Muesli is a classic for providing loads of vitamins and minerals. More importantly, it will give you a slow release of energy from the natural sugars in the dried fruits, as well as the carbohydrates in the oats and milk. Oats are particularly good too in the sense that they provide some useful natural chemicals designed to lower your cholesterol in the bloodstream for a healthy heart and blood vessels (essential for transporting nutrients to the brain and the rest of the body). To reduce fat content of this meal, we recommend you use skim milk instead of plain full cream milk. And to really wake yourself up with a burst of energy, add a dab of Manuka honey (a particularly powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal sweetener with numerous other healthy benefits for the digestive tract) to the muesli. Anything else? Just use your creativity.
NOTE: We recommend the muesli should not be toasted. Go for the raw and original ingredients.
- 500g uncooked (softened) rolled oats
- 250g sultanas or raisins
- 1 cup unprocessed bran
- 1 cup diced dried fruits, such as apricots, apples, prunes, figs, etc.
- 1 cup chopped nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds, etc.
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1 cup flaked coconut
- Combine all the ingredients and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Serve with milk and, if desired, a dab of honey.
NOTE: For the ultimate blast for the day and make you feel real good inside, add some prunes. However, we don't recommend the suggestion from others that you should also put in some of those medicated Combantrin chocolate squares all grated up into your breakfast unless you definitely know you have some worms living inside your gut. If you do, just do it once and you should be okay for a long time. Now your body is ready to absorb healthy nutrients.
Now that you are all cleared up on the inside, it is time for lunch!
A potent mix of a large number of different vitamins and minerals dissolved in water from the vegetables with some added water (use the pure filtered variety) to help keep your mind active and healthy. A classic Spanish dish to get your nerves firing away and give your brain plenty of water to support the structures of neurons and help them perform their tasks. However, to build healthy body tissue to help support (e.g, supply nutrients and oxygen) these healthy neurons in the brain, you will need protein in your diet (see below for good high-protein recipes).
- 1 small zucchini, peeled and chopped
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 red or green capsicum, seeded and chopped
- 1 stick of celery, chopped (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Four large ripe tomatoes
- 1/2 cup purified water or fresh salt-reduced chicken stock
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil (e.g. mild virgin, cold pressed olive oil)
- pinch of salt (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly gound black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Dijon seeded mustard
- 1 teaspoon each of dried chives and tarragon
- Place all vegetables, including the garlic, tomatoes and parsely with their juices in a blender or food processor.
- Add dressing and the water (or freshly made chicken stock from original ingredients for an added taste sensation).
- Blend well until vegetables are finely chopped. Refrigerate for several hours before drinking. Best served during the hot summer months.
Paella - Rice with seafood
Another classic Spanish dish loaded with proteins from the seafood, chicken and pork as needed to build your body tissues and maintain healthy nerve cell structures, and carbohydrates in the rice for providing the energy the brain needs to do its job. Plenty of vitamins and minerals from the vegetables and protein (especially the chicken bones if included with the chicken meat). Classic brain food stuff. Please note that because the rice contains heaps of carbohydrates, this dish should only be consumed no more than, say, once a month. Or consider experimenting with fast cooking brown rice or quinoa. Better still, just add more protein and vegetables and you will need far less rice in the same volume of the pan for cooking this dish. In fact, this is the difference between cheap paella and the better quality version: some cooks and restauranteurs rely more on a handful of chicken and pieces of chorizo (a Spanish sausage) to get a reasonable flavour, add the saffron for the distinctive yellow colour and extra flavour, and very little vegetables. The rest is pure rice. For the healthiest paella on the planet, go for the higher quality version. Finally, this dish is probably more suited for the dinner time, but many Spanish people have the biggest meal at lunchtime. Thus the reason why we called this a "lunch" dish!
- 1 small chicken, cut into 8 pieces.
- 300g pork, cut to bite size pieces.
- Optional to include one Spanish sausage (called a chorizo), chopped or cut to thin slices (provides another dimension to the taste of this dish).
- A dozen each of extra large prawns (or roughly 300g of prawns) and mussels (may be shelled). Alternatively, 1 small tin of baby clams can be used instead of mussels, but nothing beats the original and freshest mussels from your local fish shop for flavour and highest nutritional value.
