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Pretty much everyone knows by now that probiotics are vital for maintaining good gut health.  But did you know that there is a key probiotic source that is readily available but often overlooked?

More on that in minute.

But firstly, what’s the deal with probiotics and gut health?

The research all basically says the same thing: a healthy and balanced gut microbiome is foundational for health and wellbeing.

Balance is the key word here. There is a constant tussle between beneficial and harmful microbes going on in your gut – with both groups trying to claim territory and gain the upper hand.

When the good guys win, your health improves.

Probiotics support a healthy microbiome by seeding beneficial microbes into your gut.  More good microbes in the gut = better gut health.

Common Probiotic Sources

Two valuable sources of probiotics are fermented foods and probiotic powders and supplements.  For the latter, it’s important to choose a probiotic that supplies both beneficial bacteria and fungi to support the total microbiome.  I designed Bestow Gut Love + Powder with that in mind, and I am proud that it features the world-class Biohm probiotic.

But there is another probiotic source that you probably already have in your kitchen.

Organic Fruit and Veggies Provide Living Microbes

Organic fruit and vegetables are a lesser-known but hugely important source of probiotics. Living microbes can be found on the leaves and skins of spray-free fruit and vegetables. These naturally occurring microbes can actually help to establish beneficial bacterial colonies in our bodies.

You might be wondering, “why does the produce need to be organic?”

Choose Organic

Unfortunately, our culture’s obsession with cleanliness and sanitation has seeped into our food production methods. Any fruit and vegetables that are not squeaky clean and perfect are discarded or ignored by consumers. This has led to an overuse of pesticides and other sprays to prevent spoilage, which of course, kill the microbes that live on the surface of the produce.

If our fruit and vegetables are too clean then our gut is robbed of an important source of natural probiotics. Research has shown that beneficial microbes are capable of helping our body rid itself of ailments. In particular they help regulate our immune system, preventing it from the over-reaction that is the cause of many inflammation based diseases, whilst keeping it alert enough to ward off unwelcome invaders. Good gut health supports your internal protective mechanisms.

Keep It Local

Another benefit of these microbes is that they adapt to the environment in which they grow, defending themselves again potential allergens in their surrounds.  For optimal health benefits, you are best to eat organic produce from your local area as these microbes will train your body how to respond appropriately to the allergens in your local area.

Shop at Farmers Markets

An easy way to do this is to source your produce from local organic farmers markets. Eat what you can in its fresh, raw state, only gently washing them to remove obvious dirt.

Grow Your Own Spray-Free Herbs

Another option is to grow your own produce. Fresh herbs are a great way to start.  They don’t take up much room in the garden and can even be grown on a window sill. Home grown herbs are an affordable and tasty source of live probiotics that are can be easily grown in your own environment. I would encourage you to pick up some herbs at your local garden centre and plant your own little organic herb patch at home.

Pesto Perfect

Once you have herbs ready to harvest, celebrate by making this yummy Bestow Pesto below. Enjoy the delicious satisfaction that comes from eating organic herbs that you have grown yourself to support your gut microbiome. Happy days!

BESTOW CORIANDER PESTO

This recipe is from the Bestow Love Your Gut 7-Day Online Programme. You could substitute the Coriander for Basil, Rocket or Italian Parsley if you wish or even a mixture of herbs.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups coriander, stalks and all (around 1 plant from the supermarket)
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of Bestow Beauty Oil
Himalayan salt to season

METHOD
Place ingredients into a blender and blend until fully combined.

NOTES
Coriander (sometimes known as cilantro) has well-known digestive properties and has a calming and anti-inflammatory affect in the intestinal tract. It also helps to prevent a build up of gas, reducing bloating.

  • March 7, 2019

With Christmas fast approaching, many of us are reaching for a delicious seasonal treat.

Our Bestow Christmas Loaf will not only satisfy your Christmas cake cravings, but also makes a perfect Christmas present. Wrap it in a beeswax wrap and finish off with a festive ribbon for the perfect zero waste gift this year.

RECIPE:

GF/DF/RSF/*Vegan Option

1½ cups buckwheat flour

1½ cups almond meal

½ cup of coconut sugar

¼ cup of tapioca flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

½ teaspoon of baking soda

½ teaspoon of salt

3 teaspoons of cinnamon

2 teaspoons of ground ginger

1 teaspoon of fennel seeds

½ teaspoon of nutmeg

½ teaspoon of ground cloves

1 teaspoon of ground cardamom

½ cup of chopped dates

½ cup of chopped dried apricots

½ cup of raisins

½ cup of dried cranberries

½ cup of chopped walnuts (reserve 1 tablespoon for the top)

½ cup of chopped pistachios (reserve 1 tablespoon for the top)

2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 eggs*

1 cup of dairy-free coconut yoghurt

2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla

 

METHOD:

Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees celsius.

