Why Breakfast Cereal Ruins Your Day…AND Your Health

Why Breakfast Cereal Ruins Your Day and Your Health

Does this sound familiar?

After a good 8-hour night’s sleep, it’s 7:30 am and you’re headed to the kitchen to ‘grab’ breakfast before running off to work. You’re trying to eat well, so you have a new ‘healthy’ selection of breakfast cereals to choose from. Names like ‘Just Right’, ‘Sustain’, and ‘Weetbix’ make you feel like you are sustaining your body with just the right amount of wheat or grains for a ‘healthy’ start to the day. You even have soy milk or low-fat milk to pour over, as everyone has said those are the ‘healthiest’. During your morning commute, you are feeling proud of your new diet, but soon after you arrive at work, you are craving banana bread and muffins from the cafe next door, and are dying for your morning coffee. By mid-morning, you are feeling sleepy and can’t concentrate, already watching the clock for a lunch break. By lunchtime, you haven’t finished much of your morning work and are so famished that you gorge yourself on fast food. What went wrong?

Aren’t many breakfast cereals healthy?

Contrary to what the slick marketing would have you believe, boxed breakfast cereals provide little to no nutrition, are extremely indigestible, and are therefore not fit for human consumption. Cereal is made through the extrusion process, in which little flakes and shapes are formed at high temperatures and pressures. This processing destroys many valuable nutrients in grains, causes the oils to become rancid and renders certain proteins toxic. And this is what we are attempting to fuel our bodies with first thing in the morning.

Why Breakfast Cereal Ruins Your Day and Your Health

Breakfast = BREAK the FAST

The 8-12 hours between your last meal of the day and breakfast is the longest period your body goes without food. This daily ‘fast’ is required so our bodies can rest, repair and grow during sleep. However, soon after sunrise, our bodily systems ‘wake up’ by releasing cortisol hormones to get us ready for daily physical and mental activity, and we need nutritious food to sustain this, just as a car needs petrol to run. If we break the ‘fast’ with indigestible, nutrient lacking breakfast cereals, our bodies will still be hungry for real food, lacking physical energy and mental clarity.

It Gets Worse…

On top of that, the body may store existing fat to prepare for famine, as it continues to go without proper food. We throw down pills for the headaches, depression, anxiety, moodiness and muscle aches that are actually just symptoms of our growing lack of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. And all the while, the digestive system is taking a beating, getting more ineffective and bogged down with indigestible food until things like Bloating, Constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Parasites and Bowel Cancer finally show us what’s going on inside.

But my breakfast cereal is fortified with iron!

What if I told you that your cereal was fortified with metal iron shavings? Does that change things? Science is amazing, but it is still a far stretch to think that we can replicate the vitamins and minerals that naturally occur within our plant and animal foods, and simply add them to a de-natured over-processed food like cereal to get proper nutrition.

Our children are suffering

I have heard several mums tell me lately that their toddler just wants to eat all morning, and never seems satisfied until lunch. I have seen too many school-age children struggle to learn or be labelled ADHD because they can’t concentrate during their morning lessons. We all know children who have allergies, ear infections, sinus problems and other symptoms of poor nutrition. Could one answer to all these problems actually be as simple as a proper breakfast?

Then what should I eat for breakfast?

Whatever other nutritious foods you eat the rest of the day! Who decided we could only eat ‘breakfast foods’ in the morning? Oh yeah, the giant companies that sell packaged breakfast foods. Why not steak, potatoes and vegetables? Why not real, whole foods comprised of protein, fat and carbohydrates that come from plants and animals and have not been processed?

What about my 4-5 daily serves of whole grains?

The short answer is that the people who created The Food Pyramid are the same people who decided we could only eat packaged breakfast foods in the morning. Think Kellogg, General Mills…

What about the milk?

The short answer is that the milk is just as detrimental. For the long answer, read How Milk Became So Dangerous.

Old habits die hard

For decades, it has been ingrained into our thoughts that breakfast = cereal. We are addicted to the ritual, the crunch, the variety, the convenience. And we are suffering the consequences. It may take time to get used to a breakfast of whole, real, unprocessed food, but it will be a habit worth changing.

Yours in health,

Bex

P.S. My favourite breakfast: Leftovers from dinner reheated under the grill. Just as quick to prepare as breakfast cereal, and the flavours are even better the next day!)

What’s your favourite breakfast? Comment below…


Resources:

– Nourishing Traditions; Sally Fallon. Washington DC: New Trends Publishing, 1999.

Primal Easter Recipe Guide & some fun activities

Easter Primal Recipe Guide

When Kaiya was 3, someone gave her a mini chocolate egg at Easter, and she didn’t know what it was. She admired the shiny pink foil of her little sparkly treasure egg. She didn’t know that if she peeled the foil away, there would be chocolate underneath. That’s because all her Easters had been real-food celebrations! So from our family to yours, here’s a primal guide to having a healthy Easter. No sugar-crashes, indigestion, or tantrums. Just yummy food, healthy treats, and new traditions.

Primal Easter Recipe Guide...with Fun Activities Too!

Celebrating Easter without junk food and processed chocolate is not hard or restrictive. Ok, it might require a little more time than stopping at the shop to buy chocolate eggs and marshmallows, but  that time of creating your own celebratory food is part of the fun. Kids especially love to participate in making things for holidays and celebrations. This gives the holiday more meaning and vivid memories than simply hoarding gifts and over-indulging in food that makes them feel terrible afterward.

