The Perfect Diet

Atkins, candida, low-fructose, raw food, gluten-free, high protein – I wonder, how many different types of diets exist and which one is perfect for everyone? Some of us have probably tried one, two or all of these diets in a bid to make a change in our health, whether it be for weight loss or to battle illness. Personally, I have dabbled in at least three of these diets over the years and have not found complete success with any of them. But just take a look online and you can be sure to find thousands of people who can advocate for the benefits of each one. At the same time there are thousands of people who claim that none of these diets work. With so many mixed messages, how is someone like me meant to figure out what’s best?

Over years of experimentation with raw food, low carbs, gluten free and the like, I have discovered that there is no popular diet that is perfect for everyone. Β While one diet is perfect for one person, it may be harmful for the next. The problem is, there are so many diets now accessible online that people simply download a plan, follow it exactly and expect results. And they may get those results. But there are always those who don’t and that is because if a diet is not personalised, it is likely to fail. To find the perfect diet for you, it’s about being conscious of how your body responds to certain foods. I discovered early on that dried fruit was a no-go for me when I ate half a bag of dried apricots and ended up doubled over in pain from bloating and gastrointestinal issues. The same thing happens to me when I eat grapes and too much ice-cream. Both dried fruit and grapes are very high in fructose while ice-cream is high in lactose so I put two and two together and decided that I probably have some sort of sugar intolerance. As a result, I Β avoid the kinds of sweet foods which lead to those gastrointestinal issues. Β Interestingly, I have no problems drinking freshly squeezed juice, eating wheat and various other high-sugar fruit and vegetables which may have negative effects for others following a low FODMAPS diet. So it’s really about discovering what works for you.

As a general rule, fresh, unprocessed foods and plenty of water is the foundation of a great diet. From there, it’s all about experimentation to find out what foods and meals work best for your digestive system, energy levels and palate! Recording how your body responds after each meal is a fantastic way to pinpoint some of the foods that could be potentially contributing to great health or ill health. And my final tip: the perfect diet is the one that makes you feel good on the inside and look good on the outside! x

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Mini Coconut Brown Rice Puddings with Fig

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Before a few months ago, I had never eaten a fig. Fresh, dried or otherwise, this fruit always seemed to elude me. I had never seen it in a grocery store until recently and at the occasional time I saw it on a menu, I would ignore it in favour of fruits like pear or apple – safe and delicious! However, I was forced to finally try figs when I went out for breakfast with the BF one day to a hip, little backyard cafe called Cafe Komodo. The fruit from the “pancakes with fruit” I ordered turned out to be dried figs, served with cute pikelet-sized pancakes, maple syrup and a small scoop of ice cream. Granted, it wasn’t the healthiest breakfast I had that week but the dried figs were a perfect addition and from then on, I decided to give figs a fighting chance!

Unfortunately, fresh figs are pretty uncommon in my local grocery stores, so when I found a packet in Woolworths I had to snap it up! I thought my first time trying a fresh fig would be amazing. It was bland and boring! I’m not one to waste though, so I set about discovering all the ways I might cook up the six pint-sized figs before they shrivelled up and died.

So here’s a simple dessert recipe using only a few ingredients! I adapted the recipe from [http://www.tarteletteblog.com/2011/08/recipe-gluten-free-fig-gateau-de-riz.html] – I swapped the brown sugar for rice malt syrup as I am trying to reduce my fructose intake and I used silicon moulds to bake the puddings in for portion control. I also used a steamed sachet of brown rice which only took 90 seconds to steam in the microwave. This takes all the hassle out of cooking rice on the stove if you’re in a hurry! This recipe would probably work with quinoa and chia added in to the rice as well. Overall, these mini desserts are low in fat, sugars and GI and so make a perfect treat for the health-conscious. They are not terribly sweet so I would suggest drizzling a bit of rice malt syrup over them to serve. Hope you enjoy!

