Blog : health food

5 Foods to Help You Avoid the Lurgy this Winter

5 Foods to Help You Avoid the Lurgy this Winter

While our friends in the Northern Hemisphere are revelling in the warmer weather, for us down under, the cooler months have begun to take their toll (unless we have been smart and decided to escape – Hello Europe) which has also meant an increase in colds and flus floating around! Our dietitian Olivia shares the 5 best foods for keeping your immune system in tip top shape:

  1. Fresh (or frozen) fruit and vegetables – you have heard the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” –  while it takes a bit more than an apple, the fundamental concept is there! Fruit and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes. Antioxidants in particular, boost the immune system by mopping up free radicals which attack cells. When people talk about antioxidants you will often hear them refer to the ORAC value – with higher values corresponding to higher antioxidant content. You will notice when you compare the ORAC values of F&V, a general rule of thumb is the darker the colour, the higher the antioxidant content. Blueberries and raspberries are particularly high in antioxidants so try adding them to your breakfast  or enjoying them as a snack through the day for a seriously delicious and low sugar boost to your immune system!IMG_6435
  2. Turmeric – This bright yellow coloured spice has been getting some serious airtime of late with turmeric being added to everything from your warming curry, the crumbing on your fish and increasingly as an alternative beverage to your morning coffee  (sans caffeine) with Turmeric Latte’s (AKA Golden Milk) popping up on menus everywhere. In an era of ‘superfoods’, Turmeric, a spice which has been around for centuries, has been escalated to stardom status. Curcumin, the active ingredient in Turmeric is responsible for it’s distinct yellow colour, as well as providing a list of health benefits, in particular reducing inflammation, with its benefits been comparable to that of anti-inflammatory drugs! It is also a powerful antioxidant and is a well tolerated treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. Try incorporating turmeric into your regime – we recommend a Golden Latte made on our Almond Milk for a delicious way to get the benefits!
  3. Ginger – A well known spice in Asian and Indian Cuisine, as well as being very popular in the western world, Ginger has long been heralded for its immune boosting properties. It is particularly effective for the relief of nausea and symptoms associated with colds and is best simply served as a ginger tea. Slice fresh ginger and place in mug topped with hot water. Add manuka honey and lemon for extra anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties!
  4. Yoghurt & Fermented foods – Probiotics found in yoghurts and other fermented foods play a major role in maintaining the balance of bacteria within our gut. Ensuring there is adequate good bacteria, is essential for keeping our digestive system functioning optimally as this represents the first line of defence against pathogens which ultimately make us sick. Incorporate yoghurt (try Luz Almond Milk Yoghurt) into your daily routine to give your gut a healthy boost!IMG_6469
  5. Matcha – Before there was turmeric, there was Matcha! A long standing tradition in Japanese culture, the Western world caught wind of this vibrant green powder a little while back and these days it is commonplace to see it in everything from lattes (Have you tried our Matcha Almond Milk?) to cakes, desserts and even pancakes! Matcha which literally meals ‘powdered tea’ is basically a super concentrated version of green tea, concentrated in everything from colour, to taste and health benefits. One of the main benefits associated with matcha is the buzz of energy similar to that of caffeine, but without the jittery and anxious side effects. It also rich in antioxidants (ORAC values 20 x that of blueberries) and is known to enhance mood and improve memory and concentration.Powderalmondsbottle
Fragrant Quinoa Porridge

Fragrant Quinoa Porridge

A wholesome nourishing breakfast for these cooler months! Try any variation of fruit to mix it up!

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup Luz Almond Cold Pressed Almond Milk with Medjool Dates
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries
  • ½ fresh apple, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp almonds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

1. Combine water, quinoa, cinnamon and vanilla in a saucepan on medium to high heat. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to low and cover for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add Luz Almond Milk and cranberries then cover for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Serve topped with fresh apple, almonds and a sprinkle of cinnamon!

NB: You may like to add a tsp of honey or maple syrup to sweeten

Thyme, Parmesan and Almond Crackers

Thyme, Parmesan and Almond Crackers

Recipe taken from That Sugar Film website

 Ingredients

2 cups almond meal

½ – 1 tsp rock salt flakes

1 egg

1 egg white

2 tsp chopped thyme leaves

½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Combine almond meal, salt, thyme and parmesan (if using) in a bowl and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre.
  3. Lightly beat the egg and egg white. Pour into the well.
  4. Using a spoon or knife stir the mixture until it comes together to form a ball.
  5. Place dough ball between two large sheets of baking paper and roll out until very thin (approx. 2-3 mm).
  6. Take the top piece of baking paper off and transfer to a baking tray. Cook for 10 minutes or until golden brown (oops yes we burnt ours around the edges!)
  7. Remove from oven and cut into squares while still warm.
  8. Store in an airtight container in a dark, cool, place.