- Optional to include other types of fish, such as 200g monkfish (if unavailable, use bluefish or another white fish), 1/2 cup of crab meat, and/or 250g of fresh squid cut to 5 x 2 cm pieces.
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped parsely (used mainly as a garnish, but can be added to the cooking phase)
- 4 tablespoons cooked peas (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped green beans (optional)
- 1 large or two small ripe tomatoes, roasted (for extra flavour, or go fresh) and cut to thin stripes (optional)
- 1 large capsicum, roasted and cut to thin stripes (optional)
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste (optional)
Liquids for cooking rice
- For 1 cup of rice, use 2 cups of boiling fish stock (or chicken stock). It is best to use fish stock if you can using prawn heads and the bones of other fish (drain the liquid when ready). The liquid you'll need to cook the rice is roughly double the rice quantity.
- 2 glasses of dry white wine (recommended for extra flavour).
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- A pinch of original saffron spice (this gives the dish the distinctive yellow colour and distinctive flavour to the dish).
- A pinch of salt and pepper.
- Finally, you'll need about 8 tablespoons olive oil for sealing the chicken pieces and cooking the fish. (2)
- Wash the rice in cold water to remove as much of the white starchy residue on the rice grains as possible. This helps to prevent the rice from sticking together at the end of the cooking process.
- Lightly coat the bottom of a large, heavy shallow iron frying pan with olive oil. Heat the oil. It is crucial at this point to realise that the heating element on an electric or gas stove should provide equal amounts of heat throughout the entire bottom surface area of the pan so that all the rice can be cooked properly.
- Fry onions and remove. Fry the chicken pieces, Spanish sausage pieces, and pork until it is cooked and sealed on all sides. Then add the squid pieces and cook for 2 minutes. Return the cooked onions to the pan.
- Add tomato pieces, mussels, one crab meat stick, and any other fish you fancy. But remember don't add too much other ingredients need to be added to the pan as well! Cook, with occasional stirring, the contents in the pan for 1 minute.
- For one cup of rice you will add later, add 1 cup of the boiling chicken/fish stock (the remaining cup of stock will be added during cooking phase to prevent the rice from drying up), white wine and saffron spice, together with the pepper, salt, garlic, parsely and tomato paste. Let the contents in the pan simmer with occasional stirring for about 15 or so minutes until meat is almost tender.
- Add the fresh prawns and peas and stir. Over moderate heat, let the sauce simmer and the rice soak up a reasonable amount of the juices in the pan. Keep adding more stock should the rice get too dry until the rice has just about reached a state of tenderness.
- With some liquid still remaining, remove the pan from the heat. Cover the top of the pan with kitchen towels before serving. Leave for a while until the rice absorbs the remaining liquid as required to complete the cooking process. Garnish the dish with extra parsely and a lemon wedge. Serve hot.
## SPECIAL NOTE ##
You'll need about 1 to 1.5 cups or 400g uncooked short-grain rice. Short grain rice is better than long grain because the outer part of the rice is softer and will absorb the flavour whereas the centre of the rice is hard enough to provide texture.
Also, consider buying chicken wings as they hold more flavour. And use fresh fish. If you have to use fish in a can, you'll need about 250 grams of fresh raw prawns (peeled or unpeeled) and another 250 grams of fresh mussels as the minimum mandatory requirements for this dish if you want to get a descent seafood flavour.
Salmon with Salsa Verde (Green Sauce)
Classic "rocket fuel for the brain" food. Plenty of protein in the fish to help build your brain. Quality fish fats for healthy nerves and fast electrical conductivity. You really can't go wrong with this classic fish dish.
- 2 x 1kg salmon fillets with skin on
Salsa Verde (Green Sauce)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsely
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped drained capers
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2/3 cup (160ml) olive oil
- Black pepper and salt for seasoning
- Preheat the oven to hot (220°C).
- Combine sauce ingredients of parsely, capers, garlic, vinegar and half the olive oil in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.
- Check over salmon fillets and remove any remaining tiny bones with tweezers.
- Place one salmon fillet, skin-side down, on a board; spread with half of the Salsa Verde. Top with the remaining fillet, skin-side up; tie with string at 5cm intervals.
- Place the salmon in a large oiled baking dish; bake, uncovered, in a hot oven for 15 minutes or until cooked as desired.
- Add remaining oilve oil to the remaining Salsa Verde.
