Beetroot antioxidant smoothie!

Last week on the show, I made a super easy smoothie, that is high in anti oxidants. These nutrients are important, especially when we start looking at how our environment affects our body, on a cellular level. Before I get into the deliciousness of the smoothie, let’s look at some VERY simple science to understand what this smoothie is going to do for us:

What are free radicals?

A free radical is an unstable molecule that is sometimes produced in our body from certain normal cellular reactions, or they can be introduced into our body from our environmental toxins, such as cigarette smoke, pollution, tap water, medications, alcohol, radiation, or perhaps a poor diet.

When this free radical is in our cellular environment, it attacks our normal cells, by an oxidising reaction. By oxidising our cell, it “steal’s” an electron, and destabilises the structure of our cells, leaving our cells damaged. By now, we know that a damaged cell, means lowered function to the tissue and organ as well as to many important systems, such as our immune, nervous and cardiovascular systems. This damage appears to be a major contributor to development of over 50 diseases! If you have ever watched Despicable Me 2, and have seen those purple, crazy minions- then that would be an embodiment of a free radical 🙂

We naturally balance the fight between healthy and unhealthy cells in our bodies. Our body is quite capable of punching those free radicals in the face. But, when our body is overwhelmed by too many oxidising reactions, this is where trouble can start.

What is a an antioxidant?

Let’s break it up- “Anti” meaning against, “oxidant” meaning the bad guy (haha). So an antioxidant is really like an elite team that scavenges the body for trouble makers, and then eliminates them. Antioxidants are also naturally produced by the body and/ or we can get them through foods. They are critical to our body’s defense system.

Antioxidants are capable of  deactivating free radicals before they attack cells. If you suffer from a chronic disease/ autoimmune disease, it is safe to assume that free radicals have contributed to the development to your pathology.

Beware of high dose antioxidant supplements, as they may overload the system. It’s a delicate balance. Try get your antioxidants instead from whole foods, which is better for absorption.

So now, that smoothie…

The smoothie I made is very simple. The ingredients are of course, are very important. Most raw fruit and vegetables contain high amounts of antioxidants. I have selected simple ingredients that you can use, wherever you live! This recipe is vegan, vegetarian.. and should fit most ‘diets’.

Ingredients and method:

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  • 3-4 medium sized strawberries
  • 50g of blue berries
  • 3cm of fresh ginger root (wash thoroughly, and leave skin on)
  • 3 tablespoons of flax seed
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 large de-veined spinach leaf
  • 1/2 a large beetroot (wash thoroughly, and leave skin on)
  • Water for consistency

Liquidise in your smoothie maker of choice. I prefer a watery consistency, so I add about 1 cup of water. The serving size is approximately 600ml.

Many plant substances such as “phytonutrients,” or “phytochemicals” possess antioxidant properties. Spinach, beetroot and berries provide copious amounts of these. I prefer to give my veggies a good scrub and leave the skin on, as the nutrients sit under the skin. The skin also provides extra fibre. As mentioned on the show, turmeric requires a fat for absorption- therefore the addition of the flax seed as it provides this fatty medium.

I hope you enjoy the natural earthy taste of this smoothie. I try have this smoothie three to four times a week. Mother nature is quite awesome in trying to help us maintain our health- embrace the gifts!



My favourite- Brilliant Vegetarian Breakfasts!

I am a HUGE breakfast fan. Especially because it sets the tone for your eating habits for the rest of the day. Being vegetarian has posed some challenges with eating a healthy breakfast but one can be innovative! I  am not a fan of popular breakfast cereals- i.e shredded wheat, popped rice, corn flakes, bran flakes, milled maize/ soya porridges etc. These tend to be overly refined, as well as contain too many preservatives, additives and sugar/ sugar substitutes. Processing a whole grain (eg. rice, wheat, maize or soya) removes most of the natural nutrients, hence little to no nutritional value. My opinion- it’s better to get nutrients from whole foods!

I have compiled a list of breakfast basics that are wholesome and nutritious for breakfast. Try these:

Traditional Rolled oats:

Yes- the old fashioned ones. They are large, round and un-cut. Just from looking at different oat brands on the market, you can see rolled oats are a bit different. Rolled oats are pressed flat or rolled with heavy equipment to shorten their total cooking time. Steel cut oats appear rougher. They haven’t been rolled, but they have been chopped with steel blades. Instant oats are more refined (hence the loss of protein  and fibre, and the addition of flavourants, sweeteners etc.). In South Africa, you can find rolled oats only at a health shop as local retail stock steel cut or instant oats.

