How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 2/5: Prone and Supine Balance

Supine Swiss Ball Balance

Note: This is a loose transcription of the video ‘How to get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 2/5’

G’day guys, welcome to Part 2 of 5 on how to get Primal on a Swiss Ball. Today, I want to show you some different exercises that are going to really activate your mid-section, or core. To get you to learn how to balance lying on your back and your front on a swiss ball. So, let’s go through lying on your back first, and the progressions needed to be able to get to that.

Prone and Supine Swiss Ball Balance

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Supine Balance Progressions

In order to be able to balance supine (on your back), try these progressions.

A: 1 Leg and No Legs Seated balance

1 Leg - No Leg Seated Swiss Ball Balance

1. Sit on the swiss ball.
2. Raise one foot off the ground. The other foot remains in contact with the ground.
3. Switch feet, then try lifting both feet off the ground and balancing.
4. The amount of challenge presented will depend on the person. This is really easy for most people, but hard for other people.

B: Seated Balance with Calf and Hand Holds

Seated Swiss Ball Balance With Calf and Hand Holds

1. Sit on the swiss ball.
2. Use only your calf muscles to balance yourself on the swiss ball. Keep feet off the ground.
3. If this is too hard, you can also use both of your hands to grab the swiss ball to be able to improve balance.
4. With your hands on the ball, purposely direct the ball to where you want to move, and get your torso and core muscles used to being able to activate the way they need to when you go a certain direction.

C: Seated Balance with Calf Hold and Single Leg Extension

Seated Swiss Ball Balance With Calf Hold and Single Leg Extension

1. Sit on the swiss ball using using only your calf muscles to balance, as before. Keep feet off the ground
2. Put one leg out, then alternate legs.

D: No Legs Seated Balance

No Legs Seated Swiss Ball Balance

1. Now lift up both legs. Ultimately try and have your legs straight. Pointing your toes will increase difficulty and activate your core more.

E: Supine Swiss Ball Balance

Supine Swiss Ball Balance

1.  Sit on the ball.
2. Raise both of your legs and allow your hips to move  forward, putting your body into a cross type of position, with arms out to the sides.
3. Draw your belly button in, and return to the start position sitting upright.
4. Repeat for several repetitions!
5. Warning: Best to try this out somewhere like a grassy or carpeted area where if you do fall over, you’re not going to hurt yourself!

Prone Balance Progressions

In order to be able to balance prone (on your front), try these progressions.

A: Swiss Ball Prone Cobra

Swiss Ball Prone Cobra

1. Lie on the swiss ball on your stomach, keeping your feet on the ground.
2. Raise your torso up, open your arms out and back, and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
3. Get proficient at least being able to hold your body in this position for 60 seconds.

B: Prone Swiss Ball Balance Alternating Legs

Prone Swiss Ball Balance Alternating Legs

1. Lie on the swiss ball on your stomach, keeping feet on the ground.
2. Initiate the movement by getting into a ‘Prone Cobra’ position, as in step A above.
3. Lift one of your legs.
4. Balance as best you can to prevent the side to side movement on the ball.
5. Alternate legs every 3-4 seconds.
6. Continue for 60 seconds.

C: Prone Swiss Ball Alternating Arms and Legs

Prone Swiss Ball Balance Alternating Arms and Legs

1. This is the last step before being able to balance without arms or legs on the ground.
2. Raise one of your arms out front at a 45 degree angle then raise the opposite leg at the same time. Switch sides.
3. Next try both feet off the ground, with only one hand on the ground to support.

D: Prone Swiss Ball Balance

Prone Balance Progressions

Once you’re able to master all the progressions, you should be primed to balance on the ball without any support from the hands or feet. Once you start to get the idea on how your body needs to shift backwards and forwards to change the centre of gravity and keep from falling off the ball, this becomes a really fun balance exercise. Enjoy!

So, that’s part 2 of 5 on How to get Primal on a Swiss Ball!

