Zucchini, Fennel, Mint & Basil Soup

The Beauty Chef - Zucchini, Fennel, Mint & Basil Soup

SERVES 4

This flavoursome anti-inflammatory soup is a quick and easy one-pot dish full of nourishing vegetables and broth. Fennel boasts calming and anti-spasmodic properties and is wonderful for digestive health. And the herbs aren’t just there to brighten the dish – basil contains powerful plant compounds including eugenol, citronellol and linalool that have been shown to help reduce gut inflammation.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small or medium fennel bulb, trimmed, thickly sliced, fronds reserved
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 450g (about 3 medium) zucchini (courgettes), thickly sliced
  • 2 handfuls basil
  • 2 handfuls mint
  • 1 litre (4 cups) homemade Vegetarian Broth or chicken Bone Broth, or store-bought stock
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus zest to serve
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
  • dried chilli flakes, to serve

METHOD

  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Cook the fennel, onion and garlic until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, basil, mint and reserved fennel fronds and stir to combine.
  2. Pour in the broth and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Using a high-speed or hand-held blender, blend the soup until smooth.
  4. Serve topped with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of lemon zest and some chilli flakes.

For more delicious recipes, check out The Beauty Chef Gut Guide – available now!

5 wellness trends to try this year

The Beauty Chef - 5 wellness trends to try this year

By Courtenay Turner

The world of wellness is forever evolving – and understandably, it can be hard to keep up.

Rather than overwhelming yourself with all of the things you think you ‘should’ be doing, choose a few practices that speak to you and work on incorporating them into your life. To get you thinking, we’ve listed five of our favourite wellness trends for 2019. Rest assured: they’re simple, accessible and effective.

Track your time on social media

Studies show that the overuse of social media may be harming our mental health. As our lives become more and more digitised, it’s important to set healthy boundaries which enable us to keep social media at arm’s length. Apps like Moment allow you to monitor your daily screen time, as well as the time you spend on individual apps like Instagram or Facebook. Facing up to the enormous amount of time that we’re spending on our phones is enough to make us question how wisely we’re using our leisure time.

Consider your sleep hygiene

Before you ask – we’re not talking about dousing yourself in soap every night before bed! Sleep hygiene refers to the helpful habits we implement that promote a peaceful night’s sleep. Alongside eating healthily and regular exercise, ensuring we get enough quality sleep is one of the most important pillars when it comes to our health and wellbeing. Sleep hygiene may differ from person to person, but there are some general guidelines that all of us should be following:

  • Ditch your device after dark.
  • Avoid drinking coffee after midday. This may also extend to matcha, black tea and even chocolate if you are particularly sensitive to the effects of caffeine. Instead, try a warm mug of SLEEP Inner Beauty Powder, which contains ingredients like lemon balm and passionflower which are traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to induce sleep.
  • Before bed, opt to read a few pages of your favourite book instead of mindlessly tuning into Netflix.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise too close to bedtime. While exercise is a great way to help reduce stress, for some people, exercising before bed can disrupt sleep quality.

Embrace pocket wellness

From the largest international airports to the smallest local convenience stores, we’re seeing whispers of wellness everywhere. Now, more than ever, it’s easy to travel with wellness at our fingertips – or rather, in our pockets. Travel-friendly products like WELL SPRAY Inner Beauty Support™ are designed to make it easy to stay healthy and happy while you’re on the go. So whether you’re taking a long haul flight or simply commuting to work, you’ll always have your holistic health companion within arm’s reach.

Try digital detoxing

Digital detoxing takes ‘social media monitoring’ one step further. Switching off your phone for an entire weekend, saying ‘adios’ to your emails and logging out of Instagram are just a few of the ways you can experience the benefits of a digital detox. You’ll likely find it challenging at first (what else are you supposed to do while you’re waiting for the bus?), but rest assured, once you set yourself free from those self-imposed cyber constraints, you’ll find yourself noticing the colour and richness of the world around you.

Embrace simple rituals

Rituals are the antidote to the ceaseless rushing of the modern day world, and the good thing is, they don’t require radical change. Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, creating a ritual that makes you feel at ease and in control is relatively easy. If you’re a coffee drinker, ditch the pod and take the time to prepare a filter or stovetop brew in the morning before leaving for work. Similarly, tea drinkers might like to slow down and prepare a small pot of their favourite loose leaf tea. Anything can be turned into a ritual when we invite slowness in. Try cooking porridge on the stove instead of using the microwave. Listen to music with your eyes closed, rather than putting it on in the background. Nourish your health by taking a little time to prepare and enjoy you favourite inner beauty elixir before you head out the door. These rituals might require an extra 20 minutes of your time, but having an activity that is slow, steady and tactile is a surefire way to feel more well.

