Ask Mira:: Miranda’s Big Smoothie Guide

Oh boy, have I had an absolute plethora of requests for this from you guys! And it makes me so chuffed! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed me testing out some smoothie recipes this week. Its actually stimulated a lot of motivation for me, so thank you for that!

I’ll start this all off with a very detailed request from Ainslie, sent via Facebook:

“Hi Miranda, how are you? I need some inspiration from you please :) I really struggle eating in the mornings, it makes me feel really ill when I eat so I’m looking into having smoothies for breakfast so I’m getting something rather than skipping breakfast all together. Do you have any recommendations on good smoothie recipes that will give me everything I need and really help to boost my metabolism? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks :)

Thanks for your request Ainslie, I’ve developed a few recipes for you that are sure to increase your metabolism, and what sounds like a sluggish digestive system – your tummy will be rumbling in no time! Continue reading

Apps for Health & Wellness

If you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of time on your phone. Between texting, calling, emailing, Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Google Maps, TransLink Journey Planner and apps for managing both my Facebook page and my blog, there is a lot that I get done on my phone every day. But, as you know, one of the best things about having a smart phone is that there is an app for everything, however, this doesn’t always mean that every app is awesome, so in no particular order, I thought I’d list a few of my favourite health and wellness apps to help make your life a little easier. Continue reading

Baby Makin’ in the Kitchen

Screenshot (11)Nutrients play such a vital role in the conception, growth and development of a baby, and it order to help give your future-bub-to-be the best start in life you possibly can, you want to make sure your body has an abundance of the nutrients that will help it all happen. This month for the Endeavour College of Natural Health Wellspring Blog I put together a list of foods to help you to conceive a child, through my favourite naturopathic principle, ‘Food As Medicine’.

Maybe the baby making’ in the kitchen can extend to actual baby making’ in the kitchen (bow-chicka-wow-wow!), whatever floats your boat! This should help get you in the mood:

Don’t forget to enter my Move with Miranda competition for your chance to win healthy goodies, personal training and massage amongst many other prizes.

World Egg Day

The Nutritional Benefits of and Delicious Ways to Eat Eggs579984_10151642329403029_2066892404_n

Today is (would you believe it?) WORLD EGG DAY – that’s right, it’s a real thing! Just ask the International Egg Commission – also a real thing!

Eggs are (quite famously) one of my very favourite foods (I go on about this here) and I like to make sure I always have a dozen of them in the house each week so I can have them whenever I like. They also get me a bit nostalgic for when my Mum used to boil me an egg and chop it up with some butter in a mug that I would eat with a teaspoon and feel so special because it was all mine! (I guess that’s what happens when you grow up with a little sister!)

377202_10151850552143029_1634870787_n

I love eggs, not only because they are delicious and budget-friendly, but because they are an incredibly nutritious food that is easy to prepare and incorporate into your diet. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like splooshing a runny yolk as soon as the plate is set in front of you?!

  • Eggs are rich in protein, which makes them a good energy source, as well as necessary for the growth of new tissues, the production of hormones, enzymes and immune cells.

247058_10150202596673029_1571169_n

  • One 60g egg contains 5g of fat, most of which is monounsaturated fat, required by your brain and nervous system, but that doesn’t mean that your body doesn’t have use for the other fats contained in egg. Your body does require some saturated fat every day, so don’t be scared of it! Saturated fat is required for the production of hormones and energy and signalling at a cellular level. Fats also help your body absorb fat soluble vitamins, another set of nutrients that eggs are a good source of! Eggs also contain omega-3 fats which reduce inflammation, protect you from cardiovascular disease and help the function of your brain.

193469_10150112645838029_5000066_o

  • Eggs do contain cholesterol, which your body requires for cell membrane structure and hormone production. It has also been shown that dietary cholesterol intake has little effect on the levels of cholesterol in your body, and high cholesterol should be addressed through other dietary management (feel free to ask me how!)

431201_10150608461413029_608993742_n

  • Fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A and D are found in eggs. Vitamin A is found in the rods of the eyes, so have a protective effect against cataracts and tunnel vision, while having a healing and protective effect to the body’s tissues. Vitamin D functions as a hormone and protects the body from several cancers, such as colon and breast cancers, autoimmune conditions and osteoporosis due to it’s relationship with calcium. Many Australian’s are currently vitamin D deficient, so the consumption of eggs can certainly contribute to a repletion of this very important nutrient.

598605_10151965260748029_383826951_n

  • Eggs also contain calcium, magnesium and iron, minerals that function in bone structure, muscle contraction and relaxation, immune function, energy production, hormone production and transport of oxygen to tissues. These minerals are another set of common deficiencies contributing to ill health that egg conumption can help with.

389712_10151576895008029_434334434_n

Eggs are so incredibly versatile to incorporate in your diet to get these nutritious benefits too!

