Have You Tried Hemp?

Hemp protein powderHemp seeds

I’m very excited to have bought myself some hemp.  In the form of protein powder and seeds this time (other edible products like hemp flour and oil are available too, will try in the future).  I have been hearing hemp food products mentioned here and there but it wasn’t until I read about just how good hemp is for you that I decided I wanted to make it a daily habit.  Hemp is a great source of:

  • One of the most easily digested proteins available
  • Nutrients including vitamins E, B1, B2, B3, B6, potassium, folate, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and chlorophyll which alkalises the body.
  • Essential fatty acids (EFA’s).  Omega 6 and 3 in the correct ratio.  (Here is a good explanation of why we need EFA’s so much)
  • All 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids which our bodies cannot produce.  Approx 65% of the protein in hemp seeds is made up of the protein Edistin which is considered the backbone of DNA and is found only in hemp.
  • Fibre
  • A lack of artificial additives and chemicals

We need all this for energy, strong bones, good skin and hair, good sleep, heart health, digestive health, warding off cancer and dementia and much more!

This powder is great for everyone including those who want to build muscle, vegans and anyone wanting to add extra nutrition into their diet.  This is my smoothie:

Hemp protein smoothie

  • 200 ml homemade almond milk – or milk of your choice but preferably not dairy or soy and watch the added sugar content in any other bought milks.  Coconut water is great too.
  • 2 dessert spoons of Hemp Protein Powder  (I measured it once on the scales as per the directions on the back of the pack, now I know what the quantity looks like.)
  • 1/2 banana 
  • Handful of frozen berries of your choice.  These act like ‘ice’ as well as adding heaps of antioxidants.
  • Dessert spoon of LSA or ground flax and / or hemp seeds.  For extra nutrients, EFA’s and fibre.
  • Also try a tsp of maca powder for balancing hormones and extra energy and probiotics for gut health and immunity.

Yum!  I have one for breakfast which keeps me energised all morning or if I am doing my pump class at the gym that day (with weights and barbells) I will have it as soon as I get home to feed my muscles.  I feel comfortably full after drinking it, not bloated like some protein powders can make you feel.  I heard there is no known allery to hemp either which is good news for allergy sufferers.

The seeds are beautiful on their own, sprinkled on cereal or porridge, in the smoothie or in any raw recipe where nuts and seeds are required.  I personally would not bake them just in case some of their beautiful goodness is compromised.

Here is some further reading on how awesome hemp products are for your health:  http://www.livestrong.com/article/276678-the-benefits-of-hemp-protein-powder/  http://www.purehealingfoods.com/hempHeartsInfo.php

On top of being so good for you hemp is amazingly sustainable, you can make pretty much anything from hemp, it grows really fast and it grows almost anywhere.  Read here for more info:  http://thegogreenblog.com/hemp-the-ultimate-sustainable-resource/

Try some hemp today!

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Check Out These Choc Chip Chickpea Cookies! (Grain free)


I found this cookie recipe as I was browsing my favourite pages on facebook and just had to try them.  Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are high in protein, fibre, low GI, and contain calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and B vitamins.  I was determined to find a healthy homemade treat that my little D-man (3) would enjoy and I was willing to chuck a few choc chips in there to increase my chances of success!  I was a little worried about buying the choc chips as sugar has been creeping back into my diet more and more and I find I am craving it, which spells bad news for me – I have not a lot of willpower when chocolate is around!  Well, I bought some choc chips anyway and made these scrumptious otherwise very healthy little cookies.  As usual Miss Moo (2) loved them, as did I and hubby enjoyed them too.  D-man did not.  He was excited to try them but then nibbled his little morsel from the cookie, scrunched up his nose and spat it in the bin.  The frustration I felt is difficult to express right now, but it was significant.  Then to make matters worse I ate too many of the cookies and raided the open packet of choc chips.  Then I felt sick and got a headache from too much sugar.  Sigh, when will I learn?…

D-man is consulting his taste buds.  And it's a negitive :-(

D-man is consulting his taste buds… and it’s a negative 😦

Miss Moo's taste buds say yep!

