Milk-free avocado chocolate ice-cream

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Fancy a healthy home-made ice-cream? Healthy and ice-cream do not have to be mutually exclusive. I’ve made this recipe twice now and I like how I can use overripe avocados to make a dessert. This recipe also uses coconut milk so it’s good for the lactose intolerant. I don’t have an ice-cream maker so I use my blender.

The ingredients are as below to get slightly less than 2 litres of ice-cream. Use half the ingredients if you prefer less ice-cream.

Avocado ice cream

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 800 ml coconut milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons of maple syrup (more if you prefer a sweeter taste)
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

1. Place the avocados, coconut milk, maple syrup and water in the blender. Blend for 30 seconds or until smooth.

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2. Add the cocoa powder into the mix. Blend for another 20 seconds.

Avocado ice cream

3. Pour the mixture into any container you like

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4. Let the ice-cream freeze for a few hours. Don’t do what I did and take the ice-cream out after one hour. The ice-cream turned out less firm that I would have liked. The subsequent batches were better because they were fully frozen. Leave them to thaw for about five minutes before tucking into the rich goodness.

Chocolate avocado

And voila, a simple and nutritious dessert to feed your tummy and soul.

How a juice fast made me slightly food obsessed

This is a guest post by Barbara, a good friend of mine who signed up for a three-day juice cleanse with a juicery. She spent $240 for 24 bottles over three days. Here is her experience diary-style, showing you her thoughts over the hours and days.

Juice Cleanse Diary Day 1: Rookie Cleanse

a juicery

8am: I’m quite excited to be starting on my cleanse! I set my alarm to go off earlier so that I could prepare my lemon water.

8.15am: I gulp down my cup of warm water with lemon. I thought it would be acidic, but the warm water is very comforting for my stomach and the lemon cleanses my tongue. I am not sure how much lemon to put, so I just throw in two small slices.

dr green tonic

9am: I start on my first bottle of juice Dr Green Tonic. It has bok choy, celery, cucumber, romaine, spinach, apple and lemon, but what I can taste most of the time are celery, cucumber and lemon.

citrus ninja

10.55am: I’m feeling a little peckish now.. Time for bottle no. 2 – Citrus Ninja! This has apple, orange, grapefruit, turmeric, lemon and cayenne pepper. This is really nice and somehow the bitterness of the grapefruit and the hot kick of the cayenne pepper goes well together.

12.37pm: On the advice of my friend who has had experience with a juice cleanse, I have been sipping my juices slowly instead of gulping. Otherwise, I may feel hungry! I finish the last drop in bottle 2. Think I need to get started on bottle 3 soon! I am starting to feel slight hunger pangs after accompanying my colleague for her lunch takeout and was walking along all these food stalls with yummy stuff.

smells like green spirit

12.58pm: I open the third bottle, Smells Like Green Spirit. This has Bok Choy, Sweet Potato Leaves, Romaine, Apple, Pineapple, Ginger and Coconut water. There is a nice green taste and the ginger comes through as well. Another trick I’ve been doing? I pour water into the juice bottle after I’m done and drink the water so as not to waste any of the goodness.. 😛

sweet renegade

 

2.35pm: Time for the 4th bottle! Yay! Sweet Renegade has carrot, sweet potato, ginger, tumeric, apple and lemon. It’s cold in the office so I’m taking out the bottle slightly earlier to “defrost”.

2.43pm: I can taste the sweet potato, carrot, turmeric and lemon. This one is really yummy. So far, I’ve been looking forward to opening each bottle and savoring the contents.

3.33pm: I’m not hungry but I think I’m hungry. I want some food! I’m supposed to get my next juice at 5pm! Trying to drink some ginseng tea now. I assume that’s allowed?

5pm: I stare at my watch and am aware of the gnawing feeling in my tummy. Darn, this meeting is still going on…..

lemon drops

5.40pm: I get back from my meeting and I’m absolutely starving. I’m 40 minutes overdue for my juice! I take a big gulp of Lemon Drops. I think I’m starting to dream of solid food because this tastes like my mum’s soy sauce ginger chicken. There is definitely NO chicken in this and it has lemon, ginger, mint, filtered water and coconut sugar. Now I know a vegan substitute!

