Low Carb Breakfast Wrap to start off Diabetes Month

If you have been diagnosed with Diabetes or you are pre-diabetic and you need to make radical changes in your current diet – this low carb breakfast wrap is a filling, veggie-loaded option that promises to hit the spot without spiking your glucose levels.

Low Carb Breakfast Wrap (Serves 1)

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs, free-range
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh rocket leaves/watercress
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 medium carrot, julienned
  • 1/4 red pepper,  julienned
  • 1/4 small zucchini, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons spring onion, chopped

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, combine eggs, almond milk and spices. Beat until well combined.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a small to medium non-stick pan over medium heat for a 5 to 10 seconds.
  3. Evenly pour in the egg mixture. Cook covered over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until you can easily flip the omelette using a spatula. Flip halfway and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes on the other side.
  4. When ready, remove from heat and let cool completely, about 10 minutes.
  5.  Arrange rocket/watercress leaves on the cooled omelette. Sprinkle the feta cheese on top, then arrange the carrots, red pepper, and zucchini along the middle and sides.
  6.  Roll the omelette,  and then cut in half. Season with salt and pepper.

Filling variations:

  • Smoked salmon/trout
  • Curried butter beans
  • Hummus and avocado

 

Skinny Legs café – yes please!

I’m sure by now you have noticed that we have been on some what of a hunt to find delicious (and healthy) spots in the City Bowl area. Well… delicious we have found. Skinny Legs cafe – a luxury cafe and we know why. This gem in lower Loop Street opens at 7 am making it the perfect pit stop on the way to work. What had us coming back for more you ask?

Make everyday great with one of these dishes:

  • Coconut Quinoa – there is already a dish called ‘Porridge of the Gods’ but this one has to be a close second. Vegan and gluten free!
  • Buckwheat pancakes – another gluten free treasure with minted pea puree, creamed feta and rose harisa.
  • Gluten Free Lentil Salad with smoked trout, a poached egg and saffron aioli. A high protein and omega 3 powerhouse.

The sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere makes you want to linger just a little longer every time. Boost your breakfast or lunch by adding a freshly squeezed juice or green smoothie. View their menu here or have a look at their magnificent Instagram page: skinnylegscafe

 

Nutrition Week 2017 #RethinkYourDrink

The theme for Nutrition Week 2017 is # Rethinkyourdrink – choose water! Sounds so simple, so easy. It is. Water is a crucial part of overall health and most people don’t get in enough on a daily basis. Instead, everyone is opting for ice teas, carbonated drinks, alcohol or warm delights like tea and coffee.

The concept for this years theme is to make you more aware of what you are actually drinking. So not to scare you off, but I have listed a couple of facts that might make you #Rethinkyourdrink now!

The number of teaspoons of sugar in 500ml of:

  • Carbonated drinks – 15 teaspoons (58.8g)
  • Energy drinks – 14 teaspoons (56g)
  • Fruit juice – 13 teaspoons (53.8g)
  • Sweetened flavoured milk drinks – 10 teaspoons (41.8g)
  • Sweetened ice tea – 9 teaspoons (37.8g)
  • Sports drinks – 7 teaspoons (27.1g)
  • Flavoured water – 6 teaspoons (24g)

The high sugar content is something to fear. Studies have shown that adults who drink two or more sugary drinks a day increased the risk of developing diabetes by at least 24%.

5 Tips to increase water intake:

  1. Always keep a water bottle with you
  2. Drink a glass of water before you brush your teeth in the morning and evening
  3. Create habits, for example, drink a glass of water with every meal
  4. Flavour your water with mint, lemon, rosemary, strawberries or cucumber
  5. Set reminders on your phone to drink water every 2 hours throughout the day

Equip yourself with knowledge. Read food labels to identify the amount of sugar in your drinks. Look for various forms of added sugars like brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar and sucrose.

A good goal heading into the Summer months: #Rethinkyourdrink and remember that water is a scarce resource, be careful not to waste.

 

Fill up at Hungry Herbivore

Vegetarian? Vegan? Super health conscious?

