Saturday, December 28, 2013

Chilli Chicken and Cashew Salad
Adapted from Cool Food

Ingredients (serves 4):

3 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons olive oil
600 g chicken breast fillets
100 g mixed baby salad leaves
250 g cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 avocado, diced
100 g lebanese cucumber, cut into bite-sized chunks
50 g snow pea sprouts, trimmed
80 g cashew nuts


Combine the chilli sauce, lime juice, fish sauce, coriander, garlic, chilli, ginger and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large bowl.

Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick frying pan or BBQ char grill over medium heat until hot and cook the chicken for 5-8 minutes each side.  For tender chicken, remove after browned on both sides (about 5 minutes cooking time) and wrap immediately in foil and leave to rest for 5-10 minutes.  While still hot, slice each breast widthways into 1 cm slices and toss in the bowl with the dressing.  Leave to cool slightly.

Combine salad leaves, cherry tomatoes, cucumber chunks, snow pea sprouts and avocado in a large salad bowl.  Red capsicum also goes great in this salad!

Add the chicken and all of the dressing and toss until the leaves are lightly coated.  Scatter with chopped cashews and serve.

Nutriton Information:

NOTE:  If you are attempting to lose weight and are sticking to around 350 Cal per meal, either omit the cashew nuts, or omit the avocado and use half the cashew nuts in this recipe.

With cashew nuts:

Without cashew nuts:

Enjoy! xx Bec

Friday, December 27, 2013

How to make that New Year's Resolution Stick!

So.. Have you made your New Year’s resolution????  New Year.  New You!  Right? 

So many of us make New Year’s resolutions that involve living a healthier lifestyle/eating better/losing weight etc., but how many of us actually achieve our goals???

We all know what we WANT to achieve in the New Year, but how can we make this year THE YEAR.  How can we make sure we actually stick to the resolution this time and why is achieving that goal so hard???

If you want to make sure you achieve your goals this year, read on….. There are some things you need to think about!

Making a change is HARD.  Why is it so hard?

Have a good think about the behaviour you are trying to change, for example, eating habits, smoking, not exercising regularly.  Why is this behaviour the way it is in your life???  Does it serve a purpose?  Is it a consequence of another behaviour that you have?  Because, if you think about the causes of these behaviours, it makes sense that they are difficult to change, unless you first try to change their cause.

For example:  You binge eat as a stress release mechanism.  If you attempt to go straight on a strict diet, but do not address the cause of your binge eating, you are destined to fail, because you have just given up your stress release/coping mechanism.  The stress is still there.  What are you going to do to cope without binge eating???   To be successful in reaching your goal of eating better, you need to first work on the cause of your stress so you will have less need for your coping mechanism and also work at developing new and different coping strategies to prevent you falling back into old habits when stressful situations do arise.

Example 2:  You have trouble fitting in exercise because you work excessive hours; have no-body to watch the kids to allow time for exercise, or both!  If you promise yourself you are going to fit in exercise ON TOP of your already demanding schedule, you will last a little while, but will then probably wind up sick due to lowered immune status from lack of rest AND exhausted.  You may end up giving up your exercise because it is more stressful and tiring than it is worth.

You know where I’m coming from.  We’ve all been there!

So… Here are the steps that I recommended in order to make LONG TERM changes to habits. 

DO NO HARM – Do not do things excessively or spontaneously.  Do not go cold turkey without planning and assistance.  This could do more harm to your physical health and emotional health than good.

SEEK AND REMOVE THE EXTERNAL CAUSES – This is a big one and takes time.  As frustrating as this can be, it is better to take a long time to affect a permanent change than do something quickly and “fail” as we like to say.   This is where you need to look at why you have the behaviour you are wanting to change and start to work through it.  Many behaviours are deep seated and you may need to work this through with your practitioner, be it your GP if you have a good one, your naturopath, your personal trainer, your psychologist or even your best friend. 

Are you in a toxic relationship?

Do you hate your job?

Are you bored or under stimulated?

Do you have too much responsibility?

Are you taking on too much?

Are you always putting yourself last?

Why?  Tackle it and work on change for the better!