6pm: I meet my husband for dinner but I’m really just watching him eat while I sip my Lemon Drops. He offers me his food, which looks really tempting. Maybe just one spoon? That little voice in my head says. I politely decline and sip more of my Lemon Drops and wish they were really soya sauce ginger chicken.

the real cool aid

7pm: Still feeling like I need to eat something and my tummy is growling just ever so slightly. Bottle 6 is my absolutely favorite. The Real Cool Aid has pear, lotus root, water chestnut, lemongrass and coconut water. But it tastes like lychees which I love! This was the juice that won me over to A Juicery. Ok, off to the tennis court to distract my mind from food.

8.28pm: Done with tennis and some stretching. Tummy is growling again!

Super G

8.51pm: 7th bottle of juice! At this rate, I need 10 of ’em. Super G has kai lan, cucumber, Napa cabbage, watercress, lemon and coconut water. I find the lemon taste a little too strong and wish for more taste of the greens. But anyhow, I can taste the napa cabbage and watercress in this. I shall do some stretching to take my mind off being hungry.

coco cloud

10pm: I am finally not hungry!! And it’s time for the last bottle! Coco Cloud has cashew, coconut meat, cinnamon, coconut sugar, vanilla and filtered water. Tastes like a snickerdoodle cookie which is basically a cinnamon sugar cookie. The coconut meat makes the drink taste like a smoothie. Maybe this should be a mid-day drink instead!

10.20pm: I have been sipping my coco cloud happily but I don’t really like eating too near to bed time so I gulp down the remaining half bottle. Time for bed!

Juice Cleanse Diary Day 2: Fanatic Cleanse

I decided on two days of the Rookie Cleanse and one day of the Fanatic Cleanse so I can switch things up with different bottles of juice. The Fanatic Cleanse also has eight juices, but several bottles are slightly different.

8.40am: I’m late!! I forgot to set my alarm! No time for lemon water.

9am: I’m on a cab to work and I realise I don’t feel hungry! The Coco Cloud yesterday must have worked wonders. Then, I notice a picture of a mackerel, then an otak. That orangey slab of fish meat looks delish and I could do with one now. But it’s day 2! Holding on!

9:45am: I take my first sip of the first bottle of the day – Dr Green Tonic. This is the same starting juice as the Rookie Cleanse.

marmalade skies

11am: Bottle number 2 is Marmalade Skies and this has carrot, lime, mint, orange and pineapple. This tastes like a cocktail and is super yummy because I love all the ingredients. Also, I’m still not hungry! Yay!

12.52pm: Ok, those hunger pangs are starting to set in… Time for bottle 3, Smells like Green Spirit. Starting to think of food again…

1pm: I sit down with my colleague while she has a nice steaming hot bowl of Korean kimchi soup. They give her banchan (complimentary sides) meant for two but I obviously can’t eat them… Boo! I sip my juice and stare longingly at the leftover kimchi.

never miss a beet

2.45pm: Still kind of hungry, but maybe it’s more in my mind than in my body. Bottle 4 is a different one, Never Miss a Beet. There’s beetroot, carrot, kai lan, ginger, pear, pineapple and lemon.

evergreen potion

4.57pm: Definitely hungry now, but I’m getting busy at work so I don’t have as much time to think about it. Bottle number 5 is also different, and it’s Evergreen Potion. This has celery, chyesim, wheatgrass, aloe and orange. The celery taste is pretty strong!

5.20pm: I meet Paleorina for a cuppa tea and I debate between an earl grey lavender and a green rooibos. Since I’m advised not to have caffeine, I go with the green rooibos. I sip my Evergreen Potion in between the tea.

6pm: I’m still feeling hungry. I debate whether I should go to the gym. I decide I will to take my mind off eating.

6.30pm: I go to the gym and bring bottle number 6 Lemon Drops with me. I power through my Fitness Blender lower strength workout and I am not tired! It still amazes me how I’m still able to workout whilst subsisting on juices. So we really don’t need that many calories after all.

