The religion of nutrition

I read an article this week about a Gold Coast mum who ate a plant-based diet throughout her pregnancy which received mixed reviews; some praised her, but most scorned her for her ‘selfish choice’ in neglecting to nourish her unborn child by restricting her diet.

While reading the vilifying comments at the bottom of article, I couldn’t help but wonder if nutrition should be added to the black list on ‘what not to talk about at a dinner party’ , among other notorious topics such as politics and religion.

As I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed, this idea is manifested, with friends who push their dietary agenda; some adorning their Paleo diet, others their vegan lifestyles, and others who have created their own version of clean eating. And it wouldn’t be a newsfeed without some of my diet-atheist friends posting pictures of their full English breakfast with the oxymoronic ‘cleaneating’ hashtag as a sarcastic protest of this new-age dietary revolution.  

Under this umbrella of ‘clean eating’ there are so many variables as to what a healthy, balanced diet looks like for some people. Science has allowed us to understand so much more about our diets, but what’s most interesting, is that research has led us to understand what our ancestors have intuitively known for millions of years – eat a diet as close to its natural state as possible. 

Each diet religion has very similar pillars of belief; fruit and vegetables are sacred, sugar is bad and processed foods are out …and while they may disagree on meat and grains, they all understand that eating as close to nature intended is paramount.  So why do we need to slander someone for interpreting that idea a little differently.

I applaud this mother-to-be for choosing to nourish herself in the best way she knows how, as well as copping the criticism from the plethora of people who don’t understand why she chooses to nourish her body in the way that she does.

What do you think? Is it time to take our diets off the dinner conversation menu? 

Super Simple (and healthy) Nutty Blueberry Muffins

(High protein, antioxidants, potassium and vitamin E – no dairy, wheat, gluten or refined sugar)DSC_0784

Winter brings out the baker in me. It also brings out the lover of all things comforting in me; hearty foods, hibernation… and warm blueberry muffins.  

However, muffins like to trick us with their culinary collaboration with all the greats of the fruit world; blueberries, apples and bananas to try and make us think we are fighting some serious internal crime with their antioxidant properties. But we are hot onto the tails of these delicious devils, notorious for their refined sugar, bad fats, and in some cases, a pretty damning list of additives. So you can imagine my elation when I discovered a nutty blueberry muffin recipe (with some small tweaks) that transforms the bad-boys of the bakery world into clean, lean health machines.

So if you’re nutty about blueberries, and want to join the crusade to reinvent the modern muffin. Then break out the baking cupboard essentials and indulge in some guilt-free hibernation baking this weekend.

Here’s the recipe…

Ingredients: 

1 cup nut butter (I used almond)

1 cup blueberries

2 small bananas

2 eggs

½ cup shredded coconut

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees

Mix the nut butter and banana together (prepare for your Michelle Obamas [Slang dictionary: biceps] to get a work out)

Then add the eggs and coconut and mix well

Add baking powder, ACV, cinnamon and vanilla and whip up until smooth

Fold in blueberries

Spoon mixture into muffin cases

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until springy.  

Voila!

On a serious side-note – I think apple cinnamon muffins would be an equally delicious substitute for blueberries.  Have you tried this recipe (or any variety of this)? Let me know what you thought in the comments below.

CGx

Beginning Bikram

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This week heralded my first attempt at Bikram Yoga. For those who aren’t aware, Bikram Yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga consisting of a series of 26 traditional positions (including 2 breathing exercises) performed for 90 minutes in 37 degree heat.

Before the class I spoke to a few people about my new venture, only to receive raised eyebrows, warnings, and tales of woe – so I was naturally a little apprehensive going into the class. Thoughts of passing out, tangling myself like a pretzel and embarrassing myself beyond retrieve (that kind of thing happens to me all the time) flooded my mind. Despite all that, I was determined to give it a go – particularly because the benefits, I was told, would be worth it. I was welcomed with open arms, and even given my own little welcome shout out before class started. As a beginner I was suitably given a place at the back of the class – behind the nimble pros.

What I loved about the class is that the teacher emphasised that it is yoga PRACTICE – no one is perfect, and you just practice to be better each time you attend, not better than anyone in your class. I found this approach incredibly enlightening – and not once did I look at anyone and think, “Gosh, I wish I was as flexible as her” – I just wanted to be as good at it as my body would allow me to be at that moment -Which is not something that has ever come easy to me. Being an avid sportsperson from a very young age I have developed a mental toughness when it comes to exercise. Phrases like ‘go hard or go home’ and no ‘no pain no gain’ proliferated my psyche, but I was able to silence those thoughts and listen to what my body needed. There were definitely moments when I needed to sit and relax when the heat was overbearing, where I would have powered through the pain in other instances.

Another thing I was pleasantly surprised about was that no yogi looks the same. Everyone in the class ranged in weight, height, age and skill – This was a welcomed relief, as I had images I would be sharing mirror space with all sorts of Amazonian goddesses.  

The class was challenging – it is certainly not for the faint-hearted. But it’s worth it for that ‘god, I feel great’ moment after. After the class I highly recommend drinking 1.5 – 2 L of water to re-hydrate your body. I came out of class looking like I just swam in the local pool, so think about how much fluid you need to replace to restore your natural balance. Coconut water is a great post-Bikram drink as it’s naturally very high in electrolytes which is important for regulation of sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium. I noticed I cramped a little, which was most likely due to my electrolyte imbalance – so hydration is key.

On top of that feel-good factor of a post-Bikram sweat-a-thon, Bikram practice also boasts numerous other benefits including; detoxification, ease of back and neck pain and thyroid and hormone regulation, among many more. My teacher recommends attending 3 times a week to get best results, so I am going to give it a go for the next month and see how I feel. Stay tuned for a progress report.

Have you tried Bikram? Did you love it, hate it, or have a story of woe?

x. CG