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:

Autoimmune 1.jpg

  • 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!

 

 

Mushroom, capsicum and green beans in a cashew nut gravy

On Real Health this week, I made a delectable vegan curry. It’s a North Indian treat, and it’s unbelievably creamy with the cashew gravy. It takes about 15 minutes to prep the ingredients, and another half hour to make the curry.

Here’s a link to the youtube video

I use two mixed masala’s: Garam masala and a mixed masala. South african’s usually call masala ‘curry powder’, but there is a lot more to it than that 🙂

Garam masala is an aromatic blend of spices used extensively in Indian cuisine. This all-purpose seasoning adds warmth and slight peppery heat to a curry. it usually contains coriander, black pepper, cumin, cardamom, clove, cinnamon and crushed bay leaf.

Mixed masala really differs family to family.  My fabulous mum makes the most amazing masala. I swear I can’t eat a curry without it. It’s a blend of 13 spices.. of which are a secret. You can also buy many varieties in spice shops, or bump some off your nearest indian friend!

Cooking utensils required: 

  • Frying pan
  • Medium sized pot
  • Liquidiser

Let’s start with the gravy preparation. It can be prepared before hand and left aside until you fry the veggies later.

Ingredients for the gravy:

  • 12 ml grape seed oil (maintains stability in high heat)
  • 2 teaspoon mustard seed20160526_122806.jpg
  • 1 sprig of curry leaf
  • 1 cup of finely chopped onion (I just threw this in a liquidiser)
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger garlic paste
  • 1 green cardamom pod
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tablespoon crushed cumin and coriander seeds20160526_122820
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon of mixed masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric
  • 125g of raw unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1 cup of warm water

 

Method:

  • Heat the oil in the frying pan on medium heat, add the mustard seed. When they start popping, add the curry leaf and the chopped onion.
  • Let the onion fry until a light caramel brown.
  • Add the balance of the spices: 1 green cardamom pod (bruise the pod and leave it slightly open, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 cloves, 1 star anise, 1 tsp fenugreek seeds, 1 tablespoon crushed cumin and coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1 tablespoon of mixed masala, 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric powder, 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste. Stir for 2 minutes.
  • Add the cashew nut, let this cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove the cinnamon stick, star anise and cardamom pod and place aside. We will add it in the curry later.
  • Let the ingredients cool down. Transfer the rest of the ingredients into your liquidiser, add the warm water, and whiz it up until it’s as smooth as you can get it. You can add more water for thining it out.
  • Place aside for use later. Let’s make the veggies.

Ingredients for vegetable mix:

  • 2 tablespoons of grape seed oil20160526_122903
  • 1- 2 slivered fresh chilli (red or green)
  • 250g mushrooms (I used a mix of exotic mushrooms- Shimeiji, oyster and enoki- and normal white button mushrooms)
  • 1 cup of cubed red capsicum
  • 1 cup of chopped green beans
  • 1/2 cup liquidised tomato
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • Fresh Coriander for garnish

Method:

  • Add oil to the medium sized pot on a medium heat.
  • Add the chilli, fry for 2 minutes, and add the mushroom, capsicum and green beans. Let the mushrooms fry down, and the capsicum and green beans cook until20160526_14562620160614_104809-1 there’s a slight crisp.
  • Add the tomato, and salt and cook for a further 5-10 minutes
  • Add the cashew nut paste and water and cook on low heat for another 10-15 minutes. Now its ready to eat!
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.
  • I served it with earthy brown and wild rice. You can serve it with rye roti, or brown basmati rice.