Dishing up the dirt on clean desserts

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One thing I hate about the health and fitness industry is when brands take advantage of the innocent consumer and market products as ‘healthy’ when in fact they aren’t. By using marketing ploys such as ‘low carb’, ‘sugar free’, ‘low fat’, ‘natural’, ‘made from real fruit’, many companies deceive the consumer into thinking that what they are consuming is either good for them or conducive to weight loss.

Although I am passionate about choosing more natural and clean foods most of the time, a big issue I’m seeing is consumers thinking that just because a food is ‘clean’ means that it will help them in their bid to lose body fat.

One of the latest clean eating fads are ‘raw desserts’, which are generally made from an abundance of fruit and nuts. Now don’t get me wrong, there are certainly benefits of choosing a raw dessert over the processed kind (I will touch on that later), but the problem is that people think that because the dessert is raw, natural, and free from artificial additives it means they can eat as much as they like, or that it doesn’t count as a ‘cheat’ meal. Fruit and nuts are healthy right?!
Fruits such as dates and bananas, and nuts such as cashews, almonds and coconut seem to form the basis of most raw desserts. Maple syrup, honey or agave are often added to provide more sweetness. Albeit these are natural ingredients, what people forget to consider is that the actual macronutrient value of the dessert may not be all that different from the ‘dirty’ alternative. Macronutrients refer to proteins, carbohydrates and fats. When it comes down to clean dessert alternatives, just because the sugar is from fruit or the fat is from nuts doesn’t change the fact that it’s calories being consumed by your body. A sugar provides 4 calories per gram regardless of whether it’s from fruit or table sugar, and a fat provides 9 calories per gram whether it’s from a nut or cream and butter.

Take raw caramel slice as an example. You may find this blog post ironic in fact, because I posted a recipe for my raw caramel slice not long ago. However you will notice that my recipe came along with a warning that it should still be consumed in moderation.  This is because even though it’s a clean alternative, it is still an extremely calorie dense dessert. If you’ve ever made a raw dessert yourself or even some raw protein balls, you will know just how much dried fruit and nuts go into these health-ified treats.

Given that weight/fat loss is ultimately just an equation of calories in vs calories out, whether you have a clean dessert or a ‘dirty’ dessert may not make too much difference to your ultimate goal (assuming the portion sizes contain roughly the same amount of calories). In that respect, I feel that sometimes it’s worth enjoying the ‘naughty’ version when it comes time to have your treat meal – life is about balance after all!

In saying that raw/clean desserts are obviously more beneficial for your health in that they are less processed (or in the case of raw desserts, unprocessed) and don’t contain artificial flavours and preservatives. They are also likely to contain a higher percentage of good fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, rather than bad fats like trans fat.  However looking from a purely weight or fat loss perspective, they are likely to sit relatively on par.

So although I still enjoy raw desserts and experimenting with making them, I think it’s important that they are not misunderstood to be able to be consumed in larger quantities than ordinary desserts. Nor should they be included as part of an eating plan for weight or fat loss. Just because they are ‘clean’ or ‘raw’ doesn’t mean they are any less of a treat.

With love,

B.xx

Image: the-fit-foodie.com

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Raw Salted Caramel Slice

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After much anticipation, here is the recipe for my raw salted caramel slice!

This rich caramel treat is made from clean ingredients and is a healthier alternative to the original.

However given it is made from nuts, dried fruit and maple syrup, it is still quite high in natural sugars and healthy fats, so I suggest it be consumed in moderation 😉

Ingredients

For the base:
1.5 cups almonds
3/4 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp melted coconut oil

For the caramel:
1 cup dates
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1.5 tbsp unhulled tahini
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup cashews (soaked for 6+ hours until soft)
A pinch of pink sea salt

For the chocolate:
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup raw cacao
2 tbsp du chocolat powder
A pinch of pink sea salt

Method
1. Line a tray with baking paper
2. Process the ingredients for the base in a food processor or blender until it forms a kind of crumb. Transfer it into the tray and knead it together, pressing it tightly so that it will stick. Set this layer in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
3. Process the ingredients for the caramel in a food processor or blender until it becomes a smooth, thick consistency. You will probably need to give it a few stirs, and maybe add a little water to help it blend, but you want it to be relatively thick.
4. Pour the caramel on top of the set base layer and smooth it over. Return to the freezer until the caramel is set (approx one hour).
5. Mix the ingredients for the chocolate layer in a bowl. Pour on top of the set caramel layer. Quickly smooth it over- it will set quite quickly because of the coldness of the caramel layer.
6. Return to freezer for another 15 minutes or so until chocolate is set, then slice.