 

Other videos in this series:

How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 1/5: 4 Point Horse Stance
How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 3/5: Primal Push-Ups
How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 4/5: Swiss Ball Squats
How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 5/5: Kneeling Overhead Press

Recommended Purchases

Swiss Ball  |  AOK Medi-Ball  |  AOK Max Ball  |  Stability Ball
Swiss Ball / Stability Ball
Perform Better – USA
AOK Health – AUS

Roll Your Own Sushi…with Leftovers (rice or quinoa optional!)

Roll your own sushi with leftovers - rice optional

Sushi Ingredients

– Nori sheets (seaweed)

Your choice of fillings:
– Leftover meat, chicken, fish
– Leftover vegetables
– Raw vegetables
– Cooked rice or quinoa (optional)

Roll your own homemade sushi with leftovers

When you think of sushi, fish comes to mind. Salmon and tuna are the most popular; even teriyaki chicken. However, just like the wonderfully versatile egg muffins, homemade sushi can be made with almost any meat and veg, so the combinations are endless. You can use almost ANY leftover foods in them. Just think of the nori sheet (seaweed) like a tortilla or pita – something to wrap your delicious food in!

Ingredient ideas:

– Leftover cooked bacon, steak, chicken, fish, lamb, pork
– Leftover cooked pumpkin, sweet potato, eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, onions, leek, carrots, fennel, parsnip
– Raw capsicum (bell pepper), avocado, cucumber, grated carrot, green onions, fennel, leafy greens
– Canned salmon, tuna, mackerel, or sardines.
– Cooked Japanese sushi rice, brown rice, quinoa

Roll your own sushi with leftover meat and veggies
Leftover roast chicken and veg – carrot, fennel, capsicum (bell pepper), onion and brown rice.

Notes:

– Paleo Peoples: if you don’t eat rice or quinoa, no worries! Just roll the meat and veg ingredients of your choice into the nori sheet (seaweed) like a sandwich wrap.

– For best digestion and nutrition, soak your rice or quinoa (in filtered water, with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice) uncovered, overnight or all day before cooking.

– Brown rice cooked slowly (about 45 minutes on lowest heat) with a few tablespoons of butter (the Nourishing Traditions way) makes for nice sticky rice which is easy for rolling sushi.

– A bamboo sushi rolling mat is handy but not necessary. Check for one at your local variety/$1 shop.

Primal Bacon Sushi
Bacon, raw fennel, shallots (spring onion), red capsium (bell pepper) and brown rice.
Quinoa Salmon Sushi
Raw salmon, avocado, carrot and cooked quinoa. From www.susanstable.com.

 

Sushi Rolls Recipe

Step 1: Lay nori sheet on clean cutting board or bamboo sushi roller if you have one.

Step 2: Put rice or quinoa (if using) onto the nori sheet and flatten evenly. Traditionally, the rice goes to the edge of the nori sheet, but you can use less if rice fills you up easily (like me). More rice = fatter sushi roll.

Step 3: Slice meat and veggie leftovers, raw foods and other ingredients as desired. Lay in middle of nori, on top of rice or quinoa (if using).

Step 4: Roll nori sheet away from you, first making one big roll to start the shape, then rolling up sheet to the end.

Step 5: Use a bit of water to lightly wet the edge of the nori roll, then finish rolling. The water will make it stick closed.

Step 6: Slice sushi into desired roll size with a very sharp knife.

Sushi Roll Recipe
A bit of water on the edge of the nori sheet will seal the roll together.
Homemade sushi for work or school lunches
Homemade sushi ready for work or school lunches

 

Have you ever made your own sushi? How was it?

How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 1/5: 4 Point Horse Stance

Swiss Ball - 4 point horse stance

Note: This is a loose video transcription of ‘How to get Primal on a Swiss Ball! Part 1/5’

G’day guys! This is video 1 of 5 of ‘How to get primal on a Swiss Ball’.

Whether you have been using a Swiss Ball for a long period of time or just starting out, I am going to show you some progressions on how you can do some pretty tough exercises using the Swiss Ball. Basically, to help you increase the variety of things that you can do on a Swiss Ball to make this a more enjoyable way of getting primal and move your body. I’ve used these balls with clients and for myself for a lot of years. I’ve hurt my back in a number of different ways over the years, broke my lumbar spine and I slipped 3 discs before as well. It’s been pretty painful but the Swiss Ball has been a lifesaver. Bex and I sit on one of these everyday in front of the computer when we’re actually doing all of our computer work for you guys with social networking and the website. They really are amazing things.