Place all the dry ingredients, seeds, fruit and nuts in a large bowl and mix well. Add the eggs to a seperate bowl and beat. Add the mashed banana, coconut yoghurt and vanilla. Mix well then lastly add the coconut oil and stir. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.

Spoon mixture into a large loaf tin lined with baking paper.

Sprinkle the top with the reserved walnuts and pistachios. Add some sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds too if you wish.

Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes – test with skewer, bake another 10 minutes if required and test again.

Cool in tin for 30 mins then remove loaf from tin and place on a cooling rack.

Keeps for several days in an airtight container and also freezes well.

*For a vegan option replace with two flax eggs by soaking 2 tablespoons of flax seeds in 6 tablespoons of water for
ten minutes.

  • November 29, 2018

We are celebrating the arrival of summer with these delicious, yellow squares of goodness. The combination of mango and Turmeric create not only a vibrant colour but a tropical taste sensation. And because we were erring on the OCD side today we teamed our Turmeric Slice with our Bestow Turmeric Organic Tea (Puritea) and a gorgeous linen dress in shades of Turmeric from Widdess!

Full of healthy fats from coconut and Bestow Beauty Plus Oil, just a small piece of this treat is very satisfying, not to mention amazing for skin health!

This slice is also high in vitamin A (an essential skin nutrient) from the dried apricots and mango and is full of anti-inflammatory properties provided by the Turmeric.

Ingredients
1/2 cup of green banana flour (could sub almond flour)
3/4 cup of dried apricots, chopped (we prefer organic – sulphite free and they taste heaps better!!)
1/4 cup of sultanas
1 cup of coconut chips
1/3 cup of coconut butter
1/2 cup of mango or pineapple (fresh or frozen)
2 teaspoons of ground turmeric
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of Bestow Beauty Plus Oil (or Bestow Beauty Oil)
Pinch of Himalayan salt

Method
Line tin with baking paper. Combine coconut oil, coconut butter, mango or pineapple, Himalayan salt and turmeric in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until mango or pineapple has melted down and all ingredients are well combined. To help this process, once it has warmed through you can mash it in the saucepan.

Remove from the heat and add dry ingredients to saucepan. Mix well. Press the mixture into the prepared tin. Make sure to press down firmly so the mixture is compacted and will set well.

Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Slice into squares and keep in the freezer. Remove from the freezer a few minutes before serving.

GLUTEN FREE /DAIRY FREE / REFINED SUGAR FREE / VEGAN

 

  • December 6, 2017

One-pot savoury meals, bursting with flavour are our favourite type of meals to cook. Our fifth recipe book Bestow Savour is a collection of vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar-free recipes which rescue vegetables from bland side dishes and make them the star of the show. The recipe that follows is one of these and perfect for this time of year as there is nothing better than a steaming bowl of Roasted Cauliflower Goodness Soup flavoured with turmeric, cumin, paprika and sumac and garnished with the thyme-fried mushrooms on a cool winter’s day!

 

Roast the Cauliflower.

 

Saute the onion and garlic and add the spices.

 

Golden and tasty!

 

Add the cauliflower and vegetable stock.

 

Simmer and blend.

 

Serve with thyme-fried mushrooms!

RECIPE:

2 heads of cauliflower, cut into florets
Olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric, ground
1 teaspoon sumac, ground
2 teaspoon cumin, ground
2 teaspoon paprika, ground
1 litre of vegetable stock
Juice and zest of one lemon
1⁄4 cup of Italian parsley, chopped
Small handful of fresh thyme
1⁄2 cup of button mushrooms, sliced
Himalayan or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Arrange the cauliflower florets on a large baking tray lined with baking paper; use two baking trays if you need to. Sprinkle cauliflower with salt and pepper and drizzle generously with olive oil. Roast in oven for 30 minutes, turning over midway through. They should be starting to turn golden brown. Remove from oven. Reserve a cupful of florets for the top of the soup.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frypan. Saute the onion gently until translucent (10-15 minutes). Add the chopped garlic, turmeric, sumac, cumin and paprika. Stir together for a brief few seconds until fragrant.

Now add the roasted cauliflower. Stir to coat cauliflower well with the spices then add vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer on medium-high heat. Cover and cook for five minutes.

Uncover and remove from the heat, cool for 10 minutes. Using a stick blender, blend and liquid until you achieve desired consistency. If the soup is too thick add more stock or water.

Return to a medium heat and stir in the lemon juice.

While the soup is heating through, fry the mushrooms in a small pan in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over a medium- high heat. As they start to brown add some fresh thyme and cracked black pepper. Remove from the heat when they are starting to crisp and turn golden brown. Set aside.