Miss Moo’s taste buds say yep!

Anyhoo, despite this I will file these in the ‘make again’ department and I thought I’d share the recipe as these cookies are quite nutritious, with a lack of bad stuff like white flour and white sugar in the dough and all the other crap which comes with most bought cookies.  Another thing to try are raw cacao nibs or carob nibs or you could just make the cookies without the choc chips through the dough and just pop one or two on top… that’s barely any and if you and the kids are snacking on chickpeas, who cares about a tiny bit of chocolate, just don’t do what I did and eat many, many extra bits of chocolate as well!

Grain-Free Choc Chip Chickpea Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas (I think I just used 1 400g tin)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp natural peanut butter* (regular peanut butter will not work, they turn out too oily)
  • 1/4 cup rice malt syrup
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or cacao nibs or carob nibs)

Preheat oven to 180°C.  Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor until smooth and then stir through the chocolate chips.  Wet your hands and form into small balls and flatten them onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Bake for 15 mins.

I found they had quite a cookie dough texture which I liked but next time I might try baking them for longer to see if they get crispier.  Enjoy!!

*I have found a natural peanut butter in the supermarket which I’m pretty happy with, it’s 100% peanuts.  ‘Sanitarium’ – in my supermarket it’s in the health food section.  As a bonus it’s no more expensive than Kraft which is loaded with additives.

100%  peanuts from health food section of supermarket (Australia)

100% peanuts from health food section of supermarket (Australia)

Here is the link to where the recipe is from 🙂  http://nutritiontwins.com/blog/610-grain-free-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-cookies

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Chickpea Nuggets, Fast! – Great for kids and on salad wraps


These are a little treasure.  Chickpeas are a legume and are high in protein, fibre, low GI, and contain calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and B vitamins.  They are good for weightloss, bone strength, lowering cholesterol, diabetes sufferers and more!

Otherwise known as garbanzo beans, you may know of chickpeas from such foods as hommus, or a nice Indian curry, or maybe from a salad.  I have even started seeing them in recipes for sweet biscuits and muffins, which I will have to try very soon!  Today you will see them as nuggets, or if you like, a pattie –  great for a protein filling on a wrap or in place of meat on a burger.  I really like chickpeas, but my main motivation for trying this recipe was to try to smuggle some good nutrition into my children – Miss Moo (2) and D-man (3).

I came across the recipe for these at a fantastic website called Super Healthy Kids.  The reason why I posting my own version of them is because I accidentally found a slightly more lazy time efficient method when I was in huge hurry to get dinner on the table – I put the veggies we were having that night in the steamer and had the nuggets cooked by the time the veggies were ready, about 15 mins.  You could probably even do them in 10!


  • 1 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Generous pinch of Himalayan salt (or just regular salt will do)
  • About 1 cup of breadcrumbs

Put all ingredients except breadcrumbs in the food processor and whiz it up until well combined.   Then add the breadcrumbs gradually and mix by hand until you get a consistency which is easy to mold.  Then as the oil in the frypan is heating to medium / med-high quickly mold nugget shapes and pop them in as you make them.  Give it a minute before turning them, they don’t take long to go golden brown.  I think I usually do about 2 batches of 6.  Done!


The original version gives you more of a textured nugget as the chickpeas are mashed by hand, while this one is smoother but still yummy.

And for a burger filling just make a burger sized nugget.  Delicious with lettuce, avocado and (preferably homemade) mayonnaise.  Or with lots of salad on a wrap.  Make extra and keep them in the fridge ready to cook, or already cooked for a convenient, healthy addition to lunch.  Try baking some homemade chips or fries to go with them for a healthy, fun homemade takeaway meal.

