SMART Goal Setting

HAPPY 2022!!

Did you set yourself goals for 2022? Are they SMART goals? In order to make it more likely to achieve your goals (and to know when you have) you want to make your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.


I have attached a worksheet to help you make SMART goals. Fill it out and pop it on the fridge or somewhere obvious to remind you of what you are working towards.


I hope you all have a happy and healthy (and less stressful) 2022!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is a common southern American dish. It is traditionally cooked over a fire, but more commonly in a slow cooker these days.  Try this recipe on a bun with some coleslaw, or on its own with some side dishes.  It is a great dish to make for a large group or ahead of time if you have a busy week ahead.

Serves: 12

Prep: 10 mins

Cook: 8 hrs

What You Need:

•14 oz. (400g) can diced tomatoes 

•1 tbsp. chili powder 

•1 tsp. cumin 

•1 tsp. salt 

•1 tsp. chipotle chili paste 

•1 tsp. garlic powder 

•½ tsp. onion powder 

•⅓ cup (80ml) apple cider vinegar 

•⅓ cup (113g) honey 

•2.6 lb. (1.2kg) pork shoulder 

What You Need To Do:

Place all ingredients except the pork into the base of your slow cooker and stir until well combined. Add in the pork shoulder and turn a few times to coat the pork thoroughly in the sauce. Cook on the low setting of your slow cooker for 8 hours. 

Once cooked, place pork shoulder in a bowl. Remove and discard the fat using tongs, then shred the meat using two forks. 

Add cooking juices to the shredded pork, according to preference. Or simply return the pork to the slow cooker and mix well.  

Once cooled the pork can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

Nutrition per serving:

166 kcal         

4g Fats

9g Carbs         

23g Protein

0g Fiber

Chicken and Bok Choy Stir Fry

I love a good chicken stir fry.  When I’m rushed I will resort to store-bought sauces, but this one is super easy to make and you could make a big batch ahead of time to throw in the pan when you are cooking. Also fresh ginger and garlic always taste better than store bought. Spread this over some brown rice (or white rice if you are in a rush) and you have a nutritious and delicious mid-week dinner.  And make sure you make extra for leftovers!

Serves: 4

Prep: 20 mins

Cook: 5 mins 

What You Need:

•2 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce 

•2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar 

•1 ½ tbsp. sesame oil 

•2 tsp. coconut sugar  

•12 oz. (340g) chicken breast, cut into strips 

•2 tbsp. ginger, finely chopped  

•2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 

•3 tbsp. olive oil 

•8 oz. (230g) bok choy, trimmed and sliced 

•2 leeks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced 

•1 cup (30g) bean sprouts 

•¼ tsp. chili flakes 

•​salt and pepper 

What You Need to Do:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Pour half the mixture over the chicken, along with half the ginger and half the garlic. Let the chicken sit for 20 minutes to marinate. 

Heat a large pan over high heat, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the pan and add the chicken. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes, then remove the chicken from the pan and transfer onto a plate. Set aside. 

Add the remaining olive oil to the pan. Add the bok choy and cook 1 minute. Then add in the leeks, bean sprouts and chili flakes. Cook, for a further minute until the bok choy and leeks are tender.  

Stir in the rest of the marinade and season with salt. Move the vegetables to one side of the pan. Add the remaining ginger and garlic to the centre of the pan and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.  

Return the chicken to the pan and combine with the rest of the ingredients. Heat for 1 more minute and then take off the heat. Serve immediately. 

Nutrition per serving:

288 kcal          

18g Fats

11g Carbs         

22g Protein

2g Fiber

Herb Highlights – Red Clover & Brahmi

Welcome to the first two of my Heart Highlights. I thoughts I would start with a series of herbs that are often used to help treat menopausal symptoms. Red Clover is used to help with more traditional menopausal symptoms, whereas Brahmi can improve cognitive function that goes along with ageing. This can be helpful for almost anyone.

Before taking herbs, make sure you discuss them with your Naturopath to make sure they are appropriate for you and do not interfere with any other drugs of supplements you may be taking.

Egg and Tuna Breakfast Salad

This is a great way to get your protein in the morning.  You can switch it up by using salmon instead of tuna which will give you more Omega-3 fats and change up the taste. Swap the radishes for potato, celery or broccoli if that’s your thang.

This recipe can definitely be made ahead of time and will keep for a few days.  Great for a quick and easy protein-filled breakfast.

