Strawberry Nice Cream soon on offer at Rotorua’s iconic Polynesian Spa

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Article by Rachel Grunwell: Award-winning writer. Magazine wellness columnist for Good magazine, & Indulge magazine (the latter goes on the Herald on-line weekly). Yoga + meditation teacher & PT. Co-leader of the Mindful Moments retreats at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa.

TripAdvisor recently named Rotorua as one of their top 10 best places in the world for travel experiences.

Rotorua got 4th place. Meanwhile, 1st place went to San Carlos, Costa Rica, 2nd place went to Kauai, Hawaii, in the USA, while, the 3rd place-getter was Tromso in Norway….

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Hands at the ready Banana Chia Smoothie

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I love this smoothie as an afternoon snack sometimes – or after a long run. My son Finn likes it anytime! Those are his hands at the ready… He’s my chief-taste-tester (a hard job, but someone has to do it, right)?

The hero ingredient in this recipe is chia, which is a great source of protein, fibre and omega 3, just to name some benefits. Here’s the recipe…

Banana Chia Smoothie

Ingredients:

2 cups of milk (I use almond milk but you can use any kind)

1 tablespoon of peanut butter

1 teaspoon of honey

½ teaspoon of cinnamon

1 banana

1 teaspoon of ground linseed (if you have it in the cupboard, I sometimes leave this out)

½ teaspoon of vanilla bean powder

1 scoop protein powder (I use this for an extra protein boost sometimes, but you can leave it out if you wish).

¼ cup chia seeds (black or white)

Method:

Place all the ingredients (except the chia) into a blender and blend until smooth. Stir in the chia next and then leave the mixture in the fridge for roughly 20-minutes while the chia plumps up. Then get a spoon and scoop it out to enjoy! I sometimes put coconut and shaved dark chocolate on top too to garnish. Or it’s extra yummy with some yoghurt too!

Recipe by Rachel Grunwell – author of Balance: Food, health + Happiness. Follow Rachel via Facebook & Instagram.

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Chocolate Dream Smoothie + Fuelling Kids Healthy

 

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By Rachel Grunwell

Try this delicious and nutrient-dense smoothie to fuel your family when it comes to snack-time. It’s gluten-free and dairy-free. The hero ingredient is raw maca powder, an amazing superfood which is made of real plant-based ingredients and is nourishing, healing, full of vitamins and gives an awesome energy boost. It’s derived from the maca roots (pervian gingseng by the way).

 

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Chocolate Dream Smoothie:

2 tablespoons of coconut yoghurt (we love Raglan Coconut Yoghurt’s new Banana & Chai flavour!) 

1 cup water

1/3 cup raw cashews

1 frozen banana (Commonsense Organics stocks ethical and organic All Good bananas)

1 tablespoon Raw Maca Powder (we love the Ceres Organics brand)

2 tablespoons cacao powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon 

½ teaspoon vanilla bean powder

Method: Use a spoon to put the yoghurt on the bottom and randomly on the inside of a small clean glass jar or cup (to give a marbled effect). Now leave this to the side.

Next, use a blender to blitz the water and cashews until smooth – then add in the banana, maca powder, cacao, cinnamon, vanilla bean powder to combine. Pour this mixture into the jar you’ve prepared, then add a straw (or dig it out with a spoon) and enjoy! Better still, double the recipe to share.

Tips on Snack ideas & the low-down on the ingredients: 

A great tip for a snack idea for the kids after school is to whip up nutrient-rich smoothies. My kids often come home from school and usually request this  – rather than biscuits or chips. It’s just become a healthy habit we’ve adopted in our house. The trick is to make them taste yum and make them with real and good ingredients that boost energy and health levels.

My kids are my “chief taste-testers” for my recipes I create for Good magazine by the way. So, they love tasting beetroot juices, kale smoothies to decadent yet nutritionally-smart chocolate creations.  If smoothies are made well, they go down well (and you can hear the straws slurping up the dregs!)

I used ingredients from Commonsense Organics – an organic retailer selling organic, allergy-aware and environmentally-friendly products. This company does “good stuff”. I love that financial profit is not their sole driver; They stock fresh products that consider the wider community and environment. They care about the whole process from garden-to-table and how workers, suppliers and customers are treated (the owners believe this is “ common sense”). So, when it comes to values, Commonsense Organics comes up trumps. I love to shop at their store in Mt Eden, Auckland. They’re also got five stores in Wellington.

Shop for the ingredients for this smoothie by clicking HERE.

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Rachel is a wellness writer, columnist and recipe creator for Good magazine and also runs the lifestyle website inspiredhealth.co.nz. She’s the wellbeing ambassador for Cigna too. Follow her on InspiredHealth’s Facebook & Instagram.

