil in a small jug and whisk lightly. 
  3. Arrange the lettuce on serving plates. Top with the mango, avocado and asparagus, then arrange the prawns over the top. Sprinkle the dressing over the salad, top with the walnut pieces and snow pea sprigs. Season with pepper. Serve immediately.

This salad was really fresh and lovely as well and my family really enjoyed having fruit in a salad. As the weather gets warmer I often find myself uninspired to cook or eat cooked foods so salads are really quick and easy during these times. I was too eager to make the 2 salads above and didn't get a chance to measure the kilojoule content of the dishes but they are definitely low kilojoule, low fat healthy meals. What's also great about salads is anyone can make them out of anything! Put in lots of vegetables and then add in a protein source like meat, chicken, legumes etc to make it more satisfying!

I have officially graduated from my course a couple of weeks ago! I am now a fully qualified Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD). It's all very exciting and yet nerve wracking trying to figure out what to do with myself now, so I'm taking a holiday! I'll be going away to China for a lovely 3 weeks break with my family tomorrow. We'll be touring multiple cities across China so look forward to many food and travel posts ahead. The weather will be the polar opposite from Australia (though if this rain continues it might be quite similar) so I won't be having any salads! I can't wait to absorb in all the food and culture!

Hope everyone has a lovely and safe Christmas and New Year.

Restaurant Review: Nok Nok Thai Eating House

About a month ago some friends and I went to check out the new Darling Quarter on its opening day. It was quite a dreary rainy day but nothing comes between a bunch of girls and new restaurants and cool children's playground equipment. Sadly the playground equipment was wet and was dominated by children much smaller than us so we explored the restaurants.

All the restaurants in Darling Quarter had lovely interior designs and it was so hard to pick which to eat at! We settled for Nok Nok for its crisp white interior (but mostly for its mains priced at <$20).

So clean and pretty!

Nok Nok does dine in and takeaway. The menu is quite extensive with over 70 items! What's also great is they indicate how spicy their food is. And specify if the dish is spicy or just the sauce. They also offer substitutes if you can't handle to heat which I think is mighty sweet of them. There were 7 vegetarian options. We had a really hard time deciding what to eat and decided to order a number of things. A little too much I have to say....

Mixed starter plate $15.90

This had 2 pieces each of: gai haw bai toey (baked chicken wrapped in pandan leaf), fish cake, chicken satay, ka nom jeeb (steamed pork and prawn wonton) and spring rolls.

The pandan wrapped chicken was quite interesting and I never say no to satay sticks but otherwise there wasn't much out of the ordinary. What I love about the entree dishes is there was quite a few to choose from, and there were quite a few healthy dishes. What I find with Thai restaurants is there is often too much fried foods. At Nok Nok there were quite a few grilled, baked and steamed entree options which is refreshing to see.

Tum Mamuang: Green mango salad $12.90

I love mangoes (Yes it's mango season right now) and this salad is no exception. It was divine! Nok Nok had 8 salads to choose from and from the names they all seem like good healthy choices. Salads are great to have when it's hot and you just want something light. As you can see they're of a decent size and won't make you look like a rabbit munching on green leaves.

After the entree and salad one of my friends already declared she was full! But there were still mains to come!

Guay Teow Kua Gai: Bangkok's Chinatown favourite. Stir fried thick rice noodle with chicken,egg, calamari, lettuce and light soy sauce. Served with sriracha chilli sauce. %14.90

This is the dish I chose and I had made a bad decision nutrition wise! This dish was very low on veggies as you can see from the lack of colour. They did offer a generous amount of chicken and calamari and the noodles were of a lovely texture but I found the dish too salty.

This is a dish which I forgot the name of... I remember it was duck in soup... and I see bean sprouts.

I think this was Chicken Pad Si-Ewe: Fried thick rice noodle with chicken, egg, Chinese broccoli in sweet double soy sauce.

If you're looking for fried noodles this would be a much better choice with the addition of Chinese broccoli.

After lunch we were quite stuffed and took a long walk around Darling Harbour before going to Lindt cafe for some dessert hehe.

As a dietitian I'm not big on depriving myself of wonderful food. Often when I eat out I order the food that appeals to me the most which might not necessarily be the healthiest option. Of course home made food is often healthier so by choosing to eat out I am already stepping into a mine of unhealthy options.

A lot of the time a restaurant meal may not be something planned. A birthday dinner, business lunch or family get together might seem to get in the way of good eating habits but it should be part of it! I find people often deprive themselves too much during a diet and when a restaurant meal comes up they over eat. This often leads to feelings of guilt and self blame afterwards which lends itself to emotional eating. As a result the weight does not budge and often a dieter can feel like they've failed at their diet again. They might even vow to try again the next week.

Does this sound familiar? Maybe my example is a bit extreme but it's a common thought process. It sounds like a vicious cycle but it can be broken. It's important to remember portion control at your restaurant meal and not to treat it like a buffet (which is probably a bad choice if you're watching your weight). As well as this remember to resume healthy eating habits after the meal and not feel like your diet is sabotaged.

If you find yourself eating out a lot it might be wise to choose your meals carefully. Thai food for example have many healthy and unhealthy options.

