Simple Late Summer Salad

I love a good salad. For some reason, this year hasn’t seen very many of them feature on my dinner plate. I remember it being a lunch time staple in my pre-(ve)gan days, and thought I should give it a go again despite the constant craving for hearty meals. This salad was so simple to throw together, I was done 15 minutes, and had my little girl to “help”.

You could throw in any raw veg you have lying around – not much you can do to mess this up.

20150915_11060920150915_11042920150915_123452

Makes about 10-12 servings

Ingredients

  • Lots of leaves – lamb’s lettuce, romaine lettuce, rocket (feel free to use spinach, kale or anything leafy that’s in season). I used the entire bag of lamb’s lettuce and rocket, and half a head of romaine lettuce
  • 5 small carrots, grated or sliced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 2 small red bell peppers, chopped
  • 500g pack of cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 4 tbsp sultanas (I’m in love with these lately so was very generous in adding them – you can reduce the amount or sub raisins)
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds, roasted
  • 2 Tbsp sunflowe, roasted
  •  2 tsp flax or chia seeds
  • Himalayan sea salt (optional – i omitted it)

Prepration

  • Mix the leaves and veggies in a salad bowl
  • Top with raisins and seeds.
  • Serve as is or drizzled with a little olive oil.

Spinach and Black Bean Coconut Curry

For some reason, I find it really hard to source black beans here in Hamburg. I know all the Turkish/Asian stores have them, but I usually have to drive a bit and battle for a parking spot big enough to fit our FRV……for a loooong time, nothing could convince me the effort was worth it. Then, a health store opened up up the road from us! I popped in earlier this week and was thrilled to find a pack of dried black beans!

20150827_122250

So I trolled the Internet to see what I could whip up with these little babies, the pack of frozen spinach and a pack of carrots I had in the fridge. I came across this recipe on Connoiseurus veg (really, how clever is that name?!) and adapted it to make it oil free and used up all the veg I had left.

20150827_121903

20150827_130708

Serves: 8-12

 

Ingredients
  • 2 onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 3 green (indian) chilis, minced/sliced (deseed for a milder version)
  • 2 cups dried black beans (or 4 cans of cooked black beans if you can find them), soaked and cooked
  • 500 g pack of frozen spinach, thawed
  • 6 small – medium carrots, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes chopped or diced (I was hungry so went for chopped!)
  • 4 tbsp. lime juice (I ran out of lime so used a concentrate instead)
  • 2x 400ml cans coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp. roasted sambar powder (or garam masala)
  • 1 tbsp thai curry paste of your choice (I used green)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • chili powder (optional or to taste)
  • Pepper to taste
  • optional: 1/2 cup fresh coriander (I had none, so left it out)
Instructions

  • In a pot, add the coconut milk with water. Allow it to heat thoroughly but not boil.
  • Add the thai paste and allow the paste to dissolve.
  • Add the carrots, onion, garlic, ginger, chili. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, beans and lime juice and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the spices (sambar powder/garam masala, coriander, cardamom and chili powder). Bring to a simmer and lower heat. Allow to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in spinach and cook until heated thoroughly.
  • Season with pepper and add the coriander.

Serve with your grain of choice (I went with spelt).

Chris’s “Magic” Roasted Veggies with Quinoa Tabbouleh

My darling Chris loves to cook! And boy can he whip up a good meal when he’s in the mood! This is one of those magic moments…..and voila magic veggies!

The “magic” (have I said Magic enough already?!) is in the marinade and in using tomatoes to keep the veg moist in the oven so they don’t burn.

Now, he just eyeballs the quantities so I suggest you do the same – trust me, unless you have no eyeballs there’s no way you can go wrong with this.

20150627_190446

Magic Veggies

  • Tomatoes
  • Spring onions
  • Any other veg you fancy

Magic Marinade

Fresh (our balcony grown) basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and lemon thyme (very important) chopped finely and mixed with lemon/lime (or a mix) juice.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Adapted from Oh She Glows “Buckwheat Tabbouleh”
For my version, I used more lemon juice,  added all spice and eliminated the olive oil and salt. I also used enough broth to cook the quinoa in, avoiding having to drain the excess liquid later.