7.44pm: As I leave the gym sipping my Lemon Drops, I pass by some bars and I smell PIZZA!!!! Too bad girl. Drink up your ginger soya sauce chicken, says the voice in my head.

7.55pm: I’m really just greedy. I’m not hungry now but someone in the train mentions “..Prata shop…” and my mind starts racing. “Prata?? Prata!!! Where?? I want one now!!” And to make things worse, a lovely Indian lady has a nice smelling box of Indian takeaway that I swear smells more and more like prata to me.

8.45pm: I think the Devil is out to tempt me. I’m in a cab and it smells heavenly. I tell the driver there’s a nice smell and he seems to think I am being sarcastic. I convince him that I can smell some nice food and he says “I packed some Hokkien mee.” It’s time for my 7th bottle, Super G. I taste cucumber and the coconut water. It’s no Hokkien mee, but it’ll do for now.

9.10pm: I work on my assignments for my upcoming yoga teacher training as a way to distract my mind and sip more Super G.

10.10pm: Time for my last bottle Coco Cloud. I put in a request earlier to swap out one of my Coco Clouds to a Choco Sutra but I guess they forgot. I have also been looking at pictures of Japanese food in Hokkaido on a food blog but I think I should stop. No more mind games! Day 2 is almost done!

I seem to be permanently cold from all the cold juices so I make myself a “Healthy Fasting” yogi tea, which consists of herbs like licorice, burdock and fennel. Unfortunately, I don’t feel any fuller from the tea.

Juice Cleanse Diary Day 3: Rookie Cleanse

8.00am: I try to get out of bed but am feeling super lethargic and tired and cold. I decide to continue sleeping.

9am: Oops, I overslept and jump out of bed. No time for warm lemon water.

10:20am: I’m not hungry, which is surprising again, but food is definitely still on my mind. Back to the rookie cleanse and it’s Dr Green Tonic. It’s a great juice for the morning as it wakes me up with the celery and slight hint of lemon but in a gentle way. I’m also kinda happy that I get to drink my next bottle soon!

10.57am: Starting on bottle 2, Citrus Ninja! Loving the mix here and I can taste the orange, grapefruit, turmeric and cayenne pepper.

12.31pm: I got busy at work and that took my mind off food. I’ve taken my third bottle Smells like Green Spirit out of the fridge so that it’s less cold and it’s also looking less green than the previous days. I think it’s starting to oxidise! Someone is eating food on my floor and the smell is coming through the aircon vents… Food food food….

12.47pm: I’m going to start sipping the juice!

2.30pm: Now its time for Sweet Renegade. I share some with my colleague who thinks it tastes pretty nice too! I take a walk to the fruit shop and buy a canteloupe for Sunday. Can’t wait to eat it!

4.08pm: And now for my all time favourite, The Real Cool Aid. Lychee in a bottle! Yummmmm

5pm: And I’m gonna drink bottle number 7 before 6 because I’ve decided to eat dinner tonight! So this is Super G. My husband wants to do dinner with me and it will really suck to just watch him eat. Life is too short to miss out on food. 😛

I shall keep Lemon Drops and Coco Cloud for breakfast tomorrow as I feel they can last longer since there are no veggies in them.

Barbara’s conclusion: Would I do this again? Maybe just a one-day or two-day cleanse. Three days were really hard since I would still like to be able to exercise. I didn’t feel lighter or clearer in the mind like other people have experienced but my stomach was definitely not bloated. (I have irritable bowel syndrome.) In fact, my stomach was mostly feeling slightly hollow. My portion control has been getting out of hand and the cleanse has been really useful in resetting that as I feel full pretty quickly when eating regular meals. Hopefully this will last! All in all, I really enjoyed the juices and there wasn’t single one I didn’t like. Really yummy!

Paleorina’s thoughts: I’m so glad that my friend shared her experience with me on this blog! I would never do a juice fast myself because I know that restricting food would make me slightly deranged. I am okay with having smoothies for meals as the fibre helps to fill the tummy but I imagine that a juice fast is too much for me. If you have tried a juice or smoothie fast, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Why I am eating less meat than before

Paleo diets tend to be synonymous with meat eating. Mark’s Daily Apple, for example, recommends that meat, fish, fowl and eggs make up the bulk of one’s caloric intake. Eating meat every day, or even at every meal, would not be out of place in a paleo diet.

