Chia seeds (salvia hispanica) have become one of the most popular superfoods in the fitness and health community. They’re easy to digest when prepared properly and a very versatile ingredient that can be easily used in recipes. The benefits of chia seeds are indeed plentiful.
History of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds were originally a best kept secret but has gained popularity in recent years. These tiny black and white seeds have a long history. They were grown in Mexico and South America, chia seeds are said to have been used by Mayan and Aztec cultures for supernatural powers. Chia means “strength” in the Mayan language. They were also known as the “Indian Running Food” because runners and warriors would use them for sustenance while running long distances or during battle.
Benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, antioxidants, and calcium. Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body as seeds.
They give you tons of energy but also won’t keep you awake at night and are supposed to be great for weight loss. This is apparently due to the fact that they can absorb many times their size/weight in liquid. Chia seeds are also excellent for avoiding dehydration during exercise or exposure to heat.
But Wait, There’s A Down Side
Chia seeds contain compounds called phytates that block the absorption of certain nutrients. These anti-nutrients are the reason that many ancient cultures soaked and fermented grains and seeds prior to eating them. There is also some evidence that soaking and rinsing the seeds may help reduce the levels of these compounds. The good news is that when used in moderation there isn’t a need to worry too much about their phytate content.
Uses For Chia Seeds
Depending on the required texture, there are several ways to use them in the kitchen :-
Thicken gravies and sauces
Homemade energy gel
Bread chicken or fish
Grain free crackers
My Fav Chia Seed Recipes
These are just a few of my fav chia seeds recipes, but pop over to my Instagram account to see why my cupboard is always stocked with Chia Seeds
When Women’s Health SA advertised late last year that Fit Night Out, Cape Town was on the cards for early 2018, I had a serious case of FOMO and very impulsively decided to book my ticket. Maybe this is the point where I mention that I actually live in Johannesburg. Travel all the way for a fitness event? I hear you ask. Well who wouldn’t when #FNO is a gathering of women from all walks of life who do so in the name of fitness and fun. Women’s Health has created a platform that is all about women empowerment, self-acceptance and love and a whole lot of letting your hair down, getting your beautiful bodies moving and building up a sweat. In short, FNO is an epic workout party and one you seriously shouldn’t miss.
The weekend finally arrived and I hopped onto a plane headed to the Mother City for some fun in the sun. Little did I know that I would be presented with an opportunity to hang with and interview fitness experts who inspire and motivate me. This was truly the stuff dreams are made of and I was absolutely beside myself. I mean I was spending a weekend with my amazing friends, they were going to experience my lifestyle change in person (instead of on Instagram) and …. I was getting to meet the people who have impacted my life in the most profound way.
With approximately 1700 women in attendance, almost doubling 2017’s register, it was a truly magnificent summer’s day with DJ Zar pumping out the coolest of the coolest tunes. As the sun blazed down upon us ladies, the rhythm took control and as energy levels increased, uncertainty and nervousness washed away for the first-timers readying us for an amazing evening of fitness fun.
The event kicked off with Grid workouts at the Virgin Active stand, photo ops at the Shield stand and some retail therapy at the Adidas store.
An impressive line up of some of SA’s top fitness experts was scheduled for the night.
Ceri Hannan and his team kicked of the night with an energising warm-up.
Women’s Health #NextFitStar Inge Viljoen took us back in time with an 80’s aerobic workout.
Additional intense workouts by Queen Fitnass, Takkies and Fitness Bunnie got the ladies moving at the Shield Stage while Siv N and Aneeke aka FitGirlZA amped things up on the other end at the Powerade stage.
Boy oh boy, did the #FITSQUAD bring the heat. What better ambassadors than these three remarkable fitness experts, to put Shield’s Invisible Black & White range to the test of all tests. These ladies are absolute powerhouses and are always on the move. Fit Night Out was no exception.
QueenFitnass performed several demonstrations and if you follow her on Instagram, you will know that this titan of a woman knows no limits and its easy to see that #NeverDone is the epitome of everything she encompasses. Having recently given birth to a beautiful baby girl, sexy fit mom Takkies helped the ladies get in touch with their sexy selves. This Creator/Founder of Rockingnheels Dance Workout and choreographer showed off her moves and the ladies were keen to follow suit. Takkies is an excellent example for all women out there that there are #NoExcuses. She is real and oh so relatable. Last but most certainly not least of the #FitSquad is Sbahle aka FitnessBunnie. Her high intensity workout had the ladies pretty much in it to win it … of course I’m referring to the spot prizes that Shield handed out on the day. She was relentless and pushed the ladies to give it their absolute all. Aside from her demonstration, FitnessBunnie was also wonderfully supportive, encouraging and dancing alongside her #FitSquad when they performed on stage. If fitness videos and meal guides are what you’re after then this entrepreneur and fitness expert is indeed the one to follow.