ATTEND TO YOUR HABIT - When you and your chosen practitioner feel you are strong and ready to let go of your habit, formulate a plan.  It is a good idea to schedule some time out, wherever possible, to begin this change.  Changing deep seated habits can be stressful and tiring and can result in physical symptoms, which when attempted whilst simultaneously trying to cope with our unbalanced and stressful lives, could wind up driving you right back to your old habit.  For example, have you ever tried giving up your one or two daily coffees???  The splitting headache is like death!  The same goes for trying to give up refined sugars or cigarettes!!  The side effects can be horrifying.  Get plenty of rest, listen to your body and surround yourself only with positive and supportive people.  Make sure you take time away from the contributors to your habit.

Make sure you schedule regular “follow ups” as part of your plan, in order to help keep you on track.

LET YOUR BODY DETOXIFY – If you are able to set aside time for yourself to make this change, it is best to let your body detoxify naturally.  For example, if you give up coffee, you may need to just sleep for days to address the built up exhaustion you have been suppressing with your coffee intake.  Giving up sugar can leave you fatigued for the same reasons.  The physical symptoms you experience are your body undertaking the adjustment process.  Let it run its course.  The more deep seated your habit is, the longer this “detoxification” process may take and the more rest/time out you may need.

CORRECT ANY FURTHER SYMPTOMS THAT ARISE – Often, as you start to work through and release one of your problems/illnesses, others resurface.  It is important to take these as they arise also, in the same steps as previously described. 

EDUCATE yourself of the best ways to maintain your new found health and prevent the recurrence of old disease or development of new disease.

Be patient.  Long-term change takes time, but it is well worth it in the end!

Good luck with your New Year’s resolution and remember: “Life is a Journey, Not a Destination…. Enjoy the Ride!”




Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mini Chocolate Craving Crushers

These little parcels of yumminess are delicious and nutritious!!  With no added sugar, egg or flour they are good for sensitive tummies too!

Remember to note though, that although these babies are nutritious, their high nut content means they quite calorie dense!  The difference between these and your average chocolate - these are full of fibre, vitamins and minerals and actually fill you up, making them a much wiser choice to fill those choccie cravings!!  One or two is enough though… Don't devour the whole batch!


  1. Mash 3 whole bananas in a large bowl.
  2. Mash in 2 tbsp of ABC (Almonds, brazil nut and cashew) spread.
  3. Stir in 1 cup of almond meal - I use Woolworths Macro - whole ground almonds (including skin).
  4. Stir in 1 cup of desiccated coconut.
  5. Stir in 2 tbsp of cocoa.
  6. Spoon into 20 mini muffin pans - I used silicon muffin moulds as they make it easy to remove muffins. Sprinkle with a little shredded coconut if you like.
  7. Pop into freezer for a couple of hours. Eat frozen as a little treat. Delicious!! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Chickpea, vege and coriander burgers

Chickpea, Vegie and Coriander Burgers


2 x 400 g tins of no-added-salt chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Cooking oil spray
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tsp cumin 
1 tsp coriander
2 tbsp no added salt and no added sugar crunchy peanut butter
250 g sweet potato, grated
1 large carrot, grated
2/3 cup quick oats, plus extra to coat
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 egg, lightly beaten
Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil

Beetroot, lettuce, reduced fat cheese, cherry tomatoes and low-fat Greek yoghurt or hummus to serve


1. Place chickpeas into a food processor and process until they resemble breadcrumbs.

2. Spray a large frying pan with oil and place over medium heat.  Cook onion, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until softened.  Add curry paste (if using curry paste) and cook, stirring for one minute, or until fragrant.  Add sweet potato and carrot.  Cook for three more minutes.

3.  Place onion mixture into a large bowl with chickpeas, oats, coriander, cumin, peanut butter, fresh coriander, salt, pepper and egg.  Using clean hands, mix until all ingredients are well-combined, adding a little more oats if the mixture is too wet.  Wet your hands and shape the mixture into patties about the size of your palm.  Chill for 30 minutes to firm.  If freezing to have later, do this now.

4.  Heat olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat.  Add patties and cook for 3-4 minutes each side, or until golden.  Remove and drain on absorbent paper.

5.  Serve with salad and cheese.  Yum Yum Yum..

Recipe originally from The Australian Healthy Food Guide, Issue 89, March, 2013.