Mini Coconut Brown Rice Puddings with Fig (makes 7 small puddings)

Ingredients

1/2 can of full-cream coconut milk

250g cooked brown rice (I used Sunrice Organic Brown Rice Steamed Rice Sachet)

2 eggs

1 tbsp rice malt syrup

2 small figs, sliced into 7

Directions

1. Steam your rice in the microwave if using a rice sachet. Otherwise, just put your cooked brown rice in a bowl.

2. In another bowl, mix the coconut milk, eggs and rice malt syrup until well combined.

3. Pour milk mixture over cooked rice and stir.

4. Pour rice batter into 7 silicon moulds (sit the moulds in a muffin tray) and top each with slice of fig.

5. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at 180 C until golden brown. Let the puddings cool down slightly and set a little in the tray.

6. Eat hot from the moulds if you like or let the puddings cool down completely and slip off the moulds, pop the puddings on a plate and drizzle with rice malt syrup to serve. Enjoy!

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Raw Ferrero Rochers

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Oh dear. It seems I have an obsession. But I think it’s a healthy one this time! For anyone who follows me on Instagram, they may have seen that I was given the greatest gift anyone could ever receive on their birthday – a stash of products from the latest Mayver’s Food range! If you don’t know about Mayver’s, they are an Australian company who makes raw seed and nut spreads (among some other things) that are completely natural and functional – that means they are good for you! I have six products from their range so far and all of them are AMAZING. Consequently I’ve been going hammer-time in the kitchen, spreading, mixing and dolloping Mayver’s goodness on pretty much anything. Now, it should be noted that while these products are totally raw, they are definitely not fat-free or low-calorie. Personally, I don’t really believe in calorie-counting if you are eating natural, clean, pure foods so I am a massive advocate for this brand, especially if you’re using it to replace highly, processed, sugar-filled foods that are devoid of nutrition.

Which leads me to this awesome recipe! It’s my take on Ferrero Rochers (which I absolutely love but know that they aren’t the healthiest treat in the world). If you liked the previous post ‘Chewy Choc Peanut Slice’ you will see that this is just a variation on that, and so you can experiment with your own flavours if this doesn’t take your fancy. I adore how these balls turned out and they are sure to satisfy any sweet cravings, trust me!

Enough rambling, here’s the recipe!

Raw Ferrero Rochers (makes about 11 balls)

Ingredients

6 heaped tbsp chia seeds

3 heaped tbsp cocoa powder or raw cacao powder

3 tbsp almond meal

1/2 cup Mayver’s hazelnut & cacao spread

1 tbsp honey (more if you like it really sweet)

Method

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until it makes a thick paste. Roll the mixture into small balls and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate until firm. Eat!

Note: These raw balls would have looked cute presented in some gold tin foil but all I had was some silver metallic paper which I crushed up in my hand to give it a crinkly effect. They would also look great in some super mini patty pans which you can buy from homeware/kitchen stores πŸ™‚

Coconut Cashew Maca Balls

Continuing on my current Maca obsession, here is my recipe for an easy dessert or snack for those with a sweet tooth! They are nutty, mousse-y balls of goodness!

ImageCoconut Cashew Maca Balls (makes 12)

Ingredients

2 cups unsalted cashews

2 tbsp maca powder

1 tbsp organic cocoa powder

1 tsp organic vanilla

1 tbsp honey or agave

1 tsp ground cinammon

1/3 cup almond milk

Shredded coconut to coat

Method

  1. In a food processor, blend cashews until they turn into a sticky flour. Add cocoa and maca and blend through.
  2. Put cashew mix into a bowl and add vanilla, honey, cinnamon and milk and mix until you get a smooth paste.
  3. This is the bit that gets messy! Take a small amount of the mixture in your hands and roll it quickly into a ball. Drop the ball onto a plate of shredded coconut and roll it around until it is fully coated. Repeat to make 12 balls in total.
  4. Pop them in the fridge or freezer to cool and then eat!