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Choc Honey Frappe

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By Rachel Grunwell

I love businesses that have values, make conscious decisions (about the environment and the people they work with) and boast a true heart-driven mission.

That’s why I love The True Honey Co – and, also, of course, because their ethically harvested Manuka honey from NZ’s most pristine locations is truly delicious.

Here’s a Choc Honey Frappe recipe that’s bursting with health benefits and takes only a minute to make. I try to have a teaspoon of Manuka honey in my daily ritual and its delicious all on its own. It’s yummy too in this recipe. Let me know what you think if you whip it up. It’s the perfect Summer afternoon go-to. My kids and I usually fight over the last drops!

 

Choc Honey Frappe

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon The True Honey Co. Honey (revered for its antibacterial properties)

1 frozen banana

Pinch vanilla bean powder

1/2 cup almond milk

1 cup ice

1 teaspoon flax-seed oil (full of omega-3 fatty acids) 

Pinch salt

 

Method:

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth. Then pour the thick mixture into a glass jar or cup and this is delicious all on its own. I dig mine out with a spoon. I topped this frappe with a wedge of organic dark chocolate and some fresh strawberries because I had them at hand.

 

To Find out more about True Honey Co. Manuka Honey click HERE.

Post by Rachel Grunwell: Good magazine recipe creator & wellness writer. Yoga teacher. Marathoner. Professional Blogger. Follow Rachel on Inspired Health’s Facebook & Instagram

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Sponsored content courtesy of the sweet peeps at True Honey Co. Manuka honey.

Cigna Wellington Round the Bays – enter the family!

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By Rachel Grunwell

Registrations are now open for a favourite annual Wellington event – Cigna Round the Bays.

But don’t just enter yourself for race day on February 19.

Step it up by entering with friends, work colleagues and family.

Together you can support each other’s training and get fitter and healthier.

Having a specific and achievable health goal on a set date like this event can help with keeping you all motivated on your health journey.

There’s a distance for every age and level: the Mitre 10 Mega buggy walk, the 6.5km fun run or walk, Bluebridge 10km, and the Cigna/Achilles half marathon (21km).

I’m stepping it up by getting my family involved, including husband Damien, and our kids Zach, 11, Lachie, 9, and Finn, 5.

Zach is especially excited about tackling his first 10km distance alongside me.

Actually, his speedy, young legs may leave me in his dust! The rest of my whanau will do the fun run.
Damien will likely be piggy-

backing little Finn near the end. The focus for our family,

training-wise, is to keep fitness fun and at the kids’ pace.

I’ll sneak in building a base fitness with my younger kids by doing things like scooter or bike rides, family walks, light jog at the weekend and walking to school sometimes.

Zach and I are doing run training, which we will build up slowly.

Meanwhile, tell your kids they are helping you to train for the event too.

Give your kids the title of chief coach. Remember to foster a can- do mind-set, with fitness and health in general around kids and be a positive role-model on this journey.

Inspiring your kids to be fit, healthy and happy is the ultimate gift, I reckon.
Lastly, visualise the red-faced, smiling, excited faces of your loved-ones at the finish-line and a shared feeling of success.

❚ Enter by registering HERE

❚ Column published in newspapers throughout Wellington.

Column by Rachel Grunwell, Cigna Health and Wellbeing Ambassador – a runner, qualified yoga teacher and director of the InspiredHealth website. Follow more of her personal journey to get her family ready for the event on Facebook and Instagram.

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Spooky Gluten-Free Gingerbread

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By Rachel Grunwell

 

Halloween is a fun time for my family. The kids love to dress up all scary or witchy and go trick-or-treating around our neighbourhood on October 31. We’re in the Auckland suburb of Mt Eden where families are used to little ghostly and ghastly costume-wearing kids turning up at the door!

Instead of lollies, these gluten-free gingerbread men are a yummy treat to give the kids – or to give other little trick-or-treaters. Or just to make up anytime for fun!

My youngest witchy – son Finn, aged 5 (pictured) – gives these the thumbs up. He loves helping in the kitchen – and of course, taste-testing the bats, pumpkins and legless gingerbread men.

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Your kids will love making these too and so give them a whirl! Or if you have a cool and creepy recipe then share it with me too!!

 

Spooky Gluten-Free Gingerbread

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons Chelsea Golden Syrup

½ cup Chelsea Organic Coconut Sugar

1 teaspoon each of mixed spice and cinnamon

1.5 teaspoons ground ginger

1 tablespoon water

50g butter

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ cups rice flour

½ cup potato flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

(add 2 teaspoons xanthum gum if you have it in the cupboard as this helps with binding the ingredients, but it’s not absolutely necessary)

 

Instructions

Place Chelsea Golden Syrup in a pan, along with Chelsea Organic Coconut Sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon, ground ginger and water.