Try them poached, fried, scramble, coddled, boiled, slow cooked or baked, or maybe you’d prefer an omelette, quiche, frittata, pie or even make your own mayonnaise.

I love making a thin omelette and slicing it into rice paper rolls or fried rice, making a huge salad sandwich or a salad and shelling a boiled egg with a dollop of fresh mayonnaise. Poached eggs go great with raw dukkah, avocado and extra virgin olive oil, or garlic fried mushrooms, while scrambled eggs and omelettes get fancy when you spike the mix with wholegrain mustard, spring onions, rosemary, oregano, chives, parsley, basil or coriander.

314889_10152027377443029_1261215917_n

So, in the spirit of World Egg Day, cook yourself a yummy egg dish and your body will be egg-static! Geddit?! (At least give me props for only putting in one pun – haha!)

Are you an egg fan?

How do you like to eat your eggs? I always like to get some inspiration, so please, let me know!

Mira’s Salads Guide

How to create a healthy salad that tastes great!

Salads are one of the best ways to get lots of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and other phytochemicals into your diet, that are all important for each process that occurs in your body. They are also low calorie, incredibly tasty and so, so easy to make!

When making your salad, keep in mind that it should take up at least half the size of your plate and be the majority of your meal. Your protein (meat, chicken, fish, legumes) should be the size of a deck of cards (double if you are a very active and athletic person), as should your carbohydrates.

This is a step-by-step guide to help you create a delicious salad with a range of different nutrients to give your health a boost.

Fresh salad with grilled kangaroo steak and sauerkraut

Fresh salad with grilled kangaroo steak and sauerkraut

1. Don’t be so radicchio – STEP AWAY from the iceberg lettuce!!

Start with your lettuces – rocket, spinach, radicchio, kale, swiss chard, bok choy, chinese broccoli, red cabbage, endive, wombok, green, red, whatever!

A nice mix of leaves will give you a variety of nutrients, and the more bitter they taste, the more stimulating they are to your digestion. Aim for at least a cup of these.

2. Add at least 3 fresh, raw vegetables

Choose fresh veggies you know that you enjoy and cut them into bite-sized pieces – the more colour the better! Experiment with how you cut your vegies to make them a bit more exciting, such as peeling long thin strips of zucchini or cucumber, grating some carrot or radish, melon balling some avocado or chopping your vegetables into matchsticks.

Cucumber, grated carrot (orange and purple), celery, snow peas, avocado, capsicum (any colour), broccoli, onion (red, spring, shallots, etc), red cabbage, tomato, sprouts (bean, alfalfa, garlic, onion, watercress, etc), orange, apple, pear, grated beetroot, green beans, wombok, kale, grapes, zucchini

My Asian Ribbon Salad with strips of carrot and zucchini, chicken breast and a spicy dressing

My Asian Ribbon Salad with strips of carrot and zucchini, chicken breast and a spicy dressing

3. Add 1-2 tablespoons of seeds and/or chopped raw nuts

Seeds and nuts provide more minerals, good fats, fibre and protein to your salad, and a crunchy texture.

Walnuts, chia seeds, almonds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds, flax/linseeds, brazil nuts, sesame seeds, pine nuts, cashews, macadamia, pistachio, hazelnuts

4. Choose your protein

Protein should be a part of every meal, including snacks! Protein is essential for energy and neurotransmitter production (so it keeps you going and keeps you happy!) If you’re mixing this into your salad, don’t forget to chop it into bite-sized chunks.

Egg, mackerel, kangaroo steak, kidney beans, tempeh, tofu, chicken, salmon, turkey, lamb, beef, sardines, quinoa, crab, prawns, chickpeas, tinned or fresh tuna, lentils, smoked trout, smoked salmon, felafel

Don’t forget to add a carbohydrate source (1/2 cup)  (buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, barley, lentils, chickpeas, beans, potato, sweet potato) if you choose a vegetarian option, to make sure you provide your body with a complete amino acid profile.

5. Be adventurous

Now add at least 1 ingredient that you’ve either never tried before, wouldn’t usually think of as a salad ingredient, or haven’t eaten in a long time, because you think you don’t like it – you might surprise yourself! By doing this you are exposing your tastebuds to new flavours, and giving yourself more options for nourishing yourself in the future

Sauerkraut, sprouts, tomato, quinoa, cucumber, celery, pear, a new lettuce, radish, buckwheat, red onion, fennel, a new nut/seed/pulse/vegetable/fruit, chia seeds, tinned tuna, burghul wheat, parsley, olives, watermelon, raw zucchini

Tinned tuna gets friendly with avocado and fresh parsley, lemon juice and Australian extra virgin olive oil

Tinned tuna gets friendly with avocado and fresh parsley, lemon juice and Australian extra virgin olive oil

6. Get creative with herbs (and spices)

If you still aren’t convinced that your salad is going to be super delicious, play around with herbs, for more flavour (and nutrients) - fresh basil always goes well in a salad, but try something new:

Parsley, oregano, rosemary, coriander, chilli, garlic, marjoram, ginger, cracked pepper, chive, thyme, dill, fennel, horseradish, mint, lemon thyme, lemon, mustard, tumeric, lemongrass

You may like to add these straight into your salad, or spike your salad dressing to carry the flavour through.