Healthy Thai Food Options

  • Choose the salads. Thai salads as well as a lot of their other dishes are full of antioxidant rich herbs and spices
  • Avoid dishes with coconut oil and milk. Coconut oil/milk is high in saturated fat. This is the type of fat that raises your cholesterol and causes plaque in your arteries. There is a lot of controversy about the use of coconut oil/milk but the National Heart Foundation and American heart Association still recommends limiting their consumption. This is a large topic that I will not discuss this time. 
  • When choosing soups pick clear broths eg. Tom Yum. Thick creamy soups often contain coconut oil/milk 
  • Choose foods that are grilled, boiled or steamed
  • Avoid curries as they contain high fat coconut milk
  • Thai food can often be rich in vegetables. Take advantage of this and order dishes with lots of vegetables 
  • Choose stir fries as they often come with lean meats and lots of vegetables. They are also less likely to be in a rich sauce. I found that although my dish had light soy it was still far too salty for my liking. 
  • Choose brown rice instead of white or sticky rice for an extra boost of fibre
  • Choose entree sized meals or share with a friend. Thai food is best enjoyed shared!
Please excuse the long absence! I've been tirelessly working at placement which is where all my nutrition knowledge has been channeled towards! But don't fret 1 more week left and I will have (unofficially until May next year) graduated! Yes that's right a full fledged qualified dietitian. Hehe.

Recipe: Quinoa Cocoa Cupcakes

I was having a sweet tooth (do I always have a sweet tooth?) and really wanted to perfect a quinoa recipe I had tried to make twice before.

I have previously mentioned the great benefits of quinoa in a blog post but if you need a refresher click here!

Just a reminder, quinoa is gluten and wheat free and can be used in sweet and savoury dishes. I had previously used it to make quinoa with roasted cauliflower and pumpkin but the versatility of quinoa set me out to search for a sweet dish. This is what I found:

Cocoa Quinoa Cupcakes 
Recipe adapted from vegan-food

Cost: $0.41 per cupcake

Preparation time: 20 minutes + 10minutes in fridge

Baking Time: 20 minutes

  • 3/4 Cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/3 Cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 2/3 Cup white sugar (Or low GI sugar)
  • 1 Teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Cup wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 Cup white flour
  • 4 Tablespoons water
  • 6.5 Tablespoons low fat/skim milk
  • 1 Large egg

  1. Preheat oven to 180-200 degrees celcius
  2. Rinse 1/3 cup of dried quinoa (This will make about 3/4-1cup of cooked quinoa)
  3. Place rinsed quinoa in a covered pot with about 2 cups of water. 
  4. Bring the quinoa to a boil, and simmer for approximately 20 minutes and add water if necessary. 
  5. After 25minutes take the quinoa off the stove, drain if necessary and allow to cool (in fridge is quicker). The quinoa should be fluffy and opaque looking and the liquid should mostly be all absorbed.
  6. Line cupcake tin with paper liners.
  7. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients well with a wooden spoon. It should look like this: 

  1. Bake at 180 degrees celcius for about twenty minutes, or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Per cupcake: Energy: 693kJ (165.5Cal) Fat: 5.3g Sat Fat: 1.0g Carbohydrates: 24.4g Protein: 4.1g Sodium: 127.4mg Fibre: 2g  

Here they come out of the oven....

Notice how it looks bumpy on the top? I think the quinoa hardens with the exposure to heat and it offers a grittiness and crunch on the outside but the inside is super soft.

A look on the inside....
The flecks of yellow are the quinoa casing.

These are ones I had made previously when I was still perfecting the recipe. I added some ready made frosting as they looked a bit bare. I would have tried making my own frosting but I was in a rush and the shops had closed!

I have made these cupcakes 3 times now and each time I have added more milk and water (notice how wet it looks in the mixing picture?). This made sure they were nice and moist. Timing in the oven is also very crucial as they can dry out easily if left for too long in the oven. The original recipe called for very little liquid and the flour did not have enough liquid to go with it. I added in an egg to make it more cohesive as the original batch crumbled away. I always feel wholemeal cupcakes need a bit more milk or water as they can turn out dry so experiment!

The cupcakes were absolutely delicious the 3rd time round. The first batch fell apart and were dry. The second batch were a lot more moist but still a bit hard. Three's the charm as they were soft and mosit and so deliciously chocolatey! I brought the 2nd batch into work previously and everyone said they loved it and it didn't taste any different to normal cupcakes. I think they may have lied a bit =P. I can't say you can not taste the grittiness from the wholemeal flower or quinoa at all but it's very acceptable (especially if you had my 3rd batch!).  It looked like a normal chocolate cupcake and tasted 90% like a normal cupcake!

Nutritionally Speaking....
These cupcakes fare nutritionally better than many of the commercial cupcakes being low in saturated fat and higher in protein and fibre. They are a great snack on the go and was able to satisfy my sweet tooth and will be more filling than other commercial cupcakes. However notice the nutrition information is only for 1 cupcake and it may be hard to stop at one with these.... also the nutrition information does not have frosting and the addition of frosting will add to calories. If you are having more than 1 of these cupcakes the energy/calories do add up and no amount of good protein and fibre will discount that!

