Tips and tricks for choosing a good (for you) granola

Hidden beneath a mountain of fresh berries and gut-friendly yoghurt, granola is the picture of good health. But take a closer look and often you’ll be shocked to discover that your “healthy” start to the morning is actually loaded with sugar and high in calories – bet you wish you’d just been eating donuts.

Before you banish your maple oat clusters for good, granola CAN be a nutritious breakfast as oats are a good source of fibre and protein, while nuts are rich in omega-3 fats (the good stuff). As with any “health products”, wrapped in brown packaging and waving a gluten-free/raw/paleo flag, we must be mindful of marketing and check what’s on the label.

Tips and tricks for choosing a good (for you) granola

1. Check the sugar

Granolas can be laden with sugar. While some of the sugar content will come from dried fruit, the rest may be hiding under a pseudonym – molasses, brown rice syrup, agave and evaporated cane juice are all versions of the white stuff. Some natural sugars are good for us but as a rule of thumb, try to stick to six grams or less per serving and look for sugar additives in the ingredients.

2. Watch the calories

A healthier granola will sit around 200 calories per 45 gram serving but as with any food, assess what your daily diet requires and what you’re happy to forego on your morning meal.

3. Control your portion size

Typically, the ‘serving size’ for granola is smaller than that for muesli since granola is more dense. It is often around 35 to 45 grams, which, as much as we’d like it to, does not equate to a full bowl of grainy-goodness (unless you’re eating out of an egg cup). If you find a granola you love that is slightly higher in sugar/fat/calories than this guide suggests, perhaps alter your serving size rather than giving it up altogether or mix it with a healthy bran or wholegrain cereal.

4. Trim the fat

Granolas that are jam-packed with nuts and seeds provide a good source of unsaturated fats but sadly even these can add up. Ideally, look for those with two to three grams per 1/4 cup. This can be extremely difficult to find so we’ve done the hard work for you and sourced two of our favourites: Paleo Pure and Green Press Cereal Killer granola.

5. Source the oils

For muesli to transform into its tastier, naughtier alter-ego, granola, it needs to be baked, usually with oil. The oil used can make a huge difference to the nutritional value of the product. Many granolas list hydrogenated oils and palm oil which won’t do your heart any favours. Look for brands that use healthier alternatives like coconut or macadamia oil. For example, Byron Bay Macadamia Muesli.

6. Read the ingredients

In Australia, the national Food Standards Code dictates that the ingredients on food labels be listed in descending order of ingoing weight. In other words, if the number one ingredient is a form of sugar, oil or the like, pop it back on the shelf. Next, check for things you’ve never heard of and other sneaky fillers like inulin and soy protein isolate. If you’re struggling to pronounce it, chances are your system will struggle to digest it.

Are you really what you eat?

We all know that foods nourish our bodies and help us to glow from the inside out (hello veggies) and there are a raft of other foods we should try to avoid in our diet because of the damaging effects they can have on our health (sayonara processed junk a.k.a ‘fake’ food).

When it comes to what we eat and the link to cancer however, the information – especially in recent years – can be more confusing. Recent news headlines have lambasted some of the most common of tasty treats like bacon and other red meats, refined sugar and even white bread and other carbohydrates.

To set the record straight once and for all we asked Cancer Council to dish us up five facts about food and cancer. Research now shows that one third of cancers can be prevented by a healthy lifestyle, and key to this, says Cancer Council, is enjoying a healthy diet.

  1. Eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables are some of the best foods you can eat to reduce your risk of cancer as they’re rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. They are also low in kilojoules and therefore great food choices if you’re also trying to maintain or lose weight. There is no one ‘super’ fruit or vegetable that protects against cancer. Instead, try to ‘eat a rainbow’ –  it will help keep your diet interesting and give your body the best protection.

In terms of preparation, eating a combination of both cooked and raw vegetables is best, as there are some cancer-fighting agents which are better absorbed from cooked fruit or vegetables. Good methods of cooking include steaming, stir frying, grilling and roasting. These use as little water as possible preventing nutrients and vitamins leaching out into the water.

TIP: Aim for at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables each day.

