Healthy Home Made Jam

Waking up on a cosy morning with rain falling gently outside, with nothing to do, but enjoy your morning? Those are honestly my favourite types of mornings. They don’t happen very often, so when they do make an unexpected return, I won’t waste a minute of it.

On these mornings, I like to plod along to the kitchen in my dressing gown, and make breakfast as quick and simple as I can, so I can get back into bed and enjoy the rain.

My go to on these days is: A cup of freshly brewed Earl Grey tea in my favourite large handmade ceramic mug, and a stack of delicious gluten free sour-dough toast slathered in butter and my homemade jam. They all go onto a tray and off back to bed I trot, to enjoy my simple breakfast while reading a magazine and listening to the rain pattering outside.

So why Homemade Jam vs Store-bought Jam?

When I first thought about making homemade jam, I thought it was going to be very time-consuming, full of sugar and honestly just not worth my time. But then I saw a 3 ingredient Jam recipe floating around and thought I could give that a go. This was at the beginning of the year, and I haven’t looked back since.

The idea that making Jam at home is old fashioned and will take a lot of effort and time, is just not true.

When I would buy jam from the shop, I always tried to get one that was more fruit than sugar. Keeping an eye on what is actually in your store-bought food, can be a real opener. All the unnecessary ingredients that are added to so many foods, can be a disaster for your health. Which is why making your own (where possible) is so important, and empowering.

When buying store-bought jam, the cheaper you go, the higher the sugar content. Next time you are at the store, have a look at the ingredients on the different brands of jams, and see which ones uses sugar (or a sugar syrup) as the first (and therefor the largest ingredient) in the jam. When going for high quality jam: aim for jams that have the least ingredients on the label and fruit as the first ingredient (meaning the jam will be mostly made from actual fruit).

So why go for homemade then?

Well like anything, having a input into your own food and diet is empowering and helps you to understand and appreciate what is going into your body with eat bite. When we make our own jam, we have control over the flavour, the quality and the nutritional value.

Recipe

Homemade Blueberry Jam

Ingredients:

2 cups frozen blueberries (or whatever fruit you choose)

2 tablespoons chia seeds (the gelling agent)

1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)

To make:

  1. Sterilise a jar to place your jam in once made. Make sure you sterilise the entire jar including the lid, so no cross contamination can occur.
  2. In a saucepan, add the blueberries and cover with a lid. Bring the blueberries to boil, then add in the maple syrup (if including), then reduce heat to a simmer for 10 minutes. (The blueberries will release their juice, helping to keep the berries from sticking to the saucepan, though you can give them a stir just to be on the safe side.)
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. With a potato masher, mash up the blueberries till a consistency you like. (You can keep it more chunky or remove all the chunks.)
  5. Remove the lid, and add the chia seeds to the mix, and stir in.
  6. Leave the mixture and let it sit in the saucepan off the heat, for 10-15 minutes.
  7. After the time is up, give your jam a taste test. If it is tasting good, transfer it straight into the jar, and pop into the fridge. If the mixture is too watery still, add in another tablespoon of chia seeds, mix in and allow to sit again. If the taste isn’t sweet enough for you, add in more maple syrup.
  8. Keep in your fridge for up to 1 week.
  9. Enjoy!

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Incompatible Foods

In our modern day society, especially here in Australia, we LOVE our food. Our social connections are dominated by food. Catch up for brunch? (avo smash anyone?) How about an alfresco dinner with family and friends – fire up the barbie (BBQ) and bring on the potato salad. Or even just some popcorn at the movies or a takeaway coffee on our morning walk. Food is a huge part of our social life and our life in general. We love our food.

But the question is:

“Is our food loving us back?”

The problem with our “foodie” culture – especially with the rise of the insta-foodie; we are more concerned whether our food looks amazing, rather than if it will make us feel amazing. There is so much information out there telling us what to eat, how to eat it, and what not to eat. The problem is: so much of this advice is conflicting. Like seriously, where do you start and who do you believe? Back in the day, we were told that drinking soft drink was good for us (seriously…) and that oil was bad for you, but now it is good for you? It is no wonder we are confused. My biggest advice when it comes to our food is trusting your intuition. Tune into your body and notice how food makes you feel. Do you feel sluggish after eating, or do you feel satisfied and energised? Another thing that can confuse us in choosing what to eat, is all the diets and fads that we get bombarded with daily. Do I go Paleo or Vegan? Should I try the Ketogenic diet or go all Raw?  A thing I truly love about Ayurveda is that does not have a one-size fit all approach to health and diet. We are all individuals, with our own personal genetic and energetic makeup. This means that what might work well for your friend or partner, won’t necessarily work for you.

