During my tenure amongst the health foods scene, I was questioned about some of the most exotic, expensive and remote ‘superfoods’ from all across the globe. “How nutritious are they really?” Day in, day out. You know the products – they’ve been freeze dried and packed away into little tins for shelving at stores across the country, plastered with advertising that sounds almost too good to be true.While I can’t argue that some of these foods are incredibly nutritious, (I’m a sucker for a Maca root snack) I would rather steer you in the direction toward the local produce markets in your area. There’s no real need to be stockpiling on exotic foods, when your own backyard produces incredibly tasty and nutritious food.
So in the spirit of good health and the economy, here are the TOP 5 local produce in season this September
Many years ago a health and beauty expert recommended that I should include a bowl of broccoli with my dinner every night, for my “skin and overall health.” It is fairly straight forward that eating healthily usually has these effects. However, it wasn’t until I started studying the nutritional biochemistry behind the food we eat, did it truly blow my mind. Broccoli is loaded with chlorophyll, magnesium, omega-3 and mustard oil glycosides (not to mention plenty of other vitamins and minerals).
You can look at broccoli as the internal detoxiﬁers, where chlorophyll, an antioxidant, binds to and ﬂushes out heavy metals that don’t belong in your body. Magnesium and Omega-3 will nourish your muscles, brain and blood while the mustard oil glycosides work as antioxidants and assist in the detoxiﬁcation process. Mustard oil glycosides, speciﬁcally the glucosinolates class, are sulphur-rich compounds abundant in broccoli and other Brassica family vegetables. Sulphur plays a vital role in Phase 2 liver detoxiﬁcation pathways. When these pathways in your liver are supported, there is less internal congestion, creating a healthy body, with glowing skin. Cooking broccoli for longer than 5 minutes has a nasty habit of completely obliterating any traces of nutritional content. So make sure you’ve maintained a bit of crunch and that vibrant green colour when you’re cooking them.
One whole head of broccoli
Tsp of Olive Oil (Optional)
½ Fresh Lemon Squeezed (Optional)
1. Prepare the broccoli by separating them into medium sized ﬂorets, ensure they are all roughly the same size in order for an even cooking time.
2. Place the ﬂorets into a steamer/colander and set it over a pot of boiling water.
3. Ensure the water is boiling prior to you placing the broccoli over the top, as this will interfere with the optimal cooking process
4. Cover the steamer/colander with a lid or ﬁrm ﬁtting foil.
5. Steam for NO LONGER than FIVE MINUTES.6. Optional: Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil and squeeze half a fresh lemon over the broccoli for extra ﬂavour.
7. Enjoy with your dinner every night!
If there is one thing I love it is fatty fruits! Essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins are abundant in avocados. These nutrients do not make you gain unnecessary weight. In fact, they help protect and regulate vital bodily functions and systems. These functions and systems include, but are not limited to:
• Cardiovascular and Cholesterol health
• Brain and neurological health
• Immune function
• Hormonal function and regulation
• Skin and cell membrane strength and integrity
• Improved vision
Avocado is one of the best foods you can add into your diet. Given its texture and buttery ﬂavour, it is often used as a delicious margarine/butter replacement. I also love to make my own guacamole with fresh avocados.
1 whole avocado
½ Spanish/Red onion
Pinch of Himalayan/Rock Salt (Medium course rather than ﬁne)
One Lemon or Lime
1. Peel the avocado and remove the seed
2. Use a fork to mash the avocado into a soft and blended mixture
3. Dice the Spanish onion into small pieces and add into the mixture
4. Add a pinch of Himalayan or even sea salt
5. Add the freshly squeezed juice of a whole lemon or lime and mix everything together with your fork
Spending a good chunk of my adolescence in far north Queensland, I developed a great love for bananas. I am throwing this one in here
because many of my clients ask about Potassium. Many health conscious individuals don’t know if they are getting enough of the mineral in
their diet and wonder if it would be a good idea to start supplementing Potassium. Potassium helps with nerve transmission and impulses, however, too much of it can have deadly consequences. Unless your doctor or naturopath has prescribed it for you speciﬁcally, turn to bananas instead. Your body will always prefer to assimilate nutrients coming from food rather than synthetic supplements!