7. Dress it up!

Always choose cold-pressed oil, and lightly drizzle with something acidic. You shouldn’t need more than 1Tbl of each.

My favourite combination is extra virgin olive oil (Aussie olive oil is always best!) with a wedge of lemon & cracked pepper.

You could also try:

OILS: chia oil, avocado oil, flax seed oil, walnut oil, grape seed oil, rice bran oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil

ACIDS: apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, verjuice, red wine vinegar, vino cotto, fresh lime, fresh orange, fresh lemon

DON’T FORGET!

While enjoying your salad, to chew it up adequately (aim for 20 chews per mouthful) so that you can get as much goodness out of it as possible.

So, start with something you know you like and add new ingredients to create your perfect salad – easy!

Good luck! And don’t forget to let me know how you go, and if you have any questions.

Mira’s Top Picks – Tips for Getting Out of a Funk

As motivated as I try to be on most days, some days I just get into a complete funk. It’s a pain in the butt because, not only do I feel like absolute crap, but it’s usually on a day that I’ve got SO much to do. So these are just a few methods I use to get through a long, funk of a day.

197980_10150111467153029_1867641_n

1. Make a list

Making sure I’ve got a list of everything I want or need to achieve for the day can be a little daunting, but it gives me a clear picture of what I need to get done, and helps me to remember it all. Whenever I make the list, I don’t have a strict mindset that means I have to get everything done. Instead, the list is a guideline to keep me going in the right direction, not another psychological bat to punish myself with. I then like to set small goals, such as, in the next half an hour, I will eat my breakfast and have a shower. Similar to Hugh Grant in About A Boy (I got this idea from my boyfriend).

2. Tough love

I find giving myself a bit of tough love can be the motivation I need to get me started. I am a big fan of tough love. Some of the strongest, most inspiring women I know are straight shooters that, without judgement, tell me what I need to hear that no one else will tell me, and have changed my life for the better. But sometimes I know that I don’t need them to give me that boot up the bum; I know what I need to do, they just recognise that and give it right back to me. So, without insulting myself, I am honest with myself and remind myself that even if something is hard, I will be a better person for getting it done.

3. Ask for help

The worst thing you can do when you’re in a real funk is to expect to be a superwoman/superman and still get yourself through it, when deep down, you know you just aren’t up to the task. Asking for help could be as simple as asking a friend to go for a walk with you, asking your partner to make dinner tonight, asking for some insight for a task, or simply asking a friend to be the ear you need to talk to or a hug. It never hurts to ask.

4. Take time out

Even if you do have an endless list of tasks to get done, it’s important to take a step away and give yourself a break. Meditation can be really good for this if you have the time, but at the very least, take a step back, close your eyes and take three deep breaths. I find it best to log out of social media for a while (I am ALWAYS on social media), have a cuppa or a glass of water and if I can, I take some time out outdoors. I find when I’m in a funk, social media makes it worse very easily, so I remind myself to log out and move forward.

5. Exercise

Going for a walk,  swim,  run, yoga, pilates,  gym sesh, kick-to-kick at a park, whatever you enjoy, can sometimes be the best, yet the most difficult thing to do when you are in a funk. Exercise not only gives you endorphins to boost your mood, but breaks down cortisol, the stress hormone that interrupts healthy sleep, encourages the deposition of fat around your belly, and disturbs the normal function of other hormones in your body. Even if you don’t feel 100% better after you exercise, you will feel a bit better than you would if you just sat there, beating yourself up or procrastinating, and it’ll boost your motivation, always.

6. Treat yo’self

That’s right. As long as you don’t over-indulge, giving yourself a treat can often soothe your sadness and help you through. Some of my favourite ways are; cooking, having a sweet or salty treat (homemade raw chocolate peanut butter cups from The Whole Pantry app –  wot-whahht!!), a cup of my favourite tea, or watching an episode of a TV show (iView has Please Like Me  at the moment – yes!!). Just don’t beat yourself up about it. A little indulgence can make all the difference on a funk day, so treat yo’self!

How do you get through a funk?

Mira’s Top Picks – Top 6 Pantry Staples

Today I’m going to let you in on one of my most important secrets to a healthy diet: keeping your pantry well stocked.
It sounds simple, but if you want to make sure you don’t just give up and eat some take away/a family sized block of chocolate/a whole cake/man, even that vase of flowers looks good at this point; you’ve got to be prepared.