  1. Load up on fibre

Evidence is now building for the importance of including wholegrain foods regularly in a cancer prevention diet, especially to help decrease the risk of bowel cancer. Consumption of fibre and wholegrains are also associated with a lower risk of common lifestyle diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Dietary fibre occurs naturally in foods such as wholegrain cereals, fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts and legumes.

TIP: Wholegrains such as wheat, brown rice, corn, oats, rye, barley, millet and sorghum are an important part of a healthy diet as they are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, protein, dietary fibre and protective phytochemicals.

  1. Limit red and processed meat intake

There is now a clear body of evidence that bowel cancer is more common among those who eat the most red and processed meat. The World Health Organization has classified processed meats – including ham, salami, sausages and hot dogs – as a class 1 carcinogen, which means that there is evidence that processed meats contribute towards cancer. Red meat, such as beef, lamb and pork has been classified as a ‘probable’ cause of cancer. However, with this being said, lean red meat can be an important source of iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and protein and in terms of cancer risk there is no reason to cut meat completely from your diet, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk. The Cancer Council recommends eating only moderate amounts of fresh lean red meat – a moderate intake of meat is 65-100g of cooked red meat, 3-4 times a week – and a limited amount or avoid eating processed meats, which are high in fat, salt and nitrates.

TIP: The following are examples of 1 serve of meat – this should roughly fit into the palm of your hand:

  • ½ cup mince
  • 2 small chops
  • 2 slices roast meat.

  1. Maintain a healthy body weight

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of ten types of cancer including breast (post-menopause), endometrial and ovarian cancers in women; bowel, oesophageal, liver, kidney, pancreatic and gallbladder cancers, as well as advanced prostate cancer in men. Being overweight also increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, gall bladder disease, gout, impaired fertility, lower back pain, osteoarthritis and many other conditions.

TIP: Filling your plate with plant foods, watching portion sizes, limiting junk food and choosing to drink water will help you maintain a healthy weight.  In addition, aim for 60 minutes of moderate exercise or 30 minutes of vigorous exercise most days, but every little bit counts so start small and gradually increase your activity.

  1. Be mindful of alcohol

There is convincing evidence that drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the bowel, breast, liver, mouth, throat, larynx and oesophagus. The more you drink, the greater the risk; and the type of alcohol you drink doesn’t make a difference.

TIP: If you choose to drink, limit your intake. The recommended intake is an average of no more than 2 standard drinks a day.

Jessica Sepel: the importance of eating mindfully

As babies, we ate intuitively: we fussed when we were hungry and stopped eating when we were full. Then, as we grow up, many of us lose touch with our true hunger signals. We start eating when we’re bored, sad, stressed, or happy. We turn to food to deal with our emotions and use. We forget food is purely available to keep us alive and well. It’s here to nourish our bodies – not solve our emotional problems.

As women, we need to identify those underlying emotional issues that are affecting our relationship with food. That’s the first step. The next time you reach for a chocolate bar or a bag of salty chips, ask yourself if you’re really hungry, or if you’re just emotional. Is there something going on in your life that needs attention?

Once you’ve figured out what’s causing you to emotionally eat, you can begin to change your habits – and heal your relationship with food.

When it comes to dealing with emotions, food is not the answer.

I used to be a victim of emotional eating. Every morning, the number on the scales would determine my eating patterns. If I liked what I saw, I’d feel empowered, and I’d stick to my diet. If I didn’t like it, I’d punish myself through deprivation or the total opposite, by bingeing on the food I’d been missing for so long. I’d berate myself for not having “more willpower” – then the cycle would start all over again the next time I “slipped.” That is no way to live. Trust me. That’s why I’m so passionate about helping women find their way back to eating with love and joy. 

Natural eaters vs. dieters

To banish emotional eating for good, you need to let go of the diet mentality and become a natural eater instead.

Here’s the difference:

Dieters think about food all the time. They become so preoccupied with food, it starts to take over their quality of life. They have an emotional connection to food.

The fact is, food is not there to make us feel better – it’s there to keep us alive.