 

One thing we often do not consider when thinking about how healthy food is for us is the combination of the food. We often think about the nutritional value and how much protein vs carbs there is, which is important of course. But thinking about what foods we are actually combining together to form our delicious healthy meal, is just as important. Not all foods should be eaten together. In Ayurveda, we call these the “wrong foods” combination or “incompatible foods”. These foods should not be eaten together, as they can cause toxins to build up in the body, or cause things like indigestion etc.  Whether we are eating out or making our meals, it is important to keep these food combinations in mind*.

* Quick side note: Something I have noticed people do when discovering these food-combinations is, that they become so fixated on avoiding them, that they create stress and guilt in their relationship with food. Please note these are guidelines, and to not punish yourself if you do have a combination on this list from time to time. Remember our thoughts and energy are just as important as our diet, if not more important.

Incompatible / Unhealthy Food Combinations

  • Lemon should not be consumed with yogurt, milk, cucumbers and tomatoes.
  • Grains and Melons – Melons digest faster than the heavy grains – which can cause indigestion and ama.
  • Milk and Meat Products  – Any type of meat (fish, beef etc) should not be mixed with milk. Milk is cooling while meats are heating.
  • Honey – Honey should only be taken uncooked. According to Ayurveda, when you heat honey, it turns into a toxin (ama). It also weakens/destroys enzymes, vitamins, minerals, etc.
  • Milk/Yoghurt with fruits – unless cooked (such as stews apples and pears). Fruits digest at a different rate from dairy products, which can cause indigestion and ama.
  • Milk and Banana. Yes, I know this will be harder one, especially for smoothie lovers! However together these two lower Agni (digestive fire) and produce Ama (toxins). This can cause allergies, congestion, coughs and tiredness to occur.
  • Milk and Melons – Melons are a fruit that should nearly always be consumed by itself.
  • Vegetable starches and Fruit – Fruit is a simple sugar, while starches are a complex sugar – which means they will digest at different times. Avoid eating these together. eg. Potatoes with fruit.
  • Nightshades (which are eggplants, potatoes, chillies, tomatoes etc) are not to be consumed with melons, cucumbers, milk + milk products.
  • Eggs should not be eaten with meat, banana, yogurt, melons, cheese, fish or milk.
  • Corn should not be eaten with fruit.
  • Salt and milk together should be avoided due to opposing qualities in the two.
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8 tips to help you get the best out of every meal

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When it comes to food it is not only what we eat, but also how we eat that plays a big part in our health and well-being. Our thoughts and our environment have just as much of an impact as the actual food we put into our body.

Here are a few tips to help you get the best out of every meal! 

 

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1. Before eating, take a moment to pause. Take a few deep breaths and give thanks for your food. This prepares your mind and body for the coming meal.

2. Avoid eating in stressful situations or on the move.

3. Avoid drinking cold liquids just before or during a meal, as this will dampen your digestive fire.

4. Avoid liquids in general during a meal as this can water down and dilute your digestive juices.

5. Chew each mouthful slowly. Putting your cutlery down after each bite is a great way to focus your attention on the mouthful you have rather than mindlessly swallowing to fit the next mouthful in.

6. Be mindful. Take in the beauty of your meal. Notice the smells, the tastes, how it looks, and how it feels in your mouth. This helps us to be in the moment and connected to our food.

7. After eating, give yourself time to digest for a few minutes before heading off to the next thing.

8. And lastly, truly enjoy your food! When we are eating things that we don’t like (even when they are healthy and good for us), this can have a negative impact on what we are eating and the effect it will have in our body.  Since our mind and body are one, when we think negatively about our meal, this causes our body to react negatively towards the food we’ve eaten, through indigestion and poor absorption. So bring love and joy to each meal, and let your food truly nourish you inside and out.

Every time you eat – is an opportunity to nourish your body.

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