Saturday, October 6, 2012

Spring, Sunshine and Superfoods.

Here in Australia, it's Spring - only 9 more days and we're halfway through Spring I've been told (My Daughter's birthday falls on the same day).
Today was a brilliant day... Heat wave almost, and we spent the day in the Sunshine and Water.  I'm still coming to terms with the smaller version of me walking around the water park, and feeling confident, and climbing masses of stairs with a ride tube above my head without almost dying.  My kids enjoying the fact that I riding the slides with them, and not sitting on the sidelines like I used to.  
Today just felt like happiness.  I can't ask for more than that!

The other thing I wanted to write about today was Superfoods. About a year ago, I was lucky enough to go to a Superfoods seminar, and it really opened my eyes to some amazing foods that I previously didn't know existed.   Superfoods is a buzz-word that has been around since the 90's and was sort of synonymous with new age hippie types. The foods themselves were only found in health food stores and the like, but in the past few years these superfoods have begun to find their way on to the regular family dinner table.. including mine. So what makes a superfood? What Criteria are we looking at?

Essentially a Superfood :
  • is Especially potent in Nutritional Value - being high in antioxidants, and essential nutrients that our bodies can't produce.   
  • has Health benefits like lowering cholesterol, and blood pressure, preventing cancer and heart disease, protecting the organs from toxins and helping to regulate metabolism and reduce body fat.
There is no official list of Superfoods, (so beware of marketing of products using the term without evidence to back up the claims), however many of the superfoods on the 'unofficial' list are already regulars on most families shopping lists, like Tomatoes, Brazil Nuts, Berries, Broccoli, Natural Yoghurt, and Tea. 
Anyway, this little seminar I attended was run by Ronaldo Fulieri, and with his enthusiastic Brazillian flavour, he inspired me to try a couple new 'Superfoods', which I am happy to say have been staples in my kitchen ever since.

QUINOA (pronounced keen-wah),

No longer just in Health Stores
The small grain like seed before its cooked

Quinoa is a grain-like edible seed, high in protein, dietry fibre, phosphorous, magnesium and iron, and is gluten free. 
You cook it sort of like rice or couscous... 1 part Quinoa to 2 parts liquid (water or for extra flavour try Chicken Stock).  Bring it to the boil, and then slowly simmer until the little tails come out. You can also microwave if you prefer!
Then add whatever you like, finely chopped onion, tomato... whatever you like the taste of, and voila! Quinoa Salad!

I have also recently been collecting recipes for Quinoa Porridge, Quinoa patties, even quinoa crumble, and I'm slowly trying them all.

CHIA SEEDS (pronounced chee-ya)
Chia seeds contain protein, essential fats, dietary fibre, phosphorus, manganese, calcium, potassium and sodium. 
Super easy to use... simply sprinkle a pinch of the tiny seeds into anything from a stirfry to a casserole. Add to baking or sauces by making chia paste first, which is adding a spoonful of chia to water and leave to form a gel like substance.  Such an easy way to add masses of nutrients to your diet.

Chia Seeds - so easy

ACAI BERRIES (pronounced as-eye-ee) and KALE
My next goals for Superfoods is to introduce these two into my diet. I have been seeing all about these just about every where I look recently, and the health benefits sound amazing.  I am yet to find these on my local supermarket shelves so I am thinking a trip to Mrs Flannerys is in order.

I'll let you know the verdict! and I would love to hear your tips.