Natural eaters, on the other hands, don’t class food as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ They see it purely as a source of fuel and nourishment. They enjoy eating, of course, but they know they’re eating food to survive. That’s it.

If you can shift your mentality and start to see food as a) abundant and b) a source of nourishment, a few things will happen. You’ll start eating when you’re hungry, and stop bingeing and using food to deal with emotions. And as a result, you’ll lose weight.

Diets don’t work because they’re a deprivation game. When we deprive ourselves, our bodies get tricked into thinking food is scarce. They then kick into survival mode, slowing down our metabolism and holding on to anything we feed it. You may lose some weight, but you’ll pile it straight back on. That’s the other problem with diets: they’re not sustainable, and the stress they cause wreaks havoc on your hormones and mind.

Give up the diets. They don’t work.

Post-Easter Cleanse: 6 surprising foods that aid digestion

Are you suffering from a chocolate-coma post Easter, feeling sluggish and a little guilty? Before you go beating yourself up about it, signing up for a marathon and swearing off carbohydrates, remember that it’s normal to indulge over the Easter period.

Instead, why not get back on track by kick-starting your metabolism and cleansing your system by adding some nourishing foods to your diet? We spoke to clinical naturopath and TV Presenter, Emma Sutherland about the best ingredients for improving digestion and here’s what she had to say.

6 natural foods that aid digestion

1. Kiwi fruit

Kiwi fruit has an incredibly high vitamin C content, which helps to boost the immune system. It also protects cell DNA from oxidative damage, improves digestive health and helps to clean out toxins. Best of all, all of these actions contribute to glowing skin.

2. Apples

Apples contain dietary fibre content, which helps the overall digestive process. Apples are high in pectin, which is a type of fibre that binds to cholesterol and heavy metals in the body. They therefore help to cleanse the intestines and eliminate toxic build up in the body.

Apples have also been shown to lower cholesterol and help prevent DNA damage and certain diseases. It is also thought that green apples can help prevent certain skin diseases, so if you suffer from rashes or any other skin conditions, they may be beneficial for you.

3. Beetroot

Beetroot contains a unique mixture of natural plant compounds that make them a great blood purifier and liver cleanser. They are also loaded with fibre and folate, which is great for digestive health.

4. Cucumber

Cucumber not only assists in detoxification and digestion, but it also helps to strengthen and synthesis skin tissue and induces improved blood flow to the skin through capillary dilation. Furthermore, it helps to boost the immune system and alkalize the body.

5. Celery and celery seeds

Celery is an excellent blood cleanser. It contains many different anti-cancer compounds that helps to detoxify cancer cells from the body and it contains over 20 anti-inflammatory substances. It is particularly good for detoxifying substances found in cigarette smoke.

6. Lemons

We all know that lemons are great for the digestive system, but what is it that they do exactly? Lemons contain high amounts of vitamin C, which is needed by the body to help produce glutathione. Glutathione then helps the liver detoxify harmful chemicals. It is one of the best natural detoxifying ingredients that you can get, so add it to your salads and in your water for the benefits.

Liverlicious Smoothie Recipe

1/2green apple
1/2 cup blanched kale
½ cup spinach
A Handful of mint
A Handful of parsley
A handful of celery
½ cucumber
1 tbs camu camu
1 tsp flaxseeds
½ cup coconut water

Mix in a blender and voila!


Make your own healthy cacoa and coconut granola

With all this talk of finding a granola that’s actually good for you, we thought, what better way to ensure your breakfast bowl is nutrient-packed and nourishing than to make your muesli yourself? So we asked James Duigan to share his delicious cacao, carob and coconut granola recipe that just so happens to tick all our boxes for a healthy granola.

Cacao is the real deal – the untouched, purest form of chocolate without all the sugary rubbish and it provides a great source of health-boosting antioxidants. Carob contains as much vitamin B1 as asparagus or strawberries and is packed with calcium, and coconut is a fantastic source of good fat which helps you to metabolise bad fat.