So what should I make next with quinoa?

Why Should Calcium be Important to You?

This week, August 1-7, is National Healthy Bones Week! This national campaign has been running for the last 17years and aims to help raise awareness about the importance of calcium rich foods in the diet! I've talked about calcium briefly in my Fruit and Yoghurt Parfait (great calcium rich recipe!) entrybut lets look at it more in depth now:

Why should calcium matter to adults?
Everyone knows you need to get enough calcium during your growing teenage years and also enough calcium as you get older. Some people might also know that bone loss may speed up after menopause in women. But did you know that:

Your peak bone mass is reached in your 20-30s

This means that your bones are at their strongest and most dense. Although you might not be growing taller any more during this life stage it's important to still maintain a good quality diet that includes 2-3 serves of dairy a day. This ensures you are still putting enough funds into your bone bank. This isn't to say calcium is not important during childhood, it's very important but don't forget you still need it into your 20s and 30s!

Like this graph, if you have invested well in your bone bank over time, when you reach your 70s you will have a higher bone mass and be less likely to have a fracture than your friends who did not follow a healthy diet and exercise.

This graph shows something similar but as a comparison of males vs females. Now all you guys out there don't start thinking you're invincible! Osteoporosis (disease where the bones are weakened) affects 1 in 5 men over 50 and an osteoporotic fracture occurs in 1 in 3 men over 60years old.

Osteoporosis is such a silent disease as it often shows no signs or symptoms until a fracture happens. It's a long term investment and is not reversible once the damage is done. Your bones are living tissue full of 2 types of bone cells. Ones that build bones (osteoblasts) and ones that break bones down (osteoclasts). When you are growing, the number of bone building cells and from your 30s onwards there is often more bone breakdown cells for the rest of your life. This speeds up after menopause and old age in men as oestrogen and testosterone actually support bone formation. But it is possible to slow this process down! In fact just a 10% increase in peak bone mass (when your bones are strongest) will significantly delay osteoporosis and your risk of fractures later in life!

The website is really great this year with lots of fact sheets, sample planners for all ages, recipes and also a cowculator!

Although it isn't the most comprehensive of measures for calcium content it gives you a good start to see if you are not getting enough calcium and some sample sources of calcium.

This year they are also on twitter @HealthyBonesAU  so follow them for the latest on the initiative!

The site has some great information so make sure you check it out this week to get you motivated and started in building up your bones fund!

More Osteoporosis Facts
  • I've mentioned prevalence in men but 1 in 2 women over 60 will suffer a osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime
  • Fractures can lead to chronic pain, immobility, restricted activities,other limitations and, sometimes, death.
  • Every 5-6minutes someone in Australia is admitted to hospital with an osteoporotic fracture
  • For elderly who survive a fracture, only 1 in 3 will recover to their previous level of independence
  • Smoking can increase your risk of fracture 1.5folds while drinking (>4standard drinks) can double your risk

More Calcium Facts
  • Males and females 12-18yo need 1300mg of calcium/day
  • Males 19-70yo need 1000mg calcium/day
  • Females 19-50yo need 1000mg calcium/day
  • Males >70 and females >50 need 1300mg calcium/day
  • There is more calcium in low fat dairy products as without the fat present there is more room for calcium! Less calories and more calcium = double win!
  • Fortified soy products are a great alternative to dairy 
  • Hard tofu is a great source of calcium while silken tofu is not due to the different production methods
  • Fish with bones included such as sardines or canned salmon (with bones) are also great sources of calcium
  • Calcium content is less in white cheese such as cottage and ricotta compared to yellow cheese due to manufacturing differences
  • Some breakfast cereals and breads are fortified with calcium so check the label
  • Almonds are also a moderate source of calcium 
  • Vegetarian calcium options: spinach, baked beans, tofu, fortified soy and other products, tahini paste, apricot, almonds,  

    Lets hope some of us can be as fit as this woman when we're in our 80s! So go forth, get some exercise, sunlight (vitamin D) and calcium in you!

    Share your favourite ways to include calcium in your day below!

    Restaurant Review: The Cove at Drummoyne

    This weekend I am resting at home because I am sick. I was suppose to be at work but due to my blocked nose and wailing "I'm siiiiiiiick" all around the house I am at home reminiscing about last weekend where I was well and out having brunch and shopping. Last weekend I took my family out to brunch at The Cove at Drummoyne. It was the first day of sunshine after weeks of rainy Sydney weather and there was much excitement among my siblings.

    The restaurant is beautifully situated facing Iron Cove with glimpses of waterfront views no matter where you are sitting! Sadly the restaurant did not do bookings on weekends so we had to wait 40minutes as we needed a table of 5. If you are looking to go I can't stress enough that you should book on weekdays and be prepared to wait on weekends if you have a big group. The place was very popular due to it's great location and the customers appeared to be mostly mothers and joggers.

    After finally getting a seat we were eager to start ordering. Food came out in a reasonable time.

