White Chocolate Gingernut Slice.

White Chocolate Gingernut Slice

This gorgeous slice will tempt your tastebuds, it is filled with spicy gingernut biscuits and complimented with dreamy white chocolate that creates a perfect balance between sweet and spicy.  This slice is delicious and indulgent. I created a new way to enjoy your Kiwi classic biscuit, who thought that Gingernut’s where just for dunking into tea?

Enjoy with your favoruite cup of tea and shared with great friends.

Nat Attacks White Chocolate Gingernut Slice

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of Whittakers White Chocolates
  • 1 packet of Gingernut Biscuits-Crushed
  • 1 packet of plain biscuits-crushed
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 150 grams of organic butter
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 2 free range organic eggs

Directions:

Put the butter and sugar into a heavy sauce pan, place over a low heat and allow to melt. Allow to cool slightly.  Add Vanilla Essence

Meanwhile greace a 21cm/ 7 in square cake tin with a little melted butter.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, allow to cool slightly and beat in the egg.

Gradually stir in biscuits ( and any other add-ins). The mixture should be quite firm by the time the biscuits have been added.

Pile into a prepared tin and press down firmly. Refrigerate for two hours.

(If you want to take the base out of the tin, to allow easier cutting later. Remove base from the tin now. To turn out the slice place the bottom of the tin in a bowl of very hot water for a few seconds then turn onto a place. )

Meanwhile, place the chocolate in a bowl set over, not in, a bowl of simmering water.

Pour the chocolate over the slice and leave to set in the fridge.

Check out more recipes over at: https://www.facebook.com/NatAttacksABalancedLifeImageImageImage

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4 Ways to Get Your Stress Levels Under Control + A Feel Good Recipe

It is said that stress is related to 99% of ALL illness. Stress can be caused by a variety of external factors. There is not one way to help relieve stress and everybody responds different.

Over the past few months, for no particular reason, I have been feelling especially stressed out and to be honest, I actually don’t have anything major to be stressed out about. I eat healthy, I exercise regularly, I practice yoga, I have great friends, I have a job that I love and a partner who I love more then the world. It sounds like I have it going on but that is not always how I feel. When I got asked by a fellow blog reader if she could do a post on Stress Management, I could not think of a better time for this post. I will leave the rest to Alicia…

4 Ways to Get Your Stress Level Under Control Now

 Stress is a part of life for everyone, but differences lie in how people deal with it. Getting stress under control effectively can mean feeling relaxed and levelheaded as pressures rise. On the other hand, stress that’s not managed properly can have an adverse effect on your health and quality of life. Below, you’ll find some simple but powerful ways to bring your stress level down.

Target the Cause

 It can be extremely unsettling to wake up and realize there’s a strange feeling in the pit of your stomach for no apparent reason. Whether this sounds familiar or you know what’s causing the uneasiness, the first step is realizing why you’re stressed.

After that, you’ll be able to understand if what’s stressing you out is within your control. For example, if you’re worried because of a rainy weather forecast on the day of your outdoor event, that’s not something you can impact one way or the other. However, if you’re frazzled because of incompatibility with whomever you share an office space with at work, you can control that to some extent by requesting to be moved into another room.

Perhaps it’s stressed caused by having too much to do. Create a routine where you write down everything you have to do at home and work. Next, organize by importance and deadlines. Once you have it written down your brain can finally relax because it isn’t trying to hold on to everything at once.

Know the Signs and the Remedies

 Try to gain more awareness of what happens just before and during the times you feel especially stressed. Also, keep a close eye on what you normally do to feel more at ease, and make sure those behaviors aren’t destructive. Some people who visit addiction rehab centers realize that the inability to cope with stress in therapeutic ways was ultimately a factor in cultivating dependency.

Once you can recognize what happens when you feel stressed and how you usually respond, it’ll be easier to decide whether a change is in order. Perhaps you find running lowers your tendency to be stressed or yoga after work helps you relax. Focus on minimizing stress through techniques you can do anywhere, such as eyes-open meditations or deep breathing exercises.

