Not Bad Banana Bread

And by not bad, I mean bloody brilliant. 

(Thank you @maverickbeanco for introducing me to Quinoa’s cousin. We get along very well).

Meet LUPIN. The next superfood you need to know about. Thanks to old mate, this BB is gluten-free, super high in protein and fibre, low in carbohydrates and zero saturated fats… but I can ensure that it is full of taste, stunning texture, natural energy and overloaded with nutrients.

(MWA – love u Lupin)

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 200g Lupin flour
  • 2 heaped tbsp LSA, Psyllium Husk or Ground Flaxseed
  • Optional: 1 heaped tbsp Monk Fruit/Stevia (if you want to make it taste like that sweet store bought banana bread!)
  • 2 heaped tbsp raisins or sultanas
  • 1/4 cup granola, mixed seeds & nuts or Muesli mix for the topping and base.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170C
  2. Line a loaf tin with baking paper (approx 26 x 11cm)
  3. Mix the smashed banana, eggs, honey, olive oil, baking soda and lemon/lime juice.
  4. Stir in the Lupin Flour and LSA/Psyllium.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Fold in the sultanas/raisins.
  7. Sprinkle half of the granola/seed mix into the base of the lined tin.
  8. Transfer the banana bread mixture on top of the granola/seeds, into the lined tin (this will ensure a crunchy base AND topping)
  9. Sprinkle the remaining granola/seed mix on top of the mixture
  10. Bake for 45-60 minutes (checking after 35mins every 5-10 mins with a skewer).
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the tin.
  12. Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days at room temperature, or covered in the fridge for up to 7 days!

NOTE: Covering the loaf with foil whilst baking will stop it from browning and burning too fast if you can see the bread overcooking.

NOTE 2: I love storing half of my loaf in the freezer so that I can save it for when guests come over!

NOTE 3: It can be fun to decorate the top of your loaf in various ways – granola, nuts, seeds, or even a sliced banana for a worthy Instagram pic (hash-tagging #flavourfoodflow of course!)

5 Benefits of Stretching Everyday

“I should stretch more” 
“I need to do more yoga”
“It’s time to book a massage…”

Sound familiar?
Then read on…

Stretching is the new hot topic in the health and wellness sphere.
But WHY?
Because it is a life-long habit that provides endless benefits. From better digestion to full-body flexibility, say goodbye to lower back pain and repetitive stress injuries.
The best part is that now there are places like Stretch Studio in Sydney’s Double Bay, where you can have a professional stretcher called a Flexologist assist you with a full body stretch! They are specially trained in the art of assisted stretching (um, cool?), and taught how to match the resistance of each client, knowing how far to stretch them and when to stop (which I highly regard).

It honestly is the best way to achieve a deeper, more controlled stretch that just feels so damn great!

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  1. Flexibility

Sounds obvious, but there is more to flexibility than simply lifting your leg behind your head! Flexibility can help to reduce constant muscle pain, and decrease your risk of injury. Tara Romeo, CSCS, assistant director of the Professional Athletic Performance Center in New York says “believe it or not, back pain may come from tight hamstrings”. Tight hamstring muscles can affect the status of your lower back and spine health, causing repetitive pain and discomfort.

On the other hand, flexibility can help to reduce your risk of injury. Whether it be through playing sport, a gym class, Pilates or a run on the beach, the more flexible you are, the softer and more supple your muscles are. Whereas tight muscles mean less room to move, increasing the chance of tearing when overused or overstressed.

  1. Posture

We all want to age gracefully on the inside AND the outside. So many of us spend lots of dollars on skin products, hair and nail treatments, all the effort to keep our outside looking fresh and clean! However, so often we forget the importance of posture and how much it impacts our ageing process – physically AND mentally.

Posture is more than simply sitting up tall with your shoulders rolled down your back – it is about correctly aligning your spin to allow the free flow of oxygen, proper functioning of your vital organs and muscle activation. Bad posture is the result of tight muscles, which is ultimately the result of muscle weakness.

  1. Increased Energy levels

There is a reason why people attend health and yoga retreats – the days are full of relaxation, moving meditation, stretch sessions – leaving you feeling energised and reawakened. Stretching, whether it be assisted or on your own, helps to soften the muscles, allowing for extra blood flow and oxygen to travel around the body. The oxygen and blood can move more freely around the muscles and internal pathways, getting rid of any unnecessary dust that might make you feel drowsy, tight and overworked.
Stretching first thing in the morning also helps to wake up the nervous system, gently shocking the body after being reclined and still for a solid 8-9 hours. Our body naturally slows down over night as it concentrates on the important internal tasks such as digestion, recovery and cell rejuvenation. However, this means that it needs an extra bit of “oomph” in the morning to get going, hence why a morning stretch as you first wake up feels so damn good! It is also why practicing a stretch session such as yoga on an empty stomach when you wake, is the best time also!

