Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Gelatine - my new favourite superfood!

Gelatine (or gelatin as my American friends would spell it), is good for a lot more than just making jelly (or again, jello if you're American!)!  Did you know that it is an amazing superfood for your digestive system, that it strengthens nails and hair, improves and tightens loose skin, lubricates joints and reduces arthritic pain and inflammation.  It can also help you sleep better!

Gelatine is a great (but not complete) source of protein (3g per tsp)

Gelatine contains half of the 18 essential amino acids (hence it not being a 'complete' protein). Glycine (one of the amino acids found in gelatine), helps the liver to remove toxins from our system. Lysine (another important amino acid) is easily absorbed from gelatine and helps us to better absorb calcium and build muscle. 

About digestion...
I am always on the look out for things to improve my digestive health as I suffer from IBS and have a long list of food intolerance's, so learning about the benefits of gelatine has been an amazing discovery for me!

Did you know...

  • Gelatine soothes and heals the gut by repairing the mucosal lining of your digestive tract, and can also help your body break down fats and proteins making them easier to digest.  When your body is able to effectively break down and absorb your food properly, the result is less inflammation in the gut, and a higher level of nutrients absorbed from your food.
  • Gelatine binds with water and helps food to move smoothly through the digestive system. 
  • According to some experts, gelatine can heal the stomach and intestines and reduce food allergies and intolerance's, which are some-times thought to be caused by a leaky gut. 

Joint health:
  • Gelatine can improve joint cartilage and reduce pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. 

Skin health:
  • Gelatine is an excellent source of dietary collagen (which increases the bodies natural production of collagen) and can improve skin and strengthen nails and hair.  It is even rumoured to improve cellulite!!  Three cheers for gelatine!!
  • Having a gelatine rich drink or dessert before bed can dramatically improve your quality of sleep, I personally have stopped taking my valerian root (I have been struggling with insomnia) and have found gelatine to be even better.  I get to sleep faster and don't wake during the night (hooray for a good nights sleep!)
"Although I pointed out a long time ago the antithyroid effects of excessive cysteine and tryptophan from eating only the muscle meats, and have been recommending gelatinous broth at bedtime to stop nocturnal stress, it took me many years to begin to experiment with large amounts of gelatin in my diet. Focusing on the various toxic effects of tryptophan and cysteine, I decided that using commercial gelatin, instead of broth, would be helpful for the experiment. For years I hadn't slept through a whole night without waking, and I was in the habit of having some juice or a little thyroid to help me go back to sleep. The first time I had several grams of gelatin just before bedtime, I slept without interruption for about 9 hours. I mentioned this effect to some friends, and later they told me that friends and relatives of theirs had recovered from long-standing pain problems (arthritic and rheumatic and possibly neurological) in just a few days after taking 10 or 15 grams of gelatin each day."
    Above excerpt from Ray Peat's article which as more detailed information about the scientific benefits of gelatine, read the full article here: Gelatin, stress, longevity.

What kind of gelatine do you want to use?
What you want to get is natural BEEF GELATINE.  The regular kind you find in NZ supermarkets (Davis brand) is fine, but my new favourite is instant gelatine (I haven't found this yet in NZ) because you can stir it straight into cold drinks, eliminating the need to stir in hot water for several minutes. 

How much?
Well, this is going to depend on you...personally, I am aiming for as much as possible, because I am trying to heal my gut...I read in Ray Peat's article that up to 100g a day is optimal for healing benefits (but, boy, that's a lot!!).  10 - 15g per day has helped people with arthritis.  So basically, start with 10 - 15g and see how you go.  I am taking about 3+TBS a day at the moment.

Yummy ways to include more gelatine in your diet:

Home-made bone broth, cooked for a minimum of 6 hours, is an excellent source of natural gelatine (along with loads of other minerals from the bones), but soup is not always what I feel like eating, and realistically, there is only so much of this I can consume every day (I always try and add some to casseroles and stir-fry's and I even replace some the water with broth when cooking rice using the absorption method), so how else can I get more gelatine into my diet? 