In the photo above, the quinoa is separate from the rest of the Tabbouleh mix. The reason being that my girls tend to pick out the quinoa (amazing what you can do with little fingers!) first and overlook everything else. So we’ve resorted to giving them the “everything else” first and then the quinoa.

  • Quinoa (quantity of your choice)
  • Vegetable broth (for 1 cup of Quinoa, you will need about 2 cups of broth)
  • Flat leaf or Curly Parsley, chopped very finely (for 1 cup of Quinoa, you will need about 4 cups of parsley)
  • Tomatoes (1 cup quinoa – 4 tomatoes) chopped finely
  • Cucumber (1 cup quinoa – 1/2 cucumber) chopped finely
  • Carrot (1 cup quinoa – 1 carrot) chopped finely or shredded
  • Spring onions (1 cup quinoa – about 4 to 6 spring onions) chopped finely
  • Garlic cloves (1 cup quinoa – 2 cloves) minced or crushed
  • Fresh lemon juice ( 1 cup quinoa – 1 cup juice)
  • All spice (1 cup quinoa – 1/2 tsp all spice, I’d start with 1/2 tsp and add more to taste)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • optional toppings: chia seeds and mung bean sprouts

Preparation

  • Preheat the grill to 190 celcius (374 fahrenheit). Toss the veg in the marinade and pop under the grill.
  • Keep turning frequently till the veg are just about cooked.
  • Top with chopped spring onions and roast again for a few more minutes.

To make the Tabbouleh

  • Cook the quinoa in the vegetable broth according to instructions on the quinoa pack.
  • Allow the quinoa to cool.
  • Add all the vegetables, herbs, lemon juice and all spice to the quinoa, mix well and allow to stand for about 30 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.
  • Serve topped with chia seeds and sprouts, if using.

 

 

 

“I can’t believe it’s not Heinz” Ketchup

Last year my daughter (who had turned 4) discovered Ketchup! I know that’s pretty late but we’ve never really bought commercial ketchup…why? well, as a kid I LOVED ketchup on brown bread (you laugh, but I know one other person who did the same!) and I remember always feeling a little sick right after. I don’t know if it was the vingear or the gazillion other ingredients that went into that bottle, but I figured if I didn’t have it around, I would eventually grow out of it……..then I had kids.

Anywayyyyy, my girl wanted ketchup served during her birthday bash (she didn’t care if I topped her chocolate cake off with it) and so began my hunt for homemade ketchup.

I’ve made this recipe a couple of times – only once with honey and the other times without any sweetener; not once has anyone spotted the difference to Heinz ketchup.

So without further ado, the “I can’t believe it’s not Heinz” Ketchup recipe:

Ingredients

One 400g can of tomatoes

125ml (1/2 cup) white wine vinegar

63ml (1/4 cup) water

¼ tsp clove powder

1/2 tsp cayenne powder (optional)

Honey  (optional, and to taste)*

salt (optional, or just a pinch)

Preparation

Combine all the ingredients, except the honey (if using). Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes (or longer if you want it thicker) stirring frequently. Remove from heat, leave to cool. Stir in the honey and voila!

This makes a little less than 400ml (roughly 1.5 cups) and freezes well.

*to make this vegan, you could sub 1 Tbsp of sugar and add it along with all the other ingredients at the start. I’ve not tried making this with sugar so unsure about results. Maybe the next time I will experiment with molasses.

Adapted from Top Secret Recipes

Sweet Potato Hummus

Weekends are always the days of the week I have no inspiration to cook or try something new. We decided we were going to make things simple and whip up a salad and maybe a dip.

