Healthy Recipes

Why You Should Eat Fermented Foods

What are they?

Fermenting food is a metabolic process of converting the sugars into lactic acid (or alcohol or gas – but we’re not talking about that here). Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits bad bacteria. It has been used by cultures around the world forever, as a way of preserving food before fridges or cans existed and enhancing its flavour and nutrient content.

Common fermented foods you may have heard of include sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, yoghurt, kefir, pickles, tempeh… You can basically ferment any fruit or vegetable and other things too such as dairy and soy. Most of them can be bought from your local supermarket or health food store.

Why eat them?

• The lactobacilli (bacteria) in fermented foods boosts their vitamin levels and improves their ability to be digested. More vitamins and better nutrient absorption means more bang for your buck when it comes to the amount of food you need to intake to satisfy your bodies needs. Less food needed = less calories = easier to manage weight.

• These bacteria help other good bacteria to grow in our intestines, promoting good gut health, which helps you absorb the nutrients from other (non-fermented) foods better too!

• Loads of enzymes, antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances are also produced in the fermentation process. These help you to function better, remove toxins from the body, fight diseases and stay healthy.

• When you ferment foods, sugar content is largely reduced.  

I have been adding sauerkraut to everything lately, and today I came up with my favourite salad so far! It almost tasted like fast food… but yet so healthy!!  

Chicken and sauerkraut (warmed up), with baby spinach leaves, avocado, cherry tomatoes and fresh rosemary, coriander and parsley. Try it and let me know what you think!!!

Eat Clean, Stay Lean: How to make healthy food taste good

I have been doing quite a bit of experimenting in the kitchen the last few weeks with my BodyBAM online fitness program in its final stages of creation! I’m one of those types of people who have rare bursts of creativity and once I find something I like, I’ll happily eat it day in day out for months on end. And having maintained a very healthy diet for many years now, my preferred taste has become what some may even describe as quite bland. But BodyBAM needs to cater to more than just myself, so I’ve had to step outside my comfort zone a little to experiment to find that balance between healthy and flavoursome… And I’m happy to say I’ve successfully turned some amazing traditional dishes into much leaner, healthier versions.

A few weeks ago I discovered the range of Mingle seasonings, which has definitely made creating clean meals that are full of flavour really easy! Unfortunately I can’t give away all my secrets just yet (BodyBAM is due out late August), but I will share with you a few of my favourites that are super simple and easy to make… and best of all will eliminate the need for any nasty sauces!  

Pumpkin chips

You will need about 300g of your favourite pumpkin (I use butternut because I can get it from the supermarket already chopped up and I’m lazy haha). If its not already cut up for you, you will need to cut your pumpkin into chip shape/size.

Spray lightly with olive oil and sprinkle on the SAMMY (all-purpose) seasoning. Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes on 180 degrees Celsius (350 F) until lightly browned and eat! Perfect for a filling snack that will keep you lean!

Mexican Chicken

Cut up your chicken and put it in a plastic bag with some of the SOFIA (spicy) seasoning. Shake it around to coat the chicken well. You can leave it in the fridge for a few hours (or all day) to marinate, or just cook it up right away either in the oven or frypan with some lemon juice – this stops it from drying out. Serve it with a salad of lettuce, tomato, red onion and avocado, and a little creamed cottage cheese (instead of sour cream) and cheese on the side. Or throw your salad into a high-fibre, wholegrain wrap and eat it like a burrito!

Baked Fish

Probably the easiest one of the lot! Just squeeze some lemon juice and the SIENA (herb and garlic) seasoning onto the fish and cook it in the oven (best) or frypan (you’ll need a little spray of olive oil). No tartare sauce needed… WINNING!