    I had the speciality home made baked beans with spinach and bacon on house loaf and topped with a poached egg $18.50

    This was very yummy and my brother was taking a large portion of my baked beans away because it was so delicious! Baked beans are a great source of fibre and protein which both help to keep you feeling full for longer. They are also low GI, fat free, has been shown to lower your cholesterol and are a great source of vegetable/legumes. This means that incorporating baked beans in your breakfast will give you slow releasing sustained energy, contribute to a serve of vegetables and thus keep you going until lunchtime! Is there any other reason not to eat beans?? (Okay it may cause flatulence.....)

    I'm not a big fan of bacon, not only because of the fat and salt content but I just don't like the taste so I shared most of my bacon with the family. The bacon in this meal wasn't the leanest I've seen but the fat could easily have been trimmed off.

    The spinach is another great vegetable serving! And the poached organic and free range egg was perfection. Eggs are a great source of nutrients. Just imagine it's suppose to nourish a growing chicken! The heart foundation recommends it's healthy to consume up to 6 eggs a week.

    This is the dish my dad originally ordered. It was another house specialty of smoked Tasmanian salmon with rocket, avocado and fetta cheese on house loaf $18.50. My dad doesn't like fetta cheese so gave this to my mum.

    Funny story while eating:
    Mum: This salmon isn't very salty compared to some other salmon I've had
    Dad: It's Tasmanian salmon
    Mum: Is the water in Tasmania less salty?  

    Salmon is a great source of good omega 3 fatty acids!

    My dad swapped the salmon dish for this: Panini with fried egg, bacon, onion jam, rocket and aioli $12.50. My dad called this the rich man's bacon egg roll.

    My sister decided to go for a sweet dish: Crumpets with ricotta, strawberries and honey $13.50.

    Ricotta is a really great low fat cheese that is soft and easy to spread. Use it instead of cream. However the calcium content of ricotta is not as great as for hard yellow cheeses like cheddar.

    My brother wasn't adventurous enough to try ricotta cheese so he had the scones with cove berry jam and cream $5.50

    We also had a few coffees that I didn't get to take a snap of it. I am not a great coffee drinker (It gets me jittery) so I can't really comment on how great the coffee is but my parents are both baristas and drink coffee daily. They said the coffee was really good and creamy and they used a good quality chocolate powder.

    I had previously been to the cove once to have breakfast and had: 

    Chorizo, mushroom, fresh tomato, rocket and sweet paprika omelette $17.50
    The omelette was great and filling but I felt the eggs were a bit dry. See that yellow slice between the bread? It's butter. Lots of it. Don't judge me but I've never had butter on toast until a couple of days before this outing! With the new discovery I got a little too happy with the knife and slathered too much butter on... It wasn't pretty....

    Also had a slice of banana bread with banana, ricotta and honey $5.50 that day. It was just ordinary to me.

    The bill for our family brunch was over $70 so I wouldn't say it's the most affordable brunch but the food was delicious, the service was courteous (despite the long wait) and the view was fantastic.

    Health factor?

    • The breakfast menu included a number of healthy choices and many meals had at least some vegetable addition. 
    • There is wholemeal bread options and also gluten free breads for those with coeliac disease. 
    • They have some nice berry smoothies as well  
    • Ask them to trim the bacon or pick dishes with no bacon 
    • Avoid spreading too much butter on the bread (Like me!)
    • Choose dishes without the béarnaise sauce 
    • Choose dishes with the vegetables such as rocket, spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes and avocado

    Look at this view! I would happily go and have breakfast or try their lunch and dinner options again but with my student budget it might have to be reserved for special occasions only!

    What have you been up to this weekend?

    Birthday Cakes- Strawberry and Cream Cake

    Today is my dear sister's 12th Birthday and on the weekend I made this strawberry and cream cake at her request!

    I said she could request any cake she liked as long as we had the equipment to make it and she picked a strawberry and cream cake!

    Recipe from: Seasalt with Food

    As it was a special occasion I didn't do any healthy variations to it as it wasn't something we would be eating all the time. See dietitians can have cream and cake too! My siblings both loved the cake but they said my chia seed cupcakes were better (recipe coming soon).

    (However I couldn't resist using low GI sugar and spreading less cream on it!)

    After finishing a slice of cake my 9yo brother proclaimed "I don't like junk food. Everytime I eat something super fatty or oily or sweet my tummy doesn't like it!"

    It wasn't too long before he rejected the rest of his cake slice and went to the bathroom!

    Oops I really didn't want to end on a bathroom note so here's another pretty cake picture!

    Are Detox Programs the Way to Good Health?- The Clean Program

    Earlier this week, while browsing Bryan Boy (a popular fashion blog) I came across a diet I hadn't seen before. It's called the Clean Program. Eager to find out more I played the 2 videos he attached:

    The diet seemed to have a good foundation at the beginning, remove the obstacles and add what is lacking. All good right? Until I heard the doctor’s solution:
    His diet is based on a juice at breakfast, a solid food lunch from his approved list of foods and another juice for dinner and throughout the day a cocktail of supplements. 