Plus, bananas are extremely versatile, you can eat them on their own, throw them in a fruit salad or smoothie, or into some delicious desserts!
Simple, Healthy Banana Ice Cream
3 ripe bananas
Optional Garnishes: Fresh fruits, coconut ﬂakes, dark chocolate pieces, nuts, orange zest, etc.
1. Start by peeling the bananas and cutting them into even slices.
2. Place the slices into a freezer-friendly bowl and into the freezer overnight.
3. Place the frozen banana slices into a food processor and blend them until they become smooth. This process will take a little while and you’ll need to scrape down the sides of your food processor multiple times with a spatula.
4. The bananas will initially be very crumbly, but you will eventually end up with a soft and creamy mixture.
5. Now place the banana mixture back into the bowl you used, and put it back into the freezer for around an hour. It can be consumed right away if you prefer very soft ice cream.
6. Garnish with your favourite toppings and enjoy!
Those beautifully pigmented stalks aren’t just nice to look at! If you’re familiar with the Doctrine of Signatures, you’ll know that a colour like this would probably benefit your cardiovascular system, and research suggests that it’s not far off the mark! The Doctrine of Signatures is a
practice from folklore, where if a plant or other naturally occurring organism resembled a body system or organ, it was believed it held
healing properties for that area. Proanthocyanidins are found in the stalks of rhubarb (and many other red fruits and vegetables), which perform antioxidant actions in your body, essentially protecting your blood. After all, any oxidative damage would have originated from a free radical circling around in your bloodstream. Rhubarb is used in many delicious desserts and savoury meals, just make sure you throw away the leaves as they can be highly toxic, because they are loaded with oxalic acid.
Rhubarb Lentil Curry with Spinach and Capsicum
Serves 2 People
1 large sweet potato
1 cup lentils (your choice)
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 stalks of rhubarb diced into small pieces
1/2 cup of red capsicum diced into small pieces
1 tbsp coconut oil (or any other high heat tolerating oil)
1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
pinch of chilli flakes
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
a pinch of Himalayan / Rock Salt for taste
1. Pour 3 cups of water in a saucepan. Add lentils and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes or until lentils are soft, but not falling apart. Drain excess water.
2. While lentils are simmering, cut your vegetables.
3. Cook sweet potato. To bake: Wrap sweet potato in foil and bake at 220 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes or until the skin pulls away from the ﬂesh and the potato is soft. Alternatively, you can also peel and cube the sweet potato and steam it.
4. In a large sauté pan, heat coconut oil and then stir in the mustard seeds. Once they start popping, add the chilli ﬂakes and fennel. Add ginger. Add cumin.
5. Add both capsicum and rhubarb to the pan. Sauté for a few minutes. Add spinach and continue to sauté until fully cooked. Add cooked lentils, cooked sweet potato and brown sugar and stir. Add Himalayan/rock salt to taste.
6. Serve alone or with a grain like brown rice or quinoa.
While these fruits traditionally hail from South China, Australia’s tropical north Queensland climate enables the local cultivation of lychees. With the mercury slowly making its way back up thermometers nation-wide, it’s time to pull out some tropical delights in celebration! Lychees are a really funky way of getting more ﬁbre into your diet. Not only are lychees loaded with ﬁbre, they are also rich in vitamin C and contain trace amounts of Copper, a mineral often forgotten about which plays a vital role in blood cell production. Eat them fresh or dried, or mix them into a drink!
Serving Size: 4 Glasses
2 cups fresh lychee juice
2 cups fresh orange juice
1 glass organic lemonade or, sparkling mineral water or soda water (Use the cups you are using as measurement)
A few sprigs of mint for garnishing
A few ice cubes
1. For fresh juice, peel the lychees and oranges. Remove their seeds and blend them through a food processor separately.
2. This step is optional: Strain the juice with the help of a strainer or cloth to discard the pulp. Or, you can leave the pulp in.
3. Grab your serving glasses. Pour ½ cup of lychee juice into each glass.
4. Now add ½ cup orange juice to all glasses.
5. Add ice cubes.
6. Lastly add the lemonade to all of the glasses. Proceed with caution when pouring in the lemonade, as your mocktail could spill over. Wait until the contents have settled in together.
7. Serve chilled and garnish each glass with a few mint sprigs.
This article originally appeared in the Australia Times Health Magazine.