We are well aware that around every street corner there is a new cafe or restaurant flaunting their freshly baked sourdough and croissants. It can be enticing and simply turning in the opposite direction isn’t always the easiest. To all our hungry clients in and around the Bree street area, we’d like to introduce you to – if you haven’t already heard of them – Hungry Herbivore.

We decided to give it a try and let’s just say that smashed avo on toast has never tasted so good! The menu offers everything from all-day breakie (always a plus in my books) to protein deluxe bowls and an array of nutritious smoothies.

Our personal favourites?

  • The Zesty Green smoothie – spinach, banana, spirulina, dates, lemon and soy milk (with the option to substitute for almond milk)
  • The Protein Deluxe Bowl – tofu, quinoa, corn, broccoli, beans and avo (uhhm yummy!)
  • Oh -sweet- Kim Burger – sweet potato, quinoa, kimchi and lentil patty

Yes to fermented foods and green smoothie goodness! They also have a secret menu so don’t forget to ask your waitron. Located in Orphan Street, City Centre. Have a look at the menu (beware: salivating may occur)

 

Spring Clean Your Diet

Spring is in the air! Can you feel it?

If Winter did some damage (it happens to the best of us), and your exercise regime is almost non-existent, give these 10 Spring tips a go. No juice cleanses, restrictions or fasts – just good, healthy eating to break those nasty Winter habits so you can get back to feeling energetic and happy.

 

  1. Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier – if you managed to wake up at 5am throughout Winter to fit in your 30 minutes of activity for the day, we salute you. For those who woke up when the sun made an appearance, try setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier to get into a good routine.
  2. Give caffeine the boot – limit yourself to 2 cups of coffee daily and instead of the 3rd and 4th (and sometimes 5th) cup of coffee, drink a glass of water. If water seems like the most unappetizing drink to opt for, try herbal teas or add cucumber, rosemary and strawberries to your bottle of water for a bit of flavour.
  3. Spruce up your pantry – no need for heavy, hearty meals. Ensure your kitchen is stocked with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains such as oats, bulgar wheat, rice noodles and quinoa, fish, chicken, eggs and lean meat and all the herbs and flavours of spring. We love grapefruit, pineapple, coconut and alllll the greens.
  4. Say no to sugar – it’s time to break the habit of tea and rusks, sugar-laden cereals, pastries and the frequent chocolate. Get in healthy sugars from fruit instead – your gut will thank you.
  5. Put a spring in your step – aim to get in some form of exercise at least 4 times a week. Gym, walking, hiking, or yoga… just get active and moving.
  6. Greens, greens, greens – a change in season usually means a stubborn flu is making the rounds. Load up on all your greens to ensure you are getting in all the immune boosting vitamins and minerals. Spring is also the time to get sprouting. Sprouts (broccoli sprouts specifically) are fantastic in helping your body to naturally detox itself.
  7. Load up on anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory foods – fighting off infection, eliminating bloating, decreasing oxidative stress. There is no reason to not be getting in these superhero foods. Include in your spring diet: cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, olives, walnuts, almonds, avocados, herbs and spices (turmeric, ginger, rosemary, cayenne pepper), garlic, spinach, kale, bok choy (all collard greens), tomatoes, beetroot, cacao, berries, prunes, raisins, apples, plums, oranges, red grapes, alfafa sprouts, red pepper and aubergine.
  8. Go meat-free Monday – start your week off right by opting for bean, peas, protein-rich grains or an egg-based lunch and dinner. This sets your week off right and gets you going for the week ahead. Try combining different beans, peas and grains to ensure you are getting in all the important amino acids that your body needs.
  9. Be mindful – listen to your body. Some days you need an extra green juice or a power nap. Be in tune with what your body is telling you. Rest when tired. Stop eating when you’re full.
  10. Take in your surroundings – be outside. Go for walks, hikes or picnics. Getting in a healthy dose of Vitamin D will work wonders for your energy levels.

Feel Good this Spring

“Asian inspired beef stirfry with egg noodles”

“Deconstructed Mexican Bowl”

“Chicken meatballs with arrabiata sauce and zucchini noodles”

 

Sound delicious? These recipes are GLUTEN, LACTOSE and SUGAR free, and all feature in Stage 1 of our 4 Week Health Program. Eliminate the toxins and boost your mind and body in 4 weeks starting with ELIMINATION then DETOX, BOOST and lastly INTEGRATION.