Ask for Support

 One good thing about stress is that since everyone has to deal with it, there are plenty of strategies to consider. Don’t feel that you have to manage a stress problem without help. Recruit people in your circle of friends and family, or think about making an appointment with a stress expert. Taking steps like these can help you branch out and try solutions you may not have otherwise explored.

 Don’t Rush It

 Stress causes numerous responses in the body, and some of them aren’t ones you can influence directly. Set small stress management goals and remind yourself that just trying your best to make a positive change is a step in the right direction.

If you get temporarily off track, take a deep breath and get refocused. Striving for perfection can quickly bring frustration. Instead, remind yourself of what’s important rather than becoming overly discouraged about small shortcomings.

These suggestions can help you make the transition from being anxious and uneasy to cool and collected. Try them today and see if you notice a difference.

Alicia Lawrence is a Harrisburg-based writer and entrepreneur specializing in communication and health. She works as a content coordinator for a tech company and is the founder of MarCom Land. For more about Alicia, visit her website or follow her on Twitter @Alicia_Lw.

Thank you so much Alicia for your wise words!

What also helps me de-stress is being in the kitchen and creating new recipes (especially with a glass of red wine). This is a wonderful way for me to take my mind of things and relax. Here is a recipe to get you in the kitchen. For more recipes like this visit, my facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/NatAttacksABalancedLife

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Coconut Magic Bars

These are free of any refined sugar, Paleo, Gluten Free and filled with goodness.

Ingredients:

2 Cups Shredded Coconut
1/4 Cup Melted Coconut Oil
1/4 Pure Maple Syrup (or Honey-not vegan)
1 TSP of Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 Rock Salt
70% Vegan Dark Chocolate
** I added a 1 TSP of Cinnamon, since I adore the additional spice.

Combine all of these ingredients in a blender till smooth, this will take about 5 minutes.

Once smooth, lay out base in a baking tin or tupperware container, freeze for about 15 minutes.

While freezing, melt about 1/2-3/4 cup of 70% Vegan Dark Chocolate with about 1 or 2 TBSP or coconut oil as your glaze. Spread mixture over coconut base and allow to freeze for a further 15 minutes or so.

Keep frozen or in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Guest Post: Eat Well, Fight Well.

 

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Cancer. No matter whether this is a new word to you or one that has become all too much of a companion in your life, you are certainly aware that it is well fought with good nutrition. Although a healthy, balanced diet is not proven to cure cancer; it nevertheless provides solid ground from which to go through whatever cancer treatment looks like for your particular diagnosis. It gives you fuel with which to fight a good fight for recovery.

What is a Nutritious Diet?

Generally, a nutritious diet is recognized as one that is comprised of adequate protein, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and plenty of water. Fats, sweets, and salty snacks should be avoided. Some specifically recommended cancer-fighting foods include berries, grapes, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli and kale), peppers, sweet potatoes, olive oil and green tea.

 

Better Energy Levels

A healthy, balanced diet gives your body good sources of nutrition, which give you improved energy. Radiation, chemotherapy, and many other medical procedures which your body is being subjected to can leave you feeling depleted. Eating a poor diet of processed food filled with empty calories exacerbates fatigue. Good food helps your body perform its basic functions at an optimal level so that it serves you the best it can even under cancer’s stress.

 

Improved Quality of Life

A nutritious diet is a good idea no matter what cancer you are fighting–breast, lung, liver, mesothelioma, Hodgkin’s, or a myriad of others. Healthy eating will result in better digestion, more restful sleep, and clearer thinking. It is a gift you give to yourself, one that is proven to give you the best quality of life possible.

 

Foundation for the Future

The brave hope of cancer treatment envisions your future life as cancer free. While you move with courage toward that goal, lay a foundation for it in a body established on good nutrition. When you emerge from the cancer battle, your body will be able to recover from the stresses of treatment and stay strong.