This particular brand that we use all the time, is by an Australian company called AOK. In particular one that is called a Maxball. This is a 65cm diameter ball and it works best for me, as when I am sitting on this height, my hip is higher than my knees (see details here about sitting on Swiss balls). For certain other exercises that I actually do and prescribe, I use a smaller 55 cm ball (see sizing details here) but at least for now for this particular exercise that I’m going to get you to do today, you could use either size. So now let me show you what we’re going to go through and do. The ultimate exercise that you have seen in the beginning of the video is what I call a ‘Swiss Ball 4 Point Horse Stance’.

Swiss Ball 4-Point Horse Stance

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Horse Stance Progressions

A: Prone 4-Point Horse Stance

Prone 4 Point Horse Stance

 1.  Lie on the Swiss ball on your stomach.
2.  Put both your hands and feet on the ground.
3.  Lift the opposing arm and leg simultaneously. Alternate each side. Breathe in on the way up, out on the way down.
4. Pay attention to your arm placement. Don’t let your arms go straight out. Keep it at a 45-degree angle with your thumb up and don’t let your leg go straight to the side, keep it directly back behind you.

 

B: Kneeling Balance
Primal Swiss Ball - Kneeling Balance

1. Get on to the actual ball on hands and knees and just get used to balancing.
2. Keep a slight curve in your lower back. Don’t round out your back.
3. Hold position for about 60 seconds.

 

C: 4-Point Balance with alternating kickback
Primal Swiss Ball - 4 Point Balance with Alternating Kickback 

1. Kneel on the ball with both hands and knees in contact with the ball.
2. While keeping your hands on the ball, kick 1 leg backwards. Toes pointed. Stomach in tight.
3. Breathe in on the way up, hold your breath slightly, breathe out on the way back down. Same thing, alternating both sides.

 

D: 4-Point Balance with alternating arm lift

Primal Swiss Ball - 4 Point Balance with Alternating Arm Lift

1. Kneel on the ball with both hands and knees in contact with the ball.
2. While keeping your knees on the ball, lift one arm up to a 45-degree angle with your thumb facing up. Stomach in tight.
3. Breathe in on the way up, hold your breath slightly, breathe out on the way back down. Same thing, alternating both sides.

 

E: 4-Point Horse Stance holding onto support
Primal Swiss Ball - 4 Point Horse Stance Holding On With Hand

1. Find something to hold on to (e.g. tree trunk; desk).
2. Balance on the ball in the 4-point position, on hands and knees.
3. Grab the support (tree trunk; desk) with your right hand. Dig your right foot into the Swiss Ball and kick straight back with your left leg.
4. Alternate and do the other side.

 

F: 4-Point Horse Stance

Primal Swiss Ball - 4 Point Horse Stance

Once you get the hang of the last movement, you can shift your arm away from the object that you’re holding, and do the previous progression without holding on to the support. Again, alternate sides to complete the exercise. Maybe try it for the first time on some grass or somewhere that if you do fall, it’s going to cushion the blow a little bit. Once you can get to the stage of doing this particular movement like that, it’s a fantastic exercise.

So, that’s part 1 of 5 on How to get Primal on a Swiss Ball!

 

Other videos in this series:
How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 2/5: Prone and Supine Balance
How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 3/5: Primal Push-Ups
How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 4/5: Swiss Ball Squats
How to Get Primal on a Swiss Ball – Part 5/5: Kneeling Overhead Press

Recommended Purchases

Swiss Ball  |  AOK Medi-Ball  |  AOK Max Ball  |  Stability Ball
Swiss Ball / Stability Ball
Perform Better – USA
AOK Health – AUS

Are Your Daily Habits Affecting Your Sleep Quality? Take the Quiz.

Are Your Daily Habits Affecting Your Sleep Quality and Your Health?