Find out more: http://alexroyaldiet.co.za/eliminate-detox-boost-join-4-week-health-program-now

The 4 Week Health Program is now on SALE for R1199.00

Five uses for your trusty blender

Has your blender made its way to the back of the cupboard because the idea of making a smoothie in this chilly Winter puts you off ? Dust the handy appliance off ASAP. Here are 5 fantastic uses for your trusty blender.

Homemade Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 200g tinned chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (or more)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until combined. If not fully blended, scrape down the sides and blend again. Season to taste.

Thai Green Curry Paste

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 medium green chillies, deseeded
  • 5cm piece of ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • Small bunch of coriander
  • 1 lime, grated zest and juice
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend to make a paste. If not fully blended, scrape down the sides and blend again.

Basil Pesto (or any pesto)

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1-2 cups fresh basil, washed
  • 50g pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  1. Place the pine nuts, basil, garlic and parmesan in a blender and process until finely chopped. With the motor running, gradually add the oil in a thin steady stream until well combined.

Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup plain low fat yoghurt/coconut cream

Method:

  1. Place the halved tomatoes, quartered onions, and garlic cloves into a large bowl and add the oil. Season well with salt and pepper, and stir well to coat. Pour the oiled and seasoned vegetables onto a baking tray, and roast at 180C for about 30 minutes.
  2. Set the roasted vegetables aside for 15 minutes to cool and then place the veggies into your blender.
  3. Once the soup is blended, add the yoghurt/coconut cream and, salt and pepper to taste. If you are serving the soup immediately – pour the soup into a pot and heat on the stove top for 5 minutes.

Salsa Verde

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  •  1 cup basil leaves
  •  1 garlic clove, chopped
  •  2 teaspoons capers, drained
  •  1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  •  1 lemon, juiced
  •  Salt, to taste

Method:

  1. Place parsley, basil, garlic and capers in a blender. Process until finely chopped.
  2. With the motor running, add oil and 2 tablespoons lemon juice to parsley mixture. Blend until well combined. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Blenders are so versatile. From the above mentioned recipes to the humble pancake, frothy lattes or simply grinding flaxseeds – there should be no reason to ever push your blender to the back of your cupboard.

 

 

Braai’d lamb skewers with a herby vegetable couscous

(serves 4)

Ingredients:

For the lamb skewers:

  • 1kg lamb leg or shoulder, cut into chunks
  • 80ml/5 tabespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 red onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme or some fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 10 skewers

For the herby couscous:

  • 200g asparagus, trimmed and cut into 4cm pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 red onion, cut into thick slices
  • 140g mushrooms, cut into thick slices
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 240g couscous (dry weight)
  • 500ml hot vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 40g pine nuts
  • 3 handfuls of your favourite herbs (I used coriander, parsley and dill)

Method:

For the skewers:

  1. In a large bowl add the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, the herbs and spices and season with freshly ground pepper. Whisk all the ingredients to combine. Add the lamb and the chopped onions and blend to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, chill and let marinade for at least 4 hours.
  2. To assemble the lamb skewers. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water. (This will prevent them from burning.) Lift the chunks of lamb out of the marinade and thread the pieces, on the skewers.
  3. Braai the lamb skewers for about 10-15 minutes, until cooked to your liking.

For the herby couscous:

  1. Pre­heat the oven to 200C.
  2. Place the vegetables on a roasting pan, drizzle with the olive oil, add the paprika and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir well and pop in the oven for 30-­35 minutes until soft and caramelised.
  3. While the vegetables are roasting, put the couscous in a large bowl. Add the tomato puree to the hot stock and stir until fully dissolved. Pour the stock on the couscous, stir, cover with a plate or cling film and let it stand for at least 15 minutes, until the stock has been fully absorbed. Uncover and fluff the couscous with a fork.
  4. Toast the pine nuts by placing them in a small pan and cooking them over low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown.
  5. Add the roasted vegetables, the pine nuts and the chopped herbs to the couscous, then drizzle with a little olive oil and mix well. Serve hot or cold, alongside the braai’d lamb skewers.