 

Nutritious eating while going through cancer treatment gives you the energy to fight your battle, improves your life during it, and lays a foundation for health beyond it. Eat well, fight well!

 

Written By: 

Your one and only Survivor, David Hass.

If you have any futher questions regarding Nutrition for Cancer please contace me at NatalieWolfsdorf@gmail.com and I will forward you on to David.

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Do you want to train harder? Better? Faster? Stronger? By the way thanks Daft Punk for the cheezy catch line. Yes, I think we all do. Here I will introduce a healthy alternative and environmentally friendly way to train by consuming a plant based diet. It a misconception that athletes cannot perform on a plant based diet. However, this is a common mistake and I would like to educate you on the importance of a plant-based diet but also how you can perform at your maximum through a plant based diet. Elite athletes have a specific nutrition plan that they need to follow in order to operate in his or her full potential, which does not mean that they cannot do this on a plant based diet. For instance, many of the world’s elite athletes like Iron Man Dave Scott, Gold Medalist Carl Lewis, Body Sculptor Amanda Riester and Cyclist Ted Trends. It is important to remember how our bodies operate and how it fueled. Our bodies our fueled by three macronutrients and the most readily accessible of these is Carbohydrates. According the Colorado State University, “athletes make the most significant performance gains from stored carbohydrates. This macronutrient provides nearly 50 percent of the energy an athlete uses during the early stages of exercise. When carbohydrates, which come from plants, legumes, and whole grains, are consumed, the body breaks it down and stores it in the muscles as glycogen. When exercise begins, the body uses oxygen to convert that glycogen back into glucose, which supplies energy. Stored carbohydrates last approximately 90 minutes before the body needs replenishment, which is why many athletes consume carbohydrates during events of longer duration.” This is only needed when you are performing for over 60 minutes or more and energy should be restored every 30 or so minutes onward. My personal favourite fuel while workouts are either dates or Cliff Shot Blocks that helped me get my personal best recently so I will be trying these again.

Another slow releasing fuel is fat. In fact, fat metabolism accounts for around 50 percent of energy in the early stages of athletic performance, and as much as 75 percent during sustained activity extending beyond 90 minutes.” This fuel can either come from dietary sources such as avocados, chia seeds, flaxseed, coconut oil, and nuts as well as stored body fat. Athletes should be eating at least 15 percent of their calories derived from fat. However, you be careful of healthy fats and bad fats. I am in no way telling you to go out and grab yourself a pie and wash it down with can of cola and cone of hokey pokey but what I am telling you is to make my Ultra Fudgy Chocolate Avocado Vegan Brownies. I will come back to those in a bit…

Most importantly athletes need to consume more protein than the average person however, athletes only need about 10 to 12 percent of their calories from protein to support muscle and recovery. “The body will store extra protein as fat, which is converted to fuel during exercise.” In order to fuel yourself with adequate plant based protein is important to eat sprouted grain, dark greens, legumes, nutritional yeast, raw nuts, and chia seeds. Putting it all together. It important to eat about an hour or so per 200 calories before a serious workout or event in order to absorb and digest the food you eat and make sure you are putting all the right things. Scroll down for one of my Green Monster Smoothies for a great pre workout meal however; you may need to also add in some whole grains if you are doing a longer workout. Be sure to reward yourself with my brownies as well. As promised here is my recipe for my Vegan Avocado Brownies. I promise you cannot taste the avocado but they are packed with added nutrients, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates.

Ultra Fudgy Brownies

(Vegan, wheat and gluten free)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small avocado
  • ¾ cup brown sugar (or other sweetener of choice: stevia)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. ground chia seeds (or ground flax)
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. organic dark roasted coffee or instant
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cup whole grain buckwheat flower
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Himalayan sea salt

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8” pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, gently smash the avocado with a fork to break apart. Using a hand mixer, process the avocado until smooth. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, oil, chia, vanilla extract, and coffee and mix until smooth.