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Carrot Cake Muffins

Carrot Cake Muffins

Ingredients

1 cup rice flour

½ cup almond meal

1 tsp xanthan gum

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp cinnamon

sea salt

1 cup grated carrots

½ cup pitted medjool dates

½ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup honey / rice malt syrup

½ cup Luz Date Almond Milk

2 eggs

¼ cup light extra virgin olive oil or macadamia nut oil

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Sift rice flour, almond meal, baking powder/soda and salt and mix evenly.
  3. Melt the honey in a small saucepan on low heat.
  4. Use a hand blender to combine the eggs, Luz Date Almond milk and oil. Then add the melted honey.
  5. Keep the mixer running gradually add the flour/almond meal mix until well combined.
  6. Fold in the carrots, dates and walnuts.
  7. Pour mixture into well-greased muffin tins, and bake for about 25 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a skewer.

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Matcha Almond Pancakes

Matcha Almond Pancakes

Ingredients

1/3 – ½ cup Luz Matcha Almond Milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ cup almond meal

1 tsp Being Co Matcha powder

½ tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp baking powder

coconut oil for cooking

fresh fruit, for serving

honeycomb (optional)

Method

1. Combine egg, almond meal, matcha and baking powder in a bowl.

2. Slowly add the Luz Matcha Almond Milk, starting with a third of a cup and adding more if required to thin out the mixture.

3. Heat a small fry pan over medium heat and add a teaspoon of coconut oil.

4. Add ½ cup matcha mixture and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until set.

5. Repeat with remaining mixture.

6. Serve with fresh fruit, honey comb and for an extra treat why not top with a delicious scoop of Luz Almond Burnt Toffee and Macadamia Frozen Dessert!

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Ingredients
Almond Cashew Cream (1 batch)*
24 Ladyfinger / Savoiardi Biscuits
100g dark chocolate

Syrup
1 cup strong coffee
2 tbsp frangelico (optional)
¼ cup honey or rice malt syrup

Method

  1. Prepare the almond cashew cream following the recipe here and including the coconut oil (and ricotta if you wish).
  2. To prepare the syrup add all ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. (You may like to prepare ahead)
  3. Assemble either as one cake or in individual glasses. Begin by dipping a sponge finger into the syrup for approximately 10 seconds or until soaked but not soggy. Lay at the bottom of the dish. Repeat until bottom of the dish is covered.
  4. Add a layer of cream on top, approximately 1cm deep and ensuring the sponge fingers are covered.
  5. Grate chocolate on top of the cream.
  6. Then repeat with soaked sponge fingers. Repeat so you have 3 layers of sponge fingers, 3 layers of cream and 2-3 layers of grated dark chocolate..
  7. Decorate with dark chocolate or alternatively a dust of cacao.
  8. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours or until ready to serve.

*For a gluten free option for the cake, try substituting the lady finger biscuits for the cake from our lamington recipe (minus the raspberry). Instead add some coffee powder/flavouring and the alcohol as you will not be able to soak the cake like you can the lady fingers.

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Mad About Matcha

Mad About Matcha

Matcha is the new kid on the superfood block. Being used in everything from tea to lattes, cakes and desserts, this distinctly green powder is packed with nutrients and goodness. However while Matcha is only just now gaining popularity in the western world where Matcha shots were recently considered the “it” beverage at New York Fashion Week, Matcha has been a long standing tradition in Japanese culture.

So what is it?

Basically think of it as a super concentrated version of green tea! Yet unlike green tea where the leaves get infused with hot water and then discarded, Matcha literally means powdered tea. Matcha leaves are covered with shade cloths prior to harvesting which helps enhance the flavour and texture of the leaves which are then hand selected, steamed, dried and aged to deepen the flavour before being ground into a fine powder.

So what is so good about it?

  1. Boosts energy – Originally thought to be due to the caffeine content (1 cup of Matcha tea = 1 cup of coffee), the energy boost provided by Matcha is largely a result of the unique combination of nutrients. The presence of L-Theanine also means Matcha drinkers can experience the buzz associated with coffee, without the usual side effects such as nervousness and hypertension (high blood pressure).
  2. Rich in antioxidants – Antioxidants are natural chemical compounds which help to fight infections and disease. With an ORAC value (used to compare antioxidant content of foods) twenty times that of blueberries and pomegranate, Matcha is one of the most potent forms of antioxidants. In particular Matcha contains catechins, known for their cancer fighting properties as well as counteracting the effects of pollution and the sun’s UV rays which can cause cell and DNA damage.
  3. Memory, concentration and calm – L-theanine promotes the production of dopamine and serotonin, both of which play a role in enhancing mood, improving memory and concentration.
  4. Promotes calmness – Monks have used Matcha green tea for centuries to relax and meditate while still remaining alert, due again to the presence of L-theanine which induces relaxation without drowsiness, a side effect known as “alert calm”.
  5. Detoxifies the body – The high levels of chlorophyll which give Matcha its vibrant green colour also naturally remove heavy metals and chemical toxins from the body.

If you haven’t already, make sure you try our latest Luz creation, formulated in collaboration with Being Co, distributor of premium quality Matcha, we bring you Luz Matcha!Matchamilk_website copy

Almonds and Your Skin

Almonds and Your Skin

Almonds and almond milk* are a rich source of protein, vitamins and nutrients which not only nourish the body but also provide significant benefits for the skin which is why almond oil and almond milk have long been used in the cosmetic world.