- Serve the salmon, sliced crossways, with the Salsa Verde.
Source: The Australian Women's Weekly: Trueblue Christmas Feast, December 2000, p.224.
Ginger Lime Salmon Steaks
Another classic "rocket fuel for the brain" food. This one has plenty of protein in the fish to build your brain. Quality fish fats for healthy nerves. A little citric acid from the lime will aid in the digestion process to help extract a little extra proteins and amino acids as well as add some vitamins and minerals to your diet.
- 4 salmon steaks
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- Pepper and salt to taste
- To make the marinade, get a small saucepan and heat oil and green onions over medium heat for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the lime juice, grated ginger, salt and pepper and cook for 1 more minute.
- Place the fish in a shallow dish and pour the warm marinade over the top. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, turning once after an hour. Let the fish stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.
- Place the fish on a hot grill, drizzle a bit of the marinade on top, and cook for 4 to 5 min. for each of thickness. Makes 4 servings.
Source: Cookware Deluxe 1.3
Tuna and Green Olive Spaghetti
Solid protein from tuna fish, carbohydrates for energy, and a good dose of vitamins and minerals from the herbs and vegetables.
- 375g spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 small red chilli, seeds out and finely chopped (optional)
- 425g can tuna in oil, drained and flaked
- 2 flat canned anchovy fillets, chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped continental parsely
- Juice of one lemon
- 12 whole green olives
- Cook spaghetti in a saucepan of boiling water for 8 to 12 minutes or until tender, drain. Meanwhile, heat oil, fry garlic and chilli for one minute. Add tuna and anchovies, stir over a low heat until heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in capers, parsely, lemon juice, olives and piping hot spaghetti. Spoon into serving bowls. Serve.
Source: Fabulous Fast Pasta: Better Homes and Gardens. July 2000, p.183.
Chicken in Oyster Sauce
A popular and tasty Chinese dish loaded with proteins from an alternative white meat. The tastiness of this dish is important for the emotional development of the brain. For extra vitamins and minerals, consider adding more vegetables if you like. And choose a quality Oyster sauce with genuine oyster extract. The sauce should have absolutely no unnecessary additives (i.e. preservatives, colourings, flavourings or flavour enhancers such as MSG or extra salt). For a little variation on this dish, consider not combining the stir fried vegetables with the meat where you will toss the oyster sauce throughout. Leave the vegetables separate and just add a quarter to no more than half a teaspoon of sesame oil to the vegetables. Mix well. Remember, sesame oil is a flavouring, not a cooking oil that you add in greater quantities as you do with olive oil in salads or when cooking foods in a saucepan. You do not need very much sesame oil to get the distinctive sesame taste in your food. Finally, add the oyster sauce to just the protein and serve the vegetables on one side of the plate and the ginger, garlic and oyster-flavoured protein on the other side. In effect, you have created two dishes in one! What a clever cook you are! Efficient and easy.
- 1kg of boneless chicken, sliced thinly
- 1 large onion, leek, or 12 shallots, chopped finely
- 150g fresh, crisp snow peas
- 1/2 cup unsalted cashews
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 generous piece fresh green ginger, crushed
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed or sliced
- 1 egg white
- 3 tablespoons of Oyster Sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- Cut chicken into thin strips.
- Marinate chicken in sesame oil, ginger, garlic, egg white and 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil for 1-2 hours in a refrigerator.
- Heat remaining oil and fry chicken until nicely browned with their juices sealed. Remove meat.
- With the remaining juices in the pan, fry the vegetables to accompany the chicken.
- Return the chicken to the pan and add the oyster sauce and water. Continue to stir and cook for 5 minutes. Serve hot with rice.
## SPECIAL NOTE ##
Be fairly generous in the ginger and garlic combination if you like. Up to 6 cloves of garlic and a large 8cm piece of ginger is just fine. And/or add a little extra oyster sauce for more flavour if you like (but not too much, it is a bit salty).
Chicken in Lemon Sauce
Another popular Chinese dish loaded with proteins. For extra vitamins, add more vegetables. Come to think of it, this dish is one of the most effective means of getting kids to eat their veggies (just tell them it has honey and sugar). Actually much of Chinese food is really in the making of the sauce and the rest is choosing quality protein and vegetables to make it look different and provide some interest and variety. In fact, if you check many Chinese restaurants, dishes are often based on a particular meat theme (perhaps with different vegetables, and a few cashew nuts thrown in for good measure and for a little crunchy texture) but the sauces are essentially the same for each of them.