Rummaging through the produce I had left in the kitchen turned up sweet potato and carrots. The dip was initially meant to be a roasted carrot dip, but hubs decided that using the carrots in the salad (as he always prefers) was a better way to go. So that left a sweet potato and voila…the dip below.

Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe this baby. I kid you not, I could NOT stop myself from eating this….long gone were the veggie sticks to dip in and out came the spoon 🙂

20150621_152836

20150621_183351

Ingredients

1 Large sweet potato

1 can of Chickpeas (play around with the quantity here. I had a 400g can which I used, but a smaller amount would also work)

2 onions (quartered)

a few cloves of garlic, leave the skin on (this again is a matter of taste. I love garlic so used about 4-6 small pods)

1 fresh red chilli (optional, but highly reommend it)

dried chilli flakes (optional and according to taste)

1/4 tsp of smoked paprika (optional and according to taste)

1/2 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander powder, caraway seeds (ground or whole)

3 Tbsp tahini

1 Tbsp tomato paste (again, adjust the quantities according to preference)

fresh coriander leaves (optional)

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade (that’s about 400F for the non-celcius folks).

Roast the sweet potato till soft (about 45 minutes, depending on your oven).

Place chickpeas, onions (quarterd) and garlic in a roasting tray. Roast till the onions look cooked.

Sqeeze the flesh out of the garlic coats and add everything to a blender with the chilli, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, caraway seeds, tahini, and tomato paste.

Whizz away.

Serve on a bed of lettuce or hide away with a bowl and spoon and enjoy (I won’t judge 🙂 )

Vegan, oil-free Irish Stew

Now this is one dish that hit the dinner jackpot! Kids and hubs LOVED it. The smoky flavour of the porcini mushrooms is the secret to this and boy does it make a heart-warming meal. I realise now as I write this that you could probably get away with whipping this up outside the autumn/winter period.

This is super versatile in that you could use ANY veggies you have lying around (pumpkin in the autumn would work well too….mmmmmmmh….yum!).

Vegan Irish stew – stewing!

20150621_183412

Ready to be demolished!

Ingredients

Serves about 6-8

1 can coconut milk

3 medium onions, sliced

6Tablespoons chickpea flour (to thicken)

5 cups vegetable stock

water (if required)

2 bags of frozen veg (this is what I had lying around, feel free to throw in fresh produce)

Half a pack (or more if you fancy) of porcini mushrooms

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

6 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped

4 tsp maple syrup (or more if required)

3 bay leaves

1 tsp each of dried thyme, rosemary and marjoram

Preparation

Add coconut milk and onions to a big pot. Let the onions cook on medium heat until they soften. Add the chickpea flour and mix thouroughly – cook gently for a minute. Add all the other ingredients. Cook for about 20 mins.

Meanwhile, soak the mushrooms in hot water for 10 mins. Chop them up, add to pot with the water they soaked in. Cook for another 5 mins or so.

Serve the stew on it’s on, or with any grain you fancy (fresh bread will work well too).

Double Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Namaste all you chocolate lovers out there!

My girls have been begging me to make ANYTHING with chocolate….and what does a good mum do? I say “hell yes!”

My oldest asked if we could make it vegan so that I could join them whilst they put the cookie monster to shame…(again, who am I to say no!)..bless her 4 year old heart 🙂

So here we go – vegan double chocolate chocolate-chip cookies adapted from Oh She Glows.

Double chocolate chocolate-chip cookies!

Double chocolate chocolate-chip cookies!