Sugar-free Vanilla Marshmellows or Peppermint Marshmellows

Jelly (Jello) Whip or Frappe - many flavour options, my favourite is matcha green tea & raspberries!

French Vanilla Panna Cotta 
1 Litre (Quart) Unsweetened Almond Milk
4 Egg yolks
4 tsp Vanilla essence or extract
Stevia to taste
 4 - 6 tsp Beef gelatine (depending on the texture you want)
Tiny pinch of salt
Optional: 30g (2 scoops) of Whey or Egg White Protein Powder
Put almond milk into a pan and heat until very warm, nearly hot.  Turn off element. Sprinkle in gelatine and leave for 5 minutes.  Whisk well until the gelatine has fully dissolved.  Add the rest of the ingredients whisking the egg yolks in one at a time.  Pour into container and allow to fully cool in the fridge before eating (this will take HOURS so I suggest making it in the morning, or at night for the next day). 

If you stir it several times in the first few hours, it shouldn't separate, however I don't mind the taste and texture if it does, so I often don't bother (or forget!).  If anyone knows how to stop this happening, please comment!!  I think it's because of using almond milk instead of the traditional cream.
Makes 5 servings (approx 1 cup)
Nutritional info per cup: 
Fat: 5.6g (this will be very low fat if you make the FP, egg free version)
Carbs: 1.5g (+ .2g carb with added egg white powder)
Protein: 6g (10.9g if egg white powder used, less if no eggs used)
Calories: 90 (if you care!) or 114 with optional egg white powder added.

I hope you are able to find some yummy ways to include gelatine in your diet!!  It's my new BFF (sorry to sound 12!  I really am 34!), along with my favourite metabolic boosting matcha green tea!  This probably explains why I keep having yummy green tea jelly whip frappes every single day!! ;-)

Blessings x

Friday, 26 April 2013

Matcha Green Tea Jelly Whip

Matcha Green Tea Jelly (Jello) Whip

Makes 4 cups, but you can eat the whole thing if you like, it's only 45 calories, 8.7g protein, 1.8g carbs & 0.1g fat!

3 TBS gelatine
1 Cup boiling water
½ tsp guar gum (or glucomannan)
½ - 1 tsp green tea powder
2 - 4 tsp vanilla essence (depending how how much you like the taste of green tea!)
Stevia to taste
12 - 20 small ice-cubes (depending on how thick you want it). 
*Optional - 1 tsp extra virgin coconut oil (this adds 43.3 calories and 4.7g fat)
Flavour options: You can skip the green tea and/or vanilla and add any flavouring you like...how about berry or lemon jelly whip? 

Sprinkle gelatine into cup of hot/boiling water and leave for 5 minutes.  Stir until all the gelatine has dissolved.

When the gelatine mixture is still very warm, but not too hot, pour it into the blender.  Add guar gum and blend on high until it thickens slightly.  Add green tea powder, stevia and vanilla essence and blend until mixed.  Add ice-cubes and pulse until crushed, then blend on high until it fluffs up.  If you want it very thick, use the smaller number of ice-cubes, if you want it lighter, use more.  It will thicken up  a little more if it sits for a few minutes after dishing up into wine glasses or small single-serving containers. 
Jelly Whip Frappe
To turn into a frappe, simply add more water or almond milk (1/2 - 1 cup) and a few more ice cubes and blend again until the desired consistency is reached.  I add 3 TBS of hemp protein powder (any protein powder will work - hemp protein powder adds 11g protein) and a teaspoon of Maca Powder at this point to turn it into a high-protein super-food shake. 

A note about gelatine: Beef gelatine (gelatin to my American friends) is a healing super-food for the gut and digestive system, can reduce arthritic pain and inflammation of the joints, and is full of collagen (great for the skin, nails and hair).  I am working on a detailed post about the benefits of gelatine at the moment (it's taking a while as there are so many!), so I'll have that up  in a few days.  In the meantime, enjoy your Jelly Whip! 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Green Tea

Now before you tell me that you don't like the taste (or aftertaste) of green tea, I'll tell you that I know a few tips and tricks that'll have you guzzling it in no time!  But before we get into the recipes, lets talk about the amazing health benefits!