- 500 grams chicken breasts or thighs, sliced thinly
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 shallots sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 3/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- Marinate chicken pieces in ginger and 1 tablespoon of the oil.
- Bring to the boil the lemon sauce ingredients and then simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until sauce thickens.
- Fry chicken in a saucepan with some oil.
- Add vegetables
- Pour over lemon sauce and simmer ingredients for a further 5 minutes.
- Serve hot with boiled rice.
## SPECIAL NOTE ##
The lemon sauce is great. So if you want to make more lemon sauce for this recipe, feel free to do so. Just remember this is a Chinese dish and not a soup!
Chicken in green curry sauce
A thai-style curry recipe providing heaps of proteins for a healthy mind and body. Like the previous recipe, adding vegetables of your choice will increase fibre intake and provide you with numerous valuable vitamins and minerals. However, the coconut milk will increase cholesterol levels in your blood. We recommend trying this dish once every two or three months and exercise to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. Other than that, this dish should only be served if you (or the people you are serving) are not allergic to peanuts, coconuts or other ingredients.
Ingredients and method
- Add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil with a dash of sesame oil into a hot saucepan
- Add 600g of chicken thigh fillets, cubed or cut into strips and seal in the hot oils.
- Add two tablespoons of your favourite green curry paste into the saucepan. There are different ones, so try one that you like the most.
- Add vegetables of your choice, such as buk choy. Alternatively or in addition to the other vegetables, add strips of carrots and whole snow peas.
- A couple of teaspoons of rice vinegar and one can of coconut cream. Heat until sauce bubbles.
- Add some ginger (1 teaspoon) and some hot fresh chillies (1 teaspoon or less depending on how hot you want it to taste).
- Add bean sprouts when cooking is finished.
Australian Sweet Curry
This Australian variation on the classic traditional Indian curry dishes has an increased number of vitamins from the fruits, an excellent source of fibre from the coconuts (and fruits), a good supply of protein from the steak, and just the right amount of sweetness from the fruits for good taste as well as adequate energy for the brain. The curry powder is also particularly tasty and will help to increase your metabolism which is useful for burning off extra calories from the natural fruit sugars (even if you are resting on a chair eating and enjoying this amazing dish).
- 60g butter
- 3 onions, peeled and sliced
- 3 level tablespoons curry powder
- 3 kilograms chuck steak, cubed
- 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
- 1 capsicum, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup mango chutney (or other good fruit chutney such as apricot, plum etc)
- 1 cup sultanas
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
- 2 bananas, peeled and chopped
- 3 cups water
- Melt butter in a large saucepan or boiler. Fry onion gently for about 10 minutes or until soft and glossy.
- Add the curry powder, fry a few minutes longer, then turn up the heat and add the steak, tossing it around in the curry and onion mixture until it is completely coated and lightly browned.
- Add remaining ingredients. Cover pot and bring to the boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 1 & 1/4 hours or until tender. This curry is best made the day before to allow the flavour to develop. Store in refrigerator overnight.
- When reheating, stir in a small carton (150ml) of coconut cream if desired. Serve with boiled rice, pappadums, and usual curry accompaniments.
Moroccan Lamb Shanks
A classic Moroccan dish totally loaded with vitamins and protein the sort of chemical building blocks needed for a truly healthy brain.
- 4 lamb shanks (SUNRISE suggestion: Or lamp chops)
- splash olive oil
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes (SUNRISE suggestion: Go for the fresher variety, or replace with 600ml of quality chicken stock)
- 1 tin water (No, you can't buy water in a tin. What we mean here is just use the tin from the tomatoes mentioned above as a measuring tool to help measure out the right amount of water for this dish!)
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 knob ginger, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 heaped teaspoon coriander powder (in America and Spanish countries, the herb is called by the Spanish name Cilantro (sih-LAHN-troh). To people in Asia, it is called Chinese parsely. And to the Mexicans, it is called Mexican parsely).