When I first started my paleo journey, I feasted on all sorts of meat, from Korean BBQ pork to juicy slabs of steak. I even started eating meat for breakfast, which was very unusual for me. Then my body got really sick of all the meat and I practically went vegetarian for two weeks after that because I couldn’t stand the thought of another chicken wing.

Today, I eat far less meat than before. And after watching several documentaries recently, I am even more convinced that I should minimise my meat intake. There are several reasons:

  • The livestock industry does more harm to the environment than transport

Livestock is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, which is a higher share than transport, according to a 2006 UN report. Raising animals for consumption also contributes greatly to deforestation, with 70% of previous forested land in the Amazon occupied by pastures. I almost cannot believe it but apparently livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land area. The documentary Cowspiracy, which was an eye opener for me, talks about these environmental effects.

Source: Foodwatch
Source: Foodwatch

This problem is only going to get worse as countries become wealthier and demand for more meat. In particular, I foresee China contributing massively to the demand for meat. Already, they are the world’s largest pork consumer. Continue reading Why I am eating less meat than before

Nut butters made in Singapore

Nuts are great for your health. I love my nut butters and I usually buy them from Melrose or Meridian. They sell everything from almond to macadamia butter. Now, instead of buying them from foreign brands, we can reduce our carbon footprint and at the same time, support local butter churners.

One such company is Nuts About Butter, which creates their butters using baked nuts, raw honey and sea salt. They have three different flavours: almond, almond macadamia and almond sesame. You can buy them in full sized jars or small little cute ones like these below.

Nuts About Butter

I have never had nut butters with sweeteners before. The honey was a nice addition because it balanced out the creaminess of the nuts.

Blender in action
Nuts are blended into a creamy paste

Nuts about Butter can be purchased at:

On my recent trip to the Kranji Countryside Farmers’ market, I also came across nut butters made by The Hunters’ Kitchenette. Continue reading Nut butters made in Singapore

How to pan fry pumpkin seeds

Guest post by Paleozilla

Pumpkins are great for roasting, making soup and carving for Halloween. But the often overlooked seeds tend to get thrown away in the process. Here is how you can pan fry pumpkin seeds and eat them for a tasty and healthy snack.

1. First, remove the seeds from other pumpkin. Try to remove all the pumpkin flesh. Although I fry the seeds together with the pumpkin flesh on occasion, the moisture means that the seeds can go soggy rather than crispy.

pumpkin

2. Place the seeds in a separate dish or kitchen paper. These little kernels are packed with vitamins and minerals and are a great source of fibre.

pumpkin seeds

3. Scoop about a tablespoon of oil in a pan. Wait until the oil becomes hot and starts to evaporate. Add the pumpkin seeds and shallow fry until they are brown and crispy on the outside. Continue reading How to pan fry pumpkin seeds

Eat the right cheese

“Why is this cheese so expensive?” said my friend Jenny, frowning as she picked up a box of Camembert cheese at Fairprice supermarket.

We were doing some grocery shopping with her one-year old son Aidan and we were faced with a wide array of different cheeses, ranging from sophisticated French cheeses to slices of Kraft.

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Being the food guru I was, I proceeded to explain to her that good cheeses contained just milk, bacteria and a coagulant such as acetic acid (from vinegar) or rennet (produced in stomachs of mammals to digest milk). According to ancient stories, cheese was first created when a trader put his supply of milk into a pouch made from a sheep’s stomach and he set out across the dessert. The heat from the sun, combined with the rennet in the lining of the pouch, caused the milk to separate into curd (cheese) and whey. So cheese has a very natural beginning.

One example of a cheese made like that is gouda, which is a Dutch hard cheese.

Gouda is a Dutch cheese made from cow's milk
Gouda is a Dutch cheese made from cow’s milk

The ingredients of gouda are milk, salt, cultures, rennet.