What’s a wellness trend that you’ve adopted into your life?

Prebiotic Superseed Bread

The Beauty Chef - Prebiotic Superseed Bread

MAKES 1 LOAF

This delicious loaf is gluten-free and low-FODMAP (at two slices per serve), with an extra protein and antioxidant-rich boost from sunflower kernels and pumpkin seeds (pepitas). Your microbes will love it too, with fibre-rich buckwheat paired with the prebiotic power of marshmallow root (which you should be able to find at health food stores). Anti-inflammatory turmeric gives your loaf a rich golden hue!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 teaspoons sea salt
  • 120g (3/4 cup) pumpkin seeds (pepitas), plus extra for topping
  • 65g (1/3 cup) buckwheat groats, plus extra for topping
  • 2 teaspoons unpasteurised apple-cider vinegar, plus a splash of soaking
  • 115g (1 cup) arrowroot
  • 150g (1 cup) buckwheat flour
  • 45g (1/4 cup) chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground marshmallow root (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 375mL (1 1/2 cups) water
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower kernels, for topping

METHOD

  1. Fill a medium bowl three-quarters of the way with warm water. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and stir until mostly dissolved. Add the pumpkin seeds, cover the bowl with a clean tea towel (dish towel) and set aside in a warm place to soak for at least 7 (and up to 12) hours. Drain and rinse.
  2. Fill a small bowl halfway with warm water. Add the buckwheat groats and a spash of apple cider vinegar and set aside in a warm place to soak for 2 (and up to 6) hours. Drain and rinse.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the arrowroot, buckwheat flour, chia seeds, baking powder, turmeric, marshmallow root (if using), soaked seeds, buckwheat groats, pepper and the remaining salt and mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the water, oil and apple-cider vinegar. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and allow the dough to rest for approximately 1 hour. Check to ensure the dough has absorbed any excess water, yet still feels wet and sticky to the touch.
  5. Preheat the oven 180ºC (350ºF/Gas Mark 4). Lightly grease and line an 18cm x 8cm loaf tin with baking paper. Pour the dough into the prepared tin and smooth out the top with the back of a spoon to remove any air bubbles. Sprinkle with sunflower kernels and buckwheat groats, pushing them into the top of the dough. Bake for 1 hours and 10 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the bread.
  6. Remove the loaf from the oven, cover with a clean tea towel and let stand for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Turn out onto a rack to cool completely, then slice into 10–12 slices.
  7. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or slice into portions and freeze in reusable bags for up to 3 months.

Check out The Beauty Chef Gut Guide for more delicious gut-nourishing recipes! Available now.

Get gutsy with Carla | What does wellness mean to you?

The Beauty Chef - Get gutsy with Carla: What does wellness mean to you?

Having worked in the wellness and beauty industry for nearly two decades, it’s been incredible to witness the evolution of ‘wellness’ and what that means for each of us.

Where once, wellness and self-care practices were considered to be a little left of field – in recent years, the concept of wellness and prioritising our health and wellbeing has become part of our daily routine. These days, before we’ve even thought of putting on our moisturiser in the morning, let alone our make-up, many of us have whipped up a nourishing smoothie with kale, chia seeds and GLOW Inner Beauty Powder™ (of course!) for healthy, radiant skin. Nowadays, wellness is beauty and beauty is wellness. And it’s been wonderful to observe and be a part of this paradigm shift within the industry, but still, I often get asked what ‘wellness’ means to me on a more personal level.

For me, being well means being healthy and balanced in both body, mind and soul and feeling grounded, but energised and inspired at the same time. It’s also about acquiring and harnessing the tools and the knowledge to help me achieve this – through diet, supplements, exercise, relationships, and mindfulness.

At The Beauty Chef, encouraging people to be the happiest, healthiest versions of themselves is always front of mind when creating products and content. We love the positive feedback we get from our customers on the great improvements in their wellness from using our products.