In a medium sized bowl, sift together the spelt flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix on low or stir by hand until just mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.

Dump the mixture onto the baking pan. Dip your spatula in cold water and smooth out. The batter will be VERY THICK (see pictures below), so not to worry. It was difficult for me to spread out so I finally just threw my hands in cold water and smoothed it out with my hands. It worked much better this way.

Once smooth, place in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes and no more. You will look at the batter and think that there is no way it will cook in that amount of time, but trust me it does. Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes. Pop in the freezer for about 30 minutes to set and firm. Remove from pan and cut with a pizza slicer. Serves 9-12.

Have fun and fuel up.

 Live life. Eat Well. Practice Yoga

Inspiration-1:54

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Hello World!

If you are a new reader welcome to Nat Attack’s and if you have been reading for awhile and you have been waiting for a new post since the last time I visited Nat Attack’s welcome back.

A lot has changed in my life. As per. I do like to keep things exciting and take opportunities as they come along.

I will not get into every single detail of my life because I have more important things to talk about today, which is good news for us all.

However, to catch you up on the last 6 months…Maybe more…

I am living in Auckland, New Zealand working for lululemon Athletica, which is a dream job of mine. lululemon is a yoga inspired Fitness Company that is heavily based in the community and strives to change the world from mediocre to greatness by creating components for people to live longer, healthier and more fun lives.

I am also meeting new people, living life, practicing lots of yoga, training for a half marathon, eating delicious food, forming awesome relationships and living in the big city of Auckland. Auckland is just like any other big city in the world and I never thought I would actually be living here after coming from such a small city, Christchurch and then Queenstown, in the south island of New Zealand.  Living in Auckland takes some work as you really do have to be open to and look out for all the precious delights and treasures in the city because it easy to get lost along the way.

I remember to keep calm and carry on by practicing regular yoga, which include primarily of Bikram and Vinyasa flow, running, eating healthy, taking regular trips out of the city, focusing on work and the community aspects of lululemon, meeting new people, ticking things of my bucket list like diving with great white sharks, working on my short and long term goals, trying out new fitness trends like Ludus Magnus, Sh*Bam and Crossfit to name a few and keeping myself inspired by surrounding myself with people who elevate me.

You must be wondering what my title is all about…Right? Let’s focus on that now shall we.

1:54.

This is one of my goals. I would like to finish my 2nd Half Marathon on April 28th, 2012 in under 1:55, which would make the Rotarua Half Marathon my Personal Best. It is just a goal. If it does not happen this time it will happen the next time and if not then I know then I know that my time of 1:55 was the best I could do, which is an amazing time and to beat that is just not meant to be.

I also have some deep and meaningful insights with this collection of numbers.

The number one reminds me that it is important to sweat once a day.

It is important to sweat once a day because it keeps your body cool, releases toxin sweat’s naturally good for the skin, softening and smoothing it proof that you’re burning calories. So whether you run your heart out, sit in the sauna, dance like no one is watching or hold your chaturangas a little longer, embrace the moment and enjoy your sweat for the day. I sweat once a d by going to Bikram, or other styles of yoga, going for a big run or going to RPM.

The number five reminds me that I need eat 5 fruit and veggies everyday. Luckily for me this is not hard to achieve at all and I probably eat 3x that amount. My favourite way to fulfill my daily fruit and veggie requirements are:

  1. A green smoothie (please see below for recipes)
  2. A big salad with beetroot, goat cheese, avocado.
  3. Caprese Salad
  4. My Favourite fruits include: Berries, Pineapple, Mangoes and Watermelon.
  5. Carrots, Celery and Hummus (just a staple)

For some additional reading on the benefits of getting your daily fruit and veggie requirements I have attached a link from the April 2012 New Fruit and Vegetable Literature review: http://www.5aday.co.nz/5adaywebsite/cms_resources/file/66_ New Fruit and Vegetable Literature Reviews – April 2012.pdf

And four I will give you four things you may not have known about me, inspiring quotes or random facts of information. In case you did not know this fact my friends used to call me Ralph from the Simpsons because I am random and also because I did not really know what else to fill this space with.