Note: store in the freezer for best results.

The Perfect Pancake

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I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but these are by far the best clean pancakes I have ever tasted! They are the perfect combination of fluffy, moist, and sweet (but not too sweet!). They are also a blessing to cook – they don’t take too long, don’t stick to the pan, and were nice and easy to flip! Made from simple ingredients, these are a great breakfast that feels like a cheat but isn’t! Happy tummy, happy thighs 😉
Ingredients (Makes approx 3 pancakes; serves one)

40g rolled oats (note for a lower carb version you could substitute for almond meal)

14g coconut flour

2 egg whites

60 ml unsweetened almond milk

50g mashed banana (the riper the better)

a pinch of bi-carb soda

Toppings

50g Chobani 0% Greek Yoghurt

75g blueberries

10ml sugarfree maple syrup
Macros (not including the toppings) – Cals: 229 P:17g F:5g C:46g

Method:
1. Blend the oats and coconut flour in a blender or food processor for a few seconds until it forms a powder.

  1. Transfer dry ingredients to a bowl and add the almond milk, egg whites, mashed banana and a pinch of bi-carb soda, stirring until well combined.
  2. Heat a little bit of organic butter or coconut oil in a frying pan on medium heat.
  3. Add 1/3 of the mixture at a time to the pan, using a spoon to ensure it is spread evenly.
  4. Cook for approx 2-3 minutes or until the underside of the pancake has firmed, then flip and cook for a further 1 minute.
  5. Transfer pancake to a plate and repeat with the remainder of the mixture.
    TIP: Keep cooked pancakes covered with a plate or aluminum foil to keep them warm while making the rest of the pancakes.
  6. Top pancakes with greek yoghurt, blueberries and sugar free maple syrup or toppings of your own choice.
  7. Enjoy! 🙂

Banana, Peanut Butter and Maple Porridge

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This porridge is a delicious, nutritious and filling way to start the day! The surprise mouthfuls of peanut butter that you get are absolutely divine! I prefer this porridge cold the next morning, but it can also be enjoyed warm.

It’s an ideal pre or post workout breakfast as it contains a combination of protein, carbs and good fats. It’s quite calorie dense and filling, so I love to have this breakfast after a morning training session or as a weekend treat. 🙂

Recipe serves one (or more, depends how much food you can eat in one sitting 😉 )

Ingredients

48g Brookfarms ‘Gluten Free Porrij’ (you can also use oats, but the nuts in the porridge really complement the peanut butter flavour perfectly!)

½ cup grated zucchini (optional – for added goodness!)

2 egg whites

12g PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter

½ – 1 tbsp natural peanut butter (or for a sweet treat, try White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter by Peanut Butter & Co)

50-100g banana slices

10ml Sugarfree Maple Syrup

1 tbsp cinnamon

Stevia to taste

Method

  1. Add zucchini and porridge/oats to a saucepan with 1 cup of water, 1 tbsp of cinnamon and stevia to your liking.
  2. Cover and bring to the boil.
  3. Once boiling, turn down to a gentle simmer and remove lid. Allow to simmer until most of the excess water has evaporated
  4. Add the egg whites and stir quickly for about 20 seconds until eggs are cooked through.
  5. Remove from heat and stir through the PB2.
  6. Transfer to a bowl and stir through the peanut butter into the hot porridge.
  7. Leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, top with banana and sugarfree maple syrup.

Note: For a lower calorie option, combine some more PB2 with water to make a ‘sauce’ to drizzle over your porridge instead of mixing in the peanut butter.

Clean Prawn Fried Rice

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This recipe is one of my favourites. I love this as a post workout meal as it has a good balance of protein, carbs and greens.