Even if you are eating whole foods, moving your body regularly, working on your emotional health and keeping tabs on your stressors, your health may still be in serious decline if you are not attending to one of your body’s most fundamental requirements: sleep. The main recommendation of sleep health is simply to get your 8 hours. But there’s more to it than that. To see how your daily habits may be affecting your sleep and your health,

 

Take this quick sleep quiz:

Are you a ‘night owl’, with lots of energy at night?

Do you often wake up feeling un-rested and in need of more sleep?

Do you commonly go to sleep after 10:30pm?

Do you often wake up between 1-4am and have a hard time falling back to sleep?

Do you sweat heavily when sleeping?

Do you have a job that requires you to stay up late at night?

Do you watch TV, use the computer and/or mobile phone before bed?

If you answered ‘YES’ to any of the questions, your sleep health habits need serious attention. The detrimental effects of insufficient sleep go far beyond being tired. As the final component of the Primal 6, sleep is an integral factor in whether your health flourishes or fails.

The health consequences of poor sleep habits are too numerous to mention, but here’s a few: headaches, forgetfulness, lack of focus, moodiness, depression, weight gain, adrenal fatigue, low immunity and high inflammation leading to serious disease, including cancers.

Your Daily Habits Affect Your Sleep Quality

But I get the recommended 8 hours of sleep!

We’ve all been taught the magic formula of 8 hours of sleep for staying healthy. And it is true that we need at least 8 hours of sleep each day. However, it’s not enough to simply sleep 8 hours. You must also sleep the right 8 hours and manage your stress hormone levels.

Sleep cycles are in tune with the sun’s cycle

You see, as mammals, human beings have internal rhythms that are in tune with nature, and our sleep/wake cycle is called our circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm runs in tune with the rise and fall of the sun, and regulates which hormones our body produces at different times of the day. The light produced by the rising sun stimulates production of the stress hormone cortisol, which activates the body for movement, work and survival. These stress hormones peak a few hours after sunrise, then slowly decrease after midday. They eventually give way to increased production of melatonin and other growth and repair hormones, which are essential for growing and repairing the cells in your body, every night.

Natural Sleep Wake Cycle & Hormone Production
Natural Sleep/Wake Cycle & Hormone Production
Black Line = Stress Hormones; White Line = Growth & Repair Hormones
Pic: “How to Eat, Move & Be Healthy” Paul Chek 2004

Not all sleep is created equal

So not all sleep is restorative sleep, or sleep that ensures good health. The simple act of falling and staying asleep is not what ensures our body’s growth and repair. It’s all up to the hormone production.

**If your body is releasing high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, it can NOT also release high levels of growth and repair hormones**

This chart shows a typical day where stress hormone levels are increased throughout the day, resulting in decreased growth and repair.

High cortisol levels disrupts the natural sleep cycle
High cortisol (stress hormone) levels greatly disrupt restorative sleep.
Pic: “How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy” Paul Chek 2004

How to ensure quality sleep

Therefore, the keys to a restorative 8 hours of sleep are to respect your natural sleep/wake cycle and to prevent your cortisol levels from rising unnaturally past their peak time in the morning.

1/ Be asleep by 10:30pm

Give yourself time to wind down and fall asleep, so that you are actually sleeping by about 10:30pm at the latest. Of course, there will be late nights here and there, but it’s what you do most days that will get your body back into it’s natural rhythm.

2/ Minimize light exposure before bed

Your circadian rhythm only knows that light = sunshine, which signals cortisol release for the day’s activities. So bright electric lights, computers and TV screens will also stimulate cortisol production. Try candles, light dimmers and less screen time a few hours before bed. To learn more about dealing with artificial light, read Chris Kresser’s tips for technology before bed.

3/ Sleep in the dark and wake up with light

For the same reason, it’s very important to sleep in as dark a room as possible. Use good blinds on the window, and dim or cover up any bright alarm clocks and electronic standby lights. Reversely, get exposure to bright light (preferably outside light) as soon as you wake up and throughout the middle of the day.

4/ Avoid stimulants

Caffeine, sugar and tobacco all stimulate the nervous system to produce cortisol. If you must have them, ensure it’s not after midday, so your body has time to process the stimulant out of your blood stream in time to start producing healing hormones for sleep. The all too common afternoon coffee and dessert after dinner are detrimental to your sleep quality.