Add the soup to serving bowls, top with mushroom, reserved cauliflower florets, fresh thyme, parsley and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.

And recently we were featured in the Bay of Plenty Times with the Cauliflower Goodness Soup being the main recipe 🙂

 

 

 

 

  • June 1, 2017

Add wonderful tandoori spices and flavour to roasted cauliflower. Then team it with a creamy coconut, mint dressing for a delicious vegetarian, dairy free side dish or light meal.

Roast Tandoori Cauliflower Recipe
with Creamy Coconut Mint Dressing

INGREDIENTS
1 medium sized cauliflower, cut into florets
1 red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Tandoori coating
Zest and juice of one small lemon
2/3 cup of coconut yoghurt (dairy free)
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of ginger powder
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of turmeric
½ teaspoon of smoked paprika
½ teaspoon of salt

Yoghurt mint dressing
½ a cup of coconut yoghurt (dairy free)
Juice and zest of one lime
1 tablespoon of mint and parsley, finely chopped (save half for garnish)
½ teaspoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of Bestow Beauty Oil
Salt and pepper

Heat your oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Mix all the tandoori coating ingredients together in a small bowl. Place the cauliflower florets and sliced red onion into a large bowl. Add the tandoori coating and mix to coat well.

Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper in the oven. Drizzle with olive oil and roast for 25 to 30 minutes until starting to char on the edges. While your cauliflower and onion is roasting, mix all the dressing ingredients together in a jar and shake.

Remove the cauliflower and onion from the oven and let cool. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with parsley and mint.

Can be served warm or cold.

  • February 28, 2017

Dark Leafy Greens – What do they do for us?

  • They are a good source of fibre to encourage a healthy bowel and help reduce the risk of many modern diseases.
  • It’s not only dairy products that supply calcium, leafy green vegetables like kale, cabbage, bok choy and collards also contain high amounts of this important mineral.
  • Leafy greens contain good fats, for example, a serving of kale contains 121 mg of omega 3 fatty acids and 92.4mg of omega 6 fatty acids. They also have anti-inflammatory compounds which reduce inflammation though the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants they contain.

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Chard parcels with quinoa

5 chard or silverbeet leaves and stalks
2 cups of quinoa
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
4 medium, button mushrooms, chopped
½ a lemon, juiced
3 tomatoes, chopped
½ cup of Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper

Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions. Chop the stalks off the chard leaves and then chop the stalks finely. Panfry the onion, garlic and chard stalks in olive oil until the onion is soft. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and herbs, mix and heat gently for a few minutes. Add the quinoa, stir, season to taste.

Bring a deep frypan with an inch of salted water in it to the boil. Place the chard leaves in the pan, put the lid on and simmer over a medium heat for one-two minutes. Remove the leaves from the pan ready for the filling and cool. The leaves should still be a lovely bright green with the added advantage of being easier to manage.

Place a large tablespoon of the quinoa filling on the leaf, in the center but close to the stalk end. Fold the bottom end and the sides of the leaf in and roll up.

Serve as a vegetarian snack or lunch dish or serve as the vegetable portion of your evening meal. You could also add or exchange other ingredients for the filling such as nuts, raisins, rice, millet, beans, peas, chickpeas, tofu etc.

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  • September 24, 2014

Have you ever tried making your own falafels? To be honest I’ve always thought they resided in the land of the bland – this was my first attempt. Amazingly they are a taste sensation and I can imagine all sorts of ingredient options so I will be making them alot more! The traditional way to cook them would be to fry them in oil, this version is much healthier and tastes just as good.

Falafels are made from chickpeas, which are full of fibre, both soluble (draws out toxins and lowers cholesterol) and insoluble (encourages elimination). They have a low GI and support energy production in our cells making them ideal for weight loss.

Chickpeas are also wonderful for women especially from a hormonal perspective. The manganese they contain can help the symptoms of PMS but if you are postmenopausal they contain helpful phytochemicals called saponins. These act as antioxidants and can lower the risk of breast cancer, osteoporosis and minimise hot flushes.

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For the falafels:


1 can of chickpeas, drained
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion, roughly chopped
½ cup parsley
1 tablespoon gluten free flour eg. Amaranth, buckwheat, chickpea
1 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of olive oil
100g of pistachios

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend for a minute or two – you want the mixture to be manageable but still a little chunky.

With wet hands, roll the mixture into balls and place on a lined baking tray. Bake in the oven, turning every ten minutes, until golden brown – 25 to 30 minutes.

For the tomato salsa:
3 large tomatoes, diced
½ red onion, finely chopped
A good handful of Italian parsley, chopped
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper
Mix all together, season to taste.

You could try other fresh herbs in your falafel and salsa mix such as mint, coriander, basil, oregano or a mixture of herbs.