My Pantry

I’d like to think that over the years, I’ve become somewhat of an expert at healthy cooking on a budget, due to being a student for such a long time (but I’m pretty sure my boyfriend thinks I’m just finding a little too much satisfaction in organising my pantry and need to find something else to do with my time). Either way, I’m a firm believer that keeping your pantry stocked means that when you don’t have money, don’t want to go to the shops or are having a bunch of people come over for dinner, you can still cook an impromptu meal that will be healthy, be affordable, and best of all, taste great!

These are the items I always have stocked in my pantry:
1. COCONUT CREAM/MILK
Not only does this sucker go great in smoothies, curries and laksas, but I use it to replace cream in dishes like stroganoff, that I can’t usually eat. It’s not exactly the same as cream, but it’s still very yummy and, if you get tricky like me, you can even learn how to whip it like regular cream and put it on desserts, like this here dairy-free trifle:

Dairy Free Trifle

2. TINNED FISH
We buy large cans of tuna, small cans of flavoured tuna and plain cans of mackerel to always have on hand. Oily fish such as these guys are high in omega3 fatty acids, protein and zinc, but not always affordable when fresh, so we make sure we have some of the tinned variety.
Mackerel is my favourite, because it is higher in the GLA type omega3s which are the ones that are good for your brain. Plus, as the fish is smaller than tuna or salmon, it has less mercury, so it can be safely eaten more often. I love having it on pumpernickel toast, either as mini dairy-free pizzas, or with avocado and pepitas – yomm!
Tuna goes great in my tuna tacos (which, if you ask nicely, I may post the recipe for) and for those days when you are really poor, the flavoured tins are delicious on toast (even yummier with avocado and rocket!!).

3. NUTS
Raw nuts are a great food to keep stocked in your pantry. They’re filled with oils, protein and minerals, and are a great snack on the go. I chop mine and put them in a muesli, grind them into a nut meal for baking, whiz them up with some water to make almond milk, or even to make nut “cheese”.
My favourites are cashews, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts and brazil nuts. Keep them in jars to protect their oils from damage – and to have your pantry look not only organised, but pretty (which is the most important thing :) ).

4. EGGS
It’s rare that I go a day without eating eggs; they are one of my very favourite foods. They are a good source of protein and fat soluble vitamins and are so, so versatile. You can have them boiled, poached, scrambled, baked, fried, as an omelette, in a quiche or frittata, you can bake with them, make mayonnaise, coddle them, have them sweet or savoury, they really are amazing!
Good quality eggs aren’t too expensive (even cheaper if you’ve got a friend with chooks!) and can easily be added to meals to provide protein. I love making a quick zucchini soup and popping poached eggs on top, adding a thin omelette to my brown fried rice, stir frying them with a bunch of vegies, adding boiled eggs and mayo to a gorgeous salad sandwich, or simply having them poached on avo toast and sprinkling over some raw dukkah.

Incredible Eggs! (from http://strawberrymilkevents.com/egg-spiration/)

I’ve added these guys to my pantry list because they are best used at room temperature and do stay fresh long enough to not need refrigeration.

5. PULSES
Oh boy, I’m not sure if I can count the times that pulses have saved my life! They are the ultimate in healthy food for students (with much more protein and fibre than 2 minute noodles!) because they are so cheap and you can do just about anything with them and get a decent meal. They are also handy to have in your house so that you know you can easily cater for a large group on the cheap, especially vegetarians (what good is food if you can’t share it with the people you love).
Pulses include lentils, chickpeas, beans (the many varieties), barley and split peas, and are best bought dry and organic to avoid any nasties. However, this does mean you need to give them a good soak for at least 6 hours, preferably at least 24. This starts the sprouting process and activates the phytic acid in the legumes so that you don’t consume them when you eat the legume. Phytic acid is the phytochemical that causes flatulence when you eat legumes, but also binds itself to the minerals in your food so that they can’t be absorbed in your digestive tract, so best to get rid of as much of it as we can.
My favourite legume-based meals to make are Boston baked-beans, burritos, split pea soup, lentil burgers, felafel, hummus, dahl and veggie curries to name a few. The best thing about these meals are not only are they filling, but you don’t need many ingredients to make them (and again, they look so lovely all stacked up in containers in your pantry).

6. TINNED TOMATOES
This one is pretty simple. Tinned tomatoes can be used in soups, curries, Bolognese, casseroles, Mexican dishes, or simmered down to make a paste for pizzas. Get the best quality you can and they aren’t usually much more than $1 per can at their most expensive. They stack easy, last a long time and are packed with flavour, and the awesome antioxidant, lycopene, which provides protection from cancer.

WHAT do you stock your pantry with, just in case?
DO you share my fondness for a well-stocked and ordered store-cupboard?
HOW has this inspired you to plan ahead?