Eliminate. Detox. Boost.

Improve your health, body, work productivity, mood, and energy levels this winter by joining our 4 Week Health Program. Each week marks a different stage that is important for your health:

The 4 Week Health Program includes:

  • A healthy eating program divided into 4 stages.
  • We will see you each week at the start of a new stage
    • An initial consult (body composition assessment and diet explanation)
    • 3 follow up consults
  • Our ‘Dietitian’s Guide to Clean Eating’ e-book for FREE
  • An exercise regime specifically designed for the program incorporating high intensity training, conditioning and yoga*
*The 4 Week Health Program is R1440 (excl supplements and exercise regime)

The low-down on Depression and Diet

April is here and the month of April features not only Easter, but also World Health Day. The theme this year for World Health Day, which falls on Friday the 7th, is Depression. So without dampening the mood of Easter and the hype of long weekends, quality family time and delicious foods, I thought it best to give you the low down on diet and depression.

Depression is a topic most people shy away from but knowing the cold, hard facts can only be beneficial. The more you know, the easier it becomes to understand and once you’ve mastered the skills of understanding depression, you’ll realise in actual fact, it cannot be understood but there are actions we can take to lessen the risk of suffering from depression.

The World Health Organisation has a wonderful factsheet that gives information on the types of depression, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Worth a read.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/

I am no expert in the field of depression itself, so I am going to stay within my area of expertise and speak about the relationship between diet and depression. A diet rich in the following nutrients has been proven to decrease the risk of depression.

Anti-oxidants: A good balance between oxidative stress and antioxidants is very important. Inflammation and oxidative stress are major contributors in the pathogenesis of depression. When I refer to anti-oxidants I mean vitamin E, vitamin C, Beta carotene and selenium (amongst others). Foods high in these antioxidants include: Pumpkin, apricots, mangoes, carrots, spinach, parsley, seafood, lean meat, whole grains, oranges, berries, kiwi fruit, broccoli, peppers, vegetable oils, nuts, avocados and seeds.

Folate (also called 5-MTHF): Folate is crucial to synthesise the neurotransmitters—dopamine, noradrenalin, and serotonin—all of which have antidepressant effects. So, without enough of the 5-MTHF form of folate, serotonin levels decrease in the brain, contributing to depression. Folate-rich foods include: eggs and leafy green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, spinach, swiss chard.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D modulates the part of the brain which regulates adrenalin, noradrenaline and dopamine production. Vitamin D protects against the depletion of dopamine and serotonin centrally. Simply speaking, low vitamin D levels can be a contributing factor to depression. Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish, liver and egg yolks (not forgetting sun exposure).

Tryptophan: Tryptophan is an amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins. Tryptophan is converted into 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), which is then converted into serotonin. So, tryptophan and 5-HTP both act as precursors to the production of serotonin in the brain. As you can already tell, it is very important to include this amino acid in your diet. Foods containing tryptophan are: turkey, nuts, seeds and legumes.

Omega 3: People with depression may have low blood levels of brain chemicals called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which play an important role in brain function. Food sources of Omega 3 (EPA and DHA) are: sardines, salmon, herring, trout and tuna.

5 Eating tips to brighten your day

  1. Include folate rich foods daily: foods containing folate are amongst others eggs and leafy green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, spinach, swiss chard etc
  2. Get your dose of vitamin D: monitoring the amount of time you spend outdoors is important, but also make sure to get in enough eggs and fatty fish.
  3. Protein, protein, protein: we already mentioned the very important tryptophan. Aim to have protein at every meal and remember to incorporate plant-based proteins (lentils, beans, quinoa, soya) into your diet too.
  4. Variety is key: eating a variety of foods ensures you are getting in all the very important micronutrients, amino acids and trace minerals.
  5. Enjoy your food: eating can boost your mood, not in the obvious physiological response, but in the enjoyment of taking 30 minutes down time, or enjoying the company of a friend or family member so sit, chew, relax and be grateful for all the positives in your life.

Not quite food related, but advice none-the-less. Remember how important it is to get 7-8 hours of sleep every day, to rest and recuperate on weekends, to spend quality time with loved ones and last but not least, to take some “me-time”.