- 1 heaped teaspoon cumin
- 1 heaped teaspoon turmeric (SUNRISE suggestion: This ingredient is not critical, but for its anti-cancer properties, it might be worth a sprinkle or two if you can handle it)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (SUNRISE suggestion: This ingredient is not absolutely critical, but helps with added flavour)
- grated lemon zest (SUNRISE suggestion: instead try 1/2 a preserved lemon skin, sliced finely)
- SUNRISE suggestion: Add 150g raisins for an extra burst of sweetness, fibre and vitamins. Optional: Some olives, and carrots sliced diagonally or in rings, would not go astray in this dish either.
- Splash some olive oil into a baking tray and add the shanks. Brown the shanks on a medium-high heat on top of the stove.
- Place the remaining ingredients in the baking dish (with its own glass lid) and combine well with the lamb shanks.
- Cover with the glass lid and place in a pre-heated oven for three hours at 160°C.
- Serve with couscous.
Source without the suggestions: Geoff Jansz, 2003.
Quinoa as a nutritious replacement for rice and cous cous
Quinoa is a superfood loaded with vitamins, minerals and all the essential amino acids that your body requires to build proteins. It is one of the few plant-based food products that can replace meat for a source of protein. Beyond that, you will get a healthy dose of iron, magnesium, manganese and calcium, as well as folate. And a great source of fibre for a healthy intestinal tract. Great for vegetarians.
- Measure the desired amount of quinoa.
- If quinoa was bought in a packet, usually they are well rinsed. But it would not hurt to give the quinoa another rinse before cooking.
- In a saucepan, combine quinoa and water. The amount of water needed is twice the amount of quinoa you have measured. So, for example, 1 cup of quinoa would require 2 cups of water.
- Bring the liquid to the boil, then reduce to simmer with lid on.
- After 15 minutes or so, or when almost all the water has been absorbed, turn off the heat and place the lid back on.
- Let it sit for another 10 to 15 minutes to finish the cooking and water absorption process.
You are now ready to serve, either cold or hot. Add other ingredients to give more flavour, or use as a replacement for rice or cous cous in other dishes.
Quinoa can be used in sweet or savoury dishes.
Vegetable Stuffed Peppers
Loaded with vitamins with a dash of protein and calcium from the cheese for a healthy brain. Vegetarians will love this one.
- 6 medium-sized green bell peppers
- 430g can pinto beans, drained, rinsed
- 3 cups whole kernel corn (fresh frozen or canned)
- 3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (3 oz)
- 1 1/2 tsp oil
- 1/2 cup onion, minced
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper or to taste
- Cut off tops of green peppers, leaving a hole about 2" in diameter from which seeds and inner ribs can be removed.
- Immerse peppers in boiling water. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove peppers carefully to avoid tearing. Place hole side down on paper towels to drain and cool.
- Preheat oven to 375° f.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine corn, beans, cheese, oil, onion, garlic, parsley, cayenne and black pepper. Divide among cooled peppers.
- Place cut-side up of stuffed peppers in baking dish. Pour a little water into dish.
- Bake in preheated oven about 20 min.
Source: Cookware Deluxe 1.3
A classic vitamin- and body-essential mineral-rich, low-fat dish to ensure your brain is firing its electrical impulses in a healthy way. Good stuff! You really can't go wrong with this type of food.
- 1-1/2 cups med bulghur wheat
- 2 cups water or chicken broth
- 1 cup parsley, minced, leaves only
- 2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
- 1/4 cup drained cucumbers
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1/3-1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- A little salt and black pepper to taste.
- Put bulghur in small mixing bowl with water or broth. Let stand for at least 30 minutes while you prepare other ingredients. Drain any excess liquid from wheat and put in large mixing bowl.
- Toss wheat with remaining ingredients until well mixed. Adjust seasoning as required.
Source: Cookware Deluxe 1.3
Feta Greek Salad
Low-fat (unless you use lots of feta cheese), high vitamin dish with a hint of protein from the anchovies. If you don't like anchovies, remove the ingredient and consider alternatives such as smoked salmon.
- 1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 3 tomatoes, cut up
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 green pepper seeded and chopped (optional)
- 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup black olives, preferably greek
- 250g feta cheese, sliced or cut into chunks
- 60g anchovies, drained (optional)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- Generous pinch of oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chill all vegetables, olives, cheese and anchovies.
- Combine dressing ingredients.
- When ready to serve, toss all vegetables and olives. Top with feta and, if desired, anchovies. Serve with dressing.