5/ Exercise, but not too late

Daily physical activity will help you sleep better at night. However, lengthy cardio or intense exercise can increase cortisol levels, so don’t overdo it too late in the day.

6/ Regulate your blood sugar

Your body considers low blood sugar a major stressor, and responds to that stress with, you guessed it, cortisol. Keep your blood sugar levels stable by minimizing processed grains and sugars, and eating regularly. Some people do well with having a small protein rich snack  before bed, while others should ensure they are not too full before going to sleep. Listen to your body.

7/ Minimize electromagnetic pollution

Electromagnetic energies can disrupt your sleep/wake cycle. Keep your alarm clock and other electronics a distance from your bed, avoid electric blankets, and unplug or completely turn off most all electrical household appliances at night (especially the wireless modem).

8/ Follow daily routines

Eating and sleeping at regular times helps establish biological rhythms which properly regulate our digestion and hormone production. If your body has been synchronized to a dysfunctional schedule, it’s time to retrain your system to release growth and repair hormones in time for a more restorative sleep.

9/ Manage your daily stressors

In today’s world of hectic schedules, financial pressures, violent entertainment, and deadlines, it’s no wonder that our cortisol levels are out of control. Even if we wind down physically before bed, our minds may still be rushing around, worrying and stressing – even after we’ve gone to sleep. It’s essential that you take steps to slow down, relax, get perspective and nourish your body and soul. Practice some easy ways to meditate and think about the importance of getting your stress hormones down. Now you can really understand one way that stress ruins your health, and have a new perspective on the term ‘a good night’s sleep’.

References:

How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy by Paul Chek

 

What factors do you think might be influencing your quality of sleep?

 

Single Mother Lydia Found Freedom From Migraines, Asthma, PMS & Chronic Sickness

Lydia Discovered Divine Health

“I lived much of my adult life encumbered by some sort of illness. At one point my illness became chronic and after an extremely intense season of challenge in my life, I threw my hands in the air and said, ‘Enough is enough!’ I knew deep down that this was not how life should be and I took it upon myself to heal my weary soul and body. It wasn’t long before I was experiencing major health breakthroughs. This is what I long to share with others, so that you never have to be in chronic ill health.

Lydia turned her health around by eliminating processed food

For much of my adult life I have been very interested in health and nutrition. I read every book I could get my hands on. I sought many paths towards health and wellness, but none of them led me where I truly wanted to go.

When I discovered ‘Nourishing Traditions’ by Sally Fallon, that was the missing link for me. After that I discovered there was a whole wide world of people out there that think outside of the box. Through folks like the Weston A. Price Foundation, Nora Gedgaudas, Carolyn Dean, Julia Ross, Mark Sisson and many others, I have come to enjoy greater health by implementing what I have gleaned.

“I have learned that you can reverse many health maladies by simply consuming real nutrient dense foods and avoiding processed cheap foods. Thus discovering that the saying holds true, ‘You are what you eat!’ It has only been in the past few years that I have fully shifted my family over to real foods and away from processed foods completely. It has been a pleasure!!”

After completely eliminating processed foods, I have seen a health transformation in myself.

I no longer suffer from:

– Intense menstrual pains and cramps each month, nor the pain of mittelschmerz each month during ovulation.

– Random severe body aches and pains all up and down the right side of my body.

– Sinus infections. Blowing my nose constantly due to constant mucous production.

– Migraines and headaches. Popping ibuprofen like it was candy.

– Asthma symptoms, as well as seasonal colds and allergies.

– Adrenal fatigue, a malady that plagues most Americans today.

After having struggled with asthma since I was 12, I have learned how to manage any possible flare up through natural alternatives to inhalers. Additionally, in early 2010, I learned I needed to stop consuming gluten, with this transition I have experienced many wonderful benefits as well.

“Overall, I have way more energy, lost 20 pounds and generally feel great in my own skin. I am no longer a slave to my cravings. I find great freedom in that alone.”