Having recently launched our brand new product – WELL SPRAY – I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share some of my simple wellness practices and explain how I incorporate our products into my daily routine, so I can be my best, healthiest self… 

AM

I usually wake up naturally around 5:45am and I do my best not to check my emails and phone first thing. Instead, I love to start my day by going for a walk or run along Bondi Beach, stretching and breathing in the ocean air. For me, walking is meditative and helps to clear my head. It’s also when I feel most inspired, so often by the end of my walk, I usually have a bunch of new creative ideas that have sprung to mind. Then, when I get home, I have a spoon of GLOW™ and COLLAGEN mixed together in a glass of filtered water. GLOW™ is like my inner beauty moisturiser, while COLLAGEN is my inner beauty serum – and it’s the most delicious skin-loving elixir. Breakfast often consists of eggs, which I enjoy with mushrooms, tomatoes and salmon, or maybe a hearty bowl of porridge made with buckwheat, quinoa, miso, apple, almonds and a dash of maple. When I’m in a rush, I like to whip up a protein-rich smoothie using BODY Inner Beauty Powder.

Just before I leave the house for work, I enjoy a few spritzes of WELL SPRAY, before popping this little bottle of goodness into my handbag. I describe it as my holistic health companion because it’s full of nourishing herbal ingredients that are designed to support beauty, immunity and digestion on the go. It contains a beautiful combination of bio-fermented ingredients like olive leaf, elderberry, calendula, clove bud oil, sage leaf extract, and biotin and selenium, which help to keep my immune health in check.

MIDDAY

My day often involves back to back meetings, so to support my health and wellbeing, I always ensure I take the time to enjoy a nourishing lunch. Food definitely has the most profound impact on our gut health and eating healthily is undoubtedly my favourite (and most delicious!) wellness practice.

For lunch, I’ll have a salad with lots of leafy, fibre-rich greens, healthy fats and lean protein or a gut-nourishing soup or stew. I always try and include a few fermented foods too and love sauerkraut and kimchi. I don’t drink coffee, but after lunch I’ll enjoy a cup of tea – fennel is great for digestion – followed by a few sprays of WELL SPRAY, which contains peppermint oil to aid digestion.

PM

Cooking is one of my favourite things to do and I think of it as a meditative practice. I love combining the joy of cooking with the science of nutrition, so when it comes to my recipes, both gut health and flavour are always front of mind. Depending on what’s in season, dinner could be anything from a salad with veggies and protein, or a piece of grilled or steamed fish with baked sweet potato and sauerkraut, a slow roast, a warming curry or a slow-cooked soup or stew with lots of veggies, herbs, spices and bone broth. My number one rule with all meals is to always have more veggies than meat on my plate.

Then, after dinner, I do my best to wind down and switch off from the day by putting down my phone and enjoying a teaspoon of SLEEP stirred through warm nut milk. For me, this is one of the most nourishing wellness practices and I look forward to it every night. SLEEP is a delicious formula that contains an abundance of calming ingredients like lemon balm,  passionflower and sour cherry which help me to sleep soundly.

What are some of your favourite wellness practices?

Carla x

How to craft the perfect sleepy Sunday

The Beauty Chef - How to craft the perfect sleepy Sunday
Credit: Real Living
Stylist: Lisa Burden
Photography: Maree Homer

 

By Courtenay Turner

 

In our busy, modern world – our bodies can often be operating in a constant state of ‘stress’. Between work, technology, social obligations, finances and family, if we don’t take the time to ‘actively rest’, our stress hormones may go into overdrive and impact everything from our weight to our mood, sleep and energy levels.

One way to rest – and rest well – is to craft a sleepy Sunday. Think of it as a day to embrace slowness, with calming rituals to ease the mind and relax the body. Here are a few suggestions to help you do just that…

 

Start the day with movement.

Restorative forms of movement like yoga, Tai Chi and walking are all wonderful ways to transition the body into a state of relaxation. While staying curled up on the lounge all day may be tempting, our body’s require daily movement to help improve circulation, digestion and lymphatic flow. Find a yoga flow online, head to your nearest class or go for a walk in nature. And of course, leave your phone at home.

 

Get your hygge on.

‘Hygge’ is a Danish word that refers to a feeling of coziness, comfort, contentment and wellbeing. There’s no equivalent in the English language, but can be described as a certain ‘vibe’ created through decor – think throw blankets, cushions and candles – food and activities like cooking, playing board games, reading or watching movies. While winter in Australia is more mild than what our Danish friends might endure, there are still plenty of opportunities to invite a little hygge into your life. Light some natural candles, pop on some comfy clothes and snuggle up with your favourite novel. If you’re feeling social, invite some friends around to watch a film or play your favourite board game. As far as food goes, opt for nourishing, gut-friendly sweets like our Gingerbread Men – they’re perfect with a big mug of tea!

 

Get prepped for the week ahead.