Simple ingredients
Simple ingredients

“I want a baby cheese,” said Jenny.

“I don’t think baby cheese is necessarily better,” I replied, “It’s probably just the packaging that looks cute.” Continue reading Eat the right cheese

How to cook chicken soup from scratch

Hi everyone, this is a guest post from Paleozilla, who will teach us how to cook a simple chicken soup. Be sure to get the best chicken you can get to make this a truly nutritious dish. Try to get free-range chicken or as a compromise, Sakura chicken, which is hormone free, live in a temperature-controlled, clean environment with enough space for them to roam about while listening to Mozart. Yes, Mozart…!

Simple Chicken Soup From Scratch for 3-4 People.
Preparation time 5-10 mins.
Cooking time 1.5 – 2.0 hours on a low heat.
Difficulty – very easy! Little preparation, just top up the water as you go along.

“As it says in the title, this is a simple way to make chicken soup from scratch and feeds 3-4 people. The recipe is a simple version of an English chicken soup that I grew up with. Chicken soup is a great recipe as it is easy to prepare and most of all because you get the very most out of your chicken with no waste at all. Furthermore, all the chicken innards, which have a lot of goodness but not everyone likes to eat separately, help to make the soup. Additionally this recipe is great because if you need to feed more people it is easy, follow the same steps with a bigger chicken and add more veggies. In fact, the recipe below is very simple and you can easily add more vegetables as you like; potato, leek, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, parsnip (for those in Europe), daikon radish (for those in Asia), beans, peas and so on. Stick to the harder type veggies such as root vegies as they will be cooked for a long time. To make sure it is chicken soup it is better not to use veggies that will disintegrate into the soup and flavor it too much such as squash or pumpkin.” – Tom

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2-3 large carrots
  • 1-2 onions
  • 2-3 sticks of celery
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves, handful of thyme
  • 4 pinches each of salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. Start with an entire chicken. Just be certain it is clean inside; rinse any excess blood out. I did not use the head but the neck, innards and claws all went in – all tasty goodness!

Chicken soup 1

Preparation is dead simple – the chicken needs little prep, only to be washed and the head to be cut off. The veggies want each end cut off. The onion and garlic need peeling, of course, but the carrot does not. Cut the veggies roughly into large pieces. Do not cut them too small as they will be cooked for 1.5 hours.

2. Pour the olive oil into the bottom of a large pan. Put the whole chicken into the pan and brown it on both sides. This should take a matter of a few minutes each side.

3. Remove the chicken and set it aside for now.

4. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the same oil and sweat the vegetables for 5-6 minutes.

5. Now put the chicken back into the pot on top of the vegetables and add enough cold water to cover the chicken entirely. Now season the soup with the bay leaves, a handful of thyme and 4 pinches each of salt and black pepper.

Chicken soup 2
The chicken is browned to give it more flavour

6. Close the lid and cook slowly on a medium-low heat for as long as it takes for the chicken meat to start to fall off the bone, approximately 1.5 – 2.0 hours on a low heat. The pot must be closed to retain the water. Continue reading How to cook chicken soup from scratch

Review: Mae Ploy Thai green curry paste

Fancy a quick Thai green curry without the hassle of buying all the herbs and slaving over the dish for hours? I certainly do because I love Thai curries and I know how to make one from scratch but always balk at the idea of the number of ingredients needed for just one dish.

To make my “instant” green curry, I employed the help of Mae Ploy Thai green curry paste, which contains no sugar so it’s very paleo friendly and great for low-carb diets.

The ingredients are: green chillies, garlic, shallot, lemongrass, salt, galangal, shrimp paste, kaffir lime peel, coriander seed, pepper, cumin and turmeric.

Mae Ploy green curry paste and coconut milk
Mae Ploy green curry paste and coconut milk

When you open the 400 gram tub, you will see the curry paste in a thick plastic bag. I cut it open and squeezed out a quarter of the bag (100 gram of paste) into a pan, along with a small 200 gram packet of coconut cream. Fry the cream and paste together. You will be greeted with the most amazing aroma of Thai spices.