Easter Eggs & The Egg Hunt

Easter is all about eggs. So why are we eating chocolate shaped like eggs, instead of the real thing, which is one of the most nutritious, delicious, affordable and versatile foods on the planet?

– Decorate and hide Hard-Boiled Eggs
Instead of hiding chocolate eggs, hide the hard-boiled eggs that you’ve decorated yourself. Kids will love showing off and giving away their creations! Here’s how to make perfect hard-boiled eggs in the oven.

Decorate hard-boiled eggs with markers, crayons, stickers and/or dye
Decorate hard-boiled eggs with markers, crayons, stickers and/or dye

When Kaiya was little, we bought those plastic sleeves that magically decorate the eggs for you, and she told us the names of people to put on the eggs who she wanted to give them to. As she’s gotten a bit older, she loves to colour her own eggs with markers, stickers and natural dyes, and still loves giving them away.

Fill and hide plastic eggs with healthy treats and gifts
Fill and hide plastic eggs with healthy treats

– Fill and hide colourful Plastic Eggs
This is Kaiya’s favourite type of eggs to hunt, as she never knows what she will find inside the eggs she collects. I use the same dozen plastic eggs each year and put inside a variety of things like:
*Dried fruit – Kaiya loves white mulberries, cranberries, dates, apricots, figs and sultanas (raisins)
*Nuts & seeds – try delicious macadamias or pecans, cashews or a mixture with pepita seeds
*Berries – messier but delicious and fun
*Grapes
*Raw cheese bits
*High-quality raw chocolate squares
*Homemade jelly/gummy candies
*Homemade macaroons
*Coconut chips
*Beef jerky
*Stickers
*Coins – for her piggy bank

– Have an Egg Race with the collected eggs
Once the eggs are collected, play a game with them. Balance an egg on a wooden spoon or tablespoon and see who can finish the race without dropping the egg.

– Eat the collected eggs!
After we collect our eggs, we eat them with our Easter picnic lunch. You can also use them to make something fancier like deviled eggs, which I think are way yummier than chocolate. But I’m weird like that. 🙂

Bacon Avocado Deviled Eggs
Bacon Avocado Deviled Eggs

Chocolate, Treats & the Easter Basket

We decided from the start not to follow the tradition of gifting our daughter with an Easter Basket full of food and gifts. Her easter basket is the one she uses to collect her eggs during the egg hunt, and maybe put some healthy treats in to take to an Easter picnic. But I realise the gift basket is a big tradition for many families, so let’s just look at all the ways you can primalise your Easter treats and baskets.

Paleo Easter Basket Ideas
Paleo Easter Basket Ideas

– Fill your basket with healthy treats
It may take some time for your kids to adjust to fruit and paleo snacks in their basket if they are used to huge chocolate bunnies, so a good idea might be to slowly add in healthy additions to the basket along with a smaller amount of chocolate. Each year, you can make the basket more primal.

– Make homemade chocolate
It’s really so easy! Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup cocoa butter
1 cup chocolate powder (cacao or cocoa)
1/4-1/2 cup raw honey, to taste
1 tsp vanilla or other flavor (orange or peppermint oil are good!)

Instructions:
Melt cocoa butter in a double boiler or metal bowl over a medium simmering pot of water.
Add remaining ingredients and combine.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour chocolate onto paper. Or pour chocolate into molds.
Place in fridge until hardened.

– Make your own Cadbury eggs, marshmallow peeps, peanut butter eggs and other treats

Homemade Cadbury Eggs
Homemade Cadbury Eggs
Homemade Easter Marshmallow Peeps
Homemade Easter Marshmallow Peeps
Homemade Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs
Homemade Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs
Raw Carrot Cake Balls
Raw Carrot Cake Balls

 

Chicks, Lambs, & Bunnies

These baby animals symbolise Easter’s celebration of new life and springtime. Even in Australia, where it’s Autumn in Easter, these animals are the enduring mascots of the holiday.

This year however, instead of marshmallow chicks and chocolate bunnies, how about these awesome ways of incorporating Easter animals into your celebrations?

– Visit a nursery or petting zoo to see baby animals
Our local nursery hides plastic white eggs around the entire place, and the kids absolutely love the big hunt and filling their baskets, without any chocolate eggs or prizes. Plus, they get to visit with the baby animals at the same time!

– Make animal shapes with real food or healthy treats

Fruit & Nut Easter Bunny Face
Fruit & Nut Easter Bunny Faces
Coconut Macaroon Easter Chicks
Coconut Macaroon Easter Chicks
Traditional English Almond Meal Easter Cookies
Traditional English Almond Meal Easter Cookies

– Cook up a delicious roast chicken, lamb or rabbit
My favourite is lamb shoulder. Just rub it all over with salt and pepper (and rosemary/thyme/garlic if you have it) and roast in 160C (325F) oven for 25 min. per 500g (per lb.).

Roast Easter Lamb with Carrots
Roast Easter Lamb with Carrots

 – Celebrate Carrots: the Easter Bunny’s favourite food
What’s not to love about carrots?! They are highly nutritious, portable, delicious, cheap. No peeling, cutting, cooking or cutlery required. You can eat them raw, steamed, roasted, grated. Or you can make carrot juice!

