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What is Paleo?

What is Paleo?

In Notes On December 27, 2016 1 Comment

Paleo

I frequently mention the word Paleo in my recipes, and since this is not a common expression for us Maltese, I decided to write about what is Paleo and why it works for me. 

Paleo is a type of diet, or as I’d like to call it, a lifestyle, which consists of eating natural food without grains, refined sugar or dairy. The concept comes from eating food which our primates or the caveman used to eat. Since there was no industrial intervention, the food was more likely to be natural, unprocessed and easily digested.

Don’t be scared, you will notice that a lot of Paleo recipes will contain many eggs or meat products. I do find that consuming a lot of eggs and meat is too much sometimes, so I tend to balance the amount I consume from the latter. I also love and cook vegan food mostly because I  like to maximise the vegetable intake. When it comes to protein, I believe that the source coming from animals is the one that works for me. Why? Because beans and legumes are grains and grains, unfortunately, make me bloated and uncomfortable. I suggest anyone try and omit any type of grains for at least 2 weeks, to see if they notice a difference in their digestion, resulting in a flatter stomach. This works wonders for me! It would also benefit people who suffer from IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) to an extent.

With regards to dairy, I found that I can tolerate it and it doesn’t affect me after I consume it. Therefore I include cheese about 5 times a week, mostly in my lunch meals or salads. However, I do not use any dairy in my sweets preparation. 

What to Eat?

The first question people ask me when I tell them no grains whatsoever, and that means no pasta, chickpeas or lentils is; “what do you eat then?”. But you will be amazed by how many different options are available. Unfortunately, if you are a pasta lover, there is nothing which can replace pasta, but you would have to find other similarly satisfying comfort food which still keeps you happy. And having pasta once a week will not do any harm. I do take a normal pizza almost once a week and still manage to keep my desired waistline. I just prefer not to use grains at all when I’m preparing my own meals. Of course, there would be occasions and weekly ones, and that is still ok. But I’d rather fill my kitchen cupboards with the good stuff. It still works if you follow this ‘diet’ plan 4 times a week. I don’t like to call it a diet because there is no sacrifice at all. I love eating good food, and Paleo offers many good, satisfying sweets and savoury meals.

The advantage of Paleo

As I said, feeling less bloated is one of the reasons. I also found this to compensate my energy levels and alertness.  In addition, it did help me naturally lose weight.

Avoid

  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Wheat
  • Refined Sugars
  • Refined or hydrogenated oils
  • Processed foods

 Eat

  • Fish
  • Meat (preferably grass fed)
  • Vegetables including root vegetables
  • All fruit
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy oils and fats e.g. coconut and olive oil

Typical kitchen items and what they replace

  • Ground almonds (intrita) for baking sweets
  • Shredded coconut which can be ground into coconut flour
  • Chia seeds sometimes used instead of eggs
  • Honey for sweet recipes
  • Medjool Dates for snacking
  • Almonds, pistachios, brazil nuts, hazelnuts for recipes, nut butter, snacks or to throw on salads
  • Cashew nuts for making cashew cream or cashew cheese
  • Almond or coconut milk instead of dairy milk in smoothies, breakfasts or sweets recipes
  • Tamari instead of soy sauce (tamari is a gluten free soy sauce)
  • Coconut oil used instead of butter in sweet recipes
  • Cold pressed Olive oil for salads or light frying
  • Tapioca flour for making naan bread or pizza
  • Raw cacao powder for enriching desserts

Top 10 favourite Paleo recipes

These are my top ten favourite recipes which I do not get tired of. 

  1. Three-minute chocolate mug cake
  2. Easy Broccoli and Cauliflower Bake
  3. Stuffed Butternut Squash
  4. Garlic Naan Bread (can also be used as a pizza base)
  5. Pad Thai Salad
  6. Easy 3 ingredient pancakes
  7. Aubergine base pizzas
  8. Banana Cake
  9. Southern style chicken with Greek yoghurt sour cream
  10. Thai coconut curry

 

Comment in the section below if you require any other information or want to share your experience!

 

Sources:
Against All Grain by Danielle Walker

Macadamia Hair porducts

In Natural Remedies, Notes On February 23, 2016 0 Comments

This is just a review on a very good hair products I recently started using. My colleague has been using them for a long while and I can vouch that her hair looks very and feels very healthy. I have recently starting using these products myself and have seen a huge difference in my hair health.

As a general rule, five minutes before I wash my hair I apply a good amount of coconut oil or Argan oil. I allow it to sit until I am ready to wash my hair. First I wash with Macadamia Rejuvenating shampoo. I rinse with water and apply Macadamia Moisturizing Rinse as a conditioner. I let the conditioner sit for as long as I can, whilst I wash. Every other week I use the Macadamia masque instead of the rinse. For best results I apply the masque, cover my hair with a plastic bag and then allow it to sit in for twenty minutes. If I dont have time for this longer routine, I just allow the masque to sit while I am having a shower. When hair is washed and still wet, apply Macadamia oil treatment. I like to apply some more air after styling but you might want to use less if you have oily hair.