If your week ahead feels a little overwhelming, why not take a moment to jot down all your plans on paper? Writing down all of your commitments will free up some mental space in your head, helping you to relax even further. You might like to write a shopping list, plan your meals for the week, or write a list of things you’d like to achieve. By getting all your thoughts, plans and worries out of your mind and onto paper, they’re less likely to surface when your head hits the pillow.

 

Settle into sleep.

One to two hours before bed, indulge in a nourishing nightcap like our WARM SLEEPY CHAI. This spiced elixir will help to soothe any symptoms of mild anxiety that are lingering around and help to promote feelings of sleepiness. In the spirit of slowness, try using the stove instead of the microwave when making this nighttime delight. Sweet dreams…

 

As we’re heading into winter in Australia, it’s the perfect time to indulge in some more slow and soulful Sundays. How do you like to slow down on the weekend? We’d love to hear your tips and tricks!

Raw Double Choc, Macadamia & Fig Biscuits

The Beauty Chef - Raw double choc, macadamia fig biscuits

 

MAKES 12

These deliciously decadent Raw Double Choc, Macadamia and Fig Biscuits are the perfect accompaniment to a nourishing cup of herbal tea. Containing rich cacao and buttery macadamias, just try to stop at one…

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup (100g) almond meal
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 2 scoops The Beauty Chef chocolate BODY Inner Beauty Support
  • 1/2 cup (125mL) canned coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) coconut butter, warmed to melt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (50g) macadamias, coarsely chopped
  • 3 (approx. 75g) dried figs, sliced

Raw chocolate topping:

  • 1/4 cup (20g) cacao powder
  • 20g cacao butter
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

METHOD

  1. Line a medium-sized baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place the almond meal, cacao powder and BODY powder in a medium bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Add the coconut milk, coconut butter and vanilla extract and stir until mixture begins to bind together. Add the macadamias and figs and stir through to distribute evenly.
  4. Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions and roughly shape into round lumpy biscuits. Arrange on the prepared tray. Refrigerate.
  5. To prepare the raw chocolate topping, half-fill a small saucepan with water and bring to the simmer. Place all the ingredients in a heatproof bowl. Take the pan off the heat and set the bowl over the top. Ensure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Leave for 5 minutes, or until the cacao butter and coconut oil melt. Stir to combine.
  6. Top each biscuit with approximately 1 teaspoon of raw chocolate. Return to the refrigerator for 10 minutes, or until set.
  7. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Alternatively, freeze for up to 3 months.

For more recipe inspiration, visit The Digest.

Why microbial diversity is the key to gut health

The Beauty Chef - Why microbial diversity is the key to gut health

 

Bacteria are one of the oldest forms of life on earth and scientists have been studying microorganisms for hundreds of years.

In high school, you may have learned about the work of French scientist, Louis Pasteur, who, during the late 19th century, discovered that microorganisms cause both fermentation and disease. And since then, researchers have repeatedly shown the trillions of microbes that live inside your body are vital to both your physical and mental health.

While we have been conditioned to think of our microbes as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – researchers agree that it’s not quite that simple. There are microbes we want, microbes we don’t want and microbes that can be either good, bad or somewhat neutral – depending on the environment and our relationship to them.

Different people also have different combinations of resident microbes and your gut microbial population is as unique as your fingerprint. Interestingly too, studies have shown people with more microbial diversity are likely to be healthier.

While there are a multitude of factors that contribute to the numbers and diversity of bacteria in our gut – diet undoubtedly has the most profound impact. For example, people who eat what’s classified as the ‘Standard American Diet’ which is high in fat and refined sugar but low in fibre, have been shown to have less microbial diversity.

Conversely, one study found that the gut microbiome of Tanzanian hunter-gatherers was 30 per cent more diverse than those living in urban societies. In fact, researchers discovered some bacterial species in the Hadza people – whose diets follow an annual cycle and change seasonally – that they had never seen before.

What studies like this suggest is that modern humans may have reduced their microbial diversity by eating the same diet all year round. On top of this, processed foods, sugar, refined carbohydrates and taking antibiotics may unnecessarily cause imbalances in our gut microbial populations – which in turn, may negatively impact our gut health.

WHY IS MICROBIAL DIVERSITY IMPORTANT?

Studies have shown that the magical microbes that reside in your digestive, reproductive and respiratory tracts are involved in many important processes including digestion, immunity, cognition, mood and memory, hormone production, inflammation, sleep, metabolism, bone formation and even longevity.