Source: Cookware Deluxe 1.3
Avocado and Tangelo Salad
A high vitamin dish with an excellent tasting dressing. Remember, contrary to popular belief, eating lots of avocados will not make you fat.
- 1 butter lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
- 300g baby spinach
- 1 small red onion, sliced thinly
- 1 cup cashew nuts
- 2 or 3 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into 1.5cm chunks
- 2 tangelos, peeled and white pith removed, cut into segments, then into 1.5 cm pieces
- 2/3 cup tangelo juice
- 3 spring onions, trimmed and coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon tangelo zest
- 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 cup peanut oil
- Combine lettuce, spinach, cashews, avocados and tangelos in a salad bowl.
- Place all dressing ingredients except the oil in a food processor and blend until combined. With the machine still running, add oil until emulsified. Pour dressing over salad.
- Toss salad ingredients to coat everything in the dressing. Serve.
Source: The Canberra Times: Food & Wine. 13 August 2003, p.8.
REWARDS - DESSERTS
Don't feel as if eating anything else is not good for you or will make you suddenly fat overnight. It is healthy to reward yourself from time-to-time with something you enjoy (well, we hope you did enjoy the recipes mentioned above). And in case you did not know it, you actually do need some energy for the body and brain to perform their functions. It means you do need some glucose to be flowing through your bloodstream.
In that case, how do you raise the glucose levels in your blood just enough to give your body and mind the most benefit?
You basically need sugars. Sugars are a source of energy. The sugars can be created by the body during the breakdown of proteins, fats and certain less digestible carbohydrates. Thus the above recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner should be enough to give you the energy you need. But you can also receive a quicker intake of sugars with less processing needed by the body to absorb and use them. This is where desserts come into the picture. Furthermore, desserts are seen traditionally as a way of finishing off a meal on a high note with something we all universally enjoy that is, foods with a bit of sweetness. For the simple type of sugars used in various desserts, these tend to be of the readily digestible carbohydrate variety. By readily digestible we mean the sugars will enter your bloodstream very quickly. So, be careful not to use too much, or eat too much, of the sugars.
If you are creating desserts, we strongly recommend natural sugar sources from fruits, brown sugar, honey etc. Avoid the highly refined sugars (the white crystalline variety) created by food manufacturers from the original cane sugar. As for the amount of sugar to consume, be sensible. If a recipe claims to add 2 tablespoons of sugar but you can get away with just one tablespoon and still taste great, then do it. You don't need the extra sugar. Also, only consume more sugars if you are an athlete exercising heavily and regularly. If you need a slower release of energy from your foods, eat less dessert but choose to consume slightly more pasta or rice (especially the brown rice). In fact, the latter food is your healthier option for just about any dish you care to use them in. However, since we are talking about desserts here, let us focus on sugars for the moment.
Now, because eating sweets is universally understood to be an enjoyable experience, you should never deny yourself the occasional dessert. Seriously, you only live once (or many different lifetimes but that's a question for religion to answer). Therefore, in the here and now moment with the body and mind you have today, the occasional dessert (when taken in moderation) will not kill you. And it certainly should not make you feel guilty.
You should always enjoy an occasional dessert!
Indeed, this should be your opportunity to be a little creative when preparing and cooking these desserts. If plain dried fruit and nuts or other healthy alternatives are getting a little boring, try the following recipes, and even consider adding these familiar fruit and nuts ingredients if you know it will be healthier (we don't recommend adding vegetables and meat to your desserts! Apart from sweet chilli sauce or sweet tomatoes, any other vegetable or meats just does not work in a dessert). Particularly, add more fruit. And while you are at it, throw in a dash of brandy or rum to certain recipes to help give them a remarkable lift (and make everyone look prettier than they really are).
WARNING 1: Do not consume alcohol in any amounts (even as little as one small glass of wine per day) if you are pregnant (don't assume you are not if you can recall at any time having had sex recently with a member of the opposite sex, which you should or else you have been drinking too much alcohol not to remember) especially in the first trimester of the pregnancy. There is sufficient medical evidence to show alcohol in the bloodstream for women will affect the formation of the brain for the baby in a detrimental way. Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other forms of learning difficulties are just the start for children whose mothers have been drinking during pregnancy. The alcohol in the mother's bloodstream is likely to cause a loss in connections between nerve cells within the basal ganglia and hippocampus regions. Further details can be obtained from this article.