Buy them in multicolour varieties if you can find them, for more bright colour on your Easter table or in Easter baskets. Leave some out for the Easter Bunny :). Try roasting carrots with butter and maple syrup (or honey) for a sweet veggie treat.

Roasted Carrots
Roasted Carrots
Carrot Juice Smoothie
Carrot Juice Smoothie

 

Find your balance of real food and junk food

As with all holidays and occasions, there is going to be junk food around. Instead of stressing yourself and your kids with trying to completely avoid the commercial crap, find a healthy balance that works for you and your family, your social environment, and where you are at in your primal journey.

As Kaiya now goes to daycare a couple days a week and spends time at friend’s houses who eat differently than us, we are realising that certain foods are going to be a part of her environment, whether we like it or not. She should have the chance to try unhealthy foods and learn to make decisions about how much is enough. Banishment of junk food only makes it more desirable! Find your balance for an enjoyable Easter.

What are your Easter traditions and usual Easter foods? Share your ideas in the comments below!

15-Minute Primal Gourmet Bacon-Wrapped Chicken & Vegetables

I’m a firm believer that in order to have healthy and delicious meals, you don’t need fancy recipes, special ingredients or a lot of time. All you need are quality real foods and a few tricks in the kitchen for making amazing food in little time. Here’s a perfect example: a gourmet looking and tasting dish using only basic ingredients, barely any cooking skills, and as little as 15 minutes. Let’s do it!

15 Minute Primal Gourmet Bacon-Wrapped Chicken & Vegetables

My secret weapon in this recipe is the oven. The oven does all the cooking for me so I don’t have to stir, saute, sear or simmer anything. I hardly even have to use my knife. The time involved for you to get the food on the oven trays is only about 15 minutes. The oven will do the rest, and then you just put the food on the plates and eat!

Another secret you’ll learn about quick quality cooking is to be flexible with recipes using whatever ingredients you have available. You’ll get better at this in time, and for now, I will lay out plenty of options for you so you can get the idea.

Gourmet Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Ingredients

– Chicken thighs
– Bacon
– Mushrooms & Tomatoes,
or other soft vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant or yellow squash (optional)
– Pumpkin, or sweet potato (optional)
– Leeks, or brown or red onions (optional)
– Stuffing for the chicken: pesto, salsa, chutney, mustard, asparagus, capsicum (bell pepper), raw cheese, pine nuts, chilli, seasonings, fresh or dried herbs, etc. (optional)
– Flavourings: sea salt, pepper, lemon juice, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, ginger, dried or fresh thyme, sage, oregano, parsely, paprika, turmeric, curry powder, lemongrass, chilli, butter, ghee, chicken stock, etc. (optional)

Variations
As you can see, besides the chicken and bacon, the ingredients can vary widely. Just use what you have in your fridge and pantry!

You can stuff the chicken, but you don’t have to. You can add soft vegetables to the baking tray with the chicken, or not. You can add as much or little as you like and swap out or omit different vegetables and seasonings and sauces.

So really, you can make this dish 10 different ways, without one single fancy recipe.

15 Minute Primal Gourmet Bacon-Wrapped Chicken & Vegetables
15 Minute Bacon-Wrapped Chicken & Vegetables

Gourmet Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Recipe

Step 1: Preheat oven to 180C (350F). If you want to ‘stuff’ the chicken with some of the stuffing options above (or something else), lay the chicken thighs open on your baking tray, put some stuffing on each thigh and fold over the thighs to make little parcels.

Step 2: Wrap each thigh in a thick piece of bacon.

Step 3: Chop or dice your mushrooms and tomatoes, or other soft veggies, and scatter around the chicken.

Step 4: Cut the pumpkin (or sweet potato) into slices or larges wedges and lay in a single layer on another oven tray. No need to peel the pumpkin (but remove the seeds). If you want leeks or onion, slice them and scatter around the pumpkin, and around the chicken if desired.

Quick oven roasted pumpkin and leeks
Easy oven-roasted pumpkin and leeks

Step 5: Add any desired seasonings from the ‘flavourings’ list above, or anything else you want to use. Some flavourings, such as fresh herbs, lemon and olive oil can be added now AND/OR after cooking.

Step 6: Put both trays in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes. The pumpkin is done when a fork or knife goes through it easily. The chicken is done when you prick it with a sharp knife and the juices come out clear (not pink).

While the oven does all the cooking, you have time to help your kids with their bath or homework, take a shower and unwind from work, or do a 20 minute meditation or yoga session in the living room!

Oven-baked bacon wrapped chicken & veggies
Oven-baked bacon wrapped chicken & veggies

Loving the Leftovers

You’ll notice I didn’t use amounts in the ingredients, but I recommend you always make enough to completely fill the oven trays. This way, you only have to do the prep once and use the oven once, but you will have plenty of food leftover for a couple more meals the next day. Here are 3 completely different ways to enjoy leftovers from this one meal.

1/ This meal is great cold the next day as a scrap salad. Just chop everything up and mix it together to pack for your lunch. You can drizzle over some olive oil and vinegar too and add lettuce greens or baby spinach if you like.

2/ Another leftovers variation is to mash up the pumpkin and serve the bacon and chicken on top. Reheat everything in a little pan or under the grill first. Yum!