Your gut microbes help to digest most of the food you eat and assist in the production of vitamins, hormones, enzymes and essential amino acids. They also help to neutralise pathogens. But there is still so much to discover. Scientists still do not fully understand all the ways in which microbes work. Already, many modern diseases – including type 2 diabetes, obesity and inflammatory bowel disease – have been linked to reductions in gut microbial diversity. There is also a growing body of research to show how microbial diversity may help to alleviate symptoms of conditions such as eczema, asthma and allergies, as well as gut health issues.

In summary, gut microbes are critical to human health. And really, it’s a case of the more and more diverse the merrier, because different microbes perform different tasks and support our health and wellbeing in a myriad of ways.

SIMPLE TIPS TO ENCOURAGE MICROBIAL DIVERSITY

  1. Add probiotic-rich, lacto-fermented foods – such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, natto, tempeh, kefir and yoghurt – to your diet as these foods contain gut-friendly bacteria.
  2. Keep your microbes happy by feeding them plenty of their favourite foods – prebiotic plant fibre, in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables. Garlic, onions, artichokes, asparagus, leeks, celery, and apples are all good examples of prebiotic foods.
  3. Different foods feed different gut microbes – so eating a wide range of foods will encourage a more diverse gut microbiome.
  4. Complex carbohydrates such as the resistant starch in bananas, legumes and sweet potatoes also feed beneficial bacteria.
  5. Eat seasonally for variety. Shop at your local farmers market or via an organic vegetable delivery service to get familiar with which foods are in season.
  6. Avoiding processed foods may also encourage microbial diversity. Animal studies have shown that the emulsifiers used to keep processed foods may disrupt gut microbes and contribute to increased obesity and other chronic inflammatory diseases. While artificial sweeteners used in soft drinks and other processed foods have also been shown to disrupt the gut microbiome in mice.
  7. Invest in a water filter to remove fluoride and chlorine which, over time, may have an impact on our inner ecosystem.

Have you implemented any practices to help promote microbial diversity? Let us know!

 

 

 

 

 

Swedish Meatballs with Braised Red Cabbage

The Beauty Chef - Swedish Meatballs

SERVES 4 (makes approx. 16 meatballs)

Who doesn’t love a Swedish meatball? Although chicken livers might not be the first ingredient that comes to mind when making them, they add the most delicious depth of flavour. Apart from being impressively high in vitamin B12, they are also a great source of L-glutamine that, alongside the red cabbage, helps strengthen the gut lining.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 medium onion, grated
  • 250g grass-fed beef mince
  • 150g free-range pork mince
  • 50g organic chicken livers, finely chopped (they really must be organic)
  • 100g (1 cup) ground almonds
  • 1 free-range organic egg
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 large handful flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves, coarsely chopped, to serve

Braised Red Cabbage

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive or coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/4 medium red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 medium green apple, quartered, cored & sliced
  • 60mL (1/4 cup) water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unpasteurised apple-cider vinegar

Sauce

  • 1 litre (4 cups) homemade beef or chicken Bone Broth or Vegetarian Bone Broth, or store-bought stock
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 180mL (3/4 cup) coconut cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons tamari
  • 2 teaspoons unpasteurised apple-cider vinegar
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. To make the meatballs, combine all ingredients except the oil and parsley in a medium bowl with clean, wet hands. Shape the mixture into 16 golf ball-sized balls and arrange on a tray. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. Add enough oil to coat the base of a large frying pan and place it over a medium-high heat. Cook the meatballs in batches, turning frequently, for 4–5 minutes until browned all over. Transfer onto a clean plate or tray and set aside.
  3. To make the braised red cabbage, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over a low-medium heat. Sauté the onion and caraway seeds until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and apple and stir to combine. 
  4. Pour in the water and vinegar. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender and the liquid is almost reduced. Set aside.
  5. To make the sauce, pour the broth into the pan used to cook the meatballs. Bring to the boil and, using a wooden spoon, scrape off any bits stuck to the bottom. Add the thyme and simmer for 10–15 minutes until the broth has reduced by half. Pour in the coconut cream and bring to a simmer.
  6. While the broth is reducing, combine the lemon juice, water, arrowroot, tamari and apple-cider vinegar in a small bowl. Gradually pour the mixture into the hot stock, whisking continuously.
  7. Simmer for a further 2 minutes, or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the thyme and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Return the meatballs to the sauce, stir to coat and cook at a gentle simmer for 4–5 minutes until cooked through. The meatballs will firm up as they cook; break one in half to check for doneness.
  9. Once ready, scatter with parsley and serve with braised red cabbage and your choice of sides.

For more gut-nourishing recipe ideas – check out The Beauty Chef Gut Guide which is out now!