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  • August 1, 2014

snHi there, it’s Sheryl from the huia tree, I’m guest blogging today for Janine of Bestow Beauty. Janine and I work together to bring you recipes and the Bestow Within natural food journals. My journey towards better health and lifestyle started three years ago when I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, it knocked the stuffing out of me! Here I was early forties and thinking I could box along at a frantic pace for years to come, surely it wasn’t over yet?

Thankfully it wasn’t, I have learnt more in three years about myself and good health than I have learnt in my 40+ years prior.

I have always loved creating meals, it’s my downtime or de-stress time. I guess that means I get to de-stress alot these days 🙂

I am happiest creating vibrant food that not is not only healthy but of course also looks great when photographed. As I am also a mother of three and work full time, I try to keep it real – recipes that are easy to create and photographs that tell it like it is. Sometimes that doesn’t happen and there are a few disasters – still edible though.

So together with all of that and Janine’s incredible nutritional, wellness and skincare knowledge I think we make a pretty good team! So on that note, this week’s recipe seems fitting – The goddess bowl, full of healing goodness and vibrancy.

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Makes two bowls

Gorgeous green dressing:
1 avocado
1/2 cup spinach leaves
1/2 basil leaves
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon of Bestow Beauty Oil
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all together with a stick blender, sweeten a little to taste (optional) with honey, maple, agave syrup or a couple of drops of stevia.

Goddess bowl ingredients:
1/2 buttercup pumpkin
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of cumin powder
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 cup of black rice, cooked according to packet directions
1 cup of spinach leaves
1 cup of rocket
1/2 cup of fresh sprouts
1/4 red cabbage, shredded
2 tomatoes, cut in wedges
1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds (toasted if preferred)
Microgreens (optional)
Salt and pepper

Method:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Cut your pumpkin into wedges and remove seeds, pulp and skin. Chop into cubes, toss with the olive oil, cumin, cinnamon, fennel and season with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish lined with baking paper and bake until soft (15 to 20 mins). While that is cooking make up your two goddess bowls with all the other ingredients. Add the pumpkin when it is cooked, scatter with microgreens (optional), serve with your gorgeous green dressing.

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Where possible we choose organic ingredients, these lovely ones above are from Wild Earth Organics in Tauranga, Bay of Plenty.

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Nourishing Notes from Janine:
The Bestow Goddess Bowls are so full of ‘health protecting’ vegetables that it’s hard to know where to start. They are just SO good for you and your skin that I have decided to focus on the avocados, the hero ingredient found in the dressing.

Avocados are not only rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, they are also a great source of both insoluble and soluble fibre, keeping you regular and ensuring your skin remains fresh and clear.

Avocados are a great source of antioxidant carotenoids like beta carotene, zeaxathin and lutein as well as vitamin E. These compounds soak up free radicals before they have time to harm your cells and keep you protected against environmental damage that leads to fine lines and wrinkles.

Many people are surprised to learn that avocado’s contain good levels of vitamin C too. Vitamin C is another important antioxidant that helps your skin make collagen, your anti-wrinkle fibre.

Lastly, avocados contain Omega 9 and monounsaturated oils (oleic acid) to help soften and moisturise your skin from the inside.

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You will see more of this style of eating in the next BESTOW WITHIN journal coming out in early August! With the right ingredients on hand you can have a fresh, healthy meal in no time at all. Janine and I will show you how 🙂

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This convenient breakfast is high in fibre and B vitamins, both nutrients helping to support a healthy skin. Steel cut oats are made from the centre portion of the oat grain and are therefore, more whole grain and nutritious than rolled oats. Gluten contamination may occur during processing so if you are sensitive, you need to make sure you source the gluten-free option.

These are a great ‘on-the run’ breakfast or snack and the steel cut oats give a ‘nuttier’ texture. You could substitute for rolled oats if you prefer but don’t pre-soak them and add one more mashed banana to the mixture.

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RECIPE

1 1/2 cups steel cut oats, soaked overnight or at least 2 hours in 1 1/2 cups of water
2 cups coconut thread
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4   cups coarsely chopped almonds or hazlenuts or pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 very ripe bananas, mashed well
1/4  cup coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons of raw honey, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon of coconut sugar

Preheat oven to 150°C.

Drain and rinse your steel cut oats through a sieve. We pre-soak them so that they are faster cooking and not too crunchy.

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix very well. Place large tablespoonfuls on to a baking tray lined with baking paper. We used a spring release ice cream scoop and 3/4 filled it with the mixture, squishing it down so that it packs into the scoop and retains its shape when released on to the baking paper. You could also roll into balls and then flatten slightly with a fork. The mixture is quite wet so be prepared for messy hands!

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool.

Makes about 16 cakes that you can store in an air tight container.

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