This recipe makes about 12 depending on how big you like your cookies. Prep time is kinda hard to estimate because I had the girls help me out and you know how that usually goes down. If it were just you, I think you’re looking at about 15 minutes prep time and 10-13 minutes baking time (this can vary depending on the oven you’re using. Our’s is very eager to burn things so we usually have to reduce the bake time)

Ingredients:

Wet:

  • 1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water
  • 55 grams or 1/4 cup  virgin coconut oil (do not melt)
  • 65 grams or 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 78 ml or 1/3 cup maple syrup (if you want your cookies sweeter, you could add sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or freshly grated vanilla pod

Dry:

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons dessicated coconut powder
  • 145 grams or 1.5 cups gluten-free rolled oats ground into flour
  • 4-5 teaspoons non-dairy milk (I used oat milk because it’s naturally sweet) to moisten the batter
  • 100 grams finely chopped dark chocolate

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 176C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. In a cup, mix together the flax and water and set aside for a few minutes so it can thicken up. Whisk the mixture again once thickened.
  3. Add all the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl (along with the flax mixture). Beat the ingredients by hand or with an electric mixer until combined and smooth. Check for sweetness here, and add sugar/more syrup accordingly. I prefer my desserts on the less sweeter side so stuck with the amount of maple syrup mentioned above.
  4. Add the dry ingredients one by one. If your dough is a bit dry, add some non-dairy milk and beat the mixture again. The dough should be moist enough to form balls without cracking, but not sticky.
  5. Chop/grate the chocolate (I did a bit of both). Fold the pieces into the batter.
  6. Lick spoon 😉
  7. Shape dough into balls and flatten them between the palms of your hands.
  8. Arrange on the baking sheet and bake for about 12-13 minutes.
  9. Cool cookies on the baking sheet until they harden up a little (if you can wait that long – as you can see, someone (not naming names..ahem) ate half a cookie whilst they were still cooling!)

Dig in!!!

 

“Let it go…Let it gooooo..”

You’d think that after a year of listening to Elsa sing “let it go” on our stereo system at home, in the car, on vacation and basically every darn place you can think of, I’d be the last person to use it as the title of this post! HA! Elsa, nicely played……

Since the beginning of this year I’ve been obessed with the subject of letting things go. You see, this for me is very difficult. I grew up thinking that if you threw something away, it had no meaning to you, and that you rather overeat and feel sick right after just to avoid putting away/throwing away the last few spoonfuls of food on your plate (don’t get me wrong, I don’t encourage food wastage, but I never thought to myself that I could take smaller portions at a time). So what happened down the line? I saved EVERYTHING – down to ticket stubs….and for years (can you imagine what a nightmare it is to move house as a hoarder?!). Oh, and I overate – a lot! (food and weight are a HUGE aspect of the Indian culture. If you’re lean, you’re unhealthy; if your not stuffed to your eyes with food by your host/hostess, it’s not good hospitallity; watching what you eat/eating smaller portions is “complicated” and “unnecessary” if you’re lean because you need to have fat on you.)

Starting out as a mum, I was pretty sure I was doing the right thing passing on this “quality” to my kids…..up until the beginning of this year when I took my yoga practice to a different level and made the decision to teach. I realised that “keeping memoires” (as I like to tell myself I was doing) wasn’t a fantastic quality to have…the truth was that I was hanging on to everything from years gone by. That meant I had a whole lot of unresolved issues and emotional baggage I had been lugging around for years. I now realise how this has been affecting realtionships around me….

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali talk about non-attachment. Now, this doesn’t mean that you don’t care, it just means that you don’t place importance on things, emotions, acts, status, ego etc. Placing undue importance creates chains around your mental ability to think clearly…it binds your heart so tight that it is not open to receiving anymore.

Yoga sutras :

Two core principles: Practice (abhyasa, 1.13) and non-attachment (vairagya, 1.15) are the two core principles on which the entire system of Yoga rests (1.12). It is through the cultivation of these two that the other practices evolve, by which mastery over the mind field occurs (1.2), and allows the realization of the true Self (1.3).

Abhyasa/Practice: Abhyasa means having an attitude of persistent effort to attain and   maintain a state of stable tranquility (1.13). To become well established, this needs to be done for a long time, without a break (1.14). From this stance the deeper practice continues to unfold, going ever deeper towards the direct experience of the eternal core of our being.

Vairagya/Non-attachment: The essential companion is non-attachment (1.15), learning to let go of the many attachments, aversions, fears, and false identities that are clouding the true Self.