Shields latest innovation for the invisible range is “specially formulated with Clearex and Micro-Crystal technology. As a result it offers less product buildup with the same 48-hour protection – so your clothes stay protected and so do you”. The fact that almost everyone in attendance was dressed in black and white, really made this the perfect opportunity to determine if Shield’s latest innovation was all it’s cracked up to be. So it was exceptionally apt that the awesome goodie bags we received, contained Shield Products so all the ladies were indeed #ShieldReady for Fit Night Out.
Low and behold, after 7 hours of working out and running around taking pics as well as conducting interviews, I can honestly say no white marks on black tops; no yellow stains on my FNO white vest and despite me sweating up a storm, I was and definitely felt protected.
One of the trending topics in terms of health and wellness at the moment is “Gut Health” but what exactly does this mean. Well basically it’s the balance of good and bad bacteria living in the digestive tract.
To find this achievable state you need to feed your good bacteria and starve the less desirable bacteria. In other words you would need to swap processed foods, breads and pastas for more plants, fruit, seeds and nuts. You would also have to add fermented foods like yoghurt, kombucha, kimchi and kefir to your diet. These items naturally contain probiotics and/or healthy bacteria.
There are 100 trillion bacteria in your body, and most of them are in your intestines. What you eat determines what kind of bacteria enters your gut, this is why its crucial to realize that what you put in there has long-term effects. According to Nava, a Health and Vitality Center, the stomach is like a second brain which can affect your mood, energy levels, libido, creative output and etc. – The Huffington Post
Possible Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
Digestive issues like bloating, diarrhoea & gas
Food allergies or sensitivities
Mood swings, irritability
Poor memory and concentration, ADD or ADHD
Skin problems like eczema
What to Eat to Improve Your Gut Health
Apple Cider Vinegar – helps your body create hydrochloric acid, which is a beneficial belly acid that helps digest fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
Kombucha – the most natural way to get a buzz, it’s probiotic-packed meaning it’s good for your gut.
Dairy or Lactose-free yoghurts– made from almond, soy, or rice milk are much easier for people to digest than their dairy counterparts.
Fermented Coffee – Drinking coffee can improve athletic performance, particularly for endurance sports so you should drink it before your workouts for energy.
Sauerkraut – is a naturally fermented food that has micro-organisms which crowds out bad bacteria in the gut and allows the beneficial gut flora to flourish.
Mangos – have been shown to help keep the good bacteria in your gut alive.
Kefir – is great for your gut as it usually contains at least 10 live and active strains of bacteria, compared to most yoghurts which usually have three.
Sprouted Grains – The process involved in making sprouted grain bread products makes it easier for some people to digest rather than other traditional wheat products, which in turn makes it easier for nutrients to be absorbed into the body
Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid that is an antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-fungal.
Wild Salmon – has an abundant source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is critical for healing an inflamed gut and preventing future episodes.
Garlic – is a wonderful prebiotic and even better when eaten raw.
Miso – aside from being a good source of protein and fibre, it’s rich in probiotics meaning it can help treat intestinal disorders.
Chocolate -raw and certified organic, prebiotic and probiotic enhanced chocolate bars the most delicious way to get your prebiotic and probiotic fix.
Collagen – is one of the largest proteins in our bodies—in fact, it’s what basically keeps our body together.
Bone broth – is a stock made from the bones and marrow of a chicken or cow and it’s slow cooked for 24-72 hours.
Onions – as well as Jerusalem artichokes and chicory are high in prebiotics, which will help promote the growth of good bacteria. To make the most of these nutrient-rich foods you’ll want to avoid as many refined foods (think white flour and white sugar-based anything), which feed the bacteria in our gut that we don’t want.
Kvass – beverage commonly made from rye bread, meaning it’s filled with digestive health benefits.
High Fibre Foods – like artichokes, green peas, lentils, black and lima beans, almonds raspberries, and apples are a great addition to your diet.
Kimchi – is rich in probiotics and excellent at keeping things moving in your digestive tract.
Yoghurt– Grass-fed, full-fat and plain (no sugar added) yoghurt has a very high amount of beneficial probiotics.
Improved Gut Health Can Aid:
Immune function (80% of our immune system is located in the gut!)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Symptoms of anger, sadness and depression
Toxin levels in the body
In the past I never gave my gut a second thought, but with time and research I’ve come to learn otherwise. It is important for us to acknowledge and understand the effects of gut health on our bodies both mentally and physically, in doing so we will need to optimise our gut health in more innovative ways.