Heat until the sugar dissolves and then switch off the heat place the butter in the pan to melt.

Let the mixture cool a little and then add the baking soda.

In another bowl, put the sifted gluten-free flour and baking powder. Then add the heated ingredients from the pan and mix until a workable dough. Add more rice flour if you need it (i.e. if the dough is too sticky). Then sprinkle a generous amount of rice flour on your bench and use a roller to roll out the dough. Press Halloween-style cookie-cutter shapes in this. Use a spatula to lift the shapes up from the bench and onto the trays (so they stay in one piece).

Bake these on a greased tray, 180-degrees for about 10 mins.

 

Note: Use a spatula to lift the shapes from the tray onto a cooling rack and then pop them into a container.

 

Icing:

150g dark chocolate

110g of coconut cream

 

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (keep stirring throughout). Add the cream and mix. Leave this to cool to room temperature. Then pop it into an icing bag and pipe onto the biscuits. I used edible glitter too for an extra cool effect.

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Find more delicious recipes for these school holidays at chelsea.co.nz

 

This post was made possible thanks to Chelsea.

 

#NZBlogger #chelseasugar

 

Rachel is a recipe creator and wellbeing columnist for two magazines. She’s a yoga teacher, marathoner and director of the InspiredHealthNZ website, which inspires Kiwis to live a life they love. Follow Rachel on Facebook and Instagram.

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Kids Yoga “Taking Off” at True Food & Yoga

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By Rachel Grunwell

The magical power of yoga can have transformative mind, body and soul benefits for us grown-ups. This ancient practice can also uplift our little “muggles” in equal measures.

Auckland’s True Food & Yoga wellness centre has just launched yoga classes for children and so I checked out a class with my son Lachie.

Firstly, this is one of the most beautiful studios in this city. That sea-side view from Tamaki Drive, overlooking the bobbing boats and sparkling waters of Okahu Bay – and that gorgeous glimpse of the Sky Tower in the distance – is soul-lifting in itself (even in overcast weather). Inside the former Hammerheads restaurant too is stunning. Those memorable arch-windows have that wow-factor and it’s a clean and fresh decor.

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But it’s the power of yoga on offer here for kids that’s out-of-this-world. Literally.

Yoga teacher Nisha Kumar-Joon invited her students to use their imagination and go on a “mystical adventure” and pretend to be in their very own spaceship in the room. So the kids gleefully zoomed about, fizzing and smiling. She inspired them to create their own stories with movement, while chilled music provided a backdrop. Other parts of the class too were equally creative. There were stretches, strength and then balance poses (imagine flying aeroplane poses here) and all of this required “focus”, which is good for brain development. While another part of the class saw the kids laying down, peaceful, eyes closed, meditative, and with a ball on their belly while they breathed (ie so the ball rose up and down on the belly so they could focus on how to correctly breathe with their diaphragm. This can powerfully calm down the nervous system).

 

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Mid-class the kids were colouring in and drawing anything space-like including stars, moons and other-worlds.

 

 

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Their parents were in another “world” too, some blissfully near the edges of the room reading lounging about on bean-bags. While others enjoyed welcome “me-time” out in the bistro on the other side of the centre.

 

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So how was the experience for my son Lachie? Well, he walked into the class, a bit apprehensive, and knowing no one. But he tried all the yoga poses, drew a star, became a “space-ship” and loved running around the room. He giggled most over the games and loved a partner exercise with a little girl Sovinna, where they passed a ball using their feet. They both giggled, and giggled…

The kids were asked to “find their way home again” in their “spaceship” i.e. come back to their yoga mat for the closing of class. They then placed their mats in a collective star-shape. To see all their tiny hands in prayer-position to end the class was joyful.

 

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Nisha, a hatha yoga teacher with an osteopathy background, says kids get so much out of yoga. There’s the cognitive development, physical benefits, and the emotional and spiritual sides of this practice too.

“It takes them away from their laptops and it gets them using their imaginations,” she raves.

It’s a wish for Nisha too that her little students learn “balance” in life and lots of wonderful de-stress tools as well as stretching their bodies – and imaginations.

Nic and Kelly Watt are creating a footprint in Auckland with their food and yoga offerings – and it’s wonderful to see kids are a part of their heart-filled focus.