After frying for one minute, add the second packet of coconut milk. So now you have 100 gram of paste, and 400 gram of coconut milk. Bring to a boil.

Now you can add your meat, tofu and vegetables. As you stir them in, add 1 cup of water.

I added ingredients into the mix
I added ingredients into the mix

This step is completely unnecessary but to add extra flavour, I fried tomatoes and garlic in a separate pan before adding them to the curry. Continue reading Review: Mae Ploy Thai green curry paste

Before and after: how a low-carb, high-fat diet changed my life

Happy 2015 everyone! Today we have a guest post from my friend Adrian who changed his life on a low-carb, high-fat diet. Here is his story.

Before I started my low-carb regiment in December 2012, I would catch a flu bug once every two to three months. When I visited the doctor, he would give me the same cough syrup and pills to suppress my cough, fever and joint aches. I was extremely overweight with body mass index (BMI) of 31.7; I weighed 95 kg on my 173 cm frame. I suffered from borderline hypertension and high cholesterol. Even climbing two flights of stairs or brisk walking would cause me to be out of breath.

Screenshot_2015-01-07-20-31-26

After visiting the doctor for the umpteenth time about my cough, I was given two options: one, to start exercising or two, to be prescribed a medication to help lower my blood pressure. I chose the first option and started running on a daily basis.

My weight fell from 95 kg to 87 kg but soon plateaued. I ran more, ran faster and even introduced resistance training into my exercise regime but the weight refused to budge. At that time, I was still eating the typical USDA-recommended diet, with more than two-thirds of my calories coming from rice, pasta and bread.

It was only after I read “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes did I suspect that my high-carb diet was keeping me from reaching my ideal weight. In his book, Taubes argued that the best diet is one loaded with protein and fat but very low in carbohydrates. Most health problems are due to refined carbohydrates, which raise insulin levels and promote the storage of fat. Hence, it is not so much about the quantity of calories we eat but the type of calories.

To overhaul my diet, I focused initially on cutting all refined carbs and grains, which were overloading my pancreas and causing my body to accumulate fat. A typical dinner would consist of a slab of meat – be it chicken thigh, grass-fed steak or pork chop – and accompanied by some greens and a handful of nuts. For breakfast, I would eat eggs, a lot of unsweetened cheese, such as gouda, brie, cheddar, camembert, port salut, emmental, comtĂ©, sausages, full-fat Greek yoghurt or Paleorina’s grain-free bread with peanut butter. Continue reading Before and after: how a low-carb, high-fat diet changed my life

Review: Spinacas – salads delivered right to your doorstep

Some days I’m so busy at work that I don’t even have time to step out from my office to buy food. When I’m ready to buy lunch at 1230pm, I can’t go to my favourite salad places because of the long queues. Queuing up for 20 minutes to get a bowl of spinach is not what I want to do at lunch!

You can beat the queue and have a nutritious meal delivered right to your doorstep with Spinacas. Not only do they have a physical stall at Chinatown, they also deliver your food for free for orders above $30.

Phyllis, who is the owner of Spinacas, kindly dropped by my office with two bowls of fresh salad on her cute red Vespa. I love her ride. I was expecting her to show up in a van but the bike was way cooler.

Spinacas_1
Yes, I can get used to a daily lunch delivery service

I ordered two different salads. One was the vegetarian ratatouille salad and the other was the BBQ pulled pork salad. The salad came in a plastic container, with the salad base separate from the “wet” ingredients i.e. the roasted vegetables and the pulled pork. The dressing was also placed in a separate round container.

I started with the lighter vegetarian salad. The wet ingredients, consisting of aubergine, zucchini and mushrooms cooked ratatouille-style and layered with a savory tomato sauce, came wrapped in a aluminum foil. I unwrapped the packet, which was quite a messy process, and placed the vegetables in the salad base.

Spinacas_3
Vegetarian Ratatouille

I followed up with some good tossing. Here, you can see the base ingredients of spinach, pickled red babbage, broccoli, hard boiled egg, cheddar cheese and nuts. The dressing was a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Continue reading Review: Spinacas – salads delivered right to your doorstep