3/ Lastly, you can heat up the oven-roasted pumpkin and leek with some chicken stock, then blend it all to make a delicious soup. Chop the meats and veggies and put into the soup.

17 Primal & Portable Protein Snacks

17 Real-Food Primal & Portable Protein Snacks

Healthy protein snacks keep your energy and metabolism thriving all day long (no mid-afternoon slump!), help you avoid cravings, and ensure that you’re never left hungry when there’s only junk food options around. Forget expensive and fake packaged protein bars, and get primal with these 17 real-food portable protein snacks (they are all naturally gluten-free, too!).

17 Primal & Portable Protein Snacks

1. Leftover chicken wings or drumettes: Chicken is yummy cold and full of protein to satisfy you for longer. Always make extras when you cook meals, so you have leftovers to pack for easy snacks. Just remember to take a small ice block to keep the chicken cold, especially in warm weather. Here’s an easy and yummy way to cook your wings and drumettes.

2. Hard-Boiled Eggs: Hard-boil at least half a dozen eggs once a week, so you always have this protein and nutrient rich snack to grab on your way out the door. You can even pre-peel them at home for no egg shell mess at work or on the train. Here’s a novel way of making hard-boiled eggs without boiling.

3. Mixed Nuts: One of the easiest snacks to throw in your bag and eat virtually anywhere, and you’ll never get bored with the wide variety of nuts available. Nuts have a pretty good protein content, plus some healthy fats to satiate you. Just be sure to not eat too many nuts that haven’t been activated (soaked and dried). Here’s how to easily activate your nuts at home (no dehydrator required!). I love to toss my finished nuts in oil and sea salt. Yum!

4. Rocky Shake: Thinking about Rocky Balboa drinking raw eggs during boxing training may make you gag, but if you put those raw eggs in a delicious shake, you get the protein and nutrition benefits without any egg taste whatsoever. Shakes become  portable snacks when you make them in the morning and pour into a glass jar with screw-top lid to take with you! Never ever use cage eggs, only the finest quality eggs you can get (worth the extra money, if you value your health), and have fun with a variety of primal shake recipes.

5. Meatballs: Again, the best way to continually eat well when time-poor is to love your leftovers. Whether you’ve used beef, pork, lamb or chicken mince (ground meat), you will be guaranteed a huge amount of protein for snacks. So this is an especially good snack for after a workout, when you have to go long periods between meals, and for insatiable kids. Try my original Coconut Meatballs, which are delicious cold the next day, or get a basic meatball recipe.

6. Pumpkin Seeds: Half a cup of these tasty seeds have about 14 grams of protein! One popular variety called Pepitas can be found in many health food stores, or you can make your own at home by rinsing and oven-roasting the seeds from your pumpkin. You can mix these with your nuts if you like, and add oil, sea salt, tamari or spices for varied flavour.

7. Canned seafood: Clearly, tinned food is not the most primal option, but it might be worth the exception now and then for convenient protein-filled and highly nutritious snacks. Just be sure that the fish is packed in spring water or olive oil, never vegetable oil. Though salmon and tuna are the most common, sardines, mussels and oysters are especially nutritious, or try mackerel (kippers) for a less fishy taste.

8. Two-Ingredient Pancakes: These banana and egg pancakes are making the rounds on the internet because how awesome is it to have a pancake with no flour at all! And the eggs will give you protein. They are small size pancakes, so they’re perfect for taking as snacks in your bag.

9. Jerky: Native peoples were snacking on beef jerky and salmon jerky long before it came in a package, and today most commercial jerky contains horrors like MSG and corn syrup. If you can’t find a brand that has nothing but meat and spices, here’s how to make your own jerky without a dehydrator.

10. Mini Fish Cakes: A more primal and delicious version of the canned seafood, this just takes a little bit more prep time, or you can again just use your awesome leftovers. You can make fish cakes a million ways to suit your tastes, including veggies or herbs to add even more nutrition to these protein and fatty-acid filled snacks.

11. Mini Egg Muffins: We are a huge fan of egg-muffins for breakfast and lunches so how about making them in mini-muffin tins to take for snack time? Simply throw your leftover chopped veggies in a bowl with 4-6 eggs and salt and pepper, mix it up and ladle into the mini muffin tins. After 20 minutes in a 180C (350F) oven, you have a bunch of real food protein snacks ready to go.

12. Raw Cheese: Who doesn’t love cheese?! Just make sure it’s always raw, never pasteurised! We have found two types of unpasteurised cheese in our Sydney supermarket and I saw loads of raw cheeses in the health food supermarkets in America. A little cheese goes a long way to satisfy your hunger, cravings and energy needs.

13. Spinach Bars: This awesome snack food has the protein of eggs plus the nutrition of spinach, garlic and herbs. Plus, it’s easy to take with you and not messy to eat. Make a big batch of spinach bars to enjoy throughout the week!

14. Nut Butter Spread: Nuts again, but now you’ve got a protein-rich dip or spread which adds variety and fun options for your daily snacks. Our favourite foods to dip or spread our nut butter on are apples, pears, bananas and raw carrots and celery. We pack the fruit or veg whole with our jar of nut butter and a little covered knife, then cut, dip and/or spread on the yummy nut butter at snack time. Or make any variety of ‘ants on a log’. Peanut butter is so old school, and legumes (yes, peanuts are not nuts!) don’t digest well for everyone, so try out some almond butter, cashew butter, mixed nut butter, or make your own at home in a food processor or Vitamix with your activated nuts!