Serves 4–6


300g coconut flakes, unsweetened

200g mixed nuts

50g pumpkin seeds

30g sunflower seeds

30g cacao nibs

3 tablespoons chia seeds

1 tablespoon raw cacao powder

1 teaspoon carob powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons maple syrup

4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted


  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and set aside.
  1. Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix to combine. Once thoroughly mixed, stir in the wet ingredients.
  1. Lay the granola out evenly on the baking trays trying not to have any ingredients on top of each other.
  1. Bake for 10–15 minutes, or until golden brown, then remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before storing in an airtight jar for up to 2 weeks. (The oil may sink to the bottom of the jar.)

Top 10 foods and antioxidants to fight fatigue

By Stephen Eddey, nutritionist and naturopath, Principal of Health Schools Australia

Are you always yawning once 3pm rolls around? Or maybe you’re getting enough sleep but still waking up tired. The old adage ‘you are what you eat’ may sound outdated, but unfortunately it couldn’t be more accurate. If you’re relying on caffeine to get you through to 3pm, skipping breakfast or not nourishing your body with adequate nutrients, it’s worth considering that the reason you’re experiencing fatigue is that your body’s fuel sources (nutrient stores) are depleted. Before resorting to the office vending machine, consider what your body may be missing, and reach for one of these energy-boosting foods or antioxidants instead. Incorporating the following into your diet throughout the day may be just the thing to keep you powering through until clock-off.

10 energy-boosting foods to fight fatigue

1. Cacao

There’s a reason this ingredient has started popping up in every protein bar and superfood snack you see – it’s one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet. Sadly, your average, store-bought piece of chocolate is made from cocoa – cacao that has been roasted at high temperatures. Raw cacao has a strong, bitter, dark chocolate taste and is capable of boosting particular neurotransmitters that promote a sense of wellbeing – making it a mood booster. Try adding this ‘feel good’ food to milk, find a recipe here.

2. Ubiquinol

You may or may not have heard your doctor speak about the benefits of CoQ10, an antioxidant that is naturally occurring in our body. The majority of CoQ10 in our body is in the form of Ubiquinol and is responsible for not only providing our cells with energy but fighting free radicals, fighting inflammation, maintaining healthy cholesterol and strengthening our hearts. Our Ubiquinol levels naturally decline as we age, starting at age 30, and earlier if we’re stressed and physically active. So if you’re burnt out, there’s a good chance your cells are actually depleted from the energy they need – Ubiquinol. You can find it in food, but you’d need to eat 50 cups of spinach to meet your daily recommended intake, so it could be worth asking your health care practitioner about daily supplementation.

3. Blueberries

You probably know this one already – healthies have been touting blueberries for years, as they’re one of the most potent antioxidant-rich fruits available. What’s even better is that freezing blueberries doesn’t destroy the beneficial anthocyanin antioxidants, which may help with both cognitive function (which we all need a little more of post-3pm) and decreasing age-induced oxidative stress.

4. Aged Garlic Extract

We already know that garlic supports healthy immune function, is alkalising in the body and is loaded with nutrients such as zinc that help keep your bones healthy. Recent studies however, have also shown that an advanced form of garlic, Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) has all the beneficial and enhanced antioxidant effects of raw garlic, but without the garlic odour.

Aged Garlic Extract was developed just after WWII when German Professor, Dr Eugene Schwell was tasked with restoring the energy levels and overall health of the Japanese population. He introduced the popular Japanese practice of ageing and fermentation to garlic and found it increased the garlic’s potency beyond its natural levels.

5. Dark Chocolate

Many experts say that chocolate cravings indicate magnesium deficiency, as dark chocolate (read: not sugar-laden) contains a significant amount of this nifty mineral. Two thirds of Australians are magnesium deficient. As magnesium is responsible for controlling the release of enzymes which dictate both energy and stress, a depletion can actually create serious stress and nervous tension, as well as anxiety and insomnia. Do you suffer low energy, eye twitches, or find yourself jolting awake with a ‘falling’ sensation as you go to sleep? These are tell-tale signs that you’re magnesium deficient so tuck into some of the dark stuff and try these sleep-happy apps.