Fitness is also important to me. Gone are the days when people work physically hard, walk to school/work, and labor on the farms (well for the majority of us at least). I find that exercise is not the more crucial element in a healthy lifestyle, but it is a very important one. I love to push my body physically and benefit from the results. I also believe in the importance of rest when needed, as well as focusing on quality sleep. I thoroughly enjoy yoga, bike riding, kettlebells, dance and hope to one day become an RKC instructor or take up martial arts.”

Single mother Lydia transformed her health

“I believe that health is a choice, a right and a gift that we cannot take for granted, and in this day and age, unfortunately, must fight for!”

 

Divine Health from the Inside OutLydia is a single mom of four boys, on a mission to share her passion for whole, healthy, real foods with the world. Lydia is:

– Founder of ‘Divine Health from the inside out’ website and facebook community.
– Certified as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner through the Nutritional Therapy Association.
– Co-chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation in Delaware County, Pa.
– A member of the Nourished Living Network.

Egg Muffins Recipe for Quick, Healthy Breakfast & Lunches Everyday

Egg Muffins Recipe

Egg Muffins Ingredients

6 eggs

Your choice of fillings:
– Leftover meat, chicken, fish
– Leftover vegetables
– Raw vegetables
– Dried or fresh herbs
– Grated raw cheese

Mushroom and leek egg muffins and potato salad
Mushroom and leek egg muffins with potato salad.
Perfect picnic food or packed lunch.
Broccoli tomato cheese egg muffins with sweet potato fries
Broccoli tomato cheese egg muffins with sweet potato fries

 

Egg muffins never get boring. Since the ingredients are determined by what leftovers you have in your fridge, they can be different every time you make them. It is fun discovering new combinations of ingredients that taste amazing in your egg muffins, and you can use almost ANY leftover foods in them.

Ingredient ideas:

– Leftover cooked bacon, steak, chicken, salmon, sausage, mince (ground meat), lamb, pork
– Leftover cooked broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potato, green beans, eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, onions, leek
– Leftover casseroles, stews, curries and other one-pot meals like chili
– Raw tomato, capsicum (bell pepper), chili, black olives, green onions
– Fresh/dried basil, oregano, coriander (cilantro)

Thank you to Mark Sisson for putting this recipe idea in his book Primal Blueprint Cookbook. We have been eating them regularly for years, and recommending them to clients and friends, who find them the ultimate quick healthy meal, picnic food or snack on-the-go.

Egg Muffin Ingredients

Notes:

– Busy people: plan ahead! Make these at night to have ready for quick or on-the-go breakfasts, packed lunches or snacks all week.

– Cook egg muffins in double batches and freeze them. If you pack them frozen in your lunch bag in the morning, they will be defrosted and delicious by lunch time.

– Egg muffins are perfect for picnics and school lunches instead of a sandwich – no fork needed!

– You can use a mini-muffin tin to make tiny egg muffins for appetizers, picnic snacks, and tiny kid hands.

– Always use the best quality eggs you can find, from healthy, pastured chickens. They are worth the money!

Egg muffins with raw parmesan cheese

Egg muffins bake in 20 minutes

Egg Muffins Recipe

Step 1: Preheat oven to 180C / 350F.

Step 2: Beat eggs lightly with a fork, in a medium/large bowl.

Step 3: Dice meat and veggie leftovers and/or raw vegetables. Chop any fresh herbs. Grate raw cheese.

Step 4: Add all ingredients to the eggs and mix together. Salt and pepper to taste.

Step 5: Grease a muffin tin with butter.

Step 6: Ladle egg mixture into egg muffins.

Step 7: Bake in oven for 20 minutes.

Step 8: Let cool before removing from muffin tin. Eat immediately, save for breakfast, pack for lunch, or freeze for later!

Egg muffins are like mini frittatas, omelettes, crustless quiches
Egg muffins are like mini frittatas, omelettes, or crustless quiches

 

Share your favourite egg muffin ingredients in the comments below!

 

 

Quinoa Pancakes Recipe

Quinoa Pancakes Recipe

Quinoa Pancakes Ingredients

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

1/2 cup soaked chia seeds

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1 tsp cinnamon

1 banana

2 eggs

Optional: berries, apple

Quinoa chia banana coconut pancakes with blueberries and bacon
Our daughter wanted blueberry pancakes, so we simply added frozen berries to the pancake after pouring the batter in the pan!

