Are you eating a rainbow?

Guest blog post by Fiona Kane from Informed Health

fruit and vegetable rainbow

Results from Australia’s largest nutrition survey of over 13,000 people found many Australians are falling short of their daily requirements of vegetables and fruit.

A healthy diet contains several serves of vegetables a day and a small amount of fruit (depending on the needs of the individual). Nature provides various nutrients in colourful packaging, so when you have a lovely colourful meal, not only does is look wonderful but it provides a wide range of nutrients and flavours. The various colours/pigments contain their own set of unique disease fighting chemicals called phytochemicals. Here are some examples:

BROWN/WHITE
White plants contain a range of health-promoting phytochemicals such as allicin which is known for its strong antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties (allicin is found in garlic). Bananas and potatoes are a good source of potassium.

Green SmoothieGREEN
Green plants contain a range of phytochemicals including carotenoids, indoles and saponins, all of which have anti-cancer properties. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are also a source of magnesium, calcium and folate.

ORANGE/YELLOW
Orange/yellow plants contain various carotenoids including betacarotene and lutein. Sweet potatoes, pumpkin and carrots contain betacarotene which can be converted to vitamin A; it helps maintain healthy eyes and healthy mucous membranes. Lutein is stored in the eye and it essential for eye health; it helps prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness.

Praw-lunch.jpgURPLE /BLUE
Purple/blue plants contain flavonoids and anthocyanin compounds which both have antioxidant properties; these protect cells from damage and can help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.

RED
Red plants contain a natural plant pigment called lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of cancer and keep a healthy heart. Cooked tomatoes are a wonderful source of lycopene which is also an excellent nutrient for prostate health.

Many fruit and vegetables also contain vitamin C, an essential nutrient required by the body for the development and maintenance of blood vessels and cartilage. Vitamin C is also necessary to create energy, various neurotransmitters and hormones. Vitamin C also reduces oxidative stress on the body and reduces cancer risk. Some foods high in vitamin C include dark leafy greens, kiwis, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas and capsicum.

The other great advantage of eating plenty of vegetables is that they contain fibre which can help keep you regular and help to encourage healthy bacterial growth in the digestive system. The bacteria in your body are important for good health; they help to make vitamins and a strong immune system plus so much more.

Get your children involved in making meals/salads, adding the herbs and choosing the different coloured vegetables. The challenge of creating a rainbow on your plate can be fun!

Fiona-251109-093--low-rezFiona KaneInformed-Health-Logo

Clinical Nutritionist

Informed Health Nutritional Wellbeing Centre

Raw Double Chocolate Mousse with Caramel Sauce

Double Chocolate Mousse with Caramel Sauce Mother’s day is just round the corner and I felt inspired to create a chocolate dish and chocolate mousse was what I have been dreaming about. So it just had to be double chocolate mousse.  My partner loves caramel sauce so what better way to finish off this creation than to drizzle caramel sauce over the top.

Ingredients

Base

  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup desiccated coconut
  • 3 Tbs raw cocoa powder
  • pinch celtic sea salt
  • 2 Tbs cocoa nibs*
  • 12 medjool dates soaked for 30mins

Mousse

  • 250g cashews soaked over night
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • juice of 1 orange – 1/2 cup
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (liquid)
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter, melted**

Caramel Sauce

  • 6 dates, pitted and soaked until soft
  • 1 tsp mesquite
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup water (initially used to soak dates)
  • pinch celtic sea salt

Double Chocolate Mousse with Caramel SauceDirections

Base:

  1. Place all base ingredients except dates in a food processor and process until resembles bread crumbs.
  2. Drain dates and add to food processor and process again.
  3. If mixture is ready if it sticks together when pressed into a ball. If it doesn’t stick together then add extra dates one at a time.
  4. Press base into 20cm spring form cake tin and then place in freezer while making the mousse. I used silicon containers in the shape of a heart, flowers and small bite size circles.

Mousse

  1. Drain cashews and put into a high speed blender, I use a Vitamix
  2. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, orange juice, cocoa powder and maple syrup and blend until smooth consistency.
  3. Blend together coconut oil (liquid) and melted coconut butter. I use my small Tribest blender for this.
  4. Add blended coconut oil and coconut butter to chocolate mousse and blend again until smooth.
  5. Spoon mixture onto base and then put into the freezer to set.

Caramel Sauce

  1. Drain dates, reserve soaking water and put dates into a high speed blender.
  2. Add mesquite powder, celtic sea salt and 1/4 cup of the soaking water.
  3. Blend on low and then on high until sauce consistency.
  4. Add more of the soaking water until the desired consistency is reached.***

To assemble

  1. Remove chocolate mousse from freezer and remove from container.
  2. Let is sit for about 30mins to thaw. You can set the mousse in the fridge however I find it easier to remove the mousse from the tin when it is frozen.
  3. Put caramel sauce in a squeezy bottle and drizzle the caramel sauce over the chocolate mousse.

* If you do not have cocoa nibs you can leave these out.

** To make coconut butter place 3 cups of desiccated into a high speed blender. While blender is on high, use the tamper to push the desiccated coconut down into the blades. Keep doing this until the desiccated coconut has turned into a smooth, creamy butter consistency.

** If you do not have a high speed blender, blend caramel sauce ingredients until as smooth as you can get it and then pour into a sieve and push the mixture through to get a smooth consistency.

In good health, Vicki