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  1. Quote: “That which matters the most should never give way to that which matters the least.”
  2. If you have not seen the Happy Film, you should. If you are in New Zealand and you have it you should send it my way. Here is a link for the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcMQmuvzPmI
  3. My all time food moments of 2012 have been baking lemon coconut cream cupcakes for lululemon and dining at the duke in Russell, which is located in the Bay of Islands and I had fresh oysters, kumara bread and Thai coconut mussels with a beautiful glass of New Zealand Pinot Noir. Other top moments have been the BBQ of fresh seafood while diving with sharks in Stewart Island and the Spicy Eggplant Tacos with lots of fresh salsa and guacamole from Mexico in Britomart.
  4. I need to start eating more local, organic produce. ASAP.

Live Life. Eat Well. Practice Yoga


She believed she could so she did

She said she was going to practice more yoga,

So she did.

She said she was going to start living for herself,

So she did.

She said she was going to start saving,

So she did.

She said she was going to work on being more open,

So she did.

She said she was going to give thanks after every practice,

So she did.

She said she was going to start cooking again.

So she did.

Spring has arrived…well it did arrive…and then we have been given some more snow, which is great I guess. I just don’t know whether I should be packing up my scarves, hats and gloves and bring out the sundresses, sunglasses and bikini. I think I am going to hold off at least for now..

To help stay warm I have been experimenting in the kitchen with some tasty spring flavours, which have kept me warm from the inside out while be able to enjoy the tastes of summer..er..spring..

I enjoyed this tasty curry-style stir fry last night after getting a great bargain on some veggies that where heavily discounted at the local market. Fresh vegetables in the winter have been far and few and I have resorted to using a lot of frozen vegetables so this meal was a real treat.

Coconut Lime 4 Bean Curry

Serves:3-4

Ingredients:

2 Cans of Mixed Beans
1/4 Head of cauliflower
1/4 Head of Broccoli
2 Small Courgettes
1 Small Red Onion
3 Cloves of Garlic
1/4 Cup of Lite Coconut Milk
1 lime
Tamari

1 tsp of Crushed Pepper,Chili and Ginger Powder

Garnish: Avocado and Cashew Nuts

To Make:

Chop all ingredients as chunky or as little as you like.

Stir fry all veggies for about 5 minutes and add garlic and onion.

Add chili, ginger, pepper to taste.

Pour over coconut milk and soy sauce.

Let simmer for another 5 Minutes and add beans and let everything soak together.

Serve with Avocado and Cashew Nuts. Garnish with fresh Coriander.

The coconut and lime were very prominent in this dish, which paired very nicely with the kick of the chili. I would not leave out the avocado or the cashews as they add a nice creamy and crunchy texture that compliment the sweetness of the coconut and the tang of lime.

I enjoyed this meal after a nice and sweaty bikram yoga class and satisfied all my spring cravings while keeping me warm on a wintery spring night.

Namaste.

An Ode To Green Smoothies

I would like to take the time to write about smoothies. My love for smoothies goes way back and it continues to grow every time I have a smoothie. These days my smoothies are far more healthier, tastier and greener!

Sounds crazy I know. It really is not as crazy as it sounds or looks. I do admit that I am not the creator of this delicious green smoothie as I do not think that I would wake up one morning and decide to add bunches of fresh spinach to my morning smoothie but for the gorgeous lady who did I commend her for this nutrient packed treat that has been coined in the blog world as the Green Monster.

The woman behind it all is a woman named Angela who writes a blog titled ‘Oh She Glows’, which can be accessed at www.ohsheslows.com. She also has a website devoted to Green Monsters that contains recipes, FAQ and the history behind the green monster, which can be found at www.thegreenmonstermovement.com.