We are not big pancake eaters, as few recipes call for all whole foods, and it seems a lot of trouble for not much flavour. However, this is our absolute favourite pancake recipe, given to us by Pippa, a Thermomix representative. The flavour is so good, that we never even think to cover the pancakes with maple syrup or honey. They are good enough without any topping, so would also make a great on-the-go meal or snack!

Notes

– All ingredients organic where possible.

– For optimal digestion and nutrition, it is best to soak quinoa all day or overnight before cooking.

– The quinoa can be cooked the day before making pancakes. Great way to love your leftovers!

– To soak chia seeds, put 1/3 cup chia seeds in 2 cups filtered water. It will gel up in 10 minutes, but become even more nutritious and digestible in a couple hours. Make the mixture and keep it in your fridge for using in smoothies, pancakes or by the tablespoonful! It will last a long time.

– This recipe turns out good whether you use a blender to really mix up the ingredients, or simply mash the banana and mix everything well in a bowl with a spoon. I like to throw everything in a bowl and use a hand blender to get a smooth consistency.

Quinoa chia banana pancakes ingredients

Quinoa Pancakes Recipe

Step 1: Throw everything except the optional ingredients into a bowl or blender.

Step 2: Mix well.

Step 3: Stir in optional ingredients such as blueberries, apples, or any other fruit chunks. Or drop the fruit chunks onto the pancake after it is poured into the pan.

Step 4: Heat coconut oil, olive oil and/or butter in a pan on medium heat. Spoon or pour pancake batter into pan to desired pancake size.

Step 5: Flip pancake after a few minutes, when pancake bottom is firm enough to get a spatula under.

Step 6: Cook for another minute or two.

Step 7: Keep warm while you make the rest of the pancakes. Or eat them cold as on-the-go snacks!

Quinoa blueberry pancakes and bacon
Pancakes and Bacon – yum!

From Costco to Whole Foods: Finding Healthy Food in America

From Costco to Walmart: Finding Healthy Food in America

Living on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia, we are fortunate to have several farmer’s markets and organic food shops and butchers very close to our home. So when we are traveling, it is always a challenge and adventure to find good quality food in our new destinations. We especially love food treasure hunting when we visit the other land of plenty: America.

Cheap alcohol at Walmart checkout

Though we have lived in America and visited many times, we are always amazed with how much has changed in the food scene every time we visit. Our latest visit to Arizona, where we spent time with family, was no different. The demand for healthy food has continued to increase and suppliers are answering the demand with organic cafes, endless aisles of “healthy” packaged foods, and a continuing decrease in the price of organic whole foods (meats and veg). We found a huge variety of healthy food at reasonable prices, plenty of cheap and seductive junk food, and an increasing amount of fake food marketed as healthy.

Of course, the food in Arizona can not represent the whole diverse country of America. However, chain stores like Costco, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Natural Grocers are in many of the states of America and therefore may provide a true peek into what’s on offer around the country at these types of places. We just want to share with you some weird and wonderful foods that we came across on our latest visit.

 

Fake food marketed as health food

Multigrain tortilla chips not much healthier
Heavily processed GMO corn, soy, vegetable oils, sugar and flours mean these chips are no healthier.
Primal Strips Meatless Vegan Jerky
Flavoured gluten (wheat protein) sold as vegan jerky. Yikes!
Quiznos roast beef and cheddar sandwich
The ingredient list reveals this to be much more (toxic) than just a sandwich.
Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai Snack Not Healthy
Hershey’s candy sold as a superfood. These were in all the supermarkets AND health food stores.

 

Golden Valley Natural Organic Beef Jerky
One of the best ingredient lists we found for beef jerky. This brand found at Natural Grocers health food chain.

Better Bad Choices

Organic free-trade dark chocolate, organic red wine, homemade baked goods, sweet potato chips and unrefined sugars are all examples of what we like to call “better bad” choices. Get the idea? We found lots of fun better bad goodies in America:

– Local organic beers and gluten free beers (made from Sorghum grain)

Beef jerky: in regular supermarket chains and mini-marts, it was difficult to find beef jerky without such toxic ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup and monosodium glutamate, even on packages labeled organic or natural. However, there were some better options in health food markets, such as the one pictured to the right.