    According to him all foods consumed should meet the following criteria:
    • Free from packaging or processing including canned foods, foods in any boxes and all fast foods
    • Remove foods that are known allergens: egg, dairy, gluten, soy, corn, shellfish, nuts, nightshade plants
    • Reduce acidic and mucous forming foods such as red meat, dairy and wheat
    • Remove foods that cause inflammation such as processed and refined grains, sugars and hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats
    • Remove caffeine, sodas and alcohol
    • Remove foods that suppress liver detoxification such as grapefruit and oranges
    • No pesticides, growth hormone or genetically modified foods. Choose wild fish not farmed.
    I must admit I have not read his book but I have read both the positive and negative reviews on Amazon and checked out his website as well as other reviews on the diet. The reason why I decided to comment on this diet is it is quite a typical detox diet.  Many people often love trying detox diets as it promises quick weight loss, feelings of well being and is temporary.

    Let me just say, I am an advocate of a healthy lifestyle and to me a detox is not a lifestyle.  I have read many diet books: Some rubbish, some great and others fantastic! Sometimes behind lots of jargon and emotive language, it becomes difficult to distinguish a good diet book from a bad one. More often than not detox diets belong in the rubbish and dangerous category.  

    Here is why I don't support his Clean Program:
    1. A 21 day detox is not a balanced diet. Your body has systems in place to clean and filter itself. It does not need a detox! Most people who go on detoxes return to their previous diet right after which doesn't change their lifestyle at all and often any weight lost is gained back, sometimes in places you didn't want it to go to....   
    2. A diet should not eliminate whole food groups. I believe there are no bad foods and there is a place for all types of foods in a healthy diet in varying amounts. Dr Junger's reason's for excluding certain foods are unfounded on evidence based science (such as the dairy and mucous example) and people with no allergens should not be cutting out certain foods based on their potential to be an allergen. It's like saying people with no fear of heights should not be sky diving because of the potential of dying, or people shouldn't swim due to the potential of sharks. You get my point. Cutting out a large variety of foods means the possibility of missing out on essential nutrients which is probably why Dr Junger has a multitude of supplements to sell you. 
    3. Liquid diets aren’t very fun. I mean really do you want to only have one solid meal a day? Could you keep that up as a lifestyle? The other thing that comes with liquid meals is weight loss. There isn't very much energy/calories in a cup of vegetable juice and if this was a long term diet it would lead to loss of muscle mass and malnutrition. 
    4. He promotes colonic cleanses if you are not emptying your bowels every day. That has to flag a warning sign up for people! While for some people it may be normal to empty your bowels every day for others it may be every 2-3days. As one of my lecturer's once said "your bowel is as individual as your face." Colonic cleanses and laxatives can be expensive and dangerous and can affect the nutrients your gut is absorbing or more seriously your electrolyte balance. The diet puts in the minds of its customers that the body needs to be flushed clean to make it pure and healthy and that only clean foods can enter the system.  
    5. His supplements are ridiculously expensive!! A balanced diet doesn't really require the input of supplements. However you can purchase his 21 day detox kit for $250 which includes 6 bottles of shakes and supplements. He also sells 1 month supply maintenance kits that also sell for $100+.  Hmm I thought he said you shouldn't be eating anything packaged?  
    The thing is many diet books have characteristics of the traits I described above so look out for them the next time you read/hear about a new diet book. The truth is a healthy lifestyle incorporates a balanced diet and exercise. Doesn't sound like it sells books because it's pretty boring sounding right? But it doesn't have to be!! Which is what I'm trying to show you in my blog ;) 

    There are a lot of claims I haven't addressed and many people still say they feel better after a detox. Here are a few further reading articles that might help answer some other questions:

    Recipe: Baked Pear Dumplings

    When I saw these on I knew I wanted to make them! I happened to have some delicious pears on hand, bought some pastry and I was all ready!

    The recipe is from Jenius and hers was adapted from BBC Good Food.

    I didn't have any 5 spice or almonds or cooking chocolate.....

    Baked Pear Dumplings

    Serves: Makes two pear dumplings (to be halved to serve four)
    Preparation time: 10-20mins depending on how skilled you are with shaping pastry
    Cooking time: 30mins
    Cost: $1.92 (dependent on whether it's pear season or not)

    • 2 sheets of store-bought shortcrust pastry
    • 2 ripe pears
    • 50g Lindt 70% cocoa chocolate with almonds
    • milk to glaze

    1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C.
    2. Melt the chocolate
    3. Pull the stalk out of each pear and keep them aside.
    4. Core the pears using an apple corer or sharp knife - make sure you scoop out all the seeds.
    5. Cut both sheets of pastry into a circle about 20cm in diameter. Reserve some to make the pastry leaves.
    6. Fill the pears with the chocolate mixture.
    7. Brush the edges of the pastry with water and fold the pastry up around the pear, keeping the shape of the pear. Press to seal and trim off any excess. Brush with milk (or egg whites) and sprinkle with caster sugar.
    8. Make some pastry leaves to stick them to the tops of the pears. Stick a reserved stalk back in each and bake on a baking sheet for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden.
    Per pear: Energy:2482kJ/592.8kcal, Protein: 9.35g, Fat: 25.3g, Saturated fat: 13.5g, carbohydrate: 70.7g, Sodium: 315g, Fibre: 6g

    I dusted some cocoa powder on some blueberries with a bit of yoghurt and left over almonds from the chocolate. It looks so pretty and yummy doesn't it!