15. Meat Rollup: On the night you make roast beef for dinner, cut a few thin slices of the roast beef and use them to roll up some thin veggies like capsicum (bell pepper) strips, carrot sticks or asparagus. Mustard, pesto or sauerkraut makes delicious meat rollups too, and if you eat dairy, you can throw in some raw cheese. Put the meat rollups in a small container to pack for snacks.

16. Homemade Sushi: More roll-up fun. Buy a pack of sushi nori from the supermarket or health food shop and have fun rolling up leftover meat and veg, avocado, whatever you like for your snacks. Rice or quinoa is totally optional. Here’s an easy lesson from me on how to make your own sushi.

17. Bliss balls or bars: If you’ve bought any of those date and nut bars or balls from the shop, you know they are amazingly delicious snacks. But did you know how easy they are to make at home? And SO much cheaper! Just mix in your food processor: 2 cups dried fruit to 1 cup nuts/seeds, plus your choice of cocoa, cacao, peppermint oil, coconut flakes, whatever you fancy. Roll into balls and keep in fridge or freezer until you’re ready to pop them into your snack bag. Just as yummy as those fake chocolate protein bars, but only real primal ingredients.

What’s your favourite real-food snack?

Red Choc Mint Shake – Full of Nutrition, but Tastes Like Dessert!

Red Choc Mint Shake Recipe

Choc mint has got to be one of the best flavour combinations there is. But usually if you’re eating something choc mint, it’s a junk food. So what if I told you that you could have that incredible choc mint flavour in a creamy shake full of vegetables, healthy fat and greens? Yes, I created magic with just a few ingredients…

Red Choc Mint Shake Recipe

This one is for my good friend, Keri, who loves chocolate and shakes, but is cutting down her fruit intake and needs shake ideas that use vegetables. I think Keri, and the rest of you, are going to be roasting plenty of beetroot (beets) each week (learn how below – it’s so easy!), so you can make this all the time!

I actually named this shake after a T2 tea that Keri bought me called Red Choc Mint; a mixture of Rooibos and peppermint leaves with cocoa shells. Heaven! I know beetroot is actually purple, but this name just works. 🙂

Red Choc Mint Shake Ingredients

* 1/2 – 1 Leftover roasted beetroot (beets) see below for how to easily roast beets
* 2 Tbsp raw cacao powder
* 1/4-1/2 ripe avocado (fresh or frozen)
* Large handful mint leaves (or choc mint leaves)
* 1 tsp raw honey (or more to taste)
* Splash of coconut cream/coco milk and/or water

Optional:
– Handful frozen Blueberries (or fresh)
– Handful spinach leaves
– 2-3 Eggs or egg yolks
– Pinch of sea salt

Red Choc Mint Shake Ingredients
Red Choc Mint Shake Key Ingredients:
Roasted Beetroot (Beet), Cacao Powder, Avocado, Mint Leaves

Instructions:

Blend all ingredients. Add more coconut cream, coconut milk or water to make a thinner shake consistency if desired.

Optional Ingredients:

Adding the optional berries and/or spinach will make you a larger shake with more nutrition, and very little change to the amazing taste of the shake! The eggs add protein and fat to make this shake a more complete meal, and the pinch of salt is often great at bringing together the sweet and savory flavours.

Notes:

– This shake is hard to mess up, so don’t worry about exact measuring. Feel free to vary the amounts depending on your tastes and what you have available in the fridge.

– If you prefer not to have honey, you can try using a half banana instead (best frozen) or use cocoa powder instead of cacao, as it’s not as bitter (but has far less nutrients).

– We have recently had the pleasure of buying some amazing choc mint leaves from our farmer’s market, which add so much extra flavour to this shake. However, you’re more likely to have regular mint leaves on hand, so just use plenty of those!

How to Roast Beetroot (Beets)

If you are THAT pressed for time, you could try using canned beetroot (beets) in this shake. However, roasting beetroot is so ridiculously easy, that I highly recommend you try it.

Just put a few beets in the oven on the same day that you are baking or roasting something in there already. No extra time needed!

1/ Cut the beetroot off the stalks, wrap individually in foil and put in a hot oven. Approx. time for medium size beets: 1-1.5 hour at 180C (350F). Cooking time will vary depending on size of beets and temperature of oven.

2/ The beetroot is done when you can easily stick a sharp knife all the way through the center.

3/ Once cooled, the skin will slip off easily!

Eat some of the roasted beetroot immediately if you like, then save the leftovers for salads and shakes!

Kids love this healthy shake that tastes like dessert!
Kids love this healthy shake that tastes like dessert!

 

Are you a choc mint lover? Did this satisfy your taste buds?

 

Probiotic & Essential Fatty Acid ‘Superfood’ Ice Cream

Putting the words ice cream together with probiotic, essential fatty acid and superfood sounds like a fake food marketed in a psuedo health food store. But never fear, these things have come together organically and spontaneously in my kitchen. The result was such a wonderful breakfast surprise (yes we ate ice cream for breakfast), that I had to share it with you!