WARNING 2: Although we have mentioned (flavoured) alcohol from brandy, rum and other liquors as an acceptable ingredient in some desserts, we do not endorse the heavy use of alcohol or even as a substitute for desserts altogether if it means consuming vast quantities of this chemical. Apart from causing liver cancer, throat cancer, kidney problems, and affect the proper functioning of the brain when alcohol is consumed in excessive amounts over a certain period of time, the last thing we want to see are people losing control of their mental faculties and start king hitting people with slabs of cake and other forms of sweets. Not a good look we hear. Better to be sober and enjoying the experience of a little rum or brandy in your desserts than an all out assault on the alcoholic beverages cabinet.
TIP: If you are in one of those cooking shows (say, My Kitchen Rules) where you will be exposed (and have to eat) many different desserts and are worried about your weight, try the idea of buying the largest possible bottle of prune juice that you can hide in your purse or handbag (or down your trowser pockets, and so make you look well-endowed in front of your guests). As you leave the competition and head back to the hotel, drink the whole bottle and by the time you reach the hotel and relax for half an hour, you will feel the joy of expelling the contents internally to avoid absorbing excessive calories. There is another benefit to this naughty trick. You will be more hungry the next day, the day after, and so on. Furthermore, you will complain less at the quality of the food you are presented with, and people will find you a joy to be with when they see how eager you are to tuck into those dishes, no matter how "unhealthy" the foods might be. And yes, don't worry about whether some people think certain foods are healtnier than others. Look at their bodies. If they are thin, it means they are energetic enough to do enough work to keep trim. For you, the magic of prune juice can never be underestimated in keeping your weight down. As they say, total energy in should be total energy out. If you can get more out than you can get in, you will lose weight. Should the energy going in and out be the same, that is often sufficient to be described as healthy for many people.
Okay. Are you still stuck for reasonable dessert recipe ideas? Here are a few for you to consider (perhaps, say, once a month).
Bread and Butter Pudding
A burst of immediate energy for the brain from the sugar and the full cream milk. Lots of calcium and phosphorus from the milk produces healthy impulses inside your nerves (as well as strong bones when well-exercised). Some protein from the eggs and milk is useful for building your brain. Emotionally healthy to the mind because of its excellent taste together with a naughty dash of brandy or rum. We advise you don't eat the whole lot or you will have to exercise a hell of a lot!
- 12 slices bread, trimmed of the crusts around the edge
- 1 tablespoon butter, warmed in a saucepan
- 250 grams raisins or sultanas soaked in 150ml brandy or rum
- 1 small jar strawberry jam or marmalade
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 300ml cream or fresh milk
- extra butter
- Butter one side of each piece of bread. Arrange in a well-buttered baking dish layers of the bread slices (butter side down) with jam on top, together with a smattering of raisins or sultanas.
- Whisk eggs with the warm milk and butter. Add vanilla essence and rum to the milk. Then pour the mixture into the baking dish to just cover the last layer of bread slices.
- Bake pudding in an oven for 45 minutes at a temperature of about 180°C. Let stand for 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Same as above. Our tip: Use quality vanilla pods, or get the vanilla extract form. It is far better than the vanilla essence!
- 2/3 cup short grain rice
- 2 litres milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 5 eggs (at room temperature)
- Heat milk over medium heat with sugar, stirring constantly until it comes to a boil.
- Without lowering heat, add rice. Continue stirring. Cook until rice is soft (about 35 minutes).
- Beat eggs until light and foamy. Add vanilla.
- Remove rice from heat. Fold in egg mixture until well blended.
- Pour into large casserole or individual serving dishes. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold, depending on your personal preference.
Classic and Simple Pumpkin Fruit Cake
Same as above, except this time you get extra fibre. For even more fibre and additional vitamins, use wholemeal self-raising flour and add a little more pumpkin and dried fruit.
- 1 cup mashed pumpkin
- 125g butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
- 500g sultanas, or mixed fruit
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- Line a large tin with two layers of baking paper. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one by one, then pumpkin, vanilla essence, fruit, then flour.
- The mixture should be quite moist, but if it seems too dry (which may be the case if the pumpkin is dryish), then add a little water or milk.
- Pour the mix into the tin. Bake at 200°C for one hour or until it is brown on top and a skewer comes out clean.