A Charmed Life


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drink – carrot lime juice

carrotsToday I’m going gaga for carrots. Did you know carrots come in purple, red, white, and yellow? In fact, purple, red and yellow carrots were the only colour varieties of carrots to be cultivated before the 15th/16th century. Makes me wonder why that had to change, I reckon any of those colours are a damn sight improvement than the odious colour we associate them with now (I really really do not like orange and I’m in good company either do Nicole Kidman or Sarah Jessica Parker). That said I read recently that eating more deeply coloured orange vegetables like carrots decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially in adult women so ignoring my dislike of that awful colour I embarked on a mini mission to find the perfect carrot based drink. After much experimentation, this simple one – carrot lime juice –  came up trumps so here is my current yum, a bit of zing and a bit of tang.

carrot lime juice
ingredients
(makes 1 glass)
3-4 carrots
1 cm fresh ginger (zing)
1/2 lime (tang)
stevia (optional)

preparation
1.Peel the carrots and the ginger.
2.Place the carrot and ginger in the juicer/blender (medium speed).
3.Serve immediately with lime juice (and stevia) to taste.

Carrots are good for you, I know talk about stating the obvious. Of course they are, they are a vegetable and therefore part of our ‘5 A Day’ BUT do you know why they are beneficial for you? Let me enlighten you. Carrots are good for you because they are loaded with something called beta-Carotene which is a source of vitamin A which we need to aid with the following:

  • Maintaining Oral Health
  • Rich source of antioxidants
  • Helps protect against all kinds of ailments: Stroke, Cancer and as mentioned above Heart Disease.
  • Useful for the management of cognitive dysfunctions
  • You all know this one – Vision health (especially night vision)

Nothing else left to say except… if you haven’t already – embrace them carrots!

Also this week: Jen married! Ohlalala What will the gossip mags do now #JustiferForever • England win the Ashes whop whop #ImafauxBrit • And how about that arse Donald Trump, all I really have to say is keep it up DT, the more vulgar and inappropriate you get, the easier my girl Hillary’s ride to the White House #Hillary16 • Google to restructure into new holding company called Alphabet #AlphabetIt hmm its not the same • Robin Williams one year today, still hurts ‘You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.’ #myfavquote #DepressionisReal

Sat Nam

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its all about the detox

LemonWater.jpg

So January is all about the detox according to the many headlines I’m seeing gracing the covers of magazines and in the lifestyle section of newspapers: Whether you buy into it or not, it is true that all that indulgent eating and drinking over the festive period can leave you feeling bloated, tired or just plain old unhealthy, so it’s important to take a moment to take stock and put some goodness back into the body. I actually started my new simple health kick a while back when one of my favourite Real Housewives Yolanda Foster tweeted about the merits of it. She made it sound so healthy, and best of all so easy – I had to try it and now because I love it and it being that time of year I feel the need to share it with you.

Every morning before I have breakfast, I now drink a glass of lemon water.

Not that big of a deal right? And that’s exactly the point. Read on.

So much goodness. The more I dig the more benefits I find:
1) I’m pretty confident that like me, you have known since you were a youngin’ that vitamin C is a good thing however what you may not know is that the level of vitamin C in your system is one of the first things to plummet when you’re stressed; this is why we are told to take extra vitamin C during stressful days or when we are starving off a cold – what better way to get a jump on this than by drinking lemon water regularly.
2) It helps flush out the toxins in your body by enhancing enzyme function and acts as a liver cleanser by assisting in detoxification. It purifies and stimulates the liver by encouraging the production of bile, an acid required for digestion. Lemon water can also help control excess bile flow, decrease the amount of phlegm produced by the body and assist in dissolving gallstones
3) Speaking of digestion, the digestive qualities of lemon juice help to relieve symptoms of indigestion like belching, bloating and heartburn AND If you’re having trouble pooping, drinking lemon water will help to get things going.
4) Your body needs to be slightly alkaline to be at its healthiest as disease states can only occur when the body pH is acidic. Drinking lemon water regularly can help to remove overall acidity in the body thus balance your pH level(acidic level). Yes lemons are acidic on their own but once they are inside our bodies like magic, they’re alkaline (the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized).
5) The vitamin C and other antioxidants in a lemon mean that drinking lemon water can help to keep skin blemish free and rejuvenated from within the body.
6) Lemons are an excellent source of potassium, which is good for heart health, as well as brain and nerve function meaning drinking lemon water provides your body with energy when it enters your digestive tract, and helps reduce anxiety and depression. I have even heard that the scent of lemons can have a calming effect on your nervous system.
7) Drinking lemon water combats the bacteria in your mouth thus lessens the potential for bad breath.
8) As well as vitamin C and potassium, it is also a great source of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, all of which we need in our bodies to function normally.