They work together: Practice leads you in the right direction, while non-attachment allows you to continue the inner journey without getting sidetracked into the pains and pleasures along the way.

Hurt, dissapointment, emotional wounds – we’ve all experienced them. If you analysed past situations in a non-judgemental way, you’d see that most of these “injuries” arise from expectations…..expectations of the other person involved or of what you thought the outcome should have been. In the present, these past unfulfilled expectations still leave a sour taste in your mouth. You’re always wary and cautious. You’ve built some form of armour around yourself. Now, imagine how many layers of armour you’d have built over the years everytime you encountered unpleasant, “not-what-you-expected” situations…..how much inner strength do you think it will take for you to break those walls down and get to the core of who you really are? Breaking those walls is nothing but forgiving, bidding good bye to the past, and moving forward…..breaking those walls is letting go.

“The root of suffering is attachment”     – The Buddha

Letting go doesn’t necessarily mean something from the past (although in most cases, the roots will lie back in time. The past is usually what shapes the present), it can be in the here and now too (down the line “today” will be a day in your past) – maybe it’s something you did/said, something someone did/said to you, maybe it’s a relationship that’s either not benefitting you in a positive way, maybe you can’t change the situation/the person involved and it’s tearing you up inside. Ask yourself if it’s worth all the time and emotion you invest into the feelings these people/situations conjure up in you. Depending on your honest answer, you will know what to do.

So how can you start breaking down the armour, letting go and moving forward? Ok I’ll be honest here, each of us have our own battles…and whilst some things are easier to kiss good bye to, others need a lot of time. I’m in no way saying that you have to move on from one day to the next, but just setting the intention and knowing where you want to be sometime in the future is enough to start with. Setting honest intentions and repeating these to yourself everyday (maybe even multiple times in a day) can work wonders in manipulating your subconscious mind.

How did I start out?

Well, first thing I did was to get rid of clothes. This was the first exercise I set for myself and it was TOUGH!

Second, toiletries (yes, you may be laughing here, but I actually developed an unhealthy obsession with stocking up on toiletries that I never used for fear that the container would be empty one day!)..in 3 months I haven’t had to buy shower gel because of the stockpile I have lying around!!! These might seem really lame, but I kid you not they’ve wonders in changing my attitude and outlook.

I’d read an article not long ago about how clutter in the house is a barrier to free flowing energy, and that clearing up clutter pockets like drawers, closets etc. can have a huge effect on how you feel. I can vouch for that…

Third, I made a 2 column list of people from the yesteryears – one for those I never really forgave and the other for those I’d hurt and never apologised to. I went through each name on the list and had the “conversation” I should have had, ending with “it’s over…let’s move on”.

Fourth, my kids – I make them clear out their rooms once a month (or every week depending on the clutter) and make it a point they understand how to regulate their food portions and appetite. If they skip a meal, big deal – they’re healthy and happy and more than honest with me when it comes to hunger!

Maybe you have a few toxic relationships in your life and you’re scared to “let them go” because (perhaps) society would see you as being cold, or maybe because you don’t want to hurt them. Let me tell you from personal experience, that if a relationship is pulling you down so much that it’s stopping you from moving forward, affecting the innocent people around you and leaving you depleted…it’s not worth having in your life at the moment (if you feel you’re not strong enough to handle it) or at all….the choice is yours. The resolution you may choose to make is to always keep your heart and mind receiving, open and full of love to these people if and when they are ready to re-enter into a fullfilling, positive and nurturing relationship. Again, let not expectations drive any of these decisions.

Negative emotions cause blockages in the flow of vital energy within us. When left to fester for too long these can manifest as diseases of the body and mind. A documentary I watched a few months back said that physical ailments can be treated by first cleansing the mind. An unhealthy mind results in an unhealthy body. I’ve come to believe strongly in this.