Serves: 4
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins 

What You Need:•4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped •1 can tuna in brine (about 5 oz./150g), drained •5 radishes, diced •3 tbsp. mayonnaise •2 tbsp. tomato ketchup •2 tsp. Dijon mustard •2 tbsp. parsley, chopped •salt and pepper  What You Need to Do:

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and season with a little salt and pepper to taste. Serve with bread or mixed salad. 

Nutrition per serving:

218 kcal           

16g Fats

2g Carbs         

17g Protein

0g Fiber 

Easy Baked Carrot Fritters

Looking for a new way to cook your carrots?  These are super easy and a great, quick snack or as s side dish.  They can easily be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge.

They are great dipped in hummus!


Makes: 10
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 25 mins 

What You Need:

•4 medium carrots, grated

•1 small egg

•4 tbsp. all-purpose flour

•1 clove garlic, minced

•1 tsp. ground cumin

*salt and pepper 

What You Need to Do:

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and prepare a baking tray lined with baking paper.

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Take a heaped tablespoon of the batter and place it on the baking tray, flatten slightly with your hand to form a round shaped fritter.

Bake the fritters for 12 minutes, then turn them over and bake for a further 12 minutes on the other side until golden. 

Serve hot or cold. These fritters can be refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to 2-3 days.

Enjoy on their own or dipped in hummus!

Healthy Sweet Potato and Black Bean Brownies

Seriously, who doesn’t want a healthy brownie recipe?!? You definitely have to try these out.  I love a good brownie, especially when I know they are packed with nutrients and not just empty calories.

If you don’t like nuts, or you want to send these to school with your kids, either skip the walnuts, or add in pumpkin or sunflower seeds instead so you still get some extra protein and good fats. You can also use coconut oil instead of olive oil. Enjoy!

Serves: 12
Prep: 15 mins 
Cook: 50 mins  

What You Need:

-9 oz. (250g) sweet potato
-1 14oz. (400g) can black beans, drained
-½ cup (60g) walnuts
-3.5 oz (100g) coconut sugar
-1 bar dark chocolate, chopped

*3 tbsp. olive oil 

What You Need to To:

Peel, chop and boil the sweet potatoes until they are soft. Set aside to cool. 

Heat the oven to 360°F (180°C) and prepare an 11×7-inches (28x18cm) baking tin lined with baking paper.

Place the cooled sweet potatoes, black beans, walnuts, sugar and chocolate into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Next add in the olive oil and blitz again. 

Transfer the batter into the baking tin and bake for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack, before cutting into 12 squares. Store in an airtight container and try not to eat them all at once😁.

Are you living with an Irritable Bowel?

Have you been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome or IBS? Have you been told you have to live with your symptoms? IBS is what is called a diagnosis of exclusion.  This means that people are given this diagnosis when other reasons for their symptoms can’t be found. There are no tests specifically for IBS. They are basically saying ‘we don’t know why your digestion is so bad, so we’ll call it IBS’. 

Common symptoms are constipation or diarrhoea, urgency to have a bowel movement, a small volume of stool or pain in the abdomen all while appearing otherwise healthy.  

Once you have been given this diagnosis, problems such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, parasitic, fungal and viral infections or cancer should have been ruled out. At this point you may have been told that you just need to live with your symptoms, which can be disheartening.

But poor digestion is not something that you should live with. If you are not digesting your food properly, you are not getting the nutrients you need. The toxins that your body is trying to expel are sitting there for longer than they should.  This can lead to any number of problems including cancer, arthritis, fatigue, migraines, and depression.  Many symptoms will get better by improving your digestion, so it is very important to make sure that your gut is working properly. 

There are in fact many causes of IBS.  There can be a hormonal connection, a lack or imbalance of bacteria in the gut or overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine called SIBO.  IBS can also be caused by a high stress lifestyle, a generally poor diet, or a sedentary lifestyle. The most common reason I find is an imbalance of bacteria going along with food intolerances.

In addition to the IBS symptoms, food intolerances can also present themselves as headaches, fatigue, depression, arthritis, chronic respiratory problems, weight problems, anxiety, insomnia, and migraines. 

