Quinoa: Optimal Beauty Benefits + How To Cook It

I love grains and I don’t care what anyone else says. ;p

I’ve done my research and know how amazingly beneficial they are! Gluten-free grains such as millet, brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth and of course, quinoa are a big part of my diet. I thrive off of them.

Quinoa takes the cake for most beneficial in my eyes, though because it is a complete protein. It’s an ancient grain and it has all 8 essential amino acids.

Here I’ve made a big batch of Quinoa (pronounced: keen-wah) for the week ahead. It can be stored in an air tight container or glassware with cover in fridge and eat throughout the week.

Preparation is one of the key ingredients to excellent self-care and healthy living.

Prep:

Soak your quinoa in filtered water overnight (Place in bowl and fill with water- about 2 inches above quinoa). The next morning rinse and drain.

Cooking:

  1. Place in pot and add filtered water- again 2 inches above your desired amount.
  2. Cook on medium heat until it boils.
  3. Turn off the stove and then leave it sitting on the stove for 15-20 more minutes until fluffy.
  4. Drain, rinse again (optional), flavor (like you would brown rice) and enjoy!

Tip: If you choose to eat it warm (eating it cold is great too) I recommend warming it up in the oven vs. the microwave as the microwave will kill all the of delicious nutrients your body is craving.

Are you ready to take action and start living your Optimal Beauty dreams? I did it and so can you! You deserve ultimate clarity and the body you’ve always wanted. And you can have it with my help. Click the button below so we can chat one-on-one about your goals, previous set-backs, the life of your dreams and my program options!

What is My Diet Like?

A big question I get asked all the time: What is my diet like? Am I a vegan? Vegetarian?

If you read my ebook (get your complimentary copy today!) then you will have a better idea of what my diet is like.

Let me go ahead and say now that a diet that I thrive on may not be right for you. That’s why a big part of my program is creating a special road map of health and wellness for each client.

To start with I don’t consider myself vegan , vegetarian or associate myself with any group or category. If I’m craving something and it is a real food, I eat it. However most of the time I stay away from meat, dairy, refined sugar, gluten and anything that is processed. In fact, that is my #1 tip for a healthy life. Stay away from anything that comes in a package, box, etc. It is absolutely best to eat foods in their most natural state, no matter who you are.

If it’s grown in the garden I eat it if it’s made in a lab it takes a lab to digest. -Kris Carr

Have you claimed your complimentary Optimal Beauty Assessment yet? If not, I invite you to do so! Every single person deserves one and it is a gift from me to you. You can sign up today by clicking the button below!

Video: Do You Need Supplements to Thrive?

I personally believe in the absolute amazing power of food. I believe it is extremely healing, can be used as medicine and is completely beautifying.

It depends on the person, but I believe in simplifying things and do not think most people need many supplements to really thrive and achieve Optimal Beauty.

xoxo, Danielle

Do you feel called to deepen your relationship with your beauty and health? Contact Danielle today and schedule your complimentary Optimal Beauty assessment! 

Interview: Brenda Janscheck on Kid’s Health and Wellebing

Today, I am so excited to introduce Brenda Janscheck, owner and founder of Brenda Janscheck Health & Lifestyle. To me, Brenda is the epitome of a superstar mom. She runs her own business, has a family and still finds time to take incredible care of herself. What I am in awe of most, is how she takes care of her two kids. She is an expert in kids’ health and I am so excited for you to read the interview below. Whether you have kids now, want them one day or know anyone who does; this interview will shed some light on how to best care for them. Nutrition is of utmost importance in a kid’s life even from the time they are born. And I’ll give you a hint; mainstream media has most likely thrown you way off and is steering you in the opposite direction you want to go. Keep reading to find out more!

Hi Brenda. Thank you so much for being here today! Let’s get right into it.

1. What do you think is the biggest problem when it comes to kids’ nutrition today? 

The biggest problem to my mind is that so much of the food our children eat is actually completely deficient in nutrition. Parents are so busy that they are reaching for convenience foods, which are highly processed, contain bad fats, are full of additives, colours, preservatives, refined sugars/ flours and rancid oils. These foods are contributing to a dramatic increase in serious illness and disease such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, attention disorders and more.

