Proper nutrition can benefit your health on so many levels, including: management of digestive symptoms, PMS, fatigue, mental health, skin issues and so much more! It’s one of the best ways to improve your health and quality of life… as the saying goes, health = happiness!

But, if you’re like me (and many others) it can sometimes be a struggle between being really good, and a little bit naughty, with both diet and regular exercise, and it makes you wonder why others can find it so easy to maintain every day. Or I know I do!

I wanted to talk to someone who lives and loves it, so I got together with nutritionist and pilates instructor, Laura McCarthy, to chat about her journey in the world of health. Laura was also kind enough to share the recipe she made for the latest The Shelter SC magazine... Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Brownie... yes, that definitely sounds like it'd fulfil our 'little bit naughty' streak, but in fact, these sweet treats are gluten, dairy, and egg free, PLUS they use banana flour which contains a powerful starch for the health of your gut, resistance starch... so in that case, I say you can have two!!

 

 

Firstly, can you please tell the Boom community a little about yourself?

I’m a Melbourne girl who couldn’t resist the temptation of the beautiful Sunshine Coast to call home. I’ve been here just over three years and have been lucky enough to work in some inspiring places within Noosa. I have been teaching Pilates for almost ten years and am now enjoying spending more time on my other passion, Nutrition. I love to create healthy recipes, going for long walks and being inspired by nature.

What inspired you to become so interested in the body, being both a nutritionist and Pilates instructor?

I think mostly through personal change and experience, the way that you can have a huge impact on how you feel day to day with healthy routines. Pilates enabled me to have a pain free lower back, nutrition allowed for the realisation of how everything you put into your body matters and can help you to thrive or lead to disease. I had always suffered from allergies, asthma and skin issues and found when I made changes to my diet my conditions improved dramatically. Diet is of one the most important factors when concerning your health. Food is medicine and so is movement. The compliment of movement and nutrition to each other and how they have both impacted my life so positively, it's hard not to share and try to help others when you know how much a healthy lifestyle infiltrates all aspects of someone's being.

Is there any particular foods you believe are essential for our bodies to function properly?

Variety is important, so you're not missing micronutrients and to help your gut bacteria to thrive. Green leafy vegetables are the superstars. Fibre, good fats, omega 3. Basically eating wholesome foods that are as close to nature as possible. Avoiding most packaged foods and anything that has additives, flavours, numbers on the packet ingredients list.. that will set the body up for dysfunction.

I notice the older I get the more people seem to suffer from gut issues, and I wonder if it’s just that we’re becoming more aware of our bodies and its functions, or has there been a shift in food production methods and qualities, what’s your view?

The chemical and industrial revolution has most definitely played a part in the gut issues we see today, medications, quality of our water and soil. Overconsumption of convenience and processed foods that have chemicals, thickeners, emulsifiers - all of which are causes of inflammation and discomfort in our intestinal wall. By introducing these chemical and additives into our food, our bodies cannot process properly, we are seeing diseases and higher rates of illness. Interference to our food not the way that nature intended to be will of course have consequences to our health. Bringing it back to basics and eating how our ancestors ate. We also need to pay attention to our environment, cosmetics and skin care that is being used, cleaning products, insecticides. All have the potential to mess with our gut health and hormones.

 

 

When it comes to bread (and pizza) whenever I’m in Europe (especially Italy) I can eat it at every meal and yet I never bloat or feel heavy, whereas a lot of our breads here do (unless you pay a small fortune) Why is that? Is there something we do with our flours? Is it the fermentation process they use over there?

I find this is quite common. Bread should be fermented allowing for better digestion, but these days you can have bread in just a couple of hours! Traditionally bread is made with a longer fermentation with the entire process taking up to 72 hours. I believe locally made breads with better quality wheat is most common in Europe, they have a shorter shelf life and less preservatives are used.

If there was one thing you could recommend for people to do for their bodies, what would it be?

Move everyday, ideally outside in nature.

You’re a pilates teacher on the coast, so where can we find you teaching pilates?

I am now teaching full time at the incredible Noosa Flow alongside all of the amazing instructors we have there.

You also have some delicious recipes on your instagram, is there anywhere people can find or follow your recipes? And do you do cooking classes or catering?

I am in the process of finishing my website, which will have lots of healthy recipes. I don't have any cooking classes coming up but intend to run a couple of workshops this year at Noosa Flow. I was lucky enough to be able to help cater and provide nourishing meals at our first retreat at Soma in Byron Bay, which was such a great experience! I would absolutely love to do more.

Our winter collection is called ‘Kindness’…

How do you define kindness, or what’s your interpretation of kindness? 

Being compassionate towards others, being intentional and choosing ways to help other people.

Is there a particular moment in kindness in your life - given, received or even observed - that stands out to you?

I think it's the small gestures that matter most, small acts of generosity go a long way.

What does it mean to live a big, beautiful life?

Meaningful relationships, travelling as much as possible and eating nourishing, delicious food.

🌼 🌺 🌼 🌺 🌼 🌺 🌼

You can follow Laura McCarthy on INSTAGRAM 

Plus why not go try one of Laura's pilates classes at Noosa Flow | Check them out on INSTAGRAM

 

 

CHOC PEANUT BUTTER BANANA BROWNIE

This brownie is gluten, dairy and egg free. It also contains green banana flour which contains a powerful starch for the health of your gut, resistance starch (RS).

RS helps to decrease inflammation and restore the gut lining. You can also find RS in cooled potatoes and rice. To reap the benefits, when cooking rice, per cup add 1 Tbsp of coconut oil and 2 cups of water. When cooked, store in refrigerator overnight to cool. This results in a lower calorie and carbohydrate rice. You can then heat up for consumption the next day knowing that you are having a positive effect on the type of bacteria that live in your gut. The same rules apply with potatoes, boil them with one Tbsp coconut oil then allow to cool. You can add green banana flour to any other baked goods and even smoothies!

Ingredients:

2 tbs of green banana flour

1 cup almond meal

3/4 cup raw cacao powder

2 tbs coconut sugar

2 ripe mashed bananas

1 heaped tbs of organic smooth peanut butter

3 tbs coconut nectar (can use pure maple syrup instead)

Pinch of salt

Half a cup of filtered water

Icing: 1 ripe banana, 1 tbs peanut butter, 1 tbs raw cacao, 1 tbs coconut nectar - blend all ingredients together

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees, prepare a baking tray (grease or line)

2. Combine all dry ingredients, separately combine wet ingredients, then fold wet into the dry ingredients and mix through.

3. Pour mixture into tray and spread evenly

4. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, checking until top looks cooked, may need longer/less time depending on your oven. The brownie will remain quite moist.  

5. When cool spread icing onto brownie.

Now go make yourself a nice cup of tea (or coffee), grab your book, and find a lovely spot in the sun to sit down and enjoy these delicious healthy treats... and take sometime out for YOU 💜

 

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