    I made 2, one for my sister and one for me and it looked so pretty we were super eager to eat it. And then it was taste test time and....

    We HATED it!!!!!!!!

    I had never eaten baked pears before so maybe I just don't like the taste of it.... I will probably never make this ever again! I was able to consume half of it before I gave up and threw it away but my sister took a few bites and threw away the rest.

    Here are the problems I identified with this dish:
    • For extra fibre, I did not peel the pear so the pear wasn't easily sliced and it didn't stick well with the pastry. I could lift the pastry right off!
    • When I was melting the chocolate I added a bit of milk to make it more liquid... when it was baked the watery part separated from the chocolate! 
    • The pastry was a lot harder to shape around the pear than I imagined! I had to do a lot of patching up with spare pastry bits! 
    • Well some cooking experiments can just fail, even really simple looking ones
    Nutritionally speaking
    Despite the star of the dessert being a fruit, this dessert is actually hiding a lot of energy/calories. Most of the calories come from the pastry which is also the biggest source of saturated and total fat in this dish. In fact it is the pastry that is hiding away all the good stuff inside it!

    The only plus side is the dish is quite low in sodium.

    I would personally not have this dessert again because my own one came out tasting horrible! But for those that do like cooking with pears, stick to ones that are poached and treat the pastry type dishes as a sometimes dish. The amount of energy/calories in this dish is equivalent to a meal on its own, no matter how much you try to healthify it with more berries or yoghurt! 

    Remember pears are still great fruits to have that are especially high in fibre so have them as is with the skin intact!

    Fruit and Yoghurt Parfait

    I am a sucker for sweet treats. When I eat out I always flick to the back of the menu first to look at dessert to plan my whole meal around it. I often remark I have a separate stomach for dessert no matter how stuffed I feel. This might have spawned from being deprived of desserts all my life as my family does not have them due to it not being a big part of our culture. The closest I got was fruit. So when I discovered the land of pretty desserts, pastries and chocolate, it became very hard to control myself!

    It was actually my 11yr old sister that told me about parfaits. She told me that in French class she learnt parfait is french for the word perfect. When I google imaged the word parfait I came across a myriad of pretty pretty food! I couldn't help myself, had to make it!!

    Most American parfaits called for a lot of cream, gelatin and ice cream so I looked more favourably on the ones with fruits and yoghurt.

    Parfait Ingredients

    • Yoghurt
    • Muesli/Weetbix/nuts
    • Lots of fruit!!

    It's VERY simple to make it doesn't even need a recipe. Just experiment with what looks the most tasty to you and voila! A restaurant quality dessert!

    I had a lot of fun making this with my sister and she loved it!

    My cup is a plastic one I got at the Wicked show and it lights up! I kept it and now it's come in handy!

    This is the one my sister made all by herself!

    Use your best crystal or fancy glasses and it really looks like a $15+ dessert at a restaurant!

    For my treat I added a bit of low fat whipped cream to the top in an attempt to make a peak at the top and failed! I also put a dusting of cocoa powder. Other things you can add include dried fruit, honey, wafer biscuits,chocolate shavings, frozen berries, chia seeds, crushed nuts etc!! Endless possibilities.

    One of my dietitian friends recommended adding Weetbix to yoghurt and I've never looked back! The weetbix adds a little extra nutrition kick and gives the yoghurt some texture. As an added bonus the weetbix won't go soggy in yoghurt. 

    Importance of Calcium
    One of the other things I've been doing lately is trying to get my sister's calcium intake up. As she is in her growing stage I want her to be tall! Hopefully taller than me and I'm sure everyone knows of calcium's importance in nurturing bone growth. She has slowly incorporated milk but another fun way to do it is through yoghurt! And this dessert is a fun way to do it. Each of our desserts used 1 tub of yoghurt (we used the single serve ones of 175g). 

    I usually choose Yoplait Forme as they have sticky date, cheese cake and apple pie flavours! Don't be fooled by the names, they actually only have 0.2g fat, <1% added sugar, use halal gelatine and have 315mg calcium.

    For a comparison, a normal adult (19-50yr old) requires 1000mg calcium so this 175g tub of yoghurt can provide over 30% of the requirements for the day.

    A 250ml glass of milk provides about 300mg of calcium so milk is also a great source of calcium. Soy milk in Australia is also fortified with calcium but some organic ones do not so make sure to check the label. 

    Yoplait forme compared to other low fat yoghurts (based on single serves)
    • Yoplait Forme: 315mg/175g serve
    • Vaalia: ~230-369mg (depending on flavour and size of serve (150g/170g))
    • Ski D'Lite: ~ 318mg/200g serve
    • Nestle Diet: ~164mg/150g serve
    As you can see calcium content can vary greatly between different yoghurt products and even between different flavours of the same brand so check the calcium content when buying!

    Please note I am not sponsored by any of the above brands and my choice of yoghurt is a balance between flavour preference and nutrition between all the yoghurt consumers at home. The comparisons I made were solely based on calcium content alone and did not take into account any other claims by the different yoghurts companies.