I consider every bite of food an opportunity to properly nourish our bodies, mind and soul, and so many children are missing out on these opportunities each day.

“Let food be they medicine and let medicine be thy food” as Hippocrates said.

2. How do you do such an amazing job adequately nourishing your kids so that their mood & blood sugar levels are stable and their energy stays constant throughout the day?

I know how to create well-balanced meals (protein, good fats and complex carbohydrates) which cover the main food groups. Providing this balance allows my children to stay focused and energised through the day and eating this way will bode well for their future health. I make sure their meals are nutrient dense and I pack them very healthy homemade lunches. It takes me a bit more time, but my children’s health is a priority.

3. Why is it, do you think, that many parents don’t think the same nutritional rules apply to kids the same way they do to adults?  

Parents (and children) are bombarded on a daily basis with advertising for “healthy” kid’s food, like breakfast cereals and muesli bars, when in actual fact these products are mostly very high in sugar and highly processed. A little education in this area can go a long way in improving our children’s health.
For some, particularly those that are busy (which is every parent I know!), there is so much misinformation clouding the real value of our food that they just give up and accept advertisements and mainstream information as fact.
4. How do you deal with your kids being exposed to toxic, processed foods when they’re at friends’ houses and school?

I find this quite frustrating, and obviously I wish that this wasn’t the case, but I have chosen not to create stress around this for my family, as stress itself is detrimental to our health.
My children have a very healthy, 80% healthy wholefoods organic diet, so I know their bodies can handle “sometimes” food on those occasions. Lots of mums in my community have attended my healthy kids’ workshops, so bit by bit I am noticing the pleasing ripple-effect of change. I also hope to do more work in schools to educate children, parents and teachers about the importance of healthy eating.

5. What are your main suggestions for people with newborns and toddlers?

Obviously, breastfeeding is optimal for a minimum of 6 months, but so many mums have issues with this, I advise them not to be too hard on themselves if it doesn’t work out.
And when introducing first solid foods (approx 4-6mths), be wary that mainstream experts suggest rice cereal or grains as the baby’s first foods, but these are in fact not ideal ,and can compromise your child’s gut health, leading to future issues. Stick to fruit, veges and protein. Here is a great guide for babies and early toddlers
And just a note on pre-conception, the health of the parents ova and sperm play a very important role in determining the healthy of the fetus and future health of the child.

6. Approximately how much sugar do your kids consume daily? How do you think this differs from most kids?
My kids consume natural sugar each day, mainly in the form fruit, and a healthy treat in their lunchboxes. The sugar they have is unrefined (eg raw honey, Canadian maple syrup, dates or coconut sugar). These types of sugars still have many of their vitamins, mineral and enzymes intact.
If they are having sugar, I try to accompany it with a healthy fat and protein which helps to slow the absorption of the sugar, and therefore helps to avoid the nasty blood sugar spikes it would otherwise cause. Refined sugar is an addictive poison deplete of any nutritional value and which, in fact, strips their bodies of existing nutrition.

7. What are some small things that can be done about kids nutrition?

I always recommend implementing small changes slowly. Some good places to start would be for parents and children to learn how to read ingredients lists on packaged foods.
Meal planning is a great method of ensuring time is allocated to cooking home-made meals and avoiding last minute take-out or packaged meals. Also, eliminate all nutrient depleted/deficient foods from the pantry, and replace with fresh wholefoods.
I always recommend that my clients focus on the foods that their children love to eat, and I guide them on how to create the most delicious nutrient dense version possible!
Encouraging kids to help in the kitchen is a great idea too. Studies show that they are more likely to eat what they create.

8. Favorite healthy treat to prepare for your kids:
I love healthifying recipes, which is exactly what I did with this very popular version of my “Notella”
‘Notella’

We all know and love the scrumptious spread Nutella. But when you consider there are 5 teaspoons of sugar in each two-tablespoon serve, you wonder if there’s a better way.
Well, there are a few healthy versions of the Nutella recipe floating around, and I’ve played around with them and tweaked the living daylights out of these recipes to finally create my family’s favourite version.
We all think it’s much tastier than the commercial Nutella, and it’s much healthier too, using healthy oils and no artificial flavours. What’s more, sugar is not the main ingredient in this version.