Antioxidants, Cancer & Heart Disease

Green tea contains the highest concentration of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols.  These antioxidants fight free-radicals (bad guys that we eat, breathe and absorb into our skin every day) that cause damage to cells and DNA, causing heart disease, cancer and strokes.  Green tea has been proven in studies to help prevent cancer developing, inhibit cancer growth and reduce the severity of coronary heart disease.

Other Health Benefits

Long-term, habitual green tea drinking has been shown to increase bone mineral density (resulting in lower occurrence of hip fractures), lower blood pressure and reduce clogging in the hearts arteries.  Long-term green tea consumption has been shown to flush out bad bacteria and improve digestion function.

Weight Loss Benefits

Studies have shown that people who drink green tea each day (especially the caffeinated kind - caffeine seems to help with fat oxidation) lose more fat than non green tea drinkers, and have lower "bad" LDL cholesterol levels.

Stress & Anxiety

5 Cups of green tea a day (yes the caffeinated kind!) have shown in studies to have a considerable effect on the reduction of psychological distress, compared to those who drank less than 1 cup per day. It has also shown to reduce liver damage caused by on-going stress and fatigue.

Now, the above examples are only scratching the surface of all the possible benefits of drinking green tea!  Convinced yet, that you should add green tea to your daily routine?

How much green tea do I need to drink or maximum benefit?

Answers vary on that question, but it seems that up to 5 cups a day would be the ideal for maximum health benefits, but 2 cups a day would give some benefits also, and is a good place to start if 5 cups seems way too much!  If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, limit to 2 cups per day.

If you have any health conditions, such as a blood disorder, a heart condition, glaucoma, liver disease or any other health conditions, please read this caution to ensure it is safe for you.

Other types of tea to consider

Japanese Matcha Green Tea Powder is said to contain up to 100 x more antioxidants and nutrients than regular green tea.  This is the bright green tea that is used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.  I have found wildly varying prices on this, so do some research.  A good priced one I've found in NZ is $22.50/100g here. For brewing instructions read here.  You can also add matcha powder to smoothies, frappes, desserts and more!

Read more about the benefits of Matcha here

White tea is also said to contain more antioxidants than green, but it is often a lot more expensive.  My local Countdown supermarket sells a small box for nearly $15!!  I buy a box of 20 white tea bags for $2.50 from the Tai Ping Asian supermarket in New Lynn, Auckland.  White tea is harvested from the immature, unopened buds of the same plant (Camellia sinensis) as green and black tea, in the early spring.  Green tea is harvested from the mature leaves. Both green and white are very minimally processed, which means most of their antioxidants remain intact.  Green tea is partially fermented, but white tea is not fermented at all, which means it contains 3 x the antioxidants that green tea has. 

How to drink green tea if you're not a fan

If green tea is not something you have enjoyed in the past, please don't give up!  I have had many blah green tea experiences myself, but you need to know that NOT ALL GREEN TEAS ARE CREATED EQUAL!  Some green teas I've tried had a bitter aftertaste and left a funny feel in my mouth, so if that's the only kind of green tea experience you've had, read on! 

Some green teas (even 'good' organic kinds!) have a less than desirable flavour, but it's often our brewing methods that are to blame for bitter green tea.  Green tea is best seeped for between 1 - 3 minutes (no longer!), so starting with 1 minute will give the least bitter results, but it does depend on the individual tea, so keep trying until you find one you love!

Flavoured tea's are a great option...one of my favourites is Bell Zesty Berry Green Tea, but there are lots of other flavour combinations out there to try. 

Others ways to enjoy green tea...

I add green tea to my Good Girl Moonshine when I seep the fresh ginger, but I take it out after 3 minutes and let the ginger seep longer.  I usually use Japanese Sencha Green tea (pictured above) This makes a fantastically refreshing drink with loads of digestive health benefits. 