    Oh and almost forgot to mention: 
    • Fruit: Fruit in the parfait adds to your vitamin C intake, soluble and insoluble fibre, potassium (depending on fruit) and lots of antioxidants!  
    • Muesli/nuts: Contributes towards your fibre and good fats and depending on the type of nuts used can also be good sources of B vitamins, Vitamin E, selenium, magnesium, manganese and other trace vitamins and minerals   

      Isn't it great to end a day with a pretty and tasty dessert and knowing it will be good for you? 

      Meatless Monday: Quinoa with Roasted Cauliflower and Pumpkin

      Here is a dish with a fancy ingredient that most have probably never heard of. It's Quinoa (Pronounced keen-wa) and it's my new favourite seed (that is used as a grain)! This seed originated in South America thousands of years ago but is now found in many health food stores and touted as a super food.

      What is so great about it?
      • If you're looking for superfoods, direct your attention to quinoa cause it's up there as one of the best! 
      • Low GI unlike white bread
      • High in fibre to keep you full for longer
      • High in protein to also keep you full for longer
      • It contains all the essential amino acids which are the building blocks of protein in your body. Most cereals lack lysine while most legumes lack methionine which is why vegetarians are often advised to eat both food groups. Quinoa is a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians.  
      • Good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous  
      • Gluten and wheat free for those with intolerances or coeliac disease
      • NASA wants to use it

      But what does it taste like?
      • Quinoa has a very mild nutty taste 
      • It has a fluffy yet grainy texture 
      • Some say it tastes creamy too
      • It's great in sweet and savoury dishes so very versatile 
      • Have it in stews, soups, salads, curries, pilafs, desserts, puddings   
      • Have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack; Is there anything more versatile??

      Where do I buy it?
      I bought mine at Woolworths in the health food aisle but I'm sure other supermarkets have it as well. They are also available in most health stores.

      Some places also have quinoa flour or quinoa pasta. Helgas sells wholgrain quinoa and flaxseed bread. 

      Recipe: Quinoa with Roasted Cauliflower and Pumpkin
      Serves 4
      Cost: $1.50/serve

      1 cup Quinoa
      300g Cauliflower florets
      Juice of half a lemon
      2 cloves garlic, peeled
      500g pumpkin

      Oops forgot to take photos of rest of process
      1. Preheat oven to 200 °C
      2. Chop up pumpkins into bite sized chunks
      3. Chop up cauliflower into little tree like florets
      4. Place cauliflower and pumpkin onto roasting dish and drizzle lemon juice and olive oil on it
      5. Add the chopped garlic to roasting dish and a bit of salt and pepper to taste
      6. Cook for 20-30min until the veggies are lightly browned and a fork pierces it easily
      7. While the veggies are cooking, rinse quinoa in water and place drained quinoa in a saucepan
      8. Place 1.5cups of water for every 1 cup of quinoa. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the germ turns opaque and splits from the seed- see picture.
      9. Toss cooked quinoa with the pumpkin and cauliflower and serve!
      Per Serve: Energy: 653.8kJ Fat: 5.17g Sat Fat: 1.2g Carbohydrates: 32.94g Protein: 7.5g Sodium: 26.1 
      Some bigger pictures this time.

      Nutritionally this is a very low calorie/kilojoule meal with little fat or sodium and high in protein. I have heard many people say that cauliflower haters can be converted if they try roasted cauliflower so give it a go! And look at how cheap it is! I bought the cauliflower and pumpkin on special so it was very cheap. See exotic grains and vegetables don't have to be unaffordable! So if you are on a budget, want to try something new, aren't good with cooking  

      Other ways to enjoy quinoa
      • Add a bit of soft cheese to the dish 
      • You can also add your own mix of herbs and spices (My siblings aren't great fans of these so my dishes often do not contain them)
      • Substitute rice or cous cous in your dish for some quinoa next time
      • You can also use quionoa to stuff vegetables
      • You can also use stock instead of water
      • Nuts such as almonds, cashews and pistachios also go great with quinoa
      • I hear roasted cauliflower with a bit of bread crumbs is also really great
      • Although it's meatless monday you can also add a bit of grilled meat to the mix 
      • I used some left over quinoa and added baby spinach, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, fetta cheese and roast prok with a tablespoon of the gravy from it. It was super yummy and more colourful than the other pictures =P
      Extra readings:

        Guide to Eating Out

        I enjoy eating out... a lot. Maybe a little too much considering my wallet is always hungry. Eating out with friends or family can be such an joyous occasion and as conversation and alcohol flows, less and less attention is paid to the health factor of food.

        Many people are scared to eat out when on a diet because they feel ill equipped to make choices without ruling out their diet plan. Here are some easy tips to ensure you enjoy yourself while making smart healthy choices!

        Before Leaving The House
        1. If it’s your turn to pick the restaurant, make sure you pick one that has lots of healthy choices so you won’t have trouble picking what to eat.
        2. Have a snack before you go out. A high fibre snack like a piece of fruit would help curb hunger pangs.
        3. Decide what you really want and plan your meal around it. If there’s a special dessert on the menu you must try, opt for a lighter main.
        4. If the restaurant has a website, check it out! This can help you decide and plan what you might like to order before the hunger hits. If the website has nutrition information it’s an added bonus!
        5. If the restaurant is close by, why not walk?