Check out the timetable for Children’s Yoga classes at True Food & Yoga for either 3-5-year-olds and also 6-11-year-olds here:

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  • Rachel Grunwell is a mum, yoga teacher, marathoner, and magazine wellness columnist and writer. She regularly writes for many of NZ’s top media titles. She runs the InspiredHealth website (a lifestyle hub to inspire Kiwis to live well).
  • Follow InspiredHealth on Facebook &  Instagram

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Buckwheat, Blueberry & Probiotic Smoothie Bowl

Buckwheat, Blueberry and Probiotic Smoothie Bowl

 

Buckwheat, Blueberry & Probiotic Smoothie Bowl

By Rachel Grunwell

I eat this for breakfast as an alternative to porridge. But you can have it for a mid-afternoon snack too. I like to dig mine out with a spoon from a smoothie bowl but you can put it in a cup instead. It’s great for digestive health.

Ingredients:

½ Cup of buckwheat (soaked in 1 Cup of water overnight to soften)

½ Cup water

½ Cup of blueberries (frozen or fresh is fine)

½ teaspoon of cinnamon

2 dates (pips removed)

Drizzle of rice malt syrup (or maple syrup is fine)

1 teaspoon of chia

A tub of probiotic yoghurt (I use Symbio pro-balance blueberry & wholegrains flavour, which compliments this recipe amazingly. This won Champion Yoghurt at the NZ Cheese Awards recently for good reason. It tastes delicious and the blueberry flavour bursts in your mouth, it has gluten-free grains, fibre, calcium, vitamins A & D and can help with your digestive health.

Method: Soak ½ Cup of Buckwheat in 1 Cup of water for several hours to soften (I do this overnight). Then remove the water. Put the buckwheat in a blender with the fresh water, cinnamon, blueberries and dates and blend. Pour this into a smoothie bowl and then top with the pro-biotic yoghurt, a drizzle of rice malt syrup and chia. Enjoy! 

Rachel is a wellbeing columnst and recipe creator for two magazines as well as inspiredhealth.co.nz/. Follow Inspired Health on Facebook  & Instagram 

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Cashew, Cinnamon & Cardamom Milk

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Cashew, Cinnamon & Cardamom Milk

This is so good that after I photographed it I polished off the lot! Yeah, that good. It went in one slurp! Actually, it’s even better after it has been in the fridge for a bit. Although, I obviously don’t have the will-power to leave it for that long without scoffing the lot!

Here’s what to do:

Place 1 cup of raw cashews in a bowl and cover with filtered water. Leave this to soak overnight. Next, rinse the soaked and softened cashews and put them in your NutriBullet with 3 fresh Cups of filtered water. Ps the NutriBullet is such a favourite toy of mine. I use it for making smoothies, bliss balls and a whole heap of other things. It’s powerful and so easy to use and clean. It usually gets used a couple of times daily.

Anyway, once you’ve blitzed the cashews in water then get a nut milk bag out and hold it open inside a bowl and pour the nut milk and pulp into the bag. Put the pulp to the side and use the smooth milk for this recipe. (You can use the pulp for other recipes and so pop it into the fridge).

Next scrape out 1 vanilla bean pod into the nut milk, place two dates (take out pips) in there too, 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and cardamom, a handful of ice and blend. You can keep it creamy and thick as it is or add more filtered water and blitz. Now slurp it up in one go! Or put it in the fridge and have it deliciously cool if you have will-power.

  • Rachel is a healthy food recipe creator and wellbeing columnist for two magazines. She is a mum, marathoner, yoga teacher the director of the Inspired Health website.
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Matcha Green Tea & Super Green Smoothie Bowl

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Matcha Green Tea & Super Green Smoothie Bowl

By Rachel Grunwell

This is great for injecting some green goodness into your life. You can have it as a smoothie bowl snack, or even have it for breakfast. Make it the night before and you can drink it on the go!

Whatever way you have it, it will help you go, go, go. It’s an antioxidants hit and it will help revitalise the body and mind.

Here’s what’s in it:

Put the following into a NutriBullet: 1 Cup of Kale, 1 big leaf of Spinach, 2 Feijoas (skin removed), 1 Cup of canned Pears, 1 Cup of VitaCoco coconut Water, a Handful of Ice, ½ a Teaspoon of Blackmores Matcha Gree Tea powder, 1 Teaspoon of Blackmores of Vitality Super Greens powder and 2 sprigs of Parsley. Blend and pour in a smoothie bowl and enjoy. I topped mine with coconut chips, chia and edible flowers, but that’s just optional if you want to pretty it up 😉

  • Rachel is a healthy food recipe creator and wellbeing columnist for two magazines. She is a mum, marathoner, yoga teacher and also the director of the Inspired Health website.
  • Follow Inspired Health on:   Facebook    Instagram   Twitter

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Here is another smoothie creation by Rachel:

Best Banana & Chocolate Smoothie Sensation