We love our Notella:
spread on sourdough toast for breakfast or a snack
spread over apples or bananas
mixed with natural yoghurt
spread on spelt and buckwheat pancakes
mixed with warm milk for a hot chocolate
eaten straight out of the jar with spoon
With regard to the hazelnuts in Notella, I always recommend activating them the night before by soaking in a water and acid medium (like Apple Cider Vinegar) and rinsing well in the morning. This makes the nuts much more digestible.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup or raw honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1-2 tablespoons macadamia oil

Preparation:

  • Place nuts in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Add cacao powder, maple syrup, brown rice syrup or raw honey (or a combination), vanilla and coconut oil.
  • Whizz up all ingredients. It will be a little thick so add in macadamia oil as required and whizz until smooth.
  • Store in a glass jar in the fridge.

Brenda Janschek is a qualified health coach, supporting busy mums to raise happy, healthy families through preventative health She is a speaker, wellness blogger, and a busy mother of two.

She is an avid spokesperson for children’s health, nutrition and family wellbeing, passionately bringing scrumptious goodness & positive well being into the homes of families throughout Australia.

She is the creator of Brenda Janschek Health & Lifestyle and you can connect with her via her Facebook Community,Twitter and Instagram @brendajanschek.

Coconut Oil: True Love at Its Finest

I have had a serious love affair going on with coconut oil since I was introduced it! So many people are unaware of this miraculous oil. Read this post to discover it in all of its wonder. 

Coconut oil makes you look good, feel good and it tastes fantastic…what’s not to love?

The Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Used both internally and externally coconut oil:

  • Boosts Energy Levels and Helps Chronic Fatigue
  • Coconut oil is metabolized and converted by the liver directly into energy
  • Maintains Healthy Food Nutrients and is the Best Choice for Healthy Cooking
  • Coconut oil is a highly stable fat that does not oxidize when heated making it a very safe and healthy cooking oil.
  • Increases Metabolic Rate and Leads to Weight Loss
  • Coconut oil increases your metabolism so you burn more KJ’s which leads to natural and healthy weight loss.
  • Supports Immune Function by Killing Disease Causing Bacteria, Fungi and Viruses
  • The MCFAs in coconut oil offer antiviral, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
  • Supports and Improves Symptoms of Digestive Disorders
  • Coconut oil possesses a gastrointestinal antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Creates Radiant Skin – As an Antioxidant it Reversing Free Radical Damage
  • Coconut oil provides fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and super nutrition factors to damaged tissue.
  • Is a Beauty Elixir – Excellent as a Skin and Hair Moisturizer
  • Coconut oil nourishes, moisturizes and protects your hair and skin by replenishing the body’s natural oils (Sebum).
  • Helps Reduce Sugar Cravings and Balance Blood Sugar
  • People using coconut oil have noticed their ability to go without food for longer without symptoms of hypoglycemia and with less cravings and feelings of satisfaction.
  • Supports Healthy Thyroid Function and Hormone Balance
  • Regular consumption of coconut oil restores thyroid function by assisting the hormones transport to the cells.
  • Oil Pulling is a Simple and Effective Way to Detox Your Body; An ancient Ayurvedic health tradition which involves using the oil as a mouth wash and spitting it out. The fat enzymes in the oil literally pull toxins, pus and bacteria from the body. It also whitens the teeth.
  • Adults take 2- 4 tablespoons daily and children take 2 teaspoons every morning.
  • When first taking Virgin Coconut Oil start with 1 Tbsp with each meal. Some people experience loose motions for a few days (this may be a sign of intestinal fungal infection or candidiasis as it is being destroyed). For those with a sensitive taste or stomach it may be helpful to mix with tea, juice, yoghurt or add to some food such as oats, nuts and seeds.
  • Virgin Coconut Oil is both safe and recommended for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA’s) Fats are chains of carbon atoms that are surrounded by hydrogen. The more hydrogen the more saturation and the more stable the molecular structure.
  • Coconut oil is a saturated fat that consists primarily of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA’s). The MCFAs in coconut oil possess incredible health-giving properties. Other than coconut oil these MCFAs can only be naturally found in mothers breast milk. This is what gives coconut oil its reputation as ‘The breast milk of mother nature’.
  • The shorter MCFA chains require less energy and fewer enzymes to digest. For most people, coconut oil can be emulsified during digestion without burdening the gall bladder or liver. Unlike animal fats it is also friendly for the kidneys and can help dissolve kidney stones.
  • Thus, coconut oil provides more energy more quickly than other fat sources. People who suffer from poor digestion, especially liver or gall bladder problems would benefit more by using coconut oil rather than other oils in their diet.
  • Immune System Enhancing Properties – MCFA
  • Coconut oil contains the following MCFAs: Caprylic acid C8, Capric acid C10, Lauric acid C12, Myristic Acid C14. Each of these contain antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Lauric acid has the greatest antiviral activity. Caprylic acid is the most potent yeast fighting substance.
  • Research says that MCFAs disrupt the lipid membranes of viruses, bacteria, yeast and fungi because their membranes are both very similar. This confuses the microbes and viruses causing them to weaken and become easy prey to white blood cells, which in turn strengthens the body’s immune system.
  • Those who suffer from candida and other fungal infections may greatly benefit from coconut oil. Psoriasis and eczema are actually skin infections caused by a fungus and can be helped by applying coconut oil topically.
  • Cholesterol. Much of the mass media claims that saturated fats lead to clogging of the arteries and cholesterol problems, when in reality it is cooked unsaturated fats (commercial and vegetable oils), bad calcium, and foreign cholesterol from eating animal products that constitutes arterial plaque.
  • Coconut oil contains no cholesterol and may actually help lower cholesterol levels. People from areas in the world that have a staple base of coconut in their diet have consistently lower levels of cholesterol than those that don’t.
  • The cholesterol-lowering properties of coconut oil are a direct result of it’s ability to stimulate thyroid function. In the presence of adequate thyroid hormone cholesterol is converted into necessary anti-aging steroids.
  • Dr Raymond Peat who is a leading researcher in hormone health, details how coconut oil, when added regularly to a balanced diet, lowers cholesterol to normal by promoting its conversion into pregnenolone. Dr Peat recommends increasing pregnenolone for women with hormone imbalances.
  • Pregnenolone improves circulation in the skin, gives the face a lift, restores sagging skin, and restores bags under the eyes by promoting the contractions of muscle like cells. Pregnenolone counters fatigue, enhances memory, protects the nerves from stress, and has anti anxiety properties.
  • Antioxidants. Research has also indicated that coconut oil may in itself have antioxidant properties, since the oil is highly stable and reduces our need for vitamin E, whereas unsaturated oils increase our need for vitamin E. Coconut oil is known to produce pregnenolone an anti aging steroid produced naturally by the body and pregnenolone is an antioxidant.
  • Thyroid and Weight Loss. Cooked unsaturated oils suppress the metabolism, contributing to hypothyroidism and weight gain. Bad oils not only suppress our tissues response to the thyroid hormone, they also suppress transport of the hormone on the thyroid-transport protein. Consuming coconut oil regularly restores thyroid function, may help relieve thyroid function, and actually increases the metabolic rate leading to weight loss.
  • Blood Sugar. One of the most noticeable affect for people when they start consuming coconut oil regularly is the ability to go for several hours without eating, and having feelings of hunger without the symptoms of hypoglycemia and erratic blood sugar levels. Erratic blood sugar stresses the system and calls in the need of adrenal glands.
  • Shifting to coconut oil as a major source of our fat and energy normalizes blood sugar levels, increases energy, decreases the stress on our system, and thus reduces our need for the adrenal hormones, and removes the effects of adrenal stress.
  • Cooking. Coconut oil is the most stable of any oil or butter and can be heated to very high temperatures. Therefore if you are going to heat food, coconut oil is the healthiest and wisest choice for cooking. Unlike other fats and oils coconut oil when heated does not form dangerous trans fatty acids because it is a completely saturated fat. Simply making the simple switch to using coconut oil for all of your cooking needs can have tremendous beneficial affects to your overall health and energy levels.

* reference David Wolfe, Eating for Beauty*

Tips:

  • Organic, extra virgin coconut oil will taste the best and is the only coconut oil I recommend. 
  • Signs of Rancid Coconut Oil:

1. Yellow in colour

2. Blotchy, or a non-smoothe consistency

3. It tastes and smells bad, like stale or bitter – well of course!

4. It makes you gag. This can’t be too clean if you are rejecting it in this way.

Clean fresh and pure coconut oil will be crystal clear when melted and white when solid. During the in-between phase it will naturally be cloudy.