  1. Better Digestion

Sooooo many of our digestive issues can stem from a tight and unhappy muscular system. Tight hamstrings can lead to belly issues, a sore back can aggravate your gut and tense shoulders will cause you to hunch over, which may also disrupt digestion.

Forward folds with a gentle bend to your knees can help to relieve trapped flatulence (glamorous word for gas), that essentially causes sharp pain, hard bellies and unwanted bloating. Laying supine (on your back), hugging your knees into your chest either simultaneously or one after the other, can also help to stretch our the lower back, relax the belly and relieve the muscles that surround the digestive tract.
3 years ago, I found the practice of Yoga – originally, it was for 2 reasons: to help clear the mind, and to help stimulate my digestive system after multiple years of issues, pain and irritation. Yoga has seriously changed my life, especially when it comes to my digestive health. If I ever feel my belly becoming aggravated, bloated or gassy (sorry not sorry), I perform a few sun salutations that involve a stretch of the entire system, specifically in my front and back side body.

  1. Decreased Water Retention

Have you ever noticed your face and fingers puff up whenever you are stressed, overworked and tired? That may be your body holding onto the water within your system, rather than circulating it around.
Stretching, like it does for oxygen and blood, helps to soften the muscles and surrounding tissues, allowing for an easier movement of water around the body. Water retention in the body can make us feel uncomfortable in the skin we are in, causing you to feel puffy, heavy and sluggish – no thank you!

Assisted or individual stretching helps to alleviate any blocked pathways that inhibit a smooth flow of water around your internal system – which may also help to circulate the nutrients and vitamins that we consume, ensuring they get to the necessary places!

 

 

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Home-made Hazelnut Spread

Move over Nutella, no room for you here.

Home-made Chocolate & Hazelnut Spread, using nothing but the beauty of natural ingredients.

Whenever I am walking home from the bus stop, I always detour via Scoop Wholefoods in Mosman. I browse for about 10 minutes, as I source out at least $5 worth of goodies due to the Eftpos minimum ha!

However it is worth it. Each time, I leave with different ingredients, eager to get home and whip up a storm in my kitchen!

Today was a Nut Day; hazelnut and macadamia 

Something a little diverse, and certainly something a little tasty.  

When you buy nuts, you can do one of 2 things.

  1. Store them in an air-tight jar in the fridge for snack purposes
  2. Blend up a Nut Butter Creation!

I always choose 2.  



Not-ella Spread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 heaped tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 heaped tbsp cacao powder
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • Cacao nibs

Method

  • Blend the hazelnuts in a food processor until finely chopped
  • Melt the honey and coconut oil, adding into the Nut mixture
  • Add 1 tbsp water, blend
  • Add the cacao powder, blend
  • Add the rest of the water & cacao nibs
  • Blend until a smooth, rich and fluffy texture forms – depending on your blender, you may need more wet ingredients for a smoother consistency. However, if you like your nut spread crunchy, then adapt to suit your preference!

Enjoy xx

Beautiful Billabong Health Retreat

And I didn’t even need to buy a plane ticket…

Billabong Retreat…

Only an hour out of Sydney.
Amidst the nature Australia is known for – beautiful bushland, clean air, green trees and peaceful surroundings.



All these years of me taking 3-4 weeks off work to venture off overseas, when this piece of magic was available at Sydney’s doorsteps!

If you were to ask me about a month ago, I would have told you that there is no way I would find relaxation in anywhere but an Island; a tropical sunny holiday with beach, sand and sun. However, after staying at Billabong Retreat, I managed to find a point of mental clarity and stillness within the space of 3 days.

I made my way to Billabong Retreat via train, which departed from Central Station in the early afternoon. Arriving just in time for the welcome session and arvo Yoga Class. I was greeted with a smile by the friendly Taxi Driver who services the guests, transporting them from the train station at Vineyard to the retreat HQ!

Upon my arrival, I was taken to my room. I must admit, I was upgraded (life goals!), to the groovy Treehouse at Number 4. Not only did this room have 2 beds, but it also had 2 baths – one in the bathroom and one on the balcony. Ah, heaven! The room was fully equipped with tea of all sorts, a kettle, hot water bottles, a heater, EcoDownUnder towels and linen, Epsom Salts, a sound system, a fruit bowl… it was divine. I was also happy to see that Billabong is completely Eco-friendly, everything is recyclable and/or reusable, organic and nature-loving!