Spelt Spirals with Green Olive and Rocket Tapenade

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I absolutely love warm, comforting and decadent food during winter; there’s nothing like being rugged up on the couch with a bowl of hot soup or a mug of tea to make you appreciate the colder months. But, being out of soup and too hungry for a tea, I decided to turn to something that ticks all the satisfaction boxes – pasta.

Now don’t run away! Carbs are scary, I know! But guess what, they’re not so bad if you don’t intend to eat a serving for four. Β When I do eat pasta, I try to choose the wholemeal types. They retain more of the nutrients than white pasta and lead to a steady release of energy. However, today I decided to brush up on my food product knowledge and try out this spelt stuff that everyone seems to be going on about. I actually don’t know much about spelt but I do know that if you mention it enough times, I will apparently buy it. Damn you, marketing geniuses! Is it healthier for me? I have no idea. It’s part of the wheat family and yes, it contains gluten. Sounds like regular pasta to me but hey, I’m willing to try it and see what happens.

The recipe I used came straight off the San Remo pasta box (slightly modified) and I happened to have some leftover green olives and anchovies sitting in my fridge so it made perfect sense! Now, the health conscious among us might freak out a little at the amount of oil that is being used to make the tapenade but I assure you, you’re not going to become miraculously obese after eating this. In fact, I only used 2 tablespoons of tapenade to flavour my pasta and it was more than enough! The recipe does include full-fat cheese so if you want to reduce the calories, you might choose to remove it or substitute it with a low-fat parmesan cheese.

The flavour of this dish is amazing! And it’s a great way to get an extra couple serves of veggies into your day if you pile the pasta onto a generous bowl of rocket and baby spinach. Check out the recipe below πŸ™‚

Spelt Spirals with Green Olive and Rocket Tapenade (Serves 4)

Ingredients

250g Spelt pasta spirals

1 cup pitted green olives (I used stuffed pimento olives and it worked out fine)

2 cups of mixed baby spinach & rocket

1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese

3 anchovy fillets

1 tsp capers

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup olive oil

2 cups of mixed baby spinach & rocket (to serve)

Method

  1. Cook pasta as per packet directions.
  2. Place olives, rocket, pecorino cheese, anchovy fillets, capers and lemon juice into a food processor and whizz it up til combined.
  3. Add olive oil gradually until it forms a paste consistency. This is your tapenade.
  4. Strain pasta. Fill a bowl with 2 cups of mixed baby spinach and rocket.
  5. Serve a 1/4 of the cooked pasta in one bowl, topped with 2-3 tbsp of tapenade and finish with a grating of pecorino. You should have enough left over to serve 3 more people (and probably have some tapenade leftover).
  6. Eat!

Green Omelette with Pine Nuts & Natural Yoghurt

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The Happy Tummy is now on Instagram! Currently, I’m doing a “7 Days of Breakfast” challenge so I’ll be posting all my breakies over the next week. Because I work all weekend usually, Mondays and Tuesdays are my real “weekends”. That’s why today I had a bit of extra time to put some effort into cooking up a delicious breakfast. I came up with this recipe idea by simply using whatever I happened to have laying around and it came out tasting great! Peep the recipe below.

Green Omelette with Pine Nuts & Natural Yoghurt

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Ingredients

1 egg

1 egg white

2 cups of baby spinach

1/2 cup of milk (I used almond milk)

1/4 avocado

1 tbsp natural yoghurt

Small handful of toasted pine nuts (or untoasted is fine, I just happened to have some toasted already)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

  1. Crack one egg and one egg white into a blender jug. Add the baby spinach and milk. Blend for a minute or so until all combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Using a non-stick pan on medium heat, cook the egg mixture. Once its browned on one side, flip it. Or if too hard to flip, you can just flip half of it over to make a half moon shape.
  3. While it cooks, slice a 1/4 of an avocado and add it to the top of your omelette when it’s done.
  4. Finish it off with a dollop of natural yoghurt and a handful of pine nuts. Enjoy!