Please note that an initial reaction from coconut oil such as unsettled feelings in the stomach, or a break out of acne, does not necessarily mean that the oil is rancid. A good oil can cause this reaction as your body is going into detox mode due to the effective anti-fungal, ant-bacterial and ant-viral properties in coconut oil. Detox reactions will pass after just a few days of consistent use.

Uses: 

  1. Skin Health: I use coconut oil as my primary face and body lotion/moisturizer. And imagine, all those nutrients you get by eating it, you are absorbing into your skin! *bonus*
  2. Add to a Smoothie (Or Eat Straight from the Jar. I love taking a tsp of coconut oil with a little bee pollen on a spoon)
  3. Shaving cream  (Men and women)
  4. Eye Make-Up Removal : Pure coconut oil is gentle and moisturizing with absolutely no chemicals. It takes off makeup effortlessly and without the harsh chemicals.
  5. Baking
  6. Cooking: Besides grapeseed oil, it is the only oil that won’t turn into a carcinogen when cooked at high heat (carcinogens cause cancer)
  7. Hair mask: After a shower add coconut oil to your hair like a leave-in conditioner. Leave for 2 hours or over night and wash thoroughly once finished. If leaving overnight you may have to wash it more than once depending on your hair type.
  8. Cuticle care: Use as a cuticle care cream
  9. Massage oil
  10. Lip balm
  11. Bug repellent
  12. Shoe polish
  13. Oil pull: gum health, detox, whiten teeth, etc. See how and why in this post I wrote.
  14. Frizz tamer
  15. SPF 4 sunscreen, apply regularly
  16. DIY toothpaste
  17. Facial cleanser

“I personally take around 4 tablespoons of coconut oil per day either on salads, in my cooking or in my cups of green tea!!  I will not go a day without Coconut Oil.  It is also great for the skin and hair.”- Miranda Kerr

Do you feel inspired to deepen your relationship with your natural beauty and health? That’s what I am here for. Contact me today and claim your free Optimal Beauty Assessment!

Why You Need to Avoid Store-Bought Almond Milk and Many Other “Healthy” Dairy Substitutes

Today, I explain the dangers of drinking almond milk that is not homemade.

I, too, thought buying my almond milk (and unsweetened and organic at that) was a safe, healthy choice. However, recently I discovered that it is not!

Most almond milk (9/10 times) contain an ingredient called carrageenan.

Unfortunately, almond milk is not the only “healthy”, organic food that contains this harmful ingredient. “Carrageenan can be found in most milk substitute products, infant formula, cottage cheese and some flavored coconut waters regardless if the product is certified organic by the USDA. I know so many people who get soy lattes from Starbucks to avoid having to consume conventional milk products, so I thought it would be pertinent to include them here on the list below, since they and many other coffee shops use soy milk that contains carrageenan.”

Watch the video to learn why and click here to learn how to make your own almond milk! It’s delicious, so easy and satisfying to know there are only 2 main ingredients needed.

xoxo, Danielle

Sources:

http://www.naturalnews.com/carrageenan.html

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-carrageenan-safe/

http://foodbabe.com/2012/05/22/watch-out-for-this-carcinogen-in-your-organic-food/

Are you ready to take control of your natural beauty and health?

 

A Special ‘Hello!’ To All of My Beautiful Blog Followers

Hello to all of you beautiful souls! First, I would like to thank you with all my heart for participating in this website! I pour my heart and soul into it. It’s my baby. 🙂

On that note, I would like to invite you to actually join my weekly newsletter in addition or instead. Why?

I include special announcements, discounts on coaching, exclusive recipes, extra health tips and inspiration and very soon there will be a FREE e-book entitled, The Optimal Beauty Starter Kit!

Here is a little sneak peek from my desktop…

How can you sign up for this?

Click this link to receive all of the above..and more to come.

All my love to you!

Danielle xoxo

P.S. I have 5 Optimal Beauty Assessments this week available for women who are ready to claim their best life! Email me at danielle@optimalbeauty.org to book in your session! Spots are filling up fast, so if you’re called to deepen your relationship with your beauty and wellness, take inspired action now!