I love smoothies. I always have and I always will. I used to beg my mum to take me to Jamba Juice when I was growing up. I think I started on the Strawberry Bliss from Jamba Juice but grew to love the Caribbean Passion. I was addicted I think I had one as least 3x a times week. When I moved to New Zealand I had to say goodbye to my beloved Jamba Juice and wondered where I will be able to feed my serious smoothie addiction, when I am not able to make them at home.  I was fortunate enough to be picked up by a local who took me straight to Boost Smoothie as soon as I landed so I can satisfy my craving after a long flight. Boost is an Australian smoothie and juice company that can no longer be found in New Zealand but I sure did love the Tropical Storm that was made with Coconut Milk!

 It was at this point in my life when I knew I could no longer order my beloved Caribbean Passion or Tropical Storm that I had to purchase a blender for myself to satisfy all of my smoothie cravings morning, noon or night. It was also a time when I learned that all the smoothies that I have been enjoying my have not been the healthiest addiction ever. You may be asking yourself how a smoothie can be unhealthy and there are a lot of additional sugary ingredients that make smoothies more of an indulgence then something that you should have regularly. Additional ingredients such as: juice (not squeezed fresh), frozen yoghurt (with added sugar), sherbet, sorbet or ice cream can add unwanted calories and sugar to what could be a healthy and delicious snack.

This brings me to a great alternative. I introduce to you the Green Monster Smoothies with a full demonstration on how I make my daily green smoothie.

 I usually keep frozen banana chunks on hand and ready to use for smoothies or banana soft serve. All I do is peel my banana, cut into chunks and throw them in a zip lock bag and put that in the freezer. This makes the process a lot easier and the result much thicker and creamier.

How to make Nat Attack’s Green Monster:

Ingredients:

Frozen Banana Chunks (1 banana)

2 handfuls of fresh Spinach

½-1 Cup of Soy Milk

1 tsp. Chia Seeds

2-3 Scoops Vanilla Protein Power

1 Scoop of AmazinGrass Super food Powder

1 tsp. Vanilla Essence/ Coconut Essence

2 or 3 Ice Cubes

Pinch of Xanthan Gum (for thickening)

Additional Add ins: Frozen Berries, Peanut Butter (SO GOOD), Pureed Pumpkin, Frozen Avocado, Strawberries, Oranges, Kiwi fruit, Kale or any other fruit or vegetable you are keen on.

  1.  First I put 1 or 2 ice cubes at the bottom of the blender.
  2. add the spinach
  3. Then I add the frozen banana chunks on top of the spinach to weigh it down
  4. I put in the protein powder, amazing grass powder, xanthan gum, and essence of choice.
  5. If I am feeling adventurous or want to mix up the flavor I add in my favourite additions usually frozen berries or peanut butter.
  6. Blend and Enjoy

The end result is a very thick smoothie and usually makes about 2.5 cups. My favorite way to enjoy my green monster is in a bowl topped with some muesli , oats or cereal for a bit of crunch action and eaten with a spoon. Other toppings can include chocolate chips, coconut, a dollop of peanut butter, more banana slices, crumbled muffin or sweet bread.

 My favorite recipes include:

Strawberry + Banana

Peanut Butter + Banana (Heaven)

Pumpkin+Cinnamon+Vanilla (Pumpkin Pie)

Cocoa Powder+ Peanut Butter

Avocado+Banana

Blueberry + Vanilla +Banana (Blueberry Muffin)

Coconut + Banana+ Pineapple (Think Pina Coloda)

I really want to try Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Covered Strawberry, Cookie Dough, Chocolate Cherry Bomb and Tropical Mango Green Monsters as well. I have the recipes for them all and I cannot wait to continue coming up with new recipes.

Before I go I would like to promise you that you can’t taste the spinach in the smoothie at all! Adding your daily greens adds many nutrients including Vitamin A, Manganese, Folate, Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B2, Calcium, Potassium and dietary fiber.

Let me know what amazing combinations or ideas you have for a Green Monster!

 Life Life.Eat Well.Practice Yoga.