How to drink:
If you weigh less than 70kgs to a 350ml glass of water* add the juice of half a lemon. If you weigh more than 70kgs, the same as above x 2 (to drink at different times of the day).
The quantity of water (350mls/approx 12oz) is important because our bodies can only metabolize this quantity of water at a time.
Optimal time to drink it is first thing in the morning that way you get the benefits of it throughout your day.
*Filtered water that is warm or room temperature will provide the most health benefits as it  allows for the full enzymatic and energetic properties of the lemon to do it’s magic. If you like a hot drink in the morning, warm lemon water is the best choice. The argument against drinking boiling hot lemon water is that whilst it is soothing when you are sick or in cold weather – the heat will destroy some of the enzymatic properties of the fresh lemon juice and on the opposite side of the spectrum the reason to avoid drinking ice cold lemon water is because it may hinder the digestive benefits of the lemon. In addition, even though your body will heat up the ice cold lemon water, it requires more energy and more work for the body.

Eyes Wide Open:
It feels quite ironic that one must be cautious when drinking lemon water BUT there are a few disclaimers to regular drinking you should know about before you start. As good as it is, citric acid from the lemon can eat away at the enamel on your teeth but as long as you are not using it like mouthwash your teeth will be fine. An alternative is to drink through a straw and/or use a baking powder toothpaste (I use Arm & Hammer Advance White) or rinse your mouth with plain water after drinking the lemon water. Secondly, and  this is more for me because I’m tend to be lazy and forgo the use of a strainer/juicer, you shouldn’t ingest the seeds of the lemon. They taste disgusting for one but more importantly they contain small amounts of salicylic acid which is the main ingredient in aspirin. Lastly (and obviously) if you are allergic to lemons this is not for you.

Results so far:
I initially started this as a fifteen day detox (as with any habit to notice a difference you need to keep it up for at least two weeks) but now in my fourth week I have decided to continue with it as it is just so easy to do and I do feel generally healthier, as in everything seems to be working as it should.

This one simple yet substantial action can make make such a difference to your entire well being, if you aren’t doing it get to it I say. Its a win win situation.

Hope your New Year has started happy. Sending much love.

Sat Nam


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drink – christmas cosmopolitan

ChristmasCosmo.jpg

You may have noticed I like it spicy. Be it food or drink, the gospel according to Reena states it all tastes so much better with a little spice – so this little concoction is right up my alley. It’s a gorgeous drink, very hard to stop at one… or two.

Christmas Cosmopolitan
ingredients
serves 10

500ml vodka
500ml ginger wine
1l cranberry juice
juice of 5 limes (keep zest for garnish)
sliced stem ginger

preparation

1.Mix the vodka and ginger wine in a jug.
2.Stir in the cranberry juice, lime juice and some sliced stem ginger.
3.Garnish with lime zest, if you wish.

Whatever you are drinking in this festive season I hope your Christmas is a perfect measure of fun and laughter.

Sat Nam


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drink – watermelon cucumber refresher

cucumbercocktail.jpgIt started with him asking me if I liked cucumber and ended with me drinking three of these. No it wasn’t the beginning of a clandestine affair. I should be so lucky. Rather uninterestingly I was waiting at a hotel bar for a friend when I thought I might have a cocktail (or three) to pass the time. After I had lingered over the cocktail menu for a while, feeling uninspired I asked the waiter for suggestions – hence the cucumber question. I found this drink so delectable I made him give me the recipe. This is especially for my home girls in Auckland town for when they next rocknroll together. Be warned its like a lollie – you won’t be able to stop at one.

Watermelon Cucumber Refresher

Serves four

5 cups cubed seedless watermelon
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup fresh lime squeezed
2 tablespoons honey
2/3 cup vodka (you can substitute this with tonic water for a mocktail version)
Ice
Cucumber slices and mint, for garnish

Set a large fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl or pitcher
Using a blender puree watermelon.
Pour watermelon puree through sieve, pressing on solids with a rubber spatula (you should have about 2 cups juice).
Again in blender puree cucumber and pour through sieve into watermelon juice
In a small bowl stir together lime juice and honey.
Add to watermelon and cucumber juices, along with vodka.
Adjust sweetness with more honey if required.
To serve, fill glasses with ice and top each with cocktail.
Garnish with cucumber slices and a sprig of mint.

(ps he later admitted that he had cut too much cucumber and was eager to move it!!)

Enjoy


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I heart tea

tea tea and more teaI have been nursing my tea for the last ten minutes, feeling the love for the contents in my cup, so much so I thought I would articulate my thoughts.

My love affair with tea didn’t start until I was well into my twenties for I didn’t grow up drinking tea. By the time I left home at twenty-three I had had the odd cup of masala chai (Indian tea) but that was about it. It wasn’t until I shared a flat with a tea drinker in London that I started to really get into tea. Now many many years later I would say my day is not complete without at least one cup of tea.