Adapted by Me!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Importance and benefits of Resistance Training

Everybody knows that exercise is good for you, but I find that especially in women, the benefits and importance of resistance training are under-estimated.

Resistance or strength exercise is defined as "the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles."

Some benefits of resistance training include:
  • Greater muscular strength, improved muscle tone and appearance and increased muscular endurance (ability to do work for longer).
  • Increased lean muscle mass. Muscle burns energy; therefore, increasing your body’s percentage of muscle increases your basal metabolic rate, that is, the amount of energy you burn while doing nothing! This promotes long-term fat loss and helps dieters avoid yoyo dieting.
  • The after effects of resistance training, in terms of increased metabolic rate, are greater after resistance training than cardiovascular training, also promoting fat loss. 
  • Stronger muscles increase performance in a variety of sports

Resistance training is important for the wellbeing of everybody because it:
  • Helps with the correction and maintenance of posture, leading to better support for joints and helping to prevent injuries.
  • Helps to prevent osteoporosis by promoting bone build up. - The benefits of weight training for older people have been confirmed by studies of people who began participating in it even in their 80s and 90s
  • Helps to maintain lean body mass, aiding in weight management.
  • Helps to develop functional strength levels to assist with activities of daily living.
  • Intense exercise increases levels of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, which can help improve mood and counter feelings of depression.

One of reasons people choose not to participate in resistance exercise is a fear of muscle "bulkiness" or increased size.

In order to produce muscle hypertrophy (increase in muscle size), resistance exercise and diet need to be particularly structured for this goal.  It is not easy to increase muscle size and takes a lot of work!!  Also, muscle size is partially genetically determined, so most women, for example, will not naturally become bulky without A LOT of effort.

Another reason people choose not to participate in resistance training is because they believe they need fancy machines and equipment.  In fact, all muscles of the body can be exercised without any equipment and the BEST resistance exercises for you are the ones where your body moves in a natural, functional manner, using only body weight or free weights.  Those fancy machines at the gym can often move your joints in an unnatural manner and can cause injury.

Resistance training programs can be specifically structured in order to support an individual's own goals, whether they be weight loss, improved function, improved sport performance or muscle hypertrophy (growth).

There are a few little rules to follow with regard to resistance training, like not training the same muscle groups two days in a row, in order to allow muscle repair and recovery and to prevent injuries and ensuring you follow the correct technique.  Having a consultation with an exercise professional to optimise a resistance training program specifically to your own goals and to teach you the correct exercise technique is an excellent idea to ensure safe and effective exercising.

The moral of the story is GET RESISTANCE TRAINING!!  Your body and mind will thank you now and in the future!!

xx Bec

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Easy Mango and Chicken Curry

This is a recipe with a couple of adaptations that my beautiful stepdaughter got off the Sorted website and cooked for us.  It was absolutely delicious!


Sat Fat
3 cooked chicken breast
jar of mango chutney (360 g)
2 tsp of ground garam masala
2 tsp of curry powder
4 dollops of light mayonnaise
1 tin (400 mL) of light coconut cream
handful of flaked almonds (50 g)
handful of fresh corriander
basmati rice (300 g)
Total per serve

1.     Bring chicken stock to the boil in the bottom part of a double boiler.  Steam chicken breast in the top until cooked through.  Preheat oven to 150 C
2.     Spoon the mango chutney into a non-stick pan with the spices and bring to the boil for a minute and leave to cool.
3.     Cut the chicken up into strips and put into an oven-proof casserole dish.
4.     Stir in the mayonnaise, coconut cream and mango chutney, mix together and pour over the chicken.
5.     Put on a lid (or cover with foil) and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.
6.     Toast some almond flakes and rip up the coriander.
7.     Cook the rice by the desired method according to packet instructions.
8.     Serve the curry with plenty of boiled rice and sprinkle with roasted almonds and coriander.

I I make sides of banana and coconut (simply toast coconut in a small saucepan over medium heat until browning then toss sliced banana in the coconut) and pappadums (which, if you didn't know, can be cooked in the microwave.  Simply pop them on the plate and cook on high for about 30 seconds.  Turn over and, if required, cook for about another 30.  Keep an eye on them) 

If you require a lower calorie intake, portion this out to serve 8 and serve with a pile of salad!

Happy cooking!