Chicken and Egg Ranch Salad

You will need some cooked chicken, a boiled egg (I like mine soft-boiled so it’s a little bit runny in the salad), chopped up baby spinach (if you chop it up you can fit more in the bowl 😉 ), a slice of ham cut into shreds, ¼ avocado cut into small pieces, and ½ a tomato diced. Then, sprinkle on the SALLY (ranch) seasoning and toss it all together. Easily my favourite.

Smoky BBQ chicken

Cut the chicken into strips, or butterfly it, and then in the same way as the Mexican chicken, put it in a plastic bag with some SASS (smoky) seasoning and shake it up to coat evenly. Whack it on the BBQ with a bit of lemon juice to stop it going dry until it’s completely cooked through. If you liked steak (I don’t) then I imagine SASS would also go really well on a BBQ steak. Saves on the BBQ sauce… Did you know BBQ sauce is 55% sugar? 

Anyway, I was so impressed with the Mingle range that I got in touch with the owners and they’ve agreed to give all my followers 10% off when you purchase the 5 pack… Just put in my code “AVRIL10” at checkout. You can thank me later. When you’re a dress size smaller 😉

Happy Mingling!!


Macadamia Coconut Peanut Butter


Since posting about my homemade MCP butter on Instagram a few months ago, I received loads of emails asking for the recipe. Peanut butter is one of my favourite things, but having even just a regular serving of it doesn’t sit well with my body; I get very bloated and, well… “gassy” is probably the nicest way to put it. Haha

So when I was in Hawaii a couple of years ago and discovered macadamia coconut peanut butter I was just a little excited. Not only was it even yummier than plain PB, but it appeared to digest much better in my system. Even though I brought about 4 jars home with me, I soon ran out. The postage from Hawaii is quite expensive, and I had just bought myself a Thermomix (best investment if you ask me!), so I thought I’d experiment to try and make my own. A thermomix is basically a very high powered food processor with a little more functionality. Although they are very expensive, I’ve been told you can get similar things now for up to a quarter of the price that will probably do what you need it to.

My version doesn’t taste exactly like the Hawaiian version, but it’s still frickin amazing, and you could change the taste to suit your liking by adjusting the ratio of peanut, macadamia and coconut, and/or adding honey/maple syrup or even a bit of coconut water concentrate or coconut sugar (using regular coconut water will make it too runny).


300g desiccated coconut
300g unsalted roasted peanuts
300g unsalted macadamia nuts
Optional: 2 tbs organic honey or maple syrup (I usually use honey)


– Put the coconut into the thermomix and whiz on 9 (fastest speed) on 37 degrees Celcius for 3 mins scraping down the sides every minute or so. I got this part of the recipe from here. You can also get coconut butter (Copha) from the supermarket already made, just make sure you melt it before using in this recipe.
– Add the peanuts, macadamias and any honey/maple syrup/coconut sugar to the coconut butter and whiz on 9 for another 2-3 minutes, still scraping down the sides approx every minute.

Voila, you have some amazing yummy coconut peanut butter. As you can see, I like to have mine with some sliced banana

.TIP: If you want it to be a more solid consistency, store it in the fridge.


Avril xx

Avril Style Omlette


99% of the time, I can’t cook to save my life, and then I have days like today. I was dea set on having avocado for brekky, but I’d run out of my seed “bread”. So I made an omelette, literally ust throwing in whatever left over veggies I had in the fridge and hoping for the best. Then I mashed up my avocado with a little goat’s cheese fetta and smeared it on top… And it was quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever made!

Here’s what I put in the frypan with 1 tbs olive oil, in this order:

 – 1/2 an onion

 – 3 diced spears of asparagus

- 1 medium zucchini

 – a couple of pieces of pre-steamed sweet potato

 – 1 diced roma tomato or a few chopped up semi-sundried tomatoes

 – a large handful of baby spinach leaves, chopped

 – some fresh parsley, chopped

While that was all cooking for a few minutes, I whisked up 2 whole eggs in a bowl then poured it over the top of the fry-pan mix to cook into an omelette. While it was cooking I made my avocado mash (1/4 avocado), washed the dishes and in under 20 minutes the whole thing was ready to eat!