Now for the verdict… It’s the usual, really.   Me, hubby and Miss Moo enjoy them while D-man still expects the ‘old’ chicken nugget experience (not that he ever ate them either!) and is very resistant to any change.  But don’t let his verdict stop you, they are really nice and he doesn’t like 80% of the things I put in front of him.  I will just keep making them for the family anyway, I’m sure he’ll warm to them eventually, just like all the other healthy foods he will warm to.  I have to believe that.  For my sanity.  To his credit though he had a pretty good go at the veggies in the meal pictured above.  I had put some butter and a pinch of Himalayan mineral salt on them to make them extra tasty, plus I heard butter can increase nutrient absorption from the vegetables and the Himalayan salt has lots of minerals for extra nutrition.  (By the way butter is one of the last dairy products to go from our fridge besides a little bit of local organic milk.)


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Homemade Muesli Bars – Wheat Free, Dairy Free and Nut Free

Museli Bars -Free

I am always looking for healthy, easy snacks to make at home for myself and the kids.  So I recently found and tried a lovely recipe for Clean Eating Muesli Bars.  I made them according to the recipe and they were delicious!  Here is the link to the original recipe at Clean Eating With Kids.

The 2nd time I made these lovely little goodies I thought I would alter some of the ingredients and here are the changes and the reasons.

1.  We are cutting out as much dairy as possible in our home (why, you ask?) so I thought I would try using coconut oil.

2.  When I was reaching for the coconut oil I saw my homemade almond flour and thought it was a good opportunity to try that instead of the regular flour I used last time, seeing as I’m looking for ways to use it up.

3.  Rice malt syrup found a place because we have raw honey and if you heat raw honey it loses all its benefits.  I’m liking this rice malt syrup as it’s fructose free apparently.

4.  And finally with this batch I left out the nuts simply because I thought I would like to be able to send them to crèche and pre-school and both are nut free zones.  So here is my modified recipe:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup rice malt syrup
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup almond flour or almond meal

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and press into a flat baking tin to be about a 1-2 cm thick.  Bake in oven at 180C for about 20 mins or until you see it browning slightly.

When I made these the first time and they came out of the oven I sliced them straight away.  It didn’t look like they were going to stick together as a bar.  They seemed crumbly, probably due to the almond flour?  So of course the obvious thing for me to do was put a couple in a bowl with some almond milk and have a little bowl of warm toasted muesli.  It was lovely!  I finished my muesli and went back to investigate the other bars and to my surprise upon cooling they had indeed held together as a bar very well.  So now of course the obvious thing for me to do was put a couple more on a plate and enjoy them with a cup of tea.  By then I was full.

So the valuable lesson here is maybe wait 10 minutes or so before you slice these or you’ll be eating a double serve.  Maybe you will anyway.  They are very more-ish.

You can use any or all of the substitutions depending on your preferences… the nuts in the original batch are very nice if you don’t have to worry about allergies or allergy-free areas.  Any nuts would be nice.  Try a few sultanas or even choc chips but beware of fructose content – keep them to a minimum.

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Pumpkin, Rocket and Pinenut Salad With Honey Dressing

Pumpkin, Rocket and Pinenut Salad

This salad was so tasty… usually I would have put fetta with it but we are cutting out most dairy so I didn’t buy it. It wasn’t until I’d finished that I realised I didn’t even miss it.

Mixed lettuce and rocket
Cubed pumpkin, fried (you could roast it but frying is very quick and still very nice)
Spanish onion
Pine nuts, toasted (I do mine gently on the dry fry pan first before the pumpkin, stay with them, they burn quick if you leave them!)

Dressing: (I made this one up – I thought the honey would go with the pumpkin and it went really nicely – quantities are a guesstimate, you can add for your own taste)
Olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
Tsp or 2 of honey – raw is best (unheated)
Tsp of Dijon mustard
Pinch of salt – Himalayan if you have it


Sooo…. I had this for a light dinner (non meat option)….  Hubby had his with a steak (meat eater option – organic from the local farmer’s market of course!!)….  Kids had a little salad on the side of their tuna and pasta dinner.  They ate a few bits and I think that may be because they love honey, so I’ll remember that for next time we have a salad!!