Snack bars: most of these “health bars” are made with highly processed ingredients are are void of nutrition and difficult to digest. The labeling can be deceiving, so always check the ingredient lists. This bar below has great intentions, but read the ingredients carefully and think about how much the foods would have to be processed to become powders.

Almond Butter Perfect Foods Bar
Definitely a Better Bad choice, as the ingredients are quite processed.
Found at Natural Grocers health food market, Prescott.

Bottled veggie juice and Yerba Mate Tea. It was great to see these juices with nothing in the ingredient lists but fruit and vegetables! However, plants are living things which quickly perish once cut and squeezed, so after sitting in a bottle for days, weeks and months, all that’s left is basically sugar water, not much in the way of nourishment. The best choice is freshly squeezed  juice, but these are definitely better bad, compared to most commercial juices. The tea is definitely a better bad drink, compared to a soft drink or the other teas that all had high fructose corn syrup!

Vital Veggies bottled vegetable juice
Nice try on a health drink, but veggies don’t live long enough. Found at Fresh ‘n’ Easy, which is really not so fresh.
Guayaki Yerba Mate Tea in a Can
It’s not fresh brewed tea, but for occasional convenience, this is a better bad choice found at many health food markets.

– Healthy chocolate: and it’s not dark! How nice to find a better bad WHITE chocolate bar. Raw with no dairy, too! Better better bad. 🙂 Found this one in New Frontiers Market in Prescott, Arizona.

Sacred Chocolate Bar White Chocolate with Lemon and Coconut

 

Fabulous Food Finds

These are the healthiest bars we found, and were very impressed at how raw they were! The seeds are sprouted traditionally, they are free of soy, and the foods are not heated to high temperatures, thus preserving the digestive enzymes and nutritional value of the food.

Go Raw Spirulina Bar

The same company, Go Rawalso makes these cookie snacks with the same quality ingredients and preparation. Both products were found in the awesome Natural Grocers in Prescott, which is a fast-growing health food store chain in America.

Go Raw Organic Cookies

Despite the war on raw milk in America, there is no shortage of raw cheese available to all. Yay!

Raw cheese aplenty in Arizona
Unpasteurised cow and goat cheese at New Frontiers Market, Prescott
Raw cheese from Trader Joes
Raw cheese combo from Trader Joes

Sprouted nuts! At home, we soak and dehydrate our nuts to neutralise the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that cause digestive problems and nutrient malabsorption. But to buy already soaked nuts in Sydney is very expensive. These were not only reasonably priced, but also mixed with real herbs and spices. Beautiful snack!

Gone Nuts Raw Sprouted Nuts
Sprouted nuts found at Natural Grocers health food market chain.

Organic cafes don’t stay in business very long in Sydney, but in Arizona, we found quite a few cafes and restaurants with organic produce, free range chicken, grass-fed meats, and healthy alternatives. This visit, we really enjoyed True Food in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Raven Cafe in Prescott, Arizona.

True Food Kids Menu
The healthiest kids menu we’ve seen.
From True Foods Kitchen!

Costco, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s

My family had huge punnets of strawberries and cherry tomatoes waiting for us – certified organic AND cheap! Plus big bags of wild caught flash-frozen fish, which we ate for many quick healthy meals. Organic frozen berries, canned fish, coconut oil – it was all from Costco! Check out Live Simply’s article about all the real food she buys at Costco.

Whole Foods always has lots of organic and local food, grass-fed and wild meats, a scrumptious cafe, and even a self-serve organic/local draught beer counter. Trader Joe’s is most loved for it’s organic packaged foods, much of which has only real ingredients and provide healthy convenience. Of course, all these stores also sell some junk foods and processed junk disguised as health food. Never assume that just because it’s from Whole Foods, it must be healthy. Always read ingredients and make wise choices, regardless of where you shop. The great thing about shopping at these stores and other health food markets is that you have so many better options!

Costco Wholefoods Trader Joe's

 

What are some fabulous food finds you’ve encountered in your town or when traveling?