Happy days :)

My "Choc Mud" Protein Balls

chocolate protein balls

Protein balls are fast becoming a favourite healthy snack for many, including me! Over the last few months, I have experimented with stacks of different recipes to come up with my favourite, that I am sharing with you here  These actually taste like little mud-cakes! Amazing!!!!!


– about 360g of pecan nuts (or almonds, or walnuts)- 2 tbs raw cocoa powder- 2 scoops (60g) protein powder (vanilla is best, unless you like them really sweet, then use chocolate!)- 8 fresh pitted dates- 1tsp cinnamon powder- 1 tbs natural vanilla extract- Optional – 1/4 cup seeds (chia, sunflower, pumpkin), 2 tbs all natural peanut butter, max. 1 tbs coconut oil- desiccated coconut (for rolling)

1. Put all dry ingredients into a food processor and blend until it’s crumbly
2. Add wet ingredients to the food processor until it’s a sticky (but not soggy), even texture. You may need to add a small amount of water if your mix is a little dry, or more protein powder/nuts if your mix is too wet.
2. Use your hands to roll parts of the mixture into balls, and roll them through the coconut.
3. Set (and store) them in the fridge until hardened.

Two protein balls is an ideal serve for a snack on the go!


Simple Ways to Make Salad Taste Good.

Sick of boring old salad? Me too! So here are a few healthy tips I came up with to make it a little more exciting! Salad is now one of my favourite meals in the day!!!! (Bear in mind that all of these things together at once might not taste so good haha… pick a few and experiment)

– Grill/bbq your chicken/beef in Cajun spices/ sauté with some garlic and onion

– Add fetta, especially with boiled eggs; this tastes amazing!

– Add a little salt and pepper! Anchovies can also put a different spin on the saltiness… (Adding salt is not always a good option if you have a history of high blood pressure/circulation problems)

– Include some red onion, or green shallots

– Try it with some chickpeas and corn

– Add some nuts (walnuts, pine nuts or slivered almonds are my favourite)

– Use a natural greek yoghurt dressing; I make one of my favourites by stirring through some chopped up mint – goes awesomely with spicy stuff!

– Include some roasted garlic… Next time your are baking something in the oven, peel some garlic cloves and put them in the corner of your baking tray until they’re soft, maybe 15-20 mins? You can keep them in the fridge ready for your next week of salads!

– Add in your favourite fruit! Add a little sweetness to your salad with half a piece of chopped up fruit… far more nutrients and tastier than dressing!

That’s just a few to start you off and get you coming up with heaps more of your own! Where do I get my ideas? When I eat out, I take note of certain foods/spices that go well together and then try them together in a salad! You’ll be surprised at what tastes good together… eg. rocket and yoghurt, or egg and fetta! Or go to a great salad bar and see what the experts do… Then try adding a couple of the healthier ingredients to your own normal salad and see if you like it. Not everything tastes good together, so you may have to so a little testing, adding and removing ingredients!

Some of my favourites….

Rocket, Pear, Walnut and Greek Yoghurt (below)


Cajun chicken, corn and chickpeas, spinach, tomato, roasted garlic and fetta



Egg, anchovies, olives, fetta, asparagus, roasted garlic and spinach (below)


One last tip to get you loving salad…

I think many will agree that there’s nothing more annoying than trying to get your mouth graciously around a forkful of lettuce leaves/spinach/whatever you use. Plus it makes a small salad look huge, and you might find yourself hungry again soon after. Chop your leafy greens into tiny pieces and you’ll eat loads more of them, AND without getting tomato/yoghurt/whatever up the side of your face 😉 It takes 10 seconds!

I hope this helps to reignite your passion for a daily dose of the healthy stuff! Salad is one of the best ways to pack your diet full of raw veggies loaded with essential vitamins and minerals!