Reasons to love tea;
→It tastes delish.
→It leaves me feeling hydrated and refreshed.
→According to those who know, tea improves my well being because it is full of catechins that’s antioxidants to you and I.
→I am a routine person and my two plus cups of green tea in the morning provide the stability I need to get my day started.
→It is the best non alcoholic accompaniment to have over a chat with the bestie.
→After a crappy day there is nothing more comforting than wrapping myself up in my doona and having a cup of tea to restore calm back into my equilibrium.
→It is universally available, no matter where you are in the world you can always get a cup of tea.
→The different varieties. Whilst these days at home I’m generally a green, rooibos or peppermint tea girl, I do love going to high tea as I get to experience different flavours (recently tasted and enjoyed – ginger and licorice).
→It makes me nostalgic,when I’m in a reflective mood like I was this morning I think of other ‘tea’ moments like when the aforementioned flat mate tea drinker dragged me across the road in our pajamas and winter coats to drink tea at Lancaster Gate Hotel or how when a close friend is in town from Hong Kong it has become our tradition to go to high tea at one of London’s swanky hotels.
→With so many funky tea sets/teapots around they become another accessory we girlies can collect.

tea – how about you ? Love it or loathe it. Let me know in comments. 

Love


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drink – watermelon coconut smoothie

When I was a little girl we would celebrate a Hindu festival called Navratri which went on for nine days. Whilst I had no clue about the religious reasoning behind it, for me it meant I got BlogGoa.jpgto dress in Indian clothes and go to the Indian hall to dance. After some time there would be a break whereby there would be prayers and prasad (edible religious offering). I loved to dance but my favourite time of the night would be when it came time to receive the prasad, all sorts were offered but I always opted for shredded coconut. Yum! Other than that I only experienced the delight of coconut when I was overseas namely India. So it goes without saying that I am beyond happy that coconut water is now readily available at my local Tescos.

Pure coconut water is a natural beverage with no artificial additives or sweeteners. Now that it is widely available for all to enjoy, this has to be a more healthier option than the sports drinks of the world surely. In some cultures the palm tree, from which coconuts grow, is called the Tree of Life and I can see why, the benefits of the coconut go on and on. For it –
♦Lowers cholesterol
♦Reduces the chances of heart disease
♦Aids the development of strong, healthy bones and teethBlogGoa3.jpg
♦Prevents osteoporosis
♦Helps prevent obesity by speeding up metabolism
♦High in dietary fiber
♦Has a low glycemic index
♦Reduces sweet cravings
♦Improves digestion
♦Supports overall immune system functions
♦It has no trans-fats
♦Is gluten-free, non toxic and hypoallergenic
♦Contains antibacterial, antiviral, anti fungal and anti-parasitic healing properties
♦Is a quick energy boost
♦Ayurvedic tradition considers the coconut as a natural stress-buster.

That’s already quite a lengthy list no doubt you will agree but I’m sure there are other benefits I have missed, as the coconut really is a miracle of nature.
Whilst nothing beats coconut water au naturel, I tried this variation and it was delish, would definitely recommend giving it a try.

watermelon coconut smoothie

Serves One

blogcoconut.jpg2 cup watermelon
½ lime (juiced)
1 cup coconut-water
2 to 3 mint leaves
1 cup ice

Blend everything until smooth

Enjoy


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drink – avocado milkshake

Did you know that because it has all the nutrients you need, you could survive on just avocado alone. Not sure I’m willing to try this but I do like a little avocado in my day. This is my all time favourite drink. Healthy-ish, yummy and easy peasy to make – just the ticket to kick start your New Year detox.

avocado1avocado milkshake

Serves One

1 medium to large sized avocado
1 cup milk (how much milk exactly will vary on how thick you want it)
1 scoop ice cream – optional if you want to add sweetness

avocado2.jpgSlice and pit the avocado.
Scoop the flesh and add to blender
Add milk and ice cream
Blend everything (should retain dense consistency)

Best drunk fresh, as if left you will find your beautiful green drink has turned into a murky brown hue (not very appetising).

Very easy to make and your taste buds will thank you and yet bizarrely it is not common at all. I’m not quite sure of its origins only that I remembering drinking it in South Africa when I was young and still to this day when I visit my parents in Australia, my mother makes it for me. So for me it is a reminder of home. I know variations of it are common in Vietnam and the Philippines.
Although I have it as a milkshake, my brother eats it like pudding with flake sprinkled over the top. Whichever way you try it, drink or pudding, its divine I promise.

Enjoy


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drink – almond and kale smoothie

I am not known for healthy food habits, but as I have got older I am paying more attention to what I eat and drink. Unfortunately that all goes out the window for me at this time of year, what with my birthday and Christmas all within a month. So as we are in the party season I thought I would share my current pick me up.

kalesmoothie3.jpgalmond and kale smoothiekalesmoothie

Serves One

1 cup chopped kale
1 cup almond milk
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup almonds  (whole preferably but ground are fine also)
throw in a few apricots or dates (or any other dried fruit)
1 tbsp coconut oil

Blend everything in a blender until completely smooth.

Drink and Enjoy.