These are the products that I use. I buy them from Amazon:

  1. Macadamia Rejuvenating shampoo 1000ml 
  2. Macadamia Moisturizing Rinse 1000ml
  3. Macadamia masque 500ml
  4. Macadamia oil treatment 125ml

 

Link for buying coconut oil online:

Link for buying argan oil:

Post your comments below if you also use these products.

macadamiaoil

 

Preserving Fresh Herbs

In Notes On November 11, 2013 1 Comment

This is the best time to preserve basil or any other herb which will die out by winter. Below is a nice way of preserving fresh herbs for the colder days.

You could just toss these ice cubes on your salad and allow them to melt, otherwise you could easily dissolve them in any soup or sauce you are cooking.

 You will need:

  1. Fresh herbs
  2. Ice cube tray
  3. Olive Oil

Step 1. Clean the fresh herbs and allow them to dry out naturally. When they are ready, prepare your ice cube tray and olive oil (or any other oil of choice).

DSCF5452 (Small) 

Step 2. Gently tear the herbs into smaller pieces using your fingers and place them in ice cube trays.

DSCF5454 (Small) (Custom) 

Step 3. Cover herbs with olive oil. You can fill up the ice cubes to the top but if you prefer less oil on a salad just add as desired.

 DSCF5456 (Small) (Custom)

Step 4. Store the trays in freezer. The oil will harden and allow you to easily use these herbs.

DSCF5509 (Small) (Custom) 

Step 5. You can continue storing these herbs in the freezer or otherwise if you wish to reuse the ice cube trays, pull out the cubes and store them in a labelled plastic bag. Continue storing in freezer until desired.

DSCF5511 (Small)

Tips for a healthier life

In Notes On November 6, 2013 0 Comments

If you want to engage on a healthier life style but need some ideas on how you can do so, I have created some notes you could use to get on track. 

  1. Prepare your day or better week in advance – Buy vegetables and groceries to last for the whole week. It is less difficult to binge on unhealthy food if you do not have them in your cupboard. Surround yourself with healthy food and snacks. Always favour vegetables which are local or in season when possible.
  2. Tricks to avoid extra/ unwanted snacks:
    1. Eat Breakfast – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It will jumpstart your metabolism and if you skip this meal your body is more likely to go into starvation mode and start storing fat.
    2. Drink a glass of water before eating or snacking. Sometimes people confuse hunger with thirst.
    3. Add a bit of chilly to your dishes – People tend to eat less when a dish is spicy.
    4. Chose a smaller plate size – sometimes it is not the amount of food you have, but how full your plate looks.
    5. Control portion sizes and timing – Eat smaller meals more frequently. Try to leave at least two/three hours between a meal and another. You don’t need to feel painfully full in order to stop eating. Instead try to listen to your body and continually ask yourself if you are actually full. If you are eating out of a bigger portion, take out the portion that you need before hand to avoid eating more than you actually want to.
    6. Eat and chew slowly – It takes about 20 minutes on average for the brain to register that the stomach is full.  If you eat a meal in 10 minutes it is more likely that you still feel hungry because you have not yet allowed the brain to register the food intake. Dedicate some time to eat your meals. If you eat in front of the TV, or while doing something else, the tendency will be that you will overeat because your focus will be shifted away from whether you are full or not.
  3. Avoid or limit the amount of processed food that you eat. These include packaged meals, canned food, store bought biscuits and pastries. The more you eat these types of food, the more you will be craving them.
  4. Wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly because pesticides are very harmful for the body and can pose serious risk on your health. Use white vinegar or bicarbonate of soda mixed with water to cleanse fruit and vegetables.
  5. Examples of healthy snacks include:
    1. Vegetable sticks & homemade dips (example carrot sticks go well with hummus or celery sticks with bigilla)
    2. Low fat cottage cheese or feta cheese (you can add these in toasts or salads or even as a healthier pita/pizza topping)
    3. Nuts (chose baked and unsalted). Good sources are almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts. Nuts can help maintain a good level of fat burning hormones as well as control appetite and cravings.
    4. Fresh fruit like apples, bananas, grapefruit, pomegranate, watermelon, peaches and plums.
    5. Low fat yoghurt, or better low fat Greek yogurt (find brands with a fewer list of ingredients. Avoid ones that have added ingredients like sugar/sweeteners, colors and preservatives)
    6. Dark Chocolate, pure cocoa powder or cocoa nibs – Chocolate is rich in antioxidants, boosts energy, improve mood and concentration. Dark chocolate will still satisfy your sweet tooth for fewer calories and more benefits. Buy chocolate from the health section and look at the ingredients. Preferably chose chocolate with 70% or more cocoa. Chocolate that is sweetened with stevia is very good as stevia is a natural sweetener made from a plant. If sugar is the first ingredient then it means that there is more sugar than chocolate so try to avoid these. Try this homemade chocolate treat
    7. Coconut milk & coconut oil – a super healthy saturated fat which is a powerful nutrient for the immune system. This fat is readily used as for energy and is less likely to be stored as fat. Coconut oil can be used instead of butter for baking.
    8. Whole eggs including the egg yolks – Eggs are one of the highest source of protein and the egg yolks are the healthiest part of the egg. These are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
    9. Avocados – These are sometimes considered as a fatty fruit but are in fact full of healthy fats that can target abdominal fat. Since avocados are an extremely satiating food, eating them helps to reduce your appetite in the hours after your meal.
    10. Natural sweeteners – rather than sugar try using stevia, honey or cinnamon to sweeten hot drinks. Use fresh or dried fruit to sweeten cereals or cakes. 
  6. Exercise – We all have busy lifestyles but if you could find at least 30 minutes a day to do some exercise your body would benefit a lot. This can include washing the car, taking the stairs instead of the lift, holding stand up meetings both at work and when meeting friends or parking your car further away and walking it to your destination. Try to see if you can wake up 30 minutes earlier and do some stretching & rope skipping before you shower. 