Make your own probiotic efa superfood ice cream!

I was whipping up a breakfast shake for the three of us, with the little groceries I had left.

Fortunately, I always keep the freezer stocked with frozen fruits and veggies to have on hand for shakes. Not only for the times when we are low on groceries (about 4-5 days after the farmer’s market), but also because shakes are so much better with frozen ingredients! Cold and slushy…yum.

In addition to fruit and veg, I also had two other superfoods – eggs and kefir. Remember, superfoods are not just foreign expensive berries and powders. Here’s a list of the only superfoods you’ll ever need.

Into the food processor/blender went:

The Superfood Ice Cream Ingredients

– 5 egg yolks
– 2 1/2 frozen bananas
– Handful frozen strawberries (or other fruit)
– Splash of vanilla extract
– Generous splash of coconut kefir

Eggs –
Brad and I have recently taken food intolerance tests, which came about because of my digestive issues and our desire to learn more about acquired food intolerances.

Brad tested high for an intolerance to egg whites, and through eliminating and re-introducing them, has discovered he only shows symptoms when eating the egg whites raw.

We also know that raw egg whites contain enzyme inhibitors, which are destroyed through cooking, so for our shakes, we have been using mostly just the yolks. The majority of an egg’s nutrients is in the yolks anyway, including plenty of essential fatty acids (as long as your eggs are from pastured chickens!).

Egg yolks are a main ingredient in traditional homemade ice cream.

Frozen Fruit –
Freeze ripe fruit regularly and you will always have the makings of great shakes and homemade ice creams on hand! Bananas, especially are a great base, as their sweetness means you usually won’t need to add any other sweetener. Peel the bananas first before freezing.

Frozen bananas and a couple other ingredients are all you need to make endless varieties of 5-minute ice creams like this one.

Vanilla Extract – 
Make sure you only use good quality extracts. Spend a little extra money to get the good stuff, then use extracts to add wonderful flavour to shakes, ice creams and other healthy treats. Peppermint and orange extracts add great flavour too.

Coconut Kefir –
Kefir is a fermented drink which is full of beneficial bacteria from the fermenting process. Hence it is a probiotic – it replenishes the gut with good bacteria. Kefir is traditionally made with milk, and can also be made with water.

Brad has made our own at home with raw milk and also with coconut milk, and he will post an article soon teaching you how. It’s so easy! In the meantime, you may also find kefir at your local health food shop or farmer’s market.

Probiotic Essential Fatty Acid Ice Cream

With more frozen fruit than liquid, and the thickness of the yolks with no whites, our shake came out thick enough to eat with a spoon – so it’s ice cream! 🙂

Optional extras

After serving up Brad & Kaiya’s ice cream, I added some of the egg white into the food processor, along with a handful of frozen kale to blend up for my ice cream. Just thought I’d add in that extra bit of protein, nutrients and antioxidants. The result was more a more liquidy ice cream texture, but still soooo delicious!

Probiotic EFA Ice Cream with Kale
Probiotic EFA Ice Cream with Kale

You could also add other ‘superfoods’, such as cacao for a chocolatey ice cream, or blueberries or beetroot for an antioxidant punch. Use the basic 5-minute ice creams recipes, and add whatever superfoods suit!

Kaiya loved having healthy ice cream for breakfast, as will you and your kids. Just take care not to make it a daily habit, which can lead to these Dangers of Kids Living on Healthy Treats.

By the way, writing this the same day after having this ice cream for breakfast, it’s been four hours and I am just now starting to get hungry for lunch. The fat and nutrients in the egg yolks and kefir really satisfied my body for while, and I’ve had no cravings all morning. Now that’s the kind of ice cream I want in my life!

 

What did you put in your superfood ice cream? How was it?!

4-Ingredient Macaroons – Cooking with Kaiya

4 Ingredient Coconut Macaroons

Whenever mum and I have some extra egg-whites or time on our hands, or we just feel like baking or making snacks for our friends, we do macaroons! We took a batch to my daycare Christmas party and no one could believe that they were so healthy when we told them the ingredients. That’s how yummy they are.

 

Coconut macaroons are one of the easiest healthy treats
Coconut macaroons are one of the easiest healthy treats
Coconut macaroons with a few basic healthy ingredients
An electric whisk/beater makes macaroons quick and easy

Mum used to beat the egg whites for ages, trying to get them into stiff peaks. Now we have an electric hand whisk, so she’s much keener to make macaroons now! You can do it either way, but just warning you that it’s an arm workout without the electric thingy. 🙂

NOTES:

– Use the best ingredients you can find. Then your macaroon desserts will be super nutritious. Nutritious desserts = happy kids and happy parents. That means raw unpasteurised honey, organic vanilla essence, unsweetened coconut, unprocessed sea salt, and organic pastured eggs.

– The thicker your honey, the better your macaroons will stay together in nice little haystack cookie shapes.

– Let the macaroons cool thoroughly before eating. This is the hardest part of the recipe – waiting to eat them while they stare at you from the kitchen counter!

– Add extra ingredients to jazz up your macaroons if you like. For example, you can use cacao/cocoa powder for chocolate macaroons and natural food colouring for colourful treats.

– If you need something to do with your yolks, make homemade icecream or put them in your primal shakes!