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Staying At Mangrove Yoga Ashram

Photo taken by Naya

Beautiful Garden (Photo taken by Naya)

I just stayed at Mangrove Yoga Ashram for the weekend.  I did what is called a ‘Farm Project’ stay where you get to stay at the Ashram, eat their beautiful vegetarian food, join in the yoga classes and enjoy the way of life in return for a bit of work on the farm.  I have been there before about 6 months ago for a retreat to learn about Ayurveda and just loved it so much I needed to get back ASAP!  Budget is an issue for me,  but not for the farm project because you are working, it becomes very affordable.  So I thought I would post a few photos of my stay.  (Forgive my presentation, the blog template I have chosen for this site is a little restricted as far as presenting photos is concerned, I did think I would be mostly writing for this blog but I might have to change that :-))

This is me looking a bit goofy and rugged up.  This is probably the worst example of portion size too - usually the plate and bowl would be full, and I hadn't got my tea yet so It's looking a little empty!

This is me looking a bit goofy and rugged up. This is probably the worst example of portion size too – usually the plate and bowl would be full, and I hadn’t got my tea yet so It’s looking a little empty!  But what was there was YUM!

We left on the Friday arvo, I got a lift with a yoga friend, Naya.  It took about 45 minutes.  We got there in time for the fire ceremony which was lovely, then had dinner.  The food is all vegetarian, with options for vegan and it is all divine.  Most dishes consist of mainly vegetables and legumes, a small amount of dairy and grains here and there.  You can sit on the floor around big tables like me pictured or there are plenty of tables with chairs also.  The portions are usually very generous and you always feel so satisfied and energised after eating, not lethargic and bloated like I used to feel after most meals that I used to cook.

Afternoon sun

Afternoon sun.

The Ashram.  You can see it's deep in valley.

The Ashram. You can see it’s deep in valley.

Our dorm was the ‘Hill Dorm’ and the name does not lie.  It’s up a steep hill with lots stairs in the bush – it’s a very beautiful journey, like a little bushwalk.  You just don’t want to forget anything!

'Hill Dorm' Photo by Naya

‘Hill Dorm’  Photo by NayaView from the hill dorm. Photo by Naya
View from the hill dorm down onto the Ashram.  Photo by Naya.

Our dorm block with the shared shower block in front.

Our dorm block with the shared shower block in front.  Taken in the morning, you can see the sun on the mountain behind.  It was cold!

Our dorms on a foggy morning.

There are 5 beds in our dorm and for this stay 4 including me are occupied.  By pure coincidence Naya and I are put in the same room so that was nice.  The other two girls in our dorm were also really lovely people.

Our alarms go off at 5:00am so we can get ready for the 5:30 yoga class.  Whoa it’s hard to get up – it’s freezing – almost literally.  I get dressed in bed then go brush my teeth and wash my face.  It’s so worth it… yoga finishes and I feel amazing, refreshed and relaxed.  Then a hearty hot breakfast of porridge, stewed fruit and herbal tea and now I’m ready to start the day!

Off to start our work, a short drive up the mountain and into the sunshine we so craved.  First we helped out a small fig tree plantation that needed some TLC – weeding and stuff like that.  We lit a fire to burn off some of the dry shrubbery.  After that we drove to another area with a little cottage and a lovely big veggie garden and prepared an area for planting a small orange tree orchard the next day.  An extra long morning tea of fruit and nuts sitting on the grass in glorious sunshine and then back to the Ashram in time for lunch!  So yes we worked hard, but only for a few hours.  The rest of the day consisted of another yoga class, afternoon tea, chanting, dinner, shower, then I was asleep by 8:00pm!  I slept well that night!