Those Bloody Beetroots

In Notes On October 15, 2013 1 Comment

In a nutshell Beetroots are linked to better cardiovascular health, better stamina, improved blood flow and lower blood pressure as they are rich in the nutrient betaine. It is said that taking beetroots with garlic will nullify the effects of ‘garlic-breadth’. I still have to try this!

Nutritional values:

– It contains potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, B6 and C, folic acid, carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants and soluble fibre.

Tips:

– It can be used to naturally colour your food to red or purple. You can improve the color of homemade tomato paste, sauces, desserts, ice cream, sweets and breakfast cereals.

– When they are in season, clean and peel them and store in freezer for use in other months

 

Sprouting

In Notes On October 15, 2013 0 Comments

Sprouting is the process of changing a seed into a little plant and this brings a great change in the seed / bean / nut/ legume.

Benefits of Sprouting:

  1. Neutralizing phytic acid and thus it is easier to absorb calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc found in the seed.
  2. Aids Digestability – Sprouting will help break down fat, complex sugars. 
  3. Remove gas effect of beans.
  4. Sprouting increases vitamin B content.
  5. Sprouts are more alkalizing to the body.

How to sprout:

  1. Rinse the beans under running water. 
  2. Put beans in water overnight. 
  3. The next day, remove the beans from water and rinse again.
  4. Place beans in a damp tea towel and cover completely. Place towel in a pan/bowl and cover leaving in an undisturbed place. I keep them in the oven (switched off). Alternatively you could place the beans in a sieve hanging over a bowl and covered. 
  5. Every day, or every four hours if it is hot weather, rinse the beans and store using the same method. If using a tea towel, make sure to rinse it as well. 
  6. After four days, or two days if the weather is very warm, you will have sprouting similar to the below. You can leave for more days for longer sprouts depending on your preference. If you are happy with your sprouts, rinse them and store them in a closed container in the fridge.

sprouts fenugreek (Medium)

Use on salads, with stir-fry, in veggie burgers or as a snack :) 

Check out this recipe for veggie balls using sprouted mung beans

Cutting Avocados

In Notes On October 15, 2013 0 Comments

Avocados are quite slippery and can be a bit messy to chop.

Cut one avocado length wise and whilst still in it’s outer shell, get a knife and make signs both horizontally and vertically. Go deep as long the knife doesn’t come out from the other side. Then get a spoon or teaspoon and get your cubes out by scraping pieces away from their shell.

They will come out easily and without mess :)

Spirulina

In Notes On October 11, 2013 1 Comment

Spirulina powder is packed with beneficial nutrients which strengthen the immune system, reduce the risk of allergies and provide energy, vitality and balance. In addition, spirulina is one of the alkalising superfoods which helps regulate acidity levels and support kidney function.

spirulina (Large)

About 60% of spirulina’s dry weight is protein, which is essential for growth and cell regeneration. It is a good replacement for fatty and cholesterol-rich meat and dairy products in one’s diet. Every 10 grams of spirulina can supply up to 70% of the minimum daily requirements for iron, and about three to four times of minimum daily requirements for vitamins A (in the form of beta carotene), B complex, D,and K. By itself, it does not contain vitamin C, but it helps maintain this vitamin’s potency.

Use it in smoothies, guacamole dip or sprinkle it on salad. It’s taste is similar to seaweed.