They contain soluble and insoluble fibre which keeps you fuller for longer. I cook on the stove top, with water and a tad bit of organic milk (almond or coconut milk), stir in some MCT oil, sometimes raw cacao powder, teaspoon of cinnamon, some raw nuts and about half a cup of diced fruit. This is also a great opportunity to stir in some 100% whey protein powder or hemp seed powder to keep you fuller for longer.

Not all are created equal- Eggs:

As long as they are free range or organic, they will be amazing! An organic egg get’s the label if the chicken was only fed heart eggorganic food (animal or grain), which means it was not fed grains (mostly Genetically Modified corn) laced with pesticides. The 90’s idea that eggs are unhealthy and promote heart disease is a outdated myth. Fats from animal sources contain cholesterol, but it is not completely harmful.

They are an excellent source of healthy fat and protein, and contain some essential amino acids (tryptophan and tyrosine) that are greatly beneficial to the body. The best way to eat them is either poached, sunny side up or soft-boiled. Scrambling your eggs oxidises the cholesterol in the egg yolk, which may in fact harm your health. Try support local and organic egg farmers, but if you absolutely must purchase your eggs from a commercial grocery store,go for the free-range organic.

Pair your eggies with a complex carbohydrate, such as rye toast with butter, or rye crispbread. Veggies are always another great substitute for rye bread. I would recommend two eggs per serving.

Slurping goodness- Smoothies:

My favourite for an on-the-go/ lazy-easy breakfast! There are some who would say this is unhealthy, due to all the sugar from fruit. This I agree with. That’s why, it is so important to understand and follow the simple rules for smoothie slurping:smoothie

1) Always combine one veggie, two fruit, fresh ginger root and a green (such as a spinach leaves, kale leaves, broccoli, cucumber, celery etc.).

2) Always add a scoop of healthy protein powder (Organic whey/ hemp protein/ yellow or green pea powder, Chia seeds)

3) To get the real health benefit, don’t add sugar, sorbet, ice- cream or honey. It’s not dessert, okay!

An example of a healthy smoothie: 1 medium sized beetroot, 1 small green apple, 3 tblsp frozen or fresh blueberries, 2cm peeled ginger root, 1 cup baby spinach leaves. It’s also nice to add 4 tblsp of full cream, organic plain yoghurt, or 100 ml Coconut milk/ almond milk or rice milk for a creamy texture. Use water to change consistency.

Healthy Fats to add to your breakfast:

Fats are an essential part of our diet. We have recently discovered the differences between a healthy and an unhealthy fat. Healthy fats play a huge role in helping you manage your moods, keep you satiated, and most importantly- helps you stay on top of your mental game early in the morning. Fats keep you fuller for longer and stabilise blood sugar levels better than carbohydrates.

Here is a brief list of healthy fats to add to your breakfast:

– Half a medium sized avocado,

– Three tablespoons of full cream cottage cheese (Unflavoured),

– Half a cup of full cream natural yoghurt,

– A handful of raw (unroasted, unsalted) almonds/ macadamia/ cashews/ sunflower seeds/ pumpkin seeds/ sesame seeds/ linseeds,

– A tablespoon of butter or ghee (clarified butter) on your toast or to fry your egg in,

– A tablespoon of nut butter. I like eating this plain or you could have it on a slice of toast.

Idea’s for a healthy, nourishing vegetarian breakfast:

1) Half a cup of natural, greek yoghurt with two tablespoons of vegan cacao protein powder, a handful of mixed raw nuts, kiwi fruit

2) Two soft boiled eggs, one slice of rye toast with fresh tomato and a twist of black pepper.

3) Half a cup of rolled oats, made with water, full cream milk and three tablespoons of vegan cacau protein powder, three tablespoons of desiccated coconut.

4) Two slices of rye toast with cottage cheese, black pepper and chives, and a small fruit (peach, plum, apple etc).

5) Green smoothie (spinach leaves, green apple, ginger root, half a cup of natural greek yoghurt, pinch of cinnamon, water).

6) Half a cup of rolled oats, made with water, full cream milk, sliced banana, and stir in two tablespoons of almond nut butter.

Happy Breakfast to you!