6. Tea

Green and white teas actually contain caffeine, but instead of giving you a ‘jolt’ like coffee, it is more of a sustained, slow release. Both green and white teas are also chock-full of antioxidants that fight inflammation, and are often a great way to make the switch away from excessive coffee.

7. Leafy Greens

Dark, leafy vegetables (think kale, Brussel sprouts, and spinach) are all rich in iron. Iron deficiency can wreak havoc with your energy levels, and many women are prone to such deficiency. Leafy greens also contain folate, which is often deficient in those suffering from depression. Try incorporating a serving with each meal- yes, even breakfast – and see the effect it has on your overall health.

8. Water

I promise I’m not scraping the bottom of the barrel with this one! Dehydration actually has a profound effect on energy levels. When we are dehydrated, our body has to work especially hard to perform the most basic of functions: regulating body temperature, circulating blood and more. If you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, so sip consistently throughout the day to maintain energy levels.

9. Bananas

It may seem like a no-brainer, but there’s a reason why runners often carry these for marathons. Bananas are full of fructose and glucose, both of which are rapidly digested and converted into energy, providing you with a quick boost. Alongside this, bananas contain ample amounts of potassium, a muscle sustaining protein making them perfect for a mid-afternoon snack, before your late afternoon gym session.

10. Curcumin (turmeric)

Turmeric lattes seem to be the latest rage at every hipster café, and they’re more than just a fad. Turmeric contains curcumin, which has incredible anti-inflammatory effects and cognitive-boosting properties. Many experts believe it’s no coincidence that India, where turmeric originates, has some of the lowest levels of cognitive decline in the world. Recent studies have also shown curcumin to have mood and energy boosting properties.¹

Eating energy boosting foods may sound too good to be true, but if you think about it, increasing your intake of the above will leave little room on your plate for processed, sugar-laden and caffeinated food, which is steadily sapping away at your energy levels and overall health. Consider a holistic approach to energy, as opposed to a quick fix, and feel yourself begin to glow!

Why bone broth’s the new latte + a recipe to make your own

It’s curing teenage acne, making Selma Hayek look twenty-five and reviving the dead.

It’s curing teenage acne, making Selma Hayek look twenty-five and reviving the dead; bone broth may well be the magical potion in our eternal quest for perfect health and it’s coming to a boil in the wellness world.

Long been touted as a nutritious liquid, this cure-all elixir is far from new. It’s been consumed for centuries in every corner of the globe – from noodle soup in Vietnam to beef stroganoff in Russia – and is now being served in mugs to the Paleo masses of Sydney and New York City.

But why are we trading our morning lattes for a cup of steaming stock?

“Bone broth is typically high in a number of minerals…that can assist in boosting immunity and calming inflammation as well as supporting connective tissue, joint health and overall bone health,” says nutritionist, Bannie Williams. Bone broth is also said to nourish the skin, aid digestion and boost energy.

The nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, and calcium as well as collagen, amino acids and minerals are extracted from the bones by cooking them for an extended period of time, says Williams. This process is assisted by the addition of acid to the pot – like vinegar or wine – which loosens and dissolves the tough bits.

Age-old tradition or short-lived trend? We’ll let you drink and decide. Try this recipe from the expert brewers at Broth Bliss or (if collecting bones is one step too gruesome for glowing skin) pick up the pre-made stuff here.

Broth Bliss Bone Broth Recipe


3kg grass fed beef bones with some marrow or free range chicken bones
250g carrots, roughly chopped
160g celery stalks, roughly chopped
28g garlic
440g onions, quartered
125ml raw apple cider vinegar
10g ginger, sliced
2g turmeric, sliced
2g peppercorns
2g parsley
10 litres of cold water


  1. Roast bones for added depth and flavour
  2. Place bones into a stock pot, add water until bones are submerged
  3. Add apple cider vinegar to draw out the goodness
  4. Simmer beef bones for 48 hours and chicken bones for 24 hours
  5. Add the vegetables, herbs and spices for the last 3 hours of cooking time
  6. Strain your broth and cool
  7. Drink it as a hot beverage or use it to flavour your next meal. It’s delicious in soups, stews, sauces and stir fry.

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