“2 baths… one in the bathroom and one on the balcony…

In terms of the structure of the days? The true beauty lay in the fact that there was structure, but it was not forced upon you. Yes there were distinct meal times, sunrise yoga, afternoon tea, wellness session, but there was also no one knocking at your door demanding your attendance! If you felt up to it, then it was waiting for you with open arms. If you preferred to take a fresh air stroll or an afternoon snooze, then this was also encouraged. Choice – absolutely necessarily for someone like myself.

The food. Now this is where my head, heart, mind, body AND soul were completely sold. The food was organic, fresh and entirely plant based. They also catered for all food and dietary requirements, offering a variety of options to cater for varying tastebuds. My favourite was the Polenta slice and green veggie salad.. OH, and the delicious buckwheat and banana pancakes with vegan creamy sauce. YUM!

“They also catered for all food and dietary requirements… my favourite was the delicious buckwheat and banana pancakes with vegan creamy sauce… YUM”


The yoga. Ahhh, my favourite! A combination of gentle Yinyasa to wake the body of a morning, and a relaxing Yin practice to balance the Yang. Funnily enough, I only did 2 of the yoga classes. Why? Well, being a frequent yogie myself, I quite enjoyed the time “off” away from the mat… it also meant I enjoyed a sleep in for the first time in AGES. But for anyone new to Yoga, or for those who are constantly saying “I must do more yoga” – then Billabong Retreat is calling your name.

In addition, the workshops were mind-blowing. From learning how to ferment your own veggies and create your own kombucha, to adopting new knowledge about gut health and the gut brain relationship. For anyone that knows me well, you are aware of how much I LOVE talking about the significance of a healthy belly – hence, the Health Fundamentals package totally aligned with my values and beliefs.

“The yoga… combination of gentle Vinyasa to wake the body of a morning, and a relaxing Yin practice to balance the Yang…”

I can safely say I slept the entire train trip home – waking up upon my arrival at Central station feeling energised, relaxed and eager to conquer life!
xx Georgie

Green Smoothie

This morning I woke up and realised just how much I was craving a Green Smoothie
SO i honestly insist that I share the recipe with you:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups leafy greens
  • 1-1 and 1/4 cup nut milk or coconut water
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp psyllium husk (fibre baby)
  • 1/4 cup crushed ice

Method

  • Blend it all together
  • ENJOY 🙂
  • Wash up all the dishes

TIP: I like to use Kale more than I do spinach, purely for the taste. If you’re using kale, not only be sure to wash the leaves, but also remove the stems (as they taste incredibly bitter!)

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Sweet Potato Nachos

Is that YOUR cheese?

NO! 

It’s NACHOS cheese!



You’ll need:

  • Half a sweet potato, chopped into wedges (or long strips for wedges)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 capsicum, diced
  • Herbs, chopped (parsley, coriander etc)
  • 1/8 red onion, diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 lime wedge
  • Chilli flakes (optional)
  • Greek Yoghurt (optional)

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 200C fan forced
  • Slice the sweet potato and spread evenly on a lined baking tray
  • Paint or gently drizzle the coconut oil on both sides of the potato slices
  • Bake on the middle rack for about 30-35 mins, flipping the slices at half time
  • In a separate bowl, combine the tomato, capsicum, herbs, salt and pepper and juice from lemon wedge until the tomato salsa looks tasty
  • In another bowl, smash the avocado with a fork, and combine the avocado, olive oil, salt and pepper, lime wedge and chilli flakes.
  • When the chips are ready, lay them out on a plate.
  • Top with the tomato salsa, and guac.

TIP 1: Greek Yoghurt makes a great healthy substitute for sour cream!

TIP 2: You can also serve these as wedges, with Greek yoghurt (sour cream), and a sprinkle of Dukkah


#flavourfoodflow

 

Tahini Time

This makes a great mid-morning snack. By combining the fruit (high GI- fast burning) with the Tahini (low GI- slow burning), you’ll feel fuller for longer! Say goodbye to fruit induced sugar spikes with this handy tip. 

Add some crunch and a bit of sweet with bee pollen… It’s an incredible tasting topping and has enormous benefits. 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pink lady Apple
  • 1 tbsp u hulled Tahini (I love Mayvers)
  • 1/2 tsp Bee Pollen

Method

  1. Slice the apple up
  2. Spread the Tahini
  3. Sprinkle the bee pollen!

TIP: change things up and use a pear instead! You can even pre-slice and pre-spread, so this fantastic snack can be taken anywhere.