Kids can make coconut macaroons with little help
Kids can make coconut macaroons with little help

Coconut Macaroon Ingredients

– 6 egg whites
– 1/4 tsp sea salt
– 1/2 cup honey
– 1 tbsp vanilla
– 3 cups shredded coconut
Oops, that’s 5 ingredients. Forgot about the salt! 🙂

Coconut Macaroons Recipe

Step 1: Preheat oven to 180C (350F).

Step 2: Put egg whites and the salt into a large bowl and beat them with a whisk or beaters until they form stiff peaks. This means the egg whites will get really foamy and form tiny mountains when you move the foam upward. It takes at least 5 minutes of high speed whisking so don’t rush.

Step 3: Add the honey and vanilla carefully, so you don’t lose your stiff peaks. Beat again for a little bit to make sure your egg whites stay foamy with the peaks.

Step 4: Gently mix in the shredded coconut one cup at a time.

Step 5: Use a tablespoon to scoop heaping spoonfuls onto an oven tray covered with baking paper. Form them into same size ‘haystacks’.

Step 6: Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes until the coconut starts to brown a bit. Don’t wait for all of it to brown, or the bottom will get burned.

Step 7: Let cool completely, so the macaroons get nice and chewy. They cool faster on a wire rack. Leave the kitchen or you will be tempted to eat them all before they cool!

Amaze your family and friends with how tasty healthy treats can be. Remember that they are still snacks or dessert food, and you only need to have a couple a day. Then the pleasure lasts longer!

A tablespoon makes perfect size macaroon haystacks
A tablespoon makes perfect size macaroon haystacks
How can such a healthy dessert be so delicious?
How can such a healthy dessert be so delicious?

 

 How did your macaroons come out? Was everyone impressed?!

The Dangers of Kids Living on Healthy Treats

The Dangers of Kids Living On Healthy Treats

As the internet becomes flooded with recipes for healthy homemade versions of dessert foods, and the shops stock more “healthy” packaged snacks, more parents are using these foods as daily staples with their children. Health-minded mums are the most likely to fall deep into this trap, which seems like such a great alternative at first. If there are only healthy ingredients in these treats, and no nasties in the snacks, what could be wrong with giving them to your kids every day?

Paleo Muffins for Kids Lunch
Is it ok for kids to live on healthy treats?

Your kid won’t eat his chicken and veggies? Oh well, just give him a paleo pancake instead!

Paleo pancakes and other healthy baked goods

I’ve seen first-hand in my house how easy it is to get sucked into a never-ending paleo treat party. Facebook, Pinterest and loads of amazing blog sites keep our mouths watering every day with new recipes for muffins, cakes, cookies, puddings, mousses, ice creams, pancakes and chocolates that are actually healthy. Desserts that are healthy! Who wouldn’t want to eat desserts all the time if they are not bad for you?

Your kids, of course. You are so happy that your kid is finally eating something healthy, so you make them almond meal pancakes for breakfast, coconut flour banana muffins for lunch, date-sweetened cookies for snacks and cacao avocado mousse when they are still hungry 10 minutes later.

Now YOU know that a balanced diet includes whole plant and animal foods, and you enforce that on yourself because you are an adult. But a child thinks, “Why would I eat anything else if all these snack foods are healthy too, and so much tastier and addictive?” You have now made it 100 times more likely that your child will refuse a carrot stick or apple at snack time, because they are holding out for more paleo brownies. You have taught them that if they don’t want to eat their chicken and veggies for dinner, you will probably give them something more interesting anyway.

Our 4-year-old daughter Kaiya, who has been enthusiastically eating healthy primal meat and veggie meals since she was a baby (you can see her awesome toddler eating habits here), alerted me to this trap before I fell in too deep. After we had tried a few recipes for healthy treats and homemade baked goods, she started saying at meal times, “I don’t want dinner. I want something special.” My delicious home-cooked meals were suddenly not special anymore. Not in comparison to cake that is good for you.

So let them eat cake

I know what you’re saying. But all those treats have such healthy ingredients…even superfoods! Almond meal, coconut oil, cacao, dates, chia seeds and more. Even we make raw cacao balls, quinoa pancakes, and healthy party food. Yes, these foods are nutritious, but only as additions to your diet, not as the whole diet. It’s easy to get carried away and forget that your child is not getting basic proteins, fats and fibrous carbohydrates from your healthy baked treats. And you can definitely have too much of a good thing, especially nuts and seeds and gluten-free flours; all of which can be very taxing on the digestive system. As for superfoods like chia and cacao, read this article, The Only Superfoods You’ll Ever Need, and you’ll see what I’m getting at.

Cake, even if made with “paleo-approved” ingredients, is still cake, which most children understand is an occasional food, not an everyday food. Keep it that way if you want your kids to develop lifelong healthy eating habits.

The problem with healthy packaged snacks

However, almond meal banana cake isn’t the only type of healthy treat culprit. There are also many packaged snacks that easily become staples in children’s diets. Most popular are rice cakes and crackers, muesli/granola bars, dried fruit and yogurts. The packages say natural, sugar-free, gluten-free, high fiber, and no artificial flavours or colours. So what could be bad?

Well you know what’s NOT in it, so what’s in it? The answer is not much. Not much protein, fat or fibrous carbohydrates. Not many vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Not much nutrition.