Food intolerances develop when there is inflammation in the lining of the gut allowing small particles of food to cross where they are not meant to.  The body does not like them there, and so reacts to them.  Reactions can be delayed and can last for days to weeks, so they are difficult to diagnose.  The best way to diagnose and treat food intolerances is to do an elimination diet.  This usually gives a very clear picture of what foods an individual is intolerant to and which ones they can eat.  Common foods are wheat, dairy, soy, tomatoes, bananas, and sugar, but everyone is different and so the foods will be different for everyone.

There are several supplements that can help with IBS depending on a person’s specific symptoms, but a probiotic is almost always recommended.  Talk to your naturopath to make sure you get a good quality one as some of the ones in the stores do not have a very high bacteria count and so are a waste of money.

If you think you might have IBS, talk to your doctor to rule out any other nastier problems.  If you know you have IBS, all is not lost.  There are several treatments options to try. No one should live with poor digestion.

Protein Porridge/Oatmeal

There is nothing better than hot oatmeal on a cool morning. Honestly, I eat it all year round no matter the temperature. It is delicious and filling and a great way to get protein in the morning.  Mix up the recipe with different fruits and nuts.  Apples and berries are great additions to this recipes.  You can swap the walnuts for pecans which offer a sweeter taste.  Or add in some pumpkin or sunflower seeds.  Although banana and apple will usually make this dish sweet enough, you can add some honey or maple syrup to make it a bit more indulgent.  Enjoy!

Serves: 1 
Prep: 5 mins 
Cook: 5 mins

What You Need:

1/3 cup rolled oats
2/3 cups almond, pea or dairy milk
1/2 banana sliced
3 Tbsp walnuts (or other nuts and seeds to taste)

Options:
1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)
1/3 cup berries
1/2 apple cut into small pieces
1 tsp cinnamon

What You Need To Do:

In a small pot add in the milk, oats and nut and seeds. Cook over low heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid sticking. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the protein powder until well combined.

Top with the sliced banana or berries. Add any desired sweetener. Serve immediately.

Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease

GERD, GORD, reflux, regurgitation, or heartburn.  It doesn’t matter what you call it, if you suffer from it, you know how painful it can be.  Some people can get reflux due to a hiatal hernia or from high stomach acid (hydrochloric acid or HCL), but I find the most common reason to be from low stomach acid.  At the top of the stomach is a sphincter, the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES), which closes in reaction to stomach acid.  When there isn’t enough acid, this sphincter doesn’t receive the signal to close resulting in what acid there is, leaking up the oesophagus.  This can result in painful reflux most often at night, but also after eating certain foods.

HCL is needed to digest protein, so a common feeling of low HCL is feeling like your food is just sitting there after you eat. HCL helps to kill pathogens, inhibit overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, encourage the flow of bile and pancreatic enzymes and facilitate the absorption of several vitamins and minerals including folate, B12, vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.  Low HCL can result in many problems down the road if left untreated. Stomach acid can decrease with age and with several medications.

An easy test for low stomach acid (and the beginning of treatment) is to take a supplement that contains hydrochloric acid.  If you take one capsule and feel nothing, you are likely deficient.  Treatment consists of an increasing number of capsules until your body learns to create HCL on its own again.

For reflux that is caused by high stomach acid, there are many options as well.  Melatonin has been found to be a very effective treatment for reflux and can help you sleep better at the same time.  Studies find that if you take it for 8 weeks you can achieve remission of symptoms. Food intolerances can cause reflux also, so doing an elimination diet or a food intolerance test is usually warranted. 

If you think you might have a hiatal hernia, this technique may help – drink a large glass of water upon rising in the morning. While standing, rise up on your toes and drop back onto your heels – the weight of the water may help to replace the herniated organ. 

For natural symptom relief, you can try liquorice (the real stuff, not just candy), slippery elm powder or baking soda in a bit of water.  If you have high blood pressure, use DGL (deglycyrrhizinated liquorice) instead.

Other triggers for reflux include caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, cigarette smoking and stress. Reducing these can help with symptoms as well.

With prolonged reflux, damage can be done to the oesophagus which can eventually result in cancerous cells forming there.  Some treatments to reduce this risk are folic acid, mushrooms, zinc and probiotics.  Fish oils and turmeric are also useful for decreasing pain and inflammation.

Medications can decrease HCL, but these come with side effects such as decreasing the absorption of the vitamins and minerals mentioned above and reducing the breakdown of protein.

These are just some of the options for treating reflux. Contact a naturopath before starting on any supplements for reflux to make sure they are right for you and that you have the correct dose and timing.