The fig trees (it's nearing winter here so they've lost their leaves)

The fig trees (it’s nearing winter here so they’ve lost their leaves)

Me thinking the fire was pretty cool...  The fire looked much bigger in real life, I promise...

Me thinking the fire was pretty cool…

Up at 5:00am again.  I think it was even colder than the morning before but I was having such a nice time I didn’t mind.  Yoga, breakfast, then back to our orange orchard to plant our trees!

Me planting 'my' tree which I will hopefully get to visit in the future :-)

Me planting ‘my’ tree which I will hopefully get to visit in the future 🙂

Naya shovelling compost off the ute looking very farmy.

Naya shovelling compost off the ute looking very farmy.

Planting our trees did not take too long so we had an extra extra long morning tea lying and chatting in the sun before heading back to the Ashram for lunch.  After lunch we slowly and reluctantly got ready to leave.  Despite enjoying myself so much I missed hubby, D-man and Miss Moo and was happy to get home.  I take comfort in the fact that I know I can come back in 6 months or so for another visit.  I highly recommend a little retreat if you are thinking of doing one.  You won’t regret it!

Any questions, just ask – I did try to be brief, I am new at blogging and didn’t want my post to drag on with too many details.  Throughout the weekend there were many things that meant a lot to me spiritually which I haven’t talked about I guess because I don’t know how to yet.  For me spirituality is a major part of my journey Towards Total Health.  I hope to elaborate on that in the future, after I have put many other things out there first!

Here is the link to the website of Mangrove Yoga Ashram:  http://www.satyananda.net/mangrove-nsw

Om fountain.  Photo by Naya

Om fountain. Photo by Naya

The trees were such beautiful colours so I took a photo and out came a pretty 'light flower'

The trees were such beautiful colours so I took a photo and out came a pretty ‘light flower’

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The Protein Smoothie

Protein smoothie

Protein shakes or smoothies are not just for people who bodybuild or who are trying to lose weight.  They are an everyday opportunity to create a versatile meal bursting with so much nutrition your body will thank you for it.

I have found a great protein powder from the organics store.  The only ingredient is organic brown rice protein.  It is cheaper than Sunwarrior, which is a highly regarded brand using the same protein and at the shop assistant’s advice is just as good, but I don’t know enough about that to agree or disagree so I hope she’s right!  It’s a great product anyway.  I have chosen the vegan option as opposed to whey protein as I am in the process of cutting dairy from our family’s diet.  (Click here if you would like to know my 7 reasons for this).

This protein powder is suitable for kids and makes a quick breakfast, lunch or snack (or dinner if need be!).  I just put a tsp in D-man’s banana smoothie.  Miss Moo will just have a little bit of mine.  A good tip from Clean Eating With Kids is that as long as you put the berries in, the spinach remains undetectable!

This protein powder needs to be flavoured so you can use all your favourite ingredients.  Try any or all of following (the one pictured above had all except the last 2):
☺Protein powder  (the building blocks of your body)
☺Banana (energy, flavour, nutrients)
☺Frozen berries (antioxidants, flavour)
☺Raw cacao powder (antioxidants)
☺Maca powder (hormone balancing)
☺Flax meal, same as linseed meal (fibre and omega 3) or flax oil
☺Raw honey (for sweetener and extra nutrition)
☺Cinnamon (antibacterial)
☺Handful of baby spinach (chlorophyll)
☺Probiotic powder (gut health and immunity)
☺Handful traditional oats (fibre and longer lasting fullness)

I blended it with my homemade almond milk when I have it or otherwise I use Vitasoy rice or oat milk.  I drink my smoothie and feel comfortably full and energetic, not bloated and lethargic.  And it is low GI, so there is no blood sugar ups and downs.

Can you imagine the nutrition in that glass??  I was trying to keep this brief, all those ingredients have so many more benefits it was hard to pick just a word or two!

Oh and I’m not getting paid to promote any brands, just sharing my favourite’s ☺

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