The nature reserve is situated on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Yes, an actual nature reserve in the middle of a concrete jungle and the beautiful suburb of Lonehill makes for the perfect settings. The entrance to the Reserve can be found at the dead-end on Calderwood Road.
A few years ago we decided that we were going to swap birthday parties for new experiences and adventuring. It was definitely the best decision we have ever made. Seeing as my eldest son was celebrating his birthday we decided to go on a hike and do some fishing at the Lonehill Nature Reserve. After some research we were convinced that taking the “Granny path” was the right decision to make considering we had kids on the hike starting from the age of 7. So we entered the reserve and made our way to an isolated picnic bench at the foot of Lonehill Koppie. Signage in the reserve is seriously lacking and all we could find were white arrows on the rocks. We however couldn’t figure out which was the Granny path and decided to just wing it. The kids, filled with excitement and enthusiasm raced up ahead. I what I would do to have that kind of energy and zest for life.
The steep, jagged rocks made this hike up, rather challenging. Within a few minutes we simultaneously asked each other if anyone knew a granny fit enough to make her way up this “far from even path”, then decided we would be bringing my hubby back to do this hike when he turns 55 (he was the event coordinator on this occasion which is normally my job). This hike is definitely not meant for inflexible people with short legs (referring to myself), because I honestly found myself crawling more than climbing. All the reading I had done prior to our visit, mentioned and some even warned about the local dassies, but all we came across was dassie poop and lots of it. It was rather extra and had the kids screaming that the place smelt like a pig farm. I must admit it got them to the top much quicker than expected.
We made our way through a collection of boulders, and had to use ladders to get to the very top. The first ladder was missing a rung which saw my hubby drag us ladies onto the top of the boulder. See what I meant earlier when I spoke about short legs ?!?! Ascending another ladder saw us reach the very top. As the slight breeze washed over our faces we sat there taking in the beautiful views of Johannesburg. The kids were super excited because they could see Monte Casino and the Mall of Africa from up there Now what makes you think these are city kids? We also saw many beautiful birds and several lizards, but no dassies. The kids loved the nooks and crannies of the found at the boulders.
We made our way down but holy hell …. it was steep and I definitely felt it on my knees the day after. The perks of having a big bum is that it was easy and safer sliding down those boulders. Our way down was much easier than the way up that’s for sure. Within a few short minutes we were done with the hike. I have to admit that we were left feeling rather disappointed. We were in the swing of things and our sense of adventure was crying out for more.
All in all it was a fun hike especially perfect for little kids as it isn’t too long. I love that the Nature Reserve is directly next to the park, which is where we ending up spending the rest of the day. The adults chilled under the trees while the kids fished at the little lake and played. A fun family outing that I would highly recommend especially for families with kids.
Seeing as I’m not the greatest fan of H2O, I occasionally enjoy drinking something other than water. So after much research, I really struggled to find something to drink that fitted my healthy lifestyle and eating plan … that was until I came across Über Flavour Craft Ice Tea.
This locally manufactured brew is made with Rooibos grown north of the Mother City and the natural flavours are added during the brewing process. Über Flavour states that there is “no lingering aftertaste, just a refreshed palate” and I totally have to agree.
What’s in the bottle?
This 100% Natural Craft Rooibos Ice Tea boasts
No added sugar
Rich in antioxidants
Benefits of Rooibos
Aids in Digestion
Helps You Lose Weight
Improves Heart Health
Keeps Skin and Hair Young
May Prevent Cancer
Packed with Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Properties
Supports Strong Bones
Treats and May Prevent Diabetes
Über Flavour Craft Ice Tea comes in four blends that consist of caffeine-free Rooibos tea, freshly squeezed juices and other natural flavours. Seeing as my kids are my reference point when it comes to healthy alternatives, I conducted a little experiment. We did a craft ice tea tasting where they got to rate the different flavours. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my kids loved the ice-tea as much as I did. The Honey & Lemon, as well as the Apple & Cinnamon were a hit with the boys and I, while my hubby’s favourite was the Berry & Buchu.
Yes, the packaging makes it look like a craft beer, but that’s probably what makes this the ideal festival drink for non-drinkers. No more FOMO that’s for sure when you are out partying up a storm with your friends.
What I failed to mention earlier is that I actually hate tea and that included ice-tea, but this craft ice-tea is just something else. With a taste so refined and jammed packed with wholesome goodness, it’s no wonder I have been converted.
I absolutely love that it fits into my lifestyle and that it’s healthy enough for my kids too. Über Flavour Craft Ice Tea has definitely brought guilt-free variety into my life. Best of all I love supporting local brands and this Proudly South African one is uber cool indeed.