Ingredients: (serves one)

100g green prawn meat

1/3 cup cooked white basmati rice

1/2 cup peas

1/2 cup carrots (cubed)

1/2 cup green beans (cubed)

1/2 cup broccoli

1 tsp chilli paste (I use the Galiko brand as it only contains chilli and vinegar)

1 tsp minced ginger (again I use the Galiko brand)

1/4 cup brown onion

2 tsp organic tamari

Method:

1. Chop all the veggies into small pieces

2. Cook the onions and prawns in a little bit of coconut oil. Once the prawns are almost cooked through, add the ginger and chilli and stir through.

3. In a wok, stir fry the veggies in a small about of coconut oil until cooked through.

4. Add the prawn and onion into the veggies, and toss through the cooked rice and the tamari.

5. Devour 🙂

MEXICAN LETTUCE TACOS

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One of my passions is making clean versions of my favourite naughty meals. This recipe is quick, low-carb, clean, and still gives you the satisfaction of all your favourite Mexican flavours!

Ingredients: (makes two tacos – serves one)

For the Tacos:

120g chicken breast

½ tbsp coconut oil

1 carrot

½ brown onion

Ground cumin

Chilli powder to taste

1 tbsp oregano (dried)

A dash of tamari

Lime juice

2 lettuce leaves

Coriander

For the Guacamole:

1 avocado

Juice of ½ a lemon

¼ red onion (finely chopped)

For the Salsa:

½ punnet cherry tomatoes (diced)

¼ cup passata

¼ red onion (finely chopped)

Crushed garlic to taste

Chilli powder to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Dash of water

Method:

  1. Heat the salsa ingredients in a saucepan on low heat until tomatoes have softened and it has formed a salsa consistency. Set aside to cool.
  2. Smash the avocado with the lemon juice and red onion using the back of a tablespoon. Set aside.
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a pan with chicken and brown onion until chicken is cooked through
  4. Remove chicken from heat and shred with a fork.
  5. Return chicken to pan and add the carrot, cumin, chilli powder, oregano, and lime juice and heat for two minutes. You only need enough lime juice to give it a little bit of moisture. Add as much chilli as suits your preference, but use plenty of cumin as it gives it that Mexican flavour 🙂 I usually add a dash of tamari as well when I’m not preparing for comp.
  6. Carefully remove individual leaves from the lettuce, making sure you don’t tear them (or else your taco filling will be falling everywhere when you try to eat them!). I find it helps to slice across the bottom of the leaf with a knife then peel the leaf off.
  7. Fill the lettuce cups with the chicken mix, salsa, and guacomole. Top with fresh coriander leaves and serve.

Other delicious additions to these tacos would be black beans, kidney beans or corn if you want to add a carb source to the meal.
Enjoy 🙂

With love,
B. xx

CLEAN AND COMP-PREP FRIENDLY TURKEY RISSOLES

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I can’t eat plain chicken and steamed broccoli six times a day. I just can’t. It takes all of the enjoyment out of eating, and leaves my taste buds craving something to stimulate them! I make sure I pump plenty of flavour into my meals with natural herbs and spices so I can enjoy my food without compromising my diet. It takes me a little more time in the kitchen, but I think it’s worth it.

I was playing around with making comp-prep friendly recipes that are still jam packed with flavour when I made up these super quick and delicious turkey rissoles!
I love turkey because it’s such a lean meat and it’s high in protein! I’m actually looking forward to eating this every day for the next week.

This recipe makes 2 meals for me.

Ingredients:

300g turkey breast mince

Dried oregano

Rosemary

Dried thyme leaves

Garlic

Spring Onion

Pink sea salt

Cracked pepper

Method:

  1. Chop up the spring onion and garlic into small pieces.
  2. Put turkey mince in a bowl and add all the dried herbs, garlic, salt and pepper and spring onion. I put a lot of herbs in to give them heaps of flavour.
  3. Knead it all together.
  4. Split turkey into 10 even pieces and roll them into balls. Really knead them together so that they stick and don’t break when you cook them.
  5. Heat 1 tsp coconut oil over low to medium heat.
  6. Put each ball on the pan and flatten them as you go.
  7. Cook until you can see they are cooked through to about halfway then flip them.
  8. Once cooked through, remove and serve

These rissoles are delicious served with salad and avocado.

Enjoy!

With love,
B. xx