As I talk about in another article about not worrying that your kids don’t eat enough, it is usually better for kids to eat nothing than to eat nutritionless food. Every time we eat something that has very little nutritional value, nutrients have to be pulled from the body in order to assimilate and digest the deficient food.  Now that rice cracker doesn’t seem so harmless, does it?

Instead of serving up snacks that are nothing more than nutrient deficient processed grains, pasteurised dairy, or fruit dehydrated of everything except its sugars, how about a nutritious raw vegetable or fresh whole piece of fruit? As with the paleo pancakes, your child will never learn to love real whole foods if you always have a rice cracker ready for them as an alternative.

Quick Healthy Snacks for Kids

Reclaim your time and money

To cement your new thinking about packaged snacks, read the article Eat Healthy by Ignoring the Labels, and start making real, whole unpackaged foods the #1 staple in your child’s diet. Take the money that you are spending on “healthy” packaged snacks and the time you are spending baking healthy treats, and put that money and time toward buying and cooking nutritious whole food meals and snacks.

“When children eat beyond a steady diet of ‘kiddie foods’,

their taste buds grow to appreciate a broader variety of flavors.”

– Nancy Tringali Piho, author of the book ‘My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus: Raising Children Who Love to Eat Everything’

 

More resources for feeding kids well

See if you are guilty of any of the other 7 Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Child’s Healthy Eating Habits, then learn:

10 Ways to Kids Who Eat Healthier Than You
10 More Ways to Kids Who Eat Healthier Than You

Get loads of meal and snack ideas from our Pinterest boards:

Feeding Primal Kids
Primal Meals
Primal Snacks & Desserts

 

Is your child dependent on healthy baked goods or ‘healthy’ packaged snacks?

7 Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Kid’s Healthy Eating Habits

7 Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Kid's Healthy Eating Habits

If you often complain about or stress over the fact that your child is a picky eater, there is a good chance that it’s partly your fault. I’m not pointing fingers, I’m just saying that much of what our kids like and do is dependent on our own thoughts and actions, so it doesn’t hurt to look at how you have influenced your child’s eating habits.

How have you influenced your child's picky eating habits?

Check to see which of these behaviors you may doing, so you can make some simple changes that will quickly convert your picky eaters into healthy-eating kids.

1.  You assume your child won’t like healthy food.
Ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? If you expect your child to hate vegetables, they will. If you assume that all your child is going to like is chicken nuggets and hot dogs, then you’ve already set them up for that. Instead, forget what you think about kids not liking healthy food. Imagine your child’s mind as a clean-slate. From the moment your child starts eating solid foods, assume they will like all the fresh healthy food you give them, and they will. If they are older, just wipe both your slates clean and start again.

2. You treat mealtimes like a chore.
Do you rush through breakfast and dinner? Do you complain about having to cook or prepare food? Do you pressure your child to hurry up, eat faster, or clean their plate? Then if your child is not interested in eating, they have likely picked that up from you and your annoyed attitude toward food and mealtimes. Celebrate food and mealtimes and they will too.

3. You force or coerce your child to eat foods they don’t like.
Imagine saying to your spouse, “I don’t care if you don’t like green beans. You have to eat them anyway.” Sounds absurd, yet many kids hear this every day. This is a sure-fire way to make kids hate food, especially the “healthy stuff” that you are forcing down their throats. A good family rule is that everyone agrees to try a bite of each thing they are given. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to eat that part of their meal.  Respect your children’s tastes just as you do your own.

4. You hide or try to disguise vegetables into your kid’s food.
The only thing trickery and disguise will teach your child about food is that it’s not to be trusted. The goal is not just to get the healthy food into your child’s body. The goal is to have your child want to eat that food and enjoy it, so healthy habits are set up for life. Who is going to smuggle vegetables into your kid’s burgers when they are all grown up?

5. You make them a new meal or favourite snack when they won’t eat.
This is the most common mistake and most mums are guilty of it at some point. However, if you continually give your child a favourite snack or “kid meal” when they refuse to eat, why would they ever eat the healthy family meals you make? They won’t let themselves starve, so consider that it’s probably better for them to eat nothing, than to eat junk food or nutrition-less snacks. Here’s a great article on that subject, called ‘Stop Worrying about How Little Your Kids Eat’.

6. You’ve got them on a steady diet of “paleo treats”.
Now here’s a tough one. You’ve found something healthy that your kid will eat, so why not just give that to them all the time? Well, because coconut flour muffins, cacao mousse, and almond meal pancakes alone do not make up a nourishing diet of macro and micro nutrients. You are teaching your child that as long as you use the healthier recipes, you can eat muffins, cookies, pancakes and bars for every meal and never have to worry about those pesky whole plant and animal foods. And those treats are so tasty, why would your kid eat anything else? This is another issue that has become so common, I wrote a whole article on the dangers of kids living on healthy treats.

What Should I Feed My Kids?

7. You struggle to eat healthy food yourself
If you are trying to get your child to do what you say and not what you do, it’s not going to work. Children are sponges; they are natural mimics. You must walk the talk. Eat the way you want your child to, and they will copy you. Be a role model. Learn more about how to do this in my popular articles:

10 Ways to Kids Who Eat Healthier Than You
10 More Ways to Kids Who Eat Healthier Than You

 

Do you think you may be partly responsible for your child’s picky eating habits?