Since joining Instagram recently (yes I was a little slow on the uptake!) I’ve discovered so many people with great ideas about health, nutrition and fitness. It’s been so motivating and really inspires me to get in to the kitchen and try new things.
I’ve decided to start sharing some of the wealth of knowledge that I have discovered online through a Balanced Babes segment on my blog (sorry boys, I’ll change to a different more male-friendly feature in the future!) The focus is on ladies who have some awesome (and delicious) health and nutrition ideas to share, on Instagram and beyond.
This post is on RealFoodHealthyBody – a.k.a. Lilian. Lilian is a fit and fabulous lawyer hailing from Melbourne, currently spending some time adventuring overseas. She’s battled with some pretty significant health issues and is living proof you can make a big improvement to your level of wellbeing if you adopt a healthy lifestyle.
I’m also a big fan of Lilian because she’s a lawyer like me, and she’s got Dutch heritage like me too! For that reason, the recipe of Lilian’s that is included in this post is for some totally amazeballs speculaas (a Dutch spice blend) muffins. It’s quite possibly the best spice mix ever invented and perfect for Christmas baking. Thank you to Lilian for the interview time and for agreeing to share the delicious recipe! Enjoy guys, and don’t forget to check out the RealFoodHealthyBody blog and Instagram xx
Basically, I was sick of feeling like crap. Although I was eating relatively well at main meals, I snacked on an awful lot of sugar (LOTS of dried fruit and often lollies as well). I was very dependent on sugar for energy and was struggling with a number of annoying health issues including terrible digestion, anxiety, acid reflux and bloating. Then I found out I had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which is aggravated by unstable blood sugar levels. If left uncontrolled, PCOS can lead to a range of adverse health outcomes. This was probably the turning point for me.
2. You’ve done a fair bit of travelling recently. Do you have some tips for staying healthy on the move (when routine and all creature comforts aren’t so handy)?
My number one tip would be to fill up on nutrient-dense food options as often as possible and avoid the foods that sap you of energy. For me, this has meant avoiding grains, specifically gluten, and limiting sugar (but accepting that I will want to sample the local treats at times!). When eating out, I go for a protein source, such as meat, chicken or fish, and lots of vegetables. If my meal comes with chips, I ask for salad or vegetables instead. For breakfasts, I get eggs or an omelette with lots of sides and ask them to leave out the toast. If decent restaurants are scarce (or too expensive), I find a supermarket and get things like tuna or sardines canned in olive oil, salad leaves and some olives and mix all of this together to make a salad. I also keep things like raw nuts, dark chocolate (at least 85% cocoa) and shredded coconut in my bag for snacks, as it can be really hard to find clean snacks when you’re out and about.
3. What foods will we always find in your fridge?
Lots of leafy green vegetables depending on what’s in season (kale, spinach and silver-beet are my favourites), parsley, carrots, at least a dozen free-range eggs, some sort of red meat (usually kangaroo) or chicken, smoked salmon or trout, ripe avocados, olives, tahini, a can of coconut cream, Vital Greens powder and often a bit of full-fat natural yoghurt, haloumi and some sort of homemade treat. There’s also usually a bottle of white wine chilling. That’s the fridge, then there’s my pantry!
4. In addition to good food, working out is also an essential part of being healthy – what are your favourite ways to exercise, and how often do you get to work out?
I usually work out for an hour 4-6 times a week. I work out in the mornings before work because work can’t interfere in the mornings like it can in the evenings. I do a mixture of activities, including yoga, Pilates and TRX suspension training, but CrossFit is my core training. I love the intensity of CrossFit and there are so many skills to work on and improve. Plus the people I train with are awesome, which helps get you up for the early starts.
5. Do you have any plans to explore nutrition and health outside of Instagram, like starting a blog?
I have just started a blog www.realfoodhealthybody.com where I will be sharing my recipes and the things that have worked for me in my search for better health. When I began researching different dietary approaches, there were a few blogs that really encouraged and inspired me. So I started RealFood HealthyBody in the hope that maybe it might help someone else who is looking to improve their health.
RealFoodHealthyBody’s Recipe: Speculaas Mini Muffins
Makes 20 mini muffins
1 cup baked sweet potato, mashed
2 tbsp raw virgin coconut oil, softened
½ cup rice malt syrup
1½ cups ground almonds, plus extra for sprinkling
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1½ tsp ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Preheat your oven to 170°C.
- Beat the sweet potato, coconut oil, rice malt syrup and eggs until well combined.
- Combine the remaining dry ingredients in a bowl, then fold through the wet ingredients until just combined.
- Spoon mixture into mini muffin cases and bake for 15-20 minutes or until tops starting to crack.
NB: I use a 20ml tbsp. If you have a 15ml tbsp (if you’re in the US or UK), you can measure out 4 tsp in place of each tbsp.