Raspberry Green Tea Frappe

A current favourite of mine is to make a raspberry green tea protein shake/frappe.  I brew the berry flavoured green tea, allow to cool and use as the liquid portion of my frappe.


1/2 Cup cooled, double-strength brewed green tea (such as berry flavour) or plain water and 1/2 - 1 tsp matcha green tea powder - this will give a stronger tea flavour than brewed tea.
1/2 tsp guar gum or glucomannan
1/2 Almond milk, water or more green tea.
Stevia to taste
1/2 Cup frozen raspberries
1 cup ice cubes
3 TBS protein powder (I am dairy free now, due to intolerance, so I use egg white powder, but whey protein isolate will also work great).

Firstly blend together the cooled tea, guar gum and extra liquid (water, almond milk or more green tea) and stevia (liquid or powder), until it thickens.  Then add ice-cubes & frozen raspberries and pulse until they are crushed.  While the blender is running on high, add the protein powder and blend until it fluffs up . 

Well, there you go, lots of brilliant reasons to start drinking more green tea!


Friday, 12 April 2013

Good Girl Moonshine

This is my recipe, adapted from Serene Allison’s fantastic recipe here, if you haven't heard of it yet, Serene & her sister Pearl Barrett have written a fabulous health/diet/nutrition book called Trim Healthy Mama!  I HIGHLY recommend it!! :-)

Chopped fresh ginger root (how much depends on how spicy you like things, I use about 10cm)
Boiling Water – filtered water is best
Stevia (liquid or powder, I use about 8 drops of Sweetleaf Lemon Drop flavoured stevia)
1 – 2 TBS Apple cider vinegar  (ACV - use raw apple cider vinegar, such as Braggs or other brand – my favourite is Chantal Organics – NZ for it’s mild flavour)

Optional: Small pinch cayenne pepper (this is great for the metabolism, but it is very hot, so use with caution!!) and ¼ - ½ tsp cardamom powder or a couple of cardamom pods & sliced lemon.

Peel and finely chop fresh ginger and pop it into a teapot or saucepan, add the optional ingredients if you want them.  Pour over boiling (filtered) water and let seep for at least 10 minutes or until cold. 

Strain out the ginger (and optional cardamom, cayenne pepper and lemon slices) and pour the liquid into a litre (quart) glass jar.  Add ACV and stevia to taste.  Make up to 1 litre with water.  Add ice or allow to cool in the fridge (best served icy cold!).

Drink with a straw as the ACV is (obviously) acidic and it’s not good for your teeth to get coated in it all day long!   You can drink as much of this as you like (the more the better!).  The benefits include improved digestive function, reduced cravings, improved circulation and if you are experiencing nausea, the ginger will help a lot!  For more info, see Serene’s post here. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Frosty Frappe

This is my recipe, adapted from my very favourite-of-all-time nutrition/diet/health book Trim Healthy Mama! This is my version of a Fat Stripping Frappe :)

Frosty Frappe
Photo: My current addiction...fat-stripping coffee frappe...yum!


 ½ Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

½ Cup Water (or brewed coffee for a coffee frappe)

12 small ice cubes (or more if you prefer it icier)

1 – 3 TBS Whey Protein Isolate (plain, unsweetened)

Stevia (powder or liquid drops) or Natvia (stevia/erythitol mix) to taste

 Optional flavours: ½ Cup frozen berries for a berry frappe, or 1-2 TBS Cocoa powder for chocolate frappe.  My favourite is coffee with a dash of cinnamon & a tsp of maca powder, with unsweetened cocoa nibs sprinkled on top…yum!  Sometimes I add a TBS of extra virgin coconut oil or raw cream (while blending in the whey powder) if I need more calories (otherwise, it’s only 150 calories and it makes nearly two big glasses!)


Add first 3 ingredients to blender and blend for 1-2 minutes until it thickens.

Add ice cubes and pulse until they are crushed.

While blending on high, add whey protein isolate and watch it fluff up! 

Drink & enjoy, guilt free! J