“Let them eat cake” – Marie Antoinette
Really, it all comes down to that one word – balance. The balancing act is a tough endeavor to master, finding the equilibrium between work and play, family and friends, ‘bad’ and ‘good’ food, exercise and inactivity, productivity and rest, the general scales get tipped out for most of us, more often than not, all the time.
The question I get asked frequently is ‘how do I keep a balance with all that I do and on top of that stay true to my healthy lifestyle of exercise and clean food?” Normally I just answer, “It’s habit now. I found what works for me and kept consistent in finding ways to keep my life’s scales in order by simply trial and error”. But then I get asked, “But really, how do you eat so clean and healthy all the time and then find the motivation to train like you do?” Let’s leave the motivation for another day because that is a whole other story so that leaves me with “How do I eat so clean and healthy all the time?”
The best way to put it, health above all else is my number one priority, mental, spiritually and physical – I strive for better health everyday. It is what I think about as soon as I wake up and before I go to sleep, it is what I contemplate when I make something to eat, I live, breath, learn health – health will make or break my life’s balance, I know that for a fact. I know the status of health’s weight and impact on my balancing scales, and know from my own experience what happens when the effect is undermined.
We all know not to eat that ‘treat food everyday, because then it isn’t a treat is it? We all know that healthy food is accessible and easy enough, but then why do people find an excuse to take the deceptively ‘easier’ option? We all know that optimum health is attainable if we try, so why do people give in or give up so easily? Is it that your determination to become healthier is outweighed by something as small as your taste buds?
‘The Health Balance’ isn’t living on a restrictive diet but rather finding the alternatives, having that treat every once and while; relishing the creation of clean food, understanding and learning the gifts hidden in Mother Nature’s food sources. One of my secrets to keeping my scales equal, is that the more I know about the power of one food, not to mention all the healthy fruits, vegetables and super foods, the more I want to eat them. To me, there is nothing more intriguing and empowering than knowing that if I eat this, this is what is going to happen in my body and then the benefit of this will lead to that and so fourth.
Health is something that will allow for that premium balance in your life – if you are happy in your own skin, you will find energy to boot, your enjoyment around your family and friends will boom, work won’t be so tedious and stress levels will drop, then seeing an increase in productivity and the domino effect will continue throughout your life.
As soon as you start restricting yourself you’ll lose any kind of balance – health is your biggest asset, whether you choose to invest or not, health will always trump your life’s scale whether it makes them balanced or unbalanced!
Recipe for Smashed Strawberry & Blueberry, 80% Cacao + Coconut Infused Cake – 1 Cake – 35/40 minutes
2 Cups Wholemeal Flour – 2 Eggs – 3 tbsp Almond Milk or an alternative Nut Milk – 2 tbsp Coconut Oil – 1/2 Cup Shredded/Grated Coconut – 1 Cup 80% Cacoa Chocolate – 1.5 Punnets of Strawberries – 1 Cup of Blueberries – 1 tbsp Organic Honey – 3 tbsp LSA Mix – 1/2 Cup Toasted Flaked Almonds – 2 tbsp Chia Seed
1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Base a tin with baking paper.
2. In a bowl sift the wholemeal flour and add the coconut, flaked almonds, chia seed and lsa mix.
3. Slowly melt half the chocolate until it forms a gooey liquid and add to the mixture. Break up the rest of the cacoa into small bits to add. Add the eggs, almond milk (Or nut milk alternative) and honey and combine well.
4. In a saucepan, only really low, add the blueberries and strawberries to the heat with a tbsp of water. Allow this to simmer and for the fruit to slowly break apart. Once both the blueberries and strawberries are soft, take it off the heat and smash them to almost a liquid with a fork.
5. Add the smashed blueberries and strawberries to the mixture, leave a small amount of juice for topping.
6. Stir until combined well and then pour into the cake tin. On top, drizzle the left over fruit juices and with a fork swirl it on the top to get some sort of pattern. Top with sliced strawberries and some coconut and serve warm.
Coconut palms can live for up to 100 years and yields around 50 coconuts a year so there must be something good going on in there! Although coconut takes a starring role in many of everyone’s favourite cakes and curries, the tree itself is one of mans most valuable plants. Deemed to be the most useful tree, it provides almost every necessity to life: food, drink, shelter, even medicine and oral health! (If you need to freshen up your oral hygiene, the roots of the coconut palm can be used to make a mouthwash or toothbrush).
Approximately one third of the world’s population relies on coconut, as a food or economic source. But what is the big deal with coconut oil?
Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconuts and this coconut oil has been the primary source of fat in the diets of millions of people in the tropical regions for centuries. High in saturated fat, coconut oil is stable and slow to oxidize as well as being resistant to rancidity.
There was one a misconception that coconut oil was unhealthy due to its supposed cholesterol raising properties. However, it has been proven and researched that such findings were based on the used of hydrogenated oil – not the pure, unrefined organic coconut oil. In fact, coconut oil is one of the healthiest fats available. With nearly half its fatty acid content consisting of lauric acid, the same type of saturated fat found in abundance in human breast milk. Once converted to monolaurin in the body, lauric acid has the benefit of fighting bacteria, yeast and so called enveloped viruses. Lauric acid is also very important in precluding various heart diseases like hypertension and high cholesterol levels.
Coconut cream/milk (not coconut water) is extracted from the fresh white flesh and includes the oil and aromatic compounds. Essentially. Coconut cream benefits your health with its rich lauric acid content and medium chain fatty acid (MCFA). In contrast to the long chain fatty acid found in animal fat, this medium chain saturated fat gets converted into energy the moment your body absorbs it, just like a carbohydrate does. MCFA’s promote weight maintenance without raising cholesterol levels.
You will find coconut meat in the form of chips, flour, grated or desiccated. Like coconut cream/milk it contains the MCFA’s (Refer to above) but is also high in fibre and the trace mineral manganese, which helps metabolize both fat and protein. It helps support both the immune and nervous system and promotes stable blood sugar levels. It also contains significant amounts of potassium and copper, which along with sodium is essential for proper fluid balance within your cells. It is also necessary for proper heart function and muscle growth, whilst copper is important for the production of red blood cells and assists with your sense of taste.
One of the lowest glycemic index sweeteners on the market, coconut sugar is highly nutritious, ecologically beneficial and provides sustained energy with an inspired taste. Coconut sugar comes from the nectar of the coconut flower, before it forms into the coconut. The coconut sap alone contains 16 amino acids, the most abundant of which is glutamine. Coconut sugar has a high mineral content, being a rich source of potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. In addition, it contains vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6. When compared to brown sugar, coconut sugar has 36 times the iron, four times the magnesium and over 10 times the amount of zinc.
Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about, there is surely something to it if it occupies most of your mind. Once you lose that occupancy you will begin to tip the scales in an unfavourable manner.
Find what it is that governs your life, find what puts you at ease, find what you love and you’ll find a balance. If in doubt, bake a healthy cake (Smashed Strawberry & Blueberry, 80% Cacao + Coconut Infused Cake) but not all the time – learn the balancing act!
Simply simple – Live Healthy, Live bLANk
*Disclaimer: All photographs in a bLANk’s Nourishing Recipe Index are taken by bLANk and rightly owned by bLANk