We’re all on our personal journeys with challenges and achievements that are unique to us. Your yoga practice can only help you on this journey. It is so unique to you and is different from one day to the next. Keep practicing, keep your intentions clear and keep your breath flowing. Honour the present moment and be thankful for it. It is in this moment you can decide where you place the step in your path – forward or back.

Namaste.

Lowering Cholesterol

How many people have we come across (maybe even us) who have been to their regular blood tests only to find that their cholesterol values have a little star beside it denoting “sorry mate….looks like you’ve got a problem there”. In this article I want to touch on what cholesterol actually is and how you can naturally keep it under check.

Short on time? Jump to the Conclusion

Most people tend to associate triglycerides and fats with cholesterol. Apples and oranges really.

Triglycerides are a storage and transport form of fatty acids. The structure is one of 3 (tri meaning three) fatty acids bounds to one glycerol (glyceride part of the name) molecule.

Triglyceride

Triglyceride

The fatty acids here can be saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. That’s all I’ll say about that for now.

The structure of cholesterol looks like this:

Cholesterol

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a lipid/sterol (naturally occurring organic molecules) contained in the body’s cells and fluids that act as a precursor to fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K), hormones and bodily structures. It has several essential roles such as:

  • Cell membrane function
  • Absorption of dietary fat
  • Synthesis of steroid hormones (including vitamin D)
  • Production of sex hormones like androgens and estrogen
  • Production of anabolic hormones responsible for muscle growth and repair
  • Synthesis of bile salts

Nearly all the tissues in the body are able to synthesise cholesterol. The liver makes 20% and other tissues including the small intestine make 80%. This accounts for two-thirds of the total cholesterol entering in our body each day and outweighs the dietary cholesterol intake. Now, the body is smart at regulating this – should our dietary intake of cholesterol increase, the amount synthesised within the body decreases (and vice versa). Cholesterol, being insoluble in blood and hence not easy to transport, is packaged into lipoproteins and transported. These lipoproteins are what we know as HDL (High density lipoprotein), LDL (Low density lipoprotein) and VLDL (very low density lipoprotein). Apart from shuttling cholesterol around the body, the lipoproteins also carry triglycerides and other molecules. The “density” of the lipoproteins is the ratio of these molecules, the highest (HDL) made up of least amount of triglycerides and cholesterol and the lowest (VLDL) made up of the highest amount of triglycerides and cholesterol.

LDL

These cholesterols transport triglycerides ad cholesterol to the cells for various uses (including storage). When LDL deposits cholesterol in the circulatory system (Arteries, veins and capillaries – the blood vessels), there is an increased risk of fatty plaque formation (atherosclerosis) in the inner lining of the blood vessels. Also the size of the LDL particles is an important aspect to consider. They come in small, medium and big. Smaller size LDL particles deposit easily in the tissues lining the heart, blood and lymph vessels (the vessels carrying fluid containing immune building cells called lymphocytes from the blood vessels to the tissues) when compared to their larger counterparts. They then get oxidised releasing inflammatory and adhesive proteins resulting in atherosclerosis. Dietary intake of refines carbohydrates and trans fats tend to decrease the size of the LDL particles.

HDL

What LDL giveth, HDL taketh away! HDL is cardio protective by nature; it carries cholesterol and other fatty acids away from the cells and to the liver for excretion in the bile. With the help of a specific enzyme, HDL can carry cholesterol away from LDL reducing plaque build-up. This is why higher levels of HDL (with lower LDL levels) will get you a big whoop-de-whoop from your doctor.

There is a small catch here though – If you are diabetic/insulin resistant, HDL doesn’t function as it should.

What do I do now?

Whilst everyone would like to place the blame on cholesterol for heart diseases etc., it is not the sole culprit. There are several factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease risk including triglycerides (probably THE most important factor), homocysteine and antioxidant levels. That’s not to say that cholesterol gets away scott free. It still has a role to play.

So what can you do?….