        When Faced With The Menu
        1. Make conscious decisions about your meal. Don’t let your stomach or taste buds take over.
        2. Choose grilled, steamed, boiled, broiled or lightly stir fried meals. Steer away from battered or fried foods.
        3. There’s nothing wrong with choosing an entrée as a main! If the entrees are quite small, add a side salad
        4. When ordering salad ask for the dressing on the side or choose balsamic vinegar. Chances are you'll put less on yourself than they would put on for you.
        5. Choose meals with extra vegetables or choose vegetable sides instead of chips
        6. Share an entrée or main with a friend
        7. Choose leaner cuts of meat
        8. Instead of creamy or cheesy sauces choose stir fries or tomato base sauces
        9. It’s okay to ask for no butter or mayonnaise! 
        10. When eating: Look out for signs that you’re full. Chew slowly and stop when your stomach is satisfied.

        What About Drinks And Dessert? 
        1. Choose still or sparking water or diet soft drinks instead of sugary soft drinks or cocktails
        2. Don’t order an alcoholic drink until you’ve had something to eat. It is easier to become tipsy on an empty stomach and mindless eating can soon follow.
        3. If having alcohol choose wine or light beer & alternate between alcoholic & non alcoholic low-joule drinks
        4. If you can’t resist dessert share it with a friend or choose fruit based desserts

        Dessert is usually my weakness when it comes to eating out. I MUST have a look at the dessert menu every time. Usually I would share it or choose lighter mains to balance it out. Eating dessert when your stomach is bloated isn't very comfortable or enjoyable anyway. Remember indulging yourself a little once in a while can be part of a healthy diet. Just remember to not turn the occasional indulgence into a regular habit!

        What are your must haves when eating out? Share your tips below!

        Recipe: Chicken, Pistachio and Grapefruit Salad

        Now let me tell you a little bit about my history with salads.

        I hated them.

        My mum is a very Asian cook. She stir fries everything; even lettuce. Growing up I enjoyed nothing raw and my perception of salad was all things green and yuck (I hated my veggies then!). I didn't have salad in any shape or form until less than 2-3yrs ago! Now I am an avid searcher of different salads to try that go beyond different types of lettuce in a bowl. Salads are so refreshing in summer and great to eat when you feel like nothing at all. The following healthy salad only has 1 piece of lettuce I promise =)

        The other day my mum brought home a huge grapefruit and it sat on my computer speaker for over a week, waiting for the right time to be devoured. It made my whole room smell so citrus-y and lovely I was tempted not to eat it! Then I came across the perfect recipe at the perfect time: Chicken, pistachio and grapefruit salad.

        Mum had brought home some BBQ chicken the night before and I remember seeing some pistachio in the pantry so today I set out to make the colourful salad:

        Chicken Salad with Grapefruit and Pistachios

        Recipe adapted from: Lifestyle Foods

        Serves 2
        Cost: <$2.50 per serve (The chicken was the most expensive ingredient and price will vary depending on purchase location)

        2 shredded skinless chicken breast from last night's BBQ chicken
        30g peeled pistachio
        2 peeled grapefruit segments broken up to bite sized pieces
        1 large washed cos lettuce leaf
        1 Slice of toasted crusty bread diced

        1.5 tablespoons olive oil
        1 tablespoon lemon juice
        Pepper to taste

        1. Lay down the Cos lettuce leaf on a plate
        2. Place the chicken, pistachio, grapefruit and bread on the lettuce
        3. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a bowl with a fork
        4. Drizzle dressing over the salad
        5. Gently toss the salad and eat!
        Now for some lovely photos!

        Energy: 1662kJ Protein: 35.4g Fat: 19.3g Saturated Fat: 3.3g Carbohydrates: 17.7g Fibre: 4g Sodium: 180.6mg

        As much as this dish seems very easy at first glance, I made a HUGE mess in the kitchen. There was breadcrumbs everywhere, pistachio shells scattered across the table and chunks of grapefruit peel all over the place but it was all worth it for this delicious dish!

        As you can see my fridge was otherwise quite empty and I didn't include half the ingredients from the original recipe... The salad was wonderful and a great mix of tangy, sweet, sour, bitter and nutty flavour. For me the pistachio was the star of the dish but if you're watching your weight go easy on them as they are high in energy.

        Nutritionally speaking the dish is high in good fats, protein and fibre with little sodium (pick unsalted pistachios). Grapefruits are in season in winter and are great sources of vitamin C and soluble fibre (the kind that lowers cholesterol). Grapefruits are also a great source of antioxidant and by picking the most vibrant pink ones the more lycopene antioxidant it has!

        Please note that grapefruits have a number of interactions with drugs, most commonly with blood cholesterol lowering drugs such as statins. Please see your doctor first if you have any concerns.

        Try out this cholesterol lowering, antioxidant rich dish as a light lunch or make smaller portions for a side salad today!

        Powered by Blogger.


        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.