So what is it in almonds that makes them so good for our skin?

  • Rich in antioxidants – plants develop protective chemicals as a means of protecting themselves against nature’s elements. These protective chemicals also act to cleanse and eliminate toxins and free radicals in the body which can lead to diseases such as cancer and heart disease. One of the most abundant antioxidants in almonds is Vitamin E.
  • Vitamin E – acts by preventing and repairing cell and sun damage. It is well known as an important vitamin required by skin for it’s nourishing and hydrating functions.
  • Protein – almonds and some almond milk brands* are a good source of plant protein, which is particularly important for vegans and vegetarians to ensure they are meeting their protein requirements as protein is essential for growth and repair of body tissues including the largest organ, our skin.
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) – Almonds and almond milk are a particularly rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, as well as containing some polyunsaturated fatty acids. These essential fatty acids also necessary for the transportation and absorption of many nutrients, in particular the fat soluble vitamins – vitamins A, D, E and K. Fats also provide energy to keep our skin and hair healthy.
  • Magnesium – assists in the formation of bone, protein and fatty acid as well as counteracting the effects of stress hormones which lead to premature ageing, acne and hair loss.

* Due to the high volume of almonds we use to make our almond milk, Luz Almond milk is a much greater protein source than many other almond milk brands which use a lower percentage of almonds (2-3%). Each 250mL serve of almond milk contains 5.3g of protein compared to 1.3g when comparing Luz to other brands respectively. As Luz Almond uses more almonds (12%), it makes sense that our milk would contain a greater proportion of these other beneficial nutrients too!

While you can obviously obtain the above benefits from consuming almonds and almond milk, there are a number of DIY beauty recipes which incorporate almonds and almond milk into non-edible solutions for your skin – here’s a few we stumbled across online:

http://www.thefitindian.com/amazing-benefits-of-using-almonds/

http://www.naturalbeautyworkshop.com/my_weblog/2015/03/fresh-rose-almond-milk-beauty-recipes-.html

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And just to share a little something else we are working on…

We would love you to  help us bring dairy free, vegan friendly almond yoghurt to Australia. Support our Kickstarter campaign by clicking the button below!

Support our Kickstarter campaign for a yoghurt machine

Warm Chia & Oat Porridge with Mandarin & Raspberry

Warm Chia & Oat Porridge with Mandarin & Raspberry

Serves 1

Ingredients
1 mandarin peeled and separated into segments
¼ – ½ cup raspberries (fresh or frozen, although if frozen allow to defrost)
1 tbsp chia
1/3 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup Luz Almond Original Almond milk
½ cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp rice malt syrup or other sweetener
2 tbsp shredded coconut
pinch of salt

 

Almond Milk Recipe Warm Chia & Oat Porridge with Mandarin

 

  1. Place all ingredients EXCEPT mandarin and raspberry in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil and reduce heat slightly. Stir continuously for approximately 5 minutes or until thickened and desired consistency achieved.
  2. Serve immediately topped with mandarin and raspberries.
Six Splendid Ways Almond Milk Improves Your Health and Body

Six Splendid Ways Almond Milk Improves Your Health and Body

People who value nutrition without sacrificing taste strongly recommend almond milk as a welcome addition to a healthy diet. Have you ever wondered how almond milk actually helps your body, though? Here are six great health benefits of consuming almond milk.

1. It aids in managing your weight – Whether you want to gain or lose some weight, drinking almond milk is a great way to get in shape! A cup of almond milk contains less kilojoules than dairy milk as well as most dairy alternatives including soy, rice, oat and coconut milk.

2. It strengthens your heart – Low in sodium and rich in healthy fats (e.g. mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids), almond milk helps to prevent high blood pressure and fatal heart diseases.

3. It protects your skin – Almond milk contains vitamin E, an antioxidant which nourishes and protects your skin against harmful Ultraviolet rays.

4. It satisfies your sweet cravings the healthy way – Since almond milk is low in carbohydrates, it will have very little effect on blood sugar, which is particularly beneficial for those with diabetes. In addition the presence of good fats in almond milk helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer as it slows down digestion and consequently energy release.

5. It keeps your digestion in check – Almond milk is a source of fibre contain 3.0g per serve. Fibre is responsible for keeping the digestive system in check and also plays a role in stabilising blood glucose levels and cholesterol which contributes to the prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

6. It tastes better than dairy milk – Making it a great alternative for those who are lactose intolerant. Plus it serves as a wonderful substitute in recipes and dishes which call for cows’ milk.

These are just a few of the many benefits of consuming almond milk but if you don’t do it for any other reason, just drink it because it tastes great!! When buying your almond milk (as with all foods & beverages) make sure you read the list of ingredients to ensure you are buying products free from added sugar, preservatives and harmful chemicals.

To learn more facts and tips for the health-savvy, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

 

References:

Brady, Krissy. “11 Benefits of Almond Milk You Didn’t Know About.” Lifehack, n.d. Web. 1 April 2015.

Morgan, Griffin. “How Fiber Helps Your Digestive Health.” WebMD, 1 November 2010. Web. 6 April 2015.