  1. Physical activity everyday – get lean and drop the excess weight. Include strength training, flexibility and cardio workouts.
  2. Eat Fruits and Veggies like there’s no tomorrow (hint: smoothies are THE best way of getting in lots of fruit and veg). Include nuts and seeds (unsweetened) as well (take care that nuts are caloric dense so don’t binge on them).
  3. Whole grains and legumes are fibre rich and hence cholesterol lowering. Soluble dietary fibre binds to a portion of the bile salts in the small intestine during digestion and this combo is eliminated from the body. As new bile synthesis (in the liver) requires cholesterol, more cholesterol is utilised. Thus, fibre can lower blood cholesterol levels.
  4. Up your omega-3 intake by adding flax, chia and hemp seed to your meals. Walnuts are also rich in this essential fatty acids as are marines sources such as algae, salmon and mackerel.
  5. Limit/avoid meats and dairy. If you must eat meat, then make sure it’s organic and grass fed. Anything else is can feed the bad cholesterol.
  6. Apart from teaching my kids to steer clear of drugs and strangers with candy, I tell them to run for the hills when they see processed foods. Trans fats are an absolute no-no and should not feature in your diet if you care for your health. Always check the packaging.
  7. Limit highly caffeinated drinks like coffee (opt for lower caffeinated versions) as these can increase cholesterol by 10%. Instead, increase your tea intake. Tea helps to lower plaque build up.
  8. Limit your alcohol intake.
  9. Include spices like ginger, garlic and turmeric and other herbs. Cocoa in small amounts can also help.

 Note: for those concerned about eggs, the science shows that how your body’s cholesterol regulates itself is dependent on the person. One study showed that 70% of the people showed no response in terms of total or LDL values, the other 30% showed a slight increase. Eggs can change the LDL particles from small to large (a good thing in terms of avoiding deposition and oxidation). Omega-3 rich eggs would be your best option if you choose to keep eggs as part of a healthy, well balanced diet.

Here’s a really cool table I found at Precision Nutrition:

TYPE OF EATING STYLE

% DECREASE IN LDL CHOLESTEROL

American Heart Association Standard Guidelines 6%
Atkins Style (higher protein and fat) No significant changes
Lower fat, plant-based, still including dairy and eggs 16%
Mediterranean No significant changes
Statin drugs 26%
100% plant-based diet, well planned, with nutrient dense foods 33%

Conclusion

Cholesterol plays an essential role in the body’s functioning and whilst higher levels do have a role to play in cardiovascular diseases, it’s not the only factor involved

HDL – “good cholesterol” takes shuttles cholesterol away from the cells and to the liver for elimination.

LDL – “bad cholesterol” takes cholesterol and fats from the liver to the cells.

Higher HDL values (with no insulin resistance) can combat the harmful effects of high LDL levels.

High LDL, and especially the smaller molecules cause plaque build up on the insides of the vessel walls.

Things you can do to tackle cholesterol:

  1. Exercise
  2. Include fruits, veggies, nut, seeds, whole grain and legumes as part of your diet
  3. Increase your omega-3 intake
  4. Drink tea
  5. Include ginger, garlic, turmeric and other herbs and spices in your diet
  6. Avoid trans fats
  7. Limit alcohol and caffeinated drinks
  8. Limit/cut out meat and dairy intake

Lifestyle changes play a vital role in maintaining good health. Proper nutrition and exercise can work wonders and leave you feeling like a new person. …everyone deserves to feel good.

Making lifestyle and diet changes are by no means easy especially if you’ve been doing things a certain way for as long as your can remember, but with guidance and support, and incorporating habits one at a time at your own pace you can make those big changes and be successful at keeping them up. These changes become your new lifestyle – your new way of doing things.

Namaste

 

References

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-cholesterol

http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nutrition/a-primer-on-dietary-fats-part-1.html/

http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2006/5/report_heart/page-02

The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition, second edition – John Berardi, Ryan Andrews

http://authoritynutrition.com/how-many-eggs-should-you-eat/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2904713/

https://www.positivehealthwellness.com/